Friday, September 28, 2007

Dunderheaded Pundits

Bill O'Reilly recently asserted (putting the ass in asserted): "I think black Americans are starting to think more and more for themselves. They're getting away from the Sharptons and the [Rev. Jesse] Jacksons and the people trying to lead them into a race-based culture. They're just trying to figure it out. 'Look, I can make it. If I work hard and get educated, I can make it.'"

He went on to say, "Now if we can only get white Americans to stop listening to me and that blowhard Limbaugh...."

As for Limbaugh, who recently called service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq "phony soldiers," he was the first person to be fragged while never having served in the armed forces ever. Turns out it's really easy to poison Viagra.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

So Where Are You Guys Going to Sleep?

For Dog Blog Friday: Nigel makes himself at home during our August trip up north at the Laurel Inn in San Francisco.

(I'm posting Friday early as I'm in a big meeting all AM. Will let you know if I still have a job in the afternoon.)


Friday Random Ten

John Hiatt "Tennessee Plates" Slow Turning
Talking Heads "Girlfriend Is Better" Stop Making Sense
Frank Sinatra "When Your Lover Has Gone" In the Wee Small Hours
Alison Krauss & Union Station "We Hide & Seek" Live
Shonen Knife "Bear Up Bison" Let's Knife
The Band "Mad Waltz (Sketch Track for 'The Well')" The Last Waltz
Nick Lowe "When I Write the Book" Basher--The Best of Nick Lowe
Charlie Musselwhite "Drifting Boy" Rough News
Lambchop "Something's Going On" Aw C'mon
Sonic Youth "Wild Flower Soul" A Thousand Leaves

The Replacements "Message to the Boys" Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? The Best of the Replacements

That was interesting. One of the best T-Heads, a Union Station cut we just saw the Jerry Douglas Band rip the heck out of live about a month ago, a Sonic Youth epic that's better than I remember. Not a brilliant Random Ten, but a sneaky one.


Hoist Upon His Own Batard

Friday is the anniversary of the day William the Conqueror landed in England. Ever since he was a child he had that weight of his nickname to deal with, his mom would say, "Yes, yes, you're a conqueror, now go clean your room," so he figured he might as well get around to conquering something. After all, peeing in his friend's sandbox when he was 6 seemed like, well, piddling stuff. Alas, England did not listen to those who called for a ban of all Normans, a group led by Lewis D'Obbs and Mike Hellmalkin, and William hastily head to Hastings and gave history books the first great year of the new millennium, easily bumping out 1027--Farmer Brown Shares Same Sores with His Barnyard Animals from the previous top spot. There's a reason we call this period the Dark Ages. Indeed, William was also known as Guillaume le Bâtard for he was an inferior baguette.....wait, this just in, batard does mean bastard too. Sorry William, but you were illegitimate. Good thing you made up for that by marrying a cousin. (It seems Normandy was Alabama minus nine centuries.)


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

An Un-winnable Civil War in the Time of Cholera

So along with all the other fine things we've brought to Iraq, like Blackwater and al-Qaeda in Iraq (see, we told you they were would be here), it seems all our shock and awe has screwed up water there. And bad water means a lovely thing called cholera. The AP reports:

A cholera outbreak in Iraq is spreading, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, with new cases confirmed in Baghdad, Basra and for the first time three northern districts.

The number of confirmed cases has now reached 2,116, WHO said. Just a day earlier a WHO official put the number of confirmed cases at 1,652. Eleven people have died of the disease so far.

Now, in the realm of cholera outbreaks throughout the world this might not seem like a big deal, as in 2005 there were 2,272 deaths and 131,943 cases globally. But it is telling who gets cholera, for in 2005 there were only 24 cases of the disease in all the Americas, even the ones to the south many of us hope don't come north (I'm looking at you Michelle Malkin). In general cholera is a disease for the misfortunate and poor, an extra helping of one's bad life getting worse.

For the AP reports:

Cholera is a gastrointestinal disease that is typically spread by drinking contaminated water and can cause severe diarrhea that in extreme cases can lead to fatal dehydration.

Many governments prefer to report outbreaks under the heading of acute watery diarrheal diseases rather than admit the existence of cholera in their country.

Imagine what it must be like to be a disease so horrible that it's considered preferred to have died from "acute watery diarrhea"? Ah, that's just America's shitstorm raining on the Iraqis in one more fashion.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Wait, Who Am I Here

Dennis Kucinich and his wife Elizabeth in Santa Barbara on Sunday.

They look solemn for a reason, as they had just visited Arlington West on the other side of Stearns Wharf prior to the brief speech that was long on big ideas and short on any way to get there. (Sure, let's take back our country, but what does it mean that your very state, Dennis, ran one of the whackiest election days in 2004? Let's not forget the Biblical line about the plank in your eye, although clearly Bush is much more than a speck in ours.) But the point of this entry isn't to say anything about whether Kucinich is or isn't fit to be president. OK, beyond this--why do we immediately want to dismiss a candidate for looking geeky and being short-ish? I want to vote for a president, not date him (or her).
No, the oddest thing is politics itself. For on Sunday we were part of a gathering of 150 or so watching Kucinich and his wife respond to Arlington West. For those of you not in Santa Barbara, or those of you who live here but think like your President and believe that wars are much eaiser to fight when we don't think about the people who get killed in them, the sight of 3000 crosses is mighty powerful. (They stopped at 3000, even though the figure is now 3,845, as it just got to be too time-consuming to set up all those crosses....) What should be a private moment, at least an un-mediated moment, can't help but be one, even for a candidate that the media tend to ignore, or treat like a sideshow (he gets to be the Dem's Tom Thumb).
It's a lose-lose, in a way, for if you over emote, it seems calculated, yet if you under-respond, you seem callous. But, of course, the real issue is that we now live in a world where every moment of a candidate's life is more than fodder, it's necessary feed for the 24-hour news cycle. They have to talk about something, and if it weren't for O.J. and Britney, the news would have to discuss how the Republicans are obstructionist and wield the veto after telling the Democrats if they ever used it, they'd abolish it--or something boring like that. You know, something about how the country actually works, or fails to.
Meanwhile we can watch Dennis Kucinich look sad, maybe because he is, maybe because he has to, or maybe both. Or maybe none of us--actors or those watching--can tell anymore. I mean, I catch myself wondering what's the face I should make, what's the thing I can say, as people kindly try to offer condolences for my dad, and I'm not running for anything.

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Yes, That Moral Midget Is Dianne Feinstein

Originally uploaded by Joachim Manns

The organization MooOn caused everyone to have a cow this week....

Monday Random Flickr-blogging explained.


Trying to Talk Them Down from that Lidge

Originally uploaded by ojenchilada76

There's always something a bit sad about the Annual Convention of Failed Posters.


At Least They've Stowed Away Their Carry-Ons

Originally uploaded by albertuzm6

Oddly enough, these guys were allowed to fly Southwest Airlines.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Bonus Friday Dog Blog

Hope this doesn't give Mookie and Nigel any ideas!

An In Your Face Kind of Blog

For Dog Blog Friday: Aren't you glad the internets aren't in 3-D?


Friday Random Ten

Sex Pistols "Seventeen" Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols
Sam Phillips "Love & Kisses" Martinis & Bikinis
The Magnetic Fields "In My Car" Holiday
Dump "My Head in Your Hands" A Plea for Tenderness
Cordelia's Dad "When Sorrows Encompass Me 'Round" Cordelia's Dad
The Buckets "Come Around" The Buckets
Victoria Williams "Hitchhiker's Smile" Loose
The Golden Palominos "No Skin" Pure
Bettie Serveert "Ray Ray Rain" Lamprey
Peter Case "When You Don't Come" Six-Pack of Love

Uncle Tupelo "Fifteen Keys" Anodyne

Ah, take a week off and still end up with lesser songs of greater artists. Except for "Ray Ray Rain"--why did Bettie Serveert never make it big? I have a soft spot for "Fifteen Keys," too, but then that album is just a killer.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

I Was Arrested for Disturbing the Peace, but I Thought I Was Disturbing the War

So dear Dianne Feinstein (CA, Lieberman-Lite) was one of the Democrat Senators (as Bush once again put it in his ghastly display today) to vote to condemn MoveOn. So I stand condemned. I will also just vote for the Republican running against Feinstein next time, since I might as well get what I vote for.

Meanwhile the Senate can't even begin to get the war to end.

At this point I'd have to be optimistic to feel even cynical about politics.

Of course it's the whole world turned downside up. Don't know if you missed it, but when Kathy Griffin won an Emmy the other day, she said, "a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus." Not only is that really funny, especially given the often off-color nature of Griffin's show My Life on the D-List, it proves how ridiculous it is for people to thank Jesus for winning an Emmy (or a Super Bowl or a ball game or the Lotto or free fries). As if Jesus is fixing things and has the Holy Spirit making book in Vegas. (You can't imagine how expensive it is to fund all those heavenly hosts, glowing and flitting about.)

Meanwhile a Christian theater group The Miracle Theater spent $90,440 on a full-page advertisement in USA Today condemning Griffin. OK, so we know they're really miraculous if they can cough up nearly 100G's to do this instead of staging Godspell for the umpteenth time (or feed the hungry or something, but hey, who am I to judge--the Bible says we're not supposed to do that). The AP quotes Russ Hollingsworth, general manager of The Miracle Theater as saying, "It's just not OK anymore to mock Christians and Jesus with impunity."

He went on to say, "Why can't everyone just be hypocrites and pretend that Jesus is why they succeed in life?"

So here's what I think Griffin should say, "I'm so sorry for my recent outburst at the Emmys. Of course my win is solely and only do to my personal lord and savior Jesus Christ. My competition--Antiques Roadshow (PBS), The Dog Whisperer (Discovery), Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC), and Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (Showtime)--are all shows that I know are personal favorites of the Devil, and one even has a curse in the title. Plus, as people who watch my show know, I have a large contingent of gay fans. And as you know, despite traveling with Mary Magdalene as his beard, Jesus had all those disciples for a reason. I mean, when you call someone named Peter your rock...."


Gibson's Hallowed Body of Work

Friday is the 72nd birthday of Henry Gibson, who did more for poetry on television than anyone since Bullwinkle. Of course, poetry and TV go together like bacon and ice cream, Sanskrit read to a pony, or Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, but that's a different story while here I'm just trying to get laughs in. Rowing even further out into the tenuous sea o' humor, not just marking time, it turns out he was born James Bateman but his career suffered arrested development until he took his "stage name" that is, indeed, based on dramatist Henrik Ibsen's name, and Tony Checkoff and Augie Indberg were already taken. With a secretly highfalutin name like that you'd imagine he'd never have a ghost of a chance to become a master builder of a great career, but somehow it did just go wild, ducky. And here is a Gibson poem:

Dogs Are Better Than Ants

Dogs are better than ants
Because you don't have to bend so far to pet them
In addition, they are sturdy old muzzlers
Who fetch us our slippers, papers, and twig chunks
Twig chunks
But most of all, they stay out of jelly jars and
Never go squish if you happen to step on them.


Monday, September 17, 2007

I Am Big, It's the Advertisements that Got Small

Originally uploaded by Uli1001

I'll never forgive that little bastard for beating me out for those Geico commecials.

Monday random Flickr-blogging explained.


Obscurantism, Thy Name Is INOTBB

Originally uploaded by cauchy09

Reject cover from a Henry Cow album.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Another Farewell

My dad passed away this afternoon (New Jersey time). On August 31 he was admitted to the hospital after suffering a subdural hematoma; they performed brain surgery and thought he might stabilize, but he never really came to again.

I'll eventually write something proper, but in the meantime here's one of those songs I tucked away thinking "someday I'm going to need, how sad it is I'll need this." Billy Bragg's "Tank Park Salute.:"

Kiss me goodnight and say my prayers
Leave the light on at the top of the stairs
Tell me the names of the stars up in the sky
A tree taps on the window pane
That feeling smothers me again
Daddy is it true that we all have to die

At the top of the stairs
Is darkness

I closed my eyes and when I looked
Your name was in the memorial book
and what had become of all the things we planned
I accepted the commiserations
Of all your friends and your relations
But there's some things I still don't understand

You were so tall
How could you fall?

Some photographs of a summer's day
A little boy's lifetime away
Is all I've left of everything we've done
Like a pale moon in a sunny sky
Death gazes down as I pass by
To remind me that I'm but my father's son

I offer up to you
This tribute
I offer up to you
This tank park salute

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I've Got Nothing to Say about Nothing

As others have reported, including Craig Smith:

Documentary filmmaker Sam Tyler will be rolling his camera at the Santa Barbara Farmers' Market on Cota Street this Saturday, September 15th, from 9:00 am to 10:30 am. His film crew wants to talk with people who support McCaw and the News-Press.

I'll try to avoid the easy snide line like "I guess Tyler won't mind doing nothing for 87 minutes" and ask the question that fascinates me more: Why isn't he interviewing all the people who don't seem to care one way or the other? When we walk the dogs in the morning on our various greyhound-nose-approved routes through San Roque it strike me how many News-Press copies still await what can't be more than a 5 minute read at the end of people's driveways. My guess is the majority of people still taking the paper aren't doing it to support Wendy or give the middle finger to labor. But then why? Here are the possibilities, as I see them:
  1. They really don't know what's going on. We can't flatter ourselves and think everyone is scouring the blogs and the Indy for the inside story of the News-Press melt-down. And if you just read the News-Press, you won't know very much about it, after all. Of course we can easily take this one step further, as 1/5 of Americans can't find their country on a map. Sadly, 4/5 of Americans can find the YouTube video of Miss Teen South Carolina botching a question about the same. And can you personally believe how out of it Britney seemed at the VMAs.....
  2. "It's not my fight, man." To fix this matter, I'm hoping to instate a draft, so every Santa Barbaran learns what's it's like to work for Wendy McCaw. McCaw, of course, will not complain, as of late she's used to having employees who know little about journalism and those forced to work for her can't expect much pay. It's too easy to feel uninvolved when it's other people's children watching their careers and journalistic ethics die there.
  3. Inertia. No doubt the majority of folks got the News-Press and will get the News-Press. Do they care if it's good or bad? Nope, it just has to be at the end of the driveway every morning. They ask for nothing, and they shall receive it in abundance.
OK, now I've depressed myself.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

And about that Rising Sun in the West...

Originally uploaded by DREIM.ORG ..:: tAkiNG PhOtOS iS MY dRUG ::..

Official White House photographers get ready to capture the truth in Iraq in time for the Petraeus Report.

Monday Random Flickr-Blogging explained.


The Secret Is Looking Harmless

Originally uploaded by Anne Ruthmann

OK, I changed my mind--I don't mind if I become an old man.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday Random Ten

For something different, the shuffle this week is just from 2007 adds to iTunes, which means it's not just 2007 music, btw.

Glenn Gould "Toccata in D major, BWV 912 - Vivace" Bach Toccatas, Vol. 1
Bonnie "Prince" Billy "God's Small Song" The Letting Go
Son Volt "Automatic Society" The Search
Son Volt "Highways and Cigarettes" The Search
Ryuichi Sakamoto "Manchukuo Waltz" Playing the Orchestra
Sparklehorse "Hey, Joe" Good Morning Spider
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah "Five Easy Pieces" Some Loud Thunder
Mott the Hoople "One of the Boys" [UK single version] All the Young Dudes
Ricochet "Duo de Amor" Astor Piazzolla Remixed
Sparklehorse "Eyepennies" It's a Wonderful Life

Sparklehorse "Hundreds of Sparrows" Good Morning Spider

This turns out to be a tribute to gifts from Ahab, with a bonus gift from Tessitura. Gee, while Visa might disagree, you'd think I didn't buy any CDs this year. There's lots of good stuff here, even with the repeats.


Mercy! Mercy! Mercy!

For Dog Blog Friday: Here's as indignant as a greyhound can look, as Nigel stares Mookie down for stealing his stick.

P.S. You win the triva prize if you can connect this entry about sticks with the title of the post.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

What If the Debates Were Really Debates? (Part 1)

One thing that drives me nuts about the American political process, no matter one's party, is how the "debates" are really just group Q&A. It would be good to make these folks grapple with each other's ideas and try to out-think and out-speak each other. I mean, would anyone have voted for Bush if we all got a real chance to see him "think" on his feet? Here's a guy whose spontaneous response to how Iraq is going is "We're kicking ass." (How presidential.)

So, let's use some lines gleaned over at Talking Points Memo from last night's Republican debate and re-cast them in a world where someone might be able to point out the ridiculousness (as long as one has a strong ridiculousness pointer, for there was plenty to go around).

The candidates were asked about Larry Craig, and whether or not he should be reconsidering his resignation. He got no support at all from either Sam Brownback or Duncan Hunter, who spoke up, and everyone else kept silent.

I guess the Republicans support a Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy for U.S. Senators. Or are worried about giving the wrong signals to the man next to him as they are all preparing their next load of shit.

John McCain out-hawked Mitt Romney on Iraq, after Romney said the surge was "apparently working." McCain replied. "The surge is working, sir. No, not 'apparently.' It's working."

Not to be outdone, Giuliani said, "The surge works. It needs no weak 'to be' verb." And in an effort to top the topper Sam Brownback chimed in, "If only we hadn't killed so many of the pre-born for the past 30 years...we could have had a triple surge and then had those people killed in Iraq as adults and with honor for their country and not just for the convenience of their mothers."

Rudy Giuliani was forced to defend his policy of offering aid and police protection to illegal immigrants in New York City: "The problem that I had was I had 400,000 illegal immigrants, roughly, in New York City. And I had a city that was the crime capital of America ... If you are an illegal immigrant in New York City and a crime is committed against you, I want you to report that. Because lo and behold, the next time a crime is committed, it could be against a citizen or a legal immigrant."

OK, beyond someone having to point out the crime rates in NYC started dropping during David Dinkins' time as mayor, it's good to know Rudy G thinks humans come in value categories, in ascending order: illegal immigrant, legal immigrant, citizen. Climb that ladder, have more of a right to live free of crime.

Mike Huckabee gave this passionate pro-life argument: "The reason this country has been extraordinarily interested in what's going on to those miners out in Utah is because even though we don't know them, they represent us in the sense that they are human beings, and we don't know their fate. We need to show the same kind of respect for life whether a child is in the womb, or whether in a coal mine, or in a long-term care facility."

One has to ask, Mr. Huckabee, do you think children should be working in coal mines? Are these care facilities some sort of socialized childcare? And what are children doing in a womb?

Here's a gem from Tom Tancredo: "Yes, I would certainly waterboard. I don't believe that that is, quote, 'torture.'" Tancredo also said, "Political correctness will get us all killed."

Political correctness is trying to be sure to use gender neutral language. Not becoming what we supposedly abhor in others is moral correctness, Tom. Waterboarding isn't just some Jack Bauer thing (who, by the way, isn't real) but is what the Khymer Rouge used. So if you want to be just like Pol Pot be my guest, just let me warn all my friends who wear eyeglasses first.

Duncan Hunter argued passionately against closing the prison at Guantanamo, and said the prisoners there in fact have great living conditions. "They have better health care than most Americans," he said.

First, who abducted Duncan Hunter and replaced him with Michael Moore? Second, is this his health care plan? Third, will most Americans be jailed without sentence, held without bail, and be denied an attorney in a Duncan Hunter Administration?


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I reckon you wouldn't even be human beings if you didn't have some pretty strong personal feelings about nuclear combat

The AFP reports:

A B-52 bomber flew the length of the United States last week loaded with six nuclear armed cruise missiles in a major security breach, US military officials said Wednesday.


An air force official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said six cruise missiles with nuclear warheads were loaded on pylons under the wings of a B-52 bomber that flew from Minot [North Dakota] to Barksdale [Louisiana] on August 30.


The weapons were among 400 advanced cruise missiles that the Defense Department quietly decided to retire in March over the course of this year.

The advanced cruise missile is a stealthy, longer range version of the air launched cruise missile first deployed in the early 1980s.

They carry W-80 warheads of up to 150 kilotons, ten times the destructive force of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

So let's do some quick math: 6 missiles X 150 kilotons = 60 X Hiroshima = DEEP ATOMIC SHIT

Who knows, maybe this was a plan the White House had for taking care of New Orleans; "we can get them to stop talking about Katrina if we do this".... Frankly, though, I much prefer "retirees" who are most dangerous at the salad bar at Sizzler after too many brewskis.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

To the Victor Goes the Spoiled Justice Department

(photo: AP/Ron Edmonds)

Michael Chertoff demonstrates the difference between the Justice Department he would run and the Justice Department run by the recently resigned Alberto Gonzales.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Obama Better Watch Who His Buddies Are

It seems, if we read the comments on BlogaBarbara, that one can't make fun of the rich unless one is rich. After all, they might hire you to wash their car or mow their lawn (if you habla enough ingles). But I regret I have to belittle our dear Oprah, and not just because she got her career started by crossing a picket line in Baltimore back in the early 1980s.

Oh no, there's this little tidbit that's never quite got out. Back in November 2005 when Archbishop Desmond Tutu gave an incredibly inspiring lecture at the Arlington sponsored by UCSB Arts & Lectures, A&L tried to get Oprah to do the introduction, as she had done a special love-in show with the Nobel Prize Winner a few months prior to the local event. A&L was very cautious, as Oprah had done little with UCSB despite buying a $50 million house within 15 miles of the university, trying to contact her through other rich friends who might then grease the millionaire wheels and get her to give a tiny bit back.

Alas, she refused to do the at most 5 minute intro.

But what's more, after A&L found good and kind donors to help fund the Archbishop's trip to Santa Barbara, Oprah took advantage of his being in the area to have an event at her house the next day with Tutu that did nothing for UCSB or Arts & Lectures. Nope, he got here, she used him, she did nothing for the folks who got him here, and that's the Oprah way.

Thanks, scab.


Orchestral but Deadly

Originally uploaded by Stedman!

It took months to convince them it would work, but Bart couldn't wait for his first chance to play his under-arm fart solo with the band.

Monday random Flickr-blogging explained.


The God-Toddler

Originally uploaded by neilmartin

Little Tony, the world's youngest mafia don, plots revenge upon his "friend" who peed in his sandbox.



Originally uploaded by ekabow

Superheroes ain't what they used to be.


A Tiny Bit of Apocalypse

No better place to end my summer series of videos. Hope you all had fun....we'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when....

Are We Not Laborers?

We Are Bloggers!

Whatever happened to Booji Boy?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Drive-By Bicyclists?

Well, it is acoustic.

Why There's an "Un" in Country

This country band the Kintters rocks like they were somebody else....

Saturday, September 01, 2007

How Did She Leave Him for Mick?

Suave, thy name is Bryan Ferry.

A Band of Brians

Roxy Music!

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