December 30, 2006

Hussein's Execution

I feel compelled to throw a wet blanket over some of the triumphalism I see in the blogosphere over Saddam Hussein's execution. I don't think it's a cause for Americans to be celebrating. I say this not because I'm ambivalent about the death penalty, but because we did not invade Iraq in order to kill Saddam Hussein.

We invaded Iraq to bring democracy to that part of the world, because doing so will in theory make us safer here at home. Not only have we not yet succeeded in that purpose, but our ultimate success (as well as the very theory our plan is based upon) is very much in doubt right now. No matter how much Saddam may have deserved what he got, I'd just rather save my celebrating for the day our troops return home victorious.

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Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

It is a semi well known fact that the number of Elvis impersonators in the world has increased exponentially since the singer's death in 1977. But how many of you know just how pronounced and dangerous the trend is?

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According to the San Francisco Chronicle

When Elvis Presley died in 1977, there were an estimated 37 Elvis impersonators in the world. By 1993, there were 48,000 Elvis impersonators, an exponential increase. Extrapolating from this, by 2010 there will be 2.5 billion Elvis impersonators. The population of the world will be 7.5 billion by 2010. Every 3rd person will be an Elvis impersonator by 2010.
That's one third of the Earth's total population, or 22,500,000,000 people. I don't know about you, but I'm not sure I want to be an Elvis impersonator.

To be sure, not all of the finest workings of global population science is yet fully understood to the finest grain. However, all of the basics are absolutely clear. The Elvis impersonator crisis is real, humans are causing the problem, and the solutions are available to us now. It is not too late to avoid the worst. All that is needed is the political will to act.

h/t Some Words To Not.

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Peter Pumpkin The Spectacular Pumpkin, Episode 68

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Top Story Of 2006

The new poll is up on the sidebar!

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December 29, 2006

Peter Pumpkin The Spectacular Pumpkin, Episode 67

Peter, like his creator, has many irons in the fire.

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Lindsay Logan At Scores

More wisdom from the brain of Lindsay Logan:

I mean we're talkin' like, upper and inner thigh action -bruised . . . like a walking black-and-blue mark. I mean really though, really, I didn't know it was actually possible to have bruises in such areas of the body.
What's she talking about?

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Kraken Caught Off Chichi Jima

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Two years ago someone shot film of a giant squid swimming in the deep. Now someone's caught one. It's believed to be the first time anyone has ever done such a thing, ever.

Giant squid, formally called Architeuthis, are the world's largest invertebrates. Because they live in the depths of the ocean, they have long been wrapped in mystery and embellished in the folklore of sea monsters, appearing in ancient Greek myths or attacking the submarine in Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."

The captured squid was caught using a smaller type of squid as bait, and was pulled into a research vessel "after putting up quite a fight," Kubodera said.

"It took two people to pull it in, and they lost it once, which might have caused the injuries that killed it," he said.

The squid, a female, was not fully grown and was relatively small by giant squid standards. The longest one on record is 60 feet, he said.

More giant squid blogging from the depths of the annika's journal archives, here.

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December 28, 2006

Happy Christmas!

I hope you all got exactly what you wanted!

h/t Pursuit.

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December 27, 2006

Wednesday is MAD Poetry Day: MAD Magazine

Quite simply, anything from MAD Magazine needs no introduction, save for the legal stuff: Copyright 1999, by E.C. Publications, this selection is from the December 1995, Super-Special #109 issue:

It's a gas!

The Night Before Christmas, 1999 or St. Nicholas Meets the Population Explosion
(with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

'Twas the night before Christmas,
And all through the gloom
Not a creature was stirring;
There just wasn't room;
The stockings were hanging
In numbers so great,
We feared that the walls
Would collapse from the weight!

The children like cattle
Were packed off to bed;
We took a quick count;
There were three-hundred head;
Not to mention the grown-ups--
Those hundreds of dozens
Of uncles and inlaws
And twice-removed cousins!

When outside the house
There arose such a din!
I wanted to look
But the mob held me in;
With pushing and shoving
And cursing out loud,
In forty-five minutes
I squeezed through the crowd!

Outside on the lawn
I could see a fresh snow
Had covered the people
Asleep down below;
And up in the sky
What should strangely appear
But an overweight sleigh
Pulled by countless reindeer!

They pulled and they tugged
And they wheezed as they came,
And the red-suited driver
Called each one by name:
"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, comet! On, Cupid!
On Donder and Blitzen!"

"Now, Melvin! Now, Marvin!
Now, Albert and Jasper!
On, Sidney! On, Seymour!
On Harvey and Casper!
Now, Clifford! Now, Max"--
But he stopped, far from through;
Our welcoming house-top
Was coming in view!

Direct to our house-top
The reindeer then sped
With the sleigh full of toys
And St. Nick at the head;
And then like an earthquake
I heard on the roof
The clomping and pounding
Of each noisy hoof!

Before I could holler
A warning of doom,
The whole aggregation
Fell into the room;
And under a mountain
Of plaster and brick
Mingled inlaws and reindeer
And me and St. Nick;

He panted and sighed
Like a man who was weary;
His shoulders were stooped
And his outlook was dreary:
"I'm way behind schedule,"
He said with a sigh,
"And I've been on the road
Since the first of July!"

'Twas then that I noticed
The great, monstrous sack,
Which he barely could hold
On his poor, creaking back;
"Confound it!" he moaned,
"Though my bag's full of toys,
I'm engulfed by the birthrate
Of new girls and boys!"

Then, filling the stockings,
He shook his sad face,
"This job is a killer!
I can't take the pace!
This cluttered old world
Is beyond my control!
There are even millions
Up at the North Pole!"

"Now I'm late!" he exclaimed, "And I really must hurry!
By now I should be over Joplin, Missouri!"
But he managed to sigh as he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Yeah, that looks like Christmas


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December 22, 2006

Movie Recommendation

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Here's a quick movie recommendation: Little Miss Sunshine. I gave it four stars. The cast is fantastic (it's exhibit A for why the Academy should have a special Oscar for casting), especially Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Alan Arkin. The girl who plays Olive is wonderful. And Chloe from 24 has a small part in it.

It's black comedy with a nice message at the end. Go rent it.

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Christmas Message From Al-Z

This is satirical, so it's okay to watch.

h/t Shelly, Cranky, Linda, Bluto, Allah, and Scott

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December 21, 2006

Moonlighting At 6MB

A masterful piece of photoshopping, if I do say so myself.

And I do.

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Busy Girl

I checked out the Miss Nevada photos, and all I can say is she was working overtime. I can't believe she managed to do all that stuff in one night. She must have been exhausted afterwards. Listen, I had some wild times when I was her age, but dang gurl. Is there anyone in that room she didn't get funky on?

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MNF Pick: Makeup Games

Since I had two unscheduled bye weeks lately (I was too lazy and/or forgot to post by game time) I've chosen two sure winners as makeup games.

The first is tonight's matchup between NFC North rivals Minnesota and Green Bay, both 6 and 8. Brett Favre's middle name has been "interception" every time I pick Green Bay, it seems. But the key facts are these: 1) Minnesota is starting a rookie QB at Lambeau Field; 2) Favre is 40 and 5 at Lambeau when the temperature is below 35, as it will be tonight; and 3) this could be Favre's last home game in his career. Green Bay is favored by 3½ points and I say they will cover.

The next sure thing is Saturday night's game between AFC West rivals Kansas City and Oakland. The Raiders have given up on football this year. They have zero pride. I've never seen a professional sports team that cared less about anything. Plus, Al Davis wants that high draft pick so he can squander it yet again. Just lose, baby. Oakland is only a 6½ point underdog, but the opening line was 3½. I'd be surprised if even 3 people took Oakland with only three points. They'll lose by at least two touchdowns. This should be a slaughter and KC will beat the spread easily.

Parlay these two and laugh at the suckers later.

Update: Fuckin Favre, did it to me again!

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The Christmas Toys Unit

By the way, did anyone else see that lame Rob Lowe Christmas movie the other night? The ending was just about the stupidest ending conceivable. Anyways, Mike Novick was in it. He played Rob Lowe's father. I kept wanting him to say "mister president I urge you to reconsider..."

h/t Mr. Atoz

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Quote Of The Day Quotable Quotes*

From Dawn:

I have figured out the meaning of life.
I would tell you, but it would blow your minds.
That Ivy League degree is paying off, Dawn!
_______________

* Name changed so as not to look like I stole it or anything like that.

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December 20, 2006

Peter Pumpkin The Spectacular Pumpkin, Episode 64, 65 & 66

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How do you spell mischievous?

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Wednesday is Poetry Day: e.e. cummings

In 1922, as he was finding his voice, e.e. cummings wrote this poem of a tree, as seen thru the eyes of a small child.

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and I'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"

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December 19, 2006

A Hero You Should Know

Imagine what this nation would be like if the media replaced all their stories about starlets behaving badly with stories about women like Sgt. Kristi J. Artigue.

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“I’ve always been a risk taker,” said Artigue, 23, now a medic with the 141st Medical Company [Connecticut Army National Guard].

On Nov. 10, Artigue called upon the skills learned during her six years of National Guard service -- including a recent deployment to Iraq -- to help save the life of a man who may have drowned.

. . .

“Tom,” a middle-aged man, had suffered a seizure and fallen into a section of the West River. Unable to swim, he struggled to remain above the surface with the help of several civilians and two West Haven police officers. The chain was trying to hang on until the local fire department rescue crew could arrive . . .

Then the life-defining event happened.

“He let loose,” said Artigue, “and went under for one or two seconds. Long enough to know he wasn’t going to be coming up again. And he was moving out farther from the shore toward the center of the river.”

At that point, Artigue let her training take over. The nursing student and Iraq War veteran jumped into the freezing water and swam out about ten feet to where Tom was struggling for air.

“It was too cold to talk,” said Artigue, “but I grabbed his vest and tried to keep him above the water. He grabbed a hold of me and started to pull me down with him, but I was able to drag him by his vest to shore.”

. . . On a cold November day, coming out of cold, moving water, communication was difficult, but Artigue was able to keep Tom talking and conscious until emergency crews arrived.

I am continuously amazed at the quality of people who volunteer to serve our country. Swift water rescue is a very dangerous business. I know I wouldn't have jumped in there.
A future trauma nurse, Artigue plans to use her experiences in the Guard and in Iraq to save as many lives as possible.

“Since Iraq,” she said, “I’ve learned to adapt and overcome. I saw what was happening and I had no option but to get involved because of not only my medical training, but also because of my personal responsibility.

“I will always appreciate my military experience. It’s something I would never give up,” said Artigue.



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Obligatory Tarac Post

Trump tells the story:

She left a small town in Kentucky, and she was telling me that she got caught up in the whirlwind of New York . . . It's a story that has happened many times before to many women and to many men who came to the Big Apple. They wanted their slice of the Big Apple, and they found out it wasn't so easy.

Sounds like something Steve Perry once sang:

Just a small town girl, livin in a lonely world
She took the midnight train goin anywhere
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Or (long as we're quoting SF bands), as the great Rob Weir once sang:

What in the world ever became of sweet Jane?
She lost her sparkle, you know she isn't the same
Living on reds, vitamin C and cocaine
all a friend can say is ain't it a shame . . .

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