Banned Words

A word for a male part that rhymes with totem appears in the book The Higher Power of Lucky and its appearance has caused a controversy among librarians and schools. I can think of other words or phrases I don’t want my kids to ever see in a book or hear in class.

1. Lockbox
2. Hannity
3. Class, please welcome Mr. Marilyn Manson.
4. President Schwarzenegger
5. My babysitter Paris
6. At the end of the day
7. Incontinence
8. My friend Madonna
9. Florida Marlins
10. Canada

Busy Times

The NASCAR thing has kept me swamped at work, my brother was in town and a pretty big family change is imminent.

International Speedway Corp. of Daytona Beach, Fla. wants to build a NASCAR speedway near us and I’ve been the lead reporter on the issue for paper for more than a year. Through most of 2006 we’ve been following it, but stories would come and go. Now it’s constant while the company tries to get the state to authorize a funding package. I made two trips to Olympia to cover different events. That was a blast and after this weekend I could be back there again.

With that, my brother’s visit and what’s happening probably this weekend, I’ve been too busy to come here. I’ll be back. Within a few weeks I plan to come back on a constant basis. If nothing else, I want to keep posting stories about the News-Press in Santa Barbara, the journalism world’s version of Britney Spears.

The Bald Truth

So since splitting from K-Fed, Britney Spears has been reported partying like a pirate and now going into a salon, grabbing the shears and shaving her own head.

Who would have ever thought that we’d long for the day when Kevin Federline could be a stabilizing influence?

Urine for the Long Haul

You’ve likely heard the story about the talking urinal cakes in New Mexico that tell bar patrons, “Hey, big guy. Having a few drinks? Think you had one too many? Then it’s time to call a cab or call a sober friend for a ride home.” My favorite part is that the message ends, “Remember, your future is in your hand.”

Excuse me for thinking unholy thoughts about what I’m holding in my hand while standing at the urinal.

I can’t wait to hear this conversation: “You know, I thought about driving home, but the urinal makes a pretty solid argument.” I think it’s more likely I’ll hear someone cursing at the cake, telling it to mind its own fornicating business.

Perhaps some credit is due. I mean anything that can communicate calmly while I’m peeing on it deserves my respect.

All that aside, when I first heard this story the voice on the radio was suggesting that the talking urinal cakes would only chat with you if your urine indicated you’d already had too many. I guess that’s not possible.

If such a thing were possible, here are some things I’d like a smart urinal cake to be able to say, either based on the incoming content or randomly.

  • “You must be the designated driver.”
  • “Asparagus, huh?”
  • “You may want to reconsider that shirt.”
  • “Bono was in here about 15 minutes ago. You saw him, right?”
  • “Two words: Less bacon.”
  • “Guy walks into a bar . . . ”
  • “Your friend was just here and told me he was going stiff you on the check.”
  • “So, uh, one more bash until the intervention, eh?”

    How about a urinal cake that gives away the ending to current movies? Or one that broadcasts the game you were watching before you left the bar?

    Surely, America’s most creative minds can come up with the technology.

  • At Last, a Clarification

    Shortly after the election I wrote GOP Hubricide, in which I left some thoughts about how the Republicans did this to themselves. Within the post is this comment:

    Republicans as the majority were worse. If I am jubilant today, it’s because Republicans not only lost, they got their butts kicked. Every party has to have its hat handed to it from time to time just to recognize who is in charge — voters.

    Those sentences have bothered me ever since, especially the last one. I’m just now addressing the matter.

    First off, I can’t say Republicans were more drunk with power than Democrats were when they were in charge. Memory can be selective, 1994 was more than a decade ago and I haven’t done the research to back up my statement. There are far more opportunities to know exactly what’s happening in Congress today than there were a dozen years ago, so it may be infinitely unfair to compare GOP 2006 with Demo 1994.

    On the second issue, it’s not necessarily that I’m happy the GOP lost, it’s knowing that they still can lose. I had seriously begun to doubt whether it was possible. The fears for me were that either America had slid so far to one side, or that the cheating mechanism was so sophisticated that it could virtually guarantee a win eternally. As much as I think ultimately the blame for Gore’s loss in 2000 rests more on his shoulders than anyone else’s, I think there is ample evidence that Bush’s win in Florida in 2000 was an injustice.

    Going into election night there was some doubt whether the House or Senate would shift sides. When it did, it proved that it can. That, to me, was the best news of the night.

    Tag Cloud

    I’ve become fascinated by a toy new to me called tag clouds. It’s where you take a speech and get rid of the common words and highlight the other words that appear frequently. For example, here’s what the Gettysburg Address looks like in a tag cloud:

    created at

    Here’s the tag cloud from Eric D. Snider’s last 10 “Snide Remarks” columns:

    created at

    Here’s the Saturday Night Live spoof debate between George W. Bush and Al Gore from October 7, 2000:

    created at

    I Can Be So Aggregating

    I’ve lacked time and/or commitment to blog. To my adoring fans, please forgive me. Work has been pretty consuming and leaving me little time at home during the darker hours, when I like to do this.

    So, upon my return, I report that I did see “An Inconvenient Truth” this weekend. It’s a well made film. There have been numerous media accounts of the scientists agreeing with Al Gore that the debate is over on whether humans are the cause of the current rise. Then you have a group of scientists saying the report isn’t dire enough. And then again you have someone offering $10,000 to anyone who can debunk those scientists.

    I can’t really add anything to the debate, assuming there should be one.

    On Racism
    Malcolm Gladwell has thoughts on the recent racial rants.

    No Shooting Blanks
    Finally, in Washington there are some people launching an initiative requiring married couples to procreate. They’re making a point, and it only costs $5 to file an application to start an initiative. Then you have to get something like 300,000 signatures, which a’int gonna happen here and no one pretends it will.

    Oh yes, I’ll return.