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July 29, 2004

Nice Rationalization, Gramps

Last night after the Edward speech MSNBC turned to GOP pollster Frank Luntz's dog-and-pony show to get the reaction from Middle America.

The first thing you might say is "Oh, so you're one of the 12 people who watch MSNBC." Well, not usually, but the combined size of the craniums of Chris Matthews and Tim Russert is somewhat mesmerizing, like a piece of aluminum foil to a crow. Plus, I'm fascinated by the squintiness of Joe Scarborough. Well, that and the fact that he has a job as a talking head even after a female intern was found dead in his office when he was a congressman. Does he have dirty picures of Leno with the dead intern?

Anyway, Luntz replays the part of the Edwards speech where he talks about Kerry volunteering to go into harms' way in 'Nam and he has the boner-meter or whatever it is on the screen (do they attach electrodes to the genitals and/or nipples of the participants?). The collective boner of the registered Republicans in the room actually slightly surpassed the D/I voters during that portion, 83-80.

Luntz was astonished. He'd never seen the boner-meter go that high for both parties. Afterwards, he went around the room and asked people what their thoughts were. Most people were impressed with a presidential candidate who actually volunteered to sail up the Dolong River or whatever, in search of Marlon Brando's stick of butter. One grizzled ole codger who looked like he probably rode with the Rough Riders found a way to rationalize his support for Bush.

Roughly quoting: "Well, Bush volunteered to run for president and you risk your life when you do that, too."

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:38 PM

Happy Anniversary to Us

Sarah and I are departing tomorrow afternoon for a secret, undisclosed location for a 3rd Anniversary Getaway. I can only disclose that the location has an honest-to-God Tiki bar at the top of a tower on an island in the middle of the pool. We'll be returning on Saturday night to prepare for the 2nd Annual Bloody Mary Buffet and Sunday Brunch Potluck the next morning.

Here's a picture of the happy couple. I have a bad habit of making the hard gangsta face when Jack Jackson takes my picture. I smile every once in awhile.


couplepic.jpg


Update - This picture was taken the Friday before school started last August at a Head of Femur show. Since then, my hair has gone white, my skin has turned yellow and you can see the lump in my chest formed by my enlarged liver and pancreas.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:08 PM | Comments (3)

Told ya so?

Back on July 7th I posted a few paragraphs from TNR's story about how the Bush administration was pressuring Pakistan to deliver a High Value Target in the Terra War and it would be "best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July."

That has come to pass only it wasn't quite the HVT that the administration was hoping for, the HVT that might force the hand of the media and break away from coverage of John Kerry and his growing momentum. No, that HVT has been at large for about 1050 days.

Josh Marshall has started asking CNN, CBS, MSNBC, ABC, Fox, et al. when they're going to acknowledge TNR's scoop. My guess is never. Our press has been lazy ever since the Clenis stopped being a hot topic, but that doesn't mean they'll acknowledge the real investigative reporting of others.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:11 PM

But how much single-malt did he drink?

Evan Schaeffer stayed up half the night last evening solving the world's problems with Christopher Hitchens, among others. It doesn't sound like anyone changed Hitch's mind about Ahmed Chalabi, the war in Iraq or Michael Moore, but what would be the fun in that?

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:57 AM

July 28, 2004

I need a sous chef

I just finished my second night of night-before-the-meal prep work this week.

On Monday night I prepared the tofu and marinade for our Thai yellow curry with sugar snap peas and peppers that we ate on Tuesday night. Tonight, I just turned down the brine in which I will soak a chicken for about 6 hours tomorrow before putting on the grill over slow coals.

For the tofu, you need to have the extra-firm tofu that's packed in water. The night before you're going to use it, put it on a plate then put a weight of some kind on top of it to press the water out. I usually just use another plate with a can of spaghetti sauce on it. If the weight is too heavy, the tofu will become lopsided and break apart.

While the tofu is drying, I make the marinade. On Monday night I used a can of coconut milk, about a cup of pineapple juice, the juice of one lime, some chili paste, two cloves of garlic, about two teaspoons of curry powder (I didn't have time to make a proper curry paste and all the Asian groceries in town close early), and about a half-cup of soy sauce.

When the tofu has shed about half its mass, cut it into thirds and put it in the marinade to soak overnight in the refrigerator. About two hours before dinner, put the tofu on a greased cookie sheet and bake in the oven at around 250 for about an hour, until the outside is tough and leathery, turning once. Save the marinade. That'll be the sauce you add to the pan after the stir-frying is done right before serving.

Slice the tofu into narrow strips and then you can either bake it again for about 15 minutes on each side or commence with the stir-frying. It's time and labor-intensive but it's really the only way I can stand to eat tofu.

I'd cover the process I just went through for the chicken but I'm tired. Alton Brown has the last word on brining a bird, anyway.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:37 PM

July 27, 2004

While I'm at It

This, however, is bullshit, since I share Grandpa Simpson's feelings about Missourah.




You're Missouri!

An admirer of the works of Mark Twain and the steamboat lifestyle, you
are happiest when floating gently down the river. You have a strong sense of
independence, a reverence for saints, and even look up to discredited explorers. With all
these traditional influences, it's no surprise you're at the center of everyone you know,
and are even considered a gateway to the future. If only you could stop drinking the
world's worst beer, you'd be set.



Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 12:42 PM | Comments (2)

YAQ

I keep forgetting to post this (link via some other blog).


You're Egypt!
Curator of ancient mystical secrets, your life on the surface is fairly typical these days.  Though you are in denial about more things than most people.  Nevertheless, you're trying to convince people that you're safe despite your more volatile and unstable times that seem to be behind you.  You like cats a whole lot.  You'd probably really appreciate The Blue Pyramid.
Take the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid

Posted by Half-Cocked at 12:33 PM

July 25, 2004

Dinner and Catchphrase

I had an awesome dinner tonight prepared by a friend of Sara's who was in town with her husband to experience the awesomeness that is Nebraska in July. We had a delicous chicken curry, not tandoori, but more like when the chicken has been marinating and cooking so long that it falls off the bone. With the chicken we had a classic chickpea (chole) curry along with a couple of great chutneys. As an appetizer, we had what could only be construed as Indian nachos. The chips were just mini poori covered with yogurt, potato, spices and tamarind chutney. If only sports bars around here would serve those nachos.

After dinner we played Catchphrase, one of a number of Password/Password Plus/Super Password Plus-based games. I'm not always a huge fan of that game but I found myself enjoying it quite a bit tonight. I think the wine helped quite a bit.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:00 PM | Comments (1)

July 23, 2004

The difference between Lance and Barry

On the way home from the gym this morning I heard a couple of ESPN radio talkers trying to figure out why the public has, for the most part, decided that Barry Bonds is guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs while giving Lance Armstrong a free pass on the same issue. Consider the similarities between the two titanic sports figures.





Barry
Lance

Will go down in history as one of best to ever play the game of baseball.
Arguably the best cyclist in the history of the sport.

Suspected of using performance enhancing drugs (steroids). Linked to doctors or institutions known to supply those drugs.
Suspected of using performance enhancing drugs (EPO). Linked to doctors or institutions known to supply those drugs.

History of crankiness with the American press. Known to shoot his mouth off and play the race card at inappropriate times. Rumors that he's not very friendly with teammates.
History of crankiness with the European press. Suing people who write bad things about him. Rumors he left his wife for Sheryl Crow (although the evidence suggests he didn't even meet Sheryl Crow until after his divorce).


So, what is it? Patriotism? Do we give Lance a free pass because he's over there beating the hated French on their home turf? Apparently, Americans don't mind Lance's current dalliance with a known traitor and coddler of evil-doers and freedom-haters. Last time I checked, Barry wasn't associating with treasonous Hollywood liberals.

So if it's not patriotism, it must be the cancer. Armstrong's story is truly inspiring, coming back from near-death to closing in on his 6th straight Tour de France victory. It's easy to understand why people get behind him.

Is this fair to Barry Bonds? Most of Lance's press coverage focuses on his triumphs over cancer and the French, while Bonds' press, even when favorable, usually includes mention of his alleged use of steroids. Often, the focus of the story is whether or not Bonds has used performance-enhancing drugs, and whether or not he is a liar. When Armstrong's alleged doping is mentioned it is usually dismissed as an absurd accusation.

Would Barry Bonds be a more likeable guy if he was a cancer survivor?

Personally, I root for both these guys and consider them both innocent until proven guilty. It'll be exciting in a few days when Lance Armstrong wins his 6th Tour de France, and I'll be even more excited sometime next year when Bonds breaks Hank Aaron's all-time HR record. It's not that I'm rooting harder for Barry. I just like baseball quite a bit more than cycling.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 06:59 AM | Comments (2)

July 22, 2004

Late Summer rock recommendations or, What I've Been Listening to Incessantly at Work

Realizing that I spend about 75% of my waking hours either in front of a computer or at least within earshot of one (especially since I have a nice wireless speaker), last summer I subscribed to Real's Rhapsody service which allows me on-demand access to about 400,000 songs. Since then, I've saved countless dollars and listened to things I never would have heard otherwise.

The IT guy at work let me install the Rhapsody software on my work PC so I have access in the office as well as at home. One day last week I put all the good Bowie albums on shuffle and listened to them all day. The day before it was the entire Roxy Music catalog. I've also had days where I played all the New Order albums, the Joy Division box set, the Sonic Youth catalog or a mishmash of British shoegazers (Swervedriver, Slowdive, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Lush).

Some of the things I would have never listened to otherwise that turned out to be pretty good include Joss Stone (the 16-year old British blue-eyed soul singer who covered "Fell in Love with a Girl"), Shelby Lynne (former Nashville covergirl turned maverick singer-songwriter), Fiery Furnaces (another girl/boy duo, but with a different sound), Japancakes (a sort of drony, instrumental country group from Athens, GA), and scores of others.

And this brings me to my recent fave listens.

The Thermals, a stripped-down, emotional (but not emo) punk band with extra huge and crunchy chords.

The Walkmen, an indie rock band with anthemic songs sorta like early U2 but with more innovation. An interesting side note: I heard them on the radio on the way to work one day and suddenly noticed my muffler wasn't making it's usual racket. It turns out one of their songs has bass on the same frequency with my muffler.

The Secret Machines. These guys are really, really good. Sorta proggy (the first song on the record is 9 minutes long), sorta shoegazy, sorta Flaming Lips-y. They make prodigious use of analog tape echoes combined with driving drums and stacatto guitars. This might be my favorite of the summer.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:48 PM | Comments (2)

Blawgscavation

Every couple of days I go over to my old blawg to see how many hits it still gets. The number of visitors there is surprising high, although almost all of them come from Underneath Their Robes. I'm sure the lovely and talented Article III Groupie is much too busy with her sudden anonymous fame to update her blogroll. But, hey, I'm only one degree from someone whose been written about in Newsweek, so who can complain.

I still get a few weird google hits, too, such as "why are some baseball players wearing their hats cocked to one side" (no quotes in the search string. I'm sure that that was fruitful search.). My couple of posts about the meth scourge in rural Nebraska has attracted a good share of assholes searching for "cooking crystalmeth", "cooking meth" and the like, usually via AOL. Imagine that.

Then there's some band named Half Cocked who apparently have a cover of Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" on the Shrek soundtrack. It's odd that a stupid little blawg is the #1 hit on Google for "Half Cocked" when that band is out there. There's also a movie called Half-Cocked which actually sounds pretty good. Some of my favorite indie rawkers from the early 90's including Slant 6, Helium, Polvo, Rodan, Grifters and Unwound are on the soundtrack.

For searchers, I'm sorry I don't know anything about the movie, the band or the soundtrack.

Meth junkies, go read the article in the New York Times titled "This is Your Brain on Meth: A 'Forest Fire' of Damage". Here's a quote based on a study of 10-year meth addicts:

The limbic region, involved in drug craving, reward, mood and emotion, lost 11 percent of its tissue. "The cells are dead and gone," Dr. Thompson said. Addicts were depressed, anxious and unable to concentrate.

The brain's center for making new memories, the hippocampus, lost 8 percent of its tissue, comparable to the brain deficits in early Alzheimer's. The methamphetamine addicts fared significantly worse on memory tests than healthy people the same age.


Early Alzheimer's at age 30 or earlier sure sounds fun, doesn't it?

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:42 PM

July 20, 2004

The meaning of "drowning them in paper"

I just came across Screaming Bean talking about work and she mentioned something that's always driven me crazy, not only in an environmental sense but in an efficiency sense.

She writes:

However, I have to give over copies of all the cases I pulled. Seeing as how I was saving trees to this point, I have no copies. Lawyers, the worst environmentalists ever. So I'll spend about an hour with the trusty printers and produce utter tripe.

One of the beautiful things about Westlaw/Lexis-Nexis is the ability to copy-and-paste oh so meaningful passages from your favorite cases into blank documents as you do research. That way, all your research for Case X will be contained in one file that is easily found and accessed. You can highlight, add notes, underline, bold, italicize. You can emphasize ids 'til you go blind. There's no need to dig through the stacks of crap that already litter your desk, filing cabinet, and table. It's all in there. You can print your research document if you need to, you can email it to the lawyer you're doing the research for, you can even paste those juicy judicial quotes into your briefs and memos.

When I see one of my fellow clerks printing a 70 page ALR entry and then spend another 15 minutes binding it for easy page-turning, it really does drive me crazy. Nevermind the 5 minutes it takes to print or the binding time. There's even more time to be wasted when that clerk actually finds a case he needs. Hell, he's gonna print that one, too, instead of clicking on the friendly link in the ALR and then downloading the case.

The Big Boss keeps talking about a paperless office by 2006. Only if he lets his entire staff go and hires all 22 year-old ex-techies.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:19 PM

Alright, I'll take the stupid test

I never got around to posting my results from the last blawgovian meme but I think my results were Wacky Emotional Destructive Leader. Here are the full results from the new one via Energy Spatula among many others.

DisorderRating
Paranoid:Low
Schizoid:Moderate
Schizotypal:High
Antisocial:Low
Borderline:Low
Histrionic:Moderate
Narcissistic:High
Avoidant:Low
Dependent:Low
Obsessive-Compulsive:High

-- Personality Disorder Test - Take It! --

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:05 PM | Comments (1)

Find a New Phrase, #1

There are a few words and phrases that are becoming so overused today that I cringe everytime I hear them.

"At the end of the day"

I hear this multiple times each day on the radio, TV and I read it on the web. Strangely enough, I never hear the phrase spoken in personal conversations.

Try "ultimately", "finally,", "when all is said and done" or even "when the hog finishes its slop" just to spice things up a little bit.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 07:25 AM | Comments (5)

July 17, 2004

Garage Sale Post-mortem

I'm exhausted. I waited until way too late yesterday to start going through and pricing all my old computer crap. I got to bed around 3 am this morning and the sale was was scheduled to start around 8 am. My wife got up before me to start prepping and she said by 7:15 this morning there were already people milling around our driveway.

I've always approached garage sales with the attitude that I'll stop if I'm driving by one and not in any particular hurry. The people who show up 45 minutes early based on a $16 ad in the Lincoln Journal-Star scare me a little bit. I'm glad I missed them.

I was pretty satisfied with what I sold, and I was amazed at the crap people buy though slightly upset about the crap they didn't buy. I sold an old, but working (all sales are final, as-is), Phillips CD-RW, a zip drive(does anyone use these things anymore?), a couple of 4 year-old PC games, a bunch of spy novels ("Goddamn, will someone tell me why I read these things?"), an old Kasparov chess computer (I attribute this sale to Bobby Fischer's apprehension), a PC keyboard (!) and some other junk about which I've already forgotten.

My wife did pretty well, too. She even sold one of her embroidered pillowcases to someone we didn't know. The rest of Sarah's original handiwork went to friends. I'm grateful for my knitted dish-cloth. I'm sure everyone else is, as well.

The big winner in the carhole sale was Thomas who had things priced to move due to his impending departure for Case Western Reserve Law in a few weeks. Someone absolutely stole a big antique credenza from him, and he let his back issues of Rollingstone go for a dollar per box. Those were gold if ebayed or even taken to the rock and roll book store in Emo-ha. We rescued a few issues (Nixon Resigns, Elvis is Dead, Belushi...Dead, O.J. Rules) before someone showed up at 8 am and said, "I'm here for the magazines."

Thomas used to be a rock star so he had a ton of music gear for sale. He managed to sell a mixing board ("Once used by Matthew Sweet" was the come-on), a drum machine circa 1984 ("Just like Sisters of Mercy used") and a few other pieces. He gave me a guitar effects pedal for being such a sport and hosting the sale.

He had a few things that weren't really garage sale material. He stood firm at $300 for a vintage Roland Chorus Echo while indicating on the sign it was selling on eBay for $450, and a pretty cool lighting control panel w/lights he was asking $100 for didn't sell.

Today we also experienced first-hand the compulsive-shopper syndrome as embodied by two different women. They both bought so much stuff from us that they also purchased shelving units we were selling in order to store it. One of them had to drive home and get her trailer to load up what she'd bought. When I was helping her load her purchases I discovered that the entire back of her SUV was already loaded with stuff she'd bought earlier today. It reminded me of this quite a bit, though in talking to the women, they both said they'd never gotten on eBay. Let's hope they never do.

That didn't stop me from purchasing something intended for eBay. Jack Jackson was selling a bunch of CD's that had failed to move at his parents' most recent garage sale. I bought Brent Spiner's Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back for $5 when I discovered it was going on eBay for in the neighborhood of $40. I wasn't quick enough on my feet to grab Shatner's The Transformed Man before one of our other friends did. Shatner's piece of wonderful shat is ebaying for around $50.

So, it was fun, exhausting, and none of our customers batted an eye when they saw Thomas and I were drinking beer at 10 am. I took a nap on a deck chair someone was trying to sell around 3 pm after too many beers and the wonderful loose-meat sandwiches Thomas' girlfriend brought by around 1:00. I'll have to do this again in about 10 years.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 08:24 PM | Comments (1)

July 14, 2004

All-Star Break Fantasy Blogging

At the start of the season I was in 4 fantasy leagues. I guess I still am, but I've sorta ignored the two Yahoo! leagues, mostly because Yahoo! makes me login too often and I hate the Yahoo! UI to begin with.

In my two remaining leagues, things are good to average. The SI league I'm in thanks to a classmate who's friend works for STATS, INc., is a mixed league, which I don't like to begin with because everyone can field an all-star team.

There I'm struggling a bit, no thanks to my pitching, which should be stellar. I gave up on saves, a lazy ignoramous of a stat, when two of the guys I drafted (McDougal (KC) and Mantei (AZ)) were either injured, sucked or both, from the get-go. I dumped those two along with Dotel for some other solid starters to go after K's and W's, along with a decent ERA and WHIP. My current 9 starting pitchers are: Josh Beckett, Roy Halladay, Rich Harden, Brian Lawrence, Cliff Lee, Ben Sheets, Carlos Silva, Paul Wilson, Randy Wolf and Kerry Wood, along with Tim Hudson on the bench. Nice staff, you'd think, but injuries and incompetence leave me with a staff ERA of 4.16 (8th place), a WHIP of 1.35 (last place) and 45 wins (5th place). I lead in K's and of course I'm in last place in saves. I bounce between 4th and 7th place overall in the league. Luckily, this league is free.

The other league is the one I really care about. It's an NL-only auction-style keeper league based on the original Rotisserie rules as laid down by John Benson, et al. around 25 years ago. I've been in this league since 1987 so it's definitely more competitive and more worthy of my time than stupid Yahoo! leagues.

Currently, I'm in 2nd place. My dad, who beat me out of first place last season by .5 points, is leading. I'm in second by a lot. My dad has solid pitching and good hitting. I have no pitching and great hitting. My outfield features Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols, but my pitching staff is led by Eric Gagne, who is great for stupid saves, but he doesn't win games or eat up innings. When you're #1 starter is either Kris Benson or Livan Hernandez, you're in trouble.

That's what's interesting about fantasy leagues that only allow either AL or NL. You're going to wind up with the hot middle reliever from the Giants or the 4th starter from the Phillies. It makes scouting more important. You might need to know the 4th OF for the Padres or you might need to grab Brian Schneider from the Expos to fill your 2nd catcher slot. It's more like managing a real team, rather than an all-star team.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:56 PM

July 13, 2004

Now that's pro-life

Republican candidate for Oklahoma senator, Tom Coburn, on the death penalty:

"On the death penalty, he said: 'I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life.'" (emphasis added)

I saw this at Talking Points Memo, but so far, the only place I can find the quote is in Westlaw.

Link, if you have a wonderfully free student Westlaw account.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:04 PM

How about some hot box turtle on dog lovin'?

Last year Rick Santorum (R-PA) waxed philosophical on the slippery slope of legal hot gay sex with an AP reporter:

Santorum: [I]n every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality _

AP: I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about "man on dog" with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out.


Now, John Cornyn (R-TX) is slip-sliding his way all the way to turtles.
"It does not affect your daily life very much if your neighbor marries a box turtle. But that does not mean it is right. . . . Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife."

Where does one put it when getting it on with a turtle? Maybe Senator Cornyn knows more since, according to Andy, Texas repealed its bestiality laws the same year it passed its now un-Constitutional anti-sodomy law.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:27 PM

All-Star Break Blogging

I haven't done a whole lot of baseball blogging this year, but now is the perfect time for some mid-season thoughts, awards and half-cocked opinions.

The bad news is, the Cubs are seven games behind the stinking Cardinals right now, with the filthy Reds and the I-dont-even-wanna-think-about-it Brewers breathing down their necks. The good news is, the Cubs are only a game out of the wild card and Kerry Wood pitched for the first time in about two months on Sunday, and looked good doing it.

With the Brewers above .500 and fighting for a playoff spot, I don't think there's any doubt who the NL Manager of the Year is so far. Ned Yost. Lou Pinella in Tampa is probably the AL Manager of the 1/2-Year in the AL, although Buck Showalter has an argument down in Arlington.

What the Rangers don't realize though, is that they'll need to fire Showalter before they can win the Series. Look at his history. Managed the Yankees until being replaced with Joe Torre in '96. The rest is recent, horrible history. Then Buck took over the fledgling Diamondbacks only to be fired in 2000. What did they do the next year? Win the World Series is all. I wonder if out of work managers are turning down jobs just waiting for Buck to get canned?

How afraid are other teams of Barry Bonds? Through the Break he has 131 walks. The next closest is Lance Berkman with 75. Not only that, he has 6.89 walks/strikeout. Compare that to the next closest, Albert Pujols at 2.04. My favorite sabermetric stat, though, is Runs Created/27 innings, a measure of how many runs per game a team of Barry Bondses would score. Bonds' RC/27 is 21.17. Pujols is in second, trailing Bonds by 10 runs per game.

Tommorrow I'll bore everyone with my fantasy teams.

---just watched the first 1/2 inning of the All-Star game. Was Piazza giving away Clemens' pitches to spite him? I hope so.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 07:31 PM | Comments (1)

July 12, 2004

Anyone wanna buy my pants?

This past weekend was spent clearing out the garage in anticipation of the Garage Sale set for this Saturday. The rest of this week I will seriously consider, at some point, selling just about everything, although most of what'll end up on the sagging card tables won't be very interesting.

It's definitely time to purge the growing scourge of cheap spy novels I bought at the Salvation Army for a quarter apiece over the last year or so (they helped my brain shut off for awhile before bed during school). At a dime each, they're a steal.

How about some PC games or that old Kasparov chess computer I've been trying to unload for 10 years? The High Heat baseball with Sammy Soser on the box? It's yours for, like, two bucks. Rise of Nations? $5, cheep. A Playstation with Hydrothunder? Carry it away today for only $15.

I'm sure I can interest you in some slightly used computers. A Compaq P166? A PowerComputing PowerCenter 320? I'll pay you $1 just to take them away. Can I interest you in an old Phillips CD burner that won't work with XP or Windows 2000? Just take it. I'm begging you.

I'll have Tom Waits' "Step Right Up" playing softly during the sale just to get people in the mood to buy my old pants.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 08:53 PM | Comments (3)

July 11, 2004

The only thing low carb here is your brain

Today I was at the local mega market buying groceries for the week. In addition to the usual items I decided to stock up on espresso beans and make some granitas this week. I always buy the locally roasted beans which are right next to the of Starbucks™ beans. The jackass that stocks the Starbucks™ shelf had put those little "Low Carb" tags under each item.

Do people on low carb diets not realize that black coffee contains no carbs? How many people walking by that shelf thought, "Oh, thank the Lord in heaven. I can drink coffee."

The next question is - how many people will associate the low carb coffee beans at the store with Starbucks™ and guzzle a macho grande mocha choca lotta then wonder why they suddenly gained five pounds?

Posted by Half-Cocked at 06:32 PM

Textbooks

I sold my Fundamentals of Modern Property Law by Rabin, et al. on Saturday morning for $40. Not too bad, considering the University book store offered me $8 right after the Property exam this past spring. I wonder if the Amazon used book marketplace scares the traditional used book resellers at all?

While I'm on the subject - if anyone has any of the following and wants to sell them to a good home, let me know.

Constitutional Law 4th Ed 2001, Stone, et al.
Modern Criminal Procedure 10th, Kamisar.
Gellhorn and Byse's Administrative Law: Cases and Comments, revised 10th Ed, 2003, Strauss, et al.
Intellectual Property & Unfair Competition 5th, Kitch.
Evidence 10th, Waltz.
Evidence 4th Examples & Explanations, Best.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 02:03 AM

July 10, 2004

"Skyrockets in Flight"

Finding myself in need of some cheap laughs, I hastened forth from my cave, wife in tow, to see Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy tonight. It was about what I expected. Will Farrell going absolutely nuts, although in a more subdued "Lovahs" kind of way, tons of cameos, and a pretty good sendup of local talking heads trying to get the next big story.

It was a little disjointed, but what can one expect from a series of connected SNL sketches? That really doesn't hurt the movie in any way, because the movie was mostly about actors going wayyy over the top for a laugh. I really enjoy Paul Rudd when he plays jerks. His character in this movie is a little deeper than his camp counselor in Wet Hot American Summer, but not my much. Steve Carrell, from the Daily Show was dead on as the retarded weather man.

Christina Applegate was good, too, as the only female with a decent role. If you remember her in 1987 when Married...with Children hit the airwaves, who would have thought she'd still be getting steady work in 2004?

Anyway, it's worth wasting 90 minutes on.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 02:11 AM | Comments (2)

July 09, 2004

Perfect Tetrahedron of Fire video now available

The PTOF that I mentioned earlier is now available for viewing here. The link to it is about halfway down where it says "Watch the PToF Burn". It's in DX50 format so you'll need the DIVX codec to view it, meaning you'll need to be an avid porn downloader to to have that codec already. At least that's what I heard.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 12:05 AM | Comments (2)

July 08, 2004

Those evil, evil trial lawyers, err, I mean, plaintiffs' lawyers

The selection of John Edwards as the DEM VP has brought the simmering cesspool of "tort reform" exploding to the surface. There's a good little discussion over at Notes from the (Legal) Underground about plaintiffs' vs. defense lawyers all stemming from the Vulgar, Hillybilly Heroin Swilling Pigboy (for those of you not up on the lingo, that's Rush) calling Edwards an intellectual lightweight.

Of course, and as usual, Giblets has the first and last words on Edwards.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:35 PM

July 07, 2004

A little ridiculous partisanship

The New Republic Online has published their much anticipated piece on the Bush administration's demand to Pakistan that they produce high-value targets (HVTs) before the election and preferably during the last week of July, during the Democratic convention.


A third source, an official who works under ISI's director, Lieutenant General Ehsan ul-Haq, informed tnr that the Pakistanis "have been told at every level that apprehension or killing of HVTs before [the] election is [an] absolute must." What's more, this source claims that Bush administration officials have told their Pakistani counterparts they have a date in mind for announcing this achievement: "The last ten days of July deadline has been given repeatedly by visitors to Islamabad and during [ul-Haq's] meetings in Washington." Says McCormack: "I'm aware of no such comment." But according to this ISI official, a White House aide told ul-Haq last spring that "it would be best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July"--the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Pakistan feels the need to deliver because they've always perceived Democratic administrations as pro-India. Republican administrations, on the other hand, tend to turn a blind eye towards nuclear proliferation as long as it serves their purposes.

Powell pointedly refused to criticize Musharraf for pardoning nuclear physicist A.Q. Khan--who, the previous month, had admitted exporting nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea, and Libya--declaring Khan's transgressions an "internal" Pakistani issue. In addition, the administration is pushing a five-year, $3 billion aid package for Pakistan through Congress over Democratic concerns about the country's proliferation of nuclear technology and lack of democratic reform.

And my favorite quote from the article:

One Pakistani general recently in Washington confided in a journalist, "If we don't find these guys by the election, they are going to stick this whole nuclear mess up our asshole."

Interesting that our government has waited until now to put pressure on Pakistan. I guess that whole Iraq thing kind of got in the way.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:25 PM | Comments (6)

Soupie, you don't need to squat the house

Fellow blawger, Soupie Johnson, of the BBQ & Daycare injured himself recently while trying to squat the entire gym. What happened sounds exceedingly scary, especially to those of us who have tried to squat the entire gym. Lucky for Soup, he escaped with a broken hand. Those squat racks are built the way they are for a reason. I shudder when I think of the squat rack we used at my old high school my freshman year.

Soup is now blawging one-handed. What a trooper. He still posts pics of hot chix on a daily basis, even with only one hand free.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 08:40 PM | Comments (1)

Cover songs: Good or Bad?

On my way home from work today I heard Paul Westerberg on the radio covering Nico's "These Days." It took me about 20 seconds or so to realize it was the same song. Westerberg's version was a little bit countrified and the lack of a German accent threw me a little. Still, it wasn't bad, although it didn't make me feel the same as Nico's version, which I will always associate with that beautiful scene in The Royal Tenenbaums when Margot is picking up Richie at the bus station.

There are some covers I like better than the originals. Dinosaur Jr.'s version of "Just Like Heaven" is better than the Cure's version, if only because J. Mascis sounds even more torn up than Robert Smith does. Jay Farrar's live version of "Lucifer Sam" is pretty faithful to the Pink Floyd original but there's something about his version that I like better. I think it's the rockin'. And of course there's Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt." Johnny lived a more painful life than Trent Reznor could ever hope for, and it shows in the song.

I'm still on the fence on "Head On", Pixies v. Jesus and Mary Chain. The JAMC original is much longer and sometimes I like that. Other times I prefer the way Black Francis and company barrel into the song and finish it up quick. Sometimes I find myself liking the Mike Watt version of "Tuff Gnarl" better than Sonic Youth's original, but that is solely because of Carla Bozulich's creepy, sexy vocals.

What cover songs do my four readers prefer over the originals?

Posted by Half-Cocked at 08:23 PM

Confessions

After a summer of dutifully avoiding almost everything on television aside from a baseball game here and there I slipped up tonight. I came out of my office around 10:30 and my wife was just getting reading to watch the first episode of Big Brother 5 which she had DVR'd in order to avoid commercials. I intended to sit down for a few minutes and then go read, but found myself sitting there watching the whole damn thing.

How did I get caught in its grip? First, I was just a little interested in seeing the people CBS was cramming into an IKEA dream house for 3 months. Then, I noticed that the women were a lot hotter than I remember from previous Big Brothers, so I stuck around a little longer.

Not too far into the show, Julie Chen dropped the bomb that two of the people in the house shared the same father but didn't know it. While it worries me that CBS has this information while the houseguests don't, it was certainly interesting to watch as the man slowly started to realize that this woman he'd never met before was his little half-sister.

I picked out the requisite Big Brother Gay Guy during the initial introductions. It was pretty obvious though the people in the house seem utterly oblivious save for a couple of the babes.

Anyway, Big Brother is dumb, and I'm dumber for having watched it tonight, but after having read S.Ct. opinions for a couple of hours, I needed a little dumbing down.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 12:39 AM

July 06, 2004

L.Rev. Update

I've tentatively decided to do the L.Rev. competition, mostly just to have something to do, but partly to see if I could do it. Now that I've done that, I just need to decide what to write.

I thought I'd picked a topic but after two days of thinking about it, I've changed my mind. Now I'm already behind. It feels more like school already.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 08:41 PM

July 05, 2004

The Perfect Tetrahedron of Fire

Last night, Jack Jacson delighted the crowd at the 38th & B block party with the perfect tetrahedron of fire. I've witnessed several of Mr. Jackson's flaming geometric shapes over the years, and while some have been more long-lasting, and some have had more varying effects, none of have as spectactular, or as hot. Video and pictures should be on-line soon, so I'll wait until then to post about July 4th night.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:57 PM

So full and so drunk

Well, not really, but I feel like all I've done over the past four days is eat and drink either real gourmet shit or standard summer holiday fare, both of which are tasty, intoxicating and will put pounds on you. Tonight was the last of it for awhile, I think.

Jessie brought out a few more outstanding wines to savor while we ate grilled lamb chops which had marinated in yogurt, saffron, coriander and cumin all day, along with raita, saffron rice and some veggies cooked with mustard seeds.

The outstanding wine of the evening was a Grand Cru Chablis that just blew me away. I can usually give or take most chardonnays unless there's been so much malo-lactic acid added after the fact that they taste like movie popcorn. Those I can do without. This one was so smooth and buttery, without tasting fake, and a little bit apple-y. Very nice.

The other two were Bordeaux, one of which was a 1993. The older one had the dirty, spicy flavor I really look for in full-bodied reds. The younger of the two, a '99, I think, was quite a bit fruitier and a bit more acidic, but still very good.

Jessie's leaving in August to work the harvest in Dijon, so I'm expecting more from him upon his return.

And now I must resume working and L.Rev. Writing-on. The gym is definitely in my near future, as well.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:39 PM

July 04, 2004

Wine, Food and Friends

Last night a few of us went down to the Black Crow for a fancy-pantsed dinner. My friend, Jessie, used to work there before departing for San Francisco where he now works for a French wine distributor.

It was a thematic evening, as far as the wine went. Jessie's a wine snob now so he brings his own. This time it was four bottles from the village of Givry in the Côte Châlonnaise area of Burgundy. The first bottle, a white we had with our appetizers (oysters on the half-shell, shrimp and scallops baked with red pepper-nade, and duck with a sesame-orange confit), was a nice chardonnay, not as oaky or buttery as the stuff you get here, but slightly nutty and flowery.

The other three bottles were all red Burgundies, that is, pinot noirs, and they all had their own characteristics. The first was the most traditional Burgundy and it tasted like no pinot noir I've had since I'm used to the pinot noirs of California and Oregon. The second seemed almost like a Côtes du Rhône. It was a little fuller in body and the nose was more like a syrah/grenache blend, but it still had the cherry and rasberry characteristics of a Burgundy. The last bottle was the most similar to a modern California pinot noir. It was oaky and had more chocolate hints along with the berries.

After dinner we went around the corner to a little bar, called Jim's Little Bar, that was as far as one can get from The Black Crow, culturally. There were four old men sitting at the bar when we walked in and they only gave us the fish-eye for a minute or so as we sat down at a big round table and ordered gin and tonics. The bartender gave us a deck of cards and we proceeded to play Texas Hold'Em for about an hour. We were just advised to keep an eye out for the sheriff while we played. I love small towns.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 08:12 PM

80's Flashback

Last night Sarah and I were driving down old Highway 4 from Beatrice to my parents' place. It was 'round midnight and the CD player was acting up so I switched on the radio. The first station I hit was playing a Def Leppard threesome, that is, three Def Lep classics.

When "F-f-f-foolin" came on I felt like I was back in the summer between 11th and 12th grades, hurrying home to make curfew, undetectably tipsy.

At that moment I found myself wishing it was another hour to my parents' place instead of 5 minutes.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 07:55 PM | Comments (2)

July 03, 2004

A good start to a long weekend

Not much law-related to speak of, but I went to an engagement party tonight for the future Big Boss, a friend of mine a couple of years younger than me. My wife and the future Mrs. Big Boss made some damn fine appetizers including little cherry tomatoes filled with pesto cream cheese.

One special treat, which I was not expecting, was an appearance by one of future Mrs. Big Boss's co-workers, the somewhat famous, at least on the internet, Melissa Lincoln (not a work-safe link). I'm pleased to report that she looks as good in person as she does in pixels.

It was nice to finally meet her since she'd threatened to show up at my New Year's Eve party this past year, only to slink into the shadows after the whole media firestorm over her getting busted for public nudity after a cop saw a picture of her on the internet.

Now I only have a dinner on Saturday night, the croquet tourney on Sunday afternoon, the July 4 blowout on Sunday night, brunch on Monday morning and dinner on Monday night, and then I'll be free of social obligations for at least a week. Bring on the work week!

Posted by Half-Cocked at 01:43 AM | Comments (2)

July 02, 2004

Welcome to the new place

Thanks to ai for helping me find the new headquarters.

The only question is - does blawgcoop mean a cooperative of blawgs or a coop-ful of blawgs? Either works, I guess.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 06:20 PM | Comments (4)