Monday, January 30, 2006


I've been so frustrated by my attempts to deal with memory destroying virus protection programs on my computer that I forgot about viruses that might penetrate my human body. Have you ever used an anti-virus program that was as bad as a virus itself? That's how my computer has been the last couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, something has penetrated my immune system and kept me off my feet for the better part of the last 24 hours. It got to my Frau, too, but she had to go to work and suffer through it for eight consecutive hours. Otherwise, she too was as immobile as I was.

Not fun, especially when the kids have the run of the house. If they had to fend for themselves, they would live on a diet of peanut butter sandwiches and ice cream. They make a lot of noise, too. Kids are noisy all of the time, but it really hits you hard when your head and stomach are both about to erupt. On the positive side, a couple of them have since complained about stomach pains and nausea. See how YOU like being sick, you little vandals!


Now it's Monday morning, and I'm feeling good, in that woozy kind of way that hits you when you're in the recovery stage after being hit low for a couple of days. It figures, too. Why doesn't this ever happen on days when I'm scheduled to work? Does my body have some kind of weekday immunity that prevents me from using up all of my sick time?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Learned Foot's Blogster Survey

Apparently some kind of Hipster survey is all the rage in Minnesota this week, so Kool Aid Report CEO Learned Foot has come up with a survey of his own for those of us who blog. Here, then, are my responses to The Blogster Survey:

Other than the Kool Aid Report, what is your fave blog?
It's a tie between Mauve, Flava Air Report, and Blois.
What is the best thing you can say about Willie Clark?
He hit a home run for Pittsburgh in 1898. I'm sure it helped. Somehow.
Where do you breakfast?
I always have to brake fast coming off of I-79 Heidelberg exit.
Where do you dinner?
Dinner? I don't even knower!
Where do you afternoon snack?
Vending machine down the hall. Machine charges fifteen cents less for pretzels than what the sign says they cost.
Other than LearnedFoot, who is the hottest male blogger?
Sisyphus, based on a survey of the discarded trophy wives club.
Other than Uncle Ben, who is the hottest female blogger?
Claudia Vanessa Heym. Hubba hubba!
Wi-fi, cable modem or dialup?
Cable. Isn't FiOS a choice yet?
Mitch Berg or JB Doubtless?
Dunno, which one prefers Iron Maiden?
Why are you so damn ugly?
From scrunching up my face every time I squint at the screen to read the small font on my blogs.
Where do you beer?
When I'm done, usually in a flushable porcelain bowl.
Arsenal or Everton?
Everton, of course. What kind of sicko supports a team with "arse" in its name?
Where do you news?
Online. I get everything from the internet.
Why don't you work out? (You really need to.)
Because I spend so much time in front of the computer reading, re-reading, and digesting the several-times-daily wisdom of Learned Foot. (I really don't need to.)
What's an arts organization that you've never heard of?
That one that all the hippies go to when they take a break from protesting. You know, that one.
Dude, do you, like, totally party?
Not since I turned 21. It's more fun when it's less legal.
Where is your favorite place to stand in line for a free burrito?
In front of my microwave (assuming that someone else bought it for me).
Hear me now - whenever I see someone inventing a new meme, it makes me want to X that person in the Y.
Whenever I see someone inventing a new meme, it makes me want to electrocute that person in the earlobes.

There, I'm done. Do I get a prize?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

How Not To Run A Political Campaign

Bill Scranton's campaign for Governor may not be imploding -- yet -- but it sure is good at embarrassing itself:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Scranton fired his campaign manager and apologized for a racially charged remark the manager made about former Steelers star Lynn Swann, Scranton's rival for the GOP nomination.

On a televised call-in show Wednesday night, James Seif said "the rich white guy in this campaign is Lynn Swann."

Scranton, in a statement released from his campaign, said he was trying to reach Swann last night to apologize.

"I want to apologize to Lynn Swann, his family, supporters and campaign," Scranton said. He expressed "deep personal regret and anger" and said Seif's comment "in no way whatsoever reflect my views or those of my campaign."

I can't even think of a good reason why that guy thought that saying something like that was a good idea. Injecting race into a campaign is just plain stupid, unless you have a very solid and justifiable reason for doing so. This comment does not come anywhere close to meeting any criteria of reasonableness.

Mr. Seif seems to have been distancing his candidate from his candidate's opposition. That is a reasonable goal in a political campaign. But supposing he had tried to make the same point by saying something about Scranton with the opposite meaning. If Lynn Swann is a rich white man, is Bill Scranton a poor black sharecropper's son from a plantation in the Old South?

Scranton certainly handled this well, as he reacted quickly in order to, shall we say, fix the problem. Hopefully, for his sake, the next campaign manager will perform better.

This Ain't The Minnesota Vikings

While people who run around wearing Pittsburgh Steelers team memorabilia might be more than a little crazed, the players are another matter. Check out Ruth Ann Dailey's column for the scoop. She's so RAD.

Steelers Fans Keep Embarrassing Themselves

Do you know how easy it is for me to not be a Pittsburgh Steelers fan in this part of the world? After what happened to the high school student in Beaver County last week, I really don't want to be associated with those cretins.

The kid has had to retain an attorney, and now he is missing at least a week of school because of the idiot teacher who led a barrage of harassment against him. The abuse did not end when the boy left school that day:

Attorney Nicholas Frisk III said his client, Joshua Vannoy, 17, has received "nasty" telephone threats from classmates at Beaver Falls High School who disapprove of him complaining about his treatment last week by John Kelly, a popular teacher and diehard Steelers fan. Joshua wore the shirt two days before the Steelers and Broncos competed for the AFC championship.

"We want to make sure there is no retribution," said Mr. Frisk. "Our No. 1 concern is getting him back to school as quickly as possible and making sure he's in a safe environment."

Nice classmates, huh? I suppose that the teacher's popularity has skyrocketed since last Friday's incident. There's nothing like the gang mentality to unite a horde of potential thugs behind a proven leader. Really, this thing sounds like the birth of a primitive tribe.

Of course the school's principal is siding with the teacher. And what about the superintendent of the district?

Dr. Nugent, whose office lobby contains a Christmas tree draped with Terrible Towels and crowned with a Steelers helmet, said Monday she's taking the matter seriously.
Oh yeah, that's a really helpful statement. Joshua ought not to look to her for support. Her true colors are literally on display for all to see.

He also need not try to commune with those who have gone before him:

Comments posted on an online alumni forum for Beaver Falls High School are largely in support of Mr. Kelly, who many former students describe as a favorite teacher who shaped their minds and molded their character.

Drinking water supplied via lead pipes might have something to do with it, too. A high school diploma is not evidence of intelligence or discipline, in the way that a college degree is. If Mr. Kelly made these people who they are today, I would have to say, based on this past week's news, that they are in all likelihood a group of drooling morons. In other words, Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Disrespect In The Classroom

No matter where our children go to school or what sort of teachers they have, we always expect the kids to show the utmost respect for their instructors. But what happens when a teacher acts like a complete jerk towards a student? How can you respect that?

You can't. It is happening right here, right now in western Pennsylvania -- and of course it's all about Steelers fever:

When Joshua Vannoy decided to wear a Denver Broncos jersey Friday, he knew there would be some joking from diehard Steelers fans at Big Beaver Falls Area Senior High School.

But he never expected to feel humiliated by his teacher during a mid-term examination and become so shaken up that he could not finish his test.

"I feel awful, like I was dehumanized," said Joshua, 17, a junior and self-described honor student.

Of course the teacher was a complete blockhead for putting his football team preference ahead of the kid's right to self-expression. The Broncos jersey harmed absolutely no one.

How did the teacher express his disdain for the student's choice of apparel?

He said when he went to sit down at his regular desk on Friday, Mr. Kelly ordered him to "take those books off my desk. I own that desk." He placed his textbooks on the floor and then sat down at the desk.

Joshua said his teacher told him to "get out of my desk. You're sitting in my desk."

He said Mr. Kelly began sliding the desks into a circle. Then he told Joshua to sit on the floor in the center of the circle.

While Mr. Kelly passed out the tests, he dropped Joshua's test papers, scattering them on the floor so that he had to crawl around and pick them up, Joshua said.

"As I started to write my name on the papers and number them, I noticed he went to the cupboard and grabbed a handful of notebook paper and handed it to all the kids and said, 'This is part two of your test. You'll get points for this. Take the paper and ball it up with two hands and throw it at the Denver fan,' " Joshua said.

Joshua said there were "papers flying everywhere towards me. At one point, a girl refused to do it and he [Mr. Kelly] took the paper off her desk and threw it into the back of my head."

It's nice to know that the teacher's life is so perfect and wonderful that the thing that upsets him most is someone wearing a rival football team's jersey. The subject of this class is ethnic relations. You might think that such a course would teach teenagers about the evils of intolerance, but not in Mr. Kelly's classroom. It's all about singling someone out for being different and subjecting them to humiliation. But this isn't about ethnic relations; it's about loyalty to a particular football team. In that case, it's okay to hate someone who is not like you.

Mr. Kelly "has never told me not to wear a Denver Broncos jersey in his class," Joshua said. "I probably wouldn't have if I knew it was going to cause this kind of big deal. I just thought it was a shirt."
Well, it's not, kid. Wearing that shirt is worse than theft, rape, arson, murder, and genocide. If it wasn't, your teacher would not have been so mortally offended by it.

What have we learned here, class? That Pittsburgh Steelers fans are a bunch of brain-damaged idiots? That our school teachers do not deserve our respect? If I were Joshua, those might be the lessons that I would be taking away from this experience.

I have one last question. Does anyone know where I can get a Seattle Seahawks jersey, cheap?

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Cream That Dripped Blood

Have you ever sat down to enjoy a nice delicious hot fudge sundae, and tasted salty flavorful human blood running down the side of your dessert? Neither have I -- but someone else has!

A Georgetown mother has filed a lawsuit claiming a fast-food restaurant served her son a hot fudge sundae that contained human blood, leaving him frightened that he might contract a fatal disease.

The owner of the fast food restaurant, who ran unsuccessfully for the state House of Representatives, said the so-called blood was strawberry syrup.

Once when I was a small boy sitting in my high chair at the dinner table, I was convinced that I was crying tears of blood. My mother thought that the red stuff on my face while I was crying came from the ketchup on the hot dog that I had been eating. She was probably right.

According to court documents, Jara bought food, including four hot fudge sundaes, from the drive-thru window at the McDonald's on U.S. 113 in Georgetown on Dec. 30, 2004. Her son, then 12, dug into his sundae and "recognized the taste of blood and, upon careful inspection, noted a red substance on the side of the sundae cup as well as mixed into his ice cream," the lawsuit says.

Jara then went into the store and spoke to a swing manager, who confirmed that it was blood, the lawsuit says. The manager, Joshua Ferrell, also said the employee who prepared the sundae had an injured, bleeding finger, according to the lawsuit. Ferrell told Jara that he had advised the employee to keep a bandage on his bleeding finger.

Assuming that the sundae mother is telling the truth, I have to ask, What part of "cover your ass" did this swing manager not understand? And for the sundae kid, How is it that you are so well-acquainted with the taste of cold blood? Are you a hockey player?

Here's the reaction from the proprietor of this house of fine Scottish cuisine:

He said strawberry syrup probably had clogged the machine. Ferrell, he said, should not have said the substance was blood.

"What is he, a botanist? No, he's a 21-year-old assistant manager who saw her screaming in the lobby and said 'whatever you say lady.' "

A botanist? A BOTANIST???? What the hell??? Are assistant managers at McDonald's now supposed to be experts in plant blood? (Is there such a thing as plant blood?) Or is a Botanist someone who worships Botan? (Which would have been somewhat appropriate had the kid died from eating the sundae.) This case is messed up on all sides.

Neither Ferrell nor the other employee work in the restaurant any longer.
Hmmm, I wonder why.

I'm not going to take sides in this matter -- that jury is going to be in for a heck of a ride -- but I will let the franchise owner have the last word, because it reminds us why we should be skeptical about these kinds of lawsuits:

"I hope she gets the same thing the Wendy's lady got," he said, referring to the recent California case involving a woman who planted a severed finger in a bowl of Wendy's chili to extort money from the fast-food chain. The woman was sentenced to nine years in prison for the scam.

Lock Up Your Back Door, Run For Your Life

So, how did the city of Pittsburgh manage after the Steelers' victory last night? Remember, the cops were expecting rioting in the streets of the South Side as part of a victory celebration.

Well, let's find out:

With the pent up frustration of failed AFC Championships of old, thousands of jubilant Pittsburgh Steeler fans swarmed out of the bars that dot Carson Street on the South Side with their thumbs jutting toward the sky cheering "one for the thumb" in celebration of the Steelers' 34-17 rout over the Denver Broncos last night.

Back in 1981, I had a "One For The Thumb In '81" t-shirt with a cartoon of Mean Joe Greene showing off his four Super Bowl rings with his bare thumb extended in anticipation of another. It didn't happen. Not for him, nor for any of his teammates. The four-ringed Super Bowl superstars of the 1970s are now doing other things, like running for Governor.

So who exactly is left from the 1970s? Obviously not any of the players. Dan Rooney, maybe? The Rooney family is the one constant throughout the history of the Steelers organization.

Somehow I doubt that a Dan Rooney t-shirt would be such a hot seller. But I digress.

Thousands of people swarming out of bars on Carson Street must be a site to behold, and one that the city was wise to prepare for. That big of a crowd can cause considerable damage. What sort of unruliness took place in the aftermath?

Surrounded by police and barricades that had been put up in anticipation of a raucous crowd, hundreds of black and gold jerseys converged in front of the Burger King -- pushing friends in supermarket trolley carts, running alongside Port Authority buses and waving Terrible Towels at passersby and oncoming cars -- to sing their way into Super Bowl XL in Detroit.
Stealing grocery carts from the Giant Eagle, playing in traffic, assaulting pedestrians and motorists with fine linens...this represents an almost total breakdown of the societal order and the worst violence to befall Pittsburgh in over seventy years.

But wait. Police barricades? Buses and cars? Just how much of the neighborhood did the cops block off, anyway? Perhaps it's worse than I thought. Did inebriated football fans hijack Pork Authority buses and crash the gate doin' ninety-eight, saying "Let them Steelers roll, 10-4"? Under the circumstances, I would even be afraid of eleven long haired friends of Jesus in a chartreuse microbus.

So how did the police respond?

In this netherworld of elation, Pittsburgh police officers gave and took high fives. A Bicycle officer rode his bicycle up and down the nearby sidewalks of Carson Street with one finger pointed toward the sky and with revelers in tow yelling.
"Gave and took high fives"? Sound more like they gave up altogether. Who is going to retrieve those stolen shopping carts and return them to Giant Eagle? My great-grandfather was a Pittsburgh policeman on the South Side a little over 100 years ago. He wouldn't have joined the revelers. He would have introduced them to the business end of his billy club, which is still in my family's possession, by the way, and is still harder than iron.

Responsible, professional people have gone feral:

...waitresses at Tom's Diner grabbed pots and wooden ladles as they began their slow jog to the center of the crowd on Carson Street while banging their pots with wide smiles on their faces.
My other great-grandfather was a saloonkeeper on the South Side. He would not have tolerated this sort of tomfoolery. Or, to be blunt, stealing kitchen supplies. Those waitresses would have been so fired.

With the city in total anarchy, no one is safe:

In Jack's Bar [a 26 year old woman] picked up a woman more than five decades her senior, and bounced her up and down in what could only be described as Steelers bliss.
Now they're assaulting the elderly! Someone needs to stop the insanity. Lord only knows what these people would have done if their beloved football team had actually lost.

My neighborhood, on the other hand, was nice and quiet. I had no idea who won the game until almost two hours after it was over. Too busy messing around with the stupid anti-virus program. More on that later.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Point Taken

A few minutes ago I had a lengthy post all set to go, and then...

Stupid McAfee froze the computer and forced me to reboot.

This year, my tax refund is going to buy me a new computer.

Internet Security: Is It Worth It?

A few days ago, I openly pondered the possibility of switching ISPs. I may make a decision before month's end, based on some difficulty that I've been having with Anti-Virus programs over the last couple of weeks.

For the last five and one-half years, I have gotten along nicely with Norton Anti-Virus from Symantec. Then earlier this month, the LiveUpdate program started having problems. I looked at Norton's help pages, and I browsed various help forums trying to find a solution to LU's repeated failure to update. Nothing worked. This is unfortunate, since I paid to renew my subscription to Norton AV last summer.

As it happens, shortly after I renewed the Norton subscription, my ISP began offering free McAfee security programs to their subscribers. I wasn't going to take advantage of it right after I paid Norton to renew my AV protection with them.

Yesterday, I decided to make the switch. I divested my machine of all Norton security programs and installed the McAfee VirusScan, Firewall, and Privacy Service.

I should have looked before I leapt. McAfee's scan is mind-numbingly slow. I tried running it twice. The first time, I voluntarily rebooted the computer. The second time, I went to bed and woke up several hours later to discover that the scan was stuck in one of my mail folders. No idea how long it was there, but it wasn't making any progress.

The trouble was avoidable. Had I done a brief search of online forums regarding McAfee VirusScan, I would have learned that the program runs mind-bogglingly slow on machines that use Windows 98. Instead, I allowed the scan to boggle my mind for me. This is the price I pay, perhaps, for not being able to afford a more up to date computer.

Moments ago, after shutting down the VirusScan, my computer froze up and rebooted itself. I really don't like it doing that sort of thing unless I tell it to. If this is what McAfee security does to my computer, I might be better off with no virus protection.

I need an anti-Anti-Virus.

Time to go back and see what kind of protection services the alternative ISP provides. Also to find out how I might be able to afford a new computer.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Ted Kennedy Is As Much Of An Ass As Ever

Well here's a big surprise: Senators Kennedy, Durbin and Leahy have stepped forth to declare that they will be voting against the Alito Supreme Court nomination. You can just knock me over with a feather. Go ahead. Watch me fall. I am in shock.

It seems that, in addition to all of the standard lefty complaints, the Senators have learned that Judge Alito has applied for membership in the dreaded Federalist Society. To Democrats, the Federalist Society is like Death Eaters to Harry Potter, like the Sith to the Jedi, or like antibiotics to an infection. Teddy tells us that

In November 2000, the Florida recount was on, and the right wing was salivating over the prospect that George Bush would prevail in that close election. Judge Alito may well have been submitting his application for a Supreme Court nomination.
You have to hand it to Old Kennedy. How many elected officials of either party carry around saliva detectors in their pockets? I don't remember any of us right wingers openly drooling, so Teddy must have used his handy little device to measure the increase in the moistness inside of right wing mouths.

Just for the record, I prefer not to use a saliva detector on anyone or anything. I especially am not interested in the bodily fluids of Democrats. In fact, I find the suggestion that the amount of slobber inside of one's mouth is directly proportional to one's interest in sitting on the Supreme Court to be just a tad disgusting.

I wonder if cocktail waitresses at Teddy's favorite bars have similar devices to check on the Senator's drool levels.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Patting Myself On the Back...Of the Pants

Congratulations to me! I just learned that my blog is the number one Google search result for:

pull your pants down friday

Site Meter, what would I do without you?

Form Letter Editorial

Learned Foot at Kool-Aid Report has been posting an amusing series of Mad Libs based on lefty letters to the editor at Twin Cities-based newspapers. His point is that every letter repeats the same memes and tropes over and over again, that each one must have used the same template with blanks in which to fill in words.

The editorial writers at the Pittsburgh Moist-Towelette must operate the same way. How else to explain this morning's editorial explaining why the paper is opposed to Sam Alito's nomination to the
U.S. Supreme Court? The editors worked in a lot of material here:

  • We have too much information about Alito's experience, too little about his political views (even though his judicial qualifications are not what are on trial here -- isn't this a job interview?)
  • Alito is a symptom of what's wrong in Bush's America (because anything having to do with GWB undermines the causes of Socialism in America and Jihad abroad)
  • Alito is bad because Christians like him (since people who believe in God are evil)
  • Alito is a hypocrite who misrepresents himself (he has to deal with a bunch of smug, self-centered arsehole Democrats who would accuse him of lying if he tried to talk about the weather)
  • In spite of everything else you read in this editorial, Alito is well-qualified and even a lot of Democrats like him (this must be the P-G's way of trying to sound fair and balanced)
  • Alito is unworthy because of the CAP controversy (lame attempt at painting him guilty by association) and because Ted Kennedy, who is a political god, said so (the Chappaquiddick killer is untouchable because all of his brothers were shot to death)
  • Alito may be open-minded, but it's a conservative kind of open mind (the paper's grounds for immediate disqualification for anything)
  • An open appeal to Arlen Specter to change his mind (because Arlen is, you know, the only "good Republican in the country, in the eyes of the Moist-Towelette)
  • Alito is a fascist who is opposed to killing babies (and, for all we know, also opposes the drowning of young women in automobiles)
Go back and look at the rest of the editorial. You could substitute just about any judicial nominee's name for Alito's, and aside from a couple of minor details, the editorial would have been the same no matter what.

The left hasd really gotten predictable these days. I'm surprised, frankly, that Halliburton didn't somehow come up.

Steelers Fans On the Rampage

I have never thought as Pittsburgh as an especially violent city. Political turmoil sometimes leads to protests, but despite the anger, things have never really gotten very far out of hand.

Sports fans' victory celebrations, on the other hand, can get way out of hand if not planned for carefully. That's why the city is preparing for large scale rioting in case of a Pittsburgh Steelers' victory over the Denver Broncos in the upcoming AFC Championship game:

If the Steelers win their game in Denver on Sunday, police in Pittsburgh might resort to shutting down the South Side to contain rowdy fans, they said.

They've learned from experience.

Pittsburgh police Assistant Chief William Mullen, who has worked plenty of celebrations involving the city's three sports teams during his 37 years on the force, said the Steelers' AFC Championship win in 1995 forced police to close Carson Street.

"We had guys out there in riot gear, really no-nonsense,'' Mullen said Wednesday. "We just shut the South Side down before anything got out of hand.''

My father lived on the South Side for the first ten years of his life and he made it sound like a particularly rough neighborhood. That was in 1930! Sounds like old Birmingham is still a major trouble spot.

Good thing I live in the suburbs.

Ankle Biting Pains

My right foot, all the way to just above my ankle, feels like it's been packed full with meat. It doesn't look swollen, but it feels thick and hurts when I stand. I've been walking around like an old man -- maybe this is an onset of rheumatism? I'm not even forty years old yet, for crying out loud!

Is that Learned Foot guy some kind of podiatrist? What might he suggest to ease my pains?

I'm gonna soak in cold water before I go to work this morning. And I'm going to quietly seethe about letting this mysterious malady make me miss that French & Indian War special on WQED last night.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Look But Don't Play

Nice article here about an old toy museum in Wheeling that I took the family to see a couple of years ago.

I loved that place! Some of the rooms were filled with objects that seem to have been lifted en masse straight out of my childhood. Toys that were long gone, as well as long forgotten, seemed to appear like magic in front of my eyes.

If that was a foretaste of my live flashing before my eyes when I die, then I think I might really enjoy my passing.

The kids, on the other hand, had one of those swimming-in-Jello kind of experiences. A whole house was filled from top to bottom with toys, but they couldn't touch a single one.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Update Your Euro Scorecards

It's official: We can start liking the French again. They said so.

George Washington Slept Here

I am going to go out on a limb and say that the locally produced PBS documentary on the French & Indian War, which won't even air until tomorrow night, is the best thing to be shown on television in ages. There really hasn't been a war fought in the Pittsburgh area in over 200 years. There have been violent strikes (Homestead) and uprisings (Whiskey Rebellion) that required armed intervention, but no actual battle in a declared war between two entities has been fought here for as long as America has been a republic.

When I was a lad, one of my favorite bedtime books was a biography of George Washington. My favorite part of the book concerned his days as a surveyor and as a young officer in the Virginia militia. Why? Because that was when he was active right here in southwestern Pennsylvania. I had a strong sense of local history as a young boy. Unfortunately I was not able to pass on the same interest to my offspring.

This new documentary may change all of that. I am going to sit them down and have them watch it with me until either they fall asleep, or their mother yells at them for staying up too late. But mama, this is worth staying up for! If nothing else, this show can teach the kids why we aren't all speaking French.

(News story with plenty of links to previous articles here, and the 250th anniversary site is here.)

Observations From a Municipal Parking Lot

Having just strolled across a parking lot in which I spotted a car that had been "booted" with the infamous Denver boot, two thoughts flashed through my mind:

  1. When I first saw the "boot" twenty years ago, it was orange, not yellow; and
  2. If I were a rich man, I would purchase a soccer franchise, move it to the Mile-High City, and call it the Denver Boot.
The second observation inspires further reverie. Would my team have cheerleaders, and would I call them the Denver Booty? And would my choice of team name become a laughing stock were we to lead the league in penalties?

Perhaps it's best that I stay in Pittsburgh.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Another Bogus Quiz Result

Bogus Gold's Doug has a rather interesting Friday Fun Quiz this week: Which Movie Villain Are You?

Keyser Soze

And that's a fact, you bastard.

Film : The Usual Suspects

Key Quote : "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world .. he didn't exist."

No one's knowingly seen you. Ever. How do you manage that, I wonder? I
mean .. seriously .. how do you keep that Lawyer guy from blabbing. How
can you have that much trust in someone? I don't get it. Anyway .. you
are one cunning bastard. And you're decidedly NOT Turkish.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 59% on Evil

Link: The Which Movie Villain Are You Test written by pkarpenko on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

I suppose I will have to accept these quiz results at face value. I've never seen "The Usual Suspects".

Shhh, be Vewy Quiet, I'm Hunting Wabtec

Employees at Wabtec, the Wilmerding, PA-based company formerly know as Westinghouse Air Brake Co. (WABCO), may be in for a little restructuring this year.

I really have nothing to say about this news story. I just wonder whether all of Wabtec's big shots talk like Elmer Fudd, and whether the company has diversified, testing double barreled shotguns with flexible barrels that you can tie into a bow, as well as air brakes.

A Coach You'd Hate To Beat

Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy comes off as such a nice guy that it would almost be a shame if the Pittsburgh Steelers beat his team in the upcoming playoff game.

When I was taking confirmation classes at a suburban Lutheran church about 24 years ago, Tony visited the Sunday School to talk to the teenagers about a group called the Brotherhood of Christian Athletes. I was very curious about what he had to say, though it was hard for him to stay focused, as most of the guys in the room wanted to talk about FOOTBALL. Go figure.

An article in this morning's paper tells us that he is even more steadfast in his faith than ever, despite (or perhaps because of) the recent death of his son. If you ever have an opportunity to hear Tony Dungy speak, don't pass it up. It will be worth your while.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Major Life Change

I'm thinking of switching my internet service (and possibly home phone service) from one mega-huge communications giant to another. This would entail a switch from high-speed cable internet to either DSL or FIOS (more likely the latter).

Is this a good move? Any suggestions?

Farewell To A Former Colleague

The PG's Brian O'Neill pays tribute to a former co-worker of mine who passed away last month right around Christmas time. James Church was one of many artists who bided their time working at the book shop while looking forward to a more lasting career as a professional artist. I last worked with James about five years before his death, when I opted for a career change, and saw him a handful of times when I went back to the shop as a customer.

I lost track of him soon after that, and it was nice to learn that he eventually did get out of retail and open his own art gallery for a couple of years. On the down side, it was sad to hear that he had experienced hardships that included alcoholism and marital separation; all of that must have gone on after I last saw him.

No one who knew James had any doubt about the most positive influence in his life: his daughter Sophie. She was a baby when James first came to work with us, and it was obvious from the start that his life now revolved around this new human being whom he helped bring into the world. At the time, my two oldest kids were just babies, so I knew exactly what he was feeling.

One word that James sometimes used to describe himself was "conservative", an unusual adjective to apply to oneself in Pittsburgh's artistic community; however, James was not really an ideologically oriented person. He was a devoted father, and a creative individual who worked hard using his own means to be the best that he could be at his craft. That's one of the best descriptions of "conservative" that I have ever heard.

Brian O'Neill also mentions the fact that James did not drive, and took long walks around the Lawrenceville neighborhood where he most recently resided. When he worked in the South Hills, he lived fairly close to the shop and I recall giving him a ride home on a handful of occasions. James really was the kind of guy you didn't mind spending time with away from work, and now I'm sorry that I didn't follow his post-retail career at the gallery.

So long, James. I'm glad that I got to know you.

Safe In Your Own Home?

There was a home invasion in nearby Mount Lebanon last night. This kind of thing just doesn't happen in "Lebo", as we call it in the vernacular. It's a fairly low crime area with a reputably tough suburban police force.

Last night's intrusion, however, occured on the edge of the township, in an older and presumably cheaper section. Naturally, the cheap sections of Mount Lebanon are located within walking distance of my home.

I'd be worried, except that I live almost right across from a police station. It gives one a heightened sense of security, though all of the police cars parked outside give the illusion that something is going on there. Ten years ago the building was an elementary school. Nothing rattles the nerves quite like seeing a little kids' school surrounded by police cars.


This morning I went to the dentist for a thorough teeth cleaning (possibly my shortest appointment ever) and spent much of the rest of the day trying to undo his handy work. Baby daughter and I shared some cottage cheese and cranberry juice at breakfast. The baby kept me company until her nap time, which was nice because I was also sleepy and I took advantage of the opportunity to nap as well. Later we woke up and watched Scooby-Doo.

I'm stopping before this turns into a WannaBleat.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Party of Death

The more I read about things like this, the more convinced I am that Catholic priests should not be left alone with human beings.

If anything like that had happened to my kid, I would be satisfied with nothing less that the Priest's execution. No wonder those guys hate the death penalty.

A Blogger Sleeps Through It

Where ever does the time go? Yesterday was my one year anniversary as a blogger, and I missed it. I ought to get myself something nice for lunch.

Happy Blogiversary to me
Happy Blogiversary to me
Happy Blogiversary one day la-ate,
Happy Blogiversary to me.

They're Not Dead Yet -- Not All Of Them, Anyway

How many times have you heard news about a celebrity whom you hadn't heard about in ages and find yourself thinking, "I thought he was dead!" Happens with me all the time. These people continue to make movies, music, etc., and no one even knows they're still alive.

Some entertainers have the opposite problem:

HARRISBURG -- Musical groups shouldn't call themselves The Platters unless they include some of the original tableware.

That's the premise of a group of doo-woppers campaigning nationwide to stop imposter bands from passing themselves off to concert-goers as the real deal.

The group is starting its crusade in Pennsylvania, where lawmakers are poised to authorize fines and injunctions to prevent performances by imposter bands that advertise false, deceptive or misleading affiliations with a recording group.

There really are some cases where almost everyone is dead, yet the group continues to perform from beyond the grave. For instance:

Bill Pinkney, the only surviving member of The Drifters, said the fines should be even higher.

"People are going around calling themselves The Drifters, The Platters and The Coasters when it's not the truth. It's not fair to the ones who paved the road, the ones who laid the foundation and made it possible for these young up-and-coming groups," Mr. Pinkney said from his home in South Carolina.

At 80, he is still performing. He heads to Connecticut this weekend for a doo-wop show Sunday at Mohegan Sun casino.

I can see where people making money by fooling people and living off of your good name and those of your deceased colleagues would make you want to take legal action to stop it from happening. But it all comes down to ownership of a name. A couple of years ago, there were two versions of the NWOBHM group Saxon touring. Each version included original members, but only one faction was legally permitted to continue touring with the name Saxon, a court ruled.

If you don't seek legislative or legal recourse to solve this kind of problem, things can really get out of hand:

The sentiment is that when people pay good money to hear "Yakety Yak," Carl Gardner ought to be the one yakking.

Instead, imposter Coasters take the stage -- probably 10 times a night in different parts of the country -- said Bob Crosby, president of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Until truth-in-music legislation gets passed, caveat emptor.

Library Psycho Goes To Jail

Remember this post from back in May 2005? Well, the freak is headed for the slam:

An Upper St. Clair man who typed e-mails in the name of the star of the "Ghost Hunters" TV show, in which he threatened to murder President Bush and shoot Roto-Rooter employees, has been sentenced to two years in federal prison.

Barry C. Eckstrom, 51, who lives with his parents, will undergo psychiatric treatment while behind bars on the recommendation of a federal judge.

His public defender, Thomas Livingston, argued that he is mentally unbalanced, but prosecutors said he knew what he was doing.

I could go either way on his mental state, considering that all I know about him is what I read in the news articles, just as long as he's taken out of circulation for a while. My wife has business in the neighborhood where he was arrested, and sometimes takes the kids to that library. The creepiest thing about all of this is that Bethel Park is one of those places where you would least expect to find someone playing around with this kind of fire. Our local library, where my wife works part-time, is much more likely spot to catch annoying lunatic patrons. (Though I admit that I know of nothing worse there than a guy who needed a bath something fierce.)

His hatred of TV host Jason Hawes seems to be what started Eckstrom on his email campaign. By why the mad-on for the Roto-Rooter Man? Well...Jason Hawes is the Roto-Rooter Man:

On May 14, agents hiding in the book stacks at the Bethel Park library used binoculars to watch Mr. Eckstrom type on the computer while another agent sat at the computer next to him.

Agents watched Mr. Eckstrom send one e-mail in the name of Mr. Hawes to the Roto-Rooter headquarters office in Cincinnati in which he threatened to shoot employees there. Mr. Hawes, as viewers of "Ghost Hunters" know, is a plumber for Roto-Rooter.

This shows how much times have changed. Ten years ago, if someone snooped around a library with a pair of binoculars, it was likely to be someone who ought to be arrested. Today, the patron with binoculars may well turn out to be someone who is there to arrest someone else.

Mr. Eckstrom next logged onto the Web site of the Department of Homeland Security and typed a second e-mail in Mr. Hawes' name to President Bush.

"I hate and despise the scum President Bush!" said the message. "I am going to kill him in June on his father's birthday."

Agents arrested him before he could hit the send button. Under federal law, a sent e-mail is treated the same as one that was typed but not sent.

Does that also apply to blogs? Probably.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Another Column Goes Boom

Every week I try to enjoy Reg Henry's column with an open mind. I know he's trying to be witty, but somehow I find myself being unable to laugh. Perhaps he's just not as funny as he thinks he is. Or maybe his constant slams at President George W. Bush bring down the humor quotient of his writings.

His entry in this morning's Pittsburgh Moist-Towelette focuses on the Baby Boom Generation. It's not a bad column, really, but my Out-of-Context-Cheap-Shot-At-the-President radar detected something about halfway down. But it wasn't GWB whom Reg was ragging on. It was the number two man in the Executive Branch:

My generation's bugle call was the Vietnam War, which sounded like a kazoo to any thinking person. Not being a thinking person at the time, I went over there anyway, but I don't think less of anyone who got multiple deferments and then later became vice president of the United States. (Well, perhaps a little bit.)
One suspects that Mr. Henry has a post-it note with the words "Must remember to remind readers weekly of animosity for incumbent administration" stuck above his office computer.

As expected, a mention of the President follows soon after:
But Dick Cheney is not a boomer but a bomb of a different sort. The examples of boomers George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are more instructive.
Following a three-paragraph digression, Reg gets around to what he means by that last sentence:
It appears that many of the hippies are now CEOs and staunch Republicans. [Hooray! -- O.] The thing about boomers is that they have had a tendency to reinvent themselves. George W. Bush was a party animal before he became an upholder of family values. Bill Clinton protested the war in Vietnam but later was not shy about using military power.
So basically, Mr. Henry is saying that he and our two most recent Presidents share a developmental characteristic common to many of their generation. He equates George W. Bush not only with Bill Clinton but also with himself.

That may be the nicest thing that I have ever seen Reg Henry write about the President. It almost makes up for the crack about Dick Cheney. Almost.

You'll Never Ride In Bloomington Again, Charlie Brown

Looks like I picked the right time to take my kids up to Minnesota for vacation. If I had waited until this year instead of going last year, there would have been no Camp Snoopy for us to visit.

In a couple of weeks, there will no longer be a Peanuts-themed amusement park in the Mall of America.

The Mall is still going to have an amusement park in place, just without the familiar Camp Snoopy trappings. Another theme will rise up to take its place, and ought to do so very soon. The interim name, "The Park at MOA", just doesn't sound right.

Monday, January 09, 2006

We All Know That This Stuff Happens

Ruth Ann Dailey tells us another reason that the Pork Authority sucks.

A Coronation For Swann?

Buried in stories about the Lynn Swann for Governor campaign is the news that one candidate for the Republican nomination, State Senator Jeff Piccola, has dropped out of the race.

HARRISBURG -- Former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann got a surprisingly big win in a Republican Party caucus vote yesterday, which chased one of his challengers from the GOP gubernatorial race and gave a big boost to his five-day-old candidacy.

Two hours after state Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, R-Dauphin, told the Republican State Committee's Central Caucus that he was ending his struggling campaign for the GOP nomination for governor, Mr. Swann trounced his major remaining competitor, former Lt. Gov. William Scranton, in a bid for the caucus's endorsement.

Mr. Swann got 77 votes from the regional caucus, which represents 28 counties in the central part of the state, while Mr. Scranton got only 32 votes.

It's hard to determine from this how the state as a whole is going to vote in the election. The caucus vote is about as establishment as you can get, and hardly reflects the preferences of the grass roots level of the party. On the other hand, Piccola is about as establishment as you can get right now, considering that he is the only one of the four candidates who is currently serving time in the state capital. Is the party sending a message about the legislature's conduct of the past year, with Jeff Piccola as the scapegoat?

Or are caucus members just crazy about football?
"We're not going to beat Ed Rendell without someone with star power, someone with pizzazz, and Lynn Swann has that kind of magnetism," said [Cumberland County lawyer Dick] Stewart.
Whatever. When it comes to a serious, credible platform, Jim Panyard has the better-known candidates at a disadvantage. In the primary, I always vote for the candidate whom I would prefer to see win over the one whom I think is actually going to see win. If Panyard does well enough on Election Day, the winner (Swann or Scranton) could be influenced to move to the right.

Is It Safe To Resume Blogging Yet?

Now I know how to jack up the hit counter.

All I have to do is post a reference to an article about a famous radio person's offspring and people from all over the world come cruising in looking for pictorial representations of her with no clothes on.

I'm so traumatized by this that I've taken a three-day break from blogging. I've having too much fun looking at Site Meter.

For those who came here in vain looking for pictures:

Friday, January 06, 2006

Howard Stern Is a Fine Respectable Gentleman of Good Character

Howard Stern's daughter is all grown up and performing nude on stage. Not having sex, apparently, but acting in one of those "tasteful" dramatic shows.

The off-Broadway show "Kabbalah" was forced to close early when its star -- the daughter of shock jock Howard Stern -- abruptly left her role.

Emily Stern, 22, was reportedly afraid audience members were taking pictures of her during a nude scene in her role parodying singing star Madonna, the New York Post reported Thursday.

So much for sacrifing your clothing for art. But she can't say she wasn't warned:

Writer/director Tuvia Tenenbom told The Post he was "terribly disappointed."

He said Stern asked his daughter not to do the show, which opened Nov. 15.

"He told her, 'If you're in that show, a lot of people are going to use it against me. Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it!'" Tenenbom said.

How bad does something have to be in order embarass HOWARD STERN? Did he never think that he would someday have to pay this kind of price for being a parent?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Red White Witch

Having been to see the new Narnia film over the holidays and thus being intrigued by the White Witch character, I decided to scout around and learn a little more about the actress, Tilda Swinton. Thanks to IMDB, I not only learned about her career but also her mindset. Keep in mind that the Chronicles of Narnia were written by a noted Christian apologist, C.S. Lewis, who interjected Christian themes into what were ostensibly children's fantasy stories. Given that the majority of performing arts types tend to be socialistic, anti-religious left-wing fanatics, it's not surprising to learn that at least one of the Narnia actors lean that way:

I sometimes think I was always left-wing. I know that sounds completely crazy, but I do know that I asked questions when I was about four, and I remember noticing that I wasn't getting an answer, and I remember it annoying me. Like why when we went to church on Sunday were we sitting upstairs and the people we'd been playing with the day before were sitting downstairs. And I noticed that my brothers were not asking these questions. I was aware that I was being embarrassing.
Here she tells us bluntly that she is indeed a leftist. I'm not sure what this anecdote about going to church when she was four years old has to do with turning commie. Her family is an old aristocratic breed, so perhaps it has to do with British class-based strictures that I, as an American, can't relate to. Now for something more concrete, and more up to date:

True, there is all sorts of religious extremism all over the place, but the reason for this partly has to do with the fascist attitudes and language of absolutism coming from Washington.
Everything in that sentence makes perfect sense until you hit the last word. Are you sure you don't mean Teheran? Do you have any idea what it means to actually live in a fascist, absolutist society? I don't, because I live in the United States of America. Please, Tilda, keep talking like this. I want to hear you say something even stupider.

It's challenging for people outside of America that Bush was re-elected. It means we're all going to have to work a lot harder to understand what so many more Americans than we thought really want. It's an identity shift in our minds about America and maybe for many Americans as well.
So suddenly America isn't the country that you thought it was? Forgive us. Who do we have to elect in order to be the America that you want us to be, o queen of the reddened itch?

I've come to a couple of rather harsh conclusions about leftoids and why they have such difficulty dealing with normal people:
  1. They belong to a different species than we do; and
  2. They really don't get out much, do they?
Those critters see our world through the narrowest lens of all.

Pimpocratic Senator From The State of Whorehouses

Harry Reid turns up everywhere. Like here:

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, yesterday wrote in a letter to the president, "Rather than relying upon staged events and partisan denunciations of those who are seeking to improve the act, it would be helpful if you would instruct your staff to work with us."
This is coming from a guy whose entire career as Senate Minority Leader has been based on partisan denunciations and being unhelpful. Not that there's anything wrong with that. There's nothing to be gained from being nice to Democrats.

And Reid is here, too:
A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Mr. Reid has no intention of shedding the $47,000 he has received from members of Abramoff's lobbying team and tribal clients. "Abramoff was a Republican operative, and this is a Republican scandal," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said.
Well, sure. Democrats don't give a rat's ass where their money comes from, as long as they get it, and they don't care who else has problems over it. Just like their fiscal/taxation policies. It's not a privilege to them, oh no; it's an entitlement. Sure, it's dirty money, but it's someone else's dirty money. We can put it to better use than they can.

Does Harry Reid feel the same way about sexually transmitted diseases? Not that it's important, but I was just curious, seeing as how he's from Nevada and all.

Pimps and whores. The perfect metaphor for the Democrat officeholders and the morons who put them there.

Welcome To The Governor's Race, Lynn Swann

Lynn Swann has been such a big part of the 2006 race for Governor of Pennsylvania for so many months that it comes as a shock when one realizes that he hadn't even formally announce his candidacy until yesterday:

Lynn Swann, whose acrobatic receptions took him to four Super Bowls and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, made another leap last night as he formally launched his campaign for the Republican nomination for governor.

Before a cheering crowd of about 500 at the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, the former Steelers receiver promised to bring leadership and change to his adopted state.

"I was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1974, and tonight, I'm drafted by Pennsylvania to be governor," Mr Swann said, shortly after making his entrance to the strains of Van Halen's "Right Now."

I guess Lynn Swann prefers Sammy Hagar era VH to the original David Lee Roth version. This shows that Swanny is not a purist and is open to reform where necessary. Or maybe he just happened to hear DLR's new radio show and decided that it sucked, and selected his soundtrack accordingly.

Swann continues to frustrate those of us who would like to vote for him because he is LYNN SWANN. The name recognition and celebrity are a good start, but in response to questioning he summed up his policy positions with this remark:

"I don't think this is the time to roll out the details," he added while saying that he would provide more policy specifics as the campaign moves forward.
You got away with this a year ago, but the election is less than half a year away. Tell us what you stand for. Please! We need to know more about you, not just what you think of your prospective opponent:

While acknowledging that no incumbent governor in Pennsylvania has ever lost a race for re-election, Mr Swann said, to the crowd's whooping assent, "No incumbent governor has ever been as bad as Ed Rendell.''
If you limit yourself to speaking before supportive audiences, you can expect to hear plenty of "whooping assent" (or whoop ass for short). How many times has Lynn Swann spoken before crowds in the "Republican T", i.e. the mostly conservative part of Pennsylvania that excludes the Democrat strongholds of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Erie? Take a few questions from the folks out there and we'll see what you're made of. You won't get any "whooping assent" there unless you prove that you really can whoop ass.

In an interview, Mr. Swann said that when he first registered to vote, it was as a Democrat, as his parents still are. He said he switched his registration to Republican after he moved to Pittsburgh, where he was active in civic affairs, including serving on the board of the Pittsburgh Ballet and as a spokesman for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.
I would like to know what motivated his change. Most people who move to Pittsburgh become Democrats because there's usually no one else to vote for. It's the whole "local yokel" mentality. Really. When in high school, I asked a classmate which party he was going to join now that he had turned eighteen, and he replied, "I dunno. Local yokels." Then there was the guy I met in college who was interested in politics and current affairs. He switched from Independent to Democrat in 1993 so he could vote for Tom Murphy for mayor because Murphy's daughter came to the door campaining for her dad, and my friend thought she was cute.

You know, if enough people make their political choices based on criteria like that, then maybe Swann can be elected just by being a Pittsburgh Steelers legend. Did Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger win elections based on the issues? No, they got elected because people thought it was cool to vote for Jesse or Arnold.

And, although it shouldn't be an issue, there's always the ethnic factor:

If elected, Mr. Swann would be the first African American to serve as Pennsylvania governor. His former Steelers teammate Mel Blount, one of the introductory speakers at last night's rally, said, "As a black man, it's important that we have representation in all parties.''
Well said. In fact, Lynn Swann's popularity as a football star may help attract more blacks to the Republican party in the coming months. There are plenty of blacks Democrats who complain "what has our party ever done for us?" and choose to sit out elections. Having Lynn Swann in the race may well bring out a lot of apathetic voters, and even convince them to switch sides.

At this point, I'm still leaning Panyard, though I believe that Scranton is likely to win. The next few months are going to get very interesting around here.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

That's Funny, They Look American To Me

The city of Pittsburgh has a new mayor. From the Moist-Towelette article by Dennis B. Roddy:

On a day that threatened rain and promised change, Pittsburghers by the hundreds crowded through metal detectors at the City County Building, ate their way from the front entrance all the way down to a bank of elevators that lugged them to the fifth floor to meet the 58th Mayor of Pittsburgh. Mr. O'Connor, flanked by a family that resembled the United Nations -- black grandchildren, a Jewish wife, a Catholic priest of a son -- gripped, grinned and prepared to govern as worried aides tried to get all the visitors past him before his first term ended.
Think about the sheer stupidity of what Mr. Roddy is saying here. By saying that Mayor O'Connor's family "resembled the United Nations", the writer implies that they have more in common with the rest of the world than with people in the United States of America. In 21st century America, there is nothing unusual about "mixed" marriages. It's quite common to see families where one parent has dark skin, the other has light skin, and the children share physical aspects of both parents, especially in the city where the population is much more heterogeneous than elsewhere.

That family doesn't look like the United Nations. It looks like the United States of America. Dennis Roddy doesn't get out very often, does he?

Not surprisingly, this sort of comment has been made in the mainstream media before.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

In the Future, Back Shaving Will Be Mandatory

Apparently the newest crisis in America concerns health club "etiquette". This definition of etiquette goes beyond simple good manners. The days of exclusion based on race and ethnicity may be past, but spas are using other lame excuses for keeping out "certain types" of people:

In an ideal world, we wouldn't have stories like the one that moved out of England recently, where a guy with a preference for tank tops was banned from a health club because members considered him too hairy.

But the reality is, a gym is its own little village with particular standards and rules, some unwritten, that have as much to do with getting along with people as it does with exercise regimen.

"Do unto others, and follow the golden rule; it keeps the club nice for everyone," says Christie Bankowski, vice president of operations for Club Julian in Ross. On some days, more than 1,000 people work out in the club, which is open 24 hours a day. "It's nice when the members are more conscientious about what they're doing."

Interesting that the hairy man anecdote segues into a comment from this Club Julian exec. Many years ago, a friend from college bought a house in Ross and immediately purchased a membership in Club Julian. He was still single at the time, and of course he had an ulterior motive in joining, which was to scope out the selection of local healthy young females in the neighborhood. He didn't follow through on it, and he eventually let his membership lapse. He didn't have much to say about the Club whenever I asked how things were there.

Perhaps this article sheds some light on his evasiveness. We hung out a lot during the summer, when his preferred choice of apparel consisted of shorts and a tank top. Nothing wrong with that, unless you're the sort of person who is offended at the sight of a human being with bear fur all over his chest and back. Those of us in this man's inner circle weren't bothered by it. We found it to be a good starting point for all sorts of good-natured ribbing. He was okay with it at first. But as time wore on, he got to be a little thin-skinned about his thick fur. Was he asked to leave Club Julian because of his hirsute attributes? Or am I reading too much into this?

Perhaps everyone who joins a health club will be required to remove all bodily hair before entering.

He'll Perform CPR While Interviewing Your Favorite Celebrity

People who, like me, were fans of hard rock radio back in the early 1980s have a soft spot in out hearts for one Mr. David Lee Roth. He entertained us, he repulsed us, he made us want to be just like him, and he made us want him to go away forever. Now he's back with a new gig, replacing Howard Stern as a traditional FM morning radio host. (Howard must have remembered that his last name means "star" and that's why he does satellite radio now.)

I haven't listened to DLR's show yet, and I'm not sure I will. If I do, it will be out of curiosity. What's he all about? He comes out of the woodwork every few years and then quickly disappears again. He got back together with Van Halen. Then he didn't. The he reemerged to tour with his replacement, Sammy Hagar, who was suddenly Dave's new best buddy. Then he wasn't. Then we learned that Dave was working as an EMT in NYC. And maybe he still is, while holding down his new radio job and occasionally hitting the road for some remote broadcasts.

So what is he all about, really? He tried to explain it to the Tribune-Review, and partially succeeded.

Q: Howard Stern had a pretty risque format, to put it mildly. How much do you think your show will resemble his?

A: Not at all. I'm not even remotely close to Stern. I'm not a humorist; I'm not a comic; I'm not a comedian. My sense of humor has teeth -- that makes me perfect for the inner city. Just like you, I'm a (expletive) cynic. You'll never get tired of listening to me speak your mind.

Q: So you won't be going just for laughs.

A: The difference between me and a comedian, I don't try -- comedians are desperate for the funny. With me, you either get it or you didn't.

Q: It sounds like you have a plan of how you want things to go, but not a schedule, or a format, true?

A: It will be completely my way and not resemble anything that's ever been on the radio. What other voice can ingratiate and infuriate the liberal arch left -- of which I am a card-carrying member -- and the NASCAR nation -- of which I am a card-carrying member?

I think I understand most of it. He knows that it would be useless to try and mimic Stern, which is fine because everyone knows what Diamond Dave is like as a stage performer and a video artist -- he had some pretty funny videos in his immediate post-VH years. And he has his backside covered, just in case no one thinks that he is funny as a radio host. But the political thing confuses me. He's saying in all seriousness that he is both left and right? Does that mean that he is an issue oriented person rather than an ideologue? Or is he just covering his butt again by playing to both sides? The only time that I have ever heard him say anything relating to politics was back in the late 1990s, during a failed attempt at a comeback as a solo artist. After making news from time to time for his wild lifestyle and the occasional cocaine bust, DLR blamed his downfall on "Reaganomics".

Listen, punk. Ronald Reagan did not force you to go all sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll once you became famous. Any problems that you had were the direct result of your own irresponsibility. You might have had more success at a young age than you could reasonably handle, and if you are going to blame anyone outside of yourself for your excesses, look at the people around you. Your management, your bandmates. Blaming everything on a sitting president, or your least favorite president, is a cop-out.

Putting that aside, there's the question that fans of Van Halen are always asking:

Q: What's the latest Van Halen news? Do you still talk to those guys?

A: I talked to the drummer (Alex Van Halen) about a week ago. And I think, eventually, the inevitable will happen.

Q: You mean a reunion?

A: Sure. And it definitely won't be rockers with walkers. Getting onstage and singing "Dance the Night Away" -- let me tell you how difficult that isn't going to be. When people bring up Van Halen, I talk about it with pride and with no apprehension at all. I play those songs all the time.

Twenty years ago when there was still bad blood, Dave said that in twenty years, when Eddie Van Halen will call to get the band back together again, that he'd just say "F**k you, Ed", and hang up the phone. I guess he can't hang up on the Van Halen brothers now since he's getting paid to take calls and hanging up would be bad form. One wonders, though: Just how soon is "inevitable"?

And those of us on the "NASCAR nation" side of DLR's politics can appreciate this little swipe at the goofiest thing ever to come out of Minnesota:

Q: Will you be wearing those cheekless pants on the air? And, how will we know?

A: Let's face it, I look better in (cheekless) chaps than Al Franken ever (expletive) would.

Curious. Has David Lee Roth been reading Nihilist In Golf Pants? Speaking of goofy things from Minnesota...