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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Wow. That’s a Lot of Drinking.

Just the thought of 17,500 Rocky Mountain Blogger Bashes is giving me a hangover you wouldn’t believe. But if Pajamas Media could be talked into it, I’d do my level best to meet the boozy expectations…

Friday, September 29, 2006

Stupid. Shameful. Criminal.

Florida congressman and Republican Mark Foley is an idiot. That, sadly, is the smallest of his sins.

He has also disgraced himself, proven himself a hypocrite of the worst kind, and embarrassed his family in a horrific way. Appropriately, he will likely be prosecuted for his transgressions under laws that he himself spearheaded--laws targeting Internet predators who preyed on children.

Florida Rep. Mark Foley’s resignation came just hours after ABC News questioned the congressman about a series of sexually explicit instant messages involving congressional pages, high school students who are under 18 years of age.

In Congress, Rep. Foley (R-FL) was part of the Republican leadership and the chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children.

He crusaded for tough laws against those who used the Internet for sexual exploitation of children.

“They’re sick people; they need mental health counseling,” Foley said.

But, according to several former congressional pages, the congressman used the Internet to engage in sexually explicit exchanges.

So far--and, hopefully, never--there has been no accusation of Foley having actually sexually assaulted any of the kids, which in no way excuses the rank abuse of power and position from this fraud. The words to describe Foley--if the accusations prove to be accurate and they sure as hell seem credible--are stupid, shameful, and criminal.

Here’s hoping that his resignation and position don’t shelter him from prosecution for his crimes.

Read the rest of the story.

Update: And if the story weren’t bad enough on its own, here’s an example of House Republican leadership failing its duties in a massive way.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pretty Pissy About Peter

Great.

Peter Jackson + Microsoft + New Game Studio = Halo filled with longing hobbit glances and disturbingly protracted scenes of mourning over lost comrades.

I fear Jackson’s influence on what was, in fact, one of the coolest series of games ever.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

He’s Had Better Years…(Updated)

This year just isn’t getting any better for Terrell Owens, is it?

Terrell Owens was taken to the emergency room for an undisclosed reason Tuesday night, and doctors treating the Dallas Cowboys receiver were trying to induce vomiting, according to a television report.

Owens was brought by a fire rescue crew to Baylor Medical Center, Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT reported, citing sources the television station did not identify. A reporter for the station later said she saw Owens being wheeled down the hall.

All else aside, I hope that isn’t anything serious and I hope he heals up fast.

Read the rest of the story.

Update: I’m really not sure what to say about this. If the report is true, Terrell Owens has some bigger personal issues than his bumpy football career.

According to a Dallas police report obtained by News 8, Dallas Cowboys star receiver Terrell Owens attempted suicide Tuesday night.
The report says Owens was depressed and reportedly took prescription pain pills. A woman companion states that she observed him putting two pills in his mouth.

According to the police narrative, the woman said the prescription of 40 pills was filled on September 18 and—until Tuesday—Owens had taken only five pills.

The police report said Owens was asked if he had taken the rest of the prescription; Owens said, “Yes.”

According to the report, police also asked if he was trying to harm himself. Owens answered, “Yes.”

In an overly simplistic sense, people try to kill themselves when their lives get so bad that they no longer believe that their tomorrows can be better than today. It is hard to imagine why someone in TO’s shoes would ever feel that way, why the only answer open in his mind would be so self-destructive and permanent.

Shocking, really.

Read the story.

Hey! Who Broke the Internet

At my last job, any time there was a significant network outage we would wander around asking, “Who broke the Internet?” In Zimbabwe, apparently, the answer would be TelOne--not because of an equipment malfunction but because there wasn’t enough hard currency in the company to pay the bill.

Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank bailed out telephone operator TelOne, which owed the sum to Intelsat.

The disconnection earlier this month cut surfing and e-mail activities by 90%, Zimbabwe’s ISP association said.

But TelOne is warning that they remain saddled with other debts and face severe shortages of foreign currency so problems could reoccur.

The firm wants diplomatic missions and internet service providers to pay their monthly subscriptions in foreign currency.

Of course, an even better answer might be that Robert Mugabe indirectly broke the Internet (for Zimbabwe’s citizens) by ruining an economy to the point where Internet services and Coca Cola both run dry in a matter of months. From a distance, it’s occasionally funny to laugh at the quadruple digit inflation, the fiscal mistakes, and the anti-Western conspiracy mongering that helps keep Mugabe in power. The closer view isn’t quite so humorous.

Not so long ago, Zimbabwe enjoyed a stable, emerging economy with one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s best educated populations, a booming farming sector, and a decent infrastructure. Now, its currency is so devalued that even the syrup to make Coca Cola is hard to come by; that may sound frivolous, but the truth is that the syrup is cheap and Coke is a standard throughout most third world countries. Your economy has to be in miserable shape before Coke becomes a rare commodity.

Just sayin’.

Read the rest.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Speaking of Intromission (Because We Were, You Know)


Watch. Laugh. Dance to the techno beat.

With a tip of the hat to Jonah Goldberg.

Damned, Evil Wal-Mart

Can you believe the nerve of Wal-Mart? Trying to go and do something good for people who need low cost generic prescriptions--even for people without drug coverage.

Wal-Mart announced today that it will start a test program in Florida, where it will sell generic prescription drugs for $4 for a 30-day supply. The test will start tomorrow in 65 Tampa Bay-area stores and is to expand to the whole state by January.

In a statement, CEO Lee Scott says the world’s largest retailer intends to “take the program to as many states as possible next year.”

On average, generic drugs tend to cost between $10 and $30 for a month-long supply.

The world’s biggest retailer said that it will test the program in Florida that will make 291 generic drugs available, which are used to treat a variety of condition from allergies to high-blood pressure. It will also be available to the uninsured.

Bastards.

The article does go on to criticize Wal-Mart’s employee health insurance plan (rightly or wrongly, I don’t feel well-equipped to judge), so obviously, there’s still a lot of room for continued left wing hatred of the big box chain of small-town-business-murdering stores. From where I sit, though, $4 generic drugs sound like a heck of a good deal. I have drug benefits, but when I recently hosted the Rock(s) of Gibraltar in delicate parts of my anatomy, the nearest drug store that could service my prescription didn’t take my insurance. I opted for generic versions of the prescriptions and ended up paying only $30 for the two bottles of narcotics and pain killers (praise the Lord) which seemed like a pretty good deal to me. If it had dropped to $8 for the bottles, I would have been ecstatic. And I would have asked for some extras…

If this works out it will be because Wal-Mart buys and sells in such immense quantities that both they and the manufacturers will still be making money off of the deal. Which is another way of saying that, at least in this instance, a free market solution is helping to solve a problem so that the government won’t have to.

But don’t you worry, Uncle Sugar has ways of showing up where he isn’t needed. While a company like Wal-Mart can explore ways to help people afford their prescriptions, the government will find a way to make sure that we all pay too much for a system that is far less efficient and far more expensive. Uncle Sugar has serious talents in that arena. Gotta get me that ol’ time wealth redistribution…

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Another Short Post

Andy rocks. Bonus points go to anyone who can tell me the name of the artist who is singing with Mark Lanegan on the song. And if you happen to attend the next Blogger Bash, I’ll even buy you a drink.

On an entirely different note: I’ll try to get back to posting tomorrow, but this has been a tough week in a number of ways. Getting back on track after an admittedly short vacation is proving to be pretty freakin’ difficult. I have a lot to say and very little time to pull it together.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Holy Middle Names, Batman

It’s a whole freakin’ flock of Daves.

Who knew?

Military Coup in Thailand

I was checking the daily market news when I came across the apparent coup in Thailand:

U.S.-listed shares of Thai companies fell Tuesday after the government declared a state of emergency in the capital Bangkok, as tanks moved into position around parliament in an apparent coup.

“All [Thai American Depositary Receipts] are under pressure. It’s a broad-based reaction to it,” said Charlie McLaughlin, international equity trader at Jefferies & Co. “That’s the only focus in regards to Asia right now.”

The Thai stocks that are available in the U.S. trade on the over-the-counter Bulletin Board market.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is currently in New York, declared a state of emergency as rumors of a coup swept through the capital city, according to news reports.

Which, of course, led me to Drudge--and the surprise that there was no flashing light or extra-extra big headlines about the coup. There were just a few lonely links and only a little more information.

Thailand’s army commmander ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a military coup Tuesday night while the prime minister was in New York, circling his offices with tanks, declaring martial law and revoking the constitution.

An announcement on national television signed by army Commander-in- Chief Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin ordered all troops to report to their duty stations.

As soldiers and armored vehicles moved through Bangkok, an announcement from the military earlier declared a provisional authority loyal to beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

For a little more background, check this out:

Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was threatened Tuesday by a military coup, is a self-made billionaire whose autocratic style of leadership sowed deep divisions.
The 57-year-old tycoon, one of the wealthiest men in Thailand, built his political success on support from the nation’s poor, highlighting his own rags-to-riches story.

Opponents despised the former policeman for some of his autocratic tactics, but supporters admired the charismatic leader for his get-tough governance and economic stewardship.

Thaksin finally bowed in April to months of protests demanding his resignation for abuse of power after a huge protest vote against his rule in weekend elections. He announced the decision after talks with Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

But since April the political crisis has limped on with the prime minister’s opponents accusing him of political posturing while polls to elect a new prime minister were repeatedly delayed.

I have no analysis to offer; this just happens to be a hell of an interesting story.

It doesn’t go very far in explaining why so much of the recent new cycle is being dominated by Willie Nelson’s Magical Drug Bus, though.

The Official ResurrectionSong Talk Like a Pirate Post

Garrr, this one’s fer Rae...

Comin’ aft t’ work from vacation be provin’ painful. I be about t’ be submerged in work an’ new projects, nay t’ mention havin’ t’ figure ou’ what t’ do wi’ th’ 3,000 media kits that be delivered an’ sittin’ in me office when I came in this mornin’.

I could use a drop o’ grog. Aye, or, better yet, another voyage o’ plunderin’ the Georgia coast.

So, if I be ou’ o’ sorts fer th’ next wee days, jus’ understand that ‘tis th’ post-vacation blues.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Follow-up to Brilliance (Friday 15 September 2006)

I’m an idiot.

This may come as a shock to people who read my post from a few days ago (wherein I painted a vivid and, I’m pretty sure, convincing portrait of myself as a genius. Sadly, the persona of amazing intellectual capacity turns out to be a lie.

Because I’m an idiot.

I flew today from Denver to Milwaukee and then from Milwaukee to Atlanta. In one of my day’s great tragedies, my wallet only flew to Milwaukee where it promptly debarked and went off to find hookers and a keg of Leinies. I don’t fault my wallet’s taste in beer (although it does have Eddie Murphy’s taste in hookers), I’m just concerned about it’s sense of timing.

I flew Midwest Airlines for the first time. With the exception of my drunken, whore-mongering wallet, it was a great experience. The Midwest flights really do have more leg, shoulder, and butt room on their Signature Series 717s. For that matter, the leather, Recaro-designed seats with extra-wide armrests made me feel pretty warm and fuzzy, too.

Something about the extra space seemed to make the passengers more pleasant, too; or maybe it’s just the warm, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies that kept everyone in line. Whatever the reason, it was easily a pair of the most relaxing flights that I’ve been on in quite some time.

The only real comparison was the American Airlines first class leg that I flew in March. Midwest has itself a convert, I’d say, and I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest them to anyone that I know.

But back to my impressive lack of a functioning brain…

On the leg to Atlanta, when I told the helpful flight attendant about my plight, she responded with a remarkable lack of pointing and giggling at Denver’s village idiot (me). In fact, once I explained that the traitorous little bastard could probably be found--falling-down drunk--at the nearest bordello, she even managed a look of sympathy. She made a call and has soon had found my wallet—still in Milwaukee as I had suspected.

She refused to describe the wallet’s condition or even tell me where it had been found. She simply told me that a professional would be there to counsel me in Atlanta.

Lord, but I was worried about the little fellow.

Next: How David made a number of people cranky in pursuit of reuniting with his wallet and was introduced to MARTA.

“Angry Muslims, Please Don’t Burn My House Down”

The title of this excellent, short piece from the Telegraph is “Islam, like Christianity, is not above criticism.” It sounds obvious, doesn’t it?

The combination of grievance-nurturing multiculturalism and instant headlines is having a disastrous effect on the worldwide Muslim community. There seems to be no limit to its spokesmen’s willingness to voice outrage; and their messages are then picked up by fanatics who mount appalling attacks on Christians in Muslim countries. When was the last time a Muslim leader apologised for such atrocities?

The truth is that barbaric attacks happen weekly. No wonder that Benedict favours an urgent dialogue with Muslims on the subject of religious violence, rather than the usual touchy-feely exchange of compliments.

Well, he has started a dialogue now, albeit not quite in the way that he intended. And it is essential that it continue. A self-abasing apology from the Pope would have postponed that discussion yet again.

Here’s the thing: the “war on terror” is really an extension of just this conversation.

This is what happens when cultural expectations that we have (a sense of tolerance for opposing ideas, a sense that diverse religious and political concepts aren’t immediately cause for violence, and the belief that our societies afford us protection when we criticize the beliefs and ideas of others) bump painfully up against a culture with a very different idea of societal behavioral norms. It’s not so bad when those differences are merely aesthetic in nature--questions of art, music, and poetry are much easier to deal with than issues like free speech, free press, equality for citizens under secular rule of law, democracy, and terrorism.

It is important that the conversation about religious violence is taken up right now: our cultures are rubbing up closer as the world continues to, metaphorically, shrink. It would be best if the conversation could happen without war and demonstrations in the street, but that’s the core of the problem, isn’t it? The simplest criticisms are met with threats of death, the burning of churches, and the killing of nuns--it makes it hard to keep up a steady conversation.

“Angry Muslims, please don’t burn down my house.” It isn’t just a joking plea; it’s an honest concern.

Read the rest.

The post title is a reference to one of Macomber’s masterpieces.

Update: Kindly linked by Kris at New Every Morning.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

PS- I’m Back

The recent quiet on the blogging front was the result of a trip to Atlanta to see my buddy Jerry, drink a little, eat a little, relax a lot, and catch ProgPower USA VII. The short of it is this: damn, I needed a break and thanks to Jerry for getting me to take one. It was a hell of a good weekend.

The long of it is that I’ve got a lot written, even more to share, and it’ll start coming to you tomorrow. The Travels of Jerry and Dave to the City of Atlanta. Starring Jerry and Dave, with guest appearances by aging metal fans, a gaggle of bands, a couple unhappy Midwest Airlines customer help people, and, extra-special guest appearance by Beauford.

None of which answers the question: why the hell didn’t I think of “Shiny Happy People”?

Gettin’ back in the groove by tomorrow…

Four Quick NFL Thoughts

One: So the Broncos won over an already dinged-up KC Chiefs. Nothing against the Chiefs and their performance, but consider me unimpressed. The Chargers are the class of the AFC West until someone can prove otherwise.

Two: On second thought, maybe the Raiders should have kept Jeff George on the roster. I can’t imagine him doing worse than Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter (aka, “Whatsisname"). And the serious deficit of skill at quarterback promises a really fun Randy Moss breakdown later this year. Barring divine intervention, the Raiders look to be the worst team in the league this year.

Three: Poor Favre. The decision to come back for one more season must be tasting pretty bad about now.

Four: To all the people who kept telling me that TO would have been a good fit in Denver, I just have two words: ha ha.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Me and My Brilliance

Damnit, I had this idea almost a year ago. Why does my brilliance go largely unremarked and untapped? I mean, except for me, of course: I tap my brilliance regularly.

Which isn’t nearly as naughty as it sounds.

This calls for Dave-Ku (the full-bodied poetry that tastes more like real chicken):

A Question for Dave and His Brilliant Mind on the Subject of Good, Cheap Drugs

Oh brilliant David
Thinker of lots of great thoughts
Where is my opium?

Seriously. Not All Blonds Are Stupid

Debra Lafave, former teacher and child molester, had some interesting words of wisdom about her legal battle. According to the snippets released on CNN her interview with Matt Lauer really brought out her inner dumb blond.

Debra Lafave, 25, who became a tabloid sensation after her arrest in 2004, also acknowledges that her victim might “have a hard time trusting women one day. I’m sure he has to be living with the guilt of—quote, unquote—ratting me out,” according to transcripts of the interview with Matt Lauer released by NBC Tuesday. The interview was to air Wednesday on the “Today” show and “Dateline NBC.”

Lafave is serving three years of house arrest and seven years of probation after pleading guilty to having sex with the boy in a classroom and her home in June 2004. Her plea in November negated the need for a trial during which the victim would have been called to testify.

Lafave has apologized and said bipolar disorder contributed to her state of mind at the time.

She told Lauer she never thought she was committing rape when she had sex with the teen but realizes now she “made a really, really, really bad choice.” She acknowledges that the case got so much attention—when similar cases get little or none—because she is attractive.

“Sex sells,” she said.

Lafave said she has a difficult time thinking of herself as a sexual predator, as she is now classified under Florida law.

“I was a kindhearted person who loved children, who would never, you know, do anything to break the law,” she said. “I was a good person. And then, now everything has just changed. So it’s just really hard for me to accept that.”

So, get this, she’s a kindhearted person who loves kids, wouldn’t break the law, and only had sex with a young boy under some pretty odd circumstances because she was feeling a little bi-polary that month. Only she did break the law in a really big way, she did have sex with a young boy under some pretty odd circumstances when she really should have known better, and it’s her love of kids (in the bad way) that got her in trouble in the first place.

For all that, we get to hear about how the sexual predator doesn’t think of herself as a sexual predator because, while she didn’t think of it as rape, she thinks it was a “really, really, really bad choice.” Sometimes really, really, really bad choices are precisely the things that get you tagged as a sexual predator; especially when they lead you to become sexually involved with one of your 14 year old students. No matter how much the boy wanted to do it, the adult is supposed to know better.

Deb Lafave is an idiot who was lucky to get a relatively light sentence; if she had been a male gym coach carrying on with a 14 year old girl, the resulting public outcry and sentence would likely have been a lot more painful. Yet she is idiot enough to find excuses for inexcusable behavior, shallow enough to think that she really needs to share her side of the story in a nationally televised interview, and really tone-deaf enough to think that calling it a “really, really, really bad choice” somehow manages to make her more sympathetic or her actions more understandable.

Despite the title, I’m pretty sure that her stupidity isn’t related to her hair color; it’s goes straight to the bone.

Read the story.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Musical List of Fours

I saw this at Jim’s joint a couple days ago, and, even though he didn’t tag me with some meme disease, I have a hard time resisting talking about music. So I won’t.

Jim, you had a lot of great stuff on your list. Here’s mine:

Four songs that you could listen to over and over:

  1. “Julie Paridise”, Screaming Trees, Sweet Oblivion
    This song has that classic (I hate the word) grunge slow-fast dynamic. It lures you in with little-lost-girl lyrics and then it suddenly kicks out with a defiant, angry howl that shoves you up against the wall.
  2. “The Only Living Boy in New York”, Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water
    Out of a catalog of sublime music, this is my favorite from the duo. I can’t exactly explain why.
  3. “Hit the Ground”, Lizz Wright, Dreaming Wide Awake
    Lizz Wright’s voice is proof that there is good in the world. It is a perfect instrument with a full, sultry quality; her control is exquisite. And this is a song where she shines.
  4.  "Into the Piano”, Woven Hand, Consider the Birds
    One of the things that makes David Eugene Edwards so fascinating is his ability to paint entire scenes with spare lyrics that are elusive enough to compel listeners to understand, but not so oblique that they cannot be understood. This song is like listening to a stand-up piano echoing off the walls of a old church, ringing and slow. “Behind a door, hand to face, conscience is the wound.”

Of course, there are so many songs that I could have put in this category. U2, Mark Lanegan, Grant Lee Buffalo, Daniel Lanois, Twilight Singers, and a host of other artists have made songs that provide the soundtrack to my life. I think I owe them a big thanks.

Four songs that drive you up the friggin’ wall:
  1. “Love Shack”, B-52s, Cosmic Thing
    Hideous song that burrows into the back of your brain and, I’m pretty sure, leaching your sould right out of your body. That kind of evil.
  2. “Ain’t No Sunshine”, Bill Withers, As I Am
    I wouldn’t hate this song, actually, if it weren’t for that ten minute interlude where the singer just repeats himself over and over and over and over and over and over...
  3. “When the Children Cry”, White Lion, Pride
    Do I need to explain this one?
  4. “Forever Your Girl”, Paula Abdul
    It doesn’t help that she’s become the rambling, confused, and, perhaps, chemically stimulated annoying voice on American Idol, but the song would still be on this list without the latter-day assist.

Four songs that you’re embarrassed (or should be) to admit you like:
  1. “Mambo #5”, Lou Bega
  2. “Night Fever”, Bee Gees
  3. “Too Shy”, Kajagoogoo, White Feathers
  4. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, Bobby McFerrin

Read the Rest...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Anthony M. Ventura Remembered

On this day, September 11, 2006, I remember Anthony Mark Ventura. Sadly, I will never know the man as anything other than the scant information available on the Internet. I will never know his dreams or his passions; I will never know the totality of his life.

Anthony M. Ventura was on the 97th floor of the South Tower on September 11, 2001. A manager for Fiduciary Trust, while the rest of the people on the floor evacuated the building, Ventura went to find his mother-in-law, Felicia Hamilton. Sadly, both died in the attack--two of nearly 3,000 lives taken by terrorists who had targeted the World Trade Center as a symbol of American capitalism.

Sadly, not much information is available about Mr. Ventura; the 41 year old is a name that appears on numerous lists, with no photo and no biography to illuminate his being. What is known, though, is that he died a selfless death, worried more about the safety of his mother-in-law than his own. That is all I need to know to realize that there was a good core to the man. There was something honorable in him.

In a greater sense, though, he is another name and another face on that terrible roll call that reminds us: those lost on September 11, 2001 were just folks. They were fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, and children; they came from every religion and race, they were janitors and receptionists and rescue workers and fund managers. And they all woke up and went to work with no understanding that they were the targets in what the war that the terrorists had declared against the United States.

The losses are a nation’s tragedy; in finding the good in people like Mr. Ventura, though, we can help to give meaning to that tragedy. We find that common sense of heroism that leads us to self-sacrifice in the most unthinkable situations. In remembering and praising what was good in Anthony Ventura, we remember and praise what is good in humanity.

Other Links
See more tributes at 2996.
USA Today, Delay Meant Death on 9/11

Broncos v/ Rams: Story of the Game

The story of the Denver Broncos today was five turnovers, missed opportunities, and a mediocre performance by the offensive line. Plummer through almost half as many picks in this game (3) as he threw in all of last season (7) and added a fumble to round out a horrible day. Some of this was bad decision-making on Plummer’s part, but he faced pressure from a revved up Rams defense all day long.

The defense was the only bright spot on the day; giving up so few points on so many turnovers reflects well on the starters. But even they were obviously tired and dispirited by the end of the game.

Last season the Broncos managed to go 13-3 after losing a brutal and ugly game to the Dolphins in the season opener, so I’m trying to avoid putting too much meaning on this one game. The Broncos really didn’t look good, though. They played poorly, made bad decisions, and paid the cost on the road to a team that looks to be better this year than last.

Do the Broncos bounce back and set their season right? They certainly could, but they won’t be making too many teams nervous after this game.

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