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November 30, 2003

question of the day

Just a question: Am I the only one who really wants one of Ashton Kutchner's pranks to go horribly wrong so some celebrity hauls off and slams him in the face or, better yet, shoots him?

santa blog update

Ho Ho Holy Shit is in the process of being built today. However, I am having a problem coming up with a graphic to go with the site. Last year, I used the cover art for Silent Night, Deadly Night. I'd like something a little less horrific this year and more funny, but funny in a sick, twisted sort of way. Any ideas, I'll be happy to have them.

For those of you who haven't sent me an email with your desired username yet, do so before the end of today. I'm putting a limit on how many contributors there are - last year's staff gets first bids on names/characters, and then it's first come, first serve after that.

The URL will be the same as last year.

the demise of newspaper comics, or Dagwood beats the crap out of Billy

I haven't bought a newspaper since September of 2001, and then it was only to clip articles about someone I knew. I read the paper online now; I get all the news I need that way and I don't have to wade through ads or ridiculous filler articles about stars getting married/divorced/pregnant/arrested.

I had a method of reading the paper back when I actually had it (Newsday) delivered to my home. I would read the entire sports section, flip the paper over, skim through the news, head for the editorials and then sit back and relish the real treat. Ah, the comics section.

Remember when the comics section brought daily delights? At its heyday, you could get Calvin and Hobbes, Far Side and Bloom County in one sitting. Everything else was just extraneous. [note: I refuse to date myself here and write about anything else before then. I did that already, anyhow]

You really don't have to pick up a paper today to know what's happening on the comics page. In fact, I will boldly predict what today's full-paneled, full-colored strips will bring: Cathy goes on a diet! Garfield eats Lasagna! Jeffy says something precious! Dagwood makes a sandwich and/or takes a nap!

Where's the fresh jokes? Where is the satirical commentary on modern life? Is life in comic strips really that predictable? I long for the days of Spaceman Ziff, talking cows and my favorite penguin. Yes, I know the penguin is back. It's just not the same anymore.

I imagine a world where all current comic strip characters live. Their daily lives are much like the lives they play out in the newspaper each day. Here comes Billy, running zig-zag through the neighborhood just to fetch his dad the paper, which was right on his front step all along! Ah, but next door neighbor Dagwood has had quite enough of this nonsense and runs after Billy, knocks him down and beats him with a Subway 12 incher. Cathy comes running out of her house to see what's going on and as Dagwood is mercilessly rubbing Billy's face in the dirt, Cathy gives in to her cravings and eats the Subway sandwich that Dagwood dropped. Uh, oh! Here comes the mom from For Better or Worse! She's is going to give them quite a lesson in how to peacefully mediate a fight and then they'll all head to the retirement home down the block to visit Annie and Broom Hilda and Brenda Starr, and Annie still looks like she's ten even though she has to be about 60 by now! And they would all be entertained with a fantastic donut eating contest between Garfield and Cathy, and later on Momma will find Cathy puking her guts out and she'll realize what the rest of the world figured out long ago; Cathy has an eating disorder, most likely brought on by stress from dealing with both her overbearing mother and her passive aggressive boyfriend.

Of course, if I drew that comic land one day, it would end badly. I suppose some giant, drooling alien who goes by the name of Calvin and looks somewhat like a dinosaur would eventually stomp through town, crushing every last cliched character to death. Free at last. Ding Dong, Ziggy and his animals are dead.

I long for the days when comics weren't so treacly and warm and fuzzy. I don't want to see Grandpa's spirit hanging over Jeffy's shoulder, making sure he doesn't get hurt. If I wanted something like that, I would just start a Precious Moments collection. I want to see more strips where moms tell their sons to go play chicken with a train. I want to see more surreal silliness.

One can only live so long on a steady diet of shopping and lasagna before they give up and close the paper. Sure, there are still a few comics I find interesting, but I can just click and read and not have to open the paper funny page to find Dick Tracy still staring up at me as if he was still relevant.

In my comic world, Dick Tracy would be retired by now, living in a one bedroom apartment where he spends his day cursing at Matlock on the television while resting another can of Miller Lite on his beer belly. Every once in a while, Brenda Starr would stop over for a visit, but things would always turn ugly when Dick reminds Brenda that she hasn't aged well at all.

Not many of them have aged well, actually. And the ones that did packed up and left the neighborhood a long time ago. Guess you gotta know when to fold 'em.

November 29, 2003

hostile takeovers and colin farrell's eyebrows

My, but it was quiet around here today.

A few random thoughts, just because it feels weird to have only blogged twice on a Saturday

We just watched The Recruit. I'll save you the trouble with this two word review: Cliches. Predictable. Yes, it was predictable right down to the requisite Al Pacino over-acting monologue towards the end. Colin Farrell's eyebrows should get a best supporing nod in the Oscars this year, though.

I recently discovered the new map of the Commonwealth of the Blogosphere States. Sure, I may only be a small city now, but as soon as I make the motion to secede, I plan on taking over Reynoldssia. If any of my neighboring cities wants to join me in a revolution, I'm right over here, playing Risk to hone my takeover skills.

As per Jeff Jarvis: Michele. One L.

But you knew that. Right?

Back to online shopping. Sure beats getting trampled.

buy, buy, buy

Looks like Buy Nothing Day didn't exactly pan out.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said that sales at its U.S. stores grew 6.3 percent to a record $1.52 billion on the day after Thanksgiving, up from $1.43 billion on the same day a year earlier.

And:

Total holiday sales are expected to be up 5.7 percent to $217.4 billion from last year, reports the National Retail Federation in Washington, D.C.

I did my part. I dropped a few hundred dollars at Amazon, which has swallowed so many retailers it is now just like an bloated shopping mall, except there's no parking problems and I didn't have to kill anyone.

"People are buying bigger ticket items," said Alexandra Karcev, public relations director at Bloomingdales in Garden City. "Times are good now. Consumer confidence is better, the economy is better, people are not waiting, they are ready to buy now."

It's the economy, stupid!

Oh, if you want to spread some Christmas cheer, or if you just want to see what your fellow man is capable of (and I mean man as in mankind, as in encompassing men and women, or womyn to those of you who are offended by my colloquial use of the word man), go check out the wishlist for Penny-Arcade's gift drive for the Seattle Children's Hospital. Click on see purchased items. People didn't just buy little toys and trinkets for these kids; they also bought the big ticket items like Game Cubes and Playstations, and they bought four or five or six of each item. Sometimes, humanity makes you smile.

I also bought myself a Christmas present from my own wishlist. I hope I didn't break any code of conduct there.

So, to recap: Spending good. Not spending bad. Spending on others good. Spending on me, even better.

I wanna see you out that door baby - buy buy buy.

and on the second day of the holiday season, delerium sets in

santabot.jpgHey, it's a Saturday of a holiday weekend. Were you expecting in depth analysis of the Mid East crisis? Hah. Do you know what a steady diet of candied yams, mashed potatoes and stuffing does to one's thinking process? Throw in about ten glasses of a dark rum/cream soda concoction and several heaping helpings of blueberry cream pie slathered in Red-Whip, and you can see that I'm just waiting for the inevitable coma. And it's not over yet. I still have several unfinished pies sitting in the kitchen. Apple and pumpkin and some kind of berry thing that I thought was blueberry but turns out to have raspberries and strawberries in it. I'm thinking of just shoving everything into a blender - leftover turkey, gravy and potatoes included - giving it a few whirls on the puree mode, and making a Thanksgiving Shake. It's nutritious, delicious and has all your dietary needs. That is, if your dietary needs include a shovleful of fat, lard, starch, carbs and fruit covered in fifteen different kinds of sugar.

So we are experiencing the usual Saturday after Thanksgiving Christmas Explosion here. It's really not until the leftovers are tossed and the stomach ache subsides that people start to realize, holy shit, it's the Christmas season! Everyone runs to their garage to break out the decorative lights and huge, blow-up lawn figures, all with that Christmas theme, like Homer Simpson with a Duff beer in his hand or Tigger with a scarf wrapped around his neck and you think, whatever happened to the three wise men and Frosty? Oh, we know what happened to Frosty. We found him on the lawn last year, polishing the icicle, so to speak. But amid all the Frostys and wise men and baby Jesuses (Jesi?) tethered to every lawn with ropes and pegs and the sweat of aging men who hate Christmas but love to annoy their neighbors with gaudy displays of brilliant lights, there's always those houses with the eight foot statue of Jesus on the cross, all thorns and pained expression, right next to the lighted, spinning figure of Santa on ice skates, chasing a petite, female elf who is wearing the barest of tiny little skirts.

Where was I? Yes, the Christmas season. Sure, you can posture as much as you want with your forever looping cassette tape of pious carols and your hand-drawn cards wishing peace unto all mankind and creatures, but you know that when no one is looking, you are simultaneously on the phone with Master Card begging for a credit limit raise and scouring the internet looking for that very specific lamp that your mother wanted because, damn it, you are going to find it before your sister does so mom can profously thank you on Christmas and not your bitch of a sister who always does everything just right.

Oh yes, I am talking about myself as well, not just pointing the finger at you. I'll climb up into the attic today and dig around for the fake Christmas tree and the box of ornaments that seems to get smaller every year because always, at some point right after Christmas Day, I get pissed off at everyone and start flinging fragile, glittery balls around the house, or I get disgusted with the gross indulgence of the season and start throwing out decorations, promising to "take it down a level" the next year. And I'll break out in hives from putting the synthetic tree together but I won't dare let my husband or kids help because it has to be done right, and I shove them off into the next room with a tray of hot chocolate and homemade gingerbread cookies and a few Christmas movies and by the time I'm done with the tree and I'm itching and cursing and sweating, they've taken the tubes of icing and made genitals on the gingerbread men and boobs on the gingerbread girls and they're watching Silent Night, Deadly Night. I retreat to the living room where I proceed to drink a bottle of tequila, no shot glass required, and by 3am I'm prancing around in a Mrs. Claus outfit trying to get my husband to say Ho! Ho! Ho! and telling him I want to ride him like a reindeer. Oh yes, I put the ho in holidays!

And this is all just by December 1st. There's still 24 days to go after that and I swear, there is not enough alcohol in the world to make me enjoy the fortieth chorus of Santa Claus is Coming to Town emitting from my neighbors stereophonic holiday display of lights, sound, action and I swear I just heard fireworks. So I take the big, black Sharpie I was using to tag all the gifts and I march outside and down the block and wow, is someone going to be surprised tomorrow to find a mustache on the Virgin Mary and genital warts on Santa.

Welcome to the holiday season.

November 28, 2003

rambling incoherently: sacrilege, porn and getting in Allah's pants

Twas the night after Thanksgiving and all through the house...

Was the sound of people retching, burping, farting and swearing to never eat again as long as they live.

I see Allah has finally noticed me. Praise be unto his trousers.

I didn't get much shopping done today but I did buy wrapping paper. This is for the aunt who always makes us sing Happy Birthday, Jesus during Christmas Eve dinner.

Oh, anyone who asked to take part in Ho Ho Holy Shit, Volume 2, please email me at santa@asmallvictoryDOTnet and let me know the name of whatever your character will be. Just a warning for those new to HHHS: Don't join if you are easily offended. This is not your child's Santa blog. (Rated X for violence to small woodland creatures and children's icons, and pornography involving elves and those same woodland creatures)

I leave you with this thought that has been on my mind all day: Bukkake Specialist or Soup Man - are these careers something to aspire to? Do they have colleges that specialize in these areas? Do you get a degree in Bukkake with a minor in Pretending You Are Enjoying It? And what do the Soup Men have to do to prepare for a day at the office? Is Japan really as wild as Mainichi makes it out to be? I admit that most of my ideas about present day Japan come from anime. I half expect to go there some day and find horny tentacle creatures and giant automatons.

I suspect I've had way too much rum and not nearly enough sleep in the past two days.

peace or pie?

It appears that I am the only living human being in the courthouse (besides courtroom personnel). I also appear to be one of the only living people in blogland.

So, I could either sit here and listen to the clacking of my typewriter echo off of the steel bars of the holding cell in the next room, or I could go home and listen to whining of my children echo off of the pile of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink.

Here, I have peace and quiet. But home, I have leftover pie. Lots of pie.

What to do, what to do. Peace or pie?


Update: Pie was good. Couch was better.

november 26, 1998

[skip this post if you have a weak gag reflex]

It was five years ago this week that I met the man who would become my husband.

It was five years ago this week that the rest of my life began.

Til the end of the world, baby.

Come sail your ships around me
And burn your bridges down
We make a little history, baby
Every time you come around
Come loose your dogs upon me
And let your hair hang down
You are a little mystery to me
Every time you come around
We talk about it all night long
We define our moral ground
But when I crawl into your arms
Everything comes tumbling down
Come sail your ships around me
And burn your bridges down
We make a little history, baby
Every time you come around


Got It, Spend it (redux)

[Repeat Alert: This is from last year's Black Friday post. I woke up today thinking it was Sunday for some reason. Realized later that it's Friday. Oops. Have to get to work.]

Today is the official AdBusters Buy Nothing Day. It's a day when all the culture jammers keep their hard earned money in their pockets to send a message to corporate America that overconsumption will kill us all in the end.

gispi2.gifNot in my backyard, kiddies. Today is If You Got It, Spend It Day. Hell, even if you don't got it, buy it.

Send a message to the world that we are gathered as one to keep our economy going. Send a message to the buy-nothing supporters that it is about the economy, stupid.

While the culture jammers will be having "swap meets, teach-ins, concerts, street theatre, credit-card cut-ups, postering, potlucks," instead of shopping, particpants of Got It, Spend It Day will be tearing up the aisles in toy stores looking for that Princess Barbie, swapping discount coupons, eating at chain restaurants and creating origami with their mile long store receipts.

While the Ad Busters believe that "Over consumption is mother of all our environmental problems," we believe that under consumption is the mother of all economical problems. While they say "the more you consume, the less you live," we say...umm, right.

Now, we are not suggesting that your run out to your nearsest mall or K-Mart on
this Black Friday. Anyone who ventures out to a store on this special day has to be insane. No, just sit in front of your computer and click away. Shop through catalogs. Order over the phone. You don't have to leave your house to
participate!

Anyone who is a parent knows what will happen if you hand out gift exemption vouchers to relatives in lieu of exchaning presents. There will be mutinity. Let's face it, our kids aren't Ned Flanders' kids. They won't get excited over an imaginary Christmas.

So buy something today. Buy anything. Just don't buy nothing. Do it For The Childrentm



November 27, 2003

pass the tums, please

cranb.jpg

Yes, we even had the cranberry that came out of the can with that horrid squishing noise and the lines embedded in the gel.

Note to Eric, who sent me the 80's Game: We had a great time playing that after dinner. My sides still hurt from laughing at my brother-in-law.

Hope everyone's day was great. Mine was, shall we say, filling.

[And if you are bored this evening, you can always go back and read all the stellar advice I gave out yesterday. I just hope everyone who asked for advice realizes that I cannot be held liable if your grandmother does, indeed, go on fire]

"I was just looking for a warm meal somewhere. Thanks for inviting me."

bushiniraq.jpg

President Bush made a surprise Thanksgiving visit to American troops in Baghdad Thursday, flying secretly to violence-scarred Iraq on a trip tense with concerns about his safety.

It was the first trip ever by an American president to Iraq.

In a ruse staged in the name of security, the White House had put out word that Bush would be spending Thanksgiving at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, with his wife, Laura, his parents and other family members. Even the dinner menu was announced.


Instead, Bush slipped away from his home without notice Wednesday evening and flew to Washington to pick up aides and a handful of reporters sworn to secrecy. Plans called for the trip to be abandoned if word had leaked out in advance.

That is just cool.

UPDATE: I know I shouldn't have looked here, but my curiosity got the best of me. Now, I'm sorry I did. My appetite has been ruined. Meanwhile, I have nothing but praise for Hilary Clinton for spending Thanksgiving in Afghanistan. Couldn't expect the same from the nuts over at DU.

giving thanks




the last of the thanksgiving advice: Martyrs and Porn

turkey5.gifI am a deity worshipped by a religious minority. It is not imporant which religion; suffice it to say, it happens to be the one true faith, which is why adherents of other, shittier religions are constantly persecuting us. My question is this: Are my followers and I supposed to sit there tomorrow and eat our turkey complacently while this persecution is occurring? Or should we round up a few buddies and "crash" the Thanksgiving Day parade? Please help!

---Allah

I bet Dear Abby never had Allah write her for advice.

Here's what you should do: You enter a float into the Thanksgiving Day parade. Then you get yourselves a deathmobile and disguise it as a float. Get creative with your deathmobile. Write "Praise Allah" on the hood or take it to a custom van shop and have some aging hippie airbrush a picture of 72 virgins on the side of the car. In fact, you should call it a MartyrMobile. Then, you cover up the MartyrMobile with something cute like a giant cake, except you inscribe the words "Deat to Infidels" on the cake.

I won't tell you how to use this float/death car to enhance your enjoyment of the parade (which I assume would include the death of many infidels), but I do have one word for you: marbles.

turkey5.gifWhat should I use to greet my mixed-race friends? "Fo' shizzle, my nizzle!" and "Alrighty, my whitey!" are too limited.

---Chris

Thanksgiving should be a day when we are all one race, one color, one proud nation of brothers and sisters joining together as a family. The simple way to avoid any hurt feelings is to greet everyone with a generic Hello, my friend who is, for all intents and purposes on this very day, an American. If that is too long you can always use my standard holiday greeting: I hope you brought your own beer, beeyotch!

turkey5.gifIt seems likely that tomorrow will be a blog and band message board-free day for me. Any advice on how best to cope with the computer cold-turkey on Turkey Day, oh wise goddess of the miniscule triumph?

---MikeR

There's always porn, Mike. Porn never takes a holiday. Grab a box of tissues, a bottle of hand lotion, and settle in for a nice, long day with girls who give a whole new meaning to the phrase "Gobble Gobble!"

turkey5.gifShould you spend ALL of your time surfing the Web, playing Medal of Honor and watching the 4-hour extended edition of the Two Towers while your wife prepares the Thanksgiving feast? Or should you reserve some time for reading comics?

---Solonor

Don't worry about the comics, Solonor. There will be plenty of time for that when your wife kicks you out and you are living in a rat-infested motel where the only Medal of Honor is the 1946 Chamber of Commerce certificate hanging up in the front office.

November 26, 2003

my thanksgiving gift you

[I'll continue with the advice dispensing later]

Right now, I have for you a Thanksgiving song and a repeat of last year's Action Figures Caught on Cam: Thanksgiving Edition. (Rated PG for violence towards Battlecat)


First, the song: Clutch - Wishbone [Lyrics here]

Thanksgiving with He-Man

Spiderman: I still don't see why we all have to have Thanksgiving mmdance.gif
together. Superheroes, villians, goth people - it's a recipe for disaster!
Batman: Ha! Remember last year? Mark McGwire's head popped off in that free-for-all.
Boba Fett: Yea, the free-for-all that you started!
Skeletor: Shut up, Fett. You were the one that made us play drinking games. It's your fault.
Madman: Now, now, lets not rehash last year. I say we start this year off with something nice. How about we all go around the table and say what we are thankful for?
Evil Ash: Oh, geez. We all gonna pass hold hands and bow our heads in prayer, too?
Buddy Christ: You got a problem with that, bad ass?
Evil Ash: Sorry, Jesus.
Madman: Ok, Spawn, why don't you start?

Spawn stands up, glass of whiskey in his hand.

Spawn: I'm thankful for that outfit Asuka is wearing today.
Hubba Hubba!
He-Man: Hey! You can't talk about my girlfriend like that!
Spawn (laughing maniacally): Yourgirlfriend? I've been sleeping with her for three weeks!
He-Man: Liar!
Asuka: Umm....
He-Man: NOOOOOO! Say it isn't true!!
Asuka: Ummm....
Spawn: Told ya!

He-Man runs from the room crying

Spiderman: Oh, for Christ's sake!
Buddy Christ: Hey, I had nothing to do with this, man.
Madman: Well, let's wait on dinner a bit until we all calm down. Let's watch some football.

They all gather in the living room to watch the game. Fifteen minutes later, there's a crashing sound. He-Man comes swinging through the window on a rope, his feet aimed for Spawn's head. He swings down on top of Spawn. They tumble to the ground and when Spawn stands up, his cape is ripped in half.

Spawn: You son of a bitch! You mother fucking asshole! You are dead! Do you hear me? DEAD!
He-Man: Yea, I'm shaking in my boots, you girlfriend stealer!
Spawn: My fucking cape. I can't believe it. You'll pay for this you asswipe!

Spawn runs from the room, still yelling obscenities.

Skeletor: Well, another fine Thanksgiving this is turning into.
Death: I think it's rather amusing.
Sandman: You would.
Boba Fett: Is that food ready yet? I'm starving.
Madman: The turkey should be just about cooked. Let's go back into the dining room.

Everyone moves towards the dining area while He-Man lingers, looking around.

Evil Ash: What's the matter He-Man, looking for your balls?
He-Man: Shut up, you freak. Hey, has anyone seen Battlecat?
Green Goblin: I think I saw him fucking your girlfriend. HAHAHAH!

They meet the others in the dining area.

Madman: Tada! I present to you the most amazing Thanksgiving meal ever!

Several Street Fighter guys bring in plates heaped with food and set them on the table.

Madman: Edward Scissorhands, would you do the honors, please?
Edward (mumbling): Every year, it's Edward cut the turkey, Edward cut the pies.
Spiderman: That is the hugest turkey I have ever seen. I can't wait to dig in.
He-Man: Where the hell is Battlecat?
Spawn: Really. He was just dying to dig into his plate.

Edward finishes slicing the meat and everyone clamors for the different plates. They dig in right away, eating hungrily and noisily.

Spawn: Hold up! I would like to make a toast before we all stuff ourselves full of this food.

He stands and raises his glass of whiskey, Asuka at his side.

Hans Solo: I have a bad feeling about this...
Spawn: I thought I would not be able to eat this meal, I was so depsondent over He-Man ripping my cape. But there are ways to get over things. A little action from Asuka here didn't hurt....
He-Man (his mouth full of food): You bastards! Do you have to announce it?
Spawn: You know, He-Man, they say revenge is a dish best served cold, but I would much rather serve it hot.
He-Man: What the hell does that mean?
Spawn (mimicing He-Man): Has anyone seen Battlecat?

He-Man and everyone else stop chewing, stop talking and look up at Spawn, forks in midair. Spawn cackles.

Spawn: Enjoying the meat, He-Man?
He-Man (staring down at his plate in horror) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Chaos ensues. Everyone is either puking or running out of the room. He-Man faints. And Boba Fett calmly sits and passes himself some more meat.

Buddy Christ: Another Thanksgiving shot to hell.

Read part 1, 2 and 3.

thanksgiving advice(5): Commies and flaming grandma

turkey5.gifI just found out that my parents have invited some friends to our Thanksgiving dinner. I've never met the couple in question, but it seems that the husband is a retired CIA officer. Would it be bad form to excitedly ask him how many commie bastards he's killed, immediately after the prayer?

---Matt

Of course you can ask him, but you have to word it in CIA code. I've asked my sources in the Pentagon, and they told me you should say this:

Sir, may I inquire as to how many points you scored in the simulated combat game Kill the Commies? Take his answer, divide by 8, subtract 22, multiply by the square root of the number of notches on his belt, and you'll have your answer.

He may have to kill you, though.


turkey5.gifWhen your elderly grandmother pulls out an article from 1993 and proceeds to read all three columns of it during dessert; when is it appropriate to commit hari-kari?

Oh BTW, the subject of the article? Rat mating habits. No, I'm not making this up.

---Brian

Brian, committing hari-kari would be a selfish act. Sure, you may be dead and out of range of hearing from your grandmother, but the rest of your family still has to suffer. Simply light the newspaper on fire when she starts reading. You may want to douse your grandmother in gasoline beforehand.

thanksgiving advice(4): Godzilla, death by Ann Coulter and sauteed squirrel

turkey5.gifWhen bludgeoning members of the Tin-foil hat brigade, what is the best
implement of blunt-force trauma? Does it differ for those on the left and right?

---Pete

Pete, what does this have to do with Thanksgiving? Have you invited tin-foil brigade members over for dinner? If so, then you deserve whatever you get. However, I will give you the advice you seek. For blunt-force trauma- which means you aim to severely disable, if not kill, your victim - you must do the following: Track down both Ann Coulter and Michael Moore. Kill them, chop off their heads and wrap each head in brown butcher paper. When your tin-foil hat friends start talking their talk, bash them in about the brain area with the appropriate head.

I suggest leaving town after that.

turkey5.gifI've heard vicious rumours that I should cook my turkey breast side
down. This just seems wrong to me. Do you have any breast preferences?


--Dave

Dave, I clearly stated that I don't know anything about cooking turkey. I do, however, know how to cook squirrel. So just take use these instructions and substitute turkey where it says squirrel.

1 squirrel, quartered
1 cup diced onion
2 large tomatoes (from your garden) or 1 can of tomatoes
Assorted fresh ,or canned veggies
Preparation:
Sprinkle seasoned salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (optional) liberally on the meat. Pour some cooking oil into a large pot (dutch oven). Sauté the meat with the onions until well browned. Drain the excess oil, add about 2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Cut up the tomatoes and add. If you use canned tomatoes add them now. Turn down the heat, and let slow cook for at least an hour. Important: older squirrels may require cooking longer than an hour. Check periodically for tenderness. If you don't you will have a hard time chewing the meat. After the meat is tender, add the veggies, carrots, potatoes, banana pepper, what ever you like. Cook until the veggies are done. An option you can use is, cook up your favorite pasta and serve over the pasta. (eliminate the potatoes).

turkey5.gifWhy do they always have Godzilla (aka Gozero) TV film festivals on
Thanksgiving?

--Mr. Cracker Barrel

Very good question, Cracker man. For the answer to this, I turned to my trusty sidekick, Chun-Li, who writes:

A little know fact about Thanksgiving is that it originated in Japan, not America. Long before the Pilgrims even heard of Plymouth Rock, we had set aside a day of thanks in November, to thank Godzilla and his gang for not eating us. Eventually, Godzilla tired of just getting a simple verbal thanks and had his lawyer write up a contract stipulating that in return for Godzilla not devouring us and destroying our city, we would make movies about him and his crazy adventures, and we would air them on tv every November. Eventually, the contract was bought out by your American television executives and now you are stuck watching cheaply made, badly dubbed stories about that stupid monster. Personally, I think Mothra was much nicer.

thanksgiving advice(3): more football and death by Jack Daniels

turkey5.gifSean asks: Who will win the Packers/Lions game?

I once again consulted the all-knowing, never wrong Ouija Board, which said:
TRANGER. There you have it.

turkey5.gifHi Michele. Usually family holidays when everyone is actually together in our extended-family home (Mom and Stepdad, Sis and her brood, and fesity me) are the most tense, since it's during days like Thanksgiving that everyone is actually with everyone else.

What is the polite thing to do when the unavoidable Massive Family Conflict™ over the dinner table that ends in "Fine!" "Fine!" happens? Does everyone silently stuff their faces? Or does everyone go their separate ways to the Thanksgiving Party that each person's friends invited them to? (Sister gets to stay at her house with her nest.)

---Jay

I feel your pain, Jay. I have a sister who has perfected the "Fine!" routine. She even adds an "Phhft!" to it once in a while and storms off into another room, where she proceeds to ignore us all.

There's an easy solution to this, Jay. Just place a big bottle of Jack Daniels in the middle of the table. Give everyone, even the kids, a shot glass. Everytime someone starts a fight, everyone take a shot of Jack. Within an hour you'll all be too drunk to care about fighting anymore, or you'll have all died from alcohol poisoning. Either way, the fighting is over.

thanksgiving advice(2): jews, zagats and football

turkey5.gifIf someone makes parallels between the Pilgrims taking Indian land to the Jews taking Arab land, can you beat them with a sack full of canned yams until they die?

--Laurence

.

Laurence, why waste a good can of Yams? If you kill the person, then the yams will be taken in as evidence and you'll never see them again. Instead, you send them off on a bus and then call their cell phone and tell them there's a bomb on the bus. Hilarity ensues as he shits his pants.

turkey5.gifIs it okay to take my dinner into my room and read blogs while I eat?

---Ith

Only if you are reading this one. This blog was recommended by Zagat's Survey of Dinner Reading Material as the Number One Blog to Read While Eating Thanksgiving Dinner. Allah came in close second. Autopsy Report finished last.

turkey5.gifWho will win the Dallas/Miami game Thanksgiving Day?

---Dave

For that question I went directly to the source of all knowledge in the universe, past, present and future: The Ouija board.

The revealed answer was: ONCLOCEN. Sorry, but I can't tell you what that means

thanksgiving advice corner (1): Hitler, eating al sharpton and family fueds

turkey5.gifWhite or dark meat?

---Celestial Blue

Well Blue, that depends on what you're talking about. You really must learn to be more specific in you questions. However, I am going to assume that you were playing straight man and leading me into making a sexually explicit joke at your expense and I will not fall for that. That said, I think that dark meat is digusting but don't go by me because I don't really like the white meat, either.


turkey5.gifIn the event that my husband and in-laws are drunk as lords by four pm and start a huge intra-family fight, the details of which span the last forty years, am I justified in kicking them all out? Just flat out turning them out of the house until they can behave? Or should I quietly slink off to my room, lock the door, pop a valium, smoke a bowl, and refuse to come out until they shut the hell up?

What do you recommend, O Thanksgiving Advisor?

----Kelley

I like being addressed in a reverent tone. I could get used to that.

Kelley, my friend, you have come to the right person. Many years ago during my first marriage, I had Thanksgiving at my house. That day is now known as the Rumble on Ramona Street. My father v. my husband in a steel cage fight to the death. That was the last holiday I ever had at my house. In order to avoid catastrophes like this, you just don't invite them over. I see that's too late for this year, so I will tell you this: Pot and valiums don't mix. I suggest pot and a few shots of Jagermeister. Then let your family members fight their own battles. Don't worry, blood washes off of the china just fine.

turkey5.gifWhat do you do when your grandfather starts discussing his affection for Hitler at the dinner table, and there's a lot of company there, some of which are very elderly people who suffered under Stalin and percieve people who are anti-Hitler to be Stalin sympathizers? Do I continue to keep my mouth shut and rant online later, or do I...engage the issue, keeping in mind that my grandfather is a...politically passionate...man?

---Stacey

First of all Stacey, I cleaned up your grammar. Don't they teach you proper captilization over there?

Now, let's deal with Grandpa and pals. Here's the plan: Next time they all come over, you hire a bunch of actors to dress up as World War II era American soldiers. You play a tape recording of bomb-type sounds. The "soldiers" come bursting into the dining to the dining room shouting "Surrender Nazis! The war is over!"

When everyone has their hands up in surrender, you slip straight jackets on them and send them off to the Springfield Retirement Castle. Sit back, pop open a beer and relish the silence.

no time for love, dr. jones

taf.gifBecause I am a selfless and giving human being, and because I am wise beyond my years and becaus I really have nothing else to do the rest of the day or night except avoid cleaning the house, I have decided to devote my time to you, in order that your Thanksgiving may be the best Thanksgiving possible.

I am opening up the phone lines (ok, comment lines) for your Thanksgiving questions. Ok, so I don't know how to baste a turkey and I'm not sure what side of the dish your salad fork goes on, but I am chock full of insight and knowledge when it comes to all things family.

If you have any questions about spending time with relatives - for instance, Is it polite to use grandpa's wheelchair to carry the dirty dishes into the kitchen, or Is it ok to have sex in the coat room - just ask away. I can deal with any issues concerning keeping the family peace and, conversely, adding some spice to your Thanksgiving meal (i.e, with inappropriate prayers of thanks). I also advise on how to get through a meal that tastes like crap and how to avoid taking part in the clean up activities.

I'm yours for the rest of the evening. The doctor is in.

stuff(ing)

I got the pre-holiday giddies. All my bosses are gone so I am out of here nice and early. I can go home and take a nap or get some errands done. But no, that's not what I'm going to do.

I am going to go home and install a message board/forum on this site. From now on, when a comment thread erupts into a flame war or goes totally off topic, you can take it their. It will be unmoderated.

I'll let you know when it's ready.

One question before I go: Does anyone really eat that jello-like cranberry thing that comes out of the can or do you all just put it on the table at Thanksgiving because it's supposed to be there?

fo shizzle!

My man Snoop has a blogizzle!

[via Late Final]

MEMO


To: British Political Cartoonist Society
From: An Honorary Jew
Re: This

Message:
May your flesh fall off while you are still alive.


Thank you.


the birds

What have I been doing the last fifteen minutes? Why, I wrote and illustrated and historic tale of a great warrior and some evil birds.

In fact, you can see the whole thing right here!

reasons to be thankful, part three

We all know what you're thankful for. Your family, your health, your freedom, the food on your table, the clothes on your back, your good friends and Fridays.

But seriously. Is that what you're really thinking when you gather around the Thanksgiving table and hold hands and bow your heads and wait for Grandpa to finish muttering his thanks to 125 years worth of relatives you never heard of before you can dig into the mashed potatoes?

Your family and friends know you're thankful for them. They know you appreciate all the times you bum rides or borrow money from them. They know that you really like the puke-green knitted afghan they got you for your birthday. So let's not waste our time engaging in tired cliches of Thanksgiving. Let's be honest.

8-2a_box.jpeMe, I'm thankful for a lot of things. Fresh ground coffee, drive-through fast food, pens with erasers, grilled cheese sandwiches, comic books, DVD burners, Best Buy, Target, broadband connections, free porn, margaritas, Amazon, Fosted Mini-Wheats, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, anti-lock brakes, four-wheel drive, movie previews, push-up bras, spellcheck, keyboard shortcuts, the Green Bay Packers, Bucky Dent, Converse high tops, Six Feet Under, Carnivale, Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme, double orgasms, cigarettes and Zippos, punk rock, White-Out, cordless keyboards, post-its, biodegradable tampons, Motrin, Mike Patton, Excedrin Migraine, painless dentistry, headphones, highlighters, hot bagels, VH1, microwave ovens, mircowave popcorn, Toaster Streudels, sporks, DVD extras, Troma movies, Peter Jackson, peel-and-stick postage stamps, talking Hulk Hands, the Anime Network, Showtime Beyond, Moveable Type, Killians Red, ATM machines, hooded sweatshirts, Mr. Bungle, Homer Simpson, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Fark, Photoshop, Playstation 2, public libraries and Equal.

Just to name a few.

So here's your chance to bypass the usual sappiness and overwrought words of thanks which you will surely be, in droidlike fashion, trotting out at the dinner table tomorrow and which you will, by 8pm, regret saying because you realize that you actually hate your family, to give thanks to the unsung heroes of our lives; material possessions, intangible goodness, and anything that would make living out each of the seven deadly sins possible. What, besides the usual, are you thankful for?

You do not have to live in America to participate. I mean, even Europeans are thankful for some things, no? And, I'm not a total tool. I will have a real, heartfelt thanks to a special group of people tomorrow.

notes, announcements, thank yous, links and a partridge in a pear tree

Here's where I try to decipher a day's worth of post-it notes and relay them all to you.

Go down there and read if you are interested.

First and foremost, some thanks are in order. The lovely and talented Anna (who gets off on crocheting) came to my rescue when I was just about dying from the itches and hives and sent me a package of homemade soaps, all wrapped and packaged and smelling so beautiful that I'm afraid to use them for fear of destroying their innate beauty.

I also received some nifty gifts via my Amazon Wishlist, and I really wish that Amazon would include email addresses of the gift giver on the packing slip because I would really like to send out a proper thank you. But they don't, so I'll do it here and say thank you from the bottom of my overjoyed heart for The Language Police and The Cat with the Really Big Head.

Ok (trying to read own handwriting here). Ah, yes.

This is for certain specific people who will probably recognize themselves: If you have a blog and you feel very passionate about something I wrote about, how about going and posting about it on your own blog instead of leaving novel-length comments because they generally kill whatever conversation/debate was going on. And on that subject, you know what I hate? I hate people who derail the commentary so it focuses on them. This is my blog, dude. Go have your ego stroked somewhere else. Only my ego gets stroked around here. And then, only if you pay up front and prove that you are clean.

Next item: email. If you send me email with the header reading any of the following, it will be deleted unopened: Hi, N/A, No Subject, What's Up?, Hello, Urgent, Do Not Delete and anything with the words penis or Paris Hilton and especially anything with the words penis and Paris Hilton together.

One last thing. If you are one of the people who got all in an uproar over this, send me $20 and I'll tell you how you can work from home stuffing envelopes.

Cinderella and the hideous, yet charming on the inside, stepsisters

[via tongue tied]

Burn the books!

Parents who read fairy tales to their children may be causing them low self esteem, US social scientists said today.

Classic stories, which have been passed down the generations contain so many stereotypes they could be just as harmful as the sexual images paraded in pop videos, it was suggested.

“There is a lot of association between beauty and goodness and then conversely between ugliness and evil and laziness,” said study co-author Liz Grauerholz.

So what does Grauerholz propose?

With young children, she recommends changing the stories. Tell Cinderella to your child as if she were male. Or change the ending so she decides the prince wasn't right for her after all and lived happily ever after by making her own life.

And there go a young girl's childhood dreams of romance and princes and knights in shining armor.

What? You say it's wrong to put those ideas in a little girl's head? And it's just as wrong to let little boys think that there are princesses who need kisses to wake up from a spell? Why don't you just rip the whole of childhood out from the hearts of today's kids? Hell, devise something that will let them come out of the womb at fifteen, so you don't have to deal with all that messy, complicated, subversive material that kids have to face while they are young. They can be born cynical and jaded and no one will have to work to make them that way.

They (and you know who I mean by they) want to change fairtyales? Fine. They've already changed nursery rhymes so this is just the next logical step. So let's give them what they want:

Introducing, the new and improved, politically correct, not offensive or demeaning to little girls, free of sexist imagery, Cinderella.

Once upon a time in a great kingdom (which was a kingdom in name only because it was ruled by committee), there lived a very rich family (who always shared their wealth with others because they believed in socialism, to an extent). This family consisted of the King (who is henceforth known as the Peer Review Leader), his second wife (the first wife was executed just to show the citizens that beautiful people die, too), the wife's two hideously deformed daughters from a previous marriage (the wife divorced her husband because he expected her to clean the house while he was out hunting and foraging for food) and the Peer Review Leader's daughter, Cinderella.

On the eve of the great Community Spiritual Dance Festival and Banquet for the Poor, Cinderella was busy doing demeaning work such as sweeping the floor of their home, when her step-mother (which is such an ugly word. Let's call her Mommie Dearest instead) came into the room, her two hideous (but supposedly charming on the inside) daughters in tow, and told Cinderella that she may not attend the Spiritual Dance Festival and Banquet for the Poor because she was too beautiful and thus would steal the hearts of all the filthy pig men that would be attending because they saw beautiful women as nothing but objects to be desired and lusted after, and the ugly girls would just look even uglier by comparison, and no man would want them.

Cinderella thought it was great to be desired and lusted after and said as much to her Mommie Dearest. And Mommie Dearest flew into a rage and the two hideous sisters were duly horrified and made a little speech about how being ugly was a badge of honor to them because then they would know that any man who asked for their hand in marriage would not be doing so for superficial reasons, to which Cinderella replied "well I hear you are both sluts, so that should help in your quest for a husband," and everyone in the room, saving Cinderella, made that Macauley Culkin-Home Alone face and the tension became so thick that you could cut it with a knife, which would be a knife that was not so sharp as to harm anyone, because no one in their right mind would leave such a possible weapon laying around their home.

And then Cinderella yelled that she was not a submissive little slave girl and no one had the right to own her and she was going to the Spiritual Dance and Banquet for the Poor and she stamped her foot on the ground for emphasis. The two hideous (yet charming on the inside, I'm sure) sisters then decided that Cinderella, with her beauty and grace, would surely gain the eye of the Prince from another village, one in which people lived in peace and harmony and shared revenue, and he would ask Cinderella to marry him, perhaps give her a token of affection (but not a diamond because diamonds are carved out of the mine shafts by seven little dwarves who are being forced into working for less than minimum wage because the oppressing company that runs the mines won't let the dwarves unionize), so he would give her a necklace made of recyclable materials and she would swoon (but not swoon so much as to make her seem vulnerable to the charms and looks of a man), and they would ride off into the moonlight - no, they would walk, because it isn't right to make horses pull coaches - and live happily ever after.

Well, the sisters would have none of that, so they kicked Cinderella and knocked her to the ground and beat her with her own broomstick and the mother slashed at Cinderella's face with a razor until she was quite bloody and dead. Not to mention ugly.

But the hideous sisters would realize later that the joke was on them, because the Prince of that peaceful village was gay and he was just passing through on his way to the blacksmith to get his sword sharpened (because not all gay men hung around the village seamstress all day long) and he had no interest in them.

Which just goes to show you that being hideously ugly impairs your judgment and makes you commit murder for which the family of your victim will seek vengeance and most likely hack you into pieces and feed your remains to their dog , while being beautiful will probably get you murdered by jealous, ugly sisters.

And the moral of this new, improved version of Cinderella is this: The beautiful and the ugly both are destined to die at some point, which puts them on equal ground, and no matter how much you dumb something down and pretty something up, it still all comes down to the same ending: We are all the same inside, children. We are all just one angry mob away from death.

Oh, and ladies: always make sure your prince is a heterosexual before you kill for him.


The end.

November 25, 2003

placeholders on the bar graph of politics

[UPDATE: Not one person understand what I am trying to do, nor did anyone follow the directions. We'll try this again later.]

In this morning's post where I declared that I was no longer going to pay attention to anyone on either the far left or the far right, JW left an interesting comment:

I don't think that Indymedia and Free Republic are that useful to appeal to here. They are both way over their respective lines. What would be interesting is to see who various folks think is just barely over the line. For example, I think that the staff of Reason is, by and large, just shy of the line ... and many of the NRO 'Corner' people (Derbyshire, e.g.) are just over it.

Maybe The Nation as just-over-the-line on the left? (On average, that is; I think that Alterman, e.g., is within the 'gray zone'.)

So, here's the challenge. I made this handy-dandy little graphic:


[click for full size]

For no particular reason at all except to satisfy my curiosity and perhaps to give people a better idea of where they line up politically (so when someone says 'you're a far-right wacko,' you can reply, 'no, look at this handy-dandy chart. My politics are more in line with Weekly Standard , so you can see I'm not nearly as much of a wacko as you think I am!) we're going to fill this chart in, from Indymedia all the way to Free Republic.

We're only going to use online forums, publications that have online versions and bloggers. Yes, bloggers. You, too can decide if you are Oliver Willis or Atrios, John Hawkins or Stephen Green. Or maybe you're just NPR. Or NRO.

It's for you to decide. All you have to do is figure out what goes where. You don't have to do all of them. In fact, you can just suggest one. For instance, you could comment that NRO would go in space G, right next to Free Republic.

Forget all those complicated politcal compass tests. This will be the new standard for declaring your political status!

Right. Well, play along anyhow.

congratulations, jim treacher!

Number one, baby!

kooks and kards and komiks

I got my Kook. Go get yours. You can get one every day that you vote for the one of (out of only four) Official Comic Strips of A Small Victory, Acid Keg. Do you realize what a high honor it is to be one of those strips? I mean, there are about a million comic strips on the web. And about 90,000,000 of them are rip-offs of Penny-Arcade.

Oh, the other three Official Comics of ASV? Day by Day, Cox & Forkum and Penny-Arcade. I'm willing to add two or three more, so if you're an artist with an online comic strip, you may bribe me. Then I will wield my unwieldy powers on your strip and in no time you will be dating supermodels and opening off shore bank accounts (and only comics that are only online count, which is why Maakies /Sock Monkey can't be an official comic of ASV, though it is the comic I turn to most when I want to de-stress).

So, what was I saying? Oh, yes. Go vote for Acid Keg, get your Keg Kook and trade with all the cool kids. They're better drawn than Pokemon and less confusing than Yu Gi Oh! You could even collect them all, gather your friends and play a game of strip Keg Kook. Do I have all the great ideas, or what?

And don't be trying to steal my card. For god's sake people, it only takes a click. No need to go into a life of crime just for a picture of a shark-headed lawyer.

My lawyer (who does not have a shark eating his head, but does appear to be a bird), told me to take down the picture of my Kook Kard, lest I be accused of luring impressionable young children into a life of internet crime.

[via treacher]

my lone commentary on last night's debate

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that Howard Dean can shoot laser beams out of his eyeballs?

A Very Special Peanuts

If you’ve been aching for a new Peanuts cartoon, fret no more. On December 9th, ABC will have just what you’ve been waiting for.


“I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown!” centers on ReRun, the lovable but ever-skeptical younger brother of Linus and Lucy. It’s Christmas vacation and, as usual, ReRun’s big sister is stressing him out, so he decides to turn to his best friend, Snoopy, for amusement and holiday cheer. However his faithful but unpredictable beagle companion has plans of his own, giving ReRun reason to ask Snoopy to invite his canine brother Spike for a visit. When Spike shows up, it looks like ReRun will have a dog for Christmas after all… but then the real trouble begins.

Sounds like the usual Peanuts stuff, right? Boy, dog, hilarity ensues. However, ABC has noted that this special is rated PG. Peanuts, PG? What could possibly be in a Peanuts cartoon that would make the network give it a parental guidance rating?

Oh, look at this. My unnamed source has just handed me a copy of the blurb that will appear in next week’s tv listings for this show:

A Very Special Peanuts: “I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown! Parents and guardians will want to gather the kids around the television as Charlie Brown and friends - in a partnership with PETA - will demonstrate why giving live pets for Christmas is not a good idea.

You’ll watch as ReRun tortures Spike with various instruments of death, emotionally abuses Spike by telling him he was bought from a puppy farm, and forces Spike to drink a bottle of cheap Russian Vodka. When ReRun finally tires of “playing” with Spike and wants to get rid of him, Charlie Brown and the gang try to sell him to the Korean food stand at the mall.

After the show, Linda Ellerbee and a few members of PETA will discuss the ABC’s of animal cruelty in a front of a live studio audience.

A Very Special Peanuts is rated PG for mild violence and animal nudity.

[link stolen from a blog which escapes my mind right now, dam old age.]

Link via Mac

notice

bar1.jpg

From now on, I am ignoring anyone outside of the gray box.

Thank you.

six degrees of victimization

mjvigil.jpgIn Las Vegas, fans of Michael Jackson hold a candlelight vigil to support the man accused of child molestation.

In Bellmore, NY, a group of parents and students rally at a school board meeting to support three football players accused of sexually assualting fellow students.

On internet message boards, people are decrying the suggested penalty of death for sniper John Muhammed, in the belief that he has been railroaded and did not actually commit any crimes.

Are criminals the new celebrity, handcuffs the new fashion statement? It looks like years of pandering to the accused and blaming the victim have finally penetrated the American conciousness and rallying around the arrested is all the rage.

And even if the people supporting the alleged criminals are in the minority, they are the ones getting all the press. Gone are the photos of victims' families holding candles, replaced with video of bereaved men and women crying for a person who abuses children. All we see on the television is Scott Peterson's arrogant grin, Michael Jackson's pained expression, ex-football heros shouting down the relatives of abused players.

Sure, this is nothing new. Women have been writing love letters to serial killers in prison for ages. But it seems to be mainstream now; it's the new normal to protect and coddle the wrongdoer and ask the victim how they could let this happen.

Of course, the talking heads believe we need to understand the criminal mind. We need to find out the root cause of an abuser's anger, the driving force behind a murderer's actions; what did the victim do to make the accused behave this way? In essence, the accused have become the new victims.

Perhaps this can all be traced to the hand-holding, touchy-feely pop psychology that has penetrated our schools, our office buildings and our doctor's offices. Tell us Johnny, were you sending out signals that you wanted to be bullied? Let's try to understand the bully's actions, ok? So the person committing the ugly deeds suddenly becomes the focus of what's going on and we hear about his background, his childhood, what he ate the day of the crime, how his teacher treated him badly. And suddenly, he's the victim.

With a celebrity, it takes on an even stronger tone. The accuser is generally turned into a money-grabber, an opportunist. They're jealous. They're blackmailers. Because lord knows, a celebrity would never commit a crime! And even if a criminal isn't a celebrity to start out with, if the case his high profile enough, they will become one. Want to make an estimate of how many marriage proposals Scott Peterson gets a week?

When did things turn around so that the veracity of the victim's statements are always questioned and scrutinized by the media and the accused gets the adoration and vigils? Why are 12 or 13 year old boys or dead mothers having their lives dissected and spit out for the general public to see and their alleged murderer or childhood-robber gets the rally round the flagpole dedicated to them?

Obviously, there are two classes of victims now. The person who was originally victimized, and the accused, who has become of victim of his own victim. Keep up here, ok? You may need a scorecard. Let's take the Mepham case, for instance.

You have the original victims, who were sexually abused by three high school football players. Then you have the second-degree victims, which would be the football players themselves, who really were just following the time honored tradition of shoving a pine cone up a kid's butt. Then there's the third-degree victims, which would be the coaches, who are being held responsible for the actions of their players, but don't think they should be held responsible because they had no way of knowing what the kids they were supposed to be watching were doing late at night. Still with me? Good. Because we have fourth-degree victims. That would be the entire school body, who are depressed and dejected because their football season has been cancelled and their school name has been tarnished, thanks in large part to those original victims, who just couldn't keep their mouths shut and take it like men. Hold on, not done yet. There are fifth-degree victims. That's the administrators of the school, who failed to step in in a timely manner and failed to take action when it should have been taken but think it really wasn't their place to do that, and they are being chastised - and possibly fired - for nothing.

Now that we have five classes of victims, the original victims -the boys who were raped, remember them? - are the low men on the totem pole. Everyone is in a frenzy about coaches being fired and the school board meeting being disrupted and the accused football players losing a chance at scholarships.

You can apply this degree of victim separation theory to Michael Jackson, to John Muhammed (and don't you know the Patriot Act is the real criminal there?), to Scott Peterson and right on down to the some nameless kid in Anytown, USA, who is being sent to a psychiatrist and prescribed some miracle drug because he is obviously antagonizing the other kids into bullying him.

What's the conclusion? I don't have one. Except for this: As a society, we are pretty much fucked.

November 24, 2003

willy wonka meets the soft drink industry: in which i review a soft drink

Remember the scene in Willy Wonka when Violet turns Violet? She was eating that little piece of candy that was supposed to contain all the elements of a nutritious dinner, with the added bonus of being able to actually taste all those components.

You thought that was just fiction, right? You laughed at Violet and you laughed at Wonka, but meanwhile you were thinking, man, if that shit was real I would never have to make another meal again! But it is real! As long as you don't mind having dessert - specifically apple pie - for every meal, that is.

Snapple has brought the Wonka dream to reality. Snapple Pie is a a drink that looks pretty much like a thick lemonade but tastes like - ready for this? - apple pie! Not just the apple part of the apple pie, but the cinnamon and the vanilla and, my god, you can even taste the crust! It's like Thanksgiving in every sip.

The problem is, you'll only want one or two sips. I don't know anyone (save for my husband) who can drink an entire bottle. It may only be 16 ounces of soft drink, but your stomach would think you just ate two very large apple pies.

So, what do you do with a drink that has all these great qualities but is just too much to handle? Simple, you make another drink out of it. With alcohol. Because everything is better with alcohol.

Just take one bottle of Snapple Pie, one shot of Triple Sec, about three shots of Captain Morgan Rum, throw it all in a blender with a whole bunch of ice and let it whirr a little while until it's all smooth. Presenting: a new trend in drinks!

Guess what we're serving up at Thanskgiving dinner? You Manhattan metrosexual socialites can have your trendy green apple martinis. I'll be consuming a bit of that Captain Morgan's Apple Willy.

Great name, eh?

[*In the interest of fairness, I should admit that this post has been edited from its original content to reflect the fact that I'm an idiot and spelled Willy as Willie.]

bitchslap ted rall ann coulter day

So Rall endorses Dean. Dean is pleased. Yes, it's been blogged to death today.

This is not good for Dean. It won't be but a minute before people will be dragging out old Rall strips and columns, shoving them in Dean's face and saying so this is your buddy? This is the kind of person you are glad to have endorse you?

No, I'm not going to be one of them. I told you I'm done with Rall. Today, instead, I am going to lace into Ann Coulter for her treatment of Dean and the other Dem candidates. Relax, I'm not switching teams. I just think Coulter is a) a hypocrite and b) completely crude and tasteless.

As you probably know by now, Dean's brother Charlie was murdered by Communist insurgents in North Vietnam in 1974. They believe they finally found his remains. I don't care if you are a Republican, Democrat or any othe party. If you have some human decency, you see the poignancy in this story. You feel for Dean, you feel for his family.

Not Ann Coulter. Instead, she says this:

Howard Dean talks about his brother Charlie's murder at the hands of North Vietnamese communists. Bizarrely, after working on the failed George McGovern campaign, Charlie Dean went to Indochina in 1974 to witness the ravages of the war he had opposed. Not long after he arrived, the apparently ungrateful communists captured and killed him. Hey fellas! I'm on your s-- CLUNK!

I'm sorry, but that's just crass. She says:

But the Democrats have discovered a surprise campaign issue: It turns out that several of them have had a death in the family.

She then goes on to write in mocking tones about each candidate's family death. There's nothing wrong with tallking about those things and it's certainly nothing new. One would think it obvious that part of campaigning is to make yourself personable, let the potential voters know that you too, are just human. If the death of a loved one is a driving force in that candidate's life, if it shaped who they have become, they have every right to talk about. And let's face it, even if it has nothing to do with why they are running, a campaign is all about getting the public to like you. P.R. isn't necessarily P.C. You use whatever works.

Apparently, Coulter thinks it's beneath contempt for politicians to "use" their personal tragedies while campaigning. Obviously she doesn't think it's beneath contempt for her to get a column out of those same tragedies. Who's using who, Ann?

Coulter - and most of her fans - thinks she is cleverly funny, with a biting sardonic wit. Unfortunately, she more often than not comes off cold, unfeeling and just plain mean.

I'm sorry, but no matter how I feel about Dean, I just cannot find anything remotely funny about a man receiving his brother's remains almost 30 years after his death.

I guess Coulter isn't one of those compassionate conservatives you hear so much about.

stupid is as stupid does

A day with the KKK:

"The man who was being initiated was blindfolded, tied with a noose to a tree and shot with paintball guns as Freeman fired a pistol in the air to provide the sound of real gunfire.."

Darwin loves ya, guys.

get in the spirit

If you can spare a few bucks, please consider helping out Gary. He's a worthy cause.

I like the idea of bloggers helping other bloggers in times of need. That's what makes this more of a "community" than a trend.

death becomes him

And it can't come a moment to soon. Six feet under isn't even far enough.

observation of the day

Events of the past few days have convinced me that 99% of the population of the free world have lost their sense of humor.

ride on, rise up

The World Trade Center PATH station reopened yesterday, bringing life back to a place known for death.

Rebuilding is a good thing. You can't live forever mired in the loss that a place represents; that would only add to your suffering and keep the place from ever being anything but a tomb. To see life rise from a place of sorrow, to see the world of living coming back, it's like watching the land of Oz go from black and white to full blown color.

To rebuild is to renew spirit, to infuse a beating pulse into what once was a sorrowful dirge. It is also a sign to the people who turned that place into a graveyard: You have not won. We will not go down in defeat. You cannot bury us.

Not everyone feels the same way. Of the 3,000 victims who lost their lives at the spot where the PATH train rides, a handful of families of those victims are outraged. They didn't want the PATH station built there. They wanted the name - simply World Trade Center Station - to include the word memorial.

I understand their grief, I understand their sorrow. But I cannot agree with the way they are hanging on to the World Trade Center site as the last artifact of their loved one's lives.

Have you seen those memorials on the side of the highway? The flowers and wreaths and balloons that mark where a person died in a car accident? Those tributes always unnerve me. Why adorn the spot where someone died? I would much rather walk around with flowers and balloons, placing them at various spots; this is where Johnny won his track race. This is where Johnny proposed to me. This is where Johnny received his diploma. Celebrate the legacy of their lives rather than submerging yourself in their last moments.

It is necessary to rebuild. It is necessary to move on. We cannot live in grief forever. Certainly, we must never forget. We must never forgive. What we must do is show them that we are survivors. We were not so completely destroyed by their vicious acts that we can't let the space where they tried to murder our country become whole again.

Jeff Jarvis was on the last train to ride into the station that day. He wrote this just four days ago:

I can't tell you how relieved and proud I felt today as I came up the Cortlandt Street subway stop and saw the walkway being completed to the PATH train. Up on the street, the new PATH station is ready to open on Sunday (having taken the last train to the World Trade Center, I was hoping very much to take the first train now but on Sunday, I can't). Here is the first breath of life coming back to this place of death. We got hit, but we didn't stay down for long. We rebuilt. We're rebuilding. It felt good.

The man who drove that last train out of the crumbling WTC was there yesterday, to watch the first train since that fateful day roll out again:

He's glad that they kept the name. World Trade Center. Others will no doubt disagree, but Richie Moran believes the greatest memorial at the PATH station opening today — at the heart of ground zero and bearing a hauntingly familiar name — will be the sight of trains rolling in and out again.

People keep talking about preserving the footprints of the building. Some even talk of building nothing there at all. We cannot preserve death. We must build life. What would our city, our country look like if we had to preserve every space on which someone died? The true memorial to the victims would be to rise up, to make that place full of life once more. It would not be trampling on the memories of the dead. No, it would be more like paying tribute to them, saying: We did not bury ourselves with you. We are showing your murderers that with your death did not come the death of our spirit to live on, to carry on all of your dreams and hopes, to see your children marry and your ideas carried on, to see our strength resolved and your death propel us to be stronger, braver, even wiser.

Indeed, the victims will be memorialized as they should be. Whether that be with a tribute, with light, with eternal flames or cascading water, there will be a place to gather, to reflect and to pay homage to those who did not survive that day.

I am not asking that people get over what happened on September 11, 2001. In fact, I don't think we should ever get over it or ever forget. I know I won't. But while we simmer with rage, while we wake up in the middle of the night crying, while we feel sorrow and grief and sometimes despair, we must focus some of that energy on rising up. On bringing life to where death severed us from our carefree days. Not even to show our enemies that we can go on living, but to show ourselves. If we leave the World Trade Center as a tomb, we become our own worst enemy.

I think of the opening of the PATH station as an offering to the dead, a gift of sorts. We are adding life and noise and smiles to the place where their souls lay. Perhaps that will make them happy. And perhaps it will make us happy, too. Life is for the living, after all.

Track 3, all aboard. Ride on.

[See Jeff Jarvis's piece about the train today]

November 23, 2003

welcome to the overlook hotel

For Darleen.

[see comments in post below for reference]

redrum.jpg


[Please forgive me, Bonnie. Your son is not evil. He's really cute]

party on, david

David's birthday party was today. Remind me to never, ever again spend the day with dozens of kids under the age of five. It was a good party, though. Evidence:



[click each for bigger image]

My sister throws a nice, if extravagant, party. I'm sure the novelty of having a themed party with matching decorations, plates and cups, plus a clown and whatever else you can throw in will wear off soon. I know that after I threw my kids that Star Wars party for their 4th and 7th birthdays, I was all about giving Chuck E. Cheese 300 bucks to do the whole thing for me and just be done with it.

Now, Natalie informs me that she wants to take "ten of her closest friends" out for Japanese food for her birthday in February.

Right. Let me go rob a bank and I'll get back to you. Cake in the backyard is sounding better than ever. Even if it February.

Anyhow, one last happy birthday note to David: To infinity, and beyond!


georgia on my mind

The Georgian President has resigned.

I'll let Mary tell you about it:

In front of the Parliament building, we bought a bottle of cognac and a few plastic cups, and started toasting—along with the rest of Georgia. We screamed, “Gau-mar-JOS!” (victory!) three times along with everyone else. The crowd was beautiful! One woman who heard us speaking English waved and blew kisses at us. Another man trotted out his one phrase, “Thank you very much!” I got to speak my few words of Georgian: "Good!" "beautiful!" "wonderful!" which, of course, brought down the house.

Here's a host of reactions from Georgia's neighbors.

the return ho ho holy shit!

One last thing before I head out the door:

Some of you may remember Ho Ho Holy Shit! from last year. It was a blog by Santa, Hannukah Harry and the large cast of characters that make up Santa's World. It was tasteless, crude, rude and very, very popular. Unfortunately, I deleted the blog a while ago (and archive.org seems to be missing), but I'm sure if you ask around, you will find someone who can tell you enough about it. There were about 20 participants last year, including Laurence and Solly.

Anyhow, we have decided to resurrect the blog this year. If anyone wants to play along, please let me know (you can be whatever character you can dream up). I'll be setting it up during the week and we'll get started right after Thanksgiving. There are no posting obligations. You just post whenever the spirit or the ugly mood strikes you.

Ok, see you all later tonight.

have yourself a politically correct christmas

I was thinking again about the politically correct crowd and how they all but ruin every holiday. Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas...no amount of fun can be had without first checking with the ACLU to see if there is someone who may be insulted by your festivities, costumes or decorations.

Suppose we gave into them? What would the holiday season be like? What would we sing? What kind of presents could we give? How would we decorate? What about our favorite holiday television shows and movies?

So, here's a challenge for you while I'm out today (I won't be back until later this evening). Try to envision a politically correct holiday season (meaning from Thanksgiving until New Year).

For instance, you could change the title of Frosty the Snowman to Frosty the Snowperson of An Indistinguishable Gender. You could change the lyrics if you want. Do the same for movies, tv shows or books. Imagine what kind of presents you could give - or not give, or what the decorations would look like.

I did this with songs last year, I'm just widening the scope this time.

You've got about seven hours to come up with some good stuff. I'm going to take the best responses and make a Politically Correct Holiday Story.

The revolution will be blogged

Although the mainstream press is starting to report on the situation in Tblisi, Georgia, I still think it's not getting enough attention. Plus, the stories you are reading on CNN and Fox aren't telling the whole thing.

Mary, who lives in Tblisi, is blogging up front and personal. You can get the idea of what's happening from the news, but you get a better idea from someone who was standing right there.

For instance, CNN says that the defense minister announced that he has not been given orders to use force against the opposition. What you don't get from that story is why they aren't using force. I got this email from Mary this morning:

It's amazing how many people I don't know have written to make sure we are OK. I, too, am following the international media--believe it or not we have broadband here--and most of what I see is scaremongering. Clif is out in the crowd right now and reports that there are many soldiers, complete with uniforms and name tags, in the crowd with their children! So, no one feels unsafe, and the crowd has swelled to many tens of thousands. It reaches from the state museum almost to the opera house (in case you have a map) and all up behind Parliament. It's hard to convey how jubilant and peaceful the atmosphere is, and this in a country full of macho hotheads! Keep following the story. We are posting as often as we can.

It's hard to use force when your soldiers are joining the opposition, eh?

Keep reading Mary's blog and Cinderella Blogefeller for up to date news that you won't get anywhere else.

Never underestimate the importance of blogs.


November 22, 2003

cute.

Ok, who's the wise ass that sent me a 10% off Amazon coupon for a John Dvorak book?

if you read only one michael jackson blog post for the rest of your life, make it treacher's

Oh. My.

Essential Media Files: Boycott Rudolph!

rudgun.jpgBefore you all go grab your latest issue of TV Guide and start circling the various holiday specials you intend to watch (A Kid Rock Christmas, anyone?), I'd like to talk to you about something.

Rudolph. Is there a creature so beloved as that red-nosed reindeer? Is there any stop-motion animated movie that tugs at your heart more? No, of course not. You will gather - and by you I mean everyone, Christians, Jews, Atheists, Satanists - in front of the tv with your children at some point in the next month to watch this time-honored tale.

Well, I'm here to put a stop to that. Rudolph is not a cuddly, warm, fuzzy story. Rudolph, in fact, is a tale of pacifism and appeasement and mental abuse.

When Rudolph is first discovered to have the light bulb nose, his father is appalled. Ashamed, he tries to cover up his son's nose. What kind of father is that? He is telling his kid right off the bat, kid, you're ugly and you embarass me. Diguise yourself in public. Right then and there someone should have called social services to tell them that there was a brute of a stag emotionally damaging his child. I mean, the poor kid has a disfigurement. They should have been helping him, not making him feel even worse about it.

So everyone eventually finds out about Rudie's nose anyhow. The kids torment him and pick on him and turn him into an outcast. He's not allowed to join in their games because he is, gasp!, different!

So what happens? Rudolph goes off on an adventure (where he comes upon the Island of Misfit Toys, but that's a whole other dissertation), where it is discovered that his nose can actually come in handy. Hey, the kid is a freak, but he's a useful freak.

The rest of the reindeer gang find out that Rudolph is going to lead Santa's sleigh through the snowstorm. You know what happens. They suddenly love him. He's a hero. Even though he's been scorned and ridiculed and isolated, the other reindeer discover that they can use Rudolph's disfigurement to their advantage, so now they'll let him in their little club.

And what does Rudolph do? He leads the damn sleigh and saves the day. Now everyone in this movie, from Rudolph's parents to his girlfriend to Santa, the other reindeer and the Yukon guy mock him throughout or at least make him feel like crap. Apparently, Rudolph has no balls.

This is all his father's fault. Dad turned Rudolph into the reindeer equivalant of a nerd when he taught Rudie to just take the abuse from his neighbors and classmates because he deserved it. After all, he was hideously deformed. In essence, he taught his son not to stand up for himself.

If Rudolph learned anything at all on his great adventure, he would have turned around and said fuck off and die you miserable bastards. Find some other sucker to save Christmas for you. And then he would take out his AK-47 and turn the whole crowd of miserable reindeer into a carnivore's dream. Then he would go back to the Island of Misfit Toys, become their ruler and plot to take over all of Rankin-Bass land.

So parents, don't let your babies grow up to be Rudolphs. Don't watch the show. Or it could be your kid standing in the middle of the forest one day, gunning down all the kids who wouldn't let him play their reindeer games.

This has been a public service announcement.

[more essential media files here]

watching a coup, live [Updated]

There's some crazy stuff going on in Georgia (Russia).

I'm lucky enough to get Euro News on my digital cable. None of the other news channels seem to interested in this rather important news. Well, at least I think it's important when opposition supporters seize a government.

Euro News is broadcasting live from Freedom Square in Tblisi, Georgia. I can't imagine living in a place where something like this can happen. The footage is startling, to say the least. Chaos, anarchy, etc.

If you happen to get Euro News, watch this unfold. I'm going to try to get a picture off of the tv just so you can see what this crowd looks like.

Ok, I got some pictures, but they do not do justice to what is actually being shown. This is what you call a massive demonstration. The police force, or armed forces, were overwhelmed by the sheer size of the opposition crowd and didn't try to stop them.

They are demanding that President Eduard Shevardnadze resign, but he refuses to do so thus far. I actually watched him being led out of the parliament by bodyguards as the opposition crowd surged in.

Am I the only one who finds this fascinating?

CNN reports that the police actually ran away from the protesters.

Cinderella Blogefeller has much more on this.

You've also got to read Living With Caucasians, who is blogging from Tblisi. This story alone should get you over there:

OK. We went down to Parliament. Gio and his friends stayed with us, though we really didn't need it. Gio's mother was there; there were people with babies there; it was Not a Problem. No sign of police--they had melted away and gone home. People were holding candles and watching the giant video projection screen that I guess Ajara TV had abandoned when they ran away. There wasn't even that much public drunkenness! Gio and his friend gave us a ride home. We rode back up Rustaveli with Wilson whooping out the window and Gio waving a flag. It was not, however, a National Party flag or a Georgian flag. It was Guns 'n' Roses. Clif says we should e-mail Axl and tell him that his party was victorious.

Go, read.

Up all night long And there’s something very wrong*

Only I could do physical damage to myself in my sleep. I woke up at about 4 this morning with a pain in my knee. I tried to get out of the bed and realized in a very painful way that I could not bend my leg without stars forming in front of my eyes.

Maybe I slept with my knee crooked. Maybe my husband kicked me in his sleep. The odd thing is, I had a dream that I was running from something and I fell and hurt my knee.

tsalien.jpgConsidering that I have displayed all the tell tale signs over the course of several years (lucid dreaming, sleep paralysis, hypnagogic dreams, audio hallucinations), I've come to the conclusion that I'm being abducted by aliens while I sleep.

Now, this is all well and good. I really don't mind. But what I want to know is, if I wake up with an injury such as I did today, who do I complain to? I wonder if aliens have lawyers?

And this all leads to an even bigger problem. If I've been spending my nights with a bunch of aliens, wouldn't it only be right if I got them Christmas presents? Or do you think I should just give them a card? I'm not really sure of the protocol for this and honestly, I don't know what in the world to give an alien as a gift anyhow.

I guess a painful knee injury isn't so bad when you think about it. I could be in a much worse situation here.

[*here]

November 21, 2003

continuing with the one line posts

For all your Making Fun of Jimmy Carter needs, see Fark.

comment of the day

Goes to Ian:

If non-funny comics are anti-Muslim, Ted Rall must have earned a
fatwa by now.

[From here]

It's Back! Operation TIPS: Christmas Decoration Hell

In this morning's rant about the Christmas holiday season, Angie left this comment:

Michele, if we can't fight over the Constitution, can we at least have a fight between those cheerful, good-hearted people who know that Christmas lights *must* be multi-colored in celebration of the multifaceted joys of the season, and those sleet-souled, glassy-eyed, yuppie automatons who think that Christmas lights must be white because they are "tasteful"? INFIDELS! DOGS! May all of your rainbows be black! May your newspaper run out of colored ink while printing your Sunday funnies---52 weeks in a row! May all the colors on your M&Ms melt in your hand, not in your mouth!

And Jack said: Screw the 'tasteful white lights', I found those old kind, the kind my dad put up when I was a kid, big colored ceramic bulbs that he got sometime in the '60s.

Yes, yes, yes. The big, primary colored lights. The ones that made your neighborhood like a box of Crayola crayons. The ones that lit up the snow with their colors. REAL CHRISTMAS LIGHTS! Not these sissified, oh so tasteful, prim and proper lights. What the hell is that? It looks like you've just left some lights on so your kids could find their way home. From the woods. The dark, evil woods. Where you left them as a sacrifice to the Christmas Light Spirit. But the Christmas Light Spirit didn't want them. You know why? BECAUSE YOU HAVE WHITE LIGHTS ON YOUR HOUSE!

Anyhow. I see it's time for Operation Tips to get started again. I oringally posted last December, but I'll save you the time it takes to click a link and post it below. I may like colored lights, but I do not like tacky displays of festiveness. I know at least one person who think the tackier, the better, but he lives in California, so we'll forgive him.

Go read the rules below. Some of the links might be outdated, but I'll get around to fixing them later.

It's never too early to call your neighbors tacky.

Get your cameras ready, oh faithfull Tipsters. I have a mission for you: Seek and destroy The Evil Overdecorator. You know who I'm talking about; the guy who uses more electricity for his Christmas decorations than an entire small city. The neighbor who makes it look as if the Wal-Mart Christmas department threw up on her lawn.

I have a list of tips so you can determine whether or not you should report your neighbors to the TIPS Christmas hotline:

1. Does the brightness of their lighting display cause low-flying planes to think they are approaching a landing strip?

2. Do they have a soundtrack of sappy Christmas songs playing on repeat all night long?

3. Do they mix in other holidays (Fourth of July, Halloween) with their Christmas decorations?

4. Is their nativity scene represented by cartoon characters or are they using characters that have nothing whatsover to do with Christmas and should not be used in any decorations ever? (see, Pokemon display)

5. Are any of the inflatable decorations over four feet tall?

6. Does a line of cars form down your block from December 1st until New Years, turning your neighborhood into a tourist attraction?

7. Do they charge people to view the lights?

8. Have they turned any of their lawn junk into decorations?

9. Do they have flashing or lighted messages boards whose size rivals that of the Shea Stadium Diamond Vision?

10. Do they force their kids to re-enact The Night Before Christmas on their lawn every night?

11. Do they advertise their display in the local paper?

12. Do they have an animatronic Nutcracker Suite?

13. Is the Santa they hired to "ho-ho-ho" all night long is drunk?

14. Do they have a lighted birthday cake for Jesus?

I think you get the point. I am entrusting that none of you have made any of the above errors in judgment. And I'm sure you have some of your own to add.

Now, I am sending you out into the wild, armed with your cameras to hunt down the perpetrators of any of the above Christmas crimes and report back to me. Rewards to be had for the person who brings in the most offenders. You may also use this opportunity to turn yourself in if you are a guilty party and receive amnesty before one of your neighbors rats on you.

I will be out trolling the streets of Long Island, looking for the most tasteless, tacky decorations I can find. Two words: wire cutters.

I got 'em and I'm not afraid to use them.

full disclosure (re: comics attack)

About the comics post below:

I made a bet with a (non-blogging) friend about the story. He said I would get more comments from people outraged that I said Johnny Hart isn't funny. I said I would get more people commenting that CAIR can suck their whatever.

I should have put five bucks on comments dealing with the design of outhouses.

So, anyhow. I really have no take on the comic except it's just humorless.

[But the comment about Hart saying nasty things about Jews is true.]

dear john

Dear John Dvorak,

You better hope that the blog revolution doesn't bite the dust. I mean, if you didn't have blogs to kick around, you'd have to find another medium to shit on once a month.

Thank you,
M

[And to all you bloggers out there who aren't professional writers by day: John thinks we are all suckers who have been coerced into blogging by the big guns just so we can link back to them.]

when comic strips attack

Jim Treacher told me about this and Scott Brodeur sent me a link to his detailed post on the subject.

The subject is the comic strip B.C. and the not-so-hidden agenda of its creator, Johnny Hart.

I never really liked B.C. Besides it obvious religious tone (think Jack Chick with less hellfire - it's just as subversive), it's just not funny. It holds a place alongside those other strips that leave me baffled as to their continued existence - Hagar, Beetle Bailey, Gasoline Alley and Family Circus.

So what did Johnny Hart do now? Let's go to WaPo for the details:

Did Johnny Hart -- the beloved creator of "B.C." and one of the most widely read cartoonists on Earth -- sneak a vulgar defamation of Islam into the comics pages last week?

The cartoon, which appeared Nov. 10 in more than 1,200 newspapers worldwide -- including The Washington Post -- shows a caveman entering an outhouse at night, and then saying, from inside, "Is it just me, or does it stink in here?"

The first public questioning of this cartoon arose in a washingtonpost.com chat Tuesday, when a reader noted that the cartoon seemed to make no sense, except metaphorically. The reader noted that the cartoon contained six crescent moons -- three in the sky, and three on the outhouse door -- and wondered if this might have been a veiled slur on the world's 1 billion practicing Muslims.

The CAIR e-mail mentioned the moons, and also noted that Hart had drawn a prominent sound effect -- "SLAM" -- between two frames to accompany the closing of the outhouse door. The SLAM was stacked vertically, in the shape of an I, and could be seen to signify "Islam." The cartoon appeared on the 15th day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

Here's the strip.

I know what you're thinking right now. You're thinking, dude, you are reading way too much into that strip.

No, I'm not. And neither is CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), which protested the comic. See, this isn't the first time Johnny Hart has gone out of his way to slam another religion. Witness this strip:

Go ahead, click it for the big, readable size. I'll wait while you read.

Of course, you can take that many ways. I choose to take it as Hart being mildly anti-Semitic, if only because I know he has a history of telling interviewers that Jews are condemned to rot in hell forever (looking for a link on that). The ADL didn't think much of it, either.

Make of it what you will. My mind was made up about Johnny Hart ages ago. He is neither funny nor a good artist. A comic strip writer should be at least one of those things. Your mileage may vary, of course. I mean, some people find Carrot Top funny, too.

Oh, by the way - what's an Evangelical Christian doing writing a comic strip about cavemen?

Update:
Notice I didn't condemn the man for this particular strip. I think I made it obvious that my main problem with him is he's just not funny. I'm just reporting the story here. And please, let's not get into that "all Muslims suck" thing. If things get nasty, I'll have to start deleting posts.

I was looking for a reaction, and I got one.

psa, shouts out, etc.

A couple of things before I cut this day short and head out of here. It's gorgeous outside and I think I'm the only one in the building. Too quiet. Head home. I like noise.

So, first shout out to my attorney friend Faith, who worked very hard and very long on a case that her firm won. When the New York Law Journal was delivered to my desk today, there it was on the front page. Way to go, Faith.

Next: I woke up today intending to write about the news and how they put so many hard news items on the back burner in lieu of MJ, Kobe and Scott Peterson. But I wrote the Christmas thing instead. That's ok, because Jonathan wrote what I wanted to write, but he said it much better than I would have.

Next: In my post about Salam (and Treacher came up with a much wittier title than I did), someone mentions in the comments that there are plenty of other Iraqi blogs thart are far more interesting than Salam's. And they are right. Some of them are even on my blogroll. The rest will join them. There's a list of them at Healing Iraq. Go check them out, if you haven't already.

The next item is for some anonymous people. No matter what Google or Yahoo tells you, I do not have pictures of the Kennedy assasination. Nor will I sell you my Fight Club lunch box. And no, I don't know when the Cartoon Network will add the Venture Brothers to their regular lineup.

Addendum 1: I have been remiss in not mentioning that Dodd is celebrating the annniversary of his most excellent blog.

Addendum 2: Go tell Bill that something bad will happen to him if he discontinues his Friday posts dedicated to me.

I think that's it. Add your own psa if you got one. With our without guitars.

Essential Media: Gather your Lists

VH1, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, Me - everybody loves a list. 500 best albums, 100 greatest songs ever recorded, best books ever, sexiest man alive, top ten movies featuring mimes, the five best conspiracy theories....well, you get the point. You could make a list of the best lists ever and people would read it.

Here's the thing I don't like about Best Albums Ever lists: they are so arbitrary. Rolling Stone is an indie artist's dream - you probably have never heard of half the artists on their year end best of list. VH1's best albums are probably limited to bands that have videos that are actually played on VH1. Spin Magazine is going to give you a much different take than Billboard.

The only way to combat the subjectiveness of these lists is to make them more specific, like Best Albums of 2003 that did not feature a duet with Kid Rock. Or Best Movies of the Last Decade that Starred one of the Quaids.

It's November and it's time to gather the lists. Soon, they will be everywhere. Magazines, television, radio, websites - they will all have some kind of countdown listing the best of something, and most of them will be be viewer/listener/reader choice. This is where they go wrong. They give you too many choices, which is why the lists become so long and unweildy, thus losing their impact and importance.

Solution? Limit the choices. One. You get one. The ballot has one line. One favorite album. One best song. One good book. No, not even that. Let's get really specific. The best song that most of your friends didn't hear because they only listen to top 40 radio. The best book written by a guy who has five letters in his first name. Seriously. And why stick to best? Why not worst? Worst movie you paid to see. Worst book made into a movie. Worst tv show that made it past five episodes. Worst actor on Saturday Night Live. Dumbest story that led off the evening news. Dullest politician of the year.The possibilities are endless, and so exciting!

Of course I will take up the mantle here. Never let it be said that I'm not a trend setter. Or a trend killer, depending on how this goes.

So, in the spirit of year-end polls and as a way to give me something to blog about when I have nothing to blog about, I present the first of many, many, very specific best of/worst of lists for 2003.

Oh, wait. I need you first. I need a list of topics to make lists about. Keeping the above in mind, that is. I guess we could say that this will be the first list, in that it will be a list of the best things that a list could be made about from 2003.

Oh, hell. You know what I mean. I hope. I'm going to lunch.

lileks calls it like it is

I was never a big fan of Salam Pax. Something about him just turned me off from the get-go. Ok, I was taken in by his plight for all of about two days before he just rubbed me the wrong way and I stopped linking to him.

James Lileks says what I should have said days ago when it was on my mind, but didn’t have the balls to write; that, basically, Salam Pax is an ungrateful, smug bastard.

Hey, Salam? Fuck you. I know you’re the famous giggly blogger who gave us all a riveting view of the inner circle before the war, and thus know more about the situation than I do. Granted. But there’s a picture on the front page of my local paper today: third Minnesotan killed in Iraq. He died doing what you never had the stones to do: pick up a rifle and face the Ba’athists. You owe him.

There’s more.

an open letter to anti-holiday crusaders

Dear Holiday Grouches,

I am an atheist. I don't celebrate the birth of Christ, I don't believe in the Virgin Mary. Yet, I love Christmas. My kids are Catholic, my family is Catholic and I think of Christmas as time to share my love and imitation wealth with those I love. Good cheer, good times.

It upsets me that so many of you are making a bad name for all atheists, agnostics and non-Jesus believers. You write letters to the town council, to your legistlators, to the editor of the local paper and you complain about some plastic statues in front of the post office or library or any other publicly-maintained building.

What is that you find so offensive about a nativity scene? I hardly think that a piece of plastic that represents Mary and Joseph, a few animals and a baby will turn your children into Catholics overnight. We aren't talking Jack Chick here. There are no signs on these little stables that say "Become a Catholic or Die!"

Back when I was young (walk, snow, downhill both ways, etc.) I was in the school chorus. For our holiday spectacular we song both Oh, Holy Night and The Dreidel Song. Nobody made a fuss about it. No letters were written. My principal did not have to appear on CNN defending himself.

What has happened to this world that so many of you are offended by signs of religion? Does it harm you in any way to see Mary kneeling in front of the post office? Are there beacons of light shining out of Joseph's eyes, beckoning your young ones to receive the body of Christ? Does a menorah hold some mystical power so it sends out a secret signal that directs you to a Temple? How can candles be offensive? It's not like each nativity comes with a sign that says My God is Better Than Your God!

It's the holiday season. Yes, it's the Christmas season, but with merchants and retailers setting up their winter wonderlands at the end of October and not taking them down until January, the season now encompasses Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah and New Year's.

It's a great time of year, which you would find out if you stopped being so pissed off at everyone. People are cheery. Towns are lit up in beautiful lights and the telephone poles are strung with garland and if you are lucky, it snows just a bit, just enough to lend a feel of authenticity to the season. There are parties with spiked eggnog and trees adorned with colors and stars and angels. Houses glow brighter each night as another candle on the menorah is lit.

Yet there you are, hunkered down in your basement, writing another letter to another congressman, demanding that action be taken against the library director who had the audacity to hang Christmas and Hannukah decorations in the children's room. You're busy picketing in front of the school that is putting on a performance of A Charlie Brown Christmas because it's too overtly religious. Here's an idea: stop your letter writing campaign, stop bothering politicians who have more pressing issues to deal with and go find some holiday cheer. Even if you find it in the bottom of a bottle of rum.

And it's not just you anti-nativity people that bother me. It's the anti-capitalism crowd as well. Stop making the holidays about your issues. Like the damn Canadians who last year erected a giant sign that read Gluttony. Envy. Insincerity. Greed. Enjoy Your Christmas. Get over yourselves. I'll go about spreading comfort and joy to my family and friends while you hang around with your humorless, cheerless selves and toast the Grinch. Hell, even the Grinch came around after a while.

There are people in this world who think it is their calling in life to complain about everything. They find no joy in a kid opening an X-Box on Christmas morning. They find nothing wonderful at the sight of new fallen snow gathering around Mary and Joseph's feet as worshipers file out of midnight mass. You are one of these people. You are a joyless, bitter, antagnostic grinch. Do us all a favor and hibernate from Halloween until New Year's. Let us enjoy our holidays in peace, without people like you trying to take the beauty and wonder away from us.

Thank you.

Update: Josh Cohen has a lot to say about the "holiday" season.

November 20, 2003

attention white people

You may no longer use the phrase fo shizzle my nizzle!

You must now use alrighty, my whitey!

robert plant sings your love poems

Thanks to Joe, I've been playing around with this thing all night.

What it does it takes the words you type in and converts them into song, with each word taking from a different song. Use the word "love" and you get Robert Plant singing it. Use the word "I" and Chris Isaak croons to you. So the idea is to make a sentence and get a whole bunch of famous people to sing the words for you.

You can start with this one I made. The challenge I like about this is trying to figure out who is singing each word. I got almost all of the words from my example.

Go ahead, play with it. Make some good sentences and see if we can't all figure out who the artists are. (You can get the link by emailing to "song" to yourself using the form on the site).

Yes, just another time waster.

getting medieval on the pharmacist's ass

So what have I been doing with my time? Well, I just spent a half hour at the drugstore. The scenario went something like this:

I'd like to pick up my prescription. (I give her my name, she hands me the prescription).
Uhh...this is wrong. They were supposed to call in the Paxil, not Wellbutrin.
But you take Wellbutrin, right?
Yes...but-
You can take these, then.
But I need my Paxil.
Ok, the doctor's office screwed up. We'll call them tomorrow.
There is no tomorrow. I need my Paxil for the morning. I am all out.
(She confers with pharmacist. Pharmacist comes out to greet me)
Won't you need these Wellbutrin eventually?
Yes, but that's not the point. I need my Paxil.
(She calls my Dr.'s office. Dr. isn't in, she speaks to "some lady")
They said you're allergic to Paxil. You're not supposed to take it.
No. I am allergic to Wellbutrin.
The doctor says Paxil.
I think I know which med gave me hives. I've been taking Paxil for over a year. I'm not allergic to it.
Well, the lady said not to give you Paxil.
The lady doesn't know anything worth knowing. Give. Me. My. Paxil.
No can do. The woman said to stop taking it.
You can't just stop taking Paxil. It's just not allowed.
But...
At this point, I've had enough. I pull out my machine gun and order everyone to the floor.
Any of you fuckin' pricks move and I'll execute every one of you motherfuckers! Nobody moves.
Now give me my Paxil. A lifetime supply! And umm...one of those orange marshmallow turkeys. Oooh, and some of that Burt's hand lotion. And chapstick, I definitely need chapstick. And..no, no need for condoms. Some of that herbal tea. That's right, just put everything in the bag and no one gets hurt. And don't forget the orange marshmallow turkeys!

Well, that's not exactly how it went, but I did walk out of there with a full prescription of Paxil.

ice and follies

I was supposed to go to see Monsters, Inc. on Ice with my nephew tonight for his birthday. Unfortunately, the hives and itchies are back in full force. So my husband took my ticket, my two kids and went to the show with David and his mommy and daddy. I owe him for this.

I am alone. In my house. Alone. This never, ever happens. I don't know what to do first - dance around the living room to my 80's new wave collection, play Simpsons Hit and Run for a couple of hours and watch an endless parade of Michael Jackson stories on tv.

Speaking of which, I told you they were going to go all OJ on us:


[click for bigger image]

caption/photoshop please

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[photo via Mikey]

thursday edition of "presented without commentary"

Words from a protester:

"We really want to stop Bush and Blair from going around killing babies," she said. "Our objective is to force the U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan."

But what if a U.S. withdrawal means the return of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein?

"Anything would be better than American Imperialist rule," she snapped back.

thinking out loud

Why do people on the far left - most notably the Indymedia and DU crowd - always direct their anger at Bush when there is a terrorist attack somewhere. Why don't they ever get angry at the people who are responsible for the attacks?

I don't really expect to get any answers. The most anyone on the far left will give me is some conspiracy theory that Bush really controls al Qaeda.

I try to understand the mindset of protesters. But I just can't. How can you be against a war on terror? And make no mistake, this war in Iraq is part of the war on terror. What is the alternative? Just let them all be until they attack us again? I wonder if the attacks in Instanbul this week were in America or Britian instead, would they be so eager to protest against the fight against terrorism?

We are in a fight for our lives here. A fight to the death. I'm sure you've all seen enough samurai movies or the like to know what a fight to the death is. Last man standing and all.

Either the terrorists - meaning al Qaeda and whatever terrorist organization they have aligned themselves with in Iraq, Turkey and elsewhere in the mid east - will succeed and in a few years we'll all be under Sharia law, or we will succeed and in a few years we won't be worrying about imminent attacks.

Terrorism is not something that happens to other people. It happens to us. To you. To everyone. Radical Muslims are even killing other Muslims.

We are the good guys, folks. We should be the last ones standing, and we should be standing over the corpse of terrorism. But as long as there are people who show solidtarity with our enemies (and yes, if you are out there protesting against Bush and Blair and telling the US to get out of Iraq, you are showing solidarity with terrorists and resistance forces), our enemy will still feel brave.

Sit down, shut up and let our leaders continue their fight. I'm sure you won't feel so smug about your ideals when the next bomb lands in your city. Trust me, you don't want that for a wake-up call. Been there, done that and it's a hard way to learn who the enemy really is.

how many idiots can dance on the head of state?

Thanks to Andy for this link to the Trafalgar Square webcam. Now we can see for ourselves how small those "massive" Free Palestine anti-Bush protest crowds really are. 100,000? Don't think so.

Of course, the real action is taking place elsewhere. Here, the Brits welcomed Bush with a large vat of Kool Aid. Drink up, everyone!

After the Kool Aid, the were kind enough to offer Bush some coffee. They even presented him with a personalized cup. How sweet.

Then there was the arts and crafts portion of the day, where people defaced public property with chalk. Man, they broke out the chalk, get the hell out of there, Bush!

Hey, is that Kurt Cobain?

There were group hugs for everyone!

Ah yes. So while Bush and Blair are trying to fight terrorism, these dictator loving people are protesting that effort. Meanwhile, in Istanbul, the very terrorists we are trying to fight strike again.

But, hey - let's just get out of Iraq, leave it open to become a place for terrorists to gather, plot and plan, and then we can have even more bombings world wide!

Idiots.

Happy Birthday, david

I first posted this story in November of 2001, when my nephew David turned one. I posted it again last year when he turned two, because it's such a wonderful story. So here it is, David's birthday again, and now he's three. For those of you who never read this story, please do. I love to tell it. I've also added an update at the end.

the story of david, on his first birthday

Several years ago, in the courthouse I work in (I was not working there yet at the time), an employee found the lifeless body of a newborn infant in a bathroom stall. One of the emergency workers who responded to the scene, Tim Jaccard, was so moved by the scene that he was motivated to start the AMT Children of Hope Foundation, a group which went on to found Safe Havens. Safe Havens are hospitals, private homes and houses of worship throughout Long Island that have drop-off points for women who have given birth, but for various reasons do not want to keep the babies. These are infants that may otherwise have been abandoned in restrooms or dumpsters, left for dead. Tim comes into this story again later.

My sister and her husband tried for many years to have a baby. When it became apparent that they were suffering from infertility, they sought medical help. They went through many tries at in-vitro fertilization, which is a physically and emotionally straining process. It never worked for them. They went through years of testing, experiments and physical procedures to try and conceive. They got to a point where they realized that it was just not going to happen for them. This is when they decided to try and adopt.

They first went to Catholic Charities, because my cousin adopted three children through them. They were turned down because my brother-in-law is Jewish. Nevermind that they are financially stable, own their own home, can provide a stable, loving environment for a child, and promised to raise the child Catholic. It wasn't good enough for them. Catholic Charities was a dead end.

They tried posting their number in colleges and on internet message boards made specifically for that purpose. Lots of phone calls, more dead ends.

One day my sister was talking to her friend Mary about her and her husband's frustration. Turns out Mary is Tim Jaccard's secretary. Mary put my sister in touch with Tim and the wheels began turning.

There were more dead ends at first. A young girl who decided to give her baby to someone else. A woman who, at the last minute, decided to keep her baby. That one was at Christmas time, and my sister had announced to us on Christmas Eve that they would be getting a baby. Two days later, the woman said no. And how can you be mad at that, really? She wanted to keep and raise her baby and that's a good thing, despite the pain it brought to my family. My sister and her husband made the decision that they would not tell anyone the next time there was hope for a baby. They would wait until the baby was born, the papers were signed and then and only then would they spread the news.

Cut to last December. I was sitting at my desk at work, when my sister (who works with me) came into my office looking pale. She was shaking. She had just received a phone call from Tim. There was a baby boy, born on November 20th and the mother, an illegal immigrant who had just come here from Burma, did not want this baby. She was ready and willing to sign papers giving him up. My sister and her husband had known about this woman since the baby was born, but said nothing to any family member, remembering what happened the last time. But now she had to tell me because Tim said on the phone to be ready to be a mother in two days. Two days. After years of waiting and hoping and being disappointed, she had two days to get ready for a baby. She was to leave work immediately and head to to the woman's apartment in Queens, where Tim was waiting for my sister and her husband to meet the mother. The mother wanted to see them first, to know who she was giving her baby up to. I walked my sister out to her car and wished her luck. As soon as she was gone, I broke a promise I made and called my mother.

Two hours later, my mother and I were in Target, spending a small fortune on baby supplies. Clothes, diapers, bottles and every accessory both useful and extravagant, were bought. By the time we got home, my father, who cannot keep a secret to save his life, had told every relative within shouting distance. Basically meaning everyone in town. Friends and family kept pulling up to the house, dropping off supplies. A bassinet. Enough diapers to last a month. More clothes, baby blankets, crib sheets. There were moments where we felt like we were jinxing the whole thing, pusing our luck, but we decided to test fate and stock up anyhow. Any woman who has ever had a child will tell you nine months is barely enough time to get everything ready. Imagine only having two days to prepare. We figured it was better to have this stuff ready for her than to have nothing ready at all, and have to run out that day to buy all the things they would need.

Sometime that night my sister called and said it was definite. The baby was theirs. He would be delivered to their home, by Tim, the next night. She still wouldn't believe it, wouldn't talk in definite tones until the baby was in her arms. Can you blame her?

The next day was a frenzy. There were still so many things to get, so many people to call. My sister was frantic, her husband was neurotic. By 9pm, there were 20 people, friends and family, sitting in their living room waiting for David. We had champagne ready. Finally, Tim pulled up at around 10pm. My sister freaked out and wouldn't go to the door. She was afraid Tim would be standing there empty handed, come to bring the bad news that the woman had changed her mind. I looked out the window and saw Tim lifting a little baby out of a car seat. I shoved my sister towards the front door and told her to chill out. And Tim walked in, held out David, and put him in my sister's waiting arms. There was not a dry eye in the house. My father was crying, the neighbors were crying. I thought my sister and her husband were both going to pass out. They held him and stared at him for the longest time and nobody moved, nobody talked. Finally, someone popped the cork on a champagne bottle and we all cheered. For the next hour, David was passed from person to person and we all stared in wonder at the baby we had waited so long for.

David is a year old now. Not a day goes by that I don't look at him and think about the birth mother he has out there somewhere, and I wonder if she knows what she gave up. I look at his engaging smile and listen to his loud laugh and kiss his soft little cheeks and I wonder. I see my sister and her husband with their child and I am so happy for them, and so thankful that Tim Jaccard afforded them this opportunity, that this adorable child was not abandoned in a dumpster in the dark of night because the mother had no one to turn to.

So happy first birthday, David. You are a lucky boy. You had a selfless, caring birth mother who made a choice that was hard for her and right for you. And you ended up in the arms and hearts of two people who will give you a lifetime of love.

*************

It's been three years since David was brought into our lives. He has been the source of much entertainment over that time, and continues to be the smartest, cutest, funniest, most charming and amazing three year old in existence. Really.

all apologies

I may have been very flippant in my "reporting" on Michael Jackson's impending arrest yesterday, but the story itself is really a horrible one. Apparently, the boy who has accused Michael of molestation is a cancer survivor that was spending some time at Neverland as part of his wish (sort of like a make-a-wish thing) to meet Jackson. According to the boy, Jackson gave him wine and sleeping pills before molesting him. When Jackson realized the family was onto him, he tried to send them to South America.

You know all this already, of course. I'm sure I wasn't the only one watching the press conference yesterday and the news last night. My husband and I noticed that the tone of the conference was quite like bemusement. (Jeff Jarvis noticed this also).

It's one thing to be flippant here on my weblog, it's another to have that attitude when you are the man who is going to prosecute the case. That 12 year old is depending on the DA to bring him a sense of justice, and the DA is up at a podium making jokes.

Sexual abuse of children is not a laughing matter. I apologize if I offended anyone with my posts yesterday; I meant to only poke fun at a pop culture icon, not at the serious situation itself. The DA should apologize, as well the sheriff.

November 19, 2003

draw your own conclusions

Michael Jackson's new single (One More Chance) was written by R. Kelly.

essential media: charting the demise of MJ through his music

mjben.jpgEveryone has seen those pictorials that mark the change in Michael Jackson's face from adorable little boy to scary elephant man. But isn't it what's on the inside that counts? Of course it is. And that's why I am going to show you the slippery slope of MJ's psyche over the course of his recording career. We'll skip over the Jackson 5 era; obviously his mental state was clearly controlled by his father during those years (which, by the way, lends great explanation to his behavior today).

Let's harken back to 1972, when the fresh-faced young boy released his first album, Got To Be There. Look at that face, that smile. You just want to pinch his cute little cheeks! At this early point in his career, Michael had yet to develop the large ego that would allow him to build Neverland later on. This is evidenced by the selection of songs on the album. There are quite a few cover songs. Obviously, Michael wasn't self-assured enough to put out a solo album of his own songs. And it's obvious from the song titles that Michael was ready to embrace life on the wings of love.

Just eight months later, Michael released Ben. Already we see signs of stardom going to his head. Eight months? Who releases two albums in the same year? Even more disturbing, the title song is an ode to a rat. An evil, fictional rat. Was this a precursor to his monkey fetish? The rest of the album is filled with covers and generic pop songs but people, enticed by the sweet sound of MJ's voice singing to his rodent, bought the album in droves. MJ had made his solo mark in the world.

And another eight months later (was Michael a workaholic, or was he being forced into Motown slave labor by a cartel of sequined-jacket record producers?) he released Music and Me. Here is where things start to get interesting, as if Michael was leaving a musical trail of his path to child-obsession. Two titles, With a Child's Heart and Too Young clearly show that MJ, just fifteen at the time, was starting on the downward spiral to Neverland.

Obviously weakened by dismal record sales of Music, Michael waited two years to release another album. Forever, Michael wasn't much of a chart-buster either. You can tell by the lackluster performance on this record that Michael wasn't feeling it. Clearly, there was an underlying force at work here; Michael was obviously saving up his energy for something. He spent the next four years plotting to take over the world.

And he nearly did. In 1979, Jackson released Off The Wall. Was that title trying to tell us something? Did Michael already feel like he was losing his grip on reality? This album was pure disco. It was Michael strutting his stuff and doing his crazy little dance. Get on the floor, girlfriend and burn this disco out! Jackson started writing his own songs on this effort. Obviously, his ego was growing. And, as his ego grew, so did his popularity and his ability to hypnotize people just by looking into their eyes and saying, don't stop 'til you get enough. Ah, yes. That's a little known fact about Michael. How do you think he got all those girls to scream for him even though he was clearly stealing Jermaine's style? It was at this point that the old, cute-as-a-button, sane Michael Jackson left the building.

The sea change for Jackson came in 1982, when Thriller was released. He no longer had the Jermaine fro, opting instead for some Luther Vandross love god look. Look at those eyes. They are saying, come hither.

This is where we part ways with Michael Jackson and say hello to the King of Pop. Thanks to this new-fangled invention called Music TV, Jackson became a meteor in the industry. And while people danced and made love to Thriller, no one was really paying attention to the subtle messages on the album. Paranoia, anger, illicit love all reared their ugly heads in the lyrics. Looking back at the video for Thriller, one thinks that Michael might have felt a bit too comfortable in all that make-up. The descent was in full swing. Out came the white glove and red leather jacket. There was the change in hairstyles, the lighter tone of his skin and all that jumping in the air and waving his hands around like Liza Minelli on a bender.

Things got even weirder with Bad, released five years later. Jackson spent most of the five years in between albums collecting awards for Thriller, developing an aging-celebrity fetish and morphing into a freak of nature.

The first line sung on Bad is: your butt is mine. Hello, ring-ring-ring, does anyone hear an alarm going off?

I know, I'm pushing this idea too far and I've probably bored you by now. But let it be known that the signs were all there, and not just in the transformation from cuddly kid to plastic surgery addict to adult man living in a kiddie world, but in the progression of his songs and albums. You can see the ego growing, the mania ensuing, the penchant to hang around little kids getting stronger and stronger. He built an amusement park in his backyard, people. Does this not remind anyone of a certain wicked witch who decorated her house with candy in order to lure children in?

Let us all learn a lesson from this story. Never trust a man who wears one glove.

Added: Jimbo reminds us of HIStory, which was basically Michael's ode to himself and can now be viewed as the tell-tale heart in his career.

[more essential media here]

they forgot their viagra

phallicidiots.jpg

Flaccid Penises For Peace!

smooth criminal

jacko.jpgIs this the beginning of the end for Michael Jackson? I wonder how many of his friends (Uri Geller, for instance) will stand up and say that Michael is just misunderstood? I suppose he is, in a way. When he says to a boy "come on over to Neverland," the boy doesn't understand that it's just another way of saying "I want to get in your pants," so essentially, Jackson is misunderstood.


What I'm waiting for here is another O.J. scenario. Michael fleeing in a car, Elizabeth Taylor at the wheel. The slow chase down Sunset Blvd. The cameras zooming in on Michael in the backseat, waving a gun around. No, wait. That's a baby he's waving around! The world is riveted as CNN stops all of its programming to watch Michael and Liz trying to make a great escape. We hold our collective breath. Will he get away with it? Will he blow his own brains out? Will he drop his baby out of the car window? Or will he fool us all and disguise himself as a black man, so he is basically unrecognizable?

And then Liz drives over the border, into Mexico, where she drops Michael off at the Titty Twister. He spends the rest of his days drinking with Cheech Marin and looking for "the real sodomizers." He vows not to rest until they are found. Church groups band together to make bonfires out of Michael Jackson records and, years from then, he will be but a faded memory, a legend of another time, a man who only comes to mind when an oldies station plays Weird Al's cover of Beat It.

It's the end of Jackson as we know him. And I feel fine.

in lights

garden.jpg
Pierre David with Sean Corriel, Jessica Kmetovic, Paris, France

The eight finalists for the World Trade Center memorial have been announced.

They are all beautiful in their own way. Don't just look at the pictures, read the accompanying text on each one.

The Garden of Light is my favorite. I imagine myself standing there at the memorial, looking around the lighted alters for familiar names. The darkness is almost reverent; the way the light filters down on each altar gives the design a spiritual feel. It is sacred, it is serious and yet, there is light. I can see the fingers of relatives, tracing their loved one's name, like visitors making etches of the dead at the Vietnam Memorial.

The room of light looks almost healing, like being washed in the aura of those left behind.

Leading to the north room of light is an offering path, a stream lined with roses. They give a rose, and the floating petals bring them into the north room of light.

There's a room of light, which looks like a room of stars; a place for those unidentified victims to be part of this rememberance.

It's all so beautiful, yet so sad. The hurt really never goes away, and memorials and roses and lights won't make the hurt and anger disappear. But they can give place to go that's more than just a gaping hole in the ground for those who want to stand at the spot where their husband, wife, child, friend, or co-worker died. Being able to go stand amid the lights and stillness and beauty can certainly move us towards feeling whole again.

Related: Voices


Jeff Jarvis submitted a design. You can see it and read about it here. Jeff, I think your idea would have made a beautiful, moving memorial.

the birds, the bees and monkeys

A mother in Denver petitioned her school district to remove a book about puberty from the school library.

It's Perfectly Normal: A Book About Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health is a book (which I own) that teaches kids about sex and puberty in a matter-of-fact way. The mother, Jeannie McAllister, views the book as "mildly pornagraphic" because it has pictures of nude people (the pictures in this book are cartoon-like).

I just have one thing to say to Mrs. McAllister: If you do not let your children learn about sex and puberty, they will have warped ideas of what sex means and they will grow up like this. Consider yourself warned. Let them learn right from wrong, normal from deviant, appropriate from inappropriate. If you don't, one day in the future you may find your son on tv, carrying around a monkey and dangling his baby from a hotel balcony.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

school day blues

[I am suffering a Benadryl hangover, which will be remedied only by taking more Benadryl and going back to sleep. At least the itching is gone. Just one thing before I am back later with regular blogging.]

I was looking at the notes on my son's history essay, left by the student teacher in his class.

She wrote things like "site your sources" and "you have to re-due this essay." How can I expect this woman to correct my son's grammar and English when she herself obviously does not have a command of the language?

It's not just the spelling, either. After scratching my head for a bit I realized when she wrote site your sources, what she really meant was "Please write the title of Samuel Seabury's pamphlet when you refer to it."

I see that both my son (5th grade) and my daughter (8th grade) are studying the exact same thing - the American Revolution - with the same emphasis (the role of New Yorkers in the revolution). I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that both kids had to take New York State mandated Social Studies tests this year? Hmm...I wonder.

Sometimes I think our school district is wonderful. And sometimes I think my kids aren't getting the education they deserve. This means I have to pick up the slack at home, which means more time doing homework (an hour for my son, three hours for the daughter) and going over what they did in class that day, and less time for quality time. Too much of their classwork is dictated by what state tests they are taking that particular year. Between that and an apparently unqualified student teacher - who does the bulk of the history and math teaching - I have to wonder if my kids will ready for high school and what comes after at all.

This is not a knock on teachers in general; we've been blessed with more good teachers than bad in the combined 15 years of their schooling. It is, however, a knock on the New York State school curriculum and the over-testing done in New York schools.

Anyhow, back later.

November 18, 2003

it stinks!


jaysherman.gif

The entire series, on DVD. January 27th. I am so there.

the itchy and scratchy show

itchy-scratchy.gifThanks for the emails. Here's the status: Benadryl was prescribed for the itching. 50mg a day for two full days, and then back to the Doc on Thursday. I can still take the Wellbutrin and the Paxil, which is a relief, and we are hoping that the itching is one of those temporary side effects that come with so many of these drugs.

The thing about Benadryl - and most over the counter drugs - is that it makes me feel like I'm both drunk and stoned. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I guess I'll just have to suffer through this flashback of beer and bongs while I wait the itching out. Maybe I'll put on some Pink Floyd and go find my copy of Electric Kool Aid Acid Test.

Anyhow, the itching is gone, thought the welts from scratching are still there (and all day I've been singing the line The Itchy and Scratchy Shoooooooow in my head) but at least I can sit still for a while.

Essential Media Files: Whatever Happened to James Hetfield?

[Essential Media Files is an ongoing theme where I cover anything and everything media-wise]

When a member of a rock band says to an interviewer "But we're huge in Europe," it's all over. Huge in Europe is just a euphemism for "we are this close to being kicked off of our record label." I mean, John Tesh is huge in Europe. Is that who you want to keep company with?

The latest person to speak those words is none other than James Hetfield of Metallica.

James seems a little disturbed that Metallica's latest effort, St. Anger, wasn't exactly a hot commodity in the U.S. In fact, James said "it's a bummer."

"It's a very challenging record," [Drummer Lars] Ulrich said of "St. Anger," which was constructed by a computer program and features no guitar solos. He added that U.S. rock radio programmers seemed more interested in playing bands like Nickelback.

I think Metallica can find the key to their problems in just three words from the above statement: No. Guitar. Solos.

That's why it didn't sell, guys. Metallica fans are the kind of people who made playing air guitar an art form. Listening to a Metallica album and not being able to pick your invisible guitar is just wrong. Sure, every band has the right to experiment and try out new styles. Just know that the fans may not follow.

Let's go back to Metallica's last good album, ...And Justice For All. That was the last album they would release before they made the transition to the the spit-and-polish sound on the Black Album (Metallica) and, years later, the intensity lacking Load and Re-Load.

One only has to put on Justice and listen to Harvester of Sorrow or Blackened and then listen to Hero of the Day from Load to realize that Metallica did not age well. Hetfield just can't make those guttural groans like he used to. Metallic fans, most in their 30's by now, have moved on. And the new kids just don't want to bang their head to an old man singing about anger and angst. Being a heavy metal star is like wearing a tight miniskirt; you can only do it until a certain age until people start keeping their distance from you.

Metallica wanted to change direction (after twenty years) and play a kindler, gentler heavy metal. The kind that gets played on all the radio stations, the kind that gets you an invite to TRL. Like, say...Nickelback.

Let's just all sit back and listen to Master of Puppets or Kill 'em All and reminisce about the days when Metallica had a raw edge and James could make those scowling faces without looking like his pacemakers just blew a fuse.


[see more Essential Media here]

tuesday edition of "for your amusement"

Dear George: 60 Brits and Americans write letters to Bush.

I do believe that the letters are fake. However, I bet you guys could come up with your own letters to George in the voice of a famous person.

You know what to do.

texas is the reason

Everybody's talking about JFK as we approach the 40th anniversary of his death.

I don't have a story to share, as I was only a year old at the time and I was probably more concerned with a wet diaper than a Texas motorcade.

Well, I do have a story. I'm sure it will offend some people, but I guess that was the purpose of the whole thing anyhow.

It was 1983. I was working in a record store, which just happened to be one of the busiest record stores in New York, in one of the busiest malls in New York, at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

So, here we were on the anniversary of Kennedy's assasination and one of my co-workers remarked that, unlike most days of rememberance in the U.S., no one had yet declared Kennedy Assasination Day to be a holiday of sorts; the kind where you see store-wide sales and clearance items going for bargain prices! I mean, how would one advertise such a thing? Come to the JFK Clearance Sale, where you'll get more bang for your bucks!

And then Mike, who was known for his dark, dark sense of humor, had an idea of how we could combine the death of JFK with the start of the Christmas shopping season - a way to commerate Kennedy but bring the customers in as well.

So we put up a Dead Kennedys display on the carousel in front of the store. I think there were only two albums and an EP at the time, but we got as many copies as the store had in stock and put them up front. The carousel was just a few feet from the wide front door of the store, which people traveling through the mall passed by all day long.

Needless to say, the display was down within twenty minutes and we were reprimanded, with big, inky, black spots splattered on our permanent records.

And that is the only Kennedy story I have for you. But it was better than yet another conspiracy theory, right?

scratching the itch

I've been itchy for two weeks now (no, I haven't been hanging out with Kelley). I don't mean the itchy feeling you get in the beginning of winter when the air is dry and the heat is on. I mean itchy. Scratching constantly, driving you crazy type itching.

It started about two weeks ago, on the back of my neck, right at my hairline. Then the top side of my hands began to itch constantly. Then my arms, then the legs. I notice a pattern. Hands itch in the morning, arms in the afternoon, legs at night, with various other parts of my body joining in during the course of the day.

I changed shampoos and soap. I tried a different laundry detergent. I used ten different lotions and creams. Nothing changed. Still, the itch.

Last night I scratched so much that I broke out in hives on my arms and drew blood on my legs. Then it started on my face and some other parts of my body which you cannot scratch in public.

And then my husband said, gee, when did you start taking the Wellbutrin? Hmmm...two weeks ago, why? Oh......

So I did a quick Google on side effects for Wellbutrin. Here's what I found:

Call your doctor AS SOON AS POSSIBLE if you experience rash, itching, or hives.

I found that on every site I went to (you have to dig really deep on Google for these things; it seems the first fifty results for any kind of prescription drug query brings up discount drug stores. One result actually said Need Wellbutrin Side Effects, We Got Them!).

The real sucky part of this is that the Wellbutrin (in addition to the Paxil I've been taking) has really worked. I finally found a good balance of medications that make me feel and function like a normal human being. This is the best I've felt in years and now I'm going to have to give it up because my skin decided to freak out on me. Just my luck.

Now I'm just waiting for 9am to roll around so I can get to the doctor's office. Meanwhile, I'll be sitting here, scratching my skin raw.

November 17, 2003

reminder: Got It, spend it day is coming!

Friday, November 28th is Buy Nothing Day.

Which means start hoarding your cash now so you can go out that day and make a difference by being a consumer. Remember, I made an anti-holiday last year: If You Got It, Spend It Day.

Support capitalism. And remember, only the Flanders kids should have an imaginary Christmas.

ass of the day

Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, launched a stinging attack on President George Bush last night, denouncing him as the "greatest threat to life on this planet that we've most probably ever seen". [emphasis mine]

So, Bush is greater threat to life on this planet than: Hitler, Saddam, bin Laden, AIDS, the Bubonic Plague, malaria, cancer, the hole in the ozone, tidal waves, earthquakes, hurricanes, overpopulation, UV rays, drug abuse, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Robert Mugabe, suicide, Alzheimer's Disease, heart disease, obesity.....well, I'm sure you can come up with your own.

Livingstone doesn't get out much, does he?

Al Sharpton likes to shizzle with spiderman's penis!

According to the Google race, that is.

Go here, type in a keyword, and you'll see how the candidates rank on Google on that particular word/issue.

For instance, type in the word weblogs and you see that, not surprisingly, Dean wins the search race for being mentioned along with weblogs.

Guess who wins the Vietnam race? That's right, everyone's favorite Vietnam vet, John Kerry.

Conspiracy? Al Sharpton is your theorist.

Sex? Sharpton is your man.

Hey, what's the deal with Sharpton? He also wins the penis race. And Spiderman. And Batman. And shizzle!

You'll notice than neither Kerry nor Edwards has ever been associated with the word shizzle. You can cross them off my short list.

shouting down

Was anyone else listening to Sean Hannity's radio show today when he got a call from Marc Summers? Hannity was a complete and absolute jerk.

I think he's morphing into Bill O'Reilly. And that is not a compliment.

presuming too much

I never said it was specifically a terrorist attack on American soil I was worried about. I just said something. That sort of leaves it open for a myriad of things. People do love to presume, don't they?

Also, Sage: You didn't really piss me off this morning. But you did now. Not only are you condescending and self-righteous, you are one presumptous little jerk.

Gotta wonder about a person who gives you the "it's really a great world if you just smile" attitude, but then gets off on pissing people off.

living

I said this in the comments below and I think it's worth repeating, if only to stem the flow of emails from people concerned about my mental health.

Just because I am writing about the bad things,

does not mean I am not living the good things.

Remember, kids:What you see on someone's weblog is not necessarily the whole of that person.

Sheila has something to say on that subject.

no time for zen

SageOne’s Zen Garden links to my post from this morning and has this to say about it:

This is why people go crazy. When you think something bad is going to happen, it usually does. Stop thinking that way and just live life. The minute you start analyzing why things happened or concentrating on bad feelings, they come true. Just let what should be, be. Dwelling doesn't do anyone any good. Everything happens for a reason - good and bad.

Thinking about bad things does not make them happen. If that were true then you would have to say that, conversely, thinking about good things makes them happen and we all know what a crock that is.

My thinking about a terrorist attack - here or in another country - will have nothing to do with it when the inevitable happens and some militant Muslim somewhere blows up a busload of children or a hospital or synagogue. If I keep thinking that an elephant with wings is going to plow into my house, does that mean it will eventually happen? If I think really, really hard and long? Or does Sage mean in a more general sense, like if I keep thinking something bad will happen it will happen to someone, somewhere? Perhaps I am responsible for someone else's kidney stone? There must be bad karma zinging around the world like a pinball hitting bumpers. Hey, it lit all six letters in the word TERROR! You get one extra ball and a suicide bombing in Iraq! Ding, Ding!

It’s in my nature to analyze things. I can’t look at the hole in the ground where the World Trade Center used to be and not analyze it, not think about why it happened, not concentrate on all the bad feelings that come with the memory of that day. You can't just wish away bad feelings on a birthday candle. You can't make them disappear with a kiss from your mommy. Reality just will not let that happen.

Sage says “stop thinking and just live life,” but you cannot live life without thinking about all that makes your life what it is. To stop thinking about world events would be to give in to ignorance and I refuse to be ignorant when it comes to what goes on in this world because, in the end, it affects me. It affects you. What happens in Saudi Arabia today will have some impact on you at some point, whether you realize it or not.

Who is going to help make a difference in the world? The people who walk around with their heads in the clouds and a fixed smile on their faces or the people who analyze and ask why? I don’t want to be that person who just sits idly by, only reading the comics in the newspaper and watching sitcoms on tv and then looking around in dumb wonder when some factory worker goes bezerk and wipes out an entire town.

I don’t believe that everything - good or bad - happens for a reason. That's the biggest cop-out for people who don't want to look for answers - or maybe don't want to know the answers. There is no possible reason you can give that will make me feel any better about 9/11, or a child being starved to death by his parents or someone’s house burning down. What cosmic, mystical reason could there be for such evil and ugliness and destruction to exist?

I can no more make my bad feelings come true than I can fly if I think happy thoughts. Life isn’t a fairy tale. That blockquoted paragraph up there is the equivalent of turn that frown upside down, or don’t worry be happy. Both are phrases conjured up by the eternal optimist. It’s also that optimist who can sweep away the sorrows of death and destruction with the neat little “everything happens for a reason” phrase.

Crazy? Not a chance. I’m a realist. I accept that bad things will happen because there are bad people in this world. It’s not all part of some great cosmic plan that is designed to take us from point A to point B with all the murders and rapes and wars in between those points serving as stepping stones. It’s life. It’s humanity. It all sucks sometimes and not thinking about it will only make it suck more when it happens to you and you’re shell shocked into near-insanity because of your insistence on not ever giving it thought.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is your damn moment of zen.

guilty as charged

Capital Murder

The seven-woman, five-man jury also found Muhammad guilty of committing a murder in an act of terrorism, conspiracy and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

psa

When blogrolling is down, you can always head over to see Cato or Meryl, who both have an extensive links list that they host themselves.

Also, see my retraction and aplogy below.

UPDATE: Blogrolling is back up. Now all of you who just realized how much you depend on Blogrolling and are still using the service for free, go over and donate something to Jason, who does all this for mere beans.

tell Laura i love her

To the pissant little creature who hacked Blogrolling.com so everyone's blogrolls look like someone named Laura has taken over the world:

I have officially declared a blog jihad on you. I will find you (at this time I am giving Laura the benefit of the doubt that it wasn't her and she is just an innocent bystander).

No, it's not exactly messing up my day or ruining my life, it's the principal of the thing!

Ohh...maybe it's subliminal brainwashing, and there's a giant alien queen named Laura and once we all start chanting her name, the big ship will come down and declare that all persons named Laura are invited to take part in the rapture. Except Dr. Laura.

No?

UPDATE: Laura herself did not cause this (nor did I think she did), which is why I didn't even link to her blog. Those of you who are going there and leaving her nasty comments, please stop.

Also, I've been told that this might not be a hack at all, that something might have just gone wrong with the database. So I apologize - especially to Jason and Laura - for my quick rush to judgment.

But I still stand firm on my belief that it very well could be aliens.

best albums of the 90's: reader's choice

[I've decided to continue on with this theme daily, but from now on I'm going to call it Essential Media (so I can cover all forms of entertainment) and you can find all the posts on this subject here (I don't know how to get rid of that giant robot in the background there, sorry). Reader's choices always welcomed.]

Today's Reader's choice comes from Matt of Overtaken by Events.

tsh.jpgTrip Shakespeare, the greatest band that never made it beyond regional popularity, produced Across the Universe in 1990 and cemented my love affair with the Minnesota indy scene. I actually bought the first copy of this after having walked into a bar in Kansas City and becoming totally enthralled by the
extremely strange band playing. Two guys singing who sounded virtually the
same (brothers, as it turns out), a gigantic, scary dude playing a fretless bass that would make you cry and a female drummer that played standing up. Thus began a long period of going far out of my way to see them at every opportunity.

Across the Universe was their debut on a "major" label (everyone knows the difference between A&M Records and the Titanic), and far outshined anything that came after (shocking, eh?). From the radio friendly "Pearl" to the "The Nail", a song to chill the heart of any teacher of
music theory, you can pull the other ninety-nine CD's out of your fancy-schmancy player and listen to this for the next year. 

It's an album chock-full of love:

When you lay your hand down on my side 

And my veins are filled with a bracing wine 

Then we lay in a stained glass colorful light

heartache:

"Not long ago you said your life was ended (over) 

Empty of the poison chemical we call love 

Can you believe we laid our heads down 

And let the blade fall twice?"




poverty:



"When the dogs of the bank are upon me 

And they've come to repossess my car 

I'll be found at the base of the canyon 

I'll be torn from the wreck of the motor"



Sex:



Can you see those gullies by the road? 

Those are like the ones by Deegan Curve 

That's a place where no one ever goes 

Where I plan to lay one pretty Pearle



and, most importantly, humor:



In the days when I had a job, I got pretty good pay 

But I became a percussionist, just the other day



Trip followed the first commandment in my music world, "Thou shalt be better live than on a recording". With the utterly sexist and screamingly funny "The Slacks" ("Let the blind bottom of my body do the talking") they created the first non-country line dance. It's hard to hear the song without performing the choreography. This is an album, along with the earlier release, "Are You Shakespearienced?" that one always seems to find floating near the top. I realize that 99% of the listening public has never heard it. I suppose that makes it all the more special.

This was a band of the Midwest, no attitude, no pretension and always
able to laugh at themselves. A truly refreshing alternative.

For those of you completely out of the "know", the band Semisonic is composed of former
members of  Trip Shakespeare. You can also check out The Flops.

The committed among you can hear some Shakespearienced
MP3's
here ( I recommend "Diane" and "Toolmaster.

what's next?

Again, one of those days when I feel like something is coming, that sense of the building up of bad karma and negative energy that makes the air around you feel as if one small strike of a match could blow the whole damn thing to pieces.

Sgt. Hook wonders about what's next, as do I. There's always something coming, isn't there? There's a alway next, more, again.

All this anger and strife creates an invisble energy that rises above us, performing a black magic that we don't know exists until it's just too late. Something's gotta give. A game of karmic tug-of-war can only last so long before one side falls, face down, into the muck.

All this building up of a giant protest against Bush in England is interesting. Scott Ott hit the proverbial nail on the head yesterday and even if it was satirical, there was an underlying truth to it:

A new survey of Britons indicates that a majority believes that U.S. President George Bush is a "stupid evil genius."

"The results indicate that Brits don't think Bush is smart enough to put his right boot on his right foot," said a spokesman for the polling company. "And he's so clever that he tricked the entire U.N. Security Council into thinking Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who sponsored terror. He's a stupid evil genius."

This goes for all of the anti-Bush camp, actually. If you have the cast iron stomach needed to troll through Democratic Underground or Indymedia - and even some mainstream news sites - you can see where Scott is right. All these people claiming that Bush is an idiot with the IQ of a monkey, yet they credit him with coming up with intricate, complicated conspiracies to take over the world. Evil genius, indeed.

So the British arm of the anti-everything faction will gather en masse today to protest Bush. Among those protesters will be none other than Salam Pax himself. Irony, indeed. Here's a guy who has a column in The Guardian, in addition to his book deal, protesting the man who gave him the freedom to do those very things. I guess the freedom that Salam has experienced is all well and good for him, but he'd rather not see his fellow, lesser-advantaged citizens have the same opportunities. It's really no use to tell all these people about their good fortune at having the freedom to do all these things, because it falls on deaf ears. You cannot educate those who don't want to be educated.

And while everyone is pushing and shoving, and there's the never ending crisis in the Middle East, trouble in Africa, nukes in Iran, craziness in North Korea and fires, earthquakes and freak wind storms, we get hours and hours of Scott Peterson's smarmy mug on the news, and Larry King helping you out with make-up tips and Kobe, Kobe, Kobe.

Maybe most people like to walk around with their heads up their asses, oblivious to the building black clouds above them. Maybe ignorance really is bliss. And maybe some people just consider Scott Peterson's extra-marital affairs more important that the fact that some dangerous, sick people want to blow us all up.

Israel. Turkey. Bali. Saudi Arabia. What's next? Where is next? And how do we stop the next thing from coming? How do we keep the terrorists at bay, how do we eradicate them if we are met with resistance every step of the way? Perhaps the people who oppose our little war on terror would prefer we just sit back and let the chips fall where they may, let the natural order of things take control.

And maybe those people did not learn anything from 9/11. The terrorists do not care if you are anti-war or anti-Bush or pro-Hammas. They will stick a bomb up your ass just as soon as they would slice the throat of Jew.

So what's next? When will it be? Where will it be? It's pretty much inevitable. No, not a terror attack, but something. You just can't have this much negativity and bad vibes hanging around without a spontaneous combustion somewhere along the line. It's just a matter of which side - out of hundreds -combusts first, which force will be that strike of a match.

November 16, 2003

are you a good witch or a bad witch?

bluemonkey.gifAm I the only one who did not enjoy The Wizard of Oz as a child? The movie freaked me out as a kid and freaks me out still.

There's the obvious reasons first: the flying monkeys, which were every nightmare I ever had given wings; the Wicked Witches, both of whom remind me of too many teachers and babysitters I have known; the Munchkins, who looked like they would just as soon push you into an oven than be helpful; and that horrible, nasty lady on the bicycle who stole Dorothy's dog and turned into a witch right in front of my eyes.

Those are all the usual suspects. Anyone who tells you they don't like this movie will name the above as reasons. But there were other, less obviously sinister thing that creeped me out. First of all, that damn lion. I never liked walking, talking animals, especially ones who stand on their hind legs and don't wear clothes. Looking at him made me nervous in the same way that accidently seeing your cousin taking a leak on the side of the house when you're nine years old does.

What kind of parent would force their child to watch a movie that has man-eating trees, evil blue monkeys, ugly green witches, killing machine soldiers and sinister little munchkins? Oh sure, you thought those munchkins were nice, but I knew better. I just knew that, if given the chance, they would kidnap all the children of the world and make slaves out of them. And didn't it bother anyone that Dorothy was hailed as a hero for murdering the witch? Just because someone is bad does not give you the right to go killing them all willy nilly!

I was sure that my mother, who plunked us in front of the tv every spring (it used to be shown right around Easter) and made us watch the film as if it were some wonderful family experience, was trying to make us get some morality lesson out of the movie. Like, appreciate your mother, because poor Dorothy doesn't have one. Or, don't ever get a dog because some rotten neighbor will just come and take it away and then you'll have to go battle some witches to get him back. Or, don't go in the woods because there are monkeys with wings there.

Then one night, while lying in the dark trying to figure out how I would kill a human-like naked lion if one pounced on me when I least expected it, I got it. There's no place like home! Yes, that was the moral of the story! That's why my mother made us watch it. So when she was chasing us around the house and hitting us with shoes or throwing spatulas at us, or when we were forced to eat brussel sprouts, or when we were punished for leaving crayons in the back seat of her convertible when it was really hot out, we would not feel angry or sad. We would just think hey, I could be Dorothy and have to go into the scary woods and talk to a big piece of tin and wear that horrible gingham dress while skipping along through a crowd of midgets. Tis much better to be here, in my room, grounded for life.

And there was a time, when I had taken a road trip with my sister and her car broke down and we were in some crap part of Baltimore, stuffed into the front of a tow truck with a driver we were sure was going to kill us or worse, when I tried tapping my heels together and whispering, there's no place like home. But in that state of fear I got confused and instead said Candyman two times before my sister elbowed me in the ribs and I corrected myself by saying Beetlejuice, but Michael Keaton never showed up and it was ok, because the tow truck driver didn't want to kill us at all, he was actually very helpful and kind and I thought that maybe, in the great Emerald City of life, he was my Glenda the Good Witch.

answers, albums and snotty kids

Yea, I forgot to give the answers. Sorry.

Foo Fighters - System of a Down - Pitchshifter - Hole - Korn - Corrosion of Conformity - Mad Season - Filter - Green Day - Beastie Boys - Our Lady Peace - Sarah McLachlan - Marilyn Manson - Refused - Beck - Portishead

[I'm not done with the best albums thing - I even have some guest submissions to put up.]

Anyhow, I spent the day at the arcade with my kids and about 300 other obnoxious, free-range children whose parents let them think they own the world. It's one thing to let your 11 or 12 year olds free in the arcade, it's another to let your toddlers trample underfoot without care. Don't blame me when I finally have had enough and I start whacking your kid on the head with the whack-a-mole hammer. If you don't feel like keeping a watch on your kids in a crowded place then do us all a favor and stay home. And please, wipe your kid's nose once in a while. That's just disgusting.

the magic school bus explores the blogosphere!

Glenn Reynolds links to this WaPo piece about the blogosphere and says:

THE BLOGOSPHERE IS, LIKE, TOTALLY INBRED: Er, except that I haven't ever heard of most of these blogs, which are nonetheless a big thing in their part of the sphere, I gather.

There are more things in the blogosphere, Jennifer Howard, than are dreamt of in your articles.

msb.jpgOf the blogs mentioned in the article, I know of two: Bookslut and Choire Shica. The article only highlights blogs from a certain portion of the blogosphere, but that in itself proves that the blogworld is more than a sum of its parts.

Perhaps it should be called the Blogogalaxy instead. There a separate worlds out there that are completely unaware of the existence of other worlds. There are planets and stars that you never heard of. There are meteors and comets and supernovas and yes, black holes.

I've been hanging around the blog world for three years now. I've visited quite a few of these other planets, lived on them, hung out with their inhabitants and moved on to other lands and other species of blogs. I've hung with the photoblogs and gay blogs and comic blogs and library blogs, to name a few. And what do you call those blogs that can't really be defined by one specific word - mainstream blogs? All Interest blogs?

It's not unusual for one segment of a blog planet (yes, I'm going to beat this metaphor into the ground today) to think, much like most earthlings, that they are the only sign of intelligent life in the galaxy. That's not because they don't think other intelligent life can exist; they just haven't looked outside of their own world.

Each planet has its own moon and stars and sun that the rest of the bloggers revolve around. There's Jason Kottke, Glenn Reynolds, Dave Winer, Cory Doctorow, Wil Wheaton, Dive Into Mark, Joi Ito, Lawrence Lessig, Little Yellow Different, The Shifted Librarian, Atrios and Scripty Goddess, just to name a few.

You've probably heard of most, if not all of them, because they are (keeping with the theme here) the suns of their planets. They represent various interests of the entire galaxy but, because you may not be interested in learning about other life, you don't set out to explore them. Or maybe you just think life elsewhere does not exist.

Go through links on some of those blogs and you will come upon entire worlds that you never knew existed. By following one link from one blog that you've never been to, you can be an explorer and discover that the depths of the blogosphere are much, much deeper than you ever imagined. You'll meet authors and artists, mothers and fathers, cops and lawyers, gamers and hackers, cooks and waitresses, humorists and essayists.

Why would you want to stick to your one tiny, little speck of a world when there is so much more around you? Yes, there are time constraints. But if each day you visit one link on one blog that you've never clicked on before, who knows where it may take you. You may learn something new or re-discover something old or just enjoy reading about a news story from another perspective.

There's Christian blogs, Jewish blogs and atheist blogs.

There's blogs from Iraq and Iran. British blogs. Australian blogs.

How about education weblogs or knitting blogs?

Do you see where I'm going with this? Sort of, right? Ok, I'll go back to the space metaphor. Go on an exploration, using my blogroll as the lifting off point. Click on a link that you've never visited before. Read an entry there. Then go to that person's blogroll and do the same thing. I guarantee that you will see parts of the blogging galaxy that you never knew about. And I bet that out of all the blogs you visit that way, you will find at least one that you would like to explore a little more, maybe make it a regular stop during your shuttle missions around the frontier of space of....well, you get it. I ran out of space metaphors.

What I do want you to do is leave your captain's log in my comments (Hah, I still had one left in me). Let me know where you've gone or if you discovered something new, or a blog that you will think about linking or at least reading once in a while. Stay away from those blogs already on your planet. Forge into the depths of space! Blast off! Be the Mrs. Frizzle of the blogosphere and tell your own readers about your new discoveries and adventures!

Yes, I'll stop now. What I'm trying to say is this: It's a big world out there. Discover it through blogs.

notices

I'm going to close off the comments on that Uma/Oprah post. There's over 200 comments there now and there's only so much space/bandwidth I'll allow a silly thread to eat up, you know?

The dead horse has officially been beaten to completion.

Sleazebags of the year: infotel

Not only are they scammers of the highest order, but they are trying to sue a blogger who wrote about her troubles with Infotel, which opened up a Pandora's box of similar stories in her comments.

Roundup of links here. Educate yourself and read them all. There's some good info on telemarketing scams and the legal ramifications of blog comments.

November 15, 2003

five second movie review

Interstate 60: See it.

It's got Gary Oldman (a/k/a World's Greatest Actor). And it's got the original Pink Power Ranger (remember Kimberly?) and she's like....a whore. And that's just wrong. But the movie itself is sort of like Wizard of Oz and Donnie Darko and a couple of purple microdots of mescaline all mixed together in a bowl of Lucky Charms.

Trust me.

in other riveting news

In what will go down in history as one of those moments when we discovered the things that really matter to people, this thread now has 124 comments. The most inane, obtuse post I've ever written will eventually crash the record for most comments on a single post on this website. I'm not sure what the record is, but I'll figure out a way to find it.

Go on. Fight the good fight. When aliens come down and hack into my computer to find signs of intelligent life, they will come across this and flee.

advice

I am really sick of IE crashing on me. I need to experiment with new browsers. Suggestions?

raise your hands in the air like you really, really care

And you thought protesting was silly before:

DEAR MR PRESIDENT,
LIKE, OH MY GOD, THIS WAR IS TOTALLY WHACK
SO LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE
AND DON’T INVADE IRAQ!

The Radical Cheerleaders: Bringing the anti-everything movement to a new level.

GIMME A G! GROSS!
GIMME AN E! ELITIST!
GIMME AN O! OIL!
GIMME AN R! RACIST!
GIMME AN E! EVIL!
GIMME A W! WAR

Hmmm...G...E...O...R...E...W...

Geor..eewwww

Gore ewww?

[via reader Carla, who got it from MeFi]

connecting the dots

A really big memo. Is this what we've been looking for?

terrorism in turkey

It's most likely al Qaeda, according to several sources, and they targeted two synogogues on the Sabbath.

I have more at Command Post, and Kris Lofgren, a blogger from Ankara, has frequent updates and insight.

best albums of the 90's: covers

coverssmall.jpgObviously (well, obvious to me, at least) there is no way I can do a small review of every single one of my favorite albums from the 90's without going into next year. I'm still going to keep with the theme for this weekend at least, but I thought I would make a game out of it this morning.

The image above consists of 16 album covers - all in my list of favorite 90's albums - with the artist name and album title Photoshopped out. Your mission - to name all of them. Oh yea, there's a bigger image below. I'm not that much of a dick. Use the comments only to let me know which numbers you got right.

[If you want the rest of the album reviews so far, go here and scroll up]

coversno.jpg

November 14, 2003

were you not listening the first time?

Yes, I'm talking to you. Stop emailing me. No, not Jenn. The whole lot of you. I said I was going to continue with the best albums of the 90's thing tomorrow (and continue for as long as it takes). Scroll down for today's take - I covered 13 albums today. That's nothing. Just a drop in the water. A grain of sand on the beach. A...nevermind.

If you have an album that you would include in the best of the 90's that you are so passionate about that you would send me five emails imploring me not to leave it out, even though this is my best of the 90's and not yours, just write up a little blurb yourself and I'll be glad to post it. Yes, I am accepting guest posts for this little project of mine. The email is over there, on the right. And I'll still accept gentle prods and reminders, in the comments.

[My daughter made it home from DC safe and sound, by the way. Three cheers for the bus driver!]

jenn, jenn, jenn

Anyone get this email today?

Hi,

I saw your email on your blog …..cool stuff.

I'm just surfing around trying to meet new people, so hi!.

Check out more about me at my blog

http://nothanks.com

Email me soon, and say hello!

Jenn

Hey Jenn, if you are reading this I'd like to share something with you.

Five emails with the same form letter in each of them to each of my email addresses is not going to get you anywhere. In fact, you're really annoying the piss out of me.

Step off, girl.

Update: Bill got it, too and we both fell for her little scam. Hence, I have removed her URL.

i am o.g.!


Michael Bolton


What Office Space character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


Told you I'm a white gangsta.

Back up in your ass with the resurrection!

[Thanks, Kelley]

After these messages....

I'm going to continue with the list of albums tomorrow because no one really hangs around here on a Friday night.

However, if you want to amuse yourself (and I mean amuse in the loosest definition of the word) you can go read the comments on this post. Feel free to join in. It's like playing word association in the brain trauma ward.

best albums of the 90's: my name is jimmy pop

bhg.jpgBloodhound Gang - One Fierce Beer Coaster (1996) More guilty pleasure than jacking off to a Maria from Sesame Street (so I'm told). You can't listen to it in front of your parents and you can't listen to it in front of your kids, so you just have to find a bunch of like-minded immature people who laugh at jokes about those less fortunate than you and maybe know how to make that fart sound with their armpits or see farting contests as high culture or listen to Skid Row when nobody's watching. Yea, I'm talking about you. You know you giggle when you sing the lyrics life's short and hard like a body-building elf, or but if I crashed into Uranus I would stick it where the sun don't shine. And come on, you felt a slight sense of comraderie with the BHG while downing your 40oz of Miller Lite and singing Your best friend is you I'm my best friend too . Sing it with me now. Put your hands in the air.

Eat Spam from the can watch late night C-Span
And rock out to old school Duran Duran.

Yea. I'm talking to you.

best albums of the 90's: listening station and quickie poll

I'm having way too much fun with this and I'm thinking about doing it for the whole weekend. What do you think? Would it hold your interest? Should I bother? Would anyone like to make a guest post about one of your favorite albums from the 90's?

For your listening pleasure (maybe), here's a song off of one of the aforementioned albums:

Coal Chamber - Big Truck.

Turn it up.

best albums of the 90's: i bet you thought i'd hate these

[for those just joining us, I'm boycotting the news today and doing nothing but my favorite albums of the 90's. It starts down there somewhere]

a/k/a If it's not their first album, it's crap!

ratm.jpgRage Againt the Machine - Rage Against the Machine (1992) The first band to successfully merge rap and metal. This album kicked my ass the first time I heard it. It was fresh, exciting and made my pulse quicken. Driving on the Long Island Expressway with Bombtrack screaming from the speakers - pure rush. Everything after this album Sucked with a capital S. Classic case of people taking themselves too seriously.

lb3.jpgLimp Bizkit - Three Dollar Bill Y'all (1997) I can almost hear the collective clunk as you all drop to the floor in a dead faint. Limp Bizkit? Don't you hate them? Don't you wish bad things to happen to Fred Durst? Well, yes and yes. But this was before Durst slipped into asshole mode and before LB became a favorite of 12 year old rebellious white boys everywhere.

Forget the stilted remake of Faith. That's not what 3 Dollar Bill is about. Skip right over it. Hit Stuck or Sour or Nobody Loves Me instead. Pure adrenaline. This wasn't so much rap-metal as it was "holy shit, I am really pissed off at the world" metal. Before Durst realized he could sell a million records by dumbing it down the simple phrase break stuff, he wrote some scathing lyrics. Too bad about the rest of the albums.

cc1.jpgCoal Chamber - Coal Chamber (1997) From the very first notes of Loco, I was hooked on this album. Yea, Dez sounds like a strung out version of Cookie Monster when he sings, but, again, this is adrenaline rock. Pure power and fury. Bass lines that will make your stomach drop. No big profound statements in the lyrics - in fact they are pretty stupid at times. But it's sure a hell of a lot of fun to drink Mountain Dew slurpees topped off with tequila and sing along to Big Truck and Sway. Pass on the rest of the catalog. The Cookie Monster/Scary Rock schtick gets old after a while.

break

I've got a sick kid to take care of.

Meanwhile, discuss - Did video really kill the radio star?

best albums of the 90's: we be clubbin

publicenemy.jpeLet's hit a genre this time.

Wu Tang Clan - Enter the Wu Tang - 36 Chambers (1993)
Damn, I can't believe this album is ten years old. It hasn't aged a bit. Can it all be so Simple still makes me swoon. 36 Chambers set the standard for hip-hop. Without this album there is no Jay Z, no Biggie. I would be hard pressed to describe this album to someone who never heard Wu Tang. Perhaps: a waterfall of sound and fury, signifying everything. Too overwrought? Oh, RZA kicks some major ass.

Ice Cube - The Predator (1992) Yea, I know that the critics liked AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted and Death Certificate better, but for us poser gangstas, you can't beat Check Yo Self, Wicked and It Was a Good Day.

Ice T - O.G. Original Gangsta (1991) Told ya I'm a poser. In 1991 I was a 29 year old, suburban, stay-at-home mom. But in the dark of night, when no one was looking, I was rockin' out to Bitches and Body Count. I still do that on Friday nights. And Ice T plays a cop on tv. We all sell out at some point, I guess.

Public Enemy - Fear of A Black Planet (1991) Can't have the above without this. For such a controversial record, it's on an abundance of best-of lists.

Hey, did you ever see the movie Fear of a Black Hat? Must see tv, people. Go rent it.

best albums of the 90's, Faith No More style

I may as well get the Faith No More out of the way.

ad.jpg aoty.jpg kfad.jpg


Three FNM albums (and for this specific list I am not including live or “best of” compilations, nor Eps) came out in the 90's: Angel Dust, King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetimeand Album of the Year. You would probably be hard pressed to find a person who isn’t a hardcore FNM fan who would include KFAD (1992) in their best of the 90's list; I think it’s an acquired taste and one has to be able to recognize the genius of Mike Patton in order to really appreciate KFAD. Best song: Gentle Art of Making Enemies, of course.

If I had to make a list of my favorite albums ever, in order of preference, Angel Dust (1995)would be in the top five - maybe even the first. Patton is all over the place on this one, from screaming (Caffeine) to melodic (A Small Victory). The lyrics are as intense as the music - AD is filled with angst and anger and wistfulness. From beginning to end, a complete masterpiece, a work of art, a....you get the picture.

Album of the Year (1997) was a bit of a departure from the metal-tinged riffs and underlying creepiness of AD. Part rocker, part melancholy lounge singer material, AD is FNM’s tightest album. The band sounds whole, Patton’s voice is at is its best, and the lyrics and music blend so perfectly it could bring one to tears. Really. Stop looking at me like that. Just listen to Helpless or Paths of Glory or Ashes to Ashes.

Ok, that’s five albums down and about one hundred to go.

[Off topic, thecomments in this thread are cracking me up.]

best album's of the 90's

[See here for reference and Dean for original impetus]

I'm going to do these two at a time, all day and night if I have to (hey, I do have a job to do here). It's going to help me keep my vow to stay away from the news and Ted Rall today.

I think the best way to do this is in a "no particular order" way, so as not to open myself up to an avalanche of emails and comments disputing my ranking of one album over another.

Let us begin.

pjten.jpg
Pearl Jam - Ten
(1991) One of the hallmarks of a great album is the ability to listen to it from beginning to end, without skipping a song. Ten is one of those albums. Alive (which, coincidentally, just came on the Winamp) and Black are masterpieces of subtlety. While it's hard to understand exactly what Vedder is singing sometimes, there is no denying his emotion. Favorite song: Porch.

bmf.jpg
Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger (1991) Before SuperUnkown and mega-popularity came Badmotorfinger. This the best Soundgarden album. Don't let anyone tell you different. Evidence: Rusty Cage. Outshined. Jesus Christ Pose. Searching With My Good Eye Closed. And, the piece de resitance, Drawing Flies, which is possibly the best driving song ever. The hell with the "grunge" sound. This was rock and roll.

notices, email respnses, orin gets shizzled, etc.

As per the advice of many people, I am hereby giving up my obsession with Ted Rall. It's just not healthy. Or productive.

Thanks to Kevin for intalling the new version of MT Blacklist for me and cleaning up the slew of spam comments from the past week.

Oasis is not the best at anything. They are not even the best at sucking.

No, I will not tell you what my name is on Fark. If you had any sense, you'd figure it out for yourself; it wouldn't take more than a click or two. I can be such a dick sometimes, I know.

Orin Hatch has fulfilled my dreams and gone all Snoop on us. Well, kind of.

That's all for now. I'm still working on that best albums of the 90's thing.

the howling V: me and antonio (and daschle) down in the school yard

The wind is actually howling. I've never heard the wind howl before, only imagined it when reading a book where it is described as such. And it's not the howling of coyotes that I thought it would be. No, it is the howling of ghosts, a thousand angry ghosts whirling around my yard, stirring the leaves into a frenzy and turning over garbage pails and barbecues.

As I lay in bed, fighting the urge to just pretend it's Saturday and go back to sleep, I picture these ghosts outside my window; ragged white wisps with Halloween faces, a flock (a gaggle? that sounds better) - a gaggle of ghosts pissed off at the world for some reason. A lone voice rises out of the howling. What's it saying? Something about passion....

Oh, that's just Rick Santorum. I left the television on all night, tuned to C-Span 2. Amid the noise the wind is making, there's Sen. Santorum, screaming about passion and...something. I notice he's finally changed his shirt. Wow, they are still using those props, the damn blue posterboards. All the men still have their shirts buttoned up tight to the collar, their ties knotted, their hair slicked back. Can't they loosen up a bit? Take it down a notch?

I remember my dream now. The world was dark and I tried to make my way across the street to my mother's house - which was really the schoolyard - but I couldn't see anything. But I could hear. And what I heard was Anotonio Banderas strumming a guitar, even twanging it once in a while. I followed the sound of Antonio. And ran straight into Sen. Daschle. I knew it was him by the voice, which made my skin crawl. Antonio played louder - a Led Zeppelin tune, I think - and Daschle talked louder and finally, my sister turned on the lights and we were at a suprise wedding shower for me. Too bad I was only wearing a tie. A red one. Like Santorum's. I screamed.

Anyhow. The wind is still doing its thing out here, knocking around mailboxes and taking down trees. I read my email while the windows rattle and as I scan the headers I want to howl along with the wind. I don't want to deal with these words anymore.

I really don't know how much longer I can go on writing about war and politics and children behaving badly without running screaming around the yard with those windy ghosts. Naked. With Antonio Banderas. In a tie.

Ok, that's a better image. I think I'll lay off the whole railing against the world thing today. I've got albums to write about, stories to tell, games to play. I've got a whole wide world of words that will not have people banging down my inbox with their fists of fury (unless you are really passionate about the music of the 90's).

Soon. I need to take care of this Antonio Banderas thing.

November 13, 2003

sometimes you just have to say

What the fuck??

How soon before Dwight Gooden and Steve Howe return?

uma/oprah

Chickenhawk, meet moonbat. Moonbat, meet chickenhawk.

There. Everybody happy now?

Good. Let's move on.

help me write tomorrow's entry!

Dean is asking what your favorite albums of the 90's are.

I've already made a list of 20 25, which I will not share with you at this time because then why would you bother reading it tomorrow?

Obviously, there were a lot of albums released in the 90's. And because I like so many different genres of music, it would be impossible for me to recall all of the albums I loved from that decade.

So help a blogger out. Most of you know how my musical tastes run. Give me some suggestions so I don't make the grievous error of leaving something out and then getting two dozen emails about it.

For a sneak peek at what very well might be the best album of the 90's - barring Faith No More's Angel Dust, because it has unfair advantage over every other album in creation - look below.

sd.jpg


And god no, I'm not going to really put them in any kind of order.

gratuitous link..

To Whacking Day, because the Whacking Day episode of The Simpsons is on.

That is all.

fo shizzle, hatchizzle!

So the debate/filibuster rages on.

I have to say, I am mighty disappointed. I thought by now someone would bust out the rhymes, or they would have frozen Hilary's bra while she slept or put Rick Santorum's hand in a glass of water.

These people do not know how to throw a slumber party.

What would you give to see Orin Hatch do his debate in Snoop talk?

moore-on

Here lies Roy Moore
forgot what a courthouse was for
No judge, no more.

roysign.jpg

choose coffee.

capp.jpg7-11 has this new thing going on: 1,300 ways to make your coffee. Now, I don’t know how they came up with that number (though I think someone at Fark actually did the math, but I can’t find that link), but by the look on the faces of 7-11 coffee customers it must be right, because everyone looks dumbfounded. They hold their coffee cups in their hands and stare at all the choices and I guess their mind just can’t comprehend the sea of flavors and toppings and their brain goes into lockdown.

Five different flavored coffees. Hot chocolate. Two flavors of cappuccino. Steamed milk. Vanilla syrup. Caramel syrup. Powdered chocolate and vanilla. Ten different flavors of cream. Marshmallows. Whipped cream. The steel counter is littered with packets of sugar and Equal and Sweet-n-Low and globs of chocolate syrup and latte foam. One can understand how some people - ordinary citizens like you and I - just went into 7-11 for a simple cup of coffee and got lost in the netherworld of choices. You can almost hear the buzzing in their heads. Hmmm...if I do a half cup of steamed milk and add some caramel syrup and maybe a little whipped cream...No, no....half cup of coffee and half hot chocolate. With powdered vanilla.

Do you want coffee or a three course dessert? Take the god damn coffee cup. Pour coffee. Pour milk. Put cover on. Leave. Why do you want to mix your coffee with all that crap? It’s 8am, people! Who the hell wants whipped cream and chocolate sauce at 8am? Coffee is not supposed to taste like it was made in a bakery. And if you want flavored coffee (ok, admittedly, I do go for those caramel frappucinos) then go to Starbucks, where people expect you to spend ten minutes pondering your choices while the snarly cashier taps her fingers on the counter waiting for you. It’s part of the ambience! At 7-11, you’re just crowding the aisles while I’m trying to get my regular coffee and a pack of gum.

Think! Think before you enter the store, folks! Do you want caramel? Do you want vanilla? Do you want chai tea with lemon or steamed milk with cinnamon? Just make.a.damn.decision. and get on with it, already.

There are just too many choices in this world. No one should be made to choose between more than A B or C for anything. No matter what you are buying - bread, tampons, garbage bags, vodka - there are so many different brands and styles and sizes of each that your brain can implode by just entering the grocery store. Do we really need to confuse people even more by turning their simple stop for morning coffee into a logic problem? No. Enough already. I’m making a stand for coffee flavored coffee. Say it with me....coffee flavored coffee!

"You can get every other flavor except coffee-flavored coffee! They got mochaccino, they got chocaccino, frappaccino, rappaccino, Al Pacino, what the fuck?!" - Denis Leary

please, no.

Jeff Jarvis writes the words I never want to hear: Billy O'Reilly in '08.

I get a headache just thinking about it. Who do you think his running mate would be? Perhaps Ann Coulter? Sean Hannity? Himself?

ted rall is walking that fine line

[I know others have commented on Rall's column already, but they better recognize that Ted Rall is my bitch!]

[ed note: Some people are having trouble getting through to the Yahoo link. Perhaps they took it down? Anyhow, you can still find the column in question at Rall's place]

Some people will read Ted's words and assume it is satire. Some will read it and think that he is condoning the killing of American soldiers. Some will read it and see the words "America, blame yourself!" written between the lines.

In a way, they will all be right.

Rall has gone so far left that if he did attempt satire, it would be hard to tell the difference between that and his real beliefs. In a way, Ted is almost satirizing himself here.

Killing soldiers? This wouldn't be the first time ol' Teddy has done that. After all, this is the guy who calls people in the armed forces baby killers.

The self-blame of America is pretty evident, especially in the last line. Rall thinks that the more we corner the terrorists in Iraq, the more civilians will turn against us.

Before we figure out what Rall really means by this whole thing, we need to ask why. Why would he write such a screed on Veteran's Day, of all days.

Simply put, Ted Rall is a despicable human being. This observance comes not just from his views on America and his views on the war, but from things that have nothing to do with politics. Rall is a self-centered, delusional man who is slowly walking that fine line between hateful columnist and pure psychosis. The man is so full of hatred, vitriol and self-loathing that it is all beginning to seep into his columns so much that they have become almost unreadable. I know of some liberals who read Rall's recent stuff and cringe.

This column - Why We Fight - is the creepiest thing Ted has put in print since his fire widows strip. Here, he takes on the voice of an Iraqi resistance fighter, beckoning others to join in and terrorize coalition troops in Iraq.

You are joining a broad and diverse coalition dedicated to one principle: Iraq for Iraqis. Our leaders include generals of President Saddam Hussein's secular government as well as fundamentalist Islamists. We are Sunni and Shia, Iraqi and foreign, Arab and Kurdish. Though we differ on what kind of future our country should have after liberation and many of us suffered under Saddam, we are fighting side by side because there is no dignity under the brutal and oppressive jackboot of the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority...

Don't bother to tell me that I read Rall's column wrong, that this was satire or tongue in cheek or parody or whatever word you want to use to defend him; based on Rall's past columns and comics, one can safely assume that Ted wrote this from his bitter heart.

Look at that paragraph I quoted. Does Rall really believe this? Does he honestly think that most Iraqis would rather live under Saddam than make progress towards demoracy with help from the U.S.? He is taking the issues of a small percentage of Iraqis - those corrupt individuals who flourished under Saddam's totalitarian regime - and projecting their ideals onto the rest of the Iraqi citizens.

Perhaps when Ted makes his trip to Iraq he can visit the schools that have been opened. He can talk to the teachers who are already making more money than they did under Saddam. He can visit the kids who are getting more health care in one week than they got their whole lives before the "occupation" of their country.

But no, Ted only sees what he wants to see and hears what he wants to hear. Unfortunately, the only thing Rall really wants is for George W. Bush to fail miserably, even if that comes at the expense of Iraqi freedom or the lives of soldiers. He justifies his wish of destruction for the coalition forces by claiming that the terrorists who are killing coalition troops are just poor, oppressed, ordinary citizens who are fighting back against the evil U.S. soldiers who are raping and pillaging and stealing their women.

Rall basically admits that the resistance uprising is made up of not just Iraqis, but terrorists from all different areas. But that doesn't bother Rall, who believes that any terrorist who strikes at American soldiers is doing the world a favor.

We regret their deaths, but we must continue to kill them until the last one has gone home to America.

That's what Rall - in the guise of a resistance fighter - says about U.S. soldiers.

You will never, ever convince me that Rall didn't mean every word of what he has written. One only needs to look at his past writings to know that the words in this column - words that Rall the coward writes in the guise of someone else, in what appears to be a pre-emptive alibi - ring true for the real Rall and not this semi-fictional character he has used to make his point.

There are many liberal columnists and cartoonists I disagree with. I don't think they are bad people, I just think their ideas are misguided - as I'm sure they think mine are.

Rall is a of a different breed. He is rotten through and through. There is not one redeeming characteristic of this man that I can think of. Go ahead, educate yourself. Do a little Googling, a little research. Rall is more than his anti-U.S. screeds. He is a hateful, loathesome, bitter, self-indulgent, delusional, vindictive man.

Please, do go to Iraq Ted. Go join those resistance forces. Take an AK-47 and put your bravado where your pen is. I can't promise the results will be pretty, but I can promise that I won't write a column calling on soldiers to kill you. And that's the difference between a you and I, Ted. It's called human decency. Look into it.

[Michael Totten doesn't see it as satire, and neither does Damian Penny. And they're smarter than I.]

Update: Andrew Sullivan says it rather succintly:

After 9/11, I was roundly criticized for daring to suggest that there were some people in America who wanted the terrorists to win. But if you read Ted Rall and others, there can be no mistake. There is a virulent strain of anti-Americanism in this country. Some, like Rall, are now urging the murder of American troops in defense of Islamist terrorists and the acolytes of one of the most brutal dictators in history. Ann Coulter couldn't invent something this depraved...

Yep.

[Update 2: A couple of people emailed asking for my previous Rall posts. I never set up categories, but you can go here and just do a CTRL-F for Rall. 99% of the posts have his name in the title. See also, bitchslap.]

November 12, 2003

choices

Sometime within the past month, my local public access channel started showing Democracy Now! meetings.

The other night I had the pleasure of watching Mr. Chomsky in action.

Now tonight I have to make a tough decision: I've got Dick Durbin on CSpan 2, saying the same things over and over or I've got Ramsey Clark on public access.

Gotta love cable tv.

when i say fili, you say buster!

I'm getting giddy already. Don't forget the filibuster drinking game. Matt has added some rules. Including one about Bill Frist pissing on Tom Daschle (see comments here for reference).

Break out the popcorn, it's party time.

Mepham update: juveniles

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that the three Mepham football players who sexually assualted three teammates will be tried as juveniles, not adults.

At a lengthy hearing today, the judge heard from the victims, their parents, one of the coaches, teachers and other football players who witnessed the attacks.

Instead of facing 10-20 years in prison for their crimes, the players - if found guilty - will face either probation or youth camp.

Probation would not be good enough for these kids, just for the main reason that they will end up back in the same town as their victims, which would just make them victims all over again, in a way. How would you like to live, work and play among people who were convicted of raping you?


[Previous Mepham stories here]

thought project

Shell from Across the Atlantic wants your thoughts. She asks:

In 100 years time, which of the presidents of our time will be remembered by the average guy? If they are remembered, what will they be remembered for?

This isn't a debate about which president is better. Merely memorable. Because it's my post, I'm going to limit it to presidents I actually remember (I was born in 72) but feel free to go back as far as the presidents you remember if you like.

Shell isn't posting her thoughts until tomorrow. I have to think about my answers, which would probably include Nixon. And LBJ. And...well, like I said, I have to think about it.

Thoughts?

bruce dickinson is a poet, man!

Mr. Norbizness (he of the happy furry puppy stories) has come up with some new genres of rock and roll that are more descriptive than the labels and genres that already exist: For instance:

Crap Rock: The hippie uncle of Butt Rock. Extremely derivative, lowest common denominator music, usually preferred by Homer Simpson: Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Grand Funk Railroad, Foghat, Foreigner, Kansas, Mountain, Nazareth, Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, Uriah Heep. One or two songs will show up on classic rock radio.

Personally, I would have called it Homer Rock. Anyhow, Norb wants you to come up with your own categories and the bands that belong in them. Of course, I'm going to play along.

Pretentious Rock: Bands in this category usually have at least one member who is clasically trained and never lets an interviewer leave that part out. They will claim their influences are Hendrix, The Ramones and Beethoven. Look for long, drawn out solos, lyrics that reference great works of literature and concept albums. Bands include: Yes, Genesis (early Genesis), Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater.

Reunion Rock: Made up of bands that either can't let go of the past or are very hard up for money. They can usually be seen together, touring beach theaters and half-filled stadiums on summer nights, trying to cash in on whatever retro craze is in the air. Bands include: REO Speedwagon, Journey, Simon and Garfunkle, any incarnation of the Sex Pistols, the Clash or Led Zeppelin, any and all hair metal bands from the 80's that still wear spandex and use Aqua Net.

I could do this all day. And I just might.

Update...

Ok, I got another one:

Bad Trip Rock: Consists of all the music you thought was deep and meaningful or way cool when you were stoned in high school, but you realize now is mostly crap. Bands include: Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Doors, Grateful Dead, late Led Zeppelin (hello, Fool in the Rain??) and umm....for some reason I can't seem to remember anything else.

Oh, one more:

Suck Rock: Any band whose lead singer is an ugly miscreant and whose music makes one wish for temporary deafness. Band: Limp Bizkit. It's their very own category.


must see tv

Nastier than Survivor. More amusing than Punk'd. More name-calling than Real World.

Get your popcorn ready kids. Tonight begins the Senate Death Match. Someday you will be able to tell your grandkids about the Great Filibuster of '03.


Am I the only fillibuster junkie around here?

Update: Join the filibuster drinking game! I can't drink, so I'll substitute ice cream for shots.

mepham update: false pride

[Previous Mepham stories here]

I said I wasn't going to cover the Mepham story any longer. I'm going back on my word.

Ed Lowe has a fantastic column in Newsday today that really gets to the heart of the matter - well, at least the heart of what I think the matter is.

Today is the day that a judge in Pennsylvania will decide whether or not the football players charged in the incident will be tried as adults. In a not-so-shocking development, one of the accused players has agreed to testify against the others in exchange for his being tried as a juvenile. I'm not a big fan of plea bargains, but perhaps the truth will be told at last this way.

Back to Ed Lowe. Ed is basically a household name on Long Island. Everyone knows his columns, most everyone respects him. He just gained even more of my respect for writing this column, which will surely result in an avalanche of hate mail sent his way.

He takes on the myth of "Mepham Pride" by dismissing a grandmother's worry that the girls track team is suffering because they didn't get enough coverage of their season.

Members of the Mepham girls' track team are suffering? Spare me. What about the kid who knows that everyone else knows who he is, and that nobody he knows or admires tried to save him? Nobody on his team. Not one person. Not one friend or teammate. How alive is his pride, while Mepham's lives on?

Lowe echoes my sentiments about one part of the whole "hazing" scene that stands out in my mind:

I can't erase from my head the newspaper sentence about the music: that they turned up the music so nobody in the coaches' building would hear the screams. They knew the victims would scream.

That's not the mind of a couple of kids engaging in some silly hazing rituals at work. That's the careful, methodic, very adult mind of someone planning to hurt another person. These boys are not kids, in the sense that their actions were just typical high school pranks. They had the presence of mind to bring a broomstick along on the trip, to bring a radio to drown out the screams of the victims, to coat the objects of offense with mineral ice in order to make the pain and humiliation even greater.

Lowe touches on the subject that I've brought up before: this "hazing" was a sexual assualt. And it was not, as Rev. Phelps and others might thing, about sex. It was about power.

By the way, let's also adopt-we timid reporters and editors-the one letter-writer's suggestion that we drop from the discussion the phrases "hazing ritual," and "sexual assault." Broomstick sodomy, a la Justin Volpe vs. Abner Louima, is no ritual, and it is about as sexual as fingernail-removal, genitalia-wiring or the forcing of rocks down a 10-year-old kid's throat to stop him, permanently, from bearing witness to a minibike theft.

These guys tortured kids. It's torture: criminal, felony, monstrous, horrific torture. Once convicted of felony torture, torturers no longer should be trusted with civil liberties.

Justin Volpe is rotting in jail for committing a similar act of violence upon a fellow human being. In fact, Volpe's weapon of choice - a broomstick - was the same that the Mepham kids used.

Mepham Pride. We hear and see a lot of that around these parts. I can't go into a store or restaurant without seeing some parent/alumni sporting a Mepham Pride button. I see the sports guys and girls proudly wearing their Mepham jackets and t-shirts and jerseys, some of them decorated by hand with magic markers, the words Mepham Pride scrawled on the clothing.

Lowe again:

And what about those kids, complicit in their indecipherable cowardice? Is their pride alive? What do they see in themselves when they look at war veterans, on Veterans Day? Who are their heroes, and why?

Mepham pride? What about the possibility that we somehow have raised a generation of moral cowards? Do you want any one of those football heroes covering your son's or your daughter's back next year in Tikrit?

That's the bottom line here. What are the parents and coaches and administration teaching the students of Bellmore when they backpedal or stay silent or refuse to own up to their responsibility in this case? What are the people who are supporting the accused and supporting the responsible adults at Mepham saying to their own children?

I don't want to be around those kids five or ten years from now when they are adults themselves and have no sense of morals, no sense of responsibility and behave as if the world owes them something.

But back to the matter at hand - today's hearing.

These kids should be tried as adults. Their actions were pre-meditated, calculated and despicable. They meant not only to hurt, but to humiliate as well. You can't tell me that raping your teammates with a broomstick and a pine cone is not a criminal act worthy of adult punishment. A couple of years probation and counseling is not going to teach anyone a lesson. Except, of course, for the victims, who will learn that justice is not always served and pride is often misplaced.

cowards

So, how did you celebrate Veteran's Day/Remembrance Day yesterday? Did you thank a vet? Go to a memorial service? Watch a parade? Wear a poppy? Write a beautiful post about veterans?

Here's what some other people did:

Vandals filled nearly 200 sidewalk flag holders with concrete as local Boy Scouts prepared to line Sebastopol's downtown with American flags in observance of Veteran's Day, authorities said Monday. Police said they had no suspects in the vandalism, but speculated it was an act of civil disobedience carried out done to protest U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

Vandals spray-painted anti-war slogans on the National War Memorial on Tuesday, just hours before Remembrance Day ceremonies were to begin.

At today's service at the Shrine of Remembrance, a bunch of "anti-war protestors" interrupted the service just before the minute of silence with their by now wearisomely familiar shrieks and slogans. According to the afternoon free newspaper here in Melbourne, MX, a war veteran was knocked to the ground in a scuffle with the protestors, two of whom were arrested.

I hope when these idiots were done making a mess out of a day of respect for veterans, they said a silent thank you to those vets who made it possible for them to live in places where they wouldn't be executed for such acts.

[some links via Damian Penny]

is the left really that humorless

In regards to the emails and comments (here and on other blogs) about the post below and my fear of my daughter being "indoctrinated" by lefties while she's in DC this week:

Get.A.Freaking.Sense.Of.Humor.

Either you people are completely devoid of the ability to laugh, or my satire skills have gone downhill. Hell, I was satirizing right wingers, Fox and The Corner more than I was making fun of lefties.

Try reading it again, and this time hold your knee so it doesn't jerk so much. I'm not into that whole extremist thing (left and right) of forcing your kids to believe your own ideology.

And if my daughter does come home in a Dean for President t-shirt, I might still blame Oliver (it's that cackling laugh), but I'll love her just the same.

November 11, 2003

keep your damn, dirty, liberal hands off of her!

No time to blog. I'm too busy freaking out over my daughter leaving for her school trip to DC in the morning.

I'm not worried about the usual things like her getting lost or a terrorist attack happening while she's there.

I am worried about the bus trip - I have this fear of bad bus drivers who don't pay attention to the road or go too fast (and as a side note, this same school had a field trip to Montreal in 1991, and the bus overturned, killing two students. But I will.not.think.about.that.) and I know I'll be calling the school hotline every half hour to see if the teachers have checked in with a message that our kids are fine thank you, you don't have to call so often.

And what if my daughter and her classmates are visiting war memorials and the like and some left wing protesters start trailing them and maybe try to indoctrinate them? What if they slip subversive propaganda into the kids' backpacks? Oh jesus, what if Nat calls home to say she's joined ANSWER?!?

I'll end up on some talk show pleading with others to watch out when they send their kids on school trips to the nation's capitol...

This can happen to you, too! My daughter was a staunch Bush supporter and then...then...(insert sobbing here)...they got her. She was just minding her own business at the Lincoln Memorial and they just ganged up on her, started pummeling her with flyers and posters, whispering anti-Bush slogans in her ear...(sob)...and before she even had a chance to resist they had her brainwashed and entrenched in their cult. It took three straight weeks of watching Fox News and reading The Corner before the effects started to wear off.

You think this is a joke? I bet you any amount of money that Oliver Willis once took a field trip to D.C.

The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy lives. Trust no one under 30.

Ok, ok. I'll stop. We have to be at the school at 6am anyhow. I'm going to bed to have nightmares about bad bus drivers.

the drill

I spent a good portion of this afternoon in the dentist's chair. He turned the sweet air way up, gave me the headphones and proceeded to finish up my root canal.

I discovered two things while sitting there:

The White Stripes don't sound so bad when you're high as a kite.
The new Offspring would sound bad no matter how high you are.

Well, I discovered many other things, like nerves take a long time to respond to novacaine. But you don't want to hear about that.

Please don't forget to see my list in the post below of all the blogging vets (I'm still adding to the list) and, if you have a chance, go over to their blogs and say thank you.

And maybe someone can show that list to Tom Tomorrow - apparently he doesn't realize how many "warbloggers" are actually war vets or enlisted men and women.

thank you

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

I am going to repeat (if slightly modified) what I wrote last year for Veteran's Day.

In Defense of Freedom

vetday03.jpgI have always been appreciative of the military. Even back in my (near)liberal days, I never took the side of those who called members of our military killers or murderers. It always struck me as ironic that these people would gather by the hundreds to denounce a military action, completely oblivious to the fact that were in not for the men and women who have served this country since a military was first formed, they would not have that freedom to be standing there shouting their dissent.

No matter how much I have complained about this country, I always respected the fact that I have the right to complain.That's one of the things that makes the United States of America so great. You have the right to make an ass out of yourself in public. You have the right to hold up signs or shout slogans or sing songs at the front gate of the White House.

No matter how you feel about the War in Iraq, the war on terrorism, the war on drugs, the constitution, the pledge, our laws, our rules and regulations, you should take the time out to thank your lucky stars that our military has won for you the ability to say that you are against those things. You could be staring down the face of a dictatorship right now. You could be in a country ruled by fear, where torture is a daily occurence and people are stoned to death for speaking out.

You can sit in front of your thousand dollar computer on your comfortable chair, sipping your fresh brewed coffee and listening to your incredible collection of cds and bitch and moan all you want about how this country oppresses you.

The fact of the matter is, you are damn lucky to be living here. You are very fortunate to live in a place that affords you the freedom to be whatever you want to be, where you future is decided by your choices and actions alone.

I know where my freedom comes from. I know it comes from the blood of every soldier who ever battled in a war for this country. I know it comes from great loss and great tragedy. I know that from the Revolutionary war on up, many, many people have died or put themselves on the line so I can have the right to live my life in a free country.

I am forever thankful to those people. No matter how you feel about our president or his policies or any leader that came before him, you should be thankful, too. If not, you don't deserve the freedom that all those soldiers have afforded you.

Click this link. Show your thanks.

Thank you to all the veterans and current members of the armed forces. You are appreciated.

The following bloggers are veterans or are currently serving in the armed forces. Please stop by their sites today and say thank you.

Please see the comments for even more links to vet bloggers. The list got too long for me to keep up with - I had no idea that the blogosphere was such a hotbed of military action!

Also, check out the brand new MilBlogs - "Free Speech From Those Who Make it Happen." Damn straight.

Other vet/active duty bloggers:
Adam
Pietro
Jeremy
South Knox Bubba
Lionel
Deb
Sin City Cynic
James
Martin

Serenity
Mike
Sgt. Mom
OTB James
Jeff Quinton
Ocean Guy
John
Moore
(USN)
Jay Bagley
Dave
Left & Right
James
The Timekeeper - USN.
tacitus - Army.
John Cole - Army
nathan - USAF.
Blaster
Sgt. Hook
Sgt. Stryker
Lt Smash
Chief Wiggles
Kevin
Black Five
Pontifex
Dan
CG Hill
David
Denny
Rev. Sensing
Val
Joe
Dodd

Also, don't forget Front Line Voices: Letters from Iraq and Afghanistan

Of course, you should see today's Cox & Forkum.

Jeff has a list of bloggers who have Veterans Day posts.

(If you know of any others to add to this list, please leave their names and URLs in the comments)

November 10, 2003

a box of tissues

You'll need them.

board games, probing and ladies wearing jean nate

[click for bigger image]I got bored of playing Monopoly with my son. I need some variety in my life and his idea of variety was alternating between Monopoly, Star Wars Monopoly, Yankee Monopoly and NHL Monopoly.

So we went through our other board games. Operation: missing pieces. Scrabble: too boring for DJ. Outburst: played all the cards already. Same with Scattegories and Pictionary.

Rather than take a trip to Toys 'R' Us for a new board game - where I would be distracted by all the action figures and DJ would be distracted by all the video games and we would come home at least $100 poorer and still without a new board game - we decided to go to the next best place: my mother's attic.

Off we went across the street with me explaining to my son that we could find tons of games up there, games I played as a kid and as a teenager and even as a young adult who refused to move out of her parents' house until she was 27. He was skeptical that anything I played as a kid would be something that he would actually enjoy.

Up into the attic we went. Once we worked our way around the Christmas decorations and boxes of crap (holy shit, there's my C64 disks!), we found the pile of games. I rattled off the names - most of them of the trivia sort - and got thumbs down from DJ on each one.

And then I hit the jackpot of bad memories. My parents' cocktail parties/board game extravaganzas came flooding out of that place where you stick memories that make you embarassed to have been alive in the early late 60's and early 70's.

They were always playing Probe. The women with their bouffant hairdos, the men with ridiculous sideburns, the peanuts and drinks like White Russians and Brandy Alexanders and the kitchen filled with smoke. And how they would laugh and laugh at things I wasn't supposed to know about, like the sexual connotations about the word probe . How amusing it is when you have a friend sleep over and your parents are having one of their board game soirees and there's fondue and bottles of rum on the table and suddenly your mother shouts "Her word is fucking!"

Anyhow.

I was holding in my hands a dusty, dingy, but otherwise near mint condition 1964 original version of Probe. Of course I took it home. I made the kids play with me. No, no. No liquor, no peanuts, no cursing. Though I did have a fleeting thought about making fondue.

I also found an original version of the Password board game, circa 1963. I opened the box and it smelled like the 60's. Ok, maybe that was just my memory playing tricks on me. But I could swear I recognized the scent of Brut aftershave mingled with Planters peanuts.

I can't wait for the kids to go to bed tonight so my husband and I can make White Russians and play a dirty word version of Probe. Maybe I'll even make fondue.

random

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is the greatest comedian on the planet.

Mepham update

This will probably be my last post about the Mepham hazing.

When I first started covering the story, I did not only because it was of local interest to me, but also because I felt it was a story that needed to be told.

As time went on, the story grew legs and it was suddenly everywhere, even on 20/20.

Several people emailed today to tell me that Drudge had a little blurb on it as well. Once something hits Drudge, it's no longer a story without coverage. So unless I get any more inside information from my sources inside Mepham, I probably won't be covering this as extensively as I have the past two months.

I'm glad that so many people seemed interested in a very local story; hazing - especially hazing that involves such criminal acts - is something that needs to be addressed in every school, at every level. But the underlying stories are even more important - how failure to make children own up to their actions and how a community can become so torn apart because of misplaces priorities. The whole saga is pretty much a case study in what is wrong with most of the current generation of parents and the future leaders that they are raising.

You can read all of the Mepham stories I wrote here.

here but busy

Been out all day standing in line at the middle school, waiting to talk to Natalie's various teachers. Parent-Teacher conferences at that school are an exercise in tedium and frustration. Three hours of standing in lines to talk to five teachers for two minutes each.

I need to renew my energy. Unfortunately, my three year old nephew is here for a visit.

Back later on. And what, nobody liked my novel-lenghth post about Ethan Allen? Sheesh, you people are hard to please.

my dinner with ethan allen: today's history lesson

I feel like I forgot to hand in my homework. John Hawkins of Right Wing News solicited many right-of-center bloggers and asked them to send him a list of who they considered to be "History's Most Interesting Dinner Companions." I made my list mentally but, alas, did not write it down in time to send it off to John. Ah, well. I don't think my choice of dinner companions would have made much of a difference to the final tallly, anyhow. But of course, I'll still tell you.

There were only three people I could come up with that I thought would be interesting enough to be able to maintain a converstation with throughout dinner. I just hate it when you're sharing a meal with someone and there's that awkward silence when you realize you have both run out of things to say. I mean, Shakespeare would be interesting for all of fifteen minutes before I would call him a pompous ass and ask for the check. Socrates? I would probably all asleep in my salad. C.S. Lewis? We would just end up in a fight about religion and one of us would storm off, leaving the other with the check.

I look at the final list at RWN and shake my head in disbelief at some of the choices. Why would anyone want to have dinner with Ann Coulter? Sure, she would be a cheap date because apparently she doesn't eat much, but I think I'd lose my appetite after five minutes of listening to her. Vitriol does not go well with dinner. Unless, of course, dinner is being served with tequila shots. Same thing with Rush Limbaugh. Out of all the figures in history, why would I choose Rush for a dinner companion? I wouldn't be able to get a word in edgewise. I bet if I excused myself to go to the bathroom, he would still be blustering when I got back. There is nothing worse than a dinner companion who monopolizes the conversation.

If I had made my list for John, I was only going to put one person on it. Why? Simple; if I started making a long list, I would keep going and going, adding people at random. Authors, musicians, artists, leaders, villains, heroes....I would have to rent out Madison Square Garden and hire a full staff for my dinner. However, if I limited myself to choosing one figure, I would choose carefully, and it would cost a lot less to feed them.

At first, I thought I would like to dine with Jesus. Yes, I'm an atheist/agnostic sort of person. But I still believe that Jesus did, in fact, exist. I just believe that he was merely a man with a mission that later led to him being on a power trip. Much like Tommy. Without all the pinball stuff.

I'd like to talk to Jesus about his life, his childhood, his parents and what led him to believe that he was the son of God. I don't mean this in a mocking way at all. I think Jesus was an interesting, complicated man and I would love to have a nice long discussion with him over a dinner of fish and wine.

ethan.jpgIn the end, though, I skipped over Jesus for Ethan Allen. No, not the furniture guy. The guy from the American Revolution.

While I was never a huge history buff, I still maintained a fascination with the Revolution and that whole time period. I used to believe that in a past life, I was a colonial babe (I truly thought that I must have worked the butter churner in those days, as I dreamed about churning butter often. It was only later that I realized these dreams probably had some sexual meaning that I just wasn't getting at the time).

So, why Ethan Allen? My fascination with the man did not begin until a few years ago, when my son had to do a report on any figure from the American Revolution and chose this obscure man. I certainly could not help my son with his project if I didn't know anything about the subject, so I did a little research and discovered that Mr. Allen was indeed a very interesting historical figure.

Ethan Allen was a freethinker, as atheists were known as back then. He was also a bit of a cad.

Shocking people was Allen’s specialty. He stopped his wedding ceremony when asked if he would pledge "to live with Fanny Buchanan agreeable to the laws of God." He wanted to know which god and whose god the marriage was supposed to please, stalling the proceedings until it was specified to be Nature's god and no other. He was a constant stone in the sandals of the clergy and loved to publicly corner the parson with a list of biblical conundrums and contradictions. That was just the start. After the revolution he and Fanny settled back and raised a family in their Green Mountains of Vermont. In 1784 he wrote his landmark book, "Reason, the Only Oracle of Man."

Allen and his Green Mountain Boys (surely you've heard of them?) (Allen and the Green Mountain boys) played their part in the war by taking Fort Ticonderoga, catching the British asleep. Allen awoke them by proclaiming that he was taking possession "In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress." The Jehovah bit was all tongue in cheek, for Allen was a freethinker who thought Judeo-Christian-Islam-anity was a calamity." (information taken from this site.[He also tried to take over Montreal, which resulted in his going to prison, and when he go out he spent the remainder of his life trying to gain independence for Vermont]).

I've gone on, haven't I? Sorry about that. I get crazy about old Ethan sometimes.

Hey, if any of you out there have that ability to contact dead people, get in touch with Ethan Allen and tell him he has an open invitation for dinner at my house.

November 09, 2003

sunday night tunes

And now for something completely different. Well, two completely different styles, anyhow.

I almost went for some Wu Tang tonight, but their songs are so long (and hence, the files so huge) that it would take forever because my cable provider has decided to slow down our uploading speeds, lest we use the internet for nefarious reasons, I presume.

Anyhow, I opted for something apart from the usual metal I stick you with.

[You missed these. Stay tuned for more]

Type O Negative - Black No. 1

Propagandhi - Homophobes Are Just Mad Cause They Can't Get Laid

Enjoy and critiques welcome as always. mp3s disappear in the morning, so get 'em while you can.

stalker, troll or just a bad speller with an attitude problem?

Ah, I remember the good old days when people would hate me through email. Seems like just yesterday. Well, it was yesterday, but that's another story. This week, I'm being hated through the comments in Bill's blog.

See, Bill dedicates a post to me every Friday, in the hopes that I will link him and send some traffic his way, so more people can read his obnoxious meanderings. Bill may be rude and condescending at times but you can't deny the guy is funny. Plus, I like his wife.

Unfortunately, one of Bill's readers just doesn't like me. I think the new blogads on my site really threw him for a loop. Either that or he went off his meds and stopped seeing his doctor.

I made the mistake of responding to him the first time and it just escalated from there. However, it is a good source of amusement, so I've reprinted the whole thing (minus some non sequiter comments by others) below.

I did not have to justify myself to him, but I did anyhow, just to goad him into answering me again. I also emailed my last response to him. We'll see how that goes.

I have no problem with someone taking issue with my ads or my donate button or whatnot. But if you're going to do it, try to make it in complete sentences that are understandable to most English speaking people. And try not to be such a dick about it, forcing me to be a dick right back to you, k?

Where's are the ad's on your site like Michele has. Between the cyberbegging, "donate" button and blog ads I almost feel like I using "netzero" when Im there...yuck

Posted by Jim at November 7, 2003 02:47 PM

Here's an idea, Jim: Don't go there.

Also, that would be "ads" because it is plural and not "ad's" as it is not possessiv in this instance.

Also, "where's" does not make sense in the context in which you wrote it.

Also, kiss my ass.

Posted by michele at November 7, 2003 04:53 PM

You correct me and you cant even spell possessive...jackass

stop being a sell out. Heres a idea..get a free blog save the cash on bandwidth and buy things without begging for them....What do you think you are a commerical site or something? Right wing sell out maybe but nothing more.

Posted by jim at November 7, 2003 05:29 PM

He corrects her and he can't even spell cant... jackass

:-)

Posted by matt at November 7, 2003 06:32 PM

Shut it Matt. Why don't you go buy Michele something off her wish list

Posted by Mike at November 7, 2003 07:08 PM

Shut up, Mike. Why don't you go buy ME something off MY wishlist.

Posted by bobbybrady at November 7, 2003 10:28 PM

Sorry. Thought's here being nothing more then a middle age suburbian sell out got the best of me.

Posted by Jim at November 8, 2003 09:06 AM

Big difference between a typo and bad grammar and spelling, Jim.

Also, this sentence: "Thought's here being nothing more then a middle age suburbian sell out got the best of me" makes absolutely no sense.

Would it be better if I were a middle aged urban sell out?

I would take this up with you in a private email, but I see you are too cowardly to leave a real email address.

Hey, I just made $50 from my website while typing this reply to you. That's $50 more dollars than you made while amusing me with your bad grammar.

Posted by michele at November 8, 2003 02:41 PM

Not a problem email address there. Though I do fear you posting with my email address so that all your follows can email me on how mean and cruel I am calling you a two bit cyberbegger.

While my spelling and grammer suffer when I write I usualy have my admin. asst. clean it up for me. Similar I guess to what your Judge uses you for when your not goofing off at work on the web (Which I beleive you indicated your not even suppose to have access too anyway)but I could be wrong...Back to my principle thought which are this:

You are simply a sellout who choices to use your blog to:

1. Run polls on how people would feel if you sold out and do it anyway.

2. Seem to enjoy using blog entries to thank "annoymous people" for buying you gifts off your wish list.

3. Post ad's on your site and then turn around and ask people to donate money to you. I equivilate that to CBS running commercials and then asking people to send donations in.

4. Complain on how your tired of all the bashing of the left and right then launch attacks on a regular bases on individuals like Ted Rail. Has Ted Rail ever even visited your blog?

Prehaps if your blog was of a commerical type then I could see it. But it is a "personal blog" (as you indicated in the newsday article a few weeks ago) so you have become just another cyberbegger looking for handouts.

As far as making money off begging ( i.e. your $50.00) I guess if I wanted too I could ask for handouts but since I am fairly well off with my job and good at budgeting my money there is no need for me to hit people up for donations.

But regardless I do hope you declare all your income from it to the I.R.S.

Posted by Jim at November 8, 2003 04:21 PM

Ah, Jim. I sense some bitterness on your part.

You seem to know an awful lot about me and my blog for a person who claims to hate going to my website.

I just figure that I put a lot of work into my blog and my posts so if people want to donate something to me, why not? In fact, I make it a habit to donate to other bloggers on a regular basis.

I guess you, with your nice salary and administrative assistant who covers up your ignorance of the English language for you doesn't quite grasp the concept of earning a little extra spending money. And I've already checked with my accountant. Contrary to what you seem to think, I don't get nearly enough in donations to claim any of it as an income.

But hey, have a nice weekend, Jim. Maybe you could spend a little time figuring out why you are so obsessed with hating someone you don't know. It seems kind of...creepy.

Posted by michele at November 8, 2003 09:04 PM

Ah Michelle. Last time I checked all income had to be reported to the I.R.S. I guess I could be wrong on that but I guess I can ask my CPA that on Monday

I notice you fail to address most of my the points of my arguement. I expected that since most of them were on point your wouldn't. I also did supply with my email address so you could "Address me via email" but as usual say one thing do another.

Prehaps while dealing with obsessions you could reflect on yours towards Mr. Rail and tell me how yours towards him would not be "creepy".

Anyway will pick this up again sometime. I'm sure you have some more cyber whoring to do. Of course If you stopped "donating to other sites" (::cough bullshit::) you could afford your precious little trinkets. Alas that would be too easy.

Posted by Jim at November 9, 2003 12:34 AM


Ok, Jim. I'll deal with you once more, and I will also send this in email.

A) What is your deal? Who are you and why do you hold such a grudge against me?

B) I am not so much obsessed with Ted Rall (not Rail) as I am with his insistence on getting the fact wrong.


C) As far as you calling bullshit on me donating to other weblogs, I can provide you with proof if you would like, if for no other reason than to shut you up.

D) As far as my being a cyberwhore: In addition to raising funds for my own selfish reasons, as you imply, I have also raised funds for the Daniel Pearl Foundation, raised enough money to send a platoon of IDF soldiers pizza for Hannakuh, raised (with two other webloggers) thousands of dollars in donations for Magen David Adom. I also started Trooptrax, which sends cds, books and other supplies to our troops overseas, and I've worked on Operation Give, which helps sends toys to children in Iraq.
I've helped out countless webloggers who needed their stories told in order to raise funds for an emergency, and I pay for hosting and domain registration for two popular weblogs which will remain unamed, just out of the goodness of my heart.

E) Donations aren't income. They are gifts.

So, Jim - if people want to buy me a DVD or throw me ten bucks for the enjoyment they get from reading my weblog, I really don't have a problem taking it, because I'm one of those people who gives back.

What have you done lately, Jim? I mean, besides destroy the English language in your posts?

(Bill, I think I will take this argument over to my own site, so as not to waste your bandwidth)


Posted by michele at November 9, 2003 04:44

And that's where we last left off. I eagerly await his reply.

a discourse on new wave and punk (because I can't let anything go)

[See here and here for previous references to this subject]

New wave grew out of post-punk, rather than punk. Bands like Talking Heads and Blondie came out of the punk scene, but added a layer to their music that was not heard in the raw sound of punk rock.

I think one of the major factors that separated punk, post-punk and new wave is danceability. Sure, you could slamdance to punk, and you could kind of bop your head or do that strange little hopping type dance to post-punk, but you could actually dance to new wave. And by dance, I mean wave your arms about in a spastic sort of fashion while hopping from one leg to the other and moving your head from side to side.

New wave was the hip answer to disco which, at the time, was experiencing a slow, well-deserved death. All the cool kids were still dancing, they were just doing it at dingy clubs (in my case, a Long Island club called Spit) that played music as yet unheard of on the radio.

However, there are many bands that treaded the fine line between punk, post-punk and new wave, giving credence to the theory of James Lileks that punk and new wave were of the same entity; two genres folded together.

However (again), if one wants to be really anal about genres and sub-genres, there are all sorts of labels you could come up with for the punk/post-punk/new wave scene. Some artists can fall into all categories, while some only fit in one.

For instance, you could take a timeline and plot the following bands: Television, New York Dolls, Elvis Costello, XTC, Human League, Duran Duran, OMD, Heaven 17, Depeche Mode, Rockpile, Joy Division, Split Enz, Culture Club, The Jam, Madness and Squeeze. There is no way you could define them all using the three specific labels previously mentioned. The only thing they have in common is that they all sprung from the same movement.

If this were a visual chart, there would be branches leading off in every direction, with little notations stating things like dark new wave, gothic punk, pop punk, mainstream new wave, synth pop, ska-punk, etc. And then you could go from there and make a case for new wave leading to techno leading to industrial (The line would go on until we came upon rap-metal, or rapcore as some people call it, and there really is no explanation for that monstrosity of a genre, so we'll just chalk it up to a genetic mistake, like bad DNA in the bloodline of the industry).

The bottom line here is that music and all its genres are not only incestous, they are pretty arbitrary as well. One person's punk is another person's pop (see, Mest, Thursday), while one person's new wave is another person's radio-driven pop (see, Culture Club).

Actually, the bottom line is that after careful consideration, I probably agree with James more than I don't. Punk and new wave are not much different from each other and, at some point, just met up and blended into one entity.

notes from the democratic underground

I can always count on someone at DU to give me something to bitch about in the morning. I found this comment on a thread about the Saudi bombings last night.

I think we can safely blame the bush admin for this. Without the latest crusades against Islam by bush this would not have happened. Once Dean or whomever gets in this kind of crap will just stop.

First of all, it's not a crusade against Islam. It's a fight against Islamic terrorists. In fact, Bush is the one who keeps calling Islam a "religion of peace."

Need I remind anyone that it was Islamic terrorists who attacked the U.S. on 9/11? And why? Because they think the entire world should subscribe to their religion, that we should all be militant Muslims and bow to allah.

If Bush had not started his "crusade" against these people, he would have left us open for another September 11th. What kind of leader would not fight those who killed 3,000 citizens of his country?

So this idiot from DU proposes that we vote in Dean for president so this "kind of crap," meaning terrorist bombings, will stop. How does he think Dean will stop these militants? By asking nicely?

Pacifists and appeasers have no place in the White House, especially during times when militant Islamists are running all over the place setting off bombs. You think things are bad now? I imagine that with Dean or Clark or any of the notorious nine in the White House, things would go from here to worse pretty damn quick.

Also, the poster from DU should note that this current terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia was one perpetrated on Muslims by Muslims. They are fighting amongs themselves now; those who want to live in peace are being killed by those who want to rule by force.

caught on tape: authority behaving badly

[click for bigger image]Goose Creek, South Carolina: Gun-toting police burst into a South Carolina high school, ordering students to lie down in hall ways as they searched for drugs.

They were looking for prescription drugs and marijuana. They found nothing. At the principal's request, the police came into the high school for a drug sweep with guns drawn, ordering students to get on the ground. Guns were pointed directly at the kids [You can see the video here. Watch it.]

The school's principal defends the dramatic sweep, caught on the school's surveillance tape. Police came into the school with guns at the ready, ordered all students to lie on the floor and then handcuffed anyone who apparently didn't comply quickly enough.

"We received reports from staff members and students that there was a lot of drug activity. Recently we busted a student for having over 300 plus prescription pills. The volume and the amount of marijuana coming into the school is unacceptable," said principal George McCrackin.

It looks to me like the police came in with an "everybody's guilty until proven otherwise" stance. Were the handcuffs and guns necessary for a potential marijuana bust?

If this happened at my child's school I would be raising holy hell. Not only would I want the police department to account for their over-zealous actions, I would also ask that the principal be fired. If he has lost control of his school to the point that drug dealing is rampant, then he should find another way to deal with the problem - one that doesn't include guns and handcuffs for innocent kids.

The Post And Courier newspaper in Charleston reports the high school is one of the largest in the state with 2,760 students. It has an academic reputation as one of the Lowcountry's best.

So, there are almost 3,000 kids in the school and probably a handful of them are dealing/using recreational drugs. What's a prinicpal to do? How about trying to root out the kids who are actually doing the dealing? The school does have survelliance cameras. But....

The paper quoted Lt. Dave Aarons of the Goose Creek Police Department as saying that the suspected drug dealers appeared to be knowledgeable about where the school surveillance cameras were. He said he watched school surveillance tapes from four days that showed students congregating under cameras, periodically walking into a bathroom with different students and coming out moments later.

So they know where the kids who are dealing are doing it. They know where the kids who are buying are doing it. From the tapes, they can probably figure out the most popular times for the students to head into the bathrooms to make their deals.

Not only that, but if they were able to watch the tapes as the deals happened, what would stop them from going into the bathroom right after the kids on the camera went in and trying to bust them in action?

Now they have undone years of training the students to trust Mr. Policeman, he is your friend. They have unecessarily frightened innocent kids.

The most disturbing part of this is that neither the principals nor the police department see anything wrong with their actions.

November 08, 2003

i'll see you on the dark side of the moon

The pictures don't exactly do justice to what the eclipse really looked like. I'm sure most of you saw it yourselves anyhow.

By the time the moon was just a big, red circle in the sky, I was officially too cold to stay outside any longer.

[I put them in extended entry for you dial-up folks]

m1.jpgm2.jpgm3.jpgm4.jpgm5.jpg

today's discussion (courtes of J. Lileks): punk. new wave. was there really a difference?

nw.jpgMr. Lileks has started a little controversy in the comments here, regarding the fusion of the punk and new wave genres.

Was there really ever a genre of new wave, or was new wave just a sub-genre of punk?

Frankly, I think the biggest difference between the two can be summed up in one word: synthesizers.

I'd like to hear your take on this, with examples, citations and references if possible. I'm going to do my research on this now.

Your dirty little Prince wanna grind

What's all this stuff about Prince being gay? Who cares? I mean, are we not progressive enough a society where we can just appreciate a musician for his talents and not care about his sexual inclinations?

For god's sake, people - the man wore purple! And frilly sleeves! Why is this rumor coming out now, when his career is all but over? Unless, of course, it's a plot by his label to get him in the news again before he releases an album of Jehova's Witness spoken word musings.

Ohhhh...you mean that prince!

Nevermind.

oddly enough!

Palestinian Authority funds go to militants

The Palestinian Authority, headed by Yasser Arafat, is paying members of a Palestinian militant organisation which has been responsible for carrying out suicide attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians, a BBC investigation has found.

Are you as shocked as I am?

[that is to say, not at all]

punk's not dead, it's just sitting in a box set

Imagine my excitement when I heard that Rhino Records released a four-disc punk box (spanning 1973 to 1980) set last week. Hours and hours of punk rock! Glory be!

Then I read the track listing. Eh.

Sure, there's enough Jam and Buzzcocks on there to make me happy. And it's got Richard Hell and The Stranglers and Fear. And they do get bonus points for including 2-4-6-8 Motorway by the Tom Robinson Band. But (and isnt' there always a but with these things?), I will take issue with some of the tracks.

1. I never considered Joy Division to be punk. Yes, they were a great band, but not a great punk band. Of course, that's just my opinion. Your mileage my vary.

2. Including Joe Jackson is great. Including Is She Really Going Out With Him is a mistake. Of all the songs on Look Sharp, that is probably the least punk. Got the Time would have been much more appropriate. Or even On Your Radio from I'm the Man.

3. No Sex Pistols.

4. The Boomtown Rats? What did they ever contribute to punk? Bleh.

5. No Circle Jerks (they did have a release in 1980, thus qualifying them).

6. No Crass.

7. Including Nick Lowe: Yes, he was a great songwriter, but I think he was as punk then as Blink 182 is now.

8. Is the Cure really punk? As much as I love them, I would put them in whatever category you would throw Joy Division in.

So, what do you old school punk rockers think?

November 07, 2003

friday night dance party

That's right. A Friday night when Alan isn't on the road means only one thing - clips of cheesy 70's songs in my mailbox.

Tonight, he sent me a clip of "I Think I Love You," but the joke's on him. That's the song I always do my striptease to.

Well, you know what they say.

a sign from above!

This one deserves its own post.

I am not at liberty to say who sent this to me, as he is probably afraid of Ted threatening him with a lawsuit.

rallblows.jpg

More signs here and here.

Friday Night Tunes

It's been a while since I gave you some Friday night music, so here you go.

[Sorry, all mp3's expire the next morning. You missed these, but stay tuned for more]

Faith No More - Last Cup of Sorrow (Remixed by Rammstein)

Rammstein - Engel(English version)

As always, feel free to give a thumbs or or down, but beware my iron fist of death if you dare to diss FNM.

Enjoy. And go make a sign.

signs from god

Oliver definitely has my favorite so far.

There's more over here. Join the fun. We've reserved plenty of spots in the handbasket.

Update: I've added some in the extended entry here from Scott, who likes to be a sinner but does not have a website on which to sin.

churchsign_bolinas.jpeg


churchsign_matrix1.jpeg

churchsign_matrix2.jpeg

note to bill cimino

I swallow.

jeebus loves me

This I know, because some church signs told me so.

Make your own church sign. My sense of humor is asleep today and this is the best I can do:

funsign.jpg

Plus the two signs below with sayings stolen from Homer Simpson, the great theologian.

Make a few. Humor me. Please.

jeebus.jpg

sacsign.jpg

Ted Rall wants you to suffer in the name of his righteousness

It's Friday, which means taking Ted Rall out to the whippping shed.

Today, Teddy tells us that, should a Democrat president be elected in 2004, he should basically ruin the country and welcome terrorism as a way of getting even with the Republicans.

So often Ted comes off like a petulant five year old throwing a temper tantrum. He does not disappoint today.

It's high time that victorious Democrats stop being suckered by reckless Republicans into cleaning up their messes. Walking behind the elephant with a pail and a smelly broom might be the right thing to do, but it doesn't earn you any respect after the parade. All Democrats worthy of the name ought to sign a pledge to ignore problems caused by Republican administrations and leave them to their Republican successors. Let the GOP deficit ride, and pass socialized medicine while you're at it. Keep the bloated HomeSec bureaucracy on the payroll, and change its mission to something useful, like making a serious attempt to guard our borders. Run up the deficit like there's no tomorrow. Withdraw our troops; when the Iraqi civil war spreads throughout the region, some smart future Republican president will figure it out.

I can hear you grumbling: but that's irresponsible! Yes. It. Is. But playing the sap to Republican fait accomplis is like paying off your drunken kid's gambling debts. It makes you an enabler of destructive behavior--and that's even worse than throwing your hands up in the air and walking away. Let's give the GOP some tough love.

So, Ted wants the Democrats to ruin the country all in the name of getting even. Why am I surprised? After all, the typical leftie that Rall identifies with - the DU and Indymedia crowd - are the ones who are sitting home getting hard-ons at the thought of another terrorist attack or another Black Hawk down. Why? Because, in their strange world, it would make them look good. They could point a finger and say I told you so. The Rall Leftie is self-centered and shallow. They claim to care about people but all they care about is their ideology, and the only cause they carry a banner for is their own self-worth. They sleep so much better at night knowing that they went to a march or donated to ANSWER or gave a speech about Bush and Hitler sitting in a tree.

Their selfishness is evident in the words they speak and write. Like Ted Rall, in the paragraphs above, who wants to teach the GOP a lesson at the expense of Americans, Iraqis and peace. So what if Iraq goes back to the tyrannical state it once was? So what if the USA goes into a depression and the stock market crashes? Who cares if our troops will have fought for nothing? Ted Rall and thousands of other Rall Lefties will feel validated! Apparently, that's all that matters to them.

This is how Rall is representing your party, Democrats. Is this what you want, to let the world slide into a pit of hell just so you can stand around and blame the whole mess on the Republicans? Or do you want to fix what you believe to be wrong?

That's part of the problem with the Democratic party as it is represented not only by Rall, but by the Notorious Nine. They are all about what the Republicans are doing wrong, and we know so little about what the Democrats would do right.

If Rall's simplistic, juvenile idea is your idea of what's right, then you should be ashamed of yourself. If it's not your idea of right, then you should be ashamed of your party.

Rall says: All Democrats worthy of the name ought to sign a pledge to ignore problems caused by Republican administrations and leave them to their Republican successors.

Wrong. All Democrats worthy of the name ought to stand up and say that they do not follow Rall's way of thinking. Otherwise, you are just as despicable as him.

November 06, 2003

rocking the vote in 2004

"Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe because in the long run stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty..."

"We are pursuing long-term victory in this war by promoting democracy in the Middle East so that the nations in that region no longer breed hatred and terror."

I have been voting since 1980. Although I am, and always have been, a registered Republican, I have never voted for a Republican for president.

I am not a blind loyalist. Just because I support the war in Iraq does not mean I will automatically vote for Bush next year.

I've watched the Democratic debates. I've watched the Democrats fall apart. I've kept a watchful eye on everyone.

The Dems to have some things to offer me. So do the Republicans. So I have to think - what issue is most important to me? What issue affects me the most? What am I most concerned with?

In a word, terrorism. That is my concern. I am concerned with the Middle East being a breeding ground for terrorists from many countries and factions. I am concerned with the rumblings we hear once in a while about fresh attacks on our country. I worry about another 9/11. I worry what kind of world will my children have if we appease instead of defend, if we coddle instead of fight off.

I think of a the Democrats in charge of taking care of terrorism in the Middle East. I think of Democrats in charge if we should be attacked again. I think of years of Democratic appeasement. And I shudder.

As long as terrorism is my most important concern - and there is no reason to think that will change within the next year - I will be, for the first time, voting for a Republican president. I placed my faith in Bush two years ago, when I was a sworn liberal, but had to trust the president to guide us out of the wreckage of 9/11 and to make sure that it never, ever happened again. Not to us, not to anyone.

Bush did not disappoint me. He was the leader we needed when terrorism struck. I trusted him and he proved his worth to me.

I may be just one vote, but I wonder how many people are September 11th Republicans? I wonder how many who, just two years ago, could never fathom voting for a Republican president will be doing just that one year from now?

Unless the Democrats pull off some kind of miracle and give me a reason to throw my support at them, this weblog supports George W. Bush in 2004.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going out with the girls. It's been that kind of week.


message to ron hawaii

Thank you for the Type O DVD.

Stop making it so hard to hate you.

And speaking of thank you, Eugene from the Dark Riders, please email me.

notice

The comments on this post (What Makes A Man A Man) have been closed. Some of you people appear to be complete idiots who haven't left the third-grade sandbox yet. It would be amusing if it weren't so sad and pathetic.

question of the day

Alex wants to know if there is such a thing as the soul.

Don't answer here, answer there.

nature is a museum

Auroras in strange places.

Lunar eclipse this weekend, with the moon turning red.

Meteor showers in the following days.

Trees are on fire with color.

Kids, the greatest show you'll ever see is right outside your door. It's constant art, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no admission, no cover charge, no dress code. Just walk outside and look up and around.

[paid for by the committee to re-elect mother nature]

kiss the cook

[I suppose this could be a continuation of the whole manly man thing]

Did you know that today is Men Make Dinner Day?

Yep, the first Thursday of every November, you get that "one guaranteed meal cooked by the man of the house one day of the year."

Well, my husband cooks almost every day. It's not that I don't enjoy cooking - I do. But my husband runs his own business out of our home and he's more than willing to stop his work at about 5pm and get dinner ready while I'm battling traffic and picking up kids. Plus, he's a fabulous cook.

My father is a gourmet cook. Ten course meals served on fine china, foods with names I can't pronounce, desserts that look like art. Plus, he would probably starve if he waited for my mother to cook [remember Frankeweenie?].

So, for some of us, this day is business as usual. I guess we'll just do our celebrating on March 14th: Steak and Blowjob Day. At least then, we both get to benefit.

mepham update

[Previous Mepham stories are here]

I know, it's been a while. I stopped updating about the story because everything that came out since the last time was either a rehash of old news or just so revolting that I didn't want to write once again on the bad behavior of adults.

There was a board meeting at the school last night and, apparently, not many people have learned to behave any more mature than they have in the past.

This following details of the meeting were learned from the words of two people present, both of whom sent me separate emails soon after the meeting ended:


It was a regularly scheduled board meeting at Mepham High School. The board announced their decision to not renew the contracts of the football coaches [what's not mentioned in the Newsday article is that two of the coaches will remain at the school in teaching positions and of them will stay on baseball coach]. This measure by the board was taken after the coaches were given a suggestion to resign and they refused to do so.


The board then went on with its regular agenda, discussing business and other actions taken by the board since the last meeting. These included the implementation of programs aimed at reducing hazing and promoting character education.

Towards the end of the meeting, one teacher stood up, with about a dozen behind her, and voiced their support for the coaches. Several of the parents who supported the board's decision to let the coaches go stood up and walked out at that point. The rest of the crowd cheered the teachers, and it basicallly turned into a pep rally after that.

Now, for my view on this.

Let's take a quote from one of the fired coaches:

Varsity coach Kevin McElroy said after the meeting he was "incredibly disappointed" by a decision he thought "100 percent unjust," and said, "This decision by this board of education has taken a stake and driven it through the heart of this community again."

Not really. What's driven a stake through the heart of the Bellmore community is the non-response and non-action taken by the school administrators and the coaches as soon as the rapes - and that's what they were, rapes, not hazings - were made known.

My daughter is going away next week on an overnight trip with her school. You can bet your ass that I am holding the teachers/chaperones responsible for whatever happens to my daughter while she is in their charge, just as these coaches were responsible for the kids in their care at the football camp.

Moreover, the coaches knew that there was a least one kid on the football team who threatened younger players before the trip that they would be hurt. At least one player had previous behavior problems and had served and in-school suspensions.

With that knowledge in hand, the coaches should have been doing bed checks periodically during the night. They didn't and they let those victims down.

The community is now divided between those who are rallying behind the victims and those who are rallying behind the coaches.

Those poor kids who suffered through this abuse now have to face the fact that their teachers support the adults who let this happen to them. And make no mistake, they did let this happen.

One of those teachers said this after the meeting: "We feel strongly that something like this could have happened under the supervision of any teacher, any club adviser, any supervisor, any coach, any administrator in any school, in any community, in any state across our country."

Yea, and I bet in any other school in any other state, heads would have rolled immediately.

One of the emailers said that the support for the victims is larger than it was in the beginning; it's just that the supporters of the coaches are louder, so to speak.

This whole thing makes not only the community of Bellmore look bad; as a neighbor of Bellmore, I am guilty by location, if you read some of the papers around the country when they write about Mepham.

I am embarassed, ashamed and really astonished at the behavior of the school, its staff and its administrators, and many of the parents and alumni.


novel writing: giving up - sort of

I thought I could do it. I just can't.

Between work and meetings at school and helping kids with homework and all the other stuff in between, I just could not find the time to write.

Yea, I know plenty of people doing the NaNo thing have kids and jobs and busy lives. I just can't afford to put more stress on myself right now.

I'm still going to write the novel. I'll find the time on weekends, or write during my lunch hour at work. But I am certainly not going to get to 50,000 words by the end of November.

Besides, I think my goal doesn't fit in with the Novel Writing Month goal; I want to write a publishable novel. I can't do that and force myself to write a certain amount of words in a certain amount of days. It's not the way I write and I'm too old to change my ways now. Or stubborn.

you don't say?

[In my best imitation of James Taranto]

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Dernell Stenson was found dead early Wednesday on a residential street after he was shot and apparently run over in a Phoenix suburb, police said.

Chandler police said the death was being treated as a homicide.

today's required reading(s): an iraqi voice

From Zeyad of Healing Iraq:

According to a poll by an Iraqi agency, only 3% of Iraqis want Saddam back and less than 40% want the Americans to leave immediately. Did you even hear about these results?

If you think that Iraqis aren't doing enough, then you're being mislead by your media. Thousands of people are applying to be members of IP, FPS, and the civil defense force. They are begging for the security to be in their hands. We know how to handle those scum. The Americans are more interested in being nice and all about human rights and free speech and stuff. We have our own Law and court systems which we can use but the CPA won't allow us to. They are being too lenient and forgiving on our expence. If you think that is what is required to build a successful democracy then you're too deluded. You don't know the first thing about the Iraqi society.

Iraqis are providing intelligence to the CPA hourly. Just ask the soldiers here. Iraqis are cooperating in every way they can. They're losing their lives for it goddammit. If you aren't seeing it on tv, it isn't my fucking problem.

Yes, I want you to read the whole thing. Every word.

Unfortunately, the right people won't be reading this. Perhaps I should email a copy to certain people. Hell, every member of Congress should read Zeyad's blog. Every single "Pull Out The Troops" demonstrator. Every member of Bush's administration. Most of all, every member of the media who covers this war in every way should read it.

It seems to me that no one is talking to the real Iraqis to find out what's going on in the hearts and minds of the ordinary Iraqi citizen. We all know what the Baathists think. We all know what the anti-war Americans think. Maybe it's time the media started talking to people like Zeyad.

Everyone who wants the media to report more on what the Iraqis who don't want the Americans to leave are saying should copy and past Zeyad's full post and email to it every major media outlet. And then mail it to every anti-war organization, every anti-war website and to everyone who is calling for the troops to be pulled out now.

I think I'll start by mailing a copy of Zeyad's post to Ted Rall. I'll work my way up from there. I'm sure that Ted and others like him will dismiss the email, or find ways to pick it apart, or call Zeyad's blog a fake. Or maybe they will really read it and learn something from it. One can hope.

When you are done with that, go read this, Revisionist Thoughts, published in the Arab News. That's right, I said Arab News:

Is it too early to adopt a revisionist view of the US war in Iraq and for this column to admit its mistake in having vehemently opposed it from the outset?

At issue here is whether the Iraqi people have benefited from the overthrow of the Baathist regime and whether the American occupation will eventually benefit their country even more. I’m convinced — and berate me here from your patriotic bleachers, if you must — that what we have seen in the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates in recent months may turn out to be the most serendipitous event in its modern history.

Yes, please read the rest of that, too.

via Roger Simon

Also, for a view of an American (non-military) working in Iraq, read Dave's Not Here.

November 05, 2003

comic book therapy: morality tale

My favorite way to de-stress is to grab my cigarettes, a cup of coffee and bunch of comic books from my shelf and head outside. By myself. I don't care if it's pouring (which it was tonight) - I'll still head to the porch and do my thing.

I had a very stressful day today, both at work and home. So I reached into my stash of Very Special Comic Books - those are the ones I haven't read yet - and found the bag of comics I bought at St. Marks Comics last time I was in the city.

Ohhh, I said to myself. I totally forgot I bought an issue of Tony Millionaire's Sock Monkey! So I took Sock Monkey outside with me and my cigarettes and my coffee and prepared to de-stress.

You know, it's really hard to feel sorry for yourself when you read a poignant, sad tale of love and loss between Uncle Gabby the sock monkey and the stuffed elephant he adored.

The moral of this story is: No matter how bad things seem for you, there's always a sock monkey somewhere who has it worse.

As an aside, it wouldn't hurt someone to cough up a couple of dollars and buy me that Uncle Gabby figure for Christmas. Ok, ok...I understand if you don't want to buy a total stranger a piece of plastic. Hey, you can always donate to my Send Ted Rall to Iraq and Keep Him There fund.

for the record

Just because I vehemently disagree with Kim and Connie Du Toit on the issue of what makes a man a man does not mean I don't like them. Both Mr. and Mrs. Du Toit have been nothing but nice to me since we've been reading each other's blogs. In fact, Connie has offered me some wonderful advice in the past, and she's always been spot on. They are both good people; smart, generous and empathetic.

We just happen to have different views on this subject. That's what makes the world go 'round, eh?

since i know you're all dying to know

End result of talk with hypothetical daughter about hypothetical situation:

Computer use limited to homework, under my watchful eye, for at least a week.
Grounded until further notice.
She has to write a letter to the family member (my grandfather) she disrespected.
And other sundry slave-labor type stuff.

I do believe she's really sorry.

Oh, she deleted that blog entry.

speaking of voting on measures

I would like to propose a bill that would outlaw the phrase "I just spit all over my keyboard" or "You owe me a new keyboard" or any similar phrases indicating that someone's humor is so hilarious that you cannot hold your liquid refreshment in your mouth when reading his/her jokes/posts, etc.

It's worn out, it's lost it's original punch and let's face it - nobody really means it when they write it.

If there are any other internet-type phrases you would like to see banned forever, please let me know. I'll get a bill going for next election day. Ok, maybe just a stupid poll.

feelin' groovy

Vote for Bolinas to be a socially acknowledged nature-loving town because to like to drink the water out of the lakes to like to eat the blueberries to like the bears is not hatred to hotels and motor boats. Dakar. Temporary and way to save life, skunks and foxes (airplanes to go over the ocean) and to make it beautiful.

The people of Bolinas, CA voted for this yesterday. It won - 314-152.

It was sponsored by a woman known for wearing hats made of tree bark and newspaper.

I guess I missed that part in the last election when Bolinas voted to lace its water supply with acid.

that memo

All I can think of is a few choice words: Repulsive, disgusting, sickening. How else can you describe the blatant misuse of intelligence data for partisan purposes.

That's all I have to say about that. Right now I have a (hypothetical) daughter to deal with.

behind the music: julie's 16th birthday

Thanks (I think) to reader Brian, we have discovered the real meaning behind the song Julie's Sixteenth Birthday.

While the lyrics are quite umm..meaningful (see, Sap that Sells), I still don't see how they explain the cover art.

Have your tissues puke bag ready.

JULIE'S SIXTEENTH BIRTHDAY
SPOKEN
What's your hurry Jim? One more drink won't hurt nothin'
Well okay I said buth then I got to be runnin'
you see my little Julie just turned sixteen today
and tonight she is going out on her very first date

Lord knows I never been much of a father
Probably spent more time right here than I have at home with
my daughter
So tonight I'm making up for a lotta lost time
a lot of hurt feelings and a lot of broken promises

CHORUS

For once in my life I'm gonna do something right
I'm gonna be home for my Julie tonight
Its her sixteenth birthday (spoken) and you know its her first
date
This is one promise that I'm not gonna break

Aw come on, have one more Jim...you got plenty of time
But that one led to many and I lost track of the time
When I looked at my watch it was a quarter till eight
So I left in a hurry since I was already late

As I got closer to home I started to think
Won't do me no harm to have one more drink
So I reached for the bottle I kept under the seat
When I looked up, my whole life passed right in front of me

Next thing I remembered I was just comin' to
In a hospital bed and right then I knew
That I'd caused something awful to happen last night
On my way home to Julie to set myself right

At the foot of the bed stood my best friend Lou
He walked to my side and asked what he could do
I said, "Lou, I know I won't make it but don't let me die
Not knowin' the truth 'bout what happened last night

He said, "Jim, you lost control, crossed the yellow line
Hit a car head on and Lord I wish I was lyin'
Cause a young man was injured and a lovely girl died
And I thought about that last drink and tears filled my eyes

Ed note: You know what's going to happen next, don't you?

I said Lou, should I pass on before she comes in
Be sure and tell Julie how sorry I am for spoilin' her birthday
He said, "Jim, you can save your breath
Cause when you meet her in heaven, you can tell her yourself

Raise your hand if you were blindsided by that revelation.

No one?

Didn't think so.

Anyhow, I still think the Julie in the picture is a runaway teenage prostitute.

hypothetical, of course

Suppose you have a daughter. Let’s say she’s 13. Further, let’s suppose that she has a blog.

Say this daughter has been increasingly sullen and petulant as of late. Oh, and she came out of the bathroom Monday morning wearing black eye shadow and black lipstick.

You happen to read her blog one day and discover that not only is she cursing like a drunken sailor (no offense to drunken sailors, of course), but she is being incredibly rude and disrespectful towards family members and family rules. In short, her blog certainly does not reflect the way that you raised her and you are so disappointed in her that you feel like throwing up.

Do you

a) Confront her with a printed copy of the specific entry and tell her you want to talk about it, knowing full that she will probably move her blog to another location and thus end your chances of knowing what she’s up to, or

b) Hope that she was just showing off for her friends and she really doesn't talk like that in public and she was just exaggerating on the other stuff, or

c) Say nothing to her about but secretly seethe.

[Also keep in mind that in this hypothetical situation, you are concerned that she is being unduly influenced by friends, have said as much to her, but were met with a glare and a stamp of the foot and a declaration that she will never stop hanging out with those friends, even though she has another set of friends that are respectful and studious and just...nice.]

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

she was only 16....

[click for bigger image]I was perusing this list of the worst album covers ever, and though to myself: gee, which one is more disturbing, Julie's 16th Birthday or Let Me Touch Him?

You know, I would love to sit here and discuss these things, but I have a noon gynecologist appointment. Trust me, I'd much rather sit here and discuss bad album covers. But hey, you guys can discuss it while I'm gone.

Anyhow, I went with Julie's 16th Birthday. They say that every picture tells a story, and I'd say this picture tells a sordid one. But my mind is residing somewhere in the gutter, while yours may not be.

So, tell me, dear readers. Let's get away from all this snipping at each other in the comments and get on with some real entertaining reading. Exactly what is going on in this picture? And which album cover on that site is the most disturbing? Or do you have one of your own to add?

Oh, if you are going to go take a look at the album covers on the site, beware the Orleans cover.

I'l be back later. There's a couple of stirrups and a cold speculum waiting for me.

manly men and the men who aren't

Yesterday, I only quoted part of Kim Du Toit’s essay on being a man. I assumed that people would read the whole thing before commenting on it. Apparently, some of them didn’t.

I’m quoting a little more of it today, because there are things that I didn’t have the time to expand on yesterday. These are the parts of Kim’s essay that I took umbrage with:

But most of all, I do this website because I love being a man. Amongst other things, I talk about guns, self-defense, politics, beautiful women, sports, warfare, hunting, and power tools -- all the things that being a man entails.

And:

Yes, the men are, by and large, slobs. Big fucking deal. Last time I looked, that's normal. Men are slobs, and that only changes when women try to civilize them by marriage. That's the natural order of things.

You know the definition of homosexual men we used in Chicago? "Men with small dogs who own very tidy apartments."

Real men, on the other hand, have big fucking mean-ass dogs: Rhodesian ridgebacks, bull terriers and Rottweilers, or else working dogs like pointers or retrievers which go hunting with them and slobber all over the furniture.

And this line:
.....hunting, racing our cars and motorcycles, smoking, flirting with women at the office, getting into fistfights over women, shooting criminals and doing all the fine things which being a man entails.

I actually composed a novel-length essay in my head in reply to Kim's. Really, it just boiled down to the following:

What makes my husband a man even though he doesn't like sports or own a gun or go hunting? Simple. He has a dick. The rest of what makes him what he is, is all about personality which, contrary to the belief of some, was not shaped by his penis.

I used to be married to a manly man. The kind who loved sports and exuded machismo and thought it was beneath him to work for a woman. He instilled some of those traits in my son and it has taken me years to undo them. I’d rather raise a boy who will look a woman in the face when he talks to her than one who would stare at her tits.

I suppose, according to Kim’s standards, we are raising my son to be "pussified" (Kim's word). He will never be “one of the guys” who hangs out after work drinking beer, leering at women and making fun of gays.

I'm ok with that. In fact, I'm pretty damn happy about it.

live from New york, it's wednesday morning!

Muslims warned to leave U.S. cities...

I read about that at LGF and a couple of other sites yesterday and I pretty much dismissed it as just a whole lot of blustering from some message board jihads.

So why did I dream about it last night? And why did my heart sink when I saw the story on the front page of the Fox website today?

I know why. Because my daughter is going on a school trip to D.C. next week.

I'm nervous about this trip as it is. It's the first overnight school trip I've let take. Ok, I'm a nervous mother to begin with. I didn't even let her walk around the block by herself until she was 12. And now, I'm putting her in the hands of a few teachers and chaperones as they take her to a place that - if you believe jihad message boards - is going to be targeted for terrorism soon.

No, I still don't believe what's said on that site is true. I still think it's a bunch of wannabe terrorists playing a sick game. But it certainly is feeding my paranoia and I really wish she wasn't going to D.C. next week.

I don't have the time nor the patience to discuss how the folks at DU are assuming this is some plot by Bush to stage a terrorist attack on the U.S. so he can look good. Oh, and Fox is in on it, of course. And Debka. And the Mossad.

[cue Saturday Night Live host voice] We've got a great show coming up! Real Men, Iraq, Shoddy news coverage, comic book rehab and Post-Election day hangover! And MTX is here! Don't go away, we'll be right back after a word from Carnival of the Vanities![end SNL voice]

November 04, 2003

she's not a flower! new mtx!

A brand new MTX song! Free! Download!

See more info (and lyrics) at Dr. Frank's blog!

Yes, I am excited! How can you tell?!?

Hot damn, I love this song. It's got great lyrics, makes you want to dance and listen to it over and over - typical MTX stuff.

But there's something about it - when Dr. Frank's voice drops at the end of certain lines and the tempo changes - that has a decidely late 60's feel to it. Can't put my finger on it, but something about reminds me of a certain hallucinogenic drug. But that's just me. You go ahead and enjoy the song for all the other good stuff about it.

Download here!

happy birthday, grandpa joe

[click for bigger image] That's (Great) Grandpa Joe with DJ, taken today. Grandpa turned 94 years old today and we all went to see him at his nursing home (which is, by nursing home standards, a luxurious mansion) for a little party.

It bothered me at first when Grandpa started talking in fantasy, telling us about trips he never really talk and conversations he had with dead relatives. It's hard to watch someone you love slowly lose their grip on reality.

Today, Grandpa told us what he did last night. Apparently, he went to the Yankee game with his old Brooklyn buddies, most of whom are dead. I watched as my mother effortlessly conversed with him about this fictional game, asking him questions about it, wanting to know if the Yankees won or not. According to Grandpa, the Yanks won the world series last night.

And then an epiphany. Why should it bother me when Grandpa talks about things only happen in his head? That's Grandpa's happy place, where he goes to relive the good parts of his life with the friends and family that shared all of his happy memories. It makes him smile. It makes my mother smile. And now, it makes me smile. As long as Grandpa is happy for the little time he has left, then let him think that the Yankees win the world series every single night, and he's always there.

Happy birthday, Grandpa. And enjoy your "trip" to Brooklyn tonight.

Grandpa with his three great-grandchildren.

i've got a bad feeling about this

Does anyone besides me think the CBS cancellation of the Reagan movie sets a dangerous precedent?

I do understand the uproar over the content; if there were outright lies included in the script that certainly would not be fair to President Reagan, especially since he is unable to defend himself. But caving to political pressure - especially from people who have not even seen the movie in question - just makes way for that ubiquitous slippery slope.

What's next? Will all biographical movies undergo the same scrutiny? Will pieces of historical fiction be taken off the shelves for inaccuracies?

I shudder to think about what this means for the future. Will this give the green light to special interest groups to start putting on the pressure to take programming they don't like off the air?

I just don't like where this could go.

when blogs talk, someone listens?

insurge.jpgEarlier this week, both Josh Marshall and Atrios called for the media to stop calling members of the Iraqi resistance terrorists.

"...those who attack US military targets in Iraq should be called guerillas or insurgents ."

Was Newsday listening?

Anyhow, I still think they should be called terrorists. Insurgents generally rise up against their own government. And I just don't like the word guerrillas . I always spell it wrong.

Magilla, Magilla guerilla for sale....

cushy job, my ass

I don't know whether to thank Chuck or curse him for showing me this Slate article (and don't miss Chuck's rant on the subject).

The article, by Douglas Gantenbein, is called Stop calling firefighters "heroes."

I'm going to blockquote the same parts that Chuck did, because it's the meat of the article:

When California Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger toured the state's catastrophic wildfires a few days ago, he uttered the phrase that now accompanies any blaze as surely as smoke: "The firefighters are the true heroes."

It's understandable why he said that. As fires go, the California blazes are scary. They are moving incredibly quickly through dried brush and chaparral that practically explode when they ignite, threatening the life of any firefighter nearby. Steven L. Rucker, a 38-year-old firefighter and paramedic for the town of Novato, was killed working to save houses.

Elsewhere, thousands of firefighters have worked for hours on end in 95-degree heat, dressed in multiple layers of fire-resistant clothing, sometimes without enough food or water because of the long and shifting supply lines.

Given all that, it may seem churlish to suggest that firefighters might not deserve the lofty pedestal we so insistently place them on. We lionize them, regard them as unsullied by base motivations, see them as paragons of manliness (and very tough womanliness). They're easily our most-admired public servants, and in the public's eye probably outrank just about anyone except the most highly publicized war veterans. But the "hero" label is tossed around a little too often when the subject is firefighting. Here's why:

Firefighting is a cushy job

Firefighting isn't that dangerous

Firefighters are adrenalin junkies

Firefighters have excellent propaganda skills

Firefighters are just another interest group

None of this is meant to dispute that firefighters are valuable to the

communities in which they work. They are. But our society is packed with unheralded heroes—small-town physicians, teachers in poverty-stricken neighborhoods, people who work in dirty, dangerous jobs like coal-mining to support a family. A firefighter plunging into a burning house to retrieve a frightened, smoke-blinded child is a hero. But let's save the encomiums for when they are truly deserved, not when they just show up to do their job.

In each of those reasons he states, he goes on to explain himself. I'll take a few minutes to explain myself, and why I think Mr. Gantenbein is way off base.

No. As a matter of fact, I won't do that. You can go read Chuck's post on the article. You can read what I wrote here.

Excerpt:People do not become firefighters for the money. They don't do it on a whim, or to get the chicks. It takes a special kind of person to choose to do this for a living, or to choose to volunteer their time in the local firehouses.


Oh, and here, when a similar article appeared on Salon right around the first anniversary of 9/11.

How easy it must be for a guy who writes magazine articles for a living to sit there and talk about firemen having a "cushy" job. It's hard to believe that this man who wrote the article spent so much time with firefighters.

Either he didn't learn anything, or he's just looking to get people to buy his book which, interestingly, just came out two months ago.

commenting

If you people cannot behave in the comments - and by that I mean replying to a post without resorting to insults and third-grade name calling - I will just shut off my comments all together.

It's not just the Kim/Real Men thing. It's been bothering me for some time now that so many people use my comments to to slur, slander and insult other people/races/religions.

I'm going to start deleting like crazy and if I get tired of that, the comments go.

On Kim and Men

See this post below.

I will write more about Kim's post in its entirety when I get back home. I did, in fact, agree with some of his points and I did a great disservice to Kim by quoting only the part that angered me the most.

For those who commented on the previous post of mine, be sure to read all of Kim's rant.

Thank you.

mmmm...fish

The DVD of the Pixar blockbuster 'Finding Nemo' hits store shelves today, along with two DVD-only bonus films: 'Filleting Nemo' and 'Garnishing Nemo'

That was your laugh for the day.

I'm off to go see Grandpa for his birthday.

what makes a man a man?

[Please see also the newer post here, in regards to this one]

Kim writes about what it means to be a man.

I was composing a rebuttal in my mind a I read his rant. And then I got to this part:

You know why rape is such a problem on college campuses? Why binge drinking is a problem among college freshmen?

It's a reaction: a reaction against being pussified. And I understand it, completely. Young males are aggressive, they do fight amongst themselves, they are destructive, and all this does happen for a purpose.

Because only the strong men propagate.

And my mind exploded.

I promised myself I would never Blog While Enraged.

Thoughts?

guess who's back in town?

23

comments

Update: I just disabled the blacklist feature until I can figure out what happened.

Commenting now available.


No wonder I haven't received any comments today. It seems something with MT Blacklist has screwed up my commenting thingie.

I guess I'll go look under the hood and see what's going on. Sorry for the inconvenience.

muted

It's not that I have nothing to say. In fact, I think it's that I have too much to say.

I have to run my thoughts through a collander of sorts and shake out the stuff which would only serve the purpose of furthering the mud slinging between the left and the right.

While I do that, here's food for thought, from Andrew Sullivan, on the 2004 Election (I couldn't pick out just one phrase, so here's the whole thing):

....I have little doubt that the key issue in the next election will be a relatively simple one: do you approve or disapprove of the transformation of American foreign policy in the wake of 9/11? Iraq will be factored into that, but I don't think trouble there will necessarily sink the president for one simple reason. The issue next November will not be: were we wrong to go after Saddam? It will be: what would either candidate do now? How do we maintain pressure on the threats that beset us? Do we decide that Bush's policy is fundamentally mistaken, that we are not as much at risk as we thought, that we can return to what John Kerry has called a "law enforcement" approach to terror, rather than outright warfare against both terrorism and its sponsoring states? Or do we stick with the guy who led us in those terrible post-9/11 months and won our trust at the time? Maybe memories will have faded by then - but I still think they won't have faded enough for a Dean-style isolationism or Kerry-style legalism to do well. This presidential election will be the first since 9/11. It will be about 9/11. And it will be critical.

Thoughts?


November 03, 2003

Shall we throw him a farewell party?

Ted Rall is going to Iraq. I'm going to send a note to him, just wishing hime well and stuff.

Dear Ted,

I wish you the best on your trip to Iraq. Just a few favors, though.

When you say you're going to hang out with the locals and find out what's really going on over there, remember the phrase "fair and balanced." You expect it of others, so we expect it of you.

If you're just going to hang out in Fallujah with the resistance crowd, it sort of taints your report, you know? So try to make your way around a few more cities, like the places where Chief Wiggles is giving out toys. Ask some of the kids who are going to schools with real supplies what they think of post-Saddam Iraq. Don't just ask the Jihad-masters and their sons.

But you're a reporter, Ted, so I know that you have nothing but fair journalistic standards in mind. Really. I'm looking forward to your reports live from the Palestine Hotel. In fact, I've already alerted the troops that you are coming. Ok, so maybe I said something like "Hey, that guy who wrote the article about soldiers being baby killers is coming over. Make sure you give him a nice welcome, ok?"

Oh, and watch out for those land mines.

Take care,

M

today's helpful hint

When you wake up with a strange, burning pain in your thigh, do not proceed use Google to look up a diagnosis. You will only spend the rest of the day assuming that you have a blood clot or cancer.

Trust me on this.

burning pictures of me in my face*

Bush will be burning with Fawkes in London:

"Our main message is to Blair, but undermining Blair undermines Bush," said Simon Hester, an activist at a recent meeting in London to plan the protests.

"If we can help sabotage George Bush's election campaign, so much the better. We want to send a message to all the people of the world - I think our best defence against a terrorist outrage is having a huge demonstration. [emphasis mine]

Point A: If you really want to protest "a terrorist outrage" try protesting the Iraq resistance. Or Hamas. Or al Qaida.

Point B: Someday (and unfortunately it will be too late) these people will realize that all their protests and effigies only spur on the terrorists. You think they don't watch international news? Of course they know about the protests and unrest. And they thrive on that. The more they cry "Bush is Hitler!" or "Pull out Now!" the stronger the terrorists that are killing U.S. soldiers and hampering the process of bringing peace to Iraq will feel.

Why do I bother?


*brownie points for anyone who knows the song that came from

SPEAKING OF CHEESE

Good morning, Viking fans.

fromage!

[Here's where I attempt to hold my tongue for the day and try to stay away from politics and war. For now]

cheese.gifEmpire Magazine has come out with a list of the cheesiest films ever. Most of the films were defined by a singular cheesy moment:

Kevin Costner earns a place for a scene in his flop film The Postman in which a blind woman tells him: "You're a godsend, a saviour."

"No, I'm just a postman", Costner solemnly replies.

Ah, cheese.

The cheesiest films, according to Empire:

1 - Independence Day
2 - Top Gun
3 - The Karate Kid
4 - Four Weddings...
5 - Pearl Harbor
6 - Stepmom
7 - The Postman
8 - An Officer and a Gentleman
9 - Patch Adams
10 - Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Some of the fromage moments make you me cringe in disgust (Clones) and some just make you change the channel (Stepmom) while others make you want to hurl on the spot (Pearl Harbor).

So let's have a little Monday levity, shall we? Give me your cheesiest films - include the line(s) that made the film so cringe/vomit worthy for you.

[UPDATE] People, cheesy does not equal bad! Cheesy is when someone speaks a line that makes you feel uncomfortable, in that cringing sort of way. As in: how could the director leave that line in there, and how can the actor not be embarassed that he said it?

See the comment below on John Travolta.

blame james lileks if i suddenly join peta

A generous reader sent me a copy of The Gallery of Regrettable Food, by the world famous James Lileks. Sure, I've been through the Institute and read through the Gallery online, but it's not the same as having it there, right in front of you, in full washed-out, retro color.

So I read the book last night, laughing at James's sarcasm and wit, making disgusted faces at the pictures of meals that I wouldn't feed my enemies, let alone my family.

The book is a great addition to any library and highly recommend it. Just don't read it right before going to bed. Like any good book of horror and fright, it will give you nightmares.

I dreamed about lamb shanks, even though I'm not really sure what a lamb shank is. In this particular dream, they looked like meat stuffed marrow. Think Combos, but with a hollowed out bone and raw ground beef.

I was serving them to my family (a dream family, because last time I checked I only had two kids, not five, and my husband isn't a Latino man resembling Erik Estrada in his younger years).

But there they were, this ramshackle family of mine, sitting at a table made of....lettuce? Yes, the whole table was like one big garnish. That lettuce with the ruffly edges that are meant more for decoration than for eating. A few well placed sprigs of parsely. And my family of six (seven including myself) sitting around this roughage like it was completely normal.

I was wearing an apron and pearls, ala June Cleaver. In fact, I think one of my sons was named Beaver. Or Wally.

The dream was going along just fine, me and my little 50's Stepford Family, smiling and laughing and drinking huge glasses of pure white milk to wash down that bone marrow, when it took a sudden turn.

My Erik Estrada-Ward Cleaver husband started leaking blood out of all of his orifices. And there I was with my Bounty Paper towels, singing the quicker-picker upper like the old jingle, wiping blood from Erik/Wards's eyes and ears. Smiling. And the whole time, Erik/Ward is just reading the newspaper and saying things like Hey, kids, want to go fly a kite later?

And the kids had lost all their perfect little manners and were eating like Vikings, grabbing huge chicken legs and bowls of stuffed cabbage and some kind of jello mold with a turkey inside of it, and stuffing their faces, drooling all over the lettuce tables. There was meat everywhere. Raw meat, cooked meat, meat shaped like bunny rabbits and meat molded into a statue that had hot dogs for ears.

I woke up cursing James Lileks. And thinking of becoming of vegetarian.

November 02, 2003

suddenly, fiction

Speaking of writing (well, I was earlier), Dave and Val have been busy putting together Sudden Fiction, a showcase of blogger's short stories.

You can find mine here.

They have seven stories up so far. Don't miss Laurence's.

On the other writing front, I reached 3,500 words today. But whose counting?

[I promise, no more writing about this novel writing forty times a day]

Oh, how could I forget this? Don't miss seeing Meryl topless!

poll shift

It's down below.

worst. halloween episode. ever

Is it just me or was that Treehouse of Horror special incredibly lame?

Heh

Chuck is jealous of my boobs.

scary monsters and super creeps

From Tongue Tied:

The Portland Oregonian reports that schools across America have banned pretty much any Halloween costume with the potential for offending anyone. Some have gone so far as to do away with the costumes altogether.

In written rules, Waluga Junior High School in Lake Oswego, Ore. forbids toy weapons, masks and cross-dressing for the boys. Costumes must be respectful of all ethnic or cultural identities.

Some of the schools around here took it even a step farther; they banned any and all costumes. Our school district didn't have a cohesive plan. Each school made up their own rules as to what could and couldn't be worn. At my daughter's middle school, only costumes depciting historical figures or characters from literature were acceptable. At two of the elementary schools, any kind of Halloween costume - even a t-shirt saying Happy Halloween - was banned. No Halloween parties, no candy, nothing. Most of the schools in other local districts did the same.

Cooler heads prevailed at my son's elementary school. Not only did they have their annual Halloween parade and class parties, but costumes of any sort were welcome. Scary, gory, creepy, possibly offensive to aliens, criminals and other sorts. There were skeletons and vampires, pirates and gypsies, about 40 kids in blood-dripping Scream masks, a couple of Freddies with clawed fingers and a handful of Jasons in hockey masks (with cleaver), werewolves, generic monsters, bloody doctors, indians, cowboys, boys dressed as girls, girls dressed as pop singers that looked like hookers and two kids dressed as Fat Bastard.

[click for bigger images]

The kids had a great time walking around the front of the school while a speaker blared Halloween themed rock music. Every teacher got into the act, each wearing a costume as they walked with their classes.

No one seemed to be offended or frightened. None of the parents complained. It's good to know that at leats at my son's school, kids are allowed to be kids on Halloween.

whew

I figured out a way to combine the two stories I had in mind. I started over and wrote 3,000 words today. I am happy with both the content, the storyline and amount of writing I was able to get done today.

I revised the first chapter, if you want to see it, it's here.

i'm confused....

So, let me get this straight.

When the media showed pictures of Palestinians dancing in the street on September 11, 2001, we were admonished by the politically correct left to remember that those revelers shown only represented a small faction of all Palestinians and/or Muslims and that we should not judge an entire area by a small handful of zealots.

But when the media shows members of the Iraqi resistance dancing in the streets after 15 American soldiers were killed, we are told by the left that they are a represention of all Iraqis.

Just a thought.

day 2: stressed out already

I'm having a problem with this novel writing thing.

After going through the forums at NaNoWriMo, I was discouraged to see how many people were more obsessed with word counts than with the finished product. There are some writers who list ways to make your word count higher, like using hyphens and making your chapter titles longer than necessary.

My goal here is to write something I love and, hopefully, something that is publishable. I won't be suicidal if I don't reach the 50,000 words by the end of November as long as I am satisfied with what I have written thus far.

I keep going back and changing words and fixing phrases. My story has changed itself three times and I'm only at 1,556 words - well below what the average should be if I want to make that 50k.

Maybe I'm taking it too seriously.

And I'm glad I decided to post only the first chapter and nothing else until the novel is finished. To the person who sent me the email with a completely edited version of that chapter, fuck you. It's not so much that you took the liberty of editing it, it's the way you ended your email with the big, capitalized note to NOT EMAIL YOU BACK. I thought your editing was off base, by the way, as are most of your long-winded comments on this site. I don't like you. I think you are a pompous windbag. Just so you know.

the long, hard war

Thirteen Killed After Helicopter Attacked in Iraq

War will always have its victims. When a large number of soldiers die at once, the reality of the the casualties of war stares us in the face. And then, just like everything else that happens in a war, it will polarize us.

There are those that will point to today's news and give it as a reason to pull out of Iraq. There are those who will mourn the deaths, but feel the need to stay in Iraq, to continue on.

Some will see the attack on the helictopter as proof that Iraqis don't want the coalition forces in their country. Some will see it as proof that Saddam's people - together with other Muslim militants - are still strong in number and that's why we need to stay.

If we stay, there will certainly be more casualities. This is a war, after all. Not just a battle against Saddam's forces, but a battle against terrorism. Eventually, the resistance will be defeated or they will retreat. Eventually, there will be a kind of peace in Iraq, certainly something better than what was in place before the war.

If we leave, there will be still be casualties. Iraqis who are not part of the resistance. The peace process. The dream of democracy. The militants and terrorists will win. Their ranks will grow as they become emboldened by the absence of coalition forces. And Iraq will be the new breeding ground, the gathering point for terrorists world-wide.

Chaos will return, old laws will be enforced, families will be torn apart and the people will once again suffer as they did under Saddam. The casualties of the inner wars of Iraq will be great. And all of the soldiers of the coalition forces who have died during this war will have died for nothing.

I am sorry for the families of the soldiers who died today. I am sorry for the families of the innocent civilians who died during the course of this war. But pulling out of Iraq now would be like spitting on their graves.

Wars are generally long and hard and filled with death and destruction. But they are fought for a reason. I still believe in the reasons I have been a supporter of this war to begin with; to root out terrorism and its supporters, to free the people of Iraq from a horrible dictatorship, to bring freedom to a place that has known nothing but despair and fear.

We started something we need to finish. People will die in the process. That is war. Every person who signs up for the armed forces knows that they run the risk of dying in combat. If we bring our troops home, all those dead soldiers will have died in vain. And all the people of Iraq who want freedom will be abandoned and left to the wolves.

So what is it you really want? Which side are you on? Do you want us to cut our losses and come home, leaving Iraq the way it right now? Or do you want us to stay and finish the job, knowing their will be casualties in the process?

Iraq can, in the future, have a country that has risen from the depths of terror and horror. Or Iraq can, in the future, revert back to that horrible state and become just another place that anti-American terrorists get together and make plans.

That's the choices I see here. What do you see?

November 01, 2003

the greatest threat is brainwashed fools

Israel has been described as the top threat to world peace, ahead of North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran, by an unpublished European Commission poll of 7,500 Europeans, sparking an international row.

They sure do like that Kool-Aid over there.

weather is here

Sorry for the lack of material today. It was absolutely gorgeous out (75 degrees on November 1st!) and the kids both had friends over. It was a day to stay off of the computer.

It looks most of the blogosphere was away today, anyhow. Did you all have good weather as well?

And while I have you here, what do you think would be a really interesting way for a celebrity to die; say the kind of death that makes one the punchline of late night tv jokes?

writing

This is what I've decided about posting my novel as I go: I'm only going to post the first 500 words, and then small excerpts later on.

I've got the first 500 down, unedited as of now.

It's like summer outside. I'm taking a nature break.

i love a stuffed mailbox

To the very kind, generous person who sent me the Life of Agony CD/DVD from my wishlist: You have no idea how happy you've made me (us). We've watched it twice already.

The live stuff on the discs was recorded at their reunion show at Irving Plaza this year. I could kick myself for not getting off my ass and going to that show; the band sounds great and it's wonderful to see them together again. Kinda makes me wistful for the good old days when when Roadrunner Records had a stable of incredible bands; when I could still mosh; when the radio wasn't full of crappy bands pretending to be hard. And that was only about five years ago or less.

Life Of Agony was one of the best at what they did; they had a totally unique sound and lyrics that could make you feel emotions you didn't know you had. If you like your music hard and you want to check them out, stick to their first two albums, River Runs Red and Ugly. Their last studio album, Soul Searching Sun sucked hard.

Anyhow, most of you probably have no idea who or what I'm going on about. So I'll just say it again to the person who sent it to me (I don't publicize names unless I get permission), thanks so much.

just asking

Why are people so surprised to find out that women like porn, too?