No, My Yellow Wiggle Has Not Bowed Out

Ore : 10:55 AM

Not yet, anyway...

"I know there is a lot of speculation that these reports mean that there is going to be some sort of graceful exit out of Iraq..." George, the only one who could associate a government run by you with grace is you.

And no, it's not good to have "unrealistic expectations." It doesn't do to "...set people up for
unrealistic expectations," such as:

* ...That invading a sovereign nation, occupying it, and attempting to remake it in the image most favored by your biggest campaign contributors would be a "cakewalk."

* ...That you could justifiably invade and occupy Afghanistan, then go off on a tangent and invade and occupy Iraq on the most spurious of pretexts, and not undermine your original mission and its justifiability.

* ...That killing almost as many Iraqis in three years as Saddam did during his entire brutal reign would somehow win hearts and minds, and sustain your moral authority.

* ...That replacing a mountain would be as easy as toppling it.

* ...That one could point a literal and figurative gun at the collective head of an entire people, and force them to embrace democracy (no, that doesn't betray a fundamental misapprehension of just what democracy is at all...)

* ...That obliterating the infrastructure and social order of one of the few countries in which, as of the beginning of 2003, al Qaeda was not operative would not turn said country into a haven for terrorists.

* ...That you could smash a country to bits, destabilize an entire region, and then wag your finger in the face of the people whose country you smashed and tell them, "Now, you'd better get serious about fixing this mess," and still have a shred of credibility left.

No, it doesn't do for people to have unrealistic expectations at all.

posted by teh l4m3 at 10:55 AM | Permalink | 4 be jibber-jabberin'

(Hate to do this...

Ore : 11:09 AM

...But I must check out for the holiday weekend. My Internet connection at home is on the fritz, so we'll have to say adieu until next week. In the meantime, I've written you a charming, heartwarming story to brighten your season. Enjoy! Oh, yeah, and sorry about it being a nonexpandable post -- no time!)

Dispatches From The Castle of Doctor Castellofabrizio


"Goddammit, get this thing off me!" The fat, bearded figure, clad in burgundy velour and trimmed with fuzzy DuPont white, kicked aside the squirming, mottled little bundle. A chocolate-smeared, towheaded boy approached Santa with care, not so sure now how pleased he is to be next in line.

I should know better than to put my Christmas shopping off until the last minute. I was at Thymeleaf Faire Mall (just off I-5, across from IHOP and Al's Jalopy Joint!), which was now a seething, sulfurous pit of anguish and resentment, ripe with the stench of corrupted human souls. This kind of thing is so much easier in the beginning of November.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" I yell, and snatch up the offending toddler. I had indignation to spare, having just gotten through arguing with some asinine sow who wanted to castigate a teller for having issued an ill-advised "Happy Holidays!" with her receipt.

"This ugly thing," Santa jabbed his white-gloved finger at it, "won't get off my jock. Brenda, tell him!" He was now appealing to the nearby rent-a-cop, a largish black woman with relaxed golden hair. But her face was stone, and she looked at neither of us.

Holding the restive child fast to my chest, I gaped at him momentarily. I know how sensitive the poor are to insults predicated on their poverty, and I am a petty being. "Fuck you, you homeless piece of shit."

He jumped from his injected plastic throne, knocking over a stunned second-grader in the process, and lunged at me, to the accompaniment of a dozen parents' dismayed cries. I feigned to turn and run from him, and when he was within arm's reach, I knelt and kicked backwards. My aim was true. I felt his kneecap give nicely under my heel. He screamed like a woman in labor. He tried to rise once, then fell back and vomited on the carpeted dais. His rich brown spew was redolent of whiskey and reconstituted beef.

I walked away, humming a Chinese folktune I remembered from some movie. I looked back only once, to note that Brenda was ignoring me in favor of calming, with the help of several elves, the panicking children and their parents.

Who knew it could be so satisfying to cripple Jolly Saint Nick?

* * *

One of Thymeleaf Faire Mall's more dubious claims to fame are its public water fountains. They were designed by a local sculptor best known for his love of methamphetamines and teenage girls. They are beautiful and inspiring -- in other words, useless. In order to drink from them one must stick one's head deep inside the beaten copper bowl and crane one's neck at a breaking angle.

I was sitting on a concrete bench overhung with vinyl foliage, rifling through my spoils, deciding who would get the Godiva chocolates and who the two pounds of Peet's (you'll know with this letter how that worked out.) I had almost completely forgotten about the infant when I turned and saw it at one of those fountains. My first reaction was to wonder at its agility: it couldn't have been more than a year old by the size of it, and yet here it was, climbing as well as any older toddler. And then my heart gave out, as I saw the trouble it was having with that gorgeous, infernal fountain.

With a hint of self-consciousness, I held the child upside-down and at the optimum angle, and dipped its head in the bowl. It lapped at the stream, practically gobbling the water. In fact, so like a nursing kitten it was that it had practically wriggled out of my two hands. By the time I knew what was going on (as though I ever do...), it was supporting itself by its own hands against the inside of the bowl, and only one calf was in my grasp.

"We havin' some trouble here?" Another rent-a-cop, this one a reedy, sleazy-looking white guy with bulging eyes approached.

I knew immediately what this looked like. "Oh, no, this isn't what you think. It's just, these fountains are so difficult to use, and she was so thirsty..." In an instant, you notice, I had settled on a pronoun at random, to be politic, and once again, senselessly prescient.

I pulled the infant out, and to my relief, it cooed happily. "Oh, yeah," he said with obvious relief. "Hey, at least someone can use these things."

"No kidding, huh?"

"By the way, great job with that Santa. Guy's a real asshole. Not exactly my style, but you got the job done."

I smiled at him. It's so rare to see friendly people so close to Christmas.

The security guard reached out an exploratory digit and made "cootchie-coo" sounds at the child. "Hey little darlin'..."

She turned to face him.

"Whoa, man! Jesusfuckingchrist!" He backed off, shaken.

"What's wrong?" I turned the infant back to me, and saw at once what startled him. "Oh."

"Sorry man. I didn't mean --."

"No, it's all right. It's understandable." At least to me, I thought better than to add. I see too many things like this.

"You have a nice day, huh?" He sauntered off and shook his head.

It was then that I decided I must see to the child's needs. I set it on my lap before me and examined it. It had the intelligent eyes of a toddler (though oddly glazed), but was little larger than an eight month-old, and completely hairless. Its skin was raw red, and shot through with many veins and arteries. It grabbed my right hand and wrestled with it, and nibbled playfully on my index finger with its two rows of translucent, serrated teeth. There was something very, very off about this baby.

There was no scent of filth, but I thought to check the swaddling. I was mildly horrified to find it consisted only of a very large pair of stained, threadbare panties -- pink. With haste, I rewrapped the child without even bothering to determine its sex.

I knew then that this child, this little homunculus, could only be the work of my esteemed employer, Doctor Castellofabrizio.

* * *

I consulted the backlit map of the mall at the information kiosk, which was surrounded by acrid-smelling skatepunks. I found the baby store. I found the mother of the child shortly thereafter, as I staggered by under the weight of new diapers and single-piece pajamas. The woman was slumped over next to a small shopping cart brimming with black plastic bags and soda bottles. She smelled of urine and stale malt liquor. I tried to wake her, but with no luck. A seared glass pipe rolled out of her hard, blackened fingers. Clearly she had freebased more than her share of Christmas cheer.

Next to her, in a pile of drab rags, lay the infant's twin, wrapped in a similar manner as mine. It was dead.

* * *

Looking back, I suppose I was fortunate that I was not stopped by the highway patrol on the return to our windswept, brine-soaked promontory: I was in such a hurry to confront my boss about this monstrosity that I had neglected to purchase a child's carseat!

I parked, and before the portcullis had even rose above my height, I had stormed through the courtyard to the elevator that serviced the black-streaked granite keep. The doctor was in his office. He had been waiting for me.

Doctor Castellofabrizio was once my lover. Or, to be more accurate, we once had sex. It made sense, in a way. It was a moment of convenience. I could never love him, and with me he had no fear of falling into any entanglements he might with a woman. His natural inclination towards heterosexuality precluded his seeing me as anything other than a possible physical outlet. Now I shudder at the memory of his touch. I suppose I'm lucky it never affected my career...

He smiled at me coolly (always coolly), "I was afraid you had forgotten our meeting."

Shit! I thought, barely conscious of the sleeping bundle I still carried, The grant schedule!

He is a tall, muscular man, pugnaciously handsome, bald but for a fringe of graying brown hair cropped close. And he has the oddest ability to turn his head in such a way that the glare off of his wire-rimmed glasses always obscures his eyes. Indeed, the only time I've ever seen his eyes was when he fucked me -- they were dark, and glittered with hunger as any man's would.

"What have we here?" He asked, and relieved me of the child. He let out a little gasp.

"I found it at the mall."

"Her," he said softly.

I suddenly wondered if the same seed that once gushed hotly onto my thigh had informed the genesis of this "girl." And I was surprised at how dispassionately I considered the possibility.

He turned to me, his face a mask of planes and shadows. "Where is the other one? The boy?"

To have been caught in a lie then might very well have meant death, our past notwithstanding. "I saw only her."

"I see."

"I found what I thought to be the mother."

"She was the host. Probably the best thing that ever happened to her: she was clean for months." With that, he grasped the infant by her head and twisted, cleanly. It wasn't like the movies. At least, I heard no sound.

You might be shocked at my composure in the face of this tableau. You shouldn't be. It was just cowardice. I watched him toss the body in the translucent medical waste bin by the south wall.

Would you turn your nose up at renting from a man you knew to be a wifebeater, if your only options were a shelter or the street? You probably would. But I'm no hero.

He turned back to me as though nothing had happened -- for indeed, nothing had as far as he was concerned. "So, about the grant schedule..."

"I was holding out for five new family foundations." My voice was robotic, my stomach queasy. "I didn't want to run a report from the Raiser's Edge until I had them in there. The initial contacts were promising, though. An average of $5,000 from each."

"Send me a draft as an attachment in Excel. Nice boilerplate, by the way."

"Thanks." I rose as steadily as nerves permitted, and turned to leave.

"Oh, and Robert?"


"Merry Christmas. Candy has your bonus check."

* * *

I waited downstairs, behind a column, for almost ten minutes before he finally stepped out of the returning elevator after me. It was too good to be true: the incinerator had not gone on, and he had no time to toss anything else.

Once he was safely through the exit to the southeast tower, I made my way back to the elevator. I knew the passwords that would get me by Doctor Moore's chrome-plated, cybernetic guards. And as a nominal executive in this mad, crooked enterprise, my retinal scans would get me into the Doctor's office.

My plan was simple: to retrieve the body and bury it. I was resolved for once to do something decent. I assumed the mother (or host -- whatever), being poor and white, was some sort of Christian -- a prejudiced assumption, I know. And I am not one. But how hard could it be to dig a hole, fashion a cross, and say some sort of prayer, even if I didn't mean it?

I'm sure I cut a fine figure as I approached the nasty bin: a faggoty, paperback version of Antigone, rushing ignobly off to bury something that never should have lived to begin with.

Imagine how my heart leapt when I heard that wet slap of a tiny hand against the inside of the bin. The poor thing! She was covered in nameless, scabbled gore, and a syringe protruded from her fat little left thigh. Yes, her neck seemed broken, but she was alive!

I cradled her as gently as I could and dashed for the elevator. The whole way, she emitted the most pitiful, staccato-like cries.

* * *

I pleaded. I dealed. "Look, Abel, there's a present in it for you."

"A present?" asked Doctor Abel Gomez in his aw-shucksiest, little-boy voice. He's very good at that, even though he's in his 40s, because he will always have the body and face of a nine year-old.

At once, his face crinkled and transformed with malicious glee. "A present? From you? I'll bet it doesn't come in a box!" He screamed and cackled his best junior-mad scientist cackle.

"Abel, please."

I let him have his fun. Minutes later, she was clean and framed in a formidable, four-pillared neckbrace.

"What's that?" I asked, referring to the suspicious needle he brandished.

"It'll help her heal faster." He didn't bother explaining the scientific details. He knows I'm no brainiac. "Don't worry, babies bounce back!" He held her over the flagstone floor, cruelty splashed across his childish little face. "Wanna see?"

I take her from him. "I'll pass." However, I was hard-pressed to disagree. After seeing what some of my girlfriends have subjected their babies to, I'm almost inclined to think the little buggers fireproof.

Once again, Abel was the sweet little boy. "What are you gonna call her?"


"Oh, crap, never mind. It's the holidays. You faggots are as emotional as women. You'll think of something terribly appropriate and clever. Forget I asked."

"I think I'll call her 'Mary.'"

"Great, and when she gives birth to Christ the Lord, she can use those chompers to sever her own umbilical..."

I carried her then to his cluttered workbench, and emptied his large lunchbasket of its cheese, baguettes, and cabernet. I placed her in it with care.

"Hey, what the hell are you doing?"

"Stealing your basket. Don't worry, you'll get it back soon enough."

As I backed towards the door, he spit at me and followed me with a scalpel. "Goddamn you, I bought that at Sur La Table!"

Without flinching, I held my ground. I knelt before him, to bring my eyes level with his. I put on my kindest, most expansive face. "Abel."

He swallowed hard, and Mary and I left.

* * *

I've retired, now, to my apartments in the northwest tower. When I came in bearing the basket, the carrion eaters perched outside my window were jostling each other in anticipation of a meal. Their faces, the needle-fanged faces of old men, bobbed obscenely on their craning, red-waddled necks. They looked so forlorn when I closed the curtains...

Yes, I started this letter just to wish you a Merry Christmas. But I wanted to reassure you as well. I know you disapprove of this life, and fear for me when you hear of some of the goings-on at the Castle. Just let me remind you, the pay is decent, I get full dental, and otherwise life here has its moments. I adore Candy, and Doctor Fong and I get on well enough.

And now -- for now, at any rate -- I have Mary. I will not sleep with her in my bed, as I have no way of knowing what predatory genes Castellofabrizio has spliced into her, and I'd hate to wake up missing half a face.

I'm going to take one of those lovely cigarillos from the tin you sent me and light up. I've earned it. What a day!

I'll rock Mary now (yes, I have a cradle), and sing to her. "Oh, holy night, the stars are brightly shining..." At least, that's how I'll begin. I'll have to hum the rest -- I don't really know the lyrics.

Wishing you Happy Holidays, your enduring friend,

Robert Snowe.

posted by teh l4m3 at 11:09 AM | Permalink | 12 be jibber-jabberin'

Apropos of Euphemisms

Ore : 1:11 PM

I am unapologetic about this; though many otherwise true-blue liberals and Democrats have disavowed or even attacked Markos's "screw 'em" attitude towards one of BushCo.'s nastier moves, I've never wavered in support of his sentiments. This story bears me out. For the sake of this post, and for what's left of the feeble pinky-hold a large minority of Americans seem to have on objective reality, let's retire these terms: "contractors," "consultants," "supplementary personnel." The people in question are none of these things; they are mercenaries. Let's for once call a spade a spade.

Mercenaries are the second largest fighting force in Iraq, after the U.S. military. The third largest -- a pretty distant third -- among the coalition of the willing consists of British troops. Now, mercenaries are hideously expensive, often uncontrollable and never accountable, and all too often quite counterproductive. So why employ them?

Let's face it, America is yet ruled by Republicans -- it's almost stupid to ask. We employ them for all those reasons and more.

One: Hiring mercenaries is one of the several ways (among others: stop-loss orders) in which the Bush administration can have their war without resorting to conscription, otherwise known as "the draft" or "ballot box poison." Tangentially, the Pentagon is not obligated -- indeed, would not -- count wounded or killed mercenaries as casualties -- another sharp PR move.

Two: Any policy which shunts obscene sums of taxpayer dollars (yes, our money) into the private sector, into corporate coffers, is, according to Republicans and conservatives, by its very nature a good thing.

Three (and this is probably the most important): If there's anything the Bush Administration has shown to disdain even more than they do representative democracy, it is the rule of law. And mercenaries are not beholden to the UCMJ. They can, in a war zone, torture, murder, rape and loot with impunity. US courts have no jurisdiction over them, and the notion of Iraqi justice holding them to account is laughable. Ordering your average U.S. Marine, i.e. an honorable one, to attach live electrodes to a prisoner is highly problematic; to give such an order to a CACI noodge is far less so. He just has to be careful not to vacation anywhere near the Netherlands is all.

The short: If you have to call your mercenaries by candy-coated, PR-friendly names, you know you're doing something wrong and immoral in hiring them. And if you have to hire that many mercenaries, you're fighting a war you shouldn't be fighting.

P.S. Looks like Bolton stands to be upstaged by his boss in the 2006 Embodiment of the Antonym for Diplomacy Awards, unless he can come up with something better than that our lesson (the only?) from the Vietnam War was that we lost because we didn't see things through.

"We'll succeed unless we quit."

Indeed. And I'll bet the Vietnamese are quite glad that Ho Chi Minh had that figured out long before you were sunbathing away your hangovers when you should have been fulfilling your TANG obligations, you tactless, oatmeal-brained git.

Ho Cheese Minh

posted by teh l4m3 at 1:11 PM | Permalink | 7 be jibber-jabberin'

"Clarion," Or Just A Call For Meds?

Ore : 10:52 AM

Over at, a cute bit of cognitive dissonance:

Sisayehiticha Dinssa, 35, an unemployed man traveling from Nigeria by way of Amsterdam and headed for Phoenix, was arrested Tuesday at Detroit International Airport after security officials searched him and found him carrying nearly $80,000 in cash and a laptop computer containing information about nuclear materials and cyanide.

$80,000? Paging Doctor Martin,
Doctor Ibrahim Martin, please report to the psychiatric ward... Anyway, I don't suppose, Mrs. Jesse Malkin, that his laptop also had an Internet connection?

Could be something. Could be nothing.

Oh, no. It could only be... Michelle!

See, Nigerians are black, and Conyers is black, so there you go!  BLEARGHHH!!!

posted by teh l4m3 at 10:52 AM | Permalink | 5 be jibber-jabberin'

So Sue Me...

Ore : 2:04 PM

I realize I'm a little late, but here's my "Impeachment Drumbeat":

posted by teh l4m3 at 2:04 PM | Permalink | 6 be jibber-jabberin'

God I Love My Scanner

Ore : 6:24 PM

Just another day at the library... La-di-da-di-da... Oh, yeah, I guess these Juvenile non-fictions have been piling up. Time to do some shelving. Ho-hum...



Okay. Have a nice weekend, everybody. Happy Veterans Day and all that...

posted by teh l4m3 at 6:24 PM | Permalink | 11 be jibber-jabberin'

California News Anchor Haiku

Ore : 10:58 AM

Why the hell does blogger have such a problem with tables?

Terilyn Joe threw
tomatoes at the road crew.
Defrocked news diva!

Blonde 'do and bling-bling
glow like radioactive
candy. Les is more!

Cool Dennis Richmond:
snaggletooth with playboy purr.
News cat be mackin'!

Your specialty: armed
home invasion robberies.
Gun-bright Grace Lee: DUCK!

posted by teh l4m3 at 10:58 AM | Permalink | 6 be jibber-jabberin'

What Are You Waiting For?

Ore : 11:41 AM

Do eet! DO EET NAU!!!

PS: And yeah, about the 850 Gonzales Goons deployed to those pesky "trouble spots": Where the fuck are we? El Salvador in the 1980s? Christ. And given the demonstrable partisanship and loyalism of the current Attorney General, as well as the track record of this administration, do we really expect them to pay more attention to, say, the purgings of voter rolls, the intimidation of perceived political opponents at the polls, irregularities with electronic voting machines, and discarded ballots than they'll pay to a handful of people who happened to have died between election cycles or, God forbid, to a homeless person who votes?

posted by teh l4m3 at 11:41 AM | Permalink | 6 be jibber-jabberin'

New To You

Ore : 2:30 PM

Nothing doing. Just thought I'd dedicate this awesome post to meinen lieben Freund Dennis AKA Bachelor Uncle, whom I miss terribly.

Ahhh, Klaus...

PS: Tuesday. Vote. You know what to do...

posted by teh l4m3 at 2:30 PM | Permalink | 8 be jibber-jabberin'

"Of Course You Didn't, Dear. And I'm A Caribou."

Ore : 2:09 PM

Gakked out *and* soliciting for Jesus?  How devout is that!
You really have to wonder about a guy who would admit to sucking the tina pipe before he'd admit to sucking hired cock. I mean, both are illegal and extremely pathetic. But one is definitely more shameful than the other.

Sure, I guess halfway decent cases have been made for how prostitution is a bane on society; but meth is obviously and demonstrably that. Most hookers don't destroy lives and families, don't eviscerate entire communities, don't wreak such havoc on your teeth and your complexion.

Honestly, who is this guy fooling?

The rough trade at Sadly, No! with more...
Oh, yeah, there's him...

posted by teh l4m3 at 2:09 PM | Permalink | 8 be jibber-jabberin'

Another Actual (ie Successful) CEO Shows Up Our "CEO President"

Ore : 9:35 AM

...Proving themselves slightly smarter than he, which isn't saying much.

Ah, Bechtel, we hardly knew you: You were never as goofily crooked as Custer Battles, as sinister as Blackwater or CACI, or as greedy, incompetent and mendacious as Halliburton and KBR. Nevertheless, we shall miss the mirthful pitter patter of your profiteering little feet over the sands of Iraq.

Really this is a nothing post, as I don't see anything in the story to recommend rewarding good corporate behavior (such as buying products or patronizing services), nor anything to recommend punishing bad corporate behavior (such as the boycotting of the aforementioned, or selling stock -- though if you ever owned stock in any companies mentioned in this post, you ought to be smacked hard in the mouth several times just on general principle.) All I see is an opportunity to acknowledge corporate behavior. Ho-hum.

Just sayin' is all...

And to my Republiconservindependelibertarian readers: apropos of all this, have you noticed that none of the smokescreens -- the nationwide sex offender and gang member round-up by Kommandant Gonzales, the White House's indignant diagnosis of Senator Kerry's foot-in-mouth disease -- none of the smokescreens are being swallowed by American voters right now? Maybe, just maybe, if your stooges in the corporate media could have gotten a few more days' mileage out of the Kerry-bashing-Bush-which-means-he's-spitting-on-the-troops non-story... But those turncoats have all but refused to pull it off!

Here's a bit of free advice (and from a liberal, it's coming to you in earnest, as opposed to the sneering, "curl up and die" advice conservapundits typically give Democrats and others): Take a lead from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has embraced a number of soundly liberal positions in the run-up to next week. What you guys need is to prove you're tough on corporate malfeasance and corruption (ha, ha, I know, right?). What you guys need is another Enron, another Martha Stewart. Fuck the border-jumpers and the baby-humpers -- Alberto Gonzales needs to be shown taking down a crooked corporation if the Republicans want to have any hope next week. Surely there's someone who'll serve -- a firm that's out of favor with the K Street money launderers, more of whose secrets you keep than they keep yours -- perhaps a firm that's recently given up on Our Leader's Glorious Vision For Iraq And The Middle East? Surely there's some patsy that's just become available...

posted by teh l4m3 at 9:35 AM | Permalink | 8 be jibber-jabberin'

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