John McCain (Winter 2000)

During my freshman year of college, a hall mate asked what I was up to.

It was a weeknight. I had homework. I was ready to get talked into something.

My hall mate was really into politics and invited me to go to the local airport because a politician was going to make an appearance there later that night. I wasn’t politically active then, but it beat reading Thomas More’s Utopia. Plus, there was going to be free beer.

I honestly don’t remember much from that evening. I found this Weekly Standard article by renowned asshole Tucker Carlson that recounts the events better than I could. Here’s an excerpt:

It’s three in the morning and hundreds of people are dancing inside a hangar at the Greenville-Spartanburg airport. Thundering techno-pop-disco-soul music blasts from enormous speakers in the corners. Spotlights cut through a haze of smoke to project purple and blue psychedelic designs onto a back wall. There’s a small hot-air balloon tethered near the door, a Greyhound-sized tour bus festooned with bunting parked across the concrete floor. The air smells like beer and cigarettes and sweat. No one in the room seems to be over 22. A lot of them are jumping up and down drunkenly in place and shouting: “John McCain! John McCain!”

For the reporters wandering in, bleary-eyed from hours on a charter flight from Manchester, it’s like stumbling upon some weird, secret Southern ritual. John McCain has just won the New Hampshire primary, and this is supposed to be his first post-victory political rally. Instead it feels like an after-hours rave. Or intermission at a Dead show. It feels subversive.

And, in a way, it is. John McCain has been running for president for about a year. Scores of reporters have written hundreds of stories about his campaign, most of them positive, many of them fawning. Yet in that time virtually nobody who covered McCain — or even who worked for him — seemed to believe that McCain had a chance of beating George W. Bush for the Republican nomination, much less of becoming president. The perception began to change shortly after lunch on primary day. The first exit polls came in around 1:00, and immediately caused mild panic at McCain headquarters. The data seemed to show McCain with as much as a 20-point lead over Bush. McCain strategists assumed that the numbers must be ridiculous, and worried that a subsequent 5-point victory (widely considered optimistic the day before) would look like failure by comparison.

As it turned out, McCain won the primary by 19 points. CNN declared him the winner at 7:00 P.M. Minutes later, Bush guru Karl Rove called McCain’s hotel room to concede. John Weaver, McCain’s political director, scoffed when he heard Rove was on the line. Weaver detests Rove, and was irritated by what he considered the arrogance of the call. “Tell him that consultants don’t concede to candidates,” Weaver said to an aide. “Have Bush call himself.” Bush soon did.

As I write this, John McCain’s casket is on its way from Arizona to DC for burial. I didn’t agree with him on everything, but as others have extensively noted, he served his country well.

1936-2018

Everest Snowboarder

Marco Siffredi on the summit of Mount Everest, getting ready to snowboard down the Hornbein Couloir. Phurba Tashi Sherpa is helping him.

This was the last photo taken of Siffredi, who was never seen again after disappearing into the clouds below on his snowboard.

The Meaning Behind Sodom And Gomorrah

This is an excerpt from a TedX Talk recently given by Pastor Jim O’Hanlon. He discusses how the story of Sodom And Gomorrah is used to justify condemning homosexuality.


Once upon a time there was a city called Sodom, and there were two men travelling trying to find a place to stay in the city limits. They were having zero luck. They were about to give up and spend the night in the town square, but a man named Lot took pity on them and let them crash at his house for the night. Good thing he did because, not five minutes later, the town mob came banging on his door demanding that he bring his guests out that they might know them.

Now, when the Bible says “know” in this context, it’s not saying, “Oh hey, nice to meet you. Let me shake your hand.” No. It’s “Let us know them intimately, sexually and (in this case) violently.”

We’re talking in this case about gang rape.

The story continues. Lot begs the mob, “Please, I beg you! Do not act so wickedly!” He then turns and offers his two virgin daughters to the mob in exchange (which is all kinds of twisted). And then the story ends when God gets angry at the whole situation and destroys the whole city for their sins.

But what exactly was the sin of Sodom? Was it men sleeping with men, or was it an angry mob banging on a man’s door and demanding to rape his houseguests? And you can see how quickly we leap to conclusions and how quickly that begins to affect our judgment. So what does the story say, and what does the story not say?

The story describes an entire city that converges upon one house for the purpose of raping these two people. Does that mean that this is a story about two adults who want to have a consenting relationship, who want to publicly affirm a monogamous relationship, and their commitment to each other? How does it really connect at all to that when it’s talking about an entire city that wants to have a mass rape of two people?

So we see Lot who sees this, and he stands against them. One person who stands against the entire city. He sees these two people. He sees they’re vulnerable. They’re traveling. They’re far from home. They’re people who could be preyed upon. They’re foreigners. They don’t belong so they’re weak and they’re susceptible in so many ways.

Lot wants to protect them, and when the city says “Let them come out here because we want to ‘know’ them,” he begs them not to do this. Good thing. And when he stands against the whole city, they then turn on him and say, “You know what, Lot? You haven’t been here all that long. You’re not really one of us. You don’t have the same beliefs like us.”

So this is a man who himself as vulnerable in this situation who is going to put himself out for someone who is even more vulnerable than he is, and as we heard, he says “Take my daughter’s instead” which raises the issue of “Why would someone insist that you have to literally read this and you have to unquestionably apply the morality in a way that you must be obedient to it?”

When the Bible talks about what was the sin of Sodom, you can look throughout the Bible, and over hundreds of centuries it keeps referring back to Sodom and how bad Sodom was and how wicked Sodom was, but what is it specifically?

What the Bible is talking about is violence.

The Chris Gethard Show

The Chris Gethard Show was an insane call-in show that began its television run on the public access channel Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) back in 2011. It was picked up by Fusion for two seasons and then ran on TruTV in 2017, where it became the network’s lowest-rated show until its cancellation earlier this month.

The show was always fun and never took itself seriously. Here are some of its best episodes:

“One Man’s Trash”

The show at its finest.

Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas put Chris in his place for an hour in a way that will never be matched. Every minute of the episode it funny. Chris’ poker face was fantastic in not revealing anything. The reveal of what is in the dumpster does not disappoint.

“Random Andrew and The Hero’s Journey”

A very full episode with Gethard punishment, Random Andrew heroics and Vuvuzelas. 

“Straight Up Phone Sex”

Everybody jumped into this thing head first, and I love it. Hannibal Burress is as funny as it gets and his level of commitment was in keeping with his voice.

“The Blindfold Show”

A very reaction-based episode. It is fantastic.

“Sandwich Night”

Crazy. Just crazy.

“Checking In With Alyssa”

The episode with the most heart.

“The Crowd-Source Character Contest” Episodes

I loved the insane characters brought to life. My personal favorite — Ira Ass in episode 3. He nails it.