Friday, September 30, 2005

Random 10

(to make up for the downer post this a.m.)


1. The Who, "Baba O'Reilly." Nothing like a primal scream to make the commute a little more bearable.

2. Modest Mouse, "Satin in a Coffin." Nice little Halloweeny tune, with groovy drums.

3. Kings of Leon, "Taper Jean Girl." Once I saw the lyrics for this little ditty, I was ashamed for ever having tried to sing along.

4. White Stripes, "Seven Nation Army." I am having a very drums-heavy moment right now.

5. Tori Amos, "Spark." This was always my favorite Tori song.

6. Modest Mouse, "Black Cadillacs." I, too, am done done done with all the fuck fuck fucking around.

7. Gorillaz, "Kids with Guns." Creepy little song.

8. Thievery Corporation, "Indra." Sexy sexy TC song.

9. Ryan Adams, "New York, New York." This is the big bad brainworm song. Digs in and doesn't let go.

*updated to add forgotten 10th song*

10. Rosebuds, "Boxcar." College radio tune. Very . . . collegiate.

Old Glory

Some random musings I was pondering while commuting today.

I saw the American flag hanging in the rear window of a semi with no trailer attached and I was listening to loud Steppenwolf at the time. And I thought of the classic scene in "Easy Rider" when Captain America's bike pulls into the shot, Steppenwolf blaring, the stars and stripes gleaming on his perfect chopper.

Now, I find it interesting how the American flag has changed from a symbol of rebellion and rugged resistance to the status quo into the kind of thing people use as a crochetting motif and a defensive symbol like those aggravating yellow car magnet ribbony things. It's gone from being something that symbolizes a nation supposedly based on radical ideas of liberty and justice to a sort of exemplification of the forceful calls for undying "support" on the Right. From Captain America to David Brooks' assinine ideas about who is and isn't a "Real American."

How sad, really. My post-9/11 mind sees Captain America and can't help but think of how the flag has been perverted by the right as a tool of grandiose exclusion rather than a proud statement of what America was once supposed to be about. Just like the ideals that it was supposed to stand for- Freedom, Justice, Democracy, etc.- it has been twisted to stand for war, injustice, greed . . .

And now this.

Admittedly, the descriptions of what is going on in this footage and these photos makes me most ashamed to be human. But also ashamed to be associated with the country (and the flag of the country) that would use rape of women and children as a systematic tactic of war in a country we are supposed to be liberating.

There is such a heartbreaking irony in the fact that those of us who want to see all of this end are being told that we are somehow less American than those who want to continue it in all of our names.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Eeny, Meeny, Miney . . . Mind Swap!


This guy couldn't booweeeooop himself out of a wet paper bag.

You know, this Justice Roberts fellow might think he's pretty clever, but he's no Mentok.



And honestly, Mentok has a lot more trial experience than Roberts can claim.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

this day just gets better and better

DeLay temporarily steps down.

Yeah, he can say "temporarily" as many times as he wants.

Drinking Liberally is gunna be fun tonight.

Patsies

No, not this Patsy:



These Patsies:

Lynndie England, a.k.a. Private Cabbage Patch
(This girl can get a boyfriend and I can't even get a date. WTF?)


Michael Brown, a.k.a. "Brownie," a.k.a. "Pretty Pony Club President"
(Wins the John Bolton award for enthusiastic incompetence)

Now, don't get me wrong. I am glad that these two degenerates got whupped in their respective forums for public chastisement. But does it seem entirely fair that a barely literate woman, highly susceptible to authority, a private in the Army, is taking the fall for what was obviously a mode of operation dictated by the highest levels of government? Does it seem fair that this white-trash girl is going down for the likes of Rumsfeld? Of course, what she did was reprehensible, and by all accounts she should have known better. But the fact remains that we're sending a single mother to jail in disgrace for something a bunch of rich white guys ordered.

And Brown. Let's talk about Brown. Brown is a jackass. A complete and utter buffoon, whose attempts at reading the teleprompted lines from Rove are so transparent he might as well be sitting in front of a cue card guy at his hearings. This guy actually said "I do not want to make this partisan, so I can't help it that Alabama and Mississippi are governed by Republican governors and Louisiana is governed by a Democratic governor."

He can't even do the talking points right. His attempts to cover his own ass are as disgusting as they are false. But here's the thing. Do you think this guy wanted to be in charge during something like Katrina? The likely scenario is that Bush put him into this position to return a favor, imagining it to be more or less a cake job where the most Brownie would have to do is don a haz mat suit and look stylish for the TV cameras. Brown, like England, is going down for something bigger than himself. While England is going to jail because she followed the blatantly illegal orders of her boyfriend and superiors, Brown is going down in flames for being put in a position he was never prepared for by a man for whom political appointments are the equivalent of corporate Christmas gifts.

Make no mistake- Brown and England are stupid, stupid people who did very bad things. This much is true. But we're never going to stop feeling the effects of stupid people doing bad things unless we look at the cronyism and corruption that Browns and Englands need to exist.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tuesday list

7 HABITS OF HIGHLY UNSUCCESSFUL PEOPLE

1. Codependency
2. Purchasing of lottery tickets
3. QVC
4. Shoplifting
5. Self-medication
6. Incarceration
7. Failure

EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS OF "A NIGHT WITHOUT ARMOR," BYJEWEL

1. "Unbelievably incoherent"
2. "Laughable"
3. "Unintentionally funny"
4. "Actually worse than her music"
5. "Blatant bastardization of the word 'poetry'"
6. "Craptastic"
7. "More than any other book on the planet, this is the one that makes me fantasize about having the power to cause things to spontaneously burst into flame."
8. "Hi Jewel, this is Poetry. I don't believe we've met."
9. "Repulsive."
10. "What has poetry done to deserve this?"

Monday, September 26, 2005

must have scooter

I think I am still smiling from scooter afterglow.

Although the name would suggest otherwise, Vestal Vespa does not, in fact, have a Vespa. I have a car, I have a cruiser bike but I do not have a scooter. I have always loved them, though and I have always wanted one but until this weekend I hadn't even ridden one.

Now that I have . . . well, I think I need one.

Wow.

The best part about the scooter ride (well, second to the part about the fact that it was part of my JOB to ride the scooter, for a story I was assigned) was the reaction from passers-by to a pod of scooters. Grins, devil horns, smiles and waves. Definitely not something you get from riding in your car.

Now I just have to figure out which internal organ I can sell on the black market to get the money for a new Bajaj . . .

Friday, September 23, 2005

Don't you think?

Okay, let's get the kitty pic out of the way first:


I love the ear thing she's doing here. Like she hears something behind her.

Now, it was a very long night last night at the Red Room with the local scooter club (an excellent and diverse little group of people, very likeable, friendly and very dedicated) so I'll make my point as succinctly as possible.

Isn't it just the teeniest bit ironic that all those hand-picked "scientists" and "economists" on Bush's side claimed that any Kyoto-like changes would serve no purpose but to cripple the U.S. economy, when our negligence to recognize the warming of bodies of water like, oh, the Gulf of Mexico, has led to more numerous and more powerful hurricanes than ever that are knocking out ports, chemical plants and oil refineries, effectively putting the economy into a tailspin?

Let's run through that again:

Bush administration: "Kyoto will damage the U.S. Economy."

Reality: Failure to take action against global warming is damaging the U.S. economy.

A little too ironic, yeah, I really do think.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Greeley- North 'til you smell it, East 'til you step in it.

Greeley. Home of some of the nation's largest feedlots. Home of the unmistakable stench of cow feces. The fastest-growing city in America.

Wha?

Yep, according to the census bureau, Greeley has superceded St. George, Utah and Las Vegas as the fastest-growing city in the nation. And many who move to Greeley for the cheaper housing (is it really worth it?) actually work in Denver and commute about 120 miles a day.

But in many ways, this is kind of indicative of the growth that we get in Colorado. We do have our exurbs but we are also a rural state, and a pioneer state, so small cities pop up about every 15 miles here, or roughly one day's worth of wagon travel. We have our pointless suburbs like Highlands Ranch but many here choose instead to live in the actual towns that dot the highways, 15, 30, 45 and 60 miles apart. Greeley is not a suburb. Longmont is not a suburb. These are actual towns with histories and backgrounds and lifelong residents and "old families."

But when growth occurs like what Greeley has seen in the past 3 years, the towns struggle to maintain these individual identities. In places like Frederick and Firestone and Erie, the struggle has failed. Good luck to anyone who tries to tell the tri-towns apart. Good luck to any Frederick/Firestone resident who has to take a taxi home, then drunkenly figure out which town he actually lives in. These small cities have lost nearly all semblence of individuality . . . and as soon as enough yuppies move to Greeley, they might drive out the stockyards and you won't even be able to smell your way home.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

It's just not working out

I'm wondering if I should break up with America. I mean, we've had some great times, but it's just that . . . well, America has been making some piss-poor decisions lately, decisions that affect other nations in the world even though America doesn't realize it. And I didn't want to tell anyone, but America has been pretty abusive lately. Everytime I bring up my opinion, America tells me I'm a traitor and that I hate America, which is totally not the case, I'm just trying to make a point.

And I mean, we could just be "friends," but I don't really care for the kinds of friends that America has been hanging out with lately. It seems like America is just not aligning itself with the right crowd.

I don't know. Maybe things will change. But they always say you are a fool to try and change the one you're with . . .

But I guess I'll give it another try.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tuesday Lists: Too Busy To Be Original Edition

WHAT THOREAU IS MISSING
BY SHANNON PEACH

- - - -
The satisfaction of bolting together his own particleboard furniture from Ikea

Having his own reality show: American Evildoer, or So You Think You Can Oppose a War?

Petroleum-based processed-cheese food products

Fender Strats

McDonald's Fruit & Walnut Salad with the revolutionary green plastic fork

Lite rock, less talk

Unlimited anytime minutes

The visible-thong phenomenon

UPIN20MINS

Co-hosting telethons with Don Henley to save Walden Woods



METHODS OTHER THAN SONG BY WHICH ONE CAN BE KILLED SOFTLY

BY JONATHAN HOLLEY AND EMILY LAWTON

- - - -

Chinchilla attack

Asphyxiation by cupcake

Egyptian tomb booby-trapped with goose down

Smothering by fatties

Poison meringue

Allergic reaction to cashmere

Stuffed animal avalanche

Heart attack induced by 16-year-old girl's skin

Monday, September 19, 2005

Gah!

I get to work on Monday and the first thing I am told is that a story I thought was not due for at least two weeks is due on FRIDAY!

On "American Dad" last night, Stan was showing his son all of the hobbies he does in order to fend off certain "urges." Among them was wood burning and he had the old sign that says "You want it WHEN?"

"Ha ha! It expresses frustration with an unrealistic deadline!"

Ah, des arts, ils imitent la vie, non?

So light blogging this week . . . I have to track down several scooter clubs and plan art ASAP for this story that I'm beginning to regret pitching at all. Even if it does mean a ride on a scooter.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Friday hiding kitty blogging



Audrey, hiding in my freshly laundered sheets.

Jalapeno has a good point

"My analysis of Bush being blamed for the Federal response is varied.

Bush has lost all crediblity with the American people save for his ardent supporters and apologists. Personally, I cringe when he opens his mouth, and don't put any faith in anything he has to say about anything at all.

I believe he is a product of our society, and is a symbol of the failure and lost focus of goverment at the federal level, among other things. He is a symbol of our society, and the great divides that exist."

Bush is an American . . . of the worst kind. His response to the hurricane was much like a hyperbolic version of walking on by while the homeless woman on the corner accidentally rolls her shopping cart. Apathy, indifference and a generally accepted notion that the poor are not worth the time, effort or money to help. The poor are invisible to much of our society. There is not a low-income equivalent of "The OC" on television. The stratification of our cities allows upper-middle-class workers to commute past the poorest parts of their own towns, insulated by 12-foot fences along the highway. Poor children go to poor schools, rich children go to rich schools. And the less the haves see of the have-nots, the worse life gets for those who are pushed further and further into poverty. To many who have the means to help, the poor simply do not exist.

On NPR yesterday I heard city planning officials talking about how this must change, how they are planning for eliminating the destructive housing project model and instead, implementing mixed-income housing and schools in neighborhoods home to people who make anywhere from 18,000 to 85,000 per year. I think this is a step in the right direction. Once the poor are no longer in the shadows, once they are neighbors, they can no longer be ignored.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Gotta see it before its gone

I think I need to save up some traveling money. This morning on NPR they were talking about San Francisco, and the preparations they are making for a big quake (Preparing? For the worst case scenario? How novel!). And after what happened in NOLA, I am realizing that with Commander Cuckoo Bananas in charge, we've already seen two cities completely changed, never the same. New York emerged from Sept. 11 a "friendlier" city, which seems to have facilitated its transformation into a sort of theme park rather than a truly authentic metropolis. New Orleans will lose much of its port city grittiness with the new reconstruction of its poorer and older areas. People will soon talk about the "old" New Orleans like they talk now about pre-9/11 New York. It will never be the same.

So yeah, I'm thinking I need to head to San Fran before something bad happens. And Boston, too. Because you never know when something is going to change a city forever.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tuesday list: Quotes

1. "These are single-family residences, and that's what they were intended for."
--Audrey Andrews, V.P. of a homeowner's association in Ocala, Fla., discouraging her neighborhood from taking hurricane refugees into their homes.

2. "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."
-- President George W. Bush

3. "Paula, the federal government did not even know about the convention center people until today."
--Former FEMA director Mike Brown, in an interview with Paula Zahn, Sept. 1.

4. "[ . . .] you are dealing with the permanently poor -- people who don't have jobs, are not used to getting up and organizing themselves and getting things done and for whom sitting and waiting is a way of life,"
-- Linda Chavez, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity and a former head of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

5. "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?"
-–House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX), to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston

6. "Last night, we showed you the full force of a superpower government going to the rescue."
-–MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Sept. 1.

7. "I also want to encourage anybody who was affected by Hurricane Corina to make sure their children are in school."
-–First Lady Laura Bush, twice referring to a "Hurricane Corina" while speaking to children and parents in South Haven, Mississippi, Sept. 8

8. "What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle) – this is working very well for them."
-–Former First Lady Barbara Bush, on the Hurricane flood evacuees in the Houston Astrodome, Sept. 5

9. "Judge Roberts can, maybe, you know, be thankful that a tragedy has brought him some good."
-–Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson

10. "Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen."
--D.H. Lawrence, "Lady Chatterly's Lover"

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bleh.

Mounds of work to do today. Not much to report from the weekend. Consider this an open thread. Topic: Rhode Island is neither a road, nor an island.

Discuss.

Stoking the fires of fear



Stephane Peray, Thailand

Friday, September 09, 2005

A film student moment



So the sister and I went to the Tivoli last night to see part of the James Dean tribute. The film was "Rebel Without a Cause."

I had previously thought that this flick fell into the category of all those crappy Ed Wood cautionary tales about youth rebellion and negligent parents. But it somehow transcends that classification. While it does touch on the idea of suburban parent/child disconnect and the growing pains of a population who suddenly found themselves in the vast middle class, the film is about much more than just absent, lame parents and suburban discontent.

In what was really an inspired choice, the director chose instead to highlight the surrounding issues of 1950s America. Not only were kids faced with the issues of lacking or dysfunctional parenting, they were living in a time of paralyzing fear. Not about a terrorist attack or a war, but complete annihilation. In one impressive scene, the the director shows the faces of teenagers in a darkened planetarium as the instructor describes the end of the world. Complete and utter destruction. Teenagers then lived in a time of fallout shelters and duck and cover. Maybe the rebellion didn't have a "cause" per se, like a revolution or a social issue. But it did have an impetus. It drew power from desperation, paranoia and fear.

Last week, I wrote a column about being a college student in the post-9/11 world. In many ways, the feeling is the same. While a good number of kids my age become more involved, more connected and more active in the world around them, there are still plenty who viewed the attacks as a beginning of an end. Such is the unfortunate reality of being jolted awake from a pleasant naivete.

But all in all, I was very impressed by the movie. I can see now why it is the seminal "Teen Rebellion" flick, but it is much more than that.

And . . . James Dean. Damn. Just . . . damn.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Back to School weather

It's classic school weather today. Impossible to dress for- you have to bundle up for the cool mornings but the afternoons are still scorching. I remember being in middle school, just insisting on wearing my new fall school outfit for the first day, and each time I'd wind up suffering heat exhaustion at around 2 p.m. But I looked good.

It's weird not going back to school. Weirder still to think that it was almost 20 years ago that I went for the first time. There are still smells that trigger those back to school memories- new plastic binders, freshly sharpened pencils, and later, whatever disinfectants they fumigate dorm rooms with.

Why am I writing about this? Well, I guess it's because I have nothing else to add right now. Like everyone else, I'm outraged, angry, disappointed in the events of the past week, but just so tired of feeling that way in general. I have been enjoying the meditative nature of a 40-minute commute (not so meditative that I'm veering into medians and minivans, but enough that I can clear my head each morning) and this morning it came to me that it was school weather. And I thought I'd share.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The media bent my wookie

While Chertoff, Bush, McClellan and Rove, from his lair deep below the Earth's surface, scramble to put the correct spin on the inexcusable delay in response to Hurricane Katrina, it is clear that they are not at the top of their game.

Why? Because while they talk out of one side of their mouths about how "now is no time for the blame game," they are simultaneously blaming that favorite old Liberal Boogeyman, the media.

Chertoff is claiming that the media was declaring New Orleans safe from the brunt of the storm, that it had dodged the bullet.

Now, you can't tell me that Chertoff had no better weather and news resources than CNN or the local Action Five News Double Doppler Radar. And even if he didn't, wouldn't it be part of the Department of Homeland Security chief's job to prepare for the worst case scenario (www.ready.gov), rather than see the bimbo on Fox News say that Katrina would not make landfall, then roll over and go back to sleep?

(And, as Wonkette points out, just what paper did he see that said "New Orleans Dodges Bullet?" Even the Times-Call carried the headline "Heartbreaking.")

Blaming the media has always worked well for the Bush administration, but I doubt it's going to work this time. And honestly, it seems like a half-assed effort from an administration that has always been able to come out of the worst failures smelling like a rose. Perhaps this time, they have all really jumped the shark.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Lambuel is back!

After a hiatus, and sadly, many broken links, OBJECTIVE: Ministries has returned to the web.

So all of you who have been directed here searching for Lambuel and important dispatches on the anti-triclavianist movement can now rest assured that the site is up, running and saving souls.

Indeed.

Oh, and they have a new campaign: to put a cross into low orbit, so that we all will be under it, at some point. Woo hoo! For Christ!

Tuesday list

NUMBERS:


Red Cross, shelters: Some 356 shelters open in nine states.

More than 49,000 people are living in shelters around the state.
Another 47,000 have been moved out of state to temporary housing.

Total: 96,000
Population of Longmont, Colorado: 71,093


More than 12,000 Guardsmen operating in devastated areas.

Number of National Guard troops, police officers and military reserves dispatched to New York for the 2004 Republican National Convention: 14,000

Points of distribution have been set up and staffed by Guardsmen, the Texas Forestry Service and parish volunteers: 20

Guardsmen have distributed:
More then 620,000 bottles of water
More than 320,000 meals

The Office of Family Support as accepted nearly 90,000 emergency food stamp applications during a 60-hour time period.

Amount by which Bush's 2006 budget would cut the USDA Food Stamp program: $1 billion

An estimated 18,000 people have been rescued.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has 500 boats and 400 employees working on the hurricane response.

At least 11,500 evacuees are being housed in shelters set up at campuses across the state.


(my additions in italics)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Friday hope blogging



Virgin of Guadalupe, San Felipe De Neri Convent, Albuquerque

Out til Monday.

In the meantime:

Please Give.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

"Smiling Through"

I collect old magazines, or rather, I am kind of obsessed with publishing and pick up vintage copies of magazines because I see them as cultural artifacts. I have one that my grandmother sent me from the 1930s that is a good indicator of the actual attitudes among many people who lived through the Depression. In it, there is a page of jokes, many of them attempts at making light of crushing poverty. The hed of the section is called "Smiling Through." There are oddly unfunny one-liners about making do in the Dust Bowl regions, about bums in the cities, about people who still cling to class distinctions despite the fact that everyone is struggling.

Liz and I were discussing the very real possibility that Hurricane Katrina could be our Dust Bowl. Not only did this storm knock out oil operations in the gulf, it has seriously damaged New Orleans, America's largest port. We often forget that goods come to us by ship, and a large percentage comes through the gulf region.

Other hurricanes have done huge amounts of property damage, but this one has crippled several industries. Not to mention the fact that the stagnant water is undoubtedly going to become a tremendous health crisis.

What is particularly troubling is that the administration, and preceding GOP administrations, has been very effectively dismantling many of the protections that were put in place during the last depression to keep us from suffering from another one. We are very vulnerable right now, thanks to decades of Republicans chipping away at the New Deal, program by program.

So while Bush, with his irritating "I'm the best man giving a humorous and slightly bawdy toast at my best friend's wedding" tone, snickered his way through another hollow speech, I couldn't help but think about the possibility that there will be no bouncing back from this. When he says that New Orleans will come back, bigger and badder than ever, I doubt him. He is not responsible for this disaster, but he is at least partially to blame for a delayed reaction, for the paltry numbers of National Guard troops, for failing to take global climate change seriously. Like 9/11, he may not be directly responsible for the event itself, but he and his friends are going to be responsible for making things exponentially worse. It's what they do best.

In the meantime, I wonder how we will "Smile Through" these next ten years or so, while struggling to piece our economy back together, patching up the scattershot holes caused by bad Republican economic policy, environmental negligence and Bush Doctrine miscalculations.