Friday, April 29, 2005

E.J. Dionne calls Bush an Egghead after the President disrupts America’s must-see TV fix. I watched most of Bush’s press conference, but surprisingly didn’t throw anything at the TV once. I did chuckle a little when he said he had been traveling around the country talking to the American people, as if he was able to get a diverse point of view from those people. (Just ask the Denver Three.) But over all, I think Bush made a pretty good case and at least reassured me, especially about private, er personal accounts, which as the president stressed, would be optional, perhaps functioning somewhat like a 401K or IRA rather than our current system. He did mention the Wall Street fees weakness, but insisted they would be “fair.” I think the idea, in principle, is a good one. It makes sense to take some of that money and put it to use in the market, giving it a chance to grow (hopefully not shrink) as well as be of some benefit to others. I just don’t trust the federal government to hook me up with something that will work. Either way, the message was clear to all young’uns like me. Social Security ain’t gonna be enough.

I read an article the other day, which I can’t find now, about some of the biggest mistakes you can make with your 401K and one of them was not doing anything with it. For the first couple years that I had one, I was guilty of just that. But for the last year or so, I’ve been tweaking it, trying to get it more diversified. It’s like a garden. You have to cultivate the soil in order for it to grow.

Speaking of gardens, the weather has been HORRIBLE lately, rain and cold weather, snow last night and this morning, so no further action has been taken. I can’t wait till things clear up and I can get my hands dirty again. I need to plant my tomatoes, damn it!

Dr. Phil confronts non-celeb Pat O’Brien about rehab.

A female golfer seducing her caddie? It happens.

Terrell Owens, loud mouth egomaniac skips training camp because he wants a new contract. McNabb stands tall. The Eagles are still a good team, but someone needs to muzzle Owens. His talent doesn’t excuse his attitude. Owens, you’re a punk.

I watched Mullholand Falls for the first time tonight. Nick Nolte, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Madsen, and Chris Penn are the Hat Squad, some hardcore LA detectives who still have a little bit of the Wild West in them. It’s a good movie, one I might have to buy. It made me also want to buy a suit.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Still can’t get that Strapping Young Lad song out of my head. I might have to see what else this band has to offer. I love the mighty double bass kick drum, so brutal, so warlike, like a .50 cal machine gun shooting 550 rounds a minute. Ah, bliss.

The Nuggets tanked last night. A lot more could be said on that one, but since I’ve already been proven wrong by these cats, I’ll shut up.

You want to see something scarier than Michael Jackson? Just look at his wife!

Salazar screwed up, but I still think it’s pretty funny. Calling a Christian organization the Antichrist is the penultimate in irony, and yet maybe Salazar isn’t aware of how serious many Christians, especially those of the Left Behind crowd, view the Antichrist in the context of their apocalyptic faith. Both of them are wrong. If we were to take a literal reading of how the Bible describes the Antichrist, we would find that it has nothing to do with Armageddon and everything to do with orthodoxy. The word isn’t even mentioned in the Book of Revelation, nor is it used to describe a “powerful world leader who is an enemy of God.” Instead the Antichrist (1 John 2.18, 2.22, 4.3 and 2 John 7) refers to people who deny Christ. The term is clearly plural, so it obviously can’t refer to one evil man, and where did the world leader stuff come from? Who knows? I’d say it was made up at a later date to scare the kiddies. It certainly isn’t in the Bible.

Here’s something from the National Review with a litany of conservative Christian complaints. It’s kinda long, so if you don’t feel like reading it, here’s a summary, “Let's stop treating honest differences on same-sex marriage as simple bigotry. Let's stop using the courts as a way around democratic decision-making. Let's stop trying to criminalize religious expression. Let's allow Christians to establish their own institutions of higher learning. And let's stop calling traditional Christians fascists.” Wait…can we still call them idiots?

I don’t mean to be, well, mean to Christians. I respect their religion, and in some ways I identify with their faith, having been raised one before mutating into something else. However, there is a difference between respecting someone’s faith and coddling to their stupidity. The doomsdayers are definitely in the stupid category.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

This video by Strapping Young Lad is worth five minutes of your time. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s bizarre. These guys are unbelievably heavy, but also unbelievably funny. (Not sure if that’s intentional or not, though.) The singer looks like John Malkovich with his bald head and long hair (at one point, he's singing into a lightbulb!) and the other dudes in the band are all hairy fat guys. They have a Evil Dead motif throughout the video, complete with cheesy low budget special effects, so surely they can’t take themselves too seriously.

Polite smoker Judy Law on anti-smoking zealots. My favorite part is when she brandishes her latte as a weapon.

Got the new issue of Revolver in the mail and low and behold, guess who has a little poster insert? My girl, Juliya. I love her filthy little mouth. You can look, but don’t touch. She’s mine! (There’s also a story about COC, and with the secret code for their website, I can download an alternate take of their song Backslider….which I must have!)

This might help explain why Alabama jokes are routinely told in every comedy club across America

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Finally, someone telling it like it is

Looking into my crystal ball, I have a feeling that Rush, Hannity, Congressman Joe, and other sycophants (or to be more precise, Republican Stooges) will be giving President Bush the credit for Syria’s pullout from Lebanon.They’ll cite it as proof of the wisdom of Bush’s foreign policy, a natural result of the Iraq invasion and the war on terror. And yet, more discerning and less gullible folks might not be so quick to credit the president.He stood on the sidelines, cheering for his team, which is fine and noble, but he is hardly deserving of being hefted up onto shoulders as a hero after the game. Let me put it this way…I would like the Broncos to win the Super Bowl this year, but I can’t take credit if they do.

Maybe I’m too cynical, but am I the only one who is slightly disgusted by the Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to Bush’s Crawford ranch?Mentioning the Bushes and the Saudis in the same sentence makes one want to take a shower to wash the sleaze off. According to this report, Bush wants more oil output to stabilize prices over the short term. The Saudis, on the other hand, explain that it’s the refining capacity, stupid. I don’t think the problem is so simple to count the solution as more output versus more refining.The real solution, which we don’t seem to be considering seriously, is for long-range planning, reducing demand with hybrid vehicles and alternative fuels, increasing domestic production by building more refining plants and drilling in the US, and perhaps the most helpful thing, getting some new blood in the White House.I’m not pointing fingers, but seems like whenever we get a Bush in the White House, we go to war with Iraq, the economy tanks, religious conservatives go nuts, and the Saudis gouge us on oil prices.Correlation doesn’t mean causation, but still…’d have to be a huge believer in coincidence to let that one go.

Jonathon Alter from Newsweek puts in his two cents on Tom Delay’s fate, and while I can appreciate his let-the-people-be-heard stance, I have a hard time believing Alter would have used the same argument to keep James Traficant out of prison. Traficant, if you remember, makes Tom DeLay look like a boy scout, having been convicted of bribery, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice, among other crimes. My point is that we have to hold our politicians accountable, and not just on election day. We can’t let our politicians think that they can pander to us during their campaigns, then run wild after the election. Contrary to what Bush says, there is no single accountability moment that comes and goes. Elected officials are accountable every single day. That is as much a part of democracy as voting is, if not more.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Here’s a jaw-dropper. The Broncos took Maurice Clarett in the 3rd round of the NFL draft on Saturday. Whuh? I don’t usually second-guess Mike Shanahan, but this one left me scratching my head. Despite all the bad press, Clarett managed to get the opportunity of a lifetime. If he runs well and Shanahan likes what he sees, he could run himself into a thousand yard season.

In more sports news, the Nuggets are off to a good start in the first round of the NBA play-offs. The talk in this one was all about Tim Duncan, but I think the more impressive thing is that the Nuggets kept the Spurs below 90 points. Keep it up guys. All the sportswriters who were bitching about a yawner of a post-season needs a good heart-warming dark horse to come in and stun the whole league. I think the boys in blue (still hate that color) could be the ones to do it.

For lovers of foreign horror movies with a healthy dose of special effects (ala Brotherhood of the Wolf or The Devil’s Backbone), comes Nightwatch, the first in a trilogy of Russian dark fantasy movies coming in July. Based on what I’ve seen in the trailer, I think I’m going to like it.

This weekend I helped someone clean their computer of spyware, adware, and other useless crapware. On one scan, I found 1089 different objects, all of which I obliterated. Prior to my intervention, the constant deluge of pop-up ads rendered the computer unusable. The funny thing is the computer’s owner played dumb when asked how this happened. A savvy user knows how to avoid installing that stuff, and if by some unfortunate accident some spyware ends up on their machine, they can remove it. The uninitiated don’t know these things, which is why I recommend that they either learn it or give up on the digital arena completely. Every time this happens, I’m reminded of the story of the customer service representative who worked for a big computer manufacturer. His caller explained her problem, and his advice was to pack up the computer and take it back to the store where she got it from, telling them she was too fucking stupid to own a computer. How poignant.

I want one of these real bad. Maybe next year.