Random Retro Week: Day 2

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YAD is taking a week off to recharge the batteries, but to keep my brainmeats from atrophying in the meantime, I've selected ten dates at random with the awesome random date generator at random.org, and I'll post two Classic YAD links each day with a bit of commentary.

The random date generator actually picked two consecutive days in 2008, which is odd, but what the hell.

Two Jims And A Big Baby (6/25/08)

Wow, I've been doing Idiots Say The Damndest Things for a long time. This one featured Regrettable Food author and Regrettable Thing sayer James Lileks, who was shitting all over George Carlin right after he died, which is fucking criminal on several levels. And the always irrepressible James Dobson, going after Obama for calling Dobson an extremist, and Karl Rove, for, well, does it really matter? Fuck Karl Rove.

Interestingly, Obama is, even as I type this, getting shit from Dobson and his enablers for finally deciding not to cave to religious extremists and mandating contraceptive coverage by most employer-based health plans. It was touch and go for a little while there, but kudos for a rare instance of post-election Obama living up to pre-election Obama rhetoric.

FUN FACT: James Lileks has yet to make up any ground on George Carlin in the areas of cultural respect or critical acclaim, despite Carlin being dead for four years and Lileks still producing new work. Funny, that.

Tesla Would Be Pissed (6/26/08)

Oh, shit, yeah. John Freshwater. This is a fucking classic. This is the Ohio science teacher who burned crosses onto kids' arms with a Tesla coil. Tried to get out of it by claiming it was an "X". Kept Bibles in the classroom, the Ten Commandments on the wall, and taught evolution with a pout and a grudge.

This is a shockingly uncynical You Are Dumb, more of a defiant pro-science one, which explains why it contains one of my few unforced errors. Specifically, this sentence:

"When one of the students whose arm he branded with a cross actually complained, that's when he FINALLY got in trouble, and will likely be fired."

He did get fired for branding students with a cross using a 50,000-volt electrical instrument. But it took over two years and nearly a million dollars to do it, which is seriously fucked up, and really puts the lie to what I know what I was thinking when I used the word "likely" up there. I meant likely, and soon. Hah.

FUN FACT: The Talk page for the Wikipedia article on Freshwater is fascinating in that nerdy way Wikipedia discussions are, where people use the academic/subcultural language of Wikipedia to try and rewrite the history of this clusterfuck.