Sometimes It Goes A Bit Wrong...
Ore : 6:11 PM
We continue to come across variations of this guy during our intertubes shuffling. Perplexio is not such a guy.
But guys like the former have over the years made me so sensitive that I forget that there are people like Perp around. Part of me feels somewhat bad for engaging him; I tried very hard not to jump to conclusions. I never once called him names, or dealth with him snidely. I nevertheless bristled at his responses, so informed they seemed by the talking points of such muffinheads as Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh.
Don't get me wrong: Perp is nowhere near as vile as those two. And though he is "socially" liberal (as though the idea of things social existing completely apart in a vacuum from things political is somehow tenable -- he's nowhere near alone in this kind of thinking), he is not the freakishly compartmentalized conservatarian I described in the first paragraph.
My take, after reading his blog? Perp's a decent guy. He likes good music and a good time. He writes well, and takes particular care against typos. He is most certainly not a batshit insane wingnut conservatarian. If there's any illogical compartmentalization going on, it is IMHO born of an unfamiliarity with certain issues, not some willful assholery. But he writes the same things they write and say (albeit with more civility), so basically, it was hard for me not to be a smart-ass. I hope I pulled it off. Anyway, I can only speculate that he's Christian for the reason most people are Christians: their parents were, they poked around emotionally and spiritually for a bit, decided it was a fit, and called themselves Christians. He's probably a Republican for the reason many are Republicans: their neighbors and and families were, the voices saturating the media are traditionally right-of-center, and the spin being underwritten by hundreds of corporate slush funds-cum-think tanks is simply too powerful to be overcome by opposing viewpoints; so they decide to be what they perceive as one of the White Hats, the good guys -- not one of those demoncrat lieberals who come up with promotional flyers for homosexuality at their weekly abortion parties. It's understandable.
It's certainly the only explanation I can come up with for the glaring lack of evangelical nuttiness, and right-wing vitriol and contortions of logic, and the many examples of skill and sensitivity in Perplexio's talented and thoughtful writings.
Whatever. Tell me what you think: Here is an encounter we had at Tornwordo's fine blog, as an example. Now here is our little exchange on Katrina, here at Freedom Camp:
[Perplexio]: If Bush is guilty of letting NOLA down so are Ray Nagin and Governor Blanco. There's plenty of blame to go around and putting all the blame on Bush is as good as givng Blanco and Nagin a free pass for their role in how badly the whole mess was handled.
[Moi]: perp: trying to spread the blame around is tantamount to attempting to give Bush a free pass. I suggest you read Palast's findings more and with greater perspicacity before deciding on the level of the Bush administration's lack of culpability.
In New Orleans alone (let's not forget about the rest of the Gulf Coast), 1,500 hundred people were essentially left to drown. The levees were the responsibility of the Army Corps of engineers; the Bush government chose to gut their budget for building and repairing levees. 6,000 LA national guard should have been on hand with their high water equipment; the Bush administration, in an act of calculated political cowardice, chose to avoid having to call for a draft by mobilizing and sending to Iraq the national guard of many states. It was FEMA's job to formulate and implement an evacuation plan; the Bush administration chose to install as head of FEMA a man with no qualifications, and chose to place him under the direction of the incompetent who runs Homeland Security -- furthermore, the only excuse we're given for why there was no evacuation plan was that "it got lost."
And for the record, does the bullet never stop at the Oval Office?
I'm sorry if that came across rudely, especially in the last question; I'm no ogre. I don't thing he's evil or malicious or of the devil. But accusations of condescension and presumptuousness be damned, I do believe he is misguided. We each think the other's wrong. And how many times have we seen this argument presented by real nutso right-wingers (often with a flurry of misogynistic and racist overtones)?
Maybe neither Perplexio nor I have a grip on even the majority of the facts, but to reinforce my point here, I think Perp is wrong in that he seems to misunderstand fundamentally the roles of various levels of government. So just to make the source of my ire somewhat clearer: Katrina and its aftermath could only have been handled by a federal government. If a five-block fire breaks out, or you've got a rash of neighborhood home burglaries, then yes, you should expect your city or county to handle it. If a wildfire is ravishing Mendocino, then the first responders will be the CDF (to be sure, I also think it's fair, depending upon the damage wrought, to expect some federal assistance.) But in the event of a Category 4 or 5 hurricane bearing down on a heavily populated area, you're dealing with the potential devastation of entire cities: you're talking hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives at stake; you're talking property loss and damage in the tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars. You're talking about destruction on a scope that is far too large to be in the bailiwick of any state or municipal government -- such an instance requires the resources and manpower commanded by nothing less than a federal government. You know, the kind of resources and manpower that can fund two simultaneous, massive, long-term foreign wars.
Yet for some reason the response to Katrina was worse than lackluster. It was worse even than sluggish or embarrassing or incompetent -- although don't mistake me as I think it was all of those things, as well. No, it was worse than all those put together because it was callous. Nasty and callous.
The not-giving-a-shitness was so extreme that in the end no one in the Bush administration, least of all the President himself, gave a shit until long after they had already realized it was politically necessary to present the appearance of giving a shit. There was no evacuation contingency, but plenty of FEMA trailers for survivors weeks later. There were no troops or FEMA personnel or federal agents helping to clear out hospitals and rest homes, and driving or escorting transports out of the city, but there were plenty of mercenaries guarding businesses and private homes afterwards. There was no president until many days after one was needed.
There was no response when the warnings went out. There was a response sometime after the poll numbers dipped.
Perhaps Blanco and Nagin were not as on the ball as they should have been. This is to be expected. They were in the middle of things; Nagin in particular was poised to be a direct victim of Katrina. Washington, however, was not. And the onus is on the government at the national level to take the lead, to have competent people heading FEMA, to have an evacuation plan in effect, and to take the lion's share of the responsibility in dealing with a disaster of this magnitude.
I'm sorry, Perp, that we disagree. You seem a good guy, the Christian Republicanism thing notwithstanding. But what can I do? I'm pretty much convinced that the future of my country is at stake.
But don't think I'm not glad to have encountered you. Those wingnuts I mentioned? I don't have to search for them. They're everywhere. You, on the other hand, are rare.
So I'm sorry if at any point I came across as being vicious or bitchy. Friends?
Ore : 7:17 AM
Iain Murray: "For many thousands of years, the negroes have been ungrateful thieves. But we conservatives are too smart to fall for their chicanery."
Tim Graham: "I don't see what the big deal is about a doctor chopping up the Hippocratic Oath to suit his religious beliefs; it's the same as homeopathy and supporting a woman's right to reproductive choice."
Iain Murray: "Why listen to real scientists on global warning when we've got Orson Scott Card? Oh, and turncoat Schwarzenegger's new regulations are going to force all wealthy and middle-class white Californians to flee to Texas and Missouri, where they can practice true free-marketry. Enjoy your new, un-productive Mexican overlords, suckers!"
Andy McCarthy: "Internationalism has never worked before, especially when no one's willing to try. So why not just do to Iran what we've done to Iraq?"
John Hood: "Public transit always has been and always will be a failure. What we need are more highways and more people driving cars; Reason.org told me so."
On Mike Stark's Shameful Treatment
Ore : 8:23 AM
But with apologies to Stark, there is something in the final analysis he (understandably -- I'm not sure I could have been as level-headed and civil at the end of this as he proved to be) and Duncan missed. Stark in his diary all-too-forgivingly refuses to characterize Graham's story as "particularly malicious." To be sure, he's right that it's not a hit piece, but the malice is there; it is subtle and off-hand in the original, and becomes much more glaring in Graham's subsequent no-a culpa. Allow me to illustrate with a couple of very telling passages from Graham's response to Stark's request for corrections (any emphases mine):
You can quibble over whether or not it was paid for by federal dollars, but the fact is that George Allen was in town to promote his campaign for re-election to the United States Senate.
Shorter: "You're probably right, but your citizenship means nothing compared to my press pass."
From the perspective of an eyewitness, namely, me, you were clearly interrupting something. Allen's "campaign goon," as you call him, David Snepp, had informed members of the local news media (from newspapers located in Staunton and Waynesboro, a TV station in Charlottesville and a Harrisonburg station in Harrisonburg) that Sen. Allen would be available for questions after the event and asked us to set up at an area adjacent to a backdoor where the senator could exit the hotel after talking with us.
Then he informed us that the senator was coming our way and that we would have several minutes to ask questions as you made your way to begin your own Q and A session.
Shorter: "As I was there representing the corporation I own and you were there representing concerned constituents, there was a wall between us that you were very presumptuous to breach."
I'm pretty sure that I still know what the definition of "interrupted" is from grade school - and this easily meets the definition.
Shorter: "You have the brain of a very slow 1st grader."
Your resistance to the overtures from the senator and Mr. Snepp to allow the senator to proceed with the Q and A session that had been prearranged - obviously outside of your realm of knowledge - with members of the local media was also "combative."
Shorter: "The fact that I was there for a paycheck undermines your credibility."
Again, Mike Stark is awfully civil and forgiving in the face of what I can see only as blistering, overweening arrogance. The response to his request for corrections was, with 1.5 exceptions, one long sneer couched in a few cautious, PR-aware phrases. The insults to his intelligence and love of the democratic process continue right on to the end, where Graham all but calls Stark a liar for implying that too few in the media wanted to talk about the whole "noose and stars-and-bars" thing, even though the former does not deign to provide the latter with even one example of a reporter bringing the subject up. Well, I for one can provide an example of someone who should have.
(As an aside, I think we can all be reasonably sure that those were Republicans/libertarians/independent conservatives who coined the term "citizen journalist" -- I can't imagine any prominent liberals being so self-aggrandizing in labeling their analyses and searches for truth. I'd really like to hear the Malkin/Hewitt/Reynolds take on this little kerfuffle.)
Mike Stark's vigilance and forbearance are a great tribute to the people of Virginia, to the USMC he served IIRC for several years, and to that lovely tradition of Southern politeness. Too few of us understand just what it takes to be responsible Americans, and we need more examples like him -- and more people to stand up for the Mike Starks of the world who are always getting smacked down like this.
Anyway, I for one am no Mike Stark. I'm not as intelligent, nor as brave. I'm no noble citizen journalist; I'm just an asshole with a blogspot account. I'm kind of mean and stupid, really, so all I have to offer Graham is this: Eat it, you unctuous little gutterwhore. Don't get me wrong: it's great that you're independent -- you know, pimp-free -- it's to be applauded that you're able to walk the ho stroll with your head held high. But maybe you ought to have an ombudsman.
(H/T Yeah, him. ;-P)
In His Defense Odysseus Clogged Fewer Arteries...
Ore : 9:06 PM
It would be an understatement to say there is a weight problem in America. Americans are fat. And a lot of them don't understand why.
In other words, about nine months. You know what that means, don't you?
Yup. Just about that time of year...
Letting NOLA Drown
Ore : 1:46 PM
Well You Know What They Say
Ore : 6:55 AM
Sorry I don't have more, but I've been preoccupied with some major, crazy superhero business this weekend.
There's Something About Michelle Malkin...
Ore : 3:21 PM
No. Something about that evil bitch bothers me because she reminds me of something I've been obsessing over for several years now (and where better than a blog to air grudges that should have died years ago?)
It was supposed to be a simple BART trip, from 16th Street to Powell. We were feeling happy and light -- faggoty, if you will. Dennis was on a typically hilarious tear about Trannyshack bitches, and Vincent was laughing his evil, Snuggly-bear laugh. I was laughing too, but also paying attention to my surroundings. That's when I saw them.
They were sitting two rows back from the sliding doors, in the ratty gray, spotted and stained, ghetto-ass BART seats. They were beautiful and impeccable. He was white, blue-eyed with a shaved head, a perfect body under that Navy-blue Brooks Brother's sheath; a statuesque face. She was equally gorgeous: dark as mahogany, face a bit hard but beautiful, perfectly straight braids (if they were extensions, they were high-fucking-class). They canoodled prettily.
But they had something to say to each other about "the faggots." Us. And it wasn't cute and playful. They said it with a tone that promised menace. And the two of them together could have taken me on easily. They were muscular and perfect.
And I wanted to say something that I didn't at the time have the presence of mind or the courage to say.
I wanted to say: You know what, pretty fuckers? The reason you're here, the reason you can PDA all over the fucking BART train? That would be me. That would be because my grandmother joined the Communist party and ran with Black Panthers in Richmond; you can love each other in public because she marched with Martin Luther Fucking King, Jr. on Selma. Because my dad dared denounce Richard Nixon to his superior officer when in Vietnam. Because my mom broke her knuckles against the corporate glass ceiling in the 1970s (she was one of the many losers, alas; but she fought nonetheless...) Because when Dick and Condi and George said there were WMDs in Iraq and we had to go in, I showed up at Dolores Park and made my voice heard.
You are there because I am fucking there. Because I was and always will be there.
So you know what, pretty couple with a bizarre sense of morality? Fuck you. Fuck you both dry and in the ass.
Fuck. You. Both. Very. Fucking. Much.
Something about Michelle reminds me of those two, for some reason or another...
(H/T to Gordon's deliciously evil, hawttt spawn. Just 'cos.)
Mini-Review: V For Vendetta
Ore : 10:16 PM
At Least My Cooking Doesn't Explode...
Ore : 2:12 PM
Which Young Ones character are you?
You are Vyvyan!
Your childhood will only encourage you to spread the chaos elsewhere. Think globally, Act locally. You will either invent a new chemical agent capable of wiping out entire ant species, or invent a new ant species capable of wiping out entire chemical plants. You will meet and fondle the first person who has a fetish for push-ups and fore-head studs.
Ore : 7:24 AM
From A Promo...
Ore : 8:44 AM
Weird, I know...
Ore : 8:34 AM
There are the usual petty palace intrigues: that sordid but necessary matrix of murder and rape, espionage and carefully calculated candor, ascension and debasement whence empire occurs here, “sobre las nubes.” Then there are the grape crops, upon which so many millions depend to keep themselves sane in the face of quotidian misery; they are suffering the third lightest yield on record. And once again -- for the fifth time in a century -- a majority of the Rikstag, from half a globe away, has passed a resolution calling for her ouster. One would be remiss to forget also the ubiquitous cancerous children to be photographed with, the thousands of damned ribbons to cut.
But none of these cares seem to touch her. The Empress Pilar del Río de Piedra V bears few fine lines on her statuesque, morena face, and no gray in her wavy, shoulder-length black hair. Her brown eyes sparkle with wit and confidence; they are flecked with hints of gold. When she smiles, it is, though naturally turned down at the corners of the mouth, with genuine mirth. She looks as regal, as imperial, as a founder and CEO who continues to enjoy her work long after the elation of the smashing initial public offering has given way to the nail-biting anxieties bred by the daily ups and downs of the fickle market.
A decent simile: one cannot disregard the sheer power she radiates, so much greater than that of any private sector executive on my world. It renders her incandescent.
The business suit she is wearing as she glides down from the dais to relieve us our obeisance is something my mother would wear. My mother may very well own the same suit, in the same color. In any case, the resemblance is undeniable. She could be a younger, harder version of Katherine. She looks to be no older than 38.
Her appearance, like so much about her, is a lie. It is an open secret throughout the human-occupied galaxy that she is closer to 160.
The original Pilar was born when my great-grandparents, first-generation Illyrians, huddled under pressure domes, not long after the last of the comet-fall, but before construction had begun on the great canals that criss-cross Capay City. It was a time of great unrest on Arboleda Azul, and Pilar was on the vanguard of transforming that unrest into upheaval.
For a time she was the beautiful yet humble Guerrera, one foundation stone among many of the shaky new social democracy built from the timbers of the obliterated rightist corporate state that had settled Arboleda Azúl. She was supposed to sink back into the hard-bitten masses, to find a sun-browned, handsome and wiry husband, and one day regale her fat little grandchildren with tales of how she had nutted and gutted some hapless mercenary with her buck knife, which would hang in the firelight on the soot-blackened wall. And then she would die, her body given to the reclamation plants so that she might sustain her fellow Arboledeños. But how can a girl expect to secure a place in history if she behaves?
Through a rarely seen combination of ruthlessness, charm, and ingenuity, Pilar replaced the already self-destructing new republic with a granite throne. The new world required large, regular infusions of capital and processed materials that the pride and disapproval of other corporate entities, having seen the shameful toppling of one of their own by popular movement, would not allow to be delivered; their indignation was mollified by the installation of a strongwoman; they approved of her and her methods. Besides, the people feared; like some terrifying goddess she offered them shelter and succor in exchange for their undying devotion and worship. This is not to say she did not love them in return; she loved them almost as much as she loved power. She proved to be a fine administrator, a stern but fair steward to the masses. She cared deeply for her people, as though they were, collectively, wet, bloody and newly born from her womb. Her actual womb, on the other hand...
The problem with such a wise and intelligent woman loving her people so much is her foresight, born of an unavoidable sense of history: she was well aware of how unreliable heirs could be. Could a scion, who after a certain point becomes a distinct person, with foibles and flaws and needs and whims of his or her own, truly be trusted to care and love as much as she? She decided to avoid needing an answer: there is no better way to insure against a tyranny's most fatal flaw, namely, the mortality of its tyrant, than to obviate mortality itself.
Cloning is easy. Insert genetic material into hollowed out egg, fertilize in vitro one of your healthier worshippers, allow the being to mature for 16 or so years (keeping it under lock and key and heavy sedation as much as possible), and voila: a beautiful, brand new you.
The two-step neural transference is a darker matter. The process of quantum mapping the actual echo of the mind -- a process known elsewhere only theoretically, it is hoped -- of course destroys the original. And the recasting of a neural network as vast as that of a human being's -- superimposing it, moreover, on an already formed brain -- is at best an exceedingly tricky proposition.
But for almost two centuries she has continued to pull it off. If there is any degradation from the original, she doesn't show it. No words of cloned children whose rightful lives were denied them spring forced from her somewhat thin lips. She displays no palsy; her very presence is firm and assured.
No doubt spies and scientists all over the known universe are desperate to find out just how her team rolls. But they are quiet in their desperation. Never mind the problems of vast computing power such a project would entail -- the ethical concerns alone are myriad. I think I am not wrong in supposing that virtually every modern neurophysicist finds the mere concept of such a technology and all its ramifications nauseating in the extreme.
We stand, four pawns facing a queen, arrayed on the glossy beige marble. She affixes me almost playfully. "I see women on your world are not familiar with the -- how do you say? -- curtsy. They bow the way you do, as a man should."
I am struck dumb. It is true. I am flanked by Sophia and Nene to my left, and Olivia to my right. While Olivia had managed a decent, generic sort of flourishing bow that must pass for something in Viola, Nene and I, as we had been trained from toddlerhood onward, had held our ojigiri deeply and a for a duration (it was all I could do to keep from addressing la Emperatriz in my most teinei-na kokugo, which she certainly would not have understood.) In fact, at this moment, I feel I could kow-tow were I able. Alas, I had no idea such a gesture even existed until I was in my teens, when I read a very old Kang Be story that illustrated it. Alone among us, Sophia has remained still.
An ice-cold oubliette echoes in my stomach as I watch Sophia step forward, frank as artificial sunlight (her honeyed curls bouncing all the way), and raise her skirt and dip and bow in the most curious fashion.
Pilar throws her head back and emits two loud laughs, sharp yet soft, like quick bleats from a French horn. "Precious. Absolutely adorable." Still smiling, she closes on Sophia. "And what is your name, girl?"
"Sophia, your majesty."
"No apellido -- no family name?"
For my assistant, a lie takes no time. "I was an orphan, your highness."
"Hm." Pilar returns to me.
I can sense Olivia's and Nene's shock. Nene especially. She wants desperately to ask me what a curtsy is. Does the word share a common ancestor with "courtesy"? Is she expected to do the same from now on? How the hell should I know? But Nene is a professional above all. She keeps quiet, just as I had asked her to. We don't even use among us our maxillary mics, as Olivia had assured me when we were in orbit that this very room is riddled with snoops.
I am desperate for this ritual to be done with, for us to be dismissed from the audience hall. The sooner it is over, the less likely it is her majesty will have us beheaded for displeasing her. And don't think she can't. I recall one of many tales of her depravity: on an antelope hunt, she had accidentally shot and killed a courtier. Some of the wealthier families were outraged, but she had somehow finagled the courtier's family into apologizing for their son's death having caused her such grief and pain, and for having given ammunition, so to speak, to her legion yet anonymous political enemies. It would be a diplomatic nightmare, to be sure, but no one is going to cross 82 light-years to avenge the deaths of four privateers who should have known better than to accept such an assignment in the first place. She'd have a moderately difficult time explaining the empty Illyrian vessel docked in Arboleda Azul's Clarke ring, but interstellar war is just so pointless.
With the authority she commands, she could easily have the entire Illyrian consulate massaging her feet even as her attendants wash our blood from the floor mere meters away.
"Captain Edgley," she turns to me, brightly and fascinated, "won't you and your crew join me for dinner tonight? We have a wonderful show in store. A face-changer from Tien Fa. I understand she has been entertaining some of our wealthier families; she has been making the rounds for some months now, proving herself, and comes to us highly recommended."
"We would be honored, your majesty." Once again, I offer her my deepest ojigiri.
Her voice is sharp and peremptory. "Pioquinto," she says, and, as the soul of hospitality, in English, "please show our guests to their chambers."
There is a tall, goateed man, dressed in a black flightsuit and armed with a ceremonial halberd, to the right of her throne. He bows once, and in a croupy voice assents. "Si, Doña Emperatriz.
"Come with me, please."
We file out of the hall behind Señor Pioquinto Santaolalla, our fates deferred for now.
Tuesday Plongeur Blogging
Ore : 2:19 PM
Also, I Think Communists Stole His Apostrophe Key...
Ore : 11:12 PM
He's absolutely right of course, and I offer my apologies. It's true: Mora was the author of the cited article. Boy is my face red. Worse is, that little mistake completely negated everything else I have ever written.
Which leaves the ball in someone else's court. My own position vis a vis Cuba is stupid, I now realize: We can't simply let Fidel die and leave it up to the silly, savage, misguided Cubans to decide what will constitute their government. That's my position, and it must be wrong. Allowing a country of no strategic value self-determination is such September 10th thinking! Clearly, Val and Mora have a much better answer. Here it is:
Ah, these super-intelligent, super-superior rightists make it so hard to follow along! It has already been demonstrated by the fact that I didn't pay good attention to the Babalu byline that my position is untenable. But once again, even with this genius paragon of foreign policy wonkery deigning to visit my little corner of the Intertubes, I have still not been offered a better position to take, alas. Sure, sure there are the vague allusions to freedom and capitalism, oblique disavowals of Rightists' bad behavior past, and cutesy T-shirts of Ernesto's mug with a bullet hole in the forehead, but where are the actual nuts and bolts of what our plans should be for Cuba and Venezuela (and perhaps now even Peru)? More CIA backed coups? Land invasions with coalitions of the willing? Purple fingers? Air-dropped "Day By Day" leaflets?
Throw me a bone here, Val and Mora! (Preferably Mora, porque pienso ella tiene huevos más grandes.)
From The True Americans (tm) Who Brought You The Reagan Dime...
Ore : 9:10 AM
I just saw this one for the first time this morning:
Alas, the eagle on the obverse does not appear to be crying enormous, goopy, silver tears... I suppose well just have to settle, be happy that at least some people haven't forgotten that tragic day.
As Aasif Mandvi said, "Tough day, great opportunity.": Capitalism is a glorious thing, as long as we don't let lieberal muslamonazi symps hamper it.
(Post inspired and partially informed by my brother, who's visiting for a bit.)
Inside The Mind of a Batista-Licker
Ore : 8:11 AM
[Manuel Rosales] proposes straight cash grants from Venezuela's oil windfall instead of slimey crony government welfare programs and Cuban doctors. He's gonna give the poor people straight money so they can go to the doctors they'd like, instead of just castro's. He wants to create jobs, investment and opportunity so that all of this welfare crap won't be necessary at all.
Let's just ignore the blatant lies about Chavez being "collectivist" and anti-democratic, as well as the vast amount of support he continues to enjoy in Venezuela. Let's ignore the fact that Rosales would probably not be the great "white" Reaganite hope people like Val here are counting on. Let's just concentrate on Val's implication: All these wondrous, generous things have long been in Rightists' and corporatists' powers to provide, but they choose not to provide them unless their power is threatened -- or at least perceived to be threatened -- by people like Chavez. Or, yes, even Fidel and Ernesto.
And Val wonders why he and people like him find themselves on the side of organized crime and private-sector pirates. Oh. Come to think of it, maybe he doesn't.
Post-Toastie Script: Yeah, this is the guy subbing for Jesse and Michelle. And yeah, he's as stupid as Brad says.
The Kinda Guy You'd Go To For An Anal Fistula
Ore : 10:42 AM
Really, I have no words. View the shameful hilarity in situ.
Well OK maybe a few words: If I may be so bold as to offer a diagnosis via JPEG, I'd say the poor guy has hepatitis. And a bad case of Key West Queen Decorating Syndrome (NAMBLA).
"The reservation's under 'Nell Carter,' table for two..."
Ore : 2:34 PM
Authorities were investigating a handwritten letter received Thursday — purportedly sent by an al-Qaida supporter — that said the terrorist group planned blasts at the 17th century monument, which drew nearly 2.5 million tourists last year.
Um, yeah. Uh-huh. A radical Muslim terrorist organization that wants to see the emergence of a pan-national Caliphate is going to blow up a Muslim monument so famous it's one of the 7 Wonders of the World.
In other news, Operation Rescue is alleged to have threatened -- via a note written shakily in crayon -- to set fire to the Creation Evidence Museum in Glen Rose, Texas.
SIRIUSly, I'm Out of Material For Today
Ore : 9:19 AM
Peaches, "Boys Wanna Be Her" -- With acts like The Gossip and Le Tigre nipping at her gold stiletto heels, and the grime thing coming up fast, Peaches is redoubling her effort to keep that tiara. Hardly "Fuck The Pain Away," but danceable. 6/10
Lady Sovereign, "Love Me or Hate Me" -- Council House Lil' Kim who favors baggy Adidas over Versace; Heineken over Cristal. Phat beats, decent production, hilarious, self-deprecating yet fabulous lyrics. Refreshing, funny and bouncy. Expect her to be co-opted by the stateside hip-hop Borg soon. 8.5/10
The Streets, "Never Went To Church" -- An unusually maudlin and turgid entry for Mr. Skinner. It's The Streets, so I don't have to go into what he sounds like. This one's slower, with shades of Madonna's "Oh Father." Still clever, but not my fave. 6/10
The Arcade Fire, "Cold Wind" -- I'm sure I've done this one before, but I'm not going to look it up right now. Maybe my opinion has changed. Beautifully crafted as all their songs are. Spare and despairing: understated vocals, fine guitar. Great road song. 8/10
The Replacements, "Left Of The Dial" -- As raw, immediate, exciting as I remember. I've never been a huge fan, but enjoyable enough. 7/10
Teenage Fanclub, "Jesus Christ" -- Throwaway number by a band that does great stuff but just as often can't help but demonstrate why they don't deserve a larger following. Blah. 4/10
Art Brut, "Emily Kane" -- The boys have pulled a bit of a bait-and-switch on us. Still the same faux-ironic, not-sung-but-spoken vocals, the same vaguely punkish, hey-look-at-us-stop-looking-at-Pete-Doherty accompaniment, but it's actually a lovely little ditty about nostalgia for an old school crush. 6.5/10
Arctic Monkeys, "Still Take You Home" -- I like the energy, but you guys are so 2.75 minutes ago. Move along people. 4/10
XTC, "Dear God" -- Ah, always so soulful. Love in particular the gutteral bass here. They don't play enough XTC on the radio. I can bob my head to this. 8.5/10
The Final Word
Ore : 8:26 PM
My Name Is America: Journal of Madeline Star, New Vaudeville Performer
Ore : 9:53 PM
Excerpt: "The Audition"
It was the most exciting day of my life. We were so worried that Grandma couldn't pull it off. Well, it was her last show -- but what a show!
We filed into the casting director's office. He seemed bored, sour. He was not in the mood for a family act. "Show me what you got."
Immediately, Dad unzips my brother Ricky's jeans and pulls his semi-hard cock out. Dad gets down on his knees and starts gobbling Ricky's fattening knob. Meanwhile, Mom begins her slow interpretive dance routine, one hand throwing off articles of clothing, the other digging gobbets of green shit out of her asshole and flinging them, Jackson Pollock-like, around the office. When she had completed her circuit, that was my entrance.
I drift dainty as you please to a position behind Dad, who's still sucking on Ricky's dick like an Injun on a flask of firewater. I pull down his pants, spread his sallow cheeks, and start munching his butt, working my tongue past the hairs and the few warts, right into the slimy rectum. He moans with delight -- I do such a good job, he almost gags on his son's tool.
But Ricky had to hold it. First Grandma came in to do her part. Her back and knees weren't in the best of shape, but she still managed -- imagine, still kicking after all this time! She was originally from the old country. Anyway, she got on her hands and knees, doggy-style, and I laid on her back, my ankles over Ricky's shoulders. Dad positioned himself behind Ricky, ramming himself into Ricky's tight sphincter while Ricky would switch between my snatch and Grandma's -- he'd thrust in mine, then switch to Grandma's withered, gray meat wallet, using my juices to make the pounding easier on poor Grandma. At the same time, Mom squatted down in front of Grandma's face to offer the latter a good shot at the former's puckered stinkeye. Grandma, trembling under my weight and Ricky's continued reaming, and half-blind besides, still managed to lick a few chunks out of Mom's ass before she suddenly collapsed.
Oh, what a disaster! But like Dad always said, a disaster is just an opportunity waiting to be seized.
Just after Grandma's final death rattle, as the life shuddered out of her frail old frame, Ricky straddled her liver-spotted, saggy old tits and spewed his goopy, ropy, HIV-positive nut all over her face. Then, very respectfully, he closed her eyelids. Dad immediately jammed his shit-slathered cock into Grandma's mouth, made sure he had the right leverage, and sprang her dentures up towards the ceiling. Mother lept cat-like, pirroueted, and in a single motion slapped the old woman's teeth out of the air and straight into her pussy. Then, with her new vagina dentata (still bearing little bits of spinach and corned beef and dried fecal matter from the last few things Grandma had eaten), she nibbled on Dad's enormous, raging purple glans.
Ricky and I, our parts almost finished, each took one of Grandma's legs and held them straight up in the air, making sure the floppy lips of her superannuated quim were pointed straight at the casting director (who certainly wasn't bored now!) When Mom had finished chewing Dad's one-eyed snake to a bloody pulp, she ripped a small, black and white print of Rosa Parks off the wall. Dad thrust his gory stump through the back of the photo so that his tubesteak poked through Parks's mouth, sqatted down over his own dead mother's torso, and streamed blood and cum all over her old, dead taint, all the while screaming through his orgasm, "For the victims and heroes of 9/11!"
We held our poses for a moment.
"What the fuck was that?" asked the director.
With a flourish and a bow Dad informed him, "We call ourselves... the Aristocrats!"
I Can't Imagine Ever Using This Construction
Ore : 7:09 AM
As I've hinted occasionally in the past, I'm working on a novel. This project has got me thinking about language a great deal, and in a lot of nit-picky ways. When reading, I find myself sharply sensitive to such tiny things -- things that might even have been simple typos that got jammed in just prior to printing -- things like misplaced colons, mispelled words, or jarring and ill-advised choices in adverbs.
And I've been reading a tremendous amount. I've still got my yen for non-fiction, and, just as I did when I was a wee sapling, I continue to attack my massive Webster's Unabridged like a fat kid faced with a box of Ding-Dongs. But I've also been consuming a great deal of fiction. Of course, I've been rereading (and enjoying for the first time) classics: Hemingway, Dickens, Conrad, the Brontë sisters' greatest hits, Austen, et al. In addition, I've been kickin' it live with a lot of middle-brow and aspiring-to-middlebrow tomes.
Now, there's plenty of crap out there. We all know this. Some of it purely unreadable, much of it not: even as I'm blisteringly aware of what makes a certain author sub-par, I can appreciate the sheer effort that went into a certain book, and even applaud when an author who might be in over his head prevails and rises above his or her native limitations. One guilty pleasure I've been enjoying is Stephen R. Donaldson.
The man's work is clearly weekend-at-the-beach material. Not dreck, but far from transcendent (for that matter, so is mine -- don't think for a minute I'm under the illusion that I'm the next Nabokov.) I'm just starting the final book in his "Gap" series, "Gap Into Ruin: This Day All Gods Die." There's some hackneyed stuff, some too-precious internal dialogue (can you really get away with a character using "forsooth" these days, even ironically?), and more. The prose is for the most part workmanlike -- he's definitely no Gene Wolfe. He really shines, however, in his plotting (specifically, in creating intricate intrigues) and overall characterization. My standards aren't high -- or rather, they are, but I often choose not to adhere to them. Donaldson passes the time well enough.
But last night I came across this: "Uncertainties proliferated like ecstasy, weaving unknowns out of the quantum mechanics of the known." At first blush, it may read nicely enough, but pay attention to that first clause: "Uncertainties proliferated like ecstasy..."
Really, what the hell?
I mean, with my greater sensitivity to language comes a deepening insecurity with my own imagination and abilities, and I'm wondering if I'm missing something here. Certainly, uncertainties may proliferate, but how do they proliferate "like ecstasy"? Does he mean they proliferate ecstatically? Can they do that? Or does he mean they proliferate with exuberance? Or is he using "ecstasy" in an ancient Greek religious sense, in the sense of achieving some pagan mystery? Can such ecstasies proliferate, and should he have written "Uncertainties proliferated like ecstasies..."? Or is this a poeticism, meant to convey something by and with its inherent irrationality that could not otherwise be conveyed?
Or is it just that, as an author, he's not all that and a bag of chips?
Just what am I not getting here? Someone help me out, please.
OT EARTHSHATTERING UPDATE: One of the Intertube's biggest studs is BACK!!!
It Is A Warm Sunday Afternoon...
Ore : 8:08 AM
Miwako, as senpai, is wonderful: instructive without condescension, authoritative without being overbearing, kind and funny and warm. For nigh on two months I have been as a younger brother to her. I feel completely at home.
Off in the distance, towards the mountains that separate Wakayama from Osaka, there is a regular, fast thudding sound. We see a Defense Force helicopter maneuvering in the distance.
The cast of her face utterly transforms from good humor to a hard look of stern disapproval. She is visibly upset.
She and her family are devout Buddhists, very peaceful people. She takes this opportunity to extoll to me the virtues of Article 9, and spends about 10 minutes on an uninterruptable, bitter tear about the increasing militarization of Japan.
The year is 1995.
In the context of Japanese history and society, Koizumi really is as big an asshole as George W. Bush.
Get Ready 4 da SOV
Ore : 9:57 PM
Disjointed Thoughts On "Them": Dirty Words
Ore : 3:26 PM
Who, me? I said "crack," not "black." I'm no racist.
(As an aside and yet another parenthetical, no one has yet convinced me that a strong social safety net is not a hallmark of a free and civilized society.)
Anyway, it's useful rhetoric, I suppose. It's just so risky to say what they really mean. They need to be euphemistic in this, our post-civil rights America. They have to be euphemistic because we are right.
When they say "welfare queen," what they mean of course is "nigger bitch." It's like when they mention "New York," "East Coast," or "Hollywood," or when they call anyone an effete, coastal and/or limousine liberal: we all and they all know what they're really saying: "fags" and "kikes."
Think of this as a touchstone. When they call you a racist for thinking Alan Keyes might be a few fries short of a Happy Meal, remember it. When someone calls you an anti-Semite for disagreeing with the direction Israel's far Right has taken its country (even as he uses code words familiar to any Nazi to describe liberal American Jews), keep it in mind. Whenever they call you a coward for standing up to those who control every branch of government and own virtually every media outlet, remember what you are and what they've done with language -- that just about any pejorative they use usually signifies its real-world antonym.
Whenever they call you an anti-American traitor because you support civil liberties, constitutional rights, the rule of law, strong public education, and sure, even a healthy welfare state, remember this and know that you're the one wearing a white hat.
Ore : 11:34 PM
George Clooney likes for his pet pig to watch... As he gets reamed by hot, hung Latino waiters!
Dennis Miller once threw up on Ann Coulter during a drinking game!
Daryn Kagan dropped Rush Limbaugh because of his predilection for pubescent Dominican junkies!
Anderson Cooper ate out Sherry Lansing in an ill-advised, later-abandoned bid to start a film career!
Jake Gyllenhaal actually boned Heath Ledger -- a sort of straight-guy, platonic fuck in an effort to be "method" for their parts!
Justin Timberlake topped David Geffen for a quarter bag of meth!
Dakota Fanning is really 37!
Lara Flynn Boyle submitted to anal bleaching!!!
Ore : 10:43 AM
So OK, I've visited the Cuba nostalgia Web site, often linked to from right-wing sites. Lots of fun stuff: panama hats, reconstructions of low, homey Cuban storefronts, charmingly lurid oil pantings of Cuban themes. There's even a booth, IIRC, where you can buy those Che Guevara T-shirts, the ones with a bullet in the forehead -- adorably snarky, verdad? But if you visit, you'll notice a distinct lack of substance, of weight; it's all so vague (and it's the same all over the "Cuba libre pero con condiciones..." blogosphere.) There's no strident and specific manifesto, no rousing "Cuba has suffered for half a century under this evil communist dictatorship; now is the time for change, and this is what we'd like to see blahdiblahdiblah..."
So just for what are they feeling nostalgia? A pre-Castro Cuba, clearly; there is brief mention of Cuba once having been vacationer's paradise, an ersatz debonair's playground, as it is today for many Europeans and Canadians and Mexicans and South Americans and Asians. But the fleeting allusions elide the fact that back then it was so for only wealthiest, and for white Americans in the upper tax brackets. These people (mostly rightist Cuban exiles and American conservatarians) are so damn coy about what it is for which they yearn. But I think it's pretty clear they yearn for the crushing poverty that afflicted the majority of the populace, for the bloody excesses of Batista, for organized crime as an institution run amok, for the iron rod of unforgiving, foreign corporate rule. Given in particular the American Right's track record, under Bush, domestically and abroad, I think this is a conservative and all-too forgiving assessment of their state of mind.
Of course someone's bound to ask, "You mention Batista, but what about Castro?" Followed by some facile sophistry that's supposed to illuminate an equivalence between the two, and ultimately quash the conversation. Yes, Castro's crushed dissent and had people disappeared. His notion of making himself the keystone of an entire nation may very well doom the people he set out to save. As I have mentioned earlier, I am no fan of the would-be slugger.
But this misses the point. The point is the future. Castro's on his way out, and his brother will not last long. Whither Cuba then? My greatest concern is, as it should be, that over which I and others of like mind may have some modicum of control -- specifically, the American Right's agenda as it pertains to Cuba. Just what specific policies will we see them implement? How will they attempt to insinuate their whims, their avarice and bloody-mindedness, into the inevitable transition, with all its attendant confusion and panic? To what lengths are they willing to go, and how much pain are they willing to inflict on the defenseless in pursuit of fulfilling their vendetta against a people who defied them for so long? What kind of obfuscatory, false, ostensibly mollifying-yet-self-aggrandizing language can we expect them to use to camoflauge their intentions and actions?
Most importantly, what can we do to stop them?
SIRIUSly, It's Friday Already?
Ore : 11:33 PM
The White Stripes, "We're Going To Be Friends" -- Jack White can do no wrong. Spare, timeless; kind-hearted and folksy without inspiring cringes and groans. 8/10
Editors, "Blood" -- Fucking hell, no one's dropped a boulder on these twats yet? 1/10
Sex Pistols, "Holidays In The Sun" -- I'm very biased as this was a childhood favorite. Still, it's aged about as well as Nancy Spungeon's corpse. Meaning its relevance has diminished only slightly. 8/10
Serena Maneesh, "Sapphire Eyes" -- Starts out stoner rock (tambourines, single beat, meandering guitars), suddenly breaks into Cocteau Twins territory... Aw, hell, I'm sober. I can't touch this one. I hate atmospheric psychedelia. 2/10
The Essex Green, "This Isn't Farm Life" -- Belle & Sebastian is to this what Peet's house blend is to Folger's Crystals. Yes, I notice the difference. 3/10
Ben Kweller, "Penny On The Train Track" -- Lovely in a way that leaves Train completely unchallenged. And if he had bigger backing, he'd be beaming from your local Top 40 dreck-tower. And then I wouldn't be writing this. 3/10
Razorlight, "In The Morning" -- Not their best entry, but I like the attempt to infuse old Cure with a hint of Art Brut. This is what hot-shit English bands are supposed to sound like when they get co-opted by the Sargasso Sea of the music industry that is Los Angeles. 6/10
The Black Heart Procession, "Not Just Words" -- Melodic, elegiac, understated. I wouldn't seek it out, but I can't complain. After several belts, in fact, I might even mist up. 7/10
Snowglobe, "Happy" -- Now that's more like it: slightly frat-boyish, don't-give-a-fuck choral vocals, Magnetic Fields-style chorus, poppy horns, bouncy beat. And the organ is employed to nice effect (yes, for once I'm using that in a post about music). Goofy, frothy, fun, and worthy. 8/10
PS As much as I adore you, Sweden, Ella Rouge is a bit much. Get rid of them, please -- a scheme involving cement, an icy bay, and a school of rabid, genetically mutated herring would be ideal.
Mighty Big of Ya, Mr. Ledeen
Ore : 7:44 AM
"But here was a secret plot we found out about, and we acted."
Authorities in Great Britain must be so pleased to be included when a koo-koo-for-cocoa-puffs American neocon uses the first person plural -- especially when considering how high Wingnuttia's standards are:
When Lebanese people, many of whom have lived in America, or are part of Americans' extended families, die in indiscriminate air strikes, they're all filthy foreign terrorists -- even the toddlers and the infirm. No rousing shouts of solidarity and inclusion there. When thousands of actual Americans were huddled into the Superdome, when bloated black bodies were floating down the streets of New Orleans, they were the "other" -- barely civilized rapists and looters, spear-chucking alien savages to a man.
But when British intelligence nab would-be terrorists, one of the first things to come out of some American knuckledragger's mouth is "We did it!"
Of course I'm pleased that this bomb plot was foiled, that so many lives were saved. If only "we" had "done it" before 9/11 -- not only would thousands more lives have been saved, the likes of Ledeen would not be nearly such a pain in the ass as they are today.
Chronicles of Riddick: Mini-Review
Ore : 4:31 PM
The real treat here is Thandie Newton. Girlfriend chews scenery like nobody's bidness. Folks, thank your lucky stars that so few drag queens do skiffy: could you imagine The Stud stuffed full of trannies in gold-ornamented, upswept 'dos and painted-on lamé gowns, all posturing vogueishly at each other while screaming, "Flawless, BITCHES!!!"?
I know I can, and it's a future we would do well to avoid... Which I suppose makes "Chronicles..." a decent cautionary tale, as well.
Blade: Trinity: Mini-Review
Ore : 10:09 AM
Wes Snipes? He made more sense in a wig and baby backpack.
Ore : 10:09 PM
Diapers on A Goat
"We got diapers on the muthafuckin' goat!"
...While over on our side they're continuing to pipe-bomb Planned Parenthood...
I wonder how severe the punishment would have been for the poor mook who had refused John Ashcroft's order to cover up the statue of Justice's jumblies?
(Oh, why the random dedication? As a thank you for you know what. I got two so far. Spanish-language. Las muchachas bonitas son muy, muy felices, if you get my drift and I think you do...)
Ore : 3:06 PM
(DISCLAIMER: Although I am almost always a partisan Democrat, my glands refuse to produce an adequate supply of Nedrenaline (kinda the dumbest thing ever, since, well, Joementum). More specifically, I couldn't give less of a shit about CT. Ridding ourselves of Lieberman would be groovy, don't get me wrong, and Lamont's as good a replacement as anyone -- whatever. Incidentally, I haven't bothered to read Hamsher's take on this or what her commenters have had to say. Someone somewhere has without a doubt already covered this. Again, whatever.)
Now, with that disavowal of any possible conflict of interest out of the way: just where is the fucking controversy, Jeffalina? This is not an issue of, say, an elected official using his not inconsiderable pull to secure for a company, of which he was once an executive, enormous, sweet, no-bid contracts. This is an issue -- if you can call it that -- of a shareholder publically criticizing the company in which he has stock.
That's controversial only insofar as it is rare, and pretty much ethical. No, not just ethical: more owners of stock would do well to meet their moral obligations of attempting to alter bad behavior in the corporate world.
Yeah, it comes during a campaign. And who knows if what he says at shareholder meetings matches up with what he's saying at rallies. And it smacks of pandering. Yeah, it's a little iffy, but not in the way you seem to imply.
I hereby pledge to you this, Jeffy, that I, easily the hottest piece of gay ass on the Internet (baby, I know what you really want) will willingly, lovingly, slobberingly service your "divine Mr. O'Toole" if you would just please, please, go a mite easier on the sauce and Klonopin.
Jeff, you're killing yourself. You're killing me. You're killing any hope for an "us."
Jeff, your stupidity is killing America. Please, think of the chillun.
HOPEFUL UPDATE: Help is on the way! I mean, you like pills, right?
Ore : 8:58 AM
For years -- since at least 2000, I'm pretty sure -- his voice has been giving me that certain itch, but until today I haven't thought to mention it. Now I will: I think I'm totally in lust with Hamilton Leithauser. Those disdainful eyes, that adorable face, that cute little body. And that voice, that voice... It totally makes me want to lay on his big brass bed.
Also, I'm pretty sure he's the first musician in a long while I've had a crush on who doesn't have a beard. (Don't tell Feivish -- it would break his sweet little Hasidic heart.)
P.S. Sweeeeet (via Atrios.)
Me 'N Dre
Ore : 10:48 PM
Word To The Illest, Fattest ROBOT EVAR!!1!
Ore : 11:37 AM
Stupid. Michael didn't molest your computer. He made love to it.
We the jury find yr mum guilty of bonercide.
Saddam Gibson tells us about the tragedy of the real 9/11.
Cuba Libre o Cuba Recobrado?
Ore : 7:42 AM
I'm not a Castro fan. But I can't for the life of me whip myself up into a visceral rage at his continued existence.
I worry for the Cuban people. Whether or not ensuing developments will make the country safe for democratic dissent is beside the point -- and, moreover, highly debatable, because it certainly wasn't so safe before he took power. Whether the Castro regime has in fact been a "disaster" as Mel Whatshisnombre (R-Fla., I believe) is pretty much useless to discuss. What matters most, at least in the short term, is stability. Here is a country that has been held together mostly by the force of one guy's personality -- a guy whom I doubt made any contingencies for any sort of transition for the sake of his people. When he dies, and when some spook liquidates his brother, the Cuban people may know suffering like never before, much of it due to the myopia and delusions of grandeur of a former baseball player.
Make no mistake. I perceive no saint behind the beard, even if I do look askance at the words and antics of Rightist Cuban exiles and their backers among corporatists and organized crime.
I suppose that is one source of my worry. Corporate America and its conservative attack poodles bear a significant grudge, not only against Communist Cuba, but against pretty much all of Cuba that didn't float over to Florida, a bitter and nasty score to settle, a vendetta they have been nursing for half a century.
My major concern is that the Bush Administration, being what it is, will attempt something as ditzy and dunderheaded as installing a ruling regime composed of purge-minded Cuban exiles -- men and women who will put Batista's worst excesses to shame.
That's okay, though. Those will just be the "birth pangs" of freedom!
I think tonight I'll worry into a few mojitos. Just 'cos.
UPDATE: So for tonight, at least, I can stick to vodka...