Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Evil Leaders League, Semis 2nd Leg

The ELL's Final Four is about to be history. let's see who will advance to the championship series. Check out the ELL site here.

Kim vs Shwe
Kim Jong-Il, the man in North Korea, has accused to U.S. reporters of spying, which is evil because they're not Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck. This comes in the shadow of North Korea's potential test rocket launch. Kim seems to take his foreign policy directives from watching old Marvin the Martian cartoons. Marvin also inspires the little autocrat's wardrobe. Burma's military junta leader looks a lot like Myanmar's military junta leader. Both go by the name of Than Shwe. During the one speech a year Shwe gives, he called for democracy in 2010. Don't get too heartened, the leader says that "every individual has a right to express their political freedoms unless they're not named Than Shwe." Even Chad Ocho Cinco has sent his application to Yangon for a name change.

To view the winners of each contest, go to the official ELL site.

al-Bashir vs al-Assad
Omar al-Bashir, the ruler of Sudan, is the new unifying personality among Arabs. The only thing Arab leaders can agree on is that al-Bashir should not be imprisoned in the wake of an ICC indictment on charges of genocide in Darfur because "he's too dainty to go to prison." the King of Jordan, Abdullah II said, "Omar al-Bashir has such pretty lips. He wouldn't last a day." Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has promised al-Bashir that the Sudanese ruler can stay in al-Assad's addict if the ICC comes for Omar, "like what happened with Ann Frank, even though that whole thing is a lie." That brings up an age old question: Who's more evil, the evil guy or the guy helping the evil guy?

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Changing" His Mind

First Obama wanted to bail out the auto industry. Now he's not sure. I guess flip flopping is part of the Democratic Party's platform. This isn't the Kremlin. This guy's another Khrushchev. This is really dangerous. Which opinion is next to change? First he was for stopping the recession. Is he now for letting it go on? He wanted to stop terrorism; what about now? I'm scared. Not for me, but for our country.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Recap of the Elite 8

The only game of note was the Pittsburgh-Villanova scrapper. With time running out, it seemed as if Pittsburgh had no chance. Then Villanova threw a full court pass that flew out of bounds. Pittsburgh then tied the score. In a wonderfully designed play, Villanova in bounded the ball at half court to Dante Cunningham who handed it off to Scottie Reynolds. By the time he received the ball, Reynolds was in an all out sprint. He glided into the paint, jumped, hung, and floated the ball through the orange circle. A near make on a full court heave by LaVance Fields decided it. The undersized Wildcats advanced to the Final Four.

Missouri's press was only effective towards the beginning of the second half, which was not enough as UCONN coasted. Michigan State's balanced attack surprised me by blowing out Louisville. The Cardinals didn't put forth the effort required to beat the more physical Spartans. UNC stormed by Oklahoma. The Tar Heels look tough to beat, but they haven't been truly tested in the tournament yet. If they are, it's up in the air how they will respond.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Recap of the Sweet Sixteen

My rooting interest in this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament ended when Memphis exited the dance. Missouri's full court pressure was too much for my predicted champion. Michigan State and Kansas played a close one, where the Spartans zoomed past the Jayhawks with a minute to go. Pittsburgh slugged its way past Xavier. The rest of the round's games were blowouts.

With my dreams of winning a pool dashed, I can focus more on the games themselves. Half of the teams in the Elite 8 play in the Big East. Either Pitt of Villanova will represent the conference for sure. UCONN goes up against the pressure of Missouri. That should be a really interesting game because Missouri's press could force the taller Huskies' hand. But, UCONN's length could negate Missouri's press and make them pay. UCONN has another option, which is to play lockdown defense, not allowing the Tigers to set up their backcourt traps. The other Big East team, Louisville, looks like they might be too much for Michigan State.

UNC and Oklahmoa are two teams playing on top of their game heading into their contest. Hansbrough against Blake Griffin will be intriguing. There's little question who will be the better pro, but they're still in college right now. The two X-factors will be Ty Lawson for UNC and three-point shooting for Oklahoma. On to the Elite 8.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Leaving My Mark

Since I've taken over the country, things have gone really well. For me at least. Hey, the National Day of Burning Vegetables (NDBV) was a resounding success!

If I want to legitimize my rule, I need to leave an imprint on my nation's culture.

Today's decrees
The food that Jewish people ate when they weren't eating Jewish food used to be Italian. Over the last few decades that food has shifted to Chinese. Chinese food has had a nice run, but it's become cliché. The new cuisine that Jewish people will eat when they're not eating Jewish food will be... Indian food.

I hereby decree that Crucifixes will now be referred to as "those funny looking T's that they wear on their necklaces."

The nation will fall in love with Welcome Back, Kotter all over again.

Parenting classes will consist of watching episodes on the Cosby Show and will be mandatory for prospective parents.

The word "dude" is now a slur against the people of my nation.

Every fourth baby born will be named after me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Neo-Liberalism in Africa

Robert Mugabe and Omar al-Bashir claim that they are villianized by Western powers because they will not conform to the international community's neo-liberal agenda. While their claims should be considered, they have led violent and repressive regimes, which should be condemend.

In Mozambique, however, the international community has played a largely negative role. FRELIMO led the independence movement to throw out the reluctant colonial power, Portugal, in 1975, which resulted in enough political capital for the freedom fighting organization to run Mozambique without the normal checks that a government faces. FRELIMO became a repressive one-party state. This phenomenon took place in other places that I have discussed, such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania.

Towards the end of the long civil war between FRELIMO and RENAMO, unintended international occurrences brought the two sides to the negotiating table. FRELIMO advocated scientific socialism which was sustained by Eastern European aid. That aid naturally dried up following the liberalization of Eastern Europe in the late 1980s. RENAMO could no longer retain hopes of becoming the benefactor of American Cold War support. In addition, F.W. de Klerk took over power from P.W. Botha in South Africa, and scratched the latter's policy of destabilization in Mozambique by funding RENAMO (revenge for Mozambique's support of the ANC). While the convergence of international events created the positive result of forcing the two hostile sides to negotiate peace, the international community never took an active role in attempting to halt the violence.

The international community expected Mozambique to democratize following the peace agreement of 1994. However, a culture of democracy had not been established in the country. It was unreasonable for anyone to expect that two warring organizations could instantaneously create a burgeoning democracy. That the two sides have acted so valiantly is a credit to Mozambique and its people. But the elections of the 1990s were not based on issues; they were informed by ethnic and regional divides. The idea of a loyal opposition was understandably a foreign concept. People were reluctant to betray those in power.

Mozambique's liberalization has forced the country to become subservient to the IMF and the World Bank. Consequently, Mozambique's debt has increased drastically. NGOs do the work of the government. Foreign donors fund emergency relief instead of projects that would allow for sustained development. Thus, the cycle of borrowing never ceases. Mozambique is essentially run by foreign money. It is neo-colonialism in the guise of humanitarian aid.

Mozambique's interactions with the international community have not been the sole reason for its impoverished state. A 17-year civil war and corruption are also important factors. However, the relationship between the international community and Mozambique must, in the future, be one of equality, not dependency. Any foreign funds must focus on long-term development, while Mozambicans must be allowed to run their own country. (International edition - revised, Mozambique only)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Wrong Horse in Pakistan

The U.S. is considering partnering up with Nawaz Shariff as Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari apparently becomes more unpopular.

What the fuck?

Who's next, the reincarnation of Zia-ul-Haq? Maybe we'll give Musharraf another try? When Benazir Bhutto came back into the picture, and the U.S. tried to glorify her, I made the same joke with Nawaz Shariff. Lo and behold...

Shariff was already ousted in disgrace from his position as Prime Minister twice. Maybe the U.S. is hoping third time's the charm. Some feel Shariff's ties to extremist parties will allow him to reason with them. How did that work the first two times? Shariff is exactly what the U.S. doesn't need. He speaks the language of Islamic fundamentalism to garner support, but he lacks the street cred. The fundamentalists know this, but both sides are playing each other in an effort to gain power. The alternative for the extremists is Zardari, who is perceived as an American puppet. The other option is to fight, which they have continued to do, showing that the extremists don't put much faith in Shariff.

The U.S. needs to move away from these political has-beens, who have proven themselves unable to rule Pakistan effectively. It's time for fresh blood in the halls of power or else fresh blood will be spilled elsewhere. (International edition - revised)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Playoffs!

If a fantasy basketball team loses 1 player for the season, it's not a big deal. Losing two is a little unlucky. To lose three in a week sets a new standard of shlemielity. To then lose another player for the season the following week, makes you me.

These weren't just any players either. They were 4 of my 5 best. Elton Brand (1st round pick), Al Jefferson (2nd round pick), Jameer Nelson (1 of 2 all stars on my team), and Tracy McGrady (Mr. Category Filler).

Imagine, you're in 9th place in a 12 team league and you need to be in the top 6 to make the playoffs, when all of this happens. End of the season, right? Not if you're me. Lots of long nights crunching numbers, trying to find ways to manufacture a few more points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals. My effort culminated by a last-second pick up of Arron Afflalo, who scored 13 points on Sunday so that I would win that category by 9. That was enough to get me into 5th place! But just barely.

This might be the end of the road for my scrappy bunch of New York Hollanders. Nate Robinson, Boris Diaw, and Brook Lopez (all free agent pick ups) have given me all they've got. In the first round of the playoffs, I'm up against a guy who has more games, more talent, and more available moves to make. I must leave my fate up to the fantasy basketball gods. Jesus, Quetzalcoatl, Zoroaster, help a brother out.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Evil Leaders League, Semis 1st Leg

The Evil Leaders League playoffs have arrived. Are you as excited as I am? If you are, you might want to call a doctor, because that means you've definitely had an erection for more than 4 hours. And if you're a woman, you might want to check again, women don’t get erections.

But first, there was a tie for the final playoff spot. Hugo Chavez and Than Shwe tied for 4th place with 4-3 records. The winner goes into the playoffs to face the regular season winner, Kim Jong-Il, while the loser will have to wait until next season.

Chavez vs Shwe
Hugo Chavez of Venezuela called U.S. president Barack Obama "ignorant." Oh, just 'cause he's black he's gotta be ignorant? You fucking racist. Chavez has also threatened to jail his main rival, Manuel Rosales, just because Rosales is Latino. Than Shwe leads Burma or Myanmar depending on his mood. The Chinese believe that the issue of development and stability in Shwe's country is not simply a regional issue, but that of the whole international community. China pleading for the world to look into your human rights problems is like if Hugo Chavez thought your country was a little bit too socialist.
winner: Shwe

Now on to the playoffs. The semifinals will consist of two legs, best aggregate score wins. Check out the ELL site here. Enjoy.

al-Assad vs al-Bashir
Paul Simon is going to sit this one out. Bashad al-Assad is head of Syria. He has offered to mediate negotiations between the U.S. and Iran, which is a little like Rush Limbaugh mediating negotiation between himself and painkillers. In talks with Jordan, al-Assad stressed Arab unity, which left His Airness quite confused. At least al-Assad got a pair of autographed sneakers out of the encounter. Sudan is run by that gangsta, Omar "Rata-tat" al-Bashir. He's killed more black people than the Crips or Bloods could even dream of put together. Omar al-Bashir doesn't just have the po-po after him, he's way to big for that. No, he's got the International Criminal Court trying to take him down! That makes him a legend in the gangster game.

To view the winners of each contest, go to the official ELL site.

Shwe vs Kim
Than Shwe is running on fumes in this week. He needed a tie-breaker to even get into the playoffs. Shwe's brutal regime represses Buddhist monks. As a result, Shwe has invented his own religion which basically consists of one ritual: At noon every day, Shwe gives a voodoo doll in the likeness of UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari "a Rangoon Steamer." Kim Jong-Il of North Korea looks thinner than he did last time we saw him. That's what happens when you're shitting out missiles on the world. The test date for the missiles crawls closer while the world waits to cram instead of forming a study group. Study groups are a great place to meet women, let's not wait and do what we always do.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Recap of the Thrilling 32

Saturday went well. I predicted 7 out of 8 before the Tournament started. Purdue beat Washington, which I didn't expect, but I had Washington bowing out in the Sweet 16, so not a big loss.

Villanova's win over American seemed to make them a better team as they threw the ball into the post to get by UCLA. Gonzaga outlasted a game Western Kentucky team. Perhaps Western Kentucky will join the Gonzagas and Butlers of the world as a perennial at large team. We mid majors could use another one.

Today was not as fortuitous for me. I only predicted 3 out of 8 correctly. I didn't even have a shot in 4 of them. The only one I had a chance at that didn't go my way was USC, who posted a nice effort against the victorious Michigan State Spartans. The Midwest is the region that has killed me. I got 5 out of 8 correct in the first round (which was my score for every region coincidently) and only 2 right in the second. Both of my predicted Elite 8 team left in the first round.

In every other region, all of my Elite 8 teams are still alive. I picked Pitt to go to the championship game, but they've worried me. Fields is clearly not 100% and it seems to be affecting the team negatively.

After laying on the couch for 4 days straight, I finally have a chance to engage with the world again... or at least get some fresh air every once in a while. Maybe not fresh, but air, I will get some air tomorrow.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Recap of NCAA Tournament, Day 2

Disaster. I picked 3 11 seeds to advance past the first round. I picked 1 6 seed to go to the Final Four. Well, 3 11 seeds lost and so did that 1 6 seed that I picked to go to the Final Four. I want to (figuratively) rip off the heads of Alex Ruoff and D'Shaun Butler (no I don't care how they spell their names) and eat their brains. Then I'd shit them out and smear the poop on their families' houses. No disrespect.

Wake Forest is also filled with a bunch of dumbass losers. I hope they (figuratively) rot in hell. That Midwest bracket really hurt me. I didn't have Arizona, Cleveland State, or Dayton. I did pick USC in the Sweet Sixteen, potentially my only salvation in that bracket. I was also happy when Sienna won in double OT after two clutch shots by Moore.

In all, I only predicted 9 games correctly. What's worse, I lost the aforementioned Final Four team, another Elite 8 team, and 2 additional Sweet 16 clubs. It was a terrible basketball day from me and my prognostications. Fuck Nostradamus with a rusty hammer.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Recap of the NCAA Tournament, Day 1

Memphis gave me a scare. They pulled away from Cal State Northridge at the end of the game to keep my predicted champion alive. In all, I did not do very well, only guessing 11 out of 16 correctly. Fortunately, I did not lose even a Sweet Sixteen team.

American and Villanova was an interesting matchup. Villanova is used to being the smaller team. They didn't know how to handle a squad shorter and quicker than themselves. It showed in the first half. The Wildcats were not used to dumping the ball down low. It wasn't natural for them. The result was a 41-31 deficit at the half. American's senior-filled perimeter-oriented team stretched the lead out to 14 thanks to excellent shooting and scrappy defense. Villanova finally realized that it is legal to score in the paint and flew by American for the win.

VCU hung tough with UCLA throughout the game. A last second shot by Eric Maynor that literally came up short sealed their fate. Larry Sanders got into foul trouble toward the end of the first half and UCLA took advantage, which was really the difference in the game. Maynor didn't have a great shooting game. UCLA dominated VCU with points of off turnovers, which largely occurred when the ball was out of Maynor's hands. Joey Rodriguez proved yet again that he doesn't deserve to play or even be on this level. He looked like a little kid getting bullied. He can make an occasional open three, but guess what, so can I.

I correctly predicted a Western Kentucky victory. They almost blew it and an unfortunate call on an inbounds pass with 1:21 left didn't help them any. But this ain't your father's Jordan and Illinois couldn't pull off the miracle. In other news, Blake Griffin is really good. I'm a believer.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

2009 NCAA Tournament Predictions

Just the upsets until the Elite 8. More conservative this year.

First Round
10 USC over 7 BC - I like USC's athleticism and several key players have significant Tournament experience
9 Sienna over 8 Ohio State - A top mid major will hopefully beat a mediocre power team
11 Utah State over 6 Marquette - My argument is: take the best player off of Marquette and Utah State is better
11 VCU over 6 UCLA - Eric Maynor will take over the game with help from Sanders
9 Tennessee over 8 Oklahoma State - Combination of an inconsistent State team and Tenn's Jewish coach
12 Western Kentucky over 5 Illinois - A Tournament tested team will do it again
11 Temple over 6 Arizona State - State's unique style worries me, but Christmas is quite a player
9 Butler over 8 LSU - Butler's been there before, LSU hasn't since '06

Thrilling 32
10 USC over 2 Michigan State - Athleticism beats toughness here
6 West Virginia over 3 Kansas - The young Kansas players might overlook a veteran group
11 Utah State over 3 Missouri - Utah State would be ranked higher if in a power conference, Missouri is overrated
5 Florida State over 4 Xavier - A tough one, but Douglass is a star and has faced tougher matchups than has Xavier
South - None

Sweet 16
4 Wake Forest over 1 Louisville - Once L'ville faces a good team, not having a natural pg will hurt
West - None
3 Villanova over 2 Duke - Duke won't be able to stop the barrage of guards the Cats possess
3 Syracuse over 2 Oklahoma - 'Cuse has shown heart, Oklahoma has slowly faded

Elite 8
Midwest: 6 West Virginia over 4 Wake Forest - Tournament experience + talent = a win
West: 2 Memphis over 1 UCONN - Memphis has a chip from last year and UCONN has Dyson hurt
East: 1 Pittsburgh over 3 Villanova - Big East battle sees Pitt too strong down low
South: 1 UNC over 3 Syracuse - Syracuse is weak up front

Final Four
2 Memphis over 6 West Virginia - Too much talent
1 Pittsburgh over 1 UNC - Too tough and too balanced

2 Memphis over 1 Pittsburgh - Won't lose two in a row

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In the Market

For me, going grocery shopping is a lot having like sex.

I just grab the first thing I see and try to finish as quick as I can.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Evil Leaders League, Week 7

I was nearly fired because I was told that I wasn't critical enough to children. And yet these assholes have great job security. Go figure. Anyway, let's get the results for the final week of the regular season. The official Evil Leaders League site is here.

Khamenei vs Shwe
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been doing his Ayatollah thang in Iran for some time now. His buddy, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a clearer path towards retaining the title of Inter-Iranian Political Championship, which he took from the former champ, the Iron Sheik. Ahmadinejad's proposed opponent, Mohammad Khatami has decided to back out of the race. So Ahmadinejad will continue to be Lamb Chop to Khamenei's whatever the fuck was the name of that dead lady who had her hand up Lamb Chop's ass.

Burmese leader, Than Shwe, leads Myanmar. His military has been described as a Ponzi scheme. Shwe's military advisor was none other than Bernie Madoff, so that explains it. It's nice to see that Shwe and a Jew have something in common. One big difference is that Jews like to experiment with Buddhism, while Shwe likes to experiment on Buddhists.

To view the winners of each contest, go to the official ELL site.

Kim vs Bongo
Lil' Kim Jong-Il, the ruler of North Korea, is going gangsta on this biotch. His threats to test weapons of mass destruction are becoming more boisterous. He claims North Korea is invulnerable, although he might want to look up the meaning of that word. Kim is threatening an attack against South Korea and Japan, the likes of which they haven't seen since the invasion of Hello Kitty. Gabon's president, Omar Bongo is playing the blues since the death of his wife. Apparently, the evil leader can feel emotion. Now he knows how the spouses of his political opponents feel. It's not a good feeling. Maybe this will spark a change in Bongo's consciousness. He’ll give back all the money he took from his citizens. He'll step down and help to usher in a new era of democracy in Gabon. But then again, he is only 9 years away from ruling his country for the magical total of 50 years.

Nazarbayev vs al-Bashir
The president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, went to the Whitney Houston concert in Almaty. He will always loooooooooooooove being the autocratic ruler of Kazakhstaaaaaaaaaaan! That rendition is now the new Kazakh national anthem. Who says Nazarbayev isn't sensitive? Omar al-Bashir, the leader of Sudan is also sensitive. He knows that if the ICC puts him on trial for the genocide in Darfur, the tax payer will have to fit the bill. He cares about the working man, so he has decided to reject the ICC charge of genocide and the idea of a trial. Honestly, both men are so sensitive, I wish they both could be winners. But they can't be.

al-Assad vs Chavez
Bashar al-Assad, who runs the little nation of Syria, believes peace in Israel is possible. Particularly if the Jews weren't there. He received a special gift from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but don't tell Bill. He declared that Iran has the right to acquire nuclear power. He’s learned the art of taking all sides. This guy makes John Kerry look like an ideologically consistent person. Hugo Chavez is the president of Venezuela. He's continuing his attack against his nation's private sector. We all know Venezuela is socialist. But, according to Fox News, so is America. And America is pretty great. Thus, socialism is pretty great. And so is Venezuela. But that means Hugo Chavez's chances in the ELL this season aren't.

standings: Check the ELL site

Monday, March 16, 2009

Reaction to Men's NCAA Tourney Seeds

This year George Mason, Georgetown, and Miami (OH) all missed the NCAA Tournament. It does dampen things a bit, but I still have some outrage about the seeding.

First, let me dust off my trusty Circumcised Penis Index (CPI). Ok, done.

The biggest travesty is the absence of St. Mary's from the field. They went 26-6. Doesn't winning games count for something. I also can't believe Creighton (26-7) and San Diego State (23-9) didn't make it in. But teams from so-called big conferences, with double-digit losses, did make it in. Something is not right when winning is not rewarded.

The argument against including schools from "mid-major" conferences is basically that they "haven't played anyone." But there is a glaring weakness to this argument. How do we decide what "playing someone" means? If no one has played a game, why is it assumed that a win over Iowa is better than a win over Bucknell? This is the great flaw in the system. If you are a big conference team, you are someone. If you are a mid-major, unless you've been consistently great for numerous years (i.e. Gonzaga, Butler), you are no one. Now, you're getting to see the CPI in action.

I agree that, for the most part, the teams at the top of the ACC, Big East, PAC 10, Big 10, Big 12, and SEC are better than the teams at the top of the Missouri Valley, Mountain West, WAC, WCC, MAC, Colonial, etc. But there is a lot more overlap than the powers that be would like to admit. The best teams from the mid-majors, in any given year, are at least as good as the middle of the road teams in the power conferences. My CPI tells me that. The committee needs to do a much better job discerning between mediocre power teams and excellent mid-majors. Right now, the system gives the mediocre power teams all the advantage. Only 4 mid-majors received at large bids this year. That is almost criminal.

As far as the seeding goes, at least the Big East finally got its due. Maryland is always overrated. It's amazing year after year. A friend was worried that they might not make it in, because Maryland fans are irrational. I told him, don't worry, they'll not only get in, they'll get a much better seed than you think. Sure, enough, they are a 10. But then again, the ACC is always overrated.

The only DC area team that made it was American. They get the pleasure of playing Villanova in Philadelphia. If VCU gets by UCLA (and Nova beats American), the Colonial champs then get that same honor.

My final thought is, imagine someone trying to learn American geography through the NCAA Tournament. I understand trying to put teams near their fan base, but there is something unique about traveling across the country to watch your favorite team play in the NCAA Tournament. There's also something about Philadelphia not hosting games in the West region.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Throwing Shoes is Illegal

Someone is responsible for the death of your family and the destruction of your country. You see him talking about it in a very smug manner. You might jump up and rip the guy's head off. Or, if you're more rational, you'd make a more symbolic gesture, like throw your shoes him and miss.

Apparently, throwing your shoes (and missing!) will get you three years in an Iraqi prison. What was he charged with? Attempted assault with a not dangerous non-weapon? It's not fair. George Bush is ultimately responsible for the deaths of thousands upon thousands of Iraqis and is clearing brush outside his gigantic ranch while the guy who threw his shoes at him (and MISSED) languishes away in an Iraqi prison.

As a replacement for that Saddam Hussein statue, they should put that guy's bronzed shoes on a pedestal. The Iraqi shoe-thrower is a hero. He should be given a parade, not put in prison.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Woman's Affection

I was watching the Hindi movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam when one scene confused me thoroughly. The guy grabs Aishwarya Rai from behind in a joking manner. She's not so thrilled with it, so she slaps him. Then the confusing part. He gets angry! In fact, he says, "You are not worthy of my love anymore." Huh?

What I don't get is: How would you know if a woman likes you unless she slaps you? Even more so if she closes her fist and punches you right in the face while you're driving. It was my understanding that violence and yelling are how women show affection for men. You know they like you if they yell at you when you don't pay. Or if you do pay. Or if you're talking to someone else at the lunch table and she grabs your hand and then bites it. Or if you're choking and she ignores you. Then when you question her about it, she says, "Oh, you were choking? Let me help you," and then punches you in the back. Or grabs the upper part of your cheeks with her long sharp nails and tries to rip your cheeks off of your face. Or coughs in your face while your sleeping and then laughs and laughs. Or, well, this could go on for a while, but you get the picture.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Adventures of Muhammad & Moshe

Muhammad opened the door to his apartment late one night. He was exhausted from a long day of work. All he wanted to do was say his fifth prayer of the day and go to sleep.

He opened the door and walked in. "Hmm. I guess Moshe is out. It must be yet another Jewish holiday or something," Muhammad thought to himself. Muhammad turned the corner towards his bedroom.

"FBI!" screamed Moshe, grabbing Muhammad unexpectedly.
"Jesus!" cried Muhammad in horror.
"Did I scare you?" Moshe asked chuckling.
"Yes. Obviously. Did you hear me shout?"
"Aha! I thought your religion commands you to fear no one but Allah." Moshe noted smugly.
"You're right, Moshe. That's a good one, you crafty trickster. I am a hypocrite and will burn in hell." Muhammad replied laughing.

Then they both didn't eat pork and went to sleep.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Down with Elitism

In addition to a swing set for the Obama daughters, an ivory tower in being built on the south lawn. Perhaps Obama should stop eating his arugula for a moment and come down and join the rest of us who are struggling.

Obama's finding out that America is a difficult community to organize. I guess he should have visited Real America. Places like West Virginia where they people are so disgusting. Their appearance is vomit-inducing. They look like the inside of an infected pig anus. Obama doesn't know anything about their difficult lives. He doesn't know about other parts of Real America, such as Wyoming, Idaho, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Alabama, Kentucky to name a few. They're filled with good hardworking Americans, who stand for real values. These terms might seem like meaningless fluff to an elitist like Obama, who doesn’t care about average Americans, but they mean something to the people who describe themselves in this manner.

This country doesn't need elitists. We're going through hard times. We need Real Americans.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's Over

Darryl Monroe, John Vaughn, Cam Long, and Louis Birdsong didn't show up to 2009 CAA championship game. They were physically there, but their essence was absent. Dre Smith had a big second half and the rest of the Patriots made a valiant effort with 10 minutes to go in the second half, but it wasn't nearly enough.

Maynor had a huge game, which was only topped by Larry Sanders performance. Occasionally, the George Mason offense goes into hibernation and it picked the worst possible moment this time around. The clues were there. GMU played poorly in their first two CAA tournament games. They were fortunate to face weak teams. Mason might have been helped had Northeastern handled their business in the quarterfinals. Northeastern is a much more talented team than GMU's semifinal opponent, Towson. It might have woken the slumbering Patriots before they met VCU.

Who knows what George Mason's postseason hopes are. The system is skewed against the top mid-major teams. If this is the end, it wasn't the way Vaughn, Smith, Monroe, or Chris Fleming wanted to go out. It will be sad to see them go and I wish them the best of luck.

Monday, March 09, 2009

One Game Away

Tonight, George Mason faces VCU for the CAA championship. Mason, the two seed, is the underdog. It should be a tough contest. VCU is very good. They have a good team minus their two best payers. Point guard Eric Maynor is a pro prospect. He seems to take the ball to the basket at will and is an excellent finisher. In recent years, he's added NBA three-point range. But his best offensive attribute is his ability to see the floor and run a team. And, oh by the way, he can take over a game defensively, as he did in the 2007 CAA championship. Larry Sanders is an incredible athletic big man, who follows Maynor's lead.

GMU is an excellent defensive team. Opposing teams find themselves in prolonged slumps. Even the easiest shots feel like full-court heaves against Mason. Offensively, Mason has been inconsistent. Cam Long, John Vaughn, or Darryl Monroe are the likeliest players to take over a game. But Dre Smith, who holds the NCAA record for most threes in a game without a miss (10), can also light it up. The Patriots don't have one go-to guy. But they have four who could fulfill that role. GMU's freshmen need to make a few hustle plays and avoid hurting the team.

This won't easy. Mason is going to have show more effort than they did against James Madison and Towson. They will. They should come away with a hard fought victory and a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Terrell Owens to Buffalo

I've always defended Terrell Owens. Apparently, he reads the blog and has thanked me by signing with Buffalo.

Sports writers take pride in denigrating Owens' personality. Sports writers are the most oblivious people in the world. Owens knows it's a show. Anything he says becomes news. He plays with that fact. Chad Ocho Cinco is the same way. These guys have never done anything wrong. They're just really good at catching a weirdly shaped ball and they have fun with the fact that everyone takes it so seriously.

When I read that several teams were interested in Owens, I figured Buffalo was not one of them. The Bills rarely make splashes. When I heard of the signing, after getting over the initial surprise, I became thrilled. This might be a chance for Owens to escape into obscurity and thrive on the field. Plus, he's exactly what the Bills need, a star possession receiver with big play ability.

Owens doesn't need to be "a good boy" or to "behave," the Bills just need to not take him so seriously and the postseason will finally come.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Lesson Learned

Lyle had a passion for teaching children. He loved to joke with them, which the kids appreciated. His unique method of teaching seemed to inspire the children. They not only learned the material, they also came out of their shells and showed their true personalities. Sometimes, Lyle wished he could put some of the kids back in their shells.

After a few months, Lyle thought to himself, "This is really a great job. I'm able to teach the way I want to and I can see that I'm helping the students."

The next day, Lyle's boss called him into the office. "Your method of teaching works with the little kids. But it doesn't work with the older kids. I'd say about a quarter of your students are not learning. If things don't improve, we'll have to take action."

Lyle wondered how that could be. Later, he realized that it wasn't true. He knew he had helped these kids. What evidence was his boss basing these allegations on? Lyle could see the improvement from week to week. And how could being genuine and giving positive reinforcement work with 8 and 9 year olds, but not 10 and 11 year olds? It didn't make sense. Lyle felt a little better.

A week later, Lyle's boss walked into the room where he was teaching. Lyle's students were giggling. Lyle's boss declared, "This is work. You're not supposed to have fun. You're supposed to learn." Lyle wondered, can't it be both? Lyle was down.

The next day, Lyle saw two strangers being interviewed by his boss. Trying to focus on helping his students, Lyle's mind couldn't help but wander. "Couldn't they have waited for me to leave before they interviewed for my replacement? And why would they only give me a week to improve? I didn't even get a chance to talk about it." Lyle hit rock bottom.

Lyle felt nauseous. He decided to take action. He couldn't live this way. Lyle wrote a note to his boss, clearly explaining the areas he felt he could improve and then mentioned the areas where he felt he had succeeded. Afterward, he thanked his boss for granting him the opportunity to work at such a wonderful place. Lyle then walked into his boss’s office. He said hello to his boss. "What do you have there?" his boss asked. Lyle grabbed a stapler, neatly organized the papers containing his note, and stapled them to his boss’s forehead. His boss fell down screaming in pain. Then, Lyle, he whipped his dick out and pissed his name in cursive on his boss's shirt. Next, he pulled down his pants and took a messy Taco Bell-induced diarrhea shit all over his boss's face.

As Lyle walked out the room, he gave his stunned students one last lesson. "If someone gives you shit, give it right back."

Friday, March 06, 2009

Down with Socialism

I'm not used to being on the winning side. It makes me uncomfortable. So, I'm sorry, but I'm switching sides. I will now be a conservative critic of President Obama. Plus, it's just easier. I don't have to think of well-reasoned arguments. I can just reduce my criticisms to over-simplistic catchphrases. Those serious essays on other countries (found here) are taking a lot out of me. I also get to be subtly racist, which has always been a dream of mine. So, without further ado...

It's quite clear that President Obama's socialist policies have not worked. We're still in the middle of a drastic economic downturn, aren't we? Socialism doesn't work. Where is the USSR on the map? It's nowhere. Know why? Because one of those S's stood for socialism. When will liberals learn, Americans don't want socialism. If I earn my money, I want to keep it. It's that simple. If the Democrats want to tax people to support their socialist agenda, why don't they tax those Hollywood liberals or the East Coast elite and leave the rest of us good hardworking Americans alone!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Liberty Restricted

Apparently my beloved citizens have taken a bit of umbrage at some of my decrees. Women, people who live in rainy areas, and Jeff Goldblum are outraged. So, I'm doing what any good leader in that situation would do- creating diversions and scapegoats.

Today's decrees
This is a nation founded on knowledge. We will never partake in the heinous act of book burning. However, I really hate vegetables, so on March 17, 2009 every citizen in our nation will take their vegetables to their local Vegetable Burning Center (VBC) to participate in the National Day of Burning Vegetables (NDBV).

Chocolate and Slurpees are hereby decreed to be delicious. And now, they are healthy.

All homophobes will be forced to gay marry. Every citizen will have to take a test to gage their level of tolerance towards homosexuals. If a citizen fails the test, they must, under law, gay marry or face a penalty of death by lethal anal rape.

Freedom Act of 2009: Freedom of speech will be guaranteed to all citizens... unless they say something I don't like.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Hank Gathers

Today is the nineteenth anniversary of the death of Hank Gathers.
I ask myself what lesson does his life and death have for me now. Live life to the fullest is a cliche. The lesson is to live life to have an impact on others and be sure to have fun while you do it.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Socialist Mismanagement

Whenever a self-described socialist nation goes through an economic downturn based on its government's policies the term "socialist mismanagement" is used by those Western elites that we allow to define things for us. However, when the same situation occurs in a self-described capitalist country, you never hear about "capitalist mismanagement."

Cuba is a self-described socialist state. There is a pervasive belief of the West that "socialist mismanagement" has been the cause of the depredation of the island. While external and internal forces have contributed to Cuba's current condition, to dismiss these complex factors as mere "socialist mismanagement" is not only lazy, but clearly pushing a particular imperialist agenda.

After the fall of the Soviet Union and its satellites, Cuba fell on hard times. This period is called the Special Period, as Fidel Castro and the Cuban leadership attempted to explain the coming hardship. Prior to the collapse of the USSR, Cuba's economy was dependent on foreign aid from socialist countries, which had improved certain aspects of the lives of Cubans from before the Revolution, while making other features more difficult. Food and other goods disappeared for a period after the loss of aid.

Castro legalized the use of dollars, which has had significant results. People working in the tourist sector and those selling goods on the black market became privileged over doctors and teachers who remained in the unconvertible peso economy. As a result, people trained as doctors and the like entered arenas where they would be paid in dollars. We must be careful not condemn a system that pays doctors less than merchants because we don't want to place our own morals on another society, but clearly the movement of people who are trained in one field and working in another will have negative effects on a country's economy.

The above negatives have virtually nothing to do with the system of socialism as an ideology. Cuba's allies collapsed, which created a dire situation on the island. The government's reaction was to privilege certain sectors above others without providing incentives for people to stay in the occupation of their training. I don't know if socialism, capitalism, or some combination of the two is the best economic system. But we must be wary of misinformed, simplistic, and nonsensical catchphrases such as "socialist mismanagement." (International Affairs)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Evil Leaders League, Week 6

We got quite a bit of snow here in Baltimore today. At least I'm not a gusano trapped inside with Fidel. Then I'd be subject to a 6 hour lecture about what a terrible person I am. It'd be a lot like attending Catholic mass or dinner with my family. Let's get the results for the all important Week 6. The official Evil Leaders League site is here.

Nazarbayev vs Shwe
Nursultan Nazarbayev is the president of Kazakhstan, a former Soviet satellite. As with most Soviet entities, it doesn't work so well. Kazakhstan's media is own by the state, but even they are realistic. There are no high pronouncements of the glorious reign of their dear president. Instead the media tends to report on trade deals Nazarbayev makes while playing his video game political simulators. He hopes that if he practices enough, someday he'll get to run a real country! Than Shwe is the leader of Burma and Myanmar. Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon doesn't want to visit either one of them and that guy's a glutton for destitution. Ban says he's more comfortable in war torn regions than in well-decorated boardrooms. Shwe is more comfortable surrounded by half-dead children because he loves to see the dreams and hopes of the young extinguished. He's Bizarro Obama.

To view the winners of each contest, go to the official ELL site.

Chavez vs Bongo
Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has been silenced. He has a sore throat and a doctor has ordered him to shut the fuck up for a few days, but probably not in those words. Chavez, who usually indulges himself in Fidel-like speeches, has been reduced to tears at the loss of his voice. Here's a riddle: What sound does a crying evil leader make if he's lost his voice? Answer: The same sound as one of his opponents, none. Gabon's President Omar Bongo has had his French accounts frozen. No more fries, no more kisses, and no more ticklers for the percussionist-turned-evil leader. Since Bongo will no longer be able to pay off dissidents, he'll have to resort to Plan B. Beating people with AIDS-covered sticks. Come on Bongo, wash the sticks, then beat the protestors. It's more humane.

al-Assad vs al-Bashir
You can call this matchup the Battle of al. Bashar al-Assad of Syria has a choice to make. Does he go with the tall dark and handsome Barack Obama or the rugged outdoorsmen found in anti-Israeli extremist circles. It's a tough choice. If only he could create a situation where he sees them both without the other one knowing. It's a recipe for all sorts of hi-jinks and hilarity. For now, al-Assad will continue be the anti-Israeli fighters' bodyguard. Sudan's Omar al-Bashir is in a bit of hot water. The genocide in Darfur has taken its toll on al-Bashir's popularity rating in that region. Only 29% of black Africans in Darfur approve of the genocide. Hey, that's still better than Bush. Darfur rebel leader Khalil Ibrahim has threatened al-Bashir's ouster. Ibrahim said, "You can call him al-Bashir, but I will call him betty-Bashir!" In Arabic, betty means "an evil leader who will soon be dethroned in the wake of an ICC indictment on charges of genocide." Paul Simon is a prophet.

Khamenei vs Kim
Iran's Ayatollah, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants U.S. troops out of Iraq. He also enjoys apple pie, hot dogs, and watching mindless reality shows. Khamenei actually has a flag on his front porch, beats his wife, and sexually abuses his children. Iran and America have so much in common! It's the North Korean nihilistic version of Christmas for leader Kim Jong-Il. No, he's not trampling people to death at WalMart; remember, he's evil, not American. Kim can't wait to fire off his rockets and show the boy next door who is cooler. Kim loves his people because they were willing to give up food, electricity, freedom, and even a single traffic light in the capital, all so Kim could have some new toys. Kim will show his appreciation by playing with his toys of mass destruction day and night until there is no longer days or nights.

standings: Check the ELL site

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Two Parties

Personally, I hate parties. Parties have small talk. I hate small talk. But I see the value of two parties.

The United States has had two main political parties for well over a century. That there are only two help to ensure that these parties must build a diverse coalition of followers. In the U.S. a one-issue party would not have much success. Zimbabwe has also recently seen the rise of a strong opposition party. The MDC reaches out to a broad range of the population. It started as a trade union organization, has fought against Robert Mugabe's policy of grabbing farm land and (theoretically) redistributing it, and has a multi-racial following.

That takes us to Tanzania. Tanzania, which is a union of two states, mainland Tanganyika and Zanzibar, has had one party running the country throughout its independent history. Interesting enough, before 1977, Tanzania was a one-party state, but had two parties. This is because it has two governments, one for the union and the other for Zanzibar. TANU ruled the union government and ASP ran Zanzibar until they merged to form CCM in 1977.

Beginning in 1992, Tanzania instituted a multi-party democracy. But almost every opposition party has been weak. CCM has never faced a stiff challenge for control of the union government. Jakaya Kikwete received 80% of the vote for the union presidency in 2005. His closest competitor was Ibrahim Lipumba of the CUF. The CUF is largely a Zanzibar-based party. In Zanzibar presidential elections, CUF has been much closer. But the tightness of the contests for control has led to tragic violence. CUF boycotted parliament after declaring fraud in the 1995 elections. That hostility carried over until a bloodbath ensued following the 2000 elections.

It is important to understand that two strong parties will not ensure a functioning democracy. Both, in Zanzibar and in Zimbabwe, the existence of two strong parties has resulted in bloodshed. However, two strong parties is the best chance for the most people to be represented. In Tanzania's union government, one strong government consistently defeats a divided opposition, ultimately negating any real choice for Tanzanian citizens and creating an absence of accountability for the country's leaders. (International Edition: revised, only on Tanzania)