Tuesday, November 21, 2006

not dead, just slow moving...

Lauren recently chastized me for not having written anything about the recent election and I do have thoughts on all that, but having not written in a while, there are much more important things to write about that I have been neglecting. The brief flash synopsis of the recent political crap is that our country is slowly waking up from this stupid nightmare that is bush co. and sent the republican asshole closet-homotards packing. To that I say, "Nya nya!!!"

To the democrats I say, good show, now don't fuck it up and act just like those chumps. Disagreement is good; Nancy not getting her way is a good sign, not the beginning of the end. Could someone please tell the washington press corps to pull their collective head out of their collective ass?

Enough about politics for now...

Monday, August 21, 2006

bigotry: the malignment of the misunderstood or the vilification of the potentially competative other

I put "or" between my two thoughts about bigotry not to suggest that it could be one or another but rather that either path can be taken to arrive at the same place.

I like Steve Gilliard's blog, as anyone who reads this blog has to know. I probably refer to it more often than any single other site and it is generally the first blog I read when I find time to sift through them. The article that he linked to in this post is interesting, though it seems a little bit intentionally sensational. It seemed like he originally posted it up to somewhat dismiss that sensationalism by not commenting on it but instead titling it in a way to point out that the conflict isn't exceptional: "But I dated a woman."

Then Jen started commenting.

I'll spare you a detailed synopsis, but the bigoted mindset isn't terribly subtle. In the title I hinted at why I'll call what she had to say bigoted:

1)the malignment of the misunderstood- I don't fully understand transgender stuff and tranvestitism and a whole lot of stuff which goes along with the different ways in which people find themselves feeling compelled to identify one way or the other, but judging from Jen's comments, she really doesn't understand much about it and doesn't seem interested to learn or understand more. She communicates clear and ossified positions which she doesn't seem inclined to reexamine and these positions belie some gaping holes in her knowledge of the subject. An anecdote about a tranny friend and generalizations about how transfolk dress too much like charicatures doesn't really speak to an extensive knowledge of the community though how strongly her feelings about trans folk were stated suggested that she regarded her knowledge and experience as fairly comprehensive. The point being that she obviously doesn't understand the subject at hand but took tough positions none the less and lashed out to malign those falling outside her realm of experience by extrapolating from the nearest negative example within her realm. So she doesn't want her tranny friend in the ladies dressing room? From that she goes on to denigrate trans people in general and hops up on a you-could-never-understand-you're-not-a-real-woman high-horse? You have a limited realm of experience with members of a group and from your discomfort in that interaction you assume that everyone else acts like that too? Bigotry, very human, very common, but bigotted none the less.

And let me point out at this moment that I am saying all this not as an attack to label Jen a bigot. We've all got our bigotted ideas which we have to wrangle with and calling this spade a spade is where it starts. I don't think, from what I have read of her commentary on the blog or what Steve writes about her, that ignorant misjudgement of anything/anyone outside her comfort zone is a defining component of her personality, like say our president or pat roberston or james dobson. They start from that holier than though position and lash out at the dirty bits and pieces which don't fit in their utopian fiction of the way things are supposed to be. It defines their public persona and for this I can't stand them and lose respect for people who I hear lauding them, but we all have a little bit of this fear of the misunderstood in us and can easily find ourselves in positions where we are dealing with the ragged edges of our experience and make misinformed judgements based on the limits of our understanding. We don't fully understand, so it is easier to vilify and keep that distance open than trudge through the work that it takes to search out these furthest reaches.

...which somewhat ties into my second complaint:

2) the vilification of the potentially competative other- Again, I'll freely admit that this is a natural response. Biology folks are obviously intimately attuned to the concept of competition for limited resources. It is where we begin in our understanding of the world around us and how life finds and holds a place in it. So the idea that someone in one group might vilify someone who they see as a competative other who is edging into their established territory isn't shocking. In a way this side of things I'm more sympathetic. I'd rather deal with territoriality than ignorance anyday. Still, "This is mine, I won't share it with you!" has caused plenty of wreckage in its time. It is interesting the territory which Jen staked out in her commentary. Partially it seemed defensive simply of her own ideas in the thread which were being growled at, but it also seemed like she was using commenting on this article and situation as an opportunity to stake out territory which she had previously felt was threatened. She related the on-going disagreement with her tranny friend about men who dress like women entering women only zones like bathrooms and dressing rooms. Here is a physical territory and it is valuable by way of it being inaccessible to men. Her friend's insistance that he is a woman despite the fact that he is biologically a man doesn't lessen her feeling of infringement when he enters these zones. I'll concede the right of those interested in maintaining the value of a space to set up limitations on it, but how it was discussed in the comments went beyond simply staking out the limits. It was taken further into conflating the acceptance of transfolk into these spaces as an assault from that perpetual enemy, man. She clearly chopped the populace in two, 'men' and 'women,' each assigned there separate territory then conceded some sympathy that not everyone might fit into either camp and might constitute some third 'other,' who should go out on their own find some other place to plant their flag. Convenient advice from someone already in one of the two territoried-up camps. She recognizes shades of someone with whom she has felt it necessary to to stake out boundaries with in the past and extrapolates her feelings of intrusion and competition over her resources on to the broader range of people with non-traditional gender identifications.

This is something that I am again in some ways sympathetic and it isn't the desire to stake out boundaries which bothers me about this. It how they are being staked out and how these desired boundaries are then being as points for defining and dissing the potentially competative others. The right wing yahoos are screaming bloody murder about how gay people marrying will destroy marriage as we know it, and they stake this hard and fast boundary around ideas of what marriage is and isn't and they then work outward from this definition to define those who they are trying to exclude.

I want to sleep so I'll close this with a brief and limited commentary on gender/sex variation. As I have said before I'm no expert on such subjects, but again studying biology edged me towards a little understanding (or at least acknowledgement of the limits of my understanding). When taking a genetics class, sex and gender expression in animals came up and it blew my mind to consider how much everything in our bodies and systems ends up along a sliding scale. Even amongst organisms in which most individuals fall clearly into one sex or gender or the other, there are those who vary in each of the multiple ways which sex and gender are expressed. In my class we talked at length about chickens and how some chickens who were biologically roosters, testicles and all, none the less express hen behavior and/or plumage and vice versa. There are many more examples, but I'm tired and don't feel like being more exhaustive right now. So I'll leave it at the point being that while organizing the world according to our most frequently encountered types may be a useful starting point, we have to be able to recognize the limitations of our experience and understanding and acknowledge when met with these blessed and troubling outliers that it might be our organization of the world which is incomplete rather than assigning them straight away into dangerous enemies to be kept at arms length. This is where liberals have to differ from conservative assholes, in our willingness to adapt by always striving for further understanding rather than bunkering down and trying to just blow away anyone who is different or vunerable in an attempt to preserve their precious world order.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Who could it be?

I shouldn't have allowed myself to follow links emailed to me by a partner-in-crime who watches Project Runway with me, but I did and soon found myself clicking along until I was sucked into speculation about who gets dismissed this week for cheating or breach of contract or killing a kitten or something.

Everyone seems to pretty much agree it is Keith. All the other speculation seems strained at best, still somehow I have this feeling it isn't him. Don't know why, maybe just knowing that the producers on this show love setting someone up and then making inexplicable decisions just for effect I naturally assume it won't be the person who it appears most likely to be. Still, it stands to reason that the someone who played fast and loose with the terms "self-taught" and "34" on his application might assume he can get away with other shit as the show bops along and the judges can't stay gullible forever.

Still, I kind of hope Keith survives, though I don't know who I would want to kick off in his place.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I cringe at the stupidity...

Anyone who has ever read ann alhouse will not be suprised to find that it is on her website that I found the most cringeworthy idiocy I have seen in a long time. Not just selfishness, but real abject stupidity. So this is what they are talking about when they tell us that America's schools are failing? I spent a while a couple of weeks ago arguing with Aunt G (and by proxy Aunt S) about our educational competitiveness vs China's after Nicolas Kristof wrote his blushing op-ed about how rosy China's education system is. I'm not going to change my view that of all the things about China that I find troubling, the idea that the are superior educationally doesn't even begin to register, but I will perhaps now bow to the idea that the US seems to be producing numerous and voiciferous imbiciles by the truckload (not that I didn't already know it, but come on, sometimes you have to pretend for a while like they aren't all that delusional and ignorant).

Why am I so horrified? Ann gets all stupid herself indignantly sniping at this quote from T.C. Boyles"Do you really think anything is ever going to get better as long as there are 6.2 billion people?" Her attempt at snark is annoying enough, but her commenters are what really make you weep for our future:

"I haven't read Boyle, but that quote seems a tad simplistic. What resources are Hezbollah and Hamas fighting for? (I know, land, but it's really about religion, isn't it?) What about the Islamists in Somalia, what resources are they fighting for? And al-Qaeda? Do they really want our resources, or do they just want to see the West defeated for the sake of defeating the West? Seems like it's more about ideologies than resources."

More about ideologies that resources? WTF!?!?!? Do people get taught history anymore? It is just all these happy comfortable people living over there who just like totally hate each other because like they were taught that and aren't nice, you know? "For the sake of defeating the West," sounds like exactly the kind of thing people sign up for to sacrifice their life for and it couldn't have anything to do with the way the west has interacted with other parts of the world or colonialism or the living conditions under the regimes we have supported or anything like that. Between the racists pricks like this and the sci-fi(more fi than sci) polly annas who think our population can just grow unrestricted because we can go live on astroids and in space stations, it is kind of depressing. I hold dear to my heart the belief that her site doesn't represent anything close to an accurate cross-section of our populace, but after the last couple of elections, I have to acknowledge that these people are out there and in large and loud enough numbers to sometimes dominate the discourse.

As ANTM Danielle might say, "I think I just threw up a little in my mouth."

Monday, June 12, 2006

It's not easy being green.

In the past I've shied away from talking too much about my actual real life in this blog except in broad generalities, and I'll probably still be somewhat circumspect, but as more and more people who I actually know read it and tell me they are hoping for commentary on this or that, I find myself more inclined to be slightly more autobiographical. You may have noticed in the past that one of my more annoying quirks is sometimes contorting to avoid actually mentioning anyone I personally know by name (Mason being the notable exception) or to simply abbreviate their name as the first letter of their name. I've tired of this and am slowing moving towards actually referring to people by their name or handy nickname if they are so fortunate to have one, so if you find yourself mentioned as I write, feel free to contact me and tell me you don't want your name on here and you too can quickly be abbreviated back into anonymity.

If you know me personally and in real life away from this blog, then you probably know about the color parties, but I'll assume that not all of you do so bear with my short explanation. When I was in college in Charleston, my friends Eden and Noodle started throwing color parties: they deck out their house in said color, we all dress up and come have a fun time. Their parties were great and turned into competitive color challenges for those of us who took them seriously, leading to me responding to Leslie and Janan's green feather-duster feather covered shirt and lettuce (yes, real lettuce) skirt challenge by showing up to the silver party wrapped in a makeshift silver cape which gave way to reveal a loin-cloth covered in broken mirror pieces and wore a cast aluminum mohawk (yes, real aluminum). Our fate was sealed and the arms race continued until I left town and Eden and Noodle tired of the color party extravaganzas (though not before they did site specific pattern parties like polka dot put-put golf).

Once in New York, our ever growing group of former Chucktown kids decided we missed the color partying and that three of us were living under the same roof and had the space for occasional soirees, so (with Eden and Noodle's blessings, of course) we decided to dive in. The SC color parties had grown out of E&N loving the orange parties that friends of theirs had thrown in Portland, OR, and so had started with orange when they did their series, so we decided to honor the pedigree and start with orange the same. This was also made easier by the fact that several of our walls are orange and we had at the time a couple of orange chairs. Not being ones to slack off, we have in the course of the last year had orange, blue, pink, brown, white, and green parties.


Six blowouts in the course of a year (not counting the building-wide 4th of july party, our Thanksgiving get-together, our Christmas tree trimming party, and innumerable cookouts) can leave one fairly exhausted, but I still like throwing the shindigs and find myself always looking around for potential props for the next party. Already we are planning Red (no date set) and if I have my way, the music for the party will be nothing but Hawaiian music and jock jams.

I'm writing about all this (and probably boring the hell out of everyone who has heard me explain all this crap a thousand times before) because more than a couple of folks have asked me to write a little bit of a round-up about the most recent: the Green Party. I don't think I'm capable of doing a full run down, so I'll impart a few thoughts on the party and gripe about bad party etiquette and things that make me annoyed.

I'm pretty imperious about my get-togethers and have been pretty demanding that people dress in said color or go the hell somewhere else. And I mean it. Partially because if I (and my roommates) am(are) going to spend two weeks turning my apartment in to a full color environment, weaving a network of green dreamcatchers over my entire ceiling out of green clothesline string with real branches and faux seaweed hanging from it and cover my walls with astroturf and wrapping paper and blow up God-knows-how-many ballons then you can do better than blue jeans and a green t-shirt. But I don't really have that much against folks who are chickenshit about dressing up or are attending their first color party and are shy in their thematic pigmentation except for two things:

1)This is New York and their are always more people who will come to a party if there is any remote fun to be had and there is a limit on how many people an apartment can hold, no matter how big your loft is and the easiest way to draw a line with a theme party is to tell the folks who aren't going to get into the theme that it is pointless for them to be there and to go away.

2)people at theme parties who don't dress for it and invest in whatever silly idea you are working to immerse people in are the ones who are rude, make fun of people's costumes, drink all the booze but don't bring any and then complain, etc. Basically, those folks that know what the theme is and don't get into it are not fun to have at your party. As Christian told one obnoxious un-green girl who asked him where the beer was after people had resorted to hiding it from the non-green types, "It is at the corner store. You should go buy some."

Anyway, most people really go all out and the white party had almost completely everyone in all white and some insane costumes and for green we had some serious outfits that folks went all out for. Colin made a giant four-leaf clover outfit that kind of blew me away and then there was the dress made out of green tea bags and another made out of all green velcro and a fellow clad in Green Giant labels. Machine and the Dazzle contingent as always pleased and the mesh-fronted, assless, fuzzy caterpillar costume sported by Pretty Boy was certainly the most gawked at and show-stopping get-up of the evening. I unfortunately missed it when he did the caterpillar in said costume in the hallway.

The Ralph Nader Love Pit was done mostly as a joke but didn't go unused but I wasn't the among the tree-hugging folks down there so I'll leave it at that.

I was happy to hear that people have begun getting together and having pre-color party get-dressed parties, which we used to have in Charleston and are almost as fun as the main party itself.

All in all it was a fine night and one which I am getting bored of recounting. I got a long over-due review of Oh Death which I've promising a few folks so I'll save my limited bloggy attention up to hopefully attempt that tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

rollercoastering...

I'll not write much, because sitting at a computer for longer doesn't strike me as terribly appealing right now, but felt like I should perhaps squirrel through some of the dreck in my head while I have a few moments.

The last week has been a fairly ridiculous topsy-turvy experience, which I am going to laugh at one day and am walking away from feeling lucky to have such supportive and caring people around me. And this is being said with my ever-stalwart partner in crime, Mason, in another country playing at the Primavera Music Festival and touring about Spain/Portugal (he has been allowed to remain blissfully unaware of all the goings on, unless of course he chooses to read this while he should be cavorting with Spanish hotties and living a rock and roll lifestyle; it is all fine, I'll tell you all about it when you get home). It illuminated how closely nit my surrounding community is here in what is often unfairly portrayed as the impersonal big city. It is still interesting to watch how different folks respond to the emotionally jarring yank we have been on, alternately wondering where one of ours had been ushered off to, then whether or not he was alive, then how to get our hands on him so we could kill him (he is alive and getting help now, thank you for asking).

I'll get back in the swing of things and write about things promised in the past, movie reviews (X-III: would be fun if it wasn't so damn stupid and infuriating), about my glass fish spawning, and of course I'll reprise my role as pissed-off and over-it homo bitching about the idiocy of the revival of the gay bash amendment to drum up the bigot vote. Something for everyone, just let me get through this week as counselor, auctioneer, and real estate agent (speaking of which, know anyone -stable, sane and economically solvent- who is looking for a room in Brooklyn? Email me before I kick off a new craigslist pagent).

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Burpee fails Heronswood

If you aren't a gardening junkie, the name "Heronswood" probably means nothing to you, but this Northwestern nursery is legendary and has probably done more to bring new species into popular cultivation than any other. The founders, Daniel J. Hinkley and Robert Jones started the nursury about twenty years ago and would travel the world collecting exotic plants to bring back and try out for gardening in the Northwest. The varieties they collected are amazing and their catalog was both beautiful and interesting, with their amusing descriptions of the different plants.

And now all that is shot to hell.

Thanks a lot, burpee. True, the burpee folks are being better than they could have been, but what did they do in this short time that took a successful company which they wanted to buy to turn it into a money drain? Don't suddenly say that it just won't make money. It did and now it is being uprooted and pulled apart. Just please, please let someone who can really take care of it buy those grounds and prevent further harm (Martha Stewart?).

I get annoyed with big companies that take over smaller successes and then take a successful formula and kill it by inflating it and then suddenly saying it couldn't work. No, it could have worked, it used to work, you just did it wrong and rather than try to adapt it, the movable stock is just swallowed into the larger company and the rest sort of cast off.

Whatever, I find this really depressing. Heronswood was this sort of mythical paradise kind of business. Its whole concept always appealed to me on so many levels and struck me as beautiful and inspirational that something like it could still exist in this crazy modern corporate world. Well, I guess it couldn't, but it was nice to believe in while it did. Thanks so much, Burpee. This is more than a business failure. I need to quit thinking about this.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Shut yo' mouth and say it ain't so!

So I'll try to lay off on the tv commentary for a little while, having watched an amazing final episode of America's Next Top Model last night. (spoiler alert for those of you in say, China, who download the show and watch it later).

Anyway, I'm not hating Tyra anymore, and though the producer influence and over editing for dramatic effect gets annoying, this one episode was finally cathartic and made up for all the hell that the other episodes were to watch. They crammed everything that we've been wanting to see all along: Jade getting ditched and Danielle winning. All is at peace with the world today.

A couple of final notes on these girls before we let them fade from our memory (which doesn't truely happen; I'll still get a text message from a friend if they see one of the girls from the second season walking down the street):

I may have hated Jade all along (it's easy to do, she's THAT girl), but last night my heart went out to her just a little bit. Why? The girl can't read. She couldn't learn her lines, she couldn't read the cue cards. She can't read. And all of a sudden, it all made sense. She was that kid from the very special episode of any given 80's sitcom who was new at the school and instantly popular because he acted over confident and cool and he teased and manipulated the dorky shy kid into writing his bookreport for him. And you hate him the whole show because he's taking advantage of this likable guy, until you learn that, you guessed it, he can't read and has always gotten by on his social skills and hidden this deep shame from everyone. Either he's undiagnosed dyslexic or a military kid who moved around so much he never really learned to read and then got good at faking it until it was too late to learn without being embarassed. So invariably the nice kid helps him learn to read, starting with _The little engine that could_.

anyways, point being, Jade can't read and her overcompensating attitude suddenly makes sense. Somebody get that girl in an adult education class and help her out. I hated her on the show, but I ain't no straight up hater. I wish her well.

And I've decided that perhaps the best reason for liking her is finally figuring out who she has really been all along: Lady Elaine Fairchild!

Which, of course, makes Joanie Ana Platypus and Danielle Henrietta Pussycat.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

tiara girls vs. my super sweet sixteen: which one is the worst thing in the history of television?

I've been writing perhaps too much about tv, particularly since I sit in front of a tv all of once a week (not counting watching cartoon network at Rbar on tuesday nights; speaking of, who was the asshole who put saved by the bell in their adult swim line up? Love adult swim, hate saved by the bell. It isn't even a fucking cartoon!!! So what that it came on on saturday mornings? If you want a live-actor saturday morning show to feed us at midnight, go with Peewee's Playhouse.). But what the hell...

Anyway, I'm not currently hating Tyra as much. Still love the show, but can somebody tell her that being overly sincere comes across as fake and contrived. Still, I'm not going to hate on her talking about the tsunami damage that wracked Phuket. I'm always a fan of bearing witness, even when it comes across as a little made-for-tv. Who doesn't like a "very special" episode?

Danielle and Joanie are still rocking my world, jade is still annoying beyond belief. Joanie has been losing it and getting nervous and retarded just a little bit, but still like the girl.

Wait, I do want to bitch for a minute about Tyra. Danielle has rocked this whole competition. She checked out of a hospital early to go model on top of an elephant shortly after having her uterus smashed flat while upside down in a fishnet and still hasn't managed to take a bad photo. So what criticism do they come up with week after week? She can't talk well enough. Girl has a country southern accent and it is one of the things which makes her so likable. So it is great to offer the advice that being able to better turn off her accent might make her more marketable, but where the hell is she supposed to get a speech coach while in the competition? And honestly, if she didn't lose her accent and won, I would watch next season just to see her on those obnoxious CoverGirl commercials. She may have an accent, but she can speak better than Naima or Nicole. Or Eva for that matter. Naima was just annoying and ain't pretty to look at and watching Nicole is like watching a bad ventriloquism act. Danielle at least has a believable range of facial expressions other than big dumb fake smile and the fake wow look that those girls seem to be working with.

But perhaps I am not hating Tyra so much because for however self-important and annoying she can be, you can at least believe somewhere deep down that her heart is in the right place and the show isn't only a vanity project and I've had the unfortunate luck to contrast this with the horror that is _my super sweet sixteen_ and _tiara girls_. Thankfully last night, when Charlene stole the remote and turned it to sss, it was a rerun. I wasn't about to sit through another episode, but the danger having passed, I stuck around for the Chapelle Show (excellent) and South Park (also excellent). Were I a nicer person, I would just write about how much I love both of them and leave sss and tg along, but whatev'.

So anyway, those came and went, and to my horror our lovely host uttered the most dreaded words in the english language,"Hey, change the channel; there is a new episode of tiara girls at 10!" I begged and pleaded, but to no avail, so I made my exit to go drink with Matt at Rbar, but not before ingesting some of this crap. These shows are basically just documentation of spoiling or abusing children. Last night, the girl wasn't super great herself, but as I've said before, no matter how much I can hate a child, I can always hate their parents more. And boy could you hate these parents. Really, next to them, the girl was almost charming and nice (and she wasn't either). Both parents. The mom was an atrocious bitch who shoveled her insecurities on her daughter and attacked her daughter's appearance to build herself up. The dad wasn't much better. Total closet fag (feel free to stay there if that's how you treat your daughter) married to this ex-beauty queen and treating his daughter like some failure for not looking like a bean pole.

Note to parents everywhere: if your lazy ass went out and bought a pepperoni pizza to feed your family for dinner, don't look across that pile of grease you chose to feed your offspring with and belittle them for not being skinny enough. The kids generally don't go out and buy the groceries. Feeding your kids pizza and donuts then attacking them for their weight has to count as child abuse and I don't mean that rhetorically. Sombody call child services.

Anyway, i can't say a whole lot more about what happened on the show. After watching the reluctant girl get collagen injections at her monste...I mean mother's behest, I jetted. Having had my faith in humanity smashed flat as Danielle's uterus and knowing there was beer waiting for me a couple of blocks away, I said my good-byes and a little prayer that the show's creator would trip and be impaled on a tiara.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Kung Fu Monkey is my new best friend forever...

Taking a brief swing through Kung Fu Monkey's neighborhood, I looked at this post,
"For my Untergeek friends ...", and the quality of my life sailed through the ceiling. For a happy-go-lucky kid who spends much of his life chained to a computer, mindlessly pecking away and trying to make sense out of gibberish which may or may not be in English and as likely as not is in indeciferable chicken-scratch on rotten old paper, having a new wellspring of good music to guide me through my day and make my life better is the best gift imaginable.

This box of Pandora was meant to be opened. You give them a song or artist you like and they give you music that is similar. When I got from Magnetic Fields to the Pogues "tuesday morning," I knew I was in love. I feel better about the world than I did 15 minutes ago.

Back to work with a smile on my face...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"We're the decider."

just noticed over at Eschaton, Atrios has a post titled "We're the Decider." Now, I haven't read the whole post, don't have time at the moment, but the title caught my rapidly skimming eye.

Such a simple phrase and turn about of the preznit's idiot words could be an effective and fun ralling cry as we approach the coming election. Also, using it in the context of a congressional election would serve as a gentle reminder that no matter how the repubs try to distance themselves from the imperial monkey in charge, they have been his do-boys for the last few years with out the least little yelp. Just filing this away to remember as our turn as deciders comes closer.

Friday, May 05, 2006

laying low in a tropical hideout

Uh, holy shit is all I can say. I'm listening to Islands new cd, _Return to the Sea_. I liked the Unicorns and was sad to hear they weren't unicorning anymore, but damn if you are going to ditch a good band to work on a new band, this is how to do it.

Went with Mason and K to see them perform a couple of weeks ago and the show was out of control amazing. Really, really that whole other level of performance that you won't ever forget.

Today I've been listening to them on my headphones and over and over I keep feeling wowed by them. The way they build an atmosphere and take you all over the place with these crazy sounds.
If you have never heard them beforego to their myspace page and listen to their music. And if they are coming to your town anytime soon, get a friggin' ticket. Sell you body if you have to, but get that ticket. Islands, you can't come back to New York soon enough.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

No matter how much I can hate a child...

...I can always hate their parents more.

This was an epiphany that came to me as this horrid group of families got on the subway one afternoon and these spoiled little shits kept whining incessantly and basically acting horrible. I found myself giving this child my meanest angry-school-marm look and wishing just for a second to catch one of the little brats' eyes so that the venomous glance would not be wasted on the back of his head. Then I remembered that he wasn't riding alone, not acting a fool in front of a bunch of strangers with no one there who knew him or could appropriately discipline him; he was with his parents. His lazy, obnoxious parents who were shaping this awful child to be an awful adult.

Now I take no crap off of kids and have no illusions about their naturally sweet angelic little souls. They are often wretched little beasts and are all chemically imbalanced ignoramouses who need boundaries and encouragement from adults in their life. But by and large, I like kids. I've spent a significant portion of my adult life working with kids and enjoy much of it, but man there are some awful parents out there and please don't get me started on the education department or foster care programs or juvenile detention stuff.

Anyway, I thought of this again when Coach Carter inexplicably picked up the bad habit of changing the channel after America's Next Top Model to MTV to watch Super Sweet Sixteen (sss). sss is horrible to watch and whoever created it should be ashamed of their life. If you haven't seen it, the concept is that you take nouveau rich trailer (not necessarily white) trash and film them throwing a sweet [sic] sixteen party for their wretched offspring so we can watch their spoiled kid act like an asshole on tv and all their friends act like desperate retards while all the adults run around with their heads up their asses.

This isn't some Southern coming-out ball, where a young lady is presented to society. Instead we get a few parents with money and no manners or class standing around in a sea of children who mistakenly think cleavage = maturity. It is a celebration of excess, pointless excess, trashy excess. It isn't that someone couldn't throw their daughter a sweet sixteen party that was the event fo the season and it could even be good television, but this show basically is just a prolonged episode of the jerry springer show, just without any life lesson at the end. How not to dress, how not to act, how not to treat others.

But again, through it all, I found myself being reminded that no matter how much you can hate the children (and believe me, you can), you can always hate the parents more. Anyparent who gives in to their children's whims and whining like that needs to be reminded and know that when they are dealing with those tantrums and fits and pulling their hair out: you made this little monster; you have the child you deserve.

Almost as bad, after it comes Tiara girls. Having begged for the channel to be changed through sss, I stayed for maybe ten minutes of tg and went in search of a drink. If I wanted to listen to evil, self-absorbed Southern women backstab each other and talk smack with their trailer-park sqwawks, I would have stayed in AL. There were plenty of that kind of beast down there and I avoid them like the plague. One thing that I did walk away from the shows feeling absolutely certain of was that going to a bar and drinking was a far healthier and more productive activity than watching either show. For a moment, the nagging voice in the back of my head that constantly reminds of future plans and possiblities and questions the productivity and usefulness of my every action shut up for the evening. Having seen what some other people do with their lives, what other people work to put on televisions, I could go sit and enjoy a beer, satisfied in my certitude that no matter what I do, what crimes I may commit in the future or have in the past, I'm never going to do that. I don't relish others falling short or the pain which some folks find themselves living in, but for a brief moment I let myself relax and be happy I was not like that, that my parents hadn't been like that, that if I ever have children they won't be like that.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

back to imposing consequences...

Juan Cole has a lovely smackdown of christopher hitchens. I like a good smacking of smarmy asshole so the post is fun just in watching hitchens being spanked and sent to stand in the corner, but it also leaps into a declaration of how we ain't gonna go to war with Iran.

I agree, but how's we ain't gonna do it? The assertion that we'll have to have a draft to do it seems reasonable enough, but were reasonable assumptions enough to keep up from making military mistakes, we never would have gone into Iraq. There is much to be said for the tactic of provoke or fabricate a threat and then force the hand after you have already started the conflict. It works amazingly well with excitable siblings and it seems to amount to much of bush's foreign policy. You poke and poke and poke and threaten until you can get a reaction, then use that as an excuse to fight back (or with Iraq, having failed to get the necessary reaction, 'retaliate' anyway and pretend that it was self-defense all along, batting your doey eyes at your maleable parents/constiuents, harvesting their initial sympathy and later coaxing them to contort logic to defend their original endorsement). Having folks currently less enamoured with the idea of going and beating some new brown folks up ("what's wrong with the ones we're already knocking around?") is no guarantee that the pres and his won't squeeze out just enough support or leeway to do something which makes the conflict inevitable and not on our terms.

So you ask,"What can I do? What leverage do I have with the folks making decisions?" If you are an average person like me, only so much, but you can wield what little you do have like a petulant tyrant if you want, and in cases like this, I certainly do.

Now one can complain about Iran all they want and have most of the complaints be perfectly legitimate. Their government... not so pretty, but they aren't launching any strikes on American soil anytime soon. They currently aren't a direct threat and they won't be unless we send folks over there for them to kill and give them new reasons to be vindictive with the oil supply. This being said, there aren't good reasons for invading Iran that aren't also true of a dozen other coutries around the world (if one more person points out to me that they've been hanging gay people for being gay, i'm going to scream. What? They kill gay people just like republican leaders say they wish they could and I am supposed to find them a particularly new and dispicable threat? Honey, down in my beloved AL they set your faggot ass on fire.). The point being that taking the position that we shouldn't invade Iran can be made with strength and fortitude which one might not have on other subjects. Again, not because Iran is rosy and I necessarily believe that there aren't humanitarian reasons for military intervention in some situations, but we know 1)this administration can't do anything competently 2)invading Iran would only make us less secure 3)we don't have the resources to spare on such an undertaking right now.

So again I must what little influence I wield and say with absolute certainty, that I will argue with and call whomever an idiot who calls for an invasion in Iran up and to the inexplicable point that such a military interaction occurs. After that, anyone who supported it on the front end ceases to be a person I will speak to. Period. Such is the threat for aquaintances, which isn't much of a threat since I don't generally surround myself with small-dick hawkish assholes. But for public officials, I expand my scorn and ANY public official who promotes invading Iran will not get my vote in whatever election is next. I will aggressively campaign against them and promote their opponent. I don't care if they are democrat or what the hell, and I normally shy away from litmus voting but being sick of useless wars and such and dumb folks following and enabling the folly of morons, I think this is one I am fine being rigid about. So yeah, they are still in the fishing and groundwork building stage of demonizing Iran and making them scary and aren't at the overt attack stage yet, but we've seen this song and dance before and anyone who wants to dance along can say goodbye to my political support from now until eternity.

My consequences are limited to one person and my readership is small, so I have no delusions of granduer as a political mover and shaker, but I can do what I can do and I will.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

"that's what happens when you're nnot nnice"

The title of this post is the contents of a text message sent to Christian at the end of ANTM last week from Bianca.

I'm not hating Tyra as much this week, because

1) Danielle is super awsome and though she did get a little bit of work done on her teeth, she still got that gap. The girl can't take a bad picture and they don't all have to look exactly the same.

2) Nnenna got kicked off. Uh, yeah, she is pretty, but she is about as dynamic as cardboard and sooooo damn boring. Now I think Furonda has some questionable looks, but the girl pulls out some good photos and is fun to watch. Watching Nnenna is just annoying. The boyfriend is an idiot and she is too big a chicken shit to dump the idiot and too snotty for anyone to care about. She is that dull, kind of smart but not THAT smart over-achiever from school who was nice enough to like and not want bad things to happen to but who you prayed would be skipped over and ignored everytime she tried out for anything. The one that would cry if she got a B on a paper. Good riddance. Now if they will just drop jade on her big fat head.

And once again, Joanie and Danielle come across as the most likable people ever and Danielle apparently totured Jade with dental equipment while she was getting her teeth whitened and Joanie is going to call her out next week. It is the showdown that I have been waiting for the whole season. Time for the preacher's daughter to make the stuck up bitch cry.

(note: I thought I had posted this a few days ago but apparently saved it as a draft, so if it is a little bit dated, whatev'.)

Friday, April 28, 2006

hangin' with my bro

My brother is back in town visiting for a little while. So after work last night, I met up with him and our friend Shep to go see some band which he wanted to see. Shep has found himself scouting bands for potetial musical performances at an up and coming performance space in Bushwick, so he wanted to check out Stars Like Fleas at the Glass House Gallery.

Ok, this fellow has led me to some of the best live performances I've ever seen (introduced me to Gogol Bordello) and some of the worst, and music in galleries is always a questionable proposition. Art bands are easily one of the most annoying things on the planet and the most annoying of annoying art bands' natural habitat is Williamsburg so I agreed to go along for the ride, though not so much in hope that the music would be good but that hanging out with my bro, Shep, and the chick who was with him would likely be fun despite the potential for the music to be horrendous.

Well, the gallery wasn't your typical white box gallery. Down at the end of S 1st by the river and in a sort of basement junkyard, the Glass House was at least interesting. Junk acumulated and paint splattered and stuck to the walls and ceilings and piled in columns. Over crowded fire-trap, but something different and they had beer, so what the hey?

Well, Stars Like Fleas would have to wait, because we managed to get there super early and three noise bands were playing first. It is difficult to think of anything worse that noise bands. My friend Lauren once famously pissed off another friend of ours by declaring at a party that there is nothing worse than christian rock. He protested, and she countered with the challenge, "Fine, name one thing. One thing worse than christian rock." I suggested that praise music is worse, but they kind of go hand in hand (sappy repetitious lyrics, bad instrumentation, over-wrought faux emotion, bad hair), so I'll leave the umbrella designation of christian rock as the absolute zero of musical suckage though certainly some christian rock (old Amy Grant anyone?)is enjoyable in a way that noise bands just aren't. Noise bands suck.

Sitting there watching the guy 'drum' who was wearing a way, way too ripped shirt that just looked retarded and over-done, I tried to redeem this experience in my mind and will myself to somehow believe that this was an act of rebellion. My brain scoffed at such attempts and pointed out that if this was anything this was the opposite of punk. In the greater scheme of acts of rebellion, plunking on a drum while your friend turns knobs and creates feed back, really loudly and with feeling, man, is about as fucking punk as trying to go through the express line at the grocery store with 13 items. Way to fight the system, dude! You are loud! In a basement filled with junk! On a school night!

If they had been 5th graders on drugs and their parents had been tied in the corner, struggling and yelling obscenities, then maybe it would have been hard. As it was, trustpuppies in grunge costumes with serious looks on their faces showing how loud and outside of the box they can be is significantly less hardcore than the aformentioned Amy Grant. Hell, they're less hardcore than stephen curtis chapman.

Anyway, we had fortunately missed the first band, got stuck watching the second one and decided to go drink at a bar through the third and come back for the main act. Charlie had snuck out early to smoke and God laughed and punished him, so we walked out to find him smoking a cigarette talking to a Hasidic teenager who had stopped to bum a cigarette and tell him how much more kosher meat costs and Hasidic clothes cost and how much money orthodox jews make and how he only listens to rap music (I am making none of this up). His favorite singer is Eminem and he also likes Little Kim, but he doesn't think 50 cent is talented.

After he tried to bum a cigarette off Shep and I asked him if he had been they guy that threw the firebomb into the cop car during the recent Hasidic riots in Brooklyn, we took off to the Southside Lounge to down a couple of beers and shots and discuss color parties past and plans for the upcoming green boogie down. Four words: Ralph Nader Love Pit.

Refueled and ready for more indoor-underground junkyard jams, we wandered back over just in time to squeeze in and catch Stars Like Fleas. Theirs was nothing like the preceeding 'band' that had driven us to drink. Completely unplugged, all manner of instrumentation including a giant harp, and beautiful vocals. I'd go see them again, though perhaps not if I had to sit though more noise bands to do it. I'll have to check out their cd and see how they come across recorded. I do have to admit to warranting a stern, reproachful look from Shep when I found it nearly impossible to suppress laughter when their arch seriousness met with my goofy mood and surrounded by all this junk and the pretentious, suddenly hushed crowd, they began by playing the rim of a metal bowl. Nothing against the lovely hums that can be nudged out of bowl and glass rims by those so inclined to do so, but with how the night had gone and after all the dumb noise we had been subjected to so far and the absolute sincerety with which it was done, I found it singularly hysterical and nearly spit beer out my nose trying to supress my laughter.

All in all a good night, which was rounded out by the requisite Thursday night stop off at Fun to chat with the lovely and talented Marky and knock a few more beers back and laugh as my "even more beautiful brother" (as Stephin Merritt refers to him) got hit on by friends of mine who I hadn't had a chance yet to introduce him to. Anyway, I have a weekend to start and more trouble to seek out, so I'll end all this for now.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

pure gold

From an interview in Media Life Magazine with the president of a company which did a study on gay folks' media usage trends: "If we look at the TV shows, No. 1 is "Will & Grace" for males, then "Queer as Folk," "Queer Eye," "Desperate Housewives," "Six Feet Under," "The Sopranos," and this shocks me, it's "The Simpsons" and "Golden Girls" in syndication."

Shocked that gay men watch a whole lot of "The Simpsons" and "Golden Girls"? Does he know any gay people? Really though I guess this is actually where we may differ from the general populace most: everyone with cable occasionally watches "The Simpsons" and "Golden Girls" in syndication. There is a reason that they are on twelve times a day.

I am more suprised that "Will & Grace" and "Queer Eye" made the cut. Maybe this is because I am in New York and I might want to watch them more if I weren't, but I've never heard anyone say they have to get home in time to see either show and while I think most of my friends would be willing to sit through "Will & Grace" if we were watching tv and it was on, there would probably be a mutiny and physical removal of the remote from the hand that tried to make us watch "Queer Eye". Not that we have anything against the show, but really couldn't care less about it and "The Simpsons" or "Golden Girls" is on the other channel.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Homo say what?

Checking out Good As You led me to this lovely and astute article: smudailycampus.com - Gays, the new Jews?!?

As most things are which are written by college sophmores, it is an original, well-reasoned, and thoughtful piece. Yeah, that's hard to even type without giggling. It comes across like most other sophmore writing: smarmy and kind of dumb. And transparent.

Am I the only person that reads this and immediately thinks this guy is gay? Seriously, if he had just written "I'm a faggot" across his forehead he couldn't come across as any gayer. Why do I say such a thing? Closet 'mos bring up gay issues as a chance to get close to something which they otherwise feel unable to connect with. I grew up way down South and know what contortions one goes through in their mind to try and deal with what they have been raised and conditioned to believe is a detrimental deviance and have seen more than a few closet cases publically lash out at more open gay people as a way of distancing themselves from suspicion of their own sexual feelings.

Yes, I know there are plain ole straight assholes who write idiot things about gay people without harboring secret desires, but the chances of this being one of those cases is pretty slim. If dude isn't a closet homo, he is certainly writing like one. Not all of us forget the language of the closet.

The thing that kills me most about this post, is the somewhat naked attempt at sort of working out his own demons in such a public forum. All the stuff about gay sex and stuff being ok if people keep it to themselves and not liking flamboyant queens? Read this:

"Another piece of advice on seducing your audience into believing something: remember who it is. Try to relate to us, and be sly about it. Talk about things we care about and believe in. Use logical, coherent examples. Get creative in the way you approach the straight community and cater to us. Hell, you guys are selling your pitch to us. Be good salesmen. The flamboyant, in-your-face approach makes us gag, not your sexual preferences."

Uh...this is one of those retarded guys that uses the term "straight-acting" in all seriousness and thinks being butch makes him better and less 'gay' than the nelly queens. I'll give anyone a dollar who can get me a screen shot from or the url of his manhunt account. Actually, scratch that, he lives down south and is closeted so it is more likely that he is on gay.com, but either way...

Really dude, work out your issues any which a way you want to, but gay bashing is a lousy way to reach out to other gay folks. You aren't the first and won't be the last, but don't think you are fooling anyone. Dig deep and I'll bet you aren't even fooling yourself.

Monday, April 24, 2006

tyra banks is a total bitch.

If you talk to me much at all these days you are probably aware that the only tv I watch consistantly these days is America's Next Top Model. C- hosts a reality tv night for all us usual suspects and we order pizza, drink a little beer and watch tyra act super important and faux motherly towards her little fashion experiments. The guys I watch with are irreverent and fun and we have a blast and it really is one of the things I look most forward too every week.

But if it weren't for the other guys and the fun that watching is with all of them, I would be done with the show. I don't have a whole lot of spare time for tv, so what it takes for me to drop a show like an ugly baby is very little. I am a fairly petulant consumer and it is little things which send me over the edge and obliterate my product loyalty and me being a creature of habit, my product loyalty is pretty serious. I'll use the same damn brand over and over and over again til I have some stupid reason to change. Perhaps my most famous boycott was the David Letterman show, which I grew up watching, loved, and often watched with my dad. But once a long time ago, Dave bumped Jaques Cousteau from the line up so the goo goo dolls could jump in a giant bowl of eggnog. Jaques Cousteau is my hero and one of the most important people of the last century. The goo goo dolls such anyway and the egg nog gag was stupid beyond belief. Then Jaques Cousteau died the next year and I didn't watch Dave for about five years. At all. Ever. Would leave the room if it came on. We have since made up and Dave is great and the whole thing was my silly bitterness which doesn't in the least hurt him or the show, but as the consumer, my only power over the situation is my choice. I was angry, annoyed, and pissed and the only thing I could do about it was tune out, so I did.

What the hell does this have to do with tyra and why am I calling her a bitch and refusing to capitalize her name? I'm not quitting the show yet, because I like the act of watching it with the guys, but I am pissed off and tyra is a self-important bitch.

So if you follow the show at all, you know that Joanie had a big ole snaggle tooth and Danielle has a serious gap in between her two front teeth. These are also the two girls that have consistantly taken the best pictures and worked the best with the direction they are given. Nenna may be pretty, but some of her pictures are totally buck. In the clowning shoot, she looks like someone put a Little Richard mask on the Grace Jones statue at Madame Tussaud's and tipped it over. Anyway, back to Joanie and Danielle. Joanie's teeth needed some work seriously and tyra et al sent the girls to the dentist to get their grills shined and told the dentist to fix up Joanie and Danielle's teeth. So nice, what a nice gesture and way even the playing field for Joanie. Danielle is a different story. Her teeth aren't crooked; she just has a gap and we all happened to like her gap. We all screamed at the tv when it looked like they were going to close her gap, but Danielle, being the total rockstar she is, told the dentist she liked the gap and considered it sort of trade mark and was happy with how she looked. We cheered, but tyra had darker things in store for us.

Long story short, Danielle was super through out the whole show (just like she has been the whole season) and the judges are idiots. Jade was kept and Brooke was sent home, an inexplicable choice but only minorly annoying next to what kind of pompous asses the judges were about Danielle's gap. It would have been one thing if ms. banks wanted to ask Danielle why she didn't get her teeth 'fixed' and tell her that the gap might cost her jobs and prevent her from being a cover girl. Maybe it would. We've all seen Lauren Hutton's big ole gap on a hundred magazine's and commercials and Madonna seems to be doing just fine, but maybe tyra was sincerely concerned for Danielle entering this cut throat business and wanted to offer motherly advice. She sure as hell didn't act like it. She was a stuck up, imperious asshole who lashed out at one of her minions for daring to question her omniscience. Since she hadn't taken tyra's advice, ty and miss jay got all catty and tried to belittle her and attack HER. Not in a caring way, just as a bitch slap to put the girl back in her place. Yeah, I know this is a competition and they are the judges and all, and as jade told us early on, this is not America's Top Best Friend, but you can't spend all the time tyra does trying to sell herself as this caring mentor and teacher/guide for these girls and then act like trash towards the nicest, most confident one who is taking the best pictures when she doesn't act all servile and simpering and grateful that you want to take away something that makes her stand out. At least on Project Runway, Heidi Klum doesn't make a big show of being this super leader, sage guide, bff and then act all bitch. She starts with the cold bitch act and let's moments of niceness shine in as the show goes on, but tyra's fake-ass sympathy and caring comes across as insanely annoying and fake and the control-freak, ego-trip bitch comes shining through.

and makes me want to change the channel.

It was easier to watch last season because we could follow it up with Martha Stewart's Apprentice. Watching ANTM, you often find yourself wanting to throw things at the tv when they say who they are kicking off. It just often doesn't make sense and you get the feeling that they are not really judging the girls on their potential as models until the very end and it is more about ratings and the misguided belief that if you keep on the person that everyone hates, we will keep watching just to see them kicked off (let's call that the Wendy Pepper Effect). It really just makes me want to change the channel, and absent the social element of watching these shows, I would have dropped ANTM a long time ago because of this frustration and wouldn't be too faithful to Project Runway, but when Martha was judging, the decisions always made sense. You could really tell that she seemed to be following closely what was going on and not just what happened in the board room. Every decision she made was exactly the one that made sense and she didn't really mince words about saying why and didn't hesitate to drop two people if they both were lame. It really felt like you were watching what she told you she was showing you and people succeeded or failed on the criteria that she set forth from the beginning. tyra changes that shit up every week and says things to bolster her inexplicable decisions. Her faux sisterly nice comes across as passive aggressive bitchiness, where Martha's not always soft bluntness came across as reassuring.

I'm not giving up on ANTM yet, but tyra can kiss my ass and stop being a bitch or this may be my last season.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Can we just be done with this crap already?

I'm saying a little prayer that Jade finally gets kicked off of America's Next Top Model tonight. It is about damn time. Also here's to hoping Joanie's teeth turn out ok and Nenna dumps her bitch-ass chump of a boyfriend.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

soon...

I've been deliquent about posting lately.

and I am not going to start again now, but I will soon. I've been wanting to get around to post more movie reviews (starting with _the dying gaul_), America's Next Top Model analyses, and more pissed off political rants.

I will try this spring to occasionally not be a grumpy curmudgeon when I write, but we'll just see how that goes.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Say it ain't so!!!

Damn dude. It is one of those places that you kind of feel is trapped in time and won't go anywhere so you put off going there for a while and keep meaning to and don't and then it gets turned into a Ramada hotel.

Fuck Ramada.

But I'll check out the new place and see what it is like, though I am skeptical about any venue having the same worn-in, eastern European ex-pat feel that the Bulgarian Bar had.

Quit coddling the little whiners you idiots or they never stop whining!!!

so I followed the link to the original article that was the subject of my previous post:

TheStar.com - How to spot a baby conservative

Uh, great and all until you get to the inevitable spot where the author tries to write in a salve to the titty-baby conservative set:

"For conservatives whose feelings are still hurt, there is a more flattering way for them to look at the results. Even if they really did tend to be insecure complainers as kids, they might simply have recognized that the world is a scary, unfair place.

"Their grown-up conclusion that the safest thing is to stick to tradition could well be the right one. As for their "rigidity," maybe that's just moral certainty.

"The grown-up liberal men, on the other hand, with their introspection and recognition of complexity in the world, could be seen as self-indulgent and ineffectual."

The damn whiners are always getting the attention and learn this from all the lazy parents who just feed their whiney-ness from and early age and the teachers who work to not rock the boat with the bratty kids and the petulant parents. You could tell when a teacher had a fucking backbone and told the whining kids to shut up and deal or suffer the consequences. Same thing with parents.

Can we get a few reporters and politicians with spines who don't always try to triangulate to not offend these emotional retards who act like assholes and make the rest of our lives miserable? If a politician is saying stupid things, call them on it. If a person is saying ridiculous things, call them on it, and don't put in a cushion to protect their delicate ego. If you are dealing with your petulant roommate, maybe then you should soft-step and not be too heavy handed with any criticism, but politicians should be adult enough to take strong criticism or they should be run straight the hell out of public life. Conservative, liberal, democrat, republican, whatever. Whiney-ass-titty-babies should not be the folks steering the national dialogue.

Duh!

This is beyond not suprising:

Suburban Guerrilla: You Mean They Really Are Whiny Ass Titty Babies?

Little shits grow up to be big assholes (perhaps that is an unfortunate choice of explitives for this particular description... or maybe it is apt).

I should have rented _Mysterious Skin_

I've been fighting a little bit of a cold, and out with friends last night, everyone kept telling me I sounded like Kathleen Turner, so I decided to lay low today and just rent a couple of movies and lay around the house. I almost got _Mysterious Skin_ or _Bad Education_, but I wasn't sure if anyone else would be home and I kind of wanted to watch something fun and silly. I am a sucker for special effects and goofy sci-fi stuff and don't mind the occasional kid movie, so when I saw Zathura sitting on the shelf, i decided to give it a try.

Kids play old game, wind up in outer space, have to win the game to save themselves and get back to their family. Evil, human-eating, alien lizard-people, deranged robot. Awesome!

Uh, until you watch the movie. The special effects were great. The aesthetics, with the retro feel of the game/astronaut/spaceships/robot, were perfect. The acting was decent too and the story flowed reasonably well. So what was the trouble? From the first scene, you find yourself hard-pressed to not want every character you encounter to die. The children in the movie are horrible little shits who deserve to be eaten by alien lizard-people. Really, truly retched little beasts of humans whose incesant whining and selfishness makes you want to see them sent to boot camp. The dad seems to be well-meaning, but you definitely get the feeling from it that his doting attempts at being the perfect parent has created these little monsters who resent one another and try at every turn to monopolize his time and force a declaration that each is the favorite child and that the other is less important. It was like watching a retelling of cinderella with only the evil stepmom and stepsisters, a familial group of selfish trolls who would make sense as part of a story were they being contrasted against kindly, likable others.

Here, however, they aren't the disagreeable foils to good, hardworking, appreciative characters; they are the center of the story. That these characters were well-recieved (as is evident in the rottentomatoes.com review of Zathura) says frightening things about us. I really have a hard time believing anyone could watch that and not want to snatch those kids up and give them an ear full. And take the dad and sign him up for a parenting class too. Where is Super-Nanny when you need her? Really, donate every last one of their under appreciated toys to charity, sign them up for some team sports and after school activities (boyscouts, gymnastics, piano lessons, whatever) and give them a chore list so they could earn an allowance to buy for themselves every future toy or gadget they wants.

The most troubling part isn't just that the charaters were awful and retched and children that you would be horrified to ever be around, but that they were believable and familiar. Those spoiled little retards are popping up everywhere these days. If you saw that movie and thought the kids were likable and that that is 'just the way kids are' and you are considering raising children, please do us all a favor and consider NOT raising kids. And if you watched it and thought the kids in the movie reminded you of your children, let me be the first to tell you that your kids are not going to find a campy mechanical space game that will uproot your home, send it flying through space, and teach them valuable life lessons and make yours a functional family. You need to get advice on raising kids from the cranky old people in your neighborhood and quit being a push-over with the little horrors you have created.

Anyway, if you are in the movie store and considering renting _Zathura_, don't. Get something with charaters you could care more about and who have more functional family relationships, like maybe any John Waters film.

Monday, March 06, 2006

wah wah wah...

"It is obvious now that the private Clay is very different from the manufactured packaged public Clay that was marketed to us."

Yup, he is the only star whose private persona deviates from their public persona. If we can't trust our pop stars, who can we trust?

But really, ladies, if you want him, you can keep him.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

small man syndrome

I really don't understand why bill o'reilly is on the air. TV, radio, whatever, why do they broadcast him out in public? I know, people watch him and some folks love him, but in order to continue to believe in the best in people, I have to assume that most people watching are responding to the same instinct that makes it hard to turn away from a train wreck. Yes, you could argue that a tendency to stare at train wrecks isn't exactly the best in people, but it is better than the alternative and I do think it is better if people stare at such tragedies and bear witness to them than to pretend they didn't happen. Though perhaps the trainwreck analogy is innappropriate: if he weren't on the air, the tragedy that is his person wouldn't involve so many victims. It would just a be a domestic violence situation and the people close to him could deal with it and maybe call the authorities as needed (as it apparently has been needed in his office in the past). It wouldn't so much be everyone's business that he is an angry creep with an embarrassing and agressive defensiveness who lashes out at people and can't take criticism, but he is on the air.

Really, no point left in arguing with the man. He is just kind of pathetic. Does he have family or friends who can tell him how retarded he looks? We have all met that short guy with the over-compensating Napoleon complex who acts so tough and picks on people and get so wounded and aggressive if criticised. bill acts like that, but I believe he is supposed to be quite a tall man.

I guess there is more than one way to be short.

Maybe that is why he uses a loofah in creative ways.

In highschool, there had been a guy who lived on our hall who was likable enough when he was in a good mood, but who was super bitchy most of the time. Just a crank who would lash out and gripe and get super critical and defensive with everyone else who lived around him. My roommate was talking to his girlfriend about this constant annoyance, baffled at why he would stay wound so tight and she just laughed. One of her best friends had dated him, and she informed us that the girls seemed to think that his temper tantrums were linked to physical... shortcomings. Not bottom side of average, not kind of small, but bottom of the scale little. Less than three inches erect.

I'm not saying that bill o'reilly has a short penis. I have no idea and don't really care to. I just know that he acts like he does.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Gay Patriot � The Violent Anti-Christian Leftists In America and Abroad

I've left the gay republicans alone for a while, but every now and then I decide to go slumming through some of their posts and generally end up irritated and dumbfounded. When I need to be distracted from being irritated with idiots who I otherwise love (ie a roommate who wasn't returning phonecalls and an uncle who is borderline retarded and has taken an unseeming interest in my soul and how my gay ass will burn in hell for being a homo and a liberal), I can always count on folks like gaypatriot to have an endless supply of dreck for me to focus my fury on instead.

today, he did not disappoint. In this post, he plays the always fun fake victim game:

"Is there a connection between the 2004 political speech crimes against Republicans, the rise of anti-Semitism in France and Europe, the riots by radical and moderate Muslims alike over cartoons, the Secular Left’s “War on Christmas”, and the recent spate of anti-Christian violent acts in the United States that I note below?"

As evidence, he links to articles about the churches being burnt in AL and man who opened fire in a church in Detroit. I'll just bypass the irony of the fact that it is the redneck redstate republican contingency who are most famous for church burnings and the idiocy necessary to jump to the conclusion that if they are motivated by racism, then they must have been done by lefties who hate Jesus. And I'll ignore the fact that a church being the backdrop of a domestic conflict does not make the violence an act against Christians in general. Let's get on to his conclusion based on this evidence:

"I submit there is. Despite their hysterical rantings about the massive reduction in civil rights under BushAshcroftGonzales, the facts are that the violent acts against free speech and freedom of religion in America are directed against and not by American conservatives and people of faith (mainly Christians and Jews)."

Um, uh no, the facts aren't that. It is hysterical for folks to get upset about the executive branch breaking the law, doing it secretly, and trying to cover it up when exposed despite the fact that they could have gotten warrents under the current law, even after the fact if they had just tried? But taking to unrelated regional stories of conflict involving churches as the locations of the crimes and spinning them into evidence of oppression and violence against WASPs is just good common sense?

A big fat 'whatev dude' is about all you can say. Though, actually I have more thoughts about this "wah, wah, wah, my pussy hurts" crap that retards on the right are always going on about so I'll pick this up again later.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

proud citizen of bush's nation of retards

Really, why is this man allowed to talk in public? does he have loved ones? If you care about this person, don't let him speak to groups or people. I hope this is parody, but strangely don't think it is:

"Goldberg: 'Some say that Native Americans were great environmentalists don't know history. Some think that Indians were like a Disney movie, with Indians talking to bunnies. The great plains used to be a giant forest. The Indians burnt it to the ground to hunt buffalo."

The Great Plains used to be a giant forest that the Indians burnt down to hunt buffalo? Have you ever seen a more damning indictment of the American educational system? Dude, I don't even think anyone can argue with you and try and set you straight; we all just need to slowly back away and leave you alone in your weird world.

Friday, February 03, 2006

This is what you voted for...

A kid walks into a gaybar and attacks people with a hatchet and a gun.

This is what the gay marriage amendment push was about. This is what the republican national convention was about. This is what "love won out" is about.

You scream from the rafters that gay people are destroying the country and communities and should matter less under the law, and soon enough folks are getting whacked in the head with a hatchet. True, usually the violence is less odd, less reported, but all the same...

What Would Tintin Do? Pt. 1

So, I’m not a terribly prolific contributor to this blog (as any search through our archives would show you). But given that I now have a new desk job that is punctuated with a few long spells of nothing-to-do during the day, I’m going to try and be a bit more active hereabouts.

Daniel has been holding down the domestic front for a while, so I’m going to try and focus on foreign affairs, especially that area near and dear to my heart, the Middle East. I hope to have a piece up about the Hamas elections soon, but before that I wanted to make a few remarks about the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have been causing so much controversy of late.

A bit of background: Towards the end of 2005, a Danish newspaper called Jyllands-Posten (they have an English-language service here) ran a series of twelve cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, one of which depicted him wearing a turban, which was drawn as a bomb with a lit fuse. The cartoons accompanied an article about self-censorship, written after an author, Kare Bluitgen, was unable to find an illustrator for a children’s book he was writing about the life of Muhammad and the Qur’an. Prospective illustrators repeatedly turned down the project, citing fears of offending Muslim sensibilities and inviting violent reprisals a là Van Gogh (more on that later).

It was accompanied by this text, written by the Jyllands-Posten’s culture editor (from a translation by Wikipedia):

“The modern, secular society is rejected by some Muslims. They demand a special position, insisting on special consideration of their own religious feelings. It is incompatible with contemporary democracy and freedom of speech, where you must be ready to put up with insults, mockery and ridicule. It is certainly not always equally attractive and nice to look at, and it does not mean that religious feelings should be made fun of at any price, but that is less important in this context. [...] we are on our way to a slippery slope where no-one can tell how the self-censorship will end. That is why Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten has invited members of the Danish editorial cartoonists union to draw Muhammad as they see him. [...]"


Protests were lodged almost immediately. Ambassadors were withdrawn, rallies held, etc. In response to the response, several leading European newspapers republished the images, in an act of solidarity with Jyllands-Posten. The papers, including Die Welt and Soir France, argued that they were taking a principled stand for free speech in re-running the caricatures.

Because of these actions, and despite the firing of the chief editor of the France Soir, the outraged response has continued to grow, with a boycott of Danish goods by Muslim groups, an armed raid on EU offices in Gaza (in which, thankfully, no one was hurt), and death-threats made against illustrators and publishers.

All of which has provoked a great deal of opinion and analysis in the blogosphere, to which I will contribute the following two cents:

First of all, I think my reaction to the whole business is based on a very careful distinction between legal actions and morally responsible actions. One of the absolute best parts of the American way of government, in my opinion, is its protection of free speech. You should be able to say and publish what you like (excepting, of course, threats or libel) without legal repercussions. There should be no Ministry of Culture censoring books and the press for content. If you want to write a racist screed, satirize politicians and religions in the most vulgar manner possible, or write an epic novel delimiting all the reasons I suck, by all means, let no arm of the government stop you.

But if you do let out with a racist screed, for example, don’t think that this entitles you not to be met with anything but the loudest and most clearly articulated of fuck-you’s from everyone within earshot. Being racist does not make you brave. It does not make you principled. It makes you morally irresponsible.

And please don’t whine about your free speech rights being under attack when other people exercise their right to free expression by calling bullshit on you. There is no such thing as a no-tag-back rule in Free Speech. If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.

Hence, while I think that it was perfectly legal for Jyllands-Posten and others to publish their cartoons, I maintain that it was a pretty reprehensible action, and I support all the legal forms of protest that have been going on in response to it, from marches to boycotts.

In order to understand why I think the publication of the cartoons was morally irresponsible, I think you have to put their publication in the wider context of the troubled relations between European Muslims and their fellow citizens. Unfortunately, this is precisely what a lot of American bloggers and pundits have failed to do.

However, as I'm about to leave work, this post will have to come to an end half-way through its argument. Up next: Why Piss Christ isn't something to get worked up about, The Van Gogh Murder, Muhammad in the Supreme Court Building, and why I hate intolerance and the Dutch.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

"God is the lover of the zoo."

Over New Year's while talking to me, my mother was relating that my cousin who is a Baptist minister had met Bobby Welch, the president of the southern baptist convention. Mom went on to relate that my uncle had coached him, I believe in college (in what sport, I don't know) and that he always been really nice and friendly to my mom and cousin (who were about 4 at the time) and they had their first childhood crushes on him. He always talked to them when he came by the house and (I think) was a lifeguard and would sometimes take the to the pool. Kind of a sweet story, and he sounds like he is and was a really nice guy.

This is part of what makes so much of the politics of the last couple of years so painful: I know that individually the people pushing the worst policies are also really nice people individually. Not all of them are the awful people you would expect when you look just at what they support. The freepers are the vocal few, trapped alone in their miserable lives whining on the internet, but most of the folks who voted for torturing people, war for revenge and profit, cutting social programs for the poor, harming the environment, demonizing gay people, and adjusting the tax code to benifit the the wealthiest among us are suprisingly decent people when you actually meet them one on one (and make no mistake that any vote for bush this last go round can only be viewed as a vote for such; four years into it you can no longer feign ignorance). I have no doubt that were I to meet Mr. Welch, we would probably get along so long as we didn't discuss politics or religion.

But I'm probably not going to meet him individually, despite some sort of family connections. I am going to meet his effects on the direction of the baptist church. The extreme politicization of the southern baptist convention is how I have to judge him and those he represents.

Anyway, I haven't really dug too deeply into learning more about him specifically and don't care too right now. He was nice to my mom as a child and I'll stick with that for the moment (though I am not departing with my belief that the modern southern baptist convention represents the worst of modern America).

I finally googled his name though and got this link:

Go Bobby Welch!

It is an amazingly obnoxious (and long) piece of writing to read, but the final paragraph begins with this line which begged to be shared:

"God is the lover of the zoo."

If you want context, go for it, the link is there, but it really ruins it. I do recommend the whole last paragraph, but just the line itself borders so beautifully on the absurd and is likable all by itself. Without that awful article of condescending vapid ra-ra-go-team fight-fight-fight-win-win-win crap, you can give it its own context, find a way to let it make sense. Associated with the greater horror that it is part of, you can't like it so much.

Like Bobby Welch.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sort of... but no.

I like Larry Johnson's writing in general. He offers great insight usually, but I have to take serious issue with how he simplifies why it was stupid for Condi to not have seen the Hamas victory coming. Yes, it was stupid and probably no one outside of the administration didn't at least know they were going to do well in that election. In a post at NO QUARTER he references an excerpt of his previous writing on the subject including this statement:

"We are unwilling to come to grips with a very simple truth -- the majority of people in the Middle East prefer an Islamic rather than a secular government. Economic development does not ensure a steady march towards a secular, diverse society. Heavens (irony intended) just look at us. Despite our economic prowess and alleged sophistication, religious fundamentalists in our own country have succeeded in bringing great pressure to bear on our government and our media."

No, a majority of the people in the Middle East do not prefer an Islamic government to a secular diverse government. A majority of people in the Middle East aren't seeing their needs met and the Islamic surge is fed off of a resentment of the West's role in that lack. Hamas won because it is concerned with the day to day needs of the population of Palestine. This is not to say that Hamas goes about acheiving this the right way or that Hamas gaining more power bodes well for the region, but if you want to take the teeth out of Hamas and resistance groups there are only two ways too it and neither has a damn thing to do with religion. The religion part is just a cultural rallying point, reinforcing a sense of belonging and moral imperitive to a cause. To slow down terrorist groups you have to either kill them all ('them' being the members of not just the organization itself, but the entire group, ethnic/regional/political/whatever that they are revolting in the name of), or you have to incorporate the population back into the community. In Israel, the Palestinians have been marginalized and divided and had much of their means of economic stability destroyed. Until those issues are handled, the resistance will only get increasingly heated.

This isn't because Palestinians want an Islamic government. It is because they see Hamas as fighting against and enemy who is standing in the way of their security. Give a Middle Eastern nation security and stability for a few years and see if the populace keeps voting in an Islamic majority.

And the same with this country. Yes, economic development does insure a march towards a more secular diverse society, but only in so much as all members of society are incorporated and involved in that society and that the economic development doesn't allow one group to accumulate most of the profit. No, Christians in this country are by no means the ones with the economic short end of the stick, but they sell their message as a reaction to being victimized.

They are not selling Jesus's message, but rather using the Bible as a cultural touch stone for rallying against the forces which they peceive as threatening them. Notice that the religious right attracts the most racist, bigoted folks you will ever meet. Not only the overt ones, but the message of protecting the world from this secular onslaught is also not so subtly as they would like to believe communicating a wish for a time when being white was more overtly advantageous. We aren't stupid; we know what is meant when they talk about the good old days and it has nothing to do with morality. It is about the world being organized in a way that white people and particularly a certain segment of the white population was on top and assured of staying on top.

The religious right makes a great noise about the country turning from its values, but this is what they mean. It is just a thinly veiled attempt at resurrecting social controls that keep people 'in their place'.

I am not so cynical to believe that all religious sentiment amongst people is so calculated and callous. Certainly there are true believers and those whose moral compass is aligned by their faith, be it Christian, Muslim, or other and certainly churches and mosques play central roles in many communities and that the idea of getting a feeling on belonging and purpose isn't only a negative thing or necessarily in opposition to a functional, diverse, accepting culture. But for these things to remain positive, people's basic needs must be met and they must feel secure and safe or their religious sentiment can easily be harnessed into knee-jerk political opposition, which in more extreme cases can lead to terrorism.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Overheard commentary about Middle Eastern political commentary

If you are in my bedroom adding water to your aquarium and you overhear someone angrily pacing and talking on the phone utter the words "mother-fucking twat monkeys," you may be fairly certain that Mason has just finished reading the New York Times' editorial commentary about Middle Eastern political goings on and is now discussing it with some poor soul. Today it was their asinine and patronizing comments about Hamas's recent political success in Palestine and what it says about the prospects for democracy in the Middle East.

Shorter James Glanz:Should we really have allowed the brown people to vote?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

john tierney still a dumbass

as I have pointed out before,john tierney is a dumbass, which of course makes him an appropriate replacement for william safire. And he is back decrying the horrors of the drug war, how it has torn minority communities apart with harsh sentencing of nonviolent offenders and...no, he's upset because a white doctor got busted for trading oxycotin prescriptions for sex. What noble cause he has taken up, an obvious miscarriage of justice.

Bustardblog has already smacked the dork for it, so I'll just keep my trap shut.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Good As You: 'Brokeback' uber-critic books another Fox News gig

From the excellent blog Good As You I see that fox news is booking an idiot bigot fearmonger to trash 'Brokeback Mountain'.

Suprising? No.

The guy's review of the movie is just as predictable. Evil Hollywood is sneakily manipulating us to not hate homos, when if they were honest, they would really be portraying the gays as pedophiles and drug addicts. Cutting edge stuff, eh? Throw in some nazi references, cry 'what about the women and kids who got hurt?', and invoke rape. Insert anti-smoking message.

Let's look at a little section:

"Yes, the talents of Hollywood's finest are brought together in a successful attempt at making us experience Ennis's suffering, supposedly inflicted by a homophobic society. Heath Ledger's performance is brilliant and devastating. We do indeed leave the theater feeling Ennis's pain. Mission accomplished."

Credit where credit is due: he at least seems to seen the movie, unlike damn near every other retarded review I have read. But uh, "supposedly inflicted by a homophobic society"? What do you propose caused the difficulties in the film? The outcome wouldn't have been different had it been set in a homo friendly society? I guess you can also blame them for being born into socio-economic settings which didn't afford them the opportunity to escape their unfriendly surroundings and build a life in a supportive community, like I was able to, but that doesn't make the fag-hostile backdrop any less culpable for having no place for these fellows other than in the closet or in the ground.

a little more? ok:

"Lost in all of this, however, are towering, life-and-death realities concerning sex and morality and the sanctity of marriage and the preciousness of children and the direction of our civilization itself. So please, you moviemakers, how about easing off that tight camera shot of Ennis's suffering and doing a slow pan over the massive wreckage all around him? What about the years of silent anguish and loneliness Alma stoically endures for the sake of keeping her family together, or the terrible betrayal, suffering and tears of the children, bereft of a father? None of this merits more than a brief acknowledgment in "Brokeback Mountain.""

Uh, you kind of have to be special to not see all the wreckage and anguish in this movie. Alma's suffering isn't exactly whitewashed, but also, true to life, she is able to remarry. She has other places to turn, a community to support her in her pain and she and their children are not left abandoned. The community that would rip Ennis to shreds or send him packing if his pain were public offers her other opportunities to move on and have a place.

And a quick aside: the whole cult of children makes me want to strangle someone. "...the preciousness of children..."? WTF? Let me go puke.

back to kupelian:

"What is important to the moviemakers, rather, is that the viewer be made to feel, and feel, and feel again as deeply as possible the exquisitely painful loneliness and heartache of the homosexual cowboys – denied their truest happiness because of an ignorant and homophobic society."

In a perfect world, this wouldn't be a political film. It isn't specifically set up to be one. It is about doomed love like most great Hollywood romance/tragedies. That it is two men should be incidental. That is how it was filmed, that is how it comes across when you watch it. It isn't intentionally some big activist film. But anything openly gay is political, intentionally or not. Ang Lee didn't go out of his way to shove some fable about ignorant and homophobic society down our throats; we live in a largely ignorant and homophobic society and so the characters' struggles resonate and feel very real to the viewer. That isn't Hollywood magic; it is an audience whose sense of empathy and recognition aren't crippled by bigotry.

one last chunk:

"Thus are the Judeo-Christian moral values that formed the very foundation and substance of Western culture for the past three millennia all swept away on a delicious tide of manufactured emotion. And believe me, skilled directors and actors can manufacture emotion by the truckload. It's what they do for a living."

And dear sir, what do you do for a living?

As far as the Judeo-Christian moral values being swept away blah blah blah... just shut the hell up. The foundation of Judeo-Christian values are the accumulation of knowledge and the application of reason, grace, and forgiveness in interaction with others. Recognizing our own personal flaws and our common humanity. Expanding our experience and using this expansion to allow us to reach further out into the world. Sure there are other bits to Judeo-Christian values, but when you said the ones which have been integral to the fabric of Western progress for three millenia, I assume you aren't talking about the genocidal and racist chunks of the Bible. I guess not being able to exercise the previously popular Biblically-proscribed bigotries as openly as society once concidered acceptable, some folks are desperate to not conceed a last few bigotries and accept them as their own instead of scapegoating God for their lack of empathy and discomfort with 'differnt'people.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Belated Holiday Correction: Jeff Foxworthy's Celebrity Roast Only the Second Gayest Thing Ever

as an aside in a fairly recent post, I had pointed out that Jeff Foxworthy's celebrity roast was the gayest thing ever. (way down at the bottom)

I was wrong.

On Christmas Day, me and roomies M1 and M2 (neither Mason) and out of town guests watched "White Christmas" at M1's emphatic insistance. I can't remember ever seeing the movie before and didn't realize that 1)it is something of a war movie (mostly post-war, but everything comes from the central male characters having been in the war together) and 2) it is the gayest movie ever made!!!! Gayer than "Tu Wong Fu", gayer than "Jeffery", gayer than "Rocky Horror Picture Show". The. Gayest. Thing. I. Have. Ever. Seen.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

and now I am taking off to the HalfKing in Chelsea to see James Wolcott.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

a few heroes left: David Letterman

saw this on Gawker:

Dave Letterman Serves Bill O�Reilly Ass on a Plate

He is nice enough about it, but just finally calls bullshit on o'reilly's stupid war-on-christmas crap. So perhaps this might not qualify one for hero status, and he didn't exactly save a kitten from a fire but he effectively and dismissively smacked a smarmy loud-mouth idiot who talks straight out of his ass and contributes to giving morons even more moronic ideas which I at some point have to listen to in conversation. For actually standing up and saying 'oh shut up already, dumbass' to one of these blow-hards that everyone else seems too chickenshit to confront (ok, so Al Fraken smacked him all over the place and George Clooney does it just for sport), I have to give the man some credit.

I grew up on late night talk shows and always considered Johnny Carson as one of my childhood heroes. I always used to watch David Letterman too, but had a falling out with him in highschool (something which I am fairly certain that he is not aware of) when he bumped Jaques Cousteau as a guest so the goo goo dolls could jump in a giant bowl of eggnog. I didn't watch the show for five years after that (this is from someone who had previously watched him almost daily for years); I have since forgiven him. And been impressed when I find myself around to watch the show.

I have not forgiven the goo goo dolls, for Jaques Cousteau not being on the show that night or for their music. Or for the lead singer's hair cut.

UPDATE: Welcome to all the folks slipping in here from global affairs forum, even if the fine fellow who linked to us did it with kind words such as these: "While we are calling both clowns, be reminded that there are ignorant dumb asses who actually defile the term hero." I'll have my little hero of the day and you can kiss my ass. That said, contrarians always welcomed. I haven't been blogging as much lately as usual, but please feel free to look around a bit and comment as you see fit.