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January 31, 2004

The devil on her shoulder

While Michele is busy swooning, stumbling, snoozing, and puking her guts up, I figured I'd take a moment to do what she so rarely, if at all, does. Over there on the right margin you'll find a few ways to brighten up her otherwise bleary and dreary ill weekend:
  • The ASV Laptop Fund so she can blog from the GOP Convention in 2004.
  • Order an Advertisement on this site. Let people know that you support this kind of tomfollery, wistfulness, and woolgathering not only in spirit, but financially.
  • And then there's the Command Post thongs...
What? No Command Post thongs? Then what the Hell am I wearing right now? Maybe instead of a laptop, she could start small. Maybe some chicke soup. If you're voerly generous, she might be able to afford some noodles or matzoh balls in there. And if you're extremely generous, she could afford the whole matzoh and not the balls. Imagine, if you will, a swimming pool of chicken soup. I figure if you swam in that, you'd stay young and healthy like those old geezers in Cocoon did. Well, except that you'd smell like greasy chicken fat and salt. Sorta like the old geezers, I believe. (Get well soon, Michele. Your absence leaves some daunting shoes and cups to fill.)

station break

closed.gif [i'll be back when i can keep awake for more than ten minutes a time]

and a little musical interlude

Zorak's Blues. If you make your own, leave the link here.

Open Discussion: love/hate relationships

Ok, so this mono thing is worse than I thought it would be. I should have listened to all the advice. As such, I will be on the couch for most of the day and will not be blogging. However, you know I just wouldn't leave this place blank for the day. No, no open mic right now. I don't feel like monitoring the posts. So let's just do an open discussion, inspired by this thread at Stacy's, where she admits to hating Jimmy Buffet. Discuss: What do you hate that (you believe) everyone else loves? What do you love that (you believe) everyone else hates? For instance, I hated Forrest Gump, a movie that supposedly anyone with a heart loves. I don't think Friends is a good tv show. I think Hemingway was incredibly boring. And am I really the only one who thinks Rob Zombie is hot? Have at it. I may be back later.

January 30, 2004


I'm risking the wrath of my blog doctor, to whom I made a promise to rest and not blog, but I've been on the couch so damn long I had to get up and do something. So I moved the two feet from the couch to the computer chair. Don't worry, I'll make this short and then it's back to bed. If you notice, I have taken down the "Blogs for Bush" button I had on the sidebar for a few weeks. I'm wavering. He's really pissing me off lately. But what's the alternative? I don't like any of the Dem candidates, and I'm not going to once again waste my vote on a fringe third party candidate. Yea, it's still Bush, but it's not with any kind of passion or total allegiance that he'll get my vote. It comes down to the main issue of who will protect me. It's just a shame that I have to choose everything that comes with the choice of security when I pull that lever.

Squeezed Out

[If you were under the impression that I would stop blogging just because I have mono, you're crazy. Blogging is the only thing between me and an imprint of the couch on my ass]

cfc.gifYes, I am addicted to VH1's Bands Reunited, thank you for asking.

It was great to see The Alarm again, even if Mike Peters sort of flattened out his hair, which was what attracted me to the band in the first place.

Today was Squeeze's turn. Surely you remember Squeeze? A band that is never given enough credit for their talents, Squeeze tends to get thrown into the slush pile of funny looking 80's bands that had a hit or two.

Unlike some other bands of that era that got famous because of their style or gimmick or just because they hit the right place at the righ time, Squeeze was oozing with talent.

Difford, Tilbrook, Holland and all those other guys who didn't matter as much as those three combined to make some of the greatest songs to come out of an era when great songs were not nearly as numerous as their overstyled, synth pop counterparts. Not that there's anything wrong with that; I loved the whole synth pop-new wave thing. I was just able to recognize that while most of the music of that genre was filled with fun beats that you could bop your head in time to after a few shots of tequila in a grungy-on-purpose club, Squeeze was different.

While a lot of people joined the Squeez fan-wagon when East Side Story (1981) came out (and some, not until Squeeze Singles in 1982), I had a head start on the band due to my employment at a radio station in 1980. Ok, I wasn't an employee so much as a phone volunteer, one of those people who answered the 24-7 request line and handled the contests and listened to a lot of heavy breathing and requests for sexual favors that were unheard of in my little, naive corner of the world.

Volunteering had its perks. Lots of free albums, meeting semi-stars, going on the air once in a while (I even made a few commercials) and getting a heads up on the up and coming bands, which proved to be a constant source of jealousy on the part of my friends when a band I predicted would become famous actually did and I could smugly say "I called that one!" Like I did with U2. But that's another story.

This one is about Squeeze and about a copy of Cool for Cats that made it into my hands in early 1980. The record had actually been released in '79, but New York radio was slow to pick up on it. The station I was working at, WLIR, went by the slogan "Dare to be Different," and they held true to that motto by daring to play the title song of Cool for Cats.

It was love at first listen. It was different, so far apart from anything I was hearing at the time. I grabbed a copy of the album and spent that night listening to it for hours, flipping the disc at least ten times. The lyrics to Up the Junction were simple, the rythmn almost monotonous. But somehow those two parts together formed a riveting song. Even Cool for Cats, with its machine-gun presentation of the lyrics (I give a little muscle, and I spend a little cash, but all I get is bitter and a nasty little rash) was just so out there that I couldn't help but love it. If I Didn't Love You (I'd Hate You). was the ultimate in relationship songs:

Singles remind me of kisses, albums remind me of plans .

Well, I thought that was pretty damn deep back then. In fact, I still do. And I still quote it.

I found a copy of U.K. Squeeze. - their first album and the original name of the band- in some dirty record story in the city. While it seemed to be made by almost a different band, it was still some good shit, as we used to say in the 'hood. Take Me, I'm Yours inspired many a late songwriting session on my part, trying to recreate that staccato delivery of passionate-in-an-odd-way lyrics.

Then along came East Side Story and Squeeze became a sensation. Tempted pushed them onto the charts and out of the dark, dingy clubs I had seen them in into Madison Square Garden. Elvis Costello worked wonders with the band, polishing their genius and creating a bigger, more diverse sound. Unfortunately, it was one I didn't love. I liked it, but I didn't love it the way I did Argy Bargy. I gave Sweets from a Stranger, their next album, a chance but was turned off when I found my mother singing Black Coffee in Bed.

Regardless of whether I liked them anymore or not, they were still damn talented. Jools Holland's piano playing always amazed me. Difford and Tilbrook wrote some amazing songs. And those other guys did...other talented-like things. In between the breakup of Squeeze and the reunion of Squeeze, Difford and Tilbrook released an album together, the highlight of which was a wonderful tune called Love's Crashing Wave's.

At one point, I pined for the days when Cool for Cats was considered exciting and new. When new wave finally crashed and burned, that was the one album I went to (ok, that and the 12 inch single of Stephen "Tin Tin" Duffy's Kiss Me) when I wanted to sulk in my room and relive the glory days of night clubs, spiked hair and torn, black stockings.

So it was with trepidation today that I watched VH1 take their turn with Squeeze. And I was mostly relieved when the plans fell through and the band did not go through with the reunion. They probably would have played one of their later songs, anyhow. You know it wouldn't have been Cool for Cats or Up the Junction, and that's how I want to remember them.

The 80's nostalgia crap is getting to me. Someone stop me before I hunt down all the members of Aztec Camera and force them to play the entire track listing of High Land, Hard Rain. In my living room.

And if you are tempted to use the comments to say what band you would want VH1 to reunite, don't. That's for tomorrow's open mic night. Save it.

Update: This is the station I worked for. They officially went off the air this month after many, many years of providing great music to Long Islanders. This makes me incredibly sad. How sad? You'll have to wait until tomorrow's eulogy to a radio station.

More like this in: Essential Media

life's the same, I'm moving in stereo mono

So, the doc takes one look at me, says "Man, you look like shit," and when I get to the second symptom he stops me and says "Holy Mononucleosis, Batman!" And then he takes one look at Nat, all curled up in the corner of the office and says "Jesus, girl. What did you do to her?" Ok, didn't happen exactly like that, but the results are the same. Both Nat and I faced the needle and had the blood drained from our veins today, even both the doctors already gave us each the dreaded diagnosis. Plus, I have swollen glands and strep throat, which I think are part of the mono virus, anyhow. No idea what the next week holds. I really don't have that much sick time. I may have to ask my sister, whom I love more than life itself and who is the greatest person to ever exist, to donate some sick time to me. I'll just take it day by day. Right now, I need a ten hour nap. My ass has been thoroughly kicked.


Did you watch the debate last night? What the hell crawled up Tom Brokaw's ass last night? He was snippy, feisty and reminded me of an argumentive drunk who challenges the whole bar to a fist fight. Except Kerry and crew evaded his punches. Does anyone actually answer a question in a debate, or do they just try to suck up their alloted time by cheerleading for themselves and throwing insults at their opponents? I think it would go a lot better - and produce a clearer picture of the candidates - if they were all tied to metal chairs with bright lights shining in their eyes and a devious looking man with a blunt instrument standing by. And the chairs were placed on electric currents which gave them a shock every time they avoided asnwering a question. People would pay to see that.


Daughter has mono. Mom wakes up this morning feeling like she was hit by a truck. She has a headache that will not be quelled, even with a handful of Excedrin Migraine. Her throat is closing up. She should go to the doctor, eh? Oh, but she's afraid of needles and does not want to undergo a blood test. Hmmm....does sit here feeling like death warmed over or suffer the pains of a large, sharp syringe sucking blood from her arm? And why is she talking in third person? She does not know.

11 years ago today...

If you ask DJ what his greatest accomplishment in his eleven short years on this planet thus far, he will tell you that when he was just 2 1/2, he beat the Sonic the Hedgehog game in two days. Apple, tree, etc. My own greatest accomplishment in the past eleven years is that I can truly say that I am proud DJ is my son. Really, what more could a parent ask? Happy Birthday, kid. May the future bring you the means to live your dream of being a guitar playing-third baseman-astronaut. djbd.jpg

January 29, 2004

Disney: Dead on Arrival

Who didn't see this coming? Pixar has dumped Disney. TO INFINITY...AND BEYOND!"After ten months of trying to strike a deal with Disney, we're moving on," Pixar CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement. "We've had a great run together -- one of the most successful in Hollywood history -- and it's a shame that Disney won't be participating in Pixar's future successes." To repeat what I said on December 1st:
Pixar could still renew their contract with Disney, but I wouldn't bet on it. The success of Finding Nemo alone should give Pixar the balls to venture out and find another studio to work with. Sure, they may end up staying with Disney but, if they don't, Disney will be left with nothing but a lot of memories and a pile of straight-to-video sequels that just won't hold a candle to what other studios (i.e., DreamWorks) are doing.
And to quite un-humbly quote myself even further: Eisner has shaped Disney into his own image and, in the process, has cut the animation giant off at the knees. I restate my declaration from this morning: If Eisner stays on, Disney will sink with him. Two days ago, there was this:
Roy Disney, a former Walt Disney Co. board member who resigned amid his opposition to Chief Executive Michael Eisner, Tuesday urged shareholders to vote against Eisner and three other directors standing for re-election to the company's board. "Now is the time for all Disney shareholders to take the first step to bring needed change to The Walt Disney Company," said Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, who also resigned from the board in protest, in a letter to shareholders sent ahead of the March 3 annual meeting.
The glory days of Disney are long gone. They will continue to release - and then withdraw from the shelves - remastered versions of old classics in the hopes of keeping the Disney animation cash flow from drying up. They've come a long, long way since the days when movies like The Little Mermaid made Disney all the rage again. A long, long way down, that is. All hail Pixar, our new animation overlords. Endnote: Pixar (PIXR: Research, Estimates) stock jumped in after-hours trading, according to Reuters, while Disney (DIS: Research, Estimates) stock sank more than 4 percent.

predicting dean

Sitting in a doctor's waiting room for an hour or so gives you a great opportunity to catch up on magazine reading. I read two back issues of Time and one back issue of Newsweek and all three of them - written well before the primaries started - predicted the meltdown of Howard Dean. The guy is absolutely unelectable. [This is one of the articles. Unfortunately, you have to pay to read the whole thing. Maybe when I go back to the doctor's office tomorrow, I'll "borrow" it.] Uh...Dean seems to have a scatalogical fetish.

Does he think money grows on trees?

[To quote my mother] Bush's plan to give 18 million dollars to the NEA is, in a word, preposterous.

Word to the Wise

If your teenage child complains day in and day out of various aches, pains, headaches and tiredness, don't always blow them off and assume they just don't want to go to school. After kicking Nat out the door every morning and telling her to stop being a hypochondriac and get to school, I finally took her to the doctor, if just to prove to her that there was nothing wrong with her except laziness and her penchant for staying awake way past her bedtime. Oops. She has mono. Bad mommy. Guilt ensues.

A Small Victory: Three Years and Still Blowing Smoke Up Your Ass

Three years. I don't think I've ever stuck with an idea this long. I was always the type to join a club or sign up for a sport or come up with a grand plan and throw in the towel a week or two later. I have unfinished stories and half-done projects cluttering my closets. Hell, I left St. John's University (for good reasons) with just 15 credits needed to graduate with a degree in English. Well, it's not like an English degree would have paid off anyhow. You may as well major in Sitting at Home Twiddling Your Thumbs. So here we are, three years after I started blogging, and I'm still at it. Go figure, I finally found something to do that kept my interest for more than 30 seconds. Today is the actual date of the anniversary, though the proof of that is long, long gone. I started my first weblog - after reading an article about blogs on Plastic - at Tripod. I don't even remember the name or URL. But I do remember the date because I still have the Notepad file. 1/29 So, this is a weblog. Does anyone read these things? Ok, I do remember the URL. But it's too embarassing. I gave up on Triopd and moved to Freeservers that May, where my posts were a bit longer and dealt mainly with sports and news. Then Freeservers screwed me and I finally broke down and bought my own domain and went from Blogger to Greymatter to Moveable Type and here I am. Three years. Have I accomplished anything? Have I learned anything? Sure have, sure did. Three years ago I was marginally aware of the world around me. I could talk current events and politics, but I had no particular passion for for doing so. I read the paper, watched a few talking heads, but didn't stay riveted to the tv except for times of breaking news. Unless the Weather Channel counts. Man, I love that channel. Then I started reading other blogs. Obsessively. I had a links list that took up two pages. And then a strange thing happened. Just a few months into blogging, I realized my discussions about news and politics were fueled by passion. I took more of an interest in news not just from the U.S., but from all over. I began commenting on other blogs - I didn't realize I had such strong opinions about everything from brands of tuna to the Middle East. It was just what I needed. Being a very opinionated and strong-willed person, blogging was a perfect hobby for me. Finally, a place to vent and rant and rave and tell the people of the world how incredibly correct my opinions are and how very wrong they are. It's easy to be righteous in your beliefs when your blog doesn't have a commenting system. People rarely emailed me to refute my opinions. I was so smug, so sure of myself that I was excited to start using Blogger so I could have commenting capabilities. My first day on Blogger was September 10, 2001. Check it out. [click for bigger image] I think you know what happened after that. And this is the great thing about having a blog - I do know what happened after that. I have every emotion and event recorded, forever and ever, amen. Don't worry, I'm not going to rehash the whole 9/11 series of events and blog posts. Been there, done that. But I will tell you that it was not just having a blog, but having a blog with comments, is what buoyed me through those days and nights. Ah, but there always is a flipside to things. Enabling comments ended up to be a very humbling experience. Spouting off my opinions, bitching at the world and acting as if I were absolutely right on all counts tended to piss my readers off. And they let me know. My ideas and beliefs were refuted, disputed, diluted and called stupid. I was countered, disagreed with, proved wrong, shouted down and whatever the virtual version of being punched in the mouth is. It's so easy to think you're right when you don't give people the chance to prove you wrong. Lesson Number One of blogging: People with strong opinions, who are often feisty, accusatory and belligerent and don't have comments enabled are cowards. I braved the storm and kept the comments open and I think I'm a better person for that. I have learned, I have been schooled - in short, I got served. It's a good thing to be humbled once in a while. It keeps you honest. At least, it should. And I've been nothing if not honest with you all these years. A Small Victory: WYSIWYG. So, in three years I have honed my writing skills, made somewhat of a name for myself, started about 20 different projects and saw most of them to completion, made a ton of friends and several enemies, learned a great deal about the world and myself, was quoted in several national magazines and newspapers, received a community award from something I started right here, learned some coding skills, received support in times of crisis, was able to give support to others, became an activist, a political junkie, a newshound and a published author. It's been three years of constant schooling with bloggers as my teachers: Glenn Reynolds, Bill Quick, Joanne Jacobs, Stacy Tabb, Toren Smith, Rachel Lucas, Robyn Pollman, Arthur Sibler, Dirk Deppey, James Lileks, Noah Grey, Reid Stott, Eric Olsen, Jim Treacher and Mike Hendrix as my unwitting mentors and teachers. Whether they taught me coding or how to laugh at myself or how to take myself seriously, or the nuances of war, religion, politics and peace, or how to write a fluid sentence or stand up for what I believe in or how to buy a good camera or spot a great comic book, or gave me a much needed lesson in humility, they all knowingly or not taught me more in the past three years than I learned in all the time I spent in various colleges. Friends, I've made a few. Unlike Frank Sinatra, there are way too many to mention. You know who you are, you know what you mean to me and I'll never stop telling you. Readers. I've come a long way from my 10 hit days on Tripod. I'm not going to look up the numbers, but let's just say I'm overwhelmed by the amount of people that read my drivel every single day. It still boggles the mind. And I would like thank every single one of you. Personally. You, and you and you and you....(nevermind, I saw a comedian do that once. He pulled it off much better than I just did). Enemies. Oh, yes. It's been almost fun to make them. My buddy Vince. The goons at Indymedia. Bloggers who shall remain unnamed. But truth be told, I learned just as much from them as I have from my friends and I truly thank them for the lessons they have given me, intentional or not. So, three years in a nutshell: I've lived, I've loved, I've learned. Just like anyone else in this world. I just happen to put it all down in writing every day. Saved for posterity in the bowels of Google so my kids will one day plot to murder me in my sleep when they realize all I've written about them. Ah, but it will be worth it, just for that twinge of smugness I feel when my daughter treats me like the stupidest person on the face of the earth and I'm thinking to myself, well, 10,000 have seen that picture of you dressed like Christina Aguilera! HAH! Three years of crap dispensed for free at this virtual vending machine of tirades. And I have loved every minute of it. I'd like to stick around another three years, if this blogging thing ever takes off. Thanks for all the fish time you've given me. I hope it's been worth it.

January 28, 2004

is it spring yet?

Again, I apologize for the lack of posting. I am very tired and very...blah. Whoever is in charge of the seasons, you may end winter now. Thank you.

Great Expectations: The Valentine's Day Letdown Syndrome

I've received quite a bit of email about my vagina post yesterday. Apparently, many of you are under the assumption that I am pissed specifically because the vagina warriors are trying to take Valentine's Day away. You seem to be under the impression that I love Valentine's Day. Hah. You assume way too much. So it is with delight that I present, for the third year running, my Valentine's Day screed. And once again, I await your refutation of my bitterness and angst. Not that you need a reminder, what with all the storefronts decorated with sickening pink and red hearts and little cherubs with pointy weapons, but V Day approaches. I hate this holiday. People who do not have significant others do not corner the market on hating Valentine's Day. It comes down to this: the greeting card and chocolate and floral industries have gotten together and formed this great conspiracy called Valentine's Day. Sure, this day existed a long time ago, set aside to honor a saint. Not a day to buy your wife a black teddy and a garter belt. And certainly not a day to make people who are not in a relationship feel shitty about themselves. And most certainly not a day to make all the people who don't think of being romantic or spontaneous or thoughtful all year long think there is one specific day where they can do these things and then be off the hook for the rest of the year. Valentine's Day is not a day of amnesty. It is not a day where a guy or girl can say "Well, I've been shitty to my partner all year long, but if I buy them a huge boquet of flowers on February 14th, I'm off the hook!" It doesn't work that way. Me, I'm lucky to have someone who is a romantic fool all year round. But it wasn't always that way. I was once married to a guy who thought that if he took out the garbage instead of making me do it, it was a romantic gesture. Valentine's Day would come around and I would get a box of chocolate ($3.99 at CVS) and it would have at least two pieces with the dreaded coconut, which means I got a cheap box of chocolate of which I could only really enjoy about 4 pieces. Chocolate is not a good gift. Chocolate says "I would like you to gain a few pounds so then I can say to you in a week or so that you look like you could lose a few pounds." Flowers are not good. Flowers say "Here are some beautiful works of nature that will wilt or dry out and lose their beauty in a relatively short time. Like you. Which is when I will leave you for a younger woman." Sexy lingerie is not good, because that just says "I really hate the way you look naked. Do you think you could dress like a stripper when we have sex so I can pretend that you are Shana from The Raven's Nest?" Valentine's Day is a crock of falsehoods. It does more harm than good. Have you ever been that kid in class who got three valentines while everyone else got 20? Have you ever sat home crying in your beer and eating a pint of chocoalte chip mint ice cream while burning pictures of your ex? Then you know. You know how Valentine's Day only causes pain. Even for the guys who have a girlfriend because they feel they can't live up to the expectations that the media has set for them as far as presents go. Diamonds are a man's best friend apparently, especially if he wants sex, some free time or the right to do anything you please any way you please because women are shallow like that. For the girls who have a special someone, it sucks if they have been watching some woman-centered morning television show where some guy pops out of the audience in a tuxedo on Valentine's Day and gets down on his knee and begs his girlfriend, who is a grip or stagehand or something, to marry him. And then Katie Couric sends them on a trip around Manhattan in a horse drawn carraige and the snow falls gently on their heads as he puts a diamond ring on her finger and....well that's not reality for everyone, folks. So don't think it's yours. Valentine's Day only serves to get your hopes up and then have them crashed down on top of you by the end of the night when all you got was a kiss and an offer to let you watch while he plays Grand Theft Auto. Any other day of the year that would have been good enough for you. I've digressed again. I'm just saying. To hell with Valentine's Day. No flowers, no candy, no crotchless panties. If you love someone, tell them. That's all. And really, that should be every day. ______________________ This year, I add: I don't profess to speak for all women on this issue. I am speaking for me, and that is not something that men who are looking to find out women's feelings about Valentine's Day should take to the bank, so to speak. My idea of a perfect date is drinking beer and playing video games and watching Space Ghost and Aqua Teen DVDs. Which is what I will be doing on the evening of February 14th with my husband, who is damn lucky to have me.

there will always be more

I thought I knew everything. I understood how it happened, the sequence of events, the aftermath, the death and destruction. I thought I knew every detail, every story, every rumor, implication and theory. Of course, I was wrong. Could it be that it took me over two years to realize that I - we - will never know everything about September 11, 2001? I don't mean the mechanations of the plan, or the years leading up to the actions of al Qeada; I don't expect to know that. Perhaps what I thought happened is what I wanted to believe; that the people on the planes that hit the buildings never knew what was happening. I wanted to believe that one minute they were reading or sleeping or watching a movie and then, they were dead. There was no fear, no panic. Just sudden, painless death. Listening to this tape today, I can see how wrong and naive I have been. Can you imagine being in that situation? You are on a plane, crew members have been stabbed. You can't breathe because of chemicals sprayed in the air. You know without being told that your life is over. You're with your spouse, your child, your best friend. What do you say? Do you tell your small child that she's about to die and mommy loves her very much? Do you kiss your husband good-bye or do you just sit and stare out the window, frozen by fear? For two years I thought only of the people in the buildings that were hit and the rescuers who ran into those buildings as they were crumbling down. I imagined their horror, felt their pain, lived their nightmares. I cried for them and was angry for them and vowed to never forget them. Oh, I cried for the victims on the planes as well, but I never gave as much thought to their last moments as I did to the WTC victims' last breaths. I'm reading yet another book about 9/11. It's a book of personal stories, much like the Voices project. There are passages about the victims I never thought about; the people who were sitting in nearby stores or just walking past the building as the planes crashed and pieces of steel and concrete fell to the ground. People just sitting in a cafe, eating breakfast and then a crash and sudden death. I listened to the tape against my better judgment. I knew what I would start feeling. I knew all the old familiar anger and sadness would surface all over again. But I am also aware that there are still so many stories I don't know and may never hear. Now I am thinking of Betty Ong's family - would you want to hear the last words of your loved one? Would you want to know what her last minutes were like? Would you want the whole world to listen to them? Is it weird for me to worry about people I don't know? I wonder how the families are getting along. I wonder if they relive the whole thing every time another article is written, another memorial is erected, another story is told. I worry about people I know - Jeff and Faith and people who were there, who lived through it and probably relive it all the time. I do think I'm getting better.. All those emotions are still there and there is new sadness today to add to the buildup that already festers deep inside. But I am no longer consumed by it. I can react with passion and not let that passion give way to irrational tirades. I can write about it without launching into an attack on conspiracy theorists and certain people who practice a certain extremist version of a certian religion. See? I'm calm. I'm upset, but calm. I think being angered by hearing the voices of 9/11 has been replaced by being haunted by those voices. And those voices are the reason I want to elect a leader who will make sure that a day like 9/11 never happens again. It's taken me over two years to even begin to let some of it go. I can't imagine how long it will take for Betty Ong's family, or people like Rod Boyd or Dan. Point to this post? None. Just another written-on-the-fly thought process made public.

January 27, 2004

Gnome Chomsky?

Where have I been, you ask? You know damn well where I was the whole night. But, because I am a good hearted person who would never let one of my friends come to harm just because I knew about a terror alert and was too busy to tell them, I will let you in on a little secret: Terrorist are now disguising themselves as garden gnomes. Please, when you go out tomorrow take precaution. I suggest carrying a hammer and smashing ever garden gnome you see. Hopefully, they will quickly enact a law against owning these hideous, terrorist-harboring stone creatures and then only the outlaws will have garden gnomes. Be careful out there, kids. The life you save by destroying a gnome may be your own.

He's a Rainbow in the Dark

counterafd.gifCan I get a HELL YEAH? A fellow New Yorker, Ronnie James Dio is my choice for President of the United States. He is the only one who can take us into the next four years with confidence and righteousness. He has worked in several cabinets, doing time with Ritchie Blackmore and Ozzy Osbourne before striking out on his own to win the hearts and minds of American voters. Dio on Homeland Security: So, fortune shine your light on me and my clothes Cause we need some security. What he means is that he doesn't want to have to wear radioactive suits, so he is going to be big on securing the U.S. against terror attacks. Dio on Crime: Cry out to legions of the brave, time again to save us from the jackals of the street. RJD would send the National Guard out wipe out street crime. Every day, in every state. Dio on the War on Terror: Ride the tiger/You can see his stripes but you know he's clean/Oh don't you see what I mean/Gotta get away/Holy Diver. Basically, you go all religious jihad on us, we'll go vendetta jihad on your ass. Dio on legalizing marijuana: And now you can fly/So take your magic carpet ride. Enough said. Dio on Gay Rights: I was feelin' rather good/Should've touched some wood. Yea, he's on your side, guys. As it says on Dio's election blog:
In fantasy tales, peasants had to worry about dragons coming to take their children away, hoping that their feudal lords would protect them from the marauding dragons with their strength or magic. But those times are long gone, and today's leaders have lost all their magic. Fortunately, the only thing that regular people need to protect themselves today is the vote — and you've got it!
His name is Dio and he dances on the sand. Ronnie James Dio. Get out the vote.

of vaginas and valentines

pussy.jpgFirst they came for our Christmas season and turned it into an anti-consumer holiday. I just laughed. Next, they came for Columbus Day and turned it into a day to feel picked on and left out. I just laughed. Then they came for Thanksgiving and Easter and made them into animal activist events. And yes, I just laughed. Now they are coming for Valentine’s Day and with that, they are coming for your vagina. I am not laughing.
V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. V-Day is a palpable energy, a fierce catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop worldwide violence against women and girls including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sexual slavery. V-Day provides funding to create and nurture innovative programs to stop the violence.
The sentiments are altruistic and thoughtful. But they are co-opting yet another holiday to get their word out. Valentine’s Day is now Violence Day. Sure, the “event” is meant to take place all year long, which is all well and good, but the bulk of the campaigns and actions are scheduled to coincide with Valentine’s Day. The “Vagina Warriors” will be out in full force, trampling on your candy, flowers and paper hearts to make sure you know that your vagina belongs to you. Part of the V-Day campaign involves a traveling show of The Vagina Monologues, coming to a high school near you. Yes, a high school. I’m all about sex education and information, but I don’t think it’s necessary to have some kind of female empowerment festival where women dress up as vaginas and talk to teenagers. That’s not sex education, that’s feminist brainwashing. One scene - The Little Coochi Snorcher That Could - involves a description of a teen-aged girl having sex with an older woman, with the ultimate message being that it’s a good, nice thing. The 16 year old girl actually says - in one adaptation -, “if it was rape, it was a good rape.” If that was an older man having sex with a teen aged girl, there would be an uproar. So why is it ok to show young girls that having sex with an adult woman while you are under the age of consent is a beautiful thing? Apparently, the The 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina. Victory over violence is great. But using The Vagina Monologues as the basis for your activism is turning the idea of being in charge of one’s one body into a beat down on men. Why can’t one be a strong feminist without hating males? Just as not all women are victims of violence and abuse, not all men are violent abusers. Why does everything have to be black and white? Good or bad? Man v. woman? Why can’t I share my vagina and not feel like I’m going to be an affront to all good women if I do? Call me silly, but I thought Valentine’s Day is a day to, you know....put your vagina to use with your loving, non-abusive male companion. While it’s nice that these women want to honor people who have done so much for the world struggle with violence against women, being hailed as a Vagina Warrior probably takes a little pride out of being the reciepient. I can see the entry a high school reunion booklet: Mary Williams: Married, mother of four, CEO of Williams Marketing and a Vagina Warrior. Hey, that’s funny. Mary was such a prude in high school. I had no idea she was out crusading with her vagina! Heh. Vagina is a funny word if you say it a lot. Right, Beavis.? I’m not a big sucker for all the frills and lace trappings of Valentine’s Day, but I certainly don’t want to see it turned into a day when we eschew the cards and flowers for group sessions dealing with violence and vaginas. There are 365 days in a year. Why do these activists always insist on taking an already existing holiday and turning it into a crusade? Not for nothing, but there are no holidays in August, you know. Maybe we could make August the Official Month of Activism. You can have all your black dot sneaker days and kill your television days and wear your vagina on your sleeve and take back your penis days in one month. Want to celebrate the anniversary of the day Mumia was jailed? Got an idea for a festival honoring Che and Marx? August is your month. Just keep your vagina warriors away from my Valentine’s Day.

treacher's pet/primary goodness/jumping on james/ice, ice baby/

Before I get down to the business of my morning ramblings, I'd like to make a few announcements: * The "crush" poll will stay up a while longer because I screwed up Treacher's link and he failed to capitalize from the poll with hits to his site, which saddens me. So, everyone go to the poll and click on Treacher's name. And look around his site, because it's funny and because he's winning the poll. * Today is primary day in New Hampshire. The Command Post is on it like white on rice. And, as delicious icing on the cake of political news, we have Real Live Bloggers on the ground in New Hampshire getting all the news, badgering voters and reporting on the general goings-on. Don't forget that the chat room will be open tonight; head to the 2004 section after 6pm (EST). * James Lileks has some nerve. He is going to actually blog like a real blogger on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Actual multiple posts. I may as well give up my efforts to overtake him in the Ecosystem. Not that I'm competitive or anything, but I take whatever small joys I can get out of life and squeeze the the last bit of juice out of them. What does that mean? It means I would take great - if ridiculous - pleasure in surpassing Mr. Lileks in something, even if it is only a blog ranking. Ah, the hell with it. I would read him over me, too. But we're excepting a lot out of you, James! And we'll see how long it takes before you run out of things to write and you're doing stupid online polls. HAH! * We've got two major storms coming in today. Snow is great. Ice is not. Ice means loss of cable modem and/or power. Which means no computer, no tv and no heat. Ice storms sure are pretty, but they mostly suck. And, like Tanya already stated, four wheel drive does not work on ice. Don't think that just because you are driving a huge ass Expedition, you can go out and about when the road is five inches thick with the frozen stuff. If you insist on tailgating me and going a steady 45 when we are slipping and sliding all over the place, I will laugh and give you the finger as I pass you by when you skid into a telephone poll and your car bursts into flames and you are screaming for help. Ok, I'll help. But if your car is not aflame and just damaged and you are not turning into ash but just have a slightly bruised ego, then I will pass you by and laugh.

January 26, 2004

the more you know, the more you know

Two things that should never be allowed to happen: * Remaking The Longest Yard * Reuniting Extreme One thing that shouldn't have happened, but did, and now I'm really pissed off: * Aaron Boone breaks contract and knee One thing you didn't know about: * Saddam was obviously working for Dr. Weird. One thing that I'm glad to know being that I'll be spending a lot of time in Ikea between now and the move and life is one giant graphic adventure anyhow: * Ikea Walkthrough

bloggers that make you go mmmmm......

You guys amaze me. You don't have the nerve to ask me outright in the comments who I was talking about when I referred to a blog crush, but you send me all kinds of secretive emails saying tell me, tell me! I can keep a secret! I think you are confusing crush with lust. See, I have no idea what any of these bloggers look like, save one or two. Maybe three, and then just from really small pictures. It has nothing to do with looks or sex. It's about words and the way they are used. It's a sense of humor, intelligence, attitude and the overall personality that comes through from their blog. That's not to say that if/they weren't married and we happened to meet in the back of a dark bar somewhere and we were both drunk and....well, I'd be happy to meet them, shake their hand and buy them a beer. They are just guys that I imagine would be great to hang out with. And maybe, just maybe, make a shrine in honor of. Just a few candles. Some pictures. A lock of hair.... Anyhow, poll below, where you can guess the male blogger(s) that I might stalk if I did not already have a husband tied up in the closet. Ok, I've used another poll host because freepolls sucks. This one doesn't allow you to fill in votes, so feel free to use the comments if you want to add a write-in vote.
Which blogger(s) does Michele have a teenage-like crush on?
Dr. Grosz
Oliver Willis
Joshua Marshall
Jim Treacher
Mickey Kaus
Howard Dean
I thought she had a crush on me
Free polls from Pollhost.com

this is not the virus you are looking for

As with Kevin, I am not sending you infected emails. I am dumping my Outlook address book to save anyone else grief. Remember, if the email doesn't have eye-gouging stationery, it's not from me.


This is just a friendly reminder that today is Get Out The Link Day. I'm home from work now. My Outlook Express is at the ready. Evil stationery is at hand. Link now or forever be scarred by the sight of Arafat's ass dancing to a Willie Nelson midi.

cesaro summability

Ok, I admit it. I've got nothing today. It's one of those days when every sentence becomes a fight-to-the-death struggle with letters and punctuation and ideas. In the end, the white space is hailed as conqueror. I start something - a post I'm supposed to be writing on runaway Mormons for Lis. Two sentences in and it's already a failed piece. Ok, put that in the drawer marked "Brain Hurts. Try Again Later." Next: A long piece I started writing about self esteem in schools. Do a bit of research, track down a couple of links and as soon as my fingers hit the keys, a magnetic force field takes over and I am unable to type a single word. That unfinished piece gets put in the file marked "Unable to Conclude. Come Back Again When You've Had More Sleep." Let's try this: Follow up on the crush on Scott Baio post from last night. Easy to write, doesn't take much thinking, a quick filler until you can get your brain working later on. Except it's not easy to write. I'm stuck in first gear in the fast lane. A thousand other ideas are honking and tailgating, telling the Baio idea to get the hell out of the lane if it's not going to move forward. So I rush the piece, drive like a maniac over the keyboards through places I know where I should stop, crossing white lines and driving the wrong way down one way roads. Screech. Stop. Ride over. Ok, so the car is banged up a bit, but at least the Baio thing didn't go in the unfinished files like the other ones. Frustration sets in. I have plans! I have ideas! I have phrases that would kick Mark Steyn's ass. I just can't put them all together. It's the level of hell known as Writer's Block, the level that Dante himself probably never knew. All he had to do was keep adding levels. He would never run out of ideas as long as numbers still went to infinity. 1,248,474th Circle of Hell: Furries. Ok, switch gears. There's always Command Post. I've got a hundred links here that need to be reviewed, read and put into separate piles: Junk News and Real News. I read through the real news and come across at least five different stories I could write about. An idea for an editorial comes out of nowhere, the proverbial lightbulb going on over my head. Ok, write. Type. Think. Bang head on keyboard as the editorial idea escapes out of brain in the form of a baseball bat, which then smashes the light bulb to pieces. Forget any drawers or files. Throw this idea in the garbage pail. Gone, dead, done. Wonder how other people can not only come up with clever ideas day after day, but illustrate them as well. Drink coffee. Take pills. Drum fingers on desk. Turn off indie station because you cannot live through another Dashboard Confessional song. Load up mp3s. Listen to Tool and suddenly feel all dark and morose. What else is on here? Oh, Type O Negative. There's a mood lifter. Not. Turn off music. Wait by mailbox for Corvids CD. Hey, here's an idea. Went to a wake yesterday where I had to meet and greet my ex-husband's family. Write about the awkwardness, the....nah. Nothing there. It really wasn't awkward at all. I could write about A-Rod being named Captain of the Texas Rangers, but I already talked to Allah about it in email and I couldn't even muster up any snarkiness then. Sigh a few times. Type random words. Just call the day a waste, admit I have writer's block and move on. Watch the Weather Channel, wait for the ice storm and make a mental note to tell the kids to turn their pjs inside out if they want a snow day tomorrow. Wonder why no one is even trying to guess the bloggers I have a crush on. Check stats. Make sure my site hasn't disappeared. Look for self-validation in the form of Sitemeter numbers. Realize how pathetic that is, have pretzels and orange juice for lunch and vow to come up with something better by tonight. And then, just before you're ready to hit "save," do a quick word count and become mortified to learn that you just spent 712 words telling everyone that you have writer's block.

Dreaming of Michael Moore

Remember last week I had a dream about Ghandi? Well last night it was Michael Moore. My parents had invited him to a spaghetti dinner and he let me interview him. At the end of the interview he hugged me and told me to seek peace. And then he went into my bedroom, laid down on the bed and proceeded to read several children's books.I tried to kick Moore out of my bed but he wouldn't leave. He told me I needed more "Moore Hugs." The dream faded away with me plugging in an archaic computer and starting a blog post with the title I Was Hugged By Michael Moore. I hope this does not become one of those recurring nightmares. Moore smelled bad and hadn't shaved in months.

the big crush

I received this email today from a person who shall remain anonymous due to the embarassing nature of the content:
Scott Baio? Please. Everyone knows that the ultimate teenage crush of those years was Ralph Macchio. He had star power. He had white teeth and the cutest smile. And he was so sincere! Ralph Macchio STILL rules!
My, my. Ralph Macchio. Fellow Long Islander, cute as a button, Mr. Wholesome. Dear, I never had a crush on Ralphie. Maybe your heart melted when Dally said Do it for Johnny!, but Johnny wasn't doing it for me. Wax on, wax off my ass. So who did I crush on besides Scott Baio? I thought you'd never ask. Let's take a little trip, shall we? First crush: Robin. As in Batman and Robin. Maybe I had a thing for men in tights because I also like Batman. But not as much as Robin. That was the late 60's. I was still a mere child who thought that Disney movies were real, which would explain the swooning I did over the prince in Sleeping Beauty. Princes, superheroes, a few cartoon characters. Typical grade school dreams. Somewhere around ten my idea of heartthrob changed from clean-cut, world saving, wide-smiled charmers to bad boys in leather jackets. Enter Conrad Birdie, dreamboat. Ok, it wasn't a leather jacket. It was gold lamé . But it was still a thrill to see him shake those hips and make that sneer. My mother said he was a rip-off of Elvis, but Elvis was for old people. Conrad was for me. From there I went through a steady succession of crushes, all of them grown men too old to pay any attention to little old me. Unless, of course, they were that kind of guy. In which case, my mom would never let me date them. But could you imagine if I brought home my poster boy, Joe Namath? He'd give everyone autographs. He'd teach my dad how to play football. He'd be 32 years old to my 12 but I could wear a lot of makeup and fake it! 79038.jpeMoving on. There were the usual suspects. Leif Garrett. John Travolta (only as Vinnie Barbarino, though). Maybe a fleeting moment when Bobby Sherman rocked my boat. Barnabas Colllins. Danny Bonaduce. Steve McQueen. Matt Dillon. Steve Austin. Spiderman. Erik Estrada. Then came the drug days. My brain and libido became heavily influenced by dime bags of Panama Red and sundry other illegal things and I realized that Matt Dillon was not cool (not until Drugstore Cowboy, at least). Jim Morrison was cool. Robert Plant was to die for. I had a thing for Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. I was way past the point of writing fan letters, but I was certainly not past the point of drunkenly waving my panties in the air at a concert. Wait, I never did that. At least not that I remember. I think. Eventually I straightened out and perpetually stoned rock stars who think they are poets became passe. I wanted a real man. A big, hunky man with broad shoulders, a nice ass and possibly no teeth. That's right, enter the hockey groupie stage. I stalked Billy Carroll of the Islanders. I composed racy romance novels starring me and Rick Vaive of the Maple Leafs. But we all have to grow up sometime. Sooner or later we realize that our crushes are just that; foolish fantasies of famous people falling for us. Dreams. Wishes. We end up settling for the nerd with the braces and oily hair and squeaky voice because his sister's boyfriend's uncle lives next door to Joey Ramone. Four degrees of separation, baby! It's as close as you'll ever get. So you stop getting stars in your eyes over guys too far out of reach for you and the hormone labeled "Teenage Crush" melts away and is replaced by one labeled "Marry a nice guy with a good job." I stop swooning over Henry Rollins. I no longer get a slighty moist feeling in my pants when I see Chris Cornell. And I stopped harboring thoughts of switching teams for Gwen Stefani. I'm a grown up now. I'm married, I'm terribly in love with my husband. So the days of lusting after people I don't know have passed. Right? RIGHT? Wrong. I guess that teenage hormone made a raging comeback, because I have several serious blog crushes that make me swoon and sigh and lose all concentration at work as I drift into a world where it's just me and.... .... I'll just leave you hanging, there. You'll never know.

link terrorism

[It's Monday morning, stayed up too late watching Adult Swim, regular blogging resumes some time after 8:30 when I'm cozied up in my office and perked up by a dozen cups of coffee. Meanwhile, a favor.]
Many readers have supported The Command Post with donations, which we appreciate. But the best way to support The Post is with traffic. So with the final push in New Hampshire to get out the vote, we ask that you help us "Get Out The Link." Support Command Post this Monday by sending the www.command-post.org URL to everyone in your contact list who you think might enjoy the site. We're not picky: we just want to introduce people to The Command Post, and think the day before the primary is a great day to do so. So "Get Out The Link" on Monday the 25th, and thanks for reading The Post!
If you love me (and you know you do) and you love TCP (how could you not?) and you don't want to receive a personalized letter on some eye-gouging Outlook stationery threatening you to linklinklink or face the wrath of animated kitties and Barbra Streisand midis, you will do as I say. Seriously, we'd really appreciate it. Happy Monday! That's Command Post. www.command-post.org

January 25, 2004

Mighty Septopus

Home Movies: Fenton has to go. He's ruining the show. I want to kill him. Coach's boobs made my skin crawl. That song sure was catchy. Fenton has to go. They should kill him off. Space Ghost is a repeat. Waiting on my Meatwad. That sounds dirtier than it is.

note to my dear husband

We are not getting decorating ideas for the new house by watching MTV Cribs.

Let's Talk About: Scott Baio

scotty.gifThe reaction to my snipe at Scott Baio in this post surprised me. I didn't realize the guy still had so many fans! Now, please understand that I adore Scott Baio as much as the next guy or gal, but it doesn't bother you at all that the man hasn't done a decent thing since Charles in Charge circa 1984 and he's still got his mojo? How many of you could live on the things you did twenty years ago? Perhaps Scott does have something special. After all, it's kind of hard to pick up hot chicks when your newest claim to fame is that you're going to star in Baby Geniuses 2- a sequel to one of the worst movies ever made. And when the girl in questions says "Well, what else have you done lately that I would have seen?" and you can only answer oh, Disneyland Circus of the Stars, oh and I played a pig in the tv adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, wouldn't it only seem right if the girl - who obviously is looking for a star to hitch on to if she's hanging in the trendiest of trendy places - asked what Willie Aames has been doing lately and do you have his number? Ok, nevermind about Willie Aames. He's off being Bibleman. I don't think sleeping with loose women is in his repitoire these days. The thing is, I can almost see myself fawning over Scott if I ever met him. But it's more of a retro-crush kind of thing. Go back farther than Zapped, farther than Joanie Loves Chachi, farther than Happy Days. Go back to Bugsy Malone. Look at him! He was adorable! And he had the gangster look down pat for a kid. He just oozed Al Capone-ness. Maybe he took the script to Bugsy Malone, studied it, and figured out how he can make it work at 42 years old. He still has that gansta thing going on, he still struts like Capone and has the sinister air of John Dillinger. Chicks dig that. Then he flashes his $40,000 watch that he bought with the residual checks from Joanie Loves Chachi airing on Nick at Night, maybe buys the girl a fancy drink with an umbrella in it, and he's good to go. Ok, ok. I admit it. I wanted him when he was on Charles in Charge. That's right, I wanted Charles in charge of my days and nights. Punish me, Charles! I was a bad girl! Oh..... oh. Is this thing on? Sorry about that. I guess Scott's still got it. Well, I just realized he's directing now. Which explains all the hot chicks hanging on his arm. And scottbaio.com is available. If anyone wanted to start a fan site or anything. Just saying.

how to annoy alan in one easy lesson

I spent a good portion of my morning finding the ugliest Outlook Express stationery out there, and then tormenting Alan by sending him random emails. This is not the kind of thing one wants to see when one is extremely hungover, as Alan was when I talked to him in the a.m. So he sends me fat naked chicks, but that doesn't count because it wasn't real Outlook stationery. Anyone can stick a goatsx picture in an email. But only I dig through the depths of the internet to find real stationery that will blind you, make you cower in fear of the animated gifs or take you back to the good old days of the early 90's when everyone who made graphics seemed to have a Holly Hobbie fetish. Now, your job is to find me the most hideous Outlook stationery you can. Then I'll keep emailing Alan, asking him why he hasn't updated his blog in a long time. In fact, it's been since the Eagles LOST. Apparently, I'm in antagonistic mode today. Oh, don't worry. When Alan finally blocks me from the four email addresses I have for him, I will move on to someone else. Maybe you. The animated rat is my favorite so far. Update: And here I thought Laurence APPRECIATED the kitties I put in the stationery when I emailed him to tell him he was being a dick. But nooooo, he thought the kitties were ugly. So now you have to find ugly stationery for me to annoy Laurence with as well. Arafat stationery, anyone? Update: Thanks to my friend and evil person Carol, I just sent Laurence an email with scrolling Michael Jackson stationery. I think it had a midi, too. Alan has stopped responding to my mail.

Dowd translator needed

I don't know how people like Stephen Green and Iohawk can take on Maureen Dowd week after week. I got as far as the first sentence today and my brain went into shutdown mode: Howard Dean's bark was missing its bite. And his socks were missing their warp. Not to mention their woof. Five bucks to the first person who can translate that into a meaningful sentence.

test of the textile system

This is a test of the Brad Choate Textile system. If this were a real emergency, you would be instructed to go to the nearest blog. This is only a test. Do not be alarmed. h4. heading test # list test # list test ??this is a citation block?? * more list * more list ^this is superscript^ (tm) (c) (r) ~subscript~ I give it a ten. It's got a great beat and you can dance to it!

site notes

I actually did something myself without breaking the site. Installed Brad Choate's Textile formatting. The best thing about this? When I copy and paste from another site or WordPerfect, it will convert those silly quotation marks to normal quotation marks. Thus, my RSS feed will no longer be broken and people will no longer be mad at me. Textile formatting has tons of great features. Oh, and here's my RSS feed. Maybe Jeff will start reading me again. [I'll put a link to the feed on the sidebar]

the new york times: your ultimate source for getting chicks into bed

A three page story about pick-up artists. In the New York Times. The writing is horrible. The content is laughable.

"I'll tell you something," I said. "I live in Los Angeles. It's where the most beautiful women in the country come to try and make it. And do you know what I've learned? Beauty is common. It's something you're born with, or you pay for. What counts is what you make of yourself."

Come on ladies, would you fall for that garbage?

I swear this whole article is made up. I bet the author, Neil Strauss, is Jayson Blair in disguise.

It's a sad time when we're peddling out our writing for free, and this guy gets a NYT byline for a badly written story about picking up hot chicks in trendy bars by acting like a pompous jerk.

Sad fact #2: Scott Baio is still dating models and wears a $40,000 watch.

experiment: success!

Thanks to everyone who particpated in Open Mic Night II. You all left content that was interesting, funny and better than everything I managed to squeeze out this weekend.

We'll do this again. Just try not to show me up too much, ok?

[login has been deleted. come back next week for another chance to play]

Another Bathroom Puzzler

Is a second post "cheating"? Everyone else only went once but it's late enough now on the East Coast that this is almost like when they put food out and at the end of the day there's still half a tray of something left.

--seen on the back of a Glade air freshener bottle.

So teens these days are pretty tall (my mental image is Jeremy from Zits; yours may very)--how, again, do you keep stuff out of their reach? And would you really want your first household product high to be country-vanilla scented?

Why Do Toilet Lever Nuts Screw Backwards?

So a couple days ago our toilet handle broke off. Since my roommate is never home and I'm a guy, I was making due for awhile with just lifting the lid off and pulling on the long plastic thing as needed, always with the vague promise that this weekend I'd hit a hardware store.

Today she was actually home. Doing what it takes to fix an important household appliance made me feel... if not "manly," then at least like I was closer to pulling my weight around here. (One guy, two women, of whom one is a complete neat-freak. You can guess the cleaning ratio here; I'm not proud of this.)

Long story short, it was a three-dollar part and some quick fiddling around, but what gets me: On both the broken one and the new, fixed one, a counterclockwise twist tightened the thing instead of loosening it. What possible logic does this serve? I've taken it as second nature that everything that screws or twists, will go the way it's supposed to. Even if I were ignorant, though, doesn't everyone at least know "Lefty loosy, righty tighty"?


(But if I hang onto the receipt, I'll save $3.24 off my monthy rent! Woo. My roommate was reminding me of this before she knew how much it really cost; I think if she'd had to guess at what the part cost, she'd have been off by an order of magnitude, or about the difference in weight between our dogs, Sammy the rottweiler and Gizmo the shi tzu. Yes, they get along. No, Sammy never tries to eat Gizmo.)

Silly Commercials

The huge adult video store here in Austin is running radio ads that have the line "if you don't have time to come..." I think what follows is something about their website. But I can never listen past that because I'm laughing too hard. If you don't have time to come, what are you doing picking out adult videos?


"I have listened to a song from Leonard Nimoy's album and enjoyed it... unironically

-scott h., owner and proprieter of dorkafork.com, coming soon in maybe a week or two."

Watch this and see if you can say the same. Oh, and since I'm still in my youth, I don't know how qualified I am to be reviewing it. I like Five Iron Frenzy, but you've never heard of them, so it hardly matters.


Because of the cross-over success of The Lord Of The Rings, it is predicted that many other fantasy stories will be rendered for the Big Screen in the future.
Among the potentials being considered is The Elric Saga.

This is one series I'd love to see made, but only if it's done right, of course.
A story this complex and intricate needs a director like Jackson or similar. someone who has worked in the genre before.
And who wants to treat it?

Brothers Chris and Paul Weitz (American Pie, About a Boy).

"'These British sword-and-sorcery books contain parallel universes, multiple manifestation and metaphysical wars," says Chris, who just bought his first copy of a special-effects magazine. "

Please, oh please don't screw it up. Please don't cheap out on the special effects or rely too heavily on CGI ala Hulk. Please cast unknowns for most of the primary parts. And please, no scatalogical humor!

But just out of curiousity, for anyone familiar with the books; who would best portray Elric? Or Yyrkoon? Or Arioch?


Plastic Surgery Disasters

In my teen years, I was searching for a band to identify with. I was at the age when - for a guy - that was an important thing to do. I lived in a coastal petroleum industry town, which was depressing in and of itself, but moreso because we were a backwater musically. The only two stores were a mall chain store and the local head shop.

Anyway, I had somehow settled on Journey (I think it was because of the cool design of their logo). KISS had faded into their first foray without makeup by this time. I was at the mall chain store trying to find a new album to listen to. Being a cheap youngster, I surfed the bargain bin for tapes. One of the tapes in the bargain bin was the Dead Kennedys' "Plastic Surgery Disasters." It was far afield from Journey, true, but I thought "hey, why not give it a chance."

So when I get to the counter, the clerk tells me that the album wasn't *supposed* to be in the bargain bin, but I pay full price anyway ($7.99?) and get in the car for the ride home. From the opening strains of "Government Flu" through the waning moments of "Moon Over Marin" I was hooked. Even today, looking at the playlist, I can hear the lyrics in my head.

"I am the owl/ I seek out the fowl/ Wipe them away/ keep america free / for clean livin' folks like me." - I Am the Owl

And thus was a young kid swept away from a life spent listening to shallow pop music and over the edge into punk oblivion ... Today, I don't agree with anything Jello Biafra says about politics (although he's spot on about MTV), but there's a weird sort of respect for the work he did with the DKs.



I have listened to a song from Leonard Nimoy's album and enjoyed it... unironically

-scott h., owner and proprieter of dorkafork.com, coming soon in maybe a week or two.

January 24, 2004

Senior Girls Dance Night

A preface, thanks Michele.

Killing time just now, waiting for eldest daughter to return home from the Senior Girls Dance. Along with 13 other kids. I will explain..

Met Adam tonight. Have spoken with him on the phone many times. I know his folks. He's a good kid. He was appropriately nervous (so was I but I'm 44 and I know how to hide it). We talked about trucks cause he showed up early. I remember showing up early in 1977. Guys, don't show up early. Bad form.

So the explanation...when you get the opportunity to enjoy this, waiting on prom night, dance night. The special occasions. Here's an idea. Jessica jumped at it.

Offer to let them congregate at your home after the dance. Tell em you're fixing breakfast. They'll sit on the sofas and the pillows and floors..take pictures and tell stories and laugh about what a great time they had.

I'll be firing up the kitchen about 2:30. My lovely bride has already fixed the fruits and muffins for the girls. I will do the pancakes, eggs and bacon. This year I am offering custom order omelets for the guys (these boys can eat).

They'll all head home around 4. I ask them to call their moms and dads before they leave. It's a small town, so everyone will be home in 15 minutes. We won't get much sleep. And I don't care. I'm glad they all want to come here, and I'm really glad I don't have to worry where they are.

Don't hover, don't bug. Let them enjoy it. And be very thankful they are happy to enjoy it in your home.

posted by Dave in Texas


First we're going to take over A Small Victory, then we're going to Amish Tech Support, and Wizbang, and Electric Venom, and then we're going to take over Little Green Footballs and Instapundit!


But not yourish.com. She's too cool for that.

(Do I have to say who I am?)

Tragic movie that never was

Just finished watching Lost in La Mancha, the documentary about Terry Gilliam's brutally failed attempt at making his Don Quixote film. Astonishing run of bad luck.

I want to see this film. I doubt it will ever get made. I don't know if he'll ever be able to get the production started again, and I'm not even sure if he has the rights to it.

But it would have been a lot of fun, in a tragic way.




Before I studied linguistics, I studied chemistry. I did an honours project my senior year: it was a very official process, where professors ranked students and vice versa. I wasn't chosen by anyone, and eventually the person running the program had to get someone to pick me.

I went to the lab a few times, spilled some purple dye all over everything, stopped going to the lab (easy, since my adviser was never there), stopped going to classes, and dropped out of chemistry with one lab and one physics course to do to get a major. (Incidentally, I had been on the Dean's list until then.)

I switched to linguistics, where I've been very happy since.

I told people the reason I didn't finish my chemistry degree first was because if I did, to study linguistics I would have had to do another minor (true) which I didn't want to do (also true), but the real truth of it was that I think I would have failed those courses before I could have finished them. (I couldn't apply straight to the MA program there because my chemistry marks in that last year were . . . poor. Also I had no one to ask for a reference.)

As a student-at-heart, it's hard to admit to actual failure (not so hard to admit to feeling like one, though). These were bad ones.

I used to stockpile things from the labs. Depression's a bitch, and it's worse when you work with cyanide. (No, I don't have any. No, I never used it. No, I don't still want to kill myself.)


Hairy confession

I am only twenty three and I listen to too much hair metal. That's because my hair is fine but grows very densely and is very wavy. That means that it grows TOTALLY out of control when it is three to four inches long. I listen to Poison and Bon Jovi to compensate for my decidedly preppy hair.

Oh well. I might be too old for an All-American Rejects-style do anyway, and growing my hair out always gave me that Asian fro that I never could handle.

Kidding aside about the hair, hair metal is really okay! No, really. It is.

This inanity has been brought to you by OFJ, whose brain was filled with Maple Syrup since waking up after lunch and has been unable to blog since then. Thanks, Michele.

bad movies anon

My favorite movie in '83 (?) was Flashdance.
I saw it twice.
With two different guys....but on different weeks.
There, I said it and I'm proud!
WHAT A FEELIN'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now my former heroine, Jennifer Beals, is in "the L word".
What a feelin'!


Can you hear me now?

Confession: I'm a John Denver fan.


Why I'm a Republican

When Carter was president, my old man got "laid off." I wore very cheap clothes and sneakers right around that age when clothes and sneakers matter (age: 13). Then Reagan was elected and - boom - my father got his job back.


a short tale of mice and unmentionables

In all technicality, my "youth" is right now, if one judges youth by the age of which one is usually considered to still be in their "youthful years"... so reminiscing about the pop culture of my youth wouldn't really be very... reminiscent, seeing as it's happening... right now.

That being said, how would i paint (or photoshop, as time may have it) a verbal picture of these sweet digital days to future generations? If a robot-child, many yonks into the future, were to ask me what was "hip" in the 00's, what would i tell them? would i try to relay to their innocent metal ears the glories of the blogosphere? muse about my nation's frenzy over the selection of our so-called Canadian Idol? furrow my learned brow, bare my gnarled teeth, and utter a barbaric "YEAAAARRRRGH!"?

alas, no. in comparison to the true events, my words will be lifeless, but an oyster's shell crackling beneath the trash compactor of time. i could only tell of pixels and HTML, of statistics and record sales, of New Hampshire! and Massachusets! and South Dakota! my withered voice could never evoke such glorious exchange, such mortifying degradation, and least of all... the sad frenzy of a spark fizzling: a man grasping at straws, trying to reinforce a broken bridge to presidency.

stories lose their potency as they are diluted by the runoff of decades. they warp and twist, they cease to describe what they were designed to describe. they cease to evoke any feeling at all. The story of my youth could just as easily be told by a futurist author, many years before i was even born. As a writer, I fear this... and as a child i feared this more than the dark, more than monsters under my bed, more even than disney movies. What happens if what i say is eventually blurred beyond recognition by exaggerations and spin? The world of the future may quite possibly attribute to my name a story that has ceased to be mine, a tale i never even truly told.

perhaps this is how it is meant to be. perhaps history was meant to be rewritten. in the year 9004, perhaps the name Dean will evoke images of a rare breed of mouse, the name Britney a fattening snack, the name Bush a brand of underwear. This is the story i tell of my youth: don't let those goshdarned Deans into the house, they chew through the sugar sacks and startle the dogs.

(This has been another Nippy-ism. More of her nonsense can be read at her headquarters.)

I'm new to this webblogging stuff, so please be gentle with me...

Here's my confession - I found out about a year and a half ago that my husband was cheating on me with a woman who lives in Farmingville, Long Island. I confronted him but he refused to end the relationship - instead he gave me a story about how he really loved me but he had to "get this out of his system".

Instead of kicking his worthless ass out immediately I have spent the last year and a half watching him go out every Saturday night with his girlfriend, listening as he took innumerable phone calls from her, and sat in the living room with him as he spent most evenings chatting with her online. I also kept his secret - from my friends, my family - even from his girlfriend (He didn't tell her he was married). I did all this because I was afraid to be alone and I forced myself to believe his lies that he would be ending it soon - that if I just held on for a little longer things would go back to normal.

Last weekend in a fit of frustration and anger I finally called her up to tell her he was married. He responded immediately by leaving me. He told me that he had "warned me there would be repercussions if I told her".

So I confess that I am the most pathetic, stupid woman in the world. (Okay - maybe I'm tied for most pathetic, because his girlfriend - who is also married btw - has decided to forgive him for not mentioning he was married and is planning on taking her two kids and leaving her husband to be with him.)

--RR in Brooklyn (I didn't know how to do that email link thing that everyone else has done)

Is this thing on?

It being January, and the time for resolutions never kept, someone at work had the brilliant idea that we should join Weight Watchers At Work for a discount rate. So, that's $131 I've probably just thrown away.

And then there's the purchase of a Tony Little Gazelle. $94, but at least I own this piece of equipment, unlike that gym membership I squandered two years ago.

Anyway, Tony Little. Have you guys seen him on infomercials? The guy is constantly in a state! of! EXCITEMENT! I bet that burns more calories than his exercise equipment.

I'd ask you to take bets on the success rate of my little experiment here, but none of you know me. So instead, lets take bets on Tony Little's at rest heart rate.


Whatever Happened to Fay Wray?

Is this the confessional? I was wondering about that red velvet.

-I love(d) Rocky Horror but never had the nerve to play a part (Magenta).
-My security blanket was a pair of jeans with a smurf on the back pocket that I wore until they were capris, much to my sister's eternal amusement.
-My first album was News of the World, but the first one I asked for from a friend was Grease. Yes. Multiple personality disorder.
-I've seen the Cure in concert five times.
-I once owned neon green socks. I was 11. Sue me.
-I actually liked that ET video game.
-I loved the Raiders while they were in LA.
-I still have my tongue pierced.
-I was goth before I started high school.
-My first boyfriend wore more makeup than me, but my red mascara was cooler.
-I can recite The Princess Bride from start to finish. And probably backward.
-When I was 13, I liked Nick Rhodes. But I was going to marry Peter Murphy.
-I watched Zoom and Star Trek religiously until 4th grade.
-I set my alarm clock so I could watch Wally George at midnight in junior high.

Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It has been sixteen years since my last confession...


Purple Reigns (and Brian Kinney is my LOVE)

What eveeeeeeeeeeer with the true confessions and Rocky Horror crap,
PURPLE RAIN is theee best album EVER. And Queer as Folk is as intriguing as Twin Peaks, but with different babes.. Let's hear it for Brian Kinney and Special Agent Cooper!!!!!

Whatever happened to New Coke

I once killed an entire town by pouring a can of New Coke into the water supply. It was horrible to watch all those people running out of their houses clutching their stomachs, retching its contents all over their shoes. Thankfully, Coca-cola wisely pulled the remainder of the product off of the shelves before I had a chance to dump another can or two into the water tower. I was looking for some Vanilla Pepsi to finish the job when the phone rang and woke me up from my dream.


Whatever Happened to Saturday Night?

I first started going to see the midnight showings of "Rocky Horror" because my buddies from high school had been going for several weeks. It was fun. I met a lot of girls there, or through others I met there. Had some five-or-six-week romances. Er, et cetera.

Our theater had a regular "cast" -- and I played Eddie. At least, until my weight-loss project began to work out, and I decided I wasn't, er, "husky" enough to resemble Meat Loaf anymore.

I even originated some audience-participation lines that became popular at that theater. Picture this, as Brad, Janet, Magenta, Columbia and Riff Raff are riding up to the laboratory for Rocky's unveiling:

Second floor! Fans, pans, coffee cans, Roasters, toasters and Meat Loaf posters Watch your step! Third floor, transvestites! Two-for-one sale this week only!

And the following week someone would invariably throw in that "two-for-one sale" line, only to be told by several others in the audience, "That was LAST week!"

Tell you who I am? Are you nuts!?

[just popped back in to correct a typo]

Return of the Son of Pop Culture True Confessions

...so I was flipping thru the shelves of LP's I still have from junior high and high school (yes, a vinyl-era dino in the house) for my own contribution to this ongoing topic when the following item practically *screamed* to be acknowledged:

The Keane Brothers (1977)

Yes, I have a copy of the first album by this proto-Hanson duo (and stars of their own short-lived summer TV series), including the incomparable "Amy (Show The World You're There)", which I think I can safely say is the only love song dedicated to Amy Carter in the history of professional pop music...

[...and yes (God help me), I still like it...]

Drunken Confession #3

Since this is open mic/confessionals I wanted to get this off my chest.

One day I Googled my name, "Mike Lawson" and found out my blog listed me as the number 1 return. Feeling pretty good about myself for being Number 1 at anything, I went out and got hammered:-)

Later that evening (feeling VERY good) I decided to use my new found fame and try to pick-up a lady; It didn't go so well....

"Hey baby, I'm number 1 on Google! "

/end of confession
Mike Lawson


Don't the Supercuts commercials say "all our customers are losers"?

And that Energizer commercial where the attractive girl on the school bus runs out of batteries in her CD player and the fat kid offers her his ... isn't it too young for the girl to be selling herslef for stuff from ugly suitors?

Go Patriots!
Hei Lun Chan

PS I'm a straight guy and I own the Ally McBeal soundtracks volumes I and II. How's that for embarrassing ...

To Clear up a Misconception

Just so you know: Out here in Montana, stuff like this is actually pretty rare.



Bums need the Money

Twice in the past week I've heard a commercial on the local "Urban" station (don't ask) imploring people not to ignore bums and beggars on the street. The DJ tells us that he guarantees that that guy needs it more than anyone we know. Guarantees. He then tells us that it will come back to us 10-fold.

This annoys me. There are no shortage of people to help in the world, but just because a bum MIGHT be needy, doesn't mean (s)he is. Just because someone MIGHT be needy doesn't mean we should help them. Give your dollar that you don't need to a shelter. Give it to Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Give it to me.

Why on earth would a radio station run a PSA like that? Did they run out of real PSA's and need something to make their quota? Whatever the reason, it annoys me.

[By: Pete]

Confessional confidentiality

Michele pleads for names if we are going to list embarrassing facts.

Ok, guys. If you are going to post embarassing content, you have to leave your name. What's the point of confessing something if we don't know who you are? How will your soul ever be cleansed like that?

I'm not Catholic, but I don't think that's the way it works. At least, in the movies, the confessional is always confidential. I think people could at least post a *hint* about their real identity, but save the truth for those who can figure out the hints.

Confessionally, ...
I was not a big Rocky Horror fan, either...
I paid good money to see "Corvette Summer" with Mark Hamill...
I bought - and wore - a pair of Mork from Ork suspenders...
... and a shiny metallic thin red "new wave" tie.
Many of my favorite performers seem to be homosexual (Michael Stipe, Ani DiFranco, Bob Mould, I'm not sure about Natalie Merchant, David Sedaris)

You'd have to know me to understand why that last one is confessional.

From the lone star to the palmetto...

Reminder/Just so you know what's going on here

Yes, it's open mic night here again at A Small Victory. It's up to you to keep this site fresh while I spend the night corrupting my three year old nephew with violent video games, bloody movies and lots of junk food. Let's pick a topic, though. Hmm...

Ok, got it. Tonight's open mic topic is: Reminisce about the pop culture of your youth. I think that leaves things pretty wide open, yet limited in scope.

Anything goes. Again.

Here's the login URL
username: asyouwish
pw: bride

Have fun, play nice and keep in mind that I will be just inches away from the computer most of the night. Don't get yourself banned.

Pop Culture True Confessions 2

Hello, my name is John, (pauses waits to hear Hi, John; but hearing nothing, continues) and I never "got" Rocky Horror Picture Show. Oh sure, I went to the midnight shows frequently and did the "Time Warp" in the aisles, but, truth is, I was only there to pick up drunk girls. I first attributed this to the excuse that I never actual heard the dialog, at least from the actual screen actors. But when I finally did rent the movie, I had to look deep inside me and admit that I would never understand the popularity of that transsexual from Transylvania.

I was so happy when they started having midnight movies of Animal House and The Warriors. By the way, do they still have such a thing as midnight movies?

As Long As We're Confessing

I never snuck into a Prince concert at Nassau Collesium with my brother's then girlfriend. Nope, that was not me.

naming names

Ok, guys. If you are going to post embarassing content, you have to leave your name. What's the point of confessing something if we don't know who you are? How will your soul ever be cleansed like that?

I've seen more embarassing concerts than all of you combined, starting with David Cassidy and The Bay City Rollers. I think I'll save that for tomorrow, though.

Right now my nephew is acting out Two Towers. Have I trained this kid right or what?

[Umm..this is me. The owner of this place]


Hey, everyone, look at me!
I'm on WonkaVision!

(love you, Special M;)

You Think That's Bad?

I can handily outdo John, below, for embarrassing. Within a five year span during junior high and high school, I saw the following concerts:

Duran Duran, twice
Hall & Oates
Eddie Money (opening act: Aldo Nova)
Billy Squier (opening act: Ratt)
Genesis (only embarrassing because it was after they started sucking)
Journey (after Steve Smith and Ross Vallory quit)
Styx, on the "Mr. Robot" tour

What makes it really embarrassing is that I went to four of them with my mother. Ugh. I can only truly say that Duran Duran and, to a limited extent, Billy Squier are no longer embarrassing.

Howard Dean killed Captain Kangaroo?

Bob Keeshan was well known for his worries over the declining standards for broadcast television. He was a sweet, gentle fellow who talked to children as equals and never as inferiors or marketing opportunities.

Here he is, with the less-than-gentle Howard Dean, in 1998.

Howard and the Captain

He died soon after Howard Dean's "YEEEEAAAAARRRGGGGHHH" meltdown.


I think not.



Can this be? Am I actually at the controls of the Web's Greatest Blog?

Hmmmmmmmmmm. The possibilities are endless. Did you guys know that Michele voted for Ralph Nader in the last election? I know! Can you believe it? Well, I voted for the GoreBot, so I have nothing to brag about.

I think I will actually take this opportunity to announce that my blog is moving to its very own server. The place still smells kind of like fresh paint and you might want to check things before you lean on them, but it is ready for your inspection. My twin brother did all the heavy lifting, so I owe him and Adam, my new bandwidth provider, a huge debt of thanks.

So come on down! There's door prizes and canapés and an open bar at the new Sketches of Strain!

Thanks, Michele, for letting me use this space for a little shameless self promotion.

David Strain

(BTW, if you can't get the site just yet, wait a bit. My brother has just informed me that the DNS server needs to propagate, or something, spreading out like ripples in a pond or some other such colorful anaology.)

This just makes me happy

Hey Ya Charlie Brown

Thanks for open mike Saturday Michele!


Caption Kerry


Too easy?

Pop Culture True Confessions

It's been over 20 years now... I can finally come to grips with it. Hello, my name is John, and I actually owned and played the Saturday Night Fever double album.

Hopefully none of my friends that I went to REO Speedwagon (come on, admit it, they were cool once), Van Halen, AC/DC and many other concerts during this same period read this blog.

Come on, admit your most embarassing embrace of pop culture; it's a good, cathartic experience.



Michele, I think this is a great idea. So much so, that I kinda, you know, stole it. Tomorrow night - and every Sunday, you're welcome to drop by. In any case, the main reason I am posting here is because I thought this was the most adorable freakin' picture in the world and it was posted here last week!! I've been showing it to everyone. Finally - and unrelated - if you're interested in total idiotarianism, go here.

(How's that for a random post?)

- Michael D.

UPDATE: Speaking of John's post above. "Saturday Night" got me thinking. I'm betting Howard Dean gets torn to shreds tonight on SNL.

Wow, I Missed The Last One

So allow me to reminisce about my favorite pop culture fad of my youth. That would be tons of rhinestone jewery, multiple strings of fake pearls that hung past my knees, anything sparkly and bright. Ok no, I'm not really in the mood for this. What about roaches? Can we talk about the roaches invading my apartment? They've been held at bay you know, at least I hope so. Saved one for you Michele. And that whole perfect date thing, I got Bush. No surprise there. And oh wow I'm the first one here tonite. What timing.

And now you may delete my incoherent babbling.

open mic night, vol. 2: this time it's personal (sort of)

Yes, it's open mic night here again at A Small Victory. It's up to you to keep this site fresh while I spend the night corrupting my three year old nephew with violent video games, bloody movies and lots of junk food.
Let's pick a topic, though. Hmm...

Ok, got it. Tonight's open mic topic is: Reminisce about the pop culture of your youth. I think that leaves things pretty wide open, yet limited in scope.

Anything goes. Again.

Here's the login URL
username: asyouwish
pw: bride

Have fun, play nice and keep in mind that I will be just inches away from the computer most of the night. Don't get yourself banned.

Picking My Presidential Prom Date the Modern Way

According to Presidentmatch.com, my dream date for 2004 is Joe Lieberman.

As you probably know, I'm going to dump my dream date for the runner-up in this match game, George Bush. While George may have finished in second, the categories in which we matched were more important to me than the categories in which I matched Joe.

Sure, George may have some qualities that I wasn't looking for in a date. We disagree on many things. But the things we do agree on are the things that are most important to me.

I do have quite a few things in common with Joe, but I think he'd be a dull date. I can imagine that if we were accosted in a dark alley by a couple of thugs, Joe would head for the hills and leave me there, at the mercy of some brutal men. Georg, on the other hand, would probably kick ass and take names.

So that's what it comes down to. I want to date a guy who will protect me, keep me safe, offer realistic solutions for keeping the thugs away from us. I want a guy who will offer retaliation and revenge if I call him and tell him I was mugged or robbed.

Sure, we'll probably argue about things like family life and personal privacy, but as long as his arm is around me all the time, I'll live with the differences. I have to look at what's right for me in the long run, and George is it. Joe would bore me fast and all those things that seemed so virtuous and right about him in the beginning would eventually lose their impact when I have to keep explaining to my friends and family why my guy is such a coward when it comes to dark alleys and thugs.

There were other runners-up as well, but most of them appeared to be either the kind of guy you eventually get an order of protection against or earnest folk singers.

Guess I'll be taking George to the metropolitical prom come September. Sorry Joe, Howard, everyone else. You made a valiant effort, but you just can't dance like the big guy.

Plus, I really like ribs.

layouts, detaining pets and blunt interviewees

Blogging will have to wait. And you know why blogging will have to wait? Because I promised my son I would make him a spiffy new layout for his Neopets guild and I can't seem to come up with exactly what he wants for the So I look at some of the other guilds and they all seem to have been made by 13 year old anime fans with the spelling and grammar skills of an elephant but, man do they have some designing skills. So why can't I make this simple little thing? No idea. Maybe I'm subconsciously trying to compete with all those teen girls who think the only color scheme in the world involves 42 shades of purple.

Anyhow, via Jason Aaron, I came upon a great interview with Jhonen Vasquez:

DRE: They must spell your name all sorts of different ways.

JV: "Dear Joehononoonannim, I'm your biggest fan." If you're my biggest fan why can't you just fucking spell my name right. It gets me so angry sometimes I just have to stuff my ears with cud and throw myself down the stairs until I am so messed up I can focus only on my shattered bones and not the sanity crushing horror of how badly some of these people write. And it's not all kids, either. You get 16, 18, 20 year olds who "cant fome a sentince 2 save their lifes. LOL!!".

Can you imagine if the presidential candidates were as honest as that during debates and interviews?

Back to the freaking Neopets drawing board. Oh, and if you hate the Patriot Act, don't ever join Neopets. I think it's run by Ashcroft's evil twin. Not only will they take your account away and not tell you why, they won't even let you defend or explain yourself. I think three of my son's accounts are now buried in the Gitmo of Neoland.

Yea, that's this morning's blog. As they say on Fark:


January 23, 2004


Due to circumstance beyond my control (and some within my control) I will not be able to attend the Big Apple Blogger Bash as anticipated.

My sincerest apologies to those I coerced into going. I owe you all a drink.

Another icon of my youth kicks the bucket

You younguns had your Ernie and Bert and the guy with the sweater to educate you in all the ways your parents couldn't because they were busy throwing cocktail parties and buying day-glo furniture.

I didn't have all those colored puppets and magic choo-choos and whatnot. I had the black and white stylings of Captain Kangaroo.

And now, let us bow our heads in a moment of reverence for the newly deceased Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan.

The Cap was a simple kind of guy. He spoke in soft tones, in a voice that made you believe he was talking only to you and you were his very favorite child in the whole world. Platonically speaking, of course. He wore this really ugly jacket with wide lapels that were embroidered at the edges so he looked like a cross between a carnival barker and a train conductor. I suppose it was the goofy hat that gave him the train conductor look. I know, I know. Captain. It was a captain's hat. I was three or four. Maybe five. I hadn't quite figured out that whole logic thing yet.

I tried to summon my memories of the captain's show without Googling it and came up with vague recollections of ping pong balls and treasure. At least I think that was Captain Kangaroo. It could be one of those sordid high school memories I try to keep supressed.

What I remember clearly is Mr. Green Jeans, who I used to call Mr. Green Beans. Either the show swtiched to color after a while or my father coughed up some cash for a color television, because I clearly remember seeing Mr. Green Beans in green clothes. He would bring live animals on the show and teach us all about the care and feeding of farm animals and I swore that some day I would be a farmer and raise pigs and cows and chickens until it dawned on me that most of my dinners came from those animals. After that, any time Mr. Green Beans brought a farm animal onto the show I would automatically start drooling and chant mmmmmm.....sides of beef.

The Captain also entertained the kiddies by showing a great cartoon called Tom Terrific. Tom was a swell, super boy who had a great imagination and could turn himself into anything he wanted. He wore a funnel on his head for some reason. When I was older I remarked that it looked like a boobie with a really big nipple. That went over well. Anyhow, Tom had a goofy looking pink dog (maybe I never did watch the black and white version) who never seemed to do anything but hang around while Tom transformed himself into superhero after superhero. I remember thinking that Tom's power would be a great thing to have because if I had to go to the bathroom I could just turn myself into a toilet bowl. And then I realized that meant I would have to piss on myself so I concentrated on becoming Superman instead.

Hold on. I was eulogizing Captain Kangaroo, wasn't I? Well, the captain hails from Long Island, which made him a big hit in our house because my mother, even though she was originally from Brooklyn, has this weird Long Island pride that causes her squeal in delight everytime an actor or sports person from the Island shows up on tv. And then she'll say it over and over again, each time: Did you know he's from Long Island? Sigh. Yes, mom. We know.

I often wished that Captain Kangaroo was my grandfather. Who wouldn't want a grandpa like that? Cool mustache, charming demeanor, great storyteller, patience of a saint and his friend Mr. Green Beans brought him animals each day that he could keep and then when the show was over he would kill them and serve them for dinner while he told funny jokes, unlike my real grandfather, who drank too much wine and every night told us the same story about how he met Jimmy Rosselli. Then again, I'll miss grandpa more than I'll ever miss Captain Kangaroo. There's a lesson in there somewhere. Probably something along the lines of "Captain Kangaroo wasn't a real person, jackass."

I'm still not sure what I learned from Captain Kangaroo. I don't think it was the alphabet or numbers or the capital of Wisconsin. Ok, so I learned how to love meat. And I learned that a man who perpetually looked like a grandfather will cause much surprise when he dies at the age of 76, almost 40 years after you thought he was already 86.

Farewell, Captain.

Update: I forgot to mention that Bob Keeshan was on the school board in West Islip, Long Island and is pictured in my mother's high school yearbook. Just a bit of useless trivia. Or not so useless.

one more update

It's not who what you know, it's who you know. Always remember that.

The principal just called me. He apologized for the way the meeting went this morning. He assured me that come Monday, everything would be taken care of and the situation would be resolved completely.

I told him that I was also concerned about S., that I couldn't imagine where he would go from here, what the rest of his life would be like if he didn't get the help and support he needed. I was told that was being taken care of also and as of Monday that situation would also change.

I think he was sincere and honest during this conversation. He even apologized for the way he spoke to me. I'm going to trust him. You know why? Because my father told me to trust him (that falls under the "who you know" part of this). I may be 41 years old, but I still listen to my father, because he knows everything. And everyone.

Cross your fingers for a happy ending. For DJ and for S.


I went into the school unannounced and sat there until someone would see me. I spoke to the asst. principal first, who listened attentively but offered little in the way of help. The principal walked in during that conversation and immediately launched into attack mode.

He was arrogant, condescending, defensive and accusatory. Once again, this was all somehow my fault and I was raising my child to be a victim.

I asked about zero tolerance in relation to the episode last week when S. choked a classmate. I was told that did not fall under the zero tolerance guidelines or the school's code of something or other. Apparently, a kid who draws about choking another kid will get suspended; a kid who really chokes someone won't.

We went back and forth for about twenty minutes and I am ashamed to say I did not handle it well. He put me on the defensive and I lost all the momentum I gained talking to the assistant. Eventually I couldn't take it anymore and - of course - I started crying (mostly out of frustration), and when he once again implied that it was me who needed to rectify the situation, I said "I can see where this is going," and stormed out the office, crying and fuming. I hate, hate that I did that.

The secretary called about five minutes after I walked into work and said the principal wanted me to know he was meeting with the teacher at 2pm. Big deal. The teacher is at the end of his rope, as well, and can't understand why this kid hasn't been put in a behavior mod class yet.

Oh, that's right. Miss assitant informed me that they don't have behavior mod classes anymore. I guess it's not P.C.

So that's where we are at. I'm sitting here fuming, upset and bewildered and wondering what my next step is. Most likely, it will be calling a few people I know on the school board.

Thank jeebus it's Friday.

[Also, as I work in the legal system, I have several people I can ask to help me draft a very heavily worded letter to the school district. I may not even have to hire an attorney]

Update: I took the link to the school down. Sorry. I think being antagonizing in this situation is only going to make things worse for DJ.

The Bully Returns

You just knew this story would have a sequel. All the best stories do.

[For those of you who are not familiar with the story and care to get a primer, just read the above linked post and thengo here and work your way around, if you are so inclined.]

Things have escalated since September (if you recall, DJ was once again put in a class with "S.") and rather than go into every detail of the aggravation and torment, I'll just tell you that everything culminated with a phone call from the assistant principal two weeks ago.

At least I thought that was the culmination. I was assured that S. would be dealt with properly by the new assistant principal, who seemed to understand - unlike the principal himself - that S. was the root cause of the situation, not some strange desire DJ has to be bullied, or signals he was sending out, or that my son was looking for attention from me so he made some things up. Yes, all these things were said.

To backtrack a bit, both DJ and his teacher swore up and down to me for most of this school year that DJ and S. had become friends and had put the past behind them. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I realized this was all a ruse on my son's part, partly to deflect any of S.'s abuse - pretending to like him would probably keep DJ off of the short list of people S. picked on - and partly because he didn't want me to worry about him every day.

I did notice a bit of a change in DJ this school year. He was very subdued, very quiet. He was quick to anger and incredibly surly. In essence, he had become someone else. I called the school psychologist about it, but he assured me it had nothing to do with school and therefore I must consult an outside professional. I was trying to figure out ways to get DJ to open up to me a few weeks ago when he decided on his own to just, out of nowhere, blurt out:

Mom, I don't like myself since I became friends with S. I think I changed and I don't like it at all.

My heart nearly broke. Here was this child, a ten year old, struggling with himself and his conscience over his feeling and coming up with nothing but self-loathing, thanks to one small punk named S. What power this child has over mine! DJ swore he would no longer be friends with S. He would just ignore him like many of the other kids in school did. We had a little heart-to-heart about it and I made a mental note to schedule an appointment with the teacher.

I'm not going to get into the details of what has gone on since then. We'll just call it bad and leave it at that. And that's just whatever involved DJ. S. also choked a child this week. For that, he was sent home for the rest of the day. Yea, that will teach him.

I finally met that proverbial camel with the straw yesterday. DJ came home, quiet, sullen, complaining of a stomach ache. I knew the signs. I asked about S.

S. hit him. He hit my son. It had finally come down to that. I tried to remain calm and kept my voice even as I talked to DJ about it. No, no one saw it. No, he did not tell his teacher. No, he did not hit him back.

Now, as I type this, DJ is in the shower and I hear him crying. This is every morning now; it's either a stomach ache or a headache or just random tears and I have officially lost my cool.

I've played nice up until now. I've written formal letters and had pleasant phone calls and just sat there and nodded my head and believed everyone who told me that they would make it all better.

I tried not to come off as that over protective mom who wants to shield her kids from everything. I am not that person. I believe, to an extent, that kids should fight their own battles and learn how to lose and figure out how to solve their own problems because, if a parent does all that for them, they will still be children as adults.

But now. Now I am steaming. Now I am one of those parents, the one who makes the principal cower in fear as she walks through the door. I have made the transformation from mild-mannered Bruce Bannon, to the big, green Hulk. And Hulk mad. Hulk smash. Hell hath no fury like a woman channeling a mean, green, smashing machine.

It's time to hire an attorney. No, I do not want to sue the school or the district or S.'s father. I just want to light a fire under their unsympathetic asses. I want them to know the distress they have caused by letting this ten year old version of Saddam run around loose while the school plays the part of the U.N.

You would think that after a year of complaints about this child, after all the trouble he has caused - and not just with my son - after all the times he has been sent to the main office to sit on the bench and sulk, they would stop with the touchy-feely, root cause, search inside yourself crap and realize what the true problem is: this kid is rotten to the core and he does not belong in a classroom with children who are there to learn, not to be bullied.

One of these days my son is going to turn around and clock S. Of course, DJ will be the one to get suspended, be punished, made an example of. The victims are always turned into the perpetrators in these circumstances. Columbine, anyone? Is the school district going to wait for my son to buy an AK 47 off of the black market and walk into school one day and finally have his say, with bullets? Or are they waiting for S. to really explode and physically damage someone before they take action against him?

I'm at a loss as to how to wake these people up and show them that not only are they enabling this bully, but they are giving him free reign to become bigger and stronger and more dangerous. If the only way I can do it is by threatening them with some kind of legal mumbojumbo, I'll do it. It's either that or I march into the main office and start swinging. Which would not put me in a good position to complain about S., would it?

It's 7:48 am. My son is in his room crying. He doesn't want to talk about it. It's another day he will go to school with red eyes and fear in his heart. Another day that has had all the joy sucked out of it for him because of one bastard kid. It's unfair, it's wrong and it's going to end once and for all, even if I have to go knock on this kid's front door and threaten his father with a lawsuit if he doesn't fix his son's problems, and fast.

I'm going to spend most of the morning at work trying to type a strongly worded letter that makes it clear I will not take this anymore. I really don't know what else to do. This bully has killed my son's personality. He has taken every bit of enthusiasm for life that DJ had and squashed it under his shoe. And he's being allowed to do it.

I am really at a loss.

January 22, 2004

my astute, intelligent, mature, profound commentary on the presidential debate

[click for super duper size]

But what about the maggots??


Who is this man and why does he have a waffle on his head?

You might not believe me if I told you. Hell, I'll tell you anyhow just because it gives me the giggles to think about it.

John Rolls, Director of Animal Welfare for the RSPCA, is now campaigning for the welfare of maggots, roaches and ants.

I kid you not. Scott has the scoop. Have you got a caption?

there are some things we just don't need to think about

Sometimes I go days without thinking of Stephen Hawking. And sometimes he just pops up at the weirdest times.

For instance, today Treacher made a very funny analogy using Hawking.

And then, thanks to Fark, I discover this charming Stephen Hawking story:

A NURSE who looked after Stephen Hawking described yesterday some of the shocking injuries she says his wife inflicted on him.

The carer said the motor neurone sufferer was left with gashes, broken bones and bruises....She also alleged that new carers were put through an "initiation" by Elaine - being called into the academic's bedroom at night to find him and his naked wife having sex.

Maybe Treacher has a witty comment for this. Me, I'm worried about that image burning itself in my brain forever.

france has dirty underpants!

Ed is right. This certainly is the quote of the year, thus far:

Captain Underpants!We can't just ignore France... what other country rhymes with underpants? (credit: reader Wisacre)

I see London
I see France
I see Chirac's

Are they yellow?
Are they pink?
All I know is that they STINK!

That second verse is what we used to sing as kids. Clever, weren't we?

Come on. You know you want to. Make your own. But you have to use the words underpants and France, obviously. We'll call this "Let's act like we are in 4th grade" day.

i am whatever i say i am

So I'm standing in 7-11 getting my hot chocolate/blueberry coffee combo (that I swore I would never drink) and I happen to notice one of the ten thousand headlines on the front page of USA Today:

Dean Plans Return To 'Who I Really Am'

Oh? So Dean was just putting on act the past few weeks? Call me silly, but I don't think that admitting you've been faking it is a great way to garner voters.

Just saying.

why should i care?

Now I remember why I stopped beating on Ted Rall and writing about divisive political issues. My sentiments tend to be misunderstood. Or is that misread? Or perhaps, not read at all, but skimmed and doused with assumptions?

Kfx was not impressed with my musing on the French.

Michelle asks...."Give me one good reason why I should care what those cowardly people say about us."

Quite simply....why should you care? because you fucking should.

Oh, come now. That's like me saying to my kids, "Because I said so, that's why!" Please, explain further why I fucking should.

This isn't about politics folks, this isn't about nationalism or patriotism...this is bigger than that. This is the real world, Michelle, and they are not going to go away. Just like the rest of the world is not going to go away.

I don't care if they go away or not. I haven't asked them to leave the planet. But I can certainly choose not to care what a bunch of seven year old brainwashed babes have to say about Evil Capitalist America. It sure is about nationalism, Kfx. It's about France thinking it's somehow above everyone else. To put it bluntly, they think their shit don't stink.

Look, we all want the same things here. We want a world where we don't have to worry about our children getting slaughtered. We want a world where political extremists don't use us and our families as targets, and we don't hear stories of young mothers blowing themselves up in the hope of taking out a few enemies when the go. We're not so different, we simply disgree on how to get there.

It is to laugh! Are you really that naive, Kfx? The French hate us. France is a hotbed of anti-Semitic activity. They are harboring terrorists. We don't just disagree on how to get there, we disagree on where the hell we are going. France is quickly becoming Muslim central. And I don't mean Religion of Peace Muslims. I mean Jew-hating, American Jihad, put on your veil, all hail al-Qaeda Muslims. And not only are plenty of French people welcoming this new crop of citizens, but the authorities in France are turning a blind eye to the downward turn of their country.

This world has become too small for nationalism. No country stands alone, nor can any survive economically with out the rest. To think that one country can call all the shots, or ignore the desires, wishes or opinions of the rest of the world without consequence is the worst kind of backwoods politics. It is utterly devoid of foresight.

Who exactly are you talking about here, Kfx? The way I see it, France is the one at fault here. After all, I don't see American school children participating in art galleries that show their hatred of France. As Rall said (most likely in agreeance) about the French: They see Bush as a vicious, thoughtless warmonger with fascist tendencies, Americans as arrogant brutes who don't give a passing thought to the innocent people who die at the hands of their government and rapacious corporations as hegemonic steamrollers that crush cultural distinctiveness and independence in their ceaseless quest for the almighty dollar.

Hegemonic steamrollers crushing cultural independence. Sounds a bit like France's take on Jews and Americans to me. Hey, isn't it Chirac who wants to ban any kind of religious dress in schools? Isn't it Chirac who is making Muslim women unveil in school and asking Jewish kids to not wear a visible Star of David? Why, yes. It is Chirac. I do believe it is France that is ignoring the wishes of the Iraqi people to be free.

Look up the word unilateral, Kfx. Then look up the word multilateral. Then check and see how many countries have troops in Iraq. Then tell me who ignoring the desires and wishes of whom.

So why should I care? Why should I try to understand the mindset of a seven year old kid who draws a picture of America as a giant baseball bat smacking the world? His opinion is not his own. His opinion is that of his mother and father and teachers. And I choose to stop caring why they hate us because I know it's all a crock of propagandist shit and I refuse to look into the heart and soul of a France's rotten inner child to find out what I may have done to make it act like such a spoiled, rotten brat. I'm just going to tell France what I tell my kids: I am going to walk out of this room and I will not listen to you again until you can behave like a normal human being.

January 21, 2004

I couldn't help myself: Bitchslap Ted Rall Day is back

It's been so long since I picked on Ted Rall, and so many people sent me a link to his little screed today that I just had to say something.

Ted asks why French kids hate America. Then he writes:

Children get their politics from their parents and teachers, who form their impressions from the media. The European media has covered a different war than the one you've seen on CNN and Fox News.

Umm, Ted? The European media is notoriously biased against America. If the French kiddies and their parents are getting their views of America of Chomsky and the Guardian and French news, it's no wonder they hate us.

France has become nothing more than a breeding ground for Jew-haters and anti-Americans. Do you really think we should be concerned that a bunch of French kiddies were force fed anti-America propaganda and painted poignant little pictures about it? I think it says more about France on the whole; after all, they are the ones who put this crap up on display like they are proud of their hate.

I don't really care what a seven year old child who has been brainwashed by his parents and the European press thinks of me or my country. And why should I care? Give me one good reason why I should care what those cowardly people say about us.

And isn't it funny, Ted, that when Americans deride France and its people for something, you call us racist or arrogant or tell us we have a superiority complex, but when the French do it, we need to understand where their hate and attacks come from. We should examine their feelings and look inside of ourselves to find out why they don't want to play with us. Spare me, Buddy. Your sympathy for the devil bit is getting tired.

And now, I shall go back to not reading Mr. Rall's columns. Please don't send me any more. Thank you.


To whom it may concern:

Stop using my comment section as your own personal link space. I don't mind people dropping links to their site in comments once in a while - sometimes I even ask for it. But when every single comment you leave points to a post you wrote on your blog and each comment you leave here is about nothing but you, you, you, and you only comment on the posts that pertain to something you also wrote about, it gets really freaking annoying. So stop. Now. This is not your personal ad space and if you continue to do this I will send you a bill for the same monthly fee I charge my advertisers.

Thank you and have a pleasant evening.

Another notch on my anti-Bloomberg belt

Poor Dr. Atkins (yes the diet Dr. Atkins). He slipped and fell on an icy Manhattan street and died as a result.

Mayor Bloomberg doesn't seem to sympathetic:

During a lunchtime photo op yesterday at a Brooklyn firehouse, Bloomberg announced, "I don't believe that bullshit that [Atkins] dropped dead slipping on the sidewalk." The 61-year-old billionaire added that Atkins was "fat" and served "inedible" food at his Hamptons home when Bloomberg visited. The mayor's inference, of course, was that Atkins was actually felled by his meat-heavy diet, that his arteries were clogged with beef drippings.

The Smoking Gun begs to differ and has the deceased Doc's death certificate to prove it.

Not very diplomatic, is he?

you know what i hate?

When people ping a post they aren't even referencing.
When someone gets on in elevator before letting me get out.
Cartoon animals that don't wear clothes or wear just a shirt or a tie but no pants.
Overly earnest folk music.
When I can't stop yawning.
Warm lettuce.
Intrusive people.
Static cling.
When I feel unmotivated.
People who think everything is about them.
The Man Show.
Reunion tours.
"Long time listener, first time caller."
WordPerfect clipart.
People who listen to one half of a phone conversation and think they know what the conversation is about.

Ok, one thing I love. Hearing a song you completely forgot about. Thanks to Jim Treacher for that.

Oh, yea. Feel free to share. I'm going to fall asleep under my desk now. Someone wake me at 3:30?

this is what it looks like when dreams die


Yea, that's for you, Allah And Scott. Love you guys. Kiss kiss. Go ahead and say I'm as bad as the Eagles fans I pissed on the other day. I know I am. That's sports. Keep dreaming that this deal is going to happen. Keep on dreaming.

things that make you go hmmmm....


I had a dream last night that Ghandi was repairing my roof. He was smiling.

Five for Fighting

ESPN is running a series on hockey fights. Like Jason, I believe that fighting and hockey are two inseperable things. As Jason said: They go together like Philip Seymour Hoffman and movies that make you vaguely uncomfortable.

I miss the good old days when men were men and hockey players didn't wear helmets and if your team was playing the Flyers, you could expect at least one bench-clearing brawl.

Ah, the bench-clearing brawl. Starts with a trip or a high stick and ends up with everyone, including the goalies, pairing off and punching out, sticks and gloves scattered all over the ice, ref and linesmen looking bewildered and, if you're lucky, a goon or two climbing over the penalty box and into the stands. Makes me want to grit my teeth and growl like a wild bear.

Ok, so I'm a barbarian. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that I was raised to believe that a hockey game wasn't complete until someone got a game misconduct. If two or three or even four people got a misconduct, all the better. Of course I like the skating, the finesse, the hat tricks and assists and icing everything that makes hockey a beautiful sport. You want beautiful hockey? Go see Miracle when it comes out. You want raw power and blood and flying teeth? Buy a best of hockey fights tape. Because you damn sure aren't going to see any good, old-fashioned type brawls in today's NHL.

The late 70's and early 80's were the golden age of hockey fights. Tiger Williams, Dave Semenko, Bobby Clark, Terry O'Reilly, Clark Gillies, Marty McSorely, Willie Plett, just to name a few. Even the goalies would get into it, namely Billy Smith and Ron Hextall. It was a time when the word "enforcer" meant someone who protected the forwards, someone who could throw a hip check with such devasting force that the boards rattled, someone who intimidated the opposing team into playing like pansies. Now, you get guys like Tie Domi, who are nothing more than 200 pounds of testosterone wrapped around a low-functioning brain. Yesterday's enforcers could play and score; today's goons are cheap-shot artists with all the skills of Happy Gilmore.

Not all fights had to involve ten players and last twenty minutes. My favorite fight moment by far came when Clark Gilles of the Islanders and Ed Hospodar of the Rangers, both tough guys, squared off. Gillies threw one punch and Hospodar went down with a broken jaw. To this day, my sister and I call him One Punch Hospodar. And some fights involved more than just the players; I recall Terry O'Reilly of the Bruins jumping intot the stands to lay the beatdown on a fan who went after Stan Jonathan.

I miss those days. I miss the aggression and and the bone crushing checks. I miss the dropping of gloves and the Flyers climbing into the stands and players jumping out of the penalty box to join a brawl. Call me coarse or base or whatever it is you call people who find violence between consenting adults who get paid to do such a thing exciting and fun.

Old time hockey. Eddie Shore.

Update: From an interview with Al Secord:

"Then, Terry O'Reilly was hit by a spectator and O'Reilly went into the stands with Stan Jonathan. They caught the guy who had hit O'Reilly, but there were three brothers with their father and they all attacked our guys. While they had their own fight going, one guy tried to escape and was running up the stairs but Peter McNab caught him and pulled him down, right between the benches. I went and pummeled the guy while Mike Milbury was beating the guy with his own shoe.”"

I knew O'Reilly was involved somehow. Rusty Brain Syndrome.

Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song) by Warren Zevon

He was born in Big Beaver by the borderline
He started playing hockey by the time he was nine
His dad took the hose and froze the back yard
And Little Buddy dreamed he was Rocket Richard
He grew up big and he grew up tough
He saw himself scoring for the Wings or Canucks
But he wasn't that good with a puck

Buddy's real talent was beating people up
His heart wasn't in it but the crowd ate it up
Through pee-wee's and juniors, midgets and mites
He must have racked up more than three hundred fights
A scout from the flames came down from Saskatoon
Said, "There's always room on our team for a goon
Son, we've always got room for a goon"

There were Swedes to the left of him
Russians to the right
A Czech at the blue line looking for a fight
Brains over brawn--that might work for you
But what's a Canadian farm boy to do?
What else can a farm boy from Canada do?
But what's a Canadian farm boy to do?
What else can a farm boy from Canada do?

Hit somebody! was what the crowd roared
When Buddy the goon came over the boards
"Coach," he'd say, "I wanna score goals"
The coach said, "Buddy, remember your role
The fast guys get paid, they shoot, they score
Protect them, Buddy, that's what you're here for

Protection is what you're here for
Protection--it's the stars that score
Protection--kick somebody's ass
Protection--don't put the biscuit in the basket just
Hit some, Buddy! it rang in his ears
Blood on the ice ran down through the years
The king of the goons with a box for a throne
A thousand stitches and broken bones
He never lost a fight on his icy patrol
But deep inside, Buddy only dreamed of a goal
He just wanted one damn goal

There were Swedes at the the blue line
Finns at the red
A Russian with a stick heading straight for his head
Brains over brawn--that might work for you
But what's a Canadian farm boy to do?
What else can a farm boy from Canada do?
But what's a Canadian farm boy to do?
What else can a farm boy from Canada do?

In his final season, on his final night
Buddy and a Finn goon were pegged for a fight
Thirty seconds left, the puck took a roll
And suddenly Buddy had a shot on goal

The goalie committed, Buddy picked his spot
Twenty years of waiting went into that shot
The fans jumped up, the Finn jumped too
And coldcocked Buddy on his follow through
The big man crumbled but he felt all right
'Cause the last thing he saw
was the flashing red light
He saw that heavenly light

There were Swedes to the left of him
Russians to the right
A Czech at the blue line looking for a fight
Take care of your teeth--that might work for you
But what's a Canadian farm boy to do?
What else can a farm boy from Canada do?
But what's a Canadian farm boy to do?

In the artistic stylings of Howard Dean

And you know something? You know something? Not only are we going to Tatooine, we're going to Coruscant and Mos Eisley and Datooine and Dagobah and Bespin! We're going to Endor and Echo Base and Kessel! And we're going to Mos Espa and the Cantina and Mon Calamari and Cloud City! And then we're going to the Death Star! To take back the Galactic Senate! YAAARRRRRRHHHH!

see, Tim Blair

Offer Has Expired

The great guest experiment is over and I have to say that it was a success. I didn't have to delete one post, everyone was well behaved and it was fun to pull up my own blog and not know what was going to be there.

We'll have to do this again some time, but with a specific topic in mind.

The guest login has been deleted, so don't bother trying. You snooze, you lose.

Time to make the coffee.

"X" is for "Xylose"

The Letter of the Day is was "X".

"X" is for Xylose. LeeAnn is as sweet as Xylose, especially when she talks about ancient siege equipment.

Guest posted by Snooze Button Dreams.

PS - Did I mention the new puppy? Sneak peek in the extended entry.

I am cuter than a button.


I saw The Butterfly Effect on an advanced screening tonight, and missed the SOTU address. Was it any good?

I liked the movie a lot, but the "time warp" scenes get me dizzy.

Thanks for the open mic night, Michele. --- OFJ

No Child Left Behind

In the spirit of NCLB, here’s an educational post, with a comic twist. Guess what “it” is:

- One study found that 82% of women want to have it every three months.

- In a large survey, 80% of women said they don’t want to have it at all or at least reduce its frequency to less than once a month.

- A Harris poll found that, overall, 44% of women would prefer to never have it, increasing to 59% for women ages 40-49. The percentage of women who preferred to have it monthly: 29%.

The answer is here.

Not About Money

You want a new widget. You've got your eye on a couple of them. You've priced them, and the ones you are looking at are within your price range. You carefully set out to make a list of the features your widget should have. You budget. You window shop. Then you go to the widget store. You see several of them within your price range. Your paycheck will support a widget. You talk to the salesman. You find out which ones have the features you want. You tell the salesman you want to buy a widget. He gets out the paperwork to sell you a widget. He has you fill out the application (widgets aren't for everyone, unless you want the cheap model, and the cheap model is worse than NO model). You give him the money. He comes back two minutes later with a funny look on his face, shaking his head at the bills you gave him.

"I'm sorry sir, but...."

You ask him what is wrong with the application.

"Sir, you apparently misplaced a couple of decimals. These models are WAY out of your price range."

He's right. You thought you had the money, but you were WAY wrong. Those hundreds in your wallet were just ones.

And your paycheck? You've been wrong about that, too. Buddy, you don't make that much.

Missing the Point?

Dr. Sheila Koger of Bethlehem Baptist Church felt the need to go off-topic during a prayer service prior to Monday's events in Columbia, S.C.:

During the NAACP-sponsored service before a march to the State House in King’s honor, Dr. Sheila Koger of Columbia’s Bethlehem Baptist Church said the Bible doesn’t condone homosexuality and that transgender people confuse children.

“God said in the beginning he created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” Koger said. “If you don’t got a womb, then you’re a man.”

Koger said in an interview later that she raised the issue because she opposes gay rights and thinks King’s holiday should not be used to support the issue.

“Martin Luther King was not talking about gay rights,” she said. “He was talking about rights to have liberty. Don’t forget, he was a gospel preacher.”

Controversy ensued and presidential campaigns at the event responded.

[This post by Jeff of Backcountry Conservative.]


An open blog! Propaganda! Click to enlarge!

Michele is my personal short term hero.

Are they really still out there?

A good friend of mine just sent me the spam-hoax "if you forward this email to your friends, Microsoft will pay you $245 per person... etc" email.

And this friend has a blog! It takes all kinds...

This randomness brought to you by goldie-AT-dramaqueen. Thanks Michele!

Like a tackle box

The last song on the new MTX record has the hookiest vocal hook that ever hooked. The record is called "Yesterday Rules" (though if you hang around this site regularly, you already knew that), the tune is called 'Take All the Time You Need,' and the first chorus hook goes, "take all the time you need / I'm not going anywhere."

Okay, since you can't tell how hooky the hook is just from reading it here, I recommend purchasing said album and getting hooked on said hook, like I currently am.

When do we get the grape juice? I came for the grape juice. Michele, you're crazy for doing this. Crazy... like a fox.


What is it about men and their utter inability to cope with the normal minutia of child care? Husband was just in, complaining that Infant Child's outfits no longer fit. Given that Infant Child is 12 months old, that outfits are sized 18-24 months and that outfits were just purchased, I experienced pique. I instructed Husband to retrieve Infant Child and bring him to the family room. Husband left. Husband returned. Infant Child looked uncomfortable in said outfit. Then I noticed the neckhole around Infant Child's diaper. Once Husband extracted the baby and put the legs, arms and neck in the more proper places, Infant Child's outfit once again fit to perfection.

January 20, 2004


Michele is simply crazy to open her blog like this. And I'm sure she'll pull it off with pizzazz.

I'm using this space to announce that after 6 years with my boyfriend, I'm finally getting married (again)! We've set the date for February 29.


Becky (cyberangel)

Dog Treats

I was bad, and went to dinner instead of watching the SOTU. But, the sushi place we were in had it on, so I could see it, but not hear it. Maybe this is a good thing? After a little too much sake, I started commenting on Nancy Pelosi's apparent resemblance to a schnauzer and too much time in a tanning bed. Then I was compelled to order more sake to recover. Now I'm watching American Idol and listening to Simon talking about Randy naked, and wondering how much did I actually drink?

And I'm posting about it. Here. On a blog people actually read.

I'm going to hate myself tomorrow.

Might like you better if we slept together

Has anyone else become quickly and totally addicted to VH1's Bands Reunited, or is it just me?

Okay, so the premise gets sorta formulaic fast -- obviously, they're all gonna say yes, and there's gonna be a show at the end, and they'll all be glad they had the experience and healed old wounds and whatever. And yes, the bands aren't all that great, since they're all few-hit wonders from the early 80s -- pioneers of rock these guys aren't. Hell, I didn't even remember who Romeo Void was (were?), but somehow, I was drawn in anyway.

So this whole premise begs the question: If you could reunite one band from the past, a band that's been broken up for at least 10 years, let's say, which band would it be and why? Let's get a little audience participation for this open-mic night.

One Final Thing

Pardon the intrusion, but this is important.

What a cute baby! Now click on her to see her daddy's blog!

OK, that's enough from me tonight.

Turn down your radio, please

Long time commenter, first time poster! Hyuk. Hyuk. Sorry. There's nothing as annoying as callers to talk shows who want the host to know that this is their inaugural call; it's the AM radio equivalent of typing FIRST! in a message board.

Hmm . . . / got nuthin', as they say on FARK. Wait! A Joke! Why did Howard Dean cross the road?

A: to get to California! And North Dakota! And New Mexico! And Texas! And New York! And New Hampshire! And South Carolina! And Coruscant! And Mordor! And Trantor! And Rhode Island! Yeeeaaagh!


Gotta echo everyone else - wow, whadya know, I'm on the best blog around!

Shameless flattery follows:

Michele, you inspire me every day with your creativity and boldness. I'm still waiting to hear your take on 1602.

Shameless plug follows:

Just a little blog about my boring life while my g/f is in Iraq and updates from her emails. (To hell with Don't Ask/Don't Tell.)

I have to post, just because I can

It's open mike night
I think I'll post a haiku
I mean hey, why not?

did you ever wonder

why the state of the union address sound so much better after consuming a 1/2 bottle of wine?

My joke

Hi my name is danny i am twelve. i go to Jackson Middle shcool. ok so this giraffe is shopping (in a store) and the manager says say we dont get many giraffs in here and the giraffe says no and at these prices you wont get many more. HAHA

Choices, choices

What Howard thinks when adversity strikes: "Whither is fled the visionary gleam, where is it now, the glory and the dream"?

What Howard does when adversity strikes: "EEEEEEEEAAAAAAAYAAAAAAAAAAAA"!!!!!

The Bestofme Symphony

The seventh edition of the Bestofme Symphony is up over at XSet.

Unfamiliar with the Bestofme Symphony? Here's some basic info on it. Basically, it's one of the red headed step children of the Carnival of the Vanities. Instead of the best post from last week, blogs submit their best post ever. As the Symphony is still young there are much fewer submissions so you can actually read the whole thing in one sitting.

You can submit any post as long as it's at least 2 months old. It doesn't have to be from your own weblog, nor do you need to be a weblogger to participate. If you've got a favorite post on another blog, go ahead and send it in.

If you'd like to host a Symphony I'd definitely like to hear from you.

Snooze Button Dreams

PS - Thanks for the opportunity to post here, Michele :-)
PS2 - We have a new puppy! Quick peek in the extended entry. (Just had to throw that in due to a bad case of Happy New Daddy Syndrome.)

Am I freaking cute, or what?

Michelle, You Are Brave

You are definitely a brave soul for allowing just anyone to login and post to your blog. I can only sum it up in one word: TRUST. Blind trust? Hope not. The various posts throughout the evening will tell...

I look forward to reading what folks have to say about the li'l ol' speech given by Bush tonight. I'm skippin' it. I'll just wait to read a summary here.

Happy bloggin'!
Deb from DebWire

Improving The State of The Union

1. Full contact action. Daschle vs Hastert: One will walk away!
2. Ejector seats. If you snooze, you go flying into the gallery
3. Improv time. Let's see you work without the teleprompter. Finally a reason to vote for Wayne Brady.
4. Pander girls. Scantily clad women hold up placards of each new spending bill. "Miss Prescription Drug Benefit looks like she's had some work done"

Oliver "Is This Mic On?" Willis


I couldn't pass up a chance to post on one of my favorite blogs, but what to post? Doesn't look like I can upload any of my Photoshopped pics.

Lyrics to a Mr. Bungle song?
An entry that looks like Viagra spam?
Something funny?

I've decided to go with none of the above.

At least I put an Army of Darkness reference in there. scott h. was here.

Amateur Night

Whoa! I'm on A Small Victory! Quick, somebody take a picture!

I don't know whether you play Grand Theft Auto or not, Michele, but I heard that the next one is going to feature 50 Cent and Eminem.

And let me be the first to offer a Super Bowl prediction: Patriots 24, Panthers 13. Speaking as a completely objective and unbiased Patriots fan, of course.

Hei Lun Chan

What's so bad about Dean's explosive speech?

Sorry all, I couldn't resist the urge to post here. Anyway, what's wrong with Dean's explosive speech that he gave last night? Maybe he did seem over the top, but he got nothing but cheers the whole time. That speech was about Dean making it clear that he has sh@t load of passion and he will not give up. Read the above in different words, on my blog - Boz

*shameless plug*unruly politics --- debate with us*end shameless plug*

You need to see this!

OK, you probably don't, but what the hell.

Shameless plug:

Go here.

This is my way of saying thanks to Michele for all the links, the love, and the e-mails full of saucy innuendo that would make Ron Jeremy blush.

I apologize for bringing the image of Ron Jeremy to your minds.

On with the show. God bless. Or whatever.

guest hosts

In case you're wondering what's going on, see here.


Poutine: Your Misunderstood Friend

You may think you know all there is to know about poutine. You may feel that it is a relatively simple food, and there is no need for further descent into the vast greasevats of Poutinanalysis to consider yourself an expert on the topic. Fries, gravy, and cheese curds, right? Wrong. It is a science in itself, as meticulous as a cardiac revascularization, yet as elaborate as the sculpture of Hermes. indeed, poutine is the geodetic datum from which the rest of the world orients itself on Canadian culinary affairs. It is an ambassador, opening the borders of the Canuck kitchen, and wafting forth the knowledge of other such national delights as maple syrup, tourtiere, and beaver tails.

Poutine is believed to have been invented in Quebec in 1957 by restaurant owner and revolutionary Fernand Lachance. Supposedly, the word "poutine" once referred to a trifle made with leftover cake or cookies, custard and fruit. Where i live, mere centimetres from the Ontario/Quebec border, it is pronounced "poo-TIN". Drift further south, and you'll hear many a wandering soul refer to it as "poo-TEEN". During my glory days as a Fast Food Assembly Engineer, i once heard it referred to as "POH-ten". The correct pronunciation forms a nice wide circle in your mouth, perfect for inserting the lush drippings of freshly melted, formerly squeaky curd into.

As for the curd: accept no imitations. Curd is about the size of a bird's egg, but irregularly shaped and contoured in elegant slopes. when lined up in a row, the curds should resemble the picturesque peaks of the Laurentian mountains. String cheese, shredded cheese, and cheese cubes are not Poutine curd, thus should not be utilized as such.

Poutine Gravy is of the "BBQ Chicken" variety, and should be as thick as the tension gushing through the minds of each presidential candidate who is currently watching their opponent speak. It should be peppery but not exaggerated, poignant but not overwhelming... it should complement the comforting essence of the interwoven fries and curd which is it's foundation.

I hope you are slightly more enlightened on the mysteries of our national cliche. Yes, i realize i have only further propogated the stereotypes bonded to my fellow Canadians. This post has been brought to you by Nippy The Gingerbread Girl. You can read more of her oh-so-eloquent drawling over at her main communications centre.

Holy Cow

I. Can. NOT. Believe. It. I am actually ON "A Small Victory!" I would like to thank Michele, her regular readers/stalkers, my Montana-based Blog-Posse...oh, who else...I'm so nervous...um...my lovely wife, two darling children...oh, and jeebus, of course.

Michele, I salute your courage in allowing virtual strangers to post on your site. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: you are The Best Blogger.

Very much obliged,

Mom, I made the big time!

test ... 1, 2, 3 ... is this thing on?

Wow, I made the big time! Mom, look, I'm on ASV!

Anyway, I appreciate Michele, even though I'm almost the exact opposite of her. I don't drink, am a Christian, and a male, and I live in the rural south. But that just goes to show you that sometimes bigger issues (9/11, mid-80s punk rock music) can bring together diverse people for a greater cause. Keep up the good work. Besides, I'm watching for good ideas when my kids get to be teenagers. If I ever get the nerve to go to New York, I hope to meet this infamous blogger.

that is all.

Bryan from Arguing with Signposts. Stop by and see me some time.

wiping boogers

There's a booger on my blog!

If you are watching the State of the Union and want to have some fun and interesting discussion, join the Command Post chat.

In a Perfect World, It Would Be Six Degrees of Curtis Armstrong

1. Curtis “Booger” Armstrong is playing Atlantic Records chief Ahmet Ertegun in the upcoming Ray Charles biopic which stars Jamie Foxx.

2. Jamie Foxx had a small role in Barry Levinson’s Toys which starred British character actor Michael Gambon as the heavy.

3. Michael Gambon, countering all movie insider expectations, has been cast as Dumbledore in the upcoming Harry Potter movie, which of course stars portly British comedian Robbie Coltrane.

4. Robbie Coltrane was one of the Nuns on the Run; the other, of course, was Eric Idle.

5. Eric Idle inexplicably appeared in CGI-crapfest Casper with one-time Scorsese ingenue Cathy Moriarty.

6. And, of course, Cathy Moriarty had a small role in Kevin Bacon’s 1998 Oscar-attempt-by-way-of-playing-a-retarded-guy, Digging to China.

I sense this is going over as well as the time I tried to karaoke to Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons" in New Orleans.

Live and learn,

Fred Durst

I'm going to raise the question here that I raised over at my blog today.

Why the hell is Fred Durst still famous?

His crappy little band had a crappy little song that happened to be catchy and used the word "nookie" in it.

And then... nothing. All he's done since then is leech off the celebrity of hot starlets by spreading rumors that he slept with them.

And hell, there are 14 year olds that can do that.

Not So Smart!

Ohhh, Shelby's not so smart! Sorry for changing all of the entries to my name. Errr, I'll shut up now.


I was thinking about coming in here and changing the password, but I'm not mean like that. Nor am I stupid. I like ASV and want to keep coming back.


Drinking is good

I think that drinking is highly underrated. It has acquired a stigma it does not deserve. If anyone drinks to the point of intoxication, the societal belief is that the person in question is an alchoholic, rather than a drunk. Since I don't go to meetings, you know which one of those I am.

But I don't really want to talk about that. Instead, I prefer to mention a few things:

  • Guiness is the finest beer made, though I often drink other beers because it is usually too expensive in bars.

  • My local bar, a college hangout, is lacking in darker beers because the kiddies (I am 39) think Pilsners are good. The reason for this is unknown.

  • I used to drink long islands, but after blacking out once too often when drinking those from this place, I stopped and switched to Captian Cokes, alternating with Bud Lite because they don't serve any real beer there.

  • I am not gay (see above link), but you can think i am for all i care.

  • I don't blame Brett Favre for the Packers loss. We all know he will throw at least one pick per game. I still wanted them to go to the show, though.

  • They should've gone for it on 4th and 1.

  • Michele is cool because she let me do the holiday blog as Cranky, even though it got abandoned for some reason. Maybe I posted too much...

  • I could very well be paranoid, but that doesn't mean they aren't out to get me.

  • I thought I had something to say, it turns out I didn't.

  • I don't know enough about moveable type to put my name in, so I'll put it here instead: david littau@NOTHERENOPEcs.umn.edu. No official blog, but if you are internet savvy and feel like wasting your time, you can find something.

Excellent Choice

I don't know much about music...but that is nothing new. What I DO know is that the best love song ever written has the following lyrics.

"Oh, I'm picking out a thermos, for you
Not an ordinary thermos, for you

But the extra-best thermos, you can buy

With vinyl, and stripes, and a cup built right in

I'm picking out a thermos for you

And maybe a barometer too

And what else can I buy, so on me you'll rely

A rear-end thermometer too"

-Navin Johnson, lyrics

In other news, following in the footsteps of music industry titans Prince, Jefferson Airplane, and Puff Daddy, I am changing my name. My new name is a soothing shade of green in a rare Masonic pattern. It is unpronouncable,so you can continue calling me by my former name. I can't humanly sign my name anymore, so all gifts must be in cash. Furthermore, all gifts of cash (which, not coincidentally, is a nice shade of green with a Masonic pattern) must be in large denominations or it will offend my new religious beliefs, which I shall make up as conditions warrant.

Dancing Clocks are a good thing to see on an offical NASA document detailing security plan approval procedures. I wouldn't comply without it.

Ducks' quacks DO ECHO! The myth stating they don't is a myth. Their quacks do have properties which make them appear on an oscilliscope in a pattern reminiscent of, interestingly enough, an echo, but they do in fact echo. ALL sound does by definiton. If it doesn't echo, it is not a sound wave.

Salt is a seasoning. Seasoned salt is redundant. It's like hydrogenated water.

Cool word.

My brain is now empty again. I shall go fill it up. Good night, and don't eat any trees.

Why? Sheesh, you want splinters in your tongue?

Oh, and I plagiarized myself. Is that even possible?

Yo Philly Fans

Awww...boo-freaking-hoo!! Third time isn't the charm...4th & 26? How about 3 in a Row?

This Parties Happening

Dean is trouble; Gephardt drops out of race. Is it me or is Bush/Sharpton showdown in the works for this November?


Sorry, my blog blew up today, so I had to try my Howie Dean impression...

What did ya think?

anyways, while I'm fixing it... hop on over to Left & Right

Have Fun, Michele!

Forlorn Hope

Since many others without an obsession for American Idol will doubtles polllute your site with fly specks in the liquid amber of your elloquence during the next hour, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your excellent writing. Please buy more robots and keep writing.

These words will quickly fade, but ideas live on....

So was that enough sucking up!?

Why did Howard Dean cross the road?

To get to the other YEAAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!!!

Guest, schmest

A guest account? Pish posh! I'll use my own, thank you very much.

So, has anyone found where I hid the Little Dead Girl yet?

I'll say more later, because I'm drinking heavily in anticipation of my State of the Union Reverse Drinking Game.

Can't play on an empty stomach, you know.

(This has been a paid political announcement from the Vomiting Party)

Open Mic Night at ASV

We're going to try something different tonight.

See, I realize that Command Post has been keeping me from blogging as much as I normally do. And I feel bad about that. Honestly. There's the State of the Union Address tonight that I'll be covering for TCP and American Idol before that so once again, blogging will slow down to a trickle tonight (and the TCP chat room will be open once again starting at 8:45).

So, I ask myself, how do I keep the blog alive and kicking while I'm occupied elsewhere? Aha, I answered myself, let someone else blog for you! But who...who do I trust to take over my blog for an evening? And then, the answer came to me.


Yes, I'm talking to you. You're all going to take over my blog tonight. I am trusting you with this place. Talk about anything. Tell a joke. Say hi to your mom. Make a super bowl prediction. Tell me your favorite song. Make fun of me.

Let's call this an artistic/social experiment. I will be by the computer all night, so don't get cute and post anything you know damn well I won't like because not only will I delete it, but I will ban your IP forever.

This offer only stays open for a couple of hours, when the guest login gets deleted. So tell the kids, make some popcorn and settle in for open mic night at A Small Victory.

Go here
login: Guest
pw: guest1

Don't do anything I wouldn't do. And if you're not familiar with Moveable Type and it gets confusing for you, just close the browser and move on, thank you. And don't forget to tell us who you are.

Fine. I didn't think of it myself.

repeat after me

1,000 times.

I will not let my daughter drag me into the vortex of American Idol this season.
I will not let my daughter drag me into the vortex of American Idol this season.
I will not let my daughter drag me into the vortex of American Idol this season.
I will not let my daughter drag me into the vortex of American Idol this season.
I will not let my daughter drag me into the vortex of American Idol this season.
I will not let my daughter drag me into the vortex of American Idol this season.
I will not let my daughter drag me into the vortex of American Idol this season.

ad infinitum

save me, jeebus!

belated thanks

I meant to blog this on Saturday but got sidetracked by laziness.

Saturday's mail brought not one, not two, but three packages of reading material.

Thank you Allen for the book about 9/11. I've started it already and there are things in this book that I've never read about before. Also, thank you very much for the Cox & Forkum book.

Thank you Solly for this, the strangest concept book ever written. I'm enjoying it more than a sane person should.

Thank you, D., for my autographed copy of Coraline. One L! You rock, as always.

Thank you to everyone who hit the Laptop Fund Paypal button in the past two weeks. What with moving and all, the likelihood that I'll be able to afford a laptop before the GOP convention is slim to none, so every bit helps. You sure are a generous bunch of readers.

And, as I like to do randomly every once in a while, thank you to everyone who stops by to read my words. I often say I do this for me, but the truth is, I do it for you more than for myself these days. I like it that way. Keeps me honest and keeps me writing.

My third blogging anniversary is coming up next month. Any suggestions for a proper blog celebration?

People Powered Meltdown

Kerry wins, Edwards gains ground and everyone is talking about Dean.

Let's clear one thing up first. Don't listen to cries of Deanophiles. The media did not make Dean lose. The media did not conjure up the Angry Young Man image (Angry Middle-Aged Man?). It's not the media's fault that every time I would see a photo of Dean, this Billy Joel song popped in my head:

There's a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl,
He's always at home with his back to the wall.
And he's proud of his scars and the battles he's lost,
And he struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross-
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

Dean created his own image. The press only played on it. And the more the press played on it, the more animated Dean became and the more groupie-like his fans became.

dean2.jpgNormally, it takes an AYM a couple of years to go through all the stages we saw Dean run through last night. From passionate to righteous to mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, right into full blown meltdown. All in a matter of hours.

With only the first step in a long, long journey to November taken, Dean has already veered from his path and is going to have to struggle to catch up to Edwards and Kerry. The race is on and Dean has stumbled at the gate. Insert more cliches and metaphors here.

The grass roots/internet movement that has been the hallmark of Dean's campaign turned out last night to be a man-behind-the-curtain scenario. It looked much bigger, stronger and fearsome than it really was. Perhaps his supporters in Iowa were more vocal. Perhaps they knew how to play the press better than the camps of the other candidates. Whatever the reason, Dean's posse came off bigger than life in the weeks leading up to Iowa. And when push came to shove, it turned out not to be about image or a tour bus full of orange hats or a blog. It was about electability.

Sure, Dean has been great for the media. He's a cartoon character with a million expressions. He's the cult of personality all shoved into one package. He's People Powered Howard and he's going to prove that the little guy does make a difference. He shoots lasers with his eyes and speaks in tongues. All that is well and good - it gives one the impression of power and leadership, it plays great on tv and it creates a lasting image - but it doesn't get you the votes. In the end, the people of Iowa decided they wanted to elect a president, not a personality. And most Iowans are probably breathing a sigh of relief today.

Dean's very public meltdown last night will be the subject of jokes, cartoons and a million articles and blog posts today. But don't be fooled by that Linda Blair imitation he did last night. If Dean does not get the Democratic nomination, it will be because of a combination of things; the pandering to the far left, the arrogant visit to the MLK ceremony yesterday, the "we're not any safer" mantra and, in a way, the cult status he has garnered. He is a victim of his own hype right now; the fandom that his followers have created has become a smoke and mirror act and in an odd twist, Dean himself has fallen for the trick.

The whole People Powered Howard thing reminds me very much of the movie Tommy. You remember that song at the end?

Right behind you I see the millions.
On you I see the glory.
From you I get opinions.
From you I get the story.
Listening to you I get the music.
Gazing at you I get the heat.
Following you I climb the mountain.
I get excitement at your feet!

That's replaced the "Angry Young Man" lyrics in my head. Dean's followers have created the fan frenzy and Dean is having a little problem living up that god-like image they've given him. I wonder how many of them cringed when Dean did his voice-changing, red-faced, wild-eyed, evangelical minister impression last night? All he needed was a folding chair and a wrestling wring and he'd be Hulk Hogan, putting on a show for the kids.

So how much of Dean is carnival barker and how much is the real deal? Will his followers climb that mountain with him or will they stay a few feet away and watch him warily? Will he tone down his act and stop shooting daggers out of his eyes? Will the People Powered Howard tour bus drive him to success or forget to put on the brakes and crash and burn at the bottom of the mountain?

All these questions and more may or may not be answered in New Hampshire, the next installment of the continuing saga of On the Road With Howard Dean. Brought to you by the makers of Zoloft(c) - for a kinder, gentler you.

January 19, 2004

caucus talk

Say that five times fast. Caucus Talk. Caucus Talk.

Anyhow, if you're a political news junkie and you're as turned on by tonight's caucus as I am, join us in The Command Post Caucus Talk Chatroom.

May 11!


Yes. I am so easily pleased.

ugly is as ugly does

Wow. Just - wow.

I disagree with plenty of celebrity pundits. I've written about them, made fun of them, even Photoshopped pictures of them. Viggo, Sheryl Crow, Sean Penn....it's a long list and I've made plenty of jokes at their expense.

There are two things I've never done in regards to biting back at a celebrity who challenges my political views or harshly criticizes the country, the president, the war or what not.

One, I don't boycott the actors or musicians who make what I consider to be idiotic statements regarding world affairs. If I did that, my DVD and CD collections would dwindle to nothing. You have to have the ability to separate the art from the artist sometimes, or you lose out on some good art.

Two, I have never, ever written to a celebrity to take them to task for their views. And if I ever did feel the need to write to one of them, I would do it in such a way that I didn't come off as a blithering, moronic, mouth-breathing spit-talker.

Granted, Margaret Cho said some things that would rile up even the most casual supporter of this country's policies. But from where I stand, Cho did not deserve the insults and ugly, ugly words that were heaped upon her in email. Sure, I have may called Michael Moore a big, fat asshole a few times but somehow these letters to Cho don't sit right with me. They are scary. Examples:

the people who adore you have AIDS for a REASON

take your fat slant eyed head and go back to China

I am hoping you develop breast cancer

Lovely. Just lovely. Most of the emails are filled with horrible grammar and more spelling errors than a first grade essay contest. Things like this is why the right is often considered to be hateful, racist, ignorant trolls.

I'm not defending Cho's politics. I'm not defending her behavior or her language. Hell, I'm not even defending her comedy because I never found her to be funny. However, she has a right to all that. She has a right to say what she wants, where she wants and when she wants. That's America. And you have just as much right to refute her or speak out against her. But for god's sake, people. Stop making idiots out of yourselves. And stop using "we" and "us" in your emails. You don't speak for the entire right, for all Republicans, for every conservative.

I certainly don't want to be associated with people who wish cancer on someone just because they have a different world view than you. You make me sick, just as much as the far left makes me sick.

If you want to out yourself as an illiterate cretin, go right ahead. Don't drag the rest of us down with you.

psa and apples falling from trees

If tonight's Iowa Caucus is your thing, then head over to The Command Post and give us your prediction and thoughts.

Side note: I'm watching my three year old nephew today. He's sitting on the couch, enthralled by both the Two Towers DVD and our huge Optimus Prime. He's also learned how to swing his sword and claim that he's a samurai.

We couldn't be prouder.

The Dream

I tell this story every year on Martin Luther King Day. This year is no different and it's a good thing that I have something to put here because the daughter had a friend sleep over last night and they didn't go to bed until just a few hours ago, which means I didn't get to sleep until a few hours ago and the brain has yet to kick into gear.

This was many years ago, right about this time of year. My daughter must have been in kindergarten. She was doing something to annoy me. It must have been very annoying because I remember chasing her through the house, yelling at her. Finally, she ran into her room and hid under her bed. I was still yelling. She peeks her head out and screams:

"How are you going to keep Martin Luther King's dream alive if you keep yelling at me like that??"

Yes, my children learned at an early age how to combine their home life with what they learn in school in one big, manipulative package. But I suppose she did get the point of the lesson, so it's all good.

I Have a Dream

January 18, 2004

Keeps you guessing

While Michele is busy picking flowers by the berm on the road to the White House, not that she's ever really too busy to share her insights and outtasights with the glory that is you, I might just have a few things to say about this and that and back again.

Who am I?

Just a mendicant on the corner of Dreams and Disasters, hat in hand, waiting for the hard cold rain.

bad to the rabbit bone

Busy, busy, busy, as I assume I will be until after November.

Not too busy, however, to notice that the Eagles have lost (sorry, Alan. I would have taken their side if you would have held up a sign with my name on it, but I didn't see that one on tv, liar). And I'm certainly not too busy to keep thinking about the worst movie meme from the other night.

Here, let me throw something at you.

Food of the GodsNight of the Lepus
Maximum Overdrive
Bad Lieutenant
Eyes Wide Shut


Command Post psa: Help Wanted

Is there a primary/caucus coming to your town? Will you be doing localized coverage on your blog? Command-Post may be able to use your insight! Send an email here with some details of what your coverage will be like and TCP just might make you a special Election Correspondent!

TCP is also accepting submissions for editorials from bloggers who

Email for both: adminATcommand-postDOTorg.

every post you make, i'll be watching you

Didn't we just do this recently? There was some other guy who wrote some other lame thing about people who disagree with his ideology being idiots.

Here we go again.

I was thinking of giving this drivel a good fisking, but then I read between the lines. It's not that the author really thinks conservatives are stupid. He just has a hard-on for Glenn Reynolds and is trying to get his attention, in much the same way a stalker will set fire to the home of his object of desire just to prove he loves her.

Endless love, baby. Endless love.

Two blogs, two blogs that beat as one.....

website mixmaster via the object of desire

January 17, 2004

Another comic-to-film I won't bother with

This is sexy.

This is skanky.

Know the difference.

UPDATE: Oliver agrees. And if anyone knows sexy from skanky, it's Oliver.

Dissecting Popeye on the Occasion of his 75th Birthday

If you happen to be strolling around New York City this weekend, take a look at the Empire State Building. The famous lights atop the building will be glowing green. Spinach green, that is, in honor of Popeye's 75th birthday.

pop1.jpgPopeye has always looked 75, at least to me. For a man that's wanted by the hottest gal in town, he sure doesn't look the part of hot stud. No, Popeye looks like the kind of guy that wakes up at noon, heads for the same old bar and the same old barstool, has the same old drink while he tells the bartender the same old stories about life in the Navy. Ah Guh Guh Guh! And then we tattooed him with a branding iron right on his butt. Ah Guh Guh Guh! The bartender probably just stares at him and tries to work up the nerve to ask Popeye why his right eye is always closed like that, leaving him in a perpetual state of winking. If the barkeep ever does get up the nerve to ask about the eye, he should also ask Popeye why the muscles on his arms are in the wrong place.

Not that Olive Oyl is much of a catch. Clearly, she's a tease, a tramp and completely selfish. She pop2.jpgmay play the part of the weak woman, but inside she is shrewd, calculating and spiteful. She plays Popeye for a fool, often feigning helplessness just to see what lengths he will go to in order to prove his love for her. She plays Brutus/Bluto for a fool as well, making him think that he has a chance when she's just using him to drive Popeye insane.

And what do these two guys see in Olive, anyhow? Her arms are made of rubber, her nose looks like a penis and she's clearly anorexic. Maybe she's the only game in town. I don't remember many other women in Popeye land. Or maybe it's just a macho fixation with wanting what your rival wants. And Popeye did get what he wanted, marrying Olive just five years ago. We haven't heard much from the couple, but I imagine that they are living in a trailer (at least it's not a garbage can) with five kids and Popeye attends anger management classes while Olive turns tricks to pay for pop3.jpgPopeye's spinach flavored crack. Of course, she's probably having an affair with Brutus, who also married recently, but whose wife has a restraining order against him.

The basic Popeye episode went like this: Our hero wants a date with Olive Oyl. Olive Oyl is busy being stalked by Brutus. Wimpy wants a hamburger. Popeye comes upon Brutus wreaking havoc on either Olive or some townie. Popeye engages Brutus in battle and when he is near death, pulls a can of spinach from out of nowhere and beats Brutus to a bloody pulp. If there happens to be an innocent bystander - say, a cow - Popeye will beat the crap out of that cow as well, with just one punch sending the animal up into the air, and when it comes down, it will be in the form of a couple of sides of beef and a few steaks. Wimpy, there's your hamburgers!

About that spinach: I think that might be the cause of Popeye's strained look. Spinach is loaded with iron. Iron can make you constipated. Look at that face. Seems to me that what Popeye needs is not a kiss from Olive Oyl or a beatdown from Brutus, but a good laxative and a better diet. You gotta figure that if he's trying to squeeze one out all the time, he's probably pretty cranky. One good dump, maybe even an enema (applied by Olive Oyl), would go a long way towards making a kinder, gentler Popeye. Perhaps then he could turn the other cheek when faced with Bluto's aggression.

The real problem as I see it is with Popeye's self-esteem. Why would a guy go through so much trouble for a scrawny, screechy woman who makes him run through hoops just for a peck on the cheek? Surely there is some kind of deep, psycholigical need for Popeye to prove himself. Maybe he had parents who were never pleased with him. Maybe all those years in the Navy did a number on his psyche. There has to be some reason for this guy to so crave Olive's love, devotion and body that he takes so much mental abuse from her and physical abuse from Brutus. Perhaps a psychologist is in order. Or Prozac.

Olive, on the other hand, is just a bitch. She clearly gets off on having two guys fighting over her. Neither of them is good looking, neither have much in the way of personality. But they both want her and that's good enough for Olive. The poor guys don't even have any idea that Olive has been giving Wimpy handjobs behind the hamburger stand for a dollar so she can save money to get a much needed boob job. Which is why Wimpy never has any money for hamburgers.

I digress. I didn't mean to go off on a tangent and into the sordid life of Popeye and friends, but the whole premise of the show has always irked me. Boy wants girl. Boy fights for girl. Girl kisses boy. Then girl kisses other boy. Would you bring flowers to a woman who was fooling around with your arch rival and doing it right in front of you? And Olive, what a head case! She locks lips with a man who has more than once tied her to railroad tracks just to make Popeye piss his pants in fear. Passive-aggressive much?

I'm just saying, the dude is 75 years old. You would think he'd have learned by this age that Olive is just playing games with his heart. I would have liked to see an ending to the Popeye saga; one where Brutus and Popeye finally had their fill of Olive's antics and they kill her and leave her body by the river's edge. Then Crispin Glover discovers the body and Dennis Hopper has this blow-up doll and.....sorry, wrong story.

Anyhow, happy birthday Popeye.

I ROCKED at this game.


help wanted

Can someone please direct me to instructions on how to stop search engines from crawling my site? I've officially had it with some of the requests that lead people here. There are some sick, sick people in this world and I do not want to be part of their quest to find the depraved things they are looking for. They won't find them here, of course, but the thought that people like that are on my site looking for this crap really freaks me out.

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone for their help. I'm going to try a couple of different things today and I'll let you know how it works out. You all rock, as usual.

January 16, 2004

bottom dwellers

The bottom 100 thing got me thinking. There are so many movies that are worse than some of the movies on that list.

What about Jeepers Creepers? Slapshot 2? That movie Kurt Russell made, something Miles to Graceland.

I'll think of more, but right now we are going to have our first four-person Double-Dash tournament.


I defy you to find better election coverage anywhere on the internet than you get at The Command Post.

Just saying.

the bottom of the barrel

prmp.jpgI blow you all away with my bottom 100 (see post below for reference). I am the QUEEN of bad movies.

I feel that I owe some explanations and excuses, so I have added notes to some of the movies. Most of them, however, were the result of 200 cable channels and lots of insomnia. I didn't say I enjoyed them, I just watched them.

IMDB Bottom 100 (Bold: saw Underline: own)
1 'Manos' the Hands of Fate
2 From Justin to Kelly (2003) - I have a 13 year old daughter. That's my excuse.
3 Future War (1997)
4 Space Mutiny (1988)
5 Troll 2 (1990)
6 Eegah (1962)
7 Hobgoblins (1987)
8 Backyard Dogs (2000)
9 Gigli (2003)
10 Santa with Muscles (1996)

11 Going Overboard
12 Werewolf (1996)
13 Giant Spider Invasion, The
14 Glitter (2001) We watched this intentionally just to see if it was a as bad as everyone says. It was.
15 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997)
16 Police Academy: Mission to Moscow
17 Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
18 Kazaam (1996) In the movie theater, no less. So bad that I have named an award after it.
19 Leonard Part 6 (1987)
20 Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (2000)
21 Hercules in New York (1970)
22 Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996)
23 It's Pat (1994)
24 Baby Geniuses (1999) So bad you have to keep watching.
25 2001: A Space Travesty (2000)
26 Jaws: The Revenge (1987) In the movie theater.
27 Cool as Ice (1991)
28 Bolero (1984) 2.6 (1036 votes)
29 Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The
30 Mitchell (1975)
31 Smokey and the Bandit III (1983)
32 Teen Wolf Too (1987)
33 Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989)
34 House of the Dead (2003)
35 Vercingétorix (2001)
36 Captain America (1991)
37 Steel (1997) No more Shaq. Ever.
38 Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach
39 Cat in the Hat, The (2003)
40 Mannequin: On the Move (1991)
41 Rollerball (2002)
42 Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981)
43 Ringmaster (1998) 2.9
44 Master of Disguise, The (2002)
45 Problem Child 2 (1991)
46 Spice World (1997) Watched with my daughter. I swear.
47 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie Ok. I admit it. I loved this movie. The cheesiness, the bad dialogue and Tommy the White Ranger made it watchable. The bad guys made it even better. Ivan Ooze, Goldar and Lord Zed are loveable villians. Shut up.
48 Cop & 1/2 (1993)
49 Mr. Nanny (1993) I had a thing for Hulk Hogan.
50 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation I had a thing for the soundtrack.
51 Street Fighter (1994) Didn't everyone see this?
52 Jaws 3-D (1983) In the movie theater.
53 Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992) But it had Estelle Getty!
54 Double Dragon (1994)
55 Crossroads (2002) Blame the daughter again.
56 Barb Wire (1996)
57 Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, An
58 Bats (1999/I)
59 FeardotCom (2002)
60 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999)
61 Mangler, The (1995)
62 RoboCop 3 (1993)
63 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
64 Best Defense (1984)
65 Mac and Me (1988) I have no idea why I watched this. I must have had a fever that day.
66 Iron Eagle II (1988)
67 Mr. Magoo (1997) 3.3 (1809 votes)
68 Grease 2 (1982)
69 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) It's like Speed 2, only with a bus instead of a boat!
70 Ticker (2001) 3.3 (1023 votes)
71 Glen or Glenda (1953)
72 Mr. Wrong (1996)
73 Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987)
74 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) Worst. Sequel. Ever.
75 Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back (1999) Yea, I liked this one, too. What are you going to do about it? How can you not love Pikachu?
76 Avengers, The (1998) Worst. Remake. Ever.
77 Jury Duty (1995)
78 Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
79 Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
80 Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd
81 Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
82 Derailed (2002)
83 Freddy Got Fingered (2001)
84 Caddyshack II (1988)
85 Weekend at Bernie's II (1993)
86 Omega Code, The (1999)
87 Super Mario Bros. (1993) You saw this too and you know it.
88 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002) Coincidentally, playing on cable all this month!
89 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978) Movie theater. Still waiting for a refund.
90 Endless Love (1981) Oh, like 100 times. What seems romantic when you're 19 seems creepy when you're older.
91 Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
92 Nothing But Trouble (1991)
93 McHale's Navy (1997)
94 On Deadly Ground (1994)
95 Kangaroo Jack (2003)
96 Batman & Robin (1997) Don't get me started.
97 Stupids, The (1996) I read the books to my kids. I liked Tom Arnold. How bad could it be? There's no word for it, really.
98 Pet Sematary II (1992)
99 Leprechaun (1993)
100 Bio-Dome (1996)

Now admit it, you wimps. You saw every Pauly Shaw movie. You laughed at Police Academy. Can anyone out there match my nerve and actually admit to liking some of these movies? And it doesn't count if you've been drinking.

i'm such a lemming: movie version

Oh what the hell. Everyone else is doing it. I bet you'll do it too [and if you don't have a blog, feel free to use my comments for your list]!

Supposedly this is a list of someone's favorite movies. But it's not. I knew it looked familiar and, sure enough, it's the first 100 of the IMDB top 250. No matter. I'll play along anyhow.

I'm not following Solly's rules. Too many. So, the bolded movies are ones I've seen. The underlined movies are the movies on the list that I own. I think I'll tackle the other 150 movies later as a blatant attempt at putting off laundry, etc.

What would be really interesting is to see how many of the IMDB's bottom 100 we all have seen or own.

1. Godfather, The (1972)
2. Shawshank Redemption, The (1994)
3. Godfather: Part II, The (1974)
4. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003)
5. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002)*
6. Casablanca (1942)
7. Schindler's List (1993)
8. Shichinin no samurai (1954) [Seven Samurai]
9. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001) *
10. Citizen Kane (1941)
11. Star Wars (1977) *
12. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
13. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
14. Rear Window (1954)
15. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)*
16. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)*
17. Memento (2000)
18. Usual Suspects, The (1995)
19. Pulp Fiction (1994)
20. North by Northwest (1959)
21. Fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain, Le (2001) [Amelie]
22. Psycho (1960)
23. 12 Angry Men (1957)
24. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
25. Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)
26. Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (1966) [The Good, the Bad and the Ugly]
27. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
28. Goodfellas (1990)
29. American Beauty (1999)
30. Vertigo (1958)
31. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
32. Pianist, The (2002)
33. Matrix, The (1999)*
34. Apocalypse Now (1979)*
35. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
36. Some Like It Hot (1959)
37. Taxi Driver (1976)
38. Paths of Glory (1957)
39. Third Man, The (1949)
40. C'era una volta il West (1968)[Once Upon a Time in the West]
41. Fight Club (1999)
42. Boot, Das (1981)
43. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001) (Spirited Away)
44. Double Indemnity (1944)
45. L.A. Confidential (1997)
46. Chinatown (1974)
47. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
48. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
49. Maltese Falcon, The (1941)
50. M (1931)
51. All About Eve (1950)
52. Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957)
53. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)*
54. Se7en (1995)*
55. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
56. Cidade de Deus (2002) [City of God]
57. Raging Bull (1980)
58. Wizard of Oz, The (1939)
59. Rashmon (1950)
60. Sting, The (1973)
61. American History X (1998)
62. Alien (1979)
63. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
64. Leon (The Professional) (1994) *
65. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
66. Vita bella, La (1997) (Life Is Beautiful)
67. Touch of Evil (1958)
68. Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)
69. Wo hu cang long (2000) (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon)
70. Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)
71. Great Escape, The (1963)
72. Clockwork Orange, A (1971)
73. Reservoir Dogs (1992) *
74. Annie Hall (1977)
75. Amadeus (1984)
76. Jaws (1975)
77. Ran (1985)
78. On the Waterfront (1954)
79. Modern Times (1936)
80. High Noon (1952)
81. Braveheart (1995)
82. Apartment, The (1960)
83. Sixth Sense, The (1999)
84. Fargo (1996)
85. Aliens (1986)
86. Shining, The (1980)
87. Blade Runner (1982)
88. Strangers on a Train (1951)
89. Duck Soup (1933)
90. Metropolis (1927)
91. Finding Nemo (2003)
92. Donnie Darko (2001)
93. Toy Story 2 (1999)
94. Princess Bride, The (1987)
95. General, The (1927)
96. City Lights (1931)
97. Lola rennt (1998) (Run Lola Run)
98. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
99. Notorious (1946)
100. Sjunde inseglet, Det (1957) [The Seventh Seal]

**own multiple copies or more than one version

burning question of the day

rbeef.jpgWhy would a famous, national food chain name one of their sandwiches Hot Beefeater? Like IHOP's Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity, it's something I might be embarassed to order.

I can just picture the exchange in a crowded Quizno's:

Sandwich Guy, yelling over counter: Are you the Philly Cheesesteak?
Me: No, I'm the Hot Beefeater!

At which point several male customers whip out fifty dollar bills and eye me hungrily.

I solved the problem (the problem being that I wanted to try this sub) the other day by sending my sister to Quizno's and let her do the ordering. I'll tell you right now, it's not worth sounding like a cheesy hooker to get that sub.

It was dry, it was dull and they gave me a side of chili sauce. Chili sauce! I'm sorry, but a sub that is described as Roast beef dipped in Au Jus, mozzarella, mushrooms, sauteed peppers, sauteed onions shouldn't need anything extra other than a dash of salt. The peppers and onions were closer to crunchy than sauteed. The cheese wasn't melted. The Au Jus was awww just not there. The chili sauce didn't help. Suffice it to say the local Quizno's will never get to hear me utter the words I'm the Hot Beefeater.

I'm sure you all have, at least once in your life, wanted to order something at a restaurant or fast food place but the name was too embarassing to say, so you just pointed to the menu instead.

Or is it just me that is afraid to speak the names of ridiculous food items aloud?

colder than carbonite

hsc.jpgNormally, I make fun of frantic weathermen (sorry, weatherpersons) and fearmongering newscasters for taking two hours to say: it's cold out. Yea. New York. Winter. Cold. Go figure.

I hate wind chill factors as much as I hate the heat index. 90 degrees but feels like 155! Not really. 90 degrees and feels like you can swim through the air is more like it. Almost the same thing every winter; It's 20 degrees outside, but with that howling wind it feels like ten below Antarctica! And the wind would howl about once every hour - not enough to convince your kids that it was only right to dress them in 52 layers of wool and fur.

Once in a great while, the weather equals the hyperbole. Now, I don't want to hear from you people that live in some godforsaken farm town in Saskatchewan. You're used to this. We're not. And it's finally my turn to engage in all that hyperbole.

Colder than a witch's tit just doesn't do it. No idea what that saying means, anyhow. I put a glass of water outside just to see what would happen; not only did it freeze within minutes, but the glass cracked as well. The ice on my windshield is about two inches thick. Walk out the door with a bit of your face and hands showing and frostbite ensues within seconds.

This is the first time I've ever kept everyone home because it's cold outside. Granted, we all aren't feeling up to par anyhow, the son has been out of school all week anyhow with a virus, school is opening on a two hour delay and, well...that's enough reasons, right?

The wind is going at it almost non-stop now. Wind chill factor: 20 below. I think we can safely engage in using the "feels like" factor now because damn, it feels like a punishment from the gods.

There's one thing I have to do today, though. At some point I will bundle the kids up and send them across the street to my parents' house. Just for a few minutes. I'm doing them a favor, actually. One day they will be able to say to their own kids, I remember when I had to walk to my grandma's house - both ways - in snow and ice and freezing temperatures! Stuff like that builds character, anyway.

Me, I have enough character already. It's a three-day weekend (really, five days) and I don't plan on leaving the house until Tuesday morning. I'll probably spend most of the day today sitting around watching the Weather Channel, just so I can remember The Day the Forecasters Were Right.

January 15, 2004

yin and yang

Justice served.

Justice not served.

marriage as the cure for what ails you

Let's do a second take on this marriage thing, ok? Perhaps a nutshell reading of it wasn't appropriate. I mean, 1.5 billion dollars worth of preaching deserves more than just one sentence.

President Bush is considering a $1.5 billion proposal to promote marriage among low-income couples that could funnel millions into religious organizations that provide premarital and marriage counseling.

Programs that counsel gay and lesbian couples would be excluded from the plan.

Therein lies the rub.

On the surface, a program that encourages stable marriages, commitment, family and getting out of poverty would appear optimistic. Sure, let's bring America back to its glory days! Let all the men and women be together as one, let the children be happy, let there be food on every table and let divorce go the way of the Betamax. Raise your hands in glory, we are on the road to happiness!

Except for that darn thing about defining marriage. And that other sticky point about people oh, having choices. About single parents who are that way by choice. About abusive marriages and people joining in holy matrimony because the government says it will take them out of poverty.

If your partner/baby's father is a lazy ass drunk who thinks the meaning of work is opening the fridge, no town clerk signature on a piece of paper is going to make your situation any better.

If your partner/child's mother would rather spend your hard earned dollars on lottery tickets and Weekly World News instead of baby formula, marriage is not going to make her any less interested in Jesus coming back from the dead in the form of Bat Boy.

And all that is really just extraneous reasons to be against this absurd spending spree. The main reason is this: The government has no right to tell us how to live our personal lives. Spending over a billion dollars to encourage poor, young heterosexuals to get married is nearing Big Brother territory. Hey, let's take all this money that we could be using on other programs (maybe sex ed, which, for some reason, goes against the grain of those who are in favor of the marriage act) and dictate how people should live their lives. But wait. Not all people. Just religious people. And none of them gays. Apparently, the president cares about marriage, but only to the extent that it affects the people who fit into the mold of Good Wholesome American. Sure, you deal crack on the side, you beat your wife, you starve your kids, but you're straight and you go to church, so we're here to save you.

1.5 billion dollars for that? I'll pass.

i've been a bad girl

I fooled around with my edit_entry.tmpl file. I was trying to add a blockquote option. I fucked up. My edit entry screen looks like this. Obviously, I can still post, but I'd rather not have my dumb mistakes staring me in the face every time I open this page.

Anyone? Help? Please?

[I will now go write on the blackboard 100 times: I will not mess with my MT templates]

UPDATE: Thanks to Ron Bailey, it's all better.

January 14, 2004

in a nutshell

Basically, it's going to cost us $1.5 billion dollars for Bush to appease the conservatives he pissed off with his immigration ideas.

yelling with your mouth shut

Wow. 2,091 words devoted to a subject when he just could have said: "I'm not too fond of James Lileks's blog."

Oh sure, he could have also said "James Lileks has different political opinions than me, therefore his blog is no good." Or how about, "James Lileks uses his weblog to write about his kid! Faux Pas!"

Really? Apparently, Dennis Perrin thinks warblogging and kidblogging don't mix. Like we are all ultra Orthodox bloggers and won't put our kids on the same plate as our wars.

Basically, Mr. Perrin is pissed that The Bleat went from pop culture observances to war, politics, Gnat and pop culture observances. In Mr. Perrin's little world, people can only have one interest, I suppose. One could also suppose that if Lileks wrote from the same side of the political bed that Perrin sleeps in, I would not be writing this because Perrin's column would not exist.

I can't imagine what it's like to live in such a tightly defined place, so small and narrow that there is no room for anyone but those who can meld right into your shadow. Expand your horizons? Branch out? Change your mind? Adore your kid in public while railing against terrorism? If you have a blog, you better think twice about any of those things. Someone is sure to nail you against the wall and call you the poster boy for Bloggers Gone Bad if you do. I know, I've been there.

Personally, my favorite thing about The Bleat is how James can maneuver from subject to subject in one column, from cute to scary, from funny to sad and somehow make it all flow together. Perhaps Perrin doesn't see what I see; that the secret life of kids - all that make believe and innocence and imagination - is the antidote to the ugliness of war and terrorism and nasty politics. That injection of Gnat is just what The Bleat needs some days.

Yes, I am an unabashed Lileks fan so perhaps I'm being a little biased. But I still wonder why someone spent the time to type over 2,000 words that amount to nothing more than the equivalent of someone looking at your dinner and saying ewwww. It's really none of your business what I make myself for dinner, you know?

[I can hardly wait until the Spring 2004 edition of Minutiae Quarterly, where Mr. Perrin will dissect The Backfence].

Wednesday's bender post of the day


Just another reason to root for Carolina.

Are all fans from Philadelphia loud-mouthed braggarts?*


my mother, the murderer

I don’t know why my reaction to a female homicide bomber* should be any different than my reaction to a male bomber, but it is.

22 years old.

The bomber was identified as Hamas member Reem Al-Reyashi, 22, of Gaza. Family members said she had a 3-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl. Smiling at times in a videotape that showed her cradling a rifle, Al-Reyashi said she had dreamed since she was 13 of "becoming a martyr" and dying for her people. "It was always my wish to turn my body into deadly shrapnel against the Zionists and to knock on the doors of heaven with the skulls of Zionists," said Reyashi, wearing combat fatigues with a Hamas sash across her chest. "God gave me two children and I loved them so much. Only God knew how much I loved them," she said.

What kind of society raises a person to believe in such a way of life? Please, don’t tell me about oppression, don’t tell me about poverty. Plenty of people around the world perceive themselves as being oppressed and impoverished, but they aren’t going around murdering people because of it.

It’s a certain society that breeds this kind of thinking. Years of brainwashing and the use of religion as an instrument of propaganda teaches children to believe that murder is noble, that suicide is to be rewarded, that their god will love them for what they have done.

"God gave me two children and I loved them so much. Only God knew how much I loved them," she said.

Repeat that out loud a couple of times. Remember that those words came out of the mouth of someone who killed herself in order to murder four innocent people. From the mouth of a woman who left two small children without a mother.

And the saddest part is this: The children will grow up to view their mother as a martyr and her deed as heroic. And someday, they will strap a grenade-filled belt on themselves and do the same.

In Reem Al-Reyashi’s defense, she never had a chance. She did what she was brainwashed to do. She did what her elders before her, what her neighbors and relatives and teachers told her was good and righteous. And that’s why there is no chance for peace. This violence will never end, not as long as Hamas and Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and Yasser Arafat's and Fatah movement are allowed to reign free in the Middle East. Not as long as Americans keep supporting the Palestinian terrorists by burning American flags and standing in front of bulldozers. Not as long as Yasser Arafat is allowed to breathe. Not as long as the money to pay for all of these explosives is funneled in from other countries.

When does Israel get to defend herself without being taken to task for it? When does she get to retaliate without being condemned? The most likely answer is never. How sad.

*Alan started me thinking about the term homicide bomber over here, and I shall have more on that later
Update: When I wrote the sentence In Reem Al-Reyashi’s defense, she never had a chance, I was trying to emphasize the fact that the hatred is handed down from generation to generation like a family heirloom. I know that this woman had a choice and I feel no sympathy for her or her family at all. But I do believe that her choice was certainly colored by her upbringing.

here i am, here i'll stay

On the discussion of homes (as in people sending emails trying to convince me to move to their neck of the woods for the lower housing prices) - I will never move from Long Island.

It's expensive, it's crowded, it's strip mall after strip mall and more cement than trees. It's bumper to bumper traffic day and night, it's high taxes and a bureaucratic nightmare and the transportation system sucks.

It's also where my family is. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, fourth cousins once removed - they're all here. We have holidays and birthdays together and spend time in each other's yards in the summer and my kids are growing up exactly the way I did; with their extended family and a huge circle of support and love right at their doorstep. I will never move my kids away from their grandparents; not at this age anyhow. And I don't want to leave my parents. Time goes on, people get old. I want to be here for them. Sure, the median price of a home is $400,000. Take a look at this cape that's for sale in my area. $409k. $5k in taxes each year. I know damn well I can't afford to buy a house here. But here I stay.

Oh, and isn't this ironic - the school district we're moving to is the Bellmore-Merrick High School District. The high school my daughter would attend in September? Mepham.

Good thing her father has an East Meadow address and I can still send her to EM High School. The logistics of the whole thing will be complicated, but it will be worth it to keep her out of that school.

Anyhow, thanks for all the offers of hospitality and the "ads" for your home state, but I'm staying put, despite the sinking feeling that I'll never be able to save any money. Community College, here we come!


I'm working on something about post 9/11 New York and the change in the political climate. Could Bush win New York? If you're one of the many New Yorkers who did that electric slide over towards the right after 9/11, please email me with your thoughts, comments, etc.

are you sure it's not monday?

5:30 a.m. It's cold. It's dark. You just had a dream about dead children. There's no milk for your coffee. You forgot to turn the dryer on last night. And your internet access is out. Oh, it comes back. Just in time for you to have to leave for work.

And how was your morning?

January 13, 2004

not getting over it

My poor son. He's in his room playing Madden 2003, Green Bay v. Philadelphia.

He's living vicariously through his GameCube.

Review Time: The Mr. T Experience - Yesterday Rules

yrules.jpgThe thing I love most about The Mr. T. Experience is this: Even when the songs are sad, the music still makes me happy. If you want to wallow in sadness and self-pity, go listen to Stabbing Westward. If you want to elevate a bad mood or just nod your head in agreement with the lyrics without feeling that ugly twinge of self-loathing, go with MTX.

Here come the cliches: infectious beats, charming lyrics, catchy hooks, and you can even dance to it. This review may be cliche; the album is anything but.

The second song on MTX's new album, Yesterday Rules, is a great example of how a band can put all of the above into one little package and makes it work. Can you imagine dancing to a song called "Fucked up on Life?" You can dip your girlfriend and spin her ‘round while singing lines like "I’m outstanding in my field and all I ever want to do is just get plowed."

With each subsequent MTX release, I get anxious with my first listen to the record, wondering if they can reach the lyrical pinnacle of the album before. They have never let me down. And this one just may take over Revenge is Sweet and So are You as my favorite of their collection.

Songs like "She’s Not a Flower" (You're not a King Bee, you like honey and you're packing a sting) will convince you that MTX is the only band that could pull this type of music off so earnestly without the smarminess that other bands who try to be ironic or metaphoric or just sweetly sad reek of.

The music is just as layered and quirky as the lyrics. On "Oh, Just Have Some Faith in Me" you get a song that takes you to the beach; a keg party, lots of well-tanned kids shaking their arms and kicking up their legs and jumping around like fools having the best time of their life. And if that’s the party song, then the requisite boy-with-a-guitar-singing-in-front-of-the-bonfire song would be "Big, Strange, Beautiful Hammer," with all the drunken kids singing along on the chorus.

"The Boyfriend Box" will resonate with anyone who’s ever stored away old love letters or silly mementos of past relationships (If you need to go any deeper, you can dig them out again, just in case you need to be reminded of what a fool you’ve been), but instead of being the melancholy, sappy, cry-along song another band might have turned this into, MTX gives the lyrics a whimsical backdrop of music and you end up smiling in spite of yourself.

That's not to say the album isn't without its downer moments; "London" is a little sorrowful, a little glum, but the music is so layered that the song doesn’t fall into the Nine Inch Nails depression trap. There’' a certain nuance to the chords and vocals that lets in the loneliness but keeps the song from being morose. It’s the simplest song, "Jill," that finally hits that emotional peak that all the great albums have; that one song you know will make you cry when you feel like crying, that song that you sing in the shower when you're sad or, conversely, identify with so much that you'll often skip over it because it hurts too much. "Jill" is a song for the loser in all of us, a song for that bad breakup that you never quite got over.

Just when "Jill" is about to bring you down, "Shining" kicks you in the ass and tells you to head out to your local dive, buy a beer and shoot some pool. It’s got more metaphors than a fifth grade essay (like a novel by Stephen King, she’s shining) and it will be the first song on the album you learn all the words to.

"Institutionalized Misogyny" has my favorite lyrics. A song that manages to squeeze in Chomsky, Foucault and Woody Allen (I stole that line from Woody Allen, isn’t it amusing?) is clearly going to be fun to sing.

Yesterday Rules, like most MTX albums, is hard to describe as a whole. It combines all the great things about pop music with all the perfect things about punk. It’s like doing the Lindy in a mosh pit. Everyone is going to look at you like you're nuts, but eventually they'll join in the fun.

Ken Layne is right. Rock record of the year.

Mr. T Experience is fronted by Dr. Frank, who recorded the entire process of making this album on his blog, Dr. Frank's Whatsit.

And this will also be posted at Blogcritics. As soon as I dance one more time to "Fucked Up on Life."

the monkey in my closet

Which Family Guy Character are you? Take the Quiz!

The quiz is pretty obvious, so you can end up with whatever character you want. Too bad I couldn't be the monkey in Chris's closet.

found at Branille's

movin' on up

We're moving. Finally. At the end of April we'll be leaving Grandma's house for a bigger place.

Due to the out of control housing prices on Long Island we are not buying, but renting. But we are going from a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment in grandma's to a four bedroom, spacious place with a fireplace and two bathrooms and walk in closets. And a formal dining room. And, the best part: it's a split level house and the bottom of the house is already rented out - to my sister and her husband. Built in babysitting!

The rent is astronomical. It's macaroni and cheese for dinner six nights a week astronomical. But it's worth it for the extra bedrooms and bathroom, the bigger space, the huge yard and getting away from the suffocating feeling that comes with living on the same block as 42 of your relatives. Sure, it's only two minutes away from where I am now, but that just means I'm close enough to eat dinner at mom's and far enough so that I don't have people meddling in my everyday affairs. And Justin finally gets a real office with that fourth bedroom (hire him if you need artwork for your next book or album or anything like that!).

I'm excitedly nervous. Or nervously excited. We don't even have enough furniture to fill the new place. We won't be splurging on DVDs and comics for a long time. Money has suddenly taken on evil undertones.

Anyone hiring freelance writers? Need a weekly opinion columnist? I'm available! I'm willing to sell a kidney or even a limb to finance this move.

It's going to take me at least until April to pack my current apartment up. The time to stop being a packrat is NOW.

bunch of idiots

I don't get it. Is this the low that sportswriters have sunk to? Granted, we really don't want any "what tree are you" questions, but to fill your column by making fun of the opposing team's city, well that's just bad journalism.

Note to Will Bunch: Maybe if you could write a column like this that came off as good-naturedly humurous instead of sounding very much like a snickering jock who spits when he talks, it would work. But it's not cutting it, babe. I'm just not feeling it.

Your piece didn't elicit a single chuckle, guffaw or heheh from these lips. Not even a small smirk. It just seemed petty and juvenile. And not juvenile in a Space Ghost sort of way, but juvenile in a "grow the hell up" way.

Next time you want to fill space in the days leading up to the game, you would do just as well to draw a crayon picture of the opposing team's mayor and write doody-head next to it. But that may take more talent than you actually have.

Go Charlotte.

The Stepford First Wives Club

Major headline breaking at Drudge. Total scoop. Big News. 40 point font type news.

Howard Dean's wife does not accompany him on the campaign trail!!

There it is. Shook you to your very foundation, didn't it? Sorry to do that to you so early, but if Drudge super-fonts it, it must be earth-shattering.

To be fair to Drudge, it's a New York Times story. But NYT didn't announce it in a headline as if they just uncovered the Scandal of the Century.

So where is Mrs. Dean? Why is she not following her husband around like a good woman should, smiling like a Stepford First Lady and hugging babies? Oh, she has a job. No, a career. She's a what? A doctor? Women can be doctors? What has this world come to?

Call me silly, but I just don't care whether or not a candidate lugs a spouse along while he or she is stumping for votes. It's such a non-issue that I never even noticed that Mrs. Howard Dean wasn't tethered at the end of her husband's leash. Oh, this has nothing to do with women standing strong, equal rights, burn your bra, etc. Sort of. Maybe. I suppose if they made just as big a deal that Carol Mosley-Braun's husband wasn't tagging along on her quest for respect, I wouldn't be so rankled by the Mrs. Dean story, but no. It's just a woman thing, I guess. Or maybe it's just a Howard Dean thing. I suppose it could be the case that the Times is just trying to fill space; it's like the week preceding the Super Bowl, when every question has been asked and every angle covered and a reporter inevitably ends up asking a player what kind of tree he would like to be. You gotta fill the space.

But in Drudgeville, it's Big Font Time.

The Times article presses the point of Judith Steinberg Dean's "invisibility" factor. She skips a lot of functions, she's rarely seen at her husband's side, she doesn't give interviews.

I suppose if my husband ever ran for office (and if they ever put " Official Stealth Ninja" on the ballot, he just might), I would be the invisible woman. I have a social disorder; I hate being social. I don't like crowds. I'm afraid of strangers. Put me in a room with more than ten people and I'll melt into the wall. Hey, maybe Mrs. Dean just needs a dose of Zoloft or Prozac or something to make her overcome her shyness! Or not. Maybe she just wants to concentrate on her career and her children, which is admirable. I'd much prefer a first lady (be it state or country) that prefers to do her job and be there for her kids than walk around Iowa like a grinning puppet.

I suppose that's what it could boil down to; on the issue of this campaign, Dr. Steinberg chose her kids over her husband. Is that so bad? Is it terrible to want to be there for PTA meetings and football games instead of holding your husband's hand while he's on a 2003 Blast Bush Tour? Sure, I could be wrong. I'm engaging in a little mind-reading here. Maybe Dr. Steinberg-Dean is staying in the background because she hates politics or is selfish or is having a secret lesbian affair with her child's gym teacher. Maybe she's a secret double agent who is planting dissenters in Howard Dean's audience to wreck his career, after which she will dump him for Dennis Kucinich, who is in the market for a life partner, anyhow.

Ah, conjecture thy name is mass media.

Coming soon to a Drudge headline: Why is Scott Peterson's Wife Absent During His Most Trying Times??

Oh, nevermind.*

*I'm sorry. That was really tasteless.

January 12, 2004

Is it cool? is it cool?

Yesterday I asked if you remember the first 45 you bought with your own money. Carol replied with The Brothers Johnson's Strawberry Letter #23.

Here's the thing about that song: The lyrics are complete nonsense. They make no sense unless you've been dipping into an old LSD stash.

But that's the beauty of it. On paper, the words are just mumble jumble. But when you're singing those words, they transform into something magical. They flow from your lips. They feel like poetry. They melt on your tongue like snowflakes. And you can't stop singing. Maybe Carol, like me, practically wore a hole in her 45 from spinning that song so often. One time you do the background vocals. You oooh and dooo and pretend you're some hip black chick with an ultra cool afro wearing a gold mini skirt and thigh-high boots. Then you pick up the needle, drop it back at the beginning and now you're the guy. You're not just singing, you're crooning and your voice is all mellow and smooth and tastes like honey. Oh, it was 1977* and you're supposed to be cool and hip and discovering punk rock but you'll never give this song up, no way, no how.

You know the lyrics are just a pile of crap when hear them. You know it's just someone else's bad acid trip, but you don't care. You're caught in the headlights of velvet roses diggin' freedom flight. And the highlight of the song, the part where you tilt your head back and raise your hands up and shake it like a polaroid picture (what the hell does that mean, anyhow?) and you forget that there are other people in the house so you raise your voice a couple of octaves when you sing Feel sunshine sparkle pink and blue, Playgrounds will laugh But that's ok, because a voice from the next bedroom says if you try to ask Is it cool?, is it cool?

Yea, your friends will think you've lost your edge and your spouse will think you've gone back in time but I dare you to download this and play it loud. Sing it. Man, that Quincy Jones knows how to work a song.

Brothers Johnson - Strawberry Letter #23 - mp3

Full lyrics below

*[originally recorded by Shuggie Otis in 1971]

Hello, my love
I heard a kiss from you
Red magic satin playing near, too

All through the morning rain
I gaze - the sun doesn't shine -
Rainbows and waterfalls run through my mind

In the garden - I see west
Purple shower, bells and tea
Orange birds and river cousins dressed in green

Pretty music I hear - so happy
And loud - blue flower echo
From a cherry cloud

Feel sunshine sparkle pink and blue
Playgrounds will laugh
if you try to ask
Is it cool?, is it cool?

If you arrive and don't see me
I'm going to be with my baby
I am free - flying in her arms, over the sea

Stained window, yellow candy screen
See speakers of kite - with velvet roses diggin' freedom flight

A present from you - Strawberry letter 22
The music plays, I sit in for a few


A present from you - Strawberry letter 22
The music plays, I sit in for a few


rock, roll and get famous

Want to be famous? Ever thought you could write the perfect rock song if given the opportunity? Well, now's your chance to show off those mad skills you've been keeping secret all these years, thanks to Andrew of Dodgeblogium.

In a moment that could either be described as spastic or waggish, I came up with a rather interesting contest. First, to make sure I wasn't totally off my trolley, I sent an email to my fellow rocker, Michele. She not only likes the idea but is rather enthusiastic about it. Inotherwords, it is either a bloody good idea, or she is as nuts as I am. Assuming the latter, here is my idea:

I am (as some of you know), and have been, for a few months now, putting together a band of 30-somethings to record an album (and to tour). We are looking for original stuff. I thought it might be a good for a laugh to run a "your perfect rock lyric" contest. In this we get people to suggest lyrics to a rock song they would like to hear. Of course, if my band uses any, some, or all entries we will give credit where it's duo and a share of royalties.

Deadline is Valentine's Day. Other rules are at Andrew's site.

Come on kids, let out that power ballad that you know you have inside. Pen a protest song. Write an ode to sex, drugs and rock and roll. I mean, you can't be any worse than Nickelback, right?

I will be acting as one of the judges for this contest. Andrew promises we won't act like Simon Cowell, but if any of you enter songs like this, I will publicly humiliate you.

Fame. You want to live forever.

Bender Post of the Day: Dear Roger Clemens

Today's Bender Award goes to you, Roger Clemens, because you "retired" from baseball as a Yankee and decided to come out of the retirement that never even existed to play for the Astros.

I hope you enjoyed all those parting gifts, Roger. I would say use them with pride and dignity, but you possess neither. Enjoying that Hummer?.

If only Hall of Famers had to go into the hall wearing the cap of their last team. The Astros cap would be fitting for you, loser.

No, I'm not bitter, Roger. I've always hated you. I'm just more passionate about it now. I hope you blow your arm out in spring training.

UPDATE: To the people coming here from the Astros forum: I mean nothing against your team, really. It's just that my hatred for Clemens causes me to lose all rational thought. And as for those who think I'm just a former Clemens fan crying sour grapes because he left the Yankees high and dry, do a little reading here.

rare steaks and safety gear

Sometimes I wonder if we are too safety conscious. Have we taken all the spontaneity and thrill out of living? It seems the more the government wants to babysit us, the more frightened we become to do anything.

While all this fear - especially fear of litigation - has spawned a million warning labels that read as parody (see here for some good examples), that's not the real problem. Warning us to not take hair dryers into the bathtub or to not ingest cleaning fluids is just a way to keep people from going all Darwin on us. The real problem exists not in warnings that get stamped on a label which then get stamped on a bottle of bleach, but in the warnings that come out of memos, rules, regulations and studies and are usually announced to the public by a serious looking newscaster on the 6:00 show during sweeps week.

When I was a child - this would be the 60's - my mother engaged in behavior that would today cause men in white coats from the Center for Disease Control to come barging in the door with arrest warrants.

She cut chicken and vegetables with the same knife, on the same cutting board. She didn't scrub apples before giving them to us. She cooked steaks and burgers in such a way that they almost mooed when prodded with a fork. She packed her children, the neighbor's children and most of our cousins into her brown station wagon, all sitting on laps and squished up against the back window and none of us wore seat belts. My infant sister sat on my lap - in the front seat - very often. Sure, that almost killed her once when the door flew open as we rounded a turn, but the point is, it didn't kill her.

Now, before you start throwing statistics at me let it be known that I am a seat belt advocate. My car does not move from its spot unless everyone is buckled up. It's the whole of the subject, all those safety rules bunched together in one alarming package, that frighten me more than any warning label ever could.

One of my favorite childhood memories is of the summer we spent riding our bikes to Wantagh to a pedestrian walkway that spanned the Wantagh Parkway. The walkway was concrete and sloped all the way down into (I think, my memory is a little fuzzy these days) a school parking lot. We rode to the top of the walkway (two to a bike, which you rarely see these days) and took turns riding down the steep slope, pedaling until we were at a break-the-sound-barrier pace (kids tend to be hyperbolic, you know) and once we reached top speed, do a no arms, no legs maneuver so we were coasting down the walkway without thinking about breaking or steering. At the end was a small bump, which was enough to make your bike do a little wheelie, which more often than not left you flat on your back, your bike underneath you, wheels still spinning. We did this with no helmets, no knee pads, no shin pads. It would be the greatest thrill any of us would have until we discovered sex many years later. Many years later.

And we survived. We survived that and we survived not being buckled in and we survived roller coasters and Ferris Wheels that had no safety bars. We made it even though we jumped off of bridges into the ocean and ate sugared cereal every morning and spent a lot of time on playgrounds that were made of metal and steel and not the plastic crap they use today. When was the last time you saw a merry-go-round? Monkey bars? See saws? It's all gone, all existing just as memories of days when we weren't afraid of our own shadows, when kids didn't have to be dressed up in body armor to play a game of kickball, when our parents let us watch scary movies and tv shows that featured lots of guns. We used to be able to have snowball fights on the school grounds, play dodge ball with all the enthusiasm of warriors and gladiators, call a kid a "stupid head" without being suspended, carry pocket knives and take aspirins in school.

I know, I know. The safety rules are there for a reason. The ratings system and the censor board exist because we've created a society where they have to exist. We've lived, we've learned and we've adjusted the gameplay accordingly. I just wonder if we're not raising a generation of wimps who, later in life, won't be able to do anything without consulting a Big Book of Warnings. Maybe humans will evolve to such a point that babies will come out of the womb with helmets and elbow pads on. And I wonder what these kids will do when they are the adults running the world and are faced with enemies who don't care about the rules, regulations and warning labels. After all, you can't fight your enemy if all the guns and swords and dangerous items have been put under lock and key for your own good.

My motto? Let them eat meat. Really. Let them eat a medium-to-rare steak once in a while. Figuratively speaking, of course. I think tonight we'll all gather around the tv and watch Terminator 3 together. Watching a gratuitously violent chase scene is no match for coasting down a steep hill with no helmet on, but it's as close as we can get without being called irresponsible parents.

4th and 26

I swear I am going to turn off my email and comments soon. Hell, why don't I just get it out of the way for all of you and be done with it once and for all.

4th and 26!!

Why, maybe I'll just rename the blog 4th and 26 so I can constantly be reminded of it. You'd like that, wouldn't you?

Do you all feel better now? Good.

[Late start today - regular posting will be along shortly]

January 11, 2004

i'm your cartoon tivo

Reminder to Adult Swim fans: Home Movies returns tonight at 11 pm.


This has been a cartoon psa.

there's more than seven, you know!

Arthur passes along this laughable story:

Rep. Doug Ose of Sacramento has seven dirty words very much on his mind, courtesy of such free speakers as U2 singer Bono and Nicole Richie, the rich kid co-star of "The Simple Life.''

Fed up with recent repeated instances of broadcast TV networks allowing language that many people would deem offensive to be aired live, the Republican House member has introduced a bill that spells out the seven awful words that would be banned from the public air waves in all their forms and all their meanings -- "including verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms,'' as the bill says.

Among the words are such swear-word standbys as those used for excrement, fornication, urine and parts of the body. The list includes one word, a -- h -- , twice, as one word, and in its compound form to leave no doubt Ose wants it banned.

I thought I would write the good Rep. Ose and tell him what I think of his proposal. Instead, I'm just going to dedicate this 30-second song to him.

[please do not play in front of small children or sensitive adults]Blink 182 - Family Reunion

Enjoy. It's a great sing-along song!

don't mention that throw if you want to live


I don't want to talk about it.

But I'm sure Alan does.

ready for some football

Beer: check.Chips: check.
Dip: check.
Packers jersey: check.
Packers blanket: check.
Voodoo: check.
Humility: On reserve just in case.

aging at twice the speed of light

On Friday I spent the day feeling old; 25th reunion coming up next year, Jimmy Page turning 60...it's as if someone hit the fast forward button and the last 20 years or so of my life has gone by in double speed.

I woke up today determined to get over it, already and live by the adage you're only as old as you feel. Well, maybe I should change that to you're only as old as you act. What with the various physical ailments that haunt me in wintertime, I feel like I'm 80. But maturity wise - let's just say I still find fart jokes funny.

So what do I see yesterday when I open Explorer and hit my favorites? This:

[Chris Muir's Day by Day. Click for bigger image]

Thanks, Chris. I'm right back where I was yesterday, feeling ancient, old, archaic, whatever other adjective you can find to fit there. [Today's strip really doesn't make me feel much better]

I bet I still have a bunch of those yellow inserts for the record player up in my mom's attic. Hell, I bet my copy of The Archies' Sugar Sugar is still up there as well.

Do you remember the first 45 that you bought with your own money? (Do you whippersnappers even know what a 45 is?) Mine was Sweet's Fox on the Run[1974]. It was backed with Ballroom Blitz, which ended up being the song I played more.

Ah, youth. Vinyl records, black and white tv, smoking without guilt. Those were the day.

January 10, 2004

do that voodoo that i do: Packers edition

Let it be know that:

eagles.jpgToday, being National Voodoo Day,

and this being the day that voodoo cults from around the world make sacrifices to their gods,

and this being the Cult of PackersBeatingTheEagles,

we hereby offer on this, the 10th day of January, 2004 a sacrifice to the gods of football, and the sub-gods thereof, including the gods of touchdowns, sacks, tackles, first downs, interceptions, fumbles and end zone dances so that each god may make their powers work in the respective ways necessary to allow the almighty Green Bay Packers to win,

the sacrifice consisting of, as requested, one dead eagle, one live eagle, and being that we could not find any beautiful virgins in Philadelphia we instead offer you one flamboyant entertainer who once made a song about Philadelphia, which we were told was an allowable substitution,

we beseech you to work your voodoo tomorrow.

Yours in the name of National Voodoo Day,


P.S. Thanks for all that voodoo you helped me with when the Yanks played the Red Sox. I hope the lead singer of Boston was as tasty as you expected.

P.P.S. Please let me know if it's not too early to talk about Howard Dean.

media minded

We went to see Big Fish. I was going to write a review when we got home, but I got a special delivery today of the MTX CD. Therefore, I will be listening to that and you'll get two reviews for the price of one tomorrow!

Ok, one sentence about Big Fish: It's a story I wish I wrote.

Oh, one other thing. Why is the weather always such a big deal to newscasters? For three days straight it's been:

Our top breaking story tonight: IT'S COLD! IN JANUARY! IN NEW YORK!

Go figure.

this one is all yours


Commence with the captioning.

Update: As noted in the comments, I did not Photoshop this. It's real.

January 09, 2004

The Grudge Against Drudge: O'Reilly May Be Right

It looks like Bill O'Reilly may have had a legitimate bone to pick with Matt Drudge over Drudge's posting of Bookscan sales for both O'Reilly's and Al Franken's books.

As the story went, O'Reilly claimed that Drudge wasn't reporting the right Bookscan numbers and his book finished higher than Franken's in the year end sales. Drudge reported that Franken's book finished higher.

What ensued was a catfight between O'Reilly and Drudge. Several people mentioned that this was a long-standing feud, nothing new. Some said that Drudge has a grudge against O'Reilly.

Well, imagine my surprise when I get my daily Publisher's Weekly email yesterday and this story pops up: [user: fchblog pw: fchblog]

When Bill O'Reilly and Al Franken were arguing last month about who had sold more books, online muckraker Matt Drudge stepped in with the final word by citing an inviolable source: BookScan.....

...So how representative are the service's numbers? An informal survey of the top-selling books of 2003 showed some surprising things.

BookScan generally claims to represent between 70% and 75% of sales in the industry (Wal-Mart and some of the supermarket chains are among those who decline to report.) But a comparison with in-print figures supplied by publishers reveals that the numbers are more likely to represent about 65%, even after deducting for unsold books and returns.

So, maybe the Bookscan numbers that Drudge posted were skewed. I was about to do some research on this when I got another email from PW, containing this tidbit:

So much for branding: BookScan says it has put Matt Drudge on alert about his use of their lists. While BookScan says it generally frowns upon a media source that cites a number without getting it from the company, it will only try to enforce its copyright against those who print more wholesale reproductions. "We have not licensed Mr. Drudge to put our numbers on his site," said the company's Jim King, noting that Drudge was the only offender. "We're concerned with what he's doing." King said he wasn't concerned that Drudge was jeopardizing the company's licensing agreements but said it wanted to be sure "the information was accurate and from a proper source."

So, even Bookscan says that Drudge's numbers may be wrong. Not only that, he shouldn't even be posting them. Perhaps this time O'Reilly's whining was justified.

I'm going to write Matt Drudge and ask him to defend himself on this one, but I hear the great one is too busy to answer mail from anyone other than celebrities and people running for president.

[Do I have a grudge against Drudge, you ask? Not really. I just don't think he's worth the god-like status he's given]

Turning Paranoia into Parody

The Command Post is running a new contest: The Homeland Security Advisory System Contest

TCP would like to redesign the boring Adivsory System the government puts out. Let's face it - if it's government issued, it's bland. But why settle for bland when there are a million would-be graphic artists and Photoshop addicts out there just dying to redesign the various levels of threat conditions.

Go. Link. Enter. Link.

i get older as the minutes go by

As if the whole 25 years thing wasn't enough, I find out that Jimmy Page, one of my childhood heroes, turned 60 today.

I don't think I ever realized when I was sitting in my room playing air guitar to Trampled Underfoot that Page was almost the same age as my dad.

Somehow, I just can't picture my father on a stage, doing a long guitar solo in front of thousands of people. Then again, I can't picture Jimmy Page giving lectures at firefighting conventions, so that evens out.

But, still. 60?

good, bad, i'm the one with the phone*

I just called my ex-husband to wish him a happy birthday.

Now, I just have to figure out if it was my good side that called him because I am sincere in wishing him happiness or if my dark side phoned him to rub it in that I'm a better person than him.

Which would kind of refute the fact that I'm a better person, I guess.

* surely you know what that is a reference to.

rolling around

Pedram has a wonderful note of thanks up (along with over 500 comments) to the people who assisted in the Bam relief effort.

Jason of Stick and Move has a very amusing column about Pete Rose in today's Saratogian.

If you have something to say to Don Zimmer, Kareem Abdul Jabbar or a multitude of other sports stars, Aaron will give you their phone number, thanks to a huge mistake by an AP staffer. [more at Gawker]

Baldilocks gets obessive-compulsive about salad making. For the record, my salad is always the same: a mixture of arugala, butter and red leaf lettuce, a few croutons, a handful of shredded cheese, a dash of parmesan cheese, black olives (sliced), sesame seeds and a homemade dressing consisting of nothing more than olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice and salt, with a dash of black pepper tossed on at the end.

Speaking of Gawker, they managed to get the jury questionnaire from the Martha Stewart trial.

Jeff Jarvis writes something about the WTC memorial that I find very disturbing. (Jeff's not disturbing, what he uncovered is).

Matt Moore has officially left the ranks of the unemployed. Perhaps Kevin isn't far behind him.

Swerldoff's mom is hanging. In a museum, that is.

Back to work with me. If you feel like gratuitously self-linking in the comments, here's your chance to do it without annoying me.

pass the geritol

Nothing puts quite a damper on your day as opening the mail and seeing an invitation to join the planning committee for your 25th class reunion.

That's high school. 25 years.

I had no idea that I was so old.

straight to hell, boys

[click for bigger image]I'm in the car with the son last night. The radio's on - KROCK, whose motto should be, You listen to us because you really don't have another rock alternative in New York! - and one of those indistinguishable bands is singing another indistinguishable song about being lovesick, but in an ironic, sarcastic kind of way, and you hear the very distinguishable sound of a word being cut out. It would not take a genius to know that the lovelorn singer just dropped the f-bomb. In an ironic way, of course.

Now, this is no big deal. Both my kids have CDs with that Tipper-induced Parental Warning: Rock Bands Cuss! on the cover. It's not a big issue with us; we if we deny them a CD they want, it's usually due to sexual content, not cursing. After all, they've been in the car with me when someone cuts me off or blocks an intersection or tailgates me in the right lane. There's not many words they haven't heard.

My point is...what was my point? Oh, yes. In the car. With the son. Not so professionaly edited F-word on the radio. No big whoop, right? Well, the son - who will be 11 this month - drops this on me.

Son: How come if God sends you to hell if you cursed in life, then everyone curses so much?
Me: Ummm...God doesn't send you to hell for cursing. As far as I know, hell is for (I resist the urge to break out into Pat Benatar's Hell is for Children) murderers. People like that.

If you know me, you know my dilemma here. Me: atheist/agnostic/something in between. Kids: Catholic, by default. So when the subject of religion comes up I rely on my vast repository of Catholic school/Catechism lessons and try to give them honest answers while teaching them the proper moral lesson for the subject at hand without bible thumping or preaching. It's a tough balancing act.

They go to church with their father - sometimes. When the mood to be pious strikes him, I suppose. They've done the religious instruction thing, received their sacraments, ate the wafer and made the face of digust just like their mother before them.

I gave up doing the Sunday School school thing with them. Often, their father would bail out and I'd have to take them and what I saw and heard there didn't really thrill me. The day we went for a group lesson - right before Easter about three years ago - and the instructor's point of the day was that poor people wouldn't be poor if they just had more faith in Jesus, we made some excuse to stop showing up for class and I did the rest of the lessons at home with them.

Well, sort of. I would scan that week's chapter, read the additional material provided and then come up with my own lesson, which was nothing more than a plea for my children to have good morals. You don't need readings from the Old Testament to teach your kids how to treat their fellow man.

So, back to hell and the f-word. I suddenly feel guilty for telling my son that God only sends murderers and such to hell when I don't believe in God or hell at all. This is the same guilt some parents get when telling their kids about the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. You know some day the truth will be told and then your kids will call you a liar and you'll have to explain why it's not really a lie, we were just trying to put some magic in their lives, but face it. They never really trust you again. It's the case of the Mom who Cried Tooth Fairy. Now they'll never believe you when you tell them that Dick Cheney really does exist.

Now what do I say to my son about hell? Do I tell him that fire and brimstone await him if continues to badger his sister about her spelling skills? Do I use something I don't believe in to my advantage - much like the He Knows When You Are Sleeping method of December behavior management - and become what I hated most about the adults in my life when I was a child? You know, that whole God is watching you and he'll punish you if you tease your sister again thing, or do I tell him that there's no such thing as hell (well, at least I don't think there is), but you will develop cold sores on your tongue every time your curse? Hmm. Advantage: Me.

We finally get home and we sit down for our nightly battle of Trivial Pursuit Junior, a game at which my son kicks my ass regularly, due to the fact (according to him, anyhow) that I'm too old to remember any of the basic things I learned back in school. Yes, all those years ago. Uphill both ways. Ten feet of snow. Etc.

The tv is on. CNN, Fox, one of the news channels that is constantly in the background in my home. They cut to the story about the bastard who killed his ten month old child and then kidnapped his other children. The son is horrified. He listens, entranced by the story of a father who could just murder his own family. Finally, I hit the mute button and roll the dice.

Mom, he says. I think God made hell for this. Guys like him. Not people who curse.

I just nod and give him a tight smile. So what if I'm leading him to believe something I don't? Who knows, he may be right and I may be wrong. We won't know until it's too late to throw that chapter into the catechism book. Meanwhile, there's no harm in letting a very sensitive eleven year old boy think that God gets even with people like Jerry William Jones, eventually. Let him think the world and what lies beyond is a balanced universe, where the bad guys roast after they die and the good guys float on clouds. In another year or so when he's in middle school, he'll get all cynical like the rest of them. For now, I'll encourage his belief that wrongs get righted in the afterlife.

I let one slip after I get an answer wrong (What mammal uses echolocation? I thought it was dolphins, he knew without looking that the answer was bats), I think I said shit or damn or something. I cover my mouth like I always do when I curse in front of the kids (I actually need a muzzle when I'm playing video games) and the son says, at least you're not going to hell for that, mom.

Well, no. Not for that. I'm sure if there is a hell there's a handbasket waiting for me at the gates. But that's another morality tale for another day. Bible not included.

January 08, 2004

The first blogger baby of 2004

His name is Ian.

Congrats to the proud parents and Ian's four brothers and sister.

amber alert over: girls safe

They found the girls. They are safe. The bastard killed himself. If there is an afterlife, may he be tormented in it forever.

Update: Now they are saying he's wounded, not dead. Good. Hope they torture him.

long distance dedication

This one goes out to Allah. Praise be unto the Crue.

Crue - Home Sweet Home mp3

If you're singing along at home, the words are below. Just remember to hit those high notes.

You know I'm a dreamer
But my heart's of gold
I had to run away high
So I wouldn't come home low

crue.jpgJust when things went right
It doesn't mean they were always wrong
Just take this song and you'll never feel
Left all alone

Take me to your heart
Feel me in your bones
Just one more night
And I'm comin' off this
Long & winding road

I'm on my way
Well, I'm on my way
Home sweet home
Tonight tonight

I'm on my way
I'm on my way
Home sweet home

You know that I seem
To make romantic dreams
Up in lights, fallin' off
The silver screen

My heart's like an open book
For the whole world to read
Somtimes nothing--keeps me together
At the seams

I'm on my way
Well, I'm on my way
Home sweet home
Tonight tonight
I'm on my way
Just set me free
Home sweet home

and speaking of CNN...

Has anyone else noticed that the only guests Larry King has on lately either have one foot in the grave or are reminiscing about a long dead entertainment star? I swear, every time I flip by his show, I age another year just looking at his lineup.

just me obsessing over something again

Fox, the only site to stay on top of this story, now has a photo of two of the missing girls up on the front page. If you are in the area of alert, keep your eye out for these poor girls.

Meanwhile, Drudge still has scary Katherine Harris as his lead/photo story. His second story is something The Command Post had two full days ago.

CNN still has Scott Peterson's smug mug starring up front.

I don't get the fascination with Drudge. He makes millions of dollars for putting up links. He very rarely gets a scoop anymore. In fact, TCP beats him to most of his top stories. He rarely makes commentary and his headlines read sometimes like The National Enquirer.

I think I found a new obsession. Watching the media and keeping track of what they think is important news. No particular reason, I'm just done obessing about the WTC memorial for now and I need something to take its place.

Speaking of Command Post, go read this beautiful essay on Iran by Dariush Sharazi.

Hell, while I'm plugging my own sites I might as well tell you that Four Color Hell is hopping again, and you may have missed my photos/essay about the aviation museum over at Retrovertigo. I know you missed them. You would have left a comment if you were there, right?

Ok, done self pimping.

smells like victory

This is really all you need to know about me.

What Classic Movie Are You?
clickyclicky for biggie size

seen first at Mr. Tepper's

If you see this man

Kill him. Show him no mercy.

So there's this intense manhunt for this guy. He's already killed four people, including his ten month old baby. He has kidnapped three young girls - two daughters and a step-daughter - and taken them on the run with him. The police have said the girls are in extreme danger. He's armed, he's dangerous and the police have issued a nationwide Amber Alert and are asking for your help in finding him.

On CNN's website, there is a nice, big picture of Scott Peterson. On Drudge, there's a horrific picture of Katherine Harris. Fox, at least, has the photo of the murderer up. Seriously, if you are in a position to help, why wouldn't you? I guess Drudge thinks Katherine Harris and the lady who lied about her lottery ticket are breaking news, but a scumbag kidnapper/murderer on the run isn't.

Everyone - especially those in the Georgia area - should be on the lookout for this guy. Would it kill CNN and Drudge to put up a nice big photo of the guy on their front page?

Like I said, if you see him, kill him. I'm sure that's not what the police want but it's sure as hell what I want.

tales from the courthouse, part 76

Note to "ministers" of questionable religious organizations: Just because God forgives your client, that does not mean the justice system does. Citing scripture is not going to get the defendant out of a jail term, no matter how many prayers you say on behalf of your client.

Also, it would be in your best interest to not refer to the sitting judge as "Caligula."

Guilty as Charged

Hello, and welcome to All Filler, No Killer Thursday. This is traditionally the day of the week [day subject to change] when I realize I’ve shot my load writing-wise and my mind refuses to come up with another novel-length discourse on whatever the Subject of the Week is. I am nothing if not single minded. When I get on a soap box, I stay up there until someone threatens to burn the box beneath me. So, that being said, today is filler day. Unless another soap box opportunity presents itself.

Today, in honor of a conversation I had with someone last week about a certain sappy 70's band that no one admits to liking but which I do below, we are going to discuss Guilty Pleasures.

Ok, so I enjoy listening to Air Supply once in a while. The lyrics are so endearing, the sentiment so sickly sweet, that you can’t help but sing along in faux earnest. Do I feel guilty about this sometimes? Yes. I’ve never quite been able to work up the courage to sing “All Out of Love” in a public venue yet. Then again, I never sing in public anyhow. Unless drunk and encouraged by dollar bills.

Guilty Pleasures come in all varieties. Movies? I own Princess Diaries on DVD. Television? I’ve been known to spend an entire Saturday watching a marathon of Lifetime movies, hours upon hours of Women in Jeopardy, starring Meredith Baxter Birney or some 90210 has-been or John Stamos.

Oh, why don’t I just admit to them all right here and now? I’ll cleanse my soul and feel so good and pure about myself that it won’t even matter when everyone starts making fun of me.

So I’ll admit that I love Elvis sandwiches. Europe’s Final Countdown. Motley Crue’s Home Sweet Home. Pikachu. Justin Timberlake. Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. Howard Stern. Cops. True crime documentaries. Weekly World News. Sabado Gigante. Eating hot fudge out of the jar with a spoon. Little House on the Prairie. Cream soda with milk. Match Game. Commenting on Fark. Infomercials. Hockey fights. Canada.

I’ll stop there and let you go on. Don’t be afraid. I didn’t set the bar too high, did I?

January 07, 2004

addressing the really imporant issues

I'd like to address two issues that WindRider brought up in the comments on the post below this one.

1. I've been asked this question quite a few times the past few days: Is it ok if I nominate ASV for a Bloggie? What about Command Post?

Answer: As far as ASV goes, I would appreciate it if you would not nominate this blog for anything. While I appreciate the sentiment, if ASV were to be on the final ballot I would ask Nikolai to remove it. There's various reasons involved, none of which I would like to explain. As far as TCP goes, please, by all means nominate it. The long list of contributors who have made TCP the success it is deserve the recognition.

2. I spoke to Windy on the phone last week. Bless his heart, he said that I don't have a Long Island accent. And he's not lying. I don't. A New York accent, maybe. Long Island, no. It's very easy to confuse the two which is why some people may tell you that I speak in a Long Island tongue. As Alan or Melly or Meryl or some others can tell you, I do not say mawl or cawfee or dawter, which is the hallmark of an LI accent. And Windy has a very nice phone voice.

Speaking of which, Melly, I'll call you Friday evening if you'll be home. Sorry about the laryngitis thing last week.

despite all my rage.... scratch that

Nevermind. I changed my mind about the about page. I think I'll just make stuff up when someone asks me about myself.

Instead, I offer for your viewing pleasure - I hope - today's entry in my husband's Sketch-A-Day book. A self portrait. Click that thumbnail over there. Yea, that one.

Day is done. Finally. A nice cordial glass half filled with Amaretto, a Type O Negative CD on the headphones and one hour until Adult Swim. I am at peace.

and you thought i was done?

Not by a longshot. I was just taking a break.

jesuswept1.jpgA tribute put up by a Catholic church across the street from the memorial [with a] stone wall contains empty recesses, one for each life lost in the bombing. Facing that wall, and turned away from the Murrah building, is a large, white statue of Jesus. His head is in his hands, and a tear marks his cheek. The inscription on the base of the statue says only: 'And Jesus Wept'.

This picture was taken by Robyn when she and her husband Todd went back to their home state of Oklahoma for a visit.

[Update: Cato has just posted photos of the OKC memorial and the Jesus statue. I didn't realize it is so big. And it's even more powerful from that angle]

If they put up this statue and nothing else on the site where the World Trade Center used to stand, it would evoke more emotion than every square inch of the proposed memorial would. It needs no words besides the two that are there. Jesus Wept. It needs no flowers, no reflecting pools or concrete walls surrounding it. If your heart does not feel like it's breaking upon looking at the face of this statue, you are not human. This is what a memorial should be. Simple. Poignant. Powerful.

You don't have to be religious or even Catholic to understand the complex emotions and meaning of this one piece of stone. This atheist is weeping along with Jesus right now.

But that's just me. I embrace my sorrow. It motivates me. It moves me. Back on August 29th, I wrote about a book of collected comics dealing with 9/11. I posted a part from my favorite strip of the whole book.

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


Because stories give us hope.

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

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

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

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

—Isak Dinesen

The strip is by Jon "Bean" Hastings and he's given me permission to post it on the Voices site, which I will do this week when I redesign the site. I read that passage at least once a week, whenever I have the urge to write about 9/11 again and I ask myself why, why do I torture myself like this? Why do I insist on bringing it up again and again, slamming the words down on paper, crying over the keyboard, cursing at the world?

Because my sorrow is my story of that day. And as long as it's there I will write about it. I have to.

I look at that statue again and I imagine that part of me, part of so many of us, will always look like that. That's my memorial to the victims of 9/11. I will always weep for them and always write about them. I don't need a sterile, hollow walkway to memorialize that day or the people who died. I just need a pen and paper and some tears.

I think I'm done for the time being.

voting rights for felons: discuss

New Jersey:

The American Civil Liberties Union and several minority rights advocates filed suit yesterday, seeking to overturn a New Jersey law that prohibits convicted felons from voting after they have left prison and are serving terms of parole or probation.

"The purpose of the lawsuit is to expand democracy and expand voting rights," said Prof. Frank Askin, director of the Rutgers Constitutional Litigation Clinic and one of the lawyers who prepared the suit. "Public policy favors reintegrating ex-offenders into society, including making them full participants in civic life. We don't believe the state has any justification in denying these people the right to vote."

Let's open this up to debate. Do you think felons who have left the prison system should have their right to vote reinstated? Let's take it even further; some states allow prisoners to vote. Are you for this or against it?

Make a persuasive argument either way.

my fanboy moment

D is one of those people that you can have a friendship in absentia with. I think it’s been two months since I last chatted with him and today I get an email and we sort of just picked up the conversation from the last time. No, where have you been, why haven’t you written.

He’s a good friend, D. Such a good friend that when he went to a Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean signing, he made sure to get a book signed for me. And this is what ensued:

We're the last in line before they let a whole slew more of people over to the signing table, the agent hands one copy of Coraline to Dave and one to Neil. Dave asks if we want a dedication. I say "yes, to Michele, with one L please" so they *both* scribbled it in both copies. Neil realized what he'd just done and changed his copy to "not for Michele, definitely not for Michele, for Dave and Ann instead" and then added his sig and a scribble to the one Dave had signed.

I was watching Dave McKean intently to make sure he didn't screw it up and he paused after the first "L" and I could see he was thinking about it for a fraction of a second, so I said "please, just one L, or she'll shout at me" and that just made him grin even wider.

I’ve had this goal to someday meet both McKean and Gaiman at a signing. And now, my reputation precedes me. Yea, I know, they won’t remember a second of that exchange. But I will. And I’ll grin like a dope when I ask them to sign my book to Michele with one L.

And now, to help me repay D for his kindness, you can all go over and nominate him for Best British Blog. Pretty please?

D, I edited your silly British spellings

this is a memorial

Oklahoma City.

The Gates of Time: These monumental twin gates frame the moment of destruction - 9:02 - and mark the formal entrances to the memorial. Reflecting Pool: A shallow depth of gently flowing water soothing wounds, with calming sounds and peaceful setting for quiet thoughts.

Field of Empty Chairs: The 168 chairs stands as a poignant reminder of each life lost, articulated as the absence felt by family members and friends.

Children's Area: A wall of hand-painted tiles sent to Oklahoma City in 1995 by children illustrates their care. in addition, a series of chalkboards creates an opportunity for children to share their feelings - an important part of the healing process.

Rescuers Orchard: Like those who rushed in from far and near to lend a helping hand, this army of fruit and flowering bearing trees surrounds and protects the Survivor's Tree.

The Survivor's Tree: The Survivor's Tree, an American Elm, bears witness to the violence of April 19 and now stands as a profound symbol of human resilience.

The Memorial Fence: The Memorial Fence continues to display items left by visitors, which are dedicated to Family Members, Survivors, and Rescue Workers.
photos from here

It's personal. It's human. It's incredibly touching and moving. It does a much better job of representing both the victims and the tragedy than the NYC memorial could ever hope to obtain.

I love the idea Jeff Jarvis submitted:

This memorial will use video to tell the stories of every person who died on September 11th. With family photos, home movies, and tributes from loved ones – in image and in word – leading news producers and filmmakers will work with families to create films of one- to three-minutes in length about each of the fallen.

I am going to embark on a mission to get Jeff to make his idea happen, even if it isn't the "official" memorial of 9/11.

I think that's the last of my memorial-related posts for now. Sorry for the single-mindedness of the last 24 hours or so.

more on the memorial

I get mail. I respond, in one lump sum.

No, it is not my job to determine whether or not the WTC Memorial is appropriate. But it is within my right to determine whether or not I like it and that's just what I did last night.

So, I was a little grumpy, a lot pissy and maybe overwrought and a bit high strung about it. Guess what? I still am. Basically, it's because I'm still grumpy, pissy, overwrought and high strung about the whole damn event that led up to this memorial.

One of you asks if I could go back in time, would I change that day and make the hijackings and crashes never happen? Surprisingly, I say no. I would not change it. What if I could, and I did, and then September 12th came around and not three, but five or six planes were hijacked and 5,000 people died instead of 3,000? You can't change what's already happened. That's for science fiction novels and far-fetched movies. Even fantasizing that you can is dangerous. It leaves you feeling more impotent than before.

I agree with Faith that the towers should have been rebuilt as they were, and maybe that's the only way we could turn back time, or give the illusion that we can. For me, nothing else can come close to what is appropriate to place at that site. It was, and should always be, where the twin towers stand. Not stood. Stand. Present tense. I should be able to look out of my office window and see the towers rising in the west. New bricks, new people, new offices, new day.

I hate the memorial that was chosen because it is not so much a memorial as it is a piece of concept art. It looks so corporate, so business like that I expect a comapny logo to spring up on the side of it.The whole process of choosing what will be in that place was tainted from the start. It is rushed. It is too soon. And it is only being hurried into place for political reasons. That sucks, plain and simple. People are putting their egos and their selfish motivations ahead of every idea this memorial was supposed to encompass.

It's just business. The emotion has been stripped from the concept and it's just business now.

So yea, I'm grumpy. I'm pissy. And this mood will never go away. It will always be there, scratching the surface, waiting for something to call it out. I do nothing to silence it, nothing to confine this mood. Why would I?

who wants to party like it's 1999 2004?

Big Apple Blogger Bash 2004

I RSVPd that I'm going, but I ain't going alone. One of you NY type people better volunteer to escort me.

January 06, 2004

Fresh Voice

There's a fresh entry over at Voices, written by Laurence.

the hazards of lockerroom reporting

Oh. My.

[Don't open around small children]

this is not a memorial

This is not a memorial. It is an artist's rendering of some space-age fantasy land of the future. It's cold, it's sterile, it's empty. A pile of ashen rubble would evoke more emotion than this design.

What is this? It looks like a bathroom sink. Is this bleak hallway supposed to be somehow comforting?

Memorial: 1. Anything intended to preserve the memory of a person or event; something which serves to keep something else in remembrance; a monument

This is not a memorial. It is a wet dream for people who read Architectural Digest as if it were a fashion magazine.

Only this afternoon did I rant and rave about these designs. I said I would probably change my mind by tonight. I haven't. Of the three choices, this was the one I liked the least. This is the one that made me cringe from the beginning. This is not what I want to see when I go to the place where people I know died.

This is not a memorial. It's a design-by-committee, a piece of art that may be worthy of a museum or office building, but not for this. Not for remembering the pain and horror and anguish and sadness that came out of that day.

This is not a memorial. It's a travesty is what it is. A travesty that looks like a bathroom in some rich person's house.

Update: Faith likes it. Jeff hates it.

I am really, really angry and upset right now. Please tread lightly in the comments. Perhaps I shouldn't have written this when I am so upset, but I did. It may be changed, edited or all together deleted later.

And yes, it has occurred to me that I just might still be too emotional about that day to be objective about this.

life on mars, part 2

That's not Mars, that's Tatooine!

[click for bigger]

[Previous life on Mars here]

Color pictures from Mars. How freaking cool.

can't we all just get along?

[I don't know what's gotten into me today - I seem to be in rant mode and can't escape it. I hope this is the last of things that light my fire today]

Jack - a liberal blogger - is calling for civility between bloggers when it comes to politics.

For some time now, I've been concerned with the execrable quality of political discourse in this country. Quite frankly, the quality of debate sucks, and we Liberals are doing NOTHING to help our cause in this respect (not that Conservatives are doing much to help...). Michele beat me to this one, but we seem to be on the same wavelength here. Politically, we are seldom on the same page, but we seem to agree that this madness has gone far enough. As Exhibit A, I offer MoveOn.org's commercial contest, which I will not dignify here with a link. It has turned into a vicious, mean-spirited, "I-hate-Bush" fest.

Jack and I go way back. He's someone I like and admire and what he has to say today is important. We've always kind of agreed to disagree and I think we go at it more vehemently about football than we do politics. It is possible to have a poltical conversation with someone who is the polar opposite of you without using ugly words and nasty innuendos.

I agree with Jack that you can find just as much ugliness and name-calling on the right as you do on the left. And I'm not just talking about the folks at Free Republic, which is just as much a barometer of typical Republicans as Democratic Underground is for typical Democrats. That is, not at all. Far, far, far in the vast, dark corners of the left and right lie the ugly children of both political movements. I refer to them as flefts and frights and one is as monstrous as the other.

Sometimes these people find their way into the mainstream. They identify with Moveon.Org or hail Mike Savage as a hero but they tend to keep those ideologies on an even keel, until something turns them into Mr. Hyde. Some of them never switched back to good old Dr. Jeckell. They stayed in that ugly alter-ego so long it became a part of them, yet they kept their home in the blogosphere. They're out there. You know they are. And mostly, they are hypocrites.

See, taking offense at someone equating Bush to Hitler is all well and good until you go and compare Howard Dean to a different nazi. Hello? What makes that so different than what the folks who entered the MoveOn contest did? And when you call for the annihilation of an entire country based on the raging lunacy of some of that country's citizens, you are no differen than the wackos who inhabit Indymedia.

Different sides, same song. And I've been singing this very song for way too long. Jack, this is why I stopped - for the most part - blogging partisan politics. When I do, I try to write the post with humor so I don't end up with a fight to the death in my comments, with slurs being thrown all around. There are quite a few blogs I stopped reading because I can no longer stand their juvenile references and violent, vicious attitudes. It's one thing to state how you feel. It's quite another thing to infuse your words with unecessary adjectives and death wishes.

Sure, I've wished Arafat dead many times. I've called the people at Indymedia so many names I lost track. But when I wish for Arafat's head to be separated from his body, I don't ask that the entire Middle East go with him. And I don't think my posts about Indymedia have ever been so arrogantly violent as some of the things I've read from both the left and the right.

I am as guilty as others in causing the chasm in the blogosphere. I've not only fed the fires, but started a few as well. When I said back in November that I was done with all that, I meant it. It never felt good. It never felt right. And I never even sunk to the levels that others did. I can't imagine how they look themselves in the mirror and like what they see.

I'm all about civility now. I like Jack. I like Oliver Willis. I like August. Hell, I've even had lengthy, civil email conversations with Latuff himself. There are other things in life besides politics. I am not my party. I am not who I endorse for president. I like baseball and football and comic books. I watch a lot of movies and listen to a lot of music. There are so many other things that make up my personality besides which political party I belong to. We can talk about all those things. Cliche as this is going to sound - and I'm quoting Depeche Mode here, so don't blame me - People are people, so why should it be, you and I should get along so awfully? I don't hate you because of your politics. But I will certainly find the energy to hate you if you use poltics as a means to belittle an entire race of people, for instance.

If I have wronged anyone in this way in the past, I am sorry for it. I've been directing my anger at the wrong people. The best thing for me to do is exactly what I've been doing - writing about everything except the Freepers and DU'ers and the Ted Ralls and Ann Coulters. They bring out the worst in me and I probably unleashed that worst at some bloggers who did not deserve it.

No, I haven't turned into some tree-hugging hippie. This is still a Blog for Bush, etc. My liberal friend Jack just hit a nerve with me today and I needed to unload.

Thanks, Jack.


This would be a good time to remind everyone that Voices still, and always will be, right here.

I am always accepting contributions for the collection. I'm working on an addition to the site as well, which should come in the next few days.

I read at least one of the pieces on Voices every day. Sometimes to keep the fire burning and sometimes to know that there are people who still feel the way I do. And sometimes I read them just because someone took the time to put their sorrows, anger or sadness into words.

bad mood rising

A 13 member jury has selected the final design for the World Trade Center Memorial, though they haven't announced it yet.

In November, I cast my own personal vote for Garden of Light.

I take it back.

It's not that I want one of the other two finalists to be the winner. I went over all of them again today and something kept kicking at my gut. Things I liked about the designs less than two months ago were now irking me. I chose today to find all the little points about each that bothered me. And why? Why was I suddenly being so pissy about these selections when in November I said about them, They are all beautiful in their own way?

I get it now. I know where my gut was going with the constant lurching all day.

I don't want any of them. All of a sudden, I don't want there to be a memorial with gardens and flowers and shining light and flowing streams. I want it to be dark and dreary and depressing. I want it to make you feel bitter, angry and sad. Why? Because I'm selfish. Because I still feel bitter, angry and sad and I still get depressed about it and I want everyone to keep feeling that raw emotion that never, ever leaves me.

'll most likely feel differently tomorrow or maybe even tonight, but right now I don't feel anything but pain, all over again and misery loves company. I want everyone to feel their heart clench and have the tears well up just like me.

Yea, it's wrong and it's selfish. Sometimes the dark side likes to come out of hiding. Today's the day.

the "bender" post of the day

I would comment on this artikel article, but I'm too stoopid to understand it and, besides, I have to go woch watch Jerry Springer, stick my finger in an elektrik electric socket and try to score above a 50 on one of them there IQ test thingies. And then I'm gonna go aks someone to show me how to wurk one of them there voting masheen machine things so I can vote for Mr. Bush in the next elecshun, whenever that is.

And thusly, Neal Starkman of Seattle is the recipient of today's "Bender Post," which goes to the person who I would most like to kiss my ass.

rambling on rose

Dueling headlines: Rose lied, Tug died.

McGraw was a rare sports legends who defied the hate-by-association that follows so many good players. Hate the Mets? Then you must hate all their players. So it is written, so it is done. Tug gets the asterik there.

"He was flamboyant, excitable extroverted, he would do anything for a laugh. I'm going to miss him. He was full of life." -- former Mets teammate Ed Kranepool.

If McGraw was the smile on the face of baseball, Pete Rose was the scowl.

I always feared Rose; when I was a young, starry eyed baseball fan (back before cynicism set in), Rose was probably last on the list of baseball players I wanted to meet. For me, at least, he has this air of duplicity about him. Even when he's smiling, he looks mean or devious. If one could see his aura, I'm sure it would not consist of colors, but of tiny little daggers. Call it a gut feeling.

It was the way Rose ruined Ray Fosse's career - I was eight at the time it happened and didn't give it much thought until years later - and the way in which he always seemed to want what was best for Pete Rose, even during a game, that turned me against him.

In the Fosse incident, Rose pretty much ran down Fosse, a catcher, during the 1970 All-Star Game. Playing for the kill is not something you do in an exhibition, which the All-Star game essentially is. When asked about it by a reporter, Rose said, I play to win. Fosse suffered a separated shoulder and was never the same player after that. Rose felt so bad about the incident (insert sarcasm symbol here) that he autographed photos of the play.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I had no tolerance for Rose, the gambler. This prompted a long email from a reader chastising me for not understanding that gambling is a disease.

If there is one thing I do understand, it's the life of a compulsive gamble. And let's face it, Rose had to be a gambler of the compulsive sort if he went so far as to bet on his own team. And all these years later, what does Rose have to say about his behavior?

Asked why he finally decide to admit he bet on baseball, Rose said, "It's time to clean the slate, it's time to take responsibility … I'm 14 years late." Rose told Gibson he took so long to make his admission because he "never had the opportunity to tell anybody that was going to help me."

Never had the opportunity? Lamest. Excuse. Ever. What was stopping him from taking aside a trusted friend or family member and telling them? Most likely, it was the compulsion to win that stopped him. One last bet, and then he would tell them. One last win. One big win. That's all he needed.

Oh, I know all about it. I know how betting makes you scowl all the time. I know how it makes you do things you might have never dreamed of doing. You think Rose cheated on his taxes on a whim? I know how betting can ruin lives. And I know, better than a lot of you and especially the writer of that email, that being offered help and accepting help are two totally different animals. Apples and oranges, as it were.

Betting on sports isn't a ten-second deal. You don't just make a choice, call your bookie and be done with it. No, you pore over statistics. You battle back and forth with yourself over the point spread or odds. You read, you gather information and then you place the bet, maybe hours after you started your research. That's for one game. And then begins the agonizing. The pacing. The wondering if you made the right choice or not.

Let me tell you something. Even if Pete Rose bet on his team to win, that doesn't make it any better. There's no way his mind was fully on managing a game he placed a bet on. Maybe he bet the over/under. Maybe his bookie was using a run spread instead of odds. He probably paced, sweat it out, maybe kicked a few water coolers or punched a few holes in the wall.

Compulsive gambling makes you a bitter, angry person most of the time. Big win days are few and far between. Even if you do get those big wins, you end up dumping it all back in the bookie's lap because you are sure you can parlay that lump of money into a heap of money. Then you surround yourself with people of questionable character. You dream up other schemes to make money. You get involved in things you shouldn't be involved in. All to pay the bookie and have enough money leftover to make the next bet. Most likely, you end up divorced. A bookie is a harsh mistress. Eventually your wife or husband will feel as if you've left them for the man with the betting sheet. That vig you pay may as well be diamonds and fur coats given to another woman.

Yes, I do know all about gambling. It's not a disease, it's a choice. Help in battling bad choices is anywhere you want to find it. But you have to want it. You have to want the help more than you want the next win.

I've got no sympathy for Rose, just like I had no sympathy for my ex-husband when he chose gambling as a way of life. He didn't want the help, either. Maybe years from now he, like Rose, will ask for forgiveness. And just like Rose, there will be a self-serving reason for it.

Well, that's not what I meant to write. But I did, so there it is.

January 05, 2004

dum dum dum dum, dum dum dum, dum dum dum

Ok, some serious email discussions going on about Bush as Darth Vader [and in the comments as well] so I'm taking it here.

With Bush starring as Darth Vader, cast the rest of the movie and the likely scenarios in the like manner.

Josh suggests: Osama Bin Laden = Obi Wan Kinobe, Bush Sr. = Emperor Palpatine, The Death Star = ... Uhm, Israel I guess. And he also suggests what I've been thinking: Bush using the Imperial Death March as his theme song.

My favorite comment so far on the similarities between Vader and Bush came from Brendan:
Vader: Had a secretary named Bush.
Bush: Has a secretary named Vader.

Yea, we may be pandering to the fleft*, but we're having a good time doing it.

Now, if I could figure out how to use Flash, I could make an election ad with this theme.

Update: Yea, I forgot the footnote.

*fleft: denotes the far left, like Michael Moore, Ted Rall and Indymedia, as opposed to the sane left.

Dear Pete Rose

Just because you bet on your own team to win does not mean it's ok, Pete. At least not to me. You should have sucked it up and admitted your gambling a long time ago, Pete, instead of pulling a Clinton and swearing that you did not have a relationship with a bookie. As the song playing on my Winamp right now (coincidentally) says, it's too late for apologies.

I have no tolerance for compulsive gamblers, this stemming from a personal experience with one.

I have no tolerance for sports figures who engage in activities that other people in normal day-to-day jobs would be summarily fired for.

I have no tolerance for a sport that would welcome back people who have shamed it.

Tomorrow Major League Baseball will announce the new inductees into its Hall of Fame. My three favorites on the list, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy and Goose Gossage, will most likely not get in. If, someday, the Hall of Fame accept Pete Rose as a member but not those three players, I will officially hang up my baseball fan hat. MLB is in the third strike phase for me. One more, they are out. Game over.


You know it to be true.

[Click for bigger. I hate having to use MS Paint]

*note: this is in reference to the post below. I'm just trying to help out the far left with their cause*

hitler has jumped the shark

It appears that a second Bush=Hitler ad has appeared at MoveOn.org. One might believe that all of the movies submitted had the same theme.

I would like to say something to those that participate in such memes as George Bush being the equivalent of a mass murdering tyrant.

With the release of this new video, Bush=Hitler has officially jumped the shark. It's like when a tv show has a guest star who keeps coming back until his boorish character becomes permanent and ruins the whole show. Your guest star is Hitler and his time has come.

There are so many other guest stars you could bring into your campaign to make Bush out to be the anti-Christ. What about Stalin? His mustache was much better than Hitler's. Get creative. Do a whole Bush=Darth Vader thing. Remember when Darth wiped out Alderaan on a whim? You could probably find a way to equate that with the "illegal invasion and occupation" of Iraq.

There's so many villains to choose from. Lex Luthor. Zod. Oliver Cromwell. Ho Chi Minh. Cruella DeVille. Hell, why not Satan himself?

Hitler has become passe. It's time to shake the cobwebs off of another villain and retire old Adolf to the Home for Symbols of George Bush's Regime, along with Shrub and Chimp. I've seen those protests signs you guys have made. I know you are a creative bunch. Be a sport and come up with something else or we just won't take you seriously anymore.

monday creeps up my shoulder like a huge spider with evil eyes which I smash with fist only to leave a streak mark on the sleeve of my new shirt

Unlike previous vacations, this one did not fly by. In fact, I feel like I've been off of work for about a year, and that year was spent working on a chain gang or holding my breath underwater.

It's not the kids - though having them home 24-7 meant huge amounts of dishes in the sink - it's the lack of routine. I am a slave to the routine. The more days in a row I spend without one, the lazier and more disoriented I become. It got to the point that I didn't even know what day it was. After that, I reached the point of no return - I didn't even care what day it was. I fell into a drooling, mumbling stupor, surrounded by piles of laundry, days worth of mail and the GameCube controller gripped tight in my hand.

It all goes back to normal today. Up early, out of the house by 7:30, in my office until 4, home, gym, home. Sweet relief. I know what I'm doing every second of the day and that's all I ask. I don't like to live my life in free fall. Give me the safety of a clock and a parachute every time.

So I've been having post-apocalyptic dreams again. Well, they start out pre-apocalyptic, with black helicopters and darkened skies and lots of screaming and sirens. Like a Paul Verhoeven movie but without all the costlly special effects. That's the great thing about my dreams - I can outdo any action movie without having to resort to CGI. I do my own stunts, too.

Remember those disaster films of the 70's? It was a very popular genre; Earthquake, Towering Inferno, Posieden Adventure. They can't make movies like that anymore because someone, somewhere would be so upset at the imagery and the emotional pain it causes them that they would organize an internet-based grass roots group to boycott the film and any company that was thinking of putting a product placement in the film. Then Pat Robertson or one of the Family Media Overlord guys would get involved, as well as the ACLU and well, that idea is shot to hell. No disaster movies for you!

Anyhow, the dream. I was writing a novel while the world was falling apart around me. It was a damn good novel, too and I was reading out loud as I wrote to a very captive audience of people who had obviously been dipping into the post-nuclear war pool of radioactive bliss. They weren't so much people as torsos and heads growing out of the ground. Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With heads and faces of all races and pretty kids all in a row. I think I may have even watered them once or twice to see if they would grow.

So, I wrote this novel as the world went to hell around me. I think I yawned once or twice. Apparently, my dreams are getting repetitive. I think every time there's a new bin Laden tape I have a post apocalyptic dream, only now, my subconcious sees it as a big joke and just goes through the motions. Yadda, yadda. Explosions, helicopters, screaming children. Can we get back to the dreams about Jon Stewart, please?

So I slept about a total of three hours last night and most of that three hours was spent writing a novel and battling an invading army, so I woke up, looked at the clock and immediately calculated the hours until I could get back into bed again. Sleep is a long way away, folks. The Mother of all Mondays looms ahead, what with trying to get the kids up at this hour once again and the avalanche of work that awaits me and the whole damn Monday thing including, but not limited to, bad hair, bags under my eyes and the knowledge that it's 2004 and I'm still not teleporting to work, damn it.

But ah, the routine. Bless the routine. It may be a long day ahead of me, but at least it has a planned schedule. Unless, of course, the black helicopters come.

[Now that I think about it, last night's episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Sealab might have something to do with the people-garden in last night's dream.]

January 04, 2004


Tonight's Simpsons episode was excellent. I laughed out loud several times.

The Aljazeera reference was just icing on the cake.

the penultimate bush=Hitler idiocy

This movie - one of many in a contest run by MoveOn.org - spends 30 seconds comparing Bush to Hitler. How original, I know.

I don't know why this instance of the nuts on the far left engaging in this comparison bothers me so much this time when I just laughed it off the 3,000 times before, but it does.

I made a vow not to engage in anymore nut-baiting or political bashing here. I'm trying my best to hold my tongue. So maybe I'll try it this way: I want one person - just one - to list for me all the ways in which Bush can be said to be just like Hitler. I want a side-by-side comparison of the two detailing all the ways in which they are alike, all the ways in which Bush is running this country like Hitler ran his, all the ways in which Bush is treating people the way Hitler did.

Below are two screenshots from the movie. They are all you really need to see.

Like I said, I'm not going to aggravate myself any further by popping a blood vessel in my brain while trying to rant about this. That doesn't mean you can't. Feel free. I'm going to take an Excedrin.

Update: The Simon Wiesenthal Center has something to say about it as well.

moveon.jpg moveon2.jpg


I was watching scary movie style - with my hands over my eyes.

I can resume breathing now.



I hate overtime. I can't watch. Someone tell me what happens.

yea baby!


Favre is THE MAN! How could you not cheer for him? Did you see him after that touchdown? Goosebump, I tell ya.

Halftime: Packers 13 - Seahawks 6

[I'm going to a wake in half an hour. Would it be inappropriate to wear my Packers jersey?]

life on mars!

I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of this and I won't be the last.


looks like we made it


Mars. How incredibly cool is this?

January 03, 2004

thinking out loud

Authorities say that the EgyptAir Boeing 767 that crashed into the ocean today - killing all on board - was not an act of terrorism. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

Except me, of course. I think back to October 31, 1999 when an EgyptAir Boeing 767 crashed into the ocean. That time, it was the Atlantic Ocean off the island of Nantucket. The Boeing disappeared from radar screens soon after takeoff. There was no knowledge of an SOS sent out by the plane's crew.

Originally, the cause of the accident was thought to be some kind of mechanical failure, though many people were thinking of terrorism.

The NTSB investigated came to the conclusion that the copilot, Gameel Al-Batouti, purposely crashed the plane into the ocean, while saying “I rely on God” as the pilot tried to stop him. It wasn't exactly terrorism in the way that we've always known it, but it certainly was a little more disconcerting than mechanical failure.

Controversy ensued. Blame was passed around. Conspiracy theories were born.

I'm not speculating, I'm just saying - don't expect the story of today's crash to end with the announcement that it was mechanical failure, especially given the current situation with international flights.


Yes, I told you to stay tuned. I didn't mean for you to sit here and watch the blog, Rich.

I got sidetracked by the realization that we had no food in the house.
At the grocery store, I got sidetracked by the sheer amount of choices in the yogurt case.
In the parking lot, I got sidetracked by an old man trying to drive into the parking lot through the exit.
On the way home, I got sidetracked by the deli, the liquor store and EB World, where I purchased Prince of Persia.
Once home, I attempted to put away the groceries in record time but got sidetracked rearranging the pantry.
And now, I will be sidetracked by a much deserved nap. Or several hours of playing gaming.

I'm still working on something interesting. But it has nothing to do with ironing that poor woman's face. Let's just say I hope you all studied up on your 2003 celebrity/entertainment news. You're going to need all that useless information.



A 97 year old woman trapped for eight days in the rubble of an earthquake. And she's found alive. In pretty good condition. This will undoubtedly be on of the 2004 Pictures of the Year.

[stay tuned, I'm working on something good. I think.]

January 02, 2004

the green and gold

I almost forgot - today is Packer Pride Day!


My OpEd for Today

No News is Good News, Unless You're Howard Dean

In case you're wondering where all my political talk went, that's where it is today.

i'd hit it

A friend emails to tell me that John Derbyshire wanted women to submit names of men who are "sexy but not good looking." I haven't been to The Corner in a while and I'm not going to break my vow to never read a John Derbyshire post again, so I'll just wing it.

Sexy, not good looking. Is there such a thing? And if there is, it is something that a man would apply to a woman as well? I can't imagine a guy saying yea, she's ugly, but I'd bang her. Unless, of course, the guy was just as ugly and was looking to rid himself of the Virgin tag before his 40th birthday. But perhaps I am underestimating men.

That's not the subject here, though. The subject is sexy men who are, I presume, ugly. Or just not great looking. I've really had to think about this one. The thing is, I'm not much into the whole celebrity thing. There are very few male stars - Antonio Banderas may be the only one - who I would gladly undress for. If I weren't married, of course. And Antonio is gorgeous so he doesn't count. Basically, once a star opens his mouth, I am completely turned off. Stars have this incredible capacity to be raging assholes when speaking public.

Anyhow, I finally did come up with one guy. One man who is really not very pleasant to look at, who, in fact, has a horrid personality and would probably scare the devil himself. Too bad he's not real. Then again, maybe it's a good thing he's not real because I can see myself stalking him until he finally gives in and [deleted] me. Several times. In one day.


Yes, the man of my fantasies is a comic book character named Spider Jerusalem. I've had a deep, disturbing crush on him for a while.

Maybe it's an ego thing, because I tend to see parts of me in him. Wait, I'm making love to myself in my fantasies? No, that's just wrong. Let's try again.

Maybe it's quotes like this one that make me want to stick my tongue down his throat:

[Speaking about journalists] "Laying open the guts of the world and sniffing the entrails. That's what we do."

Yea, he's fiction. Yea, his words are written by someone else. Yea, he's bald and ugly and looks like all the men my mother every warned me about.

That must be it.


I've got pictures of today's visit to the Cradle of Aviaton Museum over at Retrovertigo. See you there?

me, in one sentence

Chris O'Donnell (no, not that Chris O'Donnell) has redesigned his blog for the new year. He took the time to annotate all of his links, something I would never have the patience for.

I scroll down slowly, anxious to see what kind of crazy thing he will put under my link.

Ah, there it is:

A Small Victory
I have no idea how to explain Michele in one sentence

Am I that complex? Or am I that hard to understand? I had no problem using one single sentence to describe myself just yesterday:

I am a lazy, obnoxious, food-obsessed, money-wasting lush whose hobbies are sleeping, sex and engaging in juvenile pastimes.

Well, I was thinking of putting one of those random quote generator things on the page with all the nifty/terrible things people have written about me, but now I've a better idea.

You see what's coming, don't you? Yes, I want you to describe me in one sentence. I promise to use them all - good or bad - in a daily rotation on the sidebar.

I'm headed out the Cradle of Aviation Museum with the son and husband (the daughter seems to have seceded from the family recently and has adopted her friends as her new family which, considering her attitude of late, is just fine with me. Maybe.)

I hope by the time I get back the nice one-sentence-descriptions are winning out over the snarky ones. I'm really a nice person once you get to know me. Really, ask Faith. I'm just a wimpy little woman in real life.

Oh, fine. Don't be nice. Be honest.

psa: the unfriendly skies

Lots of interesting things going on in the world of international flight. Cancellations, delays, escorts - interesting stuff when all put together. Of course, Command Post is right on top of it.

get your hands off of my megazord, you damn dirty cleaning freaks!

There's this new show on TLC called Clean Sweep. Well, I don't know if it's really new, but I just came across this week. I usuall avoid TLC like the plague. I was under the impression that TLC stands for The Learning Channel and that's all well and good if the only things you want to learn are how to wreck your neighbor's dining room or how to surprise your husband by redecorating his office that he painstakingly took five years to give just the right aura of messy cool, but I was expect things like, you know, learning - Why do manatees look like that? How did those heads get on Easter Island, anyhow? Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

zord_02.gifAnyhow, during one of my obsessive runs of every single channel available to us on our digital cable - which amounts to about 200, at least fifty of which are either public access or broadcast in a language I don't understand - I happened to stop on TLC when Clean Sweep was on.

The premise of the show is this: Someone in your family writes to the crew and tells them that you are a pack rat or a terrible housekeeper or just a slob and the crew will come to your house and go through your years of collected crap on national television. They will throw most of the stuff out, or force you to have a garage sale where strangers will pay 25 cents for one of your most cherised possessions and they will - again, on national tv - show you how to be a better, more organized, less slovenly person.

The problem I see here is that one person's junk is another person's carefully chosen comic book collection. What the crew of Clean Sweep may see as useless black discs is another person's collection of 12", extended-play, dance versions of 80's new wave songs.

I imagine the crew entering my home. Immediately they seize upon the coat closet.

Does a family of four really need 72 jackets?
Yes. One never knows when one will need a tartan wool coat that is at least fifteen years old and still has a receipt from the 9:00 showing of "Back to the Future" in the pocket.

They would then move on to the junk drawers, where I have to convince them that I really do need all those old keychains and there's got to be a reason I'm saving coupons that expired in 1976 and hey, so that's where my emergency zip-loc bag of tampons went!

The bedroom closet would reveal magazines from 1976, children's artwork that looks no different than a Rorschach test, photos of people I can't identify and a giant box filled with cassette singles of some band no one ever heard of but were apparently supposed to be the Next Big Thing at the record label my husband used to work for and we're saving them just in case they do eventually become the Next Big Thing, just five years too late, and we'll make a fortune on eBay selling the cassettes. The Clean Sweep crew would laugh at me and throw the tapes onto the growing bonfire in the backyard that smells suspiciously of burning new wave records.

The kids rooms would reveal Darkwing Duck figures and Pokemon cards and all kinds of toys the kids would now be embarassed to own. A Barney videotape! A Shari, Lois and Bram cassette! Then the crew uncovers a treasure trove of Power Ranger toys. They ask, garage sale or garbage?

That's when I reach for my revolver. This is serious stuff they are messing with and I threateningly wave the gun around and start foaming at the mouth. The crew backs away, but I corner them over by the bookshelf that still boasts a Madeline box set and the December, 1991 issue of Parening Magazine.

Put the Power Ranger toys down. I say this through clenched teeth, emphasizing each word to let them know I really, really mean it.
But..but...they are just plastic! They're meaningless! Ten different generations of Power Rangers have come and gone since this set of toys!

My eyes narrow. My hand is steady as the gun is pointed directly at the crew leader's hand, which is holding a Megazord. I launch into an impromptu speech.

Apparently, none of you know anything about being a parent of a child who collects sets of toys. For, if you did, you would know that a good portion of these Power Ranger toys came from McDonald's and you would know that I spent at least one month of 1995 driving to every single McDonald's on Long Island trying to get every single piece of the collection for both of my kids. That's two of each figure! This was before the days they would let you buy the whole set at once. It was back when you had to buy a meal to get the toy! Do you know how many Happy Meals I purchased to get these sets? I sacrificed my cholesterol level just to make my children happy. And it wasn't just the Happy Meal toys, no. The Powermorpher Buckle and Power Siren weren't enough. They had to sell Zords each week as well. So there I was, broke as anyone could be, yet scraping together enough money each week to buy not one, but two of each Zord. I sold my blood and had sex with strangers for that White Ranger Falcon Ninjazord! If I had sperm I would have sold that as well. By the time the Pink Ranger Ninjazord came out I had to perform emergency surgery on myself so I could sell a kidney to some shady doctor so I could afford the damn toys. Don't you people understand? If you buy one, you have to buy them all! No collecter of toys in their right mind would buy just one of a series. You have to get the whole thing, even if it means calling in sick to work so you can be there the second McDonald's opens and get Alien Detector before all the other mothers come barging into the store demanding their detector. A full month of my life, I tell you! And if you think I am going to let you just come in here and throw these toys out as if they were just hunks of cheap plastic I will be forced to kill you right here and now and I don't care if your blood runs all over the pile of Teeny Beanie Babies Happy Meal animals you are sitting on because I am not an idiot! I learned my lesson with those Power Ranger toys. I traveled the entire U.S. of A. in the span of three weeks so I could get ten sets of all those Beanie Babies. Yes, even the rare Chocolate the Moose! And it didn't matter that just a month later the kids had no use for those adorable little animals. The point was, I got them. I got all of them!

At this point the crew realizes that the gun is nothing more than a piece of plastic I bought at a street fair, before toy guns were outlawed. They offer me a sedative but I decline and tell them I have an errand to run.

Burger King has Ninja Turtles toys this week.

January 01, 2004

Back To Gaming: Left, Right, A, B, C, Left, Right, A

I haven't abandoned all you gaming fanatics. The amount of email I received asking me to begin posting on that topic has sparked my video game fire once again.

Truth be told, I've been quite busy playing Legend of Zelda on the GameCube, trying to remember all those old paths and hidden caves and burning bushes. I've once or twice looked up cheats or hints and then it all would come back in a foodflood of Nintendo thumb-injury memories.

Which leads me to the next gaming topic: Codes, hints, cheats and Easter Eggs. Do you remember any of those things from your old games (remember, we are dealing pre-PlayStation here)? I can recall almost every hidden item on Sonic, and the special button sequence from Sega's Aladdin that brought you to other levels. All those up, down, left, right movements just to get an extra coin or warp to another level or find the hidden fortress. Sometimes, there would be a nice surprise waiting for you when you used a code; a different color for your character, or a different character all together.

The codes and cheats are what made the games retain their excitement even after you beat them. I would always go back and play again just to see if I could stumble upon a secret goodie.

So, the big gaming question tonight is:

What's your favorite old school code, hint or cheat for video games that you can remember off the top of your head? Because I'm sure that somewhere in the brain of all of us gamers is a special spot where we store things like START, A, B, B, A, A, B, B.

i resolve

It has been my experience that the best New Year resolutions to make are the ones that are easiest to keep. This way, you don't disappoint yourself by failing to keep to a diet and you don't hear it from your family that your resolution to be nicer is obviously not holding up.

Therefore, I present to you my 2004 List of Resolutions That I Vow to Keep:

  • Buy more comics
  • Drink more rum
  • Watch more movies
  • Have a lot of sex
  • Play more video games
  • Listen to a lot of music
  • Never go on a diet
  • Spend every Saturday in pajamas, reading and watching movies
  • Sleep late every Sunday
  • Eat more steak. And pie. And lobster.
  • Bitch about everything I have no control over
  • Piss off my mother
  • Take more naps
  • Spend a lot of time in front of the computer
  • Continue to ridicule those on the road who do not drive as well as I do
  • Squander money on action figures and other childish toys
  • Eat a huge bowl of sugared cereal at least once a week

Hmmm. By looking at that list, one would assume that I am a lazy, obnoxious, food-obsessed, money-wasting lush whose hobbies are sleeping, sex and engaging in juvenile pastimes.

Well, yeah.

i ♥ new york

Terror threats, heightened security, police snipers, bomb sniffers and fear. How do New Yorkers respond on New Year's Eve?

[Click for larger size. Photo Credit: AFP/Stan Honda]

With Orange Alert hats and American flags. Nothing like starting off the New Year by figuratively giving the finger to terrorism.

I still think people are insane for standing out in the cold for hours with millions of other drunk, smelly people. But with recent events considered, I'd have to say they are brave as well.


First post of 2004. I'm very drunk, in a very good mood, and I've been singing doo-wop songs with my mom all night. We played a board game that has to do with 1990's trivia and I didn't win because all the questions I got had to do with Madonna and Melrose Place and I know little about either.

It's 2004. Wow. Going to be a very interesting year.

There was this New Year's Eve, in 1998, when Justin and I were separated by too many miles and a series of unfortune circumstances and events and coincidences made the night one of my worst on record. It was as if the fates conspired to ruin us. I'm not able to tell the whole story now and looking back at it, it wasn't as dramatic and depressing as I once thought, but it did start 1999 off with a whimper, not a bang.

Anyhow, Justin promised me a few days later that we would never, ever spend another New Year's Eve apart and he has kept that promise. Kissing him at midnight is something I will treasure every year as if it is a new gift.

Yea, the rum is talking. As is the champagne (say that like Christopher Walken). I'm one of those mushy, slobbering, love everyone in the world drunks. I only get drunk like twice a year so I tend to go all out and get totally smashed. I would kiss you if you were here.

I'm going to stop now before I regret it. I really just wanted to say, once again, Happy New Year everyone and I love you, Justin and I always will, hundreds of New Year's eves from now we will be two lost souls floating in space hanging onto each other.

Jesus, where's the bathroom? How far away is it? And please, not another round of In the Still of the Night.