August 8, 2012

Hereditary Misanthropy

My son's sandcastle is in ruins -- Constantinople after the Fourth Crusade. His "friends" succeeded the sack, deaf to his wails for mercy.

I can only look on with apathetic anticipation, knowing that eventually the tide would have done -- wholly apathetic itself -- what his peers' malice accelerated.

I shouldn't allow the symbolism to move me this way. But that doesn't stop me. My son is back at the house now, demanding another encore of some animated distraction or another.

I'm busy down at the beach, rebuilding the noble crenellations and mighty parapets of his sandcastle by twilight, as the tide tiptoes closer.

August 5, 2011

Fun Friday Poetry

On my last tax return, in the field where the IRS asked me to list my current occupation, I filled in "Steamboat Co-captain". The previous year it was "Freelance Breast-Density Analyst", and the year before that it was "Licensed Poet".

To be honest, though, I'm a lousy poet, and most everything I come up with is based on various rhymes for "Nantucket". A very good friend of mine, on the other hand, has a bard's soul in spades. Writing as "Jefferson T." and inspired by the film For Liberty, this poetic prose was sent to me titled For Wyatt:
The End is coming. We don't know exactly when it will be, but one thing is for certain: We will not forget what you did.

As for our children, they will be starving. They will have no shoes, but they will know Prudence. They will know hardship. And they will know Fortitude. To our children, we will confess our sins, without saying a word. And they will know Temperance.

And we will tell them about The Revolution. And they will know success. And they will know Justice.

And the next generation will carve your name into the trees. And they will know why.

My thanks to Jefferson T. for the contribution.

July 11, 2011

Did Sarah Palin Trade Sexual Favors for Media Coverage?!? Find Out Below!!!

No. No, she did not.

In other media-sensationalism news, this piece caught my eye today. Not for the yawn-inducing Presidential double-speak, but for the CBS News picture gallery wedged in the sidebar.

The intro's painful copy (I do this for you, people.) reads:
Summer means fun in the sun, enjoying the great outdoors, and relaxing without a care in the world - right? Don't be so sure. With greater freedom comes greater responsibility, and many typical summertime activities come with their share of - often fatal - risks. Keep clicking to see 11 ways you might risk killing yourself this summer (and to learn how not to)...
Among the sneaky, murderous goblins uncovered by this tireless CBS muckraker: fireworks, "water activities", and lightning strikes.

The best part? He's probably still paying off his Journalism School loans while explaining to us how lightning strikes may actually be dangerous(!), despite decades of Looney Tunes clearly indicating that lightning will briefly expose one's skeleton, then leave one humorously charred and nonplussed.

March 23, 2011

Public Masturbation, Maricopa County Style

You have got to be kidding me.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio rolled out the tanks to take down a man suspected of cockfighting.

West Valley residents in the neighborhood are crying foul after armored vehicles, including a tank, rolled into their neighborhood to make the bust.

Neighbor Debra Ross was so worried she called 911 and went outside where a nearby home had its windows blown out, was crawling with dozens of SWAT members in full gear, armored vehicles and a bomb robot.

“When the tank came in and pushed the wall over and you see what's in there, and all it is, is a bunch of chickens,” Ross said.

In a massive show of force on Monday, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant and arrested the homeowner, Jesus Llovera, on charges of suspected cockfighting.

Llovera was alone in the house at the time of the arrest, and he was unarmed.

“I think taxpayers should be shocked,” said Robert Campus, Llovera’s attorney. Campus said he believes the operation costs tens of thousands of dollars.

Deputies had no probable cause to believe Llovera was armed or dangerous, according to Campus.

Campus said he believes the entire scene was basically a stage, to help actor Steven Seagal’s TV show, “Lawman.”

Seagal was riding in the tank.

The Sheriff’s Department has entered into a contract with Seagal and part of that contract gives Seagal carte blanche to go along with the sheriff as he arrests people.

Thousands of dollars in damages were made to the property and 115 birds were euthanized on the spot.

Llovera was convicted of a misdemeanor last year of attending a cockfight and has no history of owning weapons.

Yet the sheriff’s office said they had reasons to believe Llovera might be armed.

We're going to err on the side of caution. We're going to make sure that we have the appropriate amount of force in case we do run into anything like that,” said Sgt. Jesse Spurgin.[emphasis mine]

I don't know where to begin.

Joe Arpaio. Steven Segal. Tanks and stormtroopers descending on an American neighborhood to wrangle a man who has never even been accused of harming another human being. TV cameras glorifying it all. And Sgt. Spurgin calls it "err[ing] on the side of caution".

This isn't funny. It isn't wacky. And it isn't what life in a free society looks like.

Whole story via Channel 5 KPHO.

March 17, 2011

Eloy [Vargas], Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?!

The calls started coming in December.

“Are you doing your coin-flip bracket this year? I can’t wait!” – Gene, Knoxville TN

“Who do the coins like this year?! OMG I LOVED the coin-flip bracket!!!” – Andrea, Chicago IL

“You MUST do the coin-flip bracket again this year! Also, you are very attractive and charming.” – Cecilia, Climax PA

Well, loyal acolytes, Scotticus hears your cries. The man who put the "gnostic” in “prognostication” has once again obliterated the limits of human thumb muscles, flipped nearly 1000 coins, and brought you the March Madness equivalent of a donkey-kick to the gonads:

North Carolina brings home banner number six.

Last year, my system picked Duke. This year: those filthy Tar Heels. I can only assume next year’s bracket will find a way to crown either Kim Jong Il or Michael Bay as NCAA champs.

I’m going to go vomit for the next three weeks. Here’s your stupid bracket:

Go here to see the details of the system I used, and here to see how chance is way smarter than you.

November 18, 2010

America's Wiener Strikes Again

This one hits a little too close to home.
The reason Flagler Palm Coast [Fl] High School students won't be performing "To Kill A Mockingbird" boils down to one ugly word.

"I think it's the 'n-word,' " said Ed Koczergo, the school's theater director. "It's in there 23 times and it scares people."

He said the word can't be removed from the script because of copyright laws.

A school committee recommended canceling the production because members didn't want students to be in the middle of a controversy, according to Jacob Oliva, the high school's principal. He said he started hearing concerns from parents, students and other community members about the offensive language in the play when the students were in the third week of rehearsals.

"Nigger" is a despicable word. Its infusion of condescension, dehumanization, and provocation is intentional and malicious. It is a word used exclusively (contemporarily) by bigots and ignorami. And no one in the history of American art has depicted that as clearly as Harper Lee, the greatest author ever to publish only one book.

Atticus Finch is a hero whose time has come again. These Florida hand-wringers do a great disservice to their children and to the cause of liberty by muzzling him.

November 3, 2010

Doctors in the Senate = Better Soundbites

After last night's election, I am adding a shiny new quote to the "Freedom Quotes" section (right sidebar) of this blog:
America is exceptional, but it is not inherently so.
That subtle, insightful, and powerfully-true observation comes courtesy of Senator-elect Rand Paul (R-Ky).

No mountains, no plains, no hymn, no eagle, no star-spangled banner makes us great.  Only the carefully-crafted protections of the Constitution and the perpetual fight to maintain freedom as our highest ideal keeps us the most prosperous nation in history.  Here's hoping Paul & Co. have the necessary verve to escalate that fight in Congress.

October 7, 2010

I've Got Google™, a Cell Phone, and Confirmation Bias. What More Does a Journalist Need?

[UPDATE added below]

I have potentially devastating -- for Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway -- information in my possession, and I did everything possible to corroborate it. But I failed, and instead what I have is a rumor. So, sadly, rather than this post being about the facts of a major national development, it is a journal of my unsuccessful attempt to fit together pieces of gossip into a certifiable account of events. Once again, I must be clear that none of this information has been confirmed by a second source or by documentation. I encourage skepticism.

Last week, a trusted source intimated to me that Ky Attorney General Jack Conway had deliberately impeded a police investigation into Conway's own brother by exposing an undercover police informant. My source's details were thus:

Louisville (Ky) Metro Police were using an informant to gather information on Conway's brother, who is suspected to be involved in illegal narcotics. In June or July of 2010, LMPD Detective Roy Irons* placed an unsanctioned call to Attorney General Conway's office to alert Conway to the investigation, and Irons specifically communicated that one of Conway's brother's associates was a police informant. Conway then called and warned his brother. The informant later complained to LMPD that someone had tipped Conway off, and an internal investigation was opened. Detective Irons was moved to the LMPD Property Room pending the investigation, but the investigation itself was to be shelved until after the November 2010 US Senate election.
The first phonecall of my own investigation was to the LMPD Property Room. I called on a Saturday and when a woman answered "Hello, Property Room" I replied, "I am trying to reach Detective Roy Irons. Do I have the right number?" The woman answered, "Yes, but he's not in today. He should be here Monday." With that, I thought I was actually on to something, since under normal circumstances, a detective would not be assigned to work the Property Room.

But shortly thereafter, my Woodward and Bernstein days were over. Calls to the LMPD Public and Media Relations Department and to Internal Affairs were met with a professional stonewall, and I discovered that LMPD is not under any public obligation to acknowledge an internal investigation even exists until that investigation is concluded, which in this case is part of the issue. An investigation that began in July should have been over long ago.

My next step was to try and co-opt an actual working journalist. I chose to contact a writer with the Louisville Courier-Journal who had an impressive history of investigative pieces on the LMPD. That writer indicated that not all of my information was entirely new, but without a primary source or physical evidence, the story was doomed to the "interesting rumor" file. He tried his best to arrange talks directly with my original source, but that individual declined to escalate his/her involvement for myriad reasons. I can only assume the Courier-Journal is also chasing the story on some level.

Two corroborating documents exist, but my efforts to access them were also dismal failures. One is an obligatory letter from a high-ranking LMPD officer -- most likely Chief Robert White -- informing Det. Irons that he is being investigated. This letter would not include any details of the investigation and would certainly not implicate the Attorney General's office, but it would lend credence. The second document would be an official transfer report showing that Det. Irons had been re-assigned to the Property Room. It also would not detail the investigation. If any part of this story is true, both of these documents would be carefully protected.

Ultimately, there are only three people who could truly confirm the juiciest bit of the allegations involving a justice-obstructing phonecall that put a police informant at risk: Attorney General Conway, his brother, or Det. Irons. An official internal investigation may eventually deduce the truth, but if such an investigation even exists, it is unlikely to be concluded before Election Day.  Motivations to procrastinate abound.

*Pending additional evidence, this name has been changed to protect the innocent.

UPDATE: Looks like the Courier-Journal was hot on the trail after all. The important part:
Jack Conway’s office said in an e-mail to the newspaper Thursday that his only involvement was to advise his brother to obtain legal counsel.


Although he was asked to discuss his knowledge of the investigation involving his brother and the meeting with Adams, Jack Conway’s statement did not address either issue.

When the newspaper renewed its request for elaboration, Allison Gardner Martin, communications director for the attorney general’s office, said Conway “does not deny” that Adams met with him and his brother. But she declined to address what Conway knew about the decision to have Adams visit White.

October 3, 2010

Going Bigtime

After an arduous legal battle with an Italian novelty oversized foam finger company also named Scotticus Finch, my team of lawyers has finally secured the rights to the Internet domain "".

You have probably already been re-directed there from the old address without even noticing, but I promised the interns I would publicly laud their work. Nothing else is changing at this time, but feel free to bask in the Internet-age feeling of legitimacy by re-typing the new address in now. The new and future home for all your freedom-fighting needs.

September 3, 2010

"Greener Pasture" Exposed After Three Years to be Just a Fenced-In Quarter-Acre of Cow Shit

As a retired superpowered crimefighter, the bulk of my income comes from appearance fees and action-figure royalties. For the last three years, however, I have allowed my vast fortune to marinate in myriad investment portfolios, and I have subsisted on the mortal salary from a desk job.

The work was high-level stuff – lots of widgets to be built, each requiring a minimum of four conference calls and a WebEx – but clearly beneath me. So on Wednesday I gave notice and set sights on the next opportunity. But instead of a clean break (the norm in this industry for proprietary reasons), the office lumberg convinced me to stick around for three days to pitch in on an ongoing project without telling anyone on the team that I have quit.

Under normal circumstances, I am a patient man. But the poor unaware souls around me continue trying to put long-term responsibilities under the substantial girth of my vocational umbrella, and my gag order prevents me from letting them know they will have to reassign these duties within a matter of days. It seems a poor way to manage transition, but as Grand Ole Opry diva Jan Howard said, “That’s not my problem anymore.”

Work without consequence is beyond boring. To quote noted philosopher Howard “Biff” Tannen (c. 1955), I’m ready to "make like a tree, and get outta here.”

August 23, 2010

Blogger Finds Himself in the 5000% Tax Bracket

Here is a quick list of activities in which you may have participated in 2009 that would have been more financially-successful "businesses" than the Scotticus Finch blog:
  • Accepting gas money for a lift to the airport
  • Returning a modest Christmas gift for a refund
  • Checking vending machines for forgotten change
  • Winning a bet that you couldn't eat a tablespoon of cinnamon
Certainly blogger Sean Barry of Philadelphia wishes he'd chosen one of those routes instead. Because of the $11 in Google AdSense revenue Barry earned over the course of two years, the City of Brotherly Love is hitting him up for a $300 business privilege license.

Marylin Bess received the same demand after claiming about $50 in revenue "over the last few years" from her green-living blog and other freelance writing online. And when Bess contacted the city: "I was told to hire an accountant," she says.

You can't blame the city for extorting every dime it can find, though. After all, Chinese hookers aren't just going to pay for their own responsible-drinking seminars.

Read the whole piece at the Philadelphia City Paper here.

August 14, 2010

Because You're Never Too Broke for Chinese Hookers

Last week, I bought generic Hamburger Helper to make dinner for baby Wyatt and me.

Hamburger Helper is a food-like product than normally costs around a dollar and a half, but I saved nearly fifty cents by denying the siren song of that creepy severed Mickey Mouse hand mascot. And while the generic version couldn't quite match the lofty prison-cafeteria standards of the real thing, tough economic times dictated I make the sacrifice.

Keep that sacrifice in mind as you watch this three-minute video from the Cato Institute blog:

Here's hoping that many more Congresscritters book trans-Alaskan flights, and soon.

August 13, 2010

You Think the House was "Disorderly" Before? Just Wait Until SWAT Gets Done with It

I'm already growing calloused to this never-ending parade of isolated incidences, so I'm going to start at the most important problem I found in this article, and that is:

What in the name of Poseidon's wet wedding tackle does the charge "disorderly house" mean?!?
CEDAR RAPIDS – Police in SWAT gear busted through a door and searched a Cedar Rapids home for drugs Thursday morning, but came up empty.

At least 12 officers surprised the tenants at 1135 33rdSt. NE when they arrived around 7 a.m. with a narcotics search warrant. Sgt. Cristy Hamblin, a police spokeswoman, later confirmed that nothing was seized from the house.

No one was taken to jail, but the tenants of the house, Justin Davis, 28, and his girlfriend, Erica Lewis, 26, were charged with disorderly house and signed a promise to appear in court, police said.[emphasis mine]
The end of the article goes on to explain that "'[d]isorderly house' is [a city ordinance] described as a building or room where someone 'resorted to for' illegal activity involving drugs, alcohol, gambling or prostitution..."

So, I ask again, what in the name of Pinocchio's splintered sphincter is "disorderly house", besides a consolation prize for homeowners who didn't satisfactorily play their role in the local police's action drama?

August 12, 2010

A New Game

First, thank you all for the concerned calls and emails. I know I disappeared as abruptly as I initially burst onto the scene. Unlike Scotticus, I was not kidnapped by nefarious ne’er-do-wells. I was in self-imposed exile and on a terribly painful hunger strike, in the vain hope that my deprivation might call attention to the injustices being perpetrated against one Milorad Blagojevic. (Just “Rod” or “Blago” to you racist Anglophiles out there.) Whatever your take on the strength of the Feds’ case, we can all at least agree that Blago personifies the American dream. “E Pluribus Unum” and “Don’t Tread on Me” be damned! Join with me now in solidarity as we cry out the new American slogan:

“"I’ve got this thing and it’s *%$&ing golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for *%$&in’ nothing!”

Whew, that feels better. Now while I slowly rebuild my strength with Red Bull, Doritos and Alpha King, I’d like to introduce a new game. It’s called:

Nobel Prize-Winning Economist or Dropout Populist Grocery Bagger?

It’s easy: I provide the quote, and you try to tease out which summary appears at the top of the speaker’s resume. Here’s today’s quote:

“When we save a schoolteacher’s job, that unambiguously aids employment; when we give millionaires more money instead, there’s a good chance that most of that money will just sit idle.”

…OK, I know, that was too easy. The elementary understanding of productivity and wealth creation indicated by the “anyone getting paid for anything is a jerb, and that’s unambiguously GOOD” statement, on top of the economically illiterate idea that money invested in stocks, bonds, or bank accounts is “idle” makes clear that this could be none other than… a Nobel Prize-Winning economist.

Thanks, Paulie, and let me know how much you got for your soul.

August 10, 2010

Repealing the Syntax

I once stopped Red Leader from stealing the Eiffel Tower on the same day I freed hundreds of political prisoners from a North Korean gulag. US Attorney General Gonzalez used to call me "The Human Paddywagon". I convinced Tom Hanks to pass on Waterworld and to check out a little script called Forrest Gump instead.

In short, I've cleaned up more messes than Gallagher's road crew, but nothing I've ever undertaken has even approached the epic magnitude of these guys:
Incensed by a "no tresspassing" sign, Jeff Deck launched a cross-country trip to right grammatical wrongs.

He enlisted a friend, Benjamin D. Herson, and together they got to work erasing errant quotation marks, rectifying misspellings and cutting unnecessary possessive apostrophes.


In 2 1/2 months, Herson and Deck traveled the perimeter of the country, exploring towns and cities in search of typos. They found 437 typos, and were able to correct more than half of them.
For anyone who ever tilted his head in disbelief at a sign advertising "Rice Krispie's Treat's" or warning that "Your Being Watched", Deck and Herson are doing gods' work.

August 3, 2010

Why is Wealth Always Wasted on the Driven and Motivated?

I dreamt I had money.

And not just money, but money. It was two hundred yards of immaculate bluegrass from the lakeshore to my whitewashed chair on a whitewashed deck between white oaks and an avalanche of kudzu, and a humid breeze evaporated the traces of grapefruit juice and Bookers on my top lip. There was nothing to pull me away – no meeting, no timeclock, no errand – and if the notion took me, I could have lethargessed in that chair for a month.

And that’s exactly why – outside of a dream – I will likely never find myself in that chair. An interviewer once reportedly asked Warren Buffett why he wasn’t content to stop at, say, a billion dollars and spend the rest of his life relaxing. Buffett tersely replied that anyone who aspired to stop working didn’t have it in them to ever become wealthy in the first place. I’m despondently certain he’s right.

Given the means and the time, I wouldn’t collect cars or finance films or tend topiaries, so there are no secret clues to what my destined vocation really is. Given the means and the time, I would sit in the sun and read for days on end. That’s it. And don’t tell me I’d get bored. Like the midlife salesman who swallows his fury every time someone tells him "Oh, I enjoy traveling! I think I’d like that!", equally complete is my dismissal of the limits of my languidness.

In a literal sense, of course money can’t buy happiness. But it can buy a functional copy of The Great Gatsby*, a whitewashed chair, and two hundred yards of immaculate lakefront bluegrass. Explain to me the difference.

*Yes, I get the irony.

July 30, 2010

Coeds with Cell-Phone Guns Overrun Several Arizona Farms, Take Our Jobs, Begin Chemtrailing

My injuries are severe, but not fatal. (It takes more than a blast from Red Leader's feral wave inducer to stop ol' Finchy!) While I'm on the mend, please accept this post reprinted in its entirety from Radley Balko's blog The Agitator.
Another arrest for shooting video of an on-duty cop, this time in Ohio.
When a deputy sheriff began questioning Melissa Greenfield’s boyfriend at a Delaware County truck stop, she began recording video with her cell phone.

She never thought that she, or her phone, could be viewed as a danger as she documented the activities of public employees in a public place.

"I’m a 115-pound, 20-year-old girl wearing a cervical collar with nothing but a cell phone. I was not going to harm any officer," Greenfield said yesterday.

However, a sheriff’s sergeant saw the situation differently after Greenfield announced that she was recording video "for legal purposes and our own safety."

Sgt. Jonathan Burke wrote that he repeatedly ordered Greenfield to place the "unknown" object in her pocket and keep her hands free. When Greenfield refused, she was arrested and charged with obstructing official business and resisting arrest.

Burke wrote in his report that he feared that Greenfield could have been holding a dangerous object such as a "cell-phone gun"...

"Not knowing what the item in her hand was and having prior knowledge of all types of hidden weapons, including a cell-phone gun, I asked her several times to place it in her pocket and to keep her hands free," Burke wrote.

Greenfield said that, while driving her to the jail, Burke said that it was "unacceptable for me to be filming his activities."

"I wish I could be surprised," she said, "but I’ve heard so many stories of incidents like this happening before. ... There’s no law against videotaping police encounters."
Emphasis mine, to draw attention to the utter inanity of Dep. Burke’s report.

Greenfield is right. There’s no law in Ohio against videotaping police encounters. Unfortunately, there’s also no punishment for cops who violate the rights of Ohioans who try to do it. Delaware County Sheriff Walter L. Davis III is defending Dep. Burke and his cell-phone gun fears.

Greenfield says when she got the phone back, the video had been erased. Davis denies any of his deputies erased the video. Must have been a glitch.

Greenfield spent three days in jail. She pled no contest to the obstructing official business charge and was fined $20.

Also, depending on how you like the site redesign, it was either all my own inspired work, or the unauthorized meddling of the interns while I was bedridden.

June 15, 2010

From Hell's Heart, I Blog at Thee

I don’t have much time.

For the last month I have been held captive in some sort of highly-secured windowless cell. I am perpetually blindfolded, but based on the sickening odors, I have deduced that I am either downwind of a dysenteric Tibetan yak farm or somewhere in Detroit.

I cajoled a guard into allowing me to use his iPhone by promising him I could copy over all the contacts stuck on his old phone, so I only have time for a quick post and maybe three hands of Party Poker.

Do not forsake me, my Scotticus Finch acolytes. Like the heroic Balloon Boy, I will inevitably pop up inexplicably close to where you last saw me, none the worse for wear, and just as misanthropic as you remembered.

Mostly, I can’t wait to escape so I can finally find out what ingenious plan British Petroleum and President Obama implemented to quickly and efficiently stop that silly little oil leak in the Gulf. Remember that? What a slightly inconvenient nuisance that must have been for a few fish in the immediate area and absolutely no one else on Earth. USA! USA! USA!

May 21, 2010

It'd Be a Real Shame if Something Were to Happen to One of Them...

So I've got a case coming up before the local judge. Everybody says I'm going to lose, and that I better prepare for the worst. But I'm not so sure. As I explained to a reporter yesterday about the judge in my case:

"He'll see - maybe he will see the light of day. Maybe he will have an incident and he'll change his mind over night - you know, going to and from work."

You know, an incident.

OK, so that wasn't me. Even if it was me, it wouldn't be credible, seeing as how the closest I get to the city's underbelly is that one bar where the bartenders are a little surly. But it's actually a little scary when it comes from the head of Chicago's Machine himself, Richard Daley, talking about the freaking U.S. Supreme Court.

Later in the press conference Daley got tired of insinuating, or at least hoping for, violence and "jokingly" threatened to shove a bayoneted rifle up a local reporter's butt and also to shoot him with it.

May 19, 2010

Cleaning House... Or at Least Cleaning a Spot On One Rug Near the Guest Bedroom

The angry electorate has roared! The nation is gripped by an anti-incumbent furor! It's open-season on the bums!

So whaddaya think - will 40% of incumbents go down in November? 50%? 75%? Hold onto your hats, folks - 2010 will be the biggest shakeup in Washington since the Reagan Revolution of 1980 if we replace... 26% of Senators and 13% of House members seeking reelection. And don't forget that only about a third of the Senate is up for reelection in any election year; we're really getting revolutionary if we toss 9 whole Senators this year (for hardcore math types, that's 100 Senators / 3 * 26%, rounded up to the next whole powerhungry slug).

Count me among libertarians strongly in favor of a Constitutional amendment implementing term limits on Congresscritters.* Because we collectively make terrible exterminators.

*For those interested, yes, this statement is consistent with libertarian views. Libertarian != anarchist. I believe there is a short list of proper functions of a government, most of which can be summed up by its role as enforcer of nonagression. If it must exist, it must have structure (to bind it); term limits give structure just like the seperation of powers and the bicameral Congress.