Archive for January, 2006

60% of what I say on this blog is crap…

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

…which apparently puts me in the strange company of right-wing gas bag Bill O’Reilly. No doubt you’ve heard about his Tuesday night appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, where Dave kicked his ass. Excerpt:

Letterman: How can you possibly take exception with the motivation and the position of someone like Cindy Sheehan?

O’Reilly: Because I think she’s run by far-left elements in this country. I feel bad for the woman.

Letterman: Have you lost family members in armed conflict?

O’Reilly: No, I have not.

Letterman: Well, then you can hardly speak for her, can you?

O’Reilly: No way a terrorist who blows up women and children is going to be called a freedom fighter on my program.

Letterman: I’m not smart enough to debate you point to point on this, but I have the feeling, I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap.

O’Reilly: Sixty?

Letterman: Sixty percent. I’m just spit-balling here.

O’Reilly: Listen, I respect your opinion. You should respect mine. Our analysis is based on the best evidence we can get.

Letterman: Yeah, but I think there’s something, this fair and balanced. I’m not sure that it’s, I don’t think that you represent an objective viewpoint.

Links: Read the full transcript; watch a two-minute video clip in Windows Media Player here, or in Quick Time here. Or, view the entire interview (12 minutes, WMP only). Note: broadband connection recommended for full segment, it takes a while to download.

Way to go Dave! What’s been most interesting in the two days since this event, however, is that everyone in America has put their own spin on it. Overnight surveys showed that most viewers felt Dave came out on top in the verbal clash, but not surprisingly, Professional Wingnut Apologists such as Michelle Malkin are claiming “advantage O’Reilly”, and calling Letterman a “Moonbat“. O’Reilly himself whined and frothed at the mouth on his show Wednesday, referring to the exchange as a “culture war”, and to Letterman as “a card-carrying member of the secular progressive movement”, adding “David deals in humor, I deal in facts”. To his credit, the normally apolitical Letterman was staying mum on the topic, showing a bit more class than Blustering Bill. In the end, the impromptu debate was more for entertainment than any serious political discourse, and I doubt any minds were changed as a result; you mostly agreed or disagreed based on the opinions you started with. That’s what makes this such a great country: FACT or CRAP? It’s your call!

Gnome away from home

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006

One of the reasons I love the Internet so much is that I am constantly discovering little nuggets of information that I never knew existed before. Here’s an example: just before the new year, I received the following e-mail from a friend in Houston:

“Our garden gnome, a memento of southern France & memorial to a deceased friend, has gone missing. Tuesday or Wednesday, we noticed that the fencing on the side of the house had been knocked over, as well as a pot on the garden side. This would have occurred in broad daylight. We suspected an agent of the gas company. Nothing seemed amiss until today when we noticed that the gnome had gone missing. Since it is not visible from the street and nothing else seems to have been touched, it could only have been removed by someone familiar with the garden, acting with specific intent. We hope and pray that the perpetrator of this ghastly deed understands both the physical and emotional needs of this object and that one day it finds its way home again. I don’¬ít expect that we will sleep well tonight in the knowledge that it is probably very frightened and confused.”

For some odd reason, this caused me to Google the phrase “stolen garden gnome“, and the results revealed a fascinating slice of life which I had not thought much about previously. Evidently, there are quite a few people (primarily in France, which says something right there) who earnestly believe that garden gnomes are victims of “oppressive”, evil homeowners, and must be “liberated from captivity”. Some kidnapped garden gnomes have been sent on trips around the world, being passed from person to person and photographed at different famous landmarks, with the photos being returned to the owner.

A little history: The first garden gnomes were introduced to the United Kingdom in 1847 by Sir Charles Isham, when he brought 21 terracotta figures back from a trip to Germany and placed them around the gardens of his home, Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire. Only one of the original batch of gnomes survives: Lampy, as he is known (left), is on display at Lamport Hall, and is insured for one million pounds. Gnomes have become a frequent accessory in many gardens, although they are more popular in Europe than here in the US. They are thought to bring good luck to the tenders of the garden, keeping away evil spirits that could inhibit the garden’s growth.

But not everyone feels this way. A French group by the name of “FLNJ” (Front de Liberation des Nains de Jardin) or “The Gnome Liberation Front” is particularly notorious, having been responsible for hundreds, if not thousands, of “gnome-nappings” all over the Continent in recent years. After 20 gnomes were stolen from a weekend exhibition in Paris, the Front released a statement that said, in part, “”We demand … that garden gnomes are no longer ridiculed and that they be released into their natural habitat”. It warned that it would strike again unless the show was closed and all the gnomes released. On another occasion, the group claimed responsibility for a “mass suicide” of eleven stolen gnomes that were found dangling by their necks from a bridge overpass in the town of Briey, in eastern France. A letter found nearby said: “When you read these few words we will no longer be part of your selfish world, where we serve merely as pretty decoration”. Clearly, this terrorist organization is far more dastardly than al-Qaeda … well, at least if you’re made of ceramic and less than three feet tall.

So far my friend has not received a photograph of his gnome in Abe’s lap at the Lincoln Memorial, or any ransom demands, but as this event has unfolded we have both learned of a new phenomenon. All I can say is, it’s a pretty freaking strange world.

Happy Hangover Day

Sunday, January 1st, 2006

Oh, my head. Somebody tell the cat to quit stomping around.

You know you had way too good a time the night before when you wake up the next morning and realize … you’re in jail. While our partly last night was fun, it didn’t get that wild, and fortunately(?), I only have a “three-star” hangover today. How does yours rate?

One Star Hangover (*)
No pain. No real feeling of illness. You’re able to function relatively well. However, you are still parched. You can drink 5 sodas and still feel this way. For some reason, your are craving a Philly sub and steak fries.

Two Star Hangover (**)
No pain, but something is definitely amiss. You may look okay but you have the mental capacity of a staple gun. The coffee you are chugging is only increasing your rumbling gut, which is still tossing around the fruity pancake from the 3:00 AM Waffle House excursion. There is some definite havoc being wreaked upon your bowels.

Three Star Hangover (***)
Slight headache. Stomach feels crappy. You are definitely not productive. Anytime a girl walks by you gag because her perfume remind you of the flavored schnapps shots your alcoholic friends dared you to drink. Life would be better right now if you were home in your bed watching Lucy reruns. You’ve had 4 cups of coffee, a gallon of water, 3 iced teas and a diet Coke — yet you haven’t peed once.

Four Star Hangover (****)
Life sucks. Your head is throbbing. You can’t speak too quickly or else you might puke. Your boss has already lambasted you for being late and has given you a lecture for reeking of booze. You wore nice clothes, but that can’t hide the fact that you only shaved one side of your face. (for the ladies, it looks like you put your make-up on while riding the bumper cars). Your eyes look like one big red vein and even your hair hurts. Your sphincter is in perpetual spasm.

Five Star Hangover (*****)
You have a second heartbeat in your head, which is actually annoying the employee who sits in the next cube. Vodka vapor is seeping out of every pore and making you dizzy. You still have toothpaste crust in the corners of your mouth from brushing your teeth in an attempt to get the remnants of the poop fairy out. Your body has lost the ability to generate saliva so your tongue is suffocating you. You don’t have the foggiest idea who the hell the stranger was passed out in your bed this morning. Death sounds pretty good about right now…

-0-

So it could be a lot worse. I haven’t tried any of the so-called “hangover cures” because, acccording to this article, none of them are very effective. But the WebMD site does offer this helpful tip…

There is, however, an absolutely certain way to prevent hangovers.
“Practice abstinence or moderation,” the researchers advise.

Great. Now they tell me.

Happy New Year!!