Archive for October, 2008

In order to help me keep my electoral math straight, I created a spreadsheet to track the likely winner of the Presidency next Tuesday, entering my own projections plus data for about a dozen relatively realistic alternate scenarios.

I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I also added in worksheets to track the House, Senate and gubernatorial races (including my projections for each one of the roughly 480 races involved), plus one to provide me a running timetable of when the polls in each state will close.

OK, maybe now I’m the only one.

I think of this as geeky. D thinks I’ve strayed well into nerd territory.

However, if anybody else is inclined to use a tool like this, or just keep it handy as a running scorecard while watching Tuesday’s coverage, let me know and I’ll either put it up for download or email it to you directly.

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This has showed up on a few of my friends’ LiveJournals this morning, and I found I had something to say about it.

Copy this sentence into your livejournal if you’re in a heterosexual marriage, and you don’t want it “protected” by the bigots who think that gay marriage hurts it somehow.

I have a fairly sizable problem with the view that gay marriage is in any way wrong; as I understand it, most of the objections to this appear to have their basis in Scripture.


Nowhere in the Bible does it say that gay marriage is in any way wrong. There are some references to sexual activity between men as being ‘unclean’ (a more correct translation than ‘abomination’), primarily Leviticus 21:13 and several of the writings of Paul, but none of them touch on marriage at all.

And I think it’s painfully obvious that denying gay people the right to marry will not in any way dissuade them from any sexual activity.

I’m not going to go too deep into the exact wording of the passage in Leviticus, but I think most people will realize on an objective reading that “do not lie with a man as you would with a woman” makes sense only in that it refers to a physical impossibility.


Anyone who objects to ANYTHING based on Leviticus really needs to re-read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Jesus preached unconditional acceptance of the persecuted that day, and explicitly repudiated the blind following of the letter of the law without regard for its spirit.

So what then was the spirit of such a law? As with the proscription against eating shellfish, and many of the 613 pronouncements in Leviticus (come on, just TRY to follow each and every one of them yourselves before you open your mouths) I believe that much of it had to do with health. In the Judaea of two and a half millennia ago, shellfish didn’t stay fresh very long. And people didn’t have access to the same hygienic luxuries we have now. Small wonder then that many things were prohibited – some of these pronouncements were predominantly in the nature of a preemptive universal health care plan.

The very next line of Leviticus proclaims the death penalty for heterosexual adultery. This too makes sense within the health care context – the more people slept around, the more likely it would be that diseases could be passed among the people (who didn’t have access to a Walgreens for antibiotics).

How about that? Universal health care plan. In the Bible. Almost makes you want to vote for that guy who’s not actually a Muslim despite what his opponents want you to believe.

In closing, then, a message to anyone pushing for a ban on gay marriage based on Scripture: I welcome you to step forward if you’ve ever had an affair, eaten shrimp, or played football on the wrong day of the week, and I will be only too happy to stone you to death personally.

Have a nice day.

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… it’s probably just another part of the giant government conspiracy.

I was reminded this morning of the theory that the Apollo moon landings were faked. My inner conspiracy theorist loves this one, because there’s so much you can do with it.

See, in the early 1960s, the Western World was stunned when Yuri Gagarin successfully went into orbit. The United States in particular went a little batshit over this news, largely because the nascent NASA had had a great deal of money pumped into it, and here the Russians were launching a machine which surely had to be predominantly made of duct tape – and there was a cosmonaut IN it. Kennedy, in his optimistic fashion, called for the United States to put a man on the surface of the moon by the end of the decade.

Shouldn’t have been difficult, one would think. After all, we had access to the technology salvaged at Roswell, NM, back in 1947, and had been having dialogue with several different races of alien life for some time. Trouble was, a great deal of that technology was under the control of the CIA. Kennedy and the CIA didn’t get along too well, as evidenced by the fact that he planned to dissolve the Agency entirely.

Lo and behold, in November ’63, a magic bullet came from three different locations at once, entered Kennedy’s head at the wrong angle for any of said locations, and the alchemical ritual killing of the Divine King was completed.

CIA-trained operative Lee Harvey Oswald, observing this while still trying to get a good visual through his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, is reported to have said “OMG WTF?” Meanwhile, CIA-trained operative James Files calmly left the scene, his own gun still in hand, and the mission was accomplished.

Future Agency Director George Scherf Jr., during the course of the investigation, requested that all pertinent documents be turned over to him, a request which was duly honored. It should be noted that George Scherf Jr. was no longer under that name at this time, hence the record showing that the documents were provided to ‘George Bush of the CIA’. This individual, it should be noted, went on to become the nation’s 41st President.

The furore over Kennedy’s assassination allowed the CIA to continue its operations without hindrance, especially since the views of one Lyndon Baines Johnson were rather more friendly to the CIA. Nonetheless, in order to continue deflecting attention from the perpetrators of perhaps the single greatest con of all time, Kennedy’s memory needed to be kept alive. And so it was that a TV studio of sorts was set up at a base in Nevada, not far from Groom Lake.

It should also be noted at this point that there are few better ways for a shaky administration to get the public firmly behind them than by providing a common enemy. A military action was quickly contrived and the United States entered Vietnam.

A growing counterculture movement, featuring the likes of LSD pioneer Timothy Leary, protested vociferously against the war, never realizing that they were simply being distracted from the assimilation of the entire country by the New World Order, with the help of the CIA as well as high-standing politicians from both sides of the partisan divide.

Though the enduring popularity of the Beatles threatened their Machiavellian machinations, the NWO quickly devised counter-strategies. The assassination of Paul McCartney and his replacement with their own lookalike (William Campbell) kept the Beatles from getting too outspoken, although Mark Chapman would eventually need to be deployed also once the Beatles had broken up.

What about the Moon landings? We’re coming back to that.

The public was beginning to embrace the counterculture more strongly than anticipated, and the Russians were starting to get their act together. Something needed to happen at this point to re-establish American superiority. And so it was that a little movie was made. A gentleman named Kubrick was drafted to make the landing look as realistic as possible, and a great script was put together.

Getting up onto a stage was one small step for a man. Getting that movie out was a giant leap for the NWO.

NOTE: The above is a work of fiction and is provided for entertainment purposes only. Allegedly.

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Some of the products out there just baffle me.

It seems that one can now buy reusable latex foreskins for a different experience. (Thanks to Andrew over on Facebook for the link.)

All together now: “please be gentile with me”…

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So it seems that PETA, in their infinite yet questionable wisdom, have another addition to their greatest hits. Above and beyond their suggestion of using human milk rather than cow’s milk for dairy products, and well ahead of most of their ‘shock-value’ advertising, comes this little gem:

Fish, due to previous bad PR, are now to be reinvented as Sea Kittens in order that people will consider them too cute to eat.

Sea Kittens.

And there’s even an insipid little game on their site where you can create a Sea Kitten image of your very own.

This is my Sea Kitten. His name is Lunch.

This is my Sea Kitten. His name is Lunch.

Hmm. I wonder what their position is on chicken, and turkey. Air Kittens may be even yummier.

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Sometimes, there are T-shirts one absolutely must have.

Posted using ShareThis

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It seems I am destined for another season of soccer-related disillusionment.

My beloved Spurs, for all that the squad looks good on paper, do not play on paper, and are thus languishing at the bottom of the league with zero wins and two ties after eight games.

My predictions for the Premiership this season have already gone to hell in a handbasket.

After my praise of Argentina’s soccer talents, they’ve had a couple of lousy results and the manager has… parted company with them.

Until further notice, please do not attempt to talk about your favorite team with me, lest I jinx them. Hence the lack of my often over-effusive support for England in this post. Though if you support Arsenal or Chelsea, please come forth, in which case I shall be more than happy to jinx the tar out of them.

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Back in 2006 I reviewed the Decemberists’ album The Crane Wife. Then and now, a bloody amazing album, but the vocal riff from “Yankee Bayonet” has been firmly embedded in my head for about two weeks now.

Before this, my default “earworm” was the Hush Sound’s “We Intertwined”, before that was Catchpenny’s “All These Questions”, and even before that, it was “The New Underground” by Guster.

Apparently I really like songs from 2006. Even the one recent exception to this (“Ruby”, by the Kaiser Chiefs) was from very early in 2007.

So is it just a me thing, or was 2006 actually the ne plus ultra of music years?

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It has come to my attention that I have accounts on WAY too many social networks. In quite a few cases (e.g. Orkut, Bebo), I’ve set up accounts but never actually used them. Others, like MySpace, I pretty much stopped using as it became more and more unwieldy.

In any case, the ones I use most often are Facebook and LinkedIn, in case anyone was looking to get in touch with me. If you’re wondering about some other network which you personally prefer, let me know – I’m probably on there someplace.

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Oh, America. Scarred and wounded so many times, you bravely struggle forward. Through the slings and arrows of wars and revolutions, through the inept ministrations of your own sons and daughters, you hold your head high and look for a greater tomorrow and a brighter future.

I am a relatively-recently-minted permanent resident of the US, though I have spent a number of years here over the course of my life. As something of an outsider, there are things that I don’t know that I probably should, but there are also things I see that others may not notice simply through familiarity.

While I am not yet a fully-fledged American, I hold a cause in common with Americans: that of building a better America. In this spirit, I have been using this blog to present my views on many aspects of American culture. Politics, religion, professional sports, minority issues, business, music and a host of other topics receive the dubious benefit of my reporting, and perhaps emerge a little refreshed from it.

Let us start on a lighter note than most: that of professional sports in this country.

What could be more American than baseball? Few other sports could truly claim to be the national game. Few events cause American emotions to run higher than the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series. A single hit, at the right time, can make grown men across the country dance or make them cry.

As an Englishman, I wasn’t taught at an early age how to throw, to bat, to catch. I never harbored dreams of being a Yankee or a Red Sok (I’m assuming this to be the singular). Shortly after my 18th birthday, however, I moved to Boston. I got an apartment with a view of Fenway Park from my kitchen window. It was around that time that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were breaking records left and right. It was an exciting time for baseball. Still, one question remained for me. This question has been hotly debated for years. It has engaged the minds of more lay-philosophers than evolution, than religion, than the meaning of life itself. More important than why the World Series is solely for teams from North America, more pressing than why someone would willingly submit to a nickname like “A-Rod”, the question is…

Who is it that really, truly sucks? The Red Sox, or the Yankees?

Sports merchandising has rarely seen greater profits than it does today. Replica uniforms and signed memorabilia fetch enormous prices. However, one cannot help noting the ever-expanding sub-industry that has spawned around the phrases “Red Sox Suck” and “Yankees Suck”. This in and of itself, through bumper stickers, shirts, mugs, mouse pads and hats, has become a ten-million-dollar industry. Add in the revenues from commentary on individual players (for example, the great Derek-Jeter-Sucks period) and we are looking at closer to twenty million.

In terms of sales, the Red Sox currently have the edge. There are far stronger sales of “Yankees Suck” items than of “Red Sox Suck” items. This must, however, be taken with a pinch of salt; for 140 years, this nation has harbored aggrieved Confederate families, who are probably snapping up “Yankees Suck” bumper stickers with a cavalier disregard of their actual sporting import. After all, it must make a change from all those “The South Will Rise Again” stickers on truck bumpers. So we may never truly know.

There are a few other things of particular note about baseball. One of those things is the popular sentiment that the players get paid way, way too much. After all, they spend their whole day just hitting little balls. Easy, right? There’s no way they should earn as much money as, say, someone who invests a great deal of time writing thought-provoking blog posts. But it’s great entertainment. Especially when we spend the money it takes to win.

If we’re all serious about reducing baseball players’ salaries, there’s only one way to make it happen. Stop watching the games on TV. Stop buying the tickets. Stop buying the replica uniforms and the signed memorabilia. Stop feeding your money into that business. Throw out your “Derek Jeter Sucks” banner. Stop teaching your kids to throw and bat and catch.

No? Didn’t think so.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go somewhere quiet to meditate upon which team it is that, in actual fact, sucks.

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