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October 31, 2004


Halloween Ramblings and a Poll

So, I've figured out how to put the trick in trick or treat. When those punk ass teens come to my door without a costume, just looking for a sugar handout, they'll be in for a big surprise. No costume, no candy. Unless you do a trick for me. Like, sit up and beg. Roll over. Dance the macarena. Something that will embarrass them into remembering that Halloween is not an excuse to shake your neighbors down for treats. If you're not going to play the game right, you're going to be on the losing end of the trick or treat proposition. At least at my house. Maybe I'll just sic my fetus on them. And the first adult who negatively comments about the plethora of Bush/Cheney paraphenelia around/on the house gets the Charlie Brown special. Down their throat. I kid, I kid! I also put a sign up on my door. It may be Halloween, but it's Sunday. Relax a bit. Read the paper. Give me a few hours of peace before you and the rest of the breed happy families in this neighborhood descend on us. Thank you. Anyhow, to keep me from going crazy today, I'll be doing Halloween-themed polls. Here's one to start you off: If you were, today, a seven year old kid headed out to fill your loot bag instead, what would your costume be (taking into consideration what's popular in the realm of mass commercialism in 2004)? I'm going to assume you understand the question.

radio: disturbing

Per the post below, I discovered that the person responsible for the lounge version of Disturbed's Down with the Sickness (from the Dawn of the Dead soundtrack) is Richard Cheese and Lounge against the Machine who, predictably, cover hard rock songs with a lounge vibe. You really have to know the original version of the Disturbed song to appreciate the sheer beauty of the Cheese cover, so I included both over in the radio. I've also included the LAtM cover of Dead Kennedy's Holiday in Cambodia, which should really become a Christmas classic, something to play as the family gathers together to celebrate the season. Radio in extended entry. -radio expired-

there's got to be a morning after

Here's a word of advice to anyone thinking of letting a bunch of teenagers have the run of your house for the evening:


I'm not going to elaborate. Let's just say that I woke up with a hangover today and I haven't had a drink in weeks.

Did we scare them? Hell yes. And it was more out of a desire to wipe the punkass smile off of the faces of a few of the more obnoxious girls than a desire to make the party fun.

In the end, it was simplicity that did them in. We had no elaborate plan in place, we just winged it. While they were watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the living room, my hubsand revved up the chainsaw sounds on the computer in the adjacent office. While they were freaking out about that, my brother-in-law crept down the hallway in a hideous mask and wig outfit, holding a fake machete. He burst into the living room screaming like a maniac just as my sister and I started banging at the living room window, while wearing equally hideous masks.

It sounds lame, I know. But wow, did they crap their pants. Some of them refused to finish watching the movie because they were so freaked out by the scare that they went in Nat's room to watch the Friends DVD. Babies. DJ's friends - the 11 year olds - were the least scared out of the whole group. The 14 year old girls who swore all week that nothing scares them probably got very little sleep last night as my brother-in-law's masked visage haunted their minds.

And I'm happy about this because, let me tell you, the obnoxious level of 14 year old girls is always turned up to 11. I spent most of the night staring at the clock and willing it to move to the time when the parents would arrive to take their beasts home. When I finally got to bed, I dreamed that I was being attacked by a horde of teenage zombies who all had PMS. Worst. Dream. Ever.

I did invite them all back here today to clean up the yard, though.

Happy Halloween, everyone. Hope you get more treats than tricks. Unless, of course, you prefer the tricks. Getting them. Not turning them. Because that's a whole different meaning of getting candy in your bag.

[Side note: The lounge version of Disturbed's Down with the Sickness heard during Dawn of the Dead is inspired genius. If I can scare up an mp3 today, I'll post it.]

October 30, 2004

because i can

I adopted a cute lil' emo fetus from Fetusmart! Hooray fetus! Why not? I'm just killing time here. The kids have started watching Dawn of the Dead. We're waiting for the second movie until we go into full scare mode. Besides, no one comes here on a Saturday night. I could put up pictures of me swinging naked from the chandelier and no one would be the wiser.

accentuate the positive

I really do appreciate all the emails asking me to join in various projects/rallies/email blitzes, etc., that are designed to bring Kerry down or to pass along some dubious, not yet proven as fact shocking news about the man , but at this juncture I choose to campaign for my candidate and not against his opponent. And: If your email is coming from an obvious psuedonymn, I'm just going to delete it unread. If you can't be honest about who you are, I won't trust the information you are passing on. Also, if you want me to link to a "big" or "breaking" story, please have a source ready other than World Net Daily. Thank you and have a happy Saturday evening.

Seasonal Awards

The Bedfellow Awards

Smashing Pumpkins: 3rd Annual Halloween Letter

It's worth repeating every year. In fact, I'm going to print them out on flyers and deposit them in the mailbox of every home in the surrounding area that houses a child between the ages of 11-18. Oh, don't doubt that my kids will get one.
Dear local teenagers, As we approach the dawn of another Halloween, I would like to take this moment to have a word with you. I will say this once, and only once, and there will be no second chances. Not this year. If any one of you so much as looks at my pumpkins in a way other than admiration, I will pick your eyes out with a spork. If any of you dare approach those pumpkins, or my scarecrow, with theft and/or smashing in mind, I will chase you down the street and slice your hands off with a butter knife. If you have the balls to actually cross my property and touch my festive lawn decorations, I will slice your dick off with a razor blade and feed it to the rather large dog next door. If I find one ounce of shaving cream, whipped cream, or other cream-like substance on my car in the morning, I will hunt you down and make you lick it off until the car looks like new. Do not doubt me. Do not make me act upon my words. Just walk on by the house and don't even look. Thank you.
It worked last year. Let's see what happens on the new block. I don't trust those kids next door. Now, go look at these famous monsters. Good stuff.

October 29, 2004

want to hear something really scary?

My take on the OBL tape. Let's just get this all out of the way right now: Karl Rove, fake terror alerts, playing on fears, black ops, you can see Bush's hand up OBL's dress, this was filmed in the basement of the White House, etc., etc., etc. Honestly, I have no idea which side this "works out" for. Both sides will spin it until it's dizzy. I'll just go right on preparing for Halloween and thinking that K-Rock's Monster Metal weekend is far scarier than this possibly real bin Laden offering. I mean, they just played Extreme, people. That's a hell of a lot more frightening than some guy in a turban reciting Michael Moore talking points. My Pet Goat? Please. Unrelated: You want to know how to really affect an election? Say things like, Shake your titties when you vote, bitch! Man, that was good stuff. Update: K-Rock is playing Spinal Tap right now, at the same time I'm looking at the updates to the "OBL" story. Coincidence? I think not. (I'm not claiming the tape itself is fake, but I question AJ's translation)

Halloween S.O.S.

I need your help. If you recall, my kids are having a Halloween party Saturday night. They've already decided on the movies - Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead, remakes both - so the rest is up to me. I need to feed/water and entertain about 12 kids between the ages of 11-14. The movies will do most of the entertaining, but I thought I would add to the night by scaring the living shit out of them. Hey, the deserve it. These kids think there's nothing in the world - no movie, no book, no horrible mask - that could make them lose sleep or, at least, give them the screams for a few minutes. One idea I had was this: during the height of the best part of TCM, I have my husband stand outside the living room window, wearing a leatherface mask and sporting a real, plugged in chainsaw. I'll pull back the curtains and say something like, check this out! and Justin will rev up the chainsaw. I've been warned that social services will be at my door just a few minutes after one of the kids drops dead of a heart attack. So, maybe not. I need your help. I'd love to pull some good pranks on them or find a way to give them just the right amount of scare. Without killing any of them, of course. Well, maybe that one whiny kid. DJ asked that I try to not make the party cheesy. I take it that he won't want to bob for apples, then. Unless, of course, I put razor blades in the apples to make it exciting! Kidding. So, is telling ghost stories considered cheesy? What if I played Danzig in the background? You know, I just had the sinister notion that I should make DJ pay for his doubt that I can throw a non-cheesy party and go all out fromage on him..... Anyhow, I know you people are devious and I know a lot of you just outright hate children, so I should be able to get at least one good scare tactic out of you. Difficulty: rain, no basement. [Speaking of ghost stories, I hope you've been keeping up with Jen's tales this week]

memo from Karl

Just when I gave up hope on hearing from him again. [click for bigger]

black hoodie hypocrisy

I've written before about the utter hypocrisy of the left, but never have I seen that hypocrisy displayed before me so blatantly as I have today. And yet, they are so wrapped up in their vile righteousness that they remain absurdly unaware of how they are letting their contradictions slip. Yesterday, it was reported that Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling would be appearing with George Bush in New Hampshire today. Schilling - who had been praised on DU recently by the leftie Sox fans who inhabit that sewer for his heroics against the Yankees - was ripped apart by the DU crowd, as was Bush for using Schilling (and it's not just at DU I read these things - I've seen it on leftie blogs, message boards and heard while in the grocery store, among other places). Typical responses included the fact that Schilling is just another rich white guy, so who cares what he has to say; nobody cares what overpaid jocks think; Bush is pathetic for having to use athletes to shore up his fan base; he's just an entertainer whoring himself out for your dollar. One guy mentions that the Sox owner is a Kerry supporter and he hopes that the owner gets rid of Schilling for this. Yay for free speech! And, of course, there is the usual beating of the "he doesn't matter because he's a religious fundie" drum. Which is all typical of the left and uninteresting if taken on its own. However, when taken with the lengthy posts on Eminem and Bruce Springsteen in the same venue, it makes you scratch your head in puzzlement. I suppose when the rich white guy is supporting your candidate, his words suddenly matter. And I suppose that while using athletes to shore up your fan base is pathetic, using musicians is somehow better. So Springsteen and Bon Jovi and the like are heroes for speaking up for their candidate and spending time on the campaign trail, but Schilling stumping for Bush is somehow an affront to humanity. Go figure. And now, in a complete reversal of fortune, Eminem has become the poster boy for the left. The man who was once hailed as a racist, homophobic supporter of spousal abuse is now the king of the leftie world because he made an anti-Bush video. All is forgiven, Eminem! Bash those gays, make more videos about beating up women because you are golden, baby. As long as you come out against Bush, you could come out in favor of eating babies and no one would blink an eye. Eminem, a rich white entertainer, is suddenly the hottest commodity in the Kerry campaign. No matter that when Schilling speaks, the left says that the opinions of media whore opportunists don't matter. When Eminem speaks, the left listens. See, it's not whether you speak out that matters, it's who you speak out for. I just wish they would be honest about that. So now they want you to take a cue from Eninem and wear black hoodies on Election Day to stand in solidarity with the intimidated. Does it seem ridiculous to anyone else that the left is now taking their cues from a white rapper who was once their whipping boy? I keep getting this image of the left as horny teenage kid who makes fun of the fat chick in the class but slips behind the garage with her when she offers him a hand job. I do think the video is a powerful one, and it's well done. The song, eh. A lot of DU talking points over some beats. But it's the fact that the left are jumping on the the voice of Eminem as a powerful tool for this election while dismissing any celebrity that stumps for Bush that's making me bristle. Not the video itself, and not Eminem's motives or ideas, which I am not calling into question here. It's just the whole hypocritical thinking of a) jumping on the bandwagon of an artist previously hated for his lyrics and b) calling people who listen to celebrities (i.e., Schilling) idiots while in the same breat slobbering all over Springsteen and Eminem for supporting your guy. Congratulations, lefties. You're taking marching orders from an entertainer formerly best known for penning lyrics like "Bitch I'ma kill you! Like a murder weapon, I'ma conceal you in a closet with mildew, sheets, pillows and film you" But now that he's speaking your language, I guess all is forgiven, eh? So go out and buy your black hoodies. Wear them with pride. As I head to the polls on Tuesday, I'll be able to spot which of you are the biggest sheep of all.

October 28, 2004

camera challenge: 6-8

See camera challenge here. I decided to post them in pop-up images instead. Mbruce wanted Halloween decorations. This is one of the many lighted skulls lining the front yard shrubbery. (Shrubbery!) View image Trish wanted the contents of my fridge. I'm giving her the top shelf. See the mayonaise jar? It says "KEEP AWAY NATALIE. NO TUNA!" I'm sure you can figure out what led to that. View image Mike asked for my favorite CD, but I give you a whole row of them instead (though I will do that specifically for you, Mike, eventually). Not a very artistic shot, just showing you what's there. View image

the choice is yours

On November 2nd, will you vote steak or will you vote tofu?

klaatu barada nikto

Below, please. You are an EVIL DEAD ZOMBIE
You are an Evil Dead Zombie. The spirits of the
dead took over your body in a lonely cabin, and
now it's your job to kick some Ash ass. Sadly,
while you'll succeed in beating the bejeezus
out of Ash repeatedly, he will ultimately wipe
you from existence. You can only be killed by
bodily dismemberment.

What kind of Zombie are you?
brought to you by Quizilla Yes, I answered the questions in a way so I was sure to get this particular zombie. Stolen from here, vial Meryl. Speaking of zombies, I got a lot of good email feedback on this post, so I've added it to my best of. Thanks, everyone. Positive feedback is like crack to an attention whore (read, blogger).

Hell and fire was spawned to be released!

My revelations from this morning have been proved true!! Torches blazed and sacred chants were praised As they start to cry hands held to the sky In the night the fires burning bright The ritual has begun satanís work is done 666 the number of the beast Sacrifice is going on tonight I want whatever the people at WND are smoking

NBC and ABC: Go to Hell

Blood sucking, profiteering, exploitive, greedy leeches. I may elaborate later.

While the harlots of my perils scream

[personal ramblings with no real point follow] I need a calming influence. The sound of waves crashing against the shore, perhaps, backed with the soothing melody of Zamfir's flute or whatever that is he plays. Maybe a field of clovers and daisies in which to lay down and stare at the sky, looking for ice cream cones in the clouds while James Earl Jones reads aloud from a book of sonnets as Stephen Green slowly... Did I say that out loud? Sorry. It's not been a great day here at chez ASV. I experienced my first panic attack in over two years and my skin is warm and tingling, signifying another one in the works. Ah, yes. The first thing you will say is: this election is to blame! Well, no. Not so much. It's more like a amalgamation of not enough hours in the day, not enough sleep in the night, not enough money in the checking account, not enough patience to deal with certain people; too many things on my plate, too many things left undone around the house, too many afternoons and evenings being the sole parent in the car pool; worrying about my kids worrying about friends, relationships, college applications and basic algebra; worrying about my husband worrying about money, the lawn, his mother, his career, and fretting about everything I can't control but wish I could, including the stupidity of mankind and bad drivers - who probably can be controlled with a gun, but that really wouldn't make life any better for me in the long run, would it? I haven't had a day like this since I went off the meds and if I only get one of these every couple of months, I'll live with the trade off of not choking down brain altering chemicals every day. I bet that's the last time you ask "how are you doing?" and really mean it. Anyone have James Earl Jones's phone number? So, as I'm looking for some kind of calm to keep the shortness of breaths to a minimum, Smashing Pumpkins' Mayonaise comes on the Launchcast radio and all is right with the world. Deep breaths. None of the above things are insurmountable.

The Red Sox, Arafat and the Moon: Why Voting for Bush Will Save the World

Congratulations, Red Sox fans. Yes, I mean that. Contrary to popular belief, I am not a smug, righteous Yankee-only fan who has never cheered on a losing team. Think pre-Stanely Cup era Islanders. The word hapless comes to mind. Enjoy your revelry, Red Sox nation. I truly am happy for you. After the Yankees lost to the Sox and I wrote this post, I received this email: bq. Will you be so gracious in defeat when your chosen candidate goes down in flames on November 2nd? Gracious in defeat is one thing when your sports team loses. It's a whole other ball game (bad pun intended) when it comes down to the future of mankind. Hyperbole? I think not. For something happened last night that signaled the beginning of the end of the world. Well, a few things happened. And I can't believe I'm the only one to see the pattern. On an October night less than a week before the presidential election, a full lunar eclipse takes place as a decades long curse is broken, as a man who looks like Skeletor in a latex mask is poised to become the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. And thousands of miles away, an evil man lingers close to death, his dying soul beckoning Satan to his bedside. Ok, why do I feel like Demi Moore in the Seventh Sign? Am I the only one who can add these things up? Did you not see The Omen? Read any Nostradamus? Something is in the air, my friends, and whatever it is has a bony, clawing hand just waiting to snatch our oblivious heads off our shoulders. Oh, it's not something completely obvious like, say, a witch flying across the sky etching the words "Surrender, Dorothy!" in the clouds. Ah, if only all it took were ruby slippers and a height-challenged barbershop quartet to get us out of this one. I'll just assume the subtlety of the clues is eluding you. Allow me to hit you over the head with a rock, then. See, I remember a passage in Nostradamus that referenced a curse being lifted at the same time the moon goes dark on a night when an evil man who looks like a fish begins his surrender to his dark lord. I swear, look it up. I would, but I'm afraid to Google something like that. Superstitions and all. Anyhow, the clues to the end of the world come out in a slow leak, like gas escaping from a pinhole. Speaking of which, I just saw something that looks like steam rising out of my lawn. Hang on while I go check this out. [....] Just as I thought! There is a newly formed crack in my property, right in the place where the former owners of this house ripped a tree out of the ground. I can smell the sulphuric heat emitting from the hole as soon as I open my front door. You know what this means, right? It means that Stephen Dorf is going to knock on my door and tell the me the gates of hell have been opened once again! On my property! Look at this picture. Don't be fooled. His hands are raised in praise of Satan as he harnesses the evil powers that lurk in this world to help him bring on Armageddon. The signs are all around us that his powers are working. The unraveling of the Curse of Bambino is symbolism at its darkest. The near death of Arafat, the moon covered in blood, a new Herbie movie - on their own these all seem like benign, normal occurrences of life (except the Herbie movie, that in itself is frightening), but when put together, they are links in chain that only the really aware among us can see. And yes, I am one of the aware. I studied every coming of the anti-Christ movie ever made. I know a slowly creeping Armageddon when I see it. The seals have been broken! Ok, so I'm not sure exactly how many seals there are, because Satan could really fuck with us and say there are seven but in reality, there's only four or five. What if the election of John Kerry as our next president is the final seal?? See, here's how you can help stave off the handing over of our lives to satanic forces. Make your vote count. A vote for George Bush is a vote for keeping those seals...err...sealed! I laugh at you, Satan! You may have given the Red Sox the World Series ring they have sold their own souls for (come on, a sweep? There's definitely some soul selling involved here), and yea, maybe I enjoyed that eclipse and I'm not so sorry about the dying terrorist supporter, but we will not let you make your final move toward supremacy. We must elect George Bush, everyone! So, who's with me?

object lesson: camera

Observe what happens when you try to take pictures of a lunar eclipse but a) you can't find your tripod and b) a combination of too much coffee and a shivering temperatures force your hands into a steady shake. The moon becomes [images in extended entry for you dial up users]: [click all for bigger] A ghost a half eaten almond cookie a flying great pumpkin a fetus, sucking its thumb Oh, there were about 50 pictures like this. Looking at them was more fun than imagining castles in clouds. I even got the moon to look like J-Lo's ass with stick protruding from it. Update: Ok, so that pumpkin picture is pretty phallic if viewed in the right way.

October 27, 2004

In Which I Gloat About the Near-Dead

Faster, please. [How long before someone yells October Surprise! and mutters something about Karl Rove?] Update: When he buys the farm, I'll be celebrating by contributing to the Magen David Adom Matching Fund. From the comments, best use of (or paraphrase of) a quote this week: Smithers, dismember the corpse and send a ham to his widow.

camera challenge:4-5

[click images for larger size]. See here for reference. Cooper asked for photos of what makes where I live home. I took this photo (I'll take more on this subject, as it's open to a lot of interpretation) with that in mind. This is the small Episcopal church a few blocks from my house. When I'm driving home from work, I eventually hit that place on Hempstead Turnpike where I can turn off and soar down the side streets all the way home, avoiding more than a few traffic lights and a lot of bad drivers. When I turn down Fifth Street, I always look for the steeple in the sky. It's a marker of sorts, one that at the same time signals I'm almost home and reminds me of a long ago life in which I lived on Fifth Street.

This next one is for Keiran, who asked for someone or something hopelessly out of place. I think this pirate (my nephew) certainly fits the bill. He's in the yard of the church pictured above. Do pirates go to church? I doubt it. Check out the seriousness on his face. When he's Jack Sparrow, he's really Jack Sparrow.

Ask him what his name is and he'll point his finger at you and say "Jack. Jack Sparrow. Savvy?"

shorter john dvorak

I hate blogs. I hate bloggers. Bloggers are mostly retarded idiots. Bloggers ruined the internet. We get it, John. We got it a long time ago. You hate blogs. There's really no need for you to go on endlessly writing columns about it, all with the same words shaken, stirred and spit out again in a different order. I'm really sorry your vision of the internet (with you as king, I imagine) didn't pan out. But I do find it quite amusing that you, the internet guru, always forgets about that little X button up in your right hand corner. See, nobody is forcing you to read the blogs that you hate so much, John. In fact, nobody at all is being forced to read them. So for you to conclude that the world wide web will asplode because bloggers are reaching a fever pitch of bitter seething is just so much empty anger. The internet, as you may know, is vast, wide place filled with much more than blogs. I don't know the exact percentage of people who log on to the web each day and read blogs, but I would think that percentage is minuscule when you take into account just how much information is stacked in those ones and zeros you talk about. So no, blogs will not be the downfall of the internet. Your www.sky is not falling. When you say " the public is subjected" to the ranting of us "seriously disturbed or feebleminded" wacko bloggers, you assume that the people reading our drivel don't know how to not read it. Nobody is being subjected to it, just as no one is really being subjected to your whiny, pouty columns. Free will is a great thing, John. Most people use it when surfing the net. Click, click, click, back button, X. See? Easy as turning off the radio when you realize that it sucks. Also, you go on the assumption that most bloggers are anonymous drones, hiding behind false identities. Au contraire, Mr. Dvorak (if that's really your name). Most bloggers are pretty up front about who they are, what they do and where they come from. We're not basement dwelling dweebs trying to play the romantic millionaire in a chatroom for the lovelorn. We stand behind our opinions, not behind masks. Sure, we are intolerant of each other, to a point. So are Red Sox and Yankee fans. So are Crips and Bloods. We all have our battles with each other, but we're not forcing anyone to watch. The rest of the internet - stores, games, mass media, films, comics, search engines, ect. - will all exist and thrive whether or not the blogosphere grows or shrivels up and dies. There will still be porn and chat rooms and MUDs even if the left bloggers and the right bloggers meet in the middle of the internet in some virtual remake of West Side Story and Atrios and Glenn Reynolds lay dead and dripping blood through cyberspace. And you, my friend, will still be writing pissant commentary on it all. How many columns have you gotten out of your hatred of blogs, Dvorak? Don't bite the hand that feeds you the small scraps you cook your whine stew with. Yea, yea. And how many blog posts have I gotten out of Dvorak's shitty column? I can smell those future comments a mile away.

obsessive compulsive zombie disorder

At some point, every child learns the valuable lesson of patience. Patience is a virtue, we tell them. Good things come to those who wait. Patience and fortitude conquer all things. (use of which always hammers home the point that Emerson is not quotable to the under 14 set).

dotd2.jpgMost kids learn the value of having patience through the anticipation the arrival of Santa Claus or the countdown to a long awaited family vacation. Not my son. He met his patience challenge with zombies.

The Dawn of the Dead DVD finally arrived on the shelves of our local Best Buy yesterday. I, like any good mother would, used my lunch hour yesterday to go buy my eleven year old son the unedited, unrated version of a zombie movie.

But oh, the look on his face when I got home. It looked something like this. As I pulled up in front of the house, he came lumbering out of the front door, approaching the car with arms extended, legs all awkward and moaning like he hadn't had a good brain to eat in days. He grabbed the DVD from my hand, mumbled something about brains and sped off to his room.

Hours later (those hours interrupted by a bout of homework and a trip to religious ed) he emerged from his room, wild-eyed and grinning.

So, was it worth the wait?
Well, you know how sometimes you think something is the greatest thing ever, that nothing can ever beat it?
So, I though all this time that Dawn of the Dead was the greatest movie ever, but now that I'm watching it again, it's not. But that's good.
Good, how?

'Cause if I saw the best movie ever when I'm 11, then there would be nothing to look forward to.

Ah, the mind of a young boy.

It was interesting to watch him wait for the arrival of this DVD. He had a countdown going on his computer. Every day, he would announce how many days left until the release. Every Friday, he would go to the movie site, where they would show a different clip each week. While he was waiting, he took the time to become an expert on all things zombie. He read through my copy of The Zombie Survival Guide. He watched other zombie movies like the original Night of the Living Dead (review: awesome for an old flick!) and 28 Days Later (review: that wasn't a zombie movie! HUGE rip-off!) and then we went to see Shaun of the Dead (review: can we sit through it again? Please?!). (I tell you, it was a very proud moment for this mother when he got the "We're coming to get you Barbara" reference in Shaun.) He scoured the internet for stories about zombies, learned how to kill them, how to summon them and how to dress like one for Halloween.

To say he obsesses about things is an understatement. Once DJ takes a liking to something, he goes all out with it. Not content to just watch a zombie movie, he has to completely submerge himself in the zombie lore and culture. His world becomes a focused, intent place in which he will take his given obsession of the moment and relate it to anything that is happening around him.

This obsessive sort of behavior started very early. When he was about two years old, he had a collection of little Disney movie figures that he kept in a plastic bin. These figures were collected via many trips to McDonald's or Toys R Us and, let me tell you, it was a very complete collection. Because you couldn't have just one Little Mermaid figure. You had to have them all. Once I bought Ariel, it was a slippery slope right down to Eric, King Trident and that sea hag that looked like a fat, wet Malificent. Yes, I was enabling his addiction. Make no mistake about where DJ got his obsessive compulsive trait from.

Anyhow, one day we were putting his toys away for the evening. As usual, he had them all lined up around the living room in the straightest line possible, one little Disney character after another. I'd say there was about 80 figures in his collection at that time. I gathered them all up and threw them in the bin, which I then placed in his room, right next to his bed, per the usual routine. Five minutes after I left him in his room I heard a scream. I went running back in and found DJ staring in horror at the jumble of plastic figures in the bin.

Ho-hant-as? Ho-hant-as? He was pointing at the figures. I looked at my son, looked at the bin and though, no way. Sure enough, I went into the living room, got on my hands and knees, and found Pocohantas under the radiator. That, my friends, is what you call obsessive. A two year old looking into a tub filled to the brim with little plastic princes and animals and widowers knew immediately that his Ho-hant-as was missing.

And that was just the first of all the obsessive phases DJ went through. Power Rangers. Star Wars. Oh god, the Star Wars phase. He was three and knew every single character, vehicle and weapon. And the sports. He didn't just watch baseball or hockey or football. He lived, ate and breathed those sports. He knew Don Mattingly's batting average on days when it was below 75 degrees. He knew the number of every player on every NHL team. He picked my football teams for the office pool every week when he was five. With point spreads. I came in first place that year.

The phases would go as fast as they would arrive, and I'd be left with boxes of paraphenelia associated with the various obsessions. This is what happens when a woman with an addictive personality has a son with obsessive traits. I fed his action figure/trading card/video game hunger with reckless abandon. Pokemon? We caught them all.

At some point, I learned to stop feeding his obsessive needs. Probably when I sat down and figured out how much money I spent on all that Pokemon crap. But something went wrong when DJ started his horror movie phase. I couldn't help it. All those years of restraint had built up against the wall I created and the dam burst. Can you blame me? What better way for mother and son to bond than over a love of horror movies? What says quality time more than a shared viewing of George Romero classics? What better dinner conversation starter is there than:

Mom, if I got bit by a zombie would you kill me before or after I turned into one?

I gave him a blank stare. He turned to his stepfather.

Ok, Justin. What about you?

Justin didn't even blink. "I'd shoot you as soon as you got bit. Right between the eyes."

I blanched in horror. "You would not do any such thing. How could you kill my son while he was still....him?" I imagined the scenario in my mind. DJ writhing on the floor, blood pouring from his zombie infected wound, the undead hovering around him, waiting for dinner. My motherly instincts kicked in. "I would wait. I would wait until I saw that you were no longer my son, but some hideous creature. Then I would kill you. Maybe."

I looked expectantly at him. He stared hard at me.

"Bzzzz. Wrong answer! Justin is right!" DJ shook his head disapprovingly and Justin sat there all smug, laughing.

"I would expect you to kill me, mom. You don't take chances with the undead. Duh."

Duh. Well, at least we were actually conversing over dinner instead of watching the Simpsons and that's always something to be happy about. Even if the conversation did revolve around zombies.

And so, everything is zombies today and will be until this new DVD wears out its welcome, which probably won't be anytime soon given all the extras on it*. DJ will pop out from under the couch at odd times pretending to bite us and he'll quiz us on various aspects of zombie survival. And he'll critique the movie to no end.

Modern zombies suck, he says. They're too fast and they think too much. He thinks the movie would have been better if the zombies were more like those in Night of the Living Dead.

Of course, he still thinks it was worth the wait and all the countdowns. I'm just glad that part of it is over, as he can now concentrate on things like, oh, how many days until his book report ('Salem's Lot) is due.

I was about to mention this to him last night when he said "How many days until Land of the Dead?"

Well, at least this particular obsession doesn't cost me much money. And I'm really glad he's keeping his obsession with Lindsay Lohan's boobs mostly to himself.

* One part of the extras is the anatomy of exploding heads.

camera challenge?

I haven't yet looked to see if this photo I took as I was driving last night would fit any of the camera challenge suggestions, but I thought that it seemed, in some way, an appropriate way to start the day. [click for bigger]

October 26, 2004


I am suffering from Hyper-Cerebral Blogosis. Explains the recent feistiness, eh? Look for this some time in the next six days: explodehead.jpg Laurence, that's a mighty big cleanup in aisle F7 you'll be doing when I go all asplodey. Sure, I could have gone with the cheap Scanners reference, but I liked this one better.

another night, another lesson

Am I going to have to do this every night? Ok, here's tonight's blogging lesson: Just because I post about A doesn't mean I don't care about B. Here's a revelation: You are not the only people in my life. I did in fact discuss the whole missing explosives situation today, but just not with you. My boss, my neighbor and my husband all heard exactly how I feel about the situation. Too bad you couldn't be there. Now, to recap: * You only get to read about .000004 of my thoughts during the course of the day. * The rest of my thoughts are none of your damn business unless I make them your business. Class dismissed. (see also, It Takes Balls)

in which I drive my current catch phrase into the ground

Dear CBS: Shut the fuck up, Donny.* Same to you, NYT. JesusHChristonapogostick, do these people have no shame? Never in my life have I seen a news outlet so hungrily campaigning against a candidate. They're not even trying to be subtle about it. When they finally replace the CBS logo with a BushHitler sign, I won't even feign surprise. You know, I really want to be there when it's announced that Bush has won re-election and Dan Rather goes all bathtub/toaster. And while I'm briefly talking election, I'd like to ask a favor of my "favorite" lefty bloggers and pundits: can you please stop screeching like a wounded seagull? You're keeping me up at night. Thanks* *more, more, more *speaking of screeching.

the honest music critic

Now that the end of the year is barreling down on us, ger ready for hundreds of pretentious music snobs, writing for pretentious magazines, giving you lists with titles like Albums from 2004 You Better Own If You Want to Be Cool and itís stupid brother If You Own These Recent Albums Youíre a Dork or an Asshole or Both.

Yea, so I write a lot of lists myself. But I donít phrase the titles in such a way that Iím pointing my finger at you and calling you an idiot for not liking my music, nor do I word my accompanying article in a fashion that says I am superior to you in taste and intellect because my record collection can beat up your record collection.

Iím not much for year end lists, anyhow. If you narrow yourself down to one particular year, sometimes youíll get stuck with 365 days of sucky music and, then what? Instead of a top ten, you have a top five? Or a top negative ten? Yea, there are a lot of Worst Albums of the Year lists, but they read more like the authorís middle finger salute to music he hates, rather than a critical look at albums that were supposed to be the Next Big Thing and turned into the Next Big Drink Coaster.

Besides, half of these year end lists consists of bands you and I have never heard of. Theyíre bands that you only know of if your indie cred is up to date, bands that no one in your circle of friends has ever heard of but every High Fidelity-type record store employee raves about, and you wonder if indie music is like a dog whistle and you can only hear it if youíre wearing an oversized sweater, black rimmed glasses and a permanent ironic smile.

My biggest rock critic/music list pet peeve is the use of the word IMPORTANT in any list title. Just because you think itís important doesnít make it so. Maybe you believe that Nevermind was the Most Important Record Ever because it paved the way for all the grunge bands that followed, but there are millions of us who hate if for that very reason.

You know what I want in a criticís list? Honesty. Donít give me some standard pretentious claptrap as to why Rolling Stoneís Exile on Main Street ranks right up there with the discovery of penicillin. Be honest. You love the album because itís what was playing on the stereo when you finally got that goofy looking chick from the record store to make out with you. I can get behind that. Thatís important. Setting industry standards and enlightening legions of 12 year olds with guitars takes a back seat to flashbacks of banging MaryAnne Brady every time you hear Tumbling Dice.

Just once I would love to see a smug critic put something totally mainstream on his list amidst all the earnest, self-aware bands. Like, right in between Songs Written on a Bleak Afternoon in Prague and This Album Title is Really an Obscure Reference to a 13th Century Philosopher, there would be the latest offering from Papa Roach, with the explanation that it makes the critic feel like a pre pubescent boy just discovering his dick, and he likes that.

Why, yes. I am going to put up or shut up.

Some of my most important albums ever and why they are important to me:

Stabbing Westward, Darkest Days
Because there is nothing like listening to the pathetic whining of someone with a stalkerish obsession with a girl that dumped him to remind you of just how pathetic and whiny and stalkerish you were when you were dumped. Thereís nothing like reliving past bouts of self-hatred to make you appreciate the fact that you donít hate yourself quite so much anymore.

Little Feat - Dixie Chicken
Because it reminds me of that summer we spent eating mescaline and sometimes, flashbacks rock.

Type O Negative - October Rust
Because it makes me horny. Hey, I said Iíd give you honesty.

Tool - Undertow
This album was in constant rotation on my stereo in October of 1996, which just so happens to be around the time that I kicked my then husband out of the house. Good times, good times.

Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power
Because it stokes my hatred for you. And I live off of deep, black hatred for humanity. Itís what keeps my soul from shriveling up and dying.

Bloodhound Gang - One Fierce Beer Coaster
Because I have the sense of humor of a twelve year old and Iím not afraid to admit it or revel in it.

Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral
Because wallowing in angry misery is a favorite hobby of mine, right up there with opening old wounds and stabbing myself in the heart repeatedly.

Oasis - (Whatís the Story) Morning Glory
Because listening to this reminds me that deep inside, I am not as hardcore as you think I am. We should all face our internal wimpiness every so often. Champagne Supernova, baby.

Faith No More - Album of the Year
Because, despite all of the wallowing and hating I do, despite all my idiosyncrasies and neurotic behavior, my husband loves me.

I'm sure I could do this all day, but lunch is waiting. And if you're going to tell me yours, be honest.

Update: You people are LAME. I said honest. I don't care if an album has good guitar riffs or sparkling vocals. I can read that shit in Spin magazine, for the love of jeebus. I don't want to hear what you think of the bass lines, I want to hear that you like an album because you masturbated to it every night during tenth grade. Balls, people! Grow some!

while i remain suspiciously quiet

Matt has done a stupendous job with the 69th version of the Carninval of the Vanities. And he didn't even go for the cheap and easy 69 jokes. 42. Update: By the way, continuing with my pissy attitude of last night, I hate when people use the comments to snarkily point out typographical/spelling errors in a post. An email would be much more appreciated. I mean, would you want someone to quietly approach you and whisper in your ear that you have spinach in your teeth or would you prefer they stand up on the table and scream it out to the whole room? Yea, I'm talking to you, Mr. SharpMarble. You're lucky I like you.

camera challenge: 1-3

My first few shots for the camera challenge. I'll try to get to them all by the end of the week and then I'll stuff them all in the gallery. Still taking suggestion. For those who wanted fall foliage (I'll probably do more of these, I can't resist taking pictures of foliage). These were all taken through my car window as I was driving (or stopped at a traffic light), so they're not great shots, technical-wise, but they serve the purpose. And for John, who wanted a picture depicting the fragility of life: Click for larger images.

October 25, 2004

it takes balls

I've had it. The next person to use my comments to pimp their own off-topic bullshit will be banned forever from this site. And if I have any luck with summoning the gods of karma, your computer will blow up. I've also reached my limit with people pinging me with trackbacks and when I go look at the post they wrote, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the post they trackbacked me on. You want my attention? Send an email. Don't insert your URL on my site as if I'm your freaking pimp. And please don't cry to me if you send me an email with a link and I don't use it. If I posted every link that someone sent my way in a day, this place would look like a blogosphere version of Fark. And you know what? Sometimes the link you send sucks. Get over it. ASV is not a freaking yard sale for links. I'm sure when Glenn doesn't respond to your email or doesn't post your link, you don't send him emails in which you play the part of a whiny little kid who didn't get the pony he wanted for his birthday I think I've been pretty good about spreading my traffic around. I do what I can, when I can. My traffic is not stratospheric, but it's good and I make it a point to share the wealth. But apparently that's not enough for some people, who think that if I don't post the tenth link they sent me in a week, I'm the grinch who stole their fucking Christmas. When did it come into being that I owe you something, that I am obligated to do whatever you tell me to? Sorry for the bluntness, but a few people got on my last nerve tonight. I'm not talking to all of you, of course. Most of you send me fine links and do it in a fashion that tells me you have manners. Not everyone is like that and those people that are go on my SUCK list for today. Somebody get me a beer, please so I can at least be drinking while I watch the flaming ensue. Honestly, I don't care. Blogging status means less and less to me as the days go on. It's all turned into a contest between pirahnas and sharks and I'd rather be an observer in that fight than a participant because it's just not worth it to have my head bitten off, chewed up and spit out in the fight for king of the fishtank. I probably just bit my own head off with this post, anyhow. [Oh, and you can bet this entry will be deleted later. And you will NOT send me an email asking why. Shut the fuck up, Donny.]

quote this

Remember the thread the other day where we talked about movie catch phrases? See, what I meant by catch phrase was not just a good movie quote, but one that can be used in various situations to get a point across. Quotable is good. Quotable and useable is what catch phrase is all about. On that note, I've decided that I am just going to respond to idiot commenters and annoying people as such from now on: Shut the fuck up, Donny. Now that is a useable quote.

'Neath the cover of October skies

While a good ghost story goes a long way all year round, there's no time like the season of autumn to hear tales of terror. It's not just the particular holiday of Halloween that makes it so; there's more to the spookiness of autumn than that.

moon.jpgPerhaps it's the way the branches of trees start to poke out from where they hid all summer under the leaves. They claw at the sky like bony fingers, making the baring trees look like skeletons rising from the ground.

Perhaps it's the way it gets dark so early and long shadows creep up on you in late afternoon, scaring the sunlight away.

Perhaps it's the crunching of the dead leaves underfoot, the crisp sound echoing in the open space of autumn like the cracking of bones.

Perhaps it's the bright harvest moon, whose eerie face seems to mock you as you walk alone down a dark street, or the sudden onslaught of flocks of sinister looking birds that swoop down by the hundreds with their cacophony of screaming caws and shrieks.

Or perhaps it's just the aura of death around you, as the grass turns a sickly brown and the summer's last hold on the once thriving flowers loses its battle against the cold, turning the flowers into dried out corpses.

I always loved a ghost story, especially if it was being told by a person who knew the art of storytelling; the pitch, the voice, the dramatic pauses all have to be done to perfection in order to make the story come to life. The right storyteller can make even a mundane tale seem frightening. Both my parents had this gift; to this day I get shivers whenever I think of my father's story about the evil Rigatoni. Sounds stupid, doesn't it? But it was told in early fall on a dark night in upstate New York, with bats flying into the window and trees rustling against the house. My father, by adding the right tone of creepy to what was some nonsense he had been ad-libbing, managed to freak us all out with the story of a renegade piece of pasta. That is a gift.

Of course, the way to ensure that any ghost story you are listening to will give you a good scare is to believe. Listening to my mom or dad share their tales of terror was even better when I was fully, 100%, unequivocally sure that the stories were either true or could really happen. As they recited the stories, I would mumble to myself I do believe in ghosts, I do believe in ghosts, like an incantation that would make sure the necessary goose bumps raised up on my arms. But believing in things that live in the dark has its downfalls, as once you actually got into the dark when the storytelling was done - in your bedroom, by yourself - you suddenly did not want to believe in ghosts. You wanted to believe in anything but. Scary stories are a lot of fun when you're huddled around with your favorite cousins and few adults and the smell of popcorn and hot chocolate wafts out from the kitchen. Alone in the night with no one but a stuffed kitten for company and the ominous smell of autumn coming in the window, the stories take on a life of their own. Your bed is an oasis and your feet must not touch the floor or even peek out from under the covers or the dusty corpse of a long-ago buried witch would surely grab you by your toes and proceed to eat you alive, not stopping until she swallows your soul. And when the bed creaks or a branch scrapes against the window, you wish, wish, wish with all your might and your eyes squeezed shut tight that never said you believe in monsters and spirits and evil that walks the night because if you don't believe they can't hurt you. When daylight finally arrives, after a night of horrific dreams, you do it all over again because daytime has a way of making you naively brave.

And so it is time for ghost stories again. Ghost story, in this case, is all encompassing. It's a catch-all for tales that scare, creep, frighten or chill. There could be ghosts or goblins, witches or zombies, spirits looking for revenge or bloody limbs strewn across a graveyard. They could be tales that people swear to be true or tales that are too bizarre to believe, yet scare you nonetheless. They are stories read from books or orally passed down from generation to generation; stories that take place in locations we know or far away lands we hope to never go. Sure, they are all scary enough on any day of the year but, told in the thick of autumn, they take on a more sinister, terrifying tone. Just the way it should be.

Todays's featured ghost stories:
Jen at cupandsaucer will be telling a different story each day this week. Today she recants some ghostly tales from when she lived in Hawaii.

Thomas Hardy's The Withered Arm
I'll be posting one of my favorite ghost stories later. Hopefully you'll print it out and share it with any easily-frightened friends or family you have. If you've got a ghost story to share, let me know. I can always use some new material.


You know what I hate about RSS feeds? When I post something and then decide to either delete it for my own reasons or put it on draft to fix it up and save it for later, it still shows up in some feeds and then I get emails asking where the post is and what did I do with it, as if I just kidnapped their little brother.

Three things to read

I've been slacking off on my Halloween themed postings. so I'll have one coming up later on. Meanwhile: Treacher gives ten reasons why he's not voting for Bush. Not for the humor impaired which, apparently, most of his commenters are. Good news from Iraq, part 13. Chrenkoff works his ass off on these things. Go read it. Now here's a story worth holding your breath over. That's all for now. Three links for a dollar. Now, where's my dollar? [Ok, I'll throw in a gratuitous bonus link: I'm still taking challenge suggestions for my camera escapades.]

this election is giving me a wedgie

On the morning of the eighth day before the election, I opened the drawer where I keep my panties and was oh, so surprised to see them all laid out nice and orderly and not, as I suspected they would be, in a bunch. Funny thing, ain't it, that the closer it gets to the election, the calmer I become? What's the point of going bezerk at this juncture? I can no more change the outcome of the election with my rantings than I can change the amount of money in my wallet with a wish. It's my belief that the outcome is already decided, anyhow. All that's left is the voting. Even the people out there who declare themselves as still undecided probably already know deep down who they are going to vote for. So, barring a huge October Surprise, nothing anyone does at this point is going to sway the election either way. Unless, of course someone comes up with a photo of Kerry getting a lap dance from a Chippendale dancer or one of Bush eating a baby. Oh, look at that. Not a baby, but close enough. Thanks, Alex Ross! No siren-wailing Drudge headline or British attempts to control Ohio voters will sway this thing anymore than my standing on a soapbox in the middle of the internet will. So why bother? Oh, sure. It's great to have a place to wail on about my angst and my anxiety. It's great to let it all out day after day. But to what end? So I can drive home from work thinking about all the aggravation I've gathered during the day and then take it out on some elderly driver whose only fault was in not using her directional to make the sllllooooow turn onto the side street? Eh, I probably would have screamed those things at her anyhow. Perhaps I'm engaging in a bit of avoidance. Maybe I'd much rather focus on the rituals of Halloween or the latest, greatest band to hit the airwaves because writing about the election - even talking about it to my friends and family - only serves to make me feel agitated. Maybe I don't want to think about what will happen should Bush lose. And I don't mean what will happen to the country as a whole, but what will happen to the building ulcer in my stomach or the volcanic anxiety building up in my head. Yea, who am I kidding. I'll start off today by writing about ghost stories or something non-political and by late afternoon I'll be wading through the swamps of Democratic Underground and feeling my panties slowly creep up my ass. I have no one to blame but myself. No one is forcing me to engage in all of this. I could just as easily turn the computer off and go read a book or bake a cake. And then I think that if I did turn the computer off - if I shut myself off from blogging for the next eight days - I would end up standing on a street corner wearing a sandwich board proclaiming the end is nigh. Which, when you think about it, is what a lot of us do anyhow, in a virtual sort of way. Sometimes those sandwich boards are hastily spray painted with things that are more dire than they seem, and then people laugh and point at us. And sometimes the words are right, or at least well thought out, and they laugh at us anyhow because, really, we're standing on a street corner ringing warning bells. Parents will steer small children away from us and then go home and prop those kids in front of the nightly news, where they can see professionals wearing sandwich boards that someone else painted for them. Well, that was off course. But honest, nonetheless. Which is all we can expect from each other, right? Hah. Even I don't believe that. It may be the season of the witch out there, but it's also the season of lies. Maybe it's no coincidence that Election Day is so close to Halloween. After all, we're getting pages full of tricks and treats every day. And one person's trick is another person's treat. So late at night on November 2nd, we'll all peer into our bags to see if we got the full-sized Hershey bar or the razor in the apple. Depends on which doors you decided to knock on, I guess. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a wedgie to pick.

October 24, 2004

def jam

Sometimes you go years and years singing a favorite song, not even bothering to really listen to the lyrics or think about what you are singing. And one day, you will have a moment of clarity, maybe in your car in the 7-11 parking lot, singing out loud with the window open, when you'll realize just how incredibly stupid a lyric "do you take sugar, one lump or two" is.

camera challenge

So I have this lovely $700 digital camera (I imagine the price has gone down a bit since I purchased mine) that I'm using mostly to take way too many shots of my nephew (both my kids tend to run from the camera). I try to take some artsy shots but, much like my forays into Legos(r) and Play-Doh(r), I have the will and the equipment, but my grand ideas seem to fall flat. Or get hair in them. There are few things in this world that freak me out more than hair in play-doh. Anyhow, I had this idea. Well, it was actually his idea, which he glommed off of someone else. Is glom really a word? Hey, it is! Here's how Mike did it: bq. Think of 3 pictures youíd like to see. Leave whatever youíd like to see in the comments. Things around my house, or whateverÖ something I can take a picture of easily. Once I have enough requests, Iíll start posting them. If I canít, or wonít, take a picture of something youíve requested, Iíll let you know. That's a good start, but I'd like to open it up a bit. While I'm sure there are some folks out there who are just dying to know what my desk looks like - and I will entertain those requests - I'd also like some challenges. I think I'm pretty good with the camera (see, here), so send me out on a mission that can get my camera creativity going again. It can be anything from "take a picture of something blue" to errr..whatever your inclination may be. There are somet things I'll draw the line at, and I think you can figure that out. There will be no nekkie Michele pictures. Ever. So take a combination of Mike's meme above and what I just wrote and give it your best shot, so I can give you my best shots and start making good use of the camera (and my amatuer photographer's eye) again. Use the comments to post your requests, challenges and whatnot. Whatnot is a really good word, isn't it? Right up there with glom. Hey, if you have a digital camera, join the fun. Update: I humbly request that you give me until the end of the week to take all the pictures. I'll put them up in the gallery when I'm done.

An open letter to my most prolific comment spammer

Dear bob (this could go to angrry girl as well): I was thinking about both of you as I deleted the comment spam you left on my site during the night and I got to wondering about your chosen career path. Let's say you make ten cents for every spam comment you leave. Does your boss know that just minutes, even seconds, after you leave that comment, it's deleted? I'm thinking that if the company you work for checks on your work at all, they would see no evident of the hard, long hours you put it informing the masses about granny porn and pocket bikes and you'd end up with a whopping paycheck of about thirty cents. Is it worth it? And there's the other thing. See, no one really reads those old post you're leaving the comments on. Oh, I know that you're only doing it so your boss's website gets the high Google ranking, but doesn't it ever make you feel just a little bit sad that you're spending the time putting in these well thought out comments (great site! thanks for the info!) and the 47 links to dogs getting it on with grade D porn stars and no one is reading them? Does it make you feel empty inside? Just a little? I was also thinking about your social lives. Bob, what do you say to a pretty young thing that you're trying to pick up in the corner bar after a hard day's work spamming blogs? When she asks you what you do for a living, do you fib just a bit and tell her that you're a publicist or a promoter? What if you get her in bed and she ends up falling in love with you (thanks to the free viagra you get from your company) and she wants to know more about your job? I can imagine the look on her face when you tell her that the publicizing you do consists of trolling weblog comments with promotions for lactating shemale porn. Unless, of course, the girl you end up bedding goes by the name of angrrygirl. Or she's really a lactating shemale. Then you're golden. I suppose it takes all types to keep our economy going. But it can't do much for your self-esteem to know that you're among the bottom feeders of the workforce, right alongside telemarketers and bill collectors. I almost feel sorry for you, that you were forced to choose such a disgraceful career path, but I have to wonder what led you to this juncture. There's a root cause for everything, bob, and someday we'll get to the bottom of why you think comment spammer is a good job choice. And maybe someday, we'll figure out why the people who pay you think it is worth doing so, when everything they pay you for disappears so quickly. Or why they think that people in the market for a second mortgage are going to use the first company that pops up on Excite to get one. Well, if you're ever in town, let me know. I'd like to buy you a drink. Hah, no. What I'd like to do is hog tie you and hang you from my ceiling. Then, I'd invite every spam weary blogger over for drinks and, when they're drunk enough, I'll pass out sticks and yell Pinata time! Don't say you didn't have that coming, bob. I know that deep down inside, you feel shame. Make the break today. Leave the seedy world of comment spam behind. Stop making the baby jesus cry. Sincerely, M Yes, I am fully aware that "bob" may be just a bot. Work with me here, ok> Update: Heh.

us/them with/against black/white

If you vote for George Bush that means you are pro-torture. Oh, Mr. Abu Aardvark, if only the election were as simple as you make it out to be. See, the problem with trying to make things black and white like this is all the shades of gray that are ignored. I am voting for George Bush, yet I don't condone what happened at Abu Ghraib. To insist anything else is disingenuous, at the very least. It is also, for lack of a more elegant word, stupid. This election is not about Abu Ghraib, as much as you would like it to be. If we were going to the polls and inside that curtained booth was a lever that said "torture" and one that said "no torture" I don't think many people among us Republicans and other Bush voters would have a hard time choosing the former. Suppose someone posted this picture: And then wrote:
Vote for this or against it. It really isn't that complicated.
You would have a cow. A big, loud, heavily-linked cow. Here's what's written on the above linked blog, under the now infamous Abu Ghraib photo, the one that has become the left's catch-all symbol of this election.
The world is watching. The world wants to know which America is the real America: the one which offers a vision of a better world, a more liberal and free world, a safer and more just world... or the one in this picture, a world brought to you by George Bush and his administration and for which no-one of any consequence has been held accountable.
Peace and democracy is not an either/or proposition. Bad things will happen during wartime. Ugly things, horrible, unspeakable things. Just ask John Kerry. But those things do not mean that everything we are working for in Iraq will be null and void. Abu Ghraib does not spell the end of good in Iraq. We can still have our vision of a better world, a more liberal and free world, a safer and more just world. I am a Bush voter and I want all those things. In the eyes of someone who believes it as simple as torture/no torture, I don't expect that reality to be seen. I don't expect that you will believe that's what I want because it does not fit in with your pre-conceived notions about who I am and what I stand for and against. To open up your mind to the possibility that not all Bush supporters are fondling themselves to pictures of Lynndie England would just poke an enormous hole in your theory that we are all redneck, violent thugs who hate all Arabs. For me, this is the symbol of Iraq. Not this. I deal in hope, not despair. Which, when you think about it, sort of sums up how the left and the right use Iraq in their campaigning. When George Bush said you are either with us or against us, the left called him simplistic and divisive. But aren't you saying the same thing now? You are either for torture or against Bush and there's no wiggle room in which you can be against torture and for Bush? That doesn't sound simplistic and divisive to you? I understand your point to an extent, and I understand that you are using Abu Ghraib as a metaphor for the entire Bush administration and everything it has done in the past four years. I understand your point, but I do not agree with it. However, it would take me hours and pages to write here why I don't agree with you. Because I understand that the choice we will all make in nine days is not one as simple as black v. white.

October 23, 2004

Something New for Your Ears

Anyhow, back to the mundane stuff. It's been a long time since I got excited about a new band (or "new to me" band). I listen to a lot of music with my kids. We exchange mp3s and CDs and try to turn each other on to what we consider good music. Natalie has really gotten into Far (an obscure, broken up emo band that I once loved [check them out in the asv radio today]) and DJ has become obsessed with Queen (you should hear him play Bohemian Raphsody on the guitar). In return for those "new to them" bands, they've given me Brand New. They started listening to them when my cousin, who went to high school with some of the guys in the band (they're from Long Island) told the kids about them. I've been pretty lucky when trying out LI bands (Glassjaw, VOD, Taking Back Sunday) so I gave them a shot and literally fell in love with Brand New. It's a combination of nifty hooks and excellent lyrics, made better by the fact that they're emo-ish without the whining voice that usually accompanies that genre. As a public service, I offer you two Brand New songs to download and try out, both from their 2003 album, Deja Entendu. Lyrics to both below. If you want to check out something earlier, try Jude Law and a Semester Abroad from their 2001 release, Your Favorite Weapon. I never really get comments on posts like this, but I always hope that someone out there has discovered a new band to love. I'm always open to suggestions from the masses for new music for my ears. This has not been a paid ad. Brand New - I Will Play My Game Beneath the Spin Light Brand New - The Quiet Things No One Ever Knows [update: downloads expired. If you would still like to hear the songs, email me] The time has come for colds and overcoats. We're quiet on the ride, we're all just waiting to get home. Another week away, my greatest fear. I need the smell of summer, I need its noises in my ears. If looks could really kill, then my profession would be staring. Please know we do this cause we care and not for the thrill. Collect calls to home to tell them that I realize that everyone who lives will someday die and die alone. And we won't let you in. Though we're down and out. We won't let you in. You win. I wrote more postcards than hooks. I read more maps than books. Feel like every chance to leave is another chance I should have took. Every minute is a mile. I've never felt so hollow. I'm an old abandoned church with broken pews and empty aisles. My secrets for a buck. Watch me as I cut myself wide open on this stage. Yes, I am paid to spill my guts. I won't see home till spring. Oh, I would kill for the Atlantic, but I am paid to make girls panic while I sing. And we won't let you in. Though we're down and out. We won't let you in. And we won't let you in. We don't want what isn't ours. We won't let you in. You win. And the coastline is quiet. While we're quietly losing control. Yes, we're silent but sure we inventened the cure that will wash out my memories of her. "The harpoon is loaded. The cage is lowered. The water is red." Like you. --------- We saw the western coast I saw the hospital Nursed the shoreline like a wound Reports of lover's tryst Were neither clear nor descript We kept it safe and slow The quiet things that no one ever knows [Chorus: x2] So keep the blood in your head And keep your feet on the ground Today's the day it gets tired Today's the day we drop out Gave up my body and bed All for an empty hotel Wasting words on lower cases and capitals I contemplate the day we wed Your friends are boring me to death Your veil is ruined in the rain By then it's you I can do without There's nothing new to talk about And though our kids are blessed Their parents let them shoulder all the blame [Chorus: x2] So keep the blood in your head And keep your feet on the ground Today's the day it gets tired Today's the day we drop out Gave up my body and bed All for an empty hotel Wasting words on lower cases and capitals [Bridge: x2] I lie for only you And I lie well... Hallelu... [Chorus: x2 (words from bridge in the background)] So keep the blood in your head And keep your feet on the ground Today's the day it gets tired Today's the day we drop out Gave up my body and bed All for an empty hotel Wasting words on lower cases and capitals

something else to make you seethe

Found on eBay (via Fark) I've saved the image of the sticker in case eBay grows some balls and takes it down. here Auction description: bq. This is for the hardcore Kerry/Edwards supporters! This sleek black & white bumper sticker will get your point across to all those mis-understandings of Bush supporters No matter what you believe or who you want as president, using our troops in this way is simply reprehensible. If I ever saw a car with this bumper stick affixed to it, I would probably react in a way that would result in the need of bail money.

sticks and stones

Charlie Brooker channels his inner ten year old and goes on a George Bush name-calling spree. It's almost amusing in its immaturity. Until the end. bq. On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you? That is not amusing. I know the Guardian is heavily biased against Bush, but to allow this plea for assasination to be printed is beyond the pale. No further commentary. I'm speechless. Update: DU poster: I like the last line the best. Figures. Update: The Guardian site is down (I think Drudge killed it). Scott has the dead tree edition and took a photo of the offending paragraph.

saturday morning radio: a kick in the gut

You know that one song that makes you feel all wistful and melancholy, like the spirit of every sad event in your life has just punched a hole in your gut? The songs themselves don't remind me of anything in particular. It's just a combination of the music, the words and the angst in the singer's voice that make me want to burst into tears for no reason at all. There's a whole bunch of them in the radio today. Enjoy. [Oh, I've signed on to be a "robot" at tinymixtapes, which means I'll be putting together playlists by request over there. The requests are somewhat whimsical, as they're just title suggestions (such as: it's another boring breakdancing friday, but here comes two-tone tommy with a new record that's going to put a brand new zip into your adidas . I'll share with you as I go along, if you so desire.]

October 22, 2004



I've got a bad feeling about this

All fun and nonsense all the time, that's me. At least on Fridays when I'm too tired to do anything else. In a way, I'm glad I'm done watching baseball for the year. Too many nights up way past my bedtime. Over at FAD, I spied this BBC piece which presents the top ten movie catchphrases of all time. Well, no great surprise that I'm debating nearly all of them. It's just too bad that I'm probably the only person who gets it when I say Fast forward eats the tape! So, being that the lyrics quiz is going over like Teresa Heinz Kerry at a Future Homemakers of America meeting, we'll try this instead. Just use the comments to enter your favorite movie catchphrases. But don't tell us the movie it's in. We'll guess. See, then it's like a quiz, except I don't have to do any work. And isn't that what Fridays are all about? Update: Charles Austin made his own (very good) list today.

friday fun: i can name that song in two words

Eleven days before the election and I just want to write about anything but the election. I just want it to be over already and writing about it isn't going to make it come any faster or go any better than I want it to. How many times do you really want me to write a post about how your life depends on this election, anyhow? You want meaty election-related posts? Try Tom Maguire, BfT, Michael Totten, PoliPundit or VodkaPundit, among other...pundits. Me, I'm going to follow in Ace's footsteps (who may have been following in mine, making it a bit like a circle jerk, without the messy cleanup) and do a lyrics quiz. Ace's quiz was better than any of my previous lyrics quizzes for the simple fact that he strived to make it hard by using just fragments of sentences instead of a whole lyric. So I'm going to be like the guy who buys an Expedition because his neighbor bought an explorer and make mine even harder! And bigger! And faster! Quiz below. Some of the songs are obscure, some are not. There's no rhyme or reason to the songs I chose, except that I was browsing art of the mix tape all morning. They span all genres and many years, so no one (I think) will get them all on the first comment. Try not to look at the previous comments before you give your answers because that's like cheating and cheaters just suck, man. Also, no Googling. Google, being much like and evil Santa Claus, will know if you are cheating on a quiz and will send electric shocks through your computer and into your brain, turning you into a zombie, just in time for Halloween! Winner gets a handful of leftover Halloween candy, with the Smarties removed. [It's really not as hard as I made it out to be] 1. three sad semesters 2. no more flippin' burgers 3. perfect as cats 4. easier by three 5. harlots of my perils 6. the path is chainlinked 7. bus boy, bartender 8. holes in my jeans 9. choo-choo train 10. my dad's the mayor 11. expanding man 12. archetypal suicide 13. suffering, perversion, calamity 14. and your strain 15. bad skin 16. looked up my bottom 17. all the veins 18. put on a gown 19. my slow reply 20. and dancing bones 21. the old man's Ford 22. vcr's and vasoline 23. a gentle bossanova 24. my jammy Ok, there's only 24 songs because I've got work to do. But I have about 100 more and if this goes well, I'll use them later.

get out the vote

Remember those posters my sister and I made? We've added a new one to the mix. We're going to dress up like ninjas tonight and go hang them around town. [click for bigger]

Eliot Spitzer and the Scourge of Radio

So Eliot Spitzer, ever the crusader, is at it again. But this time, I'm going to cut him some slack. While I'm not a big fan of Spitzer or any of his ego-boosting crusades through the halls of perceived justice, he has finally hit upon an issue that speaks to my heart: radio payola.

Yes, I know. We live in troubled times. War, famine, pestilence, whatever that other horseman is. Death? Sure. Lots of death. So why is Eliot (and I) so worried about what radio stations are playing? Well, if you're living in a world of impending doom, wouldn't you want that doom to come down on you with a good soundtrack? Who wants to die to repeated airing of the last Clay Aiken single? Not I.

Ok, so that's probably not Spitzer's intent. Most likely his intent has more to do with next election day than really caring about what radio stations play during the afternoon drive time, a time when Spitzer is most likely sharpening his claws or feeding his piranhas.

According to several people involved, investigators in Mr. Spitzer's office have served subpoenas on the four major record corporations - the Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, the EMI Group and the Warner Music Group - seeking copies of contracts, billing records and other information detailing their ties to independent middlemen who pitch new songs to radio programmers in New York State.


Broadcasters are prohibited from taking cash or anything of value in exchange for playing a specific song, unless they disclose the transaction to listeners. But in a practice that is common in the industry, independent promoters pay radio stations annual fees - often exceeding $100,000 - not, they say, to play specific songs, but to obtain advance copies of the stations' playlists. The promoters then bill record labels for each new song that is played; the total tab costs the record industry tens of millions of dollars each year.

Did you understand that? If not, don't worry about it. It's not important here. What's important is that we all see through the sham that is rock and roll radio.

See, the program directors think we, the listening audience, are stupid. Case in point: You're driving home from work, flipping through the very shallow offerings of radio stations in your area (this is assuming you, like me, cannot afford to have satellite radio in your car and you're stuck with just a handful of radio stations that run the gamut from the classic rock of Freebird to that insipid new Bowling for Soup song, yet combined they manage to have about 300 songs total on their playlists) and you hit upon the local - and only - real rock station, the definition of real rock being open for debate. Here, that station is K-Rock. You hear the opening riff to a song. Could it be? Could that be...YES! They are actually playing a Toadies song. Sure, it's Possum Kingdom, but at least it's the Toadies, which they very rarely play on this station. So you're all happy thinking that maybe there was some DJ meeting at K-Rock and the program director told them to go freestyle, play what they want, when they want, just go all apeshit on the air with some good, unscheduled tunes.

Monkeys, butts, etc.

See, later that night you are driving to the Dairy Barn for a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread and a chance to escape from your children. You turn on the radio in the hopes that K-Rock has turned over a new leaf and you'll be able to rock out to some good, non Billboard rock for the 45 second ride to the store. And what do you hear? Possum Kingdom. Your initial reaction is wtf? (until you realize that acronyms don't work outside the internet so you say out loud, to the radio, what the fuck?) and it dawns on you that the powers that be at K-Rock think you are stupid.

Here's how that DJ meeting really went:

Program Director: Ok, we need to appear cool and hip and whatnot in order to counterbalance the amount of absolute crap we are playing.
DJ: Uh, why do we play crap, then?
PD: Because Karl Rove tells us to. Hah, just kidding. Because our bosses tell us to.
DJ: What do the bosses know? They don't even like this music.
PD: No, but they like the bags of cash that the record companies, agents and promoters drop off on the roof of the building every Friday morning!
All DJs: Hahahahahah!
PD: I'm not joking. Now here's the playlist for today. Oh, and every once in a while - ok, every hour - play the Toadies Possum Kingdom so we appear cool and hip and whatnot. Next week, we'll change it to something from Tool's first album.
DJ: Are our listeners that stupid?
PD: They bought the latest Limp Bizkit album, didn't they?
DJ: Ohh, good point.

And that's my interpretation of how it works at K-Rock, which really has nothing to do with the Eliot Spitzer thing I mentioned above. As far as I can tell, Spitzer is pissed because radio stations are circumventing the payola laws with secret handshake deals and contracts written in invisible ink. Which would explain why the local station whose playlist consists almost entirely of Stairway to Heaven, Freebird and Hotel California will suddenly break out the new Green Day record. It also - perhaps - explains the popularity of Modest Mouse. Come on Epic Record, fess up. You're lining the press release envelopes with cash, aren't you? It doesn't however, explain the popularity of Nickelback. As far as I know, Roadrunner records isn't exactly flowing with the green. The only explanation I can think of is that the lead singer is actually a hypnotist who mesmerizes the vulnerable into buying their albums. Which, in a way, is more nefarious than payola. What if Chad Kroeger has been teaching his hypnotic, evil skills to Ashlee Simpson? What if he holds monthly meetings in which he and Roadrunner records give workshops to the likes of Jimmy Eat World (whose new offering sounds suspiciously like Livin La Vida Loco)? Perhaps Spitzer should be looking into this instead. The world is in enough trouble as it is. Imagine five horsemen. War, Famine, Pestilence, Death and Kelly Clarkson. That should make us all shudder.

October 21, 2004

the do it yourself linkorama

Tons of links appearing in my inbox this week, and lots of things I wanted to link to but didn't because I was preoccupied with baseball, so I'll just round them all up right here in a second. First, a word about emails: I am notoriously bad at returning emails. I apologize for that. It's not that I don't want to - trust me, I read every single email I get. And then I put them in a folder marked "return these emails" and I try to find the time to get to all of them, but sometimes time is an elusive bitch. I know it's rude and I know that some of these emails deserve at least a cursory reply and I don't want anyone to think I'm ignoring them. I'm just strapped for time, in addition to being a huge procrastinator, and those two things together mean that lots of emails go unanswered. I'm sorry for that. Ok, links away! * Chris O'Donnell's eight year old daughter has gotten on early start on being an evil capitalist. Go check her wares out. * On Saturday, 9 October, for the fifth time in my life I went into a polling station and cast a vote in Australian federal election. The same day, but several hours later and on the other side of the globe, millions of people were exercising their democratic right to vote for the first time in their lives. Good news from Aghanistan from the prolific Arthur Chrenkoff. * The storyblogging carnival is looking for submissions. Even if you have nothing to submit, make sure you read the carnival. Good stuff. * Puce has returned from his sojourn and I think he's mad at Treacher. * Jeff Goldstein is looking for horror movies to watch. Speaking of horrors, check out his Martha Stewart chronicles: 1, 2, 3, 4. * Don't forget the bet I had with Jason. $70 headed to Garden of Angels next paycheck. You know what? I left my notepad document stuffed with links on my computer at work. So why don't you do all the work while I get to sit back and enjoy it? Got a link you want to whore, a story you want to spread, rumors you want to start? This is the place. Drop your links in the comment. Just leave a dollar on the nighstand, ok?

I Got Your Biases Right Here [Updated. Again.]

I'm in a mood today. It's party the weather, partly an abundance of rude people looking for confrontations and partly some really insipid emails, one of which said "I just discovered your blog and I'm too lazy to go through the archives so can you tell me about yourself because you don't have an about page and I'd like to know what makes you tick, like what you like and don't like and what you think about certain issues because I think people should know upfront your biases and stuff, like I was reading at Instpundit and some other blogs talking about biases." Just like that. No punctuation. Breathe, girl, breathe.

I'm sure I've said this all before, but it's worth repeating. I am under no obligation to be objective in my posts and I have every right to flaunt my biases, loud and clear. That's the difference between blogs and MSM. We don't have to hide behind a fake wall of fairness. The blogosphere is, and should be, a WYSIWYG world. So, in tribute to that thought and in order to give full disclosure to each and every one of you, I will announce every single one of my biases right up front so you can check back to this post every once in a while just to know where I stand and to be sure that you are getting the utmost in biased, non-objective writing that I can give you. You can see right up front where I stand on all issues. I think this will save some of you a lot of time and effort, considering the lot of you who often comment with suggestions on what news I should be presenting and how I should be presenting it, or - my favorite - try to tell me what I should be thinking/doing/eating/reading/writing in order to be a better person (read: like you) or more informed (read: to view the world through the same filter as you). So, I present to you, my biases.

I support George Bush. In fact, I love George so much I want to have his babies. I am a Republican. I am not a Conservative. I like dick. Cheney, that is. I'm not so hot on Rumsfeld. I think he swallowed a land mine once and is going to burp it up at any given moment. I support gay rights, I'm walking a thin line between pro-life and pro-choice. I'm not that much into feminism. I don't read Ann Coulter and I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh. I think John Stewart is funny even when his bias goes completely opposite mine. I think John Kerry looks like he swallowed a swordfish. I hate his wife. I think she's an arrogant bitch, to be blunt about it.

I enjoy capitalism. I like money. I like spending money. You'll never see me diving into dumpsters for food even though I can afford a meal because that is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of. In fact, I think most of those far leftie ideals are ridiculous. Hey, if you got your food out of a dumpster last night, thank the capitalist who made it possible for that leftover food to appear in the dumpster! I think PETA are mental terrorists. I think anarchists are just societal drop outs who have raised self-centeredness to an art form.

I hate the Mets and most Met fans. I hate the Cowboys, the New York Rangers and all of the NBA, but most especially the Knicks, who are the major reason why I stopped watching pro basketball. I think fighting belongs in hockey and I miss the days of the bench clearing brawls. I hate inter league play in baseball almost as much as I hate the DH. Duke sucks.

I don't care if you think my taste in music sucks. I like loud, obnoxious music with terrifying, offensive lyrics and bass lines that you can feel in your pancreas and drumming that would give your mother seizures. I also like slow, hypnotic music, and a lot of songs that don't have more than four chords throughout. I don't think Metallica sold out, but I think everything from Black on sucked like a Hoover. They've never made a better song than Battery. I love Pantera but hate Phil Anselmo. I think Faith No More is the best band that ever existed and I will fight you to the death on that. I like emo and some pop punk bands and I've been known to sing along to Air Supply songs. I hate country music. I hate rapcore. Limp Bizkit is clearly a plague upon the ears, and that whole genre (see POD, etc.) is a bigger plague than the great 1990's epidemic of boy bands.

I like to read. I will read anything from children's books to forty pound biographies of Robert Moses. I read comic books and graphic novels and frankly, I don't care what you think about that. I do, however, think that Chuck Palahniuk is a hack who wrote one ok book that turned into a pretty good movie and one decent book that will probably turn into a shitty movie. I hate romance novels and I despise books that are laden with so much sap you'll contract diabetes just from reading them. I hate ironic post modernism and authors that take themselves too seriously for their own good. I love the Unfortunate Events books because not only are they good reads, but they teach kids that life can be a real bitch and there's not always going to be a fairy godmother that will come save your ass when someone is looking to give you the beatdown. I believe that kids need to know that so they don't turn into wimps who can't fend for themselves.

I hate what you're doing to your kids, by the way. You've turned them into pussies who whine at the slightest provocation and who freak out when they come upon a minute of their day that isn't scheduled for them. They're also rude, selfish and arrogant. I think my father's friend was right on all those years ago when he wore a shirt that said children should be seen and not heard. Well, it goes for your children, at least. Shut them up, please. You really need to inform them that the world does not owe them a living. Unless, of course, you think it does. Then you're a crappy parent.

I'm sick of multi-culturalism. I don't want to read every single pamphlet, instruction card or traffic sign in ten different languages. I don't want to have to include your holiday traditions in mine. I think my kids should be able to sing about Santa Claus in school, right after they sing about dreidels. I'm tired of trying not to offend you with my own traditions and cultures. You live in America? Then you're an American. When my son had to bring in something from his culture to school, he brought in a baseball mitt. Because he's American. We're about as Italian as the cooks at Olive Garden. And you know, I really don't mind people who want to speak their native tongue while living here, I just don't want them to do it while they are attempting to take my burger order. If you don't speak the language well enough to be understood by the customers, go cook fries or work in the stock room and leave the order taking to people who speak my language. Oh wait, that can't be done because the youth of America some time ago decided that menial retail/fast food jobs were beneath them and now they just sponge off their parents until they decide what it is they want to do with their lives. Or worse, they dive in dumpsters for their meal and feel smugly altruistic about it.

Speaking of food, I'm a carnivore. I love to eat dead animals. I don't care how a chicken died as long as its breast ends up on my dinner plate with some lemon pepper seasoning. I don't care how badly the cow was treated if the end result means steak au poivre for dinner tonight. I'm not going to cry for the penned pigs because I love bacon too much to care. Also, I think fur coats are ugly as sin and a woman weariing one looks like some upstate road kill, but I'm not gonna throw paint at you for wearing it. If it takes a carcass to keep you warm, so be it. Hey, I have lots of leather clothing. Eat the insides, wear the outsides. Good rule to live by.

Empire was better than A New Hope and Jedi mostly sucked. Ewoks ruined everything. I hated Ghost World. Everyone said I was going to love it. I thought it was a piece of pretentious, self-aware crap. 90% of my television viewing, aside from news, is of animated shows. There hasn't been a good prime time show that I revolved my schedule around since Twin Peaks. Ok, maybe Freaks and Geeks. I don't think I've laughed at a live action sitcom show since Barney Miller went off the air. If you laugh at America's Funniest Videos, then we probably don't share the same view of what's funny. Watching a redneck get kicked in the nuts by a snot nosed kid week after week is just not hi-lar-ious. You know what is? A shape shifting glob of meat and his french fried buddy.

I'm an atheist. I really don't want to read your ten page emails on how you're going to save my soul. I don't need anyone else to tell me what to believe or not believe in. You know what I believe? That most people are complete morons. I believe this world is weighted heavily toward the stupid and some day they are just going to take over and then we'll be left with nothing but Jerry Lewis movies to entertain us and caution labels on everything, including our bodies.

I hate rude people. How to tell if you are rude? Do you step into an elevator before the people exiting have gotten a chance to get out? Do you park in handicapped spaces when your are not really permitted to do so? Do you talk over other people or always make the converstation revolve around you? Do you use your cell phone in a movie theater? Do you leave your empty shopping cart right up against someone else's car? Do you not use deodorant even when it's 90 degrees out? Do you use those stupid walkie talkie cell phones in public so that every single person within a 500 foot radius knows that your girlfriend caught a case of crabs from her first cousin? Do you endlessly beep on your horn in front of your boyfriend's house when picking him up, even at 1am? Do you tell people what to blog or how to blog or do you treat someone else's comments section as your own personal forum, replete with tons of links back to your own blog and threadjacking discussions that revolve around you and your opinions? All so very rude. Especially the elevator thing.

Well. That felt good. Honesty really is the best policy, you know. Probably keeps the advertisers away, but they weren't banging down the door, anyhow.

[Added by request]

Pizza toppings are good. Traditional pizza toppings, that is. Pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, peppers - all good. Once you get into pineapple, you lose me. I mean, if you're going to take off the cheese and sauce and top the thing with lettuce, tomato and salad dressing, don't call it a salad pizza. Call it what it is - a side salad with bread. A pizza isn't a pizza unless it's got sauce and cheese on it. Putting salsa, ground beef and sour cream on a pie doesn't make it a taco pizza, it makes it a big ass tostada. Doesn't anyone make real pizza anymore? The kind where the cheese slides down your throat and you have to soak up the extra grease with napkins?

[Added in response to a comment about Stairway to Heaven being the best song ever].

Let me dip into my archives to give you my very biased opinion on that fallacy:

There was a time when I considered Led Zeppelin to be gods. Most people my age went through that phase. We quoted lyrics left and right and debated the meaning behind each song. Plant and Page were geniuses, deep thinkers, philosophers.

Yea, right. What passes for deep thinking to a 14 year old mesmerized by heavy guitars and pounding rythms and Robert Plant's hair turns into foolishness and pretension when you take away the haze of few joints and flights of teenage fancy.

I mean, they were a good band - I loved them once upon a time, and yes I had teenage girl dreams about Robert Plant. But all these years later my passion has diminished as I realize I was being had by the greatest lyrical con-artists in history.


If there are any other biases of mine you would like to know about or any other issues you would like to know my feelings on, be they important or ridiculously inane, let me know while I'm in the ranting mood, which may or may not last depending on how much tryptophan is my lunch today or how much of this repressed baseball anger I let go over at Total Fark today. I'll probably end up turning this into the longest About the Author page ever.

Last Commentary on the ALCS

Congratulations, guys. Much deserved win. I'm not a depressed Yankee fan today, as some might assume. I'm more on the bitter side. The Yankees choked like Mama Cass. Some people try to get me to take solace in the fact that the Jets are 5-0, but I laugh at that suggestion. You think Red Sox fans are pessimists? Hell, if the Jets started the season 8-0, I'd be expecting them to finish .500. I'm sure the folks at Modell's sporting goods are a tad disappointed today. Usually, when the Yankees win a series, the morning after finds throngs of fans lining up outside the store, waiting to buy championship logo clothing. Perhaps they could sell this one instead. [click for larger image] [Partly inspired by Allah, who made a brief reappearance to taunt Yankee fans] Anyhow, good luck in the World Series. Despite all I've said and done here in regards to the rivalry, I'm happy for you Sox fans.

October 20, 2004

Game Discussion/Open Thread

[ed note: all game time commentary has been moved to the extended entry so I don't have to look at it every time I load the site up] I hate Kevin Brown. He is so NOT the guy I want out there in the seventh game. ----- Good-bye, Kevin. Hello Javi! Yea, I trust Javier more than Brown. Ugh. So much for that. I think it's time to put that hockey tape in. Johnny Fucking Damon. ------ It's always the pitching with this team. I mean, the big bats haven't exactly been on fire, but the pitching has been suspect all season. ----- Clark Gillies just knocked out Ed Hospodar with one punch! Kidding. I'm still watching the game, though the hockey fight tape is begging to be started. ---- You can't score six without first scoring one. Or something like that. ---- Oh just fucking kill me now. 8-1, thanks to the missing link. Please, for the love of the Babe, just bring in Mussina. ------- J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS! ------ Kevin Lowe Derek Lowe looks like he could be Scott Stapp's uglier twin brother. /resorting to stupid insults ------- How many days til pitchers and catchers? ----- Resignation: Unresisting acceptance of something as inescapable; submission I just may submit to my bed soon. I have this vision of waking up at 1am and checking the score only to see that the Yankees won the game, 12-8. I probably shouldn't have had that third Jack and coke. I think it's time for Aqua Teen Hunger Force Season 2. ---- Could this be turning into a game? Oh jeebus please bring in Timlin, please! ------ Awwww fuck. Way to kill a buzz. Time to do the Timlin dance. Don't ask - just assume we look like idiots when we do it, but it rarely fails us, hex wise. ------ The laptop seems to be overheating. Shutting down for the evening, much like the Yankee bats.

Here's to Good Baseball

YanksBumperSticker2.jpg No voodoo tonight. Instead, I'm just going to offer to share my Game Seven Tums with all Red Sox fans* and tip my Guinness to all of us who have stayed up through every game of this series. No matter what happens tonight, it's been a hell of a ride. If you're live blogging the game, drop a link in the comments. I'll make this an open thread to discuss the game in progress. I'll be stopping in to comment as the game goes on. Or, at least until I can't take it any more. If the game gets too tense I'm going to pop in my greatest hockey fights tape and just wait for it to be over. I have enough anxiety problems as it is. Extra innings tonight would have me looking under the couch for any long lost Xanax. *Offer does not apply to MetSox fans, those bitter, nasty people who only root for the Sox because of an ugly, deep seated jealousy of their New York baseball counterparts.

Baseball, Hockey and the Ultimate Cliche

First: I'm not commenting on the A-Rod thing except to say that I think it was a heat of the moment thing and he shouldn't be burned in effigy because of it. That said, I think the call was the correct one, so don't bother trying to pick a fight with me about it. Next: Some asshole fans threw baseballs on the field. Now everyone outside of New York is running off at the mouth about how New Yorkers and Yankee fans are barbarians. Please. Stop. Now. Do I hold it against every single Boston sports fan that I had rocks thrown at me while leaving a hockey game at Boston Garden? No, I don't. Do I think every sports fan from Philadelphia is an idiot just because someone at a Flyers game threw a full cup of Coke at a ten year old kid that was attending the game with me? No. There are assholes everywhere and sometimes they are no more evident than at a sporting event. To call all Yankee fans classless because a few buffoons did something extraordinarily stupid is just moronic. And if you are one of those people spouting such nonsense and you hail from one of the many cities whose fans riot when their team wins a sports championship? Bite me. We've never done that in New York. Anyhow, I am going to dispense with the voodoo for tonight's game. After all, today is Mickey Mantle's birthday. What better omen could you ask for? I keep saying (to anyone who will listen to my ramblings) that this series reminds me of so many Islander playoff series. There were some games that I just couldn't watch - I would walk in and out of the room a dozen times or more in the third period. Overtime? Forget it. I watched those periods like a little kids watches horror movies - with my hands over my eyes. And you know what? In a strange way, that's a great feeling. The adrenaline you get when your team is standing on the thine line between moving on and playing golf is one of the best things about being a sports fan. This series has provided several moments close to that, but none that will match the intensity of tonight's game. Speaking of hockey, Red Sox fans might take heart in reading about the Islanders' 1975 comeback victories in the playoffs. Sure, they didn't win the championship that year, but they certainly defied odds. Games like tonight's don't come around often. Two really good teams facing off in the ultimate of sports cliches, the do or die game. This, above anything else, is why I love sports.. Can't really explain it, but if you're a sports fan, it doesn't need explaining. --------- Your must read for the day: Watching the series from Iraq. Update: For all of you emailing me the story about the Yankee fan shooting his friend, a Red Sox fan last night, stop. Do you really, honestly believe that murder is a typical behavior of Yankee fans. You're embarassing yourself.

Voting With My Head and My Heart

The new 527 ad - Ashley's Story - is one of the most powerful election ads I've seen in a long time. ashley.gifIt's powerful for me in a different way than it might be for an undecided voter. I have already made my decision to vote for George Bush. Ashley's Story just underscores one of the main emotional reasons why I am voting for him. There are many points people address when they are talking who they are voting for. This election, it's the war on terror for some, the economy for others. There's education, welfare, taxes, health care and a myriad of other issues that voters consider before making their choice. But there's something else, at least for me. That's the intangibles. The things that a candidate won't base a whole campaign on but nonetheless are vital to gaining confidence in voters who are thinking about voting for them. What is evident about George Bush in this ad is one of those vital things that give me faith and hope enough to vote for him with confidence. His sincerity, his passion and his compassion are all on display here. What's moving is that the captured moment in Ashley's Story was spontaneous; it wasn't scripted, it wasn't planned out in advance. It's just a brief moment that shows the true spirit of what lies beneath George Bush, President. Oh, there are some who look at our President and see a liar, a thief, a devil in disguise. They refute even this small yet powerful gesture of the President, one in which he comforted a young girl whose mother died on September 11, 2001. They won't see what they don't want to believe. What I see is a man with integrity. I see a man who believes in every word he says, who truly believes that he is doing what is right for this country and the world. He has passion and compassion and displays them both without the prompt of cue cards or the clandestine whisperings of Karl Rove. When I listen to George Bush speak, I hear honesty. I hear a man who believes his own words. I hear the voice of trust. There are many other reasons why I am voting for George Bush, all of which I have stated here before. But it's what I see in this ad that encompasses all of the emotional reasons why I trust this man to be my president. It's not enough that Bush stands for the issues that are most important to me this election; in order to get my vote I have to believe in his sincerity and trust him with my life and the lives of my children. That I do. I have to vote with both my head and my heart, and they both want to vote for George W. Bush on November 2.


The official sponsor of the ASV coverage of tonight's game: tum04.gif Am I ready to eat crow yet? Not on your life. There's still more baseball to be played. A note to some of you - and you know who you are: Lighten up, Francis. It's a game. It's a rivalry. It's fun. Take a deep breath and stop taking everything so seriously. And to one emailer in particular: violent threats over baseball are just not cool, buddy. Chill. Update: Don't forget about the bet! Someone will be coughing up 70$ for charity tonight.

October 19, 2004

calling out the big voodoo guns

It's time for some real voodoo. The pin cushions, flaming squirrels and dead virgins just aren't cutting it. This time I need to work that dark magic a little harder. So I call upon the baseball spirits tonight. I've gathered the necessary tokens of sacrifice: my father's Red Sox cap, a Wade Boggs (Boston years) baseball card and a can of baked beans. While they are simmering over a fire stoked by the flames of hatred, I will recite my incantation and unleash the ultimate kryptonite upon the Red Sox mojo; the garlic, the holy water, the silver bullet that will crush the spirit of the Red Sox. All hail the Bucky Dent voodoo! [This is not going to come back to haunt me because I have the power to delete any trace of this entry should the Yankees lose tonight. I. Have. The. Power!]

In Which I Beat Tim McCarver With a Baseball Bat

I'm home today with some flu-type thing and suffering from fever, chills, delerium and all sorts of other assorted symptoms - as well as a toothache that probably will not get taken care of today because my dentist's office staff are idiots.

kruger.gifI figured the best thing I could do would be to go back to sleep. You know, seal myself off from this dark, dreary day and all of my various ailments by cozying up in bed with extra blankets. To sleep, perchance to......dream.

And dream I did. I won't bore you with the entire story line of the dream. Instead I'll just relay this one defining moment, which succintly summed up every single thing I have been thinking about in the last 24 hours:

I was standing in my parents' basement, near the oil burner, which looked more like an old time furnace. Flames were shooting out the furnace, licking the ceiling and lighting the wooden beams on fire. Freddy Kruger himself stood before me, decked out in his striped t-shirt and signature hat. He was holding a baseball bat in one hand (I recognized it as my signed Dan Pasqua bat, long since forgotten about) and was wearing a catcher's mitt on the other hand. Long, sharp claws extended through the worn leather of the mitt.

As the fire raged all around, Freddy's face started to change. In rapid succession, his face changed a million times at least, each new face disappearing too quickly for me to figure out who I was looking at. The changes occurred in a morph-like way, from top to bottom, and it looked like a slot machine with an endless supply of faces had embedded itself in Freddy's face. The Pope, Karl Rove, my boss, my dentist, Johnny Damon, Johnny Depp, the genie from Aladdin - they all made millisecond appearances on Freddy's visage. The slot machine movement finally slowed down and settled on one face: Tim McCarver's. I tried to scream but, of course, nothing came out. Tim started yelling about extra innings, waving the bat around and clawing at the charred beams above the furnace. One of the beams fell down on him, crushing his chest. When he fell to the floor, I went over to him and pulled the beam off, revealing a gaping hole where his heart should have been. For some reason, I reached for McCarver's wallet. I was suprised to see it was cheap leather, not the real thing. Inside the wallet were three pictures: one of Al Leiter and two of Tim McCarver. As the flames danced around me and the heat became almost unbearable, my only thought was who the hell would carry a picture of himself in his own wallet, let alone two? Then I noticed a piece of paper tucked behind the photos. I pulled it out. It was a blank absentee ballot from Florida. I thought to myself, I wonder who Freddy Kruger would vote for? I grabbed my Dan Pasqua bat off the floor, smashed Freddy/McCarver in the head. I was finally able to find my voice and I screamed with each blow "Just. Shut. Up!" Then I got tired and woke myself up.

Scary part is, this kind of dream was quite normal for me. But unlike most of my dreams, this one could probably be analyzed with some accuracy.

things that make you go UGH [updated with an important plea]

Now, I could sit here and say "well, we wanted them to win it in New York, anyhow!" but that would be an outright lie. And I could sit here and say, "well, it was a good game, at least" but that would be pure bullshit. I could also sit here and say, "well, they'll crush the Red Sox tonight at the Stadium!" but that would be a half-truth at the least because I know damn well it's supposed to rain all day and all night here and it's not looking good for a game to played at all. Out of the whole fourteen innings played last night; out of all the ups and downs and hits and walks and errors, out of all the times a Yankee failed in the clutch, here's the one stat that is sticking in my head today: 18 RUNNERS LEFT ON BASE. That is just unacceptable. Tonight, weather permitting, I will have to bring out the big voodoo guns. Now, for those of you who wrote to ask why I keep posting about baseball when the election is just two weeks away, I say this: In a world of turmoil and unrest (and blatant hyperbole), baseball can provide some pretty amazing moments, the kind of moments that will stay with you forever and bring a smile to your face even in troubled times. That link? Your must read for today. Update: I think we should all band together today to pray to the weather gods for a steady downpour from now until this evening. It would be far better for all of us sleep deprived Yankee and Red sox fans if it rains enough to just postpone the game outright instead of trying to get it in. If they attempt to start the game, that's a surefire bet that it will last into the wee hours of the morning again, interrupted by seven rain delays and brief showings of Seinfeld episodes while they pull the tarp on and off field a zillion times. This would not be good for either of our pitching staffs or for us millions of already sleep deprived fans. Everyone, rain dance! [cue Sprockets music]

October 18, 2004

keep the faith, red sox nation! [Updated: New Warning Issued]

Yea, so the Yankees lost last night. Hey, I never said they were going to sweep. In fact I predicted it would go six games, which means two Yankee losses. Everyone's talking about the fact that no team has come back from a 3-0 deficit in the series. I'll say this - if there's a team that has the capability to do it, it's this Red Sox team, especially against these Yankees. If this series goes seven games, the Yanks are in deep shit. The lack of depth in their pitching rotation will be ever so evident then. A note to Boston fans: Why the long faces? I have never seen such a group of negative, frowning fans before. The Red Sox were down by only one run and some guy was holding up a sign that said "We fell for it again." The fans were ridiculing their second basemen. It's an ugly thing, to see a team backed by fans that have no confidence whatsoever. Lighten up, guys! There's still more baseball to be played. Today's game should be good. A good pitching matchup (though I'll be the first to say that the odds of Mussina having an outing like his first game are slim) and a 5:00 start, which means I won't need a pot of coffee to get through the game and it will be over by the time Farscape begins. My lone observation about the Cards/Astros series: Beltran sure would look sweet in pinstripes. Update: I've revised the Red Sox Nation Threat Advisory. See below. rsnation2.jpg


So everybody (and by everybody I mean Tim Blair, Sean Gleason and Mudville Gazette) is talking about the For Iraq photo project. Mostly, they are making fun of it, and rightfully so. In fact, I'll be making fun of it through the magic of Photoshop soon enough. But I do think we need to address this in a serious manner, first. FOr those who haven't seen it yet, the Iraq Photo project is a group of bleeding heart liberals who scrawl heartfelt sentiments to the Iraqi people on cardboard and take photos of themselves holding the signs. And then: bq. On October 20 in Washington D.C., we will be presenting our collected photographs of ordinary Americans expressing their feelings to media organizations for broadcast and publication in Iraq. Now, at first blush you might think this is a wonderful idea. Showing the Iraqi people that we are rejoicing in their emerging freedom and share their happiness at no longer having to live under Saddam's rule - wow. But it doesn't exactly play out like that. What we have here are apologists. Example: [click for bigger] Let me insert something here, written by Zeyad at Healing Iraq.
Remember that you are completely blocked from the outside world, you only read newspapers and books allowed by the government, the rest are censored. You only watch state-sponspored tv channels. Websites that are 'unacceptable' are blocked by state-sponspored Internet providers. The government tells you that 'this is for your own good', they protect you from 'the other' which is trying to poison your thoughts, undermine your faith, and destroy your traditions. Your fellow countrymen who inadvertently step over the lines are strictly 'punished' by the state because they have become 'spies' and 'agents'. Anyone else who dares to ask for more liberties, reforms, who criticises or acts against the ruler/government/state is an enemy acting on behalf of Zionists and imperialists, or is part of a grand plan (that has been planned for centuries) against 'the revolution' or the historical role of the ummah/Caliph/Sultan/ruler/government/state. The above situation is not out of George Orwell's 1984, it is what all Iraqis for the last 50 years had to endure.
Perhaps the good people of the Iraq photo project could go tell Zeyad that they are sorry he and his family no longer have to live like that. Here's one of my favorites. The sign reads: We hold no hatred for the Iraqi people. Who does? Are they saying that those of us who are pro-war or the administration itself hates Iraqis? You can read a whole lot into one sentence and I'm sure this nice old couple really believes that our soldiers are over there fighting because we hate the citizens of Iraq. Here's another. The sign reads: We apologize for the suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people in our name. Great, we'll pass that message onto Alaa, who says: bq. Hail our true friends, the Great People of the United States of America; The Freedom giving Republic, the nation of Liberators. Never has the world known such a nation, willing to spill the blood of her children and spend the treasure of her land even for the sake of the freedom and well being of erstwhile enemies. I would like to know how the good people of Ohio who express the sentiments know just how the Iraqi people feel? Have they gone their to visit with them? Talked to them? Asked them at all? Or do they just know what their liberal brethren relay to them through the wonders of the internet and oh, so truthful sites like Indymedia and Iraq Body Count. This one says: We are all God's children. Forgive us. Forgive us. For this - bq. Today we were freed for ever from the fear that a man and his family might once again control Iraq. Is that what you are sorry for? These people are ashamed. They beg forgiveness. bq. There are so much potential for Iraq as a country not to mention the people of Iraq. Now they have tasted some freedom they will never let go of it, I am certain of that. I am extremely optimistic about the new government and the new Iraq. Is that what they are sorry for? Takes balls to apologize for bringing people out of a brutal regime. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that the war in Iraq is without its problems. Yes, I am aware of the deaths of the innocent. But the people involved in this photo project make it appear, with their words, as if we just woke up one day and decided to go kill us some Iraqis. For sport. We are not a barbaric nation. Our intentions are good. And someday, hopefully soon, our intentions will be fulfilled. Look at the picture of the child here. That child, living under Saddam's regimne, was dying from hunger. Would the folks who made those signs prefer this is the way it was left? Yes, children have died in the war. But there are 80,000 children in Iraq right now who are looking at a better future because we are liberating them. You want to see signs? Look at these signs seen in Iraq. Read the good news from Iraq here. There are eleven parts of this series so far. Eleven long pieces about the good news from Iraq. That's a lot of good news. But the people who want to apologize on behalf of the U.S. don't see that. In their complete arrogance, they overlook the amazing steps towards freedom that the citizens of Iraq are taking. It has not been easy and there are hard days ahead of them. But the members of the coalition are there to help them along, to build schools and hospitals, to train new police forces, to weed out the insurgents and terrorists who fear democracy. And yet there are people ashamed of that progress. There are people ashamed that we have taken it upon ourselves to help an oppressed nation help themselves towards a brighter future not just for Iraq, but for the Middle East. Perhaps those people are sorry for what the U.S. government has done, but they do not represent all of us. I certainly am sorry it was not a smooth, death-free process, but war never is. And without this war, the people of Iraq would still be being starved, killed, tortured, raped or just ignored by their own government. And they would be living without hope, which is something they certainly have now. You cannot build a good future without that hope and if that is what we have brought them, then I, for one, am not sorry. I am just sorry that there are American people who wish Iraq was still the way it was when Saddam was in power. These are the same class of people who want to end the war and pull the troops out now, leaving the Iraqis to fend for themselves against the warlords and terrorists who want to keep democracy at bay. Perhaps they should apologize to the hopeful citzens of Iraq for that.

October 17, 2004

Alan's APME Speech

As I mentioned last night, Alan gave a speech at the Associate Press Managing Editors conference yesterday. He has posted the full text of his speech at CommandPost. I think it's something all bloggers - and blog watchers - should read. Excerpt:
Mavens are information geeks Ö they live on information, love to surface new information, and love to share that information with others. These are the people who are always bringing you new restaurant recommendations, new books to read, new products to use. Mavens and connectors have always been out there Ö the only problem was that their ability to connect and spread the message was primarily contained to those people with whom they lived or worked. The Internet, and weblogs in particular, have ďlit upĒ the otherwise latent power of mavens and connected them in a very real way. A weblog is nothing more than a megaphone for a maven Ö and the Internet serves to make mavens instantly connected to the rest of the world Ö and more important Ö to other mavens. Thereís a very important lesson here: bloggers should not be underestimated. They are not just average people Ö they are people who, long before blogs came along Ö had the ability to surface information and present it to others in a persuasive and compelling way. They are opinion leaders, and weblogs have only served to exponentially increase their reach and their power. Thereís a second lesson here: and itís that weblogs, are also read by other mavens. And so thereís an accelerant effect for information flowing through the network. When something comes up in the blogosphere itís talked about by a few thousand people who drive opinion for large networks of people around them Ö which is why the mainstream media ultimately has had to recognize issues raised by bloggers Ö theyíre things people are talking about. And thereís a third lesson: Itís that while the network kills brokers, it LOVES editors. Mavens are editors Ö the people around them trust them to cull the information thatís out there and surface whatís worth attending to. I donít bother to try every new restaurant in town Ö I rely on my local food maven to try them for me. I think that in the newsroom of the future the role of the editor will change Ö from someone who works primarily as a gatekeeper of the facts with an interest in quality, to someone who ďservesĒ the reader as a consumer based on an understanding of what readers will consider relevant
Read the rest.


[click for bigger image]

NYT Channels DU

The New York Times endorses John Kerry for President. Wait, that's not right. The New York Times does not endorse George Bush for President. 23 paragraphs in the NYT endorsement. Only three of those paragraphs detail why the NYT supports Kerry. The rest is an anti-Bush manifesto worthy of Democratic Underground. Even our nation's vaunted media can't come up with enough cogent reasons to vote for Kerry other than he's not George Bush. I predict that if Kerry does win, there will be a very short honeymoon period in which his presidency is celebrated. Eventually the reality will set in for the millions that voted on the "he's not Bush" agenda. Kerry will end up with the lowest approval rating of any president in recent history. The morale of our nation will go into its own little recession. Just my little prediction for the day.

October 16, 2004

Flaming Voodoo Time!

I almost forgot! And then I'd have to blame myself if the Yanks lost. DJ assured me this morning that the outcome of his Little League game today would tell the fortune of the Yanks tonight. His team won. 17-14. Good lord, I hope that's not what we have in store for us. Update: I don't ever again - as long as I live - want to see Johnny Damon clipping his toenails. That was just wrong.

APME: TCP in the house!

My Command Post partner and co-founder, Alan, just gave a speech at the Associated Press Managing Editors conference. He'll be reposting the speech over at TCP (and I'll post it here soon), but I've read it and I can tell you that it was brilliant, as is everything Alan does. So not only does he give a speech which tweaks nearly his entire captive audience, but he got to share the stage with Drew Curtis, founder of Fark and something of a celebrity in my book (a day without Fark is like a day without [insert your vice here]). Another speaker called Drew a brilliant parasite. Drew, describing the nuances of the "Hero" and "Dumbass" FARK tags to the managing editors of the nation's largest newspapers ... Alan has some photos from the conference up over at TCP. Check them out and come back later if you want to read his speech. Trust me, it's good.


Going to my happy place now. [click for intrusive size] Much better. If you've got a "happy place" picture to share, I'd love to see it. Maybe I should take up a collection of them in advance of November 2nd.

When "Support the Troops" Means "Root for a Mutiny"

*update in extended entry* I'm sure you've all read this story by now:
The Army is investigating up to 19 members of a supply platoon in Iraq who refused to go on a convoy mission, the military said yesterday. Relatives of the soldiers said the troops considered the mission too dangerous, in part because their vehicles were in poor shape. [...] On Wednesday, 19 members of the platoon did not show up for a scheduled 7 a.m. meeting in Tallil, in southeastern Iraq, to prepare for the fuel convoy's departure a few hours later, the military statement said. ''An initial report indicated that some of the 19 soldiers [not all] refused to participate in the convoy as directed," the military statement says. The Clarion-Ledger, citing interviews with relatives of some of the soldiers, said platoon members refused to go on Wednesday's mission because their vehicles were in poor condition and they had no capable armed escort. They were going to Taji, which is north of Baghdad. The mission was ultimately carried out by other soldiers from the 343d, which has at least 120 soldiers, the military said.
My commentary here is not on the specifics of the story - I cannot put myself in the place of either a soldier who fears for his life or a commander that fears for the lives of his soldiers. I don't feel as if I know enough of what really went on there to comment on the "mutiny" aspect of the situation and I don't have the military background required to know the legal aspects of the situation. What alarms me is the cheerleading approach to this story taken by some on the left. Over at DU, they're calling the soldiers who refused the command heroes and hoping that more soldiers take similar actions. And suddenly they are making a big deal about "supporting the troops." I suppose a mass mutiny - which would spell certain disaster for the people of Iraq - would be a huge victory for the anti-Bush crowd. Here's some choice comments: bq. [thumbs up] soldiers, for knowing that your lives are not worth sacrificing for oil. This idea is championed throughout the comments on several other message boards I've been checking. Can you say projecting? How could they possibly know that these soldiers were thinking of the war being about oil when they decided to not follow their orders? It looks like they were thinking "our trucks are in crappy shape and we're gonna die," but that doesn't work as well as the fantasy that seventeen soldiers were chanting No blood for oil! as they broke rank.
Mutiny on the Bounty!! It is far past time. Let all our brave soldiers refuse illegal orders. It is far past time.
Do these people put any thought into what they say? Do they think of the implications beyond what their selfish needs are? Apparently not. Imagine the scenario if all soldiers in Iraq suddenly refused orders. How do you think the "insurgents" would react? With bombs, gunfire, glee and victory, that's how. And then you'd have thousands of dead U.S. soldiers and who knows how many dead Iraqis. Ah, but I don't expect these people to think about the consequences of their words or to even think about the lives of the Iraqi people. The only time they bring them up is when they're touting their inflated body counts and blaming the deaths on "gung-ho" soldiers who love to kill, kill, kill. Does anyone see the hypocrisy here besides me?
I'm also SO proud of them for valuing their own lives more than Halliburton, and more than the military values them, and THINKING FOR THEMSELVES!! Woohoo! Freedom really IS on the march, just not where George Bush says it is.
Again with the Halliburton. Yes, I'm sure that's what they were thinking about. Freedom on the march? What flavor Kool-Aid are you people drinking?
These 17 are troops that I am PROUD to support - and it's about damn time...
One fragmented sentence is worth a million fuck yous. For every soldier who has bravely fought against Saddam's henchmen, the "insurgents" and terrorists of all stripes who want nothing more than to stop the spread of democracy, fuck you for that statement. Now you support the troops? Good god. The left of this nation have really sunk to a new low. Ohmigod! Now even our military hates America! Idiotic statement of the year. Seventeen troops refuse to perform duty because their equipment is not up to par and suddenly the military hates their own country. Get your head out of Michael Moore's ass and start breathing a bit of oxygen again. Maybe then your thinking will clear up. Oh, by the way:
In a survey of U.S. troops and their families, President Bush is the strong favorite over John Kerry, with 69 percent saying they place greater trust in Bush to handle the responsibilities of commander-in-chief.
More from the Kool Aid drinkers:
Next group will be smarter, don't go to jail for 5 years, just take out the lieutenant
That's after a few comments about the fragging they believe is about to start.
They will be known as the Platoon that saved America and the World!!!
And, of course, when a story quotes one of the seventeen soldiers saying that he like being in Iraq and it felt like home to him, one of the DU idiots says:
Being at Home in the single wide-- drinking a 12er of Pabst tonite Sounds like Lynndies House--- You know stripping a few "Rag Heads" and then Pissing on them.
How quickly they revert back to the non-supporting of the troops and the belief that all soldiers are poor, stupid killing machines. That's followed by:
. I want to know what color the 17 members were on this suicide job Anyone taking wagers on how many white guys are in the group?
I'm going to email Michael Moore
You do that. Email the guy who thinks the "insurgents" are heroes. I really hope that some day you all look back on this and feel like the fools that you are for pinning your hopes on a lying publicity whore whose only real cause it to reap the monetary rewards that his sycophant followers lay at his feet. And I really don't want to hear how DU doesn't represent the left. Maybe a year ago, I would have given you some slack on that statement. Not anymore. There is no far left anymore. They've all gone anti-Bush apeshit. And don't forget that the "moderate" Oliver Willis posts over at DU. The border between the sane and the consumed by hatred left is so blurred it's unrecognizable. All the quotes above are just case in point on how they are so narrowly focused on getting Bush out of the White House that they cheer on things that could be disastrous for our troops, our freedom and the lives of Iraqis. I read things like this DU thread and I continue to be amazed at the selfishness and win at all expense attitude of these people. To actively cheer on a mass mutiny, to get excited over the prospect of a total breakdown of our military in the midst of a war - I can't find the words to convey what that makes me feel. Seventeen Days. I keep saying I can't wait for this election to be over. And then I think about the pent up rage of the left and I wonder - and fear- what the level of animosity will look like eighteen days from now. I get emails from people wondering if I'm talking about them when I write stuff like this. Here's a little test: Are you a Democrat (or Republican or Independent, etc.) who is voting for Kerry because you believe in him and truly believe that his policies will make this country a better place? Then I'm not talking about you.

October 15, 2004

Halloween Radio

Over to the left, some selections for the season. I highly recommend the the Fantomas selection. I'll be adding more later.


Be on the lookout for uh....a guy. A guy who speaks very bad English. He may be screaming something about evil Americans. Last seen heading to Clark County, Ohio. Puce, if you are reading this, please call Jim. He sounds worried. Or relieved. Not sure which.

Halloween Mix, Volume 4

It's that time again. For the fourth year in a row, I'm taking suggestions for a Halloween CD mix. Difficulty: I'll be playing this one at the kids' Halloween party. This means I have to go easy on the Misfits and Slayer. The last thing I need is some kid going home singing about fucking the dead. They'll revoke my PTA membership for that, I think. Then again, you never know what your ordinary PTA president does behind closed doors. I hear necrophilia is pretty big in the burbs. So, let's make this a real rock and roll Halloween mix. We'll teach my kids' friends that Halloween music does not necessarily mean Monster Mash on repeat.

Doing My Part to Keep "Banana" Out of Republic

[Just a couple more things on my mind before I get down to the business of talking smack on the Red Sox] By now, everyone has read and/or linked to Stephen Green's post on why he's voting straight Republican. I'm with Stephen. A couple of weeks ago - right after the first debate, in fact - I said I wouldn't set myself on fire if Kerry won. A lot can change in a short time. Just yesterday my son asked what I would do if Bush lost the election and I replied "set myself on fire." Then I had to explain to him what "metaphorically speaking" means. I actually wrote one of my usual novel-length commentaries on this subject. Seven paragraphs of anger tinged with resignation, sauteed in sadness, basted in rage.....something like that. I put those paragraphs away in a folder somewhere because Stephen said it so perfectly. bq. I'm going to vote Republican straight down the line. If I have to punish a couple of local Democrats I'm fond of, then so be it, but I have to try to get a point across: The national Democratic Party is bad for this country. Read the rest if you haven't.

Things that make you go "WRONG ANSWER, MOONBAT!"

US airstrikes hit insurgent stronghold U.S Planes Pound Fallujah Zarqawi safe house destroyed in strikes U.S. Pounds Insurgent Stronghold US Marines push ahead with air, ground assaults against Fallujah. What was that you were saying? Atrios? Kevin? Matthew? Mr. Blog for Kerry?

(forward)(forward)(forward)The Perfect Speech

I don't normally pass on those lenghty, lesson-filled emails I receive on a daily bassis, most of them from my mother or some other naive relative. Usually just delete those things that come with fourteen sets of forwarded addresses, with the admonition to pass it along to Everyone You Know! at the risk of losing life, limb or liberty. But when your boss sends you one of these things and tells you to read it, you read it. And now, I'm passing it on to Everyone I Know! not because I fear the wrath of the spirit of broken chain letters, but just because I really enjoyed it. I have no idea who wrote it. If anyone knows where it came from orginally, please let me know so I can give proper attribution.
The Speech I'd Like to Hear George Bush Give My Fellow Americans: As you all know, the defeat of Iraq regime has been completed. Since congress does not want to spend any more money on this war, our mission in Iraq is complete. This morning I gave the order for a complete removal of all American forces from Iraq. This action will be complete within 30 days. It is now time to begin the reckoning. Before me, I have two lists. One list contains the names of countries which have stood by our side during the Iraq conflict. This list is short. The United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia, and Poland are some of the countries listed there. The other list contains everyone not on the first list. Most of the worlds nations are on that list. My press secretary will be distributing copies of both lists later this evening. Let me start by saying that effective immediately, foreign aid to those nations on List 2 ceases immediately and indefinitely. The money saved during the first year alone will pretty much pay for the costs of the Iraqi war. The American people are no longer going to pour money into third world Hell-holes and watch those government leaders grow fat on corruption. Need help with a famine? Wrestling with an epidemic? Call France. In the future, together with Congress, I will work to redirect this money toward solving the vexing social problems we still have at home. On that note, a word to terrorist organizations. Screw with us and we will hunt you down and eliminate you and all your friends from the face of the earth. Thirsting for a gutsy country to terrorize? Try France, or maybe China. I am ordering the immediate severing of diplomatic relations with France, Germany, and Russia. Thanks for all your help, comrades. We are retiring from NATO as well. Bon chance, mes amis. I have instructed the Mayor of New York City to begin towing the many UN diplomatic vehicles located in Manhattan with more than two unpaid parking tickets to sites where those vehicles will be stripped, shredded and crushed. I don't care about whatever treaty pertains to this. You creeps have tens of thousands of unpaid tickets. Pay those tickets tomorrow or watch your precious Benzes, Beamers, and limos be turned over to some of the finest chop shops in the world. I love New York. A special note to our neighbors. Canada is on List 2. Since we are likely to be seeing a lot more of each other, you folks might want to try not pissing us off for a change. Mexico is also on List 2. President Fox and his entire corrupt government really need an attitude adjustment. I will have a couple extra tank and infantry divisions sitting around. Guess where I am going to put em? Yep, border security. So start doing something with your oil. Oh, by the way, the United States is abrogating the NAFTA treaty --- starting now. We are tired of the one-way highway. It is time for America to focus on its own welfare and its own citizens. Some will accuse us of isolationism. I answer them be saying, "darn tootin." Nearly a century of trying to help folks live a decent life around the world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet. It is time to eliminate hunger in America. It is time to eliminate homelessness in America. It is time to eliminate World Cup Soccer from America. To the nations on List 1, a final thought. Thanks guys. We owe you and we won't forget. To the nations on List 2, a final thought.. Drop dead. God bless America. Thank you and good night. If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English, thank a soldier.
And now, a pre-emptive strike: the first person to not take this for what it is - a piece of tongue in cheek humor (bordering on wishful thinking in some parts) will get smacked upside the head and probably banned from commenting here until after the election is over.

This is Halloween (6): Rerun

I'm running a bit late today, so here's a Halloween post from last year that I still believe in today. box.gifNow that I think about it, I realize that the U.N. has been using a form of child slave labor all these years. I suppose one day at a meeting between the U.N. Council of For The Children(tm) and the UNICEF people, someone raised their hand and said, Hell, the kids are out there begging door to door on Halloween anyhow, why don't we use that to our benefit? And thus, the exploitation of young children at the hands of the U.N. began in earnest. I didn't even know what the money I was collecting was actually for when I was young and naive enough to just do what they told me. We were told in some vague terms that there were children in other countries who needed medicine and I immediately thought, I'm going door to door in this stupid, plastic, suffocating costume to collect money for medicine? Here I was willing enough to suffer through this off-the-shelf bargain store monstrosity of a costume so I could get some candy and now they tell me I'll be asking for money for medicine for some kid I don't even know. I wasn't the only one who was outraged at this idea, so they had to explain to us that we still could trick-or-treat for candy, but we should hold up the UNICEF box as well. And smile. Maybe bat your eyelashes. Those children need medicine! I thought perhaps those children would really prefer a nice Three Musketeers Bar to a dose of foul-tasting pink medicine and I said so out loud. I was rewarded with a lecture on how those children don't even know what chocolate is. So we took our UNICEF boxes and put them in our Halloween bags and went trick-or-treating. But we were clever. Oh, so clever. We just knew that somehow it was wrong of the U.N. to ask us to go fundraising for them on what is supposed to be the most glorious day of the year besides Christmas, so we didn't bother to hold out our orange boxes and smile at the neighbors for spare change. We just waited until we were done trick-or-treating, then we sat on a corner and went through our bags digging out the pennies and nickels that the old ladies on the block had given us. We dumped them in our UNICEF boxes and we were done. And we felt good about ourselves. As we sat on that corner pretend-smoking our candy cigarettes and gulping down Milk Duds, we were very self-satisified. Until we found out that the school kids in the neighboring town didn't trick-or-treat for candy at all. They went around town with only their UNICEF boxes in hand, and they all dressed like doctors and nurses. We felt pretty smug after that. Losers! They didn't get any candy! Yes, we missed the point of the entire thing. I get the point now, though. I am older and wiser than I was back then. Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn't have given them the loose change from my trick-or-treat bag. Who knows? Maybe some of that money was diverted and it went into a fund that eventually paid for Scott Ritter's salary. Look what I've done! I think if the schools are going to participate in forced child servitude, they should at least be allowed to raise money things that are needed in their particular schools. Of course, we couldn't let the administration make those choices or we'd have the kids walking around with boxes that say, Give your pennies for the new large-screen tv in the administrator's office! Let the kids just have their holiday. Put the orange boxes away. Don't make those on a fixed income be forced to choose between buying candy for the children or just keeping a bowl of loose change by the door. Don't be a slave for the U.N. Giving into the legend of the orange box today may mean another Scott Ritter tomorrow. Happy Halloween. [Note: If I really wanted to freshen this post up, I would make some kind of reference to the food for oil scam. I have to stop sleeping that extra half hour] Laurence loves the UNICEF, too!

October 14, 2004

This is a Call

Journalism is history written on the run. This Election Day, help us record the race!! Click image for details. [I would also appreciate if my fellow bloggers and TCP readers could help Alan and I out by mentioning this on your blogs. We'd like to recruit as many people as possible and your assistance would go a long way. I don't ask for much. Well, do I?]

Googlian Overlords

I, for one, welcome our new Google overlords. googlian.jpgI will not be one of the millions downloading the new Google desktop search program. One day, maybe not too far off into the future, it will come to be known that the masters behind Google are actually aliens who have been using the search engine and all of its shadowy programs to learn about the Earth and its inhabitants. And then we're screwed. Gmail was about as far as I'll go. Even now, I get creeped out by the ads that match the content of my email. I'm waiting for a message from the Google CEO to land in my inbox: "I know what you did last September!" And then I'll have to confess. Mark my words. First they come for your search requests. Then they come for your email. Then they come for the innards of your computer. How long before they come for you? Laugh it up, fuzzball. Some day you'll acknowledge I was right. But then, it will be too late. The Google overlords will be forcing us into slave labor building pyramids and digging moats for Alien Supreme Eric Schmidt. I wonder if he owns a copy of To Serve Man?

Charity Bet Update

In response to this story, I've decided to name the Special Olympics as my chosen in the Red Sox/Yankee bet. I'm also going to repeat the charity bet post right here so it doesn't get lost down the page.
I've decided to take Jason Clarke of MooreLies.com up on his Yankee/Red Sox bet offer. Here's how it works: Loser donates either 40, 50, 60 or 70 dollars to a charity, depending on how long the series goes (seven games, $70, etc.). Jason has chosen as his designated charity Garden of Angels, this month's Strengthen the Good charity. I haven't decided on mine yet. If you have a favorite, let me know and I'll look into it. Either way, no matter which team loses, someone worthy ends up winning.
Please note that other people have joined in on the bet, pledging money to either mine or Jason's charity, depending on who they are rooting for. If you'd like to join us, please leave a comment saying so. Thanks to everyone who has jumped on board.

The Bizarro Left, Redux

After reading this report by Bill Hobbs, I am satisfied that the poster I wrote about yesterday did indeed come from Craig Fitzhugh's office. Which is a shame. I was really hoping it was a hoax. As it stands, my faith in humanity just took a nose dive. Below is my post from yesterday - the one I put on hold because I wasn't sure of the veracity of the claims. Please note that the refenced Jeff Danziger cartoon has since been taken down. See Michelle Malkin for details on that. I did save the cartoon, it's in a link in the post below. I reprint this post because, well, I want to. My bewilderment at the behavior of the left grows every day. Via Michelle Malkin comes this poster, put out by Tennessee Democrats in a race for a state House seat in District 82. The flyer is being distributed by Democrat Craig Fitzhugh. Click for larger image. Nevermind that the poster calls Bush voters retarded. I've been called worse. I'm sure you have. And I'm sure that's what they had in mind when they made the poster; to make people who vote for Bush feel mentally deficient. I think they forgot that they're supposed to be the party of inclusion; the party that embraces diffrerences in everyone, the party that wants the whole world to treat each other respectfully and join hands and just get along. So why did they put out a poster that ridicules Special Olympics particpants? Because that is exactly what this poster does. It takes a wonderful event and turns into a cheap, juvenile joke. Oh, I know the cliche has been around the internet a long time, used in various forms on various sites. It's not like the Democrats who used the poster made the saying up. But they used it, in a campaign ad. No, in an anti-campaign ad. This is where black hatred leads, folks. It leads you to say and do things without thinking. Case in point: Jeff Danziger, liberal cartoon editorialist. Click for bigger. How's that for blatant racism. Now, isn't the left supposed to be anti-racist? Or is it ok to make racist comments - or deride the retarded - as long as it is helping your side make a statement? Oh, wait. It's ok! See, some of Jeff's best friends are, well, you know. Oh sure, Republicans say ugly things. Republicans say mean things. I know all your comment talking points already. But I though the whole of the left prided themselves on being politically correct, on being kind to everyone and never uttering a racist word much less even using the word retarded. I mean, ten years ago when I was entrenched in the world of the left, I would never dream that one day a man like "Screw Them" Kos would be hailed as a leader. What a long, strange trip it's been from the days when all they wanted was peace and love to the days of hurling racism and hurling rocks. No wonder there are no good protest songs coming out of that camp. How many windows must a liberal smash? just does not have the same ring as How how many years can some people exist before they're allowed to be free? How could the people who embrace such things as multi-culti crayons also embrace this? I was about to say that we only have twenty days left of this, then I smacked myself upside the head and called myself retarded. This isn't going to end. If Bush wins, it will get worse. In the days after a Kerry win - after a brief Nelson Muntz cry of HA-HA! - will a hush fall over the nation when millions of anti-Bush stalwarts realize they put in power a man they don't really like? See, either way, the bizarre bouts of hatred and pettiness and mirror-image behavior will remain. Unless, of course, they find a cure for hatred! I mean, while they're making campaign promises to cure juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and to heal the sick and raise and raise the dead and whatever else Edwards is promising with his Benny Hin impersonation, they might just cure what ails the left.

The Dream Goes on Forever: Game 2, Debate 3, Falafels and Slayer

It was hard trying to watch both the debate and the game while at the same time trying to maintain a presence in the Command Post chat room while looking for a lost Language Arts notebook while keeping the cycle of laundry to dryer to basket going strong while listening to a litany of Halloween costume ideas my daughter didn't choose. It took ten minutes for her to get to the one she decided on. She's going to be a banana. Her best friend is going to be a phone. Together they make.....banana phone! If you have to ask, you'll never understand.

Sort of like Pedro Martinez. He lost to the Yankees last night. His team is down two games to none. Here's what he had to say, mostly in reference to the Who's Your Daddy chants:

"It actually made me feel really, really good," said Martinez, in another bizarre late-night press session. "I actually kind of like it. I don't like to brag about myself, but they did make me feel important. I got their attention."

Nice to know at least one Red Sox came out of that loss feeling good.

As Jason says: Red Sox Nation, your Game 6 starter. I'd just like to take this moment to point out that Britain made the Falklands feel important, too.

Well, at least with the Yankee game we had a clear winner. As for last night's debate, the winners were the people who fell asleep ten minutes in, drool dripping down chin, can of beer balancing precariously on stomach. That's how I imagine Mr. Undecided Voter. Comes home late from work, tired, disheveled and cursing his commute. Strips off his tie and jacket, and near everything else. Gets right down to his boxers and Hanes t-shirt. Keeps the black socks on, though. Reads the note from his wife that she's gone out. Find his dinner in the microwave, heats it up and heads for the couch. Not before grabbing a cold one from the fridge. He's determined that by the end of this debate, he'll have made up his mind. He will pay attention. He will open the laptop so he can check the scorecards of the pundits, which help to clarify things that may be over his head. He's going to study the candidates for body language and facial tics, for hidden receivers and crib notes.

Just two minutes in a tiny bead of drool forms in the corner of his mouth, which has been hanging open, slack jawed since Kerry and Bush first shook hands. He wipes the drool, takes a swig of beer and takes a quick run through the Internet to keep from falling asleep. He hits CNN, Drudge, FOX and MSNBC, all the while keeping one eye on the tv, sure that at any moment one candidate will say something so brilliant, so stupendous, so amazing that Mr. Undecided Voter will, in the blink of an eye, become Mr. Decided. He goes back to paying full attention. Something about flu vaccines. He takes a bite of the overcooked chicken his wife left him. He silently bitches about her cooking and wonders where the hell she goes every night. He wonders if you could die from the flu. His eyes glaze over.

He switches briefly to the Yankee game but feels guilty because he's supposed to be doing the right American thing by watching the debate so he can make an informed choice. He takes a minute or so to nod approvingly at Lieber and switches back to the debate.

He falls asleep. Immediately begins dreaming. [Ed note: Let me insert here that this is the actual dream I had last night, which played out like a home movie of this strange, boxers clad man] He's in Yankee Stadium, holding a huge platter overflowing with hot dogs, sausages and pizza. Someone offers him a bowl of New England clam chowder but he declines. He's in the mood for barbecue. Texas barbecue. He finishes what's on his platter and asks the vendor to bring him barbecued steak. The vendor, who look suspiciously like Terry McAullife, winks at him. He turns his attention to the game. George Bush is throwing out the first ball. He beans Bob Schieffer, who was standing at home plate, in the head. Schieffer goes down and John Kerry comes running over with a Band-Aid. Mr. Undecided Voter lets out a belch that shakes the stadium. Everyone applauds and the strains of a Slayer song, Bitter Peace, come through the Yankee Stadium speakers. Bob Sheppard sings along on the PA system. Initiate blood purge, coalition in massacre! The whole of the Stadium is banging its collective head, like 55,000 bobbleheads bobbing in unison. Mr. Voter does the Beavis and Butthead head bang thing, all flying hair and pumping metal sign. He has a ring of barbecue sauce around his mouth, making him look like a heavy metal clown, maybe one of those guys from Slipknot, if he were chowing down.

The scoreboard camera is panning the crowd and faces appear on the screen, larger than life. Mr. Voter stares at the screen, his eyes wide, his gaze transfixed just like when he's home watching porn. He chomps on his chicken leg and sauce goes flying everywhere, along with bits of chicken skin and spittle. The people sitting next to him don't seem to notice. They, too, are fixated on the giant screen, which is now showing Bill O'Reilly, who is seated in the bleachers, in the top row. He's grinning, but his grin is too wide, his teeth too clenched for it to be real. Mr. Voter notices that Bill O'Reilly has lettuce caught between his two front teeth. The camera pans back to reveal a woman sitting on Bill's lap. Mr. Voter recognizes this woman as his wife. The wife notices Mr. Voter staring at them, his mouth hanging open to reveal little chewed up pieces of steak and green beans speckled with A-1 steak sauce. A piece of steak falls out of his mouth. His wife mouths the words "I love you" on the screen and Mr. Voter realizes she's talking to O'Reilly, who is now standing on the pitcher's mound, trying to wrest Lieber's hat off of him. Lieber falls to the ground and blood gushes out of a head wound. Kerry again rushes over with a Band-Aid. The crowd goes insane when see the blood and as Bob Sheppard once again invokes Slayer (Can't stop the warring factions!) 55,000 New York Yankee fans pelt Bill O'Reilly with loofah sponges. As Mr. Undecided Voter pounds his chest and does a Tarzan yell and flies hover about his head, eyeing the ketchup that has lodged in his hair, the dream abruptly ends.

Mr. Voter is still on his couch, his beer still balanced, his chicken lukewarm. Bush is talking about Tommy Lee! Oh, no. Tom Lee. The Yankees are winning. John Kerry wants to be respected in the world. And Bill O'Reilly wants to sex you up with a falafel.

October 13, 2004

The Bet is On

I've decided to take Jason Clarke of MooreLies.com up on his Yankee/Red Sox bet offer. Here's how it works: Loser donates either 40, 50, 60 or 70 dollars to a charity, depending on how long the series goes (seven games, $70, etc.). Jason has chosen as his designated charity Garden of Angels, this month's Strengthen the Good charity. I haven't decided on mine yet. If you have a favorite, let me know and I'll look into it. Either way, no matter which team loses, someone worthy ends up winning. Bring it on. UPDATE: Ed from Late Final asks to be counted in for a ten spot if the Yankees (hahaha) lose. If anyone else - Red Sox fans, Yankee fans or otherwise - want to tag along on this bet, that would be great. The more money made for a charity the better.


I'm on the go again. Running out to Little League now, then heading to the high school to grab a sneak at Nat doing her model congress thing. I'll be back in time to open up the Command Post chat room for the debate tonight, as well as get my Red Sox voodoo magic going. Meanwhile, head on over to Ace's place to take his Pop Culture Quiz. I can see right off the bat that I know a lot of the answers, I just don't have time to take it now and besides, I don't want to embarrass anyone (namely me) with my superior 80's geekiness.

this is halloween(6): Costume Party

It's another busy day 'round these parts, so for now I'll just regale you with our Halloween costume shopping story from three years ago (first posted at the defunct Raising Hell).

The following is a true story that took place in Party City in October of 2001, during a last minute (think 10/30 at 7pm) costume shopping trip.

Me: Oh look, Natalie, Teletubbie costumes!
Natalie (who is almost 13): Mom!
Me: What about Bob the Builder?
Natalie: Mooooom!
Me: Fairy princess?
Natalie: I don't know you.

We look around a bit more and Natalie decides on wearing a black t-shirt that has a candy corn on it and says "sweet," black and orange striped stockings and a black skirt that used to be mine. I used to be thin. Sigh. She picks up orange hair spray and her outfit is complete.

Me: Now, what about you, DJ?
DJ: I don't know.
Me: Baseball player?
DJ: I've been a baseball player the last three years.
Me: Ninja?
DJ: No.
Me: Yu-Gi-Oh?
DJ: No.
Silence. Long pause while we look around.
DJ: Can I be Christina Aguilera?
Me: Umm....no.
DJ: You were going to let me be Britney Spears like two years ago.
Me: Thankfully you changed your mind.
DJ: Why can't I be Christina?
Me: Because she's a slut.
DJ: What's a slut?
Me: (stammer...stammer)
Natalie: A slut is a dirty girl who sells herself for money.
DJ: Like those girls we saw in the city last year?
Natalie: Yup.
Long silence. More looking.
DJ: Ok. I know what I want to be.
Me: What?
DJ: A hooker!!
Me: A baseball player.
Natalie: A baseball player in a dress?
DJ: Oh! Mike Piazza!

Sigh. Again.


More on Halloween costumes later. I'm a bit on the busy side today. But feel free to recount your own tales of costume hell. Plastic masks, anyone?

Flaming Voodoo Time: Game 2

Last night's voodoo worked, but we had to sweat it out. I thought I'd up the ante today and really strike at the heart of the Sox, so to speak. voodoog2.jpg We are also planning on following the ritual I performed on back on September 18, when the Yankees pounded the sox 14-4. bq. I scoured the neighborhood for fallen branches. When I gathered one for every member of the Red Sox, I laid them out in my backyard and recited an old incantation I learned from the cousin of a friend of a friend in fifth grade, who swore she knew how to maim people using just her thoughts. I then - following specific directions obtained from the How to Keep the Red Sox Curse Alive handbook - painted the sticks red, coated them with lighter fluid and set them on fire. This set off a chain reaction of events that eventually destroyed our shed, my neighbor's swingset and killed seventeen squirrels, but, hey, it was worth it. Mmmm....squirrel kabobs, medium well. It worked so nice, gotta try it twice. I have nothing against killing squirrels in the spirit of the baseball playoffs. Besides, they would have ended up as road pizza at some point, anyhow. Which isn't half as tasty as squirrel kabobs. My neighbors, on the other hand...well, they're Met fans, so who cares? I've decided that it won't hurt to also hold the Ramirez doll aloft, poking it with heated pins while singing the Zombie's Time of the Season: What's your name, who's your daddy.... [Alternately, there's another plan that calls for a bottle of Jack Daniels to be swallowed in one swift gulp after the game in the event of a Yankee loss. This way, you can claim that a nasty hangover precludes you from talking about the game]

retraction [updated]

In my haste to post something before I left for work this morning, I neglected to do any research on the poster I attributed to Tennesse Democrat Craig Fitzhugh. The only source I have so far that reports the poster was distributed by Fitzhuhg is the Traditional Values Coalition, a homophobic, radical, far right wing group who I normally - had I been paying closer attention - would never have linked to. (This is the same group who thought that Shrek 2 should be boycotted because it "wrecks family values" and promotes the transgender lifestyle). I have since edited out the entire post until I am able to get confirmation that a) the poster does indeed exist and b) it was put out by Fitzhugh or Tennessee Democrats. I apologize for my sloppy blogging. Update: I'm on the go until later this evening, so I don't have time to make a whole post about this. But Michelle Malkin and Rob at Say Anything have been following up the story and so far, it looks like the accusations are true. Hopefully, I'll have more later.

The Bizarro Left

NOTE: This post has been heavily deleted until I can confirm certain statements. Please see here for explanation [But you should still read this, which was linked in the original post but has nothing to do with the matter at hand.]

COTD Game Report

1) That will be the last time that Curt Schilling tells 55,000 New Yorkers to shut up. 2) There aren't enough Tums in the world for every game of the series to play out like that. 3) Sure, it was a win. But when you win a game 10-7 after having an 8-0 lead backed by six perfectly pitched innings? That's what I call the Corona effect. It's mostly refreshing when you first drink it, but it leaves a weird aftertaste in your mouth that makes you think that someone might have pissed in your beer. 4) Johnny Damon resembles a hairy ass crack. And man, was it nice to see that hairy ass crack whiffing it up big time last night. 5) Player of the Game: Obviously, Mussina. Though it was good to see Rivera get that save. 5) I had a nightmare last night that Dave Righetti was warming up in the bullpen. Bring on that little bitch Martinez. I hope he's ready for the daddy jokes.

October 12, 2004

Coalition of the Dark Side: Membership Sing-a-Long

Something for the members of the Coalition of the Dark Side

Yankees Theme Song (wav file)

Lyrics below. Now start singing.

Here come the YANKEES
Let's get behind and cheer the YANKEES
They're gonna learn to fear the YANKEES
Everyone knows they play to win, cause

They're the New York YANKEES
Show them today why your the YANKEES
No other way when your the YANKEES
Wadda ya say we win a brand, new, ballgame

We're gonna shout when ya powder the ball
We're gonna scream, "put it over the wall"
The other teams gonna know what it means to play the
We love the Yankees
Shout it out loud , We Love The YANKEES
We're really proud of our YANKEES
And we're gonna win today
2, 3, 4, Hit, Run, Fight, Score, Go! Go! Go!

We're gonna shout when ya powder the ball
We're gonna scream "put it over the wall yo"
The other teams gonna know what it means to play the
We love the Yankees
Shout it out loud, We Love The YANKEES
We're really proud of our YANKEES
And we're gonna win today

Y.A.N.K.E.E.S. Yes
Y.A.N.K.E.E.S. Yes

Game On: Flaming Voodoo Time

You go right ahead and believe what Father Tim has to tell you. You go right ahead and think that Yoda can somehow break your wretched curse. I probably will not be posting again until after game time. It's Tuesday, which means three hours and ten dollars worth of gas are depleted as I drive my kids back and forth to their respective religion classes. I'm instructing them to ask the classes to engage in a group prayer for the Yankees tonight. I've also instructed Natalie to steal some holy water so I can sprinkle it on my father's Red Sox cap. What, is that wrong? Anyhow, have something stronger than Yoda and stronger than Sister Maria's prayer circle (I heard God is an Angels fan, anyhow). I have my voodoo. And my voodoo has not failed me yet. How do you think we beat you last year? Here's the special little guy that helped bring joy to Yankeeville last October 16th: You may think it's looks benign and cuddly, but underneath that stuffed doll veneer lies an evil so deep, so expansive and so powerful that it would make Satan himself crumble - if Satan were not owner of the Yankees, that is. Flaming Voodoo Time. Fear it. Now, do any of you Soxaholics want to wager on this series? The wagering has to be creative - no money involved. And none of that other stuff, either, you pig. P.S. Ken Summers has been named Public Enemy Number One by this blog.

I got a funny story about that. Well it's not so much funny as it is long

[I'll get back to baseball in a bit. I've been sidetracked by a conversation with a friend, which led me to channel Grandpa Simpson]

I kind of feel sorry for kids these days. Thanks to several things - the self-esteem movement of the early 90's; the paralyzing touchy-feely don't-let-your-kids-deal-with-reality method of dealing with life that is rampant in our public schools and the endless parade of rules and regulations designed to protect but only stifle - our children are living the life of Bubble Boy.

abe1.jpgBack in my day, we didn't worry about self-esteem or agonize over feelings. We didn't care about elbow pads and cooperative games where everyone was a winner.

We played musical chairs at birthday parties and laughed and pointed at the kids left standing. We played dodgeball without sissy rules and our gym teachers coached us to hit the other players where it hurt the most. We used the stones from hopscotch games to beat the winner senseless. Ok, no. But sometimes we would draw on her stupid pink, frilly shirt with yellow chalk. It made her sneeze. And she would tell on us and our mothers would say "Oh, stop complaining, Lori. It's just freaking chalk." Can you imagine this happening today? I'd be sued by Lori's mother for the emotional damage I caused her child and my Saturday mornings would be spent in an overstuffed chair in some dark of office of the state-appointed psychiatrist who would ask me how I feel about being so evil.

Not back in my day. There were two boys in my neighborhood who used to throw bricks at me on my way home from school. Bricks. When the principal found out that the same boys were throwing rocks at me on the playground, he took action. The boys got the shit beat out of them by their fathers and no one - not one person - blamed me for being bullied or looked for root causes as to why those children behaved like monsters. They just got detention and sore asses.

I laugh and laugh at extreme sports shows today. Extreme? How can anything be extreme if you're wearing fifteen layers of protective gear while you're doing it? You want extreme? Try powering a rickety, unstable bicycle going about 50 miles per hour - with your sister riding on the handelbars - down the steepest man made slope on Long Island, a slope which ended at a wall of pure concrete into which you would smash and die if you didn't apply the brakes with just the right amount of pressure at the right time. No helmets. No knee pads or elbow pads. We didn't even carry Band-Aids with us. That's extreme.

We played soccer without headgear. The boys played baseball without cups. We rode in the backs of station wagons, not wearing set belts and hanging out the window to wave to strangers. We walked to the candy store by ourselves. We rode our bikes after dark. We called each other horrible names and sometimes we had fistfights right on my front lawn and my mother would tell us to shut up because the noise was drowning out Dark Shadows. And when we got up from the fistfight all bloodied and scraped, mom would tell us to stop our crying, slap some Bactine on us and shoo us outside again.

Oh yea, you saw this coming. In my day we walked to school. Our district was on an austerity budget for years. Walked in the rain, the snow, the sleet and hail. Our parents never drove us because our fathers were at work and our mothers were busy preparing for the fondue themed dinner party they were throwing that evening. So we walked to school and when we got there we learned about history without the P.C. agenda that you get today. And we read books in English that would make P.C. people shriek in horror. We sang Christmas and Hannakuh songs in the winter concert and nobody batted an eyelash.

Self-esteem? We didn't exist to build up each other's egos. We were supposed to knock them down. Life was all about rivalries and competition. If a teacher back then ever told us how wonderful and beautiful and special we all were, we would have reported her to the authorities on suspicion of being a pot smoking hippie.

You know when the world went to hell? When Coca Cola decided to teach the world to sing. The second that commercial came out, a death knell sounded across the playgrounds and schoolyards of America. Parents everywhere, suckered in by the feel-good lyrics and hand-holding sappiness of the commercial felt an awakening of sorts. All those who missed the hippie train of the 60's were going to jump on the Free to be You and Me train of the 70's, and ride it hard.

Back in my day, kids weren't sheltered. We were fed the day's news raw and uncensored. Our parents took us to see gory, bloody horror movies. We were read fairy tales, grim and perverse and wicked as they were, without remanufactured endings where everyone is beautiful and everyone smiles.

We had real playgrounds with merry-go-rounds and metal slides and wooden see saws, all placed on concrete. None of this plastic adventure-in-learning crap sitting on a gentle bed of soft wood chips. We had broken noses and we had scabs covering half our bodies. The school nurse would wipe up our blood, swab us in Bactine (the panacea of our time) and send us back outside for more. Today's kids get a piece of wood chip dust in their eye and they're carried to the nurse's office on a stretcher where they're handed ten different accident and liability forms to give their parents and forced to sit through a video taped lecture on playground safety, presented by a singing, dancing, man in an elephant costume.

We learned about life with all its cuts and bruises and hurt feelings. We worked hard around the house and yard and built up a work ethic. We earned our allowance and walked half a mile to the candy store where we spent it all on sugary, fattening candy and rolls of caps for our cap guns. We would point our guns at each other and say things like bang, bang, you're dead.

Who knew that a generation later, that phrase would probably get you sent to the principal's office and an appointment with the school psychiatrist?

Sure, I lived in dangerous times. Maybe somewhere in 60's or 70's America there were babies flying out of cars or kids smashing into concrete walls and maybe death came calling to some in the form of an errant merry-go-round or a lethal dose of Red Dye #2. But most of us made it. And most of us made it without the lingering head wound side effects.

A little head wound builds character, you know.

I know, Bitch, bitch, bitch.

Are You With Us or Against Us?


I know there are certain Yankee haters (ahem) who keep a running list of members of the official Yankee haters club, and there are some Red Sox bloggers who maintain a list of like-minded seasonally-depressed kindred. So shall it be that I will keep a tally of the Coalition of the Dark Side - that would be Yankee fans. Step right up and claim your allegiance in the comments. Also, predictions for the series would be interesting to read (even from non-Yankee fans). I've been interviewing some experts and I'll have their prognostications up in a little bit.

Bali Remembered

Two years ago today. More thoughts on this and related things later.

dirty talk and hell-bound laughter

Last night I took part in a symposium - which is a fancy name for a chat room talk - with Frank (IMAO), Bill (INDC Journal) and Ace (Ace of Spades). Read here for our discussion on blogging, the media and some other goofy stuff that will be taken way out of context and come back to haunt us. Meanwhile, if you are not easily offended and don't mind laughing at the expense of a dead actor, Jim Treacher will take you to hell in his handbasket. I'm already on board.

October 11, 2004

This is Halloween (5): Quiz Time!

A visual quiz, first in a series. Maybe. Identify the movie by the DVD/VHS cover. Words have been blocked out where necessary. Some are pretty obvious, some may be a bit harder. If you like the 80's slasher flick genre, you should get a good portion. [click for large version]

got dog?

Then you'll want to check out Lab Tested. I was trying to think of a clever catch line, but I'll just steal one from Reynolds. Like Gizmodo for dogs! The logo will be over in the right sidebar for the foreseeable future, so click that to check out the latest in dog-tested dog stuff.

A (Red Sox) Nation of Negativity

Dear Red Sox fans: Pardon me if I'm not all enthused that you were cheering for the Yankees to beat the Twins. If you're expecting me to act all grateful, think again. I understand your reasoning, however. Only by beating the Evil Empire can you dispell the demons that haunt your every October. You want to know why I don't like you? Take this comment left by one Rebel Scum named Bill: bq. What I don't understand is how anyone can root for this latest bunch of mercenaries. What does Alex Rodriguez or Gary Sheffield to do with the Yankees? I guess Yankee fans would root for the devil in a Yankees uniform. It's why I hate the Yankees. It started with Catfish Hunter -- just went out and paid for him, then Reggie Jackson, then the Yankee fans acted as if these guys were anything other than mercenaries. Oh well. Michele probably goes to a playground and during fights, roots for the bullies. vader22.jpgHere's something to chew on, Bill. Yankee fans don't have to live in the past. We don't sit around bemoaning our current team and comparing the players to the former greats that graced our field. We're not fickle, either. We no more control how Steinbrenner gets his players than you can control the curse that keeps you cursing. To abandon your team because the owner of that team uses his riches to gain the best players would be ludicrous. What does Alex Rodriguez have to do with the Yankees? Uh, he's on the Yankees. That should be all we need. As fans, we really don't care how he made his way to third base. We just care that he's there. The business end of baseball is of no interest to me. Bullies? I've been a Yankee fan since the day I was born, Bill, thanks to my mother and my grandfather. I root for them because I've been doing it my whole life, through every great season, through every great player, through every drought and through every fiasco. I don't root for them because I'm a dark, soulless being or because I have some undying need to spit in the face of Red Sox fans. I do it because they've been my team for 42 years. Anyhow, don't think I haven't seen all the blog posts from the Red Sox nation that more or less expect Yankee fans to say thanks for cheering our team on against the Twins. Take your cheers and stick them up your ass. We don't need you. And now that the Yanks have moved on to the next round and are going to face your beloved team, are you so sure that's what you wanted? Is this going to be the year the demons are exorcised? Or will once again go into winter cursing the curse? Now, I'm not saying that the Evil Empire will win. Oh, I'm thinking it. But I'm not saying it out loud. You're not the only one who believes in jinxes, you know. But I do know this - judging from the whinging coming out of Boston this week, the Red Sox Nation better get their house in order. I've never seen fans of a team that's competing in the playoffs dispense such negativity. Come on, guys. It's not like you've never seen the dark side before. You should be used to Vader's visage making cameos in your baseball nightmares. Y'all are reminding me of this election; I feel like some of you are rooting not for your team but against the Yankees. Sure, Martinez may have already recognized who Luke's father is, but that doesn't mean the rest of you can't start acting like people who really believe in the rebel cause. Oh, it's not all of you that are drowning in negativity. I read the message boards. I see all the "you're going down, bitches!" posts. Don't get cocky, kid. Vader may have wussed out in the end, but don't forget who blew up Alderaan. ------ Don't blow a gasket, people. Some of my best friends are Red Sox fans. This is supposed to be good natured playoff trash talk. It's obligatory. I didn't even mention Bucky Fucking Dent. Oops.

Oh, Bother: Kerry's View on Terrorism

''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance."

nui∑sance n. 1. One that is inconvenient, annoying, or vexatious; a bother:
That's Sen. Kerry speaking, in case you haven't read that elsewhere already. What I'd like to know is, when exactly is Kerry talking about? When were terrorists just a nuisance? Was terrorism every just a bother, an annoyance? Just an incovenience? Does he mean before September 11, 2001? Before October 12, 2000? Before August 7, 1998? Before June 25, 1996? Before February 26, 1993? Before December 21, 1988? Before April 5, 1986? Before October 7, 1985? Before November 4, 1979? Before any of these dates? I'm sure the families of all the victims of all the above attacks would love to know that their loved ones were murdered at the hands of nothing more than nuisances. This, in a nutshell, is why I could never even think about giving my vote to John Kerry and why I will vote for George Bush. Perhaps terrorism should not be the daily focus of our lives - meaning us ordinary citizens - but it should certainly be a daily focus of the President of the United States and all who work for him. The problem with Kerry is he thinks that the war on terror begins and ends with bin Laden. He thinks that once bin Laden is frog marched into some prison cell where he can go think about what he's done, the war on terror is over. Look at this list. And this is just attacks on U.S. interests here and abroad. This does not take into account all of the terrorism that happens world wide, all of which greatly effects us because we want world peace, damn it. The war on terror is a GLOBAL one. It encompasses every nation and hundreds of different terrorist organizations, all with different goals and different targets. It damn well better be the daily focus of my president for a long time. Not only until bin Laden is caught. Not only until al Qaeda is demolished. And it's great that Kerry thinks we should obliterate terrorism to the point that it's just a nuisance, whatever that means, but does anyone have any idea just how he plans to do that? Keeping our coutnry safe should be the number one priority of the president and anyone who thinks that terrorism was ever just a nuisance does not deserve the title of president. [Ed Moltzen has links other blogger observances on this issue]

October 10, 2004

This is Halloween (4): Urban Legends and Ghost Stories

Used to be that telling a good ghost story to a kid would elicit screams of horror and week's worth of nightmares. Now that all the good urban legends have been made into movies, it's getting harder and harder to give a really good fright to a naive child. And isn't that what Halloween is all about? Scaring the piss out of the innocent children? Hey, don't look at me like that, that's what my own mother told me!

If you want to give a good scare, it's all in how you tell it. A low, whispering voice. Anticipatory pauses. And the extended silence at the end of your story to give the kiddies a moment to think about the implications of not heeding the warning the story provides.

The first legendary ghost story I remember (aside from Lonesome Ghosts), was the tale of the ghostly hitchhiker. I read that one myself in a collection of ghost stories I took out of the library - a perfect book in that it kept me up at night, yet I couldn't stop reading it.

This was before dead babysitters and microwaved babies became all the rage in scary stories. I liked the ghosts; they were almost benign in that I was pretty sure (just pretty sure, not positive) that the stories were fake. I didn't have to believe in ghosts, because there was no proof that they existed. But deranged strangers slicing and dicing babysitters? Totally believable. There's different levels of being scared, and the new urban legends going around at the time (1970's) served a dual purpose; they scared the living shit out of us and they also made us hesitant to go anywhere or do anything alone.

The first of the madman legends I remember was the date gone awry. Guy picks up girl. Guy and girl drive out to the country. Car runs out of gas. You know the rest. But do you know it from having it told to you or do you know it from seeing it in a movie? Because let me tell you, when you're no more than ten years old and your babysitter is telling you the story, the scare factor is tenfold that of watching some B-class actress scream her way through a scene.

The guy decided to walk to the nearest gas station. The girl waited in the car, because it was too long a walk to make in her high heels. Soon after her boyfriend left, she heard a sound outside the car. Like a scritch...scritch...scritch...she though the boyfriend was tapping at the window, so she unlocked the door and waited for him to get in. No one opened the door and still she heard the scritch...scritch...scritch...so she decided to see what was making the noise....she stepped out the car, looked around and saw nothing. That is, until she looked up. And there, hanging from the tree was her boyfriend. Dead. His lifeless body swayed in the breeze, making his sneakers slide across the roof of the car. That was the sound she had been hearing. Her. Dead. Boyfriend.

I didn't exactly scream, but I do recall the goosebumps that ran up and down my arms. The babysitter asked if I was scared. Not wanting to disappoint her, I told her no. I didn't want her to think I was a baby. Well, that backfired because she launched into another story. And another. I did build up my scary story portfolio that night, and even if it came at the expense of sleep, it was worth it. For the next few months, I regaled relatives with my repertoire of fear inducing stories.

I missed the real ghost stories. Slice and dice stories are great to an extent, but I missed being scared in the way that leaves you afraid of the dark. Not afraid of masked men with knives or hooks for arms, but afraid of the things you can't see.

Here's some stories I'll be telling my kids and their friends a few spooky stories during this year's Halloween party, using the greatest collection of scary stories ever assembled - the Alvin Schwartz collection. I'm sure they've heard these all before, but sometimes, it's all in the telling. I'm practicing my creepy whisper and dramatic pauses daily. And if, in the end, these kids would rather have stories with homicidal maniacs and dead babysitters, I always have my cache of urban legends to fall back on.

As always, there's a survey attached.

What's your favorite ghost story/urban legend? Think you have one I haven't heard before? I'm always up for some new scare sources.

dad's dinner: follow up

Thanks to everyone who inquired as to how my dad's dinner went on Friday night. I'd have to say it was a rousing success, as the County announced they would be giving 1.3 million dollars towards the funding of the museum. Aside from some politicking by some of the speakers (hey, we gave you money, vote for us in November!), it was the first dinner of its kind that I attended where I actually enjoyed all the speeches. As for picture taking - I didn't do a whole lot of it. A red and blue lighting motif in an already dark place does not make for a photographer friendly evening. Besides, I was enjoying myself too much to play photographer. Would have been nice to get a family photo, as it is a rare occasion when we are all dressed up (Natalie in a dress! Seventh Sign!). You can find the few pictures I was able to salvage (did I mention the lighting sucked) over in the photo gallery. And thanks again for all the kind words about dad.

October 09, 2004

TO: Red Sox Nation


the week that was

My week in a nutshell. [Flash] Wish I could have that ending, though. via Fark

got wood?

You miss one debate and you miss the joke of the day. Someone explain the wood/internets thing to me, please.

Election Day

afelec.jpg [AP photo via Yahoo] Afghan women wearing burqa line up to vote at a polling station in Kabul Saturday, Oct. 9. 2004. Yes, there's trouble brewing in Afghanistan right now. But, did anyone expect the opposition to embrace the elections without stirring up controversy? This is the first ever direct presidential elections in Afghanistan and that's the important thing here. There will be tons of people dismissing this as theater or ignoring it completely. You think it's a farce? Tell that to those women in burqas standing in line to vote. They don't think it's theater. Do you have any idea what an astounding moment this is for them? These elections will do more for the people of Afghanistan then just vote in a new government. It will give the people who are begging for democracy hope. It will give the ordinary citizens of Afghanistan a feeling of freedom and independence. It will give the women of Afghanistan a sense of empowerment that they never thought they would experience. You can bitch and moan all you want about it; the fact remains that this is something we should be proud of. It's a moment the people of Afghanistan should be proud of. Why it's not getting more coverage in the news is beyond me. This is the spread of democracy in action. Democracy is able to spread not only through voting, but through the joy and pride one feels when taking part in its creation for the first time. The elections will not be perfect, but they are a huge step on a long road to freedom. If you cannot put yourself on that line, wearing a burqa and ready to vote - if you cannot for one second stand in their shoes and imagine what it must feel like to participate in such a thing - if you are unwilling to do that because you are so entrenched in your negativity, then you are doing an incredible disservice to the people of Afghanistan and to the Afghan forces and the soldiers of the coaltion and our American soldiers who have died in the process of making this day a reality.

October 08, 2004

there goes my hero

[No Halloween stories here, no WMDs, no election rants. The following will be of little interest to anyone but my family. Sometimes a "journal" is like that. If you do choose to read it, thank you.]

The culmination of my long week ends this evening as I attend a swanky dinner at which my father will be honored.

I will miss both the debate and the Yankee game tonight, but that's ok. It's for dad.

About seven years ago, one of my father's friends and fellow firefighter came to him with an idea. No, it was more than an idea. It was a dream. He wanted to create a museum dedicated to the history of firefiighting in Nassau County. Dad thought about it for two seconds and agreed to help make his friend's dream come true.

At first it was just a grass roots movement. My sisters and I spent a lot of time that first year helping with fundraising, publicity and general support. There's nothing like being in on the ground level of a project that you know is going to strike gold some day. Not gold as in riches or making money for anyone; this is a non profit venture. The riches made on this project came in the form of seeing someone's dream built from the ground up - not just succesfully, but bigger and better than he ever hoped.

Seven years later, there is finally a scheduled groundbreaking for the museum. My father has devoted nearly his entire existence to making this happen. It's not always been easy on my mom or my sisters and I (dad wears his frustration on his sleeve), but to see the look on my father's face when he shows us the plans or gives us news of matching funds is priceless.

The man who first had the dream to get this museum built died recently. He'll never see his dream come to light, but his death made my dad all the more determined to get the museum doors open. It's been a struggle. There were many times that they thought the funding wouldn't come through or the space promised to them would be taken away. But they never gave up on this dream.

The museum will be located in a revitalized part of Nassau County now called Museum Row. It houses a world class children's museum as well as the amazing Cradle of Aviation museum (you can see some photos I took of that museum here).

You can read all about the coming firefighter's museum here; if you look at what this place will encompass you will understand just how much work went into this endeavor.

My father has been honored for many things in his life. He is the ultimate giver; I'd say that most people who dedicate their life to the fire service are. He's done so much for our community as well as the firefighting community. When people recognize my last name and ask "Oh, are you Angelo's daughter?" It is with an incredible amount of pride that I tell them yes.


Expect a lot of photos here tomorrow. The dinner is being held inside the Cradle of Aviation museum, a brilliant, dazzling structure that is an amatuer photographer's heaven.

October 07, 2004

Homicidal Happiness Radio

As promised. I did take several of your suggestions, but I didn't have time to go look for the songs that weren't already on my computer, so I included a few of my own choices. Radio is in sidebar. Enjoy. And, don't worry, be happy. Or angry, depending on the song. Also: There is one more day left in the Boobiethon. Robyn and crew have already raised $6,000 for the Susan B. Komen Foundation. If you like boobies (who doesn't?) and if you like giving to worthwhile causes (who doesn't?) then head on over there and stare at the beautiful boobs while you contemplate how much you'll give to the cause.

your moment of zen

I'm busy and won't be back til much later this evening. I thought I'd dispel some of the negativity around here before I leave, though. cat_animation.gif Have a nice day.

Moody Music (Radio Survey)

In the comments on my previous tirade, Keiran comments on the therapuetic benefits of music and violent video games. And he's right. He points to Green Day's F.O.D. as a song to rage by and I have to say, those are some beautiful lyrics. Which reminds me. I've been listening to the new Green Day CD (skipping over the dreadful American Idiot) and I have to say that Jesus of Suburbia is their magnum opus. Part Clash, part The Who, it's nearly ten minutes of lyrical and musical goodness. Check it out. Back to Keiran's point about music soothing the soul fanning the flames: I have a mission for you today. Tell me your angriest song, the one that you turn up to ten when you are in a venemous rage. And then tell me the song that lowers your blood pressure and puts you in your happy place. When I get home this evening, I'll make a radio station with some of the choices. We'll call it Homicidal Happiness. I'm suddenly in the mood for some Rammstein. Or Air Supply.

when you care enough to send the very best insults and dire warnings about one's mental health

I would like to take this time to thank a few folks for their words of concern and/or love over the past few days, whether they came by email, in comments on other sites or through use of The Force. To all: So, you think I've gotten "cranky" or "emotional" in the past few weeks. You think that I could use medication/a hot bath/a cup of lemon honey tea/a vacation/raunchy sex/a stiff drink/a time-out/my mouth washed out with soap/therapy/shock treament/a lobotomy/a spanking/a wake up call/barbituates. And a few of you think that I've become a brazen hussy by talking about (ohmygod, she's going to say the S word!) sex. Seriously, people. Go through the archives. I've been tame in the past year or so. Take off your chastity belt and live a little. I do, however, appreciate the tone of love in your emails. If only they made a Hallmark card for such occassions. Outside: (picture of a dancing banana) In times like these.... Inside: ...Roses are red Violets are blue You're a complete stranger But I'm concerned about you! Alternately: Outside: (painting of rabbits cavorting through a windswept field) Inside: I know that life is tough in this election year Perhaps instead of blogging You can drown yourself in beer You seem a little cranky and holier than thou Why not save some time and kill yourself right now? I know that I don't know you So this may seem out of place But maybe you should drop out Of the human race (And I say this as a fellow member of the right But you disagree with me on one issue So you must be a complete idiot who deserves to die and/or be locked up in a mental ward forever and ever! Sort of lost the rhythm on that one, but you get the point. So, to all of you who sent me those lovely messages of hope and love, I have this one for you: Roses are red violets are blue Although, they can really be considered purple If viewed in a certain light And roses, well they aren't always red, are they? Such a general statement about such a complex flower seems kind of silly. Anyhow. While I ready my morning post (you thought this was it? Nope.), you should know that I'll be guest blogging over at Goldstein's place this week, where I'll probably hijack one of his recurring themes and make it my own, while taking the time to make fun of each of the members of the powerful cabal of bloggers he bribed to blog for him while he's presumably visiting relatives in Baltimore. Like we buy that. And I'm still waiting for my ten dollars, Jeff. I did hold up my end of the bargain. You were too drunk to notice. Let me explain something: This has been the week from hell (and that has nothing to do with blogging or the election - it's just been a long week that is only going to get longer before it ends) and I still have two days left before I can get a moment's peace. I have run out of patience with people who think they own me. I have run out of patience with my daughter and her mouth. I have run out of patience with my son and his disastrous schoolwork ethics. I have run out of patience with idiot drivers, with demanding people, with parents who never, ever offer to carpool but expect me to drive their kids everywhere and home again, with noisy, selfish neighbors, with people who want to take, take, take but balk at giving even a little smidgen, with people who expect you to hold up both ends of a friendship......Frankly, I'm at a point today where I'm either going to break down in tears or kill someone with my bare hands. And I'm not even PMS. I am In. A. Mood. Do not test me today. I have sharpened my machete. Conversely, I have a box of tissues ready.

October 06, 2004

this is halloween(w): CandyGate!

Today's Halloween topic is candy suckage. What kind of suckage? Oh, you know what kind. The kind that comes in a cute little Halloween baggie that you think contains candy but only contains a travel size tube of toothpaste. The kind that at first says "ooh candy corn!" but quickly turns into "Pttoooie! Last year's candy corn? Fucker!"

appleevil.jpgI had an unnerving moment last Halloween. I was standing on my neighbor's porch eyeing the cache of goodie bags he had ready for the mass of costumed kiddies heading his way. He had a few dozen little plastic baggies stuffed with carrot and celery sticks. Yes. Carrots and celery. For a Halloween treat. As I backed away from this evil man's house, I thought "I am so fisking this guy when I get home." Who fisks Halloween treats? A sick, demented blogger apparently.

But, a sick demented blogger who fisks Halloween candy always has an audience that not only appreciates such an endeavor, but has stories of their own to tell. We all had that one neighbor who hated children so much that, instead of just closing the door on Halloween, she would get her jollies by handing out little tricks instead of treats.

We had the Spider Lady and she handed out pennies. Two. Freaking. Pennies. And she cackled while she dropped those suckers in our bags. But we were anything but complacent little children dressed up in fuzzy bunny costumes. No, we were suburban terror. A gang of twelve year old kids in search of that elusive sugar rush. We were the crack whores of our time, stealing the costumes of our little sisters and brothers just so we could go knock down a few old ladies to get our hands on some Sugar Daddies. Ah, good times. Good times.

And just because I'm in a giving mood, I'll throw in a physics lesson: when thrown by a sugar-deprived teenager, a penny will make a dent in aluminum siding.

Hey, we had to do something with the tricks we got to go along with our treats. Ten year old candy corn? Sprinkle a little water on it and it will stick to the windshield of Mr. "Keep Your Ball Out of My Yard" Brown's brand new Lincoln Continental! Wax vampire teeth? If you warm those things up in the palm of your hand they become malleable. Malleable enough to fashion a waxy covering for the windshield wipers on Officer Goldberg's parked patrol car.

Don't look at me like that. We were destined to be juvenile delinquents. Haven't you ever seen Over the Edge?

And the apples. Who in their right mind would give out apples when they know that any parent who sees that fruit in their kids' bag will immediately take out a machete and hack the damn thing to death in search of that elusive razor blade. Personally, I think there were some parents that actually wanted to find the blade in the apple. It was a prize, a brass ring, a suburban legend that, if true, would propel the average Stepford housewife to new heights of fame. I could envision Mrs. Green, her long Clairol hair tied back in a ribbon, holding the rusted razor blade aloft like Charlie holding his golden ticket. Her name would be splashed across the town weekly, her beaming smile belying the sick-to-her-stomach fear that some crazed madman was out there. Then she would entice the other housewives on the block into forming a posse of the pony-tailed, mad mothers bearing pitchforks and torches, hell bent on finding out who put that razor blade in Billy's Granny Smith.

Of course, in the end it turns out that it was Mrs. Clairol herself who stuck the razor blade in that apple, and it would become a sad social commentary on the boredom that befalls housewives in suburbia. Walter Cronkite would air a special on it and three days later, Mrs. Clairol would check into a clinic to overcome her addiction to mother's little helper.

Uh..where was I? I was talking about Halloween candy, right?

Razor blades and used candy corn aside, what was the worst thing you got in your Halloween bag? Expose your neighbors for what they were: cheap, evil bastards.

A Sexy VP and a Good Blaster at Your Side

[If you'll look over to the left, there's a new selection of radio tunes loaded up for your enjoyment. Mostly random, chosen by fate songs from the Winamp playlist except The Eels, which is for him and AIC, which is for him.] I'll dispense with the baseball analogies today in regards to last night's debate. It's just not as much fun when your team is on the losing side. Honestly, I didn't pay full attention to the debate. I was busy a) trying to keep my eyes open and b) trying to maintain a civil atmosphere in the Command Post chat room. (A) was through no fault of Bush or Cheney's; yesterday was one of those days that required my children to be in seventeen places at the same time, all spread out across the planet. As any parent/chauffeur will tell you, that's exhausting. (B) was rather annoying. I find that some people spew instead of talk, even when the conversation doesn't really call for spewing, as it sometimes does. I watch what people type and I can practically feel the spittle flying from their lips and landing on my face. I don't like cleaning up spittle. It makes me angry. So I did what any chat room moderator would do under the circumstances; I went to bed and left the moderating to Trish and Faith. Thank you, girls. You don't mind that I called you girls, do I? I see that most are calling the debate in Cheney's favor but tempering it with the admonition that Cheney didn't exactly spank Edwards. Maybe he slapped him on the butt. I don't know about ennobling his leprauchan, either. Let's say he tied Edwards down to the bed, slapped him around a bit and talked dirty to him. But Edwards enjoyed it and Cheney left a few dollars on the table. That work for you? (Hey, I'm warming up for a guest stint at Goldstein's place. I'm trying out my Jeff voice). Although, Edwards really should be giving it away for free. Anyhow. The only way I could judge this match-up, given that I was otherwise occupied (ok, so the Yankees were on a second tv in the room) was to look at it in a shallow sort of way. Yesterday, Andrew Sullivan (who thinks that Edwards pimp slapped Cheney, making me think that he was fantasizing rather than actually watching the debate) said: bq. Well, I could easily be wrong, but I have a feeling Cheney will crush Edwards tonight. The format is God's gift to Daddy. They'll both be seated at a table, immediately allowing Cheney to do his assured, paternal, man-of-the-world schtick that makes me roll on my back and ask to have my tummy scratched. (Yes, I do think that Cheney is way sexier than Edwards. Not that you asked or anything.) He called Cheney daddy. Man, I reserve those fantasies for the more virile among the hot politicians. And when I do that fantasizing, trust me - I'm not having my tummy scratched. Whatever. The important part here is that I actually agree with Andrew on something: Cheney is hella sexier than Edwards. I like my men with a little meat on them. I mean that in a figurative way. Here comes the now requisite analogy. Given the choice between sleeping with Luke or Han, I'd choose Han every time. While Luke is waxing emotional and wistfully staring off into the twin suns of Tatooine, Han is all business. He's brisk, he's self assured and he's sexy. Luke is the vast, empty plains of his home planet. Han is Hoth. There's something about a hero and a planet made of ice that's stimulating. And where Luke is petulant and whiny, Han is witty and sarcastic. My kind of guy. You get Luke into bed, he'd jus want to cuddle. You get Han into bed and, well, prepare to be boarded. Look at it like this: Luke : You know, between his howling and you blasting everything in sight, it's a wonder the whole station doesn't know we're here. Han Solo : Bring 'em on, I'd prefer a straight fight to all this sneaking around. Which one do you want as your vice-president? So, there you have it. Cheney not only won the debate, but he's sexier and way cooler than Edwards, and probably better in bed, despite the heart problems. And really, that ticking time bomb of his would just make the whole thing hotter. I'm almost to the point of disgusting myself here, so I'll stop. But - I do wish that at one of those points where Edwards had that smarmy look in his face, Cheney would have looked him in the eye and said, "Great, kid. Don't get cocky." [If you're looking for real debate commentary, try the round up at Allah's]

October 05, 2004

wrestlemania VP debate chat tonight

Command Post debate chat tonight at 8:45 EDT. Join us as we watch the great showdown, the steel cage match, the face-off between the fluffy kitty and the the vicious tiger. The golden-tongued southern boy vs. the aging, balding attack dog. Charlotte Church v. Marilyn Manson. Family Circus v. Achewood. The toy poodle v. the pit bull. Mike Rotundo v. The Iron Sheik. Well, that's what they're making it sound like. My money is on the Sheik, every time. Even without Volkoff by his side.

this is halloween(2): more movie talk and another survey

Stephen says:

Claws down, Halloween is the best holiday there ever could be, except those involving lots of presents. And in my mind, presents are the only reason birthdays and Christmas get billing over the Big Scary.

As long time readers here already know, I love Halloween. It is far and away my favorite holiday, ranking above even Christmas.

Why Halloween? It's all about the atmosphere of October. The cool, crisp weather, the parade of colors taking over the trees, the anticipation of the coming holiday season and, yes, the witches and goblins and ghosties. So I do a lot of Halloween posting each October. This year shall be no different.

I started yesterday with my survey of movies suitable for my kids' party. Now, some of you don't quite understand just how close to the tree these apples fall. When my kids think of horror movies, they don't conjure up images of Jumanji or Addams Family. Like me, they like their movies scary, bloody and freaky.

DJ, at age eleven, has amassed a collection of both zombie movies and zombie knowledge. If we are ever under attack by zombies, you would do well to make your way to my end of the globe and take orders from DJ. He likes physical horror; gore, guts, severed limbs and half eaten brains.

Natalie, on the other hand, likes creepiness. Her collection of horror movies includes titles like The Ring and Godsend. She prefers her scares to of the mental variety.

Between them, they have done both me and their grandmother proud. After all, it was my mother who introduced me to horror movies at a very early age. I grew up on a steady diet of Vincent Price films. One of my earliest movie memories is listening in stunned silence to the "Help me!" cry from The Fly. When I was ten, my mother took me to see Asylum, a trilogy of terror repleat with crawling, severed limbs. My love of gore was born.

I had already formed a love affair with giant monster/animal/insect movies (Mothra was always my favorite), but a 1976 viewing of Food of the Gods solidified my infatuation with that genre.

A year earlier, at the tender age of 13, I saw a Halloween double feature of Last House on the Left and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

So my roots were set down early. Movies that dealt with monsters, creepy crawly things, the supernatural and all other forms of fright were considered family entertainment. Together, mom and I (and sometimes my sisters) would watch Chiller Theater together, waiting in anticipation as the six fingered hand waved to us from the grave. We spent many hours as a family watching The Twilight Zone and Rod Serling's Night Gallery.

Today, I boast my own vast collection of horror movies, from the Sleepaway Camp box set to Dead Alive, possibly the goriest and best horror movie ever made. We have every version of all of the Evil Dead trilogy that hit the market (not to mention the posters, lunchboxes and action figures).

While we do watch horror movies all year long, Halloween is when we go into full viewing mode. Zombies, werewolves, severed heads and alien mind control are a constant background to the days and nights of October.

I've taken all your movie suggestions from yesterday and printed them out to go over with the kids and their friends. The bloodier, the better, was what DJ said. Natalie just wants frights. So we'll find a good mix of those two things and settle in that night to the sights and sounds of another Halloween season.

And what would a Halloween post be without a survey? I did this one last year, but it was so much fun to read your answers, we'll do it again.

Today's Survey: Scariest Screen Moment. That is, the specific scene from a movie (tv movies count) that scared you the most. I mean running from the room scared. Nightmares for three days scared. Visions of the scene still haunt you today; that kind of scared. Difficulty: No Sound of Music. You know who you are.

[I think I went over this list last year, or started to. I might have a go at it later.]

orange you glad I didn't say....

newbanana.gif No reason. Just because.

October 04, 2004

Strengthen the Good

A new micro-charity has been named for this edition of Strengthen the Good: Debi Faris And The Garden Of Angels, which claims the bodies of abandoned infants, gives them names, and provides them with dignified burials. Please check it out, and link if you can. Thanks.

Annual Horror Movie Survey- With a Twist

Every year I ask for your movie suggestions for my annual Halloween horrot-thon. This year is a bit different. I'm letting the kids have a Halloween party (the evening before). They each invited invite five friends over to watch horror movies. I'll be setting the living room up in a haunted house/movie theater hybrid to set the tone. Now, here's the difficulty: Nat's friends are fourteen years old, DJ's friends are eleven. I need to find at least three movies that will satisfy all. I've checked with the kids' parents and they are all ok with blood and guts and gore. The only thing we have to nix is any overt sex. Also, I think that over the top horror - especially anything with zombies or vampires (think Lost Boys) will leave less mental damage (read: nightmares) than movies that deal out psychological horror (i.e., Lady in White). So, in short, I need a few titles that will entertain and scare both age groups, without the eleven year olds asking me awkward sex questions and without the fourteen year olds complaining that the movie is for babies. Ideally, I'd like to scare the shit out of all them because while they talk big when it comes to watching horror movies (nothing scares me!), I know they would all practically piss their pants if I started scratching on the window while holding up a Chucky doll. [Speaking of horror, check this out. I'm still laughing.]

Post-RatherGate Thoughts on Blogging

[This gets the pure, unadulterated rant warning] Paul at Wizbang:
It was my adventure debunking Professor Hailey that lead me to an epiphany. I no longer what to be called a blogger and neither should you.
We are not bloggers, We are independent, peer reviewed journalists.
No, Paul. No we are not. There are some bloggers who dabble in journalism. There are some bloggers who definitely are pure journalists. And there are bloggers who think that posting about one breaking news item makes them a reporter. I'm sensing a sea change in blogging, courtesy of RatherGate. Suddenly, blogging is in the Era of the Scoop. Everyone wants to break a story, everyone wants the Drudge link, everyone wants to Make A Difference. RatherGate was heady stuff; many bloggers saw their site stats double or quadruple. Ad revenues increased as bloggers raised their prices in accordance with their new site visit numbers. And the feel of the right side of the blogosphere changed, nearly overnight. I've been at this for almost four years. So it's a bittersweet thing for me to see blogging being recognized by big media as a viable source of information, to see bloggers taken seriously as sources. The new guard of bloggers are taking off. The old guard (i.e, Kottke), well they took off a long time ago. And some of us are standing here looking back and looking forward and wondering when it was that we let the bus pass us by. Or maybe not so much that we let it pass as much as it just zoomed on by without stopping. I wasn't really part of RatherGate (I was on hiatus when the story broke). I just reposted links and threw my personal opinion in the mix, so I'm not crying about being left off that bandwagon. I never made the attempt to really hook myself onto it. But as I watch that bandwagon roll on without me, I wonder what it's taking with it. As other's stats have risen, mine have dropped. I get less comments, less repeat visits, less emails. If the face of blogging has changed in the last month, then I'm still wearing the old face. And for that, I'm struggling to even make the relatively inexpensive price I charge for ads justifiable. I's not just me. I've talked to several high profile bloggers who see a dark sort of change happening in this end of the blogosphere. What has Rathergate wrought? Well, it's wrought a need for some people to find that elusive scoop that will propel them to further heights. With the adrenaline of Rathergate still in their veins, they are making a heady, if understandable, attempt to keep the sugar rush going and I don't think they are being very careful about what they are consuming in the process. Sour grapes? Perhaps. In the age of Wonkette and $500 a month blogads, maybe I'm just chewing on a bit of jealousy. It's funny that it used to be the variety of subjects here that attracted my readers. Someone said to me yesterday that that same variety is probably what's driving them away now. The blogosphere - or at least this end of it - has become a tunnel of sorts. It's the same thing on every blog and that's really not supposing given that there's a presidential election happening in thirty days. I'm doing my own share of electioneering. It's been bugging me for a few days, this feeling as if something has changed or something is missing and I figured it out today: fun. Not long ago it was fun to run through my blogroll. I got a few good laughs along with the news and opinions. I read about politics and war alongside funny anecdotes or amusing stories that had nothing to do with whatever was on the front page of the paper that day. And yet, blogging is at it's pinnacle. The word "blog" has been spoken so many times on the evening news in the past month that's I no longer have to explain to people what a blog is. There are bloggers with pieces in the New York Post. They are on tv, on the radio, linked in online mainstream media stories. So I guess my dismay comes from the fact that blogging is reaching a peak - in recognition, credibility, stats and money-making - when I think it's at it's worst. I'm seeing people that are straining to hold onto the post-Rather stats and the rush that came with them and it makes me uncomfortable in sort of the same way that watching someone make a horrible mistake in a movie does; I just want to turn it off until that part is over and hope that when I turn it back on, everything's worked out. No matter how negative I feel, I'll keep writing here, anyhow, because I'm trying to rediscover what made this fun for me to begin with. Oh, no. I'm not going off on that "I'm done talking about politics!" tangent again. Nor am I thinking of quitting. I happened to catch the tailwind of the Rather stats push and it made me way too aware of my audience. I'm much happier when I forget there's actually an audience out there. That's not an insult to you. It's hard to explain, but it's not. Paul's words again: I no longer what to be called a blogger and neither should you. We are not bloggers, We are independent, peer reviewed journalists Nope. I am a blogger. As a blogger and not an independent, peer reviewed journalist, I am able to write about what I had for lunch or my broken coffee pot without feeling as if I'm breaking some journalistic standard. I am blogger, hear me roar. About hot dogs, about the war in Iraq, about the state of pop music, about my noisy neighbors, about the election, about the way Saran Wrap won't stick to Tupperware, about my job, my kids, my life, Iran, Andy Rooney, education reform, crappy computer speakers and why I hate the circus. Roaring into empty space, perhaps. But still roaring.

In Between Molecules of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide

It's a long and circuitous journey from start to finish today. I started the day off thinking about Nine Inch Nails. The deluxe, two disc edition of The Downward Spiral will be released on November 23. And I though, great, I can depress myself in high resolution 5.1 digital surround sound! I'm sure you've never really sunk into a "my empire of dirt" bout of self-pity until you've done it in hi-res. Interestingly (or not), NIN's The Fragile was in heavy rotation on my stereo during the last presidential election. No social commentary there; I had hated the album when it first came out and it was then (a year after its release) that I started to appreciate it. So, Al Gore began his four year meltdown to the strains of The Day the Word Went Away. I can go back four years before that and tell you that on Election night 1996, I was listening to Soundgarden's Down on the Upside. I'm pretty sure it was a new release then (hang on while I check -yep, released in 1996) and we spun that one (as much as one can spin a CD, as opposed to vinyl) often. So often, in fact, that a then three-year old DJ became enamored of it. Every night, he would ask "Mommy, Soundgarden!" and he wouldn't be able to fall asleep until Blow Up the Outside World came on. That's just ridiculous, you say. A three year old listening to that song? Were you trying to raise a psycho? Hah. You have no idea. Soundgarden had only recently surpassed The Offspring's Smash as his favorite. You should have heard him sing Come Out and Play. To this day, we make fun of him when that song comes on the radio. Keep 'em sepraded! He's eleven now and hasn't shown the slightest hint of homicidal tendencies, despite what the other mothers in my Perfect Parenting group believed. It just can't be all Tom Chapin and Barney all the time, you know? That is what makes drives kids towards hobbies that include storing dead hookers in their car trunk. I do wonder, though, what the early musical tastes of children mean for their ideals later on. For instance, Natalie, at the age of four, was enamored of Green Day's Dookie album. While Green Day wasn't overtly political back then, I do wonder if her choice of music had some bearing on her becoming a tree-hugging hippie later in life. Look at Green Day now, they're commies! Hah. Just kidding. Of course, making songs about Americans - particularly conservative Americans - being idiots doesn't make you a commie. American Idiot is actually quite a good album, title song notwithstanding. Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Jesus of Suburbia are two standout songs from the CD, though Jesus tends to get bogged down in its length; Green Day is not a band that should delve often into Who-esque concept songs. But for what it is, its enjoyable. The title song, on the other hand, makes me laugh. That would be great if it were a novelty song, but it's supposed to be a serious commentary on the political climate of the day, I think. Witness this line: I'm not a part of a redneck agenda. And I think. Your name is Billie Joe. You look like this. It's funny 'cause it's true. So what album will I remember this election by? It's hard to say; I don't listen to whole albums much anymore, everything comes by way of Winamp and the shuffle button. 8,000 or so songs at my fingertip, everything from show tunes to angry German industrial metal. Well, we have been listening to Weezer's blue album a lot. DJ has taken a liking to it and he's determined to add every song on the playlist to his guitar repertoire. I'm telling you, it was a very proud parental moment for me when I heard him say to his friend, "You've never heard of Weezer? Oh my god, they are the Best. Band. EVER." I nearly cried with pride. So the other day I hear him trying to replicate the bass line from Only in Dreams. I can hear him softly singing along with the music. Well, I can hear him if I put my ear to his closed bedroom door. And then the music stops and I run into the laundry room so I don't get caught snooping on his singing. He finds me folding shirts. "Mom? That song is really sad. Like, when he says But when we wake, itís all been erased, and so it seems, only in dreams..." He pauses. Dramatic effect. "It makes me feel sad." Oh, honey, you don't know sad until you've listened to The Wretched in surround sound while reading the latest election polls. And there you have it. My admission for the day. Iím suffering from post-debate depression disorder. For the first time in this campaign, I feel like Kerry could actually win. That's put a knot in my stomach, the kind I haven't felt since I was in the throes of a love-soaked depression that made me crawl under the covers and listen to Stabbing Westward's Darkest Days for 48 hours straight. I'm not ready to drag out the post-modern wallowing in depression music just yet (I have Alice in Chains on stand-by), but I'm getting there. What I need is for someone to shoot me up with a hypodermic needle filled with hope. Which, as we know, dangles on a string, like slow, spinning redemption. Oh, lord. If the soundtrack to this election is going to be sung by Dashboard Confessional, we're in deep shit.

October 03, 2004

radio sidebar/halloween requests

I moved the radio to the sidebar, where it will hang out for a while. I also added a bunch of songs, some by request. Some of last night's songs are gone, I suppose you can only have so many songs in the lineup. I'm going to do a Halloween themed radio soon (hopefully I'll figure out how to get more songs in the list). Make your suggestions/requests in the comments. Difficulty: No novelty songs.

October Turkey

Ladies and Gentlemen, Al-Qaeda's number two leader Ayman al-Zawahiri: [via Allah, who obviously had the same thoughts on this as me]
Oh, young men of Islam, here is our message to you. If we are killed or captured, you should carry on the fight. Don't betray God and His Prophet. Don't wait for the American, British, French, South Korean, Hungarian and Polish forces to enter Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen and Algeria to start the resistance. "We should start the resistance from now. The interests of the Americans, English, Australian, French, Polish, Norwegian, South Korean and Japanese are everywhere. "All (these countries) participated in the occupation of Afghanistan or Iraq or Chechnya, or help Israel to survive.
I don't have the full transcript of his speech, but you get the gist of it. al-Zawahiri likes the pre-emptive strike idea so much, that he's using it for himself. His idea seems to be, "let's destroy the infidels before they can ever hope to eradicate radical Islam and our evil, murderous ways." Wouldn't it be a great thing if we caught - even killed - al-Zawahari before he could lead his band of thugs to make a pre-emptive strike on the U.S. or any of its allies or interests? On a terrorism level, it would be more important than capturing bin Laden. Zawahari is obviously leading the troops now. OBL is either dead or useless at this point. If we want to crush al Qaeda, we capture Zawahari. Capturing OBL would be important on a more cosmetic level. He is the face of terrorism, the man behind 9/11, a desipicable force hated by millions. While he may not be at the controls now and capturing him would not stop any events already in the planning stages, it would certainly be a victory for the United States and all of its citizens to see the man responsible for the death of 3,000 innocent people be brought to justice. Or killed. But would it? Would the capture of Zahawhari and/or bin Laden be cause for rejoice for everyone? I suppose that depends on when it happens. Say it happened today. Or sometime within the next 20 days.
..Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University, said the administration risks a backlash. "Producing a high-level al Qaeda leader would immediately invite suspicion about whether this person has been cooling his heels in a safe house some place," Baker said.
On a possible OBL capture before the elections, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said: "I think it would be outrageous, frankly, but you know, there's those kind of rumors out there." It would be outrageous if bin Laden were captured now. Not outrageous as in righteous, man. Outrageous as in outrage. And the possible future First Lady says: "I wouldn't be surprised if he appeared in the next month." I don't need to spell out to you what she meant by that. Go through any Democrat or leftist discussion board. They are terrified of a an "October Surpise" ruining the chances of their candidate. Terrified of bin Laden being captured. Imagine that. Take this idiot for example: "But a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack would be in Kerry's favor. This is because Bush has failed to support initiatives against non-proliferation, something Kerry strongly supports." In Kerry's favor? Is this how people are now judging the impact of a devastating attack on our country? How many people will be quietly saying "Yesssss!" if a biological attack occurs before the end of October? And don't tell me none. Do not insult my intelligence. You only have to read around a bit to know how true it is. Kerry at any cost. No, correct that. Bush out of the White House at any cost. That's how you explain the above idiocy spoken by that young college student. If, in the next two weeks, bin Laden was caught, Zawahiri killed and every insurgent in Iraq laid down their arms and declared their insurgency over, there would be a million tongues wagging the tale of the October Surprise, all mastered by that evil genius, Karl Rove. In Zawahiri we have a man who just issued a fatwa upon us. Yet capturing him would be seen as a bad thing to some people. Think about that. There are actually people worried right now that Zawahiri or OBL will be captured before November 2nd. While this guy is planning attacks against us, there are people who are crossing their fingers that he doesn't get caught because of what it will mean to "thier side." Maybe people like Albright and Heinz-Kerry need to be reminded that in this case, we should all be on the same side. If John Kerry himself were to march into Afghanistan right now, hunt down Zawahiri and kill him himself, I'd call him a hero. I still wouldn't vote for him, but he would be a freaking hero to me. If Bush were to do the same, some people would be dismayed. They'd start yelling about plastic turkeys. And that's all the capture of these men in the coming weeks would be to the anti-Bush crowd; a plastic turkey served to the American people. How very sad.

October 02, 2004

the return of asv radio: taking requests!

Some very random radio for you tonight. I took the first batch of random songs to pop up on my Winamp and threw them into the radio folder. Enjoy, and feel free to leave loved it/hated it comments. It's always interesting to see what other people think of the music you listen to. [Radio has been moved to the sidebar] I've included the words to Faith No More's RV below. If you have any requests, it's pretty easy for me to add a song in. If I have it, I'll add it. Backside melts into the sofa My world my TV and my food Besides listening to my belly gurgle There ain't much else to do Yeah, I sweat a lot Pants fall down everytime I bend over My feet itch Yeah - I married a scarecrow I hate you Talkin' to myself Everybody's staring at me I'm only bleedin' Someone taps me on the shoulder every 5 minutes No on speaks English anymore Would anybody tell me if I was getting stupider? I hate you Talkin' to myself You don't feel it after awhile You take the beating I'm a swingin' guy Throw a belt over the shower curtain rod And swing--- Toss me inside a hefty And put me in the ground A drink needs me I don't I ain't about to guzzle no tears So kiss my ass Newscasters, cockroaches, and desserts I hate you Talking to myself Everbody's staring at me I'm only bleeding Where are the kids? Maybe getting pregnant or on drugs or on welfare on top of the world on the honor roll on parole on the dodgers on the backs of milk cartons on stakes in the middle of cornfields on covers of future history books on old lady's mantles walkin' on water nailed on crosses I think it's time I had a talk with my kids I'll just tell 'em what my daddy told me YOU AIN'T NEVER GONNA AMOUNT TO NOTHIN

Dusting Off

Cryptic reference to what follows At 3:00 a.m. on Friday morning, during the most difficult week of her life, Charlotte decided to go running. Charlotte had never run before. She had run from things and run to things but she never felt the need to go just for the sake of going, to suit up in a cute little outfit like the rest of the neighborhood wonder women, perky tits straining through their t-shirts as they run around and around the block and around again just so they could come home and eat their way through a box of pop-tarts while they flipped the channels. So here she was at 3am, out the door and down the steps. She needed to move. To go. Not to lose weight, not to keep trim, but to keep herself from screaming. It was cold and drizzling. The streets and sidewalks were slick with wet leaves that looked like spun gold under the amber streetlights. A smashed pumpkin mingled with the leaves, its guts strewn about the street. Charlotte gave a small, sympathetic nod to the dead pumpkin and started to run. She was still in her boots, brown Doc Martens that she bought on sale at the flea market just last week, when her life wasnít so dramatic. The boots made an echoing stomp in the night as she pounded the sidewalk. With each stomp, Charlotte breathed out a ragged fuck you to every part of the past week. The questions, the lack of answers, the hovering sense of failure and the guilty sense of freedom. She ran faster, faster than she knew she was capable of. Her boots banged louder and harder and with each step she screamed to herself the words she had been thinking for four days but never uttered. Iím free. Bang. Iím free. Bang. Iím free. She reached the block and then Charlotte stopped short, swayed on her feet for a few seconds, and puked all over her boots. ---- Alternately: They never came back. He waited on the board for an hour, sunning himself and dipping his feet into the shallow water. The far side of the lake was far, indeed. He could make out some of the homes that were nestled in the hills, he could vaguely see where the lake ended, he could even - if he strained his eyes enough - spot the occasional gull or crow diving down for a quick dip. But he could see no kids, no heads, not a single human. He worried enough to get off the board and put his shoes on, aiming to trudge up the hill to the house, tell the grownups, and have someone drive around to the other side of the lake where they would all search for the boys and eventually find them running around in the open field, their faces dirty with blueberry stains, their feet filthy with dusty dirt.

And Three PSAs

One of my fave bloggers,Andrew Ian Dodge, has just published a new book, The Gathering Dark. From the publisher: bq. Andrew Ian Dodge writes in the Cthulhu mythos, and does so in a way that manages to please long time fans of Lovecraft while still engaging the modern reader... I know a lot of my readers like that genre, so go check it out. I'm going to buy a copy. Please go over and send your condolences to Chris Muir. And, don't forget the boobies. There's plenty of new photos up, so if you can spare some loose change for a great cause, head over there.

talkin' baseball

I have a couple of stories to tell you, but we've got to be at the baseball field in half an hour, so they'll have to wait. I just wanted to scroll that last post down a bit. I'm getting some weird emails. It's time for a repeat and what better time than the home stretch into the baseball playoffs then to repeat my favorite baseball story? Hopefully there's a few new readers out there who haven't seen this one yet, as it's one of those rare things I've written that I can read over again. a baseball story. [From March, 2003: A Baseball Story] Itís March and thoughts turn to baseball. When not thinking about war, that is, and who wants to think about war all day long? So, I have a baseball story for you. It was the summer of Ď86. I had gone back to college the previous spring after an extended hiatus. 21 credits crammed into one semester after not being in school for a while was exhausting, so I passed on taking any summer classes. I was working nights at the time and thought I would spend my summer days sleeping until noon and lounging around the house. And then my Dean made me an offer I couldnít refuse - a summer job that would entail driving to The Bronx every morning, not getting home until midnight most nights, working a few weekends, all for no pay except a few college credits. I almost laughed at him until he explained who I would be working for. The New York Yankees. Not as a hot dog vendor or ticket-taker. I would be working inside the vaunted walls of Yankee Stadium. Hell, I would have paid them> to let me have that job. I was to spend my days as an editorial assistant for Yankee Magazine, cropping pictures, proofreading stories and doing advertising layout for the magazine. At night, if the Yankees were on a homestand, I would stay for the games and run errands. If I wasnít needed I was welcome to stay for the games, anyhow. I spent a lot of time that humid summer in the cool confines of the archives room, poring through photos of Yogi Berra and Joe Dimaggio, reading scorecards from games played long ago and generally living in a baseball time warp. The room was stuffed to the gills with trophies and plaques and mementos of the greatest baseball team that ever existed. And here was all this history, all this fame right at my fingertips. Ticket stubs, game programs, yellowed articles and dusty photographs were my companions that summer. Each time I left the room - usually after a futile search for whatever memorabilia or picture I was sent there for as the room was incredibly unorganized - my fingers would be coated with dust and grime of the legacy of legends. I watched plenty of games from the press box. Sometimes I helped keep the scorecard, sometimes I just chatted with reporters or players who were on the injured list and joined the press to watch the game. I knew I had it made. I ate lunch in the third base seats, legs stretched out, sun beating down and Yankee Stadium seemingly to myself. I parked in the playerís lot, sometimes walking in with the players themselves. I was the original George Costanza. Late that August the pennant race was heating up and the summer nights were cooling down. I knew my days as a part of the New York Yankees staff were drawing to a close. In a way, I was relieved that I wouldnít have to make that miserable morning drive on the Grand Central anymore. But I hated give up the perks of a job where I mingled with Don Mattingly and had my name in Yankee Magazine. It was close to my last night there when I was invited to watch a game from the General Managerís office. There I was, in this huge office full of baseball impresarios, sharing drinks and glad-handing each other. I stood quivering in the corner, too overwhelmed by the presence of baseball greats to move out of the spot. One of the employees I had become friends with over the summer grabbed me and dragged me over to the huge picture window that overlooked the playing field of Yankee Stadium. I was watching the game from an office behind home plate, surveying the game as if I owned the team. I looked at the outfield bleachers where I had sat so many times before. I was mesmerized. My friend excused himself to go get a drink and I stayed at the window, watching the game. Then a voice from beside me, ďGreat view, isnít it?Ē I looked up to see Mickey Mantle standing beside me, grinning. I nodded, unable to speak. Me and Mickey, watching a Yankee game from the office above home plate. That, my friends, is a King of the World moment. ----------

October 01, 2004

Equal Time For Male Appendages

This post allows me to keep with my Friday Fun vow, but at the same time address a political issue. Dave emails with this burning question: bq. Is there a correlation between a man's political affiliation and the side he "dresses" to, i.e., which side of his zipper his package goes or which way his member points when he's naked and not erect. For the record, Dave's appendage points to the left, as does his ideology. So let it all hang out, so to speak. Guys, does your thing swing the same way as your politics? [ I do NOT want any pictures with proof.] Update: It's disturbing me that I don't find the idea of all my male readers suddenly looking down their pants, well, disturbing. I'm going to regret this. I know.

Hey, it's Friday

I am in a foul, black cloud, fire breathing mood today. It's best that I stay away from rants lest I say things I may regret. Or do things you may regret. So let's just have some fun and maybe we can all stay out of trouble. Battle the ASV monkey, beeyotches.
is a
Broccoli-Eating Kung-Fu Monkey

...with a Battle Rating of 8.2

To see if your Food-Eating Battle Monkey can
defeat asv, enter your name:


Now that I have your attention, I'd like to remind you that the boobiethon starts today. Please, please link this on your site. It's a good cause with some nice side benefits for those boobie-loving folks who donate. My boobies will make an appearance before it's over.

Recounting the Debate with Baseball on my Mind

It's October 1st, people. Even though it's just 32 days before the election, baseball is heavy on my mind. For some of us lucky fans, October is Baseball Month. Was my president as triumphant as my baseball team? No, not at all. But neither was his opponent. Neither one clinched the division with this one, although some Bush haters (who can be as rabid as Yankee haters) would have you think otherwise. Atrios, who I see as the Johnny Damon of the blogosphere (that would mean hated by everyone but his sycophant fans), had an open thread titled Goodbye George Edition. Goodbye? So very cocky. That's like a Red Sox fan saying "Yankees suck, we're gonna kick your ass!" while they're still five games out of first. I don't see how the Kerry fans (or anti-Bush crowd, depending on your view) can call this a decisive, sweeping, grand, overwhelming, election grabbing win for their candidate. And let me make this statement here before I go any further: Bush did not win the debate. But he did not lose, either. Stay with me. Most people have called it a draw by now and I tend to agree. I can't see eye to eye with the Bush voters who declared a victory any more than I can agree with the Kerry supporters that he rounded the bases and tagged home. If you want to insist Kerry hit a home run, then it was an inside-the-park job, one that let Kerry reach the plate only because the fielders were too slow to react. There's a big difference between that and slamming a bat-cracker into the upper deck. Here's the thing about this debate - the important thing. It's not going to change a single mind. Neither candidate will see a bounce in the polls. In fact, it's a good bet that at the water cooler today people will be talking about the Yankees or The Apprentice, and if they are talking about the debate, the conversation will revolve around John Kerry's tan or George Bush's smirk. It's not that people don't care about issues; they do. I just don't think that anyone besides self-described pundits (self included) and the die hards of either candidate's camp would bother to watch the whole thing. And if they are relying on the media to tell them who won, they're going to come up with a tie. That's the great thing about baseball. No ties. There's always a clear winner. Maybe they should have the media sit in the front row of the debate with scorecards (much like this one). Then we could know immediately how the debate was scored and, if there is a tie, we could force the opponents into a shoot out. Maybe throw them U.S. History questions in rapid succession. Or see who could balance a pencil on their nose the longest. It would certainly be more interesting than listening to things we've heard a thousand times before. I'm going to concede something that will drive some of my readers crazy: I do not think John Kerry sucked. While I still don't want him as my president, I'm not going to light myself on fire if he wins. Look at it this way: He's still the Red Sox to me, and not the Mets. I could deal with the Sox winning the World Series some day. But if the Mets won, I would set myself on fire. Al Gore is the Mets in this analogy, by the way. So maybe it wasn't a draw, after all. Kerry needed to be Bernie Williams last night, to walk up to the podium and knock one the hell out of there. It wasn't just a home run. It was the Yankees' 100th win of the season. It clinched their seventh AL East title in a row and it was the teams' 241st home run of the season, setting a franchise record. It was also their 61st comeback win of the season. And that's what Kerry needed. An extraordinary win. The onus is always on the team who's playing catch up and sometimes a win is not just enough. You need a decisive win to give you the momentum you so desire to carry you through the playoffs. I don't think the champagne flowed in the Kerry clubhouse last night. That's not to say the Bush clubhouse was celebratory. They have to know they were lucky to get out of Miami with Kerry having scored a whimper rather than a bang. Sometimes you just have to wait until the morning after to tally up your runs, hits and errors. You review the boxscore and think, well that wasn't as bad as it seemed last night. Maybe that wasn't an error after all. Maybe that ball I thought was foul was really fair. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Unlike baseball, the umps can change the calls in debates. The media can spin a play this way or that and a fan or player can go crazy from reading all the different takes. Sometimes, you just turn to your teammates and say, be honest, how did I do? Well, it's gotta suck when your manager is caught on tape saying that you kissed your sister. Some people will call a tie a loss for Kerry, a victory for Bush. I'm not sure about that. I think at tie is just that, a tie. The standings stay the same. Perhaps it was a moral victory for Kerry, in that he proved he could look presidential at times. I don't see how the Bush haters (not so much the Kerry fans, I'm talking about people that will go see a team that's playing the Yankees just so they can yell Yankees Suck!) can be doing a victory dance. The champagne bottles have uncorked themselves over at Atrios's place. Kerry may have "won," but it wasn't decisive enough to be called anything more than a tie. Bush needs to shore up his defense and maybe work on his swing a bit before the next debate. And Kerry needs to practice going for the long ball. If he swings for the seats instead of the outfield the next time, the maybe his fans can start doing the Tomahawk chop. No matter how you slice it, this series is going to be close. I'm hoping that Bush can smack a few long balls to put a little distance between himself and Kerry. It all comes down to which guy will be Mr. October. My money is still on my favorite team and I'll be wearing the jersey and waving my team flag around until the fat lady sings. It's still my impression -and my hope - that when that lady does sing, it will be a farewell song to Senator Kerry, but I'm a stalwart when it comes to these things. This Monday Morning Quarterback is going to read the boxscore again. Sometimes, as I'm doing now, you can see the performance of your team in a different light by studying the card. I may not feel triumphant today, but I don't feel like my team lost, either. --- Allah has a massive round up of blogpsheric reaction.

Seven in a Row