Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Ten Commandments

The US Supreme Court achieved a rarity this past week - a unaminous decision. The case involved a religious group called Summum, who are sufficiently wacko to merit a separate posting here in the near future. They sued the city of Pleasant Grove City (Utah) to be allowed to put up their own monument next to one showing the Ten Commandments. You can read MSNBC's account of the case here. . The gist of Summum's claim was that the 10 Commandments monument was a religious promotion, and since we are guaranteed religious freedom, they had the right to erect an equivalent monument at the courthouse, listing their "Seven Aphorisms". SCOTUS disagreed, claiming the 10 Commandments are the bedrock of the US Judicial system. But are they really? Let's see just how much our laws are influenced by the 10 Commandments. We'll rate each of them Yes/No according to whether they are covered by laws or not. . 01.) Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Well, that one doesn't apply, due to the aforementioned Freedom of Religion. Worship whoever and whatever you want. Just don't erect a monument to He/She/It on the courthouse lawn. Verdict : No. . 02.) Thou shalt not make idols. You can make all the idols you want. Verdict : No. . 03.) Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain. Although it's generally bad strategy to cuss out the judge and jury, there's no law against it. Verdict : No. . 04.) Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Well, courthouses are closed on Sundays. But that's because they can't find anyone willing to give up their weekends to serve on a jury. Heck, most of us prefer going to work over jury duty. Verdict : No. . 05.) Honor thy father and mother. Curiously, Arizona just settled a case where an (at the time) 8-year-old boy ambushed and blew away his dad and the dad's companion as they returned home from work. The boy was allowed to plead guilty to one count of negligent homicide (shooting the companion), and all charges involving him killing his Dad were dropped. The boy will serve no time in juvenile, but must submit to periodic psychological testing. Verdict : No. . 06.) Thou shalt not kill. Murder still generally gets you thrown in jail, provided of course, you are more than eight years old. Verdict : Yes. . 07.) Thou shalt not commit adultery. Having an affair will usually (and rightfully) get you divorced, but you won't be hauled off to jail unless you're a polygamist or the "other" was underage. Or both. Verdict : No. . 08.) Thou shalt not steal. Yeah, there are laws against theft. Unless you're a banker, a CEO, or contribute to the Republican party. Verdict : Yes. . 09.) Thou shalt not bear false witness. There's no law against lying, except in court. That's called perjury. And it has Barry Bonds' and Roger Clemens' shriveled up testicles sweating up a storm. Verdict : No. . 10.) Thou shalt not covet. Covet away. That's what most advertising is all about. Verdict : No. So there you have it. The grand influence the Ten Commandments have on our legal system is telling us not to steal and not to murder. Come to think of it, all other religions and philosophies tell us that also. So maybe Summum has a point. Or maybe we should admit the hypocrisy about those 10 Commandments monuments and pull them down.

Friday, February 27, 2009


I was watching YouTube videos of Ike & Tina Turner doing "Proud Mary" the other night. YouTube has at least a half-dozen different videos of this; I guess I don't have a full appreciation of just how many gazillions of clips they have in their database. . This is a nice version - pieces from at least three different concerts spliced seamlessly together, the last one in the early 70's. It's the ending to this one that gives me the chills. By now, Ike is merely background - Tina and her dancers are the whole show. Nevertheless, the clip ends with her acknowledging Ike. Unfortunately, the audience is chanting "Tina! Tina! Tina!". . The look Ike gives the audience could freeze boiling water. See if you agree. .

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Baseball is here!

And this season, the chemists are favored to beat the 'roid-sters. Look for a lot of older players to look... well... very old. There will also be some incredible shrinking men. And a lot of former all-stars that will suddenly be unable to catch up with younger pitchers' fastballs. . Of course, this could all change in a heartbeat. It's only a matter of time before a chemist for the steroids manufacturers figures out a way to beat the detection test. You'll know when that happens though. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds will be demanding to play again. Hell, Lance Armstrong will probably want to DH. . And no, I don't buy any of A-Roid's phony apology and story. You cheated, dude. And lied, too. Deal with it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another place...

...I'd like to visit sometime. The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. These shots were taken by a colleague of mine. Lucky dog.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Daily Dilbert

Today's Dilbert was somewhat timely since I've just finished reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road, where some of the desperate remnants of humanity resort to... um... yeah... a rather unspeakable food source.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Oscars

Nice to see that Queen Victoria and I have the same opinion of the exciting Oscars show.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Working On A Dream

Artist : Bruce Springsteen
Album Title : Working On A Dream (2009)
Genre : Rock
Rating : ***** *** (out of 10*)
. More good stuff from The Boss, and IMHO, a step above his previous release, Magic, which you can read about here. The song-writing is better, and there are a bunch of catchy tunes : Outlaw Pete, Working On A Dream, Queen Of The Supermarket, and Surprise, Surprise, to name a few. . The band is still top-notch, and I'm sure these songs sound awesome at his concerts. My main gripe is that the heart-pounding rock-&-roll that gained him prominence on albums like The Wild, The Innocent & The East Street Shuffle, Born To Run, and Born InThe USA is still MIA. I have a feeling it's gone forever. . Rolling Stone went into ecstasy over this album; RYM gave it the lowest BS rating since the mid-90's tripe of Human Touch/Lucky Town. The truth is somewhere in between. Eight stars.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Guess who!?

Something quick, as we're heading out tonight to eat at one of my favorite restaurants - The Cork & Cleaver.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Just because...

...I haven't picked on the Repugnicans for a while. What a bunch of losers.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Amreica : Wher Ouality iz Jobb Wun

When I was a kid, the hottest topic for discussion (well, next to "Mary Ann or Ginger?") was "Ford or Chevy?" Except in our house, where my non-conformist Dad was a firm believer in the Slant-6 engine found in Dodges and Plymouths. .. Nowadays, there is an inane movement to try to guilt everyone to "Buy American". Alas, according to a 2008 Consumer Reports article, the 10 most reliable cars were : 01. Toyota Prius 02. Lexus LS 03. Toyota Highlander 04. Lexus IS 05. Toyota RAV-4 (4-cyl) 06. Honda Civic 07. Honda Accord (4-cyl) 08. Toyota Corolla 09. Mazda MX-5 Miata 10. Honda CR-V . And the 10 least-reliable cars were : 01. Buick Terraza 02. Chevrolet Uplander 03. Saturn Relay 04. Land Rover Discovery & LR3 05. Volkswagen Touareg 06. Pontiac Aztek 07. Nissan Armada (4-WD) 08. Chevrolet S-10 (4-WD) 09. GMC S-15 (4-WD) 10. Chevrolet Blazer . Any questions why ours has been a Toyota house for 25 years?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Books We Want To Read

I'm not a big fan of classic literature, but this one has promise. Yes, it is a legitimate book, about to be made into a movie. For more details, see the NYT article here. OTOH, I might just wait for Ghouliver's Travels.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

He's a Southpaw !!

No wonder he's so smart. All left-handers are geniuses, you know.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Young Love

Meet Alfie Patten. At 13 years old, he's the proud papa of a bouncing baby girl. Mom's all the way 15 years old. They were 12- and 14-years-old when the baby was conceived.
Today, there was a wrinkle to the story. Two other teenagers have come forth claiming that they might be the father. It seems Mama got around.
Kids. They grow up so fast nowadays. When I was 12, I was in 7th grade, and was still adjusting to the fact that girls no longer had cooties.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

XKCD fix for the week.

A clever take-off on the old "gullible" gag.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

We heard a Fry's Grocery Store radio ad earlier this week that began something like this : "In honor of Valentine's Day, fresh asparagus is on sale for only..." . I suggested to Liz that it might be more appropriate for me to make her an asparagus-&-lettuce arrangement (with maybe some radishes or carrots to add a dash of color) instead of spending money on the traditional red roses. She didn't buy into it at all.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I just finished...

This is one I probably won't review at the book-blog. And to all you Darwinists out there, I'd like you to explain why we "evolved" to where nose hairs and ear hairs only proliferate once we hit middle age. . BTW, Happy slightly-belated Birthday to Mr. Darwin himself, who yesterday turned a spry 200. The same day as Ray Manzarek, undoubtedly the business guru of The Doors, turned 70. (Sighs) I have always been a Doors fan. Jim Morrison would be 65 now. One wonders what he would've been like had he lived to experience geezerdom.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Photo of the Month

If this doesn't make you go, "Awwwwww", there's something wrong. And now you're telling me someone deliberately set these fires? . FWIW, Arizona went through something like this a couple years ago. Devastating, arson-caused fires when all our forests were tinder-dry. Hundreds of houses destroyed. They caught the jerk that set the fires - it turns out he was a local forest firefighter and did it to earn some money.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ché Tribute

This is for "Ernesto", who commented in yesterday's post that Jason bears a striking resemblance to Ché. . I have a T-shirt with Ché on it. Same picture as shown above, only red-on-black. I rarely wear it, for fear that someone will be offended. Silly me. The most common remark I get is, "Who's the hippie?" Sheesh. Sic gloria transit mundi.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jason!

Nice, eh? Unfortunately, the bozos in the bakery left a sheet of paper between the cake and the frosting. How the heck can you miss that? . When Liz called to get a refund, the manager's response was, "Are you sure it wasn't edible paper?" Yeah right, buddy. Nice try. Now give us our flippin' money back. Which they did.
But I digress. Here's Jason just as he realizes he blew out all of the candles but one. Happy Birthday, Jason !!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Busy Weekend

There was a lot happening in our little corner of the asylum this weekend. Some dear friends came over from San Diego. Jason's birthday was on Saturday. And Friday night, we went to the Rhythm Room to see and hear this lady and her band put out some great blues. You can read the Wiki article about her here. BTW, Candye, one of the San Diego friends and I all share the same birthday.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Another mystery solved

How did Escher come up with those incredible images? Ah. Just as I suspected.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Happy Waitangi Day !!

I really need to get me a Maori alter-ego. Dimension-traveling to New Zealand would be more fun if I knew people there, even if I had to chrono-hop as well.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A psychic link to PBS

I recently posted about the wonderful game of Risk here. And I just finished posting a review of a book featuring the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse (Death, War, Famine, and Pollution. Pestilence retired when penicillin was discovered) here. So imagine my surprise when that excellent comic strip, Pearls Before Swine incorporated them both into this week's storyline.
Coincidence? I think not.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Arizona Cardinals Win SuperBowl 43 !!!

The Arizona Cardinals stunned the heavily-favored Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday 23-20, in a game shortened to 58 minutes so the NFL could donate two minutes-worth of Super Bowl electricity to the storm-ravaged, out-of-power residents of Kentucky. SuperBowl MVP Larry Fitzgerald scored the winning TD with 37 seconds remaining. . Interviewed after the game, Fitzgerald said, "That play was open the whole fourth quarter. We knew we just had to have patience, and only run it when there wouldn't be enough time for the Steelers to stage a last-minute comeback. Now I'm going to finally get a raise".
Winning quarterback Kurt Warner had this to say : "I knew we were going to win. God told me this when He and I had breakfast this morning. He said He favored us because we have a 'churchy' name, "The Cardinals", and that glorifies Him. Now I'm going to Dollywood."
Losing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger responded, "Of course I'm disappointed we only had 37 seconds left at the end. It would have been nice to have those 59th and 60th minutes. I'm also bummed that God was pulling for Arizona. Now I'm going to hie me to a nunnery".
NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell defended the power-donating decision, saying, "I don't regret it at all. The NFL cares about the community and I'm proud in knowing that we met our social responsibilities. Besides, the way Arizona was playing, Pittsburgh didn't have a chance. Now I'm going to sleep." . Finally, Cardinals owner Bill Bidwell had this announcement, "I'm giving the entire Arizona Cardinals roster its unconditional release. I'll be (bleeped) if I'm going to give them all raises for this. I never asked them to make the playoffs, let alone win the SuperBowl. I'm going to field a team of high school all-stars next year. It'll be a great experience for the kids, and I don't have to pay them a dime. They need to keep their amateur status in order to play college ball. It's a win-win situation. Now I'm going to the bank to count my money"

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Hey London and Paris !!

We had a high of 82°F today! With low humidity and not a cloud in the sky.
Come to think of it, it's gonna be this way for the rest of the week.
And no, we don't want to discuss the weather when June rolls around.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Superbowl NAQV

Queen Victoria on Superbowl XLIII. My own delusion about it to follow soon - maybe tomorrow night; more likely on Wednesday.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


I don't know which is sadder - the fact that Michael Phelps allowed someone to snap a picture of him taking a hit off a bong, or the fact that we continue to make role models out of sports personalities whose lives frankly don't measure up. . You'd think Phelps would've at least considered the ramifications of what this picture does to his endorsement career. What the flip was he thinking?