Thursday, November 27, 2008

Did Someone Spike the Turkey I Haven't Eaten Yet?

I think I may be hallucinating this morning because I believe I just saw Rick Astley singing his 80s classic "Never Going to Give You Up" on a float with a bunch of goofy looking puppets during the Macy's parade.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wait, now there is some pre-teen named Charice who is singing "Because You Love Me" on a Good Housekeeping float designed like a riverboat.

I can't believe my parents let me watch this stuff as a kid.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

From the Horse's Mouth

Are Republican lobbyists better than Democratic ones?

In 2005, at the apogee of Republican power, the Motion Picture Association of America recruited John Feehery from a top job with former Representative J. Dennis Hastert, the Illinois Republican who was then speaker of the House. But when the Democratic takeover the next year devalued Mr. Feehery’s Republican connections, he lost his defense against internal personality conflicts, people involved in the association’s lobbying say, and within weeks he was out the door.

A spokesman for the association declined to comment on the departure. So did Mr. Feehery, who now runs his own lobbying shop. But he said Republican lobbyists would always be in demand because Democrats lack the stomach to push for industry goals that go against their party, like rolling back environmental regulations.

“At the end of the day,” Mr. Feehery said, “Democrats don’t like to ask for the order” — the client’s objective.
So apparently, the answer is yes. Republicans are better at lobbying. And they are better because they have the guts to abandon their beliefs for the right dollar figure. Awesome.

Via Kevin Drum.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I really didn't want to post about the Chiefs again this season. I had settled nicely into expecting the worst and being nicely surprised when anything at all positive happened. But today, I read Joe Posnanski's column in the Star.

The Chiefs have the worst pass rush in the history of professional football. I am not saying this to be flip, and I don’t mean this in the exaggerated way that you might say, “This is the worst traffic jam I’ve ever seen,” every Monday when taking I-35 North. No, these Chiefs are quantifiable the worst pass-rushing team ever. They have six sacks this year. That’s six sacks. The whole team. The whole year. Six sacks...

The Chiefs have six sacks. Of course, that’s last in the NFL. The Chiefs have six sacks. There are 19 individual players in the NFL who have at least that many. The Chiefs have six sacks. Derrick Thomas once had seven sacks in a single game. The Chiefs are on pace for nine sacks all year, and that would be an NFL record. The current record is held by the 1982 Indianapolis Colts, who had 11 sacks that year. And that was in a strike-shortened, nine-game season.
This is startling. It always seemed watching the Chiefs this year that they weren't getting much pressure on the quarterback, but this was not a stat I expected to see. Back in the Dick Vermeil days, I thought we were seeing some of the worst defenses ever. But those 31st and 32nd ranked defenses all had sack totals in the 30s.

This is truly incredible. And as Posnanski points out later in his article, the Chiefs not getting any sacks are the high draft choices the Chiefs have paid lots of money to over the last few years. But hey, ticket prices are going up next year right?

Friday, November 21, 2008

"Is Dhiib" is the New "Arrrr"

"Is Dhiib" translates to "surrender." It's what you are increasingly likely to hear is you happen to be on a ship traveling of the west coast of Africa. Pirating is back in fashion, and these guys are taking down some huge booty.

Somali pirates have been paid more than $150m (£101m) in ransoms in the past 12 months, Kenya's foreign minister says...

Ninety-five attacks have been recorded off the Somali coast this year, including the recent capture of a Saudi tanker carrying a $100m cargo of oil.

Of course, the obvious solution to this problem is to release the Kraken. He will be vacating the office of the vice-presidency soon anyway.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


... we get official word yesterday that Missouri blew it.

Republican John McCain has defeated President-elect Barack Obama in Missouri — the last state to be decided in the 2008 presidential election.

McCain's narrow victory over Obama breaks a bellwether streak in which Missourians had picked the winning presidential candidate in every election since 1956.
Of all the elections for us to get it wrong. Indiana and North Carolina voted for Obama, but we couldn't manage it.

In some ways it is difficult for me to understand, but then I also just had a conversation with three otherwise bright guys from three different parts of the state who are convinced that Sarah Palin may win the 2012 election. Maybe I should be surprised it was as close as it was.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Light, Love and Codpieces

Via Andrew Sullivan, Vanity Fair has an article about Thomas Kinkade's expansion into the film industry. Apparently, Kinkade wrote a memo instructing the crew of the film how to appropriately make a movie as cheeseball as his paintings. Among the 16 tips he offered:

9) A sense of space. My paintings feature both intimate spaces and dramatic deep space effects. We should strive for intimate scenes to be balanced by deeper establishing shots. (I know this particular one is self-evident, but I am reminded of it as I see the pacing of the depth of field in Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon".)

12) Surprise details. Suggest a few "inside references" that are unique to this production. Small details that I can mention in interviews that stimulate second or third viewings -- for example, a "teddy bear mascot" for the movie that appears occasionally in shots. This is a fun process to pursue, and most movies I'm aware of normally have hidden "inside references". In the realm of fine art we refer to this as "second reading, third reading, etc." A still image attracts the viewer with an overall impact, then reveals smaller details upon further study.

16) Most important concept of all -- THE CONCEPT OF LOVE. Perhaps we could make large posters that simply say "Love this movie" and post them about. I pour a lot of love into each painting, and sense that our crew has a genuine affection for this project. This starts with Michael Campus as a Director who feels great love towards this project, and should filter down through the ranks. Remember: "Every scene is the best scene."
I don't know about anyone else, but as I read the tips I certainly became convinced that Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage was probably likely to go down as an equal of anything Kubrick ever did.

The story that precedes the tips, however, is also a fun read. It includes some Kinkade bashing from the art community. It also includes this awesome fact:

In 2006, the Artist Formally Known for Prints was successfully sued by two former gallery franchise owners, and a Los Angeles Times article from the same year accused him of drunkenly disrupting a Siegfried and Roy show in Las Vegas by repeatedly yelling, “Codpiece!”
Perhaps the codpiece was one of those "inside references" Kinkade recommends.

p.s. Be the first to order the new Thomas Kinkade NASCAR Thunder print. Luminous!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Question of the Day

Why must our choices be:

a) our quality of life is better than it has ever been so we should never acknowledge that the world has deficiencies,


b) life is still patently unfair so we should be wary of acknowledging that human beings in general are experiencing their salad days?

80's Movie Line of the Week

Breaking the rules again. So I Married an Axe Murderer is from 1993, but I've been hanging out in San Francisco. This is the funniest comedy in the vicinity of the 80's that is set in San Francisco. You see how the logic works.

Stuart Mackenzie: Well, it's a well known fact, Sonny Jim, that there's a secret society of the five wealthiest people in the world, known as The Pentavirate, who run everything in the world, including the newspapers, and meet tri-annually at a secret country mansion in Colorado, known as The Meadows.
Tony Giardino: So who's in this Pentavirate?
Stuart Mackenzie: The Queen, The Vatican, The Gettys, The Rothschilds, *and* Colonel Sanders before he went tits up. Oh, I hated the Colonel with is wee *beady* eyes, and that smug look on his face. "Oh, you're gonna buy my chicken! Ohhhhh!"
Charlie Mackenzie: Dad, how can you hate "The Colonel"?
Stuart Mackenzie: Because he puts an addictive chemical in his chicken that makes ya crave it fortnightly, smartass!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Say What?

I know it doesn't really matter anymore because she isn't going to be VP and because she will probably never get that close again, but Sarah Palin continues to shock me. Via Kevin Drum, here is an actual answer from an interview today with Wolf Blitzer:

BLITZER: Does that mean you want to come up with a new Sarah Palin initiative that you want to release right now.

PALIN: Gah! Nothing specific right now. Sitting here in these chairs that I’m going to be proposing but in working with these governors who again on the front lines are forced to and it’s our privileged obligation to find solutions to the challenges facing our own states every day being held accountable, not being just one of many just casting votes or voting present every once in a while, we don’t get away with that. We have to balance budgets and we’re dealing with multibillion dollar budgets and tens of thousands of employees in our organizations.
I may never read a sentence like that again. God willing.


Most online quizzes are dumb, but this one is so ridiculous it is fascinating. Apparently, Jim is not an average enough name.

Your Average American Name Is...

Richard Allen Hall

Update: If you your name actually is Richard, your Average American Name is Andrew David Adams. Sounds an awful lot like Ancillary Adams, which I suppose brings things full circle.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Power Up

With the notable exceptions of people and soft drinks, everything seems to get smaller over time. It seems nuclear reactors are going that way too.

Using technology licensed from the U.S. government, an Arizona-based company is planning to bring a new generation of miniature nuclear reactors to market. The Hyperion Hydride Reactor is not much larger than a hot tub, is totally sealed and self-operating, has no moving parts and, beyond refueling, requires no maintenance of any sort. The reactor will output 27MW, enough to power a community of 20,000 homes, says Hyperion Energy, makers of the new reactor. The first models will roll off the assembly line in five years.
Sometime in the future Dick Cheney may be able to power the locks on his man-sized safe at his undisclosed location with his very own nuclear power source.

Monday, November 10, 2008

There's Going to Be a Few Changes...

Dan sent me this. I wish I hadn't heard people reacting this way in real life.

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

Friday, November 7, 2008

80's Movie Quote of the Week

Over the last few days, I think lots of people have been thinking about what it means to be American. I think this quote from European Vacation spells it out pretty well:

Clark Griswold: There it is, kids, my motherland.
Rusty Griswold: Dad, Grandma's from Chicago.
Clark Griswold: Shut up, Russ.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


It seems luxury retailers took a huge hit last month. The story, unfortunately, fails to mention to what extent these retailers could have been propped up by Sarah Palin's continued access to RNC credit cards.

The Media

Look, I tend to be someone who thinks the media has a tougher job than most people acknowledge. They get pounded on the right for having liberal bias, and they get pounded on the left for getting played by the right. Almost everyone thinks the media is uniformly bad at its assigned task.

I don't share that opinion generally, but I may be swayable. The fact that reporters may have known that the United States had a chance of electing a leader with an appalling lack of basic knowledge about the world, and did not cover it, is inexcusable. Off the record comments or not, the press does us virtually no good if it does not hold our leaders to some base level of accountability.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What the...

In all my excitement, I hadn't noticed that Alaska is about to reelect a convicted felon. I don't really have a comment about that.

What a Night

I couldn't be much happier today. Pennsylvania was called before I made it to my watch party, and the whole thing was just a drama-free celebration. I wish my state would've cooperated, but that's nitpicking at this point. What a speech by Obama. What a speech by McCain. It was a good night for the future of America.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

You Betcha!

A reader letter excerpted in a National Review post:

I've been making calls into Pennsylvania to do last-minute GOTV for the Good Guys. Of the 10 or so times I've reached live people, I have gotten three very pleasant-sounding ladies who informed me that they had already, or were about to, cast their vote for "Sarah." They were pleased to hear that a man from Texas had cast his ballot for the exact same candidate.
Does this mean they wrote in Palin for president, or are simply voting McCain/Palin in hopes that the old guy isn't around very long? Either way (or probably neither way), these are clearly people who I would prefer not to be stuck next to in a voting line.

I Don't See Your Name Here Anywhere

My polling place was one of several this morning that had a little trouble getting started:

“We did have issues in Ward 5 this morning,” said Melodie Powell, chairperson of the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners. “The poll logs got intermingled.”

She blamed a computer glitch for the problem. The election board became aware of the problem about 6:30 a.m. and it sent out blank polling logs and teams of workers to help correct the problem. Ward 5 includes the Valentine neighborhood and parts of Midtown and the Country Club Plaza areas.

The correct books were delivered to the polls by about 8 a.m.
So they got it fixed. No big deal right? Maybe not.

Voter Kristin Gernon said she couldn’t wait any longer and had to leave her polling place on 39th Street shortly after 7 a.m. Gernon was told by a polling official there that the problem affected about ten polling places. Gernon said she would return later to vote, but that many others couldn’t wait any longer and might not be able to return.
We have got to come up with a better voting system.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Just in Case You Need One More Reason

The chart above makes the case for Obama as well as the most eloquent written argument. Via Matt Yglesias.

Where We Are

No matter how you feel about the accuracy of polling, or the unexpected factors that might make a difference tomorrow, this chart is pretty solid proof that Obama is in the best position a Democrat has been in for awhile.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


100,000 in St. Louis.

75,000 in Kansas City.

Impressive. But nothing compared to what I saw on Saturday night. I traveled down to my hometown of Springfield, MO on Saturday night and joined 30,000 people at the Obama rally.

That 30,000 may be the most amazing thing I have seen through this campaign. If you know anything about southwest Missouri, you know it is not the home of many who would traditionally vote for Obama. Yet, people waited in line for hours to go and cheer our prospective president.

It's hard to express how good it made me feel. Maybe, just maybe, Obama might even win Missouri on his way to victory Tuesday.

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