31 May 2008

Smoke-filled back rooms still in style

The New York Times has a blog about the machinations of the DNC over the Michigan and Florida delegates. "No-bama!" was the yelling from the Clinton supporters in the back...
Committee member Donna Brazile shared a pearl of wisdom from her own mom. “My momma always taught me to play by the rules,” she said, adding that “when you decide to change the rules, especially in the middle of the game … that is referred to as cheating.”

Rico says he couldn't agree more...

Enough already

Obama finally quit the Trinity United Church of Christ after yet another pastor embarrassed him from the pulpit.

Rico says it's past time...

No deal for the kids

From the New York Times, "Negotiations for the state's release of more than 460 children removed from a polygamist sect in April broke down Friday in a scene of chaos and bitterness in a courtroom in San Angelo, Texas. Lawyers for the families said the judge overseeing the release lacked authority to impose restrictions on it, and the judge, in disagreement, closed the proceedings and walked out of the courtroom... "This is crazy," said Gary Peak, a lawyer who represents two boys from the sect, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."

Rico says he could not have said it better himself...

But it doesn't make him gay

Rico went to see Sex In The City with the ladyfriend, a devotee of the series. It was, even for a straight guy, far less painful than he'd anticipated, even without popcorn. It helps to like the four ladies who star in it, and even more if you like overly-complicated love-lives, but it was well done. Oh, yeah, and if you're into clothes (a lot of clothes), it's even better...

No balls; a bad thing for the SecDef

According to the AP, "Defense Secretary Robert Gates condemned Myanmar's military government Saturday for being 'deaf and dumb' to global offers of aid to its thousands of cyclone victims, but said the U.S. will not force assistance on the country... With U.S., British and French Navy ships off the coast of Myanmar poised to leave because they have been blocked from delivering assistance to the ravaged country, Gates said the U.S. will not forcefully bring in supplies without permission of the government, and will continue to 'respect the sovereignty' of Myanmar."

Rico says the Burmese were deaf, maybe, but the dumb guys here are the Americans...

Zimbabwe's the perfect comparison

"Clinton has cast the dispute in dramatic voting rights terms, visiting Florida last week to compare it to the state's recount in the 2000 presidential election and even Zimbabwe's disputed election in March."

Rico says at least in Zimbabwe both candidates are black, but are more than willing to have the other one assassinated...

Mrs. Clinton yesterday rejected the notion of a summer-long fight to capture the nomination. "I think after the final primaries, people are going to start making up their minds. I think that is the natural progression that one would expect," Mrs. Clinton told Montana reporters in a conference call. "I think that people will have to ask themselves those questions: Who would be the best president in terms of preparation and readiness and effectiveness, and who would be the stronger candidate? And I imagine that process will begin after the end of the last primaries," Mrs. Clinton said.

Rico says he thinks that Hillary is blowing smoke as fast as she can...

Missed by that much

Charlie Sheen married another blonde recently. Cute enough, certainly, but Rico says she ain't Denise Richards, sorry...

Williams both fail in Paris

Both the Williams sisters got clobbered at the French Open, Serena 6-4, 6-4 and Venus 7-5, 6-3: "Williams has had matches in which she made more unforced errors, but this one was awash in mistakes, many of them on important points. She sprayed forehands, botched several straightforward backhand volleys and mistimed a short overhead close to the net late in the second set. There were occasional shrieks of resistance and some forceful play from Williams, but at 4-4 in the second set she lost her serve after a forehand drop shot that barely reached the net. Venus Williams might still be in contention if she had lobbied the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, to stop play because of darkness before the end of the second set. The match between Jelena Jankovic and Dominika Cibulkova on Court 1 had been stopped at 9:30 p.m. But Williams and Pennetta continued on center court. "It was dark, but that wasn't really what I was focused on," Williams said. "If I did stop, I would have wanted it at 5-all, and that probably would have been a good time, a fair time for both of us." But she never made it to 5-all. After Pennetta held serve for a 5-3 lead, Williams failed to extend the match, losing a 40-15 lead by dropping four straight points. "I never get used to losing," Williams said. "I don't think anyone gets used to losing, and if they do, then maybe it's time to retire."

Rico says the subhead for this New York Times column was "SERENA SUCCUMBS TO HER OWN ERRORS, VENUS TO DARKNESS", which offers up an obvious joke about 'darkness', given the difference between Venus and her opponent, which Rico will now avoid...

Test your political spectrum

Don Hagen has a political test available on-line to determine your position on the conservative-to-liberal spectrum. This isn't rocket science, folks, but fun.

30 May 2008

Shooting's too good for these guys

It seems, according to The Hindu, that "Myanmar’s government is forcing cyclone victims out of refugee camps and 'dumping' them near their devastated villages with virtually no aid supplies. Camps were also being closed in Labutta, another town in the delta, a low-lying area that took the brunt of Cyclone Nargis nearly a month ago. Centralising stricken people in the centres had made it easier for aid agencies to deliver emergency relief since many villages in the delta could only be reached by boat or over very rough roads. Aid workers who have reached some of the remote villages said little remains that could sustain the former residents. Houses are destroyed, livestock have perished and food has virtually run out. Medicines are nonexistent. The official said some of the refugees were being given rations and then are forced to move."

Can't even get that right

From the San Francisco Chronicle, this: "A new poll of California voters appears to undercut Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's argument that she is the stronger presidential candidate in big states, showing that her long-standing support in the nation's most populous state has eroded among Democrats - and even women. The latest Field Poll shows that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama - who lost the Feb. 5 California primary to Clinton by nine points - is now preferred as the party nominee by a landslide 51 to 38 percent among the state's Democrats, according to a poll of 914 likely party voters taken May 16-27.
And in a head-to-head contest with presumed GOP nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Obama does as well as Clinton, both of them beating the Republican by 17 points among a cross section of voters likely to cast ballots in November. Obama also leads McCain 59 to 24 percent among critical decline-to-state or independent voters, who make up 20 percent of the California electorate, the poll showed... Women, who have given Clinton a consistent edge in California, now support Obama by 49-41 percent... The poll shows that while Clinton still leads Obama among three categories of voters - those over 65, those with a high school education or less and those earning less than $40,000 a year - Obama now bests the former first lady in all other age, educational groups and income levels."

Rico says if she can't make it there (except among the old, poor, and stupid), she can't make it anywhere...

First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers

Another great image from the FSJ blog, with the tagline "Our lawyers will be in touch".

Classic Steve, even fake

From the Fake Steve Jobs blog: "Zune continues its spectactular ride to the top. Oh wait, the chart's upside down."

The quandary of the Democrats

The Wall Street Journal has this to say: "Last year, Harold Ickes, a Democratic Party rules committee member and key adviser to Hillary Clinton, voted to strip Florida and Michigan of their convention votes for holding primaries too early in the season. When the rules committee meets this weekend, Mr. Ickes -- still on the committee and still a Clinton adviser -- will argue the Florida and Michigan votes should be reinstated in a way that would give the New York senator a huge boost. "I don't think there's any inconsistency," he said.

Rico says that's the problem; the party insiders don't get it how bad this looks...

Hey, she was just kidding...

Rico already gave Hillary a pass on this one; he doesn't know why CNN is still beating this dead horse: "Obama is so far ahead no one expects the next few days to change anything. But Clinton isn't quitting. She explained in South Dakota that sometimes the race can drag on and sometimes, she added, it can change abruptly. 'We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California'. She had her facts right: Robert Kennedy, JFK's younger brother, was shot June 5th, 1968 while campaigning for the Democratic nomination. She also had a larger point right, though it probably wasn't intentional: her chances are so small that it would take a calamity in the Obama campaign to give her the nomination.
In the course of this campaign, Hillary Clinton has changed the way many Americans look at her, from a former First Lady and loyal wife, to a key national political figure in her own right. But the country had never seen as much of her, up close, as it has now. And some Americans are beginning to think that from some angles, the picture isn't always as flattering."

Rico says especially from the back side...

Joke 'em if they can't take a fuck

The commander of US naval operations in the Pacific Ocean, Admiral Tim Keating, said on 28 May that US Navy (USN) ships off the coast of Myanmar waiting to deliver aid to cyclone victims might soon depart. Admiral Keating stated during a Department of Defense press briefing that if the Myanmar government refuses to give the USN permission to deliver food, shelter and medical treatment to victims of the 2 May cyclone, the four ships currently on standby will have to abandon their relief efforts. While the admiral did not offer a specific timeframe for moving the ships out of the area, he stated that he is receiving assessments from non-government organisations, such as the UN, which have entered Myanmar.

Rico says he hopes they follow through and take the ships away; the Burmese gotta get it that we're not screwing around any more...

As if the earthquake wasn't bad enough...

...now the Chinese are faced with a huge lake formed when a landslide blocked a river in Sichuan: "China's contingency plan to evacuate up to 1,300,000 flood-threatened survivors of the Sichuan earthquake got under way today with the movement of almost 200,000 people. The relocation to higher ground was started as fears grew that a huge lake may flood down from the mountains where water has built up behind an unstable landslide. The death toll from the 7.9 magnitude quake continues to climb. There are 68,858 confirmed deaths and another 18,618 people are missing, many of them presumed buried under the rubble."

Wonder how many kids are his

CNN.com has an article about Warren Jeffs, accused polygamist from Texas, from whom authorities collected a DNA swab yesterday. It will be checked against children of some of the many underaged girls in his compound. (And why do these guys always have compounds? Couldn't they just buy a big house or something?)

Rico says Jeffs is already doing two consecutive terms of five years to life, after being convicted on two charges of being an accomplice to rape in connection with a marriage he performed in 2001. He also faces trial in Arizona on eight charges, including sexual conduct with a minor, incest and conspiracy. He'll be away for awhile...


From the Houston Chronicle: "Barack Obama is preparing to claim victory in the Democratic presidential nominating contest after next Tuesday's final primaries in Montana and South Dakota."

Gotcha, beeyatch

The AP has the story:
Unlike Hillary Rodham Clinton, rival Barack Obama planned for the long haul.
Clinton hinged her whole campaign on an early knockout blow on Super Tuesday, while Obama's staff researched congressional districts in states with primaries that were months away. What they found were opportunities to win delegates, even in states they would eventually lose.
Obama's campaign mastered some of the most arcane rules in politics, and then used them to foil a front-runner who seemed to have every advantage — money, fame and a husband who had essentially run the Democratic Party for eight years as president. "Without a doubt, their understanding of the nominating process was one of the keys to their success," said Tad Devine, a Democratic strategist not aligned with either candidate. "They understood the nuances of it and approached it at a strategic level that the Clinton campaign did not."
Obama used the Democrats' system of awarding delegates to limit his losses in states won by Clinton while maximizing gains in states he carried. Clinton, meanwhile, conserved her resources by essentially conceding states that favored Obama, including many states that held caucuses instead of primaries.
In a stark example, Obama's victory in Kansas wiped out the gains made by Clinton for winning New Jersey, even though New Jersey had three times as many delegates at stake. Obama did it by winning big in Kansas while keeping the vote relatively close in New Jersey.
What made it especially hard for Clinton to catch up was that Obama understood and took advantage of a nominating system that emerged from the 1970s and '80s, when the party struggled to find a balance between party insiders and its rank-and-file voters.
Until the 1970s, the nominating process was controlled by party leaders, with ordinary citizens having little say. There were primaries and caucuses, but the delegates were often chosen behind closed doors, sometimes a full year before the national convention. That culminated in a 1968 national convention that didn't reflect the diversity of the party — racially or ideologically.
Another big change was the introduction of superdelegates, the party and elected officials who automatically attend the convention and can vote for whomever they choose regardless of what happens in the primaries and caucuses.
Superdelegates were first seated at the 1984 convention. Much has been made of them this year because neither Obama nor Clinton can reach the number of delegates needed to secure the nomination without their support.

Rico says good on Obama and his people...

Rico doesn't buy it

There's a new theory about Stonehenge, that it was an ancient burial site for some 'elite' prehistoric family. Having been there (nearly forty years ago now) Rico still believes the theory put forth by astronomer Gerald Hawkins, that it's really a giant eclipse predictor.

Civil War quote for the day

Abraham Lincoln once asked General Winfield Scott "Why is it that you were once able to take the City of Mexico in three months with 5,000 men, and we have been unable to take Richmond with 100,000 men?"
"I will tell you," said General Scott. "The men who took us into the City of Mexico are the same men who are keeping us out of Richmond."
From Confederate Veteran, September 1913, page 471

Courtesy of John Robinson

Civil War for the day

Tom Barker, Rico, and Mike Benson with medals for placing in the pistol competition at Winchester in 2003.

29 May 2008

Cocked and locked

The Washington Post has an on-line article about the Navy's 'frustration' with foot-dragging by the Burmese: "Admiral Timothy J. Keating, who heads the U.S. Pacific Command, told reporters at the Pentagon that sailors and Marines aboard the USS Essex and three other Navy ships in the Bay of Bengal are 'desperate to provide help' but are growing increasingly frustrated by the Burmese junta's refusal to accept aid from U.S. and other foreign naval vessels. Keating said the ships could remain in position for only a matter of days before they must move on to other missions if they are not allowed to help. Keating said he assured the Burmese that "we had no military intentions" in Burma and that once the relief operation was completed, "we will leave [and] you will not know we were here." Burmese officials said they understood but could not give approval and had to take the proposals to higher authorities. Since then, however, there has been no indication of any intention by the ruling junta to allow in greater quantities of U.S. relief.

Rico says no mention of going in without permission, but it'll come...

Now there's a reality show

The AP has an on-line article about the girl who was held by her kidnapper for eight and a half years in an underground cell; now she's becoming an Austrian television talkshow host on Natascha Kampusch Meets... Kampusch was a freckle-faced 10-year-old when she vanished while walking to school in Vienna in March 1998. Her abduction was Austria's greatest unsolved criminal mystery until Aug. 23, 2006, when pale, feeble and nearly blinded by the light of day, she stumbled to freedom. Within hours of her escape, Wolfgang Priklopil — who had confined her to a cramped, dingy, windowless cell beneath his suburban home — committed suicide by leaping in front of a rush-hour commuter train.

Rico says Priklopil got off easy...

Commies are their own worst enemy

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has an on-line article about conditions inside Burma: "A sport-utility vehicle goes for $250,000; a cell phone, $3,000. As foreign aid workers test Myanmar's commitment to allow them to provide relief after the cyclone, they face not only administrative hurdles erected by a xenophobic military government but also an economy warped by years of misrule... A frustrated Myanmar government official in Yangon, who requested that his name be withheld because talking to a foreign reporter could cause him to lose his job or worse, said he gets $120 a month for his official salary but that hardly meets his needs. "Everyone must find a way to survive," he said. The police collect bribes at checkpoints from truck drivers. At airports, pilots and ground crews split the extra-luggage surcharges from passengers. "Everyone is doing it," the official said. "If you don't or can't, you are doomed."

Russian toilet? A contradiction in terms

The toilet aboard the space station broke two days ago, a nontrivial problem in space. Replacement parts are going up in the next shuttle mission, and will undoubtedly be greeted with open arms by the astronauts.

G.ho.st stories

According to this New York Times article, a new internet start-up in the Middle East has two offices linked electronically: one in Ramallah in Palestine and one in Modiin in Israel. “Ghosts go through walls,” said Zvi Schreiber, the company’s British-born Israeli chief executive, by way of explanation of the company's name. The Palestinian office in Ramallah, with about 35 software developers, is responsible for most of the research and programming. A smaller Israeli team works about thirteen miles away in the central Israeli town of Modiin. The stretch of road separating the offices is broken up by checkpoints, watch towers and a barrier made of chain-link fence and, in some areas, soaring concrete walls, built by Israel with the stated goal of preventing the entry of Palestinian suicide bombers. Palestinian employees need permits from the Israeli army to enter Israel and attend meetings in Modiin, and Israelis are forbidden by their own government from entering Palestinian cities. When permits cannot be arranged but meetings in person are necessary, colleagues gather at a rundown coffee shop on a desert road frequented by camels and Bedouin shepherds near Jericho, an area legally open to both sides. G.ho.st also has a philanthropic component: a foundation that aims to establish community computer centers in Ramallah and in mixed Jewish-Arab towns in Israel. The foundation is headed by Noa Rothman, the granddaughter of Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister slain in 1995. “It’s the first time I met Palestinians of my generation face to face,” said Ms. Rothman, 31, of her work with G.ho.st. She said she was moved by how easily everyone got along. “It shows how on the people-to-people level you can really get things done.” Investors have put $2.5 million into the company so far, a modest amount. Employing Palestinians means the money goes farther; salaries for Palestinian programmers are about a third of what they are in Israel. The video hookup runs continuously between the offices. Chatting in the Ramallah conference room, two Palestinian programmers wave hello to Israeli colleagues conferring over a laptop in the Modiin office.

Rico says this is how peace gets made, and money...

Dropouts rule

At the recent All Things Digital conference in California, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) traded drop-out stories, both men having left Harvard.

Rico says he dropped out of Carnegie-Mellon (after inventing the hand-held computer), surely that qualifies him to run some software company somewhere...

"I will go to Iraq"

Looks like Obama's going to take up the challenge and go back (he was last there in 2006, when things were different).

Rico says it sounds like Eisenhower's "I will go to Korea"...

Now there's support when you need it

According to the Seattle Times, Ricky Martin is backing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton ahead of Puerto Rico's primary Sunday.

Rico says anyone, in Puerto Rico or otherwise, who decides who to vote for as president based on the recommendation of Ricky Martin should lose their voting rights...


The Dread Pundit Bluto uses this logo, but it still looks amazingly like Rico (who does have hair, however)...

More bad news for the Middle East

The Los Angeles Times has an article about a San Diego company trying to produce ultra-clean versions of gasoline and diesel from algae: "The year-old company, called Sapphire Energy, uses algae, sunlight, carbon dioxide, and non-potable water to make 'green crude' that it contends is chemically equivalent to the light, sweet crude oil that has been fetching more than $130 a barrel in New York futures trading... The company wouldn't give details about the production process or where its pilot project would be located. It expects to introduce its first fuels in three years and reach full commercial scale in five years... Robert Nelsen, managing partner at Arch, could barely contain his enthusiasm for the venture. "We want to displace the existing petroleum system with a continuous production system that is essentially an oil field on top of the ground that produces oil on a continuous basis for as long as you want it to," he said. "You wake up in the middle of the night thinking about the implications of this."

Rico says the Arabs should be waking up in the middle of the night screaming about the implications...

This can't end well, either

The Los Angeles Times reports on the upcoming 'resolution' to the Michigan and Florida delegations at the Democratic convention: "An obscure panel of thirty party insiders now finds itself in the strongest position to determine whether the long nominating process will come to a smooth conclusion. Meeting at a Washington hotel Saturday, the party's Rules and Bylaws Committee will attempt to settle a lingering dispute about whether delegates from Michigan and Florida should be seated at the party's convention in August... In advance of the meeting, national Democratic Party leaders have been trying to hash out a compromise with the Clinton and Obama campaigns and with representatives of Michigan and Florida. Even Clinton supporters on the rules panel insist that some form of punishment is necessary for Michigan and Florida. The two states violated party rules by scheduling their primaries early, prompting the top Democratic candidates to avoid campaigning there. Obama and several others withdrew their names from the Michigan ballot; Clinton's name remained on the ballot... "It's not going to make a difference," the Clinton ally said. "At the end of the day, what we do on Saturday is not going to change the fact that Obama is going to win the nomination"... Donald Fowler, a committee member and Clinton backer from South Carolina, suggested a way to sanction the states without discounting their votes. "Deny them passes to the convention for friends and spouses, and put them in sorry hotels," he said. "Reduce their overall representation in the 2012 convention. Reaching a consensus on that would be somewhat difficult, but there are sanctions other than denying them a part or all of that vote."

Rico says this is going to get ugly, and deservedly so. How anyone can even float the notion of seating a delegation from a state where Obama wasn't on the ballot, Rico doesn't get it...


AFP reports an agreement to ban cluster bombs, after ten days of negotiations at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin. (Rico says he's been there, years ago.) It will outlaw the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions.
"The most glaring problem is that the United States, China, Russia, Pakistan, India, and Israel have not signed the treaty."

Rico says damn straight; if those other guys are going to keep their clusterwhatevers, so should we...

V.I. Lenin in AC? Who'da thunk it

Via Michelle Malkin, a little local news: "Lenin stands outside the front door of Red Square, the hipper-than-thou, Russian-themed restaurant and bar in The Quarter, the highly capitalistic dining and retail section of Atlantic City's Tropicana Casino and Resort."

Civil War for the day

Mike Benson of the Delaware Blues holding the parade flag at the start of another rainy N-SSA Spring National; Rico stands guard to his right.


Since it happened late at night, Chris couldn't start the blog the day it actually happened, so this is the first post that references 29 November 2006, a year and a half ago, when the landmine went off in my head:

Thursday, November 30, 2006
As some of you know, Mark is in the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit of Jefferson Hospital. He had an incident on Wednesday of bleeding in his brain due to an arteriovenous malformation. He was taken to Lankanau Hospital, and from there they flew him to Jefferson. His major symptoms are double vision and extreme short term memory loss, along with a very odd personality change, sort of like a cross between Charlie Brown and Charlie Chaplin. He's being transferred to an intermediate unit today at the same hospital; it's far too soon to know a discharge date. Please feel free to call me on my cell or Mark's cell for an update. Thank you all for your support. Chris

28 May 2008

Superb isn't

According to the Telegraph, "HMS Superb, a Swiftsure-class attack submarine, hit an underwater pinnacle 80 miles south of Suez. It hit a rock and damaged its sonar equipment, forcing it to surface. None of the crew of 112 was hurt and the submarine is watertight, an MoD spokesman said."

Rico says it's amazing how many of these 'unknown' pinnacles are out there, and how many submarines run into them, especially the spectacular USS San Francisco crash...

Panties for peace

At a press conference in Montreal, feminists and civil groups, working under the Rights & Democracy Student Network and the Quebec Women's Federation, urged Canadian women to inundate the Myanmar embassy in Ottawa with panties to unsettle the military rulers in the southeast Asian nation. “The Panties for Peace! campaign is basically aimed to play on the military junta's superstitious fear that contact with a woman's undergarment will rob them of their power,” organiser Mika Levesque of the Rights & Democracy Student Network said. Levesque added, “Like all other cultures, there is a superstitious fear of female undergarments in Myanmar. Its military junta fears that any contact with panties will spell disaster for them. So ours is a non-violent method to force change in Myanmar.”

Rico says this is one peace campaign he's sorry he can't contribute to...

Whoop de do

A knowledgeable geek posted a ho-hum review of the new Windows operating system titled "Really? That's it?"

Rico says he does not, and never will, care, since he's quite happy with his Mac, thank you very much, but he does feel sorry for those people stuck using Windows...

Looking for bin Laden

Check out an interview with the director of Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden.

It's fiction, people

Seems the Communist Party (yes, there still is one in Russia) is pissed about how Commies are portrayed in the new Indiana Jones movie. Bummer for them... But, just to show how serious they are (and when have they not been serious), they told Harrison Ford that he has “no future in Russia any more. Speaking plainly, it is better for you not to come here. You will be beaten and despised.” The protests appeared to have little impact on the film’s commercial prospects. It was released on Thursday on 808 screens in Russia, a record for a Hollywood film. The Communist Party has withered since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but it remains the second largest party in the Duma, the Russian parliament.

One down, many to go

Bloomberg reports on OPEC's first defector, Indonesia: "Withdrawal from OPEC will save 2 million euros ($3.1 million) in membership fees a year."

Little country, big mistake

According to this New York Times article, "Nepal, the world’s last Hindu kingdom, was poised to be reborn as a republic Wednesday, as a newly elected assembly led by former Maoist guerillas prepared to meet to fulfill the leftists’ principal campaign promise. Exactly when and how the monarch, King Gyanendra, would leave Narayanhity, the main palace in the capital, Katmandu, was not clear. He has made no public statements in recent weeks about his plans, though his supporters have made their disappointment known by setting off small bombs in the capital. On Tuesday, an explosion in the center of the capital injured six people and a royalist organization called Ranbir Sena claimed responsibility. The government has urged the king, a businessman with interests in tobacco and hotels, to move from the pink concrete Narayanhity to his private residence, a high-walled compound in Katmandu, or face eviction by force. “If he does not leave the palace then the government might have to use force to vacate the palace,” Ram Chandra Poudel, the peace and reconstruction minister said on Tuesday, according to a Reuters report. “This will not be good for him.” On Wednesday, The Associated Press reported that the government would give him 15 days to leave the palace. Security was tightened across Katmandu and celebrations began, with the government declaring a three-day holiday starting Wednesday to mark the birth of the republic. The vote by a special assembly, elected last month, would formalize the dissolution of the 239-year-old monarchy in Nepal. King Gyanendra, who had taken control of the government in early 2005, lost most of his powers two years ago when street protests in Katmandu forced him to cede power to the elected government. Soon, Maoist insurgents came out of the jungle after 10 years of war, turned themselves into politicians and demanded an end to the monarchy. The government, which they joined, complied. It removed the king as head of the army, dropped the word “royal” from the name of the national airline, and drafted a new national anthem which no longer demanded allegiance to the throne. The king was required to pay taxes, and his likeness was replaced by Mount Everest on the country’s currency, starting with the 500-rupee note. Last year, under pressure from the Maoists, the Parliament voted to declare Nepal, a nation of 27 million people wedged strategically between India and China, a federal democratic republic. The country’s three largest parties agreed this week to turn Narayanhity palace into a national museum once the king leaves. Gyanendra took the throne after a gruesome palace massacre in June, 2001, in which his brother, then-King Birendra and most of the royal family were killed by Crown Prince Dipendra, who then shot himself. Gyanendra and his family survived."

Rico says this isn't liable to turn out well...

Internecine warfare

The Democrats could be hacking each other up into August, it seems...

Civil War for the day

It's after Memorial Day and it's not raining, but Rico promised you bands...

Yes, but it doesn't make him gay

Rico says he would love to go see this with his ladyfriend, but it looks like she doesn't want him to go...

27 May 2008

Brilliant, even if he is French

Okay, you put some solar cells on the roof of the garage, an air compressor on the back wall, a rack of storage tanks along the side, and you're in business. Who is out of business, of course, is any country whose livelihood depends on selling petroleum...

Blogging don't make you smart

Michelle Malkin, whom I normally like, is now blogging bullshit about Obama's supposed gaffe in a recent speech.
He said, which was wrong, that his uncle was in the unit that liberated Auschwitz.
He didn't, because Auschwitz was in Poland and was liberated by the Red Army.
Michelle jumped all over that.
There were plenty of camps in the West he could have liberated, but Rico isn't willing to struggle with her commenting software to point that out.
Just proves that the ability to type doesn't give you the ability to think, or even the ability to do decent research.
Rico says he expected better from her. (Of course, if Obama had better speechwriters, none of this would have been a problem.)

The campaign said the great-uncle he was referring to was his grandmother's brother, Charlie Payne, who served in the 89th Infantry Division that liberated Ohrdruf, a subcamp of Buchenwald, in April 1945.

(And thanks to the Peripatetic Engineer for correcting Rico's bad assumptions about Obama's uncle. Blogging didn't make Rico smart, either...)

Memorial Day with Andy Rooney

Another NASA hoax?

The first photos have come back from Mars, and it sure looks a lot like Iraq...

Rico's not alone

The National Post has a nicely vehement editorial on-line: "Burma must be the West's line in the sand— the charade to end all future mocking by tyrants of Western efforts to assist people suffering in the wake of natural or man-made disasters. The public must not be lulled into forgetting the plight of the Burmese people. To do nothing, to maintain the status quo, will send a clear message that offering aid to people suffering under tyrannies is a tragic waste of time and money."

Rico says he couldn't agree more...

Burma caves, a little late

Seth Mydans reports on the cyclone aid situation: "Foreign aid workers have begun to receive permission to travel to remote areas of Myanmar hardest hit by the May 3 cyclone, following a promise by authorities last week to the United Nations, relief agencies said Tuesday... The opening comes more than three weeks after the cyclone, which left 135,000 people dead or missing. The United Nations estimates that 1.5 million survivors deep in the Irrawaddy Delta have not yet received any aid... While apparently opening its door to international donors, the military government has refused permission to United States, French and British warships loaded with supplies just outside its territorial waters. In denying entry, the government has said it fears that any such aid from Western powers would have “strings attached.” However, it has allowed more than 60 United States Air Force flights to bring supplies to the Yangon airport... The delivery of aid has already accelerated with chartered boats and barges and a fleet of trucks loaded with rice, high-energy biscuits and ready-to-eat food. The government has given the World Food Program permission to deploy 10 helicopters. Mr.Risley said one had arrived in Yangon and the others were being brought in transport planes from South Africa, Uganda and Ukraine... With an estimated 30 percent of children in the delta area already malnourished, aid workers fear that they are particularly susceptible to diseases like cholera that are spread by contaminated water. Monsoon season is approaching and aid workers fear a second wave of deaths from epidemics and untreated ailments.

(Rico grew up in a house in California that Seth's famous father, Carl, built.) Rico says that Burma may have waited just long enough for the dying to really get underway...

More iPhone news

The Nordic and Baltic markets welcome news of an impending iPhone rollout. TeliaSonera announced this morning that it had signed an agreement with Apple, and that it would introduce the device to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. As usual, the timing is nonspecific: "later this year". There's only one and a half weeks left before June 9, when Steve Jobs and Co. are expected to announce the next-gen iPhone.

Some kid's in trouble somewhere

A Continental Airlines flight had a close encounter with an unidentified object, which was described by the pilot as some sort of rocket, traveling fast and leaving a thick smoke trail behind. The incident took place on Monday, 8 miles north of the George Bush International Airport in Houston. According to an FAA spokesman, all stories point to a model rocket, but the investigation continues.

Rico says he did stupid things with rockets as a kid, but nothing on this order...

The Clintstones are whining again

The Houston Chronicle reports that Bill Clinton is whining on behalf of his wife about the 'media conspiracy' (as opposed to the 'vast media conspiracy, Rico supposes) that wants her to lose the election: "First to the idea of a media conspiracy against Hillary. Would that be the same media that made Hillary the frontrunner before a single vote was cast? The same media that gave the Democratic Primary field the name Hillary and the Seven Dwarfs in the weeks and months before Obama’s upset win in Iowa? That media, Bill? The way I remember it, it was the Mainstream Media that had all but coronated Hillary Clinton since the day she announced her candidacy. Now to the notion that only Hillary can beat John McCain in the general election. On this point I suspect Bill may have a dyslexia problem as he reads the general election polls. As I interpret the data from RealClearPolitics, in the cumulative results from 7 different pollsters, Obama leads McCain in 4 polls, they are running even in 2, and McCain leads Obama in only one... Hillary was not prepared for a long struggle and did not have the organization in place after Super Tuesday, causing her to lose 11 straight contests. That lack of being able to assess the field and plan accordingly does not speak well of someone who wants to run an effective general election campaign against John McCain, or someone who wants to run the country for that matter."

Rico sighs; when will this be over?

Pirates? Yup, pirates

De Telegraaf reports, via Xinhua, that "Somali pirates have hijacked a Dutch-owned freight vessel, the MV Amiya Scan, which sails under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, in international waters in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia... It is unclear whether the pirates have demanded a ransom. Piracy for ransom has been rampant in the lawless waters off the Somali coast."

Ah, the romance of piracy. Or not, if you're the victim. Of course, you could just buy my book on the subject:

Don't look down

A new airport runway on the Portuguese island of Madeira in the Azores; it's 2781 meters (9000 ft) long of which 1000m (3000 ft) are supported by 180 pillars, each pillar 50 meters in length (150 feet, about 17 floors). The runway is designed to accommodate 747s.

Rico says they even park cars underneath it...

Still on the list

Rico's "sure, I'd do her" list, that is. That's Fergie, the ex-Duchess of York, in case your celebrity watching has fallen off recently...

It got my money, too

The new Indiana Jones movie took in over three hundred million bucks over the holiday weekend, a new world record. Rico has already reviewed it below; save your money.

Wrong place to come ashore

This BBC article describes four women from Moldova who paid over six grand to two Ukrainians to smuggle them into Greece. Unfortunately, the idiots dropped them off on the peninsula of Mount Athos, which is a monastic community closed to women. The man who came along wasn't charged with trespassing, just illegal entry.

In the same area, "fighting broke out between rebel Esphigmenou monks occupying a monastery office and a rival group of legally-recognised monks. Police said the fight-- in which fire extinguishers and crowbars were used as weapons-- left seven needing treatment... The fighting happened at the Esphigmenou group's representative office in the town of Karyes in Mt Athos... The rebel monks have been occupying the site since 2003 and have ignored eviction orders from both the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I and Greece's supreme court."

Rico says some human stupidity you just have to laugh at...

Ah, the French

In a classic oops, Michel Fournier was all ready to break four world records by freefalling 25 miles from a balloon over western Canada. Only problem was, they failed to make sure it was connected to the capsule, and the balloon drifted away by itself.

Finding those still missing

"The Pentagon launched the mission of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) on 1 October 2003, to recover the remains of tens of thousands of MIAs from foreign wars. The organization, which identifies six missing servicemen each month on average, utilizes the largest forensic anthropology laboratory in the world and fifteen teams that travel the globe on recovery missions."

This is a photo gallery of a mission to Papua New Guinea to find any of the 2,000 missing there.

Aptly named

The Kennedys went out sailing over the holiday weekend, taking second place in the Figawi Race in Nantucket.
Kennedy cheated (no, not Ted...) and took the ferry over from Hyannis after his crew took his boat over on Sunday night. J. David Crawford, chairman of the Figawi board of governors, greeted the senator and his family at the dock in Nantucket and took them to breakfast at the Even Keel, where Dodd met them. Crawford then drove the senators on a golf cart to their launch.

Rico says for those not from around these parts, the race is named that after the joke with the punchline "Where the Figawi?"

More ammunition for the wrong people

It's not that we have a gun problem in this country. It's that bullshit like this makes it too easy for the anti-gun people to make their case. Note, however, that it was 'a large group of young people leaving Marcus Garvey Park' in Harlem at ten o'clock at night, and that the only cartridge casing found was (wait for it) from a .25 caliber automatic. "According to an Emergency Medical Services spokesman, the first shooting was reported to authorities at 10:14 p.m., with another at 10:17, two more at 10:19, and two more still at 10:24... There were several places where victims were picked up by paramedics, including at the intersections of Lenox Avenue and 126th, 129th, 130th and 131st Streets; at 131st Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard; and on 125th Street at the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building. An 18-year-old man was either shot or stabbed in the back and was found lying on a bench at 125th and Lenox, the authorities said... A male victim with a gunshot wound to the chest was involved in an apparently unrelated shooting at 131st Street and Lenox Avenue, according to police. The other seven victims appeared to be in stable condition, the authorities said. They also said that all but one of the victims were male, one of them appeared to be 13 and another appeared to be 16. They said that they did not know what prompted the shootings, and had not captured anyone as of early Tuesday."

Rico says just a typical warm summer evening in Harlem, apparently...

Don't we all?

From a UPI on-line article: "A U.S. businessman and fundraiser testified that he provided Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with cash because Olmert preferred cash to checks."

Poor Hill back on the Hill

Seems, according to this New York Times article, that Mrs. Clinton may not have a lot of fun when she goes back to being just a senator: "At a minimum, Mrs. Clinton would face an adjustment in exiting the high-energy, applause-filled, rapid-fire atmosphere of a presidential race and re-entering the meandering Senate, where power, status and legislative accomplishments take years or even decades to attain... Aides to Mrs. Clinton said a transition back to Senate life was not a chief concern at the moment. “Senator Clinton is focused on running for president and being the nominee,” said a spokesman, Phil Singer. Yet even if she is once again principally the junior senator from New York, a case can be made that her campaign has strengthened her Senate hand. She is now an even more firmly established national figure in her own right, with a defined and substantial following, one of the few in the Senate who can make that claim... Mrs. Clinton’s relatively junior status limits her options in the Senate. She is pretty far down the ladder on her committees, denying her a chairmanship, the most potent source of influence and bargaining chips in the Senate give-and-take... Mrs. Clinton could adopt the model of Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, after he lost the nomination to Jimmy Carter in 1980, and try to become a superior legislator, an approach that could play to her policy strengths. But Mr. Kennedy, who learned last week that he had a malignant brain tumor, built his expertise on years of experience and longstanding relationships of the sort that Mrs. Clinton does not yet have in the Senate... 17 Senate Democrats chose to endorse Mr. Obama, compared with 13 for Mrs. Clinton, who had a substantial head start on her rival until Iowa. The others have not taken sides publicly. Mr. Obama’s advantage has been a surprise, given the prominence of the Clintons in party politics. It has the potential to create some friction in the close confines of the Senate, where snubs and paybacks are an art form.

Rico says more Hillary fun to watch...

Civil War for the day

After a grand and glorious Memorial Day weekend, a rainy day like this one.

Another good one gone

Sidney Pollack is dead at 73. George Clooney remembered his friend this way: "Sydney made the world a little better, movies a little better, and even dinner a little better. A class act."

26 May 2008

Better living through chemistry

They're doing research now on improved mosquito repellants, even better than DEET: "Chemists at the University of Florida and the United States Department of Agriculture screened many acylpiperidines, which are related to the active ingredient in pepper. Their study was published online Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In tests on humans, they found that some acylpiperidines could repel mosquitoes for up to 73 days, while DEET typically lasted only 17 days."
Since Rico doesn't understand the environmental niche that mosquitoes inhabit, and would remove them from the planet if he could, he's all in favor.

A day of memorials

The real reason for this day is, let us remember, the dead.
Today is a day that will be celebrated across the nation. Originally coined as Decoration Day, it evolved as a time set aside to honor those killed during the Civil War by decorating their grave sites. Initially observed May 30, 1868, Decoration Day commemorated the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers. It became an official day of reconciliation, about coming together to honor those who valiantly gave their all for our freedom. According to Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, the holiday was established "for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country." During the first celebration of Decoration Day, General James Garfield spoke at Washington's Arlington National Cemetery, where the graves of more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were decorated. After World War One, observances began to honor those who had died in all American wars. It was 37 years ago that Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May of each calendar year.

On the fruit side

In more on-line news, Apple is going to get HBO's movies onto iTunes... "One might wonder how NBC's top management feels right now: the company chose to leave Apple back in September last year and tried to place its content on iTunes competitors such as Amazon and, more recently, Zune."

Rico says the nobody-wants-one Zune (see post below)...

Also, Apple is going to release the 3G iPhone on 9 June. Rico says he wants one...

Zune gone

An on-line article says that GameStop is stopping selling Microsoft's Zune device: When such a big player chooses to dump your product, the consumer is likely to understand “we're no longer betting on a sure loser”. Microsoft launched the Zune player two years ago. Back then, expectations were high and the device was first dubbed the 'iPod killer'. However, Zune failed to convince consumers and currently accounts for only 4% of the specific market in the US, while its rival is sitting comfortably on its huge market share slice: 71%.

Rico says this is another well-deserved slap in the face of the Microsofties. Bill got out just in time...

Of course they surrendered, they're French

In a New York Times on-line article actually written by someone that Rico knows, "France registered 'shock' that one of its warships had been unable to unload a 1,000-ton cargo of aid in Burma... The French communiqué complained that nothing “can justify the victims of a catastrophe finding themselves being denied the basic right to benefit from the necessary aid.” The French statement Sunday said French officials were “particularly shocked” that Myanmar authorities had not permitted the Mistral to unload its cargo directly for distribution in the Irrawaddy Delta — the worst-hit area.

Rico says he is reminded of Claude Rains saying he was 'shocked, shocked' in Casablanca...

Not Rico, not with a gun to his head

According to this AFP story, some 64-year-old French skydiver is going to jump out of a balloon 25 miles up over western Canada and freefall down to where he can open his chute. "If he succeeds, Fournier will actually break four world records: fastest freefall, longest freefall, highest jump, and highest altitude reached by a man in a balloon. It could also someday lead to rescuing astronauts in-flight."

Rico says he admires, from a great distance, people who can do this stuff...

Civil War for the day

Marietta, Pennsylvania knows how to do it right. The Philadelphia Inquirer has an on-line article about the efforts of Catherine Tucker to see that Civil War veterans buried in her town were properly recognized. Seems seven headstones (of twenty originally set) for black veterans had either deteriorated to the point of invisibility or been stolen. She worked with the Department of Veterans Affairs to get new ones made and installed. "An amateur historian, who had a grocery bag full of new books in her home on Thursday, Tucker spent two years researching the history of the Bethel cemetery. Besides the Civil War soldiers (several of whom were members of the 32d Regiment, United States Colored Infantry, organized in Philadelphia in 1864), it includes four black veterans of World War I, seven of World War II, and five of the Korean War. She had the names of the seven men with lost gravestones - Pvt. Joseph Maze, Pvt. John Knight, Pvt. Andrew McCurdy, Pvt. Asa M. Springs, Pvt. Isaac Thompson, Pvt. Zachariah White and Musician Glenalvin Walker - and she carefully compiled each man's service record to present to the VA. Maze, born a slave in the South, was drawn into the Confederate Army as a wagon driver. According to a 1931 article in the Lancaster Sunday News, he was at the surrender of Confederate troops at Appomattox, Va., and later drove Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on a tour of Marietta. One of the existing Civil War headstones is for a man who fought in the 54th Massachusetts regiment.

Safe at first

According to an on-line New York Times article, the Phoenix lander made it to Mars. They got photos to prove it. By tonight, they say, we'll see some video.

25 May 2008

We think we have immigration problems

Everybody in North Africa is trying to get into some EU port where they can disappear into Europe and get jobs...

While we're on politics, more Ann

Hell, we've got a black candidate and a female candidate and an old candidate, so why not a dead candidate?
And, no, Rico's not poking fun at anyone in particular, just trying to point out that there are female candidates he'd happily vote for, only that he's a little late with this one...
So, yet again, this is why Ann Richards.
Technically, Dorothy Ann Willis Richards, but this is an election where everyone, from Hillary to Barack to Bobby, is dropping part of their name...
(Plus if, like Rico, you're in love with a beautiful woman with white hair, you better like Ann Richards.)

While we're on politics, dot not feather

When Rico heard the news, he was excited. How cool is that, for McCain to want a Native American as a running mate. Sorry, wrong Indian.
Not Bill Richardson (okay, okay, he's a Democrat), nor Wes Studi (and how cool would he be as a vice president? We could use him to intimidate nasty foreign dictators, for one thing, and we've certainly elected movie stars before...), but Bobby Jindal. (Note that he doesn't use 'Piyush', his given name, any more than Obama uses 'Hussein'...)

Rico says he's still a cool choice.

It's not misogynistic...

...if you just don't like the bitch. (Which Rico doesn't, in case you hadn't been able to figure that out by now.) And who wants to see this mug on the nightly news for the next four (or, gawd forbid, eight) years?

Lieberman weighs in

Joe Liberman has a column in the Wall Street Journal about the election, asking the cogent questions: "How did the Democratic Party get here? How did the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy drift so far from the foreign policy and national security principles and policies that were at the core of its identity and its purpose?" "This was the Democratic Party that I grew up in – a party that was unhesitatingly and proudly pro-American, a party that was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders. It was a party that understood that either the American people stood united with free nations and freedom fighters against the forces of totalitarianism, or that we would fall divided. This was the Democratic Party of Harry Truman, who pledged that "it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." And this was the Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy, who promised in his inaugural address that the United States would "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of freedom"... A great Democratic secretary of state, Dean Acheson, once warned "no people in history have ever survived, who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies." This is a lesson that today's Democratic Party leaders need to relearn.

Rico says he used to vote Democratic, but not any more...

More Clintstones fun

Roger Ebert does a job on the new HBO docudrama Recount, about the fiasco in the 2000 elections: "Katherine Harris was a piece of work. The Florida secretary of state during the 2000 elections is not intended to be the leading role, but every time Laura Dern appears on the screen, she owns it. Watch her stride into a room of powerful men, pick up a little paper packet of sugar for her coffee and shake it with great sweeping arm gestures as if she were a demonstrator in an educational film. As much as anyone, Harris was responsible for George W. Bush being declared the winner of the state vote, and thus of the presidency. In a bewildering thicket of controversy about chads, hanging chads, dimpled chads, military ballots, voting machines and nearsighted elderly voters, it was her apparent oblivion that prevented a meaningful recount from ever taking place. Don't talk to me about the Florida Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court, or even the hero of the film, a Democratic Party strategist named Ron Klain (Kevin Spacey). They had a great influence on events, but it was Harris who created a shortage of time that ultimately had a greater effect than anything else."

Rico says it's interesting timing to bring this out now, but that's show biz...


According to AFP, the Chinese are going to cut the route of the Olympic torch through Tibet down to one day from three: "The change is due to the Sichuan earthquake's impact on the rest of the relay. Because of this, the sacred flame will only pass through (the Tibetan capital) Lhasa for one day," Li Lizhi, an information officer with the Beijing Olympics, told AFP. Tibet remains closed to foreign journalists amid a tight clampdown on the recent unrest, and the planned leg through the troubled region had looked to generate still more controversy for the torch.

Rico says, right, like the Tibetan protests had nothing to do with this...

Exactly so

In a New York Daily News column, Michael Goodwin is right on target: "Hillary Clinton is her own worst enemy." He's ragging still on her stupid RFK statement (and wrong, like all the rest of the blogosphere) but notes that "she's now so toxic she's probably doomed any hope of being named Obama's running mate. He didn't want her to start with; now he won't have to take her".

Rico says he'll be happy when this stupid primary season is over...

More NASA brilliance

Phoenix will land on Mars this evening, and investigate a site in the far north; the key questions Phoenix will address concern water and conditions that could support life. Phoenix will land in an arctic plain comparable in latitude to central Greenland or northern Alaska. The selected landing area is centered at 68.16 degrees north latitude, 233.35 degrees east longitude. Topographical mapping by Mars Global Surveyor’s laser altimeter indicates a broad, shallow valley about 50 kilometers (about 30 miles) wide and only about 250 meters (about 800 feet) deep. The mission’s three main science objectives are to study the history of water in all its phases, to determine if the Martian arctic soil could support life and to study Martian weather from a polar perspective. If electrical output from the solar panels remains adequate and other subsystems are functioning, the mission for Phoenix might be extended for an additional month or two, into late summer or early fall at the landing site. Factors in how long the lander can keep getting adequate solar power include whether it lands with a southward tilt and how quickly dust accumulates on the solar panels.

Rico says he can hardly wait for the first images...

Hee, hee, hee...

Seems Hillary's in trouble back in the constituency over the racially charged campaign she's been running against Obama: "Even as she continues her longshot presidential bid, Hillary Rodham Clinton faces a political rift in New York, where black leaders say her standing has dropped due to racially charged comments by her and her husband during the campaign... Their sentiments reflect the peculiar arc of the 2008 campaign. Black voters were once central to the Clinton family's political identity and base of support. But that relationship has been strained by the emergence of a charismatic African American candidate who has been propelled by black voters... As the campaign unfolded, both Clintons made comments that some black leaders deemed dismissive of Obama. There was Bill Clinton's suggestion that Obama's victory in South Carolina carried no more weight than Jesse Jackson's success there in the 1980s. Other sore points were Hillary Clinton's claim that she enjoys the support of "hard-working Americans, white Americans" and the credit she gave to President Lyndon Johnson-- rather than Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.-- on civil rights legislation... "She has a problem," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, a New York-based civil rights activist. "If she doesn't aggressively deal with the problem -- rather than sit in denial -- it will haunt her at home in her Senate race."

Rico says oops, you can't 'nigger' your opponent without pissing off the black folks at home...

Civil War for the day

At the 140th of Gettysburg.

24 May 2008

We called the dog Indiana

Those who've followed the series will recognize that title. This installment, alas, turns the Sean Connery saying on its head: we called Indiana a dog.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, while a rollicking summer movie, had every fucking cliche from every Indiana Jones movie (and there have only been three prior) ever made, all rolled into one: there's the evil and funny-accented bad guys (and gal, played by Cate Blanchett), golden treasure that the moron can't resist (unto death) pocketing, spaceships (yes, dammit, spaceships; like they couldn't resist having a little Close Encounters of the Indy Kind), a stupid kid sidekick with a stupid name (though he's not Chinese this time, at least), and overwrought primitive architecture (they must have gotten a deal on fake stone).
Karen Allen, bless her, hasn't aged well, though Harrison Ford's no spring chicken any more, either.
No Sean Connery, which is a bad thing.
Characters named 'Russian Suit Number One' and 'Russian Suit Number Two', also a bad sign.
The same stupid goes-on-forever warehouse filled with innumerable wood crates, one of which has (surprise, surprise) the Ark of the Covenant (which everyone ignores).
And his hat, of course. Which he, improbably, hangs onto through everything.

If you liked the first Indiana Jones, you'll hate this one. If you liked the second Indiana Jones, you'll love this one. If you liked the third Indiana Jones, you'll hate this one.

Rico says wait for it to come out on video, and then make someone else rent it...

(Though it did have the great and appropriate line about loss: "You've reached the age when life stops giving you things and starts taking them away." Since Rico's there himself, he understood...)

Cuteness in the midst of disaster

The Chinese rescued eight pandas from the earthquake region and flew them to Beijing to live in the zoo. A nice thing, but they still need to get out of Tibet...

As expected, but fuck 'em anyway

According to the AP, the Burmese are still fending off the West's use of military aircraft and ships to aid its people: "As a half-dozen military ships from the U.S., France and Britain laden with aid and helicopters capable of reaching hard-hit areas waited offshore, Myanmar said they were not needed or welcome. 'The strings attached to the relief supplies carried by warships and military helicopters are not acceptable to the Myanmar people', the New Light of Myanmar newspaper, a mouthpiece for the ruling generals, said this week. It did not say what strings were attached, and U.S. military officials have repeatedly said there were none. The media report hinted that Myanmar's real fear is that the U.S. would use the disaster as a pretext to invade and take control of the country's oil reserves. U.S. officials flatly deny any such intent. The junta appears particularly wary about allowing U.S. helicopters into hard-hit areas because that would highlight the American effort to the common people, who have been taught to see the U.S. as a hostile aggressor. The U.S., along with the British and French, have assembled a huge response force off Myanmar. The U.S. force is led by the USS Essex, an aircraft-carrier-like flattop ship that carries more than a dozen helicopters, amphibious landing craft and about 1,000 U.S. Marines. The Essex, joined by three other ships, has been waiting almost within sight of the coast. The French amphibious assault vessel Mistral and the British frigate HMS Westminister were also in the area, ready to respond. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Friday there have been 50 U.S. C-130 transport plane flights into Yangon, carrying more than 485 tons of relief supplies. But they have not been allowed to fly to the delta."

Rico says a helicopter-carrier, an amphibious assault ship, and a frigate; that should do. Stand in-shore, land Marines and supplies, and blow the hell out of whatever shows up. Are we the world's premier military force, or what?

Pillory Hillary

Hillary's recent 'gaffe', where she mentioned Robert Kennedy's assassination, is getting a lot of flak in the straight media and the blogosphere, and she felt compelled to apologize for the remark.

Rico says, for once, he's giving Hillary a pass on this.

After reviewing the tape, as the refs do, it appears to Rico that what she was trying to say was that RFK was still campaigning in June, when he happened to be assassinated, thus ending his bid for the presidency, not that somehow an assassination was in the offing and she should stay in the race until someone shoots Obama. (Of course, if there's a potential assassin out there, he could be gunning for Hillary, too...)

Rico says that everyone is calling this one wrong (except him and Hillary) and they should all shut the fuck up...

Ah, the Brits

Seems the British, when they really get serious about taking on criminals, issue something called an "interim anti-social behavior order". (Actually, in the original, that's spelled 'behaviour', and my thanks to the Bayou Renaissanceman for the story.) Apparently it's supposed to keep young, testosterone-poisoned men from committing various nuisance behaviors. ("The order states he cannot act in a manner which causes alarm, harassment, or distress to any person in England and Wales. Any breach of the interim ASBO could result in Kellett being jailed.")
As if...
In this case, not only did the gentleman do a lot of stupid things and videotape them, he had the audacity (and stupidity) to post them on YouTube...
"Kellett opposed the interim ASBO, claiming he was simply a bystander filming and the offences would have happened whether he was there or not. He also claimed the ASBO would potentially breach his human rights by restricting his right to free expression."

Rico says the old phrase "dumb as a post" is not vehement enough for people like this, but he's still glad he lives in the US of A, where there's a Constitution that prevents stupid shit like this...

The other guys

You can buy an iPhone, or you can buy something else...


While in the Day By Day cartoon it's about someone totally different (and funnier), Rico chooses to use it to represent his beloved grandfather, dead these 45 years. (He died the summer of the year JFK was killed, and I miss him still.)

Civil War for the day

Friday of the 140th of Antietam.


Mark has been very busy these days, but doesn't seem to get around to the blog. So I'll up date it.
Mark had an EEG and an MRI on Monday the 14th. His EEG was normal and he is being weaned off his anti-seizure meds. He actually stayed up after 11pm the other night. This should help him with his excessive sleepiness. Many times he'll ask if he has dreamed something or if it actually happened. So far, all the things he has asked about have been real events. He feels like he's in a dream state. Hopefully this will help.
There was still too much blood (from the original bleed) in is brain to actually see the cavernous angioma with the MRI, but the blood is slowly being re-absorbed and the brain swelling is still going down. Until they can actually see the malformation, his diagnosis can't be confirmed. But the good news is that there has been no new bleeding and they haven't seen any more malformations (some individuals have hundreds).
Mark received the good news that he will probably be graduating from rehab by mid June. He's very excited by this.
Mark has been re-reading his most recent unfinished novel and hopes to begin working on it again soon.
I have begun doing some volunteer work for the Angioma Alliance, working on updating a mailing list of doctors all over the US. I would like to be able to donate the printing and postage for this mailing, so if anyone would like to help me out by making (even a very small one) a donation to the Angioma Alliance, please let them know it's for their upcoming mailing. http://www.angiomaalliance.org/donate.html

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