Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hiatus

I went clothes shopping for the first time in about five years. I bought my very first pair of khaki shorts. Why this sudden shopping bonanza? I happen to be leaving for Delhi later today.

As always when I travel, I advertise that I'll be on hiatus for a while, only to stumble upon an internet cafe shortly after arriving at my destination. You might be asking, why am I going to India again? What right do you have, you noisy son of a... Well, I'll tell you.

I haven't had Indian food in a while. One reason is because the guys at the local Indian restaurants are starting to recognize me. You know where that leads. First comes recognition, then comes small talk. I don't want that.

Last time I was India, Jerry Falwell died. I recently saw Pat Robertson and he looked terrible. I'm not saying anything. I'm just saying...

The real reason I'm leaving is because I think I'm holding America back. So I'm leaving in the hopes that my absence will help turn things around. I'll come back to a country that affords each of its citizens the right to health care. I'll come back to a country that uses its power to curb the trend of climate change as opposed to occupying foreign lands. I'll come back to a country that will acknowledge and embrace differences. We will all express empathy for every man, woman, and child and live every moment powered by that purpose. But at the very least, don't fuck everything up 'til I get back.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The 2009 Nats

The season hasn't ended just yet, so this will be updated later.

The Nats are 52-102 and will finish as the worst team in baseball for the second straight year. The manager was fired at the All Star break. There were very few bright spots from this atrocious season. One was Ryan Zimmerman, who improved his defense, ironing out his problems on routine throws during the second half of the season. Z had his best year offensively as well (.289, 31 hrs, 100 rbis). Part of the reason for his improvement with the bat came in the form of free agent signing, Adam "Get'r" Dunn (.273, 38 hrs, 103 rbis). Dunn moved to first base after Nick Johnson was traded and provided some protection for Zimmerman. Dunn walked 111 times, but struck out 170.

In the middle of the season, Nyjer Morgan came to the team and like cow brains in the hands of a master chef, nearly made this team bearable. Morgan (.351, 35 runs, 24 sbs in 49 games with the Nats) changed the culture of the team on both sides of the field until he became injured. Josh "Ready and" Willingham, who came over from the Marlins in a trade before the season, was the other productive bat. But his glove, fitting in with the rest of the team, was suspect. Willingham (.267, 23 hrs, 60 rbis) faded even at the plate as the end of the season approached. Willie Harris (.227, 7 hrs, 27 rbis, 11 sbs) and Cristian Guzman (.286, 6 hrs 51 rbis) were also there. Guzman walked only 16 times in 549 plate appearances.

The Nats have a couple of young bats, who may turn things around next season. Elijiah Dukes (.255, 8 hrs, 57 rbis) is 25 years old and still needs to improve with the bat and the glove. Jesus Flores, who is 24, is an up-and-coming catcher. Flores (.301, 4 hrs 15 rbis) was injured early, playing in only 29 games. Ian Desmond (.292, 1 hr, 6 rbis in 13 games) was called up at the end of the year and is 23.

The Nats pitching was awful. The team's ERA was a pitiful 5.17. John Lannan, who is only 24, was the ace of the staff. The young lefty went 9-13 with a 3.93 ERA. Jordan Zimermann, a 23 year old, was 3-5 with a 4.63 ERA (the second lowest of any Nats pitcher who started a game), but won't participate in a game for a while due to injury. Livan Hernandez came back towards the end of the campaign, but struggled with the team. Tyler Clippard (2-2, 3.18 ERA in 37 games) showed himself to be a valuable member of the staff at 24 years of age. The best pitcher in the franchise just may well be one who hasn't yet thrown a pitch, heralded first pick, Stephen Strasburg.

The 2009 Nats hit a little better than last season, but couldn't get anyone out, catch the baseball, or throw it. These are essential facets of baseball. An 8 game winning streak in the middle of the season was the only positive stretch. The team looked respectable with Morgan out on the field. I've never seen one player matter so much to a team. Unfortunately, he wasn't out in center field very often in 2009.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yom Kippur Repentance

This is why I can say terrible things about people. This is why I can hurt people close to me with no consequence. Yom Kippur! Fast for one day and you have to forgive me!

I'd like to apologize to everyone I've wrong this past year. That list includes: Arabs, Than Shwe, Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, Karl Rove, Ted Bundy, Mexicans, Bernie Madoff, Ted Kennedy, the Taliban, the Lerners, Chuck Wepner, Tajikistan, Barack Obama, Hamrokhon Zarifi, people who like gefilte fish, Michael Jackson, Jonas Savimbi, Jesus, Stephen Colbert, Anne Frank, Dwight Howard, Shepard Smith, Nelson Mandela, David Petraeus, Alan Rake, Sonia Sotomayor, people who have bald spots that vaguely look like yarmulkes from far away, Andy Van Slyke, my grandma, Sarah Palin, Rafael Trujillo, and Mary J. Blige.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Arab Menace

Arabs are a very dangerous people. Particularly according to Fox News and the Weekly Standard. The State Department defines Arabs as "People of terrorist descent." Apparently, "They can be distinguished by their funny names, but be careful, not all have, so stay vigilant. Your level of alertness on this issue should be at orange with a little bit of burnt sienna."

Here's something that you may also not have known. Arabs are taking over our country! Here's a working list of the most dangerous Arabs in America:

Casey Kasem
Tony Shaloub
Jamie Farr
Paul Anka
Doug Flutie
Rony Seikaly
Helen Thomas
Ralph Nader
Gen. John Abizaid
Sec. Donna Shalala

Friday, September 25, 2009

Me vs. Babies

When a baby stares at a woman, the woman is usually not upset. In fact, almost all women are actually thrilled. They love it. Meanwhile, when I stare at a woman, she's typically pretty creeped out.

But here's what you're missing. When a baby stares, you know all he's thinking about is one thing, sucking on your breasts. That's why he's smiling so much. Honestly, that's not the first place my mind goes to. What am I, some kind of pervert?

So you see, don't be creeped out when I'm staring at you; I'm much more innocent than a baby.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Jews Run Too

In a scene in one of Sholom Aleichem's stories, a couple of Jews are literally running away from a dangerous situation, which really only involves them. That flight triggers a wave of runners and soon the whole shtetl takes off. While they're all still running, one Jew asks to another, "Why are you running?" The other Jews replies, "You're running, too." The first Jew states, "I'm only running because everyone else is."

That reminded me of a Cedric the Entertainer joke. You don't see nine or ten black people get shot up in one place at one time. "We run... If I'm with you and you start running, well, dammit, I'm gonna start running." He continues, "Meanwhile, white people walk right to the trouble. 'What the heck is going on?' BAM!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Evil Leaders League, Season 6 in Review

Season 6 has completed and there are still evil leaders in the world. What gives? I guess they exist so that I can make fun of them and you can have a good laugh or cringe, as the case may be. Of course, this season is dedicated to those who go to bed hungry and thirsty, to those with AIDS and malaria, and those in jail for their political beliefs. The official ELL site is here. Check throughout the off season for updates.

The Champion - Than Shwe 4-3 (2-0)
Than Shwe, the military junta leader of Burma and Myanmar (depending on who you ask), finally got over the hump this season and won his first championship. His government is autocratic and refuses to provide for its citizens. Meanwhile, Shwe makes money off of his nation's stash of natural gas. He spends that money on the shiny medals that adorn his military jumpsuit. Than likes shiny. He also like doing away with Buddhist monks and democracy advocates.

Check out the best out-of-context lines from this season in the Highlights section.

The Challengers
Kim Jong-Il 6-1 (1-1) - His bipolar method of ruling landed him in second place this season.
Omar al-Bashir 5-2 (0-1) - Genocide runs thin after a while, but it's still good enough for a playoff berth.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 3-4 (0-1) - Stole an election and jailed his opponents, but looked sexy while doing it.
Teodoro Obiang 3-4 - A corrupt African dictator of an oil state isn't unique, but it does lend itself to humorous situations.

The Relegated
Bashar al-Assad 3-4 - Too many overtures to the U.S. and Israel to stay in the ELL another season.
Hugo Chavez 2-5 - His charismatic brand of socialist anti-Americanism had a long and legendary run.
Ilham Aliyev 2-5 - Squashing dissent isn't evil enough these days.

A couple of sad goodbyes:
When you do a league like this, you make a lot of friends. This season, we've lost two such people. The former president of Gabon, Omar Bongo, left us far too late earlier in the summer. He only spent one season in the league, but he will not soon be forgotten, especially by his citizens. Mostly because he ruined their lives.

Hugo Chavez has been a part of the Evil Leaders League since its inception. His combative version of socialism and tactless anti-American rhetoric provided the ELL with many jokes at his expense. It takes an unabashed egomaniac, hellbent on maintaining power and promoting his ideology regardless of practicality to survive in such a competitive league like this one for six impactful campaigns. He will be sorely missed next season.

To Omar Bongo and Hugo Chavez: Thanks for the memories.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Conversations at a Rest Stop

I'm in the bathroom of a rest stop taking my place at one of the urinals in the middle of the row. A tall burly man of about 20 years has the brim of his worn cap facing the wrong direction. He's assumed the position about four or five stalls to my right. On my left is a leather-clad middle-aged man, whose head reaches only the young man's chin, takes his place two stalls away from me on my left. The frat boy hollers to the side, "Were you the guy on the motorcycle out there?"

The older man answers, "Yes."
"Ya know, anyone riding a motorcycle on the highway going 50 mph has failed as a person."
A second later, the man in leather's forehead falls. "I'm surprised you stopped texting long enough to notice, buddy."

I sense the inevitable argument that's about to ensue and close up shop early. I suffer the consequences of that decision. I wash my hands and an explicative runs out of my mouth as I look down and notice the stain of that fateful decision in the mirror.

I leave the bathroom and pass by the TravelMart. There, a man is asking for directions to Germantown. It started innocently enough. Then like magnets to metal, men gravitate over to the conversation and begin adding their two cents. Soon, ten men are talking over each other discussing congestion, back roads, and every possible scenario. I think about helping too. I know the fastest route to Germantown, the easiest one, and all of the traffic patterns, but, instead, I just give a little chuckle as I pass by the scene. I figure that inserting my opinion will just add to the confusion.

I head left to wait in the line at Burger King. In front of me, a young woman wearing a tight University of Maryland t-shirt, comments to her friend, "I wanted Taco Bell, but when I got there, I saw a sign in the window, 'Not safe to occupy.' Not safe to occupy? When is Taco Bell ever safe to occupy? That's not a reason to shut down the place!"

I consider laughing. Normally I would, but my mind is elsewhere. Words have wandered into my ears from behind. "That's why we need to build a wall. To keep them out." I soon realize that I should probably challenge that insidious comment. I turn slightly and unveil a dirty look, but I still can't catch the perpetrator of the remarks with the corner of my eye. The moment passes.

We are herded like cattle through the line. I pick up my over-priced cheeseburger that has been sitting there as long as immigrants have been coming to this country. I pay the cashier with money and a forced smile. I sit and stare at the burger as I mull over each bite. Occasionally my eyes search the premises to see if they recognize anyone from the previous incidents and quickly dart down when someone else's approach.

After I finish, I walk out towards my car, ready to get back on the road. A man approaches me and begins, "Excuse me, sir. I'm trying to get to Germantown. Do you know how to get there?" I fight to stifle a smirk.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bills Win

Coming off of a heartbreaking loss, the Bills came home for the first time this season. The team didn't fall victim to a hangover. The Bills raced out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. Trent Edwards showed a willingness to throw the ball deep. Fred Jackson set a career mark in rushing yards. Terrell Owens got into the mix this game.

Two interceptions also helped the Bills fortunes. Despite the no huddled offense, Buffalo was able to run out the clock with the lead this time. The Bills beat Tampa Bay 33-20. There were only two negatives to take from this game. The Bills lost two tight ends to injury. They also struggled to put the ball in the end zone. One of their three TDs came from the defense. The Bills were forced to kick 4 field goals. A pick six isn't going to happen every game; when in the red zone, the Bills need to put the ball past the goal line with greater frequency.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mayweather Dominates

Floyd Mayweather was a frustrated businessman, who had just heard that his wife is leaving him. Juan Manuel Marquez was the hotel room pillow.

After a first round feeling out period, Mayweather knocked Marquez down in the second. Marquez was like a befuddled real estate agent, never figuring out the proper location in the ring. He was a U.S. smart bomb, consistently missing the target.

Meanwhile, Mayweather rarely missed. Marquez doubled his opponent's punch total, but Mayweather landed twice as many times. He easily dispensed of one of the three best fighters in the world. Only Marquez's immense heart prevented an early ending to the contest.

Marquez isn't done. He has recently beaten two of the top lightweights in the world. Mayweather is simply in another class. It would be ideal to watch him fight both Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, but one of those will be eliminated from consideration after they fight each other in November. Shane Mosley is also an attractive candidate. We'll have to see if Paul Williams can ever garner the name recognition that will force Mayweather to fight him.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

L'shana Tova

A new Rosh Hashanah tradition is to determine who is the most liberal at your Rosh Hashanah dinner. That's right, have a Liberal Contest. That's what we're doing at my house. Also, a new tradition is to not go to synagogue. Hey, it's a recession; who can afford these Rosh Hashanah prices? I can't even afford to pray for more money.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mayweather-Marquez

Not sure why they had to fight this on Rosh Hashanah, but it should be an intriguing fight anyway. Floyd Mayweather should get off to a slow start while trying to shake of the rust that has accumulated over the nearly-two years he's been sitting ringside. Juan Manuel Marquez is a notoriously slow starter. But both are masters at making adjustment, which will make for a fight that will flow in fits and phases.

Most assume that Mayweather's size, speed, and superior defense will give him a decision victory. I don't know if that's really what most people think, but that's my prediction anyway.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Evil Leaders League, Finals Game 2

You've sat by the computer for the past three months clamoring for Evil Leaders League action. If that's true, you might want to seek professional help. Just saying. Than Shwe takes his first ELL Championship with a win; Kim Jong-Il forces a deciding Game 3 if he pulls this one out. Check out the ELL site here.

Kim vs Shwe
Kim is hedging his bets. He continues to run North Korea in an autocratic fashion while claiming he'll test more nuclear weapons. His love of tests isn't exactly breaking down the stereotype that all Asians are nerds. At the same time, he's made overtures to South Korea and has even taken Obama's side on an important issue. Kim also thinks Kanye West is a "jackass." Recently, Kim has tried a third route to obtaining foreign aid; he's applied to be part of season 12 of Big Brother and he plans on winning.

Like a Kenyan running the U.S., Shwe is Burmese and heads Myanmar. Shwe is a big proponent of "enhanced interrogation techniques," which are in vogue lately. His latest "technique" was to throw democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi into a false trial. Shwe is also a notorious recluse. The last time he was seen in public, a 220z. Slurpee was 87 cents in Yangon, the city had no traffic lights, and Shwe could be seen sporting his military Miami Vice fluorescent green sport coat. This was last year.
winner: to view click here
series: to view click here

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

An Evening with Karl Rove

Karl Rove spoke at Goucher College tonight, which was cool of him to do. The night got off to an inauspicious start as some older protestors decided to scream incoherently that Rove was a war criminal. It didn't help that Goucher's president was screaming back at them. He should've initially issued a warning that if someone made an outburst, they would be escorted out. Instead, he berated the protestors and lost control of the situation.

Rove then moved to the podium to speak and claimed that the president’s introduction was too kind, which was awkward, because it was merely a brief outline of his resume. After, Rove gave a short speech about the history of the White House that was so banal it made me consider tearing up my degrees in history. The point of his speech was that presidents have to deal with issues not always of their choosing, a truly revolutionary point.

Then, there was a little interview session with the president, because it's all about him. Did you know that the speech at my graduation was the president interviewing Maurice Sendak? It was!

The most poignant part of the evening was when Karl Rove began pointing at an Iraqi student- who was describing his experience living in Baghdad- hollering about Saddam's rape rooms. He even tried to make the student feel guilty for the rapes and deaths perpetrated by Saddam Hussein. Instead of listening to an Iraqi's take, Rove attempted to belittle him. It was a metaphor for the march to war and the subsequent justifications.

The other interesting theme was that Karl Rove wasn't sure where he stands on torture. He has two arguments in support of the U.S.'s "enhanced interrogation techniques." One is that waterboarding and other tactics are not torture. When asked whether or not he would be comfortable with U.S. soldiers receiving that kind of interrogation, he offered the second, that it is ok to torture the "terrorists," because they did not sign the Geneva Convention.

Regardless of validity, no one likes to be called a war criminal and Karl Rove is no exception. While the accusations didn't add anything, Rove surprisingly lost his cool. He was often combative. He seemed unprepared emotionally. Occasionally, he reverted to weak rhetoric and easy applause lines that skirted the question being asked. Older people tend to ask questions to get the answer, college kids ask to seem smart or make a stand. Rove missed his audience. At one point, Rove yelled at a Latina student- who was concerned with the racist overtones of the Sotomayor confirmation debate-, "Where were you with Miguel Estrada?" a judge that Bush had hoped to appoint to a high court in 2001. Depending on the year of the student, she was around ten years old.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What the Fuck, Seriously?!

Up 24-13, I let myself relish in the Bills impending upset victory. Then, the bottom fell out. I won't go into it. I can't. Losing two defensive starters hurt big time, but that's as much analysis as you'll see here.

A lump has stayed in my throat and stomach ever since. I don't know whether to cry or kill someone. How many times is this going to happen to the Bills? And recently, Monday Night hasn't been kind.

In a survival football league, before the game, I inadvertently claimed that 9 out of our 10 players advanced, not realizing one had picked New England. Perhaps I jinxed it. Actually, it's almost certain that I did. I'm sick over it.

And you wonder why I'm jaded.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Evil Leaders League, Finals Game 1

It's the event that is nearly as popular as the WNBA Finals or the MLS championship, and it's here. I'm talking about the Evil Leaders League Finals. As always, the ELL Finals is a best out of three affair (first competitor to reach two victories grabs the title) with a quick turn-around. So don't go too far. Kim Jong-Il, the leader of North Korea, is attempting to defend his title and is vying for his third overall. This would be the first such honor for the Burmese leader of Myanmar, Than Shwe. It's the first Finals without that evil legend, Omar al-Bashir, participating. Check out the ELL site here.

Shwe vs Kim
While sanctions remain against Than Shwe's country, he's doing alright. He and his buddies will reportedly make about $5 billion from their recent gas deal with a South Korean company. That's so much money, Shwe can use $100 bills as toilet paper, which would be better than what he uses now, the remains of Buddhist monks. Speaking of toilets, Kim Jong-Il has serious bathroom issues. I know his bladder and the only thing he does more than pee is test nuclear weapons. This latest test isn't intended to threaten South Korea, the U.S., or Japan; his target is revered footballer David Beckham.
winner: to view click here
series: to view click here

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ask Ted - Hiding Her Boyfriend

Dear Ted,

I just found out that a female friend of mine has a boyfriend. The worst part is that she's had a boyfriend for 8 months and never told me! I even met him 2 months ago and she described him as a friend before the meeting. She gave some lame excuse, like, they weren't serious so she didn't want to saying anything. I'm furious. I feel very betrayed. What should I do?

Help,
Outraged in Ocean City


Dear Outraged,

One thing you should not do is rape and murder and her. I can tell you that from personal experience. Other than that, I'll say you have a right to feel angry. She was not honest with you. You have to ask yourself, if this person is acting like a good friend. Also, she does not appear to be a very good girlfriend. She's more interested in keeping her options open, which is why she didn't want to tell you.

Ted Bundy is not a licensed therapist. He is, however, a convicted serial rapist and murderer.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Jewish Children's Book Series #5

Mommy, Why Are the Gentiles So Angry?
A HarazQuack Publication

"Mamala."
"Yes, Shlomo?" Mamala replied, a little harried.
"If night falls, why does day break?"
"That sounds like something the gentiles made up. They like to blame others for their own failures," retorts Mamala while she's frantically sorting the mail.
"Mamala, why are the gentiles always are yelling? I saw it on television. One even yelled at the president (may he have a long life)!"
"The gentiles are angry, Shlomo."
"What for are the gentiles so angry?"
"They're always angry, Shlomo. They were angry when I was little. They were angry when Bubbe was little. They were angry when her bubbe was little. Old men. White men. They're always angry," argued Mamala as she ran for napkins to clean up my freshly-spilled juice.
"Why are they so angry?"
"Because, Shlomo, they don't like change. And the world is always changing. So they're always angry."
"That's stupid of them!"
"Yes it is, Shlomo. But, shh, don't tell anyone."
"I won't Mamala. Good night."
Bending down to give a kiss, Mamala offered a, "Good night, Shlomo."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight years ago a group of murderers flew planes into buildings killings thousands of people. For the past eight years, we've asked ourselves why. Perhaps the leader of the murderers was protesting America's control over the Muslim world and an attempt to expose America for its role in the region. If that's the case, then the murderers were right. The U.S. now occupies two Muslim countries and have been responsible for degrading and torturing Muslims.

In the past eight years, we've accepted the line that the world has changed because of that event. We rallied around the flag in the direct aftermath and many of us continue to call for war in the name of national security. We forget that people from dozens of countries were victims that day. If you mention that fact, you are dismissed as radical and unpatriotic. But, maybe that's exactly what those murderers were hoping for. They wanted the attack to be about America when it should have been about the human family coming together against hatred and violence.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2009 NFL Predictions

NFC
East - Phi, NYG, Dal, Was.
North - GB, Min, Chi, Det.
South - Atl, Car, NO, TB.
West - Ari, SF, Sea, Stl.

Wildcard Rnd - NYG vs Ari, Min vs Atl.
Divisional Rnd - Ari vs GB, Min vs Phi.
NFC Champ - Ari vs Phi

AFC
East - BUF, NE, NYJ, Mia.
North - Pit, Bal, Cin, Cle.
South - Ind, Hou, Jax, Ten.
West - SD, Den, Oak, KC.

Wildcard Rnd - NE vs BUF, Bal vs Pit.
Divisional Rnd - Bal vs SD, BUF vs Ind.
AFC Champ - Bal vs BUF

Super Bowl XLIV - Phi vs BUF
Champs - BUF

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Twenty Ten

Next year will be twenty ten. Not Two thousand and ten. Twenty ten.

Did the New York Knicks win their first championship in One thousand, nine hundred and seventy? Was Seinfeld first on the air in Nineteen hundred ninety-one? Don't be ridiculous, you fucking moron. Seinfeld first aired in Nineteen eighty-nine.

Besides adhering to tradition, it's also practical to call next year Twenty ten. Count the syllables in Two thousand and ten. Can't do it? Ok, I'll help you. The answer is 5. Twenty ten only has 3. 3 is fewer than 5. Thus, it is more economical. What are you not getting about this? Who are you, Lord Pepperbee, you have to enunciate every letter of every word?

So, to reiterate, 2010 = Twenty ten. And if you say anything different, I'm coming after you.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

One of Haiti's Best

In his book Haiti: The Breached Citadel, Patrick Bellegarde-Smith lists a number of Haitian writers of various disciplines for the readers' enlightenment. Regarding authors on Vodou, he lists himself. He does the same in his list about writers on Haitian history and socio-cultural development.

The weird part is that it's as if he tried to slip his own name into these lists of prominent Haitian writers. In the Vodou list, he's the 8th of 9 writers. He's 2nd out of 10 in the other list. No mention that he's putting himself in that class of Haitian writers. No little aside of humility. A "dare I include myself along side these illuminating authors" would've been nice.

Listen, Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, you realize we're reading your book, right? If we like it, we'll check out your other books. You don't have to trick us into thinking highly of yourself by shoving your name in the middle of a couple of long lists. You demean the reader and yourself. C'mon Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, you're better than that!

The sad thing is, besides claiming that Nelson Rockefeller was the VP in 1969 (Spiro Agnew anyone?), Bellegarde-Smith is better than that. His book is a penetrating one that covers the breath of Haitian history while articulating some interesting ideas.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Evil Leaders League, Semis 2nd Leg

We're creeping closer to the evil leader's ultimate prize (other than a nuclear weapon). That's right, the ELL championship. Let's see who made the Finals. The official Evil Leaders League site is here.

Kim vs Ahmadinejad
North Korea's Kim Jong-Il has been of two minds lately. To South Korea, Kim is like a bacon cheeseburger on a bun of donuts- looks like your friend, but really could kill you. He's shown signs of reconciliation one day and the next he claims he'll annihilate the South. Yesterday, North Korea unleashed a flood on South Korea. The tears of 100,000s of labor camp inmates make for a pretty ferocious flood. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran got most of his aides approved by parliament. Only one, his minister for green jobs, was rejected because he reportedly "had an opinion" on "things." Seems like Iran's thought police is out in force. At least they let him keep death panels in his health care reform bill. The death panels have another name in Iran though, the justice system.
winner 2nd leg: Kim by 11
winner overall: Check the ELL site

al-Bashir vs Shwe
There's nothing more annoying to Sudan's Omar al-Bashir than when some American douche corrects his English even though everyone knows what Omar meant. The essence of language is to convey meaning, never mind linguistic semantics. It’s just another form of neo-colonialism. Meanwhile, the West continues to bemoan the inequality that Sudanese women face. Did you know that a female member of the Janjaweed militia hacks a person from Darfur for 25% less than a man? What injustice! Senator Jim Webb learned something very valuable about the Burmese military junta leader, Than Shwe of Myanmar, on his recent visit. Shwe is less a man than a Japanese robot who gains energy from the degradation of his population. See Japan, this is where a robot dog who can pee leads!
winner 2nd leg: Shwe by 16
winner overall: Check the ELL site

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Ask Ted - Left at the Park

Dear Ted,

My boyfriend and I were having a picnic in the park when we started to argue. I said something mean and then he just left. There I was all alone in the park, left with the picnic basket. He never came back. When I try to tell him how angry that made me, he just walks out of the room. What can I do?

Sincerely,
Abandoned in Arlington


Dear Abandoned,

Being able to argue in a constructive and honest manner is one of the foundations of a healthy relationship. It is natural to fight with one another, but if you are not allowed to express your feelings with your boyfriend, then it might be time to leave. All that awaits your future if you stay are years of silence and frustration. He must allow you to not only say your piece, but engage in a constructive dialogue about your feelings AND share his own with you. It is never ok to leave a loved one alone in a park in the middle of fight unless he thought he may become violent, in which case, he needs to seek help.

One final thing: which park? Just curious.

Ted Bundy is not a licensed therapist. He is, however, a convicted serial rapist and murderer.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Passport Problems

I just realized that I don't have any blank pages in my passport, which is curious because I haven't gone that many places. Then I looked closer.

Ecuador, United States, and Czech Republic, you pieces of shit! You think your stupid countries are so great that you need to take up a whole page just for you! Do you know how much shit you're causing me, you narcissistic fucks. 4 stamps to a page, when a page is done, then, AND ONLY THEN, do you move onto another page.

Ecuador fucked me twice, once going into the country and once going out. Both stamps have their own page. Czech Republic not only took up a page with the initial stamp, but the ink seeped into the adjacent, previously blank, page. I've never even been to the fucking Czech Republic! I took a train through it. I had no intention of stopping. This is bullshit.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A History of Foreign Intervention

Haiti faced Spanish and then French colonization leading up to independence in 1804. Spanish conquerors decimated the indigenous Taino population. France extracted an untold amount of Haiti's natural wealth. Under the French regime, a minute ruling class violently ruled Haiti's enslaved population.

After Haiti declared independence, diplomatic recognition was slow in coming, isolating the young nation and leaving it victim to competing foreign powers. Ironically, France, after plundering its former colony, offered recognition in exchange for a massive indemnity. From 1857-1900, in order to protect American business interests, the U.S. intervened militarily nineteen times.

In 1915, the U.S. marines occupied Haiti. That occupation lasted until 1934. The marines ruled autocratically, killing thousands of Haitians during its tenure. In 1957, the U.S. supported Fran├žois Duvalier, who initiated the most brutal period in independent Haitian history. Papa Doc, as he was known, ruled until his death in 1971, when his 19-year old son took power with U.S. ships in sight of the ceremony. The vicious Duvalier regime lasted until 1986.

In 1994, the U.S. intervened militarily once again, ostensibly to promote democracy, but some have argued that it was a cynical attempt by the Clinton administration to show strength abroad after failures in Somalia and inaction in Bosnia and Rwanda.

Haitian governments have always assumed that their legitimacy depends on the favor of the United States and not its own people. Thus, Haiti's illiteracy rate has wavered between 80-90% because the government doesn't have to answer to the people, it must answer to the U.S. A large wave of Haiti's professionals and technicians class fled during the U.S.-backed Duvalier dynasty.

While the tenor and form of racism against Haitians have changed over the last 200 years, racism remains. Military interventions were justified by arguing that Haitians were unintelligent enough to rule their own affairs. Their belief in Vodou has been used to reinforce this perception of savagery. Nowadays, Haitians searching for freedom in the U.S. by boat are turned away. Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere because of this legacy of violence and racism. (International Edition)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Jews of Glory, Jews of Disgrace 2009

This is the fifth annual Jews of Glory, Jews of Disgrace.

Glory
5) Rabbi Mark Golub - When he does his little turn at the end of From the Aleph Bet on Shalom TV On Demand, it's the coolest thing ever.
4) SoCalled - The best Klezmer-Hip Hop musician of all time.
3) Ryan Braun, Jason Marquis, and Kevin Youkilis - There were three Jewish Allstars in Major League Baseball this season.
2) Barney Frank - When you call a gay Jew a Nazi because he supports health care reform, we got his back.
1) Jon Stewart - Even the Iranians revere him.

Disgrace
5) Shabbatai Zvi - False messiah converted when the going got tough.
4) Ehud Olmert - Former Israel PM indicted on charges of being a money-grubbing Jew.
3) Organ-dealing rabbis - Choosing money over ethics doesn't help the Jewish cause.
2) Bernie Madoff - At least the billions of dollars he stole were from both Jews and gentiles.
1) The schmuck who pissed off Hitler

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Did You Know?

It's well documented that I have a man crush on radio personality and WTOP traffic correspondent Bob Marbourg (well, it is now), but did you know that Botswana's per capita GDP is $14,300? It is.

Everyone knows that Democratic Congressman Daniel Sickles (and future Civil War general, Republican operative, and soon-to-be the deposed Queen of Spain's lover) was the first man acquitted of murder by plea of temporary insanity after he shot and killed his wife's lover, Phillip Barton Key, the son of Francis Scott Key, but did you know that the Oakland Raiders defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI? Fred Biletnikoff was the MVP.

Of course the best Klezmer-Hip Hop musician of all time is Josh "SoCalled" Dolgin, but did you know that statistically the death penalty is racist not because of the race of the convicted murderer, but based on the race of the victim. If the victim is white, the convicted murderer is significantly more likely to receive the death penalty than if the victim is black.