February 28, 2004

Taken Out Behind The Log Cabin

Memo to the Log Cabin Republicans:
Hey folks. I've been watching the news for the past couple of weeks and I couldn't help but wonder how you were dealing with recent events surrounding the gay marriage debate. It's been a real barn-burner, what with San Francisco and New Paltz, NY marrying off gay couples as fast as they can say, "I do."
Unfortunately, the news from within your own party doesn't seem to be quite as good. President Bush, your party's leader, just sold you out faster than Martha Stewart's Imclone stock. Remember how he talked so much about "compassionate conservatism" and "the big tent" when you were helping to get him elected back in 2000? Doesn't that seem like a long time ago?
I also note with some amusement the press release, still linked to from the front page of your web site, congratulating Arnold Schwarzenegger on his victory in the California recall election. He sold you down the river last week, too. Even went so far as to call gay marriages "an imminent risk to civil order." Good thing you went to bat for him.
You really don't get it, do you? The other members of "your" party want you around about as much as they want a flaming case of gonorrhea. All of this talk about "inclusion" and "compassion" is just that, a bunch of talk. Dubya knows very well what tune he has to dance to if he's going to keep some right-wing nut-job like Pat Robertson from pulling a Nader on him. There's nothing noble about supporting people who think your very existence is abhorrent just because you happen to agree on tax policy or national defense.

Posted by Dan at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2004

President Bush Has A Job for You

Jobs are turning into the big campaign issue early in this presidential election year. Many americans are unemployed or underemployed and they want to know what the presidential contenders plan to do about it.

Even though the recovery in the stock market and corporate earnings have yet to create new jobs in meaningful numbers, President Bush has stated that the economy will probably create 2.6 million some number of new jobs in 2004. Obviously if you want to get in on the 2004 Bush Economic Recovery, the time is now. To assist you in getting one of the 2.6 million new jobs that the economy willmight create this year, we've posted this handy job application.

Posted by Dan at 08:43 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2004

Use The TASER! Use The TASER!

It was certainly a satisfying sight. I have friends and colleagues who lost their jobs when Enron collapsed. I know a couple of people who lost a substantial chunk of their life's savings. And, like everyone else, I read about people who lost nearly everything when Enron's stock became worthless.

This is obviously far from over. Enron's financing schemes were so complex and its internal oversight so weak that there's plenty of doubt as to whether prosecutors will be able to convince 12 randomly selected people that Jeff Skilling committed the 35 crimes with which he's been charged. Nevertheless, it felt good to watch FBI agents lead him away in handcuffs. And after two years of waiting, you've got to enjoy the small victories when they come.

I hate to sound like a shill, but if you haven't read The Smartest Guys in the Room, it really is well worth the time.

Posted by Dan at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2004

Black Helicopters Soon To Be Available In Pinstripes

Now available: a bold new fashion statement for the beleaguered members of the Red Sox Nation who've come to believe that George Steinbrenner is in cahoots with the Trilateral Commission, the Illuminati or possibly the Dark Prince, himself. Commissioner Selig wants you to believe that the "length and complexity" of A-Rod's contract and the "quality of the talent moving in both directions" justifies the blockbuster Soriano-for-Rodriguez-and-a-boat-load-of-cash-that-the-Yankees-don't-even-need trade. Just like they want you to believe that Aaron Boone, a career .270 hitter in a 2 for 16 ALCS slump, just happened to knock Tim Wakefield's first pitch into next week to end yet another post-season dream for the Fenway Faithful.

You know better!

You understand the vast conspiracy to keep Red Sox fans down. You know that the "Curse of the Bambino" is actually a carefully cultivated myth that conceals a nefarious plot involving the CIA, the liberal media establishment and most likely the Russian mafia. Dan Shaughnessy is on to something, but his superiors are forcing him to keep a lid on things!

Now you can show your Red Sox pride while protecting yourself from the powerful mind control rays used by the Evil Empire to control their hidden army of sports journalists and major league baseball executives. Introducing the new Tin Foil Red Sox Cap:

The Tin Foil Red Sox Cap blocks all harmful mind control rays surreptitiously broadcast by the YES Network, including the ultra-powerful "WTF Rays" that caused Grady Little to leave Pedro in to start the 8th inning of game 7. Order yours today! Operators are standing by.

Posted by Dan at 10:01 PM | Comments (5)

February 16, 2004

It's Kind Of A Pain Rush...

I thought most people outgrew stupid drinking fads like snorting alcohol shortly after leaving college. Now, some guy has even invented a device that allows you to vaporize a shot of liquor for inhaling. Why not just take this to its logical conclusion and knock yourself over the head with the empty liquor bottle?

Posted by Dan at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2004

Reflections On Yet Another Vegas Expedition

I had the good fortune to be able to spend a fun-filled weekend in fabulous Las Vegas. As is always the case, I was dead tired when I returned and spent two days feeling ill from exhaustion. I'm over that now, so I am finally able to collect my thoughts and put them into words.

  • I think I really like Song Airlines. They didn't have all of their fancy new gadgets installed on the plane that flew us out, but it was new and clean. The flight crew was very pleasant and always happy to bring you another drink. One downside is that nothing is free except soda. A corresponding upside, however, is that they don't skimp on stuff that they're overcharging for.
  • THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay is awesome. Our room had a separate living room, two enormous TV's, one-and-a-half baths and a flat screen TV in the full bathroom. This is what it means to live well in Vegas.
  • The time between when you first land in Vegas and when you finally get to the gaming tables moves more slowly than any other time known to mankind. I'm sure that some women would argue that time moves more slowly when you're in labor, but I have my doubts. Even the joy of childbirth would seem to me to pale in comparison to that magical moment when the dealer slides your first two hundred bucks worth of chips to you and says, "Good luck, sir." It's a moment of pure elation.
  • Speaking of elation, I offer to you the three stages of any weekend trip to Vegas:
    1. Stage 1: Elation The Friday night that you arrive in town is always the high point of any Vegas trip. Everything is shiny and new and you've got plenty of money and enough adrenaline running through your veins to revive an African elephant from a heroin overdose. You attack the gaming tables with gusto and down the free drinks as fast as the waitress can bring them. The next thing you know, it's 6:00 AM and it's time to get breakfast and perhaps sleep for an hour or two.
    2. Stage 2: Disenchantment By dinner time on Saturday, the combined events of your trip begin to weigh on you. You're running on two or three hours sleep. Since you woke up in town, you hit the tables and the drinks earlier on Saturday. This means that you've most likely already suffered through your first bad trip to the tables (the one that doesn't require a trip to the cage before you mope out of the casino with your tail between your legs) plus you're dehydrated and tired. The lights suddenly aren't as pretty and you're struck by how annoying the constant ringing of the slot machines can be. You have dinner and try to rally, but you find that you're playing not to lose rather than playing to win. Eventually, you give up and either plant yourself in a bar or go to your room and try to sleep.
    3. Stage 3: Redemption You wake up on Sunday in a funk. You've slept less than 8 hours out of the past 48, your digestive system is a complete wreck, and you're feeling mildly delirious. And it's the combination of that delirium and the realization that your hours in Vegas are numbered that suddenly snaps you out of it. You recall that you're in Vegas to have fun and you realize that you wasted a good chunk of Saturday being mopey and playing conservative. You take a few shots to steady yourself and attack the table with renewed vigor. Some of the best winning streaks in Vegas happen on Sundays because players throw caution to the wind and go for broke. By the time you have to leave for the airport, you may or may not be ahead, but you remember why you bring your entertainment dollar to Vegas. You take a cab to the airport and check in and drag yourself through the terminal and collapse into a chair in the gate area. And as you stumble down the jetway and the ringing of the slot machines fades away, you know that there will be a next time because you love Las Vegas.

  • It seems that Ralph Engelstad finally realized what a waste it was to let Imperial Palace languish in its dumpy state and spent some money to liven the place up. The new blackjack tables look really nice and the dealers are at least 50% less surly. By 5:00 AM, the pit boss was happy to cut us a comp for free breakfast.
  • On a similar note, Sahara has really improved their buffet since the last time I was there. Nothing makes a meal like 2 pounds of cold crab legs topped off with a slice of cheesecake.
  • Nothing can make four relatively sane, normally trusting people believe that they are being driven into the middle of the desert to be robbed and/or killed than a cab driver who mutters to himself during a long ride to a place you've never been before. Trust me on this one.
  • Turns out that the Air Supply guys are still alive. The show they put on at the Suncoast was pretty entertaining, but Graham and Russell were only part of the show. Among my noteworthy observations:
    • The bass player they're touring with looks like they kidnapped him from Ozzfest. Seriously, who expected to see a bass solo in the middle of an Air Supply concert?
    • Hardly a surprise, but funny nonetheless: During all of their sappiest 80's love songs (Making Love Out of Nothing at All, All Out of Love, One That You Love, etc.) they women in the crowd were singing along and swaying and swooning. The men tended to sit stiffly with their arms crossed...
    • ... except for the balding, middle-aged guy who bolted down from the back section as soon as a seat in the front opened up. He was singing along, word for word, and crying during the slow songs. There are strange people in the world.
    • It was pretty easy to tell the difference between the people who were attending on comped tickets versus the people who paid to be there. When the first set ended, about half the crowd headed for the exits, even though the house lights didn't come back up and the hardcore fans were already chanting for the encore.
    • The band was very gracious after the show, hanging around to take pictures and sign autographs for all of the hardcore fans. Russell though he was going to get past my friend Carol with just a handshake. He was wrong, of course.

  • The Luxor is still an awful, awful place to gamble. Their $15 two-deck blackjack game took my money faster than I knew what hit me.
  • When you need a couple of rounds of giant kamikaze shots to get yourself going in the morning, go to Claude's Bar at the Golden Nugget. They'll hook you up.
  • I enjoyed the greatest hot craps run of my life on Sunday afternoon at the Las Vegas Club. No exaggeration, the shooter kept the dice for an hour and fifteen minutes and made nine or ten points. Serious craps players will understand what I mean when I say that my anxiety completely shifted from whether I had too much money on the table to whether I had enough money on the table. To kill the streak, the house suddenly brought in a new stick man. He wasn't wearing a dealer's uniform, he was dressed in street clothes. He was angry. When one die caremed off of one of the numerous stacks of chips on the table, he grabbed it out of midair and chastised the shooter for not getting it all the way to the far wall. I should have taken down all of my place bets at that very moment, but I was holding out on the hope that the shooter could pick up one more point and punish the house for sending this asshole to the table. But, alas, he was The Closer and the streak ended.

So there you have it. The short version of what I learned on this trip to Vegas. Your thoughts and reactions are welcome.

Posted by Dan at 04:59 PM | Comments (2)