Thursday, July 31, 2008

Enough with the Hope, Obama

Barack Obama really irks me. Whenever I listen to him speak, this weird feeling rushes through my body. It occurred to me that the sentiment I was experiencing is usually called "hope." He gives me a sense of faith in humankind. It's sickening.

As a Jew, I was raised to have a healthy skepticism about everything. I don't believe that the dish ran away with the spoon. Maybe one plus one equals two, maybe it doesn't? The government could be telling the truth, but probably not. That skepticism defines me. If I wasn't a bitterly sardonic Jew, I don't know what I'd be. Maybe a gentile?

And there in lies my problem with Obama. He's so damn inspirational. I don't want to believe in things. I want to mock things. To quote Robert Kennedy's short Jewish friend, "He dreams things that never were and says, why not. I see things that are and say, look at this schmuck." What if I start seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, instead of as the shithole that it is? Then I might become a happy, kind, likeable person. And that would be a tragedy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Crime and Punishment

I was an alternate juror on a case that just ended. The man was deemed guilty, but because I wasn't needed, I was excused before the deliberation. After the trial I realized that I was quite happy that I didn't have to determine the defendant's fate. Personally, I reject the assumption that a person who commits a crime should be punished in the way we think of the term. Caging people in prisons doesn't aid society in anyway. We should attempt to rehabilitate those that are able and find a more appropriate situation for those that are not.

Prison is a vicious place designed to dehumanize. It is a place where love and compassion are perceived as weaknesses; violence is the norm. That got me thinking of alternative punishments that can be handed out:
  • The convicts receive repeated pink bellying.
  • For the rest of their life, they are only allowed to listen to Rod Stewart or Bryan Adams albums. (This might be considered cruel and unusual punishment; we're checking on it.)
  • The victim gets to perpetrate a crime against the convict of equal or lesser value.
  • The only TV you are allowed to watch is Nancy Grace's show.
  • Every time asked about the offense, the convict is require to state, "First of all, I'd like to thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ for giving me the ability to commit this crime."
  • Whenever the convict takes a dump, toilet paper is removed from their stall.
  • Convicts have to pay twice as much for a gallon of gas as the rest of us.
  • They are required to sit on a jury as an alternate for a week-long case.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Afghan Civil War: The Movie

Often times a movie will end with a brief written update about various characters within the film. If I made a movie about the civil war in Afghanistan, this is what I would write at the end for each character:

Hamid Karzai was appointed interim president of Afghanistan in 2002. He was "elected" to a full term as president in 2004, a position that he holds to this day. His nickname is the Mayor of Kabul.
Mullah Omar's whereabouts are still unknown. From hiding, the beleaguered mullah continues to support the Taliban cause.
After being marginalized by the Taliban, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar moved to Queens and opened up a German bakery. In 2008, he returned to Afghanistan to continue his quest for power.
Ismail Khan returned to Herat after the U.S. invasion where he is an assistant manager at a Kinkos and the leading warlord in western Afghanistan.
Ahmad Shah Masoud is still dead.
Rashid Dostum became a gay porn actor under the name of Pound MaAnus. Eventually he would return to become the defacto ruler of northern Afghanistan.
Mohammed Fahim practices for upcoming battles by playing endless hours of World of Warcraft.
Burhanuddin Rabbani still can't buy a clue.
Osama bin Laden continues to run his global campaign of terror from a falafel stand in White Plains, New York.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Evil Leaders League, Week 4

This week's evil action goes out to terrible Jewish parody rapper turned terrible Christian rapper, 50 Shekel. May your anal herpes flare up at an inopportune moment. The official ELL site is here as always. Let's get the results for Week 4.

Ahmadinejad vs Kim
Iran's hairy little president goes by the name of Mahmoud P. Ahmadinejad. The P stands for pimp. Ahmadinejad has further attempted to ruffle the feathers of the U.S. by claiming that Iran possesses 6,000 centrifuges. He also claims that he has 6 pairs of Lindsey Lohan's unwashed panties, 14 of Hitler’s mustache combs, and a Gaylord Perry rookie card, so take it for what it's worth. He has vowed to never give in the demands of the U.S. and the Europeans... unless, you know, they ask nicely. North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il might show up at the Beijing Olympics. He likes the rhythmic gymnastics and the ballroom dancing. His appearance just might end the Olympics as we know it. If only rhythmic gymnastics and ballroom dancing weren't Olympic sports, we could have avoided this potential catastrophe.
winner: Check out the ELL site

Shwe vs. Musharraf
In Myanmar, when you're the leader of a military junta, you're also the leader of the country. The same is true in Burma. Than Shwe fits the bill in both. Shwe would help his ravaged country in the aftermath of a devastating cyclone, but he just enjoys watching people suffer so damn much. He has the shower scene in Schindler's List on a perpetual loop. When he's not watching that, or Hotel Rwanda, he loves Nancy Grace's show. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is Joe Frazier to parliament's Muhammad Ali. Musharraf keeps pounding away at the government body, while parliament is attacking the head. Musharraf might sack the government and might, in turn, find his headless body in a sack. For right now, Musharraf is floating like a wounded butterfly and clinging (to power) like a (queen) bee.
winner: Check out the ELL site

Chavez vs al-Bashir
Hugo Chavez runs things in Venezuela. Oh, he's plenty evil, but he's been a little ineffective lately. He won't get his precious proxy war with the U.S. via Colombia just yet. He's seen his coalition break apart just before upcoming elections. While Chavez might have scored the proverbial own goal this week, he probably won't meet the same fate as the 1994 Colombian World Cup team's former defender, Andres Escobar... yet. Sudan's leader, Omar al-Bashir rejects the International Criminal Court's indictment of him for the crime of genocide. If only Adolph Eichman had thought of that, he might still be relaxing on the coast of Argentina with the rest of his buddies from the "good ole days."
winner: Check out the ELL site

Nazarbayev vs Calderon
Kazakhstan's president is Nursultan Nazarbayev. Nur means "born to;" sultan means "rule;" Nazar means "in an autocratic;" baye means "manner;" and v means "and drinks his own pee." His former royal residence is being demolished next week. Maybe that's why Sacha Baron Cohen received a curious official request to visit the building next week. Hmm. The president of Mexico is Felipe Calderon. Most Mexicans believe the government is losing the war against the drug mafia. Of course, it's all part of Calderon's plan to invade the U.S. with immigrants and eventually take over OUR country. I believe he’s also responsible for Antonio Margarito's shocking victory over Miguel Cotto. I'm not sure how that plays into his overall plan, but I'll think of something.
winner: Check out the ELL site

standings: Check out the ELL site

Sunday, July 27, 2008

50 Shekel Calls Me a Terrorist

50 Shekel, a terrible Jewish parody rapper turned terrible Christian rapper, has called me a terrorist and has said I need Jesus.

In a response to my post The Case Against 50 Shekel, 50 Shekel said, "You are cruel, without [G-d] and are a terrorist." He called me a cruel terrorist because I said, "He is terrible, an embarrassment, offensive, and I hate him." I can only hope that Mr. Shekel's comments will make me an honorary member of the Ju-Tang Clan. The Clan, a Jewish parody rap group that mocks the genre of Jewish Parody Rap (how post neo-ironic!), roasted 50 Shekel (aka Aviad Cohen) with lines about Nazi rape and imagining that they were airplanes and 50 Shekel was the Twin Towers.

50 Shekel claimed that I need Jesus, specifically saying, "YOu definitely do need Yeshua [Jesus] as your Messiah. Devil's got a hold on you and you're enjoying the ride straight down to hell." It appears that 50 Shekel is adjusting nicely to his new Christian religion. 50 Shekel implied that I'm going to hell because I don't follow Jesus, but his anti-Semitism didn't stop there. He explains that my post- especially the way I talked about Christians and Jews for Jesus (which was surprisingly innocuous upon further review)- reminds him "of why I left rabbinic Judaism in the first place," indicating that "rabbinic" Jews are hateful bigots.

I'm glad 50 Shekel called me a terrorist. It needed to be said. Osama bin Laden wishes he was me. I'm very pleased that the creater of the song "In Da Shul" has proved himself an anti-Semite. I particularly enjoy that my post represents the reasons why he left "rabbinic" Judaism. The post was nothing more than a scathing review of his abysmal rapping ability, so there you go. But what I love most is that to get to a post of mine from November 2007, Aviad Cohen must have either googled himself or his alias, 50 Shekel. He's not only a neo-nazi, he's also a loser!

So 50 Shekel has called me a terrorist and said I need Jesus. And I couldn't be happier. There is a cliché that you should be judged by the company you keep. But I believe you can tell more about a man by looking at his enemies. If 50 Shekel is an enemy of mine, I must be doing something right.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Barack bin Laden

Honestly, I can't believe George W. Bush hasn't caught Barack Obama. Even by Bush's own criteria, the war on terror has been a huge failure, not least because of that fact. Personally, I don't think catching Obama will help the U.S. much in the long run. Al Qaeda is such a decentralized organization, so catching Obama won't hurt it in a practical sense. In fact, if Obama is killed, he may just become a martyr and help to mobilize militants against the U.S.

It's really amazing how Obama travels between Afghanistan and Pakistan (we believe, we don't really know where he is) and the U.S. can't get him for two critical reasons that expose Bush's war on terror as a horrible and deadly failure. The U.S. is so hated in that region that we can't get any credible intelligence on Obama's whereabouts. The other- and far more catastrophic- reason we haven't caught Obama is because U.S. forces are tied down in Iraq, which was a war of choice.

Hopefully, Osama, if he becomes president, will get us out of Iraq and win the hearts and minds of average Muslims. That is the only true way to negate the threat Obama presents.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Osama Obama

We focus on Osama bin Laden's race way too much. Yes, Osama is the first black candidate from a major political party in the history of the United States. That is extremely important and his race has practical significance. I hope it forces us as Americans to wrestle with racism on a profound level. Some media outlets have taken up the issue, but the majority of coverage of Osama's race has been superficial thus far.

The media is criticized for portraying Osama as a prophet of hope because, the critics claim, the media is filled with politically correct liberals. The reality is that Osama is a great candidate who is doing a wonderful job this campaign season. He has touched a nerve with Americans and has shown us what we can become. It should be acceptable to praise Osama without being seen as a politically correct hack, just as it should be acceptable to criticize Osama without being called a racist, as long as the critique is fair.

Osama's background and identity is notable, but it's more important to know what he stands for. If we don't understand that, we will be doing Osama a disservice and our national conversation will never be anything more than a superficial discussion about whether some white people will vote for a black president.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Good Luck

The court case recessed early today and was postponed until Monday. That was great because I could go home, prep for a phone interview, and then relax tomorrow. The interviewer was supposed to call at some point between 6-6:30pm. At 6:20, I realized that I never turned my phone back on. The interviewer called me at 6:24.

Rarely do I have such good luck. Usually, I'm quite the little schlemiel. Maybe my luck is finally changing! Eh, who am I kidding? Sometime soon, I bet I'll piss my pants as I'm talking to a pretty girl.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Judicious Dentistry

You know how you just go to the dentist for a one time cleaning and then you end up having to go back about 5 more times (that happens to me all the time)? My jury duty experience went something like that. Apparently, vicious hatreds for the exorbitantly obese and the left-handed aren’t legitimate forms of bigotry that would get someone excluded from sitting on a jury.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jury Duty

I have jury duty in a matter of hours. I know sitting on a jury is one of the foundations of our country. Blah, blah, blah. I just want to go home and sleep.

If asked I think I'll just say that I believe that every Jew is innocent and every gentile is guilty. Or I'll talk about the- conscious or subconscious- discrimination people of color face within the justice system and that it is my job to rectify that wrong. Maybe I'll explain that I've always idolized Henry Fonda's character in 12 Angry Men and I've just been waiting for my opportunity to emulate his performance. But if I had to bet, I'd say I'll get selected to a 3-year long trial about some obscure tax law. This might be the one time I wish I lived in Zimbabwe.

Monday, July 21, 2008

If At First You Don't Succeed

Grandpa's favorite boxer was Andrew Golota. He fell in love with the Pole's style in the ring during his two matches against Riddick Bowe. In their first fight, Golota was winning until he was disqualified for continuously hitting Bowe in the balls. For their second bout, one would've expected Golota to refrain from smacking around Bowe's speed bags. But Golota was too stubborn to change. Instead, even though he was winning the contest, he once again repeatedly went after Bowe's balls until he was disqualified.

Grandpa said it best, "I love Golota. He found a losing strategy and stuck with it." If at first you don't succeed, keep hitting him in the nuts.

That got me thinking about other situations where a losing strategy is repeated until it's perfected.
  • The Federalists put a Pinckney on the ticket in 1796, 1800, 1804, and 1808. Neither Pinckney brother ever became President or Vice President.
  • The Lakers lost 7 times in the NBA Finals to the Celtics during the 1960s. One of those times, they should have done something different. Like win.
  • The Germans lost a two-front war in WWI. They tried the approach again in WWII to no avail.

What did each of these three do wrong? They didn't learn from Golota and go for the balls. He may have lost those two fights against Bowe, but he won something far more important, my grandpa's respect.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Derek Jeter is the Worst Player Ever

New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter has led his team to four championships, winning the World Series MVP in 2000. He was AL Rookie of the Year and has made eight all star games. He's won three gold gloves, two silver sluggers, and one Hank Aaron award. He has a career batting average of .316 and is a sure-fire Hall of Famer.

So how can I say that he is the worst player in Major League Baseball history? Well, I have developed a complicated mathematical formula to prove my hypothesis.

Let's first start defensively, where Jeter's ineptitude is legendary. A careful evaluation of Jeter's play at short shows that he is fairly decent on routine grounders, a little worse on tough plays, and utterly terrible on balls hit out to right field. Jeter has the worst ratio of any player on balls hit out to right field, particularly when compared to right fielders. This is a stat that I've termed SSRF. Jeter's SSRF is zero, which is not good.

Dissecting Jeter's defense of Tuesday games following a full moon, you begin to grasp how terrible he truly is. His TGFM number is 7 on a scale of 7 to 48.3. So he is the worst of all time according to the TGFM. Many people believe Jeter is a good defender because he has a high fielding percentage and has made some memorable plays, but those people have mental disorders. It's important to look at Jeter's range. Focusing on innings that are divisible by 3 in games that fall on a date that is a prime number, Jeter scores a -3 on the range test. To put that in perspective, Nomar Garciaparra scores a 1,287 on the same scale.

Jeter is not much better at the plate. On day games at home where both former mayor Rudy Giuliani and Billy Crystal attend, Jeter 's OPCS is only .713. OPCS is a combination of on base percentage and slugging percentage against curveballs. He is called Mr. November, but did you know his lgSLG is only .407 in that month? It's wonder he doesn't kill himself already.

By now, you are firmly convinced that Derek Jeter sucks. How can you argue? This is science! It must be objective. But don't believe me. Believe such hallowed baseball names as Rob Neyer, Bill James, Shane Jensen, James Click, Tom Tango, Mike Emeigh, and Jon Dewan.

The HarazQuack Times "Jeter Sucks" formula:
DP/chest hairs + errors ((assists - hot chicks banged) / HR x GQ + World Series rings - the number of sabermetrician Red Sox fans) = Jeter sucks

Friday, July 18, 2008

Walking Into A Bar

An Albanian man and a Serbian man walk into a bar.
Both sit down at opposite ends and order a beer.
The Albanian man takes a sip, slams down the glass, and shouts, "Albanians are the best! Fuck the Serbs!"
The Serbian man finishes his sip, slams down his glass, and yells back, "Fuck the Albanians! Serbs are the best!
The Albanian man throws down his nearly-full glass to the ground in disgust. "Go to Hell you murderous Serbian bastard."
The Serbian man throws his glass towards the Albanian man while shouting, "Suck my dick you filthy dog!"
The two men run at each other and begin to trade blows while continuing to throw insults at one another.
At one point, the dispute becomes so violent that both men pull out a gun and squeeze the trigger.

An Albanian family and a Serbian family walk into a funeral parlor...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Evil Leaders League, Week 3

It's been an eventful week for our heroically evil leaders. Check out the official Evil Leaders League site. Don't settle for substitutes. Are there any substitute ELL sites? Anyway, let's check the results.

Nazarbayev vs Musharraf
Kazakhstan's president is a man named Nursultan Nazarbayev. Nazarbayev will chair Europe's OSCE in 2010 and he's preparing for it by tearing up his collection of Thomas Jefferson's writings. It's not the slavery part of Jefferson's work that is the trouble, it's the democracy part. Nazarbayev would prefer that democracy went the way of the typewriter or the French Tickler. There aren't as many French Ticklers as I encountered in my youth. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf told his ministers that he powders his balls. Somehow that made Musharraf even more unlikable in his country. The extremists felt that nut-powdering was unIslamic, but most just felt it was weird. And weirder that he told them.
winner: Check out the ELL site

Chavez vs Ahmadinejad
Hugo Chavez of Venezuela even has an evil smirk. Apparently, the rescue of hostages out of Colombia was a setback for the wet... forget it, that's not appropriate (for a few reasons). When the release of hostages hurts you politically, generally you're an evil fellow. His ex-wife hates him. That's not so evil. But she hates him to the point where she's become politically active for the opposition. Now all Hugo Chavez has to do is "do away with her" and he'll be an evil legend. Chavez has called for Latin American unity. Who are they unifying against? The United States is a good guess. He also powders his cojones with cocaine. Just for good measure. Musharraf gave him the idea.

Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad showed his evil clout by firing missiles that could carry a nuclear weapon (if Iran had one). That could be damaging because the U.S. and Israel don't have such technol... never mind. Despite this test, Bush sent a diplomatic envoy to Iran and asked Israel not to invade unilaterally. Diplomacy is evil leader suicide. Don't take the bait Mahmoud. Stay evil, brother!
winner: Check out the ELL site

Calderon vs Shwe
There's a sign in Manassas, Virginia that claims illegal immigrants deserve to be treated like human beings- no doubt part of a ploy perpetrated by Mexican President Felipe Calderon. We must resist these illegal aliens. Don't be fooled by E.T., these aliens are not cute nor harmless. They are job-stealing, taco-consuming, salsa-dancing monsters. The United Nations is set to press Than Shwe of Myanmar/Burma to open up his country to democracy. Shwe wouldn't even open up his country to foreign aid workers after the devastating cyclone, so you can shove that idea up your ass, U.N. Shwe uses U.N. treaties to wipe sweat off of his perpetually perspiring posterior. Use powder, Than.
winner: Check out the ELL site

al-Bashir vs Kim
The International Criminal Court indicted Sudan's Omar al-Bashir on charges of genocide. He will hire a Dream Team of lawyers, including F. Ali Bailey, Johnnie Muhammad Cochran, and Robert bin Shapiro, according to Sudan's minister of information, Kato Kaelin. Kim-Jong-Il, North Korea's cream-of-the-crop, recently shot a South Korean tourist. Well, he didn't actually shoot her, he has hired guards for... BREAKING NEWS: Omar al-Bashir is in the backseat of his Ford Bronco as it slowly zooms down the Khartoum Freeway. The driver is his friend Ahmad al-Cowlings. We have al-Cowlings on the phone.
"Hello. I've got O.B. in the backseat holding a gun to his head."
"Who is this?"
"This is A.C. You know who this is, dammit!"
We'll stay with this story as long as possible.
winner: Check out the ELL site

standings: Check out the ELL site

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Guantanamo Inmates Choose Not to Watch the All-Star Game

When given the option, 9 out of 10 Guantanamo prisoners chose to be waterboarded, a universally recognized form of torture, than to watch the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. After watching the game, which just ended this minute, the other 10 percent claimed they made the wrong choice.

One inmate, Albert Qaeda, from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, explained his decision, "I've always liked baseball, so I figured I'd watch the All-Star Game instead of feeling like I'm drowning. The more I watched, the angrier I became. The game just doesn't make sense. It if counts, why is the game still managed like an exhibition game? It's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."

Mustafa McDonald, from Sheboygan, Yemen, agreed, "After 5 hours of baseball, I realized I made the wrong decision. And that's not even counting the 45 minutes plus of self-congratulatory bullshit before the contest."

Generally, the few inmates that chose to watch the game were more upset about the absurdity of the rules than the length of the game. Ahmad I. Nejad, from Tehran, Idaho, advised, "Either play it like a real game, if it going to determine home field advantage in the World Series, or play it as it is currently constructed and don't give it significance. Honestly, either way, it shouldn't determine home field advantage in the World Series. That is insane."

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, from New York, added, "At least I had a better night than Dan Uggla. Now can somebody call Pat Riley and tell him to get me out of here already!"

Commissioner Bud Selig could not be reached for comment.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

So Long Yankee Stadium

With Yankee Stadium at the center of attention, now seems like a good time to pay my respects to the Mecca of baseball.

The first time I went to Yankee Stadium was in the mid-1990s. Since it was pre-Nats, the Braves were my favorite and the first game I ever witnessed of theirs in person occurred at Yankee Stadium. What could be better than that? I'll tell you what. Greg Maddox pitched a shutout. The Braves won 2-0 on a Ryan Klesko homer. After the ball left the yard, I went into a state of hysteria. A man walked by and yelled, "You're still gonna lose." For the Yankees, a resurgent Doc Gooden went 9 innings only making the one mistake to Klesko. It was a great introduction.

I remember taking our seats and feeling waves of emotion flow through my body. I could see Babe Ruth in the outfield along side of Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. Lou Gehrig was on first and countless others were out on the field as well. "They played here!" I just kept telling myself in awe.

I've never been to Yankee Stadium without my grandpa and my brother. My grandpa died in 1999 and I decided never to go back. So, to me, Yankee Stadium reminds me of my grandpa.

One time, Grandpa bought us tickets to sit right behind the dugout for two games of a weekend series against the Tigers. It would have been one of the highlights of my life. The day before the first game, a bit of Yankee Stadium's ceiling fell and the weekend series was moved to Detroit. We never got to go, because my brother and I were back home in Maryland for the re-scheduled series the following weekend. Yankee Stadium not only represents the glorious and painful past, but also, what could have been.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Obama & McCain Vice President Possibilities

Another Vice Presidential nominee update here. First is a list of the top 10 people I think Barack Obama should choose. Check out the my first (more extensive) list on Obama's VP choices.
(pr - indicates previous rank. I only made a list of my top 5 overall selections last time)
1. Gov. Bill Richardson (NM) - Executive experience? Check. Foreign Policy experience? Check. In a swing state? Check. Help with Latinos? Check. Like guns? Check. Anything else? Former cabinet member. Hired! (pr- 1)
2. Gov. Tim Kaine (Va) - A young fellow from an important swing state. He is able, but also makes Obama look more impressive at the same time. (pr- 2)
3. Gov. Jennifer Granholm (Mi) - Could help with women and is popular in a state that must go blue and Obama could have some trouble with. (pr- 3)
4. Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind) - A former Hillary Clinton supporter from the crucial Midwest. (pr- 5)
5. Fmr Sen. John Edwards (NC) - Not likely to accept, but he would seem to help with those few working class whites from a few states that might waver on voting for Obama. (pr- not ranked)
6. Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mizz) - Falling on the list because of her run-of-the-mill talking-points performance on Meet the Press yesterday. If she can get away from sounding so rehearsed, she'd be a good choice. (pr- 4)
7. Fmr VP Al Gore - He would be higher on the list if he wasn't so unlikely. (pr- nr)
8. Fmr Sen. Bill Bradley (NJ) - He'd be a good choice. He's respected, but talks in a very monotone manner, which would accentuate Obama's charisma, while providing the voter with comfort in knowing that an experienced person is behind Obama. (pr- nr)
9. Fmr Gov. Howard Dean (Vt) - Dean was the pre-cursor to Obama in many ways, but a less effective version. Dean might not be the best choice, but he would appease the liberal base and fit into Obama's message of change. (pr- nr)
10. Fmr Sen. Sam Nunn (Ga) - I'm not a fan of his (He's here just so I can talk about him, I like others better). He would make Obama look weak on the foreign policy front and hurt his perception of hoping to change the culture of Washington.

Do not pick JOE BIDEN!!!!! I will almost surely not vote for Obama then. Joe Biden has a bad plan for Iraq, makes numerous offensive statements, and has that whole plagiarism scandal past. Hillary Clinton and Jim Webb would also be bad selections.

Now for John McCain. This is a list of his most likely choices. In that regard, it's different from the one above. This is the third such list for McCain, so check out the last one.
(pr - indicates previous rank. The last list had more than 10 possibilities.)
1. Gov. Charlie Crist (Fl) - As always, I think he's likely and a good choice. (pr- 1)
2. Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Min) - More talk means more likely. (pr- 6)
3. Fmr Gov. Mitt Romney (Mas) - Honestly, I can't believe McCain is seriously considering him. (pr- 3)
4. Fmr Gov. Tom Ridge (Pa) - Would be perfect for McCain, except he's pro-choice. Personally, I think that would help him even more, but McCain seems determined to lose the election kowtowing to the right wing. (pr- 2)
5. Gov. Mark Sanford (SC) - Shore up the South. (pr- 8)
6. Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) - Girly name could help with women, anti-woman stances could help with men. (pr- 10)
7. Fmr Rep. Rob Portman (Oh) - Would be an interesting safe pick, but not sure how much he would truly help. (pr- nr)
8. Carly Fiorina - Businesswoman and McCain's economic advisor would help with his perceived weakness and she might help with his problem attracting women. (pr- nr)
9. Gov. Rick Perry (Tx) - A safe pick to balance McCain's foreign policy cred with executive experience. (pr- 9)
10. Sen. Chuck Hagel (Neb) - Would be a ballsy pick. Does McCain have the guts? (pr- 7)

Others and their previous rank- Mike Huckabee (pr- 4). Bobby Jindal (pr- 5). Sarah Pallin (pr- 13)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Furniture in a Truck

At first I ignored a few hard knocks and a couple of doorbell rings, but I decided to open the door. The culprit had walked down the driveway and turned when he heard the door open.

In a thick accent, the stereotypical Southerner cried out over the loud large truck parked on the street outside of my house, "Hi, we're a furniture company from North Carolina. If you need any furniture just come on and take a look in our truck."

Ha! I'm not falling for the old furniture-in-a-truck scam. I don't play that game. I know what happens. You go into the back of the truck thinking you're looking at furniture, next thing you know, you're in a concentration camp.

That happened to my grandfather. All he wanted was a dinette set and then BAM! Buchenwald.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What's Wrong With Nats Park

Every game two sections on the edge of the third base side's upper deck are packed to the brim while entire sections in the rest of the stadium are nearly empty. Seats in those two sections cost $5 a piece. The rest of the upper deck costs $10 a seat, twice as much for some inexplicable reason. Maybe the owners don't want a lot of spectators, because you tend to see entire rows left unoccupied in the upper deck.

Only the right field's upper deck is often packed, so it would seem $10 is fair out there. But if you look to the lower level in the outfield, it's a pitiful display of empty seat after empty seat. That's probably because it costs over $20 to sit in the outfield, a ridiculous sum. If you want to sit on field level in either side of the plate, get ready to pay a small fortune to watch 1/81 of the regular season at Nats Park.

People want to go to the games, but the bottom line is it's too expensive compared to the product provided. The Nats are still in the middle of the pack in terms of paid attendance, but it should be much higher. There's a new stadium in a highly-populated baseball-starved area.

The Nats aren't doing terribly well on television either. That's mostly because they're often relegated to MASN2, a fictitious channel that occasionally replaces CSPAN2 on the dial. Guess who owns both MASNs? Peter Angelos, the corrupt Orioles owner, who was the only one to vote against Montreal's move to DC.

Lastly, the Nats haven't paid the stadium's rent to the city this season. The Lerners claim that the stadium is not technically finished just yet, so they are withholding over $3 million due to DC. Contractually, the Lerners might be right- who knows- but they should probably offer at least some of the money as a measure of good faith. It doesn't help anybody to intensify the tension between the team and the city.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Nats in Trouble?

Some people in the area are disappointed in the progress of the team and I don't really understand why. Last season the Nats were expected to be one of the worst teams in baseball history and far exceeded those predictions. The Nats got younger this season and have faced a frightening array of injuries. It's no wonder they are where they are. It's no great cause for concern either.

Many people thought the Nats would win simply because of the new stadium. But playing in a new stadium neutralizes a team's home field advantage. We all can agree that the longer you play in a stadium, the more familiar you become that stadium, and the greater your home field advantage. Surely the fans are excited about the new stadium, but its foolish to think that would transfer to play on the field.

The big offseason additions were Lastings Milledge and Elijiah Dukes. As far as I can remember, no one was claiming that those trades were made to win this season. These are two young guys who have played pretty well considering their age. Now, they're both injured. It comes with the territory. Ryan Zimmerman, another young player, is also injured. Of course losses are going to accompany those realities.

Dmitri Young's comeback was a great story last season. It is silly to believe that it was anything more. In actuality, his 2007 was sub par compared to decent first basemen. He hit for a high average, but that didn't result in enough runs. The same can be said for Ronnie Belliard. Nick Johnson has always been overrated. Forget that he's often injured. He's a contact hitter that doesn't even hit .300. I love all three. They're easy to root for, but they aren't the answers. The Nats need help on the right side of the infield and for their young players to develop. It's going to take time. Be patient.

The pitching has been inconsistent, but with so many young gunners, a good staff will surface in the coming years. The bullpen was one of the best in baseball last season. Now it is terrible because of some injuries. In the same time period, the starters have improved. The worst thing the Nats can do is throw their money away on an overpriced free agent. I understand a lot of Nats fans were formerly backers of the Orioles, so they're used to dumping money on the situation. But it doesn't work. It will wreck the franchise. I used to be a Braves fan. Trust me. You want to stack the teams with talented youngsters and cheap consistent veterans before you make a splash on the free agent market.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


"Come with me," ordered a serious-looking uniformed man in a deep threatening voice.
"Why?" replied John.
"You know what you did. Trying to sneak a weapon onto a plane. Come with me." The uniformed man grabbed John's wrists.
"But I'm not an A-rab! I'm not a Moslem!" John screamed. "What weapon? What the hell are you talking about?"
"This weapon."
"That's not a weapon; it's my cross. It's a necklace. I'm a Christian!" John begged, looking down at the over-sized jewelry still dangling from his neck.

John was thrown into a small dark room. Another uniformed man entered and glared at John with disgust. The two uniformed men whispered to each other. The second man asked indignantly, "Think you can sneak a weapon onto a plane, eh? Think we would let you hijack a plane, you bastard?"
"There must be some mistake," John replied calm and confident.
"Oh, there's no mistake," said the second man as he ripped the cross off of John's neck and slammed it down onto the musty wooden table.
"Shut up!" yelled the first uniformed man as he slapped John across the face. John struggled to respond, but his arms were cuffed behind the back of his chair. For the first time in his life, John's ego was wounded. He was seething.

The two men took turns berating John, mocking his necklace, and spouting unthinkable threats that forced John into a state of fearful humility. Another uniformed man came into the room in a rush of excitement. "We've attacked! Our military is bombing the hell out of New York on our way to Washington. This is so great. Finally, we'll end their tyranny and save the American people."
The second uniformed man smirked. Nonchalantly, he remarked, "Eh, who cares about them. I say nuke'em all and let Jesus sort'em out." The three uniformed men laughed hysterically and high-fives went around the room. John felt helplessly invisible. He tried to convince himself that he was in the grasp of a terrible nightmare. After all, he was American. He was Christian. He was White. How could this be happening to someone like him?

The uniformed man who brought the news left the room and the two original uniformed men demanded that John reveal his plans for hijacking the plane. John claimed ignorance. "You are an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. Talk and you could live." John stuck to his story. "I can't tell you about a plan that never existed. This is ridiculous!" The first uniformed man grabbed the back of John's chair and tilted it until John was facing the ceiling. Then the second uniformed man poured bucket after bucket of water down John's nose and throat, insisting that John tell him what he wanted to hear.

When John woke up he was locked in a tiny dank jail cell. A guard appeared. John became excited. "Excuse me, sir. There's been a huge misunderstanding. I don't belong here..."
The guard ignored John's words, "Do you want your Bible?"
"Oh, yes. Please. But..."
"Well, here it is!" The guard smacked John in the face with the Bible. Both John and the hard-cover holy book fell to the cold concrete floor. "Pray to your shitty little god and we'll see if he helps you." The guard laughed boisterously as he turned to walk out of the cell.

John realized that his family had no idea where he was. He had no way of contacting them. Or anybody for that matter. He spent his days reading the Bible, sitting in a pot of rage about to boil over. 'These people want to save us? They are the barbarians. They have no regard for human life,' John thought.

Five years later, John is still sitting in his cell.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Deer

Recently I've had a serious problem. The deer come and eat the flowers in the front yard. I don't know if there's such a thing as floral genocide. Initially I get very angry at the deer, but it's not their fault. Their homes have been destroyed. Those fucking developers have cut down the lush forrest nearby and the deer have nowhere else to go.

I've thought about trying to stop the deer; maybe putting poison on the flowers or sticking sharp blades around the plants. But I don't want to kill the deer. I'd rather kill those damned developers and their little local legislative lackies.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Evil Leaders League, Week 2

One of the most important aspects of any evil leader's job is dishing out brutal treatment of minorities. One of the most popular minorities to persecute across the world is the Jews. So here are the results of the ELL's Jewish-themed week. Again, check the official Evil Leaders League site for the winners and standings.

Musharraf vs al-Bashir
Pakistani President Musharraf is not a popular man. His detractors have claimed that he's in bed with the Jews. Not literally. He's no Imran Khan. But the leader of a country that is possibly harboring Osama Bin Laden does not want to be seen as a Jew-lover. Sudan's Omar al-Bashir is another Muslim leader. He believes that the Jews are behind the attempt to send UN peace-keepers into genocide-laden Darfur. No, it wasn't meant to be a compliment. Apparently, al-Bashir also makes secret trips to Israel. This contest is really falling apart. Two Muslim leaders of nations with militant fundamentalists, and we can't get even a decent dose of anti-Semitism. Well, at least al-Bashir claims that Jews control U.S. foreign policy. It's a hackneyed accusation, but at least it's something.
winner: check the ELL site

Shwe vs Kim
Than Shwe leads Burma a.k.a. Myanmar. Whatever you call the country, there are only 20 Jews left within its borders and they're terrified for their lives. That is more like the anti-Semitism I was expecting! Kim Jong-Il looks a little bit like my grandmother, but that's as close as North Korea comes to anything Jewish. Apparently, Kim is not a fan of Itzhak Perlman, which is why he trades military secrets with enemies of Israel. Maybe North Korea actually trades with other rogue nations because the global community views them as pariah states and so it's their only choice. Eh no, that's not it. My Itzhak Perlman theory makes more sense.
winner: check the ELL site

Ahmadinejad vs Calderon
Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is responsible for the worst atrocities the Jews have ever had to endure. Hitler couldn't hold Ahmadinejad's left nut (and that's the unclean nut). He's denied the Holocaust (specifically saying, "I didn't care much for Life is Beautiful"), he's massacred Jews from the comfort of his own home (he plays World of Warcraft against a bunch of nerdy Heebs from Boca Raton), and he's threatened to nuke Israel into oblivion (despite the lack of firepower stronger than a cherry bomb). Felipe Calderon is the President of Mexico. He condemned an old resolution from 1975 that linked Zionism with racism. That's really weak, hombre. But he has enlisted his army of Mexican laborers to steal the landscaping jobs that once belonged to the Jews.
winner: check the ELL site

Nazarbayez vs Chavez
Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan really let me down here. He is another leader of a Muslim country, yet he is considered a friend of Israel and the Jews. I had prepared myself for the especially heinous anti-Semitism coming out of the Muslim world that I always hear about in the American and Israeli press and, well, I have been woefully disappointed. Nothing can make me feel better. But wait. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has called Colombia "the Israel of Latin America," because both are the primary aggressors in their respective regions. Jackpot! That has all of the features of dynamite anti-Semitism. It's original. It's nonsensical. It makes it local. It's a completely unnecessary shot at the Jews. It's totally unfair to Israel. It's new. It's fresh. Thank you Hugo Chavez, for restoring my faith in evil leaders' anti-Semitism.
winner: check the ELL site

standings: check the ELL site

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Soldiers are Heroes?

You can't question it. At a ballgame, returning soldiers receive an exponentially louder cheer than any game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth. Humans breathe air. Soldiers are heroes. But why is that?

The assumption that soldiers are heroic (because they are fighting for our freedom) is meant to legitimize their (needless) sacrifice. Regardless of the nobility of the cause, war is hell. But these people are heroes, so we can ignore the unimaginable that they have experienced; they're heroes, they can deal with it.

The reality is that soldiers are not heroes. They are victims. Whether they joined the military voluntarily or were forced, they could not have known what war is like. They are victims of the endless tragedies they witness and take part in. They are ordinary people put in situations that no human should have to endure. Bash this baby's head in. Hold your best friend in your hands as his guts leak into your lap. See the anguish on the face of the young woman you raped every time you close your eyes. No cause is worth forcing humans to have to cope with any of that.

War is hell. We forget that.
War is worse than going to the dentist on three consecutive days.
War is worse than eating a raw leaf of lettuce.
War is worse than paying $4.24 for a gallon of gas.
War is worse than getting dumped.
War is worse than the Panera Bread running out of bread.
War is worse than not seeing the inside of the Washington Monument.
War is worse than Elijah Dukes' injury.

No, soldiers aren't heroes. They are people. We should learn to treat them for what they are.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Favorite Boxers

Here is a list of my top ten favorite active boxers:
2) Roman Greenberg - HEAVYWEIGHT
4) Hasim Rahman - HEAVYWEIGHT
5) Antonio Tarver - LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
6) Joshua Clottey - WELTERWEIGHT
7) Andre Berto - WELTERWEIGHT
8) David Haye - HEAVYWEIGHT
9) Miguel Cotto - WELTERWEIGHT

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Me and the Nats

I haven't followed the Nats and baseball in general as closely as I had the past few years. I'm sure the Mitchell Report and the whole steroid scandal has had something to do with it. After the 1994 strike, I was determined to make sure it wouldn't affect my love of baseball. It took a few years to realize that it had. I didn't want the Mitchell Report to have the same affect, but I figured it would and it has.

The Nats new stadium hasn't helped. My first three attempts to go to a game were disastrous. I went to the 4th or 5th game even played (this was before the Pope's visit). I wore short sleeves and just didn't realize that it was going to be so cold and so windy. Of course I didn't leave early, but I was shivering the whole game. The next time I went, all of the cheap tickets were sold out. The least expensive tickets available for two people sitting together were $29 each! Of course I didn't buy them. The third time it started pouring on my way to the metro and I figured I'd cut my losses and go home.

Last week I tried again and saw the Nats beat the Angels in the bottom of the 9th, which was great. I no longer have any friends, so I went alone, but better that than have missed out. It's nice to see Dukes turning it around and Guzman continuing to play well. Flores has been quite good and quicker than expected. The starting pitching is always going to out-perform their talent because Randy St. Claire is such an effective pitching coach. Manny Acta has done a great job in the face of so many injuries.

Am I the only person who liked RFK better than the new stadium? There were many more cheap tickets at the old park. Hey, poor people like baseball too!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Why So Big, John Hancock?

So why is John Hancock's signature so large on the Declaration of Independence? Some prominent men were asked back in the day.

"Dear Hancock has a severe lack of spatial perception. He believed there was enough room for all the signers to match his autograph's girth." - George Washington

"He is an arrogant sort, the likes of which may never be seen again." - John Adams

"His ego releases an odorous stench worse than that of a cow turd." - Alexander Hamilton

"Because he's a dick." - Thomas Jefferson

"I don't care. I still have 45 minutes left with this young lady." - Benjamin Franklin

"John's head is bigger than Ben Franklin's tab at the burlesque." - George Mason

"He stole my idea." - Elbridge Gerry

"I'm with TJ- dude's a douche." - James Madison

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Biggest NBA Playoff Loser

If you're not going to win it all, you'd at least like to take solace in the fact that you lost to the eventual champ. Or maybe to a team that lost to the eventual champ. Or... well, you get the picture. This is a list of teams that lost in the first round to a team that lost in the second round to a team that lost in the third and so on and so forth. Here is the list of the Biggest NBA Playoff Losers since 1984, when the NBA went to 16 playoff teams.
2008 - Dallas Mavericks
2007 - Miami Heat
2006 - Denver Nuggets
2005 - Chicago Bulls
2004 - Dallas Mavericks
2003 - New Orleans Hornets
2002 - Toronto Raptors
2001 - Miami Heat
2000 - Detroit Pistons
1999 - Orlando Magic
1998 - Minnesota Timberwolves
1997 - Phoenix Suns
1996 - Phoenix Suns
1995 - Cleveland Cavaliers
1994 - Miami Heat
1993 - Los Angeles Clippers
1992 - Golden State Warriors
1991 - Phoenix Suns
1990 - Houston Rockets
1989 - Utah Jazz
1988 - Milwaukee Bucks
1987 - Indiana Pacers
1986 - Utah Jazz
1985 - Chicago Bulls
1984 - Denver Nuggets