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Monday, August 29, 2005

The Awfulness of the MTV Awards

Didn't watch much of the show last night, but what I saw was painful to view. At one point I turned on the TV to find "Diddy" (the P was getting between him and his fans--kind of like R. Kelly) pretending to conduct an orchestra in the background of a Notorious BIG rap. It was horrible. I think Snoop Dogg was involved too.

Later on I clicked over and saw (Don't Call Me Lil') Bow Wow comparing bling with Paris Hilton. Neither one of them was intelligible, and I consider myself at least roughly conversant in ebonics/slang. I'm not one to dis the culture as trashy, but this was Sodom and Gomorrah type schlock last night. I found myself wishing Katrina had obliterated Miami after all.

And to think, I used to like the MTV Awards years ago. Another sign I'm getting old.

One other point I've wanted to make is the travesty of the "MTV2 Award." What is up with the segregation of music? It seems like all of the good stuff has been migrated to that channel anyway, so maybe it's for the best.

UPDATE: Just checked who actually won stuff. How can Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" be the best video of the year, and yet lose the best pop video category to Kelly Clarkson?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Reason #34,762 Why the NCAA Is a Joke

USC Quarterback Matt Leinart is enrolled in one class this semester as he seeks to lead the Trojans to a national championship three-peat. That class? Ballroom dnacing. Student athletes, my ass.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Bloggers Write Lots of Emails

I just checked the yahoo account and there are about a dozen or so messages in the last day from people going back and forth about creating a big site to involve lots of progressive Massachusetts bloggers. I am on the CC for it all probably because the originator of the list doesn't realize I don't live in MA any more. It would be kinda cool to read such a site, especially with next year's governor's race.

Anyway, I thought I'd post something since I haven't been present online of late. The real world is keeping me busy these days. Plus it's August, not exactly the hottest news month on the calendar. So let's just pretend I did all those "Cindy Sheehan is right!", "John Roberts has scary views!", "Bush takes too much vacation!" and "Pat Robertson is crazy!" posts, and I'll get around to really doing such posts as soon as my schedule allows.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Blogger for Word Test

This is a test of the new Blogger for Word feature. I’m typing in Microsoft Word. Let’s see if it posts correctly.    

UPDATE: Looks good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

WaPo Revokes DoD Event Sponsorship

The Post has dropped its sponsorship of the September 11th event in DC that I denounced last week, and Glenn Reynolds isn't pleased, tying the removal of sponsor from what is ostensiby a 9/11 memorial event to negative press coverage of the Iraq war. Invoking World War II, he writes, "back then the press wanted us to win."

In stark contrast, Kos titles a post "WaPo pulls out of creepy 9/11 propaganda event," calling the decision "obviously the right thing to do." Sounds like he and Prof. Reynolds don't quite agree on this one.

As I learned in this space last week, next month's event is one very divisive topic. I wrote on it with unusual vehemence for me, and a few commenters responded in kind. I broke one of my personal blogging rules, which is "don't blog angry" (a variation on Bill Murray's "don't drive angry" from Groundhog Day, but that is neither here nor there).

I do wonder, though, why the WaPo decision should be controversial at all. It is pretty unseemly for a private press organ to be co-sponsoring a DoD event like this one; as the paper said in its statement, the sponsorship looks like something that could bias coverage, so they scrapped it. Does anyone care to offer a (calm, restrained) argument for why having a Washington Post do something like this would be appropriate (and preferably not an argument for state-run media)? Thanks.

I'll add, via Atrios that DoD itself is changing the way it is describing the event itself, so maybe it's not just those anti-war ninnies in the press Reynolds criticizes who are to blame for everything. This seems a tacit admission by the administration that they initially made some missteps here. (If the Post were sponsoring an antiwar march, Reynolds might then have a point.)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Deuce Part Deux

I proudly admit that I enjoyed the original Deuce Bigalow film and I'll probably see the second one when it comes out on video. I also admit that I'm probably going to hell for laughing at the jokes:

The sequel amply revisits the mock slanguage of pimps and "prostidudes," and Deuce again gets paired with women who are giant, deformed, or have behavioral ticks. He falls for a nymph with obsessive-compulsive disorder (Hanna Verboom), which oddly means he's passing on the gal who spews red wine out of her tracheotomy hole, as well as the veiled Chernobyl victim whose nose is a functioning penis.

Fun for the whole family!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Pirric Defeat

In more fun news, Jeanine Pirro is taking on Hillary in the '06 NY Senate race, which should be entertaining, so long as Pirro can get all of her scripted remarks together and avoid 32-second pauses in future appearances. The Times is priceless in recounting Pirro's kickoff event yesterday:

Facing reporters, Ms. Pirro ignored a question about whether she would take campaign donations from her husband, who is a prominent Republican donor, or let him raise money toward her goal of at least $30 million for the Senate race. Some political candidates rebuff donors with criminal records.

"Some" do, but probably not Pirro, since her husband--notably absent yesterday--has a rather checkered past.

Mr. Pirro, who was said to be working at his lobbying practice yesterday, and who may join her for a homecoming rally in White Plains tomorrow, has proved to be a liability at times in Ms. Pirro's 30-year career. He fathered a child with another woman in the 1990's and served 11 months in federal prison for his tax fraud conviction over returns Ms. Pirro also signed. (She was never charged with any wrongdoing.)

Keep in mind, Jeanine Pirro is the district attorney for Westchester County, and she's married to an ex-con, whose fraudulent tax returns she signed. Nice!

And a big screw you to the members of the media who feel the need to compare Pirro's husband to Bill Clinton. Al Pirro went to jail for a year. Bill Cinton was impeached by a rabidly partisan Congress but not convicted by the Senate. Al Pirro knocked up another woman. Bill Clinton stuck with the oral sex with Lewinsky and didn't even come to fruition (except for on the infamous blue dress). One man is a popular ex-president, the other an ex-con. Can we please hold off on these insulting husband comparisons for the next year-plus?

I Don't Support "America Supports You"

News of the propaganda walk/country music show to mark 9/11 this year sickens me. I wonder how close I can get to protest the thing--probably not very.

Digaman on MeFi notes how strange it is that the walk on 9/11 is to salute the troops in Iraq, since Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Then there's the fact that the "celebration of freedom" requires registering with a name/address. Do you think I would be prohibited from walking if I showed up wearing an anti-Bush t-shirt that day? I strongly dislike the people running this country right about now.

This leads into my response to Christopher Hitchens, who berates liberals for supposedly wanting to lose in Iraq. I don't want to "lose" in Iraq, whatever that means, since there's no clear definition of winning either. What I do want is to minimize the death and destruction, which the Bush admin has botched pretty badly thus far. I also want the people who supported this catastrophe to admit they were disastrously wrong to do so because then we're less likely to have similar disasters in the future. I'm not seeing much contrition when the idiots in charge are planning self-congratulatory parades and rallies like the abomination that is coming to DC a month from today.

Disclosure, Separation and Hypocrisy

Spending time in Boston this week, I've had a chance to follow the latest Catholic Church shenanigans, in which the State Senate is considering a bill to force more complete financial disclosure by the Archdiocese. Seems like a reasonable measure to me in light of the Boston Catholic Church's payment of hush money to sex abuse victims, raiding of the priests' pension funds, and most recently the pilfering of cash from cemetery accounts. These are people who can't be trusted with money, and more transparency is needed so that donors can see how their contributions are actually spent.

Somehow, none of these accounting irregularities receive mention in John Garvey's Globe op-ed opposing the Senate disclosure bill, though. Garvey is no hack, as his bio notes; he's the Dean of BC Law School. But as I've noted before, the BC hierarchy knows on which side its bread is buttered on these issues, integrity of argument be damned.

Meanwhile, church leaders were too busy to participate in a Senate hearing on the legislation yesterday, though some church-backing private groups went to bat for the Archdiocese.

The thrust of the archdiocese's opposition, Saunders said, comes from concerns over religious independence.

"Mainly on the issue of separation of church and state," Saunders said.

This is rich. I don't recall there being so much concern about separation of church and state back when the Boston Archdiocese was organizing rallies against gay marriage on Boston Common, or Catholic leaders around the country were weighing in on whether to deny John Kerry communion. I'm one who thinks the church should lose its tax-exempt status altogether given its political activities (which also speaks to Garvey's point about the church not being taxed).

The Archdiocese's view of "church and state" seems to be one that doesn't separate religious zealots from deciding matters of public policy but that does separate financial moves by the church leadership from the members of the public that bankroll their activities. Some might call that a little bit self-serving.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Hawk v. Hawk

The Atlanta Hawks ownership has gone to court because one partner in the group doesn't want to make the Joe Johnson trade and the others tried to remove him from his position. Nice job, guys, way to look like the semi-professional organization you have become. Granted, the wisdom of the Johnson deal is debateable, but could they perhaps come to an agreement on what to do without hiring lawyers?

The Novak clip

I've watched this several time over the weekend and it never gets old! Bob Novak gone wild. Not the most original link, I know, but do watch if you somehow missed it up until now.

Not Quite "Husband of the Year" Material

I admit I laughed upon reading this story, and then I felt bad because a woman actually died in a grisly way. I'll just post the text without further comment, go ahead and make up your own jokes and laugh if you feel like it:

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) -- A man who got angry with his wife because she wanted to cuddle after sex when what he really wanted to do was watch sports on television was sentenced to death for killing her with a claw hammer. ...

He confessed to a bartender at a sports bar before his arrest. He told investigators that his wife had been nagging him to come back to bed.

Personally, I am looking for a woman that will let me watch the sports highlights in bed while we engage in the sex/cuddling. There's my personal ad.

In a slightly less violent category, there's this guy:

ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- A Macedonian man left his wife at an Italian service station and only realized he had driven off without her six hours later, news agency Ansa said. ...

After filling the tank, the husband drove away -- without noticing that his 30-year-old wife, originally from Georgia, had got out of the car to go to the toilet.

Maybe they can book this guy on the Macedonian version of Dr. Phil's show.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Smoking Is Unhealthy? No Kidding!

CJR rounds up the Jennings RIP bloggage and notes, "Others, thankfully, took time to reflect on different things in the wake of Jennings' death, among them the dangers of smoking." Is this really some great revelation? Plenty of famous people have died from smoking-related health problems in the past--do we really think this will change anything? I've seen some of the cable news nets doing medical stories on smoking today, like Jennings died of some previously unknown malady.

My other note on Jennings is that I'm astonished to learn he never went to school after 10th grade. How the hell did he pull that off? You could never do that and get a good job today, I'm fairly confident. Anyway, Jennings was my favorite of the big three anchors--all of whom were in place from my earliest memory but now are all gone within the span of a year--and I'll miss his presence on the evening news (yes, I am the only twentysomething in the United States who sometimes watches those shows).

Who gets the big chair on ABC now? I think they've been grooming Terry Moran for the job, though maybe he's not ready and they'll put in Ted Koppel for a little while, kind of like Schieffer's caretaker role at CBS. I have no basis for this speculation whatsoever, and the people who would have such bases are so far keeping away from it, lest they appear disrespectful doing so before the funeral even, which I guess isn't so surprising.

UPDATE: Never mind the lack of succession talk, the NYT business page leads with that on Tuesday.

Hackett Couldn't Hack It

File under: catching up from last week. I couldn't really understand the OH-2 liberal blog orgy about Paul Hackett narrowly losing to Jean Schmidt. Much as I disagree with the smug Mark Steyn, he's right about one thing: Democrats lost. There are no moral victories.

Also, I'm with Steyn on the point that, "Hackett was like a fast-forward rerun of the Kerry campaign." Having served in the Iraq War does not entitle one to a seat in Congress, sorry. None of this is to excuse the GOP's dirty tactics, but let's be realistic too, kids.

Technorati as a Leading News Indicator

Before news of his death hit the newswires, and indeed before he even died (I think), I happened to visit Technorati yesterday afternoon, where I noticed that "Peter Jennings" was the most popular search at the time. That seemed a little peculiar to me, though I didn't exactly put things together until I saw the news late last night that Jennings was in fact dead. There must have been rampant online rumors, resulting in Technorati searches, before the news became official. If you like being the first to know about things, this might be a way to do that.

Don't Fly AirTran Flight 576 Atlanta to Newark

Link

Pity the passengers on AirTran Flight 576, which is supposed to leave Atlanta every afternoon at 4:54 p.m. and arrive at Newark Airport in New Jersey at 7:07 p.m. When it actually gets there, however, is almost anyone's guess.

That is because Flight 576 has the dubious distinction of being late more often - 72 percent of the time - than any other flight in the United States during the past 12 months, according to government data.

I happened to read this front-page NYT article while sitting in an airport lounge this morning at BWI, just before boarding a plane to Boston. Fortunately my flight left on time and even arrived at Logan early for my ten days of R&R back in my old stomping grounds. I probably will blog more than I have lately (which has been not at all) but I reserve the right to do not so much now either. Regular blogging should hopefully resume around August 20. But I'll post some stuff before then too, in case anyone cares.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Let Us Now Blast Rafael Palmeiro

Yes, you already know the guy who adamantly denied steroid use before Congress in March failed his MLB drug test, as we learned today. Now he has modified his denial to saying that he never intentionally took steroids. This dodge can't be allowed to stand. The MLB policies are clear, and if you're a pro athlete, you damn well better be sure you know what's in your supplements, especially if you're a 40-year-old veteran who ought to be able to take responsibility at this point of your career.

I've got nothing against Viagra man, really (is that on the banned substance list, perhaps?), but I do enjoy that this gives the Orioles a black eye--and not even three weeks after the pomp and circumstance for Raffy's 3,000th hit! Meanwhile, the "Birds" (as their annoying TV announcer calls them on Comcast) have dropped 13 of 15, following a four game sweep to the White Sox, dropping them 8 games out in the AL East. Thanks for playing this season, Baltimore, we have some nice parting gifts for you. Now can we please have some Nationals games on TV instead, before they're hopelessly out of the pennant race too?

Coming to Atlanta: The Five Swingman Lineup?

With Joe Johnson heading to Atlanta, it looks like the Hawks might be tempted to go with the following lineup next year: Johnson, Al Harrington, Josh Smith, Josh Childress, and Marvin Williams. That would be interesting to see, and Atlanta may just do it, since those guys could all run and generate some excitement that might draw in a few fans. They would win more if they can also get a Chandler or Curry to play down low.