Friday, April 28, 2006


This piece comes from yesterday's Whiskey & Gunpowder. It discusses various issues feeding our current economic mess. One issue worth remembering, in my opinion, is the meaning of the term "inflation." As currently understood, because of the various metrics our government feeds us, inflation is just "one of those things" that happens, a part of "the business cycle," measured through some arbitrary "basket of goods."


CPI, Core CPI, PPI. They're all crap. The government chooses a variety of things that cost money and determines whether the prices are going up or down. As if some mystical Wizard of Money sprinkles fairy dust on the "basket."


Core CPI, the "basket" that omits energy & food, is made up. It's all made up. Inflation is, simply put, an increase in the amount of money + credit. More money and credit chasing a static amount of goods? Prices up; inflation. Less money and credit chasing a static amount of goods? Prices down; deflation. Though the latter hasn't happened since 1933.

And where does this increase in money come from? The Federal Reserve. The "printing press." Milton Friedman's "helicopter drop."

Inflation is a hidden tax. Everyone who holds cash sees the value of that cash go down. Why is gold going up? Why are all commodities going up? Why is food going up? There are plenty of reasons in play, but you'd better believe that the massive increase in money supply is a key factor.

* * *

Why do we have inflation every year? Because the Fed increases the money supply. And why do they do this? Because it's in the interest of . . . well, just about everyone in Washington to do so. Inflation cheapens money. And who wants cheap money? Debtors. You owe $100, it's easier to pay it off if you can "buy" $100 for less. The United States is the world's greatest debtor.

Connect the dots.


All the posturing and politicking seeping out of DC this past week or so, in the context of energy, energy prices & energy policy, got me thinking of a short piece I wrote a couple weeks ago. Since it relates to my experiences as a big firm attorney, I figured now was a good point to launch a running "series" I've figured on introducing here. As my "profile" explains, I'm not only a lawyer (and I play one on television), but a lawyer who's all but fed up with The Life, who's looking for a way to do something else.

So, without any further ado, the first in what I hope will be many tales, stories, anecdotes & observations of my existence in the strange world of the big city law firm:

One reason New York remains so bright at night is that all the lights, on every floor of every office building, stay on. Forget the external lights, the Empire State Building's blue & white beacon (when the Yanks make their annual post-season appearance), or red & green (in December), or red & black (when Bush comes to town). No, I mean the lights in individual offices.

I can't pretend to know why office management leaves the lights on. But I know why individuals do: Arrogance & Living A Lie. Lemme explain.


The overblown sense of self-importance that resides in the ego of a big firm lawyer is hard to comprehend unless you've worked with one. Or worked with one thousand. Fresh outta law school at 25, or 28, or 31. Making six figures even though he knows nothing, and can do less than nothing. And sitting in a swank office, with a secretary and comped late-night dinners and car service home after grueling hours at his desk. Intoxicating for most, toxic for some.

And this 26 year-old schmuck, armed with a law license, a corporate AMEX card, a larger weekly salary than he made in a month six months earlier is gonna be bothered turning off the lights? It never happens. Lot of reasons I left the law firm associate world. That's one.

Living The Lie:

This one's more subtle. A law firm pays its expenses (and earns partner profits) through billable hours. Realtors are taught their ABCs, Always Be Closing? I dunno; according to Mamet they are. But associates are taught their ABBs. Not American Bar Board or anything like that. No. Always Be Billing.

A masochistic world of competing suffering develops. "I'm so tired," one associate complains (read: brags), "I worked til 2:30 last night."

"Ohhh, I hear you," her fellow associate whines (read: brags), "I was here til 4:00."

It's soul-shattering and it's a sickness. But I digress.

A weird phenomenon takes hold whereby no one wants to admit -- to partners, to fellow associates, to himself -- that he leaves work at a human hour. He'll lie about when he left, she'll come in on the weekend in the hope of being seen by the stray partner, he'll leave his suit jacket on his chair when he goes out for a longer-than-usual lunch. And . . .

. . . he'll purposely leave the lights on when he goes home. So no one will know he left. So the partner -- who, in reality, barely knows this associate exists, and certainly doesn't know which office is his -- will see his late hours struggles and consider him for partnership in 7 years. It's that sick.

Now, in one of the many ways I set myself apart from this industry I hated, I always turned my lights out when I went home. Partly for environmental/energy reasons. But mostly as my angry way of screaming, "I won't play by the 'rules.'"

But again I digress.

Before heading into the nomadic world of independent contracting, I was friends with a fellow associate at one of my old firms. He had impeccable environmentalist credentials: Sierra Club contributor; his own canvas bag for shopping; a reformed vegan who nonetheless refused to eat meat because it had some influence on the Brazilian rainforests that was never clear to me; threw his own blood onto the fur coat of the firm's managing partner (ok, I made that last part up). He left his lights on when he went home.

"Why do you leave your lights on when you leave?" I asked him. "Not very environmentally sound."

"The cleaning lady's coming around soon after I leave," he explained. "She'll turn em off."

"Then why don't you turn them off yourself?" I retorted. "Anyway, once she turns them off, people'll know you're not here."

"That's not why I do it," he lied, piling a verbal prevarication on-top of that which he lived. "It's just easier to leave it for her . . ." he continued.

"Then why not turn them off yourself to save energy?"

Or something like that. I think he finally admitted there was no good reason to leave them on and said he'd think about turning them off when he went home.

And that evening -- and every evening til I left the firm -- he, like all the other attorneys, left his lights on.

So, late into the evening, at every law firm, the lights remain on in all the individual offices. A whole world of attorneys working late, although 75% of those offices are empty. And the folks who actually remain at the office couldn't possibly care less about the truth of this charade. All they want to do is finish up and go home. Or they're workaholics, all too happy to slave away into the night, oblivious to whether anyone else is with them.

And finally, none of those who ostensibly care -- the partners -- are there to observe this strange dance. They're long gone, back in their homes. Being workaholics themselves, and only too happy to generate the staggeringly expensive hours they bill to the client, they're probably working too. But the computer and phone in their home office serves this need well enough.

Very few partners have enjoyed the beautiful nighttime view of New York since they were associates, and had a much smaller window through which to take it in. But they wouldn't get to enjoy it too much anyhow, since the lights would be on, casting a reflection and spoiling the scene.


Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, the Valkerie friend of the Four Horsemen, today called for Libya to free five Bulgarian nurses held since 1999 in one of its prisons. No, this isn't one of my "Onion-style," fake news stories. Although the tale of five Eastern European nurses detained in a Middle Eastern prison does sound like a late night Skinamax flick. Who's the secretary of education? American teenage boys have gone far too long in a state of ignorance regarding Bulgarian history, and that movie would be just the thing to set that oversight straight.

"The Bulgarian nurses have been too long in captivity," Rice actually told a group in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital. No one can confirm reports of factory machines going all night, making "Free the Bulgarian Five" buttons, but I'll update you as soon as I know.

Ok, I don't wanna make light about these women. Apparently they were trying to do some good for kids with HIV, and for their trouble they end up rotting away in some shithole Qaddafi probably built to house captured American airmen who survived the plunge into the Burning Lake of Fire that was to be the Gulf of Sidra (was it "Burning Lake of Fire," or was it a "Sea of Blood"? Maybe "Burning Lake of Fire" was John Milton, not the Crazy Colonel. Anyone?). They should free these poor women.

But with everything going on in the world with Iran, Iraq, China, Russia, Condi's in Bulgaria, playing modern day Moses, telling Mad Moammar to let her nurses go? Doesn't she have some shoes to buy? Hurricane season's only a month away afterall.

Ahhh, maybe I should lighten up, enjoy the fact that the Administration's working for freedom. Or . . . maybe I should just scroll through the story and note that we also want increased access to Bulgarian military facilities, perhaps to supply additional launching points for any adventurism in Iran.

Hey, I hope Condi's efforts get these nurses out of jail, and if the Bulgarian government rewards us for our efforts by giving us access to military facilities that's good. What the hell? But, man, if this makes it any easier for us to further stretch ourselves through military action we're economically, diplomatically and logistically unfit for, then I have to say I'd prefer to see the unlucky ladies stay where they are.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Announcing yesterday that Tony Snow would succeed Scott McClellan as White House Press Secretary, the Prez told the press: "My job is to make decisions. And his job is to help explain those decisions to the press corps and the American people."

He's really into this whole "Decider" thing lately, isn't he?

Showing that he's mastered the double-talk required for a job with only one qualification -- an ability to lie about every single thing you say from dawn til dusk -- Snow told the assembled reporters that "One of the I reasons took this job is not only because I believe in the president, because, believe it or not, I want to work with you."

Say what? Apart from what looks to be a Times typo (a mistake in the paper of record? Say it ain't so) with that odd "I reason took" construction, he uses the word "believe" twice, once following the word "not," and again just preceding it.

Let's attempt to break it down, shall we?

1. "One of the reasons" he took the job is "not only because" he believes in the president . . .

Hmmm. What was it Gertrude said to Hamlet about the Lady protesting too much? Seems to me you'd expect a White House representative to "believe in" the President, no? I mean, who asked him?

2. . . . but also "because believe it or not" he wants to work with the Press & the American people. Wants to work with the pablum-lapping sycophants that make up the White House Press Corps? Ok, I believe it.

Wants to "work with" the American People? I'm gonna have to go with "or not" on that one.

* * *

The White House Press Secretary is just a propaganda mouthpiece. No one even tries to pretend he believes anything the guy in that position says. So might as well just go for broke. President Pinocchio missed his chance when Ari Fleisher stepped down, so I think he should ditch this Snow Job, and go with the only man really qualified for the post:

Click here to reveal my Nominee.


That was an exciting Met game last night, complete with lead changes, blown saves, errors, 2 out-bottom of the ninth homers by 'roid-shooting Hall of Famers, stolen bases by senior citizens, extra innings . . . and a Met win (that's why I can be lighthearted). A few random thoughts:

1. Julio Franco: After breaking the record for oldest man to homer in a game earlier this season, he followed his two-run, pinch hit single with a stolen base. It's pretty clear that everything Franco does from here on will break an age-related record of some sort. Oldest player to adjust his cup, oldest player to spit in the dugout, oldest player to bag a groupie on the road, oldest player to inject his own ass with steroids. The sky's the limit here.

Actually, he didn't break the record for oldest geezer to steal a base, falling a couple years short of Arlie Latham, "The Freshest Man on Earth." Latham's nickname was an apparent reference to his predilection for trash talking and other lip-flapping aggression. The first time I read about him, probably in some Bill James book back in the day, I thought of the nickname through modern eyes: fresh as a synonym for "cool." I had a vision of a cool dude, strutting around the field. Which supposedly was the case anyhow.

2. Barry Bonds: I'm glad Willie didn't walk him. He hasn't even hit 750 homers in his career, and we're supposed to be afraid of this guy?

Seriously, you've got a lefty closer that throws almost 100 MPH. Are you gonna put the tying run on base? I think Willie's been giving out too many IBBs this year anyway, so I'm glad to see him pitch to Bonds. The goal, on defense, is to get outs. The only way to get outs is to throw strikes. So Wagner threw a strike, and Bonds hit it out. Not exactly what I wanted, but that's how it goes.

Who am I kidding? The Mets won. If they lost, I'd be calling for Randolph's head.

3. Billy Wagner: His second blown save in seven opportunities. But he hit 99 MPH on the Bonds homer, and his Ks are up. 3 in one inning yesterday. Plus, his defense didn't help him.

4. David Wright: Despite the 5 errors in 21 games, I think he's got a decent glove. Yes, I know that sounds preposterous, but he's got good range, good hands, and he keeps his head in the game.

That said, he simply can't throw. Third basemen need good arms, and Wright doesn't have even an adequate arm. He actually did an ole on a hot grounder to start the ninth, but it was the throw that allowed Bonds to come up that was truly awful. I love Wright's bat, I love his attitude, and I hope he's wearing a Met cap when he stands on the podium in Cooperstown in 2032. But eventually the Mets are gonna have to move him to 1st base, ala the Indians with Jim Thome back in '97.

Unlike Thome, though, who seems to take the field actually wearing a Gold Glove, Wright has the range and the hands to play a mean first sack. The apt comparison, probably, is Steve Garvey, another sweet swinging right-handed third baseman who moved to first because he couldn't throw. When he got to first he still couldn't throw, but he played his position well, nonetheless.

5. Brian Bannister: Injured. Hmmm. Although, I have to again note that his pitching line is horrible: 28 IP, 22 H, 9 runs, 2 HR, 17 BBs, 14Ks. The ERA and the hits allowed are very good, but 4.5 Ks per 9 IP is barely at the ground floor for a major league pitcher. Just way too many balls in play. And then to have more walks than strikeouts? He just can't sustain that. Too many baserunners, too many balls in play, too little command. Yet, he wins. Who knows?

Plus, the boy can hit. He's batting .400 with a .700 slugging pct., and takes a helluva cut at the dish. Maybe they can use him to pinch hit instead of that fellow they pulled off the 7 train. Jose Valentin? Is that the guy's name?

More to the point, though, if Bannister goes on the DL, who do they add to the rotation? First of all, they'll have to keep the Killer Zambie up in Queens, and starting. Yikes. And the other guy? Heilman or Oliver into the starter's role? They can't bring up Pellfrey yet. Let's just hope it's not gonna be Lima Time. Ouch!

Anyway, where have you gone, Jae Seo-o-o? A rotation turns its aching arms to you.

You were expecting me to throw in the "Oo, oo, oo," weren't you? C'mon, admit it. Well, I'm not gonna embarrass myself. I have too much dignity for that.

No I don't: Oo, oo, oo.

6. Reyes Walks! It's not quite "Garbo Talks," or even "Bush tells the truth," but noteworthy nevertheless. In fact, free-swinging Jose has now drawn 7 free passes in 91 ABs. Watch out, Mr. Bonds. That guy in your rearview isn't a Narc, it's Jose Reyes coming to get your career walks record.

Maybe Rickey Henderson's doing something other than looking & acting crazy as he sits in the stands and watches the Mets. Even in his playing days, Rickey looked & acted crazy . . . but drew 100+ BBs in the process. Man, if Reyes can become a 1 BB/10 AB guy, and hit .275+, he's gonna be a scoring machine. He's totaled 18 runs in 21 games this season with a .296 OBP, for a team that's middle of the pack in scoring (read that sentence again). Last year he scored 99 with a .300 OBP.

The guy, like his "mentor," Rickey, is a run scoring fool when he gets on base. Maybe the fastest baserunner I've ever seen. Rickey, of course, added a .400 OBP to his baserunning prowess, thus he was good for 100+ runs if he played as many as 130 games. Reyes ain't Rickey (no one is), but he's showing some signs of improvement, of learning, so it could be good.

7. Ramon Castro continues to hit, following the trend he began last year of being nothing but good for the Mets, in every situation. In fact, his combined '05 & '06 stats are excellent: 230 ABs, 30 runs scored and 44 RBI, plus 19 2Bs and 9 HRs. He's drawn 26 BBs. I don't have his HBP or SF data, so I may be slightly off on the OBP, but he's 261/336/461 for the Mets, with about 1 RBI per 4 batting outs. And he's a backup catcher! Whether it's luck, opportunism, or sheer talent, I don't know. But along with the Mets excellent hitting pitchers, Ramon's one of those little things that helps the team win. Not that Ramon's ever been called a little thing in his life, I'm sure.

8. Armando Benitez: I wish I could find something bad to say, but I can't. Damn!

9. Oliver! Not the Oscar-winning musical, but the resurrected corpse of a very bad pitcher. I fully expect him to end the season with a bloated ERA, and a shower of boos every time he shambles in from the pen. But for now, the dude's been quite good, even K'ing more than a batter per inning.

10. Xavierrrrrrrrrrr Nady: He's been a real treat, but I can't help but see a free-swinging, dead fastball hitter. His OBP is at .345, and going down fast. He doesn't walk, he's got more holes in his swing than a neglected playground, and he's done nothing in his career to suggest he'll continue to hit .300 with so much power.

But, he is 27, and he seems to play hard. I can see him hitting 25-35 homers, but the average is gonna fall. I think 260/320/475 for season is a possibility. And with his good fielding and hustle, that's fine. More than fine.

The Mets are playing good ball, and with the weak division, I'm actually optimistic for the season. Let's Go Letsgoes!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


This news piece discusses the apparent societal shift towards of view of pregnancy as glamorous, even hip. No, not hippy, but hip. Yes, that's what it says. As I stood in line this morning at Duane Reade, a cookie-cutter pharmacy chain in NY, I noticed that many of the celebrity magazines featured stories about celebrity pregnancies. Tom & Katie, Gwenyth & Chris, Brad & Angelina. There was even a cover story about Jennifer Anniston and the "baby she should have had with Brad," which was now in Angelina's belly instead. I'm not sure how that works biologically, but let's move on.

The piece in the link highlights a few disturbing developments in society, some of which I'm sure you'll see me prate on about periodically. But, if I may, a few brief thoughts for the moment:

Celebrity As Aristocrat

I'm not certain when this change occurred, but we, as a people, look to celebrities to tell us who we are, who we want to be. What we want to look like. One pregnant woman, interviewed in the piece told reporters, "they are showing that it's OK to be big and beautiful." Uh, sorry to break it to you sweetheart, but it's always been "OK" to be big . . . when you're pregnant! As to the beautiful part, well that's what celebrities are. They're beautiful. And for some reason, that's why we've made them our aristos.

What's Profane Is Sacred

According to the piece, New York magazine described Brad & Angelina's coming little bundle of neurosis as follows: "Not since Jesus has a baby been so eagerly anticipated." Is that so? I guess that explains why I keep seeing Magi on the subways and in the park. Hmmm, come to think of it, that smell the other day must've been frankincense. Or maybe it was myrrh?

40 years ago, when John Lennon declared that Christianity was dying (better song writer than prognosticator), & that his Beatles were "more popular than Jesus," folks burned records, boycotted the group, and crucified a mannequin of Yoko dressed up as Mary Magdalene, before they burned her in effigy (ok, I made up that last part). Yet now a "major" publication compares the unborn fetus of a pretty boy actor and his bat-shit crazy, actress wife to Jesus Christ . . . and it seems normal? While we may be even more Christian, as a nation, than we were 40 years ago, we seem to have lost the line between the sacred and the profane.

Now I'm not Christian, and I enjoy blaspheming everything anyway. I'm sure I'll end up taking cheap pot shots at Jesus and most other sacred figures before long. Nonetheless, we've lost all perspective. I'm not sure what it is I want to see, and public worship & reverence of Christ ain't it. But foolish comparisons of religious figures to frivolous entertainers ain't it either.

Unless Someone Else Sees You Doing It, It Isn't Real

Hell, I'm doing the very same thing right now. Look, somehow my thoughts, my ideas, are "valid" only if I write them in a forum where others can read them. Analogously, these pregnancies aren't real unless they're photographed, memorialized. Captured in their naked glory to show that it really happened.

"It's hip now to be pregnant, everybody's doing it," a woman in the article actually says. As with everything else, it's only "good," it's only cool, if the rich & famous are doing it. So it seems that we now need the implicit approval of celebrities to procreate. To follow our biological destiny, if you will.

Have our lives really grown so empty, so devoid of meaning? Are we really that disconnected from our own experiences?


The DIC's attempt yesterday to spin and wax political over rising fuel costs reminded me of something I wrote a few months ago after my wife & I returned from a trip to California, scoping out possible locales for a move down the road:

LA Is A Crack Den For Petroleum Addicts

More SUVs than I thought existed on earth, nothing resembling public transportation in 75% of the area. Freeway upon freeway upon freeway. Nothing you can walk to, everything reflecting a choice made 60 years ago: to create a metropolis for cars and drivers.

The level of class and racial segregation is amazing compared to NY or SF, and the car perpetuates it. Because many of the immigrants or local poor can't afford cars, they have no easy access to the freeways and the 'burbs beyond. And because there is hardly a subway to speak of, and because the bus system is nearly useless, Mexicans are stuck in East LA, Blacks in South Central, etc. Meanwhile, all the white folks from the Valley or Orange County or Santa Monica warn you (and they all do), "Don't go to East LA . . . there's nothing to see there."

I'm not making this up.

The Freeways: My wife and I drove along the Ventura Freeway ("The 101") from Downtown LA to a friend's place in the Valley. Downtown LA, incidentally, is another place to which I was instructed not to go. Of course, I went. When we got stuck -- predictably -- in traffic, we noticed that "The Carpool Lane," on the far left side of the freeway, was moving smoothly. But thinking that a "Carpool Lane" required more than 2 passengers, I didn't think of trying it, and sat in the left-most, non-"Carpool Lane."

But soon my wife noticed that most of the cars in the "Carpool Lane" carried only 2 passengers. I figured them for cheaters and continued to sit in traffic . . . when I noticed something I won't forget. Scanning ahead, in the rearview, to my right I saw that every car on the freeway, except the few in the "Carpool Lane," contained exactly ONE passenger -- the driver.

Four lanes of blacktop, miles in each direction, sitting nearly still. And every one, except for three or four, had only the driver! Two in a car, two(!), is a "Carpool." I guess three or more qualifies as a car full of illegals making a border run.

Hittin' the crack pipe in LA. 'Cept there they hit the exhaust pipe.

As Fuel Prices Increase, Our Lifestyle Will Not Be Sustainable

Northern CA was, as every other time I've visited, beautiful and laid back. Witnessed a stunning vista from a one lane road in the Santa Cruz mountains. Watching the mist rise after a light rain, as we stood above the tops of the pines in a valley, sun peeking through the clouds over the taller mountains in the distance.

Sea Lions sunning on a rock on the PCH; a rainbow over a town outside San Jose; windy roads climbing a mountain in Mendocino County. Beauty everywhere.

SF was great, as always, and of course the Bay Area is filled with charming and overpriced towns. Yet to the East -- in the far East Bay and out towards Stockton, Modesto & Sacramento are weird exurbs popping up in beautiful valleys: miles and miles of flat or slightly rolling roads, covered with walled "villages" containing no stores, no shops, no restaurants, no farm land, no parks, no streams, no train stations, no pedestrians, no fire stations, no . . . nothing save for row after row of huge, identical homes.

As we drove down a road in San Ramon, a town in the East Bay, we noticed down-on-their-luck-looking familes holding elongated signs, waving them up and down, like the arrow in the old Sunoco signs when I was a kid. Up on one side, down on the other, like a metronome. A human-operated metronome. As one drove further along the road, the human signs continued to direct them, like human cattle, to their new stables. To the Mansions of San Ramon. Each "village" had a gate at the outside, with multicolored banners waving in the stiff Bay area breeze.

I'm not sure if was the fact that I was in what once was California farm land or not, but I felt like the Joads, jalopee leading to the village, to the compound, to the work farm. Time for a U-turn and a quick exit, thank you very much. Maybe it's just my NY naivete (ever saw those words together?), but it freaked me out. Maybe this is what most of America is like.

I'm putting NY on no pedestal, and I can saw without equivocation that we liked Northern CA a lot. Not sure my wife would go for a small town in the middle of Mendocino County, which is where I'd like to live. But I'm sure there are towns that are generally affordable, and not populated with SUV driving Stepford Wives. But if there are, they're shrinking in the face of the San Ramons and the San Fernando Valleys.

And I'll say this: when Cheap Oil ends (i.e., when $75/barrel seems like a bargain), parts of California, like Dallas's Metroplex, sprawling cities like Phoenix, and other over-extended metropolises, are gonna get killed. It'll be a nightmare.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Scientists have shown that girls outperform boys in performing "timed tasks." According to the results, "the difference is most pronounced among pre-teens and teenagers." Ya think so?

Indeed, the results of my informal, "I'm Married To, And Live With, An Adult Female" Study indicate that the observed differences certainly do not survive into adulthood.


The DIC learns, once again, that as gas prices rise, his poll numbers fall. It's a simple formula at this point, and I'll be anything but suprised to see a sudden injection of oil from the SPR next autumn as the midterm elections approach.

Anyhoo, one thing I find most curious is the now de rigeur warning that "price gauging will not be tolerated." We hear this from Chuck Shumer, we hear it from the DIC, I expect to hear it on FOX News, on CNN, from Mike & The Mad Dog, from my wife during her sleep. No Price Gauging Tolerated. We're Americans.

Say what? Now I'm no Republican, and I hope they lose real bad in November, but I can't help but think that when a party shifts so far from it's ostensible core principles, it can't be good for its short-term future. The rhetoric never matches the act, even going back to Tricky Dick & The Teflon Prez: spenders both, big government meddlers both, foreign policy adventurers both. But under President Pinocchio, the rhetoric doesn't even match the Party Line of his . . . party (hey, no metaphor required). Like it or not, the GOP has talked the talk of Free Markets for a while now. Whether or not they've ever walked it is a debate for another time, but now they hardly even bother with the lip service.

The President of the United States, so worried about his plummeting popularity, has all but warned business owners not to allow supply & demand to affect the rates they charge for gasoline. Pure demogoguery. The Core Principle of the GOP is now, "Stay in Power." That's it.

Though stories of the demise of the Democrats, on the other hand, to paraphrase Mark Twain, have been greatly exaggerated. You see, someone first has to be alive & well before he can die.

* * *

Update, 9:45 AM: Your Federal Tax Dollars at Work! The President calls for an "investigation" into high gas prices.


As you may have noticed, if you looked at my "Complete Profile," I list "Punch-Drunk Love," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," and "I Heart Huckabees" among my favorite films of the decade. These three movies have a key element in common. While I don't disagree with film critic Armond White's 2004 review of "I Heart Huckabees," he's talking about something different than I am:

David O. Russell is among that group of contemporary filmmakers (along with Wes and P.T. Anderson, Spike Jonze, Alexander Payne, Sofia Coppola and others) currently tweaking the system. A friend calls this new breed the American Eccentrics, a good categorization since it distinguishes these upstarts from that last significant grouping of 70s filmmakers who were drawn to exploring American experience and pop tradition in order to understand their place in the world. The Eccentrics, formed by the fragmentation and solipsism of the 80s indie movement, are more interested in their personal idiosyncrasy. They don't connect to life outside their own world but view it as absurd and different. Films like The Royal Tenenbaums, Punch-Drunk Love, Adaptation, Lost in Translation and Russell's I Heart Huckabees reinforce a sense of boomers' egotism; as with Payne's About Schmidt, there is an insistence on braininess rather than connection with popular sentiment.

The similarity I'm thinking of is more easily documented, though the feeling all three share is hard to explain. The common bond? Score composed by Jon Brion. Brion, who also scored PT Anderson's earlier film, Magnolia, as well as the first and last song on Fiona Apple's latest album, Extraordinary Machine, has a distinctive style: a whimsical, bouncy sound, almost as you'd expect if someone remade Mary Poppins after Brian Wilson's and George Martin's late-sixties operettas & extravaganzas. A spoonful of sugar channeled through a blotter full of acid.

Or something like that. A modern, late-twentieth century sensibility in terms of melody, but arranged with oboes, bassoons, organs, horns, strings. Since the only instrument I play is the "On/Off" button, perhaps I'm just hearing the sound of me talking out of my ass. Maybe none of those machines makes an appearance on any of Brion's compositions. Though I'm sticking with the oboe, if I have to pick one.

If you've seen any of the three movies you can surely think of a number of scenes where the characters leap into fantasy, imagination, or just caprice: Barry in Hawaii looking for Lena; Albert & Tommy riding their bicycles away from family, jobs, society; Lacuna's "scientists" re-constructing & deconstructing Joel's memories. All taking place with Brion's music setting the tone. His music manages to combine an almost childlike vision with something deeper: not so much soulful, but sincere, possessed of wonderment, of curiosity. A tone of cartoonish possibility mixed with an almost spiritual reverence for the characters and their struggles. Barry & his harmonium; Albert's poems & Tommy's impassioned rants; Joel & Clementine's desperate attempt to try once again. I'm no music critic and I'm certainly no musician, so I'm not gonna keep going here, piling on vague adjectives to describe that most subjective of experiences. I've done enough of that in the last paragraph.

So just check out the films, and if you've seen them already, check em out again. And notice the similar feel that runs through all three. Maybe White's right, and these American Eccentrics share some consistent vision of the world. Perhaps. But we know they share the same eccentric composer.


You know, George Bush's statement that he's the decider and he decides what's best, allows snarksters like me to call him the Decider-in-Chief, leading easily to a sophmoric label like The DIC. Oh well, it's a tough job.

But getting head in the Oval Office raises the possibilities of stupid, phallic humor to unforeseen heights. Therefore, ladies & gentlemen, may I present to you the second installment of The New York Post Headline Of The Day:
"Well Hung: Bubba's Hip New Portrait Unveiled"

Sometimes a cigar's a cigar. And sometimes it's not. I'm not sure which in this case.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Upset at Jesus's failure to answer his pleas for higher approval ratings, the Decider-in-Chief has converted to a mysterious cult group that worships a giant bald eagle.


Victor Zambrano must be put down, I mean sent down. There's just no other way at this point. After three starts, his pitching line reads 14 IP, 20 H, 15 runs, 9 BBs, 8 K, 5 HR. Five home runs in 14 IP! The only skill he demonstrated last season, that of keeping the ball in the yard, has abandoned him this year too. He's doomed, and Shea is his haunted house. Send his spooky vibes and bad luck mojo to Virginia, where maybe he can run for governor on the independent ticket in '08.

Keep in mind that the Killer Zambie compiled those stellar numbers over starts in Shea, RFK and Petco, three of MLB's best pitchers parks. Against NL teams ranked 5th, 9th & 14th in runs scored. An ERA over 9.00. More walks than strike outs. Yet, Met management continues to operate with a blind spot towards his atrocious pitching. "Today, it was obviously pretty much bad game management," Met manager Willie Randoph told reporters. "He gave up an 0-2 home run (to Barfield), which is not what you want to do. He made bad pitches at the wrong time. He has to do a better job of managing his game."

The only bad game management came when Willie penciled in Zambrano's sorry ass to start the game. Apparently Willie's concerned not that Zambrano absolutely sucks, but that he chooses to make his requisite "bad pitches at the wrong time." Willie prefers a repeat of Victor's first start when the Mets scored enough runs to cover his 3 over 5 innings. But you know what? 5 home runs in 14 innings isn't merely "bad game management." It's bad pitching. Willie, he's doing the best he can. He's a bad pitcher. He has no command of his pitches, and never has.

Here's what the Mets should do, to solve this brewing disaster. And lo & behold, it's what they should have done after heading north following spring training:

1. Move Aaron Heilman into the rotation, make Duaner Sanchez the set-up guy, use Chad Bradford as the 7th inning bridge to Duaner. With the ever-mysterious Steve Trachsel and Brian "15 BBs and 13 Ks in 23 innings" Bannister making up half of the rotation, the Mets need a fifth starter who can actually pitch. And that man is Heilman, not the Killer Zambie.

2. Send Zambrano and Jose Valentin to Norfolk, and call up Heath Bell and . . . Lastings Milledge, both of whom are performing well in AAA. Heath Bell, who pitched in the bigs last season, will be better out of the pen than Zambrano. He can serve as the long man, do mop up, spell Sanchez/Bradfor periodically. Unlike the Zambie, he can throw strikes.

And Milledge is tearing it up. With Beltran missing more action than a novice fan watching hockey on TV, Floyd slumping and always an awkward turn on the basepaths from a DL stint, and Endy Chavez being . . . well, let's just say being Endy Chavez, the Mets can use another outfielder. Assuming Beltran comes back, I see no reason not to divide the two corner outfield slots between Floyd, Nady and Milledge. 400 plate appearences each, divided by platooning, pitcher matchups, defense in larger parks, etc. Milledge is ready. He's 21 years old, and through last season he's hit 313/382/485 in ~850 minor league plate appearences.

In 200+ PAs last year in AAA, he put up 337/392/487, as a 20 year-old. 21 year-olds who can hit belong on major league rosters. It's bad enough to see the Mets mismanaging the Victor Diaz situation, but ultimately Victor's non-existent defense complicates the issue. But for Milledge to languish in the minors while the Mets get poor outfield production and carry a 39 year old who's barely hitting his age is outrageous.

As one of my friends says, "Free Lastings Milledge."

Friday, April 21, 2006


Federal authorities have charged the woman arrested at the White House for heckling Chinese Premier Hu yesterday with "harassing, intimidating or threatening a foreign official," a violation that could land her in prison for up to two months.

Isn't it ironic that a member of Falun Gong would come to America only to be arrested & possibly imprisoned for speaking out against the leader of the nation that persecuted her in the first place. The fact that arrest took place on the White House lawn goes beyond irony, straight to the realm of tragedy.


This news piece from yesterday, regarding increases in time Americans spend commuting, reminded me of something I wrote a couple weeks ago after a weekend trip to Washington DC:

The weekend of April 1, I had the pleasure of attending my cousin's wedding in our nation's capital. It was a bit of a mind-bender to witness my "little" cousin's nuptials, but after stringing his girlfriend along for 8 years, it was time. She looked lovely, her family was very nice, and the wedding was a good time. Some random observations I made on the trip:

Washington DC Is A Giant Parking Lot

Everywhere we went, from Friday through Sunday, in all parts of the city, we found ourselves sitting in a sea of stopped cars, red lights, honking, and jockeying for insignificant one-lane advantages. I've heard recently from family and friends up on the scene there, that the town had experienced a recent upswing with the MCI Center & revitalized downtown (read: rising prices and disappearance of black folks from the NE, and parts of the NW quarters of the city).

This is true. And this revitalization (read: influx of lots of young & wealthy white folks) has added, as they say in the Pentagon, boots on the ground, and, as I say while stuck in traffic, too many goddamn cars.

The Beautiful Neighborhood of Georgetown Now Sucks

Over the past 5 years or so, I've noticed a phenomenon, first in the US, and then everywhere: that of taking the finest neighborhoods in town -- architecturally speaking -- and turning them into shopping malls. NY's South Street Seaport, SoHo, and Upper West Side; Boston's Back Bay, especially on Boylston St.; Baltimore's Inner Harbor, the revitalization (read: Non-white folks, please leave) that began it all; Barcelona's Barri Gothic; Paris's 6th arrondissement, and seeping into the 3rd & 4th near Le Marais. In SF it's spreading from Union Square up towards Nob Hill and down into SoMa. I'm sure others can offer examples of this cancer in towns near them.

Anyway, it's happened in Georgetown. If you're not familiar, Georgetown is DC's oldest neighborhood, built above the C&O Canal, and filled with beautiful Georgian, Federalist, and Victorian homes and buildings. And along M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, every single one of those buildings holds a Banana Republic, Starbucks, Body Shop, quasi-19th century pub, chic "ethnic" restaurant, or some other dreadful facsimile of a village boutique. And the streets are crawling with stopped cars between the curbs, and mini-skirted, frosted-haired twenty-something girls and baseball-cap-donning post-collegiate frat-boys on the sidewalks.

An orgy of consumerism, a whirlwind of vacuously-observed trends, and the credit-fueled rush to keep up. I'm not sure what's opposite of an organic scene, the flip side of community that sprouts from local commercial development, hand-in-hand with a neighborhood. But Georgetown might be it.

America Has Lost It's Collective Mind

I haven't been to my father's house in a while. He manages his own life, and I mine. Nevertheless, I like his new wife, and was happy to hear that she was encouraging him to clean up the house, which had fallen into disrepair.
At the wedding, she updated me and my wife of the details of this renovation: new fixtures, new paint, new furniture, new clothes, new bathroom, new kitchen. They don't make much money. He recently took a line of credit against the house. I don't know how deeply in debt they now are, but man, it's gotta be serious. Really serious. Like foreclosure coming down the pike when rates go up serious.

The more savvy I become understanding the nature of our economy, and the debt-driven spending that moves it, I look -- from a perch, eyebrows cocked quizzically -- at the lifestyles of many people I know. With a few exceptions, I'm convinced that many of them are deeply in debt. Deep shit.

The Wedding, Like All I've Attended Recently, Was The Oscars Writ Small

When I was a lad, the Oscars were merely a cheesy celebration of Hollywood hackishness. Overblown flicks, overrated stars, over hyped production companies, over well after midnight (on the East coast). Frivolous, insignificant, and devoid of art or any pretense thereto.

Then came Joan Rivers and her execrable daughter. Let's look at what so-and-so's wearing, they exclaimed. Let's fawn over the handsome man's tuxedo. Let's focus not on the product of their craft, but on the material garnishments used to dress it all up.

MTV Cribs: Here's what your heroes are buying
What Not To Wear: Here's what you should be buying
Queer Eye On The Straight Guy: Here’s what you straight boys gotta buy too.

The message, from Joan, to Carson, and everyone in between? Not only that you should buy . . . but that everyone is buying. The notion -- false -- that everyone, from celebrity to schnook, has a spacious kitchen, a Versace dress, a pimped-up Lexis, a Prada bag, and a diamond that says I love you all over again. And, of course, a credit card. Cause Life Takes Visa.

The creation of a nation that goes beyond normal notions of entitlement. Luxury. Decadence. Debt. George Clooney has it, my boss has it, my neighbor has it, my brother has it. If I don't "have it" then I'm a loser. I'm un-American, in the deepest sense.

The women at the wedding wore exquisite dresses. Perfectly tailored, finely appointed, accessorized to the hilt. Joan and daughter would give the thumbs up. Every man's hair with more mousse than dessert at a French restaurant. The Fab Five would say you go girl. Plenty of issues of Maxim and FHM purchased and obeyed.

And the average age of these young fashionistas? I dunno, maybe 28? How do they afford it? I have no goddamn idea. They work in DC, in government jobs, for think tanks, for non-profits. They're in grad school, in clerkships. I'd lay good odds they're also in the red.

Why? Because they've grown up believing that everyone owns these things. Everyone deserves it. And you know what? They're almost right. Everyone does posses these items. But they don't really own them.
The bank does.

* * *

With every passing day I feel more like a stranger in my own country. I don't recognize the architecture or the city scenes. I don't recognize the clothing. I don't recognize the people. A continuing shift to a world devoid of the reality principle. A life where no one is required to work for what he wants. No one understands the concept of sacrifice, of saving.

It’s a nation of acquisitiveness. Of materialism. Of falsehoods.


For the third straight season, Met second baseman/shortstop/media whipping boy Kaz Matsui homered in his first at-bat of the season. Unlike 2004 and 2005, however, where the Kazzer literally went deep, from the one or two hole, in the first inning, of the first game of the season, the this one came in the third inning of the 15th game, on an inside-the-parker that glanced off Brian Giles's glove. Hardly up there with Redford taking out the flood lights, but an accomplishment's an accomplishment.

I guess.

At any rate, I find it interesting that, as described in the recap, "The relay throw arrived at the plate just as Matsui did, but catcher Mike Piazza couldn't hold onto the ball." That's like saying "The Mets desperately needed to keep runners off the basepaths, but pitcher Victor Zambrano couldn't throw a strike," or "Despite needing someone to defend him from the beating he's taking from fans and the press, Oriole back-stabber Rafael Palmiero couldn't find a teammate who liked him."

The baseball press has spilled much ink through the years about Piazza's ballyhoo'd defensive failings, usually focusing on his somewhat overrated inability to throw out runners. I mean, he can't throw out runners, mostly due to footwork worse than Richard Gere's in Chicago. But I always thought Piazza was nimble enough behind the plate to deal with potential passed balls and wild pitches (yes, I just used the words "nimble" and "Piazza" in the same sentence. Won't happen again, I promise. Truly, you can put money down on that). Nonetheless, he has a weird inability to catch balls thrown from the outfield.

If you're a Met fan, or just had the opportunity to watch Piazza through the years, think of all the times you've seen him crouching at the dish, waiting for the ball, teeth clenched, moustache bristling, only to sweep at the runner, falling awkwardly to one side, as the ball bounced away from his catcher's mitt. I must have seen it a couple dozen times. And it happened again last night.

I miss the Piazza of old. Piazza the hitter. The one who drove gasp-inducing homers into the parking lot behind the visitors' bullpen. Or laser beam singles over the leaping second baseman's glove. But the scowling backstop, looking down and kicking the dirt after giving up his 34th straight stolen base, or flubbed yet another perfect relay throw? Glad he's on the other team this time. I'll welcome Mike in New York . . . Cooperstown, NY, a few summers from now. Til then though, rock on, bro. In San Diego.


Ladies & Gentlemen, here is the first in what I hope will be a recurring post. Yes, for out-of-towners and New Yorkers alike, I present the New York Post headline of the day:

“Wok This Way – Dubya has pull with China Chief”

That, folks, is just what we’ve come to love & expect from the copy boys at our favorite tabloid: groan-worthy puns, references to movie lines/song titles, colloquialisms, and perhaps most importantly, subtle racism combined with worship of the Decider-in-Chief (“DIC”). It ain’t “Headless Body Found In Topless Bar,” or even “Marv Flips His Lid,” but it’s a good one.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Today's Cunning Realist discusses the inflationary disaster we're facing. I highly recommend checking this guy out, but as with Whisky & Gunpowder, I'll link periodically.

The gist of his piece can be summed up in the lead:

The prices of both oil and gold continue to rise; the former is now trading at nominal all-time highs, while the latter has been hitting new quarter-century highs day after day. This is excess liquidity coming home to roost. While the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates to mollify foreign central banks, it’s made it clear that any weakness in either the stock market or the economy will be met with massive infusions of liquidity, and dollar-denominated debt will be inflated away. The world is waking up to this, which is why oil and gold march inexorably higher and the long bond is tanking. This is inflation, and the rest of the world is acting accordingly.


Following news that Olav Heyerdahl, grandson of Kon-Tiki helmsman Thor Heyerdahl, will reenact the original reenactment of a quixotic journey to the South Pacific on a balsa raft, Norway has been struck by "Reenactment Fever," known as Reenaktimentenschriftengraf, in its native Scandinavian tongue.

A burly, blond fellow, identifying himself only as Knut the Brute, paused from some 3 AM sunbathing to tell us, "it's very cool, everyone is doing it," in that Norse accent we Americans find so amusing, overemphasing the "oo"portion of "cool" and "doing."

Among the notable missions planned is that of Lars Gruffennils Wodinsson, an Oslo banker proud of roots going all the way back to the Norwegian Viking, Erik the Red & Danish King, Sven Forkbeard. "We plan to reenact an attack of the British Isles, complete with 17 Viking ships," Wodinsson informed us from his desk, decorated with miniature battle axes, horned helmets, and flagons of mead. "Although actual raping and pillaging are, unfortunately, out of the question, we will storm the rocky Irish coast, burn a church, and terrorize some nuns. We'll probably raid a pub and steal a couple kegs of Guinness too."

Sweden, with its policy of strict neutrality, has already stated that it will not condone any such "adventures." Danish plans to reenact the Crusades, culminating in a frontal assault on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, have not been confirmed, despite numerous supportive editorials & cartoons in conservative Copenhagen tabloids. Icelandic chanteuse Bjork Guddmandsdottir told us she knew of no raid & conquer missions originating from her island nation, but offered to scream dischordantly and "do a very, very strange dance for you."

We declined her offer.

Finally, Finnish representative Makki Niiminuuminen, talking with us while sitting completely naked in a sauna, insisted that "we Finns are of an entirely different racial and linguistic stock than those Nords. We didn't do that sort of thing. In fact, while the Swedes, Danes, and Norsemen were sailing the seas in those damn dragonboats, we were fighting for our existence against Sweden and the Russians. Who has time for frolic and excursion when your survival's at stake?"


That's all. Nothing more to say.


The boys over at Whiskey & Gunpowder discuss the general mess of our economy. For those of you allergic to shameless hucksterism, I advise you to scroll past the "advertisements" that appear in their pieces (and allow them to send me this free newsletter). They produce a good newsletter, worth subscribing to in my opinion. At any rate, I'll link to them from time-to-time.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Seems like none other than Canadian expat, turned American counterculture icon, turned American Republican, turned American independant libertarian, turned . . . oh, you get the idea . . . none other than Neil Young has decided to join me in calling for Bush's impeachment.

You see, folks, Neil and I have been tight ever since we formed The Buffalo Springfield in LA back in '66. Later on, I write Cinnamon Girl for him, in honor of this gal we knew who just loved to sprinkle that tasty powder in her hot apple cider. She liked nutmeg too, but "Nutmeg Girl" sounded too much like a dude in love with a horse.

Speaking of which, the name "Crazy Horse"? My idea. The "Cowgirl in the Sand"? My girlfriend. The entire inspiration for "Rust Never Sleeps"?

Well that was Elvis and the Sex Pistols, but I'm sure I spoke to him about that idea at some point.

* * *

But I see no harm (though probably not much good either) coming from this song. And hopefully it'll be a good song. Anyone alienated by Neil's politicking wasn't gonna vote for an opponent of Bush & his allies anyhow.


The Mets took it on the chin at Shea last night, losing 7-1 to the loathsome Braves. Leading the charge in the debacle were Braves starter Kyle Davies and slugger Andruw Jones, as well as Met arsonist, Victor Zambrano. Before hitting the proverbial clubhouse showers, the droopy-faced Venezuelan was cleansed on the field with boos & catcalls for 5 home run-filled innings. Interviewed after the game while trying on a neckbrace, he told reporters, "This is only my second game. It's a long season." Indeed it is, Victor. And you may be enjoying it soon from sunny Norfolk, Virginia. I hope their cable system gets SNY.

I hate to see a home player hear boos. Not only must it really hurt to hear derision from your own fans, but I don't think it actually "does any good." I mean, the fans are supposed to encourage their players, right? (yeah). As self-proclaimed pitching guru (aka, Mets Pitching Coach), Rick Peterson declared, "They call it a New York minute. They've got about a minute's worth of patience." Sadly true.

Eventually clamping shut the neckbrace and popping the first in a series of ego-salving after-game beers, Zambrano continued, "I'm looking forward to being more consistent." Join the freakin club, Victor. But, that's the problem. He is consistent. Consistently bad. Except for a surprisingly effective performance out of the bullpen with the Devil Rays in 2001, he's been average at best. But even the "average" is deceptive, as he's given up plenty of unearned runs, and his WHIP is always poor.

Peterson's hubris-charged belief that he, alone, could go where no pitching coach had heretofore gone -- wherever it is that Zambrano is an adequate major league starter -- probably facilitated the inexplicable trade of Scott Kazmir a couple years ago. Give up, Rick. He's no good for you. And the Mets should close the book on the Zambrano Experiment and send him to the bullpen or to Norfolk. Or just send his career to the showers.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"I'm the decider and I decide what's best"

The latest from our Chief Executive, speaking to reporters in the Rose Garden:
"I hear the voices and I read the front page and I know the speculation. But I'm the decider and I decide what's best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."

Now of course it's damn easy to get cheap yucks at the expense of a man with a garbled command of his native language. Hell, I just did. I'm the cheap yuckster and I cheap yuck best.

But, more importantly, look at the words he chose:

1. "I hear the voices."

We all have a grand old time cracking wise about Bush's personal relationship with the Lord (now that Tom Landry's moved on, of course). He claimed that none other than Jesus Christ was his favorite philosopher, because "he changed my heart."

Sometimes a cigar's just a cigar, and sometimes "voices" are just chirping handlers, or Laura talking in her sleep about how her heroes have always been cowboys. Or something like that.

Or maybe George talks nightly to the Master of the Universe. You decide.

2. "I read the front page"

Isn't he on record saying he never reads the newspapers? But Lying is the New Honesty with all the cool kids in DC this season. So let's just move on.

3. "I'm the decider and I decide what's best."

Well, if you say so, sir.

Listen closely. Every so often those who are in a position to do so will rub out the line separating "a leader answerable to the citizenry" from "a leader who determines the will of the citizenry."

No one stands up and says, "I'm the leader. Shut up and do as your told." No. Just go to war without formal declaration. Make up the reasons for the war. Make up a new reason as soon as the falsehood of the first reason is exposed. Say the economy's great. Say it again. Say it yet again (soon enough people will believe your words rather than their own experience). Threaten a new war. Exaggerate the threat the putative opponent poses: Nukes in 10 years, 5 years, tomorrow, what's the diff, they mean us harm.

After five years of this, that very same leader can stand up and say "I'm the decider and I decide what's best."

And no one finds anything strange about it.

* * *

I'll say it now, and I promise I'll say it many more times: If November 2006 passes without an historic loss for the status quo GOP, I fear for our Republic. With a quagmire in Iraq, the possibility of a new theater of war in Iran, and a teetering economy marked by debt, inflation, and monatary shenanigans, it's impossible to believe Bush and his allies on the Hill could maintain their power.

Yet, would it surprise you in the least of he stood proudly in front of the White House on a cold Wednesday morning in November speaking yet again of a mandate?

I think we need to elect folks to Congress who will vote to impeach Bush & Cheney for dishonesty and incompetence. To elect Senators who will vote to convict. Democrat, Republican, Independent, it doesn't matter.

When Caesar crossed the Rubicon, no one was there to turn him back. A few "Procedural Barricades" across the bridges over the Potomac sound good to me.

Medieval Justice. Or is it Texas Hold-em?

Apparently deciding that saber-rattling, threats of annihilation & an ill-trimmed beard are not enough to terrify the Western World into submission, Iranian President Ahmadinejhad today invoked the ancient, Middle Eastern punishment of hand severing for all who dare oppose his vision of the world.

President Bush, seeing that A-jhad's stack of uranium chips is getting almost as large as his own, is expected to demand the Iranian leader be immediately crucified.

Welcome to My Neighborhood

Hi. My name's Mike, and this is my blog. I plan on using this space to blab endlessly about whatever's on my mind. I tend to read, write and think about current events/politics, movies, baseball, and philosophical or sociological issues, so these are pretty much the topics I'm gonna post about.