"Klotz" As In "Blood"

A Testament to the Insidious Impact of Florida Sunshine on Brain Matter

Friday, July 28, 2006

Vamos to Ireland

Filed under: What A Wonderful World — Steve @ 12:36 am

Ireland’s National Museum said on Wednesday that a 1,200-year-old Book of Psalms found last week by a construction worker in a bog was so archaeologically significant that it could be called an “Irish equivalent to the Dead Sea Scrolls.”

“In my wildest hopes, I could only have dreamed of a discovery as fragile and rare as this,” Patrick F. Wallace, the director of the National Museum in Dublin, said in a statement. “It testifies to the incredible richness of the early Christian civilization of this island.” NYTimes

The book was immediately denounced by Frank B. O’Lanos, political activist and member of Ireland’s Troglodyte Party who serves on the County Cork School Board. “Sure it’s a find and a rare one at that,” he told reporters. “But does it properly describe the oppression of the Irish people by the invading Brits? The deprivation of freedom suffered by innocent Irish citizens at the hands of their oppressors? The fact that the uniforms the children were compelled to wear carried the colors of a distant island empire’s bearded tyrant?”

Mr. O’Lanos plans to petition the National Museum in Dublin to ban the book from its shelves. “It offends me as a Patriot, and the good people of my County,” he declares. “And has naught to do with standing for re-election next fall.”

At least two members of the Museum Board have expressed sympathy for O’lanos’ stance. “I’m not a member myself, nor do I even have one,” explained Robert B. McIngram. “But I don’t want to do anything that would offend anybody in the Troglodyte Party. I don’t want to walk out to my car one morning and find a bomb under it.”

Meanwhile, Mr. O’Lanos plans to stage a rally on the museum steps to reinforce his point. “Just wait,” he told reporters. “In the morning there will be Troglodytes swarming about the streets as far as the eye can see!”

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Department of Strange Insertions, Near Misses, and Odd Extractions

Filed under: Etherea — Steve @ 9:04 am

#1 “Carrot Act? I Thought He Said Cataract!”

MONROE, CT A 46-year-old man is accused of assaulting his wife with a carrot, causing her to lose sight in one eye. Roderick Vecsey is charged with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct.

#2 Put Your Sweet Lips a Little Closer to the Phone….

INDEPENDENCE, MO Prosecutors say Marlon Brando Gill shoved a cell phone down his girlfriend’s throat because he was angry and jealous. But defense attorneys insisted as a trial got underway that the woman swallowed the phone intentionally to keep the defendant from seeing whom she had been calling.

She testified Tuesday on the first day of Gill’s trial that she couldn’t remember how the phone got in her throat, saying she had too much to drink that night……..[and] she could not recall writing a statement to police after the incident, in which she said: “I think he thought I’d been talking to other guys. … He took my phone to see who I had been calling.”

#3 Hold Your Head High
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ A stripper who kept a collection of human body parts in her home was being sought by police Linda Kay, 31, faces charges of illegally possessing human remains and failing to show up for court. Her housemate, Sean McDonough, faces charges that he held guns and knives to the head and stomach of a former housemate, threatening to gut her.

Andrea Leipow, who said she had lived with the pair for about two months, termed Kay and McDonough “lunatics.” “It’s kind of a cultlike environment,” Leipow, 25, said.

Kay was charged last week after someone called police and reported that McDonough was suicidal and threatening to kill himself with a hammer. When police arrived, he was not there, but Kay was home. Officers who looked around the house found six human skulls and a severed hand preserved in a jar of formaldehyde in her bedroom.

Friends said she called the hand “Freddy.”

4. Free At Last

Tampa, FL U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, who had surgery last week to remove an ovarian mass, is cancer-free, her campaign office said Monday. Harris, who is running for the U.S. Senate, was told Monday that a biopsy showed the mass to be benign, the campaign said in a statement. No further tests are required.

Reached for comment, the ovarian mass expressed relief and gratitude to surgeons for liberating it from the odious candidate and her ill-fated campaign, which has experienced two complete mass exits of volunteers and paid staff since it began last summer.

In a surprise announcement, the mass claimed that at one point it had in fact been cancerous, but that “the cancer cells managed to get out even before I did,” citing insurmountable competition from the candidate herself. “She’s the cancer,” stated the mass. “What chance did a few diseased cells have?”

The cancer cells could not be reached for comment.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Yay or Neigh

Filed under: Sense & Sensuality — Steve @ 9:49 am

First I heard it on the radio. “Congress debates whore slaughter.” The hell?

Then it dawns on me: “horse slaughter!” They were talking about the slaughter of horses for human consumption: apparently there are facilities throughout the United States owned by overseas interests that dispose of aged Kentucky Derby winners and other equine entities, butcher the meat, then sell it in Europe and Asia where it’s considered something of a delicacy.

A man identified as “T-Bone Pickens” was testifying. He said he “had no steak(!)” in the argument other than his “life long love of animals.” But not the culinary kind of love, and not that kind either, you perverts. Just love.

So I check the internet, find the story (it’s T. BOONE Pickens, and he said no STAKE in the argument). Turns out the Hurled picked it up too (“Horse Meat Industry Grilled By Congress” — what’s with the puns on this topic?)

The controversy is typical, even if the parties aren’t. One group says slaughtering horses for human consumption is an appalling practice — the noble horse, only savages would think about eating it (guess they never ate a real Philly cheesesteak), etc., and the other stating that it’s a 100 year old business, provides jobs and a service (what else would we do with dead horses? How much glue do we need?), etc.

I dunno. I don’t have a bone to pick (doh!). Anyway, I snoop around and find out there’s a facility in Homestead, so I call. I’m connected with Brock Edd, the account manager.

“This comes and goes,” he says. “I can’t figure out why anybody would want to shut us down. It only means some other country takes over what is a $60 million industry.”

I ask Mr. Edd if there’s a domestic market for horse meat.

“Sure,” he says. “But don’t even go there because nobody will tell you. There’s a prejudice against eating horse in this country. Irrational, but there you have it.”

As an industry, what do you do to protect yourselves?

“Well, we’re proactive, first ones out of the gate (groan). We got lobbyists, and we’re trying to bring in the rest of the related industry — horse tracks, dog tracks, breeders….”

Wait. Dog tracks?

“Sure. They shut us down, next thing happens they’ll start working on canine rendering plants. That’s a whole ‘nother multimillion dollar industry, butchering dogs for the Far East and local restaurants. Bad enough you got people stealing off retired greyhounds and makin’ pets outta them, stealing money right outta the industry’s pockets.”

I thank Mr. Edd and ring off. Why does the thought of eating dog at Loy Logers Sushi Shack make me sicker than the idea of scarfing down a Vito’s cheese horsesteak? And why would activists or advocates oppose one and not the other? I don’t get it.

Guess it just depends whose ox is gored.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Vamos a Veritas!

Filed under: Etherea — Steve @ 10:11 am

Freshly posted in the comments on CM’s post about Vamos a Cuba and Little Black Sambo, you’ll find this from dig at thenextfewhours: “I am willing to bet that there are textbooks, in use here in Miami-Dade Public Schools, with all sort of egregious errors and inaccuracies. I would love for someone to verify this.”

Well, dig, I’m your man and I’m on the job.

Let’s start with Little Black Sambo, to which VAC was (strangely) compared. Does LBS contain inaccuracies? I call Metrozoo and speak with a Dr. F.E. Linus who tells me that under no circumstances is it conceivable than dozens of tigers could run around a palm tree clutching one another’s tails in their teeth so fast that they would melt and turn into butter. “Thoroughly inaccurate,” she states. “That the schools would allow a book containing this claptrap to sit on its shelves where children could get the wrong idea about endangered animals is just unconscionable.”

I read somewhere that something like 80% of high school students can’t find the British Isles on a map of the world. Do the schools even teach geography any more? If so, what the hell is in those books? I phone the noted cartographer Miles Zoff for his views.

“What do you expect?” he hollers, agitated from the get-go. “The books they use, the crap they teach, it’s criminal! Columbus sailing west, looking for India? Marconi wandering around China like a drunken gypsy? This never happened, and it’s in all the books. Part of the conspiracy we’ve been trying to overturn for 500 years…..”

I hang up quietly mid-rant. I keep forgetting that Miles Zoff is an officer in the Flat Earth Society, and always looks for opportunities to air his agenda.

It keeps going. My uncle Boris, the Russian immigrant, tells me that his kids came home from school thinking that Americans invented the automobile, the television set, and the cotton gin. “Russian inventions! Every one! As Russian as vodka and ice in Siberia! As Russian as cold cruel death!” I set off a fistfight between two drinking buddies, one from Yokohama, the other from Manchester (England) on the subject of racism. High school textbooks lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of antebellum white Americans, but both my Japanese and British pals stoutly insisted that their societies were the original racists. “Well, we bloody well perfected it, didn’t we?” fumed the Brit. “Not that you wogs would even know it if it bit you in your yellow butts…” (that’s when the fight started).

I see the pattern here. We imagine a firm line between truth and falsehood, fact and fiction, certainty and opinion. There is no line, or rather, it’s dotted, wavy, and malleable over time. That’s why you leave the books on the shelves; not because they’re the last words, but because there are no last words, just words and thoughts and ideas that carry you forward. The more we have, the better off we are.

And that’s the truth, dig. I read it in a book.

Monday, July 24, 2006

More Grim News for the City of Bodily Harm

Filed under: And They're Off — Steve @ 1:00 pm

First Rolling Rock, now this.

Pats.jpgHarry Olivieri, co-founder of the Pat’s King of Steaks cheese steak emporium and generally credited with being the co-inventor of the Philly cheese steak, died on Thursday in Pomona, N.J. He was 90 and lived in Brigantine, N.J…….The cause was heart failure, his family said. —NY Times

Harry was Pat’s younger brother, which is why it’s not called “Harry’s King of Steaks.” Pat died in 1970. Harry’s son Frank now runs the operation. He, too, follows the dictum “We shall sell no horsemeat before its time.”

A spokesman for Geno’s Steaks, across the street from Pat’s, expressed sympathy and regrets for the family. “Harry was a good man — and he ordered in English!” he noted. He also pointed out that “there gotta be at least 3 dozen fuckin people in this town claim they invented the fuckin cheesesteak.”

The funeral will feature a coffin shaped and painted like a large Amoroso hoagie roll, but without cheese or meat spilling out each end. There is no truth to the rumor that the skeletons from any member of the family will be donated to Body World for museum display.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Key Waste or Bust….or Both!

Filed under: News from the Nation's Dicktip,Sense & Sensuality — Steve @ 12:23 am

Today Guido and I are heading down to Key West for 3 days of R&R. In KW, “R&R” stands for “sex and alcohol.” Yeah we can get that at home but it’s not as much fun.

To paraphrase Homer Simpson, in Key West the sun is hot, the beer is cold, and the gay men flaming.

Since our first visit in 1985, we try to make it to KW once a year (unlike the hurricanes, we missed 2005). So we’re veterans. For the rare soul who hasn’t been down for a while, let alone at all, here are some answers to some FAQ:

Q: How do you get to Key West?
A: Unless you’re driving, inebriated and/or high. If you’re driving, slightly less so. Emphasis: “slightly.”

Q: How long does it take to drive from Miami?
A: That depends. See Question 1. It’s not about speed: Stop and absorb some ambiance. We often break at the 7 Mile Bridge Grill to suck up some grease. One of my favorite beers is the Rolling Rock I consume after lunch while crossing the 7 Mile Bridge.

Q: What does the “US” in “US-1” mean?
A: Ha! Thought you’d catch me with a “Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb” type question, dintcha? “Unified System.” Go look it up.

Q: Can you get raw oysters in Key West this time of year?
A: Along with cold sores, yes. Rule of thumb: Oysters are available in months without W’s (no offense to the President).

Q: I find downtown disorienting. Does Duval Street run North and South or East and West?
A: Yes. Don’t blame your disorientation on downtown.

Q: What’s there to do in KW if it rains all day?
A: If you have to ask, you’re vacationing in the wrong place. Sheesh.

Q: I heard that Southernmost Point isn’t really the country’s southernmost point, and that the Hemingway House doesn’t contain a single genuine item.

A: You heard right. Everything about KW is a lie and a scam. That’s part of its charm. Did you know that all of Hemingway’s work was actually written by Francis Bacon? It’s true! Go with it.

Q: I’m looking for a cheesy store where I can overpay for men’s underwear that says “I (Heart) to Fart” across the ass. Anything like that in KW?
A: What’s “underwear”? And can it really talk?

This is the weekend of Hemingway Days, so the crowds should be slightly larger, bawdier, and rowdier than usual. Check back with you Monday.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Using Your Head

Filed under: Etherea — Steve @ 12:14 am

Found this image on Attu Sees All and had to share it. He calls it “Zidane’s s Car Wouldn’t Start Today.”

(I highly recommend spending time on Attu’s blog. Not everything is for everybody. but everybody should find something.)

Also, following up on my post about Tanorexics (which generated a bit more controversy than anticipated), bumped into an interesting study that links incidence of sunburn with income and education levels. The meat of the matter:

“The study revealed that sunburn prevalence was greatest in respondents 18 to 24 years old, with 61% reporting at least one sunburn in the past year. When income and educational levels were examined, the study showed that individuals in the highest income strata (equal to or greater than $50,000) were more likely to report sunburn than those in the lowest income strata (less than $20,000) – 47% vs. 28%, respectively. In addition, respondents with a college degree reported a higher sunburn incidence than those without a high school degree – 43% vs. 25%, respectively.”

This suggests we change the expression from “too dumb to come in out of the rain” to “too smart (or rich) to come in out of the sun.” The study offered some other correlations:

“Overall, 44% of male respondents reported at least one sunburn compared with 34% of female respondents. Students were nearly twice as likely to sunburn than those who were unemployed (63% vs. 33%, respectively)….. respondents who reported binge drinking – defined as consuming more than 5 drinks in one night within the past 30 days – had a higher prevalence of sunburn than their counterparts (56% vs. 35%, respectively).

That last one makes sense, anyway.

I fit that profile nicely, if that’s the word (and see masthead graphic!).  Stoopid about Sunshine.  College grad and a binge drinker (“Seven years of college education, wasted!“), male last I looked, etc.  Add to the mix that I reside in South Florida. But I haven’t had a sunburn in a dozen years or more, and before that, maybe another decade. Bucked another trend. Skin cancer’s another story.

Tanya Hyde: you’re the expert. Give!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

First The Rats…..

Filed under: News from the Nation's Dicktip — Steve @ 12:28 am

It was reported yesterday that Katherine Harris, still attempting to manage her train wreck of a Senatorial campaign despite defections by two campaign managers and revolving-door turnover among staff, recently underwent surgery to remove “an ovarian mass.”

“It’s not related to the campaign’s personnel problems,” insisted Emma Lone, acting public relations director. “Yes, there has been turnover; we’ve not denied that. But this was scheduled surgery to remove unwanted growths, not a question of a body part wanting out of her body.”

Last week, the majority of Harris’s core campaign staff resigned abruptly, the second time this happened since she entered the race last summer. Gregory Hodas, Harris’ campaign manager, resigned after just three months on the job, saying Harris was “uncontrollable.”

Attempts to contact the ovarian mass at Walter Reed Army Hospital for comment proved unsuccessful. Rumors that Harris’s entire ovary expressed desire for liberation from the campaign and the candidate in a show of solidarity with the departing staff could not be confirmed.

“This opens up a lot of speculation,” noted a lobbyist, asking not to be identified for reasons of good taste. “What else might have jumped ship? We know, for example, she ditched her integrity in the 2000 election, when she whored for the Bush/Cheney campaign. And given her reputation, it wouldn’t surprise me if she had her heart amputated years ago.  The corrupt campaign donation business with Mitchell Wade, even after that slimeball went down in the Abramoff scandal, indicates she might have jettisoned any moral sense she might have had.

“Two things we’re absolutely sure of: she’s got a mouth, and she’s got a temper.”

The smart money adds that what she hasn’t got is a chance, trailing Bill Nelson, the incumbent, by over 20 points.

Photo: www.thetatteredcoat.com

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Gorilla My Dreams

Filed under: Etherea — Steve @ 9:55 am

In a 1999 film experiment, 6 people, 3 wearing dark clothes 3 wearing light, circle around one another passing 2 basketballs, light to light, dark to dark. During the 75 second video, a woman in a gorilla suit strolls through the group, stops briefly to pound her chest, then walks out of range. Not Oscar material, but wait.

Researchers assembled 46 people in a simulated cocktail bar. Half received genuine cocktails, half got placebos. (Participants were not told what they were getting.) When blood levels achieved 0.04 alcohol, about half of what most states would deem DUI, the volunteers trooped in and watched 25 seconds of the video, including the part where the gorilla makes her appearance. They were told to count the number of successful passes the light team achieved.

Afterwards, they were asked if they saw the gorilla. Only 18% of the lucky ones who got real booze said yes. But here’s the kicker: only 46% of those who watched it cold sober said they saw it. That’s right: fewer than half the unimpaired saw a gorilla right in front of them.

It’s called “inattentional blindness,” and its capacity to explain human perception and behavior seems unlimited. It certainly describes politics. Focus people’s attention on the trivial and eye-catching, and they’ll miss the masked bandits looting the register right in front of their eyes. Keep your eyes on my left hand while my right picks your pocket. Obsess over Vamos a Cuba, “desecrating” flags, and English as the official language while the boys in the back room pillage the treasury, rape Lady Liberty, and shit on the Bill of Rights. You don’t even have to hide.

It also explains why Guido doesn’t hear me whining for sex while she’s reading. I think.

(Two accounts of this experiment appeared recently. One is an abbreviated treatment in the McClatchey Hurled, copped from the LA Times. The more thorough and thoughtful treatment is from last week’s NY Times.)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Take A Number

Filed under: Across the Fruited Plain — Steve @ 12:03 am

The reason the state of Missouri has temporarily shut down its execution procedure is simple: they can’t find a board-certified anesthesiologist to oversee the ceremonial mixing of the drugs and administration of the fatal cocktail.

Too bad, because that’s what the court ordered. Responding to litigation citing the inept manner in which the state was dispatching convicts sentenced to death, a federal judge ordered an anesthesiologist to monitor the circus clown who to this point has botched up state executions so badly it caused hardened officials, let alone family members, to shriek in horror. “If we wanted to torture our prisoners we’d send them to Guantanamo,” one warden stated. “Let the Feds do it. They’re the experts!”

The account I read identifies the physician currently handling executions only as “Dr John Doe I.” In testimony, he admitted he was dyslexic, and encountered difficulties reversing letters and numbers. So instead of mixing (e.g.) 8.2g of sodium pentothal, maybe he’d screw up and mix in 2.8 — not enough to prevent the condemned from feeling the slow agony of his body organs shutting down one by one, just enough enough to make him incapable of expressing pain.

Dr. John Doe I has been performing this function in Missouri for a decade. Both the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the American Medical Association take the position that physicians should not participate in executions. Evidently Dr. Dyslexic got that back-asswards, too. Close enough for government work.

The dispute has attracted the attention of some peculiar interest groups. “Citizens for Swift Justice” — no clear connection to the swift boat crowd, but don’t rule it out — came to the defense of the current system. “So what if some murdering bastard dies in agony?” demanded spokesperson Kaye Sera-Sera. “How much remorse did he feel for his victims? We say kill them first, fast, and final, and we don’t give a damn how much it bothers them or their candy-ass families. Fry ‘em! Hang ‘em! Shoot ‘em down like the beasts they are! One down! Who’s next?”

Something calling itself the “Committee for Penal Reform” issued a statement defending the death penalty, but urging changes in its administration. In a rambling, wordy treatise made available to reporters, they seem to advocate public executions “for the instructional, motivational, and entertainment value” such would provide while stating that attempts to “humanize” executions fail to countenance the sensibilities of crime victims’ families. They suggested establishment of firing squads composed of “NRA members in good standing.”

(I couldn’t reach either the NRA or the AMA for a comment.)

The strangest statement came from DAM — “Mothers Against Dyslexia” — which noted that dyslexic persons, as disabled Americans, were entitled to anti-discrimination protection, and the campaign to remove and/or vilify Dr. John Doe I was racist. Or something.

Meanwhile, despite the backlog forming in Missouri’s death rows, officials categorically deny that there are plans to ship prisoners off to Iraq to serve in the armed forces. “Recruitment has been problematic,” concedes one official close to the process, “but to date, the Army refuses to allow anybody to enlist after they’re convicted of murder. Of course, that might change.”

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