Monday, January 31, 2005

Top 11 Reasons Nihilist in Golf Pants Should Be Elected to Congress

The astute political observers at the Kool Aid Report are calling for Nihilist in Golf Pants to run for Mark Kennedy’s congressional seat in the event that Kennedy runs for the Senate. Needless to say, this is a brilliant idea. Here are just the top 11 reasons that Nihilist in Golf Pants should be elected to Congress:

11. It would be worth it just to see the look on Nancy Pelosi’s face.

10. He could lobby for the appointment of his friend Sisyphus to the National Endowment for the Arts.

9. Say goodbye to the federal liquor tax.

8. Four words whispered to President Bush: Chief Justice Learned Foot.

7. Why not? Thanks to John Kerry, it’s now possible for former Khmer Rouge gun runners to serve in Congress.

6. Nick Coleman would no longer have to harass the homeless to come up with column ideas.

5. More no-bid contracts for Halliburton!

4. The House of Representatives currently lacks a really good Elvis impersonator.

3. His environmental policies would help bring on the End Times.

2. No one could ever again accuse Power Line of blindly supporting any Republican.

1. Congressional staff jobs all around for the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers!

James Lileks Fires Back

JB may have unwittingly brought the rhetorical powers of Lileks down on us. Now he's going out of his way to make us look bad, this time suggesting we don't support the successful Iraqi elections. Here is the false accusation from today's Bleat (emphasis mine):

Here's a winner from the snarky ahistorical nihilist wing:

Yay, we're spreading our form of government to the dark people! Kinda reminds me of how the USSR wanted to spread Communism to free people of capitalist dictatorships.

Many people strive for that level of incoherence, but few achieve it with such conciseness.

Sigh. I know James is too careful to name us, but he knows that when his readers see the word "nihilist," they immediately think "in golf pants." Ahistorical? Well, it's been written that extreme bloggers such as us don't know anything that happened before last Tuesday. And although we proudly strive for the highest levels of incoherence, we seldom achieve it concisely.

A Touch of Class, Part II

Art appreciation is breaking out all over the internet as a result of my first attempt to class up our clientele here at Nihilist in Golf Pants. The Warrior Monk has expanded upon our initial discussion to examine the Austrian expressionist Egon Schiele. I admit that I usually prefer less abstract work, but the Warrior Monk did open my eyes to a genre that I perhaps under appreciate.

For this episode, let’s go back to the beginning, or at least the re-birth. Scholars often trace the beginning of the renaissance to the 14th century when the poet Petrarch is said to have climbed a tall hill for no other reason than to be inspired by the view. Renaissance painting didn’t reach its peak until the early 16th century with the likes of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian. Most everyone is familiar with Da Vinci and Michelangelo, so let’s take a look at the often overshadowed Raphael and Titian.

Raphael’s studio in Rome was one of the most active in that vibrant city due to Raphael’s talent, charisma, good nature, and knack for landing Vatican commissions. His studio continued on successfully even after his death in 1520 at age 37, making it sometimes difficult for experts to determine whether a painting was by Raphael or another of his studio. We can, however, be reasonably sure that Raphael painted "La Fornarina" himself. La Fornarina was painted the year of Raphael’s death in 1820 and is on display at the Galleria Barberini, Rome. (As an aside, to see that gossip mongering is not a recent phenomenon, see this painting by Ingres).

At about the time Raphael was in his heyday in Rome, there was emerging perhaps an even greater genius in Venice: Titian (pronounced Tish-in, Beavis). Although Venice didn’t have the commission opportunities that were available in Rome, Titian had almost the entire scene to himself. His technical aptitude has rarely, if ever, been surpassed as can be seen in these Venus paintings: "Venus of Urbino" from the Uffizi in Florence, "Venus with a Mirror", from the National Gallery of Art, and "Venus Anadyomene" from the excellent Titian collection at the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh.

(Click here for my first episode of A Touch of Class.)

The Great Thing About Small Towns

This weekend I spent some quality time with the wife at her mother's home in Grand Forks. We decided to get takeout from a favorite nearby restaurant called the Italian Moon to feed the family. We ordered a small bucket of chicken, two submarine sandwiches, french fries, a taco and an order of nachos. The total bill, $24.09. When we told the guy we would wait for the order, he asked us if we would like complimentary beers while we waited. That's the kind of service you just don't get in the Twin Cities.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

From A Reader

Reader JL writes:
I noticed that you gents like to poke gentle fun at members of the Northern Alliance. I’ve gone through the archives at Fraters Libertas and come up with some out of context quotes by JB Doubtless. One and only one of the quotes is fake.

I've been enjoying two exceptional single malts recently.

Booze and nurses...that oughtta get our google ads going.

He also had 2 cases of Milwaukee's Best and immediately offered us one.

I stopped into the Sam's Buze Mart Club or whatever it's called yesterday in search of a large, cheap bottle of high quality bourbon,

So, after weighing my choices, I snatched a bottle of the exquisite Baker's ($30), a 107 proof, smooth, yet complex sipping bourbon that is especially welcome in the winter months and brought it to the counter.

I grabbed the Sam’s Buze Mart clerk by the lapels, and fixed my gaze on his pimpled face. “What do you mean you quit carrying Zima? That stuff is the nectar of the gods!"

Gin is so much more adult, so much more masculine than vodka.

anyone who says that a really cold bottle of Bud doesn't taste damn good on a hot day is full of garbage.

Hey, Kool Aid!

Bill Moyers writes what might be the most genuinely insulting columns against Christianity today, blaming it for the destruction of the environment (his religion).

Of course this is a warmed-over tactic from the Reagan years, complete with a flogging of favorite 1980's whipping boy James Waat. I remember being told that since Reagan believed in the bible that he just accepted that he would be president during the "end times," so he was free to start a nuclear war? In fact, I often heard this view expressed by Star Tribune letter writers and teachers in my Catholic high school. Whatever happened to Reagan's nuclear war?

Now Bush and the Christians are getting busy bringing about Armageddon by supporting Israel, liberating Iraq, and refusing to ban the use of the internal combustion engine (except of course for a few elites like Mr. Moyers.)

I know that the Kool Aid report guys register 160/120 on the blood pressure meter when reading the Strib editorial page. Is it too much to ask for a good fisking of the lead item from the Sunday Op Ex section by 9 am?

Same As It Ever Was

I spent the better part of today at as a guest of the Atomizer and his lovely wife. He had a plumbing chore to do and, having some experience with the subject matter, I offered my assistance. We dispatched with the project within a couple of hours and then, Summits in hand, sat in his family room and listened to the Northern Alliance Radio Network.

While listening to the boys, Atomizer fired up the TV, with the sound turned down. Watching in such a way significantly limits a viewers choices, so Atomizer clicked through dozens of stations, attempting to find the perfect visual accompaniment to Mitch Berg's episode of true confessions. Suddenly, Atomizer hit the jackpot. A Minnesota Vikings game highlight film, caught right at the beginning. I would like to chronicle this game for you, gentle readers.

The Vikes got off to a slow start and appeared to be ill prepared. Their opponent got two good scoring chances on their first two possessions, but settled for field goals to go up 6-0. The Viking offense just couldn't get the running game going, and gave up another field goal midway through the second quarter.

All things considered, the Vikings could have been down 21-0 at this point. But they were merely down 9-0. This was obviously gut check time. A touchdown drive would put them right back in the game. The Vikings fumbled the kickoff and quickly were down 16-0.

In the third quarter, the Vikings #11, a quarterback the size of the opponents linebackers, rallied the team with his arm and with a well timed run on route to a long touchdown drive. It was 16-7 midway through the third quarter. Now if the defense could only get a stop, the Vikes could make a game of it. The opposing quarterback hit a receiver on a short sideline pattern, which should have yielded a gain of no more than ten yards. However, two separate Viking defenders made weak tackle attempts and the receiver sprinted for a 46 yard touchdown. The game ended 23-7.

I'm sure astute readers have already figured out that Atomizer and I were watching the highlights of Super Bowl IV featuring quarterback Joe Kapp, played 35 years ago against the Kansas City Chiefs. It should also be noted that going into the game, oddsmakers had installed the Vikings as 13 point favorites (about twice the 6 1/2 points that the New England Patriots are favored for Super Bowl XXXIX - and they are considered heavy favorites).

Atomizer and I were both two years old when this game was played, and not surprisingly, neither of us remember it. But in a way we do. For our entire lives, we have been watching this piss poor Vikings performance. The names change, but the season always ends the same way, in disappointment. How many times can we watch a great quarterback run for his life, because his blocking fails? How many times can we watch the defense pat a guy on the back as he sprints by them on his way to the end zone? How many times can we watch the vacant look of failure from the Vikings bench? This team is the sporting equivalent of the movie Groundhog Day.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Have the Moonbats Steered Me Wrong?

In retrospect, it may have been a bad idea to make an investment decision based on the delusions of conspiracy minded lefties. I’m talking about my inauguration day purchase of 100,000 shares of Halliburton stock.

Yesterday Halliburton released its fourth quarter earnings and it turns out that Halliburton lost $201 million in the fourth quarter. The stock price has dropped to the point where I’ve now lost $78k (enough to finance 7.8 Randy Moss pretend moonings).

What happened to the sweet Caspian Oil deal that Michael Moore was telling us about? Haven’t Bush and Cheney stolen all of the Iraqi oil and given it to Halliburton yet? Maybe I should be a little more patient, but I’m starting to believe that the moonbats have steered me wrong.

Where Are My Manners?

As you know, I constantly comb the ends of the earth in search of rare blogging talent. I have added another jewel to the crown that is Nihilist in Golf Pants. He is a reclusive mystery man who tentatively agreed to go by the moniker "Jerktown Romeo." This would have been a great moniker for several reasons. First of all, the term comes from the Garrison Keilor rant that inspired this blog. For the record, Saint Paul of uber-hip Fraters Libertas suggested, no commanded, me to start this blog and use this name. Another reason that "Jerktown Romeo" is a great name is it is reminiscent of George Costanza's would be witty rejoinder to a co-worker's insult.

Co-worker: George, the ocean called. They're all out of shrimp!

George: Oh yeah, well the Jerk Store called. They're all out of you!

Co-worker: What's the difference? You're their best seller!

George: Oh yeah, well I had sex with your wife!

Bystander: His wife's in a coma.

Anyway, the Jerkstore Romeo (which is what I would have called him) must have gotten air of my diabolical plans and didn't use the name we had all agreed upon. So he chose JB. Is this a homage to another Frater, the enigmatic JB Doubtless? Or perhaps there is another clue.

Either way please welcome JB. While many of us focus on watchdogging the mainstream blogosphere (MSB), JB, as you can already see, will spend much time chroniclers the musings and lampooning the masculinity of one James Lileks. I expect his other duties will include the Patty Wetterling issue avoidance watch. We'll all be working overtime on that one.

Welcome JB. Let's hope the Jerk Store never runs out of you.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Top 11 Compromise Names for Olson Memorial Highway

David Strom of the Taxpayers League has long advocated renaming the Floyd B. Olson Highway after Ronald Reagan. The case against Olson is strong: he was a far-far-left Governor and quite possibly corrupt. But, let’s get serious. The Democrats will never allow the renaming of the Highway after Reagan. So to help bring both sides together and heal the wounds from the last election (and to show that the Old Sisyphus hasn't gone anywhere) I propose the top 11 compromise new names for the Floyd. B. Olson Highway.

11. The Strip
10. Randy Moss Pantsway
9. Nihilist In Golf Pantsway
8. Drive By Drive
7. Paul And Sheila Wellstone Memorial Walkway
6. Nick Coleman Sr. and Deborah Howell Highway
5. Genghis Khan Swarmway
4. Bob Dylan Positively Not Fourth Street
3. Why Are You Even Driving When We Have A Trainway
2. Rudy Boschwitz Boulevard
1. Avenue of the New Stadiums

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Lileks Out Of Context Contest!

I have been collecting out of context Lileks qoutes for a few weeks. They are below as I pasted them from his Bleats. I have also added ONE and only one of my own FAKE Lileks qoutes to the mix.

The fun will be in trying to determine which one is made up!


since my wife’s car is in the shop, again. Flat tire / bad rim. I haven’t gone anywhere. All day with Gnat, who’s on school break; it’s just like last summer, and I’m enjoying every second. Today we were straightening up my wife’s office,

while we played air hockey some limber kids were hurling basketballs into the net a few feet away, and three – Three! – balls flew over the backboard and struck me in the head.

On the other hand, the square boxes of facial tissue were priced waaay below the Target price,

I fed Gnat a Brazillian Tangerine (she loves to sing songs from the Jungle Book when she eats them) from a batch we picked up at Lund’s. She dropped one of the rinds on my wife’s office desk and I spent the better part of the morning Scrubbing and Vociferously Wiping.

Big milestone. She went to the Girls’ Room herself

I can’t believe I not only wrote that but felt compelled to pass it along.

Next: Realize I am spending time writing comments in Dave's blog instead of working quickly so I can relieve my wife

I replaced another headlight in her car, and this time I knew how to do it.

Of course, wife and child have the flu, or the rotovirus,

Watched all the Enterprise episodes this weekend,

I’m not spending any time on this; if I did, I’d think about it too much, and that would ruin it. It’s just typing

I enjoy listening to my local Hugh Hewitt affiliate, because one of their sponsors is a store catering to shootists, and the ad offers “machine gun rentals.” Not that I would rent one.

I had a small fever – well, maybe.

At Eddie Bauer the coats were marked down about 79%, so I bought two.

bless the world for not punching me in the jaw on general principle.

I’m starting to feel the same way Corbusier felt about New York skyscrapers


I wanted to be known as the Jerktown Romeo, but apparently it is IMPOSSIBLE to create another username if you already have one in blogger.

Stay tuned.
A New York 15 Minutes

It was a nice run for ol' Sisyphus. He made us laugh, he made us cry, he made us chili. But, really, what has he done for us lately? (That would be, since this morning at 12:10 AM.)

Nothing! ... according to some.

For out of the primordial blogosphere ooze comes a new creature, proclaiming: enough! Since 12:10 AM this morning, Sisyphus has become ossified and decrepit! It's time for a new voice, a new vision in the world of withering social commentary and hearty stew preparation in one's underwear!

Behold - the future!

Blog: A Review

I finally picked up a copy of Hugh Hewitt’s new book “Blog”. The first problem with the book is a biggy: no index. I had to skim through the whole thing to determine that Nihilist in Golf Pants isn’t mentioned. This brings us to the second problem. The book seems to focus almost entirely on the Mainstream Blogosphere (MSB) and mostly ignore the new blogosphere. You can’t turn a page without seeing Power Line mentioned, even though the public has overwhelmingly sided with new blogosphere blog, The Kool-Aid Report, in their ongoing feud with Power Line.

Hugh Hewitt’s book does do a good job of describing the likes of Instapundit, Power Line, and Little Green Footballs, but look what he has to say about the smaller, hipper, and edgier Fraters Libertas: “Did I mention Fraters Libertas ( They are also part of The Northern Alliance, in the way that the crazy aunt in the basement is part of the family.” (p. 109)

Clearly, Hugh does not understand the Fraters crew, leaving a huge void in the chronicling of the blogosphere. Is there anyone out there with the insight and perspective to write the history of Fraters Libertas?

I believe there is, and his name is James McPherson. Dr. McPherson is Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University. He has written several books and has won a Pulitzer Prize in history. His credentials are impeccable, but what really shows that he has it in him to do justice to Fraters Libertas is this quote from his introduction to the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant: “If Grant was an alcoholic, he should have felt pride rather than shame. He overcame his illness to achieve success and fame ...”

I have a feeling that Dr. McPherson would understand the new blogosphere very well indeed.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

My Interview With Mark Yost

The Fraters chronicled their interview with St. Paul Pioneer Press Columnist Mark Yost on the air of their radio show. Since I don’t have my own radio show, I thought I’d publish a transcript of the interview here. Disclosure statement: Mark Yost featured the Nihilist in Golf Pants on an article about local bloggers in the Tuesday edition of the St. Paul paper.

Yost: I’m doing a story on the Fraters and understand that you are an avid reader of theirs. Do you mind if I ask a few questions?

NIGP: I’d be happy to talk about blogging. I initially started blogging to keep in touch with friends.

Yost: I’m not asking you about blogging. I’m asking about the reasons you read the Fraters. So, how long have you been reading the Fraters?

NIGP: I’ve been blogging for about two years. I started as a favor to the Fraters, adding my contributions to their site to help them build readership.

Yost: They never mentioned that.

NIGP: They are intensely private individuals. They probably wouldn’t be comfortable in the spotlight. I’d hate to see you without enough material for an article. However, I could talk about my blog. I comment mostly on pop culture. Why just recently I did an oh, so witty piece on Trapper John and Klinger of M*A*S*H giving stock market advice.

Yost: I'm not really . . .

NIGP: You are aware of my blog, Nihilist in Golf Pants.

Yost: Not really.

NIGP: It’s named for a Garrison Keillor hit piece on Republicans. That’s where I came up with my pen name. Many bloggers use funny pen names, like King Banaian. Why don’t you call it up and you can see what the Fraters learned from me.

Yost: OK, give me a minute. (A few minutes pass.) Hey, this thing on you making chili is pretty funny.

NIGP: That’s not me, that’s my partner Sisyphus.

Yost: Wow, that guy sure is clever. Can I get his phone number? I must talk with him for this article.

NIGP: Funny, he’s another intensely private individual. He’d sooner die than get any publicity.

Yost: Interesting. Can you give me some details about him?

NIGP: He’s an underprivileged kid. I took him in, taught him the ropes. Even now I practically have to feed him all his clever ideas.

Yost: I’d really need a confirming source for that.

NIGP: Anyway, let me start from the beginning. Even as a small child, I had a keen sense that I was special. . .

Yost: I hate to interrupt, but look at the time. There’s a Brady Bunch rerun on that I absolutely have to catch. This interview is over.

NIGP: One more thing! Please be sure to get my site address right. That’s

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Garrison Keillor is a Fool

An excerpt from “We’re Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore” by Garrison Keillor:

“The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong's moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt's evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk.”

I take issue with at least one part of the above quote. I know of no conservative who believes that Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico. In fact, the moonwalk was staged in Nevada at Area 51. Duh – Roswell is not nearly secure enough for so delicate an operation.

First Post of the Day

Sorry Nihilist in Golf Pants. Sorry Chad. Sorry JB. Sorry Fuzzy Nietzsche. The first post of the day goes to Sisyphus. Better luck tomorrow!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Live Blogging Captain Ed’s Steeler’s vs Pats Live Blog

Since I don’t really care who wins the Steeler’s vs Pats game, I’ve decided to live blog Steelers fan Captain Ed who is live blogging the game.

5:45 PM: Patriots go up 3-0. The Captain takes a glass half-full attitude by focusing on the fact that the Steeler’s defense held the Pats to only one first down.
5:47 PM: Ed like’s what he sees out of Jerome Bettis in the early going.
5:52 PM: Ed recommends that the Steelers go for it on fourth and one. They do, but don’t make it. Then Ed writes “Dammit, quit listening to me.” Now, Ed doesn’t think Cowher is reading his live blog during the game and taking his advice does he?
5:53 PM: Ed congratulates the Eagles and expresses his wish for an all Pennsylvania Super Bowl. Outreach to Pennsylvania bloggers.
5:56 PM: Uh oh, Pats go up 10-0 on a big pass play. Ed says “Yikes”. Don’t panic yet Ed, still plenty of time left.
6:01 PM: Now Ed tells Cowher not to go for it on fourth and two. Has Ed allowed himself to become overly influenced by the unsuccessful fourth and one attempt?
6:07 PM: Finally the Steelers defense give Ed something to blog happy about. But, Ed isn’t satisfied, now he wants points.
6:12 PM: 10-3 Steelers get a field goal, but Ed is still worried about Roethlisberger.
6:22 PM: Ed is still happy with the defense. He recommends more passing on first down.
6:24 PM: Ed now believes that Cowher is no longer reading his live blog. Could Cowher have switched over to Nihilist in Golf Pants? Bill, if you’re reading this give the George Bush-devil salute the next time the camera pans to you.
6:35 PM: 17-3 Pats score again; Ed says, “… the Pats are playing like champs tonight.” Chin up, Ed.
6:39 PM: Ed wants to know where the Bus is. He doesn’t seem confident in Duce Staley down the stretch.
6:44 PM: 24-3 Pats. Ed reveals that he has been worried about Roethlisberger since Jets game.
6:54 PM: Halftime. Bad news, Ed has to go all the way back to a Notre Dame game from 1977 to come up with a ray of hope.

Ed posts his Carson obituary during halftime. Wow, talk about prolific.

7:11 PM: The Steeler’s defense gives Ed hope early in the third quarter. Ed nixes suggestion to bring in Maddox for Roethlisberger.
7:17 PM: 24-10. Ed is cautiously optimistic after Steeler’s TD. He pronounces them back in the game.
7:30 PM: Ed is correct about the Steeler's fumble recovery getting overturned -- proving that he is not a delusional fan. Ed would not make a very good Packers fan.
7:32 PM: 31-10 Pats. Ed notes the silence of the home crowd.
Pats fans are taunting Ed in his comments -- not very nice!
7:45 PM: Ed interrupts live bloggging to take some phone calls. Don't you people know that Ed is a Steelers fan? Let the guy watch the game. I hope you didn't make him miss the Steeler's TD.

It's now 31-20 and the Steelers are back in it. Is The Captain still on the phone? You could be missing the big comeback.

8:15 PM: The Captain is back, but he is not sounding optimistic.
Ed hasn't mentioned how cute Bonnie Bernstein looks in her winter gear. I guarantee you that David Strom would have.
8:28 PM: Ed is sounding defeatist, and I can't blame him. He credits Tom Brady, not Corey Dillon.
8:35 PM: 41-20. Ed concedes the game (and even declares the Pats Super Bowl champs) even though there is more than two seconds left -- it's a good thing that Ed isn't randy Moss or he'd be getting ripped up and down for that.
8:43 PM: 41-27. Ed takes the garbage-time TD as a sign that Roethlisberger didn't lay down.
Ed's wrap-up is cautiously optimistic about next year.

Well, Ed got over the defeat pretty quick. He already has a new non-football post up.

My Wrap-up: I didn't care who won this game going in, but Captain Ed won me over and I was rooting for a Pittsburgh comeback. Sorry Cap, if it's any consolation, a lot of us around here know what it's like for your team to go 15-1 in the regular season only to lose in the conference finals.

Who’s Sucking Up to George Clooney?

Last fall, George Clooney’s father Nick was the Democratic candidate for Congress in Kentucky’s 4th Congressional district. Although he never really had much of a chance (he lost 54%-44%) his candidacy did create a golden opportunity for Hollywood players to suck up to one of their biggest stars.

To help ensure that those who went to the trouble of contributing to Clooney for Congress aren’t forgotten, I’ve compiled a semi-exhaustive list of Hollywood contributors. Who knows, maybe George Clooney will read this post and express his gratitude to the big contributors.

The dollar amount after the name is the amount donated to Clooney for Congress according to Political Money Line.

* Indicates that this was the only political contribution made by the donor this election cycle listed by Political Money Line.

Adler, Matt – $1000 * (also a writer and producer)
Asner, Jules – $2000 *
Azaria, Hank – $500 (appeared with George in “Fail Safe”)
Baker, Dylan – $300
Baldwin, Alexander R. III – $2000
Barrymore, Drew – $1000 *
Beatty, Warren – $2000
Brody, Adrien – $2000 * (appeared with George in “The Thin Red Line”)
Buttons, Red – $700 * (Retired)
Costner, Kevin – $2000
Cox, Courteney – $500
Crawford, Cynthia A. – $1000 *
Devito, Danny – $2000
Douglas, Michael – $2000
Duffy, Karen T. – $750 *
Ferrer, Miguel – $2000 * (George Clooney’s cousin, Nick’s nephew)
Ferrer, Rafael – $1000 * (also George Clooney’s cousin, Nick’s nephew)
Francesca, Alba – $500 *
Garcia, Andy – $500 * (Appeared with George in “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Ocean’s Twelve”)
Garner, Jennifer – $1000
Gilbert, Melissa – $2000 (Screen Actors Guild President)
Gould, Elliott – $500 * (Appeared with George in “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Ocean’s Twelve”)
Hamel, Veronica – $1000
Hayek, Salma – $1000 * (Appeared with George in “From Dusk Till Dawn” and “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
Heslov, Grant – $1000 * (appeared with George in “Fail Safe”)
Hope, Leslie – $500
Hunt, Bonnie – $2000 *
Karen, James – $500 *
Kidman, Nicole – $1000 * (Appeared with George in “The Peacemaker”)
Kind, Richard – $2000 * (George Clooney was the best man at his wedding)
Leblanc, Matt – $2000 *
Liu, Lucy – $500
Macy, Willaim H. – $500 (Appeared with George in “ER”)
Margulies, Julianna – $500 (Appeared with George in “ER”)
Moder, Julia – $2000 (aka Julia Roberts)
Moore, Julianna – $500
Newman, Paul – $2000
Pearlman, Rhea – $2000 *
Ryan, Meg – $1000
San Giacomo, Laura – $1000 *
Spacey, Kevin – $2000
Valenti, John – $1000 *
Wyle, Noah – $2000 * (Appeared with George in “ER”)
Zellweger, Renee K. – $2000
Zeta-Jones, Catherine – $2000 * (Appeared with George in “Intolerable Cruelty” and “Ocean’s Twelve”)

Writers, Directors and Producers
Barish, Leora – $500
Bowab, John – $500 (TV Director and Producer)
Ekins, Susan – $1000 * (Executive Producer of “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Ocean’s Twelve”)
Frank, Scott – $1000 * (Screenwriter of “Out of Sight”)
Fox, Jennifer -- $1000 (Executive Producer of George Clooney’s upcoming film “Syriana”)
Gaghan, Stephen – $2000 (Writer of George Clooney’s upcoming film “Syriana”)
Garner, Todd – $1000 (Revolution Studios)
Goldsman, Akiva – $1000 * (Writer of “Batman and Robin”)
Gregorisch-Dempsey, Lisa – $500 * (TV Producer)
Green, Walon – $2000 * (Writer and Producer on “ER”)
Guber, H. Peter – $2000 * (Mandalay Entertainment)
Helford, Bruce – $2000 *
Lear, Norman – $1000
Lembeck, Michael – $500
Levy-Hinte, Jeffrey – $1000 (Antidote Films, Inc)
Sahgal, Ajay – $1000 *
Schumacher, Joel – $1000 (Directed “Batman & Robin”)
Shamberg, Michael – $1250 (Producer of “Out of Sight”)
Sher, Stacey – $1000 * (Producer of “Out of Sight”)
Silver, Casey – $1000 * (Casey Silver Productions)
Soderbergh, Steven – $2000 (Directed numerous George Clooney movies)
Spielberg, Steven – $1000
Weintraub, Jerry – $2000 (Producer of “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Ocean’s Twelve”)
Weiss, Ben – $500 * (TV Director)
Wells, John – $2000 (Executive Producer of “ER”)
Yorkin, Bud – $500
Ziskin, Laura – $2000 (Executive Producer of “Fail Safe”)

Studio Executives
Albrecht, Christopher – $2000 (Chairman & CEO of Home Box Office)
Fellman, Daniel R. – $1000 (Executive at Warner Brothers Pictures)
Gordon, Jonathan – $2000 (Production Executive for Miramax Films)
Horn, Alan – $2000 (COO of Warner Brothers)
Katzenberg, Jeffrey – $1000 (Owner of Dreamworks)
Meyer, Barry – $2000 (Executive of Warner Brothers)
Meyer, Ronald – $1500 (Executive of Universal Studios)
Robinov, Jeffrey – $1500 (Executive of Warner Brothers)
Sagal, David – $2000 (Attorney for Warner Brothers)
Schulman, John A – $1000 (Attorney for Warner Brothers)
Snider, Stacey – $2000 (Chairman of Universal Pictures)
Stuber, Scott – $2000 (Executive of Universal Pictures)
Weinstein, Harvey – $2000 (Owner of Miramax)
Weinstein, Robert – $2000 (Co-Chairman of Miramax Films)

Haskell, Samuel – $500 (Talent Executive, William Morris Agency)
Huvane, Kevin – $2000 (Agent, Creative Artists Agency)
Lashever, Steven – $1000 * (Agent, Creative Artists Agency)
Lourd, Bryan – $2000 (George’s Agent, Creative Artists Agency)
Lovett, Richard – $2000 (President, Creative Artists Agency)
Whitesell, Patrick – $1000 (Talent Agent, Endeavor Agency)

Bissell, James D. -- $500 * (Production Designer “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” )
Brunetti, Dana J. – $500 * (Assistant to Kevin Spacey)
Cohen, Amy – $500 * (Personal Assistant to George Clooney)
Cronkite, Walter L. – $1000 * (Self Employed)
Cuomo, Mario M. – $1000 (Attorney)
Lukather, Steven – $1000 * (Musician, founding member of “Toto”)
McConnell, Angel – $250 * (Personal Assistant to George Clooney)
Rosenfield, Stan – $1000 * (George’s Publicist)
Sinatra, Nancy – $2000 (Retired)
Tise, Edward C. – $500 * (Production Sound mixer on “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”)
Zimmer, Hans – $500 (Film Score Composer)

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Who Does Klinger Recommend?

Every Saturday morning I go for a workout around 10 am at my local Lifetime Fitness. They have a bank of TV's and patrons can use their headset radios to tune in a variety of stations. At that time, I usually choose Fox News, which airs an investment show titled "Cashin' In." "Cashin' In" is hosted by Terry Keenan and features stock picks by several investment "experts:" Jonathan Hoenig, Dagen McDowell, Jonas Max Ferris and Wayne Rodgers.

One look at Wayne Rodgers and you will immediately recognize him as Trapper John McIntyre from the television show M*A*S*H (not Eliot Gould who portrayed Trapper in the 1970 film, and not Pernell Roberts, who played him on Trapper John, M.D.). Why in the world would someone take financial advice from a guy who left the most successful show on television after a mere three years. Rodgers was the role model for brilliant career moves by the likes of Shelley Long and David Caruso.

Rodgers recommendations include Norfolk Southern (NSC) and Universal American Financial (UHCO). Let's see how he stacks up against Sisyphus' Haliburton (HAL) pick. Or Jamie Farr's favorite, Anne Taylor (ANN).

Friday, January 21, 2005

Ronnie James Dio Would be Proud

Attendance is projected to be high as the MOB Rules tomorrow evening at Keegan's Irish Pub. See what questions will be answered.

  • Will Nick Coleman bravely show his face at this event?
  • Will Cap'n Ed live blog?
  • Will Learned Foot and Scott Johnson engage in a Quiet Man like bout of fisticuffs?
  • Will James Lileks fall into tearful hysterics, then lock himself in the bathroom when asked to recount his latest experience with Bath & Body Works?
  • Will our own Sisyphus or Fraters St. Paul be the eligible bachelor who leaves with the most phone numbers from the ladies?
  • Will Mitch claim that he got even more phone numbers?
  • Who will wear lacier negligee? Jo or Pinkmonkeybird?

Sorry Jo, I'm betting against you. And of course, the question I'm most concerned about:

  • Will Terry Keegan buy your humble correspondent a drink?

All these questions and more will be answered from 5 pm to 9 pm tomorrow night.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Cashing in on Halliburton

With today’s inauguration of George W. Bush my thoughts naturally turned to Halliburton. Unlike most Republicans, I did not in any way benefit from the sweet deals given to Halliburton throughout the first term. I have no intention of repeating that mistake in the second term. Therefore, this morning I purchased 100,000 shares of Halliburton stock at $41.62 per share. I will keep you posted on my profits.

UPDATE: We closed at 41.79, so I 've already made $17,000 on paper. That may not seem like much, but it's enough to finance 1.7 Randy Moss pretend moonings.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A Touch of Class

Instead of continuing to whine about the poor quality of our readership, I’ve decided to become more proactive. My Basil Fawlty-like scheme is to exploit my insights into art and art history to attract a higher class of clientele.

Edouard Manet is much more than just that impressionist with the similar name to Monet. Manet was one of the older and more admired members of the not-yet-named impressionist movement. The uproar resulting from the 1863 Salon’s refusal to accept any of Manet’s work played a large role in the establishment of the Salon de Refuses. Here is an example of Manet’s work from 1863: “Olympia”, now located in the Musee d’ Orsay.

Francisco Goya was one of the great artists of the late 18th and early 19th century, and one of an impressive string of Spanish artists. He was heavily influenced by the great Spanish Renaissance painter Diego Velazquez. Goya’s later work became quite dark, and is popular with nihilists, but despite our blog name, we prefer Goya’s earlier work. Perhaps Goya’s best known painting from his early days is “Nude Maja”, which can be seen in person at the Prado Museum in Madrid.

Edvard Munch is best known for his oft stolen painting, “The Scream”, but that is not his only claim to fame. In many ways, his work was ahead of its time, presaging both abstract modern art and popular culture. This is best illustrated by his other masterpiece, “Madonna”, painted 90 years before the emergence of the pop star of the same name.

Stay tuned for future art appreciation posts.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Sisyphus Makes Chili

Sometimes I’m generous to a fault. For example, last week I agreed to give my household staff both Monday and Tuesday off for the MLK holiday. Now I’m starting to get hungry.

I’ve decided to take the opportunity to try my hand at cooking. Margaret’s chili recipe sounds tasty, so I’ll make that and live blog the experience.

6:42 PM: I’ve located my kitchen.
6:53 PM: I’ve found all of the ingredients and a big pan.
6:56 PM: I run into a problem with the very first instruction: “Sauté yellow onion until golden”. How do you sauté an onion? Time for some research.
6:59 PM: God bless Google! Sautéing means “to cook quickly in a little fat”.
7:03 PM: I couldn’t find any “fat”, so I’ll substitute butter.
7:04 PM: Margaret’s recipe is clearly intended for advanced chefs. She doesn’t say whether the onion should be cut, and if so how small. I will make an executive decision and cut it into small pieces.
7:10 PM: My eyes are tearing up from the onions – or maybe its Hugh Hewitt’s playing of Barbara Boxer’s questioning of Condi Rice.
7:14 PM: Okay, I’m ready to brown the hamburger. I know how to do that, thank you very much.
7:17 PM: How long will my keyboard smell like onions?
7:20 PM: First injury: I stabbed myself in the finger. I turn off Barbara Boxer on the Hugh Hewitt show.
7:23 PM: This is taking too long, so I’m turning up the heat.
7:28 PM: Everything is good and dark brown, time to add the spices. Margaret doesn’t specify whether the cumin should be in seeds or crushed. Another executive decision: I use crushed cumin.
7:34 PM: Everything added, tomatoes broken up. See you in half an hour!

8:26 PM: Oops! I totally spaced on the chili. It looks like I only burned the bottom, so I’ll just eat the stuff from the top.
8:28 PM: Not bad. There does seem to be a high meat to tomato ratio, so my “big can of whole tomatoes” may not have been quite big enough. Otherwise it tastes pretty good. Thanks Margaret!

Lessons Learned: All in all, it was a valuable experience, one that everyone should experience at least once. I’ve gained a new appreciation for my staff, and my staff will think twice about extra vacation days when they see the state of the kitchen tomorrow morning.

Anyone But Katie

Jo’s Attic points us to a rumor that CBS News is considering Katie Couric for its anchor position. I agree with Jo that Couric would be a terrible choice. In an effort to help CBS broaden its search, I offer some better candidates:

Kofi Annan
PRO: He went to Macalester College in St. Paul.
CON: He would have to accept a reduction in pay and perks.

Ted Baxter
PRO: He’ll read whatever is put in front of him.
CON: He is a fictional character played by an actor who is now dead.

Art Bell
PRO: He would blow the lid off the government UFO cover-up.
CON: He would lose credibility by going to CBS News.

Kent Brockman
PRO: He’s animated, so CBS would save on wardrobe.
CON: His previous employment with Fox may turnoff co-workers. His loyalty will be in doubt if we are ever attacked by giant ants.

Bill Clinton
PRO: He has a very slick delivery. He knows most of the key movers and shakers around the world.
CON: His wife will probably run for President, creating a conflict of interest. Viewers will be distracted by the thought that something may be going on underneath the anchor desk.

Nick Coleman
PRO: He knows stuff.
CON: CBS would lose all TCF Bank advertising.

Al Franken
PRO: The news isn’t funny and neither is Al.
CON: Al isn’t serious either.

Hugh Hewitt
PRO: He went to Harvard and worked in public TV.
CON: Hugh really needs more than thirty minutes a day to properly plug his book.

Holly Hunter
PRO: Her character in “Broadcast News” would be perfect.
CON: Her character in “The Piano” would not be perfect.

Michael Moore
PRO: CBS would not have to change its fact checking policies. Moore is very popular with the remaining CBS News audience.
CON: Not exactly anchorman looks.

Randy Moss
PRO: He’s the best receiver in the NFL.
CON: If the newscast is going poorly he may leave two seconds early.

O.J. Simpson
PRO: He would provide great insight into the upcoming Michael Jackson celebrity trial.
CON: The job would cut too much into his search for the real killers.

Howard Stern
PRO: Reporters would likely be replaced by less biased porn stars.
CON: FCC fines.

Jon Stewart
PRO: He’s very comfortable with fake news items.
CON: His ego may have grown too large even for a network news anchor.

Martha Stewart
PRO: The CBS News set would look nice on a budget.
CON: She’s probably picked up a lot of inappropriate slang in prison.

Monday, January 17, 2005

The Show Bloggers Love

When I was in college in the late 1980's I made a bet with a liberal friend. I was arguing that Hollywood was so liberally biased that he couldn't name a single character on prime time television that was an obvious conservative hero, with the exception of Alex P. Keaton, who was often the butt of the liberal writers jokes. He thought a long while, then stated, "the Equalizer." After he mentioned the title character about the CIA assassin with a strong sense of right and wrong and an appetite to get the job done, I conceded. Then he conceded to me that the exercise had made a point with him. While there were plenty of liberals on TV, there were very few conservatives.

That's probably why the show 24 is a favorite among conservative bloggers. 24 is a show that feels Republican. The bad guys get shot, and the treatment of criminals that are being interrogated falls between John Ashcroft and Hermann Goring levels.

I don't generally enjoy TV drama, but 24 grabs you with its breakneck pace and drags you along for the ride. It has the comic book realism of most special effect extravaganzas, the lighting of most noir picks and a body count that is estimated somewhere between 500 and 4,000 for the first three seasons.

24 deals with an elite anti-terrorist agent, Jack Bauer, who like the Equalizer will stop at nothing to get the job done. The first three seasons, Jack served a Democrat in (or running for) the White House. This season the new president is a Republican. His cabinet has poked fun at Michael Moore as Jack is fights Islamic terrorists. The first three years there were a few Islamic terrorists, but for the most part, the villains were white or Hispanic men.

So, predictably, the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is protesting the show, suggesting it is responsible for branding all Muslims as terrorists. To which I say: Shut up and get a life. This is a TV show. No one who watches it thinks it is real. Of course that won't happen. CAIR has had several meetings with the FOX network, and the network will begin to air PSAs during the show suggesting that all Muslims are not terrorists.

On Martin Luther King day it is a good time to reflect on the progress of race relations in this wonderful country. The fact that NYPD Blue can show the arrest of a black man for a violent crime without a torrent of criticism from the NAACP is a good sign for all Americans. Unfortunately that dynamic does not yet exist between mainstream and Islamic American cultures yet.

Top 11 Ways to Console a Despondent Vikings Fan

11. You didn’t think the Vikings were going to win the Super Bowl or anything, did you?

10. At least the Vikings knocked the Packers out of the playoffs.

9. Now the Vikings brain trust can concentrate full time on the upcoming draft.

8. Maybe it will now be possible to pour yourself a cup of coffee in the break room without someone whining about Randy Moss.

7. At least the Vikings knocked the Packers out of the playoffs.

6. Remember that time Brett Favre threw four interceptions against the Vikes in the playoffs at Lambeau Field?

5. Maybe the NFL rules committee will legalize holding on kick returns next season.

4. At least the Vikings knocked the Packers out of the playoffs.

3. It could be worse; you could be a Packers fan.

2. Mike Tice will now have six months to draw up some new trick plays.

1. At least the Vikings knocked the Packers out of the playoffs.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

KAR: Speaking Truth to Power Line

We here at Nihilist in Golf Pants don’t link much to other blogs – mostly because our readers tend to be among the worst in the blogosphere (no offense) and we don’t feel right about inflicting them on other blogs.

However, I can’t resist pointing out a new blog that has the courage to watchdog Power Line. That blog is The Kool Aid Report. It is important that we smaller blogs keep an eye on the Main Stream Blogosphere (MSB) so that they don’t degenerate into something like the MSM. (We here at NIGP like to think that we are doing the same, although our Power Line accusation turned out to be untrue.)

Kudos Kool Aid Report! Keep speaking truth to Power Line.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Defending Moss, Again

Sigh. There seems to be no end in sight for the rampant Randy Moss bashing currently infesting the Twin Cities. It has even spread to the NARN radio show. Saint Paul, Mitch, and Captian Ed were especially harsh (only Chad the Elder, displaying Churchillian courage, defended Moss).

Randy only pretended to moon the crowd. If he had actually mooned the crowd, maybe his critics would have a legitimate complaint. Randy was only joking around, and it was funny (although it was funnier when I thought he was tweaking Najeh Davenport by pretending to take a dump in the end zone).

What really upsets the whiners is Randy’s statement that he doesn’t care about the fine because $10,000 is nothing to him. They can’t stand that Moss is rich and isn’t ashamed to say so. This point is made clear by the fact that there are no church-lady sighs when dozens of cheap beer swilling, financially challenged Packer fans actually do moon the opposing team’s bus.

I applaud Randy Moss for having the moral courage to stand up to the anti-rich puritan extremists. I implore his critics (especially the normally sensible NARN team) to seek help in overcoming their irrational anti-rich bias.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Wacky Thesis Topics

As Nihilist in Golf Pants has reported, some yahoo has actually written his PhD thesis on Mr. Roarke from the TV show Fantasy Island. Just as I was wrapping my mind around the possibility that someone out there is calling himself “doctor” based on his inconclusive insights into Mr. Roarke’s divinity, I came across this post at Power Line.

A student from China has come to the U.S. for graduate study in journalism and has decided to write her thesis on Power Line. Apparently it’s not possible to write a thesis on Power Line in China (those commie bastards!). Well, I hope she at least comes to a conclusion on the divinity of the Power Line trio.

If Power Line can produce the material for a thesis, why can’t Nihilist in Golf Pants? I can see it now, “Elvis and Nixon: are they Men or Supermen in the Blogosphere”. Hmmm, Dr. Sisyphus – I kind of like the ring to that.

Attention Atomizer!

Unlike my friend Sisyphus, I do not have my own business jet. I have to spend my flight time in the First Class section. I was there today and I bring news. Northwest Airlines has changed brands for their gin. They previously served Tanqueray. However, on this trip I was greeted by a Bombay martini. Although it wasn't the Sapphire, it still hit the spot.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Nerds on the Net

I realize that a blog post accusing someone else of nerdish behavior is akin to throwing stones in a glass house, but please indulge me. I had planned a year-end post issuing blog awards, but canned it for a variety of reasons. Mainly, no matter how many times I reworked it, it just wasn't the high quality writing that Nihilist fans have come to demand.

However, there was one gem in the discarded verbiage that deserves to see the light of day. The award was the "Dudley 'Booger' Dawson Award for the Biggest Nerd on the Internet." Sorry, Powerline fans, they can't win every award. Besides, our winner makes Scott Johnson looks as hip as Samuel L. Jackson.

Jump the Shark is a web site devoted to determining the precise time that any television show peaks, then heads downhill, eventually becoming cliched and unwatchable. It does this via reader survey. For instance, if you like the show "24", you can see what others think about it. Most will offer a variety of opinions, it "jumped" (read fell from its apex) on day 1, never, or the episode where Terri got amnesia or the episode where Kim was attacked by a mountain lion. JTS tallies the responses. Sometimes, posters don't focus on the "jumping" moment, but use the site to foist their theories about the show on its readers.

Our winner is one of those posters. From a comment about the early 1980's kitsch-fest Fantasy Island:

But more important is this issue of Rourke's divinity. My doctoral thesis is "The Christology of Ricardo Montalban's Mr. Rourke- archetype or archangel" Just who Mr. Rourke was and what his character implied has given rise to numerous theories, let's look at just a few. As one sharker alluded to, why is an obviously Latin male -a traditionally religious type, no less- given such an obscure name? What was his full name, and why is that never (to my knowledge) revealed? Notice his clothing, white and black, the colors of good and evil, not to mention of several denominations' clergy from around the world, in different religions. Rourke always seems to know more than he's letting on, but suggests his power is limited. Yet he always shows up and somehow "saves" his guests, their lives or states of mind by teaching them a lesson if not always giving them a happy ending. His home is a type of Paradise. Don't forget, however, in the Satan episode where the devil reveals himself -after Rourke has tricked him- and says, "Damn you, Rourke!" Rourke replies simply, "Isn't that what you've been trying to do?" On the surface, this would suggest Rourke is merely human like the rest of us, trying to stay away from evil and temptation. But on an exegesic level, even Jesus was tempted numerous times in the devil's attempt to "damn" Christ. It is not out of the range of possibility Mr. Rourke was representative of Jesus Christ specifically more so than "God." The name "Rourke" itself is close to being an anagram of "Christ." More than one episode dealt with the demonic. My view is there was no single conclusion to be drawn. (Emphasis mine.)

Where to begin? This bozo writes a doctoral thesis on Fantasy Island and can't reach a conclusion! Unfortunately, JTS doesn't give a like to identify who posted, so I don't know who to present with this award. However, anyone who thinks that "Rourke" is an anagram of "Christ" might just have DUMBASS Tatooed on their forehead.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

In the Ghetto (The Vicious Coleman)

As the snow flies
On a cold and gray Twin Cities morn'
A little Nick Coleman column is born
‘Bout the ghetto
And his readers cry
'cause if there's one thing that they don't need
It's a hack journalist with an angry screed
‘Bout the ghetto
People, don't you understand
Nick Coleman is a deranged man
He grew to be an angry old man today
He preaches at you and me,
Our taxes are too low, see,
Or will we have to read again ’bout marriage between gays?
Well the world turns
and a nasty journalist with a poison pen
Blames a House Republican
For the ghetto
And his ego grows to massive heights
As he chastises the religious right
‘Bout the ghetto
Then one night in desperation an old man goes insane
He writes a column, attacks PowerLine,
Then gets in a scrape with National Review Online,
Bout his (step) mama’s ties
As circulation drops the angry old man
Writes ‘bankers in paneled offices’ don’t give a damn
‘Bout the ghetto
And as the Strib dies,
on a cold and gray Twin Cities morn',
another crappy Nick Coleman column is born
‘Bout the ghetto

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Country Club Idiocy

It is amazing the inanities one can overhear in even the most exclusive of country clubs. For example, this afternoon I happened to overhear a fellow member extolling the virtues of his new Gulfstream G450. Now, I would be willing to cut the gentleman some slack if he were a young fellow purchasing his first business jet – the G450 is a fine starter aircraft. But the gentleman in question is someone who really should have done better (I won’t embarrass him by revealing his name, but you would recognize it if I did). There is simply no comparison between the G450 and the Boeing Business Jet.

The BBJ has it all over the G450 in every important category:
Range: 6200 nm vs 4350 nm
Cabin Length: 79 ft 2 in vs 45 ft 1 in
Cabin Height: 7 ft 1 in vs 6 ft 2 in
Cabin Width: 11 ft 7 in vs 7 ft 4in
More importantly, the G450 has no full sized shower, no executive suite with a queen-sized bed, and no full dining area to name just a few of its deficiencies.

The only real advantage of the G450 is it’s lower cost – but believe me, the gentleman in question’s shareholders can afford the BBJ. Some people just have no class.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Top 11 Ways to Console a Despondent Packers Fan

11. Even if Brett Favre does retire, it’s hard to imagine J.T. O’Sullivan throwing more than four interceptions against the Vikings secondary.

10. They can’t take away your 2004 NFC North Division Title.

9. Mike Tice will probably keep his job making it easier to beat the Vikings next year.

8. You still won the season series against the Vikings 2-1.

7. None of your players left the sidelines with two seconds left.

6. No more Najeh Davenport poop jokes until next season.

5. Packers would have had to play their next game at the Georgia Dome and all true Packer fans prefer outdoor football.

4. Only six months until training camp opens.

3. Now no chance that Packer players will be exposed to an immoral Super Bowl halftime show.

2. Maybe the Vikings will make it to the Super Bowl and embarrass themselves again.

1. You can still drink yourself to a stupor on Sunday morning even if the Packers aren’t playing.

Happy Birthday

If one were to make a list of the ten most influential Americans of the 20th century, there is a good chance that two would have celebrated birthdays this weekend. I speak of none other than President Richard Milhouse Nixon and the King of Rock n' Roll, Elvis Presley. (Editor's note: if you never click on links, please click this one for a beautiful photo of the two in their only meeting.) Nixon would have been 92 on Sunday, and Elvis would have been 70 on Saturday.

Nixon and Elvis were perfect symbols of 20th century America. Neither was born into a position of power or prestige, just as their country was not considered a "superpower" at the time of their birth. Yet their innate abilities provided all they needed to quickly ascend to the top of their field. Nixon's brilliance and uncompromising work ethic had him elected to the second highest office in the land before his 40th birthday. Elvis was the brightest international star in music by his mid-20s. The decade both ascended, the 1950's, came shortly after America emerged from World War II as the indisputably most influential nation in the world.

Elvis and Nixon contributed to that influence. Nixon's crusade against communism helped keep America apace with the military might of the Soviet Union. Yet it was Elvis' field where America was the undisputed leader. In the 1950's the American entertainment industry had no counterpart in any other country. Elvis' music was heard, and his name was known, in every corner of the world. Like America, Elvis and Nixon suffered more than a few setbacks in the 1960's. Yet both made improbable comebacks in 1968.

However, like the nation both men loved, the 1970's were the nadir for these two heroes. The Watergate scandal destroyed Nixon's reputation and forced him to resign the presidency in 1974. Elvis fared little better, descending deeply into drug addiction. He died on the toilet at Graceland in 1977. It looked like both men were done.

Amazingly, both men began to rehabilitate themselves in the 1980's and 1990's. Nixon wrote deep and thoughtful books until his death by stroke in 1994 and Elvis posthumously released more wonderful music. Americans began to forgive Nixon and to deify Elvis.

In the 21st century, Elvis and Nixon provide a choice and a warning for the people of this wealthy and talented nation. Nixon's life teaches that great power begets great enemies, but that the greatest threat lie within. If Nixon had ignored his opponents and concentrated on pushing his agenda, Watergate never would have happened (and he still would have cruised to re-election). His paranoia over enemies that were his inferiors gave them the power to bring him down.

Elvis teaches the importance of self-control and restraint. He became such a huge star that he was able to construct a life where no one in his inner circle ever questioned his actions. Consequently, as his personal decisions descended into self destructive chaos, he had no one to ground him.

So happy birthday to two truly great Americans. No one predicted greatness from Yorba Linda, California in 1913 or Tupelo, Mississippi in 1935. Yet now we know. Our nation is great because it produces Nixons and Elvii.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Fraters Libertas: Wrong but Accurate

It’s been a tough week for Saint Paul of Fraters Libertas. Not only did I eviscerate his ill-advised criticism of Randy Moss, but he found himself apologizing to Nick Coleman for inaccuracies regarding the employer of Mr. Coleman’s “stepmother” at the time of Mr. Coleman’s entry into the newspaper business. Although I’m known as one of Nick Coleman’s biggest defenders on the internet, in this case I must come to the defense of Saint Paul: While his post may have been wrong in fact, its suggestion of an appearance of nepotism continues to be accurate.

In a letter to the Fraters Libertas ombudsman, Jim Geraghty at National review Online, Nick pointed out that his “stepmother” was an editor with the Minneapolis Star at the time Nick was hired by the Minneapolis Tribune. Nick implies that this removes any thought that nepotism could have been involved in his hiring. But it seems likely that all of the big editors in town know each other, and it’s not out of the question that one of them might place a call to a colleague at a different paper and say, “Hey, I know a bright young reporter who’s now editing the Minnesota Daily and is looking for a reporting job. It might look bad for me to hire him at my paper sine he is my ‘stepson’, so I thought I would do you a favor and bring a promising young reporter to your attention. Besides, I don’t want him moving back into my basement.”

There will always be a perception of nepotism in this case because the general public will have no way of knowing whether or not such a conversation took place. Nor will we ever know for sure whether the son of the soon to be Majority Leader of the State Senate is being hired to curry favor with a potential source. Does this mean that the “stepchildren” of editors should be banned from working in the newspaper business? Does it mean that the children of powerful politicians should be banned from any employment whatsoever? Of course not. Opposition to nepotism is in fact a violation of human nature. We have an evolutionary need to look after the best interests of our own children. Nepotism is also good for society as a whole. For example, I’m sure that Minneapolis Tribune readers benefited from the fact that Nick Coleman’s reporting was enhanced by exposure to his father’s political career. I recommend the book “In Praise of Nepotism: A Natural History” by Adam Bellow, especially to you, Nick Coleman. Perhaps reading it will improve your self-esteem.

I will continue to have your back, Nick, despite your unfortunate politics, because you are a fellow member of the economic/political/media elite. But you could do two things to make it easier for me to defend you: stop denying that you are wealthy (and thus implying that there is something wrong with wealth) and stop ripping nepotism.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Randy Moss and Barbara Boxer

Minnesota Vikings Receiver Randy Moss has received a lot of unfair criticism for leaving the sidelines with two seconds remaining in last Sunday’s game against Washington. Especially critical is Saint Paul of Fraters Libertas who linked to an obnoxious article at (of course, the article can’t resist bringing up Moss’s salary).

Here was the situation when Moss left the sidelines: the Vikings were behind by three, they were about to kick off to Washington, and there were only two (2) seconds left in the game. This all added up to one thing: THE GAME WAS OVER. The chance of the Vikings recovering an onside kick and stopping the clock in less than two seconds was practically zero. The fat lady had already sung and was now attacking the backstage buffet. Unless Moss was going to help the grounds crew pick up empty Gatorade cups, he had no reason to stick around.

The view that Moss should have hung around until the clock hit zero makes about as much sense as Barbara Boxer’s protest of the vote in Ohio. Sure, the Ohio vote wasn’t yet made official by Congress, and in theory, the results could have somehow been reversed, but realistically, this was not going to happen.

Unlike Randy Moss, Barbara Boxer was not smart enough to know when the game was over.


In this post, I questioned whether PowerLine really received an award as "Time Magazine's Blog of the Year" or whether they were merely the subject of a feature article. It turns out the answer is both. Although Time failed to announce the award in their feature article, they did issue a press release announcing it on the day that the issue with their feature hit news stands.

I think it is odd that Time did not mention the award in their article, but it does not make the award any less legitimate. The real reason that I believed it was possible that they did not receive an award was because I read in Nick Coleman's column that they did. Since his accuracy in reporting matters that relate to PowerLine is less than stellar, I questioned the reliability of this report.

I personally apologize for any suggestion that PowerLine may not have received the award.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Jim Lindberg of the Volokh Conspiracy has posted a debunking of a ridiculous study that purports to show that rich people have less sex than poor people. Well, anyone who’s ever seen me deploy my patented pick-up line (Hey Baby, want to check out the master bedroom of my Boeing Business Jet while we’re flying to my Tahitian island?) could have told you that that study was bogus.