I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Hungry Detective? On the Food Network...

That guys is a fat, unappealing slob.

He's also annoying.

1) Who hired him?
2) They're fired.
3) He's fired.
4) His show is canceled.

He's like a Paul Giamatti character - if he played an overly happy guy that's awkward in conversation.

Last post on this.

I know I'm harping on this. Last post about it, though, I swear. The wind chills tonight are going to be in the mid 30s. That's VERY, VERY cold for Miami. It's probably only been this temperature about 70 times in the last 100 years down here.

The Weather Advisory is recommending that no one go outside without gloves and a hat.

For the Mid '30s.

When I lived in Wisconsin, they only had "clothing" advisories, when, if you had exposed skin, it would freeze after X number of minutes, when the windchills were well into the negatives. Something like: "Exposed skin will freeze and become frostbitten after ___ minutes of exposure. Suitable precautions should be taken."

In Miami, if the wind kicks up and makes it feel like it's 37, there's a "Gloves" advisory.

On a totally unrelated note:

Jamie and Bobby Deen - what qualifies them to have their own TV show? And Bobby is annoying as hell. The little fat one? I hate him. Jamie is very cute, though, so... I can watch him. But the other one. Bobby. I hate that guy. He's like little weasel. An annoying weasel, that fat Bobby Deen. (I want people to Google "Bobby Deen and weasel" and end up here.) I also want them to google "Bobby Deen" and "Gay" and see how much traffic I get that way! I'll keep y'all posted.

Vidas sent me to this story, and even though it's from Fox News, my arch nemesis, it's a good article, and basically sums up my "let it be" attitude towards the mall.

National Mall Morphing Into a Monument of Monstrosity

Last week, several thousand people gathered on the National Mall for a "virtual groundbreaking" for a proposed Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial.

Planners hadn't even obtained the permits, yet. The event was more a fundraiser than an actual groundbreaking.

The memorial is set to go up on a piece of land just off the Tidal Basin, putting it within view of the Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt memorials.

Plans are also in the works for an African-American History Museum on the National Mall and a memorial to President Eisenhower. And it's probably just a matter of time before conservatives in Congress again begin agitating for a Ronald Reagan Memorial. It's likely that we'll also get a memorial to Sept. 11, and/or to the victims of, and the war on, terrorism.

The National Mall, originally envisioned by Washington, D.C.'s planner and architect Pierre L'Enfant (that's right, the man who built our nation's capital was French!) as a serene place for public celebration and quiet contemplation, is quickly turning into a kind of kitchy amusement park for aggrieved parties and special interests.

Recent additions — the FDR Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the National Museum of the American Indian — have added more clutter, more traffic, and further obstructed the serene views L'Enfant intended.

Congress itself isn't immune to the problem either. Six years ago, it approved a half-billion dollar "Congressional Visitors Center" on the Mall to celebrate the works of Congress. It's now three years and tens of millions of dollars behind its scheduled completion.

Times change, of course. And it's certainly understandable why Congress might want to add more recent events of significance to the roster of history and collective memory that lines the Mall. But we're to the point now where some groups — some deserving, some not — have come to see a slice of real estate in America's backyard as a symbol of how seriously we take their grievances, significance or contribution.

The problem is, with only 700+ acres to work with, there's only so much recognition available.

The mall in many ways presents a tidy symbol of what's happened to the federal government over the last half-century, all the more appropriate given that it's owned by the federal government, and lies between the Capitol in the White House.

Economists frequently talk about the problem of concentrated benefits and diffuse costs. Select groups of people with a strong interest in, for example, a federal subsidy can come to Washington and wield quite a bit of clout. Few will object, because say, a $250 million subsidy to cranberry farmers doesn't much affect the average taxpayer.

An individual congressman, then, will feel tremendous pressure from hundreds of groups like our hypothetical cranberry farmers, and little pressure from the federal taxpayers who subsidize them. But soon enough, there are hundreds of such programs, the federal government grows bloated, and taxpayers do begin to feel the pinch.

Of course, Congress still won't want to actually eliminate any of these programs for the same reason they started them — each small, powerful interest group getting these benefits has much more incentive to punish lawmakers who cross them than does the average taxpayer footing the bill.

This is much like what's happened to the National Mall. When Vietnam veterans groups first approached Congress about a memorial, who — after the sacrifices they'd made — could possibly tell them no?

Same for the veterans of the Korean War. The Depression-era generation then moved for an FDR memorial. Then came the World War II vets. And so on. We now have a Mall that's overcrowded, less scenic, less peaceful and contemplative, and it's only going to get worse.

What's worse, the new monuments aren't adding much to the ambience.

The Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln, and even the Vietnam memorials are simple, elegant, and poignant.

Tellingly, the most recent memorials — FDR, World War II, and the American Indian museum — are cumbersome, expansive, and seem overly concerned with not offending sensibilities.

Franklin Roosevelt once said that if the nation insisted on giving him a memorial, it should be no larger than his desk. In the five decades between his death and the opening of his memorial in 1998, "no bigger than my desk" grew into a sprawling, expansive, unwieldy attempt to capture his legacy — an apt metaphor for what's happened to the federal government under and since Roosevelt's time in the White House.

The World War II Memorial, rushed to completion after badgering from big swingers like Tom Hanks and Bob Dole, is a clunky, checklist attempt at a memorial that overwhelms with an assault of fountains, flags, plaques, and concrete. It looks as if its designers didn't want to offend anyone by omission, so they erred on the side of including everything — every state, every subgroup of soldier, every military branch, every theater, and every country gets a pillar, a fountain, a flag or a plaque. Simple and elegant, it isn't.

Then there's the National Museum of the American Indian, a hulking chunk of concrete a stone's throw from the U.S. Capitol that upon opening was universally panned.

Slate's Timothy Noah, for example, called it "a public service announcement" for Native Americans that had almost "no scholarly value."

None of this is to say that these groups aren't worthy of commemoration or some sort of recognition. But the debacle that's become of the National Mall does demonstrate just how difficult it is for the federal government to say "no" when interest groups — especially sympathetic ones — come calling.

Whatever floats your boat.

Polygamists are now borrowing the gay activist approach to gaining acceptance for Polygamy.

Never mind that I'm sure that many of these polygamists are staunchly against my right to marry another guy; my approach to their struggle is: If it floats your boat, go for it (although I wish they'd take a step back and give me that same courtesy.)

I don't care if you have one, two, three, eighteen wives. As long as everyone is happy and fed, and not beaten, and not molested, go for it. It's not my thing, and I once knew a guy in a three-way gay relationship, which seemed like too many cooks in the kitchen (and I never figured out how the sex worked...and they all slept in the same bed!)

But we're all trying to be happy here, and live our time on this planet in the best way possible for us... so honestly - if you have two wives? Or if you share your husband with a couple other people? More power to ya. Yeah, it's curious for the rest of us, but does it affect me? Not really. So rock on with your Viagra and your Hamburger Helper and your thirteen kids. Keep 'em clean, keep 'em educated, and keep 'em working, and you're okay in my book.