Friday, March 31, 2006

Mookie Supposes His Toes-es Are Roses but Mookie Supposes Erroneously

For Dog Blog Friday: It seemed fitting giving how fitful my entries have been this week to leave you on paws.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

This Week I'm Quitting My Job and All They're Giving Me Is All the Work for the Rest of the Quarter

I shit you not, dear, readers, on either count, which is fitting given what number 2 is. Tomorrow is my last day at my current job (spot the soon to be disappearing link at right), since Friday is when the UC celebrates Cesar Chavez Day and thereby outrages lots of people worried about the past week of protests and instead think there should be a Ronald Reagan Day. Actually, there is a Ronald Reagan Day, but in honor of Ron, we forget what day of the year it is. Ba-dum-bum.

So, the current job, in the way that reminds me why I'm pretty happy to be leaving it, says, "Oh, wow, you're leaving--can you do the rest of the work you'd do until May before you go?"

And, of course, sap I am, I'm doing some of it. But I promise there's one wrong thing in everything I've done just to give them something to deal with when I'm gone. Naw, actually, I'm hoping I get my George Bailey moment and can watch the place turn to Pottersville. Since my new job is at UCSB, too. I'd hate to lose all that accrued vacation the old job wouldn't let me take.

Well, enough whining, but I wanted you to know why I missed blogging yesterday. And I'll leave you with a joke. Today we went on a staff day out that only seemed like an episode from The Office. To Guadalupe, CA. There we got to visit the dunes, which are mostly closed so the snowy plover can do their plovering in peace. But we also go to watch a visitor center movie about the lost remains of the vast sets Cecille B. DeMille built for his silent version of The Ten Commandments. It seems the sets really grew out of control, especially when the team set to build Sphinxes built 8 instead of the 4 that CB asked for. When Demille questioned the foreman of the job, he replied, "Sorry, sir. I guess we just went on a Sphinx tear."

And now I will leave my old job behind.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Yesterday Was My Birthday and All I Got from the U.S. Government Was a $90,000 Share of the National Debt

The AFP reports:

So rapid is the rise of the US national debt, that the last four digits of a giant digital signboard counting the moving total near New York's Times Square move in seemingly random increments as they struggle to keep pace.

The national debt clock, as it is known, is a big clock. A spot-check last week showed a readout of 8.3 trillion -- or more precisely 8,310,200,545,702 -- dollars ... and counting.

But it's not big enough.


In 2004, the old clock was torn down and replaced with a newer model which had optimistically been modified to run backwards should such a happy necessity arise.

Instead the debt continued to rise at such a rate that the once unthinkable total of 10 trillion dollars veered from alarmist fantasy into the realm of impending reality.

Sounds like a motto for BushCo: "We veer from alarmist fantasy into the realm of impending reality."

Friday, March 24, 2006

A Ha-Ha on Hollywood

Making fun of IMDB news nuggets is almost as easy as spotting the plagiarism cases in the WaPo conservative blogger's history, but if you don't take a swing at the low hanging fruit, it will fall to the ground, rot and attract flies. This is especially true for conservative bloggers. So, here we go on a whirlwind tour through all the news that keeps us from noticing we took out a tyrant and still managed to make things worse somewhere...

Samuel L. Jackson's new mile-high thriller Snakes on a Plane has created such a buzz among internet film fans, movie bosses have called for re-shoots - to give the film a tougher rating.

We can now look forward to more snake sex, a skin shedding sequence that is sexier than Rita Hayworth removing her gloves in Gilda and a few scenes with eggs that even make me blush, and I've seen Pink Flamingos.

Mission: Impossible III star Tom Cruise reenacted his sofa-jumping escapade on The Oprah Winfrey Show when he appeared at Yahoo's Influential Speakers showcase on Tuesday. The Jerry Maguire actor took to the stage in Sunnyvale, California, with the internet company's chief executive Terry Semel and answered questions and had an impromptu arm wrestle before pointing fun at the way he expressed his love for fiancee Katie Holmes last year. Cruise then brought his pregnant wife-to-be onto the stage and kissed her in front of the audience.

I best Holmes makes him do these things as she probably only gets kissed when there's an audience. And she's no doubt still bitter they had to use Jodie Foster's hand-me-down turkey baster....

Hollywood hardman Bruce Willis has apologized to Colombia after blaming the nation for America's drug problems. The Die Hard star now insists the US is as much to blame for the prolific trade, and confesses he didn't mean to single out any one country as the supplier. He tells the New York Daily News, "I spoke to the Colombians. It's fine. I get passionate sometimes."

Yes, millions of Colombians were shocked earlier this week as (hardman?) Bruce Willis completed a lightning-fast door-to-door campaign to apologize to the country. Results from an AP poll completed after he visited "the Colombians" showed that 42% of the country forgave him, 28% of the country was too high to answer their door and another 30% confused him for Ashton Kutcher.

German director Werner Herzog has hailed Christian Bale one of the greatest actors of his time. The pair worked together on prisoner-of-war thriller Rescue Dawn, but the 63-year-old film-maker insists he spotted Bale's prodigious talent long before they met on set.

Hmm, guess Herzog rented the uncut version of Velvet Goldmine.

One Tree Hill star Chad Michael Murray has hooked up with another beauty from the hit TV show - an extra who has just turned 18 years old. The 24-year-old Freaky Friday star - who split from co-star Sophia Bush last September after just five months of marriage - is reportedly now dating Kenzie Dalton, who plays a cheerleader on the teen drama. The actress, who is also a model, confirms the relationship saying, "We've been going out since December." The couple have largely kept their relationship out of the limelight, because they started dated when Dalton was only 17 years old. She explains, "Chad and I just hang out. We don't really go out at night."

How cheap has stardom become when acting in One Tree Hill and the remake of Freaky Friday makes you a "star"? That said, I've got three bits of advice for Chad:
1) It's a big world out there. Don't just date at work.
2) You can get a non-actress to wear a cheerleader uniform, if that's what you want.
3) Hope you enjoyed that 18th birthday, although I can guess what your present to Kenzie was.

Movie veteran Harrison Ford has refused to retire any time soon, although he will be a senior citizen in just two years time. The 63-year-old, who did his own fight scenes in recent thriller Firewall, insists he's still fit enough for the big screen. He says, "The notion of retirement is that you have outlived your usefulness and I'm still working. I'm not sitting on the front porch." Last week, Ford confirmed he will reprise his role as swashbuckling adventurer Indiana Jones in a long-awaited sequel.

Word has it the new film will be called Arizona Jones and deal with heroic struggles with leaking Depends on the golf course.

You Make Me Feel So Nigel Is Sprung

For Dog Blog Friday: Oh, yeah, those of you critical of my photography skills! Let's see you take a non-blurry photo of Nigel.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Between a Boy Band and a Hard Place

I wish I had more time to blog but I have to brave rush hour traffic and get from Santa Barbara to a palatial Hollywood film palace a Santa Monica multiplex an undisclosed location in an underpass near the 405 for the world premiere of Being NSync, soon to be shown at a film festival near you, and if there isn't a film festival near you, start one and screen this short. At the least visit the website, designed so well you have to assume the designer is someone lovely and terrific herself. (Don't imagine much more than that as she's married, ok?)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

More Than This?

Reuters picks up a Billboard story and runs with it:

Contrary to British reports, Brian Eno is not rejoining Roxy Music for the group's first new studio album since 1982's classic Avalon.

Turns out the report first appeared on, which any regular internets peruser will know is the cyber-sister to the Weekly World News. Still, all I can think to say to Mr. Ferry, "Bryan, please, please, don't make this CD suck."

Actually, I can think of something else to say: Avalon isn't classic, even if a few of its tracks are. None of Roxy Version III is classic--too much filler, and the ennui has slipped into langour that even late 70s dance floor beats can't revive. And while it might be heretical to say, Roxy Version I isn't the best, either, for Ferry had a point when he pushed out Eno and said something to the effect of "no group can support two non-musicians." (I write this while hoping "Beauty Queen" accepts my full apologies, although if any song is a test of someone's ability to put up with Ferry's singing, it's this one.) Roxy Version II, though, that trifecta of Stranded, Country Life and Siren, that's music to love and lose by. Meanwhile Eno got to do his four rock albums, ending with the sublime Another Green World. So everything works out when the musicians in the room can't.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bastards or Liars--You Decide

If you hadn't seen this one (and I guess I shouldn't assume all of you are as poorly read as I am), you really need to go take a look. Acclaimed journalist Kevin McKiernan, director of the award-winning doc Good Kurds, Bad Kurds (so he should know Kurds), claims that the Kurds were promised gas masks and other self-defense supplies from the U.S. by an eminence no less than Donald Rumsfeld prior to the war.

That's right, prior to the war, when the U.S. was sure not only that Hussein had WMDs, but that he would use him on his own people. After all, that's one of President Bush's favorite lines when he has to be sure everyone agrees Hussein is a monster, "He gassed his own people."

So, you'd think we'd want to keep him from doing just that again. But then the story gets intriguing:

In December 2002, Senators Joe Biden and Chuck Hagel visited northern Iraq on a fact-finding trip for the Foreign Relations Committee. The senators expressed concern that the Kurds still had no protection, stating in separate interviews they would try to convince the administration to expedite the promised shipment.

In February 2003, with the US attack now imminent, Kurdish leaders Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani published an impassioned letter to President Bush, complaining they ''have yet to receive any of the protective equipment promised by your officials to deal with the very real risk of chemical and biological weapons attacks on the cities of Iraqi Kurdistan."

When the Bush appeal was made public, Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, the wife of Jalal Talabani, who later became president of Iraq, told me that she had personally filmed victims of Hussein's earlier gas attacks in 1987-1988. ''No one was interested at that time in my videos," she lamented.

Not that I like to see the world in simplistic, dualistic ways, but that seems to say one of two things:

1) BushCo. just didn't give a rat's ass about the Kurds (perhaps wouldn't even mind for a bunch of them to be killed, as it would help prove their point about Saddam, and the fewer Kurds, the easier a coalition government might be),
2) BushCo. knew there were no WMDs, and so didn't need to protect the Kurds from non-existent weapons stockpiles.

They just get slimier and slimier.

Monday, March 20, 2006

I Heard You Looking

If nothing else, the World Baseball Classic taught us that some things are universal. At one point tonight when the Cuban pitcher and catcher decided to talk a tense moment over on the mound, both covered their mouths with their gloves so their Japanese opponents could not read their Spanish-speaking lips. It's as much a baseball reflex as Ichiro taking an outside pitch with two strikes down the left field line.

Konservative Kid Krisis

Desperate Renegade point to a fascinating story in the Toronto Star that reports about the longitudinal study of UC Berkeley Professors Jack and Jeanne Bloch (I know, that automatically makes them targets for rightwingers of the Horowitz persuasion), part of which gets summarized thusly:

Block admits in his paper that liberal Berkeley is not representative of the whole country. But within his sample, he says, the results hold. He reasons that insecure kids look for the reassurance provided by tradition and authority, and find it in conservative politics. The more confident kids are eager to explore alternatives to the way things are, and find liberal politics more congenial.

Ok, it might not take a study to figure that people who toss around the world "evil" a whole lot aren't ones who're going sing-along with Pavement's line "there are forty different shades of black" and have any clue they know what they're saying. Distinctions? Bah. Let's divide the world in two, especially if we get the bigger half.

The summary of the journal paper also says:

The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.

The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective.

As sweeping generalizations go, these sweep with a pretty true-to-life broom. You want whiny, listen to any rightwing talk radio or read any conservative blog. Imagine doing so as a person just up from a Van-Winklish snooze and you'd assume the liberals were entrenched in the White House, Congress and the judiciary. That the world was unsafe for big business. That snowy plovers were armed and protected by the second amendment and ready to go Cheney-crazy on any hunter dumb enough to wander down their beach.

Of course, while the description of us liberals seems more flattering, it hides one less pleasant truth, too. (No, not that our outgoing girls are easy.) That our hanging loose and introspection can leave us too eager for other answers, too willing to dicker, debate, delight in discernment.

But I'm willing to be convinced otherwise.

Three Years in Nine Minutes

As Condi Rice no doubt celebrates the third anniversary of the Iraq War with some expensive shoes, as it is the leather anniversary (let's not think about what Lynne and Dick Cheney are doing to mark the moment), go check out real journalism. It's not dead, it just moved to NPR. At least for the moment. For as Steve Inskeep says, "Here's what we heard then, and what we know now." Seems like a peck of pickled impeachment points to me, and that doesn't even get to breaking international torture treaties or national wiretapping laws.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Greyhoundish Tenor

For Dog Blog Friday: And when Mookie offered his rendition of "Danny Boy" not a dry eye was left in the house.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The General Denied at Dawn

Sure in the heat of battle, or should I say the buzz of Operation Swarmer (not to be confused with The Swarm, the 1978 Irwin Allen classic about killer bees--ah, for the dear dreary days of the late 70s, when we merely watched disaster movies and didn't send people to act them out in foreign countries), it might be hard to pick your words with the precision of a smart bomb flattening its designated target. But even cutting him some slack, this has to be one of the weirder quotes ever under wartime duress (the AP reports):

But Gen. John Abizaid, chief of the U.S. Central Command, sought to downplay the uniqueness of the raid.

"I wouldn't characterize this as being anything that's a big departure from normal or from the need to prosecute a target that we think was lucrative enough to commit this much force to go get," Abizaid said.

We "prosecute" targets? Here's hoping U.S. Central Command is better at that kind of prosecution than the U.S. Justice Department is at trying to convict a man who proudly says he is al-Qaeda. This prosecution also involves more than probing questions and a deft revelation of key evidence, for the story claims, "Residents in the area of the assault reported a heavy U.S. and Iraqi troop presence and said large explosions could be heard in the distance. American forces routinely blow up structures they suspect as insurgent safe-houses or weapons depots." And lord knows the best thing to do with suspects is blow them up. Then you never get accused of torturing them.

Gen. Abizaid's biggest slip might have been working the word "lucrative" into an explanation of the Iraq War. It would be fascinating to know what the exact calculus is for determining how many lives, given American > Iraqi, equals how much oil money plus Bush approval ratings points squared.

On This Date in Military Might

The AP reports:

In a well-publicized show of force, U.S. and Iraqi forces swept into the countryside north of the capital in 50 helicopters Thursday looking for insurgents in what the American military called its "largest air assault" in nearly three years.

You've got to hand it to Bush Co. They certainly can dream up wonderful ways to celebrate the 38th anniversary of the My Lai Massacre.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

OK, Just Take Those Things You Believe...And Don't

Ed Helms of The Daily Show nails the Democrats' position perfectly with his little story: "I was getting mugged the other day, and this bum was hitting me over the head with a bottle. I just lay there and did nothing and thought, 'Eventually he will hit himself with that bottle.' And he did--it was after I was unconscious, but I think I won that battle."

That's just the keynote of a great segment with Paul Hackett, who the Dems so wisely pushed out of the Ohio senatorial race. Good thing, too--he might have won. Check the whole thing out over on Crooks & Liars.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

God Save the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Cuz Tourists Are Money)

Having a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame seems like having a Best Sex of Your Life Scrapbook--some things are best left to memory and don't need memorializing, let alone to be institutionalized (unless you've been doing it with Colin Farrell and need to make a quick buck). Cleveland has to have something, I guess. (No, not a romp with Colin Farrell, the Museum, silly.)

That said, it's always fun to see how the rockers roll into the Waldorf each year for the presentation ceremony, for if anything says headbanging, it's the place where Bobby Short tickled the ivories for decades. Reuters reports:

Living up to their reputation for thumbing their nose at the establishment, the Sex Pistols snubbed the ceremony.

Still remembered for outraging British society with such nihilistic anthems as "Anarchy in the U.K.," the punk rockers faxed a letter to organizers saying: "We're not your monkey."

"Next to the Sex Pistols, Rock and Roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain," said the letter which was read out by Hall of Fame vice president Jann Wenner.

Beyond learning Wenner can still read after grinding his once important magazine Rolling Stone into the ground is a kick, of course, but not as much as the news that Malcolm McLaren showed up to accept the award for the Pistols, claiming, "I guess this means I'm not getting one for Bow Wow Wow."

Further down the article--way further down, after even Ozzy Osborne's last petering-putter of his second fifteen minutes of fame (the world is a meritocracy my ass)--we also learn:

Trumpeter Herb Alpert and business partner Jerry Moss, the founders of A&M Records, were inducted as nonperformers.

Which just confirms what hundreds of jazzheads said for all those years before Kenny G was a twinkle in their derisive eyes. Even giving Alpert massive credit for the album cover that awakened more young men's sexual stirrings than anything this side of Julie Newmar in that Catwoman suit. Life was much simpler before the internets offered us naked nubiles around every cyber-corner.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Tango, Si, Flamenco, No Way, Jose

I realize I'm just a dilettante, or whatever the Spanish language equivalent is (no, not pendejo), and know that owning Piazzolla Remixed doesn't give me the right to write. But that's never stopped me before. So, tonight, after watching Bocca Tango I feel moved to explain why tango moves me and flamenco gives me the giggles.

The bandoneon is the sad accordion. No oompah accompaniment or Pink Panther pulses for it. Only wistful twists of the wrist like air whistled down nostalgic alleys. Not that it doesn't have its comic edge, for it's so sad it practically laughs at itself, especially when it gets to gossiping with the high-strung violin. And when the whole band sets to, it might as well be the Carl Stalling project on South American holiday, trying to get free from emotion by caricaturing itself, a rush of notes, a clutch of melody, someone's perfume or anyone's air.

Then again, that's the tango's odd point. It suggests one can freeze frame passion into a series of ritual gestures, pretending choreography is one of the sciences and mating is our field of study. Of course it started in Buenos Aries' tango halls where men danced with men, and therefore got even more codified, as it wasn't dance as metaphor of/excuse for/entree to sex. No sir. Really, no, sir.

So it means to be serious but we all know better, even those playing the music, acting the dance. Therefore love is exposed for the game it is, as we all hope to make our own stumbles towards grace, preferrably with a partner willing to allow for giggling only at appropriate times.

Flamenco, on the other foot, is just silly. Always overheated, the men act so macho, dancing with themselves, yet their moves tend to mince. Do they see the conundrum? Never. And that's why flamenco deosn't fly for me--it's so much only one thing.

Meanwhile tango sounds like tangle and that has to mean something.

The Challenged

Reuters reports:

President Geroge W. Bush took a look at Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda's broken leg on Monday and joked that now would be a good time for a foot race between them.

Shortly after meeting with the head of Slovakia, President Bush had Karl Rove get Stevie Wonder on the phone. Bush was reported to say, "Stevie, how 'bout a dart contest, just me and you, heh heh?"

Before heading off to bed at 10 pm, the President reportedly challenged the 2,300 American soldiers killed in Iraq to a hotdog eating contest while praying to his god. "I am the winner!" he repeated till he fell asleep.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Heart of Gold Whoring for Hounds

In the joys that only a free and fun internets can bring, the witty Ironicus Maximus points to the clever Coyote Mercury who points to the brilliantly kind Doug Petch, who then gives money to greyhound rescue if you write a comment.

It's like a cyber-scratch behind the ears. And it's much more fun looking into the sweet eyes of lots of hounds than doing whatever else it is your work thinks you should be doing right now.

UPDATE: I changed the Petch link so it goes to this week's entry: thanks, Amy and James for helping me out.

Cheerful Chuck-It Chasers

For Dog Blog Friday: The odd thing is, when Amy started to click the shutter, Mookie was over by that orange safety cone. The odder thing is Nigel's shadow.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

It's Clear It's Time for Me to Come Clean

INOTBB used a vast array of blog-enhancing drugs, including wine with dinner and typing finger growth hormone, for at least five seasons beginning in 1998, according to a napkin filled with scrawl written by two San Francisco Chronicle letters-to-the-editor writers.

Beginning in 1998 with injections in his buttocks of Sillyol, the same drug used in the writing of the movie Airplane! and last year by President Bush when he nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, INOTBB's massive doping regimen grew more sophisticated as the years went on, according to Blog of Shadows, a book to be released later this month written by reporters Mark Wada-Wantafrumme and Lance Link.

Wada-Wantafrumme and Link write that "more than a dozen people either had been told directly that he was using banned drugs, had seen him using the drugs with their own eyes, or had seen him using drugs with someone else's eyes," according to a book excerpt in this week's Pica Picayune.

Blogger did not ban snark-enhancing drugs until after the 2002 season, though there has long been suspicion that some largely ignored if still somehow convinced they were as important to blogging as say, oh, Barry Bonds was to baseball, bloggers such as INOTBB were taking steroids to write that next entry. According to the book, INOTBB has ben quoted as saying, "My deadline is now, dude, what have you got for that?" This book is yet another distraction for INOTBB, which has become as accustomed to steroids questions in recent years as it has inquiries related to its powerful left-handed swing.

"I read it, man. I was lost. I didn't even know there were that many kind of steroids," said Cubs manager Dusty Baker, who was asked questions because he likes to talk. "I've never even seen steroids. I didn't even know what kind of steroids are steroids other than the kinds you use to fight allergies....I was quite surprised with the detail that was in there. Oh, what's a blog? Whatever it is, I bet Neifi Perez has a great one."

INOTBB was motivated to take blog-enhancing drugs by the TBogg v. Michael Bérubé chase of the single-season site visit record in 1998 and he had never taken any before 1998.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It's IMDB's World, We Just Get to Squirm Uncomfortably in It

So I'll completely pass on the news that Britney Spears might have at last found the thing she was meant to do on this planet: pump out babies as if she were a one-woman fertility clinic. It seems she might be pregnant with child 2 only six months after giving birth to child 1. You'd think she would have socked away enough money to buy some birth control, as if having sex with Kevin Federline wouldn't be birth control enough for any sane person.

But no, there's something even weirder going on in the world of the famous for reasons were not sure of. Look over today's IMDB Movie/TV News Page and see if you notice which two stories don't belong. I'll wait.

Yep, it's:

Hatcher's Trust Issues After Child Abuse
Teri Hatcher finds it difficult to trust men after enduring sexual abuse at the hands of her uncle as a child.


Trump: "I'd Date Ivanka"
Property tycoon Donald Trump has sparked controversy after declaring he would date his sexy daughter Ivanka if they were not related. Trump insists he would be comfortable if the 24-year-old model decided to strip off for men's magazine Playboy, because he would be the first to ogle her if he wasn't her dad. He says, "If she posed, it would be fine. She does have a very nice figure. I've said if she wasn't my daughter, perhaps I'd be dating her." Trump's spokesman has attempted to explain The Aprentice reality star's comments, saying, "He was making fun of himself for his tendency to date younger women. It's a sense of humor that people don't see all the time."

That is a sense of humor people don't see all the time. Unless, of course, we're talking about people who are in prison.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


You do know my birthday is coming up, don't you all? Wouldn't this make a lovely gift? It would be like bringing part of Shea Stadium into the house--you can even include the optional rat infestation.

They're Not Boo-ing, They're Saying Mooooo-saoui

Turns out the Zacarias Moussaoui death penalty trial is one more example of you don't get what you don't pay for. His court appointed lawyer, who just happens to be named Ed MacMahon (after the sentencing, does he say to the judge, "You are right sir!"), has opted for the "you're ugly and your mother dresses you funny" defense. Only MacMahon has introduced a fascinating new wrinkle to this old strategy--he's accusing both those on the prosecution and his own client of everything he can think of.

According to NPR's Morning Edition, MacMahon called Moussaoui "isolated and useless, obnoxious to everyone he meets and most importantly a headache to al Qaeda," which, at the least, makes the terrorist more effective than President Bush. MacMahon also quoted an al Qaeda leader who called Moussaoui "cuckoo in the head." At this point Moussaoui stood up and said, "That's my defense lawyer, ladies and gentleman, the man works for me."

But MacMahon wasn't finished, as he had a monster-size Publishers' Clearinghouse check of horrible embarrassment to deliver at the FBI's doorstep. He insisted that even if Moussaoui knew of the plot, "The agency was so incompetent and beset by bureaucratic infighting before 9/11 that the FBI would have done nothing with the information."

So that about does it--the defendant is useless and the prosecution incompetent. Why even waste the bench's time with a farce like this?

It is interesting to note that prosecutors and the FBI insist that if Moussaoui fessed up, they would have arrested all 19 hijackers and foiled that horrible plot. And not a word was spoken about how crucial it would have been to violate NISA laws to wire-tap anyone.

Monday, March 06, 2006

It Got Easier in Here for a Blog

Just a quick note of thanks. The one and only Tbogg pointed towards INOTBB yesterday, probably because he'd had such a pleasing weekend with Ms. Tbogg that even my posts sounded witty to him. (Go read his post-coital cigarette of a post and you'll see what I mean.)

Then get on over to Wampum and vote for Tbogg in as many categories as you can. Make like Cook County all over that poll.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Grouch Oscar

I'm not live blogging because I wanted my responses to feel more like the Oscar telecast itself. And if you watched, you know what I mean. Jon Stewart was sporadically funny, but I prefer him in his night job. The way the show is set up, after the first ten minutes they could have Academy President Sid Gannis host the whole thing, or maybe one of LA's best maitre d's, since the evening's all about time management and having the dishes show up on time. Oh, and Sid, don't forget that your plea that film is only film on the big screen rings a bit hollow in the midst of a huge-worldwide TV broadcast.

*Can't they remember they're movies? Funny stuff is people falling falling down; I know this for sure having seen a magnificent triple bill of Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd two-reelers yesterday. So why does the Oscars have to trot out Yo-Yo Ma last year and Itzhak Perlman this? (OK, they wheeled out Perlman, but I'm just trying to set-up my lack of tact in comparison to their faux class.)

*78 isn't just the number of years there have been Academy Awards--it's also the number of cosmetic surgeries Dolly Parton has had. I guess "Travelin' Thru" didn't get interpretive dancers because they might get knocked off the stage by her Botoxed lips.

*Actually, this broadcast they re-employed the recently rarely used mime-dancers. That's not quite Rob Lowe-Snow White delicious, but at least "burning cars light up my lame ballad" tasty.

*I don't even have to look this up: The Sound of Music is not an epic.

*Overall this telecast spent way too much time making Chuck the Hardest Workman in the Business. A biopic montage? A noir montage (and not to be too picky, but Night of the Hunter, one of my favorite films, is really more German Expressionism in America 25 years after the end of German Expressionism, which might be why it's Charles Laughton's only directorial effort)? A "this film vaguely had social or political import" montage? Even Stewart saw through that one enough with his, "And we never had any of those problems again" crack. Of course, that montage also buried the fact the many think On the Waterfront is reactionary (let's not even get into it as an apologia for Kazan), The Grapes of Wrath and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington are sloppy populism, etc.

*That shot of Mickey Rooney made me think (no, not "he's still alive?') but how he and Tommy Lasorda are slowly becoming the same person.

*How is it that every audience cut-away to Jack Nicholson catches him with a look as if he's just debauched a 15--year-old?

*I was convinced Charlize Theron was going to present the Oscar for Visual Effects as I was sure that was a scale model of one of the space invaders from War of the Worlds on the shoulder of her dress.

*Trend of the night--hair not only up but also out and about. As Amy said, it looked like Sandra Bullock drove to the Kodak Theater in a convertible.

*And in a surprise, the gay movie to take home a big Oscar is March of the Penguins.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Of Cowboys, Christians and Carol Channing

The IMDB reports:

Brokeback Mountain actress Michelle Williams has been disowned by her former school because of her role in the controversial gay cowboy romance. Williams, who attended exclusive Santa Fe Christian School in San Diego, California, has been blasted by the school's headmaster as "offensive" for acting the long-suffering wife of a homosexual ranch hand, played by Heath Ledger. Jim Hopson has branded the Oscar nominee a poor role model, and hopes his education establishment won't be linked to the film's themes. He tells the San Diego Union Tribune, "We don't want to have anything to do with her in relation to that movie. Michelle doesn't represent the values of this institution. Brokeback Mountain basically promotes a lifestyle we don't promote."

I don't get it. If they don't promote the lifestyle, than it will have to stay and repeat the same grade, only influencing younger children each year it's held back. Wouldn't it be better to get that nasty lifestyle promoted and graduated and far, far away from SFCS?

I also don't understand why Hopson is worried about her becoming a role model as a beard. Does he think that someone, somewhere is saying, "Gee, Michelle Williams acted in a love story that just happened to be about gay men. I wonder what school she went to that would lead her to grow up and make a choice like that?"

So, looking for answers, or perhaps some religious guidance, I turned to the Santa Fe Christian School's website where Hopson cyber-greets us all with the non-warm and forbidding words of the Old Testament lord:

Hello, and welcome in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Santa Fe Christian has been faithfully serving the Christian community of North San Diego County for more than 20 years. As an inter-denominational college-preparatory school, we seek to offer our students an outstanding academic curriculum based on a Biblical worldview. We have a nurturing, motivated and dedicated faculty that desires to teach our young people that true success comes from standing tall in their chosen professions while kneeling humbly before their God. From preschool through upper school, Biblical principles are integrated into every aspect of the curriculum, and students are encouraged to embrace a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Ah, the "Biblical worldview," when you could see more of the world as it was flat and a mere two thousand or so years old, and we could all see better when we were younger. But if you ask me, the rest of the greeting seems pretty ripe and racy for a Christian school. You'd think Hopson would be more sympathetic to gay-themed films if he suggests people should "kneel humbly before their God." And when he says "embrace a personal relationship with Jesus Christ" he must, sadly, be waxing metaphoric. If waxing anything is allowed at Santa Fe Christian.

The kicker that Hopson should chill out, though, is his school's homepage trumpets the Spring musical Hello, Dolly! Now what could be queerer than fostering a love of musical theater in teens!

All Lined Up

For Dog Blog Friday: This is the look we get if we don't get out for the morning walk fast enough. (And that is Mr. Crayon on our bed--provide your own punchline in the comments.)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Poly Want a Math?

Friday is the 303rd anniversary of the death day of scientific genius Robert Hooke, often hailed as a polymath, or as the case turned out to be near his death, a rolly-polymath: so busy was Hooke with science that he didn’t exercise at all and ballooned up so much that London Bridge quaked in fear every time he strode along the Thames (you always wondered where that falling down song came from, didn’t you?). Among the many things no one really remembers Hooke for—it turns out that the term “playing hooky” comes from his name, as a massive longitudinal study conducted by the Society of People More Boring Than You Can Imagine, No Really, More Than That Even discovered the most popular day for grammar school students to miss in all their years was the one when Hooke got discussed—is that he was the first person to use the term cell in biology. Many doctors worldwide greatly appreciated his saving them from diagnosing patients with sickle ____ anemia, which not only failed to instill confidence in their patients, but also sounds really silly.

Hooke also had a famous feud with Isaac Newton, and since Newton outlived him, that gave Sir Isaac more time to ruin Hooke’s reputation, or at the least, steal he’s ideas. For instance, it’s unclear which man invented that great gag the reflecting telescope (“Hey, that Martian looks an awful lot like me…why you!”), and it’s possible that Hooke even invented “Newton’s rings,” one of the original dial tones years before AG Bell was even born. Now that’s scientific brilliance. Hooke’s hatred for his rival and his own creativity are summed up in the time he got so fed up he shouted, “I don’t give a fig, Newton,” and Sir Thomas Nabisco immediately ran home to his kitchen to bake. The rest is culinary history.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Your Town, Like Your Pizza, Is Like Cardboard

The AP reports:

If Domino's Pizza founder Thomas S. Monaghan has his way, a new town being built in Florida will be governed according to strict Roman Catholic principles, with no place to get an abortion, pornography or birth control.


The town of Ave Maria is being constructed around Ave Maria University, the first Catholic university to be built in the United States in about 40 years. Both are set to open next year about 25 miles east of Naples in southwestern Florida.

The town and the university, developed in partnership with the Barron Collier Co., an agricultural and real estate business, will be set on 5,000 acres with a European-inspired town center, a massive church and what planners call the largest crucifix in the nation, at nearly 65 feet tall. Monaghan envisions 11,000 homes and 20,000 residents.

Clearly, however, Monaghan can't do math--without birth control, it's hard to believe each home will contain a mere 1.82 people. Especially when the article goes on to say that Ave Maria will also ban Saran Wrap, balloons, and pulling out just to be safe (or perhaps that's unsafe, which is what God wants--at least the Catholic God, who knows you have to sin to be saved, while knowing he has to be cruel to be kind).

Monaghan also went on to say, "The pornography ban extends to everything one--and by one I mean me--might find offensive or sexual or in the slightest bit titillating. We will even ban the word titillating, not to mention anything Beavis and Butt-head might snigger at, but that word hiding in snigger is just fine, as we're in the South, after all. The good news is we will ban Beavis and Butt-head, too, plus Nabokov, James Joyce, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Joyce DeWitt, Joyce Carol Oates, and all Scorsese 'cause we're still mad he made that Jesus movie where our Lord refuses to die like a good martyr and instead gets married and Barbara Hershey is too hot as Mary Magdalene.

"But Mel Gibson and his bloody Jesus we welcome with open arms, since religion is all about pain. That's why we want to be known for the U.S.'s biggest crucifix. Ours will be a foot longer, uh, taller than the one in Salve Regina up the holy highway. [Editor's note: this is an area of Florida that routinely helps elect Bushes and is the home of numerous faith-based organizations, including the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater Where Non-Careers Go to Imitate Terry Schiavo, yet earn applause by audiences as aware of talent as Dr. Bill Frist is aware of life while making diagnoses via video snipets].

"And our Jesus will be bloodier, especially at night when it will feature a light show that would put Las Vegas to shame. But, of course, Vegas is shameful, and to further protect our people, our travel agents will not be allowed to book trips to places like Vegas or California or pretty much any Blue State or Israel or the Middle East or places where Catholics are outnumbered. South Dakota is a fine place for Ave Marians to travel to, however."

To help initially stock Ave Maria with priests, Monaghan plans a ratio of 5 altar boys per man of the cloth. Each boy of the cloth--which is no doubt dirty and needs to be washed, so get over into the sacristy right now and we'll practice the 'this is my body, take and eat' part of the cermony--will be Abercrombie & Fitch model quality and sworn to a special "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Is Barry Bonds a Drag on the Giants?

Scottsdale, AZ -- News broke from the San Francisco Giants camp that all the years of rumors have been true: slugger Barry Bonds has been on drugs since 2002. The surprise is the drugs aren't steroids, but hormones. Bonds, about to pass the Sultan of Swat's once revered 714 lifetime homers figure, said, "I, too, want to be a Babe. After seeing Felicity Huffman in Transmerica, I felt the country was ready for me to be straight up about who I really am."

A nonplussed manager Felipe Alou commented, "Barry is Barrie. At least after all his years of being a solid defender we know now why he throws like a girl."
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