Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Tightrope

Operationally, everything was still fine. Most of the physical pieces were still in play, and the world was still around. At least so far.

It was when the plan was scrutinized that everything revealed itself to be fucked up beyond all recognition. The logistics were gone. The supplier, and the supply line with her, disappeared into the urban jungle with a simple note containing an apologetic explanation and a veiled threat. This, naturally, meant the strategy would have to be altered. But by whom?

He was, by this point, extremely tired and had little fight left in him. His ability to give a shit had been dulled by needless tangents and unnecessary reinforcement actions. He was far from home, surrounded mostly by enemies and strangers, and longed for a familial touch.

The problem there was that his family no longer knew who he was or even what he did. Worse, the reverse was true. Decades apart will do that.

Giving up was a viable option. He had never surrendered before. Not once in his life. But, as the saying goes, there is a first time for everything. Continuing on was still an option, albeit one seemingly too far out of reach. In addition to finding a new source of supplies, a new strategy would have to be conceived; new tactics would have to be researched and practiced. But he was running out of time.

Quite similar to the famous examples of Rommel and Patton, he had, simply, outrun the rest of his supply line. He was so far forward of the staging area, and so deep undercover, that even if he had snapped his fingers no one would respond, for they wouldn't know who he was or what he was doing there.

Hell, even he didn't know what he was doing there. Partially forced, and partially inclined, he wound up in a place he swore never to return to. Partially because he was the best at what he did, and partially because no one else was available.

It was a game of fate. A tightrope. One he had walked for far too long. And he was tired.

In humans, balance is the sixth sense. Originating in the inner ear, it is enhanced by vision. Without vision, it would be impossible for a man on a tightrope to balance himself. A blind man might be able to stay upright for a few moments, but would undoubtedly fall. Perhaps he would fall at an angle that would allow him to grab the robe, or even entangle himself in it. But, more likely, he would simply fall to his death.

He checked his weapons, just in case. He ensured his personal equipment still functioned and were in good order. As in all things, what comes next is never truly known, and it is wise to prepare as best as one can. Should he continue the operation? Should he turn tail and run? Or should he simply lick his wounds and hope for the best? Many options presented themselves, and he preferred none of them.

So completely unsure of what to do as he stood on that tightrope, he did the only thing that came to mind.

He closed his eyes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Name's Bauer... Jack Bauer

24: Redemption premiered last night after quite a long period of hype by the folks at Fox. And, boy, did it suck terrorist balls.

Cliché after cliché after cliché, combined with Kiefer Sutherland's "man, I'm really tired of doing this" style of acting and rampant, pervasive product placement, all led to the worst incarnation of the 24 franchise... ever.

Seriously, I think I learned more about Hyundai, Sprint, and Cisco then I did about the heinous plot of an African warlord attempting to overthrow his government.

I also learned that the US Army still flies single-engine Hueys overseas. And that 14 children will inauspiciously fail to step on strategically placed bouncing land mines, but when one of those children loses something in said minefield and returns to retrieve it, the ex-special forces soldier escorting him will notice the mine, push the child out of the way, and equally inauspiciously wind up stepping on the very same mine.

Lame.

But not as lame as the "payoff moment" when the same child who caused the landmine problem places his hand on Jack's shoulder.

I'm guessing "emotional connection" isn't taught in screenwriting classes anymore.

The franchise, it seems, is showing its wrinkles. To be fair, 24: Redemption was an unprecedented one-off, and the upcoming season itself looks very promising, but one thing is for sure: it's time for Kiefer to go. Jack Bauer needs to give way to new blood or just give way in general.

Whatever is done, just make sure Ricky Schroeder doesn't take the reins.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bite the Dust and Push Some Daisies

Well, it's been officially announced: Pushing Daisies will not be renewed due to poor ratings.

America, seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you?

Pushing Daisies is, hands down, the best hour-long family show on network television. It's superbly written, consistently hilarious, beautifully conceived, expertly produced, and aesthetically wonderful. To put it more simply: it's fucking awesome.

I really don't get how you people (yes, you people) don't latch on to outstanding programs, but somehow watch crap Knight Rider enough to keep it on the air. And don't get me wrong, I love KITT, but this new version has got to go.

This will mark the third year in a row one of my "can't miss" shows gets whacked early. Last year was the fantastic Journeyman; the year before was the drastically underrated The Black Donnelly's. And while The Black Donnelly's managed an ending (despite it not being aired) worthy of a series finale, Journeyman left us with questions we will never see answered, and it's reported that Pushing Daisies will do the same.

I guess the problem with Pushing Daisies is that it was intelligent and unique. I'm sure if it were another entry in the CSI or Law & Order franchises, you monkeys would've been watching.

Lame.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Michael Crichton: A World of Words

Michael Crichton died on November 4. Perhaps you heard, but perhaps you didn't. Even though American history was made on that day, it's a bit sad to have a man as accomplished as Michael Crichton pass away with barely a blurb on the television news.

My experience with Crichton began, like many others, with Jurassic Park. Two of my 9th-grade classmates read it and couldn't stop talking about it, and when the film came out the following year, I couldn't help myself... I just had to see what the hoopla was about.

As great and wonderful as that movie was, the book blew me the fuck away.

And so, naturally, I continued my trek through Crichton's imagination. I bought every book he had written under his real name, and, starting with The Andromeda Strain, read them in order all the way through Rising Sun (or at least I think so... it's possible I read Rising Sun next, given that movie also hitting the silver screen).

Of his first eight "Michael Crichton" books (for he would write several under three different pseudonyms), The Great Train Robbery and Eaters of the Dead were my favorite, although picking a favorite out of those eight is next to impossible. The brilliance of Congo and Sphere is only diminished by less-than-stellar film versions, but the books themselves are must-reads.

These books kept my own imagination in good company throughout high school and my early years in the military. The technical detail, combined with not-so-far-fetched plots and loving (and hating) characters, bred in me a sense of purpose in writing. While I can't definitively attribute to Mr. Crichton my desire to keep fiction as accurate as possible, I can safely say that his works certainly nurtured that desire.

The Lost World was the last book of his I read, and, to be honest, I didn't much care for it. It was clear that, by then, he had (as so many other popular writers) "sold out" in favor of pending Hollywood book deals. I've always meant to check out Airframe, but after a horrifying film version of Timeline, I must admit that I'm a little reluctant to do so.

Still, the man who would go on to create E.R. knew his business, and it's a testament to any writer to keep up such a high standard of writing for as long as Crichton did. Of the first eight books of his that I read, each holds a special place in my literary heart, and one day, perhaps, I will see if his later works will fit there, as well.

American literature lost a giant. And far too early.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Ten Cannots

In 1916, William Boetcker, a Presbyterian reverend, wrote what would later become known as "The Ten Cannots." This list is today usually miscredited to Abraham Lincoln, partly because they seem like something he would have said or written, and partly because they first appeared on a leaflet that had a Lincoln quote on it.

Anyway, my father first introduced these to me years ago and recently felt the need to reread them to me.

These "cannots" are wise, true, and inarguable.

For posterity's sake, here they are:

  1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  3. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
  4. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  5. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
  6. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
  7. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
  9. You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
  10. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.
- William J.H. Boetcker, 1916

Monday, November 17, 2008

Norv Turner and the Hypocrisy of Chargers Management

The Chargers made history today: they lost the first 11-10 scoring game ever in the annals of the NFL. 11-10? Needless to say, the defense under Ron Rivera played superbly, even recording multiple sacks for the first time in far-too long.

But that vaunted San Diego offense decided not to show up. I am utterly convinced now that Norv Turner must, without question, be kicked to the curb.

For the first time since Dan Fouts flew Air Coryell, the Charger offense is absolutely stacked with frequent fliers.

There is LaDainian Tomlinson, who, despite an injury, remains an All-Pro running back. There is absolutely no reason he should be in danger of not reaching the 1140-yard benchmark. But, at the rate San Diego is pounding the ball, Tomlinson will be lucky to reach 1000 yards rushing. Yes, Michael Turner and Lorenzo Neal are gone and are sorely missed, but the dynamic Darren Sproles and the "more than a blocker" Mike Tolbert should theoretically offer enough upside to alleviate the loss of Turner and Neal.

There is Antonio Gates, arguably the best tight end in football since, well, Kellen Winslow.

There is, for the first time in decades, more than one competent wide receiver. Chris Chambers, Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd, and even Legedu Naanee. Simply put, Rivers can throw anywhere with confidence.

Oh, yeah, and then there's Rivers. Competent, and possibly great, though prone to stupid interceptions when attempting to channel his inner Favre.

Regardless, the offense should rock. And Norv Turner is supposedly an offensive genius, no? Sure, I'll admit that he is, but a head coach he is not. Marty Schottenheimer was better for this team. He provided discipline. Norv couldn't discipline a morgue.

And poor Marty. Unjustly fired (albeit likely on purpose) for taking a team that was absolute garbage and fielding them into an elite unit. And all he wanted to do was hire his brother as defensive coordinator. Given what we saw with Ted Cottrell, can anybody honestly say that would've been worse?

But, no, A.J. Smith, in all his supposed wisdom, didn't want another Schottenheimer to deal with. Two Schottenheimers would have threatened his dictatorial desires he has for the team. Turner, Smith knew, is a pushover.

So, wait? Nepotism is the reason Marty is no longer in San Diego? Is this the same team owned by Alex Spanos? The same team whose President/CEO is Alex's son, Dean Spanos? Whose "Executive Officer" is A.G. Spanos? Whose Executive VP is Michael Spanos? Whose Director of College Scouting is John Spanos?

Yeah, sure looks like they take a hard line against nepotism, doesn't it?

Worse, Marty's original quarterbacks coach was Brian Schottenheimer, under whom Drew Brees enjoyed his resurgence. Accident? Maybe, but the New York Jets thought enough of Brian to give him a job as offensive coordinator.

A.J. Smith's "genius" is in question. The Chargers front office is full of hypocrites.

They need to fess up and admit their mistakes before it's too late. Unless, of course, this is all part of the plan to move the Chargers back to Los Angeles.

Idiots.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Military Development: The Lost Art

The procurement and development budget Department of Defense is under fire; this is no secret. The incoming administration wants to increase that amount of fire; this is also no secret. Experts are expecting several projects, such as the F-22, the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS), and most of the Navy's new surface combatant programs to be cut heavily or, worse, canceled outright.

This would be, in my opinion, as stupid as stupid gets.

To be fair, however, DoD brought this on itself as much as any external force of pressure. Since the heyday of World War II, DoD's ability to procure and develop systems, while remaining impressive, has endured a severe loss of quality and effectiveness. Simply put: we don't do it like we used to.

More and more of DoD's design and development happens out-of-house. That is, not under the direct control of the Department of Defense. While this is very much an American capitalist ideal, it is not necessarily the best way to run things. In fact, the DoD should almost inarguably be the one department of our government that is 100% self-sufficient. Defense should not rely on anyone other than the defenders. That being stated, external input should always be welcomed.

There is also the American propensity to want to make "leaps and bounds" in technology before implementing improvements. In other words, we like waiting for the next big thing, rather than enduring the purchases of several stages of "little things." Economists might tell you this is the reason the Japanese overtook us in electronics and automobiles, and they would be right. This attitude of "bigger, better, now" is also what's hurting our military. And, again, we can point to the heyday of World War II.

You see, in the 1930s, 40s, and even the 50s, weapons systems obsolesced insanely quickly. Some within a year of being fielded. While most of us find that an incomprehensible concept, we would only have to look at modern computer development to find a contemporary example of such a phenomenon. While the WWII-era system of procurement and development was by no means cheap, it was wholly effective, and set the stage for our rapid advancement through the 1970s, the last great era for design and development until now.

Yes, systems were purchased and then "thrown away" quickly. But those throw-aways had benefit. They provided us with ample material to recycle, an excess of quality training tools, and, in their most important roles, served as test-beds for countless technological innovations (some major, some minor). We no longer have that capability today.

And why not? Well, bureacracy and politics. Every politician and general or admiral wants to be able to put their "stamp" on a particular system. Which means every politician and general or admiral naturally avoids the "small scale" innovations that could keep our procurement process cheap, yet continuously evolving in the field, and not just in the lab.

Take, for instance, the new rail gun system the Navy wants to field by 2025. The truth of the matter is that the Navy could field one tomorrow. But they would have to combine an old technology with a new one, and relegate their ultimate goal of "a new gun on a new ship" to a secondary goal.

The current rail guns can feasibly be mounted on a battleship. No, they're not as powerful as the Navy wants, but they're as powerful or more powerful than most of the other gun systems found in the world today. And we could test them in the field.

Instead, the Navy seems content with lab-testing a rail gun, waiting 10-years until the system is small and efficient enough to be mounted on a destroyer (of probably a new build or design), and then send it out into the world... without the data we could be accumulating by putting one of these bad boys on a battleship.

Mark my words: implementing the so-called "final design" of these rail guns will become far, far more expensive than currently expected because of our indirect policy of waiting. Just look at the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). Bloated design and development; horrendously overbudget. Look at the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Bloated design and development; horrendously overbudget. Hell, our Air Force can't even procure a new mid-air refueler with any semblance of an efficient process. And, yet, in World War II, we had weapons systems go from idea, to drawing board, to construction, to deployment in less than a year.

But we don't like looking to the past, and we certainly don't like making small, seemingly insignificant improvements. It takes too long. The end result seems less important. Nobody can try to take all of the credit. And Al Gore invented the Internet.

Seriously, we have weapons systems still in use today that were in service 30, or even 40, years ago. And why? Because those weapons systems are constantly upgraded at a consistent pace. But nobody notices. Even the services themselves seem less interested in fixing up older systems. It's not "sexy." The new shit is.

Well, sexier don't mean better.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Letters for LMT

Version 2 - Lisa Sandwich

Dear Lisa,

Here is a letter for you. The letter is "B." For bitch.

Sincerely,
Jeff

Dear Lisa,

Here is a letter for you. The letter is "L." For liar.

Sincerely,
Jeff

Dear Lisa,

Here is a letter for you. The letter is "T." For thief.

Sincerely,
Jeff

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Irreverent Musings

Syllogism for the day: People suck. You are people. Therefore, you suck.

Instead of cutting its losses, NBC is going to "reboot" the "reimagined" Knight Rider. The cast is too big, they says. The plots are too big, they says. I says they should've used a fucking Firebird.

Monday night's episode of Heroes completely destroyed the show. As in: made every episode that came before it utterly pointless. So, Noah Bennet knew Syler's identity the entire time, eh? So, Claire's real mother was almost an agent and was present at the train wreck, eh? So, Nathan's powers emerged before the eclipse, eh? So, Syler and Elle were an "item," eh? So... ah, fuck it.

The World Series suffered its lowest television ratings ever... by more than 1.5 points. Quick solution: shorten the season and expand the fucking playoffs.

The NFL is considering an 18-game season. Bad idea. The relatively short season is why people enjoy it so much... it gives them something to wait for during the off-season. Take notes, MLB and NHL.

Advice for comic book publishers: origin stories for established mysterious characters are bad ideas. Yes, this is also advice for the writers of Heroes.

Latest crappy movie I tried to watch, but was unable to finish: Shoot 'Em Up. Surprising, too, since it starred Monica Bellucci, and until I tried to watch that piece of shit movie, I could've sworn I'd watch paint dry while strangers walked by and pissed on me, just so I could look at Monica Bellucci. I don't know if I should be relieved or distressed to know that this is not the case.

Joss Whedon is an overrated hack. Bite me. No pun intended.

Battlestar Galactica has devolved into self-congratulatory garbage. Just some words for the writers: you're not that good; your show isn't that good. If all the hype were true, you'd be on a real channel, and not one known for keeping the Stargate television franchise around, oh, 11-years too long. Funny... BSG isn't even going to make it to a fifth season. Yeah, you guys fucking rock, all right.

Fox, do us all a favor and just import the original Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. Your version is utter trash, and has absolutely nothing to do with the restaurant industry, save for the fact that it's shot in restaurants. If I wanted to see garbage shot in a restaurant, I'll watch Michael shoot Sollozzo and McCluskey.

Please, Warner Brothers, cancel the Justice League movie and never speak a word about it again.

I will never watch NatGeo as long as it's called NatGeo. Nor will I drink SunnyD as long as it's called SunnyD. Fire those marketers... seriously.

It's time for bed.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Fall 2008 Television Season: Rants and Reviews, Part III

Okay, barring any really odd late-season pickups, this should be my last entry ranting and reviewing the "Fall 2008 Television Season."

Let's cut to the chase, shall we?

My Own Worst Enemy - despite a garbage premiere, Christian Slater's foray into the world his Young Guns II co-star has recently re-popularized (read: TV secret agents) is surprisingly good, and more than a little compelling. The design aesthetic of yet another super-secret government organization is a bit over-the-top, but the presence of two of my "mental loves" of younger days (read: Mädchen Amick and Saffron Burrows) certainly doesn't hurt.

The Unit - you know a show is hurting when it attempts to "diversify" a demographic unrealistically. Yes, the vaunted boys of "The Unit" now include a girl. The idea isn't bad, in and of itself, but its execution is crap. She's not very believable, and, worse, seems relegated to "Unit secretary," but that's not even the most disturbing part of the new season. I can't say I've seen Army wives quite so involved in their husbands' work, I must admit. A not-good-enough show has been made worse.

Rant and Review Updates:

Heroes - an initial pan, followed by a possible reversal, followed by a renewed pan. This cycle of Heroes is lame... there's just no other way to put it.

Life - this show is definitely kicking ass. Too bad NBC has relegated it to the "we're going to cancel this show" time slot (10 PM, Friday nights). The good news is that it did get picked up. The bad news is that we probably won't see any of those episodes, save on DVD.

Prison Break - remember how I wrote how I hated getting ready to watch this, but enjoyed the actual watching of it? Well, that's changing... it's getting boring, and quickly.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - one week up, one week down; one good sub-plot, one bad sub-plot; one good arc, one bad arc - I really wish this show would make up its mind. Still, I don't see it lasting beyond this season.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's the End of the World As We Know It

... and I feel fine.

So, Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States. Good for him, and good for everyone who voted for him. Did I? In a rare case of revealing my political cards: no. But neither did I vote for McCain. To be honest, I didn't vote... I tried to, but between forgetting where I'm registered (I found multiple voter registration cards), then figuring it out only to realize my truck isn't running, I, well... no excuses.

I wasn't going to vote for President this year, anyway. I did have a vote for my state's governor and senator, but whatever.

Anyway, Obama's going to be sworn in next January. He is going to try to "change" a helluva a lot of things. But, make no mistake, most of those changes don't stand a chance in Hades of happening. In fact, outside of his economic plan, I really doubt we'll see much real change at all. Ironically, it will be his own party that prevents it.

Seriously, hear me out. Right or wrong, Obama will be put under the most powerful microscope ever put on a President simply because he is black. As a result, he will have to run a near-perfect ship. And that means not only keeping the people who voted for him happy, but making as many of the people who didn't at least not unhappy. I do not envy that man and the tightrope he will be walking.

No, I'm not really worried for this country as far as the election goes. Not yet, anyway. Guns will not be outlawed, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will not come to sudden stops, and corporations will still run rampant.

I am, however, worried for this country as far as Obama's military and paramilitary ideas go. He wants to shrink DoD's budget. Bad idea. The way he wants to do it will unavoidably result in a smaller military. Bad idea. And I'm still rather concerned over the comments he made earlier this year regarding a gendarme of the United States. Ridiculously foolish idea.

He may be better for the economy, but he is not better for the security of this country.

But, he won. Fair and square. I anxiously await to see how he does his job, as, I'm sure, you do. Maybe he'll be a great President, maybe he'll suck. I figure he'll be at least fairly competent, but will not enter the history books as one of America's great Presidents such as Washington, Lincoln, and both Roosevelts. He will only enter the history books as being the one to break the race barrier in American politics. And, presidential effectiveness aside, that's a good thing.

Do your job, sir. That's all anyone can ask. Except, of course, for the wholly un-American people who will no doubt claim they want to leave this country now that Obama is President. Funny how those wholly un-American people who claimed they were going to leave under Bush are now shouting out that they're some sort of patriots. Bullshit... real American patriots tough out the times they hate as much as they enjoy the times the love, and that includes tolerating the leaders they don't much care for.

It is definitely the end of the world as we know it, and, yes, I feel just fine.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dying Happy, Inc.

Everyone wants to die happy, right? Sure, by "dying happy," people usually mean they want to die having lived a full life, with a strong family and/or most of the goals they set for themselves accomplished.

But what about the actual death part? Why not "die happy?" And, no, I'm not talking about hearing harps playing, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, or reliving the moment you lost your virginity.

Well, actually...

Why doesn't someone invent a machine that gives a person an instant orgasm when they experience, say, a heart attack or other mortal shock? Think about it. You're 85, out for a jog since you're trying to "stay young," and suddenly your left arm feels heavy. You're in your jogging shorts, so you don't have your cell phone, and nobody else is around or paying you any mind. And then you collapse.

Now, normally, you'd just lay there, dying in agony as you wait in vain for someone to help, but with the H-DOI (Happy Death Orgasm Initiator), you instead experience the all-encompassing orgasm you've never experienced before in your life. Instant hard-on, instant wet, followed by an instant ejaculation and the sensation of riding a rocket to the moon. G-spot's got nothing on this. You just died with a smile on your face.

Wouldn't that rock? Can you imagine a person opting for an H-DOI instead of a pacemaker? Or an H-DOI instead of an organ transplant? Ah, the possibilities.

So, I put out a challenge to all of you bio-engineers and medical scientists: create the H-DOI, and let humanity all die with a smile on its face.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Post-Halloween Musings

Bleh... I'm going to muse for a bit.

The Chargers are 3-5. The only reason they're not 3-6 is because they just had a bye week. That disaster in London against the Saints was just that: a disaster. Although I'm happy for Drew Brees. I'm sure there's a statement about just desserts somewhere in there. Anyway, here's hoping that firing Ted Cottrell does the trick.

People are already threatening Barack Obama's life. Seriously, people, shut the fuck up. If he were a white liberal, nobody would be so vocal. But, he's not. He's black. If he wins, let him do his job. If he doesn't win, let him do his job. Criticize him all you want, but don't threaten his life. There's a place for that; it's called the fundamentalist Middle East. You don't like Obama, go live over there. Until then, it's his right to be a bleeding-heart liberal. Wannabe Barack assassins are fucking pricks. Not to mention idiots... and hypocrites.

By the way, I will never vote for a ticket that has Sarah Palin on it. Sorry, I just won't. I don't care if she's Clint Eastwood's running mate. I just can't do it. Nope. Just can't.

Of course, that might not matter, since I can't find my fucking voter registration card. No, wait... I just found an old one. Fuck me, I can't even remember where I'm registered to vote. I guess that's what one gets for living like a gypsy.

Is it just me, or has trick-or-treating gone the way of the dodo?

How does a wonderful show about an obscure method of time traveling, Journeyman, not survive network cuts when a not as wonderful (but still good) show about an obscure "time traveler," Life on Mars, gets greenlit? Weird.

Must see movies: Eastern Promises, Superbad, and the classic Sex, Lies, and Videotape.

English should be the preeminent language of the United States, but should not be the legal official language. We are far too diverse a country (and always have been, for all you immigrant-phobes) to limit ourselves to one language. In our short history, we've annexed areas in which Spanish, French, Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, and Carolinian have all been natively or otherwise widely spoken. And that's not even getting into the various American Indian languages and dialects.

Professional athletes working in leagues that have had government-approved antitrust exemptions (such as the National Football League and Major League Baseball) should be held to the same employment considerations as government employees. In other words, the first time one of the players pisses hot for a federally illegal substance (not necessary a league illegal substance), they should be banned from the league as long as that league reaps the benefits of those antitrust exemptions. Same goes for athletes who are felons. Athletes working in leagues not benefiting from antitrust legislation would not be subjected to these standards, unless those leagues adopt those standards themselves.

Speaking of banning, MTV should be banned from developing any more reality TV shows. Okay, not really, but at least quit producing such torrid garbage.

I feel embarrassed for any society which produces a show of the likes of TMZ.

Science is better than religion. Show me one war started by a disagreement over scientific research. That's not stating that religion is bad, but intolerant religion is ridiculously stupid.

Did the dinosaurs believe in God, gods, or the afterlife?

World War II created the modern world. Yes, that's right. We, and everything we know, were borne of war.

I miss my old pets: Flash, Yuki, Mike, Taro, "kitty," Lancelot, Galahad, Guinevere, Gawain, Tristan, Merlin, Vivianne, Arthur, Isolde... and even Percival, Agravain, Cricket and Rabbit, the Sagremor Sisters, and any others I failed to remember in my late-night stupor.

All right... that's enough musing for now. 'Til next time.