Saturday, April 30, 2005
And from the looks of things out my window, through the rain as well. The folks at Princeton filibustering what Josh Marshall calls the Crybaby Option continue to impress, entering their 97th hour as I write this. For the long division-impaired, this means they crossed the four-day mark an hour ago (carry the one...).
I'm filled with awe at these folks. This is a great idea, implemented with panache.
Friday, April 29, 2005
In his participation in the Fillibuster against Frist this afternoon, Congressman Rush Holt read several of Aesop's fables.
"You might have noticed a theme from the fables," Holt said. "BeIt's a good point, and a canny move on Holt's part. As a Congressman, his voice is more likely to be heard than that of any other individual reading there. And his audience -- Republican congressfolk reading the morning paper -- will know exactly what he's saying. There won't always be a Republican majority in the house or senate. And when the Dems are once again large and in charge -- won't they want a rule protecting their interests?
careful what you wish for."
The filibuster is in everybody's best interest. Without it, our judges would become increasingly ideologically divided, with only the Supreme Court to have the final word on more and more rulings that lean farther and farther to the left or right. And as the Supremes get replaced with the new, ideology-driven judges, their own rulins will become more and more suspect. (Yes, even more so than Bush v. Gore 2000 -- or more often, at least.) In the end, it becomes an unworkable system. It needs moderation -- it needs the filibuster -- to stay afloat in the long term.
Read more about Holt and the filibuster in this Daily Princetonian story by Neir Eshel.
The Princeton Filibuster against Frist now has a new, easy-to-remember url: www.FilibusterFrist.com. At their web site, they’ve got the following schedule posted:
6:00 p.m. North Plainfield Councilman Nathan Rudy
7:00 p.m. Hamilton Councilman and NJ State Assembly Candidate Dan Benson
8:30 p.m. Theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek, co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004. Wilczek is one of the people who contributed to the Standard Model of Physics, which connects the Strong Nuclear Force, the Weak Nuclear Force, and Electromagnetism. In other words, he’s one of the people who best understands what holds the universe together. That ain’t no small potatoes.
Thanks to all of these worthies for putting their reputations behind this excellent cause.
More as I learn it.
Watching the Detectives
According to a new book written by a former Army translator at Guantanamo Bay, some of the interrogations witnessed by Congressmen and other officials were faked – staged for the benefit of the viewers. It seems that cooperative witnesses were allegedly requestioned for the visitors, rather than allowing them to see the interrogation techniques used on uncooperative prisoners.
The Army denies it, of course.
This could be big, especially when it hits 60 Minutes on Sunday.
The Princeton Filibuster against Frist going stronger than ever; it’s just about to enter its 75th hour. Congressman Rush Holt will be speaking in a few minutes, and there’s also going to be a cell phone rally, in which people at the filibuster will call every senator to urge them to reject the nuclear option and save the independent judiciary.
Democracy in action, folks. I love it.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Students (and some faculty) at Princeton University have been staging a filibuster for the past two days outside of Princeton's Frist Center, named after the family of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. They're doing this in protest of the threatened Senate rules change theat Republicans called the "nuclear option" before public opinion polls indicated that most of the country didn't see the term as the veiled threat they meant it as, but an outright display of meanspiritedness and obstinancy. The nuclear option will ban filibustering on judicial nominations -- an eerie thought, if you consider the nutbags and greedheads Bush wants to place on the bench for lifetime appointments.
So the Princetonians have staged a creative protest, reading nonstop from all sorts of material, from the U.S. Constitution to My Pet Goat. Here's a webcam where you can follow their progress.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
I’ve had the dubious pleasure of discovering two mind-numbingly awful names in the past week or so. I don’t know which is worse. One was probably a perfectly good name until someone coined it as an obscene verb; the other, while perfectly suitable for polite company, conjures a disgusting image, which certainly hasn’t changed since the place was named. But enough with the yadda yadda yadda… You wanna know the names.
Felch, Michigan. I work for a magazine, and when we received a letter with this address on it, I had to check to make sure it was a real town. And it is. What can I say? I feel so sorry for those people. These poor Felchers have probably heard enough jokes about their name… or maybe not. I wasn’t able to Google up any references to any legal motions to change the town’s name. But I get grossed out just thinking about it. No wonder Michigan looks like a big glove.
(If you’ve never heard of the word “felch,” you can Google it if you dare. Suffice it to say that it’s something you can do with santorum.)
The second name – chosen regardless of its culinary implications – is The Pizza Coop, a pizza and hoagie shop in eastern Pennsylvania. Chickens…pigeons…ugh. Whatever the coop, I don’t want it to have anything to do with my pizza. I think about those rooftop scenes in On the Waterfront and get queasy. I’ll have mine plain, thanks.
Anyone have any other horrible names they’d like to share?
Sunday, April 24, 2005
I meant to post this the other day, since I read about it on Mark Evanier's wonderful site, but time slipped away. Rogers Cadenhead, a writer who's penned enough how-to computer guides to crush a desk (although not this sturdy one we have now, but certainly the old, flimsy one that fell apart during a move... actually, that not be a very emphatic comparison to his prolificness, so let's just say he's written about 20), bought the domain name BenedictXVI.com. Basically, he did it to keep any unsavory internet types from grabbing it -- gamblers, pornographers, Dr. Clement Okon of Nigeria who will pay you handsomly for your help in accessing his trapped millions -- you know the type.
Rogers is writing about what happens with the domain, and I'm really curious to see what'll happen next. He seems like a nice, genuine guy. Check out this post first, and then here's a link to his blog in general where you can get the latest.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Two quick items.
One: Here's Brandon Routh as Superman, this time. The S is a bit small for my taste, but I think the costume looks pretty good, overall, and Routh seems pretty convincing. But stills don't prove nuthin'. Leets see some clips!
Also, the Beat lets us know that Nicholas Cage is Ghost Rider. With a photo and everything -- although no flaming skull as yet.
Friday, April 22, 2005
Through the magic of Sploid, I found this story on the web. (And through the magic of a search engine, I found it again when I got home.) The average length of their flaccid penises was 3.33 inches, which compared Germans have average lengths of about 3.4 inches, Israelis 3.27 inches, Turks 3.07 inches and Filippinos 2.89 inches. Italians were the longest at 3.54 inches, and Americans averaged 3.46 inches. The study did not measure the penises when they were erect.
Basically, it says that Chinese men have penises the same size as everyone else. Big deal, huh? But check out these key paragraphs (the last sentence is the zinger):
favorably with similar studies on other men overseas.
Ok, I the only one who can't figure out why anyone would care about this information? Erect, sure, I can understand that. But flaccid? Who the hell funded this study, you eggheads? Did they even tell you why they were interested?
I mean, really.
The average length of their flaccid penises was 3.33 inches, which compared
Germans have average lengths of about 3.4 inches, Israelis 3.27 inches, Turks 3.07 inches and Filippinos 2.89 inches. Italians were the longest at 3.54 inches, and Americans averaged 3.46 inches.
The study did not measure the penises when they were erect.
Check this out. Senator Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum wants to pimp the National Weather Service to big business. Essenatially, he says that the NWS shouldn’t give out its weather information, since it unfairly competes with weather.com and Accuweather.
What a turd this guy is. We paid for this information. Our taxes. Our money. And now he wants to keep us from it so some businesses -- who are often using the data we paid for -- can sell it to us? Or sell our eyballs to advertisers?
Thank God this guy'll be unemployed in 17 months.
Does this strike anyone else as odd?
Although the cardinals swore an oath of perpetual secrecy about what occurred in the conclave, many began to talk about it on Wednesday.Even after vowing “perpetual secrecy” about the papal conclave, some cardinals were gabbing about it to the Washington Post. Maybe perpetual secrecy has different connotations in Latin.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
How 'bout dyin'?
As the man says at the end, this one probably won't do the job, but one of 'em, someday, will -- unless we seriously address the problem of asteroid collisions. We have time. We just don't know how much.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Kathy & I heard a great song in the car tonight on The Big Brodcast on WFUV. A fun tune called "He's So Unusual," performed by quintessential flapper Annette Hanshaw (under the pseudonym Patsy Young) with Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra. Click the link to go to this page listing what I assume is all of her recordings; scroll down to "He's So Unusual" and give it a listen on RealPlayer. Good fun.
(And yes, apparently Cyndi Lauper modified the title for her She's So Unusual album debut -- she even sings a truncated version of it on the album.)
Saturday, April 16, 2005
I've been getting a real kick out of watching the old episodes of Saturday Night Live that NBC has been running in the 3 a.m. to 4:30 time-slot on Sunday Mornings (or Saturday night, if you're a nite owl like me). I'm never sure which episode they'll rerun -- NBC's website isn't particularly forthcoming, and neither is TV Guide -- but the ones I've seen have all been worth watching -- particularly the early episodes where they haven't slipped into the comfortable comedy/music pattern they've been in for decades now. And a few weeks ago, they played an 80s episode with Billy Crystal, Martin Short, Julia-Louis-Dreyfus, Rich Hall, and others -- they're honestly one of my favorite casts, purists be damned.
But last week's was an early one, with Peter Boyle hosting. There were some funny bits (a wrestling match between the Bees versus the Wasps, a car commercial poking fun at Ricardo Montalban, and the fantastic Dueling Brandos) and some odd cultural references (a Weekend Update gag about George Bush, head of the CIA) -- but the finest thing in this episode was the musical guest, Al Jarreau.
I'm not a big fan of the musical guest segments, and nearly fast-forwarded this one without a listen. I'm glad I didn't. Jarreau had just released his debut album, We Got By, and his performance of the title track was absolutely compelling. I've watched it three times so far, and will probably do so again before finding a home for it on VHS. His voice soars and bubbles, moving looping around wherever the song needs to go. It's a treasure. He also performed "You Don't See Me," another sweet couple of minutes of music that make it absolutely clear what an influence he's been on Vance Gilbert, an excellent singer-songwriter in his own right. Gilbert often sings Jarreau's "Could You Believe" in concert, but that now seems like a tribute to Jarreau's influence, not the extent of it.
But believe me when I tell you: Jarreau was amazing on this show. We Got By is definitely worth seeking out.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
I saw the 1971 Vincent Price movie The Abominable Dr. Phibes the other day, and it was a lot of fun -- there are truly campy elements in it, but I was struck by how much genuine creepiness there is to the movie as well. The way Phibes talks gives me the willies -- but the way he drinks champagne is jaw-droppingly odd. And the last scene is will gave me the type of grisly chuckle usually reserved for old EC Vault of Horror comics.
One thing that struck me is how much of a blueprint for Seven this movie was. Instead of the Seven Deadly Sins as a killing motif, Phibes uses the Plagues of Egypt. The film tantalizes the viewer with odd actions on Phibes' part, letting us wonder until the last minute how his task (say, boiling brussels sprouts) is going to lead to someone's death (it does). The two movies also share a plot twist, but I won't say any more than that.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Wow, if that's not a lame head, I don't know what is. Sometimes the muse strikes you, sometimes you gotta beat her with a sawed-off cue stick before she gives up even this little droplet of inspiration.
Having said that, though, here are some links.
I first saw this on Atrios's site, although Mrs. Grumblepants sent it to me today. It's just my kinda cheese.
So I replied with this (sent to me by a coworker). It's a riff on video number one, but it brings back the memories of wretched puppets.
And then, completely unrelated, there's this. Gotta give the Holy See his propers, yo. Don't dis the infallable, or the infallable gon' drop ya.
Oh, and for the curious: the best recent search term that brught this blog to someone's attention was:
"super mario" satanic christians
I have no idea why those concepts would fit together at all.
UPDATE: Looks like the makers of the We Stand As One parody got a Cease and Decist. Oh well.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Friday, April 08, 2005
I don’t know why I’m writing about this. This seems to me to be a fairly radical departure from where I’d like this blog to go. But the subject’s on my mind, and I think writing about it will help me codify certain behaviors, and maybe understand them. They say naming the problem is the first part of the solution. That’s always the way it’s been in fantasy novels. Once you have the evil wizard’s true name, he’s in your power. I don’t think that’s an accident, although it’s surely a subconscious trope for the most part. But only when we understand something can we defeat it.
So to begin with, when I was walking to the train tonight, I had a somewhat frightening thought:
Alcohol is not one of my vices.
Sure, I’ll have a few too many drinks every now and then, and I’ll make a fool of myself and on occasion, get messy about it. But those nights are fewer and fewer, and the cleaning bills are farther and farther between. Which is all well and good, if something hadn’t stepped up to the plate and taken the place I always expected booze to be.
God, I love to eat.
Now, there are a number of reasons for this. First of all, much of the world is tasty. No sense missing out.
Second, I’m always curious about what things taste like. Everything I see on a table, I want to try. I crave what I see. This can be bad news.
Third, sometimes I eat because I’m unhappy with myself. This is a vicious circle, I know. I won’t be happy with myself if I keep eating, I know that. If I’m trying to lose weight, and I fall off the wagon, like I did last night, I get pissed off and crabby and take it out on Kathy a little and myself a lot.
Here’s what happened last night. Things were going well on the whole Body-for-Life multiple small meals thing. I had small meal number 3 at around 3:30. By the time I got home a little after 6, I was hungry, and due for another. There wasn’t time to eat anything decent, and I didn’t have the foresight to grab a B4L bar – besides, we were going to my nephew Billy’s confirmation, and if I decided to take communion, I shouldn’t eat beforehand.
Well, we got there around quarter of 7. My sister-in-law Carolyn had saved seats for us – in the back row of the balcony. We couldn’t really see much of anything but the choir, which sang and sang and sang.
Well, the service lasted until 9:30 or so. Sis-in-law Sue described it as “beautiful.” I’m not one to judge; those are the words of someone who has had dinner.
(I didn’t take communion, by the way. By the time it came around to me, I was questioning my motivations – did I want to take part in the ceremony, or did I just want a snack? I erred on the side of caution.)
Now, there was a reception in the church basement. I expected some cookies, some white sheet cake. I was hungry – very hungry – but figured I could probably keep away from them. I did suggest that we skip out and go to a diner instead, where we could get something relatively balanced, but it’s good to spending time with family—that’s why we were there, after all—and I wasn’t going to put up a fuss about it.
Well, the spread was awesome. Lots of different cakes, cinnamon buns, croissaints, fruit and dip, tons of other stuff. I stayed away from it for a while – had water instead of punch – but soon enough, I’d put a few different things on my plate, not all of them strawberries. Understand, I was really hungry, and surrounded by food. I had no idea that God would be holding us hostage upstairs for so long.
I ate them. They tasted good. I felt miserable. It started pouring outside. Kathy and I eventually got home, where I could finally have the chicken dinner I was dreaming of. Dessert wouldn’t do.
Okay, that’s all well and good. But then, we watched the Daily Show (it was 11:00 by dinnertime) and then I had a letter to write on the computer. Kathy went to bed.
It didn’t take long to finish the letter, but I didn’t go to sleep. I’d already decided I wouldn’t go to the gym in the morning – a self-defeating decision that I could either make at night or when hitting the snooze alarm. But I stayed up. I checked blogs, news sites, message boards, I was falling asleep at the computer, and I couldn’t bring myself to go to bed. I don’t really know why that is. Maybe bed is for people who actually accomplish something. Maybe I wanted to burn off a few more calories by sitting upright, I don’t know. But, I drifted in and out on the computer until I finally packed it in and went to bed. Late.
After a few hours sleep, a shower and a nap on the train, I got to work, where I was foggyheaded, paranoid and miserable. Time crawled. I walked in to an office to get a donut once, but they were gone, thankfully. And now, as I write this, I’m on the train, on my way home.
I’ve eaten the right things so far today, and I hope to continue tonight. Tomorrow is a B4L free day, and I’ll take advantage of it. Not doing it because I don’t “deserve it” will probably do more harm than good, and give me an excuse to cheat all next week.
But man, it’s amazing how many bad decisions I can make because I pick up a fucking cinnamon bun in a church basement.
ADDENDUM: Since I wrote this, Kathy & I had a very good dinner at Afghan Kebab House #7 in Metuchen. We each saved half of our dinners for later. Even though I probably had a bit more than what the B4L gurus would recommend, it’s the control that counts.
This might be the best news site ever -- it doesn't publish anything itself (so far as I can tell) -- but what great links!
Down at the bottom is its raisin d' ezra:
Sploid is a news site with a tabloid mentality -- top stories up top, played big, as fast as they break. If there's a political line, it's anarcho-capitalist: sniffing out hypocrisy and absurdity, whether from salon left or religious right.
Sounds good to me. 'Course, I'm always up for anarcho-anyoldthing.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Been meaning to update my sidebar for a while now, and Dave Decay gave me the perfect excuse to do a half-assed job of it and only add two links. One is to his blog, Goosnargh – it’s sporadic now, but it could overboil with mad ideas at any moment. I’ve known Dave for years, and he’s a deeply dangerous fellow. The man introduced me to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, after all, so I owe him a lot from the get-go.
The other is to Brian Tarnoff’s blog, The Vaguest Ideas. I haven’t seen Brian in years (he lives in another country, after all), but he’s unfailingly fun to hang out with and he’s got a lot of stuff to say from over the pond. And, in an unusual twist, he’s a prolific bastich as well.
So stop by, read some stuff, and enjoy. ’Cause I sure as hell haven’t been keeping you busy.
Okay, it looks like, through trial and error, I've managed to post a photo onto the blog. Just your luck, it's one of me. Hopefully this will allow me to do some fun things I've been thinking of trying. But for now, you're stuck with my damn mug.
Who's watching WHO?