It's just a heckofa party, right?

It is unwise to discuss politics in polite company, for fear that your company will cease being polite and become your sworn enemy. Religion used to hold that distinction above all other subjects, but things have changed of late; what, with Scientology making a wacky parlor joke out of a once solemn (yet still hysterically entertaining) subject. Proliferation of information services and outlets – web 2.0, megalo-media outlets, news channels dedicated to 24 hour spew, and simplification of access and delivery from podcasting to RSS. A rare confluence of super-partisan, mouth-wagging punditry couched in rock star wordslinger hooliganism that ranges from Big Daddy O'Reilly's inability to form a simple sentence without feigning apoplectic shock over “their” bad guys who screw up publicly and raining down super-yummy apologist smooches upon “his” bad guys who screw up publicly; Bozo the Beck's puerile, goggle-eyed, circus clown imbecility presented as truth and patriotism, convincing far too many viewers he is in possession of both while clearly trading in neither; and curiously watchable train wrecks with a slimy cowlick of political pedigree masquerading as Those Who Have Ideals, like Hannity.

I've never liked political television anyway, all that pointless bickering. But I mean, please.

So what, these are charming times for advertisers and media outlets, yeah? Playing roughly on the minds of a tattered and torn lower and middle class viewership that cannot pay it's medical bills and mortgages but have a few hours in their day, like me, to watch a little television and contemplate super-sized, all-new, best-of products with the message that buying any of this shit will make me not only feel better, but be better.

I seldom watch television, except for cooking shows.

So it was with no sense of surprise whatsoever that I found my thoughts on a blog while perusing Reddit. They were my thoughts, exactly those which I think, perfectly poised, limned with the tactile care and proper phrasing which I, evidently, have never been able to muster, or simply haven't ever bothered to.

I have to digress: I was a Republican, you know. Not really, that's not true: I was told I was a Republican because even though I voted for Clinton (the alternative was ungodly and unthinkable), I had previously voted for Bush 41 (that alternative was worse than Clinton's), and God forgive me, I voted for history's most terrifying Brainless Psychotic Savant, Bush 43. Do you remember his campaigns? He didn't sound like a half-stoned goddamn nitwit until after he took office, 'cause damn, they groomed him pretty well for the trail, yes they did.

Boy, was I pissed later. And as the years went by I became more and more enraged at the abject failure of “my” party – meaning, in this case, my choice of candidates – to apply themselves and achieve the goals they were supposedly elected and sworn in to achieve, all the while stepping neatly into pile after pile of political dog shit every time they stepped anywhere at all, then spattering it with chocolate sprinkles and selling it off as “leadership”. Did we all savor the taste of “Mission Accomplished?” Well, some did. Yummy stuff, that chocolate-sprinkled political dog shit.

I did NOT vote for Bush to serve for round 2. I'd long since given up for fear every human on the planet would suffer a catastrophic cerebellar implosion simply by listening to that blithering asshole trip over whatever simple monosyllabic tripe they plastered to his TelePrompter, I imagine in Crayola. Meanwhile, the best the Democratic party had to thwart him was John Kerry. Like sending a puppy dog in to do brain surgery. In Florida.

In my voting there always seemed to be a balance needed, tipping the scales from party to party. I always tended to vote about issues anyway, regardless if I understood them, and regardless the fact I have since come to know that politicians are like Nascar drivers: check their corporate sponsors if you want to know their politics, because the lobbyist has usurped elected talent as the most powerful force in the land.

Ah, la. I now will present my reasons for giving up on a party I was never a member of, but supported on occasion anyway. A very bright person named Andrew Sullivan penned it, seemingly just for me, and I am thoroughly jealous that it wasn't me. This is a summary collection of various arguments laid out by individuals over the years but encapsulated in a final, wonderfully erudite “fuck you” to the vicious and blustery remnants of the Republican party, a political entity I have not considered viable since I was forced to watch Gee Dubya “Heckofajob” Bushie alongside his party's congress and senate, his cabinet, and the vast majority of Washington's elected human filth at his vapid and blubbering side, cheerfully and indecently fuck everything up for everyone.

Please click this link and read Andrew's work. I invite you to come back after and comment.


STC =^oo^=

Weigh In: The Dip

Above: your author's house, as photographed on July 30, 2006, the day before his family moved in.  Take one last look - it's probably going to belong to the bank soon enough.

Interest works night and day in fair weather and in foul. It gnaws at a man's substance with invisible teeth.
- Henry Ward Beecher

Funny etymology for the word “dip” in the context in which I am using it: today's miscreant youth coined the term “dip” as a way to describe running from the po-po: to dip is to flee law enforcement. Eventually it took on wider meaning, as in simply “to leave” or “to walk away.” People my age used to say “split.”

I like this term. It's fresh and youthful, my 20 year old likes it, and I can foresee a lot of dipping happening. Right here. In my neighborhood. People left and right are dipping every day.

On their mortgages.

While this isn't the epidemic it's thought to be, it is increasingly common, and, it turns out,for good and bad reasons. What good reasons, you might ask? Isn't it a borrower's responsibility to pay, and isn't dipping on a mortgage an ethical issue?

Well, yes and no. It's an ethical issue if you can afford your mortgage and other responsibilities, one might say, but if you simply cannot do it it's just a simple little tap dance into bankruptcy. I mean, you signed the papers, you take the heat right? Still, I am finding boards and mortgage/financial help groups (here's an example) where incensed buyers, their homes worth 40% less than they were when bought, are crying “foul”  t the bankers who shoved crap paper into their hands and said “sign it, you'll LOVE being a homeowner!” amid signs of a market that was destined to fail. “Fat-cat bankers can have my crappy house – I'm renting  forever!” they say.

The consensus – ever growing – seems to be: “I feel absolutely NO remorse for handing my house back to a lender who sold garbage loans on homes they should have known would eventually be worth nothing, and
no, I don't care if they 'didn't know it was coming', because they were paid hundreds of millions of dollars to know – it's their fault.”

But what about the guy who made $37,000 a year as a school janitor, had a wife and 6 kids, and signed a contract for a $450,000 home in Reseda, California? Isn't it his fault? He obviously couldn't afford it...or could he? Or was he lured by predatory lenders? Or was he trying to bilk the system?

What about the house flipper in Detroit who had 7-8 mortgages out there on ratted-up $125,000 properties he intended to flip for $450,000? Was he taking advantage of a strong market that failed and left him in trouble, or was he just being greedy and taking advantage of the bank's insanely stupid mortgage  equirements, then found himself caught out?

Ask the buyers and they'll tell you it was the banks' stupidity and greed. Ask the banks and they'll tell you it was the buyers' stupidity and greed. Either way, buyers are gagging on debt they can no longer afford to satisfy, and they have no options left but to dip, since bailouts seem to be intended as bonuses for failed executives, not simple, workaday scumbags like average homeowners.

Dipping. Seems there are some gray areas.

What's not a gray area: a fairly large subset of homeowners who were more cautious and careful buyers, who shopped in late 2005 and early 2006 for sensible homes at sensible prices, gained a fixed-rate, conforming loan well within their ability to pay, and began the process of home ownership in a home they could easily afford...only to have the real estate market AND the job market fail right under their feet, leaving them stuck with a mortgage for a house worth far less than they own and either unemployed or under-employed meaning: pay cut) and unable to pay that mortgage.

Now factor in the mixed bag of rules, regulations, and remedies available for buyers who have to dip on their mortgage: no two lenders are alike, and some try to be helpful by offering reduced rates and extended terms, but many lenders could care less about the buyer's plight and simply threaten, then force, foreclosure and out you go.

And so: sometimes dipping is – to put a fine point on it – the best business decision a homeowner can make.

It should be noted that dipping on a mortgage is NOT always that easy – you still have a valid contract with your mortgage lender, and walking out can leave you in touchy legal territory: the mortgage lender can come after you with guns blazing for the cash difference between what they make on an auction for your property and the remainder of your loan, plus fees, legal and otherwise. Last year that wasn't too bad an option, but right now, with some $400,000 homes in Las Vegas selling slowly at $185,000, that adds up to a pretty big lien.

My take? Hmm. Look at that description I wrote up above of the “careful buyer.” I was trying to describe myself.

Back in late 2005 when I bought the home I am in now, there was plenty of talk about a “housing bubble” that was “going to burst” some day. I knew it was coming. Indications were that a year or so after my purchase housing prices would begin to fall, there would be a period of adjustment, then prices would recover, although perhaps a little slowly. Meanwhile, the year or so of increase in price after I signed my contract would make up for some of that loss, especially since my house was a new build, and besides, we wouldn't have a mortgage payment for seven months, so out payments would start on a house worth a little more than we paid for it. Even with a minor “earnest money” down payment which left us technically 100% financed, I could easily see useable equity in my home in 2-3 years or so, and since I qualified for $350,000 more than I spent I wasn't house-poor. Best of all: the area I bought in had never seen a “bubble” like Detroit, Southern California, or Las Vegas, so there would probably be no significant drop in prices. No worries. Home ownership makes it worth it, and the risk wasn't that high.

Who told me this? My mortgage banker. My realtor. The builder. Everyone who was on the other side of the sales fence, who else? Besides, when we signed our paperwork in February of 2006, the news still hadn't changed, and non-bankers like me were assured all would be OK.

Ah, and here we are three and a half years later, living the Reagan Dream: awash in all that money trickling down from big business and especially the bankers, and every day is like opening another treasure chest filled with success and cash in my middle-class life. Since I bought my home it has plummeted 22% in value, and I was laid off and had to take a new job...earning 20% less than I was after 4 months of unemployment. Layoffs happen, but it was particularly ironic that I was working for a bank that bought a mortgage company with over $100MM in bad loans, so they got gobbled up by another bank with less problems who immediately set about cutting heads, including mine. That also meant the area I live in began to hemorrhage  jobs, since the bank I worked for was the second largest employer in the region. Bonus: the CEO was paid $23MM in bonuses to fail in so spectacular a fashion. Trickle down, Ronnie said, trickle down...

Now I spend from savings accounts every month to make ends meet, and those savings are almost gone. The job market is slow and still low-paying, and I see no alternative in my immediate future: if my mortgage company opts not to help, I will dip. And I won't feel bad at all.

Before I sum up: to add insult to these injuries are reports – as numerous now as they were sparse when I signed my contract – that the second wave of foreclosures, an even bigger wave than the first, is yet to come, and the average half-million dollar home bought in 2007 and worth about $300K now will be worth $175K in 2011. Isn't that nice? I paid a heck of a lot less that half a million for my home, but why, I wonder, do I continue to drop that payment into a mortgage lender's pocket every month on a home that will be worth 50-60% or less than I paid for it in a few years? Why am I funding an obvious loser? I wonder if I should dip simply because I may not live long enough to see real equity in this place.

Saddest thing of all: I love this house. My wife and I picked it. We picked the tile, the carpets, the appliances, the siding, the color of shingles on the roof. I was here every day while they built it, on my lunch hour, walking through the sawdust and workers and taking thousand of pictures. This was my house. I do not relish the thoughts of the day we will walk away from it.

Your turn to weigh in – to dip or not to dip: is this a moral and ethical thing? Is it a simple business decision? Would you dip even if you could pay your mortgage?

STC =^oo^=

Weigh In: Beauty Promises Everything, Gives Nothing.

Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.
~Kahlil Gibran

NOTE: I have re-written several elements of this article, due to some historical and factual inaccuracies: I reported Ms. Prejean was a runner-up: that happened in 2005, and the pageant in question, in 2009, she won it, then was dethroned for being a snotty princess and not doing her job. It all works out, I think, but I apologize - it's on me to do better research.

Hard not to know who Carrie Prejean is. The prickly blonde Miss California contestant got body slammed by Perez Hilton in the Q/A round by his interestingly placed question about gay marriage, which of course she had to answer truthfully, and damn her if she didn't do just that. She won the competition anyway, pissed off Donald Trump, the owner of the Pageant, by spending more time at Fox News defending her gay marriage answer than at shopping malls and other settings doing what pageant winners do, which is...look pretty and smile and wave at people and say something about fuzzy puppies and world peace, I guess. Anyway, he fired her, and Ms. Prejean has become the dictionary definition of the word “polarized viewpoints” to those who would consider her at all and a minor celebrity in the mix. Seems if she is known, it's as either heroine or whore. Her answer about gay marriage alone made her a ton of fans and enemies both, but that was barely the start.

I say Hilton's question was interestingly placed, by the way, because it seems the pageant rulebook warns contestants against offering religious viewpoints in their answers, and a question about gay marriage is bound to bring our a few verses in the contestants. So why ask? Ah, la. It certainly made for a long run of other...interestingness, as well. A little like instructing a student not to speak of Evolution and then asking “what are your views of Darwin's 'Origin of the Species'?”

Dirtypillows. We heard all about the gratis boobies. Those shapely orbs of womanly pulchritude were, it seems, not hers, nor did she pay for them: the pageant did. Word got out and the noise storm started – what kind of two-faced Christian slut gets a boob job? How can she claim to be a Christian? This is an outrage!

Nah. That all died down right quick – plenty of Christian women head to Boobs-R-Us to buy new and improved ta-tas, see. Boobs, it should be remembered, are really neato-cool. Bible thumping babes can have them too. Why not?

Dirty Pictues. Then we heard about “The Pictures.” Semi-nude. Beach shots, very well done with nicely balanced lighting, I might add. Obviously taken before Trump footed the bill for the implants, I might also add. Took roughly .004 attoseconds for them to circle the entire goddamn universe via Perez's TMZ site, accompanied by all the attendant hullaballoo and blend of support and outrage and dust that many felt might take a bit of time to settle. I mean, for the love of all that's holy and pure and American – what kind of wholesome church-attending young lady would pose for such filth?

Um, I dunno. Lots of them? I mean, lets face it – Christian women, I assume, can look just as good naked as heathen women, and while I don't agree with the religious side of their world I presume in all other ways they are functional humans with all the proper parts and pieces and plenty of intellectual/emotional distraction as all us heathens. I mean, mommy and daddy Christians do the church-sanctioned version of the wango tango to make little baby Christians, right?

All this was shaping up nicely for America's favorite Polarized Sexual Object – book deal, plenty of airtime on Fox News, tons of support from conservatives everywhere – I mean, what's she done that's so bad, after all? She's just a good girl who made a few bad choices, trying to better herself, right? Book deal in the hopper, Ms. Prejean is basking in the cat bird seat for a bright future.

Amid all this, after she got whacked she opted to sue the Miss California pageant for pretty much everything wrong that's ever happened to her, from hangnails to sleep loss, never mind the nice titties they bought her. She was seeking a million bucks, chicken feed when you consider the amazing press Donald Trump's pageant organization has gotten from her for relatively cheap.

And I van only imagine the incredible – and entertaining – effects of the defense's top bit of evidence.

Dirty Movies. Oh, hell, it had to happen, right? Apparently there were some negotiations underway when The Pageant's legal team started up a little home movie. It was a girl, alone, evidently doing something sexual. Ms. Prejean reportedly said “that's disgusting” and denied that it was her depicted in the film, but when the camera panned up to her face it's said that “ took about 15 seconds for Carrie to drop her $1 million dollar demand.” I bet.

Well, hell. I don't watch Fox, but I cannot imagine they had the lovely Ms. Prejean on last night detailing her masturbatory techniques. I read that her pastor said “everyone is a work in progress” which is certainly true. Plenty of people have made sex tapes, and plenty have used them to launch or bolster their careers, Paris Hilton and Pamela Anderson to name but two, but these people were not held up to the microscope of “decency” – you know, “no gay marriage” style decency – as Carrie Prejean.

I wonder if this might be enough to finally send this woman out of the spotlight and into a career in, I dunno, fast food, or maybe porn. A place where all she can say is “would you like to super size that?” or “oh my, I never met a guy with a name like Dick Hunglow before.”

So weigh in: most people find it hard to keep simple answers about this woman when discussing her. When she's praised, it's as if she's Joan of Ark, Mother Theresa, and Wonder Woman all in one. When she's not, she's a dirty lowdown whore of the worst order and not worthy of the sweat off a warthog's ass. I read that somewhere, Reddit, I think, I don't remember. Pretty gross. I like it.

Me? If I really reign it in and try to be as objective as possible I just think she's a snotty little overindulged shithead who's ambition and looks could launch a rocket, but her intelligence, basic decency and common sense are essentially missing. By “decency” I don't decry her free tits, the pretty pictures, or the probably-awful movie – c'mon people, I think we would be both stunned and possibly pleased to personally know how many others have done the same damn thing. I also don't mean “decency” in the vein of the original issue, her answer about gay marriage. Agree or disagree, I actually admired her public attempt of professional suicide when she stood her ground and said exactly what she meant to say, and I thought the look on Hilton's face in the reaction shot was worth the price, frankly. Anyway it's that whole “I may disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it” thing.

No, by decency I mean her flagrant, cheesy prostitution of whatever assets she has remaining to further herself at the expense of anyone and anything in her way; a waifish, once-prettier-but-fading Princess Bitch with a rusty wrecking ball for a mouth, elbowing her way through people and courtrooms and television for way, way longer than the 15 minutes she's barely good for and due, all the while holding herself to some better standard we all aren't privy to despite the painful truth that she's really just a mutt like all of us.

Just so.

Your thoughts?

Weigh in: No means no...unless it doesn't, of course.

A gifted motion picture director. A guy who'd been up and down the block a few times, especially after his wife's murder in 1969 at the hands of Charles Manson's wacky, cold-blooded friends. And unless you've been hiding under a rock the last few weeks, you already know he's a man who is currently the unwilling guest of a Swiss incarceration facility, by way of drugging and raping 13 year old Samantha Gailey in Jack Nicholson's guest room in 1977. Sex with underage people wasn't as big a deal back then, but it still counted as statutory rape. In this case, our person of great import gave her drugs then anally raped her, which means rape-rape, disregard the whole statutory thing. He cut a deal, went to jail for a couple of days, then fled the country like an idiot. Roman Polanski didn't do a hell of a lot right in 1977.

The young lady in question is certainly not a young lady now – she's 45 years old, and by all accounts she's doing just fine. She states clearly that she's put it behind her, and while she's no fan of Polanski she's forgiven him.

This situation has three issues of notable magnitude which make an otherwise uncluttered case of “get his ass over here and try him” a little unusual:

One: child rape is child rape, in 1977 as it is today. I just might say that myself, as well as “I'd shoot the putrid son of a bitch between the eyes, were it my daughter, and to hell with 'The Pianist'.” Additionally, fleeing the country in defiance of court proceedings is bad joss, no matter who you are. Remember though: Polanski pled. He won't be tried for rape, even though there's little question he did it. He pled guilty to a far lesser charge of “engaging in Unlawful Sexual Intercourse” which sounds about as bad as shoplifting a dildo, but with deportation overtures.

Two: there are 138 petition signers, Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese among the better known, who evidently think it's, you know, a “big deal” but not that big big deal. They say he pled, served 45 days and he split, and let it lie and drop the case. Not their call – a judge had a shot at slapping around a celebrity and that chance was lost – it seems the chance is born anew.

Third: finally, and no less important – Samantha Geimer (once known as “Gailey”) is, as I mentioned above, doing just fine. So fine in fact, she doesn't want to revisit the case – further, she wants the Los Angeles district attorney's office to drop the charges. Not for Polanski's sake: simply because this is newsworthy, and she is absolutely dead-set against being part of a (or: the latest) scandalous, stupid quagmire of media lunacy at the behest of bloodthirsty lawyers snapping at a famous case she herself refers to as an “...irrelevant legal nicety“ for them. I don't blame her a bit. If you suffered a sexual attack as a child, would you want Glenn Beck or Nancy Grace yapping about it?

So let's weigh in, people: is it time to let this outdated, painful fiasco go and forgive, forget, and allow the victim to quietly forge ahead; or should the legal system drive once again the wheels of justice in full view of a slime-addicted world and finish off the wormy but talented old bastard once and for all? Let's hear it.

Weigh in: Would you like to fly in my beautiful balloon?

Over the years we've all seen some deliciously concocted stories about horrible and/or wonderful things that have turned out to be BS: The Runaway Bride, telling scary tales of abduction to avoid the altar when it might have been a bit easier to just say “whoa, uh, dude? No thanks.” There was that whole “send this chain email to every human on the planet and Bill Gates will give you $245 dollars for each person it goes to!” thing that was so pathetically and obviously fake it almost sounded like it could be true. George Bush was rumored to have an intelligence quotient somewhere above room temperature, but it eventually became clearly evident he was somewhere around the mid 50's – run Gee Dubya, run!

Short-term urban mythology, hoaxes written for the ADHD set, and my God the things we'll believe.

Today I found myself reading – again – about Falcon Heene, the offspring of parents Richard and Mayumi Heene. You know - Balloon boy. Simple enough story: family, the willing victims of a TV reality show in the past, do meteorology as a hobby (really?) and like most people they have a weather balloon in their back yard. Boy is reported to have climbed in, and said balloon then loosed somehow, soared to 7,000 feet or so across the Colorado landscape, followed by helicopters and cops on the ground and evidently NORAD, just to crash on the ground empty. Boy is later located hiding in attic of the home, everyone breathes a Baby Jessica sized sigh of relief. Boy says, on camera “you guys said we did this for the show.”

Kids say the darnedest things, damnit.

The WTF factor in this isn't all that high – it seems people are unapologetic in their addiction to television which depicts stupid people behaving stupidly and rudely, and this family serves as a very good example of the fodder we make of ourselves when someone waves a couple dollars in our faces and implies fame and fortune are at hand and states”You're gonna be on television!” It would appear these five words have the capacity to reduce the common American male or female into drooling, doddering imbeciles willing to do pretty much anything, regardless the fact they appear to be aware it'll look, sound, and make them seem utterly grotesque.

So while Little Falcon Heene was napping in the box in the attic and a few dollars were splayed about the area in terms of aviation fuel and manpower to look skyward for him, many additional pairs of eyes were glued to their Plasma and LCD's in HD while tampons and Kraft Food products (which contain very little in the way of actual food) and airlines (who love to talk about helping us fly but hate to actually do it I suspect) flash briefly across their screens all across the nation. In a spasm of epileptic colorful horror, godawful ads burn buzzword-driven pathways into our souls, forcing us to get on Expedia and buy a ticket to pretty much anywhere, knowing the journey will suck but compelled to go anyway.

So complex, but so easy. Having said it, though, I want you to weigh in: would you do it? Would you swap your wife, or let a nanny come discipline your unruly child, or try to marry some bachelor bus driver who is rumored to be worth millions of dollars, or strand yourself on a desert island and let hipster jerkoffs treat you like roadkill, or audition in front of bored, disaffected judges in hopes of being the next Celine although you know full well you can't describe what a note is, much less sing one?

Is there a limit? $10,000? $50,000? What? Is this fun? Is it serious? Do you care?

Me? Oh, boy – I gotta tell you I could sure use an extra few bucks right now, but...I mean, damn.

I cannot imagine parading myself and my wife and my kids around in highly-edited fashion, camera crews asking if they can tape me peeing, presenting only those worst family moments, all to make a few dollars at the complete expense of my current and future dignity. Just seems like a big “no!”

Your thoughts?

Until next time – Cheers! =^oo^=

Creatio ex nihilo? No?

"Creatio ex nihilo."

That means “create from nothing.” It's Latin. I don't speak Latin, but I have assurances this is a good translation.

I do speak English, though, being as I am American. Also as an American, I both am aware of and have some significant distaste for the Westboro Baptist Church. And in that light I have a better translation of creatio ex nihilo: it means “well shit-dang boys! We got us a pissin' contest right here!"

See, posted an article back on the 8th of October stating a professor and scholar of The Old Testament, Professor Ellen van Wolde, states that the first line in a relatively popular series of books was translated incorrectly. The line was: “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth.”

Professor van Wolde says that's not the correct translation, deducing from the way the verb was used, the context, and the period it was written all conspire to make the first sentence of the bible read thusly: “in the beginning, God separated the Heaven and the Earth.” All these years and now this comes out?

The article at one point mentions that this finding would likely spark a “robust debate.” Uh huh. I have a funny.

See, all this stuff transpired over in Europe, where they have open marriages and girls don't shave their armpits and they all speak funny languages and make really, really good bread and beer and they typically (recently, anyway) discuss their differences before they amble off and bomb the bloody bejesus out of some third world heathen nation to protect their business interests. I imagine they might be able to have a robust debate about it, so long and the Vatican isn't involved, because let's face it: news like this could really fuck up their business model, you think?

The real outcome? Oh, God I can see the CNN footage now: sixty, seventy of those funky mean inbred people from Topeka, all tithing for tickets and flying in tow of Fred Phelps to the Netherlands where the good Professor van Wolde will be delivering a thesis on this subject, marching through Radboud University with those awesomely unmissable neon signs, each saying something like “God hates fags and Europeans!”

Which all totally makes me want to sing “I'm Proud to be an American.”

Meanwhile, this could put a large caliber bullet in that whole Genesis thingie, I think, at least until it gets swept under the carpet. I mean, someone had the audacity to speculate that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was of Jewish ancestry – yeah, try to keep THAT one going. He could have a Torah and a yarmulke hidden in his broom closet, but THAT ain't coming out soon. The truth may set you free, but political nature abhors the truth.

I'd like to see this one generate yet another version of whatever bible would adopt it: Jesus would have a rather different view of dad in this version, with a few new family squabbles. “You made this ass I rode into Jerusalem, sure, but you didn't make the water I can walk on now did you? Embarrassing, isn't it?”

Creatio ex nihilo? How about creatio ex calamitas?

They just give those things to anyone?

Barack Obama got a phone call yesterday, early in the morning, notifying him he'd won the Nobel Prize for Peace. This doesn't happen often, I hear - fairly big honor one should think, and made all the more interesting for a few notable reasons:

First, Bambam was completely unaware he'd been nominated, or so he says. Whatever, we all learned a Nobel can be given to people who are completely unaware of it, like a guerrilla award. As an aside I have to admit I'm a little pissed I wasn't selected. Seems the only time I get surprise phone calls these days it means there's a funeral or I have to go look for a job again.

Second, the conferment of this historically arguable honor has brought, as could only be expected, a flurry of partisan responses that are just as varied as they are inevitable: the guy who was slated to end a very unpopular war in Iraq hasn't quiiiiite managed to do that yet, and is leaning toward expanding another in Afghanistan. Obviously peaceful efforts. Maybe I'm out of line, but this sounds a lot like my favorite peace rally poster: "fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity." I'd think so august an award for peace would have gone to someone...I dunno...peaceful?

The Right is up in arms about it of course, because it's their job to be and they're very good at that job: if the spirit-form of Gandhi himself popped up and was handed another Nobel he'd be blasted as "that skinny liberal" and endlessly dissed as a cause of AIDS or whatever other blather could be rapidly and histrionically invented. Similarly, The Left is stuck wondering what the hell to do about PETA, those hysterically pathetic hippies on YouTube crying in the woods over dead trees, and scratching their heads as well; that SNL "Jack and Squat" skit spoofing Obama's two great achievements, or notable lack thereof, rings a little too true.

Third and last, and most telling for me, is the question that sprang to life within hours of the announcement on every blog, in every paper, on every web news outlet ever made: if they didn't give it to Obama...who the hell would they give it to? This planet isn't exactly swimming with peaceful people these days. Ahmadinejad, too busy spinning up uranium to accept. Putin shirtless and wrestling a bear, plotting something new in Georgia. Berlusconi? Gawd - a quick one to wipe off the list because he'd he'd try to nail the presenter.

Do they really give those things to anyone? I mean, it's not that I dislike Bambam. He was and remains my pick, and if he can overcome the bizarre spate of home brewed anti-intellectual torpor splattered on the front pages, he's far, far more likely to be a deserving recipient than, say, his predecessor...and let's face it: G.W. Bush was probably nowhere near the list of finalists, was he?

It seems to me that he wasn't picked: the Nobel people simply had no one else to give it to.