Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Now for the foxes

Taking out the trash late last night I spotted a fox making its way down 27th Street past our house. He seemed quite relaxed, trotting back and forth across the street, pausing at bush or tree for a considered sniff, and (probably) keeping an eye out for a late-night cat- (or rat-) snack.

Quite strangely (again, I was taking out the trash), I had my camera with me, so I trailed after him for a minute. But it was dark, obviously, and he wouldn't let me get close enough for a flash shot.

Not the first time I've seen a fox in the neighborhood (both, I think, were red foxes), and while these ain't exactly the mean streets, they're certainly the highly irritable streets of the Big City. To see such a stereotypically woodland creature looking to "score" around here is strange.

Insert hastily googled factoids here

But it turns out that red foxes are fairly common in Denver. In fact, I found a whole page on them at the magical site. Outstanding quote:

What to do for foxes teasing the dogs:

Keep the dog in the house or in the garage at night and early in the morning for a few days. The fox will lose interest and stop coming around. Foxes seem to have quite a sense of humor. They seem to enjoy watching the dog running back and forth and barking.

They're not the only ones. (That's Billy Bob being tortured, of course).

And I actually got a picture of a red fox out on the town once, across the street from Sloan's Lake Park a little west of here:

He was a big healthy looking bugger, too. Beautiful.
Must be the all-Canada Goose diet at Sloan's Lake.

More animals in strange places

Like the bear cub found sleeping under the roller coaster at Lakeside Amusement Park a few years ago. That's in this part of town too. Now, even though I distinctly remember reading about it, I couldn't find the incident mentioned in either the Rocky Mountain News or the Denver Post. No, where I finally found it, logically enough, was in the completely sane Dave Althoff, Jr.'s utterly unobsessive Roller Coaster Almanac. Between entries like

January 3--1984: A woman was killed when she fell from the {Matterhorn Bobsleds} roller coaster at Disneyland.

March 30--1999: Press day for {Apollo's Chariot,} new Speed Coaster from Bolliger & Mabillard, at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia. During the ceremonial first ride, a celebrity rider, male model Fabio, is struck in the face by an errant bird. Fabio was not seriously hurt; the bird may have been killed.


November 19--1867: United States Patent #70,985, "Rotary Swing," granted to Isaac N. Forrester. This is the earliest patent for a vertical pleasure wheel (Ferris wheel).

there it was:
September 3--2001: A bear cub was found sleeping under the roller coaster at Lakeside Park, Denver, Colorado.
Thanks, sane and unobsessed Dave!

Update: "Vertical pleasure wheel?"

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Ten Nights in a Bar-Room II: The Drunkening

Actually, just a selection of pics 'n' links to TNIABR-related stuff. Even in this soul-draining septic tank of a blog you gotta feed the algae* every once in a while, but it's XXX-mas night for me and the Drunkawife, if you know what I mean (and if you do, please e-mail and explain it to me), so this is gonna have to do for tonight:

A colorful cover from a 2000 reissue by Applewood Books (at Amazon).

A still from a 1926 all-black version shown in a "Race Films Series" at the University of Chicago in 2001:

The stars of many of these films seem a little, um, pale, don't they? Was this usual in early African American stuff?

UC program notes:

This film, based on a popular temperance play performed in black communities, features two of the leading black stage actors of the day: Lawrence Chenault as a shady bar room proprietor and Charles Gilpin as a drunkard. The production company, the Colored Players Film Corporation, was founded in 1926 by white producer David Starkman, who produced popular melodramas about black families and communities. Ten Nights enjoyed the longest continuous run of any race film in the silent era: four weeks at New York City’s Grant Theatre.
Of course, it wasn't popular only in black communities. Here's the cast of an 1896 stage production, from the "Yancey [County, NC] Visions" page:

Whiter whites: "Players in 'Ten Nights In A Bar Room' given in Burnsville around 1896. Reading [left to right] Back Row: Charlie Ray, Julia Ray Silvers, Gaither Parker, George Lewis Riddle, Prof. E. E. Hawkins, Little Ray Chase, Sol Evans. Center Row: E. Frank Watson, Cora Ray Watson, Bert Austin Smith. Seated on the Ground: Oscar Lewis, Fred Ray, J. Bis Ray, Dora Lewis Anglin, John Lyon, Ida Lewis Letterman."

Here's a comedic version from 1920 called Ten Nights Without a Barroom (get it?), starring the apparently ubiquitous Tom Kennedy. Can't tell if it's available anywhere.

Finally, here's a review of the 1931 version starring the equally ubiquitous William Farnum. This version is out on VHS and can be ordered here (scroll down; third from bottom).

*the word "algae" does not refer to most Drunkablog readers.

(Credit: Here's the Yancey County, North Carolina home page.)

Update: Talk about your ubiquitouities, Slim Summerville, second-billed in Ten Nights Without a Barroom, got around a good bit himself.

Update II: Drunkawife says, "you get me vastebosket for Creesmoose. You think you getting some deesgusting XXX-mas from me? It is to loff."

Update III: It wasn't a wastebasket, goddamnit, it was a solid waste storage facility, extra small.

Merry Christmas!

Or else.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The company he keeps

Lisa Jones at RockyWatch has been subjected to repeated slanders and scurrilous attacks by the anonymous Ward Churchill defender "John Moredock" at his Try-Works blog. Now Jones challenges Churchill to repudiate Moredock and his mentally disturbed sycophants. I doubt it'll happen, but you'd think even Ward "Little Eichmanns" Churchill could figure out that Try-Works can only add to his disrepute and speed his final degradation. What scumbags the man draws around him.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Another thrift store valuables case

I'll get it out of my system. Another DAV too, this one at Colfax and Chase. The case itself is beautiful, and was probably looted from some museum:

Note numbers at top of case.

Museum quality: belt buckles; doll haid.

Stop staring at me.

Whoobooboobooboo! Boink! Spread out, you lunkheads!

Forgot to check prices. Too much, probably.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A little song, a little dance . . .

During the Christmas season Americans of all faiths and creeds are required to gather 'round the piano and sing the songs of World War I.

Okay, okay, bad intro, but only because it's not true. Listen anyway to "America, Here's My Boy"and, for diversity's sake, "Don't Take My Darling Boy Away."

Mothers have always been strange, but in the early 20th century they had to wear a funny uniform too.

Notice what these songs have in common? They stink.

So do a lot of WW II songs ("Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" comes to mind). And let's just skip Korea and Vietnam.

What's your point, chucklehead?

Well, just that in a weak genre, the worst song ever has to be Keith Toby's (sorry, Toby Keith's) Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue. It's just embarrassing, and that's even compared to the North Korean stuff, on which I've become something of an involuntary expert.

Holding this opinion reveals me as an out-and-out communist, of course, but I'm a communist who recognizes bad music when he hears it.

Interesting facts and figures

The music to "Don't Take My Darling Boy Away" is by Albert Von Tilzer. Coincidentally I have my grandmother's sheet music to another Von Tilzer tune, "The Alcoholic Blues":

Scroll down a few songs here to listen.

Von Tilzer also wrote the music to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

(Credit: The sheet music covers and the recording of "The Alcoholic Blues" are from Parlorsongs, a very neat site.)

Update: Music starts blaring immediately when you hit some of these links, I forget which ones. (Gotta work on my "not work-safe" warnings.)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Real Nice

This was in the Daily Telegraph Monday:

NHS may not treat smokers, drinkers or obese

People who are grossly overweight, who smoke heavily or drink excessively could be denied surgery or drugs following a decision by a Government agency yesterday.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) which advises on the clinical and cost effectiveness of treatments for the NHS, said that in some cases the "self-inflicted" nature of an illness should be taken into account.

People who are grossly overweight, who smoke heavily or drink excessively could be denied surgery or drugs following a decision by a Government agency yesterday.

The Nice. Creepy. And even creepier when you remember that the "N.I.C.E." was the space demon-controlled "National Institute for Co-ordinated Experiments" in C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength. Philip E. Johnson recalled in 2000 that Lewis's N.I.C.E was
empowered to solve all sorts of social and genetic problems without being bothered by "red tape." Mark and Jane Studdock are a young childless academic couple at Bracton College, whose faculty’s Progressive Element is willing to sell its woods and its soul to entice the NICE. Mark and Jane’s marriage is unhappy because, like most modern people, they see marriage as a contract for mutual advantage rather than as a sacred union. Mark’s consuming desire doesn’t even involve Jane. He wants to be a big shot, a member of the "inner ring" first at his college and then at the NICE. He gets his chance because he is good at writing propaganda.

The NICE turns out to be demonic in inspiration, and intends to impose upon England a regime of ruthless social engineering that Joseph Stalin would have admired. The apparent "Head" at the NICE’s mansion at Belbury is the head of a guillotined murderer, kept alive with advanced life support systems, but this gruesome object is merely the conduit for orders from the dark powers. Belbury’s human leaders recruit and flatter Mark, but the human resource they really want is Jane. She is a seer, whose visions involve the return to life of the magician Merlin, long entombed under Bracton Wood. If Belbury can unite its materialist magic with Merlin’s old–fashioned kind, it can achieve its dream of freeing the mind from messy organic life. "In us organic life has produced Mind. It has done its work. After that we want no more of it."

But Johnson misses the satire of bureacracy in Lewis's N.I.C.E., which culminates in the N.I.C.E.'s board of directors, already panicked by Merlin putting the Curse of Babel on them, being trampled and eaten by enraged zoo animals. It's great. It's even funny; as funny as the NHS's Nice, anyway.

Update: Yes, there was also The Nice, who were pretty scary, too.

(via Taranto)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Holiday cheer

Top floor right of this building was my first apartment after leaving the old homestead. I was so young the girlfriend I lived with was actually, you know, a "girl":

The place was kind of unbelievable. About 900 square feet, seven-foot bowfront windows, huge kitchen, 12-foot-high ceilings, a fireplace that (since it didn't work) seated three comfortably. The walls were 18 inches thick and the windowsills were perfect for sitting. And doing drugs. And drinking heavily. And tapdancing. And yelling at the cops. And watching the world go by, such as it does in Lincoln, Illinois. Rent: $180, including utilities.

That was long, long ago, and Lincoln's explosive growth in the ensuing years means the place probably goes for at least $190 now.

Lincoln, Illinois, by the way, is the only town named for often-honest Abe before he became president (hit the link for "The Lincoln Watermelon Christening Monument," if you dare).

But here's something really eerie. For some reason, my mother saved this card from a dental appointment she had as a girl in the 1920s:

"Second Floor, Suite 9" is my apartment. My mother had her teeth worked on in my apartment almost 60 years before I lived there.

Believe it or not.

Update: A professor, noticing my address, once wrote on a paper, "Who would want to Kick-A-Poo? Cer-tain-ly not me. Would you?" Don't tell Vern Bellecourt.

Update II: Sorry about the "Holiday cheer" heading. This post had absolutely nothing to either engender or sustain cheer of any sort, so I'll spread some around now with two Christmas Jokes My Father Told Me:

1. "Everybody was feeling Merry. So she left."

2. "Everybody was laying Holly on the mantelpiece. So she left."

Update III: Don't be raggin' on my daddy.

Update IV: Holiday cheer, my ass.

Quote of the Day

"I like a gay cowboy movie as well as the next chap--as well as the next chap in chaps, in fact."

--Mark Steyn just now on Hugh Hewitt, musing on the relative importance the MSM places on the two top stories today--the other being, of course, the Iraq elections.

Update: Quote changed because I listened a little better the second time Hugh played the interview.

Update II: Here's the transcript. Steyn was quite joyously combustive overall (via Instapundit).

Westword plays catch up

Westword's "The Message" this week finally carries an item on the brouhaha between the Rocky Mountain News and the Colorado American Indian Movement, this one caused by Rocky editorial page editor Vince Carroll's November 18 piece on the death of Native American scholar Vine Deloria. "The Message's" Michael Roberts isn't specific about what Carroll said in the piece about (in Carroll's words) "the wacky nature of some of [Deloria's] views," but Carroll, while acknowledging Deloria's "sense of humor" and "influential" work, wrote that,
in Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact (1996), Deloria rejected the Bering land bridge theory of prehistoric migration to the Western Hemisphere since he believed Indians existed here "at the beginning" - probably as contemporaries of dinosaurs. And this bizarre claim only hints at his contempt for much science.
Colorado AIM didn't like that a'tall, of course, as pointed out at the time by Pirate Ballerina (who later added examples of Deloria's wackiness), and they particularly didn't like the fact that Carroll's piece was published on the day of Deloria's funeral. The predictable series of demands followed (Carroll fired, Rocky apologize, establishment of a monthly column "to publicize indigenous perspectives on topical issues of importance," and another apology for the Rocky's role in "inciting and celebrating" the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864), and when these, inexplicably, weren't met, the predictable lackluster protest took place, this one in front of the Rocky's offices (which, also predictably, the Rocky didn't report).

Roberts adds nothing new to the story, but at least closes with a promise of further conflict:
With the Rocky unwilling to talk, Colorado AIM-ers met earlier this month to mull over what to do next about l'affaire Deloria. A boycott was among the actions on the table, but in the end, they took a more mysterious path. Spokeswoman Carol Berry says, "We plan to make the racist policies of the newspaper clear throughout Indian country."
But why only in "Indian country?" Don't the rest of us get to be in on the fun? Sounds a little racist to me.

(via, of all places, Romenesko)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Permission and critique

In two spam subject lines. The first, from Rosella Nielson (dear Rosella!) urges what I already intend: "Do fill of murder"; the second, from the exotic Alexandra Ramey, offers some literary criticism: "Proust, it's purina in ellipsis." Too feckin' true, Alex. Time to go "do fill."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hot stove league

Blogging is kind of like baseball--one day you make the highlight reel, the next someone likens your head to a bowling ball with ears.

Only there's no highlight reel in blogging.

Let's talk baseball!

Oh, we already are. Here's an interesting fact or figure: I saw man-mountain Joey Meyer hit a 582-foot home run at Mile High Stadium (sixth graf). This was when Joey played for the gayly named Denver Zephyrs, the Triple-A (minor-league) baseball team Denver had before getting the "major league" Colorado Rockies.

I also, now that I think about it, saw the most incredible game in the freakin' history of baseball. Sorry, but I did. Difficult to find an account of it, but here it is in a history of the Buffalo (NY) Bisons (another triple-A team):

On the field (in 1991), with Terry Collins at the helm for the third straight year, the Bisons not only won their first Eastern Division title, set another minor league attendance mark of 1,240,951, but also, in the fourth game of the playoffs against Denver, staged the most dramatic last ditch rally in the history of Buffalo baseball, only to come up a run short. In the final series, after winning the first two games at home, the Bisons needed just one win in three games at Denver to win the title. In the first game at Mile High Stadium, they were beaten, 8-3.

In the next game they were shutout for eight innings without a hit and went into the top of the ninth facing a 9-0 deficit. Suddenly coming to life, the Bisons scored six runs and had the bases full with two outs. Late-season hitting star Greg Tubbs then lined a double to left. Runs seven and eight scored easily and it seemed certain that speedy Greg Edge would score from first with the tying run. But a brilliant relay by the Zephyrs nipped him at the plate, at least in the opinion of umpire Scott Potter. The Bisons did not agree.

The Zephyrs went on to win the third game for the triple-A championship. But to this day only one home-team pitcher has thrown a no-hitter in Denver--the legendary Ryne Duren in 1957:

Despite Duren's reputation and live arm, the powerful Yankees already had a well-stocked rotation and sent him to Triple-A Denver to gain more experience.

"I kind of objected to that," he said. "I thought I was pitching real well and (K.C. manager) Lou Boudreau said I was probably the best pitcher on his staff, and that he didn't have anything to do with the trade."

However, Yankee executive Larry MacPhail told Duren, "Just go down there, get your feet on the ground and we'll have you right up."

"I went down there and my very first start I threw a no-hitter, and it's the only one by a home-team pitcher in the history of professional baseball in Denver," Duren said.

Update: When Denver got the Rockies, the Zephyrs, God bless 'em, moved to New Orleans.

Update II: There's all kind of lying out there about the distances home runs have allegedly traveled, and since Meyer's was interrupted by a seat in the upper deck of (70,000-seat) Mile High, its distance is probably only an estimate.

Update III: Here's a brief history of Mile High. What doesn't kill you, dear reader, only makes you stronger.

Update IV: The "bowling ball with ears" article avoids mentioning why Bill Lee was called "Spaceman," but it was for his rather militant use of pot, mescaline, amphetamines, etc., in the 60s. This article discusses that, as well as the inspiring story of "Dock" Ellis, the Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher who threw a no-hitter while (as the young folks say) "tripping his brains out" on LSD. Money quote: "The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes; sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn't."

Who's lamer, Churchill or the Rocky?

The RMN continues its pathetic attempt to be hip by mangling tried and true blog formulas:

"Caption this! This feature showcases quirky, amusing and newsworthy from Colorado [sic] and around the world. We've given you the real captions. Now it's your turn to write your own. Don't be too mean! We reserve the right to remove submissions. :)"

Apparently nobody is exercising that right on today's picture:

"University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, in sunglasses, stands out among the crowd that turned out in protest of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision not to interfere with the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams. (Maria J. Ávila © News) [RMN caption]"

The wittiest caption? "Here Cancer, Here Cancer." Way to vet those submissions, Rocky!

Update: The toxic team of Churchill acolytes at Try-Works weighs in on the photo. Moredock (blech): "But [Churchill's] got the best line on Schwarzenegger and Stanley "Tookie" Williams yet: 'He's signing off the life and death of a man he's not fit to lick the boots of.'"

Wicked Witch: "Churchill applauds at the announcement that brownshirt, neo-con, racist, chickenhawks have finally agreed to enlist with the u.s. army and take a bullet for their draft-dodging, imperialist, pResident [all illiteracies sic]- George Bush."

So what the hell did Churchill say, anyway? Moredock's (blech) quote says "signing off . . . lick the boots of," while Channel 4 renders it, "Residing like God over life and death of a man....he's not fit to lick the boots off," and Pirate Ballerina has it as "'[Pr]esiding like God over life and death of a man....he's not fit to lick the boots off.'" PB has the first half right, Moredock (blech) the second, is my guess.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Fun feature may not have furture

Exclusive pictures of the valuables cases at a Denver thrift store. Sorry how lousy the pics are, but I didn't feel like explaining to a suspicious thift store employee why I was photographing his (double-locked) "valuables." He'd have been sure I was casing the joint for a heist.

This is the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) store on Alameda.

Never noticed 'til I took this picture that the DAV has its own flag.

Anyway, here's valuables case number one:

Great gifts for all the drunks and losers on your Christmas list.

And in case number two, fine watches with price tags stapled to them.

Then there was this. The price tag on the bling (below, lower left) says "$449.00," which is the highest price I've ever seen for anything at a thrift store; even the DAV's refurbished computers don't cost that much.

But look up in the opposite corner there. That, if I know my extruded-plastic WW II fighter planes, is the legendary P-51 Mustang. I wanted to buy it, but it had no price tag yet was ensconsed with the $449.00 necklace. Way out of my league.

Update: That's "future."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Ten Nights in a Bar-Room

Yes, the (once-) famous temperance novel (1854) by T.S. Arthur.

Our anonymous narrator is making his first foray into the "Sickle and Sheaf" tavern in Cedarville, meeting the characters whose rum-fueled trajectories he will trace over subsequent visits:

And Judge Lyman, was he a man of principle? One with whom it was safe to trust a youth like Willie Hammond?

While I mused thus, the bar-room door opened, and a man past the prime of life, with a somewhat florid face, which gave a strong relief to the hair that, suffered to grow freely, was pushed back, and lay in heavy masses on his coat collar, entered with a hasty step. He was almost venerable in appearance; yet, there was in his dark, quick eyes the brightness of unquenched loves, the fires of which were kindled at the altar of selfishness and sensuality. This I saw at a glance. There was a look of concern on his face, as he threw his eyes around the bar-room; and he seemed disappointed, I thought, at finding it empty.

The novel became a stage hit, and the song Come Home, Father jerked tears from the eyes of millions.

Update: "unquenched loves" link not work-safe.

Update II: A reader informs me that the "not work-safe" warning should come before the potentially embarrassing link. Well, how was I supposed to know? I'm a "clean" blogger, thank you very much.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Shifty-eyed Nips attack Pearl Harbor!

I became a blogger largely so I could title a Pearl Harbor anniversary post, "Shifty-eyed Nips attack Pearl Harbor!" without being called a racist (yes I know I'll be called a racist).


When I was a kid the Arlee Theater ran the 1943 serial, The Batman. It was the first film version of the comic and, as the wiki points out, it was quite amazingly racist. "Shifty-eyed Nips" was the phrase that happened to stick with me, but it was not the only, nor even the most offensive, ethnic slur used in this garbage cliffhanger.

As the wiki also notes, a bowdlerized version of the serial was released for home video. Why? The Batman stinks, and there's absolutely no reason to watch it except to marvel at (and feel superior to) its exuberant racism. It's fun and edifying.

That's why it's always a bad idea to edit for present-day sensibilities, whether it's Huckleberry Finn or Radar Men from the Moon (offensive, of course, to Radar Men wherever the hell they're from). Wisely, therefore, the DVD of The Batman, released just this past October, is unedited.

Please don't drag in old-time radio.

Radio historian John Dunning (who is also author of a best-selling series about a sleuthing antiquarian) used to have five hours every weekend on Denver's KNUS to play his huge collection of old-time radio shows. As an honest historian, of course, Dunning would rather have cut off his arm than cut anything from, say, a Jack Benny program. Also like a good historian, he was apt to call attention to historically interesting aspects of the programs he played, including, naturally, incidents (fewer than you might think) of racism.

In fact, the only concession to modern sensibilities (and the FCC) Dunning ever made was to mention when a program had cigarette commercials (and they all did). "As always, the surgeon general says smoking will kill you dead as a mackerel," he might say, "and the Lucky Strike commercials are included solely for purposes of historical accuracy."

Jack Benny's pretty good too.

Cartoon time

Check out the left panel, from Kenny Be's looonnnnnnnng-running "Worst Case Scenarios" in Westword today:

Not very funny: But Be's batting .500.

Everything's OK now

And better late tha--ah, fuck it: CU fires Barnett. Apparently it was all about on-the-field problems:
Colorado's poor finish was the breaking point, the source said. A month ago, Barnett was on solid footing in his search for a contract extension. Consecutive losses to Iowa State, Nebraska and Texas by a combined score of 130-22 placed a large amount of doubt on whether an extension would still be offered.
Via Pirate Ballerina, who by the way extends this plaintive plea:

Call us cock-eyed optimists, but we're unconvinced that the whole story behind associate professor William Bradford's resignation has been told. If you have any information about Professor Bradford's military service, his work at Indiana University, or what might have precipitated his abrupt resignation, email us. Confidentiality will be respected.

Update: Witness tampering? What's next? Digging up Folsom Field to look for bodies?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Goo-goo-googely eyes

Google Earth is so cool. You must get it at once. But be warned: you'll spend the next few hours looking at your house, your office, the park down the street, the corner 7-11 and your favorite vacation spot (one and the same in my case), in an amazingly clear series of photos taken from outer space. Well, from space anyway.

But cool as Google Earth is, it was our current houseguest, in what the Drunkablog officially considers a Christmas miracle, who showed us just how this technological marvel can connect people in new and meaningful ways.

I need to say here that until recently this guy was living on the streets of a very far-northern city. He'd had a girlfriend of sorts but, like anyone would, she got sick of his drunken bullshit and threw him out. So he lived wherever and yada-yada and now he's here for a while.

Anyway, when I showed him the wonders of Google Earth, he immediately google-earthed that far-northern city he'd just left:

"Okay, here's the football field, so . . . here's where my [ex] girlfriend lives. Oh man! There's her '86 Toyota out in the parking lot! What a piece of shit! Did I tell you how I totaled it [yes--ed.]?

"And there's the steel stairs I fell down that time. Did I tell you how I fell down those stairs [yes--ed.]? And see that little alcove? One time I passed out right there and when I came to there was a kitten snuggled up to me! Did I tell you about that [uh, no--ed.]? And there's the shelter! And the van they take you to detox in! And there's the alley I got mugged in!"

You get the idea. We didn't really connect in new and meaningful ways. He just told me part of his "drunkalog''--which overall is not as elegant as Susan Cheever's, I'm sure, but is just as meaningful. I think. And it was almost like he told me it from space!

Okay, so here's the Christmas miracle part: our guest has been sober for 11 days and already has a job. Amazing. On the other hand, in such circumstances one must always keep in mind Pap Finn:

When [Pap] got out [of jail] the new judge said he was a-going to make a man of him. So he took him to his own house, and dressed him up clean and nice, and had him to breakfast and dinner and supper with the family, and was just old pie to him, so to speak. And after supper he talked to him about temperance and such things till the old man cried, and said he'd been a fool, and fooled away his life; but now he was a-going to turn over a new leaf and be a man nobody wouldn't be ashamed of, and he hoped the judge would help him and not look down on him. The judge said he could hug him for them words; so he cried, and his wife she cried again; pap said he'd been a man that had always been misunderstood before, and the judge said he believed it. The old man said that what a man wanted that was down was sympathy, and the judge said it was so; so they cried again. And when it was bedtime the old man rose up and held out his hand, and says:

"Look at it, gentlemen and ladies all; take a-hold of it; shake it. There's a hand that was the hand of a hog; but it ain't so no more; it's the hand of a man that's started in on a new life, and'll die before he'll go back. You mark them words -- don't forget I said them. It's a clean hand now; shake it -- don't be afeard."

So they shook it, one after the other, all around, and cried. The judge's wife she kissed it. Then the old man he signed a pledge -- made his mark. The judge said it was the holiest time on record, or something like that. Then they tucked the old man into a beauti- ful room, which was the spare room, and in the night some time he got powerful thirsty and clumb out on to the porch-roof and slid down a stanchion and traded his new coat for a jug of forty-rod, and clumb back again and had a good old time; and towards daylight he crawled out again, drunk as a fiddler, and rolled off the porch and broke his left arm in two places, and was most froze to death when somebody found him after sun-up. And when they come to look at that spare room they had to take soundings before they could navigate it.

The judge he felt kind of sore. He said he reckoned a body could reform the old man with a shotgun, maybe, but he didn't know no other way.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


If the D-bog's aluminum-riddled brain could focus long enough to hate, it would probably hate the University of Colorado. That's why it (my brain) told me to hoist my tiny unathletic fist in the air when it (again, my brain) heard about CU's nationally televised humiliation by Texas in the Big 12 championship yesterday.

Seventy to three. Sev. En. Ee. to Th. Ree.

And yet this world-historical defeat (at least, to CU fans) hardly seems large enough to bear the weight of what it symbolizes.

Let's see. Was it Colorado's sex, drugs 'n' booze football recruiting scandal that came first? Or the multiple allegations of rape against the team, including from the first female Division I football player?

Or maybe it was CU coach Gary Barnett's timely and sensitive remarks on the subject?

Or the equally sensitive comments by CU president Betsy "Terms of Endearment" Hoffman, and her strange inability to fire the coach she "swore" by?

And that's only the stupid football team. We're not even up to the many and varied oddities of CU's handling of the Ward Churchill case. And we're not going into it tonight, either, for Christ's sake, or into the intellectual bankruptcy of an entire scholarly field the Churchill scandal revealed. Here's Pirate Ballerina. And here's the Crotchy's huge pile of stories. Go nuts.

Anyway, things are so bad at CU a caller to former CU quarterback (and Barnett defender) Charles Johnson's radio show yesterday suggested the team hire Churchill as coach. It's an idea. Ward probably wouldn't be any worse than Barnett (except for the smoking on the sidelines), and he might even be more truthful and less disgustingly sexist than Barnett turned out to be.

But probably not.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Granny caught some air

Twice recently, working very late, I've heard this guy on the radio who does fake interviews. Never caught his name, but he plays both the interviewer and -ee, and he's really good. The interviews proceed without any cues whatever that they're not with real people, and they just get stranger and stranger until you're wondering if you should call the radio station or maybe the police.

Last time I heard him, he was interviewing a "former NASCAR driver" who taught regular folks racing techniques so they could do things like "draft" behind 18-wheelers. Paraphrasing:

NASCAR driver: I even taught this wonderful 75-year-old woman how to draft in her Oldsmobile, and she couldn't stop talking about what fun it was.

Interviewer: Sir, this 75-year-old woman . . . Is this the grandmother who was killed when she missed a curve and became airborne while drafting behind a semi-trailer at 90 miles an hour?

NASCAR guy: Well, that's the only problem we've ever had. Safety comes first with us--

Interviewer: Sir, did a 75-year-old grandmother, using your driving techniques, burn to death when her car became airborne, crashed into a culvert, and exploded in flames? Did that happen?

NASCAR guy [meekly]: Yeah, Granny caught some air.

Interviewer [dripping scorn]: Granny caught some air.

NASCAR guy: Unfortunately.


Update: His name is Phil Henry. This site has some info, but there's surprisingly (to me, anyway) little out there about him.

Update II: As a reader going under the name "Walter" informs me, the guy's name is actually Phil Hendrie, and far from there not being much about him on the net, there's infinite tons, beginning with his own site, on which, in the tradition of radio guys everywhere, Hendrie modestly calls his show "the greatest show in the history of radio."

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Here's an e-mail I received some years ago (everything, of course, sic):

Dear Sir/Ma,

l [name],l hereby seek for an apartment/room in your reputable house. l am 30 years old of age,married,kind,honest,God fearing,caring and respectful,l don't smoke,non alcholic. l work as an auditor in a multi-national company in the ([blankety-blank] TOBACCO P.L.C.).I travel around working on assignments and supervising projects for my company and n! ow there is an official assigment given to me to monitor a project in Denver,of which will enable me look for accomodation on whic! h l would be staying for a period of six months for the completion of this assignment. l will like to rent your apartment/room for the six months assignment at hand.Please,get back to me as soon as possible with the final asking price including all utilities of the apartment.Regards!

Update: I,Drinkoblo!g ,I am ,unfor!tunately, alcholic.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Review: White Man's Burden (1995)

Saw this movie over Thanksgiving. It's going to be very tiring telling you how stupid it is, so let's go right into energy saving mode by quoting from the DVD case: "Set in a time where [they mean "when," don't you think?] color roles have been reversed, where prejudice keeps the white man in his place, this is a different America. [The movie stars] John Travolta as . . . a poor man of the ghetto, struggling to support his wife . . ."

After he's unjustly fired, factory-worker Travolta kidnaps the factory's owner (Harry Belafonte), and they run around and talk and Travolta gets beaten up by "The Man" and Belafonte learns how the downtrodden and oppressed live and all that. The only suspense is in wondering how dented your head will be by the sledgehammering of liberal cliches its taken before the movie ends in a bloodbath of racial understanding.

No, the only remarkable thing about White Man's Burden is that, to educate us about our intractable racism, the movie employs that well-known advocate of multiracial harmony, Harry Belafonte. This bit of casting is so tone-deaf, so unnecessarily nasty, that it implies a worldview deficient of certain essential ingredients--mainly, of course, sanity.

Almost unbelievably, White Man's Burden was directed by Alan Parker, who had previously directed The Commitments, one of the sweetest and funniest movies you'll ever see. I have no idea what happened to the man (my guess is the knee-breakers were after him) but White Man's Burden is so bad it will take a road rage incident and mandatory therapy to drive it from your mind. At least, that's what happened with me.

Update: Notice that I haven't supplied a link to the DVD? Respect, man.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Nothing but excuses

Been a little flabby in the posting process around here. Work shoddily done, somewhat inconvenient guests, and the tenants' annual pre-Christmas anti-Kulak demonstration have conspired to transform this formerly carefree dipsomaniac into a cruel and expansive hegemon with no time to stop and smell the flowers. Or blog.

(Credit: Dominique comique from the Villepin blog.)

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Here's a question: Do you say "me neither" or "me either?" Being a man of the people I've always said "me neither," but if you think about it, the grammatically correct thing to say is actually "I, either," meaning, "I don't know the answer to that question either."

Ex: I ask the Drunkawife if she knows what, exactly, is entailed in a competently executed "lap dance." She replies, "I keel you! My father vanted keel you! My broathers vanted keel you! I say, 'no keel heem, he good man! He bring me to America! He bring home secority-job paycheck like clockverk! He bring you, papa, and you, dear broathers, to America too! And mama vith her cough!' But I vas wrong! You are not man at all! You are leetle worm! A leetle worm who asks feelthy qvestions of his vife!"

To which of course my reply would properly be, "I, either." As Mencken once said about the infinite beauty and variety of "the American language"--"I think I'm having a stroke."

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving traditions

Like most Americans the Drunkablog ate so much yesterday he suffered multiple myocardial infarctions and had to endure "Grandma's special kiss" (aka CPR). Unlike past years, however, once he was breathing again he was able to keep right on eating, because Uncle Barney (l.) had remembered to bring his new home defibrillator.

Point of Hors d'oeuvre

Every family has its Thanksgiving-meal traditions, and year after year the beautiful family the Drunkablog heads enjoys its own. For instance,

Mom makes her special-recipe stuffing;

Dad (whom the D-blog, in a relatively bloodless coup, deposed last year as head of family) still takes the ceremonial first drink from the gravy boat;

Grandma, everyone is forced to agree, looks "much younger" than her years;

And Grandpa wryly observes the festivities.

Sorry, most families have traditions as "interesting" as these, so I should probably just quit bragging.

(Credit: the "Thanksgiving tradition" link is actually to "The Vengeance of Hop-Frog" (1898) by John Ensor, which I found at Hachmeister (gesundheit)).

Monday, November 21, 2005

Got a bad pun on a certain economist's name? Want to sell it? Well send it here, because it's Sowell-ed!

Horrors that should never be spoken of . . .

  • I noted some hopeful signs last spring, but now even the Rocky seems to think the six-year drought in Colorado (and much of the West) is ending. Knock wood.

  • Not that that will make much difference in the endless fighting and skullduggery over water around here, as the Denver Post points out in an article vital to the future of the world, I bet.

  • Is that enough bogus seriousness?

  • I missed this when it happened, but it's too wonderful not to mention: Holocaust denier David Irving has finally landed in jail for, believe it or not, Holocaust denial:
    VIENNA, Austria [as opposed to Vienna, Sausage or Vienna, Illinois (pronounced "VIE-Enna")] -- Right-wing British historian David Irving, who once famously said that Adolf Hitler knew nothing about the systematic slaughter of 6 million Jews, has been arrested in Austria on a warrant accusing him of denying the Holocaust.

    Irving, 67 [man, he looks a hell of a lot uglier than 67], was detained Nov. 11 in the southern province of Styria on a warrant issued in 1989 under Austrian laws making Holocaust denial a crime, police Maj. Rudolf Gollia, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said Thursday.

    Austrian media said the charges stemmed from speeches Irving delivered that year in Vienna and in the southern town of Leoben.

    In a statement posted on his Web site, Irving's supporters said he was arrested while on a one-day visit to Vienna, where they said he had been invited "by courageous students to address an ancient university association."

    Despite precautions taken by Irving, he was arrested by police who allegedly learned of his visit "by wiretaps or intercepting e-mails," the statement alleged. It said that en route to Austria, Irving had privately visited German playwright Rolf Hochhuth, a friend he had not seen in 20 years.

    Hochhuth has gained notoriety for plays criticizing the Allies' bombing campaigns during World War II as war crimes and characterizing Winston Churchill as a war criminal. Earlier this year, Hochhuth was criticized for defending Irving as "an honorable man" and insisting he was not a Holocaust denier.
    The Drunkablog is a believer in the "spot the idiot" theory of free speech (last line of the first item), and so doesn't support proscribing any speech no matter how moronic, except direct incitements to violence, but if the Austrians feel the need to silence neo-Nazis, they couldn't have nabbed a more deserving little jew-baiter.

  • No more cowtown: "Denver will host the largest gathering of Nobel Peace Prize winners ever held in the U.S. next September when a dozen laureates, including the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, gather to guide 3,000 teenagers on how they can advocate peace, Mayor John Hickenlooper [the Rocky calls him "Hick"] announced today."

  • Not 13, not 11, but an even dozen (well, 12-and-a-half if Jimmy shows up). Stick that in your stockyard and smoke it, Omaha!

  • And just because I love it so, here's the unjustly unfamous picture of Jimmy fending off the killer rabbit:

  • No more cowtown II: The Rolling Stones are coming to Denver!

  • Are the Stones still "The World's Greatest Rock Band" as they were the last time the Drunkablog checked (c. 1974)?

  • A few years back a bunch of (mostly big-time) bloggers were putting up pictures of their blogging lairs--usually, of course, their offices--to, I don't know, show people what they looked like, I guess. Remember that little fad? Sounds kind of weird now, doesn't it?

    Which is why the Drunkablog is ready to jump on the bandwagon. Unfortunately the DT-plagued one's office is so full of excitement that it behooves him to show only a small piece of it, so as not to induce a galloping syncope in his readers:

    A couple of shelves: Just a few things to note, more or less at random: typewriters, all found at thrift stores, all sort of operational; charts of the Mississippi River, on which the D-blog and a friend were once nearly run over by a steamboat; an old Svea 123 camp stove, which never blew up but somehow left the D-blog horribly disfigured just the same; Clara Alber's tombstone (in its usual resting place); and copies of the Saturday Evening Post, Look, and Life from the 60s, rescued from a dumpster behind the Denver Public Library. All these (and more, much, much more) will be blog fodder as needed, he warned.
  • Sunday, November 20, 2005


    Late fall in Colorado. The mountains are already covered with (literally!) tons of snow, but today at around 6500 feet it was cool and sunny. Great running weather, usually reliable sources tell me.

    The two people in the distance had stuck big old horses under their butts and were just, like, sitting on them. And the horses didn't mind. Bizzare.

    Wheels within wheels: If there's one thing the Drunkablog knows, it's farm machinery. This, for example, is a 1912 model steam-powered, belt-driven John Deere "wank engine."

    This is a field of something, maybe already wanked wheat.

    Thursday, November 17, 2005


    These photos were taken at Chiricahua National Monument in southeastern Arizona by John W. Doyle of Phoenix. Dramatic, ain't they? John is one of the regulars on (and usually the organizer of) our river trips, although these are not river pics. I've never been to Chiricahua so I'll keep my dumbass smartass comments to myself (starting. . . right now).


    Update: Doesn't the title of this post remind you of some crappy John Wayne movie from the 60s?


    Brisbane's own John Ray has started an Australian politics blog. How many blogs is he running now? Ten? Twelve? The man's insane, but always fun to read.


    Lisa Jones e-mails from Rocky Watch about a very interesting--what?--slip of the tongue, perhaps, by ex-Ward Churchill investigating committee member Robert Johansen in an e-mail he wrote to the Churchill-besotted folks over at The Try-Works. They had asked Johansen what he thought about his treatment since Pirate Ballerina outed his laudatory comments about Churchill and forced him to resign from the committee.

    Johansen's reply is basically the one he's already become a bore using: he was treated unfairly by an "Orwellian, McCarthyite, Swift Boat Vets" smear campaign--this time with the added little egocentricity of comparing himself explicitly to Edward R. Murrow.


    But what's interesting about Johansen's e-mail, as Jones points out in the comments to the post, is the light it may or may not shed on the identity of the site's pseudonymous poster, "John Moredock." Johansen says,
    My reading of the chatter on is that they're now going after the other three "stooges," and that they may want the emails to link you three to Rob and myself. I see on the website that Paine is attacking you for such outrages as being interviewed on NPR, and for Radelet's public opposition to the death penalty. On Margorie, he can't find anything, but he pledges to keep looking.
    "[E]-mails to link you three"; Paine is attacking you." Here's Jones' comment:
    You e-mailed Johansen, and this was his response to you. So may we now presume that you are Mimi Wesson? Why else would Johansen say: "...they may want the emails to link you three to Rob and myself. I see on the website that Paine is attacking you for such outrages as being interviewed on NPR, and for Radelet's public opposition to the death penalty. On Margorie, he can't find anything, but he pledges to keep looking." "...having "gotten" Williams and myself, may now drown in their own excess going after the rest of you." Ms. Wesson, in light of your involvement on this blog, do you really feel that you can investigate Churchill impartially?
    "Moredock's" reply (after cutting the usual invective) is essentially, "Get a grip, he was addressing the remaining committee through us, practice your close-reading skills."

    But it is odd, because while Moredock's lead-in to Johansen's response says they asked him "to give the three members left on the committee some advice," nowhere does Johansen directly say he is addressing those members. He never says "I would say to them," or, "What I would tell them is. . .", he just addresses them as "you."

    So, it is possible that Moredock is Wesson, but the Drunkablog tends rather toward the simplest explanation: Johansen is a sloppy writer. In fact I am still of the opinion that The Try-Works is merely a front for Churchill's Colorado American Indian Movement. Whatever. The truth is that "Moredock," whoever he is, is a coward who viciously and personally attacks people from behind his anonymity. Why don't you reveal yourself, Moredock, and let people google your name?

    Update: Lisa Jones e-mails with some good questions:

    Note that Johanson says: "attacking you for such outrages as being interviewed on NPR" -- then he mentions the other two committee members by name. Wesson is the only one on NPR, as far as I know. She's a regular.

    But the real puzzler for me is Johansen's comment: "they may want the e-mails to link you three to Rob and myself." What e-mails? What "they"? Do e-mails exist that link the 5 committee members in a way that might be construed as conflict of interest? Or that might somehow compromise the impartiality of the committee?

    Yeah, hmmm.

    Update II: Lisa e-mailed Johansen to try to clear up the speculation his odd wording has caused, and received a reply which pretty much does just that. Johansen even takes the time to throw a little mud on his brave defenders at The Try-Works. Excellent.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2005

    Clouds that look like the USS Enterprise

    No, the smooth-brained one is not a Trekkie. But like Seth Jayson of The Motley Fool (free reg. req.), he enjoys the Priceline radio commercials featuring William Shatner, especially the one that starts with Shatner asking a woman, "How'd you like to make a quick
    ten bucks? [sound of slap]."

    The bottom picture was taken at Sloan's Lake in Denver.

    Update: That is, the top picture.

    Note from a tenant

    Slightly edited.

    God of all Gods [that's the edit],

    Thanks for the wee extension [he paid his rent late]. You are a scholar and a gentleman . . . Well, maybe just a scholar . . . errrr . . . you're nifty! And well liked by all! Well, maybe just Billy Bob . . . when you have food in your hand.

    But seriously, you saved my ass from making a cardboard sign and trying my luck on Speer and Auraria Parkway--though knowing my luck that spot is based on seniority and I'd have to pay union dues. Thanks again!--A., the troll who lives under your house [he lives in the base--that is, garden-level--apartment].

    As I've had occasion to note before, my tenants love me.

    "Crush Girls" documentary debuts

    And the Drunkablog missed it:
    DENVER - On Friday, November 11th, the Colorado Crush and Fox Sports Net will be giving fans an in-depth look at the selection of the 2006 Crush Girls. The Denver Public House will be hosting a viewing party of the special audition documentary at 6:30 p.m. FSN will take viewers on a behind the scenes ride as the 2005 ArenaBowl Champion Colorado Crush pick their dance team for the 2006 season. From the cheers to the tears, the documentary will profile the candidates, take an inside look into the judges room and show all the drama of the final selections.The event is open to the public and there will be a $25 open bar from 7-10 p.m. for individuals 21 years of age and older.
    Well, maybe I can catch it at the Starz Denver International Film Festival this week. If they're smart they'll pair it in a double feature with
    The longest film in SDIFF history! Renowned Dutch artist Erik van Loon's haunting film installation, “A Victim's Perspective,” is an 11-hour recreation of the Auschwitz Death March, where Jews were forced by the Nazis to march 40 miles from the death camp to an evacuation station in Poland. The film will be on view continuously in the Daily Grind coffee house on the Auraria Campus on Saturday and Sunday, November 12-13, and Saturday and Sunday, November 19-20.

    Sunday, November 13, 2005

    New terms, old cliches noted

    In a post Friday titled "The Home Office suicide note," Melanie Phillips noted the release of a report on the anti-terror bill now before Parliament. The report, which had been requested by the Home Office, shockingly found that the bill would create (quoting the Grauniad article Phillips links to) "a 'significant chill factor' in the Muslim community, censor those who criticise British foreign policy and drive extremists further underground." But wait! Guess who predicted this frostiness:

    The fears were voiced [the Guardian continues] by the Muslim community working groups set up by the Home Office to prevent the growth of extremism after the July terror attacks. The warning centres on the remaining provisions in the proposed legislation--such as the ban on the "glorification" of terrorist
    acts--that are likely to become the next focus of parliamentary dissent after Tony Blair's defeat on holding terrorist suspects for 90 days without charge. . . .

    The Muslim community's police and security working group report makes clear that many believe the present anti-terror regime is already excessive, and that the measures risk provoking further radicalisation of young British Muslims.

    Ms. Phillips, in case you couldn't guess, is not happy about this. Read her whole post, of course, but a couple of the recommendations of these Muslim "working groups" tickled the Drunkablog's festering liver. Among other things, the report called for

    [a] rapid rebuttal unit to combat Islamophobia, a better reflection of Islam in the national curriculum, and the training of imams in ‘modern’ skills.

    It's the "rapid rebuttal unit" that stuck out, not that the others aren't peculiar. But I'd never heard the term before, so I looked around and, of course, it's everywhere.

    For example, a while ago EURSOC noted that the European Union had set up a rapid rebuttal unit to respond to attacks on the proposed EU constitution (that worked real well); the second commenter on this post recommends that Microsoft form a "rapid rebuttal unit" to counter "misinformation" about its products (that would definitely work real well); and Britain's Labour (as they say) Party apparently had its very own rapid rebuttal unit--until they replaced it with, naturally enough, an "Attack Unit" (and advertised to fill the unit's top position: "Head of Attack").

    Update: By the way, another much-loved blogger cliche checkmarked on the Drunkablog life-list: "Grauniad."

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    Second Churchill committee member resigns.

    Another member of the committee investigating Ward Churchill's research misconduct has resigned. The Rocky has it:
    Robert A. Williams, a professor of law and American Indian studies at the University of Arizona, is the latest to leave the committee in the wake of revelations that he lauded Churchill as an "important scholar" and praised his qualities as a "public intellectual when it comes to the field of American Indian studies."
    There goes that "imagination trumping reality" thing again.

    Pirate Ballerina has more, but I originally saw it in the comment to this post at The Try-Works.

    Update: Pirate Ballerina points out that nobody seems to mention who found the quotes that led to the two professors quitting the committee. Even the Drunkablog hasn't been quite clear on that: it was Pirate Ballerina. (AP has now belatedly interviewed PB about the resignations.)

    Silliness involving dogs

    Yes! Something new!

    Billy Bob has a rival at Sloan's Lake. Meet "Midnight" and his companion psychopath, whose name I didn't catch:

    Oh, big deal: "Take his picture, take his picture, he can jump eight feet off the ground," the jerk says. Heck, I've got millions of pictures of Billy Bob jumping higher than that; I just don't like to show off like you do.

    "I've been training him since he was a puppy," the guy says. So when do you think I started training Billy Bob, you dribbling gargoyle? When do you think anyone starts training his dog, you Jake Jabs-looking freak (Colorado joke)? Sheez. Click on the picture. See the tiny figure between the trees at far left? That's Jake. He's showing me how well Midnight "stays." Well la-de-frickin'-da. I seem to remember reading somewhere (Business Week?) that only gay dogs "stay" well; Midnight sure looks a little light in the loafers to me.

    Besides not being (quite) as gay as Midnight, Billy Bob is also much smarter.

    Not as smart as geese, though, which are almost as smart as turkeys. Look how they hide the frisbee from the mor--I mean, from Billy Bob (frisbee, far right; Billy Bob, far left). Munch a path to the prize, noble hound! (You'd better, because there'll be no Kibble tonight.)

    Update: The Drunkawife, asked whether your correspondent sounded somewhat, you know, anti-gay in calling Midnight "light in the loafers," even in complete and utter jest, said that I should probably add somewhere, "Not that there's anything wrong with that." In fact, I was merely trying to insult myself as a dimwit bigot and, as usual, did too good a job.

    Update II:

    No Kibble tonight in my coffee.

    No Kibble tonight in my tea.

    La lalalalala La, etc.--The Guess Who.

    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    Circus Boys Catch Mange!

    Just kidding. Wouldn't want that to happen to anybody (link leads to grossness, but you can take it, bucko).

    Sorry. Just trying to liven up a series that, remarkably, is already flagging. Remarkably, of course, because there's only one in the series.

    Until now. Flagging be damned.
    The lad rose as if drawn by invisible hands, reached out and clasped the photograph to him. Then the pent-up tears welled up in a flood. Phil Forrest threw himself on his bed and sobbed out his bitter grief. He did not hear the thump of Abner Adams' cane on the bedroom door, nor the angry demands that he open it.

    "Mother, mother!" breathed the unhappy boy, as his sobs gradually merged into long-drawn, trembling sighs. "I'll do it--I'll be a man, mother!" he exlaimed in a voice in which there was not the slightest tremor now. "I'll fight the battle and I'll win."--from The Circus Boys on the Flying Rings, or, Making the Start in the Sawdust Life (1910), by Edgar B.P. Darlington.
    (Credits: viagra jokes from Andy Akien; mange photos from the wonderfully named Graphic Images of Parasites on THE Ohio State University biology department website; sickening lovers photo from Discount Specialty Gifts; canopy dog bed from Puppy Boutique; candy cane from; and map of Bull Run from the University of Georgia Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.)

    Churchill stooge: I quit!

    The Rocky earlier today:

    A University of Nebraska professor has resigned from the committee investigating research misconduct allegations against University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill after questions were raised about his objectivity.

    "Basically, I believe that the committee will not be able to concentrate on its necessary business as long as attacks on me are providing a distraction," professor Bruce Johansen wrote in an e-mail Wednesday to the Rocky Mountain News.

    Johansen, who teaches Native American studies in Omaha, was one of five people appointed to the panel looking into Churchill's academic record. His objectivity came under fire from Jim Paine, a Colorado resident who hosts a Web site called

    Paine called attention to a positive blurb that Churchill had written for a book Johansen had edited, called Enduring Legacies.

    The Web site also posted commentary from Johansen in which he defended Churchill's controversial essay on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by noting that critics had concentrated on a small fraction of Churchill's work.

    Johansen previously defended his ability to objectively evaluate Churchill's work. He reiterated that point in an op-ed piece he submitted to the News. "I am not a member of the Churchill 'fan club.' Nor am I his 'stooge,' he wrote.

    But he notified CU law professor Mimi Wesson on Monday that he was stepping down from the panel.

    Well, well, well. Of course, Johansen couldn't quit without sounding a typically gracious note:

    "I am leaving the committee that will investigate alleged research misconduct against Churchill because the level of discourse on this issue in the Denver area has become nearly hysterical, and because my continued membership on this committee in such a toxic atmosphere is going to inhibit its ability to do necessary work, no matter how impartial I may be.

    "The fact is that various Web site authors, editorial page writers and radio talk-show hosts who have been very vividly anti-Churchill for months are now giving me lectures on impartiality. The ironies of this situation bring to mind George Orwell, Joseph McCarthy and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth."

    I also am leaving because the rules of the committee prohibit apparent or perceived conflict of interest. Thus, by this test, imagination trumps reality."

    The Standing Committee on Research Misconduct has not said whether it will appoint a replacement for Johansen. Pirate Ballerina, of course, has the story, plus all kinds of background.

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    Rocky editor Temple's blog: Not dead, just looking that way

    So I screwed up the other day by announcing the demise--the "sadly exaggerated death" as one wag put it--of Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple's blog. The least I can do to atone is actually read the damn thing (yes, so you don't have to--check that off my list of blogger cliches) and see if it's still as lame as ever.

    Well, it is, almost. Actually, the first thing I noticed is that Temple's blog is no longer listed on the Rocky's main page. Nor is it listed on the opinion page. You now have to go to a dropdown menu on that page, click on "Rocky blogs," then open a list of (count 'em) all four of them (two sports-related, one about shopping, and Temple's). Is this an attack of modesty on Temple's part, or is he just bowing to the evident lack of reader interest?

    Also hard to miss is that although he's been blogging since April, and the Rocky just this week unveiled a total redesign of its website, Temple still doesn't have permalinks. Why on earth not? And is a blog without permalinks really a blog?


    Least surprising is that Temple's posts are still really boring. Here are the titles of his last few, just to give you the flavor: October 28: "National interest in citizen journalism," a defense against the slagging given to the Rocky's dorky "" in Editor & Publisher; November 1: "Question from a reader about campaign finance," about guess what; November 3: "Insight into impact of Libby case on journalism" (impact bad, but Temple merely introduces a paragraph from Theodore Olsen's WSJ piece on Monday, with, of course, no link); and, Sunday (deep breath), "Michael Brown's e-mails another example of how Colorado Supreme Court mistaken in Tracy Baker case."

    This one is actually kind of interesting, despite the unbearable title: Tracy Baker was the Arapahoe County Clerk caught exchanging lewd e-mails with one of his employees, with whom he was also having an affair. The Rocky, even though the wording of the e-mails had long been known, sued to have them made public. And, last week, lost. For questionable reasons the state supreme court said the e-mails, though written and sent by public employees at their workplace, were not part of the public record.

    But Temple doesn't actually write about this on his blog, or not much; he just points (again without linking) to a USA Today article, and links to his own Saturday column on the subject.

    All in all, it still seems as if Temple has a blog merely because he thinks he should have one. But while the Drunkablog has no clue what newspapers need to do to survive these days, it's apparent that one thing they almost certainly don't need is a blogging editor. Temple, like any big-time editor, already has multiple avenues to take his opinions out for a drive; his blogging is simply redundant.

    Monday, November 07, 2005

    "Colonel Mustard, in the conservatory, with a blog"

    Last night's rather clever November sweeps edition of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, while good TV, was all the more interesting for the fact that it may have been the first show, network or cable, to use a blog as a plot device.

    Really, the two-hour extravaganza had everything, including that absolute favorite suspect of courtroom dramas, the degenerate, sociopathic rich kid. It also had kinky sex, rotty bodies (all the rage these days) and, for the more serious-minded, a take on "Missing White Girl Syndrome."

    As well, of course, as the standard courtroom revelations and breakdowns and some great guest stars (Chris Noth, Fred Thompson, and Colm Meaney).

    Ya rotten kid, ya

    This particular rich kid is a 17-year-old S & M freak who idolizes the Rat Pack and whose father, a powerful judge (Meaney), participates with him in the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl.

    In other words, your typical blogger.

    And the rich kid does indeed have a blog, to which he posts commentary on and pictures of his sick conquests. Reading it (don't know what its name was--maybe "The Try-Works") allows the detectives to figure out where he might have been at critical times (he uses the names of Rat Pack hangouts for the clubs, restaurants and bars he frequents), and to gain a couple of other somewhat minor clues about the murder and that of a black girl (the MWGS angle).

    That's it. Pretty small beans, I know, but if anyone has seen another TV show that's used blogs in its plot in any way, let me know.


    The Rocky Mountain News yesterday unveiled its completely redesigned website--and the new design apparently does not include RMN editor, publisher, owner, and self-tightening tool John Temple's blog. It's gone, and the Rocky now has (count 'em) no blogs at all. Naturally, there is no mention of this on the Rocky's lovely new site.

    For those of us who took a sick, twisted joy in following the Rocky's timid entry into the blogosphere earlier this year, the round-filing of Temple's blog was not exactly unexpected. For one thing, he was a noticeably unenthusiastic blogger; sometimes a week or more lapsed between posts.

    For another, too many posts were of the horrible "Editor's Corner" type--blather about awards the Rocky had won (journalists honor each other constantly, of course) and its efforts at community outreach, along with Temple's abuse of pet peeves like the EEOC and, to be fair, his occasional and utterly unsurprising take on broader issues.

    Pants on fire

    But worst of all, Temple too often used his blog to prevaricate. This is evident in a couple of the links above, but particularly in his dealing with the editorial plagiarism flap at the Rocky in July. Reading the links will give you an overview, but basically Temple refused to call what happened plagiarism, and did not bother to investigate all the writing of the editor involved. Truly a crock.

    If the above sounds like gloating--well, it is. But it's not a good thing that the Rocky can't seem to get the hang of blogging. That it--and Temple--have given up means that another potential avenue of information has been barricaded, and that the Rocky has further isolated itself from the people it claims to serve.

    Oh, and Temple never even managed to get permalinks, either.

    CORRECTIONAL UPDATE: Ahhh, shit. Temple's blog has reappeared. Guess I should have waited to make sure they were finished putting up the new site, and/or asked Temple, but I couldn't help myself. In very feeble defense, the blog was definitely gone from yesterday, when the new site went up, until just a little while ago. I thought that was long enough to be sure, but I should have checked.

    But you know, everything in the above is still true (hey, I'm Dan Rather!), except that Temple is, in fact, still blogging, and all that guff about the Rocky "further" isolating itself.

    Thanks to reader LJo for the heads-up. Yeah, thanks a lot.

    Sunday, November 06, 2005

    Green River photos by "Mr. B"

    These fine shots were taken this past September by the multi-talented "Mr. B," also known to family and law enforcement as Robert "Butch" Burnham of Peoria, Illinois, one of the regulars on our river trips. Butch used his trusty Nikon D-70, a camera so impressive that when my poor little Olympus imploded a couple weeks ago, I bought the junior or "Jimmy Olsen" model, the D-50.

    Anyway, I've added explanatory comments; just think of me as your friendly interpretive guide. Just don't touch anything or I'll bash your bloody head in with my stick.

    This is a funny-shaped rock. It sits near the river. A funny. Shaped. Rock. Oh, it has gamboling Bullwinkles on it (enlarge for best view of gamboling Bullwinkles).

    Okay! Good start! What's next?

    Check this out. It was taken from Turk's Head (at top in this picture), and shows the view across the river at dusk. We were shouldering each other out of the way to get a good angle on this shot. Standing on a cliff, too. We're all kind of, you know, dimwits, camping-wise.

    The Anasazi apparently liked to ingest hallucinatory drugs, sit in the sun, and draw. In stone. Think the artist who drew this seven or eight hundred years ago would have liked a Spirograph for Christmas? (And did you know the Spirograph was invented by Richard Nixon's disgraced vice-president, Spiro "Graph" Agnew? Swear to God.)

    Another view from Turk's Head, this time looking upriver.
    Wonder if John Ford was ever on the Green.

    More Green River maunderings and pics here, here, here, and here. Gotta get me some categories.

    Update: Thanks to Norm Geras at Normblog for the links.

    Update II: In the interests of ecological and historical accuracy, I should point out that the gamboling Bullwinkles are not actually gamboling; they are running in fear from what looks like a space robot (lower right) wielding a bow and arrow. Hey, anybody remember Erich "Crazy" Van Daniken? He did pretty well with that kind of stuff, didn't he?