Rain

The heavy rains are back…hopefully they won’t last too long tonight…come on universe, give the people a break.

I guess I shouldn’t complain though because the rain is worse in other parts of the word, like Pakistan, for example. So yes, the Liberec region of the Czech Republic flooded on Saturday, destroying two towns and killing five people.

The storm that started twenty minutes ago and is still going seems to be a big one with thunder and lighting and a shit ton of rain. “It’s raining cats and dogs” does not begin to cover the amount of rain pouring down. “Pouring buckets” is insufficient and does a disservice to the amount of rainfall we are seeing at the moment.

Or at least that’s how it feels. To be sure, there is a a hell of a storm raging right now, but it is also true that it probably doesn’t compare to the kind of rain you would see in a hurricane or a monsoon, meaning that to anyone who has witnessed a hurricane, experienced it close up (I have not, and I don’t ever want to as exciting as it may be) I am just being a whiny little baby who’s afraid of a little rain.

But hell, there is reason to be afraid. Sure, we are not in the middle of a hurricane, but two towns flooded. I had a friend who was there. He told me stories about how the waterline was just below his nose (he is easily six feet four inches tall) and how he carried children on his shoulders across the flooded streets.

Here is a video from Frydlant shot on Saturday afternoon, before the rains really got bad.

And here is another one in a different part of town, as you can see in this one, the water seems to have gotten deeper, but there are still some dry places to stand.

Again, I know it is not as bad as Pakistan or Miami during hurricane season, but I am not in either of those places. I am here, and it is kind of scary, even though I live near the top of a hill and on the second floor of my building.

And I ask again. Universe, give us a break. (It looks like it just might because while it is still raining, it seems to be slackening, of course that is just here in Liberec proper, I have no way of knowing what is happening in the surrounding area).

Now this is something

Most people (Americans anyway) know who Ron Paul is. For those of you who don’t, and didn’t feel like clicking the link, here is his picture.

Well, his son is in politics–he’s running for the Kentucky Senate–and now in the news. And he is in the news big time at the moment, for something that would be downright hilarious if not for one small detail.

Here is the article. It is also below so you don’t have to click on the link if you don’t want to. Can you guess what that small detail is?

Just when the weird anecdotes involving Kentucky Republican Rand Paul appeared to have been exhausted, GQ published a profile of the Tea Party favorite that included a bizarre, colorful and decidedly sketchy episode from his college years.

The strangest episode of Paul’s time at Baylor occurred one afternoon in 1983 … when he and a [brother in his liberal secret society] paid a visit to a female student who was one of Paul’s teammates on the Baylor swim team. According to this woman, who requested anonymity because of her current job as a clinical psychologist, “He and Randy came to my house, they knocked on my door, and then they blindfolded me, tied me up, and put me in their car. They took me to their apartment and tried to force me to take bong hits. They’d been smoking pot.” After the woman refused to smoke with them, Paul and his friend put her back in their car and drove to the countryside outside of Waco, where they stopped near a creek. “They told me their god was ‘Aqua Buddha’ and that I needed to bow down and worship him,” the woman recalls. “They blindfolded me and made me bow down to ‘Aqua Buddha’ in the creek. I had to say, ‘I worship you Aqua Buddha, I worship you.’ At Baylor, there were people actively going around trying to save you and we had to go to chapel, so worshiping idols was a big no-no.”

The story is almost too bizarre to digest in full — from the blindfolded, pot-infused kidnapping to the weird worship of the Aqua Buddha deity. And, in that respect, it’s important to note that it was delivered via anonymous attribution.

Paul’s campaign has not yet responded to requests for comment, telling GQ merely that “During his time at Baylor, Dr. Paul competed on the swim team and was an active member of Young Conservatives of Texas.”

But there is an important thread to be drawn between the candidate’s Baylor years and his current run for office. Both then and now, Paul showed something akin to an abject disdain for the establishment. His involvement in a secretive society that was targeted by school authorities; his instigation of various pranks around campus (digging up a time capsule, for one) seem echoed — to a certain extent — in the anti-government libertarian philosophy that has defined his Senate campaign.

UPDATE: The Paul campaign responds with a statement from spokesman Jesse Benton that ignores post-John Edwards scandal media realities: “National Enquirer type stories about Dr. Paul’s teenage years should be left to the tabloids where they belong.”

UPDATE II: As Ben Smith notes, the Paul campaign still has yet to deny the charges, but is now threatening to sue. “We are investigating all our options – including Legal ones,” Paul aide Jesse Benton emailed Smith. “We will not tolerate drive by Journalism by a writer with a leftist agenda.”

Story continues below

“We’ve vetted, researched, and exhaustively fact-checked Jason Zengerle’s reporting on Rand Paul’s college days, we stand by the story, and we gave the Paul campaign every opportunity to refute it,” GQ Editor-in-Chief Jim Nelson responded. “We notice that they have not, in fact, refuted it.”

If you said “kidnapping” then you would win the prize, that is, if there were a prize to be won. But there isn’t, so sorry if I got your hopes up there for a millisecond. Yes, what keeps this from being the best story in politics since that one guy “hiked the  Appalachian Trail” (I can’t wait to see what Stewart does for this Rand Paul “scandal”) is the kidnapping aspect, which really is too bad since this story about Rand Paul and his crazy college hi jinx  totally trumps the one about the dude and his Latin American lover.

I like the idea of a hedonistic and heathenistic evening, complete with illicit substances and worship of some crazy water god–probably nothing more than a result of the reefer. This is classic college type behavior, strange as it is. Still, there is the whole issue of the kidnapping, and that really sullies the whole thing, taking it from a fun and harmless night of worshiping the Great Old Ones. In fact, the existence of the kidnapping really bums me out, and almost makes it so that I cannot enjoy the sheer absurdity and impishness of this action. I say almost because even with the nausea inducing kidnapping and subsequent attempted stoning by force (They were probably listening to too much Bob Dylan at the time) and compulsive worship of some kind of pagan false idol nature god of water thingy this whole story is so ludicrous that I can’t help but smile at it a little bit.

There is no excuse for any of their actions as far as the girl is concerned. Had she gone along willingly then there would be no problem because the whole incident would fall under the “we did a silly thing, but we all acted as consenting adults so whatever” category, but unfortunately that is not the case and now ole Randy Rand might have to face the music, and by that I mean Kentucky voters, of course. After all, this is an election year.

Now, I don’t really care about Rand Paul, or Ron Paul for that matter. To me, they are both crazy as loons. But as the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day (and here we are of course talking about old school clocks and watches that had hands, not these newfangled digital watches (I know, digital watches aren’t new, I was just trying, and failing miserably I am sure, to be funny)) and Ron Paul does sometimes say something that I can appreciate/agree with.

For example, not considering a nuclear option, no matter how limited, as far as Iran is concerned. (These aren’t his exact words, but I do seem to remember him being the only Republican Presidential Candidate in one of the debates to say that he would not use nuclear weapons against Iran or any other country and that he was appalled that the other nine candidates not only endorsed the idea, but did so quickly and without hesitation. I made a half ass search to find a video of Paul addressing/chastising his opponents, but I didn’t have any luck.)

I think what really creeps me out about this story is that I just finished watching “The Millennium Trilogy,” which is a series of movies about, among other things, the abuse and violence of women. Here is the trailer for the first movie, which in my opinion was the best of the three.They are Swedish movies, that is why there is no speaking in the trailer.

I found the second one to be quite formulaic and pretty boring (though I am sure it was a good book because the movie hints a lot of plot threads and goings on, but it never reconciles them in such a way that they feel connected and relevant to one another). The third one is closer in artistry and composition to the first one, but (thankfully) there is relatively little new violence against women–most of the violence and abuse of women that we seen in the third film is implied, and literally what we are shown in Part One.

Anyway, the idea of kidnapping a woman, forcing her to do drugs and then worship water reminds me of these movies. Granted, there was no violence toward this woman who Randy and his friend abducted, at least very little as I am sure there was some because it cannot be easy to force someone to take bong rips without using a little bit of violence, like maybe holding her head to the pipe to make sure that she smokes it–hey that’s kind of like a rape scene (of course it is not a rape scene, and I am in no way implying that Randy is a rapist, I am simply stating the similarities between the two images) because a bong is a phallic type symbol. But I digress…

There is always an element of uncertainty concerning the authenticity of stories like this, and I suppose it is possible that this story was made up or at the very least exaggerated. After the whole Shirley Sherrod fiasco anything is possible and sources must be quadruple checked. Still, I believe this story to be true. It is simply too bizarre and weird to be a fabrication–cliché alert! cliché alert!–“the truth is often stranger than fiction,” is the common phrase, but I prefer this variation, “you couldn’t make that shit up if you tried,” and it is that assumption under which I am working.

So when this story is verified and there is no doubt of its authenticity I hope the good people of Kentucky will exercise their rights as voters, do the moral thing, and NOT elect Rand Paul to the U.S. Senate. We don’t need someone who kidnapped a girl when he was in college representing a state in the U.S. Senate. Now I realize we live in a representative democracy and that there are probably others out there who have behaved similarly to Randy and that he would in fact be the best choice to represent them, since he is truly on of them, but to that sentiment I say hogwash.

That’s right, hogwash, I say.

Sure I believe in forgiveness and redemption and all that crap, but electing Randy Paul to the U.S. Senate is not the right thing to do. It would be like re-electing Ted Kennedy after his actions resulted in the death of another person. Oh wait, I guess that’s not the best example since Kennedy was still a senator 40 years after that incident, but then again Rand Paul is no Ted Kennedy so I do not think the “mitigating circumstances” (he was a Kennedy after all) justification should or can be applied to Paul.

Did KFC steal from 30 Rock?

Or was the fast food franchise that fabricates fowl just, as the saying goes, inspired by the hit television show?

Here is a clip from the 10th episode of the first season of 30 Rock which aired January 11, 2007.

The quality is pretty terrible, but it was the only video of this particular clip that I could find. Watch just a little bit and you’ll soon see its relevance to the title of this post, though. I promise.

And now here is a video for a very similar product by those chicken fryers from Kentucky with their special seasonings or whatever the slogan/gimmick is. And speaking of gimmicks:

So what do you think, did 30 Rock steal from Kangaroos Fondling Children, or is it all just one big coincidence?

Alive

It rained like crazy here yesterday, and apparently caused some major flooding. I only saw a little bit of this flooding as I live on top of a hill so the only time I saw evidence of a flood–deep puddles in the streets, a river where the road used to be–was when I took the tram into town yesterday.

But it was raining hard and for a long time so I am not surprised that there was some flooding and that some people died because of it, and I just wanted to let my readers know that I was not one of the casualties. I am alive and safe, as well as a little saddened by these five deaths.

Here is a news article about the flood.

And now for something completely different that will make me happy–hey if it helps bring those of you reading this some  joy as well, then cool, and if you don’t like it, well, don’t watch it. I mean it’s not like it’s a big mystery. The title is right there, readable on the video.

Setoguchi signs one year deal

Okay, so this news is kind of old, but I have been a little bit busy this past week or so. For starters, I was out of town and completely away from my computer the entirety of last weekend, and even bleeding into Monday night. I logged off of the internet at 12:30 pm Friday, July 30th and didn’t log back on until August 3rd sometime around 11 pm. It was a nice break from the world of the internets.

Since then I have been catching up on the news, watching too many television shows via the internet, and reading the book “Blood’s a Rover,” which I finished last night. It was bloodcurlingly violent heartachingly  depressive. When I finished I did not want to put it down, not because I wanted to keep reading (the story was completely finished, there was nothing more to tell or to read) but because by holding onto the book I was able to stay there in its world just a little bit longer. It does not matter that that world is violent and barbaric–people get scarred, dismembered, raped, murdered–and contains a malfunctioning and spinning moral compass because it is so rich and complex and authentic. The novel is just that, a novel, which means it is fiction, but it feels real. The characters and events all feel real and actual and possible, and they are gutwrenching. Ellroy reaches in, grabs your hearts and intestines, and pulls them out slowly through your mouth. The pain is excruciating, and almost unbearable, but somehow satisfying and compelling, and I did not want to leave it. Alas, I had to eventually set the book down, take a breath, and come to terms with the fact that the “Underword USA Trilogy” is over, and while I can re-visit those characters in the three books of the series, I will never read new about them and whatever violent conspiratorial plot they would have hatched next. It let a little hole inside me that hasn’t quite yet sealed itself up.

What does any of this have to do with Devin Setoguchi signing a one year deal with the San Jose Sharks? Nothing, really, except to say that waiting for Seto and Sharks Management to strike a deal has been a laboriously slow and painfully drawn out process. Seto is an important member of the Sharks, and could very well be part of the next group of core players, along with Pavelski and Couture, and it was frightening to wait and see when we would actually sign him. There really was no true doubt that the Sharks would sign Seto, but the waiting game always raises questions and conjures the spooky phantoms of uncertainty out of nowhere to torment us in the hockey-less hell of summer and cause us to raise questions of doubt about our team and the direction in which they are headed.

Questions such as: “What is Doug Wilson’t problem? Why doesn’t he just sign Seto and get it over with?” or “What is he doing signing Walin for that much when he still needs to make a deal with Setoguchi?”

Thankfully we no longer have to ask those questions because earlier this week Setoguchi and the Sharks reached an agreement, meaning that the Sharks will get to keep Seto for at least one more year. Next year he becomes and UFA, and if he has a great season in the upcoming one his value is likely to skyrocket, but by then the Sharks may have roster spots opening up, what with the Thornton contract set to expire, so they might be able to keep him even longer.

Regardless of what happens after this season, I am glad Setoguchi is in San Jose for one more year, especially because of thing like this: