Friday, March 31, 2000

The Uganda cult death toll has beaten out Jonestown, although it is still well below the Crusades. There are still several thousand people unaccounted for.

Since the mayor of Miami and the mayor of Dade County (I know, that doesn't make sense, but that's how I remember his title) have effectively seceded from the union, I say that there is a simple solution to the Elian Gonzales issue: give Miami to Cuba.

New York Mag competition 3/27/00


It's a Plot--Oliver Stone

Afterthought--Rene Descartes

Not to be--Hamlet

So what's the deal with tombstones?--Jerry Seinfeld

I am dead. Dead I am.--Dr. Suess

Forest Lawn 90068--Tori Spelling

William H. Gates has performed an illegal operation and been shut down.

George Washington. Born: the Fourth Monday in February. Died: December 14, 1799

R.I.P.E. --Dan Quayle

If I'm not entombed / You must exhume--Johnnie Cochran

9:45 p.m.-10 p.m. --Andy Warhol

Thursday, March 30, 2000

For a horrifying look at Sweden's 1935-75 sterilization campaign, using laws copied from the Nazis, see the Friday London Times.

Canada may repeal a 1756 proclamation offering a bounty for Indian scalps in Nova Scotia.

Oslo, Norway will allow Muslims to broadcast the call the prayer, and will allow atheists using megaphones to proclaim "God does not exist!"

Wednesday, March 29, 2000

The same Shas party rabbi who's been calling for the death of the Israeli education minister last year accused Supreme Court judges of having had sex with menstruating women. No word on how he knows this.

DNA tests say that there is no trace of Neanderthals in Homo sap.

I was quite excited for a minute until the story turned out so much less interesting than I'd hoped. The first case of sexual harassment in space. Except it wasn't, it was on the ground in a reproduction of the Mir space station, in which astronauts were stuck for 110 days. Evidently they had a millennium party that got a bit out of hand and one of the Russians assaulted a Quebecer. The Russians are saying it's a cultural difference, that for the Russians a kiss on the lips is just like a kiss on the cheek. She's saying, he stuck his fucking tongue down my throat. Still, it would have been a real story if it had happened in space.

If the Russians aren't big on political correctness, how 'bout them Swedes, who just introduced a maternity military uniform for pregnant officers.

Tuesday, March 28, 2000

After all that talk about Chile being allowed to try Pinochet themselves, Congress passed a law giving former presidents complete immunity from prosecution.

Clintonism of the week: This is from the Bloody Sunday inquiry in Britain. General Robert Ford says of his leaked 1972 memo, "The suggestion to shoot a few leaders was not a suggestion to kill them."

Sunday, March 26, 2000

The House of Lords has just had defibrilators installed.

So 550+ Ugandans are murdered by cult leaders who promptly disappear with their money and it barely even makes the papers. You really have to wonder.

Saturday, March 25, 2000

You heard it here first: Jorg Haidar is gay!

I should feel guilty about knowing and enjoying the fact that this particular "charge" is what could really damage the fascist asshole, but I don't.

The new status symbol among billionaires is evidently sleep. 8, 9 hours a night.

David Trimble wins the challenge to his leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party, but they put a new condition on re-entry into a power-sharing executive for Northern Ireland: the Royal Ulster Constabulary, long a symbol of occupation, remain that symbol by retaining its name and the crown on its insignia and so forth. An entirely symbolic measure is to be the make-or-break condition for peace in the North. These people are idiots. On the other hand, last I heard they were still looking for a new new name for the RUC when Northern Ireland Police Service was shot down for what should be obvious reasons.

The British military has a new toy: a £25,000 pound sniper rifle capable of taking out a tank.

Speaking of toys: the Israelis plan to safeguard their new border if they hand back the Golan Heights by the use of nuclear landmines.

In 1972, 3 members of Black September were captured at the Munich Olympics. I'm a little unclear on the details, even after reading the Observer's story twice ( if you want to give it a shot), but the Germans evidently faked a plane hijacking in order to hand them back (Black Sept. were threatening a bombing campaign if they weren't released) not 8 weeks after the massacre. One is still alive. This is the reason the Israelis spent all that effort tracking down Palestinian terrorists and the occasional waiter (oops) and killing them.

If you'd like some more oil companies to boycott, how about the ones including BP and Amoco, but also Exxon and some others, who financed the 1993 coup in Azerbaijan that put dictator wannabe Aliyev in power. BP has close connections with MI6, so I'm assuming that that coup was one of ours as well as Britain's. Which makes it one of Clinton's.

Thai elephants, fired from their logging jobs and making themselves obnoxious begging in the streets, have now been given new careers as artists. That was a really sentence I just wrote, wasn't it? But true, of course, and their paintings are going for quite a bit of money. They're evidently rather like De Kooning's.

Moscow has its first Ikea store.

But does it have democracy? This is the question asked in two op-ed pieces in the Sunday New York Times. You know, will Putin operate democratically, will democracy win in this election. The obvious answer is no. Putin refused to run for office, accepting only a coronation. He has refused to campaign, refused to advertise, refused to debate and refused to issue a platform. There may be an election tomorrow, but there cannot be democracy without some sense of what is being voted for.

The real question is, who are those idiots in Russia who are reassured that a government run entirely by KGB hacks, as Putin is threatening to install, will clean up corruption? Who says the KGB isn't corrupt? You only have to look further up this page: Aliyev was KGB, and he sold out his country to British Petroleum and Standard Oil of Indiana.

Friday, March 24, 2000

Various people have been vandalizing oil pipelines in Nigeria, so the government has set up a special police force to shoot them (that's what it says, not arrest them, shoot them). So it must be about time to boycott Shell again.

Fun fact of the week: people whose penises have been amputated because of cancer report having phantom erections.

Tuesday, March 21, 2000

The spiritual leader of Israel's Shas party issued what can only be described as a fatwa against the education minister. I was expecting to hear today (no I wasn't, but let's say I was for the sake of argument) that Shas was expelled from the governing coalition or asked to repudiate the statements, since calling for the murder of your coalition partners is usually not considered to be (yes I know, but I'm going to do it anyway) kosher.

According to the TV Guide, the following two game shows, whose descriptions I am putting down verbatim, believe it or not, premiere Monday on the USA channel:

Crush: In this game show, contestants question three acquaintances and try to guess which one has a crush on them.

Friends or Lovers: Contestants must choose between their best friends and their lovers when the two clash, then go on vacation with the partner they chose.

The apocalypse is at hand, people, and it's listed in the TV Guide. Whatever tv executive thought, Hey, let's turn the Jerry Springer show into a game show! made more money last year than you did.

Other stupid ideas: a gentleman tried to smuggle a 16-inch boa constrictor in his underparts when he flew into Paris from Colombia. Ignoring the obvious is that a boa constrictor in your pocket joke, who puts something called a constrictor in their underwear?

Sunday, March 19, 2000

Taiwan just voted out of office the only foreign leader whose name Dubya could guess at in that quiz.

The British government plans to let insurance companies require genetic testing and charge people higher rates accordingly.

Clinton is to visit his 62nd country while in office. He must have the coolest passport in the world. India is throwing all its beggars out of wherever it is Clinton's going, Pakistan has banned all demonstrations forever, and god knows what Bangladesh is doing. At least he's not going to China where they always put all the dissidents in jail before the visit of any US official, leading you to ask why the Americans show up at all.

Answer: because they don't care.

The British government is planning to change some of its laws to deal more effectively with repeat criminals. So it's setting up focus groups, as is the Blair government's wont. With convicted burglars.

Robert Mugabe says that the British government is promoting homosexuality throughout the world and only Zimbabwe is standing in its way. Damn you to hell Hugh Grant, we will thwart your evil schemes. (I know Hugh Grant isn't gay, but doesn't he seem like he should be?) Personally I think Magabe's just over-compensating, like Tony Randall. I mean would a straight man rename Salisbury, Rhodesia as Harare, Zimbabwe? I think not. Actually, they both sound pretty gay now that I'm thinking about it.

Saturday, March 18, 2000

2 New York Magazine competitions

1/17/00, children's books:

Goldilocks Does the Three Bears.

Victoria's Secret Garden

Little Crackhouse on the Prairie

The Little Search Engine That Could

Charlotte's Website

So You're Going to Be Tried as an Adult

See Dick

Horton Hires a Ho

Fun with Old Refrigerators

The Caramel Sutra

Why Little Irving Has No Foreskin

Have You Smelled the Muffin Man?

Alice in Wonderbra

How the Leper Lost his Spots

Fear and Loathing at FAO Schwartz

Look, Mommy, a Drag Queen

My Day with Dad's New Trophy Wife

Noddy Goes Postal

Curious George W. Bush

Timothy Outs the Tooth Fairy

A Donner Family Christmas

The Hardy Boys Go To Amsterdam

Where are Waldo's Underpants?

My Mommy is My Sister (Chinatown for Children)

Stuart's Little (But It's Okay)

A Pokemon Passover

You Might Be Adopted If....


2/14/00: one-letter substitutions

You've Got Bail

Torched By an Angel

Love me or lease me

New York, the City that Never Sweeps

Boys will be boss

I'm OK, You're OJ

The first thing we do, let's bill all the lawyers

These are the mimes that try men's souls.

That will does not kill us makes us stranger.

A horse divided cannot stand.

The truth shall make you flee

Anything you lay can and will be used against you.

Hostile makeovers

Anna and the King of Spam

PMS Pinafore

[NOTE: More New York Magazine competitions here.]

Friday, March 17, 2000

Presidential candidates have been saying that it was a disgrace that military families were on food stamps. Yes it was, not because they are paid too little but because the USDA evidently calculates eligibility in such a way as to exclude all the free housing those people get.

I've received my census form and I'm trying to decide what race I'm going to be. I'm thinking of writing in "none". Or perhaps something from the Star Trek universe.

In 1941 the Census Bureau told the government where to find Japanese Americans for internment. I may have to rethink the idea of listing my race as Romulan.

The Finnish Prime Minister is taking a week's paternity leave.

So, to what extent was the Bosnian civil war a matter of ethnic conflict and to what extent a decision by Tudjman and Milosevic to carve it up? Well, the new Croatian president has discovered a secret hotline to Milosevic. If we're really lucky, there are tapes somewhere.

The Vermont "civil unions" look about as good as marriage to me, including a couple of elements I hadn't thought of. The funny part is that there will be a divorce procedure. Imagine the state making it difficult to get out of a gay marriage! One benefit: immunity from testifying against one's spouse, or civil co-unionist or whatever they're supposed to be called.

NY Governor Pataki has a gun idea I swear I've never heard of before and should have, indeed should have thought of myself: require that all guns sold be test-fired and their ballistics recorded.

Monday, March 13, 2000

A Swiss town got to vote on which immigrants get to become Swiss citizens, in one of the creepiest ideas to have come out of this creepiest of countries. The voter pamphlet included information that included the number of children and amount of savings of each applicant. In the end, most were voted down, including all of the Yugoslavs, and only Italians were voted in. A rep of the racist People's Party said, "The people from the Balkans are too far from our thinking." Religious hatred, ethnic cleansing, yeah I could see how that would be just too foreign for you,

Aborigines in Australian jails are to be allowed to eat emu and kangaroos.

Saturday, March 11, 2000

Italy's Court of Cassation says that sex in a parked car is part of the Italian way of romance and not a crime. Including sex in a parked car with a prostitute. Part of the problem is that Italy is a nation of mama's boys who don't leave home until they're married, so have no place to have sex. The other problem is that Italians drive really small cars.

The old Soviet navy dolphins have been sold to Iran.

Wednesday, March 08, 2000

Super Tuesday

Ah yes, Super Tuesday. I put on my cape and tights and flew to the polling station to vote. In the booth I changed back into a mild-mannered average citizen, putting on my glasses so that no one would recognize me (this is why I've gotten so little done lately -- I've been saving the world from Lex Luthor. Well, it's very time-consuming).

Actually, none of that was true, except for the bit about changing out of my tights in the polling booth. In reality, I limped to the polling station, having fallen downstairs the night before and severely boobooing my little toe (not so little at the moment) and coming [ ] close to hitting my head on concrete, in which case I'd have probably wound up voting for Gary Bauer unless I got medical attention in time.

Yup, falling downstairs is pretty embarrassing, right up there with those Canadian fighter pilots who were grounded because they were too fat for their parachutes to work.

Election results: the California people have voted themselves fucking idiots once again.

The Supreme Court, with its usual concern for due process and being innocent until proved guilty and all that shit, votes 7-2 that prosecutors can tell the jury that a defendant's testimony is untrustworthy because he attended his own trial, as is a) his constitutional right and b) mandatory in some states, and therefore heard other witnesses and could have tailored his testimony--absent any proof that this actually happened. Next up: the Court's decision on the "he has beady eyes, doesn't he?" prosecutorial theory.

Pat Robertson says of McCain: "That kind of anger, the concept that there are people who are agents of evil, that kind of thing isn't civility in politics." This is the guy who said God was going to destroy Florida because of the queers?

Bumper stickers seen yesterday: “Dog is my co-pilot.” “Oh, evolve!”

Tuesday, March 07, 2000

The Serbs, planning to sneak in just one last war before the US presidential elections, is blockading Montenegro. In fact, they're even preventing Serbian troops entering Montenegro, since the government there has promised real money (Deutschmarks, not dinars) to any soldier smuggling food in, and there have been many takers.

"Red Ken" Livingstone is running as an independent to be mayor of London, and I am very happy, although the Tory candidate seems to have sewn up the people-who-have-gay-sex-in-public vote by saying that police should look the other way.

The Italian Supreme Court has ruled that unwanted footsie does not constitute a sexual advance.

Dubya has received the endorsement of Canadian Prime Minister Jean Poutine, who doesn't actually exist. A Canadian satirist gave the news to Governor Smirk, who was very pleased and is not known for his knowledge of the names of world leaders. Poutine is a Canadian fast food chain.

The French government has refused to give even a symbolic one franc compensation to the victims of the Vichy regime (I'm not sure whether that's one franc each or whether they would have been expected to divide it) because that government is "null and void." So that's ok then. It gets better. According to the interior minister (who I used to have some respect for), the victims would suffer if the government admitted liability because they died for their country, which would now be identifying itself with the regime they fought against.

On a completely unrelated subject, an Austrian project to get ex-soldiers to speak to schools has caused some controversy because no one is going to screen out old SS and Wehrmacht.

Saturday, March 04, 2000

The governor of whatever that state is with the shooting by the 6-year old said that parents and teachers should take aim at the problem of violence.

The Yakutia region of Russia (no, I've never heard of it either) has made English the national language, to spur internet development.

Thatcher sends Pinochet a 500 pound silver plate in a design cast in 1588 to celebrate the defeat of the Armada. She refers to the defeat of Spain's attempt to impose "judicial colonialism" on Chile. Thatcher, of course, likes Pinochet so much because he assisted Britain to retain its hold over the Falkands-Malvinas. Not big on irony, is our Mrs. T.

Thursday, March 02, 2000


Clinton blames the Republicans for the 6 year old shooting the girl, because Congress failed to mandate trigger locks. If there had only been a law, those law-abiding folks in the crack house would no doubt have obeyed it. In tonight's debate, Bush raises the specter of a jackbooted trigger-lock police force breaking into people's homes to check for trigger locks.

Mexico, which was just cited as satisfactorily cooperating with the US on drugs, last summer stopped polygraphing its drugs police because they all kept failing.

Jacob Weisberg writes in Slate that Bradley thinks of the race as being only about his own self-worth, but has actually done his party the service of sharpening up Gore's campaigning skills. "Bradley leaves the race thinking of himself as Al Gore's better. Most of us will remember him as Al Gore's appetizer."

The Scottish Parliament holds its first debate in Gaelic in 600 years. On what subject, I don't know. Nobody does, since no one speaks Gaelic. They might as well have held it in Ferengi.

And Jack Straw, in another in a recent string of idiotic decisions, releases Pinochet.

NY Mag. competition. Group names:

A syzygy of Scrabble players.

A clique of online shoppers

A sprout of vegetarians

A shul of gefilte fish

A je ne sais quoi of affectation

A coveye of Quayles

A rush of addicts

A polyglot of parrots

A pac of lobbyists

An extra ration of oxymorons

A purge of supermodels

A curry of cabbies

A prenup of trophy wives

Wednesday, March 01, 2000

There is a challenge before the CA Supreme Court of the way in which primary ballots are to be counted. I've said all along that it was unconstitutional for the legislature to negate the effects of a ballot initiative, but then I am smarter than at least 7 members of the Court, so who knows. The problem is that the entirely symbolic vote I was thinking of could turn into a real vote, and that it could happen retroactively, depending on when the Court decides. What to do, what to do.

And a reminder: this is a primary to decide who will be the candidates for each party for each position. If, for example, you have a Congressional district like mine in which there are 3 Republicans running but only 1 Dem and a Natural Law, the only vote that means anything is for a Republican. One result of this, and I'd be curious to know what other people's experiences are of this, is that some of the junk mail I'm getting does not specify party. I've heard from 2 of those Republicans, and neither mentions it. Also, their material is pretty broad. My mother's experience is the same, but we both live in districts that are nearly equally D & R. What I'm wondering is whether registered Republicans are getting different material from these candidates that a) specifies their party, b) goes more into Republican issues.

Khaddafy has the right idea: he just abolished Libya's central government.

Russia is trying to get countries to send it nuclear waste for dumping an reprocessing (and pay for the service, of course). Who do they think they are, South Carolina?

Calif. Governor Gray Davis has now officially gone mad with power. Who would have thought. He has said that all judges he appoints are obligated to share his views and resign if they suddenly decide that they oppose the death penalty or support gay marriage.
Indonesia, with a singular lack of understanding of the history of the twentieth century, has hired Henry Kissinger as an adviser on the transition to democracy.

When McCain attacked the Christian right, he specifically exempted homophobe and general asshole James Dobson, presumably as part of the price for his endorsement by homophobe and general asshole and dwarf Gary Bauer. Also, one of McCain's major supporters, Lindsey "No it's not a girl's name" Graham, who you learned to hate during the Clinton impeachment, denounced Dubya's visit to Bob Jones University, although Graham himself has an honorary degree from it. Incidentally, why is the main controversy about BJU (and doesn't a university with such an informal name as Bob sound like a laidback Santa Cruz kind of a place?) the anti-catholicism of its presidents rather than its racism?

Molly Ivins's current column takes Bush to task for his commercials saying that he "passed" a patient's bill of rights, which actually passed over his dead body and after he vetoed the first one, it was passed again with a veto-proof majority and went into law without him signing it.

Robert Mugabe, the increasingly asinine president of Zimbabwe, has been touring the flood damage in two helicopters. There are only 3 helicopters doing actual rescue work. There are also a couple of dozen air force copters, but they're all in Congo fighting that stupid proxy war.

From the wonderful world of sharia, the 3 northern Nigeria states that recently passed sharia just revoked it after quite predictable religious rioting. And Saudi Arabia executes someone, by beheading, for sorcery. (Note to Daily Telegraph: when you say someone is executed for sorcery, a little more detail might be appropriate. If anyone sees anything, please pass it on).

Bob Herbert reports that Dubya said "I know how hard it is to put food on your family."