John Lemon's Barrel of Fish

Posterboy for the whining conservative academic set. Candidate for troll of the week.


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Saturday, August 23, 2003


As you may know, I've been very high on this guy. I am impressed that the guy from Blues' Clues -- a fairly popular children's show for those of you without kids or TVs -- is transitioning from being a popular kids TV host to a "rock star." He recognizes his past and doesn't shun it (and actually embraces it -- smart from a marketing perspective), yet he is setting off on a new course. Plus, he's linked to the Flaming Lips now and that is always a good thing.

Bryan at Arguing With Signposts (probably one of the best blog titles I've ever seen) comments on this as well and links to the follwing Nick Jr. site that explains the transition from Steve to Joe. Apparently this transition has created a great deal of controversy or, at a minimum, concern among the tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of toddlers. I basically thought Blues' Clues was a fairly basic kids show, but it almost seems to have cult status. Anyways, here is a portion of Nick Jr's site that tells parents how to deal with the transition from Steve (now a rock star) to Joe (a much geekier looking host who likes squares better than stripes).

4. How can I help my child with the transition?
There is no one way to best handle transitions. Each child is attached to Steve and the Blue's Clues world differently. Ultimately, your child's personality will determine how you handle this change with him or her. The Blue's Clues team did lots of research to present the transition from Steve to Joe in a way that is clear, positive, and inspiring. In the coming weeks, we'll present expert advice and tips that will help you and your child feel more comfortable with the transition.

Experts?! Research?! Are there really experts who specialize in cartoon transitioning? Can I really do a research project to see if kids will freak out if Steve's brother comes to permanently visit a felt salt shaker? Give me a break! It is a TV show!! You should teach kids that TV is just pretend -- its not real (except college football and the MLB... and reruns of The A-Team). My three year old understands this. If Greg Page of the Wiggles (a monstrously popular TV show) decides to leave to pursue his current sideproject* full time, I will simply tell my kid that he was taken down by Columbian narcoterrorists. That should put an end to that discussion.

* If your kid watches the Wiggles or if you know anything about the Wiggles (which I actually like), you must check out Greg Page's page. It is almost surrealistic, like a weird joke. BTW, did you know that Jeff (the Purple Wiggle) is nearly 50 years old, if not 50?!

posted by John at 11:09 PM

Friday, August 22, 2003


Some folks were worried about me. Thanks.

However, today the Lemometer was reading this and this. That is good. That pretty much means a mellow and happy Lemon. Start to worry if I listen to this or this.

Also, I saw cows today and cows make me happy. Cows can't blog. And that's a good thing. Though if they could blog, I imagine they would say nice things about me because I like cows.

posted by John at 10:53 PM


"I got him dirty, so why do I have to bathe him?"

(Sidenote: A few folks have mentioned that they really like these posts. I do too, and they are real life sayings. However, since someone first mentioned that they liked them a few weeks ago, I have been so self-conscious about what I am saying that we haven't had as many weird moments. I follow my son around the house urging him to do something weird so I can run to the den and blog. This is probably not a good think for his psychological development. So I've laid back a little bit.)

posted by John at 10:46 PM


I just realized that what is happening to me in the blogosphere has happened to me in my academic life (and not in any way related to being conservative).

Update: Steven set me right on correcting the title with a parenthetical. This title is a play on my favorite Who song.

posted by John at 10:44 PM


You may notice that I've deleted a number of postings on my website. (Unfortunately, I'm sure there is somebody in Albania who has archived everything. Sigh.) Allow me to explain and to set aside some worries about good ol' John.

As many of you know, I became the topic of one of Kevin Drum's post. His initial post asked whether there is widespread discrimination against conservatives in the academy based upon some of my anecdotal [spelled correctly, please note] observations from inside said academy. Drum's post was meant to stir a general discussion, but I quickly became a particular target. Before I was even aware of the discussion, several people heaped some pretty vitriolic statements on me. I'm fine with that. My initial entry into the discussion was met with the comment "...why should anyone believe that you are other than 100% full of shit?" This was followed shortly by "He's a flaming horse's ass." Nice. (If you think I'm dowdifying, take a look at the entire thread and decide.) But I still didn't have problems with it. My subsequent post included a little ribbing at the commentator of the "shit" line. Here is what I said.

"Well, Ringo...if I was 100% full of shit I would not be alive since I need my vital organs to survive. Remember Biology 101? And be careful Ringo or I'll bring back Pete Best. It don't come easy, you know."

This is my typical play of words and references which I thought appropriate given my pseudonym is a play on a Beatle name. I could see how it could be construed as hostile, but I also thought it was kind of tongue-in-cheek playful. (Note the reference to a famous Ringo song.) I made some more comments and said that I would post on my blog later (which I did) and was then called a "troll." (I still don't know the exact definition of that term as I've seen it used two different ways. Update: Steven set me straight on this. There are indeed two definitions and I was correct in what both were.) It got uglier from there and I don't think I was drawn into any namecalling myself. Nonetheless, I'm still fine with the namecalling.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Well, the sticks and stones came out. I received a comment (since deleted) saying that I was going to be "outed" and that my identity would be shared with my colleagues. And either the same person or another person on a subsequent post at CalPundit said they knew who I was and was considering going public with it.

That's when I became concerned. While it may or may not be true that there is discrimination against conservatives in academia as a whole, I have enough evidence that I am concerned in my particular situation. Yes, it is anecdotal, but it is also my career and I invested alot in this career. Also, there is more anecdotal evidence that I have not shared because much of it is too self-referential. There will be some skeptics on this point, and I probably will never convince them. Fine.

My initial response to this possible "outing" is posted below. I pondered whether I should just hit the "nuke" button and say goodbye to blogging -- it is a pasttime which takes up too much time. But it is fun. And I like fun. I received some very positive feedback and some tremendous assistance from Dishman. I owe him big time and someday would like to buy him a beer or a full dinner plus beer. He is a very good person. I appreciated all this support.

With Mrs. Lemon sitting on the lounge chair next to me and the family computer, and based upon her advice, I began to purge postings that could give possible clues to my identity. Note however that I'm not entirely dumb. The references in my blog are off-kilter a bit. Nonetheless, there were some times that I let my hair down, so I decided to dump anything may be construed as a clue. If this is seen as cowardly or hypocritical then call me a cowardly hypocrite. Again, this is about my career. I also purged some of the more vulgar uses of the f-word. I promise now to use the f-word only when it is absolutely necessary to make a point (which may be often). Sadly, I had to get rid of some of my more interesting and sarcastic posts. (Yes, folks, there is sarcasm on this site. You have been warned.)

Now, I will admit some culpability (that sounds like an academic word doesn't it?). This blog allows me to "scream" a little bit. It allows me to vent. It allows me to whine. If I'm the only blog that does that, well then I need to get with the program. However, I doubt it. My descent into vulgarity (mostly the f-word) probably did not make anyone want to cuddle me like a favorite Beanie Baby. Realize that I do not intend this to be an intellectual blog in the mold of Glenn Reynolds, Kevin Drum, Daniel Drezner, etc. Yes, they have fun content. But they also post very good and thoughtful commentary. This blog is more gutteral, more sarcastic, and yes... more inane. I'm okay with inane. I do inane pretty well and am a firm believer in comparative advantage. Plus, I'm intellectual in my offline life, so why can't I have a little venting time here? Nonetheless, the gruffness of my postings and rantings can possibly make me a target of vitriol (another cool big word). There will not likely be a John Lemon Beanie Baby anytime soon. Perhaps a "troll doll?"

Folks, I am fine with name calling, but let's keep some perspective and allow me my (cyber)space to rant and rave in peace. I have never threatened anyone's career. In fact, I have helped out many, many students go on to very, very successful carreers with whom I disagree with politically. If I'm alienated from my department, my ability to do this will be severely limited. You don't want to do that no matter what side of the ideological spectrum you are on.

And now let's dispense with some basics.

I am a libertarian Republican. Some of my views may be considered liberal. I'm not the classic conservative that Kevin Drum is looking for. (He may be surprised that they aren't as common as he might suspect, even among the churchy crowd.)

I'm not John Hinkley. Despite rumors that I got into a fistfight with another professor (the rumor never told me whether I won or not), I have not been in a fight for over 25 years. I even walk away from conflict on the basketball court (it goes with the whole "coward" thing).

I actually like Daniel Drezner's website and think he is on his way to being an academic superstar. I will never be that, and that makes me jealous.

Nonetheless, I am a good scholar, a good (actually great) teacher, and a very competent administrator.

There may be a clue in the title of the post below, but you need to listen closely. And you may have to go to the UK to do it.

The stories that were posted on this blog were all true, though some names and places were changed to protect the innocent ... actually, not the innocent, but me.

My Bush magnet actually was ripped off from my car. Despite bumpers being made of non-magnetic material, the back panels of my SUV and pickup are metal and hold magnets. Bumperstickers don't always go on bumpers. Plus, I went to a local craft store to buy magnetic sheets wherein I made my own "bumpersticker magnets." I'm very creative in a "go-to-the-craft-store-and-buy-magnets" kind of way. (Update: My order for more stickers came today, so you don't have to send them. If you see an SUV with a Bush magnet on, you can take it off if it makes you feel better, but first be sure it is mine.)

My Beaniebabyville subjects are not too pleased that I've been neglecting them.

I'm not actually mad at Ringo and wouldn't really replace him with Pete Best. I've been on record as saying Ringo was the only normal Beatle.

I still really like these guys and this guy too. If you have kids younger than 12 years or so, you should really check out the latter guy's web page and watch the video where he is sitting next to a young child. It is brilliant and explains everything. After doing that you will appreciate this guy even more.

posted by John at 10:42 PM


About 6 months ago, I started this blog on the advice of Scott Ott. As it is with many bloggers, it was a way for me to vent some frustrations and have a little fun. The majority of my posts try to be witty and/or sarcastic. I also like to blog about personal things in my life (e.g., the TP incident below, or all the odd things a parent says to a kid during the course of a day) because other people may often share those same experiences. I'm not trying to give myself a "soft edge" here, as I can be pretty harsh (and downright odd) sometimes. At times, I can be pretty vulgar too. I also use hyperbole. So do Al Franken and Ann Coulter (although they both get paid more).

I recently became the topic of discussion over at Kevin Drum's CalPundit despite the fact that Kevin's initial query was more about academia in general, rather than John Lemon in particular. I got in on the discussion thread and was pretty punchy in some of my responses, so much of what I got back was probably deserved (though there were some nasty comments prior to me ever jumping in on the thread).

Now there is apparently at least one person (and possibly two) trying to "out" me. I don't care if you call me whining, a crank, a liar, etc., but this goes a bit too far. It no longer is much fun (and I honestly did enjoy the discussion before -- I tried to be playful with the guy called Ringo since my pseudonym is a play on a famous Beatle [not an "everyman sour guy" like someone thought). I don't know what the point of "outing" me would be other than being spiteful. If you want to contact me personally, fine. Send it to my lemon address -- johnlemonhead at hotmail dot com, because if you are wrong, I don't want you bothering somebody else.

While I am actually a bully and tyrant in cyberspace, you would be amazed to see how personable I am in the flesh, and how popular I am among students, many who I have sent on to successful careers. Do I sometimes play mind games with people? Yep. Is that being personable? Probably not. But I do this in a playful way. I have helped the graduate student noted below with more advice than you could imagine, and I'm not even a formal member of the committee. Do I sometimes crumple paper in the face of people who shove in my face the Socialist Weekly or whatever pamphlet it happens to be that day? Yep. Is that being personable? No. So I'm not personable 100% of the time, but more often than not I am.

For those of you who still don't think I'm a professor, fine. I'm a computer programmer who can't figure out how to get off blogspot.

Right now I am really debating whether to continue this blog. It isn't just because of the "drumbeating" I've been taken. Well, in part that it is it (so some of you are justified to call me a sore loser or a quitter or a coward). It is the "drumbeating" (and again not done by Kevin, who runs a nice blog) in combination with the amount of time it takes away from other things. I'll think about it.

And finally, for the person who implied I am a liar since today's bumpers can't hold magnets because they are made of plastic, fiberglass or some other non-magnetic material: I drive an SUV and a pickup. Both have large, flat metal rear panels. Saying "bumpersticker" is easier than saying "largeflatmetalrearpanelsticker."

* By the way, this is a reference to a song by the Sex Pistols (the last song they played in concert with Sid Vicious). I think most people would not pick up on that reference.

posted by John at 5:04 PM

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


It was the largest mole I've ever trapped -- probably a radioactive mutant. I pulled it from the ground at the right time. It was dead, which avoids a big "man vs. nature" struggle, and rigor mortis had set in. That makes it easier to fling into the woods. Coyotes will be happy tonight. Another day or two and it would have been very "mushy."

I'm getting good at this and I didn't even need to use my SUV.

UPDATE: About ten minutes after initially posting this, I head a pack of at least 5 coyotes just outside the window.

posted by John at 9:42 PM


"But I don't like lettuce."

"Well, then its a good thing that you hid it in the toaster."

posted by John at 9:35 PM


Is asked here, and I've seriously been contemplating this because this guy is everywhere lately -- including inside Demi Moore.

The funniest thing about this article is that they mention Anson Williams as a good looking sitcom star with promise. Remember Anson? If you don't, he was Potsi on "Happy Days."

posted by John at 9:32 PM


If I start going bald, I am not going to grow long whatever hair I have left. Do some people not realize that the Bozo the Clown look is out? Actually, don't they know that it was only "in" for entertainers who used white makeup and had a red nose?

I have a simple, easy-to-remember code that I live by: Maximize utility, minimize negative externalities.

Bad hair is a negative externality.

posted by John at 10:16 AM


Today I'm in the gym and had my usual morning bowel movement. Ever since our septic incident last month I try to hold it until I can dump on someone else. I do my duty and then wipe. However, some of the toilet paper gets caught on the front upper part of the bowl. I do my routine "courtesty flush" (in part to annoy environmentalists) and the wad of streaked toilet paper is still there. And this is a power flush toilet (I love those things and want one in my home). I try one more flush. Nothing. What do I do? Do I walk away and hope nobody takes this stall right away (hence associating my face with a big wad of dirty toilet paper)?

Does this happen to Bill Gates? Warren Buffett? Ariana Huffington? David Byrne?

What would you do? ...and check back later to see what I did.

UPDATE: Roux had a good idea, but such a solution was too late as I had basically evacuated. I gently prodded the non-dirty part of the TP lower into the bowl and flushed again. At first it looked like nothing would happen and that I hadn't pushed far enough, but it was drawn down at the last minute. To avoid the "floating flakes" I did do a courtesy flush. Given the amount of water I used, Echo Lake dropped another 4 feet. Too late to save it.

posted by John at 10:14 AM


Following the Iraq bombing, I don't hear anyone from the UN asking, "What did we do to deserve this?" C'mon guys, do some navel-gazing. Get our your shovels and start digging for the root causes.

Oh, yes... and your welcome for the soldiers who came to the rescue.

posted by John at 10:09 AM


The UN will persevere in Iraq. Thanks guys. Its good to know you got our back.

posted by John at 10:07 AM

Tuesday, August 19, 2003


Steve Burns is a guy who some of you with kids might know. He is the human being on Blues' Clues. Well, he just made an album with the help of some Flaming Lips. It is actually quite good. Seriously.

posted by John at 11:08 PM


A football-based Carnival of the Vanities is up and running faster than Walter Payton* at OTB. A clever design. However, John Lemon was relegated to kicker status! What the fuck is that about?! Kickers are described as "weird little guys...but essential to the game." OK, little may be apropos for still being on blogspot and not having yet busted the 500 visit mark, but "weird"? What is so weird about ruling over a kingdom of miniature plush toys? My therapist says this is a perfectly "normal" (he signifies the quotes by holding up his fingers and wiggling them) to have a Beanie Baby Kingdom. Lots of special children do it! And I'm special just for being me.

I was hoping at least to qualify as an Oakland Raiders' linebacker for my recent cheap shots and late hits on Daniel W. Drezner. Also, I played the defensive line as a kid (since my coach said I was good at running straight ahead into brick walls),** but I've been more than offensive recently.

* Being For The Benefit of Jay Solo (not Mr. Kite), Let It Be known that Sweetness is not running all that fast these days.

** Let it be known that I was a very sucky player on a very, very sucky team.

posted by John at 9:44 PM


Score one for The Man this time.

Helpful tips -- once you trap a mole (with a claw trap), leave it in the ground for at least 48 hours. If you remove the mole too early, it may still be alive and it is a real mess to get it out of the trap when it is still wriggling (I learned this a couple years ago and had to bludgeon it with a shovel).

I bet this post is driving the environmentalists crazy. Ha!

posted by John at 9:31 PM


"No. I don't think the dead mole wants to be your friend."

posted by John at 9:31 PM


We have one of these super airtight refridgerators that are pretty difficult to open. Inside the freezer there are popsicles and Otter Pops. Lemon Jr. has long wanted access to these popsicles, but at 3 1/2 years he is not yet capable of opening the fridge. Well...that changed today. We heard some small grunts coming from the direction of the fridge, then the freezer door popped open and we heard a whispered yell. "Yes!"

(I really wish I had that one on tape.)

posted by John at 9:22 PM


I am listening to Michael Medved right now. Ariana Huffington is the guest. Oh my, what a dolt. First, I keep picturing Zsa Zsa Gabor (take that you nasty police officer) when she talks. Second, most of her argumentation is bumper sticker deep. But the best was when a caller asked her if it was somewhat hypocritical to complain about SUVs when she owns an 8,000 square foot house that uses lots and lots of fossil fuels to power. Her response? "My house is fueled by gas not electricity."

Oh, well I guess that clears that up.

One more thing. Ariana, if elected governor, promises to close tax shelters. Where will homeless taxes sleep at night?!

posted by John at 2:51 PM

B.B. KING -- DAY 8
The Great S'Mores Catastrophe

Being in a particularly (or perhaps peculiarly) benevolent mood yesterday, I decided to treat the good citizens of Beaniebabyville to a grand celebration. This celebration involved a grand feast of graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars -- The Great Feast of S'Mores! Given the dry weather here this summer, I considered it too dangerous to use our backyard fire pit.* Safety is always a primary concern of mine when it comes to my citizenry. I am nothing if not a compassionate dictator.

My decision was to use the microwave oven. As it turned out, this was a bad decision. Perhaps the better term would be "horrific decision." To simulate the fire pit experience, I decided to place the marshmallows on roasting sticks. I loaded up a marshmallow and gave it to Sherbert the Bear to hold. I gently placed him in the microwave. Sadly, I used our more premium roasting sticks that are made of steel. I forgot that you shouldn't put metal in a microwave. Please place Sherbert on the "retired" Beanie Baby list.

After substituting bamboo roasting sticks for the metal ones, I then gave a rather nervous Bonsai the Chimp the honor of roasting the first marshmallow. In he went and the microwave was set on high for 2 minutes (the time it takes to perfectly brown a marshmallow over an open fire). Well, apparently microwaved marshmallows don't need that long to cook. Moreover, they don't get very brown. Not even a half gallon of Spray N Wash could save poor Bonsai.** Retire him too.

I then asked for volunteers, adding that I learn quickly from my mistakes. No one volunteered and most Beanies said it was past their bedtime. I dismissed my citizens knowing that I had proven myself the most beneficent of rulers.

* FYI, dead grass looks better mowed than unmowed. Go figure.

** Note for future festivals -- the internal organs of Beanie Babies do not hold up well to microwaves.

posted by John at 2:45 PM


Daniel Gross attempts to add to the case that tax cuts are bad things in this half-baked Slate article (are there any others?). He specifically takes on the tax cut on dividends by noting the following:

In the weeks since Congress slashed the tax on dividends to 15 percent, stocks that pay dividends have fared worse than their brethren who stubbornly refuse to share their earnings with shareholders. According to Standard & Poor's, between the beginning of June and mid-August shares of dividend-paying members of the S&P 500 rose 2.5 percent, while shares of nonpayers rose 3.9 percent. And the goose provided by dividends—2.174 percent annually for payers—doesn't come close to making up the difference.

Let's dissect this:

1) Gross makes a gross methodological error by failing to provide the relevant comparison. The relevant comparison is not between dividend and non-dividend generating stocks, but rather dividend generating stocks prior to the tax cut and after. (He does provide a partial comparison along this lines later in the article but it is only after the tax cut was announced -- still not the appropriate comparison.)

1a) Dividend-generating stocks will typically underpeform those stocks that don't generate dividends since most of the companies that give dividends are mature. These companies are unlikely to see huge jumps in their revenue as they have reached their market share maximum. There may be some marginal gains, but those are most likely to come when the economy and consumer spending is expanding. Thus, even a two year comparison on this question may not be adequate. (I'm betting that if you looked right after the tech bubble burst, circa 2000-01, you would see dividend producing stocks performing better than non-dividend producing stocks. The basis of comparison matters, Mr. Gross.)

1b) Likewise with his assertion that the average 2.2% annual return doesn't make up for the gap between the two types of stocks. We must ask what the annual average return and gap between these two stocks is over the long term, including in better economic times.

2) Gross fails to realize that different people invest in dividend-producing and non-dividend producing stocks. Dividend stocks are typically less risky and produce a constant stream of revenue. Older and more risk averse investors will favor these stocks. Since these folks are more risk averse, they are likely to tradeoff a lower return for a more guaranteed revenue stream. I bet these people are quite happy that they got a tax break.

3) There is no point 3, unless one considers this to be point 3.

Gross finishes with this point.

Perhaps taxes don't motivate investors as much as people like to think.

Well, if that is the case, should we up the tax rate to 95%?

I am quite amazed that Gross is allowed to call himself a business reporter/analyst. Then again he reports to Michael Kinsley.

posted by John at 12:30 PM


WaPo headline: "Lieberman refuses to run to the left."

Advice: I've done this before, but mostly on a track. You basically end up going in circles or, at a minimum, straight. However, when you keep running straight and refuse to turn, chances are you will hit a house, fence or car -- all of which hurt.

posted by John at 8:14 AM

Monday, August 18, 2003


I never really knew much about Bill O'Reilly until I started watching Fox News about 4 years ago. At first, I was impressed by his hardball interview style (and I still am). He does ask questions that others would be afraid to (e.g., Larry King). However, after watching him for awhile, it is pretty clear that he is nothing more than a populist blowhard. I agree with him sometimes, but his anti-illegal immigration rhetoric (which borders on anti-immigrant hysteria at times) and his environmental views leave much to be desired. Nonetheless, I won't begrudge him his style as he does add some zest to the news / editorial mix.

However, his recent column on Al Franken was a bit disingenuous, particularly for someone who likes to expose those who are disingenuous. Here's why:

The accusation that Fox is a conservative network is pure propaganda. Poll after poll has demonstrated that Fox's audience is across the board, ideologically and demographically.

Here he mixes the subject of analysis. You cannot say that Fox News is not conservative simply because its audience is diverse. That's equivalent to saying that the NYT has a diverse audience so it is not a liberal paper. Nonsense. Whether Fox News is conservative is based simply on its editorial content and slant in news reporting. Here, I think it is fair to say that although Fox gives airtime to dissenting views and hosts point-counterpoint type shows, on average it is a conservative news outlet. O'Reilly's statement is methodologically absurd.

The latest survey taken by Mediamark Research finds that more ultraconservative viewers watch CNN than Fox.

That's probably true. But it is also probably true that more people watch CNN than Fox, though I'm not entirely sure on that. CNN is available in more media markets than Fox is, I believe. The correct statistic to be citing here is the rate of ultraconservative viewership in markets where Fox and CNN compete. It may very well be that ultraconservatives are concentrated in areas where Fox News is not yet available, thus CNN is the only alternative (MSNBC doesn't count since nobody watches it). Finally, it may be true that the a higher percentage of ultraconservatives watch CNN as compared to Fox in competitive markets, but we cannot discern this from O'Reilly's statement.

The dominance of Fox in the cable news world has shattered the stranglehold the left had on TV news for decades...

Doesn't this statement just seem to counter his previous claim that Fox isn't conservative? To shatter the "stranglehold the left had on TV news" you have to offer a non-left perspective, which most people would usually think is "the right." Perhaps he thinks that Fox is middle-of-the-road, which is a possible assertion, or that Fox is balanced left and right. But even the latter assertion would imply on average that Fox is more conservative than the other TV media outlets. One could debate the degree to which this is true (and test it by doing a content analysis of its coverage and editorializing), but I still think one would find that Fox is right of center. And as I said, as a conservative I'm okay with that.

Using liberal-leaning newspapers and publishing houses, the critics of Fox have unleashed defamatory personal attacks on me and other Fox news analysts and have attempted to denigrate the entire network. If Fox News crashed and burned tomorrow, these people would toast marshmallows in the flames.

Sticks and stones.... Suck it up Bill, lots of people call me names too. And as another Fox celebrity would say, "hmmmmm....s'mores."

It is simply a sorry joke to see a political activist like Al Franken labeled a satirist by The New York Times. Attempting to smear and destroy the reputations of those with whom you politically disagree is not satire. If that were the case, Richard Nixon's Watergate plumbers would all be writing for "Saturday Night Live."

Actually, that is the effect that satire can have and is a tool of political debate meant to bring down both ideas and their messengers. Granted, Franken's satire is rather mindless and vitriolic, but it's satire nonetheless. And the plumbers statement is just plain stupid.

We [Fox] don't do drive-by character assassinations, and we don't denigrate opposing points of view by launching gratuitous personal attacks.

Unlike "[i]t is a sorry joke to see a political activist like Al Franken labeled a satirist" or using the prhase "intellectually dishonest individuals" to categorize Franken and his ilk. Bill, your sense of irony is going the way of Maureen Dowd.

posted by John at 4:36 PM


"We are humans. Several millenia of evolution has allowed us to master our bowel movements. Try to keep that in mind."

posted by John at 1:04 PM

Sunday, August 17, 2003


I just realized that I have probably been spelling "vomit" incorrectly all these past months. Given the amount of it I see on a weekly basis, from a variety of sources, it just seems like that word should have two m's.

posted by John at 10:10 PM

B.B. KING -- DAYS 3 - 7

Pick up the storyline here (beginning), here (Day 1), and here (Day 2).

Due to a vacation break, I have not been able to monitor Beaniebabyville as closely as I would desire. However, even the best Mayor Royale needs a break from the stresses of his daily rule. During my absence, Sequoia the Bear was in charge. I chose him because of his fierce loyalty to the goals and desires of Mayor Royale.

Upon returning and dealing with such mundane administrative duties as the vomit tray, I called Sequoia into the Supreme Leadership Chamber to discuss the past week's events. Sequoia reported that the Beanies are generally happy, although the dust bunny production quotas appear to be a bit excessive to them. I said, "Nonsense! The citizens of Powerrangerburg were seen outside in the mud yesterday, fulfilling more than the quotas laid down for them. Unless we want to be the subjects of the Powerrangers, we must keep mining at all costs."

Sequoia also reported another troubling incident in the kingdom. Apparently there was a night attack by the largest cat-looking terrorist, known simply as The Fat One (an overweight tabby considered to be part of the al-Cata Network). The Fat One swooped in and abducted Pinchers, one of the smallest citizens in the kingdom. I expressed initial skepticism with this report given the remarkable absence of feline puke anywhere in the greater household perimeter. (It is well-known that al-Cata terrorist strikes upon unsuspecting house plants, balloons or ribbons are usually announced with a trail of vomit.) However, a follow-up investigation revealed that Pinchers was indeed abducted and hurled down the back stairs of the house. One string tentacle had been chewed off and was likely passed in a bowel movement. I reassured Sequoia that a full scale investigation of the litter box would be conducted. (I later decided this would be a waste of precious governmental resources, not to mention being an extremely disgusting chore.) We agreed that Pinchers would be relieved of mining duties for the next week and stuffed in a miniature mailbox on the top of a bookshelf to recuperate.

Sequoia mentioned that several of the citizenry in Beaniebabyville were urging the construction of an ACM (Anti-Cat Missile) system. Tom Dachshund, speaker for the pacifist faction of Beaniebabyville, however, urged that establishing such a sytem would only antagonize al-Cata and encourage more attacks. In this public debate, Baldy responded by saying, "Fuck you. That fucking cat is 15 pounds and we max out at 4 ounces. How many more plush sea toys have to suffer before we defend ourselves." Tom Dachshund, whose wife works as a lobbyist for this company of fat cats, retorted that Baldy was putting arsenic in the water supply. I found myself convinced by the vulgar logic of Baldy and pronounced a series of new measures to protect Beaniebabyville from further al-Cata attacks. From today forward, no longer will I shower my prized citizens with catnip.

Beyond this issue, things seem to be going well in Beaniebabyville. The citizenry looks content, being that they normally sit silent and still when addressed, a sure sign of blissful obedience -- the kind of obedience that all rulers treasure.

posted by John at 9:41 PM


"Hey! That's a creative use for the vomit tray."

posted by John at 9:21 PM


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