Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Monkey to Man

A new study shows why Republicans are so eager to side with those who don't believe in evolution:

"Karthik Panchanathan, a UCLA graduate student whose study appears in Nature, says, 'Our study offers an explanation of why people tend to contribute to the public good, like keeping the streets clean. Those who play by the rules and contribute to the public good will be included and outcompete freeloaders.' This finding--at least in part--may help explain the evolutionary roots of altruism and human anger in the face of uncooperative behavior."

Forget about those evolutionary roots of altruism. Us Christians take our Bible at face value, even if we ignore the parts that write about Christ (we only accept Mel's Jesus porn-o-pain). God told us, through that servant he talks to in the White House, to stick with that "eye for an eye" revenge idea as a way to live and forget that mamby-pamby, Democratic to the point of being French "turn the other cheek" and "don't judge lest ye be judged" stuff.

The Long, Long Trailer

One of the best things about going to the movie theater is the coming attractions, since we all like to look forward to things (in addition to 2008). When done right trailers are things of beauty, little mini-films unto themselves. I’m thinking, for example, of the one for Blood Simple, in which it doesn’t matter that THE WHOLE PICTURE WOULD JUST BLOW AWAY IF ANYONE EVER ACTUALLY SAID ANYTHING TO ANOTHER CHARACTER or that some of the camera movements are just show-off trickery, for here the trickery is its own point and the motivation of misunderstanding is less frustrating (and let’s face it, weird angles, hyper-quick traveling shots and rack focus are fun, not to mention things you can’t do with your human eyes without drawing attention of the law). Blood Simple’s trailer is set to a crawl of a famous Hitchcock quote—“It is very difficult, and very painful, and it takes a very, very long time...to kill someone”—and really proves the point in a more kinetic way than the entire film does.

Then there’s the trailer for Albert Brooks’ Mother, a movie I like because I have one. (A mother, not a movie. No further comment.) In the trailer we get none of the film, but we do get Brooks’ on the phone from the Paramount lot supposedly talking to his real mother about the film, and she is incredulous he’s allowed to make any film, even getting him to say at one point, “Yes, the Paramount, mother.” It certainly gets his point across. Not that anyone should ever laugh at mothers anywhere.

Or there are the trailers for the Pink Panther series, where we watch the animated Pink Panther integrated with scenes from the films. Inventive, different, charming, and not voiced by the current Mr. Mellifluous Tones who does the v-o for 83% of the trailers in Hollywood.

It seems today as if trailers are mostly made by the Cuisinart in Michael Bay’s kitchen—blurs of noise and cut so fast you can’t quite make sense of any single moment (they should almost include warnings for epileptics in the audience). It’s as if the selling point is to stun you, so you have to come to the movie hoping to get re-combobulated. It’s kind of like the Republicans approach to the election—show the wolves ad, have Dastardly Dick say “boogah, boogah” a couple of times, hype us up and then promise a pay-off later.

So I was intrigued by the Lemony Snicket trailer the other day. From what you can see, the film looks great, which any mood piece must, as if its shot in an age before people thought interior light was a valuable thing, and so even the outside world was somehow dimmed. The sets are clever, but not fussed over to the point of Terry Gilliam “I've thought it all for you”-ness. The kids all have picture-perfect faces (Emily Browning, as Violet, could be Shannen Doherty’s little sister, all of the charm and none of the Satan’s School for Girls and Starlets). Jude Law’s voice-over as Lemony Snicket is deliciously droll, warning us away.

Alas, it turns out we should run. For all this nifty set-up gets us to, as he is announced, “Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey and Jim Carrey.” I know Count Olaf is a crushingly untalented thespian, but we might have the new classic example of the mimetic fallacy—can a bad actor play a bad actor? What if there’s at least 2, more likely 3, Jim Carreys too many? Truly an unfortunate event that the madly mugging fool has to hit the scene. I guess if nothing else it will solidify everyone’s empathy for the poor Baudelaire orphans.

OK, so it’s ultimately not the trailer that’s the problem, it’s the casting. But wasn’t that fun, to start one place and end another? See what the lure of the tale and tease can do? Sigh.

A Bit of Intellectual T-Ball

Somehow this post from yesterday vanished from the blog. Here it is again. And the lesson for all you young bloggers out there is--never write in the WYSIWIG editor.

Going after a local Santa Barbara sports columnist is kind of the equivalent of inviting the President to a nuclear pronouncing contest, but I can’t help myself. I realize a writer for the Santa Barbara News-Press isn’t even at the lofty heights of the LA Times’ snippy, insightless T.J. Simmers, or Bill Plaschke, who can’t mention Paul DePodesta without making some anti-intellectual crack that must play well to the few red voters in the very blue Los Angeles. But News-Press writer Nick Masuda has driven me nuts for a couple of years (in two different tenures—they hired this guy back after he reviewed a band and called its performance “awesome”!), and now the paper has granted him a baseball column.

To his credit, he does want to make his column interactive, but you can only write him a 60 word email, so he obviously doesn’t want you to have too big a thought (that would stand out in his work). So I think I’ll have sport with him here, and move on.

This Sunday he opens his column by berating Dodger GM Paul DePodesta for not making any moves yet this off-season. Considering the ridiculous moves and money other GMs have tossed in the crapper (Omar Vizquel for 3 years and $12.25 million? Does he have to trade in some of his old Gold Gloves? And the one that really hurts the most, my Mets, under new management but the same old foolhardy plan, sign Kris Benson to a three-year, $22.5 million contract—does that includes getting Anna Benson to pose as the new Mrs. Met?), so far this off-season, some restraint seems a good thing.

I have to admit Masuda has a point that inking Adrian Beltre of the endless talent that’s shown up for one year of MVP performance (in a contract year, natch) to a huge contract might not be the best deal for the Dodgers. But his alternate plan comes from the “Being a GM is No Different than Running a Rotisserie Team” school of blowing it out your ass. His idea: sign Carlos Delgado and Troy Glaus to cover both first and third. This assumes much: 1) that Glaus’ post-surgery shoulder can handle third without the DH position to give it a rest, 2) that Delgado is fully back from all his injuries, and, at age 33 next season, isn’t a classic sure-to-age-quickly slow slugger, 3) that the Dodgers budget can go up the $60 million Masuda thinks it would take to sign both. (Note a Baseball Prospectus article today, based on actual number crunching, not smart ass hunching, imagines that Delgado and Glaus will sign for a combined $17 million a year for next season alone, with Beltre at about $12 million—I would link, but the story is on the subscription site.)

Oh, then Masuda concludes claiming the Dodgers should “still be able to sign a pitcher or two.” Remember that the entire 2004 Dodger payroll was almost $93 mil. Masuda has them spending a good $80 mil more in one off-season (sure, that’s over years of several contracts, but still).

Maybe I’m being huffy simply because Masuda seems unconcerned with assuming that signings involve real money, and that players have to be able to play a position, and that you should pay guys not for what they’ve done, but what they will do (especially when you’re signing them from another club—I certainly can see the Giants thinking they owe Bonds a few dollars, say). But he also doesn’t seem willing to have a consistent logic in his own writing from sentence to sentence—it’s like his paragraphs are waiting for the rhetorical Ritalin to kick in. Get a load of this whopper:
“The Red Sox won the World Series because they were a rag-tag bunch that liked to play together. They had a plethora of stars that just wanted one thing—a ring.”

How about that rag-tag plethora of stars? Sure they looked rag-tag, starting with lead-off sartorial satirist Johnny “What Would Jesus’ Hair-Do?” Damon, but they got paid a combined $127 mil in 2004, so those World Series rings didn’t actually mean they took pay cuts. They made a mid-year trade and got Doug Spell-Check-Crasher, the AL Central champ Twins’ starting first baseman, and made him a defensive sub. In another mid-year trade they acquired Dave Roberts, the opening day leftfielder for the NL West champ Dodgers, so he could be the late-inning legs for Manny Ramirez, who must get weak at the knees taking his $22.5 mil 2004 salary to the bank. Ask Masuda, though, and the Sox were Washington’s men at Valley Forge and the Red Birds standing in for the Red Coats. He needs to get beyond that myth that the only teams that win are in it for “fun” and succeed because they get along so well. Instead it’s more likely that there’s no fun like winning.

Not to make this the longest blog entry about someone no one has ever heard about (all apologies to Nick’s parents who probably hate seeing their son turned into a straw man), but I have to discuss when he takes a question from a 76 year-old who writes in a prose that suggest he sports mutton-chops and attends day games in his straw hat: “What is the most difficult position in the infield excluding the battery? I feel the keystone sack is the most difficult and takes a lot of finesse.”

Masuda goes on to say, of course, that first base is the toughest position.

First base.

My wife, who I admit, has to listen to me spout way-too-much Bill James/BP-influenced chatter year-round, knows enough to say shortstop.All the way back in 1988—when Masuda, who looks about 27 from his picture, was as yet a pre-teen and should have been reading this stuff—Bill James explained the defensive spectrum:

[ - - 1B - LF - RF - 3B - CF - 2B - SS - C - - ]With the basic premise being that positions at the right end of the spectrum are more difficult than the positions at the left end of the spectrum. Players can generally move from right to left along the spectrum successfully during their careers.

That is, when you’re slow and old and can’t really field, you end up at first. C’mon, Nick, this is basic knowledge and more or less common sense if you watch baseball. Sure, it’s great to have a Keith Hernandez in his prime saving infielders from errors, but it’s better to have a shortstop that gets to the groundball up the middle in the first place. Find the best pure athlete on the field. How many of them are first basemen? Case closed.

So, my advice for Masuda? Read up on the folks who know what’s really going on baseball and don’t think it’s all chemistry or effort or selflessness or giving oneself up for the team. There’s plenty of Bill James out there and Baseball Prospectus has a website. You owe it to your readers to know what you write about--you're not just some boor in a bar spouting off. People paid money to read the paper you're in. Otherwise you’re just some sub-Jim Rome, and you end up having a take and sucking, both.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Titular Truths

I really am not one to blog, no buts about it. Didn't even turn on the computer for two days. And it felt good.

Don't worry, you regular readers (both of you). Once I actually work some more at work, there will be more fun to come.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Girl, You're Going to Carey that Weight

Realizing she most likely has shot her career wad as Mariah Carey, the patron saint of American Idol over-emoters everywhere has opted to change her name in an effort to trick fans into buying her new CD The Emancipation of Mimi.

“Mimi is a very personal nickname only used by those closest to me... just one of those little things that I’ve kept for myself in an attempt to have some delineation between a public persona and a private life,” Carey explains on her Web site. She goes on to explain that since she has had very public breakdowns that most of us would want to keep private, it's OK if a few million of us call her Mimi. As long as we buy her new CD.

INOTBB looks forward to Mimi's duet with Gene Simmons.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Your Mind Is on Vacation (But Your Voters Are Working Overtime)

For many years pundits opined that Americans liked divided government--a Democrat in the White House and a Republican-controlled House, say--as they felt it provided yet another sense of checks and balances, assuming that the extreme tendencies of either party would get cancelled out.

Well, Americans have recently gone themselves one better. Now we seem to believe it's best to vote for a government that holds positions and will fight for policy that we don't agree with ourselves so we can get cancelled out. The New York Times report on the latest Times/CBS News poll claims: "Americans are at best ambivalent about Mr. Bush's plans to reshape Social Security, rewrite the tax code, cut taxes and appoint conservative judges to the bench. There is continuing disapproval of Mr. Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, with a plurality now saying it was a mistake to invade Baghdad in the first place."

However, the poll also showed that Americans did like the color ties Mr. Bush chooses to wear, believe Colin Powell "wasn't that scary for a black man," are pleased as punch that the Bushes took in Miss Beazley to pal around with Barney, and that many plan on deep-frying their Thanksgiving turkeys indoors in small apartments while decorating flammable artificial Christmas trees.

Pet Sights

And the latest from IMDB, that manure for bloggers everywhere:

"Kill Bill star Uma Thurman is solidifying her romance with hotelier Andre Balazs by purchasing a New York state mansion with him. The lovebirds, who got together after Thurman's marriage to Ethan Hawke crumbled, have purchased the former Hudson Valley estate of Penthouse magazine founder Bob Guccione."

While not as infamous as Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion, the Penthouse Estate is well-known for its many cosmetic improvements and that passersby can spy both the front and back door from the street.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Can't Spell Detroit without R-O-T

According to AP reports:

"Camden, New Jersey has been named the nation's most-dangerous city, snatching the top spot from Detroit, according to a company's annual ranking based on crime statistics. Officials in Camden, which was ranked third last year, downplayed the dubious designation Sunday, saying many steps have already been taken to reduce crime in the city."

Reports claim a beer thrown from Detroit has just hit Camden mayor Gwendolyn Faison in the chest.

The Greeks Had a Word for Them

It seems that those gay marriage bans also work retroactively. This just in from IMDB:

"The makers of Collin Farrell's upcoming epic Alexander are facing the threat of lawsuit, for claiming warrior Alexander The Great was bisexual. A group of furious Greek lawyers insist the legendary conqueror was heterosexual, and they're now looking into suing film studio Warner Bros and director Oliver Stone for claims to the contrary....[Yannis] Varnakos [spokeseman for the lawsuit] says that Stone has the right to freely express himself - but the audience has the right to know the director is tampering with history. He adds, 'We cannot come out and say that (former US) President John F. Kennedy was a shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team and so Warner cannot come out and say Alexander was gay.'"

Well, duh, the Lakers didn't move to Los Angeles until 1960, and JFK clearly wasn't playing for them while he was president. You do have to hand it to Varnakos for claiming that Kennedy was a scoring guard, though.

In a related story, a representative for a group of Neanderthals are threatening to sue Hanna-Barbera for insinuating that Fred and Barney "were more than just friends" in several episodes of The Flintstones. Neanderthal spokesman Stu P. Denda claims, "C'mon, everyone knows what it means when you and your best friend share a troublesome Great Gazoo."

Arms and the Minaya

This just seen in an ESPN article about free agent Carl Pavano:
"We haven't really had any extensive dialogue yet because Omar's been busy trying to get his arms around the Mets," Scott Shapiro, Pavano's agent, said.

Omar Minaya, the Mets new G.M., repsonded, "As I try to get my arms around the Mets, I am deeply grateful that the Mo Vaughn contract expired last season."

Here's hoping Minaya's "arm-arounding" doesn't start those Mike Piazza rumors again.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Tuned V. 1. No. 4: "The Day John Henry Died," Drive-By Truckers

found on Drive-By Trucker’s The Dirty South (2004)

Tuned In:
What is it about writers that make us want to muck the simple up? Here I am, taking as straightforward a song as “The Day John Henry Died” and feeling the need to explain it, tart it up into something I can then peddle on the street. I’s probably not even the best cut on a strong, if overlong, album (at least one Buford Pusser song too many, and the inveterate Blue State of My Mind can’t connect with the NASCAR lament). But I feel drawn to write about it. Maybe it’s like folks coming back again and again (or is that agin and agin?) to the John Henry myth itself—we need to put into our own words the things that speak to us so we can speak with that much weight, for at least a few sentences of our lives.

It’s a song about guitars (no shit, George, it’s the Drive-By Truckers); there’s a fullness to the zip, a kind of inevitability to their tasty edges, sharp and unruly like the fray ends of speaker cables. It’s a song about dynamics, especially in the drums, which drop in and out, always at likely times, but that lets them lift-off when all-out bashed; the song is bathed in what I want to call an over-ride cymbal at times. It’s a song about a buoyant bass, adding to the railroad thump, but also underlining the lyrics, leaving surprising spaces at times big enough to run a locomotive through.

It’s got a story to re-tell, so it’s a song about its words. DBT ignore the racial issues and turn John Henry into the prototype worker in a world that ignores its corpses whether they get the job done or not:

It didn’t matter if he won, if he lived, or if he’d run.
They changed the way his job was done. Labor costs were high.

Jason Isbell sings as if he’s negotiated a tenuous handshake deal between resigned and determined—it’s a worker’s voice. At times a follow vocal adds depth, the answer echoing back from the end of the railroad tunnel. That sonic light gets shined especially on the two what-pass-for-choruses, which stop the ballad verses for morals:

When John Henry was a little bitty baby nobody ever told him how to read
But he knew the perfect way to hold a hammer was the way the railroad barron held the deed.


John Henry was a steel-driving bastard but John Henry was a bastrad just the same.
An engine never thinks about his daddy and an engine never needs to write its name.

The guitars ring a bit more at the close, which eventually ends cold, refuses to fade. It seems like a possible moment for something wild, but guitar catharsis is denied as it would recast the song. Not only John Henry dies—no one gets out alive.

Tuned Out:
Perhaps one of my fascinations with this song is it gives me one more reason to pitch Colson Whitehead’s brilliant mess of a novel John Henry Days. It’s one of those books of late that is more respected than read, which is a shame, for few books of the last 10 years say so much about the as-yet racially screwed up, much-too-media-driven, yet worth saving America of ours, let alone do all that and make you laugh. (I guess there’d be no other way to do it or the book would never be read.)

Whitehead not only takes us through the perhaps mythical, perhaps real story of the famous steel-driving John Henry but also tells the tale of J. Sutter, an African-American journalist (or junketeer, as he puts it) covering the inaugural John Henry Days at Talcott, West Virginia, a tchotchke-choked fest that also celebrates the release of the John Henry stamp. Then there are numerous detours through history, from Tin Pan Alley to Altamont. Then there’s language so thick it parallels what a friend responded to in painting—she wanted to lick a Van Gogh. But the ultimate point is we all live John Henry Days, where labor is cheap, meaning uncertain, everything available for a song.

Go find it in a bookstore and read the chapter pp. 323-337 if you want a tour-de-force sure to sell you on the book. It’s a party and everyone is there, so it’s New York, it’s 300 channels of cable and everything and nothing on, it’s the internet that puts the hyper into links. It’s devastating and delirious. And parts of it go like this:

They had gathered in a club called Glasnost to partake of the spread, the panoply of bite-sized widgets laid out by the publisher of Godfrey Frank’s A Chiropodist in Pangea, a fifteen-hundred-page grimoire of mysterious content that would debut in a few days on the New York Times best-seller lists. There was some question as to whether it would be categorized as fiction or non-fiction. Someone had to finish it first.


He quoted French theorists who liked to inflate helpless nouns with rhetorical gases until they burst into italics, and did some inflating of his own.


The just last week stomach stapled felt something give. The fond of comparing every civic discomfort to the days of Nazi Germany complained about alternate side of the street parking. The hypocritical said they would never do such a thing.


They came here. They came because their empty and periodically disinfected apartments slurred threats at them, malevolent tides seeped from tight carpet moss or between wooden floorboards, and the original wood at that. They came because they heard good things, there was a good buzz, and it was the worst thing they could imagine to be shut out, to be one of the anonymous shapeless out there banging on the castle walls. They came because it kept the hate away, but most of all they checked out their chipped bodies in mirrors, inspected the bits that had fallen away and came here because they thought tonight might be the night of the transfiguration, that sidereal maneuverings up above might allow that the thing in the center of the universe to see them for the first time and it might love them, unclip the bowing velvet rope and accept them into itself. But it wasn’t going to happen.

Listen to the opening of "The Day John Henry Died."

(Getting Out from) Under Tom's Thumb

The always spot-on Charles Pierce truly nails it in his letter to Eric Alterman today:
This is not a time for triangulation, not a time to cut off our own slice of rotten beef and serve it up as chateaubriand. The next four months are crucial because it's the only chance the D's have to keep the ducks from being put in a row. You may recall Contingency Plan A, briefly summarized as:


Here's what I'd like to see. The entire Democratic caucus of the House of Representatives simply refuses to go to work as long a Tom DeLay is Majority Leader. Deny a quorum. Get your best parliamentarian and tie the place in knots.
Sell the hell out of the fact that the House Republicans just used the rules of the institution as a getaway car. Go to Texas and pose with Ronnie Earle. But, under no circumstance, do anything of substance until the Tiny Little Hammer is deposed.

If only.

Curses, Foiled Again

Nigel for Dog Blog Friday. This time both the photo and the caption are from the talented and creative Amy. Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Get On Your Knees and Prey

"God doesn't kill people?"

"How old are you kid?"

Just some of the choice dialogue from this bitterly funny short film Timmy's Wish. Wait till you see who delivers those lines.

P.S. Do not, I beg you, do not give my mother the URL to this blog.

Ahem for Arnold

It figures it would take a former Mr. Universe to be strong enough to bend the supreme law of this land to his own ends. But that is, of course, what some of Arnold Schwarzenegger's fans are trying to help him do by amending the constitution so he, oh, I mean any foreign born U.S. citizen, can run for president.

It does seem certain that Arnold would make a terrific presidential candidate. Just a year in office, and he's already setting fundraising records, despite insisting he was above all that when he ran for office. Indeed, he actually belittled Gray Davis for his endless fundraising, perhaps the too-aptly-named Gray's only political trick. In a season when we saw Bush and Kerry raise a staggering $777 million to vie for the White House, it's clear Arnold might have the most necessary skill to lead our country.

As a side note, how come so few people have discussed the obvious--Bush raised the most cash, $42 million more than Kerry, and he won the election. Politics seems pretty simple that way.

Exterminating Justice without Delay

The Republicans have moved beyond attacking activist judges, and now are after activist district attorneys. That's the only way to comprehend the so-called DeLay rule, which, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, will allow the "powerful majority leader, Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, to keep his post if he is indicted on state corruption charges stemming from a fund-raising scandal that has already involved three of his associates." That is, it's fine when you're in power to De-Lay justice. (Can you imagine how bundled Republican undies would have gotten if Clinton ever did something like this?)

But, the Republicans are the party of morality. Even though discussing their moral sense reminds me of the exchange in Paper Moon, when con man Ryan O'Neal says to his daughter Tatum, "I've got scrupples, do you know what scrupples are?" and she replies, "I don't know, but if you've got them, I bet they once belonged to someone else."

INOTBB's crack research team has also learned that, just like former Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall, who changed his name from Peter LaCock to further his legitimate show biz career (that is, if hosting a game show is a step up from starring in porn), Congressman DeLay also changed his name. Once upon a time he was a much more forward Tom DeScrew. Rumor has it he will revert to the old name when he has a college named after him--DeScrew U.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I Complain Multitudes

It’s easy for me to go Whitmanesque with worry. There’s my penchant to turn suddenly Christian Scientist when it comes to my own health (“that rash on my toe doesn’t itch or hurt and hasn’t grown—what good is going to the doctor?”), which mostly stems from the belief diagnosis can only be bad. (Actually, I did finally go to the dermatologist for the toe rash, only for him to crinkle his nose as if to say, “This won’t kill you. I’ve got melanoma patients to treat. Get serious.”)

When the greyhounds act under the weather (and we live where the weather is more or less perfect), I feel ill, too, which is kind of a blessing, for at least I can vocalize what’s wrong. I mean there’s nothing as depressing as a dog full of life force like Nigel acting down in the dumps and you can't figure out why. At least I can discuss my pain, whether psychical or physical.

Today I lament for my car, which will start, but dies when I take my foot from the gas. It’s as if the car is tempting me with a non-stop life. Instead of living as if red lights were suggestions, which is the way the world seems to be going anyway, I opted to have the car towed to my garage. And now I sit a-fretting. I know nothing about cars, or how things work in general, having inherited none of my dad’s engineering acumen (or I turned my back on such skills when I rejected his politics, etc., as if it all came bundled like car accessories that the dealers make you buy in too large gulps). When I open the hood of a car I’m equally nonplussed by finding an engine, a wheel powered by hamsters, or a glowing green ball of magic energy. Oh, to be plussed by mechanics.

So despite having gone agnostic about a super-power above, I must believe in a god named Tim at SwedeMasters.

Blanche, Did You Know We've Got Rats in the Chevy?

They warned us the next terrorist attack could strike in the heartland, but I never dreamed of a something as dastardly as this!

Tom Ridge better gets his butt to Oklahoma and start sweeping up those nuts.

Baby's Got Back, Or Wait Till I Towel Off

You might have heard about the latest morals furor. Nope, not that a female hostage was assassinated in Iraq. Not that U.S. troops might be killing wounded, unarmed Iraqis.

Nicollette Sheridan from ABC's Desperate Housewives dropped a towel and you could see her naked back! Before Monday Night Football!

Egad, like the guys who watch MNF want to see a sexy woman! Really all football fans want is bone-crunching action. After all, Joe Theismann had his leg snapped like a Thanksgiving turkey's wishbone on MNF. Now that's good clean entertainment.

That this promo occurred before a Eagles-Cowboys game is only more delicious, given Dallas is America's team mostly because every Danny, Donny and Dick wants to do Dallas cheerleaders.

And I have to wonder if the roar isn't so upped because Sheridan jumped into the arms of Terrell Owens at the segment's end. If she were just naked, the moralists among us might live with it. But the races mixing, that's left for the left-wing sickos who read degenerates like Faulkner to contemplate. (Don't bring up Strom Thurmond--it's just like the left to defame the dead.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Cat's in the Bag and the Bag's in the River

So, Condi, if you replace a Colin, does that make you a colostomy?

Only when you're a lying sack of sh**.

Why Don't We Do It in the Road

Onward Christian soldiers. First it was Saving Private Ryan. Then it was Kinsey. Now it's a highway (to hell, no doubt).

You can't make stuff like this up (OK, you can: see note below). I guess Beavis and Butthead were Christians. And how they all snickered when they heard: "They hung him on a cross of wood," heh heh, "and 40 days later he rose from the dead," he heh, and George Carlin's old favorite "and the cock crowed three times."

Kudos to the headline writer, though: "Hostettler mounting campaign to change the name of Interstate 69."

Later in the day update:
Oops! Trust a likeable floozy like Wonkette and see where you end up: seems like this article is a joke to begin with. Silly me--I wouldn't put anything past the state that gave us Dan Quayl +/- an "e."

Monday, November 15, 2004

What's the Buzz, Tell Me What's a Happening

The latest from IMDB:

"Producer Neal Moritz (The Fast and the Furious) is planning a remake of the 1959 William Castle-directed horror film The Tingler for Columbia Pictures, the Hollywood Reporter reported today (Monday). The original film, starring Vincent Price, was a spine tingler in a very literal sense, as Castle introduced a gimmick he called "Percepto" in which selected theater seats were rigged with a vibrator. Whenever a scream occurred on the soundtrack, the projectionist would set off the vibrators, producing additional screaming in the audience. Castle assembled a crew that traveled the country to rig up the theater seats. There was no word whether Moritz intends to do the same."

There was also no word as to whether Castle's assembled crew remained to clean off the seats. Rumor has it that Moritz does have a client very interested in product placement for the remake.

Crazy Jackalope Eye

It's all about the Blogosphere, the following story about our new government by one party, of one party, for one party:

"The [CIA] is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

There's a word in German for what Goss and Bush & Co. are hunting for at the CIA. It's Wolperdinger.

You've Seen the Picture, Now Read the Caption

The truly fun Santa Barbara site Edhat has a dog of the week feature and Mookie is the highlight of this week's calendar.

Friday, November 12, 2004

No Death or Sex, Please, We're American

You’ve probably already heard that more than 20 ABC affiliates opted not to air the Veterans’ Day broadcast of Saving Private Ryan last night. Why? According to the AP story: “Ray Cole, president of Citadel Communications, cited recent FCC actions [namely fines levied on Janet Jackson’s nipple and Bono’s f-bomb] and last week's re-election of President Bush as reasons for replacing Saving Private Ryan on Thursday with a music program and the TV movie Return to Mayberry.”

I guess the idea of showing soldiers getting violently killed, even WW II soldiers in a fiction film, is just too much for TV in the Bush Era to bear. We certainly wouldn't want anyone to have a mental flash Falluja while watching the gruesome D-Day recreation. It’s also very interesting to note that “Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning movie aired on ABC with relatively little controversy in 2001 and 2002, but station owners -- including several in large markets -- are unnerved that airing it Thursday could bring federal punishment.” Bush & Co. (motto: “You can’t spell Big Business without US, and that’s us, not U.S.”) haven’t even been re-inaugurated yet, and the chill is on. Federal punishment is censorship, folks. And rumor has it the next Attorney General finds justice without a tiny bit of torture quaint.

Then there’s today’s story that the Religious “Right” has a new bogeyman. The amazing wire story opens: “Indignant conservative groups are protesting this week's opening of the film Kinsey, denouncing it as propaganda seeking to glorify the researcher they blame for inspiring the sexual revolution.

‘Alfred Kinsey is responsible in part for my generation being forced to deal face-to-face with the devastating consequences of sexually transmitted diseases, pornography and abortion,’ said Brandi Swindell, head of a college-oriented group called Generation Life that plans to picket theaters showing the film.”

Sorry, Brandi, but I can’t figure out how to make a heart to dot the “i" in your name like I’m sure you do. I’m also sorry that you’ve got your head up your ass. Lord knows that prior to Alfred Kinsey no one got VD, all those Victorian smut photos were actually clothed and every fetus was brought to full term. Talk about kill the messenger.

Of course, the Religious “Right” doesn’t believe the message. According to them, humans don’t have sexual urges, let alone any that can’t be satisfied in a position other than the one named after the folks Christians sent to the native heathens to screw, I mean convert, them.

The AP story gets worse when it quotes Focus on the Family’s reviewer Tom Neven who writes, “To say that it is rank propaganda for the sexual revolution and the homosexual agenda would be beyond stating the obvious.”

To think anyone believes the “homosexual agenda” in this clearly anti-gay country could be anything more than making it through the day without getting beaten up (for Jesus) is remarkable. And supposedly we’re still fighting the sexual revolution? These people would take us back to the days when Elvis’s hips jiggled outside the frame of our TVs. No, they would have just stoned Elvis before we got to that point.

This story keeps getting worse, I’m afraid. The original AP story included a quote from Robert Knight, director of Concerned Women of America's Culture & Family Institute, who compared, I wish I was kidding, Kinsey to infamous Nazi Josef Mengele. All you need to know about this Right-Wing women’s group is encapsulated in a man functioning as its director (“being in charge would be just too much for little me, hee hee”). Of course this comparison diminishes the Holocaust, but any Christian group worth its salt has to take a potshot at the Jews while attacking gays, doesn’t it?

It turns out Knight semi-realized his mistake, and has already posted what appears to be a retraction of the comparison on the Concerned Women of America website. But if you read the whole retraction (and in general if a retraction runs more than 100 words you can assume the person isn’t retracting but rationalizing), you get to Knight quoting Dr. Judith Reisman who he is sure to point out is “the Jewish woman who first exposed Kinsey’s vile ‘research’--and who, too, tragically lost most of her family in the Holocaust.”

Resiman claims: “Mengele tortured and destroyed hundreds, but Kinsey’s torture is a gift that keeps on giving in the broken lives and violated souls who went on to torture others worldwide. Tell them if they aren’t part of the demand for a Kinsey accounting they betray the Jewish dead, and Mengele’s victims will have died in vain. …If mentioning Mengele is what it takes to get my fellow Jews to respond to this horror, I’d say the comparison is not off the mark.”

That makes Knight’s argument: I didn’t mean it, but I did. Even got a Jew to agree with me. Nyyaah naah.

Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about Judith Reisman, shall we? “Reisman argues that homosexuals are trying to ‘recruit’ children through schools and the mainstream media, equates homosexuality with pedophilia, accuses Alfred Kinsey of abnormal sexual practices, and attributes his early death to excessive ‘self-abuse’ (masturbation).”

Sure sounds like a sane woman to me. Here’s hoping for all these folks’ sakes that mental masturbation doesn’t lead to eary death.

Are You a ’Tard, Leo?

On this day in 1859 the world witnessed the first public trapeze act (I’m assuming since it was performed by a Frenchman, he probably had practiced on the trapeze in his bedroom). Jules Léotard flew through the air with the greatest of ease (he was so swinging, he probably thinks that song is about him)(actually, it is) at the Cirque Napoleon in Paris. Indeed, Jules was a particular airborne sensation with the Parisian ladies as he wore his namesake outfit, which certainly did fit like its less Frenchified name tights. Ooh la la, talk about your Eiffel Towers.

There is no evidence that Jules Léotard was best friends with another garment pioneer, Ernesto Edyble-Undés.

It’s also the birthdate of the late great Kim Hunter, who will be forever remembered as the woman a rain-soaked Charlton Heston bellowed “Zira! Zira!” to in A Streetcar to the Planet of the Apes.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mookie

It's Dog Blog Friday, and Mookie gets psychedelicized thanks to Amy's computer skills. Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 11, 2004

What Are You, Yeller?

News brief: "Federal authorities lowered the terror alert status for areas around financial institutions in New York, Washington and Newark, N.J., saying Wednesday that additional security precautions had reduced the threat. Lowering the threat level from orange to yellow - the midpoint on the government's five-level terror warning system - comes three months after the alert was raised because of concerns the institutions and the areas around them could be al-Qaeda targets."

Translation: Not that there really ever was a threat, but those bastards in DC, NJ and NY voted for Kerry anyway, so they deserve whatever they get.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Loco de Armor

Somehow I don't think this is what they mean when they're shouting, "Bring the troops home!"

Remember, stand up to a tank in Tiananmen Square, and you're a hero. Do it in Westwood, and you're just more liberal scum.

Brief Encounter

From IMDB's Movie and TV News today:

"Hilary Swank is relieved to have finished filming her latest movie Million Dollar Baby, because it was 'the most physically challenging role' of her life. The actress and face of Calvin Klein underwear...."

I was wondering who that was on my skivvies, worried it was some kind of not as holy (no, not holey, wise guy) as it should be shroud of Turin thing. It also now makes sense to me why what first appeared to be male underwear were actually for women.

Life Comes Apart at the Seams It Seems

Ding-dong the Ashcroft's dead, or taking his gospel singing act to Branson, or checking up on bloggers who defame him (look, my library record is clean....).

I mean the next Attorney General has to be better, right?

From Yahoo News: "President Bush has chosen White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, a Texas confidant and the most prominent Hispanic in the administration, to succeed Attorney General John Ashcroft, sources close to the White House said Wednesday."

Uh, wasn't he the one who thought that a bit of torture shouldn't get in the way of justice?

"He also wrote a controversial February 2002 memo in which Bush claimed the right to waive anti-torture law and international treaties providing protections to prisoners of war. That position drew fire from human rights groups, which said it helped led to the type of abuses uncovered in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal."

Uh, but he's got to be OK otherwise, no?

"He once was a partner in a Houston law firm which represented the scandal-ridden energy giant Enron."

Shoot. At least he does represent Republican-style affirmative action: "Gonzales would be the first Hispanic attorney general. "

Good to see he and Clarence Thomas have something in common.

And there's no word yet how he feels about the boobs of Justice that, uh, titillated Ashcroft. (Check out his grasping hands in this photo--the poor guy can't help himself!)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas

Here’s a list for you:

1. Missouri (Red)
2. Oklahoma (Red)
3. Texas (Red)
3. Georgia (Red)
5. South Carolina (Red)
6. Arkansas (Red)
7. Ohio (Red)
8. Virginia (Red)
9. Iowa (Red)

10. Minnesota (Blue)
11. Kansas (Red)
12. Mississippi (Red)
13. Louisiana (Red)
14. Tennessee (Red)
15. Kentucky (Red)
15. Alabama (Red)
17. Indiana (Red)

18. New Jersey (Blue)
19. North Carolina (Red)
20. Wyoming (Red)
21. New Mexico (Red)
22. Colorado (Red)
23. Nebraska (Red)

24. Michigan (Blue)
25. Delaware (Blue)
26. Pennsylvania (Blue)

27. North Dakota (Red)
27. South Dakota (Red)
29. Maryland (Blue)
30. New Hampshire (Blue)

31. West Virginia (Red)
32. Montana (Red)

33. Illinois (Blue)
34. Massachusetts (Blue)
35. Florida (Red)
35. Vermont (Blue)
37. Utah (Red)
38. District of Columbia (Blue)
39. Maine (Blue)
40. Wisconsin (Blue)
41. Washington (Blue)
41. Rhode Island (Blue)
43. Oregon (Blue)

44. Idaho (Red)
45. Arizona (Red)

46. Connecticut (Blue)
47. Alaska (Red)
48. New York (Blue)
49. Nevada (Red)
50. California (Blue)
51. Hawaii (Blue)

Any guesses what this order is?

It’s the average price for a gallon of gas as of today, courtesy of AAA, running from least expensive (Missouri at $1.814 a gallon) to most costly (Hawaii at $2.414 gallon).

I don’t want to be paranoid. But the mantra from parts of the left from day one has been oil, oil, oil given the Bush family connections and the great campaign that invented Iraq as the center of terrorism, not to mention the military’s interest in guarding only the Oil Ministry once we invaded Iraq.

When you look at the states this way, it seems to make a case that the Democratic states have to pay more for their gas. Even the ones on coasts where you might imagine shipping was cheaper and more of the refining takes place. After all, in California we know all too well how President Bush’s best friends at Enron took care of (in that Tony Soprano “took care of” kind of way) our electrical needs a few years back. (I won’t get into how that energy debacle, caused by Enron and therefore more or less the Republicans, directly led to the recall of Democratic Governor Gray Davis and the election of the Republican Governator, who most likely would never have won a “real” election that was about competence and issues and not tans and star power. Oh, and there is this from Consumer Watchdog: “Internal Enron e-mails confirm that Arnold Schwarzenegger was among a small group of executives who met with [Kenny-Boy] Lay at the posh Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel in May of 2001, in the midst of California’s energy crisis.”)

Meanwhile back to this last rigged election: It sure might be easier to think the economy was rosy if you paid less for gas, and a bright economy makes Bush the good president he says he is. I’m sure it’s merely coincidence that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, 81% of the donations from the oil and gas industry in 2004 went to Republicans. That $14 million certainly couldn’t be counted on to give the oil and gas industry anything, right Mr. Vice President?

Monday, November 08, 2004

Not Fade Away

In an effort to one-up the Fox network, the BBC is searching for “contestants” for its new reality show Dust to Dust, which Fox would have obviously called My Big Fat Obnoxious and Maggoty Corpse. People are dying to be on the show, for as the BBC claims, “Channel 4 is searching for volunteers to take part in a documentary which will show the decomposition of their bodies when they die. The documentary, the first of its kind in the UK, will be produced in conjunction with London’s Science Museum and supervised by scientists. The experiment will need the full consent of the donor and their family.” That last sentence is a relief—god forbid one of the contestants was “just sleeping” like Yasser Arafat.

The BBC's interest in deathly things might account for how much they like broadcasting shows featuring Professor Gunther von Hagens (check out his creepy skull-like photo), who prefers to chop up dead things rather than watch them rot. After all, von Hagens pulled this really cool trick once.

The BBC did not make it clear why it needed to broadcast the slow decomposition of a dead thing when TV has already witnessed the last 23 years of Saturday Night Live.

NBC is reportedly in negotiations with the BBC to buy the last remnants of the subjects from Dust to Dust, hoping to use them as a food challenge on Fear Factor.

Piss Pour Protest

I might try this myself, but I'm saving my civil disobedience moment for that first Supreme Court nomination. (Photo from Urban Legends Reference Page.) Posted by Hello

Friday, November 05, 2004

When Morals Come Innuendo

Like many, I’ve been stewing about the so-called “moral issues” voters who supposedly, rapturously handed Bush the election (the rumor that Diebold machines are moral issues voters is unfounded). Just recently there has been some dissent from this already accepted piece of journalistic shorthand, for Slate argues that terrorism (read fear) was what won the day, and, heaven help us, four years, for Bush.

But let’s assume that the moral issue was an issue, since we’re going to have to deal with the press claiming it was no matter (it’s the latest in the canned storylines of unstable Dean, flip-flopping Kerry, stupid but likeable Bush, etc.). How does a sentient being think Bush is moral?

I have a case in point here. Back when I was a blogosphere virgin I popped my cyber-diary-reading cherry on Will Carroll Presents… (see my link list) for I was led there by Will Carroll, writer of the “Under the Knife” column for Baseball Prospectus. At WCP I found a place where baseball met left-leaning politics, and I couldn’t have been happier, as the site used the Baseball Prospectus methodology—beware received wisdom—for thinking about America, too.

Needless to say the writers at Will Carroll Presents… (Will, TwinsFanDan and Scott Long) have been greatly disturbed about Tuesday’s outcome. The other day Will linked to a fake obit for George W. Bush from 2018 written by one of my favorite writers, Greil Marcus. (Lipstick Traces is history written at its web-associational wittiest fueled by rock ’n’ roll.) Marcus’ column is quite devastating, but what surprised me the most were the responses Will got in his comments. First, people acted as if Will wrote the Marcus piece, which suggests an inability to read. Second, everyone jumped on one of Marcus’ most biting personal moments: “Then on May 1, 2011, Jenna and Barbara Bush were killed in a drunken driving accident in New York City, an incident that also took the lives of seven other people, four of them friends of the Bush daughters. Rumors that a Bush family friend attempted to bribe the police to report that a person other than Jenna or Barbara Bush was driving (the body of Barbara Bush was in the driver's seat) were never confirmed.”

OK, maybe this is a cheap shot. But the right-wingers who wrote in seemed to think the worst thing anyone could ever do is write a piece of fiction that kills off the Bush twins. It certainly unleashed a storm of righteous moral indignation.

Not one of those stirred to condemn Marcus and Carroll pointed out these sentences in the fake obit:

Nonetheless Mr. Bush then ordered what he described as "pinpoint" nuclear attacks on the nuclear sites in Iran and North Korea, which, while achieving their goals, also led to the One-Day War, a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan that left Bombay and Karachi in ruins and led to the fall of the governments of both countries, and to the withdrawal of the American-led coalition forces from Iraq. The result was the series of still-continuing civil wars throughout the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent that, while involving no unconventional weapons since 2006 have, according to the United Nations, caused the deaths of 12 million people and the displacement of millions more.

So in Marcus’ nightmare scenario, Bush’s bumbling bravado leads to the death of 12 million people.

But it’s writing that Jenna and NotJenna are dead that’s immoral.

I guess that’s how you can vote for Bush as your moral candidate. You just shut out that 100,000 dead civilian Iraqis have been liberated from not just Saddam but the earth. Then you ignore that at least a few of those “liberated” were most likely 22-year-old women. You ignore that Bush has viciously mimicked a woman on death row pleading for her life when he was governor of Texas.

As for the lying about WMDs, and screwing of the poor, and the raping of the earth, well, that just doesn’t make the moral radar, at least not compared to butt-****ing. Because after all, what’s most important is Bush will preserve the sanctity of man-woman marriage and if a few gays get bent out of shape, they’re going to hell anyway.

Kerry On My Re-Balled John

Mere hours after his concession speech on Wednesday, former Presidential candidate John Kerry underwent surgery to have his cojones re-attached. Still slightly groggy after the successful surgery (it seems that the Al Gore Model Save Your Balls Lock Box™ preserves one’s manhood effectively), Kerry released the following statement, “I feel great relief to be once again intact. And I look forward to becoming another surprisingly forceful voice for MoveOn and other truly progressive organizations. I can only hope to follow in the fine tradition of Al Gore and discover my liberal roots after being freed of the burden of a presidential candidacy. My only regret is that I wasn’t elected to the White House, as what I most hoped to do was follow in Jimmy Carter’s even more noble Democratic footsteps and become a brilliant one term ex-President.”

The Capital Gang Bang

So the LA Times headline declares that Bush is "eager to spend his new 'political capital.'" Given he won by a whopping 3.6 million votes (that's about how many baseball fans went through the Yankee Stadium turnstiles this season--which not only show the number isn't that huge but also once again suggests the Yanks and Republicans are mysteriously connected), I expect that Bush will be eager to run up a historic "political capital" deficit along with the federal deficit.

Do not, I repeat, do not, let this man near your credit cards.

Putting Dogs First

Dog Blog Friday: It's a total eclipse of the Nigel. Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I Call First Debs

If you have a Happy Hour on Friday, if you can be happy and hold drinking in this grave time to just an hour, have a drink in honor of the great socialist, labor leader and rabble rouser Eugene V. Debs, who was born on Nov. 5, 1855. As he wisely said, "When great changes occur in history, when great principles are involved, as a rule the majority are wrong."

A Couple of White Guys Sitting Around Blogging

Yesterday I received an email about the election from a friend I’ll call Basically Brilliant Bob. He asked for my comments. That’s kind of like Sonny Rollins asking you to sit in with him—you can’t say no and you damn well better be on your game. Here’s hoping I was….

Bob: Many people saw this election as a battle between the pre-modern (Bush) realm of religion, belief, tradition, faith, and certainty against the modern (Kerry) world of reason, science, and technology.

George: Do note that it’s the Moderns who see it this way. Also, the Moderns are the ones most likely to rationalize themselves out of fighting, for not only do they tend to be the peaceniks, but they also trust reason will be enough. So they don't fight, since they figure they could talk themselves out of the problem, or at least talk the pre-moderns to their position.

Bob: From this perspective, our country is deeply divided, yet even with this great polarization, no one feels like there is going to by a civil war or even civil unrest. How can this be? My theory is that even though there are people on each side that are passionate, the vast majority of Americans are really apathetic and don't care about a system on which they have little personal effect. In fact, less than 50% of the possible electorate even bothered to vote (this number includes all people over the age of 18). On one level, this high level of apathy and indifference is a good thing: since no one really cares, no one thinks it is worthwhile fighting other people over the election. On the other hand, the strong level of apathy and indifference, especially from the vaunted youth vote, points to the failure of our nation to instill a sense of civic duty in all Americans.

George: The apathy issue will always be with us since we have consumerism as our shared narcosis. There's some great old Ellen Willis quote from 1975 or so that I can't quite remember that goes something like this, "The Ramones were stuck with the American dilemma - pissed off enough to know something was wrong, but comfortable enough not to know what to do about it." Even our punks have to work up a stage rage.

Bob: Moreover, since so many young Americans get their news from late night television and The Daily Show, they have become accustomed to mocking all political figures, and even if The Daily Show is left-leaning, I believe that the ultimate effect is to leave people confused and cynical. I know, I enjoy the show too, but I see its corrosive effect on my students and fellow watchers.

George: There is the whole "satire freezes us in cool" argument that people like Mark Crispin Miller have been pushing since the 1980s and the rise of Letterman, and it has its allure (both the cool approach--all of politics is just to be laughed at--and that such humor leaves us unable to do anything, literally helpless with laughter). But I also think that's blaming the doodle for the mess that takes up most of the page. It's the mainstream media that is most to blame, not for any political leaning but for its self-serving corporate agenda and desire to make itself the story (and thereby define each story--its love of memes like Gore the exaggerator or Bush the likeable dummy).

Bob: The opposite argument to the polarization argument is the one that says that since Kerry did not come out against the Iraq war, he just represented Bush-lite: less filling, tastes good.

George: True enough: what might the election have been like if there was an anti-war candidate: Kucinich's values in a real candidate's body. (Sorry, Dennis.)

Bob: I actually favor this take, and I also feel that the demonization of Nader by both sides proved that without some serious change in campaign finance, we will only be able to pick between the lesser of two corporate-sponsored evils.

George: Even truer: not once during the campaign did anyone really bring up how frightfully money-driven our political system is. I soured on Nader (who I voted for in 1996 and 2000), largely thanks to Eric Alterman's incessant yet convincing hammering upon him. Note that Nader got so much of his money from Republicans--that's how bad the system has become. Our one great voice for finance reform actually got much of the monetary muscle for his campaign from the supporters of the ideals he most disagreed with. That is, the Republicans could afford to pay for alternate candidates to Kerry. That's truly twisted and disgusting. And I won't even get to how McCain, the author of the meager campaign finance reform we did get, also left his dignity at the door to help get Bush re-elected.

Bob: Furthermore, without a direct attack on the use of religion for political purposes, we are all in for a long disappointment.

George: As James Wolcott pointed out on C-Span this weekend, that's the untold story--how much similarity there is between Bush and Kerry. How both had to out-religion the other (a game Bush wins without trying, of course, cause even the Catholics wanted to ex-communicate the pro-choice Kerry). As Wolcott said, a presidential candidate couldn't say, "I'm an agnostic." He'd be out of the race faster than Bob Graham was.

Bob: American politics has been dominated for the last thirty years by a simple strategy: the Republicans trick the Democrats into fighting elections on cultural and "moral" issues, at the same time, they fuel corporate welfare and tax cuts for the wealthy. How do they get away with motivating people to vote against their own best interests: Simple, the Democrats offer the people no real choice. The Dems have become weak Republicans: I will never vote for the lesser of two evils again.

George: It seems you end with Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? thesis. That's compelling, but many have picked at it from both the left and right (so I won't go through all those arguments). Still, until we get Instant Runoff Voting as a start and real campaign finance changes to follow, it will always be an issue of the lesser of two evils. My great theory is that no matter how well-meaning someone is, each step up the ladder of power means leaving behind a bit more of one's soul (see Nader and McCain, both honorable men with very different ideals, who seem less and less ideal the longer they stay in the national spotlight). If that's true for those two, it's even more true if you're an ex-cokehead who is currently mainlining Jesus as your juice.

I guess then it's the whole power thing that needs to be re-thought, which is why I wish we could get beyond two parties. But guess who has the power to do that? The two parties. We're shit out of luck.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


If it's the new age of all-for-me and screw not just the world but anyone not-me (that is Iraqis, gays, people of color, fetus-carriers [they aren't women anymore], animals, vegetables and minerals), I better get in the game soon--time to sprinkle this blog with shameless corporate plugs till someone offers me some filthy lucre.

And, in the meantime, look for anything to hang on to. This comes not just from the red with the blood of your very own troops South but from The Dirty South:

Another Joker in the White House, said a change was comin' round
But I'm still workin' at the Wal-Mart and Mary Alice, in the ground
And all them politicians, they all lyin' sacks of shit
They say better days upon us but I'm sucking left hind tit

Drive-By Truckers for President 2008!


"Goodbye and good luck
To all the promises you've broken
Goodbye and good luck
To all the rubbish that you've spoken
Your life has lost its dignity
Its beauty and its passion
You're an accident waiting to happen"

--Billy Bragg

I had hoped I could use the quote as a way to welcome a victorious John Kerry as we HAD TO show George the Door in 2004. I know what happened yesterday. But I figure if my country is willing to live in a non-reality-based world, I might as well join them. Except in mine, Billy Bragg is singing and Bush is packing his bags for Crawford.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


What a surprise--Fox calls Ohio for Bush before any other network will.

New Fox slogan: "Fair and balanced...and we have the world's best Magic 8-Ball."



Then help others do the same. It's prety simple--if we get more Dems to the polls than they get those not based in reality to the polls, we can take back America.

Wouldnt' that be nice?

So help get out the vote. If you don't know how, go to one of these sites for help:

MoveOn Get Out the Vote Phone Parties
True Majority

Monday, November 01, 2004

Let He Who Is Without Costume Shoot the First Arrow

Why I am not part of the religious right part 1,263,789 + 1:

Here in Santa Barbara, the Calvary Chapel is pretty convinced that the Hellmouth isn't Hollywood, or Sunnydale, or the Castro, or Las Vegas, or the entire Middle East (for even the Jews crucified their Lord). Nope, Hell on Earth is Hershey, PA. How else to explain a quote like this one: "Halloween is such a dark, satanic day. Here Jesus' light really shines through."

Personally, I figure even Jesus couldn't have resisted a $100,000 Bar.

The Church's Tenth Annual Light Up the Night alternative to Halloween also featured fun and games:

"At a booth manned by youth minister Scott Dupar, people took aim at real hosuehold items - a lamp, a TV, a grill - with a real bow-and-arrow, sans tips. 'How many people [wouldn't] like to go into a house and just shoot stuff?' the man of a kind and gentle God said."

Ok, the news report really wrote, "he said," but that's just boring. Still it strikes me as odd that the passion of the Christians is to shoot things in a house (oh, no word if the TV had a picture of Kerry imposed on it) but dressing up and going door-to-door for candy is somehow sinful.

All quotes from the Santa Barbara News-Press of November 1, 2004.

Say It Is So, Joe

From USA Today dated 10/31/04 and their latest USA Today/Gallup/CNN poll:

In Florida, 30% of registered voters said they already had cast their ballots, using early voting sites and absentee ballots. They supported Kerry 51%-43%.
No, the remaining 6% did not go to Nader (who was at about .5%). So I'm assuming the poll just reduces the vote count by 6% for Jeb-Diebold shenanigans.

There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

The pure pumpkin propaganda of America goes crazy. (Sweet Amy carved these with her own two hands. Uh, and a knife.) Posted by Hello
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