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busy, busy, busy

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Wierd Al show was quite stunning, and the most fun I've had sitting down in years. After finally seeing him live, I am willing to make the bold statement that he is the best performer and artist in the entire world at this point in time. An utterly fantastic time was had by all. Thanks for asking.

Topeka, on the other hand... well, at least I don't live there.

I've decided to finally start something I've been wanting to do for a while: read all of Tolkien's Middle-Earth literature straight through. Sixteen books, plus the "Letters." It's going to be fun. Really. For a quick glimpse of what I'm getting myself into::

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
The Lord of the Rings
The Silmarillion
Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-Earth
The History of Middle-Earth, Volume I: The Book of Lost Tales I
The History of Middle-Earth, Volume II: The Book of Lost Tales II
The History of Middle-Earth, Volume III: The Lays of Beleriand
The History of Middle-Earth, Volume IV: The Shaping of Middle-Earth
The History of Middle-Earth, Volume V: The Lost Road, and Other Writings
The History of Middle-Earth, Volume VI: The Return of the Shadow
The History of Middle-Earth, Volume VII: The Treason of Isengard
The History of Middle-Earth, Volume VIII: The War of the Ring
The History of Middle-Earth, Volume IX: Sauron Defeated
The History of Middle-Earth, Volume X: Morgoth's Ring
The History of Middle-Earth, Volume XI: The War of the Jewels
The History of Middle-Earth, Volume XII: The Peoples of Middle-Earth
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

I'm already finished with "The Hobbit" and a third of the way through LoTR. I just started last weekend, so I guess I'm making pretty good time. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

President Addresses the Nation in Prime Time Press Conference

Here's your "What the fuck?" moment of the day:

In response to a question regarding how he would answer those who assert the "coalition" in Iraq is merely "window dressing," and a further question asking "And can you assure the American people that post-sovereignty, when the handover takes place, that there will be more burden sharing by allies, in terms of security forces," the Resident offers up this gem:
...my response is, I don't think people ought to demean the contributions of our friends into Iraq. People are sacrificing their lives in Iraq, from different countries. We ought to honor that, and we ought to welcome that. I'm proud of the coalition that is there. This is a -- these are people that have -- the gut leaders have made the decision to put people in harm's way for the good of the world. And we appreciate that sacrifice in America. We appreciate that commitment.
So, instead of an honest answer, we get the usual sidestepping to an issue no one has brought up; rather than demeaning the "contributions of our friends," the question was addressing the obvious fiction of a large-scale multinational involvement. I know the guy has a difficult time speaking without a script, but simply creating controversy where none existed to avoid giving a direct answer to a straightforward question is ridiculous. And you have to admit, this guy does it well. (I'm doing research to find out who these "gut leaders" might be; I'll report back when I find something.)

After rambling about meeting with brave leaders who have strong resolve (as well as bringing up the tired "what if we didn't do this in Japan?" schtick), Bush delivers the biggest bait-'n'-switch of the evening, and the true object of this "What the Fuck" moment:
Some of the debate really center [sic] around the fact that people don't believe Iraq can be free; that if you're Muslim, or perhaps brown-skinned, you can't be self-governing and free. I strongly disagree with that. I reject that, because I believe that freedom is the deepest need of every human soul, and, if given a chance, the Iraqi people will be not only self-governing, but a stable and free society.
(All together now...) Where exactly, outside of Texas, is ANYONE saying Iraq can't be free because the darkies can't handle freedom? Not only is this guy creating a racial/civilizational issue out of thin air, he is also taking a firm stance against it. "Bush 2004: He knows the Muslims can do it!" The really sad part is that I can imagine Bushites all over the U.S. of A. simultaneously nodding in full agreement--people who normally think the life of one American soldier isn't worth the lives of 100 "dark-skinned" persons anywhere--at Bush's implication that his critics really feel Arabs to be an inferior people.

And he never even answered the goddamn question.

Back in the real world, one of my lifelong dreams is going to be fulfilled tonight. I finally get to share the same breathing-speace with one of my childhood idols.

I'm going to see "Weird Al" Yankovic tonight. It all feels pretty surreal; it's probably a similar feeling that Catholics get when they meet the Pope. The evening will be even more unreal considering recent events in Al's personal life.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Christ! Two in one day!

I wanted to watch the absolutely great television show "24" tonight. It's the only program I watch regularly and I very much look forward to seeing it every Tuesday evening at 8:00PM CST. However, when I booted up the TV tonight, all I could find on any channel was some anthropomorphic pile of shit in front of a microphone constantly repeating the words "terror," "convictions," "freedom," security," and "umm, ...well... ." After my confusion and shock subsided somewhat, and once I noticed the patriotic lapel pins and frequent references to a holy mandate from the One and Only God Almighty, I realized I wasn't watching anything remotely as interesting as a humanoid stack of fecal matter--it was only "our" (P)resident.

I have quite a bit to say about what the man said tonight, but for now the best comment I have read so far comes from Tom Tomorrow, and I'll leave it at that for tonight:
Oh god

He's so awful. He just flounders around until he can dredge up a marginally appropriate sound bite--and when the question doesn't allow for that, he's just utterly lost.
Yep. If it looks like shit, if it sounds like shit...

Still Alive

Close your eyes and I'll kiss you
The hammer crushes you, Justice is seeking no truth
And then while I'm away
I can't believe the price you pay
As I send justice for all my loving to you
All my loving I will send to you
All my loving find it so sad but true
I'll pretend that I'm kissing, Lady Justice I'm pissing
Justice lost, raped, and gone for you
The ultimate in vanity, exploiting their supremacy
As I send justice for all my loving to you

You're a Beatles fan. You also love expert impersonations of James Hetfield (of Metallica, that band you thought was so awesome back in junior high). Beatallica is your wet dream come to life.

Goodbye Internet Explorer, hello Mozilla. Yeah, I know I'm a bit slow to catch on, but this is such a nice browser. If you've been feeling the urge to throw down the teat of corporate tyranny, or just have a hankering to get away from pop-ups--and you don't want to pay a goddamn cent to do it--I strongly urge you to give it a spin. It's a hoot.

Another beautiful little program I have recently come to know and love is Ad-Aware, which ruthlessly and efficiently hunts down all the nasty adware and spyware on your machine and casts them into oblivion. Praise!

I have no idea who this guy is, where he came from, or why we haven't heard from him before now, but his Agenda sounds terrific! For strange reson, though, the site constantly refers to him as "President." Can anyone help me figure this out?