Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Gerald Ford

Former President Gerald Ford died a few hours ago. I was fairly young during his presidency -- my most vivid memories of him in office are of him falling down (and, of course, of Chevy Chase impersonating him falling down). However, I can say that he was one of the few Republicans that I did not dislike, and judging by the current crop of Rs, he may be one of the last.

Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown

I just saw the news that James Brown has died. Just an hour ago, I was sitting in a car (driving, actually), arguing with someone over whether James Brown is a 'living legend' or not. I took the stance that he was, without question, and I think it was the first time that I admitted to this particular person that I thought so highly of James Brown, knowing that it would set me up for a load of crap from this person. (Earlier, he refused to admit that Chuck Berry was a living legend on the grounds that he thought that Berry was dead.)

I just told my wife about the conversation in the car about fifteen minutes ago, she agreed with me about JB, and others, and had her own picks. I just had to tell her that we can cross one off the list.

That sucks.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Where We Are Now

I have no idea...

Seriously, this blog got way too serious, way too heavy-handed there for a while. The last thing I want to do is come on here and write about politics every day. So, in the future, IF this blog continues, we are going to change the tone. Will the tone change? No. Why did we ever think the tone would change? Whoops -- goddammit, there I go again. NO MORE POLITICAL JUNKI-NESS. I'm even out-geeking the geeks I know with this stuff.

Let's talk about something else. How about Michael Richards. I assume that you all have heard about his tirade, and hopefully have seen the video. But I am not here to give value judgements on him or what he said. I just wanted to say: by coincidence, that annoying guy from Seinfeld, the one who played 'Jerry', was booked to be on Letterman tonight. During his appearance, they interviewed Michael Richards on satellite (ooooooh! Satellite!!) from L.A., and let him have a nervous breakdown on the show while that Jerry guy sat in judgement, and the audience giggled and squirmed. WOW! Now THAT was some uncomfortable television!!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Gameday (#3)

I have been informed that I need to do a witty and/or sarcastic post tonight regarding the election results. However, I shall hold off, as there are still a few races that haven't settled (MT-Sen, and VA-Sen, although realistically, I think they're done), and some House races that are still within 200-500 votes, and it seems silly to do final analysis on stuff like that.

Still, WOW! This was some night. MSNBC is currently projecting the new House at 235D-200R. I would like to squeeze one more R defeat out of there (are you listening, HEATHER WILSON, or you, MARILYN MUSGRAVE??), to drop the Rs below the Mendoza Line.

...to be continued (probably in court).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Gameday (#2)

More predictions! This time from Tbogg, and definitely worth a read!


Let's start the big show today (yeah, start... it's already noon on the East Coast) with a quick prediction. I'm not usually one for making predictions (BWAHAHAHAHA!), and after my Lieberman/Lamont/Other Guy prediction, I should probably just shut up. But, I will offer this quick forecast and suggestion:

Tonight, in the CA Governor's race, after Angelides calls Ahhh-nold to concede, at about 8:02pm, Schwarzenegger will take the stage at his re-coronation ball and say the following:

(Using trumped-up Austrian accent that makes Holocaust survivors wake up screaming) "I told you I would be BACK!"

At that point, I believe that beginning recall proceedings immediately would be in order.

I told everyone -- vote for Arianna, vote for Arianna, vote for Arianna. Did anyone listen? Nooooooo...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Calling Dixville....

Hello? Calling Dixville Notch, do you copy? We are awaiting your returns.

(They do the midnight voting thing for midterm elections as well as Presidential elections, right?)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Game

Hello everyone, or whoever is left! (get it? Left? hehe!)

There are some things that I have been sure that I have written on this blog, only to come back and find out that I have said nothing about them. That means that my 'A' material is ending up as comments on other blogs, and whatever is left over is here. That's not a good way to run the show. Maybe I'll just post links to my comments from elsewhere. Hmmmm....

Anyway, I have to comment this morning about the Congressional races. I have been watching these VERY closely, especially over the last three weeks or so. The Senate race seems to have pretty much stagnated, somewhere in the 51-49 range, either way. As far as I am concerned, that will not cut it for the Dems, even if they have the 51. Here's why: If it is 51R-49D, then it is business as usual (for the sake of these numbers, we are assuming that Bernie Sanders (I) wins, and he will caucus with the Dems. Also, the pollsters continue to regard Lieberman as a de facto Dem, regardless of his new party affiliation.); if it is 50-50, Cheney is the tiebreaking vote, and we all know how that will turn out; At 51D-49R, things get a little weird. One of the Ds is Joe Lieberman, running on the Bullshit Moose party. It is my firm belief that, if he beats Ned Lamont, as it appears he will, he will caucus with the Republicans, knocking it back to 50-50+Cheney. Lieberman knows where his votes are coming from -- and he has a debt to repay. So, the magic number for the Dems is 52. I haven't seen a 52 yet.

Now, onto the House, where it gets interesting. The Dems need to pick up about 15 seats to take the majority. For a while, that was a possibility. But, going down the laundry list of scandals, problems, Iraq deaths, war profiteering, preying on children, etc., the game has gotten out of control, and FAST!

There is a term in baseball known as the Mendoza Line. The Mendoza Line is 200, or rather, .200 as a batting average. Named after a mediocre player who hit a lifetime .200 average, it is now regarded as the point where, if you are below the Mendoza Line, maybe you shouldn't be in the majors. I think the same rule could apply to the House. There are 435 members of the House; if a one party drops below 200 members, that means they have really screwed the pooch, and the party is in trouble.

According to my most-used polling site, electoral-vote.com, which I find tracks the most polls, things are getting weird. As of October 1st, the predicted House makeup was 216D-219R. By October 10th, it had flipped to 219D-216R (for simplicity, I am counting all 'toss-up' polls as Republican victories). By the 13th, it was 226D-209R. Things stayed the same for about a week, and then, IT happened. The Republican party imploded under the weight of it's own corruption & hubris. On November 1, the Republicans had smashed through the glass floor of the Mendoza line and were looking at a count of 239D-196R. I actually thought this was a bit over the top, since most of the polls were done by the firm Research 2000, but I took it under advisement.

Imagine my surprise today when a whole new group of Zogby (who I really like) polls came out this morning and put the numbers at 241D-194R! Bush & Cheney are being forced to campaign in Wyoming (!), Idaho (!!) and other places that should be locks for them. There is truly a move afoot to throw the bastards out.

I have said to some people, although not in this blog, that the way things are going this election cycle, if this campaign were to last a another month, we might be able to go straight from the election into impeachment hearings. I don't think we're going to get to that extent, but... wow! This should be an interesting (and, potentially long) Tuesday night.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Davis vs. Limbaugh

Just a quick post. I've been following this disgusting attack by that idiot Rush Limbaugh on Michael J. Fox for coming out and saying that he would like to see some people elected that give a damn about stem-cell research, something that this country is falling FAR BEHIND on compared to the rest of the world. (Remember when we had a science agenda to be proud of in this country?) Just to recap: the permanently flaccid and admitted OxyContin junkie Limbaugh has been railing on and on that, in the ads, Fox is either acting sicker than he is, or that he has deliberately stopped taking his meds in order to make his disease look worse than it is.

Rush Limbaugh is an asshole.

First, he has no idea how Fox's meds work. If he did, he would know that he has his cause & effect mixed up. No meds = paralysis, meds = extreme movement. Pick one -- they both sound like really great options, don't they Rush. I realize that you have no problem just cramming more pills down your fat trap to fix whatever you say this weeks problem is ("Wahhh! I'm in pain -- I need 60 Oxys a day!"; "Wahhh! I have to meet some Carribean hookers and my dick won't get hard -- someone get me some Viagra under a fake name!"), but some people would actually like a cure for some of these problems that pills just don't make that much better.

Here's a piece written by someone who has some experience in the matter. Patti Davis (Reagan). Remember, she was the estranged Reagan daughter, who then came back to the family to make her peace with St. Ronnie before he died, and now believes, along with the other sane family members, that maybe stem-cell research wouldn't be such a bad thing, and that maybe real human lives carry more importance than blastocysts. Take a look here.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Stupidity Awards

Sorry for not posting much lately. It's been real busy getting our other blog, atomicnewwave.blogspot.com (tied to our Internet Radio Station) up and running, and also trying to, you know, make a living and such.

Anyway, I just had to comment on what has to be the stupidest thing I have heard this month, so far (I realize that 15 more days is plenty of time for people to say even more stupid things, and I don't doubt they will, but this gets the award for now): Supposedly, tomorrow, the United States of America will have a population of 300,000,000 people. I'm sorry, let me be more specific: at 4:46 am PDT on Tuesday, October 17, 2006, the giant odometer that tracks the population of the U.S.A. will roll over 300,000,000.

Now, I certainly don't want to rain on anyone's parade here. In fact, I hope that Baby "USA 300M" gets a lifetime supply of Huggies and a guest-hosting stint on The View. However, does anyone actually believe this crap? 300,000,000? How do we arrive at that number? By the census?!? Are you kidding?? I'm thinking it would be more accurate if news reports called it 300,000,000 +/- 20,000,000. We have already established (after the 2000 election) that we are unable to count votes in an election (seriously -- the Supreme Court said that -- look it up), and, to vote, people actually have to go somewhere and sign in and do something to be counted. For this, you either fill out a form or.... what? Someone goes and looks for you? Well, yes. Census officials actually walk around and look for people that aren't counted. Do you have an address? Well, you've probably been counted already. More kids? Homeless? Living on a Rural Route?? Hiding in a storage shed??? Well, whatever, we'll just mark down a few more people and we'll be on our way.

Don't get me wrong. I suppose a census is important for various reasons (I'm not going to go into them), but attempting to celebrate a 300 millionth person at an exact time is just stupid, and reeks of a society desperate to celebrate something, or mark some kind of milestone, or get some kind of feeling of accomplishment, even though nothing has really happened. It's like being proud of your blood-type. You didn't do it. We didn't do anything. It's not even a real event. Get over it.

In other news, I usually don't comment on football on this blog but, may I just say: Screw You, Leinart. I realize that as a graduate of the University of Spoiled Children, you're not used to a lot of disappointment in your life, and we all felt very bad watching you have your little outbursts on the sidelines, but, perhaps you need to get over yourself and perform a little better next time. USC grads normally don't have to hear that until later in life, but I guess you're getting advance notice.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

No Pony for You

Well, that's it. The Dodgers' season is over, after collapsing with a spectacular whimper against the Mets tonight. I watched the last half of the game on TV, which means I didn't even get to hear Vin call the ending. Wahhhhhh.

Ok, Dodgers, we need to talk about a couple of things:

First, I thought the team came out about where they should have this year, maybe one or two games better. I really didn't expect the playoffs, but once we were there, I would have liked to, you know, win a game or something. But, at least we got something. I think. The wildcard is something, right? It says to the world, "Look! We suck less than the rest of the losers! Woo Hoo!!"

Second, this Maddux thing is starting to grate on me a bit. Yes, he was a great pitcher. Yes, he's still pretty good. No, I don't trust him. No, you can't depend on him. I don't mind that Maddux goes out there and throws the ball right down the pipe, daring the batter to hit it. It works for him, and that is great. But, this 70-pitch limit has got to go. There is no way we can take Maddux into next season (if he is still playing, that is) knowing that he can only make 70 pitches before he is "mentally exhausted." Mentally Exhausted?!? Screw You! Maybe you're in the wrong game. Jesus Christ -- get out there and throw the damn ball!! Basically, each time Maddux starts, the Dodgers know they will be looking at a minimum three pitcher game, maybe more. I don't see that as acceptable.

Third, Goddammit McCarver, WE ALL KNOW THAT THE DODGERS TRADED LODUCA A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. SHUT UP ABOUT IT!! Is it really necessary that every single time we see LoDuca, Tim Mcarver has to say something along the lines of "You know, the Dodgers made a very controversial trade concerning LoDuca, one that will probably never be forgotten." Trade, got it. Move on. Baseball: trades happen. Wow -- you mean LoDuca was on the other team? What a surprise! What were the odds?? Incredible.

Fourth, and this is to all teams clinching an LDS: drop the champaigne celebrations. It looks ridiculous. If you win a LDS, you really haven't won anything other than the right to play for the pennant. You haven't won a division -- that was already settled. You haven't won a pennant -- that's not here yet. All you have done was stay alive to play another series. You want a party? Win the LCS.

There will be more. I still say it was a good season, and I will be back on Feb. 14 next year (traditional 'Pitchers & Catchers Report' day) to start it all over again. After I tape my heart back together, that is.

Go Tigers! (What the hell, right?)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Playing to 165, I guess.

Ok, I'm not going to dwell on this, but since one of "my topics" is baseball in general, and the Dodgers specifically, I have to ask a question after the last two games:

What in the hell is going on out there???

Fine, if you don't want to play any more baseball this year, that's ok -- I'm disappointed, but, go ahead and pack it in. Just don't make yourselves look like such idiots doing it!!

It's kind of weird, the way that things have been turning out, especially regarding what will now be forever known as "The Play". It's weird because, on Tuesday afternoon, HBO-FW14 (or something) was showing the cinematic masterpiece Major League 2. I stopped my busy day to watch about a half-hour of it because I couldn't remember the intricasies of the plot, and the exact motivating factors that drove each player to achieve his own personal peak, and at the same time, achieve self-ac.... well, whatever. The thing is, when the Indians start playing well again, one of the events they show is their catcher getting a throw, and then tagging two players out, both coming into home, about three seconds apart (they called it a Twin Killing). At the time, I wondered if that kind of play had ever actually happened, or if that was just some freakish thing dreamed up by the writers.

Of course, just one day later, I had my answer. By now, we all have encyclopediac knowledge of all instances of two runners being thrown out at home on the same play, without the ball leaving the catcher's hands. The last time was 1985. Before that it was about 25 or 30 years previous. It's only happened a handful of times ever, and I am very proud to say that the Dodgers can now attach their names to that shitty, amateurish, bush league play.

For what it's worth, I think the blame goes to 3rd Base Coach Rich Donnelly. He sent Kent home, which was a judgement call, and I don't fault him for that. Kent was overly-cautious, and he's slow, and he got gunned-down at the plate. It happens. BUT, J.D. Drew was about 40 feet behind Kent, and Donnelly didn't give him any indication at all of what was going on. By the time Donnelly sent Kent, he knew it would be close. If that was going to be close, how can you justify sending another player half-a-base behind him?!?

Looking back at it (twelve million times today -- thanks Fox!), no one was more surprised than Paul LoDuca. He tags out Kent, he's holding the ball, and all of a sudden people are screaming that someone else is coming home. It was like manna from Heaven for him.

Also, it is amazing that Martin could knock a hit to the right field wall and end up Grounding Into a Double Play.

Maddux goes Saturday. He's good for 70 pitches, tops. And, he will be Maddux. He will throw 70 pitches right down the pipe and see where the Mets hit 'em. They know this. They will not be swinging on the first pitch. If we get five innings out of Maddux, I will be shocked. (But, I will take the five innings.)

Whichever way it goes, it was a hell of a season! Massive losing streaks, even bigger winning streaks, walk-off grand slams, four-homers-in-a-row, etc., etc. No complaints here -- I would just like to see it last a little longer.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Let's Play 163!

I am not breaking my own rule here -- now that we have tonight's baseball games settled, I can say this for sure:

The Dodgers will be playing baseball next week. Even if it is only on Monday against the Phillies, that's still Game #163.

(I haven't even looked at a football game yet -- I just can't get into it with this much baseball action going on.)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Baseball Tonight (& Tomorrow, etc.)

Ok, the following news is, from what I understand, only semi-official, and may not be the final word on the subject, but that has never stopped this blog from reporting anything as an absolute truth, so... here goes:

The Los Angeles Dodgers (yay) have ended their Class A affiliation with Vero Beach and will move their Class A affiliate (back) to ... San Bernardino!!

Actually, that is only partially correct, as after they left last time, the San Bernardino Stampede became the Inland Empire 66'ers.

This is almost totally a good thing. First off, as much as I love the Vero Beach Dodgers, this will make all of the swag I have from that team instantly limited memorabilia. Second, the Dodgers need to get a A-ball club locally again. The Padres have Rancho Cucamonga, the Angels have Lake Elsinore (yay.... oops, formerly yay), and the closest the Dodgers had was AAA ball in Las Vegas. This will be good for the team and, most importantly, good for me, because the Angels suck the life out of baseball, and it was killing me to root for Lake Elsinore.

As for the 66'ers, well, you can read this post if you didn't hear about our last experience there, but I think this will drag me out to a few more games. Also, we will probably get more local rehabbing assignments for the Dodgers this way (I still remember seeing Orel Hershiser's last Win ever when the Stampede, with Hersh starting, beat the Quakes at the Epicenter).

As for the current season, expect NOTHING out of me regarding what is or isn't happening in the NL West or NL Wildcard races until it either does or doesn't happen. Got that?

Fun with Google Earth

A lot of us have been discussing Google Earth, and Microsoft Virtual Earth (or whatever it's called) a lot lately, and one of the things that has come up is how few people you see in the shots. Cars, trucks, and inanimate objects are all there, but I couldn't really recall seeing any people in the photos. I think this news story should put that idea to rest.

(Yes, it's a foreign clip. It is not in English. Deal with it. If you have ever used Google Earth you will understand exactly what is going on, and will hear enough key words to get the whole story.)

This is another reason we know that no one is actually looking for Osama bin Laden. We, the peons, can see this with Google Earth. You know that is crippled to the point of uselessness. So, how good, and how hi-res, do you think the real surveillance photos are? Does anyone really think, anymore, that the CIA (or whoever) they couldn't find anyone, or anything, they wanted while sitting at their desks?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Changing the Subject...

If my records are accurate, today is Bryan Ferry's 61st birthday.

Sounds like an excuse to play some music!!


I guess we'll be hitting his harder than I had intended.

Keith Olbermann speaks for me. He also speaks for all Americans with any part of their dignity remaining.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Smoke, Mirrors, etc.

I'm not going to hit this subject too hard, because apparently, if you have even a passing interest in the news, which I guess I do not, you've seen the clip of Clinton on Chris Wallace's show on Sunday. Honestly, I didn't think it was going to be a big deal. I read the early transcript on Friday, thought 'fine, wonderful', and forgot about it. Today, late in the day, someone told me that all hell was breaking loose over the interview. Now that I have actually seen it, I naturally want to comment, but I don't think I could do a better take than this:

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Stupid Stuff from the Past

This is a post that is going to appeal to absolutely no one, except maybe ashleys.mommy. While perusing BoingBoing.com tonight, I saw another post about a topic they have been writing about from time to time: replacing the "76" balls at Unocal (formerly Union 76) stations here in SoCal with rectangular signs with a 76-ball logo on them. It isn't something I have worried too much about, except that the 76-ball was something that I grew up with, and for a lot of us, used as our first antenna-ball (they used to give them away in the 1980's -- screw you 'Jack'). There was also the big one in the parking lot at Dodger Stadium that a lot of us remember.

Anyway, when I read the first story about the 76-balls coming down, I thought about the Unocal station right next to our old apartment in Encino (near where another friend of ours now lives), and how that was the only real 76-ball remaining that I could remember. Sure enough, there it is on BoingBoing tonight, being replaced. Just west of the corner of White Oak and Ventura Blvd. I still remember having my 1984 Fiero towed in there after it died on the 101 Freeway trying to drive the two miles home from work. I also remember trying to tape my cooling system back together in that parking lot just to get to work for one more day.

This is one of those times that I think there is too much information available. No one needs to know all of this, but here it is. Just a weird intersection of memories vs. random reality poking its head in.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Introducing the Pepproncinitini

I have a theory that since all humans have (basically) the same genetic makeup, that we tend to experience the same feelings and same thoughts at the same times. This is usually expressed in such eloquent comments as "Everyone thinks the same" and "No one ever comes up with anything different." Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered, tonight, that I may have actually come up with something so screwy that no one else has thought of it.

I am not a big drinker -- anyone who knows me can tell you that. I've had my problems with other stuff, but not booze. I don't have the stomach, or the head, for it. The one type of alcohol I do love, however, is gin. I think it runs in the family. But, I digress.

One other thing I love, for the last few years, is spicy food, peppers, and things goosed up with salt & vinegar. I had always thought that the perfect drink was a martini (gin, not vodka, and not any of that other crap they pass off as martinis now), with an olive. But, one night, I needed a fix of salt, spice, and booze. In a fit of inventiveness, I came up with the Pepproncinitini. Basically, it is a dry gin martini (made with Sapphire, although regular Bombay will do in a pinch), with a sprinkle of vermouth, and a few splashes of pepproncini brine, shaken not stirred (bastard Bond), over ice, garnished with an actual pepproncini, sliced to break the skin.

I'm sure that 99+% of the people who try it would declare it the most revolting drink in the world. It is spicy, salty, and weird overall. Needless to say, I love it. And, based on a search of Google tonight... IT'S MINE! I came up with this over a year ago, but I will post that as of today, September 21, 2006, the Pepproncinitini (or, alternately, the PeppronciniTini or Pepproncini-tini) was created by me.

Once again, the ingredients for a PeppronciniTini:

Bombay Sapphire Gin (or whatever sub-par generic brand you can tolerate, I guess)
Dusting of dry vermouth
Splash of pepproncini brine (I prefer Guiliano's)
Serve over ice
Garnish with pepproncini with sliced skin.

Laugh now, but someday.... future generations will look to this post.

(imagine Battle Hymn of the Republic playing here.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Cure for Blogger's Block

Ok, so I'm back. I have not been able to think of anything that seemed worthy enough to say recently, but tonight I found something that may have re-motivated me to start writing again. Yes, it's political, and it's local (but national, too), so anyone local (from the 951) who pops in here as a result of my blogwhoring may actually care, but I'm not going all-political-all-the-time again. I can't take that -- and I'm sure you can't either.

Anyway, the 2006 mid-term elections are now 48 days away. Of course, every seat in the U.S. House of Representatives is up for election (2 year terms, remember that from Jack Moore's Civics class?). The vast majority of the time, these elections are won by the incumbents, probably because no one really cares or gets involved enough to know who the "other guy" is, and the voter might recognize the sitting Reps name from a newspaper story, or a wanted poster, or something. Regardless, here in the CA-44th District (of which I remain in by about 500 feet, from the best I can tell), our Representative, for the last 14 years, has been Ken Calvert (R). As far as I am concerned, Ken Calvert is the worst kind of politician. Of course, I don't agree with him on the great majority of his views (support for the Occupation, the idiotic fence around the border, etc.) but I think his 100% rating from the Christian Coalition is the most important thing.

Here's why: Mr. 100%-Christian-Values-Calvert has prided himself on his righteousness and belief in 'family values'. However, Mr. Calvert was also caught by the Corona Police, in 1993, receiving oral sex from a prostitute while parked in a car on Howard Street (not the nicest neighborhood). He explained to the police (who recognized him, of course) that he was merely ministering to a distraught woman. Of course, at the time of his explanation, his pants were down, and when the police first observed the car, the prostitute's head was in his lap.

This is not conjecture -- the story was reported by the Riverside Press-Enterprise (check the archives for 1993/1994 -- there is a charge to actually read the whole story) and is verifiable here, here, here, here, and here, among other places.

Now, to be clear on this, I don't care that he was getting blown by a hooker. Not so great that it was in his car, but... I guess that's his thing. As long as he was on vacation, I don't care if he was screwing two guys while methed-up on the roof of Wal-Mart. What I care about was that he lies about it, not just by his words, but by his actions! This is a man who voted to impeach Clinton over the same act. Remember, as the Republicans said, "It's not the sex, it's the lying." Indeed.

This year, it appears that we have a candidate who wants to make a serious effort at unseating Calvert. His name is Louis Vandenberg. Here is his website. To drive this point home even harder, and get people totally insane, here is his post on Daily Kos!

We like him. We like his views (check his website, I'm getting tired). We are endorsing him (go fig). It's our second endorsement ever, and our first local one.

(Imagine a pretty graphic here, like the one we ran for Lamont. We don't have one for Vandenberg, but if they gave us one I'm sure it would be super-nice.)

To reiterate: LOUIS VANDENBERG (D) for U.S. House of Representatives, CA-44.

(Programming note: Be sure to check future posts for our twelve-part series examining the intense power struggle in the election for Comptroller of the Lee Lake Water District, and the potential effects on the thirty-nine people who live here.)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Demand ABC Correct Their 9/11 Film

Tell ABC to tell the truth about 9/11 - A project of ThinkProgress.org

Demand ABC Correct Their 9/11 Film

Learn More About The Path to 9/11 at:


ABC is planning to air a two-part mini-series entitled The Path to 9/11 this Sunday and Monday.

In spite of its claim to be based on the 9/11 Commission Report, the film reportedly includes numerous inaccuracies and lays the blame for the September 11 tragedy on the Clinton Administration. One scene reportedly depicts a senior Clinton Administration official calling off the capture or killing of Osama bin Laden. This depiction of events has been refuted by former Bush Administration anti-terrorism chief, Richard Clarke.

It also has been reported that the film blames the intelligence breakdowns on bureaucratic obstacles allegedly created by the Clinton Administration, even though Republican 9/11 Commissioner Slade Gordon has previously refuted that claim.

Because of my concerns that false and inflammatory information would be widely disseminated to the American public, I, along with Representatives John Dingell, Jane Harman and Louise Slaughter, asked ABC to correct the film before airing it.

The more people the network hears from, the more likely they are to correct the errors in the film. But we do not have much time. Contact them now to let them know they should not politicize this tragic event in our nation's history.

Thank you again for your commitment to a stronger democracy.


John Conyers, Jr.
Conyers for Congress
P.O. Box 17204
Alexandria, Virginia 17204
Phone: 313-438-2004

Sunday, August 27, 2006

First Annual Emmy Post-Game Analysis & Report

Maybe you're wondering, what in the hell is a post about the Emmy awards doing on this commie pinko liberal blog? Well, actually, this is the kind of stuff I've wanted to do more of, but we've gotten so bogged down in politics, video clips, and dead animal stories that I've kind of lost my ability to comment on anything else. I think I'll change that right about now. (Lots of links in this post -- feel free to click around.)

First off, I have to say that this is the first Emmy telecast that I have watched from start to finish in about ten years. It was comforting, I guess, to know that nothing really changed. Still lots of awards for miniseries that no one watched (Bleak House?!? Jesus...) and other stuff, although most of the 'technical' awards are relegated to the 'other' Emmy show (no, not the Daytime Emmys, the other one), so all of that stuff is missing.

I guess at this point I should say that I really like Conan O'Brien, and if he hadn't been hosting this year, I can't guarantee that I would have watched. I had to miss the Oscars since I was not really, ummmm...., available that night, but I wish I had seen Jon Stewart. I even thought that the opening production number (the song and dance) was good, basically talking about how much NBC sucks these days. The reference to Howie Mandel was cute -- especially in light of the DVD I saw a few weeks ago (from my daughters Fairie Tale Theatre collection), in which I was reminded of how incredibly gratingly annoying Howie Mandel was back in the 1980s (I had forgotten)! Realistically, Deal or No Deal is not a very original, or well crafted, game show -- it is basically Treasure Hunt with opportunities to bail out. The thing that makes it work is the contestant selection process (go to NBC's rules page and check that out!), and the fact that Howie Mandel has been able to pull himself together, get past some of the OCD that dragged him down for a while, and actually become an engaging personality, who doesn't have to hog the whole show.

Anyway, some of the awards were great (The Office for Best Comedy, multiple wins for The Daily Show, although I would have preferred The Colbert Report to take at least one), and stuff like that. I was also nice to see Cloris Leachman and Henry Gibson out there presenting. Good for some of us. I can't comment on 24 or Grey's Anatomy; I haven't seen them, so... what can I say? The award for the Directory of the telecast getting an Emmy for directing the Oscar telecast was rather idiotic. One of those awards for an awards show, which get a little cumbersome (2007: Best Performance in a Variety Show: the director of the 2006 Emmys giving his acceptance speech for the 2006 Oscars!)

Some of the awards were weird: Julia-Louis Dreyfus getting Best Actress in a Comedy for...what? The New Adventures of Old Christine?? Ok, granted, I am not totally on the ball with pop culture, and I'm not pretending to be, but, what??? Still, good for her. I've liked her ever since her SNL days, and it's nice to see someone shove something back in that Jerry-bastard's face!

Also great was the clip of Conan going into South Park and getting in the closet with Tom Cruise. He (Tom) can't be happy about that one.

Now, for the downers. The roll-of-the-dead is always kind of a bummer, but the worst came before that. I am a huge fan of Dick Clark. I was really upset when he had his stroke last year, and I knew from the news that was coming out that it wasn't very positive. I know what strokes do. I was raised by my grandparents and watched them deteriorate right before my eyes. No fun. We spent last New Year's visiting family in San Jose, and after we got back to our Motel 6, I caught the last few minutes of Ryan Seacrest's (gag) New Year's Rockin' Eve, when they had Dick Clark on to say goodnight. That pretty much trashed the New Year's celebrating for me, since he was in pretty bad shape. I'd seen the pictures of him, heard the non-sugar-coated reports, etc., but I was hoping for more positive things. Same thing this year: I knew they were going to have a tribute to Dick Clark (which is a bad sign at the Emmy's -- the other tribute went to the newly-dead Aaron Spelling -- so they were trying to get this one in before the inevitiable). So, they did the retrospective, and they introduced him, sitting down, and let him speak to the best of his ability. And, really, his speech wasn't bad -- even he was being self-depricating, but the reaction was muted, at best, and I really don't think many people could understand him. Then Barry Manilow sang and danced, and come over to Dick, but in the end, for me anyway, it was sad. It's been over a year of intense therapy, plus rehearsals, etc., etc., and that was the best they could get from him. I'm not blaming him -- quite the contrary -- I think he had enormous guts to even get out there (he's not deluded -- he knows what kind of shape he's in; the mind is still there, but the body has gone to hell). But... he's not coming back. Ever. Dick Clark, as a performer, is gone, forever. Damn it. That pretty much ended any good feelings I had tonight.

The Bob Newhart thing was cute and silly, but at least they didn't make it as stupid as they could have (smashing him out at 3:00:01, or something).

So, that's it -- if I think of more to rant about, I'll post it. I'm sure more important things happened, but I'm trying to take a break from important things right now. Sometimes, that's just how it works.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Something is Rotten in the State of Connecticut

I know, I know, I wasn't going to write about this anymore, but the latest poll numbers coming out of the political sewer that Connecticut has become are disturbing, to say the least. Check out this latest poll from the American Research Group (ARG). This poll is not an "outlier"; it's numbers are roughly the same as the latest Rasmussen poll.

The most disturbing part? Well, aside from the fact that Lieberman hasn't really qualified for the ballot yet, has anyone bothered to take a look at the numbers for the Republican candidate? No, the other one -- the one that won the Republican primary: Alan Schlesinger. His total percentage among likely voters? 3%!! Three! Considering the margin of error on this poll is +/- 3.5%, we can safely say that no one is planning on voting for Schlesinger!

Does this not strike anyone as a bit odd? Say what you will about the de facto two-party system, the silliness of primaries, whatever, but in this case you have the candidate who won the Democratic primary with 42%, the canidiate that won the Republican primary with 3%, and the candidate that lost the Democratic primary with 44%! Based on those numbers, I think it is a safe enough assumption to say that virtually every Republican in Connecticut is planning on voting for Lieberman instead of the candidate they selected themselves. Wow -- that makes me feel so much better about Lieberman.

And, again, I'm talking about pure numbers and procedure here. I'm not talking about issues like the rumours that Lieberman will become Secretary of Defense, Lieberman will caucus with the Republicans in the event of a split Senate, or things like that (even though I just did). Am I the only person that feels like this election is running off the rails, and taking a piece of our republic with it? Seriously -- Bush v. Gore already made the case that your single vote probably doesn't count, and now this race is taking it one step further: the primary election doesn't count! Lieberman lost -- but not really! Schlesinger won -- but not really!

I would hope that the Democratic response to this would be to start pimping Schlesinger as a great conservative, but I don't think I actually want that to happen either. What a mess.

Lost in all of this is that Lieberman has now completely lost his "commanding early lead" in the general election, which he never actually had anyway.

I stand by my earlier prediction. For now, anyway.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Go Read This

Seriously, just click this link and read this little essay by Athenae over at First Draft regarding how we got from 9/11/01 to where we are today -- not in a history-book-type of way, but more in a people-dealing-with-their-surroundings kind of way. Really Good Stuff.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Snakes, Planes, & Automobiles

I hate to link to somewhere as basic as MSNBC, but they had a good "review" (if you can call it that) of Snakes on a Plane this morning.

I don't know how many people have actually been following the saga of this movie, but it seems like it has been anticipated forever. Snakes. Plane. Got it. No worse than any other crap movie, I suppose...

By the Way

Did I mention that we're back?


We're Back. The tubes are installed and the internets are whizzing around the house. Look -- there goes one now -- wheeeeeeeeeeee!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Post I Don't Want to Write

I hate to even get into this, but I feel like I should say something, because it's the most lurid story in the news right now, even though it is 10 years old. Of course, I'm talking about the JonBenet Ramsey murder, and the recent 'confession' of the man arrested for it. Let me summarize my position:

I don't think he did it. I think he's nuts.

I will leave it to you to check out what his family and neighbors and everyone else has to say about him, but my reasons have actually very little to do with him. Mainly:

  1. Patsy Ramsey (JonBenet's mother) died about six weeks ago of cancer. Now, suddenly, this guy gets arrested for the murder? I don't entirely understand that connection, but I can speculate (in my head -- you speculate in your own head, please).
  2. John Ramsey made an unsuccessful run at the Michigan State House of Representatives a couple of years ago. Undoubtedly, his campaign was tainted by the large numbers of people who believe he had something to do with murdering his daughter. Finding a 'murderer' now could really bolster his future election chances.
  3. This guy, John Mark Karr, is basically out-to-lunch. He has been obsessed with both the Ramsey case and the Polly Klass case, and has researched and written about them, but he seems to be really loused up on the timeline regarding JonBenet (he picked her up from school on Christmas Day, or the Day after Christmas??).

Yes, this is all speculation, and I'm sure there are LOTS of things we don't know. But... something just doesn't smell right about this whole deal.

More to come, unfortunately, I'm sure.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Blogging Forecast

The National Blog Forecasting Service of Life's Rich Pageantry has issued the following statement (reprinted in its entirety):

Blogging will be light to non-existant for the next several days to a relocation of the LRP World Headquarters..... After relocation over the weekend, certain technological advances and upgrades must be made to the new site..... Electricity, running water, and other generated utilities must be diverted south to accomodate the new offices..... Blogging to resume shortly after relocation..... End transmission.

I think I know what that means. It means that we are moving, again, and it's going to take a while to get things functional. Mainly, that means getting internet service up and running again. I hear that this time, Ma Bell is going to come to my house personally and install the tubes. I don't think you all understand how serious this is -- you know, the internet isn't just a truck, people! You don't just, I don't know, dump things on it! My own personal internet could be delayed by days, and if someone sends me an internet, I might have to discover why it takes so long to get to me! Damn you kids and your streaming movies!!

Life Imitates.... whatever

People who talk to me for any length of time (brave, but sad, people) have probably heard my 'solution' to the problem of insane security checks at airports. Walking through the slow 'parade of the shoeless' in an airport is enough to make you start thinking about alternatives. My solution, for the last few years has been this: If the government wants to be serious about stopping people from bringing weapons, explosives, and other things that could possibly, maybe, might be able to used as some sort of weapon or device that could threaten others, then the only real solution (that I see) is rather drastic --

1) No more carry-on luggage. Sorry. Too bad. No laptop, no cell phone, no purse, no wallet, no overnight bag, no makeup, no diapers for babies, no food, nothing. Just you, nothing with you.

2) Virtually no clothing. It would probably be enough to make people strip to their underwear, but that would lead to all sorts of new issues, so... I think the solution there is to require everyone to strip and change into a hospital-type dressing gown (like a paper gown). No pockets, no useable material for anything other than coverage.

3) X-Ray all passengers at the gate to ensure nothing has been 'kiestered', or smuggled in any other body cavity.

Harsh? You betcha.
Silly? Yeah.
Effective? Definitely!

Yes, I understand that I am being ridiculous, but, so are the current security measures in place. Take off your shoes, turn on your phone, turn on your computer, empty your pockets, etc. There are thousands of ways (I'm sure) to get something on a plane if you really want to. The only way to stop that is to stop everything.

This morning, the UK instituted MOST of #1 on my list. It's a start.

The point of terrorism is to scare the hell out of people. It does a pretty good job, especially when you start with something most people are already afraid of -- flying. Rather than trying to promote the illusion of safety, which the TSA (here in the U.S.) is now, we could actually, you know, be safer.

'But', you say, 'if we do this, then the terrorists will have won!' I've got news for you: they already have. You don't notice a few changes since 9/11/01? Things aren't a little more difficult to deal with? Airlines, banks, identification cards, etc., etc.? We are a nation (many nations, actually, not just the U.S.) living in fear.

Terrorism, as it is currently defined (which, as near as I can figure, means just about anything that harms, or tries to harm or scare, anyone or anything) has existed forever. That's just how people operate. People get ahead by intimidation, fear, and inducing cowardice and/or foolhardiness. An animal backed into a corner will come out attacking, but that's not always the best plan. Yes, we can be vigilant, but we really need to go on with our lives as well. That, or we can just sit in the house all day. (And, no, you won't be able to sit inside and play the ponies all day, because, first of all, the internet tubes will be shut down so you don't send any threatening messages, and secondly, your bank account will be locked for electronic transactions so you don't fund any terrorists. Sorry about that.)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Programming Note

That previous post may have been the last political post for a while. So many blogs, real blogs, unlike this one, cover politics from both sides and do it very well. We have lots of other nonsense to focus on here, and I think we need to focus on our priorties (Cats, stupid videos, gambling, and, of course, philosophy).

The Post-Game Show

Compare and contrast:

Dick Tuck, 1964, after an unsuccessful run for the California State Senate: "The people have spoken, the bastards!"

Joe Lieberman, 2006, after an unsuccessful primary campaign for the U.S. Senate (paraphrasing here, obviously): You said it! Screw them -- it's not like their votes matter anyway!

The difference? Dick Tuck was a political prankster who ran for office. Joe Lieberman is an incumbent U.S. Senator who is desperately clinging to his political life.

Prediction: The Lieberman campaign will start with a bang and slowly run out of steam, garnering no more than 20% of votes in the general election, leaving Ned Lamont the victor, with Alan Schlesinger running second.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday Night Videos Special: Ashley's Mommy's Birthday Edition!

Here we go with another exciting episode of LRP's Friday Night Videos! This week we have a special event as today is Ashley's Mommy's Birthday, so we have arranged a special show in honor of this momentous occasion!

First off, let's start the party with the traditional singing of Happy Birthday!

Now, let's bring on some people who know how to party to get everyone in the mood for a good time:

(Lest anyone think I have making fun of the people above, I should disclose that I, Marsupial, actually own an autographed photo of Myron Floren, complete with kilt.)

Next, we have a story: On Ashley Mommy's 30th birthday, I took her to a concert at the (then) Universal Ampitheatre to see a couple of bands, including the Pretenders, one of her favorites. And this is her favorite song by them:

And now, for some comic relief, some cats:

And something equally as stupid, your preznit:

Finally, one more song, in all seriousness:

And that's it for tonight! See you next week for more of LRP's Friday Night Videos.


An Unabashed Plug

Normally, I wouldn't be too thrilled with people leaving unsolicited links in the Comments section, but this one I will actually promote to the front page. Here is a comment, from an earlier thread, by reader Scarce:

Ned Lamont is the most visible poltical figure at YouTube. The unoffical group "Nedheads" now has over 1500 members and comprises over 300 short video's.


I have no problem with picking up another Ned Lamont link.

As for the commenter who said something along the lines of this election having ramifications for the Democratic Party, I believe that you are correct -- good ramifications. This is the exact kind of shake-up the party elite needs. Yes Joe, you have been in office for 18 years. No Joe, the office is not your property and you can't barricade yourself in it. Sorry Joe, but you are still, at least in theory, bound to the wishes of your constituents. And, if things turn around, and Lieberman does win the primary on Tuesday, then I wish him luck in the general election. A DINO is still better than R, since he sits on the left side of the aisle.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Must Resist.... NO! Power...too....strong....!

In tonight's Colbert/Lamont/Lieberman news, we have a new Colbert Report clip, courtesy of Atrios.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Follow-Up (All Lamont, All the Time!)

Not to get too serious here, or become just a bunch of links (oops, too late!), but there is a good piece in the Hartford Courant regarding Ned Lamont's appearance on the Colbert Report (below) and the aftermath.

Programming Note

I know that a lot of you are reeling from the postponment and eventual shelving of last week's LRP's Friday Night Videos. I want to take this time to assure you that this Friday will be a Special Edition of LRP'sFNV, in honor of Ashley's Mommy's birthday. We promise, we will make it up to you.

(Unfortunately, depending on the quality of the show, we may then have something else to make up to you afterward.)


Well, crap. No sooner do I post something when I find out that it's (partially) crap. The Stephen Colbert Wikipedia page was not locked down for "vandalism", as they said, but rather because Colbert discussed Wikipedia on the show on July 31 and asked people to make a few changes to some articles. The changes were made in seconds, several times, and several pages had to be locked down.

Not just a testament to Colbert's popularity, but also to Wikipedia 's fragility. Bear that in mind.

Monday, July 31, 2006

All Lamont, All the Time

You betcha. Here, via Crooks & Liars, is the segment of tonight's Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert interviewing Ned Lamont, The Man Who Would Be The Junior Senator from Connecticut.

Great interview, in my opinion. Also, I suppose we are a little late with this, but Life's Rich Pageantry would like to announce it first official endorsement of the Primary season:

Big surprise here:

Normally, this blog wouldn't give a rat's tuchus about Connecticut politics, with all of the YouTube videos, game show reviews, and nasty pictures of J-Pod to post, but this one is important. It's sad, though, that is has to come to this. This is a nasty battle between Lieberman & Lamont, and it didn't need to be. Lieberman has made it very clear that he feels he is entitled to re-election, and he will go to any length to get it, even if it means dropping out of the Democratic party AFTER the primary and forcing himself on the ballot as an independent. Well, that's just great, Joe. You must be a real fun guy to be around in real life -- if you don't get your way, then you'll just sulk and figure out a way to submarine the process. Screw you, Joe. I feel your Joementum crashing through my screen from here, and I think I've had enough.

Now, just a bit about the linked video: Stephen Colbert hosts the Colbert report, in a kind-of spin-off from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Colbert was one of the first generation of Stewart-era correspondents, with others like Steve Carell (now a mega-star), Beth Littleford, and Vance DeGeneres (usually known as Ellen's brother, but should probably be better known as Mr. Hands -- take that Mr.Bill!), and yes, we are ignoring the mediocre Craig Kilborn years. In my opinion, Colbert has by now blown Stewart out of the water. His show is stellar, and there is no greater praise than the fact that so many people just don't get it. My kind of show!

(While editing this post, I discovered that the Stephen Colbert entry on Wikipedia is currently locked down due to vandalism. What the hell is wrong with people? Vandalism, on him?? I wouldn't even vandalize an article about Dick Cheney, but I guess some people have no ability to communicate outside of screaming **STEVE IS A FAG!!** all over the place. Whatevs.)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Johnny From the Pod

(Our special Saturday Night edition of Friday Night Videos has been postponed so that we may bring you the following presentation in living color)

Once again, life follows conversation, as a conversation I just had regarding marginal columnist John Podhoretz has now spilled over into real life as he has written a column for the NY Post (sigh) advocating genocide.

So here's a guy -- a third-rate writer and thinker, at best, with a 'book' out that is currently #145,079 on Amazon.com (WOW! A Best Seller!), and an overwhelming need to be compared favorably to his daddy, calling for the extermination of an entire segment of the population.

There is a modern 'law' of argument known as Godwin's Law which says, basically, that the first person in a debate to compare the other side to Hitler automatically loses the debate, presumably because that is such an extreme comparison to run to. However, Godwin's Law does not apply when actually discussing Hitler or Nazis. Considering the positions that some neocons are taking lately (genocide, invasion/occupation, censorship, etc.), I believe that Godwin's Law should be considered 'no longer operable' until the Nazis (oops) are out of power.

(I would be remiss if I did not note that the creepy J-Pod guy was a five-time Jeopardy! champion. Must have been a slow week.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Someone's sarcasm detector is broken

And now for something tedious: Blogging about Blogs. Ken Jennings, the Jeopardy! champion who won 72 straight games, has a blog. He writes about a lot of trivia. Literally. Trivia questions, topics, etc. Anyway, last week he posted a mock letter to J! on his blog, with some really silly suggestions and ideas about the game (although he was right about Alex Trebek being a robot). Apparently, a lot of people took it literally, because it was the subject of a nasty New York Post piece today, and the topic ("'Jeopardy' champ Jennings jabs show") is currently a headline on CNN.com.

Here is Ken's original post.

Here is the hit piece from the NY Post.

Here is Ken's response.

Now, I realize that the NY Post isn't exactly a Real Newspaper (kind of like the Weekly World News isn't a newspaper, or the Washington Times), but is Michael Starr so totally devoid of understanding context-driven writing that he thought this was serious?? Incredible.

(This is the first post on our blog, I think, that even tangentially deals with game shows, and considering our hobbies around here, that's kind of ridiculous. We'll have to do some catch-up work.)

(Also, Bob Harris, a former J! Super-Mega-Grand-Champion, or whatever, has a really good blog at http://www.bobharris.com/ . It's all about politics & pudus, mostly, which is a surprisingly good combination.)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Night Videos!

Returning to a time when life was simpler.... may we (or I, actually) present the first installment of LRP's Friday Night Videos!

We'll start with perennial favorites Squeeze with an overlooked and underrated (IMHO) song from 1985.

And, as long as we're in 1985, we might as well spend some time there...

Have I mentioned that this next one is my All-Time Favourite Song? Really? Have I mentioned that this version is my favourite version, recorded live for the video, and normally only available on a long deleted UK import EP? Yes? Well, ok then.

(You may need to turn up the volume for this one a little bit.)

And finally, some comic relief:

Well... that's it for this edition of LRP's Friday Night Videos! We will resume your regularly scheduled train wreck shortly...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Love and Relationships That Work

On July 21 it will be our 15 year wedding anniversary. Wow, 15 years plus 4 years dating. That's 19 years! That's love. That's growth. If you know our family, you know that I'm not exaggerating. Since I'm the resident philosopher, I decided to write a post on love and relationships that work based on that empericism. I will not only talk about romantic relationships, but I'll also talk about the other types of relationships that we all have in our daily lives. Enjoy.

Finding success in relationships is not, as pop culture would have it, like clothes shopping: checking out all the outfits (possible partners) until we find just the right one, returning those that don't fit or discarding them when they go out of style. Rather, the process is more like moving into a new house and finding a long-untended garden in the back. Carefully we nurture the many unfamiliar plants that we find there patiently wating to see what fruits and blossoms come forth in their own time. Not being sure how or when they will blossom, we nurture them all, enjoying the process of discovery as each blossom in its own beautiful way. The goal is to be a master gardener of relationships.

As with gardening, there can be much enjoyment and satisfaction in this process. Expecting relationships to bear fruit immediately is unrealistic and actually counterproductive to establishing a long-term bond. Relationships are like seedlings--nurture them all and take pleasure as they grow, blossom and bear fruit. Too often we discard seedling relationships before ever seeing their possiblities. That's not to say we can't continually add to the garden. There will always be many more wonderful relationships, an endless supply, for us to develop. But rather than continually looking for the "right" relationship, it's more important to cultivate the ones you already have. Somewhere in the garden of your life, incredible things wait to bloom.

While we enter romantic relationships because we are in love with the other person, it is important to view all of our relationships as fertile ground for the growth, development, maturation and strengthening of our own character. The self-actualization we undergo in a good relationship makes us happy, not the relationship itself. This kind of growth and emotional development fosters an inner transformation. The concept of this transformation occurs in the space between people. It is the result of interacting with others with the intention of fostering mutual growth. Our growth is an interdependent process.

Hell in relationships comes from trying to change the behavior of anyone other than yourself. When we exercise self-control, beginning with becoming happy within ourselves, we have the ability to move the hearts of others. It is only when we stop trying to control others that we gain the power to actually influence them. For example, have you ever found yourself saying "You're making me angry - stop doing that" to people whose behavior frustrates you? The implication of that statement, "you're making me angry," is that somehow you don't have control of your anger. They do. And since you have ceded them the control and power, it is their behavior that must change if your anger is to be eliminated. But, of course, you don't control their behavior, so the more you try to do so, the angrier you get.

Not that all anger is bad. There are, of course, real situations of injustice in which anger is appropriate. Even in such cases, however, self-control is the key to influencing change. Recognizing that we are choosing and taking responsibility for those choices empowers us to choose our life state. It gives us control back.

Ultimately, we create true happiness by developing our lives to the fullest. Trying to be somebody else or what you think somebody else wants you to be is a sure way to suffer. Be who you are and be it well. If you are continually growing and advancing, you have the greatest life in the world because you know tomorrow will always be better than today.

Let's talk about the big "E" word: Expectations. Expectations are important. Research indicates that children develop only as far as the expectations of the adults around them. But expectations can also destroy perfectly good relationships. We have expectations of other people. We expect them to be good husbands, good wives, good children, good friends, good bosss and so on. These expectations are often unrealistically high, sometimes higher than our expectations of ourselves.

Let's imagine a relationship where the initial passions have faded. The honeymoon is over. Now the bride and groom are awakening to the fact that their respective partner is not perfect. Le's say he or she is only about eighty percent OK. Patners have flaws and imperfections, as we all do, they reason. Because they care about each other and about their happiness together, they want and expect each other to do better, to improve themselves. Each expects the other to bridge the gap and become the ideal partner.

Motivated by their love, they begin to tell each other, in the most affectionate and caring way possible, about the twenty percent that is missing. Each believes that the love that exists between them will motivate the other to strive harder to fill the gap. Because they are motivated by love, with only the best intentions, they are surprised to find that after an initial period of positive response things get progressively worse. Why? Where did the love go?

Does this scenario sound familiar? Do you know a couple that began deeply in love but ended not so many years later in acrimonious divorce? How does this happen to people? While every situation is unique, there is at least one common but subtle delusion at work here, a delusion that is a challenge to all of us in our relationships with significant others, children, family, friends. The problem is that although we are motivated by the best intentions, the other person often hears from us a steady stream of criticsm and disappointment. This is not encouraging, and in spite of the the love in our hearts, the other person becomes unresponsive, even rebellous. The problem here is that although the heart is in the right place, we lack wisdom. Motivated by love but lacking wisdom, we get a response to our efforts that is the opposite of what we expected. Once this downward trend begins, unfortunately, it is often difficult to reverse.

People do not respond well to constant criicism and negativity. Does that mean we simply have to settle for something less? No, it means, once again, that we're trying to change the wrong person. If we want people to do more, we need to praise and appreciate what they are already doing for us. In other words, it's the eighty percent that is happening that should be the focus of our attention, not the twenty percent that's missing! People love praise and appreciation and will try very hard to get them. Making these two the basis of all your relationships can have a powerful and encouraging influence. For the gardener of relationships, they are like sunlight and water. People strive and thrive when they are praised and appreciated.

Criticism and disappointment create a dark environment, a garden where relationships cannot thrive. It is a major delusion to think that others will be motivated by crticism. Keep in mind that when someone is praised, that person does not consider their personal risk, and when criticized, they can recklessly cause their own ruin.

Let's move on. I'd like to talk about work and career. Work and the relationships we form there are an important arena in the struggle for happiness. In a sense, the affairs of life and work are the testing ground of one's inner strength. What career a person chooses has little to do with their happiness. It's not what we do for a living but how we do it and whether we feel useful and find meaning in our work that make the difference. Therefore, while we should choose to take a career path that is true to what's in our hearts, tormenting yourself about the selection of a career is, to some degree, irrelevant to establishing a happy live.

This is not to say that there aren't lot of unhappy people in the workplace. There are. But it's not the work that's to blame; it is the people who bring with them attitudes and beliefs about work that are not conducive to a happy, fulfilling experience.

In my opinion, and I think you'll agree, here are three kinds of value: beauty, gain and good. The perfect job would have all three. In the working world, the value of beauty means finding a job you like; the value of gain or benefit is a job that earns you a salary to support your daily life; the value of good means a job that helps others and contributes to society. The ideal job would be one that you like, that offers financial security, where you can contribute to society. Sounds great. But this is seldom the reality. Not many can find the perfect job from the start. Some may have a job they like, but it isn't putting food on the table; or their job may pay well, but they hate it. That's the way things go sometimes. Also, some discover that they're just not cut out for the career they dreamed of and aspired to.

The most important thing in finding satisfaction at work is becoming indispensable wherever you are. The best way to find a job is to become the best employee. Good circumstances don't make good people; good people make for a good workplace atmosphere. By learning to be a exemplary individual at work, opportunities will present themselves, opening a path leading to your next phase of life, during which you should also continue doing your very best. Such continuous efforts are guaranteed to land you jobs that you like, that support your life and that allow you to contribute to society. Then, when you look back later, you will see how all your past efforts have become precious assets in your ideal field. You will realize that your effort and hardships have not been wasted.

We used to work in real estate, and in real estate it's said that the most important things are location, location, location. In finding happiness at work the three most important things are attitude, attitude, attitude. To the first important principle about succeeding at work, becoming indispensable, I'd like to add a second: creating harmony on the job.

When working at a company, which is like a society or community all its own, it is important to create harmonious relations with all of your colleagues, including your superiors and those working under you, using wisdom and discretion along the way. If you incur your coworkers' dislike by being selfish or egoistic, you will be a loser in work and society. Wisdom, which includes tact, is vital to being successful at work.

All in all, relationships help us develop. All our relationships have a common foundation - ourselves! The internal condition of our own lives will affect all our relationships. So what we learn in the course in any one relationship will apply to the others. Greed, anger and foolishness are like poison. They will all manifest in all our relationships, so, too, will all our relationships be enhanced as we purify our lives. What comes into play in one realm will also be apparent in others.

Individuals who challenge themselves to develop happy, harmonious families will find the benefits of their efforts simultaneously apparent in improvements at work. Similarly, those who learn to transcend the lesser, egoistic self at work will garner rich rewards at home.

Practicing happiness is about developing character. And relationships are the forum, the classroom, in which we learn how.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

In Case You Had Any Doubt...

... Gingrich speaks out.

(And, for the record, I agree with him. I think we agree from different points on the circle, but to view everything that is happening as anything other than a huge, interrelated, global conflict is naive. Unfortnately, I don't think that we are necessarily the 'good guys' on this one. We're not the 'bad guys' either, but we are sitting squarely in the middle of a Holy War that we helped create, and there is no surrendering in a Holy War. You fight until death.

Goddammit -- How Does this Happen???

Normally, when you are talking about a subject with someone and then the same topic pops up in the news the next day, you say something like, "Wow -- that's funny!", only this isn't funny at all. Hey John G., remember the other night when we were throwing our money away at Emerald Downs, we started talking about dog racing scandals? Read this.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Housekeeping Announcement

Yes, I am well aware that I pretty much borked the blog format with that last post and the giant doggie pics. If you are concerned, please bear in mind that when it comes to a choice between content (namely, racing weiner dog pics) and a pretty format, the weenies get it every time.

The Sport of Kings, or maybe Fuhrers

What an INCREDIBLE EVENT!! I mean, seriously, did you see it?!? Heart-pounding competition, blazing speed, incredible athletic ability... and now, dear readers, a shot of your world champion:

And down the strech she comes!

Yes, of course I am referring to the annual Weinernationals at Los Alamitos Race Course. Heat of heat of 50-yard dashes for dachshunds, with no truly legal way to wager on it. (Not that it would ever stop some of us... but I digress.)

This year, Princess Smoochy Gucci took the weiner, or whatever it is they give away. I would say something snarky about the name of the dog, but considering the names of some of the crap horses that have cost me money this year, I think her name is just fine, thank you.

According to the LARC website, the event drew the largest crowd of the year to the track (a quarterhorse track in Orange County, Ca., for those of you who have never had the pleasure of attending a festive evening, or even better, New Year's Eve, at the dump facility), with 7,105 people coming out.

One more look at the action:


(Hat tip to John G. not only for the article, but for letting me know that we MISSED the damn race!!)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Figuring it Out

So, I guess we have all settled into our roles here at LRP. Ashleys_Mommy is resident philosopher; someone who can be counted on to distill the essence of life and translate it into thought-provoking essays and affirmations.

I, on the other hand, will post Tiny Tim videos.

(As much as I tried, I have been unable to come up with the video of Bob & Ray singing Do Ya Think I'm Sexy? with Laraine Newman, Jane Curtain, & Gilda Radner. I was trying to get a theme going...)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Just Because We Can...

...we present one of the lost gems of television history. (In case you're not familiar with YouTube videos, just push the Play arrow in the middle of the screen.)

Friday, July 07, 2006


It's been so long since I've left a post on this blog that I'm shocked that I'm actually doing it now! Yack. Wow, that was a mouthful, wasn't it?

Well, here's another mouthful...happiness. Everyone focuses on it, but what does it mean? Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Ever since Jefferson, Americans have believed in their right to the "pursuit of Happiness." When compared with other things that people hope for - health, wealth, success, status - happiness is rated highest for most of us. Along with life and liberty, without which it is largely an irrelevant consideration, happiness is at the very foundation of the American way of life.

Let's run with that thought for a moment. hmmm.... How do we actually view happiness? In addition to wealth - fame, success, youth and beauty are critical components of being happy. Let's face it people! Aren't the young, rich, famous and good-looking happier? Doesn't the one who collects the most toys win the game of life? Maybe Jefferson would have been more prophetic if he used the words "Life, Liberty, and the Purchase of Happiness." hmmm.. For me, it is undeniably enjoyable to go shopping and make great deals. Unfortunately, it is also undeniable that the kind of happiness shopping brings is not long lasting. The excitement fades too quickly an I find myself needing to recreate the joy of the initial experience, so I go out to the sales again and again. So, it's no surprise that I would be happier if I only had more money and a mailing address set up at Macy's.

There's a lesson here, there's got to be. Could the definition of happiness be different then what I thought? Maybe happiness is not what most people suppose it to be. If money, age, health, race, education, employment and geography are typical indicators of happiness, and happiness is relative, then, hmmm, it must follow that circumstances have little to do with happiness.

We have a tendency to compound our problems. We compare ourselves against illusionary standards and thereby increasing the sense of restless dissatisfaction that fuels unhappiness. We strive to keep up with others because they appear to be happier than we are. It turns out that in all the usual areas of comparison, they probably aren't. Here's the problem. We believe them to be. It is this misperception that creates real unhappiness where none existed before. Advertisers exploit our willingness to compare ourselves with the images of others who appear to be better off (and consequently happier) than us. Bombarding us with images of people whose elegant possessions (extravagant lifestyles, gorgeous bodies, harmonious families, etc.) awaken our envy, they enlarge our circle of comparisons and whet our appetites for what others have. This manufactured unhappiness used as a motivator to get us to purchase the "missing" ingredient of our happiness.

It is also believed that we would be happier if we had fewer problems or that once the problem we are immediately facing is resolved, happiness will result. But, damn it, it never quite happens that way. Today's problem is replaced by new problems in an unending procession. We seem barely to have a chance to catch our breath before new challenges confront us. This way of thinking equates problems with unhappiness. Is it possible to establish a problem-free life for any significant length of time? I have to say no.

Sustainable happiness is not the absence of problems. Let's make that clear. No one can avoid problems. Let me re-phrase this: Everybody has problems. Yet we all know people with enormous problems who are happy and people with every advantage who are miserable.

At the most fundamental level, we need to recognize that life is filled with problems. Have I nailed that into your head, yet? (hehe) This existential outlook has percolated through Western culture and has filled volumes. "Life is difficult," are the opening words of M. Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled. "This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths," Peck writes.

To understand that life means difficulty liberates us because it helps us to understand problems and suffering as natural parts of life, not as signs of our inadequacies. There is a saying, "A small heart gets used to misery and becomes docile, while a great heart towers above misfortune." The fact that life is filled with problems is no reason to be depressed, downhearted or resigned to a miserable fate. Stoicism is not the study of life. The idea is to have life find happiness in the midst of rather in the absence of problems.

To be realistic, achieving happiness takes more than effort. You have to know what happiness is, what it is not, and, most important, have a practical way to get there. So, as they say on Sesame Street "practice, practice, practice!"

"Hell is to drift, heaven is to steer," wrote George Bernard Shaw. The more often you practice happiness, the more you will gain ever-increasing control of your inner state and, consequently, control of your exterior circumstances. You can literally take charge of your own universe and become a master of your fate by mastering your own mind.

I am very close to someone who had/has a lifelong pattern of failed relationships and jobs. She's often deeply discouraged about her future and depressed inside. It's like she's in a state of Hell without hope sometimes. However, when she focuses on a lasting relationship and a meaningful career, forward movement is made. But no matter what she is doing right, she is oftentimes plagued by the self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. Through the years, she has become more aware of her thought processes and she gradually recognized the root of her problem: self-hatred. Her inner critic constantly pestered her with thoughts of self-doubt and worthlessness. She often wonders "Why doesn't anyone love me? What's wrong with me?" As she continued to explore the definition of and practice happiness, she realized that no one cold love her because she didn't love herself. From that point forward she focused her energy on seeing her true self, her great qualities, and her own nature. She came to accept her weaknesses as natural and to witness and acknowledge her unique and wonderful assets. The more she loved and appreciated herself, the more her environment began to reflect that inner change.

Tapping into happiness also means living optimistially. Optimists are healthier and more successful. "No empowerment is so effective as self-empowerment" wrote Harvard University historian and economist David S. Landes in his book, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor. "In this world, the optimists have it, not because they are always right, but because they are always positive. Even when wrong, they are positive, and that is the way to achievement."

Feeling fulfilled is one of the many ways to practice the experience of happiness. It arises from realizing yourself and helping others to realize potential in life and exerting yourself to make it a reality. Let's call it compassion. Living on a path of helping others is living a compassionate life and that deepens the river of happiness flowing through you. Living without compassion, however, is a shallow existence. So let's keep reminding each other of that little (big) "c" word, OK?

Here's a quote from George Bernard Shaw again, from Man and Superman: "This is the true joy in life,the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world ill not devote itself to make you happy."

So, here's what I want you to take from all this psycho babble. Whether we feel happy or unhappy ultimately depends on us. Without changing our state of life, we cannot find true happiness. But when we do change our inner state, our whole world is transformed. The means for accomplishing this transformation is practicing happiness, the cornerstone of life. We practice happiness to achieve our human revolution, to reform beliefs we harbor, and to summon the inner strength to transcend ascend our personal difficulties and help others. Let's keep it going.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Someone's Going to Receive a Strongly Worded Letter

For this Fourth of July, we went with some friends of ours (that's four adults and three children, all under 4) to a minor league baseball game; we went to see the Inland Empire 66ers play the Lake Elsinore Storm at the San Bernardino field (if the bank that sponsors the field would like tme to mention their name, they can e-mail me and I will tell them where to send the check to buy me off as well). Normally, this is a fun event: a baseball game, lots to do between innings, music, fireworks, etc. This year was to be no exception.

Until we got there.

We purchased tickets a month in advance but they wouldn't mail them to us. Instead we had to go to will-call. When we got there, about 40 minutes before game-time, we discovered that there were two will-call lines, depending on your last name. The lines for each line stretched ACROSS THE ENTIRE ENTRANCE PLAZA! After about a 30+ minute wait to get the tickets (which took about 30 seconds when we got to the window), we got to stand in another 30 minute line (AROUND THE PARKING LOT!), this time to actually go into the stadium. Only one gate of three was open (although, later someone had the bright idea to open more gates) and they were searching people right inside. (Did I mention it was about 98 degrees out?)

Once in line, the food lines took about two innings each, all of the orders were messed up, and the game became an afterthought, which is just as well since the 66'ers lost 17-2. My friend literally missed six innings just waiting in lines!

After the game, it took nearly an hour for the band and fireworks to set up, and the band (not an orchestra, as advertised, but rather a modern jazz ensemble) was terribly disorganized to the point where at one point the conductor had to help a musician sort out his music pages between pieces. (Our part of the stadium filled in the gaps by singing a rousing rendidition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame.)

Now, granted, 10,000+ people is a lot of people in the Class A California League, but, they knew they had the tickets sold, and I have seen the place sold-out before, and it never ran like it did tonight. What a nightmare. Even the parking was a disaster.

No news, just venting. My problems are now your problems. Good Night Sweet Prince (of Darkness)!

The Post Where We Have Fun with the President

What do you get when you combine two of my favorite things, baseball & Republican-bashing, into one great piece of merchandise? Yes -- you get my annual Impeach the President All-Star Jersey!

See, it's funny because the appointed president (let's call him Chimpy McHitlerBurton, a name the right-wingers proposed, I might add) likes to refer to his father as "41" and himself as "43" (George H.W. was the 41st President, and George W. is the 43rd.) Sticking "Impeach" over the number as a name drives home the point.

At least, it would drive home the point to anyone who knew what cutesy nicknames the Boy King and his father have for each other.

At $119.99 + tax & shipping, that might be a little too much of an inside joke. Besides, the colors kind of suck this year anyway. What's with the fecal colors? Brown and yellow?? That looks like the reason we had to replace the carpet at our old house (dogs, cats, children, etc.). Yeech!

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Your attention please -- Blogging will resume shortly. Watch this space for important blogging developments. Expect the first post soon.

Oops, I guess that was it. Well.... that was anti-climactic.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Vacation Notification


Monday, April 24, 2006

Separated at Birth??

AshleysMommy & I were watching The Apprentice earlier tonight, which was actually kind of anti-climactic after Deal or No Deal, and the Donald had two of his children, Ivanka and Donald Jr., sitting in for George & Carolyn, keeping an eye on the teams. (And, yes, it was very bizarre watching the elder Trump trying to interact with his children in a business-type setting, as if he actually knew who they were.)

Anyway, when looking at Donald Jr., who had a rather small role compared to Ivanka, something occured to me:

One of these photos is of Donald Trump Jr., and one is Jack Osbourne. Could you quickly tell which is which?

Yes, obviously the one with glasses is Jack Osbourne. Geez -- what happened to Donald Jr.? Not that The Donald could give him hair advice or anything, but... try and pull it together a little bit, willya??