"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Career Hummering Along

The Indie rock group The Thermals turned down $50,000 from Hummer, maker of fine large automobiles, who had sought the right to use their song It's Trivia in a commercial (for full story click here). Two other bands followed suit for similar reasons--Hummers are anti-environment, gas guzzlers. For principled musicians these musicians certainly compromise on, well, principles.

OK, so they won't accept Hummer money. Do they accept money from concertgoers who own Hummers? How about CD buyers who drive Hummers?

Did The Thermals investigate to see how many Hummer owners make donations to pro-environment organizations? What percent of wealthy Democratic National Committee donors--people who throw money at "pro-environment" causes--drive Hummers?

What's The Thermals’ relative degree of personal consumption of gas? Musicians get their music heard by way of record sales, illegal downloads. and gas guzzling touring. Successful "pro-environment" bands either tour in gas guzzling vans, gas guzzling buses, or gas guzzling jets. Led Zeppelin used to have its own jet. Phil Collins flew the Atlantic once to play two continents in one day? How many pelicans died from lung cancer or heat stroke that fateful day?

The Thermals
use instruments partially made from wood no doubt. Is this not anti-Rain Forest? They buy clothing and shoesing necessitating the furtherance of American Empire dependance on Middle East oil. Does this not make them pro-UAE port ownership of American ports?

Jesus spoke of letting the weeds and grass grow together. Alienating Hummerians won't win them over but rather tweak them into excessive Hummering on weekends for the purposes of antagonizing Thermals and those cut from a like polyester (see: product, oil) cloth.

Pulling a Jacobellis

As a practicing observationalist I continually get a kick out of journalists—those individuals that purport to be unbiased people just dispensing interesting information as they dig it up. The Lindsey Jacobellis snowboarding incident was a veritable hoot for not only journalists, but the Olympic media people too.
To refresh, Lindsey was the 20-year-old American snowboard whiz expected to contend for a medal in the woman’s snowboard cross event. Four chicks snowboarding over jumps and through tight turns until the finish line became a rearview mirror thing. In the four-chick finals Lindsey had a commanding lead with two jumps to go and one racer awaiting a stretcher a few turns back. On the next to the last jump Lindsey wiped out. She would finish second and take the silver.
The color commentator insisted she was showboating on the jump resulting in her posterior drag through the powder. It looked exactly like what the experts called “The Method.” Lindsey denied she was showboating in her first post-race interview. She claimed grabbing her board was to stabilize her jump that was somewhat off-line. Later she would also claim the wind was a problem too—another reason to grab the board.
In her interview with Bob Costas later in the day the showboating inquiry resurfaced. She said it was a “possibility” that she was showboating but that things were happening fast. So after two interviews there was not yet a solid confession.
Back to journalists. The Denver Post and the New York Times both insisted she showboated. They’re likely right. However, they should have reported what Jacobellis stated, to stay within the unwritten rules of journalism.
The color commentator with Costas stated her flub was unprecedented in sports, relative to its statue—gold medal at stake; Olympic worls stage, etc. What made this incident unique was the showboating and subsequent loss of the big enchilada—the gold medal. Had she won, or if this was a high school lacrosse match then the story never would have achieved legs. But this was prime time in Torino.
Observationally speaking, the media pumped this event up at the expense of Jacobellis to up its ratings. The journalists inserted its opinion at the expense of reporting to sell more papers. I suppose Jacobellis will eventually come clean if this was truly more than a board stabilizing tactic, and indeed simply a crowd-pleasing move intended to punctuate her perceived gold medal performance. Jacobellis’ probable song and dance is no less offensive than the blathering of the so-called rational, unbiased experts exploiting her misfortune to further their hypocritical careers. Perhaps they deserve each other.
Imagine the outcry if the New York Times headlines read, “O.J. Simpson killed his wife but denies it. Jury selection begins tomorrow.”

More Bode

The press has been on American Olympic skier Bode Miller's case for about a fortnight. His lackadaisical attitude, partying, basketball hooping and more have all been excruciatingly scrutinized. It's as if he was an epoetin alpha-free Austrian with a pocketfull of tuberculin syringes or something.

For a clan of media fed up with him days ago there has been no shortage of attention on his fifth and final Olympic event today. He unmedaled again and the press was there to pounce and rip open his old wounds.

Maybe Bode didn't care. Maybe he's pretending he doesn't care, but he does, just to aggravate the media.

Athletes of that caliber generally put an inordinate emphasis on winning. You can't blame them but it is true that "obedience is better than sacrifice." Winning isn't preeminent and trying to win doesn't preempt that belief. Bode will not come clean with the press so they'll continue to deboot him until the next Sasha Cohen comes along.

When Coed Sports Aren’t

The recent (Feb 16-18) state wresting tournament in Denver, Colorado included a host of guys... and one girl. The girl lost her first match and her consolation match.
Generally coed sports are fun and recreational in nature. Slow-pitch softball comes to mind. A state wrestling tournament is dead serious for the most part. The tourney should not have been coed. The male opponent would have been better served to either disqualify himself, immediately allow himself to get pinned or just refused to wrestle until the officials did the disqualifying. Who knows? Such chivalry may have been met by reassignment with a male opponent. The fact the matches went forth testifies poorly on several fronts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ah, Sure is Evil

Ashura. The mere mention of the word/Muslim holiday (February 9) evokes memories of... well, not much. Why? The American press chooses to ignore it. I imagine they would find it difficult to run their Ramadan stories every year if they covered Ashura.

Ashura is a commemoration of a battle wherein Mohammad's (the false prophet) grandson Imam Husain was killed (in 680 A.D.). The commemoration, confined to the Shi'ites in a handful of predominatly Muslim countries, is marked by male celebrants taking to the streets to flagellate themselves with chains and knives until they work up a good bleed.

Below are links to sites with more information on Ashura, including sites with vivid, bloody and gruesome pictures. The ones involving children are controversial. Some say the parents cut the children's heads while others claim the blood is fake.

Next time you hear someone extol the "virtues" of the Koran, Ramadan or Mohammad, remember Ashura.

Yahoo's site

Free Republic's site

Reuter's site

Newstatesman's site

When Messages Conflict

Sharen and Mike Gravelle of Wakeman, Ohio are under investigation for locking their eleven children (aged one to 14) in cages. One son said he had been made to sleep in a cage for 3 years. (Click here to read the BBC account).

The vast majority of people understand this to be cruel and intolerable conduct. However, if the Gravelles were products of the public school system, where students are taught we're related to many animals of which we lock in cages, they have a "reasonable" case. "Reasonable" in an academic and logical sense, yet the courts haven't sunk to such a low level as to make this extrapolation.

If the Gravelles are found guilty then they deserve the full brunt of the law.

One final thought--who exactly approved the Gravelles to be foster and adoptive parents in the first place?

Will on Coburn

Columnist George Will wrote a good piece on Tom Coburn (R-OK) and his efforts to reduce spending by his colleagues on their perky pork projects. As one might expect Sen. Coburn is not very popular in the senate but his failure to play well with others benefits the wallets and ourses for the rest of us. It will be interesting to see what sort of greed Sen. Coburn can dredge up and expose in the generally pompous senate as a whole over the next few years.

BB Mea Culpa

About 32 years ago I accidentally hit my brother near the eye due to an accidental firing of my BB gun. I intended to come forward immediately with this information but failed to do so. My bad.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tora, Tora, Torino

The Olympics are increasingly becoming less and less interesting for a number of reasons. First, with the advent of the Internet it's too tempting to look up results as one's schedule permits rather than wade through hours of TV coverage to experience the events via that mode.

Athletes are more pampered and spoiled than ever. Exceptions duly noted, for the record. Some USA women snowboarders (eventual medal winners) broke the local laws at the Torino games and went snowboarding in an out-of-bounds area. American men's Downhiller Bode Miller informed the press recently that he has skied while drunk. Some female curlers have done some semi-nude shots (This likely ties in with the extraordinarily low popularity of curling). American men's figure skater Johnny Weir wears a Russian throwback jersey to practice. (Is it time to add "men's figure skater" to the list of oxymorons?)

The events themselves are largely off the radar screen for most people. Who cares about lugers other than other lugers? Americans love football and Europeans love soccer (the game with the round ball). Kenyans run but really aren't in to archery. When we read "giant slalom" we immediately think someone has misspelled salmon.

The influence of bling. Whichever network covers the games produces it in such a way to appeal to females, not males. Exceptions duly noted, for the record. The TV coverage generally contains 67.09 minutes of meat. Dramatic and/or promoted events are held to the end.

Then there's the wipe-outs. Agony-of-defeat stuff. Footage of wipe-outs (downhillers and lugers generally) that used to be the lead-in promo material in the 70s are now either censored or excerpted somewhat here in the twenty zeros. Imagine the billions of NASCAR fans that don't tune in to the Olympic because of this editing decision.

Pairs skating. Who knows anyone who has gone to see pairs skating? And how long before a pair of males or a pair of females will demand inclusion in pairs skating? The first quintuple axle will likely be a 275lb male flinging a 102lb male into the air with the greatest of ease.

Having said all this, the Olympics are still fun to watch. One just has to put up with a lot of fluff to get enjoy the better moments.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Peace and Dynamite

Alfred Bernhard Nobel is well-known as the namesake of the Nobel Peace prize. He also invented dynamite ("explosive nitroglycerine") in 1867 (Patent #78,317). This was one of 355 patents he was awarded.

One generally doesn't equate peace with dynamite, but when you consider the usefulness of dynamite to the mining industry I suppose eventually one can equate dynamite with "worldly peace."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

When Open is Closed

The bumper sticker read, "A closed mind is a wonderful thing to lose." This was seen in a touristy souvenir shop alongside another sticker featuring multiple "f-bombs." The rolling papers and bongs were stocked near the back of the shop. There were some tasteful items for sale so it wasn't a totally combustible atmosphere.

In a subculture that clearly "questions authority" it's typical to hear or read proclamations of their openmindedness, and to be reminded of the closedmindedness of society at-large (i.e. anyone that holds to a different world view). Ironically, this subculture is also quick to recite another of it's notable commandments--I think if something makes you happy then that's great--quite frequently. What's unstated is this commandment is unilaterally revocable if what makes you happy ticks them off.

The closedmindedness of the author of this bumpersticker is a wonderful thing to have redeemed.