Saturday, July 22, 2006

Philly a Go-Go

I innocently opened the window, and clicked on the "Anthony's Store" tab, thinking that there would be some heretofore unknown treasures awaiting. What does Amazon think I should be reading? Much to my surprise, the number two selection was a little tome called "Paying for Sex: The Gentlemen's Guide To Web Porn, Strip Clubs, Prostitutes & Escorts" At least they think I'm a gentleman.
How did Amazon know? (I wondered quietly to myself). Finally, the last option available had been accounted for (so to speak). Pay for it - what a novel concept! Why bother with the incessant dinner dates, dancing and subsequent nonsense that goes with the dating process and jump right to the goodies? They skipped right over "How to Pick Up Women" and "How to be a Porn Director" and went right to the issue at hand (so to speak). Nice going, Amazon! I'll have to check my cookies to see what is giving them these (accurate) ideas on how I ain't getting any.
Maybe my spyware needs updating?
And, as we can see, what happens in Atlantic City doesn't necessarily stay in Atlantic City...
PHILADELPHIA -- State authorities have the right to make sure go-go dancers keep their bikinis on and their hands off themselves and others. In a New Jersey case, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia says the state can regulate lewd and immoral activity from taking place where liquor is served. The ruling involves the Atlantic City bar Moulin Rouge.
State troopers went undercover in 2003 and observed dancers rubbing themselves and patrons in sexually explicit ways. The state's Division of Alcohol Beverage Control issued a $10,000 fine.
The bar paid, but challenged the state's regulation against "lewdness or immoral activity" in places with licenses to sell alcohol.
Vice cops. A waste of good taxes, and in a state where we just had a major budget crisis, we were spending money to send cops to bars to watch dancers touching themselves. How do I get that job? More importantly, how do we get these people to find another job and stop bothering consenting adults out to enjoy themselves?
The point is that the state feels that "immoral activity" includes touching people. Something tells me that they wouldn't know immoral activity if it was taking place in their driveway. The state sent out a few cops to make sure that some guy who might have been getting a rub wasn't getting one. To what end? The guy still needs a rub, and the girl wanted to give him one. The only people not cooperating were the ones that were the least involved. That doesn't sound so much like law enforcement as much as it does buzz-kill enforcement.
Meanwhile, Amazon sells a book called "The American Male's Guide on How to Get More Pussy". Just don't read it in Atlantic City.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Another Inconvenient Truth

The House Committee on Government Reform has begun an inquiry into allegations that White House officials edited reports on global warming to play down the threat it poses. In addition, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group predicted that energy companies' plans to build more than 150 new coal-fired power plants will increase U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 25% above 2004 levels.
The House committee chairman, Rep. Tom Davis [R-Va] and Rep. Henry Waxman [D-Ca] will request data from the White House and hold hearings into whether the White House Council on Environmental Quality (there's an oxymoron for ya) intentionally diluted scientific information on the threat of global warming.
So, let's take a look at what we have here...
1 - We have a bi-partisan government committee who has reason to believe that the White House (the President) has altered or withheld information from the public and Congress.
2 - An organization created by the states to act as a watchdog in the public interest (the U.S.PIRG) has gotten involved as a representative of the general public - us - whom they act to serve.
3 - The White House has a Council on Environmental Quality. Who'd-a-thunk? That has to be the easiest job in Washington. Come in, do nothing, act stupid and shred documents. Alledgedly.
Read their "Record of Progress" [here] and try to keep your lunch down at the same time. I dare ya. When you get to the part about "employing the best science and data to inform decision-making" I bet you'll bring up yesterday's lunch, too.
The sad thing is that the story was buried in Yahoo news this afternoon, and I'm guessing it will get little airplay tonight or tomorrow. Meanwhile, Fox News probably has reporters covering Bush's meeting with American Idol contestants. Nero fiddles while Rome burns - well, it's almost that hot.
This time, it's not the Democrats or the "crazy" left-wing tree huggers doing the screaming. It's government agencies and independent watchdogs. Meanwhile, Henry Waxman is quoted as saying that "the Bush administration has very little credibility on this issue." Ya think? Sure, this issue and lots of others. He's good at back rubs, though.
In my opinion, withholding and altering scientific data is an impeachable offense, but even if the charges stick (doubtful for this guy) it will likely take so long to prove, process and convict, that his time in office will be gratefully close to an end, while the damage he has done will take generations to undo, if it is possible at this point. But, you have to admit, the guy has accomplished a lot in 6 years.
All of which convinces me even further that former Vice President Al Gore is one of the best representatives we as citizens have to act in our interests. Perhaps it's best that he is now in private life rather than mired in the government. But I know that if he were president today there are several current events that would still be events, but not current. Keep fighting, Al. You look better with each passing day.
It's no wonder Bush wants us to go to Mars. He's looking for a summer home.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Was I "Blammed" or "Splogged"?

Once I log onto my e-mail account, I check it regularly. If I'm online, I'll get a new message every half-hour or so, usually from some list or other that I signed up for and now regret.
Imagine my surprise when I checked at 9:10 and saw that I had 75 messages in my inbox. 75. I knew almost immediately that something was amiss. After opening my inbox, I saw that they were all from "anonymous" and were posted to some rant from this My Sick Mind site, even though they didn't actually address anything. The comments were along these lines:
Great site loved it alot, will come back and visit again.
Hi! Just want to say what a nice site. Bye, see you soon.
This site is one of the best I have ever seen, wish I had one like this.
What a great site, how do you build such a cool site, its excellent.
Super color scheme, I like it! Good job. Go on.
It was the "color scheme" note that aroused my suspicion - other than the 74 others - since, as you can see, the color scheme isn't so much a scheme as it is black and white.
I was being Blog-Spammed, but for what purpose? Why would "anonymous" leave a slightly different message for each of the posts I have made? While I appreciate the fact that it is "one of the best I have ever seen", no matter how phony it may be. Nevertheless, if I believe it to be sincere, then it is.
It wasn't the first time it had happened, nor do I suppose it will be the last. So I ask, dear Blog buddies, what is the point?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Where's My Unborn Peeps?

WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Bush cast the first veto of his 5-1/2 year presidency Wednesday, rejecting legislation to ease limits on federal funding for research on stem cells obtained from embryos. "This bill would support the taking of innocent human life of the hope of finding medical benefits for others. It crosses a moral boundary that our society needs to respect, so I vetoed it," Bush said at a White House event where he was surrounded by 18 families who "adopted" frozen embryos that were not used by other couples, and then used those left over embryos to have children.
Nice going George. You really know how to pick your fights. Surround yourself with a group of kooks who happen to agree with you and whip out your veto pen. Sure, why bother trying to find a cure for a disease that a living person has, when we can use those embryos to produce more people?
You make it sound as if we're going around stealing living embryos and using them for research against someone's will, when the exact opposite is true. Meanwhile, we can still get government money for lots of other less important things:
$60,000 to open a flower shop
$100,000 to open a pizza shop
$92,000 to start a dry cleaner shop
$150,000 to open a computer store
But you can't get ten cents from the government to help cure a disease like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. That makes good nonsense. Britain has passed laws encouraging embryonic stem-cell research. Canada and New Zealand have passed legislation to fund it. So, why couldn't George go along with his Poodle Pal in England? How can we be so sure that we are right and they are wrong? The bill didn't concern drilling for oil or fighting his great boogeyman - terrorism, so it gets squashed.
I'd like to make a list of all the "moral boundaries" that George Bush has crossed since he became president, but I only have so much space.
As I have said before, the government is there for you - just don't get sick or become poor - that's when they stop caring.

Poodles and Rockets

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - The maiden launch of a private rocket bankrolled by a millionaire entrepreneur was doomed by leaking fuel that caught fire seconds after liftoff, a government review board said Tuesday. The review determined that "the only plausible cause" of the fire was a corroded aluminum nut that allowed fuel to leak onto the main engine. The fire then caused a loss of pressure that shut down the engine.
I guess you had to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.
Sorry ... couldn't resist such an obvious joke.
LONDON (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Tony Blair was roundly mocked as a U.S. poodle on Tuesday after an off-the-cuff chat with President George W. Bush was accidentally broadcast. Bush and Blair enjoyed a gossip over lunch at the Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg on Monday, unaware that a microphone in front of them was switched on and their words would be relayed around the world.
Breaking with diplomatic formalities, Bush hailed Blair, his closest European ally, with the words "Yo, Blair." His solution to the Middle East crisis was that Syria should press Hizbollah to "stop doing this shit."
The British media pored over the text of the conversation, saying it cast Blair in a subservient role and showed the unequal nature of Britain's much-vaunted "special relationship" with the United States. "Yo, Bush! Start treating our prime minister with respect," the popular tabloid Daily Mirror said, joining others in seeing the U.S. president's greeting as disrespectful. The broadcast chat "reinforces the damaging public image of Blair as the U.S. president's poodle," it said.
So the British think Bush is disrespectful? Try living with the guy for 6 years. Apparently, they have this inflated notion that a world leader is supposed to be some sort of noble icon. They are surprised to learn, so late in the process, that the guy is a farmer with a good job. It's something that many of us knew all along, but we couldn't convince millions of voters of the same thing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yes, It is Hot Enough for Me, Pt. 2

Although, in addition, yesterday the president said the word "shit" to British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a private conversation captured by microphones. Anyone who is surprised to know that George W. Bush used the word 'shit' shouldn't be reading this blog.
Somehow, there were 358,000 posts regarding his minor indescretion. Meanwhile, the substance of his comments gets no notice. Such are the priorities of our country. Words mean more than the substance. You get what you deserve.
We deserve so much more.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Yes, It is Hot Enough for Me

It was a 102 degrees today - farenheit. As people are fond of saying, "a hundred and two in the shade", which is correct, since that's how they measure temperature. In the sun, it is much hotter. They tell us it "feels" like 110, but how do we know what 110 feels like? When it's 110, they'll tell us it feels like 115, so the "feels like" is irrelevant, but it makes the TV weather guys think they're earning their salaries.
The point is, it's hot. It's so hot that I'm strangely comfortable. Mostly, I hate the heat, and it doesn't have to be that hot for me to be uncomfortable, so when there is ludicrous heat, like today, I'm more comfortable around people, because we're all supposed to be feeling bad, and by contrast, I look normal. There ya go!
Meanwhile, my car had developed its own little shield of dust and grime - which I think increased its weight and drag coefficient enough to impair my fuel economy. Since I'm opposed to wasting things like gasoline, I decided to take the car for a bath. Lucky for me, there's a car wash across the street, so the choice was obvious.
As with so many other businesses, it is operated by people for whom english is not a primary language. That doesn't influence my decision, but it does make me wonder why Americans aren't that anxious to open a car wash. Maybe it has something to do with low income and a lot of work?
For twelve bucks, I'm supposed to get wax, tire cleaner (seems like a waste), vacuuming and undercarriage wash - which seems silly, since I can't see the undercarriage and really can't tell if they're doing anything or just taking the extra two dollars and flashing a little light that says UNDERCARRIAGE WASH during the cycle. It's a pretty light, though.
What I did get (that I didn't pay for), was the seat adjustment. Why is it necessary for a guy who drives (I use the term loosely) my car a grand total of 15 feet to give my driver's seat the Gangsta Lean, and push the passenger seat up so far that even Herve Villechaize couldn't get in. But the car was clean, so I guess I shouldn't complain. Plus the fact that it felt like 110, and those poor souls are out there drying my car for $5 an hour.
I spent the next half hour getting the seats back to their (apologies to Blue Cross) pre-existing conditions, and started wondering about the heat. Don't ask how my mind works.
I'm not sure we have evolved enough as mammals. Extremes of heat and cold seem to affect us too much, and we rely on artificial means to equalize our bodies. Or is it because we rely on artificial means that we cannot adapt? I need a genealogist. Check on the elderly, stay out of the sun, watch your fluids and don't move too fast, they tell us. Meanwhile, I can't walk from my house to my car without a towel and the air conditioning runs almost constantly and I'm still warm. My cat seems fine, and I see birds, rabbits and squirrels running around outside like they do every day.
If it takes 70 degrees and low humidity to make us "comfortable", we can't be that strong a species, can we?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Little Things

I don't know if it gets major news coverage outside of my part of the world, but Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro is still fighting for his horsey life at the University of Pennsylvania. He developed some sort of horse infection and has been upgraded and downgraded more than a penny stock over the last week.
I wonder if the newspeople who so solemnly report on his status understand how funny it is when they tell us that the horse is in stable condition.
Probably not.
The world is moving closer every day to my dream of a cashless society. Mostly, it's because I don't have any cash, but otherwise, we are using cards more and more for all sorts of things. Some are cleverly disguised scams, like the one that puts pennies back into your savings account for every dollar you spend. There is one that is a lot stranger, that I saw today.
Vending machines are now accepting credit cards through something called e-Port. The machine that sells bottled water at my local gym has one. The water is a dollar. I guess we are supposed to use a credit card now to buy water and fifty cent bags of chips? Maybe that's the scam, that if we think that "real money" isn't being spent, we will buy two bags instead of one, but there's something sillier than that going on.
Who takes their credit card to the gym?
As I type this, in the background I can hear that stupid Ford commercial with the clown that won American Idol. You know, the 40 year-old guy who says he's 29 (so he could get on the show). Anyway, the stupid thing plays on every station at 10-minute intervals. It's impossible to avoid, which is strange, because the song is about possibilities.
What really bugs me about it is that the guy is supposed to be our next "idol", yet he has a plainly pedestrian voice. He sounds like he strains to hit every note, and looks more like a guy trying to take a dump than sing a song. Mostly, he just jumps, spins and points his finger at us a lot. All form and no substance. If I wanted to watch that, I could rent one of those Chucky movies. It's annoying, and I can't imagine that it will convince anyone to buy a Ford, unless they crave the same sort of gyrating St. Vitus condition that is portrayed in the commercial.
Note to the Ford Motor Corporation: Change your ad campaign.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" dug up $62.2 million in its second weekend, raising its 10-day total to $258.2 million. That's great. What is it now, $9 to get in to see a movie? That's close to 29 million tickets sold to see this thing. I wish they would tell us that, instead of the dollar figure. What did it cost in 1939 to see "Gone With the Wind", five cents? To make $258 million, you'd have to sell 5 billion tickets. There's no way to know if movies are more popular now than 20 years ago, although I suppose they are, just because there are more theaters, people and places to go. Just tell me how many people are going.
But you don't have to be an economics major to know that, at $1.2 million, "Nacho Libre" was a bomb.
In 1902 the first modern electrical air conditioning was invented by Willis H. Carrier. Designed to improve manufacturing process control in a printing plant, his invention controlled not only temperature but also humidity.
God bless you, Mr. Carrier. I run from my air conditioned home to my air conditioned car to my air conditioned job. I can't imagine dealing with hundred-degree weather (like we're going to have this week) without good ol' A.C., but it wasn't that long ago that people did have to deal with it.
So, why is it that we will see men wearing sport coats and neckties in this extreme heat? Sometimes, customary modes of dress have to be abandoned for the conditions. To me, they just look like dumb-asses who don't know enough to wear something more sensible. I'll bet the president won't be wearing a jacket this week, and you don't get more dumb-ass than him.
How's this for irony?
Beer baron Peter Coors' driver's license has been revoked by a hearing officer who ruled the executive had been driving under the influence of alcohol. In one breath test, he registered a blood alcohol level of 0.073 percent. In a second, 20 minutes later, he registered 0.088. In Colorado a blood alcohol count of 0.05 results in a driving while impaired charge, while a count of 0.08 results in driving under the influence.
Geez ... .05! Close the bars and put us out of our misery. If you can be charged for driving at .05, why even bother leaving the house to drink? If that's the rule, then all the cops in Colorado have to do is sit outside the bar and pull over everyone who leaves. But I guess that wouldn't be popular with the bar owners association, or whatever lobbying group they have. So, we're stuck in between the anxiety of being out and drinking or the relative safety and isolation of staying home and drinking.
They say, if you drink alone at home, there's a possibility that you are an alcoholic. I say, it makes you the smartest one in the bunch.