I have not blogged in many a day, which is due to the fact that my insane life has been insane in a supersized kind of way this past week. Don’t take it personally, faithful readers. I have been thinking about you, and as we all know, it’s the thought that counts.
Here are the things I have been thinking about blogging about. I shall now blog about them, albeit several days after the fact, which I realize is a little like learning how to speak intelligent English after you no longer are president of the United States, but hey, let this blog entry show that there is hope for everyone.
Cold War II Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that recent US military behavior is inciting other countries to produce nuclear weapons to defend themselves against an “almost uncontained use of military force.”
Possible presidential contender, Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, lashed back, saying Putin’s remarks were, "the most aggressive speech from a Russian leader since the end of the Cold War."
Way to go, Senator McCain! Let’s accuse the Russians of war-mongering! Yeah! That’s it!
Obama Makes it Official After months of speculation, Senator Barak Obama, D-Illinois, announced he will run for US president in 2008. Obama said the first priority of the United States should be to withdraw its military from Iraq.
Immediately following Obama’s announcement came a barrage of criticism from... George W. Bush? No. Hillary Clinton? No.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Teehee! How cute! If I were in Australia right now, I would pat the prime minister on his head.
Howard said Obama’s desire to pull troops out of Iraq will “encourage those who want to completely destabilize and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and a victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory."
To Prime Minister Howard, I have just one word to say:
Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! AAAHHHHHAAAAA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.... HAAAA!!!
Okay. I suppose that technically counts as 27 words.
Mr. Prime Minister. I’ll tell you what. You want a military force in Iraq? How about you send 20,000+ Australians to Iraq to fix things instead of whining the US isn’t doing enough? Because seriously, your 1,500-or-so non-combat troops who are presently there really are not living up to their full potential.
World Domination With all this international rhetoric flying around, one wonders who is really in charge of the planet. One wonders who the real world power is. Is it the Great Nation of Russia? No. Is it the Great Nation of the United States of America? No. Is it the Great Nation of Australia? Teehee. Nope. It is the great nation of... Microsoft!
Yes! All hail Bill Gates! Microsoft has unveiled its new Vista operating system, its most secure system ever.
Oh, except for six security flaws reported in yesterday’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer. And maybe some others. But that’s beside the point. Microsoft is still going to take over the world, one person at a time.
Ponosov is a school principal in the rural village of Sepych, Russia. When Ponosov purchased 16 computers for his not-exactly-wealthy school in rural Russia, he didn’t know a lot about computers. He didn’t know they came with pre-installed software. He didn’t realize that in not-always-totally-ethical Russia (as opposed to always completely ethical America), computers sometimes come with pre-installed software that might have been installed without a license.
You and I both know what has to be done. Bill Gates is a self-respecting billionaire, which is why his company is doing what the company of any self-respecting billionaire should do. They are hauling Mr. Posonov into court. Posonov is now facing a 10,000 dollar fine and five years in Siberian labor camps.
Serves him right to try to educate people in poor, rural villages! Especially Russians! They’re trying to re-ignite the Cold War!
Go Bill Gates! This is almost as cool as the time when you threatened to sue Canadian teenager Mike Rowe for registering the domain name MikeRoweSoft.com. Get Me Out of Here! And on that note... I feel a need to leave. I feel a need to bail out of this country for a while... just for a week, to collect my thoughts and flee from my telephone. What should an overworked, overstressed freelance writer do when he has a massive pile of work on his desk? He should go to Norway.
So in a matter of minutes, I am off to the airport. Stay tuned for bloggage from fjord country.
Parts of Seattle are still without power four days after a wind storm with 60-mile-per-hour gusts came screaming through our city. People have been calling and e-mailing me to ask if I'm okay. I was one of the lucky ones who never lost power, so I'm fine, thanks. Local radio and television reporters, on the other hand, seem to be suffering from wind-induced brain damage.
I will forgive the television meteorologist who made the statement, "The winds right now are fairly under control." Never mind that "under control" implies we have the ability to control the wind.
But this announcement, Friday morning on a local radio station, is inexcusable. (Please forgive me. I do not have the exact quote and am paraphrasing.):
"More than a million people around the Puget Sound region are without power this morning. Many school districts are closed today, including schools in Seattle, Everett, and Issaquah. For a complete listing of other school closures, please visit our website."
Visit your website?!?! A million people are without power. Hundreds and hundreds of trees have fallen across phone and cable lines. Is there some new wireless smoke signal technology I haven't heard of? Has somebody invented a wind-powered laptop?
It's 4 in the morning. I have insomnia. A massive wind storm, expected to last until mid-day, is just getting started outside. So if today's bloggage suddenly stops in mid-stream, either I have very suddenly been cured of my insomnia, or the power lines outside have been blown down and my computer has crashed.
(I wonder if Wolf Blitzer ever has to report under these circumstances.)
Welcome, everybody, to another edition of "Legal Roundup."
Okay, it's not actually another edition. It's the first ever edition. And hopefully the last, because -- let's face it -- "Legal Roundup" is a stupid name.
[cue theme music]
Segment 1: Borat wins the right to expose pond scum frat boys. Media respond with excessive use of Borat cliches in headlines.
The frat boys who filed a lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen, a.k.a. Borat Sagdiyev, have lost a bid to have a scene cut from the glorious movie, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of
America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," in which they share their thoughts on women and slavery in ways that they claim tarnish their reputation.
The boys claim the movie crew got them drunk and lied about their true intentions... which I am sure these guys have never done themselves... to a woman at a frat party, for example. I am also sure these upstanding young lads would never try to humiliate drunk people themselves if they had access to a video camera. CoughYouTubeCoughCough.
So what exactly were these guys doing before Borat came along that night? Sipping herbal tea and lamenting the tragedy in Darfur? Give it up boys. If you want to sue someone for humiliating you, sue each other.
Segment 2: Cat Fight!
A judge in Pennsylvania has dismissed harrassment charges against a 14-year-old boy accused of repeatedly meowing at his neighbor.
The 87-year-old neighbor claimed the boy meowed everytime the two crossed paths, after the boy was forced to give his cat away because it was using the neighbor's flower box as a litter box.
"It has done emotional harm to me," the neighbor told the Associated Press. "I was the one who was tortured."
Tortured? That's a strong word, lady. He meowed.
You should be glad he didn't get you drunk and make a movie about you.
Segment 3: Next time, take a nap and get over it.
Speaking of intoxicating substances, a Wichita, Kansas, man is in jail after he called police to report he had been robbed at gunpoint. What did he tell the police robbers stole from him? A pound of marijuana, valued at roughly 1,100 dollars. The man told police he had planned to sell the weed in his legitimate home-based business.
The alleged gunman is still at large.
Note to police: Follow the trail of Dorito crumbs. He can't have made it far.
Segment 4: Blind Injustice
The Bush administration has asked a federal judge to overturn a lower court ruling requiring the US government to redesign America's paper money so that blind people can feel the difference between different denominations. The administration is arguing the redesign would cost too much.
Excuse me? Haven't we already redesigned our paper money twice in the last few years? Nobody was complaining it was too expensive the last couple of times.
Warning: The following post contains language many people will find offensive. I find such language deeply offensive myself. I am including certain quotes in this post without censoring them because I don't believe such speech should be sugar-coated. I believe the following incident should be exposed in all of its ugliness -- and it should make you angry.
As a humor writer, I try to keep an open mind about the words of other humorists. When comedians tell jokes I find offensive, I tend to grant more poetic license than I might in some circumstances. Humor is an art form in which we risk offending, and sometimes, we humorists -- writers, stand-up comics, whatever -- go too far, because we are human. But Michael Richards, a.k.a. "Kramer" from the TV show, "Seinfeld," deserves no such leniency for his racially charged tirade at a West Hollywood comedy club Friday night. There are limits to how "too far" you can go.
Richards was being heckled. And being heckled sucks, I'm sure. But
it's something all stand-up comics have to contend with. Richards
should know that, having worked side by side for 10+ years with one of
the highest-paid stand-up comics in the business.
There are graceful ways to deal with hecklers. There are
not-so-graceful ways to deal with hecklers. And there are downright idiotic
ways to deal with hecklers. "Downright idiotic" doesn't begin to
describe Richards's behavior Friday night.
The two people heckling Richards happened to be African-American.
Richards responded with a racially charged rampage. Here's a partial
transcript of a cell phone video of the incident, which was later
obtained by CNN:
Richards: Throw his ass out! He's a nigger! He's a nigger! He's a nigger! Look! A nigger!
Audience member: That was uncalled for!
Richards: What was uncalled for? It was uncalled for for you
to interrupt my ass, you cheap motherfucker! You guys have been talking
and talking and talking!
Audience Member: That was uncalled for, you fucking cracker-ass motherfucker!
Richards: Shut up! Fifty years ago, we would have had you upside down with a fucking fork up your ass!
Audience Member: That was un-fucking-called for! That ain't necessary!
Richards: Well, you interrupted me! That's what happens when you interrupt a white man, don't you know?
[If the words don't shock you enough, check out the article on CNN.com
and click the link to the video of Richards's performance. He shrieks
his words with the same fury one might expect from a man in a sheet at
a cross burning.]
Richards's behavior is nauseating enough without what
has happened since then. His handling of the incident and its aftermath
has been cowardly.
Richards has apologized, but his sincerity is questionable. In an
appearance on "Late Night with David Letterman" Monday, on which
Jerry Seinfeld was already scheduled as a guest, Richards spoke by
satellite, saying, "For me to be at a comedy
club and flip out and say this crap, I'm deeply, deeply sorry.... I'm really busted up."
Fine, but he also says in his so-called apology, "I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this."
That's not what's so insane about this.
What's so insane about this is that after his outburst on Friday,
Richards returned to the same club Saturday night, refused to talk with
the press or acknowledge the previous night's incident, and did his
regular comedy act as if nothing was wrong. A sincere apology would
have come immediately. Not three days later, after a video
of his tirade made its way onto network news. Richards wasn't "busted
up" Saturday night when he was on stage joking around as if nothing had
gone wrong the night before. He was "busted up" today, after he realized
the entire nation was going to see a video of his behavior.
I haven't yet seen the "Late Night" episode with Richards's apology because it airs later tonight in the Pacific time zone. But a review on TMZ.com (where the above apology quotes are taken from) describes him as "looking sallow, drawn, and speaking in halting fragments."
Let us not forget that Richards is a professional actor.
He wasn't looking so sallow, drawn, and halting in his Saturday
performance. If Richards were sincerely sorry, he would not insult all
of our intelligence by lacing his apology with a statement like, "I'm
not a racist."
A few people will rush to Richards's defense, telling people like me
to give him a break. He's human, he was stressed, he was being heckled
by a couple of assholes, blah, blah, blah. He's also a very rich actor
who has chosen to be in the public spotlight. He's been in that
spotlight for many years and he's intelligent enough to know that
language such as that he used on Friday causes deep wounds in America
-- not just to African-Americans, but to our nation as a whole.
Richards has permanently defiled his image and his career. Sadly,
it's going to rub off on the rest of the Seinfeld cast and crew as
well. I doubt I will ever be able to watch the show again without
thinking of this incident. Actually... I doubt I will ever be able to
watch the show again -- period. The sight of "Kramer" churns my
I'm hurt and I'm disillusioned. A man I respected, a man who I thought was a comedic genius, has shown his true colors. He's a racist punk who handles hecklers with the prowess one would expect from a three-year-old. His statement in the middle of his apology that he is "not a racist," after spewing such a tirade of racist venom, trivializes and negates his entire apology.