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Friday, April 28, 2006

SECURITY GETS ARTY 

The art world has become interested in security. MoMA (NY's Museum of Modern Art) has a web site devoted to "objects designed to protect body and mind" (associated with a recent exhibit "Safe: Design takes on Risk." German artist Matthias Megyeri designs kitschy devices to "emphasise how security devices can be oppressive."



Doesn't actually make feel oppressed though.

Nor does this:



Or this:



But it's OK if you just think they're cool and want to buy one. Mr. Megyeri has formed a company and sells them. Everything looks friendly but is really mean. Or something like that.

CRACK STORY 

Yesterday morning at the federal courthouse, I encountered an elderly couple. They got on the elevator at the same time as I did. They were probably in their mid-70s and impeccably dressed. He was in a old but well cared for, three piece suit. She was wearing a dress and a hat. They looked as if they were going to church on Easter Sunday 1955. He held her elbow as he escorted her. They both just exuded an utterly natural mannerliness that you don’t see anymore. It made me think of and miss my own grandmother, long deceased, for the first time in too long.

I pushed a button, but they looked confused. I asked them if they needed help finding something. They said they needed to find the courtroom, that their grandson had a court appearance. There are courtrooms on many floors of the building, so I invited them to step off while I looked up the case for them. A receptionist handed me the court schedule and after a few moments I found the hearing.

It was not going to be a happy event. The schedule said that it was a criminal sentencing. The prosecutor listed has a caseload of 100 percent serious drugs and guns cases. They’ll be seeing the grandson in an orange jumpsuit, laceless shoes, and chains, and they won’t be allowed to talk to or touch him. And it was before a judge not especially known for his leniency.

I told them where to go, and they thanked me, said goodbye, and walked slowly off to the elevator again, his hand still at her elbow.

I later heard that the sentencing was continued for some reason, so the grandparents will be making one more trip to the courthouse. According to the case paperwork, the grandson is 27 years old. He was selling crack while carrying a 9 mm handgun. He had at least two prior state felony convictions, the latter for selling crack just a couple of years ago. It's all so backwards. The natural order is for grandkids to bring joy into their granparents' lives.

He’s about to find out about that federal sentences can be a whole different ball game. When he gets out of prison, he’ll be in his late-30s. (That's if he’s lucky. Depending on his criminal history, it could be much worse.) I hope the Bureau of Prisons designates him somewhere close, maybe to the nearest federal penitentiary, 140 miles away. Otherwise that sweet old couple is never going to see him again.

SPITBULL OVERLOOKED ... AGAIN 

Nearly half of the Northern Alliance of Blogs (and its creator) were down today - reportedly due to an attack on a Hosting Matters network coming from computers in Saudi Arabia. Hosting Matters says everyone is back up now ... except,
The target of the attack will not be brought back online and will be removed from the main network in the event they are the target of future attacks, so as not to negatively impact other clients.
Powerline or Hugh Hewitt may have been the target ... they're still unreachable.

The MOB appears to be unscathed though. Draw your own conclusions.

UPDATE: The speculation is that the attack is related to the Pakistan government's list of banned web sites, namely its honoree Aaron's cc: (author of Aaron's Rantblog and Aaron the Liberal Slayer) and publisher of cartoons more offensive than the infamous Danish doodles.

Hewitt is up, but Powerline's still down...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

ISLAM IN SPACE 

The problems are myriad; an entire two day conference on the subject in Malaysia ends today. Not only do Muslims need to figure out which way Mecca is when they're in orbit, they may need to pray every 18 minutes (in order to reach their 5 times a day obligation on a craft that orbits the earth every 90 minutes). And how will they even be able to uh, assume the position, in the first place?
"When you're in a zero-gravity environment, you're floating around and as soon as you go into rukuk (a prayer position), that motion will project itself forward, and maybe you'll do a somersault or go into some other direction. So you're going to have to be held down or something"
I want to know how they're going to make the Tang hallaal.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

GOOD COOK BAD COOK 

Despite occasional kitchen disasters, I think I'm a decent cook (well of course I would, wouldn't I?). This despite the fact that I come from a family of dedicated and creative cooks to whom I do not hold a candle. In fact, I'm so accustomed to great mother-chefs that I'm always a little surprised when I come across a mother who is a bad cook. Surprised and often amused. Michael Blowhard's mom seems to have been a bad cook:
If food needed to be consumed, then let it be as little trouble as possible. My mother dreamed of a day when people would subsist on astronaut food (pills, and paste in tubes, basically). She really did. Until then, as far as she was concerned, canned and frozen nourishment would have to do. Was it tasteless? Mushy? Oversalted? A small price to pay.
But my favorite bad mommy cook is the late mother of a co-worker who would put on meals so terrible that my co-worker would have to make sure to stop at McDonald's on the way to his annual Thanksgiving dinner visit.

I'm pretty sure my spouse doesn't fuel up before dinner--ergo my belief that I'm a decent cook. On the other hand, he often claims that he would be satisfied subsisting on astronaut food (especially when he's forced to clean up after my "decent" cooking). The eight year old certainly prefers items such as frozen chicken nuggets and microwaved hot dogs to my home-made Pasta al Mediterraneo. With an audience like this, don't you agree it's no wonder I haven't developed beyond "decent"?

Monday, April 17, 2006

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT 

I've had my share of kitchen mishaps, but here's a new one: exploding Pyrex ovenware. We spent all evening picking glass shards, rosemary and potato quarters out of oven crevices.

For a while I felt blue, worrying that even my crockery has it in for me. Fortunately, I discovered that it's an equal-opportunity disaster. It's not just my cooking.

Friday, April 14, 2006

IT'S NOT WINTER ANYMORE, RIGHT? 

In Minnesota, they say there are two seasons: winter and road construction. Chez Spitbull, road construction has today been replaced with porch construction!

After almost two years of planning, the bobcat finally showed up this morning. It made short work of our overgrown bushes, to the great delight of the neighborhood kids. Our contractor kicked at the revealed dirt (mostly peat moss and wood chips) with disdain, muttered something about it being "crap" (he quickly apoligized to me for swearing) that needed to be replaced with presumably stronger more manly dirt, and has now disappeared.

I am sanguine. We love our contractor.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I'M NOT EVEN REALLY SURE WHO RYAN SEACREST IS ... 

Our co-blogger John was the one who first introduced us to the Superficial (no doubt in some post he's since deleted). Despite the fact that it's clearly a gateway drug, we thank him. Without John, we would remain as innocent of the ramifications of Oprah-watching by formerly "chunky" men as we are of the identity of Mr. Seacrest himself.

Today the Superficial complains of Ryan Seacrest's admission in People magazine that "I was overweight because I used to come home and eat a cookie sheet pan of nachos and watch Oprah every day of my life.":
I can sympathize with him being overweight, but why does he have to throw in that he used to watch Oprah every day? Everybody thinks he's gay, he's caught making out with Teri Hatcher, and now he admits to watching Oprah every day of his teenage life. If he's this determined to be made fun of, why not just send out a press release that says he was born with a vagina?
If I had to guess, I'd say he was famous for being on American Idol. What do you know? I'm right! But it seems he's the host, not a contestant. A host with a vagina. What's so unusual about that?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

FRIDAY IS FABRIZIO QUATTROCCHI DAY 

Let me temper today’s disappointing news about the elections in Italy with something more inspirational.

Friday, April 14 is the second anniversary of what I will always remember as Fabrizio Quattrocchi Day. That night please consider this suggestion. Buy a bottle of something Italian, get together with a few friends or family, and raise a glass in commemoration of the passionate life and noble death of a real hero.

For planning purposes, April 22 is Pat Tillman day.

Friday, April 07, 2006

KATIE'S TALKING ORGANS 

You know, Katie Couric said that in deciding to leave NBC's Today Show for the CBS Evening News, she listened to "my heart and my gut." That's fine, but after all we've been through together, don't we have a right to know what her colon thinks about it too?

AWARDS, SCHMAWARDS 

Saint Paul of Fraters Libertas, in the course of congratulating Captain Ed for being named Blogger of the Year, has advised us here at Spitbull to get our tuxedos ready for next year. Well, let me tell you, my tuxedo was ready a week ago. What's more, I've been wearing it since then, too. You see, I donned it last Friday, certain that two years of baffling oversight would be remedied and that Spitbull would finally receive NIGP's coveted Rock Solid in the Blogosphere award. When we were cruelly passed over once again, it was more than I could bear, and I went off on a bender that I'm only just now returning from. My once pristine tuxedo is now a tattered wreck. What remains of it is indelibly stained with cigarette ashes, Johnny Walker Red, the garish lipstick of a $50 whore, and the rueful tears of bitter regret (also the regretful tears of bitter rue--I cried both).

I will not be investing in a new tuxedo. I've learned something over the past week: lusting after the baubles of others' approval is a fool's game. I am swearing off awards, and I hereby vow to return to what I do best--not blogging.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

MORE CARTOON VIOLENCE? 

No. Just a "dusty response" from the lampoon victims -- because they're French. A member of the European Parliment was more uppity:
"These cheap and derogatory remarks are beneath even a budget airline. We really have got to be more mature in our relationships."
The provocation? Another cartoon (admittedly one with production values so crappy they don't even meet the standards of this low-brow blog) and some tart commentary on the transport disruptions caused by the recent French strikes ("Jet2.com condemns French strike action and calls for lazy frogs to get back to work.")

However, the lampooner (chief executive of Jet2), is concerned enough about the possibility of violence that a spokeswoman for the budget airline assured the world that "Mr Meeson [the cartooning CEO] loved France and had a holiday home there, although its whereabouts were not being advertised - for obvious reasons."

Everyone's a wuss.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

SKEPTICAL ABOUT MEDIA SKEPTICISM 

As the Nihilist points out, the U.S. news media has widely reported how "well treated" journalist Jill Carroll was while a hostage. Such a pretty story -- but one that completely disregarded the fact that the "evidence" came from two sources of dubious reliability: a videotape Ms. Carroll recorded while still in captivity and a television interview with the Iraqi Islamic Party she gave after being released in which she indicated her freedom to reveal all by "choosing" to wear Islamic headscarf and Arabic robe:


Surprise surprise, now that she's safely in the U.S. she can finally set the record straight:
Durng my last night in captivity, my captors forced me to participate in a propaganda video. They told me they would let me go if I cooperated. I was living in a threatening environment, under their control, and wanted to go home alive. I agreed.

Things that I was forced to say while captive are now being taken by some as an accurate reflection of my personal views. They are not. The people who kidnapped me and murdered Allan Enwiya are criminals, at best. They robbed Allan of his life and devastated his family. They put me, my family and my friends--and all those around the world, who have prayed so fervently for my release--through a horrific experience. I was, and remain, deeply angry with the people who did this.

I also gave a TV interview to the Iraqi Islamic Party shortly after my release. The party had promised me the interview would never be aired on television, and broke their word. At any rate, fearing retribution from my captors, I did not speak freely. Out of fear I said I wasn't threatened. In fact, I was threatened many times.

It is disheartening to see how easily the U.S. media accepted the terrorists-are-really-nice-guys story. Look at her now:



Which Jill would you believe?

LORD, WHAT FOOLS THESE MORTALS BE! 

The Kool-Aid Report celebrates April Fools Day. In style.