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busy, busy, busy

Saturday, November 29, 2003

I'm a bad, bad anti-whatever

I bought stuff on Buy Nothing Day. I'm just a tool, an automaton, a slave to commercial excess, a mockery of myself and all that I claim to stand for. However, nothing I bought was on sale, I didn't do my shopping at 5 AM, and my purchases were cool. I don't get any credit for shopping at a locally-owned business, but, all the same, my transgression doesn't bother all that much. I was able to sleep just fine last night.

My contribution to the Great Machine of Profit and Consumption yeilded the following badges of my shame:

'The Vintage Bradbury,' a collection of Ray Bradbury's short stories (selected by the author himself, even!); 'The Wall of the Sky, The Wall of the Eye,' stories by the awesome Jonathan Lethem; and 'Camp Concentration' and '334' by Thomas Disch.

I don't recall anything about a car chase...

I happened to catch a TV ad for the upcoming film 'Paycheck,' which is based on a Philip K. Dick story. I don't have high hopes for it being very good, but I'll go see it anyway since it is one of my favorite PKD stories. I think the story stands well enough on its own without the need for adding car chases and other ridiculous action scenes.

In other I-am-so-disappointed-now news, I've been checking out some of the spoilers from 'The Return of the King.' My guess is that Peter Jackson will need to go into hiding after this thing comes out, because many people will be looking to stick his head on a pike. I'd post the link that provides the most damning review of the film, but I don't want to ruin it for those of you who haven't read the book. Shame, shame...

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Poetic justice?

What goes up must come down...

Why I don't drive drunk

Mugshots of drunk drivers should be shown at all those motivational assemblies in high school. No kid will ever get tanked and hop behind the wheel if they thought they could end up all over the internet looking like that.


U.S. Nuke Development Concerns Russia. Perhaps Russia will skip the whole UN weapons inspectors business and get right to the pre-emptive invasion? They won't even have the "where are the WMDs?" problem.

"American troops hunting for a top Saddam Hussein deputy suspected of masterminding anti-U.S. attacks arrested his wife and daughter, the military said Wednesday, in an apparent attempt to pressure his surrender." I wonder why don't do that over here? Oh yeah...

I live in a nice neighborhood, but sometimes it gets exciting. The "wooded area near Kasold Drive" mentioned in the article is my backyard. Yippee.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Bring out yer dead...

This eases my fears of the Army of the Dead looking like something from 'The Mummy Returns.' Very nice. There are also a couple more nice shots from 'The Return of the King' that make me say "damn." Damn.

Oh yeah... SPOILERS.

Monday, November 24, 2003

They fuck shit up, Numenorean style

Look, more Middle-Earth oriented rap. Strangely, though, these guys (Bombadil and Quickbeam) are actually good. If the Beastie Boys were Rings fanatics, they would sound like this. A brief sample:
Well my name is Gimli
I’m a fucking dwarf !
I been slaying mutherfuckers
from the south to the north
That ain’t Mirkwood I’m choppin with my battleaxe
I’m on an orc stampede like Shadowfax...

Quickbeam on the scene
All the elf girls scream
Like a tree, That’s me
I Like to keep it green.
It’s the chronic pipeweed that I’m smoking
When I get high I spin tales like Tolkien...

Elbereth Gilthoniel !
we still remember we who dwell.
On the this far land beneath the trees
Thy starlight on the Western seas.
A Elbereth Gilthoniel,
silivren penna m?riel
o menel aglar elenath!
Na-chaered palan-d?riel

Which means…

Elf booty got soul!
Elf girls like to rock’n’roll!
You'll have to watch the video to experience the "Gollum Beatbox," which, except for the fact that 'Gollum' is wearing green pantyhose over his head, is quite good.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

I don't know which is worse:* Gollum fuckin' shit up old school, or Richard Perle's statement that the invasion of Iraq was indeed contrary to international law, but only because international law is defective. It's still the UN's fault.

Vigils Held Worldwide for Michael Jackson
"He's the most famous person in the world, and they make someone a god and then they try to tear them down," said Arus Tashchyan, 18, of Montebello, who wore a black felt hat and a sequined glove, a style that Jackson made famous...

"It's really hard for us," said Pascale Hatot, a 37-year-old fan from the suburbs of Paris. "I haven't been able to sleep or eat for three days." ...

"There is an interest to see him fall as a man and as an artist," said Fabrizio Basili, a 30-year-old man from Rome who wore a black shirt bearing the image of Jackson's face. "His album 'Number Ones' came out with some of his great hits, and the same day the accusations came and this is why we're suspicious." ...
It's too bad The X-Files is no longer on the air, as I would like to see its take on the worldwide conspiracy to topple the King of Pop and ruin the release of his 'Number Ones' album:
Mulder: But why? Why Jackson? Kennedy I can understand, and even my dad, but--

Smoking Man: *deep drag off cigarette* He went too far. It began after 'Thriller.' The dictatoresque uniforms, the monkey, and, Christ, the bones of the Elephant Man. *drag* But we tolerated it. He was harmless. But then he started to go too far, to do too much. He was getting out of control--

Mulder: You're talking about 'We Are The World,' right? Or was it that 'Ebony and Ivory' thing with Paul McCartney?

SM: *drag* No. 'We Are The World' was really quite nice, though I still don't know why Dan Akroyd was there. That somehow slipped past us. No, he was still harmless back then, and we were also busy trying to clean up after that whole--*deep drag*--Bowie and Jagger 'Dancin' in the Streets' fiasco. No, it was later that we decided to act.

Mulder: I had forgotten about Dancin'. *shivers*

SM: And that was Stevie Wonder as 'Ebony'. We did take care of that. *drag*

Mulder: So then... what was it? What did he do?

SM: Nothing really. *drag* One day we woke up and realized he was ridiculous. At first we held off, since he wasn't really doing anything. He did come close to losing it all with the make-out session on MTV with that Presley woman. *drag* But now... now. 'Number Ones.' He's released those songs too many damn times now. *drag* We want new material, not recycled eighties garbage.

Mulder: Yeah, that's pretty lame. So that's it?

SM: That, and he is really creepy. *drag* He makes us feel all weird, and we don't have the time to feel weird.

Mulder: So that's it then? You're just going to kill him?

SM: *drag* No, no. We're going to find some young boy to tell police that Jackson touched his butthole.

Mulder: Sweet.

*(Actually, I do know which is worse, I just had to work that Gollum thing in somehow.)

Saturday, November 22, 2003

One more reason not to like Howard Dean

33 Years Later, Draft Becomes Topic for Dean

In this regard, the man is no better than Bush. "No sir, I cannot serve in the military (you see, running makes my legs and back hurt some of the time), so I would appreciate a hasty deferment as I have to leave soon for my skiing trip." Meanwhile, other young men were transformed into unrecognizable piles of meat. I'm far from one who extolls the honor and virtue of military service; heroes do not carry automatic weapons or drop bombs from thousands of feet. But, I do think what Dean and his contemporaries did made a complete mockery of the guys who didn't have the connections to avoid being sucked into the meat grinder (and I don't mean just the Chickenhawks--yes I'm talking about you, Mr. Clinton). The guy already had a student deferment, but that wasn't enough. No, he had to dig up some x-rays from his high school days to "see where he stood." Right. If he had really wanted to enlist, as he says, he would have.

If you don't want to go to war, don't go, but don't be a pussy about it. I would have much more respect for Dean, and those like him, if they had just said "Fuck You" and spent a little time in federal prison. Instead, he obtained a deferment because of a mediocre medical problem he probably hadn't thought of since his track days in high school. And then he spent a few months skiing in Aspen. Prinicples don't count for much when they've never been tested.

And now he's aiming for a position where, if elected, he will more than likely send Americans to their deaths in some place other Americans cannot locate on a map. Does this sound familiar? Though I'm sure the so-called liberal-left will bend over backwards to defend his actions (or lack thereof), they should make an issue of this, else they look like the hypocrites of the conservative right. You know the two candidates with "distinguished" military records will. And rightfully so.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

"Don't be hasty..."

Yesterday took a while to arrive, but it did and now I have The Two Towers Extended Edition DVD. So far I've only skimmed through the added and extended scenes, but from what I have seen it looks pretty good. There is the typical "filler" material, such as unessecary extra shots of guys falling off horses, Orcs getting legs sliced away, and Hobbits belching.* However, there are several "real" scenes that actually add much to the film and, as such, make it worth owning two different versions of the DVD. Overall, the new stuff is great, but not as good as that on the Fellowship EE. I'll spare my full review until I have watch the "new" film in its entirety. Context is everything.

*What is the purpose of adding humor related to bodily functions? It's not needed, it's not appropriate, and it's certainly not funny. Are we going to see more of it in the Return of the King EE? Is Pippin going to rip a juicy one when he looks into the ________ and ______ sees him? After Merry helps destroy the _____ ____ is he going to belch and blame it on Eowyn? I really don't want to think about any clever additions to the scene where Gollum _____ ___ Frodo's ______ and ends up __________ the ____. Hmmm.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

"...and that's my answer."

I have neglected my blog-reading over the past week, so I've been playing catch up today. Here is some of the essential reading from this week:

Mark Giselson at BushWars excellently skewers both the New York Times' Nick Kristoff and the claim that religious faith is growing in the US.

Via This Modern World, who got it from somewhere else, here's a sickening White House press briefing (though, aren't they all?). While the whole thing is pretty absurd, the most interesting part is almost exactly halfway down the page, starting with "[Q] Scott, there are 17 former POWs from the first Gulf War..." Support your troops!

Mac questions conventional ideas of reality and existence. "There's nothing concrete or absolute about our so-called universe. It is an alluring, insidiously clever simulation."

Ted Rall on the 2000 election, and why the chump in the White House is the wrong chump.

Counterspin digs up some little-reported DOD troop supportin'. Well, it was going to a peaceful war, right?

I'll post more later (or maybe I won't) since Blogger seems to be crapping out quite a bit today (meaning I can't access most of what I want to post).

Today's music: Pavement. Nothing but Pavement. "Half a Canyon" is one of the best damn songs I've ever heard.

Reading: 'We Can Build You' by Philip K. Dick. Just finished 'Martian Time-Slip' and 'The Simulacra' by the same author. I've been on a major PKD kick lately. FUNNY STORY! Last weekend I went to Border's and ended up buying several PKD books. I usually end up checking out with the same guy every time I go there, and just about every time I go I get at least one, if not more, PKD novel. So this time he says "I'm sensing a pattern, I take it you're into Philip Dick, eh?" I reply, "Yeah blah blah blah," and before I realize what I'm saying I tell the guy, "Lately, I just can't get enough Dick." So... there you go.

Welcome to the holiday horror-show...

I watched TV for five minutes today, and it unexpectedly paid off in a big way in that it provided some great blog-worthy material (no, I wasn't watching FAUXNews). So, the tiresome holiday season is rapidly approaching, and with it comes the even more tiresome parade of holiday displays and productions. However, this year brings a holiday spectacle the likes of which the Kansas City metropolitan area has never seen. Santa Claus? No. A beaming Baby Jesus surrounded by loveable barnyard animals? Not even close. No, what we have here is the ultimate Christmas tale, complete with a one-world government, the mark of the Beast, oppression, revolution, suspense, and explosions. Oh, and did I mention the Lamb of God himself flying through the air and fighting Satan (weilding a flaming sword, no less)? Yes folks, it's time to start a new holiday tradition with the magical telling of the heartwarming Christmas tale of...

...Tribulation Christmas.

What could be a better way to spread the holiday cheer and tell the story of Jesus than by showing him cutting down bad guys (AKA non-Christians) left and right? Having big explosions in a closed theatre (one question: did the producers learn nothing from Great White?) is cool too. God is Awesome!

Do I even need to state that I really, really, REALLY want to see this? Even if it will make Maggie wretch in the aisles and possibly involve me getting my ass righteously kicked by the Righteous themselves because I won't be able to stop laughing. If we go, I want it to be en force--and for some reason I want to witness this spectacle with Mac Tonnies by my side. Plus, it's in a really shitty part of town and I would feel safe only in a large group. Tickets are cheap, the rewards priceless. Who's with me?

[UPDATE] I found an article about this fiasco. Apparently this has been going for a couple of years now. The Seasons [sic] Most Spectacular Show.

Saturday, November 15, 2003


Call me paranoid, but I don't like the sound of this one bit. The implications seem a bit... what's the word I'm looking for? Orwellian, perhaps?

First we hear there are a mere 500 "really bad guys" in the Baghdad area (see below), and now we learn there are less than 5,000 in the entire country. Once again, though, no one really knows for sure, providing guesstimates as evdience. Most of those less-than-5,000 "insurgents" are--surprise--labeled as foreign fighters, people who love Saddam, people who hate the USA, etc., and not any real Iraqis who don't like having their familes killed off while being occupied by an agressive foreign power. That should make Americans feel better. That, and the fact that major combat has definitely not started again.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

If we're not dying, then we're not winning

I really hate to trot out the much-overused (and often misused) "we're living in Orwellian times" line, but my mind reels at the blatant and seemingly ubiquitous practice of doublethink within the administration. What else can we call the mindset that can say "things are getting worse in Iraq, so things are getting better" with a straight face? Actually, if it's Bush doing the talking it's with a smirk, but you get my meaning. The economy is improving at the same time it is getting worse; we have more new jobs at the same time we are losing jobs; we have won Iraq at the same time as we are losing control. It's enough to make me want to sit in front of the TV watching home shopping channels all day long. Reading the news today, and it's more of the same.

As threats, attacks intensify, officials stress successes
After the bloodiest week in Iraq since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1 - a week when 34 U.S. soldiers died, most in two helicopter crashes that killed 22 soldiers and injured 26 - there was more grim news in Baghdad as the International Red Cross announced it would temporarily close its bombed-out offices in Baghdad as well as in Basra. This followed Spain's withdrawal Wednesday of many of its diplomatic staff.

But American officials insist that there have been important successes.

In an early morning raid Saturday just south of Kirkuk, U.S. forces captured a former bodyguard of Saddam Hussein believed to have been involved in recent attacks against the coalition. On Friday an Iraqi turned in seven surface-to-air missiles in Dohuk, north of Mosul. On Tuesday Americans captured two former Iraqi Army general officers suspected of financing and organizing anti-coalition fighters in Fallujah.
A former bodyguard? A whopping seven missiles? Two Iraqi officers? Hot damn, sounds to me like this thing is almost over! We did go to war with Iraq to capture Saddam's former bodyguard and a token amount of WMDs (Weapons of Miniscule Destruction), right? Obviously the ICRC is a bunch of pussies.
In Baghdad, only eight to ten zones out of 88 in any given week are rated very dangerous, according to Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling. In a city of 5.5 million, Hertling estimated, "we think there's about 500 really bad guys."

Half of these insurgents are common criminals out to make a buck, or "disenfranchised guys out of work, who will shoot an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) at a coalition force or plant an IED (bomb) for money," Hertling said.

The other half is made up of about eight and 10 cells of former regime loyalists (with about 20 to 25 people in each), plus about 50 foreign fighters, Hertling said.
Just 500 "really bad guys"? That seems pretty optimistic to me, since it's assuming the other 5.495 million Baghdadites are really good guys who would never take up arms to resist against a foreign occupying power. And then to label those really bad guys as people who either don't have an opinion on the current situation ("just out to make a buck") or domestic and foreign terrorists who just hate America seems awfully disingenuous to me. We still can't accept the basic thought that Iraqis just don't want us there.
...That helicopter crash prompted a massive, retaliatory "show of force" in Tikrit early Saturday morning, with U.S. forces pounding buildings with tank shells, rockets, mortars and bombs in an effort to destroy houses used by insurgents and inspire respect.
Respect? I know I'll respect anyone who obliterates my neighborhood in response for something someone else did. Why not? It works for Israel; the Palestinians love them.
Asked if the administration would reclassify Iraq as a war zone in light of the latest attacks, Armitage said, "I think it is a war zone. The president declared an end of major combat, but he didn't say it was the end of combat."
Mission Accomplished: The war is over, the war has just begun.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Going, going, gone...

Remember how all the reasons we absolutely had to go to war against Iraq turned out to be not entirely, er, truthful? Well, it now looks as if there might have been a good chance that this, this, this, and the whole damn thing could have been completely avoided. With every passing day it becomes clearer the war was/is a sham and the American people have been the ignorant victims of a Music Man-esque con job. At least we killed a bunch of people. That seems worth it.

And there's always more good news that makes me wish I was strapped to Voyager I, wherever it may actually be. Some recent gems of happiness:

Panel backs 'battlefield' nukes
The Bush administration argues that it needs the new bombs to destroy caches of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of potential enemies. But Democrats and other opponents say that because the warheads are smaller and thus more usable, they make nuclear exchanges more likely and encourage foes to build their own nuclear deterrents. ...
Congressional Democrats have insisted that the United States -- which already has more than 10,000 nuclear warheads -- does not need new weapons and that development of the smaller warheads will just encourage potential enemies, such as North Korea and Iran, to rush and build their own deterrent forces. ...
The law being written by the conference committee lifts the old prohibition, but it also requires the administration to come back to Congress for approval if it wants to begin the actual detailed engineering work on warhead production.

Somehow, that doesn't make me feel any safer. Neither does this.

Lynch says Pentagon used her for propaganda. America's hero-sweetheart is actually just some dumb grunt who got captured. Go figure. Kudos to her for having the guts to shatter the dreams and beliefs of every True American Patriot.

300,000 Iraqis May Be in Mass Graves

And to top it all off, it is more than likely that overcast skies this evening will prevent me from viewing the total lunar eclipse tonight. I've been looking forward to it all week. The same thing happened with the whole Mars-at-its-closest thing a while back. Can't I get a meteorologial break around here?

Good news, though: Today I'll finally get around to watching the William Gibson documentary (No Maps for These Territories) I taped a million years ago. And a heads-up to Mac: I haven't forgotten, and I'll get that sucker to you in the very near future.

Music currently in heavy rotation on my playlist:
The Rapture 'Sister Savior'
They Might Be Giants 'Birdhouse in Your Soul'
Morrissey 'Disappointed'
Pavement 'Father to a Sister of Thought'
British Sea Power 'The Lonely'
Pixies 'Letter to Memphis'
Sigur Ros 'Njosnavelin'
Alkaline Trio 'Maybe I'll Catch Fire'
Bjork 'Violently Happy'
Creedence Clearwater Revival 'Walk on the Water'
The Shins 'Caring is Creepy'
Radiohead 'A Punchup at a Wedding'
Wilco 'War On War'
MC5 'Over and Over'
Television 'Friction'

And I've been reading...
Rudy Rucker 'Gnarl!'
Kurt Vonnegut 'Welcome to the Monkeyhouse'
Philip K. Dick 'The Simulacra'
J.R.R. Tolkien 'The Return of the King'
William Gibson 'Burning Chrome'

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I. Cannot. Fucking. Wait.

If you haven't already seen it, The Return of the King trailer. I've watched it about three times a day since it was released. Backwards, even. Jesus.


Body bags, body bags, get yer body bags here... They're made in the USA. America works when you store American soldiers killed by American policy in American-made body bags. Stay away from that Chinese shit, please! I wonder, though, if this company gets confused when the US military places an order (one that is increasingly falling under the "no order too large" policy) for "transfer tubes?"

Warfare is now neutral, sanitary, non-offensive. Sure, we hear about Americans dying every day, and it evens bothers us--even into the commercial break--but hearing about it is enough. Visual reinforcement of the carnage going on thousands of miles away would upset our appetites, make that episode of 'Survivor' a little less enjoyable, and, heaven forbid, might give more ammunition to those homosexual, communist anti-war folks who crave reasons to hate the USA. We know people die in war and certainly don't need to see it (unless one is displaying the mangled, burned remains of The Enemy--we need to see that, it shows us that we're prevailing!). Besides, we all have to go on with our lives here. Just because people are suffering and dying somewhere else, that doesn't mean we should forget everything else here at home--remember, these men and women are dying to save our freedom! We just don't want to see it.