Friday, October 26, 2007

"Liquor? I could barely see her!"

For those of you who read my earlier post on the strangeness that is Utah and thought it couldn't be any stranger, you couldn't be more wrong.

According to this article in the Salt Lake Tribune, even the sight of a bottle of booze is offensive and liquor control commissioner Bobbie Coray wants her colleagues to do something about it.
A glass partition between bartenders and customers required under current regulations may not be enough, Coray told her fellow liquor control commissioners at their monthly meeting.

Coray, a lone holdout opposing liquor licenses for strip bars, now wants the commission to place more restrictions on glass partitions in restaurants. She called the partitions "a Zion curtain," imposed to satisfy Mormons whose faith eschews alcohol.

Glass walls don't obscure the alcohol, said Coray, a nondrinker, turning the "atmosphere in a restaurant to more of a bar." She singled out the Cheesecake Factory, which opens its first Utah outlet at Fashion Place in Murray on Nov. 1, because alcohol bottles are in plain view.
The Cheesecake Factory? Really. Wow, I bet they were serving up flaming shots and dancin' naked on the bar in the Cheesecake Factory.

I swear, this is the most uptight place in the U.S. They make the southern bible thumpers look like drunken fornicators.

Actually, that isn't true. You still have those southern dry counties where they attempt to practice what they preach. In Utah, it's all about the almighty dollar. They don't want the Mormons offended, but they still want the revenue from the heathens who demand a drink. They just don't want to see you do it.

So, for those of you scoring at home, in Utah: Liquor = Bad; Money = Good. Resulting in some of the dumbest laws currently on the books.

Here is a primer for Utah's silly liquor laws. Utah's Peculiar & Curious Liquor Laws

Monday, October 22, 2007

J.K. Rowling Punches Religious Wackos Straight In the Kisser

At a recent event, J.K. Rowling revealed that Dumbledore, one of her most beloved characters from the Harry Potter series, was gay.

Wow. She created a gay character that wasn't made gay for the purpose of using the false stereotype gay character. It's was perfect. Dumbledore was an authority figure, a mentor, a protector, a defender of truth and good, he was a hero who sacrificed himself to save others and because of that he is loved by millions. And oh, by the way, he happens to be gay.
Not everyone likes her work, Rowling said, likely referring to Christian groups that have alleged the books promote witchcraft. Her news about Dumbledore, she said, will give them one more reason.
My wife is a good Christian and she adored the Harry Potter series. She knows what the far right fanatics don't remember, that Christians love, not hate. That they care, they don't attack. And all of those self-proclaimed Christians who attacked the books as a bad influence on children are flat-out wrong in her eyes.

So bring it on right-wing religious wackos. Tell everyone that Dumbledore is a threat to the Christian way of life. I dare you. Please. Pretty please! Literally millions of children out there need to learn exactly how out of touch, demented and dangerous you really are. Thank you J.K. for using the power of a fairy tale to illustrate why people need to denounce the far-right's hate filled view of the world and embrace tolerance, love and compassion. It is a powerful lesson that millions of children will learn thanks to you. And thank you J.K. for giving these false purveyors of piety the rope with which to hang themselves.

Brilliant...absolutely brilliant.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"The first of the gang to die..."

This was my view last night. While not an actual photo of the show I went to, he was wearing the same outfit. You see, the wife and I had front row seats to see Morrissey. Front row dead center. My wife will have the definitive blogging on the event. You'll soon be able to read her post on her blog, You're Boring Me.

I'll just say that I had a great time, best seats I've ever had for a show. If it wasn't for the raving asshole that came running down from the left and physically threw me over the row of chairs to take away the shirt that Morrissey had thrown directly at me, the night would have been perfect.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Nobel Peace Prize And Why Republicans Need To Look Inside For Answers

Do you want peace. Are you tired of the killing? Does it make you sick every time you hear about an American soldier coming home missing limbs or worse, in a flag draped coffin? Do you believe that the world would be a better place if we spend more time talking and less time shooting and bombing? If so, then maybe you should be voting for the Democrats.

In the history of the Nobel Peace Prize, only one Republican President or Vice President has ever won. (See Update Below) It was Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. And coming from a traditionally Democratic family, he was barely a Republican. He lead the progressive side of the party at the time. He advocated for a "square deal" between business, workers and consumers. He was a huge protector of nature and the environment setting aside massive amounts of land for public use and enjoyment. And he won the peace prize for negotiating the peace between Japan and Russia.

Since then, Democrats Woodrow Wilson (for founding the League of Nations), Jimmy Carter (decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts) and now Al Gore (for his work on climate change) have won the prize.

Even Ronald Reagan, "The Great Communicator", didn't get a prize when the Berlin Wall fell. They gave that honor to Mikhail Gorbachev without honoring Reagan, the champion of Star Wars and unbridled military spending.

If you believe in peace, if you believe in a world where the value of human life is respected, if you believe that the military option should be the last option, then you should be a Democrat.

With very few exceptions, the list of Nobel Peace Prize winners is a who's who of great people who devoted their lives to bringing a better life to the inhabitants of this world. Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, The Dalai Lama, Albert Schweitzer, Linus Pauling, Martin Luther King Jr., Elie Weisel, Bishop Desmond Tutu, each are iconic champions of peace and the fair treatment of our fellow man.

How could anyone support a Republican party that breeds war and divisiveness and not peace and cooperation?

If you are a Republican, do me a favor. When you are sitting in your house of worship or just contemplating what your role in the world is or should be, ask yourself these questions: Does my God or do my own moral beliefs support torture? Do they support killing innocent men, women and children for political purposes? Was I placed on this planet to act as an agent of violence and division?

If the answer is no to these questions, consider becoming a Democrat. You can argue about taxes, abortion, education, health care and the other domestic issues facing us today, but I doubt anyone who answers no to those questions can feel very good about supporting the Republican party as it exists today.

Sometimes when we look inside ourselves, we find answers we didn't expect. We find that our hearts contain things that our minds and upbringing have denied. If you are a Republican, I can't ask you to change because I think its the right thing to do. But I can ask you to look into your heart and allow yourself to see and act upon the truths that reside there. I am convinced that for many of you, the truth is that you are no longer a Republican. You just haven't yet taken the time to discover it. I Don't hope that you'll change because I think its right, but instead that you'll listen to your heart and act accordingly, regardless of what truth you may find there.

I say this because I believe your faith, your inherent kindness, your own moral code makes you disgusted and appalled by the current state of the Republican party. I also believe that once you allow yourself to look past the "us vs. them" mentality that has become our political debate, you will choose wisely, and that for many of you, that choice will be to abandon the Republican party for a more compassionate, more ethical alternative. If Nobel Prize history is any indication, then the Democratic party is one of those options.

UPDATE: It seems I missed a Republican VP -- Charles Dawes was VP to Coolidge from March 4, 1925 – March 4, 1929 and a co-recipient of the prize. He won for the Dawes Plan for a WWI reparations.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Quick Hits, Version II

Very much like the junk drawer in the kitchen, my mind gets cluttered with things that I don't want to throw away but don't really fit with anything else. Random observations, quick opinions without any true basis in fact, pet peeves and general Scooby Doo "Huh?" moments. And just like a junk drawer, now and then, I need to clean out my addled brain. Here's a few of the things that I found:

Marion Jones used Steroids: I am mostly just sad. I bought it all. The smile, the accomplishments, the easy-to-like personality. Barry Bonds has always been a prick and I can dislike him without remorse. You expect pricks to cheat. But Marion? No, this one hurts. She made me proud to be an American. She made me sit in awe of her accomplishment. And now she's giving back her medals. Say it ain't so Marion, say it ain't so.

Party Pooper Tries to Kill Skinny Dip Promotion: For the past three years at the Black Frog Restaurant in Greenville, Maine, if you were willing to jump naked into the lake, you could get a free "Skinny Dip" sandwich. Now some moron "patron" is trying to get the promotion banned.They have been doing it for three years, why suddenly now? Too many fat people? Someone saw someone's girlfriend's backside? Didn't like your fries? C'mon people, it's funny! If you don't like it, go eat somewhere else.

Gee Whiz Veruca, Try Asking: Telling someone that you want something and asking them to do/get it for you are two different things. Asking nicely is polite, telling people what you want and then just sitting there waiting for them to do/get it, that's rude.

Sins of the Father...: I love baseball and I am a Chicago Cubs fan. My 12 and 6-year-old daughters are turning into a Cubs fans. I should stop them. We haven't won a World Series in 100 years. Why would a parent put their child in the position of being let down, disappointed each and every year? Bad Daddy, bad Daddy!

20-Year-Old Deputy Kills 6 In Rampage: Okay, let me get this straight. According to our laws, a 20-year-old isn't mature enough to walk into a bar and have a cocktail but they are mature enough to have a badge and a gun. This story just pisses me off. Those poor kids. If someone had just thought twice about the ramifications of giving a 20-year-old this much responsibility, this might not have happened. People are wondering how a person this unstable got through a background check. What background was there to check? Did he wet the bed? Did he steal other kids lunch money? Did he cheat at Monopoly? I hope whomever gave this child the job of deputy gets the crap sued out of them.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Sen. Craig Tells Media And Republicans To Suck It, He's Staying

It would seem that Sen. Craig (R-ID), our favorite homo-crite, has decided not to leave the Senate after all. For those of you scoring at home:

Craig plead guilty to misconduct for soliciting sex from an undercover cop in the Minneapolis Airport, then said he was going to resign. He later said that he wouldn't resign, then said he didn't say that and then said he wouldn't resign if he could get his guilty plea reversed which he didn't and now he isn't going to resign even though he said he would if he didn't get the ruling he wanted to over turn his plea.

I think I need a drink.

Now, I wrote a few weeks ago that if I were him I'd tell the media, the Democrats and the rest of the Republicans to go to hell and stay in the seat he won. (Hee Hee, I said seat!) What does he have to lose? His ride in the Senate will soon be over and he might as well enjoy the privileges for as long as he can. Besides, everyday that he is in the media denying his involvement in anonymous sex in a public men's room is yet another day that the Republican political machine is in damage control on their pet issue of family values.

I honestly don't know and don't care if Senator Craig is gay. I don't care if he likes his sex public and anonymous. As long as he isn't diddling kids or kittens, he can put his congressional member wherever it works for him. But I do care that his hypocrisy and the hypocrisy of his party are illustrated as often and as publicly as possible.

You can't vote against gay rights, decry homosexuality as a sin to please the religious right and then do the tap dance of love in the men's room stall. Well, I suppose you can, but that makes you either a self-hating closeted gay or a cynical, Machiavellian power monger who will say or do anything to get elected including hiding and denouncing his own sexual activities as an abomination.

Frankly, I don't think Sen. Craig wants to be known as either. And I know that the right wing of his party would like him to crawl under a rock and never be seen again. Just look at some of these quotes:
"Senator Craig gave us his word" that he would resign by Sept. 30 if he could not overturn the guilty plea, said Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., who chairs the GOP campaign committee overseeing next year's Senate elections. "I wish he would stick to his word."

"I would hope that he would live up to what he said he would do — not put the Senate through the wringer on this, respect the institution," Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn said. "Clearly, his ability to serve his people was severely compromised."
Not that it matters, it doesn't look like either one of them is going to be getting their way anytime soon. Craig says he's staying and I say bully for him. It's not Craig's fault that the Republican party is sucking wind. Of course, if we were only talking about sucking wind, then Craig wouldn't be in this position to begin with now would he.

CNN: Sen. Craig not resigning despite judge's ruling

AP: Facing Other Troubles, GOP Chafes at Sen. Larry Craig's Decision to Stay

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Introducing Fred Thompson's "I'm Not A Trophy" Wife

According to Jeri Thompson, the wife of former Republican Senator and current Presidential candidate Fred Thompson, she is not a trophy wife. She said so in an interview with People Magazine.

According to, "trophy wife" is defined as "the young, often second, wife of a rich middle-aged man." Now as much as I'd like to believe her, I think I'll go with the dictionary on this one. She's three for three according to this definition.

That being said, who the hell cares.

Lord knows if I was a single 59-year-old with loads of cash and power, I certainly wouldn't be participating in any reverse age discrimination when it came to dating.

Hell, pat her on the back too. My wife wishes I had more money and I know there are many days that she regrets not holding out for a guy with more cash. Well, that's just what Jeri did. She waited until she was 35 years old to get married and got herself the DC version of the Broadway triple threat, an Actor/Senator/Millioniare.

What bothers me is that CNN felt the need to report that she denies being a trophy wife. This is political coverage? Honestly, who gives a shit whether SHE thinks she's a trophy wife.

C'mon CNN! Where does Fred stand on the war? On education? Now that he has had a cancer scare or two, what does he propose to do about health care? Will he protect Social Security? Will he support free-trade or be more of a protectionist? These are the things the American voters need to know, not whether or not his wife thinks she qualifies for trophy wife status.

A special message for Sen. Fred Thompson

Loved you on Law and Order, but I liked your small role in Hunt for Red October best. And I quote: "What's his plan? Russians don't take a dump without a plan, son."


That being said, there is no way I could ever vote for you. Your hard line stance against a woman's right to choose, your votes against renewable energy, your love of strict constructionist judges for the Supreme Court and your unabashed and complete opposition to gun control makes you, in my mind, wholly unsuitable for the office of President.

But I do think you should make more movies and television shows. Let's face it, you'd do a much better job playing the President on a mini-series than you would actually being President.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Card-Carrying Member Of "The Sinners Club"

I have returned from the great state of Utah and I can honestly say that I don't ever need to go there again. Actually, that isn't fair. I only saw Salt Lake City. I'm sure the rest of the state is lovely, but Salt Lake City? Not so much.

If someone were to ask me to describe Salt Lake in one word, that word would be "dry." My lips are so chapped I can barely smile for fear of them cracking open like roasted peanut. When I got off the plane in Chicago, I felt like a sponge that had been thrown in a bucket of cool water. My skin suddenly breathed this sigh of relief and began drinking in the moisture like a hound dog on a hot August day.

I can say a couple of nice things about Salt Lake. The people, when you saw them, were really nice. Everyone was pleasant and helpful. And the town was very user/family friendly. Every bathroom had a changing station for diapers, the cross walks all had these chirping sounds that went off when it was safe to cross, and a different sound when it wasn't. They even had these friendly little reminders at the busy intersections so that you wouldn't forget to look both ways before crossing.
But the longer you stay in Salt Lake, the more childlike you feel. It's as if the state of Utah doesn't believe you capable of doing the simplest things without assistance. Want to cross a street? Okay, only go when the walk light is on, the pole is chirping and be sure to look both ways before you do. They even have the little countdown lights that come on to let you know when the light is going to change, just in case you decide to lolly-gag in the middle of the intersection.

This parental oversight is particularly apparent for those of us who wish to have the occasional cocktail.

If you go to restaurant in Utah, you can only get a cocktail with exactly one ounce of booze in it. Every bottle behind the bar uses a metered pourer so as not to break the law. You ever had a one ounce martini? It isn't even enough to cover the olives.

It is also against the law to have more than one cocktail in front of you at one time. I was out to dinner with some folks at one of those Brazilian grill places and one of the women I was with didn't particularly like the fruity cocktail she had ordered. One of the men at the table said he'd give it a try and took the drink and put it next to the one he already had. The waiter actually came over and told him he had to move it because he was in violation of state law. Being from New Orleans, he picked up his Makers Mark on the rocks, downed it in one gulp and asked the waiter if that was better.

Some how, I don't think that was what Utah's lawmakers had in mind when they passed that little ditty, but what the hell. It'll teach them to get between a guy from Louisiana and his cocktail.

Now, all of this changes if you are a member of a social club. Basically, if you want to drink in a bar, you have to be a member. Case in point, I went to a bar called Port o' Call a couple of blocks from my hotel to meet with a couple of colleagues. As I walked to the door, the bouncer asked me if I was a member. I said no and then asked how one becomes a member. He said, "Four bucks and your I.D. please."

I handed over the cash and my drivers license and he took them inside and gave them to a young woman sitting inside the door behind a cash register. He said to me, "Wait here, you have to sign something."

The woman took my ID and started entering the information into a database. She took my four bucks, put them in the register and then handed me a receipt that required my signature so that I could become a member. She said, "Sign this and you can go in and get a drink."

"So membership has its privileges," I say back.

And she replies, "Yeah, welcome to the Sinners Club honey."

Advise for those travelling to Salt Lake City

If a waitress asks if you want a side car with your cocktail, say "yes." Because you can only have a one ounce drink, you can have the other ounce or so in a separate glass called a side car. (This was only in the membership clubs so I don't think you can do this in the resturants.) It's the only way to get a real drink.