Friday, October 30, 2009
According to the Times, public schools across the land have cracked down on inappropriate costumes. And what's inappropriate? All the cool stuff. Homicidal maniacs, vampires, zombies and my favorite, costumes that make fun of a race or ethnicity. Killjoys.
What do they suggest instead? Historical figures and "delicious food items." I'm not kidding. You can't shamble through the halls as the undead, but you can come as Torquemada. Or maybe a Kiwi.
A memo from one principal said that costumes can't be scary and people, even those dressed up as fruit, must wear shoes. When was the last time you saw a grape wearing shoes?
No mention of whether Alice would have to have underwear beneath that frilly skirt. Kids have to have some fun.
Happy Halloween, kids! Dress appropriately. See you Monday.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
In an interview, a leading voice of America's conservative intellectuals discusses Barack Obama's failures.
And the guy Salon's editors are describing as "a leading voice of America's conservative intellectuals" is...
God damn, I nearly fell out of my chair. Charles Krauthammer. Really. The crazy psychiatrist turned crazier neocon. Salon considers him an intellectual.
Jesus, guys, have you read his column?
Charles Fucking Krauthammer. Intellectual.
Thanks. I needed a good laugh.
Once. And that was 9 years ago.
Still, to think that I voted for him to be VP of the freakin' United States makes me want to stick a hot fork in my eye.
Holy Joe is siding with the Republicans, again. He's going to filibuster the public option in health care reform. The fucker.
I'm certain the $3.5 million he's been paid by the health and insurance industries hasn't influenced his decision.
You can read more here.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I usually had to wait two or three days, even during the Bush administration, before Republicans showed their ass. Wow, not any more. It's almost like the right wing of the GOP is streaming stupidity around the clock.
Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh reported on Obama's senior thesis, leaked to Time's Joe Klein, saying that the Constitution was flawed and didn't provide for economic freedom or the redistribution of wealth.
Except, it was a hoax, written by a self-proclaimed satirist. But that didn't stop El Rushbo from showing his ample ass. Watch this from Olbermann's show:
Yes, Rush Limbaugh has proven, once again, that Al Franken was right all along. Rush is a big fat idiot.
So, while Obama's fake senior thesis gets coverage on Rush's show, almost no one has mentioned this from Pat Buchanan.
Some of you may remember Pat's speech at the '92 Republican Convention. Michael Kinsley said at the time that he preferred the speech in its original German.
Pat has been caricatured for years like this, as an apologist for Hitler, or so I thought. Turns out, what Pat thinks about Hitler is far worse than I had imagined. Pat thinks Hitler was a dove and it was the allies who bullied us into WWII. This is from Pat's blog:
That's right. Pat makes the assertion that if it hadn't been for Britain and the U.S. (for the record: Hitler declared war on us on December 12th, five days after Pearl Harbor) then those Jews would have never been sent to the camps.
The Holocaust is all our fault, see? That's Pat's position. There's more lunacy on his blog. Go read it yourself if you have the constitution for it.
And this guy is a regular on MSNBC, the liberal cable channel.
Anacronyms, I thought. What a great, if unintentional, mash-up. Acronyms whose original meanings have become outdated.
Like the GOP. The Republican Party may be Old, but it hasn't been Grand in years.
The IRS. You may feel like you've just been serviced, but I doubt if that was the original intent.
EPA. Under the last administration, it was more like the Environmental Politicization Agency.
DOD. Department of Defense. I preferred it when the DOD was the Department of War. Apparently, so did Dick Cheney.
ROI. Return on Investment. Last year we watched our Investment lose its way, and we doubt if it will ever Return.
MBA. Masters of Business Administration? Masters? After you fucking kidding me? Dude, you fucked up the entire world economy. Are you Masters of anything more complex than finding your ass with both hands? Really?
Feel free to add your own. I gotta go.
Monday, October 26, 2009
NC Senate minority leader Phil Berger thought he'd take advantage of the scheduled legislative news conference and do a little show biz buck and wing for the press.
The press assembles. Phil pushes out a wheelbarrow stocked to the gunwales with "Conservative Voters Surveys" that Phil sent out. Then he threatens to push the barrow all the way to the governor's office so she can see what conservatives are thinking.
Phil's pretty pleased with himself.
Then people in the governor's office do something Phil hadn't. They read the surveys.
I used to be on every right-wing mailing list who'd have me. I figured that if Pat Robertson or Jesse Helms spent a dime sending shit to me, that's a dime they couldn't spend encouraging the rabble. So, I've seen these surveys. They're full of questions like:
"Do you support the Democrat Party's gay agenda and legislation that would make sodomy with puppies mandatory in public schools?"
Then they hit you up for money.
Phil Berger's survey was the same critter. Below are a few questions from the survey that I'm not making up:
"Do you oppose Bev Perdue and the Democrats' plan to pass a job-killing $1.6 billion dollar tax increase in the middle of a recession?"
"Do you think death panels made up of government bureaucrats should decide if your loved ones live or die?"
"Do you support sending the North Carolina National Guard to help secure our southern border?"
And, of course, the correct answer is, anything to keep those South Carolina Republicans off our Appalachian trail.
Berger got some cash, including a $50 check he missed among the surveys. Idiot.
But what I loved, and what Phil also didn't see, were responses from conservative voters like these:
"I am embarrassed to be associated with this organization. Your tactics are disgusting and you're going to lose a generation of voters."
"Stop wording questions so geared up to get the answers you want and start wording them to actually find out the people's opinion, not just confirm your own. There are probably only three questions on here that are legitimate."
"Not sending you any more money."
That last one's going to leave a mark.
When the News and Observer wrote about this story last week, the director of the N.C. Republican Senate Committee grumbled something about how both parties need to pay attention to surveys. He didn't point out that only one party actually reads them.
Today's North Carolina GOP leadership - Stupid, mean and apparently, illiterate.
This is Melanie. She works at our local post office. She is stamping customs forms.
Stamp, Melanie, Stamp.
The forms go on boxes of children's books. The books go to soldiers in Iraq.
Those soldiers will read the stories to their boys and girls back home. The boys and girls will hear their moms and dads reading the books. They will see their moms and dads reading the books. The boys and girls will get the books so they can read the stories, too.
Yes, this Saturday I sent out another 200 or so books to the 47th Combat Support Hospital in Al Asad, Iraq. I still have about 8 more boxes to go and will send those out this Saturday.
Thanks to Rene Martin and the customers of Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh for their kind donations and thanks to the people here at MicroMass who have helped pay to ship these books to Iraq.
If you would like to help, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll send you the address. Send one book or one hundred, whatever you can do.
Help a kid connect with mom or dad. It'll make you feel good all day.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Gee, Bill, that's swell.
Ever since he made his public mea culpa, I haven't been able to get him out of my head. For those of you too young to remember the crimes of William Calley, he was convicted of murdering 22 civilians in the village of My Lai, but surely guilty of many more than that.
A whitewash involving Colin Powell, then a 31-year-old Major, followed. In late 1969, the great Seymour Hersh broke the story of the massacre.
Calley was court-martialed in 1970 and sentenced to life in prison. Nixon reduced his sentence to 3 years house arrest. I remember how I felt at the time. I was sleeping in the mud. Calley was sleeping in a nice warm bed, in a nice apartment with regular visits from his girlfriend.
That pissed me off, just a little bit.
America was divided about the war, with Republicans like young Dick Cheney, who opted not to serve, cheering it on. That support and Nixon's action was the start of my lifelong disgust with the hypocrisy and sham patriotism of the GOP.
Nixon's move was popular, as he knew it would be. In a Gallup poll taken in 1971, 79% of Americans said that Calley's sentence of life was too harsh. I'll let you make up your own mind. This is from Dennis Conti's testimony at Calley's trial:
"...Calley and Meadlo got on line and fired directly into the people...Lots of heads was shot off, pieces of heads and pieces of flesh flew off the sides and arms. They were all messed up. Meadlo fired a little bit and broke down. He was crying. He said he couldn't do any more. He couldn't kill any more people...At that time there was only a few kids still alive. Lieutenant Calley killed them one-by-one. "
And this, from prosecutor Aubrey Daniel's summation:
"We told you that they then moved to an irrigation ditch on the eastern side of the village of My Lai, and there, the accused, along with members of his platoon did as the accused directed, gathered up more people, this time unarmed men, women, children, and babies, and put them in that irrigation ditch and shot them, and that he (indicating defendant) participated; and he caused their death and that they died."
"Shortly thereafter, the accused heard someone yell, 'A child is getting away!' He ran back to that area, picked the child up, approximately two years old, threw the child in the ditch, shot, and killed him."
Yeah, 3 years confined to an apartment. That's justice. So, as sorry as William Calley is today, and the demons he must have lived with for the past 40 years, I'm having a hard time ginning up any sympathy. Fuck him and his apology. He cast dishonor on all of us in uniform.
I don't want to end the week on such a down note, so I'll give a salute to three men who were in My Lai that day, three men who did not get an Esquire cover or Nixon's love. They were a helicopter crew who acted with more honor than the president, and in those dark days of 1968, we could have used a few more men in white hats.
It wasn't until 30 years later that the Army recognized their valor. This is from the NPR story about Hugh Thompson's death in 2006:
Early in the morning of March 16, 1968, helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson, door-gunner Lawrence Colburn and crew chief Glenn Andreotta came upon U.S. ground troops killing Vietnamese civilians in and around the village of My Lai.
They landed the helicopter in the line of fire between American troops and fleeing Vietnamese civilians and pointed their own guns at the U.S. soldiers to prevent more killings.
In 1998, the Army honored the three men with the prestigious Soldier's Medal, the highest award for bravery not involving conflict with an enemy. It was a posthumous award for Andreotta, who had been killed in battle three weeks after My Lai.
"It was the ability to do the right thing even at the risk of their personal safety that guided these soldiers to do what they did," Army Maj. Gen. Michael Ackerman said at the 1998 ceremony. The three "set the standard for all soldiers to follow."
Thirty years seems a little late, especially for Andreotta, but better late than not at all. Here's Thompson and Colburn in My Lai in 1998. Happier times. God bless them.
On a side note, the Esquire cover was the work of the legendary ad man/art director, George Lois. I usually admire his dark sensibility, but that cover's a bit much, even for me.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
My new diet relies on my eating more fish. So I want to do the right thing by our delicious little sea critters and eat only those fish who are happily procreating enough to be sustainable.
So, I went to Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch to learn which fish I should eat and which I shouldn't.
Apparently, Chilean Sea Bass and Swordfish are too delicious for their own good.
Armed with this knowledge, I now know to ask my local fish vendor questions like where the fish is from, how it was caught and did it leave behind any children in salty, tearful mourning?
And what do I do with this new information? Like any reformed sinner, I become a scold. This morning I looked for fish recipes and found a site that not only encourages people to eat swordfish, but actually insults the fish by calling it "snappy."
I left a comment. I asked if they would soon be posting recipes for baby seal. I told them to hang their nets in shame. I told their readers not to buy swordfish.
So I can't deny it. I've become a Nazi. A fish Nazi.
I encourage you to do the same.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Vic Mizzy, whose lyrics swirled around my adolescent, TV-soaked cranium, has died. He was 93.
Good theme songs, like good jingles, stick with you. Right now I can sing most of the Green Acres theme and I haven't heard those lyrics in decades.
As for The Addams Family, I've always been amused by the word "ooky" he slid into the lyrics. Ooky? Yeah, ooky. It was the Sixties. And those fingersnaps are irresistable.
Vic was quoted as saying those two snaps bought his house in Bel Air.
Not a bad life.
Monday, October 19, 2009
I've been a fan of Ray's work for years, from the first short story I'd read, Philly's Last Dance (if I recall the title correctly.)
As is my custom with writers I know and admire, I turned his book face out on the shelf so others could more easily discover his amazing talent.
On a related note, another friend, Jim Born, won the Barry Award for best short story at Bouchercon this past weekend. Congratulations, Jim.
When I discover Jim's books in a book store, I hide them to protect the reading public.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I don't want to watch his show.
This is from the Huffington Post. It's a clip of Mr. Beck going all weepy, this time for an American past as sentimental as an old Kodak comercial, as sweet as a shared Coca-Cola and as fraudulent as Mr. Beck's concern.
Mr. Beck wants to return us to a simpler, whiter America. Back in a misty time when women didn't question their men, blacks knew their place, and everybody went to church and prayed to the same white, Christian God.
A time when America liked Ike and a man could enjoy a good kike joke at the restricted club bar.
A time when the upper income tax rate was 91%.
OK, maybe not that America. But an America that can be reached in Mr. Beck's faulty Wayback Machine.
Beck admits America was never perfect, but there was a time, he says, when "we used to be united on some basic things."
Really? What basic things? Like belief in the dignity of all people? Like loving your neighbor as you love yourself? Those basic things?
My question is, when the fuck was that?
Have a good weekend. We'll see you Monday.
So begins an e-mail forwarded to me last night by a friend wondering if it was true. Here's what the e-mail said:
"Did you know that the ACLU has filed a suit to have all military cross-shaped headstones removed and another suit to end prayer from the military completely. They're making great progress. The Navy Chaplains can no longer mention Jesus' name in prayer thanks to the wretched ACLU and our new administration.
I'm not breaking this one. If I get it a 1000 times, I'll forward it a 1000 times!
Let us pray... "
Factcheck gives the original author some advice:
"...if the author of this message is really a committed Christian, he or she might profit from a review of the biblical Commandment against bearing false witness. This message violates it repeatedly."
You can read the thorough debunking Factcheck gives this electronic turd in the mail here.
But it's another reason to question why so many white, poorly-educated Christians are willing, even eager, to paint themselves as victims.
15 Devendorf Street, Apt. 1
Mohawk, NY 13407
So I'm assuming Cleo started this e-mail. And I'm also assuming Cleo is a sad piece of work, sitting in a steaming doughpile of misplaced anger. That's why I sent him/her an e-mail last night with the link to Factcheck.
Funny, Cleo hasn't thanked me for my help.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Happy, happy, joy, joy
The Prince of all Mexicans|MySpace Videos
It lasted almost an hour and it was the least dignified thing I've done since I wrote that direct-to-DVD screenplay.
As with that experience, this picture didn't turn out so good either. So my doctor looked at the sonograms, gave the picture a thumbs down and set up an appointment with a specialist.
For the past two weeks, Jenny and I have lived with the future of my balls hanging over us.
(Oh, that doesn't sound right.)
I said, "I'll become a fat eunuch in a muu muu, sitting around the house bitching in soprano," which made Jenny laugh, always good medicine.
Today, I met with the urologist. Without going into any more disturbing detail than I already have, his diagnosis was that I'm not sick, I'm just old. Apparently, it happens to a lot of us chair-bound geezers.
His cure? Move to Bora Bora. It's this society that has caused my balls to lose their photogenicity. Who knew?
So today, gentle readers, I am as happy as an old man can be, which is damn happy indeed.
I feel like someone shot at me and missed.
Monday, October 12, 2009
That guy up there is Ross Douthat, an editor at The Atlantic and a columnist at The New York Times. He took over for the Wrongest Man in America, Bill Kristol, a few months back.
Like Kristol, Douthat is a cultural conservative and also like Kristol, Sarah Palin makes him as giggly as a school girl.
But is he as much of an asshat as Kristol or his Times bedmate, David Brooks? I'll be honest, I've read his columns and he's failed to leave much of an impression except that he's a douche and not nearly as interesting, in a train-wreck kind of way, as Kristol was. He's much closer to the sophist dissembling of Brooks which is as boring as watching golf on TV.
So, I was intrigued when I saw this excerpt from Douthat's new book about his life at Harvard, Privilege:
"One successful foray ended on the guest bed of a high school friend's parents, with a girl who resembled a chunkier Reese Witherspoon drunkenly masticating my neck and cheeks. It had taken some time to reach this point--"Do most Harvard guys take so long to get what they want?" she had asked, pushing her tongue into my mouth. I wasn't sure what to say, but then I wasn't sure this was what I wanted. My throat was dry from too much vodka, and her breasts, spilling out of pink pajamas, threatened my ability to. I was supposed to be excited, but I was bored and somewhat disgusted with myself, with her, with the whole business... and then whatever residual enthusiasm I felt for the venture dissipated, with shocking speed, as she nibbled at my ear and whispered--'You know, I'm on the pill...'"
Bad, almost impenetrable writing aside, there's a whole lot of ick in that paragraph. Just the line, ...her breasts, spilling out of pink pajamas, threatened my ability to.
To what? Speak? Get it up? Come? Come out? What?
And the fact that she's being responsible and using birth control made him limp? What? Really? Would she have to be wearing a priest's frock before Ross could get the little bishop's attention?
Now, take another look at Ross' picture. My guess is that women who looked like Reese Witherspoon, even the chunky variety, did not often come onto our young Mr. Douthat. So what are we to make of this confessional paragraph? That Ross is a toad for describing this generous young woman in such a caddish fashion? That Ross was a virgin in college? That Ross suffered from a hair trigger and busted an egg in his jeans? That Ross doesn't swing that way but is too repressed by Catholic guilt to come out?
Not long ago on another blog, a commenter trotted out the old canard about CNN standing for the Clinton News Network. I thought, Really? You still think that? Because not only was that never true, but that bit of moldy old wit is beginning to stink like Rush Limbaugh's cyst.
You know, every time I hear some jackass like this talk about the Liberal Media, I want to rub his nose in some Douthat or Kristol or Brooks. It's not because they're conservatives that I find them objectionable.
It's because they're dicks. And in Douthat's case, a limp dick at that.
Friday, October 09, 2009
This is Rush Limbaugh throwing a tantrum because Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of HHS, said Americans should get a flu shot to protect them from the H1N1 virus.
You know, because people die from the flu.
But somehow Rush sees this as an assault on his freedom. Or his manhood. Or something.
And so he stomps his feet, shakes his tiny fists and says, "Screw you, Miss Sebelius."
How did we devolve from a people who fought a world war to this? When did it become politically OK for adults to act like spoiled children throwing tantrums in the produce aisle?
Is this really the face of American conservatism? This red-faced, shouting at all things not them?
What has happened to a movement that once boasted intellectual heavyweights like William F. Buckley? How has the leadership of the conservative movement passed from Barry Goldwater, a man who spent a lifetime serving his country with humor, honor and integrity to Rush Limbaugh, a man who bullied his maid into getting him drugs?
Why has the GOP, the party of my father and my grandfather, allowed itself to be taken over by this immature and amoral boil on the ass of the body politic? Where are the true conservatives today?
And why don't they demand their party back?
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Sorry to go all Seinfeld on you, but really, who the fuck are these people?
Here's an elected representative of the good people of Texas, Louie Gohmert (I am not making that up), talking about sex with critters and who knows what all because this bald fuck is as crazy as a bagful of Bachmanns.
Goddamn. Here, in all its bald glory, is what's fucked up about democracy. People voted for this guy. It's not like you pass Louie by, him standing on a street corner yelling into a megaphone. Louie is in Congress. Your taxes, the money they take from your paycheck every week, the money you hope keeps libraries open and schoolchildren safe, no, those dollars go to keep this guy sufficiently medicated so that he can stand up in front of the CSPAN cameras without eating his fucking tie.
Sex with animals? Is there a sheep who feels safe in his district tonight?
Despair, children, despair.