Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Things I Didn't Know Existed Before Today

# 75: Pet Acupuncture

I know. But there it was, right on the side of the car. And apparently they have an office and a logo and all that good stuff which means they're on the up and up.

Well, I'm sold.

What's that? No, I'm sure he's trustworthy. He's an expert pet acupuncturist. That's not the kind of thing you can learn in an hour. I'll bet that takes at least a solid afternoon of watching a training video to earn that title.

Stop being silly. Of course he's not the same guy you read about who went to jail 10 years ago for torturing squirrels. That guy was like twenty-five. This guy is clearly in his mid-thirties. Now stop being so cynical and distrusting and let the wild-eyed man stick pins into your dog.

No, no, that's completely normal. Yeah, really, I read somewhere that pet acupuncture is supposed to use only rusty railroad ties and hammers. Something to do with the unique energy signatures of animals' shakras or someshit. Now let's do this thing.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Uselessly Irrelevant Pop Music Reference of the Day

WILSON! King of Prussia, I lay this hate on you
WILSON! Duke of Lizards, I beg it all trune for you

You got me back thinkin' that you're the worst one
I must inquire, Wilson, can you still have fun?
Wilson, can you still have fun?
Wilson, can you still have fun?
Wilson

Gourmand of the Radio Dial

Drove down to LA with Michelle today. It turns out that almost half the radio stations in the California central valley are Spanish, another near-half are religious, and the remaining are probably Spanish and religious. Also, it seems that there is no local NPR broadcaster recievable along most of the I-5, but for some reason you can get crystal clear Radio Pacifica the whole way.

And thank goodness for that! Otherwise, I never would've known about this thing called "A Boo Grabe." Have you heard of it?

You know, one might think that after 5 hours, one would get tired of of a steady diet of national self-hatred, braised in a subtle sauce of snide contempt for the vast majority of the country. Not me, though! Oh, and waiter? Another splash of this delicious -what do you call it?- Ah yes, "Michael Moore."

Ugh, I'll bet this is going straight to my hips.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Thought For the Day

"Man, raisins are good. I mean, they're just darn good."

America's Racist Shame

"Today I am feeling strongest racisms against the religion of the Prophet and the One True Faith - sincerely, a typical member of the American Zionist Entity"

...When You're Young At Heart

Sure, he may be a wizened 62 years old on the outside, but on the inside he's still a sprightily clueless 18 year old college freshman.
"I think Michael Moore's agenda is to get Bush out, but I think it (should be) about more than Bush," said Reingold, an independent, on Saturday. "I think it's about the capitalist system, which is inequitable. They're laying people off, cutting off health care, and the few people on top are getting more rich and powerful."
You're a shining example for all people who yearn to remain a mental teenager, Mr. Reingold.

Bloggus Suspensus

Exploring the outer limits altered human consciousness. Back later. How much later, I'm not sure. Time dilation is a bitch like that...

Update: Journey to the center of your mind has been delayed indefinitely.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Internal Dialogue

Hey, how come you post so much on Saturday when no one is reading blogs?

Because no one reads this blog anyway, so it doesn't make much of a difference, does it, Fuckface?

You promised you would stop calling me that.

That was before you started actually getting your face fucked, and hence making the term only too appropriate.

You can be so cruel when you split your personalities.

Compounding Their Shame

You can't help but feel embarassed for Ebert and the Other Guy when they feel the need to revisit their unintentionally hilarious commentary on Fahrenheit 9/11 from a previous week (audio file) to defend their opinions against "conservatives" who apparently didn't take too kindly to the abject ignorance and stupidity offered as a literate review. Once again, they smugly proclaim that F-9/11 is an important film because it's powerful and doesn't pull any punches, and isin addition beyond criticism because Moore admits that his viewpoint is a biased one.

Congrats, boys. You've once again made fools of yourselves by either being unable or unwilling to recognize the actual issue: that the movie is unfair and not worthy of anything but contempt because it is a calculated exercise in falsehood and dishonesty, not because its auteur is making a polemic against Bush. Boys, friendly advice: just shut up. It's simply too painful to watch you triumphantly heaping accolades so high when you're so utterly clueless about... well, everything.

In the kindest interpretation possible, one might only fault you for being too ignorant to be aware of the omissions and background info that would reveal Moore for the lying lipidinoid he is, but after reading about the movie's own patent internal contradictions, one seems unable to conclude anything but that you guys are just not very bright. So please, do yourselves and the world a favor: just shut your idiot traps, 'kay?

Bring on the Pork

Screw the Israeli bullets. As far as I'm concerned, that's only barely a good start. Barely. I want me some pig ammo.

I'm sure American ingenuity can come up with some sort of fragmenting round that contains rendered hog fat. Try getting your 72 virgins then, you superstitious bastards!

Thought of the Day

"Did I leave the iron on?"

--Me, five minutes ago

Photo Roundup


It's a sad state of affairs indeed when your hat can express the sum total of your political philosophy.



These boots are made for walkin' from environmentally-friendly synthetic fibers and promote equitable living-wage sustainable development,
And that's just what they'll do;
One of these days these boots
Are gonna walk all over you form a broad coalition that will break the hold of the two-party system in this country and signal a significant shifting in the national socio-political dynamic.



Bill Clinton shakes hands with a well-wisher a book signing. And is probably doing that creepy finger thing.



While schooled in the arts of insurgent warfare and propaganda, Iraqi militants nonetheless seem ignorant of the fact that white is not a slimming color...



...See? That's the idea. Of course, Moore is aided by the fact that his mass is sufficient to bend trap light, rendering his appearance significantly smaller to the naked eye.



And finally, in international news, Korea was looking increasingly like Florida to me today, prompting me to try to come up with some sort of peppy mnemonic to tell them apart.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Crapcrapcrapcrapcrap

When you bake pot cookies and put them out for your housemates, it would be nice to label them as such

Crap crap ate toomanycookies mmm they were good tho my leg cant stop bouncing now now now im gonna be hyper for the next three hours of the night or the morning whatever ill be up for awhile dammit blogging too hard too hard no coherent thoughts but i guess thats not too different ami right or ami right or ami right right right

Wherein Our Intrepid Hero Makes Stuff Up Because He's Bored

So I was thinking about the Olsen twins (in a completely legal manner... and yes, as a matter of fact I do have a lot of free time; how did you know?), and I figure I have the whole anorexia thing figured out.

It's clear to me now that one of them is feeding on the lifeforce of the other, in a vampiric, or possibly... body snatchers type way.

I mean, twins can do that, right?

Another Nothing Issue Desperately Blown Out of Proportion

I think this whole "seven minutes" thing, given prominent attention in Fahrenheit 9/11, is an interesting phenomenom to examine from both sides of the aisle.

On the one hand, you have Michael Moore, devoting a large portion of the seven minutes of screen time to showing Bush continuing to read to school children after he's been told of the attacks. Apparently, this is an accusation that Bush was either 1) criminally unconcerned with the fact that America was under attack, 2) too stupid to know what to do, preferring to sit there like a deer in the headlights, or 3) aware that the attacks were coming, evidenced by his lack of surprise. I've heard arguments advancing all three of these interpretations from various people who have seen the film.

In response, you then get conservatives arguing that the president did exactly the right thing, and that immediately jumping up and rushing out of the room would have been needlessly upsetting and impulsive; his calm and deliberate demeanor helped to set the right tone of response for these events.

Bullshit. More than anything else, the fact that defenders of Bush feel they need to offer some kind of positive rebuttal explaining Bush's actions in this particular context shows what an ugly effect Moore's style of filmmaking has had on public discourse in general. The proper respoonse to the film's assertion is ignoring it, because it's fucking stupid.

Those seven minutes don't say anything important about Bush, good or bad. Neither would it have meant anything extraordinary if Bush had sat there five minutes, or for no time at all. I wouldn't think any less of him if he had leapt out of his seat without a parting word and left the kiddies puzzled and traumatized (although you can bet that Moore would use this scenario just as readily as proof that Bush is a bumbling and uncaring fool). Trying to draw some Big Conclusion about whether the president feels like he should continue to read for a few more minutes during a tense situation is just lame and pathetic. It's a nothing controversy.

But of course Moore tries to turn it into some breathless indictment. That's what he does. And of course many of his dullard cheerleaders in the idiot media are only too eager to salivatingly bob their empty parrot heads in enthusiastic concurrence. One of Moore's main shticks is the carefully crafted pose of ironic outrage. If only he acts fervently enough like something utterly mundane, unremarkable and widely known is an outrageous and scandalous secret, maybe the deltas will all start vibrating angrily in their seats because... well, just because.

Trying to craft a defense of Bush in this instance that goes beyond "Shut up, you're an idiot," is simply giving Moore's argument too much credit already.

Signs of the Apocalypse #765

Roger Simon:
But I did see the trailer the other night and what is being emphasized in the advertisement is that the documentary reveals the shocking news that Bush helped the Bin Laden family leave America immediately after 9/11. Now Hitchens, of course, shows how this is a bald-faced lie. Bush critic Richard Clarke has acknowledged his sole responsibility for that. (I blogged about this a few weeks ago.) It seems to invalidate the entire film without having to go further. It will be interesting to see how the critics respond. Don't look for the Cannes Film Festival to rescind the Palme d'Or. After all, Quentin Tarantino informed us that his jury had awarded the film the prize "for aesthetic reasons."
Forget the whole thing about dishonest distoritions, bold-faced bias at Cannes, the fact that Michael Moore is depleting our nation's Krispy Kreme resources at an alarming rate, etc. etc. What's really freaky, man about this whole situation is the fact that Michael Moore would win anything on the basis of aesthetics.

I mean, seriously, has the whole world gone insane?

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Faniboi Inanity

Abandon all coolness, ye who enter in

This post by Allah made me cue up the end of Return of the Jedi (doing so is insanely easy and quick since our network has about 900 easily-accessible DVD rips), just to watch the part with Nien Nunb. I ended up watching the last 20 minutes or so of the movie.

Then, out of some vague urge I still don't fully comprehend, I watched about the last half hour of Return of the King.

Just witnessing the contrast was like participating in a Two Minutes Hate with Lucas replacing Emmanuel Goldstein as the centerpiece.

Christ, what gawdawful tripe this was. I used to think that Episode I had soured my love of the previous films. But now I realize there was something else going on. It didn't poison some well of goodwill, it just revealed that Star Wars was always rather insipid and poorly made tripe that I was too young to recognize for what it was, and that right up until Ep. I came out, my affinity had simply been coasting on some kind of inertia of nostalgia and emotional investment. The idiot prequels didn't turn me against Star Wars so much as reveal its inherent lameness. And of course the fact that Lucas himself has long vied with James Cameron for the title of Most Insufferable Prick in Hollywood (you know, the "Miphie") just made the revelation feel all the more right.

If you'd told me ten years ago that I'd be writing this, there's a good chance that I would've chopped off my hands to prevent such heresy from being typed. I guess I can chalk that up to vagaries of youth. Even though it's embarrassing, I'm actually a little glad I have that blemish to point to. As youth idiocies go, being a Star Wars fanboi isn't too bad. It sure beats being a Chomskyite or Rage Against the Machine Homework fan. Although those probably would've got me laid more.

People Unclear on the Concept

#495: Queers for Palestine

Jump Through Our Hoops, You Legal Monkeys

That's right, law school students, you're all part of a racket as corrupt as your uncle Salvatorre's meat packing union.

While depressing to revisit the ugly truth about the bar exam, I was already aware of this even prior to going to law school. The really sad thing is much of the same forces are at work behind LSAT testing and law school admission rates, a fact I took perverse delight in relating to my LSAT students when I worked for Princeton Review. Law schools (or the accredited ones at least) have something of at least a tacit agreement amongst each other that they will collectively keep their fingers plugged in the dike that holds back the vast resevoir of the money-obsessed and morally flexible youngsters as a means of maintaining the relative prestige and comfortable lifestyle afforded a lawyer.

Even more transparent is the relatively recent decision to mandate attendance at an accredited school for admission to the bar. Tradition was, if you were smart enough and didn't care about some academic pedigree to put on your resume, you could study on your own, and if you were able to pass the bar, you were as much a lawyer as anyone else. I'm not sure of it, but it seems rather clear to me that this was more than anything the law schools' doing, making their $50-100k stamp of approval an unavoidable hoop for future shysters to jump through.

I've heard similar things about med school as well, although I could be wrong. A year in law school has thoroughly demystified the legal world and jaded me to the point that I'm pretty sure any reasonably intelligent simian could do it passably well with about half the schooling lawyers typically recieve. The world of medicine is still fairly opaque to me, though. The bank of knowledge required seems more encyclopedic, the process of diagnosis still looks like something of a magic trick.

But then, I also wouldn't be surprised if I learned tomorrow that what doctors do boils down to a car mechanic working with slightly squishier parts. I'm actually sure that would happen if I ever leanred the stuff myself. One certainty I have about life is that once I can do something, it can't possibly be hard. After all, I'm an idiot.

Soccer Hoodlums Graduate to Suicide Bombing



A Palestinian boy cheers for his country's soccer team.

Huh?

...Oh.

Well, I mean I just assumed with the face paint and all... you know, the Palestinian soccer team. Cuz I figured they'd have one. I mean, countries have stuff like national sports teams and schools and police forces and court systems and running water and all that shit, right? It's not like he'd be just some adolescent idiot standing on the corner yelling for the destruction of Israel, is it?

Optical Delusions

You might think this picture bears the hallmarks of some photoshop manipulation, but you have to remember, the camera subtracts about 250 pounds.

Fahrenheit 9/11 Gets R-rating

"R," in MPAA parlance apparently now stands for "Retarded."

What, no cries of "Censorship!", Mikey? I'm disappointed. It seems your game is slipping. Try to work on that. I'm starting to get a little concerned that, come the next terrorist attack, you won't even have some analogy ready at hand to compare the murderers to George Washington or something.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

We Are Badasses

How do you like that shit, you infidel pigs? Yeah! We are one baaaaad group of muthafuckas. We like totally cut his head off. His head. You like them jihad apples? Yeah. Yeah. Look at that. Look at us. He was all like crying and shit, and we did it anyway. Cut his head clean off. You like that, infidels? You like that? Take it. Take it good. That's right bitches. Yeah, you may be able to kill hundreds of us effortlessly from thousands of feet in the air, you may be able to go up against superior numbers and kill 50 as many casualties as you take, and sure, you can conquer a country in 3 weeks, but fuck all, can you behead an unarmed and blindfolded civilian? Yeah, we thought so. You wish you was as bad as us! Yeah. Tremble like the little bee-atches you are!

Short-Takes: Berkeley in the 60s (1990)

The sound of one hand clapping (...for itself, while the other hand alternates between patting itself on the back and masturbating over its righteous achievements, of which there are evidently none).

Monday, June 21, 2004

Living in a Co-op Is...

Part of a continuing series

Mentally keeping track of places no longer suitable for sitting, ever since they'd been occupied by one of your housemates during his naked phase.

Fry, Baby, Fry

There are many things you could point out about Lynn Stewart to give one adequate reason to hope the government throws a spiky, flaming book of Justice at her.

Here's just one of them:
Stewart often embraces her clients, seeing in their cases the stuff of radical liberation. "I'm not going to say what's healthy for someone who lives somewhere else in the world," she said. "My own political sense tells me that the only hope for change in Egypt is the fundamentalist movement."
My own political sense tells me the only thing fitting for Stewart is an 8' x 10' cell for the rest of her useless life.

The Big Fat Pot Calls the Jumping Kettle a Black Shark

... or something. You figure it out.

Now that's chutzpah: Michael Moore threatening people with libel suits for wilfully distorting the truth.

Just read that sentence again to make sure you've absorbed it fully (but don't read it too many times, or your head might very well go Scanners).

As serious legal claims go, it's almost impossible to even conceive of a realistic libel claim that Moore might have against anyone criticizing his movie. That's doubly true when one considers his suggestion that the reason he's making this statement now is because there was a whole slew of actionable libel made in response to Bowling For Columbine that he could've and should've pursued but didn't. He implies that there was some sort of tort liability incurred by at least some of those hundreds of people who publicly dissected the dishonesty in BFC, but for some reason he didn't respond soon enough and is now precluded from legally vindicating himself.

Sorry, Mikey. We're not that grotesquely stupid, unlike that choir you preach to with your mendacious little piles of celluloid refuse. The statute of limitations for libel and slander are almost always at least two years, and often as many as four. BFC came out in October of 2002. The public take-downs of the movie's credibility only came when the movie had gained wide notoriety in 2003. If Mike actually had some sort of libel case, he's still well within his ability to pursue it.

But of course he doesn't, and that's what this is all about. A successful libel claim requires that the defendant printed and represented as true something that he personally knew was false, or knew that there was a high probability of it being false. No criticism of BFC that I ever saw or heard about even came close to this standard. And of course, the elephant of irony in this room is the fact that BFC itself is a credible instance of libel on several counts, since it dishonestly edited material to distort the public statements of several people.

What this threat is really about is bluster and intimidation. I think Moore is beginning to realize that F-911 is no less sloppy and objectively dishonest than BFC was, and he's starting to sweat at the prospect of all the errors being prominently pointed out before the film even has a chance to establish itself like BFC did. This is about blunting that well-earned criticism through specious legal threats. After all, it doesn't cost anything to threaten a lawsuit. In addiiton it might just be the case that Moore is egomaniacal enough that he actually believes that his millions and his fame are enough to bring the legal system to bear as a cudgel and make the little people tremble. Maybe he really believes all that twaddle he peddles about millionaires being able to use the law as their own personal plaything. I dunno.

What I do know is that these threats are like everything else he puts out into the public sphere: annoying, empty and deceitful.

The Federal Judiciary Takes a Credibility Hit

The thing that I find particularly striking about this story linked by Instapundit is the fact that, even though these were particularly liberal lawyers, members of the American Constitution Society (the National Lawyers Guild version of con law groups), they were still shocked enough at the remarks to gasp. The fact that Federal judges have a reputation for logical sobriety sufficient to elicit those gasps makes me glad in having chosen law as a future profession, and it consequently makes me that much more annoyed that Calabresi would say something so mind-numbingly stupid.

The 60 Minutes Tongue Bath

So last night, it was mentioned on the 60 Minutes rimjob of Bill Clinton that, during the 1992 interview with Steve Kroft about Gennifer Flowers (which Clinton himself had voluntarily arranged to squelch the Flowers rumors), Bill was so pissed that Kroft would dare interfere with his personal life that he wanted to get up and "slug" him.

[Cut to Dan Rather, who mistily cocks his head and says with his eyes, "You poor, poor man. How'd you ever get through it?"]

Of course, it's a cliche at this point, but imagine if it was a Republican former president saying the same thing. Oh, the outrage! Wanting to visit violence against a journalist who just doing his job! What a big dumb ape!

Friday, June 18, 2004

A Public Spanking Over Bazian, From Yours Truly

Remember the Hatem Bazian flap where the UC Berkeley lecturer called for an intifada in the US that would be more radical than the one in Israel? It was linked just about everywhere, but LGF will do nicely in a pinch. Well, not long after, a free local paper, the Berkeley Daily Planet, did an interview with the apparently poor, put-upon Bazian, who whined that people were upset with him and were making thousands of death threats by email.

Anyway, I steer clear of the Daily Planet pretty regularly when I see it on the street, and the few times I've read articles have been when they were linked online from exterior sources like LGF. I heard the audio recording when it was linked by LGF. Then I read the Daily Planet article by the same road. Then I sent the following (quickly dashed-off) letter to-the-editor:
Absolutely ridiculous article (“UC Lecturer’s ‘Intifada’ Comment Brings Death Threats,” Daily Planet, May 25-27). First of all, he didn’t say “political intifada.” I heard an audio recording of the event. But more importantly, he didn’t mean it in a political sense, either. It strains common sense to think that he was talking about some sort of benign political realignment by using that word, especially since he explicitly related it to the Palestinian intifada and claimed that it would be more “radical” even than the murder and terrorism going on in Israel.

I also find it rather sad that Mr. Schiller blindly accepted and parroted Bazian’s silly claim to multitudes of death threats. Death t hreats are illegal. One might think that just maybe if someone was getting deluged with serious threats of harm, he would report them to the police and they would be investigated. But of course, actually looking into such a thing to see if there was any credibility to the those claims would be too taxing for Mr. Schiller, I suppose. By the way, saying someone ought to be shot in the head, while not a particularly nice suggestion, is not a death threat. I strongly suspect that most of the claimed “threats” against Bazian were of this degree, if not much less.

This is truly the worst sort of shoddy reporting. The article failed to look at Bazian’s dissembling with any kind of critical eye. You have effectively become a mouthpiece for his lies. Congratulations.
Just tonight, someone pointed out to me that the BDP had published my letter some time ago (last letter on the page). My friend pointed out that BDP actuallywas quite diligent about printing harshly disagreeing letters. Kudos to them for that much, at least.

Picture Fun - My Personal Care Bear

Michelle Malkin finds her inner Care Bear. She thinks she's Grumpy Bear.

As for myself, I'm gonna have to go with Hippie-Stomping Bear.



Hiding behind the ACLU only makes Hippie-Stomping Bear angrier and stompier.

Living in a Co-op Is...

Part of a continuing series

Listening to the Food-Not-Bombs people who use our kitchen once a week talking at length about how every police officer was merely a childhood sadist who loved hurting people so much that they had to follow it as their life's work.

Stay Out of Her Bush(es)

"Look, I just want them to stay the hell off my property. It's about my privacy, don't you get it? I'm perfectly willing to work out a compromise, like, for instance, letting them watch while I have sex with a donkey and deepthroat an 18-inch glass dildo. I'm down with that. But I absolutely draw the line at someone hiking in my back yard. Just the thought makes me feel so violated."

Hollywood Che Chic

Hollywood is making another movie about our old Marxist killer-pal, Che, and this one looks to be a Hollywood fawnfest of the same stripe as the hagiography of that excreble woman and mediocre artist, Frida Kahlo, where revolutionary politics and personal immaturity and self-obsession meld into the perfect charismatic elxir, at least for people who listen to the Rage Against the Machine Homework.

While the romance associated with revolution has always been prevalent among the immature and emotional, there weren;t exactly many figures to personify that romanticism. It took a much different mindset and historical outlook to get behind Stalin or Lenin the way the dupes of the 30's did. For the naive Western comrade of the 60's up to the present day, those fellows were simply much too stodgy and too mired in the ugly and tedious quotidian of actually running a (non)functioning Marxist state.

Che, on the other hand (or at least the popular conception that many still hold of him), can be sufficiently separated from any fetters tying the young and idealistic to the oppressive real-world consequesences of their beliefs. His status as permanent guerrilla allows one to forever exist in the romantic world of continuing revolution, rather than forcus on the ruin that follows in the wake of those satisfying orgies of smashing the powers-that-be. That, and clever marketing (the irony is particularly satisfying), is what has placed his two-toned image on every other college dorm room in the country - he is the epitome of communist romanticism and denial of reality.

Expect heavy doses of both from the new movie, which seems to have attracted a lot of big name talent like Steven Soderbergh and Benicio Del Toro. With a tagline like "[H]e fought for the people," expect to not see much focus on the fact that Che was basically an incompetent and ignorant revolutionary, as much interested in fulfilling romantic fantasies as the common American know-nothing that idolizes him. Also, I wouldn't be waiting with bated breath to see much depiction of the sizable contempt in which he held the people he was trying to mobilize to revolution. The people he dealt with he considered largely a canvas on which to paint his own personal valiant narrative of The People. They were the faceless masses, surrounding him as the central messianic figure of deliverance. I guess, when one considers how incapable they seemed to help him bring about this personal transcendence and fame, that it's understandable he was so annoyed with them all the time and wrote repeatedly in his diaries the scorn he felt for the stupid peasants he was surrounded by.

What you can expect is the standard worshipful fare. The filmakers will likely claim they're creating a fair, unflinching portrait. They'll include the man's flaws as well, such as his fierce temper and propensity for violence, which will no doubt be depicted in such a way as to make him seem even more attractive or sympathetic, in the same way that Frida Kahlo's abusive relationship with her husband only made her more appealing to the audience.

Expect a slew of Oscars.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Short-Takes: "The Believer" (2001)

Yeshiva students grows up to be Neonazi. He be seriously fucked in the head, yo.

We the Undersigned...

...are talking out of our ass.

Bruce, they need you.
On September 1, the Republicans will be hold their convention in New York City and will nominate George Bush for President. Many people will see this event as it will be broadcast on all the major television networks. However, an opportunity exists at that time to make it clear to Americans that they can choose an alternative to George Bush.
Well thank goodness they're providing an alternative to Bush. I'm assuming, of course, that the election in November has been summarily cancelled, because why else would they feel the need to provide an alternative when the traditional, obvious means of voicing one's dissatisfaction with a sitting president was still in place? I mean that would just be stupid.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Song Lyric that Presently Captures My Mood

I'm waving my dick in the wind,
I'm waving my dick in the wind.
If it all goes right, I'll be in your arms tonight,
I'm waving my dick in the wind.
Admittedly, it's more of a "pose" than a "mood."

By the way, are you cold? I feel cold.

The PR Appeasers of Corporate America

It would be refreshing to see the American incarnation of McDonald's do something like this:
In its new campaign, McDonald's [of Australia] attacks Spurlock's film as being "about someone who decides to overeat."

Russo appears in the ads himself, targeting Spurlock's claim that eating nothing by McDonald's for 30 days can make you sick.

"You're right," Russo says in the commercial. "Surprise, surprise. He finds out it was an error. I could have told him that."
Translation: "Well, duh, you grandstanding purveyor of jackassery."

I don't see anything about the American wing following up with a similar campaign. Perhaps it's because Super Size Me hasn't made as big an impact in America as it has Australia, but I'm more inclined to believe it's because US corporations tend heavily more towards the spineless mode of public relations. Case in point: Jesse Jackson being able to extort millions because he deems there to be insufficient black faces in the company's management.

I see this type of problem as being at least in part a tragedy-of-the-commons situation. I think in the short term, it's probably the safer bet for corporations to take the spineless route and, say, take the $10 million hit in donations going to Jackson's pockets so they can get the Rainbow Coalition seal of approval, or to make a meek and half-hearted effort to point out that McDonald's is trying to add healthy alternatives. In both cases, the corporation in question is essentially ceding the argument on its merits to their respective fraudulent gadflies that are trying to score a buck, rather than attacking their accusations as the often baseless and self-serving canards they are.

How satisfying would it be to see a CEO from a Fortune 500 tell Jessie Jackson where he can stick his "concerns" about "diversity?" How satisfying to see Charlie Bell, the CEO of McDonald's, come out on TV and say, in effect, "Spurlock, you're a dirty liar and a shamelessly opportunistic filmmaker"? They wouldn't have to use those words, but even getting that message across in language suitable to the professional public sphere would still be refreshing enough to put in a Sierra Mist commercial.

If corporations were willing to take those kinds of stances, I think such self-serving tribunes of the public would soon evaporate in a cloud of self-righteousness. But, like I said above, taking the route of appeasment is often the most rational thing for each individual entity to do in the isloated context of their ability to act as a private corporation. Confronting yappy attack dogs like Jackson or Spurlock runs a much higher immediate risk than trying to sit them down at your table and get them on your side.

Say Jackson needs another million to pay off yet mother to keep quiet about her new illegitimate bundle of joy that will grow up with a inbred penchant for preaching and rhyming and so suddenly decides that GM doesn't hire enough minorities. No problem there, he says to the board of directors. A tidy donation to Jackson's personal slush fund foundation will allay his deep misgivings about GM's committment to minority employment.

It would certainly be appealing on an emotional level to stand up publicly to this kind of shysterism, but corporations aren't about fighting the good fight and scoring points against some transparent public blowhard, they're about protecting the value of their company to shareholders. Even waging that battle successfully could very well cost as much as Jackson is asking for, and there's a real risk that Jackson would win the PR battle, and then GM gets branded with a reputation for wearing white hoods in the board room and becomes a dirty word on the public tongue.

So, it's in everyone's best interest on an individual level to appease or engage these kinds of people, while in the long run setting themselves up increasingly as legitmate targets in the public mind, to regularly take frivolous potshots at and see what you can get out of the deal.

Captioneering



"Fire... bad!"

Bias vs. Lies Redux

This time from Malkin's blog, an emailer writes in regarding a complaint he made to the Times about Paul Krugman's patently false assertion that there hadn't been successful prosecutions of terrorists:
They blew me off. Said that was just his opinion, I need to show facts that prove him wrong, bunch of BS like that. Told me the old fall back, "If you don't like it, don't read it."
So now it seems the NYT's standard M.O. is that it's ok to lie as long as it's your "opinion."

My, my. This is becoming quite a frequent talking point these days, isn't it?

Asylum and Terrorism

Michelle Malkin presents a frightening picture of the state of the current asylum regime operating in the US:
But the system for screening out the well-meaning from the menaces is completely overwhelmed. Claims of "credible fear of persecution" are almost impossible to document but are rarely rejected. Federal homeland security officials are unable to detain asylum-seekers for background checks without the civil liberties brigade screaming "racial profiling." And there is still a woeful shortage of detention space -- just 2,000 beds nationwide -- to hold those with suspect claims.

As a result, thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers who have made flimsy claims of persecution are let loose. As the Department of Justice's inspector general reported, 97 percent of all asylum-seekers from any country who were released from immigration custody were never found again and deported.
As an optional statutory elective this last semester, I chose to tae immigration law. I took it mostly because of the issues that have been raised since 9/11, and I was keen on learning about the mechanisms for screening and excluding potentially dangerous people from our country.

I was soon disappointed to learn that the class was to be taught from a alien-advocate point of view. That is, every law or regulation or process of review that we looked at was studied from the perspective of the alien trying to gain admission. As such, the professor frequently mentioned offhand things such as the ways in which asylum officers would capriciously deny credible applicants based on some vague and likely prejudicial suspicion. Every anecdote always dealt with the way that aliens were getting unnecessarily screwed over by callous or imcompetent bureaucrats. I never once heard anything like the figure Malkin presents about 97% of applicants disappearing into the US population.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Silly Hats of the World, Unite!

The cheeseheads finally have a rival for the "World's Silliest Sports-Related Hat" competition:



Update: The East Germans used to be a force to be reckoned with in this sport, but ever since the Iron Curtain came down, Teutonic entries have been relegated to poor showings such as these:



Come on, guys. I see the silliness, but I don't feel it.

It's [Not] Funny Because It's [Un]true

See, this is why Doonesbury is now not only silly and irrelevant, but unfunny as well.

Trudeau has long been a devotee of the "genuine Little Guy as avatar" school of cartooning, wherein he chooses some salt-of-the-earth character to mouth his own philosophy. This can be an effective trope if you can find a message and an Average-Joe mouthpiece that plausibly could go together. In Trudeau's case however, his iconic Middle America characters tend more towards spouting standard issue Elite Liberal Opinion, today's comic being a perfect example.

You really think people in the army are overwhelmingly against their kids following in their footsteps, even if it means putting their lives at risk? Trudeau apparently does. Perhaps that's just because he's a pampered elitist who thinks the supreme goal in life is his own comfort and self-fulfillment, and so he cannot even fathom a military parent being proud of their kid choosing the same career. Maybe he's one of those clueless types who thinks only the stupid or the disadvantaged go into the military because they don't have any other options in life. Maybe he's just desperately hard-up for material and can't come up with anything else, I dunno.

The bottom line is it's lame because it rings so false.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Mao More Than Ever

The really interesting thing about this story is merely that there still seem to be people who consider themselves Maoists (aside from certain denziens of Berkeley I see every now and then).
Maoist rebels ambushed two police trucks in Nepal on Monday, killing 21 police officers and wounding 12 in stepped-up violence that analysts said dimmed hopes for early peace talks.
I'm curious what these blokes would have to say about just what makes them "Maoist," seeing as how the dogma itself was generally defined as whatever that crazy ignorant peasant happened to be thinking on any particular day - an arrangement that often caused central committee members to become counter-revolutionaries without them even knowing it. It's truly a sad state of affairs when even the yes-men get executed because their yeses are out of date by a week or so.

If these guys are really Maoists, they should try showing it in a more historically consistent way, like say, starving a few tens of millions of people out of their own incompetence and disregard for anything but ideology. Or maybe they could try making a bunch of substandard steel, or factories and farms that don't produce anything. Or they could shut down the school system for 10 years and kill/enslave every mildly educated person in a frenzy of equality. Now that would presumably do Mao proud.

But no, all they can manage is shooting up a police convoy. Somewhere, the Great Helmsman is looking up, and he is not happy (I mean because of these guys, of course, not because Satan is shoving a hot poker up his rectum).

Living in a Co-Op Is...

Part of a continuing series

Thinking of a polite way to say to your neighbor "Would you mind not fucking so damn loudly? The walls are made out of tissue-paper for chrissakes."

Short Takes: Top Gun (1986)

Having only seen the movie for the first time recently, I have to ask, was it this hilarious in 1986?

Picture Fun

Seeing as how Mikey's got himself a spiffy, brand new movie and all, I humbly offer Mr. Moore my services as poster designer:



Too subtle? It's too subtle, isn't it?

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Short Takes: "Identity" (2003)

Hmm, sorta like Ten Little Indians... oh.

Ummm, ok, that's a kinda nifty surprise. And this ending looks to be rather good in an ambiguous sort of way-

...

What?

Oh, fuck you, movie. You just couldn't quit when you were ahead, could you? Get in the corner!

Short-Takes: The Last Samurai

In a word: lame.

In several more words: lame, with Tom Cruise.

It's the Lies, Stupid

Well, it's become fairly clear to me already what the rhetorical hand-trick regarding Farenheit 9/11 is going to be. Check out the Ebert and Roeper review here, for the perfect example. Several times during that audio clip, the both of them point out that Moore makes no claims to objectivity, and that this is an unambiguously polemical film. Also, here A.O. Scott from the NYT writes, "Is it partisan? Of course. But there are not many important films that haven't been."

Well, duh.

Ebert and Roeper seem to think this disclaimer makes criticism of the political arguments of the film unwarranted. I mean, come on, how can you say it's unfair when he's admitting it's biased! What more do you want?!

Well gosh, far be it from me to interupt all the obtuse missing-of-the-point that's going on here, and which will no doubt be repeated ad nauseum in the weeks after the film is released and in the run-up to the next Oscar awards, but I'm afraid I'm obligated to highlight the following:

It's not about bias, it's about dishonesty.

Single-celled organisms can tell Michael Moore has an axe to grind. His entire public persona is built around polemicism as strident and irresponsible as anything Ann Coulter ever gushed forth. An overly mild response to fans of the film who try to defend it by saying that Moore admits he's biased would be, "No shit? You come up with that all by yourself, did you? Capital job! Have a cookie. Run along now, grownups are talking."

Look, I don't care if Michael Moore has stupid opinions. I don't care if he puts those stupid opinions in a movie. I don't care if millions of people agree with those stupid opinions and give Moore lots of money and awards on account of their agreement. Were any of those things hto appen, I would be quite content to argue with the message and arguments of the film, and not the fact of the film itself. But what does in fact chap my hide, and what is the reason that Moore pisses so many other people off, is that he tries to advance his opinions (stupid or not) by deliberately misrepresenting the truth.

That's what the furor over Bowling For Columbine was about. It wasn't because he didn't equal time to NRA advocates to defend their position. It was because the movie was filled with dishonesty. Admitting one's partisanship doesn't make it ok for someone to selectively quote or edit material or facts so aggressively that it distorts the normal conclusion that would be drawn from the unedited source. If I tell you upfront I don't like Michael Moore, that doesn't give me license to claim with all seriousness that he sodomizes puppies and little boys.

Now, I haven't seen Farenheit 9/11. I'll probably download it off the internet when it comes out (how's that for the little guy taking something back from those rich, fat cats, eh, Mikey?), but as for now, I can't strictly comment on whether it's a steaming pile of mendacity like BFC. However, I've had a few scenes described to me that already seem to indicate Moore is in his usual form, such as when he does his aggressive fat-slob-with-a-mic shtick in which he ambushes someone important on the street then acts surprised when they refuse to grant an interview right there on the spot. In one scene, he's confronting members of Congress, asking them if they'll sign their children up for military service (cuz, you know, it's always the poor and minorities getting chewed up as cannon fodder). In fact, a few reveiwers have pointed this scene out as one of the more comedically powerful moments of the film. And it seems Moore is simply up to his tried-and-true busllshit artistry, since he apparently omits the response by one of the Congressmen who stops and points out to Moore that yes, his son happens to be in the military and yes, he went to Iraq.

I've only heard this secondhand, so I can't confirm the truth of it until I see the movie and then check the background, but it wouldn't surprise me if this and many other examples of dishonest filmmaking are littered throughout. After all, it would only be Moore staying true to his past M.O.

But that's ok. After all, he's just being admittedly "partisan."

Saturday, June 12, 2004

We're Here, We're Queer...

...we lie like motherfuckers!
"The man who murdered more gay people than anyone in the entire history of the world is dead," Kramer writes. "More people than Hitler even. In all the tributes to his passing, as I write this two days after his death, not one that I have seen has mentioned this. The hateful New York Times ("all the news that's fit to print") of course said nothing about this. We still are not fit to write about with total honesty in their pages. Not really. Just as we were not fit for Ronald Reagan to talk about us. What kind of president is that."


Boy, I hope no one ever finds out that I also killed all those gays. I never made a national issue out of it either.

Via the Corner

Living in a Co-Op Is...

Part of a continuing series

...having to listen to stories about how totally fucking wasted he was last night. I mean, like, dude. Totally. Fucking. Wasted.

No, no. You don't even understand, dude. It was like, whoa, knowwhatI'msayin'?

Friday, June 11, 2004

Fratboys Gone Wild

The car slowed down behind us, but we didn't notice it at the time. Cars slow downa ll time, especially in residential neighborhoods with frequent stop signs. Then the little white blur passed in front of us and splooshed on the sidewalk. The car sped away.

"Did they just throw an egg at us?" Michelle asked.

"I think they did."

Thursday, June 10, 2004

"Excuse Me, Do You Have a Moment...?"

So apparently the DNC is taking a page from the Nader playbook and setting people up on streetcorners with clipboards a la the various "PIRG" groups and asking passersby "Do you have 5 minutes to defeat Bush?"

For those who haven't been on college campus in a while, this is what the PIRG groups do. They typically take a group of four and put them on opposite sides of a street corner and ask pedestrians if they could spare 5 minutes to save the environment (yeah, that's right, just 5 minutes! to save the environment!). Then they hit you up for donations, about 90% of which actually go to them funding more people on street corners with clipboards. For a while they were doing this thing where they arranged a group of four clipboaders in a square on a single sidewalk, two facing people coming from one direction, and the other two facing the direction. They thus created an unavoidable gauntlet of solicitation, making it virtually impossible for anyone to get by unmolested. I haven't seen that formation in a while. I'd guess it probably wasn't too efficient, as I's also guess that it merely annoyed people and used up a lot more manpower.

Anyway, the DNC is now aping the process. They're even using the same recruitment methods. Flyers for PIRGs would appear ubiquitously in the spring that read "Work for the environment this summer." Now, in addition, you see "Work to defeat Bush this summer."

Being the generally surly simian that I am, you might think I look at all this with distaste, but that's actually far from the case.

I rather like talking to clipboarders. I don't engage them in hour-long debates, but also don't hesitate to exchange a few affable words now and then. For instance, every few days you'll see a few bright-eyed, red-headbanded ideologues trying to sell copies of the Socialist Worker where Telegraph Ave. butts up against the campus. They really are the best for this sort of thing.

A typical exchange:

"Want to learn about justice for workers?"

"No thanks, I'm a libertarian."

(cheerfully) "That's awful!"

(even more cheerfully) "As awful as killing 100 million people?"

Living in a Co-Op Is...

Part of a continuing series

Having to presume a reasonable probability, after a few eye-opening mistakes, that those brownies someone made are "special" in an important way.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

A Conversation With Eugene Volokh

"...so basically, I think this latest ruling will have a significant and far-ranging effect on many types of lawsuits involving both attorney and medical misconduct."

"Fine, fine. But tell me, what will it do to the porn?"

Captioneering



"I didn't get a harumph outta that guy."

"Give the president a harumph!"

"Harumph."

"You watch your ass."

Via Jeff G

Arguing With Graffiti

In one of the stairwells of my co-op: "INVOKE PEACE!!"

Slightly below that: "Cannot invoke peace, spell level not high enough."

Much Creepier Than Reversing the Aging Process...

...is babies in turtlenecks.

Some things Man was not meant to tamper with.

I Dreamed I Saw an Anti-War Protester

Me: Not much of a turnout today, eh?

Hippie: Yeah well, we're coalition-building. We're laying grass-roots for the struggle ahead. It isn't over. It hasn't even begun yet!

Me: So, about Reagan-

Hippie: Warmongering simpleton! Died 93 years too late.

Me: Right. So, just curious, I was just wondering how it feels to revile someone the guy most responsible for putting an end to the greatest military struggle of the last 50 years?

Hippie: ...

Me: Actually, we can come back to that later. I was actually more interested in hearing your thoughts on what emotions are triggered when you realize that Reagan did more than any other president in your lifetime to make sure you had the right to generally make a fool of yourself in public.

Hippie: Uh...

Me: Does it make you bitter? Embarrassed? Is it painful? Nauseating?

Hippie: I guess it's a little embarrassing.

Me: Go on.

Hippie: Are you masturbating?

Me: No, no. I'm taking notes. Keep talking.

They're Not Great, But They Play for Kibble

For those who consider real art pretentious, and dogs playing poker not pretentious enough, I give you your happy medium:



Living in a Co-Op Is...

Part of a continuing series

Giving rides to the hospital because two other residents thought it would be supercool to throw a propane tank onto a BBQ pit.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I hate the 60's

The local PBS channel currently is showing this documentary about Peter, Paul and Mary and their music and social activism.

I find myself with the acute need to retch about every... oh, 3.7 seconds or so.

The only close acquaintance I had with these people before seeing this hagiography was hearing "Puff the Magic Dragon." I was vaguely aware they were one of those folk revivalists of the sixties, and assumed they probably also spent a good amount of time covering the same 20 Dylan songs and marching in every horde of impetuous and arrogant young 20-something along with Baez and all the others from amongst the hordes of the white, well-off and much too earnest suburbanite boomers.

Now, when I was about 13 (a scant decade ago), I had an ambivalent feeling towards the 60's. I never once subscribed to its specific politics, but the whole youthful idealism and hippie abandonment of authority yet appealed to my most immature of impulses. Over the next several years, I became more and more disenchanted with the whole affair. Hippies and Vietnam War protesters and college activists took on a more and more sinister taint. I saw the real ugliness there. And I'm not just talking about pathetic losers like Abbie Hoffman or violent psychos like the Weathermen. Even amongst so many of the people who weren't screaming for their fellows to off the pigs, I could detect a distinct undercurrent, a lethal mixture of naivete and ruthlessness. Robert Bork, love him or hate him, was nevertheless dead on (from what I can tell) when he wrote that significant portions of the 60s youth movements were ripe for producing a Hitler - a charismatic Generalissimo that would lead the fervent and willing to real extremism and bloodshed.

And then there were those who were just shiny, happy and completely clueless. Of course, there aren't any easily definable boundaries, and there's a gradual spectrum, not a bright line, between those two (for instance, even the comeonpeoplenowsmileonyourbrother-types could be frighteningly anguine about excusing the most brutal of crimes as long as they were perpetuated in furtherance of some bright utopian vision).

Peter, Paul and Mary seem to be fairly decisively in the clueless, smiling flower child camp. But no matter what specie of old New Left I come across these days, I always have to apply significant will-power to keep from throwing something at the TV.

Truly, I have no patience for these people anymore. I figure at this point that they warrant their very own ashheap of history, having been passed on so decisively by every objective barometer that reality can throw at them. Yet on they plod, still belting out the worn Dylan songs (another infatuation of my youth I find hard to stomach recently) about changing times and blowing wind. Only the times apparently haven't changed for them since 1963, and they keep blowing the same wind.

And so the civil rights movement (an admirable beginning) begets the anti-war movement begets environmentalism begets the anti-nukes movement begets anti-globalism begets more environmentalism begets another anti-war movement. And with each successive permutation, they end up looking sillier and less relevant and more in the dark.

Mayve I should just put it into words they'll understand:

And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin' were never what you thought them to be in the first place and you're just embarrassing yourself now that you're so friggin' old and have no excuse for being so ignorant. amymore, so shutupshutupshutup!

MEMORANDUM

To: Anti-war protesters
From: Russell Wardlow
Date: June 8, 2004
Re: Corrections

Time to revise the slogans, people.

May I suggest "No blood for giving the Iraqi people full control over their country's oooooiiiiilllll!"?

I know, I know. You're gonna need like twenty puppets to hold something like that up during a march. Yeah, well things are tough all over.


Via LGF

Future Headlines

May 25, 2038: "Former President George W. Bush Dies - Just Happened to Occupy Whitehouse When Islamic Extremism Petered Out"

I Like Jelly Beans

Delicious.



Via the Corner

Note to Self

Keep track of Tom Carlson's health. When he dies, eulogize kakalogize about what a usueless turd he was. Make sure to cite his fantasist tendencies, such as how he actually believed he was a journalist, and that he actually wrote for a real newspaper.

Future Headlines

November 3, 2005: "Hussein 'Not Guilty' of Crimes Against Humanity"

November 5, 2005: "Hussein Vows to Find 'the Real Dictators/Genocidal Maniacs'"

December 10, 2005: "After Exhaustive Search, Hussein Confirms 'the Real Dictators Aren't Lurking in Any of France's Fine Hotels or Eateries.'"

Some Schmucks Are Dumber Than Others

Steve H. finds a good reason to hate Morrissey.

Actually, that should read, "a good reason to hate Morrissey that doesn't include his shitty band, his shittier solo career, his irritating voice, his ugly mug, his stupid hair, or his inability to not constantly wax idiotic about his veganism at every possible opportunity."

Living In a Co-Op Is...

Part of a continuing series

Having to argue at the third house council in a row why the fact that a particular homeless person is not obviously insane or dangerous is not sufficient criteria to give her permission to live on our roof.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Chiracisms

Also sprach Jaques Chirac: "[H]istory does not repeat itself and it is very difficult to compare historical situations that differ because history is not repetitive."

Note the ironclad logic.

Oh, sure, sure: Oral comment. Speaking off the cuff. Downright unfair to beat up on him over something like that.

True, that.

But how much you wanna bet that is Bush had said this, Jacob Weisberg would triumphantly drop it into his "Bushisms" box with the smug satisfaction that he'd once again revealed the president as an ambling, verbal bumbler?

Things Clint Eastwood's Mother Probably Told Him

"Dearie, Don't you know if you keep squinting like that, your face will freeze that way?"

I'm an Environmentalist

Isn't Harry Knowles the least bit concerned that he's using up an unfair share of the world's supply of exclamation points? Based on the figures I made up just now, he'll have depleted 95% of our worldwide exclamation reserves by the year 2050. Why can't Greenpeace and Roland Emmerich do something about that problem? Maybe some slick Hollywood blockbuster where the empire state building is destroyed by a lack of emphasis in people's speech patterns.

Where's the Accountability?

AIDS. Like, totally, man. All on Reagan's watch.

Oh, and you can bet there were lots of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and famines while he was asleep at the wheel, too.

Dereliction of duty, I tells ya.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Jerkoffs and the Jerks Who Jerk Them

"Atrios may be a liberal, but he is really moderate a miserable asshole."

Living in a Co-Op Is...

Part of a continuing series

Having to aim for the toilet by intuition and/or sonar because there aren't any working lights in the bathroom.

Just stop moving once you hear water hitting water.

A Shout-Out to All My "Amerikkka!" Peeps

Andrea, "She of the many site changes," points the way to the following:
Lets see: what's it like to live under tyranny? Well, I have a photo of those two great-uncles, probably from around 1919. They're in their young 20s, but look much older. They're thin. Emaciated, haven't-eaten-much-in-months thin. They're leaning on the new gravestone of their sister. It's just after WWI, and sometime just after or during the Russian civil war. They'd been marched at gunpoint to serve in the Czar's army, were captured by Germans, spent time in a POW camp, and released back to Russia where they found their sister and mother killed.

Now, lets see.. when I was 18, no one marched me at gunpoint to serve in the Army and the government didn't kill my sister. Funny-odd kind of tyranny we have here, huh?
Gosh. Sorta makes all that talk of "subtle tyranny" and "manufactured consent" seem sorta...

What's the phrase?

Oh, right: "fucking retarded."

Like Fish in a Barrel



The caption for the above pic posted at SF Indymedia reads: "Find the idiot."

Ok, I'll play. After all, I loved "Where's Waldo?" when I was a kid.

I can see quite a few here. And here. And here. Looks to me like a freakin' convention.

On second thought, this game is too easy. And depressing.

Things That Make Me No Longer Feel So Bad About Going Bald

Commercials for Women's Rogaine.

Yikes. At least I can shave my head and get that not-entirely-unpleasant Mr. Clean look. What can the ladies do? All's I figure they got up their sleeve is shooting for a Lieutenant Ilia thing, which has doubtful utility. Even if they could pull it off (a nontrivial problem in and of itself - she was a national beauty queen), they'd then only be appealing to Trekkies, and possibly only Trekkies who liked Star Trek: The Motion Picture, an idiotic subset of socially maladjusted nerds.

Fun Things to Do in Berkeley on Pennies a Day!

Listen to the gnashing of teeth of your housemates over the full page spread devoted to Reagan on the cover of the newspaper.

Note: Availability likely limited to the day after Reagan dies.

Memorandum

To: Gutter-punk I encountered at the market today
From: Russell Dale Wardlow
Date: June 6, 2004
Re: Public ettiquette

You have two choices, my dear:
  1. Take a shower, or,
  2. Stay on Telegraph Ave. with the rest of the bums, drug-addicts, pandhadlers and associated non-bathers
Please get back to me with your decision by 5 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Russell Wardlow

Recommended Reading

I first bought Furious Gulf by Gregory Benford not long after it came out in '94. I was in 8th grade at the time and never waded too far into it then. I was intrigued by the idea of hard science fiction, and Furious Gulf certainly had a lot of other goodies to its credit, but the descriptions of astronomy and physics killed my interest at the time. It's not that I couldn't have waded through them, but I didn't have the urge for my pleasure reading to take on the tone of a science lecture. So I had a short attention span in 8th grade. Sue me.

I picked it up again yestertoday since I had to proctor an LSAT practice test, and I realize now the science is broken down very nicely, easily enough for the curious layman to grasp. The story comes alive as well, and Benford has an unusually imaginative mind for interesting sci-fi details apart from his exigeses on astrophysics.

If you have any interest in the genre, you could do a lot worse than reading this book.

Note: Furious GUlf is actually the fifth book in a series of six. I just happened to buy FG first. You don't have to read the other books to understand what's going on in this one; Benford does a good job of orienting you and giving whatever backstory is needed.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

A Humble Suggestion

Allah makes a sensible recommendation in light of Reagan's death:
Allah should also say that the blogosphere is never, ever more grating than when it's in obit mode. And it's only going to get worse as the week wears on. Purple prose is one thing but c'mon, people: Do you really need to be the twelfth guy on your block to post the "tear down this wall" quote? Just say no to redundancy. The Gipper would have wanted it that way.

Even more so however, I hope people will restrain themselves from venturing into any fever swamps like DU or Daily Kos to shine a bright light of outrage on those losers and their inevitable "Screw 'em" dance of gleeful ugliness. I've already seen some posts to that effect.

Please, let's not go there. It's so very unnecessary.

Yes, these people are despicable human beings, I get it. Let's let them be despicable by themselves in their pathetic little padded rooms.

Your Weekly Installment of Latin Laker Loathing

It's not really weekly, but it sounds cooler that way

I believe their version of the trendy Cato quote would be "Lakores delendi sunt!"

Hatred

I have to assume this Village Voice extract arises from glibness rather than sincerity.

Human beings, who have imaginations, can see a recipe for disaster in the making; Republicans, whose goal in life is to profit from disaster and who don't give a hoot about human beings, either can't or won't. Which is why I personally think they should be exterminated before they cause any more harm.

Glenn seems to fall on the side of sincerity, but I'm more inclined to take it as a very callous joke. Den Beste himself once made an aside that he wouldn't mind Berkeley being nuked (see the bottom of the post). Brad De Long threw a bitchy little fit over it and generally made himself look like an ass.

That said, I have to admit I lack the context to be sure, since current ISP problems don't allow me to access the Voice's webpage, and I have to go just on the snippet provided by Glenn.

That doesn't that this isn't nevertheless somewhat enlightening. At the very least, it once again shows our good buddy, the media double standard.

It nearly goes without saying that no conservative columnist could hope outloud for Democratic genocide without a fair amount of teeth gnashing and beating of breasts from some usual suspects. Tom Daschle would be on the senate floor decrying how this irresponsible person had put Democrats' lives in danger. Hell, if Rush Limbaugh can be responsible for the same thing just because he calls Daschle a dumbass, I suppose someone who actually suggests, seriously or not, that Democrats are a plague needing a cure could be legally convicted of crimes against humanity in the Hague.

Also notice that the Village Voice snippet is much less discernible as nonserious than, say, Den Beste's aside or something like this. But it will be interpreted as generously as possible, whereas a similar diatribe from the other side of the spectrum would be more readily taken as literal, or perhaps as an opportunity for some pundit to engage in amateurish pseudopsychologizing about how this ostensibly humorous comment actually reveals the deeply disturbing and dehumanizing nature of the conservative viewpoint.... blah blah blah.

So is it irritating that this VV jackass gets to write something like this with impunity? Yeah, but then, name one thing about the VV or similar media sources that isn't irritating. But let's not get too excited about this revealing some honest wish to cleanse the Earth of Republicans by the flaming sword.

Reading the Instapundit post as generously as possible, I suppose Glenn may simply have been referring to the double standard mentioned above, but in that case, I don't think there's anything new or startling about this. It may represent rhetoric cranked up to 11 where others have only dared go to 10, but not remarkably different than what we've seen before.

But here's the caveat: It's not outside the realm of possibility that the VV author was being sincere.

Michelle recently related to me hearing someone else in our house say, with all apparent honesty and quite a bit of fervence, that if she had the chance to do so and not get caught, she would kill Bush. She's also suggested in the past that the solution to all the world's problems was exterminating Republicans. Again, the tone of her voice and her manner didn't suggest any possibility of her kidding.

Now one might, after hearing a forthright exhortation for one's own death, be a little offended. My feelings tended more towards pity. As I saw it, this girl had probably failed to actually think about what she was saying, as in, "Do I really want to kill half the population of America?" She had become so isolated in the Berkeley womb that she lost all need or ability to actually think realistically. I doubt her ideas get challenged often. She's walled up in a fantasy world, irrelevant to and removed from reality. And in the end, she's excused herself from actually having any impact on the world about which she apparently feels so strongly.

If the VV author was in the least bit serious, he or she has done the same thing. I say good riddance to them.

Friday, June 04, 2004

News of the Day

Fire is hot.

Sun will rise sometime tomorrow.

Some people like stuff, others don't.

Michael Moore is a lying sack of crap-gas.

From Art Linkletter to 5 Years Per Gram?

Man, I love the internet.

Hugh Hewitt is broadcasting from Disneyland today, and apparently is going to spend a lot of that time talking about Disneyland and other related trivia. The first few minutes or so showcased him conversing with a bubbly company rep.

Yeah, I think I'll pass on that one.

However, my 120 seconds or so was not wasted altogether. The nice Disney lady mentioned something about Art Linkletter and his long association with Disney. His is a name I could only place as having heard once before on The Simpsons when Ned's house is hurricaned into oblivion. Taking shelter at the church afterwards, Reverend Lovejoy phones in some counseling and then adds, "If you need some additional solace, by the way, I think I have... something or other by Art Linkletter in my office."

It was funny without even knowing who he was.

Anyway, hearing a guy's name vaguely referenced once is simply not enough to get me interested. But twice? Brother, I'm there.

So, what does the Google fairy spit out at me?

Well, ok, so he was the host of "Kids Say the Darndest Things" for a while, plus about a dozen similar types of shows. Well then, that makes the Simpsons joke even funnier.

Checking the IMDB page for him reveals that his daughter was apparently that girl (or one of those girls) who took acid and jumped out a window while under the brief delusion that she could fly. This subsequently led to Art participating in a presidential advisory council on drug abuse.

Ok, so TV stars have kids who like to take drugs. I can buy that. Just ask Carroll O'Connor.

But jumping out a window on LSD? Color me skeptical. I've never once been under the impression that I could fly while on acid, never even got close. And that includes the time I was standing on a roof listening to a guy on the ground try to convince me that I actually could, and should try it right now. Yeah, that guy was an asshole.

Anyway, a quick perusal over at Snopes reveals the following:

Diane's death helped further a widespread urban legend that lives on to this day yet which was around before her fatal plunge. According to a popular story that warns young people about the dangers of drug use, "some girl" jumps from a window while on an acid trip because the drug fools her into thinking she can fly. The claims immediately made after Diane's death that she had been on LSD, coupled with her method of suicide, seemed to some to fit this existing cautionary tale, and afterwards her demise was pointed to as an example of this legend's coming true.

Yet it wasn't true, although members of her family attempted to blur the line between what had happened to Diane and her use of drugs as a possible cause for it. We can only speculate upon their reasons for doing so, but we should note that it is not all uncommon for those left behind after a suicide to work to convince others the death was one of misadventure and not the deliberate ending of a life. There is still a stigma attached to suicide, and families may view cloaking such matters in more socially acceptable terms as one final act of loyalty they can perform for the one who has gone before.

A lengthy review of the evidence follows. It's not cut and dry, but the preponderence seems to be with the not-LSD's-fault camp.

So, you either find this stuff fascinating or are itching to give me a wedgie for wasting your time.

But as for myself, I'm now curious whether Diane's death and the media focus that followed played any part in making LSD one of the most severely punishable drug offenses in the country. There's still a five year minimum for possession of a single dose on a piece of paper.

I realize the severity can be attributed at least initially to the fact that the "one gram" threshold was probably meant to refer to pure LSD, one gram of which amounts to about 10,000 doses. But it might yet still explain why law enforcement and courts have been able to interpret the statute as not distinguishing between the amount of the actual LSD and any sort of delivery system it's mixed with, such as 100 micrograms placed on a sugarcube that weighs 1 gram being easily apt to put you in the hole for a five years.

Things To Do In Berkeley When You're a Jerk

Part of a continuing series

Rather than ignoring them, stop and actually try to engage the folks peddling "The Socialist Worker" in intelligent conversation.

(I mean, come on, that's just not fair, man. It's like hunting baby seals with a machine gun.)

The Hippies Are Coming

There are about thirty hippies coming to stay here this weekend from... somewhere, I dunno. I figure they're likely from one of the great hippie nesting grounds of the Pacific Northwest. The Ann Arbor species tends to not migrate this far west barring a Phish concert.

Apparently they're coming to participate in the June 5th ANSWER protests in Frisco, so of course we, being the general collection of idiots we are, were only too eager to subsidize their offensive buffoonery.

As irksome as their presence will be, I'm not personally the antagonizing sort. I'm much too passive-aggressive for that. Besides, getting angry at people stupid enough to join in an ANSWER protest simply isn't worth it. I figure their idiocy will have its own self-inflicted retributions in the future, so what's the point in letting one's blood pressure hit the redline on their account?

But then again, if I'm forced to smell their grimy dredlocks for more than 5 minutes at a time, I can't make any promises...

Living in a Co-Op Is...

Part of a continuing series

...waking up in the morning to a fresh batch of bread (recently rescued from the dumpster behind the local bakery).

Dumpster BreadTM - "It's best not to think about it."

Women Who Manipulate Too Much...

And the men they manipulate, who deserve it anyway because they're just a bunch of shallow, power-hungry, sex-craving cads.

No, that's not the title of this post, but it might as well be, in which Steve posits a distinctly bleak view of male-female interaction.

A woman like that will identify with her man, the same way a man who makes a lot of money equates himself with his job. If the man is handsome and tall and rich, or if he's just mean and pushy--a bad boy--then the woman is important and desirable and has to be catered to. If he treats her like dirt, she scrambles to please him, the same way a well-paid executive will scramble to please his boss. Every day is a new audition.

Give most men power, and they'll take advantage. A bad boy has power over his woman. Surprise, surprise: he mistreats and neglects her. As I said earlier today in a comment on another person's blog, there's another name for a bad boy: "first husband."

Steve may well be right, according to his experiences. I've known otherwise intelligent women and men with surprisingly immature and destructive tendencies when it came to personal, especially romantic, interactions. I've been lucky enough to never be involved with such a girl (I'm 24. I can;t bring myself to say "woman" just yet).

I had a friend who had a long distance boyfriend back home while she was away at college. He would play with her head by breaking up every few weeks and then waiting for her to beg him to take her back, at which point he would reluctantly accept. It was your basic paranoid power play. He was worried she would grow apart from him, so he jerked her chain every once in a while to make sure she knew the leash was still on. At the same time, she occasionally come on to me fairly shamelessly, and not in a suggestive way. More than once I felt like asking if she kissed her mom with that mouth, partly to simply defuse the situation with some levity, but I have to admit there was a little honest disgust mixed in.

But beyond that, my experience with weird relationship disfunctions is all second-hand. And now when I do hear about some guy treating some girl like dirt or two people who stay together just because they fulfill each other's need to fight, I think of Michelle and I have to restrain myself from falling on my knees and thanking whatever undeserved luck allowed me to become involved with her. It's now been two years and the weirdest thing I've had to deal with is the fact that she doesn't always say when something I do bothers her, and I have to drag it out through sustained nagging. Even that is fairly rare.

I was busy this last February and didn't do anything with her for Valentine's day. I apoligized and genuinely felt bad about it, but she brushed it off as "stupid girl stuff." She feels guilty and says she's a "burden" because I've been chauffering her around for the last week while she looks to buy a car. Sounds silly, but we're both the same way. A friend once suggested that, together, we were like those two hyper-polite gophers from old Warner Brothers cartoons. At the time, the comment stuck in my craw somewhat, because I felt like he was insinuating that we were so polite because we were afraid to be "real," or something, with each other and were just tip-toeing around any kind of conflict.

At the time, we had only been together for a few months, so the possibility that he was right unnerved me a little. But now it's been two years and we're still basically the same. I don't want to sound too smug or self-satisfied, but I've come to the conclusion that both she and I (to a lesser extent) are simply mature and caring enough that we each want to do everything we can for the other, and in doing so, end up doing about equal amounts. In fact, that's always been the biggest bone of contention in our whole relationship (such as it is), and it's one I have no trouble living with.

So, you're likely thinking at this point, this is where he brings it all together conclcudes with some kind of relevant observation, prescritption, conclusion, etc.

Yeah, well, you're barking up the wrong blog, my friend.

I can't claim anything more for this post than a reflection on just how damn lucky I am to be Michelle. And to quote a wiseman: "That's what you do when you love something, hold on to it so it can't get away."

Thursday, June 03, 2004

You Do It to Yourself

You do, and that's what really hurts.

The man with the juicy balloons tits Oliver Willis' tat regarding which side of the spectrum has the worst poltiical sideahow freaks.

If you're into that sorta thing (which I am!), go check it out. But for this moment's purposes, simply read some quotes by the NAACP chairman, Julian Bond:

In remarks to hundreds of cheering liberal activists Wednesday, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond singled out Republicans as enemies of black Americans and compared conservatives to the terrorist Taliban who once ruled Afghanistan.

"Their idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika flying side by side," Bond told a cheering audience. "They've written a new constitution for Iraq and ignore the Constitution here at home. They draw their most rabid supporters from the Taliban wing of American politics. Now they want to write bigotry back into the Constitution."

Etc. and so forth.

John is simply being too nice, however, to the people who keep this jackass in power when he writes:

Julian Bond- Asshole, bigot, political hack, and unfortunately, the voice for a community of people who deserve a helluva lot better.

As I said in the comments to that post: people free to choose their leaders get the leaders they deserve. It's a harsh indictment of black America to say that it's their fault charlatans like Bond and Sharpton and Jackson are allowed to present themselves as the voice of the black community and to peddle their fantasies of perpetual victimhood and resentment, but it's also an apt one.

Punky Cons

I give you: Punk-Cons. I'm sure lots of people will greet this new appellation/movement with open arms. Pej seems to. Being a jerk who generally likes to rain on people's parades, I can't bring myself to accept it.

Maybe it's because I think punk music is retarded. Maybe its because I think the way people try to extrapolate "punk" into some sort of general outlook on life is even more retarded. Maybe its because I, putting on my Goldberg thinking-cap, consider conservatism an anti-ideology, something not to be herded into identity categories with lifestyle prerequisites for joining. Maybe its just because I'm a jerk who doesn't like new things.

Update: In light of these recent developments, I've decided to start my own conservative movement: "Simian Cons" - conservatives that have a particular taste for bananas, can recognize themselves in the mirror and enjoy flinging their filth.

Carpet N-Bombing

Completely losing any sense of proportion or history because of ideological blinders, possibly compounded by a low IQ?

CHECK.

Via Instapundit

Living in a Student Co-Op Is...

Part of an occasional series

...periodically washing the millimeter-thick layer of black scum that accumulates on the soles of your feet after spending an hour or so in the kitchen.

Can You Spell "Invidious"?

Completely aside from the "Speling iz to dificult!" protest angle of this article about the national spelling bee, was it necessary to choose this picture as their token example of a participant? I'm mildly surprised they didn't photoshop in a pocket protector and some tape around the bridge of his glasses.

Now, I realize that journalists can be some of the pettiest middle-aged children around, but I do wish they didn't so readily admit their poorly disguised jealousy at the fact that ninety-eight out of a hundred of these pubescent kids are smarter than them.

Via Tim Blair.

Live Dangerously, Die Soon

He who dies with the highest cholesterol rating wins.

A Day in the Spanish Life

Mayor: We are here to commemorate the bravery and prudence of Sgt. Espinoza, who had the courage and strength of character to not pursue a dangerous criminal and thus cause any risk to himself or others. Sgt. Espinoza is an inspiration to us all who strive to not do anything that carries the least amount of risk, no matter what kinds of problems this might cause down the road, lest we anger those who might hurt us. Seargent, I and the rest of Spain salute you, Sir.

Sgt. Espinoza: I'm no hero. I was just doing what any other good Spaniard would have done in my place.

Via Instapundit.

Good For What Ails Them

As if I'm supposed to be surprised?

Al Jazeera is to Arabic idiocy as Moe the bartender is to Barney Gumble's alcoholism. The Arabic street comes staggering in off the street, having just been kicked out of the latest flophouse in which it'd been crashing, and needs a nectar of sweet, sweet paranoid lies to soothe its ego and hlp convince it that its problems are all the fault of the Jews and the Christians. So Al Jazeera ("but please, call me 'Al'") takes the Arab world by the shoulders, guides him right to the barstool, and there waiting on the bartop is something to kill the pain.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Damned Dirty Lakers

Seriously, guys, you're starting to sound like Washington Generals fans or something.

Update: While Googling for an image of "Washington Generals," I somehow came up with this picture. I'm strangely uncurious how that happened. It's enough that it did.

Living in a Student Co-Op Is...

Part of an occasional series

...waving the flies away from half of a birthday that's been sitting in the kitchen since last week and grabbing a chunk with your bare hands because it's easier than going to the store and buying your own food.

Things to Do in Berkeley When You're a Jerk

Show up at the Buggy Bank dressed in full Amish regalia, look around at all the used cars sitting on the lot, and demand loudly, "Where are all the goddamned buggies, English?"

Coming-Out Party

Hi.

A little about myself: I started blogging a couple years ago, but gave it up when circumstances bitch-slapped me somethin' fierce into focusing on other things. I gave up blogging for a while, and have now started again with the realization that I wouldn't be doing what I had previously expected this summer, and I stood agape at the prospective maw of boredom and listlessness.

I'm 24 years old. I used to consider myself libertarian, but reality has been asserting herself more and more forcefully of recent, and I've found myself giving in and becoming more of a traditional conservative. I live in Berkeley, California. My girlfriend owns a made-to-order t-shirt with "GOD HATES HIPPIES" emblazoned across the front. Because He does.

I also enjoy throwing my feces.

Thanks for coming to my cotillion. Try the punch.