Friday, March 31, 2006

My bleeding heart

On some things, I'm conservative. I favored --- naively, in retrospect --- the war in Iraq (and, if deemed feasible by a more trustworthy administration, I'd support military action against Iran and North Korea ... Americans, with all their faults, have a damn good track record of liberation). I'm against "big government" because it's never worked and it's bloated with corruption. I'm inclined to favor a national sales tax. And I'm against government interference in our private lives.

Abortion ... not going to touch that. One of the benefits of being gay. Not my concern. You people handle that yourselves.

But on other things I'm starkly liberal, by modern terms. Being against the death penalty seems a conservative viewpoint; giving a fallible government so much authority sets a bad precedent. I'm also for conservation and developing alternative energies ... conserve, conservative, I'm confused.

On today's hot issue -- don't worry, it'll pass --- I veer to the far left. Seems to me this whole immigrant debate is tinged with xenophobia. Others have said this, but it bears repeating: If Sweden was on our southern border, there'd be no debate. Besides, what's happening now mirrors our nation's history.

Every immigrant group, upon settling in America, begins on the bottom, doing the most menial of jobs. That's where the Italians started, and the Irish, along with Asians and, now, Mexicans. Each invariably moves up, through the business world and into politics. After time, their country of origin doesn't matter. Does anyone address Rudy Giuliani as the Italian-American former mayor of New York?

Though lacking any political or academic expertise, I can vouch anecdotally that Mexican emigres benefit our society. I grew up in the self-proclaimed poultry capital of the world --- Gainesville, Ga. When I was in high school, our Mexican population was represented by Jorge Padilla. He was the only Hispanic I remember from those days, in the late 1980s.

Now, an entire section of town has been revitalized by a Mexican populace that's emerged as Gainesville's largest minority. They came for the jobs no one here would take, as we've been familiarized with a better life, one that doesn't include chopping off the heads of dead chickens for minimum wage or less.

But Mexicans were desperate, and industrious. Now, barely 20 years after settling there, Hispanics form a respected and influential power base in this otherwise backwards north Georgia town.

After escaping Gainesville, I ended up in Los Angeles, which survives on the shoulders of Mexican immigrants. By the way, the mayor of my second home is named Antonio Villaraigosa. Apparently, Hispanics have done a pretty good job assimilating in the City of Angels.

I'll cop to the cliche: we are a nation of immigrants. So why should a fourth-generation Scotch-German transplant like me be in a position to decide whether wannabe first-generation opportunists get admitted?

Secure the borders tomorrow. I'll support all reasonable efforts. But don't punish people who've already made the jump to pursue a better life (granted, there's some Mexicans, as is the case with all other groups, who end up a being a drain on our society).

Put yourself in their shoes. Wouldn't you do the same?

Self-loathing Southerner

Jeff Foxworthy --- formerly a white collar boy with IBM --- continues to rake it in at the expense of his own peeps. Granted, that's the kind of hypberbole the Malcontent typically rejects, but I can't help but be viscerally riled by such items as a "redneck jack-in-the-box" that pops up from an outhouse, now on sale at Foxworthy Mart:

Travelers on I-75 have a new diversion to break up those long drives to Florida.

"Need a laugh?" beckons a billboard overlooking Exit 212 in Locust Grove, south of Atlanta.

The sign directs motorists to the Tanger Outlet Center, where, between Nautica and Rack Room Shoes, they'll find the Foxworthy Store: an emporium devoted to Atlanta comedian Jeff Foxworthy and his buddies on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.

Huntin' and fishin' account for most of the inventory, but there are plenty of other Southern-themed products — from Moon Pies to NASCAR collectibles to Waffle House shirts.

Among the hee-haw items for sale: a T-shirt that proclaims "Redneck Outfitters: Specializing in Ammo, Camo and Things That Go Blammo."

If I were Junior Samples, I'd be pondering a return from the grave.

Time begins on Opening Day

Only three more days until normalcy returns to my life. Or escapes it. Scanning the morning box scores, listening to Skip and Pete on the car radio, downing a beer at the Ted, complaining about the crappy music they play in between innings (please, retire the "Friends" theme. Kill the Rembrandts if you must) ... everything's right with the world.

So I'll take this opportunity to re-post Pultizer Prize winner Thomas Boswell's famous compiliation of reasons why baseball trumps football. Among my favorites:


Halftime with bands;

Cheerleaders at halftime with bands;

Everything George Carlin said in his famous monologue is right on. In football you blitz, bomb, spear, shiver, march and score. In baseball, you wait for a walk, take your stretch, toe the rubber, tap your spikes, play ball and run home;

Baseball has no penalties at all. A home run is a home run. You cheer. In football, on a score, you look for flags. If there's one, who's it on? When can we cheer? Football acts can all be repealed. Baseball acts stand forever;

Instant replays. Just when we thought there couldn't be anything worse than penalties, we get instant replays of penalties. Talk about a bad joke. Now any play, even one with no flags, can be called back. Even a flag itself can, after five minutes of boring delay, be nullified. NFL time has entered the Twilight Zone. Nothing is real; everything is hypothetical;

Football fans tailgate before the big game. No baseball fan would have a picnic in a parking lot;

The baseball Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown, N.Y., beside James Fenimore Cooper's Lake Glimmerglass; the football Hall of Fame is in Canton, Ohio, beside the freeway;

Baseball means Spring's Here. Football means Winter's Coming;

Without baseball, there'd have been no Fenway Park. Without football, there'd have been no artificial turf;

Nothing in baseball is as boring as the four hours of ABC's "Monday Night Football";

The best ever in each sport - Babe Ruth and Jim Brown — each represents egocentric excess. But Ruth never threw a woman out a window;

Football coaches walk across the field after the game and pretend to congratulate the opposing coach. Baseball managers head right for the beer;


Football is played best full of adrenaline and anger. Moderation seldom finds a place. Almost every act of baseball is a blending of effort and control; too much of either is fatal.

Middle America has shitty taste

Before this year's Oscars, we heard plenty from cultural conservatives about how Hollywood was ignoring the heartland, rewarding films that most people had not seen. By extension, they argue that commercial success and quality are somehow related.

"(T)he Hollywood elite takes great pride in thumbing its collective nose at those of us who choose not to waste our time and money on some of this year's most hyped films, such as 'Brokeback Mountain,' 'Transamerica' and 'Capote,'" according to a local PR maven who wrote an op-ed about the 2006 Oscars.

So who are the big moneymakers of 2006? Nothing but quality thus far: "The Pink Panther," "Big Momma's House 2," "Faliure to Launch," "Madea's Family Reunion," "Final Destination 3" and "The Shaggy Dog."

Imagine if, say, the Concerned Women for America selected Academy Award nominees:

"And the winner for Best Actor, Tim Allen."

If I knew how to spell out the shudder sound, I would've written it here.

Rodney King, meet Cynthia McKinney

Congresswoman Star Jones McKinney is never one to mince words, whether she's subtly baiting Jews (something learned from her father, former state Rep. Billy McKinney) or airing ridiculous conspiracy theories that Bush was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Now she's gotten into trouble after fighting with a Capitol police officer, and instead of apologizing, she's playing a familiar card.

Her lawyer, James W. Myart Jr., said, "Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, like thousands of average Americans across this country, is, too, a victim of the excessive use of force by law enforcement officials because of how she looks and the color of her skin."

"Ms. McKinney is just a victim of being in Congress while black," Myart said. "Congresswoman McKinney will be exonerated."

Keep in mind that McKinney has been in Washington since 1992 (save for one term when she was defeated for re-election in a mostly black, mostly Democratic district), so if the cops were out to get her, they're response time is lacking.

Here's what happened, according to press accounts:

Members of Congress wear identifying lapel pins and routinely are waved into buildings without undergoing security checks. McKinney was not wearing her pin at the time, and the officer apparently did not recognize her, she has said (full disclosure dictates that McKinney drastically changed her hairstyle recently after maintaining the same look for more than a decade).

"Congresswoman McKinney, in a hurry, was essentially chased and grabbed by the officer," Myart said. "She reacted instinctively in an effort to defend herself."

Several Capitol Police officials have said the officer involved asked McKinney three times to stop. When she did not, he placed a hand on her and she hit him, they said.

My guess is that many minorities work for the Capitol Police. I can also safely assume that they're underpaid and overly familiar with diva-like behavior, from male and female politicians alike.

But because McKinney can't control her rage when 'dissed, some poor working man will likely be forced to defend himself against certain character assassination. These are the very people the liberal McKinney claims to represent.

The shame of all this is that is obscures the fact that racism remains a problem in America. But when the likes of McKinney and Barry Bonds try to take advantage of that reality, all it does is make people suspicious of otherwise valid claims of discrimination.

Note the congresswoman's strategic use of gender and race in her first comments about the incident:

"Let me be clear. This whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female black congresswoman," McKinney said, surrounded by supporters at predominantly black Howard University.

Although the full story has yet to be told, McKinney's history speaks volumes.

Kick me in the jimmy!

Chalk one up for the anti-dodgeball advocates. You'd think the athletic field at a Christian school would be a safe place to play, but youth minister David Boudreaux takes his competition seriously.

Boudreaux was charged with assault for allegedly knocking a 16-year-old boy down and kicking him in the groin after taking a head shot from the teen in a dodgeball game.

Authorities said the teen missed Boudreaux with one throw but then knocked the youth minister's glasses off with the next.

The boy apologized, authorities said, but Boudreaux pushed him backward, and when the teen got up again, Boudreaux kicked him in the groin and left.

The teen suffered whiplash and post-concussion syndrome and had blood in his urine after being kicked, according to court records.

Wait 'til the afterlife equality groups hear about this

Considering Dallas and Houston are among America's fattest cities, you'd assume Texas would know how to handle someone like Charlotte Ann Blue. Bad assumption.

Blue, who weighed 457 pounds, has been sitting in a morgue for more than a month as officials dithered over the cost of her cremation. Dallas County and the crematorium it contracts with disagreed over the extra dollar per pound charged for bodies weighing more than 300.

Blue's son, Sam Roberts, said he believed his mother had been cremated under a county indigent plan until he called to get a death certificate.

"That's when I was informed that for the last two months she's been sitting in the deep freeze at the medical examiner's office because the crematorium that does business for the county says, 'Oh well, she's too big (and) too fat," he told WFAA-TV on Wednesday.

Extra costs for extra weight is normal in the crematory business, said Jack Springer, executive director of the Cremation Association of North America.

"It is a much more involved process, and it takes quite a bit more time," Springer said. "You have to do it slower. You have to have somebody there all the time."

He said some crematory businesses even refuse to handle obese bodies.

"A lot of them will not do it at all," Springer said. "It's not digging a bigger hole to put the body in; it really is a much longer process."

No questions asked ... or else

More disturbing news from China, where a filmmaker is being held by authorities for daring to shoot a documentary about the country's unregistered Christian churches.

Wu Hao, who returned to China in 2004 after 12 years in the states, has been in police custody in the capital since Feb. 22.

His sister, Wu Na, has demanded his release and an explanation for his detention, but police have said his case is "secret."

She said she went to Beijing's Public Security Bureau on Wednesday and was told he had "committed a crime" but officers refused to say anything more.

"They told me there was no way I can see him," Wu said in a telephone interview. "I'm really shocked at this development. This is a place that's administered by law and yet they can't tell me anything."

I'm told the Chinese are making progress on the human rights front, but the evidence is lacking.

Maybe she should try a straight guy

Liza Minnelli says she has given up on sex, bad news for middle-aged, teet-sucking homosexuals everywhere:

"I'm sick of sex! I don't give a rat's a**! I care about integrity and kindness."

Thank you ma'm may I have another

No contest for this week's sleazeball award: Abraham Alexander, a former accountant for a heart disease research charity who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $237,000 of the organization's funds to pay a dominatrix to abuse him.

Alexander used company credit cards and wrote checks to himself to pay for his exotic taste in entertainment, the Associated Press reports.

According to the district attorney's office, at least $11,000 of the charity's cash went directly to an online business called Through the Looking Glass, which is run by Lady Sage, a dominatrix based out of Ohio. Other charges included flights and car rentals to and from the house of pain.

Alexander will likely get somewhere between two and six years in prison, where he should get plenty of beatings for free.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Tastes like Cale Yarbrough

Although not a fan of cars driving around in circles, I can't help but notice the Disney-like reach of the NASCAR brand. Like Krusty the Clown, they'll attach their name to anything.

Soon, you'll be able to purchase NASCAR hot dogs, bologna, smoked sausage and, of course, bacon (strangely, no soy). Which you'll be able to cook on your NASCAR grill, using your NASCAR spatula while tailgating behind your NASCAR camper parked in an official NASCAR spot.

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is so confident fans will buy the new product that they don't even wink at subtlety in their press release:

"It's a cinch that customers will love NASCAR meat products, because NASCAR hot dogs and NASCAR smoked sausage are perfect for tailgating parties or just grilling outdoors at home."

They may not be courting the shrewdest of customers, but "the association" sure knows how to pimp their wares. In their own smug words: "Last year alone NASCAR fans purchased $2.1 billion in NASCAR-licensed merchandise."

So what might pork add to the bottom line? Not to be overly snide, but the six pack beer to abs ratio at your typical racing event is something approaching 50,000 to 1.

Just keep shoveling it, boys (while repeating the word "NASCAR" as much as possible):

"One of the great traditions surrounding NASCAR race weekends is the outstanding food that the fans enjoy," exclaimed Blake Davidson, NASCAR managing director of licensed products. "Monogram's NASCAR-licensed meat products are sure to whet the appetites of NASCAR fans from coast to coast."

On the couch

Catching up with an old favorite tonight, the woefully underrated "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist." Even Joan Rivers was funny on that show:

"I don't need to drink to have a good time. I need to drink to stop the voice in my head. And the voice in my head has a stutter. And that is very annoying."

---Dave Attell

Greetings from a blue stater

According to a nationwide poll, George Bush's approval rating tops 50 percent in only three states: Alabama, Wyoming and Utah. He rates between 46 and 50 percent in five others: Oklahoma, Nebraska, Mississippi, Idaho and Alaska.

Georgia ranks near the middle, with only 41 to 45 percent of the populace approving of Dubya's performance.

No cowboys in the Bahamas

When did James Dobson move to this island paradise? Something called the Plays and Films Control Board has ruled that "Brokeback Mountain" will not be shown at Bahamian theaters, due to its "extreme homosexuality, nudity and profanity" (now that's good advertising).

"Brokeback" has also been banned in China, and the Turkish government won't let anyone under 18 see the film.

So let me get this straight (ha ha, pun) ... homosexual content is more acceptable in Turkey than in the Bahamas? Strange days, indeed.

Fun with numbers

Yes, this is one of those forwarded e-mails, which I typically do not post. And it could be total bullshit; I didn't check the math, or the history. But it's interesting, if valid.

Perhaps Charlie Sheen should investigate:

*New York City has 11 letters;

*So does Afghanistan;

*Ramsin Yuseb (the terrorist who tried to bring down the Twin Towers in 1993) has 11 letters in his name;

*As does George W. Bush.

*New York is the 11th state;

*The first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center was flight #11;

*Flight # 11 was carrying 92 passengers ... 9 + 2 = 11;

*Flight # 77, which also hit the towers, was carrying 65 passengers ... 6 + 5 = 11;

*The tragedy was on September 11, or 9/11 ... 9 + 1 + 1 = 11;

*The date is equal to the emergency number 911 ... 9 + 1 + 1 = 11;

*The total number of victims inside the planes: 254 ... 2 + 5 + 4 = 11.

*September 11 is day number 254 of the calendar year ... 2 + 5 + 4 = 11;

*After September 11, there are 111 days until the end of the year;

*The terrorist attack in Madrid occurred on 3/11/2004 ... 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 = 11;

*The tragedy in Spain happened 911 days after the collapse of the Twin Towers.

It's not a black thing

Thursday's USA Today cover story questions whether the scrutiny directed towards Barry Bonds has something to do with race. I'm sure, for a small percentage of the population, it does. Bigots will always be with us, unfortunately.

But to hear Leonard Moore, director of African-American Studies at LSU, tell it, we're living in more racially divisive times than when Hank Aaron eclipsed Babe Ruth's home run record in 1974.

"White America doesn't want him to (pass) Babe Ruth and is doing everything they can to stop him," says Leonard Moore, director of African and African-American Studies at Louisiana State University. "America hasn't had a white hope since the retirement of (NBA star) Larry Bird, and once Bonds passes Ruth, there's nothing that will make (Ruth) unique, and they're scared. And I'm scared for Bonds.

"I think what he'll go through will be 100 times worse than what Aaron went through when he surpassed Ruth in 1974. I pray for him every night."

More hyperbole, from sociologist Harry Edwards: "This is a visceral response to a black man (passing) Babe Ruth."

No, this is a response to a cheater passing Babe Ruth. And to trivialize what Aaron --- the epitome of a role model --- went through by comparing him to baseball's biggest ego is unconscionable.

And are things really that bad in 2006 America? Many black athletes are celebrated in this culture, from Tiger to Shaq to Derek Jeter. Sure, they court the media, but that's part of the game.

Padres CF Mike Cameron, who is African-American, figures it correctly:

"I'm a big believer in karma. What goes around comes around. If you don't treat people right, things come back to bite you."

Now that the academics have opened the door, expect Bonds to barrel through it, searching for the only bit of sympathy he's bound to get.

What do you get when you mix four pimps with a whore?

This is akin to Hillary Swank starring in "The Karate Kid 4" after winning her first Oscar. You have to assume Three 6 Mafia (of "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" fame) is getting paid handsomely for this collaboration, but still, there must be better ways to cash in:

"We ran into her at a William Morris Agency party and she said she liked our song 'Stay Fly' and asked could we work with her," said Jordan "Juicy J" Houston, a member of the Memphis hip-hop group that will be producing and recording tracks with Paris Hilton.

I think someone just lost his street cred.

You may remember me from ...

Some of Troy McClure's more memorable credits:

*P is for Psycho
*The Boatjacking of Supership '79
*Good-Time Slim, Uncle Doobie, and the Great 'Frisco Freak-Out
*Dial M for Murderousness
*The Verdict Was Mail Fraud
*Gladys the Groovy Mule
*The Erotic Adventures of Hercules
*They Came to Burgle Carnegie Hall
*The Contrabulous Fabtraption of Professor Horatio Hufnagel
*David vs. Super Goliath

*Troy and Company's Summertime Smile Factory
*Buck Henderson, Union Buster
*Son of Sanford and Son
*Christmas Ape Goes to Summer Camp (cartoon)

*Fuzzy Bunny's Guide to You-Know-What
*Meat and You: Partners in Freedom
*Designated Drivers: The Lifesaving Nerds
*Pepsi Presents Addition and Subtraction
*Two Minus Three Equals Negative Fun

I miss Phil Hartman.

I wonder if he's gay

We're here, we're queer ... no one should have to get used to this. Thanks to Bobby Bubbles for today's graphic gross-out. Or not.

Quote of the day

"He was crying," Tinnelly said. "I said, 'What are you crying about?' He said, 'Daddy, I was a Jew today.'"

Gotta figure there's plenty of propagandists relishing this story.

Several parents in Apopka, Fla., are upset over a surprise school "Holocaust" project that some say tormented children, according to a Local 6 News report.

Local 6 News reported that eighth-graders with last names beginning with L through Z at Apopka Memorial Middle School were given yellow five-pointed stars for Holocaust Remembrance Day. Other students were privileged, the report said.

Father John Tinnelly said his son was forced to stand in the back of the classroom and not allowed to sit because he was wearing the yellow star.

"I tried to talk to my son and I asked all of these questions and the only thing he said is, 'Daddy, the only thing I found out today is I don't want to be Jewish,'" Tinnelly said.

Sniveling corporate cowards

McBook stores Borders and Walden will not stock the new issue of Free Inquiry magazine because it contains the controversial cartoons of Mohammed (sorry, I've dropped the "Prophet" adjective ... it's like referring to Christ as "the savior" Jesus, which is fine, but opinion, not fact) that caused such consternation in the Middle East.

"For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority, and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge that priority," Borders Group Inc. spokeswoman Beth Bingham said Wednesday.

Since there weren't any major protests against the satiricial drawings the first time around in the U.S., the violence excuse seems an obvious canard. The real reason, I suspect, is fear of offending a certain demographic.

"We absolutely respect our customers' right to choose what they wish to read and buy and we support the First Amendment," Bingham said. "And we absolutely support the rights of Free Inquiry to publish the cartoons. We've just chosen not to carry this particular issue in our stores."

In other words, we've caved in to extremists.

"What is at stake is the precious right of freedom of expression," said Paul Kurtz, editor-in-chief of Free Inquiry. "Cartoons often provide an important form of political satire ... To refuse to distribute a publication because of fear of vigilante violence is to undermine freedom of press — so vital for our democracy."

Bringing in the sheaths

The Christian right's favorite crook addressed the troops at their big self-pity party last night, sounding suspiciously like a Middle Eastern mullah.

"Sides are being chosen, and the future of man hangs in the balance!" former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay warned. "The enemies of virtue may be on the march, but they have not won, and if we put our trust in Christ, they never will. ... It is for us then to do as our heroes have always done and put our faith in the perfect redeeming love of Jesus Christ."

(Now where's that Jew Abramoff? I've got me some injuns to swindle!)

Among the books available at the "War on Christians" conference: "Liberalism Kills Kids!" But are they using guns?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Don't cry for me Jersey City!

First off, I have big problems with anyone who has to go through two wives before concluding that he's gay. Of course, in the case of former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, coming out was a self-serving reaction to deflect corruption charges.

And he was corrupt. Among other malfeasances, McGreevey hired his boyfriend, Golan Cipel, for jobs in state government, even though he was woefully unqualified.

The most egregious example was heading up homeland security after September 11. Fortunately the FBI nixed that debacle. But it didn't end there. McGreevey gave Cipel another job at the same $110,000 salary as a "special counsel." His job responsibilities were unclear. The media was denied access to him and the rumors got worse. Further, when McGreevey tried to find him a place to live less than a mile from his own townhouse, the rumors persisted. And then McGreevey would continue to seek employment for Cipel in a variety of "public relations" jobs paying big bucks. In every job, Cipel failed.

Now McGreevey has penned a memoir about life as a closeted gay politician. "The Confession" is expected to include details about his sex life and his efforts to hide his homosexuality through two marriages.

Like his family needs go through that again.

I know there are extreme cases, but as a rule I have no sympathy for people like McGreevey who drag spouses and children into their life of secrets and lies. I was raised a strict Southern Baptist, yet I managed to wade through that fog, difficult though it was. McGreevey could've done the same, but that might've stunted his political aspirations. Those who choose expediency over principle deserve neither respect nor sympathy, but I'll bet you $20 he gets a blow job, and a glowing cover story, from The Advocate.

You got a permit for that beer?

Another dispatch from Malcontenter Markie Post:

From the "Don't go writin' hot checks down in Mississippi" category:

Lumpkin (a k a "Bumpkin") County reputedly is the most stringent enforcer of any sort of DUI laws in north Georgia. Here are three examples of actual DUI convictions in the past couple of years:

*One fellow was drinking his beer while mowing his lawn on a riding mower. (He was convicted and jokingly called it an MUI -- mowing under the influence.)

*Another guy was a bit inebriated while riding his horse. Again, a conviction, which goes on his driving record as a DUI. (Lucky for him there wadn't no "Brokeback Mountain" monkeyshines going on or he'd a got the chair.)

*Another good ole boy was in fact drunk as a cooter and sitting in his pickup truck --- not an unusual pasttime up here. He was arrested and convicted in spite of the fact that there was no engine in the carcas of his innard-less vehicle.

Tree hugging

Malcontenter Al Kosa checks in with an encouraging development from his home state:

We have Congressmen who literally propose selling National Parks to developers, and an administration that muzzles respected scientists who dare dispute the loony contention that global warming doesn't exist. So you take hopeful environmental news where you can get it.

I found a sliver of such good news involving a big land purchase by conservation groups in Alabama. The Mobile Register reports:

As part of what is billed as the largest single U.S. land conservation purchase ever, the Nature Conservancy appears set to acquire some 14,000 acres of forest land along the Perdido River in Baldwin County. With the new purchase agreement, announced Tuesday, more than 20,000 acres of Alabama lands along the Perdido River have been set aside in recent years for conservation.

It ain't like the ice caps have stopped melting. But we could see more efforts like this across the country, especially in the South, as huge paper companies like International Paper, which is selling this land, plan to shed millions of acres of pine tree farms.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Say it ain't so

Perhaps the only enthusiastic vote I ever cast was for John McCain when he ran for president in 2000. I was looking forward to repeating that vote in 2008, and still might (as I consider the influence of special interests to be democracy's biggest bane). But I'm very distressed that the maverick I so respect seems to be evolving into just another Republican.

Most discouraging is McCain's courting of Jerry Falwell, whom he lambasted in 2000 (one of the reasons I so fervishly supported the Arizona senator):

"Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right."

That comment got McCain into serious trouble with party regulars in South Carolina during the '00 Republican primary, and the Christian right quickly turned on him, securing the nomination for Dubya. Now, McCain is trying to make amends with the devil.

"I was in Washington with him about three months ago," Falwell said. "We dealt with every difference we have. There are no deal breakers now. But I told him, 'You have a lot of fence mending to do.'"

And how is McCain mending those fences? Apparently, he's switched positions on a constitutional Federal Marriage amendment. Regardless of what you think about gay unions, McCain was right when he opposed the bill because it was "un-Republican" to federally legislate issues that should be decided by states.

Now, Falwell says McCain has expressed a willingness to support the bill, which would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

In defense of McCain, he's doing what every politician does as they near a primary battle: run to the right (or left) to secure the nomination, then scurry back to the center in time for the general election. Bill Clinton did it. Hillary will do it. I thought McCain was different, but I'm concerned his zeal for the presidency might eclipse the independence that made him so attractive in the first place.

America's creepiest doctor faces lawsuit

The Malcontent proudly nominated Dr. Neil Clark Warren, founder of, as its "scariest man of the year" for 2005. So we shed no tears at the news that Warren is being sued by a man prohibited from using the site to find a date because he is not yet legally divorced.

John Claassen, a 36-year-old lawyer from Emeryville, filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court alleging eHarmony abridged his civil rights by refusing to match him up. He said the company, which has an "unmarried only" policy, broke state law by discriminating against him based on his marital status.

Claassen, who is seeking $12,000 in civil penalties, said Monday he expects his divorce to be official in about two months, but that he shouldn't have to wait until then to use eHarmony. It should be up to would-be dates to decide whether to pass him over because he is technically still married, he said.

eHarmony already prohibits gay coupling --- note to anyone who wants to make an issue out that, please don't ... do we really want to be a part of that club? --- due to its affiliation with Focus on the Family (James Dobson's organization). As much as I'd love to pile on, they have every right to do so. Same goes for not-yet-divorced people. There is no constitutional right to participate on a fundamentalist dating site.

Besides, who wants to make eHarmony any more ubiquitous than it already is? I can only stand so many sightings a day of Dr. Neil Clark Stepford, er, Warren.


comments are now welcome on the Malcontent. Actually, I didn't know they weren't allowed until checking my settings. So now you gutless wonders --- kidding --- can say whatever you desire, as long as it's positive (I would put a smiley face after that to denote sarcasm, but I hate the smiley face, almost as much as I hate the winking smiley face). You're on your own ...

The ghost of Rodney Dangerfield

Does anyone get the respect they deserve? Not in America, where the victim mentality has spread like a virus. Who doesn't feel entitled to some bit of sympathy?

Now if you're a Christian in, say, China, or Afghanistan, I'm feeling your pain. People of faith are persecuted around the world, but in the United States?

Apparently, Christian conservatives believe they've been left out of the national conversation, despite all evidence to the contrary. Now they're fighting back:

The War On Christians And The Values Voter in 2006 Conference will be held March 27-28 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

This is the first conference to cover every aspect of the cultural war on Christians --- including attacks by Hollywood, the news media, gay activist and leftist groups like the ACLU and Anti-Defamation League.

A new survey showed the majority of Americans think religion is "under attack" and "losing its influence" in American life.

Interesting, when you consider no group flexes its political muscle more routinely, and effectively, than the Christian right (i.e.: the stem cell debate). This is akin to highly paid professional athletes claiming they get no respect ... bad example.

Among the keynote speakers at the conference: embattled former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who's certain to share his own examples of alleged faith-based persecution.

"Unfortunately, for many years many, many years people have been forced into what I call the ghettoes of the church ...," DeLay said. "Christians have been pushed and pushed into that ghetto, and they're told, 'You can go in the church, but if you stick your head out and you say anything that reflects your worldview, we're going to knock your head off.' And they do. And they come after me like you wouldn't believe."

Yahoo defends profiteering

I'm sorry, what I meant to say is "Yahoo defends freedom."

Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang defended the Internet search engine's cooperation with Chinese censorship of the Web, saying it was necessary to reach out to new users.

"We have to think of a way in which the Internet phenomenon can continue to grow and reach more users and at the same time comply with local laws," Yang said. "In places like China and other places that have different political regimes I think you'll see them trying to react and potentially regulate these kinds of activities.

"But our observation is that it is inevitable that things will become more open and free flowing."

Yahoo came under fire last year for supplying information to the Chinese government which led to the arrest of Chinese journalist Shi Tao.

Shi was sentenced to 10 years in prison for passing on a government censorship order through his Yahoo e-mail account.

We've heard this argument before, when the U.S. and China negotiated a free trade agreement. "Capitalism will open China to democracy," skeptics were assured, but more than a decade in we've seen no erosion of that communist dictatorship's hold on power. If anything, we've propped them up.

Hardly a week goes by without news of another democratic activist being detained by Chinese authorities. Sure, those dissidents might be able to buy a Big Mac now, but little else has changed.

Again, this is all about consumers. Why don't we trade with Cuba? Because they don't have a billion people on that island. If their population rivaled China's, we'd all be smoking Cuban cigars right now.

So don't try telling me that cooperating with fascists will somehow spur free speech. The evidence is lacking.

Sharon Stone says stupid things (cont'd)

After telling Hillary Clinton to tone down her sexuality, the aging vixen is now advising teen girls to get on their knees: "If you're in a situation where you cannot get out of sex, offer a blow job," Aunt Sharon suggests.

(Perhaps she intended that bit of wisdom for aspiring actresses ... after all, it worked for her).

So that's how you handle a date rapist.

Sanguis bebimus, corpus edimus

Damien's birth draws nigh, and to mark the grim occasion Scientology's pin-up couple had Katie's "vow of silence" placards delivered to to their Beverly Hills mansion Monday.

The posters will surround Holmes as she gives birth, serving as a reminder to keep quiet, which must be difficult when you aren't allowed any painkillers.

One of the signs reads: "Be silent and make all physical movements slow and understandable."

Followers believe it is traumatic for babies to hear their mother scream or groan when giving birth. They think it can cause "psychic" damage, which takes years of therapy to overcome.

The cult’s creator, sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard, once said: "Maintain silence in the presence of birth to save both the sanity of the mother and child."

The doctrine stresses newborns cannot be poked or prodded for medical tests or spoken to for seven days.

I wonder if Ruth Gordon will be there to witness the birth?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Someone call sexual harassment panda!

It's still happening. P.C. prudes have yet to lose much influence within the public education system, further evidenced by the story below (which, you'll note, didn't take place in Berkeley or Manhattan):

Lorain (Ohio) school officials this week executed an "emergency removal" of an 8-year-old boy who they say sexually harassed a girl in gym class.

The boy's mother, Tammy Barth, said yesterday her son was playing in gym on Tuesday when a girl student said he and two other boys may have grabbed her buttocks.

He was then questioned in an informal hearing by school officials and he admitted he had been passing love notes to the same girl.

The second-grader then asked to sign a notice of emergency removal form for sexual harassment without a parent present, Barth said. The boy printed his first name on the portion of the form asking for his signature.

The boy reportedly wrote a note to the girl saying "I love you." Quick, call the authorities!

Hate to think what would've happened to me if such procedures were in place when I was a kid. Playing "doctor" with your crayons certainly would be grounds for expulsion.

Iraq's newest import

They've gotten pretty good at targeting gays in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Iran, and now they're exporting those methods to the Badr Corps death squads in neighboring Iraq.

Journalist Doug Ireland has spoken to gay men both in and outside of Iraq who believe "the Badr Corps is receiving advice from Iran on how to target gay people." Ali Hili, a gay Iraqi exile living in London, said that "murders of gays have become an almost daily occurrence" in Iraq.

Hili provided details on several of those killed in Iraq. Ammar, a young gay man of 27, was abducted and shot in back of the head in Baghdad by suspected Badr militias in January 2006. Haydar Faiek, aged 40, a transsexual Iraqi, was beaten and burned to death by Badr militias in the main street in the Al-Karada district of Baghdad in September 2005. Naffeh, aged 45, disappeared in August 2005. His family was informed that he was kidnapped by the Badr organization. His body was found in January 2006. He, too, had been subjected to an execution-style killing.

And what's been the U.S. response?

Iraqi gays who have appealed to U.S. authorities for help have been "met with indifference and derision," Ireland reports. One gay Iraqi who is hiding five gay men in his home said that when he has approached American officials they have "laughed" and have refused to provide support. There really is only one way that the United States would reverse course: If a considerable amount of pressure were to be drummed up from within the United States. But if the reactions of U.S. gay and lesbian groups to Iran's gay executions are any indication, there isn't much reason for hope.

No, they're focused instead on why "Brokeback Mountain" didn't win Best Picture. The gay rights movement needs to go global, and American leadership is required. Is there any excuse for indifference?

Soul-chewing parasites

Should've mentioned film studio marketing hack among my list of least-desired jobs. It's not just what they say, it's how they say it, as if they're proud of being so exploitive.

In a Newsweek story about Hollywood's fixation with unrelenting gore --- cleverly coined as "torture porn" by New York magazine's David Edelstein --- there's some telling quotes from sleazy suits who are making big money off decapitations and such. Love the scant original horror flick, but when they come out once a week, the quality inevitably goes down (as the body count rises).

From the Newsweek article:

Right now, no one has better fingertips for this material than the people at Lions Gate. The studio just won the top Oscar for "Crash," but its executives make no apologies for the bloodier side of their business. "Have I no shame? Is that what you're asking?" says president Tom Ortenberg. "When we see a void in the market, we do our best to fill it. And we didn't feel that there were enough, or really any, R-rated, balls-to-the-wall horror films out there." Without the yoke of a parent company, Lions Gate is free to unleash its inner provocateur, whether that means putting a pair of severed fingers on its "Saw 2" poster—which even Berney, a competitor, calls "a classic"—or playing up the fact that people passed out during previews of "Hostel." "I feel bad that some people had such an extreme reaction," says Tim Palen, co-president of marketing for Lions Gate, "but as a marketer, it was an opportunity to alert people who relish that kind of movie that we've got one for them."

I got an idea for a movie: Soulless zombies masquerade as studio execs in an attempt to take over the world.

Sharon Stone's new PR strategy

In today's edition of Sharon Stone says stupid things (maybe she's onto something ... this is the second time I've quoted her this week), the aging chanteuse offers some "sexy" advice for Hillary Clinton:

"I think Hillary Clinton is fantastic. But I think it is too soon for her to run. This may sound odd, but a woman should be past her sexuality when she runs. Hillary still has sexual power and I don't think people will accept that. It's too threatening."

Note to Hil: tone down the sexiness.

I thought she already had.

This week's story now

Count on it, in People and on "Dateline." Over the next week you'll see this story, more than once:

"Inside the bizarre rave world!" "Where are your children going ... after dark?" "Satanic cult massacred by one of their own!!!"

Overly glib, ya ... I'm just saying what will be. It is a truly macabre story, a good horror movie, at least.


The partygoers didn't know Aaron Kyle Huff, and don't know who invited him to their after-party. In the culture of raves, all-night dance parties where they say young people can feel welcomed regardless of looks or background, such questions normally aren't important.

That trust was shattered Saturday morning, when Huff opened fire in a house full of ravers dressed like zombies in dark clothing and pale makeup, killing six of them and injuring two.

Assume the media will treat this story like a new discovery, sexing it up with the confluence of teens and drugs. We've gone underground, where we've uncovered something so shocking you and your family must know about it!

(Sure, it's been around since Bush 41 ... shhh!)

Coming up, an embarrassing revelation. Johnny may have trouble reading, but Dan Quayle can't spell. We'll peel him a new one, after the break.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

What am I not getting?

Don't want to rile any sensitivities here, so Dane Cook fans best stop reading now. Even though I'm proudly out-of-touch, I can't help but be curious about the ubiquitous. So I decide to check out this Dane feller, though I admit some prejudice going in, as I've concluded that frat boys have taken over comedy.

My suspicions about Dane Cook were confirmed when I went to his official website. I'm sure there's plenty of clever jokes and inspired situations in his act, and maybe I should've researched further, but I lost interest after reading his mission schtick:

What the hell is SU-FI or SUperFInger?

One night I did a bit on stage about 5 years ago at the Laugh Factory. I was talking about how the finger is lame now and it's lost its pizzazz.I said I wanted to upgrade the finger and so from now on people should use both the ring finger coupled with the middle finger. I called it the SUPERFINGER (or the SU-FI if you're a bad ass M F).

I said the old (classic) finger says "screw you dumb person."

The SUPERFINGER screams one of two things depending on how you use it.

In "PISSED OFF MODE" it means:

YOU FUCKHOLE." It was close to that. I am paraphrasing.

Or, in "FEEL THE LOVE" mode it mean:

"I realize you are feeling my truth and my dedication. You're saying THANKS FOR JUST BRINGING IT HONEST and I return that vibe with the SU-FI. You can't fuck with the truth and I appreciate that you would indicate that to me with a flash of the SU-FI. Respect and accomplisment I wish for you."

Otherwise, he seems to talk a lot about getting head, loudly, and he makes a bunch of shrill sound effects when things go flat. (I say as I recognize how much I sound like Seymour from "Ghost World.")

Still, my conclusion: beware the unholy spawn of Robin Williams and Adam Sandler, as well as any "comedian" with abs.


Best Sopranos ever?

No, but damn good. The first two episodes were tests of patience, but the third delivered, and the preview for next week tantalizes. Granted, some of the characters are getting a little schticky, but the writing remains inspired. Love the Vito-Finn subplot, and Carmela's by chance recognition of Vito and Paulie's naked insincerity was signature stuff. You'll note this is one of the few times I've ever reacted directly to a TV show.

I hate when bloggers do that.

Demogague of the week

We're not going to be rid of him soon, since he's running for president (as a Republican). Too bad. U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (Col.) is among the best at fanning the anti-illegal immigation flame, one that's becoming increasingly anti-immigrant.

Having lived in L.A. for seven years, I can tell you that city would fall apart in two minutes if all the illegals were deported. It's cliche, perhaps, but true: They drive the buses. They serve the fast food. They're the janitors and the groundskeepers. And when there's no work to be found, they'll wait on the street corner for someone to give them an odd job (often for a piddling return).

These are the people that Tancredo calls "a scourge that threatens the very future of our nation." That's not only blatantly mean-spirited, it's false. Not all businesses take advantage of the "illegal" work force; those that do should be prosecuted. Go after the dealer, not the user.

Those businesses that don't exploit the workforce, illegal and otherwise, benefit us all. Americans won't take a lot of the jobs currently filled by Mexican emigres, and if they're properly compensated (as would occur in a worker visa program), then the playing field is evened.

Credit to Bush for not caving into this rising tide of xenophobia, regardless of his motives (an unlikely union between the businesses lobby and social progressives may be all that stands in the way of new, draconian immigration laws).

Here's the America Tancredo wants:

In 2002, The Denver Post ran a human-interest story about a high-school honors student who couldn't get college financial aid because he was in the United States illegally. Tancredo tried to have the boy and his family deported. (He was unsuccessful.)

Common dirt

We're an easily divided country, too much so. But if you look hard enough, there's a bond between even the most disparate of demographics.

Say, for instance, an urban-dwelling, allegedly fashionable homosexual who detests auto racing and a fan of said sport, toothless and rural, dressed in a camouflage jumpsuit. Sure, he's the reason there's a "Larry the Cable Guy" movie. And granted, I wasn't parading around the Dixie Speedway last night with a rainbow flag draped around my shoulders.

I was sent there for one of those standard offbeat human interest features, but I came away encouraged that there remains some nobility among the good 'ole boys, as much as I (and others) tend to easily dismiss them. More than one offered me a burger off his grill, or a beer from his cooler. They were refreshingly unguarded and lacking of any pretense.

And a lot of them were there, watching these old jalopies circle a dirt track, because they feel abandoned by NASCAR. More than one voiced a complaint I make almost every day (albeit about different subject matters): "There's too much commercialization" ... pretty much the same reason I see indie flicks.

It seems rednecks ain't too fond of being bombarded by advertisements at every turn, either. They want to be left alone, so to speak, and so do I.

We're not as different as the politicians and pundits would have us believe.

Pro-life pin-up

The confluence of art and popular culture has made for some strange creations, none more befuddling than the newest exhibit at the Capla Kesting gallery in Brooklyn.

"Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston" celebrates Mrs. Federline's decision to be a stay-at-home mom. I had no idea the anti-abortion movement was so desperate.

"A superstar at Britney’s young age having a child is rare in today’s celebrity culture. This dedication honors Britney for the rarity of her choice and bravery of her decision," said gallery co-director, Lincoln Capla. The dedication includes materials provided by Manhattan Right To Life Committee.

I'm even more surprised that an art gallery is sponsoring a pro-life exhibit. Wonder if they secured an NEA grant?

"Britney provides inspiration for those struggling with the ‘right choice’," said artist Daniel Edwards, recipient of a 2005 Bartlebooth award from London’s The Art Newspaper. "She was number one with Google last year, with good reason --- people are inspired by the beauty of a pregnant woman."

Actually, I think that has more to do with the inspiration of male groins than any celebration of womanhood.

Capla Kesting denies the statue was developed from a rumored bootleg Britney Spears birth video. The artist admits to using references that include the wax figure of a pole-dancing Britney at Las Vegas’ Madame Tussauds and ‘Britney wigs’ characterizing various hairstyles of the pop-princess from a Los Angeles hairstylist. And according to gallery co-director, David Kesting, the artist studied a bearskin rug from Canada "to convey the commemoration of the traditional bearskin rug baby picture."

One quibble with the monument: for accuracy's sake, shouldn't there be a cigarette dangling from Britney's mouth (and a Big Gulp in her hand)?

Quote of the week

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told Time magazine that his party has so bungled the job of governing that the best campaign slogan for Democrats today could be boiled down to just two words:

"Had enough?"

Democrats should have no trouble winning back Congress next election, except for one thing: they're Democrats.

Resurrect the Whigs!

Nature vs. nurturing in Frogtown

Malcontenter Markie Post is back with more ruminations from the mountains:

Had a big, nasty row with my preacher friend last night.

He was explaining that homosexuality is a decision, that at puberty we have the choice to go one way or the other, and gays just choose to go the wrong way, often because they were molested. I asked him if he ever ran this theory by any of his gay friends, and he said, "I don't know any."


Then I fought dirty and brought up the rutting with farm animals he used to enjoy (seriously), and that hurt his feelings. I shouldn't have gotten personal like that, but the bestiality argument is a classic. I'm told my preacher (the cousin who did blackface) used it against gay marriage --- "if we approve this, next people will be marrying their housecats." Oh, well. I fight a lot of lonely battles up here in Frogtown.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Oh ya?!? Well I bet you'd be the first person voted off the Real World-Road Rules Challenge!

Gotta love our current state of political discourse. So profound and uplifting. And never, ever trite ...

Dick Cheney: "If they (Democrats) are competent to fight this war, then I ought to be singing on American Idol."

Democratic Party spokesperson: "Simon Cowell is more loved than this administration and its failed Iraq policy. Cheney wouldn't last long on American Idol."

Take that, you poopyhead!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Introducing ... TINY!

Pardon this gratuitous attempt at motivation, but I've yet to bag my white whale, and the clock is ticking. While I had a few bites in Hollywood, my wild oats got in the way of any fruition. That, and my distaste for taking meetings.

Oh yeah, and I can't draw worth shit. I briefly secured the services of an animator who had worked on "Ren and Stimpy," but it ain't easy getting people to draw for free.

"Tiny" is my baby, an animated series following its namesake, the patriarch of the Toots family dynasty in Pfafftown (located in South Georgia). TINY's dad was millionaire entreprenuer Earl Toots, who started a chain of all-you-can-eat buffets, "Lazy Susan's" (so named for its revolving chow line). Tiny is in his late 30s, unmarried and still a virgin. He lives well below his means, in the house where he was raised, along with sister ROWENA (whose size leaves her confined to the bedroom, where she operates a psychic hotline and pens Pfafftown's only feminist newsletter) and his brother RONNIE (a crossdresser who works under the name "Mint Julep." Nonetheless, he claims to be straight).

Living next door is Tiny's uncle, MISTER DUKES, a cantakerous former six-time local Emmy award-winning weatherman whose "Geritol" dependence has left him broke and disgraced; he now works as a clerk at the local Gas Pantry. About the only pleasure he gets are those occassional wild nights out with THE COLONEL, a debaucherous dilettante who spends much of his time in Thailand.

While extremely simple-minded, Tiny possesses a wealth of contradictions. He is president, and sole member, of the local PFLAG chapter, yet he belongs to Pfafftown's First Primitive Baptist Church. Despite being the richest man in town, his only mode of transportation is a vintage people mover he purchased from Six Flags. And what explains his ever-present Margaret Cho T-shirt?

Family means everything to Tiny, and he's able to overlook their many flaws thanks to an unfailingly sunny disposition. Besides Mister Dukes (his mother's brother), there is his paternal uncle BOCEPHUS (a raging alcoholic), his wife, DEBBIE (who has collected every transcript from the "Sally Jessy Raphael" show), COUSIN TIPPY (Pfafftown's only meter maid and the alleged mother of Mister Dukes' child) and her brother, GRANDE, Mister Dukes' "Geritol" supplier.


CLINT (a.k.a. ZIGGY), an African-American Trekkie who's always trying to get Tiny to play Dungeons and Dragons, and other such fantasy games. Tiny is usually willing;

BOBBY BUBBLES: Tiny's best friend, a local car salesman and pyramid schemer (or "octagons of opportunity," as he calls them);

MUDCRUNCH: Tiny's hippie cousin. Tiny has lots of cousins, and many of them are semi-famous, and Jewish. No explanation, really, but Tiny is particularly fond of COUSIN HARVEY FIERSTEIN, an third-rate entertainer who travels the country with his fellow crusaders for tolerance, the E.Q.U.A.L.I.T.Y. players ("It's an acronym, you know: Everyone Qualifies Under Affirmative Lifestyles Independent of Tyranny ... YENTL!")

MARY AND BARRY OUTZ: Tiny's chirpy friends, very All-American and big fans of the recordings of Kathie Lee Gifford. They have a son, CHAD, who fronts a boy band Tiny manages (with interference from Mr. Dukes) called, appropriately enough, CHAD (all the members are named, appropriately enough, Chad);

PAT CAVANAUGH: an overly shill greeter at the local Wal-Mart, who confides in Tiny about the troll living in her basement. "He looks just like PAUL WILLIAMS," she says, in reference to the vertically challenged 1970s singer/actor, a frequent guest on "The Love Boat";

SUNSHINE: Ronnie's jubilant "friend." (Sample line: Sunshine meets Mr. Dukes ... SUNSHINE: "Hi, I'm Sunshine." MR. DUKES: "I'm mostly cloudy with a good chance of thunderstorms.");


RANDY and TRUDY McGOUCHEY: Local real estate tycoons who've been featured, more than once, on HBO's "Real Sex."

I hope you've enjoyed this foray into the Malcontent's fertile, and unprofitable, imagination. Coming soon to a cable access channel near you!

But will Germany forgive him?

Could David Hasselhoff be the white O.J.?

According to his wife, the "Baywatch" alum is an abusive psychopath:

Pamela Hasselhoff claims in December 2005, David "grabbed me and pushed me hard into a car." She adds: "In the past, he has also broken my nose and called me 'whore,' 'c***,' 'bitch,' 'slut' and 'drug addict' in front of our children."

She claims last February, David "told me that he was going to break through my security gate, drive his car through the house, beat the door down and go into the house and take my(sic) all of my jewelry and sell it."

Hasselhoff denies the allegations, but earlier this month a judge ordered him to stay 100 yards away from his wife and her residence.

Beyond reproach

Hate's a strong word, so I'll resist the temptation to use it. But I detest Barry Bonds. I wouldn't hate, er, detest, him so much if, say, Mark McGwire was the all-time home run leader, but he's not. Every time I think about the prospect of Bonds breaking Hank Aaron's record, I want to throw up. And I will, if he does.

(Point the cameras my way, if I happen to be in attendance that night ... I can regurgitate on demand).

Now comes word that Bonds is suing the authors of "Game of Shadows," not because they allege he used steroids (is that even an allegation anymore?), but because they might make some money from alleging he used steroids.

"Our client, Barry Bonds, will seek an ex parte application for a temporary restraining order against them, as well as Gotham Books/Penguin USA, Sports Illustrated Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle," Alison Berry Wilkinson, an associate of Bonds' lead attorney, Michael Rains, wrote in the letter. "This injunctive action will be brought pursuant to California's Unfair Competition Law ... to obtain, in summary, disgorgement of any profits related to or derived from the publication and distribution of the book."

"The reason we filed in the lawsuit in the simplest terms possible is to prevent the authors from promoting themselves and profiting from illegal conduct," Rains told The Associated Press on Thursday.

To be clear, this is not a libel lawsuit. Bonds is not denying any of the allegations made against him in "Game of Shadows."

I have a solution: give Barry all the profits from the book, as long as he'll retire from the game. I'll personally start a fundraiser to repay the authors their lost wages. Anything to get Bonds out of baseball.

He's not only beyond reproach ... he's beyond disgrace.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Situationally speaking

Although he's been a punchline --- and punching bag --- for everyone from Larry David to Jon Stewart, Tucker Carlson stands as one of the few tolerable talking heads on cable news (along with Chris Matthews and Anderson Cooper ... making me one of about 146 people who watches MSNBC).

He's a good interviewer, well-informed, consistent politically --- right-leaning libertarian --- and doesn't take himself too seriously (like the drones on FOX). I guess that's why his show draws ratings on par with "Kate and Allie" reruns.

Granted, the frat boy countenance might be a distraction, but I'm a fan. Lotta good that'll do him. Just ask Powers Boothe.

Kool like 'dat

Watching a documentary on mass murderer Jim Jones (the cult leader who initiated suicide among 913 of his followers in the tiny South American country of Guyana) reminded me again of the slickest actor ever to take a screen test: Powers Boothe.

Even his name is cool. I first became acquainted with Boothe's work as a child when I watched the TV movie treatment of the Jonestown massacre. P.B. was brilliant in the role, scary good. I'm not sure why the native Texan never became a bigger star: his squint would make Clint Eastwood cower.

Instead, he's been relegated to movies well beneath his talents. Boothe can currently be seen on the HBO series "Deadwood," which I haven't yet watched. Otherwise, his resume is pretty pedestrian, although one role in particular stands out (besides the Jim Jones portrayal).

Even though my people boycotted "Cruising" when it was released in 1980 --- due to its negative depiction of homosexuals (Pacino plays a cop who goes undercover in the gay leather scene to find a serial killer) --- its camp value is off charts. It marked Pacino's initial foray into serious over-acting, and it was one of Boothe's first films.

His role is small, but memorable. He plays the "hanky salesman" who gives Pacino's character an education about the meaning of differently colored bandanas: Yellow for watersports, etc.

Powers Boothe never got the career he deserved, but he has the unwavering respect of the Malcontent. I'll drink his Kool-Aid any day.

Perhaps they'll nail him to a cross

The fate of converted Christian Abdul Rahman remains unresolved, but pressure is intense from within Afghanistan's Islamic community to kill the former Muslim.

This, from cleric Abdul Raoulf, considered a prominent Afghani moderate (he was jailed three times for criticizing the Taliban's policies before the hard-line regime was ousted in 2001):

"He (Rahman) is not mad," Raoulf said. "The government is playing games. The people will not be fooled.

"This is humiliating for Islam. ... Cut off his head."

While diplomats express some hope that Rahman will be released (due primarily to efforts from European Union countries, Germany in particular), his safety's in serious jeopardy if he remains in Afghanistan.

Senior Muslim clerics said Thursday that Rahman must be executed and if the government caves into Western pressure and frees him they will incite people to "pull him into pieces." Four senior clerics interviewed by The Associated Press in their mosques in Kabul agreed Rahman deserved to be killed for his conversion.

"He is not crazy. He went in front of the media and confessed to being a Christian," said Hamidullah, chief cleric at Haji Yacob Mosque.

"The government is scared of the international community. But the people will kill him if he is freed."

Spokeswoman for the Super Adventure Club

We now know who was behind the notorious "religious bigotry" quote attributed to Isaac Hayes upon his alleged resignation from "South Park":

All of the communication from him comes through a woman named Christina "Kumi" Kimball, a fashion executive for designer Craig Taylor, another Scientologist.

Kimball herself is a devoted member of the Church of Scientology. She even maintains a Web site extolling its virtues. If any announcement was made about Hayes and "South Park," it came from her.

The good news: Hayes is recovering nicely from his stroke. Let's hope Chef will soon be back dishing out those salty chocolate balls.

What's in your anti-aging creme?

If you're European, it's quite possible your beauty products consist partly of the skin of executed Chinese convicts (in China, of course, convict doesn't always mean "murderer"; many are simply political dissidents).

A Chinese cosmetics company has been using skin taken from the bodies of executed convicts to develop beauty products for sale in Europe, a London newspaper reported.

An agent for the company informed customers it is developing collagen for lip and wrinkle treatments from skin taken from prisoners after they had been shot.

The agent said some of the company's products have been exported to Britain, and that the use of skin from condemned convicts was "traditional" and nothing to "make
such a big fuss about," the Guardian reported.

Perhaps this explains our huge trade deficit with China.

In the past, human rights groups have charged that China was using organs harvested from executed prisoners for medical transplants both domestically and internationally. China executed about 3,400 prisoners last year, according to Amnesty International.

George Lucas: J.R. Ewing to blame for world destabilization

People see shows such as "Dallas," about a wealthy Texas oil family, and decide they want the grand lifestyles portrayed, according to Lucas.

"They say that is what I want to be," Lucas said. "That destabilizes a lot of the world."

While making the point that Hollywood values have negatively impacted global culture (hard to disagree), the "Star Wars" director unwittingly reveals yet another problem with entertainment industry heavyweights such as himself: They think everyone else is stupid.

Most people can separate fiction from reality, George. Not that you'd know, living in your hermetically sealed estate in Northern California with all your action figures.

Cheney's tour rider

No French products boycott from the Vice President, whose sparkling water of choice is Perrier. That's about the only eye-opener in Cheney's accommodation demands. Least surprising: all TV's must be tuned to the Fox News Channel.

"No ... Wolf Blitzer ... ever!"

Wire hangers are apparently okay, though.