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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Like a Rock

Or a statue. This is kind of unnerving.

I'm not worried about whether he's a Kenyan or a Muslim or any of that jazz. What I want to know is this: Is Obama even human???

Barack Obama's amazingly consistent smile from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The War on Terror

Don't be scared, but in the last few weeks law enforcement has busted up three terrorist plots without shedding a single drop of blood or squandering millions in precision-guided bombs.

First, there's local wonder boy Zazi, a (legal) immigrant who got busted buying hydrogen peroxide by the gallon at a beauty supply shop. They didn't arrest this guy. They took him in for questioning, let him go home with his lawyer at night.

Not anymore. His jihad is over.

Then you have this kid, Smadi, an (illegal) immigrant living in Texas but originally from Oaxaca...I mean, Jordan, who not only plotted to commit a terrorist act, but was fooled into actually doing it.

The story says:
After receiving what he thought was an explosive from an undercover agent, Smadi drove a car with the fake bomb into a parking garage under the skyscraper, authorities said. Smadi thought he could detonate the bomb by dialing his cell phone.

When he dialed, the number rang a phone in authorities' possession, the affidavit says.
This fucker actually thought he was going to blow up a building.

Same with this guy, a white American citizen named Michael Finton. This guy wanted to be another Tim McVeigh.

Justice Department officials said Finton, 29, of Decatur, Illinois, drove a vehicle he believed contained a ton of explosives to the Paul Findley Federal Building and Courthouse in Springfield. He got out of the truck, got into a waiting car with an undercover agent, and then, when he was a few blocks away, attempted to detonate the bomb with a remote-control device.

"When he pushed the button, nothing happened except he got handcuffs slapped on him," said one Justice Department official familiar with the case.
Doh! What a dummy.

All of these guys want to kill you, want to kill your kids. They want to destroy America and glorify the profit, peace be upon him. All of them.

And all of them are going to get a trial, be allowed to amount a defense (which doesn't mean it will be compelling), and no doubt, all of them will go to jail. For a very long time.

It's not so hard, is it?

PS. When I first read the headline "Sting catches alleged terrorist in plot to blow up courthouse," my first thought was "Way to go Sting!" I guess all those years in the Police really did pay off.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Echo Park

Thank God that's over. I finally turned the last page on Echo Park this morning.

And if I wasn't already an avowed follower of Harry Bosch's career, this book would have ruined him for me. Not only was it poorly written, it was poorly constructed. I'm not going to recommend this book, so I don't feel bad spoiling it. But if you don't want to know what happens, skip this post.

The villain in this particular murder case turns out to be his boss, Able Pratt. Yes, not just a cop. Not just a cop involved in the case. But his boss! It's such a clunky reveal that it doesn't pay off anything that came before it. One minute he's a typical Connelly bureaucrat, selfish, an asshole, but on the same side, and the next he's the cold-blood killer behind the set-up? And to make things even stranger, there's a scene where Pratt is trying to drown an attorney in a swimming pool but he's acting like a cartoon villain.

Actual dialogue from the novel:
"Please, I can't swim. I can't touch the bottom!"
"Then what d'you have a swimming pool for? Keep paddling."
"Please! I'm not going to-- why would I tell a soul about --"
"You're a lawyer, and lawyers like to play angles."
"Please."
"I'm telling you, if I get even a hint that you're playing an angle on me, then next time it won't be a pool. It will be the fucking Pacific Ocean. You understand that?"
If someone threatened me like that, I would probably laugh.

Out loud.

But besides that, it's such a lazy move. Especially considering Connelly has used the "inside man" device several times before. In The Poet, the serial killer is the FBI agent investigating the crime. In The Concrete Blonde, the serial killer is the reporter who wrote the bestselling book about the case. In one of the earlier novels, some bank robbers turned out to be FBI agents.

I love variations on a theme, but it's getting a bit ridiculous.

Now I want to read something good...

Saving Grace

I've been watching that show Saving Grace with Holly Hunter and a couple things about it.

A) Leon Rippy is an underrated actor. He plays a chaw-chewing angel named Earl who guides Grace in a kind of figure-it-out-yourself way and he manages to be both lovingly kind and fiercely judgmental all at the same time. One scene was particularly poignant: Earl, by himself in the basement of Grace's brother, surrounded by walls covered in clippings about the Oklahoma City bombing, weeping at the horror of that day. Pretty powerful stuff.

B) Holly Hunter is one hot piece. Yeah, I know she's old enough to be my mother and is dangerously flirting with that veiny muscular look these days, but I'd still park my boots under her bed. Her character Grace...I don't know. She gets around, man.

C) I don't mind the whole God angle. I don't believe in vampires either, but I somehow manage to enjoy True Blood. It's more of a character-driven show than one pushing any ideological edge anyway.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Beans, Beans, Beans

I set some jalopeno beans in the crock pot last night before I left for work. Made it from scratch, too. Soaked the beans and everything.

When I got home and put my keys in the door I could smell it, and it smelled good, that spicy cooking smell.

But when I opened the door, the odor took on a different flavor, one not as pleasant. It smelled like a wet fart, the big loud ass-cheeks flapping kind.

It was so...unappetizing.

We'll see if the squirrels will eat it. They need to fatten up for winter.

Updated: Actually I just wrapped some of these beans up in a burrito and it was good. I'm keeping em.

The Scores Are Posted

As predicted, I made it to the top spot in the league this week. But my perch is a precarious one. It's only because of my record (the only unbeaten team, thank you very much*) but points wise, I'm looking a bit vulnerable.


* In week 2!

The Stuffed Shirt Speaks

It's often said, mostly by pinko liberals, that Republicans are the party of no ideas. Turns out that's not true.

Eric Cantor's got some ideas. Here he is outlining two of them for a woman who has tumors in her belly but no health insurance: A government program, or charity.

I think it's interesting that his suggestion includes something that Republicans are usually against (government programs that help people) and something less than effective (charity? Like...the Make-A-Wish foundation?) rather than the preferred GOP method: private enterprise.

What is Cantor (implicitly) admitting here?

Let's assume that Cantor isn't a stuffed suit who doesn't know what he's talking about (a dangerous assumption when it comes to Eric "Nancy Pelosi made me do it" Cantor).

Let's also assume that as the House Whip he's speaking for his party in some capacity here too. (Which is also a dangerous assumption considering the leaders of the Republican party are more followers than leaders...and have been for some time. They followed George W. Bush and now they seem content to get their orders from the Tea Party mob.)

Why didn't Cantor point to an actual insurance company to provide this woman with affordable insurance?

Why didn't he point to the affordable hospital with reasonable prices where you can get affordable medical care without an insurance plan?

You know why...these things don't exist! Instead, by Cantor's own estimation, we've got the government or charity...

Sorry, Mr. Cantor, but tell me why we don't need healthcare reform again? Ah, socialism, that's right...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fantasy Fitball

I really wish the scores for the week would clear on my fantasy team. I want to see if I won (I think I did) and if that win puts me in the number 1 spot (I think it does).

Still I made some bad moves this week and I don't deserve to win.

I sat Chad Ochocinco for Devin Hester (giving up 19 points in favor of 3) and should have started Larry Johnson (who knew?), who got 12 points instead of the 5 that Brandon Jacobs got me. (Thomas Jones only got 5 too, but I benched him in favor of Jacobs.)

Darren Sharper saved my ass. His late pick (and 97 yard return for a touchdown) got me 16, more than my whole receiving core combined.

Updated: And it sure was fun watching the Broncos (well, Elvis Dumervill) manhandle Brady Quinn and the Browns. Buckhalter's driving touchdown was something I haven't seen since the Terrell Davis days. Yeah, boy. Football. I love it.

Wherein I Endorse Skechers

So I'm a hypocrite. I carved "out a couple hours of my day to take the necessary bus to and from the store" and walked away with two new pairs of shoes. The city and state got their tax revenue. I got my shoes.

In fact, I got a better deal on the shoes than if I had bought them on the internet. I got a pair of Cool Cat's and a pair of Vitality's, both of them with a wide sole to accommodate my mutant crooked feet. The website has the Cool Cat's at $53 and the Vitality's at $60.

I didn't pay that much at the store. Not even close!

Nope, at the store I came in so under budget (with two pairs of shoes even) that I might return next month with a supplementary budget and get two more.

How Much Resisting I'm Gonna Do With No Legs?

Greg Williams lives in Merced, California. Greg Williams has no legs. Greg Williams was tased on September 11, arrested, and thrown in jail for six days.

No charges were filed due to lack of evidence.
I love the smell of justice in the morning. Smells like...bullshit.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sitting on Top of the World

With my music library set to shuffle this morning, a version of "Sitting on Top of the World" by the Shelton Brothers came on. Contra the Al Jolson version where he's sitting on top of the world, just singing a song, in the blues version (covered umpteen million times) the refrain is "Now she's gone, and I don't worry."

As I was listening to it, enjoying the O Brother vibe, a verse came on that made me smile:
If you don't like my peaches, don't you shake my tree
Stay away from my orchard, let my peaches be
Old blues can always be counted on for good double entendres and sexual metaphors.

Turns out, though, that the peaches verse is not peculiar to this song, or even this version of the song. Says Wikipedia:
The ‘peaches’ verse has a long history in popular music....This verse and its ubiquitous usage is an example of the tradition of ‘floating lyrics’ (also called 'maverick stanzas') in folk-music tradition. ‘Floating lyrics’ have been described as “lines that have circulated so long in folk communities that tradition-steeped singers call them instantly to mind and rearrange them constantly, and often unconsciously, to suit their personal and community aesthetics”.
Thankfully the idea of "floating lyrics" is still around today ("Put your hands in the air, wave em around like you just don't care") despite living in the "if you download my song, I'll cut off your internet" era.

They just might not be so clever.