Happy New Year

To my friends, my family, my devoted reader (that would be my wife), and to Imo, evil though he is,


Friday Rodent Blogging

Sept 2003 - Dec 2005.

In Memoriam

Kuzco died tonight. I guess it should have been expected, when one goes, the other can't be far behind. It seems both Kuzco and Pacha just died of old age. But that doesn't help in the slightest. We'd grown really attatched to these two guys and it's hard to see them go.

We love you Kuzco. You and your brother will be in our hearts forever.



Recieved this the other day, via email:


We happily announce to you the draw (#1020) of the UK NATIONAL
LOTTERY,online Sweepstakes International program held on Saturday 1 October 2005.

Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from a pool of over 25,000 names and e-mail addresses of distinguished professionals drawn from Europe, America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Middle-East, parts of Africa, and North & South America as part of our international promotions programme conducted weekly to encourage prospective overseas entries. We hope with part of your prize awards, you will take part in our subsequent lottery jackpots.

The result of our computer draw (#988) selected your e-mail address attached to ticket number: 56475600545 188 with Serial number 5368/02 drew the lucky numbers: 04-06-31-42-46-47(bonus no.11), which subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd category i.e match 5 plus bonus.

You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of £243,306 (TWO HUNDRED AND FOURTY THREE THOUNSAND,THREE HUNDRED AND SIX POUNDS STERLINGS) in cash credited to file KTU/9023118308/03. This is from a total cash prize of £1,703,142 shared amongst the Second seven(7) lucky winners in the 2nd category i.e. Match 5 plus bonus.


Match 6 2 £2,767,607 £5,535,214

Match 5 plus bonus 7 £243,306 £1,703,142

Match 5 318 £2,793 £1,064,133

Match 4 26475 £88 £2,329,800

Match 3 561913 £10 £5,619,130

Totals 588,778 £16,251419

Additional Information:

Jackpot winner(s) 2

Machine used for Draw MOONSTONE

Winners by Lucky Dip 216277

Ball set used 7

All participants for the online version were selected randomly from World Wide Web sites through computer draw system and extracted from over 100,000 Unions, associations, and corporate bodies that are listed online.

Your prize award has been insured in your name and is ready for claims. To begin your claims therefore, you are advised to expeditiously contact our licensed and accredited claim agent for Overseas Lottery Winners within a period of 21 days (date of this email inclusive) for the processing of your winning and remittance to you after all statutory obligations have been satisfactorily dispensed with.

This promotion takes place weekly. Please note that your lucky winning number falls within our European booklet representative office in Europe as indicated in your play coupon.

In view of this, your £243,306 (TWO HUNDRED AND POUNDS STERLINGS) would be released to you by any of our payment offices in Europe.

Please be informed that claims not processed within the stipulated period may be forfeited to the pool without further notice.

Our European agent will immediately commence the process to facilitate the release of your funds to you.

For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information confidential till your claim is processed and your money remitted to you in whatever manner you deem fit to claim your prize. This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program. Please be warned!

To file for your claim, please contact our fiduciary agent:

Overseas Claims Unit
United Kingdom Lottery Fiduciary



You can go to our online result site to confirm the
value of your
winnings and also get a prize breakdown:-


At your disposal, we remain.
Very Truly Yours,

Brian Hunt
Online coordinator for UK NATIONAL LOTTERY,

Sweepstakes International Program.
Open 7 days 8am-11pm.



1.FULL NAMES:__________________________________





5.MARITAL STATUS:___________________


7.E-MAIL ADDRESS:_____________________________

8.TELEPHONE NUMBER:_____________________

9.BATCH NUMBER:____________________ B. REF NUMBER:______________


11.AMOUNT WON:___________________________________


12. COUNTRY________________________________

Upon receipt of the duly requested data, I will send you the contact information of the payment office so you can proceed with effecting the release of your claim in anyway you deem fit.

Warm Regards,


Nicely done. Except that the National Lottery's logo appears nowhere in the email, there are several spelling and grammatical mistakes, the website linked to, whilst it it the official UK National Lottery site, contains no information whatsoever concerning any "Overseas Claims Unit", the national Lottery Machines are all named after characters from the "King Arthur's Court" realm of fiction (because the company that runs it is called "Camelot") so there is no "Moonstone" machine, and, oh, I didn't buy a ticket.

The Naional Lottery isn't a freakin' charity. No pay, no play.

Sheesh. It scares me that there may people out there fooled by this kind of thing.


Migraine, again

Just an excuse to post another useless link from my collection.

More funny t-shirts.


Once there was a dream

Once there was a whacked-out dream of a unified Europe rising up out of the detritus of the cold war, becoming another superpower in the world.

What's scary is that there are tiny signs it's starting to happen. People around Europe are working together on common projects instead of in competition like they used to. We have a unified currency, such as it is. We have a government, such - again - as it is. Barriers are coming down, friendships are coming up.

We've even found a way to get into space without having to go cap in hand to NASA. The ESA is no longer a silly little bastard cousin to the Yanks.

How do we know?

Because, after years of putting vital communications satellites in space and not much else, suddenly they're spending $4billion on putting mostly-useless crap up there.

Galileo, Europe's "it ain't broke but were gonna fix it anyway" answer to GPS. Now you'll be able to know how lost you are "down to the metre".

Baby's growing up..


10 Terror attacks foiled

Ten terrorist attacks have been foiled since 9/11, thanks to the brilliant work of anti-terrorism units.

Not news? Didn't Bush make that announcement back in October?

Well, yeah. But I'm not talking about plots against the USA, I'm talking about plots against London.

That's right. Tiny lil 609 square-miles of London has had as many "foiled" terrorist plots as all 3,537,441 square miles of the US of A. That's ten plots against 7.5 million Londoners vs the same number against 292 million Americans.

So, do they really hate us that much more or did dear ol' Ken just pick up the wrong script?

Ten plots. Count 'em - ten! Except you can't, because they're secret, so we'll never have any details over who was plotting, what was plotted, when it was plotted, when it was plotted for, how the plot was uncovered, who did the foiling, how foiling took place, and when the plotting was foiled.

Hell, it's a good job our politicians are so trustworthy, otherwise the skeptic might ask "how do we know you didn't just make up a nice, round figure?"




Yep, it's Christmas, so, whoever you are, however you celebrate, and whether or not you celebrate, I hope you had a good day.

Unless you're the dickhead commentator from the Bears-Packers game who thanked the troops overseas for defending freedom - which he defined as "the freedom to celebrate Christmas - as we all did today - any way we choose".

That must be news to all the Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems and people who just plain don't celebrate it. Sounds suspiciously like people who define "freedom of religion" as "the freedom to worship an almighty god any way they choose". Now, who was it who said that?

And I'm working on an article answering the question I've been asked repeatedly this year - how can an atheist justify celebrating Christmas?

Look for it tomorrow or sometime next week.

Happy Holidays.

Bite me, O'Reilly.


Bengals 27-37 Bills

Not exactly what I wanted for Christmas, but at least it was a closer game than the score would indicate.

Well, hope the Packers-Bears game is as fun to watch. Dallas won. Chargers got hammered. Teach you to beat the Colts. Oops.

Merry Chirstmas, in case I can't (or can't be bothered to) get on tomorrow.

Friday Rodent Blogging

Freedom! Oh, wait! Dammit! There's a hand! Curses, foiled again!

Kuzco finds his freedom to roam o'er the hills and valleys of Doombreed isn't quite so liberating as he thought.


Busted Tees plug

Was sent this link.

Have now passed it on.

Hmm.. kinda disease-like, this blogging stuff, ain't it?

(Seriously, that's a great site with some amazing shirts. I really want the "DIKFORE" one.)

Gay marriage

Sir Elton John and his long-time partner David Furnish, along with dozens of other couples, have tied the knot under Britain's Civil Partnerships Act of 2004. Yes, two people of the same sex are "married". The world is still here. Civilisation did not come to an end. There were no rains of sulphur, no plague of boils, kids did not run amok in bloody demonic-possession, dogs did not rip out the throats of the elderly, bats did not rape mice.

Neither did any of the above happen two weeks ago when Britain's first same-sex marriage, a specially licensed ceremony where permission was given to waive the 15-day waiting period because one partner was terminally ill, took place. He died the next day, but he died a married man.

I am very proud of my homeland, right now.


The Daily Show vs Bill O'Reilly

Must-see TV. This oustanding clip is from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, replying to a clumsy attempt at scathing journalism by Fox news vis a vis the whole "War on Christmas" line. Utterly hilarious.


Stattin' it up (again)

Tonight's Packers-Ravens massacre threw up this week's useless nugget of information award when the commentators (John Madden, he of the "EA Sports Madden NFL [insert year]" games fame, and Al Michaels, the guy who made the greatest joke in the history of the world in BASEketball) vouchsafed that, when Deion Sanders intercepted Brett Favre, it was the first time ever that a player as old as Sanders had picked off a player as old as Favre.

There. Aren't you gad you read this blog and can now sleep soundly knowing that?

(p.s. The spellchecker on this blog, that I use to check blog posts before posting them to my blog, which is part of the blogger software used to blog with, does not know the word "blog" and counts it as a typo.)


Bengals 41-17 Lions


First division title since 1990.

Match report.

And serious commiserations to the Colts for losing today. That's a major bugger, I was hoping they'd go undefeated all the way. Still, Super Bowl beckons.

Spies warned of Tube attack

So, it appears that the JIC "warned" Blair that the Tube might be targeted by terrorists before the 7th July attacks when they actually were targeted.

The shock! The horror!

Newsflash: The British anti-terrorism services have long known that the Tube would be a choice target for terrorists. Shit, think about London and it's the one, big - and above all, soft - target that sticks out like a sore thumb.

And forewarned, what, exactly, could Blair do? Remember, four unremarkable youths with backpacks. Thousands of them pass through the Tube every day. We're not talking about guys in robes with teatowels on their heads carrying beeping boxes with wires sticking out of the sides chanting in Arabic as they march into our subways.

Besides, the conspiracy theorists point to the fact that the company that runs security for the Tube performed evacuation exercises and drills with this scenario in mind mere days before the actual bombing as evidence that the gummint did know it was coming. So, er, they were preparing.

Or maybe we should react to every tidbit of information by strip searching everyone with dark skin who even so much as looks at a building?

Spies warned of Tube attack:

"SPYMASTERS warned Tony Blair before the July 7 suicide bombings that Al-Qaeda was planning a ‚“high priority‚” attack specifically aimed at the London Tube.

A leaked four-page report by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), which oversees all spying, is the first definitive evidence that the intelligence services expected terrorists to strike at the Underground."

Space cadets taken in by TV hoax

Man, I'm pissed to have been unable to have seen this.. fantastic..

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Space cadets taken in by TV hoax:

"Three contestants have spoken of their disbelief after being fooled into thinking they went into space for the UK reality show Space Cadets.

The three believed they had blasted off from a cosmonaut training camp in Russia, but were in fact in a fake spaceship in a warehouse in Suffolk."


Friday Rodent Blogging

You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well, I'm the only one here. Who do the fuck do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah? Huh? Ok.


The War On Christmas

Fox News is in full judgment mode with an ongoing series of "exposes" dealing with the alleged "War on Christmas".

The British have long been puzzled by the American custom of wishing a "Happy Holidays" instead of a "Merry Christmas", but once one understands the concept, it's really quite good. Many religions have some variation of the winter festival, from Hanukkah to Kwanza, and thus, all are grouped together - by most - into a generic "Holiday Season", and wishes are often exchanged based on this. Most obviously, businesses who wish to avoid offending their non-christian customers with a christian-specific greeting often instruct staff to use the all-encompassing "Happy Holidays" instead.

But Fox is pissed. And, but for one tiny nugget of information, one might be fooled into thinking that this is serious and new. It's neither. Fox, according to those I've spoken to, do this every year. And every year Fox gets caught with its pants down.

Here's an example:

On his show, ranting pundit Bill O'Reilly claimed that a Wisconsin elementary school (read: primary school) had changed the lyrics to the carol Silent Night in an attempt to secularise the song and were "forcing" the kids to sing the new version. Horrendous. Except it's not true.

He was also caught out when he made similarly spurious claims about a Michigan town banning people from wearing red and green during the holiday season.

Sean Hannity made a similar mistake when he repeatedly claimed a New Jersey school had "banned" Silent Night entirely.

The "War on Christmas" exists only in the minds of those with an incredible martyr complex. And it's laughable - as ReasonOnline points out with an excellent piece entitled "The True Spirit of Xmas: How 4/5 of the country became an oppressed minority" - in a country where christians control every branch at every level of government.

Ah, 'tis the season, indeed.


A shout out (or whatever it is that the kids are doing these days)

I just wanted to post a public thanks to the company Bed, Bath and Beyond, being about the only company over here to sell that most quintissential and British of christmas goodies, the christmas cracker. Apparently, Americans haven't embraced the cracker like we Brits have, and they're very hard to find.

Here's an entertaining site explaining the history and evolution of our beloved crackers.


On giant pandas

August J. Pollack has an excellent piece on giant pandas over at Xoverboard today. It's well worth the read.

And honestly, I'm positive that this makes the very existence of giant pandas unique. In contrast to any other animal in the world, giant pandas exist solely because humans adore them, and want them to reproduce and stay alive. This doesn't demean their beauty or my respect for nature in general, but it merits saying out loud and accepting: these aren't noble, majestic creatures. And then I realized it: they're the Paris Hiltons of the animal kingdom. They exist because we lavish them with wealth, fawn over their appearance, and stare at them endlessly via night-vision cameras.


The greatest ice cream in the history of the world, ever.

That's right. Edy's Grand Limited Edition Bengals Blitz: vanilla ice cream with fudge swirls and caramel filled footballs.

Oh yeah.

Bengals 23-20 Browns

Okay, so let me see. The word was that if the Bengals won and the Steelers lost today, the division would belong to the big cats. The Steelers won, though. So, now, it apparently comes down to next week, and - no matter what Pittsburgh do - if the Bengals beat Detroit (and, come on, Green Bay beat them today), then the division is over and Cincinnati are going to the playoffs.

So, like, yeah. Watching next week?




Ahh, yes. This is from someone who believes in a holy book that includes the phrases "love thy neighbour as thyself" and "judge not, lest ye be judged".


Germany 2006 draw

The groups for the first round of the FIFA World Cup 2006 have been drawn. England (ranked 9th in the world) got Paraguay (30), Trinidad & Tobago (51), and Sweden (14). USA (8) got Italy (12), Ghana (50), and Czech Republic (2). Tough group.

The BBC has a neat printable wallchart for anyone interested in keeping up.

Friday Rodent Blogging

Sept 2003 - Dec 2005.


Hospitals may ban treatment for smokers and drinkers

Well, this is outrageous. Hospitals may refuse to treat someone who is, for example, a smoker or a drinker, if the doctor feels the treatment may not be "cost effective". A group called N.I.C.E. (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence - yeah, I know, but N.I.H.C.E. doesn't sound so warm and fuzzy) is set to pass a ruling allowing just this kind of bull.

Yeah, I can hear the wanky campaigners now; "We pay for the NHS, you're putting a strain on our resources".


Take smoking. Cigarettes cost three to four times more in the UK than in the USA. Why? Taxes. Taxes slapped on by the British government way in excess of that levied by the US government. And where does this tax revenue go?

Yeah, that's right. The NHS. The justification for all this extra tax is that we're putting poisons in our bodies, we should contribute more to the health service which is going to end up treating us.

Same goes for alcohol.

So, sincerely, I appreciate your position, but fuck the fucking fuck off. If I'm a smoker or a drinker in the UK (I was), it's my NHS more than it is yours, because I've been contributing way more than you, for many years, Mr and Mrs Campaigner.

I want back all the money I paid on cigarette tax.

I really dislike these idiot dumbfucks who spend their days helping the Labour government find new ways to screw the people they're supposed to be representing.

In Memoriam

Pacha, one of our two hamsters, died last night. He had been apparently ill for a few days, spending almost all of the time sleeping. We initially thought it was the "little hibernation" that hamsters sometimes go through, because his brother was also sluggish. We turned up the heat and Kuzco was up and running around within a few hours. Pacha, though, got worse, and this morning when we checked on him, he'd gone.

Anyone who has never owned a pet cannot comprehend how central to your life they can become. I cried and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

We love you, Pacha, and we'll miss you.


Stattin' it up

Last night's Seahawks-Eagles match allows the perfect lead into an idiosyncrasy of American Football, that of the stat obsession.

I say it's American Football, but it's Baseball, Ice Hockey, and Basketball, too. Basically, all the American sports. But it's American Football I'm interested in.

Last night, the Seahawks gave the Eagles what we, in England, call a "right-royal spanking", beating them 42-0. The commentators pointed out (several times) that this is the biggest defeat since a 38-0 loss (again, to the Seahawks) in the '98 season opener, and their worst home game since the Packers spanked them 49-0 in 1962. It was their only shutout (scoring no points) since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers held them to 17-0 in 2003 which, incidentally, was the Eagles' first game in their new season.

I'm not making this up, check the NFL match report.

The commentators mentioned that only three times in the history of the team have they been down by 35 or more points at halftime.

I guarantee, someone out there could tell you the stats from the Seahawks' side, too. Last time (if ever) they won by 42 points. Last time they shut out a team. Last time they shut out a team "on the road" (that's American for "an away game"). Last time they shut out a team and, if ever, scored 42 points or more. In the snow. On a Monday night. On the road.

Stats are huge in American Football. Watch a game - any game - and the commentators will offer tidbits of information. "That's the longest punt in NFL history, Bill", "That's the furthest any quarterback has thrown the ball for a completion and failed to get a touchdown, John", "That's John Smith's fifteenth consecutive game with at least one fumble, Troy", or, in extremis, "That's only the second time in NFL history that the same player has fumbled and recovered more than twice in two consecutive Monday night road games in the snow at Dallas the day after it rained for more than seven hours straight in December when I was wearing a blue tie, Mike."

Okay, that last one might not exist. But you get the idea.

Now, don't get me wrong, I guarantee that one could go to any Manchester United game and find someone who can quote stats till the end of time. Number of wins, number of losses, number of goals for or against in a given season. But ask "What's the biggest margin of goals Man Utd has ever won by in the snow?" and most will give you a blank look. Why does a person need to know this?

Most career touchdown passes? (Dan Marino - 420)
Most touchdown passes in a single season? (Peyton Manning - 49)
Most career touchdowns? (Jerry Rice - 207)
Longest pass completion? (Frank Filchock to Andy Farkas - 99 yards)
Most rushing yards gained in a career? (Emmett Smith - 18,355)

How about football?


First, it's hard to find them. Second, having found them, it quickly becomes apparent that one can easily get hold of stats for each team, but league-wide are harder to find. For example, want to know which Wolverhampton Wanderers player scored most goals in his career? Steve Bull, with 306. In a season? Same guy, 52. Most goals scored by an Arsenal FC player at home in a single game? Jack Lambert with 5.

But, what about across the whole Premier League? Even the FA's site doesn't list them.

The BBC lists this season's top scorer (Frank Lampard for Chelsea with 11, tied with Man Utd's Ruud Van Nistelrooy) but what about last season? What about all-time?

Don't get me wrong, I'd bet one could find them, if one was patient enough.

But when I googled for the NFL scores above, they were first result. Googling for football results doesn't give anything meaningful on the first few pages.

And the most obscure stats are trotted out by NFL commentators every single game!

The how, I get. But why?

Seahawks 42-0 Eagles

All together now..

Ain't that a shaaaaaameeee!
My tears fell like rain...


Bengals 38-31 Steelers


Nicely done.


Match report.


We went to see this movie today, as part of Mrs Doombreed's birthday celebrations (Happy Birthday, love of my life!) and we both loved it.

Basic story: Dude decides to cheat on his wife. Is caught on the cusp of completing the act by an unsavory character who robs him and then decides to blackmail him. Twist in the tale does not even begin to describe it, and Jennifer Aniston has just got hotter since leaving both Friends and that idiotic Pitt guy.

Doombreed rating: *****


Friday Rodent Blogging

Kuzco, who has decided that he's had enough of the paparazzi invading his privacy.



This is almost too funny:

The British government just released the Primary School (for Americans, read "Elementary" school) league tables. What's funny is that the Headteacher of the top school in the country said that her success is due to "ignoring" most of the government's advice and strategies on education.


Check it out.


Supreme Court to hear pro-abortion challenge

Well, I guess it's time to test out that new court...

The battle over abortion rights has returned to the US Supreme Court, where campaigners are fighting to overturn a New Hampshire law that requires minors to inform their parents before they can receive the operation.

It is the first time the court has heard an abortion rights case under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, and the outcome of the hearing - which will not be announced for some weeks - is unclear because of the recent shake-up in the court's membership.

Story here.


BBC NEWS | Middle East | US 'to reduce its forces in Iraq'

Ahhh.. so US troops may be coming home towards the middle of next year, huh? This is good, because a reduction in coalition presence (and, let's be serious, here, that means British and US troops) means that some of our troops will be coming home, too.

So ... like ... just in time for the US elections?

I guess it's gratifying for Brits to know that the deployment and return of British troops is being done in accordance with some other country's political needs. British troops can stop being killed because tickertape parades in Washington DC will be a coup just before the midterms.

I mean, it'd be bad enough if we thought Blair sent our boys off to die for his own political agenda, but for someone else's?

Oh, wait, that's what's been going on all along.

Hang on, how the fuck did the grinning twat get re-elected?

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to hear that an and to this may be in sight, but it kinda sticks in my throat that the war is ending, like it began, not because it's right or necessary, but because it's politically advantageous.

p.s. note how the Bush administration is still trying to link Iraq to 9/11

US 'to reduce its forces in Iraq'

The White House says it expects conditions in Iraq will permit a reduction in the number of American forces in the country next year.

A spokesman told journalists progress was being made with the training of Iraqi security forces and that would allow the US to reduce its presence.

President George W Bush is expected to repeat that big advances are being made in Iraq in a speech later on Wednesday.

Correspondents say he wants to give Americans hope that an end is in sight.

The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says the rhetoric from the White House has changed.


Congestion charge to be rolled out nationwide

Now, see, I would be more in favour of this if I thought, for even one second, that this charging would replace paying for roads through taxes and that taxes woul be reduced accordingly.

But it and they won't. Taxes will remain as they are and this is just another way for the government to fleece even more money out of the citizenry.

Congestion charge to be rolled out nationwide:

"CONGESTION charging is to be extended to towns and cities across England under government plans for a fundamental change in the way drivers pay for using the roads.

Local authorities in seven areas were yesterday awarded �7 million to develop a model charging scheme that will be rolled out over the entire road network in the next 10-15 years.

The authorities will study new technology that can target motorists who travel at the busiest times, charging them up to
£1.34 a mile. "


Bengals 42-29 Ravens

This is the kind of thing I'm used to seeing. The Bengals dominated in the first half, holding the Ravens to zippo, then fell apart when they came back. At least they were able to get it back together long enough to score some more and keep the game to a win.


Good: The Bears won.

Bad: The Packers lost.

Ugly: Denver's win over Dallas on thursday.


Do you know what a "Freudian slip" is?

Check it out, a christian t-shirt that states the wearer is "Brain Washed".

I shit you not, this is a 100% genuine christian t-shirt as sold by the christian company "FaithfulWay Christian Shirts" on eBay.

Brain Washed? Is that a t-shirt or a warning label?

I guess these people think they're being clever, turning the accusation around or something. Like someone with a functioning brain would listen to their crap for about thirty seconds and then say "dude, you've been brainwashed", and they can reply "yes, and I'm proud of having had my brain washed".

Yeah, except it doesn't work and the shirt just looks like the wearer is being inadvertently honest through chronic stupidity.


Friday Rodent Blogging

Imo is either praying, bathing, or is trying to conceal a small handgun in his fur. You decide.

George Best 1946-2005

George Best died today at 1255 GMT.

A great man, sadly missed.


George Best on the way out

George Best, arguably one of the greatest footballers ever, is currently in a hospital going through his "final hours". Internal bleeding caused by a lung infection is unstoppable, and he's not expected to last the next 24 hours.

Best was the epitome of the playboy sportsman, he drank, he smoked, he gambled, he fornicated. He once said of his life: "
I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."

Good luck to you, George. You had a good life, enjoyed every second. In this day and age of political correctness it's just not acceptable to admire someone as dedicated to the enjoyment of life as you've been, but know that we do admire you.

And I think you might have been amused by the upcoming attempts to fit your life into some sort of church-appropriate eulogy.


One of the more amusing ways I've been wasting my time is watching commercials on the telly. I've especially been keeping an eye out for those that allegedly push one message whilst actually promoting (to the inquiring, slightly skewed mind) a completely different one.

For example:

Take the new commercial for the Hummer H3. It shows a family of bears (Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and, if you can't finish that off, you're too dumb to be walking around unsupervised) coming home to find that their house has been "visited". Cups are out, chairs have been sat in, beds slept in. Simultaneously, the Bears are overcome with a shocking realisation! The cars! They rush outside.. Papa Bear's HumVee is there.. Mama Bear's H2 is there.. but Baby Bear's H3 is gone! Cut to the H3 being driven down the road by a blonde - Goldilocks - and the catchphrase "this one's just right".


Or, as I say whenever it comes on, "H3: the car for car thieves". How about "H3, with security features that are so pants, even a blonde could steal it".

Then, there's Miller Lite. I drink neither Miller Lite nor Bud Lite, as both are, in my opinion, making love in a canoe*. But Miller Lite's commercials are grating.

No, that's not strong enough. Miller Lite adverts annoy the hell out of me.

Not only do we have the oft-cited selling point that it has "more taste" than Bud Lite (and cow shit has more taste than strawberry milkshakes. I know which one I'll take, thank you), but now we have this new set of two or three commercials. They depict people watching an American Football game. Halftime rolls around - cue a mad dash to the shops to stock up on more Miller Lite! The "Beer Run"! The race! The spectacle! Not to mention the hilarious (for the lobotomised) scene where one (or more) people arrive too late to grab the last case of Miller Lite, pause, glance at the next fridge stocked to full with Bud Lite, then turn and run out the door to - presumably - find another store to get their "more-tasting" beer from!

Hur hur hur.

Miller Lite: The beer for those too stupid to buy enough beer to last the whole game. Shit, it's not like you didn't know in advance how long the game was likely to last, moron.

*Americans may not be conversant with this old British joke, so I'll explain. Making love in a canoe is fucking, close to water.


Bengals 37-45 Colts

Stupid Colts.

Yes, I missed blogging last night, no it wasn't because I was too despondent. Last night I came down with the worst migraine I've had in about 20 years. Thanks to the ministrations of the wonderful Mrs Doombreed, I made it through okay. She looked after me, made sure I was okay, and even went out in the middle of the night to go get advice from our local drugstore, bringing back some useful potions*1, poultices*2, and drugs*3.

I love my wife so much.

*1: HeadOn - I don't know if it helped, but it certainly didn't hurt.
*2: Well Patch - a cooling patch for my forehead, which was the most incredible thing I've ever felt in my life
*3: tylenol - and this was fun, considering I couldn't get drugs into my body by mouth if ya know what I mean


Fight the power!

A 67 year-old Worcester City resident has invoked the English Bill of Rights to fight a parking fine. The Bill, he points out, prevents government from laying fines against citizens without a trial, making on-the-spot fines - such as those imposed for parking violations - illegal.

The Bill, written into law in 1689, includes the clause "
All grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void."

Britian needs more people like this to fight the Blair State.

Check it out.


Friday Rodent Blogging

Imo, having finally been caught and tried for his crimes, is safely behind bars.


Colts vs Bengals

Say it ain't so. This Sunday, my Bengals go against the undefeated (take a drink) Colts.

This week's drinking game: Drink whenever a commentator mentions how the Bengals put a stop to the Chiefs' 9-0-0 unbeaten streak - against all odds - two years ago to the week!.

Standard disclaimer:

We do not advocate actually playing this drinking game and any drunkenness, embarrassment, injury, loss of coherence, memory, friendship, money, marriage, sanity, limb or life, that may occur as a result are entirely your own responsibility. You are an individual human being, start acting like it and stop blaming your failings on something you read on the internet or saw on television.


Willy Pete

You may have seen the scandal involving US forces using white phosphorus shells in Iraq - apparently a contravention of a few chemical weapons treaties if the shells were used against civilians. The US military claims they were using them to "illuminate the battlefield" (a story that has since changed).

Well, it seems British forces were using them, too. Only we were using them to "create smokescreens".


Well, we had a good run, people

Oh well, it seems like the honeymoon's over. A UN summit in Tunisia is meeting over the next three days to discuss what to do with the Internet. For too long, apparently, the Internet has been uncensored and uncontrolled - the ultimate expression of free speech and international discourse. But the question may be settled as to who "owns" the World-Wide Web.

The Bush administration, of course, wants the whole thing to be controlled from the US. Other countries - mostly those that heavily censor their citizen's access - want there to be more centralised control under the UN. The EU may well play the trump card and break any deadlock.

I notice, however, that the idea of just leaving it alone isn't surfacing. At the moment, countries are able, through the use of products produced by companies like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!, to decide exactly how much or how little their citizens are exposed to. Any country that values freedom of speech will - theoretically - leave it alone. Any country that wants exacting government control can do so.

Most of us who like to keep one foot in the reality pool knew that the ride wouldn't last forever, and it wouldn't be too long before this, too, became "sanitised" by the few for the greater profit of the few, under the guise of safeguarding the many.

It was fun while it lasted.

Cowboys 21-20 Eagles

Whoa, what a game! After seriously crapping out, Da 'Boys pull a victory out of nowhere!

It was erie watching the last few minutes of the game. There was almost total silence in the Eagles' stadium - most of the Cowboys fans having left and the Eagles fans shocked speechless by the last minute rally.

However, the fact that they won should not prevent the Cowboys from asking two key questions:

"Where the hell was our pass protection?"


"Drew? What the fuck?"


NFL roundup

The Bengals are on a bye (that means they get a week off) so no change to the 7-2-0 this week. Great to see the Colts win, still the only undefeated team in the NFL at 9-0-0. The Bears put up a good show - in really bad orange shirts - for the win, the Packers added another win, going 2-7-0, and the Steelers gave the Browns what is known over here as a "whuppin'".

Tomorrow brings the Cowboys against the Eagles - division rivalry and all that - and poor Philly without T.O. and his mouth. Cowboys dominated last time, so we should have a fight on our hands.


Remembrance Sunday

The eleventh hour will, thanks to the time difference, be at 6am tomorrow (later today, actually), but as with every other year, wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, I will be thinking of those who didn't come back.

Too often, patriotism becomes confused with jingoism, and words like "honour", "duty", "sacrifice" and "valour" become dirtied in the mouths of politicians who seek to twist them for their own ends. One of the things I try to remember is that we do owe these people. Not because some politician wants us to, but because they fought.

I doubt that many fought for freedom - it's too nebulous a concept. But to fight and die for family, for friends, for countrymen and women, to fight to protect those and that which you love, that is the sacrifice they made.

I'm not interested in comparing or contrasting the previous wars with the current war in Iraq, too much of that is being done already.

I honour those that fought and died for my country. I honour them by deciding issues for myself. I honour them by demanding accountability for those who would send off the next generation of kids to fight and die for their political careers. I am a patriot. I remember.

I can't get a poppy over here, but it's only missing from my lapel.

Scotland 1-1 USA

Nicely done, both sides, especially considering that the US team was mostly "second string" players.

Match report.

England 3-2 Argentina


Okay, so it was only a friendly, but beating Argentina is always a good thing. It's also great to notice that two goals were scored in the closing minutes, as usually England plays well in the first half and goes to pieces in the second. Two for Owen and one for Rooney. Lovely.

Match report.


Friday Rodent Blogging

Imo, who has bravely volunteered to defend the Doombreed household from all small, blue slices of gourd.

And cardboard, apparently.


On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study

This is beyond great.

Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We theorize that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.

I can hear the crazies screaming themselves to sleep as we speak...


On Creationism and so-called "Intelligent Design"

I mentioned in yesterday's post that the Kansas board of education has had to redefine the word "science" in order to crowbar the so-called "Intelligent Design theory" into classrooms. I mentioned it simply in order to counterpoint the story of Pennsylvania voters booting out the school board which had recently okayed the teaching of this so-called "theory". However, I was commented.

I thought it would be wise to address the comment, by an individual named Sean, because so many of the anti-science lobby's arguments were represented there.

First, let me state this: ID is not a theory in any scientific definition of the word. If it were, the Kansas board of education wouldn't have had to redefine the terms in order to get it to fit. It's that simple. For those confused, Talk.Origins has a great piece on exactly what constitutes a "theory".

Also, it needs to be stressed that ID is only creationism with its hair combed and wearing a nice suit for its day in court. The distinction is purely a legal one.

But, to the comment:
It seems to me that, for once, students are able to hear BOTH sides of the argument so to be able to decide for themselves! This is certainly an improvement over our students continung to be fed only ONE of two major worldviews without exposure to any alternatives.
This is flawed on several levels. First is the equation of science with mythology. The two are not equals and only real, actual science should be taught in a science class.

The second is the notion that not teaching religion in school somehow precludes learning it. School is the wrong venue for religion. Preachers teach religion. Churches teach religion.
Parents teach religion. State-funded schools should not. Thus, any child will be able to hear "BOTH sides of the argument" because they get the science from school and the religion at home.

The third flaw is a popular fallacy - that either evolution is correct or creationism is correct. But that is rubbish. Even the Vatican accepts evolution as correct. The confusion comes when people believe that evolution somehow speaks to the ultimate origin of life on this planet. It does not. That area of science is called "
abiogenesis" - the study of how a planet without life became a planet with life. Abiogenesis and creationism are at odds, because the former attempts to find scientific hypotheses to explain the origin of life, whereas the latter relies upon the bible. The official position, as noted, of the Vatican is that God created life on Earth, but life does evolve.

Finally, we come to theocentricism. If that's not a word, it is now. The clearly stated belief is that there are only those two options. Science and creationism. The notion that both might be wrong is never entertained. That maybe the world was created by - say - Odin from the flesh of Ymir, or from the egg of the great bird Nyx, or out of Nu, or by Con Tiqui from the lake Collasuyu, or that life was created on the body of the great Goddess torn asunder by Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca in retribution for their transgression, or that life sprang from the thoughts of Tepeu and Gucumatz, or was formed by Gisoolg, are not to be considered, nor is the idea that the world might be some alien experiment, or maybe came into being in some way that nobody's ever thought of. Nope, they want it to be either science or their creation myth.
The issue is not whether intelligent design or evolution is correct.
Shouldn't it be? Shouldn't it be the only issue under consideration when it comes to teaching science as science in a science class?
If evolution is a theory, with both evidence for and against it, and intelligent design is a theory with both evidence for and against it, how can they not be given equal consideration in teaching?
The second part of that statement is a false assumption. See above for the definition of "theory".

And there is no scientific evidence whatsoever in favour of creationism. None.
The bias that exists today is that evolution is taught as fact, without any mention of an alternative solution. What would be sad for our education system, in my opinion, would be to continue teaching only ONE of two major theories, and to continue to present that theory as sientific fact when it remains debatable. At least 2/3 of the population of the world believes in intelligent design anyway. NOT exposing our students to that theory would put them at a serious disadvantage.
Again, note "two major theories", with the references to "more than two" and "not a theory" points made above. Also note the reiteration of the idea that if kids aren't taught religion at school, they won't be taught it at all. Are there no churches?

Evolution is taught as fact because, quite simply, it is fact.

Still, if you want to believe that weakening science in favour of mythology somehow constitutes good educational principle, you're welcome to do so. I just thought that the basic principle of religious freedom which Americans are supposed to cherish would prevent you from imposing that belief upon others.

Keep science in school and religion in church. If you don't want your kids exposed to science, send them to a christian school. If you don't want them exposed to religion, don't send them to church. See? That works out best for everyone. Each person is entitled to raise their kids as enlightened or as ignorant as they wish.

And an atheist's tax dollars shouldn't be used to teach children religion.


Special Powers

The French government has passed emergency legislation in a bid to halt the days of rioting that have raging - much to the delight of Fox News. Included in the package is the right to impose and enforce curfews, and the right to search suspect's homes without a warrant.

There's a great saying: Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So what does history say about situations like this?

Well, first, there's the trend that "emergency powers" passed to handle a certain problem or situation are rarely inspired by that single situation. In the wake of 9/11, both Britain and the USA passed legislation (in both cases it was mostly strengthening and widening existing laws), ostensibly to combat terrorism. Yet in both cases, the powers granted were powers that had been sought by the respective law enforcement organisations for many years, and such powers had been denied in the past. This is not to say, of course, that the powers weren't useful in combating terrorism, but one should not buy the notion that the idea sprung into being on that day. How long have French law enforcement organisations been asking for these powers?

Secondly, there's the trend that such powers will be misused. To clarify: in this sense, "misuse" constitutes an act which would not have been legal without the new legislation, but which is outside of the stated reasons for the new legislation. For example, the Labour party used anti-terrorism laws to eject and detain an old man who protested the government's justifications for the war in Iraq, and the USA PATRIOT act was used to investigate businessmen in Las Vegas who had absolutely no connection to any terrorism, not even causing Tony Blair to get a bit upset. Police chiefs in France probably reacted to the news about warrantless searches by immediately reaching for the files marked "Scumbags We Don't Have Enough Evidence To Get Behind Bars". Many searches will probably be carried out on "suspected" rioters houses.

Finally, and probably most worryingly, such powers are very difficult to withdraw once issued. Britons fought long and hard to end the laws requiring ID cards after WWII, and the war isn't over, they're still at it. When the situation in Northern Ireland seemed to be calming down, moves to reduce the scope of the Anti-Terrorism Acts were blocked repeatedly, and 9/11 simply gave the excuse needed to shore them up beyond any assault. The USA PATRIOT act hasn't been allowed to expire, and they're even talking about widening it further.

As with the examples above, there can be no doubt that the new laws in France will do the job they're touted to do - help police quell the riots, making the streets safe(er) for law-abiding citizens (and, thus, doing the job they're paid for) - but laws don't exist in a vacuum. Even if the laws are issued with the best of intentions, they will be misused, they will be stretched, they will be clung to long after their usefulness has gone.

France has allowed itself to fall into the trap of passing knee-jerk legislation to solve a problem that shouldn't have been allowed to exist in the first place.

That's called "papering over the cracks" and it doesn't work any better for government than it does for decorating.

Thank you Auntie!

It comes to something when even the Beeb recognises the glory that is the Bengals!

Colts 40-21 Patriots

I have never been so pleased to be proved wrong, even if it was only partially. I wrote:

My prediction for this game? The Colts are the better team, but they need to realise that if they're to beat the Patriots. Many stats will be unearthed concerning how many times Manning has been beaten at Foxboro and the like, and the Colts are going to have to beat themselves before they can beat the Pats.

Close game, Colts on top.

Colts on top, yes, close game, no. Even when the Colts didn't challenge the Patriot's third (and easily overturned) touchdown, it wasn't close.

Congrats, Colts. 8-0-0.


Bengals 21-9 Ravens

Okay, any day now, the Bengals are going to go all crap and start losing. Any day. Soon. Yep.

7-2-0 (again, best start since '88, when they went to the Superbowl)

And the drinking game mentioned here has been modified, seeing as it's "the undefeated Colts" at "the champion Patriots". Again, this author accepts no responsibility for any long-term liver damage done whilst playing this game. It's a joke. Don't do it.

My prediction for this game? The Colts are the better team, but they need to realise that if they're to beat the Patriots. Many stats will be unearthed concerning how many times Manning has been beaten at Foxboro and the like, and the Colts are going to have to beat themselves before they can beat the Pats.

Close game, Colts on top.

Happy Guy Fawkes' Night

Hey, I realise it's sunday morning, so it's the 6th, not the 5th, but I was working past midnight so give me a break.

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
gunpowder, treason and plot,

I see no reason why gunpowder treason

should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,

'twas his intent

to blow up the King and the Parliament.

Three score barrels of powder below,

Poor old England to overthrow:

By God's providence he was catch'd

With a dark lantern and burning match.

Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.

Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

Hip hip hoorah!

So, with the above set to puzzle people; Happy Guy Fawkes' Night!


Pandagon: I'll pick up my chicken wing at the back door, Massa George

What amazes me about this story is not that it happened - I'm getting used to seeing the White House managing to neatly put both its feet into its mouth on various PR stunts - it's the fact that, apparently, nobody saw it coming.

Does the WH not employ people for this kind of thing? Y'know, people to say things like "Hey, locking this cafeteria when we're supposed to be showing our compassion might not be a good thing, possibly."?

And whose bright idea was "go around to the back door"?

Probably the same guy who came up with "let's turn the power back on in New Orleans just long enough for the President to give his speech, then turn it off again"

In a normal world, people would be getting fired over this kind of thing.

Pandagon: I'll pick up my chicken wing at the back door, Massa George

House of Shite

We borrowed the DVD of House Of Wax from a colleague yesterday. Today, we watched it. To quote Rimmer from Red Dwarf 5: I consider it an insult to my backside to have to sit growing carbuncles through such putrid adolescent slush.

It was a bad movie. And, as an aficionado of horror movies, I don't mean it was bad in a good way, such as Braindead, I just mean it was bad.

The plot had so many holes that oftentimes it was hard to see if it was even there, the characters were crap and unlikable, the tragic tormented bad guy act was woefully underdeveloped, and any movie that resorts to having Paris Hilton as a stand-in for eye candy is doomed to failure.

The other girl - I have bothered to remember neither the actress' nor character's name - was far more attractive, actually having those attributes men look for in a women. Y'know, breasts, butt, hips, curves, femininity, body that doesn't resemble a skeleton on a starvation diet. But Paris is in the movie, and thus she was that which we were supposed to be oogling. And, yes, Ms Hilton's explosion into the movie scene, which was supposed to convince the world she was a serious actress, was wooden, boring and involved a strip show. Only as far as her underwear. Wouldn't want anyone seeing her naked or anything, now would we?

And then she dies. Which is the only high point of the movie.

If some crazed maniac holds a gun to your head and says he'll execute you if you don't watch this movie, think long and hard before you answer. It's just not worth it.

Doombreed Rating: pbbbbthbt

Friday Rodent Blogging

Kuzco, having decided that, if the authorities aren't going to grant his petition for a retrial, he'll have to escape, comences to chewing his way to freedom.



The "How Dumb Do You Feel?" Award


Mirror.co.uk - News - SPIDER CAUSES CAR WRECK:


A driver who swatted at a spider inside his car hit an embankment and flipped the vehicle over, critically injuring himself, Austrian police said yesterday. The victim was cut free by firefighters and airlifted to hospital."

Army criticised over failed trial

It seems the British Army is taking flak over the failure of the court martial of seven members of 3 Para. It seems that there is, after all, no evidence and no charges to answer. The star witnesses flown from Iraq to appear for the prosecution turned out to be - let's be charitable - less than convincing and the case was thrown out by the judge.

And people are pissed. Waste of money, they claim (
£8 million) on a trial that should never have gone ahead.

Which is a shame. Especially considering that the same people would be screaming "coverup" if the trial hadn't gone ahead.

Besides, anyone who knows anything about the procedures for British Army courts martial will know that in order for the accused to be acquitted that easily, the prosecution case must really suck. Usually, it's a slam-dunk, no matter how weak the evidence.


Blunkett resigns ... again ...

Bonkers Blunkett has resigned again. Apparently, he was playing fast and loose with Parliamentary procedures concerning what kind of work an MP can do for the private sector.

Oh, next on the "Big Surprise" newscast; Bears and their toilet habits.

Charles and Camilla go Stateside

Yeah, so, it seems Prince Charles and Camilla are in DC, visiting with President Bush and zzzzZZzZZzzzzZZZZZz

Yeah. I don't care and I'm from England.



Well, this may be the most incredibly stupid thing I've ever read:

The Homosexual Movement And Pedophilia

The homosexual activist movement and organized pedophiles are linked together by a common goal:
To gain access to children
for seduction into homosexuality.

Homosexual activists deny that they target children for seduction into the homosexual lifestyle, but the evidence is overwhelming that this is a lie.

There is an ever-increasing effort among homosexual organizations to target public school children, to abolish age of consent laws, and to publish “studies” that purportedly show that adult/child sex is not harmful.

The following reports provide clear and convincing proof that homosexual pedophiles (called pederasts) want children. Homosexuals should not be given special federal protections under “hate crime” laws; they should not be free to promote homosexuality in public schools; nor should they be allowed to marry or adopt children. Many homosexuals are sexual predators who prey on children.

It then goes on to link to many spurious articles "proving" that homosexuality and peadophilia are one and the same thing.

And this isn't one lone whack-job's webpinion page - such as the imcomparable godhatesfags.com - this is the site of The Traditional Values Coalition, a right-wing voice box.

Nice. Yes, my British chums, you thought Screaming Lord Such was a nutjob...


Next on the nomination chopping block...

President Bush has nominated his next bid for the Supreme Court - Samuel Alito.

And once again, all the stops are being pulled out to try to convince the American people that he's not a fundy nutbar, just like Roberts.

However, the extreme right have, it would seem, blown any chance of being able to realistically claim that any candidate is deserving of a straight up-or-down vote, after the savaging they gave Meirs.

For anyone unfamiliar: The President gets to nominate, but Congress votes on whether that person is appointed. A simple majority is required to pass a nomination. So, one can imagine, when one party controls Congress and the Presidency (as the Republicans now do), they can bash anyone through they want. The only option available to the minority party is called the filibuster. The rules of Congress state that a vote cannot be taken until the House has had a chance to debate it. So, in order to block a nomination, the minority party can simply keep on talking, refusing to yield the floor.

Now, the majority can stop a filibuster, but it's dangerous. First, someone needs to table the motion that filibustering in these circumstances is unconstitutional, in which case Congress votes. But it takes a two-thirds majority to pass the motion, so the majority party needs a really big gap to pull it off. Even then, they'd be well advised not to do it because the ruling is final and permanent, meaning that if the situation reverses itself at some future election, the previous majority now finds itself in the minority, but without the protection of the filibuster. Most parties would have to think long and hard before killing the filibuster on something as vital as Supreme Court nominations.

Yeah, it's complicated, but have you seen the British Parliament at all?


Saw II

The fabulous Mrs Doombreed and I went to see Saw II today. Frikkin' outstanding movie. Every bit as good, in my opinion, as the first. The movie ends with not one but two of the most amazing twists I've ever seen. I'm usually good at spotting the twists - I had Sixth Sense figured out about 30 minutes in, and Unbreakable posed no problem whatsoever - but these took me totally by surprise and, yet, massive hints were given in the movie which are, in retrospect, blindingly obvious.

The deaths are more innovative, the carnage more bloody and the bad guy more baddy than before.

Doombreed Rating: * * * * *

Bengals 21-14 Packers

Great result, even though the Packers aren't exactly the team to beat this year.


More baby panda!

Remember the baby panda?

Now you can watch it grow!


Inspection halts Big Ben's chimes

Oh no! Big Ben's not gonna be ringing for part of this weekend!

The massive bell (yes, the bell's called Big Ben, not the clock) will be silenced, along with all of his smaller brethren, while vital inspection work is carried out. The clock will stop after 8am BST saturday morning, and stay silent until around 4pm GMT sunday afternoon. This also means Ben will miss out on sounding 2am twice this year (once for BST, once for GMT, after the clocks go back).

Shame, many a drunk Londoner will be unable to use the excuse "well, Ben just sounded two, love".

BBC NEWS | UK | England | London | Inspection halts Big Ben's chimes

Correction dated 30/10/05 0244;

BST ends at 2am, so the clock goes 0158, 0159, 0100, 0101, thus Big Ben would be required to ring in 1am twice, not 2am.

Friday Rodent Blogging

It's a hard life, being a hamster in the Doombreed household.

You have to lay around most of the day, getting in some much needed napping between the main sleeps of the day. Chewing, of course, takes it out of you, but you have to do something with all the wood and cardboard the humans keep putting in your house. Food and water are often as much as three inches away from where you sleep.

And to top it all off, the moment you do emerge from your bed, some bugger starts snapping pictures before you've even had a chance to put on your makeup or brush your fur.

Somebody call the SPCA.


Miers says "no" to SCOTUS

From various, including the Chicago Tribune:

"Today, I have reluctantly accepted Harriet Miers' decision to withdraw her nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States," the president said in a statement.

No, Mr President, you did not. Miers cannot withdraw her nomination because she never had a nomination. You made the nomination, only you can withdraw it. She can refuse your nomination, or withdraw her acceptance of your nomination, or even withdraw her candidacy, but she cannot withdraw her nomination because it was never hers.

I know it makes no difference to the outcome, but let's have some standards.

Brought to you by CAUSE, the Campaign for Accurate Use of Sensible English.

George Takei outs himself

George Takei, best known for playing Mr Sulu in ST:TOS and six of the movies, has come out of the closet. I'm feeling a mixture of emotions, here.

First, I couldn't care less if Takei is gay, it changes my opinion of him not one whit. I was, and remain, endlessly entertained by his performances as the Enterprise's helmsman, and I still believe that pretty much everything he's made since is a big pile of pants.

Secondly, I do admire the courage of a man admitting this in today's violently bigotted America.

Third, I wish George and Brad, his partner of eighteen years, a long and happy life together, and I hope that one day society will extend the same rights to this loving couple as it does to drunk rednecks in front of an Elvis impersonator in an all-night Weddins By The King Chapel in Vegas.

NOTE: I'm stubbornly refusing to end this entry with some lame, too-obvious Star Trek joke like "Warp speed, Mr and Mr Sulu" or "Set course for marital bliss" or something. I forsee many - oh, too many - such jokes over the coming weeks, from late-night monologues on crappy talk shows to bad cartoons in the sunday 'papers. I will not sink to that level.

Too often.


Others gave all, too

With all of the coverage of America's 2,000th death in Iraq, it shouldn't be forgotten that others have died too.

97 from Great Britain,
27 from Italy, 18 from Ukraine, 17 from Poland, 13 from Bulgaria, 11 from Spain, 3 from Slovakia, 2 each from Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, the Netherlands, and Thailand, and 1 each from Hungary, Kazakhstan, and Latvia.



And that's the military. Coalition civilian deaths - journalists and contractors mostly - vary by estimate. And Iraqi deaths? Anywhere from 25-30,000.

Again, it's important to remember, amid all the political maneuvering and one-upmanship, when both sides are trying to outdo the other in rhetoric and sloganeering, that every one of those were real human beings. Every single one of them will be missed by somebody.

Whether you believe in the war or not, whether you believe they died for a good reason or not, that is a thought that should disturb your sleep.