Monday, October 31, 2011

The Idiot Box -- Quick Hits

Some quick hits to catch-up on a few shows plus follow-up to last week's SAMCRO.

Beavis and Butthead -- MTV -- Oct. 27

Yes, despite my apparent sophistication and intelligence, I'm a sucker for humor that appeals to the lowest common denominator.  Thus my love for Beavis and Butthead.  I still can't believe that after a 15-year hiatus, it's back!!!



And, much as I hate doing so, I must agree with the TV Club that the true moment of zen was when Stuart came on screen, Winger shirt and all.  It. Was. Awesome.

It seems as though 15 years have not dulled the tone or humor one bit.  I can honestly see this episode, minus the references to MTV reality programming, to have run in the show's heyday.  That's how similar it was.  There's still the two off-couch story lines.  Still the on-couch music videos but with reality TV (Jersey Shore this week) mixed in.

Simply great.  SO glad to have it back!

I'm not going to go into specifics -- WATCH THE SHOW -- but will state that Butthead making fun of Beavis for crying (even though he didn't), first for a solid month, then for 80 years, was my highlight.

Also, "What's pornography?  The study of porn?"


Sons of Anarchy -- FX -- Oct. 25

Well, I was wrong and TV Club was right.  Juice is not -- I repeat, NOT -- dead.  The tree branch broke and he fell to the ground.  He can't even kill himself properly!

You know who is dead?  Piney.  One guess who killed him.  That's right, uber-villain of the season, Clay.  He lucked out on his no-confidence vote too.  Just as Chibbs was about to vote, the rival cartel shot up the Clubhouse.  Throughout this episode you got the feeling that Machete notwithstanding, the Sons and the Mayans got into bed with the nubbier of the two Cartels.  #JustSayin'

R.I.P. Piney
This realization has led Jax to admit that the Club is in WAY over its head (Duh) and he agrees with Tara that she should take the kids and leave town.  Maybe permanently.  Wonder how Gemma's going to take that.

Charming's politics pokes its head up for a brief minute.  It's not worth your or my time discussion.

There's also a really good head-in-the-chili gag.

South Park -- Comedy Central -- Oct. 26

Randy Episode + Overt Sexual Humor = South Park Gold!

The episode opens with a very timely Tim Tebow-is-God joke via Randy.  Oh yeah!  If you haven't seen the one hour "Behind the Scenes/Making Of" Special, find it and watch it!  Anyway, Randy's co-workers had not seen the game because they had taken their wives to the traveling production of Wicked.  After Randy makes fun of them, the co-workers beg off, citing the tremendous blowjobs they got from their wives after seeing the show.  Randy = Perplexed and Intrigued.

He takes Sharon to see Wicked and, sure enough, she goes down on him in the car on the way home.  Turns out ALL Broadway shows have a cleverly-hidden subtext, subliminal messages to women to give blowjobs!  Randy immediately takes Sharon to New York City so that he can go to literally all the shows and get all the blowjobs he can handle.


I just LOVE the chick that goes down on her guy right in the middle of the theater.  Classic South Park.

Well, upon their return from the Big Apple, Randy decides he will write a musical of his own, one to be in South Park permanently, thus not having to be beholden to traveling shows for his steady stream of BJs.  Of course, Randy being Randy, writes his musical as overtly as possible.  No subtext, nothing subliminal.  It's frankly, ridiculous.

This leads to a hilarious scene where some giants of Broadway -- Andrew Lloyd Webber, Elton John, Stephen Sondheim -- show up to stop Randy from blowing the whole thing.  What's hilarious is that these Broadway guys are total "Bros" that watch football and eat at Hooters.  A confrontation or "Bro-Off" ensues:


Just a really, really funny concept/episode.  Well done boys!

Hung -- HBO -- Sundays @ 10

I've always been lukewarm on this show but have kept watching mainly because it's on HBO and ... well ... well that's pretty much it (ditto How to Make it in America).  Anyway, the last two episodes, which sees Thomas Jane's Ray servicing a former student of his to the sound of "Mr. Drecker."  The student, at least as made up in the show, is worthy of a Yes and Please!

Introducing Kaitlin Doubleday
The show remains, how do we say, "Not good" overall but like I said.  It's on HBO.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekly LINKS! Oct. 23 to Oct. 29

A few Weekly LINKS! to get you going this rainy and COLD Saturday.


CAMPAIGN 2012


Herman Cain and the Left's Racism
(No link, video below)

I've said it before and I'll say it again, we conservatives don't care much about race, one way or the other.  It's the Left that is obsessed with it.  I wrote about the Left calling Herman Cain a racist before.  Now listen to MS-DNC "contributor" and DNC strategist Karen Finney give her take on why Cain is popular with the Tea Party.  Then imagine what would happen if a conservative said this.




POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Some Truth on US Education from Steyn

One of the Left's favorite causes célèbre is the state of public education in the United States, specifically bemoaning how far behind the rest of the world our public schools have fallen and, inevitably, demanding huge new federal expenditures for "infrastructure" on "crumbling schools" and ever more to teacher's unions.

Well, as anyone with half a brain (members of a teacher's union excepted) realized long ago (and as everyone living in the DC Metro area should know), we don't have a spending problem in education.  We have a problem spending education dollars effectively.

Steyn explains:
Since 1970, public school employment has increased 10 times faster than public school enrollment. In 2008, the United States spent more per student on K-12 education than any other developed nation except Switzerland – and at least the Swiss have something to show for it. In 2008, York City School District spent $12,691 per pupil – or about a third more than the Swiss. Slovakia's total per student cost is less than York City's current per student deficit – and the Slovak kids beat the United States at mathematics, which may explain why their budget arithmetic still has a passing acquaintanceship with reality. As in so many other areas of American life, the problem is not the lack of money but the fact that so much of the money is utterly wasted.
And even if more federal dollars were the answer (it's not), Steyn helpfully reminds that the Federal Government is BROKE, with no money to spend, even if it would work.
[T]he government of the United States is broker than any entity has ever been in the history of the planet. Officially, Washington has to return 15,000,000,000,000 dollars just to get back to having nothing at all. And that 15,000,000,000,000 dollars is a very lowball figure that conveniently ignores another $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities that the government, unlike private businesses, is able to keep off the books.
Illinois and the Death of the Blue State Model

Governor Pat Quinn: "What, Me Worry?"
Illinois, perhaps even more so than even California, demonstrates the unsustainability of the Blue State model perfectly.
  • Huge government bureaucracy?  Check.
  • Democratic-Machine control of Cook County and Springfield?  Check.
  • Onerous regulations?  Check.
  • Powerful public sector and education unions?  Check.
  • Ever higher and higher taxation?  Check.
Put it all together and you get this:
Only two of the 45 [Illinois] executives we surveyed say they expect the state's economic condition to improve in the coming year. Only six of the 45 say economic conditions in Illinois are better than they are in nearby states. 
Not one of the business leaders expects Illinois to grow at a faster rate than the nation as a whole. Not one. 
30 of the 45 executives say this is not a good time to invest in Illinois. Many cite the state's income tax increase, which they believe has sapped money from individuals and businesses but has not shored up the state's teetering finances. 
34 of the 45 executives say Illinois taxes discourage business investment here\
Gun Control Faces an Uphill Climb

A record-low 26% of Americans favor a full ban on handgun ownership.  A full 53% oppose even an assault weapons ban!

Gun control is a political loser for the Left and that's why we don't hear much about it anymore.  But citizens must remain eternally vigilant.  Credit to the NRA for vigorously and unabashedly advocating on behalf of all Americans' Second Amendment rights.


FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Saudi Succession Questions

Eighty-two year old Saudi Crown Prince Sultan ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud, heir to the Saudi throne, died last week.  That leaves King Abdullah's (himself no spring chicken at 86 years old and rumored to be in bad health) half-brother, the second deputy premier and Interior Minister, Prince Naif ibn Abdulaziz, as the new Crown Prince and heir.  This guy:

Seventy-Eight Years Young

He's apparently a staunch conservative, meaning women drivers aren't coming to a Saudi street near you anytime soon.  Does it matter?  To me, it does not.  Regardless of which Wahabbi extremist is running the Kingdom, they'll still be allied with us against Iran's rise and, with massive new petroleum discoveries in North America, we'll likely be less and less dependent on the Saudi's (and, by extension, OPEC's) oil blackmail going forward.  

The only true path for Saudi development is to end the alliance with Wahhabism and loosen the Sharia system that governs the country.  Neither are on the horizon in even the medium-term.
The Administration's Iraq Failure Explained

Courtesy of National Review Online
When President Obama took over, he laid out his vision for the circumstances under which American troops would completely withdraw from Iraq, leaving that country to it's own security devices.

Though the Status of Forces Agreement signed under Bush mandated that all US troops leave by the end of this year, no serious and honest leader on either side believed that this deadline would come and go with US troops actually leaving en masse.  Both sides envisioned some American force remaining in-country, with US commanders preferring about 20,000 to remain.  These troops were seen vital to both keeping the Iranian-backed Shia militias off the government's back and to protect Iraq's sovereignty in a way it is not yet able to do.

Well, despite Obama's own guideposts not even being remotely met, he announced that no deal will be forthcoming; all US troops will exit the country as per the SOF agreement.  What the fuck happened?  Turns out our diplomatic genius, Barack Hussein Obama, couldn't be bothered to put in even a minute of Presidential heft to the impasse, thus keeping a promise to his Radical Leftist base, and further driving Iraq into Iran's clutches.
Throughout the summer and autumn, as talks on a continued U.S. military presence in Iraq foundered, President Barack Obama and his point man on Iraq, Vice President Joe Biden, remained aloof from the process, not even phoning top Iraqi officials to help reach a deal, according to logs released by the U.S. Embassy here. 
The omission is an unusual one, given the high priority that U.S. officials had given to achieving an agreement for some sort of residual U.S. presence in Iraq after the Dec. 31 pullout deadline set in a 2008 pact between the two countries. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other senior Pentagon officials spoke often about the need for an agreement in a pivotal country in a volatile region and insisted talks were continuing up until Friday, when Obama announced that all U.S. troops would be coming home before the end of December.
Never underestimate The One's ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Especially if there's a political benefit to be gained by it.

Tunisia's Arab Spring and the Rise of the Islamists

Tunisia - the country that sparked the "Arab Spring" -- held what seems to be a rather orderly and fair election this week.  Who won?  Surprise, surprise, the Islamist party.
Moderate Islamists with the Ennahda Party emerged this week as the victors in Tunisia's first-ever free elections. The precise number of votes they secured hasn't been finalized, but with more than half of all districting reporting they are projected to win around 40 percent of the seats in a new constitutional assembly.
Leave it to Der Spiegel to label this as "No Big Deal" and even, laughably, as a victory for Democracy!  Well, if they, or anyone, thinks there is such thing as a "moderate" Islamist, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell ya.  TGS will keep his fingers crossed that it works out for the Tunisians but I'm not hopeful.

SPORTS

Bad Year to be a Chicago Sports Fan

First, the Packers win the Super Bowl.  Now, the mediocre Cardinals win yet another World Series as the worst team heading into the Playoffs, just like 2006.

Fucking Weak Dude.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Idiot Box -- Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy -- Tuesdays @ 10 -- FX
"Fruit for the Crows"


My dad is Black and my nickname is Juice.
Yes, I'd be better off dead.
It's been awhile since we've checked on the boys from SAMCRO so I figured I'd take this opportunity to get people up to speed before tonight's episode.

Things along all of the major story lines are seemingly coming to a head.

The three major stories interlink somewhat so the full accounting of what happens in each might be mixed up.

You'll see what I mean when you get there.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Clay-Gemma-Jax-Tara-John Teller

We've all known for awhile that Clay was having an affair with Gemma prior to John Teller's (her husband/Jax's dad) death.  We also know that Teller's death was no mere accident.  He was murdered by Clay, maybe with Gemma's participation, maybe not, but certainly with her knowledge and acquiescence.  We also know that Unser helped cover it up to make it look like an accident

From this season, we know that Tara is in possession of some letters John wrote to his Irish Sweetie, that essentially lays out how he was aware Clay and Gemma were doing the nasty, how he knew Clay would never allow the Club to get out of guns like he wanted and how he expected something bad to happen to him, likely at Clay's hand.  Well Tara has gone and spilled the beans to Piney.  And Gemma knows.  And Clay knows.  And Unser knows.  So everyone important, save Jax, knows what went down, threatening to blow up everything.  As Clay said, this information is "very dangerous."

This hidden knowledge, seemingly with the power to bring down the Club, has led to two major open plot points: (1) Piney has threatened Clay to get the Club out of the coke-running business ASAP, or see his secrets revealed to the Club; and (2) Clay seeking the Cartel's help to silence (read: murder) Tara.

Unser, who's genuinely a good dude, despite entangling himself with Clay and the Club's business all those years (but really, what choice did he have?) decided last two weeks ago to take action, leaving a threatening, typewritten note in Tara's car at the end of the episode.  Gemma finds it at the beginning of last week's episode.  Tara, understandably, wants to call the police.  Gemma, talks her out of it, saying, in effect, that the Club doesn't work the authorities about anything.  Instead, Gemma gives the task of finding out what's what to Unser.  Clay later tells him to stay out of it (thinking it might lead back to him).  At the end, Unser takes (his) the note to the hospital administrator, hoping this prompts law enforcement to get involved to help the good doctor.

In Bed with The Cartel

The Sons foray into the drug business -- selling their Irish guns to the Cartel then muling coke back up to Northern California to the Mayans -- has been going less-than-smoothly, even after the whole missing-brick of cocaine has been resolved.

Clay and the Boys head over to the Mayans' hideout to drop off some ammo.  They get taken into the basement and shown Alvarez's drug operation.  These Mayans are flat-out drug dealers with a full processing operation that would make Frank Lucas proud.  The size and scope of the operation only causes more problems for Bobby but he stews in silence...for a minute.

While they're in the basement, Jax gets the call from Gemma about the threat to Tara and gets everyone to high-tail it out of there.  But when they get outside, about ready to saddle up, a car crashes through one of the gates and starts shooting.  A few go down, including the Mayans' doctor, and Alvarez gets hit in the shoulder.

Jax immediately hops on his bike and tries to chase the culprits down.  At one corner, they're waiting for him outside of the car and start shooting.  He's able to duck behind a truck for cover and hits one of them.  The other two escape but not before backing up over the dude Jax shot, making sure not to leave any witnesses.  Harsh!

Though they have a mammoth head start over him, Jax is still (somehow) able to track the remaining two to an apartment building.  He calls the Sons to get over their pronto, so that they can bust in and figure out what's what.

When they do bust in they find quite a surprise, a cramped apartment full of Mexican women and children.  The driver is there, to be sure, but he seems to be your average, run-of-the-mill Illegal, not some criminal mastermind.  The Sons are quite confused until the other shooter busts out of the bathroom and grabs a hostage.  One of the woman inhabitants is about to spill about where the second shooter comes from.  He shoots her before she can, leading one of the Sons (Jax I think) to shoot him dead.  Turns out the baddie was from a rival cartel, which had recruited the services of our Mexican household by threatening their families still in Sinaloa, Mexico.

Bottom Line: The rival cartel to the Cartel is not happy about the new business venture.  The Sons are no less in the line of fire than the Mayans.

Tara, for her part, and despite being under threat, is still employed to fix up Alvarez.  While fixing him up she pieces together that the Club is now in the drug trade and that everyone could be under threat by the Sinaloa rivals.  Even her threat could be related to this (though we learn it's not the Sinoloa Cartel's "style" -- they would have written the note in one of her children's blood).

She's rightly pissed off and can't believe she signed off to Jax's "one last big score" plan.  Again, not like she had a choice.  The upshot is that now Gemma is somewhat wise to Jax/Tara's plan to escape SAMCRO.  We shall see.

In any event, all this turmoil (as Tara said it this is what happens after only two weeks in the drug business, what's next?) finally leads to a confrontation between Bobby and Clay, the former calling for essentially a vote of no confidence in Clay's leadership.  That vote will occur next week.

R.I.P. Juice

Ah poor, poor juice.  Someone -- we're led to believe Unser -- makes an anonymous call to the Sheriff about the threat against Tara, likely due to the fact that Tara hasn't yet called them herself.  While she's operating on Alvarez, Sheriff Roosevelt shows up to offer her help.  She declines.  He brings Juice in for "drug testing" but at the station instead tells Juice he's out of time to produce a sample of the coke.  Juice refuses to go along any further until he meets the man behind the man, i.e., the AUSA running the case, aka "Weird Guy" aka Linc.

The Sheriff goes to tell Linc about Juice's demand.  He orders the Sheriff to set up a handoff of the drug sample, with the promise that he will talk to Juice after.  The Sheriff, however, is to arrest Juice for possession, thus gaining further leverage over him.  The Sheriff initially refuses, recognizing the stakes for Juice, especially on such a bullshit obvious entrapment scenario.  Linc threatens the Sheriff with a negative letter in his file from the US Attorneys Office and the Sheriff, begrudgingly, goes along with the plan and gets Juice arrested.

Juice is strangely calm in the slammer as the Sheriff lays out the corner he's in.  Right away I knew how this was going to end, if not knowing the method.

After being cut loose Juice goes to the Clubhouse and the guys can tell something is up.  Chibbs expresses his concern to Clay who calls Juice into his office, praises him for how he handled to the Russians and, ironically, the missing brick, telling him he's proud of him, giving him the "Son of Mayhem" patch and calling him "son."  Juice is obviously moved, just further in the direction I predicted, however, for in the next scene...

...We see Juice in the woods somewhere, pinning his new patch on to his jacket before grabbing a length of chain link and climbing a tree.  From on top he looks over the land one last time, wraps the chain around his neck and jumps.  And for this, all I can say is: "SOPRANOS DID IT!!!" (With "Thin Guy" aka "Members Only" aka Eugene).

This Guy.


Juice's hanging body ends the episode and all I can say is a guy who could be flipped because he's afraid the Club will find out he's half-Black is a guy who is too stupid to live anyway.  They already knew he was Mexican!  Does adding a little chocolate to the mix really make that big of deal?  Apparently yes.

Quick Hits:

  • After the threat on Tara and the hit on Alvarez's HQ, Opie and Bobby head over to the porn studio to tell Lyla to leave, get the kids and head to the Club for safety.  Lyla disappears though, having given one of the Prospects the slip.  Opie and Jax head over to find that she's cleaned out her shit and moved on.  Good for her.  Neither of them really wanted to be in this marriage and they both wanted different things out of it.  And, on top of it, the story is plain stupid.  I'm hoping we've seen the last of her.
  • While at the studio, Bobby confronts Ima about her battered face (courtesy of Jax and his Don't-be-bringing-your-rancid-pussy-by-our-Club-ever-again threat, after she banged Opie) and whether maybe she was the one threatening Tara.  It's clear Jax's attack has had the intended effect as she is absolutely terrified by the thought of SAMCRO thinking she had anything to do with this.  At the very least it's an opportunity to put her on-screen one last time.
Yes and Please!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekly LINKS! Oct. 9 to Oct. 21

Weekly LINKS returns...albeit with (hopefully) a far more discerning eye from me and less commentary (I'd been told, not inaccurately, that these posts were getting to be book-like).

CAMPAIGN 2012

The Left Calls Herman Cain a Racist

Only one of many unhinged Leftists -- the true group obsessed with race, not us on the Right -- coming to terms with Black Conservative Herman Cain's rise in the GOP polls by branding him a racist.

Clarence Page, Grievance-Peddler-in-Chief over at the Chicago Tribune, leads the charge, offering as support for Cain's "racism" that: (i) Cain criticizes Black Americans for being uncritically in the tank for Democrats, and (ii) not expressing sufficient outrage at Rick Perry's "Niggerhead" rock.

Pretty weak sauce.

POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Harry Reid: Private Sector Jobs "Just Fine"

Harry Reid, Opening Mouth and Inserting Foot for many, many years:



Well, what's the *truth* about this?  A chart from the link:


The RNC ad writes itself and demonstrates, yet again, why the Democratic Party is nothing more than the party of Big Government, knowing nothing about how sustainable jobs and economic growth works in the real world.  If this country reelects Obama, no matter who is running against him, we'll deserve the economic ruin that will result.


BHO's former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, Austan Goolsbee:
If you look at Cash for Clunkers or the first home buyer tax credit, they were geared to trying to shift [recovery] from 2010 into 2009. Given it’s taken this long [to recover], I don’t think you would do that short-run stuff.
The Country's in the best of hands with this Administration.

Justice Thomas: 20 Years On

A National Review Online symposium.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Iran's War on America Escalates

I'm sure glad The One put out the hand of friendship and didn't forcefully back the Green Movement protestors, aren't you?  Hopefully the Saudis, who know a thing or two about terrorism themselves, will find an appropriate retaliatory response.



During the "Palestinian Statehood" nonsense at the UN, it's been reported that India, which currently holds a non-permanent spot on the Security Council, backs Abaas' ill-planned and illegal move.  I guess I can't say I'm surprised though I was disappointed.  Not just in the Indians themselves but also in the Administration for not doing more to bring India into the fold into the right side of the issue.

MILITARY AFFAIRS

Qaddafi = Dead; Obama = Credit?

Libyan "rebels" apparently captured a wounded Col. Qaddafi today in Libya.  Qaddafi apparently died in "custody" (No, nothing suspicious about that).  Politico asks whether Obama gets the credit.  In a word: No.

Heritage's James Carafano has the best line: "You can't lead from behind then elbow to the front for applause."

Indeed.

Iraq's Government Decides to Fend for Itself

President Obama announced today that ALL American combat troops will exit Iraq by the end of the year.  Of course this is the exact same deadline negotiated between the Iraqis and President Bush and, therefore, no great accomplishment on the part of Obama.  That said, it was widely expected that the Iraqi's would request a continued American troop presence.  Apparently not.

This could end up being really positive or a complete catastrophe.  Time will tell.  I wish or Iraqi brethren the best of luck.

SPORTS

The Nanny State and Professional Athletics

USAToday busybody Christine Brennan (whoever she is), cheers the attempt of some in Congress to ban the use of chewing tobacco by Major League Baseball players.  A few of her more tenditious points on the subject:
If it's not bad enough that Selig wants them to live longer, healthier lives, a couple of U.S. senators now want them to as well. The rank and file simply can't stand for that.
The snark is breathtaking.  Bud Selig and a few Big Government/Nanny State Senators just want to help MLB players live healthier lives and gosh-darn-it, these free-thinking adults living in a purportedly free society are just too dumb to realize it.  Better MAKE them do it then, right Christine?
The players' position likely will be that using tobacco products is legal in this country, so it should be legal in baseball. That sounds tidy enough, but it completely ignores the lofty role athletes play in our society — whether they should or not — as well as the game's civic and corporate responsibility to our culture, our children and their health care.
Ah yes.  The Children.  Won't someone please do something for the children?!?!




Deadspin's right.  PTI being on the air for TEN YEARS does make me feel fucking old.

CULTURE

Questions No One's Asking: Can High Heels Give Women Orgasms?
Citing no real scientific basis for his statements, iconic shoe designer Christian Louboutin recently said: "What is sexual in a high heel is the arch of the foot, because it is exactly the position of a woman's foot when she orgasms."
I like sexy high heels on a hot woman as much as the next guy but please.  Once again, won't someone please think of the mother-fucking children!?!?!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Qaddafi: Another One Bites the Dust

Kieran's birthday will forever also be marked by, as he said, "the day Qaddafi got his comeuppance."

Indeed.

And, I'm not at all bothered by the rebels capturing him while wounded after an American-French airstrike on his attempted-escaping caravan and executing him right then and there.  "Col" Qaddafi got more than he deserved.  He lived for 40 years off the fruit of his land.  Killing anyone who got in his way.  How about all those Americans on the Lockerbie bombing?  They had no time to live knowing they were on *truly* borrowed time.  One of Reagan's few mistakes was not unleashing Hell on Qaddafi after that.  The bombing on Tripoli then was, at best, "pesky" to him.

Fuck Qaddafi.  Fuck anyone who complains about the manner in which he met his maker.

I hope at least something of religion is real
so that your soul is burning in Hell

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Deconstructing Ignorance

There's a lot to say about the hooligans, bums and assorted hippies making up the Occupy Wall Street ("OWS") movement.  There's the barely concealed anti-Semitism.  The calling for the end of the capitalist system by people with iPhones and iPads.  And on, and on, and on.

But the sheer ignorance is what's most striking, demonstrated by the following.

New York Magazine, God bless 'em, went down to the NYC "protest" where it all began and took an anecdotal survey of 300ish OWS-ers, to see their knowledge, such as it is, about the real state of things in America.  They were asked to state the largest component of federal spending: defense, education or health care/pensions.  Here's what they came up with:


For those keeping score at home, here's the real graph:


And that, ladies and gentlemen, are why the Occupy Wall Street crowd is a bunch of idiots not worthy of ANY media coverage, let alone support from the President of the United States.

Illinois Weekend Wedding

Columbus Day Weekend saw Miss X and I get up early on Friday morning, schlep over to IAD and fly to Chicago and head out to the 'Burbs for the wedding of one of my best friends from high school (for which I would be serving as a groomsman).

I grew up at F, between 4 and 5; wedding was at D-5.
Fry was shipped off to Dogtopia the day before and Penny and AnnaBelle were staying with the kids Miss X takes care of.  The kids were SUPER excited to be entrusted with such responsibility!

THE FAINT

First things first ... yes, it is true that I passed out near the very end of the ceremony.  No, it is in no way true that this was alcohol-related.  Here's the run-down:

  • Though I doubt this had anything to do with it, it was unseasonably warm (low 80s) in the Chicagoland area for the middle of October, the ceremony was outside and I was wearing a tux
  • The wedding party stood for the entirety of the ceremony
  • It was an extremely LONG ceremony; featuring both Christian and Jewish marriage traditions
  • I apparently didn't bend my knees enough
Now, I didn't know this was possible but, apparently, if one were to stand in one place for too long, without bending one's knees sufficiently, this can lead to a cut-off of oxygen to the brain (?) leading to a dramatic drop in blood pressure, leading to passing out.  Something like this:


Notice the soldier kind-of staggering in from the left of the screen before going down for the count?  That was essentially me.  I didn't feel anything coming on until feeling light-headed immediately before stumbling to my right, only to be grabbed from behind and picked up.  I heard the "MOZEL TOV!" at the end of the ceremony but didn't see anything.  Next thing I knew, I was looking up from the ground with people hovering over me, unbuttoning my shirt, doing the whole "Are you okay?!?!?!?" thing and me being mortified beyond belief.  The mind struggles to comprehend how quickly Meg would have committed suicide had this happened to her.

Luckily for me another of my best friends from HS, also in the wedding party, is a paramedic and firefighter and knew what was going on (yeah #Harv!).  There were also two nurses in the audience who came to my aid, both INSISTING I MUST have low blood sugar and force feeding me first a mint followed by a sugar cube.  Who the Fuck carries around sugar cubes?  But, while I'm grateful for their assistance, Harv knew the score and knew to bend my knees.  He also made sure everyone knew he was a paramedic and that calling the on-duty paramedics (incidentally we were in the town for which he works) was unnecessary.  Someone thought otherwise and all of his work buddies showed up to take my blood pressure and blood sugar, give me the option of having them take me to the hospital (HELL NO! Also, can't wait to get this bill in the mail) and ultimately leaving.  The hotel's head of security also told me she be getting a statement from me later but for the rest of the night to "have fun." Never saw her again.

So, all in all.  Despite being completely horrified that I ruined my buddy's wedding ceremony, I was none the worse for wear and proceeded to hit the party.  We'll get back to that later.  But first, the rest of the trip.

FRIDAY

As I said, Miss X and I had an early flight on United out of Dulles.  Despite being near the back of the rear of the plane and having a window and center seat (no aisle) the flight was uneventful.  We made our way over to the National/Alamo Rental Car center and were set up with an uninspiring Dodge Avenger.

We drove from O'Hare to Arlington Heights to meet dear old Dad and his two little dogs, Bailey and Trouble.  I don't know if I've ever introduced them before but they are inaccurately named.  While it is true that when my parents first got them, Trouble was the problem puppy, in time Trouble mellowed out and Bailey became the naughty/sneaky one.

Bailey, Lhasa Apso
Trouble, Lhasa/Poodle Mix
Don't let their puppy dog appearances fool you.  They're nine years old!  Trouble absolutely LOVED Miss X (and I'm pretty sure the feeling was mutual).

We drove to pick up my tux.  Then went to see my Grandma.  Then we had lunch at my favorite pizza ever, Barnaby's.  Miss X somehow made friends with the owner's wife in explaining her caffeine allergy.  I was content to snarf down the pizza.



Then B-Rad stopped by after work to meet Miss X.  Then Miss X, Dad and I went to dinner at Jameson's for steak.  Then Miss X and crashed early.  Busy day!

SATURDAY

Why wasn't the wedding on Saturday, you might be asking?  Because, if you're Jewish or you know any Jews, you know that Oct. 8 was Yom Kippur.  In other words, a no-no for even a half-Jewish wedding.  That left Saturday for the rehearsal dinner.

First Miss X and I ate breakfast at Walker Brothers, which was surprisingly not jammed pack, likely due to the holiday.  Then I took her by good ol' BGHS to see where The Genius Savant spent his formative teenage years.  Then we went to visit Grandma again.

Then we drove up to Lincolnshire and the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort for the ceremony rehearsal [during which Miss X, of course, found the only baby there and sidled right up to her], followed by the rehearsal dinner at the Buffalo Grove location of Lou Malnati's.  Mmmm...Lou's....


SUNDAY

Woke up.  Got out of bed.  Had no idea the day I was in for at that point, that's for sure.  Drove once again to the Marriott, checked-in and met the Groom, the Groom's dad, a few groomsmen and other dignitaries in the lobby bar/restaurant where the week's slate of NFL games was underway.

Miss X and I retired to our room where I changed into my monkey suit and left her to get ready by herself.  (And yes, though I did return to the room to see if she needed help 'getting zipped' - not a euphemism - turns out she did NOT need my help.  Kudos!)

Then groomsmen pictures.  Then we went and hid while the bridesmaids took pictures.  Then the ceremony.

Did I mention it was hot?  And L-O-N-G??

You see, the Bride's father is a minister, who officiated the Christian part of the ceremony and boy, did his first two poems go on-and-on-and-on.  And then on some more.  And really, really thick on the Jesus-is-a-part-of-your-marriage schtick, what with the groom being Jewish and the groom's parents and rabbi sitting right in the front row.  Oh well.  This was just getting started.

Then a relative of the bride gave two readings.  First, a few lines from Genesis, Chapter 2:
21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;  
22And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 
23And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 
24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Um.  Okay.  Nothing too controversial here, even if a bit "traditional" for my tastes for, you know, a wedding.  But it wasn't my wedding so I'll keep my trap shut.  Turns out the dude was just getting warmed up, for while the program listed the next reading to be something from John (I think), the reader called an audible and instead went with Ephesians, Chapter 5.  I don't recall exactly the verses he went with, but these were the key passages:
22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 
23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 
24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 
25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 
26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 
27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 
28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 
29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 
30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 
31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 
32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 
33Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Now again, not my wedding, not my choice.  BUT, this was SO conservatively patriarchal that I almost laughed out loud while it was being read.  Considering what happened later, I probably should have.  I also stringently avoided eye contact with Miss X who I knew would be hella pissed at this whole wife/submit to husband thing.  I was right!  She was!

Rings/vows exchanged.  Jewish traditions start.  And, as you know if you read the top, I didn't make it all the way.

A brief pit stop in the ambulance and I rejoined the group pictures now taking place.  Then on to the reception...

...Wherein my bridesmaid partner and I came up with a nice little act in line, waiting to be introduced (it was a group effort, really) such that as we entered, I would act all hurt, walking in cautiously while draped over her shoulders before snapping to and showing everyone I was okay.  Worked. Like. A. Charm.

Anyway, Miss X and I were seated at a table with the groom's two older sisters, the younger of whom is married with two little boys and a little girl.  Now, I'm not saying all three aren't cute and well-behaved.  They are and they were.  But the youngest -- the little girl -- was freakin' ridiculously adorable.  And again, and of course, Miss X made friends with her too.  But not just her!  No sir!  One of the bride's cousins was there sans wife but with little girl, probably around 3 or 4, who clung to Miss X like white on rice all night.  So, scorecard: two weddings with Miss X and she's met/befriended three little kids.  Sounds about right :-)

Despite my earlier mishap, I did drink at the reception, sticking with my old standby, red wine.  The vodka was Gordon's so "No thank you!"(to be fair, the wine was good, as was the rest of the booze -- Maker's for bourbon, for example) and all but I didn't get super wasted or anything.  Everyone had a good time and yes, the bride and groom did in fact go through with it and were still happy about their decisions at the end of the night.  And yes, there was the Hora.

Mozel Tov indeed!

MONDAY (Columbus Day)

Yay Columbus!  Thank you for discovering the "New World" and good riddance to the Indians (feathers, not dots)!

Quick breakfast with everyone the next morning.  Say goodbyes.  See Dad and dogs one last time.  Stop off at Portillo's for Italian Beef and a hot dog.  [Side Note: If I were to win the lottery I would throw literally oodles and oodles of money at the owner of Portillo's to let me open/run a franchise in the DC-Metro area.  It's that good.  Also, a strip club.]  Return rental car.  IAD to ORD.  Pick up AnnaBelle and Penny from the Kids' house (they were very glad to see us).  Crash.  Wake up.  Pick up Fry.  Drop him at home.  Go to work.

Verdicts:

  1. Grandma and Dad liked Miss X and vice versa
  2. When required to stand for a long period of time, BEND MY FUCKING KNEES!!!

That's 2011 wedding five of six down.  The last one -- the only local one (!) -- this Saturday.  Should be ridiculous, as they all have been.

TGS, OUT!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's Morning in Cubdom

If reports are to be believed, the Cubs and Theo Epstein have agreed to a five-year, $15 million deal to bring the Red Sox GM to Wrigley.  [UPDATE: 5 years/$20 million.] Apparently all that's left are the details, including what compensation Boston gets.

If these reports end up true, this is the best news Cubs fans have had since just before the foul ball down the third base line in October 2003.

Epstein, as a Billy Beane protege, was one of the early promoters of the "MoneyBall" approach to scouting and drafting.  His number one strength has been drafting and building Boston's farm system, something the Cubs are desperately in need of.  While it is true that his free agent signings, especially recently, have been a mixed bag, absolutely no one in Boston or in Baseball believes he made these decisions on his own.  Ownership was heavily involved.  Plus, with Boston's payroll and position of always needing to match or beat the Yankees, the free agent signings most criticized (Lackey, Crawford) simply make sense in Boston in a way that they wouldn't anywhere else save the Bronx.  Surely the Cubs are not bringing Epstein in to meddle extensively in his personnel decisions.  Bottom Line: I don't see a lot of misfires for free agent signings going forward.

Already the rumors have started that Sandberg will be brought in as manager -- evidenced by the fact that Epstein previously offered him the Boston AAA job before Sandberg ultimately went to Philly's.  Sandberg, Francona, whoever, Epstein will assuredly be picking someone vastly more qualified and better than Mike Quade.

Today is a FINALLY a good day to be a fan of the Northsiders.  Rejoice!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lovie's MNF #FAIL

My beloved Chicago Bears made the NFC Championship game last season and were dismantled by Aaron Rodgers and the hated Packers (still the best team in the NFL, by FAR).

And while one always appreciates when his NFL team gets one game away from the Super Bowl, last year I couldn't help but feel annoyed and disheartened.  Sorry to admit it, but I wanted the Bears to be failures last year.  Why?  The answer is simple: I do not want Lovie Lee Smith coaching our Monsters of the Midway for one second longer.  However, reaching the title game insured that we'd have to endure his idiotic, inept and confused coaching for the foreseeable future.  Can you say "Dagger"?

Sorry to say, my pain was justified.

"I have no idea where I am or what's going on."
Da Bears sit at 2-3, after the Detroit Lions (5-0) defeated them in dominant fashion,  last night on ESPN's Monday Night Football.  This is three games behind both the Lions and Packers, both 5-0 to start the season.  Each are 1-0 against da Bears.

The sum total of the deficiencies that characterize the Lovie Smith Era were on full display at the end of the first quarter.

First, due to Offensive "Genius" Mike Martz's inability to get the plays in on time, the team had, unsurprisingly, already blown a timeout earlier in the quarter.  Fast forward to near the end of the quarter.  Bears third-and-one, well inside field goal range.  Bears can't get a yard, bringing up fourth-and-one from the Lions 26.  Cutler gets to the line, tries to draw them off-sides, can't.  Timeout number two.  At this point me and every Bears' fan in the universe is screaming "KICK THE FUCKING FIELD GOAL!!!!!" at our TVs as Jay and Lovie consult on the sideline.  After the timeout, no field goal attempt is pending but, instead, the Bears line up again, run straight into the Lions D-Line and don't get the first down.  Truly, it wasn't even close.

What does Lovie do?  He challenges the spot!  As Czabe said this morning, how many spot challenges are granted?  Certainly fewer than Lovie's already-horrific 17% overall success rate on coaches' challenges.  Well, surprise, surprise, the ruling on the field is confirmed and your Chicago Bears are out of timeouts and down a challenge with the entire second quarter to play.

This was nothing short of a disgusting display of coaching and game management.  And people wonder why Chicago hates this man?

But Mr. Genius Savant, isn't Lovie a defensive guru?  Surely the Bears defense is always well-prepared, disciplined and physical, right?  Err, not so much.  Aside from Week One's victory over the Falcons, the defense has been routinely dismantled.  It's old and very, very slow.  The players are out of position.  They arm tackle (when they hit at all).  The safeties are rarely in proper position.  The scheme is supposed to prevent the "Big Play" but has surrendered numerous big plays this year.  This, however, might have been the saddest defensive play (if you can call it that) since Lovie arrived:


Not only did Jahvid Best dance for 88-yards, he danced for his 88-yards without being touched.  This is what has become of the vaunted Bears defense.

Other lowlights:
  • Nine (!) false start penalties, including six in the first half, an NFL record
  • Detroit's 8.4 yards-per-play average
  • JaMarcus Webb
  • Frank Omiyale
  • Roy Williams -- really all the WRs
  • Bubble screens to Devin Hester -- This is run multiple times Every. Single. Game. and NEVER works.  Time to retire it.
  • Chris Harris
  • Lance Briggs -- Still think you deserve more money, above and beyond your current contract?
As I said last week, as they barely beat the Carolina Panthers, at home, after leaving opposing receivers, including Steve Smith, open every single play, the Bears are not a good team.  They are average at best, likely more accurately described as mediocre, and more likely than not, simply bad.

I looked at today's ESPN Power Rankings and tried to determine, based on the first five games, whether I think we're better than any of the teams immediately in front of or behind us.

13. Titans

14. Giants

15. Cowboys

16. Buccaneers

17. Jets

18. BEARS

19. Falcons

20. Bengals

21. Eagles

22. Seahawks

23. Browns

I think this has it about right.  Though I could see both the Bengals and, if they ever get their acts together, the Eagles, being better than us.  The Eagles are certainly vastly more talented and, at least on defense, so are the Bengals.

All of this is a shame too because Jay Cutler had a great game last night.  His toughness (ridiculously and repeatedly questioned in some circles) and arm-strength were on full display.  One wonders what heights he could reach with his talent if he had merely average offensive lineman and wideouts.  The rest of the NFC likely shudders to think of it.  

For now and for Bears fan, however, this is but a pipe dream, at least for this season.

I'm Back Baby!


Greetings and salutations, fellow travelers.  Now that my extended two- or three-week hiatus (due to travel) has come to an end, you can expect that I'll be back and, hopefully, better than ever.

Here's what to expect over the next week or so:

1.  A recap of this past weekend's Illinois Wedding Weekend wherein I faint during the ceremony with no alcohol involvement.  Don't worry.  All was/is well.

2.  The Bears epic Monday Night Football FAIL in Detroit.

3.  TV, TV and more TV (Saturday is intended to be a DVR cleaning day).

4.  Commentary on the Occupy Wall Street lunatics.

5.  A Trey concert.

And much, much more.  Maybe.  Until then, thanks for sticking by and you'll hear from me soon!