Archive for January, 2003

January 31, 2003

The Future of the UN

Remember the League of Nations. It failed because of lack of expeditiousness during the Manchurian Crisis, lack of US involvement, and that little Hitler thing.

Something about doomed to repeat it? The more the people point out the UN’s irrelevance, the more the UN proves them right.

Tree-Hugginí Roundup

The anti-war crowd is pulling out all the stops. The rhetoric, the ill-conceived examples, and all that other hippy, tree-hugginí, peace, love, dope stuff that really pisses me off to no end. Again, no amount of free love and pot smoking will solve the world’s problems!

LeanLeft points to this self-righteous vomit from some oneís mind. The Agonist does think we should invade Iraq but takes issue with persons advocating the war strongly.

What I do want to say is that all of you warbloggers out there are fucking pathetic. Young American men and women are going to die very soon.

Really? War results in death? I didnít know that. I thought we just engaged in one big flag football tournament to determine the outcome. I thought those cruise missiles and scuds were provided by Nerfô.

Your asses will never be in the firing line. You’ll never have bullets whizzing around your head. You’ll never see bloated, distended and putrefying flesh. You will never smell death on the battle field. So how fucking dare you sorry ass chicken hawks root for war.

No one is rooting there, Sparky. I think the warbloggers are in a similar position as you. Itís necessary and it sucks. Which is the consensus I get reading warblogger sites. Anyone who sits around saying War is cool is a moron and is definitely not representative of people who think an invasion is necessary. Also, calling people who see the invasion as necessary chickens is asinine and grasping for straws while attempting to cling to your own self-righteousness.

Jane from the Daily Rant attempts the old switcheroo. Forget Iraq, look at what Saudi Arabia is doing. Yup, Saudi Arabia is an evil place. I think we should invade it too. But we canít do it all at once. Apparently, her issue is just the priority.

Oliver Willis tries to use the old But if that is true, then this must be as well tripe. He suggests using the current method of thinking that we should also invade Canada. Oliver, dude, youíre better than that. You should realize the assumptions of the argument are fallacious. And read The Art of War, if you attack when your enemy is at your door, you already lost.

The entire peacenik stance is based on one mantra: Under no circumstance can George W. Bush (or his administration) be right about anything ever.

Of course, there are some warbloggers and right wingers who think that Dubya is infallible. And theyíre equally misguided.

We should invade Iraq because:

* Hussein is a tyrant who brutalizes his own people.

* He has not complied with UN resolutions that he agreed to comply with.

* He is a threat to the security of the region.

And we warmongers are fully aware that American lives will be lost, there will be collateral damage, and the whole scene will not be pretty. We also realize it sucks. It is also a necessary evil. We do not revel in the deaths of people and to insinuate so is absolutely insulting, as well as self-righteously flaccid.

War, huh, good God yaíll, what is it good for:

* Stopping the systematic genocide of entire races.

* Freeing oppressed people.

* Eliminating taxation without representation.

* Bringing totalitarian and corrupt regimes to justice.

* To thwart the spread of communism and imperialism.

* To ensure the safety and security of innocent people.

* Ad infinitum.

January 29, 2003

Rock is Undead

I listen to the radio at work regularly, a rock/nu-metal montage that labels itself Extreme. Itís not. It devotes significant portions of its programming to pot smoking, which, though a waste of airtime, I have no issue with. If they were really extreme, I guess theyíd do crack or something. And its DJs are generally obnoxious, talk over the intros of songs (a peeve of mine), and say stupid things like: You catch the State of the Union last night? Bush says itís OK to bomb Iraqi children. And I’m not making that up.

The problem I have with it is the music sucks and thatís not the fault of the radio station. There is very little new music out there. Period. If there is, theyíre not playing it on the radio. Nothing is new, to wit:

* Boxcar Racer is Blink182 in disguise, and it sucks.

* Audio Slave is a combination of Chris from Soundgarden and the former members of Piss & Moan Against the Machine (they havenít Raged in a long time), and it sucks.

* Perfect Circle is Tool, and it sucks.

* Zwan is remnants of Smashing Pumpkins and some others, and it sucks.

* Queens of the Stone Age is remnants of everyone in Seattle who ever had a band, and it sucks.

* Dave Grohl is on the new Nirvana release (new but itís 10 years old). He also has a new Foo Fighters album out (it doesnít suck), and he plays drums for Queens of the Stone Age.

* The Red Hot Chili Peppers,Pearl Jam,Rob Zombie,and Metallica are all on their 100th albums.

All these people who have been around for a long time and side projects mean there is not a new sound out there. Itís all re-hashed old stuff. How many Dave Grohl songs can they play on the radio in one day? About 30, Iíd guess. These types of bands are the majority of what they play. They do play some new stuff (i.e., not rehashed marketing ploys) periodically, like Trust Company, Mudvayne, Taproot, and a few others.

It seems rock isnít dying but anyone who is successful is just doing side projects or starting new bands for a dollar. And the bands that have been around for a while are sticking to formulas to create their music, at least it seems that way since it all sounds the same. I can’t tell a difference between any Metallica songs released since the Black Album. And our extreme friends eat it up and force it on us. And the pot smoking audience sits idly by going Dude, I’ve totally heard that before. Now where’s the Chips Ahoy?

And if somebody could explain to me why Rob Zombie has a career in music, I’d appreciate it. Is there anything more awful?

Some Funny Stuff!

Read this!

Taxes get personal, part two

In my post below about how taxes personally affect my household, I failed to notice that the 37.7% cash spent on taxes is only slightly less than my wife’s salary. So, she pays our taxes and we’re essentially a one-income family. Bummer!

Kevin may be on to something

From Leanleft:

Bush may have just set off an arms race to rival the cold war’s.

Yup, it was a message to the world that no one else can have Nukularô capabilities. So, if your country is thinking about it, you need to do it now while we’re busy. Even you folks on Peninshulasô.

January 28, 2003

Taxes get personal

In a fit of frustration (as a result of getting the last of my tax documents), I decided to calculate the real cash money impact taxes have on my life. Now, I am not rich but Iím not poor either. I joke with the wife that weíre affluent. Weíre definitely middle class.

The actual percentage of household income that I pay in taxes is (hold your breath): 37.7%. In other words, me and my wife spend roughly 4 months and 15 days of our work year slaving for the man. More than 1/3 of our time! I included in my analysis the following taxes:

*Federal taxes

*Property taxes

*Gasoline Tax

*Sin Taxes

*Professional Privilege tax

*Payroll taxes

*Vehicle Registration

*Sales tax

*FCC Taxes

*Real Estate Fees

*Pet fees

*Gun carry permit fees

Some folks are gonna tell me that some of those things arenít taxes, theyíre fees. And let me spell it out for you, a fee charged by a governmental agency is a tax. Period. The sad thing is, Iím sure I left some stuff out. I know Iíve forgotten some things that slipped my mind and some things that are just too difficult to calculate. For example, Iím not paying taxes on my 401(k), Roth, and some other investment type things yet. The taxes are deferred to a future date and any good accountant will tell that there is a cost to that deferral in the current year (namely, I have no access to the money). So the impact is actually a bit higher.

Ok. Now we know what I pay. What benefits do I receive? Hereís a list:

*I donít currently speak Russian.

*I use the roads.

*Trash pick up.

*I have a high school education (but that was paid for by prior tax payers and Iím not counting undergraduate and graduate work because I paid for that).

Thatís really all I can think of. The American Revolution was fought over a 10% tax (this is where you chime in and say No, it was fought over taxation without representation and I tell you that if the amount had been smaller there probably wouldnít have been a war, but I digress).

I think the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, advocated by Bill Hobbs, is a grand idea. I also think that the Taxpayer Bill of Rights should be encouraged at the Federal level. It is ridiculous that I pay as much as I do in taxes. Maybe it’s the greedy capitalist in me, but the system is confiscatory, arbitrary, and inefficient.

I think the first step in reducing citizens’ tax burdens is increased efficiency in government. The government needs an agency that performs audits that evaluate efficiency and cost effectiveness, and not merely compliance (the GAO and OIG don’t cut it in this area). Such an agency would limit the government spending say $900 on a hammer or cease requiring two civil service employees with a certain job code to be the only ones authorized to change light bulbs. In addition, such an agency should be charged with holding decision makers accountable to tax payers.

I realize that the creation of this agency appears to go against my typical less government is better stance but upon the creation of this agency, the GAO and OIG should either be incorporated into it or eliminated.

He could go all the way

Mr. Hobbs links a story about Bredesen cutting 7.5% across the board and looking to eliminate 2,000 government jobs. Good! Of course, this is all to the shock and amazement of other government officials who thought it couldn’t be done. It’s only been a couple of weeks but I haven’t regretted voting for Bredesen yet!

January 27, 2003

SayUncle Newsbrief

Washington D.C. Ė The Presidentís State of the Union Address was leaked to SayUncle news. In the Address, Bush details why we must invade Iraq as follows:

“If we attack Iraq, they will be forced to defend themselves. When they defend themselves by using the weapons they reportedly do not have, I will personally fly to the residence of Jacques Chirac, wave my finger at him, tell him I told you so, and sing nanny nanny boo boo. Or I may just call him a frog. I havenít decided yet.”

Chirac couldnít be reached for comment. Of course, no one cared what he had to say, really. And that just makes him mad.

Imperialists

Radical factions of the world are referring to the US as a bunch of imperialists. Weíre out there, they allege by the term imperialists, building our empire. Iím pretty sure I speak for most Americans when I say that our basic desire is pretty much to be left alone. We get a bit uppity when you fly planes into our buildings. We also donít like it when you agree to disarm and then donít, particularly after you invaded your neighbor. And we like spreading democracy, sticking up for the little guy, and battling evil occasionally.

If we were imperialists, we would have made Iraq the 51st state back in the early 1990s. Actually, it would have been 54th because before that we would have made Germany, Italy and Japan states. And before that, well, you get the picture. But we didnít. We came home. We always come home. Sure, weíll occasionally leave a force behind to ensure things stay the way we intended. But weíll leave you alone, mostly. So return the favor.

Apparently, Germany hasnít forgiven us for whipping their butts, twice. And France hasnít forgiven us for saving their butts, twice. I really think that the reason for their opposition to US military action in Iraq is to prove to the World that they are relevant, because they havenít been in so long. Oh, that and France gets oil from Iraq and Germany sells weapons to it.

And to the rest who think the war is about oil, get over it. You obviously have the tinfoil wrapped too tightly around your noggins. The radical left these days reminds me of the fellows who frequented a gun shop owned by a friend of mine who were convinced NATO black helicopters were taking over the world. I guess these things rear their ugly heads depending on who is in office. It was NATO and world domination that extreme right wingers came up with during the Clinton administration and now that itís Bush, the lefties are following suit with their ludicrous claims.

Of course, I am of the opinion that were it not for the USA, the potential for One-World-Government could possibly exist, given the intrusive nature of the UN and European countries.

Longmire is here

And he’s funny. Go read this now! It’s worth it. And check out the rest of his site too.

Whereís Ahnold?

Janeane Garofalo has said that: There is no evidence of weapons of mass destruction.

Thanks Janeane. I didnít realize that you were part of the UN inspections team and were on the inside track with respect to weapons inspections. What kills me is we know of the exploits of Sean Penn, George Clooney, Martin Sheen, and the Baldwins (still waiting on Alec to leave, by the way) and these exploits are glamorized by popular media.

I do think that celebrities have a right to voice their political beliefs. What troubles me is the amount of credibility we give them. Why do we care what Ms. Garofalo thinks about Iraq?

My other concern is that the only celebrities that get press on political issues are those on the left. I havenít seen a story on any conservative celebrities’ views on Iraq. Where are Bruce Willis, and Tom Selleck? How do they feel about Iraq? Why donít they get airtime?

Of course, Iím still waiting for the Election episode of The West Wing, in which incumbent Martin Sheen is defeated in the election by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

January 26, 2003

The Quote Thing

Dunno if anyone noticed but I’ve started putting quotes up at the top. The first one was:

Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins often do.

Which I got in an email as one of the top ten opening lines from bad novels contests. The latest up there is something I said in a debate to a friend after he said: I thought you were smarter than that. I figure some quotes from friends of mine (and me) are damn funny and warrant sharing with the world. So, this will be an archive of them at some point. I would credit my friendsí names to this stuff but such is the price of anonymity. So, weíll use nicknames (fully intended to offend my friends).

Some more gems from my group of friends I’ve had in this life:

I never looked at her the same. Kinda like when I was a kid and I finally took that bite out of that Super Ball and it never bounced right again. Ė trenchcoat

Dampness makes things wet. Ė Tard

What? You like the Sprite on me? Ė Money (after SayUncle spilled Sprite on him)

My first degree is in Psychology (from the Greek Psych meaning Ďto makeí and Ėology meaning Ďstuff upí) – SayUncle (I know Iíve used that one on this site before, but itís funny).

Question: Money, how many tenths are in a mile? Ė Tard
Answer: Eleven, if you count zero. Ė Money

In reference to his car, a Dodge Shadow: You know why they call it a Shadow? ‘Cause the motherfucker’s always behind you. – Trenchcoat

Dude, I’ve claimed to be lots of things in my life, including a ninja. But I’ve never claimed to be smart – SayUncle

If you’re gonna be stupid, you have to be tough SayUncle’s father in law

Remember, I’m in this to entertain me, not you. SayUncle

At SayUncleís bachelor party:

Now, I understand why so many people kill hookers. Ė SayUncle

Thought they were sending over an Asian stripper. I know a Puerto Rican when I see one. Ė Money

January 25, 2003

RTB May have found it

The elusive $20 single malt scotch whiskey. Thanks to Andrew at Pathetic Earthlings. I figure this weekend I’ll buy some Bowmore’s and invite Bubba over.

January 24, 2003

The Results of the Instalanche

I got a lot of hits and emails in the last bit since getting linked by Instapundit. Some folks told me that the whole lay out of the site was just ugly, light colored fonts and dark background. Still playing with it to make it more appealing. Is it ugly now?

Also, no matter how hard I try, the fonts for the blogger items will not change colors. Any clues out there in bloggerland?

Update: Thanks to Bubba, I was able to do it the way I wanted to (without the ugly yellow fonts). Props to him! Hope everyone likes it and I’m glad to be done with it. Let me know of any glaring issues you find!

Update2: Like the template, I designed it myself, except for the parts that I stole err kept from the Blogger template.

January 23, 2003

The Supposed SUV Deduction

Quite the debate in comments about my original post below. The debate stems from people saying the article merely points out people are using the deduction for SUVs. If that were the case, the title would say just that. The article refers to it specifically as the SUV tax break. It’s not. From IRS Form 4562 (the form you take this deduction on) it lists: automobiles, certain other vehicles, cellular telephones, certain computers, and property used for entertainment, recreation, or amusement. The amounts of course vary depending on the type of equipment. People will abuse the tax system (good for them, they deserve to benefit) but given the recent trend in demonizing SUVs, I find it interesting.

January 22, 2003

Standards

With the recent acceptance into the Rocky Top Brigade of a Non-Tennesseean and even a Canadian (shocking, no?), Iíve decided that the RTB needs a set of standards. These standards will be based on a point system (similar to the University of Michigan system) and require a potential applicant to obtain a minimum of 100 points:

You actually live in Tennessee. Add 100 points

You actually own a copy of Rocky Top (remixes donít count) Add 10 points

You actually know of a good single malt Scotch whiskey for around $20. Add 200 (or more, we wonít care) points (note, this must be verified by at least three current members of the RTB)

Youíre a Republican, Subtract 10 points

Youíre a Democrat, subtract 20 points

You actually have someone in your house right now who answers to either Bubba, Hank, Skeeter, or Ellie Mae. +20 points

You say You Guys instead of Yaíll, subtract 25 Points

You can, without stopping, do a minimum of five You might be a redneck if . . . jokes. Add 5 points for each one

You live in a Holler, Add 10 points

You think ESPN is guilty of biased journalism, add 50 points

You think Elvis is alive, add 10 points

Youíre a law professor at UTK who gets more hits in 30 minutes than SayUncle does in a week, add 1,000 points

You’re a relative of a current or past RTB member, add 20 points

You’re black, add 500 points. Oh, and here’s a scholarship to Michigan.

For each of the following items that you actually have in your home, add 10 points:

Firearm
Liquor that hasnít been taxed (if you know what I mean)
Anything with the words Tennessee Homecoming 86 on it
Anything that is UT orange
A dog whose breed is Sooner
An identifiable dead animal in your freezer (add 10 more if you actually killed it)
Something from Dollywood
Something from Graceland
A Dremel

I submit the above plan to the RTB for approval.

Spin at its worst

And why I am not a Liberal. See, thereís a great deal of talk about the supposed SUV Tax Break. Hereís the thing, it isnít an SUV tax break, you idiots. Itís a business equipment tax break. See:

Washington expanded the tax deduction for business equipment to $25,000 in 2003, from $17,500 in 1996. Bush’s new plan takes the deduction limit up to $75,000.

It is irrelevant if a business owner purchases an SUV or a sedan, for business. Or computers, copiers, etc.

Blatantly biased reporting pisses me off to no end. Obviously, the media is saying that it’s for SUVs when it clearly is not.

January 21, 2003

I don’t have a right to work

Nope. Apparently, the state allows me to provide for my livelihood and it is a privilege. I got notification the other day that because I am awaiting my CPA certification, I am subject to a Professional Privilege Tax of $400 per year (yes the link says $200 but the link is old), in addition to licensing requirements of $100 per year. So, it costs me $500 per year just to engage in my chosen profession.

I reviewed the law and noted the following professions had to pay this tax:

lobbyists
brokers
agents
investment advisors
accountants
engineers
architects
landscape architects
chiropractors
dentists
physicians
pharmacists
psychologists
optometrists
veterinarians
audiologists
osteopathic physicians
podiatrists
speech pathologists
sports agents

Explain to me why in Tennessee sports agents have to pay this tax but agents for entertainers do not? I suppose itís bad business to tax folks that represent our country music industry. What about other licensed professions? Social Workers? Truck Drivers?

I’m still awaiting the breathing tax!

January 20, 2003

Protests

I support the first amendment rights of protestors. They should be allowed to protest things, regardless of how stupid these things are. Apparently, no matter the evidence, some people will just oppose the current administration. I am convinced it is completely partisan, since the facts (in my opinion) support an invasion. Following are the classical No War arguments (mostly taken from the signs these folks were holding) and my response to them:

Give us proof: They have. Apparently, itís not enough. So, they offer more. Still not enough. What do you do?

US mind your own business: Well, thatís not gonna happen as long as people try to blow up our ships, fly planes into our buildings, or oppress their own people.

Itís about oil: Yes, and you better put on your little foil hat or else the Orbital Mind Control Lasersô will get you.

What about Iraqi children?: In a military engagement, there will be collateral damage. But it will be short-lived. How many Iraqi children has Saddam killed?

Teach Peace not Hate: Or better yet, teach people to sit idly by while a country of people is oppressed, tortured, and killed. Peace is much better than doing something about it. Obviously, peace is the better option but sometimes it just ain’t gonna happen.

We hope Bush chokes on pretzels: Real nice, coming from people who want peace.

And these idiots broke out windows at the INS. Yup, real peaceful.

Hey folks, life gets more complicated when you put down the weed, wear a suit instead of a tie-dye shirt, stop living in a fantasyland where we can trust evil dictators, make more than $18K per year, and realize that someone has got to actually solve problems. No amount of pot smoking, free love, and dressing like the Statue of Liberty will solve the problems of the world.

Grow up and deal with shit!

Iraq and Stuff

Iíve intentionally not spoken about Iraq. The reasons were that I was uncertain as to my feelings. Then, last night on The History Channel, I saw a program entitled Why Canít They Kill Saddam. Stuff I learned:

The Iraqi government has employees whose job titles are Taker of the Honor of Women. Yes, government sponsored rape. The Takers will go to the home of an alleged spy or dissident and brutally rape his wife, sister, or mom in front of him until he confesses or gives up information that the government needs.

Saddam was not put in power by the US, as people allege. He took power when his cousin resigned for health reasons. The US just funded the Iraqis during the Iraq/Iran war.

The Clinton administration was very (I know this will come as a surprise) wishy-washy with respect to Iraq. A former CIA operative was interviewed on the program. He was sent (by the administration) with the mission of destabilizing the government for regime change. He was (within days) approached by generals of Saddam’s own armies who offered to stage a coup, if the US would give support (financial, military, etc.). The eager agent phones Washington and tells them that what they wanted is about to occur and asks if the US will give support. The administration took its sweet time as the coup began planning. Then at the last minute the administration said ĎYouíre on your own.í Further, they charged the CIA operative with conspiracy to attempt murder of Saddam. Yes, you hear that right. Absolutely ridiculous.

Torture is widespread in Iraq. Saddamís image is required by law to be displayed in every home, on every street, on the front page of every publication, and the first image shown on the nightly news.

The Iraqi citizens (as a result of the misinformation that Saddam propagates) are uncertain of the US position. Who can blame them? They know that the US supported Saddam in the Iraq/Iran war. They know that the US invaded them. And Saddam has said (obviously lying) that heís in cahoots with the US from time to time. So, the Iraqi citizens should be told that the US is definitely anti-Saddam.

All this in addition to Saddam violating the UN sanctions regarding weapons. So, I think the US should seek regime change in Iraq and if military action is the best option, it should be used.

January 17, 2003

Damn Snow

It took me four hours to get from downtown Knoxville to Maryville. Of which, 2 hours and 45 minutes were spent on Neyland drive. All because morons can’t drive in the snow. Memo to the butt monkey that abandoned his green camaro in the right lane of Neyland, you were a primary source of frustration to about 300 motorists for a long time. I hope someone steals your car or at least vandalizes it.

On the way, I counted exactly twelve wrecks! Everyone of them (irony coming) involved an SUV. Hey sparky, 4WD helps you go a bit but it doesn’t do a damn thing for stopping you any faster! I (in my two wheel drive, low to the ground convertible) didn’t have an accident and spent all my time avoiding soccer moms in their Ford Excursions. I leave following distance and if I think I can go 40MPH, I do 20MPH. And I don’t read people’s bumpers. People should really take driving classes.

January 16, 2003

SayUncle Newsbrief

Knoxville, with city motto of Oh, it might snow at some point so letís shut down the city, is preparing for wintry death. An unbelievable record of one or maybe even three whole inches of powdery, cold doom is quickly descending upon the fair city. Reports are coming in of people already driving badly in anticipation of the impending natural disaster. This could be the end of life as we know it! said local resident Anal McLooney.

A flurry of meeting cancellations came across SayUncleís desk today as a result of the impending blizzard of 2003. Uncle, a local resident, is still puzzled by the fact that meetings with persons who have offices less than Ĺ a mile from his own office are being cancelled even though he hasnít seen one flake of snow.

Itís not even snowing yet, what the fuckís the problem? Uncle reportedly has said. Meanwhile, there are only three cars in the parking garage at his office.

When we last left Uncle, he was on his way to all the grocery stores to buy all the remaining bread and milk just to piss off the people who made it totally pointless for him to go to work today. He was quoted as mumbling something about those fucking pussies and their SUVs.

Buyer Beware

I got one of those satellite dishes at home. Itís great because I now have about 4,587 channels of crap that I donít watch. And itís all much clearer than cable. I also get the major networks in two time zones. The problem with it is that now the wife can watch Oprah and Dr. Phil at 6 and 7 oíclock respectively (assuming Friends isnít on any of the other 4,585 channels, which it always is). This is bad. Very bad.

When I work late (which is often) I get to come home and hear the summary of Oprah. I do usually manage to make it home in time to enforce the standing No Dr. Phil rule that I am currently begging my wife to follow to absolutely zero avail. Sometimes, however, I donít make it. Dr. Phil, a quackopractor, err psychologist, is known for telling folks like it is. Which apparently involves making excuses for those things we donít like about ourselves. After watching Dr. Phil, my wife becomes an expert on whatever is ailing people and society that day. The other day, it was Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (or OCD, or, as I like to call it, Being Responsible). Per the wife, Dr. Phil said 70% of Americans suffer from OCD. I, being the unconvinced smartass, stated: Well, how can it be a disorder if 70% of us suffer from it? Sounds like itís being normal to me. Iíd be worried about the 30% who donít have it. Also, Dr. Phil said we should be angry at the disorder and not the person. Which is consistent with the current US Policy of not holding anyone responsible for anything, when thereís a disorder to blame. This, of course, upset the wife a bit. See, sheís one of those people who always leaves the iron on, if you catch my meaning. I love her to death, but sheís quirky. That makes me love her more. (I am so lucky she doesnít read this site, in case youíre wondering).

With satellite TV and the Internet, itís hard to control what is piped into your house at instant speed. This makes the concept of having children even scarier to me!

January 15, 2003

I hate Thursdays

Bjorn made a comment the other day at SKBís that: I hate that show (Friends) but Daisy-Mae had it on the other night.

I think this is a source of conflict for most 20 to 30 something couples. See, every 20 to 30 year-old with a penis canít stand the show. Women, for whatever reason, love it. Probably because the show used to advertise itself as just like your friends. No, my friends go to work, provide for their livelihood, and are generally engaging people. I mean, do these people ever spend time at work? When they show them at work, theyíre never actually working. Theyíre always hanging out at an apartment or a coffee shop. My wife apparently thinks they are just like her friends, whom I’ve obviously never met. And whatís with the way they talk? Apparently, every sentence they speak must contain one of the following words or phrases: Like, Sooo, Sooo Not, All XXX And Stuff (as in like All crazy and stuff).

Hereís the typical Thursday night at the SayUncle household:

Mrs.: Friends comes on in five minutes.
Me: So?
Mrs: That show is Soooooo funny (doing a Chandler impression). Are you gonna watch it with me?
Me: That show hasnít been funny in, like, six years (counters with a Chandler impression, though herís is, like, Soooo much better and stuff). And Iíd rather gouge my own eyes out with a spoon than watch it.
Mrs: That showís always funny.
Me: Seriously, honey, that show has not made me laugh in a long time. I mean, when are these 30 something year-olds gonna stop having roommates, get real jobs, stop hanging around in a coffee shop engaging in sappy dialect intended to be witty, and just generally become productive members of society?
Mrs: Most of them have real jobs now and only two of them are currently roommates. Theyíre maturing.
Me: By maturing, do you mean getting to the point where it will no longer be the basis for a show?
Mrs: No, theyíve signed on for another season.
Me: Goddamnit! Will it ever end? So do they still act like all neurotic and stuff?
Mrs: Yes, Rachel has really been getting on my nerves lately. Why doesnít she . . .
Me: You realize everything you said after Why doesnít she I interpreted as Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, and I started pondering what I would do for next thirty minutes while you watch that Sooo not funny show.
Mrs: You never listen.
Me: Not when youíre talking about Friends. Thatís one of those things you should involve your friends in and not your husband.
Mrs: Showís coming on.
Me: Iím off to play violent video games for thirty minutes.

Maybe me and Bjorn should plan on meeting at a strip club every Thursday at 8:00, or something. That or Iíll loan him Hitman 2.

The Skull Society

LeanLeft draws my attention to this piece which talks about how board members of the largest corporations often are part of several other corporate boards. Kinda frightening that all those people are interrelated. Guess they were all in the same frat or sorority or something. It also raises questions about biases with respect to board membersí decisions. A friend of mine recently said: Capitalism will beat communism in every case. Communism weathers corruption. Capitalism thrives on it.

This is sort of true. The reality is that in capitalism, only a few thrive on corruption. And they usually thrive on it at the expense of others, which is unfortunate. I hope this leads to better independence standards for board members. I donít think thereís anything wrong on the surface with serving on multiple boards. However, it does put the board members at a distinct advantage, particularly when such board members are executives for other companies. The article doesnít discuss board compensation. I think board members are usually shareholders, which is good since they are motivated to keep stock prices up. This is good for all shareholders. The potential for corruption is always there.

January 14, 2003

The Death Penalty Thing

We all know that Ryan stopped executions in Illinois. What does SayUncle think about this death penalty stuff? Iím glad you asked.

In theory, I support the death penalty. It is our societyís way of saying that some crimes are so heinous that they warrant killing the offender, both as a punishment and to deter others who may do the same thing.

In application, however, I oppose it. Studies have shown that the death penalty is not consistently applied among the races; nor is it equally applied among the wealthy, middle-class, and the poor. In addition, there have been instances in which someone who was innocent was executed. Unfortunately, thereís no way to undo the damage at that point.

Also, the fact that people are on death row for 20 years is absolutely ridiculous. If used, the death penalty should be expeditious. After 47 appeals and begging for clemency, considerable time passes. Perhaps a limit should be set on the number of appeals. And people on death row for many years have made fortunes by writing books, doing interviews, and selling memoirs. This is just appalling. I realize that current legislation prevents monetary gain on these activities now, but it was ridiculous.

Adieu!

January 13, 2003

Welcome to Barry & Another Good Bye to William

Barry’s gotta brand new blog. Check it out. It’s changed colors at least three times in the last 10 minutes. Now he can stop pestering me for a bit. William Burton came back, but promptly disappeared. What gives William?

January 10, 2003

Guns and Crime

One thing I rarely do in a gun control debate is resort to crime statistics. Because crime is irrelevant with respect to second amendment rights. For us to be free, we must realize that people will abuse their freedoms and be prepared for such abuse. People will abuse guns, just like they will abuse freedom of speech. It will happen. The fact that people will abuse their rights is not justification to infringe on the rights of others who are not inclined to such abuses. The solution is harsher penalties for people who commit crimes involving the use of firearms. However (thereís always a Ďhoweverí), guns and crime are interesting because the facts indicate (contrary to gun grabber doctrine) that a decrease in gun ownership results in an increase in crime. Washington DC’s high murder rate of 69 per 100,000 is due to strict gun control, and Indianapolis’ lower murder rate of 9 per 100,000 is due to less gun control. In DC, you canít even own a handgun unless you owned it prior to 1976. Even if you have a grandfathered handgun, itís illegal for you to load it. That is, of course, assuming youíre a law abiding citizen. Data show that in instances where there is a low percentage of the population that is armed, crime is higher. This is why places like New York, Detroit, DC, and Chicago have higher crime rates, itís harder to get a gun. People inclined to obey the law donít arm themselves and people with no such inclination will obtain weapons.

In not-so-Great Britain, a sweeping and confiscatory ban on guns took place in 1997. The result, a near 50% increase in crimes involving guns. A 1998 book entitled More Guns, Less Crime conducted a study with the following results (which have yet to be disputed successfully to my knowledge):

*States with carry permits for citizens have lower crime rates.

*Armed citizens defend themselves against crime 2,000,000 times per year. These stories rarely make the news unless someone winds up dead. Crime is a news story. A lack of crime isnít.

*Resistance with a gun is the safest option, not passive resistance. Despite the Brady Centerís advice that you lay down and die.

Kim du Toit (one of my favorite recently discovered bloggers) provides an excellent analysis of causes of death in the US with data from the CDC:

Total deaths by gunshot: 28,663

Circumstances of gunshot deaths:

1. Suicide: 16,596 (53%)
2. Homicide: 10,806 (38%)
3. Accident: 774 (2.7%)
4. Police: 258 (0.9%)
5. Unknown: 229 (0.8%)

As a percentage of the total U.S. population:

— Gunshot homicide deaths (10,806) : 0.0036%

And for comparison purposes:

— Death by alcohol (19,358): 0.0062% [excl. alcohol-related accidents]

In other words, you’re almost twice as likely to die of alcohol poisoning than by gunshot-homicide.

Also, gun grabbers like to say What about the children?

For children under age 5 in the United States, less than 20 died of gunshot, about 100 drowned in bathtubs, and about 40 drowned in 5-gallon water buckets.

A brief cost-estimate analysis indicates the following:

2,000,000 Crimes prevented
10,806 Lives lost from gun homicides
1,989,194 Net gain

Thatís a 99.456% return on our investment!

Obviously, not all 2,000,000 instances would have resulted in the death of the potential victim. But there is value in preventing crime as well as preventing death.

SayUncle has a carry permit (which he believes is an infringement of his rights, but he still doesnít want to go jail). His weapon of choice is a Sig P229 in 9MM. SayUncle also possesses the evil 13 round capacity magazines instead of 10 round magazines. Be careful around SayUncle because those extra three rounds may turn him into a psychopath. SayUncle also has some Black Talon ammunition (which Winchester stopped making because the gun grabbers thought the round was just too deadly; hrrmm, bullets deadly, whoíd have thunk it?), which is of course evil as well. SayUncle has also used his trusty Sig to prevent at least two potential crimes:

Once, in a dark parking lot while loading my car with the spoils of the dayís shopping, I noticed two ominous looking fellows heading speedily in my direction. I intentionally moved in such a way as to expose my holstered firearm and the potential miscreants stopped and turned around. Never even had to draw on them. Those extra three rounds and my deadly ammo should have turned me into a bloodthirsty killer. Strange that it didn’t happen.

I once was awakened at about 2:00 in the morning in my old college apartment to the sound of yelling. Grabbing the trusty Sig, I went to the front door and noticed about six drunken frat boys standing around a seventh guy (who lived in my building) threatening him and pushing him around a bit. Apparently, the guy had said something rude to one of them. Which doesnít warrant an ass-whipping where the advantage is six to one, in my book. One on one, I’d have let them go at it. With gun in hand, I asked if the frat boys would mind going somewhere else. They, of course, complied.

The moral of these two stories: No shots were fired. No one got hurt. SayUncle did not turn into a raving psychopath and mow down everyone in sight. And crime was averted.

So, have you bought that gun yet? What are you waiting for?

January 09, 2003

From the Everyone Else is Doing It Department

Tim Blair is calling on the blogosphere to show the poet laureate we can do better. The laureate (why is that even a real title?) wrote this bunch of crap about the US and Iraq, or something:

They read good books, and quote, but never learn
a language other than the scream of rocket-burn.
Our straighter talk is drowned but ironclad:
elections, money, empire, oil and Dad.

So, I (not being poetic at all, but more of a smartass laureate) have delicately composed the following:

All they do is piss and moan
When we offer help, we’re met with groans
But when the shit hits the fan
Theyíll say ĎPlease, come save us from ourselves, again.í

Or

Europeans claim weíre intellectually inferior
Itís just our military that makes us superior
They complain our culture isnít quite as topnotch
But our biggest export to them is fucking Baywatch

Yup, I nominate me as America’s Smartass Laureate. I just need to figure out what a laureate is.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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