Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A Little Bit Of Joy

Just wanted to share one little thing that's been giving me a lot of joy lately. It's a song by Taj Mahal called "West Indian Revelation," that just absolutely rocks with a hot Carribbean vibe (steel drum and all!). And when he sings "shake it shake it shake it shake it shake it shake it let your backbone slip," it just pulls me over the top. "Shake it shake it take it take it baby take a pull of rum again": I'm back in the islands.

Mm-mm. Good song.


Saturday, November 27, 2004

Hastert the Unspeakable


Strange... I could have sworn the road to hell was paved with good intentions.


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Heads Up

I got the word from Jay that proudliberals.com is back in business.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Just one episode behind...

So please don't spoil it for me. But I can say that Lost is one of the most fascinating TV shows I've ever seen. Every character is a surprise, and the environment is just as intriguing. I just saw the episode that focused on Sawyer, but I won't be able to see any more until next week at the earliest. But judging from the next-episode preview, I'm DYING to know what's going to happen to Said.

Oh, and FYI -- the episode featuring Pippin the rockstar was written by Paul Dini, who's been the guiding force for the Batman, Superman, and Justice League cartoons, and one of the co-creators of Harley Quinn.


Monday, November 22, 2004

Good news, everybody!

I just found out that Guy Maddin's short film Sissy-Boy Slap Party (the praises of which I sang here) is included on the new DVD for his movie The Saddest Music in the World. Combine that with Isabella Rossellini playing an aputee beer heiress who dons glass prosthetic legs filled with beer, and you know that puppy's jumping up my Netflix list like a chicken on a hot plate.

Anyone up for watching this one as a group?


Sunday, November 21, 2004

More about Rice and Racism

One more thing: Just because you don't have to be a racist to criticize Condi's competence, that doesn't mean that racists aren't criticising her as well. Case in point:

MILWAUKEE Nov 19, 2004 — A radio talk show host drew criticism Thursday
after calling Condoleezza Rice an "Aunt Jemima" and saying she isn't competent
to be secretary of state.

That's racist without a doubt, and we owe it to ourselves to call people on this whenever it happens. There are plenty of well-founded reasons and ways of expressing ourselves to challenge Rice. Let's use them, and draw a clear line between ourselves and idiots like this.


A three hour tour...

One more thing about this huge spending bill. Reuters says there's a presidential yacht in it. (See second paragraph.)

Some people might think of this as a bad thing. Some might question spending taxpayer money on a presidential yacht while our troops are underequipped, our chemical plants and ports are unguarded and our public schools are in trouble. Me, I'm all for it. Anthing that keeps President Dimbulb on vacation can't be anything but good for the country.



The Senate nearly passed a huge omnibus spending bill which contained language that would have allowed high-ranking legislators to look at your tax return for any reason -- regardless of any privacy laws or what-have-you.

Rep. Ernest Istook of Oklahoma apparently added this language (I assume when the differences between the house and senate bills were being ironed out, since he's a congressman and this is a Senate bill). As of this writing, no one has fessed up to the other fingerprints on it, but surely SOMEONE had to approve it. I imagine we'll soon see who that was -- or at least, a convenient patsy.

No one told the Democrats of the new language in the 3,300-page bill. They spotted it at the last minute, and were able to shame the Republicans into quickly backtracking, calling this language a mistake.

"Hereinafter, notwithstanding any other provision of law governing the disclosure of income tax returns or return information, upon written request of the Chairman of the House or Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service shall allow agents designated by such Chairman access to Internal Revenue Service facilities and any tax returns or return information contained therein."

That's some typo, but completely understandable. Anyone using MS-Word that presses CTRL and then types INVADE PRIVACY AND PERSECUTE TROUBLEMAKERS with the caps-lock on will get the same paragraph. It's a little easter egg put in by our friends at Microsoft.

Seriously, though -- this is a heapin' helpin' of disingenuousness and ill will. Josh Marshall is on top of it.


Dubya: The Movie

Want to see the absolutely perfect guy to play the bumbler-in-chief? Click here.

(This link, like so many others, pointed out to me by Mark Evanier. I swear, I don't know why you even read my blog when you could just eliminate the middleman and read his.)


Santorum Update

James at his Rittenhouse Review blog gives a Santorum update. He's right on the money. Taking up the offer of, essentially, free tuition, would be a mistake -- and not one I think Santorum will make. Then again, the thought of those poor kids getting their education from Senator Man-on-Dog makes me shudder.


Friday, November 19, 2004

Hey Everyone! We're Racist!

Ann Coulter says so.

People like her make me want to believe in hell. The problem with her is, the only language that really gets to the heart of what she is...is sexist.


It's Funny Five Time!

Any of you with childhoods similar to mine should know about this site. You should probably also see a therapist. (Just sayin'.)


Good Listenin'

No offense to those who love the Desiderata, but as Mark Evanier notes, Norman Rose -- the voice of God in many films and such -- has died. He voiced this parody of it, called the Deteriorata, and I remember it well from Dr. Demento shows received on a portable radio.

Do yourself a favor, though -- open the window, but don't watch the flash animation until you've heard it once. Most of it it simply printing the lyrics, and you can read faster than the jokes are spoken -- which kills the timing. Start the flash animation, then close the window or close your eyes.


Calling Irona!

Meant to blog. Cleaned some of the house instead. Needed to see the walls and floors and counterspace more than y'all need to know what I'm thinking.

But if you could send Richie Rich's robot maid around, I'd appreciate it.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

As anyone who's ever been to a bachelor party can tell you...

All strippers are not created equal. Kathy & I have been stripping paint in what will one day be our guest room, and after lots of coats on one door and window frame, we ran out of our first can on Bix paint stripper. We picked up a second can from Lowe's, and I broke into it for the first time tonoght. The new can is called Jasko's Speedomatic, and if we'd been using it all along, we'd be a lot closer to painting the place and staining the wood. It took off in one coat what the other did in three.

Jasko -- it's Stripperific!


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

In the Doghouse?

It looks like Senator Man-on-Dog might be in for a little legal and ethics difficulty. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Here's a further look, courtesy of Rittenhouse Review.

And of course, there's this. Never forget the true meaning of santorum.


How big a geek am I?

Well, lemme put it this way. I'm taking a class at NYU called "Inside the Comics Creator's Studio," wherein instructor Danny Fingeroth hosts different comic creators every two weeks to come in and speak with the class -- a la Bravo's Inside the Actor's Studio. Tonight, Jimmy Palmiotti (Hawkman, Monolith, Punisher) and Amanda Connor (Gatecrasher, Mad Magazine, The Pro) spoke with us, and a good time was had by all.

At one point, Amanda mentioned that she and Jimmy had recently done a Vampirella story which was probably the first and only time anyone will ever see Vampirella on the toilet. And I asked, "So how does a steady diet of blood affect her stool?" And I thought: Rob, you are such a geek.

Amanda took it in stride: "Well, she's not on the toilet because she drank blood, exactly -- well, you'll have to just read the story." And I will. And not just because I'm now doubly curious to know what makes Vampirella poop. Mostly because Jimmy & Amanda's enthusiasm for their work is infectious, and I know from past experience that they deliver the goods, fun-wise.


Sunday, November 14, 2004


Welcome to the third world.

Newsday reports:

WASHINGTON -- The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources.

"The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

These are more the actions of a generalissimo after a coup than a president after an election. Hey George -- why not purge the people who gave you bogus information? Oh, that's right -- that was the bogus information you asked for.

Good luck with your new coverups.


Saturday, November 13, 2004

Dr. Pepper says Stay Awake!

At least that's what he's saying to me.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Screw Canada. I Want To Go To Mexico!

This, of course, is a momentary longing, and it will pass. But within the course of 12 hours, I wanted to go to Mexico very much not once, but twice.

First, Kathy & I watched Y Tu Mama Tambien on DVD. It’s a terrific movie, and the centerpiece is a series of scenes on a gorgeous Mexican beach they’ve named “Heaven’s Mouth.” I really wanted to go there. I also wanted to be seventeen again, and get all the parts I got right, wrong, and vice-versa. It’s a mighty good movie.

Then, walking along to work this morning, I happened upon a truck that said “Mexico” on the side, parked on 5th Avenue. It was a big truck, and over the lettering was a large picture window – one on either side, it turned out. Apparently the cargo bay was heated, because inside it, visible to any passersby shivering in the chilly morning air, were three models in bathing suits, lounging on beach chairs. There was sand on the floor, and it looked for all the world like a little piece of transportable beach. Complete with a guy in trunks and two girls in bikinis. Relaxin’.

Yeah, Mexico looked good last night. This morning, it looked like a mirage.


Hark! I bring thee links!

First off, Heidi MacDonald of The Beat! explains why everything in The Polar Express looks so damn creepy.

Pascal's Diary gives an interesting graphic rendition of the blue-state/red state split.

And here's a place I absoultely have to have a drink at in NYC. (And MamaGoose, if you ever get into the city, this is right up your alley!)

Did you have a traumatic childhood? Was there a goat involved?


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Beavis was Right!

Fire IS cool. Huh huh. Cool. Burn. Fire.

Kathy & I built our first-ever fire in our first-ever fireplace in our first-ever house last night. And we watched it. And watched it. I swear, we were like cats looking out a picture window at squirrels.

Except the squirrels were on fire, so it was cool.


Two More in the Ranks

Of bloggers, that is.

First off, there's my friend Kath*, who's posted comments here, in her ever-firey way. Right now she has a very calm plan for peace in Jerusalem up on her blog. I don't expect calm from Kath, so I worry.

And my old buddy Mark, way down in Panama City, Florida. I drink coffee from the mug that he gave me for being a groomsman at his wedding every day at work. Drinking the coffee, that is. I was only his groomsman once. It'd wear me out, doing it every day.

I 'spects I'll get their blogs up in the permalink section any day now.


* Yep, in case anyone was wondering, the Kath that posts here is not my wife Kathy, who so far has never posted. But she stops by to read now and then.

UPDATE: And now they're there, to the right. (Higgledy Piggledy and The Roost is wot they calls em.) Also a few more links, in my slightly redesigned sidebar.

Monday, November 08, 2004


As Andrew has already mentioned, we all had a great time in the city this Saturday. Our first stop was Slainte, an Irish pub playing inexplicably chipper music. (It's pronounced "Slan-cha," because the Irish are crazy.) But we did get to drink Kathy's favorite beer, Smithwick's (pronounced "Smiddick's," because the Irish are crazy). Plus, we bought some potato chips (pronounced "crisps," because the Irish are... well, you know) which offered the enticing chance of winning a buffalo. Unfortunately, only Irish need apply, buffalowise.

Then we went to Nicole's show. Nicople Maynard's art is currently hanging in the Bowery Gallery. Much of her work reimagines feminine power within the context of women in various relationships with some semiotically-charged mythical beasts, such as minotaurs, centaurs, and unicorns. It's powerful, and the looseness of its physical representation allows the images -- or rather, the concept of the images and how she frames them -- stay with you perhaps longer than a more photorealistic depiction might. You can see for yourself here. Like Andrew, the one image that I found most haunting with the juxtaposition of the Abu Ghraib prisoner with the Statue of Liberty, but that certainly wasn't the only image I took home with me.

After that, we had dinner and drinks at the Chelsea Brewing Company (pronounced just like you'd expect, even though Americans are crazy). I must remember to buy cinnamon and pepperment schnappes (schnappeses?) to flavor hot apple cider and hot chocolate. Becuase tasty though it was, $8 for a little mug was insane.

Andrew's also right in that it was good to hang out with so many friends. Hi friends!


The Death of Politics

Well, not really, But I think I'm going to try to pull back a bit from the political stuff on this blog. Mostly because until I have a direction to focus my anger, I'd rather not just feed on the anger of others -- or feed my anger with theirs. I want to have something to say, and not just post snarky comments like my last one. (This isn't to say that I won't snark now and then ... just that hopefully my snark will be better, purer, and running at 100% efficiency.)

I do have one more political post in me -- about the time bomb in a so-called "Defense of Marriage" amendment that should worry the hell out of straight folks -- but I want to let it percolate for a little while longer.

Plus, I'm sure that the Bush Leaguers will do something that merits all sorts of scorn any day now, and I'll be back to help pour it on. But good God, I hike, play D&D and Texas hold-em, work out, go to work every day, watch tv, see movies, read comics, and have a new house I'm trying to get in order. I should have something else to talk about every now and then.

And that time, for now, is now.

Bottom line: I want him out. You (probably) want him out. And by the time four years are up, some portion of the 51 percent that voted for him will be slapping their collective foreheads saying, "What were we thinking?"

Watch and wait. And when the time comes, act.


Half Empty?

An optomist thinks Bush will take away all our rights. A pessismist thinks we'll be killed by terrorists before that happens.

Or is that the other way around?


Friday, November 05, 2004


Okay, enough with Canada.

I get it already.

Liberal friends have sent me a number of maps showing a merged blue-state U.S. with Canada, a fantasy that it’s kind of nice to indulge for a moment or two. (My favorite of the maps labeled the remaining red-state America as “Jesusland.”) On the other hand, a conservative friend has been telling me about the number of hits on Canada’s immigration web page.

To the former, I have to say if you’re going, you’ll need a parka. Because Canada ain’t coming here. But you’d do us all more good if you moved to Ohio or Florida instead. To the latter: You’re not getting rid of us that easily. To my wife, I say: We just bought this house! And we’ll never be able to sell it until we finish redoing the guest room anyway, so we’re pretty much stuck here until 2006. (That’s a joke, honey. Put down the scissors and my early Alan Moore Swamp Thing.)

And sure, I know the Canada thing is just a joke, a way of letting off steam. The people actually thinking about moving to Canada are few and far between, and they were probably already thinking about it before. But I think something very important gets lost in the shuffle when we talk like this.

This country is great. We have so much to be proud of, and so much to be thankful for, in both the red states and the blue. I like to see off-Broadway shows, but I want to sit in a sweltering Preservation Hall and hear kickass Dixieland jazz too. I’ll bodysurf on the Jersey shore, but I’ve rarely known such peace as I did floating in the still waters of the Gulf of Mexico. I want bagels and southern barbecue. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Mann’s Chinese Theater belong in the same country.

Forty-five percent of Virginians voted for Kerry. Forty-eight percent of Nevada did. These people don’t deserve the scorn liberals have been throwing at the red states, and they don’t deserve to be abandoned, either. More Texans voted for Kerry than did Michiganders, but Michigan is blue and Texas is red, and we’re gonna break it down that way? Nonsense. There’s no way on earth we should give up the South by Southwest Music Festival.

Look, this Canada talk is silly. I’ve tried lasagna in Quebec City. It’s inedible. I love the place, but the food? Not so much. Trust me, Bush or no Bush, you would not vote for this lasagna.

And neither would you vote to secede, when it comes right down to it.


Sofa King

From Lewis Black's "Back in Black," on last night's Daily Show:

"The voice of the people has been heard. I'm not going to imitate it, out of
respect for the mentally retarded."


Thursday, November 04, 2004


Millions of people turned out for Bush on election day, and a sizable chunk of them are Christian. And it started me to thinking: What would Jesus have said to do in response to 9/11?

And the only answer I can come up with is to turn the other cheek.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying this is the smart thing, or even the right thing to do under the circumstances. But – and please, correct me if I’m wrong – isn’t it the Christian thing to do? Should we be seeking retribution, or even justice, for this? Isn’t that God’s job?

I haven’t read a whole lot of the Bible, so maybe I’m missing some nuance. But if I’m right, then why haven’t I heard any clergy advocating this course of action? Why haven’t any of our Christian politicians, including the President, try to stop this cycle of violence?

I know part of the answer – “Because the real world doesn’t work that way.” And I can see the point. But isn’t one of the tenets of Fundamentalist Christianity that the real world DOES work the way the Bible says it does? That Jesus’s way is the only way into heaven?

If so, how do they live with themselves?

(And if not, what am I missing in the equation? I'm not just trying to stir up trouble. I’m genuinely curious.)


P.S. Yes, Jeri, your book really did a number on me.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Hopes for the new term

I’d written a piece longhand on what I think this election says about America, but looking it over, it’s pretty depressing. It may go up on the blog later, but for now, I want to talk about my hopes for the new term.

In his concession speech, John Kerry enjoined all Americans to work together for a common cause. That’s an excellent thing to hope for, but it’s not very realistic. It’s like hoping that one day I’ll hear the news that John Ashcroft was found dead from choking on the semen of a male prostitute. It’s just not that likely.

So here are some things I’m hoping for in the next four years.

I hope Bush makes some genuine, rather than merely cosmetic, headway against terrorists, instead of creating an environment that breeds more.

I hope the news media is not cowed by the White House the way it was during the first term. I hope it shines a bright light on its activities, and that people pay attention when it does.

I hope that the more moderate Republicans in the House and Senate will take stands against some of the administration's truly repellent ideas. I doubt that Arlen Specter will be seeking reelection when he’s 80 in six years – it would be nice if he’d take point on this. (He can’t be happy with the Republican establishment for his treatment during the primaries.)

I hope that Democrats will find a way to appeal to Southern and Midwestern voters in congressional and senate races.

I hope Fox News will try to restrain itself from cheering whenever we kill innocent people in other countries.

I hope Bush appoints no more than two Supreme Court justices, and I hope his appointments are either very old or have angered the Mob.

I hope everyone has the good sense to keep their grubby mitts off the Constitution.

I hope Karl Rove gets gang-raped by hillbillies. Or orangutans. Or sharks.

I’m sure I’m hoping for other things too. I’ll let you know when I figure out what they are.


Long Day

Woke up, voted, drove to PA, canvassed for Kerry/Edwards in Glenolden and Yeadon. I've never seen so many people as fired up to vote as I have in Yeadon -- it was a wonderful experience.

On the drive home, I pulled over twice to nod off for a few minutes.

And now I'm home, and they want me to wait for Ohio? I need my sleep!

Catching Zs now. President can wait. Friggin' buckeyes.


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

We're gonna win.

Just watch.

(Well, vote, then watch.)


Good Luck

It's been a long, ugly campaign. Good luck to both candidates.

(Of course, I think the luckiest thing that could happen to Bush is for him to lose the election, and not have to finish what he started. He might also manage to avoid some of the avalanche of scandal teetering in his direction.)

We'll see tomorrow night, I hope.