Curveball
  Curveball  

"Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense."
- Mark Twain

"Anyone who combines politics and baseball is an idiot, because everyone knows that ping-pong is the greatest sport. Oh, and I'm really a Communist who hates NASCAR and listens to Joan Baez in the dark.
-- Glenn Reynolds

About the author
Andre Vladimir Sebastian is a figment of your imagination. Honestly, you really could have done better than him, now couldn't you? Next time, put a little effort into it.

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BANG YOUR HEAD!
Metal health will drive you mad! Or make you look like this in 20 years.

  posted by AVS @ 2.8.03


2.8.03  

 
Oh Yeah, And He Raped A Girl
The Daily Telegraph has a short bio of Roman Polanski which is interesting only for what it omits. Consider this paragraph:

However, in 1977, horror again ate at the corners of Polanski's life after he was arrested for having sex with a 13-year old girl in Jack Nicholson's hot tub. He fled the US after learning that the judge planned to sentence him to jail.

Conveniently omitted is the fact that Polanski faced multiple charges, all but one of which were dropped when he pleaded guilty to, and was convicted of, statutory rape for having sex with the 13-year-old girl. USA Today has a good summary that is not comprehensive but is at the very least honest, unlike the Telegraph piece.



  posted by AVS @ 1.8.03


1.8.03  

 
Going After Dean
Howard Dean released his economic plan today, and Dick Gephardt said Dean stole his idea, while John Kerry said it's a stupid idea to begin with. For "establishment" candidates, Gephardt and Kerry sure look worried.

  posted by AVS @ 1.8.03



 
Edwards' Late Payments
Sen. John Edwards was late paying his taxes not once, but nine times. No explanation offered from the campaign.

  posted by AVS @ 1.8.03



 
NC Vote Buying Scandal
Five people were indicted on Wednesday for paying residents of Caldwell County, N.C. to vote for Republican candidates in the last election, The Charlotte Observer reported today. The five face between 10 and 35 years in prison. Man, that's harsh! Can you imagine getting so carried away with the partisan spirit that you offer people some cash to vote for your guy, and for that you are thrown in prison for three and a half decades? Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to severe a punishment. "Hey buddy, what are you in for?" "I paid people to vote Republican." You'd be toast. If any of these people gets the maximum sentence, it will be a travesty. For now, the biggest travesty is not that people sold their votes, but that they sold them so cheap. The going rate was $25 to $35. I don't know about you, but my little slice of the American electoral system is worth a lot more than $35.

  posted by AVS @ 31.7.03


31.7.03  

 
God Wants Diversity
A Baptist church in Louisiana whose congregation is mostly black will start paying white people to attend because, says the bishop, "Our churches are too segregated, and the Lord never intended for that to happen. It's time for something radical." That something radical is to pay white people $5 an hour for attending Sunday services and $10 an hour for Thursday services.

If you're homeless and white and live in Shreveport, I just found a quick way for you to make a few bucks. But really, if this were a white church trying to play black people to attend, you couldn't say "Amen, brother!" before someone proclaimed it was racist to think that blacks won't attend church without being paid for it.





  posted by AVS @ 31.7.03



 
Born A Ramblin Man
In the weirdest story I've seen in a long time, a woman gave birth on the Boston subway yesterday while standing up, holding onto the pole, and refusing all offers of help with the words, "Thanks for your concern, we're OK." The good news is, the baby boy is just fine, despite hitting the subway floor and sliding around down there for a bit, shocking nearby passengers.

  posted by AVS @ 31.7.03



 
Bush Below 50?
A new poll shows that only 47 percent say they'll vote for President Bush in 2004, despite 58 percent giving him a favorable job approval rating.

  posted by AVS @ 30.7.03


30.7.03  

 
Explaining The American Work Ethic
A Brit tries to explain the American work ethic to other Brits. As British are decrying the revelation that most university students are working their way through college, which has long been considered shameful in Britain, Janet Daley explains that Americans have the exact opposite view.

You do not become a university student in Britain (at least at the ancient institutions) simply to be educated, but to be made into a certain sort of person. And, generally speaking, it is not the sort who waits on tables or carries a torch down the aisle in a cinema.

Because higher education was, well into the 20th century, largely the prerogative of people on private incomes, the lives and expectations of that class were taken as the model for the student condition. To enter academic life was to become a kind of aristocrat manqué. In a bizarre (and very British) stab at "equality", the grant system was devised to replicate as closely as possible the life of idle dependence that only the children of the rich had once enjoyed.

In America, "equality" is interpreted very differently. Even the children of wealthy parents often work while they are students. That is because working your way through is not seen only as a practical solution to the problem of paying for education, but is also thought to be a social good in itself.

Americans are brought up to believe not only that work and the economic self-sufficiency that it brings are inherently virtuous, but also that lack of work and the absence of independence are morally debilitating.


She concludes:

That is one of the reasons why relations between the classes, in the shops and on the streets, are so much more relaxed and pleasant in America than they are here. The guy who is slinging hamburgers today will probably be practising law in a few years' time. The waiter who brings your coffee may be a future professor of history.

And everybody knows that. So you don't treat the waiter, or the petrol pump attendant, or the girl in the coffee shop, as if they belonged to another, lesser species. They are just you, 20 or more years ago.



  posted by AVS @ 30.7.03



 
The Dirt On Dean
More than you ever wanted to know about Howard Dean, from The New York Times. Interesting that Vermonters, according to The Times, seem to view Dean as a pragmatic politician, not a wild-eyed idealist, and they're rather perplexed about his loud-mouthed persona he's developed for the presidential campaign.

  posted by AVS @ 30.7.03



 
Illinois Goes Insane
A grandmother was visited by an officer of the Fair Labor Standards Division of the Illinois Labor Department after she let her nine-year-old grandaughters help her wash a window at her second-hand store and gave them each a dollar for their trouble. A Chicago Sun-Times photographer snapped a shot of the girls working, and a judge saw the picture and notified the division, which sent someone out to tell grandma: Don't let the kids do any work for pay -- or else.

"How are you supposed to teach children about responsibility and rewards that come from helping other people? What are they supposed to do? Sit at home and watch TV?" The grandmother asked. A good question. One of the little girls had the best line, though. "It's just weird," she said. "We can't even sweep."

Way to send a message to the children, Illinois. The message being: The law makes no sense. Don't bother trying to understand it, just obey it -- or else.

  posted by AVS @ 28.7.03


28.7.03  

 
Lieberman Lashes Out
Joe surprises everyone and whips out a can of whup-ass on Bush and his fellow Democratic presidential candidates. Choice quote:

By its actions, the Bush administration threatens to give a bad name to a just war. But by their words, some in my party threaten to send a message that they don't know a just war when they see it, and more broadly that they're not prepared to use our military strength to protect our security and the cause of freedom.

I'll be very interested to see how this kind of talk plays in the primaries, when everyone else is trying to lurch left. Kerry still leads Lieberman in New Hampshire, and NH Dems are quite liberal. Will they go for this tough pro-war talk?





  posted by AVS @ 28.7.03



 
A Century Of Hope
I grew up watching old Bob Hope movies with my Dad and brother on Saturday mornings. When I was a boy I saw Hope perform live before a Navy crowd in Pensacola, Fla., and I was amazed at his poise and his unflappable yet casual on-stage persona. He was one of the handful of comics who, through his delivery alone, could make you laugh at a lame joke. His old Vaudeville style isn't hip anymore, and a lot of people under 40 don't think he's funny. But for me, he was always entertaining to watch, even when his jokes weren't that good and comic trends had passed him by. Below are a few links commemorating his remarkable life.

New York Times (Excellent retrospective.)

San Francisco Chronicle (Another good tribute.)

USA Today

BBC

Christian Science Monitor








  posted by AVS @ 28.7.03



 
Britain Goes Insane
A British judge has allowed a burgler to sue the homeowner who shot him during a burglary attempt. The plaintiff, who has more than 30 criminal convictions, says his being shot in the leg has hampered his ability to enjoy sex and martial arts. The proper judicial response to this claim is, "tough shite, jerky!" But the judge actually wrote, "I conclude that it is proper I grant the relief that the claimant seeks." There is a move afoot in Parliament to prohibit criminals from being able to sue their victims. Don't know if it'll go anywhere. By the way, the homeowner in this case is serving 5 years in prison for manslaughter for shooting dead the plaintiff's accomplice.

  posted by AVS @ 27.7.03


27.7.03  
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