I have nothing substantive to say about Anthony Weiner’s latest zany antics, so I’ll just share this performance by Kristin Chonoweth on The Tonight Show, singing a parody of “Popular” from the musical Wicked:

(Hat tip: Alexandra Billings)

There’s a guy out there with a serious Rita Hayworth fixation and way too much time on his hands who likes to cut together pieces of her movies into music videos for popular songs which he posts on YouTube. On the one hand, it’s kind of a weird obsession. On the other hand, it’s why I’ll never fall out of love with the Internet.

This one is really fun to watch:

Hat tip: Roger Ebert.

Last year on this date, the New York Times reported that New York personal injury lawyer Eric Turkewitz had been picked as the official White House law blogger. They based their story on blog posts by Eric and several other legal bloggers, but they apparently didn’t check with Eric or the White House. It was, of course, an April Fools’ Day prank.

So, this year, you’d think they’d be more careful, wouldn’t you?

Turns out…not so much. Eric’s not responsible for this one, but he has the details.

At about this time every year when I was in college, my friend Todd Cohen used to complain about all the businesses that would wish everyone a “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends!” It was the “to our Jewish friends” part that somehow got on his nerves.

With that in mind, I was listening to a few tracks off of The Life and Times of Mike Fanning by Da Vinci’s Notebook, and I came across a little something for all my Jewish readers. It’s the grunge version of the Dreidel song. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


In graduate school I had the most trouble staying awake in finance lectures. I always thought finance had to be just about the most boring topic ever.

French MEP Rachida Dati, when discussing finance in France, recently said:
I see some [foreign investment funds] looking for returns of 20 or 25% at a time when fellatio is close to zero.

I guess I was just doing finance wrong.

Here’s something you don’t see everyday in the news:

A worker at Arlington Park racetrack has been arrested and charged with having sexual conduct with a horse.

The horse’s name was “Buzz My Bell”. Given that, and the fact that she was prancing around naked in public, I think she was just asking for it. Besides, how do they know it wasn’t consensual?

[Update, 12/29/09: the village idiot himself weighs in; see the comments.]

Here we go again . . .


Near as I can figure out, Josh Hendrickson of Minnetonka MN, didn’t have anything useful to do last Saturday, so he headed on down to the Obama Worship Seminar at the Target Center, where thousands and thousands of Minnesotans were assembling to hear Barack Obama explain that the folks who had done such a wonderful job with delivering our mail are now ready and eager to take over our health care, or something like that.

I can actually understand why somebody who has a Minnesota carry permit (often mistakenly called a “conceal and carry permit”) might reasonably choose to carry a handgun under his outer clothing when heading into downtown Minneapolis — or, actually, anywhere else. Bad stuff can happen anywhere, and the area outside the Target Center is not a mugger-free environment, nor is the walk from there to wherever one parks. As Hendrickson later, in a moment of lucidness, said to a Star Tribune reporter, when he leaves his house, “I grab my wallet, my keys, and my gun.” Nothing wrong with that.

And I can certainly understand why somebody would want to be part of a counterprotest against Obamacare. “We are Americans. We have the right to disagree and debate with any administration,” as Hillary Clinton said, back before she joined this administration. She was right then; she’s right now.

So far, so good.

And it was also, all in all, pretty good that somebody in the Secret Service and/or MPD apparently spotted a telltale bulge at Hendrickson’s waist. Concealment isn’t difficult, mind you, but a lot of folks who have taken inadequate carry classes haven’t been given good directions as to how to do that, and some who have taken good carry classes weren’t paying attention.

So, it was perfectly reasonable that a couple of MPD cops came over and checked out his carry permit— something they’ve every right to do, under the law — and then a Secret Service agent stopped by for a quick, professional chat. It’s not like there was any chance that Hendrickson was going to get near the President, after all — hell, he couldn’t have gotten inside the building without going through a metal detector — and while there’s no reason at all to think he planned on shooting President Obama, it didn’t hurt to check him out.

But then, his little incident having been concluded with no muss, no fuss, and no arrest, Hendrickson proceeded to chase down the nearest reporter, and make sure that he got the attention that he so desperately craved. Apparently dressing so that the authorities would “accidentally” see the bulge in his clothing hadn’t gotten him enough attention, the poor dear.

He did get his attention, and he isn’t liking it. The idiot’s been posting up a storm, ever since.

As it turns out, Josh Hendrickson’s is pretty lengthy, and pretty bad:

  • CASE NO. 27-CR-08-57490 June 8th, 2009 Convicted-5th Deg. Assault-Intent to Cause Bodily Harm
  • CASE NO. 02-CR-07-7671 Oct. 6 2008 Convicted Disorderly Conduct-Brawling or Fighting
  • CASE NO. 10-VB-07-8199 Apr. 16, 2008 Convicted Disorderly Conduct
  • CASE NO. 27-CR-06-084595 Feb 14, 2007 Convicted 3rd Deg. DWI
  • CASE NO. 27-CR-04-014473 Sept 29, 2004 Convicted Disorderly Conduct
  • CASE NO. 27-CR-03-025265 Apr 21, 2003 Convicted Interfere with Emergency Call
  • CASE NO. 27-CR-99-011521 Feb. 18, 1999 Convicted Alcohol con. .10 or more
  • CASE NO. 27-CR-98-086285 Sept. 14, 1998 Convicted Reckless Driving
  • CASE NO. 27-CR-96-109111 Jan. 9, 1997 Convicted Disorderly Conduct

Yucko. Four convictions for disorderly conduct? How the hell does anybody manage that? Discon is, often, one of those bogus charges that cops throw at somebody who they really don’t have anything on, and which quickly gets dismissed as soon as a real lawyer enters the case. Four of them? Interfering with an emergency call? Two DWIs? And let’s not get into the pepper-spraying incident that cost him his most recent conviction for 5th Degree Assault.

Why somebody with that kind of record would try to draw both police and public attention to himself is pretty easy to explain.

See, there’s apparently been an open position in Minnetonka for a village idiot, and, having gotten fired from his job as a security guard for pepper-spraying a customer, Hendrickson was just looking for work.

Earth to Josh Hendrickson: the position of village idiot doesn’t pay well, or at all.

Sheesh. I was going to be blogging about another idiot, but . . . some other time.

Addendum: a fair number of folks have asked why this nimrod had a carry permit in the first place. It’s a good question. The Minnesota Citizens Personal Protection Act is, by design and intention, a liberal law — the notion is that somebody should not have a fundamental right restricted, except under unusual circumstances. Hendrickson would have lost his right to possess firearms — and his carry permit — if he’d been convicted of any felony, or a domestic violence misdemeanor. Among his cornucopia of convictions — including an amazing four disorderly conducts, a couple of DWIs, interfering with a 911 call (!), and his latest feat: the assault where he spend thirty days in the more structured environment suitable for his special needs — there aren’t any of those.

But there is some hope, and it’s in the law:

(c) The sheriff of the county where the application was submitted, or of the county of the permit holder’s current residence, may file a petition with the district court therein, for an order revoking a permit to carry on the grounds set forth in subdivision 6, paragraph (a), clause (3). An order shall be issued only if the sheriff meets the burden of proof and criteria set forth in subdivision 12. If the court denies the petition, the court must award the permit holder reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney fees.

Yup. Hendrickson’s sheriff can, if he chooses, file a petition to have Hendrickson’s permit yanked, on the grounds that “there exists a substantial likelihood that the applicant is a danger to self or the public if authorized to carry a pistol under a permit.” Hendrickson’s due process rights would be intact — and, if he managed to beat the petition, he’d be awarded his lawyer’s fees.

I don’t think that’s likely, though. Sounds like a slam dunk to me, and I wouldn’t find it at all surprising if Hendrickson loses his permit, sooner than later.

I guess we’ll see.

Instead. “I need to see your license and carry permit.” Which was just as well, for reasons I’m not going to go into, about where some people put their insurance cards. 

He didn’t ask about that.

“Do me a favor, sir, and step out of the car.” He didn’t sound like it was really a favor, so I did, and pocketed the keys, closing and locking the door behind me quite appropriately.

This is embarrassing, but I do have an excuse. Some other time. “Shoulder holster.”

“And where is the firearm?”

, “My carry permit and drivers license are in my left hip pocket, Officer; and, yes, I’m carrying today.” Oh. somewhere that a guy shouldI answered, as I read

— comes up to the window, and asks for my D/L, proof of insurance and… “…do you have any firearms on you?” never mind quite which agency; I’ve got my reasonshe cop —

So I promptly found a safe place to pull over, and did just that. T


I was so distracted by that phone call that I didn’t notice that I’d let my speed creep up to a tad over the legal limit, until I noticed the flashing lights.

that are going on.  Some other time. issues So I had a xerox of both in my front shirt pocket, wrapped around $400 in cash. I got a call from my younger daughter’s school about some…

Perfectly reasonable.

I was running over to meet a guy to buy a gun. Private sale. Since he’s not an idiot, he wanted a copy of my DL and permit, just to adhere to the forms.

Maybe you can, too, but I gotta tell you the story, first.

will be first to point them out . . . after all, he’s got a head start.  He’s heard the story.Kevin EckerThere’s actually some lessons to be learned from this; I’m figuring that “Sure. It’s in my left hip pocket. Would you like me to take it out?” said: should haveWhat I

Well, when he took the piece of paper either I let go too soon or he grabbed at it too late, and the money started flying all over the place . . .

, I said, more or less accurately. The gun store

“And where were you going with a copy of your permit wrapped around $400?”

So I explained, with a fair amount of stuttering, I think, that, yes, there was some money in there, but I wasn’t offering him either a bribe or a tip, just so there wasn’t going to be any misunderstanding.

I was just about to hand a cop a piece of paper wrapped around twenty twenty-dollar bills, and it was a bit too late to withdraw the offer.

Well, so did I.

You see where this is going?

I think he liked the idea that I wasn’t going to be reaching anywhere, so he said that that would do, and I took out the piece of paper, and started to hand to him.

. “Sure. I’ve got a copy of both in my shirt pocket. Would you like to see that?” said What I And he stuck out a hand, and I shook it, and he went his way, and I went mine.

“You drive safe, Joel,” he said. 

came out of my mouth. thank youI didn’t quite know what to say, but I think something like

  He said it the other way. and there’s nothing I can do about it, but I’d like to.” — to the US Constitution. You seem to,” he said, handing the paper back to me, “work the First and Second pretty hard, and that’s just fine.”  There are ways to say it that mean

correct him and point out that there’s more; that’s just the Bill of Rights. Didn’t even think of it until later, and I’m not always a stickler for details. not I did

of the Amendments — ” ten as a generic, “who believe in all not And he sort of cocked his head to one side, and was clearly making a decision, and then he made it, and he said, “you know, there’s some of us jackbooted thugs,” this is a phrase I use, but to describe a certain kind of bad cop,

watch the phone stuff when you’re speeding.Yes, he said,

“I’m just going to give you an ‘advisory’, Mr. Rosenberg. Watch the phone stuff when you’re speeding.”

Oh, goodie.  I think that was a figure of speech.  Really.

“You’re fine, Mr. Rosenberg,” he says, and then smiles. “Guess if you had any warrants on you, the Gang Strike Force would have kicked in your door yesterday, after all.”

A couple of minutes (which didn’t feel like minutes, but the cigarette timed them), he comes back, and we move around to the side of the car.

intently. Very

“Just wait here a minute, while I run this,” he says, waving the paper. He sort of glances at me, as though he was going to ask me to produce the DL —  they can swipe them, rather than type stuff in — but then he goes back to his car, and I just wait over to the side of the road, smoking a cigarette.

So we both count out the money — and it’s all there, and we’re in front of his cruiser, so if there’s a camera running, it’s all on the record, and we both announce the amount, and it’s the same $400 that it should be– and he hands it back to me and suggests that I tuck it away, which I do.

he smiles, and it’s a friendly smile. this is about to get bad,Just as I’m thinking

, of all people, to think that some money’s missing.” you. I wouldn’t want Rosenberg“Better count it, and make sure we didn’t miss any.” He glances down at the piece of paper, and frowns. “…Mr.

So, with the money flying all around, he dashes for it, and after a couple of seconds, I figure that it’s okay if I help — if he was worried I was going to, like shoot him in the back or go all stabbity, he probably wouldn’t have turned his back to me — and since it’s not all that windy, he and I (mainly him; he’s younger and moves faster) quickly gather it up and hands what he’s got to me, and no guns, knives, tasers, nor clubs come out.


the guy.  And if the story ends a bit anticlimactically, hey, I didn’t write the script, and don’t mind that at all. like He could have written me, and he didn’t, and I’m not about to don tactical kneepads, and all, but, hey, I

Not vouching for him on other stuff, but, hey, yeah, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart and head for cops who cut a guy a break when they don’t have to. 

cops. I like this guy. Some Yeah, I like cops.

As a friend pointed out to me, a bit later, when we were discussing this, the reason that I didn’t find it offensive for him to first-name me is that he was doing it as a human sort of thing — he’d already been formal, and was saying that as one guy to another, not a cop talking down to a “civilian,” as he wasn’t.

Afterthought:  I guess it’s possible that he knew who I was when he pulled me over, but I was driving SWMBO’s car; the War Wagon was getting its a/c worked on that day.

What can we learn from this? 

A lot, I think.  Over to you.

I don’t normally do memes, but I’ve been too busy to write much original material this week, so here goes. (Tom at Doors of Deception tagged me with this one.)

Five things people who know me might be surprised to hear:

  1. Floater. I have a permanent floater in my left eye that’s right near the center of my vision. When it drifts in to the exact center, I tend to reflexively glance at solid colors around me—the sky is best if I can see it—trying to get a better look at it. Then, when I realize what I’m doing, I try to shake it out of my vision by glancing sharply left and right several times. If you’ve seen me doing this in the middle of a conversation, now you know what was going on.
  2. Ignorance of Professional Sports. If you know me, you know I don’t follow sports, but you probably don’t realize the full scope of my ignorance. For instance, two of the sports headlines on Yahoo right now are “Pacers, Warriors make eight-player deal” and “Schottenheimer to return to Chargers.” I don’t know who Schottenheimer is, I don’t know where those teams play, and if the headlines weren’t labeled, I couldn’t even tell you which sports we’re talking about.
  3. Peanut Butter and Ketchup Sandwich. Sometimes, I just gotta have one.
  4. Prosopagnosia. I think I have a little bit of it. Prosopagnosia is difficulty recognizing faces. Some people with severe forms of it—often caused by brain damage—are completely incapable of recognizing even close friends and family by their face. They have to rely on clothing, voice, behavior, and context. I just have a little trouble learning to recognize people until I’ve met them several times, especially if I see them out of context, and I’m easily thrown by a change of makeup, hair style, or sometimes clothing. I also have trouble matching faces and names. There are whole groups of people where I recognize everyone and I know all their names, but I can’t match the names to the faces.
  5. I Like More Rap Music Than You’d Think. Well, not much of the gangsta stuff…or maybe I’m confusing rap and hip-hop…if there’s even a difference between rap and hip-hop…maybe I shoud say I like some music that’s rap-ish. Obviously, I don’t know much about rap, but from time to time I do enjoy the work of Eminem, Everlast, Black Eyed Peas, Gnarls Barkley, with maybe a little bit of Kanye, Nelly, Twista, and Will Smith. I never said I was hard core. Blogga 4 Life.

Now I’m supposed to pass this on to five other people. I don’t really know who’s going to read this, but I guess I’ll pass this on to Leslie, John, Libby, Pete, and Philipp. I don’t think any of them except Leslie do memes, and she probably did this one months ago, but now I’ve done my duty.

In case you didn’t know, the 2005 Weblog Awards are running right now. There’s a 10-day voting period which ends on December 15th. Like all things in the blogosphere, the Weblog Awards are mostly just an attempt to get attention. Then again, that’s how the Oscars started.

If you care about these awards, you should visit the main Weblog Awards site and start voting. You get to vote once every 24 hours.

If you don’t care about these awards, can you please do me a favor and visit this page and vote for the Dynamist blog? Virginia Postrel is a nice lady who doesn’t deserve to come in last, so I’m trying to get people to stuff the ballot box.

If you live in Chicago, I expect you to follow the honored traditions of Chicago-style voting, if you know what I mean.