Sunday, July 30, 2006

"The Passion of the Christ" Just Couldn't Be Anti-Semitic

By Cassandra D

...not with a guy like Mel Gibson in charge. He is a good Christian man who would never blame the Jews unfairly.

Yep, he does the work of our Hebrew Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God who is Love.

Nothing like booze to help a guy show his true colors. And his alcohol level was only 0.12, only one and a half times legally drunk. That's barely drunk (though of course he shouldn't have been driving). Methinks the anti-Semitism lurks pretty darn close to the surface.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Pantsylvania Station

Seems like only yesterday our friend and colleague Dr. Pants closed down his blog so that he could concentrate on writing the Great Americal Novel.

Well, we missed you, Pants.

Don't worry. There's always next year.

Question For Crabby Friday

By Cassandra D

I have recently gotten over my addiction to Reese's Puffs, which followed closely on the heels of my addiction to Reduced Sugar Cocoa Puffs. I now go for the pleasures of a breakfast sandwich made with my fancy shmancy egg and muffin toaster.

But the question remains: When did cereal makers stop putting toys in the cereal? Were they afraid of being sued if someone choked? Was I just not into the right kind?

Never in my year-long sugary cereal craze did I ever get a toy, cool or otherwise, from a box of cereal. How are they to generate product loyalty without the toys? Why else would children ever bother pestering their parents for Quisp?

Friday Random 10

Have a wonderful, wonderful Friday, boys and girls. And keep thinking those good thoughts.

1. Porter Waggoner, "The Cold Hard Facts of Life"
2. Fountains of Wayne, "Baby I've Changed"
3. Beck, "Scarecrow"
4. Lucinda Williams, "Sidewalks of the City"
5. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, "Learning to Fly"
6. Grandpaboy, "Souvenirs"
7. The Rolling Stones, "Love in Vain"
8. Pearl Jam, "Who You Are"
9. The Archers of Loaf, "Underachievers March and Fight Song"
10. Bob Dylan, "Jokerman"

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Poor Fella

By Larry Mondello

Exxon reports $10 billion in quarterly profits. We should all hate Chairman Lee Raymond, but for some reason I feel sorry for him. What could it be????? hmmmmm.......

And For the Impaired Among Us...

By Cassandra D

If you are like me and think that Chase put in photos of the same guy for Ryan Phillippe and Justin Timberlake, STD just isn't that fun. (Not to mention that I haven't the slightest clue who Ryan Phillippe is.)

Test your face recognition abilities here, courtesy of Harvard and University College London's Prosopagnosia research site.

For the culturally challenged like me, Phillippe was the young cop in Crash. How did I ever live without Google?

Sex Tape Derby, Round 62

Welcome back to another edition of Sex Tape Derby. In this week's installment, we ask you to pretend (or make-believe, if you prefer) you're the type who might ponder the sexual proclivities of celebrities. With that fanciful notion in mind: If you were to watch a homemade sex tape -- the kind that, for instance, made Paris Hilton a household name (thank God for the American way!), who would you rather get off on getting it on?

Post selections in the comments section below. And don't forget to dance.

Anna Faris or ...

Arielle Kebbel?

Ryan Phillippe or ...

Justin Timberlake?

I'm Chase McInerney and I approved this message, because I believe in faith, family and freedom.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Quote Of the Day

By Cassandra D

From an anonymous responder to Edward Copland's blog:

"Wow a sailor and an Indian
he's two Village people in one pair of pants! :lol:"

This came in response to the news of Al McAffrey's Oklahoma House win, as quoted by Copeland:

"By Jennifer Mock
Oklahoma elected its first openly gay lawmaker to the state Legislature Tuesday night. Democrat Al McAffrey, a funeral director, member of the Choctaw Nation, Navy veteran and former Oklahoma City police officer, said he won because of his stances on issues, not his sexual orientation."

Jeopardized Humor

Perhaps there are more important things to wring my hands over (and honestly, what sounds better than a good, old-fashioned hand-wringing?) than coming to the defense of "Jeopardy!" ubergeek Ken Jennings. There's Armageddon, Part 327 percolating in the Middle East, Dumbya has unveiled yet another security plan for Baghdad (coming next: Duck and Cover) and illegal immigrants are threatening civilization as we know it (or so I've been told). In short, there are real problems in the universe, but, with apologies to my more serious-minded Okie friends and colleagues -- Doc Hochenauer, Cassandra D, LiteraryTech, etc. -- I must come to the defense of a guy in Utah whom I really could care less about.

When AP runs the headline "
Jeopardy's champ Ken Jennings blasts show," well, you just know you've got to read on.

According to breathless media accounts, the all-time "Jeopardy!" winner used his blog to skewer the smartypants game show.

"'Jeopardy!' ace Ken Jennings, who won $2.5 million during his 74-game winning streak, has a few unkind words to say about the show -- and dapper host Alex Trebek.

"'I know, I know, the old folks love him,' Jennings writes in a recent posting, titled 'Dear Jeopardy!' on his Web site.

"'Nobody knows he died in that fiery truck crash a few years back and was immediately replaced with the Trebektron 4000 (I see your engineers still can't get the mustache right, by the way).'

"Jennings also takes aim at the show's 'effete, left-coast' categories and 'same-old' format."

So why is this worth my valuable blogging time? Becausee even a cursory examination of Jennings' blog entry makes clear that the post is meant to be funny:

"Maybe when Art Fleming was alive, America just couldn't get enough clues about "Botany" and "Ballet" and "The Renaissance," but come on. Does every freaking category have to be some effete left-coast crap nobody's heard of, like "Opera," or, um, "U.S. History" or whatever? I mean, wake me up when you come up with something that middle America actually cares about. I think it would rule if, just one time, Alex had to read off a board like:
The Arby's 5-for-$5.95 Value Menu
Reality TV
Men's Magazines
Skanks from Reality TV Who Got Naked in Men's Magazines


... Why are there no physical challenges? ... It could be tasteful and restrained. Like, if you know the answer, you have to run from your podium to the gameboard, jump up to touch the clue in question, and give the answer. "What is an Arby-Q?" Then you run back to your podium to select again. Some of these contestants, frankly, could use the exercise. Oh, also, there are angry bees.


On Price Is Right, Bob Barker ends every show with a plug for his personal favorite cause. "Spay or neuter your pet!" or whatever. Something like this would humanize Trebek. I propose a new sign-off, along the lines of, "Can our returning champion do it again on tomorrow's show? Tune in and find out, everybody. Legalize cannabis. Good night."

Let me say upfront that Ken Jennings has always struck me as a smug, self-satisfied, slightly creepy Stepford dude, the kind of guy you'd watch like a hawk if you took your kids to a park and spotted him on a bench, his head buried in the Good Book. But that said, it seems fairly obvious that Jennings was being funny in his post, or at least trying to be (I actually think the post is rather clever) -- certainly not a "blast" at Trebek or the game show.

It reminds me of when gossip columnists tittered over Tom Cruise quipping in GQ that he would eat the placenta after the birth of his baby. Now, no one would posit that the Tom-Tom Cruise is anything less than a Freakazoid, but even in the context of the magazine interview, the actor was obviously goofing.

Are celebrities not allowed to have a sense of humor? Surely, the planet isn't so bereft of honest-to-goodness conflict that the media now has to gin up fake animosities.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Quote of the Day

So, what would be the logical statement from the guy who cheated on this woman, Christie Brinkley?

"I'm stupid."
-- A blubbering Peter Cook, in The New York Post.

In the immortal words of Dr. Watson: No shit, Sherlock.

Disproportionate Criticism

You would think that some truths are self-evident and don't need much explanation. For instance, you would think a country has a right to strike back in the name of self-preservation when an act of war -- like, say, kidnapping soldiers and firing rockets -- is undertaken by one of the many neighboring factions committed to the destruction of that aforementioned nation.

You would also think, for instance, that Salon -- a respectable, left-leaning Web magazine ostensibly made up of educated, thoughtful readers -- would not need the no-shit-Sherlock primer of an article titled "Why Israelis believe they're right: Much of the world sees the Israeli attacks on Lebanon as disproportionate. But for the vast majority of Israelis, including some former doves, the war against Hezbollah is deterrence in self-defense."

Evidently, the editors of Salon believe much of the world needs to understand the rationale of a country that must practice self-defense.

The astonishing thing is, amid a global anti-Israel bias, much of the world really does need to understand such rationale.

Most of Israel's critics have latched on to the new catchphrase of the moment, "disproportionate response," as if there is such a thing as a "proportionate response" to self-preservation. Did the attack on Pearl Harbor necessitate U.S. forces strafing a Japanese naval base and then calling it even? Did 9-11 necessitate specific retribution on skyscrapers in Kabul?

Salon writer Samuel G. Freedman breaks down the notion of "disproportionate response":

"Compromise might have worked had the conflict indeed remained one that, like the Cold War, pitted two rational, secular adversaries against each other. But in Hezbollah, as well as in Hamas, Israel now faces an opponent that holds to the absolutism of religious doctrine, specifically the messianic martyrdom of jihadist Islam. The assaults by Hamas from Gaza and Hezbollah from Lebanon both came after Israeli withdrawals to borders accepted by the United Nations. For six years in south Lebanon and one year in Gaza, there has been no occupation, and Ehud Olmert built a centrist governing coalition in Israel on the promise of pulling out from most of the West Bank.

"Maybe the people so ready to assail Israel now should have been watching more closely a few months ago when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran convened a conference devoted to the exterminatory premise of a 'world without Zionism.' Maybe they should have been listening more closely when Ahmadinejad declared his desire to 'wipe Israel off the map.' Instead the conference was pooh-poohed as the same old demagogy, a populist giving the red meat to his base, and the translation of the speech was dissected by Iran apologists as if the only relevant question was whether the president's Farsi phraseology meant altering the map with a gum eraser or white-out.

"Plainly, Ahmadinejad took himself seriously, as seriously as one presumes Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah took his own reference to attacking 'occupied Palestine.' By which he meant not the West Bank and Golan Heights but, well, Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv."

By golly, those threats sure do seem, well .... what's the word I'm looking for ... disproportionate, maybe?

Taking Pangs to Talk About "Pangs"

By Cassandra D

I thought I was imagining things, but I see that others share my paranoia. Did you see the news footage of Condi's meeting in Lebanon?

As Digby points out, she spoke of "birth pangs" of a new Middle East, and the suspicion is that she was speaking in coded language to Bush's Armageddon-loving followers.

I actually wondered about this myself, because in the statement, she started to say "growing pains" and then changed to "birth pangs." It actually caught my attention and made me wonder if she was hitting one of the talking points.

I'm not convinced, but with this bunch of yahoos it just may have been an intentional reference. Scary that it is even a possibility, isn't it?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Oklahoma's Own Ann Coulter

By Cassandra D

Gee, who knew an Oklahoma State Senate race could generate so much (warranted) national ridicule?

First we have Joshua Jantz with his strange religious mailer, publicized on national blogs as if to prove how nutty we Okies are with our religion.

And now, local "Democrat" Drew Dugan sends out a bash mailer against Andrew Rice, whose brother died in the World Trade Center, accusing him of being soft on terrorism. That Ann Coulter move made the Daily Kos.

We're Famous!

Take a Walk!

Color me skeptical, but I refuse to believe a nation that allows the coexistence of Bill O'Reilly, Howard Stern, Ann Coulter, Sarah Silverman, Nancy Grace, Kevin Federline, Kelly Osborne, Gallagher, John Waters, John Gibson and Rob Schneider can really be populated by so many thin-skinned ninnies. Even so, there appears to be a minor outbreak of chest-puffing walkouts.

First, we had "Good Morning, America" movie critic and official Michael Medved fluffer Joel Siegel staging a very public walkout on Kevin Smith's latest smut-laden, pottymouthed talkfest, Clerks 2. The breaking point for Jonathan Livingston Siegel apparently came at a New York press screening for Clerks 2, when a character in the movie hires a woman to perform oral sex on a donkey (I know, I know, as if a donkey ever would have to pay for it). The onscreen exchange prompted the mustachioed film critic to jump out of his seat and shriek, "Time to go! First movie I've walked out of in 30 fucking years!"

The outburst prompted Smith to open a can of whup-ass on the director's blog:

"I can’t fault Mr. Siegel for feeling 'revolted' (his producer’s description of Joel’s reaction) by our flick; in truth, there is a donkey show in it, and I recognize that brand of whimsy might not be for everybody. Film appreciation is very subjective, and maybe Joel just isn’t into ass-to-mouth conversations.

"However, I CAN fault him for the manner in which he left the screening.

"Apparently, rather than quietly exit, both Joel and his Cum-Catcher (my slang for the fancy kind of mustache he sports) made a big stink about walking out, calling as much attention to himself as possible, and being generally pretty disruptive.


"Never mind the fact that when you’re paid to watch movies for a living and the only tasks required of you are to a) sit through said movies and b) write your thoughts about them before your deadline, walking out before a movie’s over is pretty unprofessional. Never mind the fact that the scene he was offended by (the ordering of the donkey show), with its (misleading) crude references is only the set-up to a third act pay-off that is a true bait-and-switch from where Joel’s imagination went (and if you’ve already seen the flick, you KNOW what I’m talking about) ..."

Incidentally, YouTube has a terrific Kevin Smith-crafted trailer for Clerks 2, in which he wrings some more mileage out of the Siegel affair.

But Siegel had barely made it safely back home for a Disney movie marathon and Flubber self-love before the former vice president of the United States, Dan Quayle, announced to the media that he had walked out on a recent John Mellencamp concert near Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Evidently, Quayle -- who at least deserves credit for having known how to spell Mellencamp (unless, of course, the ex-veep had meant to attend some melon-eating festival) -- was pissed when the singer dedicated a song to "all the poor people who've been ignored by the current administration."

AP reports:

"Quayle, who was in town for a celebrity golf tournament, then made his exit, deciding 'enough was enough,' his spokesman, Craig Whitney, told the Los Angeles Times. 'He wasn't going to sit there and listen to this.'"

No doubt the former Indiana National Guard hero would've smacked Mellencamp with a potatoe if he'd had the foresight to take one. Why was Quayle so peeved? Did he feel the Bush-Quayle administration wasn't getting its props for having ignored its share of poor people, too?

Joel Siegel and Dan Quayle: What a pair of prissy crybabies.

Back in 1985, I made it through a more-than-challenging Butthole Surfers gig in a Los Angeles club. The band knew how to put on a memorable show. Gibby Haynes and company resolved to make each song, from "X-Ray of a Girl Passing Gas" to "The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey's Grave," excruciatingly loud, droning and interminable. The B-H Surfers succeeded brilliantly in that regard, turning the entire concert into a sort of endurance contest.

On stage, a morbidly obese woman painted lime green from head to toe -- oh, did I mention she was nekkid? -- rocked and swayed to the music (It was the only time I actually witnessed the phenomenon of horny teenage boys screaming for a naked woman to "put it back on"). In back of the green goblin and the band, a huge rear-screen projection showcased grainy footage of a shark attack, car crashes and, most grotesque of all, a no-holds-barred sex-change operation. A guy standing near me actually vomited -- although, in retrospect, his reaction might have been drug-induced more than it had to do with images of a penis being ... well, you get the idea.

The Butthole Surfers, circa 1984. Just say no, kids.

But damned if I didn't sit through all three hours of that hideous show.

And you know what? I was a better person for having done so.

Later that night, a friend and I were mugged by two knife-wielding Crips as we were coming out of a coffeeshop in south-central L.A. As the muggers remained in the area even after taking our money -- and after a passerby had phoned the police -- the guys were arrested and eventually tried. They were acquitted, it turned out, largely because my friend and I turned out to be such tremendously lousy trial witnesses (note to self: Next time, do not laugh at one's own inarticulate testimony until leaving witness stand).

Anyway, if I had given into my impulses earlier that night and left the Butthole Surfers show when my stomach was telling me to, I would have been deprived an eye-opening education of criminal justice in Los Angeles County.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Question For Candidates

By Cassandra D

We here in Oklahoma's Fifth Congressional District are being subjected to quite the media blitz by Republicans vying for their party's nomination. Abortion is a big topic, and in newspaper interviews, several of the candidates have indicated that they believe that abortion should be illegal with no exceptions or only for the life of the mother.

Here's the question I want someone to ask them, on camera, so we can see how they respond:

"If your neighbor's 12-year-old daughter were kidnapped, brutally raped, and became pregnant as a result of her ordeal, should it be a crime for her to have an abortion?"

Friday, July 21, 2006

Crabby Friday

By Cassandra D

Here it is, Crabby Friday, and I'm not even crabby. What gives? On just about every other day, I am crabby.

It's supposed to be 110 degrees here today. And I'm happy! I shuffled my husband's iPod, and didn't even run into obnoxious music. (Currently listening to William Shatner's "Real," which happens to amuse me and cheer me up.)

I even scanned the blogs looking for fodder for my irritation. But instead I found the happiest of reports of some asshole (I'll at least use a crabby word) outspoken terrorist-supporter who is showing his true colors and getting exactly what he deserves. He called the 9/11 hijackers "The Magnificent 19," got tossed out of Britain, was happy to be in Lebanon with fellow terrorist-lovers, and now wants to go back to Britain where it's safe.

So somebody else pick up the crabby slack today.

Friday Random 10

Today's iPod shuffle is brought to you by the letter K.

1. Fleetwood Mac, "Gold Dust Woman"
2. Dolly Parton, "Jolene"
3. Camper Van Beethoven, "(Don't You Go to) Goleta"
4. Coldplay, "Low"
5. The Temptations, "I Wish It Would Rain"
6. The Rolling Stones, "Dead Flowers"
7. Lustre, "Musta Been Cool"
8. Motorhead, "King of Kings"
9. Frank Sinatra, "The Summer Wind"
10. Big Bill Broonzy, "All by Myself"

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Rocket Man

In one of those not-for-mere-mortal duels between legendary pitchers, Houston's Roger Clemens bested the Cubs' Greg Maddux last night to post his 343rd win, placing him eighth on the all-time victories list. The Rocket threw six shutout innings before a sold-out crowd at Wrigley Field.

"I hope the fans enjoyed it. It's pretty special," Clemens said after the game, describing the face-off of two 300-plus game winners.

We are not worthy. At 43, this guy is still a friggin' god.

Sex Tape Derby, Round 61

Amid war in the Middle East, stymied stem cell research and a record heatwave (which, incidentally, is a lot like love, if you think about it), who couldn't use a little dirty diversion? And so, I, Chase McInerney, give you this week's Sex Tape Derby matchup. It's like this, see: Boot knockin' sex; you make the call. Oh, and post your selections in the comments section below.
For the comprehension-impaired, click here for a further explanation of the game that Joel Siegel calls a "rollicking good time."

Kerry Washington or ...

Rosario Dawson?

Chris Klein or ...

Chris Evans?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It's All Kerry's Fault

By Cassandra D

Conservatives are priceless. When they finally notice that American foreign policy is a disaster, they still can't place responsibility where it belongs.

"Kenneth Adelman, a Reagan administration arms-control official who is close to Vice President Cheney, said he believes foreign policy innovation for White House ended with Bush's second inaugural address, a call to spread democracy throughout the world.

'What they are doing on North Korea or Iran is what [Sen. John F.] Kerry would do, what a normal middle-of-the-road president would do,' he said. 'This administration prided itself on molding history, not just reacting to events. Its a normal foreign policy right now. It's the triumph of Kerryism.'"

Um. Excuse me. It is the triumph of Bush/Cheneyism, and don't think we are going to let you forget it.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Roger Knows Best

Roger Ebert is getting better. Having battled cancer for several years, the longtime Chicago Sun-Times movie critic remains hospitalized after undergoing emergency surgery on his salivary gland.

As if anyone needed more proof that I am a sadly hopeless movie geek, I will admit before the world that, yes, I'm something of an actual Roger Ebert fan. So much so, in fact, that I actually searched out and read an exhaustive profile on Ebert by Carol Felsenthal in Chicago magazine:

And it just made me like him more:

"Remarkably, working in journalism and Hollywood -- two businesses not known for their generosity of spirit -- Ebert has attained this success for the most part without making enemies. Although some people do question the quality of his reviews, it is hard for a diligent reporter to turn up anyone who has a bad word to say about him personally, even in private. Rather, acquaintances cite his loyalty, his sweetness, his benevolence -- and, of course, his vast store of knowledge and enthusiasm about movies and myriad other subjects."

The thing is, I can actually attest to the guy's accessibility, patience and friendliness. When I was a pasty-skinned film geek of a mere 11 or 12 (as opposed to, say, the pasty-skinned film geek of advanced age I am today), I was such an avid fan of PBS' "Siskel & Ebert," that I phoned Ebert at his home (one doubts he is still listed in the book). He answered and I proceeded to rattle on about how much I liked the TV show and how much I enjoyed his reviews. He thanked me, asked what my favorite movies were and even promised to hit a home run for me during the following day's double header at Wrigley Field (OK, I'm lying about that last part).

But you get the idea. He was a pretty nice guy. Here he is, in fact, dutifully signing books for some maximum-security prison inmates.

Ironically, back when the combo was Siskel & Ebert, I typically agreed more with the reviews of Ebert's longtime nemesis, Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel (worth checking out in case you haven't seen it already: some promo outtakes with Siskel and Ebert at each other's respective throats). Nowadays, however, I appreciate Ebert's reviews more for their clever writing (although he still gives away too much of a movie's plot) and his general willingness to accept a film on its own terms.

What I like most about Ebert's viewpoint these days is his approach: art is innocent until proven guilty. Maybe he is too forgiving as a result (he gave Garfield: The Movie a thumbs-up, after all), but there is something genuinely appealing about his unabashed love for the magic that occurs on a big screen in a darkened movie theater (and I don't mean in a nasty Pee Wee Herman or Alanis Morissette way). In short, Ebert's enthusiasm reminds me of a comment that Francis Ford Coppola made in 1982 amid the critical lashing he took (unfairly, incidentally) for One from the Heart.

"Why don't we all cheer the film makers on?" Coppola asked rhetorically. "And when they make mistakes, what is it a shooting gallery for? What the hell are we here for, to be your enemies?"

Get well, Roger.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Yo ... Blair!

Anyone who reads, peruses or even takes a whiff of this here blog knows that the contributors aren't exactly big Dumbya fans. But then I come across a story like this, in which an open microphone captures the clod in chief talking trash with fellow world leaders at the G-8 Summit, and I actually feel kinda friendly toward the guy. Explain that to me.

Although AP thinks the lead is that Bush describes Hezbollah as responsible for "the shit" currently happening in Lebanon, I'm more intrigued by his more innocuous banter:

"As he chats with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bush expresses amazement that it will take Putin and an unidentified leader just as long to fly home to Moscow as it will take him to fly back to Washington. Putin's reply could not be heard.

"'You eight hours? Me too. Russia's a big country and you're a big country. Takes him eight hours to fly home. Not Coke, diet Coke. ... Russia's big and so is China. Yo Blair, what're you doing? Are you leaving,' Bush said.

"Bush thanked Blair for a gift of a sweater and joked that he knew Blair had picked it out personally. 'Absolutely,' Blair responded, with a laugh."

There's something beyond surreal about the president of the United States addressing the prime minister of Great Britain as, "Yo, Blair" ... to say nothing of comparing the length of nations.

"It's the End Of the World As We Know It..."

By Cassandra D

Well isn't this just a grand summer?

When it began we already had plenty on our plate, what with Iraq, Afghanistan, and the assaults on liberty and justice by the Bush administration.

What's happened since? Plenty of nothing good.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Lunch Date or Date-Date?

A fundraiser in Denver is auctioning off a "date" with actress Jessica Biel. The cause is for a girl who lost her leg in a prom-night limo accident.

An honest-to-goodness date with a B-grade movie starlet? AP reports:

"The event dubbed 'Mollypalooza' to help Molly Bloom's family with medical expenses is scheduled for Tuesday at the Rock Island Club, organizers told The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. The News described the date as a lunch date.


"'Come on, it's Jessica Biel. What guy wouldn't want to win a date with her?' said Dmitri Lee Natali, 19, a friend and former classmate of Bloom, 18, who lost a leg in the May 13 accident. 'My mom happened to be able to contact (Biel's) parents, and they had heard about Molly's tragedy. They said "yeah, I bet she'll do that."'"

A lunch date? Does that count as a real gotta-listen-to-what-she-has-to-say-and-pick-up-the-check date-date?

As lunch was the first time that I went out with my future wife, Mrs. Chase and I have long disagreed about whether a lunch date constitutes a date-date.

She says yes. I say no; a bona fide date-date, it seems to me, can only be defined as such if there is a realistic, if remote, possibility of nookie at the event's conclusion. And unless your name is Tabitha, your baby's daddy is in prison and you make a living by sliding down poles, chances are that a lunch date, despite your escort's best efforts, will not culminate in a nooner.

I dunno. Maybe I'm wrong.

At any rate, I'm willing to pay good money for a lunch date with Jessica Biel. But don't you fret, dear wife: It's for the children.

Poor Jessica Biel: Another dateless lunch

Friday, July 14, 2006

800-Pound Gorilla, Wearing a Yarmulke

By Cassandra D

Nope, I am not talking about the state of Israel.

I want to bring up the recent allocation of federal Homeland Security funds to protect targets in the United States. As we have all heard, New York's share got cut, supposedly because of a lack of national monuments. Probably because of Congressional pork.

There is a very big issue that has been ignored in all of this: New York City is seen by everyone inside and outside of this country as the place with the greatest concentration and influence of Jews.

Remember the infamous Jesse Jackson "Hymietown" comment?

If the nutjobs in Hamas and similar terrorist organizations can list Rotary International as one of their arch enemies because of some mistaken idea that it is part of a big bad Zionist conspiracy, don't you think they might just have it in for New York City in particular in our country?

Sure, the St. Louis arch is a great national monument and deserves protection. But somehow I doubt that it gets the hatred flowing like targets in New York.

And that's something Americans apparently don't want to talk about.

Friday Random 10

This iPod shuffle for you, turtleboi. God bless you for reading.

1. Dean Martin, "Good Morning Life"
2. Roy Orbison, "In Dreams"
3. Etta James, "Don't Lose Your Good Thing"
4. The Strokes, "Barely Legal"
5. Elvis Costello, "Shabby Doll"
6. Elefant, "My Apology"
7. The Church, "Volumes"
8. Bruce Springsteen, "Trapped"
9. The Four Seasons, "Working My Way Back to You"
10. The Chemical Brothers, "Music: Response"

Who's Cryin' Now?

By Larry Mondello

This is too perfect
WW III is upon us, and this guy can't even solve this one.
Captions, anyone?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Neighborhood Bully

As much as it pains me to admit, there are occasions in which the 43rd president of the United States is, well, right. And I will give Dumbya and his administration props on the U.S. response to the United Nations Security Council's lame-brained condemnation of Israel in the wake of the Gaza attacks.

The U.S. was the lone "no" vote to the resolution, which condemned Israel's "disproportionate" military response to Palestinian attacks originating from the Gaza Strip. Ten countries voted to approve the resolution, with four nations -- Great Britain, Denmark, Peru and Slovakia -- abstaining.

AP reports:

"The draft was reworked repeatedly to address concerns that it was too biased against Israel. Language was added calling for the release of an abducted soldier and urging the Palestinians to stop firing rockets at Israel.

"Nonetheless, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said it was still unacceptable because it had been overtaken by events in the region -- including the capture of two Israeli soldiers by
Hezbollah militants on Wednesday -- and was 'unbalanced.'

'''It placed demands on one side in the Middle East conflict but not the other,' Bolton said. 'This draft resolution would have exacerbated tensions in the region.'"

The resolution smacks of bona fide U.N. logic:

1. Israel pulls out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, a show of good faith setting the stage for the Palestinians to practice self-governance.
2. Palestinians vote in a government of committed terrorists, the Hamas organization.
3. Palestinian terrorists kidnap an Israeli soldier and send crude, makeshift rockets into Israel.
4. Israel responds -- as it has to so many times over the decades -- with a shit-pounding ferocity in hopes the ostensibly peace-loving people of the Gaza Strip will leave them alone.
5. The Zionist-hating gang at the U.N. crafts a broadside of thinly veiled anti-Semitism, tsk-tsking those wicked Jews.

Speaking in Germany today, President Bush made a simple statement that is hardly brilliant (I don't think I could ever accuse this president of brilliance), but, for some inexplicable reason, something with which most of the world doesn't agree.

This is the statement: "Israel has the right to defend herself."

Judging by the reactions of American mainstream media and much of the globe, however, that right is hardly a given.

Dig the media spin:

A July 1 New York Times story by Ian Fisher offered this less-than-unbiased view on the situation:

"Nearly a week after the attack in which the Israeli soldier was taken, the Israeli military operation has not yet created a full-blown crisis for the 1.3 million people who live in the already poor and violent Gaza Strip.

"But aid groups worry that one could come more quickly now than it might have under other circumstances. Gaza has already been squeezed financially ... since Hamas, classified by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist group (emphasis added), took power in January elections and the West cut off financial aid."

Umm... is there a legitimate disagreement about whether Hamas is a terrorist organization? Does Ian Fisher know anything about the history of Hamas?

Good God almighty, I know I'm sounding dangerously close to a neocon, but there is a friggin' gulf of difference between our nation's war of choice in Iraq and Israel's necessary reaction to daily provocation from neighbors committed to its ultimate destruction.

And yet ... and yet the media bias continues. By way of example, The Washington Post's Anthony Shadid, Scott Wilson and William Branigin today report on Hezbollah recently firing missiles into Israel's resort city of Haifa, that country's third-largest city:

"Although no casualties were reported in the attack on Haifa, Israel's ambassador to the United States, Daniel Ayalon, said the southernmost strike to date represented a 'major escalation' of the fighting."

Nice. The writers make the inference, of course, that it's somehow befuddling that the ambassador could call the strikes a "major escalation" since there were no casualties. Incompetent terrorism should get a free pass?

In perhaps the first and last time this blog turns to Charles Krauthammer for wisdom, I offer this astute essay of his from Time:

"What is so remarkable about the current wave of violence in Gaza is that the event at the origin of the 'cycle' is not at all historical, but very contemporary. The event is not buried in the mists of history. It occurred less than one year ago. Before the eyes of the whole world, Israel left Gaza. Every Jew, every soldier, every military installation, every remnant of Israeli occupation was uprooted and taken away.

"How do the Palestinians respond? ... On the very day of Israel's final pullout, the Palestinians began firing rockets out of Gaza into Israeli towns on the other side of the border. And remember: those are attacks not on settlers but on civilians in Israel proper, the pre-1967 Israel that the international community recognizes as legitimately part of sovereign Israel, a member state of the U.N. A thousand rockets have fallen since.

"For what possible reason? Before the withdrawal, attacks across the border could have been rationalized with the usual Palestinian mantra of occupation, settlements and so on. But what can one say after the withdrawal?

"The logic for those continued attacks is to be found in the so-called phase plan adopted in 1974 by the Palestine National Council in Cairo. Realizing that they would never be able to destroy Israel in one fell swoop, the Palestinians adopted a graduated plan to wipe out Israel. First, accept any territory given to them in any part of historic Palestine. Then, use that sanctuary to wage war until Israel is destroyed."


" ... Consider the history of the past 12 months. Gaza is free of occupation, yet Gaza wages war. Why? Because this war is not about occupation, but about Israel's very existence. The so-called cycle will continue until the arrow is abandoned and the Palestinians accept a compromise--or until the arrow finds its mark and Israel dies."

Yep. That's pretty much what's at stake.

Sex Tape Derby, Round 60

Another Thursday, another Sex Tape Derby. In today's installment, we're opting for a tabloid-fueled mix-and-match game. So here's the deal: You've got to watch a homemade sex video or DVD (or virtual reality hologram, if you wanna get all Philip K. Dickish about it); who would you rather watch get jiggy wid' it?

Post your selections in the comments section below. Unless you hate freedom, of course.

Angelina Jolie or ...

Jennifer Aniston?

Vince Vaughn or ...

Brad Pitt?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Hey Mac

By Larry Mondello

For any of you following the Mac vs. PC TV ad campaign, check out this

Sunday, July 09, 2006

By George, I Think I've Got It!

By Cassandra D

Have you been scratching your head in bafflement at our fellow Americans who don't seem to care that our civil liberties are being eroded in the name of the perpetual war on terror?

I think I have at last figured it out.

My conclusion is that our people have succumbed to years of the same propaganda that turned "liberal" into a dirty word.

When they hear, "The Administration is taking away our civil liberties!" what they really hear is this:

"The Administration is taking away our (American) Civil Liberties (Union)!" To which they think to themselves, "Great! It's about time that group of flag-burning, terrorist-loving, Commie traitors was put out of business. You go, Mr. President!"

What we need to say is this:
"The Administration is taking away our liberty and justice!"

Or better yet, this:
"The Administration is damaging Truth, Justice, and The American Way!"

And the ACLU (U as in Union as in Union of Soviet Socialist Republics!) simply must change its name.

How about "Americans (can't beat that) United (like the States!) for Liberty and Justice (like the Pledge!)?"

'Tis the Season

By Cassandra D

It's election time again, and yard signs are popping up all over. This election is a weird one for me. I live in a small enough place and I have reached a, well, mature enough age that I actually know quite a few of the candidates. It fills me with optimism and admiration to see the campaigning. I know that most of the candidates are sticking their necks out, pounding the pavement, and scrounging up dollars because they truly want to serve, often in jobs that don't pay that well and are frequently thankless.

Even when people I don't support win, I'm okay with it. As long as I believe that the elections are fair.

The trust that our elections are fair has eroded in the last few years. I grew up with the idea that discriminatory voting laws in the South were long-since court-ordered and legislated away, and that modern voting in the U.S. was the shining example of democracy for the world.

I want to have that faith again. I, like a lot of other people, am concerned in particular about paperless voting machines and the potential to rig elections.

Common Cause has a series of election reforms they are advocating, including this one:

"All voting systems must have a voter-verified paper ballot that is the official ballot for purposes of recounts and audits."

Surely free and fair elections are a priority that all Americans, regardless of party affiliation, can agree on and enthusiastically support. I am suspicious of anyone who opposes such common-sense patriotism.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Missing My MTV

Hey, here's something that doesn't have to do with anything, but is still mighty entertaining: Pitchfork magazine offers up 100 awesome music videos for your viewing pleasure. What's that you say? Your day just wouldn't be complete without reliving Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" or Toni Basil's single day in the sun? Look no further, grasshopper.

And as long as I'm waxing nostalgic about those sun-dappled days when Nina Blackwood vs. Martha Quinn would've made my MTV-addled libidinous head spin, here's a long-forgotten video I loved in my youth: Styx's "Music Time." Lousy song, great video. I guess that dichotomy pretty much defined 80 percent of popular music from the Eighties.

Training McVeighs?

By Cassandra D

It's bad enough to hear that a handful of our troops raped a young girl and killed her and her family.

Now this from the Southern Poverty Law Center:

"Neo-Nazi groups and other extremists are joining the military in large numbers so they can get the best training in the world on weapons, combat tactics and explosives," said Mark Potok, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project.

"We should consider this a major security threat, because these people are motivated by an ideology that calls for race war and revolution. Any one of them could turn out to be the next Timothy McVeigh."

(via Crooks and Liars)

Lessons from a Jeep

By Cassandra D

A few years ago I was in professional school in Cincinnati. One of my fellow travelers was a tall, dark and handsome, smart, snappy-dressing, smooth-talking ladies' man named Al. I was one of his nerdy friends. Anyway, Al bought a beautiful red Jeep like the one in the photo (but, alas, he did not come up with the beach). I learned two very valuable things from that Jeep.

Maybe it's because I was simultaneously naive and worldly, with a good deal of "be prepared" scouting tossed into the mix. Maybe it's because I'm a girl. Whatever the reason, I had become cautious to the point of paranoia when it came to my car. I never drove with the doors unlocked or any passenger window rolled down very far. I tried never to leave valuables visible inside my car, and I scanned parking lots for bad guys as I returned to my vehicle. Having heard about occasional auto break-ins from my friends, I expected that there were "evildoers" lurking just out of eyesight, ready to pounce at any opportunity.

Enter the Jeep. One day I rode around in it with Al. The top was off the Jeep as it was a beautiful, sunny day. We made multiple stops, and every time, Al left his spare change and some CDs in the car, a mere arm's reach from any passerby. And they were never stolen. He did that as long as I knew him (several years) and never had a problem.

That was mind-boggling and eye-opening to me. I still take the precautions that I used to, but my life is much less ruled by fear. For all the rotten apples out there, I have more faith in the general decency of people.

That was Lesson #1.

As for Lesson #2, you must first understand that Al is black. Right after he got his Jeep, when the paper tags were still on, he was pulled over by the police. No traffic violation. They just wanted to make sure he hadn't stolen it. I could not believe that such a thing would happen in this day and age. (As I said, I was naive.) I told that story to a young doctor who was a pediatrics resident. Was she surprised? Nope. She, too, was black and the same thing had happened to her when she bought her new car.

So Lesson #2 for me was that racism is alive and well, and that most white people -- like me -- have no clue what it is like.

Quite a bit of wisdom, all thanks to a Jeep.

Friday Random 10

This week's iPod is dedicated to the taco.

1. The Squirrel Nut Zippers, "You're Drivin' Me Crazy"
2. Neil Young, "Cinnamon Girl"
3. Frank Sinatra, "The Best Is Yet to Come"
4. Ryan Adams, "1974"
5. Forty-Eight Twenty-Three Twenty-Second Street"
6. The Barenaked Ladies, "If I Had $1,000,000"
7. The Old 97's, "What I Wouldn't Do"
8. Stan Getz, "Samba De Uma Nota So (One Note Samba)"
9. Fastball, "The Way"
10. Steely Dan, "Rikki, Don't Lose that Number"

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Fasting and the Pacifist

Stop the presses. Cindy Sheehan is being joined by Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Danny Glover and other left-wing celebrities in a "rolling" hunger strike calling for the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

People magazine reports:

"Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004, had her last meal at 12 a.m. on July 4 in front of the White House and will remain on a diet of water, teas and juices until Sept. 1, International Peace Day. "Everything we do is to get the troops to come home," she told PEOPLE outside the White House on Tuesday. "We want to show the world that there are Americans who are committed to peace. Fasting is such a time-honored way of protest."

Now, I like empty gestures as much as the next guy, but something tells me that intermittent starvation for Hollywood leftists isn't going to bring the troops home. Call me crazy, but I suspect the folks who are going to be swayed by the likes of Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon are, well, Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon.

Now, get Michael Moore to fast -- then we'll be impressed.

Sex Tape Derby, Round 59

In keeping with the spirit of this week, we offer up a fiercely patriotic Sex Tape Derby. Well, truth be told, this doesn't have a damn thing to do with patriotism, but -- what the hey? This is the deal: Let's assume you have a libido (assume away, you might say), and let's assume you now must choose which of the following celebrities you'd rather see star in a homemade sex video. Who would get the, er, thumb's up? Post your selections in the comments section below.

Sara Foster or ...

Alison Lohman?

Caribbean pirate Johnny Depp or ...

Caribbean pirate Orlando Bloom?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The F Words

By Larry Mondello

I don't know how it is where you are, but from my perch in America's heartland, I now know that to be elected to anything you must support freedom, family and faith. I always have admired politicians who take courageous stands, no matter what the consequences. For a candidate to go out on a limb and admit he stands for freedom or loves his family, now that's courage! You can almost hear it from his consultant-led lips: "My flag is redder, whiter and bluer than my opponent's" or "I love Jesus more than she does!" Jesus could not be reached for comment.

My opinion is: you friggin' better be for freedom, or you shouldn't be running for anything. And if you have a family, you better support them! As for faith, I think that's a personal issue and doesn't belong in a campaign. Don't tell me what you do on Wednesday nights or Sunday mornings and I won't tell you what I do.

Candidates, if you are really for freedom, free yourself from the cliches and consultants and tell us who you really are and what you will do.

I'm Larry Mondello and I approved this message.

Water Sports

North Korea fires second missile into Sea of Japan!

There's no mistaking Kim Jong Il as a dastardly madman when he is willing to kick the shit out of a poor, defenseless body of water.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Psychic Founders?

By Cassandra D

We all know Jefferson was a visionary. Could it be possible, then, that he was actually writing this to us?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Passion of the Superman

Forget Mel Gibson. In need of that old-time religion at the local cineplex? Superman has returned, and he is here to die for your sins.

The Superman-as-Jesus motif is ladled on thick 'n creamy in Superman Returns, the comeback for the movie franchise in which the late Christopher Reeve starred as the Man of Steel. While there is plenty to admire in this retooled $204 million flick -- particularly some jaw-dropping special effects -- this revival bears little of the gee-whiz wonder and virtually none of the humor that distinguished the 1978 Richard Donner motion picture and its 1980 sequel directed by Richard Lester. And, hell, I wanted to like it. Really. Director Bryan Singer, after all, is a gay Jew. If that isn't someone worth rooting for, who is?

Bear in mind, however, that my disappointment is likely a minority opinion (I tend to have them these days). When I saw Superman Returns at an advance screening, I sat between two friends and fellow movie fans. One loved it. The other loathed it. I fell somewhere in between, although I was certainly underwhelmed. As my pro-Superman pal noted, it was as if we had seen different movies.

The polarizing views of critics and fans alike are fascinating, really -- and perhaps, ultimately, a testament to the willingness of its makers to take creative risks in a summer blockbuster. While most reviews have been positive, there have been some noted raspberries from the likes of Roger Ebert, The New York Times' Manohla Dargis and The Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan.

My complaints with the film stem from its fake sentiment. Superman, lonely and alienated, yearns for the humanity as exemplified by Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), and yet she is just kind of a whiney dishrag of a character. More irritating is a father-son theme that is more said than shown, the failings of a pedestrian script that believes it can wring pathos simply by presenting us with a kid who may or may not be spawn of Superman. "In the end, sadly, this script is shown as comprised of gossamer threads tying together moments and characters," concludes Creative Screenwriting magazine. "Superman Returns could have been one for the ages, but the Man of Steel was grounded by a shallow story. The writers took easy, sometimes illogical choices, and hobble what should have been one of the year's, and maybe even the decade's, greatest films."

Perhaps my biggest gripe with the film is its grim tone. Such ambivalence and darkness worked beautifully in Batman Begins, in which the filmmakers grounded that particular superhero legend with a sense of grittiness and plausibility.

But, hey, the Superman myth is a different breed of cat. When a guy's disguise is dependent solely on eyeglasses, it seems to me that the story calls for anything but joyless reverence. There are some terrific moments in Superman Returns, but only fleetingly -- such as the sequence in which farmboy Clark Kent discovers his superpowers -- does the movie soar with wonder.

For me, David Edelstein hits the nail on the head in his review for New York magazine: "It’s not that the movie is 157 minutes; it’s that it feels like 157 minutes."

Sunday, July 02, 2006


By Cassandra D

Have a job that requires no creativity? Want to exercise your brain? Try doing The New Yorker's free weekly Cartoon Caption Contest. The prize? A signed print of the cartoon with your caption on it.

Let us know when you win.