28 April 2007
When the story of James Doohan (the Scotty of "Beam me up, Scotty") having his ashes scattered in space isn't the top story of the day, you know it's a crazy, crazy news day.
Saudi officials announced the arrest of 172 militants that might be connected to al Qaeda. After repeated allegations from the U.S. that they were funding terrorism, it's good to see Saudi Arabia having their cake and eating it too.
The New York Times leads with the White House scaling back their grandiose claims of success in Iraq. They are going from calling the situation in Iraq a potential catastrophic failure to clearly identifying Iraq as a catastrophic failure.
A few miles south, the Washington Post leads with reports of Condoleezza Rice deputy Randall Tobias resigning after it was discovered he was linked to an escort service. Tobias claimed he received massages at Deborah Jeane Palfrey's escort service without getting the so-called happy endings. Pete Rose also claimed he only bet on his team to win, so we'll see how that works for Tobias in the court of public opinion.
The Chicago Sun Times runs a story about the Marines dropping a straight A high school student from its ranks after he delivered an improvised Virginia-Tech-shooter-esque project to his teacher. If the Corps won't take him, coach Marvin Lewis might suit the kid up in Bengal stripes after displaying a verbal upside like that.
Finally, after a swarm of government agencies came down on former Mets employee Kirk Radomski for distributing anabolic steroids to a host of MLB players, general manager Omar Minaya might be upset that the Feds got him before he could juice a couple of homers out of third baseman David Wright.
27 April 2007
Every year presents another blessed opportunity for the Cleveland Browns to make a fool of themselves in the NFL draft. Good luck this year.
Former head of the CIA George Tenet released a book that stated there was no discussion or debate before the "plan" to invade Iraq was launched. If President Bush could read, surely he would be perturbed.
Russian President Putin announced his intent to suspend compliance with a NATO arms agreement because of United States interest in a missile defense shield in Europe. The U.S. needs not lose sight of the fact that when a former KGB official is skeptical of your imperialistic policies, few others will buy into anything else you support aside from your grand plans.
All the Democrats could agree on in their first debate was that George Bush is a jerk. I agree that they need to narrow the field down before anybody else gets involved.
Taiwan refused China's plan to include the island as part of the Olympic Torch run. They will be awarded a gold medal in antagonistic diplomacy.
Hollywood lobbyist Jack Valenti, the man who created the film rating system, died yesterday at the age of 85. Reports were that he saw the preview for the new Jamie Kennedy film and promptly committed suicide.
The NFL Draft takes place Saturday and Sunday. The good news is that will effectively (and practically) keep Stephen A. Smith off the air for 48 hours. Unfortunately, Mel Kiper and his hair will fill the time analyzing special teams players from Middle Tennessee State, so I don't know who wins.
L.A. Times sportswriter Mike Penner is taking some time off to reinvent himself...as Christine Penner. Penner released a column at the paper identifying himself as a transsexual sportswriter. However this announcement is received by the public (mostly positive), neither Mike nor Christine will be welcome to interview the ever-vocal (and prejudiced) Tim Hardaway.
The final two sports tales are about athletes rather than sportswriters reinventing themselves. Sports Illustrated wrote about BALCO steroids captain Victor Conte having reentered himself into the nutritional supplement field. Judging by Barry Bonds' home run total this year, whatever Conte is selling now must work as well as the cream and the clear did in 2001. And boxing officials in Texas granted heavyweight Tommy Morrison a license (and promptly revoked it). Morrison formerly tested positive for HIV after the fighter appeared in the movie "Rocky V" as Tommy "The Machine" Gunn. On the list of the worst jobs for somebody who has tested HIV positive are porn star, tattoo model and heavyweight boxer.
26 April 2007
Fantasy is a wonderful thing when it nets paintings of the cowboy President in full repose. The wild west war on terrorism news includes Congress setting a deadline for Iraq withdrawl (which will be vetoed), the U.N. accusing Iraq of downplaying death counts, the U.S. charging a detainee in Guantanamo who was arrested at the age of 15 (which should make his trial interesting as the government is suggesting these detainees have too many lawyers), an officer being charged with aiding the enemy in Iraq and the only source for information from the Middle East The Onion saying the story about the region was blah blah blah flap flap flap. At least the President has time to cut a rug.
Oh how the noose is tightening for poor Alberto Gonzales. When it rains it pours, Bertie. Don't pout...the Dow closed above 13,000 last night, so the market should be clamoring for people with your experience.
On the world is coming to an end front, scientists have preliminarily identified a fungus that may be causing bee populations to wane dramatically this year. The death of bees would be the end of pollination, and eventually the end of anything that survived from plant products. If they eliminate bees with said fungus, it will be bad for my long term prospects but comforting on my lifelong phobia of stinging insects.
Media and entertainment ranked as the two most untrustworthy careers in a recent survey. Entertainment journalists returned to their evil lairs to lurk out and plan potential catastrophes on the population that painted them into this corner.
At&t is offering the entire Coachella concert on a Web access dealie-o. If I was sitting in front of a computer with nothing better to do (which I seldom am), I'd be in!
Finally, I will give you three nouns, and you will follow the link to the connector: a drunk German, a horse and an ATM.
25 April 2007
It doesn't get any more democratic than the above photograph. If the American public could urinate on all Hillary for President signs and not get arrested, we'd all have a new weekend hobby.
In International news, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ruled out (for the time being) a broad offensive against settlers in Gaza after a rocket attack. With Bahrain preparing for an American attack on Iran plus the civil war that's coming to fruition in Iraq, the Middle East is shaping up to become a potential theater of carnage. Hopefully O'Reilly gets a front row seat to cover the action.
In the U.S. is not the only country getting its citizens killed trying to exploit petroleum products after Ethiopian rebels slaughtered 70 people (nine Chinese workers) at a Chinese oil facility. China needs to try the U.S. approach and find a pristine native wilderness to exploit to prevent these problems in the future.
The L.A. Times reports on a split within Iraq's Baath party. As with most other scenarios in Iraq, officials are unsure what to make of the development.
The governor of Virginia is suggesting an executive order that would demand that gun vendors examine the mental health of a person before selling them a gun. The NRA-sponsored Republican explanation for why the loonies should have guns should make for a great sound bite.
The Feds started the trial of the ghetto Unabomber in Chicago. His sketch is less intimidating. He had a job and no crazy manifesto. His target choice was even weak, as he was trying to control stock prices by mailing ready-to-explode explosives that didn't go off. Basically, his career as a domestic terrorist was a complete bomb.
The Dow closed above 13,000 for the first time in history. I'm still a penniless graduate student nit.
Journalist Alan Johnson, the only full-time correspondent in Gaza, has been presumed kidnapped for the last 45 days. In sports news, the Bears offered to trade Lance Briggs as a fair rate exchange.
Scientists announced the discovery of what could be an Earth-like planet orbiting around a dwarf star. It is rumored to be the planet of origin for Sanjaya Malakar.
Finally, the Catholic Church did away with limbo, changing theology to reflect that unbaptized babies go to heaven and not limbo. A few people will, however, remain in limbo.
Baseball limbo: Bobby Valentine, manager, Chiba Lotte Marines
Acting limbo: Corey Feldman and Pauly Shore, alley off of of Hollywood and Vine
Music limbo: The Proclaimers, a different alley in Edinburgh
also: Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson, California state mental health facility
Basketball limbo: Dennis Rodman, in Vegas trying to convince the Maloof brothers he can still play
Media limbo: Don Imus, on his ranch surrounded by caucasians
24 April 2007
Ooh la la! If I get to vote in the French election, I'm going socialist party all the way. Segolene Royal is bringing sexy back to socialism after winning an election that puts her in a final run-off that could make her the first female President of France. I'll buy anything she's selling (and even better -- technically socialism will help me pay the bill).
Vodka manufacturers everywhere were saddened to learn of the death of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin. Na zdorovia (or na zdorowie in the correct Polish spelling) to the kind of guy that would have given George Bush quite a run for his money at the Skull and Bones frat house.
Democrat Harry Reid got in a war of words with Vice President Dick Cheney over Iraq policy, where the Nevada senator stated that Bush was in "a state of denial" about Iraq. He's close. Bush is actually hallucinating. In his surreality, we are winning and everything will vindicate these actions in the end.
A soldier testified today that he was ordered to lie about Pat Tillman's death and effectively accused the army of a massive misinformation campaign. If the thought of actively serving in a slowly devolving war zone isn't good enough recruiting incentive, try outright propaganda.
Alex Rodriguez hit two more home runs yesterday in a losing effort, reaching the record (14) for dingers in the month of April with time to spare. In related news, scientists identified a mineral found in Serbia as kryptonite, giving opposing pitchers all the fuel they'll need to get Superman Rodriguez out. (Aside from that, go Bulls. 2-0 is a very comfortable position to be in.)
Finally, the Smoking Gun outed Cho Seung-Hui's E-bay fetish -- Rubber Duckies. Rubber ducky, you're the one. You make insanity lots of fun. If no useful gun regulations spring out of this tragedy, at least it will always be acceptable to mock a guy who bought a gross of yellow rubber birds.
23 April 2007
All apologies...I am lazy and will not be posting today. I'll be back in force and as mean as ever. The school day wiped me out until tomorrow. As always, stay critical of anything anybody other than myself told you. I'll be back with my patented brand of humor at the expense of others at a later date. Also, my photo capability is down for a few weeks while Fuji repairs my trusted camera. So lucky you, no text written by the babbling moron, and no out of focus pictures of his dinner, either.
22 April 2007
The NBA Playoffs are upon us. Hear the collective yawn escape everybody who stayed up to watch the Houston/Utah game last night and the collective gasp escape everybody in Cleveland and the NBA front office who saw LeBron turn his ankle today!
Criticism continues to pour in from Iraq. The Sunni bloc leader said that the proposed Shia/Sunni wall that will split neighborhoods in Baghdad will not work and will make things worse. The White House may want to look into the popularity of the former wall in Berlin to get an idea of how well this plan will endear them to the people.
At least security forces in Iraq are finally taking the initiative to act like Americans after a New York Times story came out about confessions being beaten out of detainees. If American hasn't taught Iraq about democracy, at least Iraqis learned how Steven Seagal gets information in his police films.
In national security issues, Air Force generals have ordered a review of defense mechanisms for satellites in orbit in outer space. This comes after the Chinese demonstrated the ability to shoot down one of their own satellites in orbit, hinting at the potential to unleash an electronic communication attack on the United States. As long as the first satellite taken down cuts off FoxNews to Ohio, the self-defense program is exactly where it needs to be.
Mutually assured destruction is also part of Commander in Chief Bush's national security plan, and he's keeping that concept alive with a bang as he moves forward with his plan to update America's nuclear arsenal. His abilities in foreign diplomacy are exceeded only by Kevin McHale's ability in basketball team building.
Wolfowitz and his efforts to repair Jewish/Islamic relations by dating across the divide continue to make the news. Ahh yes...the World Bank...fighting poverty one scandalous relationship at a time.
The Washington Post adds a caveat to those buying into Barack Obama's pledge to eschew donations from federal lobbyists. He is apparently bypassing the federal lobbyist money by taking money from...everybody else, including state lobbyists. He's a man of principles. Not very strongly held principles, but they are principles nonetheless.
In Cuban news, he's back! Fidel Castro met with Chinese officials in Cuba for the first time since his hiatus after diverticular disease surgery that installed, of all things, an artificial anus. He was going to try an anus transplant, but Karl Rove has been busy preparing a defense for his missteps and was unavailable to be sewn to the end of Castro's intestine.
Bill O'Reilly continues to be fair and balanced in arguing with anybody who will listen. His latest altercation involved Denver Post media critic Joanne Ostrow, a columnist who refused to appear on his show after she penned a critical review of O'Reilly's work. Undeterred, O'Reilly ambushed Ostrow in the grocery store parking lot with camera crew in tow. It sounds like this plus the wrestling match with Geraldo Rivera indicate that the no-spin zone is spinning out of control.
Public health professional Bernie Ellis is getting out of jail but is threatened with having his farm repossessed by the government after serving time on a medical marijuana conviction. Looking more like Jerry Orbach than Jerry Garcia, Ellis' actions have garnered great attention from medical rights advocates and more attention from Pacman Jones, who is going to need a hookup during his first eight game suspension at the beginning of season.
In conclusion, bizarre stories lead off with an Amish crime spree involving kidnap and buggy-jacking. The police are guessing the perpatrators could be anywhere within the three square mile radius they could have traveled in the horse-drawn carriage since the events transpired.
These same police may be amongst the heroes that saved Ronald McDonald from almost certain death after he was hanged and disfigured. McDonald was probably saying to himself, "Ouch...I'm not loving it!"
21 April 2007
Luol Deng torches Heat...film at 11.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates stopped just short of setting a withdrawal date for Iraq. As soon as Iraq gets the sectarian violence under control, trains troops to patrol and protect the country and finds a cure for Chagas disease, Gates pledges the American forces will leave (a welcome addition after their performance in Haditha). He refuses to mark the calendar because he wants your children's children's children to be paying for this exercise in democracy for years to come.
The Iranian high court exonerated six individuals who killed five people that were deemed to be "morally corrupt." If that defense were permissible in the United States, how many Baldwin brothers would we have left, really?
Speaking of Iranian/U.S. relations, part-time musician and full-time comedian/conservative war monger/Presidential candidate John McCain was winning friends and influencing people when he delivered an impromptu rendition of the Beach Boys' song "Barbara Ann" with the lyrics "Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran." That's a great way to win the voters who won't vote for John Edwards after his vigorous campaigning in Second Life video games. You can't win them all, and with these masterminds vying for office, everybody involved loses.
Apparently it was illegal for a deranged psychopath with a propensity for stalking college girls and a history of writing literature with references to incest and murder to purchase a hand gun. It was also illegal for him to buy two hand guns after his stint in the care of mental health professionals. Of course, these factors plus the Virginia Tech mass murder are not enough to get the Republicans or the Democrats to talk about gun law reform. Oh well. At least they'll still carry voters in the South.
Ohio University continues to dominate the (bad) news. OU graduate James Filiaggi sent in a last minute appeal for clemency after the governor refused his appeal from the murder of his wife. I haven't seen a Bobcat get beat up by the legal system like this since...football season.
In environmental news, a Stanford study determined that ethanol-powered vehicles would pose a threat to human health if widely used. They suggest moving out of the L.A. smog and to keep burning fossil fuels like a good little consumer.
In governmental news of the strange, NASA is becoming the new Post Office with a standoff that ended with a Nasa-employed gunman killing an engineer before turning the gun on himself. This comes a month after the diaper incident, so I'm thinking that the ranks of NASA aren't much better than the ranks of Republican Presidential candidates.
I don't know much about this particular case other than the fact that the guy is accused of some heinous crimes. Just looking at his mug shot, something tells me he will be found guilty.
Finally, I haven't spent any time hyping Pitchfork Fest, but since Slint, Sonic Youth and the GZA will be performing entire albums on Friday while a host of other indie mega acts fills up Saturday and Sunday, I should start now. As somebody who went last year, I guarantee it will be $50 well spent.
20 April 2007
O Bronson, my Bronson. My fantasy team will be dead if you don't start pitching and stop rocking out. Write that down and take it to heart.
Everybody is marveling at the perfunctory sophistry displayed by everybody's favorite decider, George W. Bush. Watch him try and tap dance his way out of this interaction in Tipp City, Ohio (the first two minutes are icing, the last three are the cupcake).
At least Alberto Gonzales has found a supporter. Senator Orrin Hatch, J.D. is in the corner of the embroiled Attorney General. When you hear the words "you and Orrin Hatch against everybody else," it typically is not a comforting thought in a street fight or in Congressional testimony. Hatch also might be auditioning for Alberto's job when he hits the unemployment line later this month, waffling between supporting Gonzo and calling the situation with Bert Gonzales "poorly handled." That's a ringing endorsement.
People have produced plays from the texts of Virginia Tech mass murderer Cho Seung-Hui and posted them on YouTube according to an NY-Times article. Going on a killing spree in order to get your work noticed is probably giving Dustin Diamond bad ideas.
Slate goes over the media debate as to what to call World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz's lady love (that's my misogynistic addition to the Web lexicon) Shaha Ali Riza. Girlfriend? Companion? Friend with Benefits? Don Imus would probably call her a ho if they would let him within 50 feet of a microphone.
With the NFL draft fast approaching, the story that three players expected to be amongst the top 10 selections admitted to smoking marijuana in the past was top of the box in headline grabbing. Pot smoking battering ram Ricky Williams is also in the news, with the Rams expressing interest in the sometimes gifted, sometimes spliff-ted running back who is returning from a chronic suspension this season. This league is starting to sound more like Bill Walton's NBA than Dan Marino's NFL. What other news would you expect on April 20?
Alex Rodriguez hits his 12th homer of the season. If he keeps it up at this rate, he should hit 200 home runs this season and make every New York sportswriter eat crow.
Basketball dominates the news now, with my Bulls limping in to face the searing Miami Heat. They are also praying for a miracle that would allow the Knicks to win the draft lottery. Since the Bulls own the Knicks' draft pick this year, picking up Greg Oden would give us a presence down low that would make Chicago a force to reckon with in the East. Unfortunately, it's the 2006-2007 season and not the 2007-2008 season, so the Bulls will have to claw and scratch their way through the playoffs. They'll be lucky to win in the first round, and something tells me Detroit will hurt them in round two.
Finally, check out the SportsCenter commercial entitled "Betrayal." It features David Ortiz from the Red Sox with Jorge Posada from the Yanks, and much hijinks doth ensue.
If it is fine vegetarian dining you're looking for, and if it comes from the planet Earth, they probably have it at Purple Chopstix. That might be a bit of an overstatement, but the range of cuisines at the restaurant makes it difficult to pigeonhole the place as anything but good.
There is Thai, Indian, Japanese, Greek, Italian, French and Bolivian cuisine on the menu. The place is BYOB and features something to keep diverse tables happy. The vegan nori sushi rolls are divine. The nachos are made with fresh cut avocados, whole beans, salsa, onions and cheese. The plate is so big the nachos are almost an entree by themselves.
The main courses come with choice of soup or salad with raspberry vinagrette or sesame soy dressing. My favorite options are the curries, which come in a yellow, red and green variety that are all available vegetarian (vegan, I believe) with tofu. The green curry is rich, earthy and spicy, with side dishes of Mexican beans and watermelon. The fruit is a great contrast with the spicy green curry.
My advice is grab a bottle of fine wine (they provide the glassware) and try the veggie myriad of cuisines available at Purple Chopstix. Check their hours...the place is closed certain days and has limited hours. Check the photographs which show off the food and the psychedelic interior below.
18 April 2007
It's an exciting time to be alive. I'm excited. You're excited. George Flintstone is excited. Let's do this thing.
Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung Hui continues to dominate the news. He sent footage to NBC news between his first killing spree and his second. School will be canceled this week. President Bush offered his condolences and suggested that he will carefully reconsider which Korea he will declare war against next. Slate also proposed limiting gun show sales in a move that couldn't hurt but is no better than vaguely related to the Va-Tech incident.
Smooth pimp (and president of the World Bank) Paul Wolfowitz is fighting charges of favorable hiring and cronyism for hiring his girlfriend after an expensive World Bank-funded campaign to get her the position was racked up. Chaos follows the guy who was a key architect of the Iraq war. Apparently, Paul, there are consequences for selling your soul to Satan.
Speaking of Iraq, Sunni Saudi Arabia has agreed to write off 80 percent of the longstanding Iraqi debt. Step number two is to try and get them to pay off America's war debt and then we can put this whole mess behind us.
A U.N. report shows evidence of illegal Sudanese weapons transfers and airplane markings. Hopefully this leads to a military peacekeeping force and an end to the violence.
The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold a law banning (depending on whom you ask) late-term or partial birth abortions. It doesn't make that big of a difference as Gary Sheffield and Andy Rooney are completely born and this procedure would be termed murder if it was used on those clowns.
Jurors are claiming bias against potential defendant and Patriot Act poster boy Jose Padilla. Seriously, how unfair could it be when jury bias is compared to suspending habeas corpus?
Ladies, Prince (and future King) William is single and looking to mingle after jilting his lady love. Remember, he comes from a family with a brother who dressed up as Hitler for Halloween, so high class is a must.
Today is also a tremendous day for crazy stories. Authorities in California continue to uncover giant industrial hydroponic marijuana mills in California. The busts have an estimated street value of $50 million. Harvard University researchers want people to keep on smoking after preliminary research showed that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, might aid in shrinking tumors. Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson are actively fighting a disease they don't have this very minute through what can only be called preventative medicine.
After being blessed by having the bomb dropped within its city limits, Nagasaki was hit by another bomb when a Yakuza gangster assassinated the mayor in an argument stemming from an old car problem. And they say America has a gun problem. A pinch Southwest of Nagasaki, Hong Kong diners are being charged for leftovers (some as much as 64 cents per ounce) in a move aimed at limiting waste. The other move restaurant management could consider is requiring diners to tip Rosie O'Donnell and Artie Lang who will just sit around and devour the leftovers.
Finally, Nike ran an ad in the New York Times based around the Don Imus controversy. As these updates entail, it's great to kick a guy when he's down.
17 April 2007
The Cubbies...you can set your watch by their consistent inconsistency. Hopefully the new outfielder's potential doesn't end up being Pie in the sky.
The story of the day continues to be the Virginia Tech shooting. The identity of the shooter was announced (he's also a hell of a playwright), but the media angles for this story are deeper than the kid with a gun stories all over the airwaves. Students were keeping up with the story through Web updates. CNN's on the spot reporter was a Va-Tech graduate student with a cell phone camera. This may be the first tragedy brought to you live in grainy YouTube-quality video linked on Facebook.
Sudan has finally agreed to allow U.N. aid workers into the country in a move that is viewed as a potential precursor to a peacekeeping effort. American efforts would most likely be available if they weren't hopelessly quagmired in the Iraq debacle.
Presidential candidates named John are doing everything they can to separate themselves from the crowd by saying and doing stupid things. John McCain still defends guns, even after a South Korean student killed 32 students before he killed himself in Blacksburg. McCain is definitely a few bullets shy of a full clip on gun control...keep your mouth shut, Big Gun. At least he isn't getting multiple $400 haircuts like John "I Feel Pretty" Edwards. When he doesn't make it in Washington, I'm sure Hollywood holds endless potential.
Ohio State was doing their best Ohio University impression when hackers stole the identities of 14,000 employees and 3,500 students. Most identities can be used for ill-gotten gains, but if they got Maurice Clarett's information, they would most likely would get slightly less than the Broncos got by drafting him.
Mother Jones profiled the environmental harm and engineering flaws inherent in Apple iPods. These problems are in addition to the problems they create making oblivious morons to walk in traffic with impunity.
Interesting media stories include the campaign to reform internet radio. The medium may be dying out as the price for royalty fees shot up drastically last year. Great free sites like Pandora will be gradually phased out and replaced by pay-to-play sites. If somebody goes postal because of this, at least you will be able to get video footage at the newly minted Smoking Gun video vault.
In news of the weird, the most popular prophylactic in New York is the official free NYC condoms produced by Lifestyles. The report states that over 5 million lubricated condoms have been used in the back seat of Derek Jeter's limousine this year alone.
Finally, a German military instructor was dismissed after a video of him instructing recruits that they should pretend they were shooting blacks in the Bronx surfaced. People haven't been this upset with the German military since the last time they invaded Poland.
16 April 2007
Monday means it's time to play ball. While it's still in play, I would like to extend my hand to any living relative of Jackie Robinson and offer you the opportunity to bat one through nine in the Cubs lineup this spring. Make sure you bring a glove.
The story du jour is everybody's favorite tabloid topic -- school shootings. The Va Tech shooting left 33 dead in a tragic event that raised the casualty bar from previous shootings in Colorado and Texas. This storyline surfaces once every few years, and people blame gun control, religion, video games and/or any other blame peg to hang their pseudo-psychological arguments on. When the report was Virginia Tech, the only broken figure that would be capable of such a thing that easily came to mind was Marcus Vick based upon his previous record in Blacksburg, but those reports were not the case.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is expected to admit that he screwed up in the firing of U.S. attorneys in front of an attentive Congressional audience. He is also expected to tow the party line and explain that the firings were NOT politically motivated but the orders did come from the White House. It doesn't take a pencil to connect the dots, and even if you connected the dots, the outline would be a giant, steaming pile of horse manure.
Jose Padilla goes on trial this week after five years in solitary confinement without charges being filed. After all of the torture and Constitutional tango described in an L.A. Times article, the former Chicago gang member will face reduced charges. This is the smoke-and-mirrors proof that USAPATRIOT Act is working for...somebody other than Jose, apparently.
The NY Times features a story on illegal immigrants filing tax returns before the impending deadline, which should be helpful information for Roger Federer and Zinedine Zidane if they forgot their green cards. It should be on Bill O'Reilly's talking points like yesterday.
Sports Sunday celebrated Jackie Robinson's breaking of the color barrier with memorials around the country and 14 hours of prerecorded features that covered up for the dearth of footage based on multiple rain outs. Chicago also won the competition to be the American bid for the 2016, proving for the fiftieth time why Chicago is great and Los Angeles is a pit.
In another tragic loss to the creative community, New York free jazz spot Tonic closed its doors for good Friday after a pile of musicians including John Zorn, Marc Ribot, DJ Spinoza and Matthew Shipp were among the many played through the wreckers coming in to tear the club down. Places like this need to exist so that real art can be produced, the kind that isn't designed by boardrooms full of M.B.A.s, lawyers and pimps but rather by dynamic, organically realized music that is new and stretches your imagination to places that it couldn't conceptualize over and over, finding music that speaks to you without words. Great music so rarely happens in Madison Square Garden but is always happening in little out of the way places like the Hideout (great shows this Tuesday, Friday and Saturday)and Elastic (great shows this Tuesday and Thursday), and these shows require support from crowds more so than do the big venues and the A&R man driving the Mercedes S-Class. (I'm jumping down from the soap box now, but please please support independent music. Ornette Coleman just won a Pulitzer for music, so I do have some hope.)
Finally, Hawaiian music legend Don Ho died over the weekend. Put on your favorite loud shirt and sing along to some of the favorites in memoriam.
12 April 2007
The Greatest Living American Novelist is no longer Kurt Vonnegut. Good luck equaling him, whoever next steps up to the plate. Whoever approaches him as a writer will have to do much in life to equal him as a human being. May your afterlife be as productive and fulfilling as your life, Mr. Vonnegut. Bless you and your piercing insight.
You are a wampeter, an object on which many unrelated people's lives are centered. I can tell myself foma, harmless little lies that won't bring you back. A writer like myself hopes not to become part of a grandfalloon in your absence and any attempt for me to find my voice in writing is eternally in your debt.
About the news...so it goes. Al Qaeda groups are linked to a bombing in Algeria that claimed 24 lives. The event highlights a struggle between Islamic and secular groups in Algeria. British soccer fans are irate that the bomb was not aimed a few hundred miles north in the middle of France.
In other hater news, U.S. military officials are renewing accusations of Iranian assistance being provided to Iraqi insurgents. Since American officials needed sheer speculation to start a war with Iraq, the cruise missiles should start dropping in about two weeks.
Further around the Axis of Evil wheel is the report of a U.S. inquiry and subsequent asset freezing of an account in a Chinese bank in the gambling center of Macao. Officials suspected the bank was laundering money for North Korea. These moves stalled North Korea's joining in peace negotiations about their nuclear ambitions. The U.S. sees negative potential from the money, while Kim Jong Il I'm sure claims that he earned the money when he wrote six Wagner-quality operas and that the money is his. Nobody may ever know who is telling the truth.
Don Imus is gone. Good riddance. Just remember Don, free speech isn't free when you pay with your job.
David Sedaris of the Washington Post has come under fire for fabrications in his humor columns. He has also received an unwaivering degree of support from other journalists. Nick Bakay, Kenny Mayne, the author of this column and journalists with a sense of humor might care for an answer. (That answer is truth counts no matter how funny it is, David S., especially in the Washington Post.)
There are indications of a medical procedure that makes chemotherapy more targeted and less toxic in a development reported as a breakthrough in oncology. Keep that number on speed dial.
In a slightly dated report, the Google Earth/Darfur project should provide Bush a computerized model of what is going on in Sudan, but I don't know if that will help. Hopefully another world leader catches on.
Heavyweight boxing might not be exciting like the good old days, but freak-show 7 foot tall 326 pound champion Nikolai Valuev is fighting a challenger who is 11 inches shorter and 101 pounds lighter than he is. David, meet Goliath.
Mike Downey takes on a dome on Wrigley, Dannielynne, Soriano, Bonds, Sosa, Cuban and Bartman in one column. If you can think of a joke punchline that involves all of those characters, comment on the blog here.
Crazy stories that have no news value but are always amongst the most e-mailed include the Lantern story about the 18 year police veteran who gave a presentation on legalizing drugs. The T-shirt and cowboy hat cement his credibility.
Speaking of drugs, British police raided a Rastafarian temple once visited by Bob Marley and issued gun and drug charges. I don't want to say they should have thought it out, but the cops could have guessed the Rastafarians would have marijuana, and they also know that Marley shot the sheriff. Even if he didn't shoot the deputy, it's enough for probable cause stateside.
Poo too weet!
11 April 2007
Sometimes a cowboy gets in one too many gun fights his enemies and gets taken down in the crossfire. Don Imus is the cowboy. The response from advertisers, pundits, bloggers and everybody else with an ounce of common sense is the crossfire.
News about Iraq makes the typical top story. Today, it's raining Iraq stories. Soldiers had their tours of duty in Iraq extended by three months. While their duty is extended, however, the troops are slightly rudderless. Three retired four star generals have refused White House requests to become the new czar in charge of the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan. I keep forgetting what that quote is about rats and a sinking ship, but I'm sure I'll remember it eventually.
A federal panel reported limited evidence of voter fraud in previous elections and suggested voter identification should be required for elections. Democrats oppose the move, saying they believe this will decrease their voter turnout. After losing the last two elections to Bush II, perhaps they should concentrate their efforts on putting a candidate up that has a chance of winning an election. In the last Presidential election, Bush was so unpopular that Bucky Dent would have carried Massachusetts if he ran as a Democrat.
In other reports of people I wouldn't vote for with a gun to my head, Rudy Giuliani has been dodging controversy all over the place since he announced his plans to run for President. First, his marital issue (divorcing his second cousin) came up. Then he defended screwball radio doofus Don Imus. Now he's dodging questions about his comments regarding the Terri Schiavo controversy. If I have to choose between Rudy and Hillary in the next election, I will move to Switzerland and lodge at Frank Serpico's former digs as soon as the votes are counted.
Medical news is also notable today. Brazilian researchers utilized hematopioetic stem cells from bone marrow to create islet cells, curing type I diabetes in the patients. The study is in early stages. There are dangers to the procedure, which uses cyclophosphamide, a substance that can cause bladder cancer and leukemia, and it currently can only be performed in patients recently diagnosed with diabetes. It also involves severe immunosuppression. As a type I diabetic, all I want to hear is more good news. The Dems are challenging the moral scientist George Bush's threat to veto fetal stem cell legislation in the U.S., so hopefully the utilitarian philosophy will prevail.
Media reports are currently all Imus, all the time. Imus, who might as well have been invisible before last week, had his show canceled at MSNBC after advertisers jumped ship. Finally that nappy-headed hoser will have an easier time returning to anonymity.
Although slightly less newsworthy, Taalam Acey has a new documentary featuring his dynamic poetry performances. Acey delivers at a level that most people can't imagine spoken word achieving. Just go see him.
Sports stories were also plentiful today. Four Italian soccer fans were arrested after violence erupted after a match in Manchester, U.K. Soccer, much like hockey, has trouble keeping relevant without the gratuitous violence. Unlike hockey, most of the violence is in the stands.
The legal circus that was the Duke lacrosse rape case finally came to an end with the prosecutor dropping all charges. This freed Court TV to cover Anna Nicole Smith material all day, everyday one day too late.
Baseball season has gotten off to an interesting start, with snow moving the Cleveland Indians' home opener to Milwaukee. Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey tells everybody that they should suck it up and quit complaining. With global warming where it's at, in a few more years we'll be complaining that it's too hot in Florida and Los Angeles to play baseball in July.
In feel good baseball news, the College Baseball Hall of Fame selected Jim Abbott in the latest class. Abbott, a pitcher born without a right hand, accomplished more with one hand than Mark Prior and Kerry Wood did combined with four hands.
The New York Knicks accused the Chicago Bulls of running the score up against them last night in Chicago's 98-69 victory. The Bulls claimed they were not running the score up. They were trying to score 100 points so the fans would win a Big Mac in a promotion with McDonalds. Former Bull Eddie Curry expressed displeasure with the score. However, since all he accomplished while he was in Chicago was eating Big Macs, he could at least let the fans eat one.
In crazy weird news, the Germs' drummer Don Bolles was arrested in Los Angeles after police tested a bottle of a cleaning agent in his car that allegedly contained the date rape drug GHB. Soap of this kind could be very dangerous if it fell into the hands of a devious rapist with a germ phobia. Stay tuned to this one.
In New Port Richey, Florida, a string of robberies has terrorized local gas stations in and around the town. The robber enters gas stations and threatens clerks with what he claims is a syringe filled with H.I.V. positive blood. In other words, the crazy junkie tells gas station employees to jump, and they answer, "How High?" while handing him all of the money in the register.
10 April 2007
Sucks: Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood -- Out Louder (Indirecto)
In typical MMW (and now MSMW) fashion, this album opens up with a rip roaring track. The last album "End of the World Party (Just In Case)" had no redeeming characteristics, while the album before it "Uninvisible" consisted of the title track (good song) and every other track (crap). The new album "Out Louder" has the track "Little Walter Rides Again", a rocking guitar jam that promises great things that the rest of the album can't deliver on. MSMW spend the rest of the album rehashing tired hippie jazz cliches, and the album falls flat. The biggest plus to the album is that the CD book is printed on 100% recycled paper. Unfortunately, aside from the covers (by Peter Tosh and the Beatles) the material is built of recycled or rehashed MMW material shifted around to fit in a jazz giant in Scofield, and the album isn't nearly as good as it could be.
Rules: Peter Brotzmann, Joe McPhee, Kent Kessler and Michael Zerang -- Tales Out of Time(Hatology)
If you see the names Brotzmann and McPhee, run (don't walk) to wherever the two titans are. This release isn't new (it is from 2004). However, since I just bought the album and since McPhee is playing with The Thing at the Hideout in Chicago in two weekends, I will give the album a thumbs up.
The program is a mix of standards, originals and free ballads. The originals are composed by McPhee and Brotzmann, and the standard is a Mingus-derived "Blessed Assurance" that features Brotzmann honking while McPhee arpeggiates and Zerang and Kessler provide an intricately textured rhythmic support under the beautiful chaos.
Above is the look of ecstasy and joy that comes from being named the father of the little bundle of money...err, joy Dannielynne. Congratulations on your success, and may I never hear the name Birkhead or Anna Nicole in the news ever again.
In real news, a throng of protesters loyal to Moktada al-Sadr demonstrated against American occupation in Iraq on the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. Unlike Americans, Iraqis have in fact discovered the fringe benefits of free speech and the right to demonstrate. Like Americans, they will also learn that President Bush is not listening.
The L.A. Times reporter Borzou Daragahi wrote a tremendous story detailing the last 4 and 1/2 years the reporter has spent in Iraq. He details the trials and tribulations spent by a reporter working to tell the stories of Iraqis in the war zones and inform the public in the United States. With everybody overly critical of MSM (mainstream media), it is good to see evidence of the value of real journalists who do news work for the public good (i.e. not bloggers and not the pundits).
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced today that Iran plans to produce nuclear fuel on an industrial level, drawing sharp criticism from opponents of Iran's nuclear ambitions. President Ahmadinejad claims the materials will be used for energy needs and not weapons. That remark has been considered the biggest bomb (all puns intended) since Don Imus became a women's basketball commentator. Last week's hostage issue was the number one story of this week according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, keeping the focus on Iran.
On the other side of the Axis of Evil, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson enjoyed a tour of the U.S.S. Pueblo, a naval vessel captured by North Korea in the 1960s. Richardson, who is also a Democratic candidate for President, described the presentation as unpleasant propaganda, much the same way that Rupert Murdoch describes the movie "Outfoxed."
In trade issues, the United States has filed suit against China because of alleged widespread piracy of American movies, music, books and software in the country. This is a terrible move, as without $2 copies of Hollywood blockbusters available at bodegas worldwide, I will probably never pay to see another film again.
Media news leads with the Don Imus developments. Imus is an ancient out-of-touch relic of a radio host who called the Rutgers women's basketball team some very unkind, racist names on his CBS show. He was called to the mat by Al Sharpton, who has an interesting racist history of his own, and defended his comments to Sharpton and a senator, whom Imus referred to as "you people." The Rutgers team agreed to finally meet with Imus after issuing critical statements. Soon, Imus and his 1950s shtick should be right where they belong, off the air and locked inside a ranch where nobody has to listen to him or see his hideous hair.
While on the subject of old men with incredible hair cuts, it is nearly impossible to pass up the Phil Spector murder trial. Spector, one of the legends in recording whose influential career includes writing and recording scores of hits with every girl group ever in the 1960s and a number of rock and roll legends with his famous Wall of Sound, has been accused of murdering actress Lana Clarkson by blowing her head off with a shotgun. Clarkson has appeared in many television and film roles. The specter of Spector's craziness should make this trial the most fun since the glove didn't fit.
Sports news involves the new sheriff/commissioner Roger Goodell bringing the pain to repeat offenders in the NFL. The first two to go down were Adam "Pacman" Jones (full season) and Chris "Felonyman" Henry (8 games). Cleveland Browns fans are desperately trying to get coach Romeo Crennel, center LeCharles Bentley and quarterback Charlie Frye to go somewhere and get arrested immediately so they can start over again from scratch.
Finally, in bizarre news, the L.A. Times profiled 94-year-old John Rodriguez, California's oldest prisoner. The article states that his chances of parole for murder are slim, but even his past record is hardly enough to disqualify him from military service. Hopefully I'll see you in Baghdad, buddy.
09 April 2007
There are many reasons to watch Fox News. They have the best ratings on cable, so you are only doing what everybody else is doing. Unlike other news outlets, they are fair AND balanced. They also have the No-Spin Zone with expert commentary from Bill O'Reilly, the fortuitous news fusion of Cicero and Aristotle who delivers the truth straight from the source.
Their best feature is Dr. Gregory Rutecki on the "Weekend Live" program as the resident expert on transplant ethics Sunday afternoon. The good doctor has been cited in previous posts (and he also might be a distant relative). Enjoy the all to brief video link below.
Their best feature is Dr. Gregory Rutecki on the "Weekend Live" program as the resident expert on transplant ethics Sunday afternoon. The good doctor has been cited in previous posts (and he also might be a distant relative). Enjoy the all to brief video link below.
|Greg on Fox News|
08 April 2007
Pre-Easter dinner with the parents (I had school work to do on Sunday) took place at one of Dublin, Ohio's top end wine bars. Believe it or not, the small town has a plethora of restaurants that includes two wine bars because of the Memorial Golf Tournament that takes place their every year. The town has both the Wine Shoppe Bistro (which I did not visit this time, although their olive, cheese and wine selections are always divine) and the Burgundy Room (which I did visit).
The Burgundy Room has a location in Columbus' Short North, which is a trendy area with no shortage of yuppies and a rather vibrant late-night, weekend bar crowd, as well as a location in Dublin. The menu and wine list at both locations are similar if not identical.
The restaurant features American and Mediterranean-style tapas that can be matched with wines. The waiter James (or Jimmy, depending on whom you asked) was rather knowledgeable about the food and beverage, receptive to vegetarian inquiries and engaging to speak with during the course of the meal.
My vegetarian appetizer was vegetable spring rolls with a sweet and sour/ soy dipping sauce and soba noodles. The entree was portobella ravioli in alfredo sauce.
The cocktails and matched wines were tremendous. The most pleasurable wine was the Orin Swift the Prisoner, a California blend of zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, petit sirah and charbono. It featured ripe berry fruit with striking undercurrents of tobacco, pepper and plum, providing a perfect match to the earthy richness of the ravioli.
The pictures are below in the Picasa link.
|Burgundy Room, Mischa and 40 West|
06 April 2007
If you need vegetarian, few cuisines can compete with the Indian subcontinent. Star of India, which won the best ethnic food in Athens News' Best of...issue, has spicy vegetarian options to spare.
Afternoons feature a buffet with multiple vegetarian menu options. The chutneys are all flavorful. Nan, a soft puffy bread baked on the inside wall of a clay Tandoori oven, is available in many flavors. The vegetarian samosas are enormous and delicious. The paneer pakora and the vegetable pakora are both also great starters. The vegetable pakora and samosas are available as a combination appetizer platter.
My entree for the evening was a spicy chickpea curry with basmati rice. It was sneaky spicy and very good. There are eight or nine vegetarian and vegan options on the entree menu. The rice pudding was thin and more sweet than spicy. Star of India is BYOB.
Check out the pictures in the Picasa link below.
|Star of India|