Monthly Archives: November 2010

Leslie Nielsen, R. I.P.

As someone who cut his teeth on the Marx Brothers, Monty Python and the early Mel Brooks films, I’m a big fan of silly absurdist comedy. That’s why last weekend’s news of the passing of Leslie Nielsen saddened me. There’s been a mock debate raging as to which of Nielsen’s roles or films were the best. I’m an unabashed Naked Gun/Frank Drebbin fan myself.

Last night on Countdown, Keith Olbermann did an outstanding piece on the passing of the deadpan and irreplaceable Mr. Nielsen:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Visit msnbc.com forbreaking news, world news, andnews about the economy

First Draft Warmth Project: We’re From The Internet. We’re Here to Help.

Or something along those lines is what I told the Evergreen Park folks this morning when I dropped off 30-plus coats, heavy sweaters, fleecy things, warm fuzzies and all, at the Evergreen Park Community Center, along with a check for$360 for the village food pantry. According to the folks doing intake, that’ll be enough to buy food worth 16 times that. Their coat drive ended well, too, despite its rocky beginnings: 300-plus coats. The newspaper story that inspired us inspired a lot of other people to dig through their closets and find room to make others warm.

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Coats. LOTS of coats. There were coats in the back seat, too. My house looked like the Burlington Coat Factory crossed with that Hoarders show. It was awesome.

One of the things I really admire about all of you is that faced with the opportunity to despair, you pick up and work. You find something to do. You hammer away on your part of the world and make it into a new shape. Don’t ever think that’s nothing. You gave a lot of people a warm holiday today. Thank you all.

A.

Nutty Nostalgia

Just when I think Americans can’t get any stupider, I read shit like this:

TheCivil War, the most wrenching and bloody episode in American history, may not seem like much of a cause for celebration, especially in the South.

And yet, as the 150th anniversary of the four-year conflict gets under way, some groups in the oldConfederacy are planning at least a certain amount of hoopla, chiefly around the glory days of secession, when 11 states declared their sovereignty under a banner of states’ rights and broke from the union.

The events include a “secession ball” in the former slave port of Charleston (“a joyous night of music, dancing, food and drink,” says the invitation), which will be replicated on a smaller scale in other cities. A parade is being planned in Montgomery, Ala., along with a mock swearing-in of Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederacy.

A secession ball? Will the local debutantes take turns playing slave auctioneer? Probably not: the Confederate nostalgia buffs always skip that pesky detail about the Civil War. I think they should have screenings ofThe Klansman (akaThe Birth Of A Nation) and laud it for its “historical accuracy.” As vile as DW Griffith and Thomas Dixon’s racist views were, they at least admitted that race was a factor in the war and its aftermath. The Sons of the Confederacy and their ilk pretend that the “the war between the states” was about states rights and being left alone to drink mint juleps. Not so, it all boiled down to the right of some cracker to own other human beings.

I can’t wait to hear the Southern teabagger spin on the 150th Anniversary. Who knows someone may even stage a re-creation of the Lincoln assassination and declare John Wilkes Booth a martyr. Oh, I’ll guess they’ll have to wait until the 150th anniversary of the Confederacy getting its ass kicked.

It’s moonlight and magnolias gone mad. I’ll defer to my friends from Georgia when it comes to bashing the looniness within their borders but I have a suggestion for the South Carolina legislature. Y’all need a new state nickname and the one I have in mind involves a minor change. It’s time for you to become the Palmetto Buggy state because you lot have gone barking mad.

Illinois to Legalize Man on Dog

Trying to catch up to the rest of the 21st century:

The Illinois General Assembly is expected to vote today on same-sex civil unions legislation in what gay rights advocates expect to be a very close vote. Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has said he expects state lawmakers to approve the bill and the governor has voiced his support.

The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act (SB 1716), which is co-sponsored by openly gay Illinois State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), has come under fire from conservative groups, including the Catholic Conference of Illinois and Washington D.C.-based National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which have lobbied hard against the bill.

Meanwhile, in the 16th:

Cardinal Francis George, the head of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, said, “The enactment of marriage-like benefits in civil union legislation will intensify the legal attack on marriage.”

The crucial piece of legislation does not recognize same-sex marriages, but will provide the same spousal rights to same-sex partners when it comes to surrogate decision-making for medical treatment, survivorship, adoptions, and accident and health insurance. The bill would not force religious denominations to recognize or sanctify relationships they oppose.

This is a longtime kink of the Catholic Conference, that at some point they’ll have to choose between going to jail for violating anti-discrimination laws, or marrying gay people. It’s the vision they use to frighten their flocks and spur donations to their causes, and it’s never going to happen, like most ultraconservative nightmare scenarios.

A.

Opposition to DADT Repeal is Basically Three Guys in Glenn Beck’s Audience

Seriously.

What interests me are the 65-year-old and older numbers. Twenty-eight percent don’t want gay people serving, 44 percent are all for gaying the shit out of stuff, and another 28 percent don’t know, which is pollster speak forwhatever, can we get off the phone now because dinner is done and I’m starving. For all the trash I talk about just waiting for old bigots to just die off already, looks like for most of them some basic combo of approval and not giving a fuck is a clear majority on the side of justice.

A.

Seriously Could They Ever NOT Screw Anything Up?

This is like watching a group of puppies try to play soccer:

The report aimed to refute, specifically, the “hockey stick” theory introduced by Michael Mann. Mann’s graphs showed the world’s temperature staying about the same for centuries before spiking with the Industrial Revolution.

Barton wanted to take Mann down. In preparation for hearing on climate change, Barton demanded Mann turn over all his raw data and software, as well as information on all his sources of funding.

Indeed, Wegman’s report — which apparently heavily plagiarized textbooks and Wikipedia — challenged the validity of Mann’s peer review by noting the connections between Mann and the fellow climatologists that reviewed his data, suggesting an untoward coziness.

Outside the committee, the report was seized on by other climate change skeptics, including theWall Street Journal, which wrote an editorial bashing the idea that there was a consensus that global warming is real.

Textbooks andWikipedia. An undergrad taking rocks-for-jocks would be ashamed and offended at the stupidity. I mean, seriously, I put more energy into cheating at Scrabble.

First of all, you never plagiarize from something that’s online, it’s too easy to check. Second, this is a supposed university professor, you would think he’d have more access than anyone to sophisticated cheating techniques. Just ask one of your students, Jesus, this is dumb.

I think I’m just mostly annoyed that these are the great minds the American people have decided should run the country. Ideologically blinded, and bigots, nothing new, but I would at least ask that if you’re going to be our new evil overlords, could you at least be competent? It’s one thing to choose between stupid and evil; it’s another to decide to just put your shoulder into it and be BOTH.

A.

International Trash Talk

I’m less fascinated than some by theWikileaks diplomatic cable-palooza. It *is* interesting stuff but mostly shows that international and US dignitaries can be as petty, vindictive and self-serving as those of us in the general population.

The leaks include some things that I could have told you just based on reading the Guardian, which is less fastidious than the American media about cleaning up after its political class.

Here’s my list of un-shocking things:

  • The Saudis want the US to bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. They always want us to do their dirty work and we often fall for it. Bibi, who seems to think he’s King Herod or some such shit, wants us to do likewise. So it goes.
  • The UK’s Prince Andrew is an idiot who is apt to say daft and prejudiced things. That’s part of being a Royal: it’s in the Windsor gene pool. He’s dotty Prince Charles’ bro for fucksake.
  • Vladimir Putin is corrupt and in cahoots with the Caviar crime syndicate. Who the hell does everyone think put this dull apparatchik in power? It sure as hell wasn’t because of his manly chest.
  • My main man Silvio Berlusconi is corrupt and has a sleazy relationship with the aforementioned Putin. Does Silvio have any other kind of relationship? This could mean that Vlad is a pimp…
  • U.S. diplomats trash talk foreign leaders, their bosses and American politicians. it’s called human nature. We all trash talk our bosses and gossip about people we know. From what I’ve seen they’ve got nothing on theReal Housewives Of Atlanta. Nene is a one woman international incident and her last name is Leakes. Hmm, where did she get extra vowel? Pat Sajak? Julian Assange? Only the Shadow knows and he ain’t talking…

I don’t mean to minimize some of the other revelations that will come out as reporters pour over the endless documents that were leaked.. My mockery was aimed more at officialdom (dumb?) who are busy telling us that this gossip is going to damage the national security. That last phrase, even when used by Robert Gibbs, sets my bullshit detector a beeping. I suspect it will go off repeatedly in the next few weeks.

Let the games begin.

WikiLeaks: It’s Not My Job to Make You Look Good

THIS, so very much:

Few will be surprised to know that Vladimir Putin runs the world’s most sensational kleptocracy, that the Saudis wanted the Americans to bomb Iran, or that Pakistan’sISI is hopelessly involved with Taliban groups of fiendish complexity. We now know that Washington knows too. The full extent of American dealings with Yemen might upset that country’s government, but is hardly surprising. If it is true that the Pentagon targeted refugee camps for bombing, it should be of general concern. American congressmen might also be interested in the sums of money given to certain foreign generals supposedly to pay for military equipment.

The job of the media is not to protect power from embarrassment. If American spies are breaking United Nations rules by seeking the DNA biometrics of the UN director general, he is entitled to hear of it. British voters should know what Afghan leaders thought of British troops. American (and British) taxpayers might question, too, how most of the billions of dollars going in aid to Afghanistan simply exits the country at Kabul airport.

No harm is done by high-class chatter about President Nicolas Sarkozy’s vulgarity and lack of house-training, or about the British royal family. What the American embassy in London thinks about the coalition suggests not an alliance at risk but an embassy with a talent problem.

Emphasis mine. I may get that tattooed on me somewhere. I was just recently going over a story a journalism student had written, full of jargon and self-serving quotes designed to burnish the ass of a source, and in the margins I kept writing YOU DON’T HAVE TO USE THE WORDS THEY USE. You don’t have to tell the story they want told. It’s not your job. They are not your concern. Fuck them.

Make no mistake: Government sources will talk about “responsibility” and “ethics” and wank on endlessly about how you need to be really, really careful not to destroy the whole world by publishing something they don’t want published, but most of them don’t give a damn if you’re ethical and responsible. They just want to stop you, and force doesn’t work so they’re trying condescension and appeals to the part of your nature that wants to go along and get along.

That’s all this is, all the whining going on today. It’s not about making sure America and the world have responsible and ethical journalism produced only by nice people who have their fellow citizens’ best interests at heart. It’s about making sure information they don’t want out there doesn’t get out, and for other journalists to go on and participate in the shaming of the Timesand for the Times to publisha big long editor’s note about how we don’t really want to do journalism but this asshole Assange is making us is just depressing and sad.

Grow a pair or get out of the trade.

A.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – jive turkeys edition

Good Monday morning, all! Let’s get suited up and hit that airlock door – there’s tons of malformed Freeper “philosophy” to decant and examine.

First up –Harry Potter – tool of the Devil!

Harry Potter is Dangerous for Both You and Your Children
Mary Immaculate Queen ^ | 12-16-01 | Fr. Casimir Puskorius, CMRI,

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 12:08:57 PM bymlizzy

Adapted from a Sermon of Fr. Casimir Puskorius, CMRI, 3rd Sunday of Advent, December 16, 2001

On the First Sunday of Lent every year, we read in the Gospel of the devil tempting Our Lord. First he tries to tempt Him to gluttony, and Our Lord resists. Of course, Our Lord, because He is God, cannot be inclined to sin. But the devil, not knowing that, first tries to tempt Him to gluttony, and then to pride and power and materialism. He says to Our Lord, “Why don’t you throw yourself off this high elevation? God will save you.” Our Lord refuses. Then the devil pulls out his trump card. He shows Our Lord all the glory of the world and says, “I will give all this to you, if you will just bow down and worship me.” Of course, Our Lord refuses again. What the devil was saying here, in a sense, was “I’ll give you magic to do something that is not morally right, but it’s something you would enjoy.”

It should be evident to us, my dear parishioners, that the devil is after each one of us, tempting us in similar manner to sin and to pride. These temptations take different forms, so we must be on our guard. The devil is trying to tempt us away from serving God, from obeying God’s commandments. He is so crafty, so subtle, that often you don’t even know, unless you are very careful, how he is insinuating himself.

I believe it my duty to talk to you today about a series of books and its accompanying movie because I believe that they contain an insinuation of pride and ungodliness. I think you know what I am talking about: the Harry Potter series. I will speak both about the books and the movie, because if one reads the books, he will want to see the movie, and vice versa. I believe there are some real problems here, real spiritual danger — possibly grave spiritual danger. I will explain why. Believe me, I have refrained from saying anything about this for a long time. When the books first came out, I began to gather information on them. I wanted to analyze them to see whether or not they were good for children to be reading, and to write an article forThe Reign of Mary. I haven’t said anything up to this time because I wanted to study the matter, rather than say yes or no before I knew what I was talking about.

Let me also preface this explanation by saying that I speak now from the consciousness that one day I will have to answer to God for how I accomplished my duty to instruct you in matters of faith and morals. I certainly believe that there are matters of faith and morals involved in this particular matter.

The first problem I would like to point out are the words that are so casually used in the books and in the movie, words that are so casually used that children may start using them — yet these words are matter of mortal sin. Specifically, I am referring to such words as: sorcery, witchcraft, casting spells, communicating with the dead (necromancy). The Catholic Church very clearly tells us that these are mortal sins, and they must not be presented as though they are something permissible to try. I believe it is the devil trying to insinuate himself through the medium of human beings, trying to draw us away from Christ. These are not your usual Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Remember that children do not have the same critical ability that adults have. They read fantasy much differently than we do: they read it in a believing way.

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In light of the recent release, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I’m posting this for discernment regarding the Harry Potter series of movies and books.Click for trailer.
1 posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 12:09:00 PM bymlizzy
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Mizzy’s concerned that those awful magical words like “sneetch” and “Muggle” are going to conjure up the Devil out of thin air, or at the very least, President Obama.
Come to think of it, has anyone ever seen Obama and Vodemort at the same place and time? I think not!
To: mlizzy

In the scheme of things, I’d say Obama is more hazardous for one’s children than Harry Potter.

2 posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 12:11:17 PM byGaffer
To: Gaffer

You’re braver than me, using that name for The-Kenyan-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. I usually just refer to him as the “former junior US Senator from Illinois”. I try to avoid saying any of his last names, whether Soetoro or the one he used in taking the Oath of Office to assume power over our country, and I have never used the title “president” for a community organizer who is even less deserving of the office than Carter, Nixon, or James Buchanan.

5 posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 12:16:22 PM byPollster1 (Natural born citizen of the USA, with the birth certificate to prove it)
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YA SEE??????
Some Freepers take this with a grain of salt:
To: mlizzy
I have refrained from saying anything about this for a long time.

Casimir should have continued refraining.

He’s an idiot.

7 posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 12:18:23 PM byhumblegunner (Pablo is very wily)
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Others – not so much:
To: Gaffer

In the scheme of things, I’d say Obama is more hazardous for one’s children than Harry Potter.

I don’t think the devil is particular in regard to who or what he uses to grab souls … just as long as he gets them …

My eyes were further opened regarding Potter after I read Michael D. O’Brien’s bookHarry Potter and The Paganization of Culture.

10 posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 12:23:47 PM bymlizzy (Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee …)
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To: mlizzy

Don’t forget St. Christopher and the other make-believe Saints.

13 posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 12:25:55 PM byRedleg Duke (We didn’t limit out, but we nailed a bunch of RATS!)

Uh oh.

Blasphemer3
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To: And2TheRepublic

It would not be FR unless some good old fashioned whackjobbery was posted – like this.

55 posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 1:00:55 PM byKC_Conspirator
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Ain’t it the truth – ain’t it the truth!
And now – the best post of the thread!
To: mlizzy

Harry Potter supported Mitt Romney.

34 posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 12:42:58 PM bylistenhillary (A very simple fix to our dilemma – We need to reward the makers instead of the takers)
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More silliness after the wrinkle in time.

Continue reading

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An Actual War on Christmas

Well, this shouldn’t freak anybody out:

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Anger over a Somali-born teen’s failed plan to blow up a van full of explosives during Portland’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony erupted in arson on Sunday when a fire damaged an Islamic center frequented by the suspect, authorities said.

Police don’t know who started the blaze or exactly why, but they believe the Islamic center in Corvallis was targeted because terror suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, occasionally worshipped there.

Yosof Wanly, the imam at the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center, said he was advised by friends to take his family out of their home because of the potential threat of hate crime, and members decried the alleged arson attack. No one was injured, and the fire was contained to one room.

That’s gotta help, right? “They” were gonna blow up your Christmas tree, so you have to set fire to their mosque. Because that ends well, all the time. That never, ever creates any kind of bad situation. Don’t these people at least watch movies? Plus, not to mention the general wisdom-free nature of that decision, the supposed terrroristwasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed:

A Somali-born teenager plotted to carry out a car bomb attack at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Portland on Friday, but the bomb turned out to be a dud supplied by undercover agents as part of a sting, federal prosecutors said.

So now you’ve got a story that should be about the FBI successfully foiling a terrorist attack attempt they set up, which is amusing in its own way, I mean, people need something to do all day, but you’ve gone and turned it into an escalating religious war and scared some people trying to pray. Good job, genius. The next step is the theft of some baby Jesuses from manger scenes across the land, after which it will clearly be time to nuke Iran.

A.

The Jayhawks meet the Boss

Uh, that’s an exaggeration but what’s a bit of exaggeration among friends? Even virtual ones. Holy sentence fragment, Batman. Anyway, I’ve been on Springsteen bender of late so I reckoned that I should combine that with the long running series, Adrastos’ Obsession with the Jayhawks.

These tunes are dedicated to my friends in colder climes and meant to ward off the elements and bring on the sun or something like that. Another paragraph, another exaggeration.

First, Bruce and the E Street worthies:

Now, it’s time for Adrastos’ Obsession with the Jayhawks. It’s the dream team of Mark, Gary, Karen, Tim and Marc live on German teevee in 1995:

There’s a whole lotta of waiting going on here at First Draft. Oh waiter, there’s a fly in my soup…

Saturday Night Music: Runaway

There’s been a running theme here at First Draft the past two days so here’s my contribution. I do not haveAthenae’s discipline but I know how to post a bloody video.

The picture quality of this clip is excreable but it features Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as Del Shannon’s backup band. Hell, yeah.

Holiday Weekend Question Thread: Run Anyway

Eight weeks ago I started a running program. By which I mean I started running, a half an hour a day, on a specific pre-set schedule, three days a week, in accordance withthis thing.I’ve never really done any kind of exercise program before. I had a gym membership and would go to the gym and lift weights and ride the stationary bikes and watch the huge-backed weightlifter guys grunt at each other and the aerobics girls prance by, but I wasn’t on any kind of program.

I just wanted hot arms.

After a few months the gym became easy to avoid on my way home from work and then easy to quit entirely, and since then though I walk and bike all over I haven’t really exercised at all. But. The doctor for The Crazy recommended I do something physically challenging, and I was starting to feel like a slug with winter coming on, and agood friend finished a FULL IRON MAN because she’s just that hardcore, plus I already owned running shoes and there’s a treadmill in the basement so no membership fees and no one staring at me while I huff and puff and flop around. I looked up the program on the Internet, and one morning I got up and went downstairs and started it.

I figured I’d drop out around the middle of week two, when the workouts went from “get off your ass, you pussy, and walk for a few minutes” to “actually try to run without killing yourself.” Surprisingly, that was also around the time I started noticing that I slept like a rock on days that I ran, was no longer out of breath when climbing stairs, was able to get up in the morning with a minimum of moaning and groaning, and was developing some serious calf muscles. Week two, I started to see why people did this to themselves.

Week four, I messed up my left hamstring and got a recurring side stitch and thought about dying every single second.

Week six, though? Week before last? I ran 25 minutes without stopping. I ran two miles without stopping once. I ran the farthest I have ever run. In my head was a movie that is a combination of every training montage in every sports movie I have ever seen, starting with Stevie Weeks skating the river inMystery, Alaska and ending with Jim Braddock knocking out Max Baer inCinderella Man, and there was an embarrassing amount of both Ke$ha and Journey on my iPod. The first mile of that run, I kept thinking about dying, about lying down on the mat on the basement floor and not getting up.

The second mile, I thought about running a third.

If you’re friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter you not only know this, but are longing for the end of this program, so you’ll stop seeing status updates about what workouts I’ve done, about my knees, my back, my ankles, my shoulders, my breathing, questions about what I should eat, what kind of shoes I should buy, how much exactly something is supposed to hurt before I should actually slow down or stop, requests for recommendation of a good sports bra, “is it normal for my shoulders to hurt even though I’m not, you know, running on my HANDS WTF,” things like that.

Because I can’t just run, of course. I have to start reading everything there is about running on the entire Internet (and there is a whole Running Internet, like an alternate universe out there, full of healthy slightly insane people who want to talk injuries and nutrition all the time) and talking about running to everyone I know. I’m browsing weird stuff I don’t need and can’t afford from running stores and having opinions about it, and thinking about races and how far I can go, like maybe when this 5K is done I’ll just keep going.

And I know I sound kind of full of myself about this meager accomplishment, when the aforementioned friend who did the triathlon is so insanely ripped right now it should be illegal and all you other badasses out there run two miles on your lunch breaks before doing 50 push-ups and swimming to Europe, but I’m not athletic. I don’t do this stuff. So this is new, and I’m in that annoying stage with a new lover where the relationship is all I can talk about. Did you hear I started running and it’s AMAZING?

Last Friday morning I woke up and could hardly move my left shoulder. How I messed it up so bad I have no idea, as the most strenuous thing I did on Thursday was correct page proofs for a book, but sitting up was agony and lying back down was worse. I sort of hunched there in bed, pondering if the ER would give me narcotics, and thought, “if it hurts no matter what I do, might as well run anyway.” I went downstairs and ran, and it hurt. It was nice, in way, because it kept my mind off the pain in my ankles, and I finished the workout.

I have athlete friends who say all things being equal physically, this stuff is 90 percent mental and I’d always thought, “yeah, yeah, yeah.” I know all the ways in which I’m lazy — sometimes the dishes sit for a while and I don’t answer all my e-mail and I never return phone calls — and all the ways in which I sabotage myself. I think this is why the doctor recommended this as treatment for my particular flavor of nuts, because it stops me psyching myself out and acquiescing to imaginary limits on what I can do. It’s what makes me most insane when other people do it, like, there’s so much you can’t control that limits you, why would you do it when you don’t have to? But I do it to myself all the time.

And that’s the thing I’m really excited about. I’m hurting sometimes as my body rearranges itself, I’m tired, I haven’t lost a single pound (running makes me RAVENOUS so I’m probably eating twice as much), it’s an investment of time that’s hard to justify, the Ke$ha gets old really fast, sometimes I want to punch Stevie Weeks in his stupid face and tell him skating the river is an idiotic thing to do, and sometimes running on a treadmill is boring.

But I’m running anyway.

What have you done, in your life, that you were once sure you could never do?

A.

Delayed Gratification

As you’ve all surely heard by now, the Bug Man has been stepped on by a jury of his peers deep in the heart of Texas. The best (and funniest) thing I’ve seen written about Delay’s money laundering conviction comes fromTexas blogger Juanita Jean who used to be represented (misrepresented?) by Delay:

Since 1985 I have been trying to tell you people that Tom’s a crook. I would personally like to thank Ronnie Earle, Texas’ DA, and the fine folks of the Travis County DA’s office for not backing down. Ronnie Earle would fight a rattlesnake with one arm tied behind his back and give the snake three bites head start. And he’s so honest that you could shoot dice with him over the phone.

I imagine that the words “I will destroy you,” have suddenly disappeared from Tom DeLay’s daily vocabulary. I honestly don’t know if they sell Viagra for hammers.

Bambi’s Last Run

Lawrencia Bembenek was a folk hero to some, a killer and an opportunist to others. From 1982 through the mid 1990s, she was Milwaukee’s version of Ruby Tuesday: a complex character that was immune to labels. The more you tried to understand what was going on behind those ice-blue eyes, the more confused you became.

She was a police officer and a waitress at a Playboy club.

She was a convicted killer and a patsy.

She was someone who sought the limelight and someone who hid from it.

She was Lawrencia in the press, Laurie in later years and Bambi to the outsiders who cheered for her.

Bembenek died this week at the age of 52.Her trial for the murder of her then-husband’s ex-wife captivated Milwaukee in those pre-CSI:Milwaukee days of perfect DNA evidence and GPS trackers. She always maintained her innocence, even in the days before her liver finally failed.

Her escape from the laundry room at Taycheedah Correctional Institution in 1990 gave rise to a growing sect of people who believed she was set up for the murder. T-shirts and bumper stickers that proclaimed “Run, Bambi, RUN!” sprung up like dandelions on a summer lawn.

Every day on the drive to school, a friend and I would listen to the local DJs doing Bambi updates. They introduced the names of Ira Robbins, Dominic Gugliatto and Thunder Bay, Ontario to our vocabulary. They also did a spoof version of it for us. For some reason, I still remember them referring to Gugliatto as Dominic Pizza: guaranteed to help you break out in 30 minutes or the escape is free.

They caught her in Canada after three months of searching, cut a deal and let her go with time served. She was the thorn in the paw of the Milwaukee justice system and the city decided it was better to cut her loose than to deal with the headaches.

She rode the fame for a while, but eventually took on the quiet life. She was like a one-hit-wonder band: We didn’t think about her often, but when the name came up in conversation somehow, we all remembered her and what she meant.

She died at a hospice in Oregon, still hoping for a pardon. If the Jeff Spiccoli-like approach that outgoing Gov. Jim Doyle is taking toward a billion-dollar light rail project is any indication, Bembenek would have been better off hoping for a unicorn ride. Whether she gets it or not, she remains an enigma, a curiosity and a flashpoint of discussion.

I hope, however, wherever she is, she has found peace after a life of tumult. Prince or pauper, lawman or thief, we all deserve peace when all is said and done.

Rest, Bambi, rest.

Black Friday Alternatives

All right, who out there among our readership makes things, sells things, can link us to a storefront so we can look at your wares? I’m always up for getting presents from someone I know instead of a giant store.

Think of this as a store-whoring thread.

A.

Friday Catblogging: Della Street, Ferret Fan

When Dr. A is on the computer, Della likes to sit on the desk and stare intently at the screen. This time around, she enjoyed watching Riot and Bucky in the box:

DSCF6046

Thanksgiving

Ozzdv

My life really has been incredibly enriched by all the gloriousness here on the Internet.

So thank you.

A.