Friday, December 10, 2010

Foxy Friday, Horned Amphibians, and Yearly Awards…

It’s that very time of week that makes our hearts light and jolly. It’s Friday, and a Friday in December means holiday events and shopping, the approach of exams and, of course, Bowl Season. This year, amateur football fans are lucky. The National Title is between two undefeated squads, Auburn and Oregon, the Rose Bowl is going to be a slugfest (Wisconsin vs. TCU). There are scores of other games worth TiVo’ing, and the best will be previewed next week.

The Texas Christian University Horned Amphibians face off against the
“On, Wisconsin” in the Grand Daddy of Them All.

To follow up with the WikiLeaks counterattack internet strikes, experts are warning the United Kingdom to closely monitor activity on its site this weekend. Hackers have threatened to topple the government’s entire network, possibly risking national security and private information of millions of citizens. The threat comes as the UK mulls over the idea of extraditing Julian Assange, the imprisoned founder of WikiLeaks that the British government is holding on sexual assault charges in Sweden. Should the government send off Assange, hackers vow to attack the weakest areas of the government’s network and burrow into more delicate information. Their attack yesterday on ultimately failed, though they successfully froze PayPal and both MasterCard and Visa.

After yesterday’s short piece about the injustices of the Chinese government, the Bohunk did some more digging. After slaving away over a hot computer stove for tens of minutes, I found that China is has the prestigious honor of executing the most people of any government on this fine globe, and almost all of them are killed by hanging. Iran is a second and gets the nod of being the most brutal by killing at least five people by stoning in the past eight years, though it is now illegal in the country. To note, in 2004 a 16 year old girl was executed for “crimes against chastity”, which is a pretty vague charge (and probably title of Lady Gaga’s next album) Heads off to them, eh?

This week’s Fox is the beautiful and talented Michelle Williams. The 30 year old actress of Dawson’s Creek fame is now the lead in Blue Valentine, a film that received the dreaded NC-17 rating when it was reviewed some months ago. After some wheeling-and-dealing, the movie’s producers got the flick down to just R. She stars with Ryan Gosling in this chilling examination of life, love, and relationship. It is pointedly dark at at time disturbing, and has some very dirty scenes as well.

Michelle Williams: Fox since the mid-90’s.

Always worth a second look….

First, we have, my dear readers, other matters with which we must contend. To start, the Bohunk must invite you to submit, in any form you choose, your favorites of this past year. Name your Top:

~ Sportsperson
~ Movie
~ Book
~ Personality
~ Politician
~ Fox

All of your input will be taken into serious consideration when the Bohunk announces the Top (Fill In Blank) of the Year. Also, the Bohunk will select one award of his very own. Each year, excellent writer and columnist Gregg Easterbrook selects an NFL player as MVP, with the longest award title in the business. The Bohunk breaks his long standing record with this little number (in presentation form): The Flying Bohunk is delighted to announce the 2010 “Most Overrated Sports Personality Not-Affiliated With The Yankees And Who Did Not Win A Title Of Any Kind Last Year But Still Makes Over $100 Million Dollars”. Top that, Easterbrook.

Last, the Bohunk must shamelessly plug his newest and only book for sale. Recently published as an eBook by Barnes and Noble, West is a stunning look at a father and son who share name, appearance and a terrible sin. It deals not only with the experience of one family but a universal undertaking of life on earth, and the burden of being a father with a history. You can purchase it here, for a whole $2, at Barnes and Noble.

Thanks for reading, enjoy Foxy Friday and have a great weekend. Tomorrow the Top Post will be throw back up for a second go….Back on Monday with much better effort.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Assange, the Queen of Soul, and China’s ‘Crackdown’ on AIDS Support Groups…

What a day, what a day. The past 24 hours have been very eventful around the globe and YOU need to be Updated about these events. Come along, on a fantastic voyage…

Those hackers that paralyzed MasterCard’s website yesterday were joined by scores of other middle-aged men in their campaign in support of WikiLeaks. Shortly after I pressed “Publish” yesterday, credit giant Visa was attacked, crippling its website as well., PayPal and the Swedish government’s site have all been assaulted as well. The coordination and expertise of these attacks show that some of the best hackers in the biz are well at it in the defense of WikiLeaks and its now imprisoned founder (and James Bond-villain-looking personality) Julian Assange. Assange was arrested on sexual misconduct charges last week, though his lawyers presented copious proofs of his innocence. He will likely be forced to face espionage charges in the US, who are obviously involved in his arrest. The two women supposedly molested by Assange have refused to be involved in the case against him, and he is going to be held as long as authorities see it as beneficial. The attacks will continue as well.

Julian Assange: The perfect Bond villain. Even has a backstory ready!

You might recall that the world had some qualms about going to China for the Olympics a few years back. The country is one of the worst human rights violators on the planet, imprisoners more reporters than any other nation, and has been responsible for more ‘disappearances’ than any country since Stalin. Now, they are doing it in an even more pointed fashion. Hundreds of Chinese citizens associated with imprisoned writer and activist Liu Xiaobo have been taken into government custody, jailed, put under house arrest or followed. It is all a part of the effort by the Chinese government to make sure that no one goes to Oslo, Norway to accept Liu Xiabo’s recently won Nobel Peace Prize. The writer is still in a Chinese prison, and his wife has been under house arrest since Xiaobo won the prize. She is not allowed to speak with anyone from the international community (she was not even allowed to decline an invitation) and makes no contact outside of her immediate family. Xiaobo’s two brothers are under the same orders, and have been tailed by security forces day and night. As reported in the New York Times, this Friday will mark the first time since Nazi Germany forbade Carl von Ossietzky from accepting the award that no person will be at the ceremony to represent its recipient.  Only one friend of Xiaobo’s has a chance to attend the ceremony; Wan Yanhai, an activist, has been in the US from some months after fleeing Chinese police for his founding of an AIDS support group. Yes, AIDS support groups are illegal in China. If he goes to Oslo, Chinese officials will refuse his return to China.

In the ongoing look at cancer, the great Aretha Franklin is in the fight for her life. Family members announced that the great soul singer is battling pancreatic cancer, canceling all her public appearances and undergoing surgery Monday. Reports are that the surgery was successful, though that does not ensure health. Pancreatic cancer patients typically receive a 6% chance of surviving 5 years. There have been a number of prayer vigils in Detroit, where “The Queen of Soul” is still in hospital. With any luck, this is just a link in the chain-chain-chain of her incredible life. All the best, Aretha.

One classy lady, a legend, and, in her day, a Fox.

In mid-week amateur football news, Urban Meyer has stepped down as head coach of the University of Florida football outfit. Meyer, 46, says he will pursue his interests off the field and spend more time with his family. Meyer pulled this same stunt last season, citing health reasons for stepping down only to return for spring practices. Meyer has won two National Championships during his tenure at Florida, and also, it should be noted, a ton of games and SEC titles. Will he stay gone? This time around, the Bohunk gets the feeling he will call it quits. Former Florida assistant Charlie Strong is the top candidate for the job, but there are many others who would toss their name in the ring. Meanwhile, Nebraska board members have given head coach Bo Pelini permission to talk with University of Miami, Florida officials about the job there. Pelini’s sideline conduct this season has been suspect; Miami’s conduct in all areas over the last two decades has been rough, too. Could be a fit….And a train wreck.

“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in
no other way.” Mark Twain

Finally, in the Cheap Gifts category, I highlight for your amusement the stunning work of Mark Twain’s Autobiography of Mark Twain, which is a volume of stories and accounts dictated by Twain from his death bed. A team of editors worked on the text, giving the dictation some background and undoing some prior editing that had smoothed over some of Twain’s more scalding criticisms. It is a book of stories, many stories, of the life and doings of one of the best American authors in our history. If you’d like to pick it up, go to Barnes and Noble.

Thanks for reading, join the Bohunk tomorrow for Foxy Friday and some week-in-review material.  As you know, Friday is always a best effort of mine. Enjoy today and a happy tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Brett Favre, Fat Albert, Cyber Warriors and a Panda…

It’s Hump Day, a holiday actually first celebrated after the infamous Mutiny of the mid 1800’s wherein Indian forces rose up against Imperial British soldiers across India, from Peshawar to Mumbai. (Not really…)

A very quick nod to the memory of a very strong woman, Elizabeth Edwards. Edwards, 61, finally lost her battle to breast cancer after a long six-year fight. Her death comes just a day after her family announced that she would stop receiving chemotherapy and other treatments, deciding instead to spend her time at home with her family. Elizabeth was separated from her husband of thirty years, John Edwards, the former Democratic candidate nominee, after it was found that he had had an affair with a filmmaker during his campaign. The couple split in January of last year, with Elizabeth taking responsibility of the couples’ 12 and 10 year old children. Doctors say Elizabeth was never in pain in her last hours, nor did she lose consciousness. She was a strong woman, an entirely amazing mother, and a personality that will be sorely missed.

On February 27, 2009, the Washington Native Americans made Albert Haynesworth the most affluent person employed in professional football. Yesterday, they suspended this same player for the remainder of the season, without pay, after some embarrassing incidents in Sunday’s game against, including telling coaches that he preferred, should they find it feasible, to play only in passing situations, and to take running situations off. This was not going to sit well with Coach Shannahan, so he decided to remove the distraction. Haynesworth will appeal the suspension with the league; should it stand, Fat Albert will lose $847,059 in pay, though, fear not, he has already received roughly $35 million this season. He will be traded in the offseason, or released, with no cost to the Native Americans.

It must have been a passing down…

Hackers around the globe have vowed vengeance on those persecuting WikiLeaks, the online group responsible for numerous releases of sensitive or secret documents. Most recently, as noted last week, WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables, highlighting the negotiations and impressions of diplomats around the globe, and embarrassing most of them. Computer nerds have launched a counterstrike of sorts, hacking MasterCard and freezing much its functions. MasterCard had just announced that it would refuse requests by its cardholders if they tried to donate to WikiLeaks, which is run almost entirely by the contributions of conspiracy nuts like you. According to many reports, the site is essentially paralyzed and employees of the company are refusing to comment.

Favre handing off to AP: An event so rare a computer simulation was needed to
show just what it might look like…

In the Minnesota Hyperboreans’ win against Buffalo Sunday, Brett Favre was knocked out of the game on his first pass attempt, which, the Bohunk notes, was intercepted. Tavaris Jackson stepped on to hand the ball of to Adrian Peterson, the Best Back In Football; Brett Favre does not do this. With the “Ol’ Gunslinger” in the game, coaches call plays that involve the forward pass much more frequently. The job of the coaching staff, and this includes coordinators, is to give the team the chance to win. Having Brett throw a league leading 18 interceptions is not the best way to get the all important ‘W’. Giving the ball to AP, however, is conducive to that end. But Favre, with his injury, will sound a hero in taking the field Sunday, and he will play very mediocrely, and he will get his 297th start. And (write this down) they will lose. As will always happen when the coaches put one player before the entire squad’s best interest.

   And to lose any respectability, I submit the following:


Much credit due to John ‘Chode’ for this little number…

Thanks for reading, much better effort tomorrow, enjoy Modern Family on ABC this evening, and, should you have the time, read a book, too.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tooting, A Miracle Pill, Marijuana and Death Squads…

It is, as you know, very much against the Nature of the Bohunk to toot, if you will, mine very own horn. But, for the sake of an article, and for the deserved glory to reward unrivalled foresight, my I offer only this: Toot, Toot…

Yes, I toot because of my prediction yesterday that The Best Team In The NFL, the Patriots, would beat the Jets. And beat them they did. But I call you valuable attention to the manner in which they beat them. The Jets under Rex Ryan have a terrible habit of blitzing when they other teams are driving against them. Their reasoning is simple; the opposition is in a rhythm, we must knock them from it. And at times, this works. They got to Tom “Bieber” Brady a few times, notably with a sack early in the first quarter to force a punt. But the majority of the time, Biebs simple found the blitz and threw at it; if they blitz from the spot, it must be vacated. That “big” play to Danny Woodhead in the first quarter? A blitz, which left a defensive end chasing the Diminutive Danny down the field, the usual linebacker standing next to Brady. Good quarterbacks like being blitzed! And Tom Brady might just be the best…

“Hey buttwipe…Yeah you, Rex…Suck on this one!”
(Not an actual quote)

There is, you know, a miracle pill. Large pharmaceutical companies did not release it with fanfare, nor did trumpets sound to hail the coming of a medical miracle that could forever change how humans deal with cancer…Yes, there is a cancer pill available, clinically proven to stop or prevent up to 20% of cancer deaths. It is aspirin. A pill a day, for five years, lowers your chance of cancer by up to 20%, and that percent is an average that threw out cases in which the pill stopped or reversed cancer already present in patients. Aspirin was even responsible for preventing certain types of cancer, such as gastrointestinal, by over 50%. Aspirin is already well-proven to help cardiovascular disease and obviously certain types of pain, but this new research highlights yet another way the inexpensive drug can change your life. So, why have you never heard of this research, that is now a few years old? Because aspirin is cheap, and its manufacturers cannot make an embarrassing amount of money from its production. This should be a part of your vitamin regimen, especially if your family has a history of, frankly, any ailment.

You may recall that the Nobel Prize was awarded to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiabo, author of several explosive documents on government especially critical of the human rights violations of the Chinese government. Xiabo was thrown into the slammer in December 2009 to serve eleven years (so he’s still a decade from freedom, unless he is tunneling) in prison after the release of his “Charter 8”, a paper which called for the immediate end of China’s one-party system. The paper was signed online by thousands of citizens, including a handful of Communist officials. Now, however, scores of countries are declining invitations to the award ceremony. The Norwegian Nobel Committee is becoming well known as a political advocate, especially after awarding US President the Peace Prize for his “intended” efforts in pursuing peace in the Middle East. The  Committee has often awarded it Literature Prize to activists, though very often for groundbreaking works, oftentimes decades after their completion and release. Some of the nations now refusing to attend Xiabo’s award are Ukraine, Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq, Venezuela…Yeah, it’s pretty much a list of theocracies and dictatorships that obviously have the same strict laws as China. For this reason alone, I say, “Go Xiabo!”…(however you say that name)….

Protestors march for Xiabo’s release…But are careful not to show their faces as to avoid the Chinese death squads.

Yesterday, the City of Wyoming, in Michigan, announced a city-wide ban of medical marijuana, citing the lack of resources to prevent the illicit sale of the drug even by card-carrying patients with every right to use it. Earlier this year, a appellate judge said that the law to allow medical marijuana, was badly worded and urged state legislators to rewrite the law. Cities like Wyoming are finding it impossible to regulate marijuana trafficking when dispensaries are not forced by law to document who they sell to, or even if the person was registered. Patients with a card can also grow a small amount of marijuana in their home, and can obviously traffic it in their own home. Many police officials have been called to homes suspected of drug sales, only to stumble upon a legal grower smoking with four or five others who paid to smoke with them. The answer is to mandate more regulations to track who is growing, selling and buying. Otherwise, its basically just like a Detroit public school; everybody has drugs.

In alternative energy news, Gov. Granholm announced the seductive luring of Northern Power Systems, based in Vermont, to build a wind turbine factory in Saginaw. The plant will help automotive factories a chance to diversify and perhaps even open more factories. This is the type of direction Granholm always promised but never delivered until she was, as now, the lamest of ducks.

As announced last week, its that time of year when red kettles pop up in front of stores to raise money for the Salvation Army. Not the US Army, the Army, if read reverse, of Salvation, usually a pretty positive military action, albeit a rare one. So far, donations are 15% down from last year, and Giant Stores, Inc., has warned that it will not tolerate “loud bell ringing” at its locations. The kettles can, for now, stay, but with little to no bell ringing. First off, poor form Giant Stores. It’s a damn charity. Let them ring as loudly as the volunteer’s elderly wrists may allow. Last year, the Salvation Army raised over $667,000 in front of Giant Stores. Second, Giant Stores now has reduced the Salvation Army from being in front of its stores two one week in November and one week in December. In it’s first week, Salvation Army raised just $68,000, and even with a tripled result in its second week, will raise less than a quarter of last year’s total. Boycott Giant Stores, please.


Thanks for reading folks, enjoy 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family…And let me know if Rudolph is on. Back tomorrow, as usual…

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cam Newton, Pluto, Gay Marriage and Tom “Bieber” Brady…

Monday, and a Monday which brings us unrivalled clarity in the BCS, NFL and even some other aspects of life, which, should you read on, may help you extraordinarily…

In the last big weekend of amateur football, the Auburn Tigers matched up against the South Carolina Gamecocks. The ‘Cocks, led by Darth Visor himself, Sir Steven Spurrier, were obvious underdogs against Cam “So Paid” Newton and Auburn, and unfortunately for Good and Justice, the ‘Cocks played like underdogs. The defense played in fear of Cam Newton, the safeties, at times, lurking far from the line of scrimmage and allowing the dinks and dunks of runs and short passes. Urged and cajoled forward, they then gave up a long TD pass, a long TD run, and were down by three scores going into the fourth quarter. For those who watched on CBS, the cameras were squarely on Newton for the last 15 minutes of play. It was unprofessional, one-sided, and revolting. Commentators spoke of Newton as though some divine bronzen Greek god, capable of anything and the delight of everyone. The camera almost missed plays while zooming in on Newton, who acted like a giddy third grader, even writing his name on a water bottle, dubbing it “Cammy Cam Juice.” First off, that is the stupidest thing ever witnessed since Jersey Shore. Second, the sideline reporter (whom I will leave nameless, because it was the most embarrassing thing her producer has ever made her do) took up the bottle and threw back a swig. She commented that it was a mixture of gatorade and water, but she “didn’t know exactly what was in it.” It’s Gatorade and water. You just said it. Unless Newton has some gin and vodka on the sideline (don’t put it past him) I hardly think it could be a martini. In a month or so, Auburn will probably have won a national championship only to have it taken away, along with all their wins, a Heisman for Newton, and the SEC Championship it won. Mark these very words…

And she thought her old job was the most degrading thing she’d ever put things in her mouth for… Poor form, CBS.

This is going to be embarrassing in a few months…Enjoy it while it

In the Big 12, Nebraska turned over the ball 4 times in the first three quarters to politely bow out to rival Oklahoma, giving up a BCS bowl berth and to slink into the Big Ten next season. Up by 17, Taylor Martinez threw an interception in the end zone, and the Bohunk stated “Game Over” to the room at large. Martinez loses all confidence after a turnover; he threw scared and inaccurately for the remainder of the game. The back up, Cody Green, should have entered in the third quarter. The Huskers reliance on the Wild Cat, with Rex Burkhead at the helm, showed only that Martinez was ineffective on his bum ankle, and that his passing was not enough to keep him a threat on the field. A fourth quarter fumble by Burkhead handing off the Roy Helu, Jr. (who fumbled twice in addition to this) sealed the doom. Congrats to the Sooners, who now play TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.

A suicide bomb attack killed 50 and injured upwards on 120 people in a hotly disputed area of Pakistan. The region of Mohmand borders Afghanistan and serves as a hotbed of Taliban activity. Two bombers working in unison attacked a meeting of tribal elders who were working against Taliban influence in the region. Almost 300 people were inside the room as the one of the bombers detonated amongst them; his partner was being checked at the door. The second bomber detonated within seconds of the first explosion. The Mohmand region is one of several hideouts for Al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents in Pakistan.

The gay marriage ban in California head back to the courts in San Francisco. Proposal 8, which passed on the ballot just over two years ago, was ruled as a violation of rights and has been bouncing around the legal system ever since. It is now up as high as a federal court, with a very likely chance of reaching the Supreme Court in some months, should they elect to hear it. Lower courts have ruled that marriage is a constitutional right and that banning it from any demographic of the American people violates that right. Voters in favor of the ban claim that this attitude neglects real intent of the Constitution and that gay marriage should not be protected. The Bohunk says to this, frankly, bull-feces. Taking away rights to any group is wrong, regardless of what others may (prejudicially) think of that demographic. To say gays cannot marry is no different, from a Constitutional vantage point, than saying woman cannot vote or that African-Americans cannot own land. And from a moral standpoint, it is unfair to ask others to suffer from your beliefs if they do not believe in it. For those saying that the Bible is against homosexuality, great; if that is what you believe, go for it, Bubbba. But if others do not share this belief, do not force it upon them. With any luck, this case will make the Supreme Court, and the ruling against the ban upheld.

The proposed buyout of Barnes and Noble by Borders is gaining steam. Mega-rich hedge fund manager and Slick Rick Bill Ackman says he will pull together the $900 million needed for the Borders, the smaller company of the two, to take control of Barnes and Noble Booksellers. Stocks of both companies soared, both up by roughly 16%. Both have reported losses for three consecutive quarters, though both expect much better business over the holiday season. Why is this important? Because the two combined create the largest book behemoth ever before seen to man; they would control more of the print market than any other seller, and could have a massive influence on the price of books for good or ill. That text book you need? They have it cheaper than the university bookstore. But will they sell it at the competitive price with much less competition? Time will invariably tell….   

All this says is your Friday nights are lonely…

Are you, like the Bohunk, still a bit miffed by the unceremonious exit of Pluto from our solar system? I have been nearly sleepless since 2006 when Pluto was official voted out of our very select club, reducing the solar system from nine planets to eight, though it makes pick-up basketball easier, 4 on 4. However, the composition of our Club has changed dramatically. Like the universe and its known composition, our solar system changes frequently. A scientific journal from 1837 claims the existence of 11 planets, while by 1851 fifteen more were added to that total. The Kuiper Belt, the murky recesses where Pluto and these other pseudo-plants orbit, is home to uncountable entities of vastly varied size and composition. According to Mike Brown, author of How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming, scientists could either include other bodies from this region, get rid of Pluto, or do nothing at all. According to the Bohunk, the jackals obviously had nothing else to do, so they debated and eventually removed Pluto.

Tonight, on Monday Night Football, the New England Flying Elvii take on the New York Sonic Aviators. The winner takes the AFC East, and likely home field advantage for the play-offs. The loser should still get in on the wildcard road, but titles always are preferred, no doubt. Talking Heads on sports media are declaring the deciding factor will be the Jets’ ability to pressure Tom “Bieber” Brady. Thank you for stating that the Jets will try to tackle the quarterback on each down. They propose complicated blitzes and coverage schemes…Ah, but here they fall into a trap. Good quarterbacks love being blitzed! It makes their reads and throws easier, and makes for big plays! As the Best Team In The NFL, by my own declaration, the Pats will beat the Jets BECAUSE they try to blitz Brady, not in spite of it. Tune it to see….

Thanks for reading, enjoy MNF and come back tomorrow for another Update, still free…Because it is impossible to charge on a blog. Have a good one, folks…