Friday, June 16, 2006

Down By the Seaside

Much as I'd love to leave "God Has Fucked Me in the Ass" up at the top o'the blog for the next week, I feel it incumbent upon me to let you know that I will be incommunicado through next week, due to the yearly beach trip with the fambly.

Be excellent to each other.

"God Has Fucked Me In the Ass So Many Times..."

Cornelia Read has an excellent post over at the NakedAuthors gang-blog about swearing in mystery fiction, or, to put it more accurately, some people's rather odd reactions to it, considering.

But as this memo from the creators of South Park to the MPAA shows us, everything's relative.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Worst Person In The World, Part III

Over at The Sideshow, Avedon Carol nails the answer to the question of why the 9/11 Widows have Ann Coulter's panties in such a bunch. In a nutshell, Coulter's upset because, in Coulter's own words, the 9/11 Widows aren't somebody that Coulter and her ilk are "allowed to respond to."

If they have a point to make about the 9-11 commission, about how to fight the war on terrorism, how about sending in somebody we are allowed to respond to. No-No-No. We always have to respond to someone who just had a family member die.

Of course, to the Bush Cult, "respond" doesn't involve engaging any points made in any meaningful way. "Respond," in the Cult's lexicon, means "to attack personally by questioning their motives, their sincerity, and/or their patriotism, thereby stifling debate." Do that to widows, and people, shall we say, object.

Fortunately, it sees as if Coulter's even gone too far for the likes of Rick Santorum, a guy so loopy he can't tell the difference between homosexuality and bestiality. In a recent interview, Santorum backed away from Coulter so fast he left skidmarks:

MICHAEL SMERCONISH: With regard to a certain group of 9/11 widows Ann Coulter in her new book says, 'I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much.' I'm appalled by that. Are you appalled by that?


SEN. SANTORUM: Probably more then you are. I mean this is ridiculous. I mean Ann is what? Ann is someone who is out there trying to sell books and, you know appeal to a certain audience and I guess she's doing it.

SMERCONISH: But you're not in that audience to which she's appealing?

SANTORUM: No, no, I don't consider myself, I'm not a part of that audience at all that's really on the edge as far as I'm concerned, maybe over the edge.

SMERCONISH: Yes, over the edge. I applaud you, I applaud you for saying that.

Even the loonies over at (some of them at least) think Crazy Ann has gone too far.:

It is high time to "excommunicate" Ann Coulter from the conservative movement. So I am issuing this call to the conservative movement across the country: Boycott Ann Coulter! Do not buy her book. Do not attend her speaking engagements. My goal is to see her new book fall off the New York Times Top 10 Bestseller List very soon.

How nuts do you have to be before you've lost Rick Santorum and We may finally have an answer.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

More Good News From the World of Science

Beer and pizza can help prevent prostate cancer:

"PORTLAND, Ore. - For many men, a finding by Oregon researchers sounds too good to be true: An ingredient in beer seems to help prevent prostate cancer, at least in lab experiments.

The trouble is you'd theoretically have to drink about 17 beers a day for any potential benefit. And no one's advising that.

Researchers at Oregon State University say that the compound xanthohumol, found in hops, inhibits a protein in the cells along the surface of the prostate gland. The protein acts like a switch that turns on a variety cancers, including prostate cancer.

Dr. Richard N. Atkins, CEO of the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, said the experiments are encouraging and "perhaps men could take it in pill form someday."He noted that lycopene, an ingredient in tomatoes, and thus also in tomato sauce, has previously been linked to prostate cancer prevention."It's every man's dream to hear that beer and pizza can prevent cancer," he said. "However, the 17 beers and four large pizzas needed to get enough xanthohumol and lycopene to help prevent prostate cancer is unfortunately not advised."

Damn. There's always a catch.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Finally, I May Be Doing Something Right

Coffee May Protect Liver From Alcohol, Study Says

In a study of more than 125,000 people, one cup of coffee per day cut the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis by 20 percent. Four cups per day reduced the risk by 80 percent. The coffee effect held true for women and men of various ethnic backgrounds.

Thank You, Captain Obvious

Autopsy: Al-Zarqawi had internal injuries

Yeah, a couple of 500 pound bombs'll do that.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Weird America: Vacation Spots You Might Have Missed Without This Column

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Summertime, and the livin' is easy. Fish are jumpin', etc.

And with summer comes that great American tradition, the traveling vacation, wherein we pack up the family, stuff our bags and vehicles to the bursting point, and head out in search of adventure, edification and/or the perfect tan.

Which means that, once again, it's time for this column's annual roundup of vacation destinations you might never have considered otherwise -- the offbeat, the unusual and the just plain weird.

Many vacationers, seeking to enhance their cultural awareness, take vacations where they can visit the world's great museums and see the great works that have inspired and edified mankind. Paris. Milan. St. Petersburg (the one in Russia).

But right here in America, we have the world's only museum dedicated to the preservation and display of bad art. It's called, appropriately enough, the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) and it's located, appropriately enough, in a basement, just outside the men's room of the Dedham Community Theater near Boston.

MOBA was born, according to its Web site, the night founder Scott Wilson pulled a painting from a trash can. That painting, "Lucy in the Field with Flowers," became the "cornerstone" of MOBA's collection. And, let me tell you, it's pretty darned bad. You can see it online at MOBA's Web site, along with such truly abysmal creations as "Madonna and Child III" (which, according to the catalog, "places the spiritual above the physical through careful disregard for details of the human form") and "Sunday On the Pot With George" (need I say more?)

India has the Taj Mahal, which was, according to historians, built by one of the Mogul emperors as a monument to his late wife. Florida has its own monument to lost love: the Coral Castle, an enormous sculpture garden carved out of more than 1,100 tons of coral rock by a fellow named Ed Leedskalnin.

Back in 1913, Ed's sweetie, Agnes Scuffs, backed out of their engagement on the day before the wedding. Now, lesser men would have eased their sorrows in booze, drugs or other fast living. But Ed, of hardy Latvian stock, decided to build a monument to his faithless sweetie out of coral, using only simple hand tools.

It took him more than 28 years. When it was finished, each section of the Castle's wall measured 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, 3 feet thick, and weighs more than 58 tons. The feat, according to the attraction's Web site, has "baffled engineers and scientists." And, no doubt, psychiatrists.

What would this yearly feature be without a roundup of freakishly large objects? Like the World's Largest Catsup Bottle in Collinsville, Ill. The folks who made Brooks' Original catsup built the 170-foot, bottle-shaped water tower in 1949 to advertise their product, which was made in Collinsville.

The plant and the brand of catsup are gone, alas, but in 1995, a group of concerned citizens saved the old tower from demolition and restored it to its original glory, so that future generations could look up and say, "yup, that's one big-ass bottle, all right."

If you've spent any time thinking about becoming a nudist (and really, who hasn't?), you've certainly wondered: How will I be able to tell what time it is if I can't wear a wristwatch? Well, friends, if you're a denizen or visitor to the "clothing optional" Sun Aura Nudist Resort in Roselawn, Ind., you can always use the sundial. It's shaped like a 63-foot lady's leg. A rather shapely one, too.

The friendly folks at Sun Aura don't require that you disrobe while contemplating the march of time as illustrated by an enormous, severed limb, but if you do want to, they thoughtfully put up a sign to remind you as you're leaving that "you must be clothed beyond this point."

The popularity of the "Jurassic Park" movies shows that many Americans never really grew out of their childhood fascination with dinosaurs. Another uniquely American obsession, particularly down South, is the Civil War, or, as we sometimes call it, the War of Northern Aggression. So it was, I suppose, inevitable that someone would combine the two.

Dinosaur Kingdom, near Natural Bridge, Va., is an attraction that asks the intriguing question: What would happen if the Union Army, circa 1863, encountered a valley full of living dinosaurs? The answer is: nothing good, at least for the Bluecoats. The park contains a life-size fiberglass tableaux of Yankees being snatched off their horses or chased down and devoured by T-Rexes, Allosaurs, and other prehistoric nasties.

Yeee-hah! If we'd had us a few of them, Pickett's Charge would have gone a little different, I reckon.

If anyone ever wonders why I love this country, well, some of the many reasons can be found above. At the height of their powers, I'm willing to bet that Soviet Russia or Red China never produced anything so wonderfully weird as a giant leg-shaped sundial or a park full of Yankee-eating dinosaurs.

Have a good vacation, and God bless America.