Friday, June 30, 2006


Be sure to tune in to Insight Cable’s Access 4 this evening at 8:30 to catch Springfield bloggers John and Micah (Just Two Guys) take to air for their second show. I think it’s tonight show they are going to determine who makes the best horseshoe in Springfield.

I missed their first show last week because I was headed out to the Hanger Party at the airport. I’m hoping to be free tonight to catch it (it’s hard scheduling TV time in the summer!).

Update: I did catch limited portions of the show. However, I was putting my son to bed which, because he's almost three, takes me about half an hour. The show was good, what I saw of it.

Building a Better Terrorist Recruiting Base

This is no surprise. Too bad no one saw it coming. That is, no one in the White House.
WASHINGTON — The United States is losing its fight against terrorism and the Iraq war is the biggest reason why, more than eight of ten American terrorism and national security experts concluded in a poll released yesterday.

One participant in the survey, a former CIA official who described himself as a conservative Republican, said the war in Iraq has provided global terrorist groups with a recruiting bonanza, a valuable training ground and a strategic beachhead at the crossroads of the oil-rich Persian Gulf and Turkey, the traditional land bridge linking the Middle East to Europe.
Of course, I’m sure they forgot to ask experts like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and the staff at Fox “News”.

Hat tip to Juan Cole.

Eddie Goes To Dog Heaven

Mrs. TEH scolded me last night for not blogging about the death of the Eddie the Dog. So here it is for her enjoyment and yours.
NEW YORK - The scrappy dog known as Eddie on TV’s “Frasier” has died.

The 16-year-old Jack Russell terrier, whose real name was Moose, passed away of old age Thursday at the Los Angeles home of trainer Mathilde Halberg, Halberg told People magazine.

The canine character Eddie drove Kelsey Grammer’s lead character crazy for 10 years on the show.

It wasn’t all acting on Moose’s part, though. He was naturally “extremely mischievous,” Halberg said.
What can I say about Eddie? He was a dog. He was on Frasier. He’s more famous, and probably richer, than I’ll ever be.

Instant Aquatic Karma

Yesterday I was wondering to myself, while avoiding work, how much I save by using the restroom at the office before I leave for lunch or at the end of the day rather than waiting until I get home. That’s like two flushes a day, five days a week! I was pretty satisfied with myself thinking that my potty strategy was saving us money.

Then fate (i.e. my stupidity) stepped in to erase all that.

Last evening were preparing to head out to a family gathering when I decided to turn on the sprinkler because the front yard is already browning. We didn’t get back until after dark and, of course, I forgot all about the sprinkler being on. That is until this morning while eating my Total cereal. The thing ran all night and there was a stream of water extending from my yard, down the gutter all the way to street drain.

Now I’m trying to calculate how many strategic workplace potty breaks its going to take to make up for that little oversight. I better start drinking more water and tea at work.

The Road To Hell Is Paved With…Bad Slag

One day, on the highway, something went wrong, terribly wrong:
CLINTON -- DeWitt County highway officials say a bad batch of road-surfacing material led to more than 170 flat tires for motorists using the Waynesville Blacktop after a June 16 road resurfacing.

County Highway Superintendent Craig Fink said the tires were punctured by especially sharp shards of boiler slag applied to the eight-mile stretch of road from Wapella through Waynesville. “Boiler slag” is a coarse, hard, black, angular, glassy material left over after coal is burned.
Who knew boiler slag was being used for pavement. Who knew there was boiler slag.

I think I’d be a little pissed if I were the owner of one of the 170 tires even if the county is paying for replacements. (That statistic makes me wonder if some cars had multiple flats). Thankfully, I have no business in Wapella or Waynesville. Something I have in common with most of humanity.

Where Everyone Knows Its Name

Marie visits the Lake Springfield Tavern. Something everyone should do because you know you’ve always wanted to.

Oh, and Marie’s childhood explanation as to how the LST got its name seems reasonable.

Friday Beer Blogging: Fermenting Revolution Edition

I’m finding the Fourth of July isn’t that good for beer blogging. Last year my post was kind of weak and this year I’m not doing much better. In fact, on this occasion I’m ripping off another site even worse than I usually do, but this is good stuff and I can’t pass it up. has this report called Fermenting the Revolution: The Beer Activist Guide to Saving the World.
Beer Is Patriotic
Going to the pub and drinking locally brewed beer is an act of patriotism. It follows in the best tradition of local self-reliance set out by America’s Founding Fathers.

The Boston Beer Party
The American Revolution was inspired, at least in part, by the beer muse. The band of patriots lead by Samuel Adams and John Hancock to that fateful party on the port had conspired their sabotage over pints of ale at the Green Dragon Tavern on Union Street in Boston.

Similarly, it was in Buckman's Tavern that 40 Lexington Minute Men mustered on April 19, 1775 after Paul Revere alarmed them of approaching British soldiers, thus touching off the first battle of the Revolution.


Imported Beer - The Ultimate Patriotic Sacrifice
According to Princeton University’s WordNet, ‘Patriotism’ means “Love of one’s country and willingness to sacrifice for it.” Considering the importance of beer to the American colonists, it is all the more impressive that this bunch of beer drinking radicals should make the ultimate patriotic sacrifice and forsake imported English Ale.
In the lead up to war, Samuel Adams encouraged his fellow patriots with a declaration:

It is hoped, that the Gentlemen of the Town will endeavor to bring our own OCTOBER BEER into Fashion again, by that most prevailing Motive, EXAMPLE, so that we may no longer be beholden to “Foreigners” for a “Credible Liquor,” which mayh (sic) be as successfully manufactured in this country. (quote excerpted from G. Smith, Beer in America, p 88-89)


Our Founding Fathers Who Art in Taverns
As any experienced conventioneer or capable business person knows, real work is never accomplished in meetings. No, the true deal makers shake hands over a drink in the bar, well after the official meetings have adjourned.

And so it was with the Founding Fathers. After the Revolution had been won, the patriots faced the daunting task of chartering a country. A defining aspect of their new Constitution, one of the most influential political documents of the modern era, was hammered out over an evening of beer drinking. It was on June 30, 1787, at Philadelphia’s Indian Queen tavern, that the Constitution’s framers agreed on a legislative structure consisting of a House and a Senate, thereby addressing a controversial issue of equal representation for small and large states within the union.
And so on. Read it all here.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Speaking of Bans...

I have to disagree with this one -sort of:
CHICAGO -- An alderman is pushing for an ordinance that would prevent the city's
restaurants from cooking with oils that contain artificial trans fatty acids, which contribute to heart disease.

"Chicago has the opportunity to take a bold step and protect its citizens from the ravages of unhealthy trans fats by banning their use in restaurants," Alderman Edward M. Burke said Wednesday in a statement about an ordinance he is proposing. "The end result could well be longer, healthier lives and reduced health costs for many Chicagoans."
Actually, I’ve called for the total ban of the bad trans fats (there are alternatives) but I think this is the wrong way to go about it. Short of the FDA banning the stuff, I would prefer that there be a requirement that trans fat info be put on all food labels (which I think is already going to happen) AND it be required that restaurants make it known if they use trans fats. The restaurants could make blanket statement that they don’t use trans fats at all or they could indicate which specific items on their menus do.

I’d like to see them gone altogether, but short of that at least let us know the stuff is in our food.

Eric Zorn thinks the information alone will make trans fats all but disappear from restaurants.

Bring It On!

And speaking of litigation, the smoking lobby is taking Springfield to court over the city’s new smoking ban.

I can almost hear the talk radio whiners now, “See Jim, Bruce Stormtrooper and the fascists on the city council should never have passed this ordinance because now we have all this expensive litigation. And besides, it’s my RIGHT to blow smoke in other people’s faces!”

Italian WHINE-eries

An international wine showdown is set to take place right here in Sangamon County.
SPRINGFIELD - An Italian winery is suing the state, claiming Illinois liquor law
favors its homegrown counterparts.
Villa Monteleone Winery wants a Sangamon County judge to overturn state law that
allows Illinois winemakers to sell directly to consumers, while out-of-state vineyards must go through distributors.

"This self-distribution privilege constitutes pure economic protectionism; there is no rational basis for the different treatment of Illinois and non-Illinois wineries," argued the Verona-based company in the lawsuit filed last week.

The winery claims the state law puts it an economic disadvantage.
I don’t know much about wine or economics but isn’t Italian wine going to be at "an economic disadvantage" relative to Illinois wines for several reasons? I’m guessing (and I could be wrong!) that there is a slight qualitative advantage the Italian wines have and doesn’t importing bottles of the beverage all the way from Europe mean higher transportation costs than the stuff grown and bottled here.

I guess you have to give credit to the growing Illinois wine industry if they’ve gotten this much attention from the Italians.

A couple more interesting statistics from the SI article:
Illinois is home to 67 wineries and an estimated 300 grape growers.

Illinois-produced wine only makes up 500,000 gallons of the 25 million gallons consumed annually in the state, argues Barrett Rochman of Blue Sky Vineyards in Southern Illinois.

Is That Everyone Now?

We see stories like this from around the country almost weekly. This one hits a little closer to home.
Sensitive personal data of Springfield city workers and retirees, including their Social Security numbers, was on a computer server that was stolen from an insurance company's Midwest office in March.

City workers have been receiving letters from Medical Excess Inc., a subsidiary of American International Group Inc., warning them to watch their credit card statements. The letters also include telephone numbers for them to call if they suspect something is amiss, Mayor Tim Davlin said Wednesday.


About 1,800 city employees and an unknown number of retirees with city health insurance could have been affected, Davlin said.
Has anyone’s identity NOT been stolen by now? Maybe we have too much information stored in too many places?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

He Was a Boy From Illinois

This is a rather short but very moving piece on the death in Iraq of soldier from Illinois. It’s amazing how just a few words can carry so much emotion. 3 snips:
RAMADI, Iraq, June 28 — A soldier was dead, and it was time for him to go home.

The doors to the little morgue swung open, and six soldiers stepped outside carrying a long black bag zippered at the top.

About 60 soldiers were waiting to say goodbye. They had gathered in the sand outside this morgue at Camp Ramadi, an Army base in Anbar Province, now the most lethal of Iraqi places.

Inside the bag was Sgt. Terry Michael Lisk, 26, of Zion, Ill., killed a few hours before.

In the darkness, the bag was barely visible. A line of blue chemical lights marked the way to the landing strip not far away.

Everyone saluted, even the wounded man on a stretcher. No one said a word.

Sergeant Lisk had been standing near an intersection in downtown Ramadi on Monday morning when a 120-millimeter mortar shell, fired by guerrillas, landed about 30 paces away. The exploding shell flung a chunk of steel into the right side of his chest just beneath his arm. He stopped breathing and died a few minutes later.


"He was my best friend," Specialist Allan Sammons said, his lower lip shaking. "That's all I can say. I'm kind of shaken up."

Another soldier asked, "You want to take a break?"

Specialist Sammons said, "I'll be fine," his lip still shaking.


In the darkness, as the sound of the helicopter faded, Colonel MacFarland addressed his soldiers.

"I don't know if this war is worth the life of Terry Lisk, or 10 soldiers, or 2,500 soldiers like him," Colonel MacFarland told his forces. "What I do know is that he did not die alone. He was surrounded by friends.

"A Greek philosopher said that only the dead have seen the end of war," the colonel said. "Only Terry Lisk has seen the end of this war."

The soldiers turned and walked back to their barracks in the darkness. No one said a word.
We aren’t allowed to see the pictures but, for now, the written word is still getting out. Are we about done painting Iraqi schools yet? ‘Cause it sure would be nice to be done and come home.

Hat Tip to Josh Marshall.

Driving Under the Limit

I really don’t want to get into this politically incorrect topic but the SJ-R has forced me into it. Or maybe it’s the Illinois State Police. Look at this paragraph from the SJ-R’s “This Just In…” page on their website:
Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent called impaired driving one of America's most deadly problems. In 2004, more than 15,000 people died in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 or higher.
0.01? Oh please. Show me where having a blood alcohol level of 0.01 caused an accident. Look, accidents happen to people who have had something to drink. Sometimes alcohol is a factor and sometimes not. I find it extremely hard to believe someone with a 0.01 level caused an accident because they had half a beer.

No one, certainly not me, is arguing that getting blasted and driving is a good idea or that it doesn’t greatly increase the chances of causing an accident. But you can go too far with this concept and, messing with statistics, make it seem like any drinking is cause for major concern. Don’t drink and drive but please don’t lie to me about the dangers of all those reckless 0.01 drivers out there either.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Helen Westberg

I was sad to see that former Carbondale Mayor Helen Westberg died this week. She passed away this weekend right here in Springfield. You’ve probably never heard of her and she was only Carbondale’s mayor for four years in the 1980s.

So, why do I care?

Well, she was elected while I was a very, very green reporter for the SIU student radio station WIDB in 1983. She was a smart and articulate woman. I remember covering a debate she had with her opponent held in the SIU Student Center (it just occurs to me that to this day it’s the ONLY candidates debate I’ve ever seen in person). I remember filing my initial report over the (pay) phone right after the debate ended. I remember going back to the radio station and getting some good feedback on my report. I remember being really pumped.

Westberg won the election and took office not long before I graduated and went out into the real world where I would become somewhat bored and cynical about reporting. But I’ll always remember that night in 1983 when I felt like I was on top of the world.

Anyway, Westberg moved to Springfield a few years ago to be with her son, Bob, who lives here. She passed away over the weekend at the age of 89.

Another politician I met at WIDB, some months before the 1983 mayoral election, was Carbondale’s Congressman, Paul Simon, who was running for reelection in 1982. That day is a story in itself but I’ll save it. Simon, one of only a handful of personal political heroes, also died here in Springfield a few years ago. Now Simon’s daughter, Sheila Simon, is running for…mayor of Carbondale.

The circle of political life, the circle of my life.


Ha, ha. Punks really aren’t scary. But it is funny when they try.

It reminds me of the Goths that hang out at White Oaks Mall. Sorry, they aren’t freaking me out. They’re not even “unusual” per se since the goofy Goth look has been around for a couple of decades.

Kids these days are lazy! They’re not even putting in a real effort to come up with new things to horrify all the old farts over 25. Even the music doesn’t offend. Maybe it’s just that the kids of the 1960s ‘70s and ‘80s used up all the good (or bad) stuff.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

The 183rd is home. Good to have them back. Wish they’d been here this past weekend to liven up Air Rendezvous a bit, but that’s another post for later.

Speaking of the 183rd, here’s an interesting bit from the WTAX website:
Since the BRAC decision to move the 183rd Fighter Wing to Ft. Wayne Indiana, the
members of the 183rd aren't sure what to expect...but that's about to change.

Legislation crafted by US Senator Barack Obama requiring the Air Force to lay out its plans for realigning and moving bases passes through the US Senate Monday.

Obama says the measure should help relieve the uncertainty the 1100 of the 183 are feeling.
It literally takes an act of Congress to let these people know what there future holds? I know it’s the military and all that but this does affect a lot of people.

Monday, June 26, 2006


So Rush Limbaugh is detained for carrying Viagra. Being he’s such a big prick, he must need a lot of that stuff to get him going in the in the morning.

Deer Me!

Apparently the Southern Illinois Deer insurgency is won –at least for this year- following the death of Deer al-Zarqawi a few days ago.
CARBONDALE — The end of the month marks the end of the fawning season for deer, and not a moment too soon for officials at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Police and wildlife experts have been watching the woods since May, when they began an education campaign to warn people about deer who would aggressively protect their young in the area. In the meantime, they’ve handled four separate instances of deer attacks, the last of which resulted in a doe being shot by an officer, then euthanized.

Since then, SIUC wildlife cooperative scientist Clay Nielsen said everything has been quiet.
I would expect renewed Deer-on-Man violence to flare again next year. And God help us if a Deer/Emu alliance is struck!

Odd, That

One of the stranger things I see happening on this blog is when someone comments on a post I did a long time ago. I don’t object to it but I wonder why they, the commenter, do it. Odds are no one is ever going to see it. The only reason I do is because Blogger sends me an e-mail copy of all comments posted.

For example, today someone posted a comment to this post from May of 2005 regarding D'Arcy's Pint. I guess it feels good to pitch in your two cents but it’s kind of a waste of time. Again, not that I mind. I don’t get a lot of comments as it is so far be it for me to complain.

Now, it’s possible I’m just a little off base here because other people may stumble upon the post the same way this commenter did, through a search engine. So in that sense posts can be sort of “timeless” I guess.

Oh well, go back to what you were doing.

Smoke-Free Sangamon

Well, this is good news. Counties in Illinois can now implement smoking bans too. From the SJ-R Breaking News online:
Gov. Rod Blagojevich has signed legislation that gives Illinois counties the ability to ban smoking in public places in unincorporated areas.

The action, announced Sunday, means that Sangamon County could pass a smoking ban similar to the one adopted by Springfield. So far, no such legislation has come before county board members.
OK, time to get the county board to pass a measure compatible with the smoking ban here in Springfield. After all, it’s not fair that only Springfield establishments all go out of business.

Why doesn’t Blago just push for a statewide ban? Maybe he doesn’t want to lose the nicotine addict vote? While I love that smoking bans are popping up all over the state, it would be nice if they were uniform. Even if that means we’ll have to go to Missouri to find restaurants and bars that haven’t been forced to close because of the severe impact of the ban.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Happy Ebenezer Scrooge Day!

Today, June 25, is the farthest you can get form Christmas, future or past. If you hate Christmas, this is your day.

I don't hate Christmas but I did celebrate Scrooge Day by NOT shopping.


I’ve been rather amused at the idea floated by a few Republicans here and some Iraqis over there of amnesty for insurgents in Iraq if they agree to quit fighting. The reason I find it funny is that there are conditions: the insurgents, to be eligible for amnesty, can't have hurt anyone. Juan Cole says it better than I can:
The amnesty is not extended to anyone who has "shed Iraqi blood," and the Bush administration made al-Maliki back off the idea of granting amnesty to guerrillas who had killed US troops.

But if the point of the amnesty is to bring the guerrilla leadership in from the cold, this amnesty is useless. What Sunni Arab guerrillas worth their salt have killed no Iraqis and no US troops? As for the rest, why would Sunnis who had not killed anyone need to be amnestied? And wouldn't they be rather pitiful guerrillas?

Amnesty may or may not be a way to bring peace in Iraq (I think not) but amnesty with these conditions makes no sense.

Perhaps we could do something like that here. Amnesty for all tax cheats with the stipulation they don’t owe any taxes.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday Beer Blogging: Beerinois Edition

Hey, big beer news for Illinois. Pabst is moving to the state. Suburban Chicago to be more precise.

June 8, 2006 - Pabst Brewing Co. is returning its business headquarters to the Midwest, but not to the city where it began operations in 1844.

Pabst is moving its corporate offices from San Antonio, Texas, to suburban Chicago and the town of Woodridge. The state of Illinois has provided almost $1 million in financial assistance to facilitate the move. The company will spend nearly $2.5 million to lease an office building as well as moving jobs into the area.

"The Midwest has always been home for Pabst Brewing Company, so we are excited to be re-establishing roots in Chicago and Illinois, where we plan to be for years to come," Pabst president Kevin Kotecki said in a statement. "I thank Governor Blagojevich and his team for facilitating this move and for the critical support to bring us here." Kotecki, hired by Pabst last year, already has his home in Illinois.

I honestly didn’t know Pabst brewed so many beers. The Pabst web site even has a graphic illustration of what they sell.

Uhhhh, hmmmmm…Let’s see, Old Milwaukee, Stag, Blatz, Shlitz, Black Label, Pearl…I’m seeing a trend here. Oh yeah, YUCK!

I guess I need to be nice since they’re all Illinois beers now in a way. I will say I have a special place in my heart for Old Style, Stroh's and Olympia because they were favorites in college. So Pabst has that going for them. But other than that -man, what a crap beer hall of fame!

Oh well, I guess I’m just being a snob. Support the home team and pass me a Schmidt.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

More Scientists Who Hate America

Who know there wee sooo many Liberal scientists? A bunch of the America-hating egg-heads have joined in on the moonbat global warming conspiracy:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- It has been 2,000 years and possibly much longer since the Earth has run such a fever.

The National Academy of Sciences, reaching that conclusion in a broad review of scientific work requested by Congress, reported Thursday that the "recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several

A panel of top climate scientists told lawmakers that the Earth is heating up and that "human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming."
Of course, more learned scientists like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity (and George Bush and Dick Cheney) have conclusive opinions that counter this report.

Sit & Watch II

Paul Begala thinks it’s OK not to have a unifying single plan for Iraq if you aren’t the party in power:
The only place in the American government where there is an honest and spirited debate over Iraq is within the Democratic Party. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer are not on the same page – and that’s a good thing. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry disagree. Hooray for that.

If anyone tells you the solution to Iraq is easy or obvious, they’re a liar or a fool (a false choice in the case of our president). So why not feature the debate? At least someone is debating what to do.

The fact is the American people want a new direction in Iraq, and the Democrats offer several. The Republicans, on the other hand, offer nothing more than a four-word strategy: more of the same.
Or a three word strategy: Sit & Watch.

Begala is right; it’s an issue that needs debating and Republicans simply aren’t and won’t -ever. An answer needs to be found because sitting and watching is not a plan. Blind obedience to a (very) failed policy is not leadership.

Keep in mind, President Bush has already stated that it will be up to future presidents to figure a way out of Iraq. In advance of 2008, perhaps its good Democrats are beginning to make plans.

Update: The U.S. Senate defeated a measure today that called for troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq by the end of the year. The vote was 60-39 . But I'm pleased to report Illinois' two senators, Durbin and Obama both voted for the non-binding resolution.

Not Your Father's Air Show

Things to see and do at an air show:

For the first time ever, Air Rendezvous will host a craft fair. There will also be a community talent show, which will include martial arts demonstrations, pompom demonstrations and cheerleading demonstrations.

On a more unusual note, a dodge ball tournament is open to local teams or anyone else attending the air show.


Two NASCAR cars - an Army National Guard car driven by Greg Biffle and the Cingular Wireless car driven by Jeff Burton - will be on display. The drivers will not be at Air Rendezvous.

Also, stuntman Mark Hager will be doing ramp jumps in a car on Saturday and Sunday.

And there will be some airplanes.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Know Thy Emu

Who covers emus better than me? The Daily Egyptian, that’s who. The SIU student newspaper had this front page today:
Here’s their story. Ghastly!

Oh Say Can You Write...

The President desecrates the American flag. Time for a constitutional amendment!

I had not seen this before. And he may have done it again today.

Hat tip to AMERICAblog.


Why doesn’t Springfield have a radio station with the call letters WABE? Because an NPR station in Atlanta, GA has them. Somebody here, many years ago, wasn’t thinking.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sit & Watch

Firedoglake has come up with the perfect name for the Republican war strategy in Iraq:
Republicans want to sit and watch. That’s the Republican plan. Sit and watch…
They like to scream and yell about any idea that calls for a phased withdrawal, calling it “Cut and Run”. But what is their plan? It’s to do, well, nothing. Just sit there and take casualties and throw billions of dollars down a rat hole. Good plan!

I’m particularly amused at the Republican claim that if we announce a withdrawal timetable the insurgents will simply wait us out. Say what? They LIVE there. They can “wait us out” for 100 years no matter what we do.

A Fair Price

At first glace this may seem like a bad thing…
SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois’ two state fairs continue to cost taxpayers millions of dollars, according to a new report.

A two-year review of the Illinois State Fair and the Du Quoin State Fair by Auditor General William Holland determined that the two summertime events lost a combined $9.2 million in the two previous fiscal years.

The red ink comes despite a 1994 law requiring the fairs to break even and a 2004 comment by Gov. Rod Blagojevich that he believed the fairs would make money.
OK, I think it’s a bad idea to require the Fairs to make money. The Fairs are about more than profit. They’re state community events. Let’s try to get back most of what it costs to put on the events but if we lose a little, who cares. Now 9.2 mil is rather a lot. Perhaps something can be done to reduce that but if it’s at the expense of attendance, I say eat the loss and pass the corndogs.

Out of Office

I’m home today suffering (suffering, I tell you!) from some summer flu thing; no idea where this came from. Back to blogging soon, hopefully. This really sucks because I’m already so far behind at work as a mid-July deadline looms I may never catch up.

Monday, June 19, 2006

What the Hell is He Talking About?

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow making shit up yesterday on CNN:
"The president understands people's impatience -- not impatience but how a war can wear on a nation. He understands that. If somebody had taken a poll in the Battle of the Bulge, I dare say people would have said, wow, my goodness, what are we doing here?

The Battle of the Bulge came at the end of World War II when Allied total victory over Germany was certain. The brief German counteroffensive in December 1944 went badly for American forces for a few days until bad weather cleared and the Germans were halted by air power and reinforcements. At no point during the Bulge did anyone on our side want to give up on the war.

As Juan Cole points out, this is just the latest in a long line of historical misrepresentations to come from this administration. It’s really, really embarrassing and just reinforces the perception of the intellectual laziness of the President and those around him.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Springfield Community Film Project

These guys are really ambitious. If the script calls for an anonymous beer blogger, I’m in.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Taking the Fight Up River

The Southern Illinois Deer Insurgency is spreading –to Ohio:

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS -- It is one of those stories you would not believe unless we showed you.
A local woman came face to face with a deer in her own home Wednesday.

She says she was watching TV when she went to let her dog out and ended up much to close for comfort to wildlife.

"She started trampling me, she wanted me dead," Mary Blake said.

Blake, your typical grandma, was in a fight for her life just inside her door.

"When you are sitting in your family room watching TV, let the dog out you don't expect to get stampeded," Blake said. "I tried to shut the door. She sprung the door and knocked me into the wood basket."

Just as the deer was running into her house, Blake got a glimpse of the fawn the doe was trying to protect.

She was cut and bleeding and the deer wasn't done. It was an attack that left Blake with 27 stitches and plenty of bruises.

"I punched her in the nose and karate chopped her," Blake said. "I kicked her."

That's when Buddy came to the rescue and distracted the deer.

"So she turned around and I got up, grabbed the phone and I ran for the front door," Blake said.


Police managed to chase it out and Blake will never forget it but this one won't be dear to her heart.

"It was trying to kill me, that's not Bambi you know," she said.

Yes, Bambi would have respected a well-placed karate chop.

It sounds like the deer is still on the loose. I suspect we haven’t heard the last of Not-Bambi.

Friday Beer Blogging: Father’s Day Gift Edition

Father’s Day is almost here so you guys better start thinking about what to get your dad. (The ladies have long since purchased their gifts but guys are just now starting to think about what they are going to purchase Saturday night.)

Anyway, don’t forget beer makes a great gift. You could just get dad a case and gift wrap it.

Yeah, that’s fine but there are better ways to go. And thanks to the Internet, EASY ways to go. My suggestion: A Beer Basket. Lets go shopping!

Hey, how ‘bout this one. Available here.

Not bad, but look over here. Available here.

Uh-huh. And what do you think of this? Available here.

Yum. And get a load of this. Available here.

The Beer Baskets all look great. Really. But I think I’ve found THE perfect Father’s Day beer gift. Follow the arrows…

Wait For it...keep scrolling

OH, AWESOME! Beer glasses. No, Beer Goggles! I’ll take two, please. Available here.

Happy Father’s Day!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Traditional Family Values

Can’t get much more traditional than this.
DENVER, Colorado (AP) -- A 15-year-old girl can enter into a common-law marriage
in Colorado, a state appeals court ruled Thursday. Younger girls and boys may also be able to marry.

While the three-judge panel stopped short of setting a specific minimum age for such marriages, it said they could be legal for girls at 12 and boys at 14 under English common law, which Colorado recognizes.


Colorado is one of 10 states, plus the District of Columbia, that recognize common-law marriage, which is based on English law dating back hundreds of years.
The other common laws states are listed here (they’re mostly in the West and South).

I don’t know much about common law marriages but I do know the nature of marriage is constantly changing. For example it wasn’t unusual or even illegal for girls 13-years-old girls to be married in many places in the country. More recently, interracial marriages were still against the law in many places.

My point: those who claim marriage has been this static institution since the dawn of man are full of it. By “it” I mean historical ignorance.

Carbondale Under Siege From Wildlife Again

Animals continue to terrorize Carbondale and the locals are fighting back -hard. Now that the killer deer have been (for now) neutralized, a new offensive has been launched against emus. Yes, emus. You know those large flightless birds that look like ostriches.

Details from The Southern Illinoisian:

CARBONDALE - When an emu in Carbondale failed to surrender to police Wednesday, officers were given no choice but to put the large bird down.

Sgt. Mike Osifcin said the Carbondale Police Department got its first emu call at 11:19 a.m. The bird was near the intersection of Charles and New Era roads.

At 12:09 p.m., another call came. This time, the mobile emu was on Oakland Street, near the cemetery.

At 12:22 p.m., it was at 803 N. Allyn Street. The bird was pecking on a window of a residence. The owner was not amused.

Not amused indeed. Damn emus! Why don’ they go back to where they came from. Sure they come here to do work American birds won't but look how they act. Time to build a fence at the border with Australia!

Osifcin said several animal control agencies and veterinarian offices were contacted in an effort to locate the emu's owner. No one seemed to know where the bird had come from or where it belonged.

One thing was clear, however. According to all animal experts contacted, emus can be dangerous. Vicious, in fact.
Yes, never fuck with an emu if you know what’s good for you. Especially if its drunk.
Their kick and sharp toenails, Osifcin was told, can cause serious damage to anyone who gets too close to a frightened or angry bird. There is really no way to capture the bird, he was told. It would be necessary to destroy it.

"They are bigger and stronger than you think," he said.
Especially if it’s drunk.

Osifcin said he shot the bird five times with a shotgun from about 12 feet away.

"It didn't phase him," he said.

Another officer was called to the scene, armed with a rifle. Three rifle shots later, the bird was down.
Never fuck with a cop with a rifle. Especially if he’s drunk.

Osifcin said a considerable audience assembled from the neighborhood and nearby
construction crew. The emu kept running up and down a fence line on the Allyn Street property. Clearly, Osifcin said, the bird was familiar with a fence.
Insidious bird! Learned in the ways of…fences!

"I think he's going to be buried somewhere," he said, noting the city street crew removed the dead bird from the residential neighborhood.

Osifcin said there have not been reports of any damage caused by the bird. He said this is the first emu complaint he is aware of in recent city history.

Sure, in recent history but in the pioneer days emus roamed the streets of Carbondale at will, raping, stealing and spitting at terrified townsfolk. Especially when they were drunk.

No word on if the big bird will be buried in the cities old Emu Cemetery.

The Funny Truth

From The Daily Show’s Rob Corddry on President Bush’s quickie visit to Iraq this week:
Just his being there for five hours makes a statement. It told the Iraqi people: "I'm with you. I stand behind you. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm getting the fuck out of here."
Last night Jon Stewart also chimed in on the visit, commenting something like, “Saying you’ve been to Iraq after visiting only the Green Zone is like going to Olive Garden and saying you were in Italy.”

Where Have All the Pictures Gone?

Open letter to JeromeProphet:
Hey Dude,

Where’d the pictures go? I haven’t seen any original photography on your blog since early May. Good commentary but no pics. What gives?

I ask because after reading this article in the SJ-R about Union Square Park nearing completion, I wanted to rush over to your site to see the latest photos. It was then I realized you’ve been blogging sans photos of late. Why?

Just wondering.

The Eleventh Hour
Does this violate some rule of blogging ethics to ask this on my blog and not his?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Air Rendezvous on the Airwaves

I see the Air Rendezvous folks have launched an advertising campaign essentially reminding us that the air show is still way cool even if the Blue Angels aren’t here. Good, I couldn’t agree more. There’s lots of fun to be had even without a huge headline act. The ads don’t mention the dodgeball however.

Gas Welfare

I couldn’t believe it the first time I saw the GM commercials on TV offering to subsidize gas prices if only you buy their gas guzzling cars. Ezra Klein puts it this way:

Right now, remember, GM is offering a year of unlimited gasoline at $1.99 a gallon for buyers of certain cars, trucks, and SUVs. Good plan? Sure is -- it's unlikely to cost more than a $1,000 per customer, but will have far more resonance than a similarly hefty rebate. That said, it's a treatment of symptoms so GM can avoid a cure; pay for the consumer's gasoline so they'll buy your inefficient autos. A better strategy might include more fuel efficient cars, but that's apparently out of the question.
In terms of the public good, this is absolutely one of the worst ideas to come along in a long time. Gas prices too high? Don’t improve fuel efficiency that might help bring those prices back down, just subsidize the high prices. What a crock.

But does anyone care? I think people do. I have no idea how this marketing campaign is working but I would think most people with a conscience see through this ploy? I know the concept has really turned me off to GM. This corporate crassness should not be rewarded. Don’t buy their cars, GM obviously doesn’t give a damn about anything other than short-term financial gain.


I almost forgot...

It's Flag Day

Did you know other countries have Flag Days? It's true. Denmark's is tomorrow.

Ring Tone-Deaf

Perhaps you’ve seen the stories about the new cell phone ring tones the kds are all getting. You know, the one that allegedly only teenagers can hear. The insidious ring tone of youth is supposedly being used by students to avoid detection by teachers who are way to old to hear the stundents' cell phone ring.

Well I’m here to brag that I CAN hear it and I haven’t been a teenager for decades.

Here is a link to the ring tone. Give it a try. Hear it and you’re young; don’t hear it and you're so fucking old!

Oil Alternatives

No, not petroleum –cooking oil. Or, more precisely, fast food cooking grease. Here’s yet another fast food place saying an alternative to the high fat junk they cook their food in is just around the corner.

This time it’s KFC:
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (AP) -- A doctor and a consumer group have sued KFC in an effort to stop the chicken chain from cooking with high-fat partially hydrogenated oil.


KFC spokeswoman Laurie Schalow called the lawsuit frivolous and said the company will fight it in court. Schalow said KFC is looking at using other types of oil for cooking, but it is committed to maintaining "KFC's unique taste and flavor."
Yeah, sure it’s looking. Looking real hard, I’m sure.

Once again, the main culprit is trans fats. I still say get rid of them.

Give That Man a Raise!

Can you think of anyone less deserving of a pay raise than Dick Cheney? I can’t. But lookee here:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Despite record low approval ratings, House lawmakers Tuesday embraced a $3,300 pay raise that will increase their salaries to $168,500.


The pay raise would also apply to the vice president -- who is president of the Senate -- congressional leaders and Supreme Court justices.

This year, Vice President Cheney, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Chief Justice John Roberts receive $212,100.
The man should be fired not given a raise. Thank God the “mastermind” behind the Iraq debacle will be out of our lives forever in January 2009, if not sooner. (I say sooner because I’m wondering if Patrick Fitzgerald has yet landed his biggest fish in the Plame investigation. Rove got away but will Cheney?)

I have no problem giving lawmakers, judges and other government officials regular pay increases but some people need to be denied as a public rebuke even if, like Cheney, they don’t need the money in the first place.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Gas Math

OK, so they spilled 85,000 gallons of gasoline in Macon County (the SJ-R is reporting that figure, up from the earlier estimate of 72,000). So that means at $3.00/gal., which is about the price at lunch today at my neighborhood gas station, the spill cost $255,000.00 retail. And that doesn’t include the cost of cleanup. Wow.

The Bear Facts

Liberal polar bears are refusing to deny global warming.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea may be turning to cannibalism because longer seasons without ice keep them from getting to their natural food, a new study by American and Canadian scientists has found.
But they sure are cute in those Coke commercials.

Supplemental Beer Blogging: Prostate Edition

Man, there’s been a lot of beer news lately. I first heard the latest on WUIS this morning: Beer can help prevent prostate cancer –if you drink yourself to death.
CORVALLIS, Ore. - A chief ingredient in beer shows potent promise in preventing prostate cancer and prostate enlargement, according to a new study by Oregon State University researchers.

The research, published in a recent issue of Cancer Letters, shows that xanthohumol, a compound found in hops, inhibits NF-kappaB protein in cells along the surface of the prostate gland, said Emily Ho, assistant professor of nutrition and exercise sciences in OSU's College of Health and Human Sciences and a researcher with OSU's Linus Pauling Institute.

The protein acts like a signal switch that turns on a variety of animal and human malignancies, including prostate cancer.
OK, but here’s the bad news (or good news if REALLY like beer):
Xanthohumol is present in such small amounts that a person would have to drink more than 17 beers to consume the same amount found effective in the study…
That’s 17 beers per day. That might be bit over some folk’s limit. On the other hand, it may account for the low rate of prostate cancer among college students.

Update: Maybe if you drink some coffee with those 17 beers.

Our Storm Story

The Liberal Weather Channel is going to be featuring Springfield’s March 12 tornados in an upcoming edition of their series Storm Stories. That according to this article in the SJ-R. The half hour episode of the regular series will air on July 16 at 7:30 pm.

The show will feature video shot by a Springfield resident who grabbed his video camera during the storm rather than seek shelter. Must we encourage this behavior? Oh well, as long as it’s in the name of our entertainment. There is no higher calling.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Springfield Blogoshpere: Alive & Well

I’ve finally gotten around to updating my blog roll. I’ve added three great local blogs; two of them fairly new while the other has been around for a while even if I didn’t know it.

Just two Guys and Unspelled I’ve mentioned before and, while relatively new to the way-kewl Springfield blogging scene, are both lots of fun.

I’m ThirtyWHAT? has been around longer than my blog but somehow completely missed my attention. And that’s too bad because Thirtywhat has a really, really well written blog.

Check out all three.

Supplemental Beer Blogging: T-Shirt Wisdom Edition

From Eric Zorn’s blog:

Beauty is in the eyes of the beer holder. ...slogan on a T-shirt seen on a guy on the sidewalk near Irving Park Road and Keeler Avenue Saturday.

The Classics Never Get Old

On the occasion of Tom DeLay (finally) leaving the House of Representatives last week, Kevin Drum passes along one of DeLay’s classic lines. Commenting on the Columbine shootings in 1999, DeLay said:
Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills.
Oh, the modern Republican Party!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Hitler Channel

When former presidential candidate Al Gore recently released his film about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, it was universally derided by the conservative media. That’s no surprise but the level of vitriol was. On more than one occasion Gore has been compared to Hitler for making the movie. The childish conservative thinking went something like, Gore is lying – Hitler told lies – Gore = Hitler. Or something.

Of course Gore isn’t lying and the right wing in this country continues to ignore science ands facts and is in complete denial about global warming.

Aside from the fact that global warming is considered very real by nearly every scientist not on Big Oil’s payroll, conservatives continue to hold their ears and scream La-La-La-La-La. Or Hitler-Hitler-Hitler, in some cases.

Anyway, adding to the current the wingnuts continue to furiously paddle against is none other than The Weather Channel. Yes, The Weather Channel is officially taking a stand and is opening recognizing global warming as a problem; a problem made worse by the actions of man.

Now this will surely send Wingnutia into hysterics. Expect boycotts of TWC, denunciations of those liberal meteorologists and calls for retractions from The Hitler Channel. (TWC is lying – Hitler told lies – TWC =Hitler)

Better yet, expect a conservative weather channel to be launched by Rupert Murdoch or someone of his ilk and wealth. Perhaps the Fox Weather Channel. FWC could then:
Ignore global warming

Discontinue forecasts for the liberal elite coasts and only predict the weather for the “Heartland”

Identify areas of the world where the weather is now good enough to invade militarily

Do specials on how Iraqi’s are much happier with their weather now that they have been liberated

Issue warnings for places where the weather is conducive to having dirty hippie liberals burn the flag

Warn rich residents of areas experiencing extreme weather to take shelter lest they get killed and their estates be subjected to a “death tax”

Have Pat Robertson predict what sinful communities will be hit by natural disasters due to their evil ways
The Fox Weather Channel: I wonder what their slogan will be, perhaps Fair and Mild?

Right Place, Right Time

It would be truly interesting if, in fact, it was a plane from Springfield’s 183rd Fighter Wing that dropped the bombs that killed terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq this week. But interesting is about it.

I don’t think this tells us anything special about the 183rd as this State Journal-Register article seems to suggest. Particularly puzzling is this paragraph from the story:
And if the 183rd killed al-Zarqawi, that also would buttress arguments from supporters of the unit who believe the wing was unfairly targeted by last year’s Air Force base realignment process. That process resulted in a decision to move the 183rd’s jets out of Springfield.
Really? How so? I don’t get the connection. So, if the 183rd had taken out Zarqawi this time last year, they would not have been “realigned” and slated to be moved out of Springfield? That doesn’t seem likely.

Hey, there’s no one more pissed off about the 183rd being moved out of Springfield than I. Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that. But I have no reason to believe the realignment was because the 183rd wasn’t tough enough on terror or good enough in combat.

Look, the 183rd is as good as most Air Force and other Air National Guard units. The pilots are top-notch and they know how to use their equipment.

That said, the mission to kill Zarqawi was not a particularly tough or unusual one. Its’ not like the pilot, whoever he is, had to fight his way through a hail of missile and anti-aircraft fire. No, he was given an undefended target and hit it with the skill that would be expected of any F-16 pilot. Nor did the pilot go hunting for Zarqawi and, using his keen sight and hunting skills, find him and blast him on the fly. No, we knew where he was and our guy flew there and dropped his laser and satellite guided bombs.

Again, I’m not saying what the F-16 pilot did was no big deal or that it didn't take skill, just that it was, in the scheme of things, rather routine and I’m not sure how this “would buttress arguments from supporters of the unit who believe the wing was unfairly targeted by last year’s Air Force base realignment process”. The writer of the SJ-R article doesn’t bother to explain that.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Who Put the Funk in Funk's Grove?

So, the Funk’s Grove rest area off of I-55 between Springfield and Bloomington has been designated the best rest area in the state.

Well, it is nice but the family and I laugh every time we pass it. You see, on a trip north while Mrs. TEH was pregnant with my son a few years ago, we had to make an emergency stop at the Funk’s Grove rest area. Morning sickness had gotten the better of her and she wound up loudly puking in the ladies room. She could be heard throughout the facility. Some say you can still hear the echoes of that episode reverberating off the walls.

Asked to comment today on the awarding of the rest stop’s new best-of status, Mrs. TEH would only say, “It wasn’t the best of anything for the people there that day”.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Two Guys and a Blog

Check out a new entry in the Springfield Blogosphere: Just Two Guys. John and Micah have lots of bloggity goodness posted already so go see. And since they gave me a nice review today, it’s the least I can do (and I’m always looking to do the least I can) to give them a plug. As always, I’m behind on updating the blog roll but Just Two Guys will be up there soon.

Small Town

Ha, ha. Springpatch.

The GOP Greatest Hits

Silly me. I thought the Republicans in Congress were going to run through their perennial losing pet pandering legislation all in one week or so. That would include gay marriage, flag burning and elimination of the estate tax. And I was almost right. Almost because I forgot one other favorite that they're also getting to this week: cutting funding for public broadcasting!
WASHINGTON -- House Republicans yesterday revived their efforts to slash funding for public broadcasting, as a key committee approved a $115 million reduction in the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that could force the elimination of some popular PBS and NPR programs.
Then get a load of this stinking pile of GOP crap.

``We've got to keep our priorities straight," said Representative Ralph Regula, an Ohio Republican who is chairman of the appropriations panel that approved the cut. `` You're going to choose between giving a little more money to handicapped children versus providing appropriations for public broadcasting."
Mr. Regula, do you think we’re idiots? You guys keep cutting taxes for the rich and wasting HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars on swell adventures like Iraq and then come whining that there isn’t enough money (a miniscule amount in Federal budget terms) to fund public broadcasting? Look, you can make an argument that government shouldn’t fund any media operation (I don’t buy it but you can make the argument) but to say that it shouldn’t be funded because it’s too expensive is just bullshit.

Why does anyone vote for these guys? They've run the country into the ground and are the most petty, self-centered, greedy, anti-intellectual morons to ever inhabit the halls of power in Washington.

Get Your Illinois Gear

The State of Illinois is promoting tourism here by, among other things, marketing Illinois “stuff” featuring Illinois landmarks and icons. Once again, our friends at Cafepress are doing the actual selling. One set of promotional items features the Illinois State Fair Butter Cow.

You can get Butter Cow mugs, shirts, posters, tote bags, bibs and more.

Other Illinois merchandise lines include pictures of the Collinsville Catsup Bottle, the Morton Pumpkin Fest, Cave-in-Rock and a number of others.

I’m not sure this stuff is going to be wildly popular but I might take a Butter Cow t-shirt.

Friday Beer Blogging: Just The Facts Edition

Beer facts! Useless beer facts courtesy of The Opinionated beer Page.
The first beer cans were produced in 1935.

12 oz of a typical American pale lager actually has fewer calories than 2 percent milk or apple juice.

On October 17 of 1814, a rupture in a brewery tank containing 3,500 barrels of beer caused a flood of fatal proportions in the London parish of St. Giles. The wave of beer swept victims off their feet, dashed them against walls, and buried them under debris. Two houses were demolished in the sea of beer suddenly loosed upon town, and nine people lost their lives in the flood of suds.

An 18-year study by the National Institute on Aging found that 50-plus men who consumed a drink a day during middle age scored significantly better on cognitive tests later in life than did non-drinkers.

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer, and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honey month", or what we know today as the "honeymoon".

According to a diary entry from a passenger on the Mayflower, the pilgrims made their landing at Plymouth Rock, rather than continue to their destination in Virginia, due to lack of beer.
A beer is NOT just a beer. All told, there are 27 different styles of beer, with a further breakdown of 49 substyles.

Studying the experimentally induced intoxicated behavior of ants in 1888, naturalist John Lubbock noticed that the insects that had too much to drink were picked up by nest mates and carried home. Conversely, drunken strangers were summarily tossed in a ditch.

Beck's in not only Germany's top export beer, it also accounts for 85% of all German beer exports to the United States.
Know your beer facts.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


I’ve been seeing some version of this story (not necessarily involving Wendy’s) for years now and I really wish it would just come true someday.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Wendy's International Inc. said Thursday it will begin frying french fries and breaded chicken items with non-hydrogenated oil, continuing a shift to offer healthier menu choices.

The country's third-largest burger chain said the blend of corn and soy oil has zero grams of artery-clogging trans fat per serving and will cut trans fat in those menu items by 95 percent. Wendy's will begin using the oil in its 6,300 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada in August.
August. OK, we’ll see.

I’ve long thought the FDA or some regulatory agency should just ban trans fats. I don’t know how practical that is; I’m sure it would have to be phased out over a long period of time. But really, aren’t there good alternatives to trans fats? And nothing good comes from ingesting the crap. Let’s just do away with it –get it out of the food supply- and move on.

It's Miller Time

Capitol Fax Blog does some righteous beer blogging. C’mon Rich, leave something for the rest of us to do.

Deer Area 51

This seems a little suspicious...
CARBONDALE - The deer Southern Illinois University Carbondale officials killed after the latest attack Monday night is being kept in cold storage, waiting analysis tests, a campus wildlife scientist says.

Eric Hellgren, director of the SIUC Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory, said the university is waiting for permission from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to have the animal checked out in the campus' diagnostic lab. Hellgren said researchers weren't looking for anything particular; they just wanted to take some basic samples.
Oh sure, nothing to see here, just move along. Time to call in Molder and Scully?

Supplemental Beer Blogging: Popularity Edition

Gad! College kids like their iPods more than beer. Silly kids.
SAN JOSE, California (AP) -- College life is not just about drinking beer.

In a rare instance, Apple Computer Inc.'s iconic iPod music player surpassed beer drinking as the most "in" thing among undergraduate college students, according to the latest biannual market research study by Ridgewood, New Jersey-based Student Monitor.


In the year-ago study, only 59 percent of students named the iPod as "in," putting
the gadget well below alcohol-related activities.

This year, drinking beer and, a social networking Web site, were tied for second most popular, with 71 percent of the students identifying them as "in."

The only other time beer was temporarily dethroned in the 18 years of the survey was in 1997 -- by the Internet, said Eric Weil, a managing partner at Student Monitor.
Think how popular my Beer Blogging would be with college kids if only this market research took it into account. I mean, it combines beer with the internet! I just know I’d be the most “in” thing on campus if only given the chance.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Hey Hey, My My

There may be no statistical significance to this, but doesn’t it seem like a lot of rock musicians aren’t making it out of their 50s? Just this week, Billy Preston died at 59 and the last Grateful Dead keyboard player passed away at 51. In recent years we’ve lost George Harrison, Joe Strummer, three of Ramones, and John Entwistle. And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Lifestyle can play a part, sure. Harrison smoked and got cancer; Entwistle had cocaine in his system when he was found dead of a heart attack. Still, it seems rockers die young even when they’re, well, not so young anymore.

The Deer Hunter

The SIU killer deer, at least one of them, has met her match:
CARBONDALE - Southern Illinois University Carbondale police and wildlife officials destroyed a deer Tuesday morning, after a campus police officer shot it Monday night trying to protect a pedestrian from attack.

Police report around 7 p.m. Monday an officer on patrol near the campus lake on Douglas Drive shot a female deer with his handgun, as the animal charged him, injuring his forearm. The officer came between a jogger and the deer, which officials reported was crossing the street and going after the jogger. As the officer told the pedestrian to back away, the deer attacked him, leading him to fire his weapon. The deer was wounded and ran back into the woods.

After consulting with university and state wildlife officials, police found the animal
early Tuesday morning and destroyed it.
Police say they later discovered the gun they thought the deer was carrying was really a water pistol.

And the story may not be over:
…SIUC Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory Director Eric Hellgren said killing the deer may solve the problem.

"If it is one deer that has been doing all this, that would mean the problem is gone," he said. "If it's multiple deer, we might continue to see these kinds of incidents."
Stay tuned. There may be more deer "sleeper cells".

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Support The Troops!

Why do I not find this hard to believe?
When the Senate took $1.9 billion out of the war supplemental to fund border security last month, $1.6 billion came out of funds to replace equipment destroyed or worn out from four years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The money was diverted at the behest of the White House in a last-minute bid to address growing political unrest about illegal immigration. The Office of Management and Budget championed the change without input from the Army or the Marine Corps whose budgets were sliced, a Pentagon budget official told United Press International last week.
The proverbial robbing of Peter to pay Paul. Time to cut taxes for the rich once again!

Who's going to clean up all the messes this administration is making? The poor sap who wins in 2008 I suppose. Maybe a new (read: Democratic) Congress in 2006 can get things started, or at least stop the bleeding (literally and figuratively).

Legend Lost

Ah crap, another one’s gone.
PHOENIX, Arizona (AP) -- Billy Preston, the exuberant keyboardist who landed dream gigs with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and enjoyed his own series of hit singles, including "Outta Space" and "Nothing From Nothing," died Tuesday at 59.
I guess he’d been sick for a while with kidney disease. I had no idea. Sad how we lose track of these guys once they're out of the spotlight.

Too bad he slipped off the rock radar screen after the mid 1970s; he was quite a talent in his day. “Will It Go 'Round In Circles" was a hit when I was like 13 and I remember particularly liking that one.

Third World Dictator Cities of Illinois

I had to laugh at a quote in the SJ-R Online Breaking News. Urbana Alderwoman Heather Stevenson was the only dissenting vote on a smoking ban ordinance passed yesterday in that city.
“I don't think we should be a Third World dictator city that tells these people they have to go smoke-free," she said.
OK Heather, whatever.

Third World Dictator Cities in Illinois, according to the SJ-R article:
…include Chicago, Bloomington, Normal and Springfield. Cook County also has enacted a ban that will affect more than 100 Chicago suburbs, and similar ordinances are being considered in more than three dozen other communities.
So my entry for best word to describe Illinois is: Illiniosistan!

The Devil Is In The Details

Happy 666 Day! CNN investigates if we are all doomed.

Have a nice day, you little devils.


Rich Miller is asking readers to come up with one word, just one, to describe Illinois.

Some of my favorites posted so far:


Yeah, I think Beefy does the state justice.

The Post-Graduate

Oh great. They just can’t leave well-enough alone –ever. I just saw this item about plans for a (book) sequal to The Graduate.
Elusive writer Charles Webb said Wednesday he has signed a publishing deal for a sequel to his 1963 novel "The Graduate," which introduced the memorable love triangle of twentysomething Benjamin Braddock, his sweetheart Elaine and her seductive mother, Mrs. Robinson.

The 1967 film adaptation made a star of Dustin Hoffman and created a screen icon in Anne Bancroft's Mrs. Robinson.

Decades on, Webb is ready to reveal the characters' fate.

"It was quite a while till I could figure out what they did next," he said.

"Home School" picks up the lives of Braddock and Elaine about 10 years on, living in upstate New York with their two children and trying to keep Mrs. Robinson at bay.
OK, let me say here that I didn’t even know one of my all-time favorite movies was a novel before a film. And for now, plans appear to be just for a book but can the film sequel be far behind? Oh, I hope not.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Divorce Belt

While the wingnuts are busying themselves “defending” marriage against including “queers” they failed to notice that it is they, not those scary fags, that are actually bad for marriage:

The Associated Press, using data supplied by the US Census Bureau, found that the highest divorce rates are to be found in the Bible Belt. The AP report stated that "the divorce rates in these conservative states are roughly 50 percent above the national average of 4.2 per thousand people." The 10 Southern states with some of the highest divorce rates were Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. By comparison nine states in the Northeast were among those with the lowest divorce rates: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
I propose a constitutional amendment banning the marriage of conservatives. They are clearly ruining the sanctity of marriage. Hell, Rush Limbaugh alone has been divorced three times.

By the way, in an act of mind-bending, Orwellian logic, White House spokesman Tony Snow today equated the anti-gay marriage amendment to “civil rights" legislation. Up is down.

Stunt Men

Why is anyone still taking the proposed sell-off of the state lottery as anything other than a political ploy by Governor Blagojevich? I hope Dick Durbin’s comments in this SJ-R article were a response to a direct question about the "plan", because I hate to think he takes the idea seriously enough to bring it up on his own. Surely Durbin doesn’t believe the sell off is really going to happen or was ever intended to happen. Still, I guess he has to say something if asked, no matter how hypothetical the scenario.

Poor Dick Durbin. He’s faced with the lottery political stunt here at home and the gay marriage/flag burning political stunts in Washington. What’s a guy got to do to get to some serious governing?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Water Blogged

Does anyone ever lose their water?

I walked into our bathroom today and noticed an unopened bottle of water sitting on the sink. Thinking up some snarky explanation, I decided it was there in event someone got trapped in the bathroom they would at least have water. Then I looked at the sink and realized even that isn’t funny (or maybe it is even more so) because there is running water from the sink available.

Which got me thinking…

Does anyone really ever lose running water in these parts? Certainly not anywhere near as often as you might lose electricity or phone service or cable. In fact, I don’t ever remember not having tab water –ever.

OK, if your pipes freeze in the winter, you lose water service. Maybe, depending on what pipe freezes. And, yes, there is the occasional boil order but they mostly happen in Loami or some other small town and even then you can still shower in the stuff. Short of not paying your bill, I can’t think of a reason you would ever lose access to your tap water.

I’m not sure why I bring this up. Maybe to promote appreciation for something we all take for granted. Something that people in most third world countries and the recently “liberated” Iraq would kill for.

When Videos Go Bad

Ha, I resemble that remark:

If you're a "I wish I was young again" person like me and find yourself watching a lot of VH1 Classics, you may have noticed a few things about your favorite vids that were not so apparent when you first viewed them.

That from Usedwigs in a post titled “Unintentionally Gay Videos”. Go read and then watch the videos that definitely don’t stand the test of time.

Hat tip to Unfogged.

Deja Rendezvous

Air Rendezvous 2006 will be over three weeks from now and I’m beginning to wonder if anyone will notice it was even here. There really isn’t much going on this year to draw a crowd.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Air Rendezvous, go every year, and will go this year. But there's no “big name” headline act this year like the Air Force Thunderbirds or Navy Blue Angels (who were in the Quad Cities this weekend). Most of the acts that are going to be here are the same ones that appear nearly every year.

But wait! There is something new and perhaps this will be the motivation for thongs to come out to Abe Field: A dodgeball tournament (go here, scroll down). Yup, what air show would be complete without dodgeball. Interested? Get your registration form here (pdf).

Silly me, I used to wonder what the jet-powered truck that shows up every year had to do with an air show, but now it seems entirely relevant compared to dodgeball.

And while I’m doing some petty bitching, can I ask why the Air Force isn’t doing Stealth fly-overs anymore. During the 1990s you couldn’t go to an air show without being buzzed by either a Stealth Fighter (F-117A) or a Stealth Bomber (B-2). And please, no jokes about how they are there, we just can’t see them. I have to assume this is an Air Force decision because I can’t imagine the organizers of air shows not making every effort to get one of these coolest-of-all-planes to make an appearance. That is, if they aren’t busy organizing dodgeball games.

Update: Read Job Conger’s thoughts in Comments. All of what he says is true. Let me be clear, I still love the Rendezvous and will go every year until the only thing left is the dodgeball. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the air show itself, this year or any otehr year (but I reserve the right to make fun of dodgeball competitions).

I’m just saying there is nothing new or big that might draw larger crowds this year. And that may not be a big deal at this point. People, like me, who love air shows, are going to go whether or not the Blue Angels are there. I know you can’t get the big name acts every year and the organizers do a great job. Besides, I have a nearly three-year-old in whom I’m trying to instill a love of aviation, and you bet I’m taking him. He’ll learn to love airplanes, dammit, or there will be a severe grounding in his future.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Please Clarify

Dawn Summers thinks I'm funny. Is that ha-ha funny or this guy's-off-his-nut funny?

Another Springfield Blogger Makes Something of Himself

On the heels of Jerome Prophet and his photos being picked up by the Illinois Times, we have the talented Dan Naumovich (BlogFreeSpringfield) being picked up by the State Journal-Register. This appeared in Sunday’s paper.

I’ve long thought Dan’s posts at BlogFreeSpringfield were, post for post, the best in town. Posting only one or two items a week, Dan’s BFS values quality over quantity. Bottom line: he’s a good writer and the SJ-R recognized it. Good for them, good for Dan and good for Springfield.

It’s kind of cool how this blogging thing has facilitated the exposure of previously undiscovered talent. JP for his photography and Dan for his writing. Congratulations guys.

Now if there was just a market for good beer blogging…

Friday, June 02, 2006


Call it the Red Mennace…from outer space.
As bizarre as it may seem, the sample jars brimming with cloudy, reddish rainwater in Godfrey Louis's laboratory in southern India may hold, well, aliens.


Louis has isolated strange, thick-walled, red-tinted cell-like structures about 10 microns in size. Stranger still, dozens of his experiments suggest that the particles may lack DNA yet still reproduce plentifully, even in water superheated to nearly 600 degrees Fahrenheit . (The known upper limit for life in water is about 250 degrees Fahrenheit .)

So how to explain them? Louis speculates that the particles could be extraterrestrial bacteria adapted to the harsh conditions of space and that the microbes hitched a ride on a comet or meteorite that later broke apart in the upper atmosphere and mixed with rain clouds above India.
Sound wild? Check out one of the “alternate” explanations:
Other theories have implicated…a fine mist of blood cells produced by a meteor striking a high-flying flock of bats.
Umm, is there a None of the Above option? I’m always suspicious of thes kinds of seemingly fantastic stories but who knows, maybe this time we really have been invaded by little green men, er, red cells.

The River of Banks

Maybe it’s my Westside-centric view of the world but I have to agree with Marie that there seems to be some sort of bank building boom going on in Springfield. There are a ton of new banks open or being built. I just noticed yet another one a few days ago going up at Koke Mill and Old Jack.

Was there a bank shortage before? Are we going to get over saturated and some banks will start going out of business? Are people using more than one bank or switching every so often?

I’m quite certain "no" is the answer to all those questions. So what gives? Has banking simply become efficient enough that banks can survive on an ever smaller slice of the banking public? I suspect "yes" is the answer to that question.

Friday Beer Blogging: Summer Edition

June 1st marks the beginning of meteorological summer (as opposed to the official start of summer later in the month) so I thought I’d feature a few summer brews.

Let’s start with an Anchor Summer Beer.

Follow that with a River Horse Summer Blonde.

And then let’s try an Alaskan Summer Ale.

Finally, if summer beer isn’t enough, try a Beer Margarita. Not sure this is my cup of beer, so to speak, but the recipe is here. Don’t plan on driving after drinking this stuff.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

More Holidays!

J.P. has some good ideas.


Two things I missed yesterday while out of town:
Five inches of rain

Gas went up 23 cents a gallon
Can’t turn my back even for a minute.