Begging The Question

Saturday, January 01, 2005

"King of the Hill" Quote of the Day
Two from Cotton from the episode in which he's accused of setting fire to the church:

Cotton: "It's only a matter of time before they accuse me of church-burnery!"

Cotton: "If I can take a bullet for my grandson, I'll do it. But not in the face -- that's how I make my livin's."

That one also has what might be the prototype for this blog:

Hank: "I told you to stop sending my dad '"The Gribble Report.'"
Dale: "You tell me a lot of things, Hank. Most of which I publish."

Judging my '04 predictions
1. The DOW will hit 12K.

It is at 10,500.

2. "The Return of the King" will be snubbed in Best Picture and Best Director categories.

Or not.

3. Fidel Castro will die. Finally.

He had an embarrassing stumble, but he is still alive. Should have said Yasser.

4. The Department of Interior Solicitor's Office will reject me at least 2 more times - bringing the total number of rejections to 4. Four for '04.

That is correct.

5. The final installment of the "Star Wars" prequels will suck - and I mean suck, like "Judge Dredd" levels of suckiness - but I will still go see it.

It doesn't come out until the spring. Silly me. Prediction still stands.

6. Britney Spears will pose full nude in Playboy. This "jump the shark" move will mark the beginning of the end of her pop career. She will discover that kissing Madonna doesn't make you Madonna (she should have just asked Sandra Bernhard).

She jumped the shark, but married the dancin' Skeet Ulrich celebrity lookalike. Not sure I want to see her nekkid now.

7. In legal news, Jacko = guilty; Scott Peterson = guilty; Rush = guilty; Saddam = guilty; Martha Stewart = not guilty; Kobe Bryant = not guilty.

Jacko = hasn't gone to trial yet
Scott P. = guilty
Rush = not guilty
Saddam = hasn't gone to trial yet (obviously he's guilty as hell, they just haven't convicted him yet)
Martha = guilty
Kobe = dropped the charges

I missed on Martha, but guessed correctly on the others. Well, all but Saddam and MJ. They will find Saddam guilty, once he is tried. Probably gonna find MJ guilty, too. Query which is the worse crime? Torturing and enslaving your people while enriching yourself at their expense or molesting little boys?

8. God will stay in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Right. For now.

9. Any and all "Friends" spin-offs will fail miserably. This goes double for "Joey moves to L.A."

In a just universe this would be true.

10. The Democratic presidential candidate (not Howard "Interesting Theory" Dean) will challenge President Bush's electoral victory in every possible court - and the challenges will not prevail. Al Sharpton will incite race riots as a result. Bill Clinton and the DLC will win the power struggle in the party and set Hillary up for 2008.

Did I really predict this? Whatever. There were no serious court challenges so I missed this one. Sharpton's race riots? Eh, not so much. The jury is still out on the DNC, but I'm rooting for the serious wing of the party to prevail over

* Bonus prediction: Hillary will lose in 2008.

We'll just have to wait and see.

* Bonus prediction #2: Justice O'Connor will step down from the Court in February 2005. Finally.


How'd I Do With My 2004 Predictions?
This time last year, I made a few predictions about stuff I thought would happen in 2004. Let's see how accurate I was. The prediction is in italics, and the judgment of history is in plain text. By my count, I was right about seven of them.

1. Howard Dean will not win the Democratic nomination, and George Bush will win the presidential election. Okay, so maybe these weren't Nostradamus good, but I was right.

2. There will be major flooding on the Mississippi River. Nope. The big domestic weather event was the Florida hurricanes, but even the worst Mississippi flooding ever paled in comparison to the South Asian tsunami this month. Too bad nobody saw that coming.

3. The third Lord of the Rings movie will win Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director. Check.

4. Mike Tyson will spend a night in jail, but Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson will not. I was right about Kobe and Michael, for different reasons: Kobe because prosecutors dropped the charges in his rape trial and Michael because his trial has been delayed. As for Iron Mike, I was close. He was arrested twice, once for getting in a fight in a hotel lobby, and again for jumping on a guy's car outside a nightclub. The car owner didn't press charges, and Tyson got community service for the hotel fight. I didn't do enough research to discover whether Tyson actually spent any time behind bars for these arrests, but I think I'm going to count it as within the spirit of my prediction. For me, two arrests equals one night in jail.

5. Condoleezza Rice will replace Colin Powell as Secretary of State. Yup.

6. A human being will be cloned. I guess that depends on what your definition of "human" is. In February, South Korean scientists announced that they had cloned human embryos and cultivated stem cells from them. I guess this counts if you think the embryos are human life, but I'm not up on the science or the morality involved here.

7. There will be a major terrorist attack in Europe. I speculated that the target might be London, or Athens in conjuntion with the Olympics, but of course it turned out to be the train bombings in Madrid. One of those I wish I hadn't been right about.

8. Electronic voting miscues will cause problems in the 2004 elections. Well, there was some confusion about a few voting machines during the fuss over the presidential election, but the margin was wide enough that it didn't turn into a total debacle. However, my prediction did not specify which election that e-voting would screw up, and hot dog, we have a wiener: North Carolina. I first heard about this via Steve at Begging to Differ. A voting machine in a small county went down and lost the votes, and the number of votes could have made a difference in the race for Commissioner of Agriculture. So they're going to have a state-wide re-vote, Ukraine-style! I went to college with a grandson of Jim Graham, who was North Carolina's Ag Commissioner for thirty-six years, and I can tell you that this never would have happened if the Sodfather were still around!

9. Duke will win the 2004 basketball championship. Again, I was close. They made it to the Final Four, and it was a great season. I don't feel disappointed at all.

10. I will have a date. Speaking of disappointments....

Something to Post
Inspired by Hei Lun's lament (which I share) that there isn't much to blog about these days, I turned to the old standby, the song parody. Here is "Something to Post," to the tune of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold."
I want to write,
Share my insight,
And so I'm looking
For something to post.
It's all this wisdom
You never hear,
That keeps me searching
For something to post,
And that's not a boast.

We've written almost
Six hundred old posts,
But we're still looking
For something to post.
And I'll be lonesome,
No blogging stardom
Unless I come up with
Something to post,
I'll give up the ghost.

(harmonica solo)

So you keep reading,
And I'll keep feeding,
If I can just find me
Something to post.
I know if I can,
You'll say "Who's Blachman?"
So help me, Muse, and
Give me things to post,
Or BTQ is toast.

1. Get more sleep during the week and less during the weekends.

2. Learn a few words in a language other than Latin.

3. Lose a few pounds, which I could probably accomplish just by cutting back on sweet tea.

4. Be a better housekeeper, at least good enough that I'm not scared someone will want to visit.

5. Figure out something to write about, write a darn article, and get it published. (Topic suggestions welcome.)

6. Be a better correspondent to some friends I'm in danger of losing touch with.

7. Fitz and I know we could write a decent screenplay, given some of the dreck that gets made in Hollywood these days. So I resolve that this year, if we don't get one written, we'll at least figure out what our movie is going to be about. And maybe write a "treatment," whatever that is.

8. Do what I can to make BTQ good enough that we hit 150,000 visitors by this time next year.

I know, nothing too radical, but maybe the act of writing them down will spur me a bit.

Friday, December 31, 2004

"King of the Hill" Quote of the Day
From that same foot-loving episode:

Bobby: "But you said the movies were just for women."
Peggy: "Well, honey, ultimately they are. But first we must reach the men. All right, how can I put this so you'll understand? Hmm. Bobby, some men like ladies' bottoms, and other men like ladies' bosoms, and a small, small number -- too few -- love ladies' big feet. Now, Mommy is trying to increase that number, and thus, help women everywhere."
Bobby: "How does this help the women with the big boobies?"
Peggy: "They don't need anymore help."

What I'm Doing at Five in the Morning
The tv is on VH1 Classic because they were playing an hour of Neil Young followed by some R.E.M. Now they're showing a Poison concert, which is actually mullet-inducing if you're not careful. Never forget, ev'ry rose has its thorn, folks.

Here's a t-shirt for Larry.

Also, this is the funniest PSA I've ever seen, even though the title in the link gives the joke away.

A cat attacking a baby. What more needs to be said?

I can't decide whether this or this would more accurately be called "the story of my life." Both are marginally not safe for work, but then again, neither am I.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

"King of the Hill" Quote of the Day
From the episode where Peggy's big feet end up in fetish videos:

Grant Trimble, proprietor of Transnational Amusements, Inc., the fetish website: "What if someone, alone at first, was out there appreciating big, beautiful feet -- I mean, loving them they way they deserve? Pretty soon you'd see them in music videos, then Hollywood movies, and before too long, on sixty-foot billboards across America pushing Parker pens!"
Peggy: "So really, what you're saying is that I will be helping create a better world for men and women. I'd be like Rosa Parks!"
Grant: "This website is your bus, Peggy. Ride it to freedom!"

In Defense of Jeremy Blachman
Well, sort of. I'm mostly ambivalent about all this hullabaloo over the revelation that the Anonymous Lawyer is Jeremy Blachman. For lots more links to people who do seem to care, try here from PG.

This post was prompted by posts from Soup and Larry that ran counter to the prevailing response to Jeremy's outing. In short, while most people were complimentary of Jeremy and the AL blog (although there were some who tossed around the word "fraud," wrongly in my opinion), Soup and Larry said they didn't find it funny or even interesting and didn't see what others saw. (And see Evan's response, too, which called me out and forced me to actually write this.)

I really want to avoid turning this into a "What is comedy?" post. On the one hand, of course, taste is subjective and it's perfectly fine that we don't all find the same things funny. And I didn't get the sense that Soup and Larry were saying the emporer had no clothes and Blachman fans were deceiving themselves.

But on the other hand, there is some objective truth, even in comedy. For example, I know a guy who thinks Clue is the funniest movie ever made. That's not bad taste; he's just wrong. The same for people who don't find Office Space isn't funny. They're wrong too.

Still, I'm trying to refrain from saying something like "Take out a piece of graphing paper and plot co-ordinates for 'satire' and 'poo humor.'" I'm no expert, but I think I know funny when I see it. I think Jeremy has plenty of funny posts, although I don't read them all, and I never read AL. But I have to say that I don't see how people think he's the funniest writer ever, or even the funniest blogger.

The funniest blog I've ever read, bar none, was Incompetent Attorney's "Patent Pending." It went away for a while, but now IA is back at a blog called "Attorneys Suck." His was the only blog I've read that made me cackle with laughter every time I read it. Man, I missed that guy and I am so stoked he's back. (Side note to anyone who's familiar with his old blog: "Nobody's talking to you, Eli Witney!")

Anyway, what was the point of all this? Oh yeah. I guess I take a middle ground re: Jeremy. I fall, as another blogger told me, "somewhere between thinking his blog sucks balls and wanting to suck his balls." I don't begrudge Jeremy any of the acclaim he's received, even if I'd rather have it for myself. My ultimate position is that he's funny enough.

Another note that seems to be popping up in the criticisms of Jeremy is that he's pretentious, and the critics tend to lump his occasional blog-home, Crescat Sententia, in with that judgment. Which makes me wonder, What is pretentiousness? Take out your graphing paper....

The same blogging friend who made the astute ball-sucking dichotomy observation above defined pretentiousness as writing about something the reader don't care about, and acting as if that makes the author better than the uninterested reader. By that definition, we're probably all pretentious about something. I don't get that impression from either Jeremy or Will from Crescat. After all, even I guest-blogged at Crescat and De Novo, so how hifalutin' could they be?

I got three phone calls in the course of typing this post, so I lost whatever meager motivation I had, and my train of thought has long since derailed. All I really wanted to say is that I think Jeremy's funny at times, and I disagree with the people who say that he's funny all the time or never funny. I don't think he's pretentious because I don't think he thinks I'm a lesser person for not reading AL. I agree with Larry that no one should have to apologize for the blogs they read (Larry says she only likes funny blogs; I like some that are more serious). I'm just glad you're reading this blog, and I don't really care about all that other crap. I'm just pretentious enough to think you should care what I have to say about the topic du jour. Now where's my adulation?! Adulate me! ADULATE ME!!

Do not go in the water!
Only two things in this world scare me, and one of them is nuclear war.

The other is sharks. Big teeth. Smell like cabbage.

Despite this, I rented Open Water last night. It is a good movie, well acted and well made. It is also one scary damn movie. If you have even a slight fear of sharks or the open ocean, be warned that Open Water may be a little unsettling. If you have a complete and completely irrational fear of sharks you might consider avoiding this movie altogether. I wish I had.

For those of you unfamiliar with Open Water, it is the story of two scuba divers who are inadvertently left in the middle of the ocean by their dive boat captain. At first the couple, Daniel and Susan, believes that they surfaced at the wrong spot. They eventually realize that the boat is gone and they are alone. The current constantly pushes them further out to sea and they begin to lose any hope of rescue. Enter the sharks. I'll leave it at that, so as not to spoil the movie for anyone who has yet to see it. Suffice it to say that I am not going to sleep right for a week.

Oh, the worst part of it is that the movie is based on actual events. Yeah, events like this one:

And to think that they paid to be shark bait

This Just In: Breaking News from Norfolk, Virginia
A longtime reader of BTQ reports that North Hampton Blvd., a major thoroughfare in Norfolk, Virginia, has been shut down because of report of a bus packed with explosives found near the Norfolk Naval Base. We'll update you as the situation as develops.

A map of the area can be accessed from this link.

UPDATE: Apparently the bomb threat was a false alarm. We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming already in progress.

Scotch, scotch, scotch. I love scotch.
A reader has requested that I throw this question out there. She's looking for a birthday gift for her better half and she's thinking single-malt Scotch. He's a fan, but she's not, so she doesn't have a clue what to get him. She doesn't want to ask him because it would give away the suprise. She'd like to keep it in the $40-50 range. So there, I'll put the question to you. If you're going to spend $50 on a bottle of scotch, what would you buy, and why?

Me? I'd choose the Glenlivet 18 year old - like one of Scotland's greatest living actors it has been described as "mature, rich and sexy." It runs about $70 a bottle though, so it may be out of our requester's price range. If so, then I'd say go for the 12 year old Glenlivet. It's more Ewan MacGregor than Sean Connery, but I wouldn't turn it down.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Better? Worse? About the same?

"King of the Hill" Quote of the Day
Hank (on having to sneak across the border from Mexico): America is my country and I love her. I wouldn't enter her in any way that's unnatural.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Smoke and Mirrors
Here's the deal. I'm tired of the look of this site. Aren't you? It's not the layout as much as it is the colors I can't stand (though the layout could use some tweaking).

I'd like to invite you to give me your thoughts on new color schemes or any other suggestions for how to improve the look of this site. Be honest. Brutally honest. You won't hurt my feelings. However, please note that any comment suggesting "forget the colors, just post some quality content" will be deleted and the commenter's IP will be banned.

"King of the Hill" Quote of the Day
In the episode after Luanne's boyfriend Buckley died in the Megalomart explosion, Luanne is visited by his ghost, whom she names Buckley's Angel. Eventually, Buckley's Angel developed a cult following among some of the residents of Rainey Street (namely Bill).

Hank: (reading Bill's letter to Buckley's Angel) "Dear Buckley's Angel, find me a woman, any woman. Love, Bill F. De La T. Dauterive."

Bill: Hey! That is between me and Buckley's Angel.

Hank: There is no Buckley's Angel! There was barely a Buckley! That greaseball couldn't even find a hammer in the Megalomart. How could he possibly find you a woman?

Monday, December 27, 2004

A White Christmas, In More Ways Than One
I've been enjoying my little break, but I have been missing my blogging. I'll try to catch up when I get home, so if you see a comment on your blog to a two-week-old post, it's from me.

I'm at my mother's, and it's been nice. We had a flurry or two Saturday, but not enough to cause any problems. Still, it was enough for me to officially call it a White Christmas.

Speaking of causing problems, I saw a fun story about Bill James, a white county commissioner in Charlotte, North Carolina, saying that blacks in that town lived in a "moral sewer." (sorry, subscription required) He said it an email to friends, and of course it was leaked. His explanation was that blacks in Charlotte face all sorts of social problems with moral causes. As might be expected, he's getting all sorts of backlash, including having a local minister ask him during a commission meeting, "What kind of disease-producing sewer produced a white racist like you?" Lovely, productive dialogue. Note that James was one of the leaders of the move to ban the play "Angels in America" from running in Charlotte, as noted by Steve in comments to this "Begging to Differ" post. I wonder if the NAACP will extend its South Carolina boycott across the border to Charlotte, and make both halves of Carowinds off limits.

Also, I watched the movie Holiday Inn for the first time the other night. It's the one with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire in which the song "White Christmas" debuted. It's a hell of a picture! It's a lot of fun -- such a good script, good singing, dancing, the whole shebang. Astaire playing a heel is priceless. It's the kind of two-guys-fighting-for-the-same-gal tale that has been done to death since, but it's nice to see why it worked so well in the first place that it gets imitated so often. (Oh, and perhaps Bill James would enjoy the (shocking) blackface scene when they celebrate Lincoln's birthday.)

In other news I can tie into my "White Christmas" theme, former NFL star Reggie White died this weekend. I was never a big fan of White's, but he was a hell of a football player, and awfully young to die. My favorite Reggie story is from ESPN analyst and former coach Bill Curry. (I can't find a direct link to the story now.) Curry was waiting in the tunnel to take a team on the field to play at Tennessee, when he heard a raspy voice over the p.a. He asked someone what was holding up the game. "Oh, that's Reggie," came the reply. "He prays, too." White was giving the invocation just before he tore up the opposing team, and Curry begam to wonder how much divine intervention a talent like Reggie needed.

Anyway, I'll be back to regular blogging in a couple of days. Try to contain yourselves.

"King of the Hill" Quote of the Day
Sorry we've missed a couple. In contrition, here's two from the episode where Hank's mom brings her Jewish boyfriend to Christmas at the Hills.

Dale: "So he's Jewish."
Hank: "Yeah, Dale, he's Jewish."
Dale: "There's nothing wrong with that in and of itself."
Bill: "Is he funny?"
Hank: "He doesn't seem too funny."
Bill: "Seinfeld's funny."
Hank: "Seinfeld's funnier than Garry."
Dale: "I'll bet Garry -- Kasner, is it? -- I'll bet he's funnier than Cotton."
Boomhauer: "Cotton ain't no funny at all, man... Dang ol' POW camp... bamboo shoots... talkin' 'bout puttin' 'em under his dang fingernails... freak me out about that."
Hank: "I thought my mom had learned her lesson when she had the good sense to dump my dad. But now she's found another guy to treat her like a bellboy."
Bill: "Whoopi Goldberg's funny."

Bill: "Garry doesn't eat steak 'cause the cow is sacred to his people."
Dale: "Nope, you're thinking of the Hindus. The pig is sacred to the Jews."
Bill: "I wouldn't, myself, never join a religion that restricted my diet. I wouldn't want to get into heaven that way."

No comment on whether I use a lot of Bill punchlines in this series because I identify with him to a degree, as has been alleged by some. Regardless, have a happy cold weather season, no matter what animals you don't eat.

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    The views presented here are personal and in no way reflect the view of my employer. In addition, while legal issues are discussed here from time to time, what you read at BTQ is not legal advice. I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. If you need legal advice, then go see another lawyer.

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