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A Great Dinner With Men of Honor July 31, 2008

Posted by Michael in News.
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I had dinner tonight sitting at an outside bar in San Antonio (where I can smoke),  and struck up a conversation with Randy and Ernest , two scary dark people, and both of them looked really buff.  They are both obviously lifting weights.  So I was polite.

They are both born losers, coming from modest families, by my standards.  Randy is from Puerto Rico, and Ernest is from Haiti.  These are not great places to start out.

They are now both Captains in the United States Army.

What was so affecting about the ensuing conversation is their blatant pride in America as an agency of good in the world, and in the Army as an engine of opportunity where anyone can excel.  These are both educated and intelligent men, and they were enthusiastic about the United States Army.

Ernest is currently stationed in Hawaii and figures he has a cushy job for now.

Randy just got back from Afghanistan, and he is waiting for his next command.  He talked openly about how he actually cried when he got rotated out of Afghanistan and had to leave his command there.

He was very anxious for me to know that we are winning in Afghanistan.  As he put it — we’re going to own Afghanistan just like we own Iraq (he assumes we have won there).  Unlike Iraq, Randy said the Afghans are all on our side; they want us to help them clean up the Taliban and the opium trade.  Randy says there is a mini-surge going on in Afghanistan right now, with the Army adding boots on the ground, as well as the Marines.  (I was surprised that an Army officer mentioned Marines, but he seemed to think they might be useful for something.)

They both like General Petraeus a lot.  They both are Republicans, and think “old man McCain” will be a better supporter of the military than Obama.

Randy has no doubt we can win in Afghanistan.  His basic attitude is — nobody fucks with the United States Army and gets away with it.  Nobody can really challenge us.

So, I tried something that was suggested in a post I read by RightwingSparkle.  I shook both of their hands, made eye contact, and personally thanked them for their service to our country.  I said to each of them that I was proud of them.

Sparkle says she makes a habit of this.  Many of you know me well enough to guess that this is not a natural thing for me to do.

But, you know, it went OK.  It was not really all that awkward.  They both really seemed to appreciate it.  I actually felt very good after doing that.  It did not even register on my gaydar.

Overall, a great evening with interesting men who represent our country with honor.  I was pleased to buy them some Jager shots.

Self Abusing the Legal System July 31, 2008

Posted by skinbad in Crime, Entertainment, Travel.

Coming up on your left

So he’s wrestling the crocodile and filming it. And he’s driving 150 km/hr. Granted, not mph, but still, that’s pretty fast. Using Sobek’s cocaine price per kilo calculations as a basis, that’s got to be like, 80 or something.* How many hands does this guy have?

Loaded .22 rifle and a bunch of weed in the car as well. Great, great explanation for the rifle:

Mr Erhardt also told police he had used the rifle to shoot “kangaroos from the vehicle whilst driving north”.

Found whilst perusing Fark

*93 mph

Wow. This Brett Favre Thing Is Really Getting Annoying. July 31, 2008

Posted by Edward von Bear in Ducks, Entertainment, Food, Gardening, History, Humor, Movies, Music, Personal Experiences, Sports.
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You know, I had a tough decision: post close up photos of my feet after running and contrast it with a close up of my feet with my orange Crocs, or this.

While this was not a Kafkaesque situation (personally, I’m an O Henry guy), it does resemble the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, only this time, all options are bad.


If you outlaw four-edged medieval battle axes . . . . July 31, 2008

Posted by skinbad in Crime.
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If you set the proverbial million monkeys typing and checked back with them in 25 years, you might find a story that included the following elements:

  • a “text messaging squabble”
  • a pissed-off recipient of a sexually transmitted disease 
  • a four-edged medieval battle ax
  • “Juggalos” (fans of the painted-face rappers Insane Clown Posse)

I think it’s possible. Kind of funny how the cops caught the brainiacs.

Picture of Conan’s weapon here.

Greatest Movie Line Ever? July 31, 2008

Posted by composmentis in News.
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Here’s one nominee:

This video doesn’t exist

Wherein SobekPundit Demonstrates that Nevada is Not as Pretty as Norway July 31, 2008

Posted by Sobek in Personal Experiences.
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Nevada certainly has its charm, mind you.  And if you are in America right now, it’s probably cheaper to get here than to Norway.  And you are far less likely to get harassed by pasty-white Lutherans armed with lutefisk and heresy.  But I won’t try to pretend that these pics can compete with Lipstick’s pics.


Welcome To The Party, Pal July 30, 2008

Posted by wintersetruss in Humor, Personal Experiences.
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  I see that one of my real world buddies has discovered the IB-iverse.  Commenter extraordinaire “Jay in Ames” left a blurb on my last post, and I just wanted to say “Come on in, take off your shoes, make yourself comfortable and get me a new beer while you’re up”. 

  Jay is the man who singlehandedly convinced my father that my whole college career was one long drunken haze. 

  In the fall of ’95, ISU had a running back named Troy Davis who was tearing up the turf.  In his two years as a starter, he managed to rack up back to back 2,000 yard seasons (which has NEVER been done before in D1 football, or since…but did he win the freakin’ Heisman?  Nooooooooooo.), and he was the main reason to watch ISU football for the 95 and 96 seasons.  A family friend was working as a sales rep for a industrial machinery company at the time, and he gave my father and I two tickets five rows up from the bench smack dab on the 50 yard line for the ISU game against Kansas State.  This game was played in early November, and as frequently happens in Iowa, the weather was abysmal that week.  Temps were below 20 degrees, and the wind was pushing 20 to 30 mph all day.  By the second half, I’d bet that the stadium held about 300 or so people hanging on to watch the buttkicking that ISU got that day. 

  After the game, we met up with two of my old roommates at a Campustown bar for pizza & beer.  Welch Avenue Station is a great bar to sit down & watch a game, and Pizza Pit, the restaurant located upstairs from the bar, brings the pies right down to your table.  We were all sitting at a big table up by the window out onto Welch Avenue, when the bartender came over to get our orders.  He went around the table getting everyone’s drinks, and when he got to me at last, he said “OK, Russ.  What can I get you.”  My dad shot me a look that said “You graduated four years ago, and the bartenders STILL know you by your first name?”  Ames is a town of about 50,000 people when the students are in town, so I couldn’t play it off like I could have if I’d gone to some small-town college.  I was sort of freaked out at first, but then I figured out what happened.  Two of my old buddies from the dorms had worked at Welch Avenue Station during school, and I had been introduced to Jay at some off campus party sometime during college.  At least that’s what I figure.  The late 80’s and early 90’s are somewhat hazy to me still. 

  Fast forward to about 2000 or 2001, and I’m a regular commenter on a sports talk radio station message board in Des Moines.  We schedule a “get together” at an Iowa Cubs AAA baseball game, and a bunch of us reprobates from the internet meet (without firearms, Marie Sharp’s Belizean Heat, or geniune Iowa beef, so it really wasn’t much of an internet get-together).  What do you know, but one of them JUST HAPPENED TO BE JAY FROM AMES!  Weird. 

  Oh yeah, and my dad finally met Jay at one of our tailgates a few years ago.  I reminded him of the original incident, and we got a big laugh out of it. 

  Anyway, he’ll be a valuable addition to our little corner of the internet.  I can’t vouch for his shooting ability, but I can reassure you that he always filled the pitchers of Bass Ale right up to the very, very top.  That makes him a stand-up guy in my book.

Abusing the Legal System July 30, 2008

Posted by BrewFan in Law, News, Politics, Technology.
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I’ve posted before about how I think the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) attempt to salvage a failed business model through litigation is a travesty of justice. I came across this article recently and wanted to share it with you as it explains how this mockery of due process is being foisted upon us.

There is a common misconception, actively fostered by the RIAA’s public relations spokespeople, that these are “downloading” cases. Nothing could be further from the truth. The cases are brought without any proof of downloading whatsoever. The way in which these cases come about is that an unlicensed “investigator” (through a method the RIAA has termed “automated,” “proprietary,” and “confidential” and that it refuses to dis-close), engages in a pretexting operation in which the investigator pretends to be an ordinary user of one of the peerto- peer file-sharing networks. When the investigator locates a group of “shared files” on his computer screen, he makes a screen shot, downloads a small number of files, and, from the data packet he retrieves, supplies the RIAA with the Internet protocol (IP) address contained in the packet, together with the date and time of the screenshot.

This is a very interesting article, and while I didn’t ‘get’ all of the legal mumbo jumbo it is certainly clear that the RIAA is not interested in justice.

Read it all (h/t Slashdot).

My New Career: Journalism? July 29, 2008

Posted by wintersetruss in Ducks, Humor, News, Personal Experiences.
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  Two years ago, I wrote a weekly college football column for an Iowa State University fan website on the Scout network.  It was a piece where I gave the perspective of “Joe SixPack” and reviewed the gameday experience from a seat in the bleachers.  No press pass, no access, no journalism experience, and no talent!  I wrote the column for free, because I wanted to give it a shot & see what I could do.  I did a daily column from the Big 12 Basketball tournament the spring before (March of ’05) where I would come back to the hotel room from the bars at 2 or 3 am and pound out five or six pages on my laptop and send ’em in to the webmaster.  I trusted the HELL out of him to edit out any drunken profanity I might have let slip into the mix in those columns.  I reprised my role when ISU went back to the Big 12 tourney in Dallas in March of ’06, but since ISU lost in the first round, my columns were limited to one that they had to put a “the proprietors of this site do not necessarily agree with all opinions expressed in this article” tag on (at my suggestion, because I said some non-complementary things about the Big 12 conference and the Dallas site).

  I did one SHORT season-ending wrapup on football in early January of ’07, a short midseason basketball piece , and a VERY short report on the Big 12 basketball tourney in Oklahoma City back in March of ’07, and then pretty much retired from that job due to a conflict of opinion with the site’s publisher/owner:  I thought he was an asshole, and he respectfully disagreed (in a VERY assholish way, of course).   I didn’t do any writing last season because I was burnt out on the whole process, but I recently exchanged some emails with a guy who runs an ISU fan website independent of Rivals or Scout (the two big boys in fan websites) networks.  When I mentioned that I might be feeling like bringing the magic pencil back out of retirement, he encouraged me and said that he was a BIG fan of my previous work.  That’s nice to hear, because the owner of the site I used to write for barely even knew that I worked for him (can you call it “working” if you’re not getting paid?  Beats me.) and I even had a Khafka-esque encounter with the “silent partner” of the site at a bar in Oklahoma City where he was doing fan interviews.  I made it 30 minutes through a taped interview with the guy, and then asked him “Hey, are you sure you don’t remember me?  I WRITE FOR YOUR FREAKING WEBSITE, Moron!”  It was…..uncomfortable, to say the least. 

  Anyway, the proprietor of Cyclone Fanatic dot com wants me to join his team.  He’s even offered to pay me to write articles.  This is a mindscrambler:  someone will PAY me to do what I was gonna do for free anyway?  Wow, if I can just find sponsors for my bacon eating, gun collecting and masturbation habits, I’ll be a VERY happy man.

  The format of the old columns was VERY unstructured.  Sort of “Hunter S. Thompson meets…….Hunter S. Thompson’s drunken cousin”.  I would talk about the media attention leading up to the game, the trip to the game with my old college drinking buddies, the tailgating experiences we had, our amateur analysis of the game & the gameday experience, and hip trendy pop-culture references to make me look cool with all the kids.  We had a ratty old stuffed boar’s head that Janis bought at an estate sale for $200 which we mounted on the front of the bus and named “Bobby Trippe” (google the name if you’re curious).  Bobby became a regular part of my columns, as did my old buddies “Hogfarmer”, “Hooter”, “The Fire Marshall”, “Goldie” and “Jethro”.  Luckily our old buddy “Jizz” never made it back from Utah to see any of the games, or else I think the bluenosed owner of the site would have edited my work. 

  The resulting columns are probably going to keep my old tagline (“Putting Lipstick on a Pig”) and be done under my fansite user name (“CYlent Bob”, a witty play on the ISU Cyclones & my alleged resemblance to Gonzo Director Kevin Smith).  I think I’ll be making it to a couple of road games as well this year, and Jeremy from the site tells me that he’s THIS close to getting me a real, honest to God…..PRESS PASS.  A press pass.  In the hands of a man who doesn’t give a damn about furthering his career in the business.  This could be dangerous.  I’m really going to have to try to keep my demons in line at press conferences.  I’d love to be the guy who gets up in a presser to ask “Excuse me, but did you just say that your game plan was right for the situation but that the team didn’t execute properly?  Coach, do we all LOOK retarded?”  I think that asking obvious questions like these would be good if I ran the site myself, but I’m not going to put another guy’s rear end in the frying pan for my lack of diplomacy.  Besides, if you’re gonna ask snarky questions like that, you might as well save up and ask one MONUMENTALY EPIC one, because you’re gonna lose the press pass anyway within 48 hours, so you’d might as well go out as a legend.

  I have no idea what the compensation for these articles will be.  I’m thinking somewhere along the lines of $10 an article or something like that (I still don’t understand internet business models, but I guess I’m just a bricks & mortar kind of guy that way), but I’d probably settle for free parking passes and gas money for road trips.  Janis wants me to take all the money & put it into Baby Moses’ college fund, which is a pretty good idea.  It’s not as if I’ll be making “coke and hookers” sized money anyway, so I’d might as well make it go to a good cause.

  As my bestest fakey interwebthingy buddies, I’ll make sure to keep you all posted on my work.

Chicken Pot Pie July 29, 2008

Posted by daveintexas in News.
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I sure do like pie.  And Lord knows, I do loves me some sammiches.


Which brings me to today’s topic.  Chicken Pot Pie: Sammich in Disguise?


 pssst.  Dave.  That green thing on the side is just for looks.  Don’t eat it.



What I Did On My Summer Vacation, Michigan Edition July 28, 2008

Posted by Edward von Bear in Ducks, Economics, Family, History, News, Personal Experiences, Travel.
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Holland, MI this time of year is a very nice place to visit. While my family and I were there, the temperature ranged from the high 70s to the low 80s, with minimal humidity and a pleasant breeze. And the water, while a bit chilly, was clear and clean. Too bad the winters can be brutal in that area. But I won’t be there in the winter, so who cares?

Oh, and if your daughter REALLY NEEDS her pink My Little Pony purse, and you go to the car to bring it back to the hotel room, try not to encounter drunken rednecks. Just sayin’.

Anyway, here is Lake Michigan, as seen from Tunnel Park, so named because a tunnel dug through the sand dunes is one of the ways to get to the beach.

Then, we went to a local Dutch Village and Windmill Island. Apparently, they make their own cheese there.

Here is the Windmill Island:

Mad Goat Walking Skillz:



Dutch Costumes:



And finally (for now), proof that Holland State Park became teh sexxier  for at least a few hours last week [REDACTED]


Land of the Free, Home of the Brave July 28, 2008

Posted by Pupster in Heroes, Personal Experiences, Philosophy, Politics, Travel.
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I met a nice lady from Hong-Kong at an industry conference in upstate New York last week. “Jane” had never been to America before, and was curious about, well…just about everything.

We were staying in a fairly nice hotel, and the first night our group was taken to a nice restaurant nearby. Jane and I met while we were outside waiting for the bus. She was looking all around at the scenery, the hotel golf course in the foreground and the green mountains off in the distance.  She opened her arms up wide and asked:

Is all of America like this?

I was not sure what she meant at first, but when I figured out she was talking about the wide open spaces, flowerbeds and well manicured lawns, I assured her that this was pretty typical of America.

There is no place like this in Hong Kong. No one makes the land look like gardens. It is very crowded where I come from.

When she found that I did not mind answering questions, she really opened up with some doozys. We sat together on the bus and in the restaurant, and I did my best to answer her inquiries. She was totally mystified by our system of government. I explained that we hold elections every 4 years to choose who will represent us in government.

“Does everyone have to vote?”

It’s a privilege to vote. Not everyone does it, but many take the time to study the candidates and issues, and make a choice based on which candidate would best represent their views.

She also had a lot of questions regarding our military.

Do the soldiers get rich when they join the army?

No, they do not get paid well at all. Our soldiers believe in America, and wish to help our country, and other people around the world, by volunteering for the armed services.

They don’t have any better options, they are desperate, and need jobs?

No. The armed services only take the best volunteers, they actually turn people away who can’t pass the screening tests.

What about their parents?

Their parents are proud. Proud. (I had to say it twice to make her understand.)

On another field trip, she asked why we fly American flags from our homes and businesses.  Several others in our group tried to explain that it’s traditional in America to be proud of our country, and flying the flag is one form of patriotism.

“It is not like this anywhere else, people flying flags and being patriotic, unless the children have been brainwashed into it…into believing their country is great. How does this happen in America?”

At this point I began to wonder if Jane was being purposely obtuse, possibly inscrutable. She had a lot of information about America right in front of her, but did not make the connections between how nice it is to live here, and how we are proud of being Americans. 

She had been amazed that there was a coffee maker in every room in the hotel (she works in an office with 20 others, and they all share one).  She was shocked to see maintenance and custodial workers leaving the hotel after an 8 hour work day, and driving nice vehicles.

Your country is very rich.

Yes, we are.  Maybe a little spoiled too, but we mean well. 

Jane didn’t get America, but didn’t hesitate when I asked her if she would want to live here.

Absolutely. I would love to move here. America is strange to me, but very wonderful.