Thursday, May 31, 2007

Happy Birthday!

May 31st is a good day for a birthday. If today is your birthday, you are in good company!

Born on this day:

1819 Walt Whitman
1898 Norman Vincent Peale
1908 Don Ameche
1930 Clint Eastwood
1938 Peter Yarrow
1941 Johnny Paycheck
1943 Sharon Glass
1943 Joe Namath
1948 John Bonham
1965 Brooke Shields

I Saw In Louisiana A Live Oak Growing
by Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

I saw in Louisiana a live-oak growing,
All alone stood it, and the moss hung down from the branches;
Without any companion it grew there, uttering joyous leaves of dark green,
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself;
But I wonder'd how it could utter joyous leaves, standing alone there, without its friend, its lover near--for I knew I could not;
And broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it, and twined around it a little moss,
And brought it away--and I have placed it in sight in my room;
It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends,
(For I believe lately I think of little else than them:)
Yet it remains to me a curious token--it makes me think of manly love;
For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana, solitary, in a wide flat space,
Uttering joyous leaves all its life, without a friend, a lover, near,
I know very well I could not.

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Complete Poems
Walt Whitman

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Beauty

This beautiful tiger lives at The Bronx Zoo, in New York. My daughter and I visited last weekend and I was lucky to get this shot.

click to enlarge picture

Dick Mac Recommends:

Ultimate Collection
Billy Preston

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The English Football (Soccer) Season Ends

Everything is sorted for next year!

As I have tried to explain in a previous post, the English Football Association (FA) rewards the top teams of each division with promotion to the next higher league, and punishes the worst teams in a division with relegation to the next lower league.

This promotion/relegation scheme means millions of dollars in revenue for the affected teams. Which means that unlike sports in the United States, there is actually something worth playing for!

In the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, MLS, etc., you purchase a franchise and you are guaranteed to be in that league forever. You will reap undeserved and unearned benefits forever. You can field a lousy team forever and if the fans refuse to come to watch your crappy product (even forever), then the league will reward you year after year with your "fair" share of the television revenue. Forever.

The top league in England is the Premier League (EPL). The EPL consists of the best twenty soccer teams in England. At the end of the season, the top four teams are rewarded with guaranteed berths in a competition that crowns the champion of all of Europe. The fifth, sixth and seventh place teams are guaranteed berths in the UEFA Cup tournament, which is the next most prestigious European award. The bottom three teams (18th - 20th place) are relegated down to the Coca-Cola Championship (which is the second tier league).

At the same time, the top three teams from the Coca-Cola Championship are promoted to the EPL, and the bottom three teams are relegated to League One (which is the third tier league). The top three teams from League One are promoted to the Championship and the bottom four are relegated to League Two. The top four teams in League Two are promoted to League One and the bottom two teams in League Two are relegated down to the Non-League.

So . . . there is a lot of reason to not only finish in the top of your league, but to finish out of the bottom of your league! There is always something to play for!

Not so in United States sports leagues.

In the United States, your team can suck in perpetuity and the owners are under no obligation to fix things. But, if you told News Corporation that the Dodgers would be sent to AAA if they came in last, you would probably find a new level of intensity in baseball.

Sadly, American sports will always be top-heavy with playoffs that render their long, tedious seasons meaningless; and bottom-heavy with crap teams enjoying the corporate socialism promoted by corporate conservatives coast-to-coast.

There is really little incentive for most US teams to actually win anything, because they will profit handsomely for losing.

The results of this years English season are as follows:

Manchester United are the EPL champions. Congratulations to the Red Devils.

They will participate in next year's UEFA Champions League and will be joined by Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal.

Tottenham, Everton, and Bolton will participate in next year's UEFA Cup.

Sadly, Sheffield United, Charlton, and Watford will be relegated. The controversy in this year's relegation battle is that West Ham, who finished in fifteenth place, was caught cheating but was not punished with a points deduction (the most common form of penalty); so, they are allowed to remain in the EPL, though they do not deserve it.

Sunderland, Birmingham, and Derby (all teams that have played in the EPL previously) will be promoted to the top flight, while Southend, Luton, and sadly the self-destructing and once-powerful Leeds will be relegated down to League One.

Scunthorpe, Bristol City, and Blackpool will climb into the Coca-Cola Championship (one step below the top league) while Chesterfield, Bradford, Rotherham, and Brentford drop to League Two.

Walsall, Hartlepool, Swindon, and Bristol Rovers climb from League Two to League One while Boston Utd and Torquay drop out of league play, and Dag & Red and Morecambe move into League Two.

These changes represent reward and heartache for millions of sports fans in England.

It's not just "wait til next year" for the losers, it's a battle for survival as a going concern with a reduced income as punishment for faring poorly in the league from which you have been relegated. The difference in guaranteed income between the EPL and the Championship is sixty-five million pounds (roughly $125,000,000). You read correctly! That's a lot of money in any currency, in any sport, in any nation! Relegated teams will have to sell-off their best players and begin a rebuilding process that could take years before a successful promotion.

It's a fascinating paradigm for sports leagues and it happens that way all over the world.

Imagine the entertainment value of a baseball owner spending millions of dollars on talent and finding himself in AAA preparing to battle the Pawtucket Red Sox or the Toledo Mud Hens. Just one of those interviews would be worth the millions it might cost to restructure U.S. sports leagues.

Alas, it will never happen. American team owners demand to be guaranteed a profit and fans and taxpayers will be forced to prop-up the farce forever.

Still, it won't belong before soccer starts-up again in Europe and some real competition, in a real free-market will bring real entertainment to the airwaves.

Until that time: Go Red Bulls!

Dick Mac Recommends:

UEFA Champions League 2006-2007
Electronic Arts

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day, 2007

So many people have died. The older I get the longer the list.

I lost an uncle in World War II. I am named for him.

A number of young men in my neighborhood died in VietNam.

My granparents are dead. My parents are dead.

I've buried more than one best friend.

Almost everyone I knew in 1976 is dead.

I don't know anyone who has died in Iraq. But I do have one friend there about whom I worry. I pray that he comes home safely. I don't want to remember him on Memorial Day. I want to have burgers and soda with him at his father's home, on a hot Summer day next year, around the pool, laughing and telling stories.

I ran a search of the word "memory" against my digital music library. These were the results:

Memory Of A Free Festival Part 1 - David Bowie
Memory Of A Free Festival Part 2 - David Bowie
Painted From A Memory - Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach
The Memory Of Trees - Enya
Through The Memory Of My Mind - Freda Payne
Time, Motion, And Memory - John Young
Memory Of A Free Festival - David Bowie
You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory - Johnny Thunders
Ain't Your Memory Got No Pride At All - Ray Charles
Memory Motel - Rolling Stones
You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory - Ronnie Spector
Set Adrift On Memory Bliss - Backstreet Boys
Thanks For The Memory - Sarah Vaughan
No Memory Stone - Temple Pilots
Only A Memory - Smithereens
The Sun Machine (Memory Of A Free Festival) - Mercury Rev

Sixteen songs (out of 17,764) is not very many. Do people not write songs with the word "memory" in the title?

Irrespective of that, I have many memories. I am grateful for them all.

Just before Veterans Day 2003, I posted on the internet that it was OK to thank a serviceman or -woman. I wrote:
Tuesday is Veteran's Day. Irrespective of your position on war and peace, please be sure to thank a veteran for risking everything to keep us safe. Some people who are veterans had no choice. Some of them became heroes they never wanted to be. It's OK to say thank you. Are you grateful that people have gone to war to defend freedom? Are you angry when people are sent to war for profiteering, without really protecting our freedom?

I think of that statement each Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Have you thanked a veteran or serviceman recently?

Remember: they work hard to keep us safe, they risk everything . . . everything (no matter what you think of the war).

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Best Of Freda Payne
Freda Payne

Friday, May 25, 2007

What Are You Listening To?

Even though I do not own an iPod, I listen to music quite a bit: home and office, primarily. I like to think I have eclectic taste in music (others would disagree), so I've decided to start blogging a bit about what I have been listening to recently.

The CDs that have most recently found there way into my collection are:

10cc - Best of the Early Years- which includes the entire first 10cc release. It is filled with Godley & Creme gems like "Rubber Bullets," "Ships Don't Disappear," "Fresh Air For My Mama" and "Donna." I searched forever to find the right 10cc CD to buy. The CD of the first release sells for upwards of thirty bucks, and it took awhile to learn that this best of, that includes all the cuts for that release, can be had for under twenty.

The Normal - T.V.O.D./Warm Leatherette- is a classic post-punk single from 1978. It took me a long time to remember that I really wanted it! I blogged the lyrics to Warm Leatherette previously, but I think it's important to tell you that T.V.O.D. includes the lyric "I just stick the aerial into my skin let the signal run through my veins." A perfect homage to commercial television.

Patti Smith - Twelve- Patti has finally done her album of covers. I think every artist should do at least one, and she has made great choices. I saw the first night of the tour for this release and it was fun to watch her sing songs from Tears For Fears, The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers, Nirvana, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, and others. Only Patti would remember that "Gimme Shelter" is actually an anti-war protest song. She revives it at a time when the world doesn't want to hear about world peace; but as usual, in her inimitable style, she holds it right in front of our faces.

And last, but hardly least, my fellow soul sistah and dreamboat, Rex, has linked me to Funky 16 Corners, a web site dedicated to the preservation of the mid-century funk sound. Complete with scans of picture sleeves, commentary and samples, you can find thematic playlists of your fave songs from my childhood. This weekend, the site is spotlighting the song "Popcorn" and the answer songs, follow-up songs, and remakes that followed. I am partial to the article that highlights "The Horse," so find it and have a listen. You will not regret it!

Dick Mac Recommends:

Patti Smith

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan!

66 years young, like a Rolling Stone he looked so fine in his prime, now didn't he?!?!?!?

The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan
live in Brazil playing "Like a Rolling Stone",
on the South American leg of the
Bridges to Babylon world tour:

Or see it at

Dylan's wikipedia entry.

Columbia Records' Official Bob Dylan Site.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits
Bob Dylan

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Weather 2007 - The 10 Rainiest Cities in the U.S. has released its list of the rainiest cities in the United States.

Surprisingly, none of them are in the Pacific Northwest or the New England states. Not surprisingly, on the other hand, they are all in Gulf states:

Mobile, Alabama--67” rainfall; 59 rainy days
Pensacola, Florida--65” rainfall; 56 rainy days
New Orleans, Louisiana--64” rainfall; 59 rainy days
West Palm Beach, Florida--63” rainfall; 58 rainy days
Lafayette, Louisiana--62” rainfall; 55 rainy days
Baton Rouge, Louisiana--62” rainfall; 56 rainy days
Miami, Florida--62” rainfall; 57 rainy days
Port Arthur, Texas--61” rainfall; 51 rainy days
Tallahassee, Florida--61” rainfall; 56 rainy days
Lake Charles, Louisiana--58” rainfall; 50 rainy days

On the same day, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a press release warning that "they expect 13 to 17 tropical storms, with seven to 10 of them becoming hurricanes and three to five of them in the strong category."

Guess where hurricanes like to travel? The Gulf states!

If you live along the Gulf of Mexico, this might be the time to consider a relocation to the desert!

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Idiot
Iggy Pop

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Video - T.Rex - Bang A Gong (Get It On)

Marc Bolan of T.Rex became very famous. The sound of T.Rex, created by producer Tony Visconti, catapulted him to the status of The Next Beatles. He was befriended by Ringo Starr, who produced and directed the T.Rex movie "Born To Boogie," and musicians were happy to appear on his records and tours.

The T.Rex LP "Electric Warrior" was the first glam record I bought and led me towards the likes of David Bowie, who picked-up the mantle of glam an took it (literally?) to the stratosphere.

In this video, a young Elton John takes the keyboards for a televised rendition of "Bang A Gong (Get It On)":

Dick Mac Recommends:

Electric Warrior
T. Rex

Monday, May 21, 2007

Roy Pearson Administrative Jerk Update

Roy L. Pearson, Jr., is a lawyer and the plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking sixty-odd million dollars as compensation for bad service and dissatisfaction with the result of business he did with a local dry cleaner.

If you don't know the story, I have written about it previously.

Pearson represents what is wrong with many Americans: avarice, litigiousness, self-centeredness, self-importance, self-righteousness, delusions of grandeur.

Pearson has worked as an administrative law judge in the District of Columbia. The title of the job is much more impressive than the actual position itself; he's not really a judge. It's a job often enjoyed by a political lackey who is unable to make it as a lawyer in the often cut-throat, highly competitive legal industry. Often men and women who cannot make partner in a prestigious firm, or do not possess the skills to succeed in private practice or electoral politics. Not all administrative law judges are losers, only some of them. Well, maybe a lot of them. They are, no matter their skill set, political appointees, often referred to in the vernacular as hacks.

I am having trouble avoiding calling this man names and diminishing his role as a public servant, because he disgusts me so much that my stomach rumbles when I type anything about him.

In an email with columnist, Marc Fisher, Pearson says:
that his $65 million claim "has little to do with lost suit pants." Rather, he wrote, his case focuses on the signs posted at the cleaners: "Satisfaction Guaranteed" and "Same Day Service," promises that he says were misleading.

"I hope you will attend the trial and see how little of the damages sought and awarded there have anything to do with suit pants," Pearson wrote.

I don't think anyone disputes that Pearson is dissatisfied and that the dry cleaner failed to deliver same-day service. What disgusts me is what and how he believes he should be compensated for their failure to deliver, to satisfy him as a consumer.

What is he entitled to? A refund. A full refund. And the right to use a different dry cleaner. He is entitled to nothing else.

That he continues to justify his lawsuit with this jargon proves that he is unfit to be involved in the legal system in any role other than as a defendant.

And the fact that he is cloaking himself in the notion of consumer protection is the most revolting, because he was protected. The dry cleaner did hem his pants and after misplacing them, found them and returned his pants. When he said he was dissatisfied, they offered him THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS as compensation.

This wasn't enough for this administrative law judge. He wanted more.

It gets better!

Pearson's ten-year term as an administrative law judge is up for renewal. Many members of the legal industry have expressed concern that a man such as Pearson is unfit to hold the position. However, according to Marc Fisher's column, the District of Columbia's chief administrative law judge, Tyrone Butler, has recommended approval of Pearson's application based on his job performance!

That's right! Roy Pearson's boss thinks that Roy Pearson does a good job and should retain his position as an administrative law judge.

So, even though this guy is abusing the judicial system in hopes of huge monetary gain, making a mockery of his city's consumer protection laws, and destroying a family over a pair of trousers and a couple of signs hanging in a store, Tyrone Butler thinks he should continue in a position of authority because of his job performance!

I think the District of Columbia is in bigger trouble than any of us suspected, because it is now clear that Roy Pearson's boss should also be removed from his position, because he doesn't think a person who behaves like an idiot should be removed from the bench.

Roy Pearson is not fit to participate in our legal system as a professional, never mind as a pretend-judge. And if Tyrone Butler thinks Pearson should be re-appointed because of his job performance but not disqualified for his lack of good judgment, then the entire District of Columbia's administrative law judge department needs to be investigated and revamped.

Judge in $65 Million Suit Might Keep Seat on Bench
by Marc Fisher
Thursday, May 10, 2007

Around the D.C. government and around the world, Roy Pearson -- the man who sued his neighborhood dry cleaner for $65 million in a dispute over a missing pair of pants -- has become a laughingstock, a symbol of a legal system gone wild, another blot on the image of the District.

So last week, when the order came from managers of the city's Web site to remove Pearson's biography from the page about his job as an administrative law judge, a cheer went up among the techies in the office. Word spread like wildfire: Finally, the city had acted to salvage its reputation.

It's true that Pearson's term as a judge expired last week, his bio was taken down from the Web site and, for now, he is no longer hearing cases.

But he remains on the D.C. payroll, "doing administrative work," said a senior city official who declined to be named because he was discussing a personnel matter. Pearson will be in paid limbo for weeks while a commission decides whether to reappoint him for a 10-year term to handle disputes with city agencies.

There is good reason to believe that Pearson might win a new term. Before the pants suit became a worldwide story, the city's chief administrative law judge, Tyrone Butler, recommended approval of Pearson's application based on his job performance, said D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson and three other sources with direct knowledge of the recommendation. Butler did not respond to a request for comment.

"Everyone agrees that to file a lawsuit asking for $65 million for a pair of pants is absolutely outrageous," the D.C. official said. "But we are trying to keep that out of the discussion about reappointment. I don't think it's appropriate not to reappoint someone just because they file a lawsuit. You can't retaliate against someone for exercising their constitutional, First Amendment right to file a lawsuit to vindicate their rights."

The lawsuit against the Chung family, the owners of Custom Cleaners on Bladensburg Road NE, where Pearson took his pants for a $10.50 alteration, is scheduled for trial June 11. Court records show that Pearson has turned down a $12,000 settlement offer from the Chungs and refused a Superior Court judge's offer of mediation.

Pearson's lawsuit has united both sides of the eternal battle over our easily abused legal system, with the American Tort Reform Association and the American Association for Justice, the trial lawyers' lobby, calling the suit ridiculous and offensive and urging their members to contribute to a defense fund for the Chung family.

Pearson's case has become fodder for ridicule on Howard Stern's radio show, TV networks' morning news programs and countless blogs. Since I wrote about it two weeks ago, I've been invited to appear on broadcasts in five countries. Astrologers and handwriting analysts have claimed to have insights into Pearson's actions. Asian Americans have worried that the lawsuit expresses ethnic animosity.

But the overwhelming question that readers want answered is this: How could such a person still be a judge?

The commission that decides whether judges such as Pearson get reappointed "is entitled to consider things that happen outside the walls of the courthouse," said Robert Spagnoletti, former D.C. attorney general and a partner at the Schertler & Onorato law firm.

"What's tied them in a bind is that the chief judge recommended him for reappointment," Spagnoletti said. "My personal view is that when you put somebody on the bench, the public needs to have confidence in their abilities. A lot of people think this is off the hook. You can't go anywhere without people saying, 'How can this guy be a judge?'"

The commission, which is short one of its three voting members because his term expired, might wait to decide Pearson's fate until the trial is completed or Mayor Adrian Fenty appoints someone to fill the vacancy; Fenty sent a letter yesterday saying he plans to do that soon.

This isn't the first time Pearson has represented himself aggressively. A 2005 Virginia Court of Appeals decision notes that the judge handling Pearson's divorce found him "responsible for excessive driving up of everything that went on here, including threatening both the wife and her lawyer with disbarment."

Even if D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff rules against Pearson next month, both sides generally must pay their own legal fees. But lawyers around town are hoping Bartnoff will conclude that Pearson acted in bad faith, which would open the door to making him pay the Chungs' legal bills.

Pearson declined to be interviewed for my columns on the suit suit. But in e-mails responding to my last column, he said that his $65 million claim "has little to do with lost suit pants." Rather, he wrote, his case focuses on the signs posted at the cleaners: "Satisfaction Guaranteed" and "Same Day Service," promises that he says were misleading.

"I hope you will attend the trial and see how little of the damages sought and awarded there have anything to do with suit pants," Pearson wrote.

Read that again. The man expects to win.

This from says:

Contrary to what we had speculated, it appears that Pants Judge Roy Pearson still has a job and may continue to do so. According to an unnamed D.C. official, and exemplifying the attitude with which the tort reform movement is fighting, "I don't think it's appropriate not to reappoint someone just because they file a lawsuit. You can't retaliate against someone for exercising their constitutional, First Amendment right to file a lawsuit to vindicate their rights." (No, but you can retaliate against someone for filing a frivolous lawsuit.) Meanwhile, as a face-saving publicity stunt, the American Trial Lawyers Association filed an ethics complaint against Pearson; really, Pearson isn't doing anything that ATLA doesn't endorse in other situations.

That's another thing! An unnamed official from the District of Columbia says that Roy Pearson has the First Amendment right to file a lawsuit. Who is running Washington, D.C.? I used to support the notion that D.C. should have more autonomy from the federal government, but it is obvious that there are only idiots running that city!

OK! For a moment I will agree that Pearson has the right to file a lawsuit -- that his First Amendment rights protect him. With this logic, Pearson would be protected in his job if he exercised his First Amendment right to use racist, sexist, or homophobic epithets. Would Roy Pearson keep his job if he used the "N-word" to describe Tyrone Butler? No! He would be fired! Why? Not because he exercised his First Amendment rights to use the N-word, but because using the N-word to describe your boss shows your lack of judgment.

Hiding behind the First Amendment is always the sign of someone who is wrong. If your only argument is that you have a Constitutional right to carry-on with your behavior, then others should look very closely at your actions.

Roy Pearson's constitutional right to file a lawsuit is not in question. What is in question is his judgment, his ability to know right from wrong and make good decisions based on that ability to discern right from wrong.

I now think we should ask the same question about any supervisor who would recommend an employee based on his job performance, even if that employee shows that his ability to discern right from wrong is in question.

As soon as Roy Pearson's future as an administrative law judge is determined, I think the citizenry should work towards removing Tyrone Butler from his position.

Here's an opinion piece by Mary Lou Kelsey that you might enjoy.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Best Lawyer Jokes Ever

Friday, May 18, 2007

Warm Leatherette Lyrics

Originally recorded by The Normal and then covered by Grace Jones, "Warm Leatherette" is an underground classic that includes one of my all-time fave punk lyrics: "Quick! Let's make love before you die."

Warm Leatherette

See the breaking glass
In the underpass
See the breaking glass
In the underpass

Warm leatherette

Hear the crushing steel
Feel the steering wheel
Hear the crushing steel
Feel the steering wheel

Warm leatherette

Warm leatherette

Warm leatherette
Melts on your burning flesh
You can see your reflection
In the luminescent dash

Warm leatherette

A tear of petrol
Is in your eye
The hand brake
Penetrates your thigh
Quick -- Let's make love
Before you die

On warm leatherette
Warm leatherette

Warm leatherette
Warm leatherette
Warm leatherette

Join the car crash set

Dick Mac Recommends:

Warm Leatherette
The Normal

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Red Bull Park

My soccer team, Red Bull New York, is building a soccer-specific stadium in Harrison, New Jersey. Until it is built, I will continue to attend matches at Giants Stadium (a shithole to surpass all shitholes). The New York area deserves a soccer-specific stadium, and the fans of Red Bull New York will be rewarded handsomely for their patience.

You can watch the development of the soccer stadium on their webcam.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Patti Smith

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sex-Specific Driving Etiquette

A woman is driving at night on a narrow country road.

At the same time a man is driving in the opposite direction on that same road.

When they narrowly pass each other at high speed, the woman rolls down her window and loudly shouts "HORSE!"

Immediately the man shouts back, "BITCH!"

The man laughs. He is proud to have reacted so quickly to the shouting woman. He maintains his speed as he takes the next turn:

Click to enlarge

The upshot?

Men never listen to women; and when they do, they don't understand one word she says.

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Idiot
Iggy Pop

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Tribute To Juan Pablo Angel

I am a season-ticket holder for Red Bull New York (nee Metrostars). This year, the team has signed Juan Pablo Angel, one of my fave players, formerly of Aston Villa in the English Premier League, and a member of the Colombian National Team.

Angel has already scored his first goal for RBNY.

I found the following "Tribute To Juan Pablo Angel" on, please enjoy:

Dick Mac Recommends:

Patti Smith

Monday, May 14, 2007

United Wins The Title, aw ManUre!

The English Premier League season has ended with Manchester United taking the title. Too bad. Maybe next year will be better!

United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal all qualify for next year's UEFA Champions League; while Tottenham, Everton, and Bolton qualify for next year's UEFA Cup.

Sheffield United, Charlton, and Watford are relegated down to the Coca-Cola Championship League. Wigan managed to stay in the Premiership with a 2-1 victory over Sheffield in their last match of the season.

A rejuvenated Sunderland, led by the dangerous and mean-spirited Roy Keane, will be promoted to the Premiership next year, along with Birmingham and the winner of the Championship play-offs among Derby, West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton, and Southampton.

In honor of the 2006-2007 season, I offer you this video titled "Bad Football - When footballers become violent," which covers some amazing highlights of soccer around the world over the years:

Or see it at

Dick Mac Recommends:

Arsenal Centurions - 100 Goals Each
Thierry Henry and Dennis Berkamp

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Salvador Dali!

Today is the 103rd anniversary of the birth of Salvador Dali. Born in 1904, Dali became one of the most important artists of his generation.

This painting usually lives at MoMA, in New York City; but is currently on loan. Since you can't see it at MoMA, I decided to show it to you here:

Persistence of Memory
Have you seen Un Chien Andalou? You should.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Un Chien Andalou
Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Socialism for the Rich

In the 1980s I watched Gore Vidal on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Vidal said: "It's very clear what's going on in America. We have socialism for the super-rich and free enterprise for the poor."

That, in a nutshell, is Reaganomics in action. Guarantee the profits of corporations while cutting the tax liability of the wealthy, which is in some voodoo-ish manner is supposed to help the working people and the poor (which are now the working poor), who are now required to carry the highest tax load since the Great Depression.

The latest incident of socialism for the rich is taking place in Wisconisin.

That state's Unfair Sales Act is a law that requires gasoline to be sold at 9.2% above wholesale. I am sure this was presented to the good people of Wisconsin as a way to prevent the oil monopoly from gouging the consumer. But, it is a method for guaranteeing profits, which flies in the face of a free market. Now, the law is being used to tell a gas station owner he cannot sell gas at a discount, even for charity, because the price is below the 9.2% over wholesale threshold.

This is insane! Why would a state have a law that prevents competition and charity? Sure, you want to protect the consumer from being gouged by the monopolies that control the flow of petroleum; but why would you prevent retailers from selling at a discount? This is idiotic!

Below is a reprint of an AP story about a gas station that offered a discount to senior citizens and sports boosters in the community.

Gas station owner told to raise prices
Wed May 9, 6:05 AM ET

A service station that offered discounted gas to senior citizens and people supporting youth sports has been ordered by the state to raise its prices.

Center City BP owner Raj Bhandari has been offering senior citizens a 2 cent per gallon price break and discount cards that let sports boosters pay 3 cents less per gallon.

But the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says those deals violate Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act, which requires stations to sell gas for about 9.2 percent more than the wholesale price.

Bhandari said he received a letter from the state auditor last month saying the state would sue him if he did not raise his prices. The state could penalize him for each discounted gallon he sold, with the fine determined by a judge.

Bhandari, who bought the station a year ago, said he worries customers will think he stopped the discounts because he wants to make more money. About 10 percent of his customers had used the discount cards.

Dale Van Camp said he bought a $50 card to support the local youth hockey program. It would have saved him about $100 per year on gas, he said.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

So, this is what it's come to: we are required to guarantee a certain profit for businesses. Is that a free market? No.

So, when you hear gazillionaires, especially oil men, talk about an open market (people like the Bush family, the Clintons, the Reagans, Wolfowitz, Rubin and all the other neo-cons) while passing protectionist laws, please know that they are lying to you. They are not helping an open market, they are closing the market for their personal benefit and your detriment.

Today, it is OK to give a break to the rich, but not OK to help senior citizens or charity. Go figure!

Dick Mac Recommends:

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Iggy Pop

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mike Macharyas "Kevin Federline"

The inimitable Mike Macharyas does "Kevin Federline." Another masterpiece from the 14mercy stable, produced by Svengali NNMaddox.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Ashlee Simpson
Mike Macharyas

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Does Anyone Care About Baseball?

I don't care if Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron's Home Run record.

Baseball is such a mess that its records mean nothing.

Hank Aaron's record means nothing.

Baseball is an embarrassment to America.

Is it any surprise that only forty percent of people who care about baseball care if Barry Bonds breaks the record?

Poll: Bonds' HR quest gets scant support
Mon May 7, 2:17 PM ET

Only about four in 10 baseball fans are rooting for Barry Bonds to break the career home run record and most think he knowingly took steroids, according to a poll showing stark racial divisions in how the San Francisco Giants' slugger is viewed.

Still, most fans think Bonds should end up in the Hall of Fame. He has 10 homers this season and 744 lifetime — 11 shy of Hank Aaron's record, one of the most revered in sports.

In the poll by ABC News and ESPN, 37 percent said they are rooting for Bonds to break Aaron's record, while 52 percent said they hope he falls short and 11 percent had no opinion. Twenty-eight percent of whites and nearly 75 percent of blacks said they were hoping Bonds succeeds.

Nearly three quarters said they think Bonds knowingly took the performance-enhancing drugs, which he has long denied. Just more than a third of blacks — and three-fourths of whites — shared that view.

Of those who think he used steroids, two-thirds said that makes him a cheater — even though major league baseball was not testing for the drugs at the time. There was no racial breakdown for that question.

Nearly six in 10 said Bonds should be elected to the Hall of Fame, including majorities of both races. About as many said they believe he has been treated fairly, including a third of blacks and six in 10 whites.

Of those who think his treatment has been unfair, more blacks and whites say it is because of his alleged steroid use than because of his race.

The ABC-ESPN poll involved telephone interviews with 799 adult baseball fans from March 29 to April 22. Its margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Those surveyed included 203 blacks, for whom the margin of sampling error was 7 percentage points.
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Barry Bonds is a sneak.

Baseball is an industry filled with sneaks and liars.

Who cares about baseball?

Nobody should!

Stop giving them your money!

Dick Mac Recommends:

Jose Canseco

Monday, May 07, 2007

Just So You Know What He Looks Like

Here is a screen grab of Roy L. Pearson Jr. from a video:

In case you weren't sure if an asshole had a face . . . this is the face of an asshole!

Mr. Pearson is very important. A dry cleaner temporarily misplaced a pair of his trousers and it made him angry. So angry that he refused to accept his trousers when they were found. So angry that he has rejected every gesture of apology and every attempt to placate him. He is so angry that he filed a sixty-five million dollar lawsuit against the local dry cleaner who temporarily misplaced the trousers.

The entire world is talking about Mr. Pearson. I am happy to be part of the dialogue.

Please continue reading about Mr. Pearson in the article I wrote about this incident.

Jerk Lawyer Abuses Citizens

Roy L. Pearson Jr., an Administrative Law Judge, in the District of Columbia has had a frustrating experience with a dry cleaner.

This makes him just like everyone else in America.

He says they lost a pair of trousers from a brand new thousand dollar suit, and he demanded that they pay him a thousand dollars for his loss.

We all fantasize about making such demands. Sometimes the demands actually cross our lips. Eventually we see the folly of our ways and realize we will not be receiving the fantasized cash payout.

Eventually, and not very long after the 'loss,' the dry cleaners found his trousers.

This has happened to me: you send five pair of trousers to the dry cleaner and only four come back. I have always gotten the fifth pair within a reasonable amount on time. Once I got five pair of someone else's trousers and it took two days to get the mess sorted.

This happens. It is frustrating, inconvenient, and seemingly unnecessary; but, it happens.

Roy L. Pearson Jr. doesn't accept that life includes these little inconveniences and is filled with enough self-importance to sue the dry cleaner. He is angry. He is an angry man.

He is a powerful, privileged angry man. And he'll show you!

He has made it his mission to destroy the lives of the mom & pop dry cleaning shop that had the audacity, the blatant audacity, to misplace his brand new trousers. How dear these audacious immigrants impede the quality of his very important life. Don't they realize who he is?

He is Roy L. Pearson Jr., Administrative Law Judge for the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings, a graduate of Lake Forest College and Northwestern University School of Law, a board member of Columbia Heights Youth Club, the Fort Lincoln Civic Association, Inc., Black Seeds, Inc., the Washington Council of Lawyers, and the DC chapter of the National Council of Black Lawyers. He is important. And he has been inconvenienced. And he will show YOU!

He has sued the dry cleaners for sixty-five million dollars. That'll show 'em not to fuck with Roy L. Pearson Jr.!

Mr. Pearson has a history of unnecessary litigation; he is litigious by nature. After his divorce in Virginia was finalized, he appealed to the courts for many benefits no man with a spine, even a lawyer, would expect. He had wanted spousal support, even though perfectly capable of supporting himself; and he didn't want to pay his ex-wife's legal bills.

The judge in the appeal wrote:
Husband next contends the trial court erred in awarding legal fees of $12,000 to wife. We review an award of attorney's fees for an abuse of discretion. See Graves v. Graves, 4 Va. App. 326, 333, 357 S.E.2d 554, 558 (1987). The trial court found that husband was substantially responsible for "excessive driving up" of the legal costs by "threatening both wife and her lawyer with disbarment [sic]," and creating unnecessary litigation. Consequently, it awarded wife $12,000 in legal fees to be paid by husband.

Credible evidence supports the trial court's ruling. The trial court made specific findings concerning the award of attorney's fees, including that the litigation was disproportionately long despite the relative simplicity of the case and that husband "in good part is responsible for excessive driving up of everything that went on here including threatening both the wife and her lawyer with disbarment as a member of both the D.C. bar and Virginia bar," which created "unnecessary litigation." Accordingly, we cannot say the trial court abused its discretion in awarding attorney's fees to wife.

In the above case, he did not want to pay his ex-wife's $12,000 legal fees. He had battled tooth-and-nail against his wife's request for a no-fault divorce, and according to the appellate judge, he made a simple case complicated with his unnecessary legal wrangling. So, the judge refused his appeal to have the verdict changed. He has to pay the fees, because he (litigious by nature) used his knowledge of the legal system to interfere with his wife's simple desire to GET THE HELL AWAY FROM HIM!

This guy is a menace! And he is a judge!

Never have I seen a clearer case of a person who has to be removed from their position of power, reprimanded and punished, and maybe disbarred, then sent on their way to start over again someplace else. Maybe in Central Europe or China; certainly no place where he would have access to the American judiciary.

Here is a letter the American Tort Reform Association sent to Pearson's bosses calling for his removal from his appointment as a judge.

An article from Lawyer's Price For Missing Pants: $65 Million

Customer Sues for $65 Million Over Pants
By LUBNA TAKRURI, Associated Press Writer
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Published at


A missing pair of pants has led to one big suit.

A customer got so steamed when a dry cleaner lost his trousers that he sued for $65 million. Two years later, he is still pressing his suit.

The case has demoralized the South Korean immigrant owners of the mom-and-pop business and brought demands that the customer — an administrative law judge in Washington — be disbarred and removed from office for pursuing a frivolous and abusive claim.

Jin Nam Chung, Ki Chung and their son, Soo Chung, are considering moving back to Seoul, seven years after they opened their dry-cleaning business in the nation's capital, said their lawyer, Chris Manning.

"They're out a lot of money, but more importantly, incredibly disenchanted with the system," Manning said. "This has destroyed their lives."

The customer, Roy L. Pearson Jr., who has been representing himself, declined to comment.

According to court documents, the problem began in May 2005 when Pearson became a judge and brought several suits for alterations to Custom Cleaners in Washington. A pair of pants from one suit was missing when he requested it two days later.

Pearson asked the cleaners for the full price of the suit: more than $1,000.

But a week later, the Chungs said the pants had been found and refused to pay. Pearson said those were not his pants, and decided to take the Chungs to the cleaners and sue.

Manning said the cleaners have made three settlement offers to Pearson: $3,000, then $4,600, then $12,000.

But Pearson was not satisfied and expanded his calculations beyond one pair of pants. Because Pearson no longer wanted to use his neighborhood dry cleaner, he asked in his lawsuit for $15,000 — the cost of renting a car every weekend for 10 years to go to another business.

Manning said Pearson somehow thinks he has the right to a dry cleaner within four blocks of his apartment.

The bulk of the $65 million demand comes from Pearson's strict interpretation of Washington consumer protection law, which imposes fines of $1,500 per violation, per day. Pearson counted 12 violations over 1,200 days, then multiplied that by three defendants.

Much of Pearson's case rests on two signs Custom Cleaners once had on its walls: "Satisfaction Guaranteed" and "Same Day Service." He claims the signs amount to fraud.

The case is set for trial June 11.

Sherman Joyce, president of the American Tort Reform Association, an organization that fights what it considers abusive lawsuits against small businesses, has asked that Pearson be denied a renewal this week of his 10-year appointment. The association has also offered to buy Pearson the suit of his choice.

Chief Administrative Judge Tyrone Butler had no comment on Pearson's reappointment prospects.

Melvin Welles, former chief administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board, wrote to The Washington Post to say that if he were the judge in the case, he would throw out the lawsuit and order Pearson to pay the Chungs for their legal expenses and their mental suffering. He also called for Pearson's ouster and disbarment.

"The manifest absurdity of it is too obvious to require explanation," Welles wrote.

To the Chungs and their attorney, one of the most frustrating aspects of the case is their claim that Pearson's gray pants were found almost right away, and have been hanging in Manning's office for more than a year. Pearson claims in court documents that his pants had blue and red pinstripes.

But Manning said: "They match his inseam measurements. The ticket on the pants matches his receipt."

The Custom Cleaners Defense Fund site is not yet operational, but can be found here.

Please consider contacting Mr. Pearson's employer, The District of Columbia's Office of Administrative Hearings, and asking them to remove him from his position as an Administrative Law Judge. No person who abuses the American legal system should hold this position.

Also, please note that his employer has removed Mr. Pearson's profile from its website. Are they trying to protect him? I hope it means they are firing him, because it is the rest of us who need protection from him. (Just ask his ex-wife and the dry cleaners!)

The case goes to trial June 11, 2007. Pay attention!

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Divine Comedy
Dante Alighieri

Friday, May 04, 2007

Britain's Wealthiest

The Times of London released their list of the 1,000 wealthiest British subjects. I have culled-out just those in the music business.

I had assumed that Paul McCartney would top the list, but Clive Calder, founder of the Zomba Music Group, which is now part of the Sony/BMG empire, is worth almost twice as much as McCartney. McCartney's value would have been listed at £825,000,000, but the editors are reserving a hundred million pounds of his wealth for distribution to his former wife, Heather Mills. Remember: once you've earned your first ten million, you should really sign a pre-nuptial agreement before marrying a celebrity half your age! This is an important lesson seemingly known by everyone besides Sir Paul!

46 Clive Calder £1,300m
102 Sir Paul McCartney £725m
263 Madonna and Guy Ritchie £275m
319 Sir Elton John £225m
334 Sir Mick Jagger £215m
375 Keith Richards £190m
375 Sir Tom Jones £190m
388 Sting £185m
438 Roger Ames £160m
452 Sir Tim Rice £155m
502 Eric Clapton £140m
502 Ringo Starr £140m
519 Phil Collins £135m
574 Barry and Robin Gibb £120m
574 David Bowie £120m
659 Rod Stewart £105m
700 Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne £100m
755 Chris Wright £95m
755 Robbie Williams £95m
777 Charlie Watts £90m
798 David Gilmour £85m
798 Roger Waters £85m
873 Judy Craymer £78m
896 Brian May £75m
896 George Michael £75m
896 Ronnie Wood £75m
949 Jimmy Page £70m
949 Robert Plant £70m
949 Roger Taylor £70m

David Bowie drops to a tie for fifteenth place on this list; which is surprising because a few short years ago he was talked about as being one of the top five wealthiest rock stars in the world. Maybe all his work in America and the devalued dollar have impacted his actual cash value.

All of the Rolling Stones seem to be on the list, along with Led Zepplin, Queen, Pink Floyd, The Bee Gees, Ringo, Madonna, Elton John, Tom Jones, Eric Clapton, and Sting, along with the others.

Ozzy Osbourne managed to keep a hundred million out of his arm, and George Michael's lawyer fees should be covered by his 75 mil. Maybe. Maybe not!

Remember, one British Pound (£1.00) is equivalent to two U.S. Dollars ($2.00). So, the lowly Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and Roger Taylor listed at seventy million quid are worth a hundred and forty million dollars! Not bad!

Opera producer Roger Ames, and Chris Wright of Chrysalis records are two of the four non-musicians on the music list. Judy Craymer, the musical theater producer who brought us my friend Henry's fave show, Mama Mia!, is the other non-musician.

Aspiring musicians: set your goals high!

Dick Mac Recommends:

Patti Smith

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Demoiselles d'Avignon at 100

Though I am not a huge fan of Pablo Picasso's work, he certainly painted some masterpieces. "Demoiselles d'Avignon" is one.

I am lucky to live a subway ride away from Museum of Modern Art, in New York, where Demoiselles d'Avignon and hundreds (thousands?) of other modern art masterpieces reside.

MoMA is celebrating the centennial of Demoiselles d'Avignon in a series of performances and talks. Demoiselles d'Avignon at 100 runs from May 9, 2007, through August 27, 2007, at MoMA, 11 West 53 Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues (212-708-9400).

While you are there, be sure to see some of the other magnificent works by van Gogh, Matisse, Leger, Miro, Mondrian, Johns and all of the rest of the world's foremost modern-era artists.

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Blind See Only This World: Poems for John Wieners
William Corbett

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

US Cities with the Most Smog-Polluted Air

According to the American Lung Association, the cities with the worst air quality in the United States are (in order):

Los Angeles, CA
Pittsburgh, PA
Bakersfield, CA
Birmingham, AL
Detroit, MI
Cleveland, OH
Visalia, CA
Cincinnati, OH
Indianapolis, IN
St. Louis. MO

All is not bad news for LA, though, because it is reported that even as it remains atop the list, the number of days residents breathed the nation's worst ozone levels was fewer than in previous years! This is a sign that Californians are taking the matter serviously and are doing their share to improve the environment.

Nationwide, however, an alarming trend continues. Soot levels, which are different from smog levels, are increasing.

From the AP:

The [American Lung Association] based the rankings on ozone pollution levels produced when heat and sunlight come into contact with pollutants from power plants, cars, refineries and other sources. The group also studied particle pollution levels emitted from these sources, which are made up of a mix of tiny solid and liquid particles in the air.

Such pollution can contribute to heart disease, lung cancer and asthma attacks, the association said. Those especially vulnerable to polluted air are children, senior citizens, people who work or exercise outdoors and people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Nearly half of the U.S. population lives in counties that still have unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution [emphasis added], even though there appeared to be less ozone in many counties than previous years, the study found.

. . . and this from Reuters . . .

Major sources of soot also include emissions from diesel vehicles including school buses, barges, trucks, tugboats and construction equipment, she said.

Even as the national level of ozone declined, a key component of smog, 99 million people in the United States live in counties with failing grades for ozone, according to the report.

Things seem to be improving, but more must be done to clean our environment.

Plant trees and flowers, stop littering, drive less, do anything you can to help improve the environment. You'll be glad you did!

Dick Mac Recommends:

Now & Then
Gil Scott-Heron

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Memo From Turner

A great song from one of my favorite films, the movie "Performance."

Memo From Turner

Didn't I see you down in San Antone on a hot and dusty night?
We were eating eggs in Sammy's when the black man there drew his knife.
Aw, you drowned that Jew in Rampton as he washed his sleeveless shirt,
You know, that Spanish-speaking gentlemen, the one we all called "Kurt."

Come now, gentleman, I know there's some mistake.
How forgetful I'm becoming, now you fixed your bus'ness straight.

I remember you in Hemlock Road in nineteen fifty-six.
You're a faggy little leather boy with a smaller piece of stick.
You're a lashing, smashing hunk of man;
Your sweat shines sweet and strong.
Your organ's working perfectly, but there's a part that's not screwed on.

Weren't you at the Coke convention back in nineteen sixty-five
You're the misbred, grey executive I've seen heavily advertised.
You're the great, gray man whose daughter licks policemen's buttons clean.
You're the man who squats behind the man who works the soft machine.

Come now, gentleman, your love is all I crave.
You'll still be in the circus when I'm laughing, laughing on my grave.

When the old men do the fighting and the young men all look on.
And the young girls eat their mother's meat from tubes of plasticon.
Be wary of these my gentle friends and all the skins you breed.
They have a tasty habit - they eat the hands that bleed.

So remember who you say you are and keep your noses clean.
Boys will be boys and play with toys so be strong with your beast.
Oh Rosie dear, dontcha think it's queer, so stop me if you please.
The baby is dead, my lady said, "You gentlemen, why you all work for me?"