Begging The Question

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Fitz-Hume 411: Spring Fever Edition
What I'm doing at work: We've moved from drafting bills to amending the bills. I spend most of the day making tweaks and changes (let's not be so hasty as to call them improvements) to those bills which have survived passage out of committee. The hours are still long, but we have fewer than 50 days until the end of the session. And then sweet, sweet freedom!

What I'm doing at home: Running. Lots and lots of running. Most of my co-workers have packed on 10 or more pounds as a result of the long work hours. I'm determined not to let that happen to me.

What I'm watching: Not much lately. I bought Dumb & Dumber on DVD last weekend. I've watched it once since then, but I must quote that movie 10 times a day, minimum. If you don't like that movie, I'm afraid we can't be friends.

What I'm listening to: Jet's Get Born and The Black Crowe's Greatest Hits: A Tribute to a Work in Progress

What I'm reading: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell; a couple of books on traveling to Chile and Argentina; re-reading Nick Hornby's Hi Fidelity (paperback copy courtesy of Milbarge)

What I'm thinking about: What it will be like to work fewer hours; Whether there will be enough snow left on Mt. Tallac to go snowboarding in June; Wishing I had had time to drive down to Death Valley and see all of the desert flowers in bloom

What I'm not thinking about: Eating at Wendy's. Ever again. Especially not the one in San Jose

Shout outs: A big thank you to everyone who reads BTQ. Thanks for putting up with the low output lately. I've been busy and / or distracted. Thanks for hanging in there with us.

Friday Spies©
1. Which Simpsons character are you most like?

It might not be obvious to everyone, but I am most like Robert Terwilliger (a/k/a Sideshow Bob):
"An implacable and fiendishly clever embodiment of pure evil. Through his charm, brilliance and consummate acting skill, Sideshow Bob repeatedly gains release from prison and devises diabolical schemes of revenge, only to be tripped up by his own fantastically inflated ego - and the occasional garden rake."
Me to a tee.

2. Name a song you hate that is performed by a band you like. Name a
song you like by a band you hate.

I generally like Van Halen, but I hate "Cabo Wabo." And I loathe Toby Keith, but I like his song "What I Didn't Know Then."

3. What skills do you possess? Nun chuck skills? Computer hacking skills?

I'm a virtuoso with the television remote and I have some talent for procrastination.

4. Coen Brothers or Farrelly Brothers?

The Coen Brothers edge out the Farrelly Brothers in my book. I love Dumb & Dumber, but nothing else the Farrellys have put out has really done much for me. The Coens on the other hand have made some of my favorite movies: The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Bad Santa, and Raising Arizona, to name but a few.

5. What do you predict will be the worst part(s) of the new Star Wars movie?

The opening-night audience will be one of the worst aspects of it. The bad acting will be another. The worst part is that no matter how low my expectations are, Lucas will probably find a way to make this installment even worse than Episodes I and II.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Coalition for Darfur: While We Were Distracted
A weekly post written by the proprietors of the Coalition for Darfur blog

In 1994, a genocide took place in Rwanda and it is probably safe to say that few of us remember hearing much about it. How was it possible, we now ask ourselves, that we could have so easily ignored the brutal slaughter of nearly one million people.

A look back to those 100 days in 1994 reveals that while we may not have heard much about Rwanda, we most certainly heard a great deal about many other things.

April to July 1994: A Timeline
On April 7, 1994 Rwandan soldiers and trained militias armed with machetes unleashed a murderous campaign to destroy the minority Tutsi population.

On April 8, Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain was found dead in his home from a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

On April 15, an estimated 20,000 Rwandans who had sought shelter Nyarubuye Church were slaughtered by government forces and members of the Interahamwe militia.

On April 22, former President Richard Nixon died and his funeral was held five days later.

On May 5, Michael Fay, an 18 year-old US citizen, was caned in Singapore as punishment for vandalism.

In mid May, the International Red Cross estimated that 500,000 Rwandans had been killed.

On June 17, OJ Simpson led police on a slow speed chase in a White Ford Bronco.

On July 4, the rebel army took control of the Rwandan capitol of Kigali and the genocide came to an end in a country littered with nearly one million corpses.
It is widely acknowledged that the world largely ignored the genocide in 1994 and failed the people of Rwanda. A decade later, it is worth asking if our
priorities have changed.
On September 8, 2004 "60 Minutes" ran a controversial story regarding President Bush's service in the Air National Guard that relied, in part, on forged memos.

On September 9, former Secretary of State Colin Powell officially declared that genocide was taking place in Darfur, Sudan.

On October 4, Romeo Dallaire, the head of the UN mission in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide warned that the world was responding to the crisis in Darfur much in the same way it responded to the genocide in Rwanda - with complete indifference.

On October 6, comedian Rodney Dangerfield died.

On January 24, 2005, Johnny Carson died.

On January 25, the UN released a report chronicling "serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law amounting to crimes under international law"; among them the "killing of civilians, torture, enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape and other forms of sexual violence."

On March 11, Brian Nichols overpowered a deputy, stole her gun and killed three people in an Atlanta courthouse before escaping.

On March 14, the United Nation's estimated that at least 180,000 people have died in Darfur in the last year and a half.
Ten years ago, a genocide unfolded right in front of our eyes, but the media was more focused on the legal problems of various celebrities than it was on the deaths of tens of thousands of people in Africa.

And the same thing is happening today.

One has to wonder if, ten years from now, we'll be saying to one another "I vaguely remember hearing about the genocide in Sudan. It took place about the time of the Michael Jackson trial, right?"

We at the Coalition for Darfur ask you to join us in raising awareness of the genocide and to consider making a small donation to any of the organizations providing life saving assistance to the neglected people of Darfur.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

You say you want to live forever
A reader (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) emailed me to point out this report at CNN. According to my correspondent, "Packing on the pounds is not nearly as deadly as the government thought, according to a new calculation from the CDC that found people who are modestly overweight actually have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight."

His analysis? "It's because we don't get hit by cars while jogging. And we don't engage in all that risky sex."

He'll be crying himself to sleep tonight, on his huge pillow
Do people with big heads also have big brains? If your melon is larger than average, are you destined for success? Maybe not, but apparently it can't hurt. Consider:

Ginormohead. Tony Robbins: best-selling self-help author, motivational speaker, and advisor to world leaders, sports stars and business professionals. He is recognized for his countless infomercials, television interviews, talk shows, and radio programs. So says his bio, anyway.

You can't deny that he is (dubiously and regrettably) famous, very rich, and quite successful. His head? Frightening in it's sheer magnitude. You are powerless against the gravitational pull of his head.

Ginormohead. Jay Leno: comedian, host of The Tonight Show, and motivational speaker (Are we sensing a theme, here? Which came first - big head or talent for motivation?). Did you know Jay's real name is James Douglas Muir Leno? Did you know he received his Bachelor's degree in speech therapy from Emerson and he also suffers from a slight form of dyslexia? Regardless, I'm sure you're acquainted with his giant face.

Success rate-high. Wealth-disgusting in it's enormity. Head-size of a first quarter moon. It controls the very tides.

Ginormohead. Mike Myers: Canadian, former SNL star, actor, writer, director, cartoon- success, thy name is Mike. Despite standing only 5'7, his small frame admirably supports a head like Sputnik; spherical but quite pointy at parts! It has it's own weather system!

A pumpkin set on a base of sturdy shoulders is Mr. Myers' large and successful head.

Ginormohead.Ben Affleck: Actor, writer, director, producer, Oscar-winner, owner of the middle name "Geza" - this is the huge head that landed a thousand beauties: J.Lo, Jennifer Garner, Matt Damon... This is the head that launched a thousand terrible lines such as "Well, we all gotta die, right? I'm the guy who gets to do it saving the world" and "Returning from the dead wasn't all that I expected... but that's life." This giant head gave us Gigli, for god's sake. It's turkey time, bow down and pay homage.

Head the size of the stone heads of Easter Island = riches, women, Academy Awards, Bentleys.

Ginormohead. Robert Plant: Led Zeppelin. Stairway to Heaven. Groupies. Drugs. Money. One Big Ass Head. Compare and contrast the normal man's head in the picture with the Jack O' Lantern Pumpkin Head of Mr. Plant. Is it a trick of perspective or is that the Biggest Head Known to Man?

A whole lot of musical genius swirls in that mammoth, colossal cranium. Ramble on, monstrous noggin. Ramble on.

If you have a large skull, don't despair! You may look like an orange on a toothpick, but there is greatness in your future. You're standing on the heads of giants.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Set your phasers on stunning
A friend of mine is obsessed with William Shatner. She's been in love with him since junior high. Frankly, I don't understand why, but who am I to judge other people's predilections and peccadilloes? He's a handsome man, I suppose. He's entertaining, if over the top, and unlike many people in Hollywood he can laugh at himself. But an obsession with W.S. seems a bit bizarre. Especially now that he's well past his prime [directive].

Speaking of William Shatner and bizarre, those of you who have not seen Trekkies 2 are really missing out on some choice people-watching. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking up a copy. The movie features extended interviews with and concert footage of the Sacramento-based sci-fi rock band Warp 11. They have truly taken the W.S. obsession to the limits of the known universe with their song Everything I Do, I Do With William Shatner (you can download the song from this link). The opening stanza of "Everything I Do" goes something like this:

Everything I do, I do with William Shatner
Losing all my hair while my belly's growing fat-ner
And when I drink too much
He holds my hair in his hands
And while I'm blowing chunks
He treats me like the captain

It gets worse from there (or better, depending on your perspective). The band will be performing in Davis, California on April 30. Warp speed, Mr. Sulu. Make our destination Ticket Master.

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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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