Bob Owen

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

An AP photo of a burning "Humvee." Well, it's not a 300mm pistol. But it's certainly not a Humvee, either. A quick Google search comes up with this vehicle: HEMTT.

I love reading Professor Bunyip's blog. Here's a beautiful sample:

Anyone who works on the theory that you get what you pay for can't be too surprised by Blogger's recent problems. They've driven Tim Blair to a new home and tempted the Professor to follow suit. Unfortunately, despite donning a pair of elephantine trousers, borrowing a back-the-front baseball cap from young Master Bunyip, and addressing his computer his "dude", all that slash-dot-font-template stuff at Moveable Type was incomprensible when the Professor logged on early in the evening. It was even moreso after a bottle of red, several ports, an Irish coffee, a few more ports and, ill-advisedly, a long telephone conversation with Mrs. Bunyip's youngest brother, the clan's purported expert in matters cyber. The only wisdom gleaned from that exchange: An intoxicated academic should not expect sound counsel from a red-eyed young fellow whose explanations are punctuated by the background bubbling of a bong.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Minnesota recently passed a law allowing just about anyone to carry a firearm. The law says business can ban weapons at their establishments but cannot ban weapons from the parking lots (ostensibly so people have a place to secure weapons if the business prohibits them in the building).

This applies to churches as well.

At least one local church is bent out shape. Its leadership wants to also ban weapons from the parking lot. Simply asking the congregation isn’t enough.

Here’s how I picture it at my church if it goes this route.

Priest: “Hey folks, please don’t bring guns to church. Please leave them at home and not in your car when you come here. It’s just something we prefer not to have here.”

Parishioners (out loud): “I supposed we could do that. In fact, there probably aren’t even three of us in the whole church who have permits to carry.”

Parishioners (silently): “And even if I did who (besides You Know Who) would even know? They’re not searching cars as we arrive on Sunday. And I haven’t seen any press release about an 11th commandment.”

However, that’s not enough for some people. Yep – one local church has already filed a lawsuit challenging the law. It’s about the state infringing upon religious freedom, the lawsuit claims.

And Iraq was all about Bush’s blood lust for oil.

It won’t be long before others try to enforce their own views about gun control.

Why, for example, my sister has implemented a new rule at her house. She destroys all weapons she finds. Even if makes a young boy cry. Oh sure, she claims it’s about discipline and teaching lessons and crap like that.

Lucky for her a mom doesn’t have to sue anyone to enforce arbitrary, capricious “laws” in her own household.

I have an idea of something my nephew might like for a birthday present this year.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Also via Treacher, this site: Jim's Journal. This brings back some fond memories when I'd read about Jim in the Daily Cardinal. Or was it the Badger Herald?

My kid won't like this: Euthanizing Garfield? (Not that I disagree with the idea, of course.)

Baseball team pictures last night. Two lines, two photographers, two teams at a time. Twice the fun! Twice the bedlam.

My son was doing his best to be most chaotic of all. We were in a high school lunchroom. He found it interesting that he could, while I wasn't looking, make it from one end of the large room to the other -- without touching the floor. He walked on table and chairs or scooted along on his behind. (Note to the kids at Jefferson high school: I wouldn't eat any food that falls off your trays today.)

The electrons were buzzing furiously. Parents were doing their best to reign in the players. Then there was a crash, a flash and... silence. At the front of one line the photographer had stepped away and the first two boys were horsing around. They struck the tripod holding one of the cameras. It fell over in slow motion. The boys did nothing but watch. As the camera stuck the floor it snapped a picture, setting off those umbrella-like flash units.

My son was wearing a red jersey. Number 13. The two guilty youths were wearing blue jerseys. Whew. See ya. Bye.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

This game brought to you by…

Last night my younger son’s mite baseball team won its first game, 19-9. He batted one for three. The run he scored made him walk a little taller. All the kids on his team got a little big for their breeches.

Speaking of breeches… Most of players wear baseball pants. White or light gray. Thin. Slightly transparent.

Each of these youngsters, now with a few runs up on the other team, swaggered to the plate. I expected to see them spit tobacco; they were so confident and grown up, what with being ahead by a few runs, you know. They scratched their cleats in the dirt and took practice swings. They crouched. And the fans got to see Superman logos, Star Wars designs, Batman and a picture of Pikachu appearing from beneath uniform pants.

None of us realized our kids have sponsors. On their underwear!

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Harvey Mackay, in his weekly column in the Star Tribune's business section (no link available yet), has a quote from Kemmons Wilson. Wilson is the founder of Holiday Inn. He was, judging by all the Holiday Inns dotting the landscape, quite successful. In Mackay's book, this makes him A number One.

Wilson, who never graduated from high school, was invited by his high school to give the commencement address:

"I really don't know why I'm here. I never got a diploma, and I've only worked half-days my entire life. I guess my advice to you is to do the same. Work half-days every day. And it doesn't matter which half -- the first 12 hours or the second 12 hours."
Is that something to be proud of? Mackay writes of meeting Wilson's son. Did the son mention what it was like growing up without a father around? Did the elder Wilson attend any of his son's baseball games? School programs? Family Picnics? Well, he did say it doesn't matter which twelve hours you work. Do you think Kemmons worked all night so he could visit with his family during the daylight hours?

I've stayed at Holiday Inns. Clean. Affordable. Kids stay free. Yep, my kids were with me. I guess I owe Kemmons Wilson a little thanks. Oh, if you're looking for me this evening I'll be at my son's baseball practice. I'll spend some time watching him play and then I'll spend some time on the nearby playground with my other son.

Friday afternoon you might not be able to reach me at the office. I have a different definition of working half days.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Erica Bouza, protester and wife of former Minneapolis police chief Tony Bouza (the same Tony Bouza who once denied Minneapolis had a gang problem) weighs in on gun violence in Minnesota.

Last Friday after a pleasant lunch I was able to get my entertainment on Lake Street: a shootout.
Odd. Wouldn't most people find a shootout terrifying?
It was just like the cowboy movies of my youth.
Horses on Lake Street! Where?
I had a perfect view: A young man running down the middle of the street fired three shots into a passing car. I was crouched in a doorway 10 feet away hoping I did not interest him.
Don't worry. The shooter wasn't a Star Tribune letter editor so I'm sure he had no interest in you at all.
Had I owned and carried my own gun I could have shot at any of the bystanders who were as frozen with fear as I was.
You would have fired at the innocent bystanders? Such depravity. Someone who had a conceal carry permit might have fired on the gunman to end the shootout. Or are you telling us the anti-gun lobby so intent on proving the legislators wrong that they're willing to commit gun crimes themselves?
So a vote of thanks to the National Rifle Association, the Legislature and Gov. Tim Pawlenty for passing the concealed-weapons bill.
Last I checked, the NRA can’t vote for (or against) legislation in the state of Minnesota.
Starting May 28 I should have ample opportunities, with the proliferation of handguns, to witness additional shootouts -- perhaps even in my own back yard, which will save me having to leave my own neighborhood.
Only as long as there are innocent bystanders in your backyard. Judging by your earlier statement, that's whom you'd shoot at, right?
Or perhaps I will just move back to New York.
One can only hope.

Friday, May 09, 2003

The national pastime. (Sigh.)

This year my sons’ baseball practices are 90 minutes instead of the hour I had braced myself for.

Rush home from work so we have time to eat and complete homework (homework done after a long practice is homework the dog should have eaten).

Rush to find baseball equipment. Six- and eight-year-old boys are genetically programmed to lose mitts, mislay cleats and hide jerseys after each use. I’m thinking about some sort of deposit system. I’ll hold hostage all the PlayStation games and GameBoy cartridges. Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards will also be my captives. Release will be conditional on properly stored athletic equipment.

Can’t find your jersey? Then you won’t mind if I use the PS2 for a bookend. Oh, you found your jersey already?

Want to know how to piss off a six-year-old? Repeatedly refer to Yu-Gi-Oh cards as “You-Go-Guy” cards. Not only does my boy not find humor in this, he thinks his father is just so lame for laughing at this “joke.”

I’m chuckling right now.

This year the local athletic league decided that even kids in the mite league must wear protective cups. Properly referred to as “nut-cups” in first graders’ vernacular, their function is two-fold: protect and amuse.

There’s a new sound on the old ball field. You have the traditional(?) ping of aluminum bats, the smack of baseballs caught in leather mitts and now the sound of little knuckles rapping on armored groins.

When we get home, this object will surely be misplaced. I don’t need for the boys to have a PlayStation; consequently, it will never be lost. The kids aren’t allowed on the diamond without a cup.

I’d better leave work early so we have more time to look.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

After Lileks ripped on some talk radio callers (I don't disagree with him) my sister commented on this and Soucheray.

I also listen to a lot of local talk radio. Garage Logic(tm) is a very popular afternoon show here, but I would never call in because the host, Joe Soucheray, always sounds like a jerk to his callers. Every time he answers a call he sounds annoyed, as if the worst part of his job was dealing with the morons who want to agree with him on some particular point. Soucheray is entertaining on his own (his sidekick, The Rookie...yawn) but I change the station when he's taking calls because it's almost painful to listen to him snip at people as they thank him for taking their call.
I agree. I enjoy the show but dislike listening to Joe take calls almost as much as I dislike the callers. You know what guys? Soucheray gets off when you call and start your Harley for him but over the airwaves, they all sound the same: awful.

As much as I enjoy some of his rants I'm glad I've never met Soucheray. I'm pretty sure I'd detest him in person.

(Reuters) - First Sheryl Crow had to go. Then Barbie's pregnant friend was shunned. Now, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. the world's biggest retailer, is axing three men's magazines known for cover photos of scantily-clad models.

Wal-Mart has pulled Maxim and Stuff magazines, published by Dennis Publishing, and Emap Metro LLC's FHM magazine from its shelves, saying some customers were uncomfortable with their covers.
What about Cosmo and Vogue? They don't have much in the way of "covers" either.

Check date on wall calendar: May 7. My watch is displaying 5-07. Float my cursor over my PC clock and it tells me today is Wednesday, May 07, 2003. Not one of them is trying to tell me it's April 1st.

So explain this.

It's not even an old graphic because the caption on the photograph reads May 6.

Still trying to think of a joke about all the crap on the internet.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Mitch Berg has a delightful fisking of Laura Billings of the Pioneer Press. Her editor should be required to read it. Here's my favorite point:

(Billings) -- Well, now that we've joined the 34 other states that have had this sort of legislation ramrodded through their legislatures by NRA lobbyists, the organizations and officials forced to deal with the law's implications can't help noticing it has some rather unnerving holes in it.

(Berg) -- "Ramrodded through legislatures?" As if the 35 legislatures that have adopted these laws don't have any minds of their own?

Is that Ms. Billings' position? If they're that stupid, why are they voting on taxes, either?
The rest is just as good.

Last night was the start of the baseball season. Twins and Yankees? No. Six and seven-year-old kids. The Raiders. You've heard of them, no?

Get home from work. Take son to practice. Notice there was no mention of dinner between those two events.

Conditions: 50 degrees, wet with dark, heavy clouds hanging low over the field. The Northwest jets on approach to MSP probably had a hard time breaking through. All this after two days of rain.

Mudville - Yes. Joy? Call me Casey.

The eight and nine-year old kids start tonight. My other son is in that league. The good news is that we won't start until 7:00 PM which give me time to eat dinner. The bad news is that the weather gets and extra 90 minutes to get colder and wetter and the clouds have time to curdle. I defy anyone at the field to figure out when the sun actually sets.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Right arm: gone. Balls: huge.

(Aspen Times) Aspen resident Aron Ralston amputated his right arm below the elbow with a pocketknife yesterday in order to free himself from an 800-pound boulder that had him pinned down since last Saturday in a remote slot canyon of Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Ralston, 27, an accomplished mountaineer, fashioned a tourniquet on the arm and then rigged a 60-foot rappel down a cliff face to begin the hike back to civilization.

Tim Blair today:

IN MADISON, Wisconsin, a Daniel Pipes lecture attracts the usual anti-freedom screech bunnies. How he puts up with this, I have no idea.
Madison is my alma mater. Click on the "Pipes" link for to see a few photos of Memorial Union (a place where I worked for a bit during college).

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Frank has all you need to know about SARS right here.

A little treasure from the editorial staff at my local newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Finding it funny that anti-spam software would be solicited via, you guessed it, a spam e-mail. The editorial staff has this comment:

How outrageous: a cynical attempt to sell a cure that only makes the disease worse. You hardly ever see that, outside of concealed-carry laws.
Minnesota's recently passed concealed carry law hasn't even gone into effect yet but the Strib staff already knows the carnage that lies ahead when licensed gun owners are free to roam.

It will be interesting a year from now if the editorial staff can write "We told you so! We told you so!" next to a story showing that licensed gun owners have actually killed more people can committed more crimes than the current group of non-licensed gun carriers.

It's always funny when someone writes to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and complains that that liberal newspaper is too conservative, pro big business, etc. Why, here's one now.

I am very disappointed in the Star Tribune's Saturday editorial supporting a study of whether phosphorus should be removed from dishwashing detergent.

First, the best, most economical solution to pollution is prevention. If we accept that phosphorus, in concentrations too high to be handled by the natural systems, is a pollutant, then it only makes sense to remove it from products that do not need it. Prevention is what is being proposed in the bill removing phosphorus from dishwashing detergent. If phosphorus is not in the products we purchase it won't get in the environment in quantities large enough to be a pollutant.
Boom. Shoots herself in the foot in the second paragraph. Why, whoever needs a study when you can "accept" the "facts" you prefer.