Thursday, March 31, 2005


NOTE: We are not claiming that we know this memo was written by Democrats, only that Democrats can read it if they visit this website.

From the desk of House Minority Leader Henry Reed (DEMOCRAT – Neb.)

Talking Points on S.530 The Perverted Pop Star Protection Act

* Michael Jackson is a pop star currently standing trial on child molestation charges.
* The Senate needs to act this week before the Budget Act is pending business, or Mr. Jackson’s case may go to the jury.
* This is an important musical issue and our pop music base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue.
* This is a great political issue, because Senator Mark Kennedy of Minnesota has already refused to become a cosponsor and this is a tough issue for Republicans.
* This bill is very limited in scope and applies only to alleged child molesters who are pop stars.
* Pop stars are defined as those “presently capable of selling one million records or have previously sold more than twenty million records.”
* This legislation ensures that perverted pop stars like Michael Jackson are guaranteed the same legal acquittals as celebrity wife murderers like O. J. Simpson and Robert Blake.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Top 11 Ways the World would be Eviler if St. Kate Achieved her Goal of World Domination

To me, there is nothing cuter than our friend St. Kate from the M.A.W.B. Squad and Cathy in the Wright trying to be evil. I find it hard to believe that she could muster up much evil even if she did manage to achieve her stated goal of world domination. But then again, if she tried really hard, maybe St. Kate could make the world a more evil place. You be the judge. Here are the top 11 ways a world dominated by St. Kate would be eviler.

11. The Senator and Governor could, in theory, become Uday and Qusay-like.
10. Those brazen enough to throw a ball in St. Kate’s face would be given slightly undesirable jobs in the Central Headquarters’ moat.
9. The Keegan’s trivia contest would become unwinnable.
8. The only menu item at state dinners would be unseasoned, uncured, un-ham.
7. A world dominated by a soccer player would have to be at least a little eviler.
6. All men would be required to wear eau de toilette.
5. If you call the beloved leader a “bitch” and then get into a shoving match with her, she would respond by thinking up a nasty insult for you (but would stop short of actually delivering it).
4. Hectic world domination schedule would cut into St. Kate’s nursing home volunteering.
3. All gifts to toddlers would be restricted to scientist action figures.
2. If you meet her in a bar and come off as a turkey, you could end up losing an organ.
1. Okay, so a world dominated by St. Kate wouldn’t be all that bad for humans, but if you’re a cow, watch out!

Draft Update

President Bushitler has not yet instituted a draft. I’m sure it will happen any day now as the moonbats assured us during the election. But then again, I’m still waiting for Ronald Reagan to start a nuclear war.

Our previous draft update was here.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Sisyphus the Greek

As expected, the first two rounds of the NCAA hockey tournament provided an exciting weekend of college hockey. If you were only interested in the winners there was no need to go any further than this post. Exactly as I forecast, the higher seed won every game except for North Dakota’s upset of Boston College.

Those of us fortunate enough to attend the West Regional at Mariucci Arena were treated to not one, but two Gopher overtime victories. The first game was controlled by the Gophers, but they just couldn’t get the biscuit past red hot Maine goalie Jimmy Howard. Chad the Elder spotted the problem during the first period: the Gophers were shooting too much at his excellent glove hand and not enough at his stick side. Finally in overtime, Evan Kaufman followed the Elder’s advice and scored the game winner on the stick side. Kaufman described it thus in the Star Tribune:

"I just fired it. I was talking to [backup] goaltender Justin Johnson and he said we were shooting to the glove hand all game. He said if we're going to beat him it's going to have to be to the blocker side. That's where I shot it."

If only Chad the Elder could have gotten word to the Gopher’s bench sooner, we would have been spared the stress of overtime. Hopefully Coach Lucia will supply the Elder his cell phone number so that he can phone in tips during the Frozen Four.

Also during Saturday’s game, I opined to the Elder at length my disappointment with the performance of senior forward Barry “Condor” Tallackson. As noted in this post, the Condor went out the next night and scored the game winner in overtime. Drunk with the excitement generated by this goal, I momentarily enshrined the Condor among my all-time Gopher favorites. But soon I sobered up: one good goal is not enough to overcome four years of wasted talent. Now, if he were to get the game winner in the finals, I just may start that Condor fan club …..

P.S. In my original post forecasting the NCAA tournament, I had the wrong match ups for the Frozen Four. The Gophers will be playing North Dakota, not Colorado College in the semi-finals. So my corrected predictions:
The two week layoff before the start of the Frozen Four will be just what the doctor ordered for the banged-up Gophers. The Sioux on the other hand will have time to cool off. I predict a relatively easy victory for the Gophers. In the other semi-final, Colorado College will reverse the outcome of the WCHA finals and crush Denver. Then in the finals Colorado College will prevail for their first national championship since 1957.

Gopher fans will be consoled by visions of phenom Phil Kessel in the maroon and gold next year.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The American Office

For fans of the brilliant BBC comedy “The Office”, watching last night’s premiere of the Americanized version was a bizarre experience. The script was virtually identical to the BBC show’s first episode except with American locations, slang, references, and cast. I feel sorry for the American actors that have to step into characters that were played so memorably by the original British cast. Watching Steve Carell attempt to play boss David Brandt (or whatever his new name is) in the shadow of Ricky Gervais is especially painful.

A better idea would have been for an American network to sign up the BBC show’s talented creators (and writers of all the episodes) Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant to create an entirely new series. The BBC series had quite a few fans, and it’s hard to imagine them sticking with this knock-off for long.

UPDATE: It's getting worse. Today's "Diversity Training" epsiode was a disaster. They tried to evoke the classic training episode from the BBC series and failed miserably.

A Touch of Continuing Legal Education

Even lawyers who are distinguished members of the Bar can have embarrassing, gaping holes in their legal knowledge. That is one of the reasons that the Bar requires a certain number of Continuing Legal Education credits to keep a law license up to date.

While we are not sanctioned to provide official CLE courses, we do occasionally help our lawyer friends by providing a little remedial legal training. I won’t mention any names, but last night at Keegan’s there was a learned lawyer (drinking something stronger than Kool-Aid) who insisted that Warren Burger was a dissenter in Roe vs. Wade and that Byron White was in the majority. I insisted on the opposite. As a guest member of the winning Fraters Libertas trivia team, you’d think that I would have been deferred to – but you’d have been wrong. Strangely, the (non-nuke toting) lawyer would not take my word for it. Thus, I am forced to provide evidence supporting my contention:

Roe vs. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)
Decided 7-2 Blackmun delivered the opinion of the Court, and was joined by Burger, Douglas, Brennan, Stewart, Marshall, and Powell.
White and Rehnquist in dissent.

Note to those at Keegan’s on trivia night: you may want to check for the “Defending Champions” trophy before contradicting a fellow patron on a matter of fact (even if the matter of fact is in your field). I know of a certain Iron Maiden listening, moonbat dissing, law talking guy who probably wishes he’d followed that advice.

What is Life?

I heard the George Harrison song just the other day and it reminded me of the Schiavo situation. Actually, the words betray a crappy love song. A more apt tune from the former Beatle's catalog would be "Art of Dying."

There'll come a time when all your hopes are fading
When things that seemed so very plain
Become an awful pain
Searching for the truth among the lying
And answered when you've learned the art of dying

As an orthodox Catholic, it is easy for me to take a position on the Schiavo fiasco. However I can look beyond the religious dogma and ask myself what my instincts tell me. Harrison's question is relevant when one does this. What is life?

If life is defined as the ability to touch the lives of others, then the physical definition of life is meaningless. When I get philosophical like this, I often think of Elvis Presley. CBS will soon air another Elvis miniseries. While it couldn't possibly be "Elvis and the Beauty Queen", neither could the work of Shakespeare, Beethoven or Van Gogh. But I digress. More than 25 years after his physical death, the King lives. His story again will be told on TV. His records still sell have a place on the charts. Children born more than twenty years after his physical death recognize the likeness of Elvis, screaming in glee when they see him. Can someone who still touches the lives of millions be anything other than alive?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

An American Conspiracy

The FOX network, desperate for decent programming, staged an "accident" last night that allowed them to add an extra hour of American Idol to their TV schedules this week.

Normally the program showcases performers in a musical talent contest for one hour on Tuesday nights, then offers a half hour results show each Wednesday. However, this week FOX faked an accident. They purposely displayed the wrong phone numbers to vote for three of the contestants at the end of the Tuesday show. This allowed them to extend the Wednesday show to an hour in the interest of fairness, featuring a re-vote. All voters after the Tuesday show will not be charged the normal fee. Then a half-hour results show will be added Thursday.

I'll grant you that this post is based on conjecture. However, consider that the show that got bumped from FOX's line-up in favor of top rated "Idol" was the awful looking premier of "Life on A Stick," a comedy about a group of teenagers that work at a corn-dog stand in a mall food court. The likely bumped show tomorrow is "Point Pleasant," a show that is likely to be cancelled within weeks. FOX has even removed all references to "Point Pleasant" from their web site.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

C.S. Lewis on Forgiveness

For lent this year, I decided to read “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. It is a book adopted from a series of radio lectures given by Lewis during World War II that looked at the core values of Christianity that are common to most Christian sects. This morning, I came across his chapter on forgiveness. Considering my anger that Terri Schiavo will now apparently be allowed to starve to death, it was an opportune time for a refresher.

An excerpt doesn’t really do the chapter justice, but here are the first three paragraphs:

I said in a previous chapter that chastity was the most unpopular of Christian virtues. But I am not sure I was right. I believe there is one even more unpopular. It is laid down in the Christian rule, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ Because in Christian morals ‘thy neighbor’ includes ‘thy enemy’, and so we come up against this terrible duty of forgiving our enemies.

Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive, as we had during the war. And then, to mention the subject at all is to be greeted with howls of anger. It is not that people think this too high and difficult a virtue: it is that they think it hateful and contemptible. ‘That sort of talk makes me sick,’ they say. And half of you already want to ask me, ‘I wonder how you’d feel about forgiving the Gestapo if you were a Pole or a Jew?’

So do I. I wonder very much. Just as when Christianity tells me I must not deny my religion even to save myself from death and torture, I wonder very much what I should do when it came to the point. I am not trying to tell you in this book what I could do – I can do precious little – I am telling you what Christianity is. I did not invent it. And there, right in the middle of it, I find ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those that sin against us.’ There is no slightest suggestion that we are offered forgiveness on any other terms. It is made perfectly clear that if we do not forgive we shall not be forgiven. There are no two ways about it. What are we to do?

UPDATE: Sandy has more thoughts on Forgiveness and Grace.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Top 11 Reasons to Kill Terri Schiavo

I’m all for the efforts to save Terri Schiavo, but I’m open-minded enough to consider alternative views. So, here are the top 11 reasons to kill Terri Schiavo.

11. We can’t let everyone just die of natural causes – that would be chaos.
10. This precedent will come in handy when my ex-trophy wives try to claim that they are starving on the meager alimony I’m paying them.
9. If doctors determine that Terri Schiavo can never enjoy hockey again, her life won’t be worth living anyway.
8. All of those PhD bioethicists can’t be wrong.
7. On principle, the state shouldn’t interfere when a husband wants his wife dead.
6. Bush lied about WMDs, how do we know he’s not lying about the lack of food and water leading to death?
5. Just because you look good on a video tape doesn’t mean you’re not brain dead – consider Alec Baldwin.
4. Hmmm, maybe this will lead to the removal of Alec Baldwin’s feeding tube.
3. The Florida courts have never steered us wrong before.
2. Nick Coleman may call us wingnuts if we don’t let her die.
1. Put your self in her position. Would you want to go on living if you were married to Michael Schiavo?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

A Promise to you, the Reader

I hereby promise to never write a post about not having anything to post. If I should ever find myself with blogger’s block, I will instead write about hockey or art.

TiVo Blogging: NCAA Men’s Hockey Tournament Selection Show

I’ll be live (live on TiVo) blogging the NCAA Men’s Hockey Tournament Selection show on ESPN2.

10:01 – Sweet, the Badgers are one of the teams ESPN will have on camera. Oh, I’d love to see them not make it, but I suppose that’s too much to ask for.
10:02 – Number one seeds. Boston College in the East, Denver has to travel to the Northeast, CoCo has to go to Grand Rapids, Michigan (why do they always have first round games in Grand Rapids?). Gophers do get the final number one seed, though they don’t deserve it after this weekend.
10:04 – East region: BU drew North Dakota in the first round and they don’t look very happy about it. The way North Dakota is playing right now, I don’t blame them.
I see no upsets in the East unless maybe North Dakota over BC. Hockey Least is down this year.
10:06 – Jack Parker is still coaching? Actually he’s looking pretty young for a guy with over 700 wins. They keep talking about a BC/BU second round match up, but I don’t see BU getting past the Sioux.
10:11 – West region: Ouch, Gophers play Maine in the first round, re-match of 2002 National Championship game. Number 2 seed Cornell plays Ohio State, I would have rather played OSU than Maine, but the Gophers really didn’t deserve better.
10:12 – Talking about the bizarre Hirsch post-game net charge now. I guess that incident is what you call a cry for help. It’s a shame; Hirsch was having a great year. I hope he gets whatever help he needs.
10:14 – Midwest region: Wisconsin a three seed? They have been in complete collapse for a month. The Badgers play Michigan in a game that I wish both teams could lose, kind of like the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
10:16 – Interviewing Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves. They should remind him that Kessel is going to the Gophers, heh.
10:21 – Northeast region: Denver has to travel to Amherst, MA, but they get to start out against Bemidji State. No upset there. They will then play Harvard - New Hampshire winner. Write Denver into the Frozen Four right now.
10:26 – Now discussing whether CoCo should have gotten the number one overall seed over Denver. It’s not a ridiculous suggestion, but clearly Denver is number one right now – they proved that in the WCHA tournament.

A pretty good job by the committee, I don’t expect many upsets. WCHA teams receive three of the four number one seeds, as they should. The WCHA is by far the top conference this year, but what’s up with three teams from the Easy AC? Only Cornell is likely to win their first game.

I predict an all WCHA frozen four. In fact, it will mirror the WCHA tourney almost exactly, with Colorado College defeating the Gophers in one semi-final and Denver defeating North Dakota in the other, setting up a replay of the WCHA championship game. However, this time I expect Colorado College to prevail for the national title.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Movies

Last week I had the pleasure of gathering with several friends and watching a good film. "The Big Lebowski" is funny and quirky. One recurring theme in TBL is that there are a group of German bad guys who happen to be nihilists. At one point, the German nihilists break into the apartment of The Dude (Jeff Bridges) and threaten him with the most unpleasant bodily harm that a male could imagine. Later, the Dude explains to his friends in this scene:

Walter sadly shakes his head.
WALTER: F***ing Germans. Nothing changes. F***ing Nazis.
DONNY: They were Nazis, Dude?
WALTER: Come on, Donny, they were threatening castration!
DONNY: Uh-huh.
WALTER: Are you gonna split hairs?
WALTER: Am I wrong?
DONNY: Well--
DUDE: They're nihilists.
DUDE: They kept saying they believe in nothing.
WALTER: Nihilists! Jesus. - Walter looks haunted.
Say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's
an ethos.
DUDE: Yeah.

There you have it. Walter from the Big Lebowski think we're worse than Nazis.

Moving on to the bad: in honor of St. Patty's day, Hippster of Pieces of Flair reviews the Leprechaun film franchise, including "Leprechaun V: In the Hood" and "Leprechaun VI: Back 2 tha Hood". I always thought leprechauns were from Ireland, but according to these films they are straight outta Compton.

This leads me to my next film. I recently had the chance to read an old Entertainment Weekly magazine that detailed the most awful and offensive film ever, a 1972 effort titled "The Day the Clown Cried."

Jerry Lewis portraying a clown named Doork sounds like a recipe for disaster, but not the worst film ever. Did I mention it takes place at Auschwitz? Here's IMDB's description:

Plot Outline: Jerry Lewis plays a Nazi clown who leads children to the gas chamber in a concentration camp.

I've got to argue with Walter from "The Big Lebowski". Don't go bad-mouthing the nihilists anymore.

Divinity Disproved

In a previous post, I revealed that an internet quiz suggested that I may indeed be God. Of course, I didn’t take it seriously, but if that post caused you to re-evaluate your own personal belief system, I think this information will allow you to rest easy: I was a horrendous 19-13 in the first round of my NCAA tournament bracket.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Why Hockey is Better than Basketball

I enjoy basketball, especially at tournament time, but there can be no doubt that it is an inferior support to hockey. I know, I know, basketball is many times more popular, but that just shows that the majority isn’t always right.

There are several arguments that could be made to defend this thesis, but I will focus on only one – the end of the game. Hockey is the only major sport where the end of the game is played at pretty much the same pace as the rest of the game. Although each team has one time-out, it is rarely called. There may be a whistle for offsides or something but they are no more likely to occur at the end of the game than the beginning or middle. If a team is trailing, they may pull their goalie – a desperate move that carries quite a risk, but also gives an exciting offensive advantage to the trailing team.

Now consider basketball. The trailing team also has a desperation move – fouling. But instead of creating excitement, this move creates tedium. Sure, it can be somewhat exciting if the game is close, but many trailing teams don’t know when they’ve lost. It’s not unusual to see a team down 8 or 10 points fouling in the last minute. Perhaps worse than the fouling is the seemingly endless supply of timeouts. After every basket the self-important coaches feel they must stop the game to tell their players what to do next. If I were a liberal I would attribute this to racism (the mostly white coaches feel that the mostly black players require their constant instruction). But no matter the motive, it disrupts the flow of the game.

A few simple rule changes would greatly improve basketball. First, one timeout per team is plenty. This will also reduce the lame timeout calls when a player is about to go out of bounds or is caught in a bad position. Second, give teams the option of taking the ball from out of bounds instead of free throws. Yes, comebacks will be more unlikely, but if you want to win you should play well the entire game.

UPDATE: Learned Foot and I debate the relative merits of basketball and hockey in the comments to this post.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Another Stupid Quiz – Or is it?

It seems that MOB members can’t resist taking quizzes to see what kind of whatever they are. Sandy rounds up some of the MOB results for the Who Would You Be in 1400 A.D. quiz. I did take the quiz, but an aversion to sacrilege (and the Nihilist’s ludditic ban on graphics) kept me from posting the results. But since everyone else is doing it, I may as well post my results. Keep in mind that these quizzes are – probably – meaningless.

You scored 100% Cardinal, 100% Monk, 100% Lady, and 100% Knight

You created heaven and earth and the laws of nature. You believe in smiting your enemies and rewarding those who win your favor. The King serves only if you will it and all others are your servants.

You scored 100% as Cardinal, Monk, Lady, and Knight because you are all powerful and all knowing.

Almost certainly ridiculous, but do you really want to take that chance?

When Good Poodles Go Bad

Senate votes for Arctic drilling:

With 55 Republicans in the Senate, the vote did not break precisely along party lines. Three Democrats Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye of Hawaii and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana voted in favor of drilling. Six Republicans voted against it. One was Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, who was elected in 2002; his predecessor, the late Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone, was a staunch opponent of Arctic drilling.

"I made a campaign promise," Coleman explained.

Somewhere Dick Cheney is rolling up a newspaper.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Nihilist?

John Miller remembers a master of horror, H.P. Lovecraft at

Central to Lovecraft's effectiveness was his personal philosophy, and this is what separated him from Poe and the others who came before him. He was a thoroughgoing materialist--a socialist in his politics and an atheist in his beliefs. "Now all my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large," he wrote upon successfully resubmitting the original Cthulhu story. "One must forget that such things as organic life, good and evil, love and hate, and all such local attributes of a negligible and temporary race called mankind, have any existence at all."

That's nihilism, of course, and we're free to reject it. But there's nothing creepier or more terrifying than the possibility that our lives are exercises in meaninglessness. "As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods," says Gloucester in King Lear. "They kill us for their sport." From Lovecraft's perspective, this gives us far too much credit. In his grim milieu, we don't even rate as insect pests, but we still manage to get ourselves squished.

So it's a safe bet that Oprah Winfrey's book clubs won't be dipping into "The Dunwich Horror" or "The Dreams in the Witch House" this spring. Yet Lovecraft's circle seems ready for ever more widening. On the Internet, it's possible to take a virtual tour of Lovecraft sites in his hometown of Providence, R.I., or to shop for a Cthulhu plush toy. You can also buy a bumper sticker: "Cthulhu for President--Don't settle for the lesser evil."

Lovecraft almost never wrote a happy ending and he certainly isn't known for his sense of humor, but perhaps by now even he would appreciate that it's nice to have the last laugh.

The nihilists always laugh last.

Top 11 Tastiest Animals

11. Octopus
10. Tuna
9. Pheasant
8. Salmon
7. Deer
6. Lamb
5. Chicken
4. Shrimp
3. Lobster
2. Pig
1. Cow

Monday, March 14, 2005

M.A.W.B. Makeover

The M.A.W.B. Squad has a new look. I like it, but I still say that nothing tops the “blogger default” look of this blog.

A Good Year

Today is the one hundredth anniversary of Albert Einstein’s 26th birthday. Why not just say that Einstein was born 126 years ago today? Because in March of 1905 he was in the midst of the single most productive year, by one person, in the history of science.

Early in 1905 he was granted his PhD in Physics from the University of Zurich. Since he could not find an academic position, he continued to work in the Swiss patent office. In his spare time, he worked on some physics (hopefully not while on the clock at the patent office).

In March, he submitted a paper that explained the photo-electric effect. He won the Noble Prize in 1921 for this work.

In May, he wrote a paper on Brownian motion that was a major contribution to Statistical Mechanics (Thermodynamics).

And to top things off, that summer and fall he worked out the Special Theory of Relativity, including the famous formula E=mc2.

Any one of those contributions would have made his career, but the show-off had to go and do all three in the same year. At least he saved some stuff for later, like the General Theory of Relativity (1913) and the theory of Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER) in 1916.

While Einstein ranks as probably the greatest physicist who ever lived, alas, he doesn’t rank very high as an economist. In 1949, Einstein wrote a defense of socialism, “Why Socialism?” that includes quotes such as:

“The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil.”


“I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.”

This essay would be easy fisking for a trained economist. Come on King, haven’t you always wanted to fisk Einstein?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Mission: Impossible 3

A film treatment by Cubby

Dear Mr. Cruise,
First, let me say that I’m a big fan of your work. I don’t for one second believe the rumors that you are gay, not that there would be anything wrong with that. I know that the wingnuts are obsessed with your private life, but not me. I believe that gay people should be allowed to marry, serve in the military or do anything else that straight people are allowed to do (except of course, work as a White House correspondent).

Anyway, the reason I’m writing is that I have an awesome idea for a Mission: Impossible sequel. After twice playing IMF agent Ethan Hunt, I’m sure you’re ready to move on to a different character. May I suggest: IMF agent Cubby, a truth-seeking radio producer by day, and a wingnut investigating secret agent by night. It will be way awesome, I swear.

In the opening scene, Agent Cubby is producing up a storm. He and his host (casting suggestion: Paul Newman) have the wingnuts on the run. But he knows they won’t go down quietly. After the show, he hands Cubby the wicked cool DVD player.

Your mission, Cubby, should you choose to accept it, is to infiltrate a secret meeting of a shadowy nefarious organization known as the MOB. They are holding a macabre ceremony at a downtown hotel to celebrate the demise of one of their enemies. Uncover and foil their evil plans for state-wide domination.

Then the DVD thingy melts in that cool way that it melts.

Okay, the IMF crew disguises Cubby as a lowly, oppressed waiter so that the wingnuts won’t pay any attention to him. He sneaks into the hotel and memorizes the happenings. He is once almost nearly discovered, but he evades detection.

Then the next day on the show, he exposes what happened with perfect recall. Much shame is brought on the MOB wingnuts. Cubby doesn’t reveal that he learned a key piece of information: The MOB will be meeting again that night. This time he knows the MOB will be more careful. He dresses all in black, and brings those ninja ropes like in the first “Mission: Impossible” down to an Irish pub in NE Minneapolis.

At the pub, Agent Cubby crawls through the ventilation system. He spots the table containing the evil Frat Boys, one of the evilest factions of the MOB. He lowers himself down from the ceiling so that he can hear what they’re saying. They’re mostly talking about politics and other boring stuff. Then his ears perk up as he hears them talk about their most dangerous faction, the KKKoolers. The KKKoolers are not present, so they say, because they are at a baptism class. But Cubby knows that these are only pretend Christians, so he climbs up his ropes to the ceiling and crawls out through the vents. Cubby mounts his cool motorcycle and wheels it down to the St. Paul Cathedral.

The Cathedral is empty. Cubby stops and appreciates the cool bells. When they stop, he notices a low hum. He finds a stairway and sneaks down to the basement. There he discovers the evil MOBster lair! Cubby spots the KKKoolers gathered around a nuclear reactor. They’re trying to build a nuke! The KKKoolers spot Cubby and try to catch him, but Cubby evades them and then beats them up good. About ten of them single handed.

So, what did you think? Awesome huh? Let me know when you want me to get started on the entire script.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

I Need My Own Financial Magazine

Like Tennessee Ernie Ford once did, I paid a visit to the company store the other day. I n search of some Altoids, I stopped by the news rack to get a cursory glance at who Lindsay Lohan is currently dating. Being a finance type, my eye was drawn away from young Lindsay, away from the scores of Michael Jackson trial covers, and toward the magazines with the word "Money" in the title.

In the eight to ten seconds at the news rack, I noticed two financial magazines that offered tax advice. One boasted "25 Ways to Reduce Your Taxes." Not to be outdone, another mag boasted "28 Tax Cutting Tactics." Every year in early March, these magazines rehash the same old articles, focusing on lowering their readers Federal Income Tax burdens.

I've read scores of these articles over the years. They always offer pretty obvious advice, like "Open an IRA." However, they miss several tax saving opportunities that a keen financial mind sees. So as you do your taxes, keep in mind this list of "Nihilist's Top Eleven Ways to Reduce Your Taxes That You Won't Find In a Financial Magazine:"

11. Stick a Fork in Your Eye - I've written about this hidden tax break before. Oedipal blinding can put hundreds of dollars in your pockets this year and every year for the rest of your life. Don't want to go blind? Here's an equally great opportunity: blind your spouse! You'll get the same tax reduction. It might even help you save more money with Tip #10. Whether it's you or your spouse, you could also save money with Tip #9 as a result of this tactic.

10. Get Divorced - Despite President Bush's best efforts, some couples still face a marriage penalty. Even old foes like Nick Coleman and John Hinderocker can agree that dumping the first spouse can be an effective way to reduce your burden to Uncle Sam.

9. Get Sick - If medical bills are more than 7.5% of your gross income, your tax burden falls. This includes dental expense as well, so knocking your teeth out can provide an added bonus this April.

8. Get old. Granted, this is something one can't just decide to do, but when you turn 65 your burden falls.

7. Have a child. This is an especially good strategy if you are low income and/or a single parent, as the Earned Income Tax Credit actually pays low income people for this activity.

6. Move to Minnesota. Granted, this may actually increase your overall tax burden, but it will shift it from Federal to State. So if you're the type of person who can't stand the idea of George Bush and his bodies taking your hard-earned money and giving it to rich defense contractors this is a good strategy. That's provided you don't mind it going to Red McCombs in the form of a stadium subsidy.

5. Buy a house that you can't afford. After all, mortgage interest is tax deductible. Not only do you get a dream mansion, but your taxes plummet.

4. Take out an interest-only mortgage. This strategy will help more in future years. As you pay your house off, you lose an important tax deduction. With the interest-only loan you never have to worry about pesky home ownership interfering with your tax opportunity.

3. Invest poorly. While capital gains are taxable, capital losses provide tax savings. People who went long on Enron and Tyco in the late 1990's still are reaping the tax benefits.

2. Donate all your money to charity. If you make the mistake of making a profitable investment don't sell it, give it to a qualified charity. You can double dip on the savings here in the form of no capital gain to report and a charitable deduction.

1. Quit your job. The biggest determiner of Federal Income tax is income. By quitting your job, you will likely eliminate the Feds incentive to take a piece of your pie. A related strategy is to take a lower paying job. Also, if you join the army and go to Iraq, combat pay is tax exempt.

Now these are some great ideas to put the tax code to good use.

Top 11 Reasons it would be a Bad Idea for the Kool Aid Report to Join the Nuclear Club

Yesterday, the Kool Aid Report got into a little trouble by threatening to nuke a local media star. They quickly retracted the threat and denied that they even had nuclear weapons. I’d love to believe that denial, but the likes of Israel have long denied having a nuclear capability, but everyone knows that they have one. I pray that KAR’s denial is not in the same vein. Here are the top 11 reasons it would be a bad idea for KAR to have nukes:

11. Some of my neighbors write really moronic letters to the editor.
10. It would be all too easy for Al Qaeda to break into Learned Foot’s garage and steal the nuke.
9. It is not a good idea to store nukes in the vicinity of young children.
8. Sure we can trust V-Toed Bill and Learned Foot, but the nuke could eventually fall into Dementee’s hands.
7. KAR made a solemn promise to Jimmy Carter and Madeline Albright that they would use their nuclear reactor only for peaceful purposes.
6. Bogus Gold and the M.A.W.B. Squad would re-double their own nuclear efforts.
5. KAR might eventually succumb to temptation and nuke the Star Tribune building. Not only would thousands be killed, but the Metrodome would also be destroyed, thus increasing the calls for a new publicly financed stadium.
4. The blast would also destroy a very expensive train.
3. How can the State Department tell Iran that a nuclear weapons program is wrong when even our bloggers have one?
2. If everyone were to nuke someone just because they disagree with their politics, the United States would soon become a radioactive wasteland.
1. Threatening to nuke people is not very Christian.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Keegan's Recap

Last night at Keegan's was a hoot. The bar was packed with trivia contenders and a good time was had by all. Although I am not as naturally gregarious as Brian "St. Paul" Ward, I did get the chance to talk to a lot of you. Fraters provides an excellent recap here, including a photo of yours truly about to administer the "Crusher Claw"on Mark Yost while singing a merry tune.

I owe a debt of thanks to Terry and Virginia Keegan, who generously let us take over trivia for the night and to the wait-staff, who promptly refilled my drinks. Also thanks to my Fraters teammates, whose smarts put us in position to be asked to host. Finally, a huge thank you to Scotty "Bones" Miller, who generously allowed me to commandeer the mike for the early part of his first set and provided keyboard on "Burnin' Love" and "Jailhouse Rock". It takes a great musician to make a rank amateur look good.

As much as I enjoy doing my Elvis bit, the best part of the night for me was the chance to have civil and even jovial discussions with the left leaners in the crowd. No, I'm not talking about Nick Coleman's spy. I am referring to real people including Power Liberal and a bar regular and former trivia champion known as BD (not to be confused with Doonesbury's BD, this guy wore no helmet). BD proposed a terrific idea: a special May Day version of trivia, featuring questions about Stalin, Che, and Wellstone!

I'd also be remiss if I didn't offer a salute to the victors, the Pointy-Headed Reaganites. From Caligula to Ronnie James Dio to Hervé Villechaize , none of my queries nor those of my teammates stymied these guys. It's only fair to mention that none of us had ever met anyone on their team before last night. Our Own Sisyphus took second place with 23 right, on a team with Craig Westover, Policy Guy and Mitch Berg. One thing is for sure, there were a lot of people at Keegan's last night who know stuff!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Tonight's The Night

Urgent! Tell all your friends and get town to Keegan's Irish Pub by 8 pm for Fraters (& Nihilist) trivia night. Great food, drink, trivia and entertainment await!

A Touch of Class, Part IV – Treasures of the Louvre

I have as much contempt for the French as the next guy (maybe more), but you have to admit that they do two things well: make champagne and paint. We don’t have to set foot in France to drink their champagne, but much of their great art is confined to Paris museums. Fortunately, through the internet, we can get a taste of these great museums without catching a whiff of the Parisians.

The Louvre became a public museum in 1793 in the wake of the French revolution. Its collection consisted primarily of works seized from the King, the church, and members of the aristocracy. The collection was further enhanced with pieces seized throughout Europe during the Napoleonic wars.

The Louvre collection is so vast and impressive that it is difficult to know where to start. Let’s jump right into the Mannerist school of the later half of the 16th century. The Mannerists were technically proficient, but poor at capturing human passions. One of the Louvre’s finest examples of this school was painted in 1595 by an unknown master: “Gabrielle d'Estrées and one of her Sister”.

The Mannerists gave way to the more emotional Baroque style, which in turn led to the decorative Rococco style of the early 18th century. One of the masters of the Rococco era was Francois Boucher. Not surprisingly, many of Boucher’s works can be seen in the Louvre, including his “Diana Leaving her Bath” (1742).

Like many artists of his era, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was forced to paint portraits to make ends meet, although he preferred the historical genre. Happily, his portraiture experience greatly enhanced his historical paintings. Consider, for example, “The Turkish Bath” from 1862.

(Click here for the previous installment of A Touch of Class.)

Monday, March 07, 2005

The Evil and The Good

I noticed that several mob sites used the Gematricular to determine whether their website was good or evil. According to their website, “The Gematriculator is a service that uses the infallible methods of Gematria developed by Mr. Ivan Panin to determine how good or evil a web site or a text passage is.”

Well, if it says so on the internet, it must be true. I ran all of the NARN and MOB websites through it, and as of this morning, here are the most and least evil members. I’m not sure how infallible it is, Nihilist in Golf Pants and Kool Aid Report are among the least evil. But then again, The Bleat rates as the least evil of all, so maybe there is something to it.

The most evil (evil percentage):
1. Belief Seeking Understanding 51%
2. Flyover Country 48%
3. The Night Writer 47%
5. Minnesota Democrats Exposed 44%
6. it’s noon somewhere 43%
7. Power Line 42%
8. Echo Zoe 41%
Scholar’s Notebook 41%
10. PolicyGuy 39%
The Bickersons 39%
12. Macaroni Penguin 38%
Our House 38%
SCSU Scholars 38%
Shot in the Dark 38%
The First Ring 38%
the whippersnapper 38%
18. Captain’s Quarters 37%
Jay Redding 37%
19. faithmouse 36%
Plastic Hallway 36%
21. CenterFeud 35%
EckerNet 35%
Smoothing Plane 35%
24. Brainstorming 34%
Flown to the Roll 34%
Pair O’Dice 34%
Rocks Off 34%
Shock and Blog 34%
The Attic 34%
30. pinkmonkeybird 33%
sprucegoose 33%
32. Bogus Gold 32%
Centrisity 32%
Craig Westover 32%
Solablagola 32%
Speed Gibson 32%
The M.A.W.B. Squad 32%

The Least Evil (evil percentage):
1. Lileks – The Bleat 17%
2. Cathy in Wright 19%
3. My View from Minnetonka 20%
4. One Big Swede 21%
5. Mama Ellen’s 22%
6. Market Power 23%
SwanBlog 23%
The Patriette 23%
9. Zero-Two-Mike Soldier 24%
10. Kiihnworld 25%
Spitbull 25%
Questions and Answers 25%
13. Crazy But Able 26%
Peoples Republic of MN 26%
Psycmeister’s Ice Palace 26%
16. Anti-Strib 27%
Cake Eater Chronicles 27%
Writing History 27%
19. Around the World in 80 Days 28%
Nihilist in Golf Pants 28%
Yucky Salad with Bones 28%
22. GigglePundit 29%
The Kool Aid Report 29%
24. Fraters Libertas 30%
Martin Andrade 30%
what if? 30%
27. Blogizdat 31%
Freedom Dogs 31%
Rambling Rhodes 31%
Wog’s Blog 31%

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Grant’s First Charge

Since Learned Foot apparently doesn’t care for my art appreciation posts, perhaps an historical post will be more to his liking.

Many of the senior officers on both sides of the Civil War saw their first military action in the Mexican War (1846-1848). In his Personal Memoirs, Ulysses Grant describes his first combat experience. He was a 2nd Lieutenant at the time, but because his company commander was given a temporary assignment elsewhere, he found himself in command of the company.

I at last found a clear space separating two ponds. There seemed to be a few men in front and I charged upon them with my company. There was no resistance, and we captured a Mexican colonel, who had been wounded, and a few men. Just as I was sending them to the rear with a guard of two or three men, a private came from the front bringing back one of our officers, who had been badly wounded in advance of where I was. The ground had been charged over before. My exploit was equal to that of the soldier who boasted that he had cut off the leg of one of the enemy. When asked why he did not cut off his head, he replied: “Someone had done that before.” This left no doubt in my mind but that the battle of Resaca de la Palma would have been won, just as it was, if I had not been there.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

More Idiots Taking "24" Too Seriously

In this post, I derided CAIR (The Council for American - Islamic Relations) for their criticism of the FOX drama "24" due to its portrayal of several terrorist characters as Arabs.

Well, it turns out that the members of CAIR aren't the only people who have a difficult time differentiating between real life and fiction. Check out these entries "2005 - For the Record" page of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission web site:

The Fox program "24" is dramatic fiction. Nuclear power plants in the United States have redundant safety systems and several very robust physical barriers as well as well-established emergency plans that help ensure people living near these plants are kept safe.

Fox Television's Jan. 31, "24" program airs a plot centered around the use of a "black box" that could remotely operate all 104 U.S. nuclear power plants via the Internet. For the record, there is no such black box or suitcase for controlling nuclear power plants. Control systems at the plants are not accessible via the Internet.
"24" is merely entertaining fiction.

The USNRC must have posted these entries for one of two reasons:
  • A bureaucratic paranoia that the general public is unable to differentiate between reality and fiction.
  • A demonstration that a significant portion of the general public is unable to differentiate between reality and fiction.

Meanwhile, at least one person at can differentiate between fact and fiction and finds this fiction unconvincing:

I just wish I were a fly on the wall in the meeting where they discussed inventing a remote device that could melt down ALL nuclear plants in the US. Uh, does anyone here think this is a bad idea? Any potential for abuse? No, so let's make it a briefcase-sized device and have one dude carry it around.... Uh, maybe not.

For the record, I still find "24" to be an entertaining show and I think this season is probably the best since Season I. However, to the people looking to pick nits, I remind you it's just a TV show.

The Top 11 Revelations about North Korea from the LA Times

11. That Earth at Night satellite photo showing near complete darkness over North Korea proves that North Korea leads the world in drapes and blinds technology.
10. William Hung? Not a North Korean.
9. Oh, like you’ve never tortured anyone. How about Abu Ghraib?
8. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are welcome to visit North Korea anytime they’d like, all expenses paid.
7. Any nation that owns a karoake club in Beijing can’t be all bad.
6. Since America dropped atomic bombs on Japan, it would be hypocritical to prevent North Korea from doing the same.
5. People magazine will never be taken seriously by North Koreans until Kim Jung Il is named sexiest man alive.
4. George W. Bush is jealous of Kim’s success with the ladies.
3. A former gay prostitute could never receive presidential press credentials in Pyongyang.
2. Corn-husk noodles are noodle-rific!
1. Hey, want to buy some enriched uranium?

Friday, March 04, 2005

2006 NCAA Men’s Hockey Champion Crowned

Yes, I realize that the 2006 tournament is over a year away, but for all intents and purposes the Minnesota Gophers wrapped up the title today when phenom Phil Kessel announced his decision to attend the University of Minnesota.

I project the following lines for the 2005-06 Gophers:

The depth is incredible. No one in College Hockey will be able to match up against them, especially the second and third lines.

I’m already making plans for my post-championship rioting.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

How Can This Be?

As recently as Saturday, I was living the life of luxury in Fort Meyers. Now I find myself frozen in Fargo!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The MOB Rules (preview 3)

NOTE: This is the third part of the three part preview of “The MOB Rules”. You can read part one here and part two here.

Scene: Interior of Keegan’s Irish Pub
The bar is standing room only; everyone’s attention is focused on the Fraters trivia table and the Coleman/Boyd/Boxer table. Except for the Nihilist in Golf Pants [Kiefer Sutherland] and Sisyphus [Steven Seagal] who are eying a mumbling Mitch Berg [Randy Quaid].

NIHILIST IN GOLF PANTS [Kiefer Sutherland]:
Hmmm. Could Mitch Berg be the mole? How sure are we that his conversion to conservatism was for real?

SISYPHUS [Steven Seagall]:
Could be, could be, he’s been acting suspicious ever since we brought down Boyd and Coleman.

I’m going to swing around behind him to make sure he doesn’t try anything.

King Banaian bursts through the front door.
KING BANAIAN [Tom Selleck]:
Aw, you guys started already? Why can’t we ever have one of these events up in St. Cloud?

MARTY NEWTON [Alex Trebek]:
Okay, time for question two. Who is the drummer for Iron Maiden?

BARBARA BOXER [Barbra Streisand]:
Maiden is such a sexist term! Can’t we use matrimonially challenged? Or, maybe if we legalized gay marriage, she could marry whoever she wanted.

Dementee from the Kool Aid Report [James Spader] points at Nick Coleman, points at a McDonald’s bag, and then points at Nick Coleman’s head.

NICK COLEMAN [Bill Murray]:
[sneaking a glance at Dementee] I know, Nicko McBrain.

LEARNED FOOT [Brett Favre]:
Hold everything! Dementee just signaled the answer to Coleman!

Dementee breaks for the door, Learned Foot grabs a Guinness glass and throws it at Dementee, but the glass in intercepted by Barbara Boxer.

Fortunately, Sisyphus is quick to react. He does several super-cool martial arts flips and soon has Dementee pinned to the floor.

DEMENTEE [James Spader]:
Keep the dream alive Nick, Jim, and Barbara. Whatever they do to me, don’t let them turn this state into a cold wingnut filled Alabama! Remember, you are no one’s monkey! No one’s monkey!

V-TOED BILL [Fabio]:
I should have known! His denunciations of the Star Tribune weren’t very venomous. Take him downtown and book him on charges of impersonating a right-wing blogger.

NIHILIST IN GOLF PANTS [Kiefer Sutherland]:
Something still isn’t right. In my experience, there is always more than one mole in an organization.

A look of recognition comes over Mitch Berg’s face. He gestures for the crowd to quiet.
MITCH BERG [Randy Quaid]:
You’re right Nihilist, there is another mole, but he’s not in our organization. He’s in theirs!

Mitch Berg walks up to Nick Coleman and puts a stocking cap on his head.

MITCH BERG [Randy Quaid]:
Nick Coleman is Captain Fishsticks!


JIM BOYD [Peter Boyle] and BARBARA BOXER [Barbra Streisand]:
No, it can’t be!

Well, done Mitch, now that you’ve exposed my secret identity, I guess it’s time to come clean. Yes, I am Captain Fishsticks, or I should say, Captain Fishsticks is a character I created. You see, for quite sometime I’ve recognized the ideological bankruptcy of my former leftist ways, but I knew I couldn’t write a conservative column and keep working in this town. I wasn’t prepared to give up my huge salary, so I just kept writing the same old drivel – but I was miserable. Then one day while eating some fishsticks, I got an idea. Why not create an alter-ego columnist who wrote well reasoned and well researched classically liberal columns once per week. Sure, I knew the local newspapers wouldn’t pay more than $75 for that kind of column, but I was making so much from my Nick Coleman column that it didn’t really matter.

I’m relieved to be out of the closet. Three cheers for George Bush! Three cheers for Tim Pawlenty! Three cheers for the MOB!

SAINT PAUL [Frank Caliendo]:
And, three cheers for the MOB’s newest member, Nick Coleman!

MOB [All]:
Huzzzzzzzahhhhh! Huzzzzzzzahhhhh! Huzzzzzzzahhhhh!

Nathan Anderson [Nihilist in Golf Pants] takes the Keegan’s stage, dressed as Elvis. The opening strains of “In the Ghetto”.

Credits Roll as the Nihilist performs “In the Ghetto”.


Only Ten Days!

That's right, March 10 is Fraters (and Nihilist) night at Keegan's Pub Trivia!

I've been working up some questions, especially designed to test your skill, intelligence and intuitive abilities. Best of all, Keegan's features the finest in American, Irish and European beers and great food!