Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Help, If You Can

(AP Photo/Irwin Thompson)

This is a lucky person.

You know what you have to do to help all the victims of Katrina.

Go donate here: Red Cross

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Father to a Sister of Thought

I'm not a whore, but I play one at work.

Monday, August 29, 2005

If Only There Were an Iraqi Hello Kitty

Now almost fully rested from his vacation avoiding Cindy Sheehan in particular and reality in general, President Bush will opt tomorrow to compare the situation in Iraq with that of Japan after World War II, because even he was getting tired of the Iraq-9/11 link (and besides, it wasn't helping at the polls). According to the AFP:

U.S. President George W. Bush was expected Tuesday to cite Japan -- an enemy defeated in war, rebuilt by the United States, now a treasured ally -- in a bid to quiet growing concerns about Iraq.

In a speech marking the US victory over Japan 60 years ago, Bush was also to link the Axis powers of World War II to the insurgents killing US soldiers today, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters on Monday.

"There will be some comparisons there between the murderous ideology that we joined together to defeat back in World War II and the murderous ideology that we're working to defeat today," said McClellan.

McClellan did add, however, that reporters should remember President Bush was never great with standardized tests particularly because he has problems with analogies, claiming, "To compare things, you have to be able to understand something beyond yourself. President Bush is too busy getting along with his life to have a sense of anyone else's."

Bush will insist that Iraq and Japan have much in common. Most Americans cannot find either country on a map. President Bush himself cannot speak the languages of either country, perhaps explaining why he believes Kuwait translates into "Pearl Harbor." Both are a long plane ride away from the U.S. (although first class makes the trip easier). They don't have the same religions, but neither country has much of a sense of the Lord (you know, Jesus, the son of the Intelligent Designer and the one who knows that married folks can't be the same sex). The people of both countries don't look like us, neither.

"Iraq should be happy I'm comparing them to Japan and it isn't an exact fit," Bush said prior to his full speech. "They should be darn grateful that my dad never hurled at an Iraqi state dinner and the U.S. never dropped an atom bomb on them. They say that smarts, heh heh."

To strengthen the analogy, the White House sent a crew to disinter the body of General Douglas MacArthur and and send it to Baghdad. Rumor has it that Walt Disney Co. Imagineers are working on making the corpse say, "I have not yet begun to rot."

This phrase, alas, cannot be said by the White House in reference to its plans for Iraq.

McClellan also suggested that if the WW II analogies don't work, the White House is prepared to keep moving back in history for other comparisons, hinting that Christopher Hitchens might be hired to draw up a Barbary Pirates = Saddam diagram for the president (it seems that McLellan doesn't watch The Daily Show). McClellan insisted that he was confident the Bush Team could stop looking back in history before getting to the Crusades, although off the record he admitted it never hurts to play to your base.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Land of the Lost (Their Brains)

Look, have your religion. Believe deep in your faith.

But when your faith makes you do things like this:

Carl Baugh opened his Creation Evidence Museum in the 1980s near Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas, where some people said fossilized dinosaur tracks and human footprints crisscrossed contemporaneously. The Texas museum sponsors a continuing hunt for living pterodactyls in Papua New Guinea. Baugh said five colleagues have spotted the flying dinosaurs, "but all the sightings were made after dark, and we were not able to capture the creatures."

I have to say, "Excuse me, but you're an idiot."

It has nothing to do with religion, or God, who's laughing at you right now. I promise, and I don't even know him. (But you knew that.) It's too bad you also don't know that assuming the Bible is literal makes you a whale and gullibility Jonah. For as an ordained Catholic priest in the same Los Angeles Times article says:

"Taking the Bible as astronomy or physics is blasphemy. They're treating it as an elementary textbook and it's not. We believe that God created the world…. They misread, misquote and misuse the Bible, but they will lose out to science."

No, Not NO

If you've ever had a Vieux Carre cocktail here with the ghost of Tennessee Williams, it would be just one small reason you'd send all your mental anti-hurricane powers off to Louisiana to protect New Orleans. The million possible homeless and the 60% to 80% of the region's homes destroyed is what's truly scary, of course.

May the winds peak early and the waves die quick.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

National Pinhead Radio

So I need to know if I can get my pledge back from KCRW. This morning on our way to take the dogs for a beach walk, we tune in to NPR and hear Scott Simon tell us that after the news, instead of his usual analyst Daniel Schorr, he would be joined by Jonah Goldberg.

Even without having had coffee, I believe I set a record for turning the car radio off.

Is this what it means for NPR to be non-political, moving from a balanced and at this point relatively toothless historical figure to a right-wing hack that a TBogg or a James Wolcott can have for dinner and then still feel mighty hungry afterward?

I mean, Daniel Schorr is "the last of Edward R. Murrow's legendary CBS team still fully active in journalism." Jonah Goldberg is a graduate of Goucher College. As someone who went to Johns Hopkins, let me tell you about Goucher. Goucher is Hopkins little sister school, where Hopkins guys trolled for dates. Sure, it's coed now, but still, when you start as the place where a smarter school's students find wives....

Friday, August 26, 2005

Crowding the Picture

For Dog Blog Friday: Mookie shows a little, make that his little, teeth.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mini-Movie Review

Trust me I wouldn't shit you, The Aristocrats is so fucking hilarious--it's fun for the entire family!

Zinns of Journalism

Sometimes I actually don't mind my job. Now's one. We're presenting a lecture by Howard Zinn on October 6, so it was press release writing time. In my internets research, I found a transcript of an interview conducted by Bill Moyers with Zinn on PBS right before the beginning of the Iraq War.

Check it out, only to see reason and prescience in action. And you can also use it to club any ridiculous rightwinger who thinks Moyers is just some loony liberal. He asks tough questions. For example:

You could say that the terrorists declared war on the United States in 1979 when the Iranian extremists seized the American embassy and held hostages for over a year. Then, there was the attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon that killed over-- almost 300 American Marines.

There were the bombings of the American embassy in Nairobi and Tanzania. There were Saddam Hussein's effort to kill former President Bush in 1994 when he went to Kuwait. You could say that the terrorists have been carrying on a war against the United States for a long time now. And that they have been encouraged by our ineffectual responses to them, to believe that we're paper tigers. And that George W. Bush is at least saying to them, "We're no longer a paper tiger."

He's a true journalist. Of course, that's why Moyers must be kept off PBS--we need to clear it out for more shows by worms like Tucker Carlson.*

*All apologies to worms, who know enough not to "dismiss the plight of a disemboweled child as a 'Jacuzzi case'" and not to wear bow ties. Yes, that means George Will isn't a worm. Troglodyte, maybe.

A Tsar Is Born

Today we honor, since he told us to, the birthday of Ivan Vasilyevich, better known, behind his back, of course, as Ivan the Terrible. It’s a little known fact that Ivan was named Terrible years before he slaughtered entire villages, inadvertently caused the death of his son, turned lots of Russia into ruin and was murdered by men worried he was going to murder them (since they had the gall to stop him from raping someone). It turns out that Ivan, like so many children, was unruly, and was the first youth for which the term “the Terrible Twos” was created. The odd part is Ivan just remained terrible into his threes and fours and on and on, and even when he had a mildly calmer period in his early teens—which some historians chalk up to his being slowed by venereal disease—everyone called him Terrible. Then everyone was taken behind the building and beheaded.

Today we respect his terribleness, at a safe distance of 475 years, and his choice to adopt the name tsar for what he was. When you’re the tsar you get to use words that begin with “ts,” even though it seems, uh, terribly wrong. So think about that the next time you’re out having a tsar salad, that anchovy pasted crouton is in honor of a man who was so impressed with St. Basil’s Cathedral after he had it built that he had the architects blinded, so that they could never design anything as beautiful again. Of course after that all design in Russia went in the crapper for a couple centuries, as no one wanted to be rewarded for beauty with getting their eyes poked out.

BTW, if you’re planning on having a child who will grow up in politics, don’t give birth on August 25. This is also the birthday of Ludwig II, the Mad King of Bavaria, and of George Wallace, the racist of Alabama (ok ok, a racist of Alabama).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen, and My Readers, Start Your Rumors

Although Lance Armstrong and Rafael Palmeiro have never been seen together, both have been seen in the company of George W. Bush.

Something to think about, no?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

They're Not Saying Rude, They're Saying Rudolph

USA Today reports (hey, sometimes they do report! not everything fits in a pie chart!) about the sentencing of bomber and fugitive Eric Rudolph:

Rudolph, 38, read a statement apologizing to victims of the bomb he exploded at the 1996 Summer Olympics. He said he had telephoned authorities to warn them about the bomb he had planted at Centennial Olympic Park but that a 911 operator hung up on him, costing precious time.

"I fully realize that all of this may be no consolation to the victims who suffered as a result of my actions, but I would do anything to take back that night," he said. "To these victims, I apologize."

He said nothing about victims at three other sites he pleaded guilty to bombing: a lesbian and gay nightclub near here where five people were injured; an abortion clinic here where more than 50 were injured; and an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Ala., where a police officer was killed and a nurse maimed.

Immediately following his sentencing swami/phony Michelle Malkin reported that his victim contacted her from the great beyond (at least beyond rationality, a place where it is rumored Malkin lives). Malkin claimed the victims accepted his apology, especially those whom he didn't apologize to, since they now realize the errors of their aborting and/or gay ways. Malkin also insisted that Rudolph couldn't be considered any sort of terrorist, since he wasn't Japanese in the '40s or a Muslim now.

Not-a-Christian-but-he-plays-one-on-TV Pat Robertson also called for the release of Rudolph, offering him a one-way ticket to Caracas.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Bush the Brave

Proving his bravery yet again, President Bush went before a hostile crowd in Salt Lake City, Utah, since all the halls in Berkeley, California were booked fror the night of his speaking engagment. In a talk to a convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars, who just happened to be staying at the same hotel as the president, Bush again linked the Iraq war with efforts to protect the United States from another September 11-style attack, according to Reuters. "Iraq is a central front in the war on terror," Bush said. "It is a vital part of our mission."

Indeed, he went on to say, "We made it a vital part of our mission, and a central front in the war on terror. After all, it was easy to demonize Saddam, we all want their oil, and most Americans, that is, real Americans, don't quite trust Middle Easterners, anyway. What's especially handy is that those who don't like the U.S. in that region find it much simpler to kill our soldiers there than bother to plan to come here and kill our civilians." After pausing, he added, "We're sorry to say London and Madrid are closer to Iraq than the U.S.--no boat trip necessary."

Bad Craziness

I want to assert that although I have taught essays by the late Good Doctor at two of the Top Ten Party Schools in the country (congrats Iowa and UCSB!), I don't think there's any causal connection.


Not So Keen on Commandment 5

Televangelist Pat Robertson, in the early stages of what he has billed as "A Righteous, Violent Death a Week for Jesus, or at the Least for Me," has followed his previous calls for the demise of Supreme Court Justices, and his no-doubt rooting for Cindy Sheehan's mom's stroke, with today's call for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, according to the AP:

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop.

It seems Robertson, at least nominally a Christian, has yet to be informed that the story of Christ comes from the New Testament. Rumor has it the books of the New Testament have something to do with forgiveness.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

U Pod, I DJ

We interrupt the few remaining hours of this weekend to announce you can hear me on the radio in Santa Barbara tomorrow. Thanks to the kindness of Ted Coe, I will be sharing his air time on KCSB-FM 91.9 for those of you local, and on the web for those of you not, or local but at work and radioless.

Tune in from 9-11 am California time, Monday, August 22.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Hate and Hate Tattooed Across the Knuckles of His Hands

Given Pat Robertson has led the prayers hoping for the death or serious illness of Supreme Court Justices, don't we have to assume there are some faithful out there sure it was their prayers that smote Cindy Sheehan's mom?

And on the Seventh Day, Dog Rested

For God Blog Firday, of course.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Space between Our Work and Its Product

One more reason working for the UC is as delightful as sticking your tongue into a bees' nest: My boss insists that HR claims that for me to get a reclassification of my job--which is really the only way to get a pay increase now that I've reached the top of the pay scale at my current job title--is for me to have been doing the re-classed, more involved, complicated, time-consuming job for six months.

Funny, when they advertise for jobs at the University of California, they don't say: Come work for us for six months, then we'll start paying you.

Polly Knows Me, Al

Or other lessons in calculus, which I never took. And as you can probably guess, I didn't take a class in puns, either.

Today is the birthday of Brook Taylor (he'd be 320 today, but let's face it, he never took care of himself well enough to live that long). Taylor is a mathematician who discovered Taylor's Theorem, which states, "A discoverer and his theorem shall share the same name." Prior to Taylor's discovery, people had to struggle through things like "Smith's Theorem by Myron Lifschitz" and "Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula."

Taylor's theorem gives the approximation of a differentiable function near a point by a polynomial whose coefficients depend only on the derivatives of the function at that point. There's even more to it than that, but there's no Google translator for math, so I don't understand it even well enough to make a joke. Hey you, over there, wake up, no sleeping through the math funnies.

Van Goch? She Said Van Goch?

Premiere Magazine, ever eager to incite controversy and come up with editorial inches that don't involve any real journalism, has come up with a list of the "20 Most Overrated Movies of All Time." And the list is (sorry, no link, as they don't cough up content for free):

2001: A Space Odyssey, A Beautiful Mind, An American in Paris, American Beauty, Chariots of Fire, Chicago, Clerks, Easy Rider, Fantasia, Field of Dreams, Forrest Gump, Gone With the Wind, Good Will Hunting, Jules and Jim, Monster's Ball, Moonstruck, Mystic River, Nashville, The Red Shoes, and The Wizard of Oz.

An intriguing start, if ridiculously front-loaded with films from the last few years since Premiere assumes (probably sadly correctly) that no one knows older films anymore. But even if we wait to pass judgment on A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, Monster's Ball and Mystic River --each, in its own way an emblem of middlebrow, of course--there's still plenty to talk about.

Easy to agree with:
2001: I have to say, although I love Kubrick. Here he seems too schematic and simple-minded and dull. Ah, for the days when he made films that were under 2 hours and made in less than 2 years.

An American in Paris: I'm an Astaire man, not a Kelly kid, plus this film seems too impressed with itself (unlike The Band Wagon, the Astaire-Rogers films, or even Singin' in the Rain, which, if you excise the turgid ballads, is ace).

Easy Rider: More dated than the easiest girl in your high school class. Cheaper, too.

Field of Dreams: So treacly, it could make me hate baseball.

Forrest Gump: So treacly, it could make me hate America.

Good Will Hunting: Not a bad film, but it gave us years of Ben Affleck so must be punished.

Impossible to agree with:
Jules and Jim: Simply put, the Belle Epoque and post-WW I era in one wistful piece o' celluloid. Lots of other Truffaut's could get on the overrated list, however, starting with Day for Night. And The 400 Blows is responsible for so many bad films trying to copy it, it almost belongs on some kind of list, too. We could call the list "What hath Reservoir Dogs wrought?" maybe.

Nashville: Altman was a genius for a run there in the '70s, just like Preston Sturges in the '40s, but of course comedy meant very different things 30 years later.

Thorny cases:
American Beauty: Full of Alan Ball's usual attractive if easy cyncism, the cast is so good you can forget it's mostly hokum. But well-acted hokum is never over-rated.

Gone with the Wind: Speaking of hokum, if hokum on a grand scale. It's pretty good until the second half becomes one long funeral.

Clerks: As with most Kevin Smith, it's a screenplay that happened to be filmed--what's the equivalent of radio theater for cinema?

Fantasia: You have to watch something when you're high, and it would be decades before Koyaanisqatsi.

The Red Shoes: There's some British whimsy in the Michael Powell films I never quite connect with. Give me the creepiness of Peeping Tom any day. (Well, you know what I mean--I don't want to be stabbed to death with the third leg of a camera's tripod.)

Who really cares?
Moonstruck and Chariots of Fire (I can't wait for those angry letters from the Cher and Vangelis fan clubs.)

As for films that I would add to an overrated list
Titanic (If I have to explain, you haven't been reading this blog for very long.)
Star Wars (Poorly acted hokum. Be serious with yourself--it's not like our grandparents thought their Saturday matinee serials were the best films of all time.)
Body Heat (Not warm enough for me--give me real noir any day.)
Repulsion (Pretty much just silly, and Denueve looks stoned the whole film.)
Cinema Paradiso (Bathos Endlesso)
Blade Runner (Set design isn't enough of an excuse for a movie.)
The Apartment (Never believable for one second)
Sound of Music (If only we kept their little Von Trapps shut.)
The Maltese Falcon (It's actually kind of boring, and nowhere near as fun as The Big Sleep.)
Brazil (A stand-in for all of Terry Gilliam's bloated, "let me do all the imagining for you" films.)
Giant (If James Dean didn't die, no one would remember this epic as slow as Texas is wide.)
Holiday (Suffers terribly by comparison to either The Awful Truth or The Philadelphia Story.)
City Lights (A film by a man in love with himself, but again, I'm a Keaton fan, less so a Chaplin fan.)
Arsenic and Old Lace (I really do like Cary Grant, but here he triple takes, as if his head-wagging might convince us the jokes are good.)
The Graduate ("Plastics"--no, plastic.)
Dances with Wolves (Pauline Kael had all the best lines on this one, including, "He has feathers in his hair and feathers in his head.")
When Harry Met Sally (Also know as When Reds Met Manhattan, or Nora Ephron says, I haven't stolen from a movie you didn't like.)

I'm sure there's more, but who wants to talk about the overrated forever? That only adds to their myths.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

One of 1,600

Here in Santa Barbara we did our part with a vigil for peace, for as the AP writes, "Hundreds of candlelight vigils calling for an end to the war in Iraq lit up the night Wednesday, part of a national effort spurred by one mother's anti-war demonstration near President Bush's ranch.

The vigils were urged by Cindy Sheehan, who has become the icon of the anti-war movement since she started a protest Aug. 6 in memory of her son Casey, who died in Iraq last year."

Some photos, taken by Amy, the last featuring that commie pinko greyhound of ours Mookie.

Men In Blue See Green

Inspired by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, according to the Los Angeles Times, "is embarking on a whirlwind, 17-event fundraising tour from here to Boston, tapping donors who have a stake in bills soon to arrive at his desk for signature or veto," Major League Baseball's umpires announced today that they wouldn't make any safe or out calls at home plate until after a period of fundraising. Jimmy P. Lenty, a spokestool for the umpires, announced, "We're very clear with our donors. If people are making inappropriate comments and try to lobby the umpire, they will get their contributions returned."

After a pause Lenty added, "There just happen to be coincidences all the time that the team that gives the most money gets the call it wants. You can't blame the umps for that."

The statement by the umpires claimed the First Amendment as their major support for this new action. Their release insisted that donating money is just a form of free speech, and there was no way they would deny true American rights from people simply because they speak the loudest.

Lenty stressed, "It's not like teams will get luxury boxes to the Rolling Stones for their money."

I couldn't work this into the above--what politicians do is so shamefacedly obvious it deflects even satire--but I have to point out that Gov. Schwarzenegger has to raise money because of the special ballot campaign. But he is the one who insisted there was a special election in the first place.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I'll Get You, Wascally Woberts

It seems John Roberts wants to extend that stealth nominee tag in many ways, for just like a stealth bomber, he most likely will leave a swath of destruction in his path if he gets to don Supreme Court justice robes. Here's the latest from USA Today:

As an assistant White House counsel in 1984, John Roberts scoffed at the notion that men and women should earn equal pay in jobs of comparable importance, and he belittled three female Republican members of Congress who promoted that idea to the Reagan administration.


In his memo to White House counsel Fred Fielding, Roberts said the women's letter "contends that more is required because women still earn only $0.60 for every $1 earned by men, ignoring the factors that explain that apparent disparity, such as seniority, the fact that many women frequently leave the work force for extended periods of time. ... I honestly find it troubling that three Republican representatives are so quick to embrace such a radical redistributive concept. Their slogan may as well be, 'From each according to his ability, to each according to her gender.'"

Or, to put it in other words: "Look out, America! Feminism is next to communism!"

Gee, I wonder why women leave the work force for extended periods of time and therefore don't get to have the seniority of someone who can just stick with his job for a long, long time like a Sperm, uh, Strom Thurmond.

Of course, the whole original sin thing is their fault, listening to that serpent and making us bite that apple and all, so perhaps they should be paid a little less and have all the joys of labor, too. Indeed, I'm sure for Roberts it seems utterly suspicious that women, who can cause so many problems, are associated with the word "labor," which is the only thing that keeps business from really making money. Darn greedy women and workers.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Terror of Tiny Town

As someone who is not going to have kids, the latest news makes sense to me, but to all the rest of you breeders out there, I'm sure this will rile you up:

Infants have been stopped from boarding planes at airports throughout the U.S. because their names are the same as or similar to those of possible terrorists on the government's "no-fly list."


ACLU lawyer Tim Sparapani said the problem of babies stopped by the no-fly list illustrates some of the reasons the lists don't work.

"There's no oversight over the names," Sparapani said. "We know names are added hastily, and when you have a name-based system you don't focus on solid intelligence leads. You focus on names that are similar to those that might be suspicious."

The Transportation Security Administration, which administers the lists, instructs airlines not to deny boarding to children under 12 — or select them for extra security checks — even if their names match those on a list.

But it happens anyway. Debby McElroy, president of the Regional Airline Association, said: "Our information indicates it happens at every major airport."

Obviously any diaper, especially at 30,000 feet, can be a dangerous weapon, both a toxic inhalant and a chemical waste dump all in one. Imagine what a group of infants, working together, could do--it could be Al-Baba. Beware the terrorist mastermind Poopy Pants Laden!

I just hope that the next time I fly this means I can claim that I think any babies sitting near me are suspicious and have them removed from the flight before they start screaming. That's a kind of terrible two terror, too.

Why Can't I Touch It?

Want. It's just one of those words that almost always gets you into trouble. It even sort of mocks us, seemingly a simple four letters, but when you say it (go ahead, vocalize for me), it stretches and grows and hints at all sorts of more-than-you-can-handle problems. It gets to a pretty easy crisis calculus:

want > get = ouch

Of course, usually that theorem is followed by:

ouch = life

So, welcome to life as a Mets fan. I know that Red Sox fans think the whole world bleeds through Curt Schilling's ankle, and that Cub fans have had an even longer drought, but the Mets not only tend to struggle (if originally lovably), but they also have to share NYC with the Yankees, who only win 1 out of every 4 World Series. Trying to be the Mets is like imagining the life of Jesse Garon Presley if he wasn't stillborn and hoped to grow up and be a singer.

Plus the Cubbies and Sox have really cool stadia, heck, they're still parks. Shea is such a dump, nobody even wants to fork up the bucks for corporate naming rights.

All of this is a long winded-way to get me into my seat at Dodger Stadium yesterday, not a young man, but with a dream nonentheless: I've always wanted (shoot, there's that word) to see a no-hitter. I haven't even seen all of one on TV. Statistically about two a season happen (although there hasn't been one this year yet), so while rare, they aren't a win-the-lotto kind of affair. But I love the cleanliness of them, the sheer dominance of the pitcher, and the always necessary flourishes of luck, because asking a team to go 0 for 27 is something: it's the equivalent of making a .300 batter (over 300 at-bats, about half a season) lower his average to .275 in about two hours of bad work.

Turns out I figure I have a shot at it going in to the game yesterday, as Pedro Martinez is pitching for the Mets. Despite his three Cy Young Awards, Pedro has never tossed a no-hitter, although he had a perfect game for 9 innings that he lost (the no-hitter and the game) in extra innings, but he's the kind of guy who will have to throw one, and why not against the poor hitting Dodgers, with Jeff Kent out of the line-up, in a pitcher's park?

Well, those of you who read the papers (or is that watch ESPN? or surf the web? how our cliches date us) know what happened. Pedro took a no-no into the eighth inning, got one out, then gave up a triple and a homer in four pitches and thereby lost the game (since the Mets couldn't bother to score more than one run themselves, managing to leave 10 men on base and have the tying run thrown out at the plate in the ninth for good agonizing measure).

A no-no indeed. It's probably a good thing, though, because after Ricky Ledee struck out to start the eighth inning, I almost started to tear-up, I wanted that no hitter so. Five lousy batters. I checked my scorecard (I was even keeping score--I'd have a killer memento!), and saw the line-up would keep Milton Bradley from coming up again, and he was the guy I figured would ruin things, if anyone, both cause he's good and he's ornery. But no, I forgot that it's always a nobody who ruins things--just ask Tom Seaver about Jimmy Qualls, who broke up his perfect game bid in the ninth innning in 1969. Qualls played in a whopping total of 63 major league baseball games.

So, all power to Antonio Perez, triple hitter. Over the head of Gerald "Ice" Williams, centerfielder almost as old as I am (horrors), who was only playing because regular, stellar Carlos Beltran was still woozy after he and Mike Cameron's joint imitation of the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm a few days before.

As for the Dodger fans, delirious that their team's comeback victory got them to within 9 games of .500--I hope you're all happy. Wouldn't you rather have seen history, the first Mets no hitter? (Of course I mean pitched by a Met--the Mets have been no hit six times, including by a Hall of Famer, a U.S. Senator, a baseball GM, a sadly deceased pitcher, a Moose and a nobody.)1

As for Willie Randolph, Mets manager, did you really have to rub it in so in the ninth? After Mike Piazza whiffed for the third time, and the LA fans, still bitter about losing Piazza, happily roared, Marlon Anderson doubled. He got wild pitched to third (despite all the AP reports that said he stole third--who would steal third with one run down in the ninth?). Victor Diaz grounds to second, Anderson hesitates, tries to come home, is tagged out. The ump, Brian Knight, makes a delayed call, knowing that he has to give Mets fans that milisecond to wonder if maybe they got the game tied and then crush their hopes. Next Randolph opts to pinch hit for Gerald Williams, who has actually already hit (much to my surprise) an RBI double off Brad Penny, with Kaz "No One Will Ever Confuse Him with Godzilla" Matsui. Even if I want to hope that Matsui walks, or throws himself in front of a pitch to get on base, I see that it's Jose Awfulman on deck to pinch hit next for Pedro. Now I know how it would feel to get alongside a slow car on a windy, mountainous road, hoping to pass but instead seeing a loaded lumber truck bearing down at me--should I choose the head on or drive off the road into the chasm?

Matsui, of course, struck out. But not before lining one pretty sharp foul ball, which led me to vent my bitterness thusly, "Good job, Kaz, at least maybe you killed a Dodger fan," much to Amy's chagrin and the clear disgust of the krimp-haired blonde in front of me (who needs to take care of her fingernails if she's going to bother to French polish her toenails, geez--it's LA, girl).

Because, after all, I'm a true New York rooter.

1. That's Sandy Koufax, Jim Bunning, Bill Stoneman, Darryl Kile, Bob Moose and Ed Halicki.

Is the Opposite of Constitution Prostitution?

Breaking news, as the AP reports:

Extension Said Sought on Iraq Constitution

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A Kurdish minister said Monday on Al-Arabiyah television that Iraqis could not reach a complete agreement on a constitution and will seek a 7-10 day extension.

Barhem Saleh, minister of planning and a former deputy prime minister, made the statement shortly before the Iraqi parliament convened to consider the draft.

Saleh promised that if the writers were granted the extension, "the Constitution would be, like, way, way better. We got bogged down in our research, plus we only have dial-up, so looking stuff up took really long. As it is, we barely have enough time to run spell check."

The members of the Iraqi parliament are considering whether to grant the extension, wondering if they can only give the constitutional committee a grade no higher than a B+ if they allow for the extra time.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Honey and the Honey Pot

It's a beautifully bizarre day in the neighborhood....

So yesterday I come home from work to find that our next door neighbor, who is opting to take 2 months off and renovate (as in "rip out all the windows and many of the walls" renovate) his house all by himself so the noise can last as long as possible, has decided he needs a Port-a-Potty next to the giant dumpster. On his front lawn. Right next to our driveway. In direct line with our kitchen window, since it makes for such an appetizing view. We might be lucky enough to own a home in Santa Barbara, but that also means we own, as the deed officially says, "+ or - 0 acres." We're pretty sure it's plus. But it gets closer to minus knowing our neighbor is crapping alongside our driveway.

I know, I know, own a house, and you're instantly the old man shaking his cane and shouting, "Get off my lawn you damn kids!"

Luckily, our neighbor across the street kindly brought out the randy young man in me. Our dogs opted to bark like the maniacs they can be, all worked up about her dogs, and when I look out the front window to see what was the matter, she's drying off her SUV--I guess she just got it washed or something. But she's doing it in 6 inch high platform flip-flops, a little cover-up skirt and a string bikini top. It's as if Jessica Simpson has parked the General Lee across the street and decided to film a video. Of course there's a kicker though--my neighbor does her little performance while holding her 6-month-old baby tucked under one arm.

The real world is a bitch.

Putting the Grrr in Grrreyhound Games

For Dog Blog Friday: Mookie sez, "You might be bigger, but I'll always be your older 'brother.'"

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Slice of Democracy

Some great news from Camp Clear-a-Brush:

CRAWFORD, United States (AFP) - US President George W. Bush said that Iraq's new constitution would be completed on time, calling it "a critical step" towards a US withdrawal but refusing to say when US troops would leave.

Bush went on to say, "If the Constitution is not delivered within a half hour of its promised time, everyone in Iraq gets a free Coke."

Down, Down, Down

In the dreamy machine that is Vertigo, Scottie wants the "power and the freedom" to pick up, make, and toss away women in the same way that the film tells us men in the Old San Francisco could. Scottie's obsessed by that, so lost, in the vertiginous fall he almost suffers at the film's opening, in his own desire for control.

Madeleine/Judy is the other half of this roundelay, a character always shaped by another, and therefore a stand-in for women in Hollywood. It's one of the ways the film is so striking, as it proceeds both ethereally and structurally, really, truly a dreamy machine.

But its heart isn't the James Stewart-Kim Novak twosome, its heart is Barbara Bel Geddes as the motherly, bra-sketching Midge. She's the one we can identify with, the best friend hoping to be lover, the one who gets to say, "Was it a ghost? Was it fun?" knowing the lure of mystery will get men every time. She's the only one who understands Scottie's problem, since she's part of it--he can only have a woman he can have. His whole life is a fear of falling, and a woman, all sensuous curves (none moreso than Kim Novak, but he has to learn that lesson the hard way--twice), is just the twirling abyss.

But now Barbara Bel Geddes is dead, and so is Midge. Forget all that Miss Ellie ca-ching time on Dallas, which was good campy check-cashing fun. Midge was a career performance, the very definition of a supporting role, the sweet yet tart artist who sold out her talents to do commercial art, who lost out on Johnny-O as a lover, who paints herself into the portrait of Carlotta in the movie's funniest, bitterest joke. For Scottie can't laugh, and then she can't either, left saying, "Stupid, stupid, stupid," to herself, but to both of them, the couple that couldn't be even if they should. Bel Geddes nailed that hurt but good.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Maher, Maher, Maher -- How Do You Like It...

"I don't hate America first...I have a cup of coffee, I burn a flag, perform a few abortions...then I hate America."

"Democrats have been cruising for years on Tom Daschle's charisma..."

Check out a really funny and generally perceptive (except for liking Joe Biden, which makes no sense) interview that Bill Maher gives to Terry Gross on Fresh Air today. The part that most nails the Dems problem: he makes it clear Democratic candidates never stand for what he stands for. Maher points out, "Kerry didn't even mention the environment, the drug war, the corporate strangle-hold on this country....Most Republicans don't have that problem. They feel George Bush represents them and he probably does."

And Now for Something Completely Disgusting

(a phone conversation)

Agent: So you have to book my latest act.

Theater Owner: Yeah, sure, why.

Agent: They're the Battling Bushes. A terrific family act. The wife is a librarian who runs over a fellow high school student while just a kid herself. Grows up to be a librarian and loves learning so much she marries a guy who doesn't believe in evolution. The daughters might seem like your usual drunken young floozies, but they're twins, and everybody knows twins are hot.

Theater Owner: This doesn't sound like much yet.

Agent: But the dad's the one who takes the cake. Lies like Pinocchio with the General Sherman sequoia between his eyes. Turns his coke addiction into a wild love for the lord. Causes wars for no good reason beyond he can, then refuses to see any of the families of the soldiers he sent to be killed. Gives the media the finger repeatedly, but that's only what he's doing to the country by giving tax breaks to his rich friends, signing energy bills the very week gas prices reach an all-time high, signing highway bills that are paved with pork.

Theater owner: That's disgusting, what do you call this act?

Agent: The Aristocrats!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Happy Anniversary, Amy

The Abnormal Is Not Courage

by Jack Gilbert

The Poles rode out from Warsaw against the German
Tanks on horses. Rode knowing, in sunlight, with sabers,
A magnitude of beauty that allows me no peace.
And yet this poem would lessen that day. Question
The bravery. Say it's not courage. Call it a passion.
Would say courage isn't that. Not at its best.
It was impossible, and with form. They rode in sunlight,
Were mangled. But I say courage is not the abnormal.
Not the marvelous act. Not Macbeth with fine speeches.
The worthless can manage in public, or for the moment.
It is too near the whore's heart: the bounty of impulse,
And the failure to sustain even small kindness.
Not the marvelous act, but the evident conclusion of being.
Not strangeness, but a leap forward of the same quality.
Accomplishment. The even loyalty. But fresh.
Not the Prodigal Son, nor Faustus. But Penelope.
The thing steady and clear. Then the crescendo.
The real form. The culmination. And the exceeding.
Not the surprise. The amazed understanding. The marriage,
Not the month's rapture. Not the exception. The beauty
That is of many days. Steady and clear.
It is the normal excellence, of long accomplishment.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Not Sweet China o' Mine

I don't really mean to rag on the local newsrag, uh, paper, but check out this link to page 1 of the Nation & World section (you have to chose to see the Nation & World section yourself) in today's Santa Barbara News-Press and see if you can find some strange news evaluation going on. Don't get me wrong, I'm as happy as the next not-really-involved gawker that the 7 men aboard the Russian submarine got out alive. But did you see that very tiny "Also in the News" story down in the left corner about 102 trapped Chinese miners?

The latest news about these poor miners, according to the CBC is: "There is little hope that any of the 102 coal miners trapped underground by a flood will be brought out alive, officials in southern China said Monday."

OK, I'm a coalminers' grandson, so that might have something to do with it, but why do the 7 sailors get all the copy, and a hundred abused workers--note that article plainly states, "China's mining industry is the deadliest in the world"--don't get much newsplay? Is it that we love a man in a uniform? That we don't love laborers lost?

Can Buy Me Love

Perhaps only in a town that unabashedly calls itself the American Riviera can you pull this one off without irony, but the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club is sponsoring the following event:

Sunday, August 14 Gates open at noon.
FREE Polo Sunday and “Pretty Woman Day”

SBPRC encourages all women to dress up just for fun, a la Julia Roberts in the film “Pretty Woman.” Everyone seems to remember that fabulous ensemble she wore when Richard Gere and she attended a polo match.

Not everyone seems to remember she played a hooker in that film.

Like, for sure, it's free that day.

Friday, August 05, 2005

You Can Fool Half of the People All of the Time

The latest poll numbers according to the AP don't look the best for President Vacation:

The percentage of people who say they consider Bush honest has dropped slightly from the start of the year. In January, 53 percent described him that way in the AP-Ipsos poll, while 45 percent said they did not believe he was honest. Now, people are just about evenly split--48 percent saying he's honest and 50 percent saying he's not.

Alas, the proper poll follow-up question--"Are you an idiot, yes or no?"--wasn't asked. Of course for interpretation of these numbers the leftwing media turns to the conservative American Enterprise Institute, where Karlyn Bowman, a public opinion analyst, says, "Whether you agree or disagree with him, the president has taken a pounding on perceptions of his honesty." After all, it's merely a perception that Bush said there were WMDs in Iraq and only a perception that none were found. Those pesky perceptions. Bowman also seems to suggest that you can agree with the president even if he's lying, which leads us back to that all-important follow-up question.

The best part of the article might be when the reporter by necessity turns to the "person in the street," one of the few times reporters talk to anyone they don't already know or anyone who earns a salary less than the one they earn. Here we get some terrific damning with faint praises:

Some who don't approve of Bush's job performance admire him personally.

"I think he tries to be likable and I think he's somewhat honest," said Cindy Bashura, a Democratic-leaning resident of Seymour, Conn.

After all, what the U.S. deserves is a leader who is unctuous and follows alternate-side-of-the-street honesty rules.

Outer Space Is a Really Nice Place

Maybe it's because KCRW is kicking off its summer fundraising drive, but it seems that NPR has ratcheted up its stories this moring to thrill Volvo-drivers the suburbs over. Today Steve Inskeep interviewed Ed Francis, a vice president at space-suit--correction, "Extra-Vehicular Mobility Unit" (gee, I thought that would be a pedestrian?)--maker Hamilton Sundstrand. (Company Motto: The Only Space Suit You'll Ever Need cause if it fails, well, you won't need another one.)

Ed Francis says, "A space suit, in its simplest terms, is a one-man space ship," which goes to show why you need to listen to NPR, since I would have guessed a space suit, in its simplest terms, is a suit you wear in space.

But the segment doesn't really get going until Francis discusses the excitement of a Filene's Basement Extra-Vehicular Mobility Unit Sale, when eager women travel hundreds of miles to rush Filene's at 8 am, hoping to find that perfect space suit for a mere $7.5 million, a deep discount form the original $12 mil. Although the suits weigh 240 pounds on earth, since it's meant for the vacuum of space, it never makes a woman's butt look big. As Francis points out, like an astronaut, a bride has to "work in one of the most hazardous environments that there is," a world where all eyes are on her and there will be photos that will last a lifetime, or at least until the next marriage and the photo of the bride with that cheating rat bastard may he rot in hell gets put away. While astronauts must fear micro-meteorites, brides need to be protected from waves of deadly rice. The energy bar in the helmet is a big plus, since it's so hard to eat the meal when greeting all the guests and trying to kiss with a helmet on when the stupid guests start clinking their knives on their water glasses as if you and the new hubby weren't goint to spend the entire evening on the lunar surface committing interstellar perversion.

And When I Snap My Fingers, You'll Act Like You're a Chicken

For Dog Blog Friday: Turns out it's surprisingly easy to hypnotize greyhounds....

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Blessed Is the Cancerous Justice, For He Shall Vacate His Seat

Yesterday's New York Times, in an article about Tom DeLay--who is up to his beady eyes in corruption but can still take time out to make an appearance as part of the Justice Sunday II: Dancing with the Christians broadcast, since Bill "Schiavo Is Living, Stem Cells, Not So Much" Frist was voted off the island--buried the following lovely moment:

In a televised prayer on Tuesday for Judge Roberts's confirmation, the television evangelist Pat Robertson asked his viewers to pray: "Take control, Lord! We ask for additional vacancies on the court."

So, INOTBB readers, I implore you to scour your Bibles and find the quote that discusses wishing death or debilitating illness on others. I can't seem to find that passage in mine.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

We Don't Need Know Education

The New York Times reports that in addition to thinking about Iraq every day, President Bush has some other thoughts, too. According to yesterday's story:

"I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught." Asked again by a reporter whether he believed that both sides in the debate between evolution and intelligent design should be taught in the schools, Mr. Bush replied that he did, "so people can understand what the debate is about."

Mr. Bush was pressed as to whether he accepted the view that intelligent design was an alternative to evolution, but he did not directly answer. "I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," he said, adding that "you're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."

Following up on these claims, President Brush-Clearing Bush offered a new curriculum for high schools today, named Both Sides Ought To Be Properly Taught (Like , For Instance, Whether Split Infinitives Are Bad or Not):

Week 1: Those two times the Earth stopped rotating around the sun, or why Copernicus was a heathen-ninny.
Week 2: Do we not eat green cheese because the moon is made of it?
Week 3: Screening of Capricorn One to prove moon landings never happened. That's why "they" had to discredit OJ later on with all that "murder" stuff--to ruin any chance of a rethinking of his body of work.
Week 4-10: All that science stuff about rocks, etc. (yawn)

Week 1-3: The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, therefore the world is flat.
Week 4: Cool "here be monsters" drawings for the corners of your maps.
Week 5: Besides the snicker-inducing name, the Peters Projection map has to be wrong because it makes the U.S. seem small.
Week 6: Using the GPS in your Hummer.
Week 7: How to find gated communities to hide from your fellow students whose families don't have enough money to buy a Hummer.

Physical Education
Week 1: If you want to be an athlete, steroids are bad.
Week 2: If you want to be governor of California, steroids are good.
Week 3-10: Games of Smear the Queer--good training in so many ways.

U.S. Government
Weeks 1-5: Why the Second Amendment is the best amendment, and how to declare yourself a militia.
Weeks 6-10: Fruitless search for privacy rights defended in the Constitution. Learn that even looking diagonally, can't find "Griswold" in Constitution Word Search.

Sex Education
Week 1-age 21: Divide class into boys and girls and keep the two apart.
Weeks 2-3: Girls taught "no" in several languages, plus polite way to slap boys, plus not-so-polite way to knee not-so-nice boys. Girls taught if they drink they are cheap floozies and are responsible for whatever happens to them, especially if they dress like that. Boys taught they are right about everything, but better exercise so much they fall right asleep at night without any notions of touching themselves anywhere.
Weeks 4-6: Screening of lots of 1950s films showing the graphic horrors of VD, which nothing can protect you from, for condoms don't work.
Weeks 5-7: You can only get AIDs if you're gay, and none of you are that, so don't get indoctrinated (you didn't watch that purple Teletubby as a kid did you?).
Week 8-10: Why the only bad priests are the ones in that hotbed of liberality Boston, where sex makes you drive women off bridges and get a really ragged-looking face when you're old.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

That Pitcher Throws Smoke

The Dayton Daily News gets high marks for being the first outlet to report:

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jung Keun Bong was arrested Friday in Bradenton, Fla. for domestic battery, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's department. Deputies were called to the Sarasota Cay Motel after reports of screams. Bong and his wife said they had a fight and Bong was arrested after red marks were observed on his wife's neck.

Moral of the story? Have a hit on bong--good. Get hit by bong--bad. Bong auditioning for Angel--very bad, especially since the show is cancelled.

Should They Be Drug Testing the President?

Two quotes from President Bush in the same Knight Ridder article:

"Rafael Palmeiro is a friend. He testified in public and I believe him," Bush said, referring to Palmeiro's denials under oath to a congressional committee on March 17. "He's the kind of person that's going to stand up in front of the klieg lights and say he didn't use steroids, and I believe him. Still do."

"Karl's [Rove] got my complete confidence. He's a valuable member of my team."

Rafael Palmeiro is so screwed....

I Want to Hear You Squeal Like a Bond

Today the always informative--just like the rat in a gangster reports this tasty nugget:

Veteran actor Burt Reynolds holds such a deep regret about turning down the role of James Bond in the 1970s, he still wakes up in a cold sweat thinking about it. Late James Bond producer Albert R. Cubby Broccoli offered Reynolds the chance to follow Sir Sean Connery as the slick sleuth, but the actor rejected the opportunity - an action he has lived to regret ever since. He says, "Sean Connery had said he wanted more money and left and (Cubby Broccoli) came to visit me and said, 'We want you to play James Bond.' And I said, in my infinite wisdom, 'An American can't play James Bond. It just can't be done.'"

Shoot, just think of the brilliant films we missed since Burt chickened out (and his tombstone shall say, "Brave enough to wear a staple in Cosmo, not actor enough to fake a British accent") :

The Man Who Loved Octopussy Dancing
For W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings' Eyes Only
The Fuzz Who Loved Me
To Cannonball Run and Let Die
The Man with the Golden Gator
Never Say Smokey and The Bandit Again
Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex*But Were Afraid to Only Live Twice

Bond girls could have included '70s hotties like Sally Field and Dinah Shore.

Besides, you just can't get the name Cubby Broccoli into print enough, if you ask me.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Like Sands through the Hourglass, So Are the Viewpoints of the Times

This Sunday in the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times one could read the following about the downturn in Hollywood B.O.:

But all this slump talk — are we supposed to panic or gloat? I can never tell — has raised an interesting question. Namely: Who cares? For the average moviegoer, stories on box office grosses are just money porn. Echoing and amplifying the numbers only validates the corporate bottom-line mentality that helps keep the culture poor.
Carina Chocano


For adults to come back to theaters regularly, more studio films need to be geared to their taste, and for that to happen, budgets have to come down out of the stratosphere. Though it's fashionable in some circles to decry studio hegemony over boutique operations such as Fox Searchlight or Universal Focus, in practice that's meant an increase in the number of interesting films with recognizable names in the $20-million-to-$30-million range.
Kenneth Turan


The truth is that it's hard to care much about what happens to Hollywood anymore, beyond being concerned about the economic impact on dedicated craftspeople and the plight of exhibitors with too many empty seats. Although it may be wishful thinking, the box office slump, especially if it stretches on, might just become a long-overdue wake-up call for the American motion picture industry. And people who really care about movies could finally get excited by more of what Hollywood has to offer.
Kevin Thomas

Or one could avoid all this heavy-duty moralizing and hand-wringing and cut to the chase with the major feature on a new film release, the remake of The Dukes of Hazzard:

He [the film's director Jay Chandrasekhar] understands that as a maker of rowdy, crowd-pleasing comedies he will likely not get the same critical huzzahs and recognition as if he made films of a different stripe but at the same time has no inclination at the moment to make more high-minded or conventionally respectable films.

"If I had the sensibility to make dramatic movies, I would. As it happens, I make the kind of movies I think I'm good at. I work as hard at making comedy films as any other filmmaker on any other kind of film. John Landis worked as hard on 'The Blues Brothers' as Coppola did on 'The Godfather.'

So ok then. Although I could hear Triumph the Insult Comic Dog saying, "And I worked hard on the poop I took on the sidewalk this morning--where's my medal?"

It Could Happen

Bush Appoints Roberts As Supreme Court Justice

President Bush sidestepped the Senate and installed hardly embattled nominee John Roberts as Supreme Court Justice on Monday, ending a three-week not-really-an-impasse with Democrats who might have accused Roberts of something and perhaps being guilty of conservative ideology.

"This post is too important to leave vacant any longer, especially when I need to get to the ranch at Crawford and clear brush. Besides, Justice O'Connor said she wouldn't step down until the post was filled, so she might get to show she's not a complete right-wing whacko on a couple more decisions--we can't have that," Bush said. He said Roberts had his complete confidence, just as he was confident Barbara and Jenna would know where to get abortions if they needed them no matter what happened to Roe v. Wade.
eXTReMe Tracker