Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Tim Russert is a wuss.

There's just no other way to put it. He's a spineless toady. He pretends to ask tough questions; but, his idea of asking a tough question is to gently dance around a tough question, then let his interviewee spew whatever load of crap it wants in response without so much as blinking while it flings its feces in his face. Here are some excerpts to demonstrate my point (full transcript of Sunday's Bend the Press Over and Kobe It here):
MR. RUSSERT: As you well remember back in October of 2002, Congress voted to authorize the president to attack Iraq if he decided that that was in the best interest of the United States. The primary rationale provided by the administration was that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. Nearly 180 members in the House of Representatives cited the nuclear threat in their speeches as they voted to vote for authorization. I want to go back and show you what you said in October of 2002 about Saddam. "...once a madman like Saddam Hussein is able to deliver his arsenal, whether"--it's--"chemical, biological or nuclear weapons"--there's--"no telling when an American city will be attacked at his direction or with his support. ...the threat from Saddam Hussein's terrorist state. ...Only regime change can remove the danger from Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Only by taking them out of his hands and destroying them can we be certain that terror weapons will not wind up in the hands of terrorists."

Why haven't we found significant stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction? And was the country, the world, misled in the suggestion that Saddam possessed biological and chemical weapons in the imminent--and the risk was imminent?

REP. DeLAY: Well, first, Tim, I don't accept your premise. The president didn't overemphasize weapons of mass destruction as the only reason to go into Iraq. And in my own remarks, if you had given the entire remarks, you would have seen that I went through a complete list of things that this--Saddam Hussein has been doing, that has been proven to have been right. First and foremost, he used weapons of mass destruction against Iran, against Kuwait, against his own people. So we knew that he had the--at least chemical weapons of mass destruction because he had used them in the past. He was violating U.N. resolutions for 10, almost 12 years. He violated every agreement that he made after he lost the war in Desert Storm.

He lied to the American people. He lied to the world. He supported terrorists. We have proven that to--to be the case so far. He had weapons of mass destruction. I think we'll still find them. But it wasn't the only thing. And I--we have found that he has supported terrorists in Israel. He had missiles aimed at Israel. He supported terrorists around the world. It was in his best interest to do so. So I think we did the right thing in the war on terror and that is to go after the terrorist Saddam Hussein, and we got him.

MR. RUSSERT: President Bush, former President Clinton, even the Germans, the French said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. If, in fact, we do not find significant stockpiles, has this been a colossal intelligence failure, and should there be an aggressive, bipartisan attempt to find out what may have gone wrong?
This is the kind of deceipt I thought Spinsanity would be all over (they're too busy playing Fair and Balanced and trying desperately to nitpick at Dean and Moveon.org to notice this stuff, I suppose) and I haven't got the energy or the ability to control my rage long enough to point out what should be obvious to every sentient being about DeLay's soulless mendacity, I just want to draw attention to Russert's blithe acceptance of DeLay's response, his failure to question a single statement made by that hypocritical troll, then his little tapdance to support the idea that everybody thought Saddam had WMD, and his opening the door for a little Clinton bashing which, if you follow the link, you'll see DeLay wasted no time in proceeding with. Fine, we know what DeLay is, he is a lying politician without a shred of moral or intellectual credibility. We expect him to trot out the party line. Russert is supposed to be a journalist; Russert's job is to investigate, analyze, interpret, and basically help reveal the truth. He clearly has no desire or intention to do any of those things.

OK, so it looks like I decided to proceed with the Airing of Grievances after all. The So-Called Liberal Media has let me down the most in the past year.

For the Rest of Us

Happy Festivus!

My wife got me a GameCube for Festivus, so I can skip the Airing of Grievances and move directly to Feats of Strength. Where's Mega at?

Friday, December 19, 2003

Bam Bam Must Go!

Bloggers have been asleep on this one ... there's an orangutan (which some are apparently mistaking for a chimp) that plays a nurse on a daytime soap? Why am I only hearing about this now?! And he plays a nurse named Precious? Bam Bam needs a better agent. Somebody page Scott Boras.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

No Deal.

Ch. 4's Bob Lobel is reporting the A-Rod deal is done. I'm waiting for confirmation from a second source....

Update: ESPN reporting deal not done. Ch. 7 says they've got A-Rod after the commercial....

Update: Ch.7 hyped a clip from earlier this morning ... still no confirmation. They are reporting the Ordonez deal is off. I'm thinking we're standing pat.

Update: Ch. 7 just reported the deal is dead. Permission to continue negotiations has been withdrawn. Me, I'm glad Nomar's staying put. Let's hope all ruffled feathers can be smoothed or there are going to be some bad chemistry problems going forward. Millar must be wishing he kept his mouth shut.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

The DaVinci Code

Popular for many reasons, I'm sure: light-n-breezy prose, very short chapters, and an interesting subject matter - codes, secret (and not secret) societies, and Grail lore - presented in easy to digest chunks. The thing with the subject matter is, as I was reading, I felt like there were parts that were lifted virtually word for word from somewhere else. The whole "Mary Magdalene was Christ's wife, she was pregnant with their child at the time of the crucifixion, fled to Gaul where she raised their daughter Sarah, and the bloodline of Christ has propagated through the ages protected by a secret society which knows the location of Mary's remains and the texts that tell her story. Her tomb and those texts are the Holy Grail. Etc..." I just can't place where I've read it all before. It's like it's on the tip of my tongue. When somebody tells me I'm going to clap my forehead like I shoulda had a V-8. Am I thinking of a Tim Powers or Neal Stephenson book?

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Red Mars

Red Mars on Sci-Fi in 2004. Despite Sci-Fi's glaring, huge, numerous flaws, missteps, and weaknesses as a network, they have gotten a few things right. Just enough to give me hope for mini-series based on Robinson's book. I'm curious if anyone knows whether James Cameron is involved in this? There was a bit of KSR movie buzz after Titanic when Cameron bought the rights to Red Mars but nothing ever seemed to come of it. I also haven't had any success unearthing casting news/rumors, rumors of any kind actually. This one item from June is all I've seen. Surely some progress has been made in the last 6 months? Locations? F/X company? Writers? Director? Anything?


I was 11 for 13 on belief.net's Ned Flanders quiz.


Strom Thurmond's daughter by his family's teen-aged housemaid never stepped forward because she had a deep respect for the man and didn't want to harm his political career. Despite the fact he considered the allegation that he had a "mixed race" child "too unseemly" to acknowledge. Sounds like she was a lot more compassionate than her old man.

Early Heinlein

More on Heinlein's unpublished first novel, written when he was a self-described "soft-headed radical." Puts the timeframe of the writing of the novel after his work on Upton Sinclair's failed California gubenatorial campaign and around the time of his own failed run at the state assembly.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Class in America

Popmatters review of The Simple Life has a couple worthwhile lines: "Democrats would do well to tape this show as evidence for any future hearings about the estate tax ..." is good advice. Observing that the girls are, as a result of their class and moral/intellectual cyborgism, virtually retarded is spot on as well. Please, please, please TV producers, make as many of these shows as you can. It's long past time for the rage of the working classes reach a boil; this stuff helps.

Friday, December 12, 2003


Republicans have been shown to tell the truth 1/4th of the time, lying at random 3/4th of the time. George, one of these very dishonest Republicans, makes a statement. The probability that it is true is, by assumption, 1/4. Then Bill, another very dishonest Republican, backs him up, saying George's statement is true. Given that Bill supports it, what is the probability that George's statement is true now?

The answer isn't difficult: First we ask how probable it is that George utters a true statement and Bill makes a true statement of support. Since they both tell the truth 1/4 of the time, these events will both turn out to be true 1/16 of the time (1/4 x 1/4). Now we ask how probable it is that Bill will make a statement of support. Since Bill will utter his support when either both he and George tell the truth or when they both lie, the probability of this is 10/16 (1/4 x 1/4 + 3/4 x 3/4). Thus the probability that George is telling the truth given that Bill supports him is 1/10 ( the ratio of 1/16 to 10/16).

The moral: Confirmation of a very dishonest person's unreliable statement by another very dishonest person makes the statement even less reliable.

(Adapted from the writing of John Allen Paulos. Partisanized by me.)

Damn Liberal Media!

CNBC's roundtable of financial geniuses just handed down the Street's feeling about Howard Dean. "Not enamored of him." So sayeth the fella from thestreet.com. Chuckles all around, as if it were possible a Democrat would be acceptable to the Street. Everybody knows it's going to take a Republican to finish the work of completely transforming the federal government into an efficient means of delivering corporate welfare to those who need it least, neutering any attempts at detecting corrupt business practices, and punishing the criminals, while bankrupting all the socially beneficial programs.

Tuesday, December 9, 2003


Battlestar Galactica
I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the style used in shooting the f/x sequences and how they used the same style in some of the non-f/x scenes. Reminded me of Firefly a bit, and of the recent Solaris remake. I don't remember much about the original, except Daggot, but this feels like a big improvement.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Sunday, November 23, 2003

That's why you never get out of the tree.

In the interest of not always beating up on TV, I want to say how much I'm enjoying Fox's Arrested Development. Inspired TV.

Friday, November 21, 2003

And I Really Think This Computer Thing Is Getting Out of Hand

Sometimes, like now -- listening to "Auto Tech Pilot," you've got headphones on and you get a lyric jammed up in y'r skull and think, 'that'd be a sharp header for a post about such-n-such.' Only, you've done precious little surfing and've actually got nil for links back-burnered. So, maybe, what's gotten out of hand is that my mind is leaping to contentless blog post headers. That's got to be a sign of some kind of degenerative mental condition.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The Governator Speaks

I can't find a transcript to verify what I heard in passing but I'm pretty sure I caught Arnold saying something to the effect of "with the help of the gods..." I didn't catch the context but "gods" was definitely plural. I immediately wondered, which gods does Arnold plan to be guided by? I can't wait for him to bust out with some "Wotan and Frigg came to me in a dream last night and told me California must stop taxing corporations ... and conquer Poland!"

Saturday, November 15, 2003

My Inner Geek Completist Just Snapped to Attention

Tidbits about the upcoming release of Heinlein's unpublished first novel, "For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs" (1939), from Spider Robinson at Sci-Fi Wire. Given the title, comparisons to Rand's "We the Living" (1936) will be obligatory.

Friday, November 7, 2003

Let Me Get This Straight...

CBS will shunt it's Reagan miniseries crap to cable because of bleating Republicans, but will show the propagandized version of Jessica Lynch's story despite the fact it's embarrassing to her?

Thursday, November 6, 2003

How Awful Will The West Wing Get Before Folding?

Even if there's disagreement about how much it dropped off last year, I think we can all agree that it's been in steady, steep decline since this season started. It's become virtually unwatchable. I'd be very surprised if has even 1/5th of its audience left by the end of this season when it gets cancelled. When Josh yelled, "You want a piece of me?" last night, it was like seeing Fonzie wearing his leather jacket on water skis again.

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

24 Musical Interlude

Just out of curiosity, anybody else catch the Yo La Tengo playing during a scene in 24 last night?

Where's My Reality Show?

Further proof that anyone can be the subject of a reality show, Andy "Who?" Roddick proclaims: "I am totally amped!"

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Mystic River

*No spoilers* Almost a very good movie. More noir than I'd expected. Two major flaws though. The baseball equivalent would be a towering shot, hit in the bottom of the ninth, down by three runs, with the bases loaded, that looks good off the bat but hooks way, way foul. Then the batter strikes out swinging at eye-high 95 mile per hour gas.

First, it was wholly predictable, to the point that I not only knew what was going to happen but exactly what the characters were going say -- even how the scene would be shot, what the camera angle would be. I was saying dialogue along with the characters just to prove I could. "When was the last time I saw Dave Boyle? The last time I saw Dave Boyle was in back window of a car driving down this very street ..." Penn and I solemnly intoned those lines simultaneously. It shouldn't be so easy. And, no, I haven't read the book and hadn't read any spoilers.

The second flaw was even more damaging, what was supposed to (I think) be the moral underpinning of the film, a sort of hard-boiled cynicism, was really nothing more than hypocrisy. I'm all for the hard-boiled cynicism. I think Eastwood maybe even thought that was what he was serving up, but that wasn't cynicism. If realism is "when a strong kid fights a weaker kid, the stronger kid will almost always win," and cyncism is "the strong kid, knowing this, will intimidate and pick fights with weaker kids," then what Mystic River says is: "well, I know it's wrong for the stronger kid to beat up the weaker kid but if he feels bad about it after for a little while then, hey, he is the stronger kid after all and boys will be boys!" I have to be vague to keep the no spoiler promise, but if the movie had just been 'the guy does the bad thing, gets away with it, feels a little remorse, then gets over it,' then fine -- I don't need the scales to balance and for everyone to get what's coming to them; the world doesn't always work that way. What I can't abide is for the storyteller to take the bad guy's side against the other guy and make out like the other guy maybe is better having been done over by the bad guy. He's not.

Even though I've slacked off the metareviewing, I can't turn off the bullshit detector; so, I feel obliged to point out Stephanie Zacharek's review at Salon is full of holes. Eastwood inventing a new subgenre of noir? Hardly. And she's reading an awful lot between the lines (that isn't there) when she concludes the fake cops who abduct the Dave character at the beginning of the movie are able to deduce that the Dave kid is somehow more vulnerable than Jimmy or Sean. It wasn't that at all, it's just that he was the only one that didn't live on the same block, so of course he's the only one they can plausibly lure into their car by telling him they're going to drive him home. And the assertion "it's Penn's Jimmy we feel the most for..."? Whoa, did she not watch the end. Maybe if she left when I felt the movie should've ended that would make sense, but not after sitting through that wrong note of an epilogue. Zacharek also fails to critique the movie's other less glaring missteps: that somehow both cops would've failed to listen to the 911 tape as soon as it was available to them, the disjointed ineffectiveness of the Bacon character's subplot, Penn's dogged insistence on doing DeNiro impersonations, that it's too easy to figure out what really happened, which undermines the second half of the film's ham-fisted attempts to convince the audience that an obviously innocent character might be the guilty party. Now that I think about it, that last thing irks me more. It's all aired out, they've given us motive, opportunity, evidence, the whole shebang, then immediately try to convince us we should think something else by waving their hands in front our face, mumbling some freaky nonsense, and turning the nozzle on the smoke machine so it's blowing up our ass. I don't vote Republican, I'm not falling for that.

Still, I'd recommend the movie as a matinee or a rental, because you can see where, if Eastwood had any real moral sense, he might've been able to craft a damn fine film noir.

Friday, October 17, 2003


Woke up this morning from a terrible nightmare. There is a shadow over the land. The criminally deviant, soulless minions of an evil empire have dominion. In every dark, pestilent swamp a fortress shaped like a skull has emerged. Super villains everywhere are stroking their cats, tapping their steepled fingers, and cackling with menace. Good people have fallen into a torpor, shut the blinds, and can't get out of bed. All over the world, blind squirrels scrabble desperately in search of a nut -- but there are none. Sinister weasels have hoarded all the nuts; they taunt the blind squirrels. Despite all this, there is a glimmer of hope. Even though all is lost, for now, we know that next year ...

Friday, October 10, 2003

Wedding stories?

It´s pouring rain here in Bavaro so I came to the internet kiosk hoping to see tales of the C-Dog nuptuals and there´s no mention? Que esta up con that?! (You can imagine why the bartenders here look at me like I´m crazy.) I want to know what became of "shopping cart man" after the party moved back to the hotel!

We only have a few minutes online here so I can´t post about our adventures here in the Dominican Republica but will fill you all in when we get back. Buenos dias, amigos!

Wednesday, October 1, 2003

The Baker Endorsement

Tom Baker chimes inwith a casting suggestion: Eddie Izzard. Also suggests he'd like to play The Master this time around?!

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Heinlein Prize

Established to recognize practical accomplishments in commercial space activities by individuals operating without government or corporate funding. [Mission Statement] Nominees?

Fancy A Bit Of Rough?

"Dingo ate my baby!"

I'm puzzled about the concern expressed by Dr. Wilton: "[he] warned that unless steps were taken to protect dingoes from continued cross-breeding with domestic dogs, they could be extinct within 50 years." The concern isn't that the ecosystem will be destroyed because packs of wild dogs will no longer be roaming the Australian wild, it's that the packs of wild dogs won't be pure breed in-breds. Is it really extinction if a species brings in some new bloodlines? And how prevalent are dingo-housedog liasons? Is this guy trying to say Aussie poodles fancy a bit of rough?

In other animal news, I forgot to blog the rogue gorilla update yesterday. Dube-Monkey forwarded me the link. After reading the story, discovering the gorilla had roamed a neighborhood near the zoo, I asked him how he would react if he was sitting out on his back porch after dinner, relaxing with a cup of coffee, gazing at the stars, and suddenly A ROGUE GORILLA JUMPED OUT OF THE BUSHES AT HIM!? I mean, can you imagine? He doesn't miss a beat, "welcome to married life."

Friday, September 26, 2003

Please don't screw this up...

Doctor Who to return to the BBC in 2005!!! Says writer Russell T. Davies (IMDB entry), "Although I'm only in the early stages of development, I'm aiming to write a full-blooded drama which embraces the Doctor Who heritage."

I'm going to be so all over this.

Looks like the official Doctor Who page on the BBC site was as surprised by the announcement as I was.

Speculation on casting is just that at this point -- speculative; however, while rumor chasing, I came across this at computercrowsnest.com: "Other details are sketchy, but a BBC source dropped hints that the all new Who should be back by either the end of 2004 or early 2005, and names in the frame for the new Doctor include Peter Firth [imdb] (recently killed off as the head of the secret service in 'Spooks') or – should budget allow - David ‘Only Fools and Horses’ Jason [imdb]... His assistants may be an American male and female pairing to help series re-sale to the USA, and a heavily updated version of K9 might roll out to complete the team."

Now that we are presented with the reality of a new production, certain questions leap to mind ...

Foremost, obviously, is the casting issue. I don't know either of the guys mentioned above (or Andrew Davies, whose name is also popping up, usually prefaced in message boards by the descriptor "that horrible c-nt,") so have some research to do. I wonder if Paul McGann will get a shot to pick the role back up or if his one shot Fox TV movie from a few years back will drop out of the continuity? Or, will McGann will get a cameo for a regeneration sequence? Folks calling for the return of Sylvester McCoy should, IMO, hush up. I posted on this a while back and still think that with proper dialect coaching, Sammo Hung would make an outstanding Doctor. It won't happen, so I won't waste any more time discussing it. Anthony Stewart Head should, if free and willing, be given strong consideration.

Second, how much continuity will there be from the original run in content, episode format, aesthetic (budget), and target audience? Will this "full-blooded drama" be more adult, teen, or kid focused? Will it be arcs of four half-hour episodes or move to half- or hour long standalones? Any chance of it being a reboot? A reworking of the Whoniverse would actually be my preference. Some terrible mistakes were made in the original run and this would be a great opportunity to draw from the best stories of the past and weave them into a new, consistent continuity. Again, I think I'm probably on the lunatic fringe and should expect we'll be looking at 9th Doctor in the original continuity awith the likelihood that a new team will be selective in which parts of the mythos they incorporate leading to awkward contradictions.

I hope the new production team will recognize the failings of the Davison/C. Baker/McCoy years and give us a Doctor whose personality is more in the vein of Pertwee and Tom Baker's irrepressible comic sensibilities. The third and fourth Doctors are so enjoyable to watch because they were (almost) always having fun. Peter Davison and Colin Baker brought different strengths to the role (I despised McCoy and hope all involved in the new production watch his run as a lesson in what not to do) but neither seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as Tom Baker did.

They should also be willing to genre hop. Do hard sci-fi, historical period pieces, horror, action, martial arts, detective fiction; don't get tied down! One of the great things about the Doctor Who universe is the freedom to genre-hop. We've seen Doctor Who move from the sterile, bright environs of a far future space station, to the dark sewers of turn of the last century London. Sherlock Holmes inspired mysteries are no more out of place than thinly veiled light social commentary dressed up as sci-fi. The Paul McGann one-off was an ill-considered misstep and, if this new version smells anything like that muddled travesty ,it's going to crash and burn.

Monday, September 15, 2003

RIP William Jay "Bill" Busby

My fiancĂ©e and I met a few days ago with the woman who will be officiating our ceremony. Over the course of our long discussion, she asked if either of us had lost anyone we would like specifically mentioned during the ceremony. My mind immediately leapt to the grandparents I’ve lost. Neither Tif, nor I, had ever lost a close friend. She was stunned; virtually every couple she’d ever met with had at least one loss of close high school friend or college buddy. We’d been fortunate.

Late Friday, our friend Bill died in a car accident. We found out Saturday morning while in New Hampshire checking out the site to which our jobs are being moved. I didn’t know how to react to the news. Still don’t.

Bill and I were the late shift at work last summer. We went to Stuffies for a beer almost every night after work. He was in the process of coming out of a long relationship, though he didn’t realize it at first, and we spent hours discussing his situation with Sue. About that time, I started dating Tif and he heard me out as I tried to analyze here every utterance for clues as to whether my feelings would be reciprocated. We were unlikely comrades, I think, our personalities and experience about as different as possible. He was an aggressive self-promoter, a born salesman who was the rising star in our sales driven work environment. He was, like most of us, a bit of an enigma. For all his braggadocio, his insecurities weren’t hard to spot. It was an odd mix. For all his drive to succeed, he didn’t seem to have any idea what he wanted. For all the energy he put into going out and socializing, he was, at times, as miserable a bastard as you’d ever run across. Not sure why, but one of my enduring memories of him is certain to be his softball swing. Kid would stand with his back foot even with the front of the plate and swing at balls chin high or higher, and jerk one after another foul – not just a little foul, but way foul, deep into the woods. Pitch after pitch, never moving back in the box, never laying off a pitch unless totally unreachable with the bat. Eventually he’d either pop out or hit a home run.

I’m not going to go through the list of memories. I’m going to try to stop thinking about the horrible details of what happened to him: he walked/staggered/crawled away from the crash depending on which report you read. Apparently motorists on the other side of the highway stopped and were trying to get to him, calling out for him to stay near his car but he either didn’t hear them, or had already collapsed in the high speed lane. He was struck and killed by a driver who kept right on going and hasn’t been found yet. I almost threw up when I heard that. I could throw up now. I get torn up thinking about his brother and parents trying to cope with this. The services are tomorrow. He and his brother were supposed to come to my bachelor party this weekend. We watched football together last Sunday. I was looking forward to throwing down a shot with him at the bar at my wedding. When a buddy broke his leg playing hockey, he called Bill from the hospital at 2am and even though Bill had an interview early in the morning he’d have to drive two hours to get to, he went and brought him home from the hospital. He was a pain in the ass sometimes. He was a good guy though. No doubt. He will be missed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Get Your Yo La Tengo Boots

Sweet, Sunsquashed went and got all new and improved. Sad that it happened a few months ago and I'm just catching up now.

Also, just now noticed Sly has a Reading Fest Diary at Schizoid Man. Welcome back, boyo!

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Thanks For Nothing

Veterans' groups wish to thank the Republican Congress for their "support."

Friday, August 15, 2003

Why Arnold Will Have to Ignore Buffet's Advice

If the Republicans decide to carry out a little intra-party character assasination and terminate Arnold for not pledging allegiance to Prop 13, it looks like they'll have plenty of ammo to use in the smear campaign. I'm sure Maria was glad to learn "eating isn't cheating."

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Our Troops Would Appreciate A Little Support

"It's all part of the lie of the Bush administration, that they say they support our troops," she said.

The quote is from the mother of an Army National Guard serviceman stationed in Iraq. She's not the only one who feels that way. In what other ways do W. and Rumsfeld show their hatred for our troops? Aside from lying to them about why they were sent to Iraq in the first place? Here we go.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Speaking of how insane Fox is ...

They want to sue to stop Franken's new book. So basically, they want to want to sue to stop someone who is fair and balanced from using the term 'fair and balanced', to enforce their sole authority to claim to be fair and balanced while being demonstrably unfair and wholly unbalanced. Talk about Orwellian! And, wait a sec, aren't right wing nutjobs supposed to be whining about how litigous society is while they pull themselves up by the bootstraps instead of clogging up the courts with frivolous lawsuits?

Friday, August 8, 2003

California, Prepare To Be Schwarzeneggered ...

Based on the interviews he's give so far, I don't think you're going to like the experience. He's dodging questions by braying about leadership and attacking Davis without so much as hinting at what his solutions are. I don't think we have to guess what kind of Governor he'd make: a classic Republican tool of the corporations who'll do everything he can to advance the neocon agenda of destroying the middle class.

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

I Ain't The Fortunate One

I'm glad this guy won the Powerball. It's good to know all that money's going to good use.

Monday, August 4, 2003


Bravo's Queer Eye For The Straight Guy is generating lots of buzz, so I decided to watch last night and see if it's really all that. I've watched TLC's What Not To Wear (I don't know who I'm more embarrassed for, the fashion victim they makeover or the smug doofuses doing the makeover -- it's like a trainwreck of shame and humiliation, a shamewreck, to coin a phrase, that you can't look away from once sucked in) so I felt I could appropriately benchmark it. I will it say it's far more entertaining and less painful to watch than WNTW. I suppose I ought to be wringing my hands about the reinforcment of stereotypes but the Fab 5 seem to be having fun ... who am I to judge? I laughed out loud several times. When they went through the straight guy's dirty laundry and poked fun at the skidmarks in his Hanes ("Somebody had Mexican last night!") I almost hurled from laughing. Later when the clothes consultant issued the guy some black boxer briefs and commented, "this way, if you crap yourself, no one will know," I got a whole new chuckle out of it. Some of the points hit a little too close to home: "only losers rent tuxes," -- Hey! Why would I buy a tux I'm going to wear exactly one time??? -- and when they picked a shirt that I also happen to own and made a crack about a rave in Oklahoma missing its shirt, that stung but, if that guy can live through having his briefs inspected on tv, I guess I can deal with having bad hetero clothing sense.

Here's my big problem with the advice of the Fab 5: it's all about deferring to name brands and elite taste with no regard to fiscal sanity. Need a snack? Find the the trendiest upscale place you can find and pamper yourself. Need to tame your hair? Buy soy paste from a boutique. Clothes should be Ralph Lauren. And on and on with the image conscious conspicous consumption. Are we really supposed to believe being hip is really the exclusive domain of the rich and those willing to spend way beyond their means? I guess I was hoping there'd be a little more of an outsider perspective on hip-ness. It turns out the gay man's advice to the het man is: be rich and irresponsible.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Words Have Meaning

Bush continues to wage war on the English language, this time trying to strip the word "responsibility" of meaning. If W. truly accepted responsibility for lying to the American people, he would be tendering his resignation. Instead, he continues to blow smoke up our collective ass by using the neocon technique of saying one thing, then doing the exact opposite. In W-Speak, "I accept responsibility" means "I'm continuing my lifelong pattern of shirking my responsibility but want to wrap myself in the American flag while looking for ways to thwart and trample on the ideals this country was founded upon, ideals like 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'"

Monday, July 21, 2003

Redefining Victory

If I've said it once, I've said it, well, seven or eight times: If Bush was telling the truth about Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction, we didn't win. You can't go to war over WMDs, not find any, and declare victory. Does Bush think he will never be held accountable for anything his entire life?

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

RIP Jai-Alai in RI

Newport axes jai-alai.

Dammit. We knew the end was coming. Didn't know they wouldn't have the decency to give advance warning before the last game was played.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Sunday, July 13, 2003


I've been reading Jim Hightower's "There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos," as rollicking and rousing a bit of populist commonsense and righteous anger as I've read in a long while, and am resisting the urge to pull extensive quotes from it because I'd be hard pressed to stop once started. It's the optimism more than anything else that makes Jim an engaging read, though it helps that he's clearly a guy you could talk politics with over beer and brats while watching the game at a bar rather than another out of touch egghead or dipshit hippie. Sometimes the cornpone gets a bit thick and I found myself wishing for endnotes to support the details; still, he's got the stones we wish the mainstream Democrats would grow and an infectious intolerance for greedy wingnut corporate fascism.

Here's the one pull:
During the Civil War, numerous corporations were chartered to supply the Union Army, and the commander-in-chief, Abraham Lincoln, did not find it a positive experience. In an ominous foreboding of corrupt practices by today's Pentagon contractors, many of these corporations delivered shoddily made shoes, malfunctioning guns, and rotten meat. Honest Abe viewed the rise of the corporations as a disaster, penning these thoughts in an 1864 letter:

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign ... until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of the war.

Sure enough, during the next three decades, assorted industrialists and corporate flimflam artists known collectively as the robber barons were enthroned, taking hold of both the economy and the government. Corruption did abound, from state houses to the White House (so much so in President Ulysses Grant's term that he was compelled to issue a public apology to the people for the tawdriness of his administration), and the concentration of wealth ... reached proportions unheard of until today ...

In only a century, the corporation was transformed into a superhuman creature of the law, superior to you and me, since it has civil rights with no civil responsibilities; it is legally obligated to be selfish; it cannot be thrown into jail; it can deduct from its tax bill any fines it gets for wrongdoings; and it can live forever.

Anti-corporate sentiment usually gets you dismissed as being against jobs, business, and progress, Hightower shows how easy it is to be pro-business, pro-jobs, pro-progress without bending over to be anally raped by the CEO who wants to, oh let's say, force taxpayers to pay for cleaning up the toxic waste his company spewed into our drinking water up until he shipped all the jobs overseas where he could hire dirt cheap slave labor so he could amp up his opulent lifestyle by installing gold fixtures in one of his corporate jets. Hightower reminds us that this country wasn't founded as a means to concentrate wealth in the hands a few ruling families; that the populist tradition is the best of the American tradition -- not, as today's Republicans would have you believe, a horrible blight to be undone. He reminds us that most people want a strong public school system so everyone has access to a quality education because that's in the best interest of the nation. He reminds us that most people want clean air, unpolluted water, not live next to toxic waste dumps, and that wanting those things doesn't make you an eco-wacko treehugger, it makes you sane. He points out that people want jobs, not lectures on morality from people who close down factories so they can set up sweatshops in third world countries. Not wanting to buy sneakers made by pre-teen girls chained to dangerous machines making pennies for their labor isn't Communist any more than it is anti-progress or anti-business: it's freaking ethics! It's trying to live a decent life without doing so on the backs of the poor.

Monday, June 30, 2003

GOP Lip Service Blows

This ArmyTimes editorial comments on Republican lip service to "Support Our Troops" while they practice "Screw Our Troops." And, surprisingly enough, it only deals with the money. Nevermind the lying about why they were sent to kill and die ... which I, personally, would be more pissed off about as a soldier than the piddly pay increase.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

C-Dog's Day Long Trawl of the Net Yields...

An entertaining bit of historical perspective on the Patriot Act by way of John "The Little Sh!tbag Federalist" Adams, and the Alien and Sedition Acts. (For a fun little contest with no reward, see if you can find one of C-Dog's ancestral cousins in the article! Hint: On my swamp yankee side of the family tree, I have a great uncle who is the the proudly self-proclaimed Mayor of Griswoldville.)

Thanks to an earlier post by Crypto-Comrade The Fish Who... I am going to be getting a check in the mail. Someday. Maybe.

New Krugman [NYT reg req'd]. Excerpt:
Last Thursday a House subcommittee met to finalize next year's homeland security appropriation. The ranking Democrat announced that he would introduce an amendment adding roughly $1 billion for areas like port security and border security that, according to just about every expert, have been severely neglected since Sept. 11. He proposed to pay for the additions by slightly scaling back tax cuts for people making more than $1 million per year.

The subcommittee's chairman promptly closed the meeting to the public, citing national security — though no classified material was under discussion. And the bill that emerged from the closed meeting did not contain the extra funding.

It was a perfect symbol of the reality of the Bush administration's "war on terror." Behind the rhetoric — and behind the veil of secrecy, invoked in the name of national security but actually used to prevent public scrutiny — lies a pattern of neglect, of refusal to take crucial actions to protect us from terrorists. Actual counterterrorism, it seems, doesn't fit the administration's agenda.
And, finally, I started looking into the business dealings of one Albert Yeung Sau Sing today after reading a rant posted to a message board at AICN. I'm a little concerned at what I'm finding. As many of you know, I've always been a huge Jackie Chan fan, what I'm reading as I comb the online archive of Australian newspapers and the english versions of some HK news sites is making me feel a little concerned. I'm well aware of Jackie's marital issues and have never paid them much attention; he's been a vocal opponent of triad intrusion in the HK movie business and done quite a bit for a charity, which I felt balanced out some of his personal problems. I'm starting to think there may be much more darkness and complicity in some pretty awful crap lurking around in his business dealings. More to come...

Monday, June 16, 2003

Corporate Firewalls Getting In The Way?

For whatever reason, Blogger doesn't let me log in from the pc at work anymore, nor will it let me log in to Sports Takes any at all, so you get all three of my links as a one-shot:

Snoring kids do worse at school -- and snoring adults do worse at work. Don't need a study to tell me what I know all too well. I know I need to do something about it, I've known for years. But, even now I think, "I've lived the last 20 years without being able to concentrate for most of the day because I can barely keep my eyes open, but I've made it this far, I'll just wait until money's not quite so tight ..."

This poll showing that one third of Americans deserve what Mega so aptly calls the @ss-f#cking that keeps on giving, courtesy the Shrub. Makes you wonder why people bother to express an opinion at all instead of just saying, "I like when people lie to me and trash America in the name of creepy corporate fascism, let's go kill us some more Ay-rabs!!"

I'm also glad to see the meth addict that attacked KC's first base coach last season has found work where he can get within striking distance of Male Professional Golfer: the world's laziest, whiniest athlete. Thin the herd, Ligue, they're weak and they won't do anything but cry like babies when you attack them. Plus, you won't have to worry about any coming your victim's aid! They're afraid of women and flashbulbs; they'll wet themselves when they see you coming.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Rocket Notches 300

300 for Clemens tonight. For all that Pedro, Maddux, and Johnson have accomplished, you've got to give Roger the nod as the greatest pitcher since 1973 (when the American League rolled out a DH), if not since WWII. Amazing.

Monday, June 9, 2003


Newport Grand Seeks Permission to End Jai-Alai. I've been going every other week or so this season, having a great time each outing. Been making modest gains overall, despite one utter loss of a trip, with my 1-2-3 Q box and occasional 4-1-8 Trifecta wagering strategy. I love jai-alai. I was bummed I missed out on the Whack the Wall competition last week and can't wait for the chance to make an easy hunny next time they run it. If there is a next time. Stupid slot monkeys are killing me -- killing jai-alai. Why sit there and pump quarters into a ching-a-ching-a-ching machine when you can enjoy an evening of watching an exciting sport and still get your wager on? C'mon, get into the fronton! Mace, portliest of the players, needs you! And Hoey, strong armed but so maddeningly inconsistent! And Jaime, who lays it out for every point! These guys are living the dream and it's great fun to watch 'em play.

This is it for the Northeast. Hartford, Bridgeport, and Milford are gone already. If Newport dies, jai-alai is consigned to grainy monitors in scumbag holes like Lincoln Park. Stupid Rhode Islanders, the greatest live entertainment value in the state is wasted on you.

Shame on Newport Grand for failing to promote their product. I think I've seen one ad for it in all the time I've lived here. All they needed to do was get one infomercial on opposite the Set It and Forget It Rotisserie guy to draw a crowd. But, no. They let it languish in obscurity and put up slot machine billboards instead. Nice move.

Gambling's not for everybody. Some people should never get near it. I feel a bit like the guy who drew up Joe Camel as I sit here and pimp for jai-alai. But, it really does meet an entertainment need. It's wagering for people who think slots are for zombies and dog racing is a brutal and revolting display of animal cruelty staged for degenerates. Having a few beers and a slice of pizza while watching and wagering on a couple hours of quality jai-alai doesn't have to cost more than $30 bucks. It's not a wicked expensive night out, especially if you did nothing but bet the quinela 1-2 in the last ten games of the night -- most nights you'd get at least some of your money back, if not come out ahead on the deal.

Follow Up: Jai Alai Players Protest for Jobs, The Pawtucket Times. Mike Warner, an announcer at the fronton, said the Newport Grand owners are "virtually sabotaging the game. They purposely tried to tank the operation." Asked for details, Warner said he wanted to wait until there are legislative hearings on the question of eliminating the live games. He said jai alai could be made profitable again "if they used a more aggressive and creative (advertising) campaign." He could have said, "if they used any kind of advertising campaign at all."

Sunday, June 8, 2003

The Cognitive Dissonance Engine

Thanks to a tip off from Mega, I just caught a hilarious exchange between Molly Ivins, Bill O'Reilly, and Al Franken on CSPAN2. I think it pretty well encapsulated what they each stand for as individuals and what their respective schools of thought stand for: progressivism, which is seeking to apply principled reasoning to problems in the context of searching for truth and justice under the rule of law; and, right-wing corporatism, the goal of which is to remove any obstacle (ie., the rule of law) which hinders the wealthy from plundering the resources of the world for the personal gain of a privileged few, hypocritically appropriating the language of democracy and reason without any intent of practicing what they preach. It was a giddy pleasure to watch Franken call O'Reilly a liar, back up his assertion with facts (actual facts, not Orwellian "no spin zone facts"), and then to watch O'Reilly flounder, spout his propaganda, and use his empty rhetorical bullshit to try and spin his way out of facing the truth. O'Reilly kills me. He'll stand there and say he's above ideology and name calling then immediately turn around and start name calling in the service of a his warped ideology. I'm trying to imagine how Rupert Murdoch was able to secretly abduct and blackmail the world's greatest scientists and engineers and coerce them to make such an astounding leap forward in metallurgy that they were able to forge titanium/diridium skull plating capable of withstanding the Strong Bullshit Forces whorling around in O'Reilly's head generated by the Cognitive Dissonance Engine that powers his mouth. I'm afraid for anyone within a mile radius of the Doomsday Singularity perched on his neck that isn't protected by at least twelve feet of steel-reinforced concrete barrier. When the energy of that many lies and contradictions compressed into such a small, pin-shaped object is finally and catastrophically released, I expect it will have the destructive force of all the WMDs Bush and Rumsfeld instructed intelligence gathering agencies to fabricate the existence of in Iraq.

Thursday, June 5, 2003

Foreign Policy in the Crossfire

I wouldn't normally think, "I should make sure I catch the next Charlie Rose." Tonight though he's got Eric Alterman and Christopher Hitchens on. Might actually be interesting. I'm sure Charlie will find a way to drag the conversation down to his usual level mind-numbing banality ... still, the potential for engaging debate is there.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Good News for Boston Area Kung Fu Movie Fans

Skip past the first four paragraphs of this article and check out the good news about Saturdays this summer.

One of my many brilliant ideas (waiting for a massive pile of cash to fall from the sky into my lap before it can get off the ground) is to open a cinema pub with a comprehensive New England micro- and local brewery bar for screening classic action movies. Come in Friday night for a screening of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and a pint of Elm City Amber Ale (a personal fave), or wait until the following Saturday afternoon and take in "Drunken Master 2" with your Olde Buzzard Lager. Sounds like the Allston Bombay has at least got the movie side of things covered.

If I Were In Charge Of Telling People What To Do...

I would, among other things, tell Joss Whedon to get working on a new Doctor Who series for American TV. And, by the way, I've already cast Sammo Hung as the Doctor. Snarkily, you're saying to yourself, "That's why C-Dog is not in charge of telling people what to do." It's sad how you don't appreciate my particular genius.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Firefly to ride again?

Sci-Fi Wire's got Fillion talking about a possible movie and DVD box set. I'm all for it. I know lots of folks weren't high on Firefly, and it surely had its faults, but I liked it more than these last couple years of Buffy.

Monday, May 5, 2003

We're Fighting the Wrong Enemy

Looks like there's more here tying an American business to the Taliban and Bin-Laden than there ever was linking them to Saddam. Does this mean the War on Terror must now be waged against Bechtel? And George Schulz bombed back to the Stone Age?

Fox Couldn't Take the Chance I Would Win

American Candidate axed. I really did fill out the contestant application form a few months ago. My imminent victory must've had Murdoch waking up nights in a cold sweat. (End of delusional paranoid daydream.)

The joke is obvious, but I'll make it anyways:

This sounds like a job for O.J.!

Sunday, May 4, 2003

Getting That X-Files Feeling

Anyone else getting the sense the writers of Alias don't really have a plan except to pile it on until it doesn't make sense anymore, then reboot?

Friday, May 2, 2003

End of an Era

Bad News for West Wing Fans

Sounds like Aaron Sorkin is leaving the show in the hands of an ER, Third Watch, Presidio Med producer. [Update: more on why.]

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Anger Rising ...

When I say that I think the invasion of Iraq is endangering our freedoms more than protecting them, this is exactly the sort of incident that, if true, I believe is going to breed new, highly motivated recruits for terrorist organizations who put American civilians in the crosshairs. It may not have happened, the circumstances may have been totally different than what was described ... but, if our guys are have already started, or are going to end up, killing Iraqi citizens for protesting the occupation of their country, I don't doubt for a second that Americans are going to pay for it in blood (and with our freedoms as our government rolls out more invasive versions of the Patriot Act).

And, you over there calling in to talk radio put down leftists and people who opposed the war, the next time you feel the urge to beat your chest and hang a sign that says Support Our Troops, consider this excerpt and ask yourself if it's really that simple, if you do indeed really do support all the brave men and women serving our country:
One young man said he was desperate for financial aid to care for his wife and child while struggling to complete college studies and work full time. He felt he could gain some respect in this world and also help his family by joining the Marines. He's relieved that he was stationed at the rear of a line coming up from the south. His role was to guard prisoners. He didn't shoot anyone. But he saw U.S. soldiers shoot at a civilian car with three passengers as it approached. The child in the car survived – both of his parents were immediately killed. "They could have shot the tires," said the soldier. "Some just want to kill." [source article]
And remember to question the next neo-con who writes or says something to the effect of 'they hate us because we're free,' have them explain to you how they figure kids whose parents are murdered under those circumstances, or while protesting the occupation of their country, will grow up to hate us because of our freedoms.

Support Our Troops.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Class Warfare

Wouldn't it be a better world if your job didn't have to pay you overtime for working more than 40 hours a week? Thank God the Republicans are on the case. We'll be back to 19th c. working conditions in no time [via Sparker]. Woo-hoo!!

I'm all for flexibility and, where feasible, giving people the choice between working for OT pay or comp time; however, when the company gets to tell you to work OT without time and half pay, then can tell you when you get to take your comp time ... well, eventually working people were going to connect the dots and realize the GOP despises them.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Yo La Tengo, Lupo's 4/24/03

Great show. Ira still (it's been a few years since I've seen them play live) goes nuts on the guitar. Highlights included Portastatic coming back out to join them for an extended "Nuclear War" jam and a seriously wicked build it up and tear it down "Blue Line Swinger". Ira, man, that guy rips up a song -- plays it upside-down and inside-out, filling up the empty space with noise, playing just about everything except the note so that when he actually plays the note it's like that last drop of phenol red hitting the supersaturated solution in 9th grade chemistry class and you're just like, oh man, that was so effin' cool. Or, as Tif gushed, "I loved it ... except when he had his little fits on the guitar." So I guess you can go either way with it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Roots of Anti-Americanism

There seems to be a widespread belief amongst neo-cons that anti-Americanism is based on jealousy of our freedom and prosperity. They hate us because we're free. They hate us because we have what they don't. How convenient. How convenient that they just assume our sainthood among nations and assume people have anti-American views for irrational reasons. America would never dirty it's hands to support its interests! Realpolitik is amoral and we have always done business in an above the board, moral fashion. Let's don't look at how we deal and have dealt with specific peoples and nations, let's don't think there may be a rational reason why somebody doesn't like the U.S., just chalk it up to jealousy. If we propped up a repressive dictator who brutalized his people, then the people who endured that brutalization must not love us because ... we can afford to sit around and watch lots of reality TV. Where's the logic in "they hate us because we're free?" Do people really suppose that other people love being repressed and brutalized and hate us because we don't? Do you think it makes sense for poor and oppressed people to blame the free for their misery and not their oppressors? Do certain Americans now hate the French because they have a lower infant mortality rate than we do? Damn those Frenchies and their superior prenatal care! Of course not. A vocal, and stupid, segment of our population thinks the French are not supporting our interests, that they may ... gasp ... have their own interests, and so they are anti-French. It all comes down to protecting our interests. That's what it comes down to for everyone everywhere -- people are against the other people whose interests conflict with their own. Nobody hates us because we're free and prosperous. The only reason anybody would believe that, or tell somebody else to believe something so clearly counterintuitive and illogical, is to justify a "see no evil" brand of smug superiority that they know in their heart doesn't bear scrutiny.

NewsFlash! [via Robot Wisdom]

A Middle Eastern state, already shown to be hostile to it's neighbors and known to practice torture, has Weapons of Mass Destruction! Locations of weapons facilities known with high degree of certainty. (Not like in Iraq, where claims of WMDs turn out to be smoke and mirrors, as even patriotic organs like Time are starting to notice.) Cry "Havoc" and let slip the dogs of war!

Monday, April 21, 2003

I'm Getting the Creeps

From Maureen Dowd's Op-Ed column at the NYT:
Franklin Graham, the Christian evangelist who has branded Islam a "very wicked and evil" religion, was the honored speaker at the Pentagon's Good Friday service.

After Kenna West, a Christian singer, crooned, "There is one God and one faith," Mr. Graham told an auditorium of soldiers in camouflage, civilian staffers and his son, a West Point cadet: "There's no other way to God except through Christ. . . . Jesus Christ is alive because he is risen, and friends, he's coming back, and I believe he's coming back soon."

When Muslim groups complained that the Pentagon was "endorsing" his attacks on Islam, Mr. Graham asked for a photo op with Muslim Pentagon employees. They declined.
Could we try and keep church and state a little more separate? Please? Seriously ... it's spooky [via Ethel].

Fruit of the Poisoned Tree

Law and Order writers take note, "fruit of the poisoned tree" dilemma may soon no longer be viable as a handy device to advance plotlines ...

Monday, April 14, 2003

Chimp Longevity

Cheeta Lives

Good news found via robot wisdom. Another good link there to some pics of Cheeta then and now. Weissmuller, of course, is long dead; however, I was surprised to learn he had a long post-Tarzan career playing a character named Jungle Jim.

Tuesday, April 8, 2003


Our third blogday (bloggiversary?) passed unnoticed on March, 28th. Happy Belated 3rd Blogday, Cryptonauts! To celebrate, I plan to play a 3-2-8 trifecta next trip jai-alai. You may do as you please.

Bet You Can Find A Unique Ring-Tone Here

April Winchell's Multimedia page has lots of great mp3's: TV stars who insist on singing, ABBA covers in Hindi, chicken songs, terrifying Christian recordings, and more more more! Via The Presurfer.

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Kennedy Replies

[Form response received to an email I sent Patrick Kennedy]

Thank you for your thoughtful correspondence regarding the war in Iraq. There is no greater responsibility for a Member of Congress than voting to initiate war and it was with much deliberation that I arrived at this conclusion. I did not come to my decision easily and I appreciate you taking the time to write to me with your concerns.
I always have been in support of a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the Iraq situation and the strengthening of international protocols designed to prevent further proliferation of weapons of mass destruction among all nations. Unfortunately, in Iraq, a diplomatic solution has proven to be illusory due to Saddam Hussein's continued unwillingness to destroy weapons as called for under the United Nations directives after the 1991 Gulf War. As U.N. Arms Inspector Hans Blix reported, Iraq still would not fully cooperate with inspectors during renewed searches in recent months, even with thousands of American and British troops waiting in Kuwait to add pressure to his government. The possibility of Hussein's government disarming without the presence of those troops would have been zero, and a repeat of inspectors withdrawing from the country because of a lack of cooperation from the Iraqi government, as they did in 1998, was highly probable.
Underscoring the dangers of allowing a dictator like Saddam Hussein to attempt to construct a nuclear program is the current crisis in North Korea. The very fact that North Korea is able to essentially dictate its demands to many in the world community, because it possesses deliverable nuclear weapons, underscores the dangers of allowing unstable and/or aggressive nations to obtain these weapons. Now that the conflict has begun, we need to support the troops that we've asked to undertake this dangerous task. After decades of brutality and repression, Hussein's government certainly won't go away quietly, but the U.S. and U.K. armed forces have the professionalism and military strength that we need. The unprecedented level of technology brought to bear in this conflict has presented the world community with a virtual tidal wave of information and images. We're reminded daily what kinds of sacrifices and suffering war entails. This should emphasize the staggering commitment our troops are making in this effort. 
Military operations aside, there are concerns about diplomacy efforts by the Administration. While military action may not reflect the absolute need for a broad international coalition of nations, the inevitable trillions of dollars that will need to be spent rebuilding Iraq into a Middle East democracy certainly does. As frustrating as the pace with which international diplomacy works can be, that frustration is nothing compared to the overwhelming needs that the people of Iraq are going to have after military operations in that nation cease. The U.N. is capable of undertaking such a massive effort, and I feel that U.S. engagement with the U.N. is absolutely crucial to securing the peace after the war is over.
One of the first orders of business must be the repatriation of refugees who have been displaced by the conflict. Rapid rebuilding of water infrastructure and food distribution networks are also key as is the importance of building a stable government. First and foremost will be both the introduction of peacekeeping forces to prevent large scale hostilities from surfacing between the many rival ethnicities and international police forces. The U.N. and its many affiliated Non-Governmental Organizations with vast experience in this area must be utilized.
War should always be a last option. In this case, Saddam Hussein's willingness to flout U.N. Security Council disarmament directives, even in the face of a massive military build-up to force that disarmament, demonstrated the futility of further pursuit of diplomatic channels to defuse this situation. We now all hope for a quick end to the conflict and Saddam Hussein's regime.
Again, I thank you for your correspondence. I appreciate the opportunity to hear from you on this important issue.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Why do we even have a Constitution if we're going to ignore it?

I've been wondering, somewhat idly, when Congress abdicated the authority it was instilled with under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, the article that specifically grants Congress (not the President) the power to declare war? Was it back in 1964 with the passage of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, I mused? Nope, a quick google search reminded me, it was formally accomplished by the War Powers Act of 1973. Under the War Powers Act, the President can use the military for whatever purpose without Congressional approval for something like 80 days. Clearly, this is one of the worst and most abused pieces of legislation ... ever. Obviously un-Constitutional, it never should've passed, and when passed should've been immediately struck down by the Supreme Court. But there you have it.

Whereas Congress doesn't seem to have much interest in even enforcing the rules it set forth under the act, we the people are at the mercy of the whims of Supreme Court's appointee to the Presidency. Before anyone accuses anyone else of being un-patriotic, I hope they consider that the invasion of Iraq, like Vietnam before it, is the farthest thing from the type of war this country is supposed to be involved as envisioned by the rules of the Republic set down by writers of the Constitution. This war is irredeemably un-American. Even if it is revealed that Saddam has 'weapons of mass destruction' with ability to strike at the U.S., and should it be revealed he planned to use them, post facto proof (which I feel fairly certain will be fabricated like the flimsy 'evidence' presented as justification for the invasion) doesn't retroactively make this war right.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

They Get Letters, They Get Lots and Lots of Letters

For what it's worth, I just wrote Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D), RI to express my disgust for his failure to vehemently oppose the invasion of Iraq and the current administration's reckless fiscal policy. Write your Rep. here.

Mega Always Seems to Have the Tip on the Good Ones

I've been listening to the Postal Service CD and single for the last couple days and I gots to drop a reco' for 'em. If, like all other sentient beings, you grooved on the first two Looper albums, then banged your head against a doorjam in frustration while trying to listen to their third, you'll definitely get the feeling the guy from Death Cab for Cutie picked up the flag they dropped, then pooped on, got it to a dry cleaner, and raised it on high. Scoreboard: Stuart David 2, Ben Gibbard 4.

Saturday, March 22, 2003


I'm just glad my bout hasn't gone as bad as Letterman's. I've missed a week of work and can attest to craptacular nature of the symptoms. It's really just since yesterday that I've been able to say I've gone more than 5 minutes without vividly, pleasurably imagining ripping the skin off my face.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Martial And Fiscal Insanity

Material Breach: Against an Absurd War. Cheeky commentary at Popmatters.
For the first time in American history, the federal government is cutting taxes at the same time as it prepares to wage an expensive war. Not only is Bush doing something unprecedented in storming ahead with "preemptive warfare", but he's casting fiscal sanity to the winds at the same time. He prefers the idea of extending America's dubious hegemony in the Middle East to the ethos of making America a strong and principled nation. Popular protests in hundreds of cities throughout the world have been screaming constantly in Bush's ear that this war is a dangerous lunacy with grave consequences. And these aren't just gentle beer-bong peaceniks placing daisies in gun barrels: the protesters include blue-collar workers, investors, grandmothers, Gulf War veterans, farmers, priests, peasants, and politicians. President Bush is not eyeball-to-eyeball with Saddam Hussein. He is eyeball-to-eyeball with the rest of the world, and I fear that his administration's arrogance will reap some tragic and embarrassing results.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Call Me Patches

I had an echocardiogram and stress test yesterday (all appears fine) for which they had to shave parts of my chest. I look like freakin' Patches the Radioactive Test Monkey. And, my t-shirt is kinda uncomfortable where it's rubbing against bare skin for the first time since high school. If I'm irritable today, you'll know why. I'm also still reeling from the Huskies' defeat last night. It's a world gone mad!

Friday, March 7, 2003

I'm Glad *He's* At Peace About It

I think Fineman, in describing W.'s morning in rapturous detail, left out the part where he gets down on his knees and shines the Presidential knob. How about this spiritual Christian guy's tendency to war monger? The journalism is deep and illuminating here as he writes:
He knew that many people—including some at the table—saw the conflict as pre-emptive and unjust. (“I couldn’t imagine Jesus delivering a message of war to a cheering crowd, as I just heard the president do,” one participant, Charles Strobel, said later.) But, the president said, America had to see that it is “encountering evil” in the form of Saddam Hussein. The country had no choice but to confront it, by war if necessary. “If anyone can be at peace,” Bush said, “I am at peace about this.”
How you can twist Christianity into a religion that supports waging a 'pre-emptive' war is beyond me. If that's your religion, you're welcome to it, but fer cryin' out loud, couldn't you just stick to speaking in tongues and snake handling at church and find a better way to handle this issue?

Thursday, March 6, 2003

Money Down the Drain

I noticed in passing at ThisModernWorld that Ann Coulter cashes in to the tune of something like twenty large for a speaking appearance. After putting aside the suicidal impulse this discovery brought on I wondered, "what kind of moron would pay that kind of money for that spectacle?" These idiots, and the 'Cuse, and some non-collegian wingnuts.

Someone's Gonna Break A Tooth

"Giant" Fried Cheesy Snack Causes Internet To Buzz With Excitement

We are easily amused.

[thanks to Fut-Weaz for the link]

Monday, February 24, 2003

Screw You George Will

Molly Ivins has a nice little piece on why it's fashionable, but maliciously unfair, to call the French "cheese eating surrender monkeys" over their refusal to toe the line on Iraq.
George Will saw fit to include in his latest Newsweek column this joke: "How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris? No one knows, it's never been tried." That was certainly amusing. One million, four hundred thousand French soldiers were killed during World War I. As a result, there weren't many Frenchmen left to fight in World War II. Nevertheless, 100,000 French soldiers lost their lives trying to stop Hitler.

On behalf of every one of those 100,000 men, I would like to thank Mr. Will for his clever joke. They were out-manned, out-gunned, out-generaled and, above all, out-tanked. They got slaughtered, but they stood and they fought. Ha-ha, how funny. In the few places where they had tanks, they held splendidly.

Relying on the Maginot Line was one of the great military follies of modern history, but it does not reflect on the courage of those who died for France in 1940. For eighteen months after that execrable defeat, the United States continued to have cordial diplomatic relations with Nazi Germany.

I still like french fries.

The future of product placement is now.

Alias is at the vanguard of the new model of product placement -- turning segments of a show into outright commercials, thereby getting around Tivo-nation and channel flippers. Last night wasn't the first time a Ford Focus was prominently displayed in an episode; however, it is the first time I can recall dialogue like, "What is she driving?" "A Ford Focus." "What model?" "The FX50 [or whatever, I don't know Focus model numbers]." "What color?" "Uh ... blue. Why do you need to know that?" "Well, I was thinking about getting one..."

Surprisingly, as blatant and comical as it was to have the CIA's top spies fawning over the Focus (it's a long way from Bond's cars), I actually didn't mind it that much. I never once felt like Alias was art. It's pretty much the best network TV has to offer by way of utterly artless, mindless fun. Same as 24. I kinda like well done commercials, 30-second snippets of humor in service of capitalism. The one with guy who puts his dog on his head to get a beer, the dog that turns the A/C on, any commercial with a chimp or monkey that doesn't also feature Carrot Top, I can be amused by that. If shows like Alias are able to make their integrated commercials of the same quality as the better commericials, then fine. Drop the pretense altogether that the show is anything but a product to deliver the real product, consumers, to advertisers. It's almost refreshing honesty. Of course, when the same approach is taken with children who don't know how to differentiate between the show and the commercial and we end up with a nation of Coke-sipping, Levis-wearing zomboids we'll have only my complacency to blame.

Friday, February 21, 2003

The Station Fire

86 Dead (And Counting) at W. Warwick Club

Unbelievable. 86 and the Governor is saying workers can see more bodies inside, but can't get to them yet. The news here in Rhode Island has been about nothing else. When I got to work this morning they were saying 39 had died and the number has been creeping up steadily all day. It seems like it was only a few days ago something similar happened in Chicago ... makes me want to think twice before heading out to one of those overstuffed clubs again.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Thoughts That Cross My Mind During the Workday, Part One.

I have a feeling I could create the world's funniest joke if I could somehow distill chibi beer chan and the phrase "that's what I call my kung pow chicken" into one cohesive joke entity. I'm not talking about simply grafting the .wav file onto the picture, which would be pretty damn cool in and of itself, but if I could breed the two memes, I think the offspring would have devastating hilarity.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Just Don't Stop Taking It

A Drug to Cure Addiction?

Read through this article and chuckled at the second to last line: "The work could eventually lead to a universal drug to battle addiction, Malenka said." Maybe it's just me, but doesn't this sound like replacing one addiction with another? Which probably works out great for Pfizer or Merck, but what about the addict?

Friday, February 14, 2003

TC presents: Fun With Sound Bites

"Mr. Rumsfeld, can you tell us where Bin Laden is?" [click here for Rummy's Real Audio response via the BBC]

"Mr. Tyson, are you feeling peckish?" [click here for Iron Mike's .wav reply via The Mike Tyson Media Page]

OK, actually, that's enough of that.

[Update 8/31/2015: Links are dead.]

Is the news as good as they're saying it is?

The excitable boys at AICN seem to be all jacked up about the casting of the bloke what played Ian Curtis in 24 Hour Party People to play Phileas Fogg to Jackie Chan's Passepartout in the upcoming Around the World in 80 Days flick. Raving about what a genius he is and whatnot, they are. I was going to see it anyways, I saw The Tuxedo fer chrissakes, but does this mean I have a chance of seeing a decent movie?

Thursday, February 13, 2003

"Who makes the Nazis?"

This quote has been popping up everywhere and seems particularly apt in light of some of the comment threads here:

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

-- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials


Starship Troopers got Verhoeven-ed and is heading for sequelization. It's enough to make a Heinlein fan toss and turn at night. So word that The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress may get adapted for the big screen is greeted with mixed feelings. It's one of his best and could be great movie. If it gets Verhoeven-ed, it'll be unwatchable, which goes without saying. Off the cuff, I'm inspired to list my Top 5 Sci-Fi Novels I'd Like to See Adapted to the Big Screen Assuming They Would Be Handled By Competent Screenwriters and Directors:

1 - KSR's The Gold Coast Would make a great ensemble movie for young unknowns. James Cameron was supposed to be developing this a few years back but nothing ever came of it.

2 - Ballard's High Rise Just don't let anyone associated with Crash near it. That means you, Cronenberg.

3 - Heinlein's Friday Jennifer Garner's a hot property now ...

4 - Stephenson's Zodiac This would be a great movie for Jake (The Zero Effect) Kasdan to take on.

5 - Asimov's Foundation So I don't have to read it.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

A Great Blog Is Hard to Find

I'd almost given up on checking in ... glad to report Ethel the Blog is back in business.

Smoke and Mirrors

An embarassing, critical look at the evidence linking Saddam's regime to Osama. So, official/popular justifications for war on Iraq are: (1) Saddam backed Osama -- no convicincing evidence exists for this position, far more exists that Saudi Arabia supports his terror organization, (2) Saddam's a murderous psychopath -- granted, and I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to assemble a list of equally blood-soaked despots we aren't threatening with war because they either aren't sitting on oilfields or would actually be able to fight back, (3) is there a 3? I'm not a fan of bloody dictators. I'd love to see Iraq freed from Saddam's reign and given the chance to develop a representative government. I don't believe for a minute that our government has that as a goal any more than it did in Afghanistan.

It's probably just a coincidence...

But I thought it was funny that on the front page of CNNmoney, the link to an article about Greenspan's call for budgetary discipline (something Spend and Spend Republicans have proven unable to exercise) was immediately followed by a link to an article titled: "Who will be the next Greenspan?" Dissidence will not be tolerated.

Friday, February 7, 2003

Oh the Humanity

If you watched any of the Granada TV documentary on Michael Jackon that ABC showed, interspersed with the idiot ramblings of Barbara Walters, you probably concluded Jackson is about as messed up as you imagined he possibly could be. Creepy. So, if that's the case, what do you make of the fawning women/girls who hug him and are reduced to tears? And the photographers that attempt to trample his children to take his picture? He's like a magnet for scumbags and the emotionally disjointed. Only not a magnet because it's a like-to-like attraction. Sometimes humanity's capacity for compassion and decency is downright life affirming; other times, like last night, you can't believe we haven't been overtaken yet by some less disgusting species (like the dung beetle) in the evolutionary struggle.

Thursday, February 6, 2003

Yes, Please

Kim Stanley Robinson's next novel: Science in the Capital. Tentative release date: September, 2003. "The first of three linked novels set in the strife-torn world of big science, operating out of the corrupt political heart of the developed world." Sounds to me a bit like a return to some of the style and themes of The Gold Coast. It's not for everybody, I know, but I liked the Dennis McPherson character and the way KSR looked at the milieu of government military contracting.

Wednesday, February 5, 2003


O'Reilly is such an easy target, it's hardly sporting, but you have to read this transcript of his abomination of a show to remind yourself what an incredible jackwad the guy is. Unbelievable.

Ground Zero

WTC Project Finalists

Between the two, I think I like the German design best -- the one with the spire. I'm not sure about the "airy" one. The pictures in this article are too small for me to get a good idea of the end result though. Either way, it looks like NYC will have the tallest structure on earth again when they're done.

Friday, January 31, 2003

Utopia 2.0

There's an interesting idea here. Obviously, if the data and models are flawed in any way, you're going to get bad results, so there'd obviously have to be more work done than the article discusses to explain and verify them. However, the basic idea of a running a sim to show people the impact of their decisions on the environment is intriguing. Once the town/city-scope versions were perfected, it would be fun to do a nationwide sim and ask people to play just to see how many deliberately chose a scenario where the citizenry roll over and play dead while a rogue Supreme Court installs a sub-moronic pawn of the oil companies as president to alienate the world and instigate an imperialist war certain to agitate the most hate-filled, well-funded, religous extremists in the world (himself excluded) all the while rolling back environmental legislation and running up huge deficits to appease the super-rich. I wonder how many people would be happy with the result of that strategy?

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Dropkick Murphy Reference FTW

This happened the other day, and I don't know if anyone else caught it, but on one of the late night SportsCenters, one of the anchors (not Patrick, Stuart, Boomer, or Greenie -- one of the guys whose name I haven't bothered to remember) dropped this reference after a hockey highlight for player I can't remember either: "[that guy] is to the [name of forgotten hockey team] as Spicy McHaggis is to the Dropkick Murphys."


It's even bigger than the game against Tennessee: UConn v. Duke this Saturday at 7pm on ESPN2. UConn's 58 game winning streak v. Duke's 20 game. Taurasi v. Beard. It's the most important meeting between these two tradition-rich basketball programs since the men played each other in the '99 Championship game. Hoping for a similar result Saturday.

What Would James T. Kirk Do?

Lisabeth (Shatner's granddaughter? Wife?) over at WilliamShatner.com asks WWJTKD about Saddam Hussein? All they are saying is give peace a chance.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Isn't That Nascent Serial Killer Behavior

There's appalling (see below) and then there's Omigod, who made this up?appalling. How come no one has been talking about Trent Lott's replacement Bill Frist's past as a cat-killer? (Oh, right, that darn liberal media again!) I haven't heard much about this story at all. (In fact, the link is to a Google cached page because this isn't making much news I could find.) When Frist was a medical student, he would go to area shelters and adopt cats. Only instead of providing homes for them as he promised, he'd take them home and experiment on them, killing them in the process. Can you picture someone pitching this storyline on The West Wing? "And, uh, Bartlett has a Republican opponent who used to kill cats in his basement..." I've worked in an animal shelter, taking care of animals and screening potential homes. I can't really describe how enraged I would be if someone posed as a good owner and then intentionally killed one of my dogs or cats.

This isn't some wild Internet rumor either. Frist confessed his training methods in his own autobiography (written before he was a politician), which is now - see the linked story - extremely difficult to find. (Update: I had to change the link because the first one went off the web. It now goes to a Cockburn article, which mentions the story, but not the now-rare autobiography angle.)

Saturday, January 11, 2003


I don't recommend watching Fox's abysmal The Best Damn Sports Show Period, except last night they had Diana Taurasi on and she was great. Of course, they didn't bother to put her clip on their page ... but take my word for it, she was a better interview than Matt Hasselbeck.

Thursday, January 9, 2003

Honestly, It's Not *That* High On My To-Do List

Some fans have made their own live action Star Trek web movie called Starship Exeter. Supposedly, they've captured the feel of the original series pretty well. Haven't seen yet, but I'll post a comment with an opinion once I do.

Wednesday, January 8, 2003


I am now the proud sponsor of the 2002 Boston Red Sox page at baseball-reference.com. Go -- see the awesome majesty of my sponsorship! Glory in the unfailing accuracy (this time) of my prognostication! Nod sagely at the accuracy of my observation. Visiting B-R.commers, welcome! Feel free to wallow in the shallows of our cynicism and hard-bitten anti-corporatism (pervasive). Drink deep the draught of our best CD of the year selections (scroll down). Cast your inhibitions aside and visit sites like Why Oh Why, Cheek, Neilalien, Ghost In The Machine, and all the fine others in our TC Reads section to your right. It's all good. Don't forget to visit the Boneyard before you leave.

Monday, January 6, 2003


Ethics of Buying a Line Cut

The above linked article rails against the anti-democratization of the ski slopes, but the practice it condemns is already becoming more commonplace. I raved about the Q-Bot after going to Six Flags this summer because I got ride the Superman 4 or 5 times in a day, and still go on other rides, when if I'd had to wait in line, I could've ridden maybe 3 times if I never went on another ride. I bit the bullet and paid extra for the privilge to stand in a shorter line, here's the argument I didn't consider:
But this is a different case. The folks who get to cut into the line up front are holding everyone else back in the rear.

The ski resort has, in fact, sold them your time.

Just unbridled capitalism, you say? Just selling convenient access to the mountain to the highest bidder?

Hogwash. If someone wants to move up in front of me, they can pay me the buck.
Q-Bot, and it's equivalent on the slopes, basically lets the attraction's owner seize the time of people waiting in line and sell it without compensating them. It's kind of like if I tried to cut a line by offering $5 bucks to the guy at the front to get in front of him; he would've been trading in the time of his linemates without their consent -- unless, of course, he got out of line and took my spot at the back.

So, do ski slope operators and amusement parks have the right to steal time from their paying guests and give it to people willing to pay more?

Saturday, January 4, 2003

C-Dog's CD Faves of 2002

1. The Flaming Stars - Sunset and Void I have to confess it's actually Bring Me the Rest of Alfredo Garcia I love, but this year's entry from the wildly underappreciated Flaming Stars rocks as well. The garage/lo-fi thing is done all over and I'm not even that fond of obvious influence Nick Cave -- can't get enough of these guys though. It's the lyrics. I'm constantly nodding my head and smile-smirking. "It's all overrated, Baby Blue." I tried to hook HD on these guys, but he wasn't biting. It may just be a me thing. Naw, it can't be. They're so freaking good. What the hell's wrong with you, HD!!

2. Jughead - Jughead It's just power pop. Hooky stuff with non-cutting edge songs with titles like "Halfway Home to Elvis". When Tif (she's my fiancee now, I don't think I mentioned that here yet!) and I drove out to Cooperstown this fall this CD got a ton of play. As long as I'm on the p-pop trip, I'll mention liking Ash's Free All Angels as well, especially for the video of the Jackie Chan song, and no less for trifles like "Candy". It can't make the list though. Not really.

3. Streets - Original Pirate Material I almost didn't list this because it's making *everybody's* list and I don't think it's the revolutionary bit of genius everyone is hailing it as. It's fun, and hilarious at times, but for an album that's supposed to owe so much to the legacy of ska, I can't imagine actually dancing to any of the tracks. Ignorant to the 2-Step whosamacallit movement, I'll let someone in the know tell me if you're supposed to want to dance to it. It sounds like it was made in a kid's bedroom and is the perfect listen on your bedroom stereo while blogging about how rad it is. I feel like 'the inevitable critical backlash' for not joining in the unanimous praise, but can console myself my pointing out I did like it enough to make it one of my half dozen faves of the year.

4. The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones - Jacknife To A Swan I see you rolling your eyes and 'there goes C-Dog again'-ing. Stop. Really. It's time people let the B-Tones off the hook for some mid-90s missteps, then making it big due to "The Impression That I Get". Don't be a hater because they're old and still ska-core. I'd rather go to this show and pogo around than stand next to kid with the thick black frames at the Streets gig.

5. Yo La Tengo - The Sounds of the Sounds of Science I'm kicking myself now for looking at the listing in the Boston paper for the show where they played live with a showing of the documentary this album scored and thinking, "uh-oh, this smells like a descent into art-rock dissonant noodling, I'll stay home." I had this image in my head of James McNew, back to the audience - watching the screen, banging two blocks together in time with some crab snapping its claws, or something like that. I can't abide art-rock noodling. Me, I likes the old-timey music with the rythm and the melody. I only heard this after grabbing a mostly corrupted file off a usenet and I couldn't stop listening to it for a week. Reminded me of the That Is Yo La Tengo EP I love so well. I'll mention the Nuclear War single here even though it in no way makes this list but on account of you get to hear Georgia sing, sweetly, "motherf*cker ... kiss your ass goodbye."

6. / 7. Waco Brothers - New Deal / The Mekons - Oooh! In any given year with some combination of Waco Brothers / Pine Valley Cosmonauts / Mekons releases, you can bet at least one album belongs on that year's best list. We got all three this year. These albums edged out The Executioner's Last Song for honors. Well, more than edging; I didn't care all that much for TELS on the whole. Shouldn't dissuade people from loading up other Pine Vally Cosmonaut releases though.

8. Frodus - And We Washed Our Weapons In The Sea I'm dangerously close to making this list the best of what I heard in 2002 regardless of release date. I won't do that though; this is the one exception. This album's actually a 2001-er, but I didn't know about it last year. You'll find these guys near the Fugazi section in the CD bins of your local record store and it wouldn't hurt let the alphabetical linkage be your guide in this instance.

9. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Sly knows what I'm talkin' about.

10. Luna - Close Cover Before Striking Not a real album, as such. Real good though!

Honorable mentions: Minus 5 - Down With Wilco. If I knew when this was (will be?) released, I'd know whether or not I could put it on the list. I still have a mostly corrupted usenet copy and couldn't find a reference to this thing anywhere on the web. Maybe it's a pre-release thing? In any event, it's great and now I need to stop overlooking the Young Fresh Fellows and the other Minus 5 releases. Despite my bad burn with songs that end abruptly and whatnot, I'm totally sold. "Dear Employer, The Reason I Quit..." is an instant classic. Neko Case - Blacklisted, which I just remembered thanks to trying to justify sneaking in 2001's excellent Thalia Zedek release, Been Here and Gone. I'm sticking with my one exception rule though.
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