Opinions, Etc. 12.17.03


In Memoriam:  Keith Magnuson, who was a reminder of a time when hockey actually mattered to more than 23000 people in Chicago.  Thanks, Wirtzes.  Thanks a helluva lot.

Despite the appearance, I actually hate doing In Memoria to lead a column off.  It’s a bummer, really.  But I do think that my motives are entirely sincere in those regards.  I do it to honor people.  It’s a depressing thing, but death is often the only time people we may have forgotten about get into the news.  Besides, we already have the mourning put on here in Black, so it’s a convenience.

And my stomach still isn’t settled, although it’s definitely better than yesterday.  The good news is that I finally got my medical card in.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a doctor’s appointment until after the first of the year.  You know, I would have put hard cash down on me going batshit before getting another ulcer, given the fact that I had acid blockers but no Lamictal.  Just goes to show what fate can throw at you.  Just like what that bitch has done with the Damn Vaninator; I think the thermostat’s gone wonky on it, so I’ve got to take that in tomorrow (fortunately, Podunk, Nebraska has a Ford dealer).  Of course, I also have to be at work at about five tomorrow morning as well, something I preferred to have avoided for the rest of my life.  Yuck.

And what has fate thrown at me to work with?  Let’s have a look…


Gee, Dubbaya thinks that Saddam should get the death penalty.  Gee, too bad he’s not going to be tried in Texas and you’re still governor there, huh, Dubbaya?  Then it’d be a lead-pipe cinch.  Talk about state-endorsed mass murder.

Now, before every neocon gets their hackles up, I’m actually in favor of the death penalty.  What I’m not in favor of is using the death penalty the way Dubbaya did when he was TexGov.  There’s such a thing as “excess”, and the assembly-line at Huntsville got ridiculous.  Everyone outside the US gets all huffy that we’re one of the few First World countries with the death penalty, and all Dubbaya did when he had his fingers around the pardon pen and didn’t bother using them was give them an excuse to bitch and moan about how “uncivilized” we are.  Between that and the way he pissed on the UN viz. Iraq, he’s done more to damage the image of America than anyone since Nixon.

(And, oh, by the way, thanks for the “anti-spam” bill that you just signed.  What a complete put-up job.  It’s a license to spam, and destroys the strong state laws that exist on a lot of the books.  Yet another bend-over to business.)

Like I tried to say in the BlackLog that got sent to /dev/null on Sunday*, have Saddam tried by the World Court and make everything public.  Of course, that will include the links between the Reagan Administration and the attempted genocide of the Kurds, among other things, but, oh, well, that’s the risks you take.  That’s why I’m saying that Saddam doesn’t survive a month in custody.  Someone’s going to find him hanging from his cell soon.

* – Okay, it didn’t, but with the state of Black right now, you never know.


What must all of the hardcore racists be thinking about their former hero Strom Thurmond?  Well, you can say that he was following in the old Southern tradition of porking the servants.  And, well, it was 1925, and willing white girls down there just didn’t exist, and we all know how hot-blooded those Negro girls are, and he was in the flush of manhood, and…

Well, it was common back then, almost as common as during slavery.  There was an entire vocabulary developed around the concept of having “Negro blood”, after all, since that’s how the law defined whether or not you were slave or free.  And think about this:  even to this day, a mixed relationship is considered in a great many circles to be “forbidden fruit”.  So what you essentially have here is a twenty-two-year-old single guy presented with an incredible temptation in 1) a sixteen-year-old girl 2) who works for the family as a servant 3) and who also happens to be of a different race in an era and area where miscegenation was, to put it mildly, frowned upon, even if it was a white man and black woman.  Hell, this is straight out of an Alice Walker book.  And the male protagonist was a guy who said that he kept a baseball bat around for the moment of his death because they’d have to beat down his hard-on in order to close the coffin lid.

Kudos to the Thurmond family for not denying the story, though, because he never denied it and acknowledged paternity (although not the responsibilities that came with it, apparently).  It’s pretty hard on a family when their skeletons get knocked from the closet by the Washington Post, and they were really dignified in their response.

That’s really all I have to say about that.  I’ll just let the irony of a guy who once ran for President on a racist platform having a child of color wash over me.


Former Illinois Governor Jim Ryan finally got indicted today on corruption charges stemming from the abuses he tolerated, or possibly encouraged, when he was IllSecState in the 90s.  All started out with the SecState’s office giving out CDLs to people who you wouldn’t trust on a tricycle, if memory serves.  Of course, being indicted after leaving office is a tradition for Illinois governors; very few have escaped that net over the last half-century or so.  And people bitch about Chicago being a center of corruption.  Hell, I worked for Springfield for six and a half years; the people down there are so bent it’s ridiculous.  I only have one question:  can we hook this into Halliburton and Enron someway so that Dubbaya can get whacked too?


So there’s a recommendation going to the Food and Drug Administration that RU-486, the “morning after” pill, be made OTC for those moments when you just aren’t sure if the condom didn’t break or women find themselves in bed with something that looks like he was a model for something in Neverwinter Nights.  Of course, I’m totally in favor of this, as I am with all forms of birth control.  It’s already available OTC in over thirty countries, and has proven itself effective and very safe.  But, like with all forms of birth control, the right-to-lifers are coming out in force against the recommendation, saying that it’s abortion at the check-out lanes.

To them, I just have to ask one thing:  Strom Thurmond was against abortion too, but if RU-486 was available OTC in 1925, I think he might have approved of it, just that once.


Who cares?  Just wait for the Extended DVD 4-Disc Edition like I did with the first two films.


Erhardt wrote me back and said that it wasn’t conscious on his part, but there was definite Jonathan Swift influence in his Black column.  Thus proving that 411 columnists have brains, which is more than can be said for some sites.


I know it’s been a while since I’ve had a YAM, but I knew that, sometime, someone from AOL would come through.  It’ll be a shorty, since it’s been a while and I’m out of practice.  Ladies, gentlemen, and Scotsman, MicR107:

dayum,since when does your paranoid rantings about the conspiracies translate into commentary about wrestling. keep those dumb, lefty, america hating , treasonous comments to yourself and stick to wrestling. not everyone is on the fringe kooky left like you. i am so sock of left wing lunatics. thanks for letting me rant
God Bless the USA, God Bless George Bush. Ooh-Rah

Yeah, a little weak for your typical YAM, I have to admit, but the use of the word “treasonous” threw it over the top.  Okay, bitch, here’s my normal challenge to anyone who says that I 1) hate America or 2) am treasonous:  show me your DD214 and I’ll show you mine.  I served, you didn’t, end of argument.

As for when my “paranoid rantings about the conspiracies translate into commentary about wrestling”, I’d say that happened around the second week of November, 2000, back on The Shooters (RIP).  You must be new, or one of Nem’s fans who he brought over here.  Everyone knows that it’s been part of the entertainment of your typical Eric S column for a long time now, and that people expect me to say stuff like this.  With the news about Saddam still warm on Monday, I felt it was necessary to include it in the Tuesday column rather than wait until today.  So get up to speed, you little twit.

And I will forever wonder exactly why you’re “sock” of left-wing lunatics.


Pride of Place goes this time to Unca Ed his own self, who decided to respond to my last column over at Fleabag’s (and if he doesn’t change my e-mail address at the bottom of those columns, I’m coming to Hilton Head to put a cap in his ass):

Sorry you’re having trouble with the gummint inspectors.  They seem to exist as a subspecies determined to make the rest of our lives a living hell, and get to dun us for the privilege.

I don’t mind inspectors; after all, I was one for six and a half years.  What I mind are inspectors who are on petty little power trips like these yokels.  It not only makes my life hell, but it makes me ashamed on top of it.

I’m a firm believer that everyone should know just how the food he puts in his face got there in the first place.  To that end, I suggest mandatory tours of packing plants and other food processing facilities so that everybody knows just where that neatly cello-wrapped tray of Tyson chicken parts came from.

You are a sadist, Ostermeyer.

Like I did, growing up.

Which explains a lot, I think.

My eighth grade class took a tour of the Arpeako Meats plant in Rochester, NY back in 1962.  We’d been reading Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” and sweet old Miz Acker decided we needed a little “perspective” on the subject; hence the tour.  It was a real eye-opener, let me tell you.  I’m a carnivore, and proud of it, but the image of gore-slathered pork cuttings and snippets being augered into a big shiny machine emblazoned with the logo “Frank-O-Matic” is one I haven’t forgotten.

Well, it’s become a lot better since then, thanks to advances in sanitation, disinfection, bacteriology, and punishments for bribery.

My wife’s family raise beef cattle, mainly Simmenthal-Hereford-Angus, and regularly put a steer up for slaughter.  Believe me it’s way better to leave the killing, bleeding, cutting and packaging to professionals than to do it yourself.  I know, I’ve done it.

I want to put on one extension to your suggestion:  everyone should have to visit a beef slaughterhouse and have to collect a brucellosis sample.  Trust me, once you’ve had to stand under a half ton of bovine in its death thrashes trying to collect blood from a slash in its neck, you’ll never bitch about your job ever again.

BFM, under normal conditions, would get the God Slot, but, hell, when Ostermeyer starts talking about killing cattle…

What the f*ck is a metrosexual anyway?  Is it one of those words that everyone uses but nobody really knows what it means?

Pretty much.  It used to be called “guys being in touch with their feminine side”, but some gimp in England a number of years ago decided we needed a buzzword.  He coined “metrosexual”, let it ferment under the radar, then saw it explode here in the US with Queer Eye‘s popularity.

I definitely gotta include The Pride Of Dartmouth His Own Self, Elliot Olshansky, in the fun.  He wrote me before yesterday’s column, and threw in some great comments that definitely merit inclusion:

Now, if I know you, you’re going to have more than a bit to say about the Saddam capture.  I just hope you’ll treat it the same
way you did when his sons got killed – the bastards deserved it, and there’s no way this should be looked at as anything but a Good Thing.

I decided to avoid that particular perspective.  The fact of his capture was really a non-issue.  His capture was never a goal of the military action, unlike, say, the Bosnia action, where the Serb leaders were definite targets.  His deposition was a goal, though.

If anyone’s going to bitch about how it guarantees four more years of Dubya, here’s a little news flash:  It was already guaranteed.  To be honest, the Dems might even benefit from this long-term.

If it gets people to focus on 1) the economy and 2) the fact that there are kids dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for rather dubious reasons, if not outright lies, then it does benefit the good guys.

Let’s be perfectly honest here:  Dean will get his ass handed to him should he get the nomination.  He’d make McGovern look like a near miss.  But even so, a Dean nomination completely changes the mood in the Democratic party.  McAuliffe?  Gone.  Every trace of the Clinton Years that Dean can touch?  Gone.  If Dean gets the nomination, it cedes the entire center of the political spectrum to the Republicans for another four years, with incumbent advantages creating whatever exceptions arise.

Agreed except for one thing:  the power structure of the Demos are the same people who were kid activists for McGovern in 1972, and they remember well what happened.  They ended up wrecking the Democratic Party in their attempts to “reform” it in their image.  If it wasn’t for Watergate, they would have been destroyed as a force for decades to come, just like the Depression destroyed the GOP.  Of course, one well-timed Congressional investigation into Halliburton early next year, and we may just have another Watergate to pin our hopes on.

So, let’s say that Saddam’s capture kills Dean’s chances, and the nomination goes to Kerry, or Gephardt, or Lieberman, or whoever.  That candidate still loses, because Bush will be rolling.

Not if the economy isn’t.

But I think it’ll be a bit closer, and the party will maintain the Clinton infrastructure, which is going to be very important in ’08, when it’s wide open again.

Or supporting Bob Kerry for his run at a second term, which is the ideal outcome.

Now, if I had to guess, you’re far enough to left that you want the Clinton people out, but make no mistake, Eric: the party needs them.

No, absolutely not.  If I was that far left, I’d be supporting Dean.  But I’m supporting Kerry because, being a good Chicagoan, I understand the importance of a solid, stable political structure, and he’s the candidate who serves the party and the people in the best way.

The Median Voter Theorem is alive and well, and any major attempt to fight it will be political suicide.  The Saddam Capture makes it less likely that the Dems will jump off that particular bridge.  And as a registered independent, that’s just fine by me.

The danger here for the Demos is simple:  they can’t attack too soon on this particular front.  If Dubbaya is stupid enough to use Saddam’s capture as part of his blow-your-own-horn strategy (and I think he is), then let’s see what happens come primary time when the dead soldiers are still coming back from there.  Then let someone say, “You captured Saddam.  Good.  So what difference did it make?  None.”  No matter how Dubbaya wants to spin it, Iraq’s a quagmire, and he’s going to get caught in the undertow.

Jeez, you try to do someone a favor and this happens.  Yesterday, over in Wrestling, I pimped Monroe.  So what happens?  I get a bunch of letters telling me to punk his ass out for his Rachel Corrie column.  No, I’m not going to do that.  Black was designed for stuff like this.  It was made to give talented writers the opportunity to express their views.  He has his views on the subject, he expressed them, and he pissed people off.  The only thing I have to say about the whole thing is this:  Nem used some pretty inflammatory phrases in that article, and I wish that he could have substantiated those phrases more than he did.  When you start throwing around terms like “anti-American” or “anti-Semitic”, you should at least cite some evidence that bolsters that statement, even if it’s biased.  As someone who’s had the charge of anti-Semitism thrown at him for daring to say favorable words about the Palestinians in the past, I don’t react well to unsubstantiated conclusions.

In other words, give us a little more background, Nem.  Flesh the stuff out so that your conclusions are clearer to an audience who aren’t as familiar with the neocon “mindset” as you are.  You’ve got the chance to educate as well as inform, convert those on the fence.  I know that you weren’t trying to be provocative for the sake of being provocative, but without substantiation and background, all you have left is sensationalism, which I’ve found is a common failing of neocon talking heads.  You’ve got a great pulpit; just use it constructively for your side.  Take a look at how Anderson does it.  And sorry about the lecture, but you know that that’s what us liberals do.

To close, Jim Cavanaugh asks a very common question:

Hey Eric, love your column.  I have a tech question for you.  I seem to have a bug in my computer.  Every time I shut down, new links show up in my favorites in Internet Explorer (6.0) and my home page is changed.  Also, when I’m idle, explorer opens up or changes to one of those links.  I have XP for home as my operation system.  I know its a bug – and a script.  I just can’t find it to eliminate it. I delete the links, shut down and they are right back.

What can I do to fix this?

Congratulations, you’ve got a browser hijacker on your system.  The first thing you need to do is download a copy of Spybot, update it, and run it.  See if that gets rid of your problem.  If not, then I’ll turn you over to the experts at the Spyware Info Forums.  They’ll tell you to download a program called HijackThis (direct link) and run it to get a log, then post the log in the forums.  The experts there can identify exactly which piece of spyware you have and help you to remove it using HijackThis.  They’re good people, and they know what they’re doing.

After it’s fixed, I recommend getting a copy of this link instead.

Wednesday’s Xbox Word: Halo