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August 31, 2003

going...going...

Fine. You win.

The verdict is in and most people hate this new look.

I'll put the old layout or something like it back in the morning and go back to the drawing board.

Now leave me alone while I go contemplate why I spent five hours or more working on this today. First person who says it was a learning experience gets a foot up their ass.

attention red sox fans

At least those who took the bet.

I do believe the bet was for two out of three which, as you know, the Yankees took. Yes they did.

I'll be checking your blogs tomorrow to make sure you are 1) linking to me and 2) saying nice things about the Yankees.

Enjoy. Hey, enjoy your September, too.

so. what do you think?

Well, it's a work in progress.

This is way different than any design I've ever had in two and half years of blogging. Not only that, I did it on my own, mostly.

I took the template from Voices (you did see the design there, right?), which came from Miz Graphics and modified it until I had basically what I was going for. Something with a touch of fall and a drastic change.

That photo of that guy was taken by me, last Halloween in front of my house. Freaked us out, he did.

Anyhow, I just want to thank Stacy for teaching me everything I know, including patience.

There's some tweaking to be done, of course. But let me tell you, after the emotional days I've had this past week or so, working on this all day was great therapy.

And yes, it's true. Lenore, the little dead girl, is gone for good this time. Sorry to those of you who loved her so, but you can always purchase all kinds of Lenore stuff if you are so inclined over at Spookyland. When it re-opens, that is.

Now, back to blogging.

[Note: I still have to work on the comments templates and archive templates, so please don't say anything about the ugly black background]

UPDATE: Apparently this layout doesn't render well in Mozilla and I'm just too tired to find a hack for it right now. Sorry to those using that browser, but I just don't have the skills necessary to make a website work right in every browser that's out there and I'm afraid that at this point, you'll either have to deal or, like one guy said in an email, take this site out of your bookmarks.

coming soon (tonight)

There's a reason I haven't been blogging today.

Big changes coming.

So is Halloween.

trial by error

I've been working on the design for the Voices site all morning - I wanted to have a design I like before I started putting up all the entries.

Have a look.

&*&%$#@#@#@

Yes, I am aware that things are buggy around here.

Word of advice: When working on one site, make sure the editing window of your other site is not open as well. Hilarity ensues. Stay tuned while I go stab myself with a fork.

August 30, 2003

Melancholy and the infinite sadness

It wasn't until hours later, after I left Faith, after the train ride back to the Island, after getting home and watching a movie with my husband and not until I put the discs in the computer and looked at the photos that I took today that I cried. And here I sit now, crying and typing and uploading those pictures.

I'm writing this straight from my head and my heart; no previewing, no editing. I just really want to get back on the couch and have a glass of wine with my husband and maybe watch a funny movie. So pardon any stilted writing or disjointed phrases. I've done this photoessay style, which turns out to be much better than just putting up pictures with captions because sometimes a photo deserves more than just a caption, sometimes it deserves a story or an emotion.

When you are standing there, looking down into a pit that used to be the foundation for two enormous buildings, and the last time you stood in that spot those buildings were still there, still alive with people, it's just hard to comprehend. All you see is a hole and dirt and the the facade where the subway used to be. And you see workers moving around and Caterpillar trucks driven by burly men smoking cigarettes and wearing hardhats and you think, ok, this isn't so bad, they've rebuilt so much already and maybe, just sitting here watching these men work, I can feel hopeful about what will rise here.

And then you look at the girders that surround the steel fencing that keeps you back from the site and you see the writing all over the girders, black Sharpie marks in a thousand different handwritings and so many different languages, some written by children and it breaks your heart in two. I had to swallow that lump in my throat and take my eyes off of the words of sorrow and the blessings and the poetry that read like a funeral dirge. And then you see the cross and you avert your eyes but youturn back and look again and your stomach does this giant leap into your throat.

And no sooner do I stop looking at the scrawled messages then I look up and see the big boards, the ones that look like marble but maybe aren't and they've got the names on them. The names of every victim, every person who died in and around that building, the workers who never saw it coming, the emergency workers who saw it coming and ran towards it, as is their life's work to do so, the people on the ground, all of them. So I take my camera and point it upwards and walk carefully, slowly towards the G's and I snap one, two, three, I don't know why I kept snapping those photos, I just did. And then I walked towards the R's and looked for Claude Richards and there he was and I snapped again, just two this time before I realized that I did not want to look for any more names of people I knew, people my father knew because - just because. We walked around and Faith was so patient because she had done this before, more than once and I know the last time she was there it was raining and she cried and she was hugged by a stranger and I know it was hard for her to do this again, to be my tour guide of sadness, but she did and she waited while I leaned my face against the fence, my fingers entwined on the metal grates and I stared. And stared. And I still could not comprehend that there used to be two towering buildings there.

We walked further and there were people selling things; trinkets and photo albums of the dead and dying, photos of the smoke and fire and little crystal replicas encased in plastic and I saw one man tentatively pick one of those trinkets up and the man who was selling them, who did not speak English, smiled at the other man and flicked his finger against the plastic case as if to say hey, this World Trade Center is fortified with polysomethingorother and look, it won't fall down! and I felt a bit sick at that.

A few more steps down, next to the people selling FDNY t-shirts and I Survived The Blackout t-shirts, there was a table of more, a sea more, of those plastic trinkets and behind that plastic garbage were three laptops with DVD players and they were all going loud and strong, music with the words of newscasters talking to the beat and the images, all those images, the planes crashing and burning and people running and sobbing. Why? Why would they play that right there? Would it make people by more plastic towers? Why didn't I take my arm and sweep it across the table like someone in a movie would do? I had this sudden image of that scene in Jesus Christ, Superstar, where Jesus goes into the temple and knocks all the wares off the tables and I just choked back my anger and moved on.

We walked some more, I think we were on the west side of the pit now, I'm not sure but on my left were the buildings, the lesser known buildings in this act, the minor characters who still played an impact, which I think is called fifth business in some industry or other. I could see the scars on the buildings and this one was draped in black. Have you ever seen a building draped in black? Like it was in mourning. On the next building there was a mural and I went snap, snap, snap again, just shooting and thinking and maybe keeping myself from looking the other way, where you could still see parts of the concrete of the original foundation and I needed to keep my mind from going in the direction it was headed, which would be the direction where you start thinking about that day and all the strewn pieces of whatever once laid in a heap down there.

And then we were done, I didn't want to see anymore. I had enough. I had enough of the smiling tourists asking people to take their pictures while they held their girlfriends hand and smiled in front of those girders and the workers and right under the plaques with the names of the dead. Enough of the people lining up to buy their photos of fire and their books of the dead with labels like Tragedy! Horror! and enough of the messages of hope and love and Jesus Saves.

And now I'm home and looking at the pictures and I still can't help but wonder why. I mean, even if I know why, even some people think they know why but they don't, I will never understand it and I don't think I want to.

But if feels good to cry. I don't do that enough. I think I'll have that glass of wine now.

the orange bowl

I'm here at Faith's apartment in New York City. It is orange. I mean really, really orange. Even her toilet bowl is orange.

She wanted me to blog from her computer because she thinks I have some magic power that will rub off on her.

More on my day when I get home.

This has been a message from the Blog Away From Home system.

ground zero

Blogging will be non-existent until later tonight.

I am going into NYC today and meeting up with Faith. And then Faith is going to take me by the hand and lead me over to Ground Zero. I have never been there. I just could not, in almost two years, bring myself to view that place.

I know it looks remarkably different now than it did even one year ago. But I am not going so I can see it, I am going so I canfeel it. It's just something I need to do, and there is no other person I would have standing there with me than Faith.

I just want to thank Faith and the wonderful Rossi for being something akin to soul sisters to me when it comes to this subject. They've held my hand for a long time in regards to 9/11 and my never-ending sorrow, anger and grief. They know, because they feel it, too.

Working on the Voices project is a daunting task. I still have 45 emails yet unread, contributions to this gathering of stories. I will get back to each and every one of you and I will begin in earnest tomorrow getting the stories up and the site ready for the anniversary.

Thank you to everyone who has sent a story or linked the project. It's going to be bigger than last year (which had about 100 contributions) and in many ways, the stories this year are more hopeful.

I am closing the comments over at Voices for various reasons. I don't want such a personal place to turn into a political or ideological debate and I certainly do not want anyone's memories or words tarnished by trolls flinging hurtful comments around. If you do want to leave your own story in the comments instead of sending an email, do it right here or, as many people are doing, email me.

I'll be back tonight with plenty of pictures of Faith and myself romping through the city, a little bit of sorrow and hopefully, a shopping bag full of comic books.

Meanwhile, share your voice.

today's good deed

For my buddy Swerdloff:

Operation Help Nina's Brother

Nina's brother is in the army in Afghanistan (10th Mountain Division) and they're currently stationed on a base and bored out of their minds.

They could use some reading material from us here on the home front. He requested Maxim, although I'm sure FHM, Stuff, Gear, Razor or, frankly, any other magazine would do. Or books. Or anything at all, really, although I'm not sure how Knitting Quarterly would go over.

Apparently, they also have a playstation and so if you have any old games you're done with, we'll be happy to forward them as well.

I'll be sending some books, games and magazines. What about you?

Go see Swerdloff about it.

it ain't over til this fat lady sings

You don't see me belting out an opera tune, do you?
yanksox.gif

Please remember that the bet was for the series, all three games.

I'll let you in on a secret: I used my special voodoo power to make sure the Sox won last night's game. See, I think it's really very amusing to watch Red Sox fans get their hopes up so high and then...well, you know what happens after that.

Round 2 today.

August 29, 2003

dean's world is miles from mine

Dean Esmay on Judge Moore and CommandmentPalooza:

Because America's a good, decent place, and future generations will likely be appalled at the anti-Christian paranoia that's led to to ordering him to take those words down.

This has nothing to do - at least on my part - with being anti-Christian and I am insulted that Dean thinks that is where my feelings on this come from.

Judge Moore put that monument there in the middle of the night, without permission.

Judge Moore is a carnival barker, playing this for all he can, getting those born-every-minute suckers to genuflect before a hunk of stone while he does his proselytizing before the television cameras.

It wouldn't matter if he were Jewish, Wiccan or Buddhist - it wouldn't even matter if he were an atheist Secular Humanist touting his beliefs by propping them up on the courthouse steps.

What Judge Moore did was wrong and he was called on the carpet because of it. I, for one, think that this is what Moore wanted all along. A grand circus playing out before him, his fifteen tv minutes where he and his followers can cry about freedom of religion while I sit there and yell at the tv about my freedom from religion.

The bottom line is that monument had no business being placed there at all, especially in the sneaky manner in which it arrived.

I am not anti-Christian. I am anti-people who think they are above the rules and laws. Note, I said rules and laws, not commandments. The commandments are not legal matters that I am beholden to. I do not have to worship that one God that other people do. That makes the rest of the commandments moot for me which is fine, because I have the laws of this country to follow.

It is not "anti-Christian" paranoia that led to the graven image being removed; it's simply a legal matter that a man who is a Judge should think about obeying without putting up a pathetic fight.

Tell me, Dean, would you be so eager to defend a person who wanted the basic ideology of the Koran carved in stone and placed in the Courthouse?

Reminder:

Voices: Stories from 9/11 and Beyond.

Contribute. Read.

[Please pardon the way the Voices site looks while I break tinker with it]

in and out

The kids will be home from their trip to Boston soon (I hope, it seems the deep fog has made traffic in and around NYC dreadful) and I have to do all that travel laundry and pack them up again so they can leave for Toronto with their dad tomorrow.

I don't want them to go. Besides the fact that I really miss them, I just feel bad that they will get home tonight, spend a few hours sleeping in their own bed and then get back in a car tomorrow for yet another trip. I know they will have fun once they get there (maybe) but I just feel sorry for them because by the time they get home on Tuesday, they'll be getting ready for school which starts the next day.

Natalie just called from the car and she's in a mood. I heard DJ screaming in the background, stop looking at me!

Well, they will certainly be exhausted and incredibly whiny when they get home tonight, so I guess that will make it easier to see them off tomorrow.

Kids, can't live with 'em, can't sell 'em.

t33kid is l33t!

blasterkid.gifThis is Jeffrey Lee Parson, also known as teekid, also known as the guy who wrote the code for the Blaster virus. Here is a screenshot of Mr. t33kid's website, and another, from the Google cache. He is a l33t hax0r. Or was. On his former website (which now just shows an Apache marker), you could actually download viruses (virii?) so you, too could spread them around the internet and cause havoc and mayhem.

Oh what fun it must be to be a l33t hax0r! To sit in your basement all day, sweat staining your t-shirt, mom bringing you big glasses of Jolt soda, making jokes with your other hax0r friends. What a life!

I really want to smack this shitstain upside the head. I mean, look at him. Did this kid ever get out of the house? You can tell from a black and white photo that he has that pasty skin that people who never leave the house often have. Obviously, the only exercise this guy got was doing keyboard push-ups.

As my battle cry says: "I'm going to flog you until the laws of physics are violated!"

I really hate hackers. Though I think we are supposed to call morons like this crackers and not hackers. Whatever, I still want to kick his ass. Being that I can't do that, I could just ask you all to take your Photoshop skills to his picture and be mean about it.

UPDATE: Ok, since someone mentioned Jabba:

jabbahack.jpg

as i continue being a zionazi

There has been much ado about Indymedia on this site lately. And not just here. It seems some of the folks within Indymedia, specifically the NYC site, are getting a little fed up with all the self-moderating that goes. Though Indymedia claims to have rules and regulations for hiding or eliminating posts, it seems that most of the deletions are driven by the agenda of whoever is moderating that particular site at the moment.

One of my big issues with Indymedia is Latuff. For the past few days, I've noticed that many Latuff posts are getting hidden. The Indymedia folk seem to be running scared and getting rid of Latuff's anti-semitic, hateful, bloody posts soon after they are posted.

However, the question remains among the denizens of Indymedia: Is Latuff anti-Semitic? In my eyes, there is no doubt. But that is neither here nor there.

As written here by an IMC moderator, some of their rules for banning a post are:

- Posts that contain generalized and negative assertions about any race, nation, creed, class, ethnic group, sexual orientation, etc.-
Posts that advocate the mass physical elimination of a specific race, nation, creed, class, ethnic group, sexual orientation, etc, or that link to websites that advocate the same.

Take a stroll through Indymedia on any given day and you will see plenty of the above. Latuff, who has been quite the subject of controversy on IMC and, until this week, has seen pretty much free reign on the American IMC sites.

Latuff does not just hate Israel and its inhabitants. He hates America. But that's not a big issue, as (a) Latuff isn't even American and (b) it's pretty much in vogue to hate America now. It's how he carries out his statements that bother me so much. He doesn't just want America to lose the war in Iraq - he wants the U.S. soldiers dead. He wants Israelis dead. And he makes no effort to hide his sentiments. Meanwhile, IMC lets this all go on, declaring that no, Latuff isn't being anti-Semitic at all! He's just pro-Palestinian.

I like to think that I had something to do with the subtle earthquake taking place on some of the IMC sites right now. I called them out, and others followed. A stream of posters went from this site to various IMCs and took them to task for the censorship policies when they are, in fact, supposed to be against censhorship.

So, let's back to the question of Latuff. Is he just an artist expressing his views without really calling for violence, without really being anti-Semetic, or is he a hateful man who wants to watch his enemies bleed and uses IMC to put those views across?

Your call. Click each for bigger image. And there's more where these came from.

battle cry!

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Skulking out of the plains, wielding a jeweled meat hammer, cometh Michele! And she gives a spectacular howl:

"I'm going to flog you until the laws of physics are violated!"

Find out!
Enter username:
Are you a girl, or a guy ?

created by beatings : powered by monkeys

[via Nukevet]

bring it on

Scott Brodeur of Mass Live has taken the Red Sox/Yankees challenge one more step:

Emails Scott:

I will take you up on your Sox-Yanks bet thing. And what about this
sweetener? If there is a sweep, the fan of the losing team must post a
digital photo of her/himself on their site in a garment bearing the
insignia of the winning team?

You're on. Looking forward to seeing you in a Yankees cheerleading outfit. Or maybe just a cap.

Anyone else? Think about it carefully. Do you really want to mess with a higher being?

[Scott also has a bit up about Freakies cereal, the coolest cereal ever - besides Kaboom]

And speaking of sports, I have joined Kevin's excellent sports blog, where I will be musing in OpEds and covering local teams. Go, look. He's done a great job putting this blog together.

because stories give us hope

[I’ve been trying to get in touch with the author of the comic referenced below. My email to him was bounced back and his site seems to be gone. If anyone knows anything about the whereabouts of Jon “Bean” Hastings, please contact me]

There’s a trade paperback titled 9-11 Emergency Relief. It’s a collection of comics by rather well-known comic artists and writers sharing their stories of September 11.

I’ve read it at least ten times. It’s poignant, it’s sad and at some points it is hopeful. I took it out again yesterday after I became emotionally beaten down while reading all of the stories sent to me for Voices.

I was struck by this one entry from Jon “Bean” Hastings. I don’t have a scanner handy at work, so I will just reprint the relevant words:

Basically, it starts off with Jon himself sitting in front of the tv, watching the news on September 11, 2001. A face that extends from the tv is yelling at Jon telling him that his cartoons are no longer important in the face of all that has happened.

How can you draw your ‘funny books’ with all this carnage and sadness and pain and ruin?! the face shouts at him. To which Jon responds: Why ever bother picking up a pencil again? And then:

Because...

Because stories give us hope.

Expressing our thoughts and feelings is what gives us our humanity. Through stories we can share our grief, our outrage, our horror, but also our dreams, our memories, our hopes for the future.

That’s what they can’t take away and that’s what they don’t understand. We are all more alike than we are different. We are connected by stories.

[Images of Jon turning off the tv and sitting down at his drawing table and these words above his head]:

---- All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story....

—Isak Dinesen

This is what I had in mind when I created No Ordinary Morning last year and decided to carry on with Voices this year.

Because stories give us hope.

I wanted to get permission from Jon Hastings to use his comic on the Voices page, but he seems unreachable at this point.

Just go buy the book. There’s so much more you should see in those pages.

Voices.

red sox v. yankees: the bet is on

Big weekend for Yankee fans.

Yanks. Red Sox. Three games. Fenway. September approaches quickly and the Yanks are up by 4 1/2 5 games over the hated Sox.

Jim, a vile, disgusting Red Sox fan (is there any other kind) has offered up a little wager. He wants to bet that the Sox take two of three from the Yanks. Winner gets a daily link from the loser, plus the loser has to say nice things about the winner's team.

What a sucker. He's on.

Any other Red Sox fans want to take this bet? Solly? Ed?


Sure, I may eat my words later, but what's a little fun between friends to break up the dread of September?

"Something like this makes your hair stand up"*

"You got a guy here. People stuck in the stairway. Open up the goddamn doors!"

Imagine my horror when I went to the CNN page this morning and saw an image of the Word Trade Center towers, smoking, burning, on the verge of collapse.

My stomach clenched and my heart stopped, briefly. Of course, the towers couldn't be burning again, because they are no longer there. Still, seeing that image jarred the most basic part of my memory from that day. That entire sinking, drowning feeling hit me with full force.

I recovered within seconds and my stomach eased itself back into place before it went into a tailspin all over again, reading the transcripts of the Port Authority radio and phone transmissions from 9/11.

Christine Olender died along with 72 other Windows on the World employees and nearly 100 people who rode the elevators to the 106th floor restaurant for breakfast that morning. Among the diners were stockbrokers who worked in the towers, executives attending a conference and Neil Levin, the executive director of the Port Authority.

"We're getting no direction up here. We're having a smoke condition ... We need direction as to where we need to direct our guests and our employees, as soon as possible," Olender told Officer Steve Maggett, a Port Authority police officer who fielded numerous frantic calls to a police desk based at the World Trade Center.

So much for that French hack who thought that he needed to make up the stories of the victims in that restaurant.

The argument today will be between those who thought it necessary to release these transcripts and those that are horrified. And, even then, there will be sub-arguments between those on either side. Should they have been released to get a better grip on what went wrong? Or was it so we would relive the horror of the victims so we would never forget? Perhaps the New York Times is just looking to be sensational or, and one can never forget the arguments that come flying at you from the far left, perhaps they were released by Karl Rove, in an attempt to get Bush to look sympathetic again?

Most of the families of the Port Authority employees - and the Port Authory itself - were against the tapes being released, and it's obvious why. The pain, still fresh only two years later, would now be compounded by knowing the dread, the fear and the sorrow of their loved ones last minutes.

“I agree with the PA completely. This isn't going to help anybody, and this isn't going to save anybody in the future - this is only going to hurt the people involved in it,” said Sonny Goldstein, whose daughter was killed on 9/11.

So why release this 2,000 page transcript? Does the New York Times think it will accomplish anything drastic in the field of emergency services by making the last words of the victims of a terrorist attack public? I'm skeptical that knowing these words and actions will do any good; mainly because the Port Authority itself is skeptical.

260 hours of disjointed phrases like:

"Yo, I've got dozens of bodies, people just jumping from the top of the building," a male caller said.

"They said another plane just ... flew by and hit Building 2."

"Evacuate the building! Hit the stairwells and get the heck out of here."

"Honey, when the building started coming down, I ran for my life, honey! I survived."

Perhaps these transcripts will jar the emotions of those who have become complacent or those whose mantra has become get over it, already. I'm not sure how I feel about these tapes but, then again, it's not father or daughter whose voices are heard on the tapes. I just observe. I just feel the same exact way I did on that Tuesday morning almost two years ago.

Nothing can bring these people back, but nothing can make us forget. I think we all need a little push into the frame of that day once in a while.

Jeff Jarvis has more.


*From transcript here

August 28, 2003

old time hockey

fight.gifI'm reading Fishticks: The Rise and Fall of The New York Islanders. Coincidentally, Metro TV was showing an Islander retrospective today, going back to the good old days of four Stanley Cups and the greatest team ever assembled on ice. Gillies, Nystrom, Bossy, Trottier. The ultimate team.

I was there when the Islanders one their second championship, against the Minnesota North Stars. Watching the team circle the ice with the cup held up high, standing right there watching it - that was one of my best sports fan moments ever.

I miss the old days of hockey. I miss the guys without helmets, Ron Duguay's hair flying in the wind, bare-knuckle punches landing on hardened heads.

I miss the bench-clearing brawls, sticks and gloves littering the ice, Billy Smith leading the charge from the opposite end of the rink, goaltenders locked in battle. I miss the old Flyers and Bruins, the ones who would climb into the stands to beat up on fans. I miss the rivalry between the Rangers and the Islanders, one that is just a shadow of its former self, with none of the vile emotion that used to carry it.

I can never get enough of watching Clark Gillies one-punch Terry O'Reilly into neverland. Old Time Hockey. Back when men were men and the Islanders uniform did not have the Gorton's fisherman on it.

Call me a neanderthal, I don't care. I miss Bobby Clarke and Dave Semenko and Dave "Tiger" Williams and Dave Schultz.

The Islanders were ruined by bad management and ownership who did not understand, or care about, the fans. Hockey was ruined by people who did not understand what they fans came to the game for. Sure, a smooth-skating, high-scoring game is exciting. But given the opportunity to watch Gretzky slink his way around the boards and try to evade being checked because he might, you know, break, and the opportunity to once again see a game that lies just short of something out of Slapshot, I'll take a combination of the two.

Old time hockey. Eddie Shore.

sharing my own voice

I'm not going to add my own memories to the Voices project; I do that here enough and that project is for everyone else to share their stories.

I've been going through the scrapbook my mother kept in the days following 9/11. I know, it seems weird to keep a scrapbook of such an event, but I guess it was my mother's way of coping when she couldn't console my father. It just hit me right now, two years later, that I was so concerned about how my father was getting through the long days of nights of bad news after bad news and funeral upon funeral, that I didn't realize my mother was probably as much of a wreck as my dad. After all, she knew all those firemen, too. I see by looking through her scrapbook that her heart was broken. You can tell in the care and personal touch she put into compiling every story of 9/11.

I went back and looked through my archives from 2001 and then from this time last year. If time heals all wounds, I'm not feeling it yet. I'll probably post a lot of repeats in the coming days. Just because I need to.

Written last September:

Three Years Later: Moving Forward

My cousin Stan's tattoo. Stan is a Lt. with the NYFD in the hazmat unit. He spent several weeks at the cleanup site, coming home only to shower and sleep for an hour or so. He is retiring from the FD next month

The thing I remember most about the early part of that day is the weather. It was a perfect day; the sky was a deep, cloudless blue and the air was filled with the comforting warmth that comes when summer starts slinking into autumn.

What I remember most about the moments after the news broke was my drive home from work. I fled my federal office building in a panic that day, still not sure if more attacks were coming, if they were happening elsewhere, if the world was ending. I drove east, towards my home, but kept looking back in my rear view mirror at the brown, smoky haze filling the sky. My hands were shaking and tears were streaming down my face and I was frightened, so frightened, because we didn't know. We did not know what would come next, or if that was the end. I looked at every car that drove next to me, at every other driver at the stop lights. They were all crying or wide-eyed or clutching their steering wheel so hard I could see their knuckles turning white.

When I got home, I woke Justin, who was still sleeping after spending all night working on a project. In my fear and disbelief, I blurted out something like, wake up the world is ending, and we turned on the television and stared for hours and I just remember this numbness going through me, the goosebumps of fear and horror that rose on my arms. Justin's mother called from Pennsylvania. It was her birthday. We talked to her for a while, assured her we were ok and then she told us to stock up on toilet paper. There was no point in wishing her a happy birthday.

What I remember most about the subsequent days is the sky and the silence. The roar of planes is a constant soundtrack when you live so close to an airport. But for those days, four of them I believe, there was not a sound coming from the skies. The silence was so huge, so cavernous, and the only thing you could see when you looked up to the sky was thin wisps of smoke rising from the west. Those days seemed like they were lived out in a dream world.

What I remember most about the nights are the candles. On the sidewalks and curbs, on stoops and porches and stairs and driveways, lined up like soldiers of flame. It was beautiful and sad, so very sad and I wondered how far a line of candles would stretch if we lit one for every victim, and the family members of every victim.

I remember these things because I never forget anything. I have never forgotten the night when my family stood out on the porch, flipping the porch light on and off in some odd celebration when the Vietnam War ended. I can remember what Natalie was wearing the day the Gulf War started - the day she took her first steps. I remember air raid drills in grammar school, questioning the futility of holding your head between your legs as bombs were going off and thinking that if it ever did come down to that, I was just going to run for it, out the front door of the school, up the slope, across the street and down the block all the way home where I would hold my mother tight and she wouldn't make me spend my last moments crouched in a hallway.

I keep every memory locked away, not just the big parts of the memories, but the little things too; the way the air felt, the way the sky looked, the smells and sounds that shared the moment with me. I write it all down, every last detail and I never forget anything.

What I remember about the first few nights after that day was hugging my children a little too tight, a little too often. I remember clinging to Justin and walking across the street to my parents' house every few minutes and just sitting there with them, not saying anything, just staring at the tv and crying. I remember feeling like one big walking cliche when I told everyone how thankful I was to have them in my life.

What I remember most about the next month is thinking how much this space meant to me at that time. How the people who read this weblog embraced me in my sadness and fear, how my words came to mean something to various people, how I had a place to get it all down, every last detail, every last sigh and tear, and how important it became to share. One year later, I still have that need, it is still important to me, and I will still continue to record every memory so that some day, I will remember everything; not just the funerals and memorial services and falling bodies and crumbling cement and steel, but the candles and the voices lifted in song and any glimpses of hope and love that lay among the rubble of the day.

Add your voice

nevermind the terrorists

Is the donkey ok?

cake or death?

I suppose the perfect thing to take my mind off of all the 9/11 stuff and Indymedia and Mars making people go insane for a while would be the MTV Video Music Awards. There's just so much to look forward to:

Christina Aguilera dressing like a nun
James Hetfield trying to growl like he used to but just looking very constipated
50 Cent singing out of the side of his mouth
Mary Kate and Ashley looking very grown up
Madonna and Britney swapping spit

Or I can just stick pins in my eyes and run my nails down a blackboard a few times. Should have the same result, with less time wasted.

Back to being a zionazi, then.

picking your brain (voices)

I'm trying to figure out a way to make the Voices project more readable than it was last year. I don't want people to have to scroll eight miles down a page to read all the stories because most likely they won't. Yet I want all the stories to be right there, at a glance, preferably with the author's name and a title for the story. I guess all as separate links so if someone wanted to link to a specific story, they could.

Is that making sense? Anyone have any ideas?

UPDATE: What I meant was I wanted to do it without MT tricks, because I didn't want to make each story and individual post. This is more of a design/creative question than a technical one, but I'm probably making sense only to myself, so I'll just go stand in the corner now.

your moment of zen

Put it back!

[Thanks, Chris]

You guys really outdid yourselves on that caption contest. I'm still laughing over here.

but they hate us!

Just how much do those Iraqis hate us for giving them freedom from Saddam? This much:

An Iraqi couple has named their 6-week-old baby boy George Bush to show their appreciation for U.S. efforts to force Saddam Hussein out of power.

"He saved us from Saddam and that's why we named our son after him," the baby's mother, Nadia Jergis Mohammed, told the Associated Press Television News. "It was George Bush who liberated us; without him it wouldn't have happened."

Notice they didn't name the kid Jacques Chirac.

Yep, they really hate us, don't they?


While I'm Away

Even if I the gods of Mars have aligned to allow me brief access at work, it does not matter. I've been on a vacation for a week. Any idea what my desk looks like today?

I do have something for you to do while I'm hard at work, though.

Caption either of these two pictures taken in Alabama at CommandmentPallooza.

300_commandments_putitback.jpe 300_commandments_pray_groun.jpe


I've been having fun imagining just what that soul-enriched, commandment loving man in the first picture is saying.

Fake prizes awarded later. Have fun, entertain me while I slay the file monster residing on my desk.

reminder

nod2.gif

Contribute your voice.

Background for this project here and here.

it must be mars

I realize that the mood of this blog is cyclical, much like my own moods. You can pretty much check your calendar and figure out which days I will be writing angry, vulgar responses to moonbats and which days I will be introspective and which days I will find comic relief in absurd stories. Sometimes, I get fixated. I know this, as it happens away from the computer as well.

Once my mind goes in a direction, once I get the fire lit under my ass to delve into a particular subject, there is no rest for the weary. Or the wicked. I go in full tilt, sometimes obscuring everything else that needs my attention.

I've got a folder filled with links about the Yankees and comic books and those stupid little stories you find at Obscure Store or Fark. I've got a folder with ideas for contests and pictures to photoshop and people to pick on. But not today. Maybe not even this week.

I'll be stuck on the whole 9/11 issue for at least two weeks. I suspect that if it goes like last year, once that day passes I will emerge feeling relieved and and with a bit more sense of closure, though that closure will probably never fully be realized, a fact which I am okay with.

In addition to the raw, honest and nearly heartbreaking emails I've received about the Voices project, I get mail that says things like Can you please write about something else, this is getting boring. Or, that's not what I come to your site for, you are being depressing. And the ever present, Stop being so self-centered. Get over it. Move on. The world is not about you or your feelings.

Oh, but guess what people? This blog is mostly about me and my feelings, so why don't you just turn the dial for a little bit, go find a blog where the talk is cheap, the girls are cheaper and the beer is warm and you can come back here next month or so for your bottle of Cristal and your thousand dollar hooker.

No idea where that came from. It makes no sense, but it was fun to write.

Of course, this could all be the product of PMS. Yea, just like a woman to blame her mood swings on hormones. Deal with it.

It's going to be one of those days when my teeth will remained clenched and the residue of last night's dreams will haunt me all day and people will just piss me off to no end and there will be nothing I can do about it because I go back to work today and, as we all now know, there is no internet access from work, so no venting, no spleening, no screaming at the walls of cyberspace because my sister, who normally would post my screeds for me when I email them to her, is on vacation.

I have my ways, however. There are way too many people who have a login to my Moveable Type. You cannot keep me down! I will not be silenced! I...

I better go before you all realize that today is the day I've completely lost my mind.

If I can't blame it on Mars then I blame it on seeing this.

August 27, 2003

a little help from my friends

Someone help me out with this, please. I'm just too weary to write anything but a string of curses.

Excerpts:


That what happened was a tragedy can't be denied. That it was a lesson that America needed to learn can not be denied either, and sadly, it was.

She's [meaning me] angry at the people who hijacked the planes, the people who sent them there, the people who paid for it, and mostly (it seems) at anyone who utters one "anti-american" word in reference to the events. I suppose that means she's gonna be angry at me too, and that's a shame...

The people who hijacked the planes, the people who sent them there, and the people who've paid for it all......they are religious idealists and bigots....to blinded by there own hatred to see what they are doing. Much like the American government.

But the instituions that comprise the American government, that's a different matter. They've committed far to many crimes to be forgotten. Literally millions dead at their hands, entire countrysides laid waste and baren due to their presence, sovereign nations and cultures interferred with to suit American purposes.

What I am saying, is that America (the governent) has waged war upon the world for a long time now, and America (the people) have done nothing about it. I'm saying that it's not surprising that religious and extremist groups are starting to do to America...exactly what America has done to them.

At the same time, there was an undercurrent of optimism. Now, at least, Americans would come to understand how people overseas felt when the US military came to town, when the CIA played with there goverments and their destinies. Now Americans would understand, and empathise, and hold there own leaders accountable. It didn't take long for me to realize the futility of my hopes.

You're right sweetheart, it was no ordinary day. It was a day when everything should have changed. And it did....alas not for the better. You are right to remember your dead, but unless you remember theirs, they will keep on coming back to haunt you.

I don't know what to say right now. Someone say something for me, please?

let's call it a night

I'm completely exhausted and I have to stop working on Voices for the night or my mind will explode. I wore myself out mentally today.

Thank you to everyone who sent sent stories for the project. They made me cry, they made me feel warmth and they made me feel sorrow. And that's all ok, because as long as the warmth is there, as long as I feel like there are people who are willing to hold hands and share once again, it's ok.

I'll start putting the stories up on the page tomorrow night.

I'll be accepting stories right up until September 10. Please, contribute your voice, share your words.

Note to Spiderman (and his mom): Thanks for the postcard. You made my day.

hide the children!

I think I read this somewhere - perhaps it was one of those Nostradamus books, but I don't remember, so I'll just quote it as best I can from memory. If that memory serves me right, we are doomed.

"And so it will be that when the stone symbol is removed from its base and god is thusly murdered, on the same calendar month that the planet of Mars causes buildings to explode in India, in the same week Mars causes a shift in hormones that shall make women want to lay down with a monster called Frankenstein, then that is when the apocalypse shall come forth and obliterate us once and for all. And not a moment too soon, I tell you."

Scary shit out there, folks. Be careful. And whatever you do, don't look directly into the face of Mars or you will spontaneously combust. I think Nostradamus said that too.

I am stacy's bitch

I ask, she makes. What more could someone want from a master?

im_enemy.gif

Feel free to steal it, but save it to your own damned server or I'll bust a cap in yo ass.

Don't forget, the friend of an enemy is an enemy as well, so that makes all of you enemies of Indymedia. Guilt by association and all.

enemy at the gates!

That person from Indymedia who thought he could shut me up by shutting me down was obviously mistaken. I give him an A for Effort, though. He posted his screed on several Indymedia sites in an effort to spread the word. However, the San Francisco/Bay Area site decided to put his post into the hidden bin.

Why do you suppose they did that? Because it was encouraging censorship? Because he used words like zionazi and jewpropaganda? Because it's wrong to threaten to shut down someone's site when they disagree with you?

If you answered None of the Above, you win the prize.

An IMC moderator/editor wrote:

This was hidden because it contained a link to an enemy website. No, you may *not* advertise enemy websites here.

The maturity of the editors of such a "powerful and imporant" news outlet makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.

I've made it to enemy status and for that, I am proud. I wonder if they can make me a small button to put on this site. Enemy of Indymedia, 2003. I think I'll go and ask.

message to grandma on her birthday

[click for bigger image, read further to discover what it is]
Grandma would have been 90something today (I lost count after she died). I think I'll channel her spirit, let her ask me a few questions that I know she would ask if she could. Sort of a birthday present.

Yes, I gave the kids sweatshirts before they left.

Yes, I always turn the bathroom light off when I leave the room.

It is not chilly, I'll leave the windows open, thank you.

No, I don't have anything better to do than read all day long.

Yes, I will tell Jo-Anne to put a hat on that baby.

No, Lisa did not move out of my mother's house yet. Just kidding!

It's too hot for soup, thanks.

Yep, Wheel of Fortune is still on. Sure, that whore Vanna is still turning letters.

Yes, Grandma. I'm sorry we got drunk at your funeral. Yes, I'll yell at all of them for you.

Hey Grandma? I still have those meatballs you gave me a couple of days before you went into the hospital and never came back. They're in the freezer.

Hell no, I'm not cooking them.

I miss you Grandma. Happy Birthday.

voices carry

I'd like to continue with the project I started last year. If all the voices gather together, we will never forget. I'm going to change the name of the project from No Ordinary Day to Voices.

I will add to the voices as you wish; memories, memorials, a few sentences a lengthy essay. Unlike last year, it doesn't have to be about your memories of that day, though it could be. Just use your voice so we don't forget. If we speak loud enough, if there are enough of us, we can become a symphony of shouts and tears and whispered pain, so we can always be heard and never, ever forget.

You can add your comments here and I will transfer them to the project, or you can add them to the comments there, or you can email them to me.

Voices.

no ordinary day

[When you are done reading this, please go here]


As we make our slow crawl towards September 11, 2003 and the second anniversary of that day, I can't help but notice that the media has decided to move on.

With the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks only three weeks away, TV networks have planned nearly no special programming to commemorate the horrible events of that day.

In New York, many of the Sept. 11-related events will be private and attended only by the families of the victims.

Instead of breaking into regular programming, the major broadcasters will cover the day in their regular newscasts.

nom.jpgI felt a small fist of fury take hold of my heart when I read that. The fury is mingled with sadness and fear and that strong voice that has resided in my head for almost two years now keeps repeating: We Must Not Forget.

We do not need another slo-motion replay of those enormous blades of steel crashing into the World Trade Center, for that image is surely burned on the retinas of every single person who was witness, whether physically or through the television.

We do not have to play a repeat of that day's events in order to commemerate the lives lost and the lives ruined. There are so many other things that could be said and most important of those things is how we are rebuilding; our lives, our spirits, America. We can do nothing worse than to make our enemies think that 9/11 has become an afterthought and two years later we are complacent and forgetful and perhaps we need another wake up call.

No, we should be showing progress while still paying tribute to those left behind. The coverage of 9/11/03 should show the babies of the widows of 9/11, carrying on the spirit and personalities of their fathers. It should show the plans for the rebirth of the site of the World Trade Center, the gardens that will spring to life there, the entries for the memorial design contest.

There should be investigative pieces on how far we've come in the War on Terror, all the terrorists who had their hands in that day who have been captured, all the cells that have been broken up. There should be a big reminder flashing across the screen at one point that there have been no terrorist attacks on American soil since that day.

How are the firemen who walked out of the burning rubble coping? What about the people who made it down the stairwell and out into the open air and safety? Yes, there should be images of that day shown, perhaps a short montage just to jar our memories and wake whatever fight that was in our souls that has since gone to sleep.

I want to remember. I never want to lose that memory of the smoky sky above Manhattan that I viewed from my office window. I want to remember Pete Ganci's wake and the sharpshooters atop my neighbor's house during the memorial service for Claude Richards, I want to remember the haunted look in my firefighter cousin's eyes and the look of despair on my father's face. I want to remember the chilling feeling of looking at a sky free of jumbo jets for days on end and the quiet, the unnerving quiet, that made those days after so surreal and chilling. I need to remember these things because to forget would be to spit in the face of every single person who died that day.

Relive those events, if only for a moment. There are a million places to look in case you have forgotten, in case you turn on your television on September 11, 2003, hoping for something to help you remember that day, to live through it again just to not forget.

We cannot move on because we are still there. There are 12,000 body parts yet to be identified. There are people still in mourning, people who will never, ever get over seeing their loved one's name on this list. There are still people who want us dead, animals who would stop at nothing to see that the events of 9/11 are repeated, maybe somewhere else. Maybe your own backyard this time.


What does it say about our country when the protesters and conspiracy theorists will mark the day with more of an effort than the mainstream media is? When activists who want to put salt in our wounds and rip open our scars are commemorating that day (albeit in a disgusting way) more than our own media, who will be continuing on with soap operas and Jerry Springer as if this was just another day?

I will never forget. And I will do my best to make sure no one else does either because, obviously, the media has decided to just blow this day off in favor of ratings and advertising dollars.

For starters, you can go here and read the personal accounts I collected one year ago, for a project alled No Ordinary Day. There are more here. They will break your heart, they will make you cry and most of all, they will make you remember. Which you damn well better do.

August 26, 2003

it's oh, so quiet

I miss my kids.

They've been gone only since Sunday afternoon and we've done the whole run around the house naked/turn the stereo up/watch violent movies thing.

I miss their noise. It's much to quiet, which is odd since the quiet is what I was most looking forward to.

If they were home, the would be complaining and whining and fighting over the computer and begging to watch South Park and DJ would be screeching on the guitar and Natalie would be screeching on the phone and I would pour a glass of wine and tell them to please.shut.up.now.

I don't know why I miss that, but I do. They'll be home on Friday and then they take off again until Monday evening. And then school starts and bam! the summer is gone and all those days that stretched out before us will somehow come to an abrupt end.

Then it's homework and baseball and guitar lessons and more homework, all smashed like like peanut butter between two silces of bread that are Saturday and Sunday, days which, unfortunately, they spend with their father.

They just called from the pool at the hotel and they're having a grand time. Natalie wants to move to Salem and live like a witch. DJ thinks he crashed into Plymouth Rock in a past life. They love Massachussets. They don't want to come home.

Don't they know I miss them?

I'll clean up their room while they are gone and hope my mother remembers to make them buckle up in the car. I'll eat Fruit Pebbles for breakfast just because.

And then I'll find a broken CD or a ten day old cheese sandwhich under Natalie's bed and I won't miss them, not at all.

But then I will.

It's oh, so quiet.

psa

Weclom Home, LT.

Thank you.

UPDATE: And welcome back to the blogworld, D. I've missed you.

what i did on the last day of my vacation

[In essay form, with props.]

[click for bigger, crappier image]I really did take all your suggestions to heart. Some of them I just couldn't find and some of them just didn't appeal to me, but I really looked at each and every book suggested, if it was on the shelves. Yes, I know that's a crappy picture and frankly, I'm sure most of you aren't even interested in what I bought today but that's just tough crap, because I'm telling you anyhow. I told you shopping makes me cranky.

I also had many of the things suggested, especially the Gaiman stuff.

On the DVDs, we got a bonus pack of El Mariachi with Desparado; Requiem For A Dream (Director's Cut); Animal House (Double Secret Probation Edition); Legends Of The Fall; The Simpons Season 3 package; Fistful Of Dollars; For A Few Dollars More; Pink Floyd: Dark Side Of The Moon.

At Borders, we came away with the paperback versions (I have the hardcovers) of Gaiman's Good Omens and Neverwhere; Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game; The Sandman Companion; Glen Cook's Black Company; Phillip Pullman's The Subtle Knife (I loaned that someone and never got it back); Complete Works of Poe; Lovecraft's Call Of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories; Fishticks (The Rise and Fall Of The New York Islanders) and Neil Stephenson's Snow Crash.

After that was Hot Topic, where I bought some band shirts (New Found Glory, Sum 41, Good Charlotte and Simple Plan)for DJ to wear to school because he has declared that the only thing he will wear is band shirts (remind me to write about his clothing idiosyncracies sometimes). By the way, Hot Topic is running a a buy one, get one half price sale on band shirts. We also picked up an Invader Zim notebook for each of us at HT. And I replaced my Short Music For Short People CD, which had fallen into the vortex of missing things that lies somewhere in my closet and was never seen again.

We went to Ruby Tuesday's for lunch where I negated my workout at the gym today by having dessert for my meal.

Except for the maddening crowds at every store, and except for the idiots at Roosevelt Field mall and except for the madmen on the road today, it was a stellar day.

Oh and mothers of teenage girls: Why do you let your daughters walk around with pants so low that you can practically see what their natural hair color is? Not only is it disgusting and whorish looking, but the fact that most of these girls were with their mothers and/or fathers made me want to stab those parents in the eyes. Three times.

Now, which book to read and which DVD to watch first when I get back from my therapy at the batting cages?

while i wait for my husband to mess with his hair...

[Jeez. He's such a woman sometimes.]

Ben Weasel notes in the comments here that Bill Maher was making a joke about SUVs and dead babies. Jeff Jarvis noted the same. Now, I think I have a pretty good sense of humor and I'm quite adept at recognizing jokes when they appear, but that one just went wooosh! right over my head. Perhaps because I am so used to viewing Maher as an uglier version of Ted Rall, I failed to see the humor. Oh, wait. I know why I didn't see it. Because it wasn't the least bit funny!

Ben then goes on to ask:

What does it mean to be a "card-carrying member" of the Left? Where do you get the cards and who hands them out? What do you have to do to get one? Is "card carrying member" the highest honor? Why carry the card? Does it get you seated fast at the best restaurants? Do you get discounts on oil changes? Do those who carry the cards look down on those who leave them in a drawer at home? Do they need to be renewed? Is there a charge?

That really should have read Far Left for, as far as I know, the straight old regular left has no cohesive organization under which they rest, unlike, say the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. I believe the cards are handed out by Susan Sarandon and, no, that is not the hightest honor. The highest honor belongs to those called Chomskyites, who get hemp plaques to hang in their bedroom.

If you flash the card at a restaurant, you get half price on all vegan meals. That whole parking thing is not required, as card-carrying members do not use gas-consumption vehicles. However, if you show up on a Segway or in an electric car, the first appetizer is free. And that oil change question is just silly. Members of the far-left do not consume oil! Ever! For anything!

If you get a card it would be best to carry it with you at all times so you don't get your ass knocked down by someone charging a Starbucks window with a brick. Just flash your card and he'll step out of your way. The cards are free (provided you join ANSWER first), they are emblazoned with a photo of Che and a Free Mumia! sticker and are good for life unless, like me, you decide to burn yours at some point in which case, make sure to use lots of oil.

Hope I helped!

suggestions for the consumer whore

When we have days like this (which are rare) when the hours ahead are filled with nothing but fun shopping (thanks to a handful of gift cards, mostly), I like to know what I want ahead of time in order to decrease the time needed to spend in stores because, in all honesty, I hate shopping. I hate shoppers, I hate salespeople, I basically hate people in general when they are in my way, which they always are in malls and crowded stores.

Anyhow:

Books - any suggestions for books? I have a Border's gift card burning a hole in my pocket and I'm just about finished with Black House and I need to start stacking up on my fall reading pile. Any genre, I don't care. Fiction, non-fiction, books of Tibetan rap lyrics, doesn't matter. I just want your recommendations.

DVDs - Our Best Buy card, plus two returns I have to make there, will afford us both the Simpsons Season 3 DVD as well as the Two Towers DVD. Any suggestions for other movies you think I that should be part of my collection, let me know.

Comics - we will probably stop at least two comic shops, just to browse and see what looks interesting. I already bought Gaiman's 1602, so no sense in recommending that. Any new titles (or even old ones) you think I would like, pass it along.

We are leaving in about two hours. I'll take your list with me. Help a fellow consumer whore out, will ya? If I can get in and out of stores quickly, you just may save the life of a rude shopper.

the SUV made me do it!

Bill Maher:

Yet another baby was found dead in a locked SUV. How come this always happens in SUVs? You never heard about somebody locking a baby in, say, a Toyota Prius, do you? Of course, one of the reasons this happens mostly in SUVs is because they're too high up to see inside. I mean, how do you explain forgetting a baby? It's not some Ethan Hawke movie you forgot to return to Blockbuster in the backseat, it's a living, drooling human being.

Ok, Bill. I'll bite. How come this always happens in SUVs? Oh, wait. It doesn't. See, this one died in a Mitsubishi sedan. This one died in a minivan, which is not really an SUV. This one died in a simple old car, not an SUV.

The title of Maher's post is SUVs = Trouble.

It seems to me that the problem is not SUVs, it is inattentive parents and caregivers. I don't care if you own a Hummer the size of Texas, you don't forget your baby is in the car simply because you can't see them. You forget because you are thinking of something else, or rushing somewhere or just not thinking at all.

Sometimes the parent or caregiver leaves the child in the car on purpose while they go shop or gamble or drink. That is bad parenting, it has nothing to do with what type of car you own.

I found fifteen more stories about children who died from being left in hot cars (and also several about children who died after being left in cars in frigid temperatures). These were sedans and sports cars; Hondas, Saturns and the like. Maher only had to do a little bit of research before he went off and claimed that SUVs are to blame for the deaths of these poor children.

Once again, the far left - of which Maher is a card-carrying member - blame something other than the person at fault. I'm waiting for the inevitable class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of SUV owners whose children died in that horrible way, claiming that they made the cars too big or too wide or the seat backs too high.

It's just another case of Maher and his like wanting to blame the ills of the world on SUV owners. It's the parents and caregivers, stupid. Not the car.

double brownie sundae hangover

I'm up way too early after having a bit too much to drink - and eat - last night. But I have to get some things done, like going to the gym which I haven't been to since I got sick, and getting the house clean, which I haven't touched since Saturday or so, before we head out on a day long shopping extravaganza as we treat ourselves to birthday/anniversary presents.

The day will include stops at several comic book stores, Borders, Best Buy and wherever else our road trip radar takes us. Later tonight, it's a quiet dinner (I'm still thinking of the LI/NY blogger bash, but it won't be this week) with Faith and tomorrow it's back to work after a wonderful mini-vacation. So yes, posting will be light today, heavy tonight as I gloat over all the stupid stuff we spent our money on and bitch and moan about the comic book stores around here.

I just want to send thanks everyone who sent/posted birthday and anniversary wishes, and everyone who sent me cards and presents and to the very lovely, generous people who donated to Magen David Adom in my name this week. While it sounds a bit sappy, your friendship is what I treasure most but hey, I'm not one to turn down material possessions, either. I am, after all, a capitalist pig at heart.

Thanks to my lovely sisters and their spouses and my nephew David for joining us for a drunken, fattening evening and to the dork waiters at Friday's for singing that stupid birthday song to me while I tried to light my cherry on fire.

Did I say I would be at Bertucci's? I guess I meant Fridays. So sorry about that. So if any of you NYC Indymedia fans really came out to Long Island to throw blood on my SUV, maybe next time. It's just as well, anyhow, as my Jewish brother-in-law was with us and he was packing heat and more than willing to defend his zionazi sister-in-law.

Just another half hour of sleep, I think, before I rant about the idiocy of Bill Maher.

August 25, 2003

i was a zionazi jewpropgandist

Unfortunately for the Indymedia trolls, this site still stands. Apparently the call to arms to shut me down has resulted in a total of about eight hits from various Indymedia sites today. I am disappointed. I thought that those moonbats had it all together when it came to activism.

A few items of interest for those who have arrived here in a zealous effort to shut me up:

Reading through this novel-length comment from an IMC Moderator sure did give me some laughs.

Wow. It must be especially galling for a bunch of right-wing extremists (used to having the American system schill for their every beck and call) to be confronted with a left-wing news alternative that is actually both powerful AND popular. "A Small Victory"? Ha. I'm sure that all five people that have heard of you wish that they had 1/10th as much influence on the political scene as Indymedia.
[read the rest of the comment here]

Not that I need to prove anything to those who can't take the time to figure things out for themselves, but I should tell you that if you take a look around here, you will see that I am pretty far from a right-wing extremist.

There is no thought in my mind that I have any influence on the political scene. However, this is just a weblog; I don't purport to be any sort of media maven. Rest assured, however, that my readers (which include liberals as well as conservatives) number in the thousands and collectively they have more common sense, dignity, respect and brains than the entire roster of writers, publishers, editors and posters of Indymedia combined.

The anti-semitic, socialism-loving people of Indymedia indeed have some guidelines to posting. However, their guidelines are broken on a daily basis. For instance, the moderator claims that the reason for hiding posts include:

- Posts which are obviously incorrect or misleading. This includes attempts to spread dis-information or to impersonate another individual. For example, a poster once posted a cartoon under the name “Latuff” when in fact it was drawn by another artist.

But if they are posted by the real Latuff, then that's ok. Nevermind that Latuff's cartoons often depict dead Jews and advocate killing Jews. As for the disinformation, all the conspiracy posts that appear on Indymedia (meaning the "Bush is responsible for...." without any factual data to back up the claim) are often misleading or obviously incorrect.

Posts that contain generalized and negative assertions about any race, nation, creed, class, ethnic group, sexual orientation, etc.

You are kidding me, right? Every day you can find on any Indymedia site posts of that nature. Especially if they are about Jews. Negative assertions about a nation? Hell, what would IMC be without negative assertions of America? It would be empty!


Anyhow, thanks for all the attention and laughs today. I find it sort of thrilling to be called a zionazi jewpropagandist, so much so that I think I'll have it inscribed on my office door. Zionazi would make a really nice vanity license plate as well.

I'd love to play with you more and sit around watching you try to take down my site (which, by the way, is so much of that censorship you are always crying about), but I've got things to do. See, it's my birthday and I'm going to celebrate by getting into my SUV and driving to a corporate owned chain restaurant, where I will dine on some dead animals. Why don't you stop by? I'll be at Bertucci's in Westbury at about 6:15. You can come and throw a bucket of blood on my car and I'll buy you a drink.

when you care enough to shut down the very best

Oh yippee, the Indymedia freaks are coming after me!

The Far-Right is targeting Indymedia with slander and threats of censorship. We need to shut down these extreem rightwing threats! Overload their servers, Far right sites, of the Zionazi variety, are planning on undermining Indymedia with slander and lies. The main culprits is a right-wing operator running a site called "A Small Victory" (see link below). The gameplan is to censor Indymedia by claiming (lying) that Indymedia censors. Yes Indymedia removes trash from far-right freepers who spam Indymedi with filthy jewpropganda. But that is not censorship! See this link and help us shut down this site:

http://asmallvictory.net/archives/004293.html#004293

What a fabulous birthday present. Thanks, moonbats!

a tale of two stories [that are the same story]

Most recent post on NYC Indymedia:

A Muslim woman is under arrest and the media is lying to us again.

Ayesha Akter, a Muslim woman, is in New York police custody, under arrest for defending herself from a violent attack. The police say Ayesha used a cleaver to kill a woman named Farida Begum. There is no information on Farida's religion, but some have said that she was a Jew.

Akter was charged yesterday with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon. The Muslim community demands that Ayesha be freed.

Article in Newsday, that I read at 6am this morning:

A woman with a history of mental illness allegedly hacked her elderly mother-in-law to death with a meat cleaver after the mother-in-law refused to give her rice, saying it would make the daughter-in-law fat, police said.

Ayesha Akter, 32, is undergoing psychiatric evaluation after she was arrested in connection with the attack on her mother-in-law, Farida Begum, with a meat cleaver about 7:40 p.m. Saturday. Begum was repeatedly hit in the head, chest and legs and lost a finger in the savage assault, police said.

I don't even know what to say at the disparity between the Newsday story and the version that Indymedia is showing. I guess that Indy poster spent a good deal of energy jumping to conclusions this morning. Watch the post disappear into the netherworld of Indymedia when someone checks the facts.

when is a terrorist not a terrorist?

[via Jeff Jarvis]

The answer, of course, is when the terrorist is a suicide bomber in a foreign country.

Manning Pynn, "public editor" of the Orlando Sentinel, on referring to members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad as terrorists:

In April, the committee adopted this standard: "Use caution when using these terms [militants, terrorists], which can show bias toward one side in a conflict. Generally, 'bombers,"attackers' or 'suicide bombers' are preferred terms."

The term "terrorist" certainly expresses judgment: It imputes to the person or organization being described the motive of trying to instill fear. "Militant" seems to me much more neutral. And that may be why the Sentinel, despite its style committee's decision, continues to use that term to describe Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Bias. Judgment. Neutral.

So what do you think Hamas and Islamic Jihad are doing if not trying to install fear? Are they just calling Israelis out for a friendly game of dodgeball? Perhaps blowing up a bus filled with innocent people is just their way of clacking some beer bottles together and smirking "Warriors, come out and plaaa-aay!"

Why are so many editors (Reuters, NYT, etc.) afraid to show bias in a situation like this? As if siding with people who strap bombs to themselves and blow up little babies is an option.

I'm afraid that the horse is out of the barn on the labeling of al-Qaeda. Although journalists strive to avoid expressing bias in reporting the news, the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, so shocked Americans -- including the news media -- that they almost universally applied the term "terrorism" to what had happened. I don't think the Sentinel will retreat from that.

Does that mean, though, that we should extend that judgment to all attacks on civilians?

I see. So until some hell-bent on martyrdom Palestinian blows himself to bits in say, downtown Dallas, they should be referred to as militants. You know, people sending a dire message by use of symbolism. Remember kids, it's not terrorism until it happens on your doorstep!

[Sami] Qubty [president of the Arab-American Community Center of Central Florida] acknowledged that suicide bombings resemble terrorism but likened them to the actions of Israelis "when they go out and shoot a missile and kill innocent bystanders."

I'd sure like to have some of what Qubty has been inhaling. Maybe it's some new Palestinian math, where an equation would look like this:

man strapping bomb to self and climbing aboard a bus packed with women, kids and non-military people, then detonating that bomb in order to provide maximum death and carnage = Israeli soldiers leveling the home of the leader of a terrorist organization, in the process killing a few terrorists and their supporters, and, on occassion accidently killing an innocent bystander.

It's moral equivalence run amok.

Pynn concludes:

But my belief -- and those of others who recoil at the violence -- doesn't warrant further injecting judgmental terms into impartial news reporting.

I have only this to say to Mr. Pynn: Get a dictionary.

terrorism n : the systematic use of violence as a means to intimidate or coerce societies or governments.

terrorist n. one that engages in acts or an act of terrorism.

militant n. A fighting, warring, or aggressive person or party.

So under which part of those definitions to the words 'bombers,"attackers' or 'suicide bombers' not fit?

Stop holding the hands of the over-the-edge left. Stop with this P.C. bullshit that threatens to make a friend of everyone, even our enemies. Call a spade a spade. Call a murdering martyr a terrorist.


this day in history

Sure, it's also Sean Connery's birthday, but I have better people to share my day with than a crusty old mysogynist actor, or a crusty old mysgoynist member of Kiss, for that matter.

There's Elvis Costello and Rollie Fingers. And, on a lesser known note, Oddibe McDowell, who was born on the exact same day as me, and Bill DeLargo, who was one of my most favorite hockey players ever, if not for his play than for the fact that he had the same birthday as me.

By far my favorite birthday twin is Tim Burton, whose creations have a special place in our DVD collection, filed under, of course, Tim Burton masterpieces. No, Planet of the Apes is not there.

This day in history:

Paris was liberated (1944), Truman Capote died (1984), and New Orleans was founded (1718).

Boston released their first album (1976), Aaliyah died in a plane crash (2001), as did Samantha Smith (1985). Mark McGwire hit his first major league home run (1986).

On the day I was born (1962), bread was 21 cents a loaf, minimum wage was $1.15 and a stamp cost four cents.

People were reading A Clockwork Orange and Silent Spring, were listening to Sherry by the Four Seasons and watching Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird.

And, of course, on this day in 2002, I married Justin. Happy anniversary, baby. [see the two posts below this one for the treacly love stuff]

August 24, 2003

obligatory virus post

I've developed a new hobby in regards to this email virus going around: email address watching.

The way the virus spreads like a spider web through the address books of email users means that it eventually will come crawling back into your mailbox via the contacts of other people. Like the old commercial - and she tells a friend, and she tells two friends...

I've received the re:wicked screensaver email, as well as at least a dozen variation of that header from people at Fox News, the New York Times, several universities, Honest Reporting, Music Match and many other well-known websites or media outlets.

I lost count of the amount of bloggers whose address book has sent out hundreds of emails to me; apparently I am also spamming myself, but I have done the good samaritan thing and deleted the entire contents of the Contact list in my copy of Outlook. I would suggest you all do the same. And if you emailed me and are waiting for a reply, it's probably safe to assume that your email got mixed in with the 700 wicked screensaver emails I delete a day. Please make your headers clear that your email is disease free, thank you.

Anyhow, I can always claim later on that I received emails from several famous people - I don't have to mention anything about that email being nothing more than a virus, right?

On another technical note, I have forgiven Google for installing its new toolbar without asking me if I wanted to update. I am very impressed with its capabilities.

Oh, and Natalie just called from the road somewhere in Connecticut. My mother's car broke down. They're being towed to a rent-a-car place where they will proceed with the trip to Boston eventually. I didn't want to alarm Natalie or the other occupants of the two-car caravan, but I know it's all the evil cross-eyed girl's fault.

while my kids vacation in the netherworld...

[click for bigger image]Some time this afternoon, my kids will be on their way to Boston with my mother, her sister and most of their collective grandchildren. I tend to worry when my kids go away without me. You know how that worry is; it's like a slow-moving car full of horrible ideas that gathers speed until it's an out-of-control semi hurtling off of a cliff.

Oh, I trust my mother implicitly. It's other people I don't trust. I think of highway wrecks and bad weather and sinister roller coasters and, in the ridiculous notions that come to you at 3am, the ghost of the Redcoats taking hold of the kids while they are on some historic tour.

They'll be gone most of the week and then they'll be home just long enough for me to throw their clothes in the laundry and pack them up once again, and they'll head off for another trip, this time with their father and his girlfriend and her kids, to Toronto.

They are going to make a stop in Syracuse, New York to stroll around the New York State Fair on Friday evening. And this is where that hurtling semi of worry crashes and burns. No, I'm not worried about simple amusement park rides or escaped wild pigs or the way kids have of getting lost in the crowd. It's that poster you see up there.

That's the poster for the New York State Fair. It is obvious from viewing that picture that my ex is taking my kids into the land of Satan, where evil bunny rabbits hide in the bushes and dragons come galloping down the countryside, ready to eat small children like so much cotton candy or toupee wearing cows perch in the cornstalks, waiting to tear babies from their parents while the evil, cross-eyed girl turns their parents into butter sculptures. Oh, you think I'm the only one who sees that? Hell awaits you, State Fair revelers! [more like that here].

Of course, it doesn't help that I am in the midst of reading Black House, with its missing children and cannibalistic creatures that speak in tongues about children hobbling on bloody feet.

This is the curse of the imaginative mind. You can't turn it off at will, nor can you control the dark depths to which that imagination will take you.

I'll be here all week, thank you, telling you about my nightmares and fretting the lack of text messages from my daughter.

derbyshire loses me again

Back in January, Judge Roy Moore - you know, the guy who idolizes a graven image - said the following:

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore warned a religious audience Tuesday night of "great consequences" when America turns away from God and suggested the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks might be an example....
"How many of you remember Americans running to get gas masks because (of) some bearded man in Afghanistan?" Moore asked during his address at Georgetown University. "Fear struck this country...You see, there are consequences when we turn away from our source of our strength."

Take from that what you will. What puzzles me more than Moore's assertion that 9/11 may have been caused by a lack of faith in his God is what John Derbyshire had to say yesterday:

Roy Moore's comments...that 9/11 was a judgment on us, were common at the time, and are theologically perfectly respectable in both the Judaic and Christian (and therefore, presumably, also the Muslim) traditions.

Perfectly respectable. Then Derbyshire points us to a "brilliant and perceptive" article he wrote on the subject one month after 9/11.

Perhaps from his point of view, the article was perceptive. I would hardly call it brilliant in terms of what Derbyshire wrote yesterday because he doesn't really make the point of what he believes, but he makes his views knowb by taking what certain evangelists believed right after 9/11 - Pat [Robertson] and Jerry [Falwell] think that the events of last week are a judgment on us for our sinful ways, a call to repentance and saying:

Theologically speaking, the position Pat and Jerry are promoting has a long and respectable pedigree.

I find it no more respectable than the terrorists who claimed the same thing, than the jihad-makers say they are exacting revenge for their god, when any religion - be it Christianity, Judaism, or any kind of ism or theism - claims that world events are a direct result of us not being religious enough or straying away from a, no their, god.

I do understand that neither Moore nor Derbyshire is saying that God is the one responsible for planes being flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; they are more or less preaching that if we were more religious, more in tune with God, then we would, in turn, not be idolizing celebrities and dollar bills or making R-rated movies or being fat, lazy Americans, and then we would not be so hated by the practitioners of radical Islam and they would have no reason to attack us.

So, if we accept God, accept the ten commandments as written, bow before the deity that Moore and Derbyshire and Falwell believe in and behave according to their moral standards; if we go to church and take communion and confess our sins or, better yet, don't commit any sins, then we will be safe from terrorist attacks from those praising Allah and waiting for their virginal rewards in the afterlife.

Sure, I'm being obtuse and maybe just a bit belligerent, but that's the way I'm reading Derbyshire and Moore, and that's why I am just a bit pissed off that Derbyshire thinks Moore's views, and the views of those other evangelical Christians, are respectable. Even within the confines of their respective religious beliefs, I cannot fathom that placing the blame for 9/11 on the downfall of religion in America is in any way respectable.

August 23, 2003

What i'm watching now

I hope it feels so good to be right. There's nothing more exhilarating than pointing out the shortcomings of others, is there?

He had all the best lines in that movie.

it's not instant, but it's gonna get ya

Karma.

John Geoghan, a defrocked Roman Catholic priest and convicted child molester, died Saturday after he was assaulted in prison, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Corrections told CNN.

John Geoghan:

Defrocked priest
130 alleged victims
Serial molester whose exploits go as far back as 1962
Protected by the church
Convict
A product of Cardinal Law's corruption.

Dead.

Karma.

birthday goodies!

Thank you so much to Rob and Joy for the very thoughtful birthday gift, the DVD of Singles. We are going to watch it tonight, so tomorrow I will be running around saying things like "A compliment for us is a compliment for you!" I adore this movie and I adore both Rob and Joy. And Noah! Thank you so much.

And another package! This one from Jonno, the man I love like the Italian goomba brother I never had but always wanted. Steam Punk: Manimatron by Joe Kelly will be read after Singles is over, out on the porch with the stars and the moonligh and Mars and a rum and coke. Thank you, Jonno!

let them eat stale cake

[Reason via Joanne Jacobs]

Ray Bradbury is 83 today. Happy birthday to a man who understands the fight against censorship dressed up as multiculturalism:

For it is a mad world and it will get madder if we allow the minorities, be they dwarf or giant, orangutan or dolphin, nuclear-head or water-conversationalist, pro-computerologist or Neo-Luddite, simpleton or sage, to interfere with aesthetics. The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my book or stories or poems is where their rights and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule. If Mormons do not like my plays, let them write their own. If the Irish hate my Dublin stories, let them rent typewriters. If teachers and grammar school editors find my jawbreaker sentences shatter their mushmild teeth, let them eat stale cake dunked in weak tea of their own ungodly manufacture. If the Chicano intellectuals wish to re-cut my "Wonderful Ice Cream Suit" so it shapes "Zoot," may the belt unravel and the pants fall.

Bravo, Mr. Bradbury. And happy birthday.

another legend gone


Well, damn.

For those who don't remember Bobby Bonds, think Rickey Henderson without the attitude. Speed, power and class. That was Bonds.

Bonds was employed by the San Fransisco Giants when he passed away today, at the age of 57. It was his 23rd season working for the team he started out with.

Career totals for Bobby Bonds [Giants, Yankees, Angels, White Sox, Rangers Indians, Cardinals, Cubs]:

Games:1849 Hits:1886 Home Runs:332 RBIs:1024 Stolen Bases:461 Batting Average:.268 Sons who are home run kings: 1

today's blogging lesson

It is imperative to take your posts off of "draft" position if you want anyone to actually read them, or you will sit around all day checking your email for comments and wondering why no one has anything to say about that post you wrote at 7am.

Class dismissed.

the cheering enemy

[via Kathy K]

Let us once again remind ourselves what we are up against in our battle vs. those who have declared jihad against the United States and its allies.

Here is the homepage for Al Muhajioroun UK, a group which proclaims itself to be the voice, the eyes and the ears of the Muslims.

They are holding a conference on September 11, 2003: The Magnificent 19 That Divided The World on September 11th.

Basically, it is a celebration of 9/11. From the official press release:

Almost two years on from September the 11th 2001 the world embraces itself for another anniversary. Many Muslims worldwide will be celebrating the comeuppance of the USA in what they see as retribution for the atrocities that the US has committed, and indeed continues to commit, against Muslims. Afghanistan and Iraq being the most recent examples.

The release then goes on to explain how important it is to make sure the world converts to the Muslim relgion:

..[T]he call for the return of the Khilafah system, of ruling solely by the Shari'ah, can be heard. The hatred towards the US and UK, and their evil plans to crush Islam and Muslims, and to force a washed-down version of Islam on Muslims, similar to Christianity, has backfired, and instead, more and more Muslims are queuing up to fight Jihad and are willing to die to see the domination of divine law over man made law.

They praise recent acts of terrorism and wear the badge of hatred for America and its allies proudly. They are fighting a war and their main weapon is martyrdom:

...[W]e see how a comparatively tiny army, with rudimentary weapons, have imposed such heavy casualties and losses on the alliances of Shaytaan in these areas. How, armed mainly with their Tawheed, Imaan and Tawakkul, the Mujahideen have brought dignity and honour back to the Muslims worldwide and how they have revitalized the Passion for Jihad.

Dignity and honor. Any religon that can find dignity and honor in the murder of innocent people is a fraud. To be overjoyed when people die, to perpetuate the notion that killing is good and you will be rewarded by the Great and Powerful American-Hating God upon your bloody, self-inflicted demise seems almost too absurd to be true.

Yet it is true. In the 21st century, there are still people who believe that hatred is a virtue, that murder is a gift to their god, that the death of thousands is a cause for celebration.

So what will the followers of this jihad, this disgusting offshoot of a religion, be doing on September 11, 2003?

Two years on then, it seems that during their customary 1 minutes silence in NewYork and elsewhere on September the 11th 2003, Muslims worldwide will again be watching replays of the collapse of the Twin Towers, praying to Allah (SWT) to grant those magnificent 19, Paradise. They will also be praying for the reverberations to continue until the eradication of all man-made law and the implementation of divine law in the form of the Khilafah - carrying the message of Islam to the world and striving for Izhar ud-Deen i.e. the total domination of the world by Islam.

Is this enough of a reminder of who our enemy is? Our enemy is not George Bush, not capitalism, not our own way of life. Our enemy has made itself known. To think otherwise is naive and foolish.

But hey, let's go hold their hands and try to understand them, ok?

No.

hot moist morford

I couldn't even get through most of Morford's rant about the Bush action figure without having to consult Babelfish, but then I remembered that Babelfish doesn't translate gibberish or magnetic poetry paragraphs so I just shrugged it off and plowed on, hoping to find some clue that there is indeed lifeform within Morford's brain and he is not really a LeftyBot as some people have suggested.

Down towards the bottom of Morford's nonsensical ode to glass dildos (I think that's what it was about, anyhow), comes his definition of a hero:

Maybe we've forgotten that a hero is, of course, someone who goes deep into the underworld and has terrifically spiritual and self-revealing adventures full of danger and mystery and hot moist goddesses who offer him magic and mysteriously juicy fruit.

All coupled with the ever-present threat of death and/or immortality, endless failures and setbacks and strange gifts, and yet he re-emerges above ground stronger, more aware, attuned, enlightened and potent.

I took an Excedrin Migraine, which I always keep handy when reading Morford, and read through the definition again and then last sentence of his screed:

Because the hero you most need? It's you. Simple, really.

Well yea, if you're playing Zork or Zelda.

Which leads me to believe that Morford is, indeed, nothing more than a computer program designed to spit out the most inane drivel ever (as its fed a litany of keywords including BushCo, dildos, asexual, daddy and stolen), and some strain of a nasty virus infected the inner workings of its code so it got mixed up with the ROMs for adventure games and this is what we get.

We've all been had. The virus IS Morford and he's infecting your computer right this minute, downloading naked pictures of Arianna Huffington and sending emails to A.N.S.W.E.R.

Ctrl-Alt-Dlt! Now!

primal has been purged

One of my favorite women in the blogosphere has ditched blogspot and made a run for the border. I mean, a run to her own domain.

Visit Anna's very funny blog right here.

Now!

indymedia

For those who wondered why there was nothing about the suicide bombing in Israel this week on (spefically the NYC) Indymedia, it's because the moderators of Indymedia pulled any such posts down.

Here is where all the hidden posts go.

To their credit, the moderators also hid some posts by anti-semite Latuff, and with good reason. However, I can not see their reasoning in pulling a post that just announced the news of the bus bomb attack.

They also think it's ok to post pictures of dying and injured children in Iraq so they can blame our soldiers, but it's not ok to post pictures of injured Israeli children. Why? Out of fear that it might make their pro-terrorism sentiments less palatable?

I don't know if this is just specific for the NYC Indymedia, or if it happens at the other sites, but I was under the impression that Indymedia stood for free speech, free press, the right to speak out and print the news stories and opinion you wanted to without any capitalist pig editor hanging a red marker over your head. Or something like that.

Yet the NYC Indymedia hides posts on a daily basis, and not all of them are pro-Israel or pro-Bush; some of them are decidedly leftists posts. I'm just curious as to why this organization that so cries at every turn how our freedoms have been diminished since 9/11 and screams They ar stifling my dissent! at every turn is so knee-jerk and free-wheeling with their own editing policies.

Anyone?

yo ho ho

[via Blue Green Egg]

A classroom lesson on pirates yields the following observation:

Pirates were big mean guys on a ship that sailed the big blue wet thing.
(That might mean the Caribbean Sea.)
Pirates can get really fussy when it comes to drinking rum.
Heck, thats there main drink.
Drink too much rum and you get very fat.
So don't drink too much rum you pirates.

And they say our kids aren't learning anything these days.

August 22, 2003

superstars of the 70's!

I found it!

I have been searching for proof of the existence of this album for years. Unfortunately, it's not available. But I least my treasure hunt is complete.

My cousin Stan gave me Superstars of the 70's for Christmas when I was 11 or 12. Stan wanted me to hear bands like The Kinks and The Rolling Stones.

Instead, I played Paranoid over and over until my mother told me she would break the record if I played it one more time.

I felt cheated when I realized later on that Roundabout and Whole Lotta Love were entirely misrepresented on this album, as they were the shortened radio-edit versions.

I remember exactly which songs I skipped and which I played. I know precisely which songs I played on repeat, meaning I would pick up the needle and plop it down on the deep, black edge of the song to start again.

I know that at some point a skip developed halway through Doctor My Eyes, and to this day I still sing it with that Doc..Doc..Doc.. hiccup. The album cover was blue with a rocketship that had flames coming out of the end and the song names were written in the flames.

I would give anything (well almost anything) to have a copy of this album again. It will be my birthday present to myself and I will spend every waking moment between now and Monday scouring garage sales and auction sites and used record stores until I find this.

And then I'll remember that I don't have a turntable but that doesn't matter, because I can play the album in my head from memory.

nevermind the disco, we had punk rock

And continuing with the Friday night mindless blogging:

We'v been watching VH1's I Love the 70's almost non-stop and I have come to the conclusion that the 70's were way cooler than the 80's.

This is an educated opinion, having lived through both eras and being old enough to actually remember the 70's and young enough to have embarassed myself in the 80's.

Commence with the 70's v. 80's arguments.

I have this sudden urge to track down a K-Tel best of the 70's album.

random thought for the evening

I am in love with Hal Sparks.

A deep, stalkerish, obsessive sort of love. The most delicious kind.

Does anyone know his address?

"wholly without merit"

Memo to Bill O'Reilly:

Please shut up now.

rock over london, rock on chicago

Wesley Willis died last night. He was forty years old.

Wesley made his mark on the world first as a street performer in Chicago, commenting on the world at large to the tune of a Casio keyboard. He gained some fame when he signed with Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacle records, recording 50 albums.

Most of his songs were odes to other bands and other popular figures. They mostly had the same tune, repeated the title over and over and ended with some catch phrase like Timex, it takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

I love your movies
I love you too
You are the best man that I have ever liked
You are my rich man
You are my big millionaire

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Wheaties, breakfast of champions

There was something about this schizophrenic performer that made me love him, despite his simple lyrics and nonsenical music. He was earnest, straightfoward and a simply fascinating figure.

Sleep well, Wesley.

Superman had a big "S" on his chest
He was drawing on my nerves
I got mad at his drunk ass
I gave him a war hell ride

I whipped Superman's ass
I whipped Superman's ass
I whipped Superman's ass
I whipped Superman's ass

a continuation on moore

See post below for reference.

It is not a matter of being offended at the ten commandents per se. We can, however, be offended in the manner in which the monument of the ten commandments was erected in front of the courthouse:

Moore...installed..the monument in the rotunda of the judicial building two years ago in the middle of the night.

August 16, 2001:

In what is described as a "smug," "brazen" and secretive move, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore has ordered stealth placement of a 5,280-pound monument to the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the state's Judicial Building.

Moore also has opened his courtroom with prayer:

"Good morning, ladies and gentleman, I think we've got a roomful here today," Alabama Judge Roy Moore said as he greeted the crowd of spectators and prospective jurors packed into his courtroom on February 24. "As we have always done in Etowah County, we're going to be opening with prayer

Contrary to what some people are stating, Moore does not want the monument there as a testament to our legal heritage, but as a morality statement:

The chief justice testified that he installed the monument partly because of concern the country has suffered a moral decline over the past 40 or 50 years as a result of federal court rulings, including those against prayer in public schools

Moore has used his courtroom to rant against homosexuality on religious ground, he has posted the ten commandments in his courtroom and has traveled the nation telling kids to post the commandments in their classrooms.

He believes that posting the commandments in classrooms would stop school violence and that school shootings happen because the kids involved did not have a copy of the ten commandments handy.

Why have I posted all this? To back up my contention that Justice Roy Moore is using the monument in front of his courthouse as a rallying point for his religious agenda. This is not really about a piece of granite to Moore. It is about hard line Christianity and Moore's notion that we should all grasp his concept of religion, lest we roast in the fires of hell.

He is seriously misleading the Christian faithful who are guarding the monument day and night and taking Moore's mission to heart. For them, it may be about the commandments. For Moore, the followers are nothing more than a means to an end. He is using them and the publicity they are generating with their histrionics to spread the word of - not Jesus Christ or Moses or God - but Justice Roy Moore.

divine intervention

Justice Roy Moore's problem is his arrogance in believing that the words of his God should be standing in front of a federal building.

I say let Moore have his way. And then erect similar statues inscribed with the faith guidelines according to not only Christians and Jews, but Buddhists and Hindus and Muslims and Wiccans and Mormons, Baptists, Protestants, Satanists, Scientoligists and whoever else has a religions whose people may work in that courthouse or walk through its doors.

All this crying and genuflecting/going on over a piece of stone reminds me of this portion of the commandments:

I AM THE LORD THY GOD, THOU SHALT NOT HAVE strange gods BEFORE ME.

"Idolizing material images to the point they are held in superstition, and as men would suspect, suppose, determine 'The Creator of All Things' would be like; such as idols of human form or animal likeness also.

Eliminating the Mystery of a Divine Being that no man can touch, see or feel. Replacing this Mystery with physical means and emphasis put on knowledge and man's own senses.

Then I remember the words a priest told me, back in ninth grade when I was questioning my faith. He said "You do not need to carry symbols or enter a church if God is truly in your heart."

Is the morality of Alabama going to plunge to dark depths if the monument is removed? Will fires reign from the sky and the ground open up to swallow souls? Locusts? Frogs?

No?

Unless Justice Moore wants to embrace every religion that exists by erecting similar monuments for their dogmas, then he must abide and let it be removed. Besides admitting the the fact that the law, the consitution and his peers on the bench all agree that the monument must go, Moore also needs to recognize that not everyone in the world is a member of his church and as much as he would not want to be confronted by a statue of a Hindu god in a state-run building, there are people who do not want to be confronted by this 5,300 momument to Moore's particular faith.

UPDATE: For those commenting and emailing that this country was founded on the basis of Christian values, etc., please read below.

Thanks to Ken for the link.

  • Our nation was founded as a secular government, based on the authority of "We, the People," not a god, king, or dictator.

  • The U.S. Constitution is a godless document.

  • There is no mention of Jesus, Christ, Christianity, religious persecution, or religious freedom in the Declaration of Independence.

  • The U.S.A. was the first nation in history to separate church and state.

  • Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting free exercise.

  • The phrase "wall of separation between church and state" originated with
    a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson coined this phrase in a carefully crafted letter to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut in 1802. It has since been widely picked up and invoked in major Supreme Court decisions.

  • President Adams wrote in 1797 "..the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.."

for the interested

The entry below has been turned into a photoessay, over at Retrovertigo.

a familiar place

A few days ago David asked "do you love where you live," and I answered in the affirmative.

The real question today is, do I love where I live enough to sacrifice my dream of home-ownership?

A Newsday article today reveals that the median price for a home in Nassau County, Long Island is $400,000.

For those of you in smaller markets, I'll give you a few minutes to wrap your mind around that figure. $400,000.

We live in my late grandmother's house, which is now owned by my father and aunt. Another aunt and uncle also live in this house, upstairs from us.

We've wanted to move for a quite a while and set a goal for ourselves that we would be out of here once DJ finishes elementary school, a little less than a year from now. Our reasoning is that once he hits middle school, he will get a bus and I will no longer have to depend on my mother, who lives across the street, to take him to and from school.

The problem is, we do not want to leave this town. I've lived here my whole life, all almost-41 years of it, starting in the house I'm in now, then across the street, then to a house on the other side of town and, completing the full circle, back in grandma's house where I lived in my infancy.

I love where I live but it's getting hard to afford the cost of living here. The taxes are high, the home prices are high, the cost of car insurance, utilities and property taxes keep skyrocketing.

You probably think that $400,000 would buy a nice piece of property and a beautiful home. Think again. A home down the block from us sold last month for $320k. One level. Two bedrooms. The house is basically a box sitting on some grass. Everything in the home, from the walls to the floors to the plumbing is at least 40 years old. Yet the owners asked for, and received, over $300k for their home.

What could that kind of money buy you in upstate New York or Pennsylvania or South Carolina? Something larger, roomier and more modern, I'm sure.

So now we have to weigh the benefits of buying a home against the benefits of living here. Because, if we were to really, honestly think about becoming homeowners, it would have to be elsewhere. Even the most worn-down, crime-ridden neighborhoods of Long Island have become financially out of reach for us.

What keeps me here then? First, there's my family. My parents, my sisters, aunts and uncles and cousins that live so close we share a yard. I grew up with my cousins as my best friends, my kids now have the same. They walk out the door and there are ten kids, all related, ready to play baseball or go swimming or just hang out and play video games. It's a benefit that cannot be outweighed by anything, not even rural night skies or wide country lanes or peaceful nights without the honking of horns and the sounds of sirens disturbing the sleep.

It's the four distinct seasons with blizzard-like snowstorms and thunderous summer rains and autumn trees that light the sky on fire. It's the snow days when everyone in town gathers in the same spot and we watch our kids slide down the same hill that we tumbled down as children. It's the familiar faces at school, the music teacher that has been there since time began, the way the cashier at Burger King remarks on how much your son has grown, the way your neighbors and the local deli clerk and the postman all show up at the funeral of your grandfather.

We are in the middle of nowhere if we want to be, but in the middle of everything should we desire it. We can ensconce ourselves in the compound we created by running paths and walkways from one family house to another, and it is just us, laughing, drinking, enjoying the closeness that so few families get to share these days. Even my ex-husband, the father of my kids, lives in this town. We work down the block from each other. Our mothers work in the same library. It's not just this town itself, but the whole of this county, this township that weaves all of us together like a blended family.

We are a pleasant drive from the tip of Long Island, where we can whale watch or see beautiful sunsets and wave to passing boats. We are ten minutes from the beach, where we can swim in the Atlantic ocean until sunset and watch as the sky turns a hundred shades of beautiful.

40 minutes by car or train and we are in New York City, attending concerts, going to museums or just walking the streets and acting like tourists.

Long Island has its own museums, its own places of beauty and reverence, a whole history to explore and nature trails to walk. Aquariums, arboretums, bird sanctuaries and miles and miles of beaches, parks and woods all lay before us.

People stay here. My kids go to school with children of the people I went to school with. This is not a town that people pack up and leave in a hurry when they get married and start families. We are grounded here. We are settlers.

So I have to make a choice. Do I give up the dream of owning a home and stay here where we are happy, where my kids are thriving, where my extended family reaches beyond the boundaries of my own walls, where the entire town is my home?

Or do we pack up and leave all this and move to a less expensive place where property tax costs don't require you to have a second job and a four bedroom palace costs the same as a Long Island bungalow in deteriorating condition?

We could rent here, probably for the cost of what a mortgage would be but without the property taxes and utilities weighing us down. We could take second jobs each and buy a home but not have any time to enjoy it or to watch the children enjoy it.

We could leave Long Island, leave my hometown of East Meadow and spend the rest of my life being homesick.

I love it here. I hate the traffic, I hate the cost of living, I hate the way strip malls have permeated the highways and left not a tree standing.

But I love everything else so much - the family, the friends, the small-town feel in a rather large town - that I would spend the rest of my life cursing the crowded parkways rather than leave everything that comes with Long Island Expressway behind.

I don't have $400,000 to spend on a home that has no more room than where we live now. I have kids who are fast approaching college days. My money is earmarked for that now. So I'll defer the dream of owning my own house and live here, renting away, in the knowledge that my children will head off to college having had the best possible life - one filled with family and the comfort of a town that is honestly their own.

[If you liked this post, check back later, as I'm going to transform it into a photo essay]

August 21, 2003

a burning building by any other name...

Guess what book is number five (presumably with a bullet) on the Amazon France bestseller's list?

That's right - Windows on the World, the fictionalized, pornagraphic, badly written account of one man's obsession with trivializing the deaths of thousands of people.

Merde in France has another excerpt today:

8:48 AM Other possible names for the restaurant in the World Trade Center: - Windows on the Planes - Windows on the Crash - Windows on the Smoke - Broken Windows

Yesterday's excerpt was laughable for the cheesy yet disturbing dialogue.

Today's reads more like a late night comedian throwing out one-liners about 9/11, a David Letterman-esque top ten list that would draw ire instead of laughter and possibly leave the comedian running from the studio with hundreds of angry audience members holding blunt instruments trailing him.

Nevermind that the alternate names listed in that excerpt are stupid. The point is, author Beigbeder is clearly going for shock value and I imagine that he smirked in that French sort of way - maybe even sneered - when he wrote those lines, thinking he was being so clever and so daring.

I haven't been able to find a review yet, but I can review it one word with only having read the few bits and pieces translated at MiF:

Revolting.

Thank you, French readers, for making this book a big hit and proving that your sneering pomposity towards America is not some big myth.

Get your blog war on!

I feel that those who have taken Instapundit's side in his war against Frank have not done enough to show their support. So I am taking matters into my own hands.

blogwar.gif

Read the whole thing below.

getyourblogwaron.gif

Worst Album Ever: The Results

The nomination portion of the Worst Album Ever poll is over.

Using a series of mathematical equations, statistics stolen from the MIT computer database and the sorting hat from Harry Potter, it has become undoubtedly clear that the worst album ever by a mostly decent band is....

[insert drum roll]

U2's Zooropa!

What I actually did was use the Design Your Own Hell program and had the bands fight to the death in an all-out, click-this-space war.

It is quite the comfort to note that any Post-Hagar Van Halen is Buried for Eternity in the fourth circle of Rock and Roll Hell.

In fact, most of the albums ended up in circles of hell where the description of their afterlife suits them perfectly.


Wu-Tang - Wu Tang Forever
Circle I Limbo

Bjork - Homogenous
Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind

Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville
Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow

REM - Monster
Circle IV Rolling Weights

Guns N Roses - Use Your Illusion I & II
Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled

River Styx

Any Post-Hagar Van Halen
Circle VI Buried for Eternity

River Phlegyas

Clash - Cut the Crap
Circle VII Burning Sands

Pink Floyd - Division Bell
Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement

U2- Zooropa
Circle IX Frozen in Ice

Design your own hell

Thanks to everyone who participated, except for the person who deemed it necessary to make a snarky comment about the album of a musician who participated in the voting. Totally unecessary.

I'm already thinking of a way to use this hell generator for another vote-a-thon.

bedside movie review: Final Destination 2

I'm not sure if the ending was supposed to be scary, but I laughed so hard I started choking.

As for the rest of the movie, I suppose if you're stuck in the house and there's crap on tv and you just took some NyQuil combined with Motrin and you haven't eaten in three days or slept well in four nights and your mind is in the space that exists between brain dead and comatose, FD2 might provide some weak-smiled moments, most likely in the all the places where you aren't supposed to smile at all.

disease of the week

Conversation with my friend Barbara, who had the same virus (human, not computer) as me:

Me: It's just a mix of really weird symptoms.
B: I think it attacked every part of my body.
Me: What do you suppose it is? I bet it's some kind of terrorism!
B: Bio-chemical, I bet.
Me: Oh no, I have anthrax!
B: Anthrax? You couldn't come up with something newer than that?
Me: Hey, I'm an old school kinda girl.
B: I'm almost embarassed for you for saying that. It's so last year.
Me: Well, at least I didn't say Mad Cow. Maybe it's Monkeypox.
B: SARS...
Me: SARS is passé.
B: West Nile.
Me: Now there's a disease that never goes out of fashion.


Sad thing is, most of our conversations are like that.

it's starting to stink around this place

Home with this nasty virus today and catching up on my blog reading and was rather taken aback by some posts.

I have this problem with bloggers of a certain political persuasion being lumped together as if they were all of one mind. We are not identical twins or triplets or quadhundreds. While we each may lean this way or that, it does not mean we are tied at the brain to each other or that our ideologies run neck and neck around the length of the global wars on terror.

I am seriously going to start distancing myself from certain rabid factions of the blogosphere.

redefining the language of war

I think I get it now.

A cease-fire relates only to firearms and missiles. It does not apply to say, bombs on buses that kill twenty people, including children.


That Palestinian dictionary sure is tricky.

morford's back, back again

Mark Morford is back from vacation. Oh, how I missed him. Looks like he spent some time in Reno, contemplating how he could use the seedy, desperate throngs of fortune-seekers to vomit up another column about how ugly Bush's America is. Using his special Distorted Vision Glasses, Morford hit triple 7's on his left-slanted slot machine.

He starts off innocently enough, comparing Reno and all of its smoky casinos and its air of despair to Hell itself, rings upon rings of different versions of a netherworld where forlorn people stare fixedly at numbers and fruits waiting for the sound of the jackpot.

And then he digresses, of course.

Here is your metaphor. Here is your ideal and painfully real analogy. The dank and stained bingo room in the Sands, in Reno. This is exactly what is happening in this country. This is what we have become.

We have become a Bingo Hall filled with middle-aged desperados, smoking and lifeless and clinging to hope that our number will come up. I think.

Because it is but a short little spiritual/psychological leap to note how we all have our bingo rooms and we all feel that soft whooshing, that sinister tug from the demons of mass cultural stasis and inertia and noxious television and poisonous junk food and Wal-Mart and BushCo squinting and trying to look all fierce and manly when he can't even pronounce the name of the latest country we're about to massacre.

He's losing me at this point. Is Bush the bingo master and we are the gray-haired, lonely people sitting with bingo markers hoping that Bush calls our number? Wal-Mart! McDonald's! Bingo!

The bingo room is in you, always. It is latent and cancerous and it is like "Everybody Loves Raymond" or born-again Christianity or the Olsen twins, weirdly tantalizing and notoriously toxic and yet part of you wants to succumb to its poisonous charms, its slow-motion heart attack, its river of Lethe.

Ok, so the bingo room is America, right? And we love it like we love the Olsen twins and if we go with the flow of that love we get poisoned and....wait, I'm still lost.

Because in the bingo room, there is no pain. There is no suffering or political bickering or gutted school budgets or taxes or screaming breakups or bad sex or rampant lies about endless wars.

So, the bingo room is crack? No, that can't be it. I don't see what this has to do with Bush's America yet. But I'm sure Morford will get there eventually. Sometimes he just takes a few paragraphs too many to get to his point.

There is only the harmless shifting of numb buttock muscles, the marking of bingo cards, and of time. There are only the tiny but endlessly alluring cash prizes, the haze of menthol smoke, a makeshift community of lostness and decay and happy emphysemic stupor, that sinking feeling that it's all going to be over soon anyway so might as well just plop down and order another white zin and wait for your number to be called. Because it always comes.

Ok, I think I got it. America, you see, is a stinking hellhole of sadness and depression and Bush is, indeed the bingo caller. And we are all just numbly sitting here waiting for Bush to call our number and when he does we commit suicide.

No, that can't be it. Oh, I see it! America sucks and Bush is the reason it does so. And we are all just smoking cigarettes and drinking wine and eating fast food and ogling Mary-Kate and Ashley while we are waiting for Bush's America to kill us because he is responsible for all of our vices, we can just blame him for the fact that we are consumers and we like Big Macs.

All of this deciphering is making me hungry. Hang on while I get some coffee and a big, hearty, greasy breakfast from Burger King.

Ok, now that I've thought about it I realize my mistake in trying to analyze Morford, much in the same way that I realized my mistake about analyzing Ted Rall. See, no matter what Ted Rall writes or draws or spews out of his mouth on Bill Maher's show, it all comes down to the same robotic gesture: Bush stole the election.

With Morford it's the same but a bit different. No matter what he writes, no matter what comes out of that deranged, juvenile mind of his, no matter how many nicknames he comes up with for Bush or how many heavy-handed metaphors he finds to describe America, it all comes down to the same gesture: He does not know how to say "America sucks and it's all your fault, Bush" in less than 500 words.

But herein lies the difference between Rall and Morford; Morford can sometimes be amusing. Where Rall is often hateful, deceitful, arrogant and deliberately mean-spirited, Morford is almost silly. Rall's columns usually leave me with a feeling of digust and reaching for the Tums.

Reading Morford's columns is more akin to standing in the hallway of an elementary school and reading the essays tacked to the wall. You point and laugh slyly at how cute and innocent the children and their grammatical and spelling errors are. You grin at the simplistic views of the worlrd. You chuckle at their artistic renditions of family members.

Rall is the obnoxious high-school kid whose ass you want to kick down the stairs. Morford is the five year old daydreamer whose head you pat while giving a knowing smile to the teacher. He's special, isn't he?

Morford: The internet's version of the kid with the helmet.

August 20, 2003

kiss my robot ass

I'm going back to the couch to feel sorry for my virus infested self. Why doesn't someone make a anti-virus program for the human body? Norton's For Humans v.1.0. It would be a big seller, I bet.

Don't forget about the worst album post - I'm going to be using the Design Your Own Hell program to narrow down the contestants so you can vote on the finalists.

One question before I go: Futurama has won an emmy every year since 1999. So why did Fox cancel it instead of finding a better timeslot for the show. Yes, the obvious answer is because they are idiots, but I'm sure there is some other explanation.

UPDATE: Go cast your vote for Jim's Juxebox From Hell. Thanks, Matt.

i suppose this is what counts as french porn

Merde in France ("W") writes to tell me that Frédéric Beigbeder's book, Windows on the World, was officially released this morning.

You'll recall that Mr. Beigbeder's book is a fictional telling of what happened in the Windows on the World restaurant atop the World Trade Center the morning of September 11th. He made the story up because, as the teaser for the book stated: "The only way to know what happened in the restaurant at the 107th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11 2001, between 8:30 and 10:29 AM is to make it up." You can find more of my posts about Beigbeder and the ensuing arguments here, here and here.

W writes:

Well its out. Beigbeder's book was released this morning so I'll be providing unauthorized excerpts here from time to time. The book was prominently displayed along with Why are We at War?, Le monde secret de Bush : La Religion - Les Affaires - Les Réseaux occultes (The secret world of Bush : Religion - Business - Hidden networks), and the Che Guevara 'Say no to globalisation' calendar 2004. If you get the impression that the book is poorly written, take it from me, it has nothing to do with my translation.

The first translation proves that the earlier excerpts were very foretelling of the book's literary quality. That is to say, none.

- As far as I'm concerned, it's simple: forget the Porsche, I'm liquid, said the brown haired guy wearing Kenneth Cole. But I'm sure that 2002 will be better, just wait until Greenspan does his thing on the rates. - I love you, said the blond wearing Ralph Lauren. - I want to launch a hostile takeover on you, said the brown haired guy wearing Kenneth Cole. - Leave your fucking wife, said the blond wearing Ralph Lauren. - OK, I swear I'll tell her everything this evening when I get back from the health spa, said the brown haired guy wearing Kenneth Cole. And they French kissed real deep, using alot of tongue just like in the California made porno films and perfume commercials.

W has more.

Perhaps my anger and outrage over the printing of this book was all in vain. If the above excerpt is any indication, the book is poorly written and almost laughable.

Still, it does exploit the real victims of 9/11 and for that, Beigbeder deserves scorn. For the dialogue and writing, he deserves ridicule. Yet this man is a bit of an icon in France, inasmuch as hating America is a faddish sort of thing to do over there.

It remains to be seen how the book sells. Should it become a bestseller, as is expected, it will speak volumes about the views of the French towards the events of 9/11 and America itself. The reviews should also be interesting.

Meanwhile, Beigbeder is still on my "people to disdain" list not just for his turning the death of thousands into third-rate porn, but for the worst love scene dialogue this side of Attack of the Clones.

As W posts more excerpts at Merde in France, I will post the English translations here. Why? Because I think it is important for us to know who is laughing and who is ridiculing the pain and suffering of so many and, most importantly, laughing all the way to the bank.

And while you are over there, read the second post down in which another French author and quasi-celebrity writes: 'Let us hope that the next [attack] will come quickly and that, in order to increase its educational efficiency, it hits stronger and more accurately.

The French are no more our allies than the Saudis puport themselves to be.

maybe i shouldn't have eaten that email

I've come down with something that my doctor has diagnosed as a slow-moving virus. I very rarely go to the doctor, so you can be sure that the symptoms I felt today made me believe that I was suffering from a rare, complicated and potentially fatal disease that would require my admittance into a specialized clinic in a faraway country immediately. I mean, stat!

Apparently it's just some run-of-the-mill virus that happens to have mutant genes and it has taken root in my head, chest, lungs, stomach, back and skin. Yes, even my skin hurts.

Isn't it funny how just the other day I was feeling fit and healthy and coincidentally I came down with a bug about the same time I was planning nasty hijinks against Frank, a/k/a The Man Who Would Defame Glenn Reynolds. I think it's very interesting that I suddenly become stricken with a nasty, perhaps even fatal bug at the same time my email has been assaulted with a nasty bug so soon after Frank himself has come down with some sickness that he probably created himself in a lab just for the purpose of smiting his enemies. I'll get you, Frank. And your little monkey, too!

Battle of the Worst Albums Ever

load.bmp There's no point in trying to post my twenty page essay on comic books, censorship and children without the appropriate links which I can't look up because well, you know the story.

So what better way to lift the tedium of all work and no play than by having my comments emailed to me after I make a post that just begs for comments?

I'm in the midst of an email discussion with a friend about the worst albums ever. I don't mean albums like William Shatner sings the Best of The Pixies, which no one in their right mind would buy, or any effort by any American Idol participant, because that reaches levels of suckiness not yet invented.

Think albums from your favorite bands. Albums that you bought with mouth-watering anticipation only to get home, tear off the wrapper, hit play and sink into an abyss of despair after realizing that your favorite band has jumped the shark.

Think of all those bands that made you wait five years in between albums, only to put out something that sounded as if it took five seconds to put together [coughweezercough].

It doesn't even have to be from a band you loved, just an album you bought that made you immediately reach for the barf bag or demand a refund.

List as many as you want and I'll try to narrow them as we go along until Friday afternoon, when the last two remaining suckfest albums from the list culled from your responses will fight to the death for the title of Worst.Album.Ever.

Even if flame wars and band-fights ensue in the comments, at least I'll be entertained while I'm chained here to my desk reading my email and wondering what the hell is going on in the world.

Have at it.

Brought to you by Lisa, the original Sister Christian.

i'll be around

I've arranged for my minions to help me blog today through the use of super encrypted email and double secret logins, should there be anything I have the urgent need to get off my chest or if perhaps I should overhear a great fart joke or want to discuss world views and politics.

I can quit anytime I want. Any. Time. At. All.

rambling towards the other side of the hill

I was told yesterday that the age you are officially over the hill is 41. I wish I knew that sooner, for I would have spent this past year standing at the very top of the hill screaming I am king of the world! before I began my descent. As it is, I've got one foot poised on the downward slope and in five days I will officially have crossed that other side. Which is fine with me as I believe the after-40 side is the one on which the grass is greener.

It's not going to be hard to forget all the things that came before my walk down to old age. The media is flush with retro stylings and bittersweet glimpses of the past. It seems the new trend is to talk about things that are old.

I've been watching VH1's I Love the 70's. Of course I remember all the fun fads and toys like Weebles (who wobble but don't fall down) and extra-wide bellbottoms and Bo Derek's cornrows and Joe Namath's silky smooth legs. It's not just the fads and stars themselves one remembers, however. You remember every single episode of your own sit-com like life that went along with them.

If I fell down this hill and tumbled through the 60's and 70's and 80's, I would see a blurry movie of sex, drugs and rock and roll, though not so much the sex and maybe too much of the drugs. Never enough rock and roll. There would be heartache and angst and so much laughter and love and the whole thing would have a soundtrack that would sell ten million copies as people like me clamored to relive their formative years through the music of the times. Nothing shakes a memory like a song.

My neighbor Diane died this week. She was just a few years older than me and I shared part of my past with her, the most memorable event being the day when we stood in the middle of the street, screaming curses at each other for something I fail to remember right now. Most of the kids on the block were out there watching as I flailed my arms in that Italian way while shouting that Diane was a bitch and a whore and then she called me that unspeakable word that girls sometimes call each other and I think the whole neighborhood gasped at once. Diane's mother came out of the house and dragged Diane in by her hair and that was the end of the show.

I saw Diane's mother yesterday at the wake and we talked a bit, but we talked about her grandson, who is 13 years old and now stands 6'2", and we talked about getting old and how the golden years aren't so golden when you're using a walker to get around and your knees won't bend anymore. We talked about everything but Diane because the only thing I could remember about her was the incident in the street and I don't think her mother wanted to relive that moment when everyone in town heard her daughter use that nasty word.

Diane's son was there. He must be about 16 now and he looked somber yet so very adult-like as he greeted mourners at the door and thanked them for coming and asked them to sign the guest book so he would know who came. It broke my heart to see this kid becoming a man for all the wrong reasons. Some day when he is standing at the top of this hill of ages and looking back at his youth, this is probably what he will remember most, the day he had to dress up and accept a million I'm sorrys for the death of his mother.

I saw some old neighbors in the funeral home, people who still, after all these years, give me the creeps and make me want to crawl into a corner and hide. They represent the worst times, the worst emotions of my growing up and growing bitter days and I still resent them with all the force of a speeding tornado. I don't forgive because they never asked and anytime I see one of them, I look them in the eyes to search for some glint of shame or spark of apology and there is nothing there, as if it all didn't matter to them. I'm sure when they looked down the younger side of their hills, they skipped right over the rocks and stones that represent their small torturings of me.

I suppose I should look past that as well and focus on the summer days spent barefoot and the winter days wading through snowdrifts as high as my waist and the sweet smell of the mimeograph copier in the principal's office or my mother teaching us how to play real Brooklyn style stickball. Sundays at grandma's and weeks spent upstate searching for snakes under rocks and driving down to Florida in a the brown station wagon while we sat in the back and made peace signs out the window to other drivers.

I turn towards the other side of the hill now and look down towards my kids getting older and sweeter and smarter, to weddings and births and new challenges that all my experiences have taught me to deal with. One year of a new marraige under my belt and so many to go, and they all are over that hill. It seems like a pretty good place to spend the rest of my life and as I start thinking about new directions and finally setting out to accomplish the goals I set for myself and looking around and seeing all the people who will accompany me on this walk down the second half of my life, I can't help but smile, welcome it and enjoy the feel of the grassy slope on my bare feet.

August 19, 2003

i'll be under the bed if you need me

Is armeggedon on the way? You be the judge. Some headlines from Drudge:

FLASH FLOODS HIT VEGAS...
BOMB BLAST BAGHDAD...
Jerusalem Bus Bomb Kills 20+...
Blackout Fears Loom in Ontario as Mercury to Rise...
Health officials: Be alert for mosquito-borne illnesses...
New Computer Virus snarls whacks Air Canada...
SHARK ATTACK OFF CENTRAL CALIF. COAST...
RADIO'S SAVAGE GETS NEW YORK CLEARANCE...

It's a great time to be alive, eh?

bastards

00:16 Witnesses: Hundreds take to streets of Palestinian camp in Lebanon, hand out sweets to celebrate Jerusalem attack.

The terrorist suicide bomber's wife:

Arij Mesk said she was not sad. "God gave Raed something he always dreamed of. All of his life he dreamed of being a martyr," she said. The couple has two children, ages two and three.

Lovely people. Just lovely.

[both links via lgf]

This would be a good time to donate to Magen David Adom if you haven't already. Remember, they don't discriminate. They would just as soon save the life of one of the creatures dancing in celebration at the death of children as they would a child blown out of a bus by a terrorist.

spam city

Where the hell did all this virus email come from today and what kind of idiot thinks I'm going to open it?

death be not found here

I'm not ignoring the fact that there was a lot of terrible news today. I just don't feel like writing about it.

Command Post has you covered in those areas. I'm angry and upset over today's events. Guess which event the anger goes with?

Oh, If you're looking for an explanation as to why I no longer have internet access at work, it's too long and boring a story to go into. Bottom line: we weren't supposed to have it to begin with and I most likely won't miss it too much as I'm pretty busy these days.

Besides, my sister can always post for me. Where there's a will there's a way, you know.

Yea, I can stop blogging any time I want to.

Really. I mean it.

the all-star arraignment band

I could start a band with some of the defendants showing up at my place of work next month.

On September 6 the drummer for Iron Maiden, Nicko McBrain will be making his appearance at court. McBrain was arrested last month for trying to run down a parking attendant at Jones Beach, where the band was performing.

On September 29, Phish bassist Mike Gordon will be our guest in arraignment. Gordon was "charged with endangering the welfare of a minor and trespassing following a concert by The Dead at Jones Beach Theater."

All this and the Sex Pistols and Chili Peppers haven't even gotten to Long Island yet.

still here...

My days of internet access at work are over, which means lots of dead air for this blog on weekdays.

I consoled myself by leaving work and spending $400 at BJ's (think Costco for those who don't know what BJ's is) which is not much consolation at all considering it was mostly food, paper goods and cleaning supplies. I did pick up the Futurama Season 2 DVD, so all is not lost.

And now I have to go to a wake.

You're all gonna leave me now that my blog time is cut in half, aren't you? I promise to make it up to you during the evening hours, I swear...don't go.....hey, wait! Where are you going? Don't go to that blog, it's not half as...

Eh, whatever.

We are experiencing technical difficulties...

Please Stand By.

5.bmp

Actually, Michele's server (at her job) is down. Please check back, and check back often. Your mind may depend on it...

[Posted by Michele's sister Lisa]

dante would be proud

I suppose I could do this all day. There isn't enough room in hell to condemn all the people I loathe to eternal damnation. But I must say, I got off to a good start:

Hipsters
Circle I Limbo

Greens
Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind

General asshats
Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow

Arianna Huffington
Circle IV Rolling Weights

Mark Morford
Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled

River Styx

PETA Members
Circle VI Buried for Eternity

River Phlegyas

The Pope
Circle VII Burning Sands

Militant Vegans
Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement

Ted Rall
Circle IX Frozen in Ice

Design your own hell

August 18, 2003

in which i review a book that i've only read 40 pages of

Have you ever read a novel that is written so poorly, you cringe when you read it?

I'm reading Jeffrey Deaver's The Blue Nowhere. The paragraphs are filled with cliches, the descriptive narrative is in the style of third-grade essays and the action is tedious. Even the lingo of the hacking community inspired plot feels forced and almost like name-dropping (lingo dropping?).

I keep reading because it's the only book in the house I haven't read yet and because the author has written at least a dozen other books, including one made into a major motion picture that wasn't half bad, so I feel like I must be missing something by not enjoying this one.

I have this habit of completing books even though it's a chore to get through them. Maybe I'll find something redeeming as I go on. I hate to think that someday I'll finally publish a book and some hack with a weblog will be unapologetically tearing it apart.

Which is why I'm being apologetic about it. Karma is a bitch.

The World of Bill: O'Reilly's alternate reality

I'm convinced Bill O'Reilly lives in an alternate reality, one where everyone agrees with him and watches Fox News 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most of that time is spent waiting with bated breath for The O'Reilly Factor to come on because he is the only important thing that exists in the World of Bill.

O'Reilly is still a bit pissed at Al Franken, it appears, and he's also upset that there are some people out there who would dare to say bad things about O'Reilly and his beloved Fox News.

It makes me sick to see intellectually dishonest individuals hide behind the First Amendment to spread propaganda, libel and slander. But this is a growing trend in America, where the exchange of ideas often degenerates into verbal mud wrestling with intent to injure.

See, if you read that quote out of context of O'Reilly's opinion article, you just might think he was talking about the Princess of Darkness herself, Ann Coulter and not Al Franken.

I think you all know what side of the imaginary political ideology line I stand on. But I am not blind, nor am I deaf and I certainly don't see the world through Fox-colored glasses.

O'Reilly sees the world in terms of what he believes to be right, true and just. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it the same way as him and rather than let others have their say, O'Reilly does nothing but condemn them for not living in his little slice of reality. For a man who spends a good portion of his career interviewing people, he does an awful lot of foaming at the mouth while his interview subjects are basically gagged and tied.

O'Reilly continues:

This country is a better place because Fox News has succeeded. Now there is a wider range of thought and expression available 2-4/7. But the country is worse off because of the brutal repercussions of that success. A nation that prides itself on diversity of opinion and acceptance of differing political points of view is being subjected to an orgy of media defamation and sometimes outright hatred.

O'Reilly is suffering from delusions of grandeur. While I am a viewer of Fox News, I cannot come up with one single way in which this country is a better place because Fox exists. That is such a grandiose statement so full of hot air that it could fan the flame wars of Democratic Undeground forever.

Yes, the media is biased. Some of it is liberal bias and some of it (Sean Hannity and O'Reilly himself come to mind) is conservative bias, filled with blind loyalty to an administration that does not always deserve it. But that's America. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press and all that. O'Reilly should know that. We can turn on any channel at any time and see or hear a variety of views on a variety of subject and sometimes you won't even get the same views twice. Some views will be liberal and some will be conservative and that's why there's 300 channels on my television. And I'm ok with that because I like choice.

I'm no fan of Al Franken; I've always found him more droll and boring than funny. But O'Reilly has taken this war of words to histrionic proportions.

Using liberal-leaning newspapers and publishing houses, the critics of Fox have unleashed defamatory personal attacks on me and other Fox news analysts and have attempted to denigrate the entire network. If Fox News crashed and burned tomorrow, these people would toast marshmallows in the flames.

So what? We're talking about a news channel here. I laugh at MSNBC's ratings and I bet O'Reilly does too, which makes him a bit of a marshmallow toaster himself. And Bill is hardly clean in the personal attack category. In fact, every interview he does with a liberal is nothing but a personal attack. Even when I abhor the person O'Reilly is interviewing, I still cringe at his tactics because it makes everyone who agrees with O'Reilly look bad. He comes off as an arrogant, pompous, overbearing ass most of the time.

Why does O'Reilly not complain about Coulter using right-leaning newspapers and publishing houses to denigrate her opponents? Because Coulter's opponents are O'Reilly's opponents and I guess what's good for the goose is not good for the gander in the World of Bill.

If O'Reilly was as smart and astute as he claims to be, he would shut up now before his alternate world comes crashing down around him as even the most ultra conservatives who live and breathe Fox News will be forced to admit that O'Reilly is nothing but an egotistical bore who probably kisses himself to sleep at night.

well it was bound to happen sooner or later

The Blackout was 'a Realization of bin Laden's Promise to Offer the Iraqi People a Present'

"A communiqué attributed to Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the power blackout that happened in the U.S. last Thursday, saying that the brigades of Abu Fahes Al Masri had hit two main power plants supplying the East of the U.S., as well as major industrial cities in the U.S. and Canada, 'its ally in the war against Islam (New York and Toronto) and their neighbors.'

If you find that all hard to swallow, there's always the UFO theory.

the good, the bad and the smoke-filled lungs

The best cure for the Monday "I want to stab someone in the face" blues is to go to the gym.

I'm telling you, this [joining the gym] is the best thing I ever did. Even though my arms hurt and my abs ache, I'm not just looking better, but feeling better.

Which means it's time for my every-six-months bout of the "I have to quit smoking again" blues.

Here I go again.

it's a monday thing

What would a Monday be without irritation, anger and general hatred for all of humanity?

I was exchanging emails with Faith this morning and I mentioned that I was looking for volunteers for an experiment. It's called the great I Want To Stab Someone In The Face Today experiment.

Seeing as that Faith blogged that I was looking for participants, I felt the urgent need to write something about it.

Is there someone you would like to volunteer for this great undertaking of mine? And should I use a spork or a rusty nail?

I promise that when I do get around to venting my anger on an unsuspecting victim, your name will remain anonymous, should I choose to use your victim.

Anyone who volunteers Chirac has to pay the airfare.

[This offer not valid for convicts, ex-convicts, parolees, Red Sox fans or the French. Void where prohibited. Side effects of participating in this experiment may include incarceration, death or gastrointestinal bloating]

braaaaaiiiins!

11:30 a.m. and I've got two long rants under my belt already.

Time for something else.

Will my fascination with zombies haunt me forever?

eating people
YOU EAT PEOPLE!!!


what's YOUR deepest secret?
brought to you by Quizilla

You would do best to remember this if I ever invite you over for dinner.


[via reader Amy]

every time you curse the blackout, an angel loses its shoes

Faith rips David Appell a new one, and rightfully so.

David writes about The Blackout (you know that get's capitalized now, right?) and starts off by saying:

OK, the blackout is over. So what, really, was all the fuss about? A few NYers couldn't make it home Thursday night and had to sleep on the steps of the Post Office. This is a good thing--losing one's bed makes one appreciate it all the more when you do eventually land in it.

You can just hear the cliches rumbling out of that sentence. There are people starving in Africa. There are poor people in Ethiopa. Eat your vegetables. Appreciate that meager allowance you get, kid.

When I wrote about my experience with The Blackout, it was my experience, nobody's else's. I was lucky to be at safe at home, with my friends and family and a pizza delivery guy willing to brave the broken traffic lights so I could eat. Poolside, no less.

Yet I knew that other people were not having the same experience as me. People stuck in subways and elevators, hospitals whose backup power did not come on right away, elderly and sick people stuck in the heat and humidity without much needed air conditioning, the hundreds of people involved in traffic accidents due to the lights being down, just to name a few. People did die. I guess Appell just chose not to track those stories down before he went on his "America is spoiled" tirade:

We're a deeply spoiled country. We think hardship is 24 hours without electricity, with little idea what real pain and suffering might entail, or how much of the rest of the world lives. (Do you realize that one billion people live with no shoes?)

Why oh why must people always invoke the "there are those less fortunate than you, damn it!" when something like this strikes? Just because we complain about our 24 hour loss of electricity does not mean we are not attuned to our fellow planet inhabiters. I don't recall anyone on the news using the words "pain and suffering." though I'm sure the little girl stuck in the elevator for three hours might have been thinking along those lines. And I'm quite sure that the businesses that lost a large amount of money in those blackened hours certainly are suffering.

Here's the kicker - David was not even in a place where a blackout occurred. No, he was in another state that was still flush with the glow of lights and air conditioning and working traffic lights. But that didn't stop him from taking the time to point his finger and say "shame on you" to New Yorkers inparticular.

The man is a professional scientific writer who still believes in the fairy tale of global warming, so maybe we should cut him a little slack.

Besides, if you want to talk pain and suffering, I know someone who was stuck in a room with Hillary Clinton when the lights went out.

a warm, fuzzy look at the weather underground

Violent activism is not something new. Back in the 60's, a radical group known as the Weathermen - an offshoot of Students for a Democratic Society - decided to protest the violence in Vietnam by being equally violent.

The first national action of the Weather Underground occurred on October 8, 1969 in Chicago, in a four day protest against the Vietnam War known as the "Days of Rage." Hundreds of members used clubs and chains to vandalize shops and cars in Chicago’s business district.

March, 1970:

In the basement of a member’s Greenwich Village townhouse in New York City, members had created a bomb factory.

Three Weather Undeground members died while preparing a bomb.

Bomb manufacturing heightened, and in May of 1970, the Weather Underground issued a 'declaration of war:" "Within the next fourteen days we will attack a symbol or institution of American justice. This is the way we celebrate the example of Eldridge Cleaver and H. Rap Brown, and all black revolutionaries who first inspired us by their fight behind enemy lines for the liberation of their people." The group’s declaration proved to be true, as they soon bombed the headquarters of the New York Police Department and the barber shop at the U.S. Capitol Building. Twenty more bombings occurred between 1970 and 1975.

In Friday's Washington Post, staff writer Desson Howe reviewed a documentary, The Weather Undeground. It wasn't so much a review; it was more like eight paragraphs of an apologetic look at the radical group and one paragraph about the film.

THEY HAVE weathered, almost Mount Rushmore-like faces: Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers and Mark Rudd. Without even listening to their words, you can read auspicious histories in their middle-aged faces. What they did in their youth -- the terrible follies and short-lived glories -- is the intriguing subject of "The Weather Underground," a documentary about a social protest group that literally declared war on the United States government.

"Follies" would be the understatement of the century. Bomb making and inciting riots hardly qualify as youthful follies. Nor do they qualify as glories. To compare the faces of these extremists to the faces on Mount Rushmore is evidence of either a seriously overwrought writing technique or very telling of which side of the law the author would have cheered for in 1969.

Make no mistake about the goals of the Weathermen. In this Reason article from June 2003, Mark Rudd, a former member of the band of merry bombmakers, says:

When Vietnam comes up, my students will ask me: 'What did you do in the 60s?" Rudd says. "Well ... I helped found an organization dedicated to the violent overthrow of the United States government." [emphasis mine]

In the Post piece, Howe states:

But under the leadership of mostly upper-class white kids, the breakaway movement was mainly a tragic, disaster-prone endeavor as the Weathermen conducted guerilla-style bombings around the country, targeting government and other establishment buildings (including the U.S. Capitol). Although they took great pains to ensure those buildings were empty of people, they soon became pariahs to more people than they bargained for.

They took great pains to ensure those buildings were empty of people....

I suppose this is meant to invoke some sort of sympathy for the bombers. The qualifying word there is although, making it appear as if the author would want us to believe that they were humane bombers.

But for their uncompromising idealism, they paid the price of Rip Van Winkle. Emerging after years of hiding (when they surrendered, individual by individual, to federal authorities in the late 1980s and 1990s), they returned to an America that had long since passed them by.

Ah, uncompromising idealism. The hallmark of extremists everywhere. As long as you are fighting for your ideals, not compromising with say, the law, is justified.

I certainly would like to know more about the film itself and the makers of the documentary piece. I know nothing about it except that it will make you appreciate the bittersweet vision of hindsight.

Yes, something along the lines of "Gee, maybe blowing up federal buildings wasn't such a great idea after all."

Perhaps some day in the future there will be a similar documentary about ELF, ALF, PETA and all the violent protesters of the WTO and their window-smashing activism. And from certain media outlets we can expect a sympathetic look at the plight of the misguided youth who were only setting fire to buildings because of their uncompromising idealism.

August 17, 2003

You're used to wearing less, and now your life's a mess

--Marc Almond/Soft Cell - Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

This is probably the greatest breakup song ever written.

Aside from the warm fuzzy memories I get from this song (black leather skirt, spiked hair, ridiculous lipstick, dancing at Spit), it has the most biting, sneering yet lovelorn lyrics.

Download here

Lyrics below. Don't read the lyrics without listening to the song. Marc Almond's voice conveys both contempt and heartache so perfectly pitched, it could tear you apart.

Standing in the door of the pink flamingo
crying in the rain.
It was a kind of so-so-love and I'm gonna make sure
It never happens again.
You and I - it had to be the standing joke of the year

You were a sleep-around
a lost-and-found and not for me - I fear
I tried to make it work
you in a cocktail-skirt
And me in a suit (well
it just wasn't me).
You're used to wearing less and now your life's a mess -
So insecure you see.
I put up with all the scenes and this is one scene
That's going to be played my way.
Take your hands off me
I don't belong to you
you see.
Take a look at my face for the last time -
I never knew you - you never knew me.
Say hello
goodbye - say hello
wave goodbye.

Under the deep red light I can see the make-up sliding down.
Hey little girl
you will always make up

So take off that unbecoming frown
what about me?
Well I'll find someone that's not going cheap in the sales

A nice little house-wife who'll give me a steady life
And won't keep going off the rails.

Take your hands off me
I don't belong to you
you see. . . .
We've been involved for quite a while now

And to keep you secret has been hell.
We're strangers meeting for the first time
o.k.?
Just smile and say "hello" -
Say hello
then wave goodbye - say hello
then wave goodbye

Say hello
then wave goodbye - .

words and pictures

Whenever I'm feeling the weight of writer's block, I take out the camera. I just shoot whatever is around me at the moment, getting a little creative with the settings sometimes, and then write about at least one of the photos.


[click for bigger images]


I took these three photos of the same statue about an hour ago, as the sky and the clouds were doing a color dance of yellows, grays and browns - what I call a wicked storm a-comin' sky.

As I looked at the results, a story took shape in my head. You can look forward(?) to that tomorrow, meanwhile I thought I'd share the photos with you and see what kind of thoughts you conjure up from them.

Meanwhile, this girl's story is almost done, but you won't see that until September 11th or so.

money for nothing

Imagine paying fifty dollars for the privilege of standing in line.

That's exactly what you are doing if you are on the wait-list for New York Jets season tickets.

From Phil Mushnick, New York Post sportswriter:

In the 20-plus years this column has addressed sports-based extortions, we've never experienced a greater nor angrier response to a fleecing than in the last week, after the Jets quietly decided to charge the roughly 22,000 people on their season-tickets waiting list a $50 annual fee. That figures to be roughly $1 million a year. You can do hard time for stealing a million bucks, no?

Imagine if your local movie theater or concert arena asked you to pay for standing in line for tickets, even if you may never get those tickets. I think there is a correct phrase for this: rip-off.

So why are the Jets allowed to get away with this? Let's see what Jets president Jay Cross has to say:

This week [Cross] explained the $50 annual charge as a means to "keep them in the family" and a way to "treat them like valued customers, even though they're in waiting."

Excuse me? I guess all those college courses I took in sports marketing and sports arena management neglected to mention that you can show a fan how much you value them by robbing them. Silly me, I thought you were supposed to treat them as if you thought they had brains.

When Leon Hess owned the Jets I observed my hatred towards the man by never going to Hess gas station. Never even bought one of those ubiquitous Hess Trucks. I know it didn't make a dent in old Leon's moneybags, but it made me feel like I was doing something instead of just sitting on the sidelines stewing.

Mushnick wants to employ similar tactics against the current owner of the team:

The Jets are owned by Robert Wood (Woody) Johnson IV, of Johnson & Johnson fame and fortune. My suggestion is for people on the Jets' waiting list to send in their $50 bucks and include a written and sincere vow to spend a lot less - perhaps even hundreds of dollars less per year - on Johnson & Johnson products.

While I am not a season-ticket holder in waiting and no one is asking me for fifty bucks, I am still outraged at the audacity of the Jets to think that charging people for absolutely nothing is ok.

This is the time of Jets Fest. Jets training camp operates out of Hofstra University, just five minutes from my front door. We go every year and enjoy the games and displays they have set up and watch the Jets train and scrimmage.

This time, I have a different plan. I am going to head over there with bows and arrows (shut up, I'll find them somewhere) and I am going to attach Monopoly $50 bills to the end of the arrows and I'm going to shoot them into the big, inflatable Jet that sits outside of Hofstra. On those fake bills, I will be sure to write some kind of message like, oh, "Fuck you, you greedy bastards. I hope Shockey breaks his leg and the Jets lose every game this season and Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder is the target of an ugly rumor about anthrax and terrorists."

Or maybe I'll just write them an angry letter.

previously Unknown Blog of the Day

Today is Late Final day.

Sometimes I'll go to a blog on my blogroll and wonder why there are no comments and why the blog does not have a bigger audience.

So I decided to do something useful with my traffic and - pardon the phrase that might make you think of a really crappy movie - pay it foward. I'll point you toward one of these blogs each day. Maybe two. Or three.

For now, please go read Late Final. Ed Moltzen is interesting, informative, intelligent and writes on a host of subjects, mostly politics and news. He has recurring themes such as Death Row Watch, California's Law and Order Deficit and a Corrpution Watch. He also adds baseball, music and book reviews into the mix. He throws out links to plenty of other blogs - some of you may find yourself if you read through his posts - and not a day goes by that I don't find something at Late Final that I didn't know about.

Please, leave him some comments, let him know you dropped by and think about adding him to your blogroll.

Go, read. I want to see evidence that you were there.

If you know of a blog that doesn't get the amount of attention you think it deserves, please let me know and I'll highlight it.

Some people never learn

WASHINGTON — Some members of the Green Party are reserving much of their anger for Democrats these days, and say they don’t care if another third-party run by Ralph Nader wrecks the Democrats' opportunity to replace President Bush in 2004.

Yippee. That would give us four more years of Ted Rall bitching about a ruined election. Way to go, Greenies.

another salvo fired

Instapuppy.

who wants to give a social studies lesson?

Buzz writes today:

I guess it all started with the whole Idi Amin thing. You know, the coma, the death, the stories of his life (the bastard!). The stories of how the Saudis kept him in relative luxury because he was a Muslim.

The Saudis. That's where my confusion comes in. The more I read about that nation, the more I don't understand why they are our friends. They seem (to my pea brain anyway) like the bad guys. What am I missing? This isn't just because of the oil, is it?

So, can anyone help me out here? *cough* Michele *cough* Anyone at all?

Would anyone like to contribute to the Educate Buzz on the Saudis class today?

in the afterlife...

Maybe I'm related to Barnabas Collins!

The Afterlife, V1.0 by silentounce
Name
Favorite Color
Your fateBecome a vampire
Created with quill18's MemeGen!

[via chad]

Of course, I could basically play with the code and fix this up to fit my purposes in the Great War:

The Afterlife, V1.0 by silentounce
Name
Favorite Color
Your fateBecome a filthy monkey!
Created with quill18's MemeGen!

today's open discussion

Two images taken from NYC Indymedia, both by noted Anti-American Latuff.


[click for bigger images]

Discuss amongst yourselves.

soapbox

I'm very disturbed by something I read today.

Making assumptions and passing them off as truth is a poor reflection on someone's character. Believing those assumptions without proof or facts makes you no better.

I don't understand how people can be so cruel and unfeeling as to create havoc and distress in another person's life based on nothing but innuendos and rumors.

I've been the victim of rumors myself. I've been at the receiving ends of lies and malicious gossip. Thankfully, no one acted on those lies and I was left only with simmering anger and a lingering feeling of unease that just a few words typed on a keyboard could smear a person's character forever. Even if those words are lies.

Words are powerful things, whether they are true or not. All it takes is one gullible, naive person to believe those lies and spread them around like tar and then the instigator can sit back and watch while the feathers fly, grinning mischeviously.

To have a family nearly destroyed because someone has chosen to take a personal battle into a public arena and use a vague notion of reality to fan the flames is unseemly and nauseating.

The old adage "think before you speak" has taken on new life in this electronic age. Think before you write now applies as well.

It is so easy to cast aspersions on someone else. What scares me is how easily some people soak up those dispersions and pass them on without ever questioning or asking for proof. Everyone involved in this chain of events that led to Child Proctetion Services needlessly knocking on someone's door should be ashamed. If you think you were acting in the best interest of this person's children, then you really need to turn off your computer and and find another hobby. It would be too easy for you to do this again, turning your inner anger against someone else, using another person and their life as an outlet for whatever is ailing your soul.

Please do not ask for a link to the respective participants. You will not get it from me. I did not want to get involved, but the ugliness of this situation has all but ruined my Sunday. I consider that small potatoes, considering that a family was almost destroyed yesterday.

The fact that CPS found absolutely no basis for the complaint speaks volumes and answers any questions about proof, facts and sick revenge.

today's required reading

"Armando Benitez!" my grandchildren will gasp, "He's history's greatest monster!"

I was going to write about the Yankees' wild weekend, but instead of regaling you with my string of obscenities and a novel-length diatrabe on how wins are a beautiful thing but when you analyze them, it's sort of like looking at Cameron Diaz on a High Definition TV and realizing that her face is covered with zits and wrinkles and weird blotches, I'm just going to make you go and read Larry Mahnken's futuristic tale of a Yankee fan, his grandchildren and Aaron Boone, the suckiest suck that ever sucked.

Drink alert.

August 16, 2003

behold the power of the internet

Ouch.

Sorry about that, Reid. Blame it on Fark.


It's deathly quiet around this place tonight.

his time will come

Now that Idi Amin is dead, can we find a way to make sure Fred Phelps goes next? [caution, link goes to a PDF of a Phelps press release about protesting the opening of the Harvey Milk school in New York, complete with the usual hateful wording]

I would love to see the look on his face when he tries to get into the gates of whatever heaven he thinks awaits him and finds himself locked out. If there is a god, there will be a sign waiting for Phelps that says God Hates You, Fred.

I may not believe in an afterlife, but I do believe in karma. Someday Phelps will feel all the hatred he spreads in the form of exruciating pain. One can hope, at least.

[via Uffish Thoughts, who has some great tips and links on how to counter-protest Phelps]

blog wars: i pledge allegiance to...

I felt a great disturbance in the force today and a message came to me from on high: Stake your claim. Make your stance. Trust your feelings, you know them to be true.

And to beat another movie/book analogy to death, I am heading to Colorado to join the war against Randall Flagg.

Yes, that's right....

I am wearing my allegiance on my sleeve boobs:

glenn1.jpg


Sorry Frank, but I got three emails from Glenn today. I got zero from you. I guess you didn't want me to be your evil henchman as much as you claimed last month.

War, what is it good for?

Finding something to blog about on a Saturday night, of course.

the great debate: frank j. v. glenn reynolds

Did you know there's a war going on? No, not that one.

Frank J.has declared war on Glenn Reynolds. He wants to know whose side you are on.

Glenn has warned Frank that resistance is futile, but Frank seems intent on winning this one.

While everyone lines up on either side of the blog fence, I am declaring that I am Switzerland on this one. Neutral, fair and balanced. For now.

If anyone can convince me why I should side with one or the other, I may consider taking a biased stance in this war. But I need incontrovertable proof that one is more evil than the other, or that siding with one over the other will somehow benefit me in the end.

Also, bribes are accepted. Frank has offered those in his alliance bags filled with money, but I think he's a liar. But Glenn hasn't answered my email from Friday, so I can always hold that against him. Lawyer v. gun nut. Sword wielder v. link wielder. Professor v.....what is it Frank does for a living anyhow? Besides stand around pretending he's a jedi knight?

the gift that keeps on giving

I'm only doing this because I've received several "I am going to buy you a birthday present whether you like it or not" emails.

In all honesty your coming here, reading and commenting is really a gift that I treasure every day, and I don't care how treacly that sounds, it's true. I also value the friendships I have made through this site as lasting gifts.

However, if you are so inclined, I do have a wishlist and the link is over to the right on the sidebar.

If you are tempted to throw something into my tip jar, you could give me a greater gift instead and donate something to Magen David Adom .

Thank you for all the wonderful pre-birthday/annivesary wishes I've received so far.

i wonder if this will catch on with steinbrenner?

Here's one way to get rid of a player on your favorite team who is just weighing the team down:

A frustrated New York Yankees fan has taken his displeasure of pitcher Jeff Weaver to the Internet. The fan is trying to use eBay to auction off the struggling right-hander, who's 6-and-9 with a hefty 5.78 ERA this year.

I guess I wasn't the only one disgusted and frustrated after Weaver's latest outing - an 11-0 loss to the Royals. My mother and I argued over this - she says Weaver never gets support and she feels sorry for him. My argument is simple: he sucks.

The fan -- known as "free range veal" on eBay, describes Weaver as a pitcher "in fair-to-good condition, hardly used and showing minor wear." He notes that he'll only sell Weaver to Boston, the Yankees' chief rival in the American League East.

Although, he'll also accept a white turtle neck and a bag of batting practice balls in lieu of payment for Weaver.

Hell, I would take a firm handshake and a promise that they wouldn't try to return him. Keep the shirt and balls.

while his guitar gently screeches

So, about that $400 check I got from the nice government people, which I was first going to use for back to school shopping and then I was going to spend the whole thing at Best Buy....I decided to give each kid $200 instead. There are things each of them had been saving for and I figured I would reward them for their good saving habits by adding to their bankroll.

I am most likely insane for doing that because the thing DJ was saving for is an electric guitar. And now he owns one.

He spent two days doing research online, talking to his guitar playing buddies and debating exactly what he wanted. He finally picked out everything, from the guitar to picks to the strap and amp, wrote it all down and came up with the exact cost. I gave his father the money and he took him yesterday to make his purchase.

So now, my son has his guitar. And I may never have peace again. Keep in mind that Natalie plays the drums.

DJ is pretty adept at playing by ear, basically hearing something and being able to recreate it on whatever instrument he picks up (before the guitar, he used his Casio keyboard). He also reads music (yes, they still teach music theory in elementary school). I think I'll still hook him up with some lesson, though.

So, I called his father's house this morning and spoke to my ex-mother-in-law (whom I still adore). She said that DJ has spent the morning perfecting his punk rock look and manner, snarling and jumping around and playing along to his Sum 41 and AFI CDs. Great, I'm sure my neighbors are going to just love this.

I wonder when he's going to ask for his first tattoo.

Hey, Dr. Frank, if you ever need a new guitar player, I'll ship DJ over there for free! Overnight delivery!

idi and elvis

And they say there's never anything good in the news.

Idi Amin is finally dead.

It's unfortunate that the former President of Uganda will now share a "died on" date with the former King of Rock -n- Roll.

More on Idi later. For now, I offer a repeat of last year's Elvis post on the anniversary of his death:

elvis.jpgIt was one of those moments when you say something you know you shouldn't. But I couldn't help myself. I was fourteen and still in the throes of teenage-girl-smart-ass disease.

25 years ago tomorrow, I was sitting in the backyard listening to the radio when I heard the news. I went inside and found my mother in her room, making her bed.

"Hey, mom. Guess you won't be going to that Elvis concert next week."
"What?"
"He's dead."

I may have snickered, I don't know.

Mom ran into the bathroom and turned on the little radio she kept in there. I remember the voice. I remember the exact sound of the tinny, staticy voice that relayed the news to my mother in a much softer way than I did.

Elvis was dead.

My mother's eyes filled with tears and despair while her face registered only that small "o" one's mouth makes when they hear shocking news. That "o" stayed there for a while, but the despair in her eyes had become hard and angry. She was pissed at me.

How could I have told her like that, knowing that she idolized Elvis in a pure, passionate way? How could I do that? What kind of daughter was i?

Well, I was fourteen. That's my only excuse.

I was a fourteen year old whose mother made fun of her own idolization of another self-obsessed, overly dramatic singer who similarly became a bloated replica of himself. And later, dead and bloated. Maybe it was my way of evening up the score.

My mother had this friend Noreen. Noreen was the largest woman I ever knew. Not just heavy large, but tall and wide and her hair was piled up on her head so she looked even taller. Her voice roared even when she whispered and her sneezes were legend in the neighborhood, said to be heard from at least three blocks away. She wore mumus and housecoats and tons of hairspray and sometimes she wore an ugly fur coat that made her look like a small woodland creature was nesting on her shouler.

Noreen and my mom were the Elvis duo. They worshiped him. They loved him. They knew everything about him and owned everything to do with him including Elvis commemorative plates and I think one of them had an Elvis wristwatch.

I grew up with Elvis's hips grinding in my face and his voice grinding in my ears and I have to admit that at some point, I realized what the attraction was. When I would lay in bed on summer nights, trying to sleep while my mother and Noreen and the rest of their crew played Pinochle in the kitchen and had Elvis on the stereo, I knew. His voice would come drifting into my room and I could feel the sensuality, the danger, the passion that lied within his words.

I would never tell anyone this, of course. I went about my daily business of bowing before Jim Morrison and Robert Plant and never let on that I thought Elvis was cool. Especially to my mother. That would just ruin the taut, tenous relationship that we both thrived on. Who was I to break the rite of passage of mother-teenage daughter bitterness and anger?

Noreen and my mother were going to see Elvis in August, 1977 at the Nassau Coliseum. They had seen him many times before but this one was special. They had a feeling this would be his last tour ever.

They were like little giddy school girls in the weeks leading up to the show. Sometimes my mother would take out her ticket and look at it. As I write this I realize that my mother was 39 at the time. The same age I am now. When I was fourteen, 39 was old and withered and wrinkled. 39 was too old to be getting worked up over a hip-shaking idol. Yet, here I am at 39 and I'm not old or withered or wrinkled and I would certainly get worked up over my hip-gyrating idol.

She was so happy. And I crushed her world. It would have been a much softer blow if it came from Cousin Brucie or Uncle somebody on whichever oldies station she was listening to. It would have been a bit easier to take if her teenage bag of hormones didn't make some smarmy remark about dying like a fat, beached whale.

When Noreen found out we heard her from two blocks away, bellowing and carrying on. Her booming voice sounded through the neighborhood like a siren, a mourning call for all Elvis fans in East Meadow to gather on her lawn and weep.

Not really. But it was something like that. I don't think my mother ever told Noreen the way in which she found out about the death of their hero. I probably wouldn't have lived to tell this tale if she knew. She would have kicked my ass all over town.

When Noreen died, my first thought was that she would finally get to see Elvis again. My second was that I was now safe from my mother ever spilling the beans to Noreen about my youthful indiscretion.

25 years later,my mother still has not forgiven me. Maybe that's what drives every argument we have, every nit-picky little fight we endure. Maybe she's still mad at me. I know she still resents it, still thinks about because yesterday she told my daughter that I laughed at her when Elvis died.

I didn't laugh. I may have snickered a little. Maybe.

I sent an email to my mother this morning:

I'm sorry, mom. I'm sorry I told you like that. But in a way it's your fault for making me sit through Viva Las Vegas and Jailhouse Rock, for forcing that horrid "In the Ghetto" on my ears, for making me tried fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

It's been 25 years, mom. I promise to play Elvis at my wedding next week if you promise to get over it already. Deal?

Maybe I should reword that.

August 15, 2003

fair, balanced and exhausted

[My personal account of the blackout is here.]

Lost in the blackout news - at least to me - is the fact that today is Fair and Balanced Day.

I did not have a Fair and Balanced sleep last night. In fact, I slept perhaps an hour. I am now going to have a Fair and Balanced nap, as the kids have been shipped to their father's for the weekend as part of our Fair and Balanced divorce decree.

First, I will have a not quite so Fair and Balanced rum and coke, as it is mostly rum, very little (cherry) coke. And then I will pass out and return later for more Fair and Balanced coverage of The Great Blackout of 2003, as well as the usual Friday night Fair and Balanced inane blogging.

bring on the theories!

Great comic from Cox & Forkum today.

In answer to the question the strip asks (any way can blame this on Bush?), the bats are it already:

This column on how Bush is at fault and this Indymedia post:

Maybe it's just a failed attempt by the electric companies to create a fake power shortage in order to ramp up electric rates, like Enron and the California electric companies pulled a while back, robbing the people of California of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Of course, there's always the lovely Democratic Underground, the mossy basement of the internet where conspiracy theories grow and are nutured.

Warning Unheeded?

From Kevin Patrick, of the BushCheney 2004 Weblog:

"The report we issued last month presented more than 100 recommendations covering virtually the entire range of concerns that face the American people. One of the concerns, obviously, is the aging power grid and the growing problem that we have in getting electricity from the power plant to the light switch. It's clear that we must upgrade and expand the power grid. If we put more connections in place, we'll go a long way towards avoiding future blackouts. Another broad aim is to increase energy supplies from diverse sources; from oil and gas, renewables, coal, hydro and nuclear. This is the kind of balanced approach we think is essential if we're going to meet the country's energy needs down the road and take care of many of our other concerns, especially with respect to the environment."

-- Vice President Dick Cheney, U.S. Energy Association Efficiency Forum Washington, D.C. June 13, 2001

Thanks for the link, Kevin.

DOH!

The real culprit behind the power outage has been discovered:

doh1.jpg


Long Island/NY update

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has been asked to dump 46,000 megawatts of power - meaning approximately 45,000 homes who had electricity stored will go without once more, as rolling blackouts go into effect.

They are trying to conserve energy around here, especially as the temperature and humidity rises. Government businesses are being asked to close down for the day and they are practically begging people to not turn their air conditioners on.

The Long Island Railroad is still down - even if your workplace in the city is open, it's not advised that you try to get there.

I don't know if my power will stay on, but Command Post is doing a bang-up job of covering all the affected areas.

Susanna is covering Bloomberg's press conference live.

it's Bush's fault!

[My personal account of the blackout is here.]

"The disturbance appears to have been caused by the loss of several major transmission lines in the upper Midwestern United States, but investigations and data collections continue," the North American Electric Reliability Council, a not-for-profit private group, said in a written statement.

This is the area affected by the blackout. That's approximately 50 million people who were taken back to the dark ages by one single surge/mistake/lightning strike/insert conspiracy theory here.

"This blackout is obviously a Bush administration plot to slow the booming sales of electric cars," the vehicle owner said. "Dick Cheney is doing this for his buddies at Halliburton. Well, those neocons are not going to get me. I would rather die than burn fossil fuel in my car." Of course, that's Scrappleface.

More from the master of subtle humor:

With no electricity, many "bloggers" were forced to post their latest musings to the Internet by candlelight. Some resorted to using old-fashioned kerosene-fueled personal computers. Others wrote their thoughts out longhand on paper then ran through the streets reading them aloud to the passing crowds of stranded commuters

more news

WOR (Channel 9, New York) and WNYW (Channel 5, New York) are both still off the air.

Mayor Bloomberg is suggesting that non-essential employees take the day off today to cut down on traffic. There is still no transportation into NYC from Long Island.

The NYFD responded to hundreds of fires last night, most caused by careless use of candles.

Of course, the blame game has started and there still is no definitive cause for the blackout that affected most of the North East as well as points west. New York Newsday has a slide show with explanations of the power grid and a chart of past blackouts.

Beaches and courts in New York are closed, There is no subway service for the morning rush and it's not expected for evening either. Metro-North running 1 train each way on all lines. No LIRR service. MTA buses are running and the fare has been waived. There are still many traffic lights out.

news

While I have power here in East Meadow, Long Island, my ex-husband just called to say he is still without power - in East Meadow.

My sister in Levittown (about two miles away) still has no power. I understand they have power in Hempstead, where I work, but I'll be damned if I'm heading out there while there are still traffic lights out.

Jeff Jarvis brought up something I had written down yesterday (to remember to blog): When Bloomberg gave his first press conference of the day yesterday, he remarked that shelters would open up in the city and you could find a list of those shelters on the city website. Idiot.

Jeff has a great array of links of stories as well.

I'd like to comment my fellow Command-Post contributors on a great job covering the blackout.

LIPA (Long Island Power Authority) is warning of rolling blackouts today and asking people to keep their air conditoners off.

I'll have more, lots more, power permitting.

darkness falls

It was about 4:15 when the power went off and I just assumed that the air conditioners were sucking the life out of our power, so I headed for the fuse box. Damn. Wasn't a fuse.

Within five minutes, all the neighbors were out, asking each other do you have power? We hung around outside complaining about the humidity and waiting for the buzz and hum of the return of power.

Nothing.

Several minutes later we heard sirens. And then again, coming from another direction. A stream of cars came down our side street, indicating an accident on the main road. Several minutes later and sirens again, coming from elsewhere.

Streetlights must be out, our neighor Rick said. Rick, a retired policeman, turned on his police scanner. He listened quietly on his front lawn for a few minutes and then came running over, breathless. Whole northeast! Even Detroit!

So, what would your first reaction be? Yes, terrorism. We took it in stride, however, and everyone went in to their respective houses to check for candles, batteries and all the necessities.

WABC 770 was the only station I could get on the car radio. Sean Hannity was on the air, taking phone calls from all over and getting on the spot reporting. He reiterated one very important fact over and over. This was not a terrorist attack. Something went wrong upstate, perhaps in Buffalo.

I listened to a stream of on-the-spot reporters detailing all the ways in which New Yorkers were helping each other: sharing cabs; giving rides to strangers; directing traffic and just being patient. Those who still had connections on their cell phones were lending the phones to strangers to make calls to loved ones.

The comparisons to the '77 blackout in NYC, rife with looting and danger, are inevitable. And so are the comparisons to 9/11. While some of you may cringe or roll your eyes the truth remains; we've learned a lot from 9/11.

The city appeared to be in a complete state of calm. People walked the bridges just as they did on 9/11, in massive throngs of strangers among strangers, sharing the misery of the day.

I think we learned how to cope with both the big and the small, and to take situations like this in stride. It's as if a fire drill had rung, and everyone went to their proper places and did what they were supposed to and no one pushed or shoved.

Even with thoughts of terrorism still creeping into the back of our minds, we remained calm, if not a little pissed off that it had to happen on such a hot and humid day. Sure, I worried about the ton of meat I had in the freezer, and I worried about elderly relatives and I sort of shuddered remembering what happened after it got dark in New York in 1977, but I still retained my air of complacency. After all, we've been through worse things than this. Much. much worse.

Out here on Long Island, we mostly went on with our day, while keeping an ear tuned to the radio. The kids stayed in the pool until almost nightfall. We ordered pizza (thank goodness for gas-powered ovens), drank a few beers and waited for some good news.

As darkness approached, we headed across the street to my parents house, where my sister and her husband had already decided to camp out for a while. We listened to the Yankee game on the radio and read, talked and played games and told spooky stories and made spooky faces with the flashlight until we had to squint to see each other.

Such darkness. No streetlights, no light residue from the city, no planes streaking across the horizon, no neon or amber waves of sale signs sucking the pitch black from the sky. It was a sight to behold, looking upwards and we all craned our necks and admired the stars because there were more than we had ever seen before.

DJ took out his telescope and scanned the sky for Mars. The rest of us laid on the grass and soaked up the scenery. The sky was flooded with constellations we never get to see. We pointed this way and that and looked for more and someone joked that they would go inside and print out a chart of the stars.

We felt lucky to be able to what people in other parts of the country whose sky isn't saturated with electric lights get to see every night, and as we lay there on the grass scanning the heavens, we let out a collective gasp as a bright shooting star sailed past us.

Eventually the moon made its way over our part of the world, an almost full moon glowing orange and resembling a partly deflated basketball. We sat in silence for a while until the we had to turn our chairs to keep our eyes on the moon and then I realized how late it was.

We took the kids home and waited. We heard that power was coming back on sporadically in parts of New York. We all camped out in the living room, but it was too hot to sleep well. I read by candlelight as the kids slept and woke and slept and woke, each time asking if the electricity was back.

It came back in fits and starts. I would hear the fan start whirring or the cable box click on and we would get all excited and prepare to move ourselves into the bedrooms and cool air and then the hum of electricity would become more like a moan and darkness would fall again.

This went on most of the night and we finally fell dead asleep at about five, too exhausted to even care about being hot. When I woke up at seven, the fan was on. I waited, held my breath even, but it seemed to be permanent. We were back.

The first thing I did was not reach for the computer or turn on the tv. I sleepily lumbered into the kitchen and kissed the coffee maker. Welcome back, buddy, I said and hurredly scooped some grounds into the basket in case this was just a tease and I would be submurged into a coffee-less world again.

Now it's 8am, the coffee is made, the fans are on (we decided to hold off on the air conditioning to be kind to the power plants), my inbox is full and there are stories of the wonderful camraderie of New Yorkers in the paper.

And I'm going back to bed.

August 14, 2003

what lonely former celebrities do in the spare time

The perfect gift for that nostalgia obsessed friend of yours: a phone call from a Hollywood has been. I can imagine how it would go:

(phone rings)

corey.gifFriend: hello?
Hollywood Caller: Hi, is this Miss Mary Smith?
Friend: Yes
Hollywood Caller: Hi, this is a special call from Hollywood!
Friend: I’m sorry, I’m not interested in buying anything right now.
Hollywood Caller: No, you don’t understand. This phone call is a gift from a friend. I’m Corey Feldman!
Friend: Corey who?
Hollywood Caller: Corey Feldman...
Friend: Why are you calling me?
Hollywood Caller: It’s what I do now. I make calls to fans for a fee.
Friend: What’s your name again?
Hollywood Caller: Corey. Corey Feldman.
Friend: Oh! The guy who sang Sunglasses at Night?
Hollywood Caller: No, that was Corey Hart, I’m Corey..
Friend: Oh, I know! You were in First Born!
Hollywood Caller: Uh..no. That was Corey Haim.
Friend: Got it, you’re the other Corey!
Hollywood Caller: Yea, the other Corey. That’s me.
Friend: So, why are you calling me again?
Hollywood Caller: I work for Hollywood is Calling. Celebrities making personal calls...
Friend: Hey, you were on that reality show last month.
Hollywood Caller: Yes! You saw me?
Friend: Well I watched it once. It wasn’t all that good..
Hollywood Caller: oh...
Friend: Everyone said you cried a lot on that show.
Hollywood Caller: Well, yeah. Man, no one liked me. It’s like, I don’t know..I was an outsider. I mean, I made some good movies. I was sort of a star.
Friend: Lost Boys was good.
Hollywood Caller: Thank you. I didn’t mean to cry that much, it’s just that my career has sucked lately and I’ve been really down. Geez it’s good to talk to someone about this, I was just thinking that...
Friend: OH.MY.GOD!
Hollywood Caller: What?!?
Friend: I just found the Hollywood is Calling website, and you have Fred Berry! ReRun!
Hollywood Caller: Yea, Fred is...
Friend: Holy shit, Fred Berry! Can you put him on the phone? Can I talk to him?
Hollywood Caller: I’m not with him, I’m calling from my house, it’s not like we all work in some big office or something.
Friend: You do this from home? On a Friday night?
Hollywood Caller: Yea...
Friend: How pathetic. No wonder you cry a lot.
Hollywood Caller: (Sobbing sounds as phone drops to floor)

For just $19.95, you too can make a former celebrity cry. Even Lorenzo Lamas.

today's mailbag: raise your own children, please

[thanks to everyone who sacrificed small, virginal animals for me. everything seems to be working now]

I got an email today from one Jeff S., who takes issue with my defense of Jesus Castillo in the Texas v. Castillo case involving the sale of an adult comic book to an adult.

Texas is right and you are wrong. This country is loose with its morals and stores sell sex and violence to impressionable young children and see nothing wrong with it. Comic books are meant for children. Just the word comic alone would seem to indicate that the books and things they sell in the store are for kids. Most comic book stores have brightly painted superheroes on their windows, pictures of Spiderman and Hulk and all the familiar cartoon characters. My eight year old son should not walk in there to buy Pokemon cards and be confronted with images of violence and sex and he should not be able to buy sexually explicit comics.

Even superheroes are suspect in dealing with a child’s life’s lesson. Most of the creators of these pieces of crap are Godless fools who force children to worship flying men and women who resort to violence on a daily basis in the name of saving the world. Children should look to people with good moral judgment who do not mess with God’s creation (meaning man, who cannot fly or perform miracles). Thou shalt not have false idols, the bible says. Superheroes are false idols and not only that, but the comics that don’t have superheroes are full of dark images, the occult and things that give children nightmares.
I see you also defend makers of pornography and violent video games. It is people like you that contribute to the downfall of America and the morals on which it was founded. You and video game producers and makers of filthy or violent movies are helping to turn my child against my values. This must stop. People must be held accountable for the trash they produce and for the army of arrogant bullies and sexually active children that they create with their products. Stores that sell these items should be closed down.

Stop defending the demoralizers. Keep America clean. Kudos to the state of Texas and John Ashcroft for being the real defenders of truth, justice and the American Way.

My reply to Jeff:

It is a pity that you cannot see the error of your ways. The comic book industry is not in the field of child-rearing. Your responsibility as a parent does not stop at the door to the comic shop. It is up to you, Jeff S., to teach your child the morals that you hold dear.

Authors, musicians, artists, directors and video game producers do not have your specific child in mind when they create. It is up to you as a parent to decide what your child can and can’t purchase, view, read or play with.

America is not the land of the free, the home of the religious. The entertainment industry does not cater to your particular religion or morals. The rest of the population of this country is not a watchdog group for you children. You are. You decide where he can and can’t go, what he can and can’t see. You pass on your moral judgment to him and when he’s old enough to decide for himself, he may or may not follow in your footsteps. But for the time being, while he’s just a small kid, it is up to you to instill the values you would like him to grow up with. If that means not going to comic book stores or video rental stores because you don’t like what is on view there, so be it. But do not expect that the rest of us are going to bow down to your morals and religion and remove anything that offends you from the public eye. Perhaps you would be happy with nothing but Veggie Tales to peruse, but most of us wouldn’t. The fallacy that the comic book industry is just for kids needs to be addressed in a longer statement than I have the time or patience to make right now.

Jeff, you may consider certain forms of entertainment a threat to your values, but I consider people like you a threat to my freedoms. I understand if you want to keep your child from viewing potentially harmful material. As a parent myself I know your dilemma. That’s what I use rating systems for. But unlike you, I see a Parental Warning sticker on a CD as a sign that my child shouldn’t listen to it. You see it as a sign that the store should be shut down for selling the CD - even to adults.

There is a moral to this story, Jeff: Raise your child yourself. Don't expect the creators of entertainment to give a shit about your kid, because they don't, nor should they be expected to. Nobody making an R-rated movie is going to worry about the implications of its imagery on the mind of an eight year old. The guy drawing the flying superhero does not care if it offends your religion, nor should he. The simple solution is to, so to speak, turn the channel if you don't like it. But don't think we are all going to change the channel with you.

M

the page cannot be displayed

The internet is not cooperating with me today, neither at work or at home.

Someone please go leave a (possibly human, virgin if possible) sacrifice at the altar of The Gods of Connectivity so I can get on with blogging.

Thanks.

August 13, 2003

nick cave brings out the worst in some cats

I love Ray Smuckles as if he were my own talking, typing pet. I adore his advice colum. I love Achewood.

But Ray has slung an arrow through my heart by dissing Nick Cave. So has Tim Blair. A double blow to my heart.

I suppose Nick Cave is one of those things in life that people either loathe with ubridled hatred or love with all their heart. Sort of like Courtney Love. Who, by the way, turns out to be Marlon Brando's grandaughter.

ted's head, part II

For all of you who made Futurama references this morning:


[click for big-head size]

Crude but effective, as they say.

Aurora borealis comes in view

Going through the backlog of links in my "to blog about" list and found this, Stephen's list of things to do before you die.

Stephen's list is elistist and classist, as not many of us can afford to crack up a brand new sports car or buy a $500 bottle of wine.

There's only a couple of things I'd like to do before I die, and only one of them - see the Northern Lights - is a serious task that I fully intend to undertake one day.

I've had this fascination with the aurora borealis since I was a child. I would often (and still do) dream about standing under those lights, my breath taken away by the color and shape of the ghostly patterns. In some of those dreams, the light would filter right through me and my skin would be aglow with colors and tones. In other dreams I would fly, lifting myself higher and higher until I could dive right into the light and swim around, feeling the softness of the colors rub against my skin like crushed velvet.

I can only imagine what it's like to stand in full view of this or this. It must be like standing insde of a dream.

So that (and attending a game at Lambeau Field) are the things I most want to do before I die - at least the most reasonable things I'd like to do.

The other things, like bitchslap Ted Rall, would all require having a stash of bail money ready. But hey, if I can't get to see those lights or hang out in the frozen tundra of Lambeau, I'll settle for beating the crap out of Robert Fisk.

[Of course, there's always that "have my book published" thing, but I think that's (1) pretty much out of my hands, as I am at the mercy of the publishing industry and (2) more along the lines of a dream rather than a tangible goal. It would probably be easier to sneak porn by Ashcroft than to get a book deal.]

the workout blog

Workout, Day 2:

Ow.

thongs and panties and boxers, oh my!

[You're tired of my whining, aren't you? I'll take a break from my angst and wallowing and get to something ridiculous instead]

I bet you had no idea that today is National Underwear Day.

kermie.jpgStarting a national day when underwear will take center stage is a daunting task, so we need some help from you. Freshpair.com wants you to join the leagues of "seeable" underwear wearers on August 13th by showcasing a bit of your underwear. You can show your support simply by leaving a shirt button undone, exposing your undergarments.

Now, I consider this a good thing, though I normall scoff at people who walk around, Britney Spears style, with their thong sticking out of their low-rise jeans, or guys whose boxers are sticking out of their pants.

But we could all use a frivilous, silly holiday. Let's show our support for this day. It's only 2:30 in the afternoon, which leaves you plenty of time to get into the spirit of things by letting your undies peek out of your pants a bit or flashing a complete stranger so you can show off that multi-colored bra. I mean, Sponge Bob walks around in his tighty whities, so why can't we be as proud of our undergarments?

Let's see those unmentionables! Send me a safe for work picture of your boxers emerging from your waistband or your bra strap slipping down your shoulder. Pull that thong up a bit and show us what you're made of. Take those Spiderman underoos out of your drawer and snap a shot of them.

Ok, if you're camera shy you can just take part in the great debate. Boxers, briefs of commando, guys? Panties, thongs or grandma-style bloomers, ladies?

Then join the thousands of voices and sign the petiton to make August 13th National Underwear Day and finally give this fine a month a holiday to call its own.

UPDATE: I've got Tanya's panties right here. Yea, baby.

fair and mentally unbalanced

Behind every idiotic lawsuit is an asshole with an agenda. This time, the asshole is none other than Bill O'Reilly.

FOX NEWS star Bill O'Reilly lobbied his network to file suit against author Al Franken and his upcoming book "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right," top sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

"For Bill, above all other things, this was a matter of honor and support," a top source explained from New York.

In the battle of who could care less, O'Reilly wins the asshole award in this story hands down.

Now, what about that title could possibly make O'Reilly thinks this is a case of defending honor? Oh, there's this...

In his book, Franken directly challenges O'Reilly on his journalistic record and aggressively accuses cable's top-rated host of exaggeration, padding of his resume and other claims.

Well, of course. O'Reilly couldn't sue Franken for saying O'Reilly is a lousy reporter and interviewer, because, well, he is. So he decided to use his employer to "get even" with Franken.

Basically, this has nothing to do with the phrase fair and balanced at all. It's more about one man's bloated ego and (ok two men's bloated egos), and a child-like game where two kids tweak each other's feelings until one cries uncle.

If O'Reilly is really hurt over Franken's words, perhaps he should have sued for libel. Granted, he wouldn't win that one, either, but he would not have made his employers look like such asses.

UPDATE: Cats and dogs! Eating together! I'm actually going to take part in something that Atrios is involved in: Friday is Fair and Balanced day on the internet, by decree of Neal Pollack.


dear george bush

Dear Mr. Bush,

Thank you so much for the $400 check I received in the mail yesterday. I know some people are angry with you for putting this plan in motion but I, for one, am very grateful.

I will be a good citizen and put this money back into the economy immediately. I suppose that as this money came about because of my kids, I should spend it on them, purchasing their back-to-schoo clothing and supplies with this bounty.

Maybe while I'm at the mall, I'll pick up the Futurama Season 2 DVD, which came out this week. And maybe, just maybe, I'll pre-order the Simpsons Season 3 DVD which comes out the day after my birthday. It's not so bad to buy myself a small birthday present with this money, is it?

Oh, I just want to take a few bucks for the first issue of Neil Gaiman's 1602. And I wanted to be the first buy Baby Tobyn a Miyazaki film.

But I promise to spend some money on the kids. Oh wait, the phone just rang. Hang on.

Ok, I'm going out to lunch now. If there's any money left after I treat everyone to drinks (hey, it's Wednesday, it's hump day drink day!), I'll be sure to do my part to upstart the economy. If I don't fall asleep at my desk after having too many colorful drinks for lunch.

Thanks, George. Have a nice day. And don't let the blogging candidates get you down.

MC

UPDATE: Contrary to popular belief, I did not get screwed. My ex and I each claim one kid a year, so he gets the other check. All's fair in divorce and war.

Oh, and we skipped the drinks at lunch because I have to hit the gym after work. Note to Jane Darcy: I work for the government. Does that explain everything?

a 9/11 tea party

Thanks to my friends at Indymedia, I've been able to find some other people who will be commemorating the anniversary of 9/11 with umm..actions.

The 1st one, the simulcast screenings of AFTERMATH speaks for itself. For those of you who can plan a screening of AFTERMATH please visit here.If you would like more info on what AFTERMATH is, please visit here

The 2nd action is the brain-child of Barb Honneger who is at the forefront of researchers on the 911 Truthalliance list-serv. What we are doing is taking FACTS about 9-11 and placing them on "DOTS". The intention is to "CONNECT THE DOTS" as to what really happened. On 9-11-03 This will be done in Boston, and the "DOTS" will be thrown into the Boston Harbor, reminiscent of the Revolutionary Boston Tea Party.
I provided those links so you can watch the clips, get aggravated and write about it. Misery loves company.

The author of the above will be participating in this event. In New York City.

And this just all proves my point that the moonbats of the far left don't give a crap about anyone but themselves. They might think it's smart and clever to initiate these "actions" on September 11th. Personally, I think it just shouts louder than any protest sign ever could that they are selfish, ignorant cretins.

If I personally witness just one person using the anniversary of 9/11 as a sounding board for their hatred for Bush or their conspiracy fairy tales, I will not be held responsible for what I may do to them.

On the other hand, these "actions" taken by the bats are increasingly resembling pre-school craft projects. Blunt scissors, everyone!

modo does blogs

Maureen Dowd says it's over. Blogging is like, so yesterday, because all the big boys are doing it now.

The most telling sign that the Internet is no longer the cool American frontier? Blogs, which sprang up to sass the establishment, have been overrun by the establishment.

Mo, honey, if we went by that theory then we could say that OpEd columns are no longer cool because they've been overrun by idiots like you and Morford who like to spew out sentences such as In a lame attempt to be hip, pols are posting soggy, foggy, bloggy musings on the Internet.

MoDo also uses the phrase spewing out canned meanderings when referencing Howard Dean's blog. Now there's a case of the blowhard dullard calling the canned meander boring. Or something like that.

here lies ted, there lies his head

If you've been imagining Ted Williams resting comfortably in his afterlife, floating in a pool of liquid ice, silently waiting for the day when they find a cure for what ailed him and bring him back to life, think again.

Ted is going to be one very unhappy fellow when they drain the liquid nitrogen from his tank and yell "Welcome Back!" See, Ted's head will not be attached to his body. Not only that, his head has a few extra holes in it.

If you remember, John Henry, Williams' son, had his father's body sent to Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a cryonics lab, after Ted's death. John Henry thought that someday scientists would find a way bring the dead back to life.

Sports writer Tom Verducci uncovers the sad truth about Williams and Alcor in the current Sports Illustrated.

The silver can containing Williams' head resembles a lobster pot and is marked in black with Williams' patient I.D. number, A-1949, according to the SI story. Williams' head has been shaved and drilled with holes. Verducci also reports that, before the head was placed in its present location, it was accidentally cracked as many as 10 times due to fluctuating storage temperatures.

This does not bode well for Ted's future life.

Seriously, this is a pretty sad turn of events for what was already a convoluted, sad story that pits Johny Henry Williams and his sister Claudia against the rest of the Williams family. John and Claudia claim that Ted wanted to be frozen after his death. The rest of the family claims otherwise.

Even though John Henry's attempts at preserving his dad may be misguided and less than altruistic, he can't be blamed for the crass, shoddy management of Alcor.

John Henry had his dad's body flown to Alcor within hours after Williams died.

One witness [at Alcor] told [Sports Illustrated] that Williams' head was removed in "neuroseparation" surgery, even though John Henry had earlier indicated that he wanted a full-body suspension, and that "many people" snapped pictures of the famous patient during the operation.

And:

[A] board member and an adviser joked about "throwing [Williams'] body away," posting it on eBay or sending it in a "frosted cardboard box" C.O.D. to John Henry's doorstep, to persuade him to pay the bill.

Whether or not the claims that John Henry only wanted his father's DNA to be preserved so he could sell it, and he didn't care about the cryonics at all, remains to be seen.

Either way, this is a sad ending to the life of a legend. Ted (which conviently rhymes with head) will become the punchline to countless jokes, the butt of many limerics [ahem], and the joke-of-the-week for Letterman, Leno, etc. No matter how much even I joke about it, it still disturbs me to think of the head of Ted Williams, sitting in a lobster pot, shaven and full of holes. Someone needs to be held responsible for this.

If life were a Twilight Zone episode, Williams' headless body would be chasing John Henry and the management of Alcor through a dark forest right now.

August 12, 2003

on rall: the answer

Jim Treacher has discovered the hidden meaning in Rall's comic which is, of course, the hidden meaning in everything Rall prints, draws or says.

bowl-a-rama

My brother-in-law won some kind of business card raffle. The prize was a bowling party for 100 of his closest friends.

That would be about 20 adults and 80 kids and that's where we are headed tonight.

I'm hoping to get my average up to at least a 50 so I can brag to Jane.

Or maybe I'll just sit around drinking White Russians and quoting The Big Lebowski.

At any rate, I'm done here until the morning. Maybe.

Hottest ticket in town: Aschroft '03! [contest]

As I pointed out earlier (and TBFKAJG* points out today), Ashcroft is headed on a whirlwind tour, touting the Patriot Act. I assume he will also be giving mad props to his new baby, the Victory Act.

Well, what's a tour without a t-shirt commemorating it? While Ashcroft may not have groupies hanging outside the venues he appears in, and there probably won't be anyone selling ecstacy or pot in the parking lot, he's still got to have the Tour Shirt.

Of course, that's where you come in. Your job, and you will accept it, is to come up with either a t-shirt design (in the vein of those great tour shirts from the 80's) or, if you are not Photoshop equipped, a slogan for the tour.

Winner gets nothing but acknowledgment of their skills, and perhaps a few rounds of applause from the comment gallery. Have at it.

analyzing rall's comic

Obviously many people are confused about Rall's comic. Everyone is deciphering it differently and I'm getting angry emails as well as emails asking me to clarify the statement of the strip for them. Frankly, I'm a bit confused myself after seeing all the varying takes on it.

What do you think he's saying?


[click for bigger image]

9/11/03

[via Jeff Jarvis]

300x100pxl.JPG


Just as I was complaining that I haven’t heard anything about memorials schedule for September 11, 2003, Mayor Bloomberg’s office announces the plans for that day.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor George E. Pataki today announced New York City’s plans to commemorate the second anniversary of the September 11th attack. As with last year’s commemoration, the City’s observance will take place at the World Trade Center site on the morning of Thursday, September 11th. Children will have a large role in this year’s ceremony by reading the names of the victims and performing music throughout the program.

The children who will read those names are all related to the victims of 9/11. I can’t imagine that this will be anything but hard for them. I don’t even know if I can bring myself to watch that portion of the ceremony.

At sundown, the “Tribute in Light” will return for one night as a tribute to the memory of those lost and a symbol of the spirit of the great City of New York. The “Tribute in Light” will be brought back each year for one night on September 11th.

I’m glad to see the lights will come back. It’s a beautiful, quiet tribute to those who died. I saw the lights last year as comfort in the skies; better than another star-studded rendition of God Bless America or the reading of the Gettysburg Address.

Last year, I began to feel a sense of calm after the memorial services.

From September 12, 2002: Is it weird that I feel some closure now? I think the spirits of September 11 stayed with me so long because while I was reliving the events of that day, I was also dreading the anniversary of it.I watched a lot of tv yesterday, I read a lot of weblogs, I cried a whole bunch. And when I woke up today, I found a lot of the despair and anguish I had been feeling lately had left me. Perhaps it was reading all of the stories, perhaps it was just getting another September 11 out of the way.

Occasionally, as evidenced here, that despair and anguish do come back, but to a lesser degree. Perhaps the passing of another year will soothe the anguish even more but it will never disappear completely. The anger will never, ever go away. But I can view each September 11th that rolls around as another year I have lived and learned and remembered. Another year that we have held the lion at bay. I only get angry when I see people using 9/11 as a rallying point for their anti-American causes, or to fuel the fire of their conspiracy theories.

“This will be the second time that we as friends, as families, and as one community, will gather to remember a tragic day which has become synonymous with not only great sorrow and loss, but also courage and resilience. Our intent is to hold a ceremony that is simple and powerful and that honors the memory of those lost, so we can remember and reflect. Forever mindful of the grief still felt by the families, and our desire to honor the heroes of that day, we plan to mark this anniversary as a day of remembrance and pride, but equally as a day on which we turn toward the future. In keeping with that, we will ask our children to take the lead in the ceremony. It is in them that the spirit of our City lives on.”

Indeed. We do have a future to look forward to. We hope it is a peaceful one and that the images and emotions and victims of 9/11 will stay in our hearts and minds always so we can stay true to our resolve to never let it happen again.

I’ll take that day off from work, as I did last year. I’ll go to the cemetery and visit Pete Ganci, as I did last year. And I’ll probably cry and talk to Faith often and hug my children and hope for the best.

I’m looking forward to the comfort of the lights.

on rall

Spoons says I was being ambiguous about my Ted Rall post and he's right. I was purposely not saying much, waiting to see the reaction from everyone else.

I agree with Rall, to a point. Yes, I said I agree with Ted Rall. Hell may freeze over.

However, as always with Rall, he presents his point in a rather tasteless and over-the-top manner. There were probably a million other ways to express this view without engaging in the shock-and-awe method that is his standard.

We should not be dealing with the Saudis in the manner we are. We need to cut off all of our ties with them and recognize them for what they are: terrorists and terrorist funders.

That said, I still must chastise Rall for choosing to use such a horrifying image to make his point. He seems to thrive on throwing 9/11 in our faces and regardless of the statement he is putting across, he never, ever states his issue with the decorum that 9/11 deserves.

Rall is, and will always remain, a tasteless, talentless hack.

discuss amongst yourselves

While I hit the traffic -

Ted Rall's latest comic:


[click for bigger image]

Discuss.

August 11, 2003

psa

Just a note: I'm helping some bloggers fill in for Ian of Inoperable Terran while he's vacationing. So far the other bloggers are outblogging me by a margin of 50-1, but I just put up a nifty Tim Blair link that must be read to be believed.

Oh, and I was mistaken about the three teenage girls. There's now four. I had no idea they could multiply like that. Scary thought.

Herb Brooks, 1937-2003

gherb.jpgHerb Brooks, who coached the U.S. hockey team to the "Miracle on Ice" victory over the Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics, died Monday in a car wreck. He was 66.

Brooks, who was elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990, coached the New York Rangers from 81-85. When he left the Rangers he went on to coach the North Stars, Devils and Penguins and ended his coaching career with a mere .475 winning percentage.

Despite his mediocre coaching record, he was admired and respected by many and often described as a great motivator. In 2002, he received the Lester Patrick award Lester Patrick Award for outstanding service to hockey after coaching the U.S. team to a silver medal in the Olympics.

A Brooks story:

One of coach Herb Brooks's goals before the Olympics was to "break down the Soviets to mortals." He told his players that the great Boris Mikhailov looked like Stan Laurel of the comedy team Laurel and Hardy. He hoped his players would stop looking at Mikhailov as if he was hockey's Zeus.

"You can beat Stan Laurel, can't you?" Brooks would ask.

Even if he had won a Stanley Cup or two, Brooks would always be known for coaching one of the greatest hockey games ever played and in the eyes of some, the greatest moment in sports.

Like Bucky Dent's home run in Fenway in 1978, or Villanova's upset over Georgetown in the 1985 NCAA championship game, the 1980 Olympic win over Russia during the height of the cold war (the U.S. team then went on to beat Finland for the gold medal) is of those sports memories that will stay with me forever and Herb Brooks will always be a huge part of that memory.

So long, Herb and thanks for those memories.

work it

I finally did something I said I was going to do months ago. I joined a gym. Today was my first day.

Man, am I out of shape.

I'm headed for Japanese food with three 13 year old girls. And then they're all sleeping over.

Pass the valium.

frankenstein's video game monster was created by parents, not the industry

Jimmy Ballard has a good rant up today about this Penny Arcade comic, the comic that inspired it and the whole sordid subject of video games turning kids into killers.


[click for larger image]This is the political cartoon in question. Tycho at Penny Arcade is seething over it, and I agree with him 100%. He wants us to print out today's PA strip and send it to any local papers that ran the Horsey's Dr. Frankenstein strip (It ran in the Seattle-Post on August 1, so check the online version of your paper for that day, if they carry Horsey).

Tycho writes: [Horsey] should try producing a work that does more that tweak the nose of power, something that asks serious questions of it, something that combines cleverness and art into a weapon and see how far it gets with his editor. Then, perhaps the First Amendment won't be some ethereal concept worthy of ridicule when it protects other people and something tangible and obvious when it governs his own creative output.

What Horsey fails to realize in his effort to be both witty and profound at the same time is that this is not a First Amendment issue at all. The First Amendment does not force parents into buying these games and systems for their children. Just because someone makes it, does not mean you have to buy it.

I've been through this issue - sort of - twice in the past week; once with The Case of the Adult Comic Book and once with The Case of the Adult Films (sorry, I'm in Encyclopedia Brown mode today). Clearly, with Horsey's idea that video game creators are indeed creating monsters as well, we have yet another adult who does not grasp the idea that freedom of choice means freedom of not making the wrong choice. In fact, Gabe at PA touched on this issue as well [I really wish Gabe and Tycho would discover the wonder of permalinks]:

So why don’t people lend the same legitimacy to videogames that they do to film? It’s because they still think videogames are for children. Those of us who cut our teeth on Atari games are pushing thirty at this point. Is it so unreasonable to expect that as an adult I should be able to purchase an M rated videogame that includes adult material in much the same way I might see an R rated film that contains the same. The fact that pornography exists does not mean that film as a medium is inappropriate for children.

Which applies not only to the argument I'm making here, but to the comic book industry as well, as evidenced in the Castillo case. Yes, there are comic books for children, but that does not mean that all of them are appropriate for children, just as not all video games have singing dinosaurs and prancing ponies.

A parent who cries that her son became violent because of video games should be smacked upside the head and then made to go to parenting classes. There, she could learn the basics of saying no to her child as well as learn what is and isn't appropriate for a child her son's age to be playing with.

My son is ten. He wants to own Vice City. He wants to go see Freddy v. Jason. He wants to watch South Park. No, no and no. When we take him shopping for a video game, we look at the rating. Unlike a lot of his friends' parents, my husband and I are avid gamers so we know what the games are like. Even if we didn't, we would to a bit of research before we bought him a game. As a parent, there are places where you have to draw a line. Once you cross over that line, you leave yourself open to all kinds of consequences and you can't claim the producers of the entertainment you purchased for your child are to blame when he shows negative effects.

Even that leaves me suspect. Personally, I've never seen a child turn into a murderer, a monster or even a low-grade purse snatcher because of video games and movies. I have, however, seen children "go bad" because their parents do not teach them right from wrong, they don't set guidelines or follow through on rules or teach their offspring any kind of appropriate behavior standards. One thing goes with the other. You can't expect your children to learn all of life's lessons from the entertainment industry, nor can you expect that the lessons you teach your child need only be taught once. In the face of every increasing intensity in in all forms of entertainment, with the violence in just the news alone, you need to hammer home your points to your kids again and again.

Like the strip says, video games are not babysitters. You can't expect to throw your kid in front of the Playstation for hours on end and not expect his grades to drop and his temperment to change. Even if he was playing a G-Rated game for for five hours straight, he would probably have some adverse effects.

The blame train needs to stop. If your child is grossly overweight, over aggressive, violence prone or a bully, if she or he has carpal tunnel syndrome, is plotting to run away with an internet friend, curses like a truck driver or tries Jackass type stunts resulting in injury, you need to take a long hard look at yourself and stop looking for a lawyer and someone to sue. It is not the fault of video games, the movie industry, the television, McDonald's or the internet. It is your fault for not keeping a closer eye on them, for not setting standards and keeping to them, for not imposing limits and for not knowing how to say no to your child.

The world is not your babysitter, nor are the citizens of this world surrogate parents to your foul-mouthed kid. The creators of M-Rated video games are not concerned with your child when they make their games because your child does not fall into that M rating.

It does not take a village to raise a child. It takes a parent who thinks before they buy.

Nader's blowing smoke again

We can stop wondering what would have happened if Ralph Nader had been elected president. Actually, what wouldn't have happened.

Likely 2004 third-party presidential hopeful Ralph Nader thinks the 9/11 terrorist attacks wouldn't have happened if he had been president. He claims that amid all the big decisions new presidents have to make after inauguration, he would have ordered cockpit doors to be hardened against attack. He says an old report warning about how easy it is to get in the cockpit still sticks with him. What's more, he would have wiped out Osama bin Laden and his gang without a shot being fired. How? Bribe Osama's friends to hand him over.

Unfortunately, we do not have a time machine nor an Ouija board worth it's price that could tell us if Nader is blowing smoke up our asses. If I were a betting person I would say turn around and look at your ass because there's a big puff of smoke trying to get in your pants.

It's very easy for someone to say what they would have done. I'm thinking Nader's first act as president would have nothing to do with cockpits or Osama. Do you recall seeing anything about airline safety or terrorist organizations in his speeches? No, neither do I.

But the Green Party platform calls for universal health care, making our school system non-competitive, stripping down our military, abolishing our defensive weapons, hand-holding criminals and babysitting illegal immigrants.

Somehow I think that cockpit doors don't fall into any of the categories of Nader's pet projects. In fact, I don't see anything about combatting terrorism at all on the list of Green Party issues.

Like everything Nader stands for, his revisionist dreams of the past are just pie-in-the-sky fantasies.

Instead of saying "how can I help this country have a safe future," Nader and some of his fellow politicians can only talk about how they would have made the past better. Get with the program, guys. The 2000 election is long gone and now 2004 will get away from you if you insist on bragging about what you could have done and not what you will do.

Even though I was considered a "liberal" at the time of the attacks, I still was ever so thankful that Bush and not Nader, not Gore, not anyone else, was in the White House at the time, and I grew ever more thankful as time went on.

If Nader had succeeded in his pipe dream of presidency, you can bet that not only would 9/11 still have happened, but Saddam Hussein would still be ruling Iraq.

1 year, 11 months: thoughts and some questions

Here it is, August 11 already.

At this time last year, we were being inundated with articles about the coming anniversary of 9/11. Who was going to speak where, what each affected city had planned, memorials upon memorials anD concerts in honor of and prayer services for the lost, the dead, the heroes.

A year later we are focused on Iraq and California. We're busy laying blame, telling lies and turning celebrities into politicians.

Meanwhile, I'm walking a thin line between sadness and anger, the same as I did last year and the twelve months before that. I'm both sad and angry that people have dismissed that day, that they no longer want to talk about it or think about it.

We must not forget. We must not forget the terror that cut through a quiet fall morning. More important, we must not forget the way we held hands afterwards.

For a brief, wonderful moment, we were all in this together. We leaned on each other and lent comfort and hope. We gathered together spread our arms out to total strangers. We had resolve. We had strength in our weakest moment. From the flames, hope was forged. In the midst of sadness, comfort was found.

It was all too brief. Once again, we parted ways, divided ourselves into groups and walked down different avenues. In our haste to get back to "normal" we forgot how to stay together. The spark that lit our souls and made us vow to be united become a dull ember, growing darker and darker until no one even remembered it had existed.

We failed to take the single most important lesson from that day with us when we climbed out of our blackness. We did come together, but we did not stay together. We went our separate ways and some turned their anger back on us and spit on us as we mourned.

Some stopped remembering. They stopped staring at the skies, waiting for the lion to awake once again. They stopped comforting each other and stopped thinking about that day.

It is a mistake to think the sleeping lion will always sleep. It is a mistake to think our enemies have spent their energy and will retreat forever. It is a grave mistake to turn from each other again and split this place in two, for that is what our enemy wants, and that's when he will wake and pounce again.

He laughs at us as the day slips farther and farther from our memories. The flags are battered and torn, the signs hanging over freeways broken and written over. He grins as his day of glory becomes less and less of a factor in our lives.

When we forget, we drop our resolve, we lose our strength and we open ourselves up to letting it happen again.

Despite all the increased security, all the color-coded warnings and preparations, we have forgotten the most important thing. We have lost that feeling of urgency, of shared grief, of the solid core of hope we became on that day. We lost our grip on that and now we are like enemies of ourselves, slipping into a wary world where everyone eyes each other as some kind of rival or competitor.

In one month it will be two years. I don't know what the standard period of mourning is for something like this, but I suppose I'll be extending it.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who senses that those 3,000 lives have become somewhat less important to us. For some, they've become important for all the wrong reasons; they are victims used to throw out baseless accusations and useless statistics. They have become the rallying cry of conspiracy theorists.

And what have they become to us? Just tiny little specks off in our distant memory?

The worst thing we can do is become complacent and lose the grief we felt that day. We cannot put the past behind us, at least not this part of the past, because that would only open us up to living the same thing again in the future.

What are you doing on September 11, 2003? Will it be just another day for you or will you take some time to remember? Have you taken anything from that day? Has your life changed, your mind changed, has it had any impact on you besides the obvious? Have any of us learned anything at all?

Further reading:

9/11/02: 99 people tell personal stories of that day

The cross in the above photo is made of steel from the remains of the World Trade Center. Read more here.

I should also note that this has been an unplanned, stream-of-thought post. I apologize for any typos or unfinished thoughts. I just wanted to put out something raw, as is, no editing.

monday psa

Holding off on blogging until I get to work so you can all go instead to Kelley's and peruse her weekly cul-de-sac. I think it takes her about two days to put it all together, so if you find something interesting to read through Kelley, why don't you thank her?

August 10, 2003

are you there god? it's me, the pope

I've had this raging headache for the past three days, thanks to the creepy weather around these parts. But you don't see me beseeching any powerful beings that may or may not exist to bring me relief.

It's really nice of the Pope to pray for rain to pour over England. I don't want to be the one to break it to him that the weather doesn't answer to a higher being. In fact, I'm convinced that weather is a higher being and it's mighty pissed off about something.

Just out of curiosity, isn't there something better the Pope can be using his special prayer privileges for than relieving the Brits of heat? Just stick some ice cubes down your pants and call in your favors for more important things. Like getting Ariana Huffington to shut up.

I've got a bad case of mind rot today. I apologize to all those Catholics who are offended by the preceding and I will refrain from making any jokes about the Pope's hat, weiner mobile or altar boys.

blogging privately

I've considered the dangers regarding spilling my life and personal history here and thought a few times about making a separate blog for the personal entries and password protecting it (something also considered byAndrea. Obviously, I never went ahead with that, but there's a AP story on Jacksonville.com today of two people who felt the need to do such a thing (including my wonderful friend Robyn) and why they did it.

Go, read.

techsploitation: infringement justification

via Arguing With Signposts:

I like to violate copyright everyday.

That sentence, and the fact that the article is from Alternet, should tell you right away where this is going.

I only steal from the rich. Once I copied a Mountain Goats CD, because I loved it so much and couldn't find it anywhere. As soon as I did, I bought that CD and about five more by the same band. That was a situation where I was sure the artist, who works through an independent label, would actually get my money. I don't have that same feeling about creators whose work is owned by giant media conglomerates. And frankly, I really don't care if Danny Elfman never sees the money he might have made if I hadn't copied that Oingo Boingo CD. He's rich enough as it is.

Only a person who wants to justify not paying for creative works would think that every musician who is not on an indie label is rich. Sure, the CEOs of the label might be rich, but I doubt very much that a band like The Ataris, who are on Columbia Records (a division of Sony Music) are what the author would define as rich, or someone like Jade Anderson, also on the major label, is rolling in money.

Do I download music? Yes. Once in a while I'll get the itch to hear an old song and I'll open up Kaaza and swipe it from someone. I don't, however, download whole CDs for my listening pleasure because, frankly, there's something creepy about that. Not to mention that I feel a CD is of little use to me without the cover art, the liner notes and whatever else may come with the CD.

I like to pay bands, big or small, for their efforts. They spend the time writing, producing and recording the songs and I pay 15 dollars a pop to say thank you. I would sure hate like hell to put that much effort into my own work and not get paid for it. Why should musicians or software makers or film producers be any different?

The author continues:

When I was a kid, I cried while reading Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, the dystopian novel about a future where books are illegal. I can remember big, hot tears rolling down my face during the scene in which the evil authorities are burning books. Bradbury describes each one as if it were human: Alice from Alice in Wonderland screams in agony; Shakespeare's characters weep as they are reduced to ash. I know it's sentimental of me, but I think of creative works as if they were somehow human, as if they had lives of their own – many lives, playing out in strange, unknowable ways inside each mind that absorbs them. And when I see art and music and writing and movies and TV shows forbidden to me by draconian copyright laws, I don't think about legal documents full of tidy little justifications of property law. I see living beings in chains. I see Mickey Mouse, who has tried to escape again, burned by the lash. I hear Marilyn Monroe, imprisoned by her copyrighted image, howling to get free.

How touching. I weep for her, really. In fact, I pity her. Because she doesn't realize the irony of her statement. Instead of seeing Mickey Mouse chained to draconian laws, she shouuld instead see artists chained to the knowledge that their live's works are being passed around for free and they are getting nothing in return for all that work.

I've never been one for pussyfooting around when it comes to liberating what some corporation or mogul calls "private property." I don't really give a shit about capitalism. I think it's a scam. Rich guys who own everything trade stocks, and the rest of us, who own the vast majority of nothing, watch welfare wither away. If we make something beautiful and try to make a living by selling it, we can't own it. My beautiful thing will be the property of some company that has slapped a cover on it.

So, in her world, everything should be free. Books, records, movies, paintings, they should all be unleashed on the world by their respective artists without a care or concern whether that artist gets paid for his work. The author seems to think of creative arts as one would corn feed in a hippie commune. Share, share, that's fair.

Life is not a communal affair. We don't exist in a world of from each according to his abilities, to each according to their needs. Nor should we. There would be no incentive to work or to create if we thought we were just going to be handed our basic needs by those who are able to do more than us.

Just because one can write or create music does not mean he needs to distribute the results of those talents without expecting to be rewarded in some way. And the artist is not the only person involved in the creative process. There are producers and engineers and typesetters and customer service clerks that need to be paid for their part. It is wholly naive to believe that downloading a CD instead of buying means you are sticking it to the man. In the end you are also sticking it to every man and woman who works behind the scenes to make sure that art gets produced and put out to the public.

I don't care if my file-sharing cripples the economy. I want to rebel against the property holders, the people who took away our beautiful things and called them commodities. Until culture belongs to all of us equally, I will continue to infringe.

Nobody took them away from you, dear. They are still right there, on the shelves in stores, waiting for you to part with a few dollars to purchase them. You may think capitalism is a scam, but it is capitalism that feeds and clothes our children, capitalism that gives you the computer you use to download music, capitalism that makes the world go round.

You work, you get paid, you spend money on commodities. For some people, their work is making those commodities. I'm sure you don't expect to get your clothes or dining room furniture or handbag for free, why should music be any different? Why stop at movies or songs? Why not go out and scream at how unfair it is that you have to pay to read a newspaper or watch a ballet performance?

If only the author of the article would feel as much angst for musicians and other artists as she feels for the crying Alice in Farenheit 451. Obviously she sees Mickey Mouse and other fictional characters as living beings in chains, but she does not see the people behind the music she downloads and the software she cracks as human beings at all. If she did, she would not be justifying stealing from them.

Side note: As Bryan at AWS pointed out, the piece by Ms. Newitz is copyrighted:

© 2003 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved. Reproduction by Syndication Service only.

sunday morning review: wolves in the walls

Wolves in the Walls: Written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean

Lucy heard noises. The noises were coming from inside the walls. They were hustling noises and bustling noises. They were crinkling noises and crackling noises. They were sneaking, creeping, crumpling noises.


Wolves is simple story, really. Lucy hears noises in the walls of her house and assumes the obvious; there are wolves in the walls. Her parents and brother don't believe her, or don't want to believe her, because everyone knows that when the wolves come out of all the walls, it's all over. Of course, the wolves do come out and mayhem ensues.

They wear the family's clothing, eat the mother's homemade jam and make a general mess of things. Lucy and her family - who have been sleeping outside - must use their wit (truthfully, Lucy's wit) to get the wolves to leave the house so they can go back in.

Adults will probably see the payoff coming before it get's there, but children will most likely be surprised, if not delighted, when the plot twist takes shape. The last page, however, does hold a little joke for grown-ups and children alike, and one can imagine Gaiman and McKean winking at us as we get the unwritten joke.


Wolves in the Walls is the duo's second children's picture book (the first is The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish) and, once again, Gaiman and McKean prove to be a formidable team; there has never been a more perfect pairing of words and pictures.

The words are sparser in this second effort, but McKean's illustrations make the words seem larger and deeper; they embellish the story rather than just presenting it. While Gaiman tells the story in a poetic, sing-song form at times, McKean's masterful mixed bag of art provides the music that make the words come alive.

Wolves is sophisticated enough for adults, but not so sophisticated that you won't find yourself making all the appropriate sound effects and silly voices while you read it out loud to a slightly scared (and then relieved) audience of kids. The perfect scary book for children would be one in which their fright is replaced with a smile towards the end so no nightmares ensue; and Wolves pulls that off perfectly.

Further reading:
Interview with Gaiman where he discusses how the story of Wolves in the Walls came to be.
My review of Coraline, Gaiman's children's novel.
The Art of Dave McKean.
Neil Gaiman

August 09, 2003

show and tell


[click for bigger image]



My husband is an artist. A very good one, at that. We're working as a team these days. He's illustrating a story I'm writing which we will some day publish as a graphic novel. Hey, we can dream, can't we?

So, it occurred to me that in 2 1/2 years of blogging, I have never once showed off my husband's many artistic skills. He draws in several mediums, and in several styles.

This one particular drawing is of the girl who is the star of my story. Her name is (as of the latest writing, it's subject to change) Lissa. I'm not going to give away any of the story here, as I will post it in its entirety one day, but suffice it say that Lissa is a special person, and not special in that Laurence sort of way.


separate questions for the amish guy

Laurence is special. He does not get the same questions as everyone else.

You do know what I mean by special, right?

These questions are taken from real jury questionnaire forms because, like Laurence, I have been dipping into the tequila tonight and I couldn't come up with any good questions that didn't involve cooking a cat in a bread making machine.

Anyone can answer them, actually. [Laurence's answers are here]

1. Are there bumper stickers on the vehicles that you drive or that your spouse drives?
( ) Yes ( ) No.

If yes, what do they say?

2. Based on your experience, what is your opinion of lawyers?

3. Are you or is any member of your family in favor of limiting the rights of those accused of a crime so as to make it easier to convict? ( ) Yes ( ) No

4. Please describe any special skills you have that the judge should be aware of.

5. Is there anything that might make it difficult for you to see graphic photographs and videotapes depicting the injuries to the body of the deceased and a large quantity of blood?

[insert william shatner joke here]

Yea it's a quiz. Sue me, I have writer's block (blogger's block) today.

I don't even like Star Trek. But I suppose their are worse things to be than the guy who always got the chick.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Once again, the grey skies, nothing but grey skies, have taken hold of my creativity and zapped my will to think.

Note to Reid: Yes, Atlanta is beating the Packers. I suppose I should throw out that line, but it's only pre-season!

i'm just as nosy as the rest

If you answered affirmatively in the comments on the post below that you would like to participate in the circle jerk of interviews, you can all answer the same five questions (but remember to follow the rules posted there).

1. If you were a tree, what kind of dog would piss on you?
2. Do these pants make my ass look fat?
3. What's your stance on sporks?
4. You're the presidential candidate for a viable third political party. What's it called and who's your running mate?
5. Why do birds suddenly appear?

When you answer the questions, post them on your own blog as well as here, and leave a link to your answers.

Heh

Chris Muir's Day by Day

Heh.

We are off to our weekly bookstore trip. I'll pick up Wolves in the Walls today. I'll probably spend the rest of the day reading it, so I'll have a review tonight.

I'm also in a creepy enough mood today (thanks, weather gods!) to kick the ass of any fanboy who is drooling over the graphic novel section.

one man's underrated film is another's piece of crap

Bill Simmons, the master of all list makers, has finally confirmed my notion that his taste in entertainment is, well, tasteless.

It's Underrated Week over at ESPN's Page 2, where Bill resides. Today, he tackles underrated movies.

He's got a whole list of rules for determining whether or not a movie can be judged as truly underrated, but I won't bother listing them because he broke plenty of those rules himself when he made his list. He has 12 movies plus some honorable mentions. The first thing you notice when you look at the list is a picture of Chuck Norris.

There is no such thing as an underrated Chuck Norris movie because there is no such thing as a good Chuck Norris movie.

His number 10 movie is Eddie and the Cruisers. I cannot begin to describe all the ways in which I hated that movie, not the least of which is the Bruce Springsteen mimicry in all of the Cruisers' songs.

I'll agree with Simmons on his number 8 choicee: Toy Soldiers. I watch it unfailingly every time it's on tv. It's one of those movies that you happen to catch a glimpse of while you're flipping the channels and before you know it, you've watched the whole damn thing again. And I love Bill's take on Wil Wheaton's acting in the film: Wil Wheaton's turn as the hardened son of a Mafioso might be the most amazing casting misfire in Hollywood history. Has to be seen to be believed. It's like somebody lost a bet. Hey, it's got Sean Astin. Don't knock it until you've seen it.

Turner and Hooch? Tom Hanks partnered with a drooling, ugly dog? I'd watch Hanks with that stupid volleyball before I watched this piece of crap again. I bet this film ranks above Bachelor Party on Tom Hanks's list of Mistakes I Made.

Sudden Death. Jean Claude Van Damme. Hockey. Assassination plot. Can we say no thanks? The part that Simmons likes so much is the part that made me cringe: Van Damme sneaks into the Pittsburgh locker room and notices the unconscious Penguins goalie. Within three minutes, he strips the guy of his gear and puts the goalie's equipment on himself. Then he skates out for the third period, keeps the Penguins in the game, robs someone on a breakaway, and starts a bench-clearing brawl. Suspension of disbelief wasn't enough to get me through that scene.

Just One of the Guys. Oy. Vey. Of all the dumb-plotted movies of the 80's, this one was the worst. I have to agree with Simmons that the little brother's character was great, but that did not make up for the awful dialogue, the thin plot and the fact that the lead actress, Joyce Hyser, reminded me of my seventh grade math teacher, Mr. DiSantos.

Last American Virgin. This movie often gets tied in with the other teen sex movies of the 80's; Valley Girl and Fast Time at Ridgemont High. People often confuse the abortion story in Virgin with the abortion story in Fast Times. And they confuse the soundtracks of all the movies and sometimes they think Nick Cage was in Virgin, but he was in Valley Girl.
See, they're just all really the same movie with interchangeable characters and plot lines, but only one had Jeff Spicoli.

The Honorable mention list is really long, so I'll take it on later because right now we are going to watch a really underrated movie, Boondock Saints.

saturday morning quote

Mr. Teapot says:

The word "human" is derived from the Venusian slang term "hgummin," which means stupid, petty, short-sighted, and tentacle-deficient.

August 08, 2003

corrupting young minds, one at a time

davidgb.jpgIt's David night. We're babysitting for my nephew while my sister and her husband are at a wedding. My sister (Jo-Anne) was a very selfish sister today and gave David a nap at 5pm. Which means he won't be going to sleep until about midnight. In my world, that leaves me free reign to do whatever I want with David without paying any attention to my brother-in-law Lew's ten page list of Rules For Watching David. Lew is, how do you say it? Anal. Yes, that's the word.

On tap for tonight are a few movies. We'll start with Ghostbusters, move on to Army of Darkness and work our way up to a few Girls Gone Wild videos. Then we'll teach him the words to a few Slayer songs, feed him six packages of Sponge Bob gummis for dinner and put beer in his bottle.

We've just taught him how to say "Nice rack, babe!"

[Relax, Lew. I'm sure by the time you get home and read this, David will be sound asleep and none the worse for wear. Just don't give me grief tomorrow when he says "Lighten up, Lew! We didn't mean to teach him that, it was an accident. Hey, remember when Jo taught DJ how to say "Mommy's a bitch?" Yea.]

self-linking day and an awards show

It's that time again. Drop your links, have your say, reference your own blog.

This is as good a day to do it as any, thanks to a Lileks-lanche. Make my traffic yours.

Come on, whore yourself. Isn't that what the blogosphere is for?

When you're done, head over to Balloon Juice, where John Cole is beating the summer doldrums in the blog world by hosting Blogger Awards.

If this is like the Academy Awards, where nominees send out nifty packages of stuff to voters, I'll have you know I'm willing to be bribed.

Oh, and will everyone who deserted Blogspot or changed URLs in the last month or so, please leave a link as well.

xx, xy

Dean asks:

What do you like about men? I'm not even kidding. I seriously want to hear the answer. Even if you're a lesbian. I want to know what you like about those of us who were born with testicles....Serious answers only are allowed. No bashing, no snarkiness, no bullshit. The question is simple: what do you like about men?

I was all set to answer: There's no difference between what I like about men and what I like about women.

But there must be some difference, or I wouldn't have spent most of my life surrounded by more male friends than female friends.

Maybe it's the whole comic book, action figure, video game, sports thing. At the risk of sounding like a reverse sexist, I don't particularly care for shopping, chick flicks or comparing beauty products.

Perhaps it's not it's not what I like about men that drive me towards friendships with them; it's what I like about the culture of men.

Yea, there's that whole anatomy thing, too.

Not that there's anything wrong with a nice set of boobs.


on this day...

Today is not only Instapundit's second birthday, it's the first annniversary of Blogcritics.

One year, 1.5 million page views, 19,838 referrers, 13,817 comments, 7162 entries, 311 blogcritics.

I am grateful to Eric for allowing me to be one of those critics and posting 33 of those entries.

Congrats to Eric Olsen and company on a job well done, and to Glenn for two years of hard labor that truly pays off for his readers.

when will ashcroft's moral juggernaut stop?

A few days ago I wrote about Texas v. Castillo (here), the case of an adult who sold an adult comic to another adult, yet was arrested, tried and convicted for obscenity.

ComicCon Pulse had a bit on the case yesterday (Pros respond to the Jesus Castillo case) and several comic industry people, as well as commenters, went off on Bush, Ashcroft and the police state of a puritanical America.

I was going to say, hey, wait a minute here, how did you get from some prudish D.A. on a creepy mission to Ashcroft's America?

Before I could start writing that piece, I came across this story:

Federal prosecutors said today they have charged a North Hollywood wholesaler of adult films with violating federal obscenity laws as the government steps up a campaign against the major distributors of adult entertainment.
The U.S. Justice Department said that its 10-count indictment against Extreme Associates and the husband-and-wife team that owns it is part of a renewed enforcement of federal obscenity laws after more than a decade in which they were rarely imposed. Several more prosecutions of "major purveyors and producers of adult obscenity" are expected in the coming months, the government said in a statement.

Said Ashcroft: "Today's indictment marks an important step in the Department of Justice's strategy for attacking the proliferation of adult obscenity. The Justice Department will continue to focus our efforts on targeted obscenity prosecutions that will deter others from producing and distributing obscene material."

Adult obscenity, otherwise known as pornography.

Since when is it the business of the feds to regulate what adults should or should not be watching, reading or listening to? The porn in question does not involve minors, either on the buying or participating ends.

Who made Ashcroft the evil overlord of morals and purity? And where does the raised fist of "justice" stop? Comic books, adult sex, what's next? Will they come to my house, rip the cable out of my wall and declare Cinemax and The Anime Channel off limits to my adult eyes and ear?

One of the films distributed by the charged company, Extreme Associates, is Forced Entry - Directors Cut, "which depicts the rapes and murders of several women."

Movies like that are a dime a dozen in any Blockbust horror or action section. Anyone remember I Spit on Your Grave? That film would probably give Ashcroft a coronary.

But cracking down on porn and obscene material sounds much better to the voting right than cracking down on horror movies does.

I thought the Castillo case was an anomoly. I was hoping, at least, that while it set a precedent the precedent would never needed to be followed up on, because not too many D.A.s are on a misson to cleanse their community of what they perceive to be filth (though the D.A. in my own county frightens me in that respect).

Once people realize that Ashcroft is more than willing to wipe adult films from the shelves, there will more than a few zealous prosecutors willing to go that extra mile to find something smutty around town to build a court case around so they can rise through the ranks of the moral majority and declare a victory over an adult's right to choose their own entertainment.

Whether or not the owners of Extreme Productions did not follow the laws is not what's so troubling here; the fact that while we are in the midst of a war on terror and war in Iraq, and new threats are being issued every day and every city is crying that they are woefully underprepared for a terrorist attack, this is where our money is going. To stop adults from entertaining each other, to prosecute comic store clerks who are just doing their job.

Beware, comic book and video stores. You never know if that person walking through your door is someone taking the gospel of Ashcroft to heart.

more prolific than rush! able to leap rush's ego in a single bound!

A link from Lileks is like a kick in the ass on a morning when you feel lazy. James wrote about this inspid article which should have been called Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot But He's Better Than Any Blogger and honestly, just the title alone makes me think that Rush is afraid of bloggers. Bloggers and Linkers and Pundits, oh my!

Lileks compares bloggesr to Rush in such a way that Rush comes out on the losing end, and then James says: Michele drops more stuff in a week than Rush lets out in a year which, when taken out of context, sounds rather frightening.

And of course he states that on a day when I'm going to be AWOL for a bit, but I certainly will make up for it with a flurry of blogging later because I do not want to give Rush a head start in the output race.

I'm working on something that deals with Ashcroft, comic books, religion, censorship, porn and going to Target.

No, not really anything about Target. I just thought that would make the Bleat readers stick around. But I do have a daughter named Natalie.

the future is the past is the future

The new school calendar came in the mail yesterday, along with a package three inches thick with forms, forms and more forms. And that was just for one kid.

I opened the calendar, glanced at September, mentally noted which kid goes to school at what time on the first day, and then flipped all the way to June. I stared at the page for a bit, allowing the dates to sink in:

June 23: Middle school graduation; June 24: Elementary school graduation.

I let out a little whimper.

When DJ finishes up fifth grade in June, it will mark more than a passing of his primary school years; it will also mark the end of my relationship with Parkway School. [Yep, there I am, first grade, goofy haircut. Notice the freakishly tall Mrs. Letterman who, when I was in first grade, appeared to be a giant. Giantress?]

So, in June, when DJ graduates a mere 30 years after I crossed that very same threshold I can cross Parkway School off of my list of Things That Connect Me to My Past.

When we graduated, we gathered in the gym, lit candles and sang the song "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" in imperfect harmony. They don't light candles these days. It took them twenty years or so to realize that handing a bunch of twelve year old kids who are high on excitement lit flames is not a good thing. I wonder what the song of the graduating fifth grade class of '04 will be? I think some neighborhood kids already started a petiton to have the Ataris version of Don Henley's Boys of Summer as their song. The more thigs change...

So, the day after DJ rids himself of the elementary school label, Natalie makes the move from middle school to....high school. My heart clenched as I wrote those words. How can this be her last year of middle school? Wasn't it just yesterday I was dragging her through the supermarket and telling her to stop crying because I was not going to buy that ridiculous cookie cereal for her? Well, yes, it was yesterday. Like I said, the more things change, the more you wish some things would not stay the same.

I guess I'm more bothered about DJ leaving Parkway than I thought I was, because my mind keeps drifting back to that even though I started out wanting to write about Natalie being in her last year of middle school already.

That's me on my first day of school. The school still looks exactly the same. Nothing has changed except my perception of it. The building was a large monster to me; all teeth and claws and fierce eyes, waiting for me every morning with it's stomach growling for fresh, young children. I tamed the monster eventually and learned to love it, even if I did not love everything inside it.

The monster did not seem so big and menancing when I dropped DJ off for his first day of kindergarten. In fact, it seemed downright friendly. I took a photo of DJ standing in the same place I was in that picture. I even tried to put the same dress on him, but he wanted none of that.

Another six years in and out of that school [nine, adding in Natalie's time], attending PTA meetings and teacher conferences and decorating the cafeteria to look like a barn for the Fall Harvest Dance. Years walking in and out of that building in the same capacity my mother once did, toting home a sick child, explaining to the principal that my kid was not to blame, admiring the art that hung on the walls and applauding wildly at the recorder concert.

Certain things I'm glad to be rid of, like the hand-holding, wishy-washy, touchy-feely staff that coddles the kids who cause trouble and psychoanalyze the victims of the trouble makers.

But here it is, only August, the beginning of the school year still almost a month away and I shouldn't be wallowing in the future by wallowing in the past. It's summer! Live for today! Forget the future! Carpe Diem!

Oh, my mother's JC Penney Christmas catalog came in the mail yesterday.

And they wonder why I can't live for today.

August 07, 2003

the treacher laugh of the day

Yes, there is at least one every day.

Here's the August 7th edition.

gimme gimme

gimmes.gifMe First and the Gimme Gimmes is the band I always wanted to start. Strictly covers, taking old songs and shedding new light on them. The Gimmes are the superband of punk - vocalist Spike Slawson (Swingin' Utters), guitarist Jake Jackson (No Use for a Name), guitarist Joey Cape (Lagwagon), bassist Fat Mike (NOFX) and drummer Dave Raun (Lagwagon) [I hope I got that all right, if I didn't, someone please correct me]. Combine all that talent and irreverance with classic soft rock and it's pure music alchemy.

I picked up their new one today: Take A Break. They cover some classic love songs of your life:

Where Do Broken Hearts Go; Hello; End Of The Road; Ain't No Sunshine; Nothing Compares 2 U; Crazy; Isn't She Lovely; I Believe I Can Fly; Oh Girl; I'll Be There; Mona Lisa Save; The Best For Last and Natural Woman.

If you're looking for something fun and light to listen to, something that will put a grin on your face and probably make you get up and dance like an idiot, this album would be the one. Buy it, you won't be disappointed. Then buy the other cds. You can't go wrong with One Tin Soldier and Seasons in the Sun.

So far, Hello is my favorite, especially the cheesy ending. I Believe I Can Fly runs a close second. You can listen to End of the Road at the Fat Wreck site; I've uploaded Hello for your listening pleasure.

Trust me, it's a beautiful rendition of the Lionel Richie classic.

Hello (mp3)

thanks, ashcroft!

Ashcroft is pushing his new idea: The Victory Act. Said the Ashman:

This project has become my personal mission. It is something near and dear to my heart and I will pursue it's passage with the fierce determination that it deserves.

The goal of The Victory Act is to make sure that every single weblogger in the entire Blogosphere is both reading and linking to A Small Victory. It is your duty as a true American and/or Friend of America to undertake this calling.

If passed, The Victory Act would allow feds to:

  • Clamp down on trolls, where comments exchanged disparage the author or readers of A Small Victory,

  • Get internet records from bloggers and blog readers without a court order in probes to determine who has not yet put A Small Victory on their blogroll or in their favorites folder,

  • Track delinkers and serve them with a roving death warrant,

  • Impose sentences for troll kingpins and non-linkers/readers to 40 years in prison and $4 million in fines and six months of hard labor looking at nothig but websites with animated gifs and Metallica midis.

Ashcroft will starting pushing the Victory Act later this month in a 10-day, 20-state Victory tour that includes a stop in New York, where he will guest blog at A Small Victory.

Don't delay. Act now, before the Victory Act Squad comes for you.

Gore Unplugged

I'm sure you've heard about today's speech by Al Gore. No need to watch it again or read the six page tirade against the Bush administration because The Al Gore Players have summarized and re-enacted the speech so it's down to a tolerable one minute. All the bluster and none of the boring monotone!

agu.gif

you learn something new....

Did you know that if you stand a few feet away from your monitor and bite down on a cookie, the monitor will visibly react to your biting?

I'm sure I'm the last to know this.

more on derbyshire

I swore to myself that I wouldn't get expand on my feelings about Derbyshire. I know what happens when I write about homosexuality here.

However, I spent all night tossing and turning after stupidly going through a zillion Derbyshire posts at The Corner before I went to bed, which is akin to wolfing down a pepperoni/jalepeno pizza before sleeping.

What bothers me so much about Derbyshire is not just his outright hatred of gays, but his condescending, brutal tone when writing about the subject.

On the gay Bishop:

If this church that I grew up with is going to be a club for homosexuals, turning its teachings upside down to accommodate every passing social fad, "celebrating" the "gay" ethos, what is there in it for normal people like me?

Key words and phrases: Club for homosexuals; social fad; normal.

And more:

This is a dreadful event, a triumph for the forces of death over the forces of life...That he could become a bishop in my church sickens and disgusts me. We can show tolerance and Christian obligation towards deviant minorities without handing them the keys to the house, can't we? Apparently not, not today, not in America. For shame! For shame!

Key words and phrase: Forces of death. Deviant minorities.

...open homosexuality is — not necessarily, perhaps, but all too often — an infiltrating, exclusivist, corruptive and destructive force

The keywords and phrases are obvious there.

From the same article:

I do believe, with a high degree of certainty, that after a few more appointments of the Canon John / Rev. Robinson kind, my church will cease to be a vehicle for the teaching of Christ’s gospel, and become instead a dating service for homosexuals.

Is it a dating service for heterosexuals now? No? Thought not.

Shall I continue? Good.

On the same page we find Derbyshire's Law:

Any organization that admits frank and open homosexuals into its higher levels will sooner or later abandon its original purpose and give itself over to propagating and celebrating the homosexualist ethos, and to excluding heterosexuals and denigrating heterosexuality.

Derbyshire himself says, The key phrase there is “frank and open.”

See, he thinks homosexuals are fine as long as they stay in their closet. Don't talk about yourself, don't announce your gayness, don't be proud of who you are and, for heaven's sake, don't wear pink shirts!

If we follow Derbyshire's Law, then we could assume that if a school were to hire an openly gay principal, within a few weeks the students would all be reading nothing but gay and lesbian poetry and trying to turn the straight kids gay.

We could assume that if an openly gay person bought the New York Jets, they would soon be wearing rainbow patches on their uniform doing their recruting on Fire Island.

The Rule of JD is the biggest piece of bigoted, uniformed, closed-minded, ignorant, foolish opinion pieces I have ever seen a supposedly intelligent man come up with.

I could go on; I have at least 40 more quotes from Derbyshire that highlight his intolerance and downright hatred (even though, at times, he claims not to hate gays). He behaves like a child confronted by monster movie for the first time, hiding under his bed with his hands covering his eyes, hoping the big, bad monster doesn't eat him up.

And please, before you get on the subject about the new Bishop having left his wife and kids for a man, that's not what this is about. This is about my problem with Derbyshire's almost fearful, abject disgust with gay people and his ridiculous notion that giving them the freedom to be open about who they are will somehow turn the world into one big, gay gang-bang of hedonism.

google gone glitchy: is it me?

I'm having Google problems today. Every time I do a search, I end up at what seems to be a Google page with ads for online casinos.

This is the URL I get.

Anyone else having trouble? I'm starting to show Google Withdrawal symptoms.

dance like there's ass in your pants

Just saying. My birthday is in 18 days.

UPDATE via my husband:

In the interest of fairness it should be noted that my birthday (Aug 25) also happens to be our first wedding anniversary and Justin is hoping for a large-screen plasma tv, thank you.

D.C. comics: like the guy with the lampshade on his head

[via Henry and several emails]

Is D.C. Comics making a statement with it's new Justice League of America title, Stream of Consciousness?

Lex Luthor, has snagged the job of president of the United States. And President Luthor plans to pre-emptively strike a country called Qurac....Superheroes, including the venerable Batman and Superman, oppose the military action.

And then Superman delivers this speech:

“We exist … because those with the power to stop injustice simply must. With clarity, compassion, and truth as their most powerful weapons. We can show them a better way, I know we can. Armed conflict may be an option, and I will support it … if the truth is clear, and the cause is just. But I will know the truth, and I will not feel ashamed or be called un-American for demanding it.”

Mind Pollution has a summary of the title. An excerpt:

As the situation escalates, dissent is labeled as treasonous, and the government creates paranoia for public sentiment to feed upon. War with Qurac seems inevitable, despite worldwide disagreement. At one point, the announcement goes out that the American public will be able to avoid the napalm-like effects of another terrorist attack through the use of household cooking ingredients. Crowds of shoppers stampede their supermarkets.

Ah, shades of duct tape. And there's oil and mid-east terrorist links and on and on.

The entertainment industry often takes the headlines of the day and turns them into, well, entertainment.

But onto my original question: Is D.C. Comics making a statement?

I believe they are, but not the political message that most people will see when they read JLA. I do believe the bigger message is this:

Hi. We are D.C. Comics. Pay attention to us, we are being controversial for the sake of being controversial. Buy our comics!

Nothing more, nothing less.

all the news that's fit to predict

I don't have to walk into the local deli and check out the newstand to know what's on the cover of most papers today. I wonder how many late night staff sessions there were across the nation, with the great debate amongst the staff being who gets the cover: Kobe or Arnold?

I will predict the headlines before I actually look: Running Man. The Governator. Total Recall.

Winner! The Daily News leads the pack with the headline Running Man, complete with a photo of Speciall Effects Arnold, and the line "Vote for me if you want to live."

Oh, I'm good at this. The New York Post has: Governator!

Meanwhile, the Bali bomber was sentenced to death.

You remember the Bali bombing, don't you? October 12, 2002. 202 dead.

Oh, and Mike Hawash plead guilty yesterday. Remember him? He's the guy who was helping out the Taliban. Plotting against U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The one so many people assumed was being railroaded and they rallied to his side because the Evil American Government was holding this man hostage.

So, that's today's headlines and today's news. One is not exclusive of the other. Not a commentary, just a fact.

In other predictable news, I'm going to be late for work. You can bank on that headline most days during the summer.

August 06, 2003

tonight on fox!

Arnold v. Arianna, tonight on the celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be California Governor?

Tonight's winner takes on Gary Coleman in the speed-round-steel cage-karaoke-bathing suit competition next week.

Larry Flynt was eliminated from the race today when it was discovered that the Power of Prayer platform he was running on is a fraud.

crawling skin

It's something I say every day to myself as I read The Corner and now it's something I am going to say out loud.

John Derbyshire makes me sick. Literally, he makes my stomach turn.

Can't elaborate right now. But Arthur can.

Yankee news

Guess who's back, back again?
Nelson's back, tell a friend...

Eh, nevermind.

What I mean is, Benetiz is gone, gone, see ya and Jeff Nelson returns.

Sure, Nelson's reputation as a big mouth precedes him, but I would have been happy getting Ozzie Nelson for Benetiz at this point.

Midol: it's what's for dinner

Me and over-the-counter medications don't mix. No matter what I take, from Bayer Aspirin to Triaminic, I get weird side effects (see, Triaminic Dream). So far, the only thing I found that works for me without any trauma is Excedrine Migraine.

Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, though. Today's cramps are extraordinary, sort of like having back labor. Anyone who has ever gone through giving birth and being in back labor will tell you that there is no pain or discomfort to match it. Oh yes, and the mood to match as well. It's like a the complete PMS set of luggage. Cramps, mood, bloat.

So my husband forced me to take Midol, which he furtively bought on our last trip to the drugstore.

You know that scene in Sixteen Candles, where the bride takes Midol and she's all loopy and rubbery as she walks down the aisle?

Hey, at least I'm smiling and the cramps are gone. But I'll be damned if I'm getting any housework done tonight.

UPDATE: Kathy mentioned menopause in the comments. Yes, it's true. It's begun. Slowly, like a creeping death. I'm only 40 (41 next month) but my mother started menopause at the same age. In fact, I think she's still going through it, 23 years later. At least that's the excuse she uses.

canada v. timberlake

Looks like I'm not the only one that feels sorry for Justin Timberlake.

The guy lends his time and talent (yes, I said talent) to Toronto in a benefit concert to beef up the city's economy after their bout with SARS.

How do the Toronto fans respond? They pelt him with garbage and hold up degrading signs about him.

The guy is there for the city. He's there for the people. It's a benefit on their behalf, and this is how they greet him.

I don't care what you think about Timberlake or his music, that kind of behavior is despicable. You don't like him? There were plenty of other bands to see. Go wait on line at the bathroom. Go get a soda. Sit on your ass and hold you hands over your ears and shut your eyes. Just don't mock and ridicule an entertainer who came to you out of charity.

Of course, as Magyar points out, the crowd was their for the geriatric stylings of the Stones, The Guess Who and Rush. Would it have killed these classic rock lovers to behave like human beings when Timberlake was on. Guess so.

Keith Richards, bless his zombie soul, tried to help Timberlake out:

The Stones guitarist, Keith Richards, came to his rescue, stepping to the foot of the stage and challenging audience members to throw bottles at him. After quelling the crowd somewhat, he and Mr. Timberlake gave each other a high-five.

You would think that people from the country that brought us Celine Dion and Bryan Adams would have a little more patience with the likes of Justin Timberlake.

Nancy Pelosi: The Martha Stewart of Politics

bcake.gifNancy knows how to throw a party. And now, all the Democrat house members can partake of Nancy's homey advice, thanks to her August recess memo.
“Order your cake! Order a sheet cake with ‘Happy Birthday Medicare’ written on it.”

Yes, Medicare. Nancy wants her people to celebrate the 38th birthday of Medicare. Armed with party goods and pens and papers, they should take their parties on the road where constituents can take part in the birthday party craft time by writing letters to the editor.

Buy additional party supplies. Be creative. Buy a ‘Happy Birthday’ tablecloth for the center table. Purchase disposable plates and utensils if the facility will not provide them. You may also wish to purchase additional party favors — horns and whistles can be very useful to ‘boo’ the Republican agenda,” suggests the document.

Synchronized Booing! My favorite party game! I bet old the townsfolk will just wet thier pants with excitement when they not only get to sing Happy Birthday, Medicare (Go Medicare, It's Your Birthday!) but blow on some horns as well.

I had no idea that treating voters like little children and using them to further your agendas was such a popular party pasttime.

“Set up tables. Spread a ‘Happy Birthday’ tablecloth on the center table, where cake will be placed. All other tables should have pens/pencils, writing paper, and copies of the sample letter to the editor.”

No Pin the Tail on the Donkey at this party. We're going to play Send a Letter to an Editor. Pelosi probably is cheap on the prizes. I bet you don't get a prize unless your letter gets printed.

“Know where the restrooms and telephones are located.”

That's an emergency instruction, in you case you need to hide out or call for help when the locals you invited to a party realize there's a catch.

"The Medicare issue is one of four that Pelosi’s leadership team is encouraging lawmakers to discuss over the long August recess. Others are the economy, education, and protecting national parks."

Ok, so they've got Medicare covered. Now what about the economy?

“Host a press conference in front of a highway construction site — great visual!”

Yea, and then we can all take pictures of us with the guys in the orange vests who are reading the paper and eating sandwiches while the lanes all around them are closed for miles in every direction. And with any luck, a huge crane will fall on one of Pelosi's lackeys. What a photo op that would be!

Hey, maybe for the educuation portion of the Summer of Pelosi tour, they can have mimes come and act out stories that have been obliterated from textbooks in the name of political correctness!

Gotta go, the cake's just about ready for decorating.


alice, sweet alice

I'm going to give out my first Worst Husband of the Blogosphere Award.

Suppose a guy has a pretty popular website with his own domain name, hosting, etc. Suppose on that pretty popular site this guy claims often to love and adore his sweet wife. Now, suppose that sweet wife's hobby is photography and she's good at it. Sweet wife should have a photoblog, right? And her husband should help her set it up, right?

Well he does that. But he puts her on Blogspot!

So he gets his own domain and hosting for a site where he does nothing but beat up on poor Lileks and pick fights with John Collins, and she wife gets a shoddy, bargain basement website for her artistic endeavors.

Bill Cimino, you should be ashamed of yourself, you cheap bastard.

After you go look at Alice's photoblog, go and tell Bill he's a cheap bastard and Worst Husband of the Blogosphere. Tell him I sent you. He doesn't scare me.

today's vegan advice column



My sister Jo-Anne was surfing around looking for ideas for her son's birthday party, when she came across the following letter on a message board and immediately sent it to me. She knew I would have an answer for the poor misguided woman who wrote:

Please help me! My family (me, hubby, 3 kids) are vegan. We're
committed to this lifestyle and have been for 3 years now. But
somethings getting to me. It's this "thing" that other parents have
got with having their children's birthday parties at McD's or Hungry
Jack's (Burger King). What is up with this? I just don't get it. A
few years ago (not too many) kids had their parties at home in the
backyard with a few baloons, etc and it was a lovely family afternoon.
But now... well, my little boy was invited to ANOTHER party today. I
would love him to be able to go , but it's at one of THOSE places.
Yuk. I'm trying to keep my principles because I REALLY believe in
them . I know I'm doing the right thing, but how do you explain this
to a 6 year old. The invitation was handed to him at school this
morning and the card says "Ahoy, it's a Pirate Party!!!" Naturally
this is REALLY appealling to a little boy, whose classmates are all
excited about it. My son is the only one who can't go. He looked at
me with those big eyes when I said "I'm sorry honey". I've said no to
half a dozen or more of these Happy Meal Parties so far, and it's
getting me down. What can I do? Please help.......... Thanx

My answer is below.

Dear Ms. Vegan,

Perhaps you should re-examine your priorities. While holding steady to your principles is an honorable thing, turning your child into an outcast is not.

When he looks at you with those big, sad eyes, what do you feel? Do you feel pity and sadness, perhaps an empathy with him, much like you feel for the cows and chickens that end up on a platter at McDonald’s? You should. Your son is missing out on important social interaction because you won’t let him step foot in a place that you abhor. I can almost see your point. Almost.

At six, he is too young to determine what his own principles are in this regard. Why not let him go to the parties, but bring his own lunch with him. McDonald’s also serves salads and I’m sure the parents of the birthday child could arrange for your son to have that instead of cow meat. You could even feed him before he goes to the party, and let him just play the games and spend time with his friends.

You are actually being a selfish prig, Ms. Vegan. How do you think your child feels every time he gets an invitation and he knows he can’t go? He’s in first grade, I assume. That’s the age when kids forge friendships that will last through most of their school years. Are you going to be surprised some day when your child is in his room crying that he has no friends? One day, that kid is going to end up in a black trenchcoat, holding a machine gun and then he’ll not only shoot his entire class, but he’ll head to the nearest farm and kill some cows, sheep and pretty baby lambs. Just to spite you.

Seriously, is going to kill you to let the poor kid go the party and jump in the ball pit and watch a lame puppet show? If he smells like dead meat when he gets home, give him a bath.

Get a grip, woman. You’re messing with your son’s childhood and some day you are going to pay for this in psychologist bills and psychotherapy when he determines he resents you. Of course, you’ll look for the variable root cause and determine that it’s all the fault of capitalist pigs who forced you to keep your son away from his carnivore friends because he might get sucked into the vortex of Ronald “Satan” McDonald and grow up to be a Republican or, worse, a butcher.

Wouldn’t that be funny?

Hope I helped.

the lighter side of: worst american figures

And yet another take on the 20 Worst American Figures Ever surfaces, this time by The Mighty Geek.
Who could dispute a list that includes Jakob Neilsen and Waylon Smithers?

Go, read. It's funny. And it's your required reading for today.

tales from the courthouse: the elfin defendant

From a motion for summary judgment that came across my desk today:

[Plaintiff] claims [co-defendant]chased her around the banquet hall, occasionally wearing a cape and an elf hat.

[Co-defendant] also laid his head on [the plaintiff's] breasts and mumbled something inaudible.

Maybe he thought he found the two towers?

speaking of bees in my bonnet, this one is french

Remember the pitch for Windows on the World?

"The only way to know what happened in the restaurant at the 107th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11 2001, between 8:30 and 10:29 AM is to make it up."

Not necessarily. A little research goes a long way.

The cell phone calls made from participants in the Risk Waters Conference at Windows on the World indicate that everybody on the 107th floor was ordered down to the 106th floor, and they waited there for the help that never arrived. But the smoke from the fires on the lower floors rushed up the elevator shafts, which operated like chimneys, and within minutes the smoke was so thick on the 106th floor that visibility was reduced to ten feet. Some of the staff of the restaurant were on the phone to the Fire Command Center in the lobby, and they got the advice for everybody to wet towels and keep them over their faces. But the water pipes were broken and there was no water. In a phone call to his wife, a waiter, January Maciejweski, said he was looking for water in the flower vases.
---Out of the Blue: The Story of September 11, 2001, From Jihad to Ground Zero by Richard Bernstein and the staff of The New York Times, pp. 205, 206

Just so you know.

[For full reference, see here, here, here and here]

bees in my bonnet

When grandmother would use the expression "you've got a bee in your bonnet," I would giggle at the image of some little girl in an Easter Bonnet, frantically hitting herself on the head trying to get rid of the bee. I realized later on what she meant by that phrase, particularly when the bee landed in my own bonnet.

bzzz.gifI seem to have not one, but a whole colony of bees nesting in my head this week. I think they might be having some kind of family reunion and the yellowjackets and hornets and wasps are circling and buzzing around as well and together they make a sound like a storm brewing.

I get these bees from time to time and normally I can swat them down with a few well chosen words, perhaps in the form of a blog post, or a few lines in my super-secret WordPerfect file, or some silent soliliquoy I act out in the shower.

I can't seem to stop writing this week. Every time I put my words down and hit save and send my thoughts out into the cable wires and phone lines, another bee comes along and starts humming in my head. Each bee represents something different; death, destruction, cruelty, bigotry, moral outrage, bad memories. And then there's the queen bee, the mother of all buzzers that feeds the smaller ones: September 11, 2001. It's always there, dripping bits of nutrients into the mouths of its offspring, making my urge to write and scream stronger, making my indignation bolder.

Sometimes I don't know what makes me angrier; the constant droning of the bees or what they are droning about. Sometimes I wish they would just shut up and leave me alone, but then I think that the silence would scare me more than the noise.

The buzzing seeps into my dreams and forces them to become a mural of everything that exists in my head. Last night there was a car crash; an amusement park ride that dropped us in frozen water instead of on the ground; Indonesian women trying to steer a boat to safety; bugs the size of dogs, hopping over lilly pads on a stagnant lake. My dreams are too complex to decipher, there's no underlying theme, no thing that ties all the scenes together. They are merely a result of the bees in my bonnet refusing to be quiet, even in my sleep.

As much as I complain about the buzzing and stinging, I would hate for it to stop. So I will just keep writing, just keep discarding the bees one by one even though they don't stay gone for long, and I'll learn to live with the noise in my head. In fact, I should learn to embrace those bees in my bonnet. They are, after all, me.

August 05, 2003

bush=hitler: the theorem

I found this over at Oliver Willis, in the comments on his post about my post about John's post about The Worst Figures in American History. Got that?

Greg: I would never equate GW Bush with Hitler.

Hitler was a decorated combat veteran.

Hitler could string three sentences together.

Hitler became one of the most powerful men on earth without a rich and connected daddy greasing his way through life.

There's no comparison.

Posted by Thlayli at August 5, 2003

If you recall, Thlayli was the commenter who was summarily dismissed from this blog by Andrea the other day.

Anyhow, I'm too tired to do anything with his comment. I just wanted everyone to see it and marvel at its unmistakable proof.

parents just don't understand

Via the former Juan Gato:

An innovative new camp in Germany is trying to get children who spend too much time on the internet out of their bedrooms and into the sunshine.

Many of the children who attend are self-confessed addicts who use the web and computer games for up to six hours a day to escape boredom.

Given that computer addiction is not officially recognised as a clinical disorder, it is a taboo subject for many parents, said Simone Trautsch, the camp psychologist:

"Many parents don't speak about this problem, they don't know what they can do as a mother or father to help them."

Here's an idea: Open the window. Unplug the computer. Throw the computer out the window. Hand your child a broom and tell him to go outside and clean up the mess.

There's a cure for internet addiction. It's called "Turn off that fucking computer before I use the keyboard to bash a hole in your skull."

Now, will someone open a camp for parents who have no control over what their children do and then spend thousands of dollars to deprogram their kids when the parents themselves should be seeking psychological help for allowing their children to walk all over them?

with publicity like this...

What do you make of this?

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case will be “great for the NBA” from a business standpoint, according to an interview he had with Access Hollywood.

“FROM A BUSINESS perspective, it’s great for the NBA. It’s reality television, people love train-wreck television and you hate to admit it, but that is the truth, that’s the reality today,” Cuban told interviewer Pat O’Brien.

Perhaps more people will tune in to see Kobe Bryant, but most people who watch NBA basketball do that anyhow. I can't imagine that anyone is going to turn on their tv to watch the Clippers play the Nuggets hoping to see, what? One player sexually attack another? Frankly, I don't think anyone would watch that match-up even if they were promised Hot! Naked! Chicks! on the sideline.

The NBA has an image problem. If the Dallas Cowboys were drafted into the NBA, noone would notice the difference. The rap sheets and bad attitudes would remain the same. Playing off of the Kobe Bryant case for ratings and money is sickening, but on par with what I've come to expect of the NBA.

Too bad everyone can't be like David Robinson.

fear no evil

The death toll continues to mount in the Indonesia hotel blast. It now stands at 13.

No one claimed responsibility for the blast, but suspicion immediately fell on the same organization blamed for the Bali attack — the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, which authorities say is fighting to install a pan-Islamic state in Southeast Asia.

Of course it's linked to the Bali bombers: Terrorism experts believed the attack on the American-owned Marriott Hotel was orchestrated by JI to coincide with tomorrow's first verdict in the Bali bomb trial, when Amrozi faces a likely death sentence.

Wasn't it just last week that we warned al-Qaida would exact the same revenge on the U.S. if we bring the Gitmo Guys to trial?

The BBC has a collection of thoughts from people who were there or around the vicinity when the bomb exploded today:

Not long ago the Indonesian president denied that there were any terrorists in Indonesia. I also recall her pandering to local Islamic sympathies by accusing the U.S. of "insulting" the Muslim world with the war on terror. Maybe now it's time for her to wake up to the explosive reality.

The Religion of Peace(tm) strikes again. And it won't be the last time. The War on Terror is mostly a war against militant Islamists and to deny that is to deny the fact that we need to protect ourselves against these people. Pandering to them and playing the P.C. game of being non-offensive only gets you more of what happened today.

Even though Rumsfeld and company issue threats and warnings every day, we should still pay attention. We can never let the idea of these threats fade, no matter how long the time is after a threat is revealed. These people have long memories and the patience of a lion stalking its prey.

Today Indonesia, tomorrow somewhere else. Thousands upon thousands will die across the world as some media organizations still cower to the politically correct crowd and refuse to use the word terrorist to describe the suicide bombers. Call it what it is. It's a Jihad against the world. Not against the United States, not against Indonesia, but against all of us who are not facing Mecca.


I have so many friends who work in the hotel and even though I am in Dubai now, I can feel the sadness of them and the entire sadness of my nation. The news shocked me a lot and I feel really, really sorry to hear that. One of my friends here who worked before in the hotel is crying and all of us here in Dubai cry for what has happened in our country.
Eva, Dubai, UAE

13 victims or 3,000 victims, it amounts to the same thing when you look at the cause and the perpetrators. They are murdering us slowly, they are exacting their warped revenge on those who they see as non-believers, on those who dare to take a stand against them.

We need to carry on with trials, and carry on with rooting out terrorism, and carry on on with bringing every person responsible for these acts of evil - from those who arm and finance them, to the cowards who stand aside while they send the "martyrs" off with bombs attached to them - to justice.

Fear no evil. Seek it out and destroy it.

***

From Sheila: A list of bombings in Indonesia since 1999

surprise

I'm going to go out on a limb and make this Be Nice to Red Sox Fans week.

Contrary to what I thought would happen, I've received a slew of very nice, very complimentary emails after today's column went up. I've also gained a few readers for this site.

I have now forgiven the city of Boston and its inhabitants for the episode where I got kicked out of Boston Garden.

Just a question: Is every guy in Boston named Dave? I think half my emails were from different guys with that name.

a chilling holiday for august

Farkers attempt to create an August holiday.

August seems like the longest month of the year. It's hot, it's humid and the days last forever. Pity there's no national holiday to break up the monotony of four weeks of dealing with people who don't wear deodorant in this weather.

While the Farkers are enjoying themselves inventing such a holiday (National Knight Out; Bong Appreciate Day; White History Month, etc.), I'll propose my own holiday.

I figure we'll just drag the whole thing out and wait until the end of August so we can really let loose and party as the summer winds down. For you consideration:

August 30: the birthday of Ted Williams. We can call it Holiday on Ice.

The kids can play freeze tag, the adults can have frozen drinks and then we can all beat up a pinata shaped like Ted's son John Henry. Of course, the pinata is filled with ice cubes.

So, whose coming over on August 30? BYOIC (bring your own ice cream).

Got any better ideas?


a bad precedent: Texas v. Castillo

It started in 1999.

When C.A. Reynerson walked into Keith's Comics in September 1999, it was clear he wasn't looking forward to catching up on the action in the second installment of the anime comic Demon Beast Invasion: The Fallen. He was looking for a case.

Reynerson found what he was looking for in Demon Beast: The book was in the store's adult section, a spot generally more of a haven for violent comics rather than sexually explicit ones.

He purchased the book from 26 year-old Jesus Castillo, the store's manager.

In 2000, the police came to Keith's Comics and arrested Castillo. They didn't tell Castillo exactly what he was being arrested for. They took him downtown.

Eventually, he was charged with obscenity.

Keith's Comics had already been in touch with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) before this situation took place.

In a 2002 interview with Newsarama, Castillo said:

Well, we had heard rumblings that the store had been listed in a school newsletter that said Keith’s Comics was to be avoided. When Keith found out about that he called the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and faxed over the paper. So we got involved even before I was arrested. It must have been a year before I got arrested. So I found out that maybe they were investigating us through that time and finally I was arrested with the charges they wanted.

Obviously, because a second charge of obscenity came down:

David Little, PTA vice president of the nearby Stonewall Jackson Elementary School, bought a similar Demon Invasion book (Legend of the Overfiend) and sent it to Mayor Pro Tem Mary Poss, who forwarded it to the police. Charges were again filed against Castillo.

Castillo was eventually convicted by a jury of the obscenity charge.

In an argument that sets the common view of comics back a good thirty years, the Texas state prosecutor secured a guilty verdict with a closing argument in which she said, “I don’t care what type of evidence or what type of testimony is out there, use your rationality, use your common sense. Comic books, traditionally what we think of, are for kids. This is in a store directly across from an elementary school and it is put in a medium, in a forum, to directly appeal to kids. That is why we are here, ladies and gentlemen. … We’re here to get this off the shelf.”

The comic book in reference was in the adult part of the store. It was sold to an adult, by an adult.

The theory that comic books are strictly for kids is ridiculous. Anime, manga and the more violent of comic titles are not marketed to children. I don't see pitches on tv's or magazines saying "Hey, kids! Tell your mom to buy you the new fantastic issue of 100 Bullets!"

The CBLDF decided to appeal.

And now, the Supreme Court has ruled that they will not hear Castillo's case.

Texas did drop the second obscenity count, but the first still stands and they don't want to hear anymore of it.

Appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court was the last chance for a reversal of Castillo’s conviction, and the striking down of a dangerous precedent for comics shop owners across the country.

And a dangerous precedent for retailers of any kind of reading material. Where will prosecutors and overzealous puritans draw the line? Apparently, they have come to the conclusion that we are not, as a people, able to decided what is best for us. They have basically ruled that comics as a genre are worthless, and that adults shouldn't be reading them.

That's not even the scariest part. Think about the implications of this case. Future prosecutors and judges can cite Texas v. Castillo in future cases of this kind, as a precedent has been set that they can follow.

This opens the door for parents, teachers and neighborhood watch zealots to use the law to decide what should be sold and not sold in stores in their towns. It's censorpship by prosecution. Just because you think something is indecent does not mean we all follow by your standards. I, for one, can think for myself. I can walk into a comic book store and decide not to walk into the adult section. Or I can go in there if I want to. I can trust that my children will not be allowed to walk into that section, and I can trust in my parenting to know that they wouldn't even attempt it.

Keep in mind the comic in question, as I said before, was sold to an adult by an adult. I cannot fathom how, in anyone's mind, this can be construed as obscenity. It's the ubiquitous slippery slope from here. First comic books that have sex. Then they'll come for the ones with violence. Then they'll come for the Richie Rich comics for showing our children class warfare. Then they'll come for the skimpy bathing suits Betty and Veronica wear. They'll come for the X-Men and the Ninja Turtles and then they will start on you local Borders or Barnes and Noble, tearing apart the children's area, burning Harry Potter and Goosebumps books.

Sometimes the law works for us and sometimes, especially when it is abused, works against us.

Censorship is an ugly thing. Legalizing censorship is uglier.

****

You can donate to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund here. They also have a store where you can purchase t-shirts as well as some nifty Neil Gaiman items.

All links for this story:

CBLDF
Newsarama 1, 2
Dallas Observer
Neil Gaiman
Journalista
ICV


August 04, 2003

all the pretty little horses

Taken today on Franklin Avenue, Garden City, New York


[click for bigger images. not bad shots for ones taken from a moving car, right?]

Hush-a-bye don't you cry,
Go to sleep-y, little baby.
When you wake you shall have
All the pretty little horses.
Blacks and bays, dapple grays,
Coach and six white horses.
Hush-a-bye don't you cry,
Go to sleep-y, little baby.

I used to sing that to Natalie every night when she was an infant.

13 years ago.

Sigh.

self-plug: A Yankee in a Red Sox court

babe.jpg
Don't forget, I'll have a column up at Fox Sports New England tommorow as I pinch hit for Edward Cossette. He's got a blogger lined up every day this week. Don't miss today's column by Isaac Taylor.

Again, I thank Edward (nee, Bambino's Curse) for having the faith (and the balls) to let me, a Yankee fan, stand in his place.

[Granted, it's something most of you probably read here already, but this almost like reading it somewhere...real!]

it's time

There's a football game on tv. A Packers game. Sure, it's pre-season. But I can practically smell that crisp fall air from here.

I am so ready.

worst american figures? no.

If John Hawkins wants his polls to be taken seriously, he best start inviting some people outside of the "right wing blogger" circle to the polls.

Today, the survey says: Bloggers Select The 20 Worst Figures In American History. [Full disclosure: I was invited to participate in this poll, but I did not send my ballot in]

Let's take a look at the list:

17) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (6)
17) John Walker (6)
17) Lee Harvey Oswald (6)
17) Robert Byrd (6)
16) Aldrich Ames (7)
14) Richard Nixon (8)
14) Aaron Burr (8)
12) Al Sharpton (9)
12) Charles Manson (9)
8) Timothy McVeigh (10)
8) Lyndon Johnson (10)
8) Hillary Clinton (10)
8) John Wilkes Booth (10)
7) Alger Hiss (12)
6) Noam Chomsky (13)
4) Jesse Jackson (14)
4) Jimmy Carter (14)
3) Bill Clinton (15)
2) Benedict Arnold (19)
1) The Rosenbergs (15) & Julius Rosenberg (5) (20 total votes)

While I am no fan of the Clintons - especially the wife - there is no way they belong on this list. Neither does Jesse Jackson or Noam Chomsky. Some of the others are debatable as well.

With all the murderers, serial killers, traitors and spies that have come and gone in American history, the Clintons would be a long way down my list had I made mine.

Are the Clintons worse figures than Ted Bundy? John Wayne Gacy? Assassins and would-be assasins? Does the name James Early Ray come to mind? Ted Kaczynski?

Hey, where are the people who were behind 9/11? Where's Saddam Hussein? Gaddafi? The Ayatollah?

For clarification on worst American figures, the email John sent read: What I'm requesting that you do is send me a list of people that you consider "The Worst Figures In American History." What qualifies someone as a "worst figure" is entirely up to you. Which is why I mention people who aren't American, but played a large part in American history.

If anyone reading this is one of the people who put the Clintons up above such horrible figures in our history, please give me an explanation as to why. Frankly, I think this poll only ends up making right wing bloggers look foolish, immature and petty.

To give John credit, he does mention the fact that Bill and Hill would not have been on his list, either. But I can't imagine that he didn't know they would end up on the list, considering who he invited to participate.

I challenge John to run this poll again, but without the limited select company. Open it up to everyone who wants to vote. Send some invitations to Libertarians, left wingers, socialists, centrists, whatever ians and ists ers there are.

If he doesn't do it, I will. I would really just like to see how the lists changes and who, if anyone, from the current list remains on the other.

John?

juvenile humor always makes me feel better

Maybe it's because I needed a laugh today, or maybe it's just my idiotic sense of humor, but this makes me laugh every time I look at it:

PENNY ARCADE: VIVA LAS VEGAS

[click for bigger. then go to penny-arcade and laugh and laugh and laugh. or not.]

yes i'm still being "monothematic"

Lilly oh Lilly,

You respond with this:

What do we have on facts? We have some translated bits from oh so objective merde in france. My french is simply nonexistent so I can't see if it's correct or not and I have yet to see the first german or english official translation of this book.

When I try to cut the information down to its basics it comes to people having sex in the eye of death.

Well, I might shock some of you, but that's pretty common in the world.
And from what I further read on comments and entries, for example from michele, it seems to me, that the sex part is the real exciter for some of you.
Have you ever considered to wait until the book is translated and then have a look at it and maybe see if the sex-theme is just a metapher for something else? No, of course not.

Am I to construe from those words that you think Merde gave a false, slanted translation? That's truly pathetic.

Sex in the eye of death may or may not be common. But once again, Lilli, what you are failing to comprehend is that this fiction is based on fact. It's based on real people who really died that day. And this is not "I need to be loved once more before I die" sex. It's pornography, it's hardcore and it's set up so that the subtext of the book becomes: Americans are so preoccupied with sex and material things, it's no wonder they were attacked by terrorists!

Why don't you go to Babelfish and translate the French (on Merde's site) for yourself?

And pleases stop with the "but people are dying in floods and earthquakes but it's not covered as much in the news" shit. 3,000 people were murdered on that day, Lilli. MURDERED. By terrorists. That makes the story quite different than natural disasters. It does not make the deaths of those people in the floods any less traumatic, but a mass murder the size of the one that took place on 9/11 puts quite a different spin on the story, no?

I do think this is the last time I'll try to lecture Lilli. Her thinking is obviously obscured by her righteous indignation at my self-centeredness.

[in case you're interested, Hesiod and his pals are still rambling along in the comments from this weekend post]

a slender young man in black jeans and a red Che Guevara T-shirt

I've been in a rather grumpy mood today, but the comments on this post are making me grin. Go read, and lend your voice to the story that is emerging:

"Let me tell you about my new book," said the dark-haired writer in black pants, black shirt, black shoes, and black beret which smelled more than a little of brown cigarette smoke. "I capitalize on the deaths of thousands by reducing them to grasping, shallow stereotypes. Then I wait for barrels of Euros to roll in."

Heh. My readers rule.

And now, I am going to indulge in a very high-calorie source of comfort: Italian food. It's a good day for an early lunch.

venting at lilli and more

[This is the third in a series on this subject. See, here and here].


'When I think that you will never see my home entertainment system: with a screen as wide as the Lake Superior', said the brown haired guy in Kenneth Cole. - 'Too bad... but don't give up now, the firemen will be here in just a few minutes', said the blond girl wearing Ralph Lauren.
- 'Saint George Soros, pray for us!', said the brown haired guy in Kenneth Cole.
- 'Oh Ted Turner, please save us!' said the blond girl wearing Ralph Lauren.

----Excerpt from Frédéric Beigbeder's Windows on the World

It should be noted that the closer it gets to September 11, 2003, the more I will write about September 11, 2001. If this is something that bothers you - and judging from some email I get I would assume there's a good number of people out there who are bothered by this - I suggest you just look the other way for a while. There are other things I would suggest to some folks inparticular, but I'm trying to keep my anger down to a smoldering flame today.


Let's go over a few important points here. First, I am not suggesting in any way that Beigbeder's book be banned. In fact, I don't recall writing anything even resembling that thought. Unfortunately, some people, when reading things that they don't agree with, tend to see what they want to see, not what is really there. While their hackles are raised and their sharpened claws are out just waiting to pounce on my words, their anger and indignation have already combined to form a response and they either read no further or read phantom words designed to let their rant carry some weight. So while some people read my rant and saw someone who was a little pissed and very much upset, others read it and saw the words "Ban this book! Kill this person!"

Yes, a few people said in the comments that they wish for Beigbeder to meet an unfortunate end. However, no one said that they were going to march over to France and do the deed themselves. No one formed a posse, gathered weapons and made plans to snuff out Beigbeder for being a smarmy bastard.

Now, for Miss Lilli Marleen, who was so insulted at my disparaging of the French and the book, she wrote a nice long screed about it entitled, We are a tad self centred, right now.

We are a tad self centered right now.

Lilli writes:

Frederic Beigbeder has written a book about 9/11 Windows of the World which is not about the great nation being attacked by nasty dirty terrorist

Stop right there. Warning bells. I know that English is not Lilli's first language (she is German) but she seems to do a pretty good job of conveying disdain and a sharp tongue in that sentence.

...about some people who have wild and furious sex while the towers - where they are in - are burning and coming down. Okay, so let's take a deep breath and try to have the brain work and not just the patriotic-departement right from the brain, just right next to the ear.

This has nothing to do with patriotism. It has to do with human lives. Not everyone in that restaurant was American, you know. I don't care what their nationalities were, whether they were citizens or carrying green cards or voted for Nader. They were human beings, with real names and real lives and now they are being made into fictional whores.

All of these so called patriots who scream up now and want to see him dead - have you ever spent a second and thought that other nations or ethnic groups have gone through far worse stuff and you.

Oh here we go again. The self-centered Americans think they own the patent on tragedy, yadda yadda. Yes, Lilli, I realize that. But this is not the time or the place for that argument. I don't recall any books written by Americans where the suffering of a nations was turned into slash fiction.

the US of A has not just made sex films but cheapest TV comedies of it? How about the silly comedies about Vietnam and Nazis? And even worse - the whole "Western" - John Wayne and Cowboy Comedy genre makes fun of so many killed native americans, and the USA has made and written uncountable stuff about it. What do you think, how have people in India or China felt when they saw one of those Hollywood thingies about big flood and how bad boy and good girl find each other? Do you know that in the last years just there were several thousands of people dying from floods and stuff like that?

Have you been able to think even for a second about this? If so - please point me out where the difference is, if not that it's this time on your doorstep with your neighbours and friends and not with others.

I'll let Faith handle this one:

9/11 happened not two years ago. Westerns were made over 100 years after what she's talking about. F-Troop made the US military look dumber than dirt and protrayed the indians as playing them any chance they could. Hogan's Heros -- not a bunch of people having sex while Jews were slaughtered in Auschwitz -- American POWs playing the Nazi's in order to defeat them. And again, at least 20 years after the fact (I'm not doing any research to respond to this twit). M*A*S*H* -- same deal. And NONE of this portray the victims of the war or tragedy or whatever as engaging in tawdry activity in the face of their impending deaths. There's no Auchswitz sex stories. I mean, think about how sick that sounds. Indians doin the nasty while John Wayne's burning down their teepees? Nope, don't think so.

Back to Lilli:

No sensible person in the western culture has been or is happy about what happened at 9/11. But either can no sensible person think to have an exclusive right on suffering and bemoaning victims. But that's what so many of this oh so "right" folks in the US do. You do remember that also french people dies there? If it weren't so boring and predictable, it would piss me off.

Where did we ever say we have an exclusive right on suffering? Does the fact that so many people die in floods, fires, earthquakes and war around the world make my suffering any less? No. Does the fact that there are people dying of malnutrition and horrible diseases mean I shouldn't write about my own pain? No. Does the fact that people drown in ferry accidents and blizzards and plane crashes mean that I can't bemoan the victims of 9/11? No.

What is it with people who would like to deny others the right to piss and moan about 9/11 just because there are people starving in Africa? The world's plights to belong to all of us. Some of them, however, belong to us in a deeper, more profound way.

We are not self-centered for being appalled when someone takes that personal plight and turns into something grotesque and crass. I don't think Lilli and others like her quite understand what is going on here, in regards to Beigbeder's book.

I repeat again what Merde wrote to me about the book: The porno segment, with all possible hardcore references, starts afterwards with the blond girl wearing Ralph Lauren telling the brown haired guy in Kenneth Cole that she has had, especially for him, a laser epilation of her pubic hairs.

Do you not understand that this is about real people? We know the names of the people who were in that room. We know about their lives. It's all right here. Go ahead, click on that page. Scroll down the long, long list. Click on this link. That's Ivhan Luis Carpio Bautista. He was a 24 year old New Yorker, from Peruvia. He died in Windows on the World.

This is Stephen Adams. He was the beverage manager at Windows on the World. He was 51.

This is Manuel Asiimbay. He was a 36 year old cook in the restaurant.

Do you see what I'm getting at, Lilli and those who agree with her? Do you realize that Beigbeder is turning a very real tragedy into a farce - one which will make him a whole lot of money?

The tone Beigbeder takes with this book, judging from the excerpt, is one that cares not for the real victims, the real events of that day. What kind of soul does a man have that could write such horrible things, especially while the event still lays fresh in our minds. It's not even two years yet and this ogre is satirizing the death of innocent people.

I am disgusted with him, disgusted with the French for the fact that this book will be a best-seller, disgusted with people who tell me to get over 9/11 already, and disgusted with people who think I am self-centered for still being in mourning.

[For further ruminations on this, please see Andrea and Merde (who writes of yet another Beigbeder anti-American novel)].

an excerpt from Windows on the World: read at your own risk

I have a rather lenghty essay almost ready to go on the French and, in particular, Frédéric Beigbeder's new book, Windows on the World, a continuation of my thoughts from yesterday. I said I would take on Lilli Marleen today, but Andrea took care of that for me, with great skill, per usual.

Before I get around to posting that, and answering some email and replying to some comments, I would like you to read this excerpt from Windows on the World emailed to me by Merde.

'When I think that you will never see my home entertainment system: with a screen as wide as the Lake Superior', said the brown haired guy in Kenneth Cole. - 'Too bad... but don't give up now, the firemen will be here in just a few minutes', said the blond girl wearing Ralph Lauren.

- 'Saint George Soros, pray for us!', said the brown haired guy in Kenneth Cole.
- 'Oh Ted Turner, please save us!' said the blond girl wearing Ralph Lauren.

Merde then writes: The porno segment, with all possible hardcore references, starts afterwards with the blond girl wearing Ralph Lauren telling the brown haired guy in Kenneth Cole that she has had, especially for him, a laser epilation of her pubic hairs.

Let's mull this over a while, ok? I am too upset and angered to think clearly about this. Does this look like highbrow literature to you? Are you, too, indignant or horrified that this book is going to become a best seller in France?

Words, for this moment at least, cannot describe the feeling in my stomach and heart right now.

August 03, 2003

and the winner is:

[I put the post below to spare the dial-up people among you the graphic loading time. See, I do listen to some complaints!]

kazbar.jpg









Ah, forget to turn off the repeat voting thigamajig and all hell breaks loose. Someone actually spent a good deal of time clicking on Highlander II about 300 times. All that carpal tunnel syndrome, all for naught.

When I last looked, just a few minutes before the Highlander Hijacker worked his magic, Batman and Robin was leading by 7%. So, despite the attempts of one person frantically clicking a mouse for the last ten minutes, our winner of the August edition of Kazaam Award for Dubious Distinction in Bad Movie Making is Batman and Robin (know in this house that piece of Schumacher).

Thanks for playing!


reminder and a thought

You've got a half hour left. Batman and Robin currently holds the lead.

And just a random observation. I really like Gollum. He reminds me of some people I know. And he looks like Steve Buscemi.

oh, those wacky animal activists!

What happens when a crazed animal rights activist owns a mall?

Nothing good.

First, there's the problem of the ants. Alegra's Bridal & Invitations has a problem with the creatures. Basically, they are crawling all over the place. But Jeanne Daniels, owner of the mall, won't let Nancy, owner of the ant-infested store, get an exterminator to rid her of the insects. No, Jeanne wants the ants relocated. That's right. Relocated, as in moved.

Unless there's a Pied Piper for Ants in the Yellow Pages, I'm at a loss to figure out how Jeanne expects this to happen. Maybe play The Ants Come Marching on the mall speakers and see if they come out stepping in time to the beat? And then Jeanne and her vegan friends can find a nice sandhill for them to live in.

Now, don't go and think the ants were making their home in the mall so they could eat all the meaty scraps from the food court.

At least three businesses — two restaurants and a grocery/deli — have left the mall over the past few years because they were selling meat and Daniels wouldn't allow it.

And Nancy isn't allowed to sell anything made of leather in her bridal shop.

While Jeanne may be up on all the latest PETA trends, she doesn't seem to be too savvy in the business department. I've a feeling this mall won't be around much longer if she keeps driving store owners away. Lesson here: Business and activism do not mix.

If I were Nancy (who is relocating), I would wait until my last day at that mall, invite old Jeanne down to my store for a nice farewell lunch, and then re-create some scenes from Stomp! while the ants crawled around the floor. I'd be wearing leather. And eating a burger. Rare.

more on the french: coming soon

I've been receiving a lot of email, and I've read some interesting - albeit infuriating - posts regarding this entry on the upcoming book Windows on the World.

I am gathering my thoughts and my links and I will respond to all in my morning post.

If you have something you would like to say regarding this book or this diatrabe inparticular - which paints me as self-centered for being so displeased with the book - please email me (or just leave a comment) and I will include your response with mine in the morning.

I'm just stunned at the stupidty and arrogance of some people.

Or, you can just ignore me and go read Kelley's Cul-de-Sac, her weekly labor of love.

Kazaam Award: Final voting

The time has come. The ballot has been narrowed down to three choices. Voting will go on until 10pm tonight, at which time, the film with the most votes will have the honor of having its name inscribed on the bottom of this beautiful, hand-made trophy.

The trophy will be joining the three previous winners on the shelf: Kazaam, Jeepers Creepers and 3,000 Miles to Graceland. Choose carefully, as this honor should not be taken lightly. [poll below]


kazaam awards: final ballot

I've rounded up some of your suggestions from here, added a few of my own worst movie going experiences and came up with the following list. Choose no more than two movies from this list to nominate it for the Kazaam award and then I'll put the top five vote-getters in a poll later on today. Write in votes still allowed.

I've gone through the trouble of linking to reviews for each one, in case you need more proof it was truly a bad movie.

[Movies listed below]

So many bad movies. So little time.

only a frenchman could turn 9/11 into pornography

"The only way to know what happened in the restaurant at the 107th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11 2001, between 8:30 and 10:29 AM is to make it up."

So reads the pitch for French author Frédéric Beigbeder's new book, Windows on the World.

I can't find much on this author that isn't in French (the translations from Google don't make much sense), and I haven't been able to find a review of the book. Merde in France says this much about it:

In an excerpt from the book entitled 'Loving to death', published in a special edition of 'Technikart', the trapped office workers are portrayed as victims of the consumer society (and not as victims of those nice well behaved Muslim zealots) who decide to partake in some furious sex as their office burns and crumbles around them. Beigbeder joins the moaning drunk Renaud among French 'artists' making vile efforts at profiteering on the dead of 9-11. In a country where Thierry Meyssan can sell 200,000 copies of a scandalous book, so great is the French desire to celebrate 9-11, Beigbeder's novel is set to be a best seller. Remember, there never was any French sympathy for 9-11

What I managed to figure out from the loose translations is that this book is destined to be a best seller in France.

We've seen 9/11 turned into many things; t-shirts, bumper stickers, maudlin posters. Never did I imagine the moment when I would witness that day turned into a pornographic novel.

The disdain this man - and most of his countrymen - must have for Americans is beyond the grasp of my imagination. Is it jealousy that would make someone take such an event in history and saturate it with sex stories? Is it snobbery or callousness that would make one go out and buy this book and enjoy this story?

I wonder if some people view 9/11 as a piece of fiction; a tall tale of tragedy and heroics that has grown to epic proportions, so that the reality of it all does get lost in the stories of death, despair and bravery.

I wonder if some people have so removed themselves from that day that they no longer view it as something real.

I wonder if people who do not live in America smirk when they think about 9/11, almost laugh to themselves at the though of the foolish Americans running about, fanning the flames off of themselves and taking shelter from the debris of the towers.

Disaster sex and romance is a staple of most made-for-tv and big screen movies depicting mass death scenarios. Amid ruins and rubble, people fall in love and have sex. But those are pieces of fiction. The Towering Inferno. Armageddon. Poseidon Adventure. Fake stories of death and destruction laced with romance.

I can't imagine this bloated ego of a man, Beigbeder, sitting down to write this book knowing that the scenario he writes of his real. People died horrible deaths at the hands of terrorists in that very location in his story, on that very day. And here he is, almost making light of it.

And then a publishing company decides it's a great idea to print this monstrosity.

And then the French people buy it and read it and put it on a best seller's list.

And then they turn and ask why no one wants to visit France anymore. They wonder why Americans hold such animosity towards them.

I don't wonder at all.

August 02, 2003

life happens, blogging doesn't

The award presentation will have to wait until tomorrow. Got some things going on here.

Three words: Ex. Kids. Anger.

Oh yea, the anger is mine.

Anyhow, while I sort this stuff out and soothe DJ's bruised ego and heart, don't forget to keep listing your worst movies of all time.

So far Wickerman is my main choice.

Kazaam Awards, 2003 edition

I think I watch bad movies as some sort of psychological punishment for the bad things I have done in my life. Today it was Simone , which now goes on my list of Worst Movies Ever Made (that I've actually seen) joining Jeepers Creepers , Kazaam, and 3000 Miles to Graceland as Kazaam award winners.

To clarify: I have given this award (in my mind, at least) ever since 1996, when I dragged my kids to the movie theater to see "Kazaam."

It was a very unpleasant experience.

Yes, I think it's time for a Kazaam award ceremony. Tonight, in fact.

Worst movies ever, people. Let me have them (And you have to have seen them, so Gigli doesn't count).

last post about Gigli, I swear

First there was Showgirls. Then there was Glitter. Now, from what I imagine is the same circle of hell, comes Gigli. I imagine that Freddy and Jason have better on screen chemistry than Ben and J-Lo.

Yes, I made yet another movie about a movie.

benred.gif
Some of the incredible reviews, via Rotten Tomotoes:

Such an utter wreck of a movie you expect to see it lying on its side somewhere in rural Pennsylvania, with a small gang of engineers circling and a wisp of smoke rising from the caboose

I fought the urge to punch someone once it finally ended.

Gigli is so horrible I had to go cleanse my palate afterward by watching Glitter.

Gigli rhymes with "really." As in "really bad," or "really offensive," or "really wish I’d remembered my gun so I could just shoot myself now and end the misery.

are you ready for some football?

Good to know that I'm not the only idiot up this early just to watch football.

Ah, the sound of crunching bodies. Fall must be near.

August 01, 2003

she must have gotten her bad taste from her father's side of the family

Yes, this is my daughter, Natalie. She's on her way to the American Idol concert. Just look at her. All decked out, ready to show her love to the stars of the show. She and her friend Jenn made four posters to take with them. They'll be in the twelfth row on the floor, and I have never seen Natalie get be so excited about something. Normally she shows very little emotion about anything, but this night of pop culture at its worst had her giddy as a school girl with a crush. Wait, she is a school girl with a crush. Ah, to be young again and find joy in pre-fabricated, made-for-the-masses crap. Where did I go wrong with her? Have I not taught her anything about good taste? Did all those moments moshing to Slayer when she was little not teach her any musical values? Sigh. I have a long road ahead of me.

And yes, that is a forced smile. Do you think 13 year old girls actually smile on their own accord?

[click for larger, scarier image]

city songs: new york city, 10,000 - Long Island, 1

Some nifty New York songs (see post below this):

Ace Frehely - Back in the New York Groove

Fear - New York's Alright: New York's alright if you like drunks in your doorway! New York's alright if you wanna freeze to death! New York's alright if you wanna get mugged or murdered! New York's alright if you like saxophones!

Pet Shop Boys - New York City Boy - The street is amazing, the hoochies unreal

The Drifters - On Broadway

Of course, there's the ultimate New York song, Sinatra's New York, New York, which will forever and always make me feel like I am standing in Yankee Stadium.

Now, there are a few songs that have something to do with Long Island. Big Audio Dynamite's Sudden Impact! is about a (supposed ritual) murder that took place on Long Island. Before that came another song about the same murder, 0-0 Where Evil Dwells by Foetus and (covered later by Fear Factory):

LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH! Where evil dwells, Northport, L.I.
mutilation murder, grisly sacrificial slaughter
knights of the black circle, stabbed him in the woods

Well, if that's the best we can do for Long Island, then this place is fucked.


[I'm not finished yet]



friday night fun: city songs

Ok, it's Friday and I've had enough seriousness for one week. Let's get cracking with the mindless fun, shall we?

Chicago music critic Jim DeRogatis lists his favorite and least favorite songs about the Windy City.

I think you know what to do. Use your city, any city, doesn't matter. Just as long as you can take my mind off the crappy weather and the fact that back-to-school sales have already started (must mean Christmas decorations are just around the corner), I'll be grateful. List as many or as few as you want.

I need some time to come up with my own list of songs for New York. Though I think I know a few that mention Long Island.

dear, dear hesiod

[via Jay]

Well, thank you Hesiod. Your armchair pyschoanalysis of me (and others who have the same views as me) was a wonderful display of audacious mind-reading.

TIME FOR IRAQ-WAR LIARS TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE: Do you REALLY care about human rights and deposing a "brutal dictator, or are you just lying your pathetic asses off about it to cover up for your otherwise bankrupt political and moral ideology?

Have you considered becoming an FBI profiler, perhaps? You seem to know exactly what people are thinking and feeling. Why, you can figure my ulterior motives with such tenacity, it's almost frightening! And how you can figure out what my moral ideology is just from my pro-war stance is simply astounding!

The bottom line is, you don't care about human rights abuses. You never cared about human rights abuses. And you never WILL care about human rights abuses...in Iraq, or anywhere else.

It's a figleaf. A beard. A phony affectation of human concern...solely adopted for rhetorical purposes. [And Lord knows, it's never manifested itself with respect to the majority of Palestinians, among others].

My fig leaf is off, Hesiod. My beard is shaved. You found me out. I surrender to your Ted Rall-like rhetoric.

If you'll give me one more chance, I swear that I will never lie to you again because now I see the destructive power of a lie; they're stronger than the truth. Cause I'm a liar, yeah I'm a liar.

Thanks for the chuckle, Hesiod.


one time, at terrorist camp...

[via Ocean Guy]

Ah, Day Camp for Palestinian children. It's just like a 4H Club: Hate, Hate, Hate and Hate.

At Camp Return, [near a village in the Western Galilee] children are not taught how to make beaded jewelry and popsicle stick houses. They are taught to aspire to kill Jews in suicide bombings.

Saama Vakim, one of the campers, displayed her new necklace to the TV camera. It is a pendant of the map of Israel embossed with a Palestinian flag. She also showed the reporter the "intifada pendant." It included the image of a boy throwing a stone. Saama explained that Jews have no right to live here and should "go back to where they came from to Poland, to Russia."

Rather than learning stories about animals and plants, children at Camp Return are taught tales of the "heroism" of Palestinian terrorists like "the engineer" Hamas bombmaker Yihye Ayyash, who masterminded the murder of over 60 Israelis in suicide bombings before being killed by Israeli security forces in 1996. The children received booklets with "morale boosting" songs and stories glorifying human bombs and their dispatchers who are called "the heroic martyrs."

Their camp songs have lyrics like, "We don't want flour. We don't want sardines. We want bombs, the rule of the bombs." Another ditty the children sing says, "Lift up your head, recognize your holiness. Defeat to Washington. We don't want ID cards [Israeli citizenship]. We will glorify in the blood of the martyr."

The supporters of the Palestinian cause must be so proud. Let's change those paragraphs around a bit for a moment:

At Camp Return, [in Anytown, USA] children are not taught how to make beaded jewelry and popsicle stick houses. They are taught to aspire to kill Islamists and other immigrants in suicide bombings.

Susie Smith, one of the campers, displayed her new necklace to the TV camera. It is a pendant of the map of the Arab countries embossed with an American flag. She also showed the reporter the "intifada pendant." It included the image of a boy throwing a stone. Susie explained that Islamists an other foreigners have no right to live here and should "go back to where they came from to Turkey, to India."

I wonder how Adam Shapiro and other American supporters of the Palestinian cause would feel about that? Why, they would protesting on the streets of Washington! They would have rallies, firebomb the camp, call for a legal investigation, impeach the president and cry What About the Children(tm)?

Moral equivalence is so charming, is it not?

People scoff at me when I claim that Islamists are raising their kids to be terrorists, but here we have proof. How is peace ever going to happen when this is what the future generation of Palestinians are taught?

The Road Map to Peace is a worthless, dirt path that leads to a toxic landfill. Poison toxins courtesty of Camp Return and all the people right here in America who support this monstrosity of a culture.


UPDATE: I was just informed that the camp has been shut down. The general feeling behind this post has not.

jihad on wheels

I told you they were coming for us on Segways! Run for your life, it's Urban Hipster Terrorists!

bitchslap ted rall day: it's back!

Another Friday, another Ted Rall screed of idiocy.

Ted wants the U.S. to pull out of Iraq because, well, they hate us.

He wants us to just pack up our bags and our weapons and hightail it out of there, leaving Iraq and its people to fend for themselves. I suppose he thinks that they would rather be stranded in the middle of the road to democracy than have to walk that road with the ugly Americans. He even uses the lefty word-of-the-month, quagmire.

But short of a Manhattan mushroom cloud, it's hard to imagine a darker scenario than the one we're in.

Hmmm, let's see what's going on in Iraq:


The north and the south are calm; opposition to the United States in Baghdad and the Sunni triangle to the north is limited. There are no clashes between Shiite and Sunni Muslims or between Kurds and other Iraqis. Meetings of the organizing council have been harmonious and productive. Much of the negative press, Chalabi argues, is due to translators who have their own anti-American agendas and give American and other reporters their version of what is going on rather than what the Iraqis being interviewed are saying.

Ah, dark days indeed. Maybe what Ted means is that it's dark days for the moonbats, who want nothing more than for this mission to fail. If it failed, they would have more ammunition in their war against Bush. So good news to the Iraqis is bad news to Ted.

Don't think that's possible? Just look at this quote Andrew Sullivan dug up at that breeding ground for hatred, Democratic Underground:

"What I really hate about the way our government has been taken over is that I'm at the point where I almost DON"T want anything good to happpen in Iraq, I WANT them to screw up, I WANT them to fail." Another vented: "Bush and his ilk are far, far worse than Saddam and his two degenerate brats, and that's saying a LOT."

Is that Kool-Aid refreshing your thirst for Bush's demise, kids?

Ted says: Now they say things are getting better. Read the paper. Watch the tube. E-mail a soldier stationed in Iraq. Does the occupation of Iraq seem like it's getting better to you?

But Josh Chafetz says:

In the first opinion poll of liberated Iraq, Dr. Sadoun Dulaimi of the Iraq Center for Research & Strategic Studies found that 65 percent of Baghdadis want U.S. troops to stay for now; only 17 percent want them to pull out immediately. Clearly the United States is doing something right. In fact, if you read past the front pages, you find many signs of improvement in the four major areas of reconstruction: providing security, improving public utilities, rebuilding civil society and laying the groundwork for democracy, and getting the economy moving.

So, to answer that question, Ted: Yes.

Perhaps Rall, who has been known to suffer from mental instability from time to time, honestly believes that living under a regime whose modus operandi included rape, torture and murder on a daily basis is a far better thing than having to live side by side with American soldiers while they protect the Iraqis and help them rebuild their country into something resembling a republic.

Of course, Ted still is stuck in his No-Blood-For-Oil costume:

It's time to stop throwing good lives after bad. We came for Iraq's oil, but we'll never extract crude without seducing Iraqi hearts and minds.

Quagmire. Oil. What would a Ted Rall column be without those? I'm suprised he hasn't mentioned the last election yet.

...our invasion allowed looters and rapists to take over the cities..

Pardon? I think the looters and rapists were there before. Their names were Uday, Qusay and Saddam. Two out of three are dead and the last one is running for his life. My god, what have we done? We chased the boogymen out of Iraq! How dare we?

Why not admit that the invasion was a mistake now, before more people die in a meaningless war? Cut bait and bring home the troops. Sure, the French will mock us; we deserve it. Iraq may become a Shiite theocracy, but nothing--except a brand-new president with a new take on foreign policy--can stop that now. Disaster is inevitable.

Such a pessimist, this one. Impending doom, brink of disaster kind of guy. And not just with Iraq, but he thinks America is on the brink of the same. You know the drill, police state, 1984, facist, capitalist society in ruins.

Cut bait and bring the troops home? Whose bait are you cutting? And suppose we did that? In just a few short days after bringing the troops home, the left would be all over Bush and his administration for leaving Iraq high and dry. It's a lose/lose situation with the left for Bush. The old damned if you do, damned if you don't.

It's so very sad that Rall and the like are so self-centered, so wrapped up in their flags of socialism and Bush-hating, that they would have no problem just leaving the Iraqi people alone. Where's the humanitarianism? Where's the compassion? They complain that the Iraqis are still having problems with water and electricity, but they think it's ok if we just stop what we are doing to fix those problems and come home with a job half done?

Rall has no problem with the fact that Iraq would become a Shiite country - or worse - if we left. The same old games would start to play out again; ruling by fear, instilling hatred of America, torture, rape, the rich get richer and the poor get thrown in prisons and women go back behind their veils. And then the opposition groups grow bigger and stronger and decide that America could use a healthy dose of terrorism.

Right, Ted. Way to think this thing through. It's time you started turning on those little burners in your brain before you sit down to write a column. You're starting to sound like a naive, fifteen year old hippie in Birkenstocks and dreads writing a high school essay on why the peace movement is like, so rad, man and why Bush is Hitler and America is an empire.

D- for this one, Ted. This little composition of yours only proves that you've been hanging out with Arianna and Bill Maher a little too much. Lay off the Lay off the Morford-type thinking and think about getting laid. It might help release some of that pent-up false anger.

26 things (almost)

How did it get to be August 1st already?

Today is the day that those participating in the 26 things project are supposed to put up their photos. I'm almost there. More than halfway, even.

I'll get the rest up later today but, for now, here's 15 things.

If you click on the "read the rest of the story" link, you can see the subject that each category falls into (for those unfamiliar with the project, we were given 26 subjects to take photos of in July), and an explanation for #3, which is a crappy photo but one which I chose anyhow.

Eventually, I'll put these all in album form on another page.


1. Communication
2. Authority
3. Empty - This is a terrible photo. It was taken from a car when I was traveling over the bridge. While the photo is not good quality, the New York City skyline defines the word empty for me.
4. Food
5. Light
6. Me
7. Signage
8. Sunset
9. Sound
10. Weather
11. Water
12. Color
13. Transport
14. Time
15. Little Things