Friday, December 22, 2006

For What It's Worth

Despite my comment about the cost of fixing my soon to-be-sold car* being a little negative, I would like to point something out to anyone who may still be reading my blog.

While there were (and are) those who questioned my sanity in leaving teaching (whether temporarily or permanently, I would like to point out to those people that my day-in-day-out sanity has greatly improved. In the recent past (less than two years ago), spending what amounts to an entire paycheck to fix a car I will be rid of within a few months would have devastated me and led to much self-loathing, hopelessness, and general depression. Instead, I just thought to myself, "Aww...f***." and moved on with my life.

Finally, if you're still out there, Diane, thanks for your support of my decision, you're the only one who never questioned me and I appreciate that greatly.

*which is only being sold because my grandmother's death has resulted in the opportunity to get a car which is four years newer and has 140,000 fewer miles on it. My car has be GREAT to me and overall, it's cost me almost nothing in upkeep. And, I'll admit, I'll miss it a lot.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Thank You Nick Tosches!

I'm currently reading Nick Tosches' In the Hand of Dantes - I think I like it, at least the more linear story line, but I'm a little luke-warm on the more Dante-related story line. But I digress...

Despite many attempts to explain to various people (colleagues, girlfriends, etc.) why I just can't stand poetry, I've never felt like I've quite hit the proverbial nail on the head. I've known what I meant, but I haven't been particularly articulate about it.

Thankfully, however, when one reads as much as I do, one occasionally come across the perfect words written in another's hand. Thus, I will let Mr. Tosches- via his criticism of Dante's Commedia- make my point for me.

"Dante had chosen a cage of rhyme and meter so confining that no majestic creation could survive within it, so often did it necessitate unnatural affectation to accommodate structure, so often were soul and beauty and power sacrificed to sustain the structure of the work, as might be done by one so cold as to value artfulness above art. As no beautiful wild bird born to soar free could survive in a cage, so it was with the beautiful wild bird of his poem."

Lie Back And Think Of England...

I spent over $700 today on a car that I'll be selling within the next two months...and I'll probably need to spend that much more on it in the next few months.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

This made me happy...

Thursday, December 07, 2006


How many more times am I going to go to the grocery store and forget to buy peanut butter?

I even bring a list with me most times!


Monday, November 27, 2006

Quote of the Day

It's been a long time since I've had a "Quote of the Day" here on my blog, but rereading one of my old favorites brought me to a quote that I absolutely love. So, from Raymond Chandler's "The Simple Art of Murder," I give you...

"The English may not always be the best writers in the world, but they are incomparably the best dull writers."

An interesting fact!

Only one person has ever noticed- without having it pointed out to them first- that I have a permanent limp.

I don't know if that's good, bad, or completely meaningless.

Today's Mail

I've never seen so much packed into my mailbox...and I threw everything but the Campmor catalog away. What a disappointment.

Thanksgiving 2006

Mostly boring and kind of sad.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Hungarian You Should Know

Ferenc Puskas died today...look him up.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Pickin' Out Some Drapes!

Wow, this is almost too good!

-A majority of the governorships.
-A majority in the House.
-A majority in the Senate (as soon as the GOP concedes VA).


-Rumsfeld is gone.

Pardon me if I spend the majority of my time today smirking.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Midterm Elections

Having now cast my vote I reserve the right to complain long and loud about anything I wish.

If you did not vote today I invite you to shut the hell up.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Update: Concerts

Shhh...this list isn’t COMPLETELY recycled!! I’ve been to a few more shows, and remembered a few more bands I’ve seen so I thought I’d add them! I also expanded some of the entries. I’ve also added the venues that I can remember.

Here they are, at least the ones I can remember without too much effort:

The Alarm: By far the best live band I've ever seen (five times?), you either saw them or you didn't, there's no point in trying to explain it. Check out the "Electric Folklore: Live" CD- I was there for all of the Boston shows on it! (Orpheum Theater and Wang Center in Boston)

The Proclaimers: Seen them three times- once in a space so small that it was almost awkward! The other two times were on consecutive nights in Boston and NYC. Love 'em. (The Paradise in Boston, B.B. King’s in NYC, and some little “downstairs” place in Greenwich Village)

Live: I saw them twice, once before they even had an album out- nevermind before Ed got all spiritual and again after they’d gotten “big.” Considering how young they were, they were REALLY good. (Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY)

The Ramones: I saw them twice. One of the times I got to work security and spent the night kneeling on the edge of the stage and getting smacked in the back by Johnny's guitar- it was great! Before the show they were eating bananas and Domino’s Pizza while arguing about old New York Giant football players. (Memorial Union Building, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, and somewhere I don’t remember!)

Husker Du: On the Warehouse tour. The end was nigh. They played the whole album in sequence, then came back for a one song encore (Helter Skelter). It was great! Loudest show I've ever been to! (Orpheum Theater, Boston)

Bob Mould: Seen him twice. First one was great. Second one was, ah, well, Bob, I appreciate you trying something new...and um, I'm PERFECTLY okay with your sexuality, so enough with the the backdrop showing pictures of leather boys! (Saratoga Winners, Cohoes, NY & Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA)

Midnight Oil: Great show, but Peter Garrett is the worst/strangest "dancer" I've ever seen! (Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA)

Stevie Ray Vaughan: I saw him twice. If I've ever witnessed "genius", it was watching him play guitar. (Centrum, Worcester, MA & Northeastern University, Boston, MA)

George Thorogood: Seen him five or more times. Like TMBG he tours all the time and the shows are cheap. He isn't Mozart, but he puts on a good show. (Providence, RI & multiple times at Club Casino, Hampton Beach, NH)

They Might Be Giants: I've seen them so many times I stopped counting. Not that they are my favorite band, but they are good, they are always on tour in the Northeast and always at places with reasonable prices. (SUNY-Albany, Albany, NY, Saratoga Winners, Cohoes, NY, and more)

Violent Femmes: Co-headlined one of the TMBG shows I went to- I got paid to see it! I would have gone anyway, but who's going to say “no” to that!? (SUNY-Albany, Albany, NY)

The Donnas: Small club, as good/better live as on their albums, and, you know, Brett's hot. (The Paradise, Boston, MA)

Black '47: Well, the Pogues had broken up, Shane wasn't touring, Flogging Molly hadn't made it to the East coast yet, and it was March 17th. They're good, Larry just tries too hard sometimes. A good show, but it was in an “Irish” bar and was almost ruined by those who were “being Irish” for the day and a lot of big-haired secretary types. (Stamford, CT)

Morrissey: He was, well, Morrissey. He ended his encore halfway through when the people mobbing the stage got too be a little too much for him- he's very sensitive. (Red Bank, NJ)

The Sheila Divine: They opened the Morrissey show. One of the best opening acts I've ever seen- actually bought their CD on my way out of the show. (Red Bank, NJ)

Chuck Berry: Elvis who? (Chesire Fairgrounds, Swanzey, NH)

Roy Orbison: The voice. What a voice. (Chesire Fairgrounds, Swanzey, NH)

James Brown: Sadly this was during his PCP phase, so it was mostly mumble lyrics in between dance moves. (Chesire Fairgrounds, Swanzey, NH)

Carl Perkins: Sadly underappreciated, part of Rock and Roll's foundation. But what a bad toupee! (Chesire Fairgrounds, Swanzey, NH)

Brian Setzer: Saw him during the big band phase, which was fine, but I prefer the more true rockabilly vibe. (Albany, NY)

The Toasters: Good show. Had to laugh when I realized that the guy who was taking and selling tickets at the door turned out to be the lead singer! (Pearl Street, Northampton, MA)

Public Image Limited: Fine, I went because I wanted to see Johnny, not so much because P.I.L. were great (they were “interesting” to "pretty good") but so did everyone else! (Orpheum Theater, Boston, MA)

Billy Bragg: Twice, both good. Got lucky at one because he was touring with Bare Naked Ladies and he went on first- so I didn't have to sit through them! (The Egg, Albany, NY)

The Reverend Horton Heat: Seen him twice, puts on a great show and usually has a good opening act. (Pearl Street, Northampton, MA)

The Amazing Royal Crowns: Opened for the Reverend Horton Heat, along with the Sheila Divine, one of a few good opening acts I’ve seen. (Pearl Street, Northampton, MA)

Social Distortion: It only took me twenty years to get around to seeing them- it was worth the wait! (Poughkeepsie, NY)

Flogging Molly: As good as I expected them to be. This concert has now provided me with the worst opening bad I've ever seen, ZOX. (Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, RI)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Well Done!

Teddy Sheringham scored the first of West Ham United's two goals in their 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers today.

He scored his first professional goal in 1984.

The End

Here are some people I've had enough of- the limit came a long time ago for some of them, but I've never made a list of them yet.

Madonna: when you moved to England I wasn't supposed to have to hear about you any more.
Michael Vick: you might be a great athlete, but you're never going to win the Super Bowl.
Dennis Miller: From hysterically funny to Rush Limbaugh, Jr. Just sad.
Chris Berman: You've gone from slightly annoying and cheesy to ubiquitous and obnoxious.
Oprah Winfrey: Has there been a cult of personality like this since Stalin? Mao?
Terrell Owens: He makes me wish Jack Tatum was still playing. (Look him up)

More to come later...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

It's been a while... here are some more things I can't stand!

-clogs of any kind.
-greeting cards that say anything inside.
-polo shirts regardless of brand.
-Oprah and Dr. Phil
-turquoise and silver jewelry.
-Coldhead, or is it Radioplay, I can't keep them straight.
-non-Apple computers.
-people who think knitting is hip.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A best one-liner I've heard in quite a while

"Dude, he's Jersey, he skis in his jeans!"

Friday, October 20, 2006

This makes me smile

On his tour of the Scottish Highlands Dr. Samuel Johnson remarked to James Boswell that in England oats were given to horses and not to men. To which Boswell responded:

"Which is why England is noted for its horses and Scotland for its men."

nuff said.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dear Emo kids...

...I'm the last person in the world who is going to tell you what to wear (though I've just about reached my limit on boys wearing girls jeans and too tight not-really-vintage t-shirts) or how to cut your hair or to stop rocking the Buddy Holly glasses or that white belts (even if they have metal studs) are for old men who've retired to Florida, but please, please, I'm begging you, EAT!

More thoughts on grammar

I'm pretty sure that my IQ drops a few points whenever I hear somebody say, "...often times..."

How is that in any way different than simply saying, "often"?

Just wondering.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Scotland 1 France 0

O Flower of Scotland,
When will we see
Your like again,
That fought and died for,
Your wee bit Hill and Glen,
And stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

The Hills are bare now,
And Autumn leaves
lie thick and still,
O'er land that is lost now,
Which those so dearly held,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

Those days are past now,
And in the past
they must remain,
But we can still rise now,
And be the nation again,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

0 Flower of Scotland,
When will we see
your like again,
That fought and died for,
Your wee bit Hill and Glen,
And stood against him,
Proud Edward's Army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

Scotland v. France

Tomorrow is a HUGE day for the Tartan Army.

A loss would hurt, but not yet be crippling (though it might seem that way down the road).

A draw would result in a fist pump and a belief that Scotland might actually be able to qualify for Euro 2008.

A win would cause me to pass out. The odds of reviving me afterward would be about 50/50.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Dear Robin Williams...'s over. I wish you health, happiness, and sobriety, but your "act" is just done. I think there was a time when you were funny, though it seems longer and longer ago each time I see you hamming it up, and up, and up.

So, good luck with the rest of your life, but please, you're making me uncomfortable.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Again, work on your vocabulary!

I don't know what it is about football commentators, but I find myself having to point out that "Anecdote" and "Antidote" have different meanings.


Saturday, September 30, 2006


Being that it's almost time for the debut of Daniel Craig as the new James Bond I thought, as a fan, I'd offer my opinions on those who were not chosen as the next 007. Two things to keep in mind as you read. 1) There is only one James Bond, and that is Sean Connery, and 2) I'm perfectly fine with the choice of Daniel Craig, I think he bring a long-lost toughness back to the role. So, setting Craig, Daniel Craig, aside, here is my ranking of the other candidates whose names were bandied about along with three of my own suggestions (in red).

Oh, and just so you can see where I'm coming from, here is my ranking of those who have played Bond in the past.

1. Sean "Big Tam" Connery
2. Pierce Brosnan
3. George Lazenby
4. Roger Moore
5. Timothy Dalton

1. Ewan McGregor: This is the choice that should have been made. A fine actor, he has a dark side, and he's Scottish.*

2. Kevin McKidd: If the producers were comfortable going "James Blonde," McKidd would have been my first choice. He's great on HBO's "Rome"- tough yet vulnerable- and, yes, Scottish.

3. Clive Owen: Perhaps the best of the non-Scottish actors to be suggested for the role. In my mind he'd been in the running since he starred in "Croupier."

4. Hugh Jackman: He comes off as a bit too rough and ready, but with a little help from Miss Manners and a good tuxedo, I could see this working.

5. Ioan Gruffud: He'd need to bulk up a bit, but I could probably go for this choice. He's a quality actor and there just something really likable about him.

6. Alastair Mackenzie: He'd have to loose the dodgy haircut he had on "Monarch of the Glen," but otherwise, I think he could do it...and Scottish.

7. Orlando Bloom: Maybe next time, right now, too young.

8. Matthew McFadyen: He's already appeared in a spy-related series on the Beeb ("Spooks") in which he/his character demonstrated the ability to be the cold professional. Might work.

9. Gerard Bulter: Might have been okay in the role, maybe the "poor man's" Ewan McGregor... and Scottish.

10. Jude Law: Er, I like him, but I just don't see it. A bit too "precious" for my tastes and whether he is in life or not, on screen he looks physically small.

11. Jason Statham: I like him, I've enjoyed his movies, but he's just a bit too thuggish- barely less of a neanderthal than Vinnie Jones.

12. Eric Bana: Nope. I liked him as the Hulk, but I was not too impressed with his acting "chops," even in "Munich."

13. Heath Ledger: Um, no.

14. Colin Firth: A great actor, but he would have made his Bond debut when he was five years older than Connery was when he bowed out. And I don't see him as a "man of action."

15. Hugh Grant: I thought this was a joke, but numerous online searches returned his name as one possibility. Concisely put, one Roger Moore was one Roger Moore too many.

*Important as Bond, in Ian Fleming's books, was half-Scottish and half-Swiss.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

See, my dad was an English teacher... during football season when I'm watching SportsCenter and one of the announcers, hosts, pundits, etc. refers to the NFL team from Jacksonville, FL as the "JAG-wires" I start to develop multiple facial tics. What they are talking about is:

a large spotted feline, Panthera onca, of tropical America, having a tawny coat with black rosettes: now greatly reduced in number and endangered in some areas.

This word has- count them!- three acceptable pronunciations.

1. JAG-wahr
2. JAG-yoo-ahr
3. JAG-you-er (esp. by snooty English-types talking about cars)

NONE of these are a combination of "jag," meaning "a sharp projection on an edge or surface," OR, "wire," meaning "a slender, stringlike piece or filament of relatively rigid or flexible metal."

Thank you for your time.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Best Songs

Here's a few that I came up with as a result of one scroll through my iTunes library. Feel free to offer alternative choices for any of them, or new categories for me to investigate!

Creepiest: “Country Death Song” by Violent Femmes

Most Uplifting: “Brand New Start” by Paul Weller

Anti-Vanilla Ice: “Pop Goes The Weasel” by 3rd Bass

‘It’s Over': “The Thrill Is Gone” by B.B. King

Self-Pitying: “Nobody Loves Me But My Mother- and She May Be Jivin’ too”

Ska: “Ranking Full Stop” by The English Beat

Sinatra: “One for My Baby” by Frank Sinatra

Remake of Sinatra: “My Way” by Sid Vicious

Post Break-Up: “Don’t Want to know if you are lonely” Husker Du

Most Vivid Imagery: “That’s Entertainment” The Jam

Really Long: “Minstrel Boy” by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros

Most Remorseful: “Hurt” by Johnny Cash

Duet: “Redemption Song” by Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer

Sexiest: “Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer” by Morphine

Christmas “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues & Kristy MacColl

About Scotland “Scotland’s Story” by the Proclaimers

Punk featuring Bagpipe “Will you nae come back again?” The Real McKenzies

Defiant: “Angel’s Wings” by Social Distortion

Acoustic Bass Solo: “Never Tell” by Violent Femmes

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sorry Folks!

I know there hasn't been much to see here recently, my apologies for that. Put it down to a couple of busy work weeks and the usual mental health suspects.

On the bright side, my PlayStation skills are growing very sharp!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Saturday Night

I think I'm going to turn on my PlayStation and wait for what's left of my mind to be lost.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Two down!

Scotland beat Lithuania today to move to 2-0 in Euro 2008 qualifying and retain a share of first place in its group. I'm not going to get too excited yet, but if we keep beating the teams we should beat and can manage to draw with the better teams, we may have a shot at actually making the tournament!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Sweet Victory I

The Euro 2008 qualifying matches got underway today and Scotland are off to a flying start with a 6-0 victory over the Faroe Islands. Sub-par opponents to be sure, but three points are three points and six goals with go a long way toward helping Scotland's goal differential. Lithuania (who drew with France today) are next up on Wednesday. A win there would make the situation look a lot brighter when the time comes to face France, Italy, and Ukraine.

Sweet Victory II

The movie I wanted to see today started at 11:55am and I needed to be at work at 2:00pm. Thus, it was too early to eat lunch beforehand, and there would not be enough to do so after the movie. Therefore, my only option was to, once again, show the movie theater industry that I hold them, as Jonathan Edwards once preached, "...over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire," and that I look upon them "as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the bottomless gulf."

Or, put another way...

I snuck a foot long chicken parmesan sub into the theater.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Glenn Ford

Glenn Ford, who played strong, thoughtful protagonists in films such as "The Blackboard Jungle," "Gilda" and "The Big Heat," died Wednesday, police said. He was 90.

Paramedics called to Ford's home just before 4 p.m. found Ford dead, police Sgt. Terry Nutall said, reading a prepared statement. "They do not suspect foul play," he said.

Ford suffered a series of strokes in the 1990s.

Failing health forced him to skip a 90th birthday tribute on May 1 at Hollywood's historic Grauman's Egyptian Theatre. But he did send greetings via videotape, adding, "I wish I were up and around, but I'm doing the best that I can.... There's so much I have to be grateful for."

At the event, Shirley Jones, who co-starred with him in the comedy "The Courtship of Eddie's Father," called Ford "one of the cornerstones of our industry, and there aren't many left."

Ford appeared in scores of films during his 53-year Hollywood career. The Film Encyclopedia, a reference book, lists 85 films from 1939 to 1991.

He was cast usually as the handsome tough, but his acting talents ranged from romance to comedy. His more famous credits include "Superman," "Gilda," "The Sheepman," "The Gazebo," "Pocketful of Miracles" and "Don't Go Near the Water."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Soliciting Advice

I need a vacation. I have a "general" need for one, but as several of you know, there are some "specific" reasons that I need one as well. Plus, and I'm man enough to admit this, I'm pretty tough to get along with at the moment.

However, it will be at least seven weeks before I could take a vacation of any "meaningful" (a week or so) duration.

Does anyone have a suggestions?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

UPDATE: Me and my big mouth

Well, it went as well as it could have gone, and now it's done. Going forward, things will be easier- I hope.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Me and my big mouth

Tuesday I will make the long drive to my parents house, where, I will have dinner with my parents and my brother and sister, and when that is over, the awkwardness will begin.

At my suggestion we are having a family "conference" to decide the best way to give my mother a life that involves something other than looking after my father...and his worsening Parkinson's Disease.

And the best(?) part, it was all my idea. I'll let you know how it all turns out.


My beloved Red Sox have embarrassed themselves three times in the last two days. Worst still, they have have done so against the hated Yankees.

Gentlemen, have you no shame? It would be one thing if you'd gone down fighting and kept each of the games close, but no, you allowed the Evil Empire to put up football-like scores against you.

Worst of all, however, you went into these games with a losing mind-set. Jason Johnson as the starting pitcher in the opening game- wow. No offense to the man himself, he pitches with an insulin pump on his belt, but if that's the best they have to offer, it's over.

Tomorrow is another day, but yikes!

Am I a bad person?

In our increasingly politically correct world I am sure to be pilloried for the following comment, but I just can't keep it in any more:

Hillary Swank looks like a horse.

She's a phenomenal actress (I loved "Million Dollar Baby"), but some how I think that because of the subject matter of "Boys Don't Cry" I am expected to worship her and all that she does.

Let me put a finer point on it...she looks more like a horse than Julia Roberts.

And with that, I'm off to enroll in sensitivity classes.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Everyone else seems to have an opinion on it, so...

...I thought I'd weigh in.


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Well, we appear to pretty much be a theocracy at this point, so I don't need to talk about the first part. Freedom of speech? Not gone yet, but not exactly in a hale and hearty state. Freedom of the press? The press seems to be functioning as an American version of Pravda, or is threatened with jail if it isn't willing to go along with the government. Peaceable assembly? Sure, as long as you don't mind being filmed and watched from that point forward. Redress of grievances? Kind of tough when one party controls all three branches of the government...


A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

Okay, now that a "well regulated Militia" is no longer "necessary to the security of [our] free state," this amendment seems not to apply any more. Even if it does, there's a big difference between a "well regulated Militia" and every getting to have as many guns as they want to have for any purpose they for which they choose to use them.


No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

See, the news isn't all bad! We've actually stuck to this one!


The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Stick a fork in this one, it's done. Apparently the government no longer needs warrants, probable cause, or any of the other nuisances described by the Founding Fathers. Don't believe me? Think about this: did the government go to a judge to get permission to listen to every phonecall in the USA- including yours?


No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

It says, "No person," NOT, no "US citizen," so how do we justify keeping people in prison in Cuba without the "presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury?" I'm not even suggesting that the prisoners in Gitmo are innocent, but we still have to follow the rules. The rules, by the way, that WE wrote!!


In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

I might be missing information on one or two of these points, but I'm pretty sure that the "detainees" in Camp Delta (formerly Camp X-Ray) have been denied each and every one of these rights. I'm tempted to say something about a slippery slope here, but I'll hold off for now.


In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Hmm...setting aside our tendency to sue anyone for anything, we're doing okay with this one. See, MORE good news!


Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Alright, let's see, in most cases we're doing okay on the bail aspect- if anything we set it too low too often. Excessive fines? Certainly not if it's a corporation or a Republican donor. "Cruel and unusual punishments?" I refer you to my comments on the 5th and 6th Amendments.


The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Wow! This one might as well have a second clause which says, "Unless of course it suits your partisan agenda to deny or disparage any rights not enumerated in the Constitution. The idea behind this amendment is a good one, but it's become the red-headed step child of the Bill of Rights.


The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

I'm not sure this amendment could be anymore straight-forward, and yet it seems so difficult for so many to understand. Let me give you an easy example of how it works. If the state of Massachusets wants to allow for same-sex marriage, there is NOTHING the federal government can do about it. First, no power "delegated to the United States by the Consittution" forbids it. Second, nothing in the Consitution "prohibits" the states from exercising power on this matter. Third, the right to determine it's views on same-sex marriage is "reserved to the states." Finally, to bring my opinions into a nice, neat circle: if you oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds, that is your right. But, the same 1st Amendment that grants you that freedom (
"...or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"), prevents you from using the government to put it into practice- "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A philosophy I can get behind

Anthony Bourdain's summation of his visit to Bali:

"I want to stay here and eat pig until I pass out."


Sunday, June 18, 2006

USA v. Italy

Much better boys, much better. Especially under the circumstances. Now beat Ghana and give yourselves a chance to move on.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Quote of the Day

Cornell Woolrich on why he wrote:

"I was only trying to cheat death. I was only trying to surmount for a little while the darkness that all my life I surely knew was going to come rolling in on me some day and obliterate me. I was only trying to stay alive a brief while longer, after I was already gone."

Take that "real" literature.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Gracias Espana, Gracias!

Thanks to Spain's 4-0 drubbing of Ukraine today (and I thought it was going to be a good match!) the USA's embarrassing 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic the other day is no longer the worst defeat in this year's World Cup.

All of this, assumes however, that the USA gives a better effort against Italy on Saturday. Otherwise, I might have to rewrite this post.

Monday, June 12, 2006

This is why I like soccer

Mexico 3, Iran 1

NUREMBERG, Germany (AP) -- Mexico's raucous crowd left the stadium singing and chanting in red, green and white waves of unbridled joy. Oswaldo Sanchez, still mourning the death of a father who dreamed of watching him play in the World Cup, left the field with a smile.

Iran, meanwhile, missed a chance to replace talk of political turmoil with discussion of its on-field success.

Hours after the echoes of a protest against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime faded in this Bavarian city, Iran had hoped to salvage at least one point from its World Cup opener on Sunday.

Mexico, whose goalkeeper had to fly home on Thursday to bury his father, had other ideas, scoring twice in the last 15 minutes for a 3-1 victory.

El Tri's players rushed to hug Sanchez, who rejoined them Saturday night.

Brazilian-born midfielder Zinha, who scored Mexico's third goal, said the team dedicated the win to "our great friend Oswaldo, who is a great person."

"What courage to go through such a difficult thing and then represent your country like it's supposed to be done," said Zinha, also known as Antonio Naelson.

Felipe Sanchez died of a heart attack on Wednesday while preparing to come to Germany to watch his son play.

"It was my dad's dream for me to be here, playing in the World Cup, and I am happy," Sanchez said through a translator.

The 32-year-old keeper made two previous World Cup trips, in 1998 and 2002, but was a reserve.

Sanchez, given flowers and condolences from the Iranian team before the match, turned in a solid outing just 24 hours after returning from Mexico -- so much so that Mexico coach Ricardo Lavolpe said the keeper appeared "to have an angel watching over him."

Iran coach Branko Ivankovic was left to explain how his team fell apart late in the second half -- and whether politics had cast a shadow on the field.

"Nobody is allowed to discuss politics," Ivankovic said at the postgame news conference. "We are allowed to discuss the opponent, to discuss football, and in this case, to discuss Mexico."

There was plenty to discuss about that, too, namely, how Iran's late-game lapses turned the Mexican fans' bored whistles into cheers.

"Maybe the players thought that after two or three substitutions, Mexico is going to be much easier or something," Ivankovic said.

Instead, Mexico cracked open Iran's defense.

Omar Bravo's second goal of the match, in the 76th minute, put Mexico up 2-1. Three minutes later, two second-half substitutions hooked up for the clincher when Zinha headed in Francisco Fonseca's cross.

"In the first half, everyone was very nervous," Lavolpe said through a translator. "We weren't getting possession of the ball. In the second half, the team stabilized. We had more possession and that's why we won the game."

At home in Mexico City, thousands of Mexicans wearing hats, soccer jerseys and body paint in the national colors swarmed the streets and the main plaza, chanting "Angola's next! We're going to beat them."

Mexico plays Angola on Friday in Hanover, and after Sunday's win, El Tri has solidified its status as a favorite to advance out of Group D, which also includes Portugal.

After trading goals in the first half, Iran dropped as many as five defenders back from the 60th minute on. The strategy worked until defender Yahya Golmohammedi, who scored the equalizer in the 36th minute, made a bad pass.

Zinha fed the ball up the middle to Bravo, who beat goalkeeper Ebrahim Mirzapour for the go-ahead goal. Mirzapour's poor clearing kick set up the scoring sequence for the Mexicans.

Mexico's set pieces failed to come together early in the match, but paid off in the 28th minute after a foul by Iran's Ali Karimi.

Pavel Pardo's free kick from the right side found Guillermo Franco in the box. Franco cleverly headed the ball to Bravo lurking virtually unmarked near the back goalpost. He gave it a right-footed tap past forward Vashid Hashemian and Mirzapour for a 1-0 lead.

Iran's equalizer was a textbook bit of opportunism by Golmohammedi. Mexican Sanchez could only deflect Hashemian's close-in header off Karimi's corner kick, and Golmohammedi took the ball at the top of the area and fired it just under the crossbar into the roof netting.

Jared Borgetti, who led all scorers in qualifying with 14 goals and is Mexico's top career scorer with 38 international goals, was limping when he came off in the 52nd minute and had his left thigh briefly examined by the team's trainers.

It was only the second victory for Mexico in a World Cup game in Europe, the other coming 3-1 over South Korea in a 1998 opener.

There were 45 fouls in the game, 26 on Mexico.

"I don't know why," Lavolpe said. "I have to see the video. That might just mean that the two teams tried to stop the play by fouling."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son"

Saturday, May 20, 2006

"Happy 98th" update

A few facts about Jimmy Stewart

-He was of Scottish and Scots-Irish heritage.

-Graduated from Princeton University.

-First movie star to enter the service for WWII, joining a year before Pearl Harbor. He earned the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Croix de Guerre and 7 battle stars. He retired as a brigadier general- the highest military rank of any actor in history.

-Won an Academy Award as Best Actor.

-Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

-Recipient of Kennedy Center Honors.

-He was awarded lifetime achievement awards from the Academy Awards, American Film Institute, the Golden Globes, National Board of Review, and the Screen Actors Guild.

-Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award.

-Named Best Classic Actor of the 20th Century by Entertainment Weekly.

-Voted the 3rd Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

-Voted the 9th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine.

-Voted the 3rd Greatest Screen Legend Actor list by the American Film Institute

-His performance as George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) is ranked #8 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.

-Over 3,000 people attended his funeral to pay their respects.

Happy 98th!

Today is the birthday of actor, war hero, and quintessential American James Maitland Stewart.

He made more great movies than I have time or space to name, chose to served his country in combat at the peak of his fame, and lived life in a dignified manner that many of us would do well to emulate.

My guess is that somewhere, he's having a little birthday cake with Ted Williams and John Wayne.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Something to think about...

...through 39 games no team has fewer errors than the Red Sox (12).

...and they'r just starting to hit.

...the pitching has only been "okay".

...yet they are still in first place.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

No, really, I'm perfectly normal...

Is it okay that I've eaten the same thing for my last four meals (and enjoyed it) because it required almost no time to make?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


While I am a political liberal who believes in human rights, due process, etc. I am tired of, and appalled by, the frequent comparisons of the abuses currently being committed as part of the "war on terror," and the Holocaust of Nazi Germany.

Yes, many of the Bush administration's policies and tactics (wire-tapping, show trials, holding people in prison for years without charges, etc.) are despicable and should be ended immediately, they do not and will not rise to the level of the Holocaust.

Why won't this happen? It won't happen because we still have elections (flawed as they may be), we still have freedom of speech (despite attempts to limit it), and there is still enough media not on the government payroll to expose the truth.

Let's hope so anyway...

Bluetooth Earpiece People


You look foolish. Specifically, you look like a 1950's view of "the future." Do you eat all of your food in pill form too?

Unless you're a brain surgeon or something similar, nobody needs to have access to you 24/7.

You are even more rude than regular public cellphone users- something I didn't think was possible.

Hardboiled Fiction: Update

Having worked my way through almost all of the works of Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, and Dasheill Hammet, I'm now about halfway through the works of Jim Thompson. The only major* author left in the genre is Cornell Woolrich and I just bought one of his anthologies and one of his novels.

*more of his stories were turned into movies than any two of the other authors.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

No, you're not. No, you don't. No, you couldn't.

Lately it seems as though every person I meet says one of the following things in the course of our conversation:

"I have a 'genius' level IQ."
"I could be in Mensa if I wanted to be..."

There are a couple of problems with these statements/people.

First, if so many people are "geniuses," that makes the "average" person a "genius," and you can't be both. Every definition of "genius" I can find uses the word "extraordinary," meaning "more" or "beyond" ordinary. One definition of "ordinary" is- guess what!?- "average." Sorry, but you can't be- and probably wouldn't want to be, even if you could be- "extra-average"!

Second, your IQ (assuming you accept it as a meaningful concept/measurement) means nothing if you can't apply it! One of the people who made the "Mensa" comment to me is a community college dropout, who can't pay his bills (but can afford lots of pot!), who just lost his driver's license, and claims to have a 146 IQ. Congratulations.

Finally, on a more philosophical level, the idea that one is "born" a genius is appalling at the very least. Humans can't learn or improve?! If you fall below a certain "score" early in life should you just be handed a shovel and told to start digging ditches. I think not. In fact, I would argue that the opposite is true-

“One is not born a genius, one becomes a genius”

Simone de Beauvoir

Monday, May 01, 2006

Dear Illegal/Undocumented/Immigrant Marchers...

...keep marching.

Your slogan is "Today we march, tomorrow we vote!"

...follow through on that and you will win everything you are for which you are marching.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

...for my BIG IRS refund to appear in my bank account!

Monday, April 17, 2006

What do you say?

This morning one of my former players lost her dad. He'd been sick (cancer) on and off since I started to coach her as an 8th grader (she's a senior this year), yet he was still one of the most supportive parents I've ever dealt with as a coach. There were days when he went directly from the hospital to the sidelines to watch his daughter play. Win, lose, or draw, he congratulated his daughter, her teammates, and her coaches on their efforts. This was especially meaningful given that he understood the game and just how much it takes to excel at it.

Beyond this, he and his wife opened their home to the team for numerous team functions and provide the team with t-shirts, sweatshirts, and sweatpants at almost no cost on two different occasions. Were all parents this supportive with their time, money, and presence, high school sports would always be the positive experience it is supposed to be for everyone involved.

So, Bruce, what kind of daughter did you raise?

One whose grades improved every year she was in school even though she sometimes stayed at your beside until the small hours of the morning before coming to school.

One who never once asked for more time to get her work done because she didn't want her teachers to think she was using your illness as an excuse.

One who, despite severely breaking her leg early in her sophomore season, came to every practice and game, even if it meant sitting next to me on the bench in the driving rain.

One whose smile, humor, and energy fill every room she enters and every field upon which she sets her very talented feet.

One with a big enough heart to let her former coach know- within twelve hours- that you had passed away.

Rest easy, Bruce, you did a great job.

And Stevi, hang in there...

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Immigration Controversy

I hesitate to break my silence on this issue, but as a student of history I just can't hold my tongue any longer. However, rather than prattle on and on and on I'm going to limit myself to two comments.

Philosophical: This country has always been (and should always be) a place of refuge for those fleeing political oppression, for those seeking economic opportunity, and for those searching for religious freedom.

It hasn't always gone smoothly (slavery, anti-semitism, etc.) and it probably never will, but we must continue to strive to come as close to reaching the ideals upon which this country was founded upon as possible. We are what we are- and most of what we are is "good"- because we have accepted (if not always "welcomed") wave after wave of immigrants from all parts of the world.

Each group has taken its lumps along the way- an unfortunate "tempering" process that was worse for some groups than it was for others- and become part of "us".

Practical: Keeping people out of the United States has never worked in the past, and it will never work in the future. First, the country is just too damn big. Close the seven hundred mile long border with Mexico? Okay, fine. Are you prepared to do the same with Canada? Including Alaska, the US-Canadian border is 5522 miles long! Furthermore, I personally know of plenty of places in Maine that ANYONE willing to make the walk through the woods could travel freely between the two countries.

Second, and more importantly, no barrier we can put up- no matter how strong- will be stronger that the will of those people who wish to come to America. The Irish came here in boats nicknamed "coffin ships," the Hatians and Cubans have come here on anything- oil drums, rafts, etc.- that could float, others have attempted to stow away in the landing gear of airplanes, the list goes on. No danger has been enough to keep motivated immigrants from risking life and limb to get to our country. A wall that will keep them out? Not a chance.

Solution: Let "them" in. Let "them" work. Let "them" pay taxes. Let "them go" to school. Let "them" serve in the military.

Why? Because once upon a time each one of "us," was one of "them."