20 October 2007

Cranky old men

Tam's post on the socially unacceptable Nobel prize-winning scientist motivated me to take at the story a little more closely.

First, we have the line that got Dr. James Watson in so much trouble.

The controvery began with an October 14 interview Watson gave to the Sunday Times, which quoted him saying he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really."

Yep. That would be one of those statements one should probably not make in a newspaper interview.

I do, briefly, have to confess to a little annoyance about the way we react to this sort of thing, though. I haven't heard or read anything about why the doctor is wrong, just about what an awful thing he said. What is "all the testing," Mr. Watson? Cite sources, sir, so that we may decide how you, as a reknowned biologist, interact with data.

But that isn't how we do things on the public stage these days. Watson said something mean, and now he shall be shunned. Which is too bad, because maybe, since he seems to be a pretty bright guy, he has things to say from which we might be able to learn.

Rule #1 of modern living - we shall learn nothing if it is not socially acceptable.
Rule #2 of modern living - we shall learn nothing from anyone who says anything socially unacceptable.

[roll eyes]

Dr. Watson (I am assuming the PhD, since it is not mentioned in my source article, but I think it's a safe assumption) seems to be one cranky old guy, with a plethora of odd little theories.

In 1997, Britain's Sunday Telegraph quoted Watson as saying that if a gene for homosexuality were isolated, women who find that their unborn child has the gene should be allowed to have an abortion.

There's something in that one for everybody to get all worked up about. Thought-provoking, though, isn't it?

During a lecture tour in 2000, he suggested there might be links between skin color and sexual prowess and between a person's weight and their level of ambition.

That one sounds like he was working up a pickup line at the annual Big Time Biologist Convention. "Hi, my name's Jim. You come here often? Can I buy you a drink? Wanna see my Nobel Prize? Did you know that pale white guys with wispy hair make the best lovers?"

And in a British TV documentary that aired in 2003, Watson suggested that stupidity was a genetic disease that should be treated.

I have the feeling that after a few gin-and-tonics, Watson would complete the above statement by shouting, "treated by shooting stupid people in the head!"

19 October 2007


It came to my attention last weekend at my first drill that although I have been running, it would be in my best long term interest to do some more situps and pushups in my off time.

Cool. Situps and pushups are something you can only get better at by doing...situps and pushups.

Maxing out the situps for my age group requires one to do 82. That is by no means impossible, but I can't get there unless I do them a couple of times a week.

I came home from work and the Mister (God love him) said, "want a beer?"

So I replied, "Sure - but hold my feet for some situps first, because I want to max these next month."

We dragged a dog bed into our room so I could sit up without canine interruption. I stretched out, put the hands behind my head, and...


On #2, something gave on the lower left side of my abdomen. "Gave" with authority. So we halted the exercise, and decided to try again in a couple of days.

In the meantime, both sneezing and laughing are shockingly painful. I think, ladies and gentlemen, that I may be getting old.

16 October 2007

News Roundup

Tonight we start at Fox News, and we immediately see this gem: Woman Overheard Yelling Obscenities at Toilet Could Face Jail Time

SCRANTON, Pa. — A woman who allegedly shouted profanities at her overflowing toilet within earshot of a neighbor was cited for disorderly conduct, authorities said.

Dawn Herb could face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300 (euro212).

"It doesn't make any sense. I was in my house. It's not like I was outside or drunk," Herb told The Times-Tribune of Scranton. "The toilet was overflowing and leaking down into the kitchen and I was yelling (for my daughter) to get the mop."

Boo, Scranton! Any town where I can't holler "shit!" if it's spilling over onto my floor is a town in which I would not care to live. I believe the first draft of the Declaration of Indepence included the phrase, "Life, Liberty, and the right to holler at malfunction indoor plumbing, once that's invented."

And in less cheery news, we have this one from my old stomping grounds - Florida Man Sentenced to Death for Leaving Child to Be Eaten by Alligators

MIAMI — A Florida man who left a 5-year-old girl to be eaten alive by alligators and tried to kill her mother was sentenced to death Monday.

Prosecutors said Harrel Franklin Braddy, 58, attacked Shandelle Maycock and daughter Quatisha after he was released early from prison in another case for good behavior. He tossed Maycock in his car trunk in 1998, drove her to a remote sugarcane field and choked her to unconsciousness.

Braddy then drove the girl to a part of the Everglades known as Alligator Alley and dropped her in the water beside the road, prosecutors said. Authorities found the girl's body two days later, her left arm missing and her skull crushed.

Some people just need killin', and it appears that Harrel Franklin Braddy is one of them. Fortunately, Florida is not squeamish about such things.

Here in Northern Texas, things are bit more...well...Texan, as a football coach at the World's Largest Baptist University seems to have found himself in a bit of legal trouble.

WACO -- Baylor University athletic department officials said they are considering disciplinary action against an assistant football coach cited for urinating on the bar at a tavern.

Eric Schnupp, Baylor's offensive line/tight ends coach, was not arrested but was issued a citation at 2:20 a.m. Sunday for disorderly conduct-reckless exposure at Scruffy Murphy’s, Waco police spokesman Steve Anderson said.

That's nice. And classy.

I am a freakin' moron

We needed dog food. And a new keyboard (the Mister left the door open and flooded the winerack, floor and keyboard the other morning).

So off we went to PetSmart.

Because I am an idiot, we did not just buy dog food, we also bought dog toys. Because I am a massive, unprecedented idiot of epic proportions, we bought Cuz toys.

Two Cuz toys, to be precise, and one Kong ball because Casey is very into energetic chewing these days.

So it's a mighty squeaky house tonight. The Mister hooked up his new keyboard and, shouting to be heard over the hysterical and multipitched squeaking, hollered, "great idea, honey!"

Yeah, well, the real excitement will come later, when we do the pre-bed toy removal sweep of our room.

Casey is way into her Kong Ball, and has rolled it under the couch twice. She abandoned it briefly, however, to help the Mister finish off some extra strawberries.

15 October 2007

Learning experiences

This is one cute puppy, is it not?

Look closer, though. This is also a cute puppy who recently had another important lesson. What did he learn?

He learned that it's never, ever a good idea to assume that just because you're the bigger dog, you're allowed to take Sparky's toys. Look closer.

I'd laugh at him more, but I once suffered a relatively grievous thumb wound trying to separate Sparky from his food dish. Small and cute? Yes. Mean as a snake when irked? Yes.

Not dead

here, just busy.

This was my first drill weekend, so I got to dig out boots and do that whole thing. Seems like a nice group of people, so that's a happy thing.

Of course, it took the DoD exactly 27 minutes to get back in the habit of screwing up my life, as I noted that next month's drill was out of town and would force to miss the Marine Corps Ball.

Normally, this isn't something I'd mind. I have been to my share of Marine Corps Balls. And probably your share, too. In my junior Marine days, taking pictures of each ball was something we did for the base paper, and it wasn't at all uncommon to hit four or six in the space of a week.

After I got out, it got worse, because:
A) the Mister almost always had some sort of coordinating role that meant I'd spend at least half the night sitting without him at our table trying to make conversation with strangers
B) it required formalwear.

I think we all know me well enought to recognize that "gowns" are not a clothing item with which I am normally enchanted. That was a real downer every year - go out and find some sort of long dress. Ick. And shoes to match. Double ick.

This spring, however, my fabulous friend MC got married and her only instruction to me (as a bridesmaid) was, "long, black and formal." I found a dress I adore (which, if I may say such a thing, makes me look damn good), and which I was looking forward to trotting out for this year's Ball.

Oh, well. It's black and timeless, so even if there are no formal occasions between now and then, it'll work for next year too.