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busy, busy, busy

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Are we supposed to be suprised?

"We were not lying... But it was just a matter of emphasis."

Any critically-thinking person knew this to be the case a hell of a long time ago. Unfortunately, this country does have a catastrophic shortage of critical thinkers. I'm not so angry at the administration for "emphasizing" as I am with the people who believed them despite the glaring transparency of the lies and despite all of the evidence to the contrary. I'm far from the smartest guy on the block and I had all this pegged months ago... What the fuck is everyone else's excuse?

The enemy of my enemy may still be an asshole

As a socialist, I've always been baffled at the seemingly large support amongst "the left" of such pseudo-socialist states as North Korea and Cuba. Granted, much of the hardcore support comes from the small-but-overwhelmingly-vocal democratic-centralist groups such as the Workers World Party (the people who organized International A.N.S.W.E.R.) or the Revolutionary Workers Party, but a suprising amount of support for "socialist" states comes from the regular "leftist" rank-and-file, who are fairly naive and don't know any better, and from the academic left, who most definitely should know better.

Why the support? The only reason I can seem to find is that those states stand in defiance of the United States. The enemy of our enemy is our friend, right? No matter how hideously they may treat their own people, no matter if they actually are worse in every way even when compared to the US, they're the good guys because the US opposes them. They may starve and bleed their people to death, but in theory, according to their constitutions, they're wonderful people's paradise. The only reason they're so repressive and brutal is because of US foreign policy; Castro executes dissidents because of the US embargo and the people of North Korea starve because of the US's unwavering support of South Korea. The fact that they are led by brutal dictators really has nothing to do with it; they would play nice of the US played nice.

So goes much of the reasoning (if one can call it that) I've come across over the past few years. Do I think things would be much different in both countries if the US treated them fairly? Of course. Can the leaders in power, and those abroad who support them, honestly present the US as an all-encompassing excuse for why they choose to repress and oppress their people? Absolutely not. Just because the US is a perpretrator of unkind acts on a global scale does not automatically make its targets or critics the good guys. While that is clearly true in regards to Cuba and North Korea, the same is easily said of such symbols of the recent unthinking-peace movement as France, Turkey, Russia, and China. To refer to any of those states as "peace-loving" is to be a complete fool, and is the same as thinking Cuba and North Korea have some sort of Darth Vader complex--corrupted by evil outside forces but really nice, soft, cuddly and human on the inside.

Needless to say, I was quite tickled to receive this humorous little tidbit in my inbox today:

We the undersigned are leftists and progressives who do not feel it is productive or prudent to criticize the Cuban government at this or any other time. We believe that the US government continues to undermine the independence of the Cuban people, and therefore any action the Cuban government takes is fine by us. We do not support the death penalty, except when it is employed by socialists or Marxists. We favor freedom of speech, association and assembly for ourselves, but not for those who should be grateful to live in a socialist country. If we lived in Cuba, we would spy on our neighbors and report any suspicious activity to the government at once. We believe in the wisdom and fairness of the Cuban Communist Party, and feel that it is one and the same as the Cuban people. We support Fidel's slogan, "Socialism or Death!" We deplore those "leftists" who have the nerve to tell the Cuban government what they think, unless it is wholly supportive of the Party's line. And above all, we will overlook, rationalize and explain away any and all contradictions and hypocrisies evident in the Cuban leadership. The goal of a progressive future demands it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

I love white trash

One of my favorite things about going out in public is getting the chance to overhear other people's conversations. Most of the time, the subject matter is pretty mundane, everyday stuff, but occasionally I get to drop in on some rare gems that just leave me reeling. Our lunch at a local Chinese resturant yesterday turned out to be one of those occasions, and my jaw still hurts from dropping it so many times. I wish I had been able to record the conversation, since a full transcript, complete with awful grammar, would be much more entertaining to read. Fortunately my memory is better than average, so I can at least bring up the main points of discussion.

Scene: The booth directly behind me in a local Chinese resturant, mid-afternoon. Ours are the only occupied tables in the section.
Characters: Guy #1, Guy #2, Guy #3, one of whom is apparently named or nicknamed "Pancho."

1) Oviously not experienced with Chinese food, they all order the same thing. They're pretty sure the dish is "loaded" with shrimp, but instead of shimp they say "prawns." Guy #1 points out, in all seriousness and in rebuke to something Guy #3's cousin said once, that sophisticated people say "prawns" instead of shrimp, so that means they're in fact sophisticated. Guy #2 mentions that "the Chinks have a thing for rice, so there will be a lot of the shit."

2) Guy #1 lays out his plan to pull a fast one on "the man" by getting several different driver's licenses. He's going to Oklahoma soon where his license has been suspended, so he plans on picking up "a few extras" in case he gets pulled over and has his license taken away again. "It's brilliant; they take one away, I still have more. I can totally get away with it." He mulls getting just a few copies of the Missouri state ID, instead of an operator's license, since they are cheaper but look just like a driver's license; Guy #3 tells him that may not work, especially if the cop looks at it very closely. #1 replies: "Yeah, plus they're already lookin' for me down there, so maybe I should get a fake ID."

3) Guy #2 asks everyone "how's the cheating going?" #3 replies that the only action he's getting is from his fiance, but he's "workin' on it;" #1 tells the group that his wife is a "bitchy loser who don't got no clue" that he's cheating on her with her friend who lives with them. "The second that bitch is out the door, I got that other bitch up on the countertop. It's totally sweet." The other guys murmur their approval. #2 is apparently not cheating, or not in a relationship.

4) #1 continues by telling his pals about his "boss' fine ass daughter who's ready to go all time and is never ragging." #2 tells him that the girl is only 16 and that he should be careful or, better yet, knock it off. #1: "She wants to do it, and she looks like she's 20, so it's not like she's gonna tell. I don't care if she's 13 and wants to go at it, she's ripped." #3 joins in the chorus of disapproval, forcing #1 to change the subject.

5) He changes the subject to running toll booths, specifically that time in Oklahoma "when the light stayed green" and he "just took the hell off without payin' shit." Then he recounted the time where he got the ticket to enter the turnpike, then drove over the median to go the other way, essentially illegally entering the turnpike in a very high-profile way. He didn't mention whether he was caught.

6) #3 starts talking about DUIs and DWIs, the possible differences between the two designations, and which one he should get his lawyer to "go for." #1 tells him that a DWI is better since they are easier "to get busted down to a minor offense." His reasoning? One gets a DWI if no sobriety tests are administered; a DUI is when one tests positive on a breathalizer. So, because there are no tests, they can't prove anything, and therefore it will not "hold up in a court and they have to change it." He should know, too, since he's "had a buncha DUIs, and the lawyer and the cops all said if they hadn't tested me I would have gotten off with a DWI." #2 tells him that it doesn't matter since the penalties are the same for both ("and I've had both, so I know what I'm talking about here") and that #3 is pretty much screwed.

7) Even though they all ordered the exact same thing, they spent ten minutes trying to split up the check. Given the amount of their frustration, one would have assumed they were trying to determine the telemetry figures for the next Mars probe.

I don't have any lessons or morals to draw from this experience, except that I'm afraid that people like that outnumber the people like me. In the end, I was able to find solace in my fortune cookie "fortune," which read, "You enjoy sports, horses, and gambling, but not to excess."

Monday, April 28, 2003

For Kevin

"Really, this couldn't have happened to a more deserving band."

I've been to several concerts where the performances left much to be desired--the French Kicks, anyone?--but I've never thought of pursuing litigation to remedy my displeasure. I think if a band performs poorly, a few shouts of "You suck!" and an unenthusiastic, disinterested audience would be enough of a punishment; a lawsuit is generally not required to chastise a band. Most bands know when they have played poorly. The ones who don't always play poorly.

As a result of this lawsuit (which, according to a radio report I heard yesterday, is seeking damages in the amout of two million dollars) are we going to start seeing new disclaimers on the concert tickets and outside the venues? WARNING: THE BAND(S) YOU HAVE PAID TO SEE MAY NOT PERFORM TO YOUR PLEASURE. Will bands start to tour less, not wanting to risk having a bad show and hoping to avoid possible lawsuits? When bands do perform live, will they be so careful to be perfect that they end up sucking anyway?

Of course, it's not likely this lawsuit will get very far; for every one person at that show who hated it, I'm sure Creed's attorneys can find a thousand who will claim it was "the motherfuckinest most awesome concert I ever seen, praise be to Jesus on high." Plus, what court will even consider hearing the case? Such frivolity. And to be honest, these people should be slapped silly for even being Creed fans in the first place, let alone paying money to see them live and then suing them because they sucked. What the hell were they expecting? They were seeing Creed for Pete's sake.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Guess what I'm never doing ever again?
Please reference today's earlier post for a helpful hint.

Just in case you wanted to know and understand the history of weblogs, well, more power to you.

Of all the things in the world I could be doing today, going to Maryville is probably the worst possible choice. But, what needs to be needs to done. At least Matt and Kevin don't need to worry about me calling them asking for assistance this time, since my brother the Marine will be giving me a hand today. Still, it's going to suck. I'd rather stay home and figure out why my Hotmail account isn't working; I can read the email, but have a really hard time sending any.

Scratch that; I'd rather stay home and sleep all day. I hate moving, and screw Hotmail; I don't pay a damn thing for it, so why should I expect it to work?

Saturday, April 26, 2003

There's just something about the scents produced from the mingling of aromas drifting out of resturant doors that makes me glad to be alive. Combined with auto exhaust fumes and snitty consumers, it all makes for a fine day at Kansas City's very own Country Club Plaza. I finally experienced the armageddon cult shouting down the shoppers and using children to pass out bible tracts (no Chick tracts, though) outside the Barnes & Noble. If you ask me, for a group of ultra-fundamentalist Christians, they sure looked total potheads to me, and I know what I'm talking about. "Armageddon is at hand! Prepare to repent or spent eternity in everlasting hellfire! I said puff-puff pass, bitch..."

Well, isn't this convenient? Not that I would be totally suprised if all that really did happen, but I would be more suprised if "coalition" officials didn't cook them up for lack of real evidence.

Kurt Vonnegut versus the *
I know this is an older interview, but goddammit if it still isn't a great one.

Donald Rumsfeld discovers Catch 22
Featuring guest appearances by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and Joseph Heller.

"Once hooked by the cartoons and drawn in by the dramatic stories, readers soon learn that woven into each story is a basic gospel message, presented in a way that anyone can understand. No deep theological concepts, no confusion, just a simple gospel message, showing that everyone must be born again through faith in Jesus Christ." I'm not sure how I've been able to have this blog for so long and not mention Jack Chick, the bible-tract "artist" who's crude and offensive comics bear witness to the ugliness of the religious right. The weak-willed and gullible of the world are targeted by Chick using tracts with titles like Holocaust, Fat Cats, Where's Rabbi Waxman?, and, my personal favorite, The Sissy. Although some of the tracts tell simple bible stories, most are thinly-veiled attacks against Catholics, homosexuals, Jews, Muslims, socialists, Buddhists, evolution, rock music, Halloween, Masons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and even Native Americans. Oh yeah, he hates Dungeons and Dragons, too. If you don't understand why some people are getting a little upset at the Christians heading to Iraq to lend "humanitarian aid," read these tracts while considering that a large number of those "aid workers" adhere to this particular variety of Christianity.

I think Maggie and I are going to join up with an Amnesty International chapter here in Kansas City. I probably won't know what to do once I join a real chapter that does what it's supposed to do, which is working on behalf of prisoners of conscience and keeping pressure on governments regarding human rights, instead of organizing antiwar rallies and ignoring the stated purpose of the organization. Ah, youthful idealism, what the fuck is it good for?

Speaking of the Maryville chapter, I missed what sounds like a pretty mediocre benefit concert last night. Usually our concerts kick plenty of ass, but apparently no one in the group had a say in what bands got to play this time around, so aside from one good band it was a bunch of crappy, local pop-pseudo-punk groups or something. I hope Kevin gave them a razzing they will never forget. Really, I hope he threw some hard, heavy, partially empty objects at them from the crowd. Actually, I hope he didn't, because I'd hate for that to happen without me being able to pesonally witness it.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Apparently there is some black hole, some mystical vortex within the US postal system into which any piece of mail that has my name on it disappears. I am receiving no mail, when I know I should be, and places where I sent mail have never received anything from me. It wouldn't be so troubling if the mail in question wasn't directly related to me finding a goddamn job. Maybe I should apply with the USPS and attempt to track down and neutralize whatever it is that obviously has something against me participating in the national mail service.

Back to Maryville again this weekend. This time we go with a big, ugly U-Haul truck to get the rest of our belongings out of our old apartment. Every time I move I end up having a near nervous breakdown, so it should be really fun this time since we have to drive a big, ugly U-Haul truck all over the place. We still have to pack everything, too. I'm definitely going to need a Guinness after this weekend.

White House stands by Santorum

Thursday, April 24, 2003

I think intense Spring storms are just about the best thing ever. Maybe it's the meteorology geek in me, but a significant part of me loves to watch large, fragile trees get pummeled by hail and heavy rain. It's not that I don't like trees; I just love severe weather. Not only do I love watching and experiencing it, I also enjoy the heightened tension and state of awareness that comes from metally preparing myself to be ready to make the mad dash down into the basement at the first sign of imminent danger. Also, in kind of a sick and twisted way, a very small part of me has always desired to know what it feels like to have a house ripped off its foundation right over my head. Of course, thinking realistically, I think knowing what it feels like to have my neighbor's house ripped off its foundation would probably work just as well.

I think Martin Rees' ideas about the end of human civilization are probably pretty accurate, especially considering the direction we as a species have been heading lately. In the end, however, I think I still prefer Mac's vision of the next 1,000 years.

"And that's sort of where we are in today's world, unfortunately. The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that."

Next time you want to pick up a little gift for your sweetheart or lonley child, try to choose something patriotic as well as cute. Who wouldn't love a matching set of teddy bears that aren't only cute, but also commemorate the most intense modern military air campign which resulted in the destruction of one of the oldest cities on the face of the planet? Praise!

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

My education starts to pay off
Well, guess who has a job interview today? After three weeks of sending out about twenty resumes and an equal number of regular applications, I get an interview at the same place Maggie works for a position that isn't entirely clear to me, and one for which I didn't even formally apply. From what Maggie has told me, they want someone to handle grant-writing and other fundraising responsibilites, so it sounds like it's right up my alley. Plus, it's a non-profit, human services type of place, so that's good, too. Let's hope this one pans out, because I'm sick of writing cover letters and calling people every day. Also, I could really use a paycheck.

Postgraduate blunder
I have decided not to continue my graduate education. I may pursue it later on down the road, but definitely not at Northwest Missouri State University. I think my undergraduate education was great, but my Master's program is a completely different story. In one year, after 24 hours of coursework, my depth of knowledge has not increased one bit. Maybe if I had known that the graduate seminars were taught simultaneously with the undergraduate courses I would have looked elsewhere for graduate study, or I could have started looking for a job. Unfortunately, I have spent the last year taking the same courses I took as an undergrad, with the only additional graduate student requirements being a few extra pages added on a research paper, reading a few extra books, or giving a presentation at the end of the semester. It's a joke, really. If I were to go ahead and finish the degree, I couldn't in good faith present it to prospective employers as "proof" of my knowledge and abilities; while I do have a pretty broad range of knowledge, I am critically lacking in the depth that most employers would expect of someone with a Master's degree. The program I am in presents me with no opportunity to get deeper into the subject matter (since the grad and undergrad courses are taught as one and the same, they're obviously more geared to students with no prior knowledge of the particular subject), and it is in no way challenging (the only class where I was thoroughly challenged, by having to actually prepare and perform the lectures for a couple weeks out of the semester, wasn't even a history course). As much as I like the faculty, I think the graduate program is ridiculous and, thus far, an almost complete waste of my time. All I really have left to do is my thesis, but my heart is no longer in it. I just don't care. I want to get on with my life.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Bloggin' ain't easy
After an indirect suggestion, I think I'm going to see if BJ wants to be listed with the Kansas City local of the International Bloggers Union, or whatever it is. I'll have to get him to actually post something, since he's been silent for the past month. I'm sure the local bloggers would absolutely love to hang out with him over some pizza and beer. As for me, the thought of hanging out with other bloggers seems to run contrary to why I have a blog in the first place. I mean, I do this so I can get my ideas off my chest without having to actually personally interact with a single person. And really, isn't the idea of bloggers getting together for the sake of having a bunch of bloggers in one spot sort of like a group of, say, Toyota owners getting together? "Wow, you have a Camry? I have a Tercel! Man, we should totally find some more people like us to hang out and drink beer, and talk about our Toyotas!" At least some more people might end up reading this thing, and, like I said before, the hate mail will come rolling in...

I reread my last post from yesterday, and I don't know what happened, but it seems as if everything I've learned about writing and the English language stepped out for a smoke before I started typing... Yikes.

The best films I've seen in the past year for the first time, in no particular order
Wet Hot American Summer
The Happiness of the Katakuris
Donnie Darko
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
One Hour Photo
Kung Pao: Enter the Fist yes, really...
Margaret Cho: The Notorious C.H.O.
There are probably others, I will have to get Maggie to remind me.

Speaking of The Lord of the Rings...
If you haven't figured out this out by now, well, I'm a bit of a Rings freaknut. Better that than Babylon 5, I always say. Or American Idol. Anyway, I spend a good portion of my online time looking at various Rings-related sites, so I figured I might as well post them here since I can think of nothing else to write about.

Get in on some interesting, and sometimes embarassing, discussions at Entmoot. I usually try to stay away from the non-Rings discussion forums since I tend to piss people off fairly frequently. Believe it or not, but people do send nasty emails written in Elvish.
The One Ring is an all-encompassing site, but lately it has tended to focus on the films (for obvious reasons). Lots of interviews, multimedia, news, discussion, whatever.
The official site for the Peter Jackson films has some good images and such, but it's mostly a giant commercial. Still, there are some commercials I'd rather watch than others...
The Elvish Linguistic Fellowship. Yes, the acronym is E.L.F., and yes, there really are people who speak Elvish. It's actually a very pretty language (rather, languages), and a lot less geeky than Klingon.
The Tolkien Society is dedicated to all of the author's works, though naturally The Lord of the Rings figures prominently in the activities.
The Encyclopedia of Arda is an ever-growing... well, encyclopedia of Middle-Earth related information. It's somewhat difficult to navigate but well worth the trouble once you figure it out.
Here's a site explaining the alphabets and runes of Middle-Earth languages, and, for the ultra-dork, downloadable fonts. Yes, I have downloaded them, but have yet to put them to use.
And for humor's sake, here's a site displaying some unfortunate, but funny, captioning mistakes from an overseas bootlegged copy of Fellowship of the Ring. If you want to look at only one of these links, please choose this one.

I suppose that's enough pointless blogging for now...

Monday, April 21, 2003

The hubris is getting thicker than the irony
I know I said no more war talk... Sorry.
As we break our arms by enthusiastically patting ourselves on the back over our magnificent and glorious defeat of the Iraqi regime, as we gloat over our overwhemling superiority, it might be advisable to look at the other side of the coin and see what the US looks like to the rest of the world. Outside of the US, people watched the most powerful military force known to history spend months planning for war, arguing for war, deploying more than a quarter of a million troops and the most advanced instruments of warfare to date to prepare for war, and then using that force to invade and attack a state the size of California that had been crippled by twelve years of economic sanctions, the first war led by the US, and the end just three years before that of an eight-year war with Iran that left the country devastated. "Coalition" forces fought against Iraqi troops who were demoralized, starving, equipped with outdated, lousy weaponry that somehow managed to survive the 1991 war, led by incompetent officers using horrible tactics, and who usually surrendered when given the chance. Despite their mind-blowing advantages, it took "coalition" forces three weeks to reach and occupy the city of Baghdad (roughly 400 miles from their starting point). Even yet, there is still no peace; fighting is still occurring all over the country.

The one goal the US wanted to achieve, the one thing we wanted to happen, didn't happen. At least, no one really knows if it happened; the one main objective was to take out Saddam Hussein. This whole thing was carried out primarily to get one man, and our people have no clue where to find him. Our leaders may be praising our victory by toting out some cousins and half-brothers and even some petty terrorist who has been in hiding since 1984, but they have no Saddam; they don't even have the chemical and biological weapons that they used to justify this whole affair in the first place.

So what does this victory mean? How can anyone feel good about this? It's nothing to be proud of, considering who we were up against; the outcome was never in doubt. Of course Iraq went down in defeat, but not as easily as the military planners thought it would. The decrepit, third-rate, obsolete Iraqi military still gave our boys a run for their money. Still, all the soldiers are valiant heroes who brought freedom to an oppressed country, and the Iraqis who don't want the US out of their country are more than happy we're there, because, even though troops stood by and watched Iraq's national heritage carried down the street, they did secure the Ministry of Oil. After all, it does belong to the Iraqi people.

Bloggers Unite
Apparently the "bloggers" of Kansas City like to get together, drink beer, and eat pizza. This fact became known to me after I received an invitiation to be listed on some webpage called Kansas City Bloggers just this very morning. I suppose I could politely turn down the invite, but seeing that I am already listed on the site (I just love those opt-out offers) I might as well keep it there. Who knows, the added attention might finally produce some of that elusive hate-mail I've so desperately been seeking ever since I began my presence on the web. Here's to hoping...

Sunday, April 20, 2003

300 reasons why we love The Simpsons
Religious Group Helps Lawmakers With Rent
Outback's UFO claims are proved to be a lot of hot air
Food aid reaches Baghdad, but US blocks relief in north
Animal rights activist decrees that her body is barbecued and her skin turned into a purse. I hate animal rights activists, I really do...

Saturday, April 19, 2003

"Time Traveler" Accused Of Insider Trading. One the supposed proofs against the possibility of time travel is that history has never recorded a visitor from the future making contact with "the present." The idea is that if time travel is a possibility, and if eventually technology is created to facilitate such travel, we in the "past" would already know since someone from the future would have let us know. "Hiya, I'm Bob from 3256, and I just wanted to let you know that time travel is, obviously, possible; oh yeah, and that war that starts in March 2003--not such a good idea."

Unfortunately, the open-mindedness necessary to accept such a proposition is difficult to come upon, and often it exists only among those who have already been pushed to the fringe of scientific thought by the mainstream scientific community. Mainstream science, especially in US, reflects the same lack of imagination and reisistance to new modes of thought that exists in the general population. Scientists (and non-scientists) who work outside of the mainstream are usually derided as freaks, kooks, and space cadets by society, which is merely parroting the academic attitude that we already know everything that's important. New ideas are taboo; the people who promulgate them are inferiors, nuts, and con-artists. Nothing they do or say can possibly add anything to our knowledge of ourselves, our world, and our universe; that sort of knowledge rests only with those who work under lucrative government contracts.

According to the time-travel proof mentioned above, the 'insider trading' guy might be worth investigating. Apparently, he has no previously known identity, which is really not so odd; he could be some sort of spy or something, I suppose. But how does a no-name individual get such access to insider information that he makes such an incredible amount of money in such little time? What luck. I'm not suggesting the man really is from the future; why would someone come back to this period to play the stock market? But I will consider the possibility before completely writing him off as a 'kook.'

And yes, I am quite aware this is a story picked up from a tabloid magazine, so it is likely this man has never existed and this event never took place. As a hypothetical example of the establishment's unwillingness to consider realities other than its own, despite its protestations to the contrary, I think it still works.

Velvet Goldmine is an absolutely wonderful film. Writer/director Todd Haynes explores identity and sexuality in ways I have never seen before, namely through a 1970s glam-rock version of Citizen Kane in which the unifying theme is the spirit of Oscar Wilde. This is in my top ten favorite films, and not just because the music is amazing; I mean, how often does one get to see Ewan MacGregor and Christian Bale have sex with each other? As far as film goes, it is splendid. So, imagine my horror after viewing Far From Heaven last night. It has to be the most straightforward, mundane, trite, and superficial film I have seen in a very long time, especially for one that was supposed to deal with some "heavy issues."

Dennis Quaid plays a (pretty poorly portrayed) gay man married to a woman, and that conflict, which is supposed to be the centerpiece of the film, takes up at most only twenty-five minutes of screen time. I suppose that's alright, since the conflict consisted mostly of Julianne Moore's character mumbling and starting off into space. Of course, she was obviously more worried about her inappropriate platonic relationship with the college-educated, modern art loving, black gardener, a relationship that makes the viewer uncomfortable because it is so unecessary and patronizing (yet we are supposed to somehow believe that the woman wants to be with the man). The most troubling thing about this film is that there is nothing real or new about it; every character, every setting, every line of dialogue is stereotypical crap, and it is all well-worn territory that has been explored countless times. The only innovation the film makes is combining the white-woman-in-love-with-black-man and woman-married-to-gay-man characters, and that just makes it more unbearable. The film could have been great; though a male-male love scene on a rooftop with flying saucers buzzing around overhead wouldn't have been quite appropriate, Haynes could have delved deeper into the issues of sexuality, race, and individual versus social identity; as it was, he didn't even scratch the surface. Really, don't bother seeing this film.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

I know I've said this before, but I mean it this time: I'm done talking about the war. It's not that I no longer have any interest in the issue, it's that I think I have nothing left to say about it. I'm already starting to rehash stuff I've already talked about, and most of the "new" stuff I bring up is ridiculous garbage that the five people who read this thing probably don't want to read. So, unless I come up with something absolutely brilliant, there will be no more war talk on this blog.

Unless Bush starts a new war; I'll consider that fair game.

Unfortunately, since I have a one-track mind most of the time, that leaves me with little to talk about. While I'm very opinionated, I'm neither creative nor imaginative. What to do? I have an idea! Why doesn't everyone who reads this site send me suggestions for discussion? I can go on and on endlessly about anything, so just pick a topic you're interested in and think I might know something about and email it to me. What fun! I'm getting all interactive and shit... By the way, I am being serious. I'm that desperate.

Syria is finding itself in some hot water. Unlike some other states in the region, they are playing this situation with a neat, brilliant maneuver by handing the United Sates a fait accompli. By proposing a UN resolution to rid all of the Middle East of all weapons of mass destruction, the world gets to see how dedicated and serious the US is about the issue. The catch? The resolution and resulting treaty would have to include Israel, which may/may not/bloody likely has WMDs. Will the US go against Israel and support the treaty, or will it oppose the resolution based on some flimsy argument or technicality because its only 100% ally on the face of the planet will be diminished? This really is a no-win situation for Bush; he can praise or deride the move all he wants, he has to know Syria is setting him up to play the fool. Watching this play out is going to be tons 'o fun. For more commentary on this issue, check out the Daliy Kos.

Military continues to discharge linguists. I don't even need to comment on how ridiculous this is.

"They said the UN inspectors were bumbling idiots and can't find anything. Now these guys are looking like bumbling idiots that can't find anything.'' Just because the Bush administration says Iraq has WMDs, doesn't mean there aren't any. Even the loudest and most gullible street demonstrator is hoping against hope the US doesn't find anything because, at this point, it's the only thing those people have to hold on to; it's the only shoutable slogan that still has any credibility. I have no doubt Iraq held such weapons; it's almost a certainty that some still exisit somewhere in some form. Will the US find them? Maybe, but not after only a few weeks of searching; UN weapons inspectors--the experts, not a bunch of half-assed GIs--were there for months without finding anything more than circumstantial evidence. Still, we know Iraq had them at one time, so it isn't a logical stretch to assume they still had them at the outbreak of war. Why didn't Iraq use them in combat if they still had them? Beats me; maybe they couldn't find them either, or maybe they held back and decided to make the US look bad.

At any rate, the jeering and mockery aimed at Bush for being unable to hold up some Iraqi chemical weapons for the world to see is still a bit premature. The US is going to be in Iraq for a long time. Something damning will probably turn up. The longer it takes, though, the more his case for the war erodes, since it will demonstrate that the UN inspectors really did need all that extra time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

A cat has taken up residence on my parents' front porch. It's a nice cat, but it really pisses off our doggies. The thing is, it's always here. Shouldn't someone be taking care of it? It doesn't even have a collar. I'll bet one of those lawn-lovin' loonies threw it out on the street after it scratched up some pointless piece of furniture. That happens quite a bit around here. It's too bad, too, because, like I said, it's a very friendly cat. It's also too bad that I don't like cats.

Thank goodness, now the world has an all-purpose symbol of the war. Amazingly, every group that has taken a position regarding the war will be able to get plenty of mileage out of the suffering of this poor boy.
A: Symbolic Value: "We told you so, civililians do suffer." Obviously, the Fiskites of the world will be very pleased to have a [barely] living, breathing example of the horrorshow that is civilian casualites. Since there are many quality images of this boy floating around, I doubt street demonstrators will waste any time in putting his wretched body on a placard for the passers-by to ponder. The value of confronting the world with something everyone already knew was happening is inestimatable.
B: Symbolic Value: "Another pleased liberatee." Ali's situation will greatly benefit the prowar folks, as well. Even though "coalition" bombs destroyed his home, killed almost his entire family, and left him armless, burned over 60% of his body, and in incredible pain and suffering, not to mention facing a who-knows-how-horrible future, he's apparently registered his approval of the US for liberating him from the Ba'ath regime. Given this situation, how the hell can war be bad? See, he's almost smiling!
C: Symbolic Value: "We do care about the people, really we do." In a not-very unprecedented move to scoop up some compassion points, "coalition" states (remember, the ones responsible for his current condition) are tripping over themselves to provide the best medical care and rehabilitation in the world for this kid. Maybe they think once he pulls through (after they have proved to the world that the Iraqi people come first, and when Ali finally gets the hang of using a fork with the remaining lump of arm hanging off his shoulder) he'll forget, along with the world, who did this to him.
D: Symbolic Value: "You don't care about us, you really don't." Naturally, most Iraqis will not think this is a good thing (once they find out about it in a few months, after their power is restored). Sure, the kid is happy to be alive, is thanking US troops for saving him, and is going to receive excellent medical care from the people who killed his family. Unfortunately, they will be able to point to the thousands of other people horribly maimed in the attacks and who are not getting any attention. They will call out this situation for what it is, a pure PR move by people on all sides. And by bringing attention to the hypocrisy and self-serving motives of everyone else, they will in turn be using the boy to build up their own movement.
E: Symbolic Value: There is no virtue on any side of this conflict. Everybody likes to think they are in the right, but every side falls victim to the same tactics, half-truths, and faulty reasoning. Even by pointing this out, I am doing it too. I guess add F to my list, since I used the kid as a symbol of why symbols are meaningless. At least I can admit when I'm being phony.

The anti-war crowd has some explaining to do. Just because this guy works for the National Review doesn't automatically mean he is wrong. A lot of what he says is snotty crap, but there are also some very fine points in his commentary that "The Movement" should consider.

Antiwar movement plots next step. This article says pretty much the same thing, but in a more constructive, diplomatic, and reasoned manner.

At Least 10 Dead as US Troops in Firefight in Northern Iraq. As far as this situation goes, I really don't know who to believe. It's entirely possible the crowd fired on the soldiers. It's also entirely possible they didn't. Each side is going to believe the version of the story that vindicates their position. I am leaning towards the "no shots fired before the attack" idea; the only people who can seem to corroborate the "returning fire" story are those who did the shooting. What actually happened is irrelevant; all that matters is that Iraqis saw US troops fire on other Iraqis who happened to be opposed to the very presence of US troops. The rest will be history.

Our ability to disagree, and our inherent right to question our leaders and criticize their actions define who we are. To allow those rights to be taken away out of fear, to punish people for their beliefs, to limit access in the news media to differing opinions is to acknowledge our democracy's defeat.

Refusing to pay taxes is a much more effective form of protest than waving signs at passing cars and chanting cheap slogans. How does yelling "Drop Bush not bombs" at someone walking out of the Gap really do anything to hinder militarism? It might get you scene points, but it accomplishes little (except for making everyone else who is opposed to war look like fools). If you want to do something, then do something.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Are you ready? I mean really ready? If so, are you scared?

Honestly, I keep waiting for the little duck 'n cover turtle guy to pop up on the web site--nothing here is going to save anyone from anything. The only thing that should be posted on the "nuclear blast" page should be a statement like, "Honestly folks, in such an event we're just plain fucked. Sorry." I can't believe anyone could think any of that stuff can protect them from a terrorist nuclear attack--especially considering there will be no warning. I'm suprised the site doesn't have a "What to do when you see The Flash" section...

The funny thing is that people are completely buying this stuff. The Government is going to protect us. With my potassium iodide, I can survive anything!

The best thing about the site, and the whole "Ready Campaign," is the 'visual guide,' graphics one can download in order to be more prepared. The funny thing is, unless one downloads all the accompanying descriptions of what the graphics mean, there is usually no way in hell to figure out what message they are trying to get across. A few examples; see if you can figure them out before going to the site:

While they sort of make sense, I can imagine a huge number of people having no clue what they mean. Maybe it's some sort of indirect eugenics movement by Homeland Security? Get rid of the slow folks?

Monday, April 14, 2003

I finished Going, Going, Gone yesterday. Because I have no skill whatsoever at reviewing books, especially ones that turn out to be really good, all I'm going to say is WOW. It's a neat novel. You should read it. It's really quite unlike anything I have ever read. Admittedly, my reading over the past couple of years has been limited primarily to non-fiction, so that's not really saying very much. For a very brief review that is still better than anything I can whip up, try Mac's Jack Womack page. Leave it to me to choose the final book in a semi-long series to be the first one I decide to read.

At the same time I found my half-read copy of Neuromancer, I also found my half-read copy of Catch-22. After some agonizing decsion-making, I decided to finish the latter. So far, it is the funniest book I have ever read. Yippee.

Until I moved to Maryville six years ago, I had lived in surburbia all my life. Now I am back. One thing I have never been able to figure out (one thing among many, to be sure) is the lawn care fetish suburban homeowners obviously have. I used to chalk it up to the probability that they felt they were in competition with all of their other neighbors. While I think, in essence, that has something to do with the phenomenon, it just doesn't add up. Many of them hire lawn care services to come take care of their lawns during the day (in some instances they come daily, which blows my mind); if it is a matter of mere competition and showing off, that should be all that is necessary. However, when the patriarch (or in some instances the matriarch) comes home from a long day on the job, he/she will spend another two or three hours working on the lawn themselves. Why? Is the professional crew not good enough? Did they miss a weed? I think to myself, Why don't they spend that time with their family, or at least watching television or going to church like any good American?

I think it's because at some point they realized the American Dream isn't all it's cracked up to be; they're bored, frustrated, they want more but they have no way out of their lives. They probably hate their jobs, they obviously don't like being with the family (unless you can think of some other explanation for these people working on their yards with a flashlight at 11:30 PM on a Friday night). Basically, after a long while of thinking they had everything figured out, that everything was as good as it could be, they found out they pretty much suck at life, and that life pretty much sucks. So what do they do? They engage in a sort of perpetual, mini-epic, man-versus-nature battle on their tiny plot of land. It's an escape from life, a chance to get away from the rotten kids; it's more than a hobby, it's a quest for order and control. And if it makes the asshole across the street look bad, so much the better.

Though I'm sure it goes without saying, but job hunting really sucks. So far I haven't faced any hardcore turn-downs, but I also haven't received any promising offers. If all I have to look forward to once I do land a job is the bleak and meaningless existence Steven described in his post from Thursday, I'd just as soon go back to my PS2-centered existence in Maryville.

Speaking of Maryville, we were there for a whole twenty minutes on Saturday. I had wanted to get more accomplished than we actually did, but once I got there all I wanted to do was leave. The chilly reception from the former roomies didn't add to my desire to hang around the house. I can't wait to see how much fun we'll have when we have to be there for an entire day to pack and move out the rest of our stuff, of which, unfortunately, there is still quite a bit.

Anyway, back to the job hunting... One of the fun parts of going through endless want-ads is seeing the occasional strange ad. Some are strange because the position advertised or the business just sounds freaky, some because they are obvious scams, and others because of typographical errors or the inclusion of some odd phrase. Below you will find some examples of what I'm talking about. (any contact information provided has, of course, been removed)

Free Chocolate Immediate Openings For Personal Care Assistants to work with people with brain injuries. Pay Rate Varies. Benefits available include paid vacation.
I've heard of hiring bonuses, but luring people by offering free chocolate? And is the chocolate free the first time only, or does it keep coming during the entire term of employment? That's something to consider.

SALES Non-profit org needs sales associates. Fast paced, fun group. Base pay & up to 15% commission. No exp. Will train.
I don't know everything there is to know about how non-profit groups work, but wouldn't the terms 'sales' and 'commission' indicate there is some sort of money being made?

Management ATTENTION! I need 8 motivated individuals such as myself to assist in managing various offices in the Kansas City area. Training provided. Up to $500 per week. The majority of our staff is 1927 years old with NO prior experience.
Are we, the readers, supposed to be familiar with the person filing this ad? How motivated is he/she? Also, I find it very hard to believe that anyone that old could have NO prior experience.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE PROJECT ASSISTANT Midtown KC-Spanish/French pref., PC/Mac layout, marketing, quoting,30 wpm,organized, flexible! We smoke.
They smoke. Isn't that all anyone really needs to know?

Travel Agent Pet-Air, your pets travel agent has several positions available. Reservation Agents, Billing Clerks, Assistant to President. Typing, computer, and phone skills necessary.
...is this even necessary? Why does a pet need a travel agent? Does your pet have a travel agent? I don't even have a travel agent.

Friday, April 11, 2003

This war was not worth a child's finger

House Passes Pro-Development Energy Bill I said 'thank you' to the US Senate a few weeks ago for rejecting legislation to open up the ANWR for oil drilling. Today, I would like to send a hearty and solid 'fuck you,' from the bottom of my heart, to the House of Representatives.

'Ricin' in France Was Really Wheat Germ

Right now I'm about halfway through Going, Going, Gone by Jack Womack. I also recently found my missing copy of Neuromancer, so I can go back to reading that. Both are very fine novels. I would recommend them to anyone with a penchant for non-conventional writing. dah-dah-DAH

Apparently tomorrow is some sort of world protest day. Funny, all I ever do these days is sit at this computer and read news and I never once came across that little tidbit. Like it matters, since I'm not attending any demonstrations tomorrow anyway. If I did, I think my sign would say "EVERYBODY IS FULL OF SHIT" on one side and "LEFT AND RIGHT, WE ARE ALL FOOLS" on the other. That about sums up my feelings right now.

I think it's time people stop pretending there is such a thing as honest media. No matter what, all media outlets pander to some sort of ideology. I've come to realize that people on the left are just as bad as those on the right. I used to read the Guardian and Independent thinking I was getting real news, unlike the other trash forced through a right-wing filter. Though I do still read those newspapers daily, I know now that they are no better than the Fox News or the New York Post. Of course, I don't really know if they claim to be anything resembling neutral, but that is really beside the point; most people who read them think they are, or very close to it anyway. I will still get my news where I've been getting the past couple years, but I'm going to have to work ten times harder to gain an accurate picture of what is going on in the world. I still won't read the hardline reactionary tirades of William Safire or the sobbingly emotional "duh, no shit" articles by Robert Fisk, but I'm sure I'll be able to figure out what's going on somehow.

I'm going to Maryville tomorrow. Unfortunately I doubt I'll be there long enough to hang out with anyone, since we're just going to pick up some more of our much-needed belongings. Another weekend, I suppose.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Focus on the real threats to the future

The battle for American science

Counting the dead

Iraqis have paid the blood price for a fraudulent war

"Those who deface a Hummer in words or deed deface the American flag and what it stands for." I hope I'm not the only person who thinks that, a) parts of article are finely-crafted pieces of sarcasm and irony, or b) the reporter was completely duped by someone from the the anti-SUV crowd. Of course, there really is such a group as I.H.O.G., and their site contains not a trace of mockery or humor. I suppose the article could be legitimate, but I still would like to think that no one, not even the most uber-patriotic moron, would equate a Hummer to the precious stars and stripes.

Fantastic. Saddam Hussein's regime has ended, even if the war that brought about its collapse is still a long way from complete. I can't say I'm upset. I'm not at all happy about the means of his downfall, but I, and all of my comrades on the Left, have been wanting this to happen for years. Sure, the sight of toppling statues is forever tainted by the fact that US and UK tanks had to be the ones to pull them down, but you still have to be relieved and happy for the Iraqi people. For now, anyway. While their future is quite uncertain, they can at least enjoy freedom for a moment. I hope they don't pass out and forget the feeling, because it's likely to disappear soon and not come back for a while.

The Dictator is dead/gone, long live the US Occupation Governor. The Dictator is dead/gone, long live Ethnic Conflict in a Power Vacuum. Things were bad under the Ba'ath Party, but my guess is these people haven't seen anything yet. As soon as the euphoria over the collapsed regime is gone, and it won't last long, the thoughts of the people will necessarily turn to who will govern the country next. Bets are that every group from Basra to Mosul will want their guy in charge and, as a result, we'll see some bloodshed that will make this war actually look like the bloodless conflict presented by the media. Democracy? Probably not going to happen. After the first few suicide attacks against US troops after the "peace" is made Bush will decide to pull out or start another war. There will be no democracy in Iraq. It was never the goal, anyway; it would get in way of "our" interests in the region.

Crowd Kills Two Islamic Clerics in Iraq

I do have to give credit to Bush and Blair; this has indeed been a War of Liberation; every time I turn on the television I am confronted with image after image. Although it does bring a joyful tear to my eye, it does make me a bit jealous--I myself could use some of that liberated office furniture.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

After spending some more time on Venik's site, I noticed there is an incredible amount of information there... So, if you're not terribly impressed with the updates on the current war, there are sections dealing with many of the European wars and conflicts over the past decade or so (Kosovo, Chechnya, etc.) and a mind-boggling amount of material on just about any type of military aircraft one can imagine. Even if the Iraq information turns out to be crap, at least there's plenty of other stuff to keep me entertained. Praise.

Okay... is it 'protester' or 'protestor,' because I cannot figure it out. I'm sure it's whichever way I haven't been spelling it over the past month. I'd better figure it out, and fast, since my Master's thesis is about the protest movement in Missouri during the Vietnam War. There's no telling how many times the word 'protester/or' will appear in that son of a bitch.

I wonder how many Former Dixie Chicks Fans are scratching their heads right now, wondering how in the hell their former favorite band could have the number one album on the Billboard country music chart. The band spoke out against our (p)resident, right? The fans destroyed or sent back all the albums they had bought, right? Radio stations all over the country refuse to play their music, right? Shouldn't they be performing on street corners for spare change by now? And just who in the hell are these goddamn commies who are buying their record? Don't they know what it means to be an American?

Venik's Aviation is an absolute must-read site. Why? Because it contains probably the most (seemingly) accurate anaysis of the war in Iraq of any other source. The source of the information, oddly enough, is Russia's equivalent to our CIA, the GRU. I first came across the site a few weeks ago and didn't think much of (it is an arm of Russia's military, after all) until I found some background information (this here being the most convincing). Without saying too much more about it, the information provided definitely confirmed many unspoken doubts that have been growing in my mind over the past couple of weeks. Don't think you know what is really going on with this war until you read this site (of course, even then, excercise a little skepticism (maybe more than a little); it is an intelligence agency).

Myths and Misconceptions About the War in Iraq

Monday, April 07, 2003

How truly charming. I noticed a slogan is missing, though, and since it's one of my favorites I'll post it here: If war is not the answer you're asking the wrong question. Wow--It felt so refreshingly American to type that out. And though there are some good ones, most of the antiwar slogans are really no better. "Frodo has failed, Bush has the ring" is good though.

I find it incredibly hard to believe that anyone could be honesty 100% "conservative" (though historically such opinions are known as reactionary). Is this really how someone thinks, or is this really how someone wants everyone to view them? And why does the author call this a history of the US? It doesn't even mention how Reagan completely destroyed communism.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

I Should Not Be Allowed To Say The Following Things About America

With the nation-building in Afghanistan having been such a resounding success, I'm appalled that anyone would think the US would ditch Iraq in its time of need.

The Sunday Morning News Roundup
A Letter to America
Cannabis 'link to schizophrenia rise'
Bush puts God on his side
Have Clip Art, Will Dissent
Cronies set to make a killing
The Press and the Myths of War
US peace activist shot in Jenin
Some Critical Media Voices Face Censorship
Lincoln Statue Unveiled Amid Protest
US accused of hypocrisy on human rights
'Hundreds dead' in Congo massacres
A morally hollow victory
Official Story Vs. Eyewitness Account
No excuse, says US military - but no action taken against 'cowboy' pilot
UN and Army at Odds as Troops Encourage Looting
US begins the process of 'regime change'
Turf war rages in Washington over who will rule Iraq
Did Anyone Sign Up For All of This?
Aid effort founders while water and food crisis spreads
Aznar counts cost of war as voters rebel

Saturday, April 05, 2003

[funky picture will return soon]

Sometimes I wish I was something other than human. This is either a really fucked up family, or the appetizer preparation crew from your neighborhood Chili's out for a night on the town. My bet is on the chubby fellow in the middle being the brains behind this bright idea.

I hate leaving typographical errors in my posts. If you see any, would you please let me know? It won't hurt my feelings. I just realized I kept spelling 'hypocrisy' as 'hypocracy" this morning, which, if it's a real word, means something entirely different. Like, a system of government that's just really laid back and easy going.

For more insight into my mega-rant from this morning, check out Posthuman Blues; unlike me, Mac is able to put my muddled thoughts into some sort of context.

This imaginary conversation is so real, I almost want to vomit. In the grand scheme of things, though, it does nicely sum up the, um... evolution(?) of the prowar position. Glory.

Hey, check me out--I'm venturing into the would of linking to celebrity blogs! Yes, it's true! Eventually I will have a section over to the left where they will be on permanent display, but for now check these bad boys out:

This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow. Excellent cartoons and commentary.
Wil Wheaton, AKA Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I'm sure he hates it when people refer to him that way. Or maybe he doesn't. Anyway, he has a pretty neat weblog.

Oh how cute, I'll bet there's even extra rubbers and ammunition in that sweet little backpack...

Lately, I have come to a point where I am sick and tired of antiwar protesters; indeed, I have become completely disillusioned with the entire so-called "movement." Though I am still very much against this war, I wish from this point forward to disassociate myself from the moronic placard-waving clowns on street corners and in city parks, from the simple-minded slogans and chants, and from the general superficiality of a movement that, in all honesty, has not moved anywhere. The people in the streets need to seriously reevaluate their actions and words; they need to step back and critically examine the validity and effects of what they do (something that most on the Left are, unfortunately, very loathe to ever do).

After my performing my own evaluation of The Movement, based on the few public demonstrations I have personally attended and the many I have witnessed or read about, I have come to a few conclusions. If you are a regular reader of this site, some of these ideas may seem old and tired out, but please bear with me. To make things simple, I have itemized my criticisms. And, for those of you offended by smut, I may use some profanity. I'll try not to do so, but sometimes I simply can't help myself.

Oppose the war, do NOT support the troops. I simply do not understand the logic of opposing a war but supporting the individuals responsible for carrying out the war. I've seen the signs that read "Support the troops, Bring 'em home," but that seems to somehow idealize the soldiers, to assume that they would be pleased and appreciative to be pulled from a job that, in all honesty, they want to do. I mean, face it, these people volunteered for military service--if they really didn't want to do it, they would change their minds. The soldiers may be recruited young and through deceptive means, but anyone who seriously thinks that joining the military means only getting a free ride through college is a fool. The recruiters and flashy ads may not tell them killing and dying is a possible job requirement, but then again, they shouldn't have to; it should be assumed. The primary purpose of the military, after all, is to wage war on behalf of the people of the United States, not to act as a scholarship or job training program. That is why it has tanks.

There is no way to support the troops without supporting what they do, and what they do is war. They pull the triggers, they drop the bombs, they program the cruise missiles. The soldiers are the ones doing the horrible things the antiwar crowd despises. It is their job, their occupation, and they consciously chose that particular line of work for a reason--they wanted to do it. To preach "Support the troops, Bring 'em home" is the same as saying "Support the miners, Get 'em out of the mines;" it is a miner's job to mine, no matter how dangerous and destructive it is, and they would resent anyone who tried to make them stop. It's the same for soldiers--they are there by choice and will not come home until the job is done. It is ridiculous and inconsistent to oppose a war and at the same time support those responsible for making sure that war is successful. If you want to "Bring 'em home," fine, just don't support them.

This war is NOT for oil. The main problem the antiwar movement faces is that it is far too simple-minded. I understand that one cannot fit an entire, detailed argument onto a placard to wave at passing cars, but unfortunately most people who oppose the war cannot get beyond the simple slogans. Not only does this make the movement look childish and simple minded, but it also makes it that much easier for the pro-war community to make their position seem more reasonable. Instead of refuting the difficult and complex arguments provided by the left in the print media, hawks choose to take on protesters' slogans. The idea that this war is being fought solely for access to oil resources, or, in protest-speak, "No blood for oil," is the easiest to refute, because it is simply false. Control of Iraq's oil reserves is indeed a goal of this war, and perhaps even a significant one, but it is only part of a larger objective--the complete economic, geopolitical, and cultural domination of Southwest Asia. It's about power. It's about the triumph of one civilization over another.

Oil plays a part alongside the desire to open up Middle Eastern consumer markets for exploitation, to create a political atmosphere friendly to the US, and to impose Western culture, including religion, on the Muslim world, among many other things. Access to oil is simply a fringe benefit. I mean, think about it: if the sole aim of the US is to get Iraq's oil, why wouldn't we do what we always do to gain control over oil, that is, team up with whomever is already in control of the oil. We did it in Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria--places not exactly known for freedom and democracy (though Venezuela has become slightly better in recent years). We didn't send in an enormous military force to do it, either. Probably the CIA knocked a few people off or set up some coups, but it was mostly shady diplomacy that did the trick. If all we care about is Iraq's oil, it would be far easier to buddy up with Saddam Hussein than to wipe him out. But we have just started a damn huge war. There is much more at stake than just oil. The antiwar movement needs to realize that and drop the superficial slogans, or else it will just become more ridiculous and irrelevant than it already is.

The fetish for France needs to stop. Everytime a fool shows up at a protest waving the French flag, a warhawk gets his wings.The pure hypocrisy and utter ignorance of the antiwar movement shines true and clear everytime France is praised as a "peace-loving nation," and the pro-war crowd looks more correct when it accuses the antiwar folks not knowing a damn thing about anything. France, as a nation, is about as peace-loving as the United States; has everyone forgotten about Indochina, Algeria, Morocco, and... oh yes, the nasty little civil war they're currently sponsoring in Cote d'Ivoire? A peace-loving nation, indeed. The only reason they opposed Bush's rush to war is because they have enormous economic interests in Iraq, as does Russia. They didn't try to block the war out of any altruistic motive, or distaste for conflict; they just wanted to make some cash. Iraq had already promised France, along with Russia and China, rights to oil drilling in the country (probably simply to ensure opposition to a US-led war); obviously, with the US there, there will be no oil for those countries. Of course they objected to war. The people waving their little French flags and extolling the virtues of such a peaceful nation clearly know nothing, and they definitely make the rest of the protesters (the ones who aren't holding "no blood for oil" and "support your troops" signs) look like fools. The same thing goes for people who think Turkey is great for not allowing the US to use land bases within its territory. Sorry folks, Turkey has always been bad, and they are now lining up to take care of their Kurdish problem. Such peaceful people. It's nice to have them on our side.

The antiwar movement has no credibility outside of the antiwar movement. People don't care. Contrary to what the war opposition thinks, antiwar sentiment is not the prevailing attitude in this country. Most people are ambivalent, or they just don't care because they think it doesn't really affect them in any way. Just because the antiwar protests vastly outnumber the prowar protests does not mean we are in the majority; even if you figure that for every one person out on the streets opposing the war there are twenty at home who feel the same way, the numbers are still small. We need to stop assuming everyone agrees with us and actually get out there and try to convince people to agree with us, and do so without appealing to emotion, without waving French flags, without looking like fools.

The antiwar movement needs to be educated. There are people who try very hard to inform the public, but for some reason their ideas are not getting through, obviously. Liberals and those on the Left are often just as bad as those extreme conservatives and reactionaries at refusing to disbelieve something once they believe it, and unfortunately most people on both sides will believe anything if it appears to support their position, no matter how ridiculous or false it is. Even more so if it looks nice on a placard to wave at passing motorists.

The ignorance needs to end. The silliness needs to end. The hypocrisy needs to end. The antiwar movement needs a deeper understanding of what is going on in the world--all over the world--if it ever plans to be victorious. So far, it has failed miserably. The reason the prowar forces have been so successful is because the antiwar movement makes it so easy for them. That needs to end. Now.

Friday, April 04, 2003

I was only slightly wrong about the future looking bleak for good films--opening this month, from the creators of three of my favorite films (This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, and Best in Show) is A Mighty Wind. I'm pumped. Really. Too bad it's not opening anywhere near Kansas City.

End Big Government. Privatize the war! I wish more "big-time" newspapers had a sense of humor.

Evangelical Christians will be going to Iraq after the war to help with the humanitarian relief process. There's nothing quite so bright as to confirm all the worst fears of every devout Muslim in the region. At least that will take care of the Evangelical Christian problem here in the United States, since I'm guessing many of them won't be coming back.

Kucinich in 2004? I don't know, he's no Wellstone; plus he's a Democrat, which can never be a good thing (I know Wellstone was in the party, but that man was no Democrat). While I applaud his anti-war stance, I think his position on the right to choose is pretty iffy, and that's something we'll need to worry about long after this war is a faint memory. I know he says he supports the right to choose, and will if elected president, but the fact that he's been one of the few progressives to consistently vote in favor of pro-life and anti-family planning legislation is something I find pretty questionable.

With liberators like us, who needs Saddam?

Church sues itself in sex abuse scandal

Something to consider: Think about the flags patriotic individuals attach to their cars. Not the stickers, but the actual flags that somehow clip onto the door or antenna or something. Besides the fact that they're trite and annoying, think about how much extra gas they consume... They're not aerodynamic in the least bit, so they must create quite a bit of drag, which in turn raises fuel consumption and lowers gas mileage. The fact that these people are displaying the flags as a show of support for a war which is definitely not about oil is a sad irony I'm sure is lost on most people. When I see the things on SUV I almost want to faint.

When does the War on Incompetence begin? Will it ever be won?

What's this? Racial justice in rural Texas? I am in the Twilight Zone...

I was a little upset that Natalie from the Dixie Chicks apologized for telling England she was ashamed of George Bush. Not only should 'I Am Ashamed of George W. Bush' be our new national motto and replace 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance, but nobody should cave in under pressue from ignorant, uneducated, redneck country music fans. I mean, if these people are not smart enough to realize that throwing away, destroying, or sending back albums they have already purchased does nothing to hurt the Dixie Chicks or their record label (it's not even really that much of a meaningful symbolic act), then why should the girls care if these morons are no longer their fans? Surely the lack of that element will make their concerts a more pleasurable place to be. I don't know, I just hate seeing people speak the truth and then apologize for it when they get shit for it; I think if this were her real apology I would marry her.

I suppose that's enough for today, though I imagine I'll be back tonight. I have nothing else to do today, though my mom does have the Fellowship of the Rings extended edition... ah, the possibilities.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

We saw The Two Towers yesterday; it was viewing #3 for me and the first time for Maggie. While I think it gets better each time, I don't think Maggie was too impressed. She's definitely not the Ringnut I am, but I still think I'll blame her displeasure on the poor apparent quality of the films featured in the previews. Except for the X-Men 2 trailer, I really don't have high hopes for this summer.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Maggie and I have been chewed up and spit out by the harsh city life of Maryville, Missouri. Believe it. We are now in Kansas City attempting to start completely over. Perhaps my two bachelor's degrees in history and geography will be viewed with less contempt and meaninglessness than they were in the town in which I received them. Here's to hoping, and here's to the possibility that my prospective employers have never heard of NWMSU. At least that will get me my foot in the door. After all I've been through, I really should have majored in something practical, such as business or marketing or education. I might not have the "integrity" that comes with a traditional academic eductation, but at least I would have some food in the refrigerator.

Mac pulls no punches in his post from yesterday; Christ, he even drops the F-bomb twice, which, even though I haven't checked yet, I'm guessing is pretty well unprecedented. In just four short paragraphs he says all that needs to be said. I might as well close up shop.

Although the sign on the right is partially cut off, I believe it says "Bush is a reptilian shape shifter." Glory.

I have a new primary email address. It is zinnite@hotmail.com.

Al-Jazeera's Basra hotel bombed. I'm sure this was an accident, just like the hospital "coalition" forces bombed. Just in case it wasn't, maybe al-Jazeera shouldn't have let the Pentagon know exactly where they will be at all times. Of course, they probably gave them fake locations just to see they will be hit by errant missiles and misdirected artillery strikes, too.