Tuesday, February 28, 2006
I like Lean Cuisines. They are just right portion-wise for me, especially if eaten with a salad. I’ve been eating them for more than a dozen years now on a fairly regular basis. They’re easy to pop into the microwave, aren’t bursting with fat and they keep me from over eating. As such, I was pleased to try their new Panini sandwiches. They’re great for lunch when I REALLY crave sandwiches.
But I’ve been having a hard time finding them in the grocery store lately. I figured I was just shopping at times when some things just hadn’t been restocked. But tonight at Jewel, I noticed a sign the store had but up on the freezer case in front of the Lean Cuisines. It indicated the Paninis may be sold out due to popular demand, Stouffer's (who makes Lean Cuisines) was having trouble keeping up with demand and that they should have the supply problem solved by June of 2006. Why June, I haven’t a clue.
In all my years shopping for food, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a sign. It’s hard to believe there has been such a run on microwave sandwiches. Has there ever been a food item so popular it took the manufacturer 4 months to meet demand?
Update: Or is this just a sly marketing ploy? After reading the sign in the store, I bought two more Paninis (they might run out!) even though I have some and home and had not inteded to buy more right away.
A Pontiac, Illinois gas station is the target of one of those completely false emails that gets unthinkingly forwarded by your gullible (and usually right wing) friends. The sense of victimhood is so prevalent in conservative America that they have to make shit up just to get their daily adrenalin fix.
The gist of the email is that the “Pakistani” owner of the gas station is refusing to sell merchandise to members of the U.S. armed forces or their families. For good measure, and predictably, the email contains a good dose of anti-immigrant sentiment with a touch of racism. The vigilante ending is exciting too.
I’m not sure why partisans, who are surely convinced of the rightness of their cause, find it necessary to come up with bullshit propaganda to advance their agenda. If your world view is so correct, wouldn’t the truth be witness to this?
I’m glad to see people are taking advantage of the new early voting law. But given the fact that the only place you can vote early here in Sangamon County is at the County Clerk’s office, I’m wondering what the real advantage is. I mean, it’s always been possible to vote absentee if you thought you were not going to be able to make it to the polls on Election Day. I voted absentee once years ago and I don’t remember it being a big hassle other than actually getting my ass into the County Clerk’s office. I’m certainly not opposed to the early voting in any way, but given that convenience, I think, is often a huge factor in who votes, I’m just wondering if it’s going to make a real difference if it’s virtually the same as voting absentee.
Monday, February 27, 2006
I hadn’t been checking in with Riverbend, the Iraqi blogger living in Baghdad, in recent months but when things began to melt down there last week I revisited her blog. As usual her posts were very revealing.
First, this post seems to suggest, from her perspective, Iraq may not be poised for all-out civil war. She lives in a mixed neighborhood (Shiites, Sunnis and Christians) and doesn’t sense a lot of hostility between her neighbors. Now, this may be the situation across Iraq or, by virtue of the fact her neighborhood is mixed and therefore more tolerant, it may be an anomaly. Let’s hope for the former.
Second, she has an amazing account of what it is like to face nighttime raids by the military in search of insurgents. In this case it was a sweep being conducted by Iraqi forces. But the fear her family experienced, even though they had nothing to hide, is vividly portrayed. Amazing. And heartbreaking.
February 25, 2006--With his administration freighted by scandal, Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich (D), is a well-funded but controversial incumbent. He has yet to reach the 50% level of voter even the weakest Republican in the field. That's a sure sign of potential vulnerability.It’s hard for me to believe Blago’s going to lose. He gets a lot of negative press for doing some negative things, but outside of state workers I don’t think he’s pissed off enough people to not be reelected. But I could be wrong.
The governor has nonetheless gained ground since our last poll, when he did not reach even 40% support in a match-up with the strongest Republican candidate, State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka.
Blagojevich now leads Topinka 42% to 36%. He leads businessman Jim Oberweis 49% to 37%, leads businessman Ron Gidwitz 47% to 33%, and leads State Senator Bill Brady 47% to 29%.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Ah-nold speaks; you no comprende. From today’s all-Republican day on Meet the Press:
RUSSERT: ….Ports. Do you believe that this deal should go forward to allow the United Arab Emirates company control six American ports, operate them?It freaks me out that anyone is seriously asking Arnold Schwarzenegger about this. But he makes a few good points: we do have “the globalization” and we do “want to do trades”. This guy could be George W. Bush’s ad-lib writer.
SCHWARZENEGGER: …And it's a very complex issue, because, you know, we have the globalization, we want to do trades with everyone all over the world, but at the same time, globalization crosses with terrorism now, and there's that whole fear. And then we have villainized the Arab world also so much that now Arab country -- or company taking over our ports and maybe have some influence in our security, it freaks everyone out, and rightfully so.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
The mass departure from this earthly plane by 1960’s TV stars continues unabated. Don Knotts passed away Friday.
I guess I wasn’t anything close to being a huge fan of Knotts or the Barney Fife character, but I remember watching an A&E Biography on him about a year ago that was really interesting. Actually, it was Knotts that was interesting. Watching his life story, it was hard to reconcile the man with his often lame characters.
Just as a side note, one of the most disturbing movies I saw as kid was The Incredible Mr. Limpet.
I’m not sure what it was but Knotts’ character, both as fish and human, really creeped me out. It still sends a shiver up my spine just thinking about that movie.
Oh, and don’t even get me started on Mr. Furley.
Still, there’s no doubt about Knotts’ icon status. He led a good life, brought joy to -well, billions I suppose- and certainly gave more than he took. It really is hard to see these guys go.
Sheryl Crow underwent surgery for breast cancer earlier this week, forcing her to cancel a concert tour that included a March 31 performance to open the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington.I know I haven’t said it here lately, so here goes: Fuck Cancer.
The prognosis for a full recovery is excellent, her publicist reported Friday.
The singer-songwriter had the surgery in Los Angeles on Wednesday and is recovering without complications, said Dave Tomberlin, her publicist.
I also haven’t said this often enough: The terrorism that affects most Americans doesn’t grow out of the Middle East, it grows in the form of tumors and affects every family in this country. You want a war on terror? I’ve got one you can spend billions on that might actually make a big difference and it ain’t in Iraq.
Get well, Sheryl.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Ha, ha. Take a look at this from the latest Illinois Times. Duty Rhodes has a local soap opera involving the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department, the radio artist formerly known as One-Eyed Jack and a cell phone call.
The best I can say about this tale is that One Eye is still “a taco short of a combo plate”.
Two weeks ago we looked at the Lincoln connection to beer. In honor of George Washington’s birthday this week, we investigate the our first president’s relationship with beer.
First, we have proof that Washington was indeed a hero:
George Washington, a noted brewer and first President of the United States, had more than the British to battle during America’s war for independence. Upon enlisting, Washington had promised each of his soldiers a quart of beer as a part of their daily rations. As war progressed and supplies diminished, The Continental Congress threatened to eliminate the beer rations. Well, old George would have no part of that and argued to maintain the full beer rations. And we all know the final outcome of that war…sniff…That’s so beautiful, man…sniff
We, know that Washington’s favorite beer was Porter...
But did you know Washington was also a micro brewer. Here’s his recipe for what he called “small beer”:
Take a large Siffer [Sifter] full of Bran Hops to your Taste. -- Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall[ons] into a cooler put in 3 Gall[ons] Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Melasses into the cooler & St[r]ain the Beer on it while boiling Hot. let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yea[s]t if the Weather is very Cold cover it over with a Blank[et] & let it Work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask -- leave the bung open till it is almost don[e] Working -- Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.I discovered here that this recipe will result in a beer that will kick your ass:
Following this recipe exactly will result in a beer with an alcohol content of about 11 percent -- making it at least twice as potent as most of today's commercially brewed domestic beers.It’s also been recorded that George once stopped at the Warren Tavern (witch still exists) in Boston to “have refreshments” with Ben Franklin. Here’s the sign that hangs outside the historic establishment.
Well, Lincoln seems to have been the more temperate of the two men honored this month. Hmmm…maybe we should take a look at Franklin’s beer adventures sometime. I have a feeling he could drink these two under table (and in Washington’s case, probably did).
Thursday, February 23, 2006
As a regular viewer of The Daily Show, I can tell you this does not surprise me a bit. As much as it pains me to defend Rod Blagojevich, I have to say he is far from being the only politician to not realize they were not being interviewed by a real reporter for The Daily Show. I am continually amazed at the number of officials, newsmakers and celebrities that have no idea The Daily Show is fake news. Blago isn't alone by any means.
The Daily Show is fairly well-known news spoof on Comedy Central. You’d think most people would know this, especially those who have to regularly deal with the media. But no. Night after night we watch the secret practical joke unfold with only a few million viewers in on the gag. Strange but true. And you know what, I hope that doesn’t change any time soon.
Update: CNN now has the story.
I’ve never understood how this nation in the 20th (and now the 21st) century still clings to the antiquated method of electing presidents by Electoral College votes. From the day I first learned of this goofiness back in grade school, I’ve always thought it a really bad idea. Of course, what happened in the 2000 election only cemented that opinion.
Now I’m glad to see someone is trying to do something about it and that effort is starting right here in Illinois:
A coalition of former congressmen is launching a campaign to change how Americans select their president by reforming the Electoral College system, saying campaigns for the White House should be reliant on the nationwide popular vote rather than simply the outcome in a handful of swing states.Ironically, I once voted for John Anderson for president (1980) and he got exactly zero electoral votes under our current system. Not that he had a chance of winning the popular vote either but those of us who voted for Anderson were completely shut out of the Electoral College system.
The plan, called the Campaign for the National Popular Vote, will be unveiled in Washington by [former Sen. Birch] Bayh; former Rep. John Anderson, R-Ill.; and other former members of Congress. The effort begins in Illinois, where legislation has been introduced in the General Assembly, followed by California and other states.
I’m not optimistic about this effort succeeding but it’s certainly something I can get behind. I think the biggest impediment is this:
Democrats may stand to gain more from enacting such reforms, considering candidates could increase their margins in heavily populated urban areas that typically favor their party. The reforms also could lend an advantage to independent candidates.Which means Republicans will be totally against this and will likely kill it. To be fair, if the tables were turned, Democrats would likely oppose it too. Still, in the interest of real and fair elections, I wish everyone could see past the partisanship and move to give each person one vote in deciding who leads the nation.
And please, no one tell me “we live in a Republic, not a Democracy”. If I live in a house with a leaky roof I fix it, not just sit there and say, “Well, I live in a leaky house not a dry one.”
Hat tip to Kos.
Two (so far) good Bushisms this week here and here:
''I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company.''
"And so people don't need to worry about security. This deal wouldn't go forward if we were concerned about the security for the United States of America."
Wow, a musician not willing to sell out.
There's a reason you never hear music by the group The Doors used in TV ads. Much to the dismay of his former band mates, Doors drummer John Densmore hasn't allowed any of the band's music to be used in television commercials. Whether it's $15 million offered by Cadillac to use the song "Break On Through (to the Other Side)" in an SUV ad or the $4 million offer from Apple Computer, Densmore hasn't given in. The reason, in his own words:Musicians (or those who own their music) have every right to do whatever they want with their music. For many aging rockers, selling their work to the advertising industry is kind of a built-in retirement plan I suppose. Still, there is something in me that feels compromised whenever I do hear a tune that at some point in my life had some meaning being used to sell cars or financial services. So while it seems insane for Densmore to pass up millions, I have to really respect him and his reasons for doing so (even if Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek, the two other surviving members of The Doors, are less than thrilled).
"People lost their virginity to this music, got high for the first time to this music," Densmore said. "I've had people say kids died in Vietnam listening to this music, other people say they know someone who didn't commit suicide because of this music…. On stage, when we played these songs, they felt mysterious and magic. That's not for rent."
Congratulations to Pleasant Plains Middle School principal John Marsaglia for being named Illinois Middle School Principal of the Year. I’ve known John for a number of years having had two kids in PPMS. I also worked closely with him on the Plains school referendum a few years ago. I’m amazed it’s taken this long for him to be honored. If every school had an administrator like him, our education problems in this country would diminish greatly.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Rich Miller points us to this scary article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
It starts with a lame pun (and I know lame puns):
The national debate over medical marijuana is lighting up in Illinois.Ha, ha. Get it – lighting up. But it gets funnier.
Under a bill that could be debated in Springfield as early as today, patients would be allowed to possess small amounts of marijuana - which advocates say helps pain sufferers, but opponents say would open the door to legalized pot.Sorry but marijuana is not physically addictive. It may be mentally addictive much the same way we get “hooked” on anything that brings us pleasure but it is not addictive in the same way that cocaine or caffeine or nicotine is. But let’s not pick nits, on with the story…
Several groups, including the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Sheriffs' Association, all oppose the bill. Even medical use is too much, they say, because pot is a harmful, addictive drug.
"It's a very frightening situation," said Judy Kreamer, president of Educating Voices Inc., an anti-drug organization based in Naperville, Ill. Children would be the ones most hurt by medical marijuana, she said. "We don't want to be giving kids the message that this is safe, that this is medicine."Well Judy, lots of “safe” medicines you get at the pharmacy should not be taken by children. Children aren’t “hurt” by these medications unless some idiot adult gives it to them. how is this different?
Kreamer said the temptation was too great for people to sell their excess marijuana, which "devastates" the lives of people who use it. Compared with the small number of people who'd be helped by medical marijuana, it isn't worth the risk, she said. She said Illinois would become like California, which has thousands of marijuana "dispensaries" and where, she said, "addicts" run rampant.Holy shit! I was planning a trip to California this spring but in light of these revelations I’m going to have to cancel. Rampant running addicts scare me! And who wants to be subjected to the horrors of pot dispensaries or ill people with no self-control pushing their “excess” pot on school playgrounds? Eeeeek!
Good lord, people, can you get any more hysterical about nothing. The mixed messages kids get are from the kind of bullshit hype presented in this article versus what they know to be true from experience. Lunatics like Kreamer are the ones putting kids at risk by presenting totally incredible arguments that lead kids to believe any anti-drug message is crap.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
George W. Bush has not vetoed a single piece of legislation in either term of his presidency. Yet he’s willing to make this political loser his first:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Tuesday strongly defended a deal that would let a United Arab Emirates-based company run six major U.S. seaports,telling reporters that he would veto any bill to hold up the agreement.Why? Why is Bush so vested in this deal? He has just turned a political storm into a political category 5 hurricane. What interest is served by turning over several major U.S. ports over to a company owned by a foreign government that has a dubious record on terrorism? And why in the world would any American president go to the mat for this deal?
Without getting into all the particulars of the gun control debate, I’ll just say I was glad to see this point made in a discussion (monologue?) on the topic:
No one is a 2nd amendment absolutist, because everyone agrees that there are some types of arms which private citizens may never have, such as tactical nuclear weapons. The debate is clearly over what restrictions we will have over the armaments of private citizens, not whether there should be any.I’ve long argued this to gun rights absolutists who never have a good counter to it. Similarly, I never see gun control advocates pose this. I’m not sure why. No one can make a reasonable argument for privately owning anti-aircraft missiles, mustard gas, weaponized biological agents or even a shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons.
By the way, I’ve already had the tactical nuclear weapons argument. 25 years ago, the man now known as blogger Jerome Prophet and I had this very discussion. He was being a gun ownership absolutists and I was, well, probably being an ass taking it up to the nuke level. Undeterred, JP countered with a ‘why not’, suggesting that mutually assured destruction was just as apt to work on a personal level as it does between nations. What I can’t remember is what we were drinking that night.
I was watching the rebroadcast of a presentation of The Lincoln Family Album on C-SPAN last night. It featured Liam Neeson reading as Abe Lincoln and the magnificent Holly Hunter taking the part of Mary Todd Lincoln. It was a great presentation and got me wondering about the status of the movie about Lincoln that is being made by Steven Spielberg. I hit the internet and to my surprise I found this:
Jeff Wells from over at "Hollywood Elsewhere" recently dropped a surprising bit of news regarding Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Abraham Lincoln biopic which was supposed to start filming immediately following MUNICH with Liam Neeson in the title role. Here's what Wells had to say:Well, if true, that really sucks. To make matters worse, the piece linked to above indicates Spielberg may be forsaking Lincoln for…Indiana Jones IV! Spielberg seems to confirm this here. Maybe Indy will cross paths with Rocky – in the nursing home. Mr. Spielberg, what are you thinking? Illinois tourism was counting on you.
"I spoke to Liam Neeson twice last summer at a couple of post-movie-premiere parties, and he said that the plan was for Steven Spielberg's Abraham Lincoln movie, in which he'll play the title role, to start shooting sometime around March '06. Forget it -- Spielberg's spokesperson Marvin Levy told me yesterday the Lincoln project (which will be based in part upon Doris Kearns Goodwin's recently published book about Lincoln) won't roll anytime soon and is basically up in the air."
Monday, February 20, 2006
I’m generally opposed to raising taxes on gasoline to discourage consumption. I’m all for things like higher CAFE standards but the tax-to-reduce-consumption plan just seems regressive and economically damaging in the short run. However, I do wonder this: given the right circumstances might such taxes actually result in LOWER gas prices.
Here’s what I mean. Say gas is taxed as it is now and it’s running at $2.50/gal. Then there is suddenly a huge disruption is supply and or huge increase in demand. Maybe Iran embargos and Venezuela joins in just for fun while India and China roll out unbelievably cheap domestic cars (an Asian Yugo). Whatever, the market becomes really tight and gas zooms to $6.50/gal. But let’s say a year before that the federal government imposes a $2.00/gal. tax on gasoline spread out incrementally over a year. We’re then paying $4.50/gal. Consumption goes down 15% over the course of that year. When the Iranians and Venezuelans embargo and Asia gets it’s Yugo, the following crunch results in gas prices only going up .50 cents a gallon so we are paying only $5.00 (instead of the $6.50) and the shock is minimal.
OK, I’m sure anyone with any working knowledge of economics is probably laughing their ass off at my attempt to play economist but it does make me wonder if taking the hit on our own terms wouldn’t be a better strategy or, at least, a better hedge against what could happen. I’m still against it but I do wonder.
Friday, February 17, 2006
This post is here solely to play with Jerome Prophet’s (aka WeatherProphet) mind and, hopefully, his Google searches.
So again I ask,
Does thunder make it rain?
Ooops, I mean Piss Beer Edition. Yes, there is piss beer (see Milwaukee’s Best) and then there is Piss Beer. It’s from Australia and can’t be purchased here in the U.S. I guess it’s because we already have enough piss beers (see Old Milwaukee). Australians don’t have as much naturally pissy beer so they have to go out of their way to create Piss Beer
The Piss Beer folks can be found here. They seem to understand the importance of a good morning piss.
Since Piss Beer isn’t sold here, we don’t get tot see the Piss Beer ads. I’m really wondering the story behind the advert that features this scene.
Oh well, maybe someday real Piss Beer will be available here. Brewhaus, you listening?
Programming note: The beer angle of the Dick Cheney shooting incident is still unfolding and was not developed enough for Friday Beer Blogging this week. Check back next week.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Well, relatively new. I just found out about him today but he's been posting for months.
Meet Randy at Photos Et Cetera. Randy's work is very much along the lines of what Jerome Prophet does (I understand they're buds). Click around on his blog. It’s good to see all these local photobloggers capturing our city as it is. Think how cool this stuff will be years from now. Imagine if there had been photobloggers in 1945 or 1975 whose work we could call up now.
Welcome to the Springfield blogosphere, Randy. I’ll be adding you to my blog roll soon.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
I got to wondering tonight if a date had been set for this year’s Springfield air show. I hadn’t seen or heard anything (maybe I missed it). So I went to the AR website and found this undated message:
The 24th Annual Springfield Air Rendezvous will be held this year over the weekend of June 23rd, 24th and 25th, 2006. Updates regarding this year's show lineup and other information will be made available in the days to follow.Air Rendezvous returns to SUMMER! The last couple of years its been held in the Fall or Spring….where it DOESN’T BELONG. I understand the reasons (getting good acts) but I still like it very warm to blazing hot for the event (the cold Buds taste sooooo good under the circumstances). And you know what, I don’t want to be cold at an air show.
Anyway, it’s on for June. See you there.
I’ve seen this story linked to by several lefty blogs:
DALLAS -- The Bush administration spent $1.4 billion in taxpayer dollars on 137 contracts with advertising agencies over the past two-and-a-half years, according to a Government Accountability Office report released by House Democrats Monday.That certainly seems hugely excessive, but what I want to know is how does that compare to, say, what the Clinton administration expended on such things. I’d like some context. Although, I must say I don’t think I would approve of paying PR firms by any administration to promote their agenda.
With spending on public relations and other media included, federal agencies spent $1.6 billion on what some Democrats called "spin."
There’s a new report out on how we’re not doing so well against the Iraqi insurgency. I particularly liked this passage in the CNN story:
The study was critical of the United States fighting "an enemy it hardly knows," and called its labeling of insurgency groups as Saddamists, Islamo-fascists "gross approximations and crude categories."But see, this is a war created, executed and feverishly supported (but not with their own blood) by the right wing in this country. And one of the righties’ distinguishing characteristics is engaging in "gross approximations and crude categories." Just listen to wingnut talk radio. Everything is distilled down to the cartoonishly simplistic. Everything is black and white and easily categorized into preconceived notions (it saves on thinking). The tendency is not serving them well in their Great Iraq Adventure.
From the Why It’s Sometimes Better Not To Examine Your Past to Closely department comes this cautionary DVD review from Eric Alterman:
…I had high hopes for The Time Tunnel Vol. 1 from 1966. I remember thinking how cool James Darren was (aka “Moondoggy” back when I was six. Well, you really better be into nostalgia to invest in this. Beginning with their landing on the Titanic, well, it’s amazing how the boys can’t seem to pick out a day in history where nothing awful happened. Seems to me that the writers on Star Trek learned a lot from how to do this kind of thing more credibly, if you can believe that. Anyway, if your interest is piqued, it’s here.I was a huge fan of Time Tunnel during its original airing in the 1960s. Like Eric I was six and seven years old. I have very fond memories of the show but I refuse to ruin them by watching them now. I can only imagine how hokey they will seem.
Some of my other favorite shows of that era, like the original Star Trek and The Rat Patrol, I have seen in recent years and sometimes they’re painful to watch. It’s all in the difference between the imagination of a child and that (or lack thereof at times) of an adult. Still, I think I’ll leave well enough alone with Time Tunnel.
Are these good ideas?
If it was understood that the default treatment assumption was Do Not Resuscitate/Intubate and you had to consciously opt-in to a different standard by providing a living will or offering written instructions at an earlier date, wouldn't that be better for everyone? There's no cost to claiming a different code status, but there's a huge cost, currently, when we assume the maximum. This would seem a more logical system all around.I’m somewhat conflicted about the first. I think it might give the impression of, if not actually promoting, trigger-happiness on the part of plug-pullers.
For that matter, I also think folks should be considered organ donors unless they opt-out or their descendants raise post-death objections. We should err on the side of positive social outcomes, not huge spending and wasted organs (which translate into more wasted lives).
The second, I think, is a good idea. It’s absolutely silly to take life-saving organs with you to the grave. If you have some religious reason for doing so, fine – just let us know before-hand.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
It was with some dread that I noticed yesterday my two year-old has entered the “why” phase. You know, that time of life when every statement is met with the question “why?”
“I’m going to work now.”
“Because Daddy needs to make money.”
“So we can buy food.”
And so on.
While it’s annoying, it is just a phase that they grow out of. Sanity will be restored. But that’s too bad in a way. I wish we all would retain at least some of that need to ask why, even if just asking ourselves, and especially for things taken for granted. Sadly, few of us do.
No, Bigfoot is not hiding in Funk’s Grove. Give me a break.
FUNKS GROVE - Researchers have been looking for Bigfoot in Funks Grove, but aWell, that is unless that primate can survive on maple syrup. I’m not sure why the Pantagraph is wasting time on this snipe hunt.
local zoologist interested in the elusive creature's lore said he would be very surprised if one is found there.
A report last fall by people who said they saw a large hairy upright creature in a ditch in rural Shirley attracted a team of researchers from Searching for Bigfoot Inc. of Menlo Park, Calif.
Angelo Capparella, a professor at Illinois State University, said he also heard the report and talked to the people at the time.
He said that if there is a Bigfoot - a big if in his book - Central Illinois is not the place to find one. Even though Funks Grove is a wooded area, there just isn't much habitat locally to support or conceal a large primate, Capparella said.
Monday, February 13, 2006
With that in mind, I read this SJ-R story with amusement today. Basically, it details how there are a lot of people who contributed to the Blagojevich campaign who now have state jobs. I’m shocked, shocked!
Having been a state employee for a period of time during the administrations of at least two of Blago’s predecessors, I can say this is nothing new. So where's the story? Apparently, it’s here:
Although it wouldn't be unusual in Illinois for a new administration to reward political activists with jobs, Blagojevich took office in 2003 promising to clean up what he described as previous governors' corrupt, patronage-heavy hiring.OK, Blagojevich is breaking a campaign “promise”. That’s wrong. But has any candidate for governor NOT promised to “clean up State government”? Has any governor not bent or overtly broken the rules to get people jobs? No.
It’s wrong and maybe getting tough on this sort of thing will stop it. More aggressive reporting on the problem like the SJ-R has done can only help.
Still, the outrage expressed by Blagojevich’s political rivals and their followers is disingenuous. Republicans have and, I’m willing to bet, will continue to do similar things. It’s politics in Illinois and I suspect most other places as well.
NEW YORK The more than 18-hour delay in news emerging that the Vice President of the United States had shot a man, sending him to an intensive care unit with his wounds, grew even more curious late Sunday. E&P has learned that the official confirmation of the shooting came about only after a local reporter in Corpus Christi, Texas, received a tip from the owner of the property where the shooting occurred and called Vice President Cheney's office for confirmation.What the hell? They weren’t going to say anything about this? Why is covering-up the first instinct with this administration? This was just a funny (unless you're Harry Whittington, the victim) side bar to Washington politics until this information surfaced.
The confirmation was made but it is not known for certain that Cheney's office, the White House, or anyone else intended to announce the shooting if the reporter, Jaime Powell of the Corpus Christ Caller-Times, had not received word from the ranch owner.
The Cheney spokesman Powell spoke with, Lea Anne McBride, would not comment on whether the White House would have ever released the information had the Caller-Times not contacted them.
By the way, some of the funniest coverage of this incident was on CNN last night when they went into great detail on what quail hunting entails. You know, the exact dates of the quail hunting season in Texas, what kind of gun is best used, stuff like that. Things that are good to know in understanding how the Vice President shoots someone.
Hat tip to Kos.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a companion during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, spraying the fellow hunter in the face and chest with shotgun pellets.
Harry Whittington, a millionaire attorney from Austin, was "alert and doing fine" in a Corpus Christi hospital Sunday after he was shot by Cheney on a ranch in south Texas, said Katharine Armstrong, the property's owner.
He was described as in stable condition by Yvonne Wheeler, spokeswoman for the Christus Spohn Health System in Corpus Christi.
Dumbass.Keep politicians AWAY from sharp objects and firearms, please.
Update: It seems Cheney is one of only two VPs to shoot someone while in office. Who knew.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
His response was to shrug it off and relate to me, in all seriousness, that he is own car has had that same light on for over a year and nothing bad has happened.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Speaking of the history of WICS, Russ at Springfield Rewind has just added a then-and-now photo of the Ch. 20 building on Cook Street. Let’s say not much has changed in 40 years. If you haven’t been to Springfield Rewind lately, do so immediately. Russ has added a ton of stuff. I don’t know where he gets the time. It can’t be easy setting up those present day shots to correspond so exactly with the old pictures. If there were awards for Springfield blogs, Springfield Rewind would probably win in like five categories.
Oh, I’m sure while living here Abe spent many a Saturday night sampling the selection over at Brewhaus and then wrapping up the night trolling for chicks at Chantilly Lace, but what’s out there to hang an Abe/beer blog post on now? Where was I to get material? I did what Abe would do (WWAD), I Googled.
Here’s some of what I found.
You can get Abe Lincoln beer steins for $175.00.
Very smart with the capitol dome lid and all. Apparently this stein was one of three in Anheuser-Busch’s commemorative Civil War series of steins. (The other two steins featured Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant).
Next up, we have a Lincoln beer quote. Yes, Lincoln spoke of beer, we think, on at least one occasion. Here’s the story from Carolyn Smagalski, noted Lincoln beer scholar:
Question: "Beer Fox, I am wondering if you can authenticate the Lincoln quote that ends in “the facts…and beer”. I have seen it posted both with the “and beer” and without. Hope you can help?" J.H., New York, New York, USAClearly more study needs to be done in the area of Lincoln and beer. It seems to me in my tour of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum I saw exactly zero beer containers, references to beer or 1860s style beer ads. Sad.
Answer: You are asking about the famous quote, "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts...and beer."
I, too, have seen this quote with and without "and beer"- depending upon whether it is used in the serious context of a legislator's persuasive argument, or as a Lincoln anecdote. The fact that Lincoln was known for his skills at unrehearsed humor, storytelling, and anecdotes that strongly illustrated his point, convinces me that the quote did, indeed, end with "and beer." Although I cannot tell you the exact source of the quote, there are several books written on the humor of Abraham Lincoln, and you may have better luck than I in searching out the details. One is Lincoln's Yarns and Stories by Colonel Alexander K.McClure, who personally knew Lincoln. This is available at World Wide School.
I have not found the quote in this volume - however, this book clearly illustrates that Lincoln's speech was often peppered with a humorous quip at the trailing end of a serious sentence - this allowed him to often "get away with" giving an opposing point of view without causing offense. His point being made, he knew (as do experienced lawyers) that a sentence made, whether in jest or in earnest, sits in the thoughts of the listener.
Finally I uncovered a picture of a long defunct beer out of Wisconsin called Lincoln Lager Maybe the beer was discontinued because it sounded too much like Lincoln Logs. I don’t know.
Anyway, here’s what it looked like.
Note to Springfield Chamber of Commerce: we could use a good microbrewery and I don’t think the Lincoln name is currently being used as a beer brand name. Abe Beer would be a good name too. Think about it. A guy (let’s say an easy mark tourist) bellies up to a local bar and say he wants a beer. “A beer” sounds a lot like “Abe Beer” so before Mr. Tourist can specify a brand, the bartender opens an “Abe Beer” for him. Once tourist guy sees the beer already open in front of him, he’ll likely forget about his first choice and go with our brew. Man, I should be in marketing.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
You may have heard Governor Blagojevich appeared on The Daily Show tonight.
The Daily Show reporter pretends not to be able to pronounce Blagojevich's name so he calls him Governor Rod Smith. The graphic at the bottom of the screen also says Gov. Rod Smith.
Best question for the guv was something like: "You aren't the gay governor are you?"
February 8, 2006 - U.S. Sen. Barack Obama can add Grammy-award winner to his resume after winning in the Best Spoken Word category Wednesday.Take that John McCain! I saw McCain sing on Saturday Night Live once but he wasn’t even nominated for a Grammy. Loser.
Obama won for his readings of the autobiographical "Dreams From My Father," which first was published in 1995 but became a best seller as Obama became a rising political star.
Obama beat out Garrison Keillor, Al Franken, Sean Penn and George Carlin to win.
Actually, Obama isn’t breaking any new ground here. Past politicians who werewinners in this category include both Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Hat tip to Rich Miller.
I personally have no sympathy for those allegedly outraged by some obscure cartoons in an obscure newspaper in an obscure country (sorry Denmark, you’re cool but really not a tower on the world stage). I detest religious extremism of any stripe but let’s not kid ourselves that this is all over some mean-spirited cartoons. This runs much deeper than that even if the cartoon rioters don’t realize it.
I’m also intrigued by those here who are outraged by the outrage over the cartoons. A lot of it is flat-out anti-Muslim bigotry; “See, these people are violent and they’re all terrorists”. My guess is these talk radio folks would not be as outraged over the outrage if the riots were here and over cartoons depicting Jesus in some negative way. I’m not equating, just saying if the tables were turned there would be far less concern about rioting over such things.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Navy will try to lift some of the burden off U.S. Army troops in Iraq this year by increasing the number of sailors inside that country and taking on duties soldiers have been doing, according to the Navy's top sailor.The Navy’s "top sailor"? What’s that? Surely, they aren’t talking about an admiral? Well, yes they are:
In a briefing to Pentagon reporters Tuesday, Adm. Michael G. Mullen, the Chief of Naval Operations, said the Navy will start playing a bigger role in Iraq by adding to the 4,000 sailors already operating in the country.Is calling a Navy admiral a “top sailor” correct? I’ve never heard that term and given the mainstream media’s poor knowledge of all things military I’m guessing no one else has either. But maybe I’m wrong.
The larger issue in this story is kind of frightening: the Army can’t field enough troops so they’re calling in the Navy.
The move is designed to ease the pressure on the stressed and stretched Army in Iraq, which has soldiers doing everything from combat, medical and security duties to countless support operations.Are we winning yet?
I voted Republican from the ages of 18 to 32. I was a Young Republican. I thought feminists were just ugly chicks who couldn't get dates. I believed in the sanctity of marriage, the flag, the fetus, and supply-side economics. In short, I was what Rush would describe as a "young skull-full of mush." And he would shape that mush into something hard, cold, and kinda evil.Look, the key here is Jim started thinking instead of reacting. The reason so many wingnuts behave like two-year-olds is they act on emotion without bothering to think things though.
But over the years, my life as a dittohead would die the death of a thousand cuts. The world that I lived in refused to conform to the world Rush was telling me about. When my best friend turned out to be gay, I discovered it was easy to hate "the gay agenda," but it was hard to hate "Scott." Abortion was cut and dried until I heard my friend Amy's story. After that I decided maybe I should just keep my womb-less self out of it. I believed whole-heartedly in the gospel that tax cuts led to more federal revenue until W hammered the last nail in that particular coffin. No one thing changed my mind. Rather, everything would change my mind.
The “gay marriage” issue is a perfect example. While gay unions would hurt no one or destroy no other kind of marriage, the rightwing position steadfastly, and literally inexplicably, remains that gay marriage will “destroy” the institution of marriage. Why? Because they are acting on their revolution to the notion the two guys might be butt-fucking. “Oooo, icky, I don’t like them.” And that’s all the deeper their thinking goes. It’s purely emotional.
I particularly like this line of Jim’s:
The world that I lived in refused to conform to the world Rush was telling me about.Whenever I listen to wingnut radio, I often wonder just who it is they’re talking about. They have this whole universe of “liberal” straw men with straw beliefs. It’s like they create this alternate reality so they can then knock it down. The paranoia, xenophobia and subtle racism seem to create mirages of a world I just don’t see in reality. The evil school systems, and teachers that work in them, are always somewhere else. “The gays” with their “agenda” are people they don’t really know. Evil foreigners are cartoonish villains. Flag burners are on every corner lighting the night sky with the arson of Old Glory. George W. Bush is a smart man. It goes on and on.
None of this is to suggest there isn’t a legitimate “conservative” point of view or reasonable arguments from the right on certain issues. Rather, the talk radio version of the world just doesn’t have much in common with people’s every day experience. But then that’s the thing about fear mongering; it works best with the lights out and a good story teller.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
But the key here to note is what's behind this dust-up. Obama is a rising star among the Democrats. Republicans want to lay a backstory for feature criticisms and character attacks against him. So, for instance, if Obama is the vice presidential candidate in 2008, they want to have a history of attacks on him banked, ones that allege he's a liar, or too partisan, or untrustworthy, whatever. It doesn't even really matter. What matters is that there already be an established history of them. Point being, that in early 2008, they want to be able to simply refer back to Obama's 'character issue', the questions about his honesty, etc. rather than have to make the case on its merits.It all makes sense politically. It certainly seems as if Obama is coming off as more statesman-like after round one, but the Republican slime machine will test his mettle over time.
That's not surprising. One only needs to think back to the Gore story, etc.
What shouldn't be missed here, though, is that Sen. McCain is quite consciously and deliberately making himself a part of this. Why? Simple. Because he needs to get right with the GOP establishment in DC. (Indeed, he probably also wants to be the future beneficiary of the sliming.) Being loved by moderates and progressives doesn't cut it for getting the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.
The picture is too small to see (and I'm to lazy to try to enhance it) but above the "2008" it says "President". Actually, the picture of the word "President" is about as dim as Blago's chances of being a presidential nominee.
The good news is, you can opt for the money-saving package of 100 magnets. That'll about cover the front of your beer fridge. You know the one you have to be visiting about 24 times a day to believe President Blagojevich could be a reality.
Hat tip to The Capitol Fax Blog and The Inside Dope.
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- The car chase capital of the world is going high-tech to end dangerous pursuits across Southern California.Oh, that’s going to make for some bad TV! Next thing you know, they’ll come up with something that prevents spectacular warehouse fires. Gawd, this slippery slope could well lead to actual news being reported. How awful would that be?
Police Chief William J. Bratton unveiled a strange new weapon in the police department's strategy to halt high-speed pursuits -- adhesive darts with a global positioning system that are fired at fleeing cars by police.
Once fired from a patrol car, the GPS dart is designed to stick to a fleeing car, allowing squad cars to back off the chase.
"Instead of us pushing them doing 70 or 80 miles an hour," Bratton said, "this device allows us not to have to pursue after the car. It allows us to start vectoring where the car is."
Monday, February 06, 2006
This appears from time to time in the news. “Devil worshipers”, a.k.a. “Satanists”, are though to be behind this or that horrible crime (“devil worshipers” never just shoplift or knock over mailboxes). And while these always unidentified “devil worshipers” are quick to be accused, it never turns out that they are to blame.
So let me make a prediction: no devil worshiping arsonists will be found in Alabama. Another prediction: “devil worshipers” will continue to be persons of interest when convenient.
Now, should there have perhaps been a Motown act, being as the Super Bowl was played in Detroit? Probably. But that isn’t the fault of the The Stones.
By the way, I’m done expecting really entertaining commercials during the Super Bowl. Two years in a row now there hasn’t been much to see. I guess I’ll have to start pretending to be interested in the game again.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
So I buy a few instant tickets. I figure I have effectively donated the money that wasn’t mine anyway. I give the tickets to Mrs. TEH who scratches them off. We win $50.00. I was just meant to find money tonight and would not be allowed to do otherwise. Could be worse.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Stranger yet, the temperature never got below 21 degrees at any time during the month. Forget sub-zero or single digits, we never even got down into the teens. The was the second highest absolute low for the month on record. January of 1880 saw temps not go below 24 degrees.
Statewide, it was the second warmest January on record. Only January of 1933 was warmer.
Cristiane Amanpour thinks things are getting "worse and worse" in Iraq. Given thatAmanpuor is perhaps the best foreign correspondent on any American network. Her knowledge and abilities are amazing. Shooting the messenger only makes the right even more foolish and delusional.
daily attacks are up from 55 per day to 77 per day over a year ago, and given that Baghdad (1/4 of the population) is being starved of fuel and electricity, and given that the Sunni Arabs rejected the constitution and are threatening to launch a civil disobedience campaign on top of the guerrilla war, I don't see in what way her statement is controversial.
It is a measure of the fantasy world in which about 40 percent of Americans live that her statement is even a matter for comment. As for the charge that her views might affect her reporting, no one on the right is complaining about all those gung ho reporters who went to Iraq in 2003 believing it was a noble endeavor. Wouldn't that philosophy have affected their reporting of the war? In fact, don't Fox Cable News reporters get pressure from their editors and from Rupert to constantly downplay the guerrilla war in Iraq and to find silver linings in this mess? And Christiane, who has reported on wars all over the world and knows the Middle East like the back of her hand is the one who is out of line?
This all reminds me of this now famous exchange on the Daily Show between “reporter” Rob Corddry and “anchor” Jon Stewart:
Rob Corddry: How does one report the facts in an unbiased way when the facts themselves are biased?Reality becomes really warped when everything is seen though partisan political glasses. Denying things aren’t going well in Iraq isn’t going to bring “victory” (what ever that means in terms of Iraq) any sooner. In fact, the first step in successfully dealing with a problem is admitting there is one.
Jon Stewart: I'm sorry, Rob, did you say the facts are biased?
Rob Corddry: That's right Jon. From the names of our fallen soldiers to the gradual withdrawal of our allies to the growing insurgency, it's become all too clear that facts in Iraq have an anti-Bush agenda.
Tonight I’m going out with SK to do the beer shopping and help sculpt the beer fridge presentation. Artists at work.
Sadly, I have no pictures of past works. However, thanks to the Internet, I have found a number of beer fridge pics worthy of beer blogging in honor of the SK Super Bowl Party IX beer fridge.
First up, a beer fridge picture that perhaps most resembles the SK Super Bowl fridge:
Note the food, what there is of it, is mostly all crammed into the drawer and there is plenty of beer variety.
Here's another example of cornering the food to make room for the beer:
Here (above) the beer fridge artisan has placed the food all on a shelf and in the door. This is a bit sloppy and while the stacking of beer can takes some talent its really not that pretty. First, he (it has to be a he) used cans. Second, they aren't facing outward. And what's with the beer in the freezer? That could be dangerous.
Moving on, here we have something closer to perfection:
The fridge is totally dedicated to beer. There is a lack of variety but it's full and organized. Worthy of praise.
Next, this is a little too perfect:
Glass front, compact, each shelf a different beer. Hmmm...it seems too forced.
This next one gets the improvisation award. When you get up and find that it snowed six feet while you slept, make the best of it and turn your back yard into a beer fridge:
Finally, we have the most awesome beer fridge in the world. This simply must be a tourist attraction:
Special thanks to the site beerlovercam.com from which I stole a couple of the above photos. Go there for a more comprehensive presentation of beer fridges.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Update: I rushed this post hoping to beat other local bloggers. I checked and I got it up -damn, there I go again - before anyone else. This pressure to be first is hard on -crap, did it again -me. I mean the competition is stiff - d'oh!
Just this morning I saw a plate with “SUBARU 9” on it. The car, of course, was a Subaru. It said so in big letters (bigger than those on the license plate) on the back of the car. So what’s the point? You pay extra money to have the kind of car you’re driving on your plate? Why? I do understand doing this for a classic car or if maybe you sell a certain line of vehicles but beyond that, I don’t get it.
Speaking of license plates, why has no one taken up the cause of encouraging everyone in Springfield to have Abe plates? I originally suggested this here. I’d do it but I’m waiting for the city to sweeten the pot with some incentive like free street parking downtown if you have a Lincoln reference on your plate.
The Internet is a great way to keep in touch with people. There are several people I would have written off as merely parts of my past were it not for keeping in touch by email. I’ve even re-connected with people that otherwise would have been lost to me forever.
It’s also a great way to meet people. I met Mrs. TEH online.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
WASHINGTON - One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.Oh hell no, don’t take anything that man says literally. What dumbass would do that?
What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025.Well that clears things up. Clear as bullshit. In fact, it’s hard to distinguish from bullshit.
At least indicating my gender is optional. They'll never figure that out with a name like Dave. My privacy is assured.
No thanks. I’m in enough databases, on enough mailing lists and have enough of my personal information spread out across the universe.
But I wonder if I won anything…
One of the best known voices in all of Illinois broadcast history has unplugged his microphone. Ben Kiningham has retired ending an amazing 30+ year career in broadcast news.
I don’t know that I met Ben more than once in my brief time in radio news 20 years ago. Back then he and Becky Enrietto were the voices on what I think (give me a break if I’m wrong, its been a long time) was then called the Capital Information Bureau. They sent out feeds on state news to subscribing radio stations. They were based here in Springfield (operating out of WTAX, I believe) and were invaluable to me in providing news not only from the far away state capital but from all parts of the state. There were not many days I did not use at least one CIB story and on a slow news day in Freeport, Illinois they were real life savers.
Good luck, Ben, and many, many thanks for the good work. You once made my job a whole lot easier.