Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mills of the gods

Talking to the dummy

There was a recent story I saw about the annual ventriloquism convention in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky. Ft. Mitchell also houses the Ventriloquism museum, home of over 700 dummies. Boy don't you think that would be a scary room to walk around in at night ?Anyway, there is a fear that ventriloquism is a dying art. Few people under thirty have ever seen the great ventriloquists of the movies or early T.V. perform. Edgar Bergen, Walter Winchell, Senor Wences, these guys were on T.V. weekly. Sadly, the TV variety show is just about gone. I was born too late for Edgar Bergen, my generation's ventriloquist was Walter Winchell, or as he was called by one of his dummies (Knucklehead Smith) "Mr Winkle".

I always loved ventriloquists, or actually, their dummies. I liked the way they made fun of their partners. The guys who made them talk. I always like the mystery shows where the Ventriloquist dummy's personality actually took over the personality of the the Ventriloquist and killed someone. I used to hope that they would arrest the dummy and put him in an interview room at the police station to see if they could get him to turn on the ventriloquist. I don't know why no one ever had a plot like that.

Senor Wences actually talked to his own hand (which had lipstick and a wig on) and made a cigar box say "so right" at the end of every act. I was never a big Wences fan, but I had friends who thought that the pinnacle of comedy was to say "so right ? so right. O.K. ? O.K"I wonder if they have Wence's hand in that museum ? red lipstick smeard on the thumb and forefinger, little eyes drawn in. One of my favorite movies, "The In-Laws" had a scene with a Central American Dictator doing a Wences type act with is hand, "Senor Pepe". Ventriloquist dummies are not as common anymore, although we have one apparently running the country. In the end, Dick Cheney may prove that he was the greatest ventriloquist of them all. Eight years, and no one saw his lips move. So right ? So right. O.k ? not so much.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Big Love in the Big House

Mills of the gods

Warren Steed Jeffs, the world's "most wanted polygamist" was captured yesterday by a state trooper in Nevada. The Trooper felt that some major crime was "afoot" (who was this guy, Sherlock Holmes ?) when he saw Mr Jeffs sitting in the back of the car, eating a salad, with his "carotid artery pumping". As I sit here, my carotid artery is pumping,if pumping is the correct term, if you are reading this, so is yours. If blood is not moving through your carotid artery, the odds are pretty good that you are dead. But in Nevada, if your carotid artery is working it is a sign that you are a criminal, maybe the world's biggest polygamist.Now actually, there are two carotid arteries, one of the left side and one on the right side of your neck.I am not sure which one set the Trooper to thinking "Polygamist!"when he saw Mr Jeffs munching on his salad.

Now none of this is to defend Mr Jeffs, who is perhaps a world class creep. He has been indicted for arranging marriages of underage girls to members of his church. I assume that the creepiness of that line of action is enough to satisfy anyone that he is not someone you'd want taking your 13 year old daughter on a church camping trip. But the real reason the Feds and Nevada's finest were after Jeffs was because he heads the largest polygamous group in the United States. Everyone who watches "Big Love" on TV is familair with the character "the Prophet". Jetts is that sort, with at least one hyper actvie carotid artery. I like most of the polymagomists on "Big Love". They are hard working people who just want to be left alone with their wives and children. But "the Prophet" on that show is a bad egg. He is married to many women, at least one of which appears to be about 14. I think Polygamy is like anything else. If it was out in the open, and people were not forced into hiding, it would probably not have many of the negative aspects it has developed. There are good reasons why the state should not allow polygamy, and damn few that I can think of as to why it should be legal. The main argument against it is the cost of college. I can't imagine paying tuition for 10 or 12 kids by 4 or 5 wives. It is hard enough to save up for one.It is stressful ! You should see my carotid artery.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Every Dog Has his Day

Mills of the gods

Before we get started, lets us take a moment and ask opurselves one more time why an American in Thailand could confess to a pedophile type murder which took place 10 years ago in a city a thousand miles from where the confessor was living at the time ? Pause

Now to the real news out of HotHot, Mongolia. Yes, HotHot. Maybe the greatest name for a captol city ever. Wouldn't you love to be a TV weather guy in HotHot ? A headline writer for the local newspaper ? Well HotHOt had a traffic accident yesterday, the negligent driver was a dog. A woman named Li said that her dog was fond of crouching over the steering wheel while she drove and so decided to give the dog a "driving lesson". The lesson did not last very long before the unnamed dog crashed into an oncoming car. Thee were no fatalities or injuries. We can be sure that the woman's auto insurance premiums wil skyrocket now that she has a dog on the policy, and one that has already had an accident.

There was no word about the kind of dog Ms. Li was teaching to drive.I assume that the dog was at least big enough to reach the steering wheel and see out of the front window. Although how it pushed the accelerator is beyond me. Maybe it was a car made especially for dogs. They may have those now in Mongolia. The biggest concern that arises out of all of this is the price of oil. Pressures on oil markets caused by Chinese human beings has caused large rises in oil futures. But if every dog in China is going to start driving, we are talking about $50.00 a gallon gasoline. There are 1.3 billion people in China. I assume that there at at least hundreds of milions of dogs, all certainly as capable as Ms. Li's dog of learning to drive. There is not going to be very much oil left for anyone else, even if american dogs don't start to drive, and I don't know why they would not. American dogs are every bit as capable as Chinese dogs. I'd put my goldern retriever behind the wheel a lot sooner than I would any number of my daughter's teenage friends. You'd have to keep the driver side window closed or she would jump out, but that should not be a problem. I may take her out for her first lesson this afternoon.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Mills of the gods

Short Lived Title

The problem with being the world's oldest person is that you don't hold thge title very long. Maria Esther de Capovilla died this weekend, just a little short of 117. She lived in Ecuador. The new oldest person in the world is also 116. her names is Elizabeth Bolden. she lives in Memphis, Tennessee. The real question is, does the world's oldest person ever really know that they are the world's oldest person ? I doubt it. Or, if they do, they probably only know it when told each day, and then forget it.

Ms Capovilla was born the same year as Adolph Hitler and Charlie Chaplin, so to get an idea of her age, she could have been in a trench with Hitler in World War One, and making silent movies with Chaplin, and not as a child actor. Maria was already of drinking age when World War One ended. She outlived Hitler by over 6o years (although, in fairness, Hitler killed himself) and Chaplin, who lived a very long life, was outlived by almost 30 years. Can you imagine that ? If you are 86 years old and still have 30 years to go ? She was around for the first car. My Grandfather lived to see the first airplane and then saw men land on the Moon. She was a teenager when the Wright Brothers went up, and only 80 when men walked on the moon, 37 years ago. Less than half of the people living on the earth (a lot less than half) were alive 37 years ago.

But now the crown passes to Ms. Bolden, and the proud peoiple of Memphis, but for how long ? Jeanne Louise Calmet, who dies almost 10 years ago, lived to be 122. That certainly gives Ms. Bolden something to shoot for. Madam Calmet was the oldest person ever documented.It is going to be tough,I don't know what a Life Insurance Comapny would say about the life expectancy of a 116 year old. I suppose it depends on whether she smokes or not. Senora Capovilla did not. She did drink a small glass of wine every day at lunch. Probably about half an ounce a day. Of course over time that adds up. If she drank the half ounce every day for 95 years (after she turned 21) she put away well over 130 gallons in her life. Imagine you are pumping gas into your car, only the pump holds wine instead. You'd have to gill up a 15 gallon tank almost 9 times to equal Senora Capovilla's wine intake for lunches. That does not count dinner or wild Ecuadorian New Year's Eve parties, ringing in 1900 AND 2000 ! I'm sure she did a few shots on those nights.

Friday, August 25, 2006

If Ramses could talk

Mills of the gods

The 3200 year old giant statue of Ramses was moved yesterday from a traffic congested area of Cairo to a spot closer to the Pyramids. The head of antiguities in Egypt was quoted as saying, "I think that if Ramses could talk today he would say thank you for moving me". What he would probably say is why the hell do you keep moving me ? After sitting around the Ancient Egyptian city of Memphis for over 3,ooo years, the modern Eqyptian government has moved Ramses twice. This is a bit like deciding that Ms. Liberty was tired of the congestion in New York Harbor and moving her over nearer the Empire State Building, then a few years later moving er over to Long Island for the sea breezes.

The mention in my bolg yesterday of the hanging Gardens of Babylon got several of us talking about the seven wonders of the ancient world. None of us could recall all seven. I recalled six, but upon checking, one was wrong. I defy anyone to recall that the Mausoleum at Halicannassus is one of the seven wonders of the world. I defy anyone to tell me who was entombed there of even where the hell Halicannassus is (was). As you might expect, the easiest place to see what is left of the great building is the British Museum, where several statues from the wonder stolen by the English now reside. While there, be sure to look at the portions of the Parthenon that they looted.

There is always one name on a list that gets lost in the shuffle. In my experience, the seven dwarves of Snow White fame are easily named until you get to number seven. Everyone forgets "Bashful" because Doc was the lead dwarf and everyone else had a name that ended with y. So you sit around for hours (that is if your life is as exciting as mine) and try to think of descriptive names with y endings (someone always says "Horny").

My father was the last of nine children. He said his mother used to run through several of his brothers names when yelling at him before finally recalling which one he was.Most non Mormon families are not that large anymore so that is probably no longer much of a problem.

But the good people of Halicanassus probably thought that no one would ever forget their Mausoleum.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Fat Lady sings

Mills of the gods

The Astronomers in Prauge have once agin reversed course and have now revoked Pluto's planetary status. I could write a lot about this, but I promised my wife no more Pluto blogs. So now that the Astronomers have spoken I think it is time to turn our attention to other things that need to be demoted.

1.William Henry Harrison needs to be dumped from the list of Presidents, he only served a month and did nothing.He is much less signifigant in his genere than Pluto is in its.

2. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon should be dropped from the list of what now will be called the Seven Wonders of the World. There is not any evidence that it really existed and waht is so "wonderful" about a garden, even if it hangs.

3. The tomato (or tomato depeneding on how you pronounce it) should be dropped from the list of fruits. Fruits are something that you can put in a paper sack lunch and can hope will emerge whole. Tomatos are something that goes in a salad or on a hamburger. You can't put fruit on a hamburger.

4. Hawaii should be dropped from the 50 states. It is too far away and not part of the North American continenent. Plus you have to go through vegetable customs when you get there. may as well stamp your passport.

5.Shemp should be dropped from the Three Stooges, he was never funny. Stooges films with Shemp will now be called the Two Stooges.

6.Antartica should be dropped from the list of continents for the same reason we kicked Hawaii off their list. It is two far away. For that matter, either Europe or Asia needs to be dropped from the list of continents. It is all the same land mass. The Ural Mountain dividing line is bogus. why don't we just call everything west of the Rockies the "West American" continenet.

7.Judas needs to be dropped from the list of the tweleve apostles, I mean ,hell, what more do you have to do to get kicked off of a list ?

8. The Holy Roman Empire needs to be dropped from all lists of things Holy, Roman or Empireish" as it was none of those.

9.Licorece needs to be dropped from candy you can buy at the movies. It is gross stuff and is only there because movie theatres are too lazy to order anything new. That probably goes for most of the candy at the Theatre.

10.Rye needs to be dropped from the list of whiskeys. No one has ordered a shot of Rye Whiskey at a bar in over 100 years.

There are thousands more, but let's start with those.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Canibalism in the news

Mills of the gods

For some reason, the media is always obsessed with turning stories into canibalism tales. Two stories in the past two days illustrate that point. Yesterday, a fellow in Oklahoma, who is going to go on trial for the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of a ten year old child had the c word thrown in his face. His blog contained some references to cannibalism, actually a joke, although one in rather poor taste (pardon the pun) about cannibalism. One of the cops who caught the man (and we can use the term here "man" only loosely, he is, it seems, more of an animal, and even that is an insult to animals) said that the plan was to drain the girl of blood and eat her. Now there was no real reported evidence of this, but the media turned it into a cannibal story.

Today, three Mexican fisherman were picked up in the Marshall Islands after drifting at sea for nine months. They appeared to be in remarkable health considering their exposure and nine month diet of rain water, raw fish and sea birds. Now unfortunatly for them, five men set out, three returned. So the news guys are now speculating that perhaps the survivors ate their other two companions. Actually, since they were picked up in the Marshalls, I am shocked that the news folks have not asked if Island cannibals ate them.

What is it about eating our fellow man that draws such interest ? Here are two very descriptive news stories, that needed no punching up to get a reader to take interest in them, but the reporters in each case had to guild the lily by throwing cannibalism into the mix. It is perhaps, a standard reporter question for all news events. It will probably surface in this JonBenet Ramsey case pretty soon. If there is anyone I'd be willing to believe was a Cannibal, it's the current suspect. I imagine we will start seeing it in hurricane coverage, bank robbery stories and finally, election reports. "Mr President, now that your opponenet has conceded, do you think that you will be eating him ?" I can't believe that it has not shown up in Iraq stories over the past three years (Shihites feast on slain G.I.'s) but I suppose in a culture where pork is not eaten, it would be quite a stretch to accuse someone of eating a man.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cartoon Network

Mills of the gods

The Cartoon Network (a cable channel) has announced that it is editing all smokers out of its cartoon archieves. I doubt that that there have been many smokers in cartoons of late. I never saw Sponge Bob light up (of course it is hard too strike a match under water). Many years ago, and we are talking more than 40 years ago, cartoon figures would smoke. Fred and Wilma Flinstone, along with their neighbors, the Rubbles were smokers, even if only in ads. But everyone smoked in those days, Ricky Ricardo, Andy Taylor, Rob Petrie, even Jed and Granny Clampett. The Cartoon Network has stated that it will not edit out images of cartoon villians smoking cigars. I recall that Popeye archenemy Bluto used to smoke cigars, some of Mighty Mouse's enemies smoked cigars, I recall Daffy Duck lighting up a cigar now and then, although it usually exploded, burning his face and turing his beak around to where it was displayed on the back of his head. There was no mention in the coverage of this story as to whether exploding cigars will be edited.

There is no doubt that smoking is dangerous.I applaud the Network for this censorship, but I can't help thinking that they have not gone far enough, so I have sent them the following letter.

Dear Cartoon Network Folks,

Thank you so much for editing smoking out of your cartoons. Millions of people would be alive today if this act had been taken a half a century ago. There is a great deal more that you can do in the interest of public safety. I have reviewed a sample of your cartoons over the past couple of days and make the following suggestions for editing.

1. Anvils-It has been my experience from watching your cartoons that if an anvil is dropped from a heighth of say, a tall cliff and lands on the head of someone, say, a coyote, that the victim will be smashed flat, but will be able seconds later to pop back out again with no apparent injury. This leaves the mistaken impression to children that they risk no serious, or at no least longterm injury ,by dropping anvils on each others heads. I wish you would review this.

2. Dynamite-dynamite shows up a lot in your cartoons. It has not been my experience in real life that dynamite is not as prevelant as you would have us believe, but perhaps I just don'tt know where to look. At any rate, dynamite in your cartoons, often does nothing more than break the victim into little pieces, only to allow him to reasssemble for the next scene. This is sending a false image to children regarding the permanance of being blown up. In point of fact, you do not reassemble. Ever.

3. Running on air-It is not possible, once you have run off a cliff to turn around and run back on the air. In point of fact, since Newton, science has known that what actually happens to you after running off a cliff is that you will plunge to your death.

4. Cannons- Mo matter how accurate the cannon, you can not shoot a hole through an individual and keep that individual alive and perfectly well, except for a large hole in the trunk area of his body. In real life, the person (or rabbit) would go into shock and bleed to death.

5.Shotguns_The best defense against a shotgun blast is not bending the barrell back so that the shooter blasts himself in the face. There is just not enough time or ready equipment for such a manuver.

There are endless other dangers lurking in your vaults, but you get the general idea. If we are trying to keep kids safe, lets not stop with cigarettes.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Real News

Mills of the gods

The editors of the major newspapers in the country struggled last night with what the headlines should be. On the one hand, it is now clear that Iran is going to go ahead with its fuel enrichment program as they merrily waltz down the path to manufacturing plutonium weapons. On the other hand, Jon Mark Karr flew home from Thailand, literally eating pate and sipping champagne in business class. Cable news networks now report that he was in Thailand seeking a sex change (to what ?) which is just another little interesting tidbit for us all to chew on. He was allowed to do his bright red shirt and tie, as well as brush his hair (according to his escorts) before facing the cameras and the United States Customs service (regarding his passport revocation). He will go to jail on his parole violation and actually may find some prison activities vfery much to his liking.

So what would you rather read about with your morning coffee ? The potential nuclear destruction of the middle east or the bizzare criminal/sexual ambiguities of a fellow American citizen who may, or may not be lying about his role in the death of a child ten years ago. You are a loser any way you go.The days of good news appear to be over for awhile. Ah for the days when all we had to worry about was fellatio in the Oval Office.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Not JonBenet II

Mills of the gods

No sooner had someone confessed to the JonBenet killing than millions of reporters, virtually all of them working with 24 hour cable news channels began the speculation that the defendant was lying. False confessions are a problem here (and I assume everywhere else, Thailand included) and so I suppose the fellow could be lying. How many false confessions are there ? No one knows for sure, but a study of a decade of murder investigations in a single Illinois county found 247 confessions or signifigant admissions against interest that had proved to be false. Amazing. In all my life it has never crossed my mind to confess to anything I did not do. I have been too busy denying the things that I did do. Yet there are lots and lots of people out there willing to own up to murders they had nothing to do with. Are they that lonely ? That desperate for attention ? Do they really think they did it ? I learned a long time ago that the country is full of nut cases. I was looking at a polling sample that was being done for a trial I was participating in and noticed that about 7% of the answers were wacky, just off the wall, the kind you'd expect to hear froma a raving lunatic. The pollsters I was working with explained to me that about 7% of any sample of the american public shows answers like that. They explained it as the very paranoid, conspiracy buffs. They told me that about 7% of the population believes that the government orders everything printed in the newspaper or said on television. But that kind of paranoia is different (it seems to me) than the nuttiness that will cause someone to confess to a murder that they did not commit. That has real consequences. I assume that the state of Colorado has the death penalty.

Still, I suppose it is possible. The guy sure looks screwy. He has had a rather unbalanced life up until now. It could all be a set up by the news folks to get some interesting stories. The "Run away Bride" from a couple of years ago was actially contacted by a cable reporter to try to get her to run away again during a slow news cycle. The Mel Gibson story has played out and the cease fire may hold in Lebanon. The guy does look familair. He could be that thin guy that used to play the wig master on Seinfeld. That guy is not working, we may be trying to get back in the game this way.Best to be prepared for anything.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mills of the gods

Not JonBennet

It is JonBennet all day. I did not follow the story for the first ten years, so I should not write about it now. Although I will say that America has a new face of creepiness if these pictures of the suspect from Thailand are accurate. The poor fellow (perhaps soon to be dead fellow) certainly seems to have pedophile written all over him. Have you ever wondered about these guys who look like they could be nothing but criminals ? did anyone ever willingly wait on Charles Manson at a department store ? Men can just look evil. women don't, people say they look slutty, which is the female insult which somewhat coincides with the male "creepy", although they mean two very different things.Women are always criticizing other women for looking slutty. When was the last time you thought a man looked slutty ? When was the last time you said, "you can just tell from that womans face that she is a mass murderer ?" I personally think that there are lots of women murderers walking around, but no on suspects them because they don't appear to be evil. They just blend in with all the other women in the world.The murder rate clearance in the United States is probably still about 66%. In other words, a third of the murders in the U.S. are unsolved (this is not too bad, your chances of getting away with murder in Guayna are better than 9 out of 10). So if a third of the murder rate is unsolved, could it be that most of these people are women ? Men get picked up on suspicion all the time, at least on television. Women never get hauled down to the station for questioning on these shows.Although hookers get badgered for what they know, again, because they look like sluts I guess. Women are only the murderers on T.V. when it is a last minute surprise ending. "Oh my God, you mean that it was her ?" Usually they try to throw you off on those shows with a particularly creepy looking male suspect who lurks around the show for the first 45 minutes. In fact, I think that we get our views on what looks creepy from T.V. shows. Before T.V. ,Charlie Manson would have probably looked like just another dude who needed a shave.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ceres makes a come back

Mills of the gods

Apparently responding to the unremitting pressure from literally dozens of blogers, the Astronomical convention meeting in Prauge appears ready to back down on demoting the Planet Pluto from its planetary status.

But the relief of Science Fair Judges everywhere is short lived. There is now a proposal to add three new planets to the solar system, making the millions of solar system models and mobiles made for fairs and projects over the last seventy five years totally incorrect.One of the proposed new planets is Ceres. Back in the early 19th century, Ceres was a planet. It stayed a planet for about half a century and was demoted to an asteroid by Sir William Herschel because of its size and lack of "disc like" appearance. Well it may have been a small planet, but it was one big damn asteroid, making up about 50% of the mass of all asteroids.God only knows how Ceres has suffered over the past century and a half from its demoted status. The redheaded step child of the solar system, the planet that could not cut it.

This rush to make Ceres a planet again appears to me to be a left handed compliment at best. A still living Astronomer recently discovered a planet like object (nicknamed Xena after the famous syndicated television show starring Lucy Lawless) and the convention wants to make it a planet. But it can't be a planet unless Pluto stays a planet and Ceres reclaims its planet hood. Things would be just too inconsistent. Ironically, Pluto would not only stay a planet, but one of it's moons would become a planet under the new system.This is unfair to our moon, the object closest to us and the moon all other moons were named after. The only moon with an American flag flying over it and the subject of thousands of beautiful ballads. It also slights some moons of Saturn which are pretty damn big objects, at least one of which may support life. What do you have to do to get these guys to make you a planet ? It is all politics, planetary politics. It is not what you are, it is who you know.At any rate, I see a long period of adjustment coming up. If I was participant in a science fair, I'd go with the baking soda volcano this year.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Mills of the gods

One small step for oops.................

I was proud to read this morning that NASA has lost 700 boxes of the original recordings of the Apollo Moon landings (anyone check e-bay ?). I am glad to see that this country works just like my house, where valuable items are tossed in a box or a junk drawer so that they can not be retrieved when they are really needed. You would think that the original tape of the first moon landing would have been sent to the Smithsonian. People that know how to keep things in order. But no, it was just thrown in a box. If the tapes are anything like normal tapes of this kind, they are probably in the process of disintegration.

What does bother me about this is that it gives credence to all of those crackpots that say we never really went to the moon in the first place. Where are the original tapes to prove it ? "Uh, we lost them" or better, " My dog ate our moon tapes".How do we know that the whole thing was not produced on a sound stage in the Mojave desert ?

Perhaps they will turn up. Things like that usually do. Before the days when you printed airline tickets off of the internet, I used to lose them in my office with great regularity. I would call the airline panic stricken and I was always told "they usually turn up" and they usually did. So keep looking NASA, I may send my wife to help you. she can't go to sleep until a missing item is found, no matter how unimportant the item. She comes with her own flashlight, and everyone there better be prepared to help her and not watch TV or read while the search is on.Anyway, good luck NASA and remember, you always find it in the last place you look.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The fate of Pluto

Mills of the gods

2500 astronomers are meeting in Prauge this week to try to work out a definition of planets. This upsets me. Even though they are astronomers, I don't understand why that gives them the right to tell me what is a planet and what is not a planet. If 2500 botanists met and decided that apples were not fruits, but vegetables, I would not pay any attention to them. why should I pay attention to these guys ?

All of this is part of a plot to get Pluto removed from the planet list. Astronomers have been trying to do this for 75 years. Well I for one, say leave Pluto alone. So it's small, so it's orbit is odd, so it is far away, it has a couple of moons ! How can something that has moons not be a planet ? If it is not a planet, then the two objects revolving around it can not be moons ! What the hell are they then ? chopped Liver ? If Pluto is not a Planet, do you realize how many "science projects" of our solar system, made over the past three quarters of a century will have to be regraded ? You can't have an A if you have got an extra planet up there. besides, Pluto was one of the easier plantes to recall when given a science test on the solar system. I recall one test where I forgot Neptune and Uranus, but I never forgot Pluto, the only planet named after a cartoon character.

How I forgot Uranus I'll never know. If there's one thing I should remember, it's Uranus. That planet has been the butt of all planetary jokes since its discovery. If they are going to drop a planet, they ought to drop Uranus. But they won't, because then the 2500 astronomers could not make Uranus jokes at their convention. So they will go after Pluto, harmless little Pluto sitting out there in the Kuiper belt, in all of its icy dwarfishness, never causing any trouble. That is what they want to call it now, an "icy dwarf" The whole name is politically incorrect, they will have to change it to icy "little person" and once they do that it will confuse everyone. "Look, there's Pluto, the Icy Little Person."Can't wait to see the sol;ar system models then.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mike Douglas

Mills of the gods

So Mike douglas is dead, and everyone under 35 says, who ? Mike was an afternoon talk show host beteen the 60s and the 80s. He was in syndication and , this was sort of an early day Oprah or Tony Danza (if that show is still on). He had a guest host for the week and that was sometimes mildly entertaining. His work with John and Oko was somewhat famous at the time because they were the antithesis of everything mike sttod for. Actually, I never liked his show as well as that of his afternoon rival Merv Griffin. Merv's greatest moment was calling down Joan Baez for referring to Richard Nixon, then the President of the United States, as "mentally retarded". Joan was wrong about that, but "psychotic" might have passed muster.

Anyway, I had to go to two funerals last week and I am really starting to feel old. Imagine that you are in your 20s now and in 40 years Oprah Winfrey dies, and all the young people you know say, who was that ? It makes you feel irrelevant. It makes you double your VH-1 viewing so that you can at least understand somethings people are talking about, even if you are still three or four steps behind. I watched some show on VH-1 celebtating the 90s this week, hell that stuff just happened !How can you make nostalgia out of that ?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Trials of the Sexually Deviant

Mills of the gods

A local Federal Judge is resisting accepting a plea of guilty from a 20 year old college student charged with obtaining and distributing child pornography. Since I have not heard that the young man is selling the stuff, I assume that "distributing" means forwarding child pornography over the internet to like minded people.The FBI raided his house and found a bunch of pictures on his hard drive.It is pretty unusual for a Judge to not accept a guilty plea in Federal court. The real sticky issue in the case is that the boy is the son of a former state Supreme Court Judge in Texas. I assume the two Judges know each other (I have met and practiced before both of them, I don't know how they would not know each other). So there will be cries of favoritism if the young man ends up somehow walking this. I have to say though, this is an upsetting situation. If the boy has some type of obsessive compulsive pornography habit for which he can seek help for, and if his crimes are limited to looking at pictures and forwarding to "friends", is the country better off by following Federal Sentencing guidelines and sending him to prison for seven years and then making him register as a sex offender for the rest of his life ? I keep hearing that you can't cure pedophiles, but does that apply to pornographic viewers and well as little boy sodomizers ? Nothing is more despicable than child pornography. It should not be protected by the first amendment because every picture necesssarily involves the abuse of an individual who has not reached the age of consent. No one can defend it to me in any way, shape or form. Does that mean that every college student who looks at it, and passes it on needs to go to the Federal Penitentiary for years and have his life ended by having to register as a sex offender ? It just seems like a harder question to answer than the law makes it.I have sympathy for the Federal Judge who has to make the call.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

No liguids, no IPODS

Mills of the gods

So it looks like we are headed to Gatoradeless flights. And if we ban IPODS from planes, the world may just about end.I am going to be interested in how long it takes people in this country to start calling for drastic(military) measures against the middle east populace in general. I think the $5.00 a gallon gasoline we are about to see in California may cause the kind of rioting that will get our governments attention.Of course, that is more of a British Petroleum Problem than a middle east problem. Ah, the irony of that great colonialist company causing an oil shortage all these years after they were kicked out of the middle east. You'd think a company that big would service a pipeline more than once every 18 years. Maybe they thought that it was too cold in Alaska for the pipes to corrode.

At any rate, I look for the general population to start pushing the administration to do something tougher.Like invade Iran. How moralistic is this nation ? If we asked the public to vote on whether they would rather invade Iran and get $2.00 a gallon gasoline, or do nothing and watch it go to $10.00, how would Americans vote ?I have a sneaky suspicion that most folks would vote for the cheap gas. I hope I'm wrong, but I just sense frustration at the whold world flying apart at the seams.Seems like it is about time for another major hurricane to hit and destroy something on the gulf coast. That is about all I could envision to complete this rotten summer.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sobering news

Mills of the gods

A Las Vegas Judge declared a mistrial in a kidnapping case yesterday because he suspected that the defense lawyer was drunk. The lawyer claimed to have a head injury but then said he had been drinking the night before. He also apparently implied that the woman with him was a long time girl friend and she turned out to be a woman he had met twenty minutes before in a "Bar/coffee shop". We don't have those in Texas, a real advantage in Vegas.

The Judge, of course, made too much of this.I have known many trial lawyers who were better drunk than most lawyers are when sober.There is no inherent disadvantage to a kidnapper (uh, alleged kidnapper) being defended by a drunk lawyer, if he was drunk, and the proof of drunkeness looks pretty slim to me. His blood alcohol content would have let him legally drive. He was slurring his words (sure he'd probably been out all night, that's not a crime) and the fact that he lied about his woman companion puts him in the company of about 50% of the trial lawyers I know. What's the big deal ?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Nobelest Profession

Mills of the gods

The best thing about being a lawyer is that someone in my profession does something, almost daily, to amuse or outrage the public. Somehow, Antoine Yates of New York managed to hire a lawyer to file a suit against New York City and its police deparment for illegally searching his fifth floor apartment when it happened to find his full grown alligaotor (Al) and his adult tiger (Ming). A neighbor had reported Mr Yates to the police because they heard his screaming coming from his apartment. Yates answered the door badly mauled, but convinced the police that a pit bull had bitten him. On the way out, the family who reported the incident said that their daughter had been shown a full grown tiger living in the apartment and that copious amounts of tiger urine had dripped through their ceiling from above.

Upon further investigation, the Police found not only the tiger, but also the previously mentioned 8 foot alligator. They arrested Mr. Yates for reckless endangerment of the community. He sued because when he returned from jail there was an amount of money and a rabbit missing from his apartment. It was probably the missing rabbit which lead the Judge to dismiss the case. What is the life expectancy of a rabbit sharing a fifth floor apartment with a tiger and an alligator ? Can you imagine how desperate a lawyer would have to be to take a case like that ? Judge, we want to be compensated by the city for the loss of our rabbit ?

The most intriguing part of the case was the report of copious amounts of tiger urine draining into the 4th floor. How long did that family put up with that ? Can you imagine how much a full grown tiger must urinate a day ? I won't even go into what the smell on the fifth floor must have been. And how big are these New York apartments ? I have a golden retreiver that is too big for my house ? I can't imagine where I'd stash an alligator and a Tiger.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Mills of the gods

I see where Madonna is having her self crucified in her latest concert tour, complete with a cross and a crown of thorns. She did it in Rome yesterday after inviting the Pope to come view it. I guess some lapsed Catholics still have a lot of anger to deal with. Maybe Madonna was molested as a child by a Priest. Maybe she has suffered because of that Church's stands on abortion and/or contraception. Or maybe she simply knows what sells tickets to a concert.Wonder what Mel Gibson thinks of all of this ? I guess we won't hear from him ,as he is in rehab dealing with his problem. I did not know that they had rehab for anti-semites, but it is a good idea. Are all the meals Kosher ? Between Mel and Madonna we now have a good deal of the religious community up in arms. I have not heard much from the Protestants on this, but they are all probably too busy waiting for the rapture now that the fighting in the Middle East has intensified. Do you think they are advising Bush to work against a cease fire because to do so would forstall the second coming ? Perhaps Madonna is the Anti-Christ and all the propehcies are coming together ?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Give me(back) the finger

Mills of the gods

I returned from a weeks vacation today to find that Jeff Blum of Yonker's New York had the most viewed video this weekend on the CNN web site. He had come to the aid of his sister, who was being slapped around by his brother in law, when his enraged in law turned on him, put his finger in his mouth, and bit it off. Jeff got somewhat upset about the loss of his finger (it was a good one, an index) so he came at his brother in law, who then stuffed the finger in his mouth, ran into his car and locked the door where, according to Jeff, he proceeded to chew on it (the finger, not the door). When the Police arrived they demanded to know where Jeff's finger was. He related that it was in the mouth of his brother in law who was sitting locked in his car. The Police retrieved the finger and gave it back to Jeff who took it to the hospital.I assume they took the brother in law to jail, although details are sketchy. The finger could not be reattached, according to Jeff, because it was lost through a human bite. I did not really understand that aspect of the story. I doubt it matters what animal bites off your hand, it probably just matters how clean the severing was. The fact that Jeff saw the finger being chewed for over 'three minutes" probably had a lot to do with the finger's replacement chances. Anyway, nothing good has come out of Yonkers, New York in over a century.Possibly nothing since the Hudson River Valley painting movement. if someone were to tell me the story of Jeff Blum and his lamented thumb, and then asked me, "where do you think that happened ?" I would have hit upon Yonkers within three or four guesses (Camden, New Jersey, Gary, Indiana and just about any county in east Texas would also have been good guesses). I have yet to figure out if only crazy people go to those places, or if those places can just make anybody crazy. It does not matter. There are places in this country to avoid, if you want to keep all of your fingers, and right now, Yonkers is at the top of the list.