Tuesday, December 20, 2005


"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires-a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution. "

Who said it? Click HERE to find out.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bad Santas Indeed

From A Dark Planet: A group of 40 people dressed in Santa Claus outfits, many of them drunk, went on a rampage through Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, robbing stores, assaulting security guards and urinating from highway overpasses, police said Sunday.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Trevanian, R.I.P.

Rodney Whitaker, who wrote under the pen name Trevanian, has died.

When I was a yoot, I read and reread Trevanian's books five or six times each. He was probably best known for his novel The Eiger Sanction which was made into one of the more fun 70's Clint Eastwood flicks.
The movie was certainly memorable, but there was no way to capture on film that certain atmosphere that Trevanian brought to his spy adventures, that sense of never being quite sure when he was putting you on. I mean, how could you resist a character like art collector/assassin Jonathan Hemlock, who worked for a shadowy (literally) intelligence boss named Yurassis Dragon? (say that last name fast if you don't know why it makes me laugh out loud).
My absolute favorite Trevanian character was Nicolai Hel, the half-Japanese assassin of Trevanian's classic Shibumi. Killer. Philosopher. Lover. Wine connisseur. No offense to Ian Fleming, but Nicolai Hel was cooler than James Bond by a factor of 10.
Trevanian's books had style. They had wit. They had great and often bizarre characters. They had hot sex. They were, above all, huge fun to read.
As it turns out, Whitaker wrote under at least five pseudonyms. I'm sure that he published great work under all of them.
But it's Trevanian I'll miss.

Bill O'Reilly's War on New Year's

Latest newspaper column:

As I’m sure you’ve heard (because he’s incapable of shutting up about it), talk show host and falafel aficionado Bill O’Reilly is really, really cheesed off about what he calls the “War on Christmas.”

He and his followers have their knickers in a big ol’ Yuletide wad over the fact that some retailers are using the words “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” at this, the most festive and financially lucrative time of the year.

According to O’Reilly, there are some people out there who hate, hate, HATE the idea of anyone saying “Merry Christmas.” These people, as I understand O’Reilly’s argument, have formed some sort of sinister cabal and infiltrated the highest levels of our society with the sole mission of destroying the entire holiday as revenge for the offense. So Big Bill has decided to declare his own war on anyone who dares go about with “Happy Holidays” on his lips.

He’s even makin’ his own list and checkin’ it twice. O’Reilly recently went on the air and proposed a “coalition of the willing” to fight against this “secular movement.” He also railed against what he called the “defamation pipeline,” which apparently consists of “far left smear sites.”

And how does Bill propose to plug up this pipeline and, in doing so, help save Christmas? Two words: enemies list. He promised to post the names of the offenders on his Web site, billoreilly.com, so that people would, uh, know who they are, I guess.

Boy, nothing says “Christmas” to me like a good, old-fashioned blacklist. I get all misty just thinking about it.

(By the way, I looked. I’m not there. Dang.)

Actually, I’ve never actually met anyone who was truly offended by the term “Merry Christmas,” so I have no objective evidence that such people exist outside of O’Reilly’s head. I have met several Jewish people who have gently corrected me when I forgot and wished them a happy celebration of a holiday that they don’t celebrate.

But O’Reilly apparently could give a rats’ hindquarters what a bunch of Jews think. His reply to a Jewish caller on his show was: “You have a federal holiday based on the philosopher Jesus. And you don’t wanna hear about it? Come on, [caller] — if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel.” Not that there’s any anti-Semitism there, oh no.

Actually, what I think Bill O’Reilly’s really up to isn’t a war to save Christmas. No, I think that’s just a smokescreen for the real O’Reilly agenda: the War on New Year’s. Think about it. The phrase “Happy Holidays,” the one that so enrages O’Reilly, refers to the entire season, both Christmas and the New Year’s holiday that comes the next week.

Now, Christmas is a wonderful time, what with the tidings of great joy to all people and chestnuts roasting on an open fire and all that. But New Year’s is an important part of the holidays as well. It provides time for reminiscence on the year past, time for sober reflection (or, if your New Year’s Eve is like mine, deeply hung-over reflection) on what’s to come.

O’Reilly and his ilk, apparently, want no part of reminiscence or reflection or Auld Lang Syne or any of that commie pinko claptrap. They hate New Year’s so much that they don’t want to include it in the greeting.

Why, Bill? Why do you hate New Year’s? Did some horrible trauma happen to you on New Year’s Eve? Do you not get invited to the good parties? Do you end up spending every New Year’s Eve alone in your apartment, slugging down Irish whiskey while watching “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” and weeping softly to yourself as the ball drops? Is it that you have more than the usual trouble getting a date for New Year’s after that whole sexual harassment thing?

Folks, here’s what we need to do at this holiday season. Someone needs to take one for the team and invite Bill O’Reilly to their house for New Year’s. He’s got a contact e-mail address on his website, and I know he’d be glad to hear from you.

Invite the big guy over. Show him a good time. Get him loaded. Put a little paper hat on him and give him a noisemaker. Have some good-looking young lady give him a big ol’ sloppy kiss at midnight, then whisk her into the Witness Protection program before he gets hold of her phone number.

Show Bill O’Reilly that New Year’s has its charms too, so the phrase “Happy Holidays” doesn’t make him so all-fired angry and bitter any more. I’d do it, but I’m, uh, washing my hair that night. But I’d appreciate it if someone would ask him about putting me on the blacklist. That would be cool.

And in the meantime, don’t worry about Christmas. It’ll be fine. Like the Whos down in Whoville say: “Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp.”

Have a merry one of whatever you celebrate .

Dusty Rhoades lives, writes, practices law, and celebrates in Carthage.