Notes on how things seem to me from out here in Hollywood... As seen from Just Above Sunset
Click here to go there... Click here to go there...

Here you will find a few things you might want to investigate.

Support the Just Above Sunset websites...


Click here to go there...

« July 2004 »
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Photos and text, unless otherwise noted, Copyright 2003,2004,2005,2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
Contact the Editor


"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

Site Meter
Technorati Profile

Wednesday, 21 July 2004

Topic: Couldn't be so...

A Clear and Present Danger

Senator Joe Lieberman, the Democrat from Connecticut, and Senator Jon Kyl, a Republican of Arizona, have announced the third incarnation of the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), an organization founded in 1950 with the primary objective of tripling American defense spending. The commies were coming, after all. The committee was "reinvented" in 1976 to oppose any and all negotiation of the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with Moscow. We needed to keep our nukes, damn it!

And here we go again. Oh, and by the way, Peter D. Hannaford is the managing director of the new incarnation of the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD). Who's he? A few years ago he was a Washington lobbyist for the fellow some call Austria's crypto-Nazi wunderkind Jorg Haider.

Jorg Haider - the man who said Hitler was misunderstood and those brown-shirted guys weren't so bad at all. Jorg Haider - a sort of Arnold Shwarzenegger who stayed home. For a while he was a rising star in Austria, working to bring back discipline and order - in the 1943 style of things. But in the end no one wanted to play with him. You know, it's a funny thing - except for Silvio Berlusconi, folks who say the fascists had it right just do not get any respect these days. And so this Hannaford fellow was cut loose. Now he's helping the Jewish fellow from Connecticut fight the bad Islamic people. Well, unemployment sucks and Hannaford landed on his feet. Bully for him.

Joe Lieberman and Jon Kyl, by the way, explained what they were up to this week.

The Present Danger
Joe Lieberman and Jon Kyl, The Washington Post, Tuesday, July 20, 2004; Page A17

It's long, but the gist is this -
The liberation of Iraq has important implications for the region and for the broader war on terrorism. The leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties have so far stood firm in their commitment to finish the job in Iraq and to fight to victory the war on terrorism. But that bipartisan consensus is coming under growing public pressure and could fray in the months ahead. Although the tide is turning in the war on terrorism, a political undertow in this country could wash out our recent gains. We must not let this happen.

To make sure it doesn't, we are relaunching today the Committee on the Present Danger, a group of citizens of diverse political persuasions who will work to sustain and strengthen bipartisan support for the war on terrorism in Iraq and beyond.

The Committee on the Present Danger was first formed at the dawn of the Cold War in 1950 to educate Americans about the growing threat of Soviet communism. Democratic senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson of Washington state revitalized the group in the mid-'70s; this time it was focused on working for a stronger stance toward the Soviets and the increased defense spending necessary to carry out that policy.

In this third incarnation, we intend to focus the committee on the present danger our generation faces: international terrorism from Islamic extremists and the outlaw states that either harbor or support them. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks awoke all Americans to the capabilities and brutality of our new enemy, but today too many people are insufficiently aware of our enemy's evil worldwide designs, which include waging jihad against all Americans and reestablishing a totalitarian religious empire in the Middle East. The past struggle against communism was, in some ways, different from the current war against Islamist terrorism. But America's freedom and security, which each has aimed to undermine, are exactly the same. The national and international solidarity needed to prevail over both enemies is also the same. In fact, the world war against Islamic terrorism is the test of our time.
Got it. No commies left. The Muslim devils are out to get us. Same song. Third verse.

Who gets to play the Joe McCarthy role this time?

This is going to be loads of fun.

The Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) has a website should you want to join up. You might, maybe, meet Jorg Haider, or Arnold or any number of conservative Austrians who think authority and strength matter. Joe has no problem with them, apparently.

Laura Rozen points out that groups which track anti-Semitism had "pretty grave things to say about Haider and the Austrian Freedom Party back in 1997 when Hannaford was a paid lobbyist for the party" - but that is only from US Justice Department records. No matter. Hannaford is with the good guys now. Joe likes him.

Check out the member index - James Woolsey, Midge Decter, Victor Hanson, Jack Kemp, Jeane Kirkpatrick - and Laurie "But there really ARE lots of WMD's there, really - Chalibi TOLD me!" Mylroie. A fine crew.

Ah well, this will do for a start.

There is some talk of bringing back the House Un-American Activities Committee. Now THAT would be a hoot!

Hell, bring back all of the fifties. Bill Haley and the Comets too. Why not?

Posted by Alan at 19:40 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Topic: In these times...

Conspiracy Theory: Tin-Foil Hats for Everyone
Jonathan Raban, a Brit writing from Seattle, has some thoughts on how the White House's obsession with secrecy has turned America into a nation of conspiracy theorists. Like it's the fault of the Bush administration that we're all donning our tin-foil hats? That's his argument.

Running scared
Wednesday July 21, 2004, The Guardian (UK)

The opening anecdote - at dinner in Seattle -
I've lost count of the times I've been told - always on excellent, but unnameable authority - that Osama bin Laden is already in American hands and that the Bush administration is waiting for the right moment to announce his capture.

Ronald Reagan's body was on ice for many months, and his death was only announced when it became necessary to drive Abu Ghraib off the front page. Everybody knows, or thinks they know, that the administration will manipulate the intricate bells and whistles of homeland security to ensure the president's re-election. If terrorists don't strike in the run-up to November 2 (as most people assume they will) the level of alert will be jigged up to red, arrests will be made, the country will be declared saved from an evil plot and mass casualties, and Bush will storm past Kerry in the polls.
Well, this is the extreme alternative to believing that we are led be a wise, articulate, thoughtful and compassionate fellow doing his best.

Raban does, of course, cover the "July Surprise" business - see Just Above Sunset - July 11, 2004 - Djibouti and the July Surprise - for details. That's the idea that the White House is putting immense pressure on the Musharraf regime to deliver "high-value targets", in the shape of Bin Laden and Mullah Omar, on July 26, 27, or 28, to spectacularly eclipse the opening of the Democratic party convention in Boston.

Raban comments -
Much the most interesting thing about this last story is the character of my informant - not, as usual, Jack talking from the barbecue pit, but the sober and conservative New Republic, a magazine fiercely pro-Israel, which enthusiastically supported the invasion of Iraq. A respected senior editor, John B Judis, is one of the three authors of the July Surprise? piece in the July 19 issue. Conspiracy theorising is coming out of the internet closet and going mainstream. Or, to put it another way, conspiracy theorising is fast becoming a legitimate means of reporting on a government so secretive that unnamed Pakistani security types may well be the best informed sources on the Bush administration's domestic policies and strategems.
So, in the absence of stuff from our leaders that you can actually believe, given their track record, the resulting vacuum is filled with anything else that might make sense?

That seems to be this fellow's contention.

He does ask you to consider this -
Even before September 11, secrecy was this administration's hallmark, as when it invoked the principle of executive privilege to conceal from public view the proceedings of vice-president Cheney's energy taskforce. After 9/11, secrecy was advanced, proudly, as a guiding principle for a nation at war. In his address to the joint session of Congress on September 20 2001, Bush spoke of a new kind of war, "unlike any other we have ever known", that would include "covert operations, secret even in success." Donald Rumsfeld quoted Winston Churchill to the effect that in war "truth must be protected with a bodyguard of lies". Dick Cheney talked of a war to be fought "in the shadows: This is a mean, nasty, dangerous, dirty business. We have to operate in that arena". The great fear, shared by people not customarily given to paranoia, is that the Bush administration has taken these tactics for conducting a secret, asymmetric war and applied them wholesale to the day-to-day governance of the US.
As my conservative friends would say, in response to this - so, what's the problem? And they'd add that there are things it is better not to know, that good Americans simply trust their government leaders, and, well, when you win power you get to do what you want - so get over it. As one of them said to me - "What bothers me most about the left is that they simply cannot trust good people who are doing their best - and they always want to know things that shouldn't be made public, probably for good reason. Maybe there are really good reasons we aren't told a lot of things."

Trust is good. Samuel Johnson said it best - It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.

Not trusting Bush and his neoconservative handlers shows, then, a lack of character. These folks are only trying to protect us and make us safe. Give them the benefit of the doubt. They know what they're doing. Why can't we accept that?

Maybe so. That is one way to look at this all.

The Brit here sees the upshot of this -
To live in America now - at least to live in a port city like Seattle - is to be surrounded by the machinery and rhetoric of covert war, in which everyone must be treated as a potential enemy until they can prove themselves a friend. Surveillance and security devices are everywhere: the spreading epidemic of razor wire, the warnings in public libraries that the FBI can demand to know what books you're borrowing, the Humvee laden with troops in combat fatigues, the Coast Guard gunboats patrolling the bay, the pat-down searches and x-ray machines, the nondescript grey boxes, equipped with radio antennae, that are meant to sniff out pathogens in the air. It's difficult to leave the house now without encountering at least one of these reminders that we are being watched and that we live in deadly peril - though in peril of quite what is hard to say.
The peril? Trust the Bush guys - you REALLY don't want to know.

Well Raban does cover why some of us want to know.
On May 26 - a black day for sallow-skinned grocers and news vendors - the attorney general, John Ashcroft, flanked by FBI director, Robert S Mueller, called a press conference to tell the nation of some "disturbing intelligence" that he'd recently received: preparations for an attack on the mainland US were 90% complete; likely targets included the upcoming G8 summit in Georgia, July 4 celebrations, and the Democratic and Republican conventions in Boston and New York. Al-Qaida intended to "hit America hard". Mueller produced seven mugshots - six were of men of, as they say, Middle Eastern appearance - and told us to keep a sharp lookout for these "armed and dangerous" characters. For a few hours, the country shivered in anticipation of the horror about to descend on it, and phone lines to the FBI were jammed with excited descriptions of neighbourhood news vendors and grocers.
Yeah, I do remember that press conference. I was very impressive.

But then the color-coded alert system remained at yellow - and a few days later we found out Ashcroft's "disturbing new intelligence" was five weeks old and came from a single discredited source - an Islamist propaganda site on the internet "well known to journalists for its daily stream of bloodcurdling boasts." And Ashcroft spoke that day without informing our homeland security mastermind and coordinator Tom Ridge. Ashcroft had blindsided the rest of the administration. His guys had just been surfing the net a bit too much. And one site REALLY scared them.

This didn't help us distrustful types at all - those of us with no character - and it made things worse. It actually increased the conspiracy quotient -
Ashcroft's performance confirmed the suspicion held by many that the Bush administration is in the cynical business of spreading generalised, promiscuous anxiety through the American populace, a sense of imminent but inexact catastrophe, for reasons that may have little to do with national security and much to do with political advantage.

... Obsession with secrecy is a contagion directly transmitted from government to people. Just as the administration now moves in Cheney's arena of shadows, so masses of ordinary Americans are seeing themselves as self-appointed master-spies, keeping watch on their government in the same covert way that the government supposedly keeps watch on al-Qaida. The backyard barbecue sounds like a convention of spooks. "Chatter" has been heard, though its source can't be revealed ... In such talk, Bush, Cheney & co are held to be as scheming, devious and hard to catch as Bin Laden himself.
The zeitgeist is what it is. No one trusts anyone.

Raban says this -
This is an extraordinary moment in American history. Half the country - including all the people I know best - believes it is trembling on the very lip of outright tyranny, while the other half believes that only the Bush administration stands between it and national collapse into atheism, socialism, black helicopters, and gay marriage. November 2 looms as a date of dreadful consequence. A bumper sticker, popular among the sort of people I hang out with, reads: Bush-Cheney '04 - The Last Vote You'll Ever Have To Cast. That's funny, but it belongs to the genre of humour in which the laugh is likely to die in your throat - and none of the people who sport the sticker on their cars are smiling. They are too busy airing conspiracy theories, which may or may not turn out to be theories.
Welcome to our nightmare.

Thanks, George.

Posted by Alan at 11:43 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Wednesday, 21 July 2004 11:46 PDT home

Tuesday, 20 July 2004

Topic: Oddities

Condiments Go to WAR!

This story first hit the wires early in the month and The World's Laziest Journalist has been urging me to mention it. So here it is.

Of course it comes from AFP - l'Agence France-Presse.

What else would you expect?

Republicans dip freedom fries in "W Ketchup", not Heinz
Friday, July 9, 2004 11:54 EDST

The big deal?
WASHINGTON, (AFP) - Americans allergic to the subtle Democratic flavor of Heinz ketchup can now plunge their "freedom fries" into a 100-percent guaranteed, patriotic alternative: "W Ketchup."

"You don't support Democrats. Why should your ketchup?" says the W Ketchup Internet site, which promises a totally US-made condiment, right down to the bottle.

Heinz ketchup is an institution on American dining tables.

But the taste has soured a little for Republicans because Heinz empire heiress Teresa Heinz-Kerry is married to John Kerry, the Democrat hoping to unseat George W. Bush -- also known simply as "W" -- on November 2.

W Ketchup insists its initial stands for Washington, as in first president George Washington, whose face adorns its bottle beneath the Stars and Stripes.

The newcomer makes no attempt to hide its leanings, even sporting a poetic homage to Republican icon Ronald Reagan, who died June 5 at 93, on its Internet site.

"G5s (Gulfstream jets) or GIs? A Tough Choice," W. Ketchup tells prospective customers.

"Choose Heinz and you're supporting Teresa and her husband's Gulfstream Jet, and liberal causes such as Kerry for President," it warns.

... Heinz has 57 varieties, but also 57 foreign factories, it claims. "W Ketchup comes in one flavor: American."
Yeah, yeah.

So who are these people and how's it going?
"We are simply a group of friends who came up with the idea at a barbecue in upstate New York a few months ago. We are all investors," said W Ketchup chief operating officer Susie Oliver.

Thousands of bottles had been sold in the three and a half weeks of business, she said. Orders are taken in batches of four bottles for 12 dollars plus shipping.

Testimonials on the company's Internet site are glowing for the Republican-style ketchup.

"Thank you for giving us a delicious American alternative to the standard Heinz Ketchup. Henry Heinz may have been a great American, but I have absolutely no interest in supporting The Kerry's anti-American causes," wrote "S.S" of Akron, Ohio.
Bully for Akron.

Of course Heinz (the company) says it is non-partisan, stressing that all the Heinz family trusts together hold less than four percent of the stock. And neither Teresa Heinz, nor her husband, have any role in management, it stresses.

This is not an important story, but why not? It did hit Keith Obermann's MSNBC "Countdown" show a week or so ago, in his "Oddball" section. It's been out there. Why pick it up? There may be good reason it's being ignored.

It's just silly. CNN maybe has done covered it, but I'm not sure.

Of course it has been reported as a sidebar in many larger items about Teresa's fortune. This friends-of-the-GOP idea was to boycott Heinz, her late husband's company, but then the conservatives found out almost all of the Heinz political contributions actually go to the GOP. Always have. Oops. It seems it is true Teresa doesn't run Heinz at all - she just owns most of it. So the angry conservatives have dropped that boycott idea.

Of course I could work probably work this all into something longer about the Irishman, Boycott, and how he got his name used so widely, and Heinz - a Pittsburgh company - my hometown. And I was in one of their commercials back in 1964 (Ketchum, McLeod and Grove was the ad agency as I recall). A meditation on Pittsburgh, on Heinz, on Pittsburgh's favorite sons - Gene Kelly, Andy Warhol, Ernest Borgnine, Henry Mancini (from Aliquippa actually, five miles down river). And Perry Como (actually Canonsburg, ten miles south). And Gertrude Stein, born in Allegheny General Hospital, just as I was. We'll see. It all needs to percolate a bit.

No. Who cares?

AFP points out that this ketchup war is only the latest political skirmish to be fought on "the battlegound of American menus." Freedom fries. Yep.

AFP also reminds us that Star Spangled Ice Cream was launched last year as "a conservative alternative" to the Ben and Gerry's, from the lefties Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Dennis Kucinich fans, up there in Vermont. Star Spangled Ice Cream offers "I Hate The French VANILLA (Real American Vanilla, NOT French Vanilla)" and "Nutty Environmentalist (Rich Buttery Ice Cream with Roasted Pecans)."

Geez. Get a life.

Is this all for real? Here is the accompanying AFP wire photo...


Footnote -

If you go to the website of the folks who distribute W Ketchup you see this story actually was everywhere. From their press page some of the highlights -

See -
CNBC's Bullseye
Dylan Ratigan interviews Susie Oliver
Video (2.3 MB, WMV format)
July 14, 2004

AP Video
'W Ketchup' Offers Alternative for Republicans
Video available at Yahoo News
July 13, 2004

Fox News Special Report with Brit Hume
"Conservatives who prefer Freedom Fries to French Fries ... now have a new choice at the dinner table."
View screenshots
July 9, 2004

ABC's Good Morning America
In an on-air taste test between W Ketchup and Heinz, W Ketchup was judged as tasting "more conservative, with a sweeter, more compassionate taste."
July 7, 2004

CNN's American Morning
"Some GOP supporters ... have created an alternative to Heinz ketchup."
June 22, 2004

Radio interview with Southern California's KWAVE 107.9
MP3 format (2.7 MB)
June 21, 2004

Sify News (India)
Americans dip freedom fries in 'W Ketchup'
July 15, 2004

Le Figaro
D?mocrate ou r?publican? A chacun son ketchup

by V?ziane de Vezins
Front Page, July 12, 2004

Kuwait Times
"Americans allergic to the subtle Democratic flavour of Heinz ketchup can now plunge their `freedom fries' into a 100per cent guaranteed, patriotic alternative."
Front Page, July 11, 2004

BBC News
Republicans launch 'W ketchup'
by Oliver Conway
July 10, 2004

ARD Tagesschau (Germany)
Republikanisch korrekte Tomatensauce
July 10, 2004

Sunday Times, South Africa
Ketchup politics amuses the US
by Claire Gallen
July 9, 2004

IBL News (Madrid)
'W Ketchup' para los rep?blicanos, Heinz para los dem?cratas
July 9, 2004 (Switzerland)
Ketchup f?r die Republikaner im US-Wahlkampf
July 9, 2004

SBS World News (Australia)
US Ketchup Delivers Message in a Bottle
July 7, 2004

Le Monde
Un ketchup sauce r?publicaine

July 4, 2004
... and this is followed by ten or twenty US sources for the story, including the Los Angeles Times on July 4th, which I missed. That was a Sunday - production day for Just Above Sunset - so I was too busy to read the actual newspaper that day. I just skimmed it, then Harriet-the-Cat slept on the various sections. She has the proper attitude toward the press.

Footnote Two:

Other French Media

In an email on many topics Ric Erickson in Paris did add this...
Well, let's go back to the Heinz Ketchup story then. It got thirty seconds of France-2 TV-news prime time. (Didn't I write this already?) France-2's Joe in America said the 'W' brand wasn't a big hit with the expat French living between your shores. Or did he say conservatives didn't like it because it doesn't taste like Coke 'Classic?'

Sommat like that.
Yeah, well...

Posted by Alan at 21:24 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 22 July 2004 16:16 PDT home

Topic: Oddities

The winners of this year's Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest are announced...
The results are in from San Jose State University, out here in San Jose, California.

The results of what? The 2004 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, of course.

The San Jose State University Department of English explains here -
An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Although best known for "The Last Days of Pompeii" (1834), which has been made into a movie three times, originating the expression "the pen is mightier than the sword," and phrases like "the great unwashed" and "the almighty dollar," Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel "Paul Clifford" (1830) with the immortal words that the "Peanuts" beagle Snoopy plagiarized for years, "It was a dark and stormy night."
Happens every year.

The grand prize winner this year is a local - Dave Zobel of Manhattan Beach (the first place I live when I moved to California back in 1981 - and fine place it is). Zobel is a forty-two-year-old software developer and former National Spelling Bee contestant - and now the uncontested winner of the 2004 edition of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

He channels Martha Stewart -
She resolved to end the love affair with Ramon tonight . . . summarily, like Martha Stewart ripping the sand vein out of a shrimp's tail . . . though the term "love affair" now struck her as a ridiculous euphemism . . . not unlike "sand vein," which is after all an intestine, not a vein . . . and that tarry substance inside certainly isn't sand . . . and that brought her back to Ramon.
Yes, thoroughly disgusting.

The site above lists lots of the entries - like this from Pamela Patchet Hamilton of Beaconsfield, Quebec. Yes, the runner-up was Canadian.
The notion that they would no longer be a couple dashed Helen's hopes and scrambled her thoughts not unlike the time her sleeve caught the edge of the open egg carton and the contents hit the floor like fragile things hitting cold tiles, more pitiable because they were the expensive organic brown eggs from free-range chickens, and one of them clearly had double yolks entwined in one sac just the way Helen and Richard used to be.
Also disgusting, non?

You could got to the site and check out the Grand Panjandrum's Special Award, won by another Californian, Jeanne Villa -
She sipped her latte gracefully, unaware of the milk foam droplets building on her mustache, which was not the peachy-fine baby fuzz that Nordic girls might have, but a really dense, dark, hirsute lip-lining row of fur common to southern Mediterranean ladies nearing menopause, and winked at the obviously charmed Spaniard at the next table.
Check, please!

The winner of the Adventure Category was Siew-Fong Yiap of Kowloon, Hong Kong and it is odd. There is, of course, a Children's Literature category. And there are the three winners of the category where you actually have to do variations on the "Dark and Stormy" night theme.

1.) "It was a stark and dormy night--the kind of Friday night in the dorm...."

2.) "It was a dark and stormy night--actually not all that dark, but more dusky or maybe cloudy, and to say "stormy" may be overstating things a bit, although the sidewalks were still wettish and smelled of ozone, and, truth be told, characterizing the time as night is a stretch as it was more in the late, late afternoon because I think Oprah was still on. ..."

3.) "It was another dork and Stormy Knight--after snapping the last of his palm dampened dollar bills into the frazzled elastic of her G string...."

You get the idea.

The Detective entries are just as strange, Fantasy Fiction entries confusing, and there are items for Historical Fiction, Fiction for the Erudite and for Purple Prose -
The terrible news had whisked around the becolumned courthouse like a malevolent, stinking zephyr straight from the sewage works, and on the gum-besmirched footpath, the hunch of lawyers cackled and cawed like a group of very large, gowned, wigged, briefcase-clutching crows, or perhaps ravens since they are of course the larger bird and some of these lawyers were fairly sizeable.
That from Georgia Gowing of Largs Bay, South Australia - who doesn't seem to much like lawyers.

The winner for bad writing in the Romance genre was David K. Lynch Topanga, California -
Looking up from his plate of escargots, Sean gazed across the table at Sharon and sadly realized that her bubbly personality now reminded him of the bubbles you get when you put salt on a slug and it squirms around and foams all over the place, and her moist lips were also like the slime on a slug but before you salted it, though after all these years Sharon still smelled better than slugs, but that could have been the garlic butter on her escargots.
One thinks of Paris.

There was also a Science Fiction category and one for "Vile Puns" of course, and for Westerns. And there were the Miscellaneous Dishonorable Mentions - "The day dawned much like any other day, except that the date was different." (from Geoff Blackwell of Bundaberg, Queensland in Australia.)

Of those, my favorite is from Marx Prewett of Dallas -
Sheila walked into the room, flaunting the kind of body that made grown men wish they were teenagers, made teenagers wish they were grown men, made toddlers wish they were preteens, made preteens wish they were young adults, and made everyone wish editors swung blue pencils the same way she swung her hips as she crossed the threshold of both the room and bad taste, her breasts swaying like dual house-trailers on a windy overpass.

The Los Angeles Times covered the event printing a short AP item Tuesday - Martha Stewart Is a Good Thing for Bad Writing Prize - without much detail.

This AP item does point out that the winner, this Dave Zobel of Manhattan Beach, is the author of "Dave Zobel's Bent Book of Boatspeak: How to Sound Like a Sailor and Know Just Enough to Be Dangerous" and is working on a book about children's soccer and obsessive parents.
"I never won and wasn't expecting to this year, but to be honest I'm a little jealous of people who won dishonorable mentions because that title would look better on the resume," he said.

"If I could be assured that my boss weren't reading this, I would dump my day job in a heartbeat to write humor full time."
But he does systems work - a software engineer - so he'll be laid off pretty soon anyway. Then he can write all the humor he wants.

He can write for Just Above Sunset - but for the glory, as we have no budget at all to actually pay our writers.

As for this San Jose State University contest - well, you all have a bit less than a year to work on your entries for the 2005 competition.

Posted by Alan at 16:57 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Topic: World View

Breaking News - More fun and games from Paris!

This just in from Ric Erickson, our correspondent in Paris -


Paris - Tuesday, 20. July 2004 - A pair of hooded bandits entered the Aviation Club de Paris on the Champs-Elys?es this morning, waved some big guns around in a business-like fashion, and walked out with about 80,000 euros in cash.

On the avenue, they appeared to have misplaced the ignition key for their getaway motorcycle, so they used their initiative and hopped aboard a handy delivery truck and made good their escape.

They could have picked a better time to raid the Aviation Club. This gaming club, founded in 1925, was hosting the World Poker Tour and the finale of the Grand Prix de Paris was to have been today. In theory, there were only six players at the tables, taking part in the final hands. Other sources indicate that the day's play doesn't begin before mid-afternoon.

The high-stakes World Poker Tour attracted 205 of the world's top players to Paris late last week. The winner was expected to pick up a pot of 679,000 euros and a seat at the 'grande finale' table with a pot of $25,000.

About half the players were believed to be Americans, and included names such as Gus Hansen, Scotty Nguyen, Daniel Negreanu and David Benyamine, and included local personalities such as Patrick Bruel.

The well-known singer-actor was interviewed on TV-news over the weekend, shortly after being eliminated from the tournament, which he had won in the past. He was, like all good poker players, philosophical.

The story was a leading flash item on Radio France-Info this morning, and has been repeated in the afternoon by Radio FIP. Because of the world-status of the Champs-Elys?es, robberies on it are usually given wide coverage. They often happen in daylight and seem at times as if they were inspired by film scripts. The Aviation Club is located right across the avenue from the film hangout, Fouquet's, at the corner of the avenues George V and the Champs-Elys?es.


Ric Erickson of MetropoleParis on top of the story...


And we have an update -

Received Wednesday, 21 July 2004 12:00:00 GMT
PARIS, July 21 (AFP) - British poker ace Surinder Sunar won the Grand Prix de Paris poker tournament, the French stop on the World Poker Tour that was marred by a daring armed heist, the organization said Wednesday.

The 45-year-old Sunar took home 679,000 euros (835,000 dollars) for his win at the event late Tuesday, which cost competitors 10,000 euros just for a seat at the table.

Players at the chic Aviation Club de France on the Champs-Elysees got a shock early Tuesday when two armed men wearing ski masks forced them to lie on the ground as they made off with 76,000 euros.

No one was injured in the incident.

... Last month, movie star and avid gambler Ben Affleck earned a seat at the World Poker Tour Championship next April in Las Vegas when he won the California State Poker Championships at the Commerce Casino near Los Angeles.
Your intrepid editor once had lunch at the Commerce Casino near Los Angeles. My friend Joy insisted we meet there as it was near her workplace (she's HR Director for a large chemical company, and with her law degree and daily work in the ethics of business, I do wonder why she chose that place). It is an awful place - mediocre food and too much noise, but, then again, really great air-conditioning. The movie star and avid gambler Ben Affleck was nowhere to be seen that day.

... and a stock photo from somewhere or other.

Posted by Alan at 10:24 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Wednesday, 21 July 2004 10:54 PDT home

Newer | Latest | Older