Friday, January 29, 2010

Socratic Method

The definition of "Socratic Method" is:

The Socratic Method (or Method of Elenchus or Socratic Debate), named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate rational thinking and to illuminate ideas.

Following yesterday's lead, Misplaced has some questions he'd like answered...

How can there be self-help “groups”?

Did you ever notice that if you blow in a dogs face it goes mad, yet when you take him on a car ride he sticks his head straight out the window?

If it’s true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for?

Whatever happened to Preparations A through G?

Why can't women put on mascara with their mouth closed?

Do people who spend $2 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water know that spelling it backwards is Naive?

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

Do Jewish vampires avoid crosses or Stars of David?

Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?

If toast always lands butter side down, and cats always land on their feet, what would happen if you strapped toast to a cats back and dropped it?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

Doesn't a lightning rod on top of church show a lack of faith?

Why do they put Braille dots on the keypad of a drive-up ATM?

Thus endeth a full week of Misplaced mailing it in.

See you Monday.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Five Questions

The Five Toughest Questions Women Ask Men

1. What are you thinking about?

2. Do you love me?

3. Do I look fat?

4. Do you think she is prettier than me?

5. What would you do if I died?

Here is the problem: If the man answers incorrectly (i.e., tells the truth), every single one is absolutely guaranteed to explode into a major argument.

As a public service, I analyze each question and provide the possible answers.

#1: What are you thinking about?

The best answer to this is:

"I'm sorry if I've been pensive, dear. I was just reflecting on what a warm, wonderful, thoughtful, caring, intelligent woman you are, and how lucky I am to have met you."

This response obviously bears no resemblance to the true answer, which is, most likely, one of the following:

a. Food.

b. Football.

c. How fat you are.

d. How much prettier she is than you.

e. How I would spend the insurance money if you died.

(Perhaps the best classic response to this question was offered by Al Bundy, who once told Peg: "If I wanted you to know what I was thinking, I would be talking to you!")

#2: Do you love me?

The proper response is: "YES!"

If you feel a more detailed answer is in order:
"Yes, dear."

Inappropriate responses include:

a. Yah, sure, you betcha. (Fucking Minnesotans...)

b. Would it make you feel better if I said "yes"?

c. That depends on exactly what you mean by love.

d. Does it matter?

e. Who, me?

#3: Do I look fat?

The only correct answer is an emphatic:
"Of course not!"

Among the incorrect answers are:

a. Compared to what?

b. I wouldn't call you fat, but you're not exactly thin.

c. A little extra weight looks good on you.

d. I've seen fatter.

e. Could you repeat the question? I was just thinking about how I would spend the insurance money if you died.

#4: Do you think she's prettier than me?

Once again, the proper response is an emphatic:
"Of course not!"

Incorrect responses include:

a. Yes, but you have a better personality.

b. Not prettier, but definitely thinner.

c. Not as pretty as you, when you were her age.

d. It depends on how you define pretty.

e. Could you repeat the question? I was just thinking about how I would spend the insurance money if you died.

#5: What would you do if I died?

This is the all-time, no-win question.

(The real answer, of course, is "Buy a Corvette.")

There is no good answer.

No matter how you answer, be prepared for at least an hour of follow-up questions, usually along the these lines:

Woman: Would you get married again?

Man: Definitely not!

Woman: Why not? Don't you like being married?

Man: Of course I do.

Woman: Then why wouldn't you remarry?

Man: Okay, I'd get married again.

Woman: You would? (with a hurtful look on her face)

Man: Yes, I would.

Woman: (After a long pause) Would you sleep with her in our bed?

Man: Where else would we sleep?

Woman: Would you put away my pictures, and replace them with pictures of her?

Man: That would seem like the proper thing to do.

Woman: And would you let her use my golf clubs?

Man: She can't use them; she's left-handed.

Sorry ladies. I promise I'll make up for this posting.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Another Story... Sorry

This is kind of a strange one from back in my days living in Black Rock... what I sometimes refer to as my "pre-Traci" days.

UNTITLED - by Jonathan K. Lee

Doug’s head chakra had stalled. He could feel it; it had stopped spinning and felt like black hole full of lead in the middle of his forehead. He searched the apartment for his book, You and Your Chakras, finally finding it under the couch. There wasn’t anything specific on restarting stalled chakras, but he found some instructions on chakra recharging that he decided to try. The process involved sitting in meditation and linking all the chakras until they were in harmonious balance.

Meditation wasn’t Doug’s thing, but he would give it a try. Every attempt at meditating in the past had ended up with him falling asleep on the couch. He’d even tried it with the TV off, but as soon as he closed his eyes and tried to clear his mind, sleep was sure to follow.

He stared at the diagram locating the chakras on the body. He was supposed to link them in harmony, but how was he supposed to remember where they all were? Doug solved this little problem by taking a black marker and drawing dots on his body in positions corresponding to the various chakras. He had to take his clothes off to do this and felt funny sitting on the couch naked with a marker in his hand. He was glad Debra wasn’t home.

There were two chakras in confusing proximity in the genital area. Doug did his best to place his dots appropriately, then moved up the heart chakra and the head chakra, placing a black dot in the middle of his forehead. The book showed some other chakras floating in the space above his head, but Doug didn’t know how to mark those, so he just ignored them.

With the chakras marked, Doug turned the TV volume down and sat on the couch to meditate. Sitting there naked all he could think about was sex, so he put his clothes on before attempting to proceed further. He got into a comfortable position, closed his eyes and took a deep, cleansing breath.

He soon fell sound asleep. The telephone woke him a few minutes later.

“Hey, Doug, it’s Ken. Look, Rick, my roommate, asked me to clear out for a while, says he has a girl coming over, so I wondered if you and Deb wanted to come down to Trev’s and have a drink.”

“Sure, I’ll come. Deb’s gone to the mall with Sharon. She should be back around nine, so I can’t stay any later than that.”

“That’s cool, Rick asked me to stay out till nine as well, so see you there?”

“Hey, this is Thursday, isn’t this your school night?” Doug asked.

“I finished that course. We had the exam last week, just waiting for the results. If I pass, I’ll have my high-school equivalency.”

“That’s great!, see you there.” Doug hung up and went into the bathroom to wash the chakra mark off his forehead. He scrubbed with a facecloth laced with Deb’s Apricot Treatment Gel for Sensitive Skin. There was no effect whatsoever. The chakra stood out as a big black dot in the middle of his forehead.

Doug picked up the marker to see if there were any instructions for removing the ink. Permanent Marker, it said on the side, the world’s first permanent ink that even solvents won’t remove! Doug swore under his breath, retrieved a peaked cap from the closet, pulled it down low over his brows and set off to meet Ken.

Trevor’s Cantina was a disastrous attempt at a Mexican Theme Bar. It had the requisite exposed roof beams and fake adobe walls adorned with colourful sombreros, but for some reason had failed to catch on with the salsa and guacamole lovers of the world—probably because the patrons could get better food at Taco Bell for a fraction of the price. The desperate owners, faced with bankruptcy, decided that they had to appeal to a different clientele. They quickly slashed their prices, dropped the dress code and became extremely lax about checking ID’s. Even when they did, they found it difficult to distinguish the picture of the twenty-seven year old brunette in the picture from the sixteen year old blonde who proffered it.

Trevor’s Cantina subsequently became the hangout of choice for the town’s wayward youth. Doug found Ken in a back booth, tossed his cap on the seat and sat down.

“What’s that on your forehead?” Ken asked.

“Oh, it’s my head chakra. It’s stalled or something. I was trying to get it spinning again, but nothing seems to help. It’s like I’ve got like a rotting dead rat in my head or something. It’s driving me nuts.”

“Hey, you know who can help with that? Rick!” Ken announced excitedly.

“Your roommate Rick? I thought he was just into heavy metal and video games.”

“No, no, he’s a really spiritual guy, I mean, he’s into that other stuff as well, but he knows all about natural healing and vibrations and chakras and stuff too. Look.” Ken unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a crude X of duct tape in centre of his chest. “This morning I felt a little down and Rick said that it was because my heart chakra was out of alignment, so he did these like energy passes over my body to realign the chakras and then put this duct tape on my chest to hold the heart chakra in place.”

“And it worked?” Doug asked doubtfully.

“Yeah, I’ve felt really good all day. Come on, let’s go see Rick.” Ken slid out of the booth.

“But,” Doug protested, “I thought you said he kicked you out tonight.”

“Yeah, but this is an emergency. Come on, Rick won’t mind.”

Together they trudged the few blocks to Ken’s apartment building, taking the stairs to the second floor. Ken unlocked the door and called inside, “Rick! Hey Rick! You busy, man? Can I see you for a minute? We need your help.”

A moment later, Rick came out of the bedroom in the act of pulling on a t-shirt. “What’s up? I thought you were going to be out till nine?”

“We’ve got a problem here,” Ken explained, “we thought you could help. Doug here…” Ken stopped when he saw the expression of utter shock on Doug’s face. Following the line of his gaze, Ken saw Deb coming out of the bedroom, tucking her shirt into the waistband of her jeans.

“Deb?” Doug said incredulously.

“Hi, Doug,” Deb said as if they’d run into each other at the bus stop. “What’s that on your forehead?”

Ken stepped in to smooth over an awkward moment. “It’s his head chakra. It’s jammed up or something and we thought Rick…”

“It’s fine now,” Doug interrupted, “it’s started again.” It hadn’t just re-started, it was spinning wildly. Suddenly the last few weeks began to make sense: Deb’s sudden passion for shopping on Thursday nights, the night Rick would have the apartment to himself while Ken was at school; her irritability; the way she pushed Doug away when he tried to get close. “I gotta go,” Doug blurted, his eyes darting from Deb to Rick, “I gotta go.” He turned and fled.

Ken followed him out onto the street. “Hey, I’m sorry man, I didn’t know. If I had any idea I wouldn’t have made you go there.” Ken sighed and searched for something else to say, but nothing seemed appropriate. “We didn’t even get your head chakra started again,” he finally added lamely.

“Oh, it’s goin’,” said Doug. “It’s really goin’. It’s spinnin’ like crazy. That’s not my problem anymore.” He hunched his hands in his pockets and walked doggedly down the street. “Now I’ve got another problem.”

“What’s that?” Ken asked, ever ready to come to the aid of a friend in need.

“It’s my heart chakra,” said Doug, tapping his chest, “now my heart chakra’s stopped.” They walked on together in silence.

“Maybe I can help,” Ken offered. “You got any duct tape?”

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Here's Something A Little Different

For lack of any relevant news that hasn't already been done to death this week, I'm just going to drop a short story on you today.

Any resemblance to women I may have dated prior to 2003 is purely intentional.

UNTITLED - by Jonathan K. Lee

A sense of wonder filled Jim as he entered the reception area of Kellman-Hiver, the software company. Polished marble and brass gleamed and the full toothed smile of the receptionist seemed all to welcome him. She, in fact did. 'Welcome, Jim, here's your security tag and office key. Welcome to KH Software. I hope you enjoy your work here.' Jim smiled his thanks, clutched his briefcase tigher and entered the elevator.

Two years of filling out incorrectly filled forms in an office had almost dimmed Jim's ambitions. A bright graduate of the university system with a degree in software engineering he felt certain he would soon be doing exactly what he'd hoped for since first acquiring a computer. His illusions had not lasted long in the harsh realities of life. There was supposed to be a shortage of graduates like him in the workplace. It was only a matter of time, but after twelve months of brief interviews and endless rejections he'd accepted the pen-pusher's job, hoping it might lead to something. When the call had come six weeks before Jim had forgotten even applying to the firm, but they'd kept his name on file, called him to an interview, then a second and finally offered him the job as part of the development team.

As he stepped into the small room that would be his private office Jim quelled an urge to cheer, but couldn't help gloating. He sat on the chair, opened the drawers in the desk, moved his keyboard and monitor around and checked out the drooping pot plant on the filing cabinet.

Donald Mc Gregor was the first to come through the door. He was about as Scottish as spagetthi, but he was friendly and would head the team Jim was to work with. He welcomed Jim and led him down the hall to a large room, filled with computers, printers whispering out pages of data, tables, books, computer generated graphics on the walls and five people. Only one made an instant impression on Jim. Her name was Laura, she stood five foot five with waist length black hair and a nice smile. She returned Jim's handshake firmly and then returned to the work she was at. Jim found it hard to take his eyes off her as Donald began to explain what they were at.

Then Jim was returning to his office with a stack of printouts, two CD's, a carton of floppy disks and several manuals, all part of the trucking database the company was designing. He spent several minutes remembering Laura in his mind before starting to work. It turned out the work was less glamorous then he's imagined, but it was what he wanted, and he was able to forget about Laura until almost quitting time when she walked into his office.

She was dressed in a trouser suit and white T-shirt and he couldn't but admire the way she was put together. He knew it was sexist of him to wonder why she wasn't modelling or an actress, a career based on her looks rather than her intelligence. She repeated her welcome of earlier and said the team traditionally had an evening drink with any new recruit and invited him, as the latest recruit, to keep up the tradition. He accepted.

Part of him hoped that he could hit it off with Laura and get into a serious relationship, even while another part just wanted to get her into bed. A small niggling voice kept insisting that a woman who looked like her probably had lots of offers and might even be married.

The evening depressed him. Laura, dressed in a skin tight, gold and white dress that showed a lot of her ample cleavage, turned up with a tall, muscular coloured guy who's coffee skin contrasted nicely with Laura's lightly tanned skin tones. And they made no secret of their attraction to each other. He worked for the firm's accounts department and had been seeing Laura for a few months. Jenny, the second woman on the team, a small, pretty woman who obviously resented her co-worker's glamour, told Jim that Laura was called the Maneater. ' She's dated and ditched half the guys in the company. Some say she's slept with both Kellman and Hiver and both of them are in their sixties. It's disgusting. I think Donald would have got rid of her except she has a genius IQ, The first person to win the Fehr Prize and the Masterson Award in the same year. There's something else…..'

Whatever Jenny was going to add was cut off by a shriek from Laura as one of the straps holding up her dress broke, apparently her lover's horseplay had been a bit too rough. Jim was stunned as Laura lashed out at the man, who was apologising and offering to pay for the damage. Laura ignored him, her right hand crashing into the man's face. He reeled backwards. Even allowing for the drink he'd consumed and the surprise of the blow, the punch was delivered professionally. Jenny made a comment about martial arts and then Laura left. The others left, uncomfortable with what they'd witnessed.

Laura was at work the next day as if nothing happened, though reports filtered through that her now ex-boyfriend had a swollen jaw and a black eye. Jim had to spend time in Laura's company over the next few days debugging software routines and he found himself even more attracted to her. Not only did she look like a centrefold and pack the punch of a boxer but she had a mind like Einstein. And she was a hard but fair person to work with. She did not soften her words when pointing out Jim's mistakes but she was generous with her praise when he did something well. As the days went on and they worked more and more together Jim found his courage building up and he finally asked her out. She refused. 'You're a nice guy, Jim. Jenny's more your type, or Sherry, the receptionist. I'm not what you're looking for.'

Jim was disappointed but he shrugged it off, reckoning that if he tried enough he'd succeed. Comforting himself with this he threw himself back into work and was so sure of his eventual success that even when he saw Laura with another man, kissing heavily, his enthusiasm never waned.

It was after Jim's first attempt to date Laura that he first heard the rumours. It seemed that there was something odd about some of the men Laura had dated. Five had disappeared, though there were rumours of more. Jenny confirmed the stories to Jim.

'Laura dates heavily and the affairs are usually short and intense. Even with the threat of AIDS around she's often shacked up with men she hardly knows. It was about two years ago that the first disappearance took place. He was Hector, from the graphics design department. They had seen each other for a few weeks, even though he was married. He lived out of town and commuted, sometimes spending the night with Laura though she was just as likely to have sex in a hotel, go back to her own place and he'd stay the night, possibly hoping she'd return. The wife had no notion for a time, then suspected he'd had an affair so when he didn't turn up for a whole weekend she decided that a divorce was in order. She rang on the Monday to contact him but she hadn't shown for work. Two days later the body was found by a hotel maid. Body had been mangled. Laura was questioned but she had an alibi and though Hector was no heavyweight it was doubtful that Laura could have done it anyway.

Anyway since then there have been four other disappearances, all of men Laura had been seeing at the time, or shortly after they broke up. I hear they've staked her out on several occasions but apart from a promiscuous lifestyle there's nothing on her. She has threatened the cops with legal action and they have left her alone. In fact the last guy that vanished they didn't even question her. I have to admit, I don't like her, but I don't think she'd kill anyone, I think it's just sheer coincidence' Jim thought that too. Sure, the last one to see someone alive was always a suspect but not necessarily a killer.

When Jim heard a few days later that Laura was single again, he asked her out once more, this time persisting until she gave in. Then, with his success assured, anxiety set in. The bar the team frequented, and where Laura often was, was okay but he felt a classier place was called for and he spent the days up to the date setting up everything so he could he was treating her to something special.

He was surprised that she dressed so conservatively for him after some of the low cut or even sheer dresses and outfits he'd seen on her outside of office hours. They had a beautiful meal, saw a film and had a few quiet drinks and a chat in a bar. Jim went home full of pleasant relief at how well things had went, and Laura, outside the office was charming and witty. He'd also revelled in the envious stares of men as they eyed her up. It was a tremendous ego boost.

Work now became even more enjoyable. Word got out that Laura and Jim were an item and heads were shaken at how quickly Laura had picked up the new recruit. Jenny had come to him privately and suggested he not get too infatuated. 'She'll chew you up and spit you out. She's done it before.' Jim, as politely as he could , told her it was none of her business. Jenny could only retire hurt, she was very attracted to Jim but apart from work and the odd social outings of the whole team, he'd never shown any interest in her, easy to understand with Laura around.

Jim and Laura's relationship cruised along. They played squash and basketball, went swimming, ice-skating and golfing. They took off for weekends, camping and hiking, they saw movies, plays, musicals and frequented high class restaurants. Jim was in bliss. He was even surprised to consider that despite Laura's relationship, they had not slept together despite two months together. Not since he'd been a teenager had a relationship lasted longer before he'd slept with his date. He took this as a good sign. If Laura could suppress her urges for him, and he for her then the relationship was more than pure lust.

While Jim was wallowing in his feelings for Laura his work mates and most of the town were talking about the latest odd death. The previous weekend a mangled body had been found, that of a fifteen year old street boy, one of those homeless urchins that roamed the streets at night and slept in derelict buildings and warehouses. His friends said he'd been missing for three days and one old man, who was addicted to glue and none too reliable a witness spoke of seeing Luke in the company of a woman. This evidence was considered flimsy at best and ignored.

Jim though did briefly wonder. Laura had cancelled their date suddenly on the Wednesday of the previous week… He chided himself, tying a woman he loved in with a sordid death purely on the basis of a cancelled date. So when Laura suggested they spend the weekend together, Jim forgot all about Luke and the old man and rumours of any kind.

Laura's house was in a quiet neighbourhood, where the houses had spacious lawns and many had swimming pools. Most had two cars unless their children were old enough to drive then there could be three or more cars or large motorbikes. Jim loved it and wished he had his own house and not a rented apartment, comfortable though it was.

Laura met him at the door dressed in white, sexy but still less revealing than some outfits she'd worn. Another thing that had changed in her during their relationship. He complimented her, handed over the bottle of wine he'd brought and was given a quick tour of the house. It was beautiful but not ostentatious, merely tasteful. Somehow it didn't fit with her reputation and Jim chided himself again for thinking ill of her.

Laura's many talents also extended to cooking and they had satisfying meal, complete with candlelight and mood music. Afterwards they sat sipping drinks, companionable silence broken by occasional bursts of conversation until it was almost midnight. Laura then rose, let her dress slide the floor, took Jim by the hand and they went to her bedroom. They made love and Jim was once again reminded of her strength. It was a night he would cherish.

Jim awoke with sunlight warming his bare back. He could hear the shower running and wondered should he join Laura there. Just as he decided he would, he heard it stop and then she came out, wrapped in a long towel. She urged him to take a shower, saying she was feeling in the mood again. He grinned and went to take a quick shower. Emerging from the bathroom he was surprised to find she wasn't there. He left the room, guessing she'd gone to the kitchen or living room. The only sign of her was her discarded dress.

He called her name and heard a muffled reply. Walking down the hallway he kept calling and eventually came to a door near the end of the hall, behind which was a stairs leading down. He went down to find her, naked, lying on a large sheet of plastic.

'What's going on Laura?' he asked unable to keep the edge from his voice. 'I have a surprise for you, Jim. This is the basement, built by the previous owners. I was going to make a games room from it but never did. I only bring special people here. Would you let me play a game with you.' She started to stroke him and he melted, falling down beside her. Her game was simple, she tied him up, to ropes he hadn't noticed before. Then she sat over her stomach.

'Oh you've been so kind, Jim, so nice and I hate to end it this way, but I'm hungry and I need to feed' Jim asked her what she was talking about and felt a little twinge of fear twist his spine. Was she going to kill him? Or was this part of the game? He looked up towards his right hand to see if he could loosen his bonds then heard a popping sound and a crack, followed immediately by a harsh moan of pain. His head whirled back to look at Laura. Something was happening to her, the skin of her face seemed to be bulging. There were longs cracks and pops, ripping noises and moans. Her hands, which had been gripping his upper arms tightened and he could see long, silvery talons growing from the ends of her fingers, they bit deeply into the meat of his arms, drawing blood. He screamed, writhing now, pure terror urging him to throw her off, but….. he screamed louder as he saw it, emerging from below her navel, a thin, silvery tube, the end ringed with a serrated edge. It was a nightmare. His screams increased in volume as the tube plunged into his midsection, tearing through his flesh making him thrust his upper body upwards towards where her face had been.

Now she no longer resembled the Laura he'd so strongly fancied. Her mouth had elongated into a tube as well, her eyes glowed with a reddish fire and blood oozed from them. Other tubes grew from each of her cheeks and even as the largest tube sliced into his throat he became aware that her breasts too had grown their own tubes. He could no longer scream and his mind had shut down. It took an hour to feed, leaving a mangled husk of a man..

The body was found in the trunk of the car, twenty miles away. No one could remember seeing Jim that night, and Laura when questioned said Jim had stood her up. Jenny told the police she'd seen Jim's car heading out towards that quiet neighbourhood but the residents, ten families, all denied seeing the car. But then they would. They too had to feed.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Bonus points to anyone who can guess which one of my exes was the inspiration for this story.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, January 25, 2010

International Friendship Monday

Since Misplaced was no-go with Friday's blog, and hasn't been able to come up with anything intelligent for today's, I have decided to teach you, my dear readers the useful skill of being able to say "Fuck You" to people all over the world... since you never know when you may have to tell someone that don't talk English good exactly what you think of them.

Fuck You Around The World:

Israel: Lech Tiezdayen

Nepal: Chikne

Syria: Selinokh

Slovakia: Pojeb Sa

Albania: Te Qifsha

Estonia: Kai Persse

India: Chodela

Serbia: Jembem Ti

Kurdistan: Mit Kuze Ta Na

Finland: Haista Vittu

Norway: Faen Ta Deg

Sweden: Javla, or more formally (?!?) Knulla Dig

Vietnam: Cai Deo Gi Day

China: Cao Ni

Ireland: Bualadh Craicinn

Italy: Vaffanculo

Hungary: Baszd Meg

Austria: Putz Di

Macedonia: Da Ti Fukne Konj

Malaysia: Yet Meh

Phillipines: Putang Ina

Kazakhstan: Men Seni Sikkim Keledi

Croatia: Jebiga

Armenia: Kunats Kez

Romania: Sa Te Fut

Samoa: Kefe

Poland: Pierdol Sie

Czech Republic: Zkurvysyn

Latvia: Ej Dirst

Lithuania: Pisti

Ukraine: Pishov Na Khuj

Iceland: Riddu Ter

If you don't see the country of your ancestors listed, feel free to drop Misplaced a line and ask... odds are I can find it for you.

Yeah, I TOTALLY mailed this entry in.

For those who have a problem with that, Dorme Mecum! (Latin)

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Whites-Only Basketball League

Every time I think I've heard it all, someone comes along and proves me wrong once again.

A new professional basketball league for whites only called the All-American Basketball Alliance (AABA) sent out a press release on Sunday saying that it intends to start its inaugural season in June, with teams in 12 U.S. cities.

I swear I am not making this up.

Don "Moose" Lewis, the commissioner of the AABA, said the reasoning behind the league's roster restrictions is not racism.

The former-Pro wrestling promoter for the International Wrestling Union is a basketball purist and he’s got a novel idea; Lewis loves the way basketball used to be played so much that he wants to take us back in time, say 60 years back, and start an all-White basketball league.

In a league statement released on the eve of Martin Luther King birthday, Lewis, the commissioner of the league, states that the developing league is solely for “players that are natural-born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league.”

The ABAA, or All-American Basketball Alliance, is looking for Caucasian individuals interested in paying a $10,000 fee to become an elite franchise in twelve cities throughout the Southeastern United States.

All-American Alliance? Yikes, the name in and of itself just sounds racist, but Don “The Moose” Lewis insists that it’s not racism that is the motivation for the new basketball league, even though he contradicts himself in his own statements:

“There’s nothing hatred about what we’re doing,” he said. “I don’t hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here’s a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like.”

Lewis said he wants to emphasize fundamental basketball instead of “street-ball” played by “people of color.” He pointed out recent incidents in the NBA, including Gilbert Arenas’ indefinite suspension after bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room, as examples of fans’ dissatisfaction with the way current professional sports are run.

“Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?” he said. “That’s the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction.”

“People will come out and support a product they can identify with. I’m the spoken minority right now, but if people will give us a chance, it’ll work… The white game of basketball, which is essentially a fundamental game, works.”

The Atlanta-based league, which will operate as a single-entity owning all of its teams, is looking for local contacts to pay $10,000 to become a "licensee" in one of 12 cities throughout the Southeast. Lewis said he has already received threats from people opposed to the roster restrictions and several cities have told him to stay out of town. Lewis said he has yet to hear from any one in Augusta.

"We need a local person ingrained into the community to make this successful," he said.

Lewis said he expects to eventually find support in every town with a team.

"People will come out and support a product they can identify with. I'm the spoken minority right now, but if people will give us a chance, it'll work... The white game of basketball, which is essentially a fundamental game, works."

Lewis said he wasn't sure where the team will play.

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, who has publicly expressed his support for minor league teams in the past, said he would not do the same for this team.
"As a sports enthusiast, I have always supported bringing more sporting activities to Augusta," he said. "However, in this instance I could not support in good conscience bringing in a team that did not fit with the spirit of inclusiveness that I, along with many others, have worked so hard to foster in our city."

Clint Bryant, athletic director at Augusta State University, laughed when he heard the news.

"It's so absurd, it's funny, but it gives you an idea of the sickness of our society" he said. "It shows you what lengths people will go to just to be mean-spirited. I think at any basketball level, no matter if it's all black, all white, all Hispanic, all Asian or anyone else, the players should just be a basketball team."

All Misplaced can say is wow... just... wow.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stupid Democrats

In what should have been a no-brainer, cakewalk, slam-dunk of an election for the Democratic Party in yesterday's Massachusetts Senate Race, the party was instead rocked by candidate Martha Coakley's upset loss to Republican Scott Brown.

The Democratic Party has no one to blame for this outcome other than themselves. Their mistakes during this campaign were myriad and increasingly foolish.

How could a Republican win a senate seat in one of America’s “bluest” states? Was it all about healthcare reform? Did Martha Coakley, the Democratic nominee, run that bad a race? And how did the political environment change so fast from last year?

That last question in particular is an important one and the Patchwork Nation map is helpful in providing some answers.

Many will see Tuesday’s vote as a stunning shift from 2008’s Democratic sweep, and maybe it is. Mr. Brown captured a seat that former Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) had held for 47 years before passing away last summer. And there are some unique factors in Massachusetts, such as the fact that the state already has its own state healthcare system.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democrat vying to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was roundly mocked in the Red Sox-crazy state for mistakenly suggesting in a radio interview that Curt Schilling, the former Red Sox pitcher, is a Yankee fan.

Mr. Schilling was accorded near-heroic status here for guiding the team to victory over their arch-rivals, the Yankees, in a key game in 2004 while his own sock was literally bloody from an ankle injury. The radio exchange was quickly blasted to reporters by gleeful Republicans.

It was Ms. Coakley who brought up baseball in the interview on WBZ News Radio. She noted that her rival, Scott Brown, a Republican State Senator, had been campaigning in Boston Friday with Rudolph W. Giuliani, and she reminded listeners that Mr. Giuliani is a Yankee fan.

The interviewer, Dan Rea, said, “Yeah, but now Scott Brown has Curt Schilling, OK?’’

To which Ms. Coakley replied, “And another Yankee fan.’’

“Schilling?’’ Mr. Rea pressed.

“Yes,’’ she said.

“Curt Schilling a Yankee fan?’’ he persisted.

“No, all right, I’m wrong on my, I’m wrong,’’ she said.

Mr. Schilling, who helped Senator John McCain win the New Hampshire primary in 2008 by campaigning with him there, and who has been supporting Mr. Brown, fired back on his own blog. “I’ve been called a lot of things,’’ he wrote, “but never, and I mean never, could anyone ever make the mistake of calling me a Yankee fan. Well, check that, if you didn’t know what the hell is going on in your own state maybe you could….”

Is it possible that Coakley simply didn’t know who Schilling - the most legendary folk hero in Red Sox Nation since Carlton Fisk - was? I highly doubt it, not just because Schilling - and that bloody sock - are so famous in Massachusetts, but because the pitcher openly considered throwing his Red Sox cap into the ring for that race.

Instead, Schilling threw his support behind Brown, and repeatedly criticized Coakley on his 38 Pitches blog even before her infamous radio interview. And the ballplayer played a big part in publicizing the candidate’s first sports-related gaffe. Last week, under the headline “Want Another Reason to Not Vote for Martha Coakley,” Schilling highlighted a Boston Globe interview with the Democrat about her campaign. Thanks to Schilling’s post, this story got a ton of traction in the blogosphere:

"Coakley bristles at the suggestion that, with so little time left, in an election with such high stakes, she is being too passive. “As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?” she fires back, in an apparent reference to a Brown online video of him doing just that."

The Globe didn’t elaborate on what Coakley was referring to; Brown showed up outside Fenway Park on New Years’ Day to talk to hockey fans gathering for the Winter Classic hockey game between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers. Making an appearance at such an event would seem to be a natural for a politician with a big election coming up. But Coakley not only didn’t make an appearance outside Fenway; she proceeded to mock Brown for doing so. Not exactly the smartest thing for a politician running in such a sports-crazy state to do. But nothing can be as dumb as calling Schilling a Yankee fan.

For her part, Coakley later claimed she was making a “joke” about Schilling with the remark. Why somebody in the Bay State would make a joke about the player arguably most responsible for the Boston Red Sox’s first World Series Championship in 86 years is beyond me.

Was her jibe a way of claiming that supporting Republican candidates equals supporting the arch-rival New York Yankees? Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey attempted to make the case for such humor, telling MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Monday, “a lot of times, we do confuse the Republicans and the Yankees.” Markey also dissed Schilling for not being from Massachusetts, noting “he has only moved in here since 2004.”

As for the Coakley/Schilling kerfuffle, does it really matter in the scope of things? I say yes, it does. As Schilling told reporters after appearing in a pro-Brown rally Sunday:

“It does reflect on an elected official’s relationship with her constituents. I don’t think that somebody who’s lived here their whole life, not understanding the importance of the prominence of the sports teams in this city, it’s a big deal to people,” he said.

“I think it’s another sign of her aloofness, and just the fact that she’s very out of touch, I think, with the people.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time a Massachusetts politician made a sports-related gaffe. The late Ted Kennedy once referred to Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa as “Mike McGwire” and “Sammy Sooser.” John Kerry once talked he also called Green Bay’s Lambeau Field “Lambert Field. Even worse, Kerry once talked about a Red Sox player named “Manny Ortez.”

But messing with a Boston legend is much worse than mispronouncing his name. And it cost Coakley dearly at the polls Tuesday.

The Patchwork Nation map comparing the most recent unemployment rates in Massachusetts with those of a year ago shows climbs across the board. But if you compare Tuesday’s election results with the 2008 presidential election results, one thing stands out: the counties with the biggest jumps in unemployment were hardest on Ms. Coakley.

Compared with candidate Obama, Coakley did worst in the six counties where unemployment rose by more than 3 percentage points in the last year. In each of those counties, she got 16 percentage points less than Obama did in 2008.

Coakley lost votes in every county in the state compared with Obama in 2008. Unemployment is up in every county as well. That can’t be a comfort to Democrats.

Barack Obama rode to victory in 2008 on the strength of the Patchwork community known as the “Monied ’Burbs,” the wealthy, mostly suburban counties in and around big metro areas. They have been battlegrounds in recent elections, but Obama won them by some 11-percentage points nationally.

So how did Coakley do in those communities?

Massachusetts is a tricky state in which to answer that question. There are so many colleges and universities in the state that many suburban counties also fall in the “Campus and Careers” community type. But there are four counties in and around Boston that hold many voters and might be thought of as “ ’Burbs”: Suffolk, Middlesex, Essex, and Norfolk.

Coakley won only two of them – and lost the other two badly. That is arguably where she lost this race and where Brown won it.

For Democrats, that may be a troubling sign going into 2010. Those counties are home to many swing congressional districts that will be key to the balance of power in the next Congress. That has ramifications on everything from healthcare reform to changes in immigration policy.

So where does that leave “the political environment” in early 2010?

Right now the state of the national economy is fragile. What we hear repeatedly from people in different Patchwork Nation communities around the country is: “We have not seen a recovery here, yet.”

That would seem to point to a good chance for Republicans to be the “agents of change” for 2010. But for how long? Tuesday made clear that voters won’t hesitate to pull the other lever when they are unhappy.

Food for thought.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Piss Off A Fundamentalist Day

Small rant today.

Christian Fundamentalists piss Misplaced off to no end.

For the ones who continue to wave the "Holy Bible" as the "perfect, unimpeachable word of God", I'm going to take today to point out the following ridiculousness and glaring contradictions from that particular book.

Leviticus 20:9 If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death.

20:10 If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

20:13 If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death.

Deuteronomy 22:20-1 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house.

Exodus 35:2 For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.

On Destroying Other People

Deuteronomy 7:1-2 When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations . . . then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.

20:10-17 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. . . . This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby. However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you.

On the Evil of Biblical Law

Ezekiel 20:25-26 I also gave them over to statutes that were not good and laws they could not live by; I let them become defiled through their gifts—the sacrifice of every firstborn—that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the LORD.

On Slavery & Subjugation of Women

Ephesians 5:22-24 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Exodus 21:20-21 If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.

1 Peter 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men.

2:18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

Leviticus 25:44-45 Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.

Jesus, on His "Second Coming"

Matthew 24:29-34 The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. . . They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. . . . I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

16:27-28 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

Selected Contradictions

2 Kings 2:11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.
John 3:13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Exodus 32:14 Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith . . . not by works.
James 2:14-17 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? . . . Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Revelation 22:12 Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.
Matthew 6:1 Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
Matthew 10:34 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Genesis 32:30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and my life was preserved.”
Exodus 33:11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.
John 1:18 No one has ever seen God.

John 5:31 If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid.
John 8:14 Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid.

Yeah... Misplaced has had enough of "Christtians" for the month.

See you tomorrow.