Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


Check out the lack of fear in my football predictions!

Roger seems like a nice guy, and he often links to my blog, which is cool, but this week he said I didn't know what I was talking about with my football predictions. That hurt, Roger, it really hurt. I cried. Buckets. See how fragile my self-esteem is?

Anyway, last week I was 9-5 in my predictions. Yay me! That makes me 23-23 this year - I'm at .500! Look out, baby. ESPN will be calling soon!

So let's look at this week's slate of games, shall we? The home team, as usual, is in caps.

San Francisco (+2) 27, Arizona 17. No home team because it's in Mexico City. That counts as a road game for the Cardinals (technically they're at home)! Never pick the Cardinals on the road! NEVER! Anyway, the 49ers have looked better this year than Arizona.
NEW ENGLAND (-5.5) 24, San Diego 20. I want to pick the Chargers in this game. I really do. But it's in Foxboro, and even though the Patriots are hurting, I think they find a way to win this game.
JACKSONVILLE (-4) 20, Denver 14. The Jaguars are a better team. We'll see if they play up to it. Denver did beat Kansas City, but that was at home on Monday night. Jake Plummer is just not that good.
CINCINNATI (-9.5) 35, Houston 10. This looks like a total mismatch, especially because the game is in Cincy. Houston just doesn't have anything going on. Of course, the Bengals will lose now, because everyone thinks they're great.
Indianapolis (-7) 20, TENNESSEE 7. Manning gets a little bit hot, and the Titans have nothing. The Colts are looking better and better, and this is a good outdoor game for them to win.
KANSAS CITY (-1.5) 27, Philadelphia 21. This kills me, because I'm a total homer, but it's in Kansas City, and McNabb is really hurt. He has a sports hernia, but he's going to play through the pain. Of course, Reid won't take any pressure off of him by, you know, running the damned ball! I will be rooting for the Eagles, but I think they lose this one.
TAMPA (-6.5) 24, Detroit 13. Boy, Tampa looks pretty good. The Lions go on the road, which is pretty scary, just like the Cardinals. Don't pick the Lions on the road!
St. Louis (+3) 28, NEW YORK GIANTS 17. The Rams are on turf, so that doesn't matter, and the Giants aren't as good as their first two weeks looked. If Mike Martz doesn't do anything insane (which, to be honest, he usually does), the Rams win relatively easily.
NEW ORLEANS 27, Buffalo 17 (no line). The Saints' first "home" game in San Antonio, and although I don't think the Saints will do much in their Texas home games, I think talent and emotion carry them through this one. And Losman just hasn't been impressive yet, although he should get better.
WASHINGTON (-2) 17, Seattle 14. The Seahawks are better, but for some reason, they suck on the road. Washington's defense carries them through, barely.
BALTIMORE (-7) 13, New York Jets 6. This game should set back NFL offensive schemes about 100 years. It will answer the question: Can two teams play each other without quarterbacks? The two teams should just direct-snap to Jamal Lewis and Curtis Martin every single time. As they said on ESPN this week, first team to two points wins!
ATLANTA (-6) 30, Minnesota 23. The Vikings had a nice win last week, but they're not back yet. The Falcons at home are tough. I'm rooting for Minnesota, but I don't think they're going to find a way.
OAKLAND (-3) 24, Dallas 23. The Raiders can't keep losing these close games, can they? The Cowboys can't win two in a row in the Bay Area, can they? Oakland's run game can't keep sucking, can it? The answer to all of these is: No.
CAROLINA (-7.5) 16, Green Bay 10 (Monday Night). The Panthers are pissed after losing to the Dolphins, the Packers suck, and the Carolina defense comes through. Brett Favre goes to 0-4 and I continue to smile.

There you have it. Enjoy the games! In college, Minnesota goes to Penn State, and we see if JoePa's boys are really back, Michigan tries to slow down Michigan State, and USC comes to Tempe to play the Sun Devils! The last time a No. 1 team came to Tempe, it was September 1996, and the last "greatest team ever," Nebraska, got smacked down 19-0. I remember that game, because I watched it in a Mexican restaurant on the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway in Portland, and I loathe Nebraska, so watching them get shut out was sweet. Could the upset of the century happen again???

Why I'm all exotic and you're not

Football predictions later. Demon Child #2 is not sleeping, so I'm posting on the fly. She is evil, is Demon Child #2!!!

This is what I had for lunch today:

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And for the past few days, I've been having this for breakfast:

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I used to eat both of these products in Germany, where I lived in the 1970s. I was so happy when they became readily available in the States. I eat them occasionally, and that's why I'm exotic. Come on - hazelnut spread and bricks of wheat! I'm like a mysterious traveler from the East!


Great songs, according to me (Part 12)

It's another installment of songs that I think are great! Aren't you excited???? If not, why not? Don't you trust my judgment????

If you're interested, here is Part 10, plus links to Parts 1-9. We have moved on to the second 100 songs on the list, and here's Part 11. I'm nothing if not thorough!


111. The Company (by Fish on the album Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors, 1990): This is not Phish, it's the ex-lead singer of Marillion, who went solo in the late 1980s and tried to become a pop star. His solo work is decidedly more poppy than Marillion's, which doesn't make it bad, but occasionally makes it less worthy. This song, however, from his first album, is excellent. Fish is Scottish, so a lot of his songs have a Highland vibe to them, and this one uses it very well. The lyrics, as usual with Fish, are the highlight of the song. This song is about not selling out (unusual, since Fish tried to) and staying true to your friends. "The company I choose is solidly singular, totally trustworthy, straight and sincere, polished, experienced, witty and charming, so why don't you push off, this company's my own." Amen, brother!

112. Cool the Engines (by Boston on the album Third Stage, 1986): Boston is one of those bands that people seem to like in secret but degrade openly. They're like Jesus when Peter denies them! I think I must have grown out of them, because since 1986 they've released some albums, but I haven't been interested. This album, then, is the last one by them I own, and I really like it. Maybe it's the liking of a 15-year-old, but what the hell. This song completely rocks, and yes, the metaphors are goofy, but the rockin' aspects of it carry it along. When it slows down just a bit and Brad Delp sings, "We don't have to run that hard to get where we can go," it just makes the song even more awesome.

113. Counting Out Time (by Genesis on the album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, 1974): This is one of those weird songs that Peter Gabriel-era and early Phil Collins-era Genesis used to do, before they got all serious (somewhere around 1985). This is from the last Gabriel album, and it's just a goofy little tune with totally trippy music. It's about seduction (or maybe masturbation?) but you wouldn't know it from the happy, plinky music and Gabriel's weird sing-songy way of singing. It's still about sex, damn it!

114. Cover Your Face (by Mary's Danish on the album Circa, 1991): This is the last song off the last great Mary's Danish album, and it doesn't leave you happy. That's okay - it's still excellent. It's a quiet song about the loneliness of a relationship built on lies. Not the kind of tune you want to listen to when you've had too much whiskey and are thinking about the girl who just left you, but a powerful song nevertheless.

115. Crash (by James on the album Millionaires, 1999): This is the first song on this album, and it sets a wonderful tone for the rest of it. The lyrics are almost incomprehensible, but the music powers the song along and Tim Booth's whining (a good whining, but still) gives a slight sadness to the words, which pushes the song to greatness.

116. Crazy (by Seal on the album Seal, 1991): I would imagine that this is the first song most people heard by Seal, and damn is it good. It has that spooky vibe at the beginning, and then Seal's mellow voice coming in, singing about insanity. Who could have guessed insanity would sound so smooth? Of course, the excellent message of the song helps: "In a world full of people only some want to fly, isn't that crazy?" You're damned right it is, Seal. Now go bang Heidi Klum.

117. Credo (by Fish on the album Internal Exile, 1991): Sorry, it's another Fish song - the curse of alphabetizing! This album, Fish's second, is truly excellent - not too poppy, not too weird, driving, lilting, lyrical - everything you could want from a big Scottish dude! This song is powerful and the lyrics sound depressing, until you listen to it and realize that for all the sadness in the world, Fish still finds hope. Awwww.

118. Crown of Thorns (by Mother Love Bone on the album Apple, 1990): I have spoken of the genius that is Mother Love Bone before, and this is just another song that proves it. This ends their only album, and it starts softly and builds to a powerful and beautiful chorus, with Andrew Wood rasping out his marvelously weird lyrics: "I used to treat you like a lady, now you're a substitute teacher ..." Wha-huh? It doesn't matter, because it's gorgeous. This is one of those albums that never gets old. It's out of print, but the compilation (with their EP Shine included) is still around, so if you see it, buy it.

119. Crucify (by Tori Amos on the album Little Earthquakes, 1991): Boy, this is a nasty little song, isn't it? Brilliant, though. It really gets Tori's "first" album off to a nifty little start.¹ The music is very nice, but the lyrics are what really gets under your skin. "I've been raising up my arms, drive another nail in, just what God needs - one more victim" and "Got enough guilt to start my own religion" are just two examples of the brilliant barbs she throws at organized religion. Tori has some issues with God, it seems. That's okay - more good music for us!

120. Cult of Personality (by Living Colour on the album Vivid, 1988): Ah, Living Colour. What a cool band. They're back these days, but I haven't bought their latest album. I'm scared to, actually. I have a feeling they won't be as close to greatness as they once were. This song kicked off the Living Colour experience, at a time when metal needed it. They weren't a hair band, but they weren't speed metal either - the two genres that dominated the late 1980s. So the hard core metal guys liked them, but they were melodic enough for the hair band aficionados. This song still holds up, too - it has a great message, Corey Glover equates Stalin with Gandhi (!), and even though for parts of it Vernon Reid sounds like he's dragging a jar of peanut butter across the guitar strings, when he hits those power chords at the end of the solo - man, that's a great rock and roll moment. Excellent, excellent song.

That's it for this batch. Questions? Comments? Angry rants about how I know nothing about music? It's all fair in music reviewing!

¹ Everyone knows, I trust, that Tori released a "heavy metal" album back in the late 1980s called Y Kant Tori Read, which Ms. Amos herself was ashamed of later on when she became a moody, introspective singer about all that sucks in the world. (She does not include the album on her web site.) Read more about the album here and here. Both sites include the excellent album art, with Ms. Amos and her big hair.


It's Ask a Stupid Question Day!

According to Dan Patrick, today is National Ask a Stupid Question Day.¹ Some of the classics:

Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?
Why do you park on a driveway but drive on a parkway?
What are male ladybugs called?

Patrick had a few sports-related ones, too:

Downtown Julie Brown asked Emmitt Smith what he was going to wear at the Super Bowl.
The urban legendary one about the reporter asking Doug Williams how long he had been a black quarterback. Williams just heard the question wrong - he was asked how long it had been an issue that he was a black quarterback - but it's still funny.

In honor of today, you may ask me a stupid question. The stupider the better. And remember, as Chris Berman once said, "There are no stupid questions, just stupid people who ask questions."

My question, which may or may not be stupid, is: What is the antonym of delicious? It can't have a prefix, like "inedible." "Inedible" isn't the antonym anyway, but you get my meaning. So, I repeat: what's the antonym of delicious? I honestly don't know.

¹ According to others, September 30th is the official day. Is it a stupid question to ask when National Ask a Stupid Question Day is? Ah, the mind reels!


Quick things

It's late and I'm going to bed, but a few things are on my mind:

On The Daily Show yesterday, Jon Stewart showed a clip of our president saying that he needed to study the relationship between state and local officials because he needed to understand it better. He has been president for almost 5 years. Prior to that he was governor of the state about which he said he needed to figure out the relationship between state and local officials. 58 million people voted for this moron.

I read a lot of conservative bloggers who said they didn't like Cindy Sheehan because she was being too loud and obnoxious about protesting the war and demanding answers "the wrong way." You know who is doing it "the right way"? Mary Tillman, Pat Tillman's mother. As E.J. Montini points out, that has gotten her nowhere. The government doesn't care about the soldiers, people. They don't care about the truth.

Finally, our neighbors across the street have plastic lawn chairs set up in the front of their house. Occasionally they drag their charcoal grill out of the garage and grill on the driveway. Krys and I wonder why they don't do these things in the back yard. Is that where they bury the bodies of unsuspecting Girl Scouts? Is that where they dump the toxic waste? Is that where they're building the next rocket to the moon? It's very bizarre.

Hey, if you're so inclined, sign my GuestMap. You know you want to!

The Augean Stables

It should come as no surprise to people who read my blog that I want to go into politics. It shouldn't come as a surprise because I have stated my desire to go into politics before, and of course, how will I become dictator of the world if I don't go into politics first? This year is not looking good, but I will soon be looking into what offices are available in 2006. I am thinking about starting off with a position on the school board and moving on up. I can't think of any reason why I can't be in politics. I mean, sure, the baby-selling business I ran in 1996-97 might raise some eyebrows, but if a failed businessman can be president these days, I should be fine - my biz was a big success!

However, I'm wondering if I should rethink my entry into the political sphere. God, politics is shit, isn't it? I'm not stupid - I know corruption has been rampant in politics since people decided to invent politics. I just started a book on the Yamato dynasty, and if we think American politics is corrupt, apparently we need to move to Japan, where the corruption is practically out of control. I also realize that the corruption is more evident these days thanks to the Internet, but it's still frustrating. Consider:

* Torture is apparently no standard operating procedure in the military. John McCain says we should stop because it makes us look bad. No, Senator, we should stop because it's wrong.

* The Administration has driven away anyone intelligent and qualified to stock the choice jobs with Bush's pals. Apparently ruining people economically in their businesses wasn't enough. They have to screw them politically too.

* Halliburton continues to get no-bid contracts. What the hell happened to capitalism?

* Everyone blames everyone but themselves. Even Gorgeous George, our stand-up leader, continues to live with his head in the sand. I thought he was going to restore integrity to the Oval Office. Remember "the buck stops here"? Apparently that's a crock.

* Local, state, and federal officials all fucked up with the response to Katrina. Why can't everyone involved say it and then get on with it?

* I have no idea what's going on with Bill Frist and his stock, but it as usual, it's a mingling of business and politics that the Republicans think is good for the country. It's not really capitalism (see no-bid contracts). Unfortunately, it's more like fascism (no, I'm not calling the Administration a bunch of fascists, but the marriage between business and politics they're so high on is disturbingly like it).

* The Administration has politicized science, for crying out loud. Bush commissions studies on global warming and other things and then ignores them. This is not whether or not we should cut taxes. This is hard science. Don't give me this crap about gaps in the evolutionary record. There is NO proof for intelligent design. "It feels right" doesn't cut it. It feels right to me to sit around on a Saturday night a fire M-80s at local wandering preachers. Doesn't make it right.

* Mayors are getting arrested, local councilmen are taking bribes, the representative of my district used his fabulous (taxpayer-funded) health plan to get stomach-stapling surgery - the corruption isn't limited to the federal level.

My question is, why does this stuff happen? Are the type of people who go into politics these days the kind that are naturally corruptible, or are they fine people who can't resist once they get into the game? I don't know. I know that I have never had the opportunity to test my moral fiber in such circumstances, so maybe I would succumb. When (or if) I go into politics, it will be because I want to serve the public, not because I want money. That's not because I'm such a wonderful person, it's because the local political offices here in Arizona don't pay a lot. Maybe down the line, once I consolidate my power and begin to take over, I'll be in it for the money. But not now.

The corruption in government these days disgusts me. George Bush was a failure in every non-political venture in his life. I don't think even conservatives will disagree. He traded Sammy Sosa, for crying out loud! His qualifications for the presidency: governor, son of former president. The ONLY reason he went into politics is because he was a failure at everything else. That's not a good reason to go into politics. All of his cronies, it would seem, went into politics to turn it into their own personal piggy bank. These are people who want money and power. They don't care about the nobility of politics, and it should be a noble pursuit. If Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld were really being honest, there's no way they could say that they are currently in politics to serve the people. It's a shame.

This is kind of a rambling post, and I apologize. I just get sad when I look at politics. Yes, there have been corrupt politicians forever. Yes, there are good politicians out there. I have a great deal of respect for John Kitzhaber, the former governor of Oregon. Yes, he was a bleeding heart liberal, but he tried very hard to make Oregonians work together to make the state better. I respect Janet Napolitano, the current governor of Arizona. Again, another Democrat, but she has reached out "across the aisle" to bring Republicans into the decision-making process, and a lot of the more radical Republicans hate her for it, because God forbid we compromise. In case you think I only respect Democrats, I think Gordon Smith, who is a Republican senator from Oregon, is doing a fine job. I don't agree with everything he says or does, but I remember when he went to Wyoming to stand with Matthew Shepard's family and say that tying a gay man to a fence and killing him is not acceptable. This was when Republicans were trying to distance themselves from hate-crime legislation because it might validate homosexuality. Matthew Shepard was first and foremost a human being, not gay, and the lack of condemnation by Republicans of his killers for their crime of killing a gay man repulsed me. But Smith stood up and said it was wrong, despite his Mormon faith. That's a good guy, even if I don't agree with him politically.

More people need to enter politics and make changes themselves. I can understand why they don't want to, and I may not even enter the fray because I don't want to be dragged down by it. If I go into politics, what will happen? Let's say I get onto the school board of Mesa next year. I will try to work completely for the benefit of the kids, because no one cares about education in this country, and that's wrong. But then someone in the machine points out that the kids aren't going to graduate anyway because they're all dropping out of school, and the feds aren't ponying up any funds for No Child Left Behind (gotta have tax cuts, after all), so the money earmarked for school would be better used in sprucing up downtown to attract more businesses so the kids' parents can get better jobs. Is that how it starts? I wonder.

We'll see. I have a few months to decide. It can't all be shit, can it?


What have we learned - Week 3

Jim Henley linked to me and my big Saturday post. That was a nice thing for him to do, and apparently a bunch of people have come here checking out my little blog. That's cool. If you check out Unqualified Offerings, Jim's blog, you'll think he's an interesting political writer, and he is. But then you might go over to Howling Curmudgeons, the comics blog to which he contributes, and you'll find out he's a comic book geek, just like all the cool people really are! So thanks, Jim, for the pub. If you're coming here from his blog, hi. Don't expect as much political stuff as Jim gives you - it's football time!

After three weeks, we can start to figure a little bit more out about teams. We still don't know everything, but the trends are emerging. So what have we learned?

Ah, my Eagles. Offsides twice on the opening kickoff. Unwilling to pay Brian Westbrook big money, even though he may be more valuable than McNabb. Too arrogant to carry an extra kicker. They should have lost that game. I'm glad they didn't, but they should have. Now McNabb is hurt, David Akers is hurt, and they go on the road into Kansas City. Randy Moss, as usual, disappears in a big game. He might be the most overrated player we've seen in a long time. I think Terrell Owens is an idiot and needs to shut up, but he comes up big on game day, you can't deny it.

Arizona sucks. Let's move on. Actually, before we move on, Shaun Alexander needs more love. He plays way up in Seattle, tucked away in that little corner of the country, but he is a fabulous running back. One of those guys that when you watch him run, you can't believe Holmgren doesn't use him more. Ride the horse, Holmgren! He can take you further in the playoffs than Hasselbeck can!

When the Eagles are on television, I miss a lot of the games on at the same time. Therefore, I didn't watch much of the Carolina-Miami game. I did see the interception at the end of the game that set up the winning field goal. See? I told you Jake Delhomme was overrated. You can't make that throw with less than two minutes left.

I'm still not ready to crown Michael Vick as the greatest quarterback ever, but that was a good win on the road against a tough team. The Bills lost Takeo Spikes for the season. That will hurt. I'll get on the Vick bandwagon soon enough if he keeps this up, but he still has to win a game when he doesn't run at all. Teams will eventually take that away.

Boy, the Bengals are looking good. I picked the Bears because the game was in Chicago, and the Bears played well but they kept turning the ball over. The nice thing about Cincinnati is that they are starting to make their opponents pay when they turn the ball over. That's what good teams do.

I'm also starting to come around to the Browns. Yes, I know they lost, but they played real well on the road against Indy. Everyone says that we shouldn't be concerned about Peyton Manning and his lack of production. Why not? Still, the Colts are looking good, which bugs the hell out of me. I don't like the Colts.

Whatever happened to the intelligent Steve McNair? Not only did he throw the pick to Archuleta that could not have been easier to intercept, but he threw an interception later that was a horrible throw. Crazy Mike Martz still almost gave the game away. What a lousy coach. The Rams should be near the top of the league every year with their talent.

The Jets are in big trouble. I watched some of the game (missed the ending, though, which is a shame) and New York looked horrible. Just awful. They got a fumble recovery for a touchdown, but other than that, they looked like crap. Of course, Jacksonville doesn't look much better.

Wasn't it sweet watching the Green Bay Brett Favres lose to the Tampa Buccaneers? Sweeeeeet. The Pack may very well be the worst team in the league (the Cardinals give them a good run for their money). Favre looks horrible, which makes me happy. Tampa better win all the games early in their season, because if they keep giving the ball to Carnell Williams 35 times or so a game, he's going to break down late, and I don't think Brian Griese can carry the team. So win now, Buccaneers!

Poor New Orleans. They might not win 4 games. Next week they get a "home" game in San Antonio. They aren't good. Minnesota thought, "Hey, this running game thing might work for us." You think? They're not back, but in the NFC North, they might win the division with an 8-8 record.

Who would have thought the Dallas-San Francisco game would be so entertaining? If the 49ers are a little more experienced, they win that game. And a nice move by Larry Allen, getting in his kicker's face for missing an extra point. Hey, Larry, the snap and hold were crap. How about you get in your fellow lineman's face for a shitty snap? Yeah, didn't think so. It's easy to pick on wussy kickers. Dallas was kind of sloppy - that won't get them wins against good teams.

I just found out that the Pittsburgh clock operator added 52 seconds to the game clock in the fourth quarter, which means that instead of 1:21 left after the Steelers tied the game, the Patriots should have had 29 seconds. Sheesh. I hate the Patriots, because shit like this always happens to them. Yes, they're a good team, but little lucky things like this happen to them. Still, the Steelers should have put that game away in the first half. What the hell was Antwaan Randle El doing, lateraling the ball at the New England 10-yard line? Didn't he see that there were three Patriots just waiting to tackle him and anyone he threw the ball to? What a moron. Stupid Patriots. Everyone should start saying how great they are, because it seems like people still don't respect them, which is insane, and it seems like the less people respect them, the better they play. So guess what, New England? Green Bay in the 1960s, Miami and Pittsburgh in the 1970s, San Francisco in the 1980s, Dallas in the 1990s - high school teams compared to you! You could play your backups and beat the snot out of them! Go, Pats!

Hey, guess what, San Diego? LaDanian Tomlinson is pretty good. Yeah, you stupid coaches. Give him the damned ball.

So have we learned anything? Well, Cincinnati looks really good. Watch out, AFC - here come the Bengals! Chad Johnson is flashing those gold teeth at everyone and doing jigs in the end zone! Bengals in the Super Bowl? You heard it here first!


More pictures from Australia means we're going to Brisbane!

After I spent a day in Sydney, I took the train north to Brisbane in Queensland. It is a pretty neat city. I went to a music store and bought a tape by the Belladonnas, who are a nice little band that I've never heard of since. I went to a comic book store but didn't buy anything. I saw Alien³, which I liked a lot more than almost everyone, and I wandered around the town. Sounds fun, doesn't it? I also took pictures, which I will now share with you. Aren't I generous?

This first picture is a mural that was painted on a wall. Just like that. More cities need to have cool art like this. If you're blue, you can stroll by the crab and think, "Well, I'm depressed, but that's a nice-looking crab." See?

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This is ANZAC Park in the middle of the city. ANZAC stands for "Australia and New Zealand Army Corps." The ANZACs were the army guys who went to Gallipoli during World War I and got butchered. ANZAC Day is 25 April. It's a huge holiday in Australia and New Zealand.

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This is Brisbane's art museum. I just thought it was a neat building.

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The Brisbane River, unsurprisingly, flows through Brisbane. On the south bank of the river is a very nice park. The day I was there they were having a kite-flying competition. It was all very Norman Rockwell. This is the park.

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This is a paddle steamer. I just thought it was a nice boat. There's no other significance.

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That's it for this week. After I left Brisbane I went back to Victoria for a while and stayed with my girlfriend's family for a while. She lived on a farm on the Murray River, and it wasn't terribly exciting. I may or may not post pictures from that time. Or I'll skip right to New Zealand. We'll see.


Natalie Portman cut-outs, solutions in Louisiana, alien Batman, plague-infested rats - these links are totally Airwolf!

Yes, Saturday is the new Sunday here at Delenda Est Carthago, and that means it's linking like mad! I would like to thank Metrokitty for pointing out that I am, indeed, king of linkblogging. Hell, I do a lot of other stuff, too!

Anyway, if you're in the mood, sign my GuestMap. What could it hurt? It's not like I'm going to use the information in any way to track down dissidents when I become dictator ... but I've said too much.

So let's hit the links! It's always fun!

Ah, the humor. Why don't we start with funny crap?

Oscar Madison has a bad trip to New York.

Dave Barry thinks we should cheat on our taxes. Who am I to argue?

Chris talks about writers of fan fiction. Sort of related to comics, but very funny and worthwhile reading.

Chris had a weird week at his comic book store. Here is his epic tale of the Natalie Portman cardboard cut-out. Strange days, indeed.

Yes, I'm directing you to Chris's Invincible Super-Blog a lot. He had a funny week. Here are six short stories about Chris. One of them is about Tab!

Kids write about what careers they want. Surprisingly, very few want to be teachers. Even fewer want to be cashiers. Good call, kids!

Ever wonder why Starbucks doesn't have microwaves? The mystery revealed!

Is nothing sacred? I found this at Factum - Face the Fact. Posted by Picasa

Roxy discovers the issues with having a much younger husband.

If anyone watches Arrested Development (and if you're not, why the hell not? It's one of the best television shows out there), you may or may not know that I'm actually exists. Worth it just for the haiku.

Top ten reasons beer is better than Jesus. Good stuff. This is from the Disgruntled Chemist.

Former Intern Andy is evil to customers. He's going to hell, but you can laugh as he goes.

What should we do with Louisiana? George Bush has a great idea! I got this from Andrew Sullivan.

Danielle has issues with her grandmother. Ah, family.

Do you want to turn your hamster into a fighting machine? Sure you do! Find out how here!

Here's a critique of Klingon society. You might think you're too cool to read this, but it's very funny, even if you don't like Star Trek (like me).

This is, by far, the best complaint letter ever. Read it - you'll agree. I found this at Mr. Snitch.

A girl discovers things she can do. Don't worry, nothing too icky, although it does involve poop.

Discussing using "Airwolf" as an adjective. No, it doesn't make a ton of sense, but it's very funny. Use it in a sentence, like this:

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People say Derek looks like Steve Buscemi. He explains why this is not a compliment.

Sarah has very funny hurricane pictures. Okay, they're not really hurricane pictures, but they show what would happen in a hurricane.

Funny things kids say that sound dirty, but aren't.

Wow! A new category! Hooters-related news! Soon, Hooters will rule the world!

It's the Hooters employee manual! Very interesting reading. Apparently Hooters girls should expect and accept sexual harassment. Now that's a swell place to work! I found this on Cyphering. Speaking of Hooters, Welcome to Blog doesn't like the restaurant, and gets mail from Hooters girls complaining about Hooters-bashing!

Since last Monday was Talk Like a Pirate Day, let's have some pirate-related links.

Yes, it's Pirate Batman and Two-Face! If all the comics featured Pirate Batman, it would be so much cooler. The picture is crappy, so I didn't steal it, but it's pretty neat.

And if you have ever wondered what it would be like if Pirates Ruled the World, this Photoshop contest gives you some answers. This is from Pharyngula.

Some comic book links. You can't look away!

Those of you who aren't comic book fans won't get this, but those who have even a passing familiarity with All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder (yes, for you non-comics people, that's its full name) will enjoy these:

This is from Chris Sims. Posted by Picasa

This is from Kevin. Posted by Picasa

This is also from Kevin. Posted by Picasa

Finally we have this one from Dave's Long Box. Click it enlarge if you can't read it, because it's funny. Posted by Picasa

Comic books in the LSAT? Why not?

Hey, it's alien Batman! So much is explained ...

I stole this from Tom Peyer. Posted by Picasa

Did Morrison's Animal Man foreshadow "Infinite Crisis"? You be the judge!

Scipio really hates Peter David's Aquaman. The comments are good, too.

We had to get political sooner or later. Don't hate me for bumming you out!

The Senate asked John Roberts what kind of movies he likes. I don't have much of an opinion about Roberts, but I very much doubt that it fucking matters what kind of movies he likes. Unless he says, I don't know, Triumph of the Will or Birth of a Nation, it doesn't matter! I found this on Unqualified Offerings.

Speaking of the Supreme Court, here are some idiotic quotes from Democratic senators: Patrick Leahy and Herb Kohl. I don't have a problem necessarily with Democrats voting for Roberts, but not for the reasons these guys gave.

Interesting stuff here. Lots of conservatives are starting to really bash Bush.

The Rude Pundit really hates Bush and really likes Clinton. As usual with the Rude Pundit, this is very funny and definitely not for children.

Maine has turned down federal funds for sex education. Why? Because the feds specify they can only teach abstinence. Sheesh. Stupid Republicans. The fun thing is, Maine's teen pregnancy has dropped precipitously in the past few years, so they're doing something right. I found the link at Donklephant.

Here's an interesting problem for anti-war activists.

Now, I'm sure Hugo Chavez is as evil as the right-wingers say he is, even though they never offer any proof except that he hangs out with Castro. This article explains quite a bit about his policies and what he is doing that makes the United States mad, and why that's not necessarily a bad thing. Unabashedly pro-Chavez, but still interesting.

There's been a bit of buzz about Phil Donahue debating Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor. Here's the transcript. It looks like Donahue really did demolish him, as the title of the article suggests.

Even Ann Coulter is pissed off at Bush. When Ann "Tax cuts make me want to touch myself" Coulter doesn't like you, you're either doing something really right or something really wrong. This is from Andrew Sullivan.

Who doesn't want to know what's going on in Burma? This blog clues you in. Yes, the author calls it Burma. Not Myanmar. It's an act of defiance, apparently. Good for him!

Where was George Bush when the country needed him?

The miscellaneous that isn't so fun. Still worth your while, though!

Americans don't know science. Depressing.

Here's a scary story: plague-infected rats missing from a lab. Excellent. Something else to worry about. I found this at the Cranky Professor.

Senegal does not like Gambia. Why should you care? Well, it's fascinating and it's about two countries you never here about. So check it out.

This is a story about a horrible (but very popular) children's book and the Australian authorities' efforts to get it banned. Because, you know, who cares if the kids are actually reading. Here is the author's site.

A woman arranged for two older teenagers to have sex with her 13- and 14-year-old daughters. To cure them of their obsession with sex, said she. This is from Ace of Spades.

Banned Books Week starts today. Read a banned book today!

The Free State Project is awesome. Libertarians moving to New Hampshire and turning it into a government-free utopia (okay, not exactly "government-free," but close enough). Go, Libertarians! I stole this from Chris Cope.

The frivolous miscellany.

Who's this?

Why, it's the Japanese Ronald McDonald. Oh, those wacky Asians! I stole the picture from Drink at Work. Posted by Picasa

Ben Franklin is back from the dead! I got this from Through the Looking Glass.

This should solve all your problems about what your kid should wear on Halloween, right? Who wouldn't want to wander the neighborhood in this?

Buy it here. I got this from Tom Peyer. Posted by Picasa

Ice-T will produce David Hasselhoff's rap album. Yeah, read that again. This has to be a joke, right? Right? Maybe not, as I've seen it a lot of different place, but saw it first at Ace of Spades.

I'm sure you're all interested in the 100 greatest math theorems, right? Sure you are! Number One is the proof of the irrationality of the square root of 2. Super fun! I saw this at Laura's blog.

What is a clew? Find out here!

Ever wonder what the nadir of Western Civilization was? It might surprise you. Find out what it is here. This is from Donklephant.

I don't mean to pick on Tara Reid (if you haven't seen Taradise, it's awesomely awful - and canceled, by the way), but the folk at Go Fug Yourself make it so easy:

As they point out, if you have to write it on your ass, it's probably not true. Posted by Picasa

What a nice Byzantine church. Read all about it at San Nakji's blog. Posted by Picasa

Sarcasmo's Corner has links to a bunch of Where Are They Now? posts, including: Famous sidekicks, the cast of The White Shadow, the cast of The Bad News Bears, and the cast of Debbie Does Dallas.

This is Park Central Mall in Phoenix. I have no idea where the site is in the city, as I have never heard of this mall, so it is probably long gone. I got this, of course, at Malls of America.

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The mascot at Evergreen State College in Washington is the Geoduck. Yeah, I don't know what it is either. Go read the fight song. Does it seem ... a little risque? I'm not singing that, because I might get arrested! I found this at Andrew Sullivan.

What the heck is this thing? Well, it's not a spider. It's still wacky.

I found this, by the way, at Pharyngula. Posted by Picasa

Well, that's all for this week. I hope you enjoy them.

By the way, does anyone know how to get these to open in new windows? I know it's annoying if you're actually checking these out to keep coming back to this page. So if you know, share the knowledge. I beg of you!


Uncanny football predictions!

"Uncanny" in the sense that they're so bad. Last week I once again went 7-9, because the Cowboys somehow thought football games were only 55 minutes long. See why I hate the Cowboys? So now I'm 14-18 for the year. Of course, it's no better (or worse) than experts on ESPN do, so I don't feel too much shame. I haven't even come close to a final score, but that's okay - those are only for fun.

This week:

SEATTLE (-6.5) 27, Arizona 13. The Cardinals can't win on the road. Period.
ST. LOUIS (-6.5) 30, Tennessee 10. Last week's Titans win was an illusion. A bit of legerdemain, if you prefer.
PHILADELPHIA (-8.5) 31, Oakland 16. Randy Moss didn't do particularly well against the Beagles in Minnesota, so why would he now?
CHICAGO (+3) 21, Cincinnati 18. This is a tough game. The Bengals have been lighting it up, but the Bears D is tough. I give the edge to the home team.
NEW YORK JETS (-2.5) 23, Jacksonville 13. If Leftwich isn't banged up, I'd probably go with the Jaguars. And it's in New Jersey. Edge to the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets.
MINNESOTA (-4) 24, New Orleans 13. The Vikings have to win eventually, right? The road grind has already begun to catch up with the Saints, and it will get them again.
MIAMI (+3) 19, Carolina 14. Another home underdog! The Panthers are coming off that emotional win over the Patriots, and Miami is tough at home.
INDIANAPOLIS (-13.5) 28, Cleveland 20. If I were a betting man, I'd take the Browns to cover. Two touchdowns is a lot, especially because Manning hasn't gotten on track yet. Of course, if he finds his groove this weekend, this could get ugly. Are the Browns for real?
BUFFALO (-2.5) 17, Atlanta 12. The Bills defense keeps Vick in check, plus he's banged up. The offense finds just enough to win.
Tampa (-3.5) 24, GREEN BAY 10. Finally, I pick a road team! I just haven't seen anything I've liked from the Packers yet. The Buccaneers are simply better, and the field isn't frozen yet.
PITTSBURGH (-3) 20, New England 17. This is a tough game. I like the Steelers simply because it's in Pittsburgh. Two very good teams, almost evenly matched.
Dallas (-6.5) 27, SAN FRANCISCO 7. After last week's collapse, no way Parcells allows the Cowboys to lose this game. The 49ers look like a Division II college team.
SAN DIEGO (-6) 21, New York Giants 12. This is a weird game. The Chargers are probably the best 0-2 team in the league, while you could argue that the Giants are the worst 2-0 team. New York comes off an emotional Monday night game and flies across the country. Tough to do.
Kansas City (+3) 26, DENVER 16 (Monday Night). I know the Chiefs haven't won in Denver since 2000, but they're clearly better than the Broncos. It hasn't helped them in the past, I know, but I still think they're going to win. Another game that is really tough to call.

And hey, if you think you're so smart, you can check out Unabated Sports and chime in on which team you are CERTAIN is going to win this weekend. In Week One I picked the Rams over the 49ers. Yeah, that worked well.

Comments? Football fanatics? Anyone want to chuckle over my obvious lack of pigskin knowledge?


Totally random history is totally good for you!

Yeah, I'm posting a lot these days. More fun for you!

Okay, so the last time I did this there was much controversy in the comments section. While I appreciate the HUGE ratings spike I got (much like NASCAR after they had badly behaved drivers last weekend), I'm really not trying to piss people off with history from 1500 years ago. So let's see what we find on my bookshelves this week, shall we?

For about a month, certainly not longer, the Prince of Wales remained before Limoges. During that time he allowed no assaults or skirmishes, but pushed on steadily with the mining. The knights inside and the townspeople, who knew what was going on, started a countermine in the hope of killing the English miners, but it was a failure. When the Prince's miners who, as they dug, were continually shoring up their tunnel, had completed their work, they said to the Prince: "My lord, whenever you like now we can bring a big piece of wall down into the moat, so that you can get into the city quite easily and safely."

The Prince was very pleased to hear this. "Excellent," he said. "At six o'clock tomorrow morning show we what you can do."

When they knew it was the right time for it, the miners started a fire in their mine. In the morning, just as the Prince had specified, a great section of the wall collapsed, filling the moat at the place where it fell. For the English, who were armed and ready waiting, it was a welcome sight. Those on foot could enter as they liked, and did so. They rushed to the gate, cut through the bars holding it and knocked it down. They did the same with the barriers outside, meeting with no resistance. It was all done so quickly that the people in the town were taken unawares. Then the Prince, the Duke of Lancaster, the Earl of Cambridge, Sir Guichard d'Angle, with all the others and their men burst into the city, followed by pillages on foot, all in a mood to wreak havoc and do murder, killing indiscriminately, for those were their orders. There were pitiful scenes. Men, women and children flung themselves on their knees before the Prince, crying: "Have mercy on us, gentle sir!" But he was so inflamed with anger that he would not listen. Neither man nor woman was heeded, but all who could be found were put to the sword, including many who were in no way to blame. I do not understand how they could have failed to take pity on people who were too unimportant to have committed treason. Yet they paid for it, and paid more dearly than the leaders who had committed it.

There is no man so hard-hearted that, if he had been in Limoges on that day, and had remembered God, he would not have wept bitterly at the fearful slaughter which took place. More than three thousand persons, men, women and children, were dragged out to have their throats cut. May God receive their souls, for they were true martyrs.

Anyone recognize it? Come on, where are my historians? Ah, I'll end the suspense: it's Jean Froissart's Chronicles, detailing the excellent Hundred Years' War between England and France from 1337-1453. What, you say? That's not 100 years? Well, they weren't real good at arithmetic back in those days. Anyway, this passage is about the siege of Limoges in 1370, and the Prince referred to is Edward, the son of King Edward III, whose death in 1376 not only deprived England of probably a pretty good (if cruel) king, but paved the way for Richard II, his son, who was one of the worst kings in English history and was the last king of the Plantagenet Dynasty that stretched back to Henry II in 1153.

Anyway, Froissart is writing from the French point of view, so naturally he takes a dim view of the siege of Limoges. This was when the French were doing really poorly in the war (something that would change when Edward died prematurely), and he was probably a bit peeved. Even so, his book is chock full o' info and is pretty stinkin' entertaining (no, I haven't read all of it, but I have read a lot). You can buy it here if you're interested. An excellent book on the 14th century and what a mess it was is A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman. The 14th century is awesome.

Lil' Kim needs to shut up

According to today's Arizona Republic (I'd link to it, but I can't find it on the damned page), Kimberly Jones is not happy. Ms. Jones, you'll recall, likes to call herself Lil' Kim and rap a lot. She also has begun serving a year-long prison sentence for lying to a federal grand jury to protect friends involved in a shootout. She has been sent to an actual prison in Philadelphia instead of a prison camp, "as discussed."

"I am not certain that this constitutes fair and equal treatment," reads the release.

Hey, you know what I do if I don't want to get sent to prison? I don't break the fucking law.

Shut the hell up, Kim. Maybe a year in prison will improve your fashion sense. Posted by Picasa


How do they take showers?

Because she's awesome, Krys was reading the newspaper today and actually read this article about a Mormon mission to Scottsdale. I skipped it because what the hell do I care? However, because I skipped it, I missed this wonderful nugget of trivia:

There is a no-swimming rule that stems in part from arcane beliefs that Satan rules the water ...

Mormons can't swim? WTF? Actually, that needs more than the shortened form. WHAT THE FUCK?

Mormons are excellent. Can anyone answer the question I posed in the title of this post, now that we know this about Mormons?

Harry Potter needs new friends

Don't worry, I'm not going to spoil anything. I'm only on page 303 of the latest book, so I couldn't spoil anything major even if I wanted to, and I shall be very cross if anyone spoils it for me. People who spoil things are sad, vindictive little people.¹

Anyway, I'm reading along, and it's a good book, and Harry is a celebrity because of the events of the last book, and he's feeling a little pleased with himself because everything he has been saying for the past few years about Voldemort is true, and now everyone knows it. Ron and Hermione are even congratulating him on proving that the Ministry was wrong and just mean and spiteful. So. We've established that everything that Harry has said over the past, say, three years is true. Now he has new suspicions (see? I'm not even going to tell you what those suspicions are!) and his friends don't believe him. They refuse to even entertain thoughts that the only person who has been right about things over the past couple of years might be right again. They ignore him and tell him to let it go. Even though Ron and Hermione were often the only ones who believed him in previous years, now, after he has been proven right, they start disbelieving him.

Harry needs some new friends.

¹ Well, within a certain time period. I feel that I can say that Rosebud was Charles Foster Kane's childhood sled and don't have to feel bad about it. Let's face it, the movie has been out for over 60 years.


Life will be so much more harmonious when I'm dictator!

Yesterday my lovely and talented wife was reading the newspaper, as she is wont to do (boy howdy she likes to keep up with all the news!), and she came across this story. It's a sad tale about how people named Katrina are thinking about changing their names because of the hurricane.

I'll repeat that: people named Katrina are thinking about changing their names because of the hurricane.

Take poor Katrina Smiley of Oklahoma City. She claims that people are coming up to her and saying "Why'd you do that? Why'd you go over there tearing up stuff like that?" People are saying that to her, who's, you know, a human being.

A researcher at Arkansas State University says that having a name associated with trauma can warp the personality of the person who bears that name. Of course, he's a researcher at Arkansas State University, so how seriously can we take him, but still. It's not like when Carla Tortelli's son was thinking of changing his name to Benito Mussolini. This is a freakin' hurricane, for crying out loud!

So. People who change their name because they are named after a hurricane: into the camps. People who actually ask a human being why she destroyed New Orleans simply because she is named Katrina: into the camps. And stupid psychologists who tell people that they might be scarred for life for having the name Katrina instead of telling them to grow up and grow a spine: into the camps.

Won't we all be happier when these people are shut away from society?


What have we learned - Week 2

Well, another fun week in the NFL has come and gone (I don't count Monday Night games, because unless the Eagles are playing, I don't watch). Interestingly enough, there were a lot of crappy games. So do we know anything?

Boy, the Eagles looked like they were playing a high school team. I know they were motivated and Owens was playing his former team and they played like crap on Monday Night and they wanted to make a statement and San Francisco is still a year or two away, but the 49ers were REALLY horrible. This is why special teams touchdowns, like the 49ers had last week, are misleading - it's nice to get them, but they artificially inflate your scores and make people think you're better than you are. See the Chicago Bears below.

Arizona stinks. It's a very weird team, the Cardinals. They have won 1 playoff game in the past 56 years. It amazing - nothing they do changes the culture of awfulness. Let's move on.

Chicago has that 2001 look about them, when they went 13-3 but weren't really that good. They got an interception return and punt return for touchdowns, which doesn't make you a good team. Poor Joey Harrington. I like him (he went to the University of Oregon) but he's not really a good NFL quarterback. I thought the Lions were going to run more this year?

I was surprised by the Tennessee-Baltimore game. Yes, Baltimore's offense stinks. But Jamal Lewis is a good runner. His line: 10 carries, 9 yards. Boy, a lot of teams are crap this year, aren't they? I missed most of this game - if I have to explain why, you're not a football fan.

The Steelers are just a juggernaut. Poor David Carr. His offensive line is awful. Today the Texans fired their offensive coordinator and promoted to his place the offensive line coach. This is the guy who coached a unit that has allowed their quarterback to be sacked more in the past five years than any other QB. Yeah, that's smart.

Are the Buccaneers back? I hope not. I didn't like Tampa when they were good, and I liked that they started to suck. I won't like Tampa until they bring back the old, orange creamsicle-looking uniforms. It must be so! On Talk Like A Pirate Day, it should be a federal mandate that they bring back those uniforms.

I'm watching the Indianapolis-Jacksonville game, and I'm a bit scared because it looks like Indy has a defense that can carry them past my beloved Eagles in the Super Bowl (if they both get there), but I really liked that the Jaguars made Peyton Manning look bad. Why don't more teams study film of teams that do well against the Colts and try it? Manning is having a bad year. I hope more teams look at what the Patriots, the Ravens in Week 1, and now the Jaguars do against him. It seems simple, doesn't it?

Will Minnesota even win 6 games? They looked truly horrible against the Bengals, who looked really, really good. I like Cincinnati, and I'm glad to see they're doing well, especially because they have two Oregon State Beavers as wide receivers. We'll see how they do against the Steelers in that division.

I got the final score of a game right! Okay, I said New England would beat Carolina 27-17 and the winner was Carolina, but the score was right! This was a weird game. New England played like crap, which is unusual, and although I said they would win, I'm not terribly surprised the Panthers won. I still don't think Jake Delhomme is the real deal. We'll see as the season progresses.

A lot of people love Michael Vick, and I don't have anything against him, but I still don't think the Falcons are ever going to win anything if he continues to play the way he does. Name one running quarterback who has ever won a Super Bowl. Yesterday was the perfect example. Yes, the Falcons went cross-country, and yes, they played on Monday night, and yes, they were much more motivated to beat Philadelphia than Seattle, but Vick just didn't play that well. He's not that good as a quarterback, and until he gets better, the Falcons will win a lot in the regular season, but lose in the postseason. Bet on it!

I didn't watch much at all of the Dolphins-Jets game, because, well, let's face it, it was the Dolphins-Jets game. Pennington apparently had a good game, but he didn't throw downfield much. That will hurt the Jets later in the year.

I very much doubt if most people believed the Browns could go into Lambeau Field and beat the Packers. I certainly didn't. I watched the game with glee, though - Favre, for the second week, looked lost. I loved it. I guess the Packers defense is MUCH worse than I thought it was. I mean, Trent Dilfer lit them up for well over 300 yards. Beautiful.

Denver isn't going to go far if their players keep running onto the field in the middle of plays. It was very funny watching three or four players during a punt return for a touchdown going onto the field right in front of the official. They had two touchdowns called back and still managed to beat San Diego. I have always liked the Chargers, but they can never put two good seasons in a row together. They are going down hard, unfortunately. Bring back the powder blue uniforms for good!

The Eagles play Oakland next week and go to Kansas City in a few weeks, so the Chiefs-Raiders game was a little interesting to me. I didn't watch all of it, but both of them are beatable, because both defenses are suspect. Randy Moss looked open an awful lot, and the Chiefs still have a great offense. The Eagles might have to outscore both of them, but, well, we all saw what Philly can do on offense.

I didn't mention college football last week, but good things happened this past weekend: Notre Dame lost (always a good thing), Oklahoma lost (also a good thing), Penn State won (sure, it was against Central Michigan, but you take what you can get), Arizona State won, Oregon won, Portland State won. Okay, Miami and Florida State won, but all can't be perfect, I suppose. This week Penn State goes on the road for the first time to play Northwestern. It would be nice if they could beat a semi-decent team on the road. We'll see.

Hey, where is everyone? Pictures of Sydney, jokes at the expense of Republicans, Talk Like A Pirate Day - no one has anything to say about any of that? For shame, people!¹

¹ Oh, I'm kidding. I know you're out there. You can't hide from me!

Avast, me hearties!

All the cool people already know this, but it's Talk Like A Pirate Day. Here are some scenes to help you talk like a pirate:

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Click them all the enlarge them. They are very funny. These are from Scurvy Dogs, which you should all own. Make sure you tell your boss today that you're going to wear his guts for garters and if he doesn't give you a raise, you'll keelhaul him!