Friday, December 29, 2006

Put it on the shelf

Mills of the gods

It is reported that a giant "ice shelf"has broken loose, or, in the dramatic words of the Associate Press "snapped free" from Canada's Arctic. In order to get really worried about this event, you need to know what an ice shelf is, which I did not. Turns out that an ice shelf is a thick floating platform of ice that juts out into the ocen from a glacier. This particular "shelf" has been around for about 3,000 years which, in geologic time, does not strike me as that big a deal, but seems to be worrying climatologists plenty.

The ice shelf was described as the size of 11,000 football fields. Let us linger over that description a moment. First of all, the damn thing was in Canada and under Canadian football rules, the football field is much bigger than here in the United States. Was it 11,000 Canadian Fields or U.S. Fields ? Second, while I occasionally see football fields as a unit of measure (apparently done for the convenience of American men who can only visualize length in the form of first downs, or holding penalties) I have never seen it used for more than about three football fields. In other words, something your average fan can visualize. The average fan can no more visualize 11,000 football fields than he can 110,000 holding penalties measured from the spot of the foul. It is just a dumb description. I had to read through two pages of the article until I found out that the shelf was 41 square miles. Now that's a description. And it was described in miles too, not just kilometers, so I have a pretty good handle of how to visualize it in my mind. It is like someone dropped a solid ice mass on Austin that extended about to San Marcos in the south, Luling in the east, Lampassas in the west and almost to Belton in the north. That's a lot of ice. It is also a lot of football fields, but who gives a shit ? I can see ice dropping on that land area. I can't imagine anyone taking the time to outline 11,000 football fields over it, Canadian or otherwise.

At any rate, in a world where we knew within minutes that George Clooney's pot bellied pig died, it took 16 months for anyone to notice this cataclysmic event. 16 months. While you were on vacation in august of 2005, 11,000 iced football fields "snapped free" from Elesmere Island in Canada. The explanation ? "no one was present". If an ice shelf cracks in the Arctic and no one is there does it make a sound ? Hell yes. Earthquake Monitors 250 Kilometers away (I don't know how far away that is in football fields) picked it up. Why are we just now getting around to checking ? One explanation may be the group up north who is in charge. "The Canada Ice Service". And they say we have beaurucrats down here. The government in Ottawa has a whole service devoted to ice. That's a big job. You try monitoring every hotel ice machine in Toronto. You don't have a lot of time to mush on up to Ellesmere Island and check out earth quake sounds. It took a satellite (and I bet it was a US satellite) to finally uncover the event.

The scientist from Laval University (whose team is playing in today's Music City Bowl against Kentucky) "could not believe what he saw". What he probably could not believe was that he had to inform the Canadian government that while he was sawing fishing holes in Lake Ontario, two Augusts ago, 41 square mile ice islands were starting to float around in the Beaufort Sea, meaning that all Canadian maps have been wrong for the last year and a half, and that the shipping lanes there had at least one more fairly large impediment. "We are losing our ice shelfs" was how the fellow summed it up. No, you lost one. There are only three places in the world with ice shelves, Canada, Greenland and Antarctica, so if you want to see one, you'd better move fast. For all the world knows, they all broke free in the last year and a half. Has anyone checked the other shelves since we found out about losing this one ? Or is it business as usual in the halls of the Canadian Ice Service? Here's a nation that brags about its' free health care and cheap prescription drugs, but it does not notice when 41 miles of its' territory floats away.

So Global Warming claims another victim. I wonder if Al Gore has ever considered moving to Canada ? He'd be a shoe in for Prime Minister.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Mills of the gods

Gerald R Ford died yestrday. I had forgotten that the R stood for Rudolph. I guess it is fitting that he died during the Christmas season. Ford is the sterling example of how hard it is to be considered a great man in this country. Here is a guy who was adopted, grew up to be a great football player and student at the University of Michigan, worked his way through Yale law school. Went into the Navy and then became one of the most esteemed Congressmen of the 20th Century. Due to circumstances unlikely to be repeated in our life times, he was appointed Vice President and then became President upon the resignation of Richard Nixon. Yet there are few in this country who would consider him a great man.He was so esteemed by his Countrymen that he almost lost his bid to be renominated by his own party and then was defeated by a peanut farmer, one term Governor of Georgia, largely because he did the right thing by pardoning Nixon, and then said the wrong thing about Poland in a televised debate. That peanut farmer managed to turn into one of the worst Presidents this country has ever had, and that says a lot. No, not as bad as the present guy, but pretty bad.While few thought him Jerry, few disliked him. Everyone was relieved that he suvived two assination attempts, one by the immortal "Squeaky" Fromm. He also survived several falls, one from the ladder of an airplane. He had a penchant for hitting golf balls into the gallery and beaning onlookers and he never met a sentence that he couldn't stumble over. He was married to an alcoholic with a drug addiction problem, but that all turned out all right in the end.Many movie stars have benefitted from the Betty Ford Clinic.

Once, a long time ago, my friend Bruce Bennett found out that Jerry was giving a speech for some local Congressman at the VFW Hall in Williamson County. Bruce and I drove out and joined a crowd of maybe 100 people to hear him speak. While it was hardly the Gettysberg Address we heard, it is one of my fondest political memories. I remember Bruce rushing up to shake Gerald's hand. I wondered how many times his hand had been shaken in VFW halls all over the country. How many crappy chicken dinners he had eaten, how often he'd had to debase himself by asking for money from some plutocrat. I guess it was worth it. He ended up splitting his time between his place in Vail and the one in Palm Springs over the last 30 years of his life. He probably did not get back up to Grand Rapids very much after he left the White House.He was the first Prseident to sell his speeches. Nixon never did it. I don't know about Reagan, but Bush I and Clinton make at least $100,000 a speech now. They owe that to Jerry paving the way for prostituiting the Presidency.They ought to chip in and pay for the funeral.

So you and I will pay a little less in taxes next year since a couple of secret servicemen won't be needed to guard Jerry. I will miss him. I don't think there was ever a time in my life when I thought ill of him. I see him now, his WIN button in his lapel, rolling up his sleeve to get a swine flu shot,wearing a big funny Russian hat at Vladivostok, smoking his pipe. When was the last time you saw someone smoke a pipe ? He was all right, Jerry was. He may not have been great, but he was all right. That puts him ahead of most Presidents.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Pardon Me

Mills of the gods

The President, both yours and mine issued 16 pardons yesterday. The pardon is one of the better powers a President has at his/her disposal. He is entitled to pardon any one for any Federal Crime he wants, no matter how henious. Most people have already forgotten the last scandal of the Clinton administration, when Bill left office pardoning everyone who had managed to get arrested during his eight years in office. The first President Bush pardoned former Secretary of Defense Cap Weinberger for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal, and of course the big enchilada of pardons happened when Gerald R. Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for any crimes he committed while serving as President. The all time most famous pardon in history was Pontius Pilot's thumbs up for Barabas, although Pilot could claim that he had just acted on popular will, something Gerald Ford could not claim.Unfortunatly for Ford, he, unlike Pilot, had to run for reelection and the Nixon pardon certainly contributed to his defeat by Jimmy Carter (who in just four years pardoned 563 applicants, most of them from south of the Mason-Dixon line). I don't know if the peanut man would have pardoned his old head of OMB, Bert Lance. Bert had risen to that job based on his sterling performance as President of the Calhoun National Bank.Six months into his term, serious questions were raised against Lance for corruption that took place in the Calhoun Bank (perhaps by Kingfish) while Bert was Chairman. He beat the rap in a trial and later went on to be accussed of even more financial hanky panky in the BCI scandals of the 80s and 90s. Bert was a banker for all seasons and scandals.

In comparison with these monumental felonies, the Bush II pardon list is down right pedestrian. He pardoned a former Federal employe who had approved payment for office supplies in possible exchange for car parts, a radio and a freezer (no turkey ? ).He also pardoned a few assorted druggies whom I assume have made amends for their crimes by being regular contributors to the Republican party since the times of their unfortunate incarcerations.

Glaringly missing (if that is possible) from the pardon list was one Martha Stewart. Everyone knows that Martha never did anything illegal except trying to cover up her perfectly legal activites, which, under American law, gets you sent off to the clinker. It would have made a fantastic Holiday Special, "Home for the Holidays, Martha gets pardoned " . It would have boosted George's sagging fortunes, done the right thing by Martha, and provided a photo op with the cute tag line "George pardons Martha".They could have both worn old revolutinary war era costumes.

I have always thought that the way to undercut any Democrats candidacy for President would be to spread the rumor that he was prepared to pardon Roman Polansky, if elected. There are certain people that America won't forgive, no matter what, and,with the exception of Nixon, they are never pardoned.Mr Polansky will never be back in America.

The worst thing about getting a pardon is that one of the factors that the President considers is elapsed time since the crime. Most guys pardoned seem to have screwed up at least 20 years before. Like Marie Georgette Biere who has been out of prison for a quarter century and presumably living a nice quiet life. Then she gets pardoned, and every paper in the country identifies her as once having served time for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.Suddenly the neighbors are a bit more suspicious of old Aunt Georgette who lives down the block.

Despite this, pardons are a good thing. I think each of us, at the end of a year, should reflcct back on those who have upset us the past year and pardon them. Give them a clean slate for the coming year and expect only the best from them. As Sgt. Wojo once said on the Barney Miller show when asking for forgivness, "Forgivenes is divine........ be divine Barney ! "

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Next Great Suit

Mills of the gods

I am canceling my Christmas plans. I have decided to fly to New York to see if I can get hired by Donald Trump or Rosie O'Donnell in the coming slander action Trump is about to file. I found out this morning that these too fairly repulsive figures are screaming back and forth at each other over the public airways. O'Donnell, whom people forget started life as a stand up comedian, did a great physical impression of Trump on her show (the View). I saw a clip of it this morning. It was hilarious. Somewhere along the way she started really going after Trump for his hypocrisy in being the moral arbitrator in the latest Miss Universe scandal (girl from Kentucky moves to New York and becomes a drunken whore). The fact that anyone cares whether Miss. Universe is an underage alcoholic slut or not amuses me. The fact that Trump owns the Miss Universe pagent, a pagent based on parading bikini clad women of all nations past a world wide TV audience and a bunch of slobering judges probably tells you all you need to know about the guy.But Rosie had to gild the lily and claim he's been bankrupt several times and that he had left creditors out in the cold and that he only succeded because he had a millionaire father who died just in time to pull his Donald out of the fire. Some of that edges toward the truth, Rosie, not being a lawyer, just did not say it right. That's why she will be sued. Rosie's view, that Trump has been married with kids twice and then slipped off to have affairs and dumped his wife each time is probably known well enough to people that pay attention to that sort of thing (the major news agencies of the United States of America) to where those statements are not actionable. More's the pity, that makes for more fun in court than whether he or some entity of Trumps did take bankruptcy and leave some mom and pop shop holding the bag and in financial ruin, while he tooled around Atlantic City with Regis Philbin.And speaking of Philbin, viewers of that show are probably still upset at Rosie's accusations that Kelly Rippa is not only a hyperactive moron, but also homophobic because she worries about where Clay Akin's mouth has been. Don't we all ?

At any rate, it has all the makings of a great law suit and another chapter to be proud of in the history of the nation's jurisprudence. I don't care which one I represent, I just want in on it.

The real idiot in all of this is Barbara Walters, the View's creator, who put out a press release claiming that both combatants were "dear" to her.Barbara is old enough now to where she should have said that everyone knows that Rosie O'Donnel is a fat , loudmouth and that Donald Trump is a pomposus asshole and so none of this makes any difference, unless you happen to be some media suck up that works for Entertainment Tonight and spend about half of your time looking through the garbage cans over at George Clooney's house, or hoping to get a picture of Paris Hilton stepping out of a car withour underwear. But no, Barbara thinks she still has a few interviews in her and so can't afford Donald and his pals or the people that take the gay/lesbian cruises to be mad at her.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Christmas party

Mills of the gods

I guess I have been to well over 100 Christmas parties in my life. Probably more than 200, if you count school and work and neighborhood gatherings. My favorite Christmas party took place about 45 years ago, and was one to which I was not technically even invited. My parents had lived in an apartment complex at about the time of my birth. In that complex they had met a group of Mid Westerners that they hung around with. Each of these couples, the Nases, the Mussers and the Neesers had all moved out to the newly built neighborhoods of Southwest Houston, where my parents had located. All were WW II vets and their wives, taking part in raising the Baby Boom generation, of which my brother and I were apart.

These four couples established a rotaing monthly supper club. One weekend a month they would eat at each others houses and talk and joke about what every other World War II generation couple talked about at the other 100,000 supper clubs that were going on during any particular weekend and in any particular suburb. Every four months my parents number would come up and the group would meet at our house. The way the rotation was set up, it seems that we almost always had the December meal, and so, the Christmas party.

My brother and I liked it when the gang came over because it meant we got to eat Swanson frozen TV dinners on a tray in my parents roon in front of their TV. We were particularly fond of the fried chicken and roast turkey, although the mashed potatos could be a little inconsistent, depending on how frozen the meal had been, and how long our mom kept it in the oven.After we ate ,we'd watch T.V. for the rest of the night. We were expected to make one formal appearance in the living room to talk to the folks, and then as the evening wore on, one parent or another would wander by on the way to the restroom to chat with us. They were uniformly nice people, but all of them talked with those flat, nasal midwestern accents, that may as well have been Martian, as alien as they sounded to my southern ears. I was especially fond of the Neesers, Chuck and Barbara. Chuck was, how shall I say it, the least understated member of the whole group. In all the years I knew him, I never, ever, saw him without a smile. The guy was just happy. His wife was also very positive, she used to come back and sit on the bed and talk about what "Mr Neeser" was up to. I liked the way she always referred to her husband as "Mr Nesser" around us. Dean Musser was from a small town in Nebraska or Iowa, I forget which. He had a job with Mars Candy which, as a kid, really gets your attention. You may not understand engineers or accountants, but you sure as hell knew his product as well as anyone in the country. My father once confided in me that Musser would go far because he was in good with "Old man Mars". I was pretty impressed with that.Of the three variations of midwestern accents among the couples, the weirdest belonged to Vicki Nase. I found out when I got older that she talked strangly not because she was from the Midwest, but because she was just about deaf. But Vicki was great. She loved to come back and talk to my brother and I during the party, often after a couple of drinks. We really enjoyed her.

The particular Christmas party to which I alluded was a supper club Christmas Party which happened sometime in the early 1960s. No earlier than 1960 and no later than 1963. If I had to guess, I'd say 1962.Any Christmas party my mom and dad gave had a similair beginning. It involved a trip to the neighborhood liqour store. My father usually drank only beer. My mom seldom drank anything at all. So since there were few spirits in the house, my dad would head for the store to buy a bottle of bourbon, a bunch of mixes, and a jar of marishino cherries.He would always make my brother and I highballs out of one of the Canadian Dry mixes (tasted fruity) and a couple of cherries. We'd down them with the frozen dinners. I liked the smell of burbon and mixers around the house. In a day before liquor by the drink was sold in Texas, it was a heady experience to see these drinks being mixed. This particular group had no scruples about drinking.My brother and I would make our appearance about the time the first or second drink was being consumed, and an air of relaxation had descended upon the room. We'd then head back to the bedroom and listen in at times as the night wore on and the voices grew louder and louder.

This particular evening, my parents had just purchased an album for their RCA Stereo called the "Sing Along with Mitch Christmas album". Back in the early 60s, there was a show on T.V. starring a guy named Mitch Miller. Miller was the leader of a chorale group and the group would sing old favorite songs each week. The TV screen would feature words of the song so that the family at home could "sing along with Mitch." It was a very popular show. Mictch himself was a balding guy with a goatee who looked somewhat like an aging beatnick. The Christmas album not only contained seasonal favorites, but about half a dozen song sheets so that whoever listened to the album could join right in. The album was heavy on peppy non-religious tunes and kind of light on the church favorites.I recall Frosty, Rudolph, the various Santa Claus songs being among the group. At any rate, about 10:00 p.m., or there abouts, the four couples in the living room had consumed enough alcohol to where they could pretty comfortably sing along with Mitch. Presuming they could keep up with the words. As my dad put on the album, my mom passed out the song sheets, and in a short time, enthusiastic singing was coming from the living room. It being fairly late for my brother and I, I recall being almost asleep when the singing started. Both of us listened for awhile and stiffled our laughter over the various mistakes the group was making in each song. It also struck us that the men were not taking the singing as seriously as the women, or were perhaps, just drunker.

After four or five warm up songs, the Mitch Miller Band began to play the first strains of the "12 days of Christmas." This song was not a favorite of mine. I had only recently learned that the tree in the song I could never place, a "Partrdrginapear tree", was in fact a partridge in a pear tree.I thought that the song was too long and very boring, full of anachronistic language that never failed to give me a headache. But once Mitch and the boys started in, I closed my eyes and listened to the song.

The first few verses went along fine. In fact, almost quiet, as if perhaps the alcohol was now having a dulling effect. By the time Mitch got to "three French Hens " things were beginning to pep up, and,in fact, Chuck Neeser in particular, seemed to be warming to the verse. Neeser had a loud booming voice, even when he was quietly asking you about your school teacher. After maybe half a dozen bourbons he could become positively booming, especially, we learned, when singing. The fourth verse was sung in a rather rousing fashion, as if all knew that the climax of the song was near. I herard the flat nasal midwestern accent sing out "Four calling birds and then proceed down the list. Throughout the song my brother and I had been lying in the dark. I was unsure whether he was asleep or not as we approacched the true loves gift for the fifth day of Christmas. From out of the living room came a thundering Wisconsin sound that rattled walls and shot galsses ass it reverberated down the hall and into our room "FIVE GOLDEN RINGS". Both my brother and I were now up, eyes wide open, wondering at the unprecedented strains we had heard. Chuck Neeser had, through his singular interpretation of the the fifth verse, lifted the choir to unimaginable heights. Laughter punctured the sixth verse as the choir struggled to get through the six geese a laying, only to be immediatly greeted by "FIVE GOLDEN RINGS", this time, sung solo by Chuck as the rest of the group watched in amusement. After a few verses, Neeser began to drop out of some of the less exciting presents, choosing to focus his voice solely on the "FIVE GOLDEN RINGS". Both my brother and I were rolling on the bed, in fits of uncontrolable laughter, quieting each other only as the song would once again reach the fifth day which would send us, convulsed, falling back onto the bed. Throughout Pipers piping and ladies dancing, and I recall particularly the midwest accent on the "maids a milkin", Mitch and the supper club sang on. Sometimes Nesser was alone in his golden rings, sometimes he was joined by the other revelers. But the verse would only grow in volume. By the time Twelve Lords lept off the stage and the song wound down to its final crescendo, Neeser was able to summon one last monumental effort for the final Partride in a Pear tree. With that, the eight inebriated in the living room laughed as hard as my brother and I. It had been quite a performance. One that I would remember the rest of my life.

Finally we drifted off to sleep, and I suppose, the party wound down. The next morning my brother and I set off the hangovers of the parental units by marching into their bedroom and belting out "FIVE GOLDEN RINGS." For years afterword, each Christmas we talked about our memories of that song and that night. On two or three occassions, when the supper club Christmas Party was at another house, Barabara Neeser would call to let us know that the annual addition of Tweleve Days of Christmas was coming up and we would listen in over the phone. It was a nice tradition, and we appreciated it. But never again would the song be sung as it has been that night, although Chuck always gave it his best. The rendidtions were too artificial and lacked the spontanaity and perhaps the lubrication, of the original.

So that song and that night have stuck in my mind now for over forty years. And ever after , when I think of the joy of Christmas, no matter how many toys I got, or how many trees I decorated, or how many bourbons I myself drank , I am not sure that anything could quite equal the sound of those eight thirty something year old members of the greatest generation, singing along, as Mitch had intended them to do. No Christmas Carol since then has ever sounded so sweet, or meant quite the same thing, because you are only young once at Christmas. And only the young believe in magic.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Zip the Pinhead

Mills of the gods

A good friend of mine referred to the current President of the United States as a "pinhead" today. I told him that he must be the last guy in America to use that expression. In an effort to see if I was right I Googled the term "pinhead" and found an interesting Wikipedia article on Zip the Pinhead.

Zip was not a pinhead in the traditional sense. That is he was not a micropheliac (characterized by a small tapering cranium and impaired mental ability). Zip just had, well, a pin head. A head that did not grow as his body matured. Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that he was of average intelligence, and he was certainly not mentally deficent.

Fortunatly for Zip, back in the mid 19th century, you could make a pretty damn good living with just a pin head ,by displaying yourself. Zip's parents sold him to a circus, who in turn sold him to P.T. Barnum. The greatest and truest quote in American history is attributed to Barnum, "No man ever went broke by under estimating the taste of the public. " When Jerry Springer has midgets beating each other up on his show, he can trace a direct line back to Barnum.

Barnum named Zip "Zip the Pinhead" and actually told people that he was part of a tribe of "missing links" found in Africa. Barnum displayed him in a cage and had him shake the bars and run around growling. The Wikipedia article says that he was as popular as the original Siamese Twins.

He eventually went to work for Circus great John Ringling North in what used to be known as a "side show', or "freak show" where he met his long time friends Jim Traver, the Texas Giant, Jack Earle, the Tallest man in the world, and my personal favorite , Koo-Koo the bird girl. He worked in the show business for 67 years, a pretty good record, and was still working when he got bronchitis and died in the 20's. By then he held the respectable title "the Dean of Freaks". His funeral was attended by Madam Olga, the bearded lady and Frank Graf, the tatooed man, among others.

What really got my attention were his last words, "Well, we fooled 'em for a long time, didn't we ?" Somehow I think our current President, pinhead or not, probably said that back in November when all the votes came in.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Baby Huey meets his maker

Mills of the gods

Sid Raymond just died. Yeah, I did not know who that was either until I found out that he was the voice of many cartoon characters. Unlike Mel Blanc, whose characters were so famous that everyone knew him (Bugs, Daffy, Sylvester, Tweety, Speedy) Sid did mostly off Broadway characters. The four that were mentioned in his obituary were Baby Huey, Catnip (the cat in the old "Herman and Catnip cartoons) and Heckle and Jeckle. I find it interesting that Sid could do both Heckle and Jeckle but only Catnip of Herman and Catnip. Heckle and Jeckle looked and sounded exactly alike so I guess there was no sense in having two actors for the parts of the "talking magpies". Herman and Catnip were different species and so needed different voices. Actually, I don't recall CAtnip ever speaking at all. Each of the Herman & Catnip cartoons were the same, as foreshadowed by their theme song.

"Diddle didle dee, diddle diddle dey,
all the mice are feeling gay.
Diddle diddle dee, didddle diddle dey,
Hermans come to stay.

Diddle Diddle Dee, Diddle diddle doe
he's the bravest mouse we know.
Diddle diddle dee, diddle diddle die,
Herman's quite a guy.

When Catnip the Cat, sees Herman the Mouse.
Catnip, the Cat, packs his bag and leaves the House !

Diddle diddle dee, diddle, diddle dey
it's just like a Holiday!
Diddle diddle dee, diddle, diddle dey
Herman's come to stay."

Then the cartoon would open up with Catnip the cat terrorizing the mice who all lived together in a hole in the wall. Several mice would have narrowly escaped death (and being eaten) and would be sweating and breathing hard, feeling sorry for themselves, when Herman would, from out of nowhere, say something sarcastic. One of the dejected mice would yell, It's Cousin Herman" (actually he would say "Hoyman" and the other mice would gather around Herman and his suit case. The rest of the cartoon would focus on various tricks Herman would play on Catnip, most of which would have killed an ordinary cat. Catnip would always come back for more.

As stated above, I can't recall a word Catnip ever said other than eehwweeeeeeeeee !! when he was dropped in a big pot of boiling water or sawed in two by a chain saw.

Heckle and Jeckle had very distinctive, polite English accents. They always said nice things to each other while they were kicking the hell out of whichever foil was in that particular cartoon. Baby Huey, as I recall (he was a Giant baby duck) had sort of a dumb sounding voice, somewhere between a one year old's speech and that of the rather idiotic dog in those cartoons who was always saying "Which way did he go George, which way did he go ? ". I was never a fan of any of Mr Raymonds cartoons. Although I plan to do a search on him later today to see if there are any characters who were not mentioned in the obituary whom I might recall.

The old boy lived 97 years. Those Catnip cartoons were made in the 40s (I saw them on episodes of Cartoon Carnival as a child). Heckle and Jeckle probably reached their zenith in the 50s and 60's, as did Baby Huey.It must have been strange for this fellow to walk through his living room on Saturday mornings and hear his voice comming out of a fat duck, or seeing himself strapped on a log and cut in half by a buzz saw. It must have been quite a satisfying life in a lot of ways. I don't know if any of those old cartoons are ever shown anymore.They were made to be shown at the movies, back when every movie had a cartoon, a more civilized time. We move too fast now. We come in the theatre and march right out. Gone are the days when you'd show up on a Saturday morning and stay for 6 hours. More's the pity.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Brady v. Yahoo

Mills of the gods

In what is just the tip of the iceberg, Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England Patriots is suing Yahoo for using his picture in association with their Fantasy Football League. I have been waiting for this to happen. Yahoo has almost four and a half million fantasy players and I assume that you can more than double that for Leagues outside of Yahoo. The poor players have been drafted, without so much as a buy your leave, by hundreds of thousands of insurance salesmen, stockbrokers and bar tenders who watch their every move for 16 weeks and don't have the grace to give them a dime for their efforts. And fantasy baseball is even bigger. Can you imagine the revenue Mr Brady could make if he was given just a dollar for everyone who drafted him every year ? Why he'd be rich, O.K., richer. And the 12 year old kids who play the sport would learn early in life that there's no such thing as a free lunch. You want to draft Brady ?you pay the going rate pal.

Now some may complain that Brady's law suit involves only the use of his image on Yahoo, and that's true. But now that the camel's nose is under the tent there will be no turning back. I forsee many lawyers getting into the "fantasy agency " business.If I sign Brady with some fantasy league owner for a dollar, I deserve a dime. Tom would not begrudge me that. If I could get a hold of Brady and a few of the other stars I could be making some big time money. I bet there are a million people on the internet who would pay a dollar for one of the Manning boys. That is $100,000 to me right there. Of course this will change the nature of fantasy sports. I would negotiate no trade contracts for my players. I signed with a barber, why should my guy be shipped off to an electrician with no compensation what so ever ? These players are human beings with rights, not some pieces of meat to be traded around like trading cards.

No, Mr Brady may well be on to something here. I am putting in a call to Vince Young right now.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Excess of Riches

Mills of the gods

I tried to do a blog yesterday, but I kept getting a message that the "blogger was experiencing problems, an engineer has been notified". It was the last part of the message that intrigued me. Do you think they got tired of getting messages from people SCRERAMING "did you call a god damned engineer ? " whenever they got the "experiencing difficulties" message. Back when television did not come through a cable, but through the sky onto an antena on your roof, there were lots of technical difficulties. The TV station would put up a sign that was either a Chief of a Native American trive, or sometimes a humorous little stick figure man examing a plug that had been pulled out of socket. Sometimes those signs would be on your screen for hours. In the days of only three TV stations that meant that 1/3 of your entertainment was gone and, often it was the only 1/3 you cared about.

I wanted to blog yesterday because there was so much to blog about. I never really decided which story to pick on, but here is a list that CNN had on their site yesterday and some comments on the headlines (I never got around to reading the story)

Taco Bell pulls onions in e-coli scare- Thank god. Finally somethjing I don't like is being pulled. Onions have been the bane of my existence since I first tasted one on a Hamburger when I was four or five. I never understood how the onion got so popular. Maybe it will turn out that all the onion fields have e-coli problems and I won't have to constantly take back food that I clearly ordered with "no onions". There was a waiter at the old El Patio restaraunt in Houston who used to love to repeat my order . "Enchiladas with no onions please" "Enchiladas with no onions...maybe". He was right.

FreshTeams join hunt for missing dad-I found out this morning that the "dad" mentioned in the headline has now been found dead. A brief headline "dad's pants found" was on some news site yesterday, but I did not check into the story. The fact that they had found his pants did not sound like good news at all. My father was always a big believer in "everyone sticking together and no one running off". I thought about that when this guy who had made a wrong turn and been stuck in a car for nine days with his family. decided to go look for help. He did not follow my dad's advice and his family was found, but not him. I would not have followed my dad's advice either, but I would have set out at least a week earlier.

Glue Problems could gum up space shuttle- Glu problems ? They glu that thing together ? What kind of a program are we running. ?All I know about the shuttle is we have flown no where except low earth orbit for a quarter of a century and managed to lose 14 people doing it.


Anti-Bush "Bat signal"ticks off neighborhood-I wish I had read this story. Did someone really come up with a search light, like the old Bat Signal and put an anti-bush picture on it ? That really sounds cool. Although even as a kid I thought that the bat signal was pretty damn low tech. That was the best Gotham city could come up with when they needed the caped crusader ? What if he was asleep ?

Oprah has lost her way, gone white, rapper says- This does not sound like a new story. It seems to me that I have seen rappers complaining about Oprah before. I don't know what the guy meant by "going white". How does one "go white" ? Oprah Winfrey is one of the richest people in the world. The only thing I have ever noticed her going is "green". But then again, I've never liked any version of Oprah so I guess I should have read the story.

Bat in Chritmas Tree bites woman- This is one I really should have read. I like the juxtaposition of a merry family evening with people popping popcorn, stringing lights and listening to Nat King Cole, when suddenly a swarm of bat take off from deep inside the branches of the Blue Spruce, knocking ornaments here and yon, and one goes directly to the mother of the house and bites her.Children panic and run around in a serpentine fashion to try to escape the rabid terrors of the night. Dad pulls out a shot gun and starts blasting, shooting instead the nativity scene by the fireplace and scattering pieces of "Three Kings" all over the fire place tools and small pile of wood.Finally, sister comes forward and beats a bat to death with a copy of the beloved "Night Before Christms" while her family cowers in the kitchen. Bet that's just how it happened.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Light my Fire

Mills of the gods

I was intrigued by the story coming out of Atlanta this weekend about the woman who tried to set her boyfriend's groin on fire. She managed to burn him over 50% of his body, and burn herself very badly in the process. That is the chance you take when you pour gasoline on someone's penis and light a match. I thought that this was a very odd story until I googled "set her boyfriend on fire" and found out that it is as common as any other assault. I found our about a girl in Montreal who set her boyfriends penis on fire. I found out about a Milwaukee woman who died in an attempt to set her boyfriend on fire. I found out about a Longview , Texas woman who tried to set her boyfriend on fire. it happens all the time.

The girl in Montreal used Fondue oil which was a nice touch. Gasoline, however, seems to be the preffered starter fluid for setting your boy friend ablaze. How come I have never heard of this ? CNN made a big deal out of the Atlanta story, perhaps because CNN is based in Atlanta.But these others went under my radar screen. My guess ? Male Editors.

What male in his right mind would allow bunch of stories to be spread about women lighting their boyfriends on fire ? Especially those which tartgeted the groin. We need todown plat these stories as much as possible. Ever since John Wayne Bobbitt woke up clipped a few years ago, no man has had a real good nights sleep. But setting you on fire ? I may never sleep again.