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Wednesday, April 30, 2003
(( NOTE: If you're still arriving at my world via the 04_01 - or earlier - monthly archive URL, the latest stuff is in 05_01 archive or main page URL. So go there. Now.)
-

[ BOOTY CALL TO ACTION ]

Dem broads have their panties in a twist... again.

This time, the righteous anger is directed at the Wal-Mart retail chain.

It's always something!

To wit (quoting from CBS News, "Angry Workers Up The Ante At Wal-Mart", 4/29/03):

"Wal-Mart is on the receiving end of what could become the largest class action employment lawsuit in U.S. history...

...The documents, detailing more than 100 complaints by women against the company, are part of a nearly 2-year-old lawsuit against the Bentonville, Ark., retail chain, the nation's largest private employer.

A hearing is set for July 25 in which attorneys for the women will ask a federal judge to elevate the seven-plaintiff suit into a nationwide, class action sex discrimination case."

There are basically two complaints.

The more sensational, and less serious, of the two - which, of course, tops the news article(s) due to its "shock" value - is that male managers at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have "required" their female counterparts to attend meetings at strip clubs and - ahem! - Hooter's restaurants.

Now that the offended wimmen have said "no more", by having their lawyers file documents in federal court, I have to ask -- whatever happened to just plain "no"? Maybe that could've avoided this so-called "more".

Too often in this world, people will simply go along with something - even if they know it's wrong - so as not to rock the boat. Then, at some point, when they've finally had enough, they sue. Welcome to the New LitigiousWorld Order.

This is the same reason why Hitler would've eventually been sued by the Jews. If he hadn't, you know, killed them all before a class action lawsuit could be filed.

I'd be much more sympathetic if a woman (or group of women) at Wal-Mart had refused to attend such a meeting, due to its offensive locale, and had been fired. Then filed a wrongful termination/sexual discrimination suit. Sometimes it's better to stand up for yourself, consequences be damned, than to just "go along" with the stupidity. Maybe that attitude is a "guy thing", or maybe I'm just funny in the head.

Of course, the Cynic in me has to ask: Did they go along with it out of fear, or because it began to dawn on them that, perhaps, there WAS a Light at the End of the Big Settlement Tunnel?

I can understand the part about strip clubs. That is a little overboard and, quite frankly, just plain wrong.

But Hooter's restaurants? What next?

Will obese Wal-Mart employees follow suit, and sue management for "requiring" them to eat unhealthy, fattening food during a meeting held at a crap-restaurant?

And I can't help but wonder what would've happened if the roles had been reversed, and a female manager had "required" her male underlings to attend a staff meeting at Chippendales. Probably nothing, because men don't talk about being sexually "violated". It just isn't manly to talk about such things. Unless, of course, you're a man who happens to reside in a maximum-security prison. Then it's pretty much the topic de jour. But that's another column entirely.

If the "Hooter's" portion of the suit isn't tossed out and the case is won with that intact, I wonder where it will end.

McDonald's Scenario:

Male Cashier: "Would you like to try a 'Hot & Spicy' McChicken sandwich today? Would you like to Super-Size those fries?"

Female customer: "What the hell did you mean by 'hot & spicy'?" (Later in court) "When he said that, I felt so cheap! And when he said 'super-size', he was all but whipping out his penis just by his words alone!"

Diner scenario:

Waiter, after pouring coffee, says: "Would you like a little cream in that?"

Woman (in court later): "I know what he really meant by so-called 'cream in that'. I felt emotionally raped by his insensitive question!"

And so it goes.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm fair-squared against harassment. But I'm equally against stupidity and frivolity.

Which is why, if proven true in court, I think the second - more substantial - part of this class action suit has merit.

Again, to quote CBS News:

"The suit charges that Wal-Mart, which also operates Sam's Club, systematically discriminates against female employees across the nation by denying them promotions and equal pay.

The suit, filed in San Francisco in June 2001, alleges there are nearly double the number of women in management at competing retail stores and that male Wal-Mart workers get higher pay than women for the same duties. It also says the retailing giant passes over women for promotions and training..."

Sadly, with the way the world works, this is probably the rule rather than the exception in corporate and retail business circles. So, I hope, through this suit, the plaintiffs strike a blow for broads everywhere.

*Begin Heavy Sarcasm Alert*

Things used to be much simpler. Then we men stopped demanding that women be ever pregnant. We allowed them to wear shoes. We showed them that, yes, there was a world outside of the kitchen.

And just look at how they've repaid their benevolent masters!

*End Heavy Sarcasm Alert*

Obviously, Wal-Mart is downplaying this whole "unpleasant episode."

According to spokesperson Mona Williams, "The fact that a man might force female associates to bars and places like that to have meetings, it's very offensive to me and everybody else at Wal-Mart. That's not who we are. We might have some knucklehead out there that thinks that's OK to do. But that's not who we are or how we think."

She added that the briefs illustrated "isolated complaints" against the company.

The fact that the designated spokesperson is a WOMAN proves one of two things: Either that women can move up the Wal-Mart ladder, thus the suit has little merit, or... more likely... that the corporate lawyers are pretty darn slick, and have taken the public relations offensive by having a woman speak, thus both blunting the impact of such a suit through "maximum spin control" and raising the question of its merits.

One final note: The CBS article noted that Wal-Mart Stores Inc is "the nation's largest private employer", which, to some extent, goes a long way toward answering the question:

"What's wrong with America today?"

posted by Pete 11:28 AM
Sunday, April 27, 2003
True stories/commentary from "the boy who laughed wolf", via...

[ RANDOM BITS VI: SHORT & TASTY BITS ]

= Furniture Gone Wild! =

Last night, I spent part of the evening at a house party with a few of my "blog groupies." They more or less 'know' me from this web log, and I sure as heck don't know them all that well.

But, for some reason, I thought it was a good idea to go anyway.

"Networking," I told myself.

It always boils down to the networking. Or so I tell myself.

At the party, there was much dancing and carrying on. Also, the young people like to drink. Boy, do they! Mostly, I watched.

I like to watch.

As the night wore on, and the party began to resemble an out-of-control train careening off the track, I think - at some point - a lampshade was involved.

After years of drudgery shading the light, the lampshade really wanted to cut loose.

It soon found itself up on the table, resting on some poor drunk's head, kicking up its heels and acting the fool.

Boy, did that lampshade get wasted last night!

So, too, did some of the other furniture. The table and chairs were falling all over each other. The refrigerator evidently had a little too much too, and ended up spewing its contents all over the kitchen floor.

This morning, the lampshade was back in its rightful place. Even if it sat upon the light bulb a bit crookedly.

"Oh, man," it said, "whatever you do, don't turn on that light. I am SO hung over right now."
-

= Symptoms Of? =

Lately, I've had this hacking cough that just won't quit.

While smoking yet another cigarette this morning, I contemplated the situation.

I was hoping against hope that I had come down with that SARS (sudden acute respiratory syndrome) that's so popular these days, but soon realized I didn't exhibit any of the other flu-like symptoms. Not even a fever.

Just coughing and other related respiratory problems.

Damn.

You think it might be the smoking?
-

= Don't Blog Me, Dude! =

The other night, a friend started a conversation with something I'm hearing more and more of these days:

"I've got something to tell you, but you can't put this on your web log..."

I replied, "I don't put everything on my 'blog', but I guess what I do post I'm pretty honest about."

"Maybe some of it is too revealing," I added.

"You're just starting to realize that now?" he answered.

D'oh!

On a related note, I find another strange blog-related thing happening.

It used to be I'd tell my friends funny true stories. But now, if they read this blog, I barely get started when somebody will say, "Hey, I already read that one online!"

I'm quickly running out of stories to tell.

Or maybe I just need to make more low-tech friends.

Take your pick.
-

= Smoke-easy =

This week, the city of Chandler joined Tempe in banning smoking in public places, including restaurants.

Unlike Tempe (not to mention "smoke free" Mesa and Gilbert, AZ), the Chandler ban doesn't include bars.

Maybe the liquor trade has more pull in Chandler, hence the bar exemption. Or maybe the city council there just isn't stupid.

In any case, there's now a growing movement for a statewide smoking ban in Arizona.

Thus, it would join U.S. states on both coasts that've already enacted such measures.

So, I ask... How long will it be then before so-called "smoke-easies" light up for business? They'll be like the "speakeasies" that cropped up in the 1930s during Prohibition.

Secret basement rooms under existing businesses - I think one located under a propane distributor's building would be good, nobody would ever think to look there - where smokers can puff away in the relative safety and anonymity of the blue haze.

Mark my words, people, mark my words! Smoke-easies. It'll happen, sooner rather than later.
-

= Final Thoughts =

I'm keeping this edition of "Random Bits" short, out of respect for my "attention challenged" readers.

It seems some people have difficulty reading text online if it's, say, more than twenty words long. While I couldn't pare it down to that, I've tried to keep it brief.

I came upon this realization after one reader told me she had difficulty reading the 'post-modern bible' column on her computer screen.

So, she printed it out and, as she then said, "Oh, hell! It was eight pages long! W.T.F.?"

Evidently, it left her shaking her head. So, now I'm doing my part to help such readers.

Always give 'em what they want, I say.

At least that's what I say today. By tomorrow, I'll have probably changed my mind.

I'll then post a *9* page column to explain why.

[]

posted by Pete 1:17 PM
Tuesday, April 22, 2003
With its sometimes archaic language, and tales of long ago, the present-day person can find it hard to see just how Biblical teachings apply to his/her life.

To alleviate this problem, the best Biblical scholars are now working with some hip young writing talent to bring you...

[ THE BIBLE: POST-MODERN EDITION ]

THE STORY OF CREATION (Genesis 1:1-31)

In the beginning, the signal had yet to be broadcast. A darkness covered the scene.

Then God said, "Lights!"

God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from darkness and created three work shifts: Day, night and graveyard.

Then God said, "Camera!"

So God started "G3 Studios", and hired all manner of creative-types. Writers and computer animators alike.

Through creative script writing and cutting-edge computer animation, his "peeps" formed water under the sky to be gathered into a single basin, so that dry land might be added digitally around that basin. God saw how good it was.

They then added vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth.

Soon, God suggested, "Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds."

"I know I'm only the producer/director," God said, "but you might want to take my suggestion under advisement."

Usually, the creative-types working under God merely tolerated his suggestions - after all, THEY were the artists - but, they thought this time, that ain't half-bad!

And so it was done.

But something seemed to be missing. So a staff meeting was held, and much brainstorming ensued. Out of that conference came MAN.

Being a bit of a narcissist, God wanted man created in his image.

Two sexes were created. Man and woman.

"For the purposes of dramatic tension," as one writer put it.

And, thusly, God said, "Action!"

God looked at everything that had been created, and he found it award-winning.

Or, to quote God directly, "Hey... It's all good!"
-

THE STORY OF ADAM & EVE (Genesis 2-4)

Adam and Eve decided to eat out one evening, and so found themselves at "Bar-B-Que Gardens".

Eve was famished, so she ordered a big plate of ribs.

"What side dish did you want with that?" the waitress hissed.

Eve was considering the cottage cheese, but the waitress snaked her way around the table and whispered in Eve's ear, "Try the applesauce. It's really good. It's home-made!"

"Why the hell not?" Eve thought, and ordered it.

Adam wasn't particularly hungry that night, but Eve nagged and cajoled him until he, too, ordered a side of applesauce.

Now, God had warned these two kids not to eat anything with apples in it, for they were very allergic to that particular fruit.

But they went ahead and ordered it anyway.

When the meal arrived, Adam said, "Maybe we shouldn't eat the applesauce. After all, God said we'd be 'doomed to die' if we ate anything with apples in it."

"God's an old worry-wart," Eve replied, "I mean, what's the worst that can happen? We break out in a rash?"

And so they heartily consumed their meal.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were in a public place wearing nothing but their underwear. They felt naked and ashamed.

When they heard the sound of the Lord God coming through the rib joint front door, they ran and hid in the restroom.

But God, being all knowing, soon found them.

"Why did you eat the forbidden side dish?" God asked.

Adam immediately blamed the woman.

The Lord God then asked Eve, "What in My name were you thinking, woman?"

Eve answered, "That waitress tricked me into it. I swear to... ahhh... you, I wanted the cottage cheese!"

God, being in a particularly foul mood that night, decided the man and woman needed to be taught a lesson.

Both were banned from the "Bar-B-Que Gardens" restaurant and, further more, were made to live out their lives in a trailer park.

Adam collected unemployment checks, while Eve got pregnant twice.

Her two sons, Cain and Abel, got along for the most part - until, one day, Cain got it into his head that God liked Abel better.

Unfortunately, Cain was an alcoholic and, in a fit of rage, killed his brother.

God was not pleased. Nobody was.

Cain spent the rest of his days in a maximum-security prison where, for the most part, he was his cellmate's "bitch."
-

NOAH AND THE ARK (Genesis 6)

God was none too pleased about how things were turning out. It was all going to hell in a hand basket, thanks to the wicked ways of men and women.

So, God fired the writer who had first suggested the "man concept" during that big staff meeting and, then, called in the remaining ones to do a major rewrite.

"I want a whole new show," he said, "based around the character of 'Noah.'"

Meanwhile, Noah had pretty much been minding his own business up to that point. He, and most of his family, was geneticists. Science was their life.

So, God said unto Noah, "Of all the living creatures you shall collect two DNA samples. Of all kinds of birds, of all kinds of beasts, and all of the creeping things. Of all the creatures clean and unclean."

"Even cockroaches?" Noah asked.

"No," God replied. "They will survive on their own. They always do."

"Thus," God continued, after he had been so rudely interrupted, "you will keep their issue alive over all the earth."

"Oh," God added, almost as an afterthought, "did I mention there's going to be a big flood in seven days?"

Noah, and his family, quickly collected the genetic material. They purchased a large yacht and outfitted it with the latest in scientific cloning equipment.

Noah went on late-night radio, heard by a worldwide audience, and shared his dire predictions.

But people had become wicked, not to mention jaded, and so wrote Noah off as yet another "entertaining kook."

Boy, were they surprised less than a week later!

For forty days and forty nights heavy rain poured down on the earth. It was covered live by The Weather Channel *and* CNN.

The Carnival Cruise line made a killing, as all their cruises were quickly booked. In fact, all the cruise ships made out on this one.

As many senior citizens had made reservations long before the "flood panic", many of the survivors were over 65 years of age.

At the end of forty days, on the first day of the month, the water began to dry up on the earth. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of that month, the earth was dry.

All the survivors disembarked from the cruise ships. All those who had had "flood insurance" immediately filed claims.

This put all the insurance companies out of business.

And this was good.
-

THE TOWER OF BABEL (Genesis 11)


In the beginning was the oral tradition. Then the written word appeared. For many centuries, monks made out like bandits, copying text from book to book one letter at a time.

In 1452, Gutenberg conceived of the idea for movable type. In his workshop, he brought together the technologies of paper, oil-based ink and the wine-press to print books.

Somewhere in there, blueprints came about. People were soon building vast cities with many skyscrapers.

In 1937, Chester Carlson invented a copying process based on electrostatic energy. Xerography became commercially available in 1950 by the Xerox Corporation.

Shortly before and after that breakthrough, both radio and television came into use. Not to mention the telephone.

For a while, things seemed to be going along quite nicely.

Then, in the 1980s, "Cable Television" came into its own, followed shortly thereafter by the personal computer. By the end of the 20th century, Internet access became affordable and very popular. So, too, Satellite TV.

Soon, the world was "media saturated". Many small, niche markets appeared. True communication began to be fractured and unruly.

The signal-to-noise ratio dropped dramatically.

And the Lord said, "Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."
-

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (Exodus 20)

The Lord God spoke, saying, "I hate to tell you what to do, so let's just call these my '10 Suggestions'. That said, I highly suggest you follow these to the letter, or some bad stuff is going to go down."

1. No other gods allowed. No exceptions. You play you pay.

2. Don't be messing with the "graven images", people. Whether that be in a more traditional medium, such as sculpture, or on television. Which reminds me, I still have to have a talk with that Jerry Falwell feller.

3. Don't use my name is vain. So, yes, "god damn" is out. While I'm on the subject, I'm not too fond of the phrase, "Jesus H. Christ!" either. But that's probably something I should address later, in the New Testament.

4. Go to church on Sunday. I'm not fooling around here.

5. Don't sass your parents. They are your elders and, therefore, much wiser than you.

6. Murder is bad. Don't do it.

7. If you're married, don't sleep around. God doesn't like "playas" or "sluts." And if you're going to have sex, for my sake, use protection. No love without the glove, people!

8. Stealing is also bad. Don't do that either.

9. Never ever lie. Never. This is wrong and, quite frankly, I don't like it.

10. Don't covet other people's stuff. For those who don't know, "covet" is defined as "long for with envy." I don't care if it's a sports car, a phat bank account, or the other person's husband or wife. But especially the spouse. See Suggestion #7 for more details on that last one.
-

ELIJAH AND THE PROPHETS (1 Kings 18:21-46)

Elijah really grooved on God.

So he came before the people and said, "Choose or lose, folks. It's either God's way or the highway."

All the disinterested bystanders pretended to ignore Elijah, and instead continued to read their newspapers or use their laptops.

He then said, "I am the one true prophet! Who wants to wager? I'll call on the Lord, and you can call on Seth or Ashtar or whomever is popular this week. The God who answers with fire wins the 'God Sweepstakes'."

All the people answered, "What the heck???" but decided to play along, if for no other reason than the fact they thought it would all prove highly amusing.

Out of the crowd, a couple of New Agers stepped forward to take the challenge.

Altars were built. A small grill, for "sacrificial cooking", was placed in the center of each.

Each side prepared a meatloaf out of the finest USDA-approved beef money could buy.

The New Agers then called out to their Gods, but nobody answered the phone.

And they hopped around the altar they had prepared. There was much gnashing of teeth. The grill did not light.

After a while, some of the crowd got bored and went home. The New Agers looked crestfallen but put on a brave face.

Elijah then said to all remaining, "Fill four large glasses with water and pour it over the charcoal."

They did it. The New Agers, however, didn't help.

Having obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), not to mention being a bit anal-retentive, Elijah said, "Do it again."

They did. Again, the New Agers stood by as the crowd lent a hand to Elijah.

"Do it a third time," he demanded. Did we mention Elijah's OCD?

Anyway, at that point, water flowed around the altar and filled the bottom of the grill.

When the time for offering sacrifice came, Elijah mumbled some religious mumbo-jumbo and the Lord's fire came down - consuming the altar, the grill and sacrificial meatloaf.

Seeing this, the people exclaimed, "Holy crap!"

Then Elijah said to them, "Seize the New Age false prophets. Let none of them escape!"

The New Agers were seized, and Elijah had them brought into a nearby alley and there he slit their throats. The end.
-

Thus ends the first few excerpts from the "post-modern edition" of the Bible. Coming soon: Excerpts from The New Testament.

posted by Pete 7:57 PM
Friday, April 18, 2003
My columns are often amusing or ironic.

This isn't one of those stories.

[ JULIE: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER'S VICTIM ]

On Monday, 4/14, I wrote a brief report ("Today's Advice..." under 'Random Bits V', see archives) about a string of killings in the downtown Phoenix area, in which most of the victims were women with prostitution records and found to have cocaine in their system at the time of death.

A suspect, Cory Morris - dubbed the "Crackhead Killer" by the media - had been arrested and confessed to at least five of the murders at the time of my writing.

The arrest followed the discovery of victim #7's body in the RV where Morris, now charged with three of the slayings, had been living.

His last victim was so badly decomposed it has taken this long to identify her.

I had made some ironic observations in my previous report, but I guess what they say is true:

It's all fun and games, until it turns out you knew Victim #7.

From an 'Arizona Republic' article ("Stench, maggots, clues in home of alleged serial killer", 4/17/03):

"This is the motor home where Morris, 24, lived and where police believe six women died after Morris lured them there with money and drugs. Morris reportedly told police he strangled five of the women during sex, and has been charged with murder in three of their deaths.

According to court records, Morris told police he kept some of the decomposing corpses in his motor home for days before dumping them in his central-city neighborhood." (end quote)

Morris told Phoenix police detectives he killed the women during sex by using neckties, a nylon strap, his hands and a victim's hair extensions. Investigators from Oklahoma are now conferring with their Phoenician counterparts, in the hopes of closing the case on four murders with similar modus operandi in that state.

But enough about the confessed killer. All too often, in our society, the killer is all but glorified - think Henry Lee Lucas or Ted Bundy - while the victims are reduced to nothing more than a matter-of-fact brief mention in the local press, often based on a soon-to-be closed police file ready to gather dust.

This is a story about one of the victims.

Her name was Julie Castillo.

The first time I met her, she said she was in her mid-30s. I would've guessed mid-50s and, even then, I was giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Her frail, emaciated body seemed to be at death's door. Her rough-hewn hands matched her prematurely wrinkled face. The lines in her face were almost a road map to her uncontrollable drive to drink. Blue and brown blotches tracking down her arms spoke of being railroaded by hard drug use. Her shoulder-length brown hair, sun-bleached blonde in places, was unkempt.

While I didn't know Julie very well - only having met her about a half-dozen times - my good friend, James, did.

James is one of the few Christians I know who actually tries to live by the principles set forth by Christ. In other words, he is no hypocrite.

On more than one occasion, I've seen or heard of James lending a direct helping hand to the homeless and down-and-out in our neighborhood - expecting absolutely nothing in return.

Julie Castillo was one such person he had tried to help. With food, free cigarettes from time to time, and the occasional dollar or two.

Although Julie had a mother in the Pacific Northwest, she didn't want to return home, deciding, instead, to remain on the streets of Phoenix - rather than returning to a place where her stepfather also lived. The same man who she claimed had repeatedly molested her as a child.

She was a mother herself, with two children. She was especially proud of her teenaged daughter, with whom - even though she had lost custody years ago - she still communicated semi-regularly. Her daughter had told her recently that she wanted to wait to have sex until she was married.

Julie, meanwhile, had been arrested for prostitution on more than one occasion - so her daughter's declaration was especially touching to her.

A mutual friend of James and I had once taken Julie home with him, paying for her "services". This friend, for obvious reasons, shall remain nameless. For days thereafter, Julie kept showing up at his house. She evidently thought they had made a deeper connection beyond that of the prostitution business arrangement. Perhaps he had been kinder than most and, being desperate for some love or simple comfort - something most everybody can relate to - she returned to fill that void in her soul again. Eventually, Julie had to be warned not to return, lest the police be called.

Julie had been diagnosed with schizophrenia at an early age, and one can only imagine how much this had affected her life-choices.

Julie was also a heroin addict.

Just last month, she had called James from jail - after being arrested on yet another prostitution charge - begging him to bail her out. She had been in lock-up for almost two days, and the withdrawal symptoms were getting pretty bad.

James refused and, in jail, - the LAST place one wants to "kick" - Julie got off heroin. She had been held for six days; just enough time for the junk to work it's way out of her system to where she'd feel halfway normal again.

She apparently stayed "clean" for at least a few weeks thereafter, and reportedly even attended one Narcotics Anonymous meeting, but, alas, the long arm of addiction can just as easily snatch you back as not.

Evidently, Morris' promise of "money and drugs" was too tempting an offer and she took him up on it. While her drug of choice was heroin, an addict is an addict, and one doesn't look a "gift horse in the mouth." Even if the "horse" is, in fact, crack cocaine.

One can only wonder what she must have been thinking the night she and Morris were having sex. When he slipped a strap, or grasped his hands, around her neck and choked the life out of her.

Just a few days earlier, James had warned her to be careful, reminding her about the string of killings in the neighborhood, and how she fit the victim profile.

"Don't worry," she had replied, "I can take care of myself." She then added, "Don't forget to pray for me the next time you're in church, James!"

As she struggled for breath in Morris' RV a few nights later, his body weighing heavily upon hers, I wonder if she thought, "This can't be happening to ME!"

Or perhaps, "Oh please, God, if you let me live, I'll try to lead a better life."

While we may one day learn what the killer was thinking while his victims suffocated, perhaps in a TV-movie or tabloid news article, Julie's final thoughts are now lost forever - in much the same way she went through life... as another "lost soul".

[]

(For more on the "crackhead killer" case, go to 'Arizona Republic' website (http://www.thearizonarepublic.com) and do a search using keywords "serial" or "Cory Morris".)


posted by Pete 4:01 PM
Thursday, April 17, 2003
I wanted to post an epic today, but... I've got nothing, people!

Currently, another "true life tale of Pete" is writing itself, but it has yet to reach the final sentence. It could end up being a footnote, or another "War & Peace".

It's the true story of two crazy kids just looking for shelter from the rain. Or something to that effect.

It could turn into a reaffirming tale of love conquering life's adversities or just as easily become some trashy dime-store novel.

It might have a happy ending. Or it could end on a painful note.

Personally, I'm hoping for the happy ending.

I think the last few paragraphs are what writerly-types call "foreshadowing".

One day soon, it'll make a lot more sense than it does right now, dear reader. At that time, paradoxically, I'll probably be much more confused about this particular turn of events and be wondering just what the hell I've gotten myself into this time.

My apologies, babees, for getting all allegorical and oblique on you here.

In any case, here's a self-indulgent, yet slightly humorous, piece called...

[ GOOGLISMS OF PETE ]

I discovered the site GOOGLISM (http://www.googlism.com), on which you can enter your name (or website's name) and find out what others are saying about you.

Thank God for ever-loving tech-NAH-low-gee! Otherwise, I'd be at a loss as to how to waste my time.

I entered "Pete". Here's what you need to know about me...

pete is the narrator of the show and he appears in every single episode

pete is the same height as the matterhorn

pete is with the lord

pete is not a ragdoll, ladies

pete is a 2 year old purebred border collie

pete is as authentic a mambo dancer as we're ever likely to see

pete is ten years old

pete is activated by the left hand control

pete is engaged in a furby

pete is the rich white hippie

pete is a sexy bitch

pete is a real live children's musical pirate who sails the high seas with songs

pete is packaged in robot mode

pete is making tamales on the weekends

pete is mickey mouse's first and oldest continuing archenemy

pete is god

pete is an idiot

pete is just a regular guy

pete is a puppy from our "a" litter

pete is a peninsula that extends into the gulf of mexico

pete is many things to many people

pete is also completely nuts

pete IS

So, there you go. Everything you ever wanted to know about me, but were afraid to ask.

I are Pete. Hear me roar.

Any questions?

I didn't think so!


posted by Pete 10:43 AM
Monday, April 14, 2003
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

- some dead guy named George Bernard Shaw

[ RANDOM BITS V ]

The fifth in an ongoing monthly series of mildly amusing true tales of Pete... and the people he meets. Adding to the larger-than-life "Mythology of Pete" through the power of blogging!
-

= Smoking Ban =

I was scanning the blogosphere, looking for some interesting web logs to read, when I saw one that was "scratched out" on another site's listings with the word BOYCOTT! next to it.

So, of course, I had to check it out.

Before I did, I wondered what the young woman who blogs it had done. I figured she must have killed somebody.

Alas, no, for this is the blogosphere we're talking about. So the reason for the 'Boycott!' turned out to be very goofy. It seems she quit smoking and then relapsed.

All her "helpful" blogging friends decided to do a cyber-intervention and pulled a "tough love boycott."

So, I sent her some words of encouragement...

"Be careful now. Watch your health, as you're eliminating one of the four major 'food groups':

Nicotine, Caffeine, Sugar, and Alcohol.

Without nicotine, your nervous system could get all wacky. Increased quantities of any - or ALL - of the other three will NOT compensate.

Lord knows that's been my experience. Now, I try to maintain a well balanced diet, partaking of all the 'food groups'.

I feel much better too.

Other than the headaches, nervous tics, manic highs and blackouts, I mean." (end email quote)

The web log in question was Cheyenne's "Gnome-Girl" (http://www.gnome-girl.com/). As an aside, if ALL the female gnomes looked as good as Cheyenne, I probably would've forced myself to sit through those boring "Lord of the Rings" movies. But they weren't, so I didn't.

Whoops! Maybe those were dwarves in the LoTR movies. Dwarves, gnomes - what's the difference? Both are politically incorrect terms in this day and age.

Maybe Cheyenne better rename her blog "littleperson-girl" before she's boycotted over the inappropriateness of "gnome" too.

Such a boycott COULD happen, here in Greater Blogtopia!

With the Universe having the ironic sense of humor that it does, I expect all those bloggers now boycotting will one day die of "second hand smoke" health complications.

To quote Jim Carrey in 'The Mask' out of context, that would be... "Smokin'!"
-

= What'cha Talkin' 'Bout? =

While walking down the street, I saw a nattily dressed woman standing at the bus stop.

She appeared to be talking to herself. She'd talk, and then pause briefly as if listening to somebody answer before speaking again.

In my neighborhood, with a number of homeless people around, this in itself wasn't surprising. A small handful of them have these types of conversations. Usually they are talking with God, or another imaginary friend who might be classified under "Other."


What surprised me was the fact this woman looked like a "Respectable Businesswoman." She was wearing neatly pressed clothes. She wore shoes. Her long blonde hair was freshly washed, coiffed, and did not hold an assortment of leaves and grass. She was not drooling nor waving her arms wildly while having her conversation.

I watched her for a few minutes, listening to this half-conversation, when I noticed she wore one of those new-fangled Wireless Earset doo-hickeys in her right ear.

I only noticed because, at some point, she unconsciously pushed her long blonde hair back behind her ear.

What is this mixed-up world coming to, I asked myself, when one can no longer differentiate between "respectable business people" on a mini-cell phone and homeless crazies talking to the air?

It reminded me of that famous line by cartoon character 'George Jetson'...

"Jane, stop this crazy thing!"
-

= Macho Macho Man =

I ran into my friend, Kaj, the other day.

He was sporting a black eye. "Did you put a steak on that shiner?" I asked.

He glared at me with his one good eye. He looked pissed off. But then, Kaj always looks pissed off. I think he might have 'anger management' issues.

While I knew better than to ask, I said, "What happened?"

"I was at a bar last night," Kaj began, "and this crazy bastard got up in my face. He's throwing down the insults and I wasn't going to let him get away with that. Things got a little heated...

...then this bastard says to me, "Let's take it outside!" so I shouted, "Let's do it right here! I'll make your ears bleed." You can't take any shit, Pete, cuz those sick motherfuckers will eat you alive. I had to get damn forceful with him...

... He needed a real serious ass-whoopin'! And I was ready to give it to him, cuz I don't put up with that macho bullshit."

Gee, Kaj, ironic much?

So, the bottom line is... Kaj got into a fight. Again.

Working out those 'anger management' issues in his own unique way.

According to Kaj, "We duked it out. That crazy bastard got in one lucky punch, but then I tore him a new asshole!"

Woo-hoo!

So, what's the moral of this little story? There is no moral with this story.

So, you might now be saying to yourself, "Why is Pete making fun of this redneck? Doesn't he like rednecks?"

I've got nothing against rednecks. Hell, some of my closest friends are rednecks. After all, I DO live in Arizona. So I don't have much choice, now do I?
-

= Don't Make A Chump Outta Me =

I went to the Phoenix Zoo.

I wanted to see the chimpanzees. I figured, since I share around 98% of my genetic material with them, we probably had more in common than I do with most people I know.

At the outdoor enclosure, I leaned over the rail and waved at the chimps. They didn't wave back. Instead, they acted indifferent and continued grooming each other.

Monkeys ARE a lot like people, after all.

A passing zoo employee said to me, "I wouldn't lean over too far. Those monkeys might be a ways down, but they've been known to throw their excrement at the patrons. And they have remarkably good aim, if you know what I mean."

And who says monkeys don't have a keen sense of humor?

At that point, I figured if I wanted to make friends with the chimps, it would have to be a case of "monkey see, monkey do."

So, I dropped my drawers, crapped in my hand, and flung my feces at the closest chimp.

That sure got his attention.

"The tables are now turned," I shouted, "Eh, 'Cornelius'?"

Then I felt bad for calling him "Cornelius", after the lead-chimp in the original 'Planet of the Apes' movie, which is about as stereotypical as you can get when it comes to chimp names.

Sure, I preach tolerance but, when it comes right down to it, I'm as much of a Species-ist as the next human.

Heck, I'll admit it -- I always frowned upon that Diane Fossey. And I didn't much appreciate her co-habitating with those gorillas either.

Does this make me a bad person?
-

= The Dreaded R-Word =

My 'friend with privileges', Mia the Web-Cam Girl, came over the other evening.

We were going about with the usual "making out", when she began to playfully bite me here and there.

At one point, she bit me right above my hip bone - the one place I actually have some body fat - and I flinched.

"I'm sorry," she said, "I didn't hurt you, did I?"

"No," I quipped, "that comes later in the relationship."

As they say in Jack Chick comics, "Haw haw haw!"

The next night, we were chatting via Yahoo! Messenger, when Mia wrote, "I'm only looking to make out with you but that's all."

She then added, hopefully, "I hope that's ok."

I was perplexed by this sudden turn to seriousness. Confused, even.

So I asked for some clarification: "Do you mean 'making out but no sex' or simply 'making out with sex but no commitments?'"

Thankfully, she meant the latter.

I think my use of the word "relationship" the previous night might've thrown her for a loop.

Just for the record, I meant the small-R "relationship", as in "business relationship" or "familial relationship" etc etc.

Not the Big-R "Relationship", which is always pregnant with uncertain possibilities and fraught with inherent dangers.

And on that uplifting note...

(For The Origin of Mia, see 'Random Bits IV' ("Web-Cam Fun!" piece) of March 25, 2003, in archives.)
-

= Colors =

This sentence finds me at the convenience store, where I see a Native American leaning up against the side of the building, drunk off his ass.

Two black men walk up to him, and start in with, "How, Chief!" and "Hey Tonto!" as a way of greeting this obvious stranger.

And I think to myself, "If the roles were reversed, and the Native American walked up to them, calling, 'Yo, niggers! Wazzup?? I bet they'd beat his ass redder than a baboon's."

It's something to think about . . . sometimes.
-

= The Dating Game =

I finally broke down and tried one of those cyber-dating services that are oh-so popular on the Internet. It was a sudden lark on my part to do so.

After a couple of weeks, I got not one response. I don't know where the hell I went wrong this time.

I was pretty straight forward with the "Personal Profile" in which most people end up not measuring up to others' expectations. Ditto with the often embarrassing to admit in-a-public-forum "Personal Sexual Turn-Ons" section.

Then I got to the "A Little About Myself" area, so other desperate singles could find somebody more desperate than themselves. Somebody like... me!

My Opening Line: "I Hate Opening Lines"

In the profile, I wrote...

"I'm 'clean, trustworthy and honest.' A regular boy scout, I am. Oh, wait... the Dating Site FAQ says those three words are overused and that I should avoid them. Well, I'm not retyping it now. Screw 'em!

I'm a bit eccentric. My detractors might use the word "crazy", but personally I prefer the term "eccentric". It sounds much nicer.

My motto: "You better learn to laugh at life, because it's already laughing at you."

Sometimes I can be a little intense.

But just a little. Insert "ha ha" here.

I am the ONE guy on the planet who HATES sports. Did I mention the "eccentric" part yet? Do you need any more proof than this?

I'm not overly fond of people either. Most of 'em anyway.

Gee, I sound like a real catch, huh? Hoo-boy!

I like music (although not much of what passes for "music" on the radio), art and good writing. Sex is o.k. too, I suppose.

As for women, I prefer somebody intelligent, a bit cynical, with a twisted sense of humor. It's also nice if she's really really hot.

I've been told I have a good sense of humor. But sometimes my humor is very subtle.

I write. But I don't think of myself as a writer; I'm a "Literary Industrialist". Hey, we live in a postmodern world and, if nothing else, I'm a postmodern kind of guy... just looking for that special postmodern grrl.

That's all. Ready to move on to the next profile now?"

... Anyway, reflecting on it today, I think I might've had a bad attitude or something about this whole cyber-dating thing. Maybe that came across, and turned some potential dates off.

Who can tell?

Maybe some of my women readers can let me know.

Email me.

Include a picture if you want. Clothing is optional.
-

= Today's Advice: If You're a 'Crack Whore', Don't Move to Phoenix =

In the last ten months, some seven women have been found murdered in the downtown Phoenix "Garfield neighborhood".

An area about one mile from my home.

After the second incident, Phoenix police Sgt. Michael Smallman, who is assigned to the homicide unit, was later quoted by 'The Arizona Republic' as saying, "my detectives and I said, 'We got a problem.'"

However, the possibility of it being the work of a serial killer - and the quote above - wasn't released to the press until after the sixth body showed up.

I'm sure the families of victims #3-6 appreciated that.

Five of the six dead women had prior arrests for prostitution. At least four of the women had cocaine in their systems, with their deaths first ruled as "accidental overdose."

But, obviously, something caused the police to tie those deaths together. Not to mention raising the spectre of murder, rather than the ordinary overdose.

So, then, the question becomes: Was somebody purposely feeding bad cocaine to these women, then doing whatever it was he was doing to the fresh corpses to make for a similar M.O.? Or was the cocaine in their systems pure happenstance, having nothing to do with the deaths themselves?

On Saturday (4/12), the seventh body was discovered in a camper in a neighborhood backyard.

It was so badly decomposed that gender couldn't be determined.

It might've been a chick. It might've been a guy in a dress. Like many metropolitan cities, Phoenix has a wide variety of prostitutes to choose from.

Late Saturday, the nephew of the man whose property the RV was on had been arrested for this string of killings. According to police, he's admitted involvement in at least five of the deaths.

A word of advice to future serial killers: If you're going to kill people, don't store one of the bodies in your uncle's RV. That will never turn out well.

When I was discussing this case with a friend, he replied, "Seven bodies? That's nothing! I'm from Chicago!"

Chicago land - home to "Dr. H. H. Holmes", Richard Speck and John Wayne Gacy. It's known for at least three things: Blues music, great pizza, and those really dedicated mass murderers.
-

= War Notes =

1. Hair of War

For anybody who has seen my picture, via the "Pete's Mug Shot" link to left, I'd just like to say I shaved off both my goatee and full head of hair about two weeks ago.

For good measure, I had a friend cold-cock me in the face a couple of times. The bruises rose nicely by the next day.

Yes, I now have that "Prisoner of War" Look that seems to be so popular in Iraq these days.

Why did I do this? To show my support for the troops, of course!

2. War Is Over

On a more serious note, now that all but the mopping up is done in Iraq, I guess what they say is true:

"To the victor go the spOILs."

In my March 23rd entry ("War with Iraq: Winners & Losers"), I wrote about the 'War Blogs'...

"The 'war blogs' are in hog heaven these days. Plenty to write about on these web logs. But what's going to happen, say, next week or so, when the war is over?" (end quote)

The general reaction to that quote was, "You're naive! This war is going to last many many months." or words to that effect.

Just short of three weeks later and, well... I won't say, "I told you so." I'm way too classy to do that.

Besides, I'm too busy getting ready to watch the NEXT chapter in the War Trilogy.

Working Title: "War with Syria"

As far as Iraq itself goes, I'll keep it plain and simple: There IS no more Iraq!

We broke it; we bought it.

Oh, sure, everybody may wring their hands over the unsolvable "united democratic Iraq" conundrum for a while but, eventually, you'll most likely see - abracadabra! - three countries where there once was one. The Kurds, Sunnis, and Shi'a will all get a slice of the former-Iraqi pie.

And they'll all live "happily ever after." Or as happy as anybody can after years and years of sectarian hatred and mistrust.

On the 'War Blogs'...

Best case scenario:

The Anti-War blogs will turn to other pressing social & political issues, protesting these symptoms of a larger problem - much the same way they protested "the symptom of war".

For a short time, the Pro-War blogs will be on the "Rah! Rah! Rah! Ain't America Grand?" bandwagon, but that'll soon peter out. Then, they will turn to other pressing social & political problems - of which, "war" was never one - and suggest solutions that will be in direct opposition to those put forth by Blogs Formerly Known as Anti-War.

Worst Case Scenario:

The Pro- and Anti- War blog factions will, without a real war to distract them, instead attack each other. Thus paralleling what will most likely happen in Iraq itself, until that country is cut up piecemeal.

At that point, Planet Earth will blow herself up out of spite. The end.

On the 'War with Iraq' in general...

Don't get me wrong -- It's great that the Iraqis are now free and happy. It's also nice that Saddam is dead. Or injured. Or currently hiding in Syria.

But, for all intents and purposes, the war ended like, what, a whole day or so ago? Let's move on already!

Maybe it's my gung-ho American attitude speaking here. In the good ole U S of A, we don't look back. We don't reflect on the present much either. It's always on to the next "shiny new thing".

The light is dimming on Iraq. Maybe the next "big thing" will be a 'War with Syria'. Or maybe O.J. Simpson will go ape-shit again, and "allegedly" knife another loved one to death.

It doesn't really matter, because whatever keeps us occupied - and thus distracted - is good enough for George W. Bush. Especially when it comes to avoiding U.S. domestic issues. And that makes it good enough for me, too!

I'm nothing if not blindly patriotic to a fault.

And if you don't like my attitude, then pack up your stuff and move to France.




posted by Pete 1:09 AM
Thursday, April 10, 2003
[ WEIRD TALES O' WAR ]

War can be hell. Here are a few reasons why...

= Osama Yadda Yadda =

Well, it appears as if Osama "What, Me Worry?" bin Laden decided to pipe in again.

A recording of his purported voice, received and translated by the Associated Press on 4/7/03, blathered on and on, "America has attacked Iraq and soon will also attack Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Sudan. You should be aware the kafirs cannot bear the existence of Muslims and want to capture their resources and destroy them... ...America is a cowardly country. If you start suicide attacks, you will see the fear of Americans all over the world... ...I am proud of those martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Islam..."

Even if this was actually Osama "Hey, Remember Me?" bin Laden, and not an impersonator or just another choice cut from the posthumously released 'Best of Osama' CD boxed set, it's still the same tired old spiel...

"Kafirs this, martyrs that", blah blah blah.

Jesus Mohammed and Buddha, Osama!

Either take a shit or get off the pot already.
-

= One More Reason Why Pat Buchanan Is An Idiot =

On March 6th, 2003, Pat Buchanan interviewed syndicated radio show host (and newest MSNBC addition) Michael Savage.

Part of their exchange, on the war issue, was as follows...

SAVAGE: "I still feel we have to follow the rule of law or else we'll descend into the rule of the jungle. And that's what worries me, is that we're facing an enemy that we have faced before. Many people think that we have not faced this kind of fanaticism before. The kamikaze pilots were one. We have faced this kind of fanaticism before.

The Japanese in World War II tortured our men on the Bataan Death March. They conducted live human experiments. We've covered this in great detail. Do we want to become like them? I don't think so."

BUCHANAN: "I agree with you on the death march, but kamikaze were legitimate wartime tactics. Frankly, they were going at the ships, giving their lives. They were soldiers and they were airmen who were doing something honorable, going to their death. But torturers are different, I agree."

Yup, those honorable kamikazes and their legitimate wartime tactics.

So, I guess Iraqi suicide bombers are acceptable too - as long as the bomber is IN the Iraqi military and only targets the Allied forces' military vehicles, and not the soldiers standing around said vehicles, specifically.

Gee, Pat, thanks for clearing that up!

Here's a funny joke: Q. What's the difference between Japanese Kamikazes and Iraqi Suicide Bombers? A. About 60 years... "Ha, ha!"

If WWII was held today, kamikaze pilots would be dubbed "terrorists" and Japan would probably be called a "rogue nation" for having them. I guess a half-century or so makes all the difference in the world. It was a simpler time back then.

On Tuesday (4/8), U.S. lawmakers called for international tribunals to prosecute Iraqis who commit war crimes, including anyone who directed suicide car bombings that have killed U.S. soldiers.

"We expect the regime and the leaders in Baghdad to understand that, down to the very soldier and officer level, that we will hold them accountable," Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pennsylvania, said Tuesday.

Buchanan had better do some serious 'splaining to the lawmakers, before this tribunal thing gets out of hand.

I'd hate to see anyone who directed Iraq's modern-day "kamikazes" to be prosecuted for encouraging "honorable and legitimate wartime tactics."
-

= Living in Baghdad =

Rumor has it that Baghdad, Iraq, is THE place to live nowadays.

The gas is cheap and plentiful.

Traffic jams on the streets and highways are not a problem.

Housing is dirt-cheap. Where the houses still stand, I mean.

The only real drawback? I understand it can get very very hot at night.
-

= The Shield: Iraq =

At an April 3 news conference, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the regime of Saddam was "running out of real soldiers" and was increasingly relying on fighters and death squads who posed as civilians and use civilians as shields.

Of course, the original plan was to use lower ranking military personnel as shields, but Saddam, being the strategic military genius that he is, said, "Nah, that probably won't work."

He then had his bodyguard shoot and kill the idiot advisor who made that original suggestion.

Saddam then added, "Use the civilians as shields instead. I was just going to kill them myself later anyway, so no big whoop," before asking his remaining advisors, "so, any more brilliant suggestions?"
-

= Next on CNN... More War! =

The other day, I was watching CNN. The top story?

War in Iraq.

What was broadcast at the bottom of the hour?

War in Iraq.

What did I see in between?

War in Iraq.

At one point, the anchorperson said, "Up next, some other world news that nobody much cares about."

Cue up the short break for commercials.

I had to use the restroom. Or, in military parlance, "the head". (See, I have learned something by excessively watching CNN's "War in Iraq ": Cool military lingo!) I thought if I hurried, I wouldn't miss much of the other world news. After all, the commercials would probably run for two or three minutes.

I was back in front of the TV in just under FOUR minutes, only to hear the anchorperson say, "Well, that about covers the rest of the world. And now, back to the 'War in Iraq'!"

Hoo-yah!
-

= Friends & Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ear =

From The Associated Press (4/8): "Iraqis showed journalists a white stone jail where they claim Saddam Hussein's secret police for decades tortured inmates with beatings, mutilations, electric shocks and chemical baths."

Additionally, on Sunday, I saw an exiled Iraqi on the news - on either FoxNews or MSNBC, it's all a blur as far as cable news coverage goes at this point - talking about a favored torture method used by Hussein's goons:

Cutting off people's ears.

Apparently, more than one Iraqi is currently earless and, the exile suggested, after the war is over the United States should show all of them what a benevolent and compassionate country it truly is -- by giving all the earless Iraqis free reconstructive plastic surgery.

America: the land of baseball, mom, apple pie... and a lot of people with two good ears.

Maybe the Allied forces should just try to find all those missing ears.

I bet they'd be easier to find than the supposed alleged secret cache of biological and chemical weapons.

"We didn't find those weapons but, hey, we uncovered a whole shitload of ears!"


posted by Pete 10:14 PM
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
[ GOOGLE-FIGHT CLUB! ]

Lately, when extremely bored, I've been using the 'Google Fight!' site @ http://www.google-fight.com/

The basic premise: You enter two opposite keywords (such as "black" and "white") and, via a google search, the site determines a winner by total number of search results.

So, for example, when I entered "pit bull" and "poodle", I came to find out that the poodle was a lot tougher than it looked. It was all over that pit bull, winning with "350,000 Results" versus "270,000 Results".

Of course, I then had to ask the fight question most everybody has wondered about, at one time or another, since the middle of the twentieth century...

"If Jesus and Superman got in a fight, who would win?"

DING! DING! DING! goes the bell.

"And the winner, by unanimous decision, is..."

Jesus (with 986,000 Results)

Yes, Superman lost with only 369,000 Results.

The fight was pretty close for a while there. In the early rounds, the yellow lights in the arena gave Superman an edge. However, in round five, Jesus pulled some of that Savior-Fu on the Man of Steel, and... That's all she wrote! Good night, Irene!

The fight headline?

SON OF GOD CLOBBERS SON OF KRYPTON
http://www.thedailyplanet.com/newscolumn/lois_lane/saviorvssupes.html

Reportedly, Supes is recuperating at an undisclosed farm located in Kansas. He spends a lot of time talking on the phone with Gerry Cooney, asking, "What the hell happened?"

Gerry answers, "If I had a dollar for every time I asked myself that question, I wouldn't be working at a hardware store today."

Meanwhile, according to tabloid reports, Jesus has been partying it up with Mike Tyson.

Tyson allegedly gets way drunk and beats the living crap out of any bar patrons that've annoyed him. Luckily, his new pal, Jesus, is there to heal the fatally injured.

After the bar closes, they go back to Tyson's place, where he starts up with the begging of, "See that water cooler over there? Come on, Jesus, I just know you can turn it into a wine cooler! Let's party like it's the Second Coming, dude!"

Jesus turns the other cheek, at which point Tyson says, "You know what you need on that cheek? A tattoo like mine!"

Jesus mumbles something about tattoos being against Biblical law and, if He Himself got one, how the universe would pretty much blink out of existence.

"Look up Leviticus 19:28," He says, "'Do not lacerate your bodies for the dead, and do not tattoo yourselves. I am the Lord.'"

That usually sobers Tyson right up.

My next google-fight was the "Chicken Versus Egg", to determine "Which Came First?" bragging rights once and for all.

Before the fight, the Chicken appeared cocksure. She strutted around the ring, trash-talking the egg.

"I'm gonna cluck you up, pal!" and so forth.

The egg said nothing. It sat atop a shot glass, exhibiting a quiet strength. It only wanted to throw off the yoke of oppression the chicken has held it under for many years.

The bell rang. The chicken flew into a fury.

The egg got scrambled.

Chicken (6,960,000 Results)

Egg (2,910,000)

But the Chicken's victory was short-lived. The fight had worked up a powerful hunger in the crowd.

The next thing you knew, somebody had cut the chicken's head off. It then tried to run.

It didn't get far before its corpse was caught, plucked, quartered, deep fried, and eaten.

The moral of this fight? The chicken might've come first, but the egg got the last laugh.

Next on the bill?

The Dixie Chicks Vs. War Supporters

After recent anti-war sentiment expressed by the "sassy chick" in the Dixie Chicks, pro-war supporters have been up in arms.

So, I figured, let 'em duke it out.

The War Supporters won: 885,000 Results to 348,000.

But, then, I guess I didn't need google-fight to determine that one. Plummeting record sales already proved that the "sassy chick" had gotten a bit too sassy this time.

On a related note, the "Michael Moore Vs. Common Sense" fight was canceled, due to Moore having a previous engagement. Another "Public Haranguing of the fictitious President Bush" event had been scheduled for that same evening.

But who needs a google-fight? Anybody who saw Moore on the 2003 Oscars broadcast already knows his mouth will win over his common sense every time.

Another Title Fight: Alcoholism Versus Sobriety

This one was no contest. Alcoholism (with 761,000 Results) beat Sobriety (211,000) into hopeless submission.

By the end of the fight, Sobriety was weaving to and fro, talking gibberish and, finally, passed out.

Alcoholism declared itself, "Ten Feet Tall and the Best Fighter in the World!"

A sobering thought, indeed.

It was a dark day at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings worldwide after the fight, believe you me.

These results are something we should all think about. One day at a time.

For the lovers of "Conceptual Humor Fights", I put "Either Versus Or" on the card.

Personally, I didn't care who won.

Either/Or, people.

Yes, since time immorial, either/or have been as close as two words can get without contraction.

But that was all going to end tonight.

Or whooped Either - 530,000,000 to 42,200,000!

And, finally...

Since my web log is called "The World According to Pete", I thought I'd see how I'd fare against The World.

The World kicked my ass. Again.

This time on google-fight, with results of 153,000,000 versus my paltry 227,000.

But I won't despair. And I won't give up.

So, what am I going to do tonight? The same thing I do every night, Pinky.

TRY TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!

[]

posted by Pete 1:50 AM
Saturday, April 05, 2003
[ 365 IDEAS... TO KEEP ME WRITING ]

In the Decembur 2002 ishue of "Writer's Digest" magazeen, it had the artikul, "365 Ideas to Keep You Writing Every Day."

It was a calundar of dayly affirmashuns and ideas to (quote) "ensure inspiration every day of the week."

So, I thunk to myself, "I can do dat. It'll deafinitely make me a bettor writer. And mebbe it'll help me with my speling, and, grammur, two."

Like the artikul sed, "Your greatest work may only be a day away."

I hope so. Hear ar sum entrys so far...

JANUARY 7 - THE NEXT TIME YOU SKIP A WRITING SESSION, WRITE FIVE REASONS FOR DOING SO...

(Sorry, I skipped this day's exercise. I have no excuse, much less five.)
-

FEBRUARY 6 - YOU DECIDE TO PUT A LETTER IN A BOTTLE AND THROW IT INTO THE OCEAN, HOPING SOMEONE WILL READ IT. WHAT DOES THE LETTER SAY?

"Return to Sender"
-

FEBRUARY 10 - TAKE ONE OF YOUR POEMS AND TRANSLATE IT INTO A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. YOU CAN USE AN ONLINE TRANSLATOR LIKE BABELFISH AT http://babelfish.altavista.com

(Original English Version)

Hunk Of Burning Love

she moaned
she screamed
with my every thrust and parry

she damned god
she invoked the devil
as I knelt before her altar

"I'm burning up," she cried,

"I'm on fire!"

And here I was,
not one marshmallow to roast in sight

(English to French)

Hunk De l'Amour Brûlant

elle a gémi
elle a crié
avec ma chaque poussée et parry

elle a damné un dieu
elle a appelé le diable
comme je me suis mis à genoux avant son autel

"je brûle vers le haut," elle ai pleuré,

"je suis sur le feu!"

Et ici j'étais,
non une guimauve à rôtir en vue

From the French back into English, Babelfish translated it as:

Hunk Of the Extreme Love

she groaned
she shouted
with my each push and parry

she damned a god
she called the devil
as I put myself at knees before her furnace bridge

"I burn upwards," she cried,

"I am on fire!"

And here I was,
not a marsh mallow to be roasted in sight

(English to Japanese)

[Note to ALL: The Japanese text version of the poem was typed in here, but blogger converted all the Japanese letters into question marks once posted. Shame on you, blogger.com, for not having "universal text recognition" parameters! And here I had planned on writing my web log in Japanese exclusively from now on. Scratch that idea.]

When I translated it from Japanese back to English via Babelfish, my poem read as:

Hunk of very hot love

As for her
as for her who is my all
guess pressure which shouted and the parry

As for her as for her who severely criticizes God
as I who execute demon
kneel before her altar, as I kneel before her altar,

"There is as for me a fire! "

And there was I here,
one marshmallow which should burn with vision, is not

(Well... that's pretty darn close. But it loses something in the translation, I think.)
-

FEBRUARY 12 - WRITE A STORY FROM A CHILD'S POINT OF VIEW...

"Life and Death Bedtime Story"

One night, a father was telling his little girl a bedtime story.

He began, "Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a beautiful place. Everything he ever wanted, or could ever want, was there. He was never hungry, nor thirsty. He had fun every day and never got tired. All his family and friends lived there with him. He was surrounded by love. The boy was very happy every day, for he knew he lived in paradise.

One day, the boy woke up in a strange city. He had a big lump on his head, and it hurt very much. The city was noisy and quite dirty, and the boy couldn't remember how he had gotten there. Nor could he remember the beautiful place he had come from, because he had lost his memory. So, he walked around the city, looking for love. But mostly, all he could find was fear and anger. This made him very sad.

Sometimes, he felt lonely, but every once in a while he'd see something good and beautiful. When that happened, for a short time, the boy would remember the beautiful place he had come from. When he remembered, he was not lonely, because he knew that one day he'd find his way back home."

When the father finished the story, his little girl asked, "Did the boy ever get back home?"

He answered, "Yes, dear, but it was many years later."

She then asked, "Daddy, who was the child?"

"We all are, sweetheart. Every last one of us."
-

MARCH 12 - PRACTICE THE WONDER OF SMALL THINGS. WRITE ABOUT THE HIGHER VALUE OF SOMETHING ORDINARY, SUCH AS AN OLD SHOE OR YOUR GRANDFATHER'S WOODEN TOOLBOX.

I like wearing my old shoe. It is as comfortable as... well, an old shoe. Hence my reason for liking it.

When I go to bed at night, I carefully remove my old shoe. I keep it in a safe place. Usually, I store it in my grandfather's wooden toolbox.

I wish I had the other shoe. Sometimes, my left foot gets cold.
-

APRIL 2 - DO YOU BELIEVE IN ASTROLOGY? TRY WRITING A HOROSCOPE FOR YOUR FRIENDS.

Here are the horoscopes I've written for my friends who've been mentioned on this web log. (Usually, in the monthly "Random Bits" column. See archives.)

ANNE (in Texas - as mentioned in my 3/13/03 "Texas Diaries" column): The opportunity to take an unexpected trip will arise. You will go to Arizona and spend some quality time with a good friend. You will have lots and lots of sex with this friend. Signs are good this friend's name is Pete.

THE ARTIST KNOWN AS JAKE MARTINEZ: Today, you will meet your soul mate. You and her will have everything in common. It will be love at first sight. You will soon marry this woman. After a brief period of wedded bliss, she will cut your heart out and serve it to you with a side order of her lies and infidelities. You will die penniless, after many years as a raging alcoholic.

"MIA THE WEB-CAM GIRL": After spending many a torturous night getting naked on the web cam for a close friend, you will finally visit him in person this evening. You'll watch the movie "Henry & June" together. This will make you incredibly horny. Turn to your friend during this time of need. Your husband will NEVER find out.

KAJ: Today, you will be run over by a truck while crossing the street. You will be critically injured, and - once in the hospital - finally die after hanging on in excruciating pain for three days. So, whatever you do, don't leave the house today.
-

APRIL 4 - WHAT IF YOU WERE A FAMOUS AUTHOR? PRETEND YOU'RE BEING INTERVIEWED BY A JOURNALIST. WRITE A TRANSCRIPT OF IT.

Q: Who are your influences?

A: I'm so glad you asked that question. I'd have to say: Richard Brautigan, Charles Bukowski, and William S. Burroughs. In other words, ANY dead writer whose last name began with "B".

Q. Some people have wondered how much of what appears on 'The World According to Pete', written as it is in a sort of "gonzo journalism" style, is the truth. Well?

A. Well, I can give you two answers there. Either one of which - or perhaps both - being true.

First, yes, I have some actual journalistic experience, so I know how to write an article AS any journalist would: One-third absolute truth, one-third exaggerated truth, and one-third beautiful lies.

The more high-falutin' answer would be: It's ALL true, on some level.

Q. I've heard you're known as the "Greatest Living Writer of the Blogosphere". Is this true?

A. Yes, yes it is. Darn tootin', pally! I've also earned the title of "Most Humble Writer."

Q. Has writing made you fabulously wealthy?

A. Let's put it this way: If you'll loan me a nickel, then I'll finally have two nickels to rub together.

But I do have a master plan: To spend countless years writing in relative obscurity, until I'm finally bitter and old enough to die. After my death, my writing will become wildly popular, and be translated into many languages, making millions of dollars for my Estate.

More or less the dream of EVERY living writer today, I suppose. I'm no different. Now, about that five cents you were going to loan me?

Q. If you were shipwrecked on a desert island with three other writers, who would they be? And whom would you eat first?

Pagan Kennedy - because she's smart, witty, and oh-so cute.

Al Franken - whose non-stop banter could prove mildly amusing and reassuring during those critical first few days.

Whitley Strieber - just for the fact he might have some "friends" who'd show up to rescue us after the humans had given up.

Who would I eat first? The obvious jokey innuendo would be for me to say, "Pagan Kennedy", but I won't cheapen the interview process by doing that. No, I'd have to say Al Franken. Not so much because he's a raging left wing liberal - although that might be reason enough right there - but because, I'd imagine, his nasally voice would really start to grate after about day three. So, yeah, I'm going to go with Franken on the cannibalism question.

Q. Some other web logs have used phrases such as "bizarre and paranoid" and "a blog about life and paranoia" to describe yours. Are you, yourself, paranoid?

A. Who wants to know? What magazine did you say you were doing this interview for? Who REALLY sent you? What kind of game are you playing here, mister? You can tell the goons who sent you that I will not talk! So if you're going to torture me, get it over with. If you plan on killing me, you might as well do it now. I won't be saying another word!
-

FUTURE EXERCISE: APRIL 19 - WHAT EVENT WOULD YOU NEVER WRITE ABOUT, AND WHY?

I'd never write about the time, during my 'drifter' years, when I was never caught for that cross-country killing spree I...

...Hey! Wait a minute! Was that a trick question?
-

[Thus ends my "365 Ideas" column to this point. If you enjoyed it, please email me so I won't think it a complete flop and waste of time. Perhaps, once a few more days - and months - have gone by, I'll post later ones. Or don't write, and watch me fall into a downward spiral of dark depression from which I may never recover. Whichever.]

posted by Pete 9:08 PM
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
[ YOU DON'T LIKE DICK AS I LIKE DICK - ...A Letter ]

An email from a reader on April 1st's "Make Fun of the Cheneys Day"...

"Dear Pete,

I understand to protest their harassment of the White House parody site; April first is "Make Fun of the Cheneys Day".

Pain me as it might, I read the whitehouse.org site - or, as much as I could humanly stomach - just so's I'd know what the heck all the hullabaloo was about. Now I know and, let me tell you something, buster, I'm none too pleased! Did you know it contains what are probably doctored photos of the Honorable Second Lady Lynne Cheney? And a fictitious biographical statement?

Is this what passes for humor in this fine land today? What's wrong with the comedic styling of Mark Russell? Or living legend Buddy Hackett? Now those are comedians! Not the mean-spirited "white house dot org" people who, quite frankly, just aren't funny! Well, I sure wasn't laughing and, I'd imagine, nor are any Americans worth their salt.

So, this fellow named Neal Pollack (www.nealpollack.com) called for a day of fun making, did he? Who is this Neal Pollack anyway, you might ask? He fancies himself a writer but, mostly, he makes stuff up. Real writers don't have to make stuff up. That's why they are called writers! So, really, he's just another sniveling no-goodnik trying to make a name for himself on the back of one U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.

Some people obviously spend way too much time thinking, instead of doing, for themselves.

Get off Dick, Neal! You dumb pollack.

Dick Cheney is a good man with a good heart.

Well, he's a good man at least. His heart? Not so good. But that's o.k., because the honorable President George W. Bush has enough heart for the both of them. He is, after all, a "compassionate conservative." I think his record so far speaks to that fact.

Dick Cheney has made sacrifices for his country. Did you know, when he was tapped for the Vice President position, he was registered as a voter in Texas? That effectively barred him from running for office, as the US constitution prevents president and vice president coming from the same state. But did Dick give up? Did he turn down a job he probably didn't even want? No, unlike some people mentioned in this letter previously, Dick didn't think about himself. He thought about his country! He knows the meaning of the word "sacrifice." So, he took a long and arduous trip to the backwoods of Wyoming to change his voter registration.

That took gumption, not to mention good ole-fashioned American Ingenuity. Traits to be admired, I might add.

A May 2, 2002 report from 'CorpWatch' stated: "Cheney made a fortune in the oil industry when he took over as chief executive of Halliburton, the world's largest oil services company in 1995. In 1998 he took home $4.4 million in salary and benefits and in 1999 he was paid $1.92 million, according to the company's own financial reports. In May 2000 he cashed in 100,000 Halliburton shares to net another $5.1 million and then sold the rest of his shares in August 2000 for $18.5 million, adding up to a total of almost $30 million in just two years, a fortune for a man with no previous experience in running a company, let alone an oil multinational."

It was written by a man - or woman - calling himself (or herself) "Pratap Chatterjee". Sounds Iraqi to me. Or maybe a person from India. Not that there's much difference. They all hate what America stands for, and they all hate Dick.

It's just another example of bashing the CEOs - both former and current - of Corporate America. These people with inferior bank accounts sure like to sling mud. All in yet another attempt to keep the rich white man down. History is filled with such attempts, but hear me and hear me well - We Shall Overcome!

Are we so morally bankrupt that we fault a man for making a buck? If not for that little "nest egg" how do you think Dick would be able to make ends meet now, what with the comparative pittance he's paid as Vice President? You should thank your lucky stars that Dick doesn't have to worry about money, so he can concentrate on the more important issues. Like blowing Iraq back to the Stone Age. And making more money - not just for himself, but also for all the god-fearing Americans he knows personally.

No, suppression of truth is a foolish game. And I think that's what is going on with these snotnosed punks, when it comes to Dick Cheney.

We are increasingly seen as a weak nation, populated by a generation of morally bankrupt materialistic consumers with no notion of the conditions of the world outside of the well-protected borders of these United States.

God is testing the hearts of men and women, to see if they will stand for those too weak to stand for themselves in another country, or cower behind a barrage of deceitful philosophy in the name of 'peace.' Or satire. (Romans 1:18-24 and 28-32.)

God has tested Dick Cheney's heart. Dick passed, on more than one occasion.

Can the goatee-wearing, earring dangling snotnosed punks like Pollack say the same? I think not. So if he, and those utterly gutless bozos at whitehouse.org, don't like Dick - then get the hell out! Go back to Iraq or wherever it is you came from!

The rest of us GOOD Americans will follow Dick, and his boss, in these trying times. We'll not question their decisions because, ultimately, we did elect them to do what's best for all of us. You. Me. The Iraqi people. Whichever. We should trust them because they know what they're doing. If they didn't, they wouldn't have gotten themselves elected, now would they?

To the Dick detractors, I say this: You better come to your goddamn senses and learn to fly right. Before it is too late. This is war time, friend, and you may find yourself on the wrong end of a Treason charge if you keep it up.

Some people just don't get it. Why?

I don't know... -- Jack"

posted by Pete 7:24 AM



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