Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Childrens do learn"

George W. Bush, during a speech today touting the importance of
education and
pressuring Congress to extend "No Child Left Behind"
(Reuters Wire, September 26, 2007)

Monday, September 24, 2007

So I Married An Axe Murderer...

You want to know what one of the weirdest things about having a full-time job now is? Life insurance. I've never had it before. Well... actually that's not really true. My credit union kicked me out a free policy that I accepted, so I think I've been covered for all of one grand these past few years. If I died, my lucky wife would have had a whole quarter of my casket paid for, or perhaps even three or four nice floral arrangements.

Now I've got the real deal though. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $400,000. It's kind of eerie walking around knowing that my death will trigger a small, tax-free jackpot. I broached the subject with a friend tonight and joked that it probably meant I had to keep a closer eye on the wife. I was touched when he said he didn't think I had to worry. That killing me wasn't worth a few hundred Gs. $5 million maybe... but not a few hundred Gs.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

God Has An Attorney?

So a couple of weeks ago, some joe-blow state senator from Nebraska filed a lawsuit... against God. This man, Ernie Chambers, claims to have done so as a way to protest the filing of another high-profile lawsuit he sees as frivolous while at the same time highlighting what he considers to be one pillar of our judicial system, the fact anyone can sue anyone in this country... even God (If this logic makes any sense to you, please take a moment to explain it to the rest of us).

In his complaint, the senator seeks a permanent injunction ordering God to stop "making and continuing to make terroristic threats of grave harm to innumerable persons," including Chambers' constituents, "who [Chambers] has the duty to represent." The complaint also alleges that God has caused "fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes, pestilential plagues, ferocious famines, devastating droughts, genocidal wars, birth defects and the like" which have resulted in "the wide-spread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants including innocent babes, infants, children, the aged and infirm without mercy or distinction."

Chambers claims he's tried to contact God numerous times, but the "despite reasonable efforts to effectuate personal service upon defendant 'Come out, come out, wherever you are,' has been unable to do so." In light of this, Chambers has requested that the court waive personal service because, since God is omniscient, it should be assumed that he has actual knowledge of the action. He's asked the court to grant him a summary judgment.

Well... God apparently knows a few lawyers and it seems he has, among other things, motioned for the court to grant him a special appearance just to contest jurisdiction. Even if this thing goes to trial though, God should make out alright. The thought of deposing Him has got to intimidate even the most seasoned trial attorney, and you have to figure that God's gonna' have an in with the judge and jury. On top of that, God's court submission purportedly includes a witness list with heavyweights like St. Michael the Archangel.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Kind Of What I Expected

So it's here. Tomorrow, as they say, is the first day of the rest of my life. My first 'real' job starts at 9am sharp.

No more school as a crutch to fall back on. No more waffling over what I want to do 'when I grow up'... because, apparently, I'm all grown up now.

Only this isn't quite what I'd expected being all grown up to feel like. I guess it never feels like that though. College. Mission. Marriage. Sex. Kids. Preconceived notions continually blown to smithereens.

I suppose if it were otherwise, life would be pretty dull.

So instead of bored, I sit here anxious. Hoping for the best. But not really knowing just what to expect from the next few days, weeks, and months...

Which, ironically, is kind of what I'd expect the night before my first day of 'real' work to feel like.

Go figure.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Repackaging Disney

Back in high school, one way my friends and I used to entertain ourselves on slow nights was to raid the Disney movie collection of whatever house we were in and show anyone who hadn't seen them all of the "subliminal" messages in the animated films. Yeah... we were a rowdy bunch. Our favorites included:

  • Near the beginning of the film, Aladdin's small monkey Apu, while jumping from rock to rock to avoid some menacing lava, pretty discernibly says "Oh Sh*t."
  • During a scene outside of Princess Jasmine's window, Aladdin appears to say "Good teenagers, take off your clothes."

The Lion King:
  • As Simba begins growing weary of his "Hakuna Matata" lifestyle, he retreats to a secluded cliff to reflect. In the plume of dust he kicks up as he lays down, you can kind of make out the word "Sex."
The Little Mermaid:
  • The cover art was a veritable playground of phallic symbols and, according to some, you could also make out the F- word in the splashing water that frames the cover's central picture.
  • During the wedding scene at the end of the film, the Priest performing the ceremony seems to get a large erection.

Good times, eh? So imagine my surprise when my wife and I recently purchased the Special Edition DVD of The Little Mermaid and found that not only had the cover art been completely redone to excise the offending images, the entire scene with the Priest at the end had been cut.

Is this an admission of guilt or has Disney simply decided to clean its house of misperceptions? Think of what other hidden treasures might now gone as well?! Have I been scouring Finding Nemo in vain?!!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why We Need More Colin Powell

"What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it’s terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?

"I would approach this differently, in almost Marshall-like terms. What are the great opportunities out there—ones that we can take advantage of? It should not be just about creating alliances to deal with a guy in a cave in Pakistan. It should be about how do we create institutions that keep the world moving down a path of wealth creation, of increasing respect for human rights, creating democratic institutions, and increasing the efficiency and power of market economies? This is perhaps the most effective way to go after terrorists."

Colin Powell
Circa September 10, 2007
(More of Powell's wisdom in next month's GQ)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Italy In A Nutshell

I've been meaning to throw up a few blog posts about Europe for about a week now. Since it's hard to know where to start though, I thought I'd begin with a brief recap and then segue into a few random observations and hidden gems we ran across on the trip.

We embarked on our celebratory post-bar trip at the beginning of August. After bumming around in Switzerland for two weeks, we made our way to Italy. Our first stop was Florence. If you've never been, it's truly worth a visit. Our initial impressions, however, weren't so gushing. Perhaps it was the city's stark contrast to Switzerland as we drove through a ridiculous maze of streets in trying to track down our bed & breakfast. Bern might just be the cleanest city on earth while, as we drove in circles through Florence, the place seemed overrun by graffiti with shops everywhere closed up. Luckily, the city's charms quickly grew on us though. Our hotel was just two blocks from the famed Il Duomo (one of the largest churches in the world), which allowed us to spend a lot of time wandering the narrow downtown streets. The archaic street layout that so frustrated us on our arrival is actually pretty endearing. They've tried to keep it from changing too much in order to maintain the city's ancient character. There's a mess of history there, a lot of it awe-inspiring. From the famed Medici palaces, to the picturesque Ponto Vecchio, to the perfection of Michaelangelo's David, to Machiavelli's tomb. We also found out the reason for all the closed up shops we noticed on our way in... despite August being Florence's busiest tourist month, half of the city heads out on vacation. Go figure.

Next we drove the Chianti road through Siena to Rome, a city that is everything it's cracked up to be. We relished our time there... outside of having our camera ripped off that is (those damn Gypsies). From the Vatican to the Roman Forum, few cities have such a sense of antiquity. I could honestly sit inside the Pantheon for hours. One of our favorite things was all the amazing artists that lined the streets and piazzas peddling their works. We came home with more than a few pictures to frame.

After four days of tromping through Rome's many museums, cathedrals, parks and ruins, we broke for Naples. Now I'm not sure what you've heard, but I think you should know that Naples is essentially the butthole of Italy. It's only worth going to because of how close it is to so many other choice spots. We spent our two short days there first taking a boat to Capri to hit the beach and then driving the Amalfi Coast. With no time for things like Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius, or the Blue Grotta, though, we promised ourselves we'd return.

Last but not least, we returned to Switzerland by way of Milan. We only spent one night there, but as Melbo can attest, the shopping was fantastic. Melbo already wants to go back.

Some random highlights and lowlights:
  • Word to the wise... most of Italy hasn't heard of toilet seats yet.
  • The Italian police... whose idea were the hats?
  • Just in case it seals the deal for you... rest assured that there are segway tours of Florence.
  • One fine piece of ass...
  • A great place to buy "David-inspired" paraphernalia for the kids.
  • Even McDonald's got a Gelatoria.
  • Hands down the greatest statue I have ever seen in my entire life. Buy your own replica here.
  • Choice menu items... although I've got to tell you, the boiled ox tongue isn't all it's made out to be.
  • Italians love kids. Almost everyone we passed seemed to coo at E and we were stopped more than a few times by passerbys who wanted their picture with him.
  • And finally a spoiler alert. Erich's true identity... Emperor Palpatine