Berry's World
Saturday, November 01, 2003

One of the greatest scholars on the American Presidency, Richard E. Neustadt, died today. I have grown fond of Neustadt by watching The American President on PBS. He commented in each episode, and it was quite clear that he profoundly understood every President, but what I liked was the way Nuestadt would smile while discussing the Presidents. He looked at all of them as friends and obviously enjoyed talking about them.

The Sooners won again today, pounding Oklahoma State 52-9, causing a lot of college football experts to wonder if anybody can stop Oklahoma from another National Championship.

It says right here that yes, somebody can.

The next National Champion will be USC.

As soon as the campaign is over I will— I can get into all of the specifics and find out what is really going on. But right now I’m just really occupied with the campaign.

Governor-Elect Schwarzenegger to Tom Brokaw, two days before the recall election.
Friday, October 31, 2003

I mentioned previously that Cara Remal decided to support the re-election of President Bush because the Democratic candidates for President haven’t agreed that the Iraqi people are better off without Saddam Hussein. She has answered her detractors with this comment to the post:

"We need to remember that George Bush is the enemy, not each other"; Howard Dean may have been the one to say this but the rest of the Dems did not refute it either. Now, this is one example (among others) that helps makes the case that they, the Democratic Presidential candidates, are all much more concerned with their own personal and party politics than with the fact that this nation is at war, and in a time of war, I'm sorry, I think it's just over the top to be calling our president the "enemy". The Democratic candidates here did a pretty good job of 'smearing' themselves, all by themselves. True enough, none of the candidates have compared Bush to Hitler; my point is that these far left 'wackos' have eeked their message through enough to give Dean the room to say things like "We need to remember that George Bush is the enemy", and for the rest of the candidates to tacitly agree.

One really must wonder, is Remal fooling herself or her readers? Governor Howard Dean's statement, ‘Let’s remember, George W. Bush is the enemy here,’ was made during a debate where Democratic candidates were bashing each other. Governor Dean was attempting to refocus the candidates on who we should be attacking, not intimating that we should be militarily deposing President Bush and not Saddam Hussein. Naturally, putting the remark in context weakens Remal’s argument beyond all repair, so Remal opted against it. Sean Hannity must be very proud.

This may just be the diet soda talking, but wouldn't Alex Rodriguez look awfully good playing shortstop for the Anaheim Angels? The Rangers will listen to offers, A-Rod has Anaheim on the list of teams he would accept a trade to, and the Angels are looking for a shortstop.

It's a natural, right?

Even though the Angels are going to increase their payroll, A-Rod's price tag of $25 million per season might just be the deal breaker.

I have to wonder. If California had voted for President Bush in 2000, or if Jeb Bush was our Governor, don't you think that we would have gotten the federal aid requested to clear dead trees?

And if you don't think so, don't you think we would have at least had an answer a lot faster?

Calpundit steered us over, eventually, to Who Knew, and a post penned by somebody named Cara Remal. Remal makes the point that the Iraqi people are much better off because Saddam Hussein was not 'left in power'. Remal then compares people who disagree with her to the folks who supported Hitler in WW II, and says that unless the left comes to the same conclusion she has, she will vote for President Bush.

Clearly, in a rush to make herself feel self important, Remal fails to see a few pertinent facts.

First, I knew Adolf Hitler. I worked with Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler was a friend of mine. You, Saddam, are no Adolf Hitler.

Second, we haven't exactly rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein, now have we?

Third, who gives a fat rat's ass if the Iraqi people are sleeping better when compared to the deaths of nearly 400 American men and women? Not to mention the thousands of Americans who have been seriously wounded. Not to mention the nearly 200 billion dollars we had to spend to change Saddam's address from a presidential palace to whereabouts unknown.

Cara, this ain't shoe shopping with daddy's credit card. There is an actual price to pay for our excursion into Iraq, and the bill is paid with limbs and lives. If you think it was worth it, you should vote for President Bush. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

TOM BROKAW: In yet another pick-up for the Republicans, former comedian Dennis Miller has been elected California’s junior Senator, after winning a hotly contested race over Senator Barbara Boxer. Most political pundits in The Golden State had this race too close to call, and attribute Miller’s victory to his performance in the one debate. Let’s take a look back at the closing moments of that debate.


MODERATOR STAN STATHAM: Senator Boxer, you have claimed throughout your campaign that Mr. Miller has been getting, and I quote ‘the Schwarzenegger’ treatment. What do you mean by that?

SENATOR BOXER: Well, this campaign is extremely important, and I think that anybody who wants to be Senator of our great state should be asked where they stand on the big issues. Where they stand on abortion, what they would do to stimulate the economy, and how they would act concerning gun control. I don’t think that anybody should rise to the office of Senator simply by using wise cracks and smart remarks.

STATHAM: Mr. Miller, your response?

CANDIDATE MILLER: Whoa, I haven’t seen grapes this sour since I sampled Julia Sweeney’s homemade wine at an SNL wrap party.

STATHAM: Oh, well done. The next question is for Mr. Miller. Mr. Miller, Senator Boxer does raise an interesting, if not treasonous point, that being, why should the voters of California elect you as their next Senator?

MILLER: That’s a good question Stan. The answer is because I am a celebrity. The voters of California have had enough of politicians and want their leaders to have some star power. And, frankly, Senator Boxer has very little star power outside of the Lesbian Senate Choral Group.

STATHAM: He makes a strong point, Senator. Your response?

BOXER: Frankly, I don’t know who that answer insults more, me or the good people of California. First, I am not a lesbian…

MILLER: You’d have a better shot at us believing you if you’d lay off the flannel shirts and open toed sandals, Babs.


STATHAM: OK, OK, I’m not a traffic cop, so let’s try and keep things civil, shall we Senator?

BOXER: But, he just called me…

STATHAM: Your time is up Senator. Let’s move on. Senator Boxer, you have been California’s Senator for over a decade, yet the illegal immigration problem has gotten worse and worse on your watch. What would you do now to stem the problem?

BOXER: Well, Stan, as you know I have led the fight to prevent illegal aliens from entering our great state. I have worked very hard to encourage immigrants to come to California the legal way, and make good, decent citizens thereby helping the struggling economy. The truth is, there is no easy answer.

STATHAM: Mr. Miller, is there an easy answer?

MILLER: You bet. We buy Mexico and evict the little brown bastards. We send them down to Guatemala. Then when they sneak over the nearest border, they find themselves right back in Mexico. By that time, they’ll be so exhausted, they won’t even think about coming to California.

STATHAM: Senator Boxer, why didn’t you think of that?

BOXER: Are you serious? That idea is so lame that it could have been a subplot in Bordello Of Blood.

STATHAM: On that point, excuse me, excuse me, excuse me. Candidates please, let me take control of this for a moment. I'm going to decide it is my privilege as moderator that that was a direct and personal attack on Mr. Miller, so would you respond?

MILLER: If that was Aunt Bea’s idea of a one-liner, it’s no wonder the voters of California want to go in a new direction. Frankly, I haven’t seen a Boxer this ill-equipped since Michael Spinks laced them up against Mike Tyson.

STATHAM: Mr. Miller, what ideas do you have when it comes to gun control?

MILLER: Gun control has been the biggest failure since, well, Senator Boxer. We’ve tried to control guns for years and yet, criminals still get their hands on them. I think it’s time to head in a new direction. Let’s make concealed weapons mandatory. That way, the next time some punk walks up behind you at the ATM he’ll know that one wrong step and his heart will be blasted to the other side of Wilshire and you’ll have your cash and be on your way.

STATHAM: Senator Boxer, I suppose you have a problem with that idea?

BOXER: Well, if this was the old west…

STATHAM: You know what Senator, I think we all know where your going, and rather than actually have you go through your answer advocating the molly-coddling of criminals, we will just move on to our final statements. Senator Boxer, why don’t you go first?

BOXER: Thank you Stan. This is a vital election for California. Considering our state has the highest deficit in history thanks to Governor Schwarzenegger and President Bush, now is not the time to add another under qualified Republican to the leadership of our people. We don’t need stand-up comics, we need serious people.

STATHAM: Mr. Miller, your closing statement.

MILLER: I agree, we need serious people, but not Yahoo Serious, and that is who Senator Boxer has resembled in her attempt to act as our Senator. We need people the voters like, and frankly, according to Gallup, Senator Boxer is not well liked in California. I haven’t seen poll numbers this low since the USA thrashed Poland in basketball at the ’88 Olympics, OK Cha Cha. Vote for me. I’m serious.
Thursday, October 30, 2003

If they took all the porn off the internet, there would only be one website left, and it would be called 'Bring Back The Porn'.

Dr. Perry Cox

Martin Wolk may have gone off the deep end. Check out the opener of his MSNBC story concerning the GDP boost:

Although the presidential election is still a year away, Thursday’s strong GDP report has seriously weakened — at least for now, and perhaps for good — the Democratic case against how President Bush has handled the economy.

Now, I'm no economist, but does the rise in GDP mean that the 2.6 million people who have lost their jobs since President Bush took office just disappeared?

Rena 'Kiss Of Death' Sofer has another notch on her belt. With the death of the NBC rip-off of the BBC's Coupling, Sofer has now killed 5 TV series'.

The death count:

Just Shoot Me, Oh Grow Up, Opposite Sex, The Chronicle, and now Coupling.

If Sofer were in politics, she would probably be gearing up to run as the Republican nominee for Governor of Texas.

Have you, like me, been worried about how those incredibly hard-working and under appreciated U. S. Senators are going to make ends meet? Well, don't worry. They got a raise.

From Sidney Blumenthal's The Clinton Wars, pages 128-129:

Richard Armey of Texas, the Republican majority leader, was the dogmatic bishop. A defender of the one true faith of conservative Republicanism, he was inquisitorial, blunt, and insulting. Like Gingrich, he was a failed professor, forced out of the economics department at North Texas State University, to which his response had been to blast "Take This Job and Shove It" at his colleagues from a boom box he brought to campus. In the Congress, Armey taunted Democrats, calling President Clinton "your president". He labeled Barney Frank "Barney Fag." He termed Social Security a "rotten trick." And he insulted Hillary Clinton---"All her friends are Marxists"---also telling her, "Reports of your charms are overrated." Armey employed the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on his staff, and she helped him target Democrats who they thought should be investigated. He was proud of his narrowness, believing it to be true Americanism. When he was asked why he refused to vote for funding of the International Monetary Fund, Armey answered, "I've been to Europe once---I don't need to go again," adding that he didn't need to go to Asia either.

In the Seinfeld episode called The Strongbox, George and Jerry had this conversation concerning some cufflinks:

Jerry: "Check these out. These are Jerry Lewis' old cufflinks that he actually wore in the movie Cinderfella. I got 'em at an auction."
George: "I got some cufflinks I could've loaned you."
Jerry: "No, Jerry Lewis is gonna be at this Friar's Club roast I'm goin' to next week. Now I have an in to strike up a conversation with him."
George: "You already have an in. You have the same first name. Jerry."
Jerry: "Oh, that'll intrigue him."
George: "Well, it worked when I met George Peppard last week."
Jerry: "George Peppard has been dead for years."
George: "Well, whoever he was, he knew a lot about The A-Team."

I was reminded of this when I saw Gregory Hines coming out of a dry cleaners yesterday. I was all set to blog about it when I happened to check on the spelling of Hines' name and noticed that Hines died in August. Well, whoever he was, he sure looked like Gregory Hines.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

The West Wing returned to the rarefied heights of seasons past with a stunningly good episode tonight. Every story line was well written, and intertwined in a way that would make Aaron Sorkin proud. It seems that my previous predictions of the demise of The West Wing were premature, and nobody is happier about it than me.

In the case of Senator Joe Lieberman, his transparency knows no bounds. He's pulled out of Iowa, he's trailing badly in New Hampshire, and with Arizona among the next set of primaries, where coincidentally enough he's running fourth, Senator Lieberman says he will name Arizona Senator John McCain as his Secretary of Defense if he wins the general election.

I get the feeling that Senator Lieberman will have to actually witness the next president being sworn in before it dawns on him that the Democratic Party won't elect him. It appears that in addition to not having President Clinton campaign for him, choosing Senator Lieberman as his running mate was yet another mistake Vice President Gore made in 2000. If he wasn't the second guy on the 2000 ticket, maybe Senator Lieberman wouldn't be under the false impression that he should be president.

I didn't want to miss out on such a fun day, so I got my law guy on the blower and had him fire off a letter:

Dear Barry Fugatt,

It has come to my attention that you run a website called Barry's World, and said website is available on the Internet for anyone and everyone to see. As if you didn't know, my client, the decent and honorable Keith Berry, runs a weblog called Berry's World, and his weblog is also available on the Internet for all to peruse.

I must insist that you cease and desist in the publishing of your website, and demand that you remove your site from the Internet. Despite the fact that your website's title is spelled differently than my client's, despite the fact that your website appears to be gardening related and my client couldn't pick a garden out of a line-up, and despite the fact that your website has been on the internet for much longer than my client's, I hereby advise you that should you not meet my demands, I will be forced to file suit against you in a court of my choosing. It will probably be Federal Court, seeing as you are in Kansas, and my client is in California. Combining that with the fact that the Federal Court is much closer to my office and I don't get paid for mileage, you are very close to finding yourself in a FEDERAL LAWSUIT!

My client, the dignified and humble Keith Berry, does not want this to be settled in a court of law, and that is the reason for this letter. He would much rather that you cave in to my demands and settle this matter before it gets out of hand. If you still wish to keep your website, Barry's World, on the Internet, we would be willing to reach a financial agreement with you. For an extremely reasonable sum of 16 dollars, we will forget we ever happened across your website. However, YOU would be responsible for mailing the 16 dollars, and the stamp, and envelope may NOT be deducted from the aforementioned 16 dollars.

So, Mr. Fugatt, the choice is yours. You can do the smart thing and pay my client the 16 dollars he so richly deserves, or you can face my wrath in Federal (probably) Court. I await your decision.


Stanley J. Cooper
(Almost) Attorney At Law

Before I see a movie I don’t like reading about it. I don’t like watching interviews with the actors, the director, or the producer. Basically, I want to go in blind. For some reason or another I choose a movie to see, and then I don’t want any more information about it. The reason I pick the movie varies. It might be the poster. It might be the star. It might be because somebody told me to go see it. Like I said, it varies.

So, why did I choose The Party’s Over? It was because of this sentence:

A documentary which follows actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, taking an inside look at the 2000 Democratic and Republican conventions for Al Gore and George W. Bush, respectively.

Frankly, that sentence got me pretty excited. An insider’s look at both conventions by Phillip Seymour Hoffman! He’s a good actor. He was in Boogie Nights, and that really creepy movie Happiness. As a famous actor, he’ll get to talk to all kinds of big shots, and he wears glasses, so he’s smart, right?

In the first 15 seconds of the movie Hoffman informs us that he is, basically, ignorant when it comes to politics.

Uh oh.

Hoffman takes us on a video journey through the 2000 Republican and Democratic conventions and the film culminates with the Supreme Court deciding the election in favor of George W. Bush.

Hoffman does get interviews with all kinds of political players. Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader, Michael Moore, Ralph Reed, Representative Harold Ford Jr., and Noam Chomsky among others.

Sadly, all we get is the usual platitudes that the political types usually spout because Hoffman doesn’t know what the follow up question should be. His ignorance of politics left me wondering why the hell he was ‘hosting’ the documentary.

The film is littered with the normal MTV fast editing, great visual sites, and a ton of footage of the police breaking up the protests outside of the respective conventions. And there were a few good moments. Rep. Ford said that the two most important things in politics are ‘money, and I can’t remember what the second thing is.’ We also saw a good bit of footage of Michael Moore explaining that there is no difference between the two major candidates. You think he regrets that now? Probably not, because had Vice President Gore won, Moore wouldn't have sold as many books.

What the film is lacking is any kind of coherent thought. It starts out as a ‘pox on both their houses’ flick, but ends with Hoffman (and the film) leaning heavily Democratic. Near the end Hoffman declines to predict who would win, or who he wanted to win, but he doesn’t hide his feelings well.

The Party’s Over is documentation of Hoffman’s political evolvement, and that might be a nice thing for him to have to show his children, but it does not make for a good documentary. At the end of The Party’s Over I was simply praying that the movie was over.

Craig Kilborn on the spat between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal:

Initially Kobe denied attacking Shaq, but later claimed the fight was consensual.
Tuesday, October 28, 2003

For the last few weeks my Tuesday nights have been highlighted by watching The American President on KLCS, one of two PBS stations available to me. Tonight, however, instead of seeing the episode of The American President featuring President Bill Clinton, the decision makers at KLCS are showing a board meeting of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Hey, I enjoy board meetings of the LAUSD as much as the next single guy with no children, but you would think that one thing you could count on would be the KLCS schedule which, ironically enough, is put out by KLCS.

Talk Left informs us that Representative Dennis Kucinich won the endorsement of the New Hampshire Green Party. Considering that the conventional wisdom is that Rep. Kucinich has no chance to grab the Democratic nomination, is it out of line to think that he might run as the Green Party candidate in the general election, thus splitting the progressive vote and handing President Bush the election?

Ross Perot, where are you when we need you?

Do you have a fake name? You know, to give out in those akward situations when you don't want somebody to know your real name, such as when you are talking to a person who you aren't attracted to, or when you get caught shoplifting?

On Friends, Joey's fake name is Ken Adams. Phoebe is Regina Phelange. On Will And Grace, Karen uses Anastasia Beaverhausen. In a stunning display of honesty, I'll tell you mine:

John Herman.

Jack McKeon will return for one more season as manager of the Florida Marlins, and that's too bad. If he retired now, he leaves baseball as a legend. When he comes back and the Marlins finish in the middle of the pack, as they almost assuredly will, his legendary reputation will be lessened some what.

That's a shame.

Watching Senator John Kerry on Charlie Rose tonight, I must admit he scored some points with me. I liked the case he made for his position on the war, despite the constant pestering and badgering of Rose, who all of a sudden learned how to ask a critical question. However, I didn't like the way he kept telling us Governor Howard Dean's positions. Maybe it's just me, but I tend to think that Governor Dean is more than capable of making his positions clear without Senator Kerry's help. Other than that, I thought it was a solid performance.

So, here are my internal leanings on the Democratic candidates, with the previous leanings in parenthesis:

Governor Dean: 22 (26)---His plan to roll back the entire Bush tax-cut is causing me some concern.

General Clark: 20 (20)---He is being attacked from all sides, but that helps him with me.

Senator Kerry: 18 (15)---I've always thought he was presidential timber. Interview with Rose cemented that thought.

Senator Edwards 12 (10)---I could vote for him with a clear conscience, but a lot would have to happen first.

Representative Kucinich: 10 (10)---If I was picking the next president, Dennis would be in. Sadly, I'm not, and he's out.

Representative Gephardt: 5 (5)---He simply doesn't reach me.

Reverend Sharpton: 3 (3)---His one-liners amuse me.

Senator Lieberman: 1 (2)---I'd rather eat my own head than vote for Joe.

Ambassador Moseley Braun: 0 (0)---She's not fooling anybody.
Monday, October 27, 2003

If you didn't think that Kobe Bryant was leaving the Los Angeles Lakers after this season, take a look at these quotes and I'm sure your mind will be changed:

“I don’t miss 15 games because of a toe injury that everybody knows wasn’t that serious in the first place.”

“It doesn’t matter whose team it is. But this is his team, so it’s time for him to act like it. That means no more coming into camp fat and out of shape, when your team is relying on your leadership on and off the court. It also means no more blaming others for our team’s failure, or blaming staff members for not over-dramatizing your injuries so that you avoid blame for your lack of conditioning. Also, ‘my team’ doesn’t mean only when we win, it means carrying the burden of defeat just as gracefully as you carry a championship trophy.”


If a child molester stops molesting children, would he become a commercial pitchman?

If a murderer stops murdering people, should he get a guest spot on The Jimmy Kimmel Live show?

If a corporate scam artist starts playing by the rules, would you expect to see an animated version of him on Saturday Night Live?

If you answered no to these questions, answer one for me:

Why the hell is Jared Fogel all over TV these days?

To be brutally blunt, Jared, as he is known to his myriad loving fans, is nothing but a fat-ass who began to eat better. Hey, I’m happy for the guy as his health has obviously improved, but how in God’s name did he become a cultural icon? Maybe it’s me, but I don’t think we should worship somebody simply because they started to avoid chocolate soup and scooter pie salads.

Leave it to the TV show Extra to look past the trivial and cut right to the most serious consequences of the fires in Southern California. In somber tones we got the horrible news that in addition to over 1000 homes being burned and over a dozen lives being claimed, the fires completely destroyed the set from Little House on the Prairie.

Have courage friends.

With all of the turmoil concerning the switching of sites for tonight's Monday Night Football game between Miami and San Diego, when I turned it on, only one question came to mind:

What's the deal with Al Michaels' hair?

President Bush said today that the attacks in Iraq that have claimed nearly 40 lives in Baghdad are because the insurgents are 'desperate'.

On a related note, the fires that are ravaging Southern California and have claimed over a dozen lives and nearly 1000 homes are also 'desperate'.
Sunday, October 26, 2003

Because there was no 7th game of the World Series, our Fox station showed the pilot for Skin for the 17th time. While it's not that bad a show, there was a memorable line. Ron Silver makes a reference to President Kennedy sleeping with Marilyn Monroe and follows it up with this gem:

That was Clinton's problem. He went for the homely girls. If he'd have banged Cindy Crawford, he'd be on Mount Rushmore.

Reading the transcript of tonight's Democratic Debate in Detroit, it has become abundantly clear that former Senator Carol Moseley Braun, Representative Dennis Kucinich, and Al Sharpton should withdraw from the race.

Now if I had to pick a candidate that I most agree with, it would be Representative Kucinich, but I am a realist and I know that the three aforementioned candidates simply have no chance to win. By staying in the race, they are simply muddying the water and preventing the voters from hearing more from the candidates who can win.

Our local Fox affiliate, KTTV, is making us Southern Californians suffer through an utterly forgettable game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where the only tension is wondering if the heat will cause sideline reporter Tony Siragusa to keel over from a heart attack. I don’t want to say the game was decided early on, but the Bucs did go into their ‘two, four six, eight, who do we appreciate…’ cheer at halftime.

A man named Eddie Blake was arrested for suspicion of bank robbery. A well known and beloved American figure, let’s call him Mr. X, without the permission of the local law authorities, surreptitiously records Blake’s meeting with his attorney. During the meeting, Blake implicitly confesses to the robbery. Blake’s attorney urges Blake to confess, but Blake refuses. Mr. X then approached the jurisdiction’s top law official and offers him the recording of the confession. The lawman, immediately realizing that the recording was acquired in violation of Blake’s constitutional rights, refuses to listen to the recording, although due to a close relationship to Mr. X, takes no action against him. Later, Mr. X meets with Blake in his prison cell, gaining access to the prisoner by through a low ranking law enforcement official. Mr. X threatens Blake by telling him that unless he confesses, Mr. X will make the confession public. Blake later confesses.

Who is this John Ashcroft wannabe, Mr. X?

Answer is in the comments.

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