Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Sure ya like carrots Billy . . .

Normally, I find Jay Leno about as entertaining as a prostate exam. But I was flicking channels the other night and caught something so gut-busting hilarious on the Headlines segment of his show, I had to share it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Gravity is still only a theory, too

Well, sanity and reason won out over the burgeoning U.S. theocracy today when District Judge John E. Jones ruled a Pennsylvania school board can’t impose the teaching of intelligent design in its science classrooms.

Jones called it as he saw it, stating that intelligent design is creationism attempting to cloak itself as sound science. For the uninitiated, ID claims "gaps" in the theory of evolution prove the existence of some supreme designer. (Personally, I think the flying spaghetti monster, pictured above, has more credence.)

IDers, of course, are upset. Former board member William Buckingham told the Associated Press:

“I’m still waiting for a judge or anyone to show me anywhere in the Constitution where there’s a separation of church and state. We didn’t lose; we were robbed.”

Um, I’m no expert on the U.S. Constitution, but that would be the First Amendment.

Never mind the possibility that ID proponents are committing blasphemy against the very religion they purport to represent. To Buckingham I would ask: “where in the Bible does it suggest intelligent design?”

Besides, we all know allowing religion to seep into the government produces sane, stable policies, right?

Be careful not to bruise the Chardonnay Muffy

It must be a sign we’re well on our way to yuppie-dom; my wife and I are really getting into wine.

I can even pinpoint how it all started; with a bottle of Chateau Cantemerle. A “barely above average” wine, according to critics, but liquid velvet to my palate. I remember exclaiming that I finally understood why some wines cost so much.

Since then I’ve become a bit of a wine geek; reading the Accidental Connoisseur, leafing through copies of the Wine Spectator and sticking my nose into every glass I meet.

My wife and I are even planning a trip to Napa next month. We hope to tour the family-owned Truchard Vineyards, having discovered their sublime 2000 Pinot Noir earlier this year.

Now to add to my wannabe oenophilism comes Grape Radio, a podcast produced out of Orange County, Calif. The shows feature interviews with vintners, collectors and other aficionados with the intent of helping people like me, who couldn’t tell their ass from their Amarone, better appreciate and understand the world of wine.

Listening to the podcasts, you get the feeling some of these people are just as characteristic as the wines they produce. The Arcadian Winery’s Joe Davis recounts this old saying about two popular varietals:

"Cabernet will rape you and pinot noir seduces you. ... Cabernet will throw you down and rip your clothes off, and pinot noir subtly convinces you to take them off yourself."

It’s the kind of pronouncement you’d expect from Miles in Sideways.

Ever the quick one, my wife had the perfect response:

“So is Merlot the one you feel shameful about the next day?”

(Thanks to Slate for this one.)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas Gift Ideas for the Damned

For the would-be torturer in your family: a Barbie doll.


In the interests of making this blog more functional, I have transferred my CJSR playlists to a separate blog site.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Killing is our business . . . and business is good.

If there’s any doubt Graham Thompson is one of the best political writers in Alberta, just head over to his blog on the Edmonton Journal’s site. In one of his recent entries, Thompson muses about how Stanley Tookie Williams’ execution in California this week reminded him of a story he wrote after witnessing the death sentence carried out in Texas several years ago.

Thompson says of the death row inmate’s last minutes:

Callins licks his lips and says in a faltering voice amplified by the microphone: "I just want to let all of my people know and everybody who is here and supported me that I love them and wish them all the best."

The warden nods at the one-way mirror. After a few moments Callins struggles to raise his head off the gurney as if he's trying to get up. He coughs. He's straining against the straps. One last gasp. He slumps back down.

His eyes are closed. He looks like he's asleep. A little muscle in his neck twitches for a few seconds and then stops. Executioners have delivered the lethal dose of sodium thiopental. Bruce Callins is dead.

Thompson was struck by the cold efficiency of the Texas chamber – known as Ellis Unit 1. Walking away from it, he was amazed by his lack of any emotion. Apparently, meting out the death sentence is a matter of rote in the States.

You’ve got to think, though, that it takes its toll on the guards. In his song named after the Texas execution chamber, Steve Earle imagines himself as a guard working on Ellis Unit 1:

Last night I dreamed that I woke up with straps across my chest
And something cold and black pullin' through my lungs
‘N even Jesus couldn't save me though I know he did his best
But he don't live on Ellis Unit One

The lyrics still bring tears to my eyes.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Thinking of buying an iPod? Watch this first.