Thursday, August 28, 2008

Translation Guide for Republicanspeak

Republicans often talk in a special code -- mainly because if Middle America ever caught on to what they are really saying, Republicans would be unelectable. So I offer this handy short translation guide to things you are likely to hear at the upcoming Republican National Convention:

Statement: We support State's Rights
Translation: In particular, the right to discriminate against black people

Statement: We are the party of personal choice and individual liberty
Translation: ...unless people make personal choices we disapprove of, so we're going to pass constitutional amendments forbidding gay marriage, abortion, or criticizing the administration

Statement: We support family values
Translation: We hate gays

Statement: I strongly support family values
Translation: I am secretly cheating on my trophy wife with Sven, a 17-year old Swedish masseur and personal trainer

Statement: Illegal immigration is damaging American values
Translation: The two dozen Mexican gardeners and cleaners that the INS hauled away from my house were doing a terrible job

Statement: We believe in the rule of law
Translation: If the President authorized it, it must be legal

Statement: The American people have given us a clear mandate to pursue our agenda
Translation: We gerrymandered our way to a congressional majority

Statement: Now is a time for bipartisanship, cooperation, and healing the divide
Translation: We blew our congressional majority

Statement: We are the party of fiscal responsibility
Translation: My pork is an earmark. Your earmark is pork

Statement: We should always honor military service, without question or hesitation
Translation: John Kerry isn't running this time around

Statement: The most important attribute in a candidate is experience
Translation: Our candidate is old

Statement: The most important attribute in a candidate is energy
Translation: Their candidate is old

Statement: This election should be about policies, not character
Translation: Our candidate has a character problem

Statement: This election should be about character, not policies
Translation: Our candidate has no policies. But he did spend several years in a POW camp. Did we mention the POW camp?

Statement: Their candidate is an elitist
Translation: Smart people prefer their candidate

Statement: Their candidate is a populist
Translation: Dumb people prefer their candidate

Statement: Democrats will RAISE YOUR TAXES!!!
Translation: We got nothin'

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Author of "100 Things to Do Before You Die" has died

Dave Freeman, an advertising agency executive who co-wrote "100 Things to Do Before You Die," has died after falling and hitting his head at his home in Venice.

He probably should have thought twice about putting "fall backwards onto concrete floor" at number 53.

Friday, August 15, 2008

More arrogant stupidity from ESPN

I've written before about the arrogance and stupidity of ESPN. This latest example combines both in equal measure.

Watching ESPN this morning, I noticed that their ticker listed the USA as top of the Olympics medal table, ahead of China. This surprised me, so I verified it on, and sure enough:

Yes, ESPN has the USA first based on total medal count, even though every other news and sports outlet outside the USA (yes, I did check them all) including the official site follows the long-standing convention that countries are ordered by number of Golds, then Silvers, then Bronzes.

Of course, listing the table correctly would require Americans to swallow their pride and acknowledge that China is actually leading the table, and on the list of things America is not very good at, accepting defeat gracefully and following international standards are pretty near the top. In fairness to ESPN, I should note that NBC and CBS are equally vain and stupid in their medal tables.

It would be extremely cynical of me, of course, to suggest that American coverage would suddenly see the merits of the international standard if the position were reversed and the USA had more Golds but fewer total medals...

Thursday, August 14, 2008


The teenager daughter of a friend of mine recently asked, quite reasonably, "How did your generation manage to make such a mess of the environment?"

I explained: Back in the '60s, we were all taught that "the Earth doesn't belong to us, we just borrow it from our children". Then the '80s came along, we got a good look at how our children were turning out, and said "screw this." The rest is pretty much self-explanatory.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Unusual Activity

In the past few weeks, one of my neighbors has had a constant stream of delivery men and contractors visiting her house.

I can't work out whether she's having a lot of remodeling done, or filming a 1970s-style porn movie.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

DVR Addiction

The pychiatric profession tends to define a behavior or dependency, however obsessive, as a "disorder" only if it interferes with your everyday life on a frequent or extended basis. So for instance they have no problem with men who like to wear women's underwear under their clothes if it doesn't affect their outward behavior. Just to pick an example. Completely at random.

Anyhoo... I think I'm approaching the "disorder" threshold with my DVR. My dependency has followed the following trajectory:

Bad: I get frustrated at hotel TVs because I can't back up or pause a program

Worse: I go to pause the car radio when the cellphone rings, then remember I can't. Again.

Worst: I suddenly realize I zoned out the last 3 minutes of a conference call at work, and reach for the "backup" button

I'll know it's time to seek treatment if I reach the final stage: reaching for the "backup" button during a face-to-face conversation...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I Think I'm Doing It Wrong

I don't think I quite get this whole "social networking" thing yet. Whenever I log in to Facebook, it asks me "What are you doing right now?".

And I always answer, "Updating my Facebook page".

Surely that can't be right?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Golden seal?

I just discovered that my conditioner contains "golden seal extract". I'm really, really hoping that's a plant of some kind.