What’s A Cubit?

Bill Cosby is out of jail:

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the indecent assault conviction of Bill Cosby on Wednesday and ordered his release from prison after finding that he was denied protection against self-incrimination.

The court said that a prosecutor’s decision not to charge Cosby, 83, in an earlier case opened the door for him to speak freely in a lawsuit against him, thinking he would not incriminate himself criminally. A second prosecutor later used the lawsuit testimony in a criminal trial, and that testimony was key in his conviction years later.

Cosby was convicted on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault in 2018 of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004, and was serving a three- to 10-year sentence. He has served nearly three years of the sentence.

The state Supreme Court said Cosby cannot be retried on the same charges.

Let’s be clear from the outset — I hold no brief for Bill Cosby. Based on the available evidence, he’s a flat-out monster and richly deserved punishment for his misdeeds. I do hold a brief for due process, however, and there’s no question his prosecution was a violation of his rights. The right against self-incrimination is of paramount importance. All things being equal, I would rather not see Bill Cosby’s face in the future, once we get past this round of media attention.

So yeah, Bill Cosby as he is now carries little value, but what about Bill Cosby as he once was? He was one of the best comedians of the previous century, arriving on the scene around 1960, the same time as Bob Newhart (beloved), Jonathan Winters (much missed), Don Rickles (“problematic”), and Woody Allen (reviled, mostly on merit). Cosby first became famous for his “Noah” bit, which is still hilarious nearly 60 years on:

God: (standing on a chair behind Noah, he rings a bell once) NOAH.

Noah: (Looks up) Is someone calling me? (Shrugs and goes back to his work)

God: (Ding) NOAH!!

Noah: Who is that?

God: It’s the Lord, Noah.

Noah: Right … Where are ya? What do ya want? I’ve been good.

God: I want you to build an ark.

Noah: Right … What’s an ark?

God: Get some wood and build it 300 cubits by 80 cubits by 40 cubits.

Noah: Right … What’s a cubit?

I wouldn’t want to see Noah’s Menard’s bill — that much is certain.

Between the Noah bit, his Fat Albert routines, and the decade-long kids show based on those routines that was a staple of my childhood, Cosby was ubiquitous even before his 1980s era sitcom ruled the airwaves. He was America’s Dad. It was all a lie, yes — he is also a sexual predator and a hypocrite of the first order, but he was a wonderful interpreter of the human condition. What do we do with useful monsters? It’s a conversation worth having.

For Your Framing, T-Shirting, Bumper-Stickering And Lawn-Signing Pleasure

From the “Bitter Barrista” comedy videoblog, we get what may be the most perfect, if coarse, response to the excesses of modern authoritarian therapeutic culture. (Language occasionaly NSFW).

First, the vid:

Then, the line:

“Has it ever occurred to you that that it’s no one else’s responsibility to make sure that you’re emotionally stable? But you can’t comprehend that, can you? Because being an alleged victim of circumstances is the only identity that you possess. You use minor inconveniences to belittle other people just so you can inflate your own sense of self-importance, because you’ve never actually accomplished shit in your life. And if you were to take that time to look inwards to reflect, you would weep at the pathetic puddle you’ve reduced the confines of your life to. Then again, life was never a game of rock, paper, a scissor, where logic doesn’t always defeat entitled bitch! By the way, I called you Karen because I’m a nice person. What I mean is C__t”

When you apply this to so many peoples’ responses to so many of life’s travails – quarantining, the results of the last Presidential election, any sort of cognitive dissonance in education, society or the workplace – it really is perfect.

I suspect Bitter Barista is affiliated with Black Rifle Coffee Company, which can only be a good thing. And it’s one of the funniest channels on Youtube, which is a low bar, I know, but it jumps it with style.


I have these two jokes – which in a sense aren’t jokes at all.

First – when it comes to progressivism, yesterday’s joke is today’s proposal and tomorrow’s policy.

And the second: Babylon Bee is becoming less and less distinguishable with “real news”.

And now, the former “fact-check” site Snopes is trying to deplatform Babylon Bee because…well, apparently they think satire confuses people?

And it occurs to me – it’s all clear, and the dots all connect, now: Snopes is trying to deplatform Babylon Bee because they’re actually the real news, 2-3 years ahead of time.

Not The Dumbest Idea They’ve Had

Venezuela responds to US moves to deal with the unraveling of Venezuelan economic life:

“The ‘contact group’ you’re proposing is completely useless and unnecessary,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez fumed at a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Cancun, Mexico.

“The only way you could impose it would be to send in your Marines — who would meet with a crushing response from Venezuela if they dared make such a misstep.”

Getting conquered may be the only way to save Venezuela.

Almost Cops

Back when I worked as a nightclub DJ, it was easy to meet Green Berets, “Delta” members, Navy SEALs, former fighter pilots, CIA agents, and – my favorite – uncercover narcotics officers – at the bar.  Especially around last call.

My favorite?  One evening, a very aggressive little fella spent half an hour boasting about his physical prowess by the DJ booth (a gross misapplication of resources, if you catch my drift).   Then a fight broke out.   The bar’s staff – the bouncers and some of the bar staff – began moving toward the fight.

The little fella got up and joined them, telling people to move back or he’s arrest them, flashing a “badge” at bystanders, telling them – and at least one bouncer – that he’d arrest them if they interfered with him.

I got a quick look; it was a badge for County Sheriff’s Department SCUBA volunteer – basically about as official for purposes of arrest powers as Dwight Schrute’s Lackawanna County Reserve Sheriff’s Reserve uniform.

I pointed this out to the bouncers when the real police were on the way (as they were very often at that particular bar).  The little fella scampered away like he’d heard there was a steroid sale at GNC.

Anyway – it’s nothing new.  It’s just that some people get more into the game than others.


It’s Only Satire…

until it’s not.

I say that, because it’s a phenomenon that is verging on being a “Berg’s Law”; today’s jokes about the behavior of liberals are tomorrow’s news stories about the behavior of liberals.  I have no doubt that someone in the comment section will, before long, post an article from Mother Jones or Raw Story that reads like the link above – but non-fiction.

Too Good To Get Overly Concerned About Accuracy

The details of the story don’t entirely pass the sniff test – it’s from “fake news” leader the Huffington Post – but I’ll confess, I want it to be true:

Fast-food lovers are likely in awe over the sheer badassery of a 13-year-old girl who reportedly smacked down a gun held by a boy demanding she give him a McDonald’s Chicken McNugget.

The girl told police that her 12-year-old schoolmate first asked her for a McNugget inside McDonald’s in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood on Tuesday, the New York Daily News reports. When she declined, he allegedly followed her to a subway station, whipped out the weapon and held it to her head.

Even at gunpoint, the teen refused to hand over even one lump of breaded chicken paste, police said. The NYPD told the Daily News she knocked the gun away from the boy and told him to leave her alone.

One things for sure – that girl’s going to be a Republican someday; either she’s a badass or, like other Republicans in New York, she probably doesn’t exist.


I’ve never had much patience for sci-fi buffs.  Maybe it was the sci-fi buffs I spent my time around – I don’t know – but their (stereotypically) prickly anal-retentiveness over their genre always rubbed me the wrong way. 

And so I never really understood the whole “Firefly” thing – especially the show’s fans’ anger over the show’s (I gathered from listening to the tribe talking) sudden cancellation.   But working in technology as I do, I heard a lot of complaints.

No.  A lot.

Never could figure out what the fuss was about.

Then, last year, I finally fired up Netflix Streaming.  And Firefly – a “space western” produced by Joss Whedon – was one of the options.

So I started watching. 

And about ten days later, after getting to the end of episode 14, I started looking for the next epi. 

And looking.

And looking.

And remembering the growls and howls of my co-worker fanboys and fangirls.

And then I got angry.  And then just sad and disappointed at the waste of so much…potential. 

And I stayed a little of both.

Until today

UPDATE:  Or not. 

I guess it’s karma; for all the times I’ve yanked others’ chains, it’s probably fitting that I not only fell for a April Fools joke, but one that’s been around for a few years. 

OK.  The universe is at balance. 

For now.

(Play that joke on me again, and you’ll be awake, facing me, and armed…)

Minor Penalty for (Not) Checking

What’s one way to guarantee fighting will remain a staple of professional hockey?

Have Ralph Nader argue against it.

Reading his open letter to Gary Bettman, you can tell Nader hasn’t watched too much hockey in, say, the last several decades. After conceding there is no evidence directly connecting fighting to brain injuries…he says, “[r]epeated head trauma has shortened the careers of Pat LaFontaine, Eric Lindros, and Keith Primeau.  Currently, concussions are threatening the careers of Pittsburgh Penguins’ superstar Sidney Crosby and the Philadelphia Flyers’ Chris Pronger.”


First thing’s first: How many of those guys got concussions from fighting? Primeau maybe?

The off-ice deaths of Derek Boogard, Rick Rypien, and Wade Belak (all of whom Nader cites in his impassioned plea for new rules attention) have certainly re-focused discussion on how the NHL is addressing the issue of concussions and brain injuries.  Every sport is rightly doing so.  But changing any of the rules of hockey likely won’t significantly reduce concussions when the players on the rink are getting bigger, stronger and faster.  Witness the NFL where despite a litany of new rules designed to protect players most at risk for such injuries (QBs, WRs & DBs), concussions were only increasing (167 in total in 2010; the 2011 numbers haven’t been finished but were up to 146 by only week 12).  And this in a sport where fighting might earn you a five week suspension, not a five minute one.

If rules need to be adjusted to reduce concussions, it ought to be on the amateur levels where the differences in size and talent are more extreme than on the professional.  A 2010 Canadian study of junior hockey showed a higher rate of concussions per game than anything the professionals have to worry about.  And those concussions had nothing to do with fighting since fighting is already banned in such leagues.

If the NHL wants to take steps to finally ban actual fist-a-cuffs in games, fine by me.  But let’s not pretend that doing so accomplishes anything related to reducing brain injuries.

My Old Colleague Bucky

One day when I was 16 or 17, working at my first radio station (KEYJ in Jamestown, ND), I worked my usual Saturday “morning” shift – 5AM to 3PM.  At the end of the shift, one of the station’s full-timers, a guy we’ll call Bucky, came in after me to work the Saturday night shift.

I walked over to the newsroom to put the stories I’d done that day into the files.  “Bucky” sat down at the console and, at the end of the 3:00 network newscast at 3:05, spun the news sounder and started reading the news.

His first story got my ear to perk up.

“According to a publicly-available source, Jamestown man, John Smith [a pseudonym – Ed.], was convicted of shoplifting at the Pamida store.  We are unclear whether it’s the John Smith that lives at 1024 Second Avenue Southeast in Jamestown.  If you are John Smith of 1024 Second Avenue Southeast of Jamestown, please call the station at 252-1400 and confirm whether you are or are not the John Smith who was reported to have been convicted of shoplifting at Pamida.  In other news…”

In a few minutes, the newscast ended, and he rolled a song.  I walked into the control room.

“Um, Bucky?  Where did you get that thing about John Smith?”

He handed me a mimeographed sheet entitled “People Who Shoplifted At Pamida”.  It included a generic-looking list of names – although no details were given – and concluded with an ad for a store at the Buffalo Mall that sold mostly anti-shoplifting products for busiensses.

“Bucky, this is not official in any way!”

“That’s right!”, he said.  “That’s why I asked him to call in and confirm it was him!”, he said, cueing up another record as the sound of screeching brakes echoed up from the street below.  I looked out the window – it was the station’s owner and manager, climbing out of his car and racing toward the door.

“That’s not how you’re supposed to do it, though.  You get the confirmation before you go on the air…”

“Don’t worry!”, he chirped.  “I’m a journalist, reporting the news, and I’m protected by the First Amendment, and…” he started, as the manager threw open the control room door, reached over the console, grabbed Bucky by the hair and belt, bodily lifted him from the chair, and hefted him out into the hall.  “Take over, Mitch”, he bellowed, as I heard more screeching from the street below.  I looked out, and saw four lawyers and John Smith of 1024 Second Avenue Southeast climbing out of cars, as the GM tossed Bucky out into the street, bellowing “You’re Fired!” at the top of his lungs.

As the frenzy started below, the manager walked back into the studio.

“Sheesh.  Who taught that guy how to do reporting?  You do know that you clarify things that could damage peoples’ livelihoods and reputations before you air the allegations in public – don’t you?”

“Sheesh, Bob – of course I do!”

“Good.  OK, I’ll try to get someone in here to spell you.  Holy crap”.   He walked back to his office.

Apropos nothing at all.

Why, yes.  The story is completely fictional.  It’s why I put it in the “Humor” category, silly.

Trumped Up

The Donald leads the field.  I blame women and independents.

Are his 15 minutes of this election cycle up yet? 

It may only be a poll of 385 Republicans nation-wide, but carrying the increasingly limited gravatis of CNN as the poll’s sponsor, few news outlets will miss the opportunity to write the following headline: “Trump GOP’s frontrunner.”

CNN/Opinion Research 2012 Republican Nomination Survey

  • Donald Trump 19% [10%]
  • Mike Huckabee 19% [19%] {21%} (21%) [14%] {24%} (17%)
  • Sarah Palin 12% [12%] {19%} (14%) [18%] {15%} (18%)
  • Newt Gingrich 11% [14%] {10%} (12%) [15%] {14%} (8%)
  • Mitt Romney 11% [18%] {18%} (20%) [21%] {20%} (22%)
  • Ron Paul 7% [8%] {7%} (7%) [10%] {8%} (8%)
  • Michele Bachmann 5%
  • Mitch Daniels 3% [3%] {3%}
  • Tim Pawlenty 2% [3%] {3%} (3%) [3%] {2%} (5%)
  • Rick Santorum 2% [3%] {1%} (2%) [2%] {3%} (5%)
  • Haley Barbour 0% [1%] {3%} (3%) [3%] {1%} (1%)
  • Someone else (vol.) 3% [4%] {5%} (7%) [6%] {5%} (8%)
  • None/No one (vol.) 4% [3%] {4%} (4%) [0%] {5%} (2%)

Trump may be nothing more in the current field than a name ID with an awful comb-over, but the Trump Brand apparently has some political value – especially with Republican-leaning independents and women.  Trump is the first choice of both demographics in the poll, with 24% and 23% respectively. 

The poll may well represent the zenith of Trump’s 2012 candidacy.  On the same day that Trump may capture headlines with his likely dubious polling “lead”, the real estate mogul of New York City politically shot himself in the foot – twice.  First, by publicly claiming that he’d run as an independent if the GOP didn’t nominate him and secondly, by writing scathing notes to a Vanity Fair blogger over a profile.


Harry Truman once wrote an angry letter that caught the public’s eye.  Of course Truman, writing to Washington Post music critic Paul Hume, was defending his daughter against what he believed to be an unfair assault.  Truman’s critique was equal parts Oscar Wilde and Rocky Marciano in it’s prose.  And to channel Lloyd Bentsen: Mr. Trump, you’re no Harry Truman.

Donald’s “Trumpisms” have only continued in recent interviews.  In addition to his “birtherism” fetish, he’s “only interested in Libya if we take the oil,” “I would not leave Iraq and let Iran take over the oil,” and “I would tell China that you’re either going to shape up, or I’m going to tax you at 25% for all the products you send into this country.”

Trump has said he’ll wait until June to make a decision – or perhaps until “The Apprentice” gets off the TV renewal bubble and signed for another season on NBC.

Trump Card

P.T. Barnum runs for president. 

He’s vowed that he’s taking a presidential bid seriously.   He’s sent aides on “exploratory trips” for his nascent campaign.  He’s pledged millions of dollars towards his candidacy.  And what’s more, he’s taken seriously – by the media, the punditry, and the polls. 

Of course, all of that was in 2000.

When it comes to the media’s political fascination with eccentric billionaire millionaire massive debt holder Donald Trump, few could argue that the Donald is the rightful heir to 19th century showman P.T. Barnum.  For Trump’s multiple aborted presidential candidacies, ranging from 1988, to 2000, and now, prove Barnum’s misattributed cultural epitaph that indeed a sucker is born every minute.

Like Charlie Brown convincing himself that this time Lucy will not pull away the football, much of the media has engaged Trump’s third would-be presidential bid with increasing seriousness.  And why not?  Trump polls surprisingly well against the expected Republican field, placing fourth with 11% just days ago in a Fox News national poll.  Even Trump seems to be taking his latest political dalliance seriously enough to risk his most important attribute – his brand – by claiming to seek the nomination of one of the two major parties rather than another circa 2000 independent bid.

What remains harder to fathom is Trump’s appeal in the first place.  For a man known for his super ego, getting to the id of Donald Trump is vexing for many in the punditry.  Some view Trump as a symptom of the weak Republican field.  George Will likewise dismissed Trump as part of the gaggle of “spotlight-chasing candidates of 2012.”  Charles Krauthammer looked pained to even have to discuss Trump’s candidacy.  Others view Trump as the closing argument in their case of the failure of the political class:

Trump is suddenly “winning” as a political figure because the political class has failed. The authority of our political institutions is weak and getting weaker; it’s not that Americans ‘lack trust’ in them, as blue ribbon pundits and sociologists often lament, so much as they lack respect for the people inside them.

There is a lot of crazy surrounding the Trump phenomenon — some excellent, some embarrassing. But the massive fact dominating it all is that never before has such a famous outsider jumped into national politics with such an aggressive critique of a sitting president and the direction of the country — and never before has the response been so immediate and positive.

Um, not quite.

The novelty of Trump 2012 isn’t that novel.  The celebrity politician is nothing new – nor is Trump’s anti-Obama bravado.  Trump’s “aggressive critique” has largely been an ad hoc foreign policy mixing neo-conservative bluster and paleo-conservative isolationism with a chaser of paranoia that Obama is the country’s first super secret Nigerian sleeper agent.  Perhaps the only true novelty of Trump’s “candidacy” is that he would link his image to “birtherism.”  Or maybe Trump is merely projecting and he’s the sleeper agent sent to undermine the GOP.  After all, he did call Nancy Pelosi “the best.”

Understanding how an arrogant, over-the-top self-promoter has risen in the polling ranks of the GOP field doesn’t require searching for some sort of meta answer.  After a number of political cycles in which the presidential race started incredible early, for once the field is not settled nor is any candidate dashing out of the gates.  Trump represents a known name whose actively in the news – for better or for worse.  Few other contenders or pretenders can claim the same. 

The Donald wouldn’t mind being president but would rather use his candidacy as a perpetual trump card whenever his media image needs a boost.  Once the more serious candidates get underway and the early measures of success – fundraising, debate performances, endorsements and volunteers – become the most important yard markers, attention towards Trump will shrink.  With fewer and fewer onlookers to his latest political act, in Barnum like fashion, Trump will fold his tent and move on to his next show.

What We Can Learn from Great Tits

A recent study of Great Tits may lend commentary to America’s over-subscription to government entitlements.

In Britain, the world capital of amateur ornithology roughly half of households put food out for their feathered friends, and it is estimated that around 30m of the country’s birds are given nourishment this way every year. Other places are somewhat less generous, but the general principle holds. Encouraging birds is good, and what better way to encourage them than to feed them?

Dr Amrhein’s team conducted their study in the suburbs of Oslo, in the spring of 2007. The objects of their attention were 28 male great tits, each of which was observed at dawn three times, with 16-17 days between the observations.

The purpose of the study: to see if leaving food out for birds is beneficial or detrimental.

Dr Amrhein expected that males who were being given extra food would perform better during the dawn chorus than those that were not.

The “Dawn Chorus” being the primary element of the males’ mating ritual.

To his surprise, he discovered exactly the opposite. Those who received food supplements got lazy. He and his colleagues report in Animal Behaviour that 36% of the males whose feeders were filled started singing only after the sun had already come up. Among the birds without this extra food, that happened only 10% of the time. Moreover, the effect was sustained after feeders were removed, for it was still apparent at the time of the third observation.

Turns out gratuitous entitlements make birds lazy. Do you suppose it has the same effect on Americans?

All Wheel Drive Anxiety

I apologize.

You see when it snows like this – you know, constant, fine, light snow, the roads get slippery and when you hit the gas you slip and slide.

You sit and spin.

The thing is…ever since I got this car with all-wheel-drive, when I hit the gas, I just go.

Rain, snow, small animals, volcanic ash. Nothing can stop me!

Yes!!! It’s like I’m a God!!!!!

Lord of the Lanes! Baron of the Boulevard! Potentate of the Interstate!

Four-wheeled power – an advantage, right?! Sure…if you’re not in front of me when the light turns green.

And when you are, I get so very anxious. I’ve become an all-wheel-drive snob and I’m not proud of it.

“C’mon! Letsgo letsgo letsgo letsgo letsgo letsgo letsgo letsgo letsgo! What?! Are you paid by the hour!!!”

(not that there’s anything wrong with that)

It’s like being the guy that gets frustrated and everyone thinks is so annoying because his Mensa IQ affords him the luxury of “getting” things so much quicker, but then he has to wait until everyone else catches up while he rolls his eyes.

He’s not the one that gets the girl, is he.

Like that insipid commercial for AT&T where the portly passenger with the fastest network gets the download quicker than everyone else in the car, and laughs out loud. Thirty more seconds go by and the rest of the passengers get the download and do the same.

They’re the popular ones. They’re late, but having all the fun.

It’s lonely at the top.

This winter we’ve had way more than our share of snow and as a result we’ve been sitting in lines, three lanes wide, like cattle in a slaughter line, waiting waiting waiting to get to the office or home.

And there I sit, with the power to go go go!!!  …if it weren’t for the 1985 Crown Vic in front of me.

It’s like a curse.

God I miss my Harley.

Ohio’s Cinderella Man

By now you’ve seen the viral YouTube video and the media darling it made of Ted Williams.

But is this a true story of redemption or a soon-to-be cautionary tale?

Only time will tell. I’m rooting for him. This guy not so much.

What do you think?

Should The YouTube Guy with God’s Gift of a Voice Get a Second Chance?
Yes. This is how Mitch found Johnny Roosh
No. Columbus would have to find a new Community Organizer
What did you say? I was mesmerized by his sultry smooth articulations.
Check out that penmanship. Maybe he should try blogging instead.
Uh, don’t you mean 7th chance?
Did Bambi’s mother get a second chance?
Hey, if Dick Clark can do it…
Yes, but who will save the mime on 6th and Hennepin?
Where’s Oprah when you need her?
No, isn’t this is how we found Mark Dayton?
pollcode.com free polls