Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

I'll be out tonight, partaking in a few of Milwaukee's finest, so I'd like to wish everyone a happy prosperous new year now. Take care tonight everyone, and be safe on the roads.

A teen's perspective

Don't always discount a teen's perspective on things. Go to Michelle Malkin's blog to see why.

Goodbye 2005, goodbye good blog friends

The sands of the hour glass are rapidly running out on 2005, and I want to take a moment to thank a couple of good bloggers who retired in the last month, GBfan of Spottedhorse and Blog General of Brainpost. Both of you did a great job with your blogs, and a lot of us are going to miss them. Good luck in post-blogging, gents.

You wanted decaffeinated coffee!?

You may need to speak more clearly when you order a cup of joe in the near future. Your choices will be regular, decaffeinated, and defecated.
Kopi Luwak beans from Indonesia are rare and expensive, thanks to a unique taste and aroma enhanced by the digestive system of palm civets, nocturnal tree-climbing creatures about the size of a large house cat.

"People like coffee. And when they want to treat themselves, they order the Kopi Luwak," said Isaac Jones, director of sales for Tastes of The World, an online supplier of gourmet coffee, tea and cocoa.

Yes, that means what you think it does. The coffee beans are first eaten by a small furry tree rat, passed in a bowel movement, picked up, cleaned, roasted, and ground to brew your next cup of coffee. Yum.

Selling ad space on your children

I'm a pretty open minded guye, so I don't really mind it when adults decide to sell advertising on their bodies, be it their forehead or their tenderest of bits. But when you sell advertising space on your 3 children, you've crossed the line. If these creeps followed this auction up with an auction for the winner to slap them upside their heads, I'd be the first bidder. (Note: No one has been so crass as to bid on child advertising space).

Friday, December 30, 2005


Sleet irritates me. Not the actual precipitation, the word. Sleet sounds like a nonsensical word. I much prefer snrain. Not only is it more descriptive, it also sounds funnier.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Rest in peace, Luna

Damn that Jonah Goldberg. He points us to a very heartfelt eulogy from Mark at Sunny Days in Heaven for his dog Luna. Most dog lovers have had dogs that have amazed them, including me. Mark's words for his dog Luna are touching. If you are a dog lover, you may want to think twice about going there to read it.

2006 Predictions

Predictions aren't usually my thing, but I'm bored as hell this week so I'm going to try my hand at it. Bookmark this post and check in on it throughout the year.

International Predictions
*There will be more Muslim unrest and riots in France.
*The French auto industry will experience its first increase in output in decades.
*With Poland taking more of a leadership role in Europe, Polish jokes will become passe in the United States. Old Polish jokes will be refitted to become German jokes.
*Osama bin Laden releases a new video. It will be revealed that the video has been done in the Tupac Shakure "post-mortem" style.
*Sexual revolution will sweep the Muslim world. Muslim males will be agog at the new mid-ankle hemlines.
*Canada will piss and moan some more about the U.S. not wanting their soft wood.

National Predictions
*Hollywood, in acts of desperation, will release the following movies: My Two Dads: Marriage in Massachusetts, Quantum Leap takes on McCarthy, Mission Impossible XXVII: Scientology Saves the Universe, and Dude, Where's My Car 2 starring Ted Kennedy.
*Ashley Simpson will be seen dancing on the counter of a Burger King. It will be an attempt on her part to find a job.
*Howard Dean will refuse to appear on any show that any Republican has ever appeared on. He will also praise southern Democrats for single handedly keeping the chewing tobacco business in the black.
*By mid-year, Democrats will see that Howard Dean is a disaster as the DNC Chairman. They will forcibly replace him. With Michael Moore.
*Cindy Sheehan's 15 minutes of fame will run up when she participates in a nude anti-war rally in Washington D.C. More Americans will become ill from the footage than from the bird flu.

State Predictions
*Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle suffers a scary moment when hit by a loogie, snapping his head back, and to the left. After authorities initially suspect former Brewer Jim Gantner, Wisconsinites learn that it was really Pete Vukovich whose spit defiled the guv.
*Kathleen Falk suffers a setback in her attempt to unseat Peg Lautenschlager in the Democratic Attorney General primary when voters say, "No soup for you!"
*Wisconsin blogger Dad29 sets a Wisconsin blogging record untouched by even XOff and Folkbum: He manages to grump about at least one post from every conservative Wisconsin blogger. Conservative Wisconsin bloggers laugh it off and observe that Dad29 is just a cranky guy, kind of like their Uncle Eddie.
*Sheboygan's space port hopes are dashed when Johnsonville's "International Space Brat Grill" explodes on the launch pad. In a related note, Sheboygan's economy booms when thousands of Chicago Bears fans flood the city to eat the nicely grilled sausages that littered the city after the explosion.
*SABMiller devestates Anheuser Busch's market share when they reveal that A-B relief water sent to New Orleans after Katrina is chemically identical to Bud Light.
*Peg Lautenschlager wins the Democratic Primary for State Attorney General. She then devestates her Republican challenger with the campaign slogan, "Who can hate Doyle more than Peg?"
*Brett Favre retires. The Green Bay economy collapses.
*In an editorial, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel offensively calls Clarence Thomas an umlaut. Charlie Sykes manages to write an article that tears apart the Journal Sentinel using 87 umlauts.

*After hitting .223 through the first two months of the season, J.J. Hardy gets his ass kicked by Bench Coach Robin Yount. Yount comes out of retirement to play short stop while Hardy is on the 15 day disabled list. When Hardy is reactivated, Yount quits the team to join the motocross circuit.
*After hitting .250 through the first 3 months of the season, Ricky Weeks kicks Jim Gantner's ass because he thought he spit in the face of the Governor. Pete Vukovich chuckles.
*The Packers roll out a new ad campaign for 2006 titled "These Kids Can Play." Featured in the ad is their number one draft pick, running back Barry Bush, from the Esconaba Pee Wee Titans, age 10.
*After winning re-election to the U.S. Senate, Senator Herb Kohl dismantles a young Bucks team that was one shot from the NBA Finals. Replaces starters with Terry Cummings, Sidney Moncrief, Larry Krystkowiak, Jack Sikma, and Darvin Ham.
*Basking in the glow of Beer Pong, Anheuser Busch pulls all sponsorship and starts its own stock car racing league, which they call Beer CART. All racers must maintain a minimum .08 blood alcohol content throughout the races. Despite protests from MADD, the aptly named Kurt Busch wins the first Beer Cart Busch Light Quarter Barrel Plastic Cup.

Returning pants is more important than voting

The other night I headed to my local Kohl's. My parents, God love 'em, loaded me up with new dress pants for Christmas. There was one pair that I knew I would not wear very often, so I decided I'd just return them for a pair I would wear frequently. I went up to the customer service desk, receipt and pants in hand. Kohl's gladly issued me a store credit-after I showed them my drivers license and they entered my dl number into their system. Why? Not because Kohl's wants to descriminate against poor people, I assure you that. No, they require ID because they know from experience that anytime there is something of value, in their case merchandise, there are people willing to game the system. So they put checks and balances in place to greatly reduce the number of people who will rip them off. Yes, some people will still manage to do so, but they can catch a great many more who do with the drivers license requirement.

I think the right to vote is something of value, too. The last time I voted, though, all I had to do was say my last name and address. And come to think of it, that's all I had to do the time before that, too. That leads me to only two possible conclusions, given the fact that Wisconsin Republicans have tried to pass voter ID legislation. Veto Master Governor Doyle either doesn't think that the voting has much value to citizens, or he likes the fact that the system can be manipulated in its current state and wants to preserve that.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Brainpost BlogAWOL

Um, I hope this is just a short term thing, but Brainpost is gone. Blog General was really starting to hit his stride (blog wise) in Iraq. Hopefully he is safe and not in any trouble.

FBI measures mosque radiation without warrants

I meant to comment on this story before Christmas, but in the hustle and bustle I forgot. If you missed it, U.S. News & World Report and the USA Today had pieces on the FBI monitoring radiation levels at Muslim sites without a warrant:
U.S. News and World Report first reported the program on Friday. The magazine said the monitoring was conducted at more than 100 Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area — including Maryland and Virginia suburbs — and at least five other cities when threat levels had risen: Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York and Seattle.

The magazine said that at its peak, three vehicles in Washington monitored 120 sites a day, nearly all of them Muslim targets identified by the FBI. Targets included mosques, homes and businesses, the magazine said.

The revelation of the surveillance program came just days after The New York Times disclosed that the Bush administration spied on suspected terrorist targets in the United States without court orders. President Bush has said he approved the program to protect Americans from attack.

See, this just goes to show how incompetent the Bush administration is. Everybody knows the FBI isn't allowed to snoop on you and interfere with your right to make a nuclear device. That's the EPA's job. They should have had Bill Wehrum, Assistant Administrator Air & Radiation, out there conducting the measurements personally. After all, the FBI must walk on egg shells, but the EPA is god and has no such problems respecting rights. Or I shoud say, Gaia.

Geez, Mr. President.

(Tongue, meet cheek. Cheek, tongue)

Kathleen Parker skittish on blogs

Kathleen Parker is a columnist whose work I occasionally enjoy reading. Today she has a skeptical column on blogs that I think shows her lack of familiarity with the medium, and thus makes blogs a topic she should study up on a little more before she writes on them again. I'm going to take a moment to gently fisk a couple things from her column today.
Say what you will about the so-called mainstream media, but no industry agonizes more about how to improve its product, police its own members and better serve its communities. Newspapers are filled with carpal-tunneled wretches, overworked and underpaid, who suffer near-pathological allegiance to getting it right.
And no industry agonizes more over how to inject their bias while trying to convince their viewers/readers that they are impartial. With blogs, the political leanings are generally put out there up front, and the reader can then interpret the posts with that knowledge in mind. I believe the media types call that transparency, and last time I checked, they liked it.

That a Jayson Blair of The New York Times or a Jack Kelley of USA Today surfaces now and then as a plagiarist or a fabricator ultimately is testament to the high standards tens of thousands of others strive to uphold each day without recognition. Blair and Kelley are infamous, but they're also gone.

Bloggers persist no matter their contributions or quality, though most would have little to occupy their time were the mainstream media to disappear tomorrow. Some bloggers do their own reporting, but most rely on mainstream reporters to do the heavy lifting. Some bloggers also offer superb commentary, but most babble, buzz and blurt like caffeinated adolescents competing for the Ritalin generation's inevitable senior superlative: Most Obsessive-Compulsive.
There is a tendency in blogging for the Jayson Blair and Jack Kelley types to get washed out before their blogs reach the blogging equivalent of the New York Times and the USA Today. Those that don't tend to develop smaller niche audiences of like minded nuts, and there is little that can be done about that. Nuts will always attract nuts. And yes, we bloggers do rely on mainstream reporters much of the time, and I don't think there are many of us out here that truly think that blogs will completely supplant mainstream news reporting. Most of us who blog still have day jobs and families that occupy much of our time. What we do claim though is that we are keeping the main stream media in line after years of dominance which had lead the MSM to sloppiness, arrogance and bias (See Rathergate). And in regards to her claims that most bloggers "babble, buzz and blurt like caffeinated adolescents competing like caffeinated adolescents competing for the Ritalin generation's inevitable senior superlative: Most Obsessive-Compulsive," I just have this to say: Is what you are describing anything like that babbling, buzzing, blurting sentence you just wrote, Ms. Parker? And the correct term is most OCD, ma'am.
Even so, they hold the same megaphone as the adults and enjoy perceived credibility owing to membership in the larger world of blog grown-ups. These effete and often clever baby "bloggies" are rich in time and toys, but bereft of adult supervision. Spoiled and undisciplined, they have grabbed the mike and seized the stage, a privilege granted not by years in the trenches, but by virtue of a three-pronged plug and the miracle of WiFi.
This analogy between bloggers and children is baffling. As Parker gets deeper and deeper into this article, she begins to sound more and more like some blogger out there criticized her and she has taken it very personally.
They play tag team with hyperlinks ("I'll say you're important if you'll say I'm important) and shriek "Gotcha!" when they catch some weary wage earner in a mistake or oversight. Plenty smart but lacking in wisdom, they possess the power of a forum, but neither the maturity nor humility that years of experience impose.
Again, she has very little factual in this sentence, just assertions. Apparently the wisdom Ms. Parker has gained from all of her years in the business gives her license to be condescending and to not cite any facts or examples. If so, I look forward to the day that I'm as wise as her, because wage earners obviously have the right to make mistakes without being called to the carpet on it. Yeah, tell that to my boss and the bosses of all the other bloggers out there.
Each time I wander into blogdom, I'm reminded of the savage children stranded on an island in William Golding's "Lord of the Flies." Without adult supervision, they organize themselves into rival tribes, learn to hunt and kill, and eventually become murderous barbarians in the absence of a civilizing structure.
Again with this children thing, and no examples. Last time I checked, most bloggers are responsible adults, and none have reverted to creatures of the stone age. Many Kos readers may revert to their stoned teenage years, but even that is a far cry from what Parker is describing :-).
What Golding demonstrated - and what we're witnessing as the Blogosphere's offspring multiply - is that people tend to abuse power when it is unearned and will bring down others to enhance themselves. Likewise, many bloggers seek the destruction of others for their own self-aggrandizement. When a mainstream journalist stumbles, they pile on like so many savages, hoisting his or her head on a bloody stick as Golding's children did the fly-covered head of a butchered sow.
Amusing. And reporters don't tend to abuse power? They don't seek to bring down others for their own self-aggrandizement? Parker needs to review her journalism history. And journalists and bloggers alike get skewered by the blogs when they screw up a story. The journalists get more arrows though because they still have the mantle of America's news providers, not bloggers. If Instapundit went out and badly flubbed a story, he'd not only take as many arrows from the blogosphere as any reporter, the MSM would take the opportunity to tar and feather him and the entire blogosphere, just like we bloggers do to reporters and major news outlets who screw up badly.
Schadenfreude - pleasure in others' misfortunes - has become the new barbarity on an island called Blog. When someone trips, whether Dan Rather or Eason Jordan or Judith Miller, bloggers are the bloodthirsty masses slavering for a public flogging. Incivility is their weapon and humanity their victim.
I refer to my previous post on the NBC Nightly News story on profiting on others misery. Ms. Parker is like everyone else in this business-she too is benefiting and taking pleasure from the misfortune of others, only in her case it is over non-journalist types. And she is grossly misrepresenting Dan Rather in particular. His sin was not a "trip", it was a willful misrepresentation, something I thought the fine trade of journalism abhorred. I guess not.
I mean no disrespect to the many brilliant people out there - professors, lawyers, doctors, philosophers, scientists and other journalists who also happen to blog. Again, they know who they are. But we should beware and resist the rest of the ego-gratifying rabble who contribute only snark, sass and destruction.

We can't silence them, but for civilization's sake - and the integrity of information by which we all live or die - we can and should ignore them.

Ah, you brilliant people out there. She does mean you if you've ever criticized her. And by ignoring blogs, you benefit her directly, because there is no one left to call her out when she writes something dumb and childish-like this column.

In fisking Ms. Parker, I am not claiming that blogs are anywhere near perfect because they aren't. Ms. Parker delved into something I don't believe she understands very well, though, and she made her self look an arrogant, immature, snide member of the media establishment. She needed to be called on it. I'm going to go back to playing with my Legos now, and maybe later I'll participate in a wilding.

Question in re NSA eavesdropping

Am I the only person out there that already assumed that if I was communicating internationally, there was a reasonable chance that someone (U.S. or otherwise) might be eavesdropping on it? If we were talking about the U.S. eavesdropping on Aunt Milly jabbering with Uncle Ole here in Wisconsin, yeah, that would be concerning, but communications that cross the border of the United States are another matter all together. I don't expect that my international calls or emails have any kind of privacy what so ever. Not only are those communiques subject to eavesdropping in their countries of destination, they can be considered a subject of National Security domestically. It is good that were are having the conversation, because the conversation itself is something of a check on government power, but on the topic of international communications involving non-citizens, it is much ado about nothing.

"Or are they profiting off of the misery of others?"

During the lead-in to this evening's NBC Nightly News, they highlighted a story they will be doing on groups that are touring the Katrina damage in New Orleans. At the end of the lead-in for that story, they ominously asked, "...or are they profiting off of the misery of others?"

Wait a second. The NBC Nightly News is going to do a story scorching someone else for profiting off of the misery of others? What, are they afraid of the competition? Because that has become the credo of all major news outlets-"Proudly trying to turn a tidy profit off of the misery of others, and creating misery where it may otherwise not be found."

64% okay with NSA eavesdropping

From Rasmussen (via Instapundit):

Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 23% disagree.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans say they are following the NSA story somewhat or very closely.

Just 26% believe President Bush is the first to authorize a program like the one currently in the news.

Most of us out here in flyover territory read that and think, "whoa, the media response to this is way out of whack with that of most Americans." That's not how the media on the coasts interpret it, though. They read those numbers and think, "Wow, we really are a lot smarter than the average American. We are going to have redouble our efforts on this story to enlighten the dumbasses to the correct point of view." So once the major media outlets digest these numbers, expect to see the number of stories on the NSA eavesdropping to rapidly increase in number.


Seinfeld, the show about nothing, gave us the holiday about nothing, Festivus. The Governor who signs nothing, Jim Doyle, celebrates Festivus, the holiday about nothing. Very fitting. That's the last Seinfeld related thing I want to know about Doyle, though. If he wears a mansiere, don't tell me, please. If Doyle, XOff , Jon Erpenbach, and Kathleen Falk have had a "contest", I refuse to read about it, thank you very much.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Time to make the donuts

Rest in peace, Michael Vale.

Journal Sentinel: Walker is Dreyfus

I'm not really sure how much of a compliment that is, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is comparing Scott Walker to Lee Dreyfus. By and large, I think that their article is correct, though. Mark Green is going to be the establishment choice in this race, and he does have funding and state-wide organizational advantages over Scott Walker. Scott Walker has the advantage of having his base in the largest media market and population center in the state. I also think non-establishment state conservatives are feeling pretty rebellious right now because the they feel the state Republican party has betrayed them over and over again, which may give Walker another advantage come primary time if he continues to be portrayed as the non-establishment choice. One other thing that might have an affect on this race, albeit a smaller affect, is the fact that Wisconsin's conservative bloggers are heavily populated in Walker's back yard. That doesn't mean Walker will get all of us, but if he can get the majority, that is just another chorus of voices that might help him out in a close primary.

It is still very early, but this blogger is leaning towards Walker. Pro-Greenies, begin your screams in my comments-I know you guys are pretty passionate about Mark.

Liberals v. Liberals

What happens when eco-libs face off with vino-libs?
Some winery owners have summoned authorities to trap and shoot black bears - as well as wild pigs, deer, turkeys and mountain lions - that plundered their vineyards. The killings have sparked debate over the future of wildlife in the nation's most famous wine-growing region.
But some of Maroon's neighbors are outraged by the trappings. Ann Curtis, who runs a golf course down the road from the winery, called the controversy "wine for blood, life versus profit."
I can see a spitball fight breaking out already. Of course, all spitballs will be cleaned up afterwards. Personally, I'm cheering for the vino-libs. They tend to be pretty fun after a couple of bottles. In vino veritas.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


I've seen a number of people question Christians' irritability over the Holidays v. Christmas issue this past month. Well, for all of you who think Christians are over reacting, I give you this from the Associated Press:"Christians across globe celebrate holiday"? The AP can write openly about Ramadan a couple of hundred times during that Islamic holiday, but when it comes to Christmas they need to refer to it as "holiday"? The AP does not need to worry about the establishment clause. They are also not a store, so they don't need to worry about a handful of customers being offended by someone saying Christmas. So why does the AP choose to avoid Christmas in a headline other than a hostility towards Christianity?

It is finished

No, I'm not jumping forward to Good Friday. No, this is about the other Wisconsin religion, the Green Bay Packers. The Brett Favre Era is over. Sherman's done. Goodbye and good riddance Ryan Longwell. William Henderson, thank you for the wonderful years of service. The years of playoff appearances, done. Its all over. Hello 1980.

There is good news. Pitchers and catchers report in less than two months. Yay Brewers!

Merry Christmas

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was in this way: When, as His mother, Mary, was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary, thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS; for He shall save His people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which, being interpreted, is God with us. Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife, and knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son; and he called His name JESUS."

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their bed,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads,
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap...
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled -- his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook, when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his teams gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all enjoy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, whether you spend it with a large group of family and loved ones or just with a few people that you know. Enjoy your festivities, and if you are traveling, drive safe.

Any new posts today will follow below this post.

Blame the thermometer

The AP brings us a story out of Milwaukee about a group that wants to move the city's official thermometer from the airport to somewhere more inland. Their reason for doing this is that they believe that moving the thermometer away from the lake will lead to warmer average temperatures for the city and thus a better image amongst tourists and those who might consider moving here. I think they may be on to something. If they move the official thermometer south and west of its current site, they may be onto something. I'm thinking Las Vegas for the new site will work nicely.

Third rule of Madison Fight Club: No stabbing

Col. Ollie and I have been joking about a local Fight Club for years now. Little did we know there was one:
Police have discovered that the meeting of a local, so-called "fight club" preceded the stabbing of two Chicago brothers last weekend.Witnesses told detectives that as many as 15 people at a time have been paying to watch weekly matches inside an apartment building.
I hear there is going to be a new third rule of Madison Fight Club: No stabbings.

Blitzen and Donner fail emissions test, Christmas canceled

This is too funny. I wish I had written it myself as a comedy piece.
REINDEER-drawn sleds have been slammed as environmentally unfriendly, because the carrot-munching animals produce the greenhouse gas methane in their wind.

Now Santa has been urged to ditch his sleigh team and start traveling on public transport to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

It has been calculated that Santa's team of nine reindeer would emit methane with a global warming impact equivalent to more than 40,600 tonnes of greenhouse gases on the 122 million mile Christmas Eve dash to deliver presents around the world.
Just think how quickly old Santa could make his journey if he harnessed all of those emissions into jet power. I'm not sure if the reindeer would be pleased with the retro-fitting process, though.

I do have good news for you kids out there. This only applies to Europe. Thankfully we never ratified Kyoto, or Santa's journey would be in trouble here, too. So that's you lesson for today, little ones: If you love Santa, tell your parents to oppose the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty.

While the above was all too real insanity from Europe, Iowahawk brings us a satirical look at Santa's surveilance decision:
The New York Times reported today that Polar authorities are engaged in a secret program to conduct warrantless monitoring of private communications and activities among U.S. minors. Anonymous sources within the State Department and Central Intelligence Agency said the program, codename "Operation Coal Lump," dates as far back as 1879, and recieved approval at the highest echelon of Polar administration, including President Santa Claus himself.
My sources tell me that the elf that leaked this story has a grudge against Claus.

Friday, December 23, 2005


I wish Sitemeter would allow you to look at your daily traffice from a year ago. Traffic here is terrible, and I wish I knew if it was because I've been a lame blogger of late or because of the Christmas season. Probably both.

So this is Christmas

Ah, now it feels like Christmas. Outside of one Saturday, I've fully avoided the Christmas economy thus far. Today I had to go out and round out the Christmas shopping and score groceries for tomorrow. From 9 until 2:30 I was hustlin' & bustlin'. Then from 2:30 until 5 I indulged in a cherished past time-drinking at the bar with my dad. I'm fully exhausted and tapped out on the fundage. Yep, now it feels like Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Danger at the malls

This has been a dangerous year for Wisconsinites shopping in southern Wisconsin malls. At Southridge Mall in Milwaukee last week, a gang fight and gunfire broke out. Last week at the Janesville Mall, a woman was forced into a van and raped in the parking lot in broad daylight. Last night at the East Towne Mall in Madison, three women were held up at gun point. When one refused to hand over her person, the thief pushed her down, punched her and choked her. This year's Christmas shopping season is quickly drawing to a close, but take care out there and always be aware of your surroundings.

Dog saved from train tracks

This is a feel good story for a feel good time of year, and it is one of those little local stories that you usually don't hear about. This one made it into the pages of both the Chippewa Herald and the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, though.
That's when Strand found that the dog was frozen to the railroad ties.

“I lifted his tail and hind quarters, and saw he was literally frozen to the tracks,” Strand said. “He was pretty hunkered down.”

Strand pulled hard on the dog's tail, releasing him from frozen captivity, but not before pulling lots of hair from the dog, he said.

“He gave a heck of a whelp,” he said.

What the officers didn't know is that their rescue attempt came with little time to spare. A train was scheduled to pass across the tracks about 10 minutes after the rescue was completed.
Lucky dog.

Terror in Europe

You can't be friends with someone who wants to destroy you. You can try, but chances are you'll just make it easier for them to accomplish their goal. The Telegraph is reporting that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi may be reaching towards a new front in his war against the West-Europe.
A wave of arrests across Europe has thrown new light on a European terrorist network being developed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most prominent insurgent in Iraq.

A growing number of terrorism investigations in Britain, Germany, Bosnia, Denmark and most recently Spain and France are linked to the man who has masterminded countless suicide bombings in Iraq, personally beheaded hostages and bombed three hotels in his native Jordan.

Some of the suspected networks appear to be involved only in supporting his operations in Iraq. But counter-terrorism officials are worried that Zarqawi could be planning to use his base in Iraq to start attacking Europe.

The article goes on to discuss the fact that Zarqawi already had a European infrastructure in place prior to the war in Iraq, and that some noise indicates that he may be trying to recruit white radicals for terror operations, individuals who would be harder for anti-terror agencies to detect.

Europe may start to feel the consequences of its appeasement of radical Islam. It has been easy for European nations to climb up into their ivory towers and preach down at America and its allies, but by doing so they have made themselves look weak and vacillating. And predators tend to go after the weak first.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Time for some fun

It has been damn quiet around here, and there is a reason for that. But I'm not going to share ;-). I'll just say that I've had little blogging or Christmas spirit for a couple of weeks now. I'm on vacation for the next week and a half, though, so I think I'll kick off my re-emergence into heavy blogging with a little fun, because I could use some.

Normally, I hate memes. I tend to ignore them when I get tagged, but gbfan tagged me with one that kind of looks fun, so let me jump right in.

1.What were you doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago I was in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin on my Christmas break from my sophomore year of college. The lovely Mrs. Jib and I had been dating for just over a month.

2.Five snacks you enjoy:
+Beer (is that a snack?)
+Ice Cream
+Cheese & sausage
No, I'm not pregnant.

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
+Piano Man
+American Pie
+Snoopy's Christmas
+Too Fat Polka
+Two Pina Coladas

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
+Finally take the lovely Mrs. Jib on our honeymoon
+Invest in my parents' retirement
+Buy a snowblower
+Rent a local to run the snowblower
+Buy a small swimming pool which I would fill with Leinie's Light to fulfill my lifelong dream of swimming in beer.

Five bad habits:
+None, I've never worn a habit.

Five things you will never wear again
+The size 28 inch waist jeans I was wearing 10 years ago when I met the lovely Mrs. Jib.
+The chaps I wore to the Badger Blog Alliance Christmas Party.
+A leather vest.
+My Sterling Sharpe and Robert Brooks Jerseys.
+Those new clothes the Emperor gave me. Bastard.

Five favorite toys:
+Canon Digital Rebel XT
+My laptop and wi-fi
+Airsoft gun
+All of my baseball/softball gloves, bats, etc.
+Fishing gear

Normally I'd be tagging someone else here, but regular readers know that isn't my style. 5 of you can tag yourselves if you like this meme.

From the 'duh' files

Headline of an AP story:
NTSB: Plane Crashed after Wing Fell Off
No kidding, huh? Those things can't fly after a wing falls off? I suddenly don't feel safe flying.

Congrats UW-Whitewater football team

I somehow came away from my college experience rather unattached to my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. I always viewed the relationship as utilitarian-I gave them my money to provide me with an education and in turn they supplied it. So I am very much remiss in congratulating UWW on a hell of a football season. On Saturday they played Division III dynasty Mount Union for the D3 national championship but came up short. I watched the last quarter plus of the game and they put up a fight, but it just wasn't to be. Great job just the same guys.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sticks and stones break Canada's bones

Some pundits in the U.S. have been having some fun at Canada's expense lately, calling our neighbor to the north such things as a stalker and a retarded cousin. The comments, although kinda funny, are not a fair assessment of our frigid friends, but really harmless fun. Canadians, if I may I have one word of advice for you-don't take us so seriously. C'mon, loosen up a little. Even if our President were to say that we've passed legislation outlawing you and that "we begin bombing in five minutes," he doesn't really mean it.

Of course, there is one verbal cue that you should be very concerned about. If John Kerry calls you lame, then you know we really mean business.

'Kerry Calls Bush Spying Defense 'Lame''

That's the AP headline for an article on John Kerry's latest criticism of President Bush.


I'm anxiously awaiting future Kerry criticism of the President. I'm sure he'll find the President's support of the Patriot Act to be "sucky to the max," his Supreme Court nomination "gags me with a spoon," and his next speech to be "nasty, dude."

I suspect that Senator Kerry has been doing some polling in advance of 2008, and the numbers told him that he needs to do a better job of connecting with young voters. So in an effort to accomplish this, he'll probably be utilizing more youthful slang...from 1985.

Actually, I look forward to his next rebuttal of a Presidential address. I hear he is going to be doing it solely through the 101 pronunciations of the word dude. "Social security plan? Duuuude."

Senator Kerry, you are one gnarly guy.

"Packers suffer worse loss in 25 years"

How nice. Not only do I get to be peeved about it, that is one of the top headlines at Yahoo right now so i can be constantly reminded of it.

If there is any silver lining to this Packer season, I'd have to say that this year is acting like the forest fire that helps clear and rejuvinate the forest. Unfortunately, forest fires often take out the tallest and the grandest trees in the forest...

Plame in pajamas

Joe Wilson opened his mouth and proved himself a fool, but Valerie Plame has kept her's shut, so we really don't know. Based on the fact that she married Joe Wilson, plus this photo, I'll go out on a limb here and speculate that she may be as well. But will she open her mouth and prove me right?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Packers are an embarrassment

This is a *$#&@^! joke. I don't know if I've seen a less inspired game of football than the one being played by the Packers tonight. I have no patience for quitters, and they've quit. Even Donald Driver. I'm finally, FINALLY completely disgusted by this team.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Boston Tea Party: Environmental disaster

I was reading Steveegg's comparison of ethanol with the events that led up to the Boston Tea Party, and I realized that if the Boston Tea Party took place today, the Revolution would fail. Why? The revolutionaries would have been fined an exorbitant sum for intentionally dumping tea into a body of water, and the leaders jailed on conspiracy charges.

Weblog Awards

When last year's Weblog Awards came around, I was brash and decided that I deserved to be part of it, so I nominated myself. That got me nowhere. Over the past year I mellowed a bit and realized that I didn't really have a snowball's chance in hell, anyway. I was #980 in the 500-1000 category. My competition would have been these guys. For the record, pride is best swallowed with a little salt and pepper.

Congrats to TAM and The World According to Nick for their nominations, though. It really is an accomplishment to get a nomination. Give 'er hell for next year, boys.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

7 days of twenties

Ugh. 7 days. That is how much of my twenties remain. I've got to do one last keg stand before it becomes completely socially unacceptable. I accept my thirties graciously, but I refuse to become a fan of Thirtysomething, and I refuse to ever be labeled as such. Think of it this way: I'm shaking hands with my thirties, but with my other hand, I'm flipping them the bird.

UFO question

Almost every time you hear a story of a UFO sighting, there is some reference to the blinding speed at which the craft traveled. That begs one question: If UFOs move so fast, why do they never create a sonic boom? Physics, people, physics.

Assassination attempt on Iranian President?

This is actually a little concerning. Michael Ledeen reported at The Corner today that a source of his said that an assassination was attempted on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad today. As Ledeen notes, if true this may be a sign that the powers that be in Iran are becoming a little uncomfortable with the spotlight that Amdadi Nezhad has shown on Iran through his bellicose rhetoric. With its nuclear program, Islamism, and hate for Israel and the United States, Iran is a significant threat to the future peace. With Amadi Nezhad "removed," it would be easier for Iran to continue to get away with their plans. With Amdai Nezhad in place and regularly shooting his mouth off, it is more difficult for Iran to accomplish their nuclear goals, something we should actually be thankful for in the big picture.

Tips on preventing a cat bite

Here is one thing I've learned from Delilah cat. Cat's are such contrarians that if one wants to bite you, you can prevent the bite by voluntarily stick a finger in its mouth. It will first confuse the cat, as it will wonder to what it owes this fortuitous turn of events. Then its little brain will realize that you are asking to be bitten, and its natural desire to do the opposite of what you want kicks in, and it will disgustedly walk away from biting you.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Feingold kills Patriot Act

Okay Senator Feingold, you've killed the Patriot Act. For a while you were a one man show, but you got your way. Now where is your proposal for how we will combat terrorism here at home? Because we found out on 9-11 that those old law enforcement methods didn't work.

The Chicago Daily News: Blogging meets Journalism?

An old and respected name in Chicago is back: The Chicago Daily News. The Daily News is an old newspaper name in Chicago, and it is back in the form of online citizen journalism. The new Chicago Daily News is looking to develop a stable of citizen journalists whom they will pay $100 if they run their story. The result is a kind of blending of the blog and the traditional newspaper. Writers/photographers will be able to go after their own stories, but they will have to submit them to an editorial board for approval for publishing. It is going to be interesting to watch how this does.

Sex Ed: Schools' job or parents'?

In my former life as a liberal, I always looked towards government as the agent of action for society's ills. As I became edjamacated in college, I got a little smarter and realized that most problems can be better solved or even prevented when dealt with at the most local level possible. And in looking at my own family, I realized that the most local level sometimes meant not even including government in the equation, because families and communities can exert more influence over the individual than any government entity.

Given that, UW Senior Adam Edlemen editorializes today at the Wisconsin State Journal against making abstinence the "preferred sexual behavior" taught in Wisconsin's schools. Even Edelmen puts in the disclaimor that abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, and also that he believes that "teenage pregnancy and escalating sexually transmitted disease rates can cause major destruction to lives otherwise filled with potential." But he claims that "common sense" dictates that the abstinence policy is not good policy (mull that logic over for a while).

In a sense, Edelmen is right. We shouldn't be teaching abstinence in school. In fact, we shouldn't have to. The people who can have the greatest impact on a child's sexual choices is that child's family, not the school. The schools are short circuiting that to a certain extent by getting involved in sex education. But I am a realist, and I know that there are a great many parents who are for whatever reasons incapable of instilling strong sexual values in their children, be it the parents' own immaturity or irresponsibility, or the fact that the child in question just has a very strong wild or independent streak, or is weak to peer pressure. But the problem created by well meaning individuals like Edelmen is that in their method of getting the schools involved, they are trying to take over sex ed from parents instead of supplementing the weaknesses of some parents. The result is that they make sex seem okay to kids whose parents would otherwise be able to instill the values of abstinence and responsibility to their kids, and all the while helping precious few of the kids whose parents are not able to instill those values. If the schools want to help kids avoid all of the consequences of sex, they have to first support those parents who can instill strong sexual values in their children by promoting abstinence as the first and best choice. They can then supplement that and help the kids who are not instilled with those values by teaching responsibility. I don't know where Edelmen gets his common sense from, but believe it or not, kids are able to control their sexual impulses if they are empowered to do so, and the only way to do that is by teaching abstinence as the first and best sexual choice.

A weakness of blogs

I was over at Instapundit tonight, digging through his archives to see how he handled posting on 9/11. One of the weaknesses of blogs (and the entire internet news industry, really) became readily apparent. Blogs and internet news have a significant hole which could render them difficult to use as historical "documents," and that is the lack of reliable online archives for websites. I went through Reynold's coverage of the day and clicked on every link. The majority were dead. For those of us today who can more or less remember 9/11 clearly, that isn't much of a problem. For a historian 100 years from now, that may be a problem because those links provide the context for the commentary at blogs.

TV & Movie odds and ends

*The Apprentice concluded tonight, and I thought the better candidate, Randal, won. Until, that is, he had the chance to give Rebecca an apprenticeship with Trump as well. When Randal greedily said that there could only be one apprentice, he made himself into a jackass.

*Speaking of The Apprentice, was it just me or did Jennifer M. seem just a little too into Randal?

*The lovely Mrs. Jib and I have said in the past that Angelina Jolie does not look as good as a blond. I was watching Rachel McAdams on Conan O'Brien tonight, and I think that you can add her to that "looks better as a brunette" list. For some people, blond hair just doesn't accentuate their features as nicely as darker hair.

*I'm not sure how King Kong will do this weekend (Mrs. Jib is predicting a bomb), but based off of everything I read, it sounds like a mundane movie with an excellent performance by Naomi Watts.

*The movie Mrs. Jib and I are anxiously awaiting: Fun with Dick and Jane. Not only does it look funny, we think Tea Leoni is a very underrated actress.

*The History Channel has a new show called History Rocks. I loved it. The first episode is 1979. They play songs from the year, and during the song they do text box pop ups during video of events from that year. I recommend it, but I can only see that one episode in their lineup, and it always seems to be scheduled late in the evening.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Sensible words from Morgan Freeman

In an interview with 60 Minutes, Morgan Freeman criticized the concept of Black History Month:
Freeman notes there is no "white history month," and says the only way to get rid of racism is to "stop talking about it."

The actor says he believes the labels "black" and "white" are an obstacle to beating racism.

"I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man," Freeman says.

Labels will always be with us whether we like it or not, but they are over emphasized in this day and age. Because of that, it is sometimes difficult to see the forest for the trees.

Must read for the day

Michael Totten retells his experience with Hezbollah in Lebanon at LA Weekly. This is a must read for the right and the left, if for no other reason than a little perspective on what type of people they are.

Christmas Carnival of the Badger

Fred has an excellent Christmas edition of the Carnival of the Badger up at RealDebateWisconsin. I gotta give the man this, he sure can rhyme with the best of 'em.

2006 to be an interesting year for blogging

If 2004 was the year that political blogging exploded, and 2005 was the year when the blogosphere really began to gell and mature, I think 2006 will be the year that the blogosphere starts to shake out a little bit. I'm noticing that the typical right v. left split in the blogosphere is still there, but especially on the right things are beginning to fracture a little bit. I think the Hillary Miers debate was the start of it. It was the first time that the right side of the blogosphere really split hard on an issue. It redefined relationships some bloggers had with each other. It was followed up by some more blog geek issues such as "link whoring" and open trackbacks to manipulate the TTLB ranking system and also OSM/Pajama's Media. While I'm not entirely sure how things are going to shake out, there is a certain clique-ishness that is developing and fragmenting what had been a fairly unified entity, and I think that will result in blog environment that is going look quite different a year from now.


I didn't want to put this in the post below, so this is an aside to that post. I just realized what a great name Don King has for his profession. What is a sound cartoons and comics use when one character hits another? Donk. What does King do? He promotes boxing. What do you get when you say his name real fast? Donking.

(No, I'm not drunk, thank you very much.)

Don King on Bush

I never thought I'd say this, but Don King-Don King-has encapsulated why, after this long, tough year, I am still a Bush supporter (From Drudge):
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Don king is known worldwide as a big-time boxing promoter. But has also taken some new fights on recently...

You love George Bush?

DON KING; I love George Walker Bush because I think he's a revolutionary. He's a president that comes in with conclusiveness. What they're doing in tomorrow in Iraq is a demonstration of that for the vote for democracy. The fundamental process of democracy is freedom of speech, law and order, being able to have freedom, working with people and working and governing yourselves. George Bush is that. He included in...

BLITZER: Do you have any regrets supporting him? Take a look at that picture when you and I were there at the diner last year. Do you have any regrets supporting him as enthusiastically as you did?
KING: No, I don't. In fact, I want to support him more now because it seems like everybody is punching him. You know what I mean? But he's fighting back, and he's throwing great combinations. And I think he's the guy that is really a revolutionary president.

I think he's a president that cares about the people he represents, but doesn't compromise himself to the extent that he acquiesce and accommodate. He goes out there and says like it is, and tries to make things better. Inclusiveness, education, is fighting for that.

These are the things that many guys that don't fight for -- George Walker Bush is a tremendous advocate to America, a great president for the great American people, and he's decisive. He's doesn't equivocate.
I'm not sure how I feel about being on the same side of this as Don King, but he certainly said it well. Bush may not be Reagan, and he may not be William F Buckley, but at his best he is still darn good, even if he does frustrate us conservatives from time to time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Iraqi voter tells nay sayers to go to hell

This is both awesome and somewhat amusing. The Political Teen has video from FOX News of an older female Iraqi voter, holding her purple finger up, and saying that anyone who doesn't appreciate what America and President Bush have done can go to hell. Must be seen to be appreciated.

Bolding text on blogs

I'm noticing what seems to be a growing trend: Bloggers bolding text that they think is the most pertinent to their post. This GOP Bloggers post is one example. I can't say that I like the practice all that much. In casual reading, a person's mind tends to gloss over the text that isn't bolded, which then strips some of the context away from the bolded text. I think bolding text is appropriate when done in very limited amounts, but blog posts are so short as it is that you really shouldn't need to highlight very much text.

Pointless exercise on behalf of Senate Democrats

Sigh. Senate Democrats are making another pointless gesture. The headline from the AP:
41 Senators tell Bush: Be frank on Iraq.
What the headline doesn't say is that 40 of the Senators were Democrats and 1 was a Democrat leaning liberal. The move works in that headlining skimming Americans will think that there is some sort of unified Senate action against the President's lack of "frankness" (a claim I do not endorse). It doesn't work in that Americans who read the article are going to have their warning sirens go off when they see it was essentially a unified group of Democrats. Americans have pretty good sniffers for pure political ploys, and those that read the article will sniff out a ploy here. If the group had a mix of Democrats and Republicans, people might have actually taken it seriously, but as it is, it is tough to take seriously.

1st Grade teacher to class: There is no Santa

Even the secular, jolly old elf can't catch a break in our schools anymore. A suburban Dallas music teacher told his first graders that there is no Santa. After parents complained (and rightly so), the school district issued a statement supporting Santa. However, the teacher will not be disciplined.

Some people just refuse to let kids be kids, and that's a shame.

Get all 50 years of National Review

Well, maybe not at one time. National Review has a new digital archive system that allows you to search for topics they have covered in their 50 years of publishing. There is a small fee to the service which is charged on a per article basis. So while you won't be able to peruse the issues per se, but if you had a jones for reading their coverage of Wisconsin Governor Tony Earle's decision to not run for senate in 1985 and instead to lose to Tommy Thompson in the '86 governor's race, this is the place for you. Pretty cool stuff for us political & history nerds.

Clinton scandals live on

Power Line brings us some new Clinton scandal news today. It seems that Independent Council David Barrett's report on the Henry Cisneros investigation, which has arleady gone on seemingly forever and cost millions of dollars, is being tied up because it points to corruption in the Clinton era IRS and Justice Department:
The reason the report and the investigation have taken so long is that allies to Cisneros and the legal team of former President Bill Clinton at the powerhouse Washington law firm of Williams and Connolly have fought its progress in court at every step. Meanwhile, Clinton-sympathetic judges have sealed everything concerned with the case, including Barrett's report.

The report contains shocking allegations of high-level corruption in the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department under Clinton, which Barrett found as Clinton aides monitored his investigation and sought to derail it in order to cover up the Cisneros matter. A regional IRS official had formulated a new rule enabling him to transfer an investigation of Cisneros to Washington to be buried by the Justice Department. Barrett's investigators found Lee Radek, head of Justice's public integrity division, determined to protect President Bill Clinton.

The information, originally from the Evans-Novak Political Report, also says that Democrats worked behind closed doors to alter a recent bill which would have allowed the report to be made public. Ah, Bill Clinton and scandals, the fruitcake that keeps on re-gifting.

Tony Snow has more.

A sob story that worked

Sob stories infrequently work, so it is a little bit of a surprise that one worked recently in China:
A Chinese man who repeatedly broke into the home of a neighbor he secretly loved, at one point sneaking out with a bra and some photos, has been let off the hook by a Chinese court, Xinhua news agency said Tuesday.
But the court in Harbin, capital of northeastern Heilongjiang province, dismissed harassment charges against the burglar. It heard that on the times he entered the woman's apartment while she was out, he had washed her dishes, done her laundry, left her snacks and even fixed her computer.

"(The man) said he loved her secretly, but couldn't muster up enough courage to speak to her. He placed a bet with his roommate that he would win her heart," Xinhua said, citing a report in the Shenzhen Daily. It did not say when the charges were dismissed.

At one point he had left her a note urging her not to panic because his feelings for her were quite strong. That's stalker behavior if I've ever heard it.

A defense of Wal*Mart

If you want to read a good defense of Wal*Mart, head on over to, get this, the HuffPo. Russell Shaw actually cuts through the anti-Walmart hysterics to tell HuffPo readers that Wal*Mart isn't bad like some others would have them believe.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Wedding blogging

Gradualdazzle photo blogged the wedding of bloggers Frank J. and SarahK. I think the lovely Mrs. Jib and I, with a few blessings, pulled off an excellent wedding a couple of years ago on a modest budget. Just the same, I shudder at the thought of somebody photo blogging it. I remember that at one point in the evening, the spirit of Michael Flatley had infected me. The only person who was impressed was my second dad, my uncle Terry. And he had the camera. Then there was the great smoking wedding dress episode (true story, and not dirty)...

Hannity shows bad taste

I enjoy watching and listening to Sean Hannity. Every once in a while though, he really does flirt with the tasteless. This evening I listened to a rebroadcast of his radio show as I made an hour plus round trip to pick something up for the lovely Mrs. Jib. He had a Tookie Watch going through out the course of the show. Handled seriously, that would hardly be noteworthy. There was a slight tone of mocking to Hannity's Tookie Watch on his radio show, though. Even a rock ribbed conservative such as myself winced as I listened. Does Tookie Williams deserve his punishment tonight? I think he does, but even though he deserves this as justice for his actions, he also deserves a certain amount of dignity.

The Salon Militia

I hate going through Salon's pain in the butt ad in order to view their content, so I am going to refer to Instapundit for this latest little gem from Salon:

At a certain point in the near future, if the current oligarchy cannot be removed via the ballot, direct political action may become an urgent and compelling mission. It may then be necessary for many people in many walks of life to put their bodies on the line. For the moment, however, although pressing and profound questions have arisen about whether the current government is even legitimate, i.e., properly elected, there still remains a chance to remove this government peacefully in the 2008 election. (Or am I living in a dream world?)

I do think this regime's removal is the most urgent matter before the country today. . . . This is all terrible and rather fantastic to contemplate. But what assurances have we that it is not all quite plausible? Having discarded the principles that Jefferson & Co. espoused, the current regime seems capable of anything. I know that my imagination is a feverish instrument. But are we not living in feverish times, in times of the unthinkable?

"Feverish," indeed. Apparently, Tennis is ready to join a militia, since he's saying the kind of stuff they were saying in 1995.

Amusing. Wouldn't it be ironic and more than a little bit funny if militias became the enterprise of the left? After tarring the right in the 1990's over militias which the right largely eschewed, the mainstream of the left embraces them. I can see it now. Biodegradeable bomb shelters stocked with tofu, powered by fragile solar cells positioned so as not to kill a single blade of prairie grass. Instead of ammunition dumps, they have huge piles of rocks and sticks to hurl at their adversaries (no human can be trusted with a firearm, after all). And there would be room for two of every animal in the shelters, except those on government land, because that would violate the seperation of church and state, afterall.

And of course, by "put their bodies on the line," Tennis must mean sexual warfare, because it seems as though the left has reduced the body to little more than sexual (but not reproductive) machine.

(Yes, this post is heavy with generalization. That's what makes it so fun.)

Monday, December 12, 2005

The of the book

Working Smart takes a look at books and their possible demise at the hand of digital media:
While most publishers will admit that reference content is better accessed on the computer, almost all believe that the traditional non-fiction book or novel will never be replaced with a digital equivalent. I say, “baloney.” It's coming. The sooner publishing executives get their collective heads out of the sand and face the future, the better prepared they will be to meet it.

I am convinced that we are only one device away from a digital publishing tsunami. Consider what happened when Apple launched the iPod in October of 2001. They provided an end-to-end solution that made downloading music easy, portable, and fun.
He goes on to make a strong case for the possible digital book. There is just one weakness to his theory. When you read a book, the experience is enhanced by the sense of progress that you make as get deeper and deeper into a book. As you read the early portions of a book, you start looking forward to making it to the half way point. Then at the half way point, the story starts to pick up and you begin to race through the remaining pages as the action gets faster. You finally reach the book's conclusion as the pages begin to run out. Finally, you are left with a hunger for your next book as you look at this exciting but puny book that you have just mastered. Until a digital media can give you a parallel experience, it won't succeed in replacing books.

I don't mean to be too critical of him. I admire the fact that he is willing to look into the future to try to predict what technology may supplant the paper book. His comparison to digital music is faulty, though, because recorded music is by its very nature hi-tech. Books are not, and the experience of reading a book is in part the journey of getting from the front cover to the back.

'Round here

I'll be the first to admit that things have been a little quiet around here lately. Life and work had created a perfect storm of chaoticness that has really supressed my blogging time. Work has taken a somewhat radical turn, though, so my blogging will pick up now. I promise.

On Madison, bookstores, and poor taste

As I've chronicaled here at Jiblog, this was a weekend of Christmas shopping for the lovely Mrs. Jib and I. Our very first stop was one of our favorite places in Madison, Borders Book Store on the east side. Typically we will burn hours at Borders, but this year we occupied with the business of Christmas shopping. While I waited for Mrs. Jib to accomplish her task, I leafed through the books, and then considered getting a coffee. I stood quite a ways back from the coffee counter while I scanned the menu board, and out of the corner of my eye I saw two books on the shelf next to me. The books were right beside each other with their covers facing out. Both titles had several books behind the front-facing copies, so they were obviously being highlighted by the staff. Their proximity to each other was completely tasteless, though. The book on the right was The Chronicles of Narnia-The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe Official Illustrated Movie Companion. The book to the left was The Big Book of Porn: A Penetrating Look at the Word of Dirty Movies. If I thought that these two books were accidentally placed next to each other, I'd have little problem with it. My problem is the fact that they were being obviously merchandised side by side. So one the right, we have a book which should be an attraction to kids and to families who have or will be seeing the movie. On the left we have a book that is filled with pornographic pictures, and which has no protective slip cover on it what so ever. I suspect in Madison people don't have a problem mixing their porn with their children's books. I live outside the 69 square miles surrounded by reality, though, and I do. Many kids know how to search for their own books by third grade, and this is a book that I suspect a number of them may want to look at. And right there beside it, the Madison East Borders decides to merchandise porn. Unacceptable.

I have a challenge for everyone who lives or works in close proximity to a Borders. Go to the media section and look for the Narnia book. Once you find it, see if it is being merchandised next to the Big Book of Porn. Hopefully this is just a bad decision by the employees of one bookstore, but if it is a corporate merchandising decision, then Borders is going to need to pressured to rescind the decision.

Up front admission
I failed to say anything to the management of the East Side Borders. I was more than a little caught up in myself and what I needed to accomplish on Saturday, and after point out the display to Mrs. Jib, we left the store for out next location.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Baby boomers

Every once in a while, I talk about generational issues. It always bugs me a bit to do so because generational constructs like "Baby Boomers" and "Generation X" are based on gross generalizations. These generational stereotypes only really apply to a subsect of the age group. Sometimes there are generational stories that are just too good to pass up, though. One of the knocks on baby boomers is that they are incredibly self centered. The AP has a story about how Boomers are starting to doubt their legacy. I'd like to excerpt a couple of quotes from that article:
Unlike some of his contemporaries, Kovic sees no reason for guilt or embarrassment as boomers take stock. "We have every reason to be proud," he said. "We were brash and bold and beautiful."

Now, Kovic says, his generation will revolutionize a different kind of '60s.

"Often when people get older, they say to the younger generation, 'Well, it's your turn now,'" he said. "I feel very differently. Rather than just passing the torch, and saying we did our best, this generation — which dreamed such big, impossible dreams — refuses to step aside. It sees itself as part of change that it still passionately believes will occur."
"As an official member of the boomer generation, I do not believe it was intended for us to die," said Grossman, 58. "We were special right from the get-go — dying wasn't part of our script."

Boomers, I respect an awfully large number of you individually. As a generation, though, you produced a high percentage of pig headed jack asses. Of course, every generation does, but you guys really upped the ante. Just remember this: You can try to defy death and you can try to write your own history. Death awaits us all, though, and it is those who come after us who write our history. My generation's history may still prove to be a dismal read, but I'm not sure yours will be a great deal better. Perhaps if you really want to make a mark on history, you should acknowledge the failures of your generation and commit yourselves to correcting them.

Misery loves company

At this point, I could get away with procrastinating on my remaining Christmas shopping. If it were all up to me, that is exactly what I would be doing today. Unfortunately, the bonds of marriage require that I accompany the lovely Mrs. Jib on yet another shopping adventure today. The good news is that this one should wrap up a little earlier than yesterday's because there is a nice dinner and a Packer game calling this evening.

One side affect of cramming all of one's Christmas shopping into a few days is the fact that I am now completely out of the blog/news loop. I'm going to have some serious catching up to do later today.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Christmas Miracle

Well, maybe if the bar for miracles is set pretty low. Today I enraged the lovely Mrs. Jib has I went from store to store, finding perfect gifts for people, or the one thing that people really wanted (and which was usually the last of that item the store had). Over the course of 4 hours, I finished 90% of my Christmas shopping. Yay me!

Friday, December 09, 2005

14 shopping days left...

...and I'm going to need every last one of them.

TV Pork

Congress has voted to subsidize your next TV purchase. George Will had a great column on it yesterday. By 2009, all broadcasters are required to be broadcasting digital signals, which will also require people to have digital TV sets or converter boxes to receive the signal. There is a big picture reason for this. There is only a finite amount of radio bandwidth, and by requiring broadcast TV networks to move from analog signals to digital signals, a certain amount of that bandwidth gets freed up for other uses. That is good for all of us, as we will see new and/or improved technologies on the market once some of this bandwidth gets freed up. Subsidizing people to replace their analog TV sets with new digital ones is idiotic, though. First of all, there are very, very few people who are getting their signal via broadcast signals now days. And for those who are, there is plenty of time for them to figure out how they are going to purchase a converter or a new television set. This subsidy, while not yet reconciled between the two houses of Congress, was quitely approved in both, and it is yet another reason to be disappointed with the Republicans we currently have in Washington. Fiscal conservatism? Not a chance. The current lack of conservatism amongst Congressional Republicans is part of the reason I'm leaning against term limits. The Republican Revolution of 1994 swept into power some very good Conservatives. Several of them were so principaled that they held themselves to term limits even though they weren't required too, and that's unfortunate because we could use everygood conservative we could get in Washington right now.

Lethal Weapon Governor's Race

The Sydney Morning Herald is pushing Mel Gibson as a challenger to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the California Governor's race. Since California politics is the epitome of absurdity, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some possible matchups in the race.

Mel Gibson v. Danny Glover
First they were partners. Then they became friends. Now Riggs and Murtaugh are at each other throats for the state of California. Critical Question: Is Danny Glover too old for this shit?

Michael Keaton v. Val Kilmer
Kilmer failed as Keaton's replacement as Bruce Wayne, but Kilmer has a cult following for his Doc Holiday role in Tombstone. Would California dance with the devil in the pail moon light? They're a daisy if they do.

Bruce Willis v. Demi Moore
The winner gets the California Governor's mansion. And Ashton Kutcher. The loser in this race does get a consolation prize, though: Fez.

Mary Carey v. Mariah Carey
Can a no talent hack with big boobs pull off the upset in this race? The odds seem to be against Mariah vs. political veteran and race favorite Mary Carey.

OJ Simpson v. Robert Blake
Both run on the same platform. Vote for me or I will kill you. California voters would quickly become turned off by the cut throat campaign, boosting Phil Spector's third party candidacy.

Alex Trebek v. Pat Sajak
This would be an ugly campaign. Trebek would have all the answers, but nobody would know what the hell the questions were. Meanwhile, Sajak would campaign hard, but voters would have trouble filling in the blanks.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Problems at Midway

A plane has slid off the runway at Midway airport in Chicago. WMAQ-TV has up to date coverage.

Jiblog history, and how I plan to revise it

A year and a half ago, I decided to start a blog. So I did start one--at Live Journal. I wrote one post there and then never touched it again. If you were to waterboard me, I still couldn't tell you the address of that first blog because I don't remember it. A couple of weeks later, I found my home at Blogspot. I tried to be cute naming this site, so I took one of my nicknames, Jib, and replaced the 'web' of weblog with it. I was being a little too cute, though. Too many people can't figure out whether this is Jiblog, JIblog, Jib blog, or as Jeff Jarvis once pronounced it, Jeeeeblog. That's the boring history of this site. But I have a plan to revise history to serve my goals.

In the post below, I mention the Jewish & Israeli Blog Awards, or Jib Awards. They have this wonderful little thing about the word Jib. It is so good that I want it for my own. Here is what they say about Jib:
The word JIB, besides being an acronym for Jewish and Israeli blog, also represents the small triangular sail of a sailboat, as compared to the main sails. The jib's role is to direct the wind into the main sail, just like a role of Jewish, Israeli, and pro-Israel bloggers is to direct world opinion in favor of Israel. And to really stretch the metaphor, the object of these awards is to direct new readers towards Jewish, Israeli, and pro-Israel blogs.
Here's how I plan to "requisition" it:
The word Jib, besides being the nickname for one hell of a guy, also represents the small triangular sail of a sailboat, as compared to the main sails. The jib's role is to direct the wind into the main sail, just like a role of this incredibly charming blogger is to direct world opinion in favor of his every whim.
Of course, if ever asked, I'll never admit that I manipulated history for my own selfish gains. I'll argue to the end that this revionist history is how it really happened.

(end cryptic criticism of historical revionism)

They named an award after me!

I've made it. Like Lomdardi, Heisman, Darwin, Pullitzer, and Nobel, I have a award named after me-the Jib Awards. I'm truly, truly honored. But I still can't figure out why those Jewish and Israeli Bloggers named an award after me.

(Huh..what? They haven't named it after me? Acronym? Oh, this is embarrasing.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Internal debate a conservative strength

There has been a lot of debating amongst conservatives this year on a varirty of issues (see Harriet Miers). While many of us have found this discouraging at times, Jonah Goldberg makes an excellent point about the big picture:
If liberals really want to emulate conservative successes, I have some advice for them: Get into some big, honking arguments — not with conservatives, but with each other. The history of the conservative movement's successes has been the history of intellectual donnybrooks, between libertarians and traditionalists, hawks and isolationists, so-called neocons and so-called paleocons, less-filling versus tastes great. Liberals would be smart to copy that and stop worrying how to mimic our direct mail strategies.
Well said.

Toilet blogging

No, no, no...not me. It's just that this post reminded me of this.

The convoluted "separation of church and state"

Heh. Ann's Fuse Box has a sharp eye. She noticed that in Los Angeles, the word Christmas has been avoided on the city holiday decorations, but Happy Hanukkah has not been.

Jiblog scooped by Sanna Central

I'm...not...sure...if...I'll finish Sanna Central has scooped me on Leinie's news. It looks like there will be a new flavor in the Leinenkugel stable come spring, an orange flavored beer.

Good job, Sanna. I'm not sure I have the will to ever blog again, though (some may thank you for that).

In defense of an Air Marshal

Today an Air Marshal shot and killed a man in Miami after the man ran from the airplane he was boarding, announced that he had a bomb in the bag he was holding, and reached into the bag despite being given orders to hit the ground. It is reported that as the man ran from the plane, his wife was yelling that he was bi-polar and had not taken his medicine. Like all high profile police shooting, there will be some talk about whether the shooting was justified. Let me tell you a story about why it was.

Last winter a good friend of mine, a police officer, told me a story about an incident in a neighboring community. An officer had been called to a home because a 17 year old boy was refusing to go to school and was being physical. When the officer arrived and entered the house, the 17 year old surprised him by stabbing him in the abdomen and then holding the knife to the officer's throat. The situation was such that the officer had the opportunity to unholster his firearm and shoot the boy in order to save his own life. This officer went well above and beyond the call of duty, though, and struggled with the boy until he could remove the knife from his throat and subdue the boy. He survived the stab wound and was hailed as a hero-justly deserved accolades, by the way. After the story, my friend told me something that I will never forget. He told me that he didn't think he could do the same if in that situation. He said that if he felt his life were in danger, he would use deadly force because he wants to go home to his family that night.

Actions like the heroic officer are above and beyond the call of duty, and they are also very risky. This air marshal had to make a snap decision that could have held his life and that of others in the vicinity in the balance. The man refused to stop and made a threatening move into his bag. While it is sad that the man was mentally ill, that does not matter. Mentally ill people are just as capable, and sometimes more capable, of causing themselves and others grievous bodily harm. While it turns out that this man did not have a bomb, there is no way this marshal could have known that. He chose to protect his life and the lives of those in the area over that of this threatening, if ill, man. Given the situation, one can hardly fault this marshal for wanting to go home to his family tonight, even if it meant the subject had to die.

Theme of the day: Lessons from the Civil War

The theme of the day is gleaning Iraq lessons from the American Civil War.  With The New Republic’s piece comparing the Iraq War to the American Civil War, Captain Ed now says that the Democrats are in a similar position to the defeatist Democrats of 1864.  Read it at the Weekly Standard.

Powerful TNR editorial

The New Republic has a powerful piece today on why we need to see this war in Iraq through to the end.  I highly recommend you read it.  Registration required.

Saddam trial delayed

The headline on Yahoo’s home page says the Saddam trial has been delayed until Dec 21.  I’m beginning to think there is a strategy to all of this on the part of the defense.  Saddam is undefendable in a traditional sense-the evidence of his crimes is pretty overwhelming.  So instead of even trying to defend him, they are focusing on turning this court into a circus, destroying its credibility.


I understand why we are having Iraq handle the trial of Hussein, but at the same time, there had to have been a better way of doing this.  This continued act by Hussein and the judge’s failure to control it is only going to weaken the Iraqi courts.


Blurring the line

This may be a break through, but it is a little bit scary, too:
It sounds like science fiction: a brain nurtured in a Petri dish learns to pilot a fighter plane as scientists develop a new breed of "living" computer. But in groundbreaking experiments in a Florida laboratory that is exactly what is happening.

The "brain", grown from 25,000 neural cells extracted from a single rat embryo, has been taught to fly an F-22 jet simulator by scientists at the University of Florida.

They hope their research into neural computation will help them develop sophisticated hybrid computers, with a thinking biological component.

It scary for a couple of reasons. First, it really starts to blur the line between life and machine. Second, this technology, in its infancy stages, is not all that threatening, but one suggested use is to operate war planes in places too dangerous for humans. If that is already an imagined application, how long until somebody creates infantry soldiers with this thinking technology? And how long after that before the technology can make the leap to thinking on its own without human inputs?

Group: Men at fault for global warming, women suffer

A German enviro-feminist group is claiming that men are to blame for global warming and that women suffer more than men for it:
Rohr, who is demanding "climate gender justice," left no doubt as to which gender she believes was the chief culprit in emitting greenhouse gasses.
Uhh, perhaps we men do emit more greenhouse gases. I'm going to go on the record right now opposing methane credits, though.

A day that lives in infamy

Take a moment today to remember the defining moment of a generation and of a nation: December 7, 1941. If you get a chance, stop and talk with someone who can remember the attack on Pearl Harbor. They won't be with us forever, and their memories are our history.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The "Who am I. Why am I here?" files

When Admiral James Stockdale said "Who am I? Why am I here?" he became a victim of his own poor delivery, and he became the symbol of all confused politicians. Today we have a lot of attention going to John Murtha's call to bring the troops home, but Mickey Kaus notices that Murtha sounds pretty confused himself.

Good news, Kelly Bundy fans

Good news for guys who had crushes on Kelly Bundy. Christina Applegate is back on the market. Maybe you still got a shot!

And for you Bud Bundy girls, well, I'm just sorry.

The Saddam Defense

I got this in my email today:

Damn it...I know somewhere in here Allah
said it was okay to torture teenage girls.

Underestimating the value of the battleship

There was a time when the battleship was the grand warrior of Navies. Their big guns could accurately rain down fire upon targets, and naval strategy was dependent upon them. Then in 1941, the Japanese destroyed much of the United States' battleship capability in the Pacific. Out of necessity, the aircraft carrier became the most important ship in the United States Navy, and it acquitted itself quite nicely. And with the success of the aircraft carrier came the United States' obsession with air power.

With that information as background, I recommend Bob Novak's column on the battleship. Battleships are a relic in today's Navy. The USS Iowa and the USS Wisconsin are the only two battleships available to us today, and they sit in reserve. In fact, there is a movement afoot to have them both turned into museums. I'm more than a little disappointed at this. While the hay day of the battleship has long passed, there is still a role for the battleship in today's Navy. I'll let Novak take over on that note:
On the modernized battleships, 18 big (16-inch) guns could fire 460 projectiles in nine minutes and take out hardened targets in North Korea. In contrast, the DD(X) will fire only 70 long-range attack projectiles at $1 million a minute. Therefore, the new destroyer will rely on conventional 155-millimeter rounds that Marines say cannot reach the shore. Former longtime National Security Council staffer William L. Stearman, now executive director of the U.S. Naval Fire Support Association, told me, "In short, this enormously expensive ship cannot fulfill its primary mission: provide naval surface fire support for the Marine Corps."

The Navy's anti-battleship bias began Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese surprise attack destroyed the U.S. Pacific Fleet's battleships. Although admirals in 1946 vowed never to bring back battleships, they served effectively in the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf wars. Congressional pressure brought the USS New Jersey to Vietnam for six months, leading the Marine commandant, Gen. Leonard Chapman, to conclude, "Thousands of American lives were saved." The Marines calculated that 80 percent of 1,067 U.S. planes lost in Vietnam could have been saved had battleships fought the entire war.
While air power offers longer range and missiles more precision, there is something to be said for being able to put a lot of firepower down on an area quickly, and battleships have the advantage in this. But we have a military today that is obsessed with high tech solutions to any problem, and that is fine as long as we have a sizeable gap over our nearest military competitor. One day, though, somebody-maybe China-will achieve military parity with us. With our expensive, high tech weapons systems, all out war could become a debilitatingly expensive venture. Artillery, both in the Army and the Navy, would be a less expensive way for us to put down a lot of firepower while preserving our expensive machinery for battles it could win without high levels of attrition. I have a fear that the U.S. military is being short sited in its eschewing of low tech weaponry for high tech weaponry. There is a place for both in today's military, and in certain cases, the low tech solutions may even have the advantage.