Saturday Old South Ass Whippin: Sweet Home Edition

This song, and this band, require no introductions. Skynyrd live in Germany in 1974. Today's agenda...tons of booze, and all-day SEC Football. 
 11:00 Auburn at Arkansas
2:30 Alabama at Ole Miss
7:00 Florida at LSU


Justice Cardozo: After 80 years, still a dick

Cardozo is hailed as a model of judicial clarity. However, I'd dare say that anyone who spent three years slogging through lawschool (and, particularly the (in)famous Palsgraf v. Long Island R.R. case), would tend to disagree. Which is why, and I thought it odd to harken back to the Great Depression for this verbiage, the Florida 3rd Court of Appeals approvingly cites Cardozo in a routine appeal from a foreclosure case.

New York Cheif Judge Benjamin Cardozo: Still a dick. Does this look like a man who gives a shit about people losing their homes?

The lower court judge, in granting a 30 day extension for debtors to sale their home prior to foreclosure, noted that these are truly grim economic times, unemployment is rampant, the market is screwed, and she saw no problem granting 30 days for the debtors to try to sell their home. Old Republic Bank appealed seeking "guidance" in the standards for foreclosures. The 3rd Court of Appeals agreed with Old Republic, stating that the law was not a place for "benevolence and compassion", and that they were not legally cognizable grounds. Rather, according to the Court of Appeals, the trial judge abused her discretion because (and citing to Cardozo):

A judge must not “yield to spasmodic sentiment, to vague and unregulated benevolence” and is “not a knight-errant roaming at will in pursuit of his own ideal of beauty or of goodness...He is to draw his inspiration from consecrated principles,”

True that may be, but property courts, and the underlying real property at dispute, tend to be equitable in most jurisdictions. That is, general principles of equity can guide the judge in balancing the interests for the parties. I do not know the particular facts of this case; however, I can state unequivocally (after working for State court judges), that compassion is very much a hallmark of the equitable principles. In fact, the very first equitable maxim that guides such determinationa in real property is "equity abhors a foreclosure". Closely related is "equity delights in equality." It certainly seems that the judge here was trying to obviate the need for a foreclosure, and get the bank equitably situated (if possible) by a debtor-work out. That's not wholly compassionate, it's friggin equitable. Story here.

Friday Sardonic Smiles: Cure Edition

Enjoy Robert Smith happy for a change: Friday (I'm in love with you)


Mascot fights

Normally, I think it's sillier to wear a 20 pound head made of composite plastics and fabric, bounce around like a spastic, then performing mock fights. However, when Mascots fight, we all win.

The Scene: Burney in the Premier League

 The Result: Bertie Bee kicks a streaker's ass, raises his arms in triumph, then does the worm in celebration

The Scene: College Football Game between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Michigan State Spartans.
The Result: Bucky the Badger steals the Michigan State flag, and Spartie owns his ass...

The Scene: College Basketball Game between Utah State and New Mexico State.
The Result: Big Blue vs. Pistol Pete...Pete's shit is pretty weak...it looks like he's trying to hug him, not fight him...then he runs away.

The Scene: College Football Game between the Oregon Ducks and the Washington State Cougars
The Result: The Coug doesn't really want any of this, but the Duck is pissed and pretty much punks the Coug.

The Scene: Two D-IAA schools...appears to be a Bear and a Bird
The Result: The Bear seems to get the better of it, but when the Bird momentarily triumphs, he gets owned (at the :44 mark)

The Scene: James Madison (Duke Dog) Football Game vs. Coastal Carolina
The Result: The Chicken pwns Duke, twice. The cops have to break it up, and escort the Chicken off the field. Duke follows along, but warily...it is clear he doesn't want anymore of the chicken.

Today's Hot Nerd: Tank Girl (real and imagined)

She would kick your ass

In the spirit of Grrrrrrl Power, I give you Tank Girl, the balls out, drug abusing, cyber-punk, lesbian Rosie-the-Riveter on crystal meth.

Tank Girl doesn't give a shit if I think she's hot...your sister, on the other hand.

I prefer my ladies a bit softer than Tank Girl, but she has undoubtedly inspired a generation of decidedly-not-weak feminists (lesbian and otherwise), so that's got to be worth a good bit...unless you're the one getting your ass kicked.

All rock, no cock...Tank Girl motto. And, fellas, can you stop gawking quite so awkwardly?


Yes, she's hot. No, she doesn't like boys.

Wednesday Impending Blizzard: NOFX Edition

It's true, the only thing to do in Minnesota is drink the winter away.

Not sure if you heard, but there was a friggin' blizzard that came storming out of the Rockies, and pummeled the Dakotas, Colorado and parts of Nebraska, with more on the way this weekend. Ummmm, it's the FIRST WEEK OF OCTOBER! Which, even by the crappy standards up here, is waaaay too early for snow. NOFX has the right idea...just drink your blizzard away.


Real life blog changes and Random YouTube

It is with sadness that I announce a few changes: First, one of my all-time favorite blogs, Babes with Books, is sadly no more. Along with the now-departed MZone, I think I should retire them from my links. Also, the excellent Ole' Miss blog, Red Solo Cup, changed its name, and the link should reflect that it is now the Red Cup Rebellion (www.redcuprebellion.com), part of the Sports Blog Nation (SBN).

Finally, G! has changed the formatting for their blogs, which has completely thrown my mod'd template out of whack. This means that this Sunday (with a massive hangover after celebrating another Alabama ass-kicking of Ole Miss), that I will be working away feverishly to correct the XML. I'll probably be doing something with the fonts as well...I despise san serif.

On tap over the upcoming week I hope to finish:
1. Things Republicans have done right
2. Post some interesting information on my quasi-domesticated black squirrel
3. Recap some liability issues re: Tim Tebow and Concussion-gate, which I believe is the lost factor in all of the brouhaha.
4. Bring back the hot nerds (and goth chicks, natch)
5. Preview a couple more Countries That Are Fucked (one day, America, it will be your turn, for the nonce Poland and some country ending with -uay are on the list).
6. Whatever YouTube I feel like listening to when I wake up, and
7. Whatever else tickles my fancy.

Now, because life is completely random...I present a drunken squirrel

Don't laugh; you've been here before.

Sacre Bleu! Ronald Storms the Louvre, and I'm Fucking Pissed.

Normally, when visitors enter Paris' Louvre, unquestionably the finest museum in the world, they are greeted with the awe-inspiring sculpture from antiquity...Nike, or the Winged Victory of Samothrace

Every year, 8 million people enter the Louvre and are floored by this...
The Winged Victory at the Louvre is not a replica, it is the original 3rd Centurey BCE sculpture from Greece, carved and erected at the Monument of Zeus around 203 BCE. The work was commissioned by the Macedonian King Demetrius I Poliorcetes to venerate the Battle of Cos, where the Macedonians defended Rhodes against the onslaught of King Ptolemy II of Egypt: Once again ensuring that the light of Western Civilization, of free men and free minds, was preserved for another generation against barbarism and lords, and the rule of might.

That light just got a bit dimmer.

Now, the eight million yearly visitors to the Louvre will not purchase their tickets and be awed by the 11 foot, 3/4 ton slab of ornate marble. Instead, visitors will pay their Euros, eagerly queue up, finally make their way through the doors, into the antechamber, and be greeted by this....

Over 8 billion served

That's right. France's 1,135th McDonald's franchise will be an open air eatery at the Louvre ticketing gate. As the London Telegraph reports

The fast-food joint will be installed next to the site of a planned new ticketing area, meaning that soon the first sight the Louvre's 8 million annual visitors will encounter won't be the "Winged Victory of Samothrace" but the Golden Arches of Oak Brook, Ill.

Your Country is Fucked: Finland (and Montana!)

Finland is the appendix of the Baltic: Is it vestigial? Part of Sweden? Russia? Does it still have a purpose? Or is it just the Montana of Eurasia?

Tervetuloa Suomi, or, Welcome to Finland. This is the 8th largest geographic country in Europe. With an area the size of Montana, it is home to a mere 5.3 million people. Five million people have a hard time making the economic engine purr, so, as you'd expect, it is still a heavily agrarian economy, with herd animals, self-sufficiency farming and ore production augmenting the cell phone exports all Scandinavian countries excel in. In many respects, then, it is like Montana...sparsely populated, small economy, barren landscape, and really, really cold.

Ahhh, spring fever in Helsinki.

Finland is one of the more nondescript (but truly interesting) of European nations, and there is some sincere doubt as to whether it is truly European at all. First, its ethnography is a bit dodgy: From the 1100s to the 1700s, it was a sole part of Sweden, and Swedish is still spoken here as a second language. But, digging a bit deeper, you find the Lapps or Sami people, the famous reindeer herdsmen that form the largest Finnish minority group...and they are nothing at all like Europeans: They more closely resemble ethnic Tatars in Russia, and were the original Finns.

A: Contestant, the answer is 'Not European'. Q: What is 'Nominally Caucasian people in a teepee,' Alex? A: Correct.

This identity crisis is reflected by several historical facts. Besides the aforementioned annexation by Sweden, there is the continual stake to the region that Russia claims over Finland. And, the linguistics would bear their claim out: The Finns (going all the way back to Tacitus and the Fenni peoples), speak an Urgic language. Only Estonia, Finland and North Asiatic nomads (such as the Samoyed) speak this Siberian Plain offshoot...it has no other counterpart in the world, much less Europe.

Hey Finns, you know who else liked teepees? The Northern Plains tribes in Montana.

Second, almost nothing is known about Finland until the 12th Century besides a few scattered facts: It was settled much later than the rest of Europe (8500 CE), developed writing much later (12th Century CE), and did not engage in the 8th-10th century European raids that the Swedes, Norse and Danes were famed for. They did not go-a-viking. Rather, the Finns minded their crops, and tried to scratch a living out of the permafrost that covers 70% of the landmass...It's as if Europe moved on, and Finland remained trapped in the prehistorical era.

Eastern Montana: Also cold, agragrian, desolate, and stuck in the Dark Ages...not that different from most of Finland's history.

Of course, the great wheel of time goes a-spinning, and even the Midwest of Eurasia was bound to change; that holds true for Finland. The nation was "annexed" by the Czar of Russia in the 18th Century, and remained part of that Kingdom until the early 20th Century, when the Finnish Wars of Independence took root during the global upheavals of 1917-1920. Finland gained its independence, but had to constantly fight off the Russians. Perhaps you've heard of the Winter War?

With the world teetering on the edge of destruction in 1939, the Finns and Russians still found time to duke it out on the frozen plains. Wouldn't you all rather just be having some hot cocoa?

The Finns having gained their independence, now have a fully autonomous, if not wary, State. But all is not fun and games in Reindeer land. The economy has not exactly fostered in a 21st century world: In fact, the outlook is pretty grim. Finland is 25th in public debt, 32nd in oil import debt, has a .4% production rate, is transitioning toa service-based market, and debt accounts for over 40% of the Finnish GDP. Second, there are smatterings of demand for the lost region of Karelia, which Russia won in the Winter War. No wonder Finland has compulsory military service and has a standing army of roughly 1/5th of the population. 

Besides that, Finland doesn't really bother anyone, and most people leave Finland alone. Today, when most people think of Finland, they think of one thing: Its beautiful capital, Helsinki, and the role that city played in hosting the 1975 negotiations between the old monliths of the East and Western Bloc nations. But, all in all, like Montana, Finland is fucked, but not as much as you'd think...it is fucked only to the extent that it is forgotten.In fact, Finland is the least fucked country I've summarized yet, and, as a reward, I present a random hot Finn...

Helsinki women > Montana women

Tuesday Thrashin': Viking Pillage Edition

Normally I think that Amon Amarth kinda' blows, but this song does rock. Pursuit of Vikings. I don't think it puts them in the Falkenbach/Finntroll school of truly dominant Nordic-Pagan Folk Metal, but it is awesome to crank up and get your blood flowing.

And, relatedly, take a look at this map: if your family hails from any of these places, then you likely owe the Norsemen a tip o' the cap and a tilt o' the drinking horn.


Trifecta of Suck: I dare you

This is the trifecta of suck: Yesterday, on the way back from Lauritzen Gardens for the Japanese Autumn Ambience Festival, I spotted a sign advertising a rockin' Hallo'eve event...I call it, the trifecta of suck. 
This is a simple recipe that takes one part distinctly pagan Autumn/Harvest festival and remembrance party for the dead:

Pic via Sea of Shadows blog

Adds ONE PART: "on ice"(...e.g., the traditional stomping ground for has-beens of skating):

That's not exactly sticking the landing, yo.

Just a dollop of Nancy Kerrigan:

Whyyyyy? Whyyyyy? My thoughts exactly, Nancy.

Then, for your listening displeasure, sprinkle the odious Mannheim Steamroller all over it:

This is how bad it is: Mannheim Steamroller is on the cover of AARP's mag this month...and that is sadly true.

Let simmer in a two hour cauldron of fail, then remove one steaming poppin'-fresh turd blossom known as the "Omaha: Mannheim Steamroller Presents: Nancy Kerrigan's Halloween on Ice"

Some things defy description.

Your Country is Fucked: Japan

Meet the original House of the Rising Sun

Welcome to Japan, Nippon-Koku, the "Land of Sun's Origin", hence, the Land of the Rising Sun. This archipelago of over 6000 islands, has a population of roughly a 130 million people all wedged into a total land mass the size of Montana.

And you thought your city was crowded

This is one of the oldest continuously populated regions in the world, with early civilizations stretching back 30,000 years, and modern settlements in existence for the past 15,000. So, like most eastern societies, Japan takes the long view on life (unlike the West where we think our 230 year old constitution is big shit). 

 This tree is older than the British Monarchy, four times older than the U.S. Constitution, as old as Christianity and yet is still only 1/5th as young as China.
Also, like China, Japan went through several fractured manarchies, until unification in 740, with the Nara state. However, it is under the shogunate and feudal era, which began in 1185 for which Japan's history is best known, and the rise of the Samurai. For almost four hundred years, Samurai raided into China and Korea until Eurpoeans discovered the Pacific Gem.

Samurai > Ninja
After another two hundred years of trade, the Japanese went into seclusion...until America's Comodore Perry literally forced Japan to open its doors to Americans and American trade in 1854 (can't imagine why that would have pissed them off). The rest thereafter you know, hereditary divine kings, continual raids into China and Korea, Pearl Harbor, Midway, WWII, and all of that messiness culminating in an abominable war crime.

This is what you would have seen had you been sitting on your Nagasaki terrace, having tea, on August 9th 1945. It would have been the last thing you saw before you were evaporated in heat three times the temperature of the sun's surface. They were actually the lucky ones. Sidenote: WTF? Did we really do this?

But, bygones being bygones and such, Japan has emerged as an ally of Western democracies, and invaluable trade partner. However, it should be noted, that by "partner" we really mean passive-agressive nemesis with far greater educational and manufacturing supremacy than fat, lazy europeans and americans. Today, Japan has a complex representative democracy, and they will gladly take your money, but don't even think about moving there: You really aren't wanted, I promise.

 Thank you for visiting, shouldn't you really be pissing off now?

Also, much is made of the pacifist constitution forced on Japan; however, "pacifist" in this context" is similar to "trade partner", as Japan has a standing army of just under 300,000 people with another 22 million available for immediate call-up if needed for peace-keeping. And, as is well-known, the most powerful arsenal in Japan's military is their mecha-men, cyborgs, conjoined robots, and other battle-bots.

The Japanese will see your Navy SEALS and raise you a Voltron

Alas, it's not all fun and games in Japan these days: The Pacific Rim bubble and Tech bubble crashes of '98 and '99 really did a number on the Japanese economy. Also, as you would expect for a nation with almost no natural resources, they are heavily dependent on outside trade for the valuable goods to make their economy (2nd most productive, 3rd largest) really hum. Of greater importance is that Japan, normally a rice-heavy society, has begun to import great quantities of food, with almost 60% of their food now being imported. A potential Malthusian nightmare awaits. Finally, Japan still hunts whales for purely social reasons, and nothing can get them to realize the ecological damage that they are doing, and that makes this facet of their society fucked.

Monday Metal: Nippon Edition

Head Phones President - "Nowhere"
Meet Head Phones President: Japan's answer to Korn and Evanescence all rolled into one. Not bad...not bad at all, especially when it gets riffy. It doesn't hurt that she is extremely pretty.