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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Say What?

The Olympics Poem

Sat through them all day at work
And I have to say
The Olympics
Suck

Except for volleyball
Volleyball could be big
Indoor volleyball, not beach
Beach volleyball is for show-offs

Credibility: Zero

I think I saw this AP story a few years ago:
WASHINGTON - Russia's use of overwhelming military force against Georgia, including strategic bombers and ballistic missiles, is disproportionate to any threat from the former Soviet state and could escalate tensions in the volatile region, a senior U.S. official said Saturday.
Only back then, it read like this:
The United States' use overwhelming military force against Iraq, including strategic bombers and ballistic missiles, is disproportionate to any threat from the Arab state and could escalate tensions in the volatile region, a senior Russian official said Saturday.
And it gets richer:
"The Georgians have offered a cease-fire. The response by the Russians has been to step up the attacks, continue bombing civilians with strategic air assets and then to reject the notion of any international mediation at all — it's very difficult for us to understand that," the official said. "It is simply not acceptable that anyone would reject an offer of a cease-fire and a plea for international mediation."
I'm guessing this guy wasn't around in 2003. Ceasefires and international mediation just didn't rate with the Bushies then.

You can bet your ass that if Putin and Medvevdev aren't laughing about that, they're at least rolling their eyes. "So, what is this? Do what I say, not what I do? War is like your democratic reforms. What's good for U.S. is good for Russia, no?"

Kind of makes you wish we still lived in a world of rogue states, doesn't it? So far this century, the superpowers have just gone completely nuts.

Guilt by...Huh?

So John Edwards has been exposed as a lying scumbag. He's the type of guy who will cheat on his wife, lie about it consistently for years, and then run for president. In other words, he's a selfish prick, a habitual liar, and a presumptuous idiot. If the guy thought the story about his affair wouldn't get out, then he must have spent the Clinton years with his head up his ass.

But I don't like all this tit-for-tat I've seen. I'm talking about this, this, and this.

Nice try, guys. But this is a cross that John Edwards must bear on his own.

"He did it first!" is something I expect from a 1st grader.

John McCain's Strategy

We're gonna mock around the clock tonight
We're gonna mock, mock, mock till broad daylight
We're gonna mock, gonna mock around the clock tonight...


Like my beloved heavy metal or dishes made with kimchi, I have the feeling that this kind of thing is only going to appeal to a very small demographic.

Also, the linked article includes this:
McCain’s gibe about a less windy running mate is part of a continuing effort by the Republican’s presidential campaign to turn Obama’s strengths against him.
I think they should try a new tactic because "mockin around the clock" is clearly not working.

Let's review:

"Hasn't been to Iraq in years" led to the Magical International Mystery Tour, wherein Obama was photographed joking with Petraeus, was practically endorsed by the Iraq government, and drew bigger crowds than JFK.

"International celebrity" led to getting pwned by genuine international celebrity Paris Hilton.

"Tire gauges" is still playing out, but I don't see any advantage for McCain in this one. It's a fact that inflating your tires properly does improve gas mileage. It's also a fact that there's more to Obama's energy policy than proper tire inflation.

Also, read this to show how incredibly stupid this line of attack is:
The Bush Administration estimates that expanded offshore drilling could increase oil production by 200,000 bbl. per day by 2030. We use about 20 million bbl. per day, so that would meet about 1% of our demand two decades from now. Meanwhile, efficiency experts say that keeping tires inflated can improve gas mileage 3%, and regular maintenance can add another 4%. Many drivers already follow their advice, but if everyone did, we could immediately reduce demand several percentage points. In other words: Obama is right.
This isn't a right versus left issue. It's stupid versus smart.

Just to review. "More drilling" gets you 1% of your demand in 20 years. The tire thingy? IMMEDIATE reduction of 3-4%.

Why would any rational well-intentioned person prefer the "more drilling" approach when it meets less demand than inflating your fucking tires?

Answer: If you were both rational and well-intentioned, you wouldn't!!! If you're a pro-business Republican in the back pocket of the oil industry, I can understand.

But chances are you're just a pro-business Republican who's getting screwed just like the rest of us.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Feiticeira

It took me a while to like this song. I hold the unpopular view that White Pony was one of the deftones' weakest records. Give me Around the Fur or Adrenaline any day. (Come to think of it, it took me a while to really like those records too.)

But now...this is one of my favorite deftones tracks. It's totally fucking weird (the lyrics describe a torture fantasy...or something) but it's got some of Abe Cunningham's* most powerful drumming as well as some pretty cool heavy dynamics.

Since this is a live vid, don't expect anything great from Chino. His sound is really hard to produce live and from what I've seen, he only really pulls it off on record. Check out Abe's drum stand, though. The dude's like a portable earthquake.

Partial lyrics:

Fuck! I'm drunk
But I'm on my knees
The police stopped chasing
I'm her
New cool meat

She pops the trunk
And she removes me
The machine takes pictures of us
And my jaw and my teeth hurt
I'm choking from gnawing on the ball...








* I'm here to tell you that Abe Cunningham is the best drummer in the biz.

No Defense

You know who's lame? John Edwards.

Updated: The Edwards camp probably thought that today, with the Beijing Olympics starting up and Russia invading Georgia, would be a good time to sneak in his admission that he's a complete asshole. But if the last 40 minutes of non-stop "sex scandal" coverage from Wolf Blitzer is any indication, boy was he wrong!

What an asshole.

Midnight Snack

Just got home from a few beers with G. I didn't go very far and I wasn't gone very long, but I saw two lonely piles of the discarded belongings stemming from evictions on the sidewalks of Capitol Hill. Sign of the times?

I also reminded Ginger that the dude she met like a month ago is a guy she's known for a couple years, and then later, I made her cry. I feel bad about that now, but it's not my fault I'm so good at bloody knuckles.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

My Man

Yeah, I admit, it's getting a little repetitive, but my man BHO is on fire! (Also, I should say that whenever I call Obama "my man," I'm speaking in Denzel Washington's voice. It's a catchphrase he uses in American Gangster to signal his approval. I use it the same way.)
"It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant."

It's exactly like that.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Evaaaaaaahh

My special purpose was doing curious things when I saw this vid.

A Post I Meant to Write a Week Ago

So I finally saw Atonement, the Oscar nominated English romance set during WWII. It was basically this year's English Patient, a decent film based on a beloved book that got way too much critical attention.

Is it a bad movie? No. But that doesn't mean it's very good...

My gripes:

A) Keira Knightley. Talented actress, genuine beauty. I've fallen in love with her many times within a matter of minutes, sometimes at first sight even, which speaks to her bonafides as a true movie star. But her natural (I believe - does every skinny girl have to be anorexic?) slimness was a liability in this one. The period clothes don't hide all of her poky angles (like they did in Pirates), nor do they accentuate them (like in Domino or say, King Arthur). The loose-fitting dresses and the wet underclothes scene just kind of expose them. She really is a bony chick. I recommend a winter in L.A., the part with so many fast food joints the city council banned any new ones. A couple taco trucks, some Big Macs, and two words: Sex symbol.

B) There's a character named Cecelia, and it's not giving anything away to say that she's played by three different actresses, portraying Cecelia (a character with striking depth, actually) in three different generations. But the filmmakers don't think you'll understand the trick, so they gave all three actresses the same exact haircut. So from the time she was a little girl until the time she was a dying old lady, Cecelia never once saw a different hairdresser? She never succumbed to the style of the times and tried out the beehive? Maybe it's supposed to be some kind of character trait, frozen in time or something, but I think it was just stupid.

C) The Dunkirk scene. I'm a sucker for scenes made of a single shot, like the famous Copacabana scene from Goodfellas. One extended take that goes on and on for minutes at a time moving through a landscape. Not only is it a masterwork of planning, choreography, and luck but the extended take also immerses you into the world of the movie, reinforcing the illusion that what you're watching is real and not just some actors on a (sound)stage.

Atonement tries to add to this tradition, and for a few moments, it almost seems like it will succeed. The camera wanders along the beach, following actors, losing them, finding them again, and it's fun for a while. You're sitting there, taking it all in. But in order to be done well, an extended take like this must not call attention to itself. When it's done well, you don't even realize you're watching an extended take until it's over.

But in Atonement, you're almost told in big bright letters on the screen "Look at me! Behold my cinematic wizardry!" The actors are all slack-jawed, overwhelmed at the majesty of the scene. Then at one point, the camera pans around a men's choir and the score swells and you know you're supposed to be seeing something breathtaking.

I just thought it was clumsy (they pulled it off though) and not a worthy addition into the pantheon of the single take shot.

My Man

Yeah, baby. Obama throws a few jabs:
Quoting the Arizona Republican as saying that "our dangerous dependence on foreign oil has been thirty years in the making," Obama leveled one of the more direct criticisms he's offered in this campaign.

"What Senator McCain neglected to mention was that during those thirty years, he was in Washington for twenty-six of them," said the Senator. "And in all that time, he did little to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. He voted against increased fuel efficiency standards and opposed legislation that included tax credits for more efficient cars. He voted against renewable sources of energy. Against clean biofuels. Against solar power. Against wind power. Against an energy bill that -- while far from perfect -- represented the largest investment in renewable sources of energy in the history of this country. So when Senator McCain talks about the failure of politicians in Washington to do anything about our energy crisis, it's important to remember that he's been a part of that failure."

More Oil

Food for thought for the "More Drilling" crowd:
While the U.S. oil industry wants access to more federal lands to help reduce reliance on foreign suppliers, American-based companies are shipping record amounts of gasoline and diesel fuel to other countries.

A record 1.6 million barrels a day in U.S. refined petroleum products were exported during the first four months of this year, up 33 percent from 1.2 million barrels a day over the same period in 2007. Shipments this February topped 1.8 million barrels a day for the first time during any month, according to final numbers from the Energy Department.
Supply problems? What supply problems?

I flunked economics 101, but it seems to me that record exports plus record profits does not equal "supply problems."

A direct line from "more drilling" can be traced to "more exports" and "more profits," but without an actual shortage, I'm confused about how "more drilling" leads to "lower prices."

And you gotta love this part:
But many energy experts say oil and petroleum products are traded globally, and it may make economic sense to export gasoline refined along the U.S. Gulf Coast to Latin America and import European-refined gasoline to U.S. East Coast markets.
While I can see how that makes sense to the oil companies, it hardly makes sense to the guy who's paying record prices amidst all this profit taking.

"Hey, how bout we skip the selling to Latin America, buying from Europe step and just sell it to me? Oh, that'll cut into your percentage? Well, we can't have that now, can we? I mean, the important thing is that you guys remain the most profitable business in history. Can't let anything interfere with that..."

I'm being sarcastic, but I'm deadly serious. I'm not willing to blame the Democrats (or the Republicans...although I can blame them for blaming the Democrats), or India and China (California uses more gas in a day than all of China), or the lack of refining capacity or drilling bans.

I'm going to put the blame squarely where it belongs: With the oil companies and the people who run them.

Spare me the "if onlys" and take some responsibility! The oil companies have the money, the power, and the ability to drastically improve the business they operate.

But they lack the initiative.

When you're pulling in money hand over fist, you're not going to say, "Hey, let's fix this broken money spigot." You're going to hope no one notices and keep stuffing your pockets.

Also I was going to work this in, but I'll just tack it on the end:
U.S. gasoline shipments in April averaged 202,000 barrels a day, the most for the month since 1945, when America was sending fuel overseas to ease supply shortages in other countries during World War II. Gasoline exports in April 2007 were almost half at 116,000 barrels per day.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. The oil industry is not in crisis. They're chugging along just fine without offshore drilling and ANWR pipelines.

And if you don't notice that they're getting the better deal while you're getting, well, screwed, then all the better for them.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Just Thinking

The old growth lodgepole pine along Colorado's Front Range will be gone in five years time. Well, the lodgepoles will be standing, but the pine will be dead.

Beetles, you see.

It's going to create a lot of problems. There's no way to stop it. It will take decades for the area to recover. Dry conditions amid dead forests create literal tinderboxes that can become raging firestorms that consume miles. There's no way, currently, to clear the area. Strange as it may seem, there's not much of a timber industry in the state, and even if we could remove the dead growth, there are not many mills nearby that can process it.

Now call me crazy, but to me...and I'm just a dude, mind you...that seems like a great place to get some cheap cellulose. Cellulose? What's so great about that?

With cellulose, you can create ethanol. And with ethanol, you can break the stranglehold of foreign oil! Ahhhhh!

(Does it offend Canadians when Americans speak pejoratively of "the stranglehold of foreign oil?" I mean, when we're talking foreign oil, we're talking mostly Canada...)

Groan

I left the office yesterday in a foul mood. It wasn't any one thing, or even a confluence of many little things. It was just one of those days where you feel like you're enduring things instead of experiencing them. Things as small as a blogger flubbing a link (for a whole hour! ) drove me up the fucking wall.

Today, things are better, though I still find certain things annoying.

Braindead projectionists, sure, but it's a workday. The drivers who form an impenetrable wall of slowness on the highway? Yeah, but that always bugs me. The fact that in my haste this morning I forgot to grab my belt? Minor annoyance at best.

John McCain's presidential campaign? Well, yeah... Who doesn't find that a little embarrassing? Even his supporters realize it's weak, even as they snicker at the jokes.

But you know what I really find exasperating today? Brett Favre. Brett Favre and Brangelina. (Although more Brett than Brange.)

You hear about four dollar gas, rising prices at the grocery store, banks failing, federal bailouts, bear markets, job-losses, foreclosures, recession, inflation, raising taxes, infrastructure crumbling, a crisis in healthcare, and a soul-sucking war, and you think, wow, things are really bad these days.

But not if you're Brett Favre and Brangelina. If you're Brett Favre, you might find yourself in a position where you're paid $20 million for not doing something. If you're Brangelina, you might find yourself getting $15 million for baby pictures.

(Oh sure, that little bit of chump change is going to charity, but still... Nice tax write off.)

Normally you'd think I'd reserve my ire for the people who are willing to pay them these exorbitant sums of money for essentially worthless things, but I actually understand those motivations.

The Packers don't want Favre to go to Minnesota, or any other team, and to them, it's worth $20 million to have him stay retired. To People magazine, they want to be the first to put the Pitt-Jolie twins on their cover. I get that.

But Favre could laugh in their face. "You want to pay me that much not to play? You know I'm rich already, right?" And if another team, even the Vikings, promised him playing time and a couple more million, he could say, "Hell yeah, I wanna play, but you know, use that money to give the groundskeepers a raise. They're on that field every day and I'm only there on Sunday so they deserve it. I'm already rich, man. Got my mutual funds, some stocks. I'm set on the money angle, thanks."

And Brangelina, when approached by magazines bidding millions of dollars for the precious baby pictures, they could say, "Check out my Flickr account. Yes, there's a Creative Commons license. Ah, don't worry about the charity. We'll donate the profits from our next two movies and the charity will be fine. It's nothing really. We're already loaded. You didn't hear? We just bought the south of France."

I mean, is it illegal to turn down tens of millions of dollars if you really haven't earned it?

Maybe I Should Watch This Show

Just spotted this trailer on the plasma screen in the hall.

I don't care if Holly Hunter is twice my age and half my height, girl's packing some heat.