Tuesday, February 06, 2007

All quiet on the western front

Wrapping up my day in L.A. on a business trip. Feeling like I'm in a little over my head (anticipating tough contract negotiations tomorrow with guys who have more years of experience than I have of breathing). But, had a nice dinner with my European colleague, and introduced him to Red Lobster for the first time (his choice, not mine). Having one of those nights where I feel acutely just how far, far away I am from my little Indiana hometown.

And now to my hotel bed, to dream of shrimp scampi and indemnity clauses. Oy.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Overhead in the Midwestern Bedroom

The time: 2:27 am. The setting: the Midwestern Bedroom.

*The Gent reaches over and places his hand on Mrs. MG's lovely thigh*

Mrs. MG: NO!

MG: I just want you to roll over. You're snoring.

Mrs. MG: Oh . . . sorry.

California Man Sues to Take Wife's Last Name

A California man has filed a lawsuit alleging that the state's laws unfairly discriminate against men who wish to take their wives' last names by making the process far more cumbersome than for women taking their husbands' names. Among the roadblocks faced by male name-changers:
In California, a man who wants to take his wife’s name must file a petition, pay more than $300, place a public notice for weeks in a local newspaper and then appear before a judge.
It's stunning that this issue persists in present-day America. Although instances of men taking their wives' last names remain the exception, there is no valid reason for the law to treat men and women differently in this regard. I'd like to chalk this up to legislatures simply not thinking about this issue, and thus not equalizing the law as Georgia(!), Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and North Dakota have. But part of me wonders what the landscape would look like if a movement developed to change these laws nationwide. I wonder how many voices for "traditional family values" would come out against such changes? Maybe very few -- after all, stumping for the blatant preservation of patriarchy isn't likely to poll as well as discriminating against gay Americans.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Appetite for Tribulation

With Pat Robertson predicting everything but a plague of locusts for 2007, the Gent thought it an appropriate time to check in on our old friend The Rapture Index, which after a strong uptick in 2006 starts 2007 at ... drumroll, please ... 163! That places us well into the "fasten your seatbelts" category of "end time activity" measured by the index.

Some highlights from the current Rapture Index's predictive factors:
01 False Christs
A gentleman in Florida has made news by claiming to
be Christ.
03 Satanism:
In England, satanists are believed responsible a series
of sickening "satanic rite" attacks on farm animals.

With the number of people claiming to be the savior, I'm shocked the index only puts "False Christs" at three. Heck, there are that many in the upper levels of the Bush Administration.
04 Unemployment:
The US job market shows signs of improvement.
05 Inflation:
Despite pressure from oil, core inflation remains stable.
06 Interest Rates:
Federal Reserve raises the core interest rate to 4.75%
07 The Economy
The economies of The U.S. and Japan show healthy growth.
08 Oil Supply/Price
The price of oil drops to around $63 per barrel.
09 Debt and Trade:
The U.S. federal budget deficits has declined.

I didn't realize Alan Greenspan had such a strong interest in the Rapture.
20 Tribulation Temple
The lack of activity has downgraded this category.

Let me tell you, I spent New Year's at the Tribulation Temple, and the activity was anything but "downgraded," if you know what I mean.
29 Liberalism
Democrats take control of the U.S. Congress

As the Rapture Index explains, "It's not just a part of the Democrat Party. Liberalism is what could be called the 'true conspiracy.' Liberal media are 100 percent controlled by the forces that bow to humanistic ideology." Well done, forces of humanistic ideology! That get-out-the-vote effort really paid off.
33 Beast Government:
Romania and Bulgaria join the EU.

Wow, if the EU is the Beast Government, excessive bureaucracy and stinky cheese are clearly the devil's playthings.
43 Climate:
Earth's oceans have cooled in the last three years.

I guess that 3,000-year-old ice shelf that recently broke free in the Arctic needs to keep up with the Rapture Index better.

There you have it, End Times fans! Stay tuned for future updates on the Second Coming. In the meantime, whet your appetite for tribulation by blowing away a few sinners in the Left Behind video game.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bobby Knight: #1 Jerk

Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight earned his 880th win on New Year's Day, making him the winningest coach in NCAA men's basketball history. There can be no question that Knight is one of the sport's greats from the standpoint of winning games and graduating his players.

But that doesn't mean he isn't still a complete jerk.

The Gent graduated from Indiana University in 1998, two years before university president and now head of the NCAA, Myles Brand, gave Knight the ax for violating a "zero tolerance" policy regarding Knight's unacceptable public behavior. In the years since, any time I've traveled the country and mentioned my alma mater, I have almost universally been greeted with comments to the effect of "IU? Oh, Bobby Knight! Don't throw any chairs!" That is the legacy of Bobby Knight -- one of the premier research universities in the country is associated more with the tantrums of a bully than with academic excellence.

The three most popular people in Indiana are Jesus, Larry Bird and Bobby Knight, and not necessarily in that order. The difference between Knight and the others is humility and class. Winning matters, Coach, but so does how you win. That's a lesson you never grasped nearly as well as a player's neck.

Friday, December 29, 2006

End of days

As 2006 dwindles away, Saddam Hussein's days may be numbered as well. The grim calculus of when to execute the former dictator is somewhat unsettled, due to the onset, of all things, of a religious holiday:

Saddam Hussein may be hanged within hours, senior Iraqi officials said on Friday, but the start of a week-long Muslim holiday might yet delay the execution.

Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and key officials met through the evening to try to settle the details, official sources said. Maliki has said he wants the ousted president put to death before the end of the year but, with Iraq on the brink of civil war, some Sunni and Kurdish leaders would prefer delay.

A senior Iraqi source told Reuters key legal issues were resolved and he could go to the gallows shortly. Among those meeting Maliki were the justice minister, who is responsible for executions, and the national security adviser, who may have to deal with any violent reaction from Saddam’s fellow Sunni Arabs.

Hussein is a monster who should never breathe free again. He committed and ordered unspeakable acts against innocents too numerous to contemplate. That being said, he should not be executed.

The execution of a criminal is never an ennobling act for the society carrying out the sentence. Execution is born of a thirst for revenge that, although frequently understandable, is an inexcusable basis for public policy. Whatever satisfaction a given execution may provide for the family of individual victims pales next to the corrosive effects the institution of capital punishment has on the rest of society. Where the slaking of blood-lust is enshrined in law, a people cannot hope for a government of compassion.

In Hussein's case, execution carries with it the added disadvantage of permitting that butcher to go to a martyr's death, at least in his own mind. It is a grand and, frankly, easy way out for him. Much better that he be locked away to wait out the end of his days -- impotent, irrelevant and forgotten.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Overheard In the Midwestern Household

MG: Look, the dog has a gray hair on his snout. He's too young for that.

Mrs. MG: Huh, he sure does. You are too young for that, buddy.

MG: I can't wait to get more gray hairs. I think it looks good on guys.

Mrs. MG: Some guys wear it well. You probably could. We can dye your hair gray if it means that much to you.

MG: Nah, that would be a little too Anderson Cooper.

Mrs. MG: What's wrong with that? Anderson Cooper's hot!

MG: He's not hot. He's a good-looking guy, but I wouldn't say hot.

Mrs. MG: It's his brain that makes him hot. If I was out to dinner with Anderson Cooper, I'd find him hot. I wouldn't kick him out of bed.


Mrs. MG: But between Anderson Cooper and Hugh Jackman, who gets my loins shaking? I gotta go with Hugh Jackman.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Have you seen my weiner?

Posting pics of one's pets seems to be all the rage among bloggers. The Gent is not immune to the siren call of pimping the furry little view-grabbers; therefore, we present the first installment of The Weiner Blog.

Meet Otto. He's a 5-year-old miniature Dachshund out of Michigan weighing in at 10 pounds. He enjoys long naps in the sun, long naps on laps, long naps on his bed, and socks. Don't even get us started on the socks.

The Gent promises many more installments, because, as we say in the Midwestern Household, "all the world loves a weiner dog."