2005-06-30



Finally a Southern Baptist minister who is willing to take care of the 2x4 in his own eye before attacking the world's splinters. In light of the Supreme Court's recent rulings on the 10 Comandments, Rev. Paul Brewster, Sr. looks at things and realizes that these standards went missing in action long before Judge Moore's battle in Alabama.

Brewster rightly argues:
The truth is that the Ten Commandments were first removed from the pulpits of our churches and thence from the hearts of our people. The image of Alabama state employees trundling the Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda to the backroom is just a visual reminder of what already had happened in this country at a much deeper level.


To expand on the point Brewster is making, the Ten Commandments, or rather the church's lack of knowledge of them are, once again, symbolic. They represent the rapidly growing lack of knowledge of God's Word in general. In my mind, without a doubt, the most troubling trend among Christians is the erosion of biblical knowledge and biblical authority.

It's not just that people don't study their bibles anymore, it's that they don't even see this as a big deal. At my church, I'd guess that half of our people show up on Sunday morning without their bible even though, in theory, our first hour is bible study. Scripture memorization was once a mainstay of child and youth education in the church. Today? Forget it.

It should then be no wonder that the authority of the bible, in the hearts and minds of Christians, is slipping. To be fair, this is probably less intentional and more a product of the fact that most people just don't give it much thought any more. But, as far as public perception goes, those who do view the bible as authoritative are seen as extremists.

So what's the problem? Today, key verses are normally printed in Sunday School materials, and scripture readings are often projected, or printed in some manner for worship service attendees. The problem is that we're neutralizing our greatest weapon at a time when clear, uncompromised guidance is needed most.

My guess is that over the past several years, people have picked up volumes in the Left Behind series, and The Purpose Driven Life more than they've opened the book that is at the root of those works. And over the next few years, more flavors of the month will rise up as well. This is not to slight the efforts of Jenkins, LaHaye or Warren, but they are men. But what if the next big craze comes at the hands of a less honorable man? Anywhere that the shifting trends of marketing and men supplant the unchanging foundation of God's word, we lose.

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2005-06-29



Last weekend the Courier-Journal had this article on bloggers. Apparently someone in Louisville finally woke up and discovered this new-fangled thing called blogging.

Anyway, I was interviewed for the piece, but none of my stuff made it in. I guess you have to say dramatic things like, "I'd be a pretty miserable person if I didn't (blog)," for that.

Well, sorry if I'm raining on anyone's parade, but without blogging, I think I'd still be OK. I enjoy it, but it's not the lone barrier standing between me and misery. Even if the medium were to somehow vanish overnight, my heart would go on ... Near! Far! Where ... er, no.

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From the credit where credit is due department, hats off to CBSSportsline.com.

I'm not sure when it happened, but they overhauled their website and did a great job of it. For openers, it has a cleaner, sharper look, but everyone does those tweaks every once in a while.

What is really amazing, is how much information they've managed to put on the page without it feeling cluttered. One of the sites four columns is devoted to CBS offerings; coming soon items, CBS' TV lineup, and CBS new headlines. It's not that I really care if these things are there or not, but the column takes up some serious real estate and yet the user is not left feeling like quality sports content was sacrificed so CBS could plug itself.

This is especially timely for me, as The Sporting News' site jumped the shark about year or so ago. TSN has the best columnists, hands down. But they did away with the interactiveness that made their site stand out. Now CBS has picked that up, offering comment threads with every story.

If CBS can just resist the urge to make half of their good stuff premium content, like so many other sport sites, they will be my destination of choice for sports news.

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Over at espn.com Pat Forde has a great post on premature draft jumpers who saw last night come and go without so much as a sniff from the NBA.

Maybe it's just me, but the tide seems to be turning on this trend. For each high school player who becomes an instant smash at the pro level, we get several "What was he thinking!?" stories about guys who made the jump too early and paid the price.

-- B --


Well, I'm all in a quandry now. On the one had, I'm excited about the Lakers bringing back Phil Jackson. On the other, you know who is still there, front and center. LA didn't help matters any when they drafted high schooler, Andrew Bynum with a host of superior talent still on the board.

Then the Lakers hated rival, Sacramento (they drafted later because they were, you know, in the playoffs) drafted Louisville guard Francisco Garcia.

Half of my allegiance followed Shaq to Miami, and I certainly don't have it in me to serve two Pacific Division masters. It's enough to make a guy stand up and shout, "Trade Kobe or lose me forever!"

-- B --


Man, you know you're a talent magnet when a guy who didn't even start goes #2 in the draft.

Yesterday the Heels added four strong prospects to the already large pool of North Carolina alums making noise in the NBA. How strong? The last of the four to be selected, Raymond Felton, was gone before the first round was half over.

Even with all that, methinks Roy Williams can still be competitive next season. And hopefully Coach Williams can start sending classes off to the NBA sans the "worried about their attitude" label.

-- B --


So, with basketball behind us for a while, we now enter one of the slowest periods of the sports year. Sure, Andy Roddick is still kicking at Wimbledon, and soon Lance Armstrong will be chasing another Tour crown. The good stuff comes in small, dispersed nibbles right now.

This gives us time to build up a healthy apetite for the best season of all - Football!

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2005-06-27



Over at Christian Post, a great read: Blaming Homosexuals and Running from Public Schools.
"The greatest prophets and strongest Christians were raised in harsh, secular environments -- including the public schools. And though we should not intentionally endanger our children, we should not collectively run from the darkness of the world. It’s time we take back the culture for Christ by engaging in it. We must act as salt and light and teach our children to do the same. If not, the society will fall further away from God and evangelicals will lose all relevance in the world we were called to reach."

I couldn't agree more, although the one thing I would add is: Be prepared to be fully engaged in your child's life!

Disclaimer: I have not raised a child from birth to high school graduation, so my views are based on third hand observation. But, I've seen, heard and worked with children and youth enough to have observed one simple principle: a child's well-roundedness and overall success in school and life varies directly with the involvement of their parents in their life. I have yet to encounter an exception to this rule.

Almost as important is the child's involvement in church life, and a church's reciprocal involvement in the child's life.

Can a child survive and thrive in the public school environment? Yes. But such a venture will easily be the biggest challenge of the first twenty years of their life. It's certainly not something they can, or should be sent to accomplish alone.

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2005-06-24



Thanks to John Rabe for pointing out AFI's Top 100 Movie Quotes.

Rabe rightly observes that with Fletch not represented, the list is a "sham." I couldn't agree more, although I believe that Fletch is impeded by its own level of difficulty. Most great Fletch quotes require a bit of a set up, and this is, after all, Hollywood.

Moving on, my notes ...

The top quotes; "Frankly, my dear ..." from Gone with the Wind, and "... make him and offer ..." from Godfather were predictable. I'd probably argue for a different Godfather quote, but there are so many good Godfather quotes that it's hard to find fault.

"What we've got here is failure to communicate," from Cool Hand Luke. That one takes me back - awesome flick, but then, would you expect anything else from Paul Newman?

"Houston we have a problem," from Apollo 13. I've got to throw the flag on this one. It's a famous historical quote that showed up in the movie covering that historical event. I hate to burst Hollywood's bubble, but some things did happen and become noteworthy before, if ever, they showed up on a screen.

"Nobody puts Baby in a corner," from Dirty Dancing. Come on, now. Granted it's memorable, but it's also one of those cheezy Patrick Swayzee quotes that are a dime a dozen. If you put this in, how do you justify leaving out much of Road House?

"Toga! Toga!" from Animal House. As a former college student ... yeah, this one caught on, big time, for a while. But, looking back from 2005, I think it was a phase. Not that Animal House is impotent when it comes to quotes. I would have gone with "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor!?"

Quotes I don't think belong in the top 100 memorable quotes:

"Is it safe?" from Marathon Man
Lecter's census taker line from Silence of the Lambs
"We rob banks," from Bonnie and Clyde
"Plastics," from The Graduate (the good Graduate quotes are already on the list)

And finally, conspicuous by their absence:

Something from Rain Man. "Time for Wapner."
Something from Stripes. "That's the fact, Jack!" "Lean mean fighting machine!"
Something from Princess Bride. "As you wish." "Inconceivable!" "My name is Iniego Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
Something from Goodfellas. "Do I amuse you?"
Something from Pink Panther. "Does your dog bite? ... That is not my dog."
Something from Blues Brothers. "We've got a full tank of gas and half a pack of cigarettes. It's dark and we're wearing sunglasses. Hit it."
Something from Pulp Fiction. There's the whole Ezekiel passage, the discussion of dogs, bacon and clean animals, and Marcellus giving Butch advice on pride.
Something from Point Break. If you're going to put Swayzee's "baby in a corner," quote in there, there must be something you can use here.
Something from Matrix. "Why, oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill!?"
Something from Die Hard. Once again, if you're putting Swayzee in ... "Yippie-ki-yay ***!"

A lot of gaps here. I guess it's like voting on the MVP in baseball. No one has ever really agreed on the definition of V.

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2005-06-23



The sooner we realize that "Congress make a law" is not going to solve everything (in fact it's probably going to solve next to nothing) the better off we'll be. I thought we had put this whole flag-burning thing behind us, but no, here it is again.

I'm certainly not going to go to the mat to defend someone for burning our flag, but I will defend their right to act and speak for as long as they are not harming others ... and no, just because you are riled up doesn't mean you've been harmed.

When I was in the Navy, I have to admit that I enjoyed the National Anthem in the morning and Taps at night. On base you have to stop and salute the nearest ensign when you hear the bugle announcing these events. Sure, it was a nuisance having to stop when I was late for watch. But, it was kind of nice to be able to pause and think why you are serving, what that flag means, and all the men who have come before you to help ensure that that flag would still be there.

So, I wouldn't look kindly on someone burning our flag. But I also don't look kindly on men undercutting what that flag represents.

Finally, I resent and will oppose, with all that I have, this creeping idea that every last one of life's little annoyances can be legislated away. First, it can't be done. Second, the people who would try to do this are usually the primary examples of why, even if it were possible, it shouldn't be done.

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Hats off to the NBA. The lessons of the NHL were not lost on them. One of the mainstays of this agreement: players must be 19 and their graduating class one year removed from high school before they can enter the draft.

So far, many of the comments I've heard sound something like, "Oh man! How's a coach supposed to maintain any kind of team concept with the flood of one-year studs about to be released?"

Please. Continuity went out the window years ago. It's a given that you're going to get one good year out of a pro-level player and then he's off to the NBA. The good coaches and championship-caliber programs have long since learned to manage the tradeoff between cohesion and short-term, high-octane talent. No one is forcing them to recruit and sign these guys.

Some may point to the current queue of underclassmen who had been anticipating a big payday at graduation. Granted, most of these guys, if they play their cards right during the one-year wait, won't lose anything. Some have already burnt their academic bridges, however, and won't use that year wisely. Those are exactly the players this rule is designed to root out. They wouldn't have been good NBA bets. Now the owners get to find that out before they start handing out 7-figure checks.

No, the real victims here are the college professors and non-athlete students. Once again, it's not like the situation was all that great to begin with. But right now the college ballers awaiting their NBA career had to exercise some degree of choice in going to school.

Picture the poor English 101 prof trying to manage a "student" who is just there to kill a year. Grades, homework, attendance ... mean nothing. How motivated is anyone going to be if they know for a fact that they're going to win the lottery next Thursday?

The NBA needs to beef up its developmental league. Nudging these guys into college for a year doesn't help anyone, and makes a joke of the college that will take them and call them students.

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I was on the road the first half of this week. My notes ...

I could live in Owensboro. It has the small town feel with bigger city amenities, and the river front location is awesome.

Note to hotels: If you are going to provide internet access, provide it. The hotel had two ways to access the net - dial-up, and wireless which, judging by the scant wiff of signal that made it to our floor, apparently consisted of a hub powered by a single AA battery, buried deep within a sub-sub-basement of the building.

If I ever plan a convention/conference, I'm going to skip the mandatory two hour opening session where people take turns getting up and saying each other's name so they can feel important.

This is the first conference I've been to where there wasn't at least a modest layout of complementary refreshments besides water. On the other hand, I did receive a free travel size bottle of hand soap and State Farm Insurance emory board, so I guess I came out ahead on that one.

Note to the Noble Romans lady at the Dale gas station: how hard is it to operate a pizza cutter!? You've dealt the already beleaguered convenience store employee movement a setback.

Cliff Atkinson over at Beyond Bullets is right. I finally experienced a sharp, well-done Power Point presentation. Graphics, well-placed, well-selected photos, and an effective communicator giving the presentation was quite the effective mix.

I love looking at industrial stuff. I passed a huge power plant with steam billowing out of its cooling towers en route to Owensboro. From my window I watched huge, double-long barges laden with cargo being pushed up and down the river. I just like feeling the massive, gritty power of it all.

I passed a church in west Owensboro. As I was coming up on it, I first say, in big bold letters on their sign, "No Contemporary Worship." That struck me as an odd thing to feature. Then, as a I closed in and passed, I found it to be one of those signs with way too much text on it, but I did pick out "King James only" and "Fundamentalist." It's good to see them sticking with the King's English. After all, that's the language that Moses, David, Jesus, the Disciples and Paul all used. You start getting into radical translations like the NIV, the NRSV, and the NASB and the water gets muddy. How's a person supposed to understand the Gospel if you aren't using words that no one has heard in thirty years!?

I just don't get people who define themselves by what they are not.

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2005-06-17



"Congressman demands that US bring troops home." I briefly caught the headline at work a day or two ago, and it got my usual annoyed but not surprised reaction.

Only later did I find out that the Congressman in question was Dennis Kucinich. Please don't make me revisit the merits of Kucinich's brain. It's scary in there!

But, if that seemed a good story, I've got another scoop for you: "Bizarre, unshaven guy on the corner predicts world will end tomorrow - advises repentance!" I've checked around and no one else is on it, so take it and run!

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Is the current edition not the ugliest NBA Finals ... EVER!? In games it's 2-2 which may seem dramatic from a distance. All it really means, though, is that the teams have taken turns stinking up each other's house.

If there is a work stoppage in store, the NBA sure is doing its best to make us not care, or worse, beg for the return of hockey!

And, by the way, I've never bought into all the Ginobli hype. Games 3 and 4 go down as exhibits A and B as to why.

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2005-06-15



It turns out that God is with us, and playing quarterback for Florida State.

The surprising thing is that in 10 games last season he managed a very mortal 55% completion rate, 8 TD's and 8 picks. Now, I know the ACC has gotten tougher, but our Lord has a lot of weapons to work with on that 'Nole offense. Factor in that He's omnipotent and I guess I'd expect more.

You've got to respect Bobby Bowden - it takes stones to suspend the Almighty.

At least we can put the "God is a woman" talk to bed, now.

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2005-06-14



For those who think Phil Jackson returned to coaching to pull in front of Red Auerbach for most championships for a head coach I have just one question. Why did he return to the Lakers?

Sure Kobe's good. He's also a head case and an army of one at Staples Center. I believe Phil Jackson can improve any team. But return this ugly slab of lottery-ness to championship form? No way.

Major re-building is not Phil's game. He specializes in taking over ready-made contenders. The Lakers aren't even pretending to be pretenders. They are full of dead weight and have no cap room. Only a major personnel deal can make this team Jackson-ready. Sadly, Jerry West doesn't live there any more.

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As much as I could probably rant for an hour on this, it was nauseating ten years ago. I refuse to add fuel to it now.

The infuriating thing is that he's openly admitted to a number of things which should be crimes, and he's had to buy his way out of trouble in the past - something the innocent don't normally have to do.

Worst of all are the celebrations! Like the guy just won the World Series or something. Said one Jacko fan, "I'd totally leave my kid with him!"

Which brings me to the real criminals - the parents who were willing to pimp out their kids to make a buck, or were just so stupid that they are a danger to their own children. They should be on trial.

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2005-06-13



Well, despite the fact that there is precious little to follow, we continue to follow the Aruba case.

First, my usual disclaimer: Yes, this is a tragedy, and I feel for the family. I don't intend to sound insensitive, but this stuff gets so out of hand that at some point it is nearly impossible to keep quiet.

As usual, bit by bit we're finding out that the victim wasn't the fairy tale princess who "rarely ever drinks" that we were fed at the start. Clearly she parties and goes off alone with three guys in a car in the middle of the night - she's a bit on the wild side. That's nothing unusual. Just ... open your eyes, mom.

As usual, the media is in my sites. The weekend was full of "breaks" in the case. The drama, well, it was slightly more than compelling, and slightly less than gripping. Just ask the Fox and CNN voice-over guys.

Unfortunately, here we are on Monday, not much further along than we were Friday, and all the exciting developments have fizzled. With a straight face, the press reports that these erroneous breaks were due to "bad reporting."

Do you think? I mean, what do you expect when you're doing hourly updates on a case that isn't moving? And they've got a man, Geraldo, on the scene except that there really isn't a scene to be on. Heck, just have him shoot his spots in New York with someone holding up a post card of Aruba behind him. It's not going to make any difference to me.

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Well, now that the NBA Finals are over this may seem a little late. Yes, they're over. Even admitting that Detroit will eventually show up for one of these games, they're not about to take 4 of 5 from San Antonio. The mystery is whether or not they'll ever crack 80.

And to those who say, or said, that this gridlock style is "basketball at its finest," "the way the game was meant to be played," I say, "pffft!" I'm a Showtime Lakers fan - I like it when teams score in tripe digits. Give Steve Nash a haircut and a shower and I'd be a Phoenix fan.

Anyway, what I have found amusing are all of the "Is Tim Duncan dominant or isn't he?" arguements.

This has to be semantics, right? Can anyone realistically question this man's stature in the NBA today or for all time?

Granted, I don't get the feeling that Duncan might some day squash a point guard like a bug, that I get with Shaq. But I also don't get the feeling that Duncan might show up for camp out of shape that I get with Shaq.

Granted, he doesn't have the flash of Kobe, TMac or Iverson. But he's also not likely to abandon his team in search of stats like they will.

I don't know how you define "dominant," but being a stand-up guy doesn't rule him out. Take him away and the Spurs don't even get a sniff of the Finals at any time over the past ten years. Instead, with Duncan as their anchor, they have been a constant threat over that time.

Throw the records and the stats out. If you're starting a team from scratch and can man it with anyone, Duncan has to be one of the first three guys you pick. I don't have two other guys in mind, I'm just allowing for his not being everyone's absolute number one pick.

Don't want to use the word "dominant?" Fine. Come up with your own substitute. But don't try to suggest for one second that Duncan isn't The Man. And I'm a self-professed Shaq fan.

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2005-06-06



I've been trying this thing called "exercise" the last couple of weeks, and I have to admit, it's pretty amazing.

Anyway, today's news was full of interesting little tid-bits.

-- B --



It seems that even the Democrats are none too pleased with Howard Dean's rhetoric of late. Among the Dean gems, a suggestion that Republican voters have never worked an honest day in their lives.

I guess I just have to ask ... What did you expect!? This is Howard Dean and his mouth. They're a package. You get one, you get them both.

Part of me had hoped that Dean would be around for the next Presidential election for comic relief and to stir dissention in his ranks. Frankly, I don't see him surviving the mid-terms. Even if there were to be some kind of Democrat miracle, you can bet the ranch Dean won't be its architect. Not with Red State entreaties like the one mentioned above.

-- B --



Speaking of lost causes ... word today that John Edwards (former Senator from North Carolina, former John Kerry running mate, former newsworthy individual) isn't sure about a run for the Presidency in 08. And that's definite. And ummm ... So!? I mean, I haven't really made up my mind on a run in 08 either, but somehow no one is reporting on that. I've got just as much chance as John Who?

If you were on the fence as to whether he had enough experience to attend funerals on behalf of the nation, how do you figure that four years of speaking at the occasional banquet is going to make him suddenly seem presidential?

-- B --



Neon Deion is back once again. This season he'll be donning a Baltimore Ravens uniform.

Oh boy! This story is certain to be over-exposed ... as it has already gotten more coverage than it warrants.

-- B --



Over the weekend I heard someone, can't remember who, complaining that the Jackson jury is not truly a jury of the pop singer's peers. This makes me laugh. Just how many frail, mega-billionaire, pedophile, plastic surgery addicted, gender-confused, race-confused, former pop music stars do you figure there are in this world?

-- B --



Hats off to MTV - over the weekend "The Breakfast Club," which is 20 years old this year, was honored at the MTV Movie Awards. I couldn't agree more - this film is a classic.

-- B --



Over the weekend Green Bay QB Brett Favre hinted that he may have more than one year left in him. Now, this guy has had an incredible career on the field and has been a pretty stand-up guy off of it, so he gets a little slack. But if I had the man's ear today I'd be begging and pleading with him not to draw this thing out. You don't want to see him go like Steve Young, taking more knockouts than a mediocre heavyweight, or like Michael Jordan where you are left wondering if he's on the field because he's still the best player available, or because of his glorious past. And one more thing ... once you leave, stay gone. Big name comebacks rarely yield even a fraction of the magic they tend to promise initially.

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2005-06-03



The Jeckyll and Hyde Heat need to wrap things up quickly. If they let this go to game seven, who knows which Miami team will show up? We've got the Heat that hustle on defense and execute on offense, and the Heat that force shots and generally don't play a solid game. Apparently the two are taking turns in the Eastern Finals. Even as I write, San Antonio is resting while Miami is taking damage to its key pieces. Plus Shaq has looked healthy for one game in a row now, which means he's overdue for an ankle injury or deep-thigh bruise or something of that sort.

-- B --



The disappearance of the Alabama teenager in Aruba, while tragic, should be a lesson to us all ... the latest in a string of countless lessons that remind us that decisions have consequences. Back in my Navy days my Captain once said, as the crew was informed that one of our shipmates was in trouble with the law in Hawaii, that "Bad stuff happens after midnight." This rang true with our crew as invariably, whenever someone got in trouble it came as a result of staying out late, closing the bars and then farting around with the locals in the area.

I may be the last person alive who thinks this way, but when I have teenagers of my own, they aren't going on a class trip that involves staying out til all hours of the night drinking in a foreign country. What? You couldn't find any more elements of risk to inject into that equation?

-- B --



It seems that there is a bit of tarnish on Howard Dean's Midas Fund-raising Midas Touch. Business Week reports that Dean is targeting the small donors while the elephants are not Deaniacs and now are not donors.

*Yawn* Where's the news here? Dean never was a big donor kinda guy. During his campaign he wowed a disaffected younger generation who's political ideology was nothing more than "Bush is stupid, Bush is a monkey," into flooding his coffers $50 and $100 at a time. They were putting up bats and conducting brain-dead online pep rallies. This was not a calculated, long-term political strategy, it was a mania. And, it was something you aren't going to be able to generate when there isn't an election going on, and probably something you aren't going to be able to generate when Dean isn't a candidate.

It wasn't Dean the behind-the-scenes fund-raising genius that stimulated the cash inflow, it was Dean the loose wire on stage. However volatile and abrasive the Dems may find it, Dean's personality was the key to the treasure chest. You don't get one without the other. But, at least they still have Dean's keen strategic political mind.

-- B --



Right now I'm working on the first season of HBO's "the Wire" on DVD. IMO, this is the best crime/police series ever. I don't have HBO any more, so this is a real treat.

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2005-06-02



I guess my friend John was right. The whole Wilbanks indictment was a show. Probation and a small part of the search cost. And just so the observer isn't left with the impression that she's being let off the hook, we are continually reminded that she's undergoing some kind of therapy somewhere. It's all shrouded in mystery so as to enhance the seeming arduosness of it. This poor, klepto girl.

So once again, the "Hasn't she suffered enough!?" defense prevails.

Speaking of which, her dutiful fiance appeared with her. The noble "Stand by your Woman," is quickly giving way to, "Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey Stupid!" John, you were right to ask, "Ain't we all messed up?" But the real question is, "Ain't we all done stuff where we looked back and said, 'How did I not see that that was a really bad idea?'" He's been amply warned.

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