Friday, June 29

Friday Random Ten, Reasons to Go On Living Edition.

Sorry, it's been kind of a crappy week. Before we get to the iPod, give me a minute to cheer myself up with a different kind of Random Ten.



Ahh, much better. And now the real Ten:

1. Modest Mouse, "Dig Your Grave"
2. The Dust Brothers, "Marla"
3. U2, "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses"
4. Dire Straits, "Walk of Life"
5. A Tribe Called Quest, "After Hours"
6. Moby, "James Bond Theme"
7. The B-52s, "Roam"
8. The Dave Brubeck Quartet, "Blue Rondo a la Turk"
9. Beastie Boys, "Heart Attack Man"
10. U2, "Mysterious Ways"

And a bonus pick-me-up, the climactic "chase" scene from one of the greatest movies ever made:



Aren't you in a much better mood now? Whether you are or not, put your own Random Ten, be they songs or anything else, in the comments.

Wednesday, June 27

Wednesday Mystery Meat, with extra snouts and fillers.



Paul Westerdawg would like all of you to go to ESPN.com and vote for Georgia swimmer Kara Lynn Joyce for a 2007 ESPY in the category of Best Female College Athlete. (The layout for the voting site is kinda confusing -- there's a very thin scroll bar to the right of the categories, so just keep scrolling down past Best Upset until you see the right category.) Just for the record, Kara Lynn has become only the second person ever to win four straight national titles in two events, was named National Swimmer of the Year two years in a row, and has 18 total national titles to her name. Which means that Kara Lynn Joyce all by her lonesome has 17 more national titles than Georgia Tech does.

Elsewhere in the SEC, please welcome to the blogroll: The Auburner, which created the chart shown below (hat tip: The M Zone).



Don't tell Kyle King; I hear he hates Auburn, or something.

Sign of the apocalypse #45,857,369: Nancy Grace is spawning.

Finally, some YouTubes I've been meaning to post forever but didn't for whatever reason. First, I don't care if you love "Family Guy" or loathe it with a passion, but there's just something hilarious about this, to the point where it's become a running joke among me and any number of people.



Heh. Here's one of my favorite "Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail" scenes, which I like so much I have on my iPod (sorry for the superfluous subtitles):



And finally, a "Saturday Night Live" sketch that popped up in conversation the other day at the office while we were all standing around talking instead of, you know, working. This comes from the Lindsay Lohan oeuvre from back before LiLo went on a skankpage and became an even bigger drunk than I am.



Oh, Linds . . . what the hell happened to you?

The slow death of conservatism, part XXVII.

Before I get started, watch Ann Coulter get pwn3d by Elizabeth Edwards and, subsequently, Chris Matthews. I think Andrew Sullivan might be right -- Elizabeth Edwards would make an awesome presidential candidate herself.

OK, Ann's just a fringe player whose 15 minutes had ticked off the clock long ago. But here's another disturbing look inside the conservative mindset that can't be quite as easily ignored, because these are real people (to an extent) who actually hold these views. Johann Hari's tales from the annual National Review reader cruise includes the following:

Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan's one-time nominee to the Supreme Court, mumbles from beneath low-hanging jowls: "The coverage of this war is unbelievable. Even Fox News is unbelievable. You'd think we're the only ones dying. Enemy casualties aren't covered. We're doing an excellent job killing them."

Then, with a judder, the panel runs momentarily aground. Rich Lowry, the preppy, handsome 38-year-old editor of National Review, announces, "The American public isn't concluding we're losing in Iraq for any irrational reason. They're looking at the cold, hard facts." The Vista Lounge is, as one, perplexed. Lowry continues, "I wish it was true that, because we're a superpower, we can't lose. But it's not."

No one argues with him. They just look away, in the same manner that people avoid glancing at a crazy person yelling at a bus stop. Then they return to hyperbole and accusations of treachery against people like their editor. The aging historian Bernard Lewis declares, "The election in the U.S. is being seen by [the bin Ladenists] as a victory on a par with the collapse of the Soviet Union. We should be prepared for whatever comes next." This is why the guests paid up to $6,000. This is what they came for. They give him a wheezing, stooping ovation and break for coffee.


And this:

[Norman] Podhoretz and [William] Buckley now inhabit opposite poles of post-September 11 American conservatism, and they stare at wholly different Iraqs. Podhoretz is the Brooklyn-born, street-fighting kid who traveled through a long phase of left-liberalism to a pugilistic belief in America's power to redeem the world, one bomb at a time. Today, he is a bristling gray ball of aggression, here to declare that the Iraq war has been "an amazing success." He waves his fist and declaims, "There were WMD, and they were shipped to Syria. . . . This picture of a country in total chaos with no security is false. It has been a triumph. It couldn't have gone better." He wants more wars, and fast. He is "certain" Bush will bomb Iran, and "thank God" for that.

. . .

"Aren't you embarrassed by the absence of these weapons?" Buckley snaps at Podhoretz. He has just explained that he supported the war reluctantly, because Dick Cheney convinced him Saddam Hussein had WMD primed to be fired. "No," Podhoretz replies. "As I say, they were shipped to Syria. During Gulf war one, the entire Iraqi air force was hidden in the deserts in Iran." He says he is "heartbroken" by this "rise of defeatism on the right." He adds, apropos of nothing, "There was nobody better than Don Rumsfeld. This defeatist talk only contributes to the impression we are losing, when I think we're winning."

The audience cheers Podhoretz. The nuanced doubts of Bill Buckley leave them confused. Doesn't he sound like the liberal media? Later, over dinner, a tablemate from Denver calls Buckley "a coward." His wife nods and says, "Buckley's an old man," tapping her head with her finger to suggest dementia.


We are now at a point in American political history when the definition of "conservative" continues to be launched further and further into deep space, and those who consider themselves "true conservatives" have drawn such wild distinctions between themselves and the rest of the world that "conservative" ceases to have any meaning in a domestic political sense at all. There once was a time when to be "conservative" meant favoring smaller government and less government spending, but then George W. Bush strolled into Washington to join the Republican majority in Congress, and the budget exploded like never before. (Actually, the myth of the conservative as frugal spender started being smashed all the way back in the mid-1980s, when Ronald Reagan ballooned the national debt past $4 trillion, but that's another argument for another time.) When conservatism ceased to be about lower spending, it could've still been about less government involvement in people's private affairs, but then Bush and the Republicans started getting an authoritarian streak and pushing all kinds of legislation about wiretaps and indefinite detention of American citizens just because, and there went that. So then being a conservative meant you were pro-Iraq war and everyone else was a defeatist cheese-eating surrender monkey. But then alleged conservatives in Congress started having doubts about the Iraq war, and even more signed on to an immigration-reform bill that surely no self-respecting conservative would ever support, so . . . what defines someone as a conservative these days?

The stomach-turning quotes from pundits and average Joes alike on the National Review cruise hold the answer: To be a conservative these days, you have to be in favor of killing as many Muslims as possible, whenever killing Muslims is called for, wherever Muslims are located. It doesn't matter if the Muslim in question is just some random guy the feds mistakenly yanked off the street in New York City or Dearborn; you have to be in favor of detaining him for as long as it takes, and torturing him to within an inch of his life, to find out what he knows (even if it's nothing). It doesn't matter if the U.S. military is stretched too thin as it is, if someone calls for an invasion of Iran, you have to be for that. Any hesitation on your part to call for a war or the killing of a Muslim somewhere just shows that you're weak, you're not really up for the fight, and you're not a true conservative.

Bizarre.

The silver lining to all this, of course, is that if history is any guide, such ideologies tend to burn themselves out pretty quickly. The cloud is that there's usually a lot of hate, division, and yes, killing before they get there.

Monday, June 25

Modest Proposal VII.

You know, as much as I've delved into politics on this blog of late, I've actually kind of surprised myself by laying off George W. Bush. I mean, sure, there was this, but other than that, I mean, what's left to do? Guy's at a 26% approval rating, why carry coals to Newcastle?

Why indeed? So this isn't about Dubya; instead, I have a modest proposal regarding his pal Cheney, and here's the short version:



The long(er) version is that Cheney has basically taken it upon himself to write every civics/American history textbook you've ever read in your life. Contrary to what most of you learned during your freshman years in high school, the vice president is in fact not part of the executive branch, and as such all those neato "checks" and "balances" are straight out the window. It was such a bizarre, and radical, alteration of how the federal government is supposed to work that even Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino -- never one to shy away from the task of abject bullshit-slinging -- was at a loss to explain or defend it. (Hat tip: Talking Points Memo.)

So come on, somebody, defend this. Is this OK? Whether you're a naughty big-government liberal or a so-called small-government conservative, is this how you want our government to act?

I remember back in 2001, when we were all huddling around trying to figure out what purpose there could possibly be for crashing 767s into our tall buildings, and what most of us came up with was that they just wanted to sow chaos and bring about a fundamental, and negative, change in the way our very country operates. Well, guess what: Someone has made a fundamental and negative change in the way our country operates, but it wasn't Osama bin Laden. It's our own vice president, who wants to put himself and his actions beyond any kind of oversight and thus, for all intents and purposes, outside the law. I don't care how terrified you are by the prospect of a radical Muslim terrorist attack or how many freedoms you're willing to give up on the chance that that can be kept from ever happening again, that's wrong. Dick Cheney placing himself above the law doesn't put any kind of a dent in al-Qaeda and it doesn't make any of us safer; all it does is create a government position whose occupant is allowed to do whatever the hell he wants.

I don't know, maybe some of you right-wingers out there like that. Well, let me ask you this: How much will you like it when, say, Hillary gets elected and Vice President Ted Kennedy or John Edwards or whoever the fuck gets that same kind of power? Think you'll just be sitting back and taking it then?

Rahm Emanuel, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, has nutted up and informed Cheney that if he doesn't consider himself part of the executive branch, then Congress may not feel obligated to finance his executive expenses. That's a start, and quite frankly it's more balls than I would've given Congressional Democrats credit for in a long time. But it's not enough. Someone needs to take this guy down, because if we don't, there's no telling who's going to claim this kind of privilege again and what they're going to do with it. I'm sick and tired of waking up every morning to face a country that's a little less recognizable every single day. Are we so cowed by the allegedly looming threat of creeping "Islamo-fascism" that we don't even recognize or care when one of our own leaders slouches toward actual fascism in our own capitol?

My modest proposal: Impeach this motherfucker, Congress. If attempting to unilaterally rewrite the Constitution and removing oneself from a fricking branch of government doesn't qualify as a "high crime," then pray tell, what does? And really, we're not talking about someone that masses of American citizens are going to rise up and defend; the risks are not as great as some would have you believe. Impeach this motherfucker, take him down, make an example out of him. It's not about revenge, or just looking for something to do, it's about trying to maintain some semblance of sanity in a country where everyone's supposed to be equal in the eyes of the law.

Either impeach this motherfucker or tell me what possible purpose there is in keeping him around, 'cause frankly, I just don't see it.

Friday, June 22

Re-branding.

I'm headed down to Baton Rouge this weekend for a wedding, so you won't hear much from me over the next couple days, but I still wanted to leave you with what the French call "a little sum'n sum'n."

Over time it became abundantly clear that pretty much everybody hated the picture I had on my Blogger profile, the one with me sneering and sticking my tongue out. Honestly I was kind of shocked by that, because I love that picture. Really, it sums up my personality about as well as any picture of me that anyone's ever taken.

But everything gets stale after a while, so like Aunt Jemima and the guy on the New England Patriots' helmet, the official Face of Hey Jenny Slater has been freshened up a little.

Sneering Doug is out. Pimp Daddy Doug is in -- very, very in.


Incidentally, this is the picture Paris Hilton has taped up on the wall of her jail cell.

I must warn you, don't look at that picture too long, because its sheer sexual magnetism may prove too much for you to handle. If you must look at it for an extended period of time, use a box with a little hole punched in it or something, and make sure you have a cold shower at the ready.

Have a great weekend, dorks! See you in a few days.

Wednesday, June 20

Creative writing contest part 2: The mayor flakes out.


And yet John Edwards continues to catch shit for getting an expensive haircut.

Do y'all remember the creative writing contest I held last month in which readers were invited to conjure up hypothetical conservative reactions to Hillary Clinton blowing off a planned campaign event in Iowa because the hosts didn't make enough money? (Hypothetical because it was actually Rudy Giuliani who did that?)

That was fun, wasn't it?

Well, get your creative juices (and your mad right-wing-pundit-impersonation skillz) flowing, because I'm throwing another one. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a hypothetical right-wing opinion column, blog post, or talk-show rant skewering Hillary if she was at the center of this:

Rudolph Giuliani's membership on an elite Iraq study panel came to an abrupt end last spring after he failed to show up for a single official meeting of the group, causing the panel's top Republican to give him a stark choice: either attend the meetings or quit, several sources said.

Giuliani left the Iraq Study Group last May after just two months, walking away from a chance to make up for his lack of foreign policy credentials on the top issue in the 2008 race, the Iraq war.

He cited "previous time commitments" in a letter explaining his decision to quit, and a look at his schedule suggests why -- the sessions at times conflicted with Giuliani's lucrative speaking tour that garnered him $11.4 million in 14 months.


Feel free to launch any attack you think a right-winger might make. Hillary doesn't care about national security! Hillary doesn't even show up for her job! Hillary is basically giving the bird to the American taxpayers! Actually, this time I don't even care whether you make it about Hillary. Pick Obama, Edwards, Kucinich, seriously, go nuts. Just conjure up something as snide and/or hate-filled as you possibly can -- keepin' it real, of course -- and throw it in the comments.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it. But if you do accept it, fuckin' follow through on it, know what I mean?

Or if that's too similar to the last contest and you're jonesing for a new challenge, simply come up with an answer to this essay question:

Other than the fact that he happened to be mayor of New York on 9/11, what possible attraction could there be to the Rudy Giuliani campaign?


Your move, readers!

Tuesday, June 19

A very special Tuesday Random Ten.



After two days of sitting shiva following the tragic, and some would say untimely, death of my previous iPod, a new addition has been welcomed into my home -- courtesy of a birthday present from my parents which, I think any of you will agree, is far too extravagant for a pissant like myself.

So anyway, thanks, Mom and Dad, for making me whole again. More than a decade after the end of your legal obligation to give me so much as one red cent, you're still being nice to me for some reason, even if this is just some very clever reverse-psychology ruse designed to make me feel guilty about asking to move in with you in the event that I ever lose my job. And even though it ended up getting taken care of, thanks to all of you who donated through PayPal to help me buy a new one -- and by "all of you" I mean Josh, whose selfless $0.01 donation will come in handy when my current headphones blow out and I replace them with 0.000256% of these.

At any rate, here are the first 10 songs that came up when I put the new kid on shuffle:

1. Bill Withers, "Lovely Day"
2. Jackson Browne, "Running On Empty"
3. Cartman, "Kyle's Mom is a Big Fat Bitch"
4. EMF, "Unbelievable"
5. The Dust Brothers, "Single Serving Jack"
6. The Farm, "Mind"
7. The Beatles, "Back in the USSR"
8. Roni Size, "Brown Paper Bag" (Photek remix)
9. Richard Cheese, "Brass Monkey"
10. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, "Go Daddy-O"

. . . And now my life can go on.

Monday, June 18

Intervention.



JEFF FISHER: Adam. Hi. Glad you could meet with us today. This is Steve Underwood, general counsel for the team, whom I'm sure you're well acquainted with by this point.

STEVE UNDERWOOD: Hi. Pleasure.

ADAM "PAC-MAN" JONES: Yeah. What's up.

FISHER: Well, Adam, I'm not sure quite how to broach this subject, so . . . do you mind if I ask you a personal question?

JONES: Naw, I guess not.

FISHER: OK. Well, Adam, uh -- what kind of porn do you like?

JONES Uh -- come again?

FISHER: What kind of porn do you like? Is there anything in particular you like to see when you're looking at naked women?

JONES: Uh -- aside from pussy? I don't think I get what you're --

UNDERWOOD: I think what Coach Fisher is trying to ask, Mr. Jones -- can I call you "Pac-Man"?

JONES: Whatever.

UNDERWOOD: OK, cool. Pac-Man, I think what Coach Fisher is trying to ask is, are there any particular types or genres of pornographic materials that you prefer over others? Do you like magazines, or are you more of a video man? Are you fine with soft-core, or do you need to see actual penetration? Any fetishes you're particularly into, girl-on-girl, latex, bondage . . .

FISHER: . . . autoerotic asphyxiation, peeing, pooping, bukkake, anything like that? Having a girl put on spike heels and crush a guy's balls?

UNDERWOOD: Uh, OK, coach, I think we've pretty well laid it out for Pac-Man here.

FISHER: Sorry.

UNDERWOOD: So, Pac-Man, did we hit a bulls-eye with any of those?

JONES: Uh . . . well, yeah, dawg, I guess I like all that stuff. Except for the spike heels and ball-crushing, I don't know about that.

UNDERWOOD: Fair enough. So it's safe to say, then, that pretty much any kind of depiction of a naked woman in a sexual context is appealing to you.

JONES: Yeah, I guess, but . . . man, back this up a second -- what's this all about?

FISHER: I'm just gonna come out and say it, Pac-Man -- Mr. Underwood and I are prepared to do whatever it takes --

UNDERWOOD: Within reason.

FISHER: -- within reason -- to keep you out of the goddamn strip clubs.

JONES: What?

UNDERWOOD: Let's call a spade a spade here, Pac-Man -- you and strip clubs just don't mix. I'm referring specifically to an incident back in February in which your, uh, entourage shot up a strip club in Vegas . . .

JONES: They was takin' my money, dawg.

FISHER: Pac-Man, that's what strip clubs are for. And if you didn't want them to take your money, why did you pull out a Hefty bag full of eighty-one grand in one-dollar bills and start throwing it all over the stage?

JONES: Yo, I told y'all, that was a visual effect, dawg!

FISHER: So let me get this straight, when you throw out a bunch of singles on stage at a strip club, you expect to get that money back?

UNDERWOOD: If I could steer this back on course for just a moment, Pac-Man, when that incident got you suspended for a year by the commissioner of the NFL, you met with Commissioner Goodell in New York to discuss that suspension. And what did you do the night before that meeting?

JONES: You mean besides playing PlayStation and, uh, reading to some kids at the library?

UNDERWOOD: Yes. Humor me.

JONES: Went and had some drinks with some friends.

UNDERWOOD: Uh-huh. And this occurred at . . . ?

[pause]

JONES: What, you want me to tell you the exact name of the place?

UNDERWOOD: Please.

[pause]

JONES: Uh, I don't remember.

UNDERWOOD: Of course you don't. But it is public record, Pac-Man, that you visited a strip club and then lied to Commissioner Goodell about it the next day.

FISHER: I mean, really, Pac-Man . . .

UNDERWOOD: And now of course we've got this incident in metro Atlanta.

JONES: So, what, dude, what you gonna do to me? You guys gonna suspend me? Go ahead, dawg, I already been suspended for the whole season! You want to take away my parking space at the stadium? Or, I know, you want to ground me? Tell me I can't even watch the games?

UNDERWOOD: Now, settle down, Pac-Man, this isn't about punishment. This is about . . .

FISHER: Behavior . . .

UNDERWOOD: Modification. Exactly. Behavior modification. We want to try to . . . perhaps provide a . . .

FISHER: Prostitute?

UNDERWOOD: [sighs] Thank you, Jeff, but no, we want to provide a -- an incentive for you to avoid those . . . environments in which you might be more vulnerable to . . . "challenging" behavior.

JONES: Man, speak English.

UNDERWOOD: If you must see titties, Pac-Man, we'd feel a lot better if you could do it without leaving the house.

[pause]

JONES: Man, this is fucked up.

FISHER: Look, it's like Mr. Underwood said, Pac-Man, we're not sitting here trying to punish you. There's nothing wrong with liking hot women -- you've seen my wife, I like hot women! There's nothing wrong with liking titties -- I like titties! But we just don't think strip clubs are the right place for you to be --

UNDERWOOD: Partaking.

FISHER: Uh, right. Exactly.

UNDERWOOD: And that's why we're asking you about your porn preferences. Any kind of porn that particularly turns your, uh, crank? You like artsy stuff? Or you like it a little raunchier? Or let me approach this a different way: What do you like most about strip club girls? Boobs? The dancing? Or you like big butts? Lemme guess -- you're a butt man, am I right, Pac-Man?

FISHER: Extremeasses.com, Pac-Man. Just say the word and you've got a subscription. You don't have to shell out a dime; me and Mr. Underwood will take care of it.

UNDERWOOD: Well, all due respect, coach, I don't know that I care to . . .

FISHER: OK, I'll take care of it myself. Extremeasses.com, Pac-Man. Or Booty Catchers. Wait, you didn't say whether you liked magazines or video, did you? OK, maybe I'll get you a subscription to Rear View. Or I'll get you Rear View and one of the Web sites, you can try 'em both out for a while, then decide which one you like best.

JONES: Man, I don't know . . .

FISHER: OK, just keep both of 'em. Fine. I'll pay for it. Money out of my pocket. It's nothing to me, Pac-Man! Just for God's sake, stay out of the strip clubs!

UNDERWOOD: Your coach is making you a very generous offer here, Pac-Man. He's doing it because he cares about this team -- we have, after all, made a substantial investment in the, uh, Pac-Man name -- but also because he cares about you. We got our Risk Management guys to run some numbers, and they concluded that at any given moment, when you enter a strip club, there's a 74.5% chance, on average, that shots are going to be fired. And a 36.4% chance that some of those shots are going to be fired at you. You understand that? You walk into any strip club in North America at this point, and on average, there's a better than one-in-three chance that you're going to end up like Tupac.

JONES: Wow.

UNDERWOOD: Yeah.

FISHER: Please, Pac-Man. I'm trying to save more than your football career. I'm trying to save your life.

[pause]

JONES: So tell me some more about Booty Catchers.

UNDERWOOD: Attaboy.

Friday, June 15

Obituary, and the Friday Random Ten.



iPod, 2, after brief illness

BIRMINGHAM -- Doug Gillett's 20GB clickwheel iPod, a faithful music provider ever since its purchase in March 2005, was pronounced dead earlier this week after a brief bout with an as-yet-unspecified illness.

After several weeks of intermittently locking up and needing to be reset, the iPod locked up permanently last Friday and was brought in for treatment. Attempts to resucitate the device were unsuccessful, and Gillett formally ended life-support efforts on Wednesday.

"I just thought it was the right thing to do," a tearful Gillett said. "I'm going to miss it, and it's going to be tough listening to music now without it, but sometimes you just have to know when to let go. And I decided this was the time."

Neither Tom DeLay nor Bill Frist, oddly enough, could be reached for comment.

Friends recalled the iPod being the life of the party for numerous parties, road trips, and listenings of various Richard Cheese alt-rock parodies, German gangster-rap songs, and filthy Dave Attell comedy bits. "It also had, like, more than 300-something Pet Shop Boys songs on there alone," said an acquaintance who asked not to be named. "I don't know how it managed."

The iPod is survived by Gillett, 29; its longtime companion, a Dell Inspiron notebook, 1; a Sony Discman, 8; 3,287 songs; all 21 episodes of the first season of "30 Rock"; and a Dave Chappelle comedy video.

In lieu of flowers, Gillett requests that donations be given to the Buy Doug A New 80GB Video iPod Fund. Donations can be made through PayPal at paris_1968 (at) hotmail dot com.


What a long, strange trip it's been. iPod, iSalute you, and iThank you for your service. Now iSend you out with a ceremonial Friday Random Ten.

Godspeed you, sir.

1. 3rd Bass, "Sea Vessel Soliloquy"
2. KRS-One, "The MC"
3. Beck, "11.6.45"
4. U2, "Until the End of the World"
5. Orbital, "Tunnel Vision"
6. A Tribe Called Quest, "Luck of Lucien"
7. The Police, "Every Breath You Take"
8. U2, "Mysterious Ways" (Perfecto mix)
9. Me Phi Me, "Herewecome"
10. Pet Shop Boys, "I Want to Wake Up"

And what the hey, a bonus 11th that really shows the depth of my music collection's depravity:

11. a-ha, "The Sun Always Shines on TV"

Sorry, I'm . . . I just need a moment right now. I'm sorry. While I'm pulling myself together, put your own Tens (and condolences) in the comments.

Thursday, June 14

Who you should feel sorry for this week.



(First in an occasional series.)

Last week we were supposed to be pitying Paris Hilton for having to serve actual jail time despite being a hot white chick. When people got over that, it was then Scooter Libby we were supposed to be pitying, because after all, he didn't commit an actual crime -- he just committed perjury and obstructed justice and stuff. (Oh, please, like you've never done it.) Some asshole named Fouad Ajami even went so far as to call Libby a "soldier in [the] war in Iraq" in his demand for Scooter to be pardoned. Yeah, those guys risking their lives in Baghdad are a dime a dozen, but West Wing desk jockeys like Scooter Libby -- fuck G.I. Joe, there's your real American hero! (Maybe Ajami's been spending too much time with Kellen Winslow Jr. or something. Your guess is as good as mine.)

But the person you should really be pitying right now is John Krasinski.

You may know him as Jim, the nice guy from "The Office." He's kind of got a bit of that Zach Braff quality to him, what the French call that certain I don't know what, that makes you want for him to be blessed with a long and illustrious film career in which he gets to play many characters every bit as quirky and kickass as Jim. Well, the good news is he's got himself a film role; the bad news is it's in "License to Wed," in theatres next month.

The main antagonist to Krasinski's character in "License" is played by Robin Williams, and there are those who would say that Robin Williams's presence in this film is all the indication you need that it's going to suck. For instance, me: I would say that. (Has he appeared in a comedy in the last decade that didn't blow harder than the wake turbulence jet blast from a 747? Go on, think about that one for a minute.) In fact, I think it's fair to say that this movie goes beyond the unfunny and deep into the intelligence-insulting. The running gripe about mainstream Hollywood flicks these days is that "they put all the funny stuff in the previews," but man, if that's what they did for this movie, they're in deep ka-ka indeed.

I saw the trailer to "License" when I went to see "Knocked Up" -- which is fricking awesome, by the way, and I'll get around to discussing it soon -- a couple weekends ago. Every movie trailer has a "money shot," a scene or segment usually saved for near the very end (often right before the title card) that is supposed to be so funny, sexy, action-packed and/or heartwarming that you just have to go see that film. I'm going to narrate the one from the "License to Wed" trailer now. The scene is set up by Krasinski somehow getting nailed in the head by a baseball thrown by Williams -- inside a gymnasium of some sort, for whatever reason -- which kind of tells you just how far down Krasinski's about to be dragged by this film; in "The Office" he gets to be funny playing pranks on Dwight Schrute or exhibiting brilliantly subtle, deadpan reactions to the frequent dumbassery of his boss, but in this flick he's just got to sit around and wait for baseballs to get winged at him. In my line of work that's what we call "failing to capitalize on one's talents."

But anyway, Williams's character -- who is I think an Episcopalian minister -- decides his next course of action must be to heal Krasinski, and thus the trailer's money shot begins, with Williams standing over the bloodied Krasinski and calling out thusly:

WILLIAMS: We got to PRAY-yuh! We got to PRAY-yuh!


OK, all right, I get it. You're a white Epsicopalian channeling an African-American preacher. Ah, yes, the irony. That's why you're still the king, Robin.

WILLIAMS: We got to pray just to make it through the DAY-yuh!


Ahh, I see. You weren't sure we would get the black-preacher reference, so you pumped it up by slipping in a line from MC Hammer, who -- get ready -- is also black.

OK. Seriously, Robin, we get it, but here's where the scene really goes off the rails:

KRASINSKI: Was that MC Hammer?


And thus the movie stops beating the reference into our heads with a hammer just long enough to pick up a power drill. Yes, Mr. Krasinski, that was MC Hammer. Most people knew it before you even said it. I knew it; I'd be willing to bet that the group of octogenarians in the back of the theatre, who collectively voted to make this their monthly "movie night" field trip from Golden Acres, fricking knew it. Now, maybe the writers did this because they actually fucked up the line -- MC Hammer said "just to make it today," not "make it through the day" -- but the point still stands that they didn't trust us to get a fucking MC Hammer reference when we heard one. They had to make someone actually utter the words "MC Hammer" just to make sure.

That's the equivalent of the makers of Old Spice ending this ad with a title card reading YES, THAT WAS A DURAN DURAN SONG. Or the famous scene from "Airplane!" being rewritten as follows:

TED STRIKER: Surely you can't be serious.

DR. RUMACK: I am serious. And don't call me Shirley.

TED STRIKER: Oh . . . I wasn't calling you Shirley. I just meant, 'You shure-ly can't be serious.'

DR. RUMACK: Oh. I misunderstood. Heh -- 'Shirley'; 'shoor-ly.' But make no mistake, I am quite serious.


You see what I mean? I know that dissecting this trailer to within an inch of its life is giving it way more attention than it probably deserves, but I'm sick and fricking tired of going to the movies and having someone throw a trailer at me that basically says, "Here, we bet you'll like this crap, retard." And yes, I do feel sorry for John Krasinski. Here he is, with a bunch of minor TV and film roles under his belt and he finally breaks through with a really popular character on "The Office," which he then parlays into an actual big-screen leading role -- and it's this. Which means he is already dangerously close to following David Schwimmer, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Joshua Jackson, and nearly every "Saturday Night Live" cast member over the last 15 years down the same dreaded career path -- playing extremely popular characters on the small screen, but nuking their nascent film careers by making their leading-man/woman debuts in atrociously bad films.

So yeah, on the one hand, he should've exhibited better judgment -- again, "You'll be appearing opposite Robin Williams" is the pitch-meeting equivalent of "You'll love her, she's got a great personality" or "It's a bit of a fixer-upper" -- but I still feel sorry for the guy. And so should you.

And that's who you should feel sorry for this week.

Tuesday, June 12

Not-so-random 25, take three.

The Sporting News has released its slew of preseason college football publications onto the newsstands, and as promised I've added them into the mix with the 13 other top 25s I'd culled from various Web sites and magazines. The Google spreadsheet with the new set of rankings can be found here.

Since this is just one more ranking being thrown in with 13 others, not a lot changes to the overall top 25. The Georgia-California tie at #12 is broken, dropping the Dawgs one spot; Texas and Florida flip-flop at the #5 and #6 spots; and there's some musical chairs going on in the 18-24 spots, where everybody moves one spot in some direction. But USC is still unanimous like a mofo at #1.

1. Southern California
2. LSU
3. West Virginia
4. Michigan
5. Texas
6. Florida
7. Wisconsin
8. Oklahoma
9. Virginia Tech
10. Louisville
11. Ohio State
12. California
13. Georgia
14. Auburn
15. Arkansas
16. Rutgers
17. Tennessee
18. UCLA
19. Nebraska
20. Penn State
21. Texas A&M
22. Texas Christian
23. Florida State
24. South Carolina
25. (tie) Boston College
25. (tie) Hawaii
25. (tie) Wake Forest

Others receiving votes who weren't receiving votes before: Southern Miss and Brigham Young.

Now, you may want to take TSN's rankings with a Costco economy-sized grain of salt -- particularly if you're a Georgia fan: Paul Westerdawg and Senator Blutarsky are both calling shenanigans on TSN's selection of the Dawgs as 14th in the land despite putting them on upset alert against Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, and Georgia Tech. LD from Gunslingers suggests that those dates on the magazine's "Calendar of Upsets" might only be possible upsets as opposed to upsets that the magazine's editors are actually predicting will occur; that certainly makes more sense than TSN saying that Georgia will lose to those three teams yet beat Florida, Tennessee, and Auburn and end up in the Capital One Bowl. I'm going to try and track down an actual copy of the magazine this afternoon and see what the deal is.

(Added 7/13: The intro to the "Calendar of Upsets" article reads, "Here are a season's worth of upsets -- 56 if you're counting -- that, if they happen, will turn stomachs and squash dreams." So the "if they happen" part seems to indicate that TSN isn't actually officially predicting these upsets, they're just saying there's a possibility. I think the confusion in the AJC article resulted from the fact that TSN predicted Georgia to finish 9-3, and someone at the AJC assumed they meant OSU, Vandy, and Georgia Tech would be those three losses. Just for comparison's sake, some of the other games on the "Calendar of Upsets" include Vandy over South Carolina, Illinois over Penn State, and Michigan State over Michigan, so . . . proceed at your own risk, I guess, is the lesson with that one.

In the meantime, as always, feel free to peruse the rankings spreadsheet and then share your thoughts in the comments on which pundits have it right and which ones appear to be talking out of their respective asses.

Monday, June 11

Where was I when this happened?

A seminal event in American popular culture happened over the weekend, and I missed it.

No, not the finale of "The Sopranos," which, by the way, sucked from what I hear -- I'm talking about this blog breaking the 500,000 hits mark.

Anyway, if you visited this blog sometime Saturday or Sunday and the little counter in the upper right-hand section said "500000" even, shoot me an e-mail at the address on the right and let me know.

(I have a sneaking suspicion it was Melissa Theuriau, but I'm waiting for her to come forward herself.)

Thursday, June 7

Friday Not-So-Random Ten: Don't Say Nothin' Just Listen, I Got a Plan to Break Hilton Out of Prison.


That was quick.

Three days. Three freakin' days.

That's how long Paris Hilton lasted in the pokey before being released due to medical reasons. "Medical reasons" meaning a "fragile . . . mental state." "Fragile mental state" meaning "not liking jail." An extremely rare condition suffered by only about 99.99% of the people currently housed in U.S. correctional institutions.

Instead, she was released to spend the rest of her sentence under house arrest (contravening a direct order from the presiding judge). Yeah, Paris Hilton's house sounds like a horrible place to be. You could probably take all the homes and all the material goods I will ever own at any point in my life and it probably wouldn't be as much as what Paris Hilton has right now. The L.A. County sheriff defended his decision thusly: "My message to those who don't like celebrities is that punishing celebrities more than the average American is not justice." Well, OK, how about punishing celebrities at all? That doesn't offend your delicate sensibilities, does it?

My guess, and it's just a theory at this point, is that Hilton blew the court-ordered psychiatrist who diagnosed her "fragile mental state." Probably the sheriff, too.

Fortunately, Paris may have to go back to jail and serve the remainder of her sentence, but until then, I'm just going to laugh at anyone who suggests we need to repeal the federal estate tax. And here's Paris's Not-So-Random Ten, disinfected and full-body-cavity-searched:

1. Johnny Cash, "In the Jailhouse Now"
2. A Tribe Called Quest, "Stressed Out"
3. Morrissey, "You Know I Couldn't Last"
4. The Clash, "Should I Stay or Should I Go"
5. Fatboy Slim, "Because We Can"
6. Pet Shop Boys, "I Made My Excuses and Left"
7. The Las, "There She Goes"
8. Bent, "I Can't Believe It's Over"
9. Electronic, "Getting Away With It"

And the obvious #10:

10. Dead Kennedys, "I Fought the Law (And I Won)"

Your own Tens, be they Random or Not-So-, in the comments.

Return to sender.


Inspired by LOLPresidents.com.

It has come to my attention that, with Americans having an unfavorable opinion of Bush to the tune of a two-to-one margin, some conservatives (and I'm not just talking about Eric Dondero) now wish not only to wash their hands of Bush but also to write him off as a liberal. You may consider this an open letter to those folks.

Sorry. We don't want him. As LBJ said, if asked, we will not accept, if chosen, we will not serve, etc. etc.

Yeah, Bush has been exploding the size of government (which we liberals are supposed to be for) and handing over the country to the lazy, evil, foul-smelling Messicans (which I guess we're also supposed to be for). But -- where the fuck have y'all been, man? Bush was growing the government as fast as he could from almost the minute he set foot in the Oval Office, and his love for those Messicans goes all the way back to when he was the governor of Texas. Y'all just chose to ignore that because you were really enjoying the way Bush was slashing taxes, saving stem cells, speaking out against teh gheys, and pre-emptively invading foreign countries.

Now that it turns out Bush and his people don't really have a clue what they're doing -- and some of them might actually be fucking insane -- the so-called "true conservatives" want to slough Bush off, just pull an Orwellian 180 and rewrite history to say that Bush was a liberal all along. Sorry. Na ga happen. The actions of a certain cadre of milquetoast, easily intimidatable Dems notwithstanding, we still don't support insane tax-slashing, restrictions on stem-cell research, anti-gay laws, or war war war whenever and wherever we can start one.

This one's all on you, kids. You're stuck with him. And now that I think about it, Michelle, no, we don't want Joe Scarborough either. (Seriously, a three-term GOP Congressman who got elected in the "Republican Revolution" of 1994 and he just magically turned into a liberal simply by virtue of getting a show on MSNBC? Right. Tell me another one.)

Now, if you're really that interested in culling your ranks, here's who we will take:


Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel.


Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.


Maryland Rep. Wayne Gilchrest.


Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, for precisely the obvious reasons.


And what the hell, Bruce Willis.

Give us any two of those people and we'll give you Joe Lieberman and a freshman representative of your choice in 2008.

But Dubya, sorry. Don't want him. Try someone else.

Tuesday, June 5

The not-so-random 25, updated.

UPDATED AGAIN to reflect the fact that Georgia is actually tied with Cal at #12 (thanks to Paul Westerdawg for pointing that out -- that's what I get for not looking closely enough at my own spreadsheet). I've heard that the Sporting News preseason CFB magazine has just hit the shelves, so when I get my hands on that I'll add it to the mix.

By the way, welcome, readers of David Ching's Georgia blog -- keep checking in periodically, as there'll be lots more Georgia stuff on here as we get closer to football season.


THANK YOU, SIR, MAY I HAVE ANOTHER?: The Sporting News's rankings are in. View the updated rankings here.

As requested by a commenter, I've located Phil Steele's preseason top 25 (viewable here if you don't have a copy of Steele's JAMPACKED WITH INFORMATION! preseason mag yet) and factored his rankings into the rankings matrix I put together last week to round out a baker's dozen of preseason top-25 guesses by some of the more prominent pundits. Not all that many major changes, but given Steele's penchant for swinging for the fences with his predictions, there were a few shake-ups in the overall rankings. Here's the new 25:

1. Southern California
2. LSU
3. West Virginia
4. Michigan
5. Florida
6. Texas
7. Wisconsin
8. Oklahoma
9. Virginia Tech
10. Louisville
11. Ohio State
12. (tie) California
12. (tie) Georgia
14. Auburn
15. Arkansas
16. Rutgers
17. Tennessee
18. Nebraska
19. UCLA
20. Texas A&M
21. Penn State
22. Texas Christian
23. South Carolina
24. Florida State
25. (tie) Boston College
25. (tie) Hawaii
25. (tie) Wake Forest

Others receiving votes who weren't receiving votes before: Oregon and Missouri.

View the full expanded statistics in a Google spreadsheet here.

What's changed: Georgia jumps two three spots to #13 a tie with Cal at #12; Auburn and Arkansas, nowhere to be found on Phil's top 25, fall one spot each. Penn State and TCU switch places at #21 and #22. Instead of a Boston College/Wake Forest tie at #24, we have Florida State at that spot, with BC and Wake being joined by Hawaii for a particularly interesting ménage a trois at #25.

What hasn't: Everything at #12 #11 and northward, including Southern California being a unanimous #1. Alabama and Notre Dame are still on the outside looking in.

What has me scratching my head: Hawaii at number twelve, Phil? Auburn and Arkansas out entirely, and Tennessee just managing to make the cut? Florida State eighth in the nation after needing an Emerald Bowl just to secure a winning record in '06?

Then again, we all laughed when Phil said Arkansas was going to be the shit last year, so maybe I should just shut up.

Y'all's thoughts?

(Previous thoughts and analysis -- most of which is still applicable, shockingly -- can be read here.)

Sunday, June 3

The hap-happiest time of the year!

That would be my birthday, people -- the big two-niner, just a scant 12 months until I have to start acting like a grownup and shit -- but it's not just me. While you pay me your respects and shower me with love, accolades and, hopefully, gifts of some tangible monetary value, don't forget to save some well-wishing for these fine folks:


Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo-soprano opera singer (who turns 41 today).


Nikka Costa, pop singer (35).


Keith David, character actor/badass of such films as "Platoon," "Crash," and "Transformers" (51).


El DeBarge, '80s pop star (46).


Angelina Jolie, mother of four/goddess (32).


Robert Otto Marella, otherwise known as professional wrestler Gorilla Monsoon (would be 70 today).


Bar Refaeli, Israeli-born Sports Illustrated swimsuit model (22).


Rosalind Russell, actress and winner of Golden Globes, Tonys, and numerous other awards (would be a nice round 100).


Izabella Scorupco, "good" Bond girl from "GoldenEye" (37).


Parker Stevenson, original "Baywatch" cast member (55).


Dr. Ruth Westheimer, nice little old lady and sex therapist (79).


Noah Wyle, Dr. John Carter from "ER" (36).


And, of course, me.

Has any one day of the calendar been blessed with such a wealth of talent, style, and wisdom? I believe the word you're looking for is "no."

Friday, June 1

The Friday Not-So-Random 25.

UPDATE: As requested, I've factored in Phil Steele's preseason top 25 (released just yesterday as far as I know). The new rankings can be pored over at this post.

The regularly scheduled Friday Random Ten will not be seen tonight so that we may bring you this special presentation, because football season is but 90 days away and I felt like celebrating in my own wonky, statistics-laden fashion.

The pundits and preseason publications are all hard at work assembling their top-25 predictions for the 2007 season, and enough of them are out there at this point that I decided to gather them all up and throw 'em together to see what kind of overall hierarchy shakes out. In fact, Jennifer from Girls Gone Tailgating already did this a couple weeks ago, putting together eight preseason top 25s for what I can only guess was the sole purpose of demonstrating to the world that Southern Cal is number one with a bullet, bitches, so you better bounce up and act like you know. Since then, a couple more rankings have been released, Athlon and Lindy's being among the more prominent, so using Jennifer's tally as a jumping-off point, I threw a few more lists into the mix and added 'em all up.

I'm actually kind of Internets-retarded, certainly too much so to put a table on this blog, but you can find the full, detailed rankings here in a Google spreadsheet. The aggregate top 25 is as follows:

1. Southern California
2. LSU
3. West Virginia
4. Michigan
5. Florida
6. Texas
7. Wisconsin
8. Oklahoma
9. Virginia Tech
10. Louisville
11. Ohio State
12. California
13. Auburn
14. Arkansas
15. Georgia
16. Rutgers
17. Tennessee
18. Nebraska
19. UCLA
20. Texas A&M
21. Texas Christian
22. Penn State
23. South Carolina
24. (tie) Boston College
24. (tie) Wake Forest

Others receiving votes: Florida State, Boise State, Notre Dame, Hawaii, Georgia Tech, Oregon State, Kentucky, Miami, South Florida, Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma State

Here's a key to the various rankings that were used, in order of when they issued their rankings (since obviously the more recent ones are a little more solid than those that came out right after the '06 national-title game):

AJC -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Tony Barnhart), January 8
NC -- nationalchamps.net, January 9
CFN -- College Football News, January 14
ESPN -- Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com, January 23
RIVL -- Rivals.com (Bob McClellan), January 23
CBS -- CBS Sportsline (Dennis Dodd), March 26
NYP -- New York Post (Tim Sullivan), April 18
SI -- Sports Illustrated (Stewart Mandel), April 24
CSTV -- College Sports Television (Adam Caparelli), May 2
TP -- New Orleans Times-Picayune (Ted Lewis), May 8
ATHL -- Athlon Sports, started May 8
LIND -- Lindy's, started May 18

Things that jump out at me:

Apparently a lot of people have managed to not be all that impressed about Nick Saban's arrival in Tuscaloosa, because Alabama placed in exactly one list (ESPN's), at a Shulaesque #25, no less. That kind of wariness makes sense with respect to a 6-7 team whose secondary is a major question mark, I guess, but I still figured Saint Nick's star wattage alone would be enough to muscle the Tide into a few more polls.


Colette Connell's outpouring of love for The Saban was, sadly, not to be repeated by the nation's pundits.

Apparently a lot of people have managed to be all that impressed by USC, because all 12 of these lists have the Trojans ranked #1 with a bullet. While not as surprising as Alabama's absence, the unanimity surrounding USC is still a little surprising considering how much experience they've lost at the offensive skill positions, other than QB, of course. (Speaking of which, I'd like to point out that John David Booty bears an uncanny resemblance to Jake Wyler, the QB played by Chris Evans in "Not Another Teen Movie.")

Alabama's non-presence aside, the pundits do seem to have quite a bit of confidence in the SEC, as no fewer than seven SEC teams made it into the aggregate top 25 and another two (Kentucky and Bama) received votes. Not getting much love: the Pac-10, which has USC at number one and UCLA and Cal in the teens but only one other team (Oregon State) receiving any votes at all. Also experiencing a withholding of affection is the ACC, which, after a fairly dismal 2006, has only one team (Virginia Tech) in the top 20, two (Boston College and Wake Forest) hanging around at the bottom of the top 25, and four more (FSU, Georgia Tech, Miami, and Clemson) in the "others receiving votes" category.

Speaking of the Pac-10, UCLA seems to be the most controversial team in the poll, at least if you go by the divergence of various people's votes. Three lists (CBS, CFN, and the Times-Picayune) have the Bruins in the top 10; four (CSTV, ESPN, Stewart Mandel, and Lindy's) have them hanging around in the 20s; two more (Rivals and Tony Barnhart) apparently saw no reason to put them in the top 25 at all. In other words, the all-over-the-map rankings mirror UCLA's all-over-the-map performance during the Dorrell era, and there seems to be a fairly widespread consensus that while the Bruins should be good, there's no telling whether they'll actually live up to that potential. I'll stop now before the vein bulging out in the middle of Nestor's head explodes.


Some aspects of UCLA's program, on the other hand, inspire widespread consensus.

Other teams people apparently aren't too sure about: Ohio State, ranked anywhere from #3 (nationalchamps.net) to #21 (CSTV and the Times-Picayune); Cal, ranked in the top 10 by CSTV and ESPN but stuck down at 20 by Stewart Mandel, and nowhere to be found on Tony Barnhart's list; and Auburn and Tennessee, both ranked anywhere from #7 to the mid-20s.

Another team somewhat conspicuous by its absence, though not nearly as much as Alabama, is the Oklahoma State Cowboys (not coincidentally Georgia's first opponent for the 2007 campaign). It seems like the 'Pokes garnered quite a bit of buzz from the blogosphere as the 2006 season drew to a close, but apparently that hasn't quite filtered down (or up?) to the pundit class yet, as OSU only received a single #25 ranking (from Tony Barnhart).

Completely voteless, and surprisingly so: Oregon, a regular (or at least semi-regular) top-25 inhabitant over the last few years; Missouri, whom many people thought was finally turning the corner under Gary Pinkel after being just a couple plays away from a 10-win season in '06; and BYU, who's finding that an 11-win season only earns you so much street cred when you're having to replace a second-round-draft-pick quarterback.


Sorry, Ducks, the only list I've seen you on so far is Mr. Blackwell's Worst-Dressed.

While las cronicas de Boss Hawg have made Arkansas a frequently used punchline all over the country, they actually haven't dampened many people's enthusiasm for the 2007 team's prospects — only two lists (Athlon and the New York Post) left the Hogs off entirely, while two others (CFN and Barnhart) have them in the top 10. Could it be that not all that many people really think Gus Malzahn and Mitch Mustain were all that big a loss? Makes sense to me, though I still think #14 in the country could end up being a little generous.


Hundreds of nasty e-mails from Beck Campbell weren't enough to sway college football's punditocracy.

Notre Dame, out of the top 25 entirely and sitting behind such luminaries as South Carolina and Florida State. I'm sure there are people all over the country who are delighted with this, yet I have a sneaking suspicion that the Irish will have begged, borrowed, and stolen their way back into the top 25 by the time the actual ballots are tallied up for the first preseason poll in August.

And finally, there sit my beloved Bulldogs at a nice healthy #15 — high enough that nobody can laugh at them, but low enough that they won't have huge bullseyes on their backs. The defense still worries me, a lot, but who knows? If Stafford has continued to progress the way he did over the last three games of '06, maybe they really will be able to just outscore everyone this year.


Run, you magnificent keg-hoisting, NASCAR-loving, Auburn-coed-snogging bastard, run.