The always-wise KTBuffy is right: This video kills. Okay, back to work for me.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
Sally, I *promise* I'll have something funny to post tonight. But this Kieth Olberman commentary, sparked by Clinton's interview last weekend, shouldn't be ignored.
But yeah, I need to lighten up. It's just tough to do when I think about this stuff.
Another video testimony that George Allen is lying about his racist past.
As a New Jersey resident, there's not a whole lot more I can do than talk about this. But he's a racist. And polls say he's winning.
This woman seems very credible to me.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
We’re throwing away the very freedoms we’re fighting for.
Here’s Ed Kilgore at NewDonkey.com:
“…it appears the US Senate is going to enact legislation today on treatment of terrorist suspects--virtually all of them, of course, Muslims--that will give a fresh bit of ammunition to jihadist efforts to convince their co-religionists that the United States considers them unworthy of any significant legal or moral self-restraint. This "compromise" bill, apparently worked out on the back of an envelope, and motivated almost entirely by domestic political considerations, might theoretically do some good someday, in some hypothetical case of a terrorist suspect with knowledge of a catastrophic attack. Nobody really knows. But what we do know for a fact is that by officially sanctioning some forms of torture, and denial of judicial oversight, this legislation will have a real, tangible and continuing negative impact on how our country is viewed by many millions of people whose good opinion of us has become a major strategic objective.”
And here’s Josh Marshall at Talkingpointsmemo.com:
“In essence, it means that the entire criminal justice system in this country becomes discretionary in the hands of the president.
You have the protection of the courts and due process. Until that gets too sticky, in which case the president can pull you out of the court system and detain you forever with no recourse to anything but the president's mercy.”
And here’s Glenn Greenwald on what changes by it being legislation, and not merely some wrongheaded executive order:
“There is a profound and fundamental difference between an Executive engaging in shadowy acts of lawlessness and abuses of power on the one hand, and, on the other, having the American people, through their Congress, endorse, embrace and legalize that behavior out in the open, with barely a peep of real protest. Our laws reflect our values and beliefs. And our laws are about to explicitly codify one of the most dangerous and defining powers of tyranny -- one of the very powers this country was founded in order to prevent.”
When did we get so weak?
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Well, it doesn't look like Jill Hazelbaker will be fired for trolling BlueJersey for Tom Kean Junior after all. But seriously, does anyone think that posting messages on a liberal blog is a wise use of her time? Kean really should show her the door.
In the end, it mostly goes to show what Junior thinks of as an appropriate use for his money. Imagine what he'd do with our money.
Let's keep this clown out of office, shall we?
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
A few music clips from YouTube to enjoy. Here’s a pretty straightforward one of Jimmy Webb and friends performing “In the Jailhouse Now,” which was on the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack. It’s a great song, and this clip (from Hee Haw, maybe?) is just a short glimpse of a few guys who like singing. Nothin’ wrong with that.
And for something completely different, this one’s a clip that I can’t stop watching – Bob Dylan performing his song “Isis” from the Rolling Thunder Revue tour of 1975. He’s in creepy white makeup for some reason, but the real draw for me (besides the sheer energy of the performance) is the different, punchier tone from the album version. It’s been a couple of years since I discovered this song, and I love it more every time I hear it.
It’s hard to believe these songs are even played on even remotely the same instruments, isn’t it?
Janet at The Art of Getting By asked what our favorite scents are, and which ones (beyond the obvious) would we rather not smell. So I thought I’d stick my nose in.
I make jambalaya only once or twice a year. But when it’s cooking, the kitchen fills up with this smell that’s pure heaven. Cayenne, cumin, black and white peppers, gumbo file, all combined with sizzling ham and kielbasa chunks and the holy trinity of bell peppers, onions and celery. That’s a smell.
Then again, I also love the smell of pork loin in the slow cooker, creeping its way toward a pulled pork sandwich.
Cooking pig in general, I guess. Nothing smells so good when it cooks as pork.
As for bad smells, well, there’s the smell of the oil refineries around 76 and I-95 in Pennsylvania. It always bugged me that the only way to get out of the airport was to drive through them. “Welcome to Philly! Now old your breath for the next five minutes.” It’s a hell of a first impression.
But the smell that knocks me out more than any other these days is the smell of the olive bars in supermarkets. I don’t know what it is—the olives, the stuffed grape leaves, whatever—but that’s a stench that can knock me over. And yet sometimes I must venture into it. The things I endure for fresh hummus.
UPDATE: For some reason, ferrets seem to have a different odor when they're drowsy. Sleepy Ferret Smell is a good smell indeed. It's like a yawn for the nose.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Turns out that mixed in with the torture legislation that's being discussed in congress--you know, the debate that surrenders moral authority for a false sense of expediency, yeah, that's the one--there's a provision tucked away that pardons Bush and his cronies in case any of this turns out to be illegal. What's he worried about, being thrown in jail and not even being told what evidence we have against him? Silly goose. That'd never happen here!
Oh, wait. I'm sorry, I forgot who was king for a minute.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
a few more names on the ol' blogroll. I updated the friends list, as well as added a handful of comics blogs down below. I don't have time to post about 'em now, but if you're in an exploring mood, you might want to check one or two of 'em out.
Then again, if you're in an exploring mood, your ass is probably outdoors on this lovely day.
Friday, September 22, 2006
I'm a little too busy to post extensively, but I wanted mention that Leon got two more searches today -- one from Ontario and another from Madrid. This interplanetary rascal has gone international!
So, without further ado, behold:
Leon, the Most Popular Jawa on Tatooine.
Respect the hood.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Sharon pointed this out, but I have to chime in with links of my own. The Star-Ledger and a New York Times blog, The Empire Zone, have picked up on the Kean troll story. From her "I don’t blog and it wasn’t me. Period." statement, it looks like Ms. Hazelbaker is still in the Denial stage of spin, shifting subtly toward Anger. Soon we'll get to Bargaining ("I'll get you an interview if you just shut up about the trolling..."), Depression ("Sigh... I used to have a career...") and Acceptance ("Since I've got all this free time on my hands, I might as well stay on the BlueJersey site and start flamewars!") It'll be fun to see how this goes.
The big question: How quickly do Internet trolls regenerate?
More about Kean staffers: A Philly Inquirer article reported that one member of his campaign team, Christopher Lyon, “once sent out thousands of anonymous post cards and automated phone calls accusing a New Hampshire candidate's wife of being in an orgasm cult.”
This is more than just a typical sleazy Republican tactic. It’s worse…far worse.
These monsters are dangling the hope that there’s an orgasm cult out there somewhere. That’s just mean.
(I found this link in the comments of the bluejersey.net story below.)
Using IP-tracking, bluejersey mods have uncovered that campaign staffers for Kean Junior are trolling bluejersey.com, leaving comments pretending to be disaffected Dems unhappy with Menendez. Silly Rabbits. Save it for the Newsarama boards so you can complain that Grant Morrison’s Batman run is getting some fill-in issues*. This is strictly amateur hour, desperation stuff.
*By John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake! Yay!
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Arrr.. it be Talk Like a Piarate Day, sure it is -- but I thought it twere Talk Like a Pirate Day yesterday, which made me seem a manatee's arse, indeed. So thar be no pirate seal on this day. Instead, I present a more frequent o' celebratory seals:
Ook ook, indeed, yar.
It’s Tuesday, and I, like you, should be telling it to Janet. Today she wants to know: What are the best albums you know of that no one has heard?
I’ve got a few.
1. Graham Parker: Struck By Lightning. From “She Wants So Many Things,”the epic opening song about the most demanding girlfriend ever, all the way through to the cautiously hopeful “The Sun Is Gonna Shine Again,” Graham Parker puts it all together in this album I’ve bought from the discount racks at least twice. It’s one of my desert island discs. It’s got everything I want on an album – cynicism, black wit, and yet a really open heart in places (“Wrapping Paper”, “Strong Winds”). From “And It Shook Me”:
Well we hold on and hope our grip don't fail
Sometimes lovers hammer in their own coffin nails
I just read how universes start, but generally they blow apart
And it shook me
and I'm still shaking now.
2. Van Morrison: Veedon Fleece. Yeah, everybody knows Moondance. And they should—it’s a hell of an album. But Veedon Fleece is a sweet little secret among Morrison fans. You don’t know any of the songs – although “Bulbs” is up there with his ebullient best – but the desolate “Streets of Arklow” is incredible, and its follow-up, “You Don’t Pull No Punches, But You Don’t Push the River,” has that incredible stream-of-consciousness power that you just can’t capture in lyrics. The album is a coherent whole, with threads (and Poe and Blake references) running from song to song. And then there’s “Comfort You,” a song that’s so sweet, and so simple, that it makes my heart leap out of my chest whenever I hear it:
I wanna comfort you
I wanna comfort you
I wanna comfort you
Just let your tears run wild
Like when you were a child
I'll do what I can do
I wanna comfort you
You put the weight on me
You put the weight on me
You put the weight on me
And finally, an album people may have listened to way back when, but was new to me a couple of years ago:
3. Al Jarreau: We Got By. I saw a rerun of SNL a while back where Jarreau sang the title song to this album, and I thought: “THIS is Al Jarreau? The Moonlighting guy?” His performance absolutely floored me, and the album captures it. It’s funky, soulful, inventive and sexy (I loved sweet potato pie before I ever heard him sing about it, but I love it more now). I’ll wrap up with these lyrics from the title track:
Winter wishes wait till June
We brightened July with that hot dog fun
Tell your mama you're with Sue
You bring the beans and I'll find the wine
Them neon lights were bright till two
And sneaking back home with this girl named Jo
I hurried down to say “I do"
And stared my first man-child in the eye
So much of this song is in the delivery – and the last verse is this surprising torrent of words Jarreau sings with such commitment that I really can’t reproduce it here. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard.
I'm just asking because, for months now, someone has been inexplicably clicking on my blog after finding a link on my site way back when to an image of this Jawa, whom I hereby christen Leon, The Most Popular Jawa on Tatooine. I mean, he must be. Which is why I've brought him back for an encore performance.
He is the jawa you're looking for.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Is it wrong of me to get a thrill—a genuine, electric charge—whenever Li’l Ricky Santorum loses his temper? I know it’s sick…but is it man-on-dog sick, or just a healthy helping of schadenfreude?
Because this brings me joy, no denying it. Oh, it do, it do.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
TPM Reader DK on the latest stain on our country's history, the torture debate in Congress:
I am beyond being able to assess the political implications, one way or the other, of this spectacle. Regardless of which version of the bill finally passes, this debate is a black mark on the soul of the nation. Of course passage of a pro-torture bill will diminish U.S. standing internationally and jeopardize the safety and well-being of U.S. servicemen in future engagements. But merely having this debate has already accomplished that. Does anyone honestly believe that if Congress rebuffs the President in every respect that the rule of law and the inviolability of human rights will have been vindicated? Of course not.
The Republicans have defined deviancy down for the whole world, including every two-bit dictator and wild-eyed terrorist.
We have to take our country back.
Friday, September 15, 2006
...but first, the cool news I heard on Penn's show. From what I could tell, he's working on the writing of a movie with Neil Gaiman. Which would put me in full-on nerd heaven. IMDB doesn't have anything that with both of them, but it could be that Penn isn't co-writing, but working as a consultant. In which case, 2006's Books of Magic (I had no clue they were making it!) movie might fit the bill.
But on to Neil's great post about the new anti-liquid TSA restrictions. Crazy world, ain't it?
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Just in case you were wondering what a graphic that says "Do Not Put Your Baby In The Gun Case" looks like, here it is:
Never confuse a baby with a firearm. One gets really heavy after you carry it for a while and shoots dangerous stuff out of one end. The other gets really heavy after you carry it for a while and shoots dangerous stuff out of both ends. Why is this so hard to remember?
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
We never mentioned what day it was, or what we were doing five years ago. We’re good friends, old friends, and we’ve talked about it all before, and increasingly again these past few weeks as the anniversary loomed and the news coverage increased. We dined on all the sushi we could eat, drank a little saki and berry wine, and talked mostly about old times. And then, stuffed to the gills with sushi, we walked around the city.
People traveled in groups of twos and threes, some of them wanderers like us, others walking with purpose. As we neared Times Square, the crowd thickened, as is usual. A screen curled the words “We will never forget” around a bank. Across the street, a line of fans curled around the block, preparing to wait out all night for a Justin Timberlake CD signing. A man tried his best to play “America the Beautiful” on a steel drum, but it was obvious that it wasn’t in his normal repertoire. And looking south, two high-intensity spotlights shone up into the night.
We knew what night it was. No one needed flags, banners or a presidential visit to remind them. But it wasn’t a vigil; it wasn’t solemn. It was just people doing what they do, an unconscious testament to resilience.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I can't tell you how scared I was on September 11th. I can't express the dread with which I looked to the skies. I don't even know how much I cried that day, and for days afterward.
But I can tell you that the next day, when phone lines were back up, I called my dad. We weren't able to make sense of any of it, but we were there for each other. And I'd go through all those horrible feelings again to have one more phone call with him.
I remember visting him in the hospital soon afterward. We watched the footage on one news show or another -- they were still running 24 hours then. Most of all, I was glad he was there for me when the world broke apart, but sorry that he ever saw things come to this.
I can't say I'm happy I saw it, either. But we get through, day after day, and we bear the public and private hurts the only way we can...by moving forward. By living. By learning. By not forgetting, but by remembering with a little more distance every time.
It's been five years since September 11, and almost that long since my father died. Where will I be in ten years? Where will you?
Pick a destination and start walking. I'll meet you there.
Monday, September 11, 2006
The intrepid Clark Kent DC at the Captain Comics Forums has uncovered the secret to one of life's great mysteries: What the hell are they singing during the WKRP end credits?
First of all, take a listen. Just hearing that again brings back memories. Man, I miss that show.
Next, once you've satisfied yourself that no way are you ever in a million years gonna have the slightest idea what the mush-mouthed singer is belting out, check out this transcription. It makes about as much sense as could be expected, I suppose.
Thanks, CK, and especially to you, transcriber extrordinaire T.E. Ackerson! Now get to work on whatever Benicio Del Toro says in The Usual Suspects!
Sunday, September 10, 2006
I've been too busy to do this justice, but I wanted to direct your attention to the Nicole Maynard showing at the Bowery Gallery in New York. Nicole's a friend of mine, and her work never fails to provoke an emotional--visceral--response from me. Take a look at her website and online gallery to see for yourself, but understand that there's no way that the pixels on your screen are going to convey the intensity of feeling you get with the works hanging right in front of you.
The ones that really hit me yesterday were "Loss," "The Veil," "Eve and the Snake Goddess" and one simply called "Eve" which isn't posted in the online gallery. Nicole's paintings deal with religion, feminism, terrorism, war, hope and hopelessness -- and the intersection between them is always more complex than you might think.
I only wish I'd had more time to take them in yesterday; we left for other galleries, intending to return, but when we got back, the BG was closing up and our friends were pouring out. These paitings are always worth a second look -- they remind me that there are treasures hidden in skeletons, and skeltons hidden in all of us.
SharonGR has more.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
I’m waiting for the planes to tumble
Waiting for the skies to fall
I’m waiting for the cities to crumble
I’m waiting till I see you crawl
I was looking around for a new set of lines to put atop the blog, and found these. I’ve been listening to this song – Blackie and the Rodeo Kings’ recording of John Martyn’s “Don’t Want To Know” – and it consistently gives me chills. It’s a wonderful song, and if I quote the chorus, you’ll probably recognize it:
I don’t want to know about evil
I only want to know ’bout love
It’s really beautiful, almost like a prayer to me. It reminds me that there’s a stronger force out there than fear, but warns that fear itself makes it hard to look away.
Sometimes it gets so hard to listen
Hard for us to use our eyes
All around the cold is glistening
Making sure it keeps us hypnotized
It turns out that the song was written and first recorded by John Martyn in 1973. He had no idea the images that first verse would conjure 28 years down the road. (Incidentally, from what I can tell online, the lyrics are “waiting for the plains to tumble,” not planes.) It’s been recorded by quite a few people, including Richie Havens, Dr. John, and Beth Orton. The first time I heard it, I felt like I recognized it. The song sticks with you.
I don’t want to know one thing about evil
I only want to know ’bout love
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
It’s pretty safe to say that Snakes on a Plane will be out of most theaters by the end of the week. And I don’t have time to write a long post about it. But if you’re looking for a dumb, fun action movie, this one is firing on all cylinders. Four of us went to see it Saturday night, and we came out giddy with adrenaline and action movie goodness.
See it with friends, of course – there’s no sense watching it alone. Snakes must be shared.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Harry Anderson is leaving New Orleans.
He should do what's right for him and his family, of course. But he always seemed to have the right spirit for the city, and I hate to think that spirit has been broken.
Good luck in Asheville, Harry.
It’s Tuesday, so once again I’m telling it to Janet at The Art of Getting By. This week she asked for a memorable first day of school story.
So here it is – my introduction to the public education system, a story in which I am a smartass before I even knew how.
It’s my first day of kindergarten. The bell hasn’t rang yet, and I’m just waiting outside with all the other kids. (I find this hard to believe, now—I’d think my mom would be with me, at least, and everyone else’s moms would be with them. But apparently we were all, K through fourth-graders, standing outside the school alone, possibly unsupervised.)
An older kid comes up to me and pushes me against a wall. I’m terrified of him. I’m not a big kid, and he’s towering over me. He’s a second grader, I think. “What’s your name, kid?” he snarls. It’s a second-grader snarl, designed to instill fear and respect.
“Bobby,” I say. I try to make friends: “What’s yours?”
“Jay.” Now, I have no idea what he wants with me. Kindergarten was only half days, so I didn’t even have lunch money to extort. Most likely, he just wants to be seen as a big guy among his peers – although how pushing around a kid two years younger will accomplish this, I have no idea. But there he is, big tough guy. Jay.
And I start laughing, like he made a joke. “That’s not a name,” I said. “That’s a letter.” Jay’s no longer a tough guy. He’s some kind of comedian. He’s named after a letter! It’s a real knee-slapper to a 5-year-old. This guy kills me!
His friends have heard the exchange, and start laughing. Jay lets me go, flustered. I told him he’s named after a letter, and he’s got nuthin’. Not only did I never have any trouble with him again, but we later became friends through Indian Guides. I haven’t heard anything about him in years, though.
Maybe I should send him a letter.
Friday, September 01, 2006
I saw this cartoon at a sick and twisted animation festival in Baltimore years and years ago. And all I could remember was the name, which cracked me up. So I hereby present: "Jean-Jean and the Evil Cat." Thought you might like it.
(And in that spirit: check this out.)
First of all, apologies for ruining your childhoods.
I can't remember why, but for some reason the other day I saw a clip of Oscar the Grouch singing "I Love Trash." I think I was surfing around on YouTube, but who knows. Anyhow, I noticed something very curious as Oscar sang this verse:
I've a clock that won't work
And an old telephone
A broken umbrella, a rusty trombone
And I am delighted to call them my own!
I love them because they're trash!
He has a WHAT??
I didn't even think that was possible for a muppet.
SO, last night, I’m hurrying out of work. I want to buy stamps if the post office is still open, I want to buy shoelaces because this morning the skin shed off the laces of my right shoe as I tried to tie it, and I want to catch my—
I bump into this guy, a little hand-against-hand jostle, and just my luck, I knock a brown bag with a bottle in it out of his hand. I say “I’m sorry man,” and go to pick up the bottle, but it’s smashed and leaking all over the sidewalk.
“I don’t want your sorry, I want a new bottle,” he says. This guy’s a black man in his mid-to late forties, and he’s angry.
I don’t know what he’s drinking – it didn’t look like a beer, but it was a small bottle, maybe one of those little Jack Daniels drinks or a wine cooler, if they still make them. I ask him how much it was and he says “This is the good stuff -- four dollars.” I really do feel bad about getting between this guy and his snooter. So I look in my wallet and I’ve got a twenty and two singles.
“I’ve got two I can give you,” I say, but he’s having none of it.
“Two won’t buy me a new bottle,” he says.
“Look, man, I’ve gotta catch a train,” I say, offering him the two again.
“I’ll walk with you, and you’ll get me one,” he says, and he starts barreling down the street in my direction. At first he wants to go to this card and candy shop on Madison that I didn’t know sold liquor, but then we head over to a lottery ticket stand. I decide to get some change so I can give him four bucks and be quit of him.
I swear, it was like he was cornering the market on Powerball. If the only money in the kitty is yours, pal, it’s not winning, it’s just a bank.
So the guy, as impatient as I am, shouts “Anybody got change for a twenty?” I turn to a woman waiting in line – this guy’s making her as uncomfortable as he’s making me – and she looks through her money. “I’ve got $19.95.”
“Deal,” I say, handing her the twenty. I take her money, count out four singles for Drinky McSlipperyhands, and head off on my—
“Hey!” he shouts. “Four dollars ain’t gonna cut it!”
“You said it was four dollars,” I argue.
“I said it was twelve dollars,” he says. “It was the good stuff.” Which is bullshit, top to bottom.
“It was also half empty,” I say. “You’re getting four or nothing. Be happy with it. Because This Is Not My Problem.”
And I give him the four bucks, and he goes his way and I go mine. I’m a four-dollar chump, but there’s no way I’m gonna be a twelve-dollar chump.