Happy New Year's Eve

12.31.2005
Ore : 9:30 AM

I'm hunkering down with this one. Amid computer problems and busyness at work and just a general takin care of business, I've also decided to build an enormous boat and gather two of every animal.

For now, here are some of my resolutions (I do very well with these):

*Get a driver's license
*Promote the hell out of my library branch
*Travel more
*Get more schoolin'
*Do more baking (get your mind out of the pipe, Pop)
*Start Mandarin classes
*Make my garden grow
*Improve my marksmanship
*Kill that fucking dog if it ever comes on my property again (it's killed several of my and the neighbors' cats, so no "aww, the puppy!" shit please)
*Stop getting into fights
*Finish my novel
*Deliver Henry Kissinger to the Hague
*Discover a cure for Republicanism/ wingnutism/ conservatarianism/ "libertarianism"/ objectivism/ royalism/ sociopathy/ whatever
*Win the lottery
*Beef up my karaoke skillz

Some of these are definitely outliers, but what the hay? Let's shoot for the stars, man.

posted by teh l4m3 at 9:30 AM | Permalink | 21 be jibber-jabberin'

Guns

12.29.2005
Ore : 9:58 AM

An abbreviated version of my thoughts on the matter before I head off to work: When any municipality or state says "we want to ban handguns and assault rifles," I respect that. It's a consensus-reached community standard that neither the NRA nor the Republican Party nor snide libertarians should meddle in. Often, this stuff comes from community leaders in inner cities speaking for everyday people who are sick and tired of the violence, of the fear that one day a stray bullet will fly through their living room window, and are willing to try anything. They look to Denmark, they look to Japan, and think, "Well, why not give this a try?" That's fine. They could even be right.

OTOH, I see Bill O'Reilly and Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, and their followers and listeners are legion, and I realize that many, if not most of those odious turds posting comments on LGF and foaming at the mouth when calling in to talk to Rush ARE ARMED. As a liberal, I see this, and my first thought is that I sure as shit want to be armed, too. So I am.

posted by teh l4m3 at 9:58 AM | Permalink | 18 be jibber-jabberin'

Follow Your Dreams... BEEFCAKE!!!

12.28.2005
Ore : 12:07 PM

Tres cute, daytime soap, WB tweenie drama hunk Josh Duhamel.



And since this is an artistic nude, I see no reason to refrain from chucking some dong your way.

(In all fairness to Josh, this is a bad angle. It's certainly larger than I expected...)

Dedicated to the
Republic's AG, Res, Troy, and to Rat Boy.

posted by teh l4m3 at 12:07 PM | Permalink | 13 be jibber-jabberin'

So...

12.27.2005
Ore : 2:15 PM

I'm going to this Hope Chest thing at Kimo's on the 15th. Should I introduce myself to fellow revelers, hangers-on, and stah performahs? Or should I view the proceedings on the sly, and keep to my drink in the back of the crowd...?

posted by teh l4m3 at 2:15 PM | Permalink | 13 be jibber-jabberin'

The Greatest Gift: Shamelessness

12.26.2005
Ore : 7:57 PM

Got your insulin handy? Why? You won't need it. Everything from here on in is pure saccharine. That is to say, unbearably sweet, with a nasty aftertaste, and absolutely calorie-free.

With few exceptions, almost every one of Townhall's holiday-themed columns read (the occasional bow to Right-wing straw men notwithstanding) like they could have been written by the most socialistic, bleeding-heart, turn-the-other-cheek, green-green-lima-bean lefties ever to have animated Dennis Prager's most fevered nightmares, with all the glib self-assurance of words that will never be backed up by actions.

* Jennifer Roback Morse is settling her baleful, asymmetric gaze on you, non-bethrottled parents. Are you contributing to the divorce culture that's enabling Satan in the culture wars? Well, if the shoe fits, that which walks like a duck should wear it, or something like that...

* Star Parker, after her barely there nod to the War on Christmas, is all sweetness and light, offering up a merengue of feel-good homilies served on a super-flaky crust of pseudoscience that any serious conservative would sneer at prior to or after December. The effort is so unnatural to her, she becomes incoherent after the first paragraph.

"Happiness is in the giving, not the getting," indeed. Listen, hon, words are cheap. Some more than others.

* Speaking of which, the real screamer comes courtesy of Armstrong Williams -- yes, that Armstrong Williams -- who sounds, if one were to take this column out of the context of, say, his entire career to date, as though he plans on renouncing everything Republicans have always stood for and starting a new job with Common Dreams:

"In today’s society so much emphasis is placed on materialism and financial status."

Hmmm, I wonder why?

posted by teh l4m3 at 7:57 PM | Permalink | 7 be jibber-jabberin'

Merry Christmas

12.25.2005
Ore : 4:20 PM

In my final nuclear deathblow to all things Christmas, I will share with you the fact that Vestal Vespa has tagged me with a goddamn muthafuckin' meme! I HATE YOU ALL!!!

Just kidding. Happy Holidays!

Seven Things To Do Before I Die:

1. Publish a novel
2. Learn to speak fluent Mandarin
3. Knock Jonah Goldberg's teeth in
4. Climb to the peak of Sri Pada
5. Hump Alex Despatie for an entire week
6. See all my enemies get their comeuppance
7. See my brother become a father


Seven Things I Cannot Do:

1. The splits
2. Play piano
3. Stay calm in the presence of hornets
4. Eat natto
5. Quit smoking
6. Fire someone
7. Drive

Seven Things That Attract Me to...Blogging:

1. Anger
2. Love
3. Because nasty, foul-ass, immoral people blog and there should be some balance
4. Cute guys
5. An inability to shut up
6. Inspiration
7. Laffs

Seven Things I Say Most Often:

1. "Fuck you, bitch."
2. "That's hella stupid."
3. "I'm hungry."
4. "Suck it up."
5. "Where's my lighter?"
6. "Clearly, you have sand in your vagina."
7. "No teeth!"

Seven Books That I Love:

1. Peter Hoeg, "Borderliners"
2. Charlotte Bronte, "Villette"
3. Sylvia Plath, "Ariel"
4. Toni Morrison, "Song of Solomon"
5. Lao Zi, "Tao Te Ching" (I'm somewhat partial to the Stephen Mitchell version...)
6. Francoise Sagan, "A Certain Smile"
7. David Sedaris, "Naked"

Seven Movies That I Watch Over and Over Again

1. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
2. Grave of Fireflies
3. Freeway
4. The Life of Oharu
5. MST3K: "Sidehackers"
6. Dark Crystal
7. Men in Back

Seven People I Want To Join In Too (I'm stopping this shit right here. Sorry, VV -- I hate memes!)

1. Buddha
2. Jesus
3. Lee Atwater
4. Sun Tzu
5. Benvenuto Cellini
6. Divine
7. John Holmes

posted by teh l4m3 at 4:20 PM | Permalink | 11 be jibber-jabberin'

Bush In His Own Right

12.24.2005
Ore : 2:10 PM

Okay, so this comment from "anonymous" clearly came from either a mindless, knee-jerk liberal, or from a mindless, knee-jerk conservative who's making some sort of feeble attempt at googlebombing by associated the "Bush = Hitler" meme with the DKos community (when clearly it's more of a DU phenomenon. Sheesh)...Anyway, I think we all know which class is more populous, and who is more likely to drop such a bomb for shits, giggles, and brownie points with the likes of Michelle Malkin.

And while I'm tempted to trash it just because I can (expect no Free Speech Zones behind Freedom Camp's razor wire, and count yourself lucky I don't wipe my ass on your holy book of choice right now), I think I'll leave it up, because it touches on a point I want to address.

There's no reason for this Bush-equals-Hitler crap. As I pointed out to my anonymous troll, Bush-equals-Bush -- there's no need to equate him with another human failure, because Bush as an enormous miserable failure stands well enough on his own without making comparisons.

Bush is nothing like Hitler. For one thing, Hitler's government ran pretty well, at least in the beginning, and it was responsive to the people (sack-o'-nuts though *they* had become); we can't say the same about Junior. Hitler, in his youth, was a little slip of an artsy-fartsy (and possibly self-hating Jewish), syphilitic girly boy, with delusions of grandeur and ambition almost from the beginning. Bush was Ricky Schroeder's Silver Spoon character with no motivation and an attitude problem; a towel-snapping, falsely gregarious, boarding-school snot with a penchant for occasional bullying, who drifted through life with no direction, a Bizarro Midas who turned everything he touched to shit instead of gold, and was saved from gaffes that would have landed most of us in jail or in the gutter only by his family's money and connections. Bush is a uniquely American monster -- only we, a country that produced the likes of Joe McCarthy, the American Enterprise Institute, and the idea of a Supply-Side Jesus, could ever have created the likes of George Walker Bush.

Hitler was a psychopath.

Bush is a sociopath. He's not crazy. He's just not completely "connected." When confronted with the suffering of others, his first impulse is to laugh -- not because he's out-and-out hateful, but because he just doesn't give a shit. And when he realizes that his political circumstances require him to show some heart, anything he says sounds incredibly tin-eared, as though it's not what his feelings and intellect tell him to say, but what he dimly senses as being what "the rules" tell him others want to hear him say. And whenever he feels like someone's found him out, he goes for the jugular.

My freshman year of high school, "Joey" moved to town and enrolled. He was fabulously rich and handsome and tall and athletic, and ingratiated himself with alacrity into the pecking order of our local chapter of Guysville, finding a position somewhere near the top. He made no effort in classes, and drifted through the lowest levels he could take for his grade with a D-average. But he was socially talented: always knew the right thing to say, how to make people feel like he and they belonged. All the same, though, he never seemed to get close to anybody. As if they saw something "off" in him despite his best efforts, as if there was never any basic connections in him to the faculties of empathy and normal, natural emotions. He was weirdly, ineffably "removed" somehow...Nevertheless, other boys "followed" him (to an extent). But girls never seemed to crush on him, which at the time I thought kind of strange.

I once asked my friend "Josh," a football player, a popular kid in his own right, why he didn't follow the rest of the guys in hanging out with "Joey." He looked perturbed at the question, and just said "I dunno. The guy kind of creeps me out. He's sort of a fake."

"Joey" spotted me as an enemy right away: the well-read faggot from a poor family, who got straight-As in Honors classes, who had no enemies, was friendly with everyone, but on his own terms, in an unusual position outside of the normal heirarchies. And who saw right through his bullshit. But he was sufficiently wary -- I was built as well as any of the varsity guys, even at 15, and my other boy peers, the ones I had grown up around, had given up trying to physically intimidate me years before.

One day in shop class, without provocation, without a word, and out of the blue, he simply turned on me, looking at me with no expression on his face or in those chipped-ice blue eyes (a particular shade I've since come, fairly or unfairly, to associate with cruelty and madness), and sucker punched me in the stomach.

My body must have reacted without my brain thinking, as I tensed just the right amount, or else he had misgauged the force of his blow or the right proportions of fat and muscle in that part of my body. In any case, the punch did not have the desired effect. For a moment, I let him think it had, as I collapsed a little, my right hand sort of falling against the front of his shirt as I fell. But it was merely the appearance of relaxing, giving before actually rallying, as I, with all the strength available to me, yanked him bodily towards me, my crown aimed at his face. There was a sick crack, and a bit of a sting above my forehead, and he fell to the concrete floor.

He was still looking at me with those eyes from his position on his back. Dark blood bubbled and welled out of his nose, and he spit out half of his left front tooth. He didn't make a sound. He just stared, his expression never really changing.

Call it callow intuition or whatever, but I saw it in his eyes. The naked, coldly logical, predatory something, the black nothingness unaccounted for by any feeling of what we know to be humanity, that monstrosity that has from time to time terrified mankind from the parceling up of Canaan to the carting off of Polish Jews, from the bloodied altars of the Aztec Empire to the machetes of 1990s Rwanda. If he could have gotten away with killing me, by any means necessary, with out getting caught, he would have. I remain convinced that this was one of my first glimpses of evil.

That's the thing about true evil: it doesn't hate; it just doesn't care. About *anything* outside of suffering undesireable consequences.

I was more than a little shaken by this episode. I've never forgotten it.

There followed the usual recriminations. I was in detention for a week. Inexplicably, however, everyone sympathized with me -- even his mother. She met me and my parents in the principal's office, in her long and sophisticated gray Maxmara skirt, hands clasping and unclasping on her lap. She actually told me how sorry she was, how she had tried to raise him right, how she didn't understand why he had turned out so different from his brother and sister.

I squirmed under her contrition. I didn't blame her. Even then I knew that no matter what parents did, sometimes kids just turned out wrong.

All the same, somehow I don't expect to see Bar offering any apologies to the American people any time soon. Her own little "Joey" has his finger on the big, red button, and she couldn't be prouder.

posted by teh l4m3 at 2:10 PM | Permalink | 10 be jibber-jabberin'

Merry Christmas Eve, Douche-Pumps


Ore : 7:46 AM

Per my family's tradition, wherein we are each allowed to open one present the day before Christmas, here are two:

For the wingnut who, when told about the NSA's (and others') snoopings, says "I don't mind losing the 4th Amendment, I've got nothing to hide," why don't you unwrap this, dumb-ass?

And for my right-thinking (that is to say, leftish), red-blooded, American straight boy (and not to mention lovely lezzie) readers, a gift from the New Caliphate to you.

(Can you tell I do my shopping at DailyRotten?)

posted by teh l4m3 at 7:46 AM | Permalink | 7 be jibber-jabberin'

When Purple Fingers Are Just That...

12.22.2005
Ore : 2:34 PM

If in the next few days anyone happens to see my hands, know that I am not some unctuous wingnut making an empty gesture. I just had to change from a blue ribbon to a red on my damnable, viciously ugly Gaylord book charger.

Just so you know.

posted by teh l4m3 at 2:34 PM | Permalink | 18 be jibber-jabberin'

This Is Dedicated To The Ones I Love...


Ore : 10:56 AM

Herewith are my top seven blogguy crushes listed in no particular order, manly men who know how to STICK IT IN!

If I haven't mentioned you, that's 'cuz I ain't crushin' on you (at this very moment). Chill -- it's not like this shit is an honor...

Res doesn't know it but I've actually seen a picture of him and he be hella cute. Go read him and sidekick AG now. Kind of like Roy and Dale (I'm guessing Troy would be Trigger...), only with baked goods instead of gee-tarrs.

Bobby Lightfoot makes me want to get up in drag (I make a really pretty girl when I've shaved my beard), just to increase the likelihood that he might trick-fuck me super hard. He's that good.

I have a huge crush on fatrobot. He is a super hot daddy whose virility is breathtaking. His wife is a very lucky woman!!!

Pop Renaissance is super smart music-wise. And disturbingly handsome. I vote yes!

I cannot know, but I'm pretty sure PP is that super cute house punk hustler I would have humped really good back in '97 were it not for his high price and raging gonorrhea.

Chuckles is cranky (in a sexy way) and seems like the kind of guy who would pop up in some unwritten Francoise Sagan novel just long enough to deflower the protagonist and leave her gasping for more. Sweet.

I feel vaguely dirty putting him on this list because he is such a good and wholesome Christian, but let's face facts: Church Secretary is a sexy daddy and a firefighter with massive, calloused, hot, hard hands. 'Nuff said.

posted by teh l4m3 at 10:56 AM | Permalink | 27 be jibber-jabberin'

When Shrub Is Finally Convicted...

12.21.2005
Ore : 10:28 PM

What should his sentence be?

1. A lifetime of hanging bedpans in Iraqi and VA hospitals.
2. Watching Bill O'Reilly "perform" with his partner and box full o' tricks.
3. Doing his funny dance in a shower of white phosphorus.
4. Holding Daryn Kagan's bangs while she performs some unspeakable girlfriendly duty.
5. Beginning each day with a drag off of a depleted uranium inhaler.
6...

What do you think? Leave your entries in the comments section.

Light posting this week, 'cuz of xmas. Stupid presents.

posted by teh l4m3 at 10:28 PM | Permalink | 12 be jibber-jabberin'

Filed Under "Me VS Your Lying Eyes"

12.19.2005
Ore : 2:22 PM


"Democracies don't go to war; democracies are peaceful countries." - President George W. Bush, 12/19/2005


(...Meaning by that, I guess, that once Iraq becomes an honest-to-goodness democracy, it will no longer unilaterally invade foreign countries on false pretenses, because real democracies don't do that sort of thing.

Wait, so what is he trying to say about America?)

posted by teh l4m3 at 2:22 PM | Permalink | 13 be jibber-jabberin'

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?

12.17.2005
Ore : 10:34 PM

Give me time
To realise
my crime
Let me
love and steal
I have
danced inside your eyes
How can I be
real?

Do you really want to hurt me?
Do you really want to make me cry?


***

Ringside: Why would I listen to commercial-courting Hollywood hipster-boy music? Laid over sickly tight, too-cool production, some sneering, slightly nasal, dissolute vocals. Too many smokes, too many years of booze and coke. Exactly the kind of guy I'd sleep with even as I want so badly to hate him.


***


"Say good night, Madame."
"Good night, faggot."

posted by teh l4m3 at 10:34 PM | Permalink | 7 be jibber-jabberin'

Welcome To The New Order


Ore : 9:29 AM

I know there's a lot to think about right now, what with finding out we are detaining and possibly torturing children, and the fact that the president is forcing the country into a Constitutional crisis, but this story really got my goat. Quickly, before I take off:

First of all, a shame-on-you to whoever acquiesced to the FBI's request to see these records. You are disgusting and unAmerican -- possibly a traitor. There is no excuse for this. None.

I am proud and glad to inform my fellow internees that our library system uses a database program that, since early 2002, has not required patrons' social security numbers. Furthermore, upon the checking in of a book that has been returned, there is no longer any record that a given patron had a given book -- the information is immediately scrubbed by the database. Short of a very public court order, there is no way anyone is getting our patron records -- what little we actually keep.

To whatever spooks are reading this, I fucking defy you. If any of my patrons checks out Mao's Little Red Book, or the Anarchist's Cookbook, or the collected works of Karl Marx, or the Turner Diaries, or Malkin's Unhinged, or what-fucking-ever, and you want to find out about it from me, you can kiss my hard, shapely ass. Fuck you.

Now I gotta go to work...

UPDATE: Okay, egg on our faces. But my point still stands.

posted by teh l4m3 at 9:29 AM | Permalink | 12 be jibber-jabberin'

And We're What, Shocked?

12.16.2005
Ore : 8:04 AM

Bush OKs NSA Spying On Americans.

Will there be any consequences for this? Ha!

posted by teh l4m3 at 8:04 AM | Permalink | 11 be jibber-jabberin'

Tragic Tranny

12.15.2005
Ore : 8:14 AM

In the soothing embrace of a tray of cocktails, the have Golden Girls decided to help me out with our latest round of Tragic Tranny blogging...



DOROTHY: Unlike most children, I was never afraid of what was in the closet or under the bed at night. That whole phase didn't start until my first visit to lower Eddy St. in San Francisco.

SOPHIA: Picture it: Chowchilla women's facility, 1986. Much like the fabled Achilles, but with a severe skin disorder, Tony "The Rat" Marcotti disguises himself as...

DOROTHY: Oh, ma!!! Enough with the stories.

ROSE: Millions of women suffer from unsightly hairloss. Isn't it time you discovered Rogaine for Women?

BLANCHE: I find it disturbing that chola-lipsticked, ham-necked she-males get more action than I do.

SOPHIA: If someone ever has the bright idea of casting Edward James Olmos as 007, this would be his villain...Or at least, his Bond girl.

TEH L4M3: Dorothy, if anyone ever again makes fun of your man hands in front of me, I'll show them this picture.

SOPHIA: Just make sure they take their Dramamine first.

BLANCHE: In real life, the mistresses are always uglier than the women. Look at Bill Clinton's trailer trash backdoor girls. This one looks to be about Jim Bakker's speed.

ROSE: I see she's fallen for that old folk wisdom hooey. Back in St. Olaf, Danica Lunderberg used to tell everyone that the best way to a fine complexion was to rub fried chicken wings on your face. Clearly this girl's been listening to the same baloney.

BLANCHE: Rose, honey, remind me to throw away the lunch meat in the fridge once we're done here.

DOROTHY: Blanche, the salami already ran away of its own accord after your last trip to the crisper.

TEH L4M3: OKAY, LADIES!!! Thanks for stopping by...

posted by teh l4m3 at 8:14 AM | Permalink | 13 be jibber-jabberin'

Hump-Day Inspiration

12.14.2005
Ore : 12:18 PM


It's Such A Good Feeling

It's such a good feeling to know you're alive.
It's such a happy feeling: You're growing inside.
And when you wake up ready to say,
"I think I'll make a snappy new day."
It's such a good feeling, a very good feeling,
The feeling you know that we're friends.

posted by teh l4m3 at 12:18 PM | Permalink | 15 be jibber-jabberin'

Christmas Gift Ideas

12.13.2005
Ore : 9:53 AM

For the wingnuts on your lists, some gifts guaranteed to spread holiday cheer and goodwill.

posted by teh l4m3 at 9:53 AM | Permalink | 10 be jibber-jabberin'

December 1937: Still Under The Rug


Ore : 8:20 AM

I've found much to love in my long association with Japanese culture, culminating in my year-long stay there a decade ago: the food, the architecture, the traditions, the language, and, most of all, the people. Japan is filled with many millions of kind, thoughtful, funny, intelligent, adorable, talented, and just plain good people.

I've also encountered things about Japan that are absolutely infuriating. Among them is an unwillingness to acknowledge a certain ugliness to their history (usually abetted and excused by the occasional, yet extremely potent and nasty, right-winger among them), a certain compulsion to sweep stuff they'd rather not acknowledge under the rug (cf. Germany and Europe's Jews). As a result, many have no idea that the Rape of Nanking ever occured.

Whether we're talking school textbooks, televised history documentaries, perpetrators themselves -- whatever -- it just never comes up. It's a blank hole in the fabric of history.

To the protests that come up about America ignoring similar issues in it's own history, I'd say, give it a rest for now. Sure, we'll always have that percentage who deny the worst aspects of our history of slavery, that we ever visited genocide and all its attendant horrors on the native population, that we harbored Nazi war criminals, that we actually conducted the Tuskegee experiments, that we are indeed currently illegally detaining and torturing hundreds, if not thousands of Muslims. But let's face it: I knew about all that stuff in high school (frequently, the material popped up in my history and English readings), and I'm quite sure most of you did, as well. And the most recent stuff is common knowledge, and the more sensible among us are fighting it even as I type this.

That isn't the point. This isn't about us, but one of our closest allies -- a friend to America. And I speak as I would want one of my friends to speak. Only when such horrors are acknowledged can true healing begin. The Germans have learned this. The South Africans have learned (or at least, are still trying to learn) this. It's incredibly tired but true: Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

The Japanese and Chinese have come admirably far in repairing a relationship that has existed between the two countries for well, well over a millenium. Subsequent generations have accomplished so much in establishing a new amity between their respective countries. More Japanese students are studying Mandarin than ever before, and it's not uncommon to see Japanese university students backpacking through the alleys and thoroughfares of Beijing. Chinese businesses are finding a wonderful receptivity to their products in the streets of Osaka, and women and gay men from Hokkaido to Kyushu swoon at the sight of Tony Leung on the big screen. But it is not enough. Japan's WWII generation may, through omission and elision, bring its children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren to the banks of the river Lethe, but the Chinese have not forgotten. And they never will.

Japanese records of history, as it is taught in every school, must be corrected. Right-wing revisionists must be publically and thoroughly denounced. Public acknowledgements, with as much fanfare as possible, must be spoken. Declarations and proclamations from the executive branch and the highest levels of the Diet must be put forth. Perpetrators and survivors must come to the table together. Reparations must be made.

It will be painful and hard and uncomfortably shameful. But only then can we hope to see the healing that has been going on fitfully for the past 60 years begin to approach some semblance of completion.

posted by teh l4m3 at 8:20 AM | Permalink | 6 be jibber-jabberin'

Nothing You Haven't Heard Before, But Still...

12.11.2005
Ore : 1:48 PM

As far as I'm concerned, it's not so much that the anti-death penalty camp won the debate hands down years ago, as that the pro-death penalty camp, after all these years, has yet to win:

* For the process to remain as just and unlikely to enmesh the innocent as possible, it must continue to be far more cumbersome and expensive than that which puts convicts in prison for life. (Beware of anyone who tries to argue for efficiency and streamlining in the justice system; timely justice need not be hasty justice.)
* No human system is infallible. Innocents have been executed, and so long as the death penalty continues to be in effect, will be again; this is inevitable. And on the face of it, I reject the morality that would rather err on the side of killing innocents than of letting go or going easy on any guilty. The burden of proof is on those who share that mentality to convince me that it is superior to mine, which errs on the side of sparing the innocent. I have yet to hear one compelling argument. (Until the deterrent argument holds water, I do not accept the necessity of sacrificing the innocent on the altar of justice as it is defined by the pro-death penalty crowd.)
* We afford the government the authority to kill people (specifically, its own citizens) outside of the arena of war at great risk to ourselves. And inasmuch as the government is an agency and tool of the people, we are, each and every one of us, ultimately responsible for the actions of our government. There is enough blood to coat each and every one of our 300 million pairs of hands more than once. Why seek out more?
* There has yet to be any conclusive proof that the death penalty is a deterrent. And no (per my second point, above), the onus is not mine to prove that it is not a deterrent. (Tangentially, my personal opinion, unqualified though it may be, is that the real deterrent to any sort of crime is how likely the criminal in question thinks it is that he or she will be caught, regardless of possible punishment. This doesn't count of course the mentally ill.)


All the arguments I have heard in favor of the death penalty that aren't a mish-mash of revenge-fantasy rationalizations and studies in obfuscation and elision using statistics, are almost entirely predicated on emotional anecdotes dramatizing the horrors visited upon the victims. None of these arguments successfully counters even one of the points I've made above.

Which of course, opens me up to charges of coldness, of being uncaring. "Of course you ivory-tower liberals would dismiss the victims' plight -- you're heartless eggheads!" We can ignore for a moment the inherent laughability of this claim as it might pertain to yours truly, as any of my regular readerettes can attest.

I submit that to keep my heart at arm's length just long enough, in a particular instance, to use my brain is not heartlessness. Indeed, if any punitive action feels like justice, if you get some visceral satisfaction that indeed fairness and right are prevailing, chances are they're not; rather, you're in the bailiwick of vengeance, something not worthy of us, of humanity. We are better than that -- or at least, we can be if we allow ourselves to be. (And to the Orson Scott Cardian argument that any hesitation in striking that killing blow is an expression of humanistic vanity, I would respond that "'vengeance is mine,' sayeth the Lord." The few among us who presume to be his instrument do so at the peril of us all.)

Should Tookie get gassed? Frankly, from what I know about the case, and in part for the reasons I've listed above, I think not. And cold though it may sound, a superficial cost/benefit analysis, independent of the previously mentioned utilitarian arguments and more specific to the case at hand, suggests to me that he's of more value to society as a living force against gang violence than as just another corpse in the ground.

In any event (with the caveat that I'm saying this based on only a first, second, and third look at the case), Mr. Cory Maye should most certainly not be killed. Mr. Maye has years to go before his number is up, and true justice (as opposed to the mere bloodthirstiness of the mob, abetted by its sociopathic users and enablers) may yet win out. But he's a black man who mistook a white cop (whose warrant was for a neighboring apartment) for an intruder in Missi-frickin'-ssippi. I'm not holding my breath.

As I believe this situation brilliantly illustrates, the best we can do here is to fail to compound the problem of unjust executions by denying the government the power to kill people. It's not enough to fix the many problems in our system of justice, but it creates an additional, much needed safeguard. I'm all about erring on the side of good and fairness, here.

posted by teh l4m3 at 1:48 PM | Permalink | 10 be jibber-jabberin'

Happy Holidays, Eastern Bloc Style

12.10.2005
Ore : 8:47 PM

One morning, as I was waking up from anxious dreams, I discovered by my Christmas tree a monstrous verminous bug. I could barely contain the trembling brought on by unmitigated terror long enough to sidle towards the fireplace and secure a firm grip on the handle of the brass poker.

The chittering, clacking behemoth turned its entire broad body towards me, frantically waving its long antennae. "Oh, no! You mustn't be alarmed! It's just me, old
Gregor Samsa, here to bring you wonderful gifts for your library!"



Somewhat mollified, I released my hold on the implement and took a tentative step closer. "Is that so? Well thank you, mighty cockroach. That is very kind."

"You're welcome!" The beast seemed to relax, and headed towards the kitchen. I followed him.

"Wonderful things, I tell you," he continued, as he poured himself a coffee cut with Bailey's. "There are films -- beautiful films! -- of a large yellow bird visiting far China, of a kindly spider (can you believe it?) weaving a web that saves her porcine friend's life, of -- AHHHH!!! Ack, ack, cough, cough..."

The aerosol can felt as though it was floating in my hand. It was empty.

The creature's voice became tiny now, cracked and shaky. "Raid...why...?"

I shrugged, and grabbed the broom. "Sorry. Habit."

posted by teh l4m3 at 8:47 PM | Permalink | 7 be jibber-jabberin'

Slouching Towards Babel

12.09.2005
Ore : 12:30 PM

I am somewhat puzzled with the Right's insistence on attributing partisan definitions to inherently ambiguous terms -- or to be more accurate, terms that in and of themselves do not have to mean what current mainstream conservatives want them to mean. For example: "politically correct." To the Right, it has historically meant opposing sexist, racist, homophobic, and other undesirable language to the point of ludicrousness. But in a country where all three branches of government are controlled by the Right, where lost cause goobers at a NASCAR event sell Old Spice, and Blue Collar Comedy also-rans hawk Hemis and good-ole-boy ringtones, aren't quoting Ann Coulter and flying the Stars & Bars and fantasizing about the wholesale slaughter of "Jawas" the "politically correct" things to do?

And if your average Republican insists that the definition of "Bush Derangement Syndrome" is a knee-jerk, visceral hatred of George W. totally out of proportion to reality, what term describes an irrationally worshipful -- indeed, deifying -- attitude towards the current president?

posted by teh l4m3 at 12:30 PM | Permalink | 8 be jibber-jabberin'

Friday Music Disappointment


Ore : 1:18 AM

You know who I can do without? She Wants Revenge. Easily the most useless band to break this year. Oh, what, poor wittle boy didn't like his meth-crash? So now he's got deep songs about his personal life in the context of aforementioned crash? Give me a fucking break. You sound like Ethel Merman doing a spoken word of Prince b-sides. Step aside, make more room for real musicians.

Justin Warfield, I'd say your only saving grace is your fuckability, except for the fact that I wouldn't allow my dick to be tainted by sharing even the same ZIP code with your odd little greasy mug -- forget letting you suck it.

PS: I've seen DiG! like, one and a half times, and I still don't get it: what exactly is the source of the bad blood between Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols? Pinko? UC? Anyone?

PPS: I'm naughty not to have included a positive alternative to my destructive criticism: The Joggers be where it's at, yo.

Hey, guy.

posted by teh l4m3 at 1:18 AM | Permalink | 9 be jibber-jabberin'

Night Whispers

12.08.2005
Ore : 7:46 PM

Perhaps my last post was excessively alarmist. But maybe not.

I think my point about the man-on-the-street bit interviews at Sacto International (fer crying out loud...) being majorly stupid still stands.

Anyway, to smooth any ruffled feathers, please partake of the enjoyably histrionic vocal stylings of Miss Stacy Lattisaw...



posted by teh l4m3 at 7:46 PM | Permalink | 5 be jibber-jabberin'

KCRA 3 Reports... Pathetically


Ore : 8:27 AM

Not content to rest on its many hard-won dunce caps, Sacramento's favorite Action McNews channel takes reportage to a groaning, eye-rolling new low. Soon after the story broke about that insane drunk Latino getting shot by that doubleplusgood air marshal in Miami, KCRA's crack, in-the-field reporters decided to go to Sacramento International (!!!) to collect the opinions of a bunch of parochial, so-not-in-the-know, middle-aged, well-to-do white folks.

The common consensus was "sucks that he died, but I feel safer knowing that guns could go off in the pressurized cabins of commercial airliners at 30,000 feet." Okay, so I'm twisting that last part, that's not how it happened this time, but that's essentially how they come across. Call a blogger ethics panel if you must.

Now, setting aside what I've said in the past (Bush & Co. are not quite the root of our problems as a country; they are mere symptoms. Ones I'd be glad to be rid of, but symptoms nonetheless. Rather, it's the mentality expressed by people like those interviewed that's the problem), these people really need to be smacked with a clue.

I'm with Ben Franklin on this one. You are either scared, or you're free. You don't get both. Sure, today they're shooting otherwise innocent, yet crazy, brown people... But how long before not even good, mostly law-abiding, heterosexual, Christian, middle-class white people can catch a break?

posted by teh l4m3 at 8:27 AM | Permalink | 8 be jibber-jabberin'

Sadly, Yes!

12.07.2005
Ore : 8:41 AM

Phyllis Schlafly
Kellyanne Conway
Michelle Malkin
Ann Coulter
Kaye Grogan
Anita Bryant

Laura Ingraham
"Dr." Laura Schlessinger...

I'm making a list and checking it twice...And these dipshits and others are in the wrong fucking column.

UPDATE: Elmo adds Laura to the list. Accepting more suggestions until this post scrolls off or I lose interest...
UPDATE II: Phinky suggests the good "Doctor" Laura "Beaver Patch" Schlessinger...

posted by teh l4m3 at 8:41 AM | Permalink | 10 be jibber-jabberin'

I Want One

12.06.2005
Ore : 11:38 PM

Stormtrooper Nanny.



From
Boners.com.

posted by teh l4m3 at 11:38 PM | Permalink | 3 be jibber-jabberin'

粉砕された 心 の 片

12.05.2005
Ore : 8:22 AM

It's been over a decade since I, then a callow 17-year-old, first saw the effects of a massive terrorist attack occuring in real time before my eyes. In horror and stillness I and my host family watched as countless commuters, a mere 450 kilometers from where we sat, tumbled out of station exits and subway cars, trembling violently, and spitting blood and vomit, their ashen faces drenched in sweat. We watched with as much helpless bewilderment as we saw in the eyes of clueless first responders (many of whom succumbed themselves while trying to help), whose white-gloved hands scrambled to make sense of the carnage and confusion before them -- horror that these men and women have never faced before, and, it is to be hoped, will never face again.

I was as clueless as NHK's talking heads when they speculated on what could possibly be in that oily packet, which sat like so many thoughtlessly discarded newspapers on a platform where, only months before, yours truly stood waiting for an Ueno-bound train.

In the years since, whenever the mood took me, or whenever a reminder floated through my mind, I would occasionally revisit the moment, in newsclippings and new encyclopedia entries and televised retrospectives and Internet meditations and recollections. A decade later, and I have yet to glean a coherent message from the incident.

I have learned so much, yet I have learned nothing at all. I am as clueless as ever.

***

O-Isopropyl Methylphosphonofluoridate was discovered in 1938 by German scientists working towards more and more effective insecticides. Its common name is an acronym derived from the names of its discoverers: Gerhard Schrader, Ambros, Rüdiger and Van der LINde. Had the Nazis been able to mass produce it before the end of WWII, they still would not have used it against allied targets for fear of in-kind retaliation. But Saddam found it to be of great value against Iranian targets during the early 1980s (picture little Donny Rumsfeld clapping approvingly in the background), and once again against Kurdish civilians several years later.

In 1994, the twisted genius of Ken'ichi Hirose, honed at Waseda University, my host brother's alma mater, allowed the Aum Shinrikyo cult to synthesize its own stockpile of the weapon.

His fellow Japanese, fellow humans, were no more than insects to be exterminated in their own subterranean tunnels -- a pitstop on the fast path to salvation.

***

In many disasters, the number of fatalities is fewer than that of injuries. Naturally, after mourning the dead, there is a collective sigh of relief that it wasn't worse. It always floors me that our natural reaction is to see the word "injury," and allow it to become an afterthought. We think "well, at least so-and-so can recover from his broken arm or brutal viral infection or whatever." Extensive burns will leave their permanent scars. But the person remains, we think, and though it sucks and we feel sympathy, we're sure the victim will somehow rally, and can yet live his life fully.

***

This groaning, bedridden form is not Shizuko Akashi. Miss Akashi, a 31 year-old supermarket cashier, died on March 20, 1995, the moment her brain was so severely starved for oxygen that she permanently forgot her name, the face of her best friend from high school, and even her place of work. Not that she could work were her mind still present; the sarin gas that irrevocably corroded her nervous system has confined her to a wheelchair for the past decade, most of which has been spent in hospitals. In any case, she's no longer really there. There is someone there, someone who may dimly perceive that once she was something more: a whole woman who loved going out for noodles with her family, who maybe read young men's hipster fashion magazines when she was slacking off at work, who might have had a secret crush on the grim, stocky guy who came in several times a week to buy a pre-made lunch box. But that woman is no longer.

A presence has taken her place, living in the broken shell of the woman who was before. The presence is frightened, confused. The name of this new presence is Shizuko Akashi, but she has only recently learned how to say it. She has no memories of the life that the other Shizuko lived prior to the attacks. Miss Akashi's older brother, her primary caretaker, may sing to her or relate the latest family gossip when he washes her hair or assists her when she eats, but it is someone else he cares for and talks to. Shizuko Akashi is gone.

***

Among devotees of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, it was well understood that those who were thought to be spies or traitors faced dire punishment, including torture and possible death. Like so many other totalitarian, arms-stockpiling, pathologically controlling cults, once you're in, you're in. What amazes me (well aware as I am of the mentality of abuse victims that so closely parallels that of cult members) is that in the face of this, if he is to be believed, Dr. Ikuo Hayashi had even the slight pangs of conscience that he did. He knew that his actions would result in the deaths of scores, if not hundreds or thousands of innocent human beings -- the people into whose faces he looked even as he placed his packages, wrapped in newspaper like Piccadilly cod, on the train car's floor. And he actually hesitated. But in the end, the platonic perfection of the ideology on which this mass murder was predicated won out over the attackers' imperfect human emotions.

Had Dr. Hayashi and his confederates heeded those imperfect feelings that morning, we may have been deprived of a lesson we really didn't need. Miss Akashi might have quit her check-out job and finally married some sweet goofball middle manager; it's possible that this morning she'd be packing her kid's lunch and pinning a note for his teacher to his uniform jacket. It's a certainty that her brother would not be carrying her twisted body to the toilet.

Shoko Asahara taught those in his thrall that human feelings arise when we see the world in an incorrect way. The response to this seems obvious: in the face of the brutal inhumanity exhibited in the minds and deeds of people like Asahara, human feelings, for all their messiness and absurdity and illogicallity and frequent wrongness, are the best we've got. Indeed, more than Buddhist detachment or Christian apocalyptic zealotry or any sort of ideological disconnectedness, they may be, in the end, all that can truly save us.
But that's neither here nor there. I'm still as clueless as ever.

posted by teh l4m3 at 8:22 AM | Permalink | 10 be jibber-jabberin'

Sunday Hottie Gallery

12.04.2005
Ore : 11:59 AM

Worshipping at the altar of succulent studs...

D.B. Woodside

Principal Robin "Gives Me" Wood

Alex Despatie

Naturellement

Charlie Day

A scuzzy little guilty pleasure

Russell Wong

Mu gu gai hunk

Jim Thome

Swing that bat, goober

Ian Anthony Dale

Hate the new show, love the smile

Oded Fehr

The Israeli Navy's loss is our gain

And the good lord made 'em all. Amen, biotches.

posted by teh l4m3 at 11:59 AM | Permalink | 16 be jibber-jabberin'

Want Some Wingnuttery?

12.03.2005
Ore : 9:42 PM

How about a stinker from Renew America's Sam Weaver, Alan Keyes's part-time cabana boy and full-time Napoleon Dynamite dinner theatre player? His latest, crawling creepily through my dial-up connection in its maroon molester van (complete with teardrop window), is nastily and bizarrely entitled "It depends on her virtue." It's written with all the mindless punctuation and phronemophobia you've come to expect from this august Internet institution:

"I am an optimist, but I am also a realist."

My Vitalis-scented hair is real, but my face is made of naugahyde.

"I know that neither the Global War against Islamo-fascism nor the current major front of this war -- Operation Iraqi Freedom -- can be won unless and until we suppress our enemies on the home front."

And they're not who you think!

"Who are these enemies on the home front? They are the very same horde who brought humiliation and defeat for America (not to mention the great people of Vietnam!) in the Vietnam War. They are the peaceniks and the global relativists. They are the uber-liberals and the Bush-haters in Congress, in the media, and in academia."

Ha ha. Okay, so they are.

"They are the bunch who wanted Saddam Hussein to be tried in The Hague, where he would have had a good chance at a 'fair trial.' To this bunch, a 'fair trial' for Saddam means acquittal -- if for no other reason than to rub it in the face of the despised, 'evil' George W. Bush. After all, 'evil' is such a relative term!'"

"Ignoring" that the last sentence made absolutely (as opposed to relatively) no "sense," I actually had hoped that Saddam would be tried before the ICC, if only because I was sure we would have found out oh so many interesting things about our current Secretary of Defense and others who work for the Bush White House. So very many interesting things...

Say, little girl,
want some candy?

posted by teh l4m3 at 9:42 PM | Permalink | 8 be jibber-jabberin'

The War On Christmas

12.02.2005
Ore : 9:41 PM


Apologizing for the brief absence; work, then a computer-falling-apart issue.

Anyway, here's my initial salvo:

- None of my gifts are coming from Wal-Mart.
- My Christmas tree is going to be live, so I may transplant it following the first thaw.
- During the "Black Friday" melee, I laughed at that lady whose wig popped off when she got trampled.
- I tore up a paper nativity scene that my predecessor at work used to display prominently.

BONUS:
A lesson in ingenious parenting. From DailyRotten.

posted by teh l4m3 at 9:41 PM | Permalink | 7 be jibber-jabberin'

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