No Draft If Bush Reelected Say Officials

Seeking to assuage fears amongst young Islamic extremists, top Al Qaeda officials vowed that the draft will not be reinstated if George W. Bush remains president of the United States. "We don't see the need, frankly, given the debacle in Iraq, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, and the rising tide of anti-Americanism around the globe," said Al Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Khayr at a press conference today. "A second Bush term should ensure ample recruits for our cause, and allow us to continue to fighting the War For Terror using an all-volunteer jihad." Khayr also cited the wide variety of terrorist organizations that have now joined forces in opposition to US policies, and expressed confidence that, if given four more years, Bush would continue to serve as a uniter, not a divider.

Squirrelly’s Revenge

Okay, well, I was joking about stealing The Squirrelly’s flu shot in that last post. But one thing I mentioned is true, as imposible as it sounds: it’s been eight months since the kid up and got himself borned.

And guess what he figured out how to do last week. Here’s a hint: now when I set him down at some spot in the living room and wander into the den to play Diablo II for 20 minutes, I return to find him on the other side of the room and licking a light socket.

Yes, The Squirrelly has discovered the joys of locomotion. Naturally, he immediately used his newfound superpowers to make some minor revisions to the household pecking order.

The first day home from the hospital

“Vengence is mine!”

Possibly the only critters in the house less thrilled with this development than the kitties are The Queen and I, since we had decided to forego babyproofing the house in favor of steadfastly pretending that this day would never arrive. So now we have to, like, put padding on the edges of coffee tables, and I can no longer keep my collection of obsidian arrowheads in bowl on the living room floor.

And what did The Squirrelly do two days after learning to crawl? That’s right: he started grabbing onto things and pulling himself into a standing position, getting ready to start walking. JEEZE STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES FOR A SECOND WHY DON’T YOU KID?!

Oh well — maybe if he’s an early walker he’ll also be an earlier talker, and we can put him into kindergarden a year early, and then he’ll skip a few grades here and there and and start high school at the age of 10 and get all A’s and receive a full scholarship to some college and move out of the house when he’s 14 and then The Queen and I can start seeing movies again as early as 2016! Oh man, that’s gonna be great.

“Lookit me crawl! I’m your worst nightmare!”

Candy From A Baby

Being a new father is a lot of hard work, but it’s not without its advantages. My eight-month old son is eligible for the flu vaccine that I and the vast majority of other Washingtonians cannot receive, for instance. So today I took him in to the doctor, and, just as she was giving the shot, I quickly thrust my arm between the needle and my infant. Booyah, innoculated!

I knew that fatherhood would be a rewarding experience, but only now am I truly starting to see the benefits. ENJOY THE FLU CHILDLESS SUCKERS!!

Update: Dear The Onion, Jinx! You owe me a coke!

Comments = Broken?

I just upgraded to Movable Type 3.1, but despite that fact that I have the “Enable Unregistered Comment Moderation” field unchecked in the configurations, it’s still insisting that I approve all incoming comments. Has anyone else had this problem, and did you find a solution? If so, drop me a line … or tempt fate by — ha! — letting me know in the comments.

Update: Fixed! Thanks to everyone who tipped me off to the MT 3.x / mt-blacklist 2.x incompatibility — that was, indeed, the problem.

Point Counterpoint

There is a woman at my bus stop who, at least once every week, wears a t-shirt reading “If you don’t like my attitude, STOP TALKING TO ME!!”

I’ve often fantasized about making and wearing a t-shirt that says “I don’t like your attitude so much I’M NEVER GOING TO TALK TO YOU!!” But in my heart I know I won’t do it.

Games: San Juan

As long time readers of this site know, I used to review board games in this space fairly regularly. These days, though, it’s pretty rare to see a here — not because I am playing less (although The Squirrelly does crimp my ability to stay up until 3:00 am playing Risk and drinking Pabst), but because most of my board game reviews now appear in the magazine Undefeated. (Uhh, did I ever mention that I now write board game reviews and strategy articles for Undefeated? Maybe not. But I do. You should subscribe!)

A quick trip through my game review archive will reveal that my favorite game of approximately forever is the strategic powerhouse Puerto Rico. So it was a no-brainer for me to pick up San Juan, a card game based on Puerto Rico and by the same designer, Andreas Seyfarth.

As with it’s progenitor, the players of San Juan are trying to produce commodities and construct buildings; unlike the complex Puerto Rico, though — which comes equiped with game boards, money, colonists, ships, goods, buildings and plantations — San Juan is played entirely with a deck of cards. The cards depicts buildings and can be played as such, but, in an ingenious twist, can also be used as money (as you will see below).

On a turn, a player chooses one of five Roles. Each Role permits everybody to take a certain action, with the selecting player receiving some modest advantage. When someone chooses the Builder, for instance, each person may play a building from their hand and pay for it by discarding a number of additional cards equal to the building’s cost, with the person who chose Builder paying one less for his building. Other Roles allow players to produce goods, sell those goods to acquire more cards, or take cards directly from the deck. The game ends when someone builds their twelfth building.

The buildings are the heart of the game, and come in two varieties: Production Buildings and Violet Buildings. Production Buildings are used to generate commodities for later sale, while each Violet Buildings confers some special advantage onto the player who has it in his city. A players with a “Smithy,” reduces the cost of all Production Buildings for one, for example, while the owner of a “Tower” can hold up to 12 cards in his hand (the usual limit is seven). With 24 different Violet Buildings in the deck, the players can acquire a wide variety of benefits, and some of the cards interact in powerful ways. Discovering interesting combinations is part of the fun, and the myriad of building permutations allows for plenty of strategies for players to pursue.

Halfway through my first session of Puerto Rico I felt “the buzz,” the sense that the game before me was something an extraordinary. I have never felt the same about its little brother. That said, I enjoy San Juan quite a bit, and I’m always eager to play it. At first I liked S.J. because it “felt” like Puerto Rico in half the time. Now, after repeated playings, it no longer feels like P.R. at all — and that’s a good thing. Now view San Juan a fine game it its own right, and not just the card game equivalent of a tribute band. Yes, the game is quicker than P.R., and lighter, and more dependant on luck, but there’s quite a lot of room for skillful play, and the decisions to be made over what to build, what cards to discard when building, and what Roles to pick are always compelling.

San Juan is also one of those rare games rated from 2-4 players that actually works well with two players. And the art on the cards and game box is really rather handsome. Sure, it’s no Puerto Rico, but that’s a mighty high standard to hold any game too. Judged on its own merits, San Juan gets high marks as a solid, medium-weight strategy card game, and that’s good enough for me.

Not Me!

Sales of my Impeach Dean bumper sticker have become inexplicably sluggish in the last couple months, so I’m trying to think of a way to recoup lost revenue. With the election so close, though, it’s almost impossible to predict which way it’s going to go.

One thing is certain, however: regardless of who wins, approximately 46% of the population is going to be really pissed off about it. That’s why I’m thinking of marketing this all-purpose exculpation:

Or, for my principled customers:

Who possibly object to that sentiment? Ass = covered.

Bad Review Revue Extra: Surviving Christmas Is Awesome!

The critics are raving about Surviving Christmas:

“Absolutely awesome in its relentless mediocrity.” — Desson Thomson, WASHINGTON POST

“Hans Blix is still searching for bombs, he should check out Surviving Christmas, a crass, shrill and laughless disaster of a holiday comedy with a desperately mugging Ben Affleck that should be banned under the Geneva Convention” — Lou Lumenick, NEW YORK POST

“This ghastly comedy emits the subliminal whine of a sucking chest wound.” — Jessica Winter, VILLAGE VOICE

“Destined to offer Ben Affleck bashers satchels full of new ammunition.” — Brian Lowry, VARIETY

“At less that 90 minutes it’s chronologically short, but psychologically eternal.” — Chris Hewitt, ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS

“It’s the sort of stupid swill that gets spewed out by a studio committee, slapped together without a brain, a heart, or a good idea about where to put a camera or when to cut a scene.” — Wesley Morris, BOSTON GLOBRE

“Ben Affleck’s goose is cooked with Surviving Christmas, a movie that makes Gigli look like one of the crowning moments in his career.” — Jami Bernard, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

“From conception to execution, an unalloyed, unqualified, unmitigated disaster.” — Carrie Rickey, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

“A lame comic premise, a tiresome-bordering-on-obnoxious protagonist and a script devoid of humor is a lot to overcome for any movie, and Surviving Christmas is not the one to do it.” — Kirk Honeycutt, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“There are no survivors here.” — Lisa Schwarzbaum, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

One a scale of 1-100, Rotten Tomatoes currently has it as a 7.

Thanks to Daniel Jacobs for calling this train wreck to my attention.


I can go months without hearing a good joke, but yesterday, while trawling the Internets, I came across three that made me chuckle and/or openly weep.

Q: How many Spaniards does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: Juan.

* * * * *

Person 1: Knock knock.

Person 2: Who’s there?

Person 1: Control freak.

Person 1: Now you say “control freak who?”

* * * * *

Q: What’s the difference between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War?

A: George W. Bush had a plan to get out of the Vietnam War.

Note: Hundreds of more jokes in the comments.

Nobody Likes A Homonym

Worst news I heard yersterday: I was in the kitchen doing dishes and The Queen was out in the living room watching TV. Suddenly, I remembered that the Red Sox / Yankees game was on. “Quick, flip to KSTW and see what the score is,” I hollered. I heard the channel change, and The Queen shouted, “the Yankees won!”

Best news I heard yesterday: Then the Queen continued, “… and the Red Sox eight, bottom of the sixth!”