Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Valkyrie's critics are worse than Nazis

I made a rare trip to the movie theaters today, inspired by an interesting selection of films and the necessary free time to see them. Although my first choice was Eastwood's Gran Torino, I was running late and ended up on my fallback, Valkyrie. Many people have panned the film strictly because of Tom Cruise. Even the Germans and their government were suspicious of this production simply because Cruise was attached to it. He's not the most expressive actor, but he's not wooden. Better yet, he has a long history of starring in watachable movies, something his peers have failed to duplicate.

In any event, I do not have a problem with Cruise. I'm not a scientologist and I think he's nuttier than a bowl of trail mix, but I could honestly care less about celebrities' personal lives. What he does on screen interests me more, and I found none of the criticims of Cruise to be very valid. His performance wasn't distracting, and I thought he did a fine job. He didn't demonstrate a wide range of emotions, sure, but I don't think it would have fit the character if he did. I mean, there was no reason for him to start jumping up and down on a sofa.

I could forgive those criticisms, but there are some that go even beyond the "I don't like Tom Cruise so this movie sucks" variety. Let's start with Roger Friedman of Fox News. I don't know him, and I am not familiar with his work, so I will try to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is not just another Fox News tool. I will let his words speak for him:
I'm concerned that Valkyrie could represent a new trend in filmmaking: Nazi apologia. Not once in Valkyrie do any of the 'heroes' mention what's happening around them. Hitler has systemically killed millions.
The article goes on to state that, "Friedman criticised the set designers for minimising or hiding the swastikas that have become symbols of the evils of Nazism." Let me state, for the record, that either Friedman is a moron or a liar. It all depends on whether he actually sat and watched the movie, like I did. Valkyrie did not sit and pound the theme every ten minutes, as it would have dragged the story down and been annoying. In other words, a poor artistic move. The opening scene of the film had Cruise's von Stauffenberg summarizing in his journal all of the problems he had with Hitler's Reich, and it came up other times as the Resistance met and schemed.

As for the's the first image in the movie. The image appears numerous times. I did notice that on the many instances when swastikas were present, the camera cut away before the full swastika. I chalked this up to director Bryan Singer's artistry. I also noticed von Stauffenberg didn't have swastikas on his collar, just an iron eagle on his chest. Two other scenes stand out - one at a club, when I took a second to wonder how many swastikas of every size were in the room, and the other outside the Gestapo headquarters, where a beautiful arrangement of about 50 Nazi flags were flying outside the building. This, along with portraits of Hitler in every room, make me wonder if Friedman saw the film. If he didn't, he's a liar. If he did, he's a moron. As a Fox News employee, there is always the possibility he is both.

He's not the only dingbat of a right wing media machine. Phillip Kennicott of the Washington Post, and I quote the same article,
...blasted the film's puzzling failure to portray von Stauffenberg's life before his unsuccessful assassination attempt - when he was untroubled by Nazism and served as Hitler's loyal soldier.

Kennicott also criticised the movie for failing to point out that the plot was hatched not out of moral objections to Nazism but only when Germany was facing imminent collapse.

Stauffenberg "was not a committed anti-Nazi until very late in the game", wrote Kennicott. "Many anti-Hitler conspirators weren't so much against Nazism, with its vile racial and militarist policies, as they were against Hitler's disastrous leadership of the war".
Regarding paragraph one, with Valkyrie clocking in at 120 minutes, I fail to see how tacking on unnecessary scenes helps in any way. Why don't we have it drag on for four hours and we could start with von Stauffenberg at the age of seven?

Regarding paragraph two, it's in the fucking movie. That's like criticizing the film for not pointing out that Colonel Mertz von Quirnheim (Christian Berkel) is bald. It's bloody obvious. I obtuse can you be? How is it possible to be a film critic and not understand basic plot developments? There is one specific scene where the Resistance is arguing, and one of the conspirators remarks that they are running out of time, since there's no point in offering a truce to the allies once they're already in Berlin. The idea that characters in the movie were not inspired to rally against Hitler because of Germany's imminent defeat is preposterous. The only way it could have been more obvious was if the movie rolled up the script and bashed Kennicott over the head with it.

As for paragraph three, von Stauffenberg is not Clark Kent. He probably took some time to develop as a human being. It takes a brave person to stand up against evil, and it's kind of missing the point to criticize someone for not doing it soon enough, especially when it cost him his life. With regard to the part about some members of the Resistance being against Hitler's leadership more than his methods, well, so? The film didn't harp on it, but it was there for anyone in the audience.

The problem with Friedman and Kennicott is that they are evaluating this production not on artistic merit and entertainment value, but on political qualities. As Roy Edroso has pointed out for years, movies are not propaganda. They don't have to promote an agenda, nor should they. In fact, Valkyrie could have been a pro-Hitler movie, and it should still only be criticized based on its aforementioned artistic merit and entertainment value. Friedman and Kennicott's complaints are not only factually wrong, but catering to their desires would have made a shitty movie.

Ignore those twats and take my advice - go see Valkyrie. Is it a perfect, inspiring movie? Not particularly, but I did not have any major complaints. I enjoyed myself, I was drawn into the plot, I appreciated the acting, I loved the soundtrack, and I found that it was worth my money. In an age where The Spirit and Yes Man are vying for your dollars, spend your time and money on something that actually earned both.

P.S. - Happy end of the year. Nice to see you made it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Not all blacks are Swahili

I have mixed feelings on Kwanzaa. On the one hand, I find genuine appeal in the seven principles (unity, self-determination, community, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith) that guide the holiday. On the other hand, I don't like the fact that it's tacked onto Christmas, as if black people aren't allowed to celebrate with Santa Claus and/or Jesus. I also don't care for the fact that it promotes Africans as one people. To me, that is as careless as identifying everyone from India to Japan as "Asian." Obviously, "African-Americans" (black people who trace their ancestors to the European-North American slave trade) do not know which people they come from. Their ancestors were stripped of their identity when they were brought to American shores. That doesn't mean people should just pick what they want.

For example, I can trace my ancestry back four out of five ways. The fifth aspect of my genetic make up is a mystery. We know my grandmother's father lived in Canada, but we don't know where his family came from. They were not forthcoming with the information, and apparently no one back then cared to ask. All we know for sure is that he came from Europe. That doesn't mean I get to pick which part of Europe he's from. It's not like a grab bag. "Ooh, what shall I choose? Scotland? Belgium? Czech Republic or whatever the hell it was back then? I've always liked Austria." It doesn't work that way.

The Jews have Chanukah because it is part of their rich and diverse history, something they have celebrated and identified with for centuries. Sure, they added the presents over the years to create a healthy competition with the more glamorous Christmas, but it is still a cultural staple. Kwanzaa is not. Kwanzaa starts at skin color and tries to work backwards, creating something out of a vague idea, that all African Americans share a common ancestral background. Africa was a continent of vast, sprawling, diverse - and sometimes competing - empires, with a heavy Islamic influence to the north. Africa today stands as a continent of 61 territories speaking over 1,000 indigenous languages. To clump all of that into one general theme is ridiculous.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

An ode to Noel

An original composition inspired by the holiday spirit. Cheers.

The season's quite oppressive,
The days become depressive,
It's Christmas time again.

Thoughtless consumerism mixed -
With an economy far from fixed,
Stockings empty in the den.

Hollow sentimentality,
Empty wishes of mirth and glee,
Put on a false facade.

People starving in the cold,
Commercials asking for your gold,
Do you believe in God?

Hoodlums ransacking mangers,
Spouses that act like strangers,
It feels a bit frosty.

Santa Claus is the first lie,
Not the last before we die,
Let's decorate the tree!

Family members that irritate,
Or loneliness that won't abate,
Gonna need the corkscrew.

A gift with no thought put in,
Better than being forgotten,
Either way, the joke's on you.

Monday, December 22, 2008

When is a Christmas movie a Christmas movie?

Tis (read: it is) the season when many holiday films are broadcast on television. Scrooged, It's a Wonderful Life, Home Alone, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Bad Santa, A Christmas Story, Santa Claus: The Movie, Jingle All the Way, etc., etc., etc. I'm sure you can rattle off more.

Sometimes, a movie gets lumped in with Christmas just because it takes place during the holiday season. The Santa Clause, starring Tim Allen, is obviously a Christmas movie, because if you take the Christmas aspects away from the film, it does not stand on its own. It can't. It's about Santa. Well, I guess it could stand on its own, but it would just be about a man that gets really fat, talks to dwarves and delivers presents to children. It really changes the feel of the film.

However, a film like Die Hard is often grouped together with other Christmas productions, but Die Hard doesn't need Christmas. Bruce Willis can fight terrorists any time of year. It's not like he's killing Hans with a sharpened candy cane or grenades of holly.

There are some gray areas. It's a Wonderful Life and Home Alone could be arguable. Certainly Home Alone could have worked in the summer time if you replace ornaments with martini glasses. It's a Wonderful Life may need that Christmas thing more than Home Alone, but suicide and angels are hardly only for Christmas.

Overall, it makes me wonder, what is the true meaning of Christmas movies? I think, during this special time of year, it is a question all of us should reflect on.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Festival of Lights

An original composition featuring near accurate rhyming.

On Kislev's 25th sunset
Latkes and Sufganiyot
Enjoyed by the menorah
Opposite the mezozah

With the light from the shamash
The diaspora have a bash
Gambling with wooden dreidel
Drinking wine from Israel

So come on wear your yarmulkes
'Cause now it's time for Chanukah
Come on drop your pants with pride
If you have been circumsized

Friends, won't you join us tonight
For our festival of lights?
We don't need the Jesus Christ
For our festival of lights

McArdle-esque holiday gift guide

In the spirit of Megan McArdle's Electronics Gift Guide, I've created my own list of tech for you to buy for your friends or loved ones (or yourself LOL stfu):

1) Blackberry Curve. These things are totally sweet. It's a phone, but it does a lot of other stuff, too. Full QWERTY keyboards leave my panties soaked.

2) Apple MacBook. Yeah, the hype is true. These things are really cool. Unlike desktop computers, these are smaller, but also better.

3) Sony Bravia KDL-55XBR8. This is the best flat-panel LCD on the market. Great picture quality, and really big. Works great with Blu-Ray.

4) Nintendo DS. You can play video games on this, which is like the future.

5) Aliph Jawbone 2. Although this is a business write-off for me, if you like bluetooth headsets, then this is for you. Holding your phone is now a thing of the past.

6) Welch Allyn SureTemp Plus 690 Electronic Rectal Thermometer. With 9 feet of reach, this thermometer allows extensive anal probing with precise digital readouts.

7) Sony Portable Reader. With the prevalence of poor people in libraries, buying books is essential, but even the nicest metropolitan apartments don't have enough room for hardcovers and paperbacks. With this digital book reader, you can download and read all of your favorite novels on the bus.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's right around the corner, you know

Celebrate as you see fit.

"Hang Myself From The Tree" & "A Gun For Christmas" by The Vandals

Monday, December 15, 2008

I just learned something today

I heard this song on the radio this evening. I guess I'll have to make some adjustments to my defecation rituals.

Note to self, shit goes in the shitter.

I guess I have to wonder if two year olds really put feces in their hair. They wouldn't tolerate that kind of behavior in the jungle, I imagine. I know I certainly wouldn't tolerate it in my jungle. I understand if a kid leaves a streak in his shorts or makes a mess on her leg, but crap really needs to stay below the neck area.

Kid's Corner is a fascinating radio program. Much more interesting than listening to modern rock.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Not a surprise

Onasis, one of the area's best restaurants for Greek cousine and freshly prepared seafood, has forever closed its doors. It never had a chance, really, unable to compete with the massive outdoor mall project right across the street. There used to be a horse racing track there, but it was torn down to be replaced by a complex of chain restaurants, department stores, condiminiums and apartments meant to appeal to the middle and upper middle class residents.

It's sad that this area cannot maintain a healthy selection of independent and quality restaurants. Philadelphia proper has many of these types of eateries, but that's because it's so large. Even in the city, you'll find TGI Fridays and Pizza Huts. Yet, there is a selection of superb food to be found there. Many people in the outlying areas are hesitant to drive into the city due to outrageous parking costs and tolls, and so the outlying counties should be able to capitalize on this. They don't. What can be said for a populace that has allowed the Olive Garden to represent authentic Italian cuisine? The American palate is dying.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Never mind the elves, it's the Yobs

Moreso than any other band in recording history, the Yobs produced the best collection of alternative Christmas songs, 1979's The Yobs' Christmas Album. The Yobs were the alter-ego of British punk band The Boys, who in '79 charted at #4 on the UK indie chart with To Hell with the Boys. Although the group broke up in 1982, on the twentieth anniversary of their prior Yobs release, they put out a second Christmas album in 1999, Volume Two, a record which, to my ears, is even better than the first.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sleigh bells ring, ears are bleeding

Corporate Christmas time means, among other things, repetition of the same holiday oriented pop songs over and over again. Walk into any department store, supermarket, or pizza parlor, and your ears will be tickled by the crooning of the long dead and the shrieking of the currently popular. Some radio stations go so far as to convert to a 24 hour Christmas tunes format, churning out the same Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole staples, along with vapid pop diva spins on religious ditties. To quote Stephen Colbert,
Hey! It’s another Christmas song
Yay! Another oft’ returning
Royalty earning Christmas song
I’ve got plenty more so go buy a modem
Log on to iTunes and pay to download ‘em
Pay! For another Christmas song
As Brenda Lee's royalty checks fly in this month, I thought I'd try and share some lesser known winter wonders. To kick things off, the Punk Rock Advent Calendar has a new track available for listen or download every day from now until Jesus slides out of his mother's tight birthing hole.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Jesus Christ, chocolate bar

Christians, as part of their weekly routine, take the body of Christ in the form of a little wafer or piece of bread. However, there's nothing in the Bible that says Christians can't enjoy a delicious chocolate savior during the other six days of the week. Who doesn't like a little bit of Jesus melting oh so sweetly in their mouth? Apparently, the Germans.  
Germany's churches criticized a businessman on Tuesday for selling thousands of Jesus chocolates.

Frank Oynhausen set up his "Sweet Lord" chocolate Jesus-making business saying he wanted to restore some traditional religious values to Christmas in Germany.
* * *
"It is terrible that Jesus is being wrapped up in gold foil and sold along with chocolate bunnies, edible penguins and lollipops," said Aegidius Engel, a spokesman for the archbishopric of nearby Paderborn.

"This is ruining the symbol of Jesus himself," he added.
First of all, I believe that all penguins are edible. There isn't a bird alive that can't pass through my digestive tract. Secondly, I think the church(es) sell the fine art of chocolate short. Confections are an art. Flemish paintings depict beautiful renditions of religious stories and imagery, and the historic works would fetch a hefty price on the auction block.

A man just purchased a 2.2 pound white truffle for $200,000. Granted, it was a fungus, but imagine how much you could earn selling a two pound chocolate truffle. Now, picture a 2.2 pound chocolate truffle in the shape of the sacred heart. It could easily fetch in excess of $350,000.

It is hard for me to believe that God would tell people not to cast cocoa likenesses of his holiness. God recently told a San Antonio, Texas resident to drive into a woman at 100 mph because "she needed to be taken off the road." If God is assisting us with our traffic safety, than surely God wants to help us with our dessert plates.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Forty years ago, part two

On November 25th and 26th, 1968, Cream played its final two shows at the Royal Albert Hall in Westminster, U.K. It was the end of one of the finest bands of rock and roll.

Look at all those early headbangers.

Ginger Baker wasn't a big fan of those last performances. "Our last gig at the Royal Albert Hall in London wasn't very good. I don't think it was. [...] It's sad that its what most people today see about Cream. We were much better than that."

Well, let's jump to the Paris Pop Festival in June 1967.

Here's the band doing "Tales Of Brave Ulysses" on The Smothers Brothers Show in 1968.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Forty years ago

On this date in 1968, the Beatles' self-titled (or "white") album was released. It was a double decker mishmash of songs, an electic effort from a band continuing to experiment, but also clearly nearing the end of their time together.

There were quite a few good songs on this collection, including Helter Skelter and Back in the U.S.S.R. There were some fairly stupid tracks, too, and it has less to do with the experimental/odd nature of the record and more to do with the Beatles writing a lot of dumb songs.

George Harrison wrote four tunes on the record, including:

1968 was a good year for rock music in general. Deep Purple released its first two albums, Simon & Garfunkel issued "Bookends," The Jimi Hendrix Experience finished their double LP "Electric Ladyland," and The Velvet Underground dropped "White Light/White Heat." We also got Pink Floyd, The Doors, and the debut of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Then there is my favorite album from 1968, Cream's "Wheels of Fire," yet another double LP featuring ten studio tracks and four live, rambling recordings from San Francisco.

It had one of the weirdest songs in rock history as well.

More on Cream in a few of days.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How much is a deserted island worth?

Amazon dot com is having a big sale on DVDs, including Gilligan's Island. You can get individual seasons for thirteen dollars American, or you can go all out and get the whole series for $35.99 (normally retails for $114.82).

I was very interested in picking up the DVD, but then I was mulling over whether I really wanted 98 episodes of Gilligan's Island. Probably 10 episodes would be enough. After all, how many times do I need to see the Professor create a device just to have Gilligan ruin the escape? You'd think they would tie him to a tree and tell him they'll send someone to pick him up. Or really, just bash his skull in with a coconut. It's not like he was ever useful.

I guess Mary Anne wasn't all that useful, either, but she was a babe and she probably kept the Professor warm on those cold, lonely nights. For a farm girl, she was able to remember to bring an extensive change of tantalizing clothes. As has been discussed by many people before me, it is very odd that the island's guests brought so much clothing for a three hour tour. The only people who didn't, really, were the Professor, Gilligan, and the Skipper. You'd think the latter two would at least have a change of shirts, considering they probably worked 12 hour days on that boat. Well, let's be honest, they probably lived on that boat with their few meager possesions. Even on a deserted island, they were still forced to bunk together and do the heavy labor. Apparently the class system exists even away from civilization.

Maybe I'll get the two seasons of F-Troop instead, because I'm also a little disappointed that the Gilligan DVD set doesn't include the TV movies, such as The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island. That's about as interesting a combination as Scooby Doo and Batman. It's a disappointing omission.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Philly Tale

I saw A Bronx Tale Friday night at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia. ABT is the revival of the original one man show that launched the movie of the same name. Although the Merriam is one of those historic theaters that was designed for men half my height (I had to move to an empty row halfway through the show just so I could uncoil my legs), I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. ABT is one of those rare times when a great piece of art translate into a new medium in a fabulous way, and I'm glad I got to see the original source material as it was first presented.

Creator Chazz Palminteri was involved in both pieces, although he is more the focus of the stage production, seeing as it's a one man show. The theater performance is more humorous, taking more of a conversational tone that is necessary when there's only one person performing. Necessary, but exquisite. I'm not a fan of one man shows one way or the other, but ABT was like a mix of a regular play and a stand-up comedy routine. Palminteri brought to life many different characters like a master storyteller, and there were only a few times when I thought it dragged a bit. Overall, though, I was captured by Palminteri.

I thought the legendary bar scene played a whole lot better on the stage. In many respects, it's like comparing a great movie to the better book it was based on. I was thoroughly entertained, and I recommend it to any fan of the film or of theater in general.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I misheard it through the grape vine

Walking to lunch today, some co-workers and I ran into another of our co-worker's mothers. I should have phrased that "the mother of one of our co-workers, seeing as how she only has one mother. It's too much effort to retype the sentence, though, so I'll just type two more sentences explaining this instead.

Anyway, we ran into her mother. I had heard that the place she was working at was pretty tense leading up to the election, as the owner was a big McCain supporter. The closer November 4th came, the more outrageous he became, dropping "nigger" into every other sentence, berating his employees and arguing with customers. So when we saw her, I asked, "Has Obama-mania swept into your office yet?" She replied, "Oh, it's terrible. It's absolutely terrible."

As that exchange happened, a guy walked by, and I felt an overwhelming urge to clarify what was going on. Taken out of context:

"Has Obama-mania swept into your office yet?"
"Oh, it's terrible. It's absolutely terrible."

Not so good. We sounded like a bunch of racists in slacks, heels and/or ties. While I would never hire an Irishman to work for me, I'm certainly not racist against blacks. Or at least Obama. I would also be friends with Denzel Washington and that black chick that was on Doctor Who. I'm practically Malcolm X.

Here are some other strange things overheard on the public streets:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What's in a generation?

A comment in my previous post led me to think, once again, about generations. Generations have traditionally been about 30 years in length, which for me is far too long. Why would someone born in 1925 have the same values and experiences as someone born in 1942?

According to Wikipedia's chart, if you were born in 1977, you could be in Generation X (1964-1979) or Generation Y (1976-1990). Generation X overlaps with Generation Jones (1954-1969), and Generation Jones overlaps with Baby Boomers (1946-1964). In fact, Jones is the bridge.

Generation Y has a few sub-generations, including Cold Y Generation. Defining Cold Y is difficult. At Wikipedia, I find the dates range from 1981-1985, 1981-1982, and 1977-1985. Cold Y is essentially supposed to be the first wave of Generation Y that still remembers the cold war and life before the popularity of computers. The definition of Cold Y all depends on when you begin your definition of Generation Y. There is also an MTV Generation (1975-1985), but I find that term somewhat offensive, or actually stupid. I think it is weak to associate sociological terms to products and corporations.

My own opinion, for whatever that's worth, is that you're always going to have that overlap, and it's good. People born in 1980 can find much in common with those born in '75 and '85, but people born in '85 will find they have large amounts in common with those born in '90. That's why, as goofy as it may appear, I think you need those subgenerational groups. It's good to divide Generation Y into Cold Y and Post-Echo. It's good to bridge the young Boomers and old Gen Xers into Generation Jones, which is where Obama falls. Just keep the businesses out of it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mulatto baby brings hope, fear, other stuff

For black people, Obama brings hope that their kid can grow up to run the country, or at least that a biracial man can comfortably fit into the old white male network. It is probably stretching it to say that any Antwon or Shaniqua can grow up to run this country, but it must be comforting to know that a dark skinned man with the same credentials as a pale male can be elected to the most important office in America. I always thought the first black man elected to president would be a Republican, since I didn't think America could elect both a Democrat and a black. I also didn't expect it to happen this soon. Although Martin Luther King, Jr.'s brains were blown out a long time ago, had he lived, this election would have occurred in his lifetime. My parents were born when segregation was still legal. My dad died of unnatural causes, but my mother is still alive. That Obama was elected during all of their lifetimes is truly remarkable, but probably says more about Obama and less about the U.S. being a progressive nation. After all, one of our most liberal states just voted to take away the rights of their fellow citizens.

For Republicans, Obama brings fear that he will rape their white daughters, destroy Christianity and raise taxes. As chronicled on at this fine site, many conservatives are threatening to cut back their work to deprive Obama of their tax money, which is kind of funny. Some are in terror that blacks will overrun the country, and if you are a black guy and see a white guy clutching a gun and sweating, I'd avoid him...which is probably good advice for anyone, at any time, honestly. Tom DeLay (or some other shmuck) warned that Obama would double the minimum wage, which I think would be fine, but is not something that would happen anyway. Rudy Guiliani said the failure was Republicans getting away from their small government roots, which may be partially true but sells short Obama and his team's massive talents, and also ignores what a little tyrant Rudy was as mayor of New York. The conservatives are hyperventilating, and they are envisioning the Apocalypse in the form of Barack Obama.

For Democrats, Obama brings anticipation that he can fix the economy, fix health care, fix the environment, fix our relations overseas, fix our conflicts, and fix his new dog. People are expecting way more than Obama can possibly deliver, even with a House and Senate full of Democrats. Obama is only one man, and he may not have strong allies in Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. We've witnessed their ineffectiveness as the majority party already, and I suspect Pelosi has designs on her own bid for presidency. Nevertheless, I believe Obama can succeed in many areas. I'm not all that confident on health care and a few other domestic issues, but I think Obama can score big on foreign policy, which is supposedly his "weakness." Which leads us to...

For the world, Obama offers optimism that he can repair the international damage that Bush has wrought on the world. "Where George W. Bush pronounced, bulldozed and failed, Barack Obama will listen, cooperate and then decide." - Alain Duhamel

For me, I have my reservations about some of his policies, but I can't help but like Barack Obama as a person. I actually see a little bit of me in him. Although his is more drastic than my own story, we share parallels. We both grew up in many different places. We both grew up in single parent homes. We both grew up with mixed ethnicities (although most of mine spawn from Europe). We both grew up to become public interest attorneys. Obama and I, we are the new face of America. We are mutts, products of a modern world, and successful despite - and because of - our hardships and experiences. There are differences, of course. He went to nice schools and is a published author. He's also far wealthier than I am. The mother fucker also promised me a magnet if I donated $10 to his campaign, a promise he has yet to deliver on. Still, more than any other president, I can associate with Obama.

And so, come January of 2009, the first biracial president, the first Generation X president, the first Democratic president of the 21st century, will begin to serve the people. Let's hope for good things.

Update 11/9: Per comments, Obama may not be Generation X. I also see that he referred to himself as a mutt after I already did. Once again, the man is ripping me off. Finally, I changed a handful of modifiers to make my sentences easier to read. I should probably proofread before I post things.

Monday, November 3, 2008

One vote, two balls

As appearing on the ballot in New Jersey, your 2008 candidates for the presidency of the United States:

John Mc Cain [sic] & Sarah Palin (Republican)
Barack Obama & Joe Biden* (Democrat)
Bob Barr & Wayne A. Root (Libertarian Party)
Ralph Nader & Matt Gonzalez (Independent)
Gloria La Riva & Eugene Puryear (Socialism and Liberation)
Jeffrey "Jeff" Boss** & Andrea Marie Psoras (Vote Here)
Chuck Baldwin & Darrell Castle (Constitution Party)
Roger Calero & Alyson Knnedy (Socialist Workers Party)
Brian Moore & Stewart Alexander (Socialist Party USA)
Cynthia Mc Kinney [sic] & Rosa Clemente (Green Party)

*also running as an incumbent U.S. senator in Delaware
**also running for a U.S. senate seat in New Jersey

I'm a bit perplexed on why there are three different socialism candidates (and no candidate from the Workers World Party). Maybe they're just pushing collective ownership of the election process? One day, everyone will be on the ballot for president.

It's been a long election, getting started sometime in June of 1988, and originally having 2,576 candidates from both parties. It was essentially narrowed down to Obama and McCain. There were things to like about both candidates. Obama has a nice jump shot, while McCain's mobility and charisma is remisicent of a grumpier Bob Dole.

I don't really need to go on too much about the election. If you want to read about some relevant political debate, type "Obama is an Arab" into your favorite search engine. In the meantime, I want to leave you with this great quote. Everyone has heard about the Canadian Masked Avengers pranking Sarah Palin. My favorite part:

"Yes, yes, I understand we have the equivalent of Joe the Plumber in France. It's called Marcel, the guy with bread under his armpit."

EDIT: Oh yeah, don't forget to vote on your local propositions/referendums/public questions! Vote against anything bigoted or monumentally stupid.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Odd Halloween costumes

It's already November 2nd, and even including some late Saturday parties, Halloween is done for the year. In this situation, an article about costumes is better never than late. Unfortunately, I don't understand how to do the right thing. With that said, here are ten odd Halloween costumes as seen on Amazon dot com, in no order.

This one is called One Night Stand. Get it? Ha! Even ignoring that you would have to be a tremendous douche bag to wear this costume (see the model in the picture), it just seems like an impractical thing to wear. Does he have on any pants?

You want to dress as a cowboy, but you also really like zombies. What to do? Dress as a "zombie outlaw." Does it make any sense? Sort of.

I'm sure you recognize a teletubby. With the last new episode of the children's program airing in January of 2001, you have to wonder why anyone would dress as in this garish and ill-fitting costume.

Being a corporate shill for the worst candy on earth is pretty bad, but not as bad as having your neck snapped in half by a drunk trying to get one of those sugar blocks.

Foam muscles work a little better for a character that isn't supposed to be wearing a metal suit of armor. Walking around in yellow socks is the cherry on top.

Going as a flamingo is kind of stupid in its own right, but the point of wearing black is to shade out the part of the costume that isn't a flamingo, right? So why have black legs and a black beak, especially when most flamingos have at most only partial black on the beack? Stupid. I also think that's a guy in the costume.

My approach to costumes is to try and be creative while wearing something I am at least a little enthusiastic about. Last year I went as a Don Johnson-ish character, and the year before that I went as a pirate. No matter how cliched a pirate is, though, at least it's not a common kitchen condiment. Seriously, ketchup? That's what motivates you?

This is an interesting costume, but it just raises some many questions. Why is a gargoyle on your back? Is it trying to rape you? What happened to your right arm?

Here we have a Tina Fey lookalike in a sexy Spongebob Squarepants outfit, which is somewhat disturbing. Children's shows should not be associated with sex appeal, generally speaking, and I never want to write about a "sexy Spongebob" again.

What do you wear when you're too lazy to be creative? A sign that says just as much. "I was thinking about wearing a sexy witch outfit, but then I thought that I could just say 'Hello, I'm sexy.' Isn't that better?" No.

BONUS 11th

This costume is undeniably odd, but I can't help but think it's sexy. Sexy candy. I guess that's why Halloween was invented.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's a good cat so long as it catches mice

Via Clint Schaff, we have a list of Republicans endorsing Obama. What I find interesting but not surprising is that most of these people are not social conservatives. They are fiscal conservatives or conservatives whose primary focus is military/defense. Former Senator Lincoln Chafee probably has the best quote to represent the entire group:
As I look at the candidates in order who to vote for, certainly my kind of conservatism was reflected with Senator Obama, and those points are that we’re fiscally conservative, we care about revenues matching expenditures, we also care about the environment, I think it’s a traditional conservative value to care about clean air and clean water.
Toss in guys like Michael Smerconish, who explained,
Barack Obama is correct in saying the front line in that battle is not Iraq, it’s the Afghan-Pakistan border. [...] No one in Iraq caused the death of 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Our invasion was based on a false predicate, so we have no business being there, regardless of whether the surge is working. Our focus must be the tribal-ruled FATA region in Pakistan. Only recently has our military engaged al-Qaeda there in operations that mirror those Obama was ridiculed for recommending in August 2007.
Ignoring whether some of these conservatives supported George W. Bush or any of his failed policies, the fact of the matter is that the Republican party is dividing at a time when the Democratic party is finally unifying. And hey, the Democrats, once in office, might even manage to be effective. If that small miracle should happen, then you're looking at a GOP that will really be divided as its adherents try to figure out how to best fix the party.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Quote of the month

"Put their two heads together and you've got yourself a set of maracas." - James Wolcott of Vanity Fair discussing Phyllis Chesler of Pajamas Media and Pamela Gellar of Atlas Shrugs.

Friday, October 24, 2008

From the blackened heart of a dying hate, a lawsuit

I was reading through issue number seven of Broke in Korea, a 'zine about underground music and the streets of Asia. Just to avoid any questions, today was the first time I've ever come across the zine. However, I found a pretty interesting article about a lawsuit by the band Metallica. Written by James Elford in 2003 (unless it was supposed to say 2008 like the rest of the zine), the article reads,
Blair [Piggot] is talking about his band’s recent induction into the steadily growing legion of people who have been threatened with court action by the ever-litigious California-based Metallica. The problem? They are upset with the Edmonton-based band’s choice of name: Metallica.

In a letter from the Los Angeles law firm of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, the original band is demanding that their local counterparts cease using the name (as well as anything “confusingly similar”) amongst other conditions, and has given them until Friday to agree. “Your use of METALLICA is particularly astonishing to the band, given that you have admitted in at least one interview that `you know that you are not allowed to use the name’,” stated the cease-and-desist notice.

While the lawyers claim the original Metallica wants this to end amicably, Piggott does express some concern with the letter. “What if we want to change the name to something like Metardica,” asks Blair. “Is that OK?”
I particularly enjoyed Piggot's reaction to the letter from Metallica's attorneys.
When their transgression was finally discovered, Blair was more excited than disappointed. “I sent their lawyer a letter saying, we’re totally stoked that you found out about us. We’d be really happy if you guys would review our mp3s and send back some comments. I really like the song `Harvester of Sorrow’.”
That's awesome.

I am surprised but pleased to see old fashioned zines are still thriving, or at least being produced. In the age of blogs, email and all that, the photocopied, messy, independently produced zine of yesteryear seems to be antiquated. Yet, here it is.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Boob talks about boobs

Listening to this gal talk about her breasts made me dumber than I already am, but at the same time she was talking about her breasts, so it was worthwhile.

Not safe for church:

Keeley Hazell Nude Photo Shootdgh - The best free videos are right here

Via Justin but not via his site (he's too busy posting pictures of men soaking each other in sticky fluids).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Old new world versus new new world

One of America's oldest cities (and therefore one of the youngest globally) is Philadelphia, and their baseball team is the Phillies. They will be in the city of Tampa tonight, one of many tourist trap towns in Florida. They will be playing that city's team, the Rays (formerly Devil Rays). Tonight is Game One of the World Series, which is not as popular as the Super Bowl but is still the highlight of America's traditional favorite passtime.

I have been 100% wrong on all of my NL picks this year, so it's probably not even worth it to try and make a prediction on the World Series. I will say that I think Tampa Bay has a deeper line-up, but Philly has a more potent middle. I prefer Tampa's rotation, with guys like Kazmir, Shields and Garza, but they're not perfect. The Phillies have the advantage with Lidge as closer, but Lidge walks too many people, and at some point that's going to hurt him. The Rays are actually very clever using Price in high leverage situations (basically anytime Utley/Howard/Burrell are at bat in the 7th, 8th or 9th), but they're not going to use him on back to back days.

As an aside, John Kruk was talking about how using Price against the best in the late innings is a good move. Hello? People have been arguing for years for managers to do that with their closers, who are often their best relievers. Sometimes games are lost in the 7th inning, and what's the point of a three run save?

Anyway, just glancing at the postseason stats so far, it looks like Tampa's pitching has given up more walks and hits per inning pitched, and while their offense has launched quite a few over the wall, Philly has been getting on base at a very good rate.

It should turn out to be a very good series.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Live blogging to looking for porn

(All times evening, EST)

8:56 - Time to take a break from my historical fiction novel about the Boston Molassess Flood of 1919 to look for adult entertainment, or barring that, pornography.

9:01 - Google Image Search for "Sarah Michelle Gellar with stuff shoved up her butt" turned up pictures of her elbows...elbows not shoved up her butt.

9:05 - Hmm, a porn directory. My gateway to nubile young girls.

9:06 - Thank you pop up blocker.

9:10 - Hirsuite? Color me intrigued.

9:13 - This is interesting.

9:14 - No. Too much hair. Too

9:17 - This redheaded Asians site is one of those examples of taking two things and mixing them together for terrible results, like pineapple pizza.

9:20 - I'm passing on the pissing.

9:23 - An anus should not be that far open. Not without something holding it open, like a forearm.

9:24 - Interesting tattoo; placing it on the stomach ensures it will never be regretted later in life.

9:30 - The tit to cock ratio should never exceed 2:1 in favor of breasts.

9:32 - Maybe I should try some video and leave the pictures to the "artists."

9:45 - All porn cameramen are gay. That's the only explanation for the extreme close-ups of balls and hairy ass. That or mis-en-scene.

9:49 - Back to pictures. Nice blonde.

9:51 - Nicer brunette.

9:53 - THi s is good.

9:54 - riae

9L55 - djsjjjjjj

9:56 - Oh God...what have I done?

9:59 - Well, it looks like Starbucks is closing for the night. See you later.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Twenty-Five years ago

As an adult, lyrics to songs basically fall into the "cool," "funny" or "shitty" categories, with the occassional "meh." When you're in high school, however, lyrics have tremendous importance and consequence. Music speaks to the young folks. Girls had songs about romance, I had Twisted Sister.

In the year of our Lord Nineteen Eighty-Three, Twisted Sister released their second full length album, You Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll. One of the fan favorite songs off the album was a little ditty called I Am (I'm Me), the most self-empowering song a teenager could ever rock out to.

I Am (I'm Me) (Top of the Top UK)

Besides the music, another appealing aspect of TS was the no bullshit personality of Dee Snider, the band's frontman. I remember listening to their live '82 show at the Marquee Club in London, and Dee spouting "if anyone laughs at you, you kick them in the fucking face." Sound advice.

The Kids Are Back plus Dee interview (Live Wire US)

Twisted Sister will never be considered one of the great metal bands of all time, although as musicians they were certainly better than they let themselves be. Nevertheless, their music really struck a chord with me (no pun intended) as a youth, and I will always cherish their body of work (at least the early stuff).

You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll promotional video

Twisted Sister's 2005 performance in Philadelphia remains one of my favorite concerts of all time. Easily in the top five, maybe in the top three. Sister had a reputation as a great live band, regardless of their recorded output, and that reputation was very well deserved.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hey fellows, it's Fallows

This would be considered a "meta-post" if there was any discernable line between what passes as "content" and my aimless personal ramblings. I'm adding a few new sites to my link bar, so should you be looking to kill time until work is finished, I have some recommendations.

I've been reading James Fallows over at The Atlantic in an attempt to read some Conservative writers to get a feel from the right (and he isn't actually conservative, so I failed). I like him, partly because he seems well-reasoned and can write well, and also because he isn't blatantly racist or insane.

Moving on to funny business, Tom the Dancing Bug, Big Fat Whale and Idiot Box all make me laugh, chuckle, or whatever else Family Cirus and B.C. have failed to do.

As an aside, if you haven't seen Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama, do so right here and right now:

He joins Christopher Buckley and Christopher Hitchens as some of the more interesting endorsements I've read/seen for Obama, but I don't think you get better than Powell. I love the part about the Arabs. That's refreshing to hear from a Republican.

UPDATE: I can't tell you how hard it was to not write "Penis" after "Big Fat Whale."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Waffles, we love you!

Just the other day (last entry) I posted about how I was going to vote for Nader. Well, after the combined performances of McCain and Obama, I may decide to vote for Obama after all. McCain is a dangerous lunatic (and I think he was wearing lipstick and eyeshadow), while Obama was his smoothest yet, actually making me curious about his policy objectives. Not that Obama needs my help to win.

This small clip pretty much encompasses the last debate:

McCain spoke in anecdotes and broad characterizations, leaning heavily on the now infamous Joe the Plumber. In my opinion, McCain could not articulate any detail to his policy standings, or when he tried, he stumbled all over himself. Obama, meanwhile, laid out the numbers and his plans with fluidity and precision. His attempts to refute McCain were with specifics, while McCain's attempts to refute Obama were with repeating the same things that Obama had just deflected. It bsically went like this -

McCain: Obama is overweight.
Obama: If you look at my statistics, you will see I only weigh 180 pounds, which is a fine weight to be at for my height."
McCain: My friends, he's fat.

Conservative-leaning James Fallows has an interesting recap of the debate. As for myself, I firmly believe McCain is a hazardous politician, while Obama's commitment to health care, education, and social services may be good enough to placate me for the time being.

So yeah, I may be waffling quite a bit during the next three weeks. I will try to spare you most of the drama.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The definitive shitty hairstyle of the naughts

You know how people will try to pass off a terrible clothing choice or hairstyle from their past by blaming the decade? "Oh, it was the 80s, everyone wore that" or "that was the style in the 70s." You know what? Bad taste is bad taste, no matter what is currently popular. I have worn and continue to wear odd clothing (except at work, where my style is top notch), but it was always done because I was weird and poor. I never spent good money to look like a disaster. There is no excuse for this hairstyle:

None. It looks like Cameron Diaz's cum hairdo in There's Something About Mary. The image comes from the Celebrity Blackberry Sightings, which is a moronic concept in its own right.

While we are speaking (loosely) of modern times, I'm still a bit torn about who to vote for this election. The Canadians are already sending their country to hell by voting for the Conservatives again, and I'd hate for America to follow suit. Plus, it would be pretty cool to vote for the first president who has a skin pigmentation marginally darker than mine. On the other hand, Obama doesn't speak to me nearly as well as Nader does. New Jersey is going to go for Obama anyway, so my vote probably won't make a difference one way or another. I could actually look myself in the mirror with pride if I voted for Nader. When Obama starts spilling blood in Pakistan and falls back on his promises of health care, et al, who's fault is it but mine if I voted for him? It's 2008, how can I vote for a presidential candidate that still doesn't support gay marriage? How could I live with myself?

But seriously, that haircut is all kinds fucked up.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jesus could have helped us avoid this financial crisis

Where were you, Jesus, to save us from the minorities and their bad credit? My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Wall Street?

Good news: "Dow Roars Back!" ...with 936 point gain. Wowzers!

Bad news: Liberal traitor economics professor wins Nobel. I bet Bill Ayers ghost wrote his analysis of trade patterns and economic activity!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Shark healthcare not so good

Will Dunham, Associated Press:
Scientists using DNA testing have confirmed the second-known instance of "virgin birth" in a shark -- a female Atlantic blacktip shark named Tidbit that produced a baby without a male shark.

The shark came to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Centre in Virginia Beach not long after being born in the wild and lived there for eight years with no males of the same species, said Beth Firchau, the aquarium's curator of fishes.

The 5-foot (1.5-metre) shark died after being removed from the tank for a veterinary examination, and a subsequent necropsy revealed that Tidbit was carrying a fully developed shark pup nearly ready to be born, Firchau said.

Demian Chapman, a shark scientist with the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University in New York state, performed DNA testing that showed the pup had no father. Virgin birth such as this is known as parthenogenesis.
I know most people find this story interesting because apparently sharks produce their own holy messiahs and Anakin Skywalkers (although theirs die in the womb). What I find more interesting, though, is that the shark died while visiting the doctor. For all we know, the shark was perfectly healthy.

I bet some whiny conservatives are going to start blaming lawyers for the rising shark malpractice rates. But listen, folks, you cannot make it to a full shark trial if you do not at least have a reasonable claim for shark malpractice.

BONUS: This unrelated but amusing shark comic strip.

Friday, October 10, 2008

LCS picks '08

Sorry these are a bit late, as the Phillies already won game 1. We'll start with that series first.

The Phillies are 4-4 against the Dodgers this year, with the Dodgers sweeping in L.A. in early August and the Phils sweeping in Philadelphia in late August. The Dodgers lead the Phillies in various pitching categories, such as 3.68 ERA for L.A. vs. 3.88 ERA for Philly, 1.29 vs. 1.36 WHIP, 2.51 vs. 2.03 K/BB, 7.49 vs. 6.71 K/9. The Phillies, on the other hand, are the way more powerful offensive team, as a quick look shows: 799 runs for Philly vs. 700 runs for L.A., 214 vs. 137 home runs, 762 vs. 659 RBI, .770 vs. .732 OPS. The only place the Dodgers compare is with on-base percentage, which is only because Philadelphia did so poorly - .332 vs. .333 OBP.

I'm willing to give pitching more strength than hitting, because on average hitters fail more than pitchers. If Ted Williams hit .407, that means he still got out three out of every five at bats. Of course, he also got on base 50% of the time (.509 OBP), but obviously the Phillies don't get on base that much (see above). However, it seems that ballparks do play a factor - this season, each team won four games at home against the other. Philadelphia has home field advantage. Could that be the key? I hope so, because I don't want the Dodgers to win. L.A. has been atrocious offensively all year, but they have finished strong. That, combined with better pitching, makes me pick Los Angeles in seven games.

As for the ALCS, the Rays finished 10-8 over Boston this year, which isn't as much as I thought. However, they did win seven of the last nine against the Sox (the last game was about a week or two before the Red Sox clinched). Comparing Boston to Tampa Bay, Boston has the hitting edge. Boston leads in on-base percentage, .358 vs .340, slugging, .447 vs .422 SLG, and runs 845 vs 774. Pitching is pretty much a push. Both had a 114 ERA+, with 1185 strike outs for the Sox versus 1143 strike outs for the Bay Rays.

Looking at the second half of the season, the Rays scored more runs and hit more homers (by quite a bit), but Boston still had a better OPS (.794 vs .785), and a better OBP (.360 vs .345). Looking at ERA shows the Rays had better pitching (3.85 ERA vs 4.33 ERA), but going beyond that shows maybe not. They had the same 1.31 WHIP, with the Sox sporting a much better K/BB ratio (2.58 K/BB vs 2.13 K/BB).

I hate to say this, I really do, but I have to pick the Red Sox in seven. I would pick Sox in 6, but I'm giving credit to the Rays for winning so many games against Boston. I, obviously, will be strongly pulling for Tampa Bay, but I just don't think they can make it past the Sox.

I hope I'm wrong on both fronts, because I would love to see a Philly and Tampa Bay world series. I might not even watch and L.A. and Boston series.

I clear myself

Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Trying to head off a potentially embarrassing state ethics report on GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, campaign officials released their own report Thursday that clears her of any wrongdoing.

Sen. John McCain's running mate is the subject of a legislative investigation into whether she abused her power as governor by firing her public safety commissioner. The commissioner, Walter Monegan, says he was dismissed in July for resisting pressure from Palin's husband, Todd Palin, and numerous top aides to fire state trooper Mike Wooten, Palin's former brother-in-law.

Lawmakers are expected to release their own findings Friday. Campaign officials have yet to see that report — the result of an investigation that began before she was tapped as McCain's running mate — but said the investigation has falsely portrayed a legitimate policy dispute between a governor and her commissioner as something inappropriate.
In other news, O.J. Simpson's lawyers have released their own verdict declaring him not guilty.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Shit, what time is it?

About that time when cable networks show movies like this:

The woman is Cynthia Rothrock. Like Joe Biden, she has lived in Scranton and Wilmington, and like Joe Biden, she has studied Tang Soo Do, Wu Shu, and Eagle Claw.

Friday, October 3, 2008

MSM strikes against justice!

There are plenty of political blogs on the internet, and I prefer to leave any hard work to them (and I also prefer not to have any central theme or effort on this blog), but I just can't help noticing this interesting development at The Corner.

Kathryn Jean Lopez publishes this email (at NRO, many writers prefer to let their readers do any and all work for them):
It comes as a surprise to us in Delaware that Joe Biden recently had a meal and talked with patrons at “Katie’s Restaurant” on Union Street in Wilmington.

Katie’s Restaurant closed years ago. It was on Scott Street in Little Italy, not on Union Street. To the best of my recollection, it closed in 1990 or thereabouts.

Now tell me, who is it that “doesn’t get it” and “is out of touch?”

Can you imagine if McCain or Palin had said something equally stupid?
Yeah, it would be hard for me to imagine Dipshit and Moron say something anywhere near the level of stupid as...wait a minute, something doesn't seem right.

A quick check on a transcript (via the New York Times) shows Biden said this:
BIDEN: Can I respond? Look, all you have to do is go down Union Street with me in Wilmington or go to Katie's Restaurant or walk into Home Depot with me where I spend a lot of time and you ask anybody in there whether or not the economic and foreign policy of this administration has made them better off in the last eight years. [emphasis mine] And then ask them whether there's a single major initiative that John McCain differs with the president on. On taxes, on Iraq, on Afghanistan, on the whole question of how to help education, on the dealing with health care.

Look, the people in my neighborhood, they get it. They get it. They know they've been getting the short end of the stick. So walk with me in my neighborhood, go back to my old neighborhood in Claymont, an old steel town or go up to Scranton with me. These people know the middle class has gotten the short end. The wealthy have done very well. Corporate America has been rewarded. It's time we change it. Barack Obama will change it.
Typical blue collar and/or middle class pandering that we see from all candidates (except McCain, who comes from a long line of high ranking military officers). "Why, my grand-pappy was a coal miner, and my daddy worked in the steel mills until they closed down and he died of being too working class." Anyway, that's what he said.

How do the folks at The Corner respond to being caught in an obvious (but not uncommon) moment of humiliation and incorrectness? Blame a media conspiracy, as Jonah Goldberg passive-aggressively suggests by publishing (yet another) reader email:
K-Lo posted a link to a DE site on the Katie’s restaurant thing. An eagle-eyed commentator there pointed out that CNN has changed the debate transcript to read: “Can I respond? Look, all you have to do is go down Union Street with me in Wilmington OR go to Katie's Restaurant or walk into Home Depot with me where I spend a lot of time…” (Emphasis mine obviously). The commentator believes that it was AND. There is a big difference, regardless of the fact that the joint has been closed for over a decade.

Can they do that? I mean, I thought journalists were members of the 4th Estate and had a sacred public duty to be objective and all that.
Is there no depths that the evil mainstream media will not sink to? Because it's obvious that the liberal media must be changing the transcript, not that some podunk mouth-breather mis-read or mis-heard something.

Dodgers and Phillies make me look like an ass

But they're not the only ones! Anyway, here is a list of my picks that I made for the division seriesesessesswszszd in this year's MLB playoffs. Note that I am so far very wrong in my analysiseisesiesszx:
oston over Anaheim in 5 - Sox have put up overall better numbers all season - HR, OBP, WHIP, etc. I think the Angels can make a good run at it, but I am not a believer.

Tampa Bay over Chicago in 4 - Both teams can slug for power, but Chicago was dead last in MLB in OBP, which means that Tampa is going to get more runs for their buck. I think the Rays outshine the Sox on pitching, too. Hyuk.

Milwaukee over Philadelphia in 4 - Philadelphia can outslug the Brew crew, but the Phillies' pitching just doesn't match up. Even ignoring Sabbathia, I don't think the Phils can get the hits they need in a five game series against the Brewers.

Chicago over L.A. in 5 - I guess it's good that these two dumpy teams face off against each other, because they would have been swept otherwise. Neither one can hit for shit, but they make up for it with fairly decent pitching. I give the edge to the Cubs, though, 'cause I'm sure Torre will screw something up. Also, I give the edge to Chicago in the power department.

Evaluations so bad, I should be on ESPN.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Amy Westfeldt, AP:
In the interview with CBS News anchor Katie Couric, Palin said: "It's funny that a comment like that was, kind of made to ... I don't know, you know? Reporters ..."

Couric said, "Mock?"

"Yeah," Palin said, "mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah."

When Couric asked how Alaska's closeness to Russia enhanced her foreign policy experience, Palin said, "Well, it certainly does because our ... our next-door neighbors are foreign countries." Alaska shares a border with Canada.

Palin didn't answer directly when Couric inquired about whether she had been involved in any negotiations with the Russians.

"We have trade missions back and forth," she replied. As she continued, Palin brought up Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

"It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where — where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is — from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to ... to our state," she said.
About as eloquent and lucid as George W. Bush in a washing machine.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"A bomb under your butt"

"You sit comfortably on something and in fact you have a bomb under your butt," French citizen Caroline Morin said. She was referring to toxic recliners from China, but she may as well be talking about the United States. Oh, sure, we're "the greatest country in the world" with "freedom" and "prosperity," but in reality we're all a bunch of crazy bigots
Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent," responsible for their own troubles.
Violent? Really? That's like the pot calling the kettle black, no pun intended. As Dennis Perrin documented in Savage Mules, the Democrats have a long history of bloodshed, as much if not more so than their Republican counterparts. After all, the two parties are always working towards the same greater good - it's just not good for your average citizen.

Perrin is an interesting figure. I've been reading his current and former blogs on and off for a number of years, but recently he's renewed my interest with his ever growing critique and disdain for Democrats. His diatribes against Obama and liberals sometimes annoyed me, and then I realized that I probably come off the same way to my friends and colleagues. Yet, Perrin isn't off the mark. What hits me isn't that he's cynical, it's that he's pointing out an uncomfortable truth. I've heard similar from people like Jonathan Schwarz, but Perrin's voice has been the loudest and strongest. We're told America is a great country, and it should very well be, but when you look around, it's depressing. Frightening. Worrying. And, perhaps, exactly what we deserve:
Our owners offer us a "choice" between an eloquent speaker who appears increasingly lost and out of his depth, and an angry old man who seemingly longs for one final battle, smoking ruins over which he can declare "victory" before dying, passing the show on to a Bronze Age amateur. There's a lot of consternation among Serious Folks regarding Sarah Palin's lack of governing experience and her shallow understanding of the world. Should she somehow become president would be the ultimate joke and crowning absurdity, a fitting punishment for our many crimes.
I'm just kind of bummed right now. Between the election and the economy, there's not a lot to be optimistic about. Not even bear puppets:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Boob Tube

I was browsing for information about the socio-economic impact of the housing market when I came across this not safe for work video:

I'm not sure what she's doing, but she appears to be having a better time than this girl here:

However, no one, and I mean no one, is having more fun than this field hockey team:

I must admit that the Brits know how to live it up. If a random woman came up to a women's field hockey team in the U.S. and told them to join her in the locker room for a breast examination, they'd probably call security. Over in England, it's just another excuse to laugh and have a good time.

I'd organize my own testicular examination party but somehow I don't think I'd have as much fun.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The day the laughter stopped

Dinosaur Joe has been silent for one year.

Also of note, nothing has been heard from Kurt Vonnegut, and sources indicate that he remains dead.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Angry at life

I'm angry. I'm angry at the way third party candidates don't get a fair shake in this country, and how I'm going to vote for Obama, not because he's my preferred candidate but because I can't stand McCain & Palin. Speaking of those two nitwits, I'm angry at the way much of the media is treating Palin with kid gloves due to the fact she is a ratings juggernaut and they are afraid of offending her and losing dollars. I'm angry at how the McCain campaign is turning fiction into reality, and I'm angry at how Republicans are being hypocritical. I'm angry that Americans might just be too stupid to notice or even care. Palin is the celebrity du jour, and whoopee!

I'm also mad that fucking YouTube isn't working properly through this blog, and that both of my fantasy baseball teams tanked in the playoffs. I'm mad about having not enough time in the day to do everything I want, and I'm mad that I forgot I was supposed to type angry and now this post isn't even consistent.

Hey look, a cat found its owners. Aww.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

When worlds collide

I've been a customer of the same comic book shop since 1995. Even though I now live about 200 miles away, I still order from them, and pay to have my merchandise shipped to me on a monthly basis. The cost of shipment could easily be eradicated if I simply purchased what I wanted closer to home, but so rare is it in this world where you can find genuinely sterling customer service and a quality commerce experience that I am opposed to change.

There was a time in the early 2000s when I was offered a job position, or rather, it was mentioned to me by the owner that they were seeking to hire a new employee. At the time, I was already in the middle of what was at that time my longest tenure of employment, and it was a good situation for me. Although I would have loved to work in the shop, and further immerse myself in my hobby while earning some bread for my efforts, I just couldn't do it.

It did occur to me, however, that working at the store would change the dynamic of the relationship I enjoyed with the people there, especially the owner (who remains owner to this day). Although the friendly comraderie would still be there, I would now be partly responsible for the success of the store, and the store would, in turn, be switching from place of leisure to place of work. Even if there was no severe change, it would still reflect an alteration in roles, in approach, and maybe even in enjoyment.

I reflect on this as I think about my current employment. I could think of better environments for myself, but I could scarcely think of better co-workers. Since none of them read or even know about this blog, I'm not fluffing anyone's knickers (is that a phrase? I hope so). I'm being genuine. I am blessed to have such a supportive and congenial group around me.

With that in mind, I have occassionally thought about what it would be like to break away and form my own business, in collaboration with some of my co-workers (presuming, of course, that they would want to do such a thing with me, especially since they have more years of experience than I). I like to think that we could form a savy and impressive unit. The problem is, our working dynamic would change. If we formed our own business, we're looking at the responsibilities of finances, drumming up clients, and all of the related expenses. There would be added pressure and different priorities. Whereas now we can chew the fat and go about our own ways, in a joint effort, we would then have the new facet of being responsible for each other's very livelihoods. That's not an easy thing to do, and it's bound to change relationships, maybe not drastically, but certaintly to an extent.

It is as I have always maintained from early on, at least going back to my high school days, that worlds should not collide. Family and friends and school/work should always be kept seperate and apart. As Egon noted in Ghostbusters, don't cross the streams. It's just like lending money to friends or family is a recipe for disaster. I do not always adhere to this; just last Christmas I merged friends/family and family/work, but it was for the holiday spirit. They both worked out, one less than the other, but they both worked out. That time. You can't always rely on that. Mixing worlds is a volatile situaiton, an accident waiting to happen.

(same song as above, in the eventuality that embedding is no longer allowed on the video, as I suspect it will be...this is for future generations, those who survive the downfall and the second dark ages)

P.S. - if this seemed more lucid than normal on my end, it's because I wrote this between 4 and 5 a.m. My sharpest work, my most romantic moments, and my greatest whimsies usually occur when I should be aslumber.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Panama's native son, "Nigga"

I was just browsing the news wire and saw this article by Leila Cobo:
MIAMI (Billboard) - In Mexico and Central and South America, he's known as Nigga. In the United States and Europe, he's known as Flex.

Regardless, the Panamanian singer, real name Felix Danilo Gomez, has just tallied 20 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart with "Te Quiero," [I Want You - ed.] from his U.S. debut album of the same name, which peaked at No. 70 on the Billboard 200.

The simple love song is now tied with Juanes' "Me Enamora" [I'm Enamored] and Son by Four's "A Puro Dolor" [To Pure Pain] with 20 weeks at the chart's top position. Only Shakira has more weeks at No. 1; her hit "La Tortura," [The Torture] featuring Alejandro Sanz, notched 25 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1.
He sounds like a disaster.

I look forward to song that puts Nigga on the top of the U.S. Charts, Quiero Cogerte en la Boca ("I Want to Fuck You in the Mouth").

EDIT: My linguistics were off.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bristol nude sex scandal

"You see, a Bristol girl is a one of a kind
And if you know her good enough she won't make you stand on line
She'll let you inside, make you pay for the ride
Take off her pants and then it smells like somebody died
You say "What the heck", because you already paid
Not knowin' that the guy that went before you had AIDS
Bang bang boogie, she was so amusin'
Next week you're at the clinic gettin' blood transfusions."

- L.L. Kuljai, Indian born British playwright

With this blog post, my traffic is going to seventeen (17) unique visitors!

(Shout out to my 2/3rd of a visitor, Gary from Long Island)

I examine three vaginas

The New York Daily News published a story about Sarah Palin's kid, Bristol [sic], and the kid's fiance and fetus. It took three writers to undertake this monumental article, Ms. Nancy Dillon, Ms. Veronika Belankaya, and Ms. Tina Moore. Veronika's last name is apparently Belenkaya with two E's, but the News published it with one E, so who the fuck knows? It looks like Moore gets lead writing credits, or at least has her email published at the end of the article.

Anyway, as I was reading this piece, I couldn't help but wonder how moist these three women's vaginas were getting while writing this. Were their panties entirely soaked? Maybe just a little wet spot? Maybe a finger or two darted down to their nether regions to stir a little bit of relief? I'm not being sexist, read for yourself:
Doe-eyed Bristol Palin, 17, and ruggedly handsome Levi Johnston, an 18-year-old self-described "f---in' redneck," have been dating a year, locals in Wasilla, Alaska, told the Daily News
* * *
Johnston, broad-chested and wearing a No. 15 jersey, can be seen in photographs hitting the boards as a Warrior in action.

A closeup shot shows the handsome teen with a light dusting of whiskers on his chin - his dark brown hair curly and wet.
* * *
Besides his hard play on the ice, Levi Johnston was also a bit of a hell-raiser off it - another reason Bristol may have been smitten.
What are we, auditioning for a Harlequin romance novel? I expect this kind of shit from a supermarket gossip mag, or the NY Post. If this is journalism, it's no wonder the Bush Administration got away with so much for so long. Who's doing any real work in the press?

Cover illustration by Will Davies.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Stained Class (1978)

Judas Priest - Stained Class (1978)

1) Exciter

2) White Heat, Red Hot

3) Better By You, Better Than Me

4) Stained Class

5) Invader

6) Saints in Hell

7) Savage

8) Beyond the Realms of Death

9) Heroes End