Finally: the 49ers make a clear, definitive statement

During the past decade, there has been an evolving question about the 9ers ---

"Not good enough yet?"
"Just not good enough."
"Not good."
"Bad. Meaning really not good."
"Shamefully pathetic"
 and finally:
"The most clueless team since Custer decided it might be a good idea to ride down into the Greasy Grass Valley by the Little Big Horn River"

Head Coach -- Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer
OC -- Major Marcus Reno
DC --  Captain Frederick Benteen
GM -- General Alfred Terry (Well, IF the 9ers had one)
OWNER -- Nicholas II (Last Tsar of Russia-- allowed one of the great powers in the world to slide down down down into total ruin.

Notable quotes:
"Send in Benteen ... no pull him, send in Reno, put Benteen back in... "

"But Custer was such a great player in the Civil War."

And from Sitting Bull:
"I know I'm the only one to have ANYTHING good to say about Custer, but Iron Ass, as we call him, was the only white man who could ride a horse as far and long as a Sioux."

And from Crazy Horse:
"Custer? Yellow Hair? Was he there too?"

(It was 104 degrees that day -- Custer had cut off his long blonde hair and taken off his fringed buckskin jacket. It wasn't until some time after the battle any of the braves knew who it was who they'd fought. 

This fact courtesy of the late Eric von Schmidt, an authority on the subject, who did a 100th anniversary museum show in Houston in 1976. The show included a large and viscerally stirring painting he'd done -- the first such ever painted from the doomed soldiers' point of view, looking at what they saw coming at them.  The show was titled:  Here Lies Custer.)


Mike Singletary's firing immediately brought to mind a line from a very nice little 1985 movie The Gig, a movie about some guys who get together every week and play jazz and get an actual professional gig at a hotel in the Catskills.  

It's a line what I thought Singletary should know, he being a man I admired and had been CERTAIN could be a great coach.

Cleavon Little played a real pro musician -- a union session man who'd played with the great bands -- brought in to replace the one guy who couldn't make it. 

The group gets bumped because a 50's singer -- in 1985, people said it was supposed to be Frankie Valli -- was coming in to resurrect his dead career, and the singer's manager, putting together a backup band, picks only Cleavon Little and one of the amateur group as a start. (The others can't even figure out the notations on the lead sheets.)

One of the other players (clarinet, I think) obsesses all day and night about "Why did they pick him? He doesn't even practice. Why didn't he pick me?"

The next morning, the clarinet player is outside, practicing at around 6AM. And Cleavon Little says to him something that I think, perhaps, Mike Singletary didn't know before:
"It's not a religion -- 
  devotion alone isn't enough."



Placebo Effect -- docs don't need to lie anymore. Maybe just the fact that someone is paying attention allows the patient to relieve his or her own suffering? Just a guess, but this could start a whole new ballgame.

Placebo Effect -- 

Meet the Ethical Placebo: A Story that Heals

A provocative new study called “Placebos Without Deception (original article here),” published on PLoS One today, threatens to make humble sugar pills something they’ve rarely had a chance to be in the history of medicine: a respectable, ethically sound treatment for disease that has been vetted in controlled trials.

The word placebo is ancient, coming to us from the Latin for “I shall please.” As far back as the 14th Century, the term already had connotations of fakery, sleaze, and deception. For well-to-do Catholic families in Geoffrey Chaucer’s day, the custom at funerals was to offer a feast to the congregation after the mourners sang the Office for the Dead (which contains the phrase placebo Domino in regione vivorum, “I shall please the Lord in the land of the living”). The unintended effect of this largesse was to inspire distant relatives and former acquaintances of the departed to crawl out of the woodwork, weeping copiously while praising the deceased, then hastening to the buffet. By the time Chaucer wrote his Canterbury Tales, these macabre freeloaders had been christened “placebo singers.”
In modern medicine, placebos are associated with another form of deception — a kind that has long been thought essential for conducting randomized clinical trials of new drugs, the statistical rock upon which the global pharmaceutical industry was built. One group of volunteers in an RCT gets the novel medication; another group (the “control” group) gets pills or capsules that look identical to the allegedly active drug, but contain only an inert substance like milk sugar. These faux drugs are called placebos...

The medical establishment’s ethical problem with placebo treatment boils down to the notion that for fake drugs to be effective, doctors must lie to their patients. It has been widely assumed that if a patient discovers that he or she is taking a placebo, the mind/body password will no longer unlock the network, and the magic pills will cease to do their job...

In a previous study published in the British Medical Journal in 2008, Kaptchuk and Kirsch demonstrated that placebo treatment can be highly effective for alleviating the symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). This time, however, instead of the trial being “blinded,” it was “open.” That is, the volunteers in the placebo group knew that they were getting only inert pills — which they were instructed to take religiously, twice a day. They were also informed that, just as Ivan Pavlov trained his dogs to drool at the sound of a bell, the body could be trained to activate its own built-in healing network by the act of swallowing a pill...

 In other words, in addition to the bogus medication, the volunteers were given a true story — the story of the placebo effect. They also received the care and attention of clinicians, which have been found in many other studies to be crucial for eliciting placebo effects. The combination of the story and a supportive clinical environment were enough to prevail over the knowledge that there was really nothing in the pills. People in the placebo arm of the trial got better — clinically, measurably, significantly better — on standard scales of symptom severity and overall quality of life. In fact, the volunteers in the placebo group experienced improvement comparable to patients taking a drug called alosetron, the standard of care for IBS.

Meet the ethical placebo: a powerfully effective faux medication that meets all the standards of informed consent.


Silberman:  One interesting aspect of this study is that it suggests that are two layers of belief in the brain — one that knows there’s nothing in this pill, and another that knows that a placebo can be an effective treatment. It’s as if the brain can entertain two different notions of the effectiveness of a pill at once.

Kirsch:  (Irving Kirsch, University of Hull in England, one of the researchers) Yes, but they’re not contradictory notions. I believe in both. I know that this pill does not contain a physically active ingredient, and I also understand the conditioning process. I know that the placebo effect is real, so I understand that this inert pill might help trigger that healing response within me. We need to recognize and understand that patients are active agents in their treatment, not passive. The placebo effect does not come from the pill. It comes from the patient.



Looks like McConnell and Boehner and Kantor took their victory laps a bit too soon

And all the nitpicking Democrats and Liberals who turned against the president, because he DIDN'T TELL THEM OUT LOUD what he was doing, despite us ALL knowing if Obama was for it, they would fight like crazy against it, and if he told US, it was also telling THEM.

You can't always announce intent, and it looks (and looked to me then) as if Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and President Obama all knew what Napoleon meant when he said (in French):

Never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake.


CEO's get their annual bonuses but in this case...

John T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems
Got $4,600,000 (up 126.5 % from last year)

--- that's fine, but in this case, I think he owes a BIG chunk of it to Anabel Winitsky, the high school girl from Los Angeles with the AMAZINGLY smiling voice that makes people fall in love with whatever company she's speaking for, and to listen to the end of the commercial, just to hear that voice again -- to hear her say the words (and, for some) to wish there were someone who would speak (other words) to him or her in that same voice.



An Open Letter to Toyota Berkeley (which keeps bouncing this out when I try to send it directly to them):


Toyota Berkeley -- "Nobody beats Berkeley for sleazyness -- never have and never will."

I am always intrigued by the deals offered in your commercials, and think positively about yr dealership UNTIL we hear and see the man who yells: 
"Nobody beats Berkeley -- never have and never will." 

As he slimes his way onto my screen with the phoniest smile I've ever seen outside of a Saturday Night Live skit, looking and sounding like the sort of man that makes it necessary -- after he shakes your hand -- that you check to see your watch and rings are still there and need to count all your fingers, I realize, as long he is in any way connected to your dealership, I will -- if necessary -- drive long miles and pay more -- despite the local convenience -- to avoid being insulted, disparaged, belittled, and, I imagine, most likely, robbed in one way or another.



And while we're on the subject (see posting below) here's what the Americans so glorified by the military and the politicians actually to say about religious authority.

 George Washington -- 1st President of the United States

Historian Barry Schwartz writes: "George Washington's practice of Christianity was limited and superficial because he was not himself a Christian...  He repeatedly declined the church's sacraments.  Never did he take communion, and when his wife, Martha, did, he waited for her outside the sanctuary...  Even on his deathbed, Washington asked for no ritual, uttered no prayer to Christ, and expressed no wish to be attended by His representative."

John Adams -- 2d President of the United States

 "The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.  Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole cartloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity."
 Thomas Jefferson -- Author of the Declaration of Independence, 3rd President of the United States

"In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty.  He is always in alliance with the despot ... they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose."

"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government.  This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose." 

James Madison -- 4th President of the United States

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries."
 Thomas Paine -- Author of Common Sense, who named our country "The United States."

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church,  nor by any Church that I know of.  My own mind is my own Church.  Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all."

"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." 

Abraham Lincoln -- 16th President of the United States, 1st of the Republican Party 

The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession."


Sounds like SOME PARTS of returning to the principles of the Founders might not be so bad.


The Air Force won't let its computers access the NYTimes

Air Force blocks media sites that post WikiLeaks
The Air Force says it is blocking computer access to The New York Times and other media sites that have published sensitive diplomatic documents released by the Internet site WikiLeaks.
An Air Force spokeswoman, Maj. Toni Tones, says more than 25 websites have been blocked and cannot be viewed by any Air Force computer. The ban does not apply to personal computers.
She says the action was taken by the 24th Air Force, which is commanded by Maj. Gen. Richard Webber and is responsible for cyberwarfare and computer security for the service.

-------Well, according to recent reports, the US Air Force is so heavily controlled by Born-Again Christian officers (those who ARE promote others who ARE and DON'T promote those who AREN'T) they no longer say:


They say:


(No more "into the air junior birdmen..." Now it's "Up from the grave, Little Christian.")

And we wonder why the people of Muslim countries think we're fighting them because of their religion rather than because of their psychotic religious fanatic murderers.

Maybe because we seem to have developed a whole passel of our own psychotic religious fanatics.

(Which is a shame, since I know and have known Air Force officers and enlisted men who were Americans from top to bottom, inside and out, rather than only PARTLY American, i.e., Christian-Americans, ie., "I'll do my duty but only if the Chaplain tells me it's ok."

(I have also known some Air Force personnel who are that kind of religious crazies but always thought they were just a tiny minority.)

(Just to be clear, I am NOT mocking Christianity, but I AM viewing with a great deal of distaste those who think to be American DEMANDS adhering to some minister's idea of what Jesus was about.)



So I guess the question is this:

Why is John McCain so much more interested in the way military personnel use their genitals than the way they use their weapons?

What is it about Private Johnson's Johnson that is so fantastic that it can threaten the stability of our entire military system.

I know there are myriad tales about Vietnam era P.O.W. internment sex , but I don't think anyone has ever asked the cranky old fart from Arizona directly if he ever got any on the down low.

Still, once I again I need to mention the fact that Barry Goldwater DESPISED McCain. Thought he was a despicable hypocrite.



Was it something I said? Scroll down a few to see the Dead Set post from November 10.

Apparently I'm not the only one who thought The Walking Dead was .... ahhh ... creatively deficient, especially when compared to the British Dead Set  you can still see it, sometimes on IFC, a cable premium channel.

If Walking Dead understood the Brit approach to stories ..."Hmmm, I think we told the story completely in 5 episodes. Let's do something else."

But American TV's philosophy is: "Let's milk it until it's dry:
How much better for people to say -- "Remember The Walking Dead? -- wonder if it would have gotten better after a few more episodes."  much better than "Shit -- they shoulda quit after the first season."

Or ARE THEY getting the message? They fired the entire writing staff.
Nahhh -- that means they're blaming someone else (the writers) rather than Frank Daramont's low-rent shallowness and greed.

‘Walking Dead’ Writing Staff “Fired”

WalkingDeadImg3Deadline reports that Frank Darabont, executive producer and writer/director of AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD, has released all of the writing staff from season one of the popular comic book-based Zombie series.

The fact that there will be “changes to the writing staff” was confirmed today by AMC.

The site says it’s rumored that Frank Darabont may ultimately opt to not replace the staff, but instead go with freelance writers. Half of the six episodes of this first short season were written by Darabont himself (penning two), and one by comic book creator Robert Kirkman. Perhaps he plans to work out the plotline of the entire 13-episode second season himself (or with Kirkman), and simply assign scripts to freelancers.

This is not entirely unprecedented;  BABYLON 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski dumped his entire writing staff after two seasons.  He wrote the bulk of the next three years himself, with only two freelance scripts, if memory serves.

It’s unlikely that Frank Darabont intends to go that far.


eXTReMe Tracker