Walmart Employee Trampled To Death On Black Friday

Today is Black Friday. For those outside the USA, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving (always the last Thursday in November), traditionally the day all these big stores start their sales and the biggest retail day of the year. Hence the name, it's the day when most retail stored go out of the red and into the black for the year.

Every year stores offer fantastic savings (I got one hell of a nifty digital camera for $60), and usually offer "doorbusters".

Doorbusters are expensive items at massive discount, that go on sale--usually at 5am--and when they're gone, they're gone. It's kinda like the concept of the loss-leader. People come for the doorbuster and, because they've all gone, buy other stuff at much less of a discount.

As a result of these, people queue for hours. In November. In the wee hours of the morning. And, come 5am, the doors are open and it's one big stampede. People get knocked over, trampled, stuff gets crushed. It's chaos.

That's why I ordered my camera online. No crowds, see?

This morning, however, a worker at the Long Island Walmart was trampled to death in the crush. So intent were the shoppers on getting those bargains that the doors were smashed off of their hinges and 200 people ran over this guy after he was knocked to the floor. The same crowd narrowly avoided foisting the same fate on a pregnant woman, who was hospitalised after being knocked over herself.

Crazy. Just crazy.

Hat tip to AMERICAblog


British Police To Get Tasers

Interesting news from Blighty comes our way in the form of British bobbies being armed with Tasers. Apparently, after more and more police forces have been using the handy little stunners, the country as a whole is going that way.

We await the screams of outrage.

Actually, a Taser, used properly, is less dangerous than the extending batons they have been using for a while now. Extending batons can crush skulls and break bones, especially in inexperienced hands. Sure, if you have a dickey heart a shot from a Taser can kill you, but so can someone sneaking up behind you and yelling "boo!".

The fact is that policing has changed since the days Dixon of Dock Green could fell a criminal with nothing more than a practised knee-bend and a cheerful "What's all this, then?", and the bad guys don't give up with an equally cheery "It's a fair cop, guv" any more. The Taser is, in this writer's opinion, a fair middle-ground between those who want bobbies armed to the teeth and those who want them to go back to the little truncheon.

Peter Boatman, operations director for Pro-Tect Systems, has had the weapon used on him over 200 times, and he's upright and breathing. Wonder how he'd look after a couple of hundred bops on the head from those batons?

Vatican "forgives" Lennon

Via the BBC comes the news that the Vatican has decided to "forgive" John Lennon for claiming that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus.

How nice.

Of course, the Vatican finds itself, as the Americans say, a day late and a dollar short. See, they've decided that Lennon's comment was a "boast", whereas anyone who knows the truth behind the story realises that it was nothing of the sort.

So I guess that 40-odd years after the fact it's nice that they're acknowledging it at all. Actually, I think that this is just an indicator of how far behind the Vatican is in their paperwork. Maybe some overworked clerk finally got around to reading the original article and realised the mistake.

Think about it. The Vatican is always coming out and saying things about events that happened decades ago. They've only recently acknowledged that the then Pope might have done more when it came to the question of Hitler. And before that we had the admission that the Spanish Inquisition might have been a wee bit on the harsh side.

So there's hope. It seems like they are catching up. They've probably just hired on some new, eager young firebrand who is working through the backlog.

At this rate the Roman Catholic church should be ready to admit that overcrowding is somewhat of a problem some time around 2012, by 2017 they might be telling us that AIDS is a threat, and by 2020 they may finally come out and tell us that abstinence-only education doesn't work. Who knows, we may yet see them endorsing condoms and producing their own blessed "packet of three" under the name "His Holiness's Swiss Guard*".

I wouldn't hold my breath, though. It's been two thousand years and they're still clinging to the myth that Jesus was a peace-loving lamb who was killed by the Jews instead of the Romans.

* I can't claim this joke as my own. It appeared in an old Dark Future novel by Games Workshop.



Today is remembrance day, the Eleventh of the Eleventh, and the ninetieth anniversary of the end of the First World War. I was asleep at 11am GMT, but I will be observing a minute of silence at 11am EST here in Kentucky.

In England, 3 of the 4 surviving British WWI veterans attended the traditional ceremony at the Cenotaph, and Prince Charles attended a similar ceremony in Verdun, France.

And in Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said "We have all endured a most bloody century. Let us resolve afresh at the dawn of this new century.. that this might be a truly pacific peaceful century."


Pilot Lands After Going Blind

Via AMERICAblog comes the amazing story of a British pilot who went blind at 15,000 ft and was then talked down to a safe landing by the RAF:

When the instruments on Jim O'Neill's four-seater Cessna aircraft became difficult to read, he assumed it was the glare of the sunlight as he flew over north England at 15,000ft. It was only when the dials blurred completely that he realised the full horror of his predicament: he was a solo pilot who had suddenly gone blind.

Struggling with the aftermath of a mid-flight stroke – which had put pressure on his optical nerve and robbed him of his sight in one eye and left him with very limited sight in the other – Mr O'Neill found himself unable to follow instructions from civilian air trafficcontrollers attempting to guide him to the nearest airstrip. Instead, an extraordinary rescue was launched when RAF staff, overhearing the emergency, offered to send a military plane to fly alongside Mr O'Neill and shepherd him in to land, issuing instructions to him over the radio.


And again...

I see that Bill O'Reilly and the Fox news team have started this year's "War On Christmas" blatherings already.

Is it just me or is there something sick about this so-called War On Christmas tomfoolery in a world where people really are suffering persecution for their beliefs?


Are we nearly there yet?

I got a note from the Blog Police last night and if I don't mention the election I will get my license revoked.

I may have used that joke before.

Ah well.

So, like, Obama won. America's first African American President. Yes, its a historic moment. I was actually watching Indecision 08: America's Choice on Comedy Central when the news broke. Yes, this is a tradition, you may recall that I watched Colbert and Stewart team up for the last election in 2006 and I thought I'd do the same this year.

So, Obama won, and not only won, trounced the holy shite out of his opponent. Obama got 349 electoral votes to McCain's 163, more than double. And there are still two states not reporting--Missouri and North Carolina--but the two are likely to get one each.

Here's an interesting point that I noticed. The election was decided so fast that all of the news outlets were announcing the result while polls in Alaska were still open!

Wow, way to tell an entire state that they're irrelevant.

There was bad news, though, for anyone who values freedom. Having passed a same-sex marriage law two years ago, California residents voted to pass Proposition 8, ammending the state's constitution in the same religious-fueled, hate-based, equality-destroying way that Kentucky and six other states did in 2006. All for that ridiculous reason that wobbles on about "protecting marriage".

Good news, though. The Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative passed in Massachusetts, decriminilising the possession of small amounts of marijuana, and the Compassionate Care Initiative passed in Michigan, allowing for the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

So, some freedoms were squashed, some sensible laws passed, and history was made. Not bad for an election.


Cincinnati 12-20 Cleveland

That makes the Bengals 0-4.

I called Paul Brown stadium this morning to ask what time the game started.

They said "What time can you get here?"


It's Olympian.. or not.

Is it safe to come out yet? Are they gone? The Olympics, I mean. That big bundle of blatantly silly, sweaty*1 activity that staggers across our screens every four years*2 in a senseless, pointless display of blatant commercialism. In a world were money talks and bullshit walks, here it runs. Or rides a bike. Or swims. Or plays baseball. Or possibly basketball.

And this time around, bullshit rode a BMX. Really. Ugh.

A traditionalist at heart, I lost interest in the Olympics about fifty years before I was born. Team games are not Olympic sports. The Olympics are about individual achievement, not how much money your country can pour into the events. Basketball is not an Olympic sport. Baseball is not a sport, never mind an Olympic sport. Beach volleyball? Give me a break*3. Football should not be in there*4.

And professional athletes? Are you kidding? So, like, the all-professional USA basketball team who, remember, get paid multi-million dollar salaries to play the game every day, took on an amateur Spanish team and won, and everybody is sitting around with their jaws dropped. Are you kidding? Hellooooo.. Pros?

Look, I realise that Michael Phelps is the only living proof that women and dolphins can produce viable offspring, but as a guy who gets paid to swim, he has no place is a decent Olympics. It wasn't that long ago that the Olympic committee were arguing over whether being a skiing instructor counted as making a living from skiing, and thus made one a professional skier, and therefore ineligible for Olympic competition. Now we have a guy getting million dollar bonuses for every medal he wins?

Don't get me wrong, what the guy has achieved is amazing. More gold than anyone in history, and second only to Larissa Latynina in total number of medals, and she's retired whereas Phelps probably has another Olympics (or maybe even two - in 2016 he'll be 31, older than most Olympians but by no means too old to compete) in him. The IOC needs to make up its mind about pro athletes. Having some sports allow all-pro, some only having semi-pro, and some rare (like boxing) still insisting on all-amateur, it's a mish-mash of silliness.

If the IOC are intent on upholding the Olympic ideal, ban all professional participation. If they are intent on showcasing the world's best sporting talents, remove all restrictions. But go one way or another, yes? Shit, as they say, or get off the pot.

Still, I was proud to see that Great Britain won 19 gold, 4th behind China (51), USA (36), and Russia (23) and 47 medals total, again 4th behind USA (110), China (100) and Russia (72).

Of course, there's still one Olympic pleasure available. That of the running. Specifically, the long-distance running. The 3000m, the 1500m, the marathon, where some stick insect who weighs 9 stone holding a suitcase full of lard, who probably trains by running around the dirt track that encircles his village, from an impoverished African nation whose total contribution to his Olympic bid was the clothes he's standing in and his plane ticket, who goes out onto the field and proceeds who whup the absolute pants off of all the multi-million dollar athletes from rich countries who train in climate-controlled facilities with legions of coaches and computer-aided training schedules.

That's the Olympic spirit, right there.


*1: Any activity that involves sweat but not at least one orgasm is clearly and obviously silly, ridiculous and entirely without merit.

*2: I don't count the Winter Olympics as being as bad as the Summer Olympics. At least at the Winter games there is the prospect of seeing a tobogganist crash on the first turn and then complete the entire course on his arse.

*3: Hate the game; love the women in tiny bikinis bouncing around. Not a sport, more like really soft porn. The only things that could improve beach volleyball are oil or thongs. Both, preferably.

*4: No, I don't mean "soccer". Soccer is a game played on lazy Sunday afternoons whilst waiting for the pub to open, and involves two piles of coats as a goal and one person inefficiently trying to explain the offside rule. Football is The Beautiful Game, involving 22 men, green grass, and a football. Where you use your feet.


It's Just A Game

Yeah, I've been working on getting my writing published--no progress yet, keep it here for any updates--and writing my novel, not to mention working many hours of overtime and devoting myself to that most wonderful of creatures, Mrs Doombreed, so time for posting here has been somewhat limited.

I have, however, been able to devote maybe ten minutes a week to Knighthood and Warbook, two Facebook games that, I freely admit, I'm addicted to.

Well, Warbook is on the verge of going out of the window. I'm getting a little hacked off with having my kingdom crushed every time I leave the computer. I'm a Warmonger. If you play, you'll understand. If you don't, you won't and should start playing as soon as possible just so you, too, can experience the soul-crushing defeat of seeing your carefully-constructed 100,000 acre kingdom with it's magnificent 1,000,000 strong army reduced to three acres defended by a tired old man with a stick thanks to a gang-bang that would make Jenna Jameson flinch.

Warmongers are everyone's whipping boy. Easy target, easy money.

Knighthood, however, is a little more slow paced.

Worry not, there is a moral to this story, you're just going to have to bear with me.

In Knighthood you play by recruiting your friends. You start out as a Knight with two vassals, two serfs with randomly generated names, each at power 5. This makes you power 20. You send invitations to your friends and they immediately become available to your kingdom as handmaidens or squires (depending on their gender), each power 10. Each handmaiden or squire you have adds one to your total power. If your friends accept the invitation and install the application, they become a Knight or Lady (depending on gender) with two serfs, and show up in your kingdom as a Knight or Lady with power 20 and add two to your total power. If they then recruit loads of friends, their power, in your kingdom, goes up. Some players are up in the thousands. And, of course, if their friends recruit, they go up, so causing your vassals to go up, giving you even more power. As you gain power your rank increases. I'm now a Baron.

You can also acquire vassals by seizing them from other players or by buying them.
You build structures and put your vassals to work. Vassals in the marketplace earn you gold, vassals in the workshop increase your structures' effectiveness, vassals in the wall, watchtowers or palisade defend your kingdom against attack.

Simple so far, right? Someone attacks, they send three vassals, each with power 20 against your wall. Your wall, being manned by three of your best vassals, had a defensive rating of 80. They lose. Good eh?

Don't worry, I am going somewhere with this.

Both the attackers and the defenders take damage, a point each, so the attackers are now 57 (three 19s) and the defenders are now 77. But the attacker can spend gold healing his or her vassals and send them again.

And that's what we call a "spam attack". See, your hospital heals your vassals, just not spectacularly fast. If the attacker has enough gold, they can attack over and over again until your defenses are weakened to the point where they break through. After one attack, 77, after two, 74, after three, 71, after four, 68, after five, 65, after six, 65, after seven, 62, after eight, 59 and the attacker breaks through. Now, they might be looking to steal your gold or they might be looking to steal a vassal. Stealing vassals is calculated a little differently, but the same principle applies, an attacker can just keep on hitting until they win. No defense is good enough to resist an attacker with enough gold.

It's not uncommon to log on to find ninety-odd attacks against you from as little as two different attackers.

But then, having broken through, some players just go slap-happy, attacking again and again in order to plunder as much gold as possible, and it is these that prompted this post.

I got so fed up with getting spam attacked that I disbanded my armies and went into peace mode. In peace mode, you can't be attacked, but you can't attack anybody. Your vassals can't be seized, but you can't seize others. You still earn gold, you can still build, and you can still buy vassals. So if you're looking at consolidating your defenses before hurling yourself back into the fray, peace mode is invaluable.

The incident that prompted the decision involved a structure called the trapper. The trapper is a structure that was included to prevent or counter spam attacks. Here's how it works. If an attacker hits with 60, and the defensive structure that they hit has a defense value of 80, then there is a chance that any vassals in the trapper can capture one of the attackers, provided that the vassals in the trapper have a higher score than the attackers. Far from stealing your gold or seizing a vassal, they've lost one! It doesn't always work, but often enough to cause an attacker to blink.

Here's the problem: vassals caught by the trapper automatically get sent to the court, a structure protected by the watchtowers, so the attacker knows where they are. So they can spam attack to get them back. Sure, they may lose another vassal, but eventually, their spamming will reduce the watchtower to the point where they can attack and rescue with impunity. It would look something like this:

Knight Fred (we'll call him) attacks in order to seize Lady Betty (for example), who is currently stationed in the axeshop, a structure that is defended by the watchtowers. My kingdom is called Dunny On The Wold (after the rotten borough in Blackadder).

10:18a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold but did not seize anyone!
10:18a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold but did not seize anyone!
10:19a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold but did not seize anyone!
10:19a As your defenders fended off the weak attack by Knight Fred, your trappers managed to restrain attacking Knight Jim!
10:20a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold but did not seize anyone!
10:20a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold but did not seize anyone!
10:20a As your defenders fended off the weak attack by Knight Fred, your trappers managed to restrain attacking Knight Bob!
10:21a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold but did not seize anyone!
10:21a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold but did not seize anyone!
10:21a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold but did not seize anyone!
10:22a As your defenders fended off the weak attack by Knight Fred, your trappers managed to restrain attacking Knight Charlie!
10:22a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold but did not seize anyone!
10:23a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold but did not seize anyone!
10:23a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold but did not seize anyone!
10:23a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold but did not seize anyone!
10:23a As your defenders fended off the weak attack by Knight Fred, your trappers managed to restrain attacking Knight Charlie!
10:23a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold but did not seize anyone!
10:24a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold but did not seize anyone!

Now, at this point, your watchtowers become too weak to defend adequately;

10:24a Knight Fred's soldiers invaded the Watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold and seized Lady Betty!

Now all Knight Fred has to do is rescue his trapped vassals by attacking the already-weak watchtowers:

10:25a Knight Fred's soldiers stormed into the watchtowers region of Dunny On the Wold and rescued Knight Jim!
10:25a Knight Fred's soldiers stormed into the watchtowers region of Dunny On the Wold and rescued Knight Bob!
10:25a Knight Fred's soldiers stormed into the watchtowers region of Dunny On the Wold and rescued Knight Charlie!

So, you lost a vassal and your trapper was completely ineffective. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, Knight Fred now knows that your watchtowers are screwed, and can raid for gold without consequence:

10:26a Knight Fred's soldiers raided the watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold and looted 102 gold coins!
10:27a Knight Fred's soldiers raided the watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold and looted 101 gold coins!
10:27a Knight Fred's soldiers raided the watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold and looted 99 gold coins!
10:27a Knight Fred's soldiers raided the watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold and looted 96 gold coins!
10:27a Knight Fred's soldiers raided the watchtowers region of Dunny On The Wold and looted 90 gold coins!

So, you lost the vassal, your trapper was completely ineffective, and you paid for the privilege of getting shafted!

It was an incident similar to this which prompted me to move to peace mode, but what prompted this post was the exchange that I then had with "Knight Fred" (names have been changed to protect the idiot). I sent hims a "terse" message, to the effect that the game was called "Knighthood" and that, maybe, he could benefit from looking up the meanings of the words "honour" and "chivalry" and that he could possibly use a refresher course on "Knightly virtues". I grant you I probably didn't use those exact words, but that was the gist of it.

Knight Fred wrote back with a few lame insults and the phrase "it's only a game". That phrase, in that context, says a lot about Knight Fred, and little of it good. And the fact that so many people would agree including, I'd bet, many reading this post, says a lot about humanity, and little of it good.

The notion that boorish behaviour can be excused because "it's only a game" is simply ridiculous. If Knight Fred were stealing gold from me to feed his starving family, to pay for little Tim's life-saving surgery, to save his family from homelessness, the attitude of "I'll do whatever it takes" would be justifiable. But that fact that it's a meaningless game makes that attitude reprehensible. There are virtually no real-world consequences to the game. People do not live or die based upon the actions of this or that player. The gold in the game isn't real. We are all playing for the fun of the game, so the only thing--the only thing--that can come from playing the game like a jerk is that you'll ruin it for others.

If "it's only a game", why are you playing like an arsehole?


What is it going to take?

Recent events in Mt Vernon, Ohio have once again uncovered the dark dirty side of religion. It's not so much that a teacher - who, according of one member of the school board had been the subject of numerous complaints over the last eleven years - taught creationism in his science class and had bibles and little ten commandments idols all over the place.

And, as horrific as it is, it's not even the fact that this religious nutball masquerading as a science teacher BURNED CROSSES INTO THE ARMS OF HIS STUDENTS!!

No, as bad as that seems, that's not really what brought me up short.

Take a deep breath, people. Yep. Friends, families and random apologetics are defending this nutbar who BURNED CROSSES INTO THE ARMS OF HIS STUDENTS!!

Yep, this so-called science teacher took up a high-frequency generator and BURNED CROSSES INTO THE ARMS OF HIS STUDENTS is being defended for branding children with a crucifix.

Y'know, I don't care what the symbol is, the fact that it was BURNED INTO THE ARMS OF HIS STUDENTS makes it wrong, wrong, wrong. If the teacher had been an atheist and had burned the atom symbol (or even my symbol) into the arms of his students, they'd even now be piling up the firewood to burn th' day-vil outta th' witch.

But it's a crucifix and he was preaching their religion, so the religious feel obligated to defend the guy who BURNED CROSSES INTO THE ARMS OF HIS STUDENTS, even though the act is clearly indefensible. They say that, y'know, apart from that whole BURNING CROSSES INTO THE ARMS OF HIS STUDENTS, he was "teaching the values of the parents in the Mount Vernon school district", values, presumably, that include lying in the name of your god.

See, despite the fact that a blind duckling in a bag could see that the symbol that was BURNED INTO THE STUDENT'S ARMS (see right) is a crucifix, Mr Upstanding Christian thinks he can lie his way out of it by claiming it was an "x", and not a crucifix.

Okay, let's assume for a moment that it's true. Hey, asshole, you still BURNED "X"s INTO THE ARMS OF YOUR STUDENTS!!

Anyway, it's not just the usual procession of friends and family (who, had he taken a hunting knife into class and disemboweled his students would have told the media "he was such a nice, quiet guy") stepping up to defend the fake science teacher who BURNED CROSSES INTO THE ARMS OF HIS STUDENTS, here's the usual round of nutty bastards stepping up to don armour, raise the standard, draw swords and march off to war in defence of this good Christian soldier.

The comments to this story are a sad reminder of why religion is so dangerous. The reason I'm all-capping and italicising is to make sure that the simple fact of this guy's horrendous crime is kept to the fore. This isn't just some church-state issue, this isn't some liberals-hounding-harmless-christian story, this guy BURNED CROSSES INTO THE ARMS OF HIS STUDENTS!!

How can any rational (ha!) person defend this guy? Hello? He BURNED KIDS. You don't even need to imagine if it was an Islamic symbol or a pentagram or anything else, the fact that it was BURNED INTO THE STUDENT'S ARMS is enough. The fact that it was a crucifix that was BURNED INTO THEIR ARMS is merely the light dusting of powdered sugar on top of the gigantic, seven-layered, intricately iced, three-flavoured sponge cake that's making the table groan in protest.

Here's a few more, this time commenting on how this teacher refused to remove the bible from his desk. Note the sad old pony being trotted out for another run around the yard, to wit: the notion that, had it been a Koran on his desk, the liberals wouldn't have said a word. And this is worth addressing, because it is true.

Had this nutcase placed a Koran on his desk, I wouldn't complain, and nor would anyone who could be tarred with the "liberal" brush. We wouldn't complain simply because we would never have had the chance. Had this guy placed a Koran on his desk and refused to remove it, the good ole boys would have thrown his Mohammed-worshippin' ass outta there so fast that he'd still be bouncing today.

And they probably would have hidden behind the establishment clause to do it.

But that's an aside. As of now, anyone who criticises this nutty moron who BURNED CROSSES INTO THE ARMS OF HIS STUDENTS is being anti-Christian and people who are sickened or disgusted by the fact that a teacher BURNED CROSSES INTO THE ARMS OF HIS STUDENTS are simply seizing upon a non-event as an excuse to bash this beautiful, virtuous Christian teacher.

All clear? Good.


Science Defeats Crap - AGAIN

For years, the "we refuse to believe that pumping millions of tonnes of waste crap into the atmosphere of our planet is in any way harmful" crowd have been relying on a work of fiction to bolster their claims - the notion that the climate changes we see around us on a daily bases are caused by cosmic rays.


So, scientists in the UK, being scientists and therefore guided by scientific principles, did scientific experiments, and scientifically produced huge amounts of scientific evidence that shows that the aforementioned notion is - well - complete twaddle.

Thank science for that.

Man, Insomnia Sucks

I had to leave work early with a migraine which was making my head pound like a rude boy was driving it and my stomach eject its contents with extreme force. I went straight to bed and, after three and a half hours sleep, went from "man, I'm gonna die" to "man, I'm never getting back to sleep."

Wary of waking Mrs Doombreed, who has to get up tomorrow even earlier than I do, I slipped from the bed and came in here to play some Warbook.

Warbook is not as much fun when you have a level 50 magician who's decided to turn your kingdom into his own private Salisbury Plain and his hitting you with 30-odd fireballs a day, wiping out 90% of your army as soon as you recruit it.

Still, I'm going down fighting.


So how's the weather there?

May have to switch to writing on my novel.


In Memoriam

We lost Selene yesterday. It was pretty sudden and a bit of a shock, even though she was getting along in years for a gerbil. She was such an adorable little girl, and we'll miss her.

Rest in peace, little one.


I should stop, but I just don't wanna

I've been trawling around looking for the best (and worst) jabs at the Patriots.

First, here's one that, I assume, came from last year when the Colts, under Peyton Manning, beat the Patriots against the odds to go to the Superbowl:

Next, we bridge the gap, with Peyton passing the torch to younger brother Eli:

This sums it up, I think:

It's a bitch:

It's not nice to mock the afflicted, but here we go anyway:

X-Box Game Unveils Secret Bonus:

And what was that record again?

And, finally..

Vic Henley on football

Via Comedy Central:

Just.. Because..

Thank you, The New York Post:

The video isn't going to embed, apparently, so here's the link.

Define "Irony"

Okay, so this is not so much ironic as it is abso-friggin-lutely hilarious, but it seems that the New England Patriots filed applications to trademark the phrases "19-0" and "19-0: The Perfect Season", almost a month before the Superbowl.

The word "hubris" means exaggerated and overwhelming - but unwarranted - pride and self-confidence, and is often used in conjunction with the concept of the subject getting his or her comeuppance.

Maybe Bob Kraft needed to have a slave standing at his shoulder whispering "look not so proud, for the football gods are jealous" as he rode in triumph into Foxborough.

Story tipped by the NY Post and their story about kids in Nicaragua being gifted with the now unnecessary Patriots "19-0" Superbowl XLII Champions t-shirts and hats.


Merc'ing It Up

I have been tussling with Resident Evil 4 on the PS2 for a while now, and I have nearly destroyed the game completely.

I played it through on normal, unlocking the Mercenaries and Assignment Ada mini-games, plus the Matilda burst pistol and the first special costume.

A second run through, much easier with improved weapons and the body armour, unlocked the infinite missile launcher.

Completing the Separate Ways scenario on normal gave me the Chicago Typewriter - an infinite machine gun - and the second special costume.

Playing the main game through and then the Separate Ways game through, both on the pro setting, gave me the PRL-412 - the experimental light-based gun that treats bosses like a fart in a cyclone.

Playing the Mercenaries game gave me some trouble, but after some practice I managed to unlock all four special characters - Ada, Krauser, Hunk and Wesker - by getting 4 star ratings in all four scenarios.

There is but one thing left to unlock, according to the various guides I found at this point.

The hand cannon - an infinite .44 magnum.

The guide I used says that all I had to do was get a 5-star rating on each scenario and it would be mine.

So I did, using the totally awesome Krauser to do 3 scenarios and Hunk the fourth.

And nothing.

I checked the guides again.

Yep. What am I doing wrong?

Well, I was doing some deeper research and, apparently, there is a difference of opinion concerning what you have to do to get it. Some guides say you need a 5-star rating on each scenario (I know that's not true), some say you need a 5-star rating with each character (harder, but not impossible) and some say you need a 5-star with each character on each scenario.

And that seems damn near impossible, considering how much Leon sucks.

Still, I'm going for the second option, and if that doesn't work, I'll have to go with the third.

Here's where I am so far:


Pueblo:................3 stars
Castle:................4 stars
Military Base:........3 stars
Waterworld:..........4 stars


Pueblo:................3 stars
Castle:................4 stars
Military Base:........0 stars
Waterworld:..........0 stars


Pueblo:................5 stars
Castle:................5 stars
Military Base:........5 stars
Waterworld:..........5 stars


Pueblo:................2 stars
Castle:................5 stars
Military Base:........4 stars
Waterworld:..........0 stars


Pueblo:................0 stars
Castle:................2 stars
Military Base:........4 stars
Waterworld:..........0 stars

(0 stars indicates I've never even played the scenario with that character - you get 1 star just for turning up)

So, if the second scenario is correct, I need a 5 star rating with Leon (who sucks, so that should be fun) Ada and Wesker. If third scenario is correct, I have a lot of work to do.


An Open Letter To That Patriots Fan

Dear Patriots Fan,

I don't - in most cases - know your name, just the various online handles you use in various chatrooms, message boards and forums. Be it PatriotsFan, bradyisgod, patsrule2007, or whatever else you could come up with, you are the gestalt entity which has earned the ire of NFL fandom.

For almost 5 months now you've been strutting around like the cock of the walk, secure in your team's dominance of the NFL, confidently and arrogantly predicting the perfect season. With nary a glance towards spelling, and a barely a brush with grammar, we've had to hear about how the team from New England are "the graetest in the histry of the game".

Sometimes you seem to have a keyboard without a working shift key, as capital letters elude you, even in your beloved QB "tom bradey".

Also apparent, and almost as often, is your tenuous grasp of punctuation. Great long paragraphs of bile and shameless fawning, broken by not a single comma or full stop, declaring for all the world "I am an ignorant bastard and I am either so stupid as to be unaware of it, or simply arrogant enough to be proud of it," or, as you would put it, "im dum n i dont care."

You've dismissed mention of the Patriots long-time cheating as "haters" and ignored any attempt to discuss relative merits or historical evidence.

No, this season you've made being a fan of any other team a frustrating experience.

And now you're going to whine because it's all coming back on you?

Karma's a bitch.

Yes, you lost.

The Lord High-And-Mighty, Master Of The Comeback, Great And Powerful Engineer Of The Last-Minute Game-Winning Drive, The Golden Boy, The Man Himself, "tom bradey", couldn't hit a cow's arse with a shovel at the end of that game because the Giants had been doing exactly what fans around the league have been saying for months: plow the field with Brady's face.

I'll leave the analysis for another time. But we were right, you were wrong: Any team that rattles Brady beats the Patriots.

But you refuse to even acknowledge the loss. There are rumblings of cheating, rumblings of biased refs. How absurd.

You lost. You've spent 5 months giving it out, and now it's time for you to take it.

And, yes, that means from everybody. Even Dolphins fans have the right to mock you for your stupidity.

All the jokes, all the ribbing, the names, the insults, these are your due. Take it like a man, even if that means most of you will have to fake it.

Maybe, like the sword going to the forge, this experience will help you. It may be next year, it may be in ten years time, but the next time your "pats" go 7-0, 8-0, 10-0, 12-0, perhaps you'll reserve judgment because you've seen how the mighty can fall.

Maybe, in a future season, if your "pats" go 18-0 to the Superbowl again, even then, maybe - just maybe - you'll hold your tongue and stay away from the message boards with your ridiculous guarantees and silly hyperbole.

Maybe, next time the "pats" start building a nice undefeated season, and the idiots swarm out of the woodwork to take possession of the Superbowl on week 7, you'll be one of the calm heads cautioning patience and wisdom.

And maybe this experience will make you a better friend, a better fan, and a better person.


See you next season.

And remember, 31 coaches now have the Patriots' number, thanks to the Giants.


And It's Over

Giants 17-14 Patriots.

What a wonderful world. And now it's been proved that cheaters never win and winners never cheat, the Patriots, it seems, are about to get theirs.

I've never been a Giants fan, and I never will be, except for tonight.

It's here...

Today is the day when we find out, once and for all, whether cheaters win and whether winners cheat.

Good luck to the Giants. You'll need it against the Patriots and the refs. Just don't dare say so or they'll fine you.

"It's hard to go out there and play the Patriots and the refs at the same time," McAlister said. "They put the crown on top of them, they want them to win. They won."


Happy Winter-een-mas to you and yours.

We at Legal Alien wish you and yours a happy Winter-een-mas and hope you inflict much ownage on this most sacred of gamer's holidays.

Ownage be with you.


Giants Beat Patriots, NFL Beats Giants.

In a stunning display of skill and dignity the New York Giants refused to lay down and play dead on Saturday night.

In the final game of the NFL's regular season, the Giants faced off against the New England Patriots who, as reported previously on Legal Alien were awarded the undefeated season and this year's Superbowl before the first game was played. The 10-5 Giants were going to lose, it had been decided, but nobody could force them to make it easy.

For three straight quarters the Giants destroyed the Patriots on both sides of the ball. The Patriots' shambolic offense could barely manage to put up a decent drive, and the Giants were carving up the defense like they were amateurs. The Patriots opening drive ended with the team settling for a field goal, in answer to the Giants opening touchdown.

After a nicely orchestrated penalty saved the Patriots from going three-and-out, they managed to stumble down the field for a touchdown, giving them their only legitimate lead of the game.

NY lead 21-16 at the half and 28-23 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

At this point the Giants felt that they'd made their point - that they could easily have beaten the Patriots if they'd chosen to - they obeyed their orders from the NFL and stopped playing.

The change was marked and incredible. It was like the Giants went home and sent the Miami Dolphins (1-15) out in their uniforms to play the final quarter.

Even then, the Giants thumbed their nose at the Patriots with an easy touchdown in the closing minutes of the game to keep things close and give the NFL a scare.

Life-long Giants fan James Edmondsen said after the game, "It's a shame that we weren't allowed to win, but if we meet those bitches in the Superbowl, it's on.

"All bets are off," he continued, "the league can kiss my ass."

Dallas Cowboys fan Jake Phillips echoed the sentiment, "We had the Patriots on the run when the guys in black and white stepped in. In the Superbowl, we own them."

Morton Braithwaite, follower of the Philadelphia Eagles, said, "I hate the Giants like I hate the Cowboys, but if they get to the Superbowl, you bet I'll be a fan. Anyone who gets revenge on the Patriots is fine by me.

"Screw the NFL," he added.

* * * *

This article, again, is a parody. It is not intended to be taken seriously. No quotes attributed to any person, named or unnamed, are real. The contents of this article do not, to the best of my knowledge, represent the actual truth behind the farce that was the 2007 season.

Happy Arbitrarily Decided Day!

Happy First Square On The First Page Of The Calendar Day peeps!