Berry's World
Friday, August 01, 2003

It’s a dark day indeed when I find myself in agreement with Christopher Hitchens. However, today’s column pretty much sums up what I had been thinking since Bob Hope died.

I’ve never really thought Hope was very funny, but I just kept it to myself. I guess you have to admire Hitchens for saying what he felt needed to be said.

(While this was meant to be a glowing endorsement, considering it’s Hitchens, this is the best I can manage.)


We’ve all thought about it. George Costanza tried it. But now Aristotelis Belavilas has struck a blow for the little guys. After being kept waiting in his doctor’s waiting room for 3 hours, Belavilas sued Dr. Ty Weller and won a $250 judgment!

Good Morning America had the two principals on this morning and Dr. Weller’s main claim was that this sort of judgment (which he will appeal) would have a chilling effect on doctors around the nation.

I hope so.

The main point of the story that was NEVER mentioned on GMA is that Dr. Weller was over-booked on the day in question. If the chilling effect Dr. Weller speaks of means that doctors will be less eager to over-book their time, then Mr. Belavilas has done a great service for all of us.


Maybe I don’t get it. David Kay, the man leading the CIA’s search for WMD’s in Iraq says they are making solid progress and that the American people “…should be prepared for surprises.”

Considering that Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld indicated that we practically had road maps leading directly to the mountains of WMD’s held in Iraq prior to the war, isn’t the only possible surprise that we haven’t found anything yet?

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Last night I caught the excellent PBS documentary, Watergate Plus 30: Shadow Of History. While it’s always pleasant to be reminded what an evil, petty little man Richard Nixon was, there was a hilarious tidbit concerning G. Gordon Liddy.

Apparently Liddy was pitching a plan to Attorney General John Mitchell that would involve getting hookers to get together with some top Democratic leaders for blackmail purposes. When somebody in the room pooh-pooh’d the idea, Liddy says:

“General, I want to assure you, these are the finest women in Baltimore.”

One can only imagine that Liddy uttered this with a completely straight face.


Quite frankly, this whole gay marriage debate has snuck up on me. I haven’t spent much time considering it, mainly because it doesn’t affect me. However, I did take notice today when the Vatican issued a document saying that supporting same-sex marriages was ‘gravely immoral’. Further, the document says, “homosexual acts go against the natural moral law”.

Now, being a lapsed Catholic who usually attends St. Mattress on Sunday mornings, I am sure that the Pope cares little for my opinion, but I really think that maybe the Catholic church ought to get their own house in order before they start accusing others of gravely immoral behavior. If the Pope wants some real examples of gravely immoral behavior, he doesn’t have to look too far, now does he?

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The Inglewood police brutality case, as you no doubt already know, ended with a hung jury and there is speculation afoot as to whether Jeremy Morse will be retried. Morse’s partner, Bijan Darvish, was acquitted of filing a false police report.

Some of the jurors are speaking out, and it seems that the big sticking point for the jurors voting to acquit Morse was the testimony of L.A. County Sheriff's Cmdr. Charles Heal, who testified that Morse’s treatment of the 16-year-old Donavan Jackson was excessive but not crimnal.

Oddly, Heal was the PROSECUTION’S expert witness. You think somebody in the D.A.’s office isn’t kicking themselves (or being kicked) for not kowing that Heal was going to testify to that on the stand?

My feeling, having seen the video tape, but not the whole trial is this: when Morse punched the handcuffed Jackson in the face, he crossed the line. He should have been found guilty.

Jack Dunphy, which is a nom de cyber for a member of the LAPD, writes on NRO that Heal “admitted to the jury he had handled people just as roughly in his career, and so has nearly every cop who's spent any time at all on the streets.”

And people wonder why the LAPD has such a bad reputation.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Flipping through the channels tonight, I happened upon a woman doing an alleged stand-up comedy act. Now I don’t want to say she was dying, but I truely had to fight the urge to call my priest to deliver the last rites. She was an honest to God train wreck. I didn’t want to watch, but for some perverse reason, I couldn’t turn away.

Turns out I had accidentally tuned in to Last Comic Standing, and was catching contestant Cory Kahaney’s “act’.

You can only imagine how I felt when Kahaney FINALLY finished and the audience gave her a standing ovation.

A German 3-year-old boy swiped his dad’s car keys and drove the family Honda into a nearby car causing $5700 dollars in damage. OK, boys will be boys, right?

4 days later, in an attempt to reenact the event for TV, the boy’s father puts the boy behind the wheel, gives him the keys, and wanders away to talk to the TV crew. The result? The kid fires up the Honda and rear ends another car.

Seriously, there are just some people on this planet too stupid to have children.


A few years back, Paul Newman appeared on The David Letterman Show and I was impressed that he received a lengthy standing ovation. I’ve always thought that a standing ovation was a way to pay a little extra tribute to a deserving person.

But nowadays it seems like anybody and everybody can get a standing ovation. I’m flipping through the channels last night and I saw Jay Leno get a standing ovation at the beginning of The Tonight Show. Yeah, yeah, I know they have people encouraging the crowd to be enthusiastic and whatnot, but come on.

Then, I caught the beginning of The Caroline Rhea Show and she gets a standing ovation! Now, I think Caroline Rhea is funny, but a standing ovation? (As a side note, Caroline’s show in Los Angeles comes on at 2 AM after a REGULARLY SCHEDULED infomercial. It seems that we Southern Californians don’t share the same enthusiasm as Caroline’s in-studio audience.)

Pretty soon, a standing ovation is going to lose all meaning, like the words ‘call me’, or ‘I love you’.


Rumors are flying fast and furious that Arnold Schwarzenegger has, indeed, decided not to run for California's Governorship in the recall election on October 7th?


Politicos are whispering that the Gray Davis camp has alerted Schwarzenegger to some information concerning Schwarzenegger's father AND wife that they will make public if the actor gets in the race. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, will confirm this, although one political writer insisted during an early morning phone call that two off the record Republican sources have said it's true.

Look for Schwarzenegger to announce by the end of business tomorrow that he wants to spend more time with his family and to endorse former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan.


Joe Lieberman, who still thinks he has a shot at becoming the Democratic presidential nominee, comes down on President Bush and his fellow Democratic candidates in this story from the Washington Post. President Bush is giving "...a bad name to a just war," said Lieberman. Joe then goes on to blast Democrats, but badly misinterprets the facts of the situation. The money quote:

"What made this war just was the clear evidence of 12 years of Saddam Hussein's brutality and evasion of responsibility," he said. "And that is not diminished by those 16 misleading words in George W. Bush's speech."

What Lieberman seems to forget is that the justification for this war was the immediate and severe threat Iraq posed to the United States of America. That was the case the President fraudulently made, and if the President has to live with it, then so does Lieberman.

Monday, July 28, 2003

The Motion Picture Association of America is running commercials asking, well begging actually, people not to illegally download copyrighted material because poor, neglected working people will lose their jobs or health insurance.

They have also set up the website RespectCopyrights to inform the public that when they illegally download copyrighted material, it’s not just the actor or singer that doesn’t get paid for their work, but it affects script girls, key grips, and that nerdy guy who sells the tickets at your local theater.

Uh huh.

Hey, I understand it is illegal to get copyrighted material for free, but I might me a little bit more sympathetic if their ads didn’t feature multi-millionaires like Ben Affleck and James ‘I’m king of the world’ Cameron.

Further, the movie industry doesn’t exactly have a great track record in thinking clearly. In the mid to late ‘70’s, the movie folks fought tooth and nail to prevent the sale of video tape recorders (VTR’s, as they were originally known before becoming VCR’s) for personal home use.

Can you imagine how much money the movie industry would have lost had they been successful? (The first case concerning VTR’s ended up in the Supreme Court. See Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. 104 S. Ct. 774).

I don’t have a dog in this fight, as I don’t have any copyrighted material for anybody to steal, and I don’t knowingly steal copyrighted material. But I will say that copyright holders have pretty much had everything they ever wanted handed to them. The Constitution calls for a ‘limited’ amount of time for copyrights to last, however, every time that Mickey Mouse comes close to joining the public domain, Disney throws a ton of money at congress, and congress extends the amount of time for copyrights to last. Apparently congress and Disney don’t see any irony in the fact that some of Disney’s most successful franchises were based on material that was already in the public domain

Sonny Bono, who held a tremendous amount of copyrighted material, worked tirelessly prior to his death to extend the length of copyrights indefinitely. Some people might call that a conflict of interest. And they’d be right.


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