Monday, October 29, 2007

Running Down a Dream

Florida natives Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have been around for thirty years. Whatever you think about them, that's a pretty impressive achievement given that most bands burn out in a few years or have a revolving door replacing members or are tired shells of themselves on the nostalgia circuit. To celebrate, Peter Bogdonavich has directed a four hour (yes, you read that right) documentary about the history of the band. Is the band really good enough to sustain a four hour documentary? All Music Blog notes that it's longer than Sorcese's celebrated Dylan bio No Direction Home. Putting that aside, the film is named after a Petty song from the album Full Moon Fever. While it's a great song, perhaps Petty's best, Full Moon Fever is a solo album. While some of the Heartbreakers performed on the album, it's still a solo album and it doesn't seem appropriate to use as a title for a sprawling four hour film celebrating a band a single from the frontman's solo album. Imagine a Rolling Stones documentary called Primitive Cool.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I will screw him in the ass!

This Dubya anecdote isn't exactly hot off the presses; it comes from a February Haaretz review of Uri Dan's book Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait":
Speaking of George Bush, with whom Sharon developed a very close relationship, Uri Dan recalls that Sharon's delicacy made him reluctant to repeat what the president had told him when they discussed Osama bin Laden. Finally he relented. And here is what the leader of the Western world, valiant warrior in the battle of cultures, promised to do to bin Laden if he caught him: "I will screw him in the ass!"
Once again, he returns honor and dignity to the White House.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

We're kicking ass!

From the Land Down Under:

GEORGE Bush is a man who likes a short sentence. Which is not to say the President of the United States reduces ideas to bite-sized chunks. Or maybe it is.

Either way, during the course of his first 24 hours in Sydney, there were plenty of efficient exclamations. Like the exchange on the tarmac as Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile inquired how things were going in Iraq. "We're kicking ass," he declared. In a similarly thrifty oratory bent yesterday, he telegraphed his lunch order — "I'm a meat guy". Then he buttered up his host — "I admire your courage" — and insisted he was not playing a double game by hinting at moves to start cutting US troop numbers in Iraq: "Whatever you do, don't call me cute."

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Driving for Freedom

via Think Progress:

For a mere $37 Oklahomans can fight the war on terror from the comfort of their SUV, while those too poor to afford the SUV, or even the $37, are off fighting for them. Of course, all those SUVs are one of the reasons we're in this mess, but the irony would escape anyone who would actually buy one of those things. I'd be surprised, but I learned a long time ago that we live in a post-ironic age.


Impeach Cheney

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

This looks like it will be fun

From the press release:
"In the late 1920's and early 1930's, the Depression gripped the Nation. It was a time when songs were tools for living. A whole community would turn out to mourn the loss of a member and to sow their songs like seeds. This collection is a wild garden grown from those seeds." - Tom Waits, from the Introduction

Songs of death, destruction and disaster, recorded by black and white performers from the dawn of American roots recording are here, assembled together for the first time. Whether they document world-shattering events like the sinking of the Titanic or memorialize long forgotten local murders or catastrophes, these 70 recordings - over 30 never before reissued - are audio messages in a bottle reflecting a lost world where age old ballads rubbed up against songs inspired by the day's headlines.

Release Date: September 25th, 2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

Bergman loses chess game

Today's New York Times:

Ingmar Bergman, Famed Director, Dies at 89

Ingmar Bergman, the "poet with the camera" who is considered one of the greatest directors in motion picture history, died today on the small island of Fårö where he lived on the Baltic coast of Sweden, Astrid Soderbergh Widding, president of The Ingmar Bergman Foundation, said. Bergman was 89.

Why you shouldn't trust furries

From Warren Ellis:
They always worry me when they pass wherever I'm signing. They never bring books -- I guess I don't appeal to that crowd. But I still get a little shudder. An actress acquaintance of mine once got shot by a costumed fan. He was a mass of fur, a human-sized Tribble from Star Trek. He asked the actress to pose for a photo with him, which she duly did. And as she put an arm around his hairy bulk, an air pistol nosed out of his side, and fired a pellet into her ribs. Turned her black with bruising all up her side. Obviously, an actual gun would have killed her instantly. The guy apparently leapt back and yelled "you've been morphed!" before he was brought down. So I always have armed security to hand at converntion signings. And I give the furries a wide berth.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New words for 2007

New words included in the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition. Funny thing, if you click on some of the words in their press release, it says "The word you've entered isn't in the dictionary." Oops.

* 1. agnolotti
Great, another thing on the menu at Olive Garden that I won't recognize.
* 2. Bollywood
Salaam Bombay!
* 3. chaebol
* 4. crunk
Drop it like it's hot.
* 5. DVR
09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
* 6. flex-cuff
Was spike strip already in there?
* 7. ginormous
* 8. gray literature
* 9. hardscape
Is this the sci-fi show with the Muppets?
* 10. IED
There's nothing funny about this one.
* 11. microgreen
I'm sending this back. This salad is far too small.
* 12. nocebo
For when the side effects just aren't bad enough.
* 13. perfect storm
They needed something to replace "synergy" in business management books.
* 14. RPG
It's always nice to see my high school shame permanently enshrined in the dictionary.
* 15. smackdown
Welcome to the WWF-efication of America.
* 16. snowboardcross
I really wish they would stop inventing new extreme sports.
* 17. speed dating
Nothing like packing a couple of years worth of rejection into one bad night.
* 18. sudoku
Can we please stop adopting every lame new Japanese fad? Well, a pachinko fad would be cool, at least for a couple minutes.
* 19. telenovela
¡Bienvenida al Eric Estrada-fication de América!
* 20. viewshed
Do we really need a bloody portmanteau of every single pair of words in the English language? The best way to describe this trend is a new word I've invented: blortmanteau.

If the whole game was like this, I'd watch more baseball

Monday, July 9, 2007

Monkey's Got a Gun

When we weed stuff, it goes on the free book cart. When something ends up there that's interesting or readable, I snatch it up to keep or share with friends. When something ends up there that is so fucking weird I have to have it, I snatch it up to scan in and share with the internet.

Here's one of them, Triple Jeopardy, a paperback collection of a trio of Nero Wolfe mystery novellas by Rex Stout. The tag line of "A Nero Wolfe Threesome" (ah, the innocent days of 1952!) is enough to induce a chuckle, but the cover is what caught my eye.

It's a monkey. With a gun. The comedic possibilities are limitless.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A brief moment of honesty

From today's White House press briefing:

Q: Scott, is Scooter Libby getting more than equal justice under the law? Is he getting special treatment?

MR. STANZEL: Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law."

Wikipedian Protestor

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Can't do a little cause he can't do enough.

A special prize to the person who comes up with the best explaination of what the hell exactly is going on here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Where is my transgender beauty pageant?

First, an explanation. I've been on the American Family Association's mailing list for a couple months now. I ended up on there because I signed up for some free stuff. A meme popped up on my friends list suggesting that people drain their coffers by signing up for as much free stuff as possible. Apparently, the AFA is still around and has responded with the cunning ploy of not sending out their free crap. At least I didn't get any, but if you did, please post a comment to this entry.

I never unsubscribed. "Know your enemy" and all that. It amused me to see what they were outraged by from week to week: Bill Maher doesn't love Jesus, Paris Hilton in that Hardee's ad, Ford Motors advertising to gays ("AFA has identified Ford as a leading corporate promoter of homosexual marriage and the homosexual agenda."), etc. Most of the time I don't even bother reading their "Action Alerts", but the subject line of the latest one intrigued me:
You just paid for a transgender beauty pageant

I did? Where was it? Why didn't I get tickets? Is there a DVD available?

The claim (and others in the same Outrage Alert) was lifted by the AFA from in a report(pdf) on spending by the Center for Disease Control produced by the office of Senator Dr. Tom "Involuntary Sterilization" Coburn (R-Oklahoma). It's called "CDC Off Center", so you pretty much know how this is gonna go.

The specific outrage in question was the 2001 Mr./Ms. "Jewel of the Pacific" pageant held by UTOPIA (The United Territories of Polynesian Islanders' Alliance) and partially funded by the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center, which gets some million and change from the US government for fighting and education about HIV/AIDS. The report also mentions, hey, by the way, there was AIDS testing at the event. Gee, you think, maybe that this is the reason the pageant got funding from the APIWC? I guess I'm naive, but I would think a taxpayer-funded report with the resources of a congressional staff behind it might answer basic questions like these.

Sure, when it isn't making partisan talking points, it raises some important questions about the efficiency and accountability regarding CDC funding, but the report glosses over that in favor of an attempt to manufacture outrage over things like the "CDC-Funded Drag Contest", which is why the report itself is the true outrage.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Something there is that doesn't love a wall

I've never been a fan of Charles Krauthammer. While I generally dislike conservative columnists, I have a special ire for Krauthammer, who likes to abandon the ethics of his first profession of psychiatry (Harvard, '75) to score cheap points in his current profession by publically "diagnosing" the supposed mental issues of Democratic politicians. In his latest column, Dr. Krauthammer voices his support for a wall on the US-Mexico border:

A barrier is a very simple thing to do. The technology is well tested. The Chinese had success with it, as did Hadrian

They did, eh? How did that work out for them exactly? Wikipedia says:
The Manchus were finally able to cross the Great Wall in 1644, when the gates of Shanhai Pass were opened by Wu Sangui, a corrupt Ming border general, after being bribed. The Manchus quickly seized Beijing, and defeated the remaining Ming resistance, to establish the Qing Dynasty.

So success = the complete overthrow of your country and the establishment of a 300 year dynasty. Gotcha. Well, I guess we have some interesting times ahead of us.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Welcome to the End Times

From the Dallas Morning News:

Friends of [George W. Bush] from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A good sign

This is a good sign: Protests at Brigham Young University over an upcoming appearance by Veep Dick Cheney. Too often those on the right give lip service to the values they claim to uphold while ignoring them when their public standard bearers blatantly violate them, like electing a drunk-driving, draft-dodging cokehead to "restore dignity to the Oval Office" and cheering while his flunkies eviscerate the reputation of an actual war hero. So protests at a Republican stronghold like BYU is a nice thing to see because it means that at least some Republicans actually believe in the values they profess to hold.
Tricia Campbell, 21, a senior from Orem who is a Republican, said Mr. Cheney’s behavior in office "just doesn't fit" with what she had learned from the university's mission of promoting of "integrity, character and moral development."

While this could merely be a matter of "man bites dog" and the newsmedia focusing on the few out of place Republican protesters, I doubt any movement at BYU could achieve critical mass without Republican involvement. Still, I won't hold my breath imagining that this is the vanguard of some sort of mass movement, but it's always nice to see sincerity and not hypocrisy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


The headline in the morning paper (and you can tell a lot from the chamber of commerce priorities of my local paper considering that they think this is the most newsworthy event of the day) announced that an Ikea would be coming to town. Ikea! I actually squealed with delight. Then I read the bad news: it won't be opening until summer 2009. I want my Ikea now, dammit! Until then, I always have this song.

McCain's MySpace Mugging

Another reason to stay off MySpace: presidential hopeful John McCain's MySpace page was hacked to display an announcement regarding a very important change of his political position:
Today I announce that I have reversed my position and come out in full support of gay marriage... particularly marriage between two passionate females.
But this wasn't a politically motivated prank. It seems McCain's incompetent Internet minions yanked a template without giving proper credit and without putting the images on their own server, thus stealing the bandwith as well as the template. Here's the story from the guy who did it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Things I have learned

When shopping for wine, don't make your purchases based on the pretty labels. Smoking Loon wine looked pretty damn cool - after all, it's a duck smoking a cigar - but it didn't taste that great. I should have stuck with the Beringer.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Break out the champale

Congratulations to Florida's newest lottery winner, Edward R. Cowal of Jensen Beach, who has just taken an $8 million lump sum payment after grabbing the $14 million jackpot. Cowal is also a registered sex offender. According to the Orlando Sentinel:
[Florida Department of Law Enforcement] records show Cowal is a registered sex offender and has a record of arrests for alleged offenses beginning in 1993, ranging from burglary, lewd and lascivious or indecent assault upon a child, trespass, aggravated assault, driving under the influence, probation violation and high-speed fleeing from law enforcement. He was sentenced to 23 months in prison between 1993 and 2000.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Why I try not to read fantasy novels

Last Thursday, fantasy novelist David Eddings was flushing out the gas tank of his busted Excalibur when he noticed a fluid leaking. "Is the fluid flammable?" he thought. To find out, he lit a piece of paper on fire and threw it into the puddle of fluid. The answer was yes, and Eddings burned his own house down, including the car and the original manuscripts of his 27 novels. At least he hasn't lost his keen powers of observation:
"One word comes to mind," the renowned wordsmith said as he stood in a pajama shirt and slippers. "Dumb."

I will bury you!

Little boys like their toys, and Boy President Bush is no exception. At a visit yesterday to a Catepillar plant in Peoria, he climbed into a D10 bulldozer like the one pictured right, cranked it up, and mockingly pretended to run over the White House press corps, sending them scurrying. When a chimp-brained fratboy like Bush mockingly does something like this, it's a little window into what he really feels, but of course the press corps he wants to kill obligingly pretends it was all just funnin' and barely reports the matter. One of the few who did was Newsweek's Holly Bailey:
"I would suggest moving back," Bush said as he climbed into the cab of a massive D-10 tractor. "I'm about to crank this sucker up." As the engine roared to life, White House staffers tried to steer the press corps to safety, but when the tractor lurched forward, they too were forced to scramble for safety."Get out of the way!" a news photographer yelled. "I think he might run us over!" said another. White House aides tried to herd the reporters the right way without getting run over themselves. Even the Secret Service got involved, as one agent began yelling at reporters to get clear of the tractor. Watching the chaos below, Bush looked out the tractor's window and laughed, steering the massive machine into the spot where most of the press corps had been positioned. The episode lasted about a minute, and Bush was still laughing when he pulled to a stop. He gave reporters a thumbs-up. "If you've never driven a D-10, it's the coolest experience," Bush said afterward. Yeah, almost as much fun as seeing your life flash before your eyes.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Will Be a Right-Wing Shill For Food

Katherine Harris passing out business cards before this week's State of the Union Address.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Essentially worthless

So I'm tooling around the iTunes store, which is a pretty new experience for me since until fairly recently I was dead set against the idea of digitizing my music collection. I came across an ad for something called "iTunes Essentials: '00s Alternative Rock" and foolishly clicked on it.

It's a good thing the world didn't end on the even of the new millennium.

Okay, I'm with you so far.

Had the '00s never happened we wouldn't have watched alternative rock turn from a tidal wave of down-tuned guitars, turntable stabs, and spiteful screams (Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach, Linkin Park)

Hey, wait a minute. Since when are these guys alternative rock? What exactly are they an alternative to? Not sucking?

to a cucumber-cool revival of garage rock grittiness (the Hives, the Strokes, the White Stripes)

Okay, it's getting better. I love me some garage rock.

and steely post-punk (Interpol, Franz Ferdinand).

I have no idea what "steely post-punk" means.

Oh, and who can forget the emergence of Coldplay, one of the most majestic rock bands of the last five years?

First of all, save me this cloying "Oh, and who can forget" crap, as if you were going to pass up the chance to pimp fucking Coldplay again, iTunes. Oh, and who can forget that the one billionth song sold on iTunes was "Speed of Sound". How embarrassing for that guy - who was Alex Ostrovsky of West Bloomfield, MI, by the way. Imagine that street cred he would have gotten if he had downloaded something obscurely cool. The art school girls would have come running. Instead, he's just another loser who downloaded fucking Coldplay.

Second of all, the only people who think fucking Coldplay are "majestic" are the ones who think U2 is a great rock band instead of Bon Jovi with better musicians.

And third, it's fucking Coldplay.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Freedom is Slavery

This week seems to be the week of Orwell. Via Boing Boing, courtesy of the London Metropolitan Police:

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The latest announcement from the Ministry of Truth

What the fuck?

What the fucking fuck fuck is wrong with this country?

Not that we would dare allow such a thing, but that such a thing is not universally derided as beyond the bounds of civil discourse and horribly tainted with the bloody connotations of the purges of fascist and communist states.

The sage punditry warnes us of the profane wasteland of the blogosphere while bile like this goes largely uncondemned and people by the millions continue to watch and read the Sean Hannitys and Glenn Becks and Michelle Malkins. What does it take to get some sanity around here?

The latest announcement from the Ministry of Truth

What the fuck?

What the fucking fuck fuck is wrong with this country?

Not that we would dare allow such a thing, but that such a thing is not universally derided as beyond the bounds of civil discourse and horribly tainted with the bloody connotations of the purges of fascist and communist states.

The sage punditry warnes us of the profane wasteland of the blogosphere while bile like this goes largely uncondemned and people by the millions continue to watch and read the Sean Hannitys and Glenn Becks and Michelle Malkins. What does it take to get some sanity around here?