Friday, June 30, 2006

All I Want Is the Real Thing and a CD that Lasts for Years

This is really a post that should be about how much I want a Multiple Orgasm, but I've never quite got there. (Uh, writing that post.) So it's a grace note hiding in a much larger issue, the whole absolute need for a music collector like me to have a holy grail of a disc that I must luck into someday, in the used bin, on E-bay, at garage sales I don't even go to. Yet in my desirous mind there's some perfect sound, embodied on some cherishable plastic, preferably with lyrics and voluminous liner notes and some good art. Now, that CD I long for is the Pooh Sticks' crowd pleaser Multiple Orgasm, which I have on tape as is fitting as one of its songs is "On Tape." It's recorded live in Trudi's basement, and if I have to explain who Trudi is, and why Hue Pooh was a rock hero, well, you need to do some research.

I need to get to the subject at hand--today's minimal magic moment, courtesy of the last long lusted-after disc, Peter Blegvad's King Strut & Other Stories. If people know Blegvad they tend to know him for his association with Andy Partridge of XTC, who pretty much cribbed "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" from Blegvad (hence the Peter part, I guess). I finally got the disc on import, admitting partially to myself that I kept putting it off as I always needed the need of it, and once I had it the poor disc could probably never live up to what I hoped it had to be.

It mostly does, especially on a cut like the deliriously catchy "Swim," the seductively sentimental "Shirt and Comb," and the song this endless prelude builds to, "Meantime." I'm a sucker for slant rhymes, and this song, with its supple, tricky acoustic guitar line and someone probably hitting a drum rim with a stick (no credit for that) and Pino Palladino bassline, builds its lyrical magic on triplets that opens:

Life has a throat, we learned to grab it,
That kind of thing comes automatic
in a zone like the one that we inhabit--
in the Meantime.

there's nothing automatic about that automatic, but the catchy rolling rhythm sweeps it right along.

Lips Service

For Dog Blog Friday: We love our pups, but doggie orthodontia is just too expensive....

Thursday, June 29, 2006

"Is It Safe?" Dr. Christian Rumsfeld Szell Asks

According to the AP, one of the reactions to today's ruling by the de-Roberted Supreme Court (if only we could make that permanent somehow) was this memorable line by Pentagon spokesman Bryan "I Detain Multitudes" Whitman:

"Guantanamo serves as an important detention and intelligence facility. ... It enables us to thwart future attacks. It serves as an important detention center but also an intelligence gathering facility."

Huh? People who have been arrested for 4 years have useful intelligence? If Guantanamo is as locked down as everyone says, these people don't even know we've invaded Iraq. I'm sure they've got lots of helpful info. For all they know, bin Laden is still in Tora Bora. Of course, that would be news to BushCo.

Head's Up!

The White House today released an x-ray showing what it looks like when President Bush gets an idea.

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Super-Critic

David Edelstein was on a roll penning his last round-up of reviews. First there's this line about Superman--You'd Think after I Became a Rollercoaster They'd Stop with the Movies:

And ever since the Tim Burton–Sam Hamm Batman of 1989, it has been de rigueur in movies to focus on the freaky alienation aspect of the superhero’s life: This is how talented people make movies for 14-year-olds while retaining their self-respect.

Then the whole article ends with this zinger about Richard Linklater's film verison of Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly:

It’s terribly frustrating when one’s Dick is at arm’s length.

Your Mind's All Made Up and the Shade's All Pulled Down

It's a pre-moment moment, one that has nothing to do with the heart of the song and everything to do with its nervous system. As the Mekons ease into "Wild and Blue," a John Anderson cover (and, Yes, that "h" is important--for this is country and no art rock) found on 1990's Curse of the Mekons, before Sally Timms lets her langorously lovely voice loose, you can sort of hear a siren's wail, but the band clearly hears it in the studio and Jon Langford says, "Ah, ambulance, just what we need." That they leave the ambulance in, that they leave Langford's comment in, that's more than the Mekons sloppy party way. For if there's a song more in need of a trip to heartbreak hospital, I haven't heard it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

That New Mets Fourth Starter Wants to Take Over the Team

One more reason to love my mom. The other day on the phone when discussing the Mets game, she confused this man:

For this man:

I guess one bald foreigner looks like another to her.

Like Sands through the Hour Glass, These Are the Sands Out Our Ears

Reuters reports:

Pentagon says homosexuality not a mental disorder

Later in the report we also learn that the Pentagon believes the earth is round, but is waiting for more conclusive evidence about evolution and the infallibility of Donald Rumsfeld.

Something Willed

Sure it doesn't hurt that Melanie Griffith is topless, back in the days prior to all the surgeries that suggest a pretty girl is like a parody, but that's not really what makes this minor moment magic in Jonathan Demme's wonderful Something Wild. This is the first time Griffith--or Lulu, as she calls herself at this moment in the film, complete with the Louise Brooks 'do--has her way with wanting-a-risk but in over his head Jeff Daniels. He's handcuffed to a bed, and she's astride him, having ripped her shirt open. And out of the depths of her dumped purse she also pulls a voodoo doll, which she picks up and shakes over him, letting out a little "wooo" in that little voice of hers that makes it clear this is all in fun, as if it could be anything else. Of course, later it will be something else, when Ray Liotta shows up and he's sort of not play-acting--heck his character is even named Ray--and he's the true scariness where we don't want to go, even with those blue blue eyes.

But for a moment, even the black magic is sexy. And how.

So instead of belaboring the point of 5 seconds of celluloid, I will save my thesis about how Something Wild is a gloss on Huizinga's Homo Ludens but with a truly hip soundtrack (the Feelies play the high school reunion band! and sing "I'm a Believer" years before Shrek! so they're pretending just like the Monkees pretended, and it's really goddam Neil Diamond!) for another day.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Cold Shoulder for Global Warming

The AP giveth and AP taketh away. Here's the lead of a recently posted article on AP:

The nation's top climate scientists are giving "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore's documentary on global warming, five stars for accuracy.

The former vice president's movie — replete with the prospect of a flooded New York City, an inundated Florida, more and nastier hurricanes, worsening droughts, retreating glaciers and disappearing ice sheets — mostly got the science right, said all 19 climate scientists who had seen the movie or read the book and answered questions from The Associated Press.

That sounds darn good, doesn't it? Maybe to you and me, but not as much to the editor of the AP wire, who opted to give this article the resoundingly middling headline: "Scientists OK Gore's movie for accuracy."

It could be that after many a column inch praising the film's accurate portrayal of what we will face if we keep following the head-in-the-sand approach espoused by the White House (come to think of it, their approach to the environment is similar to their approach to Iraq--let's wait and see what happens, then pass it on to someone else in 2009), the article ends where it has to end, with a Gore putdown, because that's why we have a press. The end of the article:

As far as the movie's entertainment value, Scripps Institution geosciences professor Jeff Severinghaus summed it up: "My wife fell asleep. Of course, I was on the edge of my chair."

I guess that little dig is what passes for objectivity these days.


In an attempt to lift his dispirited re-election campaign by any means necessary (got you thinking about Rush Limbaugh, didn't I?) Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has opted to combine two of the Republicans' favorite amendments into one. Santorum today announced he would sponsor a "Fag Burning Amendment" to the Constitution. The Senator said, "This will protect flags, as people will be too busy setting legally required fire to flamers. And then there will be no man on dog sex and my marriage will be safe so my wife and I can bring more dead fetuses home. There will also be a part of the amendment that gets rid of the word militia in the second amendment, because that's just confusing, especially to my base of pigheaded-patriot, homophobe hunters."

Seeing Green

It's my favorite moment going to a ball game (and if you have to ask what kind of ball game, you're reading the wrong blog). As you walk inside the concourse, looking for your aisle, you eventually get to it and it's usually a bit of an upward grade so you ease up that slight rise and then it's there--your first view of the field you'll focus on for the rest of the game. It's always a thrill, a reminder that adrenalin can ooze slowly, that first glimpse of green, and if you're lucky, a player or two.

Getting that moment on film is what made it clear Ron Shelton knew something about baseball when Bull Durham begins. He doesn't spend much time romancing the since torn down Durham Athletic Park (there's a HOK stadium there now, of course, for we prefer our recreated history to the real thing), but he has the camera do the concourse prowl and the first field peek.

It's almost enough that I want to forgive him for helping make Kevin Costner a star.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Two-Tailed Quarter in Kansas

If you're up for a capital crime and it comes down to a coin flip in Kansas, you've already lost. At least that's what the Supremes voted today in a case that makes it clear that Alito-Scalia-Thomas-Roberts will be a fearsome foursome against pretty much all civil liberties. The AP reports:

The law says that juries should sentence a defendant to die — rather than serve life in prison — when the evidence for and against imposing death is equal.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the conservative majority, said "our precedents establish that a state enjoys a range of discretion in imposing the death penalty."

But Justice David H. Souter, writing for the court's liberals, said the law would lead to death sentences in doubtful cases and "is obtuse by any moral or social measure."

Responding for the conservatives, Thomas wrote, "What are these social and moral measures you speak of? These are the Bush years...bwa-ha-ha-ha."

The four liberal members stopped short Monday of calling for an end to capital punishment (as "liberals" in the U.S. government, they by definition stop short before risking an actual stand), but they pointed to studies finding that dozens of people condemned to death were later exonerated.

"We are thus in a period of new empirical argument about how `death (capital punishment) is different,'" Souter wrote.

He said that pressure for prosecutors to win convictions, eyewitness misidentifications and false confessions have contributed to "hazards of capital prosecution."

Scalia, in response, said those studies were not proven. "Those ideologically driven to ferret out and proclaim a mistaken modern execution have not a single verifiable case to point to, whereas it is easy as pie to identify plainly guilty murderers who have been set free," he said.

Souter quickly pointed out that Scalia really makes pies that taste dreadful, insisting the cherry pie Scalia brought to the Supreme's Memorial Day picnic was in particular "a soggy mess, with crust practically oozing Crisco. Oh, and besides, the choice isn't between killing them and setting them free, is it?" Souter then paused and added sheepishly, "Am I allowed to point out his huge gap in logic?"

Scalia also complained that there has been "sanctimonious criticism of America's death penalty" from people in other countries and that Monday's dissent "will be trumpteted abroad as vindication of these criticisms."

"These non-Americans who don't realize how much a good execution keeps the public sharp," Scalia continued, "they're the same ones who bitch and moan about our bringing democracy to Iraq. But to make a pie, you have to break a few eggs."

To which Souter replied, "You put eggs in your crust?"

Our Magic Morning Moment Gathers No Mould

It's a piano part any player at any Nordstrom's would be proud of, swoonily lyrical and grandly arpeggiated. Stephin Merritt, songster extraordinaire of Magnetic Fields fame, has others sing his tunes when he releases albums as The Sixths, and this cut from Hyacinths and Thistles (no there isn't a tune called "I'd Like to Teach the World to Lisp") features Bob Mould whose oaky timbre is imprinted on a generation of indie rockers thanks to Husker Du and Sugar. But he's never sung something like this:

will you dance with me
take my hands and lead me
with all my faults
in the ballroom waltz
that we might have done
had we ever been young

it'll end in tears
but not for years
if you dance with me

will you dance with me,
me, with two left feet
you'd be showing me how
I'm no dancer now
but soon you and I
could step into the sky

we'll go down in flames
of course, but love remains
if you dance with me

I'll make only sunny weather for you
The sky will be blue forever
I'll make only sunny weather for you
to keep me and you together

and you'll dance with me
in the rain, maybe
but we won't really mind
in the end we'll find
it was just a dance
and our little romance

it'll fall to dust
but only just
if you dance with me

The capper, of course, is the song's name, which is today's grace note that matters. This pretty trifle's title? "He Didn't"

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Medicine for Melancholy

Something to leave with you for the weekend...there's a report that claims:

Doctors are helping women become pregnant - by sending in the clowns.

Women undergoing treatment at a fertility clinic in Israel began falling pregnant after a bedside performance by professional clown Shlomi Algussi.

Dressed in a chef's hat and yellow and white vest he told jokes, did magic tricks, and played the fool in front of patients, asking them: "Did you order steak flambe or chocolate gateaux?"

The women, who had been implanted with embryos, saw their pregnancy rates shoot up from 20% to 35%.

Well, this theory certainly explains why it often seems the dumbest people have the most children. (Not to mention why that devilish Shlomi doesn't have to paint a smile on his face anymore.)

Sears Blowback and Co.

As we get closer and closer to the November elections, there's little doubt we will go deep into "terrorist bustin'" season, too. Now the AP reports: "US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said that 'domestic terrorists' could become as big a threat as Al-Qaeda." And upon hearing that line, don't tell me that I'm the only one with an image of terrorists dressed as French maids in my head. Perhaps they just need a good spanking.

Of course this is nothing new--when leadership has nothing else to offer, its last grasp on power is power itself. Basically the credo goes like this: first we'll scare you witless, then we'll sell you insurance.

The Miami group arrested as terrorists, which called itself the "Seas of David," evidently hoping that people might just think they're the latest Royal Caribbean line super ship, were cooking up a plot that was "more aspirational than operational," according to FBI deputy director John Pistole. Sort of like that old Catholic notion that if you think of the sin, you've already committed it. Or, to paraphrase Tom Edison, "Terrorism is 99% aspiration, and 1% perspiration."

A Series of Fortunate Moments

There's something you need to know about me--I might be the only person in the world who has read all 3 of Daniel Handler's adult novels but has yet to read one of the books he's most famous for, as his nom de plume is Lemony Snicket. Part of me thinks it's silly trying to pick a "grace note" moment from a novel as if that moment is any good it's not mere grace, but: 1) I really want to get some nods in to the written word as well as to music and movies in this summer series of mine, and 2)when was the last time being silly stopped me from doing anything?

So go read Handler's latest Adverbs. For sheer word-to-word wit it's hard to beat, but it's also a fine treatise on modern love, which is ridiculous and indispensible, and leaves you about as giddy as reading the book. Here's one graph that particularly makes me happy:

Boys, like Sinatra they'd had a few. Andrea had a drunk guy named Ben who was an activist after a few beers. He'd call department stores and pretend he was going to stop by for a mink stole that same afternoon, and then suddenly shout "Fur is murder!" and hang up while Andrea and Sam laughed and played the Salad Forks album. The whiskey he took to bringing over didn't last, either. "I always thought alcoholics would be fun," Andrea said wistfully the night she dumped him and went with Sam to the Tish Brothers show to celebrate. Ben had turned out to be the opposite of fun, and smashed a speaker in his rage on the way out. For a while Andrea and Sam listened only to the Phil Spector box set, which was in mono, but finally they relented and spent the money.

Happiness Is a Hot Puppy

For Dog Blog Friday: They look all smiley when they pant, greyhounds do, so that makes the too hot days more bearable.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

No Ace at Analogies

So Bush continues his march around Europe and today announces:

"The lesson of the Hungarian experience is clear, liberty can be delayed, but it cannot be denied....You never lost hope. You kept faith in freedom, and 50 years after you watched Soviet tanks invade your beloved city, you now watch your grandchildren play in the streets of a free Hungary."

Now, what foreign country has its tanks in Iraq right now?

Just One Picking Cotten Minute

Joseph Cotten is one of those actors who always gave better than he got, especially since he got roles like one in Cimino's notorious Heaven's Gate, which was actually a step up from Airport '77. Even his first role, Jedediah Leland in Citizen Kane, made him the moral scourge who gets to have a drunken hissy fit that "unveils" Kane for us, as if we all didn't know Kane was a fraud from the start (of course, fascinating frauds are the centers of movies, moral arbiters are big-time bores).

Still, there's Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt. There Cotten gets to play the debonair but evil Merry Widow killer, out to throw the sweet small town Santa Rosa and his sister's placid family for a loop. At one point he gives a dinner table sermonette on "horrible, faded, fat, greedy" widows and his niece Teresa Wright interrupts, horrified, to say, "They're alive! They're human beings!"

The camera has gotten closer and closer to Cotten as he has ranted, and Hitchcock cuts back to him, so the screen is now an extreme close-up from Teresa Wright's point-of-view, and Cotten swivels his head, looks down the barrel of the camera, and fires the most acidic, "Are they?" anyone could.

It's cliche to break the fourth wall anymore, but no moment does it more effectively for we're just not used to people talking to us when they're that sure of themselves and when we can be so sure we don't want to talk to them at all.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Nothing Civil about War

It's a good thing President/Dead Zone Resident Bush can get a feel for a nation by looking deep into its leader's eyes and then skedaddling, because Iraq just doesn't seem to be the place to hang out much more than five hours. This morning we learned that a third defense lawyer for Saddam Hussein was assassinated, which begs the question, "What's the cut-off percentage of remaining defense team lawyers before he gets a mistrial?"

Then later today we get this almost incomprehensible news:

More than 100 employees of Iraq's ministry of industry were kidnapped by gunmen north of Baghdad as they left work in a brazen reminder of the country's dire security situation.

Workers at the Hateen and Nasr factories in the restive town of Taji, north of Baghdad, were ambushed and abducted by at least 50 gunmen who had arrived in five minibuses, a security source told AFP.

Kidnappers swoop in on mini-buses, I guess so they can use the more convenient bus loading zone.

We've done good in that country, haven't we?

Look, get around all the "cut and run" versus "die and lie" bumper-sticker rhetoric and admit this: Whatever we're doing now isn't working. Bold measures have to be taken. And all we're left with to hash it out is Republicans and Democrats. If nothing else we've managed to show the world that living under a miserable dictator might not be the worst thing that can happen to a country.

In an Icky Mettle Moment the Day will Come Following You

Today's minutiae that maybe matters comes to us from that great '90s band sadly buried beneath Pavement, Archers of Loaf, and its pure adrenalin push of a single "Web in Front." It's complete irresistible drive that calls its own motto--"there's a chance that things could get weird"--but not too weird, despite Eric Bachmann's Neil Diamond-esque mumble (not even lyric sites on the internets can figure out all the words), despite the way the second guitar line splits off after the first verse almost to play its own song (it does what Exene did to John Doe, mug him, love him and leave him in the dust), then it all becomes a momentum tumble until the instant. Ten seconds from the end bassist Matt Gentling pulls up and throbs out 3 notes that gives the song one last mighty oomph into ecstasy. Thanks, Matt.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Time for Pitchforks and Torches

Sounds like we all have to go run out and buy the new Ron Suskind book The One Percent Doctrine, about which Publisher's Weekly sums up, "In this troubling portrait of the war on terror, America's intelligence agencies confront not just al-Qaeda but the Bush administration's politicized incompetence." According to the Washington Post review, "The book's opening anecdote tells of an unnamed CIA briefer who flew to Bush's Texas ranch during the scary summer of 2001, amid a flurry of reports of a pending al-Qaeda attack, to call the president's attention personally to the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled 'Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US.' Bush reportedly heard the briefer out and replied: 'All right. You've covered your ass, now.'"

Now if we could only kick his. If he were merely an idiot I might not be so angry.

With Dems Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

In case you missed it, last week the AP reported:

Governor Kathleen Blanco was expected to sign a strict abortion ban into law after the Senate gave the measure final legislative approval Monday.

The bill would ban nearly all abortions in Louisiana, though it could take effect only under two circumstances: if the U.S. Constitution is amended to allow states to ban abortion, or if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling.

Democratic Governor Blanco said, "With all of the crime and shooting in the state of late, the only way to keep up our population is to be sure no fetus is aborted. Those folks need more targets and government's job is to keep people happy."

Morning Minute that Might Make Me Make It Through the Day

Solstice is just around the calendar's corner, all you druidic boys and (gar-)goyles, so it seems it might be pleasing to have a daily summer feature at INOTBB, as one way to trick me into believing it is summer even though I live in Santa Barbara where seasons are mostly vestigial. At first I thought I could just keep a running score of what's the most over-played (definition: played) song on the lite rock station so lite it's actually called KLITE, like it should be proud of the fact, that my next-cube-neighbor plays. While "Don't Stop Believing" lost its early lead to "The Rose," of late "Take It to the Limit" and "Tiny Dancer" have made their steadily midtempo slogs towards the crown.

But such a feature will just keep me focussed on pain, and that's not what summer's about (plus they played "Always" by Stevie Wonder yesterday afternoon, so I'm cutting the station a bit of slack).

Instead, I'm going to keep running with the Bérubé idea that I already made use of yesterday. That even means with today's entry I already have a series of two, and as the lines of dialogue go in Vertigo, two people together can't wander, they have to be be headed somewhere (although let's not keep with that movie's metaphor, as we would then be careening towards one of our horrible deaths).

Instead, let's turn to Laurie Anderson back when she didn't mind singing things one might actually call a song. (It's for another entry to decide if it was growing old, 9/11 or Lou Reed who made her too serious for her own good.) On the fine CD Strange Angels (1989) there's the cut "Baby Doll" that opens with the line, "I don't know about your brain, but my brain is really...bossy." The key is Anderson holds out on that "bossy" as long as the music will let her, which isn't really long, but long enough. 'Cause what else should a brain be? And what if we can refuse its marching orders? And why is bossy just a funny word? Don't know about you, but it's a pleasure to have to think about a pop song.

Monday, June 19, 2006

If You Represent Iowa, You'll Be Dumb

You have to find it funny that a man who looks as lovely as this:

Can say something like this on the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:

“There probably are not 72 virgins in the hell he’s at,” Representative Steve King said. “And if there are, they probably all look like [White House correspondent] Helen Thomas.”

Those Republicans are so funny. Looking.

Not to mention stupid, racist, sexist. But, of course, that's just when they're playing to their base.

Finding the Ogle in Google

Now I know why you put a counter on your blog. Not to find out how few people stop by--I can't even say "Thanks, Mom," which is a good thing given she'd be shocked by most of what she reads here.

But I can say, "Gee, you people on the internets are dirty." For when I look at the keywords people Google to end up at INOTBB, it's shocking (probably not as shocked as the person in Turkey who went looking for Arnold photos and got the one on my blog of the Governator with Mickey Mouse, but there's shocking and out-and-out wrong). And it also makes a fascinating found poem. So here you go, linebreaks are mine, but all words provided by your feverishly flying fingers:

richard the photo
one 2006 goch
alligator for porn
cruz kingman tree chips
not talent
grants kenzie christian episode
nipples carolina
married catcher
alex hide penelope meriwether
and bellucci
extended vladimir youth

It Only Takes a Moment

In case you missed it, there's one terrific thread over at Bérubé’s blog and grill, about, as the proprietor would have it: "What little things, in the long history of human expressive culture, make life worth living? The catch is that they have to be little."

As someone who largely believes in living a small life, this thread was right up my philosophy's alley (see, if I thought big, my ethos would rate a boulevard). Of course I added my own ideas (twice, and that was holding myself back), but you can go read them all and wonder along with me how I forgot Ben Kingsley's priceless delivery of the line, "I think I will sit down," from the film Betrayal.

And here's one more from this weekend. At the T Bone Burnett show mentioned below, while the band brewed up its own chunky Bo Diddley groove for Burnett's "Tear This Building Down," I caught drummer Jim Keltner take the tiniest of pauses, a sort of stutter-step of the arms, punctuated by what almost seemed a stage sigh. No way you'd hear the moment without seeing it happen, as if a DVD caught on a frame for a second, but not like a DVD at all, given the three-dimensions and sound that surrounds, which isn't SurroundSound, for there's no trademark available.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Making Empson Proud

Line of the weekend, from T Bone Burnett during his completely rockin' concert last night (two words: Marc Ribot)(OK, two encore words: Jim Keltner):

"I've always thought that Santa Barbara sounded like a good idea."

Friday, June 16, 2006

Land Shark!

(Photo Richard Holinski)

Talk about your freaky ding-dong-ditch...Turns out if you make teriyaki chicken in South Carolina, anything can show up. At least he's polite enough to ring the bell.

The real question is, if you eat alligator and it tastes like chicken, what does alligator that's been fed chicken taste like?

The Ears of Venus de Milo

Tom Verlaine is playing up a beauty storm on KCRW right now. Just go listen--you've got till noon west coast time!

Are You Ready to Rumble (Seat)

For Dog Blog Friday: 2 greyhounds + 1 backseat = 0 space

Thursday, June 15, 2006


The AP posts a story with the headline "Cheney sees GOP winning midterm elections ." The Vice President went on to say, "I see the Democrats in their last throes."

Later in the interview on Sean Hannity's radio show, as it's rumored Cheney fears Alan Colmes, the VP said, "And we protected the United States against further attack from the terrorists. You can't guarantee there won't be further attacks, but I think the track record is remarkable."

After coughing loudly and throwing the radio calibration off, Cheney continued, "2500 soldiers dead is a small price to pay for no Americans dying...on U.S. soil...since 9/11."

Triumph of the Swill

The American Film Institute is busy with another one of its specials that celebrate what I think is called a 100 Film Lists for 100 Years of Film...wait till we get to the Top 100 Films We Have Yet to List List!

Actually, the current installment is almost that bad, as it's called "100 Years...100 Cheers," a title shortened, luckily, from "3 Cheers a 100 Times, For It's a Jolly Good Celluloid." Here's the actual criteria from the AFI website: "Movies that inspire with characters of vision and conviction who face adversity and often make a personal sacrifice for the greater good. Whether these movies end happily or not, they are ultimately triumphant--both filling audiences with hope and empowering them with the spirit of human potential."

Basically, then, this is a list of films that make you cry, then vomit, because you realize you've cried at glop. Most are the filmic equivalent of yanking out a nose hair (not that I have any). Yep, that's Sound of Music at 41 on the list, as the film is triply inspiring, for after it you know how to solve any fashion problem if you have enough drapes, you know how to escape from a convent if you aren't quite the nun-kind, and you can sing your way past the Nazis (how much easier it would have been for the folks in #3's Schindler's List if they only could have been in a musical).

Of course there are numerous head-scratchers on the list, too, as if the voters decided if they cried then it must be an inspirational film, even if it's hard to say what #17's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest would lead folks to do beyond be sure they had a big Native American around to snuff out their lives that aren't really worth living anyway because you can't tell the crazy from the sane. Heck, at that rate The Blair Witch Project should be on the list as it inspires folks not to go into the woods with only black and white film. And I guess #20 Philadelphia inspires us to know that if you're going to die from AIDs, make sure your lover is Antonio Banderas (just don't be seen smooching him; Hanks got to inspire actors by playing both his character and the Virgin Mary at once, with the kings of Hollywood bringing him Oscar gold.)

Sadly, many of the films I've found most inspiring over the years didn't make the cut. Is there any moment more hopeful in the annals of cinema than the one when Woody Allen's Zelig, a man who adapts to fit into to whatever scenario he's in and thereby becomes an inadvertent WW II era hero, exclaims: "But I've never flown before in my life, and it shows exactly what you can do if you're a total psychotic!"

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Perhaps to Team

This morning during a press conference after returning from his surprise visit to Iraq ("shhh, don't tell even their prime minister we're coming or I will be killed! but we have made progress"), President Bush said:

And I'm concerned that an enemy will hear the wrong message. And then I'm also concerned that there are people inside Iraq who have yet to make up their mind as to whether or not they want to help this government succeed, or maybe, or just maybe America will lose its nerve and, therefore, something else, a new team may show up.

Instantly rumors about new teams sprung up across the internets. The Kansas City city council passed a resolution to ship the Royals to Iraq so they could be their new team, but no one can really be sure if the Royals are there, or anywhere, for that matter, although their familiarity with the loss column should make them feel at home in the war-torn region. (P.S. Royals ownership--if you really don't want to use Justin Huber in the majors, the Mets will take him back.)

Other possible teams to be sent Iraqi-ward: Burns and Schreiber, as Baghdad could use some effective, comedic taxi service (never mind that Avery Schreiber is dead--in Iraq that just means he fits in) and the "A" Team, where Mr. T will go undercover as a date salesman so he can say, "I pity the Medjool."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It's the Stupidity, Stupid

Reuters reports:

U.S. President George W. Bush's signature No Child Left Behind education policy is failing to close racial achievement gaps and will miss its goals by 2014 according to recent trends, a Harvard study said on Wednesday.

The study did go on to say how much that these results should be a boon for America. Professor Rich Notu said, "By 2014 the national deficit will be so staggering, after all the years of the Iraq boondoogle and the tax giveaways to the rich, that it will be comforting that most Americans will be too stupid to understand how horrible their nation's economy is. In many ways Bush has done us all a great favor."

Blow, Winds, and Crack Your Cheeks

Alberto might just be a tropical storm and not a full-fledged hurricane, but it still reserves the right to tap your phone lines and blow you off to Cuba without further notice.

Monday, June 12, 2006

That's the Yeast I Could Do

The AP sudsily reports:

For many men, a finding by Oregon researchers sounds too good to be true: an ingredient in beer seems to help prevent prostate cancer, at least in lab experiments. The trouble is you'd theoretically have to drink about 17 beers a day for any potential benefit. And no one's advising that.

Oh, NOW they tell me no one's advising that. For after this past weekend of a hoppy debauch with the in-laws (the coolest in-laws in the world, who just happen to live in the midst of the finest region for microbrews in the world right now, north San Diego County), I'd guess I might have innoculated myself for prostate cancer for life. On Saturday we had the opportunity to Real Ale out with beers only on hand-pump, and some incredible brews at that. But that beer wasn't enough, so we hit the new Port Brewing on the way home (oh, sweet Amy was designated driver, so don't get all MADD at us, ok?) since we liked their Old Viscosity so much, a beer that more than lives up to its name (and they even serve it oaked at the brewery).

Then Sunday we got to attend a special event at Stone Brewing tied to the release of their StoneWall Ale, a very limited edition made for those of us who donated money to charity to have a stone with our names on it at the new Stone Brew Pub. It's a story as long as the taste of their beers, but we now have a bottle of beer with our names on it, plus the names of everyone else who helped raise over $80K. Nothing like having the opportunity to be a self-righteous drunk.

Friday, June 09, 2006


For Dog Blog Friday: The good thing is their self-perceptions of their size meet somewhere in the middle (just as long as it's not the middle of your lap, that is).

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Buckslip Stops Here

Blogger sucks. Not so much that they don't let you publish the words "Blogger sucks" on Blogger, but enough to keep you from ever getting a post up during the day, especially when you're trying to squeeze one in while madly working, since you do have a job, now, don't you? But when it's the kind of day when you're left resorting to second person addresses to your self, then you really know it's all gone down hill and you can only blame Blogger's crappiness for part of that.

I had something to say at one point today but I forgot. It wasn't that I learned what a "buckslip" is, either. Go check out the link and be as disappointed as I was--it's a word with so much more possibility than delivery. Not that I can't feel empathetic.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Thank You, Jo(h)n

"Divorce doesn't happen because 50% of marriages end in gayness."

That's just the capper for Jon Stewart as he rips Bill Bennett apart on the gay marriage issue. What were the odds that would happen?

Go watch over at Crooks & Liars.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Wed-y or Not

Banning gay marriage will bring an end to ALL marriage...and other wisdom over at Barbara Ehrenreich's blog.

Dear Omar the Mets Maker

Athletes do weird things like wear the same socks when they're on a winning streak. So far this season, I've seen two Mets games in person and the Mets are 2-0 for a 1.000 winning percentage. Their record in all their other games: 32-22 for a measly .593 winning percentage.

The way I see it, I'm sort of the Mets lucky underwear and they shouldn't take me off.

So, Omar Minaya, drop me a line in the comments so I can follow the team for the rest of the year. Tickets, travel, room and board, maybe a small stipend. It's a small price to pay for a guaranteed world championship. Oh, and Amy was at both of those games, too, so she better come along--let's not tempt the fates. Come to think of it, let's bring the dogs, since one named Mookie can only be a Mets good luck charm.

Heck, we were at the game when Alay Soler won last night--that's truly magic. I await for your word, Omar.

Friday, June 02, 2006

abstractions are just abstract until they have an ache in them

Eventually you realize why the word tender loops back and is its antonym. Everyone is trying to be gentle and loving, asking the question they don't want to ask--"how's your mom?"--in the tone of voice you know they've practiced in their head because you've practiced it too. It's not easy, being this nice, having to talk about the things none of us want to even have to think about since someday we will be on the receiving end. How do you show care--with the right light in your eyes, the slight crack in your voice, the bit of a smile that says "poor you" without rubbing it in. Of course, I then feel for the people who feel they have to feel for me, and there we stand in a puddle of good intention, not trying to think about how a bruise is tender, too.

Even Happy Hounds Get Grey Sometimes

For Dog Blog Friday: Even Nigel seems sad for poor Marge (my mom).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Meet the Mets

Not like I need more reasons to like the Mets, but here's a longish excerpt from a New York magazine article about the Mets, kindly not titled "Write about Them While They're Hot (Write Faster!)":

The small number of pro athletes with the guts to voice their political opinions are right-wingers; even fewer are progressives willing to act on their principles. After the U.S. invaded Iraq, Delgado decided he wouldn’t stand on the field with his Toronto teammates during daily renditions of “God Bless America.” He disagreed with the war, but he also disliked the way baseball was being used for political purposes. Delgado didn’t call any press conferences to announce his boycott—just as he never publicized donating $100,000 to an FDNY widows and children’s fund several days after September 11—and no one noticed his well-timed absences until July 2004, when a story in the Toronto Star detailed Delgado’s political opinions. Boos and death threats rained. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig harrumphed that he wanted to meet to discuss the situation. Delgado rolls his eyes when asked if Selig followed through. “No,” he says. “What’s he gonna tell me?”

He has no regrets—“You can’t make everybody happy. We live in a so-called democracy”—but as he read stories that misrepresented his beliefs and branded him as unpatriotic, he learned a powerful lesson. “It’s amazing how the media can get a story out there and people will believe it,” Delgado says. “Blind. They just take it to the bank like their payroll check. More than ever, I realized we as a society need to educate ourselves and come to our own conclusions before believing what somebody else will say.”

Does he feel vindicated by the increased unpopularity of the war? “No, no,” Delgado says. “If the war had become popular, would that mean I’m wrong? You believe what you believe, and you stick by your guns, and that’s it.” While nothing has changed to alter Delgado’s ranking of Iraq as “the stupidest war ever,” he continues to support the soldiers sent to wage the fight, especially those he knows firsthand. A son of Delgado’s friend and business associate Robert Rodriguez is in Iraq with the U.S. Army, and Delgado keeps in touch by e-mail. “I think he’s in Baghdad right now,” Delgado says. “Physically, he’s been okay. But it’s still scary. It’s not fun.”

Pro athletes are considered intellectuals if they read books without pictures. Lately Delgado has been devouring Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, a nonfiction best seller by John Perkins. “He goes into some countries that have a lot of resources, and he says, ‘Wow, we can really develop your country, blah, blah, blah,’ and they paint a pretty picture—‘We can build you a huge airport, a huge electric plant, whatever, we’ll get you financing’—and the next thing you know, it’s a big scam. Now that country’s in debt to the United States, and the United States goes in and says, ‘You’re in debt to us, can we get some of your oil, some of your power, some of your resources?’ It’s pretty interesting.”

Just think how happy we'd be if your typical journalist could come up with the insightful simplicity of "We live in a so-called democracy." And that typical journalist probably wouldn't bat clean-up, too.

Everyone Knows Who the Saved Envy

Proving once again that you're all wet if you piss into the wind of fate, I make a joke about reading Joan Didion's latest on my way to see my sick mom and United serves up Queen Latifah in Last Dance on the flight back to Jersey. If you're wondering, the afterlife is Big Momma's House II (seems I've been very very bad).

Seriously, we don't know what's up yet with my mom. The biopsy comes back Monday. If it's not malignant, then she just has a tumor that they couldn't completely excise or some rare disease when the fatty tissue that lines your intestinal/stomach wall just atrophies. Knowing my mom it's the weird thing, because she never goes for the typical.

Yes, it was a fun visit.

Still, I admire my poor sisters, who both live nearby, for all they have to sustain while I get to be relatively free while living 3,000 miles away in California.
eXTReMe Tracker