August 31, 2005

Why Yes, I Do Like Napoleon Dynamite

Ryan says: Do the chickens have large talons?

Ryan says: It's the eternal question.

Caroline says: Yes. Yes it is.

Ryan says: What is the sound of one hand clapping? If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Do the chickens have large talons?

Posted by Ryan at 03:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rambling Rhodes Blog Economy Recovers Slightly

Moderately-read personal Web page sees readership increase

Rochester, Minn. (Rhodes Media Services) -- Following a dip in blog readership last month, which some analysts predicted marked the beginning of the end of Rambling Rhodes, the online Web log confounded the experts yet again but showing a slight bump up for the month of August.

At press time today, Rambling Rhodes was showing nearly 2,000 more visitors in August over July, and almost 1,000 more over its previous peak set in June.


Records provided by Rambling Rhodes officials indicated that viewership continued to be largely driven by Google searches for pictures of Daisy Fuentes and permutations on "exposed+thongs."

"I'll be honest, last month's numbers scared us a bit," said said Ryan Rhodes, Rambling Rhodes CEO/president/marketing director/promoter/spokesman/ink cartridge replacer/porn surfer/toilet cleaning guy. "So, we made some changes. For example, we replaced CEO Ryan Rhodes with new CEO Ryan Rhodes, a change that sparked considerable activity within the Rambling Rhodes organization. Ryan brought a much-needed spark to a staff that had become lax and somewhat indifferent."

Analysts remained skeptical, saying that a one-month spike doesn't necessarily mean that Rambling Rhodes is out of the woods, and that the staff shouldn't rest on its laurels, as well as citing several other worn out metaphors.

"Well, they definitely shouldn't jump the gun," said Anthony Feldman, an investor for Smith-Barney. "They can pat themselves on the back, for sure, and they can even stop to smell the roses, but they shouldn't let the cat out of the bag, or open a can of worms."

Posted by Ryan at 10:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 30, 2005

How The Crappy Columnist Stole The Fair

Every Minne
Down in Sota
Liked the State Fair a lot...

But the Nick,
Who lived just North of Sota,
Did NOT!

The Nick hated the State Fair!
The whole State Fair season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that his head wasn't screwed on quite right.
It could be, perhaps, that he's just not all that bright.
Yes, I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his brain is two sizes too small.

We're quite sure the reason,
Is that his brain is just skinny,
So he stood there at the Fair, hating the Minnes,
Staring down from his glasses with a sour, Nick frown
At the warm lighted vendors selling food in their town.
For he knew every Minne at the Minne-Sota State Fair
Was busy now, eating junk food with nary a care.

"And they're riding on rides!" he snarled with a sneer.
"This can't end fast enough! I hate this time of year!"
Then he growled, with his Nick fingers nervously typing,
"I MUST find a way to keep continually griping!"
For, this week, he knew...

...All the Minne girls and Minne boys
Would walk down Dan Patch Avenue with unforgivable poise!
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!

Then the Minnes, young and old, would walk around and just feast.
And they'd feast! And they'd feast!
They would start on Pronto Pups, and food insanely greased.
Which was something the Nick couldn't stand in the least!

They'd do something he liked least of all!
Every Minne down in Minne-Sota, the tall and the small,
Would stand close together, with radio broadcasts a'playing.
And he just couldn't stand what conservatives would be saying!

They'd talk! And they'd talk!
And the more the Nick thought of the Minne-neocon talk,
The more the Nick thought, "I must stop those war hawks!
"Why for too many years I've put up with it now!
I MUST stop the State Fair radio broadcasts!
...But HOW?"

Then he got an idea!
An awful idea!

"I know just what to do!" The Nick laughed quite out loud.
"I'll make a quick call to my old Air America crowd!"
And he chuckled, and clucked, like he had swallowed some hair!
"I'll plead with Al Franken to put me back on the air!"

"All I need is some talent..."
The Nick looked around.
But since his talent is scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the old Nick...?
No! The Nick simply said,
"If I can't find any talent, I'll fake it instead!"
So he turned on his karaoke machine, and he plugged in a mike.
Radio, he reasoned, is easy, it's like riding a bike.

He picked up the phone
And got through right away.
Because there are only about three AA callers
On any one given day.

Then the Nick said, "Hello!"
To the person who answered.
And they quickly hung up
Because Nick's radio cancer.

Undeterred, the Nick, he hatched a new plan.
He'd appeal to his reader, his single solitary fan.
Together with Eva Young, they'd storm the fairgrounds.
And fill up the airwaves with their own nonsensical sounds.

Strapping his karaoke machine to his back, and with Eva in tow,
Nick was determined to spread his cynical glow.
"I'm nobody's monkey!" crowed Nick to no one.
"And I forgot 40 years ago what it means to have fun!"

Once at the State Fair, the Nick turned on his karaoke machine,
And he proceeded to shriek, not unlike Howard Dean.
"Bloggers are evil!" the Nick started off.
"The Power Line guys have small manhoods, and so does the Prof!"

The Minne's stared in wonder at the Nick and Eva show,
But they were all in agreement that they pretty much blow.
Yet the Nick wouldn't stop. No, he continued to rant,
Until he was blue in the face, and he started to pant.

"Stop having fun!" gasped the Nick in frustration.
"Don't you know there are poor people being poor in this nation?"
"You should all feel guilty! You should feel as guilty as me!"
"And we should all spread massive guilt, and spread it for free!"

Still Nick continued, despite all the ignoring
And all the shouts from the crowd saying "My God you're boring!"
You see, the Nick was determined to bring every Minne down,
Even though it was obvious he was just a cynical clown.

Finally the Nick started to have an effect,
As the Minnes good times he gradually wrecked.
Yes, those in range of his broadcast found their moods slowly sour,
And the Nick smiled weakly at his joy-killing power.

Thus it was in a radius of about one city block,
The State Fair was stolen by the Nick's boring talk.
Mini doughnuts weren't bought, and rides sat unridden.
And all fun, according to the Nick, was strictly forbidden.

"Success!" thought the Nick, in his tiny small head.
"One eighth of the Fair is basically dead!"
"This is the world as I want it, morose and gloomy."
"Exactly the effect I had on my old college roomy."

Suddenly, the batteries failed in the Nick's karaoke machine,
And the effect on the crowd was like a jolt of caffeine.
The fun crept back in to the Nick's sphere of gloom,
Like a breeze airing out a musty old room.

For the Nick this was the worst thing, the worstest thing ever.
The worstest thing to happen to him in nearly forever.
With his spirit thus broken, the Nick slithered away,
And Eva Young followed, in total dismay.

In the distance the Fair continued its fun celebration,
Much to the Nick's total and complete consternation.
"Next year I'll bring more batteries!" he yelled, shaking his fist.
He then went back home, where he's still sitting there, pissed.

Posted by Ryan at 04:43 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Oh, Hello.

Sorry folks, I was out yesterday and over the weekend. I'm swamped right now, so I can't post, but I will share this Google search that landed somebody on my blog:


Dude, it's because she's CHEATING ON YOU, dumbass.

Posted by Ryan at 10:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 26, 2005

Jerkin' McGurkin


Posted by Ryan at 11:55 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 25, 2005

My Rolling Stones Experience

As many of you no doubt already know, the Rolling Stones are back on tour. This is incredibly important news, because most people generally believe that the Rolling Stones are, in fact, already dead. They're not dead, of course, although, upon inspection, they look considerably close to death, like second cousins or something.

But, they're not dead! They're on tour! And because I, Ryan Rhodes, happened to be in Boston this week, I had the opportunity to actually see the Rolling Stones in concert for the probably the last time in the their short remaining lives.

Okay, I didn't actually see the Stones in concert. It's more accurate to say that I walked down to Fenway Stadium, where the Stones were playing, and I then walked around the facility several times in an attempt to find the best spot to hear their music bouncing off the surrounding buildings. But, trust me, it was pretty darned close to seeing the Rolling Stones in concert. You know, without actually SEEING the Stones in concert.

As you may have heard, during the Stones first concert in Boston--for their last tour ever. . . until the next one--a woman who wanted to get a better vantage point tried climbing around the rafters of Fenway, only to fall and break both ankles and a wrist. In my world, this is considered a case of "stupidity," although in the real world I'm sure the woman will probably be offered several book deals to tell her harrowing life story.

For my part, I stayed out of the rafters, and away from dangerous situations in general, although I did purchase and eat a foot long sausage from one of the outside vendors, which was probably pretty risky. But, generally speaking, I stayed pretty safe, and instead watched other people engage in dangerous and/or questionable behavior.

I'm here to tell you, by the way, that the party going on outside the Stones concert was probably 800 times better than anything going on INSIDE the Stones concert. There were people drinking, and there were people dancing, and there were people drinking and dancing, and there were people smoking all sorts of substances that didn't look at all like tobacco. In fact, here's a snippet of actual dialogue I picked up from a young, and somewhat large, woman who walked by me, which I had the presence of mind to write down:

"Whoa! Stop running! That was, like, a marathon or something! I used to run marathons a few years ago, but now I just smoke pot!"

An inspiration to us all, if ever there was one. Although in the real world I'm sure the woman will probably be offered several book deals to tell her harrowing life story.

The Stones concert also held wide appeal to several beggars, who lined the stadium at appropriate intervals and shook plastic cups to encourage donations. Some of the more ambitious beggars worked the crowds asking for money directly, but mostly they sat up against Fenway and shook their cups. A rough count by yours truly estimated that about 14 or so beggars were on hand for the event.

And then the concert got under way, with the Stones playing their signature concert-start-up-number, "Start Me Up," and immediately everyone standing outside the stadium began to cheer wildly and lip-sync the well-known tune, while about one third of the people held up their cell phones so their friends and/or family on the other end could hear the muffled and diluted musical bangings trickling over the stadium walls. And, I shit you nary, even the beggars started shaking their cups in unison with the beat, in a sort of destitute percussion section.

I eventually found probably the best spot outside the stadium for listening to muffled tunes, leaning up against a chain-link fence, while nearby news crews filed live reports, visibly disappointed that no one had yet broken any ankles and/or wrists. They were also visibly irritated by the throngs of bystanders who insisted on jumping into their videotaping shots to wave at the camera, make obscene gestures, or just generally stand there and smile, for lack of anything creative to do. Oh, and here's something else I observed: at least three people with camcorders felt it was their duty to videotape the news crews videotaping the news. Which, well, that just struck me as entirely too stupid.

"Hey, you want to see my tape of the Stones concert? Cool. Well, here's the Channel 5 news girl doing a news report. Pretty neat, huh? Wait, where are you going? Come back!"

It was at about that time that I became aware of an individual I started to think of as So-Co guy, so named because, at his side, he kept a trusty 1.75 liter bottler of Southern Comfort which, at the start of the concert, was about a quarter empty. He was visibly inebriated as all hell, and he had a disquieting way of looking right through me, kind of like a cat staring at a wall because of something only the cat can see. I tried to ignore So-Co guy, but eventually his penetrating stare prompted me to take another stroll around the stadium.

About halfway around Fenway, I observed another odd phenomenon. I noticed that a bunch of people were crowded around a restaurant window, so I pushed through to see what the fuss was all about. The fuss, as it turned out, was that the restaurant had two televisions that were broadcasting a live feed from the concert. In other words, people were standing outside of the concert, watching the concert on televisions located in a restaurant. That I could at least understand, somewhat, but there were people, and I again shit you nary, who were TAKING PICTURES and TAPING the televised broadcast through the restaurant window! Again, what's the point? Who could possibly sit through such a videotape? ARGH!

At around 10 p.m., I decided to make my way back to the stadium area where I was pretty sure the Stones would exit with their motorcade. Along the way, I encountered So-Co guy again, who was being propped up by a friend, who was trying to explain to a couple of police officers that So-Co guy was just fine, despite a 3/4 empty 1.75 liter Southern Comfort bottle indicating otherwise. There was a large wet spot at So-Co guy's feet, which I was pretty sure was vomit, which I carefully walked around. In my world, So-Co guy simply drank way too much, way too fast. Although in the real world I'm sure the So-Co guy will probably be offered several book deals to tell his harrowing life story.

Come 10:30, I had my eventual brush with fame, as the van carrying Mick Jagger away from the concert passed by me no more than eight feet away. I even caught a glimpse of Jagger himself, dressed in what appeared to be a white robe of some sort. I was so close, I could even make out the lines on Mick's face, which I have to admit wasn't that difficult. Mick even took the time to wave to me. Okay, in actuality, he was waving at the throng of people pressing up against the gate I was leaning on and getting the life crushed out of me, but in my world I like to think Mick was waving specifically at me.

So, real world, if you're reading this, I'm perfectly fine if you'd like to offer me several book deals to tell my harrowing life story.

Posted by Ryan at 12:10 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Pity I'll Never See Royalties



Posted by Ryan at 10:23 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 24, 2005

A Shout Out To. . .

Pixy Misa.

I take this blog for granted more often than I care to admit. It's just there, and I post things. . . and I forget that someone, somewhere manages to keep this thing up and running. As far as I know, the server is on Mars, in a crater somewhere, so that makes its maintenance that much more impressive. So, thanks, Pixy, and welcome back to earth. Hope you had a nice space flight.

Posted by Ryan at 10:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 19, 2005

Should I, or shouldn't I?

Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I should!

Nick Coleman: Memo to McManus: The streets are where it's at
Nick Coleman, Star Tribune
August 19, 2005

Minneapolis Police Chief Bill McManus let his hair down the other day and gave a piece of his mind to the Police Community Relations Council. I guess the council members are always bugging him with complaints about the way things are going while the chief has to stay mum -- the strong and surly type -- and take it.

Okay, as Coleman lead paragraphs go, not bad. Decent set up. As a reader, you're thinking this column is going to be about McManus. And if you're thinking that, you, the reader, are wrong.

No more. McManus says he actually plans to speak up at future meetings. Silence, he said, "was getting us nowhere."


Ah, yes, the great literary device known as a strategically-placed "Duh."

Silence never gets you anywhere.

Unless you're Nick Coleman, in which case a little silence would do you a world of wonder.

Which is why it is always important to talk about relations between the cops and communities of color. And why it is always a good thing for cops and the community to meet, even if steam comes out of McManus' ears. No one said he had an easy job.

Communities of color? Could he possibly have conjured a more politically correct phrase? Then again, this is Coleman we're talking about, a man who gets the vapors when he hears the term "Fighting Sioux."

Anyway, I hope you've said your appropriate good-byes to McManus, the guy featured in the headline and the opening paragraphs, the guy you foolishly thought this column was going to be about. Because, as per the dictates of Coleman's adult ADD, we will see no more mention of him through the rest of the column. Like a toddler who spies a shiny dime across the room, Coleman's attention is about to drift elsewhere.

But to really see how things are going, it might be more helpful to monitor the streets than the chief's blood pressure. On too many streets in Minneapolis, it doesn't matter much how the police chief thinks he has been treated.

Time for some patented and acclaimed Nick Coleman "man on the street" interviewing!

"I'm going to say it like it is: The police don't do their job," a 22-year-old named Montrell Gardner said in the parking lot of a Plymouth Avenue shopping center that used to be famous for two things: Lucille's Kitchen and drug dealers.

Only the dealers are left. Lucille's is closed.

*rim shot*

"We have 25 hustlers standing on this corner every day, but the police just roll through without doing anything," Gardner was saying. "The hustlers got no respect for the police. The police ain't scaring nobody. And that's a bad thing."

Gosh, maybe the police should just start harrassing people standing on the corner? Maybe they should just start doing random pat downs and searches? Maybe they should start a program of extreme racial profiling at the expense of the most basic of human rights? Is that what Gardner and Coleman are advocating here?

As an aside, wouldn't 25 hustlers standing on a corner seem kind of, I don't know. . . conspicuous? Doesn't that number seem rather exaggerated? Nick has a tendency to take everyone at their word. Except politicians. They're all fat cat liars. But, your standard-issue 22-year-old on the street? A bastion of truth and honesty!!

Yes, it is. Especially considering the fact that we were talking within spitting distance of the Fourth Precinct police station, a blank-walled cop fort that squats on Plymouth but feels as far away as the moon.

Yeah, because we all know that police precincts are supposed to have officers peering out their windows from behind the shades, ready to pounce the moment they think they see a suspicious handshake transpire across the street. Under Nick's "logic," if you're standing near a hospital, you shouldn't get sick, either. Or if your house is near a fire department, your house should never catch fire. Nick's a common sense kind of guy like that.

"All they do is drive through and try to look good every once in a while," said an aspiring rapper named Antwon Wright who these days prefers to go by the name of Young Plukey (the original Plukey was a notorious drug dealer). "If this was a white neighborhood, the cops would go crazy. I mean, how can we be next to the station and yet you can come up here and get everything you need? It's a damn shame."

An aspiring rapper! Named after a notorious drug dealer! It's the Nick Coleman interview he's always dreamed of! And he managed to find this dream interview in the middle of the day, practically out of nowhere. What are the odds of that? Why, those odds are so astronomical, they would almost seem to border on the impossible. Here's a fun exercise for you. Do a Google search on "Young Plukey." Pretty aspiring.

"I agree with you," said a security guard named Rico McKinnies, nodding his head at the police fort. "It is a damn shame."

Lousy police fort. *shaking fist*

McKinnies, an off-duty cop, also serves as director of operations for the security firm that watches the shopping center. "Cops sitting in a car don't do anything for the community," he said.

They'd be much better off walking around, or on horseback, or performing a barn-raising.

Like a lot of guys on the street corner, Young Plukey has a checkered past.

Oh, a checkered past. Like, a marijuana possession charge? Perhaps a DWI? Maybe a domestic abuse arrest? You know. . . checkered.

He spent nine years in prison for shooting a guy during a drug deal. He shot the guy six times, up at 36th and Emerson. The victim nearly died but was revived in the operating room and survived as a paraplegic.

Great googily moogily.

"Because I was 16, they had mercy on me," Young Plukey says.

Too bad those six bullets didn't show all that much mercy, but whatever.

These days, he calls himself a "coke rebuker" and delivers a rap message of recovery and restoration in churches.

Good. A solid message. A positive message. Good for Young Plukey. Granted, if he really wanted to get that positive message across, he might have chosen a rapper name who wasn't, you know, a notorious drug dealer. But. . . baby steps.

And now for the Nick Coleman "WHA?" award.

His best rap is called "Son of Perdition," and it preaches a message of turning to the Bible and the Qur'an, or what have you.

The Bible and the Qur'an, OR WHAT HAVE YOU?! He wrote that? And left it in? OR WHAT HAVE YOU? What? You don't have a Bible or Qur'an handy? You have The DaVinci code? That'll work. What have you.

"I'm trying to convert savage living into spiritual living," he says.

What an inspirational ex-con. It's absolutely phenomenally lucky that Coleman was able to find such an inspirational story just walking around outside. Why, some would say it's such an inspirational story that maybe Coleman could have, you know, MADE "YOUNG PLUKEY" THE SOLE FOCUS OF HIS COLUMN. Maybe he could have sat down with his family, and perhaps visited with the poor paraplegic. I mean, this could have been an awesome human interest story. Any reporter with any nose for a story at all would have realized the sheer gold that practically dropped from the sky. Strangely, Nick didn't. I won't dabble in too much conjecture as to why he didn't, but I will say that it strikes me as downright odd, if not suspicious. He'd settle for a mope-infested tirade against what he perceives to be police inaction when he has a human interest story from the gods right there in front of him. His choice, I guess.

I had driven over to that Plymouth Avenue shopping center next to the police station because I was hoping to visit with Barbara Howard, a brave, crime-fighting hairdresser who had survived several run-ins with the drug dealers and whom McManus vowed last year to help with extra police protection.

In other words, Nick has ADD, but we already knew that. And, by the way. . . "crime-fighting hairdresser?" Could that be any more funny?

I wrote a column about Howard then, but I couldn't find her Thursday. Her shop is gone. Under a sign that still says "Barbara's Salon of Beauty" is a clothing store run by Lorraine Smaller, a retired teacher who ran an alternative school until it was shut down when the school district ran into money problems. A lot of the drug dealers, she knows by name.

More Coleman ADD. Come on, man, FOCUS! Or is it just that he can't survive without writing down every mopey thing he observes. Barbara's salon is gone. *sniffle* The sign is still there. *mope* Retired alternative school teacher. *pout* School shut down because of money problems. *woe* It's like Eeyore as a journalist.

"We get everyone from hoochie mamas to church ladies in here, including gang-bangers and drug dealers," Smaller said. "Where else are they going to go? There are no jobs, and the swimming pools are closed, and most of them don't have air conditioning."

No jobs. Oh, the lack of jobs! Why are there no jobs?! JOBS!

At that point, a young man opened the door to Smaller's shop and waved. "Hello, Miss Lorraine," he said. "I got a job!"


As he left, Smaller said, "That's one of the dealers. Everyone calls me Miss Lorraine or shows me some respect like that. I like it. On hot days, they come in and say they're just 'looking,' but they're just cooling off. I tell them to change their ways, but I'm not out there dealing with them.

"That's the police's job."

So, the police's job is to get people to change their ways? I didn't know that was in their job description.

Last week, someone threw a brick through Miss Lorraine's shop door and stole $3,000 worth of clothing. The police, she says, were very polite.

"They get over here lickety-split, and they have been very nice to me. But they're not visible enough, that's for sure. If they were, the drug traffic wouldn't be what it is.

"It doesn't take rocket scientists to figure that out."

So, let's see. The cops did their job, and they apparently did it quite well. Yet, they're not visible enough, even though earlier in the column we learn that they're apparently driving around quite a bit, even if they're not conducting random searches on everyone they deem suspicious. One wonders how much more visibility they need, or what additional actions the people would like to see.

And, man, to any Twin Cities journalists reading this, go find that "Young Plukey" guy and find out more. Coleman passed up a gem right there. That is, you know, if Young Plukey isn't, in fact, Plain Layne.

Posted by Ryan at 11:52 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

By The Way. . .

I'll be in Boston, starting on Sunday and going through Wednesday, so blog posting may be light next week. What will I be doing in Boston, you ask? Well, since you asked, I'll be attending this. And I'll be staying here.

Any input as to where I should wander whilst in Boston would be appreciated.

Posted by Ryan at 09:27 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 18, 2005

A Single Picture Captures The Essence of Political Flame Wars

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Posted by Ryan at 04:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

When A Day Drags

Ryan says: Tick. . .

Ryan says: Tock. . .

Caroline says: no shit

Ryan says: Tick. . .

Ryan says: Tock. . .

Ryan says: Even the mouse is too bored to run up the clock.

Caroline says: he's drunk at the bottom of the clock

Ryan says: Smoking Lucky Strikes.

Ryan says: Lookin' at porn.

Caroline says: mouse porn

Caroline says: nice tail you got there

Ryan says: I'd spread that plague any day.

Caroline says: 50 cheese wheels to make you holla

Ryan says: Prostitute Vermin would be a great name for a rock band.

Posted by Ryan at 02:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Nick Coleman: The River still runs the show in Minnesota

For a minute there, I was hopeful that Minnesota might do the right thing. Not a chance. Even from beyond its banks, the Minnesota River is pulling the strings.

The Dakota indians, a group of indigenous people responsible for the Sioux Uprising of 1862--killing 450 German immigrant farmers--named the Minnesota River which eventually gave rise to the name of the state itself. After almost two centuries since becoming a state, it still stubbornly maintains its offensive name.

What's even worse, the state's football team, the Minnesota Vikings, is a shameless marriage of two competing racial defamations against the Sioux nation and the Scandinavian boatsmen who may or may not have settled in the area. I guess I don't really know. I'm just mad at everything in general, because I have a bad hip.

The NCAA has ruled that 18 schools have nicknames that are offensive. The criteria for this is questionable, not unlike my writing ability. I mean, where's the outrage against such military equipment as the Apache helicopter, or IBM's Apache software, or the Jeep Cherokee? And why do we continue to have states with names like, well. . . Minnesota, or North and South Dakota, or Iowa, or Illinois, or Wyoming (I mean, Cheyanne? Hello?!!). Why do we continue to use terms like "skunk," or "chipmunk," or "opossum?" Why not "Stinky Striped Cat," or "Tiny Squirrel," or "Animal That Pretends It's Dead?"

Come to think of it, why does the Sacajawea dollar coin have to feature an indian female and her baby? That's just wrong. What's even more wrong is that Americans are refusing to embrace the offensive coin because, obviously, Americans are racist and won't embrace anything indian-related. Except for nicknames and mascots and state names and I have no idea where I'm even going with all this, but it all sure makes me mad as hell.

Under the NCAA's new policy, no Indian logos or nicknames may be used in post-season play after Feb. 1, 2006, which really sucks for Minnesota schools because it means every Minnesota flag is going to have to be altered to get that racist depiction of an indian off of there.

Oh, and did you hear that the federal mint plans on bringing back the buffalo nickel? How totally offensive is that? We wipe out the buffalo, and now we commemorate it? Gosh darn it, I'm so mad right now, my glasses are about to crack. Again, I'm not sure why I'm so mad, but it sure feels like I have to mad about something all the time, or I don't feel right.

And while I'm at it, I want to express my anger at bloggers again. I just have a hard time looking favorably on free speech and free press when it's granted to people other than myself. Man that irks me. Anyway, I'm getting characteristically off topic here. Where was I? Oh, yes, indian bloggers.

Er, wait. I mean indian nicknames and mascots and logos. That's what I'm mad at. Man I hate those things.

Nick Coleman is at

Posted by Ryan at 12:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 17, 2005

Don't Mind Me, I've Been Zotob-bed

Yesterday, around noon, this pleasant bitch paid my work computer a visit. It created a lot of problems, and basically killed all yesterday afternoon and most of this morning.

On the plus side, as a result, IBM is installing Windows XP on my system rather than the ancient Windows 2000 I was working on previously.

So, you know, there's that.

Posted by Ryan at 01:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 16, 2005

Best Laugh of the Week and it's only Tuesday!

Fark photoshop contest: Rehabilitated horror-film slashers trying to make it in the regular world

You will NOT see a better entry than this:


Posted by Ryan at 11:08 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Journalism Stuff

I read this thought-provoking post tonight about journalism, and naturally it prompted me to think about my own j-school experience. Some thoughts.

Next was Dianne Lynch, dean of the School of Communications at Ithaca College, a journalist, and former executive director of the online News Association. She told us a startling story about an exceptional student who gave up a four-year scholarship worth over $200,000, including tuition, room and board, even travel money. The student came to the dean’s office to let Lynch know that she was quitting journalism and switching to sociology. “I decided that I just can’t be in such a terrible profession,” the student said, adding that it did not seem to her a field where a young person could “make a difference.”

There was a slight gasp in the room at that. This was because the phrase used, “make a difference,” though tedious and vague, was once the very thing that identified to journalists their own idealism. You didn’t do it for the money, and it wasn’t the wonderful working conditions, or a chance for advancement. For a certain generation (whose mortality was lurking about the panel, way under the laughs) journalism, at its best, was all about “making a difference.” Speaking truth to power, and all that implies.

Honestly, I can't remember any of my professors saying anything about "making a difference." Almost every one of them warned us that we shouldn't expect to make any money starting out, which was spot on true, but I don't think anyone of them mentioned "making a difference."

I wasn't drawn to journalism for some altruistic reason. I was drawn to journalism because I could write reasonably well and had a knack for interviewing others about mundane shit. Mostly, I was drawn to journalism because I was frantically trying to find an alternative to the English/Teaching degree I had decided wasn't for me and I needed something that transferred most of my existing credits. Hey, JOURNALISM! WOO HOO!

But, "making a difference." Something about that phrase bothers me. I guess it's because, in my mind, it's not a journalist's role to "make a difference." Because, if you go into journalism to "make a difference," you're automatically implying that something's not right to you and should be changed. In short, you bring your own agenda to the profession right from the start. So much for non-bias and objectivity.

It's also not about "speaking truth to power," because that's automatically saying that power does not speak the truth; which, obviously, power doesn't a fair amount of the time. But, "speaking truth to power" implies that power NEVER tells the truth. So, again, right from the gates, you're entering the profession with your own preconceptions and bias, which runs entirely counter to what journalism professes to be: namely, unbiased and objective.

Even more than that, as self-empowering and self-righteous as it is to say you're in a profession that "speaks truth to power," you're automatically establishing the "us versus them" battle lines. If you proclaim that you're going to speak truth to power, you're saying that you don't trust power. So, why the hell would power trust you? From there, you end up with stuff like forged memos being accepted from deranged sources or White House press credentials being granted to male escorts. How the hell is either case serving the public in a positive way?

I don't know. I guess "making a difference" is a pretty piss poor reason to go into journalism. Obviously, dork-knobs like Nick Coleman think it's their duty to "make a difference," and we've repeatedly seen here what kind of nonsense that produces. Granted, Coleman's a cynical moron with the writing skills of a flea, but still.

If practitioners of the craft want to position journalism as a field in which people can "make a difference" or "speak truth to power," they had better clue into the fact that journalism is not a non-biased and objective profession and admit it, up front, as such. We can't have it both ways.

Personally, I'd prefer it if they shaky "objectivity" facade was dropped altogether, but I'm biased like that.

At least I admit it.

Posted by Ryan at 12:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 15, 2005

An Open Letter To My Fellow Motorists

Dear Fellow Motorists:

First, I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Ryan Rhodes. Like you, I'm a motorist, a person who journeys from place to place in a motorized vehicle. My vehicle is a car.

Make no mistake; I am not a perfect motorist. I make my share of driving oopsies. They're typically minor oopsies, like almost merging without seeing you in my blind spot. For that and other oopsies, I apologize.

Today, my fellow motorists, I have to take an opportunity to chastise you for a spreading epidemic within our ranks that threatens the very fabric of our motorist existence. I've noticed a growing problem, and I feel it is my duty to point out this problematic trend and try to reverse it before it gets completely out of control, although I may, in fact, be too late.

You see, dear motorists, perhaps you've forgotten, or perhaps you've never known, that there's a stick-like appendage that juts out from the steering column of every automobile. In most vehicles, it's on the left. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with this protruding device while I explain its use.

You'll notice, if you push up or down on the sticklike protusion, it will lock into place and, depending on which direction--up or down--you pushed it, a corresponding flashing light will appear somewhere on your dashboard.

Likewise, on the front and back of your vehicle, lights will begin flashing on either the right or left side--again, depending on which direction you pushed the sticklike protrusion.

The flashing lights are commonly referred to as blinkers, or turn signals, or trajectory change indicators, or intent-to-turn heads-uppers. Simply stated, these lights let other motorists know that you're about to make a turn, or that you're about to merge, or, in the case of hazard lights, that you're having vehicle trouble and need assistance.

Please, dear motorists, for the love of Jeebus: START USING YOUR DAMNED INTENT-TO-TURN HEADS-UPPERS!!

I can't take it any more! They're very simple to operate! Mind numbingly easy to operate! If your blinker is on the left of the steering column, and you want to turn right, push it up. If you're going to turn left, push it down. Reverse this in the odd chance your blinker stick is on the right. It's actually really quite intuitive.

Yet, every day, every SINGLE day, I encounter at least five of you who apparently think using your turn singles burns up blinker fluid or something. Newsflash: there's no such thing as blinker fluid! So, use your blinker!

You know when you're at a four way stop or traffic signal, and you don't use your blinker? Guess what? People assume you're going to go straight. When you don't, it can be kind of surprising to your fellow motorists, who were patiently waiting for you to pass straight by, but then you suddenly hang a left and. . . HOLY CRAP I almost hit you! You absent-minded dill hole!

Ever more nerve-wracking are those of you who merge and weave maniacally in and out of traffic without even the mere hint of advance notice. Newsflash: other motorists can not read your mind and, if you somehow think we can, chances are pretty good your mind is probably not worth reading. Blinkers, people, blinkers!! I cannot stress enough the importance of this apparently alien automotive alert system.

Thank you. That is all.

Yours truly,

A Nerve-Wracked Motorist

Posted by Ryan at 06:30 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Name Calling

Evelyn says: Quick question.

Ryan says: Yes?

Evelyn says: The author for your cover story for the Nov/Dec issue?

Ryan says: Yes?

Evelyn says: I have down "Curt Jews." Is that the proper spelling?

Ryan says: Yuppers.

Evelyn says: Okay.

Ryan says: Unusual name. Cool, but unusual. Why not "Dismissive Hebrews?"

Evelyn says: lol

Posted by Ryan at 01:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 12, 2005

Picture This

As managing editor, I get the dubious honor of having my mug splashed on the inside of the magazine for the Editor's Letter. The picture below is what awaits the readers of the Sept./Oct. issue of eServer Magazine - Mainframe Edition. I can actually hear the number of magazine subscribers plummeting. It's not a terrible picture of me, I guess, but I still hate having my picture taken.


Posted by Ryan at 01:25 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Hello. I'm Nick Coleman. Columnist Extraordinaire!

I'll admit it. I don't even have the energy to fisk Nick Coleman. Hell, it's past midnight, after all. So, I'll let Nick Coleman fisk himself, which sounds kinda dirty.

Aug. 18 marks the 143rd anniversary of the start of the Dakota Conflict, the Indian war that raged across Minnesota in 1862 and touched off three decades of war between the United States and the great Sioux Nation -- a war that didn't end until the massacre at Wounded Knee.

God dammit I love Google! I was just sitting here, totally oblivious to pretty much everything even remotely related to the Dakota Conflict, but with Google, I can practically convince all my non-Internet readers that I'm some sort of encyclopedia or some shit. I can convince people that I know stuff when, in truth, just this morning I thought Wounded Knee was what happened when I got up too fast from the toilet.

Too bad it's so hard to find out much about it these days.

Except for Google, of course.

In the epidemic of stupidity now stalking the land, the Lower Sioux History Center -- the only museum anywhere dedicated to telling the important story of the Dakota Conflict and exploring its causes and its outcomes -- remains closed for a second summer.

I can't believe how brilliant I am! Only I, the journalist activist, could conjure the amazing phrase "epidemic of stupidity now stalking the land." Why the hell am I continually passed over for Pulitzers? Wouldn't "Dakota Conflict" be a great name for an automobile? Whoops. Wait. There I go again, losing focus. I better make sure that doesn't happen again during this column. Focus, Nick Man, FOCUS.

Happily, there is news that it might be open again next year. More on that later. But first, let's turn to the Indian news that has many Americans hopping mad.

Aw, hell! Looks like I'm going to go off the rails anyway. Oh well, might as well go with it, I suppose.

It isn't the closing of a history museum, that's for sure. An Indian museum just tells the story of the original people of the land and how their cultures were devastated by the people who stole this country. Bit of a bummer, really. Best to avoid. Don't want to know too much. Makes your head hurt.

And it makes me, Nick Coleman, feel personally guilty for the nice house I live in on what was probably some pretty important Indian land. Not that I'd ever give it up if a downtrodden Sioux warrior down on his luck were to come by and ask for it. That would be silly! But, thankfully, because I'm a journalist activist, I can write tut-tutting columns like this that allow me to radiate all sorts of faux-outrage for the plight of the Native Americans.

But don't dare mess with Indian mascots.

Oh, that's right, I was going to lose my focus. Here we go.

If we want to tap into real anger about Indian stuff, all we have to do is bring up the recent decision by the NCAA ordering college teams with offensive Indian nicknames and mascots not to use them in postseason playoffs.

Did I just write "Indian stuff?" Holy crap, I did. There goes that Pulitzer. Again. And, by the way, where the hell am I going with this column now? Damn you, Adult ADD! Damnnnn YOUUUUUUUU!!

President Bush's little brother, Jeb, the governor of Florida, was outraged by the NCAA decision, which will prevent legions of war-paint-streaked frat boys from doing the "Seminole chop" at postseason Florida State University football games for years to come.

You know, it occurs to me that, if enough of those frat boys decide to do the Seminole chop despite the ban, not much is going to happen to them. Oh well, I'll keep the sentence in the column anyway, because it reads cool, in that "Old Angry Fart" style that I've perfected.

Predictably, the school's trustees have voted to appeal the ban, which is a waste of time. The NCAA could have been harsher and banned all Indian nicknames outright.

And while they're at it, they should do away with that "Fighting Irish" mascot, because that's just demeaning to the Irish.

Instead, they settled for a kind of Goober Law:

I'm back in Pulitzer contention, BABY!

"Dear Goober: You and all your fellow Goobers may call your teams whatever you want when you are at home, but if you get to the playoffs, decency requires you to clean up your act for respectable folks."

Hotchacha! I'm on fire now! Don't get in the way of my wit-filled pen, or you'll end up witting your pants! Granted, I'm eight million miles away from anything even remotely resembling a point, but I'm firing out the nonsense like nobody's business.

It makes sense to me, but then, I'm old-fashioned.

Boy howdy, am I ever! I'm the Grandpa Simpson of the newspaper biz, dadgummit.

I think this newspaper was reaching in the same direction two years ago when it abandoned a nine-year practice of not using offensive or derogatory nicknames, such as the Washington Redskins. Now, we use them when we have to, but pretty much wish they would stay out of our arena.

Uh oh, I feel one of my patented nonsensical political rants coming on. I'm getting the vapors! Must. Resist. Self-Righteous. Political. Gibberish. . . ARGH!

The issue may never go away. Not as long as we have the Washington Redskins, a team patronized by powerful politicians and lobbyists who claims its nickname is a tribute to American Indians. Well, two can play at the tribute game.

NOOOOOOOOOO! I can't stop myself! I must make a complete fool of myself from my mighty newspaper pulpit! Sure, it didn't play well in my former radio gig, but I can get away with ANYTHING here! I could call Gov. Pawlenty a "big old doody head," and they'd print the nonsense. Which gives me an idea. . .

That's why I have started calling Redskins' owner Daniel Snyder "The Vandal." Snyder, a gazillionaire, pressured the National Park Service (and offered them money) so he could cut down 130 trees on park property (violating the law) that blocked his view of the Potomac River.

So I call him "The Vandal," as a sort of tribute. "The Creep" would work, too.

I can't believe people read me and take me seriously! I'm absolutely stunned that I've held this job for as long as have! They PAY ME to do this! Thank GOD for the "epidemic of stupidity now stalking the land" or, more appropriately, stalking the Star-Tribune editorial board. I couldn't get a job at a small town weekly writing this garbage, but the Star-Tribune gives me my own personal megaphone without oversight. You know, I'm betting I can even throw out a Hitler and Nazi reference in this long-winded piece of dipshittery I'm writing, and the editors won't bat an eye. I'm gonna try it. . .

And don't get me started about the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. Despite the near-unanimous objection of North Dakota's Indian tribes, the Fighting Sioux logo has been chiseled on every stationary object in Grand Forks, largely due to a $100 million gift from a late Las Vegas casino owner who had a thing for Nazi memorabilia, Hitler portraits and the Fighting Sioux hockey team. Little known fact: UND's teams were the Flickertails until the 1930s, when fierce racial myths came into popularity.

See? SEE?! I can get away with ANYTHING! The power! The sheer, absolute power!

Put me down as one fan of the lowly Golden Gopher who is glad the good name of the Sioux will no longer be insulted by hockey players from Canada in future postseason college tournaments.

I suppose it's about time for me to try and wind this horrendous piece of crap back to some sort of original point.

Now back to the Lower Sioux History Center near Morton, Minn. It closed in June of last year after the Legislature cut the budget for the state Historical Society. A clearer example of how draconian budget cuts lead to a general dumbing-down of a place would be hard to find. Just seven years shy of the 150th anniversary of a terrible series of events that had a profound effect on the shape of Minnesota, the museum remains closed.

That's the great thing about this newspaper job. I can make it sound like the Lower Sioux History Center is a sprawling complex packed to the ceiling with every manner of Sioux artifact, rather than the sole Google whack that it is. But, the readers don't have to know that.

That's an outrage. A real one.

And I'm all about the outrage. But, you know, it occurs to me that I haven't included a "person on the street" quote yet. I need one of those. Preferably a moping, victimized Indian. Let me just quick consult my moping victim rolodex. . .

"Same old, same old," says Vernell Wabasha, an elder on the Lower Sioux reservation whose husband, Ernest, is a hereditary Dakota chief. "People seem to be more upset about losing some dumb nicknames than they are about losing the history. It seems like Indian people always have to have our guard up. We're always being attacked."

Well, that about does it. All of my trademark Nick Coleman laziness and old crank outrage has been incorporated. I suppose it's about time I wrap this up somehow.

The good news is that earlier this year, the Legislature restored some of the Historical Society's cuts so that the Lower Sioux museum (as well as several other sites that closed last year) can reopen. The museum is expected to be back in business next summer.

In other words, I spent this entire column basically pissing and moaning about pretty much nothing. But, hey, that's what I do!

It's about time.

Who knows? Some day, we may care more about a people who were -- and are -- major players in the story of Minnesota than we care about a football team's nickname.

Well, that's done. Man, I can't believe I get paid for this. Un-fucking-believable.

Posted by Ryan at 12:37 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 11, 2005

Wow, I really Am going to hell.

Sooo, I was just looking back on my April 2002 archives, thanks to my previous post, and I came upon this post, which just shocked me because A) holy crap it's funny and B) it's just so politically incorrect. To think I almost submitted that entry as a newspaper column. Holy cow. I'm gonna burn, man. I'm gonna burn.

"Middle East Madness" c. Ryan Rhodes, April 10, 2002

Crazy Hassan: If you follow news the way I do, you know that the Palestinian and Israeli situation is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. The Israelis attack with helicopters and tanks, and we Palestinians retaliate by blowing ourselves up in large crowds. It’s madness, I tell you, madness; and wherever madness goes, I, Crazy Hassan, follow.

Failed Suicide Bomber: Three years ago, I tried to detonate myself with a clumsy contraption hidden in a duffel bag outside of a busy Israeli office building. Instead of blowing up and making me a martyr, the duffel bag erupted into flame, singeing my hair and landing me here in prison. If only I had a more reliable explosive. If only.

Crazy Hassan: Are your suicide detonations as effective as you would like? At Crazy Hassan's, we've drastically improved the efficiency of our bombs. Now, the last moments of your life need not be wasted worrying whether you can bring down an entire shopping center. At Crazy Hassan’s, our explosions are INSANE!

Satisfied Customer #1: Before Crazy Hassan, there was no way I would ever consider blowing myself up, unless I was guaranteed to take at least 15 Israelis with me. Now, thanks to Crazy Hassan, I'm poised to kill scores of innocent civilians aboard this very bus. Thanks Crazy Hassan!!


Crazy Hassan: Thank you, brainwashed fundamentalist!! Not only are our bombs designed to instantly atomize your body just before your journey to Allah, they also annihilate anything within a 30 foot radius. So, you can rest easy before you rest forever.

Yasser Arafat: There was a time when we had to work with time-consuming and often unfulfilling peace negotiations. Now, thanks to Crazy Hassan, we can make our point by wantonly snuffing out the lives of men, women and children who previously thought it was safe to perform simple tasks like grocery or clothes shopping. Thank you Crazy Hassan!!

Crazy Hassan: Thank you, Yasser Arafat!! Peace negotiations? What are those? Is that what U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is talking about? Well, remember, you can’t spell Powell without POW! And you’re guaranteed plenty of POW with Crazy Hassan’s new line of C4 suicide belts. These stylish, yet concealed, self-detonation devices can slip by even the strictest security. And you can accomplish all this at Crazy Hassan’s blow out prices!

Satisfied Customer #2: I always wanted to be a martyr for the Palestinian cause, and the promise of having 23 wives in Allah's realm has been greatly alluring since I was a child, but I've never been able to afford it until Crazy Hassan. Now, here I am, strapped with 25 pounds of high explosives, waiting for this Israeli school to release students for the day, and it only cost me pennies per ounce of C4. Thanks Crazy Hassan!!


Crazy Hassan: Thank you, brainwashed fundamentalist!! And let’s not forget the women out there. Although I, Crazy Hassan, am wary of giving women too many freedoms, I open my arms and doors to those women who want to further the Palestinian cause by violently ending their existence. Crazy Hassan’s offers a wide array of suicide belts for the female figure, including sensual nitroglycerin negligees. Truly, in our bid to liberate the Holy Land, anything goes.

Ariel Sharon: There was a time when I thought the Hebrew Biblical claim on Israel would easily be enforced through a technological military and omnipresent army. It just makes sense. But these suicide bombers just don’t make any sense. They blow up here and they blow up there. They blow up everywhere. I may despise suicide bombers, but hats off to you Crazy Hassan.

Crazy Hassan: Huh? Was someone talking to me? You must forgive me, but I’m rather deaf to any voice other than that of the Palestinian cause, particularly if it’s the voice of Israeli infidels. You've seen the utter devastation you can achieve using my bombs, and now you can be part of the new craze sweeping the militant Palestinian branches. Don't settle for peace when you can settle in pieces. Visit Crazy Hassan's today!!

Posted by Ryan at 12:07 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Soon I'll Take Over The World!

For those of you who watch Site Meter stats like a dog with a milk bone on its nose, which is probably only me, you'll notice that I'm coming tantalizingly close to the 200,000 visitor mark.

When I started this blog in 2002, getting a maximum of 18 visitors a day (with most, if not all, of those being me), this milestone seemed an impossibility, like emptying Lake Superior with a straw.

But, thanks to you, my valued readers, and nearly countless Google searches looking for "exposed thongs," "blue whale ejaculation," "Tara Reid's breast" and some unspeakably funny fetish searches, I could very well exceed 200,000 visitors in the next couple of days.

Who'da thunk it?

Posted by Ryan at 11:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 10, 2005


Kind of reminds me of my college days.

Except for the sailor suit. And the coke smears. And the pot. Nailed me on the porn though.

Posted by Ryan at 04:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Good-Bye, Atkins!

Now that the industry that sprang up around the Atkins diet is experiencing its own version of the bubble pop, I feel it's only appropriate that I express a certain amount of glee. So, here goes:

HA HA! See ya later, Atkins! Make room for the next fad diet that sounds too good to be true and probably is but people will flock to it anyways, because people are gullible and stupid and don't want to exercise because they think they're above such nonsense as physical exertion so they cling desperately to any idea that promotes their sedentary lifestyle!

Man, after that record-breaking run-on sentence, I need a low-carb milkshake or something.

And, yes, I realize that the Atkins diet "worked" for some people, keeping in mind that my definition of "work" here means that they may have shed a few pounds, at the expense of about fifteen or so hopelessly clogged arteries.

The thing about Atkins, and really any fad diet, is that it ran counter to one of the fundamental rules of human existence. Namely, you can't tell humans what they can and cannot eat because, eventually, they'll end up craving exactly what it is you tell them they cannot eat.

Consider Atkins. The appeal of Atkins was that it told a diet-weary world that it could eat all the taboo items forbidden by every other diet. You want steak? Have at it! You want burgers? Eat away! You want to stalk a buffalo, cut it down, and eat its still-warm liver? Here's a spear!

But, you can't eat bread. Bread is bad. Bread is poison, the dietary equivalent of eating lead-based paint chips. And no noodles. Noodles are bad. Noodles are evil, the dietary equivalent of playing high stakes poker with Satan in a Las Vegas brothel.

And, for awhile, the world rejoiced in this revolutionary dietary thinking. After all, the world had been gorging itself on bread and noodles for so long, the world figured "I'll never miss bread and noodles." The world is stupid like that.

Inevitably, eventually, someone, somewhere, while eating their 832nd hamburger without a bun, suddenly realized that they kind of missed that handy bun. And then, somebody else suddenly realized that a sandwich just isn't a sandwich, without the tangy zip of. . . FREAKIN' BREAD! And then, somebody else, probably in Italy, realized that spaghetti and meatballs, without spaghetti noodles, is just meatballs.

In other words, the world woke up one day and realized it was sick and tired of eating meat without a dinner roll. It was sick and tired of eating pizza without the crust. It was sick and tired of watching Garfield waste away to nothing thanks to a lack of noodles in his beloved lasagna.

Yes, the world remembered that bread and noodles, in addition to being useful dinner components, are also incredibly tasty.

The Atkins diet industry, realizing the world was waking up from its protein-induced slumber and demanding a return of bread and noodles, started churning out. . . wait for it. . . low carb bread and noodles!

And it was at that point that the world did a collective cocker-spaniel-like quizzical head tilt. Weren't bread and noodles off limits? Aren't they a cornerstone taboo of the whole idea of Atkins? Isn't the Atkins Diet now kind of like, you know, eating normally? How is this a diet, exactly?

Besides all that, the world asked "aren't low carb bread and noodles outrageously expensive compared to traditional bread and noodles?"

Which brings me to another fundamental rules of human existence: people will not pay outrageous prices for freakin' bread and noodles, because bread and noodles are, well. . . BREAD AND NOODLES!

So, today, you have a world reverting back to its traditional feedbag ways, happily eating carb-packed bread and noodles once again, eagerly awaiting the next fad diet that touts the pound-shedding wonders of crack cocaine and pure caffeine, or something equally unrealistic.

Personally, I'll continue to eat pretty much whatever I want to eat, while working off those extra calories through weekly exercise.

It's a crazy concept, I know.

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Posted by Ryan at 12:09 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 08, 2005

Hm, Wow.

Read the comments, then tell me political discussion is worthwhile on blogs.

Don't get me wrong, I love blogging; but the zealots, on both sides. People, take a pill.

Posted by Ryan at 11:56 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Intelligent Design. . . Again

Last week, there was some lively discussion in the comments to this post about Evolution and Creationism and Intelligent Design.

As with most posts and comments I make during the day on my blog, I'm often distracted by actual work at the same time, so my mental meanderings don't always get my points across as well as I'd like.

Which is where James Lileks comes in.

Posted by Ryan at 03:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 05, 2005

If a black cat crosses your path, paint over the fucker


My executive editor's husband snapped this picture on his way home from work. It's one of the funniest things I've seen all week.

Posted by Ryan at 10:56 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Feeling the Burn

A little over a month ago, in an effort to further my training in the martial arts and, more importantly, to get off of my behind and actually exercise, I started attending classes at a local Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu studio.

Now, I'm typically a pretty active guy. I like to run and work out and take part in physically demanding activities. Thing is, for about six months or so, my interest in such demanding activities had been on the decline. Similarly, my interest in cable television and computer games had been on the rise. This confluence of interests and lack of interest was conspiring to produce a Ryan Rhodes who was no longer particularly a smoking hot specimen of male hunkiness.

It wasn't that I was gaining weight or anything like that, but I sure wasn't feeling peppy any more. And, for those who have lost their pep, you know that a life without pep, a pepless existence, is kind of boring.

So, to re-pepify my existence, I started taking part in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu classes. Now, I'm a proud kind of guy. I don't like to admit when I can't do something, so much so that I'll go to great lengths to prove that I can do something, even when I clearly can't.

For example, during my first Jiu-Jitsu class, I wanted to prove that I could easily do 200 stomach crunches like everyone else, even though I secretly knew I only had about 25 crunches in me. Miraculously, I did manage to perform 200 crunches that day, as well as several other physically demanding tasks that I probably shouldn't have performed, or at least I should have scaled back on them a bit.

The next morning, I literally could not get out of bed. I was convinced that, during the evening as I slept, an army of dwarves had beat me from head to toe with miniature pick-axes. Every muscle in my body felt as if they had been squeezed through a strainer.

As I laid there in bed, pondering different methods of suicide, I remembered that it wasn't the first time I had foolishly worked my muscles into a mass of jello, only to feel the consequences later on down the line.

The summer before my eighth grade year, I opted not to prepare for the coming football season. So, come the first day of practice, the most physically demanding thing I had done for several months was go golfing which, as you may know, isn't all that physically demanding.

I worked out hard that first football practice. I did pull-ups, and I ran, and I did push-ups, and I ran, and did football drills, and I ran, and I did sit-ups, and I ran. And at the end of the day, I took a nap, and when I woke up, I discovered that all my muscles had decided to hurt as much as possible.

To make matters worse, I was disoriented and groggy from my nap, so I mistakenly believed that it was actually the next morning, and that I was late for football practice. So, I did what any young teenage boy would do who hurt all over and thought he was late for football practice: I hobbled into the kitchen with my best aching Frankenstein impression and I yelled at my mother.

To me at that moment, it was perfectly rational that my mother was somehow responsible for my sorry physical state, so yelling at her and blaming her for things seemed perfectly justified and productive. Until she informed me that it was actually 7 p.m. and not 7 a.m., which of course just made me feel incredibly stupid, so I went back to bed.

Fast forward to about a month ago, when I found myself in bed, unable to move the morning after my first Jiu-Jitsu class. I felt exactly like I did all those years ago after my first eighth grade football practice. The only difference was that I didn't have a mother nearby whom I could yell at.

Lacking a nearby mother, I opted to yell at the alarm clock for going off, and then I yelled at the shower for being too hot, and then I yelled at the cats for being. . . well, cats. None of which made me feel any better, but at least I was blaming something other than myself, which was important.

It's sad what I'll do in the name of a peppy existence. It really is.

Posted by Ryan at 10:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 04, 2005

More Reading Goodness

I'm currently (by which I mean when I'm in the tub or before going to bed) reading "A Short History of Nearly Everything."

It started out a bit slow, but I'm starting to get into some more interesting stuff. It's basically the science textbook I wish I would have had in school. It's far more informative and entertaining than pretty much every science class I ever sat in. Plus, the book doesn't drown you with math, an area where I'm, well, let's just say math is a weak point for me.

Posted by Ryan at 03:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Hey, that guy's down, let's watch those guys kick him

As exhilirating as it was for me to pick apart Nick Coleman's recent column after about a month's dry spell, it's just as entertaining for me to watch him get repeatedly kicked in the groin after basically kicking himself in the groin.

Posted by Ryan at 01:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tit for Tat

Inspired by this, I thought I'd try my hand at a liberal Blog Taxonomy:

1. Daily Kos - Considered a "must read" for the Left, Kos enjoys a substantial Web following that, judging by the comment threads, consists of some of the most tinfoil-hat-wearing feces throwers ever to plug into the Internet. Kos content itself basically consists of "conservatives are EVIL," "Republicans are LIARS," "how can chickenhawks sleep at NIGHT," and pretty much every other standard boilerplate lefty meme that's catnip for the fringe left but basically ignored by anyone toward the center. Oh, and he uses expletives a lot, which I personally admire, but which doesn't do a damned thing to augment any of his points.

2. Atrios - Apparently rapidly running out of unique thoughts of his own, Duncan Black now subsists almost entirely on "Open Threads," wherein he relies upon his slightly less lazy commenting followers to provide him with some topic, ANY topic.

3. Oliver Willis - If it weren't for Kos and Atrios, Oliver Willis could not exist. Just as Darth Vader required the Dark Side powers of Palpatine to keep him wheezing, so too does Willis require his inspiration from Kos and Atrios. If you've read Kos or Atrios, chances are pretty good (99.99 percent) that you've already read Willis. He may be "Like Kryptonite to Stupid," but what he really needs is Miracle Grow For Original Thoughts.

4. Talking Points Memo - If you think THAT blog title is pretentious and boring as hell, consider the author's name, Joshua Micah Marshall. Dude, my middle name is "Carroll," something I try not to advertise too much, but I still think it's better than "Micah." Jeez, even the picture of J.M.M. in the upper left corner looks like he's dozing off. He bores HIMSELF to sleep. His content is less expletive-laden than Kos, and generally more intelligent-sounding, but if you read Kos at all, you realize that that's not that much of a feat.

5. America Blog - Best part of this blog (for now) is the advertisement to the left featuring Xena and Gabrielle in a spa. Too hawt! I can't comment too much on this blog, as I only started perusing it about a month ago. Seems like standard-issue regurgitation. After awhile, having visited Kos, Atrios and the like, you start to wonder if you keep warping to the same damned blog, thanks to the continuity of the Blogads. The soccer chick was hot, at first, but now. . . And I don't want to Expose Santorum, for crying out loud! Think of the children!

Yeah, I could only do a top five list because, honestly, that's about all the lefty blogs I read with any degree of regularity and feel I can critique. They're basically echo chambers for themselves and, sadly for the Left, they're the most popular and well-regarded.

Which is a crying shame, really, because it means quality alternative blogs that actually make you stop and think, like Strip Mining for Whimsy and Man, Robot, MONSTER! and Flaming Text, are relegated to mediocrity. Those are blogs that make Kos and the rest read like the mewling brain drool of retarded kittens.

Posted by Ryan at 11:18 AM | Comments (23) | TrackBack

August 03, 2005


It's been a rough month, Nick Coleman fans. We've had to endure a long hiatus from the rich writing and rock-solid logic of Minnesota's foremost newspaper columnist. He's been tending to the latest addition to his family unit, so congratulations on that. With that out of the way, let's dig right into his latest column.

Be warned, Nick is a bit rusty after his vacation and, if you're at all familiar with Nick Coleman's writing, knowing that he's rusty is NOT a good thing, to put it mildly.

I haven't written about President George W. Bush all year, and that suits me fine. I get tired of calling presidents liars, and he doesn't care what some blue-state hack thinks.

Oh. My. Nick just referred to himself as a blue state hack. Perhaps his month off granted him a moment of clarity? We can only hope.

So it's a win-win.

Nevertheless, etiquette requires me to write about the president today. He sent a message to me and my colleagues in the media, and it deserves a response.

Ah, etiquette. . . from a guy who once hinted, in his column no less, that a well-known blogger may have *hint, hint* a small manhood. Yes sir, Nick Coleman is all about etiquette, and apparently so are his editors, who continually let shit like that slide.

Don't worry: I will be polite, and I will use more fingers than he did.

For those unfamiliar with it, that's what passes as Nick Coleman humor. Yeah, I know, it's kind of painful, but you get used to it after awhile.

Bush, it seems, has given the press the presidential bird, a digital message of the kind you see exchanged between angry drivers at stop signs. At least we know where we stand.

Ooookayyyy, I think I can see where Nick is going with this.

The White House issued a non-denial denial, and the reporters on hand must have been blinded by the lights bouncing off their makeup mirrors because they didn't see it or thought the president had given them a thumbs up.

But when you view the video, as I have, (he knows stuff!) there isn't much doubt: George Bush, who promised to change the tone in Washington and restore dignity to the highest office in the land, deliberately flipped off the press.

There isn't much doubt? Is Coleman even remotely familiar with the Internet and Google? There's been more debate on this supposed finger flip than is probably healthy. Although the debate itself is funny as hell, and I highly encourage you to read the threads. There are those utterly convinced it was a middle finger, others utterly convinced it was a thumb's up, and still others who admit they're not sure. So much debate over a finger, it's just hysterical.

That's his right, even if it makes him the only born-again man whose favorite philosopher is Jesus Christ who flips people off like a sailor. But the press -- we whipped dogs and disreputable stand-ins for the American people -- didn't even raise a whimper.

Nick, who wasn't even there, wonders why his fellow whipped dogs didn't raise a whimper. Maybe, just maybe, they had a unique vantage point, up close and personal, that indicated to them that they hadn't just received a Presidential Piss-Off? Isn't that just possible?

The Finger-in-Chief was flipped last Wednesday, when the president visited Capitol Hill to meet with Republicans. He waved at the cameras, then walked down a hallway, pestered by reporters' questions.

Then, as he faded out of sight, Bush jabbed his middle finger in the air, the way you would give a farewell salute to a jerk disappearing in your rearview mirror.

I'll admit it, when I first, FIRST, saw the supposed bird flip, I tended to think Bush did, indeed, give the press corp the finger. Certainly, I wouldn't put it past Bush to do such a thing, and as the forum threads linked above point out, repeatedly, he's definitely done it before. It wasn't until I watched the forum threads unfold in the above links that I changed my mind and chalked it up to a thumbs up. What damning evidence does Nick Coleman use as his "proof?"

It was unmistakable. When "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno replayed the video, his audience knew instantly what the president meant (To see the video, visit the Onegoodmove website via

There you have it folks. When it comes to the news of the day, Nick Coleman turns to the "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno and his video expert audience members.

A president showing disdain for the media is nothing new. But doing it with a contemptuous gesture that is offensive to millions does not just insult the press. It insults anyone who relies on the press to tell us what our leaders are doing. When presidents flip off the press, Americans get the finger.

You know, provided the President ACTUALLY FLIPPED OFF THE PRESS, the evidence of said flip being wildly inconclusive. Coleman's basing this entire column, with all it's witty finger-flipping cliches, on speculative guesswork, and a video clip courtesy of the "Tonight Show."

The networks and most newspapers ignored Bush's Big Bird, and only a handful of papers printed stories about the incident. Most were light, gossipy and inconclusive, giving the thumb theory more weight than it deserves (try mimicking the video with your own hand; only one finger will do).

Ahhhh, a thumb theory of which Coleman disagrees is getting more weight than it deserves. So much for a marketplace of ideas and all that. Apparently, if you don't think like Nick Coleman, Nick Coleman thinks you're wrong. Even if there's compelling evidence to the contrary.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan gave a limp denial: "I'm not going to dignify that with a response," he said the next day. "I mean, I haven't seen the video that you're talking about, but I know the way the president acts."

A limp denial? What the hell was he supposed to do? Slam his fists down on the podium and decree before God and all America that "I haven't seen the video you're talking about!"?

Yes, we know how he acts. He has flipped the bird before.

Like I said, go through the forum threads linked in this post, and you'll see more than enough evidence of Bush (and several others), flipping the bird. So, where does Nick Coleman go for his further evidence? Where does "He Who Is Nobody's Monkey" go for an unbiased opinion?

"The president knows his way around his middle finger," says John Aravosis, a Washington consultant and liberal blogger (he runs Americablog). Aravosis has helped keep the presidential finger story alive, and the White House took the unusual step of calling him to try to convince him that the videotape features Bush's thumb, not his middle finger. A weirdly elongated and misplaced thumb.

Okay, so Nick Coleman, a man who has made it almost his crusade--albeit a pathetic, clumsy and self-defeating crusade--to expose right wing blogs as a daisy chain of conservative "megaphones without oversight," turns to an equally partisan left wing blog to augment his point. NICK! Your biases are showing! You little non-monkey, you!

Aravosis doesn't buy it.

"The president thinks his conservative moral beliefs should be shoved down our throats. Then he flips people off. He's a phony. That's the story. I don't know about you, but my priest doesn't run around in public flipping people off."

How's that for a nice, detached, unbiased opinion for you?

But forget the finger. The real problem is the attitude of a president who flips the bird to representatives of the public -- however downtrodden, defeated and demoralized we press jackals might be.

Anyone who cares about the role of the press in a free society might worry when a president dismisses the press with an emperor's crude gesture.

I'd like to make a counter-argument here, using Nick's own words against him:

But forget the finger. The real problem is the attitude of press representatives who believe without question that the President flips the bird to representatives of the public -- however downtrodden, defeated and demoralized we press jackals might be.

Anyone who cares about the role of the press in a free society might worry when members of the press automatically and unquestioningly believe that the president dismissed them with an emperor's crude gesture

Nah, it's never the press that might be the problem. That's un-possible.

Getting back to the real Nick Coleman.

But maybe it was only a thumb. I'd like to believe that. Yes, the president gave the press a thumbs up! He really likes us! Just a thumb! The longest thumb we ever have seen.

Right in the eye.

Hey, here's an idea: let's bombard the Star-Tribune with all sorts of links discussing that bird-flip in question, with pointed inquiries of the people at the Star-Tribune why it is that they're reporting conjecture as fact. And then ask Coleman directly ( why he puts more faith in venomous left-leaning blogs while ridiculing right-leaning blogs.

Good to have you back, Nick. Sort of.

Posted by Ryan at 01:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 02, 2005

How You Get Your Headline

Johnny's mad. Again. Specifically, he's mad about this.

Bush: Intelligent Design Should Be Taught

That's the headline. Only, if you read the article, that's not what Bush said.

"I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said. "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes."

So, it would appear that a reporter asked Bush a leading question, Bush answered the question in a fairly inoccuous way, yet the headline drastically skewed what was said. Granted, a headline like:

Bush encourages discussion of different ideas

Just doesn't have that Bush is a Bible-thumping chimpmonkey angle that so thirsts for.

UPDATE: I should point out that I personally believe quite strongly in the theory of evolution, with some personal provisos, and I don't think it's a good idea to inject what is basically religious teaching into a public school environment. That said, I do wish that more of my elementary and high school classes encouraged students to think more critically about subject areas and that we could have had more discussions about competing ideas. The rote memorization of dates and names strikes me, in retrospect, as a complete waste of time. For example, I didn't strike me as all that important who the current leader of China was when I was nine years old, but I remember thinking it was fascinating that China had a form of government that was radically different than our own, and it would have been cool if we could have learned more about that and discussed it amongst ourselves. So, when Bush says something along the lines of

"I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes."

I kinda tend to agree with him.

Posted by Ryan at 02:43 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

August 01, 2005

Rambling Rhodes Blog Economy Takes Hit

Moderately-read personal Web page sees readership decline
By Ryan Rhodes

Rochester, Minn. (Rhodes Media Services) -- For the first month in about a year (with the exception of a Tara Reid breast spike in Nov. 2004), monthly readership dipped at Rambling Rhodes by about 1,000 visitors.


Financial investors in Rambling Rhodes (all none of them), expressed concerns regarding the decline, while a spokeman for the blog assured both readers and potential investors alike that the Rambling Rhodes blog economy is still rock solid. Employment at Rambling Rhodes remains at 100 percent, and all one employees report that their job satisfaction couldn't be higher, according to the spokesman.

"You have to understand, the kind of growth experienced at Rambling Rhodes over the past year just couldn't be maintained into perpetuity," said Ryan Rhodes, Rambling Rhodes CEO/president/marketing director/promoter/spokeman/ink cartridge replacer/porn surfer/toilet cleaning guy. "It had to dip down at some point, you know. Now we, by which I mean I, can get back to the serious business of making Rambling Rhodes a successful blog."

Rhodes said market analysis revealed that some readers have been off-put by the frequently-recurring permutations of a picture of the CEO's naked behind, while others surveyed said the "Dirty Mushroom" is probably the best part of the blog. Still others said they return frequently to see how Nick Coleman columns are being mocked.

"Personally, I think it's about time his Web blog thingee started to lose popularity," said Coleman, Minneapolis Star-Tribune metro columnist and all-around curmudgeon. "Blogs are dangerous things, like extra-sharp scissors, that people shouldn't be reading. Not that you can read scissors, I mean. Well, maybe you can. I'm sure I can come up with a tired and ultimately unfunny cliche about reading scissors, but I'm not going to right now."

Most everyone surveyed agreed that the author probably should limit his dabbling in political opinion because, in the opinion of one reader "he really doesn't seem to know what the hell he's talking about."

Rhodes said that, going forward, he envisions his blog's popularity will rebound and that his investors will be richly rewarded for sticking through these hard times.

"Blogs are a tricky market," said Rhodes. "Each day, hundreds, if not thousands more blogs flash into existence, and a similar number blink quietly out of the blogosphere. It takes tenacious blogging over a long period of time to establish a recognized blog presence on the Internet. We've done that here at Rambling Rhodes. Now we, by which I mean I, have to take this blog to the next level, whatever the hell that will be."

Posted by Ryan at 03:56 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Balls. . . BIG ONES

You can call him Chimpy McBushHitler. You can laugh at his mistalkeratings. You can hate him with every fiber of your being, should you so wish. But, you have to admit one thing: when the man retires at night and slips off his pants, he simply must have the biggest, brassiest, gargantuan-sized balls on the planet.

Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker. Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker. Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker.

Posted by Ryan at 01:35 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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