Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Excessive and Unacceptable

Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the 50 shots fired by cops involved in the Queens strip club shooting that killed an unarmed man on his wedding day "excessive and unacceptable" yesterday.

Comedian Michael Richards said yesterday he did not consider himself a racist, and that he was "shattered" by the comments he made to two young black men during a tirade at a Los Angeles comedy club, The Associated Press reports.

Flanked by most of the two dozen community leaders with whom he had just met, Bloomberg went out of his way to note that the investigation is far from over and that he supports Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

But in saying the dead man, Sean Bell, 23, and two friends who were shot and wounded had done nothing wrong, he appeared to be at odds with police accounts that one of the victims, Joseph Guzman, 31, had left the club to get a gun. No gun was found. And while police sources say there is no evidence to indicate the shooting victims had a gun, police have still not ruled out the possibility a fourth person may have fled the scene with a gun. They also said that Guzman, an ex-convict who according to state records served time in prison for drug possession, weapons possession and robbery, may have planned to get a gun elsewhere, then return to the club.

Bloomberg's comments followed a morning meeting at City Hall in which he and Kelly talked with a number of noted activists and politicians from Jamaica, including the Rev. Al Sharpton and Rep. Charles Rangel.

"It's hard to understand - and keep in mind I was not there at the time - why shots should be fired," Bloomberg said. "To me, that sounds excessive and unacceptable."

Richards appeared on the Rev. Jesse Jackson's nationally syndicated radio program, "Keep Hope Alive," as a part of a series of apologies for the incident. He said he knew his comments hurt the black community, and hoped to meet with the two men. He told Jackson that he had not used the language before.

"That's why I'm shattered by it. The way this came through me was like a freight train. After it was over, when I went to look for them, they had gone. And I've tried to meet them, to talk to them, to get some healing," he said.

Richards, who played Jerry Seinfeld's wacky neighbor Kramer on the TV sitcom "Seinfeld," was performing at West Hollywood's Laugh Factory last week when he lashed out at hecklers with a string of racial obscenities and profane language. A cell phone video camera captured the outburst, and the incident later appeared on TMZ.com.Richards told Jackson the tirade was fueled by anger, not bigotry. He said he wanted to hurt those who had hurt him."I was in a place of humiliation," he said.

But New York PBA president Patrick J. Lynch said the mayor's comments were "premature and not based on a full and proper investigation."Premature statements made without the benefit of all of the facts only serve to inflame tensions and prejudice the rights of those who are presumptively innocent," Lynch added.

Richards' publicist, Howard Rubenstein, said Saturday that Richards has begun psychiatric counseling in Los Angeles to learn how to manage his anger.Jackson, who has called Richards' words "hateful," "sick," and "deep-seated," said the comedian's inclusion on the show was a chance for a broader discussion about "cultural isolation" in the entertainment industry.

Richards noted that the racial epithet he used is frequent in the entertainment industry, and acknowledged that it could have consequences."I fear that young whites will think it's cool to go around and use that word because they see very cool people in the show business using that word so freely," he said. "Perhaps that's what came through in that ... the vernacular is so accessible.

The shots were fired within 10 to 15 seconds, police sources said, adding that it would appear to be a violation of the training police officers received.

Kelly said officers are told that in incidents in which they shoot their weapons they should assess the situation after firing three times.

But one officer, a 12-year veteran, fired 31 times from his 9-mm pistol, meaning he emptied the gun's magazine and then reloaded.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Subway Etiquette

While getting off of the 2 train last week, I stopped to allow a woman to step in front of me. Judging by the surprised look on her face (and by the number of people running up my back) it seems that common courtesy isn't all that common underground in NYC.

As I stood there pondering that bit of insight, an extraordinary thing happened. The woman that I let in front of me stopped, smiled, and let someone else get in front of her, then that person did the same, and so did another. In short order, what was usually a massive eruption of bodies through the doors turned into an orderly - and exceeding polite - procession onto the platform.

Standing and watching the events unfold, I couldn't help thinking about how much I wished everyone would stop being so nice so I could get off of the f**king train.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Week in Pictures LXVIII

Random Friday Thoughts:

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is almost here. It's been 70 degrees out all week, and it feels more like spring than autumn. It's like living in San Diego for chrissakes. I hope the cool weather gets here soon.

Have several parties to go to tomorrow, and at my age that means I'll have to spend next week recovering. Fortunately, it's a short week and Thanksgiving is the least stressful of all of the major holidays. (Well, for anyone other than turkeys, I suppose). For the rest of us, there's nothing to do but eat, watch football, and think about the four day weekend.

What amazes me is that so many people continue to eat turkey for lunch, even knowing that they'll be eating nothing but that for the next week or so. I'm guessing that turkey sales must drop 90% from the norm during the two weeks after the holiday.

Finally, after reading pinknest's post, I stopped in at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central for a lobster roll the other day. I'd write about how much I enjoyed it, but I'll just refer you to her post and pics instead.

On a side note, I only know them from what I've read on her blog, but pinknest and Matt seem like two of the coolest people on earth.

Anyway, on to the WiP:

Leadership of the newly elected Democratic majority showed their inexperience when they took too literally a suggestion that they huddle in order to discuss strategy.

Meanwhile in Iraq, Death fought to a draw with a farmer.

As worldwide population growth continues to soar, God is said to be considering hiring some temporary staff to help keep up with the demand.

In a related story, Satan is recovering nicely from a head injury he suffered when his horns got caught while he was running through a doorway.

Savvy travelers have uncovered a loophole in air carrier restrictions on the number of pieces of luggage that can be checked aboard a flight.

Former football great Emmitt Smith won the Dancing with the Stars competition by wowing the judges with his hip gyrations while copulating with his partner.

Our video of the week is "Remind Me" by Royksopp

A local family received a shock when they had their tires changed and found their missing son inside one of them.

Badly in need of technology expertise, a new town in the Nevada desert built a huge KFC franchise in the hopes of enticing Doug to move there.

Now that the gravy train ride is over, Kevin Federline has taken a job as a majorette for a high school marching band.

There are also rumors that the newly re-christened FedEx has taken a second job as the Burger King mascot.

A sailor silenced his critics who called the feat impossible by becoming the first person to sail to the top of the globe.

Locals walked away disappointed when a much publicized fireworks show in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan turned out to be nothing more than a group of men lifting sparklers into the air.

Concerned over ongoing drug trafficking in the area, a group of superheroes have volunteered to fly patrols over the Florida Keys.

Seeking to avoid fights over eligible women, some bars in NYC have begun hiring referees to settle disputes over who should get women's phone numbers.

And finally, a man was stranded for several hours when his penis became caught in the window as he tried to escape a jealous husband had come home unexpectedly just moments earlier.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I.D. Ology

For a few panicked moments yesterday, I thought I'd lost my wallet.

I wasn't necessarily worried about the wallet itself as I don't keep money in it (largely because as a Human Resources Manager, I don't make enough to have to worry about things like having spare cash to carry around). I do, however, carry around several identification documents such as my Driver License and company ID card so what really bothered me was the idea of identity theft. The fact that someone could use my personal information to impersonate me - for all intents and purposes inheriting the life I've built - was terrifying.

If that were to happen, I'd never be able to sleep again. Instead, I'd lay awake all night every night feeling sorry for the poor bastard.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Week in Pictures LXVII

Random Friday Thoughts:

I couldn't sleep the other night, so I watched "Saving Private Ryan" on one of the HBO channels. It was immediately followed by "Alabama Jones and the Busty Crusade" and I found myself wondering why more theaters didn't show that double feature when the films were released.

The elections are over and the Republicans were spanked like a conventioneer in a Las Vegas hotel room. I'll refrain from further comment. I just wanted to use that line.

I was at Rutgers for the big football game against Louisville last night. Fortunately, I was talked out of leaving at the half and I wound up seeing one of the most exciting games in recent memory. It was amazing to sit in the nearly empty stands at the end of the game and watch the students storm the field after Rutgers won in the final seconds.

I also saw Michael Lewis speak at a company event (hence the reason I was in New Jersey in the first place) and I have to say that he was one of the more entertaining speakers I've seen of late, but that's probably because I'm fascinated by statistical analysis in any context.

In keeping with the literary theme, I ran into Nelson DeMille at a bookstore the other night. I recognized him only because I happened to be looking at his new book at the time. I Turns out he's never heard of me or my blog. The bastard...

Anyway, on to the Week in Pictures.

Hillary Clinton barely had time to enjoy her election day victory before husband Bill embarrassed her by arriving naked for the Democratic National Committee's celebratory breakfast.

After getting trounced in the race for Senate, Katherine Harris (R-FL) further disappointed her supporters by boring herself to sleep during her concession speech.

A hunting trip for Melbourne's Lord Mayor John So took a dangerous turn when a duck leapt from a tree and knocked him unconscious with his pantented "flying wing" maneuver.

A team of engineers has launched an ambitious plan to string lights across the Atlantic Ocean in an effort to make nighttime crossings "less scary" for sailors.

Police are on the lookout for two crooks whose clever disguises allowed them to sneak undetected into the enclosure and make off with a baby panda.

Citing the difficulties of visually differentiating between Americans and Canadians, President Bush is pressuring Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to enact legislation requiring every Canadian citizen to have a maple leaf tattooed on the back of their neck.

Zookeepers at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. announced that Tai Shan will try out for this year's American Idol contest.

Earlier this week, Grant's dentist released some interesting pictures of the things she does to him while he's under the influence of nitrous oxide.

As part of their struggle to remain profitable, JetBlue is continuing it's search for innovative ways to cram more people onto flights.

A clogged toilet bowl has been identified as the cause of a recent flood that devastated the area.

An Indian man nearly suffocated after his head became trapped inside of a bubble gum balloon he'd blown.

Despite low prices and frequent "Buy one, get two free" promotions, the Urine Beer tent remained nearly empty throughout this year's Oktoberfest celebration.

Our video of the week is by Plain White T's "Hate (I Really Don't Like You)

A crew team had to be rescued when their boat became stuck in the middle of the river. It was later discovered that each side had been rowing in opposite directions.

A craftsman lost everything he owned when he became a bit too overzealous in building his new houseboat.

According to the company website, RJ Reynolds is releasing a new brand of cigarettes designed to make smoking fun again.

And finally, Back Door Bears topped the porn DVD sales list for the fifth consecutive week...

...barely beating out Panda Orgy 7: Eats, Shoots, and Leaves for the honor.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Week in Pictures LXVI

Random Friday Thoughts:

Yes, I know it's Monday, but I forgot to post this on Friday. That's what happens when they make me work. I neglect to focus on my priorities.

I apologize in advance for what is, admittedly, one of my weaker efforts. For a number of reasons, I wasn't able to devote as much time as usual to the post and, frankly, it shows.

As for the past weekend, it among the more relaxing and uneventful in recent memory, so there's not much to talk about here.

That said, I did get to spend some more time with my niece Jasmine who, at least in my opinion, is as cute as ever.

Anyway, on to the Week in Pictures:

In an effort to make tourists more comfortable, the Chinese Government installed an air cooling system atop the Great Wall.

A news conference at the NASA headquarters ended abruptly when the head of Alfred McEwen, Principal Investigator of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Camera, exploded.

A Halloween prank gone awry is being blamed for the outbreak of zombie chickens that plagued the area last Tuesday.

Shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. plunged yesterday with the release of surprising new details about the parole conditions of the company's namesake.

Balloon traffic was snarled for hours yesterday as the result of a 10 basket pileup near Route 80.


Citizens of Gretzenbach, Switzerland are causing a sensation in the culinary world with their new grilled radioactive goat dish.

Gratuitous picture of Alexa Damian

Despite having trained for his entire life, a three year old lost a split decision in a recent featherweight championship boxing match.

In a stunning display of ego and lack of creative flair, Paris Hilton arrived at the 7th Annual Heidi Klum Halloween Party dressed as a more conservative version of herself.

The Olsen twins also attended the event.

Ricky Martin received an award as the Latin Recording Academy's person of the year. The singer said that he couldn't wait to get home to try it out.