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Friday, December 08, 2006

Random Friday Ten

Don't forget your Random Friday Ten...like I usually do.

1) The End of Something - Rollins Band
2) The Boss - James Brown
3) Take the A Train - Duke Ellington
4) In the Meantime - Spacehog
5) Hot For Teacher - Richard Cheese
6) Thieves - Ministry
7) Slave - Weezer
8) Rumble Fish (Acoustic) - Sevendust
9) Where You Come From - Pantera
10) Star Wars Theme - John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra

Help the Rebel Alliance crush the evil Empire and post yours.

Heavy Metal Dance Party

This is awesome!!
I doubt that's the track they were actually dancing to, but it would really funny if it was.

Sometimes I think I'm the only person in the world who has intrusive moments of clarity on the dancefloor. Sometimes I just look around and think, "What the hell are we all doing?"

Sometimes you just gotta dance, I guess.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Apocalypto

So the guy's a hopeless anti-semite Jesus freak. He's also the star of the Mad Max films, the first Lethal Weapon (and the others but they don't count), Braveheart, and you know, a few other good movies. It doesn't redeem his drunken ramblings, but on the other hand, his drunken ramblings don't destroy his legacy.

I admire Mel Gibson, I really do. He's got artistic balls. Think about it. His last movie The Passion of the Christ was a religious film, in a foreign language with subtitles, filled with very visceral scenes of violence and little else, not even big stars. It was financed by Gibson himself, violating that old rule of Hollywood: Never use your own money.

But he got to do what he wanted and made a fortune. As for the Passion itself, I thought it was alright. It didn't move me, anti-Jesus as I am, but I thought it was a decent work of art. The fact that he made a fortune surprised me a bit, and deep down it even scared me too, but I thought the hundreds of millions the movie made was well-earned.

And then Apocalypto came up. Another self-financed project that he's not acting in, a tale of the Pre-Columbian Mayan civilization, also in a foreign language with subtitles, also featuring visceral scenes of violence (or so I hear), with no frigging stars!

Tell me, when have you ever seen a film about the Pre-Columbian Mayan civilization? We've seen them about the ancient Greeks. The Romans. The Egyptians even, if the Ten Commandments counts as a film about Egyptians. But the Mayans, right here in our backyard, has never seen the light of day except in flashbacks, and even then, it's almost after the Europeans landed.

This isn't a sequel or a remake. This is something we haven't seen before, something new and completely original. Will it make a fortune? Who knows. I know I want to see it. The question is will I?

In Today's "It's all Fucked Up" Segment...

I found this story about smoking at the nation's capitol somewhat funny, especially the last quote:

"Most people are resigned to the reality that there are fewer and fewer places to do this," said Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), who smokes one to two packs of cigarettes a day. "Behind every smoker is one who wishes they never started. The problem in this town is if you drop one vice, you'll get a worse one."
Let them smoke, for God's sake!

A few snide remarks about the Mary Cheney pregnancy. First, congratulations. I'm not sure how I feel about extending the Cheney genetic line, but alright. Second, the kid will be fine. Trust me on this one. There is nothing to worry about. The teen years will do more damage to this kid than his/her parents' sexual orientation.

Third, fuck you, Dick Cheney. Yeah, you. You and your flunky George, who rode the "Values Voters" all the way to the White House, those ignorant fools who believe that Mary Cheney is an abomination and think that gay people are harmful to children. What the fuck is that? You make me sick.

This story is some gangster shit. And it happened in Cherry Creek, the "nice" part of town!

You want to know what else is fucked up? The treatment of Jose Padilla is fucked up. Those goggles and sound canceling earphones? Jesus motherfucking Christ! Is that not a scary image or what? Not only do they torture you and imprison you for years without charges, they make you wear these things that take away your sight and hearing. You are blind and deaf, locked in your own head, constantly being poked at by a hostile world you can barely sense.

If you really wanted to break a person, I suppose this is what you would do. But it's also what you would do if you wanted to drive a person fucking batshit crazy, too.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Today is Wednesday the 6th, the long-awaited date when the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group was expected to release their "What the fuck do we do now?" report on Iraq. Before I get too deep into my layman's analysis, let me just say this. I've seen a few of the commissioners on CNN throughout the day and the one thing that struck me was how old they were. All of them. Dinosaurs. There is not one baby boomer in the bunch. Not one.

I looked it up. Check it out.
James A Baker - born April 28, 1930
Lee H. Hamilton - born April 20, 1931
Lawrence S. Eagleburger - born August 1, 1930
Vernon Jordan, Jr. - born August 15, 1935
Ed Meese III - born December 2, 1931
Sandra Day O'Connor - born March 26, 1930
Leon Panetta - born June 28, 1938
William Perry - born October 11, 1927
Chuck Robb - born June 26, 1939
Alan Simpson - born September 2, 1931
Elder statesmen indeed.

It further reinforces the view that the "grown-ups are in charge now." Of course, the ISG is not in charge --unfortunely Bush still is-- and the only power they have is the power of persuasion.

The big question, though, is whether Bush will be persuaded to listen to their "suggestions." And that remains to be seen.

I haven't read the whole report, but I have kind of skimmed through it. Check this out:
In addition, there is significant underreporting of the violence in Iraq. The standard for recording attacks acts as a filter to keep events out of reports and databases. A murder of an Iraqi is not neccesarily counted as an attack. If we cannot determine the source of a sectarian attack, that assault does not make it into the database. A roadside bomb or a rocket or mortar attack that doesn't hurt U.S. personnel doesn't count. For example, one day in July 2006 there were 93 attacks or significant acts of violence reported. Yet a careful review of the reports for that single day brought to light 1,100 acts of violence. Good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepency with policy goals.
That has particular relevance to an old debate.

In the single example of casualty figures cited by the ISG, they determined that the number of attacks was underreported by 91.55%. Apparently, 9 out of 10 attacks don't count! I've heard of fudging the numbers, but this is ridiculous.

Even if we were to minus, say, 30 or 40 points for the "good" days, that means we don't know about half of what the hell is going on out there. You know what that means, right?

If someone says Iraq just seems like a disaster because of negative media coverage, you can say toss of some cliche like, you don't know the half of it and it will literally be true!

Also, if 91% of total attacks are underreported, how many deadly attacks are we not hearing about? Could it be more than we would like? Could it be something approaching the numbers we saw in a Johns Hopkins study from two months ago?

CNN had some Republican Congressman on to give his view of the Iraq Study Group. I recognized him, but they didn't flash his name or where he was from so I don't know who the hell he was. Doesn't matter anyway, because he was saying things like, "It's like this, Paula. This comes down to what you believe. If you believe that Iraq is a central front in the War on Terror, then you're going to want blah blah blah." I'm not sure what Bush and the Republicans want out of Iraq exactly. Their actions don't betray their intentions, and whatever they want, I'm sure they won't get.

But the thing that got me was the "If you believe" bullshit. I'd like to publicly inform this guy, and everyone else, that we're not going to listen to what you "believe" anymore. You can "believe" what you want. We're going to go with what we know from now on.

Is Iraq the central front in the War on Terror? Now it is. Thanks, guys.

Meanwhile, the Baker Group, and pretty much anybody but these clowns, are urging a "different course." Some of the ISG's ideas?

Rejuvenate the Israel-Palestine peace process. There ya go.

Assure the Iraqis we won't be building permanent bases. But wait, I thought that was part of the point...

Engage diplomatically with Iran and Syria. Holy shit. That's a great idea! Why this wasn't done for the intelligence value alone a long time ago I don't know.

(There's more here. Have at it. You got nothing better to do, I'm sure.)

Maybe these ideas will work. Maybe not. Either way, we're fucked. HA!

Live and Let Die

Normal people don't pay any attention to the trials and tribulations of Serb war criminals, especially comparatively small-fries like Vojislav Seselj. But I assure you, I am not normal.

Before the outbreak of civil war in the former Yugoslavia, Seselj, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Marty Shottenheimer, was a college professor. I suppose you could even say he was kind of like the Ward Churchill of pre-war Serbia, a radical wind bag on a bully pulpit spouting off about conspiracies and alternate realities.

In Seselj's view, Muslims in Bosnia wanted to destroy the Serbian nation, convert them to Islam and reinstate the caliphate, and the only solution to this coming jihad was pre-emptive genocide. (Come to think of it, he might have found a willing ear in the Bush Administration had they been in charge in the 90s.) Of course, this wasn't true. Bosnia's government, though definitely Muslim, wanted to preserve the multi-ethnic "Brotherhood and Unity" that Yugoslav society aspired to since WWII.

When war finally came to a distintegrating Yugoslavia, Seselj stepped off his podium and took up arms. He started up a militia, much like the Montana freemen, discreetly supported by the Yugoslav National Army (which remained under under Serb control long after Yugoslavia ceased to exist as a country), and with his "soldiers" began what soon became known as "ethnic cleansing."

His murderous contributions to the genocide in Bosnia were so appreciated by his Serb brethren after the war, that he enjoyed quite the lucratvie career in politics. Until of course his arrest and detention at the Hague for crimes against humanity. He is still awaiting trial, a process which could take years, but in the meantime, Seselj has decided to go on a hunger strike to protest his incarceration.

Unfortunately, the authorities will begin force feeding him, depriving him of the martyrdom that he feels must be his Serbian destiny. (Serbs have a soft spot for martyrs, going all the way back to King Lazar, who was famously defeated at the Field of Blackbirds by the Ottoman turks. That event, occurring in 1389, believe it or not, provided much of the inspiration for the Serb's anti-muslim blood lust some 600 years later.)

If it were me, I would just let him die. Sure, there will be some who still hold him up as a hero. But it should be quite easily to laugh at those people.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Justin Timberpuke

So we were watching the Victoria Secret fashion show at work...tough life, I know...and besides seeing some beautiful women in sexy underwear (and yet still wondering what that weird wing fetish was all about) we were treated to two salacious performances by NSYNC refugee Justin Timberlake.

And this is all I can say about that. I know he's got his fans, but he suuuuucks.

Monday, December 04, 2006

You Might Be a Skank....

If you have a stripper pole in your house and give strip lessons to Britney Spears in a tutu...you might be a skank.

Updated: I've been wondering ever since I posted this whether this particular gossipy rumor is even based in truth or if it's some clever publicist's way of making fun of the Britney-Paris no-panty skanks-r-us fascination.

At first glance, it's entirely plausible. Is it really that farfetched to believe that a girl who takes nude pictures of herself with her cameraphone and makes a living based on little more than sex appeal has a stripper pole in her house? Not really.

Is it really that farfetched that Britney would be interested in the finer arts of stripping? Have you heard I'm a Slave 4 U?

But do I believe that Paris Hilton has a stripper pole in her house and that her and Brit have been swinging around on it in tutus? No. I'm sorry to say that defies all credibility.

But then again, we are talking about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton here...

If they starred in a movie, they'd have to call it Skank and Skankier. (You pick who's who.)

Emissions

I failed my emissions test today. That yearly (or bi-yearly) ritual of getting the smog system of your car tested. I failed! The good news: It's not my muffler, and I don't need a new catalytic converter. It was my gas cap, a $5 part from Checker Auto.

The bad news: I've gotta go back for a retest.

In slightly related emissions news, I've been reading the daily dispatches from MSNBC reporter Miguel Llanos, who is currently stationed in Antarctica.

Many years ago, I used to tell people that I was going to move to Antarctica. You know, get away from society, go live on a continent without a country. No traffic. No long lines at the grocery store. Just me, a few dogs, and the great white wastes.

Little did I know that life in Antartica is not quite like that. Based on a few hours perusing a funny Antarctic site, Big Dead Place, the American side of Antarctica sounds like a big company town. Aside from the bureacracy and the constant supervision from Raytheon corporate stooges, there's a lot of things that would make a season in Antarctica "James prohibitive."

For instance, it is illegal to bring dogs. Yes, no dogs. No animals period. It's also illegal to bring dirt and plants from the non-frozen world. Yep, my potted geraniums? Forget about it! There's no way they'd even let me off the plane.

Also, there's not much going back and forth once you're there. You're there for the season...or you can't get there.

As for the getting away from society, that's complete bullshit. I now know that not only are Antarctic-Americans not completely cut off from society, but they have their own little society and culture. It appears that its based on bitching about bureacrats back in "Denver" (presumably Raytheon people) and drinking mass quantities of booze. Sounds like fun, no?

All in all, my recent reading about Antarctica really don't make me want to go there. But it does make me want to watch The Thing again.