Monday, November 28, 2005


Riddle me this: how does a 17-year-old driver in Colorado kill a bicyclist because he was text messaging someone, and only get charged with a misdemeanor? The boy could face a charge of careless driving resulting in death, which carries up to one year in prison. HE KILLED SOMEONE!!! If I was reading a book while driving, and I splattered a guy on a bike I somehow doubt it would be a misdemeanor. I certainly hope the judge has some latitude in the sentencing department for this one. I don't think the kid should do hard time, but how about never being able to get a drivers' license? Never allowed a cell-phone? Chop off his texting hand? Jeeze! Someone is dead because an idiot decided to save a few cents by typing while he was driving rather than just call. This handbasket is getting more uncomfortable every day.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

We Don't Need No Stinkin' First Amendment

This is from the AP via Yahoo.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. - Copies of a high school's student newspaper were seized by administrators because the edition contained stories about birth control and tattoos, stirring a First Amendment debate.

Administrators at Oak Ridge High School went into teachers' classrooms, desks and mailboxes to retrieve all 1,800 copies of the newspaper Tuesday, said teacher Wanda Grooms, who advises the staff, and Brittany Thomas, the student editor.

The Oak Leaf's birth control article listed success rates for different methods and said contraceptives were available from doctors and the local health department. Superintendent Tom Bailey said the article needed to be edited so it would be acceptable for the entire school.

The edition also contained a photo of an unidentified student's tattoo, and the student had not told her parents about the tattoo, said Superintendent Tom Bailey.

"I have a problem with the idea of putting something in the paper that makes us a part of hiding something from the parents," he said.

The paper can be reprinted if the changes are made, he said.

"We have a responsibility to the public to do the right thing," he said. "We've got 14-year-olds that read the newspaper."

Thomas said she wasn't sure about making changes. "I'm not completely OK with reprinting the paper," she said.

First Amendment experts were critical of the seizure.

"This is a terrible lesson in civics," University of Tennessee journalism professor Dwight Teeter said. "This is an issue about the administration wanting to have control. Either the students are going to have a voice, or you're going to have a PR rag for the administration."


Ok, let's fire one across the fundamentalists bow. Recently the city of Boston tried to call their Christmas tree a 'Holiday tree' which of course got folks like Jerry Falwell all a titter. He is behind a movement to sue anyone who tries such un-Christian shenanigans. But the Mayor stepped up to the plate and said that he didn't care what the website called it, it's a Christmas tree. So in Jerry's honor let's take a little walk through the past and find out just how Christian our Christmas traditions are. Sherman, set the Wayback machine for the 10th century.

Doodly-doo, doodly-doo, doodly-doo

Scandinavia: The Norse goddess Frigga has a premonition that her son Baldur will soon be killed. Being a dutiful and loving mom she holds a great pow-wow and convinces all living things on Earth to not harm her son...all save one. She overlooked the lowly mistletoe. Loki, being the fun loving sort, hears about this, and hatches a clever scheme. While the other gods are having fun lobbing spears at Baldur, who deftly ducks every single one of them, Loki fashions a spear of mistletoe and pierces Baldur through the heart, thus shuffling him off his godly coil. Frigga, in a supernatural display of forgiveness, hangs the mistletoe from trees and declares that any who walk beneath shall receive a kiss of forgiveness. What a gal.
The Scandinavians also gave us the Yule celebration, which would begin on December 21, and last through January. To celebrate the winter Solstice they would bring home a large log which they would set alight to commemorate the return of the sun. They would feast and party until the log burned out, often taking up to 12 days. They believed that every spark from the log represented a calf or pig that was to be born that year.

Oh, those silly Vikings.

Sherman, set the Wayback for Ancient Rome.

Doodly-doo, doodly-doo, doodly-doo

Mid-December finds our toga-clad forebears preparing for a celebration of the god Saturn called the Saturnalia. As with most things Roman it started off as a night of worship of that particular god, and evolved into a week long festival of debauchery and celebration. Slaves and masters would trade places, and the peasantry would rule as kings. Gifts were exchanged at this time, usually made of silver, but that was more of a guideline than a rule. Christians attempted to co-opt this practice by placing Christ's Mass on December 25th, but the Saturnalian traditions of role reversal and general misconduct continued well into the Medieval times, with the Feast of Fools.

Sherman, Ancient Egypt!

Doodly-doo, doodly-doo, doodly-doo

A society that lives in the desert tends to revere things that grow, and the ancient Egyptians were no exception. On the shortest day of the year, December 21st, Egyptians would adorn their homes with green palm branches to represent life's victory over death. The evergreen was a part of the Roman Saturnalia celebration, and the ancient Druids used evergreen branches to frighten away evil spirits. Granted it was probably Martin Luther who first decorated a fir for Christmas, but the use of trees during religious celebrations is hardly an exclusive, Christian tradition.

Take us home, Sherman.

Doodly-doo, doodly-doo, doodly-doo

So here we are, back in the present.(hee hee, get it? present? oh never mind) Christians who get their panties in a wad over how Christmas is recognized would do well to study their history. Christmas didn't even exist before the 4th century, most of its traditions are based solidly in pagan ritual, and its observance has been a bone of contention between the various Christian factions right up to modern days. How's that for universal Truth?

Merry Festivus!


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Gobble, gobble...burrrrrrrrp, gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving, oh most wonderful and intelligent people on the planet. I've been thinking a bit about this holiday, and with the exception of Independance Day, I think it is the singularly most American of our major holidays. While there are certainly religious undertones to the day, it is primarily a non-denominational excuse...well, let's not use that connotationaly charged word and rather let us say catalyst for togetherness, extroverted introspection, and gustatory excess. But the reason I call it the most American of holidays is that you can wish anyone, and I mean anyone, a happy Thanksgiving without fear of the PC police, or the ACLU, or the 'you didn't list every possible holiday for every possible religion in your greeting' nut-jobs. Thanksgiving is for anyone within our borders, or our hearts on the third Thursday of November. It has no religious boundaries, no denominational restrictions, no reason other than acknowledgement of our blessings, be they God, Man, or Flying Spaghetti Monster given. The only people who scrooge out on Thanksgiving are PETA, and they seem happiest when they are bitching, so even they get something good on Thanksgiving.

So have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Enjoy it now, before the Christmas vs. Channukah vs. Kwanzaa law suits start flying. And for you PETA folks, enjoy your sprouts and pine nuts.

Love to all,

Monday, November 21, 2005

An Unexpected Voice of Reason

Wow! That I lived to see the day that I would find myself in agreement with the Catholic Church. But as the debate over evolution vs. intelligent design flares ever hotter that ancient bastion of faith and hypocrisy joined the ranks of the well informed and denounced intelligent design. The Rev. George Coyne, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, said, "Intelligent design isn't science even though it pretends to be...If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science."

The Tablet, a Catholic magazine in the U.K. quoted Rev. Coyne in its June issue. He goes on to say, "If they respect the results of modern science, and indeed the best of modern biblical research, religious believers must move away from the notion of a dictator God or a designer God, a Newtonian God who made the universe as a watch that ticks along regularly...God in his infinite freedom continuously creates a world that reflects that freedom at all levels of the evolutionary process to greater and greater complexity...He is not continually intervening, but rather allows, participates, loves."

This actually reflects my own beliefs. I feel that, if there is indeed a God, then it makes no sense for him/her to continuously meddle in the workings of his creation. I envision the multiverse as numerous experiments, set up with certain parameters, and running independently. While there may have been some tweaking here and there, overall the systems have been allowed to progress without much interference. I have no intrinsic problem with there being a creator, nor do I think that scientifically examining the universe we live in negates such a creator.

And now for something completely different: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. We saw it yesterday, and I have to say I think it's the best movie yet. It's fast paced, if a bit sketchy, and while it had to winnow out a lot of the story, it kept the flavor and main plot points. Our young'n promised us she could deal with the scary parts, but it did get to be too much for her at the end, but in her wonderfully ADD way she had completely forgotten it by the time the credits rolled. It's also quite a long film, so if your kids aren't too good at sitting still, you might want to wait for the DVD. I need to see it again to see if it holds up to a second viewing, which Prisoner of Azkhaban did not, but we'll have to wait until life settles down a bit more.

See ya!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Randomness and Rage

Good Sunday morning, gentle readers, and welcome to The Corner. I've been a bit busy of late, so forgive my paucity of postings. I am discovering the joys of trying to type with a kitten in the room, so if any strange typos find their way in it's because Starbuck thinks the cursor is something for her to play with, and the keyboard makes an excellent platform on which to stand.

Ok, onto the things on my mind today. First, a very unpleasant one. On Thursday a jury found Joeseph Smith, a 39 year old mechanic, guilty of kidnapping, raping, and murdering 11 year-old Carlie Brucia. Most of you know I am in that category of liberal most commonly referred to as 'bleeding heart', but in this case I'd like to offer my electrical expertise to rig 'Old Sparky', Florida's electric chair, with a special dimmer just in this animal's honor. This reprehensible creature, I refuse to allow that he is even remotely human, kidnapped the little girl, raped and strangled her, and then left her broken body outside of a church. Smith has an arrest record a mile long, and was in violation of his probation at the time of the murder. Most of the time I have mixed feelings about defense attorneys. I know that it is their duty to make sure that everyone gets a fair trial, but it must have been excruciating for them to defend this miserable piece of filth. It seems even more so since they didn't even make a hint of appellate proceedings after the verdict was read. Now they are just trying to keep him out of the death chamber. I know it's their job, but I have to wonder if any of them would like to put a gun to Smith's head right now. Personally I can't decide if the death penalty is best for him or not. The automatic appeal process will take years to peter out before they fry the bastard, whereas if he gets life without parole he'll get the same treatment he gave his victim every day, and quite possibly get beaten to death in a shower stall like Jeffery Dahmer. Personally I think we should get medieval on this waste of DNA, and treat him to a good, old-fashioned public disemboweling.

Now for some fun stuff. I'd like to share some web sites that I enjoy almost daily. Some came from friends, like Pikaresque, other's from former students, and others from various other web sites.

First is a very useful site if you have a computer, and since you are reading this it's a pretty good bet that you do. It's Kim Komando's site at

Kim Komando, the self-proclaimed Digital Goddess, has made her living out of teaching ordinary shlubs like me how to make the most out of this box of wires and cards. Her site is a complement to her weekly radio show, and is full of hints, tips, and help on the ins and outs of your computer. It has an excellent search feature, and she makes a point to keep the information as accessible to the non-technically minded as possible.

This next one is hilarious. The Japanese are as fascinated with us as we are with them, but their grasp of our language is somewhat shaky. This site:

consists of numerous photos of Engrish, the often amusing ways the Japanese attempt to translate warnings, slogans, tee-shirts, and advertisements into English. And before you go all ACLU on me, it's very tastefully done, and not insulting at all.

Next is, and the name says it all. This site features news that never quite makes it to the front pages.

I'm a big Dilbert fan, but I have found that Scott Adams' recent compilations that feature his own commentary are even more amusing and fascinating. If you're like me, and you find the creator as interesting as the creation, check out Adams' blog at

This site was sent to me by Tink, and is called the Event Horizon Rider. This guys opinions on religion are spot-on, in my universe anyway, and well worth a read.

And now, a question. As the proud parent of a new kitten, I am in a quandary about dry food versus wet. I know that if I start her on a regimen of canned food for breakfast I can kiss sleeping in goodbye, but is it healthy to keep her only on dry food?

And finally, another entry for Let's Purge the Lexicon. Today's bitch is about the phrase 'for free'. This is grammatically abhorrent to me. Free is short for 'free of charge', so to say that you got something 'for free of charge' doesn't quite work. Lately I have heard this misuse on the radio, TV, and even NPR. Drop the 'for' people. It is unneeded, and incorrect. And this bit of grammatical advise is totally free. ;-)

Love and kisses,

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hypocrisy Rides a Pale Elephant

The next time you hear that asshole in the White House invoke 9/11 as a reason for anything remember this story. Congress has decided to take back $125 million from New York City's 9/11 aid money because they haven't spent it yet.

"It seems that despite our efforts the rescission will stand, very sadly, and that is something of a promise broken," said Rep. Vito Fossella R-N.Y. "We will try hard in the coming weeks, but ultimately Congress will have something of a black eye over this."

Of course, those greedy New Yorkers were only hoarding the money so they could treat the long-term health problems of the ground zero workers and others, but then our beloved administration hasn't really shown itself to be a 'big picture' kind of group.

I can't help but wonder how quickly those Congressional fat cats could come up with $125 million for, oh let's say, a reelection campaign? I can't imagine that that sum can make that big a difference in a national budget that involves billions. Of course, there is a costly war going on, and numerous special prosecutors' salaries to cover, and we wouldn't want to endanger any legislators' pensions. Those leeches in NYC don't need that money. Besides, they are close enough to Canada to drive across the border where health care is actually affordable. Dammit! This money is a drop in the bucket to the national budget, but could help hundreds of people who willingly sacrificed their health to rescue the injured, remove the dead, and reclaim the mangled remains of two once great buildings.

What a great way to say thanks, GOP.

Fuck all of you.

Marius the disgusted.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


For the record, I do not wanna, wanna Fanta!! Leave it to Madison Avenue to take four hot models/actresses and make them so annoying that I want to pull an Oedipus every time one of those commercials comes on. And if you don't know who The Fantanas are, take this warning: destroy your televison, burn your radio, find the nearest cave or bomb shelter and wall yourself into it, for once that thrice-cursed refrain gets into your brain it will echo around inside your skull until you long for the sweet silence of the grave. And what makes it worse, Fanta sucks!

Ok, I feel a little better now.

do you wanna,wanna Fanta, do you wanna, wanna Fanta,do you wanna,wanna Fanta, do you wanna, wanna Fanta,do you wanna,wanna Fanta, do you wanna, wanna Fanta,do you wanna,wanna Fanta, do you wanna, wanna Fanta,do you wanna,wanna Fanta, do you wanna, wanna Fanta,do you wanna,wanna Fanta, do you wanna, wanna Fanta


Friday, November 11, 2005

Irony from a Burning Shrub

Gather around, children, and Uncle Marius will a tale unfold whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul. Lo, those halcyon days of 2002 were innocent times; the Taliban had felt the wrath of a vengeful eagle, and the Shrub-prince seemed all but invincible. Then, thought he, I must wave my mighty Penis of Governance(tm) and smite the Bastard that took a shot at daddy. So he sent his advisors and sphinctor-mates far and wide with the battle cry, "bring unto me justification for a war!" And soon the village idiot, who claimed to know much, was brought before the Shrub-prince and whispered did he in the royal ear of weapons, numerous and cruel, that could reach across the vast desert, and ocean, and smite the people whom the Shrub-prince feined caring for. A few advisors cried 'falsehood! untruth! forgeries!' but they were silenced and their mates fed to the the dread demon Novak. Then did the Shrub-prince summon his Anglo-bitch, Sir Tony of Blair, and commanded him to speak of hideous weapons, ready to eat in 45 minutes. And did the Shrub-prince send forth his most revered(by the people) advisor, Sir Colin of Powell, to shake a vial of powder with great vehemence for as much as to terrify the people. And the three letters W, M, and D became a word of buzzing, and sabres were rattled, and plans were hastily drawn, and troops were sent.

Mighty were the battles, and plentiful was the expended ordinance. Many a hole was probed(no, we aren't at Abu Ghraib yet)and many a hovel was leveled, yet the fabled, and dread WMD remained elusive. Then the Shrub-prince consulted with the soulless golem, Cheney, and hatched a plan. Shrub donned the battle dress of a warrior, and rode a great bird to a floating steel island to declare the war was over! Victory was ours! Huzzah!!! And the people, tired of death and concerns beyond the sports page, bought it. For a time. But, alas, all good things must pass, and even the slowest of the people began to ask, 'if we won the war, why are our people still dying?' And the Shrub-prince heard these cries, and sent the golem to assure the people that the enemy were on the verge of defeat, the last throes of a vanquished foe. And yet why, wondered the people, are our warriors still dying?

The sands of time continued to fall, and at long last the Shrub-prince could no longer pretend that the Bastard had the fabled WMD. So the Shrub-prince consulted with the golem Cheney, and the insane tactician Donald of the Rumsfeld, whose taste for human flesh was only just contained, and hatched they a plan. The people are fools, reasoned they, with short memories. Let us un-buzz the WMD, and pretend we ne'er spake thereof. Instead we struggle 'gainst extremists, who threaten all 'neath God's great firmament. And thus did they attempt to unravel, and reweave the tapestry that is time.

And yet, the Shrub-prince finds he is less, and less beloved of the people, and as more American sons and daughters die for a lie, he decides to go on the offensive here at home. So today, in a disgusting display of political opportunism, our president used a Veteran's Day address to rail at his opponents about revising history to suit their needs. Here is a direct quote:

"When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support," Bush said in a Veterans Day speech at Tobyhanna Army Depot.

"While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began."

This ends our little fairy tale, with a liar accusing those who called him on it liars. The snake dines on its tail, and we are the ones who, in between funerals, must clean up the shit.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Ok, bird flu is potentially dangerous. Bird flu has killed. If bird flu were to make the major leap from birds to humans we would be in trouble. But, it's not here yet, and it hasn't mutated yet. Pray attend these words from the Centers for Disease Control website:

What is the risk to humans from bird flu?
The risk from bird flu is generally low to most people because the viruses occur mainly among birds and do not usually infect humans. However, during an outbreak of bird flu among poultry (domesticated chicken, ducks, turkeys), there is a possible risk to people who have contact with infected birds or surfaces that have been contaminated with excretions from infected birds. The current outbreak of avian influenza A (H5N1) among poultry in Asia and Europe (see below) is an example of a bird flu outbreak that has caused human infections and deaths. In such situations, people should avoid contact with infected birds or contaminated surfaces, and should be careful when handling and cooking poultry. For more information about avian influenza and food safety issues, visit the World Health Organization website. In rare instances, limited human-to-human spread of H5N1 virus has occurred, and transmission has not been observed to continue beyond one person.


What is the risk to people in the United States from the H5N1 bird flu outbreak in Asia and Europe ?
The current risk to Americans from the H5N1 bird flu outbreak in Asia is low. The strain of H5N1 virus found in Asia and Europe has not been found in the United States . There have been no human cases of H5N1 flu in the United States . It is possible that travelers returning from affected countries in Asia could be infected if they were exposed to the virus. Since February 2004, medical and public health personnel have been watching closely to find any such cases.

Now I'm not saying that this could not be a potential problem, and prophylactic measures are an excellent way to prevent mass infections, but the way the government and press have been beating the plague drums of late is just not justified. Yes, Asia needs to watch this very closely. Yes, we need to be aware of the situation and be prepared. No! There is no pandemic of bird flu anywhere in the world. The cynic in me wants to say that the Bush administration is desperately trying to get folks worried about this non-issue so they don't focus on his rapidly growing pile of screw-ups and falsehoods. The realist in me just says that people are jittery, panic-prone creatures who seem to want to focus on things they can't do anything about so they can ignore the little things they should be doing something about.

So here's my prescription for bird flu, monkey pox, SARS, and the bubonic plague. Eat right, exercise regularly, get a good night's sleep as often as possible, and balance your checkbook. And if your parakeet starts sneezing, don't worry, it's probably just the curry you made for dinner.

Good night, and God bless. ;-)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Find that wierd holiday

Go to this site and look up your birthday. There are more wierd holidays in this country than I ever imagined. I was born on National Shrimp Scampi Day. :-)

Friday, November 04, 2005

Revenge of the Scrote, part II

Ok, I googled trailer hitch testicles, and found this web site. I really don't know what to say. Check it out.

Revenge of the Scrote

Maybe I'm a latent homophobe, but I just don't find the male gonads to have much in the way of aesthetic quality. This may be why I was/am so puzzled by the artificial dog-nads I wrote about a few weeks ago, but I saw something yesterday that baffles me even more than Neuticles. I had forgotten about this, since I hadn't seen it since we left that mecca of culture and sophistication known as Louisiana, but why, God, why would someone hang an anatomically correct human scrotum and testes from the rear bumper of a pick-up truck? What sort of person decides that the best way to make a buck is to mass produce nut-sacks as automotive ornamentation, and what sort of person sees a resin scrotum and says, "Wow! That would look awesome dangling from my rear bumper!"? They come in many colors, and I have tried to figure out if they perform some function, besides creeping me out. Are they some sort of towing accessory that lends itself to being nad-shaped? And I have only seen them on huge, trailer hitch equipped pick-ups. Never seen one on a Celica.

Sometimes I just don't understand my fellow human beings.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Traumas Past

Hi Folks,
Now that we've done cute, let's get scary. Many politicians like to blame Hollywood, or violent video games for the troubles of today's youth. I don't for one minute buy that, as I think bad parenting is more dangerous than Grand Theft Auto, but it makes me ponder my own entertainment-based emotional scars, and in the vein of Turtle's recent poll type blogs I have a question for y'all. What early movie watching experiences had the most harmful effect on you? I'll lead off with my two biggies:

1. When I was very young the movie Papillion was on tv. I remember being mostly bored, but there was one scene where a prisoner on Devil's Island is hauled, kicking and screaming to the guillotine and executed in graphic(especially for the era) detail. Even now I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking of it.

2. The year:1975. The place: Middletown, CT. I was 11, and the family went to see Jaws. Now, my mother and I have very different memories of the event. I distinctly remember asking to stay home. I did not want to see that movie. My mom says that never happened, and in her defence my brother, and two step-brothers were very excited about seeing it, and my protests probably got drowned out in the din. Then, after the first gruesome death I begged to wait in the lobby, and was again rebuffed.(now, as a parent, I understand why that would have been a bad idea) To say that movie traumatized me would be an uderstatement, although I love the film now. But after that I was nervous in the bath tub, and the swimming pool was absolute terror. Ultimately it lead me to first hate, then study, and now love sharks, but at the time it was one of the most horrifying experiences of my young life. There is a funny side to this, however. My three siblings all ran to sit in the front row, because they heard that if you looked closely you could see just how naked the first victim was. The all quickly ran to the back with us after her grisly end.

Ok, your turn.

And More

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More Visitors

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Nocturnal visitors


Last night we had some unexpected guests. Four adorable kittens have taken up residence outside our apartment. We're seriously considering adopting two of them. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Which B-Movie Badass are you?

This was lovingly swiped from Marjai's journal.

You're Ash, baby.
Gimme some sugar baby.

Which B-Movie Badass Are You?
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