Editing the Editorials

The InstaPundit says neither he nor Stefan Sharkansky nor Terry Teachout could remember a newspaper making an editorial correction.


Newspapers want us to read and heed their editorials.

After all, much thought and careful consideration goes into those opinions. Another InstaPundit reader, Linda Seebach, asked an editorial-page listserv. The listservers said that newspapers DO make corrections, but they sometimes appear in the "corrections box" rather than on the editorial page. This seems to show that newspapers want us to consider their opinions, but are less than enthusiastic to show us their mistakes.

InstaPundit, Sharkansky, and Teachout are three well-read, intellegent folks. They probably pay more attention to what they read then an average newspaper consumer. The fact that these three couldn't remember ever seeing an editorial correction says something. I can't remember seeing a editorial correction either.  Most editorial page listserv participants knew that corrections were made because they are probably in the newspaper business.

Are editorial corrections written for newspaper readers or for fellow newspaper editorial writers? Shouldn't corrections be written for readers?


Liliks on Saddam

James Lileks has come back from his self-imposed exile for a one-off on the capture of Saddam. I don't agree with Lileks all of the time.  Even when I don't agree with him, his writing is shining, excellent, and convincing.
Many have noted that the sight of Saddam looking like Nick Nolte’s mugshot will have a harsh effect on our old seething friend, the Arab Street. They will see him looking like a piss-soaked bum with matted hair and bags under his eyes that look like Kathy Bates’ bosom, and they’ll see the Proud Example brought low, the man who had stood up to America humbled and unmanned.
Ouch! That's an insult to Kathy Bate's bosom. Like all the other web logs say, go read the whole thing.


Cars I've Owned

Car/Years Owned
  1.  1971 Triumph TR-6 1973-1975
  2.  1972 Fiat 124 Sport Coupe 1975-1976
  3.  1969 Triumph GT-6 1976
  4.  1969 Volkswagon Beetle 1976-1977
  5.  1972 Volvo 142 1977-1979
  6.  1974 Datsun 260z 2+2 1978-1979
  7.  1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 1979-1980
  8.  1976 Pontiac Grand Am 1980-1982
  9.  1971 Volkswagon Van 1982
  10.  1973 Chevrolet Caprice Classic 1982-1988
  11.  1974 Mercury Montego 1988-1990
  12.  1974 Chevrolet Malibu 1990-1993
  13.  1979 Volvo 245 Station Wagon 1993-1995
  14.  1980 Mercedes-Benz 300D 1995-1996
  15.  1988 BMW 528e 1996-present.
  16.  1973 Porsche 914 2001-present (project car)
 Of all these I think I like my present car, the BMW, the best. Although, the TR-6 was a great car to have during high school. The worst cars were the 260z and the Pontiac Grand Am. The Benz was a great car; built like a tank; smooth ride, but had a criminally underpowered diesel engine. I was frightened to pull out in traffic.


Today's Almanac

On this day in 1863 automotive legend James Ward Packard was born

This is also Guy Fawkes Day in the U.K.  Remember the old "Gunpowder Plot"?



It's been a hectic month so far. I've been trying to drum up some freelance writing work. Nothing so far but I'm not discouraged. I know that if I remain focused and determined that some type of break will happen.

I've been working on a brochure pro-bono for the Center for Independent Living. They help disabled folks in all sorts of ways. It's actually been a pretty good experience so far. With the holidays coming up I feel like I need to get some work together. We will see.


Today in History

On October 20, 1973, in the so-called Saturday Night Massacre, special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox was fired.  For their refusal to dismiss Cox, Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson resigned and Deputy Attorney General William B. Ruckelshaus was fired.

In 1944 Gen. Douglas MacArthur stepped ashore at Leyte in the Philippines, 2 1/2 years after he'd said, 'I shall return.'

In 1968 Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.

In 1977 Three members of the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd were killed in the crash of a chartered plane near McComb, Miss.

Thanks to The New York Times.


Makinen to Retire

Crash.net is reporting that Subaru driver and 4-time champion Tommi Makinen has announced his retirement from World Rally competition effective at the end of the season. This from Crash.net:
"It's a decision I haven't made lightly," said Makinen. "Picking the right time to stop isn't easy, but I'm happy with what I've achieved in the WRC, and I've been lucky to drive for two excellent teams. Realistically, there isn't really much for me to gain by carrying on at this level and my thinking is that it's better to stop when you're at the top."
Makinen has had a couple of bad years. He was actually doing better this year than last but he has decided to call it quits.


Today's Almanac

Lee Iacocca was born on this date in 1924.  Haven't heard much from old Lee lately.

Oldsmobile resumed postwar production today in 1945.

This also happens to be Poetry Day. There once was a man from Nantucket...Oh, forget it.



Today is my 46th birthday.  I'm shocked that I've lasted this long.


Keep Amending it Until We Get it Right

The Florida State Constitution now spells out exactly how pregnant pigs should be tied. (They should be able to freely turn around!)  What should be a serious and rare task, amending the state constitution, has become a somewhat casual affair here in the Sunshine State.

Politicians and other interest groups have sponsored referendums that have amended the Florida State Constitution for what seem to be increasingly trivial matters. Some of these amendments, like light rail, were issues that failed as ordinary legislation

Recent constitutional amendments dictate:

Laws requiring parental notification of a minor's abortion were struck down by the state Supreme Court. Now, Florida State House Speaker Johnnie Byrd (R-Plant City) is proposing an amendment that would require parental notification should a minor seek an abortion.

It seems like the only way to get anything done in this state is to simply amend the constitution.


Fan Notes

On Friday September 26, Charlotte and I attended the Champ Car Fan Appreciation Driver Autograph Session.

Charlotte got every driver to sign each driver page in her race program. We were holding up the line and the handlers were urging us to move along but Char kept talking to each driver and getting the autographs. It's going to be a real cool keepsake.

I got Charlotte's picture with American Spirit driver and 1996 CART champion Jimmy Vassar. I also got Charlotte's picture with racing legend Mario Andretti who was behind the wheel of the new Ford GT

I was pleased to get another racing legend, Emerson Fittipaldi to autograph my 1977 US Grand Prix program.

I was disappointed to not have that program with me when we saw Mario. I think he would have gotten a kick out of seeing it. He finished second in that race. I would have gotten a kick out of his signing it!


Surprisingly, there were a lot of folks who stayed after the CART race to see the Trans-Am cars compete. 

I was wore out after the long race weekend and wanted to get on the road back home but I'm really glad we stayed to see the Trans-Am cars.  This was the first Trans-Am race I can remember seeing in person and I enjoyed it a lot. 

The V-8s sounded like NASCAR engines.  The Jaguars looked great and were clearly the class of the field.

It was fun to see former CART driver Scott Pruitt win the race AND the series title. There was an unusual car competing called the Quale Mangusta. The Trans-Am rules say the cars must be production-based but I've never seen or heard of a Quale Mangusta.  I want to learn a little bit more about this car.  I think the Trans-Am series would be a perfect partner to run the same weekend as the ALMS at Sebring.

Paul Tracy is No Champion

Champ Car series leader Paul Tracy didn't do well at the race.

He was having a tough time with the street circuit in Miami. It was narrow and twisty and didn't suit his setup or driving style. He crashed during practice. He didn't seem happy or enthusiastic about the race. We have a number of pictures of him with a real sour look on his face.

I was talking to Charlotte about this last night. Here's the problem I have with Paul Tracy:

Because he was having difficulties during the race weekend, he seemed to just give up. He complained about the circuit, the car, and the weather. It looked like he crashed into Sebastian Bourdais during the race for no good reason.

I think Tracy figured he couldn't catch Junqueira so he wasn't going to let Bourdais pass him and finish with more points.

Tracy acted like a child because he failed to make the best of a difficult race weekend and he gave up on the race before it began. Tracy is a quitter. A quitter doesn't deserve to be champion.



It was great to see the American Lemans Series cars.

The variety makes for a better overall race weekend.  It was good to see the Champion Audi win instead of the Joest team for a change.  It looked to me like the three classes competed as well on the narrow Miami street course as they do on the more open Sebring circuit. Charlotte is not much of a Porsche fan but I always like to see the parade of 911's compete in the GT class.

After the Miami weekend I'm convinced that the ALMS is a better show than Champ Cars. It's a purer form of motor sport. The ALMS has less flash, less commercialization, and less hyperbole, but also has extremely fast and high-tech cars.  The drivers and owners seem to be more interested in the driving and competition for the sheer enjoyment of racing than the CART teams and drivers.


Race Fans is Good People

Race fans are some of the best people.

On our first day at the track, we met a guy named Lenny who was as friendly as the day is long.  He was from California and said he was a NASCAR fan.  We all stood and talked racing and watched the mechanics work on the Rocketsports car.

Lenny offered to take our picture.  It's the only picture we have of Charlotte and I together at the race.


Great View

Our hotel room was small but we had a great view of Biscayne Bay and oh-so-trendy South Beach.

The hotel was in a kind of downtown no-mans-land. Around us were a few other big hotels, towering condominiums, and the mighty Miami Herald complex that took up an entire city block. The rest of the area was barren with some blocks under construction.

It was disappointing that there were no decent restaurants, neighborhoods, or other interesting sights within walking distance.


Hell Drive

Well, the drive to Miami was a nightmare.

We took I-95. That wasn't the problem. I-95 was in decent shape with little traffic or construction ... until we hit West Palm Beach.

We got a late start, which put us approaching West Palm at about 4:00 pm. Then the rush-hour traffic and road construction began.

An hour later, I got off 95 in downtown Miami. Using only my ten-year-old memory of the streets of downtown, I thought I could get us to the hotel without specific directions. I would probably have been successful had the streets not been blocked off for the race. That threw me off completely.

Anyway, we stopped, Charlotte got directions and we made it to the Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel by 6pm.


Miami Photos Posted

I took 140 photos from the Grand Prix of the Americas in Miami September 25 - 28.

Chris and Charlotte

Perhaps the last CART champ, Paul Tracy.

Charlotte and 1996 CART champ Jimmy Vasser.

Getting Emerson Fittipaldi's autograph

CART, ALMS, and Trans-Am action shots

Mario Andretti at the wheel of the new Ford GT

Charlotte and racing legend Mario Andretti


Miami Racing

Mrs. Howell (lovey) and I are traveling to Miami this weekend to see the Champ Car race known as The Grand Prix of the Americas

We are looking forward to meeting some drivers, eating some good food, and seeing (perhaps) one of the last CART races.

The racing will be held on a temporary street circuit near the Bayfront Park area of downtown Miami. Support racing includes a 2.5-hour American LeMans race, the Toyota Atlantic cars, and after the CART race, the Trans-Am cars take the track.

Canadian driver Paul Tracy is in the CART points lead but the championship is far from decided. With four races to go, five drivers are mathematically still in the hunt for the championship. Here are their point standings:

Mrs. Howell is very disappointed that we might not see Italian heartthrob Max Papis.  She is smitten by his Italian accent, his swarthy Mediterranean complexion and his rugged good looks. It's possible that we may still see Papis because the last we heard he was dating Emerson Fittipaldi's daughter!

We know Emmo will be at the race because he owns a car competing in the race. I will be taking my recording gear to capture some of the sounds of the race. I'm considering having Paul Tracy record a message for my answering machine. It could go something like this:
Hello, this is CART Champion Paul Tracy. You have reached 357-1106. Chris and Charlotte can't come to the phone right now but if you'll leave your name and number, they will call you back as soon as possible. Oh, by the way, I was robbed at the 2002 Indianapolis 500.
There's also a little race in Indianapolis this weekend. The United States Formula One.

The Grand Prix of the Americas will be televised. Look for us in the stands on CBS and check back here because I'll have a few follow-up posts after the race.



I was never much interested in the Punk Rock phenomenon of the late 1970's. I thought it was a waste of energy to be so angry.

For those of you who were into punk (like Mrs. Howell) check out:

Punk 77! Punk Rock in the UK 1976-1979

Link found on Metafilter.


The First and Last Letter

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Fcuknig amzanig huh?

Thanks to The Volokh Conspiracy.


Don't Call Us

I just registered for the national Do Not Call List and boy do I feel great!  You should do it too.


RIP Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon is dead and the world is a much poorer place for it. First Zappa, now Zevon. How come all the great songwriters whose last name starts with Z die?

Yes, you must read this tribute to Zevon from Dave Barry. Thanks to Ken Layne for the tip.

Now, even though I'm unemployed, I'm off to buy Zevon's last album, The Wind.


Ebay Items

I'm selling a few things on Ebay for a neighbor. Check out: 
 Good Luck and Happy Bidding!


Automobile News

Interesting developments in the auto world...

Good news for drug dealers everywhere. Ford announced it will produce an amored Lincoln Town Car. This from WPVI channel 6 in Philly:
The Lincoln Town Car Model is described as a "ballistic vehicle", and is equipped to withstand ammo from high powered rifles and some grenades. The vehicle has much thicker windshield and car windows.

Other than that, the naked eye will not discern a difference between the two, unless the price tags are attached. The standard Lincoln is priced at $40,000 dollars. The Ballistic Model is being sold for $140,000 bucks.
 And it was inevitable. The first car with a million dollar price tag  No, it's not made of gold with diamond-studded tires either. It's the Bugatti Veyron. This is from MSN:
A worthy successor to the elegant and powerful Bugattis of the past, the Veyron 16·4 is powered by a 1001-horsepower W16 quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter engine with all-wheel drive. Bugatti claims this new super car will reach a speed of 252 mph. Acceleration is also impressive–the Veyron can reach 180 mph in just 14 seconds!

The elegant design pays tribute to original Bugatti designs and each car will be custom tailored to exactly the buyer’s specifications.
The Veyron is made by Volkswagon. One thousand horsepower was not enough. This car had to have one thousand and ONE horsepower. Shazam!

The Queen of Horse Power informs me that Formula One champion Michael Schumacher bought the first Veyron. Of course, a million is just pocket change for Schumacher.


Dante Inferno Hell Test

I have taken the Dante's Inferno Test and have not done well. In fact,  I've been banished to the second level of hell. Apparently I'm lustful. And a bad speller.

Second Level of Hell
You have come to a place mute of all light, where the wind bellows as the sea does in a tempest. This is the realm where the lustful spend eternity. Here, sinners are blown around endlessly by the unforgiving winds of unquenchable desire as punishment for their transgressions. The infernal hurricane that never rests hurtles the spirits onward in ts rapine, whirling them round, and smiting, it molests them. You have betrayed reason at the behest of your appetite for pleasure, and so here you are doomed to remain. Cleopatra and Helen of Troy are two that share in your fate.

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to  the Second Level of Hell! Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)High
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)High
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Very High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test.


Canadian GP Definitely Off

After being off, then on the calendar, it appears the Canadian Grand Prix is off for 2004.

Canada's tough new anti-tobacco advertising laws will prevent the running of the Canadian Grand Prix as well as CART races in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. The anti-tobacco laws have put the Player's racing effort out of business also.

Player's race team owner, Gerry Forsyth had a point about how Canadians might react when they realize there will be no auto racing in Canada next year.  I can't seem to find any mention of his comments anywhere on the web. Canada F-1 promoter Normand Legault says there's still a chance the race could be held. Here are his comments from F1-Live.com.
Race promoter Normand Legault confirmed Monday that the race was off the 2004 F1 calendar. "I spoke to him F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone) on the telephone and wee still missing from the 2004 calendar," Legault said. He still held out a little hope however that the race could be rescued. "I think there is still a small chance of getting the race back on the 2004 calendar.
That would be if Bernie Ecclestone accepted that the cars would race without tobacco advertising like they do in France and Great Britain. However without that advertising we would have to find 20 million dollars in sponsorship from somewhere else."
Some people say you get what you pay for, but you also get what you vote for too.


Overthrow the Canadian Government?

On Sunday Gerry Forsyth, owner of the Players CART team, practically called for voters to turn out all Canadian politicians who approved the ban on tobacco advertising. I forget his exact words but he implied that Canada was about to lose Formula One racing, CART racing, and all the money that race fans bring to Canada which is a lot).  I'm looking for some mention of it in other media.


Juicy Gossip

Nothing's better than some juicy Formula One gossip. Who's in? Who's out?  Who's sleeping with Flavio?

Here it is in a nutshell...Montoya out at Williams...Couthard out at McLaren...Montoya to McLaren...Webber to Williams...Couthard to Jaguar. Well that wraps it up nicely, eh? Here's my fav quote from a sportinglife.com story:
Not since Alan Jones' spell at the team has Williams thought so much of a driver, which makes it all the more unlikely Montoya would be forced out over a cash wrangle.
No one works that old black magic like Alan Jones.


Cliff Jumping Safety Rules

In this story from Twin Falls, Idaho, a man was injured after jumping off a cliff in the Snake River Canyon into the water below. According to the story it's not unusual for young people to jump 10 or maybe even 20 feet off these cliffs into the water. As measured by the Twin Falls police, Josh Tucker jumped 131 feet.  He was only about 20 feet from the rim of the canyon.  He suffered a compound fracture of the leg. Tucker said, "It all looks the same after 80 feet."  What is really surprising are the "cliff jumping safety rules" included as a sidebar to the story.
1. Jump feet first.
2. Keep your body completely vertical.
3. Squeeze your feet together.
4. Enter the water feet first, and clench your buttocks together. If you do not, water might rush in and cause severe internal damage).
5. Protect your crotch area by covering it with your hands.
6. Immediately after you hit the water, spread your arms and legs wide and move them back and forth to generate resistance, which will slow your plunge to the bottom.
But beware:* Hitting the water as described above could save your life, although it might break your legs.* If your body is not straight, you can break your back upon entry. Keep yourself vertical until you hit the water.* Do not even think about going in headfirst unless you are absolutely sure that the water is at least 20 feet deep. If your legs hit the bottom, they will break. If your head hits, your skull will break.
This sounds like a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Too bad about that broken leg thing though.


Volvo Station Wagon

I owned a Volvo Wagon.  My wife owned two. The Washington Post takes us back to 1968 and the debut of the Volvo 145 wagon. Here's a snippet:
The cars had disc brakes on all four wheels and a dual-circuit braking system. The body had impact absorbing crumple zones and a collapsible steering column.  When many other automakers were focusing on style and speed, Volvo focused on safety.
A duel-circuit braking system ensures that if the front brakes fail the rears will still work and vice versa.  The front and rear brakes operate independently. Thanks for the look back WashPost!


Blog Neglect

I am guilty of blog neglect. I have been painting my house since July 7. I didn't know it would take this long and be this much of a pain in the ass when I started.


How to Not Pay Alimony

I just discovered a way for Florida men to divorce their wives without splitting half their assets with them.  Do what NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon did, risk your life to make your fortune:
Generally, Florida law requires assets amassed during a marriage to be split evenly, but Jeff Gordon contended he should not have to split the couple's estate because he risked his life to collect it.
According to this news report, courtesy of Yahoo, Gordon is worth nearly $49 million, but settled with his wife Brooke for about $15.3 mil.


The Untamed Continent

The news business is one of death, destruction, and misery. It's just not compelling to report that people are leading healthy, happy, productive lives. Reporters tell us about the plane that crashed, not the thousands that landed safely. When you look to Africa, you don't have to look too far to find a story that's absolutely horrific. The following is from a Yahoo News story by George Gedda:
"There is just no question that Congo has the worst, bloodiest, nastiest conflict in the world, but the amount of attention it has received is negligible," says Scott Pegg, an activist and researcher in African issues. And there is nothing resembling a weapon of mass destruction in the conflict. The weapons of choice for the most part are bows and arrows, machetes, assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. Child soldiers abound. Orphans, some of them under 1 often have little choice other than to join one of the militias doing the fighting.
Because the region is of little strategic interest, major powers show little interest in the fighting. The story talks about the money the Bush administration is sending Africa to fight AIDS. Although I don't have numbers to back up my skepticism, I have to question this quote from Colin Powell:
"You could take all of the lives lost through weapons of mass destruction over the past century ... go through World War I, go through Hiroshima, go through Nagasaki, go through all of them," Powell said two weeks ago. "Put all of those numbers together, multiply by 10 and you don't reach the number of people who will die from HIV/AIDS in the next 12 months."
All the lives lost through weapons of mass destruction over the past century is a lot and 12 months is not a long time. I wish I had the resources to check this out.


Ultimate Altima

It's 2003. The US auto industry has been fighting the Japanese for at least 20 years and it's still not caught up to them. This is from a story in the NY Times:
Nissan's Altima sedan, made at its plant in Smyrna, Tenn., was the most efficiently assembled vehicle in North America, requiring 15.74 labor hours. Two G.M. plants at Oshawa, Ontario, trailed the Altima production line at Smyrna: The plant that makes the Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo required 16.4 hours. The plant that produces the Buick Regal required 17.1 hours.
If it only takes 15.74 hours to build an Altima, why do they cost $23,689?


Guardian for the Fetus

Florida Governor Jeb Bush wants a guardian appointed for a woman's fetus. The woman is 22 years old but is severely retarded and has the mental capacity of a child.  She was raped and is now six months pregnant. This from the Orlando Sentinel:
Susan England with Florida NOW said: "If third parties are allowed to represent the fetus under these circumstances, there is no logical reason they would not seek to do so in the case of a competent pregnant woman considering an abortion or medical treatment detrimental to her fetus."
The state of Florida wants to force this poor retarded woman to give birth.  I mean she doesn't even know her own name. Will the right-to-lifers stop at nothing?


The Dream Team

I have a theory about Ferrari's success in F1. That is: As long as the present management and technical team stays at Ferrari, the success will continue.

When Michael Schumacher came to Ferrari he brought team manager Jean Todt and technical wiz Ross Brawn. In turn, those men brought their preferred technicians and support personnel. There was some speculation that if Michael Schumacher won the 2003 Formula One World Championship he would retire. That would be six titles and he would have surpassed Juan Manual Fangio's five, securing Schumacher's place in the history books.

It looks like Schumacher and the rest of Team Ferrari will be a force for many years to come. Earlier this week, at the Canadian Grand Prix, it was revealed that many of the key Ferrari personnel have signed contracts keeping them with the team until 2006. In this crash.net article via Yahoo Jean Todt confirms my hypothesis:
On the subject of what he felt was his greatest achievement with Ferrari, Todt began by stating he did not like thinking in terms of superlatives. "But the biggest achievement has probably been building this 'dream team'. Now the challenge is to maintain that situation. When you look at what Ferrari has achieved in the past ten years, it is more than any other team in F in terms of wins, championships, but also in the stability of the team.
One team member who has not been signed yet is Rubens Barrichello. His contract expires at the end of this season. This has fueled wild speculation about his future with the team.


Hello, It's Me

I haven't had a chance to post to my web log since the end of May. Well, this corrects that.

I've been busy, buying farm tractors and house paint and other stuff. More later. I promise.


Honeymead ... It Does a Body Good

Why does all the really cool sex research happen in Britain? Sex researchers want to know if the ancient drink, honeymead, will get some newlyweds off to a good start.

Thanks to CNN:
Mead, first brewed in Babylon more than 4,000 years ago making it one of the world's oldest alcoholic drinks, has long been believed to increase fertility and sex drive.

In ancient Persia couples were expected to imbibe the sweet mead every day for one "honey month" -- hence honeymoon -- after they tied the knot to achieve the right frame of mind for a successful marriage.
 Sounds like it might be more fun to pour ON your bride rather than IN your bride.


Scientists Clone a Mule

Scientists have cloned a champion racing mule. What the...a racing mule?

There's a joke in here somewhere about a horse's ass but I'll be damned if I can come up with it.

From Yahoo :

Mules are bred by mating a male donkey with a female horse. The breeding success is about the same as among horses alone. Mating a male horse with a female donkey produces an animal called a hinnie. Both mules and hinnies can be either male or female, but they are almost invariably sterile.

It's not going to be long before this cloning thing gets out of hand.


Blame Me

It's true. I'm responsible for thi.


Shuttle Rescue

When I came home from work last Friday one of the top stories on the NBC Nightly News said the space shuttle Columbia could have been saved.

The story said that NASA could rush the shuttle Atlantis into space as a rescue ship, transfer the Columbia crew to the rescue ship, and return safely to earth.

I knew that a rescue like this was possible, but dangerous. The TV report made it sound almost routine. Well, it turns out to be NOT very likely.

From an Orlando Sentinel report :
"It's nice to say we would have done something,"former shuttle commander Rick Searfoss said, "but you get killed in this business when you wing things like that."
 It\'s easy to slip into these kind of thought experiments about what 'could have' been done to save the Columbia crew.  There are always things that are possible. But that's not the same as 'safe'


Eat the Manatees Club

Here's a lovely story from the Orlando Weekly about a group of good ole Florida boys who poach and eat the endangered West Indian Manatee. The author, Jeffery C. Billman, can't believe it, but I'm not surprised in the least. Here's a bit:
"It's a delicious animal Mr. Billman," he said, looking at my untouched plate. "You really should have a bite." I was tempted. My animal-rights half was outraged, but I had to respect the club's ballsy defiance of the law. And frankly, the meat didn't look that bad; fork tender but not fatty, just a touch of gristle.
I took a poll -- it doesn't taste like chicken. Some club members likened it to tuna, others said it was closer to buffalo. One said it was like pork, with a hint of seafood. One guy asked if I'd ever had possum. When I said no, he told me the two were virtually indistinguishable.
The troublesome thing about the Manatee issue is no one really knows.  Every one has guesses, but no one has irrefutable facts. There's no real science and no real statistics. No one knows exactly how many there are. No one knows exactly how many are killed every year, and how.  No one knows how many there were ten years ago or twenty years ago. The good ole boys may look dumb but maybe they're not as dumb as they look.   Maybe the good ole boys have a point.


One More

I've got time for one more post before the holiday weekend begins. So I'm just going to pick some story at random.

How about...

Canada Widens Probe, Mad Cow Quarantines

It's just a matter of time before this mad cow disease infects US cows. It's already in our wild game. That's why I don't eat deer meat anymore. It's hard for me to imagine a more horrible way to die.


Hunter S. Thompson Quote of Day

From a letter to Loren Jenkins, Newsweek, dated April 24, 1976, as published in Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, 1968-1976.

In this letter Thompson speculates on who will be nominated for the democratic presidential ticket in 1976. His speculation about who would then become president is on-target, considering this was written 5 1/2 months before the election.
If I had to make my final bet right now, I'd have to go with Carter to get the nomination and beat Ford -- but I'm still not sure what to make of it, except that all the alternatives seem a hell of a lot worse, and I honestly doubt if the outcome of this election will make any real difference to anybody. The die is cast, the fat is in the fire, and if the Grim Reaper wants to come on like Jesus, so be it.
 My favorite part is the last sentence which I'm seriously considering for my sig file.


What an Idiot!

This just proves what an IDIOT Jayson Blair is. This Blair quote is from The Observer via USA Today:
"I was either going to kill myself or I was going to kill the journalist persona," he said. "So Jayson Blair the human being could live, Jayson Blair the journalist had to die."
 Blair was going to kill himself? Sounds like Blair was trapped in some sort of gay drama.- USATODAY.com - Ex-reporter Blair 'couldn't stop laughing' at one deception.


Everybody's Doin' It

It appears that the NYPost soundly condemns plagiarism by its freelancers while accepting advertising that facilitates it in college students.


The following screenshots appeared at 10:30am EST at the above link.

Kingdom of Fear Review

A review of the Hunter S. Thompson book, Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century, in The Guardian (UK):

Books | The honest outlaw

There are many great lines in this review but my favorite is:
"I have seen thousands of priests and bishops and even the pope himself transmogrified in front of our eyes into a worldwide network of thieves and perverts and sodomites who relentlessly penetrate children of all genders and call it holy penance for being born guilty in the eyes of the church. Whoops! I have wandered off on some kind of vengeful tangent here."


Be Careful What You Say

Always be careful when posing an argument. You might be going up against a professional who has studied the rules and regulations.

The Tax Cut That Wasn't

I don't own stocks because I don't have the money. I've been a little busy working for money so I can buy a few extras like, oh, FOOD!

If I did own stocks though I would be furious at the so-called tax cut on stock dividends. It is in reality a three-year moratorium.

For more information read this strong opinion from Jacob Levy.

And Virginia Postrel sums up my feelings perfectly when she says.
It's just one more example of why anyone with a brain inevitably develops contempt for Congress.

Then Why Have Teams?

Formula One has banned Team Orders. That's going to be as enforceable as the 55 mph speed limit. Here 's what this weekend 's Austrian Grand Prix winner, Michael Schumacher, said about the "ban" from a  Reuter's report: 
"Whether it's enforceable or not, I don't know," said Schumacher when asked about the new rule at a news conference at the A1 Ring. "Certainly the obvious team orders will be enforceable and we made a clear statement from our point of view on how we are going to do things. There is nothing else to add."

Read between the lines and Schumacher is saying: We will be conducting business as usual, but will be much more subtle about it. There's always any number of unfortunate "accidents" that can befall a car. (like extra long pit stops).

I can't remember the specifics right now, but I have a vague recollection of a championship contender who's car broke, the team manager called his other car into the pits, had the driver get out, and the driver contending the championship was allowed to continue in his teammate's car.

I thought that was the whole reason for fielding a multiple car team; to use the greater numbers to ensure victory. 


Indy Rant

With a few weeks before the Indianapolis 500, it's about time I wrote a little bit about the CART/IRL split.

Tony George has the right to start any type of racing league he wants. He can have any type of rule structure, race any type of car, hold as many races as he likes. I don't believe he has the right, just because he owns the race track, to dictate how the Indianapolis 500 is to be run.

The Indianapolis 500 is an American institution. It's like the Super Bowl, the Kentucky Derby, or the Daytona 500. The owner of the stadium where the Super Bowl is played cannot say that this year we will compete with players from the Canadian football league. That would be absurd. No offense intended, but Canadian players aren't up to the same level as NFL players.

Bill France, the owner of Daytona International Speedway, would be lynched if he said that next year the Daytona 500 will be run with cars from Europe. You know: Fiats, Renaults, and Peugeots.  What would happen if the owner of Churchill Downs said that next May the Kentucky Derby will not be a horse race but a camel race?

I just saw a New York Times article on how less sponsorship money means fewer cars for this year's 500. Traditionally, the 500 has had a field of 33 cars but may not this year. Here's a quote from the article:
But money often trumps tradition. The Indianapolis Star reported yesterday that teams that already have cars in the field have shown little interest in adding cars. Teams have so much cash from their sponsors, and sponsors are not interested in spending more.
 One of the reasons there is less sponsorship money is because of the bad economy. That's clear. But I can't help thinking that part of the reason is because the The Indianapolis 500 just isn't the same caliber race it used to be.

Tony George has the right to form and promote his Indy Racing League. He has the right to race his league at tracks all around the country. But George has taken an American institution, the Indianapolis 500, and made it less than it was; less than it could be. In my opinion, he's ruined it.



The Cutup Machine

This isn't as much fun I thought it was going to be. Try the William S. Burroughs Cutup Machine . I plugged in two N.Y. Times articles:

Study in Hong Kong Suggests a Higher Rate of SARS Death
Turks Reject U.S. Criticism of Opposition to Iraq War

Here's what I got:
epidemic was first detected in March, the White House position on the to 7.2 percent. war. accused France of trying by the World Health Organization had to take NATO hostage and of ranged from 2 percent, when the threatening smaller countries that had backed be among sincerity," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan infectious diseases with the highest death said. Meanwhile, Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's national rates. Until now, fatality rates reported security adviser, bound to change somewhat as an made any mistakes, and has taken epidemic continues. But unless the numbers all the necessary steps in all fall drastically, SARS would opening its doors to people, the first major epidemiological study the American military during the Iraq of the disease suggests. Mortality rates are war. "Turkey, from the very beginning, never 55 percent States deputy defense secretary, suggesting that in people 60 and older, and the country had made a mistake up to 13.2 percent in younger by not The death rate from SARS may Officials in Turkey today rejected criticism be significantly higher than health officials by Paul D. Wolfowitz, the United had thought, up to
If I ever write a book, I'll drop in a paragraph or two of this gobbledygook to confuse and frustrate readers. It also lends an air of artistic pretension.


The Kentucky Derby is STILL Decadent and Depraved

I watched the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. I've always wanted to see the Derby in person. It's one of those Important Sporting Events, like the Indy 500, or the Super Bowl that everyone should see at least once.

This year's race was like a premature ejaculation for the moneyed society elite who thrive on the Derby and it's hoopla. The winning horse, Funny Cide,  is a gelding! The whole reason to enter and win the Derby is to charge millions in stud fees after the race. And if your horse wins the Triple Crown, well, Katie bar the door! It's like winning ten powerball lotteries.

In May 1970, Hunter S. Thompson wrote an article called The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved. I've never been to the Derby but I have friends who have. A friend of mine described the infield at the Derby as a muddy, drunken gathering that includes passed-out revelers, public sex, and general cruelty. I'm going to bet that the Derby is STILL as decadent and depraved as always.

Here's an excerpt from The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved.
Moments after the race was over, the crowd surged wildly for the exits, rushing for cabs and busses. The next day's Courier told of violence in the parking lot; people were punched and trampled, pockets were picked, children lost, bottles hurled. But we missed all this, having retired to the press box for a bit of post-race drinking. By this time we [Thompson and British sketch artist Ralph Steadman] were both half-crazy from too much whiskey, sun fatigue, culture shock, lack of sleep and general dissolution. We hung around the press box long enough to watch a mass interview with the winning owner, a dapper little man named Lehmann who said he had just flown in from Louisville that morning from Nepal, where he'd "bagged a record tiger." The sportswriters murmmered their admiration and a waiter filled Lehman's glass with Chivas Regal. He had just won $127,000 with a horse that cost him $6,500 two years ago. His occupation, he said, was "retired contractor." And then he added, with a big grin, "I just retired."


Stupid Human Trick

This would be funny if it weren't so sad.

A data entry error causes the victim to be arrested for her own beating. I like this quote from State Attorney spokesman Randy Means:
"I'm just amazed that we don't have more problems like this," said Means, who couldn't recall one.
I guess, "Opps, sorry", is an acceptable response as long as you\'re not the one spending the night in jail.

See this Orlando Sentinel article: OrlandoSentinel.com: Orange County News

Geraldo is a Dodo

In 1976 I happened to see an ABC TV story by a young reporter named Geraldo Rivera. I don't even remember what the story was about. I thought it was cool that a member of my generation, some guy with long hair, was doing news reports on TV.

I stopped thinking Geraldo was cool when he did that "Al Capone's basement" thing. It's just gotten worst over the years. I don't even think his real name is Geraldo Rivera. At one time he used the name Jerry Rivers. Now he's just like some carnival freak.

Guess what Geraldo? If you didn't do stupid shit, people wouldn't point at you and laugh. He's now got about as much credibility as the Iraqi Information Minister. This from a CNN story:

"I'm filled with smoldering anger at the grotesque exaggeration fostered by my cable competitors," Rivera writes.

HA! Smoldering Anger!! I'm rolling on the floor with laughter. Here's the whole story: CNN.com - Geraldo attacks news rivals - May. 2, 2003



Former driver Mark Blundell posts his predictions for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix. His choices make a lot of sense. With predictions like this it's fun to be right, but it's also fun to be wrong! Blundell says:
So to sum up, my predictions for the weekend are expect Michael Schumacher to take pole and fastest lap, but I reckon David Coulthard will win with Rubens Barrichello second and Kimi Raikkonen third. Then will come the two Williams' of Juan Montoya and Ralf Schumacher, in fourth and fifth respectively with Mark Webber completing the top six. Will they finish anything like this? Who knows... but enjoy the GP...
Read the whole thing at:Yahoo! Sport - Blundell\'s view: Spanish Grand Prix

Jacques Villeneuve is a Prima Dona

Villeneuve is simply skating along on his reputation. He has not done anything significant in the years he has been with BAR. He says he may want to compete at LeMans. Ha! He should retire to snowmobile racing in Quebec.

Read this from Yahoo and laugh:Yahoo! Sport - JV considering retirement?

What the Hell?

Live Worms Found in Shuttle Debris

What the hell is this supposed to mean? Are these space worms going to mutate and eat the planet? Will guns or bug spray work on these horrible creatures? Will Michael Landon and Steve McQueen come back from the dead?


Hunter S. Thompson Quote of the Day

From a letter to Jim Silberman, Random House, dated May 9, 1971, as published in Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, 1968-1976.

In this letter Thompson attempts to justify the huge expenses associated with covering the Mint 400 motorcycle race in Las Vegas with his friend and attorney, Oscar Acosta.

There is no way to understand the public reaction to the sight of a Freak smashing a coconut with a hammer on the hood of a white Cadillac in a Safeway parking lot unless you actually do it ... and I tell you it's tense. They don't like it at all. It rips their nerve ends in a very extreme way.


Another Simpsons Post

300 reasons why we love the Simpsons from The Observer.

My favorite is number 23:
Ideally, you should be able to watch each episode anew at five distinct stages in life. As a toddler, marvelling at all the bright colours; as a teenager, enjoying the tilts at authority; as a student, relishing the in-jokes and movie references; as an adult, musing on the truths about life, love and death; and in your dotage, marvelling at all the bright colours.

Let's Trade!

Formula One driver Juan-Pablo Montoya and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon will drive each other's cars

What next? Will NHRA Funny Car champ John Force trade with World Rally driver Marcus Grunholm?  How about one of those Bassmaster guys piloting an offshore powerboat?

Mario Andretti at Indy

63-year-old Mario Andretti wrecked Tony Kanaan's IRL car at Indianapolis Speedway yesterday but came away unhurt which is surprising for an IRL car. Andretti put in 50 hot laps and posted a top speed of 225.4 miles per hour. Kanaan is recovering from a broken arm suffered in an earlier accident and may not recover in time to qualify for the Memorial Day classic, the Indianapolis 500. Andretti plans on qualifying Kanaan's car, and then turning it back to him for race day. From the Associated Press Sports Desk
The crash occurred when he hit debris between Turns 1 and 2 at more than 200 mph. After striking the debris, the car went into the air, flipped at least twice and landed on all four tires, said Carol Wilkins, spokeswoman for Andretti Green Racing.
Andretti, the oldest driver to ever test an Indy car, drove more than 50 laps Wednesday and turned a top lap of 225.4 mph. Last year at Indy, the 33rd car in the field had a qualifying speed of 227.096.


Everybody Loves The Simpsons

I know this is a attribution stretch, but try to stay with me. In today's "Media Notes" Howard Kurtz, quotes The Weekly Standard's Alan Jacobs on lefty reporter Robert Fisk.
The substance of his writing is easy enough to indicate: imagine someone taking simultaneous dictation from Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf and Noam Chomsky. The tone--and tone is what makes Fisk Fisk--is perhaps a trifle more elusive of description, but viewers of 'The Simpsons' will perhaps understand when I say that Fisk is the Krusty the Clown of journalism.
I laughed out loud when I read "...that Fisk is the Krusty the Clown of journalism.

Fisk's descriptive power is good, even though I disagree with his political position. Not that I agree with the vehemently right-wing, administration mouthpiece The Weekly Standard either.


Race Results Overturned

It appears that Jordan pilot Giancarlo Fisichella has been ruled the winner in last week's Brazilian Grand Prix. I don't know what took the FIA so long to figure it out. Everyone who saw the race knew Fisichella won. Congrats to Giancarlo and Jordan. Maybe Jordan will be able to pick up some sponsorship now.


Is The Job Done?

I seem to remember that in 1990-91 many people agreed that Saddam was a bad man who should be removed from power. I also seem to remember that some pundits at the time were calling for coalition forces to go ahead and drive to Baghdad to forcibly remove Saddam from power. Maybe they were right. However, because of the wording of the 1991 U.N. resolution, the coalition forces stopped after removing Iraqi forces from Kuwait. It was hoped that Iraqis would rise up and topple Saddam, but that didn't happen.

Now, in 2003, we're paying the price for not dealing with Saddam back then. Would it have been less costly to have removed Saddam from power in 1991? I don't know. I have a hunch that it would have been, considering all the trouble Saddam's been over the past twelve years. Now in 2003, we're driving to Baghdad from Kuwait and removing him from power just like we could have done twelve years ago.

In the last few days, I've heard some pundits talking about how evil Syria is. About how it's also ruled by the Ba'ath party. About how it is a repressive regime. About how it's also developing weapons of mass destruction. About how it has also invaded a neighboring country. I have also heard some pundits saying that freeing Iraq is an example to other repressive regimes in the area and a free and democratic Iraq will be a model for the rest of the Arab world. Will Syria learn from the Iraq example? I don't know. I'm not encouraged.

One could argue that ignoring the U.N. and forcibly removing Saddam from power in 1991 would have been the right thing to do. Since January of this year, that's exactly what we've had to do. Ignore the U.N and do the right thing; invade Iraq to free it and protect our country. Are we doing the right thing by stopping with Iraq? I hope that in twelve years U.S forces aren't back in the Middle East. I hope we don't have to invade Syria in 2015 to free the Syrian people when we could have done it now and saved ourselves a lot of time, trouble, money, and most importantly, lives.

I'm not an advocate of war. But I do believe it's always better to deal with problems sooner, rather than later.


Dreaded Iraqi Army

I've been reading that U.S. forces, in their drive toward Baghdad, have bypassed some Iraqi Army divisions near the border with Iran. This *New York Times article seems to verify that claim and provides another example of why the Iraqi Army is such a feared fighting force.
A group of Marine battalions from Task Force Tarawa swung east today toward Amara, near the Iranian border, to confront the 10th Armored Division of the Iraqi Army and determine whether it intended to surrender.But on the initial approach to the city, there was no Iraqi division to be found. 
"Apparently the 10th Armored capitulated yesterday, but they didn't have anybody to capitulate to," Lt. Col. Glenn Starnes of a Marine artillery battalion said. "The locals around there are saying they stacked their weapons, parked their vehicles and walked away. Right now, there is no enemy that we know of."
I'm going out on a limb and predicting that Baghdad will be pacified by Sunday April 13. I could be wrong. I hope it doesn't take that long.

*NOTE: Registration is required to read New York Times articles on the web.


Saddam ... NOT!

I could tell right away ... this is not Saddam.


Fleeing Baghdad

It appears the mother of all surrenders is underway as described in this article from Reuters. Here's an excerpt:
Reporting from central Iraq, south of Baghdad with the 1st Marine Division, [ABC correspondent Mike] Cerre said U.S. support aircraft had counted more than 60 buses filled with Iraqis fleeing Baghdad.
"What is stopping us now is the flood of deserters and civilians, on buses, trucks, taxicabs and whatever they can catch a ride on, trying to make their way south to their families or American forces to surrender" he said.

Banned in Baghdad

The Iraq war has been filled with examples of the  Iraqi regime's desperation.  Surrendering soldiers who then shoot  fighters hiding in mosques death-squads forcing soldiers to fight at gunpoint and suicide bombers

But a sure sign that the regime is collapsing has to be when you kick out the oh-so-sympathetic Al Jazeera. This is an excerpt of an article from CNN's web site.
A statement read by an Al-Jazeera news anchor said: "The Iraqi Information Ministry told Al-Jazeera office in Baghdad its decision to ban Diar al-Omari, Al-Jazeera's Baghdad correspondent, from practicing his journalistic duties."
Perhaps Saddam is ashamed of his "glorious heroes"?


Is Saddam Alive?

Gregg Easterbrook (who is a great writer) points out today that it\'s been a while since Saddam has been verified alive by anyone outside Iraq:
... it feels ever more significant that it's been twelve days since the "decapitation" attack and there has been no public image of Saddam speaking about any fact that has become known since then.
The following is a scenario I'm hopeful for:

If Saddam is dead, the surrender of Iraqi forces will come quickly and will be a surprise. Coalition forces will fight a tough battle, will enter Baghdad, will begin to close in on the leadership. The leadership, sensing imminent demise, will fold quickly. Some will attempt to flee, some will commit suicide, some will die fighting.

Soon, we shall see if the mustachioed one is still alive.

Peace Activist Etiquette

Got this in an email today. It's a bit facile, but amusing.

With the war going on, many of us will encounter "Peace Activists" who will try and convince us that we must refrain from retaliating against the ones who terrorized us all on September 11, 2001, and those who support terror. 
These activists may be alone or in a gathering.....most of us don't know how to react to them. When you come upon one of these people, or one of their rallies, here are the proper rules of etiquette: 
1. Listen politely while this person explains their views. Strike up a conversation if necessary and look very interested in their ideas. They will tell you how revenge is immoral, and that by attacking the people who did this to us, we will only bring on more violence. They will probably use many arguments, ranging from political to religious to humanitarian.
2. In the middle of their remarks, without any warning, punch them in the nose.
3. When the person gets up off of the ground, they will be very angry and they may try to hit you, so be careful.
4. Very quickly and calmly remind the person that violence only brings about more violence and remind them of their stand on this matter. Tell them if they are really committed to a nonviolent approach to undeserved attacks, they will turn the other cheek and negotiate a solution. Tell them they must lead by example if they really believe what they are saying.
5. Most of them will think for a moment and then agree that you are correct.
6. As soon as they do that, hit them again. Only this time hit them much harder. Square in the nose.
7. Repeat steps 2-5 until the desired results are obtained and the idiot realizes how stupid of an argument he/she is making.
8. There is no difference in an individual attacking an unsuspecting victim or a group of terrorists attacking a nation of people. It is unacceptable and must be dealt with. Perhaps at a high cost.
*We owe our military a huge debt for what they are doing for us and our children. We must support them and our leaders at times like these. We have no choice. We either strike back, VERY HARD, or we will keep getting hit in the nose.
I don't agree with #8 or really any of it. There IS a BIG difference between an individual attacking an unsuspecting victim and a group of terrorists attacking a nation of people. However, the point that both actions are unacceptable is correct. The writer undercuts their own argument by advocating that the reader attack a peace activist.



A UPI report says Iraqi troops were pounded with airstrikes and artillery fire after falling for a strategic trap set by U.S. Marines.

This is my favorite quote:
"This is miserable. This has got to be the ass-end of the world," Lance Cpl. Gregory Moll, from Harrisburg, Pa., commented.
This UPI writing style is very graphic, very descriptive. I like it. It sounds like war reporting from Vietnam.


War Plans

It appears that the U.S.'s Iraq disarmament plan (war plan) has multiple layers of increasing violence, complexity, and flexibility. To date, it seems to have unfolded this way:

Plan A -- Bellicose rhetoric forces Saddam to seek asylum in another country. Coalition forces (U.S. forces) enter Iraq unopposed.

Plan B -- U.S. in contact with senior Iraqi army officers. Encourage Iraqi army officers to assassinate or otherwise depose Saddam.

Plan C -- War -- Target Saddam with precision munitions. Kill Saddam. Enter Iraq unopposed.

Plan D -- Shock and Awe -- Intense targeted bombing campaign causing the immediate demoralization of Iraqi leadership and surrender of Iraqi forces. Assassination or otherwise removal of Saddam.

Plan E -- Coalition forces rapidly sweep through Iraq to the outskirts of Baghdad. As Iraqi leadership realizes that resistance is futile, Saddam is assassinated or otherwise removed.

Plan F -- Because of stiff resistance, U.S. forces remain in place. Target and destroy any opposing forces. Keep supply lines open. Secure rear areas. Regroup and re-supply for main assault on Baghdad.

Who knows how the plan will change in the days and weeks ahead. Be surprised at nothing. Although right now it seems as though the war will go on for weeks, it could still end sooner. A trusted Iraqi general with a bullet for Saddam could end this war in 24 hours.

Mi Monkeys Esta Aqui!

Some of my monkeys came home. Chewy is still missing.


I Can Write as Good as This Guy

I have been doubting my writing ability lately ... until I read this from a so-called professional newspaper writer.
If you've been following the war in Iraq in the American media, you might be getting a different idea of it than people in other countries.
He utterly and completely fails to give examples of how the media in other countries are presenting war news. This article is not cohesive and unconvincing. After reading this I'm pretty sure I could do as well ... probably better.


Donde Esta Mi Monkeys?

Who stole my monkeys?


Local War Effort

There are a number of defense contractors here in the Central Florida area. A division of Lockheed-Martin missile guidance systems are in south Orlando. We have the Harris Corporation, Northrup-Grumman, Boeing, and others along the east coast. Many smaller contractors support the space shuttle. There's also quite a few computer-simulation research facilities near the University of Central Florida.

There's an article in today's Orlando Sentinel on computerized weapons

Here's a description of some of the more high-tech weapons developed in Central Florida.
...One of the key components on the battlefield will be a flying command post built in Melbourne by Northrop Grumman -- the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar Systems, or Joint STARS. 
Think of a Joint STARS as the director's chair in the theater of battle. Flying miles above Earth, the plane is packed with a huge arsenal of electronics that coordinates a battlefield. It gathers vast amounts of data from the ground and air. Using Global Positioning System satellites, the Joint STARS can direct an airstrike against enemy positions almost as quickly as they are identified. 
The joint air-to-surface stand-off (JASSM), built by Lockheed Martin\'s Missiles and Fire Control Division in Orlando and Dallas, is an advanced missile that might be used in combat for the first time in Iraq. The stealthy weapon with a range of 200 miles is satellite-guided and uses an infrared device to recognize targets.
Precision guided weapons have come a long way since the first Gulf War. This is going to be one of the reasons why this war will be short with fewer US lives lost.


Don't Forget The Grunts

The men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces are our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, etc. They are our friends, neighbors and co-workers.

There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of debate about the war. But that debate has been about whether our leadership is right or wrong. No matter what side you come down on, you have to wish our service men and women the best.

May God bless them and keep them safe.


Auto Racing in Switzerland

The 1955 Le Mans race may be the most remembered motor race in history. A rear axle from a flaming, tumbling Mercedes flew off the car and into the crowd killing eighty-four spectators.

The race was also the scene of a titanic struggle between Britain and Germany, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz. Stirling Moss and Juan-Manuel Fangio in a Mercedes 300SLR equipped with a flap air-brake held off the challenge of the disc-braked D-Type Jaguar of Mike Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb. Mercedes withdrew their team after the accident - and from racing for more than thirty years - and the Jaguars went on to score a 1-2-3 clean sweep.

After that deadly race, Switzerland outlawed automobile racing. Now it seems they may allow auto racing again.
According to reports in the Motorsport Aktuell, a member of the Nationalrat, the Swiss national parliament, has initiated a bill to lift the ban on motor racing in Switzerland in the hope that the Formula One circus may return there in the future.
A Swiss Grand Prix race makes a lot more sense than this.


Not The War

What with all the war talk I'll write about something else. Many other web sites have the war thing covered anyway.

We went to Sebring, Florida this past weekend to experience the 51st running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring sports car race.

Charlotte and Max Papis
The cars were fast and we had a great time despite a torrential downpour that threatened to wash us away Friday night.

In my excitement at just being there, I picked probably the worst spot to camp in the entire track. We were camped beside the road that takes cars over the bridge into the infield. A steady stream of cars paraded by Friday night spewing exhaust fumes on our tent accompanied by with all the sounds of drunken revelry. Periodic war whoops, screaming girls, breaking bottles, racing engines with loud mufflers, car horns of all kinds including those diesel-rig blasts. We also had a travel trailer right next to us with one of those little lawn-mower-engine-powered generators running.

I finally tried to go to sleep at midnight. Charlotte was already asleep, although for the life of me I don\'t know how with all the racket. The party went on right outside our tent until at least 2 or 3 in the morning. And to top it off, our air mattresses leaked all their air out and before long we were sleeping on the hard, hard ground.

The next day, Saturday, started foggy but turned clear and sunny. There were some clouds and after Friday's tropical rains I was a little worried that we would get wet. Because I carried two umbrellas with me all day it didn't rain.

I was surprised at how fast the Bentley's were. The Audi R-8 has been the undisputed leader in the American LeMans Serries for the past few years, but the Bentley's were putting in higher top speeds during qualifying. They qualified faster than the Audi's but because of some rule violation the Bentley's had to start from the back of the grid.

Shortly after the start of the race the Bentley's slashed their way to the front of the field. For most of the last half of the race the top cars were:

1. Champion Audi R8
2. Joest Audi R8
3. Bentley Speed 8
4. Bentley Speed 8
5. Audi U.K.
6. Panoz

Near the end of the race the Champion Audi had to pit for a mandatory driver change. The lead went to the Joest Audi and they went on to win the race.

We had a great time and want to go back next year (with better accommodations, however). Charlotte got to meet one of her favorite drivers, Max Papis, and I got to ogle some shapely race babes.

You can see pictures of the event here.


Sebring Testing

It appears that even though the Audi's are not factory backed, they are still the class of the field.

According to Crash.net:
For the second consecutive day, Emanuele Pirro was on top of the speed charts Tuesday as American Le Mans Series teams tested their cars for Saturday's season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Pirro, the 2001 American Le Mans Series champion, drove the ADT Champion Audi R8 to a lap of 1m 49.819s, fastest of the 46 cars that recorded times during Tuesday's unofficial testing session.
Pirro will co-drive with Stefan Johansson and JJ Lehto in Saturday\'s race.
Frank Biela, driving the Infineon Team Joest Audi R8, was second-fastest on Tuesday with a lap of 1:49.824.
Unfortunately, Max Papis was not mentioned as recording a good time.


Joe Strummer Autopsy Results

For those of you who never heard the results of Joe Strummer's autopsy, here they are courtesy of Arrow 93FM in Los Angeles:
(12/30/02) -- Autopsy results from the death of The Clash's frontman, Joe Strummer, were released late last week. As expected, the report confirmed that Strummer, 50, died of a sudden cardiac arrest - his death was not drug related. Strummer died at his home in England after returning to his house after walking his dog. His wife, Lucinda, found him and tried to revive him, but to no avail. Strummer is survived by his wife, two daughters and a stepdaughter.
It's funny, but these results were never announced in the mainstream media. At least I missed them and I was looking for them. I guess it's because Strummer died of a heart attack and not an angst-filled, romantic drug-alcohol mix. A rocker who dies of natural causes isn't news.

Oh well, Strummer was great anyway and was honored with induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the rest of The Clash last night.

Cat Scan

I received this in an email from my old friend Mark Drummond:

A woman brought a very limp parrot into a veterinary surgeon. As she lay her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest. After a moment or two, the vet shook his head sadly and said, "I\'m so sorry, Polly has passed away. 
The distressed owner wailed, "Are you sure? I mean, you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something?" The vet rolled his eyes, shrugged, turned and left the room returning a few moments later with beautiful black Labrador.
As the bird's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the dead parrot from top to bottom. He then looked at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head. 
The vet patted the dog and took it out but returned a few moments later with a cat! The cat jumped up and also sniffed delicately at the ex-bird. The cat sat back, shook its head, meowed, and ran out of the room. 
The vet said, "The parrot is most definitely 100% certifiably dead." He then turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill which he handed to the woman.
The parrot's owner, still in shock, took the bill. "$150!" she cried. "$150 just to tell me my bird is dead?!" The vet shrugged. "If you'd taken my word for it, the bill would only have been $20, but........what with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan..."


Albert Park Wrap

It appears the new Formula One rules and the rain certainly mixed things up in Melbourne, Australia this past weekend. Michael Schumacher lost the race because his team failed him in the pits. Rest assured THAT won't happen again. I can almost hear Michael screaming from here.

Michael's brother Ralf continued his lackluster performance. It seems as though his heart just isn't in his racing.

I thought Villenueve was finally going to live up to expectations, but alas it was not to be. Hey Jacques! If your not going to drive to win, get out of the sport!

Couthard's winning strategy was the same one used by Carlos Sainz in the Turkey Rally: Wait for everyone in front of you to either crash or break.

Raikkonen deserved to win but didn't and Montoya almost won and didn't deserve it.

I thought Firman looked good. The Renault team looks like they are serious about winning this year. Barrichello continues to be the hard-luck kid by sliding out early on an oil patch.

My favorite big-dollar team continues to be Williams-BMW. My favorite small-dollar team this year is Sauber.

Michael Schumacher will retire at the end of the year if he wins another world title (if that's the case Reubens will be canned also).

Renault will replace Jordan as the best after Ferrari, McLaren, and Williams.

Ford management will decide they are not getting a good return for their marketing dollar and dissolve the Jaguar team after the end of the season.


Hunter S. Thompson Quote of the Day

A memo from the Rolling Stone magazine National Affairs Desk, August 1972, as published in Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, 1968-1976. Here Thompson uses great imagery to describe the motivation of presidential candidates:
The dumb bastards [wild elk] lose all control of themselves when the rut comes on. Their eyes glaze over, their ears pack up with hot wax, and their loins get heavy with blood. Anything that sounds like a cow elk in heat will fuse the central nervous systems of every bull on the mountain. They will race through the timber like huge cannonballs, trampling small trees and scraping off bloody chunks of their own hair on the unyielding bark of the big ones. They behave like sharks in a feeding frenzy, attacking each other with all the demented violence of human drug dealers gone mad on their own wares. A career politician finally smelling the White House is not much different from a bull elk in the rut. He will stop at nothing, trashing everything that gets in his way; and anything he can't handle personally he will hire out -- or, failing that, make a deal. It is a difficult syndrome for most people to understand, because few of us ever come close to the kind of Ultimate Power and Achievement that the White House represents to a career politician.

Pro- or Anti-War

Matt Welch asks ...

About That War: How many of you are still undecided, conflicted, Gollum-like, etc.? Seems a large portion of my group of thirty-something Blue-state friends -- the vast majority of whom supported the Afghan campaign -- have been untouched by the Certainty Fairy.

I've been reading Welch for a long time and think that politically we are very similar. For example, since September 11th, I've been feeling a little less left-wing liberal, less in line with Democrats. Although, I certainly don't align with the Republicans on much of anything. If anything I'm more libertarian. I'm still pro-choice, don't mind paying taxes (even higher taxes if we get more services) and I still believe in public education. That means I'm against school vouchers. However, I'm conservative on crime issues. I'm for three-strikes laws and I'm pro-death penalty.

Last October ... NOT for the war. Now ... FOR the war.

After hearing Bush talk about war on Iraq for the first time I thought, "Wait a minute. The U.S. people are not the type to make unprovoked war on another country.

But since autumn I've been reading and listening to a lot of arguments for and against invading Iraq. Listening to intelligent arguments changed my mind.

I find it difficult to say "for the war" because it sounds so much like I'm "for war". I'm not "pro-war", but who is? It's better to characterize my feelings as "pro-liberation".

Didn't we try sanctions and negotiation. That path did\'t work. Now it's time to try something different.

One of the problems I see today is that a lot of people are confusing the war issue. The quarrel is NOT with the people of Iraq or the country of Iraq. Bush does not want to harm the people of Iraq. His problem is with the dictator, Saddam Hussein. The people of Iraq want to be free from Hussein.

It is always a shame when innocent civilians are killed in a war. For that matter, it's a shame when anyone anywhere loses their life for ANY reason. It's not right, but even the people of Iraq know that innocent deaths are necessary to be free.

This Iraq war could be the worst thing to happen to the world in my lifetime. It could trigger another world war or cause world-wide economic collapse. It's a big gamble, but you've got to gamble big to win big. The Iraq war could be the first step toward making the world a much safer place for the next 50 years.

Everyone has to work out the war issue for themselves. I however, will not weep when Saddam, his brutal son Uday, and the rest of the "Tikrit Mafia" have JDAMs stuffed up their rears.