Friday, July 27, 2007

Hey kids, I'm outta here for a coupla weeks. Until then, here are some puppies. See ya.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dennis Miller: It's the heat
In a recent OFGS reader poll, I asked whether Dennis Miller was an asshole and it was the heat or Dennis Miller was an asshole and it was the humidity. Turns out it was a little of both. 58% of you said Dennis Miller is an asshole and it's hot outside and 42% of you said Dennis Miller is an asshole and it's the humidity. I agree completely. Thank you all for voting. And now on to our new poll…

Can the future leak into the present?
New studies in physics suggest that a photon can have many histories, and scientists are trying to measure how a past or current event could have been impacted by an event in the future.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

These highwaters are totally harshing my mellow
These highwaters are totally harshing my mellow. It's weird that pants can hold so much sway over your mood. All day long, I'm going to be tugging them down so they don't look ridiculous and then, feeling like a '90s teenager with sagging schoolboy pants, hiking them back up again. Over an over.

I'm probably the only one who even notices but I'm afraid I look like somebody who was raised by an igmo and an eejit, which is totally unfair because I was in fact raised by intelligent, educated people with excellent fashion sense. Heck, my dad was so fashionable people probably would have wondered if he was gay if he hadn't been born back before homosexuality was invented.

So why am I wearing highwaters? Other than the highwater problem, I love everything about these pants. They're softy-soft, like hippie jammies but totally cut for the workplace. They're deep brown, with a teeney black check pattern that you don't really notice at first, but that slowly comes into the picture. Both the color and pattern probably have a name, but if I knew them I wouldn't be wearing highwaters, now would I?

So, here I sit, looking like someone who should go stand on the corner with that woman wearing the giant, yellow mumu with Tasmanian Devil on the front. That's it. These bastards are totally going in the Goodwill pile when I get home.

Friday, July 20, 2007

From this week's LEO

Do it for Al
If you could reduce your electricity consumption, lower your monthly expenses, reduce CO2 emissions, and help LG&E avoid building future generating capacity, all while suffering almost no discomfort, would you do it? The magic way to achieve all those goals is to lower your energy consumption during peak hours. For most people, those are when we are at work (during the summer) or asleep (in the winter) anyway. Most people don’t do it, mainly because fidgeting with that thermostat is so darn much trouble!

Now LG&E is going to test the concept on 150 guinea pigs by offering variable rates: higher rates during peak hours, lower rates at other times. Lazy bones who do nothing will see their rates basically unchanged. But the idea rewards those who are willing to reduce consumption during peak hours by daring them to not consume at the higher rate.

The scheme is part of a larger effort by LG&E to reduce peak usage by offering tools to help people do it. Plans also call for programmable thermostats, smart meters and portable energy displays that let masochists see exactly how much they’re spending at any given moment. The company also plans to offer a way for its geekier, attention-deficit customers to adjust their thermostats from their Crackberries, iPhones or Web browsers. To get in on some of this action, visit Or, you know, just get off your butt and adjust your thermostat.
From this week's LEO

It’s a gas, gas, gas
Conventional wisdom has it that a powerful Senate leader has the clout to make all kinds of magic happen for the people back home. But one thing Senate Minority Leader and presidential hiney-climber-inner Mitch McConnell — along with all the king’s horses and all the kings men and women — have not been able to accomplish is the destruction of a large stash of red, white and blue WMD in Richmond, Ky.

Richmond’s Blue Grass Army Depot is home to 70,000 rockets armed with highly explosive chemical weapons, including sarin and mustard gases. Mustard gas — chemotherapy’s evil grandpa — is known for its ability to cause extensive blisters, blindness and slow, painful death. Sarin is basically “Raid” insecticide in new-and-improved human strength.

The WMD, some of which have been stored in Richmond since the 1940s, are at one of two remaining sites — the other is in Colorado — that the U.S. government is still dragging its feet on cleaning up. The country’s preferred method — dumping the weapons in the ocean — was abandoned in the 1970s, when it was discovered the practice pretty much killed everything in the vicinity for five years or so.Better to keep it in Kentucky.

A ’90s plan to incinerate the weapons also was abandoned when officials decided it was a really, really retarded idea. The latest scheme calls for on-site neutralization, followed by “supercritical water oxidation” and is expected to be completed by 2023 by a noble little company called Bechtel, widely recognized for its engineering high jinks everywhere from Iraq to New Orleans to Boston’s Big Dig.

Now Mitch, who is desperately looking for something to talk about besides Iraq, campaign-finance obfuscations, Gov. Fletcher and immigration reform, wants the Pentagon to destroy the WMD by 2017. He inserted the new deadline in a 2008 defense spending bill amendment, which must be approved by Congress. Pentagon officials promised to study McConnell’s proposal as an alternative to their own 35-year course of “Yeah, we’ll get right on that.”

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Carlson's testicles saved by reflex action
MSNBC talk-show host Tucker Carlson has restored his balls to threat-level orange, thanks to multiple involuntary leg crossings.
What to say when a nun interrupts your drunken childhood mischief
On the Fourth of July, The Catholic church down the street programmed its bells to play patriotic music, including, bizarrely, "The Halls of Montezuma" (with its earworm "First to fight for right and freedom and to keep our honor clean; we are proud to claim the title of United States Marine") and "The Caissons go rolling along." We kind of expected the music to stop when the "farworks" did, but it's still going strong. (Maybe somebody needs to reboot the bell's computer - or boot the music director.) Why the church is blasting church-bell military songs during a failed religious war for oil is a creepy topic for another day but what's cracking me up today is a childhood lyric I can't get out of my head. To the tune of "Caissons:"

We are strong, we are bold
From the liquor that we hold
In the cellars of St. Mary's school.
Run, run, run
I think I smell a nun,
Pick up your liquor and run!
If a nun should appear,
say "Sister, have a beer
from the cellars of St. Mary's School"

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fox-stole journalism
Here's why it's a good thing that Rupert Murdoch is buying the Wall Street Journal: The Journal is and always has been the paper of record for, by and about America's corporate ruling class. If you read the Journal for any reason other than to get a leg up on capitalism's latest schemes, you are a tool. Until now, the Journal cloaked its plutocratic perspective in a mink stole of credible journalism. Murdoch's media properties aren't so clever. Once the Journal assumes the cartoon subtlety of Fox News, the stole will be off and any country-club capitalist with a speck of ethics will take it for what it's worth. Consider that until now, a bright, young Biff coming out of the business academy in search of a promising career as a robber baron might pick up the Journal and read a story praising, say, KFC or Humana for their third-quarter earnings or their innovative new business tactics, while completely overlooking or burying the fact that the increased earnings came at the expense of mom-and-pop chicken joints in Indonesia, in turn tossing fuel on the fire of terrorism, or at the expense of poor people tossed out on the sidewalks like that poor, braided and befuddled Los Angeles homeless woman in Sicko. Reading old-mink-stole Journal, Biff bites into a croissant and nods approvingly at the third quarter earnings and schedules a racquetball court for 6:30. Reading the new Fox-stole Journal, Biff still bites the croissant and reserves the court – and eventually goes on to a storied career in corporate crime - but feels a tiny, nagging pinprick of guilt knowing that his life is a sham. Guilt that can only be assuaged with a case of 1998 Cheval Blanc and a gram of blow, which eventually explode his heart and melt his liver, the end. So it's all good. Plus, I can't wait to see Brit Hume in one of those pointy-dot head drawings.
Zero carbon weddings
I wonder how long it'll take the "family values" crowd in Frankfort to pass legislation against this.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Gangsta folk
Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros
Attention extraterrestrials:
Eat our Lucille Balls.
From last week's LEO:

It’s lonely at the top
With the overwhelming majority of Americans opposed to the Iraq war, even Republican senators are waking up and smelling the IEDs. In recent days, staunch Bush supporters Richard Lugar of Indiana, Pete Domenici of New Mexico, John Warner of Virginia and the somewhat-less-staunch Olympia Snowe of Maine have pressured the president to begin supporting the troops by bringing them home. Many other Republicans who face re-election are also cutting and running from “we can’t cut-and-run.”

Most red state voters are of one of two opinions about their political leaders: Either vote the bums out of office or at least persuade them to stop opposing the will of the people to end the war. Whichever camp you’re in, there’s a role for you to play at That’s the address of “Americans Against Escalation in Iraq,” a coalition of groups — including, Americans United for Change and the Center for American Progress — that routinely make Rush Limbaugh pop a neck vein. The coalition now has Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell — also facing major criticism for bailing on his party during the immigration debate last week — in its crosshairs. Over the next few months, the organization promises letter-writing and Web campaigns, volunteer events and other activities in Kentucky, all designed to shine a light on McConnell’s support for escalating the war.

McConnell, already the target of a campaign by the Sunlight Foundation for blocking a bill that would make campaign finances more transparent, is caught between Iraq and a hard place: He can abandon Bush and look like a flip-flopper, or stay the course and look hopelessly out of touch. The smart money says the slippery senator will search for some middle ground between now and autumn, which marks the famous “surge” deadline.
Get on yer bikes and ride

Everything old

is new again

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Halfhearted assault on reason's assaulters
Imagine being able to turn back the clock to September 11, 2001. Now, picture the worst conceivable American response to the terror attacks of that day. Christian extremism dominates the public dialogue. America spies on her own people. The media completely fail at every opportunity to report a meaningful record of the nation's actions and conscience. Dissent is not allowed. The president, using faulty intelligence and outright lies, plans a military invasion of a country completely unrelated to the terrorists, overstepping the authority of the UN. Congress authorizes the invasion. Thousands of soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians are killed. A country with absolutely no connection to the 9/11 attacks is left in ruins. The Supreme Court refuses to uphold habeas corpus. In a panic, and in a void of rational leadership, the US retreats into a coma of religious fanaticism, gun lust, and extreme nationalism. Enemies and perceived enemies are detained without trial. Torture becomes an acceptable tactic in the minds of average citizens. The nation cowers in post-traumatic stress.

If you didn't know all that happened, you wouldn't be able to believe it could.

Indeed, it is hard to imagine – short of nuclear attacks – a worse response to 9/11 than the one the Bush/Cheney Administration has made. And that's why Al Gore is a pussy for his tepid book, The Assault on Reason.

OK, he's not a pussy. In fact, Gore is clearly the closest thing to a moral compass we've got these days. And yet, if you're looking for a true ass-kicking of the highest caliber, it's not here. Maybe Gore didn't want to take himself out of the option of running for president. Or maybe he truly believes, even at this date, in the American experiment and the highest intentions of the constitution. Or maybe I'm tainted by the steady stream of polemic monologues coming out of our political discourse and am slightly disappointed when my side doesn't thoroughly kick ass. But reading this book, you will wish you were reading Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, H.L Mencken, Wendell Berry or – by god, Mark Twain.

As I've noted before, the very title of the book is misleading. It's a tragedy to steal that title from its appropriate spot – on the cover of a book about religion. (Actually, The Assault on Reason would be a great subtitle for The Holy Bible.) Although you'll politely nod your head all the way through like a precinct captain in a cashmere sweater at a political convention, the overall effect of The Assault on Reason is a little disappointing. Gore actually comes off a little naive, especially when he tries to relate the Bush Administration to our ridiculously idealized founding fathers. He makes half-hearted attempts to point out similar abuses of power throughout history, but he seems unaware of the crueler transgressions of Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and a long list of other lesser criminals who've held our nation's highest office. And, while he does give a few jabs to the media and corporations, he is far too lukewarm in his criticism. Corporations and Bible-thumpers have ruled America since the gilded age, and it's either wishful thinking or naive nationalism to not say so more forcefully. Even the chapter title "Democracy in the Balance" gives the false impression that America is ruled by a system of government that has something to balance. Democracy, if it ever existed at all, is so far gone from our corporatocracy that there has long been no counterweight strong enough to bring it back into alignment and Gore knows that - hell, he's a member of the club.

Still, you've got to give the man props for his post-election life. He won the 2000 election, had it stolen from him by the Supreme Court and Fox News, and could have drunk himself into a stupor or copped some vikes from his son and ended it all. Instead, he's often the single voice of reason in the national dialogue and he's truly our nation's closest thing to a leader right now, even without holding office. And this book has a rightful place in that comeback, even if you find yourself wishing it hadn't pulled so many punches.

Liberals can skip The Assault on Reason because they already see through the Bush/Cheney crimes and outright trampling of the constitution. But every non-wackadoo conservative and especially every centrist should read it. It includes a relatively dispassionate review of the Bush Administration's failures and the media's ubiquitous breakdowns, in a highly digestible format. (I think it's safe to assume no Limbaugh or O'Reilly fans are reading this, but if so, you should skip the book. Your minds are closed so save your money and spend it on some ammo for your semiautomatic rifle or some Exxon Mobile stock or a nice new Louisville Slugger to bludgeon some baby seals with. Oh, also, get the fuck away from my blog. Now. Thanks.) The "Democracy in the Balance" chapter has some pretty chilling accounts of the Bush Administration's abuses of power, especially relating to the judicial branch. The "Politics of Fear" chapter also does a decent job of describing the Bush administration's cynical manipulation of our predisposition toward small-minded retaliation (but, again, you'll find yourself yearning for a Mencken line like, "the stigmata of inferiority -- moral certainty, cruelty, suspicion of ideas, fear"). And, perhaps most useful of all, Gore provides a decent script for the movie version of the trial of Dick Cheney – or at least one that complements the Washington Post's series on this utterly despicable man.

While much of The Assault on Reason is a rather dry account of the worst atrocities of the Bush/Cheney administration and their corporate masters, the passion in Gore's writing picks up considerably in his chapters on the environment and the Internet, which make sense considering he's saving one and invented the other. (Of course, the joke about Gore's inventing the Internet is a good example of the media's complicity in the assault on reason.) It's obvious the man has a keen and sincere interest in these fields and the enthusiasm does wonders for his writing. And his optimism about the 'net restoring reason to American politics is tempting to go for. You are, after all, reading this review on a highly influential blog that strikes fear in the hearts of the robber barons, ha ha ha. And yet, it's hard to think of anything that assaults reason more profoundly than the Internet. OK, religion and AM radio, but the 'net's a close third.

The Assault on Reason's introduction is a pretty good summary of the book itself, so one good option would be to read that in the bookstore, then go score some Twain, Zinn, Chomsky, Berry or Mencken to remind yourself about what a pipe-dreamer Al Gore is when it comes to America. Here's the bottom line for those of you considering whether to read this book: This is the "I want to put social security in a lock box" Al Gore, not the "Inconvenient Truth" Al Gore. If you're a Big D choir member who digs being preached to or if you're a conservative and you're willing to open your mind even a smidgeon, read the book. If you believe the country has swung too far to the right and needs to take baby steps back to the center, read the book. But if, like me, you believe that the America you want to live in – the one where money, corporations, and religious fanatics are subservient to the will of the people – has never really existed, you're bound to be a little disappointed in The Assault on Reason's lukewarm assault on the unreasonable.

Monday, July 09, 2007

My new crush
I have a wee crush on Corinne Bailey Rae, who surely has the sweetest, most authentic smile this side of the Dalai Lama.

Answer the call

Did you know that if you pledge to switch four light bulbs to compact fluorescents, shop for Energy Star appliances, shut off lights when you leave the room, ride public transportation, and keep your tires fully inflated, we can save so many greenhouse gas emissions that we may never again need to endure Ann Curry's condescending, dumbed-down, annoying, serially retarded interviews and giggly platitudes? Answer the call.

Friday, July 06, 2007

CO2 update
On the ever of Al Gore's historic attempt to rescue the planet from republicans, I thought I'd give y'all a midseason update on my two big anti-CO2 projects: my Amish lawnmower and my bicycle commute.

Both have had a huge leg up from the drought. Thanks to all the dry weather, I've been able to ride my bike to work nearly every day since April 1. I've averaged only 3 days per month of driving, biking all the rest. The bottom line: I love it. The morning commute is somewhat Yoga-like – it's both meditative and a workout. I'm lucky to have Seneca and Cherokee parks in between home and office, and the morning commute just couldn't be more pleasant. At first, the afternoon commute was kind of a bummer. Drivers are hungry and crabby and they urgently miss their media downtime between computer and television. There have also been some 90-degree afternoons, which, when combined with fume and dumpster, tends to make the world smell like ass.

But lately, I've come to see one huge benefit of the afternoon ride: it really clears the mind. Thanks to the strenuous workout and slightly slower overall commute time, by the time I get home, I've forgotten about whatever stressy-ass thing was on my mind when I left work.

Mowing has probably been unrealistically easy, thanks to the drought. I'm mowing only every couple of weeks and the grass looks fantastic. My neighbor mows every week and waters his lawn constantly, and ours looks just as good (albeit not as anally trimmed). I have watered the lawn exactly zero times. By not watering and keeping it longer, our lawn is exactly as green as the neighbor's. I also suspect that not giving a shit is a factor. I really don't care if my lawn turns brown. I have a feeling if I desperately needed a lush, green lawn to demonstrate my superiority over nature, the damn thing would be a buggy, dead dirthole. So don't discount not caring. It's the secret of my success in most endeavors.

I still enjoy the Amish mower. It does take two passes to clip the lawn evenly. I don't mind doing it, but I have to also state for the record that I'm not sure how old this might get if we'd had a wet spring and I were mowing every six days or so. At the pace it's going now, I'll never use a gas-powered mower again.

I'm not nerdy enough to really understand the science behind CO2 emissions. Does it really matter that I mow and commute with zero emissions? Or am I just a sucker for the melodic, Herman Munster-like soliloquies of Mr. Al Gore? Likewise, I'm not sure how much money I'm saving. I probably haven't broken even yet after buying the bike. And I can't sell my car because I'll need it during a long chunk of the winter when the bike is impossible. Still, like watching movies with Toni Collette and eating chocolate, it just feels right.

Happy Live Earth, y'all

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Be good to yourself
Still feeling blue because your Supreme Court hates people of color, poor people, and non-Christians? Take some time to be good to yourself. Find a four-leaf clover. Suck on a hopsicle. Eat a tuna taco. It won't fix the Supreme Court, but it will take your mind off things for awhile.
The New Patriotism
Generally speaking, I'm not much for patriotism because I don't like my thinking already done for me ahead of time. But in this case, I'm willing to make an exception.

Declaration of New Patriotism

And, what the hell, you might as well check your carbon score.
From this week's LEO:

Groomin' Eye for the NASCAR guy
Face it men: You've always wanted to shave a "3" somewhere onto your body. But aesthetics are a concern. Should you shave it into your scalp, sideburns, chest, back, ass or pubes? Well, help is on the way. The Wahl Trimmers' mobile barber shop is coming to the Kentucky Speedway to offer free trims and professional advice about all your grooming needs. The "Wahl Let It Grow" tour also includes games, giveaways and a contest for Man of the Year. The contest includes categories for best beard, mustache and goatee in America, but if you think you've got some killer nose or ear hair, they won't turn you away.

Wahl Let it Grow Tour
Kentucky Speedway
Sparta, Kentucky
Free with Speedway admission; 4 p.m.
From this week's LEO:

Ford’s “Way Forward”
Last week, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved $66 million in tax incentives for Ford Motor Co. to retool its Kentucky Truck Plant over the next decade. The money, approved by the General Assembly in March, combined with a $105 million investment by Ford, along with wage and other concessions by workers, is part of Ford’s strategic “Way Forward” toward “No Longer Pissing Money Down a Rat Hole.” The company has also fired 40,000 workers recently.

Sounding a bit like he was trying to convince himself, Ford’s President of the Americas Mark Fields told reporters in Detroit, “We really are starting to deliver products that people will want.” (His thought balloon added, “No, seriously.”) The new plan stands in stark contrast to the company’s decade-long program of not delivering products people will want — Ford’s focus on huge trucks and SUVs stands in opposition to Toyota’s attempts to improve fuel economy and offer hybrids that look a little weird, a strategy that has kept the Japanese automaker’s stock rising dramatically.

Kentucky is optimistic about keeping Ford’s remaining 8,000 jobs in the state. With Ford’s investment and Kentucky’s tax incentives, the Chamberlain Lane plant’s future seems secure. Alas, the Louisville Assembly Plant on Grade Lane seems starcrossovered. Ford has not pledged to keep or modernize the plant, which manufactures the Ford Explorer, a now-antique SUV that is being quickly cannibalized by Ford’s own Escape, Edge, Flex and Taurus X crossover vehicles. Rumors have long circulated in the blog-o-mill that the plant won’t survive the next round of Ford cuts, which are expected in ’08 or ’09. Because of the extreme expense in converting a truck plant to one that produces smaller, fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles, any vehicles produced in either post-modification plant are likely to continue to have the power to haul ass.
From this week's LEO:

Humana hearts TARC
Humana set a good example for other companies last month when it signed a deal with TARC to offer all its downtown employees free bus rides anywhere, anytime. The program covers 8,500 downtown employees and pays TARC $175,000 per year. Employees need only flash their employee ID badges to score a free ride.

But don’t expect Michael Moore to make a movie about it anytime soon. Despite the environment-, employee- and traffic-friendly niceties, Humana’s primary incentive is its inability to provide downtown parking spaces.

Humana, which is to “putting people ahead of profits” as Gov. Fletcher is to “cutting waste, fraud and abuse,” figures prominently in Moore’s “Sicko,” which has the nation talking about corporate healthcare and its deadly greed. The film specifically blames Humana, along with other insurance, pharmaceutical and for-profit healthcare companies, for the nation’s Slovenia-level healthcare services. It also hopes to give a boost to HR 676, which would establish universal healthcare.

But give Humana props for getting people in the groove of public transportation. If the United States is ever going to get the carbon monkey off its back, mass transit will have to figure prominently. And one of the barriers, especially in Louisville, is getting people to think outside the SUV. Priming the pump by getting people comfortable with the bus system can’t hurt. Besides the CO2 savings, the plan should help reduce traffic jams and in some small way reduce America’s need to invade other countries and take their oil.

Although Louisville Metro, LG&E and many other companies offer incentives to ride TARC to and from work, Humana is the first to offer unlimited rides (with a company ID) anywhere, anytime, even if it’s to go see “Sicko.”

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Associated Press struggles with F-bomb
From a story about New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez's wife's "obscene" tank top:

"The slugger's wife wore a white tank top to the game against the Athletics. A common, two-word obscenity ending with "you" was clearly visible when she and her 2-year-old daughter, along with an unidentified older woman, took their seats in the players' family section at Yankee Stadium.

"A front-page photograph Monday in the New York Post showed the back of the tank top with the obscenity printed in Old English lettering between the shoulder blades. The first letter of the first word is visible; the three other letters are intentionally blurred. The second word is 'You.' The paper's headline read: "F-Rod."

Gee, AP, I'm not getting it. Can you give me some clues? What could that obscenity have been?
When God closes a liver, he opens a lung
"Cheer up, bar owners; I drink a lot of beer, and I'm on my way!"
--Asthmatic, beer-drinking braggart Laura Murray, on Louisville's new smoking ban

Monday, July 02, 2007

Sweet rating for the blog

Online Dating

So, this site rates blogs and I was gonna be pissed if I came in with a PG-13. But is this really worth an NC-17?

"This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
death (4x)
anal (3x)
shit (2x)
ass (1x)"

I wonder what kind of rating Hospice gets.
Assholes... History
Nice camp for the kids
Summer Explosives Camp

"During his week at camp, Niels Zussblatt, a teen from St. Louis, helped blast a rock from deep in a mine, obliterated a watermelon, cut steel beams and set off a 'wall of fire.'

One of his favorites?

'Blowing up the chicken was good,' he said. 'It flew – forced bits of chicken guts to fly like 40 to 50 feet.'

Before completing the chicken explosion, Zussblatt heeded his professor's warning: When you are looking at the explosion, do not have your mouth open."
Guns don't kill computers
People kill computers.