Lady Sailor...

3.29.2007
Ore : 7:28 AM

...May have been "coerced" into saying the Brits had trespassed. No word yet if the coercion took the form of ersatz menstrual blood being smeared on her, rape, "stress positions," waterboarding, or chemical lightsticks being stuck up her ass.

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posted by teh l4m3 at 7:28 AM | Permalink | 6 be jibber-jabberin'

Review of My Weekend In Media

3.26.2007
Ore : 10:40 AM

John Fowles's The Magus: I didn't realize just how off-putting I thought John Fowles until I came across The Magus in the stacks. I checked it out, then left it in my pile for two weeks. The reason for my reluctance was The Collector, a novel my memory of which is still sharp after 13 years thanks to its deeply disturbing and harrowing nature. It still haunts me.

Although as artful in its own way as The Collector, and philosophically richer, The Magus is less emotionally sophisticated; just as tense, but not as deeply involving (although there's something to be said for the idea of building your first novel -- and it was his first novel, though it was published after The Collector -- around an intelligent yet typically selfish, solopsistic and somewhat narcissistic man in his 20s; it's smart, as such a character provides a fine jumping off point with plenty of safety nets.) The Magus nevertheless is the more layered of the two, and seems more finely crafted, probably owing to the many years he invested in it; as I'm here paraphrasing, and possibly in error, I can't remember who said that if it doesn't take a long time to write, it isn't worth reading... Hemingway, perhaps?

Fowles's evocation of rural island Greece is sharp and immediate, a sparely sensuous and striking complement to the story. He's no Byron -- even Maugham's Mediterranean musings are superior here -- but he nevertheless acquits himself handily.

He's also mildly Kafkaesque in his account of the convoluted masque, and The Magus is glancingly reminiscent of Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, which it predates and which by comparison seems de trop. Then again the touch may be light because the plot is so incidental -- providing, by the way, little in the way of visceral satisfaction, a hallmark of decent literature -- as style and form take a back seat to the travails of seldom-sympathetic Nicholas Urfe and his remarkable emotional and intellectual growth through the course of Conchis's godgame. A recommended read, although I would have been more swept away had I dove in during my early 20s.

Battlestar Galactica, season finale: A sterling episode (oddly, I found third banana Felix's audacious and disheartening perjury the biggest stand-out shocker.) My grumblings are mostly subjective: the trial scenes could have been abridged, as I personally am fascinated more with the intertwined Final Five, "So who else is a Cylon?", and search-for-Earth subplots. One grumbling, however, is pretty well-grounded: an indignant WTF at that ridiculous song ("...said the joker to the thief"? Starting at Ravi Shankarish noodling and what, ending with Wolfmother?), and indeed, the last several minutes' promise of Starbuck as deuce ex machina -- an echo of the goofy "
Ships of Light" storyline, as Michelle Forbes was a chilling reimagining of Lloyd Bridges's blustery Admiral Cain? Still, I'm willing to withhold judgment on all that until next year, when they find Earth.

And after more reflection I finally realized precisely what I found so disappointing in those first couple of episodes. Battlestar Galactica is a dour, almost entirely humorless teevee show (the scant exceptions: waggish Gaius Baltar, Laura Roslin in her better moments, and -- very occasionally -- a couple of Cylons.) This dearth is excusable during highly tense and dramatic stretches, but is tedious during otherwise dramatically inert episodes, and even, in almost purely nail-biting installments such as last night's, during those scenes in which characters interminably drag out dialogue and what the creators browbeat us into believing are key scenes -- what's wrong with the writers that they cannot throw in any crackling, snapping banter, or perhaps an appropriate momentary surrender to obvious absurdity? Pack a bowl already, and spark that bitch up! This unrelenting gloominess, for all the show's overwhelming quality and quantity of virtues, is its gravest flaw.

Oh, and "Battlestar Galactica will return in 2008"? Do they know it's March? For shame, jerkwads, for shame.

The Simpsons: Back on track? I was rather pleased, as I always am with any episode showcasing Homer. And Lenny in Seven Of Nine drag was a truly special treat. One wonders if that, as well as the easy skewering of Hollywood, will bring Jonah back into the fold, so ample it is...

Joseph W. Valentine's A Book of Clichés: A delightful little volume, and a ten-minute read tops. I'm sure there's enough scholarship and research out there that it could support a vast expansion and still be eminently readable, but this is fine. And who can say no to James Mackey's too-cool-for-the-snapping-Beat-circle charcoal illustrations?

I'd particularly like to see Benjamin Franklin turn his wry gaze and curtly pursed lips to the Bush Administration's revealing misappropriation of his Poor Richard's Almanack proverb; in their version, a "
bad apple" implies an isolated incident, a tumor that can be excised with some hope as it has not metastasized; Franklin, on the other hand, who lived fairly closer to the earth, knew full well that one was indicative of rot throughout the bushel, a systemic problem.

* * *

Otherwise, I was a rustic, turning soil, weeding, burning tumbleweeds. The parsley's bursting, the dill's sprouting, and the chives are about ready to bolt. I do have a life you know.

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posted by teh l4m3 at 10:40 AM | Permalink | 11 be jibber-jabberin'

On Playing Russian Roulette With Loaded Language

3.23.2007
Ore : 7:10 AM

Partial Girth
If you want links, google the language I have pulled, as it is unedited and unaltered. I figure the fewer hits some of these yahoos get, the better:

I'm about as anti-abortion(recreational abortion) as anyone...

Why not support birth control or even recreational abortion?

I do not support recreational abortion. However, rape victims, pregnant teens, high risk pregnancies etc should be given the right to choose...

One conservative pundit noted recently that slavish devotion to recreational abortion seemed the only common policy of the left...

It’s interesting to me to see so many folks (especially our ECUSA leaders) defend someone who has a recreational abortion...
Let's just talk about this phrase, "recreational abortion." Using it makes one a real culture warrior, at the vanguard -- an offensive player in more ways than one. Way to take the fight to those immoral sluts. Way to play your dogwhistle backwards.

What precisely the fuck do people who say that think happens in the operating room? "Nurse, pass the calipers...and the appletini pitcher!" What, do they think the woman gets a string of Mardi Gras beads for every bloody fetus part that comes out? Do they imagine some sort of dialatin' and evacuatin' hootenanny -- a "ho-down," if you will?

Now I know I can be flip and glib and deprecatory and smart-assed about a hell of a lot of objectively serious issues, so maybe this is hypocrisy on my part, but still: can we all reach a consensus that a person who talks unironically about "recreational abortions" is unhinged and deeply unserious, and will have nothing to add to the discourse?

Really, they're children with matches and Jerry cans of gasoline. They're playing a very dangerous game with definitions and innuendos, and the sooner that red-hot wire coat hanger comes back to poke them in the ass, the better.

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posted by teh l4m3 at 7:10 AM | Permalink | 9 be jibber-jabberin'

n00z u cant y00ze.

3.22.2007
Ore : 8:13 AM



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posted by teh l4m3 at 8:13 AM | Permalink | 5 be jibber-jabberin'

Is It Just Me...

3.21.2007
Ore : 9:06 AM

...Or does Richard Perle look like a creation of Sid and Marty Krofft?

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posted by teh l4m3 at 9:06 AM | Permalink | 4 be jibber-jabberin'

Is He Crying For A Change? Depends™...

3.20.2007
Ore : 12:10 PM

So, I just got back from getting the library mail, and two things stuck out.

Assata Shakur ain't got nuthin' on me, bitchez.First, the CAIR package. Alas, it exploded when I opened it -- but with liberalism, not Semtex (though some might argue the two are interchangeable.) CAIR was kind enough to send me that book in which Communist Jimmy Carter proves once and for all that Jews are the new Nazis. I hope I can read it in time for my next Bund rally!

Second, the super-classy cover of this week's issue of TIME, on which
Zombie Reagan cries for the sins of the modern Right. Not that that makes much sense; I mean yes, it makes sense that someone would hijack a conveniently dead figurehead with PhotoShop in order to forward an agenda (and really, this cover definitely could have used a background collage of the collapsing WTC, an equally lachrymose bald eagle, and the burnt and bloody corpse of Dale Ernhardt, Jr., as well), but not that he would be looking down from heaven and crying. Tears? The Gipper don't shed no tears -- I'd sooner expect to see the Duke wipe his fatally constipated ass with Charmin' wetnaps than with the lichen-encrusted scraps of oak bark that Supply Side Jesus intended for real he-men to use.

BRAAAAIIIIIIINNNNNNNSSSS!!!Then again, he could be crying because that pesky Wisenheimer's disease prevents him from viewing Bush's fall into even worse gracelesness in the context of the history of the American Right, which, let's face it, has never had integrity; Reagan provided only an illusion of that.

"What would Ronnie do?" For one thing, he would have kept John Ashcroft, instead of hiring some wetback. Then he'd eat jellybeans and take a nap, while a molar-grinding and angrily muttering George H.W. Bush would head south to the border to supervise the construction of that new
electrified fence.

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posted by teh l4m3 at 12:10 PM | Permalink | 6 be jibber-jabberin'

Eat Me


Ore : 8:30 AM

I know this is terribly unscientific of me, allowing myself constantly to be pin-pricked by all this anecdotal evidence, but one can only hear of so many instances of pet food recalls and E. Coli outbreaks in the news before one's apprehension gets the better of one. So I decided to poke around...

...FSIS recently announced a sustained increase in chicken-broiler carcasses testing positive for Salmonella during 2002--2005...
Now, this is an old entry. A more recent one in the same vein can be found at their new scienceblogs home (yes, also home of pharyngula.)

The CDC's surveillance is by far the most comprehensive, and arguably the least flawed. Yet their studies are far too narrowly conceived to be of much use for this post. (Their most comprehensive reports showed now real increases between 1993-1997, and more recently. And
this one deals precisely with self-reported instances of diarrheal illenss.) Furthermore, I find their interpretations overly cautious and suspect, especially as they automatically assume that it was the switch to more active rather than passive surveillance that accounts for the apparent trend of an increase in foodborne disease outbreaks. Wild speculation, I know, but I'm convinced that there's more going on here.

Right now I am inclined to believe that incidences of food poisoning and recalls increase under Republican administrations -- inclined, but in the interest of fair-mindedness, I could be convinced otherwise if some independent staticians could review as many studies as possible and find me wrong. Nevertheless, I am deeply curious: precisely what is the causal relationship between Republican aversion to regulation and the higher percentage of injuries and fatalities, and how can we tie this all together with undisputable numbers? And what is the moral calculus that makes this okay?

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

Are They Even Trying Anymore?

3.19.2007
Ore : 8:18 AM

I am operating from the premise -- quite justifiably, I think -- that the vast majority of the attack ads we'll see on the Internet and teevee and in the papers aimed at Senator Obama or Senator Clinton ostensibly by his or her rival in the primaries will be Republican rat-fucks (def. 2).

That said,
this YouTube clip is pretty audacious even for conservatarians. That the people who support end-runs around due process, the suspension of habeas corpus, indefinite detention and torture of anyone at whom the administration jabs a crooked talon, warrantless wiretapping and whatever other nefarious data-mining schemes the spooks can conjure, "free-speech zones," laws that determine what people may or may not do in their bedrooms, no-knock house searches, et cetera would portray Hillary Clinton as some sort of "Big Brother" figure is just way too rich for my blood. Really, that sobbing sound you hear? That is irony, curled up in a corner, crying "Uncle!"

Why do I doubt this particular clip is the product of the Obama campaign? Simple: there's just nobody that
rabid, stupid, mad-dog mean on that side of the aisle. Definitely Republican -- it stinks of Corsi/Rove/[insert name of favorite unhinged think-tank noodge here].

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posted by teh l4m3 at 8:18 AM | Permalink | 2 be jibber-jabberin'

Fetus Greetings From Nathan Tabor

3.16.2007
Ore : 11:55 AM

Why did you do it?  WHYYYYY????????
...Unless your cruel and capricious master Satan decides you shouldn't.

Happy dilation and evacuation, sluts!

(H/T
Dailyrotten.)

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posted by teh l4m3 at 11:55 AM | Permalink | 4 be jibber-jabberin'

Several Observations On Plame Hearings...


Ore : 8:28 AM

- Less self-aggrandizing grandstanding by the congresscritters than I'm used to in other hearings, and I find it refreshing.

- That last election really made the Republicans all kinds of gun-shy. Their line of questioning, though clearly designed to run interference for the White House, nevertheless seems especially subdued. They're sticking to innuendo, but still telegraphing their punches: every question can be reliably translated to mean "Is there any way we can blame you for all of this?"

- Westmoreland? WEST-FUCKING-MORELAND??? Honestly. And why does he sound like Forest Gump?

- The Kooch kinda went off on a tangent, but he is right to call attention to this pattern of persons being targeted and persecuted for not offering absolute loyalty to the Bush Administration and its whims, regardless of said persons' inherent competence and rightness.

- Rep. Diane Watson: Occasionally odd, but goddamn, do not mess with her. The lady does not pull punches.

- Nice on Rep. Lynch to underline the subtle misogyny behind certain Right-wing claims of nepotism -- "...like my wife sends me out to put out the trash."

- I do wish the Democratic congresscritters would keep their asking for speculation to a minimum. Thank goodness Mrs. Wilson maintains boundaries with regards to logic and intellect.

- The "Impeach Bush" chica in the background: right sentiment, and at least she's not screaming, but I think she's detracting from the proceedings. RETARDEAU HTML Mencken, feel free to excoriate me for this.

Okay, I gotta take a shit, shower, shave, and go to work.

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posted by teh l4m3 at 8:28 AM | Permalink | 3 be jibber-jabberin'

So Francis Dollarhyde and Jeffrey Dahmer walk into a bar...

3.15.2007
Ore : 7:41 PM

- Norah Jones would never stand a chance of winning American Idol.

- "Pax"??? Please, someone revoke Jolie's passport.

- I'm withholding judgement until I see Rove's e-mails to Jeff Gannon.

- Muscular, well-oiled Spartans in black leather underoos killing Persians: I can see why the 82nd Chairborne is all gaga over this one...

- "Summer blend" my ass. At what point will we be smart enough to stop putting oil executives in charge of government?

- The mortgage default tsunami is coming and I for one have a boogie board.

- Peter Pace picked a peck of priapic peckers. Pass it on.

- What would you confess to after five years of being detained in Guantanamo Bay without hope of legal counsel, proper medical care, a trial, or relief from electrodes and chemical lightsticks?

- I was voted best kisser in my POW camp.

- What did I just post? I can't remember -- I'm on Ambien.

- Breaking! Paul beats Heather to death with her own coke-filled fiberglass leg.

- Happy birthday, you
steer-wrangling hooker.

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posted by teh l4m3 at 7:41 PM | Permalink | 5 be jibber-jabberin'

Lucky Duckies Redux

3.14.2007
Ore : 2:54 PM

...Or, "The Proles Are All Right":

How can we close the gap? Well, I suppose we could round up a bunch of assembly-line workers and force them to mow the lawns of corporate vice presidents. Because the gap I'm talking about is the gap in leisure time, and it's the least educated who are pulling ahead.
Ho, ho! Take that, you underemployed mooks! (Cue multifarious conservatarian postings of "Heh, indeed.")

I mean seriously, does he think people are spending their wealth of free time taking Celebrity Cruises? Supervising the maids' dusting their first-edition Katherine Mansfield anthologies over tumblers of single malt? Does he think they can afford even a putt around the local mini-golf course?
Not bloody fucking likely. Leisure time doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot when you don't have two Reagan dimes to rub together.

But whatever helps people who don't have to scrounge around dumpsters to find recyclables sleep at night...

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posted by teh l4m3 at 2:54 PM | Permalink | 4 be jibber-jabberin'

Every Robot Sperm Is Sacred...


Ore : 12:39 PM

This post is dedicated to fatrobot's testicles. Good luck with that scalpel thing!


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posted by teh l4m3 at 12:39 PM | Permalink | 6 be jibber-jabberin'

SNAP Girlfriend! Pace be Picante!

3.13.2007
Ore : 7:29 AM

I for one will continue to support our troops by rubbing it out to "Behind The Lines," "Fire In The Hole," and "Band of Lovers"...

I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.
Does this mean he agrees that there should be adverse consequences for generals who, in uniform, speak at church functions in order to help sell the notion of a "holy war" between a putative Christendom and Islam? Does he believe troops who appear in uniform to support a certain party's political agenda should be punished? Would he support troops who disobeyed illegal orders to, say, torture people or otherwise violate the UCMJ or Geneva Conventions?

And -- no offense to all the hetero men and women in uniform -- is there anything more homo-hot (in a totally Spartan way, of course) than the military?

All of these questions are rhetorical, aren't they? My bad.


UPDATE: Shorter Pace non-apology: "d00d, sorry ur a f4gg0rtz."

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posted by teh l4m3 at 7:29 AM | Permalink | 4 be jibber-jabberin'

Baron Harkonnen To Move Headquarters To Arrakis

3.12.2007
Ore : 2:46 PM

Considering the many instances of iniquity surrounding this company, this is pretty much a stale story. Only this really struck me:

Alan Laws, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, said the move would likely help Halliburton’s position in negotiating large contracts.
They need help???

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posted by teh l4m3 at 2:46 PM | Permalink | 4 be jibber-jabberin'

Any Excuse They Can Find to Fluff...

3.11.2007
Ore : 7:40 AM

Shorter Newsweek: "Mmmphf... *gag* mmmmglgglg... Gates cock! Mmmmphf... *gag* slurrrrrpSMACK... Okay, *cough, cough*, so, he's like rilly so much better at scrambling a PR response and stuff, and he's like, totally not mean and incompetent and senile, you know, like that icky old Rumsfeld...

"
Iran/Contra? God, you're soooo old!"

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posted by teh l4m3 at 7:40 AM | Permalink | 3 be jibber-jabberin'

But If Those 'Few Bad Apples' Are Kept In The Bushel...

3.09.2007
Ore : 7:12 AM

...could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch...
Officials said they believe that the 48 known problems may be the tip of the iceberg in an internal oversight system that one of them described as "shoddy."
But I'm sure, a la Republicans totally not leaning on or having ousted politically inconvenient prosecutors, that none of these "errors" were committed in the spirit of retaliation and vindictiveness...

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posted by teh l4m3 at 7:12 AM | Permalink | 5 be jibber-jabberin'

Yes, Disinterested MSN Is Precisely Who Should Discuss This

3.08.2007
Ore : 7:31 PM

Snuffle, snuffle...
I'm not linking to the actual article because, first of all, you know damn well where to find it, but also because I found it rather stupidly written and lacking a knowledge of many aspects of public television history (there are several reasons PBS had to start showing commercials in the first place, for one thing), so I'll spoil it: No, she thinks Big Bird's sentence ought to be commuted, but not before she harangues us with two pages of pee-wee league, calculatedly moderate "on the one hand... on the other hand..." pontificating.

Maybe that goddamned translucent, multicolored butterfly ought to die instead.

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posted by teh l4m3 at 7:31 PM | Permalink | 5 be jibber-jabberin'

SPOTLIGHT ON: The Meatloaf of The 21st Century


Ore : 9:09 AM

At least she's outgrown party hats...

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posted by teh l4m3 at 9:09 AM | Permalink | 6 be jibber-jabberin'

Of Lucky Duckies and Republicans

3.07.2007
Ore : 1:14 PM

“...[O]ne of the key measures of a society’s health is how easily you can insulate yourself from its underclass.” - Mark Steyn.

Katrina, no FEMA trailers for tornado victims, Walter Reed, the decades-long jihad against public education, opposition to minimum wage and healthcare reform: These are all symptoms of rampant Republicanism. I'm going eschew handy neologisms like conservatarian, propertarian, movement conservatives, libertarians and what have you -- they have their place in any dialogue, but let's call a spade a spade. Let Instaglenn hedge on his favored pigeonhole all he wants; the problem has become the party through which all of these weirdos like him achieve their political parity.

Don't think I come at this with unrealistic expectations: should we retain a Democratic majority in the Congress after, say, Senator Clinton takes the Oval Office, we won't see an end to metastasized militarism, free healthcare for everyone, and all the rainbow-colored ponies we can ride. I'm not so optimistic that I see a national election as anything other than an attempt to find the least among several evils. (I just keep perspective: politicians are manipulative and often self-serving? Ooh, that's ground-breaking; but how then should we characterize royalty? Plutocrats? Military dictators? Oh, and yes, if you're a
30-percenter, don't bother answering that.)

Republicans since the fall of Nixon have not only failed to apprehend representative democracy, they don't even comprehend the nature and purpose of government itself -- they are incapable of governance of any stripe.

The rub I'm getting to is this: let's for starters keep in mind that, thanks to regressive taxes and a barbaric, unjust income tax scheme, a hugely disproportionate amount of tax-revenue comes from the
American poor and middle class, and Doctor Pat "BB guns and adult diapers" Santy's fear of the Left's Borg-like collectivism notwithstanding, they ought to see something in return. Considering the billions we all of us pour in every year, there's no reason to raid Social Security. There's no real reason Deamonte Driver should be dead, except for the perennial, sociopathic machinations of the kind of people who write for and read the National Review (WARNING: Safe for work, but exceedingly vile).

There's plenty of money, but it's all going to
kickbacks and graft among our elected leaders and the military industrial complex. There's money for you if you write sycophantic lies on behalf of the AEI, but not if you do actual investigative journalism. There's money for you if you're a food services contractor who gives U.S. soldiers and Marines the runs, but don't expect to keep your paycheck if you're a USDA inspector who actually tries to do his or her job. There may even be money for your soup kitchen, as long as your clients accept Jesus as their Lord and personal Savior.

You get to pay the Republicans' cronies, but there's nothing for you...

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posted by teh l4m3 at 1:14 PM | Permalink | 12 be jibber-jabberin'

Elgoog Swen's Editorial Calls


Ore : 1:03 PM

Too precious:



(This is a test post because blogger has fucked up on me, and my good post for today won't go (ERROR Must be at most 200 characters? Huh?))

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posted by teh l4m3 at 1:03 PM | Permalink | 0 be jibber-jabberin'

Whoom... Bisque?

3.06.2007
Ore : 7:25 AM

The booming may not get you, but the whisking might...


Anticoagulant junket?
(Apologies to Gavilicious.)

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posted by teh l4m3 at 7:25 AM | Permalink | 9 be jibber-jabberin'

Skiffy Crap

3.04.2007
Ore : 10:02 PM

Finally, some dramatic progress on the Battlestar Galactica front. It's not much, but it helps. Kara Thrace is a far more interesting character than either the admittedly sexy Chief Tyrol or his winsome mate. As F. Scott Fitzgerald has so smartly reminded us, "Action is character." Starbuck AKA Captain Thrace is an interesting study relative to the piss-poor offerings of prime time teevee. She is lean, mean, slightly insane, yet the exigencies of her character force writers to deliver. Thank god they brought the focus back to her.

The mandala shit is still all so much hovering in a holding pattern by this series that can't decide what it wants to be. Still, an oddly stagnant episode, even with a main character biting it. I am nevertheless pretty sure that a certain crack pilot is a Cylon. Let's see if I'm right in this...

Pee ess: this trend of showing outtakes at the end of every episode is just sad. There's a reason the editors and producers cut that shit.

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posted by teh l4m3 at 10:02 PM | Permalink | 8 be jibber-jabberin'

Random Shite

3.02.2007
Ore : 8:49 AM

* Ha ha. The new Darfur PSA actually calls out our lame-duck Preznit by name. Good luck with that, kids.

* I've been too busy reading the
Comics Curmudgeon to be bothered with you peons. I never realized until Josh pointed it out just how unintentionally hilarious "They Do It Every Time" is.
* Tornados: super sad, but why is it that every fifth person interviewed by the cable news folks looks like an extra from Hee-Haw? Dude, it wasn't funny then. Though it may make me sound like self-loathing poor white trash, I nevertheless must say it: DO NOT STUFF YOUR LIP WITH CHAW PRIOR TO GOING ON CAMERA. Really.

* Yes,
DEE may employ that coked-out, nicotine fit-edged wail that irritates me so, and that seems to be en vogue among too man dance-punk vocalists, but I still wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating, well, me.

* When Netanyahu of all people tells you you're acting nuts, please pay attention.

* I hate the idea of criticising Senator Clinton because so many of her naysayers are bad faith critics who want to convince you she's evil incarnate, which she isn't. Still, far too DLC for me, far too corporatist/centrist. The least of several evils here remains Obama, IMHO.

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posted by teh l4m3 at 8:49 AM | Permalink | 7 be jibber-jabberin'

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