Thursday, March 27

Get ready, because the Friday Random Ten+5 is really gonna blow your skirt up.

Not to toot my own horn here, but I like to think I'm a pretty creative individual, someone who's good at coming up with ideas for stuff. The problem is that I also have the attention span of a mosquito, so often times I'll only focus on one idea for a little while before leaping onto another one. Case in point: I've had this idea for a feature film for like twelve years now, and I've been trying to write it, but between rewrites and plot tweaks and getting sidetracked by other stuff, it's been more than a decade and I'm still only a little bit more than halfway through the thing. One of my New Year's resolutions was to devote myself a little more thoroughly to my outside writing projects, so I'm quite optimistic that it won't take me another twelve years to do the second half, but I still frequently find myself muttering "Focus!" at random intervals.

Fortunately, though, completely separate from my ability (or lack of same) to actually get these things down on paper, my ideas are pretty sweet. If I could just get my foot in the door of a TV network or movie studio, I could probably make them some serious bank. For this week's +5, I'm going to give you a delicious taste of what I'm talking about by pitching Five Can't-Miss Movie/TV Ideas. And yes, if I see any of these pop up on a screen of any size and I haven't gotten a check, I'm suing you bastards, every last mother's son.

"Every Day Should Be Saturday" (A college-football version of "Friday Night Lights" -- written by Aaron Sorkin)
OK, Orson Swindle might be pissed at me for co-opting his blog name, but he'll get the royalties that are coming to him -- and the concept comes pre-approved with a glowing endorsement from Holly, whom I'm sure is not alone in being able to appreciate football AND drama AND the rapid-fire wit of the guy behind "Sports Night" and "The West Wing." First casting decision is to bring back John Spencer, a/k/a Leo McGarry from "West Wing," as the cranky but lovable head coach who . . . what? He's dead? OK, Brian Dennehy, then.

"Studio TC1 on Wood Lane"
Now, you may be asking: Why didn't I mention "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" in Aaron Sorkin's list of greatest hits? Because . . . well, because it kind of sucked after the first few episodes, quite frankly. But having already assigned blame for this, I'm not going to rehash all the reasons why it wasn't an engaging show; instead, I'm going to tell you how to make it better. How many British TV shows have we seen get completely lost in translation when they were Americanized for U.S. networks? "Coupling" springs immediately to mind, but "Weakest Link" had kind of a rough ride, too, and even "The Office" needed a season or two to find its way (and had to pretty much abandon any connection to its British counterpart in the process). Is it possible, then, that taking an American TV series and moving it to England might make it better? I mean, with "Studio 60" you had a great foundation, clever writing, and a few interesting characters to start with; maybe all it needs to get over the hump is to exchange the American TV sensibility for a British one, and the overly clever repartee for some traditionally understated Limey irony. I'm thinking Eddie Izzard and Simon Pegg in the Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry roles, respectively; Saffron Burrows in the Amanda Peet role; Ray Winstone as the asshole network chairman; and Martine McCutcheon, who was so adorable in "Love Actually," as Pegg's goody-goody love interest. What do you think, sirs?

"George Orwell's Animal Farm," presented by Pixar Studios
After 13 Oscar nominations and six wins (including three for Best Animated Feature), Pixar is like the Bill Belichick of computer-animated films: They've so completely dominated the field that there's really nothing left for them to prove. "Monsters Inc." and "The Incredibles" are two of the greatest films I've ever seen, period, never mind that they're kid flicks. There's just one thing Pixar has yet to do: a computer-animated film for adults. Take Brad Bird, who directed "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille," and put him behind the wheel of a new adaptation of George Orwell's justifiably iconic (and distressingly accurate) novel with an all-star cast of voice talent. I'm thinking the headliner should be Alec Baldwin as Napoleon the pig, and if that character doesn't ring a bell with you, you need to go read the book, numbnuts.

"Bond 23" featuring Sean Connery as the villain
The next James Bond movie, "Quantum of Solace," has already been cast and commenced filming. But I've got an idea for the casting for the 23rd film in the series, which is already scheduled for 2010: Bring back Sean Connery as the bad guy. The dude may be 77 years old, but he's still got it. Supposedly he's retired from filmmaking, but I bet they could bring him back if they dumped enough money in his lap. I don't care what kind of villain Connery plays or what diabolical acts his fiendish plot entails; all I ask is that he refer to James Bond as a "beef-witted applejohn" at some point during the movie.

"Justify Your Existence"
Western culture seems to be reaching critical mass in terms of utterly useless celebrities -- the pundits and "experts" shoved in front of our faces just to go off on rants about things they don't know anything about, the people who get famous for doing stupid shit, the people who get famous for doing nothing at all besides promoting themselves relentlessly. The game-slash-reality show "Justify Your Existence" would force these people to put their meager talents, to the extent they actually have any, where their mouths are. Each episode would pit a given pseudo-celebrity against some random person yanked off the street to compete in that given celebrity's milieu of choice to determine whether they actually have any business being on TV all the time. You could have Ann Coulter facing off against a random man on the street in an "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?"-style quiz on the U.S. Constitution; the always-annoying Heidi Montag, who apparently fancies herself a pop star, facing an average Josephine in an "American Idol" sing-off; or maybe Paris Hilton competing with some unknown housewife in a fashion-design competition ultimately judged by Heidi Klum and the crew from "Project Runway." With any luck, this show would give us a weekly dose of pure, uncut Colombian schadenfreude as our nation's most worthless celebrities get shown up by the unwashed masses in the areas in which they themselves have decided to become famous.

And if that doesn't pan out, we'll just replace it with "The Throw Heavy Objects At Pete Doherty Hour." Good? Yes?

Anyway, while you ponder those, here's the Ten:

1. Johnny Cash, "Delia's Gone"
2. The Cardigans, "My Favourite Game"
3. 3rd Bass, "Oval Office"
4. Dr. Octagon, "3000"
5. The Fixx, "One Thing Leads To Another"
6. A Tribe Called Quest, "Against the World"
7. The Pharcyde, "Hard Times"
8. Thievery Corporation, "Focus On Sight"
9. Radiohead, "Backdrifts (Honeymoon Is Over)"
10. Public Enemy, "Contract On the World Love Jam"

All righty, readers, time for your own killer ideas and/or Random Tens in the comments. Or if you just want to praise the sweet Lord that the weekend's almost here, you can do that too.

Wednesday, March 26

A memo from the desk of Arnold T. Pants, Esq.:
Bloggerpalooza rides again. Possibly. I think.

What wine goes with Doritos and Krispy Kremes served off the trunk of a Toyota?

I am horribly, disgracefully negligent in getting the word out about this, but Georgia's spring game is a week from Saturday, and you know what that means -- Bloggerpalooza '08 is finna jump off like a motherfucker, or whatever the kids are saying these days. Bloggerpalooza, in case you're not familiar with the concept, began in 2006 as a tailgate gathering of Georgia sports bloggers and fans of same in celebration of G-Day; well, that was the idea, but late starts and a massive downpour dialed things back just a tad, to the point where it was just me, Kyle King, and two other folks cowering in the North Campus parking deck eating fried chicken. Last year's installment was rather more successful, featuring dramatically increased attendance, copious amounts of booze, and drunk people somehow falling out of trees barely big enough to even cast a shadow. I don't think it's any coincidence that Georgia's 2007 season was substantially better than 2006, so people, in spite of my half-assed planning, we need to make this one good! For the sake of the Dawgs!

Kickoff of the G-Day game is 2 p.m.; an 11 a.m. start to the tailgating festivites will give us about three hours of eatin' and drankin', yesno? (Actually, you guys can start whenever the hell you want; I'm just gonna need a little extra time to make it over from Birmingham.) Weather permitting, we'll meet in the same spot as last year, on the north quad right in front of the main library (map here), and if the weather doesn't cooperate, fuck it, we'll meet up at Mellow Mushroom as a fallback.

Please to be leaving your RSVPs and whatnot in the comments threads, and be sure to also include a) what you can bring, whether it's foodstuffs or lawn-lounging-furniture-related-type items, and b) an e-mail address so that I can send out my cell number to all prospective attendees before the big day. Non-bloggers and/or non-Georgia fans are also welcome. Hope to see you there.

Popcrunch has done all of us in the collegiate-sports-blogging community a tremendous service by ranking the top 50 schools in D-I based on the relative hotness of the female student population, thereby giving all of us some actual statistical evidence to turn to when we've fought each other to a stalemate based on actual football prowess and decide to turn to who's got hotter girls. Not surprisingly, the SEC comes out on top, providing six of the top 10 (including Georgia), but the Pac-10 isn't far behind. Popcrunch names Arizona State #1, which is fortuitous for two reasons -- one, I'll be heading out to Tempe for the Georgia-Arizona State game this September, and two, well, I'll just direct you to the previous post.

I'm coming, ladies. Prepare.

I'm going to try and introduce a whole new phrase into the colloquial English lexicon: "It's because the surge is working." Anytime someone comes at you with a bit of momentous news, good or bad, that you really don't care about in the slightest, just respond in a monotone voice with some variation on "It's because the surge is working." I'll give you a few examples of how to use this:

YOUR FRIEND: Did you hear? Bob just got a promotion at his job! And it comes with a big raise!

YOU: Well, that proves the surge is working.

YOUR FRIEND: Man, did I get some bad news from the doctor today. He said I've got kidney stones.

YOU: That's because the surge is working.

See, there's practically nothing it won't work with -- just as there isn't any development in Iraq that won't make the Bush administration say the surge is working. If violence is down, huzzah, that proves the surge is working. And if violence is up, and skirmishes are erupting all over southern Iraq between the government and the militias, then guess what?

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The Pentagon on Wednesday said an eruption of violence in southern Iraq, where US-backed government forces were battling Shiite militias, was a "by-product of the success of the surge."

Forget Colt 45 -- this, apparently, works every time.

That's right -- it's because the surge is working! (Hat tip: Atrios.) I dare say that if Nouri al-Maliki won "American Idol" or the rivers started running red with Marinara sauce, that'd somehow be connected to the success of the surge, too. So go ahead, people -- whip out this phrase any time you hear something you're just not interested in. And if this whole idea sounds really stupid to you, then that just means the surge is working! BOO-YA!

You know, I'm really trying to do a better job of being more forgiving and spending less time and energy holding grudges, but every once in a while I see something that just plain lifts my spirits and makes me break out in a schadenfreude-eating grin, and yesterday that something was the news that Hawaii defensive back Keenan Jones had been arrested for "unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle" and second-degree assault.

If you think you remember seeing Jones's name on this blog before, you have: He was the little turd who laid a late cheap shot on Mikey Henderson during Georgia's first punt return in the Sugar Bowl and spent the rest of the game flapping his gums at everyone from Georgia's players to the referees themselves. Jones had already been busted for assaulting his girlfriend exactly one year ago; now he's got two felonies to add to his rap sheet. Jones has yet to do anything to back up his mountains of on-field trash talk, and it's safe to say he probably won't get the chance now, unless Halawa Correctional Facility has a "Longest Yard"-style gridiron matchup planned in the next few months.

Keenan, in the spirit of Christian love and forgiveness, I'd like to pass along some advice to you from Diedrich Bader's character in "Office Space": "Watch out for your cornhole there, bud."

Is it just me or is he already looking a little nervous?

Chuck Norris is apparently cranky that his homeboy Mike Huckabee is out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, because he spent last weekend penning this column rehashing the usual right-wing tropes about how the U.S. was so much better back before we started regulating handguns and letting gay people out of the closet. He doesn't even have the self-awareness to come up with a more imaginative title than "Guns, God and Gays," which is actually the cliché used by snotty, godless pinko liberals like me to explain how the GOP is continually able to sucker rural red-staters into voting against their economic interests. But this is the part that really got me:

Lastly, I was appalled when I read the American Family Association report that Friday, April 25, "several thousand schools across the nation will be observing 'Day of Silence (DOS).' DOS is a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools. … DOS is sponsored by an activist homosexual group, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network."

If you're thinking that the American Family Association is perhaps not the best place to go for objective, factual information on the Day of Silence, here's what it's actually about:

The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. This year’s event will be held in memory of Lawrence King, a California 8th-grader who was shot and killed Feb. 12 by a classmate because of his sexual orientation and gender expression. Hundreds of thousands of students will come together on April 25 to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior.

Yup, that's what Chuck and the AFA have such a big problem with. They're not just against the "promotion" of the "homosexual lifestyle," they're against the very idea that gay kids shouldn't be bullied or assaulted in schools.

There is no chin behind Chuck Norris's beard, only another fist . . . aimed at gay kids.

Maybe Chuck Norris is just a victim of his own success -- after vanquishing Hezbollah, communism, and the Octagon, he has so thoroughly rid the world of evil and oppression that he's reduced to picking on gay kids in schools. Chuck, I appreciate your hard work and sacrifice, but you know what? You've turned into kind of a pussy.

Yes, I said it! If Lone Wolf McQuaid has a problem with it, he can come and find me.

Tuesday, March 25

The clouds part, the sun comes shining down, a ray of light falls on me . . .

Some days you turn on the news and you see a story that just lets you know it's gonna be your week:

Women should wed a man who is uglier than them if they want a happy marriage, according to new research.

Psychologists found blokes who were better looking than their wives were more likely to be unhappy dealing with married life.

But guys with prettier partners tended to be more content, said the University of Tennessee.

There are some obvious caveats with this study, of course -- the first being that it was done at the University of Tennessee, whose last major research project was a thesis titled "Moonshine Gits [sic] you Drunk." Then there's the fact that this study is open to different interpretations, with "Men are shallow and are thus likely to be more supportive of hotter spouses" springing quickly to mind.

But hey, what do I know? I'm not a scientist. Research is research.

Ladies, you know where to reach me. The line forms to the left.

A scientifically proven match made in heaven.

Monday, March 24

Who are the ad wizards who came up with . . .

Two national ad campaigns have made a big impression on me over the past couple weeks -- one of them a really, really bad impression, the other an awesome one.

Let's do the lousy one first. It's from an employment-leads Web site calling itself The Ladders.

Some bad ads inspire hatred toward the advertising firm but merely pity toward the hapless company that got suckered into buying them. This commercial, however, inspires burning hate-daggers toward both the agency and the company, whose corporate philosophy, if this spot is any indication, can be summed up thusly:

1. If you're making $100,000 a year or more, you are AWESOME.
2. You are BETTER than people who don't make that much.
3. Because those people are bumbling, incompetent half-wits.

I mean, come on: It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this ad's message is basically "Life as a six-figure senior executive would be so much grander if we didn't have to deal with these five-figure bozos." I mean, I'm just a schmuck five-figure earner with a stupid old baccalaureate degree and I'm smart enough to figure that out.

And while I may not be a "$100K person," I can tell a snotty, elitist ad when I see it. I mean, if you're aiming for a six-figure position and you're browsing around one one of those "regular" job sites, are we five-figure people getting in your way? Are we stopping you from achieving the paragraph-long job title that's rightfully yours? No; we're simply going about our business the same way you're going about yours. Save for a few ambitious masochists, we're not even applying for the same jobs you are. If our presence frustrates you so much, it's not because we're impeding your job search in any practical way, it's because you just don't want to be breathing the same air as us. So with that in mind, I have an upper-level position here at Hey Jenny Slater you might be interested in: Senior Vice President of Kissing My Ass. The pay not be exactly what you're looking for, but I can assure you you're qualified.

In summation, The Ladders, feel free to suck it. And while I may not be qualified enough for you to care what I think at the moment, I'm pretty sure I'm at least as smart as the titans of industry who were "earning" six figures running Bear Stearns the past few years.

Now for an ad campaign I fricking love: Holiday Inn Express's ads touting their new "hot breakfast bar."

I couldn't find a way to embed the "Let's send her a plate of bacon" ad, but you can watch it (if you haven't already seen it) here.

On a superficial level, this campaign's conceit is easy to get, and it's a cute joke: Ha ha, they're treating their breakfast bar like a bar bar! But the singles' meat-market aspect of a "bar bar" that is featured so prominently in these ads is the key to a deeper subtext that I find both a) very true and b) very awesome.

Let's be honest, people -- specifically, my fellow single members of the workforce: We all love out-of-town work trips. No matter how much of a faceless middle-managing drone we are, no matter how boring the destination, no matter how stingy our bosses are being with the expense account, we love those out-of-town trips. Why? Because it's a change of scenery? On a basic level, yes, but why else? You don't want to admit why out loud, but I'll tell you why: One-night stands. Once we get thrown into this unfamiliar city with a bunch of people we don't know, it is the perfect opportunity to meet a random person from another branch office, or another company, or another university, or whatever, and get invited up to his/her room and fuck like coked-up rabbits. After which point -- and this is kind of important -- we never have to see him/her again.

That's what this ad is really about -- the crazy mating rituals of the sex-starved conventioneer. We've all dreamed of strolling into the hotel bar after a long boring day of seminars, getting a wild hair and sending a Cosmopolitan to the brunette from the Fort Worth office, going up to her room and not parting ways until she calls you daddy; Holiday Inn Express may be trading the Cosmo for a plate of bacon, but the unspoken goal is still there. And they're making this the centerpiece of their national ad campaign. There is something achingly beautiful about the honesty in that.

So, gold star for you and your horny travelin' office drones, Holiday Inn Express; no soup for you, The Ladders. You've got a long, loooong way to go before you achieve "Ranch Tooth" status, that's for damn sure.

A shout-out is a shout-out.

It's academic now, of course, but did anyone else hear Jon Stewart give a little shout-out to the Georgia basketball team at the beginning of a "Daily Show" segment Thursday night?

So confident was Stewart of the Dawgs' chances that he had us playing both sides of the NCAA tournament final. Your faith is appreciated, Jon -- misguided, but appreciated nonetheless.

Sunday, March 23

Repudiating broad brushes.

While my mom and I were sitting in church on Good Friday, she noticed something in her missalette, a note printed at the bottom of the page where the Passion started. I don't know whether this is a new thing for the Catholic church, or whether they've been doing this for a while and we just didn't notice it, but here's what the note said:

The message of this liturgy in proclaiming the passion narratives in full is to enable the assembly to see vividly the love of Christ for each person, despite their sins, a love that even death could not vanquish. The crimes during the Passion of Christ cannot be attributed indiscriminately to all Jews of that time, nor to Jews today. The Jewish people should not be referred to as though rejected or cursed, as if this view followed from Scripture. The Church ever keeps in mind that Jesus, his mother Mary, and the Apostles all were Jewish. As the Church has aways held, Christ freely suffered his passion and death because of the sins of all, that all might be saved.

-- Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

That sounds like the kind of thing that might have been laid down in response to the controversy over the film "The Passion of the Christ" and what some interpreted as a tone of anti-Semitism, but whatever the Church's reason for including it, I think it's a good thing -- particularly coming from an institution that was responsible for, you know, that Inquisition thing from a while back.

And if the Catholic Church can issue a decree like this one, maybe it would do all of us some good this Easter season to issue some decrees of our own regarding blanket condemnations of large groups of people for the sins of a few -- f'rinstance, that we won't blame all Muslims for 9/11, and we won't blame all white people for slavery and racial injustice, to name just a couple of examples that have been in the news lately.

Too much to ask? I don't think so.

Friday, March 21

The Friday Random Ten+5 is not amused.

I probably don't need to remind you guys that this has been a pretty heavy week. A few days ago we marked the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war; today we mark the two-thousand-and-somethingth anniversary of Jesus Christ being, you know, executed. And in between we had all that stuff with Barack Obama's church, and the attendant discourse about race relations in this country, which of course is not a funny subject at all. (Nor is the story of people at the State Department snooping illegally into Obama's passport file. Look, people, if Barack Obama wants to go overseas to build his army of jihadists who will descend upon the United States and install a glorious Muslim caliphate in Washington the moment he gets elected, that's Obama's damn business and nobody else's. OK, I guess that story is a little bit funny.)

But anyway, as the Iraq war demonstrates, there's some stuff I just don't joke about, not even on a blog as goofy and asinine as this one. Last week the +5 was random shit I find hilarious; in the spirit of this gravely serious week, today's +5 is Five Things I Do Not Find Funny And Are Not To Be Joked About On This Blog.

My mom
This one's pretty standard, I think. I don't know of anyone who likes it when someone makes fun of their mom, so you'd be wise to just lay off Barbara Gillett. She's a f&%$ing saint for one thing, plus I have it on good authority that she is a member of the Vatican's secret society of sleeper agents assigned to shed some serious heathen blood should Armageddon happen on her watch. Let me put it to you this way: Even Opus Dei is afraid of this bitch. So watch your step.

The 1999 Georgia-Georgia Tech game
Believe it or not, as militant a Georgia fan as I am, I'm actually OK with people joking about our football team. What's that, we got walloped by Tennessee this past season? We've only beaten Florida three times in the past 18 years? Sorry, I have to confess I was busy polishing our Sugar Bowl trophy and I wasn't really paying attention to what you were saying. However, there is one aspect of the Georgia football program that I simply don't accept any joking about, and that is the 1999 Georgia Tech game, which I got to witness in person get stolen from us by a bunch of refs who made Mr. Magoo look like one of the sleuths on "CSI." If I ever mention this game in conversation, you are instructed to make one contribution and one contribution only, and that is to reply, "Jasper was down, bitch." Anything else and you may end up on intimate terms with the pavement.

Melissa Theuriau
This is my future wife we're talking about here. Just don't go there.

My sexuality w/r/t my love of the Pet Shop Boys
I'm not a proud man, so I can concede that numerous aspects of my personality or personal style, all other things being equal, would seem to point toward homosexuality. Short, spiky hair that I regularly put "product" in? Check. Two little dogs in my household? Double check. A small imported car? Yup. Platonic man-crushes on guys like, say, Mark Richt or George Clooney? Guilty as charged; they're dreamy! And then there's the fact that I'm on a sexual dry spell so lengthy it'd make me, I don't know, common-law gay in several states. Go ahead, make your jokes. But where I draw the line is when people insinuate I must be gay because I like the Pet Shop Boys, because now you're not insulting me, you're insulting the most talented duo in the history of pop music by insinuating that nobody outside of the gay community could possibly like them. Oh, really? Axl Rose begs to differ, schmucks. At any rate, when you find a gay guy who has both the entire Pet Shop Boys catalogue and Ice Cube's "The Predator" in his iTunes stash, let me know; until then, lay off.

The state of Alabama
Look, I fully recognize that Alabama has its share of rednecks. Maybe even more than its share. The problem is that this is most frequently pointed out to me by family members and friends who live in places like Georgia and Florida, and I'm sorry, someone from Georgia or Florida chortling at Alabama's preponderance of rednecks is sort of like Donald Trump calling out Ted Koppel for having stupid hair. How about we do it like this: If you want to redneck-bait the great state of Alabama on this blog, you must first apply to me via e-mail for the right to do so, and I'll qualify or disqualify you on a case-by-case basis. Are you from the Upper East Side? Or London? OK, take your best shot. But Muscogee County, Georgia, or the Florida panhandle? Oh-ho-ho, I'm sorry, but I think you need to yank the white-trash log out of your own eye before pointing out the speck in mine. And I didn't come up with that myself, that shit's in the Bible, hater.

So now that we've got some boundaries drawn, I think we can all proceed like adults. You know what was interesting, though? This was probably the hardest +5 I've ever had to come up with -- I just don't get offended by all that many jokes, no matter what they're about. The Catholic Church? 9/11? Alzheimer's disease? Natalee Holloway? Have at it. I mean, I'm not your mom here.

And now the Random (and Very Serious) Ten:

1. Gorillaz, "Latin Simone"
2. The Beastie Boys, "Flute Loop"
3. The Smiths, "Rubber Ring"
4. Orbital, "Funny Break (Once is Enough)"
5. Radiohead, "Idioteque"
6. U2, "Numb" (Gimme Some More Dignity mix)
7. De La Soul, "Plug Tunin (Last Chance to Comprehend)"
8. Richard Cheese, "Closer"
9. Pet Shop Boys, "Somebody Else's Business"
10. Pet Shop Boys, "Liberation" (Takeoff version)

Now, what have we learned today, readers? That's right -- first person to snicker at #s nine and ten loses a toe.

Instead, why don't you share your own Random Tens and/or Not-Funnies in the comments? Wouldn't that be nice? Oh, yes, of course it would.

Thursday, March 20

All your base are belong to Rick.

OK, I realize yesterday was a pretty heavy day being the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war and all, so it's time to lighten things back up again. Here's something that actually happened to me yesterday.

It started when I watched this video at Brahsome:

Oddly uplifting, isn't it? I should probably come clean here and admit that I only found out what it meant to get Rick rolled a few days ago, so perhaps I'm approaching this with a little more wide-eyed enthusiasm than most people would, but whatever.

So anyway, I got up to go to lunch, I grabbed my iPod, hit shuffle, and what was the first song that came up?

"Never Gonna Give You Up," by Rick Astley. In an eerie, cosmic way, I got Rick rolled! By my own iPod!!1!1!one!!1!!eleven!

There's only one reasonable conclusion one can arrive at after something like this: Rick Astley is the most powerful man in the universe. Do not let the high comedy of the Rick roll fool you into thinking otherwise.

(By the way, before anyone starts asking questions, yes, I have "Never Gonna Give You Up" on my iPod. And "Together Forever." Why? Because I like them! I LIKE THEM IN COMPLETELY NON-IRONIC FASHION. There, I said it. They take me back to fifth grade, when life was still reasonably good and I hadn't yet turned into a goofy-looking, socially awkward, self-loathing preadolescent. Go ahead, make your jokes, but I'm not budging on this one.)

Wednesday, March 19

Five years ago today.

I've made it sort of a tradition at this and the last blog that I did to link back, every year on this day, to the original post I wrote (for a blog that's no longer in existence) the day after the U.S. invasion of Iraq began in 2003. That post, along with the blog that carried it, has disappeared, but this being the fifth anniversary of the start of the war, I figure it's as good a time as any to recount that day from scratch.

Incidentally, the weekend before the war started, I got up at midnight and drove 11 hours all Saturday morning up to Washington to participate in an anti-war protest. It was an amazing day -- reports said anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people showed up to march from the Washington Monument around the White House and back -- and at the time I remember thinking that maybe, just maybe, we really might have been able to make a statement and convince somebody in the halls of power to pull back from the brink of war with Iraq.

That was pure naivete, of course, but honestly, it wasn't the stereotypical naivete of the protestor who thinks he's going to change someone's mind just by holding up a certain sign or marching down a certain street. It was the naivete of an American of 25 years who had been taught to believe that our country wouldn't go to war just for the hell of it, that we'd actually need a serious rationale and concrete evidence of an imminent threat to order the wholesale invasion of a sovereign country. Unfortunately, even as I headed back down I-66 toward home the very next day, reports from the emergency summit held by the Allied powers in the Azores indicated that maybe we weren't that kind of country any longer. Two days later, as I walked home from a Wednesday-night church service, those fears were confirmed.

By midday Wednesday, we all pretty much knew what was coming, so in the intercessional of that church service, Father Frank started one prayer with, "For the innocent people in Iraq, who are -- " And I remember very distinctly the catch in his voice that followed, almost as if he himself couldn't believe what he was saying. He ended it with, " -- preparing to be bombed, let us pray . . . " And at that point I realized I was crying, a grown man shedding actual tears in a church, over both the innocent Iraqi civilians who were about to die and the country that would soon have their blood on its hands. I had been dreading for days the start of military operations against Iraq, but for the first time someone had articulated in explicit terms the true shame of what that was going to entail. And I cried.

And as I walked home that evening, the thing that struck me most was just how unaffected everybody seemed -- cars drove down 20th Street with their windows down and music playing; people still ate and drank and laughed outside Dave's Pub and Ruby Tuesday. You would never have known that a war was starting, one in which the United States -- for the first time in its history -- was firing the first shot. That street scene was emblematic of just how casually we as an entire country were approaching this war, not just the citizens but the leaders running the show from the Pentagon and the White House. They thought this would be an easy mop-up of a crippled dictatorship, and the rest of us, perhaps hoping that a quick-'n'-easy invasion would assuage the magnitude of what we'd done, followed their example.

Five years later, of course, we know better -- well, a substantial majority of us do. In the most recent poll concerning Iraq, two out of three people said they opposed the war; barely one-third of respondents said the situation in Iraq back in 2003 was worth going to war over. More than seven in ten saw a connection between massive U.S. spending on the war effort and the flagging economy. It's taken us a while to learn the lesson of just how seriously war has to be taken, but many of us have learned it.

Unfortunately, some have not, and the three remaining presidential candidates represent a fairly wide spectrum of opinion in that regard. You've got Obama, who opposed the war when it started and continues to oppose it now; you've got Clinton, who was for the war in the beginning, now wants to bring it to a swift end, but hasn't been entirely convincing when talking about how she would act if a similar situation presented itself again; and then you've got McCain, who was for the war in the beginning, is still for it, and apparently would do it all over again the exact same way if he had to.

Perhaps knowing that his earlier vote on the war authorization puts him in conflict with a growing majority of the American public, McCain has said that the 2008 election shouldn't be about a vote that happened nearly six years ago. To some extent he's right; we're in Iraq now, we can't go back and change that, the focus now should be on what we do in Iraq (and the entire Middle East) going forward, and basing the entire election on a litmus test of what one did or didn't do in 2002 doesn't aid that.

So contrary to what a lot of people might assume, my vote in this year's election isn't going to be based on the war-authorization vote that took place six years ago. It's going to be based on whether a given candidate, like two-thirds of the American people, have learned anything from the past five years. Obama has; Clinton has, to some extent; McCain, unfortunately, has not.

We're occupying a country where the people don't want us around and where we really never should have been to begin with, and McCain says he's prepared to keep us there another 100 years. We're stretched thin by trying to manage major military operations in two separate countries, and McCain seems fully prepared to launch us into a third -- and he appears to be no less uninformed or flippant about it than so many of us were about Iraq five years ago. It is a sad irony that the only one of the three candidates to have actually experienced war firsthand seems to have learned the least about the magnitude of its dire effects on the nations involved.

And learning from one's mistakes is all I'm asking for. I don't care whether Hillary Clinton or John McCain ever apologize for their original votes on the war authorization; all I ask is for some acknowledgment that they've grown wiser in the six years since, so that we won't be repeating that history anytime soon. And more than anything else, I want to have some kind of confidence that I won't be bringing up my children or grandchildren in the kind of country that looks for reasons to start wars, as opposed to reasons to keep them from happening.

Because war represents a lot of things, but most of all, it represents a failure -- a failure on the part of the world's most powerful people to heed the most basic instruction God ever gave us: To love one another, even the people we hold up as our enemies. Sometimes that's a failure on the part of only one side in a conflict, sometimes it's both. And yes, sometimes a war has to happen. But the only way we're going to be able to move this country forward from the embarrassment and heartbreak of the last five years is to find leaders who can tell the difference between the wars that have to happen and the wars that don't.

A large part of this nation seems to have learned to be able to tell that difference -- maybe even some of the people who were out drinking and laughing in Five Points on March 19, 2003. They deserve nothing less than leaders who can do the same.

Monday, March 17

If the glass slipper fits . . .

Photo stolen from Paul Westerdawg, who stole it from someone else.

I heard about the tornado that hit downtown Atlanta Saturday morning, and about how the SEC men's basketball tournament had been moved from the damaged Georgia Dome to Alexander Memorial Coliseum. And as I was driving around doing my Saturday-morning errands, I thought, "You know, this weekend has been just crazy enough that I'll bet Georgia takes advantage of the chaos, rises up, and wins the whole thing."

Did I believe that? Still not sure. Did the Dawgs believe it? Evidently, yes.

I got home Saturday just in time for tipoff against Kentucky, a game that ended with Zac Swansey's amazing 360-and-shoot three-pointer to win; I stuck around that night to watch them beat the other Bulldogs from Mississippi State; and Sunday I got to watch them build up a huge lead on Arkansas, nearly give it away a couple times, but hold on for a nine-point win, the tournament title, and an NCAA tournament bid. Now, I'll be honest here: Have I ever watched that much basketball in a single weekend? Doubtful. But it was fun. And what made it even better was that we did it on Georgia Tech's home court. BURN!!!!1!1!!!1!111one!1!!

Maybe we should petition the NCAA to let us play all of our home games in front of 400 people at Alexander Coliseum? In the meantime, I now have a team to root for (even if only briefly) in the Big Dance, and so do you -- join the Big Ass Tournamet Pick 'Em Bracket, the official tournament pick 'em bracket of Hey Jenny Slater, via the instructions at the end of this post.

Go Dawgs!

Saturday, March 15

An open letter to Ashley Alexandra "Kristen" Dupre.

Dear Ashley Alexandra/Kristen/whatever,

I understand. I know you're kind of overwhelmed right now. Probably more than a little embarrassed. And part of me sympathizes with you a little bit, but the other part of me -- a larger part -- would like to remind you of three things:

1. You were engaging in illegal activity.

2. In the course of that illegal activity, you had dealings with the governor of New York.

3. By "dealings" I of course mean "you blew him."

Based on those three things, all of which I think you would have to concede are facts at this point, it's probably time for you to have a nice tall glass of Shut The F$#@ Up.

You're 22 years old now, which means you were 12 or 13 when Bill Clinton got busted for getting his knob polished by Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office. I think that's probably old enough to have been paying attention. You saw what happened when that whole story blew up -- Monica Lewinsky became a household name. It may not have been for the "right" reasons, but it happened. You thus had empirical evidence that one possible result of blowing a powerful (and married) politician would be getting thrust "into the 'public glare' without [your] consent."

(And on a side note, almost nobody puts up pictures of themselves in a bikini on their MySpace page hoping they won't be seen. The ones that do set their shit to "private," which you probably could've done in about five seconds.)

So yes, your life is probably pretty hectic right now, a lot more hectic than you'd like it to be. Your mom now knows that you're on intimate terms with the governor's wang, and unless she's one of those just-make-sure-they-spell-my-name-right Dina Lohan types, she's probably not real proud of that.

But unlike a lot of people in the news right now, you had a choice. The people in Atlanta who had their apartments and condos all torn up by a tornado? They didn't have a choice in the matter. The UNC class president who got murdered a few weeks ago? She didn't get a choice either. But while you were sitting there, waiting on Eliot Spitzer to unzip New York's First Trousers and unleash the First Balls -- hell, perhaps even when you were filling out that application to the Emperors Club and getting diamond-rated -- you had a choice of whether you were going to welcome those balls into your personal space. That point was probably the point at which you should've been thinking, "You know, if I blow the governor of the third most populous state in the country, it might pop up in the news one of these days." Now, unfortunately, is a bit late.

So accept that you've made your choice, the die has been cast, and the hole has been dug. Ride it out. Accentuate the positive and figure out how you're going to use all these offers from Penthouse et al. to further your nascent modeling career. Monica Lewinsky, after all, got a gig hosting a reality show; you, at the very least, have a contestant spot ready and waiting for you. (I, for one, think Tucker Carlson would welcome the chance to do the mambo with you -- the vertical one, mind -- on "Dancing with the Stars.")

But it's time to drop the victim act -- not to mention the "I'm just an innocent little girl who never wanted to become famous" act. In the words of one of my favorite blogs: Sack up, ho.

Doug Gillett

Friday, March 14

The Friday Random Ten+5 a) laughs and b) encourages the rest of the world to laugh with it.

If the last couple weeks have proven anything, it's that I am one funny motherf&%$er. I'm not just spinning that out of whole cloth; it's been empirically, independently proven. Perhaps as a result, I've had a few people ask me recently, "So, Doug, what do you find funny?" Some of those things you already know, but as someone who likes to laugh, there are some completely random-ass things that are guaranteed to elicit at least a chuckle from me every single time. Today I'm going to share a few of those things with you, dear readers, because the +5 this week is Five Random Things I Find Hilarious:

Little kids getting really, really angry
Little kids getting angry and throwing tantrums are pretty funny to me to begin with, but what's really funny is when it's a kid of a certain age, i.e. one who's just learned how to cuss but isn't old enough to really know how to do it yet. Because that's when you get constructions like "KISS MY HELL!" or "PISS YOU!" and I'm sorry, it's hard not to laugh when you hear something like that. And what makes it even better is that they're so mad and want to be taken so seriously, but there you are laughing at them, and that just makes them madder. There were these two kids I used to babysit for all the time when I was in high school -- a six-year-old with ADD and his four-year-old brother -- and they were always tearing each other up over some silly thing; one day the older one got irate enough at his little bro to call him a "piece of fuck," and after I picked myself up off the floor laughing, I made him go stand in the corner and face the wall until his mom came home. At which point, of course, I told on him. Man, I'm going to be an awesome parent.

Butters from "South Park"
I've already told you guys that Butters is my favorite "South Park" character, but he's also the one I identify most closely with -- my parents never psychologically abused me or got caught in gay bathhouses or anything like that, but I was a pretty meek and shrimpy kid, easily put-upon, and about as worldly as a newborn (an Amish newborn at that). Even today, I'll do something ridiculously Butters-like, such as developing an unrequited infatuation with a Hooters waitress or subjecting myself to all kinds of abuse in an effort to make friends. But anyway, whether it's in spite of the close kinship I feel with Butters or because of it, I think he's one of the funniest cartoon characters ever. And no episode of "South Park" has had a funnier last line than Butters' at the end of the "Imaginationland" trilogy.

The porn industry
You may or may not believe this, but I don't find porn films the least bit erotically stimulating; they're just too funny. I mean, here we have two actors who have engaged in many times more sex acts on camera than I have in any kind of situation, but we're supposed to believe that they're really enjoying this one, and thus their cries of "OH! YEAH! GIVE IT TO ME! HARDER!" are authentic. Sorry, that's just a little too much willful suspension of disbelief even for me, but that doesn't mean that it isn't richly hilarious in its own way. Plus there are just so many opportunities for average Joes like you and me to play along, i.e. coming up with your "porn name" (if you use the middle name/first street you lived on construction, mine is the deeply awesome "Clark Dudding") or trying to come up with porn versions of each year's Oscar nominees (I mean, if someone will actually green-light a porno called "Shaving Ryan's Privates," there's no reason to think they won't go for "A-Bone-Ment," "There Will Be Cum," or "Charlie Wilson's Whore"). Fun for the whole family!

Wendy's "Ranch Tooth" ads
Again, I've already made my feelings clear about this one, too, but . . . what can I say? Ranch tooth, hilarious. I can't explain why. Maybe it's because I can identify, having a "booze tooth" of my own. I don't know.

I know this isn't especially compassionate on my part, given that these folks are surely going through a lot of inner turmoil, but come on, people -- nobody seriously believes you can actually "cure" someone of their gayness, not even de-gaying therapists (or whatever you call them), because they know they can't stop people from having homoerotic thoughts, they're just trying to cram them back into the closet far enough that their man-lust won't be able to fight its way back into the public eye. Not to mention that for every person who comes out of gayhab saying they've been "cured," there are two more who either get caught in gay trysts within a few weeks of release or who meet each other in gayhab and become a couple. I think an awesome reality show would be "Gayhab Island" where you take two dozen "ex-gays" and put them on an island and let nature take its course, and every time two of them break down and nail each other, you kick them off. Or maybe a sitcom where a gay dude comes out of gayhab, moves into a condo in Florida to start a new life, only to find out that his condo development is also the spring-training home of a professional baseball team. Can our hero's shiny new sexual orientation stand up to the sight of Derek Jeter working out by the pool? Tune in next week to find out!

And now the Ten, chosen at random from a music collection containing a level of unintentional hilarity all its own:

1. Kylie Minogue, "Falling"
2. Fatboy Slim, "Demons"
3. Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, "An American in Paris"
4. Fatboy Slim, "Soul Surfing"
5. The Chemical Brothers, "Galaxy Bounce"
6. Dimitri from Paris, "Nothing to Lose" (instrumental)
7. Modest Mouse, "Black Cadillacs"
8. DJ Shadow, "In/Flux"
9. Pet Shop Boys, "Closer to Heaven" (slow version)
10. Miles Davis, "Moon Dreams"

How 'bout you, readers -- what do you find funny (for intentional or unintentional reasons, either the ha-ha or the boom-boom varieties)? Gimme your own personal laff riots and/or Random Tens in the comments.

Wednesday, March 12

With life giving me lemons, I go in search of some Lemon aid.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I were talking, and I'm pretty sure one of the topics of conversation pertained to my sob story about meeting a woman who was cute and smart and whom I connected with on more than just a physical level only to have her take off for a residency up in Boston, and Ann told me to cheer up -- apparently I was at least advancing to a plane of enlightenment where I could appreciate women for their personalities and intelligence and wasn't just hunting for a pretty face and a nice tight ass anymore, and that was an important step. So now the key is to just find the right girl, and I'll be set.

The more we talked, though, the more I realized that the woman who most perfectly fits the description of what I'm looking for is Tina Fey -- or rather, since she's taken, her character Liz Lemon, whom I probably have more of a working acquaintance with anyway since I watch "30 Rock" religiously every week and have been shilling for it as the funniest show on TV to anyone who will listen.

Now, I freely admit that it kind of sucks when you come to the realization that your perfect mate is a fictional character, but this wasn't a realization I arrived at casually. There are plenty of reasons why me and Liz Lemon would make a perfect match:

She's funny.
LIZ: (on the phone) Hi, my name is Liz Lemon, and I received flowers from your shop tonight and I can't tell who they're from. (pause) No, no, I did read the card, but it's not signed . . . no, I'm not with so many men that it's impossible for me to guess . . . well, that is just -- oh, well, you know what, I found the card, actually, they're from your mom, so tell your gay mom I said thanks. (hangs up in disgust)

As someone who has been officially declared one of the funnier people in the world, I like to surround myself with funny people, either people who will laugh at my hilarious jokes or make me laugh at some of theirs, preferably both.

She's also smart.
LIZ: Now say five reasons I'm better than you.
JOSH: (doing the Worm) You're smarter than me!
LIZ: One!
JOSH: You beat me in armwrestling!
LIZ: Two!
JOSH: You read the paper!
LIZ: Yeah, suck it, I do read the paper.

As I've said, I went through the same phase most men go through where my attitude was basically, "All I'm looking for is a hot piece of ass, and if I need intellectual stimulation I'll go crack a book." That phase ended about three years ago, when I dated a girl who was six years my junior and who turned 21 while we were going out. I know most guys in my position would be thrilled to date a 21-year-old, but gentlemen, if you must date a woman who's just turning 21, try to find one who went through rehab as a teenager and is now a little world-weary, maybe even jaded; otherwise you end up with someone who's so thrilled at being able to finally drink legally that she doesn't want to do anything but drink, and your typical Saturday night consists of her cranking her blood-alcohol level up to 0.30 before you've even finished your first beer, followed by her elbowing you in the side and repeatedly asking "Why aren't you having any fuuuunnnn?" until 4 in the morning. Son of a bitch, I'm getting old.

Where was I going with this again? Oh, right, you get to a point in your life where you really do start to realize that intelligence (or at least the ability to carry on a conversation about something other than how hammered you got the other night) matters, and I think I'm there. I mean, none of this is to say a hot piece of ass isn't great, but it does make all the difference when there's a brain attached.

In fact, she's kind of a dork.
LIZ: You know this is very, very, very bad for me, right?
TRACY: I need to protect my reputation. You take away my street cred and I am Wayne Brady.
LIZ: Nuh-uh. Wayne Brady has three Emmys. You have a People's Choice Award that you stole from Wayne Brady.
TRACY: I shouldn't expect a white woman from Whiteville to understand street cred.
LIZ: First of all, I'm not from Whiteville. I'm from White Haven. And it's not as nice as it sounds.

Amongst the group of people in the United States aged 18-35, I'm in maybe the 60th percentile, at best, in terms of coolness. So for the sake of my personal security, it's probably best if I don't date anyone higher then 80th, at least until I get these self-esteem issues worked out.

She's a liberal with a strong sense of outrage and proclivity toward social justice . . .
LIZ: Whoa, excuse me, there's a line, buddy.
MAN: There's two lines.
LIZ: No. No, there's one line; we're in it.
MAN: I'm just getting a hot dog.
LIZ: We're all getting hot dogs! What, you think there's two lines and we're all in this line? You're the only genius who got in the other line? Can you believe this guy? (half the people line up behind the man) Don't line up behind him! He cheated you!
MAN: Hey, shut up!
LIZ: (to hot dog vendor) Now, I want all the hot dogs, please. Yeah, I'm buying all the hot dogs. And I'm giving them to the good people.

I'm not saying I could never date a conservative -- in fact, I've dated plenty -- but maybe with the election coming up and everything, now would be the time to stay amongst my ideological brethren (sistren?) and not court any more throwdown arguments than I absolutely have to.

. . . Yet can laugh at herself about it.
PETE: So first you thought he was illiterate and now you think he’s lazy? Liz, you are racist.
LIZ: No, Tracy took advantage of my white guilt, which is supposed to be used only for good, like overtipping and supporting Barack Obama.

Everyone seems to think that liberals are all so humorlessly PC that we never laugh at anything, but the best among us can laugh at plenty of stuff, including ourselves. Really, anything short of starting a war with a foreign country on the pretense of disarming them of nuclear weapons and then laughing about it when you don't find any is pretty funny to us.

She has a cool job.
PETE: That cold open you guys wrote last night came out really good.
LIZ: Oh, thanks. It was like pulling teeth -- they're so lazy sometimes, especially Lutz.
PETE: Good job whipping 'em into shape, that thing is really smart. Now, when Dennis Hastert farts, should that be live or pre-recorded?
LIZ: Live, live. It has to be live for the timing.
PETE: Yeah, I thought so too.

I've always thought it would be awesome to be a writer for a "Saturday Night Live" or "Daily Show"-type show -- not just the excitement of working in television but getting to throw jokes around the room with some of the funniest people in the country, the fast pace, the camaraderie . . . any minute now some ex-writer is going to leave me a comment that says "Being a writer sucks, you're the lowest man on the totem pole and you're constantly miserable," but I still think it'd be pretty fun.

Like me, she's flawed and insecure.
HOWARD: I was a lot like you -- dressed poorly, bad posture, walked around with lettuce in my hair --
LIZ: (pulling it out) Son of a bitch!
HOWARD: -- and I cursed like a sailor, but Jack saw potential in me, and he changed my life.
JACK: Now Howard's earning seven figures and he's married to a swell Filipino gal.

This one's pretty self-explanatory. As with coolness, I need someone whose self-esteem "window" is at least in the vicinity of mine.

And yeah, she's actually kind of hot.
LIZ: Floyd and I are thinking of moving to Cleveland.
JACK: No you're not. Look, every great getaway has that moment when you want to pack it all in and stay; that's how I ended up with a time-share in Port Arthur, Texas.
LIZ: I don't think that's what this is! I mean, Floyd is pretty great, and look, in Cleveland, I'm a model! (holds up a newspaper ad for a department store with her in it)
JENNA: Yeah, we're all models west of the Allegheny.

My nerd-crush on Tina Fey has already been solidly established, so I guess the only thing left to do is pass along this segment from her Playboy Interview back in January:

PLAYBOY: What about Liz Lemon? Is she basically another version of you?
FEY: There are two big differences between Liz and me. One is that my character's jugs are a lot better.
PLAYBOY: Really? We hadn't noticed that.
FEY: Yeah, whatever. I think our costume designer is trying to draw the viewers' eyes up until I lose the rest of this baby weight. I was doing a movie with Dax Shepard, and we were talking about 30 Rock, and he said, "By the way, those things are blazing hot on your show."

I didn't want to say anything, but . . . yeah, I had kind of noticed that. So, uh, there you go. (Look, I never said I had achieved male-female enlightenment, only that I was getting there.)

So anyway, like I said, the knowledge that I'm a perfect match for a fictional sitcom character doesn't really help me out in any practical terms, but if this knowledge makes me a little wiser or more self-aware as I continue to fling myself into Birmingham's soul-crushing singles scene, so much the better, I guess. And if there are any real-life Liz Lemons out there who'd be willing to take a chance on a clod like myself, holler. I'll buy you mozzarella sticks, I won't make you move to Cleveland, and I won't honk your boobs on the Jumbotron. Even during the playoffs.

"This is not how we do business here."

Given that I spent an entire summer or two during high school doing pretty much nothing other than watching "The Kids in the Hall," I can't believe this wasn't the first thing that popped into my head when I was writing all the Spitzer stuff in the last post.

Man, if only Spitzer had heeded the lesson of this sketch -- business first, then whores -- who knows how differently his life might be going right about now. Is there any advice more sage than that which we do not take?

Tuesday, March 11

A memo from the desk of Arnold T. Pants, Esq.:
$12 billion down the tubes, SI's diminishing returns, and random acts of Spitzer-liciousness.

So it snowed Saturday morning. Proof:

Those pictures were taken about 7:30 in the morning, and the snow had disappeared by 11. Well, it was fun while it lasted.

Since I laid into David Vitter for nailing prostitutes while serving as Louisiana's senator, it's only fair that New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, noted patron of the Emperors Club prostitution enterprise, come in for some abuse as well. Spitzer's offense might even be the dumber one, as it was exposed by the very FCC wiretaps that he championed as the state's attorney general, and also because he was considered one of the rising stars of the Democratic Party, perhaps even to the point where people would be looking at him for a presidential run in 2012 or '16.

Just in case nobody got the memo, I'll summarize it for you again: Banging prostitutes is illegal and will make bad things happen to you. Even if you're a powerful politician -- no, especially if you're a powerful politician. I mean, I'm nobody, and if I got caught in some prostitution ring's little black book, I'd get in trouble; when the governor of the nation's third most populous state is found to be hip-deep in paid-for poontang, you'd better believe there's going to be a shitstorm on the way.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is, I'm about as sex-starved as a human being can get right now, and even I've never been dumb enough to let the craving for pussy put my job in jeopardy. What's Spitzer's excuse?

That said, according to this map, Spitzer still hasn't been anywhere near as prolific with the hos as has, say, Ludacris.

Eliot Spitzer may control the 212, but Ludacris has the block locked down most everywhere else.

According to estimates by our own government, the war in Iraq is costing us about $12 billion a month. That's billion, with a "b." Over at Lawyers, Guns and Money, Robert Farley has come up with an eye-popping shopping list of all the cool shit the Pentagon could be buying with that kind of money, but I'd like to expand my viewpoint a little bit.

Obviously, since this is Pentagon money we're talking about, we need to take care of them first, so we'll buy them 15 Northrop Grumman KC-45 tankers ($3 billion) and 833 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles ($416.5 million), and after one year we'll have all 179 tankers and 10,000 MRAPs the military would eventually like to have in its arsenal. Just to be good sports, we'll throw in one B-2 Spirit bomber ($955,128,571) to replace the one that crashed in Guam last month, as well as a couple Boeing 787 Dreamliners ($334 million) they can use however they want.

But if you break this one, that is it! No more!

But the next thing we'll do is take the S-CHIP program and give it the funding expansion that George W. Bush vetoed last year -- in just one month of Iraq spending we can afford to give it Congress's funding increase for an entire year ($7 billion).

And we've still got nearly $300 million to play around with, so I figure now's the time to get selfish -- we can cover Georgia's entire 2008 athletics budget ($70,035,416) and pay off the entirety of their new basketball/gymnastics practice facility ($30 million). And what the hell, a dozen hookers for Elliott Spitzer! Every day for the whole month (at $5,500 per hooker, a total of $2,046,000)! Then we can buy a 12-ounce Coke for every man, woman, and child in America ($182,112,000), and a 2008 Bentley Continental Flying Spur ($173,585) for me, because I did such a good job coming up with ways to spend this money.

And after all that, we've still got just a hair over ten million dollars to blow. Readers, I leave that chunk of money to you. Don't go spending it all in one place.

Time magazine is coming under heavy fire for putting a gun to the head of one of its employees and forcing her to look at pornography. Only replace "pornography" with "the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue," and "putting a gun to her head and forcing her" with "slid it under her door." Congratulations, America, we are now officially out of stuff to complain about which means that everything is perfect, and I can use this as an excuse to put up a picture of a chick in a bikini.

You're welcome.

That said, though, is it just me or is the swimsuit issue not nearly as fun (or cool, or racy, or whatever) as it used to be? I can remember buying my first swimsuit issue at the tender age of 12, feeling like a real badass because I was buying something so scandalous; now I browse one at the newsstand and I feel like I'm flipping through the Summer Swim Fashion Spectacular in Cosmo. Am I more mature now? Or just more jaded? Or is it the fact that I now have unfettered 24/7 access to actual porn explicit enough that I don't have to waste any energy mentally erasing Brooklyn Decker's bikini top while turning the pages of a magazine? Whatever, getting old sucks.

OK, enough serious crap. The NCAA basketball tournament is right around the corner, and even though Georgia has about as much chance of making the field as Eliot Spitzer does of winning the Family Research Council's Man of the Year award, the UAB Blazers still have a shot at getting in, so I'm pumped, baby. And simply by virtue of visiting this blog (and, I'm assuming, being literate), you have earned an invitation to the Big Ass Tourney Pick 'Em Group, the official bracket competition of Hey Jenny Slater.

Simply go to this site, click on "Join Group," and enter group# 46220 and the password "goblazers" (all lower-case), keeping in mind at all times that your participation in this group destroys any chance that you will ever be hired as the head football coach at the University of Washington. Whoever earns the most points for correct picks in the tournament, though, will be called out by name on this blog as the most awesomest person ever, so there's that.

Friday, March 7

The Friday Random Ten+5 takes a moment to enjoy the smell of its own farts.

This week marked two major milestones in this blog's relatively semi-long history: On Monday, Hey Jenny Slater won the 2007 College Football Blogger Award for Funniest Blog; today, we celebrate this blog's third birthday. Huzzah! (First-birthday auto-fellation here; second-birthday here.)

So basically I've been strutting around this past week like the Ron Jeremy of the blogosphere, and I'm gonna continue strutting today, because this week's +5 is going to take us on a fantastic voyage through the last 12 months' worth of stuff I've spewed up onto this site. Bear with my self-obsession a few minutes' more, dear readers, because on this Friday morn I'm marking three years of Hey Jenny Slater with my Five Best Posts From The Past Year:

Friday Random Ten+5: I put myself out there. (July 19)
This post marked a milestone of its own: For the first time I confessed publicly to having secret hots for both cartoon auto-insurance pitchwoman Erin Surance (above left) and the then-still-just-short-of-legal Hayden Panettiere, who plays cheerleader Clare Bennett on "Heroes" . . . thus disabusing the last few remaining people who still believed it of the notion that I'm a normal, decent human being. In my half-assed defense, Panettiere, at least, has since turned 18, but Erin is still a cartoon. And I, apparently, am still a sicko. Oh, well. But hey, where else can you get this stuff?

A liberal-arts grad cries "shenanigans" on the Worldwide Leader. (July 27)
This qualifies as a Very Important Post because it signaled the point at which I cast my lot with a select group of only a few billion brave bloggers who courageously made fun of ESPN for their "Who's Now" competition/contest/publicity stunt. Whereas other bloggers attacked "Who's Now" journalistically or ethically, however, I attacked it grammatically, which makes me a huge fricking dork refreshingly different. I still haven't figured out what the crap "Now" means, but if I did, I'm pretty sure this post would be Nower than a motherf%$#er.

"You're with me, chino": Powerful douchebags and the women who (outwardly appear to) love them. (September 18)
I'll be honest, I thought this post was fricking hilarious when I wrote it, and was kind of bummed when it didn't get more play than it did. Oh well. At least I was able to show the world that supposed left-wing über-gnome Dennis Kucinich (with new wife Elizabeth, above) is actually a pimp beyond our wildest imaginations, which is an important service in and of itself.

The unbearable Nice™ness of being. (October 10)
This is an important post because it contains actual usable advice, gained through years and years of sitting around waiting for chicks to notice my sensitive awesomeness and then turning into a cynical, bitter little dickwipe when they inevitably didn't. Guys, particularly those in high school or college: If you want to go out with a girl, seriously, you have to ask her. Sitting on your geek ass waiting for her to fall at your feet only dooms you to years of deeply unromantic lunches (yes, not even dinners, but lunches, the cold shower of meals) during which you get to hear all about the problems she's having with the football player who's actually sacked up enough to become her boyfriend. Trust me on this one, kids.

Going back to the "Simpsons" well: Your Favorite Football Team's Analogue, 2008 Election Edition. (January 9)
I may not be a smart man; I may not be attractive; I may not revolutionize the world with my writing or string together poetry that makes the ladies faint at the mere intonation of my voice; I may not be a great lover or a fighter; but I'll tell you what -- I can damn sure compare college-football teams to things.

Wow, after reminiscing through just one year's worth of posts, I realized something -- this blog is fricking sweet. You know what? Give yourselves a pat on the back for reading it. You've earned it.

And now the Ten:

1. The Smiths, "How Soon Is Now?"
2. Patton Oswalt, "Tivo!"
3. Orbital, "The Box"
4. Madonna, "Borderline"
5. KRS-One, "4th Quarter -- Free Throws"
6. Johnny Cash, "Man in Black"
7. De La Soul, "Plug Tunin"
8. A Flock of Seagulls, "Space Age Love Song"
9. Screeching Weasel, "I Wanna Be a Homosexual"
10. George Michael, "Freedom"

Boy, those last two don't do a terribly good job of reinforcing my heterosexuality, do they? Just to be on the safe side, let's pull out a Not-So-Random 11th:

11. Rodney Carrington, "Titties 'n' Beer"

Ah, yes, that's better.

Now it's your turn, readers -- what have you loved about this blog over the last 365 days? Shower me with compliments (and your own Random Tens, if you must) in the comments.

Wednesday, March 5

What would you do?

With the Democratic candidate for president this year destined to be either a female or an African-American, there's been a lot of discussion of the whole "Is America ready to elect a . . . ?" question. The thing is, if you've seen the turnout numbers in the Democratic primaries this year -- last night in Texas, more Democrats voted in the primary than voted for Kerry in the general election in 2004 -- you'd be confident that we're pretty darn close, if not already there.

I was pondering all this while standing outside this morning waiting for my dogs to poop, and a few other questions popped into my head about what kinds of people we are or aren't ready to elect president in this country. And as is so often the case with me, things took a rapid turn from the sublime to the ridiculous -- as you will see from the list of questions below. Readers, I want you to ask yourselves:

Would you be willing to vote for a given candidate for president if . . .

Feel free to expound upon any of these in the comments.