Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Vive le France
Taking all bets! Who ya got in the election to decide the next President of the French Republic, (in order of ladies first) Segolene Royal or Nicolas Sarkozy?

BTW South Song of the Day
Wheatus, "Teenage Dirtbag" from Wheatus (Mt. Love)

Commentary: Say what you will, but I really love this song.

"Her name is Noel
I have a dream about her.
She rings my bell,
I got gym class in half an hour.
Oh how she rocks,
In Keds and tube socks,
But she doesn't know who I am
And she doesn't give a damn about me.


Man, I feel like mold.
It's prom night and I am lonely.
Lo and behold, she's walking over to me.
This must be fake,
My lip starts to shake.
How does she know who I am?
And why does she give a damn about...

'I've got two tickets to Iron Maiden, baby.
Come with me Friday, don't say maybe.
I'm just a teenage dirtbag, baby,
Like you....'"

The rest of the album is bollocks, though.
Shoot! I can't believe I forgot to celebrate National Gorilla Suit Day again this year. Dagnabbit! Remember, kids, only two days until Groundhog Day (February 2) and less than four months until Narwhal Day (May 23). Start preparing your gray T-shirt today!

Spy vs. Spy
Spylink. Litvinenko's still dead. We still aren't sure who killed him, though I, of course, suspect the Bulgarians.
BTW South Song of the Day
The Pogues, "Fairytale of New York" from The Best of The Pogues (T.L.A.M.)

Monday, January 29
Blink-182, "What's My Age Again?" from Enema of the State (Mt. Love)

Sunday, January 28
Mike Rowe & Dave Barsky, "The Official Unofficial Dirty Jobs Theme Song" from the Dirty Jobs episode "100th Dirty Job Special" (T.L.A.M.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"The kid's all hopped up on serum!"

Vote For Kodos
I am considering writing a series of short treatises with the vainglorious ambition of making my Republicanism make sense to my numerous Democrat/lefty/pinko friends. They are a trucculant rabble and quite impervious to logic, but there is something in the endeavour which appeals to me. Until then, here's some grand old propaganda for the Grand Old Party.

A fabulous jest. Hyperlink! If only I'd had access to this gag on my flight from Memphis to Dallas-Fort Worth, for use against the jerkbag in the aisle seat (I had bitch) who persisted in expounding upon the myriad virtues of the Lone Star State. Thanks, MZone!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

"We're in the belly of the lair of The Monarch's hideout!"

The Explorers Club
No. X: President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points. (As always when exploring the Great War, have a care not to succumb to the abject sadness and boundless tragedy of the entire affair.)

The Empire of Pictus
Periods of Pic history:
pre-Purik states
Purik Empire
--Purik Union
--Ascension of the Emperors
The Anarchy
--Reign of Tivoria the Pretender
Wars of Parliament
Wars of Empire
--Death of Prince Vykor, Lord Prinzlo
--Coronation of Her Dread Majesty Varek I (the Great), Emperor of the Pic
--Conquest of the Far West
The Satrapy
--Great Rebellion
--The Pox
--secret alliance with the Commonwealth of Phythria
--War of Attrition
The Restoration
--End of the Satrapy
--Battle of the Reconquest
--Fortification of Pictus
The Halcyon Century
--Flight of the Lightrunner
--Reception of the Rynoran Ambassador
--Discovery of Aekyron
Autocratic Wars
--The Viceroy's War
--Erix & Aeloos Wars
--Accession of the Commonwealth of Phythria, Empire of the Pic becomes Empire of Pictus
--Hive Invasion
--Annihilation of the Hive
--Rynoran Blockade
--Rynlander War
--Pact with the Aepyrian Kingdom
--Siege of Aekyron
--War of Maneuver
--Enkari Civil War
--Communion War
--Siege of the Herzabach Line
--Annihilation of Kyryl
--March Through the Autocracy
Empire of Many Nations (First Great Imperial Expansion)
--Accession of the Shogunate of Enkariworld
--Accession of the Aepyrian Kingdom
--Accession of the Hsi Church
--Sarkese Civil War
--Formation of the League of Sarkhala
--The Lost Squadron
Vanguard War
Second Great Imperial Expansion
--Accession of the Republic of Jurai
--Accession of the Suzerainty of the Erixish
--Accession of the Rynlander Palatinate

War with either or both the Celestial Caliphate and the Xiro Hegemony seems inevitable.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
Europe, "The Final Countdown" courtesy of iTunes (Mt. Love)
BTW South Song of the Day
The Blues Brothers, "Looking for a Fox" from Blues Brothers 2000 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Honolulu Blue Forever
The website of the Detroit Lions has a story about inept coach Rod Marinelli's links to successful coaches Tony Dungy (of the Indianapolis Colts) and Lovey Smith (of the Chicago Bears): loserlink. The point, surely, is to reassure Lions fans that even though Millen's Man Marinelli is an abysmal failure, other coaches have succeeded by using his defensive schemes. The aim is for some of Dungy's and Smith's luster to rub off on Millen's Man Marinelli. But to my way of thinking comparing Millen's Man Marinelli to Tony Dungy and Lovey Smith really just serves to highlight just how substandard a coach Rod Marinelli is. The 2005 Lions were 5-11, and that was bad enough to get head coach Steve Mariucci fired; Millen's Man Marinelli's 2006 Lions were even worse, finishing 3-13. Dungy and Smith have coached their teams into the Super Bowl; Rod Marinelli coached his team to two fewer victories than a head coach who was unceremoniously fired midseason.

Of course, thinking can't possibly be encouraged inside an organization run by W.C. Ford and Matt Millen; so, it's no surprise that even the webmasters are bad at their jobs.

Coming soon: "To Be or Not To Be," the debate to remain a fan of the Lions or foresake the Honolulu Blue and Silver forever.
You know what kicks ass? The red panda.

Hat Day!
Though The Office was a rerun, Hat Day shan't be refused! The Mountain of Love wore the Red Army hat I was given by From Russia With Love. I wore the Mountain's Space Ghost: Coast to Coast baseball cap. I love Hat Day!

BTW South Song of the Day
Mono Puff, "Pretty Fly" from It's Fun to Steal (Mt. Love)

Wednesday, January 24
Potshot, "Mu330" from Potshot A Go Go (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Potshot is a Japanese ska band. Mu330 is an American ska band. Both bands have released albums through Asian Man Records. "Mu330" is a Potshot song about going to an Mu330 show. "Raw Fish" is an Mu330 song about, among other things, touring in Japan. I can't say that Mu330 is big in Japan, because I just don't know, but I do know that if Mu330 isn't bigger in Japan than they are in America, they prefer touring in Japan to touring in America. I don't know if Potshot is bigger in Japan than Mu330, but I think that Mu330 is bigger in America than Potshot. Regardless, Mu330 and Potshot both need to be bigger in both Japan and America.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

It's Hat Day at BTW South, boys and girls, get excited. The rules are very simple; so, you can easily celebrate Hat Day wherever you live (which, if you are at all fortunate, is not in *shudder* Texas): simply wear a hat - festive or dignified, it's your choice - while eating dinner on Thursday and PRESTO! you've celebrated Hat Day!
Death ray. I don't care that the ADS is "harmless," you know and I know that we're now just a hop, skip, and a jump from practical death ray technology. "What a time to be alive."

And in addition to our death rays, we'll be bewildering the enemy with this diabolical little trap: black ice. I love the entire concept of DARPA: better killing through science.

And here's an addendum to the recent "Animals at War" (Part I and Part II) episodes of The Explorers Club: Jaws.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Vote for Kodos
Red... as in Heinz Ketchup
Drat! Well, poo, this would have been so much fun. Well, still, well done, Swift Boat Vets. As fine a job of dirty tricks politicking as I've ever seen. (In part because I wass too young to appreciate the job Lee Atwater did for the first President Bush in '88.)

White... as in the White Feather
The following is exactly why I am a Republican: bullshit. If you want to oppose the war, that's both right and proper. Contrary to the myth the pinkos in the NEA try to impress upon the all-too impressionable youth of America, vehement disagreement, not bland consensus, is the key to a vigorous and prosperous democracy. I support the war because I supported the war in 2003; I thought going to war was the right decision, and what kind of a spineless nancy would I be if I changed my mind as soon as the going got tough? If you don't support the war, that's fine, too. You're wrong, but in America you are free to be as wrong as you want.

But to fund the war and in the same breath pass a purely symbolic resolution disagreeing with the war? Grant's Tomb, is this what the once proud party of Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman has come to? If the Democrats are against the war, they should have the courage to pull the plug, to provide just enough funding for a chaotic and cowardly withdrawl from Iraq. You can't have it both ways. Is victory in Iraq important or unimportant? Pick a position, because these lily-livered half-measures do a grave disservice to the Republic.

Blue... as in "Blue State"
Fortunately for America, though certainly distressing for the gentleman in question, Senator Joseph Biden (D, Delaware) will never be President of the United States. So, my lovely lefties, whom do you favor as the Dems' presidential nominee in '08, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D, New York), Senator Barack Obama (D, Illinois), former Vice President Al Gore (D, Tennessee), or ***insert your own candidate here***?
Death to New Blogger
The archives are gone. The posts are still there, editable now that I've switched to New Blogger (synonymous with New Coke) in a way they never were with Old Blogger, but they are no longer available to you, my treasured readers, only to me, your humble narrator. The extremely unhelpful "Help" section says that the archiving feature is not supported by New Coke/Blogger, but it does not say if any of those Google cuntrags are working to correct this grievous shortcoming. For Bog's sake, there's even a graphic in the upper lefthand corner that won't load correctly anymore! How superior is the New Coke/Blogger if it doesn't even work as well as Blogspot Classic?

I do not know how, I haven't an inkling, but even if it takes a thousand years I shall revenge this affront.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I bought the latest issue of Time (or is that TIME?) magazine because of the fetching cover: a photograph of the Great Wall of China color corrected to only shades of red, with an enormous yellow star (borrowed of course from the flag of the People's Republic) rising from behind a hill and the caption "China: Dawn of a New Dynasty." I haven't read the China article yet, but having read a piece in the business section I am seriously jonesing for an iPhone.

BTW South Song of the Day
Mu330, "Neighbor" (live) from Oh Yeah! (Mt. Love)
Vote For Kodos: The State of the Union
Boy howdy, I love the State of the Union address. I particularly enjoyed President Bush's backhanded congratulations to the new House and Senate majorities. Backhanded, you say? He didn't congratulate the new "Democratic majorities," he congratulated the new "Democrat majorities." That's just one of the many ways in which we Republicans show our disdain for the Democrats, by butchering the adjective form of their party's name. Hee hee.

I thought President Bush gave a good speech, cheerful when talking about the homefront but appropriately grim on the ongoing battle against radical Islamist terrorism in both the Sunni (al Qaeda) and Shia (Iran) flavors. And despite loving the "Democrat" jab, I enjoyed the acclaim heaped on Speaker Pelosi for being the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House. I disagree with Pelosi's politics, but any step toward gender equality is a good one. And the "exemplary Americans" part of the speech was the best I've ever seen; between Dikembe Mutombo (whom I'd had no idea had become an American; that's awesome!) and Wesley Autrey, the normally moribund "ain't these bastards great" section of the State of the Union elevated the whole evening. The best State of the Union ever? Maybe, maybe not, but certainly a damn good time at the ol' Capitol!

If you didn't watch the State of the Union adress, please be so kind as to go to hell. An informed, involved citizenry is the lifeblood of the Republic and if you don't want to be a part of that, I'd ask you to please refrain for sullying this blog with your apathy. And now for a rousing chant of "U-S-A!": U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

America kicks ass.
Oh, those wacky Germans: Rent-A-Mob!

Monday, January 22, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
The Chinkees, "Merry Mary, Will You Still Marry Me?" from Searching for a Brighter Future (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I had an anthroplogy professor who liked to make a production of distinctly pronouncing Mary, merry, and marry, but to be honest they all sounded just as much like homophones when she said them as when said by the rest of us, who revel in their homophonic nature. She was a delightful nut.
A day late, but never a dollar short, it's my favoritest feature of The Secret Base...

The Explorers Club
No. IX: The crater Odysseus and the Ithaca Chasm on sundered Tethys, a moon of Saturn. The potentially causal link between Odysseus and the Ithaca Chasm is why I favor the epithet "sundered Tethys."

Jay (and Silent Bob) Strike Back... Some More
An excerpt of Jay (portrayed by Jason Mewes) talking about Becky (portrayed by Rosario Dawson) in one of the deleted scenes from Clerks II: "The girl with the big, big titties? Yo, how was she? She looks like she could fuck a Mormon into monogamy."

No offense, Daddy Dylweed. "Hey, Pete, is it true what they say about Mormons?"

BTW South Song of the Day
Mu330, "Since the Short-Long's Gone" from Chumps on Parade (Mt. Love)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
John Lee Hooker, "Boogie Chillun" from "Boom Boom" and Other Classics (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: John Lee Hooker is among the thousand reasons why The Blues Brothers is "The Greatest Motion Picture of All Time."

Also, I blame Saturday Night Latham for this. Way to move to Colorado, you jinx.

Vote For Kodos
Also, two years from today we shall have a new President of the United States. I feel that I can safely say the eight years of the Bush Administration (2001-2009) will have gone by much more quickly than the eight years of the Clinton Administration (1993-2001). Tempus fugit.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Having recently seen both The Oh in Ohio and The Shape of Things, two films in which Paul Rudd's characters, Jack and Adam, respectively, undergo significant physical transformation, staring off looking disshevled and pudgy and ending up looking like Paul Rudd, the thought passed through my head, "If I were Laura instead of Mike, I'd totally want to fuck Paul Rudd." But there is a nagging doubt, something inherent in the declaration that makes me suspect it would wilt before even a gentle inquisition.

My parents didn't know my sex until my birth; quite sensibly, they had made preparations for either eventuality, selecting the name Mike should I emerge a born, Laura should I prove a girl. So, had a different one of Dad's swimmers breached Mom's egg, I'd be Laura Wilson. And had I been born a girl and my brother born still a boy, he'd be Michael Wilson, not David. (The Mountain is always called David. Not Dave. Never Davey. David. Had he been born Michael, would he be Mike, like me, or always Michael? I've always said that one should never trust Michaels, meaning a Michael who is never called Mike, Mikey, or some variation thereof.)

But when I say, "I'd be Laura Wilson," that's not even remotely true. Mom and Dad's middle child would be Laura Wilson. The L.A.W.'s younger sister and the Mountain of Love's older sister, the younger of his two older sisters, would be Laura Wilson, but "I" wouldn't be Laura Wilson. Each of Dad's swimmers and each of Mom's eggs, though cut from the same genetic cloth, had potentially vast differences; one swimmer was not a clone or another. Exhibits A, B, and C: The L.A.W., the Mountain of Love, and me. Had a different swimmer breached the same egg from which I grew, a discrete individual would have resulted. The lovely Laura Wilson, extrapolating from my actual sister's beauty, would be entirely distinct from the paunchy Mike Wilson you all know and loathe. I am Mike Wilson. Being male is not incidental to how I perceive myself, to how I react to the wider world. And that's not even taking into consideration the genetic differences between Laura and Mike.

I really don't have a leg to stand on vis-a-vis Laura wanting to schtup Paul Rudd. I can say that if I, if Mike, felt even the slightest bit of physical attraction to men, he'd desire Paul Rudd, but I cannot in good conscience make any claim to know the foci of Laura's lust.

I am confident we shall revisit this topic.

Friday, January 19, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
Mono Puff, "Night Security" from It's Fun to Steal (Mt. Love)

The Empire of Pictus
Realm of Her Dread Majesty Tieryn I, Emperor of Pictus, Captain of the Imperial Army, Lord Prinzlo
Parliamentary Prefectures
Commonwealth of Phythria
Shogunate of Enkariworld
Aepyrian Kingdom
Hsi Church
Republic of Jurai
Suzerainty of the Erixish
Rynlander Palatinate
- - - - -
Protectorate of Tehl Laria
Communion Interdiction Zone

Allies of the Empire
Otrosi League
Royal Akari Confederation
Sovereignty of the Spada
Aeloosian Federation

Neither Allies Nor Adversaries
Rynoran Republic
Axis of Freedom
Sur'ka Directorate

Adversaries of the Empire
Xiro Hegemony

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hat Day!
The Mountain of Love wore his black GB Water Polo knit hat, made all the more cool by the embroidered water polo ball. I wore the Mountain's ten-gallon cowboy hat, the one that normally sits atop the gnome lamp next to the TV in BTW South's living room. I love Hat Day!

And this, of course, adds a whole new level of irony to Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China: star wars.

BTW South Song of the Day
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Everything You Know is Wrong" from Bad Hair Day (T.L.A.M.)
The Tangled Webber of Lies
Not to indulge in name-dropping, but I have actually had the pleasure of a one-on-one meeting in University of Michigan Athletic Director Bill Martin's office. I have not always agreed with everything Martin has done, but I have agreed with 90% of his decisions. He's a straight shooter, or, if he is a deceiver, he regards deception as not a vice but a craft, one he has practiced to perfection. Kudos to AD Martin for his even-tempered restraint: The Devil Webber.
Pop Quiz
Compare and contrast the meanings of the words Hellenic and Hellenistic.
BTW South Song of the Day
The Hippos, "Pollution" from Heads Are Gonna Roll (Mt. Love)

Tuesday, January 16
Mustard Plug, "Throw a Bomb" from Pray for Mojo (T.L.A.M.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Pot and the Kettle
Uproar. Racism must be opposed and racists must be denounced, but where in the high holy hell does a junior minister for the Indian government find the moral authority to claim that India has "firmly rejected all forms of discrimination and racism"? India, where scores of people are slaughtered every single year in interreligious warfare between Hindus and Muslims. India, which still has a motherfucking caste system.

The asinine bastard on Big Brother is worthy of condemnation and ridicule, but not by an official of a country wherein tens of thousands of people are regarded as "untouchable" for purely arbitrary reasons.

The Faustian Tale of Joe D and the Tangled Webber of Lies
Words fail me. The Devil Webber. (The story is by Saturday Night's feisty sister.) I wanted to write "fuck Joe Dumars," but how could I write that about Joe D? "Curse you, Joe Dumars" and "A pox on Joe Dumars" both seemed too flowery and nearly certain to be misinterpretted by readers as a jest. I suppose I shall have to fall back on that great stalwart of bitter disappointment: damn you, Mr. Dumars.

Because of Chris Webber, the Fab Five's exploits and very existence have been purged from the official history of NCAA basketball. Like something out of a Stalist nightmare, the NCAA's and U of M's official position is that those two seasons worth of games were never played. The University of Michigan had a men's basketball team in neither the 1991-92 nor 1992-93 seasons. And now Joe Dumars has recruited this base villain, the Benedict Arnold of the University of Michigan, to play for the Detroit Pistons?

Basketball is a magnificent game, but the National Basketball Association is an abomination. I do not care about the Detroit Pistons, I care about Detroit, and though the Pistons play way out in the hinterland of Auburn Hills, Detroit has benefited in both prestige and morale from the Pistons' recent successes. (A mirror of how I feel about the Detroit Tigers, the paramount difference being I do not regard the entire sport of basketball with contempt and disdain.) So, I have rooted "for" the Pistons as far as I support whatever eases the Motor City's considerable burdens.

No more. Chris Webber is a fiend. Whatever little emotional investment I make in the NBA will be solely devoted to wishing disaster, debacle, and doom upon the hated Detroit Pistons. Damn you, Mr. Dumars. Thank you for everything you've given Detroit, as both a player and an executive, but damn you.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Jerk Store
Ideally, the Mountain and I try to arrive at the exercise room at approximately 4:15. That way, my forty-minute run covers the tail end of Around the Horn and the lion's share of Pardon the Interruption; sometimes we watch SportsCenter through the PTI "Big Finish" and then switch to TBS to catch Seinfeld in progress, but usually we go to Seinfeld right away. (The Mountain lifts while I run, then I lift while he runs.)

As things worked out today, he worked out much earlier and I got to our pleasant little tortune chamber about half an hour later than normal. The guy using the treadmill was watching CNN and by the time he told me I could change the channel to whatever I wanted, I was already ensnared by the siren song of Lou Dobbs. I hate Lou Dobbs and his "let's build a wall around America and pretend the rest of the work doesn't exist" brand of populism. (In fairness, I hate almost all brands of populism, but only because I fear and distrust the populace.) Lousy xenophobes. Anywho, when I finally regained my senses and switched to Seinfeld, I found myself in the Xanadu of the "jerk store" episode, officially titled "The Comeback."

At BTW South, we reference George's "jerk store" line all the cotton-pickin' time. At the most random moments, one or the other of us will tense his body and hiss, "Jerk store! Jerk store is the line!" Glee flooded my mind as soon as I realized "jerk store" was in my future.

George is stuffing his face with shrimp.
Reilly: "Hey, George, the ocean called. They're running out of shrimp!"
George: "Well, Reilly, the jerk store called, and they're running out of you."
Reilly: "That's okay, 'cause you're their all-time best seller!"
George: Oh, yeah? Well, I slept with your wife!"
***stunned silence***
Boss (whispers): "His wife is in a coma."

Happy happy joy joy.

But wait, there's more!

Among the myriad glories of Seinfeld is that everyone - EVERYONE - guest-starred in at least one episode over the course of the show's nine seasons. Just the other day, we spied Sam Lloyd, best known as Ted the lawyer on Scrubs. Jerry's masseuse girlfriend who won't give him a massage? (The episode's titled "The Masseuse.") Jennifer Coolidge, Stifler's Mom from the American Pie films and a member of Christopher Guest's mockumentary troupe since Best in Show. In addition to the "jerk store" joy, "The Comeback" also boasts none other than the lovely Ivana Milicevic.

"The Comeback" specifically, and Seinfeld as a whole, is the gift that keeps on giving.

BTW South Song of the Day
New Found Glory, "So Many Ways" courtesy of ye olde internet (Mt. Love)

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Blues Don't Bother Me
"Joliet Jake" Blues and Elwood Blues, the alter egos of the late John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, are the Blues Brothers. Their band, comprised of Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Steve "The Colonel" Cropper, "Donald "Duck" Dunn, Tom "Bones" Malone, "Blue Lou" Marini, Alan "Mr. Fabulous" Rubin, Murphy "Murph" Dunne, Willie "Too Big" Hall, and sometimes Paul "The Shiv" Shaffer, is the Blues Brothers Band. When the Blues Brothers and the Blues Brothers Band perform their rhythm and blues revue live on stage, the ensemble is known as The Blues Brothers. Get it? Got it? Good.

"The Blues Don't Bother Me" is a song written and performed by Matt "Guitar" Murphy and included on the Blues Brothers 2000 soundtrack.
I Have a Dark Sense of Humor
Hilarious. Anno Domini 2007 may have produced its first nominee for the apocryphal Darwin Awards.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Explorers Club
Question No. 8: Animals at War, Part II - The 21st Century: the U.S. Navy's Marine Mammal Program.

BTW South Song of the Day
The Reunion Show, "Too Much" from The Motion (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: The Reunion Show crawled away from the wreckage of the ska band Edna's Goldfish. They were better when they were Edna's Goldfish, but The Reunion Show was a fun band, too.
Deep in the Heart of Darkness... er, Texas
On Friday, monsoon season came to what the locals call North Texas (a larger area than the Dallas-Fort Worth "Metroplex"). Note that this designation does not cover the Texas Panhandle (the area immediately to the west of Oklahoma), even though every square inch of the Panhandle is farther north than "North Texas." Yesterday and today, temperatures have been in the 30s F, the rain has been light but constant, and the Texans have been panicking. It's fucking hilarious, you would think the sky is falling from the way these people are reacting; they are beside themselves with fear. In Michigan, this exact same weather is called "November," but down here all the television station are advising people to avoid any unnecessary travel. Bwa ha ha ha ha!

"Don't mess with Texas"? Who in the high holy hell do you Lone Star pansies think you're kidding? A cold rain has not just messed with Texas, it has brought North Texas to its knees. Fantastic, just fantastic.
Death Before Dishonor
Helene St. James, the Red Wings beat reporter for the Detroit Free Press, has a sugggestion for improving the team before the playoffs: acquire Peter Forsberg. Let's hope Helene St. James gets crushed under a bus. Not Forsberg. Forsberg was an Avalanche during the most bitter days of the Detroit-Colorado rivalry. Never Forsberg. Acquiring Chelios from the hated Blackhawks was one thing, because Chelios is just that kind of guy, but trading for Forsberg would be something altogether more vile. Forsberg must never be allowed to desecrate the nigh-sacred winged wheel.

Bus drivers of the Detroit metropolitan area: keep a sharp lookout for the St. James harlot and keep your feet poised above your gas pedals like the sword above Damocles. May Our Blessed Lady of Acceleration guide you all. Bogspeed.

Becks and Posh
Pele, perhaps the greatest soccer play of all time, "The King of (Soccer)," could not sell soccer as a viable professional sport in the U.S. of A., and Becks, my friends, is no Pele. I submit, in fact, that David Beckham is a pussy. I offer two proofs: 1) Beckham made his name and reputation playing for Manchester United; everyone knows that the Red Devils are shite and their supporters are double shite (especially The Guy). Real men stand with Arsenal. Go Gunners! 2) Major League Soccer plays an, at best, second-rate brand of soccer. The players and coaches are wholly inferior to the European and Latin American competition Beckham faced while with Man U and Real Madrid. Becks coming to play for an MLS team is like Peyton Manning signing with an Arena Football League team. Were Becks not a pussy, he'd still relish the superiority of play found in the FA Premiership and the UEFA Champions League.

And that's the first and last time I'll ever deign to mention the MLS. Now the race is on to see whom can be the first to leave a comment quoting Dan Rydell's famous critique of soccer.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Because It's There
Three cheers for human achievement: polarlink.

BTW South Song of the Day
Travis, "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?" courtesy of ye olde internet (Mt. Love)
Red Berenson and the ravages of time.

Spy vs. Spy
Surrounding the release of the exquisite Casino Royale, I decided to utilize my subscription to Netflix to see all the 007 films I was certain I had not seen; was certain I had not seen from start to finish, though I thought I might have seen scenes; or was certain I'd seen and equally certain I could not recall the plot, villains, or marquee stunt sequence. Not being known for my moderation (I struggle with all seven of the deadly sins, but none moreso than gluttony), I decided to expand the the 007 project to, well, all the Bond films, including the crummy unofficial film Never Say Never Again and the dreadful beyond words spoof of Casino Royale from '67. Forty years and twenty films, from Dr. No to Die Another Day and, brother, it was great.

I also watched The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy courtesy of the Mountain's DVD collection. My two most recent Netflix movies are the spy film The Quiller Memorandum and the spy-type film The Holcraft Covenant; on deck is Archangel, a spy-type British TV film starring Daniel Craig. The late, great Alec Guinness played a supporting role in The Quiller Memorandum, which brings to mind his masterful performances as George Smiley in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People, the Le Carre connection bringing to mind The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and the America-bashing duo The Tailor of Panama and The Quiet American. Did any of you see The Matador? Brilliant stuff that. Not a spy story, but featuring secret lives, clandestine activities, and international intrigue.

The point: I love spy movies - love 'em! - but as I am very so fond of saying the world is a many splendored place. There are so many different kinds of movies I want to see! It has been difficult to resist adding ever more spy films to my Netflix queue (and then invariably jumping those upstarts to the head of the line), but I must. The Oh in Ohio is within the walls of BTW South, just waiting to be appreciated, and not one iota of my being is inclined to deny Parker Posey. (Hmmm, perhaps I should bring back "Parker Posey Appreciation Day"? Yes....) Spies spies spies are what I want, but I also want to watch all the other movies that had finally made it to the top of the queue before being sent back down the ranks by the 007 project and its associates: The Endurance, The Ice Pirates, Lord of War.

Plus, of course, I delight in each week's comics, and a full schedule of original television series, and squeezing books into the relentless comics parade whenever I can, and the myriad joys of ye olde internet, including maintaining The Secret Base (the best bloggy blog on the interwebs if I do say so myself). And of course the pursuit of vanity (exercising) eats up huge freakin' chunks of time; and, like everyone else, my days are not my own, so I have to fit all this into my evenings and weekends. You know, it's no wonder I only sleep five or six hours a night, and I am among those who can easily sleep thirteen hours at a pop without having been particularly fatigued beforehand. Gah! Once again I have digressed rather severely, possibly irrevocably.

I want to watch more spy movies, but for now I cannot. But the hour shall come, the hour shall come.

Friday, January 12, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, "Come Sail Away" (live) from Ruin Johnny's Bar Mitzvah (T.L.A.M.)

Randomly, I am still trying to devise an epitaph worthy of the unparalleled splendor that is me. I'm going to be dead in a mere thirty-three years (I want to leave my audience wanting more); so, get your submissions in sooner rather than later.
I spend a surprising amount of time thinking about the ancient Athenian general Alcibiades, and upon visiting Wikipedia a moment ago whom did I discover is tomorrow's "Today's featured article"? Alcibiades. Hell yeah!
Is it just me, or does it sound as if ours friends in the BBC actually favored the Sharia-based regime of the in-cahoots-with-al Qaeda Union of Islamic Courts? Hyperlink. (Hint: it's not just me.)
Hat Day!
The Mountain of Love wore a close-fitting Gatorade green knit wool hat adorned with the company's trademark orange lightning bolt. Bog knows where he got such a thing, but I like to think a Good E. Bag Wednesday was involved. I wore my porkpie, though, sadly, my lip is not currently adorned with my trademark imperial. Curses! Still, life is always better in Joliet Jake and Elwood's hat. I love Hat Day!

BTW South Song of the Day
The Tragically Hip, "My Music at Work" via ye olde internet (Mt. Love)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Deep in the Heart of Darkness... er, Texas
The Mountain of Love and I arrived at our apartment complex's dingy exercise room for our daily constitutional to find the treadmill occupied by the woman we've nicknamed Oprah. We call her this because of her infuriating habit of watching Oprah Winfrey's insipid show while she's ever so slowly strolling on the treadmill.

Not long after we arrived, a third gentleman entered the exercise room. Oprah said "Hi" over her shoulder and the gentleman and I exchanged nods of acknowledgement in the whole-wall mirror opposite my seat at the arm curls station. Less than a minute later, the gentleman's mobile phone chimed, he answered the call, stepped outside to conduct his conversation, and walked away from the exercise room. I presume he was heading to his apartment. As soon as he had gone, Oprah asked, "Have either of you seen him before?" Neither of us had. "He asked me a bunch of questions about this room when I was on my way over here and I was afraid I was going to be alone with him in here."

It is at this point in our sordid tale that I should add a few telling details. I am white, as is my brother. Oprah is white. The other gentleman is black. Though the Mountain and I prefer to work out at the same time, bantering as we agree and disagree with Mike Wilbon* and Tony Kornheiser and laughing to the immortal grandeur of Seinfeld. But we cannot always coordinate our schedules. I have been in the exercise room alone except for Oprah. I am fairly sure the Mountain has been her sole companion at some point. Was she afraid to be alone with either of us? You'd be inclined to think otherwise given her constant, earnest, and witless attempts at conversation.

And then Oprah's mobile phone rang and, still reeling from such shameless racism, the Mountain and I were subjected to her side of the phone conversation. So, not only is this horrid wench a racist, not only did she blithely assume we shared her despicable prejudice, not only does she adore Oprah and Oprah while in the same breath casting wicked aspersions on the characters of a man she didn't even know, but mere moments after accusing this blameless man of being a rapist, a robber, a thief, or all three and worse, she practiced demonstrably worse mobile phone etiquette.

That fucking cunt.

Of course, to my great shame, I said nothing. I exchanged unbelieving looks with my beloved brother, but I challenged neither her racism nor her assumption that I shared her poisonous views. I'm such a coward. I am considering writing a letter of apology to Mike Park, and promising him that next time, and sadly there will be a next time as surely as the Sun will rise upon the morrow, I will have the courage of my convictions.

*As long as I've watched Pardon the Interruption, I've been amused that only one letter's difference separates Mike Wilbon and Mike Wilson.
The Stars My Destination
One step closer to Man's return to the Moon and first journey to the Red Planet: Ares.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Blowlink. Cocaine is the new potatoes. Erin go bragh, indeed.

In other news from Europe, is the far-right taking a page from the far-left's handbook: fascistlink? Instead of workers, xenophobes and reactionaries of the world unite?

BTW South Song of the Day
Skankin' Pickle, "Turning Japanese" from Sing Along with Skankin' Pickle (T.L.A.M.)
Hyperlink the First. Lunar Albion? Lunalbion? I can't believe it's taken the British this long to set their voracious sights on the Moon; after all, A Grand Day Out was made seventeen years ago! That Moon cheese is ours, you Limey bastards!

The War for Civilization
It was with much glee that I greeted the news of Ethiopia's military intervention on behalf of Somalia's provisional government. The Union of Islamic Courts aspired to do for Somalia what the Taleban had done for Afghanistan: bring an end to the chaos through ruthless tyranny. Furthering the comparison, the Islamic Courts are overly cozy with the local franchise of everyone's favorite laugh-a-minute pranksters, al Qaeda. So, hip hip hooray, the AC-130 rides again! Hyperlink the Second.

Spain gave in to al Qaeda's demands following the Madrid trains bombings in 2004; so, what possible incentive would ETA, the bloody Basque terrorist group, have to negotiate with the Spanish government? Kill just shy of 200 people in the nation's capital city and the cowardly Spaniards, the same lackeys who were only too willing to submit to Franco's fascist dictatorship, will do whatever you want. Madre de Dios, when will the Spaniards display that legendary machismo and stand up to those murderous Basque thugs? Hyperlink the Third.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
New Found Glory, "Constant Static" via iTunes (Mt. Love)
BTW South Song of the Day
Dance Hall Crashers, "Whiskey & Gin" from Honey, I'm Homely! (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, January 7
John Adams, "News has a kind of mystery" from Nixon in China (Mt. Love)

Commentary: Nixon in China is an opera, and about the best idea possible for an opera, except for the Mountain's super secret idea, which I dare not reveal.

The Victors
Well, the BCS Bullshit Bowl was a disappointment, and I rue the filthy Gators' national championship, but they were unquestionably the far better team. There were two positives to emerge from the game: a) the hated Jim Tressel was made to look like a chump and b) I am more glad than ever that the villainous Urban Meyer declined Notre Dame's invitation to become head coach of the vile Fighting Irish.

Ohio State lost, and every loyal Wolverine knows that's never really a bad thing. Ha! Next year in arboreal Ann Arbor, we shall wreak our vengeance and begin to restore equilibrium to the greatest sports rivalry in all the wide world. I believe in Lloyd Carr.

Go Blue!

Monday, January 8, 2007

I will be rooting for the filthy University of Florida Gators to lose tonight's national championship game. Note: I will not be rooting for the hated Ohio State University Buckeyes to win, that it just the unavoidable consequence of Florida's defeat. A necessary evil. Big Ten loyalty is important at bowl time; a victory and national championship for the hated Buckeyes would be far more pleasing to mine eyes than a triumph for the always overrated, perpetually whining ("No one respects us!") Southeastern Conference (SEC).

It should of course be noted that Big Ten loyalty does not extend to the dastardly Michigan State University Spartans, should they ever return to regular post-season play. That scum should be tossed out of the Big Ten to restore the conference to it's rightful number of schools.

Go Big Ten!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Scroll down for the best episode of "The Explorers Club" yet.

Spy vs. Spy
What I like to call "The Litvinenko Affair" tonight on 60 Minutes.

Building a Mystery*
I don't particularly like mysteries, which seems odd since I own more individual issues of Detective Comics than any other comic book title. Then again, these days the Batman, the World's Greatest Detective, doesn't do all that much detecting. In the course of a typical adventure, the Caped Crusader will be investigating a clue left behind at the scene of the crime (detection), but before he can trace that clue back to the perpetrator in question said renegade will ambush the Dark Knight. Frenzied melee ensues and the alter ago of billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne once again proves himself to be an elite, nigh-unconquerable master of personal combat (action). Cases almost never reach their conclusion due to detection, nearly always truncated by, on the villain's part, hasty and ill-advised confrontation. Now, the action is one of the many things I love about comic books, but would it not be right and proper to feature stories involving detection and deduction in a book titled Detective Comics? I have digressed somewhat from my original point.

I am a greater fan of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent than of original blend Law & Order because I find the policing, investigatory aspects of most stories more compelling than the legal wrangling (which usually leaves me feeling as if our justice system has nothing at all to do with justice). At the end of next week, my favorite back-to-back detective shows return with new episodes: Monk and Psych. I love Foyle's War, and I quite enjoy Prime Suspect. I have always intended to make a project of the Poirot series starring the brilliant David Suchet (and if I enjoyed the episodes sufficiently, to add Agatha Christie to the long, long list to books to read "someday").

What I mean when I say I don't particularly like mysteries is that I derive no pleasure from attempting to solve a mystery. I don't piece together the clues and try to deduce "whodunit" ahead of the fictional detective or detectives whose exploits I am following. Many mystery fans see themselves as detectives in their own right, sly sleuths who are one step ahead of their fictional idols. Not I. Perhaps this contributes to the quirk in my personality that drives me to watch mysteries and detective stories as a significant portion of my television viewing, but not to read mysteries as part of my novel consumption. Watching television is for me a more casual, passive activity than reading books; reading a mystery (and in the interest of discolsure I have read several of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes tales), perhaps I feel some obligation to "investigate" the clues the author has sprinled throughout the text and deduce the solution ahead of the detective protagonist. And much as I enjoy novels, I don't find much joy in piecing together clues.

And then of course there is the contrived nature of many fictional mysteries, but that happens in television as well as in prose; so, it is a separate issue which I shall not address for the nonce.

Do you enjoy trying to out-sleuth the fictional sleuths of whom you are a fan? I'm curious.

*My fondness for Sarah McLachlan's music may seem incongruous with my fanaticism for The Aquabats!, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, and Less Than Jake, but to all things there is a season. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in any one philosophy, even one as august as ska-punk. Sometimes, I jones for Sarah.
The Explorers Club
Question No. 7: Animals at War, Part I - The Second World War: Able Seacat Simon, DM, of the Royal Navy; America's bat bombs (Project X-Ray); the Soviet Union's anti-tank dogs; and America's "birdbrained" guided missiles (Project Pigeon).

And because I've had questions about the "why" of The Explorers Club, as well as what I "expect" from the readers, here's a hyperlink to the first installment, wherein one will find a brief statement of purpose: the Fairey Rotodyne. All I want is for more people to known more about more. The world is a many splendored place with infinite wonders to discover and explore (hence this feature's name). I'm merely planting signposts pointing to a variety of fascinating topics.

In a Mirror, Darkly. My Bog, is there nothing we cannot do, no secret we cannot prize from the far, murky reaches of the universe? Science!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

The Fantastic
Via our friends at Apple, the teaser trailer for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: Fantasti-link.

BTW South Song of the Day
Pain, "Bottle Rocket War" from Pounded - The Official Comic Book Soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)

Friday, January 5
They Might Be Giants, "Bangs" from Mink Car (Mt. Love)

Thursday, January 4
Fountains of Wayne, "All Kinds of Time" from Welcome Interstate Managers (T.L.A.M.)

Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Goldfinger, "This Lonely Place" from Hang-Ups (Mt. Love)

Thursday, December 28, 2006
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "1-2-8" from Let's Face It (Mt. Love)

Wednesday, December 27
New Found Glory, "Too Good to Be" from Coming Home (T.L.A.M.)

Tuesday, December 26 - Boxing Day
Barenaked Ladies, "Sound of Your Voice" from Barenaked Ladies Are Me (Mt. Love)

Monday, December 25 - Christmas
Duvall, "Joy to the World" from O Holy Night (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, December 24 - Christmas Eve
Mu330, "Everyday Christmas" from Winter Wonderland! (Mt. Love)
Hat Day!
The Mountain of Love is returned to BTW South and the grand tradition of Hat Day is resumed. My counterpart wore his U of M Orchestra ballcap, an odd possession given that he is a vocalist and I have been told that within the U of M School of Music, Theatre, & Dance (until relatively recently the U of M School of Music) there is some enmity between the majority instrumentalists and the minority vocalists. I wore the Lebanon Raceway ballcap I inherited from Grandpa Little, may he rest in peace.

We visited him in the hospital while he was dying and I burst into uncontrollable tears as soon as I saw the withered husk of his body. I was stricken with terror all the way down to the marrow. My mother, usually an angel of mercy, asked me what in the world was wrong. Dear Bog, woman, have you not eyes? Later, she explained that my reaction had caught her off guard as Grandpa's appearance has improved from the last time she'd seen him several weeks earlier. A chill ran up my spine; I'd seen photographs of healthier seeming corpses and could not summon the will to imagine how deathlike Grandpa must have appeared earlier for that day's horrific visage to have evidenced marked recovery. To this day, I have never been so frightened (not startled as by a horror movie or haunted house, but truly, genuinely frightened) as when I first saw my sweet grandfather's desiccated form.

His remains remain the only corpse I have seen with my own two eyes. Both Grandpa Wilson (died ten months earlier) and Grandma Wilson (died three years later) were cremated before the family, such as it is, could gather in loathsome Austin, Texas; seven years after Grandpa's demise and three years after Grandma's, both their deaths retain a certain, slight quality of unreality. But at Grandpa Little's visitation, I could scarcely take my eyes off him. It is a cliche, I know, but true all the same: in death, his appearance was exactly the same and entirely different as in life. Again and again, I would stand next to the casket, my eyes clouded by tears, and look at him. He looked more like himself than he had on that terrifiying morning at the hospital, only hollow. The English language has many shortcomings, but in "remains" our linguistic forefathers hit the nail squarely; one glance at the corpse told me Grandpa had gone, and all that remained was incalculably diminished, an awful mockery of life, fit only be be turned into corruption to await the restoration of the flesh at the Ending of the World.

I only escorted my grandpa to Lebanon Raceway, in Lebanon, Ohio, once, but he was a devotee of harness racing his whole adult life. He was known by the denizens of the place by his first name. He had friends there. His, now my Lebanon Raceway cap reminds me that the desiccated husk in the hospital and the impossibly still remains in the casket weren't my grandpa, my grandpa was the smiling, shuffling man who liked to bet the ponies.

Sometimes a hat is just a hat. Sometimes not. Hat Day is every Thursday at dinnertime, my friends. At BTW South, we try to coincide dinner with the evening's new episode of The Office. I love Hat Day!

Friday, January 5, 2007

Seriously, why has there never been a cop-buddy movie starring Keith David and David Keith? It's a crime, I tell ya.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

The Captain

No. 19, from the Red Wings and from the Free Press. Thank you, Mr. Yzerman, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Godspeed, sir.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Fire Millen & Marinelli
Christmas Eve - The Lions were beating the Bears when Mom and I embarked for church; so, I was fearful that the Lions might have broken my heart yet again by defeating the Bears. I was so relieved when we returned home and the Mountain, arrived that very day from the gulag that is Ohio, appraised me of the final result. Whew!

23-72, Mr. Millen, 2-13 on the year. Have you no decency?

New Year's Eve - I truly, genuinely did not want the Lions to win against the Bears. However, if the dastardly Michigan State University Spartans, the vile University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and Astaroth, the Archduke of Hell, were to break bread and deign to form a joint team for a game against the Dallas Cowboys, I would root for the infernal MSU/UND/Hell squad. If the Dallas Cowboys are "America's team," I'm emigrating to England. So, I wanted the infernal triumvirate of Jon Kitna (The Goon), Rod Marinelli (The Hypocrite), and Matt Millen (I can't think of a worse insult than his name; so, Matt Millen is the worst thing I can call Matt Millen) to overcome the "Romo-mentum" of Jerry "The Poor Man's J.R. Ewing" Jones's Cowboys. Happily, the Cowboys were keen to help in any way they could and the Lions triumphed.

And, par for the course, most of the Lions (the players) now seem to think that because they won the last game of the season, the previous fifteen don't count. "3-13," they tell themselves, "is awesome! We told you we were a good team! You stupid fans didn't believe us, but we knew it! We're going to win twelve games next year, baby! I told you we were good!" Of course, most of the starting Lions would be back-ups or practice squad fodder on any other NFL team; so, their opinions should be discounted accordingly.

24-72, Mr. Millen, 3-13 on the year. Have you no decency?

Next time: "There's Something Rotten in Denmark: Applying Shakespeare's Hamlet to the Problem of the Detroit Lions."
The following was written in the immediate aftermath of our collapse against USC, when the pain and embarrassment were still raw, before I even attempted to regain any sense of perspective. It's poorly organized, clumsily written, and none of my thoughts are really carried through to conclusion, but the emotion is genuine.

The Victors: The Debacle
Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Thrice is a streak. Four times in a row? That's a tradition.

For three years in a row, we've lost the last two games of the season, the annual rivalry against the hated Ohio State University Buckeyes and the inevitable bowl. We've lost four consecutive bowl games. After the mediocrity of the 1950s and 1960s, all Michigan partisans owe an unpayable debt to Bo, may he rest in peace, for restoring Michigan football to greatness, but the one area in which Coach Carr should not seek to emulate Coach Schembechler is performance in bowl games. Counting today's humiliation, we're now 5-7 in bowl games under Carr.

Mike Hart and Chad Henne are both great players, and Michigan's fortunes rise and fall in accordance with their triumphs and struggles. All our hopes for victory lie with them. But the sobering reality is that both are three-year starters... the same three years in which we have lost the last two games of each season. Fielding Yost's ghost, guys, even John Navarre managed to beat the hated Buckeyes! And yes, those hated Buckeyes were coached by the villainous Jim Tressell. He's an evil genius, but he's not invincible.

As for Ron English's defense, it looked almost the exact same as Jim Herrmann's: absolutely dominating against inferior opposition, but utterly ineffectual at the end of the year. In three of the last four games, the defense gave up 26, 42, and 32 points. Bob Davie kept saying that we have a greta defense, but what evidence is there to support that? The defense might have looked great in October, but it's easy to appear stiffling against the inept offenses of Michigan State, Penn State, Iowa, and Northwestern. In November and January we might as well have not put any men out on the field when our opponents had the ball. Three possibilities: we do not have good players and thus it doesn't matter how well they are coached; the players are fine, but the coaches don't know how to make adjustments as the season progresses; or both the players and the coaches are lost causes. I know not which of those most accurately describes the sorry state of our mistakenly much-vaunted defense, but next year will end in a repeat of this season's debacle unless wholesale changes are made.
BTW South Song of the Day
Mu330, "Favorite Show" (live) from Oh Yeah! (T.L.A.M.)

Monday, January 1, 2007
Fountains of Wayne, "A Fine Day for a Parade" from Utopia Parkway (Mt. Love)

Saturday, December 30, 2006
The Aquabats!, "Hi-Five City!" from Charge!! Special One-Year Anniversary Edition (Mt. Love)

Hi-fucking-larious: Francolink. I say we all travel to gay Paree for next New Year's Eve. Who's with me?

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Variations on a Theme
Right now in the DC Comics Universe (DCU), there is a Batman, a Catwoman, a Catman, and a Batwoman. Sadly, there is neither a Ratman nor a Ratwoman, and those bastards killed Ratcatcher during Infinite Crisis. Bring back Ratcatcher!

Monday, January 1, 2007

The Victors
My congratulations to the relentless University of Southern California Trojans. They dominated us in every phase of the game, manhandling my boys, the valiant University of Michigan Wolverines. The best team won today in fine style. Clearly, George Lucas worked his voodoo and the Force was very much with the relentless Trojans.
The Explorers Club
Question No. 6: The F-8 Crusader and its cousin, the A-7 Corsair II.

The A-7's been a favorite of mine since I was a little kid. I've been to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base more times than I can count; so, I was an avid fan of modern combat aircraft long before I was old enough to understand Bernoulli's Principle.

Bonus question: What was the original numerical designation of the Crusader?

I am fearful the disruption in daily internet habits caused by the glorious Christmas season may have resulted in last week's episode of The Explorers Club being overlooked; so, for my peace of mind, here is a hyperlink: The Explorers Club, Question No. 5.
The Victors
In the course of the 2006 season, we lost two of the greatest of all Michigan men, Bo and President Ford. Their deaths sadden us all, but take heart: Michigan is bigger than any one man. Michigan is bigger than me. Michigan is bigger than you. Michigan is bigger than Bo, may he rest in peace. Michigan is bigger even than Mr. Ford, quite possibly the most decent man to have ever occupied the Oval Office, may he rest in peace. Michigan is bigger, Michigan is more significant, than all of us. Michigan is forever, and the words of the great Coach Schembechler, a legend in his own time, are true: those who stay will be champions.

Now, let's wipe the smirks off the faces of those smug Pac-10 bastards. Go Blue!