Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Chocolate New Orleans

In honor of New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin and today's Mardi Gras celebration, I present the recipe for a Chocolate New Orleans.

  1. Start off with a large brownie with chocolate chunks baked into it.
  2. Apply a layer of chocolate mousse.
  3. Add a second layer of brownie.
  4. Lay down a thin layer of chocolate pudding.
  5. Add a third brownie.
  6. Put two large scoops of chocolate ice cream on top.
  7. Cover it with a generous layer of hot fudge.
  8. Sprinkle dark chocolate shavings on the hot fudge.
  9. Have a transvestite from the French Quarter pee all over it.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Self-centered little brats

Was I the only one who was a bit embarrassed by some of our Olympic athletes?

I'm not going to mention names here, because these people seek attention at any cost. What is sad is that these few high-profile athletes and their childish actions overshadowed many fine athletes who have worked hard for years to get to the Olympics and competed honorably.

We had one world-class skier who was favored to win a number of events, but messed all of them up and walked away empty-handed. That would be excusable, except that in an interview after he lost the last event, he had a very blasé attitude, and talked about how it was all good because he had fun hanging out in bars until midnight before competing.

Then there was the American snowboardcross racer who was leading the gold-medal race but felt the need to show off with a showboat jump move. She crashed a stone's throw from the finish line, and lost the gold medal. There is certainly a time to celebrate a win, but it is on the other side of the finish line.

One snowboarder said that he hoped to win a gold medal because it would "help me pick up lots of chicks."

And of course a lot of attention went to the two American speed skaters who had a public name-calling match in the media over who would or wouldn't skate in a relay race.

It used to be that being a part of the American Olympic Team was about national pride and sportsmanlike competition putting team and country ahead of self. These days it seems to be about individual attention at any cost. This trend appears to have started with professional athletes and celebrities such as Dennis Rodman who depend on media attention to get bigger contracts and higher-paying endorsements. By doing something shocking, they can get their names in the headlines, which builds their name recognition. This year's Olympic Team reflects that self-focused culture, and the attitude they display is being picked up by our teenagers as well. Our teenager sees sports as a way to attract attention by showing off flashy moves, but without the discipline, persistence, or focus on teamwork to excel as an athlete. If we can't get rid of this "it's all about me" outlook, we are going to turn into a nation of self-centered brats.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Why I love old movies

This clip from the 1940 movie "The Ghost Breakers" starring Bob Hope shows why I love old movies. I nominate this as the greatest line in film history.

Other old movies I have recently watched:

Witness for the Prosecution -- a courtroom drama with interesting characters and an amazing ending

The Big Sleep -- a mystery with Humphery Bogart. The plot is dizzyingly complex and I had to write down a list of characters to keep it all straight.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Affirmative Action Arson

Whoever is setting fire to Baptist churches in Alabama seems to believe in Affirmative Action.

The arsonists appear to be using a quota system to assure that each race is represented in the church burning in proportion to the racial makeup of the general population. Of the first six fires, five were set in Baptist churches with predominately white congregations, and one was in a church with a predominately black congregation. The 16% black representation is good enough to prevent even Jesse Jackson from shaking them down for some extra cash.

The media seems to be very relieved that the arsonists are so progressive. Each time more churches burn, the news articles conclude with the current tally. As long as the arsonists continue to employ a quota system, it is all good. Using the right kind of racial discrimination is enough of a virtue to overshadow the crime of burning houses of worship. After all, hate crimes against Baptists are excusable.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Fifteen years ago I was a huge U2 fan. I first started following them when they put out the album War. That is still one of my favorites, along with Unforgettable Fire, Joshua Tree, Boy, and Achtung Baby. I have seen them in concert three times. At one point I could recite the lyrics to every song they had ever recorded. U2 had a passion and a fervor which made their music powerfully compelling.

However, since Achtung Baby came out in 1991, U2 has lost its soul. Zooropa was worthless, and besides one faint glimmer of their former selves, Pop was just as bad. I still faithfully line up to buy their albums, hoping that they will rediscover that unforgettable fire which made them great, but their last two albums have been equally disappointing. U2 has gone from being revolutionary to being clichéd and formulaic.

As a U2 fan, you would think that I would be thrilled that they won 5 Grammy Awards last night. Actually, I am a bit puzzled. What in their last album makes it worthy of a Grammy? I listened to it a lot, and finally gave up on trying to appreciate it. The songs are trite and shallow and the music is pop rock drivel. Perhaps they were on to something a few years ago when they wrote "What do I do now that its all been said, no new ideas in the house, and every book has been read?"

So why does a has-been band like U2 win 5 Grammy Awards with such a dull album? It clearly doesn't have anything to do with the quality of their music. It is due to the memory of their former greatness combined with their present-day political activism. However, neither of these is a substitute for present-day musical creativity or innovation.

U2 has always been political. One of their great early songs is "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" a protest of the Irish revolution, about the bombing of a vetrans day parade in Dublin. This is a matter close to the heart of U2, being native Irishmen, and the passion of personal conviction comes through clearly in the music. "In the Name of Love" is another great anthem from U2's early days, honoring Martin Luther King in soaring, spiritual verse.

It used to be that the music spoke for itsself. Today, the music is shallow and the activism is mostly offstage. And it has gone from being personal and passionate to being forced, calculated, and staged for an audience. They are political because they think that this is what people want, not because they believe their new poll-driven causes in the same way they believed Sunday, Bloody Sunday. Instead of singing about their homeland, where there is a personal connection, they sing songs bashing America. Americans certainly have a right to be critical of our government, but let's not forget that U2 chose to move here to take advantage of the great economic opportunity available in America. U2's prosperity is a testimony that there is opportunity for anyone in America, but their songs carry the opposite message. Certain segments of the public, along with the Grammy jurists, eat it up. But those of us who remember U2's roots see through it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Muslims, angered by Danish cartoons linking their prophet Mohammed with violence, took to the streets setting buildings on fire, storming embassies, looting, burning flags, hurling bottles and stones, and killing people as they demand that Islam be recognized as a religion of peace.

One masked gunman barricaded in the EU headquarters said, "Until Israel is a charred cinder and the Zionist pigs, Danish Devils, and American infidels show respect for Islam and burn in a lake of hellfire, we will hunt them down and rip out their innards for depicting the prophet Mohammed, may peace be upon him, or the Islamic faith as breeding violence."


Tuesday morning at Oak Hills Elementary

Teacher: Good morning, class!

Class: Good morning, Mrs. Aryan.

Teacher: Today we're going to play a game!

Class: Yeaaaaaaaaaah!

Teacher: This game is called Lifeboat. All together...

Class: Lifeboat!

Teacher: Good! Lifeboat is a lesson in values clarification. Can you say values clarification?

Class: No.

Teacher: Values clarification is where your little minds decide which lives are worth living and which lives are worth ...ahem... not living. Now here's how we play. A big ship just sank. There are five people on the lifeboat. But the lifeboat is only made for two. I'll list the five people on the chalkboard, and you, class, will decide which three will be thrown overboard. Are we ready?

Class: Yes, Mrs. Aryan.

Teacher: Good! First, there's an old, old crippled grandfather. Second, there's a mentally handicapped person in a wheelchair.

Alison: What's mentally handicapped?

Teacher: It means they can never be a productive member of society. Third, there's an overweight woman on welfare, with a sniffling, whimpering baby.

Max: Is the baby on welfare, too?

Teacher: Let's not push Mrs. Aryan...

Sydney: Who else is in the boat?

Teacher: A young, white doctor with blue eyes and perfect teeth, and Jessica Simpson. Now, class, take five minutes to make your decision. ... Times up! Well class?

Throw over grandpa 'cause he's getting pretty old
Throw out the baby or we'll all be catching it's cold
Throw over fatty and we'll see if she can float
Throw out the retard, and they won't be rockin' the boat

Teacher: Very good! That was fun, wasn't it?

Class: Yes, Mrs. Aryan.

Teacher: For our next lesson, we're going to do an experiment!

Class: Yeah!

Teacher: We're going to test the law of gravity, just like Galileo, by dropping two objects out the window--one heavy and one light-- to see which one hits the sidewalk first. Now what shall we use for the lighter object? I'm thinking of something small and square...

Class: An eraser?

Teacher: Good! And what shall we use for the heavy object? I'm thinking of something round and bouncy... Tommy, I haven't given you permission to leave your sea...class, the bell has not rung. What are you... oohh! Class...put me down! Put me down this instant! Ooohhh! Ooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!


Throw over teacher and we'll see if she can bounce
We've learned our lesson--teacher says perfection's what counts
She's getting old and gray and wears an ugly coat
Throw over teacher and we'll play another game of lifeboat

Throw over grandpa 'cause he's getting pretty old
Throw out the baby, or we'll all be catching it's cold
Throw over fatty and we'll see if she can float
Throw out the retard, and they won't be rockin' the boat

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Two speeches

On Tuesday night, two speeches were given to Congress and the nation.

In one speech, the benefits of smaller government were proclaimed. The speech called for lower taxes, more free markets, less government interference with the economy, and more individual liberty. This speech acknowledged that capitalism, freedom, open trade, and the diligence and innovation of the American people are the greatest forces for progress and economic growth.

In the other speech, government was the solution to every problem. Increased government spending was touted as the great fix-all. More taxes, more regulation, and more government programs were presented as the path to prosperity.

What is truly odd is that both speeches were given by the same person.

Speaking as a fiscal conservative, President Bush made a strong case for lower taxes, tax code reform, and Social Security reform. He called on Congress to reign in runaway spending by cutting wasteful programs. He asked for the line-item-veto to help eliminate earmarks. At times he sounded almost like Ronald Reagan declaring that "In this crisis, Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem."

Unfortunately, the second speech sounded more like Lyndon Johnson than Ronald Reagan. President Bush proposed more than two-dozen new or increased spending initiatives.

He proposed a 22% increase in government subsidy into clean energy research and development. He also promised government money to build new nuclear power plants and to produce ethanol from wood chips. If these technologies were economically viable, the private sector would make the investment. Tax money should not be used to subsidize the development of new technologies which are not cost effective.

The President proposed spending tax money on the development of hydrogen-powered cars. Again, if this technology was economically beneficial, private businesses would undertake the effort. The President appears to have forgotten about the billions of dollars which President Clinton poured into a government program to develop hybrid technology, the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles. The program never produced the hybrid cars they promised. However, foreign automakers, Honda and Toyota, privately developed the technology which can be purchased by Americans today.

Bush also proposed increasing federal "investment" in math and science education. Vast amounts of research show that there is little connection between spending and educational results, and federal spending is the least effective way to improve the quality of education. Surely the President is aware that America did not become a world leader in technology and scientific advancement because of government subsidies. We have long surpassed the countries who tried to achieve success this way.

The president called for more government subsidies and tax preferences for health care. This ignores the fact that the current problems with our health-care system result largely because of government intrusion and subsidies which subvert the market forces of price and quality competition.

After listening to the contradictions in these two speeches, one was forced to ask "Which one do I believe?"

The first speech presented a real roadmap to progress and prosperity through opportunity and freedom.

However, the President's laundry list of new government programs and increased government spending is more in line with how Congress and President Bush have actually operated for the past five years. Since 2000, government spending has increased 40 percent, a figure larger than Clinton's entire eight years. The reality is that the American public expects a government solution to every problem, and any politician who does not promise more government money for every societal ill is committing political suicide. For real change to occur, Americans need to stop looking to the government as their paternal caretaker and start making the most of the opportunities we each have to achieve our own potential.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Politicians love to decry our dependence on foreign oil and the high price of gas. The problem is that both of these things are a result of their own actions. We have plenty of domestic oil which is there for the drilling. However, environmentalists and their liberal allies have prevented us from using it. There is more oil in Alaska than in any middle-eastern country. We could end our reliance on foreign oil in two or three years by making full use of our own oil reserves on the gulf coast and in Alaska. Likewise, politicains blame oil companies for the high price of gas, but at the same time they keep increasing the gasoline taxes, and they let environmental lobbists block the construction of more refineries which would increase supply and drive down the price. As a result, no new refinery has been built in the United States for 28 years.

Drilling for oil in ANWR is the ideal way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil while we develop new energy sources to meet our longer-term needs. Hydrogen-powered cars and fusion power plants are still a decade or more away, and conservative estimates say that our oil reserves in ANWR would last 50 years. It is time to start using our own resources so that we are no longer beholden to people like Hugo Chavez or middle-eastern nations who take our oil money and use it to finance terror.

The reason that we have been prevented from drilling in ANWR is that environmental groups along with liberal politicians and the media have waged a very effective PR campaign to prevent it. From reading media accounts, the area where President Bush wants oil drilling to be conducted is a pristine wilderness, with snow-capped mountains, green meadows, sparkling rivers, and blue lakes surrounded by teeming wildlife. Here are a few photos from news stories about drilling in ANWR:

One of these photos is actually in ANWR, but not in the part of ANWR where they plan to drill. The others are not ANWR at all.

Here are photos of the area where they actually plan to drill:

It is an ice rink the size of South Carolina. Not a single one of the politicians who opposes drilling has actually been there. People who have spent a lot of time in the Alaskan wilderness report that the caribou congregate under the pipelines. They love the pipelines, and use them for shelter. In ANWR there is one dirt road which runs part way along one edge of the 29,600 square mile area. Roughly one tenth of one percent of the ANWR land area would be affected by drilling, leaving 29,560 square miles for the caribou. The ANWR web site says that there are two herds of caribou living there. Each one would have to make do with 14,780 square miles of land.

I wonder how quickly the environmentalists’ argument would last if people saw these pictures instead of what the media shows.