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Berry's World
Sunday, November 07, 2004
 
THE CHARACTER ISSUE

After falling behind to Washington State 21-7 yesterday, UCLA battled back to within a two point conversion, before losing 31-29. UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said of the gutty little Bruins:

We showed a lot of character fighting back into it.

After the game, 20 or 30 of the Bruins, ignored the traditional handshake at midfield and bolted for the locker room. UCLA quarterback Drew Olson said:

I wasn't in the mood to do that today. They played a good game, but it hurts to lose...I didn't feel like shaking hands.

You can decide for yourself which incident is more indicative of character.
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Thursday, November 04, 2004
 
FUNNY STUFF

Here is a somewhat filthy, totally hilarious cartoon that, naturally, was pointed out by Angie, of Ang's Weird Ideas fame.
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STOP IT, YOU'RE KILLING ME!

Jokes, Pranks, And Hijinks:


Halloween Prank Turns Deadly
Road-Rage Incident Kills Teen


HOUSTON---One teenager was killed and three others were injured after a Halloween prank led to road rage, police said. Four teens had been shooting various targets with paint balls last night, police said. According to investigators, the driver of a pickup truck became angry and chased the teens after his vehicle was shot seven times with paint balls. The driver of the pickup truck allegedly rammed the Suburban being driven by the teens, causing the teens to lose control and flip several times, police said.

Enid Teenagers Charged In Halloween Paintball Prank

ENID, Okla.---Four Enid teenager face charges of shooting paintball guns at homes and people on Halloween. Police say two 15-year-olds and two 17-year-olds are expected to be charged in juvenile court. Their names haven't been released. They're accused of shooting a 13-year-old in the leg as he rode his bicycle on Sunday and of causing about $1,000 in damage to a home. Police say the 13-year-old provided information that led to the arrests. Officers also say one of the 17-year-olds stole his mother's credit card to buy the paintball guns and ammunition.

3 Say They Burned Cross Into Lawn As Prank

LAKE OSWEGO---Maintaining that they were only playing a prank, three young men admitted Wednesday that they chemically burned a 15-foot cross into a Jewish family's lawn in June. Jess Michael Andrews, 18, of Lake Oswego; Joseph S. Collet, 18, of Sherwood and Francis Lawrence Faragalli, 19, of Lake Oswego pleaded guilty in Lake Oswego Municipal Court to second-degree intimidation and second-degree criminal mischief. All three took part in a plea agreement negotiated by the city attorney's office and their defense attorneys. Judge Bruce Shepley ordered each to perform 80 hours of community service for a Jewish organization approved by the city attorney's office. Shepley also ordered each to write a 10-page essay on hate crimes that uses a cross as a symbol; to apologize to the victims in a meeting that includes their own families; and to pay the victims $150 and the American Jewish Committee of Portland $300. In addition, the judge sentenced each to 18 months' probation. Other than pleading guilty, the defendants did not speak in court.

Student Expelled For Dead Cat Prank

Hastings Boys High School Board of Trustees have voted to expel a year 12 pupil for bringing the head of a dead cat onto a school bus. Last Friday the 17-year-old put the head of a wild cat he killed at home into a plastic bag with the idea of scaring people on the bus.


Three Detained In Explosives Prank

MACHIAS---Three juvenile males are suspected in a Halloween prank involving homemade explosives that sounded like gunshots, scared more than 150 people and shut down a "haunted forest" last Friday night. The Machias Police Department is still investigating how 11 or more so-called "acid bombs" went off along the trail of the haunted forest located in the woods behind Machias Memorial High School. Three more of the soda-bottle bombs found by officers had not yet exploded. "We had a lot of frightened people, and a lot of frightened officers," said Sgt. Jake Scott. The scare put an early end to the haunted forest, an annual fund-raiser staged by the recreation management department of the University of Maine at Machias. More than 60 UMM students organize the event, which usually attracts 500 children and parents on the Thursday and Friday before Halloween. "Halloween wasn't anything compared to this," Scott said. Three officers were treated at Down East Community Hospital, next door to the high school, for chemical inhalation. In addition to the Machias Police Department, officers responded from the Maine Warden Service, the Maine State Police, the Maine Marine Patrol, the Washington County Sheriff's Department, and local ambulance and fire departments. The culprits were found in the woods by a tracking dog brought in by the wife of a game warden who lives in Marshfield. She arrived with the dog after hearing the explosive sounds at her house, about a mile from the scene. Two of the juveniles apprehended live in Machias, and the third lives in Lubec. All were detained Friday evening and released into the custody of their parents. They are believed to be ages 15 and 16.

Halloween 'Prank' Hospitalizes Elderly Woman

Sydney Mines, N.S.---An elderly Cape Breton woman was in hospital Saturday after a fire that investigators say may have been started by a Halloween prank. It's believed fire crackers were being flung at the 89-year-old woman's home in Sydney Mines on Friday night before the building caught fire, ATV News reported. The woman had been alone in the home, and rescue workers found her unconscious when they arrived.

GPS Phone Gives Away Prank Caller

A 14 year old Tennessee boy that was making prank emergency (911) phone calls from his school bus was caught after the sound of children laughing and his GPS enabled mobile phone gave him away. Dispatchers had watched the location of the calls, 7 of which were made in a 14 minute span, from their satellite based system, guessed that it might be a school bus due to the sounds of children, and contacted the local school district to track down which bus in particular it was.

Halloween Prank Sends Teen to Hospital

Halloween took a scary turn for one Columbus teen. A 13-year old boy was waiting for his mom to pick him up from a Halloween party in the Green Island Subdivision, Saturday night at 11:30p.m. on Standing Boy Road. Before the mother arrived at the residence, someone had shot the teenager in the stomach with a pellet gun and drove away. The victim’s mother said her son was severely injured and was taken to St. Frances Hospital. The bullet is still lodged in the middle school student’s stomach and can not be removed without creating damage to his liver. Police said they are searching for suspects who drove away in a small silver car. If you have any information call the Columbus (Ga.) police.

Teen Prank Prompts Extensive Search, Rescue

ELLENVILLE---Two teens were charged with causing a large-scale, multiple-agency rescue operation after one made a false emergency call to 911 stating he had been shot, police said. Darryl D. Conklin, 19, of 248 Berme Road, Ellenville, and Stacey L. Williams, 16, of 24 Barry Lane, Accord, were arrested Thursday night and each charged with the misdemeanors of reckless endangerment, falsely reporting an incident, possession of stolen property and conspiracy. On Wednesday at approximately 6:30 p.m. a 911 cell phone call was received from a frantic male who said he was the victim of a gunshot wound and was bleeding, Chief Philip Mattracion of the village of Ellenville police said Friday. The chief said the caller reported he needed immediate assistance and was in a cornfield, in the woods on the bank of the Beaverkill creek off Sewer Plant Road in the village of Ellenville. The call caused police to begin a "search and rescue mission" with the assistance of several other agencies, Mattracion said. During the search, which lasted until 11 p.m., county 911 received two more calls from the same male stating he could see the lights of the helicopters as they flew over them, Mattracion said. He said the rescue resumed Thursday morning at daylight and ended at 1 p.m., during which county 911 received another call from the male saying the helicopter was above him but rescuers wouldn't find him. Mattracion said that call was received at about 12:30 p.m. and about that time rescuers saw a dirt bike going through the rescue area. With the assistance of ground and air support the dirt bike was found and a male, Conklin, voluntarily submitted to questioning and a polygraph test, the chief said. He said Conklin confessed to making the calls and Williams was identified as a co-conspirator.
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DEMOCRATS IN '08---THE EARLY LINE

The opening line on Democratic candidates who will be looking to replace President George W. Bush in 2008:

Senator Hillary Clinton---5 to 2
---Is the nomination Senator Clinton's's for the taking?

General Wesley Clark---5 to 1
---General Clark won't be late to jump in this time.

Senator John Edwards---10 to 1
---Will Senator Edward's VP run in '04 catapult him to the top spot in '08?

Senator Barack Obama---30 to 1
---Lack of experience didn't hurt the current president, so it shouldn't hold Senator Obama back.

Former Governor Howard Dead---75 to 1
---Governor Dean's 'I Told You So' campaign may be a hit with voters.

Governor Tom Vilsack---250 to 1
---Will blue staters go from the husband of ketchup lady to the pickle guy?

Governor Rod Blagojevich---500 to 1
---Will people be saing 'I'm for Blogo...um...Bagona...you know, the Democrat.'

Senator Evan Bayh---1,000 to 1
---Democrats may not want a nominee who probably wouldn't carry his home state.

Former Vice President Al Gore---5,000 to 1
---Vice President Gore ruled out another run, but, in politics, what does that really mean?

Scooter---7,500 to 1
---Lack of name reconition and money could be Scooter's downfall.

Senator John Kerry---10,000 to 1
---Will Iowa and New Hampshire doom us to yet another defeat by nominating Senator Kerry?
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LET THE BIDDING BEGIN!

OK, let's say you're former Red Sox hero (and former Angel flop) Mo Vaughn. In 2003 you hit .190 in 79 at bats, and in 2004 you didn't play a single game for your team, the New York Mets. What do you do?

That's right, you file to become a free agent.
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Wednesday, November 03, 2004
 
WEST WING HERE I COME!

As most regular readers know, I have long revered public service, and despite my state college education and sub-standard intellect, I have always been ready to serve should my nation call. In fact, I even offered to serve President Bush as a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, I offered to serve as President Bush's Secretary of the Army, and I offered to become Senator Kerry's Vice Presidential running mate before he tabbed Senator Edwards. Sadly, my offers were soundly rebuffed.

Now, however, it looks like the ivory tower eggheads won't be able to keep me out of my rightful place in the West Wing forever. My good friend and spiritual advisor Scooter is running for president in 2008, and I am the obvious choice to become his Chief of Staff. If you're interested in getting in on the ground floor, here's Scoot's platform. Further, if you're interested in a job in the Scooter administration, forward all resumes (read: bribes) to me and I'll make sure President-Elect Scooter keeps you in mind.

By the way, don't worry about the American people not wanting to elect somebody named Scooter to the highest office in the land. I mean, we've had a Poppy, so a Scooter's no problem.

Scooter in '08!!
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Tuesday, November 02, 2004
 
EARLY ELECTION RECAP---THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

THE GOOD

---We Left-Coasters are leading by example by passing Proposition 71, which will fund stem cell research, hopefully hastening the day when things like cancer, Parkinson's Disease, and Alzheimer's Disease become curable.

---California voters appear to be passing Proposition 61, which provides money for Children's Hospital projects.

---Golden Staters also appear to have passed Proposition 66, which fixes the flaws of the 'Three Strikes' law, and will stop us for paying millions of dollars for life sentences for criminals whose third strike is not violent or serious.

------It looks like Senator Tom Daschle is heading to defeat in South Dakota. While I think Senator Daschle is a nice man, and probably a good Senator for the good people of South Dakota, he was, frankly, a horrible leader in the Senate Minority Leader. The Democrats need a Senate Minority Leader from a safe seat who will fight our fights without worrying about his re-election. Sadly, the latter happened too many times with Senator Daschle.

THE BAD

---In what is still a very tight race, Californian's appear to be defeating Proposition 72, which would require large and medium sized employers to provide health insurance for its employees. If it were up to me, anybody in this country who employed somebody would be required to proved health insurance for their employees, but much to the relief of Governor Schwarzenegger and the rest of the pro-business voters, it's not up to me.

---U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning won re-election in Kentucky. I suppose it's not surprising that Kentuckians returned the brain-dead Senator to office, considering that voters weren't really focused on the election, what with shoes finally arriving in the local Wal-Mart, and the news that a new dentist is planning on moving to the Bluegrass State, replacing the old one who died in 1967.

---U.S. Representative Tom DeLay won re-election. While I firmly hold the belief that most Republicans are good people whom I merely disagree with, I know in my heart that DeLay is flat out evil incarnate.

---In what is a really, really horrible decision, my fellow voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 69, which requires the collection of DNA samples from people who are arrested or charged with certain crimes. The DNA is saved even if the people are found to be innocent later! John Ashcroft must be laughing his ass off tonight over this one.

THE UGLY

---It looks like, with my former home state of Ohio slipping through Senator Kerry's fingers, that President George W. Bush will win a second term as my president. I'll take some of the blame, as a close family member inexplicably voted for President Bush, but you had a shot to convince him to vote correctly as well, so there is enough blame to go around.

Let's face facts, we did NOT have the best Democrat running. Mainly because of the idiotic 22nd Amendment preventing President Clinton from winning his 4th term, but also because of the voters in, mainly, Iowa and New Hampshire steamrolling Senator Kerry to the nomination. I will go to bed firmly believing that had the Democrats nominated General Wesley Clark, we would have been able to look at President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and the rest of this God-awful administration and quoted President Bartlett from the premier episode of The West Wing when he said 'Now get your fat asses out of my White House!'

However, while I am depressed that we will be saddled with President George W. Bush for another term, and I remain a card-carrying member of the loyal opposition, the fact is that George W. Bush is my president and he deserves (and has earned) the respect that goes along with the office of the presidency. Of course, this disheartening result does bring to mind the classic quote from H. L. Mencken:

No one in this world, so far as I know ... has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.
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SMELLS LIKE A LANDSLIDE IN CALIFORNIA

After voting this morning, I conducted a quick exit-poll of myself, and based on those results, I project that Senator John Kerry will win California with an astounding 100% of the vote.
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Monday, November 01, 2004
 
WAITER, THERE'S A TODDLER IN MY SOUP

In a story that simply boggles what's left of my mind, a two-year-old Pacoima girl is being treated for severe burns over more than half her body after she fell, HEADFIRST, into a large pot of hot soup during a party Saturday night. The explanation from the family is that the pot of soup was cooling on the floor during the crowded party when the girl fell in HEADFIRST.

Sounds reasonable, right?
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Sunday, October 31, 2004
 
PRESIDENTIAL PREDICTION

So, how will Tuesday play out? I have no idea, but that has never stopped me from making wild, outlandish predictions before, and it won't stop me now.

Being an eternal optimist, I get the sense that the electorate is trending, if not toward the political ideas of Senator Kerry, away from the scare tactics of President Bush. I think that most of the voters who aren't already die hard supporters of President Bush will break for Senator Kerry. I think that, if all of the votes are counted, the electoral college will look something like this:

Senator John Kerry---299

President George W. Bush---239

Yep. It's going to be a blowout, so to speak. Here's how each state goes:

Kerry/Edwards

Washington
Oregon
California
Hawaii
Minnesota
Wisconsin
Illinois
Michigan
Ohio
Florida
Pennsylvania
New York
Vermont
New Hampshire
Maine
Rhode Island
Massachusetts
Connecticut
New Jersey
Delaware
Maryland
District of Columbia

Bush/Cheney

All the rest

Of course, this prediction should be taken with a grain of salt, as I am also the eternal optimist who forecasted the Anaheim Angels winning the World Series.
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THE OFFICIAL BERRY'S WORLD ENDORSEMENTS

Here's the way I'm going to be voting (in bold) at Box Brother on Victory Blvd. early Tuesday morning:

President and Vice President of the United States:

Cobb/La March---Green
Bush/Cheney---Republican
Badnarik/Campagna---Libertarian
Peroutka/Baldwin---American Independent
Peltier/Jordan---Peace and Freedom
Kerry/Edwards---Democratic

---Not exactly a shocker here, huh?

United States Senator:

Barbara Boxer---Democratic
Bill Jones---Republican
Don J. Grundmann---American Independent
James P. "Jim" Gray---Libertarian
Marsha Feinland---Peace and Freedom

---This was a close one, as Matt Welch almost had me pull the lever for Gray.

United States Representative:

Robert M. Levy---Republican
Brad Sherman---Democratic
Eric J. Carter---Green

---If it ain't broke...

Member of the State Assembly:

Lloyd Levine---Democratic
Mark Isler---Republican

---I got so mad that I actually called Levine once, and while I didn't reach him, I did have a nice chat with Stuart Waldman, his Chief of Staff.

Judge of the Superior Court:

Office 18

Mildred Escobedo
Pat Campbell

Office 29

Lori Jones
Gus Gomez

Office 52

Laura Priver
John Gutierrez

Office 53

Daniel Zeke Zeidler
David Lopez

Office 69

Judy Levey Meyer
Donna Groman

---OK these votes are really a crapshoot. I've never heard of any of the candidates, but that never stopped me before. The easy choices were Groman and Lopez, as their opponents were listed with their middle names. I'm anti-middle initial, but I really, really hate people using their middle names. The other three choices, (Escobedo, Gomez, and Gutierrez) were picked simply because they are NOT criminal prosecutors. Silly reasons to vote for or against a judicial candidate? You bet, but they knew the risks.

STATE MEASURES

1A---PROTECTION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVENUES

YES---1A keeps the state from grabbing up local tax dollars that would ordinarily be used for little things like police, fire prevention and health care.

59---PUBLIC RECORDS, OPEN MEETINGS. LEGISLATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

YES---I'm always for governmental transparency.

60---ELECTION RIGHTS OF POLITICAL PARTIES. LEGISLATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

NO---We're not Florida, and our election system is fine, so let's not screw with it.

60A---SURPLUS PROPERTY. LEGISLATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

YES---60A compels the state to pay off certain existing bonds when it sells surplus property.

61---CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL PROJECTS. GRANT PROGRAM. BOND ACT. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

YES---You really gonna say no to helping out with the children's hospitals? Not me.

62---ELECTIONS. PRIMARIES. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.

NO---We're not Florida, and our election system is fine, so let's not screw with it.

63---MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES EXPANSION, FUNDING. TAX ON PERSONAL INCOMES ABOVE $1 MILLION. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

YES---Soaking the rich to help the mentally ill is right up my alley.

64---LIMITS ON PRIVATE ENFORCEMENT OF UNFAIR BUSINESS COMPETITION LAWS. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

NO---If 64 passes, then only government officials can enforce unfair business laws. Considering that Arnold's government already rolls over and plays dead for any and all businesses in California, this is a bad idea.

65---LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUNDS, REVENUES. STATE MANDATES. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

NO---The people who put 65 on the ballot are now saying that 1A is better. Good enough for me.

66---LIMITATIONS ON "THREE STRIKES" LAW. SEX CRIMES. PUNISHMENT. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

YES---66 means that a two-strike criminal who steals the new Eminem CD doesn't do life at taxpayer expense. The third strike must violent and/or serious for a life sentence to be imposed.

67---EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES. FUNDING. TELEPHONE SURCHARGE. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.

YES---A telephone surcharge will go to ER physicians, hospital ER's, health clinics, EMT's, and the 911 system. A pretty good thing to spend money on, thinks me.

68---NON-TRIBAL COMMERCIAL GAMBLING EXPANSION. TRIBAL GAMING COMPACT AMENDMENTS. REVENUES, TAX EXEMPTIONS. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.

NO---The bottom line on 68 is that if it passes, there will be MORE gambling venues up and down the Golden State. If you want to gamble, go to Vegas.

69---DNA SAMPLES. COLLECTION. DATABASE. FUNDING. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

NO---Collects and saves DNA from people arrested and charged with felonies, even if they are found not guilty. Sorry, not this time John Ashcroft!

70---TRIBAL GAMING COMPACTS. EXCLUSIVE GAMING RIGHTS. CONTRIBUTIONS TO STATE. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.

NO---70 forces California to enter into 99-year contracts with Tribal casinos. I'm against any and all 99-year contracts with anybody.

71---STEM CELL RESEARCH. FUNDING. BONDS. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.

YES---Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Let's start the stem cell research right now. (My choice of what to work on first? Parkinson disease.) Naturally, all the tightwads who vote against it will certainly take advantage of any cures that come down the pike.

72---HEALTH CARE COVERAGE REQUIREMENTS. REFERENDUM.

YES---72 requires large and medium sized employers to provide health care coverage for employees. Suck on that, Wal-Mart!

COUNTY MEASURE

A---LOS ANGELES COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY, EMERGENCY RESPONSE AND CRIME PREVENTION MEASURE.

YES---Increases countywide sales tax by a 1/2 cent to put more cops on the streets.

CITY MEASURE

O---CLEAN WATER, OCEAN, RIVER, BEACH, BAY STORM WATER CLEANUP MEASURE--GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS. CITY OF LOS ANGELES.

YES---Property owners pay about $25 more a year to help the environment.

So, there you have it. You know where I stand, but if you disagree with me, don't worry too much. Based on recent history, I only vote for the winning candidate or propositions about 15% of the time.
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Saturday, October 30, 2004
 
A SPLIT DECISION

On tonight's McLaughlin Group, the panel was asked to predict who would win the most electoral votes on Tuesday.

PATRICK BUCHANAN
: Four more years, Bush.

ELEANOR CLIFT: Kerry.

TONY BLANKLEY: Bush, by a whisker.

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL
: John Kerry.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is, John Kerry.
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TELL THE ORANGE BOWL, 'WE ACCEPT!'

My inside sources tell me that the the Kent State Golden Flashes, fresh off their 42-16 thumping of Ohio University, would accept an offer to play in the FedEx Orange Bowl come January. The only apparent barrier to the Flashes playing in Orange Bowl is their misleading 2-6 record.
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COME IN OFF THE LEDGE, MATT

In news that will undoubtedly have Matt Welch weeping like a fat kid who missed the ice cream truck, the Anaheim Angels announced they won't be bringing back his favorite Angel, third baseman Troy Glaus. The Angels will replace the 2002 World Series MVP with youngster Dallas McPherson. Fans of the Angels who don't consider Glaus their favorite player, like me who worships Darin Erstad, can understand the move, as the Angels will save tons of money. McPherson is no slouch either, as he was named the Sporting News minor league player of the year.
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