Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Det er på tid till dansa!

The Swedes have a reputation for being an attractive people. This is totally wrong, as you will see if you pay a visit to Svenska Dansband, the online home of Swedish bands of the 1970s.

For instance, have a look at Bandex. Their lineup appears to consist of Ron Burgundy, Dungeonmaster of Indeterminate Gender, Stern Receptionist, Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver Circa 1973, and John Denver's Macho Brother.

Or the Hermansons, who look like IFK Göteborg's equivalent of Bill Swerski and the Superfans.

Or the Rolf Lönns, whose portrait reveals the palpable tension between the glasses-wearing and non-glasses-wearing factions of the band.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Who's got Matt Rodgers?

It's not often you get a chance to honor one of your childhood heroes. But today I was wasting time on Wikipedia and saw an opportunity to do just that. One of the men I idolized as a boy was sadly ignored by the world of Wiki, and so I registered a user name and wrote up an article to pay him homage.

Don't tell me he's not notable.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Now, hear me out

In retrospect, I think that the famous scrolling prologue at the beginning of Star Wars was kinda lame.

Yes, it gave us a chance to listen to John Williams' heroic theme, and yes, many of the old serials that Lucas was imitating had text cards at the beginning. But if they'd have just started with the Star Destroyer firing on the corvette, I think the audience would've figured out what was going on. (Or even had the theme play over dramatic exterior shots of the corvette, then when the music stops, the Star Destroyer drops out of hyperspace and away we go.)

The benefits of removing the scroll would be twofold: one, we wouldn't have all the horrible nerds who insist on calling the movie "A New Hope," and two, all the later genre films by hack writers and directors wouldn't have started with stupid prologues. (You know the kind. The narrator intones "It was an age... of magic." Cue lightning.)

Of course, we also would've lost out on the "you don't need glasses" joke in Spaceballs.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Democracy in action

I pass no judgment on the reporting ability of the Boise Guardian, except that I like how he gets the calls to the Mayor's Hotline. See what your neighbors think about the leading issues of the day, such as:

• Leash laws. "Talk about voting – I voted for Bieter; I voted for Tibbs and Jordan. If they allow this to go through and take away my rights as an American citizen, as a Boise citizen for my whole life, I will not vote for them again. I will encourage my friends and family to vote for somebody else. I don’t care who the person is, I will not vote for those three."

• Epidemics of vanishing cats. "From about 21st St. along Ellis, going diagonally parallel to State St., you see signs or pictures, photographs of dogs on the telephone poles saying “missing”, like a Golden Retriever is one. A gal on the 2600 block of Ellis, south side of the street,came banging on my door in the middle of the week; she had two cats missing. She was on her way to work and she had a friend two houses up from where she was, still on the 2600 block of Ellis, and she too had two cats missing. Later on that day around 1:30, I had a cat missing. I went down to where there was another Russian Blue on the corner of Lemp and 26th, and their Russian Blue had also stayed in all night long and it was missing.... I would like a heads-up from the City Council and from the Mayor."

• The economy. "I’m just calling to ask why we are giving these banks a bail-out or giving bonuses to them. I’m starting with you because you’re the Mayor. That’s what I want to know – why are we giving these executives a bonus when we’re trying to get the banks bailed out? Thank you."

• Protectionism. "I would be very UNcomfortable with having an out-of-state or off-shore call center or billing service handle the Boise City billing."

• Thieving micks. "I’m having a problem with an auto repair shop in Boise called Irish Auto Repair, and I need someone to help me with it. I can’t seem to get hold of anyone who is going to help me and I need someone to call me back so I can find out whom to talk to, to find out what my rights are."

• Ernest Borgnine. "I think some of the FBI people and some of the corrections are some of the ones who are helping, and of course some of the military people. They have some mind settings that are it sounds like from out of Kentucky and Corkoran Prison, and also the leaders of McHale’s Navy, so if they could get some mindset similar to those, I guess it would be helping. I guess you need to call Kentucky or wherever else the people are telling you to call to find out the information. California and New York are really tied up with the muscle lines and hopefully they will be getting it over with shortly. Supposedly with the warfare it should be able to be done. There is some of the sheriff’s department that sounds like that’s Sacramento that’s not trustworthy; they’re causing problems with military machines all over the town..."

• Television. "We used to be able to get 40 minutes of show and 20 minutes of advertisement. Now we’re getting 40 minutes of advertisement and 20 minutes of show.... I think the Mayor and City Council should get on these people’s keisters and give us a little bit more product for what the hell we’re paying."

• Sexual deviants. "I’m calling to ask why the Mayor gave a permit to the perverts to parade on June 14 th at Julia Davis Park when people who are standing in front of abortion clinics where babies are murdered by the thousands in this country, if they read a Bible verse there, they can be put in jail for a number of months? Things are kind of upside-down; this is supposed to be, according to one Supreme Court group long ago, this was said to be a Christian nation and a lot of us would like to get it back to being a Christian nation, but we can’t do it when we have leaders who keep aiding the enemy, and God says these people are an abomination to Him and that they should be executed."

• And one the Mayor might have actually fixed: "I am a victim, and so is everybody else, of thievery when it comes to the gas stations. The gas prices, the diesel prices are all just absolutely ridiculous. We, the people, want to know what you guys, who are in the head of government, are going to do about it, because if you don’t do something about it real soon, we’re pretty well doomed. As far as my household, I’m already figuring we’re like three-quarters of the way there. "

Friday, December 5, 2008

Maybe Daniel Stern could try another career

Whoever was the tutor on the set of "The Wonder Years," congratulations: Winnie Cooper has a theorem named after her and Paul Pfeiffer is an IP lawyer.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'd like to meet the guy who thought this up

Now underway in Melbourne, the Homeless World Cup.

How do you think they overcame the NIMBY effect? (And do you think it will have more or less drug use and alcoholism than the "real" World Cup?)

Monday, December 1, 2008

For other transplants to Boise

Zeppole's, at 217 N. 8th St. in Boise, serves Panera soups. (Well, not exactly - they both order their soups from the same vendor, but you get my drift.) And you can even get them in bread bowls.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This could make a great "Darkstalkers" game

So, why vampires vs. werewolves? That was the plot of the Underworld movies, and I understand that it's a part of the Mary Sue Meets The Teenage Vampires series that's sweeping the nation. Why can't we have other, more unique showdowns like...

...mummies vs. leprechauns?
...valkyries vs. John Henry?
...hobbits vs. zombies?
...Frankenstein vs. the Loch Ness Monster?
...centaurs vs. genies?
...yetis vs. griffins?
...cherubim vs. seraphim?
...chupacabras vs. the Creature from the Black Lagoon?
...Santa Claus vs. those Japanese things that the Koopas are supposed to represent in Super Mario Bros.?
...gnomes vs. Cthulu?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ready-made sports nicknames

Inspired by Jack "The Throwin' Samoan" Thompson, Shane "The Flyin' Hawaiian" Victorino, and Kevin "The Crushin' Russian" Kouzmanoff, I offer the following:

• The Hurtin' Albertan
• The Playin' Bruneian
• The Blockin' Moroccan
• The Skiin' Judean
• The Shakin' Jamaican
• The Sweatin' Breton
• The Bowlin' Angolan
• The Buryin' Hungarian
• The Bonkin' Sri Lankan
• The Lugin' Perugian
• The Tearin' Canberran
• The Scurryin' Manchurian

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sitcom a clef

Ben Silverman was a young executive producer at Reveille Entertainment before he became a surprise pick for NBC's co-chairman position and moved to New York. During his tenure, NBC's ratings have fallen precipitously, and he's been surrounded by rumors of drug use and irresponsibility.

One of the shows produced by Reveille Entertainment is "The Office" (US). In that show, shortly after Silverman was appointed co-chairman, a young character, Ryan Howard, received a surprise promotion to regional manager. During his tenure, Dunder Mifflin's market share fell precipitously, and he was surrounded by rumors of drug use and irresponsibility.


(I actually figured this one out on my own before discovering that B. J. Novak specifically said he was going to pattern Howard on Silverman.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The last paragraph is intended as bulletin board material

Rumor has it that they're trying to start a roller derby league in Iowa City. Frankly, I don't know if Iowa City is big enough to support a full-sized league: you'll probably need at least 30 girls and four refs for a league. If I were them, I'd look into having an IC-based team in the Cedar Rapids league.

My Iowa City readers (the total of which are dwindling daily) are urged to join, even though one of you is leaving at the end of the school year, one of you is a new mom, one of you is quite busy with orcs and wizards and so forth, and one of you is a twig and would probably fall apart like a G. I. Joe that hit the floor too hard the first time you got hip-checked.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I refuse to use the "v" word

Think you're qualified to serve in Obama's Cabinet? You'll (allegedly*) have to fill out this survey, according to the New York Times.

Highlights include:

Please list all aliases or "handles" you have used to communicate on the Internet. (Oh no, what if they find out I'm "Anonymous"?)

Please identify all speeches you have given. (Damn, I knew I should've kept track of my work in high school speech and freshman rhetoric.)

If you have ever sent an electronic communication... that could suggest a conflict of interest or be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the President-Elect if it were made public, please describe. (Meos tam suspicione quam crimine iudico carere oportere.)

Have you or your spouse at any time held property... the title to which contained any restrictive covenant based on race, sex, ethnic background, religion, or sexual orientation? (Of course, these covenants are mostly unenforceable anyway.

Also, points to you if you can spot the questions designed to weed out Jamie Gorelick, Barney Frank, Zoe Baird, and Charles Guiteau.

* In case you need a reminder that much of what you read in the paper is wrong, you can look elsewhere in the Times to discover that yes, Sarah Palin knows exactly what Africa is.

Yes, this post was shamelessly cribbed from the Wall Street Journal, but I only know of one of my readers who reads the Journal, so it's new to the rest of you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Something you've always suspected, now confirmed

Clay Aiken's fans are batshit crazy drama queens, and while the North Carolina Court of Appeals didn't say that in so many words, it can be inferred from their opinion in Holleman v. Aiken.

Case summary: Carolina woman notes that the guy who sang at her daughter's wedding is now famous, writes 500+ page hagiography (with the same title as Orel Hershiser's book). Another lady who knew Aiken really well when he was growing up endorsed it. Aiken's mom, fearful of these ladies hitching a ride on the gravy train that is rightfully hers, posts on message boards saying Wedding Mom made the whole thing up. Wedding Mom sues for libel and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Moral: Want to be like Clay and see your dreams come true? All it takes is effort, hope, and ruthlessness.

Try our garlic bread

Assume, for the purposes of the following poll, that the pizza naming paradigm is limited to persons of various titles who all bear the proper name "Pizza."

Not that I have much invested in zombies

Simon Pegg editorializes that zombies shouldn't run. And yes, he uses the "z" word despite its ridiculousness.

Personally, I'm not all that scared of zombies. What's the worst they can do? Rip you apart? You're in terrible pain for a little while and then you're dead. Big deal. Now eternal madness and torment, like Jacob's Ladder, that's scary.

(An aside: when I went to look up Jacob's Ladder, IMDB gave me an ad for Quantum of Solace. My first reaction was "when did they get Rene Auberjonois to play Bond?")

(A second aside: Craig Ferguson was on "Red Dwarf?")

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

If I were a religious man...

Note: the following post was written while I was "off meds," so please disregard anything that does not advance my thesis and appears to be pure assholery.

A friend of mine is a Christian liberal and frequently expresses her displeasure for Christian conservatives who oppose expansion of social welfare programs, as she does in this here post.

Because I am naturally contrarian, I decided to try to put myself in the mindset of a religious conservative, and after I got over my mental roadblock against treating ideas like "belief" and "hope" and so forth as anything other than the main source of humanity's problems, I think I got something, and even got a quote to help me out. (Sorry, no parable.)

"Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." Matthew 22:21.

The Christian liberal views social welfare programs as people giving of themselves to serve the poor, as God told them to do. But the Christian conservative views social welfare programs not as serving God, but as serving Caesar. Caesar doesn't necessarily distribute funds according to God's word (I think there's a Holy Appropriations Bill somewhere in Leviticus); Caesar judges applicants for funding based on his own criteria, which occasionally include the good of society. The programs could be considered an attempt by Caesar to muscle in on God's "helping the poor" turf.

Furthermore, there's some question as to whether a social welfare program to which you are forced to contribute scores you any moral points at all. My friend and I have the same career and will likely make similar amounts of money. We'll contribute similarly to tax-funded social programs over the course of our lifetimes. She'll care a lot about the people the money is going to; I won't care much for them. Are we now equally holy?

And, of course, there's the issue over whether Caesar actually does a good job of running his programs. Many Christian conservatives think that social welfare programs could be run more efficiently and effectively by state and local governments or by private charities. Some will say that the reason we're still fighting Johnson's War on Poverty is because the government isn't getting the weapons they need: others will say that it's because the government's forces are following the wrong strategy.

So, that's my attempt to pretend to be a Christian conservative for a while. I did this to prove a point: that like it or not, people who disagree with you might have reasons for doing so other than being evil, stupid, or hypocritical. If you think you've stumbled upon some insight which is such a zinger as to destroy their entire worldview, it's likely that they've had that insight too, and have come up with an answer to it. For instance, I don't suppose that if I wrote something like "How does Obama reconcile his goal of 'improving relations with foreign countries' with his goal of 'reinstating tariffs on the things they try to sell us?'", my Democratic readers would freeze up, realize their entire lives have been based on lies, and renounce their faiths. They'd just tell me there was some sort of rational explanation (or dismiss me as evil, stupid, or hypocritical, but that's another story).

Personally, I've spent the last few years making a concerted effort to care less about things like poverty and the economy and justice and war and so forth, and I think it's the best thing I could've done. My stress level is much lower, I've lost 15 pounds, and I've learned the value of humility. After all, if the greatest minds in human history have been working on poverty and the economy and justice and war and so forth for thousands of years, and none of them have come up with a satisfactory solution, then what chance do I have?

(Oh, by the way, Litigious, I'm not as in-touch with today's slang as you are, so if you could fill me in on what a "bafoon" is I'd appreciate it.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Night Drinking Game

For Democrats: Take one drink every time you hear the word "historic."

For Republicans: Take one drink every time you feel like you need a drink.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Computing progress

The demo version of Football Manager 2009 is now available, and it's the first computer game ever to implement the coach meltdown, as this screenshot proves:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Science of Comedy

Hypothesis: All good comedy troupes require one comedian who is very good at acting angry.

Data Consistent With Hypothesis: Monty Python's Flying Circus featured the anger stylings of John Cleese, who essentially spun off his "very angry man" character into Basil Fawlty.

SCTV had Dave Thomas. I suspect that when they were young, Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann watched Thomas as Bill Needle and had revelations about their careers of choice.

Mr. Show's Bob Odenkirk is a pro at this, so much so that a roaring "GOD-DAMMIT" is practically his catch phrase.

Saturday Night Live has featured many very angry players over the years, ranging from Jim Belushi to Will Ferrell.

Data That Is Arguably Inconsistent With Hypothesis: The Kids in the Hall may not count. The best angry Kid was Kevin McDonald, but he didn't project the kind of rabid fury that you get from Odenkirk et al. - his anger was the impotent rage of Sir Simon Milligan.

Conclusion: Most good comedy troupes require one comedian who is very good at acting angry.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Remember to put orange tape on your costume so drivers can see you

Well, here's hoping you have a heart-poundingly terrifying Halloween. Wait, no. That's a little too scary, not quite jocular enough. How about a frightful Halloween? Or a ghoulish Halloween?

Anyway, here's your Halloween film clip, and I will warn you right now that I am likely to do this if you ever eat at IHOP with me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

That dog must be so confused

In my attempt to become rationally ignorant of current affairs, I've had to turn to other sources of entertainment.

Like East German musicals.

What's German for "WTF?" Spotter's badge to Daimnation.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Frances Farmer has her revenge

It's not a good year to be a Washington sports fan.

The Huskies are 0-9. The Cougars are 1-7 and have become the first D1 team ever to give up 60 points four times in a season. The Seahawks are 1-5. The Mariners lost over 100 games. And the SuperSonics no longer exist, having doubly insulted the city by 1. moving to Oklahoma City, of all the goddamn places, and 2. changed their name to the "Oklahoma City Thunder," of all the goddamn team names. They sound like a USL-2 team. Couldn't they have been the "Oklahoma City Placeholders" until they came up with something better?

At least there's a glimmer of hope for WSU basketball.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I haven't pawned my camera for desperately-needed cash


New pictures here, featuring roller derby, Fort Boise, and the brand new feature, "Boise Hearts Papyrus."

Monday, October 20, 2008


(Discussing a disagreement)

"But you guys, you were completely on the other end of the -- of the speculum."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Didn't happen, but should've

Sen. Dodd: Shame on you bankers. How did your greed and avarice cause you to act so stupidly? Where did you get the idea that you could go around giving out subprime and adjustable-rate mortgages to the needy?

Banker: From you, okay?!? I learned it from watching you!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Ancient Art of Conversation

Roman writer Plutarch put together a book called Quaestiones Conviviales, which was supposed to help hosts of dinner parties get exciting conversations started. It's available on line, of course, and I'm going to take a stab at some of Plutarch's questions.

Why is it forbidden to give and receive gifts from one's spouse?
Because it's such a pain to sort them out when they get divorced.

Why do men returning home from the country or from abroad send ahead to tell their wives they are coming?
To give her time to send her lovers away.

Why do they adopt the month of January as the beginning of the new year?
Because the weather is miserable and the people need a reason to celebrate, and there are no other holidays in the month (apart from the birthday of M. Luterus Rex the Younger).

Why did Quintus Metellus forbid divination from birds after August?
Because the birds had all flown south for the winter by then.

Why, when they gave a public banquet for men who had celebrated a triumph, did they formally invite the consuls and then send word to them requesting them not to come?
Because you should always take any opportunity you get to totally burn the consuls. Seriously, they're such dicks.

Why were patricians not allowed to live near the Capitoline Hill?
Patricians? Shit. There goes the neighborhood...

So, do you think I'd be a hit at the villas of Pompeii?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How lookist of me

On tonight's episode of "My Name Is Earl," David Arquette discovered that after the passage of ten years, his ex-girlfriend had gone from being good-looking to being freakish-looking, and he didn't take it very well.

Coincidentally, I had the same reaction immediately after the episode ended and Molly Shannon appeared on my TV.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Kids these days!

I should probably not be allowed to have children, given that the experts say that you're supposed to show them affection sometimes and I don't "do" affection.

Nevertheless, if someone insists I reproduce, I'm ready, because I'll have the help of Best Parent Ever. Maybe I won't be able to provide a nurturing environment to my offspring, but I will know where to get them Scandinavian highchairs and Indian homework drones.

(But I have been talked out of getting them pet owls.)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Derby-Related Post

Yesterday the Treasure Valley Rollergirls hosted the Jet City Bombers. They eked out a 114-110 victory. I credit it to how they threw our entire team for a loop by not choosing Queensrychë's "Jet City Woman" as their intro music.

Mark your calendars - next bout is November 1.

Friday, October 3, 2008

What are you, my personal secretary?

I know that Bibguy is usually your source for coach meltdowns, but as he doesn't follow soccer, I'll have to take responsibility to bring you a link to new Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear at his first press conference.


It is going to my fucking lawyers. So are about three others. If they can find something in it that is a court case it is going to court. I am not fucking about. I don't talk to fucking anybody. It is raking up stories. You are fucking so fucking slimy you are raking up players that I got rid of.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chicken and Egg

Did Anderson Cooper learn his facial expressions from Vladimir Putin, or did Vladimir Putin learn his facial expressions from Anderson Cooper?

It is a mystery.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


If you've read my blog for any amount of time you probably know that my writing idols include James Lileks and Jayne Without Pity.* In slavish imitation of Jayne, I'm going to offer up a couple of budget recipes I've developed.

Bachelor Curry
Combine white rice and water in a bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes, then fluff and dump on a plate. Then microwave a bowl of canned chili (if you're in the Northwest, use Nalley's - it's cheap and tasty). Pour chili over rice and eat.

Peanut butter and jelly, on a croissant.

Sal's Special
Spread cream cheese on a slice of whole wheat bread. Add a slice of cheddar. Then add sliced ham and sliced turkey. Close the sandwich and put in your toaster oven, set on "light".

Victory Float
Two scoops of vanilla ice cream in a tall glass. Add the sparkling wine of your choice.

*Another writer I've come to admire recently is Keith Allison of Teleport City. He's a fantastic slice-of-life writer. For example, here's a clip from his review of Roller Blade:

...in 7th grade, I had decent luck with the ladies, so there were plenty of opportunities for me to put the movies on some young honey, maybe buy her an Orange Whip or some fries at the concession stand, maybe impress her by convincing the DJ to play us a song he was probably going to play anyway. And then you hear the first little bit of "Hold Me Now," ask the girl to skate, take her hand, and for the next three minutes or so yo roll through a swirling snowstorm of colored lights and raging hormones that can only be assuaged by letting go of her hand as the song ends and "Play Guitar" by John Cougar Mellencamp comes on and affords you a chance to fast skate off some of that pent up sexual energy -- especially if the DJ is edgy and doesn't blank out the "Forget all about that macho shit and learn how to play guitar" line.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

At least they put it in writing

We have recently received a report that a property management company somewhere in this state has decided to implement a new animal policy in its leases.

Specifically, if the tenant is not home and the manager receives a complaint about the animal making noise, the manager reserves the right to enter the apartment, remove the animal, and euthanize it.

I wonder how they're going to put that in the brochures? "Pets Welcome! (but are subject to summary confiscation and execution)"

Oh, and regarding my TV show (see previous entry)? I think that when we cut to scenes of the dogged Department of Education investigator who is on Donny's tail, we should have an establishing shot that looks something like this.

I'm in the wrong business

If lawyering doesn't work out for me, maybe I can get NBC to pick up my comedy series.

THE STORY: Donny is a man in his late 20s who grew up watching hour-long action shows like "The Incredible Hulk," "The A-Team," "Knight Rider," where wandering heroes lent their special talents to people in need. He's taken the scenic route to adulthood, and he's just completed his degree in political science. Armed with this degree, he finds himself unable to find a job. He decides to fall back on the stories of his youth and become a wandering loner, living on the road in his car, looking for people to help and injustices to fight. Of course, Donny doesn't actually have any special talents, nor do the people need his help, nor do many of the injustices actually exist, but that won't stop him from living his dream. Stay tuned for Donny's misadventures this fall!

Many good adventure shows have wise mentor figures who give our hero missions. In this case, it's a temp agency whose boss arranges for Donny to take menial jobs across the country.

Adventure shows also need a pursuer who will chase our hero, like the journalist in "Hulk" or the army in "A-Team." In my show, it's an agent from the Department of Education, determined to track Donny down and make him pay his student loans.

Any casting suggestions? Do you think it would work? I think I could get two or three seasons out of it, with a good writing staff and a good time slot.

(Yes, Donny is named after Don Quixote.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Still here

Just posting less because I'm unemployed and hate everything.

Anyway, think of all the possible ways you could hurt yourself with a jump rope. Then read this article and see if you anticipated this result. I didn't.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Those of you who have taken BarBRI courses probably remember Charles Whitebread, criminal law lecturer. Little bald guy with a growly voice, who started slow and tended to build up to his jokes.

Professor Whitebread just died. In his honor, I'll relay one of his "war stories."

Before he entered academia, Whitebread practiced criminal defense in D.C. One of his clients decided it would be a good idea to sort his marijuana into a number of small baggies for convenient use.

It was a nice day, with a pleasant breeze. He decided it would be a good idea to open his front and back doors to let some of the fresh air in.

His pleasant afternoon was disrupted when a man charged through his front door and started running through his house. It turns out the man was a felon fleeing from his crime.

Naturally, the police were hot on his trail and several officers ran into the unsuspecting client's house.

The felon ran out the client's back door and the police followed him, but not before noticing the large pile of marijuana on the client's table.

Eventually the felon eluded the grasp of D.C.'s finest. Determined to get something out of the chase, the police returned to the client's house and arrested him for possession of marijuana.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Live Eurocentric Dancers

Sleaze merchants frequently use the word "exotic" as a substitute for "erotic," in the hopes that it will somehow mask their intent to appeal to the prurient interest. But I think we've all caught on to their transparent deceptions by now. For the benefit of the First Amendment superstars who keep America fantasizing, I've helpfully provided a short list of other words that begin with "e" and end with "c" and could be pressed into service as euphemisms for "erotic."

• encephalic
• emetic
• eccentric
• esoteric
• eclectic
• elliptic
• entropic
• epic
• ebonic
• Eric

Friday, September 12, 2008

On lunch

First thing's first - I passed the bar.

Second thing's second - Today I went to lunch at Donnie Mac's Trailer Park Cuisine. I was expecting a little bit of irony, but I don't think the place fully captured the ambiance of a manufactured housing community. Now, I'm sure part of that is for sanitary reasons. Few restaurants would permit the presence of the bull mastiffs that some park resident is always deciding to breed and who are "really gentle," just ask them.

On the other hand, some of the authenticity could be easily improved upon. For instance, the beer list featured a bunch of restaurant standards, plus PBR. PBR is probably on this list because hipsters saw it in Blue Velvet and decided that it is the one and only true white trash beer, but c'mon, really. Where's the Milwaukee's Best? Where's the Keystone? Where's the Schlitz?

Put another way, at a trailer park restaurant, Chardonnay should not be on the menu. Chardonnay should be the girl who brings you the menu.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A contest!

Open to all readers of this blog who are not current or past attendees of law school.

Lawyers use lots of big words and stock phrases. To save time, we also use a lot of abbreviations. I'm going to give you a list of ten abbreviations and acronyms that lawyers use. For each meaning you correctly guess, you get a point. For each meaning you guess that is incorrect but is significantly more entertaining than the actual meaning, you get half a point. Don't cheat. I can tell when you lie. Answers will be announced once I think I've got enough entries. Remember, if you don't enter, you can't win, nor can you lose with style.

1. DV
2. PC
4. SMJ
5. π
7. FF&C
8. PUD
9. RA
10. TRO

Monday, September 1, 2008

The product of a bad night's sleep

At about one o'clock yesterday morning I decided I was a country-western songwriter.

I initially decided to write a country-western song consisting entirely of words you could use to construct your own, better country-western song ("Texas whiskey bible / Cheatin' Chevy train") but I changed my mind and wrote this instead. I'm not sure it's really an improvement, but I feel obligated to share it with you.

Now General Lee surrendered
Back in '65
But I won't quit a-fightin'
Not while I'm alive

Momma, she done told me
"Son, you set this country free
And carry the torch of freedom
From sea to shinin' sea"

Wore my blue coat on my back as I
Walked into Atlanta town
So look out, Peachtree Center
I'm a-gonna' burn ya down

Fix bayonets in Jackson
For a march to New Orleans
Lord, the blood of dyin' rebels
Gonna wash all o' Dixie clean

John Brown's voice is callin'
It's a-callin' from the grave
"Bring down the retribution
For the sin of ownin' slaves"

And though the world is changin'
And eight score years have passed
Their crimes can't be forgiven
'Till the South done breathed its last

From Richmond to El Paso
And "neutral" Kentucky too
What Romans did to Carthage
I'm gonna do to you

Note: I don't hate Southerners, some of my best friends are Southerners.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Let's all laugh at the crazy person!

Occasionally I find it comforting to note that there are other men whose relationships with women are more dysfunctional than mine. Not just guys like Andy, but I mean totally, completely bonkers.

In the past, I've relied on Christian "Sonichu" Chandler and his quest for a "BOYFRIEND-FREE GIRL" for entertainment, but
this gentleman might be even loonier.

His personal ad starts with something out of Mission: Impossible.
If you IM me having not done as instructed in this profile, you will receive the first of three standard messages identified as [Msg 1 of 3]. If you IM me a second time without having done as instructed, you will receive the second of three standard messages identified as [Msg 2 of 3]. If you IM me a third time without having done as instructed, will receive the final message identified as [Msg 3 of 3] and you will be iggied. Because, as a software engineer, I have automated this whole process, I generally do not read messages you send until you have done as instructed in this profile. So, you can receive Msg 1 of 3, Msg 2 of 3 and Msg 3 of 3 and be iggied without me ever having read a message from you.

Then he goes on to explain what he might say to you to charm you off your feet.
Hello, I'm busy, but give me your specs (age, height, weight, bra size)?

Worried you'll end up as a secondary wife? Well, let him assuage your worries away.
But in America it is illegal to have more than one wife. Well, I can easily prevail in a debate regarding that matter, but that is not my task here. Just suffice it to say, you cannot legally marry more than one wife where the state is the authority giving you permission to marry. I will not be asking the state's permission, for I am not under the authority of any man made government.

And then there's this sure-fire way to win a woman's heart.
Where the slave and wife are most similar is when they are given a command. In this instance, they are both to obey with all their heart, mind, body and soul with an enthusiastically positive attitude. They are to both obey because they love the one giving the command.

So if you're single, obedient, walk fast, eat meat, hate careers, are under 29, have small breasts, and enjoy the occasional bizarre, Ulillillia-type use of the passive voice, why not drop him a line?

Friday, August 22, 2008


What is the most dangerous thing, according to the Internet?

• "There's nothing more dangerous than organised hippies"
• "There's nothing more dangerous than a minister who's being 'bold'"
• "There's nothing more dangerous than a firstgrader"
• "There's nothing more dangerous than a pregnant woman"
• "There's nothing more dangerous than a retarded bear"
• "There's nothing more dangerous than an unsharp knife"
• "There's nothing more dangerous than a bunch of logical sentences"
• "There's nothing more dangerous than a heroic stereotype"
• "There's nothing more dangerous than teaching someone a couple of impractical techniques and then telling them that they're invincible and should go and pick a fight on the next street corner"
• "There's nothing more dangerous than singing a love song to an old girlfriend when the new girlfriend is around"
• "There's nothing more dangerous than a shallow-thinking compassionate person"
• "There's nothing more dangerous than a couple whose children are finally off the family dole"
• "There's nothing more dangerous than walking on slippery or wet rocks"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Someone on Something Awful once referred to Wikipedia as "the MMORPG where you pretend to be an encyclopedia editor." And while it is a valuable resource, the people who bring it to you are totally pathetic.

Case in point: the article for Miss Viola Swamp has page citations, in MLA style.

Furthermore, I would like to draw your attention to the page with photos of contributors. Now, I admit, I am so ugly that when I was born, the doctor slapped my mama. But when some of these people were born, the doctors ran screaming to the nearest religious orders, where they spent the rest of their lives in self-flagellation to atone for the unthinkable sin of letting loose such creatures upon the earth.

Monday, August 18, 2008

How dare I look down on the less fortunate

From the Code of Federal Regulations concerning the Shelter Plus Care Program, 24 C.F.R. § 582.300(a):

Each recipient must provide for the consultation and participation of not less than one homeless individual or formerly homeless individual on the board of directors or other equivalent policy-making entity of the recipient, to the extent that the entity considers and makes policies and decisions regarding any housing assisted under this part or services for the participants. This requirement is waived if the applicant is unable to meet the requirement and presents a plan, which HUD approves, to otherwise consult with homeless or formerly homeless individuals in considering and making such policies and decisions.

Oh, of course. I bet the housing authority just wanders down into the Tenderloin, finds a guy in a Thunderbird-induced stupor, pokes him with a stick until he wets his filthy jeans and wakes up, coughing and hacking, and then asks him "Hey, how would you like to be on our committee?"

Friday, August 15, 2008

Hanging on in quiet desperation is the Salieri way

I am still unemployed, thanks for asking. I'm volunteering at Legal Aid to avoid going crazy (all together: "Too Late!") and at least I'm getting a couple of stories out of the deal, like exactly how to make your pet an emotional support animal (thus forcing your landlord to let you keep it) and the guy who told his wife that if she reported him for beating her, he'd write to Congress and get them to cut off all spending for DV support programs (even a battered wife could tell that threat was empty).

But I do have a bit of good news - if all goes well, I may be a roller derby ref in a couple of weeks. And here's where you come in.

(If you're reading this on Facebook and can't see the poll, hit the link to the blog and vote, already.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

All I've got is a photograph / It's not enough

Photos of Boise here. Highlights include animals, tacky graves, and lots and lots of Freemasons.

Friday, August 8, 2008

My only Olympic-related post

I think that if women can lust openly over swim teams, then it's only fair if I hold a competition for the best-looking player in the Olympic soccer tournament. (This should be a great post for those of you who like your women sporty.)

Here are some of my nominees.

Johanna Almgren, Sweden

Johanna's profile says she also enjoys handball. Punch line omitted for decency.

Rhian Wilkinson, Canada

She gains half a point in my book for having a fairly detailed blog, but loses it again for using Papyrus.

Merissa Smith, New Zealand

Really, you shouldn't take any soccer tournament too seriously if New Zealand gets to participate.

Heather Mitts, USA

It's tough to pick a standout for the US team because Lindsay Tarpley and Amy Rodriguez also fill me with patriotic fervor.

Andreia, Brazil

Had to get a goalkeeper in here to represent.

I'd tell you about Northern Ireland's cutie captain Aine McGovern if her side had qualified for the Olympics.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Piracy is bad, m'kay

Some contemptable scoundrels have uploaded all of two very entertaining movies, Shaolin Soccer and Cannibal! The Musical onto Google Video.

I would never condone such an action and that's why I'm not linking to them. Shame on you if you use the search feature to find them.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Latest anti-dentite news

What makes a man become a dentist? Lust for gold? Power? Or is he just born with a heart full of dentistry?

Whatever it is, dentists seem to have a mad compulsion to evade their taxes, like Dr. Wesley Bowden of Dallas.

In pre-trial motions, Dr. Bowden referred to prosecutors and IRS agents as “inland pirates” which “kidnapped” him during his arrest in April on the criminal charges. “I have been forced into a foreign court by deceptive trade practices, threat, duress and coercion,” he wrote. He also says he is not a tax protester, but someone who wants tax law applied legally, and refers to Texas as an “independent nation of free Christian white men like me.”

Sounds just like a guy I would trust to wield sharp objects near my face.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

An exercise in line-drawing

For the curious: I have settled into my apartment in Boise and will be unpacking over the next couple of days… well, probably weeks. If you're in Boise and you want to see me, let me know.

Now then, you lawyers in the crowd may remember the difference between malum in se and malum prohibitum in criminal law. The former are crimes that are inherently evil, such as murder and arson and what-have-you, and the latter are crimes that are just against the law and not necessarily evil, like public urination or impersonating a 4-H officer.

I wonder if the same distinction can be drawn in sports, with the former being "dirty" and the latter being "just smart play." Has a basketball player who flopped to draw a charging foul committed a "evil" act, or was he just bending the rules a little? Is a hockey player who likes to score with his skates in the crease a "dirty" player? I think that the line between "dirty" and "smart" can be drawn largely along the lines of whether the actions are likely to cause major injuries, although there are a few exceptions: for instance, a soccer player who falls over in the penalty box is a dirty player because his actions are so likely to change the outcome of the game.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sun rises in east, Pope Catholic, "Handmaid's Tale" inaccurate prediction of future

I was going to write a long post here about how the proposed HHS regulation regarding the definition of abortion is very limited in scope and wouldn't really affect anyone's ability to get birth control or IUDs, but why bother? Nothing I write here is going to convince anyone that the reason lots of people are crying "Wolf!" here is because they aren't trained to tell the difference between a wolf and a Saint Bernard, and nothing you write in reply is going to convince me that what I think is a Saint Bernard is actually a wolf.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'd say I'm "reflecting" but isn't that just the "spiritual but not religious" way of saying "prayer?"

And in the words of someone I've forgotten (Billy Connolly?), "Saying 'I'm spiritual, but not religious' is like saying 'I'm scared of dying, but I can't be arsed to go to church.'"

Anyhow, the bar and my birthday have come and gone, and I'm doing what I customarily do at this time (well, customarily after my birthday. I hope I don't have to take the bar enough times for it to become a custom): I ask myself, "Was this The Year I Hit Rock Bottom?"

Probably not. Yes, some crummy things happened, I lived in a very unpleasant apartment, I got turned down for some jobs, I realized I'm probably never going to see that insanely hot girl who works at the Moscow Baskin-Robbins ever again. But I got a degree that could prove valuable. I lost another five pounds without even trying. I figured out which of my law school friends are probably going to remain friends for life and which are probably just going to be occasional Facebook contacts. So it looks like 2001-2002 will remain The Year I Hit Rock Bottom for now.

Next year has the potential to be The Year I Hit Rock Bottom, if I can't get a job or if I failed the bar or if I was wrong about which friends would stick with me or if the Cubs win the World Series (I need them to continue losing to validate my worldview). Otherwise, it might just be The Year I Shift Out Of Neutral.

Monday, July 28, 2008

We who are about to test salute you

The bar starts in an hour and a half. In case I don't make it… I'm leaving you a gift.

Yes, I'm letting you all have the ringtones I've created. Great gift, huh? To use them, you'll need a phone that can play MP3 ringtones and some means of transferring them to your phone from your computer, such as Bluetooth.

Now, back to listening to Swedish metal bands for inspiration.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bar review in a nutshell

The bar starts Monday. I thought that maybe if I compiled a list of things I completely bombed on practice tests, I'd remember them more easily.

- Fuckin' well-pleaded complaint rule.
- Fuckin' unborn widow problem.
- Fuckin' short form mergers.
- Fuckin' pre-1994 common-law marriages.
- Fuckin' joint and several liability with comparative contribution.
- Fuckin' Blockburger.
- Fuckin' interlocutory appeals.
- Fuckin' shelter rule.
- Fuckin' 1 cfs per 50 acres rule.
- Fuckin' 10% rule for commercially unreasonable sales.
- Fuckin' PKPA.
- Fuckin' race-notice statutes.
- Fuckin' holdover tenancies.
- Fuckin' real estate in general.

Note that this isn't counting all the issues I spotted but decided obviously didn't apply to the case, but the question authors thought otherwise, such as "Excited utterance, my ass!" "Impracticability, my ass!" or "Legitimate expectation of privacy, my ass!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Things you don't want to hear from your date's dad

"Don't try to take her virginity, 'cause she's given it to me."

I agree with most of what noted teen sex expert Litigious Mind has to say on this issue, except that I can see why people would have greater concern for their teen daughter's sex activities than their teen son's, considering that it's easier for boys to avoid the consequences of sex (as anyone who has ever seen a Lifetime movie can attest) (and I'm in the process of developing A Theory about Lifetime movies, but it's not quite ready for display yet).

And I have heard the psychologists talk about how a healthy father-daughter relationship leads to healthy relationships between the daughter and men later in her life. Still, it seems to me like this would be a topic better addressed in a mother-daughter chat. Most people probably do it this way, but that wouldn't be news, now would it?

Also, I wouldn't describe this article as "hella disturbing" so much as "a little odd," but then I've seen more of the Internet than Litigious has.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Because it's been too long

I have the twin horrors of moving and the bar exam coming up fast, so I'll need to take comfort in the arms of an imaginary TV girlfriend.

Now, I was never really a fan of the Gilmore Girls. The dialogue was just too snappy. I know people who could talk like the Gilmores, but only in short bursts, never at the tempo the show sustained. But I've heard that a lot of people like the show, and I've seen a few episodes. Basically, I've seen enough to know I like Liza Weil. She was entertaining and "girl next door" cute as crazy girl Paris. Also, she's left-handed, and all my real-life girlfriends to date have been lefties, so this is a good sign for me.

(Her Wikipedia page notes that she had a guest spot on Law & Order: SVU. Big deal, I think I was on SVU at one point in time. Now the spot on The Adventures of Pete & Pete, on the other hand…)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hello Cleveland!

In case you haven't heard, here's the recently-announced primary setlist for Rock Band 2. The best songs are in bold.

AC/DC - Let There Be Rock
AFI - Girl's Not Grey
Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know
Alice in Chains - Man in the Box
Allman Brothers - Ramblin' Man
Avenged Sevenfold - Almost Easy
Bad Company - Shooting Star
Beastie Boys - So Whatcha Want
Beck - E-Pro
Bikini Kill - Rebel Girl
Billy Idol - White Wedding Pt. I
Blondie - One Way or Another
Bob Dylan - Tangled Up in Blue
Bon Jovi - Livin' on a Prayer
Cheap Trick - Hello There
Devo - Uncontrollable Urge
Dinosaur Jr - Feel the Pain
Disturbed - Down with the Sickness
The Donnas - New Kid in School
Dream Theater - Panic Attack
Duran Duran - Hungry Like the Wolf
Elvis Costello - Pump it Up
Fleetwood Mac - Go Your Own Way
Foo Fighters - Everlong
The Go-Go's - We Got the Beat
Grateful Dead - Alabama Getaway
The Guess Who - American Woman
Guns N' Roses - Shackler's Revenge
Interpol - PDA
Jane's Addiction - Mountain Song
Jethro Tull - Aqualung
Jimmy Eat World - The Middle
Joan Jett - Bad Reputation
Journey - Anyway You Want It
Judas Priest - Painkiller
Kansas - Carry On Wayward Son
L7 - Pretend We're Dead
Lacuna Coil - Our Truth
Linkin Park - One Step Closer
Lit - My Own Worst Enemy
Lush - De-Luxe
Mastodon - Colony of Birchmen
Megadeth - Peace Sells
Metallica - Battery
Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Where'd You Go
Modest Mouse - Float On
Motörhead - Ace of Spades
The Muffs - Kids in America
Nirvana - Drain You
Norman Greenbaum - Spirit in the Sky
The Offspring - Come Out & Play (Keep 'em Seperated)
Panic at the Disco - Nine in the Afternoon
Paramore - That's What You Get
Pearl Jam - Alive
The Presidents of the United States of America - Lump
Rage Against the Machine - Testify
Ratt - Round & Round
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Give it Away
The Replacements - Alex Chilton
Rise Against - Give it All
Rush - The Trees
Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye
The Smashing Pumpkins - Today
Social Distortion - I Was Wrong
Sonic Youth - Teenage Riot
Soundgarden - Spoonman
Squeeze - Cool for Cats
Steely Dan - Bodhitsattva
Steve Miller Band - Rock'n Me
Survivor - Eye of the Tiger
System of a Down - Chop Suey!
Talking Heads - Psycho Killer
Tenacious D - Master Exploder
Testament - Souls of Black
The Who - Pinball Wizard

If you need a name for your rock band, I suggest "Volcano Ironhand."

Potent quotables

I am prone to the occasional bout of aphorismia, in which I come up with an idea and feel mentally compelled to refine it into the form of an aphorism. Such a bout occurred on my drive back from Boise yesterday, just after I went through Cascade. Here are the three products of that bout.

"Anyone who claims to be a free thinker is not a very deep thinker."

"This may be the first presidential election in which the candidates are promising us better weather."

"If there really are dick-waving contests, I hope they are judged not solely on length, but also on technical difficulty and artistic merit."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Those who do not study history are doomed to euphemize it

In this post I will briefly address a meme that I have encountered several times recently, and here are some links to prove that it is a real meme that people talk about in real life.

"Should You Need A License To Have Kids?" Rimjob, Daily Kos, Dec. 14, 2005 (attached poll: 186 say "yes," 111 "no," 17 "unsure")

"I hear horror stories all the time about child abuse and child neglect. I think it's quite possible that requiring a license to have a child would put an end, or at least minimize, these issues." Fanaile Essence, "Should a license be required to have children?" ProgressiveU, Nov. 12, 2006

"The requirements to get a “I can have a child” license should be simple. Each person must take a class- a parenting program (and pass a test to prove that they learned the material), pass a drug test, pass an IQ test, and give proof that they have a stable income for at least a year." Alaesme, License to Have Children, For Our Cultural Integrity, Dec. 31, 2006

"As it is now, any persons who conceive or give birth to children can do as they wish with their children until the children are sufficiently damaged to warrant the intervention of public social agencies under child abuse and neglect laws. We carefully screen adoptive parents. We require licenses for foster parents and for day care providers. But we have no standards for the biological parents of children. Those children are not protected until they are damaged. Then our interventions often are too late to be effective." Dr. Jack C. Westman, University of Wisconsin-Madison, "The Rationale for Licensing Parents"

I've heard examples of this idea from conservatives, too - I just haven't found links to them talking about it. Anyway, this isn't a new idea, as the following quote will show:

"…And there would be certain conditions of circumstances which would preclude parenthood. These conditions, the presence of which would make parenthood a crime, are the following:

1. Transmissible disease

2. Temporary disease

3. Subnormal children already in the family

4. Space out between births

5. Twenty-three years as a minimum age for parents

6. Economic circumstances adequate

7. Spiritual harmony between parents." Margaret Sanger, "The Children's Era," delivered March, 1925 (note: I don't think Ms. Sanger intended to say that having adequate economic circumstances would make it illegal for you to have children, but she was doing a public speech at the time and we all know that can be nerve-wracking and we can forgive her for making a mistake.)

Indeed, the idea antedates even Sanger, going back to a Victorian scientist and explorer by the name of Sir Francis Galton. He founded a particular school of thought that's been out of favor for some time due to its historical application, but perhaps it's ready for a comeback. After all, maybe "three generations of imbeciles are enough."

(I hope this post has subtly and tastefully addressed my position regarding this issue without being too obtuse.)


1. I have determined that the real-life band that sounds most like Spinal Tap is Deep Purple. They have similar fuzzy guitar work (compare the beginning of Purple's "Space Truckin'" with Tap's "Sex Farm") and keyboard parts. By the way, did you know that Spinal Tap invented the "devil horns" sign? Here's their explanation.

2. The good news is that I think all the insects in my apartment are dead. The bad news is that I think they all drowned.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

SIR - I wish to make the following comments

The Times have now made available online all their back issues from 1785 to 1985, and they're more-or-less searchable. Head over to the archive, register (or not) and start looking. Here's a letter to the editor from 1911 explaining why women's suffrage is the road to dictatorship.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Addressing the root causes of the flea problem

Almost as soon as I moved into the temporary apartment, I noticed the bug problem. In this case, it was little tiny ones that jumped around whenever I tried to smash them. When I started finding bites on my legs, I realized that I was going to have to go to war with the fleas.

I went out shopping and returned with the mother of all flea bombs. Just pull the plunger, go to a cafe for the next eight hours, and all the fleas would be dead (and their eggs, too, for up to three months), said the label.

The next morning the fleas were back.

Fortunately the flea bomb came in packages of two.

I went a whole day without fleas, only to discover a scouting party of them yesterday. Are they getting reinforcements from elsewhere? I think so, and here's my evidence.

1. When I arrived in the apartment, I noticed a stain on the carpet and a lingering scent of ammonia.
2. There are not pets permitted in my apartment complex, but sometimes I hear meowing.
3. My apartment is on the ground floor and there are a number of cracks in the windows.

My theory is that the previous tenants had been hiding a cat in the apartment. When it came time for them to move out, they decided they didn't want the cat any more. (Alternately, and equally likely in this area, the previous tenant was arrested, sent his babymomma to move his stuff out, and babymomma decided she didn't want no cat.) They abandoned the cat in the neighborhood. Today, it's homeless, lonely, and flea-infested, wandering Moscow, looking for food and shelter. Occasionally it returns to its old home and hopes its owner will take it back - and the fleas jump from the cat into my apartment.

I might have to get me a cat-grabbing stick and the phone number of the Humane Society.

Friday, July 4, 2008


I'm sure some of you in my audience have heard of my favorite silent film, Fritz Lang's "Metropolis." Or maybe you've seen the anime it inspired or heard the Dream Theater album it inspired. Anyway, the plot is ridiculous, and would be greatly helped if the missing third of the film was discovered, but damn does it look cool.

What's that, you say? The missing third of the film has been discovered! Kino International is set to restore it and release it on DVD and Bluray next year.

In the meantime, let Satanic Robot Maria wish you a happy Independence Day.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

This is the sort of tidbit that makes me appreciate Football Manager 2008

For the curious: my Forest side went on to beat Derby 4-1. (And I choked a little when I saw that the manager-version of me had recently turned thirty.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

When fun becomes a chore

Today I discovered that another person in my bar review course has developed a spreadsheet to help him win at the Facebook game "Mob Wars."

I did the only thing that a person can do in this situation. I pointed at him and yelled "NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRD!"

Now I'm wondering whether it's worse to build spreadsheets to help you win at life-consuming games like World of Warcraft or EVE Online, or whether it's worse to build spreadsheets to help you win at Facebook games, which are supposed to be silly little time-wasters. The former is hypercompetitiveness in an entire fantasy world where you're encouraged to throw away every waking moment; the latter is hypercompetitiveness in a game you aren't supposed to spend much time on, like using a protractor to calculate angles in Snood.

(Disclaimer: the most "outside work" I've ever put into a game would probably be reading a couple of guides on how the economic system in Victoria works, or possibly doodling an insane 5-2-3 formation to save Nottingham Forest from relegation.)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I don't feel like joking, but I will anyway

1. I went to Wal*Mart today to buy some cleaning supplies because I am moving soon. (Just to another place in Moscow for a month, then somewhere in Boise.) While I was in the packaging tape aisle, I saw that they were selling large cardboard boxes. I was baffled, because in my experience, if you want large cardboard boxes, you can go to any business you want and they'll happily hand them over to you for free. I bet even the stockboys at Wal*Mart would give you a carload of boxes, unaware that they were depriving their store of $1.49 per box.

2. I think tabloids employ Celebrity Weight Estimators. When you see a headline like "250-POUND KIRSTIE ALLEY IN HOSPITAL," accompanied by an unflattering photo, you know that they didn't go and ask Ms. Alley how much she weighed. No, they got the photo, then asked some guy to sit down with his rulers and his equations and start calculating. "Given that Kirstie Alley is five-eight, and her waist in this picture is approximately 22% of her height…"

3. Do you think the guys in the Spanish Inquisition ever got indecisive about what torture method they should use? There doesn't seem to be much reason why you'd break one guy on the wheel and beat another on the soles of his feet, but then I'm not an expert in torture techniques.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Underwater Friends

I'm back from my brother's wedding, with some pictures of the flood damage to Iowa City along with the usual stiff and inhuman scenery photos. Get 'em here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

See also: Cottingley Fairies

To: Elaine Frontain Bryant, executive producer
John Chiappardi, field producer
Norma Fraser-Day, co-executive producer
Harris Levinson , line producer
Christine Lee Mahin, associate producer
Scott Mislan, field producer
Trey Nelson, field producer
George Plamondon, executive producer
Vanessa Raizberg, associate producer
Tricia Regan, field producer
Betsy Schechter , executive producer
Rob Sharenow, executive producer
David Miller, film editor
Brooke Moreland, film editor
Mike Ratkiewicz, co-editor
Nelson Ryland, co-editor
Lousine Shamamian, co-editor
Rebecca Wilde, production manager
Evan Benjamin, sound mixer
Claudio Musajo, sound mixer
Brad Schirmer, sound mixer
David Schumacher, sound mixer
Chris Tetens, camera operator
Guy Lanni, production assistant
Casey Mortensen, production assistant
Amit Sethi, title designer
From: Salieri
Date: June 16, 2006
Re: Your participation in the TV show "Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal"

What the fuck, are you shitting me?


But Ariel is still a hottie

Let's face facts: Arial is a lousy font. It's bland and it's kerned all wrong and it just says to the world "You there, you reading my document? You're not important enough for me to change from the default font."

So I've decided to start getting rid of Arial in my life, starting with my browser. Firefox and Safari both let you specify new fonts for browsing, but only Firefox lets you override the pages' default font selection. Let's see the difference, shall we?

Here's the web in Arial, as you've probably been seeing it.
Ho-hum. Bleh.

Now let's try something made by a professional designer, not by some schmuck at Microsoft. Like Optima.
Better, don't you think?

If you had a little trouble reading Optima at small sizes, then maybe you should try another classic, Gill Sans.
Gill Sans looks great bolded.

Of course, those are professional fonts, and if your computer doesn't come with them you'll have to pay for them. But there are plenty of good free fonts available at Fontspace. You're looking for legibility at small sizes and a full set of characters.
This one's called London Tube and it's a little funky but looks a lot better than Arial.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I should really be concentrating on the bar

"Monopoly" would be a better game if it involved more interpersonal dealings and less luck. It could also reflect the world of real estate and city management more accurately. Here's a little variant rule set for the game that I thought up.

1. Jobs and Elections. The game begins with an election. Players will elect, by majority vote, people to fill the following positions: Zoning Commissioner, Police Commissioner, Utilities Commissioner, Union President, and Congressional Representative.
Job Descriptions:

The Zoning Commissioner collects, on behalf of the city, all money spent on building houses. This money does not go directly into the bank: instead, it goes into an envelope marked "Zoning Department Budget." The Commissioner is the only one who has access to this envelope, and is free to embezzle funds from it, but you can't put money back into it. (But see city funds rules, infra.) The Zoning Commissioner's special power is the ability to initiate Eminent Domain proceedings. At the beginning of your turn, announce a property on the board that you're trying to condemn. If a majority of players vote for the condemnation, all improvements on the property are torn down, the city pays the owner the price marked on the board, and the property goes back into city hands.

The Police Commissioner collects the $50 bail for getting out of jail, and also holds onto any rent collected by a player who's in jail in the Police Budget. Again, embezzlement from the budget is allowed. That extra rent should be so powerful that you don't need a special power.

The Utilities Commissioner collects Water Works and Electric Company fees, as well as assessments for street repair, into the Utility Budget envelope. Embezzlement rule applies. (The utilities are city-owned and can't be bought: you pay 10x your roll when you land on them.) At the beginning of your turn, you can declare or cancel a Construction Project. While one is in place, all players roll one die to move.

The Union President collects fees for building repairs and hotel construction into the Union Budget envelope. Embezzlement rule applies. At the beginning of your turn, you can declare or cancel a Strike. While the workers are on strike, nobody can build improvements on their properties.

The Representative doesn't get an envelope. But, every time the Senator passes Go, the Representative may change the Income Tax rate, the Luxury Tax amount, or the amount of money you get from passing Go. (Naturally, the old rates still apply for your turn: you can't land on Income Tax just after passing Go and declare that the tax is zero.) You'll have to get your extra money by having people bribe you to change the rates.

Taxes, property purchase money, and other unspecified payments go straight to the city budget (i.e. the bank).

Every time a player is sent to Jail, his or her job comes up for election, and people in Jail aren't eligible to run. If anyone draws the "Chairman of the Board" card, everyone's job is up for election.

3. Zoning. At the beginning of the game, all properties are zoned R-1. You can build one house per property on any block you own. If you want to build another house, you have to request that the property be rezoned R-2. All players vote on this rezoning, and majority rules. You'll have to do this again for R-3 (three houses), R-4 (four houses), and C (hotel).

4. Mortgages. At any time, any player can negotiate a mortgage to another player for any amount of money. While the property is mortgaged, no one collects any rent from it. But the next time the mortgagor lands on the mortgaged property, the mortgagee either has to pay back the full amount of the mortgage, or the mortgagor forecloses, becoming the new owner of the property and any improvements thereon.

5. City Funds. The bank now represents money in the city's general purpose budget. If the city can't meet its payment obligations (for Go, Chance cards, whatever) out of the general purpose budget, the players must negotiate payments out of the departmental envelopes. If there's no money in the departmental envelopes, the city is bankrupt and everyone loses.

"But Sal," you say. "How am I supposed to get other players to agree to do things that will only benefit me?" Well, Sparky, how do they do it in real life? I'll tell you how. Back-scratching, alliances, smoke-filled rooms, bribes, and cutthroat politics.

I don't think anyone would ever actually play this version because it would take even longer than real Monopoly, but let me know if anybody tries it.

This version of the game should use street names from Chicago.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Beautiful game, less-than-beautiful logos

With the European Championship underway, I thought I'd critique the logos of some notable international soccer teams.

England's Bolton Wanderers have an absolutely ghastly design that must have originated sometime between 1975 and 1985.

Cornelius, the Corn Flakes rooster, is pulling in a little extra pay in his second job as AS Ascari's logo.

Denmark's FC Midtjylland makes a bold choice, using Courier for their logo.

Nottingham Forest's crest appears to depict the results of French nuclear testing in the Pacific.

Hannover 96's logo would be great for a gas station.

Chief Blackhawk asks himself, "What the hell am I doing in Belgium?"

Players at Nybergsund in Norway are known for their curious throw-in technique.

N.K. Zepce play in Bosnia, and it would appear that their style of play involves tripping over the ball, then getting crushed between converging walls.

If it weren't for the oddly-placed pink, Palermo would have the most awesome logo in all of sports.

Friday, June 6, 2008

When will they put this one on a poster?

An Untitled Poem, by Martin Niemöller and Salieri

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and I said "You've got the wrong guy.
I never spoke up.
You're looking for my neighbor,
he's a trade unionist."
Then they never bothered me again.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bunch of new pictures

A few new ones of Moscow, plus Sun Valley. For the first time, I've uploaded the full-sized photos to Flickr, so you can use these pictures as desktops if you want.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Fun with the CDDB!

I'm not in Moscow right now. I'm in Sun Valley.

Have you ever been to Sun Valley? Maybe you have, maybe you haven't. If you haven't, maybe you've been to Breckenridge or Aspen or Vail or Banff or any other ski resort town in the world. If you've been to any of those towns, you've been to Sun Valley (except Sun Valley has bonus dead authors).

Anyway, because I won't be able to make it to the BarBri lecture tomorrow, I'm listening to Professor Chemerinsky talk to me on CD. When I put the CD in my computer, the CDDB decided that it was actually a recording of "The War of the Worlds" by Orson Welles.

Frankly, I think Orson Welles would make for a better lecturer. Chemerinsky is, as we say in ski resort towns, a darsh.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Missouri Compromise." Oh, that's clever.

A friend of mine has long maintained that every country in Europe claims to be the birthplace of foosball. In that case, the mullet is the anti-football, because according to this article, every country blames the mullet on somebody else.

• The Argentines call it the "Cubana."
• The Danish either call it the "Bundesliga" (after Germany's top soccer league) or "Swede hair."
• The Dutch also blame the Germans, calling it the "German mat."
• The Finns and Poles call it "Czech hair."
• The French refer to it as the "Coupe a la Waddle," after former English footballer Chris Waddle.
• West Germans blame the East Germans by calling it the "Ossispoiler."
• Hungary also calls it the "Bundesliga."
• The Italians either call it "German-style" or "MacGyver-style." It's also known as the "McGyver" in South Korea. (I'm pretty sure North Korea doesn't have mullets.)

Bonus. I think if I had small children I would show them pictures of the meth addicts in the Portland jail and say, "See, kids, this is what happens when you don't brush your teeth twice a day."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A revelation and an inquiry

1. The Revelation. It was only just now that I realized that the venerable Baskin-Robbins flavor "Baseball Nut" is supposed to be a pun. Oh, the "Baseball" part was easy. The ice cream is vanilla with a strawberry ribbon, representing the white baseball with red stitches. But the "nut" part? It's not just because somebody decided that this would taste better if it had nuts in it. It's a play on the idea of a person who is nuts about baseball - a Baseball Nut, if you will. Once I figured this out, the true meaning of "Tax Crunch" followed.

2. The Inquiry. Gentle readers, I posit to you a question, which I would like you to consider and answer in the comments. Which of the following is preferable:

Keep It Real. Recognize the flaws in your personality, but do not attempt to change them, because they are an integral part of your identity.

Fake It 'Till You Make It. Make concerted efforts to overcome your flaws, even if it means being emotionally dishonest with yourself and others.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Shooting fish in a barrel, falling off a log, making fun of Cosmo

Take a look at the cover of this edition of Cosmopolitan, on newsstands now:

Was there a word that kinda jumped out at you?

Let's review the headlines.

"His G Spot: Yup, He's Got One Too…" Connotations: pleasant connotations with sex and romance.
"The Girlfriend Habit That'll Deepen His Love" Connotations: pleasant connotations with sex and romance.
"Sexy Hair: Fresh Looks You'll Adore" Connotations: pleasant connotations with sex, romance, and self-improvement.
"Dragging Ass Lately? New Energy-Boosting Advice" Connotations: pleasant connotations with self-improvement
"PLUS How to Dress This Summer" Connotations: pleasant connotations with self-improvement.
"4 Things All Guys Crave Hearing" Connotations: pleasant connotations with sex and romance.
"Carmen Electra Shares Her Secrets In Sexy Confidence" Connotations: pleasant connotations with sex, romance, and self-improvement.
"The Hottest Things to Do to a Man (IN 60 SECONDS OR LESS)" Connotations: pleasant connotations with sex and romance.
"5 Signs a Guy Is Capable of Rape" Connotations: RAPE, a horrible crime associated with sex or romance gone wrong.

The suggestion of sex crimes on the cover leaves all the other talk of sex seeming downright creepy. If your man were a potential rapist, would you still want to know about his G spot? Would you still want to know what he craves hearing? My guess would be "no" and thinking about it makes me a little queasy.

I don't know what those five signs of a potential rapist are, but I would be willing to guess that they might include "drinks or uses drugs a lot" and "violent." Which leads to the question: if you were still spending time with this man even though he is a drunk/druggie/thug, would an article in Cosmo be the impetus for your leaving?

(And now, guessing at the answers to the other headlines: It's on his penis. Listen to his problems. Comb it. Eat a balanced diet. Wear loose-fitting layers to guard against mosquitos. "I love you." Be really, really, ridiculously good looking. Show him your boobs.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

It was only a matter of time

I have previously informed you about the Eurovision song contest, traditionally home to brainless pop acts, which in recent years has become a self-parody. In 2006, Finland scored a record-setting victory with Lordi's death-metal opus "Hard Rock Hallelujah."

This year, Ireland said "the hell with this." They're sending a turkey puppet. If Dustin the Turkey carries the day it will be difficult for future acts to find a more bizarre angle.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Today's Targets: Japan and Israel

1. There is a minor league soccer team in Japan called "Black Pecker Hakodate."

Any half-skilled comedian can run with this premise (stiff defense, good penetration, rose to the occasion, etc.) but I'm only going to jog with it. At English soccer games, the fans all wave their scarves to show support for their teams. What do the fans in Hakodate wave? Well, whatever it is, it should be emblazoned with the team motto: "Black Pecker is hard to beat."

2. The premise of Adam Sandler's new movie doesn't strike me as all that funny, because just about every Israeli was in the military and can probably kill you, including the hairdressers. Plus, there actually is a famous hairdresser who was in the Israeli army.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Dead Week

So what, apart from that ill-advised attempt at music, have I done this week?

- Been compared to Frank Miller.
- Saw an actual black man on "The Lawrence Welk Show."
- Spent nearly three whole hours exercising.
- Got Football Manager 2008, in which my Preston North End side is sitting respectably at mid-table. Nobody's figured out how to break the game yet, so I probably won't be able to repeat some of my Championship Manager 01-02 feats (like leading Carlisle from Division 3 to the Premiership and letting Kim Källström score 45 goals a season). I am a fan of the new ability to call out other managers in the press, and would like very much for one of my footy-following readers to get a copy and try an online game in which we carry out a merciless public feud.
- Realized how to fix the previously-noted lack of comic relief on "Galactica" - whenever the drums start to dominate the soundtrack, just start singing "George, George, George of the Jungle, strong as he can be…" (Also I'm betting on a 2001-style bullshit ending.)
- Considered taking up the mandolin.
- Got a Northern Ireland jersey on eBay for twenty bucks.
- Debated possible Halloween costumes - would I be more convincing as John Hodgman or as Garth Marenghi?
- Discovered that the home Tesla coil amp will be going on sale this fall. Considered taking up the electric mandolin.
- Oh, and because it bears repeating.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Salieri Composes!

Most of you are aware that despite my pseudonym, I am not a musician. The extent of my musical experience was a lamentable attempt to play the clarinet during elementary school, and I took to it with my usual motto in mind, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it." (Stolen from W. C. Fields, possibly.) So the last thing any of you would want to hear would be "I wrote a song."

Well, I didn't write a song. But I had a lot of free time and I mucked around with GarageBand and used what the kids call "sampling" to put together this little number.

As usual, I found myself with an idea and without the skill to implement it properly. I am aware that this piece sucks and I shouldn't have saved it - in fact, I probably should have deleted GarageBand lest I be tempted to play Icarus again, soaring towards the sun of well-rounded adulthood only to plunge to my death on the rocks of not being much good at anything (including extended metaphors). But I thought maybe one of the ten or so people who read this blog would find it a useful waste of two minutes.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fox just gave me a graduation gift

GodDAMN am I glad I remembered that House is on Monday nights now, because this is a terrific episode.

GodDAMN. Terrific.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Law School Outline For Law School

I graduate today: feel free to use this outline to help you in your studies.

  1. The Law

    1. People choose their lawyers because of perceived affinities - clients want lawyers who resemble them

      1. Corollary: Asshole lawyers only get assholes for clients, and while assholes deserve representation, it makes everyone's life a little less pleasant

    2. Every jury pool will contain some intelligent, free-thinking people who will question your argument. This is why you have peremptory challenges

    3. Appellate judges have probably already decided your case by the time you get an oral argument. The oral argument is just there to give you a sense that someone listened to you

    4. Test for determining if you should loan a significant amount of money to someone - Does your business card contain the phrase "Member FDIC?"

    5. Laws don't solve problems, they just trade old problems for new problems

    6. Some lawyers submit motions and briefs to the court that I wouldn't have submitted to Ms. Schwagler, my 12th grade Government teacher

    7. The most entertaining law site on the Internet is Sui Juris, where conspirazoid whackjobs try to concoct magic scrolls such as Repel Taxman and Enchant Speeding Ticket

    8. Many of the assumptions on which our legal system are grounded, such as the common experience of the jury and the reliability of eyewitness testimony, are completely flawed, but nobody can think of a better way

    9. Your city probably has a lot of bizarre ordinances on the books that seem completely absurd, but just because they're dumb doesn't mean they can't pass them

    10. If you fight authority, authority will always win

      1. Exception: There is a well-recognized exception for people who play football for Rick Neuheisel

  2. Society

    1. Four percent of life is good. It's easy to find friends who will help you enjoy it. Four percent of life is miserable. It's a little more difficult to find friends who will help you through it. But ninety-two percent of life is just drudgery - washing dishes, standing in line, loafing on the couch after work. The best friends are the ones who will make that drudgery more interesting

    2. A friend of everyone is a friend of no one

    3. If you can't think of anything to do for the vocal track of your metal song, just leave it out - growling won't make it better and it won't make you scarier

    4. Rage Against The Machine hate many things. Among them are the tendons in my left hand

    5. Never put your faith in anyone you don't know personally

    6. "Battlestar Galactica" could really use some comic relief

    7. Nobody is entirely sure what it means to be a libertarian

    8. If the one-sentence episode description of an episode of "Star Trek: Voyager" contains the phrase "The Doctor," you should watch the episode. If not, you shouldn't

    9. Comedy arises from insecurity, but becoming a comedian requires a lot of self-confidence. This is why so few comedians are funny

    10. Men in the front row of strip clubs usually have the same expressions on their faces as high-stakes poker players

      1. Compare: Never make eye contact with a stripper

  3. Myself

    1. I cannot reinvent myself as successfully as Madonna can

      1. But: Madonna pisses away hundreds of dollars on magic string from that Kaballah guy, so we're even

    2. The more rapidly you hit your snare drum, the less likely I am to like your band

    3. I am now better at recognizing regional accents, as well as recognizing smoker's voice (I'm looking at you, Nana Visitor)

      1. Corollary: I am developing a regional accent myself which makes me sound like I'm from Chicago. I hate it

    4. Women will only flirt with me when I'm dressed in drag, which is very disappointing

    5. Sometimes an unrequited crush can work out okay

    6. I'll never really be "part of the gang" because there are usually only one or two interesting people in each "gang" and I hate putting up with the rest of them

    7. I am very popular with women over 35

    8. I want to be a different person, but I don't know how I should change myself

    9. There is at least one member of my high school class who has aged worse than I have

    10. Someday all that will be left of me is memories. I hope they're good ones