House MD

I am getting a little disillusioned with this show in this latest season.

The drama is just as compelling, the medical side is just as fascinating, Hugh Laurie is just as awesome as ever.

It's Tritter.

For those that don't watch, Dr Greg House (Hugh Laurie) and Michael Tritter (David Morse) had a typically "Housian" encounter - meaning House was rude and abusive as he always is - and Tritter came off worse, because, well, House is smarter.

But Tritter is a cop.

And a bully, an arsehole and a stubborn fuckhead.

So he's decided to go after House.

Yep, a police officer pursuing a personal vendetta.

We'll leave aside the fact that House was right and Tritter assaulted him. That's nothing.

Tritter arrests House on his way home from the hospital for DUI and resisting arrest, which he wasn't and didn't. The police know this, they admitted as much to House's Lawyer at the end of the episode Que Sera Sera.

That means it was an illegal arrest. By a cop persuing a personal vendetta. That'll get Tritter in trouble already.

But then, based on that illegal arrest, Tritter swore out a search warrant for House's apartment.

Perjury. I don't know what the technical term would be for a police officer lying to a judge to unlawfully obtain a warrant, but whatever it is, Tritter did it.

Then he executed the illegal warrant.

Where to start? That's illegal and violates the US Constitution's prohibition on unwarranted search.

Oh, and unwarranted seizure, because he took House's pills.

Tritter has harassed House at work, as well as his superiors, colleagues and subordinates, repeatedly seized or perused hospital records - which violates Doctor-patient confidentiality.

Then he froze Dr Wilson's (probably the only person in the world who counts House as a friend) financial accounts in an attempt to get Wilson to testify against House.

That would be a violation of Federal banking laws.

Ditto for Cameron, Foreman, and Chase (House's subordinates) when Tritter froze their accounts.

He involved the FDA and had Wilson's right to prescribe drugs revoked.

Again, that's Federal.

He had Wilson's car impounded.

Oh, I'm going with the Constitution again, with a side order of local or state laws.

Now, I get that there are bad cops out there. Not every police officer can be Dixon Of Dock Green or Adrian Monk, so that's not the problem

The problem I have is that House's lawyer hasn't put a saddle and bridal on that smug little bent copper and ridden him all the way to the bank.

Not only would House end up owning a large slice of the city, but Tritter - if he didn't end up in prison - would be lucky to get a job guarding a gerbil cage.

Selene says she wouldn't hire him.

And why hasn't Tritter's superiors yanked him off of a case he clearly has a personal involvement in?

And why aren't the drug squad handling this?

Look, I get that the show's writers want to introduce conflict, that Tritter is this season's nemesis - the anti-House, if you will - but this is just unrealistic.


Ohh.. So That's Discrimination...

So, British Airways employee Nadia Eweida is suspended from work because she refuses to obey the dress code that says her necklace must be worn under her uniform.

Okay, lets get to the root of this:

It's a necklace.

It's jewelry.

The fact that it consists of a cross-shaped piece of metal hanging from a chain is irrelevant. It is jewelry.

That British Airways takes action against her for refusing to obey their dress code does not, in any way, constitute discrimination.

That Mrs Eweida and her supporters continue to claim that she was fired for wearing "a symbol of her faith" does not make it so.

"Frankly I think the British Airways order for her not to wear a cross was loopy.

"I don't understand it, I don't think anybody understands it and that is my view."

No, pay attention. She can wear the necklace, she must, however, obey the dress code and wear it under her uniform.

She was suspended for refusing to obey her employer's dress code, not for wearing a necklace. She was suspended because, like most of the wacky religious right, she feels that rules should apply to everyone except her, not because this is some targeted anti-Christian hate tactic.

George Galloway, the Respect leader, said: "[...] BA must bring this woman back to work right now, compensate her and apologise to her and then explain to the rest of us what twisted thought mechanism allowed such a stupid thing to be done."

Were you not paying attention to that whole "suspended for refusing to obey her employer's dress code" bit?

Kinda makes me wonder how Mrs Eweida, her supporters and their ilk view this disturbing campaign to ban Moslem women from wearing their veils.

Bet they're not so into religious freedom then, are they?


Fundies Say The Darndest Things!

By far the funniest (and, in some cases, the most worrying) website I've read in a long time, Fundies Say The Darndest Things is a collections of wierd and wacky posts that have been made in various discussions around the 'net.

By far, the best is by a user called JohnR7 on the Christian Forums who said "I can sum it all up in three words: Evolution is a lie."


Bengals 30-0 Browns

The Bengals held the Browns scoreless - the first time they've done that to any team since 1989 - and beat them for a record 5th time.

A little geography for the uninitiated: Both Cincinnati and Cleveland are in the state of Ohio, so the Browns and the Bengals are huge rivals.

Anyway, cool match.

The Colts resumed their winning ways, slapping the Eagles about for a quite splendid 45-21 victory, and the hated Patriots cheated their way to a 17-13 victory over the Bears.

The Cowboys slipped firmly into first place in the NFC East when the NY GIants simply imploded against the Titans.


Cruel And Unusual Punishment

The pastor of a church in Montana is sending "love packages" to the little shits who vandalised it. The packages include hundreds of dollars in gift cards, a DVD, a VCR and an XBOX 360.

So... vandalise a church and get about a grand's worth of electronics?

Shit, that's a deterrent, dumbasses.

Would all fucktards please form an orderly queue outside the church of your choice, there's enough inside for you all to have a crack at*.

What do you get for setting fire to the church? A new sports car?

*Your "love package" may differ from that shown. Offer void where prohibited by law. May not be combined with any other offer. One per customer. Must have coupon to redeem offer. Enlarged to show detail. Serving suggestion. Not approved by the FDA. Not intended for the prevention, treatment or diagnosis of any disease. Read instructions before use. Take as directed. Not intended for professional use. For external use only. If rash develops, stop use immediately and contact a doctor. Please drink responsibly.


Friday Rodent Blogging

In honour of Thanksgiving, Selene graciously consents to being photographed eating a pumpkin seed. A hitherto unheard-of event.


Thanksgiving NFL

Thanksgiving traditionally has a few NFL games, and this year had an extra one.

We watched the Cowboys stuff the Buccaneers, 38-10, giving Tony Romo 5 touchdown passes, equaling Troy Aikman's Cowboys record, and breaking the "touchdown passes thrown on Thanksgiving by a Cowboys quarterback" record. The Cowboys are gaining - sigh - Romomentum (thanks Madden) after a really shaky start to the season.

Earlier in the day, we half-watched the Dolphins beat the Lions, but we couldn't watch the Chiefs beat the Broncos because our cable company does not carry "those" games.

There's a new channel - NFL Network - that is showing eight games this season, on Thursdays and Saturdays, but a lot of cable providers are refusing to show those games at no extra cost to the consumers (which they should, because those games have all been taken from channels that are on basic cable), which means that Mrs Doombreed will be unable to watch the Cowboys - Falcons game on December 16th, and I'll miss the all-important divisional match between the Bengals and the Ravens on November 30th.




Hat tip to Aginghippy at AP.


Doombreed's Theory Of Extremely Special Relativity

After careful first-hand observation, I have formulated the following theory:



T(v) is Perceived Time before vacation starts, in minutes;

T(o) is the Time Off, in days;

T(a) is the actual time before vacation starts, in hours;


A is the Anticipation Index, defined as the number of weeks since the last vacation ended.

Thus, it can be shown, the last 2 1/4 hours of my shift today, with A being 21, T(o) being 11, took 4 hours 15 minutes 45 seconds to go by.

This can be readily demonstrated by showing that, despite quadruple-checking my formula and readings for over two hours, the clock only moved on a few minutes.


*QED means Quod Erat Demonstrandum, which is italics for "that which was required to be shown" or, in non-nerd speak, "told ya so".


Hark! What's that I hear?

It's a new draconian law being sneaked past my countrymen!

Police forces across England and Wales will shortly be carrying electronic fingerprinting devices, according to Auntie, and will be able to take fingerprints on the spot and check them against a national database.

Although, the report notes, fingerprints can only be taken in this manner if the person accosted agrees to it.

Oh, here's a rider from me: "..for now".

How long is it going to take before some group or other starts campaigning on the grounds that officers having the equipment is pointless if they have to ask permission to use it? Then we'll see a change in the law that allows officers to take fingerprints with or without permission, if the suspect is believed to be involved in a crime.

Cue "fits the description*".

And then how long before police are allowed to just fingerprint anyone they want?

I know that the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" mob are all over this, but I'm reluctant to trust the goverment with fingerprints since we had that hugely under-reported scandal a few years back where almost all constabularies across England were completely ignoring the guidelines about disposing of elimination fingerprints and were, in fact, keeping what amounted to the basis of a national fingerprint database.

Yep, if your home was burgled, your car was stolen, your place of work robbed, and you did your civic duty and gave your fingerprints "for elimination purposes", the chances are that your fingerprints are still - unlawfully - on file somewhere.

And, just a question, but how is local bobby-on-the-beat going to react if he flourishes his fingerprint taking machine at me and I say no? Is he going to be of the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" persuasion and conclude "saying no equals something to hide"?

*"Fits the description" is an old police tactic that allows any copper to detain anybody at any time. You, they say, "fit the description" of a person identified as committing a crime in the vicinity (which can, in reality, mean anywhere within a hundred miles or more). Given that most witnesses tend towards the shaky and memory is easy to fool, I can almost guarantee that you - yes, you - "fit the description" of at least one criminal who was identified somewhere near you some time in the recent past. I, personally, fit the description of any criminal described as "a white guy of average height, heavy build, with brown hair and a close cropped beard."

See if you can spot how many crimes my description commits around the world.


2 days to go

I'm counting down to my holiday. I have to work tomorrow and wednesday, and then I'm off for the rest of the week and all of next week. And I didn't even realise I had scheduled my week off just after thanksgiving, thus giving me two extra days.


Thursday is, of course, Thanksgiving, which involves eating too much and watching the Cowboys play.


Bengals 31-16 Saints

Okay, that's a little better.

Quite an outstanding game, although, I would say that.


Another quite oustanding game was the undefeated Colts visiting the struggling Cowboys, and being handed their first defeat this season.

Tony Romo is shaping up to be a quarterback to watch.

Dr Who X

Some time ago, I made a note about the (then) latest season of Dr Who, starring Chris Eccleston as the Doctor.

It was good.

It was short.

One season, then pfft. Okay, at least it was a regeneration and not an ending, but still.. I liked Chris Eccleston. This new chap looks a bit wishy washy.

I refuse to like him. I do. He replaced someone who, in my opinion, was up there with Tom Baker, William Hartnell, and John Pertwee as The Greatest Doctors Ever.

I'm going to watch because, well, it's Dr Who. And, maybe, I'll give this David Tennant person a fair shake, but I won't like him. I refuse.

And now it's nine episodes into the new season (the twenty-eighth season, for those who are counting) and, crap, I do like him.

He's funny. He's different, but he's also similar enough to make it work. He's more Colin than Tom, but with echoes of the sober styling of the first few Doctors, but with an undertone of Sylvester McCoy's irreverence. And the plimsoles make a great whimsical touch.

Well, that seals it. There are no bad Doctors. The series is, officially, The Greatest Sci-Fi Show In The History Of Everything, Ever.

And The Impossible Planet's cheeky reference to EastEnders was hilarious enough to require a pause whilst I dried my eyes.

Shame it'll be lost on 99% of The Sci-Fi Channel's viewers.

And here's a plug for my favourite Dr Who site, Beavis and Duncan's Dr Who Guide. Episode synopses, cast lists, background. Excellent stuff.


Friday Rodent Blogging

No funny caption this time, just bask in the cuteness.


Oh my, now that's worrying..

When I was battling with bronchitis a few months back, my doctor sent me to get some blood work done. The usual, cholesterol, platelets, etc.

Well, it came back with elevated white count. Not panic-inducingly high white count, but high nonetheless.

So my doctor ordered a re-do, because elevated white count could simply have been a response to the bronchitis I was fighting.

It came back, again, elevated.

By this time, Mrs Doombreed had quizzed WebMD and found out that elevated white blood cell numbers are rarely a good sign.

My doctor referred me to a hematologist - a blood specialist for those who don't savvy the medical lingo.

Today was my appointment.

We arrived at the hospital, located the main desk (by the cunning tactic of walking through the main door and looking straight ahead) and, aided by a directory, found out where the hematologist's office was based.

We turned, and beheld a pair of doors that could only be described as mid- to late-funeral parlour. I'm talking heavy wood, gleaming varnish job, beautifully presented heavy glass insets, tasteful gold details, and, above these portals that were the visual equivalent of a heavy brass bell mournfully tolling out endless peals of grief, was some understated, yet almost sympathetic scroll work picked out in an incredibly restrained hand.

Four or five words. I don't remember which because there was only one word that was hammering for my attention.



Cancer specialist.

One of the nastier options Mrs Doombreed recalled from WebMD was leukemia.

Leukemia. Blood cancer. High white count. Oncology. Did my doctor know - or suspect - something she wasn't telling me?

Then we went inside.

Y'know how you can almost always get an idea of how serious, debilitating or life-threatening a problem a doctor deals with is by just how comfortable their waiting room is?

It's almost like they're saying "It's okay, life has already laid a giant turd on your head, we're going to be extra-specially nice to you while you die".

This place was like the lobby of the better class of hotel. The soft hiss of air in the large fish tank, the wide, airy spaces, the rather expensive widescreen plasma tv on the wall, more incredibly restrained and tasteful gold work, comfortable seats, open reception desk (no privacy window between the impressively sympathetic receptionist and the victim - sorry - patient), soft drinks, coffee, snacks, all laid on free.

Awww crap..

By now my heart was in my boots (which were back home, I was wearing my trainers) and Mrs Doombreed was already planning my funeral.

Then the impressively sympathetic receptionist explained that, whilst hematologists don't always deal with cancer, oncologists always need hematologists, so mostly they go hand-in-hand or, in this case, in the same office. Not all hematologists work through oncology centres, but most, apparently, do.

Being sent to a hematologist, she explained, didn't mean I had, nor was at imminent risk of developing, cancer, and if my doctor had sent me there in order to start work on anything cancerous, she would definitely have told me beforehand.

Okay, a relief, but damn, my doctor could have bloody warned me where I was headed.

Oh, the white count thing? Probably normal. I gave some more blood and we're waiting on the result. If it's still elevated, I'm going back in a month to see if maybe higher is just normal for me.


Dumb criminals

Will they never learn?

Snopes has a great story about a guy who tried to steal a car from a dealership by pulling a gun on a guy wearing - get this - a "Friends of the NRA" baseball cap.

Now, what are the chances that a guy so proud of his affiliation with right-wing, gun-rights group, the National Rifle Association, wouldn't be armed?


"Toys For Tots" rejects Jesus doll

The US Marine Corps' "Toys For Tots" programme, which every year collects toys for distribution to needy families, has rejected a talking "Jesus doll".

Four thousand of the dolls were offered by one2believe, the company that makes them. They are a foot tall and quote selected phrases from The Bible at the push of a button. No, not the good stuff about stoning misbehaving kids to death (Deuteronomy 21:18-21) or people having genitals like a donkey (Ezekiel 23:20), but the "love thy neighbour" stuff and the like.

Bill Grein, vice president of Toys For Tots, said that the Marines don't discriminate when it comes to recipients, and "we don't know anything about their background, their religious affiliations."

Bravo. Toys For Tots is about spreading a little happiness into the lives of poor families, not about proselytising on behalf of the fundies.

Said Grein, "[w]e can't take the chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or Muslem family". Or a Buddhist family, or Wiccan, or any of the hundreds of other religions that don't follow that one diety. Or Atheist. It kinda defeats the point to get this wonderful gift from the caring guys 'n' gals of the US Marine Corps and it turns out to be Blasphemy In A Box.

But, of course, the fundies don't even understand why there's a problem.

Michael La Roe, of one2believe and their parent company, Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co., said "I believe as a churchgoing person, anyone can benefit from hearing the words of the Bible."

That would be Fundamentalist Belief Number 7: "Everybody would be a Christian, if you could just explain it to them", or possibly Number 4: "Everybody is really a Christian, they're just pretending not to be".

One Man, One Vote, One Stamp

A Florida voter posted in his absentee ballot in time for the recent election, all proper and above board.

The stamp on the envelope, which may or may not have been mistakenly used, is apparently worth around $200,000.

And American law says that a used postage stamp on an envelope is public property, so most likely the stamp will be auctioned off and put into the relevant county budget.

The envelope had a second stamp, dating from WWII.

Silly mistake, if mistake it be.


Bengals 41-49 Chargers

Okay, now I'm pissed off. Up twenty-one points to nothing at the end of the first quarter. Up twenty-eight points to seven at the half. And then the Bengals went all England.

The Bengals couldn't stop a four year-old from running and couldn't catch a frikkin' bus.

That's a three-game losing streak.


And Baltimore won, so the Bengals are now three games behind in their division.

At least the Colts keep on keeping on, winning to go 9-0.

Weight Glarers

Total weight loss to date: 17lbs.

I'm quite proud of myself.


Friday Rodent Blogging

Remember the Mark On The Beast? Well, Selene's got a new one, a line running around her lower back. I keep getting the vague feeling that one day all these lines are going to spell something.

News From The Land Of The Bizarre

Here's some eyebrow-raising stories from right here in the Great State of Kentucky:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A poll worker was arrested Tuesday and charged with assault and interfering with an election for allegedly choking a voter and pushing him out the door, officials said.

It apparently started as a dispute between the two over marking the ballot, said Lt. Col. Carl Yates of the Jefferson County sheriff's office.

The voter told poll worker Jeffery Steitz that he didn't want to vote in a judicial election because he didn't know enough about the candidates, but Steitz told him he had to vote in the race anyway, Yates said.

Steitz, 42, eventually grabbed the man by the neck and threw him out of the polling place, Yates said.

LONDON, Ky. (AP) -- A woman who was bitten by a snake at a church that neighbors say practices serpent handling died of her wounds hours later, a newspaper reported.

Linda Long, 48, was bitten Sunday at East London Holiness Church, where neighbors said the reptiles are handled as part of religious services, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Tuesday.

Long died at University of Kentucky Medical Center about four hours after being bitten, authorities told the newspaper.

"She said she was bitten by a snake at her church," said Lt. Ed Sizemore of the Laurel County Sheriff's Office

Handling reptiles as part of religious services is illegal in Kentucky. Snake handling is a misdemeanor and punishable by a $50 to $100 fine.

Police said they had not received any reports of snake handling at the church.

Snake handling is based on a passage in the Bible that says a sign of a true believer is the power to "take up serpents" without being harmed.

Church officials could not be reached for comment.

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - A Kentucky police officer trying to unload his gun accidentally shot himself while driving on an Indiana highway, police said.

Sullivan McCurdy, 41, an officer with the Radcliff Police Department, was driving south on Interstate 65 near Lafayette Sunday when the weapon discharged, Indiana State Police said. A bullet struck the 10-year police veteran in the right leg, police said.

McCurdy was listed Monday in satisfactory condition at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Lafayette, said hospital spokesman Matthew Oates.


Hat tip to Snopes.

And, for the sheer hilarity, here's a Guy Fawke's Night story about an attempt to anally launch a rocket that went a leetle bit wrong.


Election night 2006 - the aftermath

As of right now, only two elections remain unconfirmed. The Democrats picked up the seats they required for a majority in the House Of Representatives and more besides, but the Senate is still a little hard to call settled.

Here's the quick and dirty of this election:

The US government is made up of three branches: the Executive (the President); the Legislative (Congress); and the Judicial (The Supreme Court). These elections decided the Legislative. Congress is made up of two "chambers" - in almost the same way as British politics has the House of Commons and the House of Lords, it's just that over here, both are elected. The Senate consists of 100 Senators - two from each state. In the Senate, each state has equal say and no state has undue power. The House of Representatives consists of 435 members, with varying numbers from each state depending upon its population. In the House, bigger states have a bigger say.

In the House, the Democrats now have 234 seats, Republicans have 201, and one is held by an Independent.

The Senate is closer. The confirmed count at the moment is 49 Republican, 49 Democrat. The two missing seats are Virginia and Montana. Both sets have already been called for the Democrats, and in both, the vote counts show Democrat victories.

The Republican candidates are, the last time I heard, challenging the counts. It would be uncouth, I think, to dwell overmuch on the contrast between the 2006 Republican attitude of "all votes must be counted" and their 2004 and 2000 stance of "be a man and concede you lost for the good of the country".

Other things were decided, too. The Democrats took 6 state Governor's elections.

Referendums were also held. Seven out of eight states voted to make same-sex marriage illegal. Voters in South Dakota, however, overturned the state's abortion ban, and voters in Missouri voted to legalise stem cell research in that state, despite a Federal ban. Initiatives in Colorado and Nevada to make marijuana use legal failed, also defeated was an initiative in South Dakota to make marijuana legal for medical use only. Seven states voted to raise minimum wage. California and Oregon defeated initiatives requiring parental notification for abortions.

Not everything was plain sailing. Wikipedia has a list of confirmed or alleged problems with the running of this election, but of special note is that the FBI is apparently investigating possible instances of "voter intimidation" in Virginia.

Anyway, that was it in a nutshell.

The high point of the day was Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert joining forces (and their shows, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report) to bring Indecision 2006: Midterm Midtacular on Comedy Central, clips of which you can see at the Comedy Central site.

Priceless, truly priceless.


Election night 2006

It's election time over here in the US and, whilst the President is President for two more years, a lot of other people are fighting for their jobs.

Early indications are that the Democratic Party are going to make a few giant leaps, maybe even take back congress.

In Kentucky's 3rd congressional district, Democrat John Yarmuth has beat out Republican incumbent Anne Northup, which was a massive upset.

Fayette county voted overwhelmingly against allowing the government to use the Eminent Domain laws to force a purchase of Kentucky American Water.

As of nowish, the Democrats have taken thirteen House seats. They need fifteen for a majority. They've also taken three key Senate seats, and now need four more for a majority there.

This is vital because President Bush had been working with a Republican Congress, so anything the Republicans wanted to do, they did. But Pres. Bush could end up spending his last two years in office the same was Pres. Clinton did, facing a hostile Congress and unable to get just about anything done.

And here's the breaking news: The Beeb is calling the House for the Democrats.

Oh dear. I foresee much blame-throwing amongst the Republicans over this one.


Stattin' it up

Radiers-Seahawks stat for ya:

Raider's QB Andrew Walter is so bad that out of 32 teams, he has the 34th worst pass rating.

Boggle away.


Saw III is not as good as Saw and Saw II. There, I said it. The movie is just as inventive, the baddie just as bad, the plot twists just as twisty, but there's something.. missing.

The story is a straight continuation of Saw II. Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), who was at death's door and grooming Amanda (Shawnee Smith) to take over his life's work at the end of the last installment, is up to his old tricks again.

He's kidnapped his old oncologist Dr Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) to keep him alive whilst he plays one last gruesome game on hapless Jeff (Angus Mcfadyen), who is looking for revenge against the person who killed his son.

But there's just something lacking..

The tension doesn't get as high, the drama seems a little forced at times, and Jigsaw's all-knowing, all-seeing attitude seems a little smug instead of scary. What's also a little weird is that we're clearly supposed to be sympahising with Jigsaw rather than his victims. Denlon is pompous, Jeff's a moron and the others are far too two-dimensional to care about.

It's surprising to see that the goriest part of the movie is completely and utterly unnecessary. The entire trepanation scene could have been removed, cut right down or shot from an obscuring angle without any loss to the film whatsoever. And there is where the film falls down. The previous installments relied upon drama and tension - the suggestion of gore rather than gore itself - to make the viewer squirm. This one scene goes more for the "Eeeww! Look! She's drilling into his skull! Can you hear it? Can you see the saw cutting? Can you see the blood flying?" style of feel.

The blood and gore should be a counterpoint - an accent, if you will - to the scare, not the cause of it.

Other than that, not too bad. Weakest of the three, certainly, but still way better than most attempts at the genre.

And I won't guarantee it's over with the third, because there's still some loose ends.

Doombreed rating: * * * * 1/2

Remember, remember

Just a note to my British buddies to wish everyone a happy and safe Guy Fawkes night. Hope everyone had a blast and nobody had a blast, if ya know what I mean.

The picture above is of one of the fireworks Mrs Doombreed and I let off on July 4th.

Bengals 20-26 Ravens

Well that's just really annoying. Another game lost to the guys in the black and white striped shirts. Apparently, pass interference calls only count when they are against the Bengals, not in favour of them.

This season in the NFL has seen some incredibly bad refereeing. Every game I've seen has had at least one major - and in most cases game-changing - bad call, or a lack of call when one should have been made.

In today's Cowboys-Redskins game, a "minor facemask*1" call was awarded a 15 yard penalty - reserved for "major facemask*2" - which put the Redskins in range of a game-winning field-goal.

And, whilst typing this, I'm watching the Broncos-Steelers game which has been littered with calls so bad that it's almost like watching a parody of refereeing.

And what's with the ridiculous "false start*3" penalty? Both teams line up and then, for no apparent reason, the flags fly and the offense gets marched backwards 5 yards because someone breathed out at the wrong time.

What's really annoying is when some defensive player goes tear-arsing over the line of scrimmage whilst everyone else is still waiting - but the penalty goes against the offense because the defensive player uses the skillful tactic of pointing randomly, but emphatically, at an opposing player.

Ah well. Steelers lost, too.

We still have the Colts and, after the debacle that was the Bears-Dolphins game today, there's only one undefeated team in the NFL.

I really hope that the Colts destroy the Patriots*4.


The game is about to start and everyone is predicting the Patriots. No real surprise there.

[later again]

The first half is winding down and a great example of the bad refereeing has shown up. The Patriots did not get that first down, and even if they had, there is no way that the ref could have seen it from where he was standing and, even if he could have seen it, he should have spotted the ball and measured it instead of moving the chains.

And then, to add insult to injury, the same guy gets to review his own call! Of course he's not going to overturn it!

This is a great example of a game-changing call. As it stood, the Colts intercepted and ended the half 3 points up. However, it could just have easily ended up with a touchdown and 4 points down.

If the call had been made correctly, Manning and the Colts take over at the 47 yard line with 1.00 left and a timeout. Now, Manning's going to score off of that, even if it's only a field goal. Colts at the half by at least 6, probably 10.

Bad refereeing, bad calls, changing games.

[end of game]

Despite the refs' best efforts, Manning and the Colts remain undefeated, Brady and the Patriots get beaten two years running, but still everyone is going to wobble on about how Brady is the better quarterback.

And the Bengals sink to 4-4-0

*1: In case you were wondering: grabbing the facemask is against the rules. A "minor facemask" call means that the player grabbed his opponent's facemast momentarily before letting go.

*2: A "major facemask", on the other hand, means grabbing the opponent's facemask and not
letting go.

*3: A "false start" is when a member of the offense jumps before the ball is snapped. However, the slightest movement is often interpreted as jumping off, and thus it's often near impossible to tell, even with slow motion replay, exactly who false started and exact;y what it was that he allegedly did.

*4: I really hate those Patriots.


Fake priests make money

Apparently there is good money to be made in Japan by pretending to be a priest.

I wonder if you have to fake being a paedophile, too?


Friday Rodent Blogging

Thirty seconds before I took this picture, Selene was chewing on that cardboard tube outside of her house. As soon as she saw me with my camera, she dragged it to the entrance and went inside to chew in peace.

Getting a little camera-weary?


An elephant never forgets

US researchers have shown for the first time that elephants are capable of recognising themselves in a mirror, a trait previously only observed in humans, great apes, and bottle-nosed dolphins.

The world of dumb animals just keeps getting smaller.


Heffalump O'Lantern II

And here is a picture of the pumpkin unlit with the lights on.

Heffalump O'Lantern

This Hallowe'en marked my first ever attempt to carve a pumpkin. Mrs Doombreed wanted it carved with Lumpy, the heffalump from the movie Pooh's Heffalump Movie, and the results can be seen above.