Thursday, March 30, 2006

An Apple a Day

Oh, I'm so confused: Apple v. Apple- I think my brain is going to explode! In the geekiest news since, like, yesterday's news, Apple Corps, the Beatles' record company, is suing Apple Computer over their logo. The two companies had a trademark agreement in which Apple Corps wouldn't object to the computer company's use of an apple logo as long as they didn't use it to sell music. The agreement was made in 1991, when iTunes was but a speck in the mind of Steve Jobs, and now, obviously, the apple logo is selling hella music. While of course I love all things Beatle and some things Apple, and I suppose that it would be hard to argue that iTunes doesn't violate the letter of the law, this seems kind of like one of those things where the Apple Records folks' lawyers were going through some old files and they came across this agreement and were like, "Oh, snap! We just won the lottery!" Anyway, I am sure everything will turn out okay. When one super-rich company goes up against another, there are no losers. Except the TRUE FANS of the Beatles and Apple Computer. Sob.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Scary Barry

From the Washington Post: MLB to Announce Steroid Investigation. Huh? I feel like there's been a steroid investigation going on for, like, the last three or four years. What were all those baseball players doing in Washington talking about steroids, if not a steroid investigation? I know, I know, they were Congressional hearings. But steroids are sooooooo boooooring. No many how many investigations they do, everyone's going to say they wouldn't even know what a steroid looked like, and if they failed their drug tests maybe it's because someone slipped something into their, uh, intravenous injections, and everyone will know it's a lie as big as their biceps. But dude, I don't think I would fuck with Barry Bonds. According to the stats on his website, the man is 6'2" and 230 pounds. And using steroids. If he said, "I don't use drugs," and punched his fist into his baseball glove, I think I'd say, "Whatever you say, Mr. Bonds," and run and hide behind a chair.

Let's Forget the Whole Ethics Thing

Now this is the kind of news I like to hear: Senate Votes Down Outside Ethics Office. Calling an independent office to monitor ethics complaints against senators "superfluous," the Senate decided in a 67-30 vote that they can do whatever the hell they want and no one can tell them otherwise, except themselves, and hey, they're not saying anything.

This is the kind of bold, anti-bureaucratic move we need more of in Washington. I mean, who should know better than the senators themselves if they are corrupt? And believe me, they aren't. That whole Jack Abramoff thing? Sure, he was bribing Congressmen, but it's not like he was in Congress. The Senate is a lean, mean, efficient machine, and the last thing it needs is independent ethics commissions weighing it down.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Did I Say My Name Was Taylor? I Meant Tyler.

The other day Nigeria announced that it would turn over ex-Liberian President and major-league asshole Charles Taylor for extradition to Sierra Leone to face war crimes charges, and now, lo and behold, he's gone missing. Oops. It's not clear in exactly what way he's missing, whether he fled or was abducted, but I'm going to take a wild guess and say he hotfooted it out of there. Taylor is one of the most horrendous human beings on the world stage in recent history, playing a key role in starting a war that killed 300,000 people, and seeing as how he's managed to avoid being held accountable thus far, I have a feeling he's pretty crafty, too. So maybe Nigeria could have handled this a little better, like, instead of giving him a head start by announcing they have a warrant for his arrest, perhaps they could have just gone straight to his lavish villa and arrested him. Just a thought.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sunday Confidential

I'm graduating in May with my MFA in writing, which means it's the heart of thesis season for me. I'm doing a collection of short stories, which is great and wonderful and all that, but it's hard for me to accept that I'm going to have to put these stories to bed. Even then they won't be finished, really, because at least a handful of them will hopefully be worth committing more time to, but I am struggling with the idea that when I turn them in to my advisor, they will be the mark of what I've accomplished during my time at grad school. Every story can use another draft, and at some point you have to decide that the next draft won't be a measurably better product. But that can be many many revisions away, and I know that at some point before that this thing is going to be due and I'm going to have to accept that it is what it is. On the plus side, I've been amazed at how exciting revision can be. I know, I know, I'm a big dork. But it's really thrilling to read a story I've written and see that it's not right yet, but I know what's wrong with it and have some ideas how to fix it. Good times, good times.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

In Which I Say Rude, Sacrilegious Things

(Warning: Garrett, you may not want to read this.)
I guess this story is heartwarming, I guess, though I think it's really mostly creepy and weird. This woman, Tanya, ran away from home ten years ago and was held indoors by the security guard from her middle school for four years only two miles from her father's home. Then her mother, who told amost no one that her daughter had disappeared at age 14, told her pastor and started praying for her return, and immediately thereafter, Tanya came back.

But I don't know. There are some major unanswered questions here.
1. Tanya disappeared ten years ago. The security guard held her for four years. What about the other six years?
2. How did this poor woman, who is only 24, get white hair?
3. USA Today is definitely implying that Tanya's mother's prayers are the reason for her return. Has this been fact checked?
4. Despite her mother's prayers being the direct cause of her return, Tanya doesn't appear to want to see her - they haven't met up yet. So can her mother threaten to pray to send her back?
5. What if the mother had prayed for a ham and cheese sandwich instead?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I feel bad for the five young women in Azerbaijan who died from the bird flu, but at least they have the special distinction of pushing the death toll over 100. These most recent victims were all female teenagers because they are customarily the ones tasked with defeathering dead birds.

When the bird flu hit France in February, it also hit the poultry industry hard, and French President Jacques Chirac went around publicly eating chicken to show how safe it is, blah blah blah. Well, that's great, and it's true that eating properly cooked chicken is safe, but, as these most recent deaths remind us, that doesn't really apply if you're the one cooking and handling the chicken. So while I fear that at a mere word from me the global poultry industry will collapse, I feel it is incumbent upon me to say, if you can, stay away from the dagnab chicken. Obviously.

'Sada' sounds suspiciously like 'Saddam'

There's a guy who's been making the rounds of the radio and TV interviews: Georges Sada, who is the former number two in Saddam Hussein's air force and now author of the book Saddam's Secrets, which asserts that Saddam did have WMDs, but he transported them to Syria immediately before the war. Everyone who I've heard interview him, including Jon Stewart, has just totally softballed it, looking at this guy all googly-eyed like he just brought them a puppy.

Now, I'm sure that General Sada is a very smart, wonderful, charming man, but his schtick is just a little too much for me. He was fearless. He was the one person who could tell it like it was to Saddam. He never supported Hussein but thrived during the dictatorship. He's the only person who knows where the WMDs really are. He saw them moved, but of course didn't move them or authorize their movement himself. He saw Saddam engage in acts of torture and mass extermination, but never participated in such heinous acts himself.

How wonderfully convenient. The best thing is, he's Christian, and therefore he and the president can look into each other's souls. The guy must be a fucking saint! He's like the physical manifestation of George W. Bush's wet dreams! I'm waiting for someone, anyone to ask him the only question that matters: no, not 'did you just totally make this shit up?', but 'how long till coalition forces raid your offices and nail you for corruption?'

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Life Sentence Would Be Letting the Terrorists Win

Wow, this trial just keeps getting better: FBI Witness in Moussaoui Trial Faults Superiors. Apparently the agent who arrested Zacarias Moussaoui was blocked by his FBI superiors from interviewing him to determine if he was involved with a terrorist cell, and then, after 9/11, the agent told that the attacks were "just a coincidence" that had nothing to do with Moussaoui.

I feel like that might not be so good for the prosecution's case, which is that Moussaoui should get the death penalty because he didn't tell anyone about the planned 9/11 attacks. Although seeing as how they didn't so much interview him, I guess it does prove that point in the most literal sense. But things are really not going so well for the prosecutors, who also got in trouble for coaching witnesses and lost the crucial testimony of some aviation officials. If I were a lawyer for the government (i.e. the prosecution), I think I'd try a new tactic: for example, lighting my hair on fire in the middle of a cross-examination and running out of the courtroom while tap dancing. Or something.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sunday Confidential

Hi, hi. So for once I'm actually going to say something very personal in my Sunday Confidential, even though it might not sound like it: I've taken up running. The reason this is so personal is that I suck at it, so it's a little embarrassing. It's probably better to call it jogging. Those of you who know me personally know that I prefer to, well, not move, so jogging is not a natural fit for me, but it's very exciting. It's both more empowering and more humiliating than I ever expected. It's empowering because when I started I could hardly even run for five minutes, and now I can go for forty; it's humiliating because I'm just so slow - I start out okay, but I usually end up like one of those old ladies going almost at walking pace while swinging their elbows and bending their knees. But it's all good, because I'm hanging in there, and one day I'm going to run for twenty-four hours straight. Wait, no I won't.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Don't Shoot! Eat Corned Beef!

For Criminy Christmas, I was all excited to be a good blogger and then Blogger bailed on me, doing "maintenance" or whatever, and I couldn't get on. And now, while I appear to be able to create posts, I can't get any Blogger blogs to load. So who knows if you'll even see this. But still, we must soldier on.

Which brings me to my next point: US launches major Iraq offensive. Things like this just make me nervous. All the guns, shooting, planes, I get all itchy. You know what I do like, though? When the one peaceful region in Iraq turns violent. Wait, no. I don't like that either. The actual thing I actually like, actually, is that bishops have lifted the restriction on red meat on Fridays during Lent so that the entire nation can join together to eat corned beef on St. Patrick's Day tomorrow. I just love that. That all these people would feel compelled to wait for permission from a bishop in order to eat meat. It's cute!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, peoples. Let's not forget the real meaning of this special holiday, which is that Irish people eat gross food and are alcoholics.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

One Count of Suckiness in the First Degree

I am the worst, most irresponsible blogger ever! I hereby swear to never miss another day again. Okay, that's probably a lie, but I'm sorry to be so inconsistent lately. As I mentioned in Sunday Confidential, I'm in PA, and it turns out that eastern Pennsylvania is not (yet) covered in a blanket of wireless internet access, so I have been away from my bleedin' computer for almost 48 hours. Oh, how I have suffered. But my weekly column is up at Lost Writers today, and I should be back to regular posting asap.

The good news, though, is that another opportunity for international criminal trial mash-ups has arisen: Moussaoui plus Milosevic! Because the prosecution (i.e., the US government) improperly shared information with witnesses in the sentencing trial against Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person to be charged in the US in the 9/11 attacks, the trial will now go forward without those key witnesses. Milosevic's war crimes trial had to be stopped because it could not go forward without the man himself, who died on Saturday. So, we've got the evidence without a defendant in the one case, and a defendant without evidence in the other. Let's just put them together and have one big trial, with a charge broad enough to cover both cases, something like, He's Just Generally a Bad Person.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sunday Confidential

I'm at home in Pennsylvania, which is so lovely. The weather was, of course, stunning yesterday and gross today, but I love being awakened by the sound of chickens crowing in the yard and looking out to see the hills rolling away and the cat sunning herself on the roof of the barn. There are horses, and lots of funny dogs... sometimes I think I like animals more than I like people. I'm watching the Simpsons right now and Maggie just made friends with a semi-articulate ram who returned her lost pearl necklace. And if it can happen on the Simpsons...

Friday, March 10, 2006

I Counsel Patience

hey doods, it's late. i'm like, such an old person. I have nothing to add, and you should be in bed, you naughty children. go check out LostWriters if you don't know what else to do with yourselves. i will return to you with fully charged, a-hole political commentary on Sunday, mmkay?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I Think I'll Have the Salad

Another entry in the annal of weird animals I've recently heard about. And you wonder why I have nightmares. It's because of the hairy lobsters, people! I'm not even going to put a picture of this thing up, because I can't bear to look at it every time I load this page, and I think I would lose all my readers. But suffice it to say, there's a new blind, hairy lobster in town. It was discovered recently 900 miles south of Easter Island, which is way down there, and it was living 2300 meters deep on some hydrothermal vents.

If you want to see it you should click on the link above. If you don't want to see it, I don't blame you, and here is the best description I can give, only having looked at it through my fingers: it's got a small, very white, very hard-looking body in the shape of a teardrop, and according to the reports it only has the vestige of a membrane where the eye would be. Because what's he going to look at way down there anyway? It's like all dark and stuff. But the really exciting part is that its pincers--which, incidentally, seem more mitteny than pinchy--instead of being covered in an exoskeleton like the lobsters we know and love to eat, its pincers are covered in pale hair-like filaments called setae, giving its long, long arms the appearance of big ol' pipe cleaners. or some kind of goofy sweater that never quite took off.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Diplomatic Solution? How Could You?

Oh, the computer lab is so odious. But anyway.

Not surprisingly, as the referral of Iran to the UN Security Council moves ever closer this week, White House Issues Warning on Iran's Nuclear Ambitions. So garbled is this sentence. But the reason this is not surprising is that the head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, suggested that it might be possible to find a diplomatic resolution to the issue of Iranian nuclear enrichment soon. And that is just not okay. If we reach a diplomatic solution, how can the U.S. invade? I mean, they're already a democracy, so we'd be just shit out of luck, huh?

Monday, March 06, 2006 computer... is... gasp... gurgle... dying....

Actually just the battery and my charger seems to be a piece of poo. So I will write again, as soon as I get my strength back.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sunday Confidential

Why hello there! I'm watching the Oscars right now, which is boooooring. What's with all the nude women? I mean, nude dresses. Thought you'd missed something there, didn't you?

I've been feeling so weird the past few days. First really hyper and silly for like two days, which was fun, but then I became sad and depressed. I hate that. And I tried to go for a run today and pooped out after like ten minutes. But frankly, I have PMS, and I have a feeling that I'll be better in a couple of days. In the meantime, I think I'll just sleep all day long. Like I do every day.

I did have the great pleasure of going to Williamsburg this weekend, to my old neighborhood, which brought back some fine memories. I walked past this pizza place a few blocks away from my old apartment, and here is what I saw: a police car parked diagonally on the corner; a few feet away, a fire hydrant painted red, white, and green (for the old country); and directly next to the cop car and in front of the fire hydrant, a Mercedes. No ticket on the windshield. I love the mob.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Don't MineD if I Do

From the New York Times: Senators Threaten to Intervene to Improve Mine Safety. Noooooo!!!! Don't do it!!! What a dastardly threat. For God's sake, don't intervene - what would become of us if you improved mine safety?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I Hear the Mountains are Real Pretty

Perhaps you've heard the big news: Bush Makes "Surprise" Stop in Afghanistan on Way to India (quotes mine). I love the idea that this visit was a surprise. Just because it was a surprise to the media, and I guess to the American people, not that any of the American people really cared that he was going to India anyway, doesn't mean that it's actually a surprise. Look at those gorgeous podiums (podii?), that snazzy cap. This might have been a surprise to the New York Times, but someone called Karzai and told him to have his good suit ready. I guess my complaint is that it's more of the movie-star Bush persona - look how surprising he is! How dashing! How unpredictable! I fully understand the reasons for not announcing the visit ahead of time, BTW, as I'm sure the supposedly defunct Taliban would be more than happy for some advance notice, but what I don't understand is why the media feels the need to play up the President's twinkling valor for holding a press conference, just because it wasn't on their editorial calendars. And, from the opposite perspective, I am simply astounded by the fact that he had never been there before. I had sort of been under the impression that he went over there and personally attempted to "smoke out" Osama bin Laden. Yee-haw!