Friday, December 30, 2005

Uh, Mom- I'm going over to Steve's for . . . a month.

For some reason I'm loving this story.

I have journalist friends who are working on being imbedded in Iraq. It's hard. There is a lot of paperwork involved. There are weeks, months, sometimes nearly years of preparation. And this 16 year old just . . . *goes* to Iraq.

I have to wonder what he told his parents. "Hey Mom, Dad- I'll be out a while . . ."

But here's the kicker. Unlike Jonah Goldberg, Ben Shapiro or any of those other chickenhawks, at least he was gonna put his money where his mouth is:

Ms. Atiya said her son is studious, works on the school newspaper and is on the debate team. He is a member of a Republican Party club at school who spends his time reading, rather than socializing, his mother said.

“He thinks girls require too much time, and he has more important things to do. He loves history,” Ms. Atiya said.


Who wants to bet the kid has a book deal in the new year?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

2005 in review

Alright, folks, only three days left in 2005. It's been a good year for me- I've met many new people, had some good times, finally acheived the big goal of leaving the hometown, and at this point 2006 is looking pretty good. But politically, the year has been an uneven one. Let's have a look at wikipedia to see what we've really been through:

January 4 - Death of the Governor of Baghdad, Ali Al-Haidri, assassinated by gunmen.

Oooh, that whole "peeance and freeance" thing is getting off to a rocky start. If you can call it a start.

January 20 - George W. Bush is inaugurated in Washington, D.C. for his second term as 43rd President of the United States.

Let the games begin! Again!

January 30 - The first free Parliamentary elections in Iraq since 1958 take place.

And this means a lot! To someone. Somewhere. For reasons we're not yet sure of.

February 9 - An ETA car bomb injures 31 people at a conference centre in Madrid.

Proving David Cross correct once again: The war on Terrorism is like a war on Jealousy. And anyone who feels safer now than before 9/11 is a mental infant.

February 10 - North Korea announces that it possesses nuclear weapons as a protection against the hostility it feels from the United States.

And we tell them to BRING IT ON! Yeah! USA! USA!

Wait, we didn't? Huh. Funny, that.

February 14 - A massive suicide bomb blast in central Beirut kills Lebanon's former prime minister Rafik Hariri and at least 15 other people. At least 135 other people were also hurt.

Hey, where's *their* peeance and freeance? I guess they just have to get it on their own.

March 1 - The U.S. Supreme Court rules the death penalty unconstitutional for juveniles who committed their crimes under age 18.

And we join the rest of the enlightened world, leaving behind the company of such human rights luminaries as Yemen, Pakistan, the Congo, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Iran. Seriously, WTF? It took us until freaking 2005 to abolish the killing of actual living, breathing children in a country with a vocal lobby to stop the killing of unborn children? Only in America. Which is why I'm going to start looking for a sugar daddy in Belgium.

March 23 - The United States' 11th Circuit Court of Appeals' 2-1 decision refuses to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube.

And we narrowly escape setting a precedent where freaks like this can make YOUR life or death medical decisions. I wish I felt more relieved about this.

April 2 - Pope John Paul II dies, causing widespread grief in the world.

Well, grief among many, apprehension among many as well.

April 9 - Tens of thousands of demonstrators, many of them supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, marched through Baghdad denouncing the U.S. occupation of Iraq, two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and rallied in the square where his statue was toppled in 2003.

Investors in candy and flowers for the liberators find themselves bankrupt, surprised.

April 19 - Joseph Ratzinger elected Pope Benedict XVI on the second day of the Papal conclave.

Catholics and non-Catholics agree: Yikes.

May 2 - 4th president of Singapore, Wee Kim Wee dies from prostate cancer.

*Must . . . remind . . . self . . . there's . . . nothing . . . funny . . . about . . . prostate . . . cancer . . . or . . . Asian . . . Names . . .*

May 10 - A live hand grenade lands about 100 feet (30 m) from United States President George W. Bush while he is giving a speech to a crowd in Tbilisi, Georgia, but malfunctions and does not detonate.

Apparently he has the power to project his ineptitude onto inanimate objects.

May 13 - The United States Department of Defense issues a list of bases to be closed as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process (BRAC 2005).

Support the troops! 'Cept when you don't want to!

May 31 - W. Mark Felt is confirmed to be Deep Throat.

Thus renewing the Right Wing/Scooby Doo villian argument that we could have won that Viet Nam war, if it hadn't been for those meddling liberals.

June 5 - Switzerland votes to join the Schengen area and to allow same-sex partnerships.

And Switzerland spirals out of control, mass divorces follow, violence erupts in the streets and the Von Trapp family turns gayer than ever!

Oh, wait, they didn't? Huh. Someone tell Rick Santorum.

June 30 - Spain joins Belgium and the Netherlands in permitting same-sex marriage.

Still no mass chaos . . . funny how that works.

July 4 - Violent G8 demonstrations in Gleneagles

from left to right, the superheroes of the G8!:
Idiot Boy, Dudley Doright, Pointy Nose, Good Hair, Finger Puppet, Guido, Vlad the Scariest World Leader Alive, El Jefe and Gerhard the Stout.

July 7 - Four explosions rock the transport network in London, three on the London Underground and one on a bus. Over 50 deaths were reported, and over 200 injured.

Still not safer . . . what are we doing wrong?

July 20 - Canada's Civil Marriage Act, legalizing same-sex marriage, receives Royal Assent.

Now the NEIGHBORS are doing it, too?

July 22 - A Brazilian electrician, Jean Charles de Menezes, is shot dead at a London underground station by police who mistake him for a suicide bomber.

A lesson learned the hard way: Don't be brown when the police are after you!

August 17 - The first forced evacuation of settlers, as part of the Israel unilateral disengagement plan, starts.

More proof that any compromise in Israel is going to be one in which nobody is happy.

August 29 - At least 1,383 are killed, and severe damage is caused along the U.S. Gulf Coast, as Hurricane Katrina strikes the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coastal areas. Within hours, levees give way and New Orleans is flooded.

Katrina may have brought the flood, but it was apathy that killed New Orleans.

September 26 - U.S. army reservist Lynndie England is convicted by a military jury on six of seven counts in connection with the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.

Pansy.

September 28 - American politician Tom DeLay is indicted on charges of criminal conspiracy by a Texas grand jury.

And things begin to look up.

September 29 - John G. Roberts, Jr. is confirmed and sworn in as Chief Justice of the United States.

. . . and not-so-up.

October 8 - An earthquake in Kashmir kills about 80,000 people.

80,000 people. Holy crap.

October 19 - The Trials of Saddam Hussein begin.

Thus making it all worth it, right?

October 28 - Vice presidential adviser Lewis "Scooter" Libby resigns after being charged with obstruction of justice, perjury and making a false statement in the CIA leak investigation.

Aright! And the side of good is on the scoreboard again.

October 30 - Hurricane Beta hits the coast of Nicaragua. It is the thirteenth hurricane of 2005, breaking the 1969 record of 12 hurricanes.

Yeah, because global warming, like evolution and women's health, is nothing but JUNK SCIENCE.

November 1 - U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats force a closed session of the Senate over the Lewis Libby indictment.

And the dems grow a pair. Good job, guys.

November 8 - French President Jacques Chirac declares a state of emergency on the 12th day of the French civil unrest, see 2005 civil unrest in France.

Well, when you let implicit racism fester, it's gonna do that.

December 1 - South Africa becomes the fifth country in the world where same-sex marriages are recognized.

Even the Southern Hemisphere now.


And what does 2006 bring? Well, it will be the year my sister goes to Malawi to save the world. It will be the year I go to San Francisco. It will, I dearly hope, be the year I save enough for an actual Vespa so I can stop being such a scooter poseur. And most importantly, it will be a year in which the side of rational thinking will have the opportunity to retake seats in Congress and finally get the ball rolling to make this country one worth being proud of again. So yeah, 2005 had its ups and downs. But '06 is where it's at, baby.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Another little bit of Alito history

Apparently Alito helped throw out the Black Panthers' lawsuit against the federal government.

And so, I would argue, he's a big part of the reason such cases would have only the slimmest of chances of even making it to the Supreme Court today.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Your new argument guide

Stuck with right-wing relatives who won't stop needling you about how we're "winning the war?" Tired of so-called liberals who claim that cutting and running from Iraq is a bad plan?

Here is a handy little tool to help you effectively refute each and every excuse they have for keeping a pro-war mindset.

I found it reading the Atlantic Monthly while trying to endure high-volume nouveau country at the local Grease Monkey.

You're welcome.

Tuesday List

REASONS THIS CHRISTMAS ROCKED

1. Driving to Longmont on I-25 with the top down in 65 degree weather

2. Spending the weekend with Little Vespa, who leaves to save the African Continent in February

3. Kicking serious ass at the family scrabble game

4. Borders gift cards= ability to catch up on hipster credentials (Pixies, Surfer Rosa; Belle and Sebastian, If You're Feeling Sinister; Decemberists, Picaresque; Sigur Ros, (); Edith Frost, It's a Game)

5. Waking up Christmas Morning under a pile of purring tuxedo cat in my parents' attic guest room

6. Discovering the Elvis station on my parents' satellite radio selection

7. My mom's mashed potatoes

8. My dad: "Goose is steak that flies."

9. My mom promising to make me a wallet like Samuel L. Jackson's from Pulp Fiction

10. Having more fun than it makes sense to be having. As usual.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The game of seven

Since Rorschach over at No Capital was kind enough to pass this li'l item on, I feel obligated to continue the cycle. Well, that and I am really narcissistic and I like talking about myself. Hah.

Seven Things To Do Before I Die

1. Get published in a real magazine.
2. Travel to the Middle East.
3. Visit the nation's capitol.
4. See the Great Barrier Reef.
5. Kiss someone atop the Eiffel Tower.
6. Accomplish something in the way of activism that I can point to and say, "the world is better now because I did that."
7. Get my sister out of her 20s in one piece.

Seven Things I Cannot Do

1. Sing. In public.
2. Sit through a slasher film (Scream, Scary Movie, etc.)
3. Eat brussels sprouts.
4. Understand staunch anti-immigration bigots.
5. Walk long distances in flat shoes.
6. Stop wanting to learn.
7. Get organized to the point that I'd like to be.

Seven Things That Attract Me to...Blogging

1. My constant need for positive feedback.
2. The almost instinctive need to write about stuff that gets me fired up.
3. I've been on the internet in one way or another since age 12, it just seemed like the thing to do.
4. Being part of an underground of skeptics, malcontents and freak-flag wavers. Vive la revolution!
5. The sheer, mind-bending boredom of downtime at work.
6. The superstars of blogging that keep me sane, informed and happy.
7. The incredible humanity that manages to shine through a system of networks, servers, wires and data.


Seven Things I Say Most Often

1. Whatever.
2. You have GOT to be fucking kidding me.
3. The thing IS . . .
4. I need a drink.
5. There are a lot of stupid people in the world.
6. I love livin in the city!
7. Why?

Seven Books That I Love

1. Alfredo Vea, "La Maravilla."
2. Daniel DaFoe, "Moll Flanders."
3. JD Salinger, "Catcher in the Rye."
4. Collette, "Le Pur et L'impur" (I read this baby en francais, baby!).
5. Camus, "L'Etranger," also in French
6. John Krakauer, "Under the Banner of Heaven" (Quite the eye opener, that).
7. David Sedaris, "Me Talk Pretty One Day".

Seven Movies That I Watch Over and Over Again

1. Amelie.
2. Raising Arizona.
3. Niagara (with Marilyn Monroe in full cinemascopic glory).
4. The Princess Bride.
5. MST3K: "parts, the clonus horror."
6. SLC Punk.
7. Pulp Fiction.

Seven People I Want To Join In Too

1. AAaaaaaaaaaaaalisoon . . .
2. Andrewohwilleke.
3. Dex.
4. teh l4m3.
5. Little Vespa.
6. Underwhelm.
7. Mustang Bobby.

OK, that is all- I'm out till Tuesday.

Holiday kitty blogging





Audrey, in profile

Thursday, December 22, 2005

How would Jesus evolve?

I was tipped off about the renewed ID debate yesterday by a colleague. It seems that if you read any further than the A section in any AP newspaper last week, you would have known that a certain Judge John E. Jones effectively dismissed any legitimacy that the Intelligent Design crowd ever pretended to have.

The ruling is not only significant in its dismantling of ID as "science" by any definition, it shows the entire ID debate for exactly what it is; "a 'ground clearing operation' to allow Christianity to receive serious consideration [in schools]."

In all honesty, I believe the ID debate is much like the "War on Christmas" non-issue. It's just another way for folks like O'Reilly to get the vocal minority in a tizzy about a percieved violation of their right to practice their particular brand of Christianity. But this victory in Dover, PA, shows that these kinds of issues rarely have legs.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

This can go next to my Peabody

Just found out via sitemeter that I was recently honored by Life or Something Like It as the blogosphere's "Best Film Critic in Pointy Shoes."

Thank you, thank you. Without you all, this would not have been possible.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Big Brother is listening

Disturbing stuff, these Patriot Act apologists.

But even more disturbing: a statement I heard on NPR this morning.

Not even sure who said it, I was dabbing concealer under my eyes at the time, which, as you know, takes some degree of concentration to avoid looking like the Corpse Bride.

But at some point, I heard some one say, "The president's powers are ostensibly unhindered as long as the War on Terror is in progress."

Huh.

So basically, the president can do whatever the hell he wants, to whomever he wants, as long as the War on Terror is going on.

That's gotta make you feel good.

A little Christmas present from the Prez. A camera in every house, a tap on every phone. God Bless us, every one.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Merry Jesusmas

OK, it happens every year. Bill O'Reilly and his little cabal of "so what if we are contemptible, immoral assholes, we stand up for Christian Values!" twits chime in for the War On Christmas Chorus.

They seem to think that the fact that the Gap says "Happy Holidays" in its commercials rather than "Jesusy Christmas and a very Christy Jesus to you, good sir!" is a sign that Christianity is under attack by secular humanists in $70 khakis.

But here's the thing- ever since these fuckwits decided that there was a war on Christmas, every "Merry Christmas" that I hear or see has a sourly defensive, passive aggressive ring to it. Like it's suddenly such a conspicuously victimy thing to say. Like they're really saying, "I'm a Christian, so I'm gonna say Merry Christmas and you just have to fucking deal with it, whether you believe like I do or not, heathen!" It has ceased to be a friendly greeting and has instead taken on the personality of "God Bless." You know, when one of those angry pro-school-prayer types gets all in a huff about if only prayer were still allowed in schools, those skanky little teen moms would have kept their legs crossed, and oh, yeah, God Bless!

The new Christian Right has taken their benevolent greetings and turned them all into a challenge. Merry Christmas is now tantamount to "My God is going to smite you down, mufuggah!" God Bless is now "Ain't it just so sad you and all your politically correct friends will be spending eternity doing the backstroke in a lake of fire?" And they've turned around the secular greetings like "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons Greetings" to mean "We denounce your religion and it's only for lack of lions that you are still allowed to practice your faith in this godless, homo-luving Sodom we call the US of A."

It would be a lot funnier if not for the sheer irony of it. Here are Christians, people that belong to a faith that around 80 percent of America identifies with in some way. Here is the vast majority, somehow managing to construct a reality in which they are a persecuted minority. And they do it every year.

Anyway. Very light blogging this week, seeing as how I have to prep for the ABWA event Wednesday and try to get two week's worth of daily newspaper stuff done in five days. But at any rate, happy winter holiday greetings . . . you poor condemned secular humanists, you.

Only in America, I guess.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Friday kitty




In the window, in greener times.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Cozy

My entire apartment smells like chicken soup. I cooked up a big crock pot full of homemade chicken stock for matzoh ball soup last night and now my apartment has the comforting aroma of a cozy little Yenta's flat on the Lower East Side.

Today the mountains were stunning on my drive to work- powdered with snow and a big fat moon sitting right atop the Indian Peaks.

There are days when it's just hard to get all cynical about stuff. This is one of them.

I'll try to cook up some frustration about the Iraqi election tomorrow. Right now, life is pretty good, even if I am at work and even if I am afraid of Alito. When life hands you neocons, make matzoh ball soup. It won't change the world, but it will at least help you get through the week.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My Moroni beats your A-team.

Oh.

Oh, this is too cool.

Book of Mormon action figures. For the person on your list who has everything.

Ends and Means

It's hard for me to say whether or not the President ever really thought- or continues to think- that there is any real possibility for lasting peace and democracy in Iraq. I have mentioned before that I waver between imagining him to be either a complete idiot, dazzled by his own power and blind to all criticism, or a sneaky little bastard who is wise to all the nasty machinations in D.C. and beyond. But whichever he is, the possibility does exist that the decision to invade Iraq was, indeed, based on the idea that establishing a democratic state there would be a very strategic move. From an economic, geopolitical and military standpoint (that is, from the perspective of any garden-variety Neocon), a Western-style democracy in Iraq would be a good thing for America. Not only would such a state be more amenable to sharing oil reserves and allowing a permanent military presence, but it would make further inroads for Western free-market capitalism and culture in an area that obstinately refuses to play by the rules made by America the Superpower.

Further, there are few who can really deny that removing Saddam from power was a good goal to have. Probably not the best use of our time and effort, not really our job, and not one to be executed in the idiotic way that we did it, but the removal of this asshole was not a bad goal at any rate. A start. A jumping off point for establishing the aforementioned free and democratic state.

But like everything else, this administration took a strategically good idea and tried to achieve it in the wrongest, most ham-fisted way that it could.

This administration went into Iraq with absolutely no strategy outside of the notion that America Always Wins and expected that notion to carry the day. There were no long-term plans, no expectations of consequences. Just an idea: a democratic Iraq (and, of course, the tasty oil reserves and military bases that the supposedly grateful Iraqis would let us have). The Bush administration went into Iraq with all the foresight of the Underpants Gnomes.

A free and democratic Iraq would have been nice. And in all honesty, we probably had all the resources needed to establish such a thing. But in their seemingly bottomless hubris, this administration refused to tap those resources (or at least, to tap them in a pragmatic way, Mr. Rumsfeld), refused to listen to those who understood such things and effectively destroyed all possibility of ever actually seeing that goal to fruition.

Yes, a free and democratic Iraq would have been nice. But so would a Sudan free of genocide. Or a France free of racism and anti-Semitism. Or a China that fully respected human rights. Or an Africa that has enough to eat and doesn't lose all of its adults to HIV/AIDS. Any one of these things would be a great goal. But you can't just assume that your firepower and track record will result in the acheivement of any goal. Especially when the leader of the current mission has an absolutely perfect record of taking golden opportunities and promptly mucking them up beyond all repair.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tuesday List: "Was This Helpful?" edition

SELECT COMMENTS IN AMAZON REVIEWS OF THE BIBLE

1. "Right, I am beginning to get annoyed, this is my fourth review of the bible on amazon, the other three have all been removed, presumably because someone complained about them."

2. "And the holy bible is awesome! Have you read it?! It is freakin' awesome, and that's all there is to say!"

3. "I can't believe you bible haters! Don't you recognize awesomeness holiness in a book when you read it?!?!?!?"

4. "Only fools talk bad about God's word. You don't understand it because you hate it. Get over your anger of religion if you want to be religious. If not you better hope you are right about HELL, because that is where you are going. God Bless."

5. "Some idiots say that the Bible is a fairy tale, and even one moron's review said that Christans should be 'ashamed'.However, the reviewer never said why: STUPED! Sinners go to Hell!"

6. "This book is decent, but I think that the author is expecting us to believe a bit much."

7. "The Holy Bible Rocks!"

8. "He does do a good job of flooding the earth and killing most everyone which is kind of cool, but again, kind of mean."

9. "I thought the whole "He's Dead!!!" , "No He's not!!" ending was a bit weak and the "Deus ex machina" thing really had been done before..."

10. "The King James version is a bit heavier than your typical bible, making it more useful to smite foes with."

ed. note: I had originally begun a list where I picked out phrases from a Free Republic forum on Christmas. I was thinking hey, comedy gold! But what I found was that you get those freepers talking about Christmastime and it's like hanging out with a barfly on Christmas Eve in some smoky, two-bit tavern in the Quad Cities or something. These are seriously depressed, angry people this time of year. No wonder they feed their anger with the "war on Christmas" as soon as the turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving are all wrapped up. The anger at the above-linked discussion is just staggering . ..

Monday, December 12, 2005

Truly an effed up song

Baby, It's Cold Outside

I really can't stay

I have to go now, really, gonna go out the door, get the car running, scrape the ice off . ..

Baby it's cold outside

Uh, yeah, I know.

I've got to go away

And I need to hit the grocery store, I'm all out of tylenol and bread . . .

Baby it's cold outside

Heard you the first time . . .

This evening has been
Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice


Um, I'll call you.

I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice
My mother will start to worry


Yeah, because of what happened last time, when I woke up in Tijuana with a quarter taped to my hand and my kindeys missing.

Beautiful, what's your hurry
My father will be pacing the floor
Listen to the fireplace roar


And my dad is really touchy about stuff since the whole illegitimate Filipino baby thing.

So really I'd better scurry
Beautiful, please don't hurry
Well Maybe just a half a drink more
Put some music on while I pour


Ah, fuck it, let's get stinko.

The neighbors might think
Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink


WHOA, WHOA whoa. What's in this drink? Wait a second . . .

No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how
Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell


Hey, I gotta get to a hospital!! Now! Blacking out!

I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir
Mind if I move a little closer
At least I'm gonna say that I tried


I tried?! I'm trapped! Trapped like a rat!

What's the sense in hurting my pride
I really can't stay
Baby don't hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outside


His pride?! Girl, kick him in the nads and get outta there, now!

There's more, of course, but I heard this the other day on the radio and couldn't help but think of it in the frame of the postmodern world.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Happy Secular Winter Holiday Season



From Gavin over at Sadly, No!

I'll hang this by my virtual fireplace with care.

And now, onto the music . . .

A few new discoveries this week:

1. Edith Frost, "It's a Game." A sweet, sad little song. I like Edith- she's like Aimee Mann with a nice balance of sweetness and angst.

2. Ashton Allen, "Center of the Universe." I love the honky tonk piano sound and the trumpet at the end.

3. Hudson Bell, "The Falls" I'm in kind of a folksy mode right now, and this guy kicks out a great electric folk sound with Beta Bandy vocals.

4. Cowboy Curse, "Heroin Hair." This Denver band just finished their first "big" album, and I'm looking forward to it. I dig their 50s rock sound mixed with crazy lyrics and great harmonies.

5. Fisher Mystic, "Curtains." Another Denver band. Stoney, instrumentally-focused rock good for a lazy day inside.

6. The Absolute Zeros, "Scrape." This would be the song in the big makeout scene in an indie flick featuring Scarlett Johanssen and Joseph Gordon Levitt.

7. The Sleepers, "Honey." Fun surfy rock with female vocals. I dig it.

8. Bright Channel, "Final Stretch" A little something harder- screechy but smooth indy rock. The best kind.

9. Moccasin, "Emerald Shadow." Good guitars in this one. Very 60s-70s.

10. Monofog, "Zombie Love Song." A Fort Collins rock band- you gotta love a band from an ag school town.

Other updates before I break for the weekend:

1. The new column came out today, a loosely reworked version of the "Fuck This War" post. Got a call this a.m. from a woman who wants me to use it as a topic and give a talk at her women's business networking group's next meeting. This involves free food. I'm so there. Now I can put "guest speaker" on my resume, right?

2. Traffic court tonite. Wish me luck talking down my ticket . . .

Until next time . . .

Thursday, December 08, 2005

It's easy if you try



I was conceived sometime in the two or three months following John Lennon's death, so effectively, I have never shared the planet with him. And this time of year, I always feel a deep sadness about that fact.

I hadn't thought much about John Lennon lately until I saw the mosaic pictured above, in Central Park, when I spent a day wandering the city and waiting for my sister and friend to arrive. It was a beautiful, quiet March Sunday, and they had fenced off the park so people could run, bike and even ride horses in the empty roadways. The city was just beginning to wake up from Winter. Leaves were just budding out, green was returning to the grass, and the Gates were juxtaposed against the bare but promising trees. And I surprised myself when I discovered the "Imagine" monument. Located a short distance from the Dakota apartment that John and Yoko shared, it spoke to me of a time I never knew, a hopeful time that was shot down with him before I was even born.

I was listening this morning to Pacifica Radio, and a Lennon biographer brought up a striking and painful point. Think for a moment about who gets assassinated in America. We do not execute our warmongers, our hate-filled bigots, our ideologues.

We kill the peacemakers. We kill the revolutionaries. We kill those who wish for a freer, a more equal and a quieter world. In America, we kill the dreamers.

But the magical part of all that is that even though so many of our most forward-thinking people are cut down by those who would ferociously defend the status quo, there are still people who dare to let people like John Lennon inspire their lives. In America, they kill the dreamers. But they have yet to kill the dream.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Come on Sugar Daddy bring me home

Ho boy.

The first wish list? Ignore it. Fughedaboutit.

Here's what I really want under my tree this year:

Denver/Boulder Winter Concert Guide

It's cold out. Like, crazy cold. The SAAB onboard computer was reading -3 this morning. It's like, fucking insanity cold.

So let's focus on the wonderful, warming thoughts of rock shows for now:

Dec. 9: Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots, with Hellen Stellar, at the HiDive.
Munly is a unique Denver band, with some strings thrown in for good measure and a song about Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies. For some slightly disorienting but good alt-country, this wouldn't be a bad night at the 'Dive.

Dec. 15: Absolute Zeros, The Moths, Januar at the Walnut Room.
I really dig The Moths, and the Zeros are a recent discovery. The Moths deliver a heavy, solid kind of electronic folk rock and the Zeros are reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian. For a night of warm, sleepy beats, soft alt-folk and an unlimited supply of cute hipster chicks (Dex, are you listening?) it will be worth braving the cold.

Dec. 30: Rose Hill Drive, performing Led Zeppelin 1 at the Boulder Theater, Boulder
This should be interesting. I'm going with Mama Vespa and the whole family. Rose Hill Drive is a local rock band, pretty standard biker bar fare, but I am looking very much forward to their version of "Dazed and Confused."

Jan. 19: Pictureplane and Yamahama at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.
This could be worth the trip to Boulder. Pictureplane is a unique presence on the Colorado scene and a genuinely nice guy.

Jan. 27: Born in the Flood with Moccasin, Larimer Lounge.
Any self-respecting music person in the greater Denver Metro area who hasn't seen Born in the Flood yet needs to just go to this.

Feb. 23: Sigur Rós, Paramount Theatre.
A sexy band, an awesome venue, in the dead of winter. Could be a good cure for anyone suffering from wintertime depression.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tuesday List: Too Busy to Make My Own Edition

From McSweeney's:

Movies That
Won't Be Shown
on the Lifetime
Network.
BY SHYRA LATIOLAIS

- - - -

Mother, May I Marry a Nice Doctor You Really Like?

The Ideal Husband (Not Meant Ironically)

A Child Accounted For and in No Danger

The Amicable Divorce and Custody Agreement

A Pleasant Family Christmas

The Man Who Was as Nice as He Initially Appeared to Be

My Daughter's Internet Pen Pal Who Is Another Preteen Girl

The Successful Surgery That Improved the Quality of the Patient's Life

The Number of Children We Planned For, All Healthy

Monday, December 05, 2005

caption time



"And for my third wish, I want Harry Reid to get off my freakin' case."

"Mr. President, I'm just a ballerina. I'm not your fairy godmother."

Ugh.

We actually got a voice mail at the paper today with this direct quote:

"If they would stay out of our country we would have jobs for Americans and if the greedy businesses would hire and pay Americans for the jobs these illegal immigrants do, we would have no problems."


If only life were as simple as people like her think it is. If only we could just deport every last wetback, we would have no problems! If only those gays would just go back into the closets from whence they came, everything would be just dandy! If only we could ban pit bulls, nobody would ever be killed by a vicious dog again!

Oh, to live entirely free from the concept of Gray Area. What a lovely and pure understanding of the world. How simple.

Next thing you know, cosmetic surgeons will be able to remove the parts of your brain that make you worry about things that are uncertain or troubling. Preemptive Botox.

Fuckin-A.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A short post on abortion

There was a heated debate on Atrios yesterday among the commentariat, concerning whether or not this administration and its Supreme Court nominees will reverse Roe V. Wade.

I am of the opinion that they will not reverse it. While it is easy to get into a dystopian thought process that ends with women as birthing vessels, I don't think that the "Handmaid's Tale" is a vision of the future that people like Alito and Roberts hold dear. Sure, they are not fans of abortion, but I do not believe that they have feverish fantasies of reversing Roe or Griswold and returning to a Stepfordized past.

But.

But I will admit, they are doing everything they can to make abortion difficult, if not outright illegal.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Yes!

The hamster tee is also available at Delias.

Sweet.

Going Bonkers


Ugh. If you ever swallow anything toxic, you can use this as visual ipecac.

I, too,laugh when people point out Mad King George's little gaffes in speech, his oddball assertions, his bizarre facial tics. But I think he might actually be going crazy. Really. Case in point:

I wish I could report to the people of Colorado the war was over. It's not. There's an enemy still out there that wants to inflict harm on the United States of America because of what we believe in.

We believe in the freedom of people to worship and speak their mind, the freedom of the press to print what they want. They believe in the opposite. They have a dark vision of the world. They have made their intentions clear. They want to establish a totalitarian empire that stretches from Spain to Indonesia. And one way for them to accomplish their objective is to drive us out of the Middle East, is to cause America to become isolated. It's not going to happen on my watch. (Applause.)

One of the reasons I'm proud to stand here with Marilyn is she understands the stakes, as well. It's important to have a -- somebody from the United States Congress from that district, from her district, who understands that on September the 11th, 2001, an enemy declared war on the United States of America, and we must do everything in our power to protect the American people.


This is something he said here in Denver, at the Musgrave luncheon. Maybe the altitude was getting to him?

A totalitarian Empire. Let's just take a moment to breathe in the heady bouquet of irony there. Aaah. Notes of Manichean oversimplification, with a finish of blackberry.

And just who is this "enemy?" Who are we talking about? He doesn't get very specific, even in the rest of the speech. Who declared war on the United States on Sept. 11? Osama Bin Laden? Perhaps. 19 dead Saudis? Maybe. But Bush suggests that the "enemy" is the entity that wants to build an empire from Spain to Indonesia. The most Osama has ever really pretended to want is a victory over American Empire. He seems pretty disinterested in having one of his own. And besides, one guy, no matter how wealthy he is, will have a tough time building an empire that stretches from the Meditteranean to Southeast Asia. Not in this post-Genghis-Khan world. And the Al-Qaeda network has never really expressed imperialistic desires- like Bin Laden himself, their main objective seems to be to just fuck up the American Empire, and to get American imperialistic forces out of places that are considered holy in Islam. They have declared jihad on the U.S. Government, the so-called "Crusader/Zionist alliance," not on the free world itself.

So, then, who is the enemy? And what proof does Bush have that they want to take over the world? Seems to me the gentleman doth project too much.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tuesday List: Incredibly Selfish Edition

It's all about ME! As if the nearly weekly indictments of prominent Republicans weren't enough of a gift . . .

VESTAL VESPA'S HOLIDAY WISH LIST:

1. Ooh. Sparkly.

2. This Denver artist is one of my new favorites- sexy David Lynch guitar sound behind the lead singer's Spanish lyrics.

3. I'm a sucker for a cool handbag

4. I dig these glasses.

5. The voyeur in me loves Postsecret, a blog where people send their deepest secrets, written on handmade postcards. Now there is a real Postsecret book of these amazing pieces of outsider art.

6. I have always wanted a Hedwig poster.

7. It's really too bad this T-shirt is sold out.

8. Funny, five minutes ago I didn't even know there was a Criterion edition of The Life of Brian, but now I fear I can't go on living without it.

9. I'm told I need to have this. After listening to a few tracks, I'm convinced.

10. I always need candles because sometimes I walk into my apartment only to be welcomed by the smell of cat and basement.

If this isn't enough for you, you all know where to buy beer, right?

Good grief

Snoopy
You are Snoopy!


Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

(via Freedom Camp)

Monday, November 28, 2005

This fucking war.

It's been a long time since I've had a good long rant here, but I'm due.

Got an email today from a guy on MySpace that I hadn't even thought about in years. He was a loose acquaintance, a boyfriend of a friend of mine, a nice enough kid, if a bit of a Jesus freak. 26 years old now, a wife and two little kids.

He's on his second tour of Iraq.

He has a blog up, and he's a fucking great writer. His wallpaper on the site is coffins draped in flags.

This fucking war.

I am able to tuck the war away in my mind pretty well. It dwells in the dark spaces of my consciousness most of the time, like for most Americans. It is a small rumbling notion that gets under my skin sometimes but for the most part it doesn't make it to the front of the line of my thoughts. Until I think of people like Ben.

I doubt that many people whose "Support Our Troops!" ribbons share real estate with a Bush Cheney 04 sticker know anyone like Ben. Ben's a middle class kid from a rural Colorado town, a former youth group leader, a former Drama Club member. A writer. An artist. A young dad. A smart kid. The coffin-draped flags on his page suggest to me that he's not a cheerleader for the Bush cause. He tells me he's getting out of the military in August to spend more time with his kids. I hope to God he gets out soon.

I'm so sick of this fucking war. I'm sick of stories about kids like Ben dying in the sand on the Airport road, stories that are presented on teevee as mere footnotes to the far more pressing items about Jessica Simpson's impending divorce or some missing white girl who disappeared into the ether at the same time the President's approval ratings hit the 33 percent mark. I'm sick of people like Ben being used as a consumable in this fucking war. I'm sick of being told that I am not "supporting the troops" when I express the opinion that they are being misused and misled. I hate this fucking war and I hate the guys that started it. The troops, on the other hand, are my friends. They are my classmates. They are kids I used to go to Denny's with after theater rehearsals. I support them. I want them to come home to their kids and their families. This is more important to me than anything they could accomplish in Iraq- and that's assuming they would accomplish anything.

Fuck you and your fucking war, Mr. President.

(note- link to Ben's blog not included because a.) you have to register on Myspace to read blogs and b.) I'm doing my best to keep my bloglife and myspace life separate. But for an excellent anti-war soldier blog, click here.)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Friday random ten: Stuck at Work Edition

Yep, stuck at work, just me and Pill Popping Mormon Mommy to keep me company. To maintain a nominal level of sanity, I'm listening to Radio 1190 and trying to look on the bright side: at least I'm not at the mall.

So here's what's getting me through the day:

1. Sufjan Stevens, "Chicago." I for one am happy to feel the Illinoise.

2. The Decemberists, "The Engine Driver." Hey, anyone looking for a way to make me happy this Christmas? Buy "Picaresque" for me.

3. Devendra Banhart, "Lazy Butterfly." Kooky Velvety Undergroundy sound.

4. Bloc Party, "Helicopter." I like percussive pop where British guys kind of sing/yell along to the music.

5. Le Tigre, "Deceptacon." I always liked Le Tigre, since they are like the Bangles with a brain.

6. Silver Jews, "How Can I Love You If You Won't Lie Down." Heh. How romantic . . .

7. I Am The World Trade Center, "Great Escape." There's something about these kids . . . I dig the poppy eighties sound.

8. Wovenhand, "Wooden Brother." I'm a sucker for surf guitar.

9. Page France, "Dogs." A sweet indie song that would be on the sequel to the Garden State soundtrack.

10. Pictureplane, "Orange Red Yellow." A Denver electronica artist, kind of our own local Aphex Twin.

Also:
Shout out to the little Vespa, who finally got her marching orders from the Peace Corps today and will be heading for Africa in February.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thankful

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and sometimes in the mess of mashed potatoes and yams and three bean casserole, we lose the true meaning of the holiday.

You know, how Jesus sat down with the pilgrims and turned one turkey into a multitude . . . no, wait, that's not it.

It's Thanksgiving, a holiday to remember what you are thankful for. This time last year, I had a hell of a time coming up with anything worth celebrating. But this year is shaping up to be a much more generous one. So here's what I have to be grateful about this holiday:

1. Patrick Fitzgerald. Sexy, sexy Patrick Fitzgerald.

2. I am thankful for 60 degree temps in Colorado in November. Hey, no rule says you can't enjoy global warming, right?

3. Jon Stewart, who dressed down bowtie-wearing buffoon Tucker Carlson in grand style on Crossfire.

4. I am thankful for the movie Anchorman. It has brought light into my life.

5. Rep. John Murtha. It's about freakin' time the Democrats grew a spine and demanded an end to the war.

6. I am thankful for the growing numbers of people who refuse to approve of the job Bush is doing.

7. Amy Goodman.

8. My bloggy friends Dex, Norbizness, Gavin, Pete, NTodd and teh l4m3 for continuing to fight the good fight (or at least continuing to make light of the situation).

9. I'm thankful for the Lawyer . . .

10. I'm thankful for friends, family . . . and the light at the end of the tunnel. Last year, I couldn't see it. It seemed a long way off. But it's coming now, I can see it . . .

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tuesday list, Turkey Day Edition

REPLACING RANDOM WORDS WITH 'YAM' IN THE TITLES OF TIM LAHEY'S 'LEFT BEHIND' SERIES

1. "Left Behind: A Novel of the Yam's Last Days"

2. "Glorious Appearing: The End of Yams"

3. "Apollyon: The Yam Is Unleashed"

4. "Soul Harvest: The Yam Takes Sides"

5. "The Remnant: On the Yam of Armageddon"

6. "Tribulation Force: The Continuing Drama of Yams Left Behind"

7. "Assassins: Assignment: Jerusalem, Target: Yam" (ed. note- is this not the lamest book title ever?)

8. "The Regime: Evil Yams"

Unpopular war, unpopular president

I predict with the utmost confidence that support for the war will go into the teens this holiday season.

It's already down to 25 percent.

I think Americans are getting tired of the War on Terror rhetoric. I think the Neocons overestimated the mileage they could get out of 9/11.

I've been wrong many, many times before when I give the American people the benefit of the doubt, but I really think that people are sick of the "9/11 is the reason we're 'liberating' Iraq" argument." As the war goes on and the insurgents keep coming like so many sugar ants, people are beginning to "get" that the war is not about their safety or the safety of the Iraqi people.

I think we're going to see many people turn away from Bush this winter as people with kids and husbands and brothers in Iraq face yet another Christmas without them.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Surprising to no one, especially not me.

Pure Nerd
91 % Nerd, 39% Geek, 17% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.

Congratulations!


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in any of the following:

Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 98% on nerdiness
You scored higher than 55% on geekosity
You scored higher than 15% on dork points

Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

The scene

The Lawyer and I went out to the Hi Dive Friday to catch Bright Channel and get some sweet potato fries. As usual I was more impressed by the opening bands . . . especially a group called everything absent or distorted, a seven-man ensemble of guys who met on craigslist. Among the more interesting parts of their performance is the presence of an accordion, a trombone, a banjo, a vintage 80s synthesizer and a band member who amuses the crowd by performing calisthenics throughout the show.

To hear, click here.

To hear the second band, The Clap, click here.

And the headliners, Bright Channel, can be found here.

And for a great 'zine story on the debilitating affects of Hipster Apathy Disorder, click here. I'm pretty sure I had the initial stages of H.A.D. Type A but was able to work through it with therapy and the support of my friends:


H.A. Type A: Designer Ironic
(The most common form of H.A.) Characteristics of a person with H.A.D.I. include: insisting on wearing designer jeans with vintage promotional beer T-shirts, sporting any kind of “ironic” hairstyle (which includes but is not limited to: the mullet, the rat-tail, or the perm), and having a general lazy attitude toward anything involving the real world. Once some one has full blown H. A. (and especially those with Type A), he or she is disgusted with others who don’t live in their fake world where knowing the full Radiohead and/or Pulp discography makes them a god. H.A.D. I. is most often caught by spending too much time at Urban outfitters, dancing excessively to The Jam and Blur at the same lame retro club night, or from the opening on PBR cans.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Vindication!

Blog brother Dex sent me this choice bit of information:

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald made this year's list of People's Sexiest Men Alive.

Nice to know I'm not alone . . .



Awwwww yeaah . . .

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood


(Not my picture. But pretty close to what I saw this morning)

There are days like today, when I'm driving down I-25 in the crystalline gorgeousness of an autumn morning, when I understand why we put up with idiots like Marilyn Musgrave and Wayne Allard. In fact, today was a day when I couldn't imagine living anywhere else on the planet.

Just so beautiful . . .

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Newspapers

Here at the paper we had a seminar a week ago, where a seasoned editor and journalism instructor gave us a pretty clear message that print journalism's days are numbered. And while some of the reporters and designers I work with shook their heads and muttered "no ways" I have to admit I agree with him. It's my slack-assed generation's fault, too. I don't even read the paper. I can't remember the last time I read any paper cover to cover that wasn't a free weekly. There are journalists who love the smudgy tactile experience that is print. I'm not one of them.

But what got to me is that the guy's solutions to decreased readership were mostly about writing snappier heds and ledes and placing photographs more appealingly on the page. Style, not substance. This bothered me, but I didn't say anything. My thought is that newspapers are failing because Americans can get their news elsewhere, and it is becoming a world where people can get the news they want to see, in a way they want to see it, from sources they want to trust. This is kind of scary, because I see a future where people will no longer get the information they need, preferring instead to read only the news they want.

This isn't good. For a number of reasons. While people who want to be informed will probably be fine, and will remain more or less in the loop about what they need to know, there are vast numbers of Americans who do not care. They will never be informed unless information is thrust upon them. These people will be lost in a world where news is offered a la carte. In many ways, they already are. Americans love what is bad for them: steak pizza, Coors light, Marlboros and ignorance. It's not just print that they are ignoring. It's everything.

There's no amount of sexing up you can do to a headline that will recapture this audience.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Local Zine Alert

I'm a relative newcomer to both Denver and the Denver 'Zine scene, but I just found out about this publication called The Yellow Rake and I had to share. As soon as I opened the latest print edition to find a cartoon telling me that Jesus could not have been a Republican, for the sole reason that he was funky, I was hooked.

Send 'em a note. They'll send you a copy. You won't be disappointed.

And now, a Tuesday list, stolen from a friend's Myspace bulletin:

TEN REASONS GAY MARRIAGE IS WRONG

01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Monday, November 14, 2005

34 percent: perspective

Only about 34 percent of Americans approve of the job Bush is doing as president. Here are some other things that 34 percent of Americans do or say:

1. 34 percent of Americans believe that the European Union should be the leading foreign policy authority in the world.

2. 34 percent of Americans believe Jews have too much control of our economy.

3. 34 percent of Americans have gone one to three days without brushing their teeth.

4. 34 percent of Americans believe "rock 'n' roll has had a sinful effect on American culture and values"

5. 34 percent of Americans believe the First Amendment offers citizens "too much freedom."

6. 34 percent of Americans believe in the literal truth of the Bible.

7. 34 percent of Americans believe the treatment of Gitmo detainees was "just right."

8. 34 percent of Americans believe in ghosts.

9. 34 percent of Americans think we're winning the war.

10. Only 34 percent of Americans admitted to having any degree of sympathy for Martha Stewart during her incarceration.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The cat is strange



It's too bad this is so blurry. I just looked over and there she was, in the tub.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I (heart) Dan Savage

From this week's installment of Savage Love:
STRAIGHT RIGHTS UPDATE: As I mentioned a few months ago, a vaccine for two of the most common strains of HPV, the virus that causes genital warts, is currently moving through the federal approval process. HPV can also cause cervical cancer in women, and the cancers caused by the virus kill 4,000 American women every year. Who could possibly be against the introduction of a vaccine—one that has proven 100 percent effective in clinical tests!—that will save thousands of women's lives every year? Those "culture of life" assfucks, that's who.

"A new vaccine that protects against cervical cancer has set up a clash between health advocates [and] social conservatives who say immunizing teenagers could encourage sexual activity," the Washington Post reported last week. Doctors want teenage girls to receive the vaccine as a matter of routine when they hit puberty, something the religious right opposes. "Because the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted virus, many conservatives oppose making it mandatory, citing fears that it could send a subtle message condoning sexual activity before marriage... 'I've talked to some who have said, "This is going to sabotage our abstinence message,"' said Gene Rudd, associate executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations." (To his credit, Rudd said he would want his daughters vaccinated.)

The right's abstinence message has bigger problems than this vaccine. Studies have shown that young men and women are still having premarital sex—no shit—despite the billions of dollars the Bush administration has poured into abstinence education. A study conducted at Texas A&M University found that kids who've been subjected to abstinence-only sex education, the right's preferred brand, have more sex than kids who aren't subjected to abstinence-only sex education. So what the right is saying is this: We're willing to kill American women in order to avoid "sabotaging" our ineffectual abstinence-only message. Nice.

Who ultimately gets to determine the government's position on the HPV vaccine? Thanks to George W. Bush, the Christian fundies do. From the Washington Post: "The jockeying [around the HPV vaccine] reflects the growing influence social conservatives, who had long felt overlooked by Washington, have gained on a broad spectrum of policy issues under the Bush administration. In this case, a former member of the conservative group Focus On The Family serves on the federal panel that is playing a pivotal role in deciding how the vaccine is used." W stands for women—that's what he told us when he ran for president. But, hey, it wasn't a lie. George W. Bush never said anything about standing for live women.

I've said it before, straight folks, and I'll say it again: The right-wingers and the fundies and the sex-phobes don't just have it in for the queers. They're coming for your asses too.

Keep Kansas Dum!

While Dover, Penn., had the good sense to boot out eight school board members who were advancing an "intelligent design" policy on their public schools, Kansas, true to form, embraces idiocy with both hands.

Read this:

"This is a great day for Kansas schools. They will be able to have critical analysis of neo-Darwinianism and won't have to be taught evolution as dogma," Kansas Board of Education Chairman Steve Abrams, Arkansas City, said.


"They won't have to be taught evolution as dogma."

Kansas seems to have a particular taste for irony.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Les Troubles

Mes pensées sont avec la famille Gandelli . . .

La ville de Nice a un reputation pour des conflits et tension raciales. J'espère que la violence ne s'aggrave pas au Nice . . .

It's up to you, New York

Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman who paid more than $70 million for his own campaign, portrayed himself as a technocrat who was beholden to no one and who had brought the city back from the dark days after 9/11 as crime rates fell, students' test scores rose, and the economy rebounded.

[snip]

In the end Mr. Ferrer was never more than an underdog, as their race quickly turned into one of the most lopsided spending contests in city history and the Democrat struggled to raise even $5 million.


$70 million vs. $5 million.

To compare:
$70 million = most expensive house sale history

$5 million = Paris Hilton's engagement ring.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A quiz, and some observations

Software developer or serial killer? They look pretty similar, so I only got 5 out of 10. Cut from the same cloth, I guess.

But on the way to work today I caught the soundbite of the president telling us "We Do Not Torture."

Now, I understand how some of the subtleties of foreign policy or domestic economic practices may be lost on a vast and apathetic middle American populace. But come on. While your president is up there telling us "We Do Not Torture," the Vice President is working to make it legal for us to do just that.

This is not difficult to understand. This is lying. This is wrong. This is against everything America ever pretended to stand for in the world, against every ideal and principal that the country was ever supposed to represent.

But maybe I'm wrong in assuming that the people don't understand. Perhaps it would be more accurate to assume that they just don't give a crap.

Monday, November 07, 2005

"So I can hurt now, or hurt later"

Finally got to see Shopgirl (sans media passes, damnit) but it was well worth the price. A beautifully photographed, funny and yet poignant love story. And it includes an incredibly awkward sex scene between Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman. I love awkward sex scenes.

It is odd that I mentioned to someone that shots of Danes are done like Dutch paintings, because the director was the producer of "Girl with Pearl Earring." Interesting.

At any rate, well worth a look. Not a loopy romantic comedy, not a gloomy indy love story. Somewhere in between, which is nice. It's more about growing up and how we get to be who we really are, rather than a two-hour excuse to show Claire Danes naked.

Light posting this week, I'm afraid . . . the social life is suddenly more lively and work is kicking into full, end-of-year chaos.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Random 10- teen angst edition


The patron saint of the WB


In a fit of procrastination last night (I was putting off reading the Longmont Area Comprehensive Plan for a column I'm working on) I baked cookies, organized my CDs, did laundry, tried (unsuccessfully) to quell the ant problem in my bathroom and got through another dense-as-concrete piece in the October Harper's. But in organizing my CDs, I found a few of my old albums from the high teen angst years . . . from my brief Goth phase through my little-punk-in-pigtails phase and right up to my melancholic, thrift-shop-coat-and-Delias-shoes phase. Here are the standards. I'm not saying they are good, or even that I like them at all anymore, but when I think of my late 90s adolescence, I think about these:


1. Fiona Apple, "Never is a Promise." Hoo boy. Only a 15 year old can feel this kind of pain. Or at least, feel it so dramatically.

2. Smashing Pumpkins: "Fuck You: An Ode to No One." Here's the thing. My mom actually bought Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness for me, proving that all attempts at rebellion would basically be moot unless I joined up with the NRA and started talking about liberal plots to destroy Christmas. But nonetheless, a good, angsty song that got me through never having a date to Homecoming.

3. Nine Inch Nails, "Hurt." I now appreciate the Johnny Cash cover more, but this was like, sheer poetry to me when it came out. Trent Reznor was every goth girl's Leonardo DiCaprio.

4. Tori Amos, "Cornflake Girl." I had a friend who was a cornflake girl, who thought it was a good solution, hanging with the raisin girls. She wound up on probation on a pot charge.

5. Sarah McLachlan, "Possession." Got me through the aftermath of a bad, possessive relationship. Lilith Fair was my first "real" concert.

6. Paula Cole, "Bethlehem." Contains the line, "I'm only 15 and I think I have an ulcer." All us girls in vintage dresses and combat boots knew what she was singing about.

7. Oasis, "Champagne Supernova." This song will forever remind me being a freshman, of hanging out with the older kids in their junked out cars, eating french fries with Wendy's Frosties.

8. Pearl Jam, "Better Man." I always kind of imagined that this was about my friend's mom, who was married to psycho husband number two and always seemed a little on edge.

9. Paul Oakenfold, "Ready Steady Go." Kinda the first techno song that ever appealed to me. I never really did the Raver thing, but this song made me wanna grab some glowsticks and whatever drug it was that made the cool kids eyes look all weird.

10. Radiohead, "Paranoid Android." This was the song that effectively made me turn off FM radio, and never turn it on again. Once I heard this, I realized that all the good music existed beyond the looking glass, and not on Clear Channel.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Did he or didn't he?

I loved turning on NPR first thing this morning to hear the delicious news that Scooter was headed for court. But it got me to thinking- the indictments have certainly gotten to some big players, but not to Bush himself. What if Bush was completely oblivious to all of the workings in the Plame leak?

For the past several years, I have wondered about whether or not Bush actually is kept abreast of what the vice president and his crew are up to. I have a theory that he is basically kept in the dark about most of the unholy machinations of Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld and the other asses of evil. I don't think that it takes a big leap of faith to imagine that he was never told about the Plame case and that it existed solely within the realm of Turd Blossom and Sith Lord Dick.

I don't know enough about the background here, but I think there is at least a small possibility that Bush was kept happliy jabbering on about spreadin democrusy and freedum while the big boys took care of the Wilsons.

On the other hand, there's the school of thought that says that Bush is not a stupid or incompetent as he looks, that he is actually among the big brains that make the big things happen. In this case, it would be certainly to his advantage to act like he didn't know what was going on even though he played a key role in it.

So, is he really dumb or is he playing dumb? Did he know about the Plame leak but just didn't play an active role or did he have no idea? Is he an player or a mouthpiece?

These questions are bigger than the Plame case. They have implications well outside of this scandal, and the answers could shine some much-needed light on just who is making the big decisions in the White House.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Spinal transplant successful, Dems call secret session



Let 'em have it, Harry.

The thing that made this Reid news so special is the ensuing lack of response from the Republicans. I went home last night to zone out and eat some leftovers in front of the TV, hoping to catch some headlines on how the MSM was handling this.

CNN was pretty much on it, CSPAN had developments, MSNBC was touching on it. And Fox? What was Fox reporting for about the sixth day in a row?

THIS:


Over at Sadly No, Gavin used the term "Tectonic vertigo." Things are shifting underfoot. And all you need to prove that is the fact that Fox isn't running Bill Frist's whiny clips accusing the Democrats of having no principles and of slapping him in the face. Fox is, instead, trying to do a media bait and switch with a pretty white girl who has been missing since summer with no real developments on the case. They got nothing. They got worse than nothing- Natalee Holloway is practically a holding pattern. The spin machine tried to get started and sputtered out like a 82 Volvo with a faulty fuel line. I expect to see them try again to paint the Dems as shrill bullies and try to go for the victim card again. But let me just say this.

Bill Frist: When you act like a bitch, you gonna get bitchslapped.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mia, meet Carrie. She's had a rough night.



That's me as Mia, pre-overdose, and my sister as Carrie, post-prom.

Monday, October 31, 2005

4000

4000 hits this month, as per sitemeter.

Trick or . . . trick, I guess

Mia Wallace was a hit at the Saturday party . . . I'll get some photos up of tonight's bar crawl in Boulder sometime tomorrow.

So the Alito nomination totally killed my Fitzmas buzz, which was really too bad. But I kind of saw it coming. Did I really think that Bush would somehow come through with a well-reasoned, balanced choice for SCOTUS? I'm not that naive. But "Scalito" is almost a slap in the face . . . just when you think you've prepared yourself for how bad a nominee could be, this guy comes along.

And on NPR this morning, the conservadroid commentator was trying to defend him as a "judge's judge" by mentioning a case wherein he'd defended a Muslim police officer's right to wear a beard at work. That's great, but he also argued that a woman considering abortion should be required by law to notify her husband of her choice. The beard thing doesn't quite cover up that, or the fact that Alito was the lone dissenter in the Planned Parenthood V. Casey case.

Again, I've made it clear that I doubt Bush has any serious designs on reversing Roe V. Wade. But Planned Parenthood V. Casey was primarily about privacy, not abortion, and in the post-9/11 world, privacy is quickly becoming a bigger issue than Roe ever could be.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Let's just be obsessively loyal friends, OK?

Miers pulled out. I kinda thought she would. Of all the ambiguities in her record, personal politics and character, the only real consistent traits I ever saw in her were slavering, Condoleeza-esque loyalty and a fierce protectiveness of her own secrets. At some point she probably decided it was in the best interests of Big Daddy Dubya and herself to bow out and let him fry the bigger fish that seem to keep piling up on him . . .

At any rate, I'd like to clarify yesterday's post a bit, seeing as how all my big blog brothers dogpiled me for what I said about Nixon v. Bush as far as corruption goes . . . Here goes. The administration as a whole, the Bush Tapestry if you will, is no doubt much, much worse than Nixon's little foray into breaking and entering. This is absolutely true. The elections were certainly not clean, the war is a sham, etc. etc. Yes. True. What I meant to convey is my opinion that the Plame affair itself is a blip on the corruption radar screen. While I'll be happy as anyone else if this is the straw that breaks the bloated Bush camel's back, outing Valerie Plame alone is not, to my mind, as bad as Watergate was at the time it occured.

That said, Nixon was an amateur to corruption compared with the larger picture here.

And Patrick Fitzgerald?

Still hot.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The waiting is the hardest part

I'm not very good at detail politics. I am more interested in social politics, what makes people tick on certain issues, the big picture stuff. Which is why, I guess, I haven't really discussed the simmering pot of corruption, greed and secrecy that is the Plame case.

I hesitate to take part in the "Worse than Watergate" assessment of this case, mostly because the scale of the actual crime, at least to my mind, is not as egregious as what was going on with Nixon. There is no doubt in my mind that Rove ratted Valerie out to settle a petty political vendetta (in true Greek style, this might be the overreaching arrogant move that destroys him. I hope). But I'm not yet convinced that the leak is as bad as what Nixon did. Looking at it through social politics glasses, Watergate pissed on the American Dream at a time when most Americans thought they could trust the government, at least to a certain degree. By the time the Plame case became more or less public, I think most Americans had come to terms with the fact that the American government is not worthy of the kind of Eisenhower-era trust they once placed in it.

There is the angle that the Plame leak compromised national security, which might be true on some levels. But I think that if you want to talk about ways in which the neocon cabal has compromised our national security, we need to start the conversation well before this scandal, and look at how, you know, they sold all those WMDs to Saddam Hussein. That's a good place to start.

In truth, I think the Plame case is probably small beer compared to the real scandals of the too-cozy relationship between the Bush family and the House of Saud, of the tragedy of 2,000 soldiers dead, of the Diebold voting machines, of the pathetic and incompetent reaction to Katrina, of the Bush administration's outright hostility toward the environment, of the pathetic state of "No Child Left Behind" and of the millions of Americans who will have to figure out how to budget this year just to heat their homes while Shell, Exxon and BP make billions off of oil markups.

But that's not to say that I can't wait for the indictments to start coming in. I'm certainly for any kind of legal action that will take these bastards down. If Plame is going to be for the Bush Administration what "tax evasion" was for Al Capone, I'm all for it.

And Patrick Fitzgerald is hot:

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tuesday List, Momma Vespa's Greatest Hits Edition

THINGS I'VE HEARD MY MOM SAY:

1. "This might sound slutty, coming from your mom, but if I were touring with Led Zeppelin, I'd be having sex with them."

2. "I'm not nearly as much of a bitch as I used to be."

3. "Worst. Fucking. President. Ever."

4. "That's what he said to Laura" (Watching TV, after Dubya turned to Kerry at the end of a debate and said 'That was enjoyable.')

5. That's what I'll do this year for Halloween. When those little shits come to steal my candy off the porch, the basket will be filled with flourescent dildos instead. (This was just today.)

6. "Yay!" (When I told her I'd lost my virginity.)

7. "Sometimes it's just fun to make out."

8. "If I ever wear 'mom jeans,' please shoot me."

9. "I swear to God, I'm going to come back in the next life as a fat woman."

10. "I love you."

Eat my Tercel Dust, elitist bitch!

Today on I-25, I saw something I see a lot. A guy (it's almost always a guy) driving a little shitbox car, held together with duct tape and WalMart bags, with a "Bush Cheney" sticker on the back.

This just kills me. The guy almost always sneers at me, in my Saab, with my "Hail to the Thief" sticker, and drives past like he's won some kind of unspoken argument with me.

Right. Good for you, man. Great. You win. You are still driving the shitbox car that you blamed Clinton for, you are filling it with gas at $2.67 a gallon and you're driving it to a job in Weld County that is probably just there until they can get the paperwork done to outsource it. Game, set, match man. I'll just go cry into my latte now.

There just seems to be this contingent of Bush voter that only voted for the guy to be audacious and "different." It's like the ultimate in political incorrectness. An act of adolescent rebellion aimed at a percieved liberal, effete, all-too-accepting culture. Kind of the political manifestation of Cartman's "Whateva! I'll do what I want!" attitude when he was on Maury Povich.

What's crazy is that I'm so angry over the way things are for poor people, and yet so many poor people are so happy with the way things are. I mean, honestly, I'm not doing too bad. I am pretty much cash poor but I do alright for myself. I have my car, my designer jeans, my pointy shoes and enough change leftover at the end of the week to eat at Little India or whatever. I'm doing OK. But the guy in the shitbox car with the Bush Cheney sticker on it probably makes do on much less than me, probably has a family, and probably is stuck with Tater Tot Casserole Tuesdays that become Tater Tot Casserole Revivals on Thursdays and Beef Hash Mondays that become Chili Surprise Wednesdays. His kids will probably be faced with the "Army v. Wal Mart" choice upon leaving high school, and if they chose the military they'll probably be shafted out of their college benefits like so many other poor kids. Life probably sucks a lot more for Mr. Shitbox. But instead of blaming Bush/Cheney 2004 for it, he blames it all on people like me. Hence the sneer.

The Lawyer and I were discussing the other day how people can be really smart, but also really wrong. But then there are people like Mr. Shitbox who are not only wrong, but very ignorant, and will probably never understand why they have to live the way they live.

Monday, October 24, 2005

What the Deuce?


This is what happens when I have too much time on my hands on a Sunday afternoon.

All in all, though, the kind of weekend where one forgets the bigger issues of the world, and has a delightful time in the smaller-scale realities of two days off of work. I need more weekends like this . . . although right now I'm nursing a low-grade hangover from too much fun last night at Carmine's on Penn and a too-friendly waiter who pours too-generous after-dinner drinks.

I can't imagine what my post-Fitzmas hangover will feel like . . . but I have a feeling that it will be worth it.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Blurry cat



Among the joys of cat ownership- seeing this in your face each morning.

Like I need a quiz to tell me this.

You are a

Social Liberal
(78% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(11% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Socialist




Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Friday random ten: rainy day edition

I'm all sleepy because I was out late last night for wings and $1 beer at Ladies' Night in Longmont . . . and then I went home and watched part of my new "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story" DVD before crashing. I was so pleased that the movie has one of Stewie's "Sexy Parties" in it, where he puts on a captain's hat, Benny Hill music comes on and women in lingerie parade around the house in fast motion. I think that for my next party, I'm just going to have invites with Stewie on them: "Come to another one of my Sexy Parties!."

Anyway, onto the music. The gray weather is adding to my need to hibernate, so here are some downbeat favorites:

1. Portishead, "Roads." On a day like today, Portishead is like hot cocoa spiked with spanish fly.

2. Travis, "Sing." I think I wore grooves into "The Invisible Band" when I was in college. These boys do amazing things with a banjo.

3. Beck, "End of the Day," from Sea Change. Sea Change is the album Beck did without moving his lips.

4. Massive Attack, "Teardrop." Oooh, I love this song. Warms you up inside like a good martini.

5. The Pixies, "Where is my Mind?" Ah. Makes me want to be Helena Bonham Carter.

6. Thievery Corporation, "Indra." A cool, slow song mixed up with Bollywood beats.

7. Tori Amos, "Spark." I like the songs Tori does that sound like she's playing music underwater.

8. Aphex Twin, "IZ-US." This guy is so weird, but makes such pretty music.

9. Bic Runga, "Election Night." I need her to come out with something new. Perhaps I should follow the cue of the "free Fiona" people and send a bunch of Bic lighters to her record company?

10. Coldplay, "Clocks." Yeah, I know, pop sellouts, lazy version of U2, big fat weenies who marry Tenenbaums, yes, I know. But I can't help it, I love this song.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Never before have the words "criminal conspiracy" sounded so sweet

CAPIAS

[Latin] A legal writ, the most common of which is the the writ of capias ad respondendum, ordering the sheriff to arrest a defendant in a civil case for appearance in court to answer the plaintiff’s declaration. The writ states the name of defendant, the court term when he was required to appear; the name of the plaintiff, the form of action (in non-bailable cases this was a fictitious trespass); and the names of the justice, clerk, and plaintiff's attorney. The writ does not contain a statement of the plaintiffs claim. The Alias Capias is the second issuance of a capias after the original had gone without answer.

Blogging from the Rectangular State

It has been a while since I've had a look around to see what mischief my fellow Colorado bloggers have been up to. So here's a roundup of some recent discoveries:

Julie in Centennial has a simple credo on her profile: "I'm a liberal, deal with it." It has got to be more than a little difficult to be a liberal in Tancredo Country, so props to her for being a little blue dot in the big red district.

While I've known Emdash for a little while through Drinking Liberally, I have only had a few chances to glance at her blog, Unbossed. But it's a great place to go for views on Colorado politics from a pretty diverse little group of writers. It's worth it just for the "Site of the Week" postings.

Curious Stranger is from Connecticut but lives in Colorado. Usually I tend to resent East Coast transplants, what with their driving of the Jeeps and their wearing of the North Face and their pronouncing of the "Denvah." But CS is a kool kid and is pretty plugged in to local politics and music, so I'll give this yankee a pass. Plus, his title for a DeLay arrest post was "The Hammer Gets Nailed."

Andrew Oh-Willeke, a.k.a. the Wash Park Prophet has been hanging around here and being kind enough to throw the occasional link my way, so I've been making his place a stop on the daily blogaround. There's some good stuff here- both local and global politics.

Evil Mommy is one of my new favorites- she is a hip mom and a fun writer. She has a good take on local and national politics but the stories about her adventures with her kids in Denver are also well worth reading.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Schadenfreude days are here again!

Again, I need to stop posting depressing blogs in the a.m. I should really just wait until the afternoon, so I can hop on such exciting news as this:

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- A Texas court issued a warrant Wednesday for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to appear for booking, where he is likely to face the fingerprinting and photo mug shot he had hoped to avoid.


Woo hoo!

Sake bombs, all around.

This, the new and wonderful addition of the Colbert Report to my life, and I have a (second) date Friday night . . . life is good again.

Better start brushing up on my Mandarin

Okay, considering the following:

America's debt to China grows daily as the war in Iraq drags on
China has a population of more than 1.3 billion
China will be the world's largest market for automobiles in the next decade
China could be the world's largest exporter by 2010

. . . I think it's safe to say that this little maneuver will go down in history as the last throes of an obstinate, arrogant superpower as it begins to lose all hold on global domination and is slowly overtaken by the new economic juggernaut in Asia.

The Neocons messed up here- although it's hard to say that any forethought may have saved them. They forgot that while "resolve," "democracy," "liberty" and all that are great poetic concepts, they don't pay the tab when the bill comes for anti-aircraft missiles and Humvees. They spent away any promise of continued dominance, and continue to spend away any hope for reassertion as they keep taking out loans from the Chinese.

Add to this the dominance of America's Anti-Science Right and you have a recipe for decline.

No innovation. No money. A stubborn refusal to commit to the use of new energy options (while China makes this a priority). I can't help but think this is all leading us down the same path that porous borders, lead pipes, inbreeding and barbarian influences led the Romans.