Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Moving Day!

Hear ye, hear ye! "Self-Infliction" heeded the words of the Great Owl and has moved its house to the lee of the stone. No, Jenner, you are not invited.

So what this really means is that D and I now have a new joint blog (, which incorporates all your past "Self-Infliction" and "Paperless Mache Project" favorites! We've got Baylor Law Hogwarts! We've got Baby Sasquatch! We've even got D's post from just this morning, and the post you are reading right now! Trippy!

So update your readers and blogrolls, kiddies--there's a (kinda) new game in town.

SFW: Stout Claim, Wendy's

Seems like we're due for an SFW (Scenes From Waco) installment. I've got a camera phone now, so hopefully we can keep them rolling.

At left observe Wendy's promise to satisfy all prior failings with their Boneless Buffalo Wings. At least 19 suicides in the Waco area have been attributed to this sign, most notably among married men.

Monday, August 24, 2009

"Cougar Town"--Worst Six Flags Area Ever

I had my surgery on Thursday, so plenty on that later (no gross photos, though). But right now I think it's important that we recognize the depths to which the lowest common denominator has sunk, at least from the perspectives of television excutives.

This fall Courtney Cox stars in a new ABC sitcom entitled "Cougar Town." Leave aside for a moment the fact that the show already sounds like the kind of ill-concieved amusment park idea you might expect from Dan Halen of Squidbillies fame. Aren't we a little bit insulted that ABC would call a show about a Cougar soccer mom something for excruciatingly obvious. Why not "On the Prowl" or something? It's like they don't expect us to comprehend the concept of a show unless it's parsed out to us in an idiotic title. "Hey Joe Bob, what's that new show about?" "I don't really know, Ray Don, but it's something to do with cougars!"

Worse yet, even the show's remedial hooked-on-phonics name leaves ambiguity for some people. "Cool, a whole town run by wild cats! It's like Parks and Recreation meets Grizzly Man!" I kid you not, this is a problem. This summer at the DA's office we had a rather flamboyant defendant who walked a pair of cougars around NYC in the early 90's (before Rudy cleaned the place up). Several well-heeled attorneys asked, straight faced, if these reports meant big cats or skanky over-40 women after fresh meat. Cougar Town is the state of the union, people, and that's a scary thought. I hope the show's funny, though. Courtney Cox has really floundered after Friends.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Straight From the Bog

A brief foray into the world of advertising. Ocean Spray has been running ads for a while that feature a quirky father and son team of cranberry growers. The ads are pretty funny and emphasize the fresh, "from the grower to you" flavor of Ocean Spray products. But I just noticed today the tagline which accompanies these fun little vignettes--"Straight From the Bog." Really?

Yes, I know cranberries come from a bog. They grow on little bushes, and eventually the farmer floods the bog so that the loose, ripe berries float into a collection area. But when I hear the words "Straight From the Bog," I don't think about delicious cranberries. I think of 5000 year old dead bodies, smoky Irish peat fires, feces, and the Bog of Eternal Stench from The Labyrinth. "Smell Bad!"

I mean, I get it. The tagline is funny because people make these kind of associations. But do you really want to remind potential customers that your food product comes from a swampy malarial marshland? Seems like a bad idea, yet according to Ocean Spray it's one of the best ad campaigns ever. Go figure. Maybe average folks don't know that bogs aren't just where the cranberry guys live. Read to your children!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Grounded In Dallas County Jail - No Friends or TV Privileges

We've got some criminal justice-minded folks reading the blog these days, so I though ya'll might be interested in this bit o' news out of Dallas. Apparently the Dallas PD picked up a 13 year old girl for shoplifting, the girl used a fake name and DOB to identify herself as 17 years old, and she ended up spending 13 days in jail.

Certainly this is a screw up, but what else were the police supposed to do? The girl didn't have ID, she told the cops she was 17, and her parents didn't come looking for her for almost two weeks. Sure the police could have investigated further, but where else were they supposed to check? Her barcoded ID # tattoo? It seems like the cops are going to catch a bunch of flak for something that they couldn't really prevent. If the girl was going to lie about her name and age, she was going to lie about any other evidence that could have led to the truth (address, parents names, etc.)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Health Care at 'I' Level

As the health care debate becomes more politicized, it’s been instructive for me to step back from the party line, abandon the view from 30,000 feet, and zero in on a little personal experience. Many of my Facebook friends and twitter follower know that I’ll be undergoing surgery later this month for a cholesteatoma in my right ear. As JT has aptly pointed out, my particular situation presents an interesting opportunity for discussion—what if I didn’t have insurance?

The procedure to correct my problem is a mastoidectomy/tympanoplasty. This thing isn’t going to be cheap anyway, but D and I have good coverage through her job. Where would we be if we didn’t? The surgery is necessary, but not “emergency care.” So I couldn’t go to ER, which is required to treat everyone even if they can’t pay. Maybe some sort of charity clinic would see to my troubles, or some church fund. But my condition isn’t life threatening without years of neglect, and surely someone with cancer or something would take priority. No, I think we’d be stuck saving up for years, and letting my ear and hearing deteriorate until we could to afford to pay the “down payment” on hospital bills. You can go on a payment plan, of course, but without insurance you have to pay at least some of the money up front. And that’s just the hospital and anesthesiologist. Most doctors won’t even see you without full payment for the visit.

I think the final product of my musing is that everyone needs some kind of health coverage. And its not just coverage for them, it’s coverage for us. Just as mandatory auto insurance laws have reduced the cost of insurance for us responsible folks who maintain coverage, universal coverage (especially for preventative care) would bring down all our costs. On this point I should be completely clear. I still think that government has no place in the insurance business. Necessary arm’s length regulation, sure, but not a “public option” or “single payer” system. We just have too much historical experience to allow the government screw up another industry more than it already has. Obama offers up a public option as “competition” and “accountability.” Yet we know that such a heavily subsidized and bureaucratic entity will artificially lower prices (without concern for the other side of the balance sheet, since we taxpayers will be funding it) to the point that private insurers can’t keep up. It’s simply a back door to government run health care, be it today or in ten years.

So, loyal readers, what are our options for universal coverage without a public insurance agency? Mandatory coverage laws? Somehow divorcing coverage from employment?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The New Cold War – Battle of the Beefcake

After yesterday's conversation, I couldn't resist posting this hilarious piece on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Perhaps many readers have seen it linked from Drudge, but the video is priceless.

Sure, Obama had his Tiger Beat worthy beach photo, but at least we don't have to watch him ride horses bare chested or swim in Tuva. I wonder if ol' Vlad had the chance to enjoy any world famous Tuvan Throat Singing, since he was already in the neighborhood oppressing folks and tightening his iron death grip on the far-flung Russian proletariat.