Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

31 October, 2006

Eat the rich

via the General

Us lefties are often charged with hating the rich and fomenting class warfare. Sometimes the accusation is accurate:
what are acceptable handouts from parents
Posted By: cashmoney on 10-25-2006 6:21 pm
gifts? education? do you draw your line at maintenance?

RE: what are acceptable handouts from parents
Posted By: taxman on 10-25-2006 6:23 pm
Someone should receive absolutely no more than 30 k/yr and car payments from parents. If you’re above that, you really have problems. Girls may be entitled to a bit more than that with shopping and everything, but I feel like 30k is pretty reasonable.

Meet the heirs of the ruling class. Domhoff must be having a blast.

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Yay me

ms. wobs reminded me this evening that it's been over two years since I quit smoking tobacco, and that's really cool. So yay me!

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New York to Chicago, via Albuquerque

I told you this guy is worth watching! Mr. Musclehead gets his dulcet, third-string talk radio hate on and declares that liberals, specifically "liberal feminists," are in favor of shooting children and, oh yeah, they have no moral compass and are hypocrites about Mark Foley, WOOOOOOOO!:

Just to recap: If the Democrats regain control of one or both houses of Congress on November 7, the terrorists win and "liberal feminists" will start hunting your children for sport. I'm just sayin'.

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30 October, 2006

One of these things is not like the other

Let's parse, because this list makes no sense to me except for that everyone on it played in an influential rock band and is dead:
What creative frontiers would Jimi Hendrix have explored if he lived beyond the age of 27? Where would Janis Joplin’s music have taken her if she didn’t pass away at 26? Exactly how would we have been entertained if Jim Morrison, Jeff and Tim Buckley, John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, John Bonham, Sid Vicious, Keith Moon, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Otis Redding, Berry Oakley, Kurt Cobain, Bob Marley, Gram Parsons and Frank Zappa, as well as many others, had been allowed to hang around a little while longer?
Now, these questions do seem legitimate for a number of these artists who were cut down in their creative prime: Duane Allman (who the article is primarily about), Jimi, Janice Joplin, etc. But some of the others don't make much sense to me.

First of all, Keith Moon and John Bonham both occupy the same rock-star stereotype for me: they played loud and had prodigious appetites for intoxicants. I'm not quite so sure that they were ever creative forces in their respective outfits. Indispensible to the band's sound I'll give you, but not creative propellants in their own rights.

And then there are those who were past their primes when fate snatched them from us. While John Lennon was certainly making comeback of sorts with Double Fantasy when he was murdered in 1980, no one puts it on a par with his work in the Beatles or even his early solo career. Where his older works display a certain rawness, Double Fantasy wallows in an over-produced sentimentality. In a similar vein, I'm not inclined to speculate about Zappa "what-ifs." I mean, the man was so prodigious that some of his newly produced materials were bound to be good, but there was a steadily increasing crap-to-not-crap ratio, a sort of diminishing returns to wading through his work. It's far more gratifying to just pop in Apostrophe.

And then there's Sid Vicious, who seems like he should fit in with Moon and Bonham, but has the distinction of not actually knowing anything about musicianship. Not that it wasn't ground-breaking at the time, but I doubt there would have been continued speculation surrounding Sid Vicious' latest creative endeavor. No, Sid's place in the pantheon of rock 'n roll tragedy resides in the category of "I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner (the platonic ideal being, of course, G.G. Allin)."

This is all just to say that I've never entertained this thought: "Man, if only John Bonham hadn't drowned in a puddle of his own vomit sleeping off an all-day bender, the Zep would still be rockin' it today." That thought does not bring me joy.


My new favorite wingnut

If you keep turning over rocks, you'll turn up all sorts of interesting things. For example, Kevin McCullough, self-described "Musclehead" revolutionary, commenting on Eugene's own little ginned-up outburst of right-wing apoplexy from last spring:

Take that, cooperative editors of a barely read student publication! Your attempts to defame his god have forced him to wrestle with the question "Did Jesus ever want get his swerve on with Mary Magdalene... or hell, with Peter?" And guess whose divine humanity is able to resist the naughty, but oh so alluring temptation to toss the holy hand grenade, as it were? That's right, you godless Insurgent islamonazifarians, Jesus Em-Effin' Christ! Faith reaffirmed, biznizzles!

We are definitely going to have to keep checking in with this McCullough character. Anyone so publically zealous in defending the notion that Jesus never had the nookie bears keeping an eye on.

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Punk Rock Monday

I dug deep for this one. Here's a couple of performances from 1979 by Belfast's Stiff Little Fingers (both with helpful sing-a-long scrolls) - "Here We Are Nowhere":

And "Alternative Ulster":


28 October, 2006

Precious bodily fluids

I've had Dick Cheney (who, may I remind you, not so long ago was shooting people in the face) pegged as an antiseptically paranoid control-freak for quite some time, picturing his remodeled Naval Observatory digs done up in stark white, with visitors required to undergo extensive decontamination upon entering, and for godsakes remove your shoes!

The NYT isn't dispelling that particular notion:
Like so many other people involved in politics these days, Mrs. Ryun has become obsessive about using hand sanitizer and ensuring that others do, too. She squirted Purell, the antiseptic goop of choice on the stump and self-proclaimed killer of “99.99 percent of most common germs that may cause illness,” on people lined up to meet Vice President Dick Cheney this month at a fund-raiser in Topeka.

When Mr. Cheney was done meeting and greeting, he, too, rubbed his hands vigorously with the stuff, dispensed in dollops by an aide when the vice president was out of public view.
In fact, the use of hand sanitizers by the Bush administration and those who must deal with it seems downright cult-like:
“Good stuff, keeps you from getting colds,” Mr. Bush raved about hand sanitizer to Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, at a White House encounter early last year.

Mr. Obama, who recounts the episode in his new book, says that after rubbing a blob of it on his own hands, the president offered him some, which he accepted (“not wanting to appear unhygienic.”)

Mr. Obama has since started carrying Purell in his traveling bag, a spokesman said.
Say it ain't so, Barack! Say it ain't so!

And who, you ask, in a hail of awkward puns, will champion the unwashed masses?:
[Governor Bill] Richardson [D-NM] said that if he ran for president, as he is considering, he had no intention of conforming to the norms of his antiseptic peers.

“I just won’t use the sanitizer,” he said. “I’ve been offered it, but I’ve turned it down.”

This positions Mr. Richardson as the early hygienic maverick of 2008.

“I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty,” he said.

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Image hosting

Well, I appear to have violated photobucket's image posting policy when I featured a picture of a computer-generated naked woman on this post. They also knicked images of Abu Ghraib that I had posted, citing, as in the first case, a puritanical policy against nudity. And they put the kibosh on the classy black velvet nude I posted from this spring.

Oh well, as they say. Can anyone recommend a free image-hosting service with a more permissive posting policy?

27 October, 2006

Backhanded compliments

MSNBC lends their hard-hitting style to examining... Paul McCartney's divorce. Yeah, it's ugly, etc. etc. And while this fan is clearly standing up for Paul and his devotion to Linda, he may not exactly be hitting on a high point:
Steven Beer, an entertainment attorney in New York, falls into that camp. “I believe you can’t always accept what you read or hear,” says Beer, 47. “What we’re seeing here is just the negative gamesmanship that divorce brings. Maybe he had bad judgment in his choice of a partner, but in my mind, Paul McCartney continues to be a rock ’n’ roll icon with a positive character.

“He’s a responsible Dad,” Beer adds. “He doted on his wife Linda. He even put her in his band! What more could you want? He deserves a medal for that.”
I'm not sure whether that's an endorsement of Paul's loyalty and committment to Linda or an admission of how erm... awful Linda was in Wings (she's a photographer, folks!)... or maybe how "not good" Wings was...

Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm going straight to hell for this.

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Reason #473 why the GTFF needs a digital camera

Dave's got some bling. And a sick imagination.


26 October, 2006

Why I hate the Cardinals

Despite the assertions in Slate that I hate them because they're an underachieving World Series contender, the reason I hate the St. Louis Cardinals is because they're the St. Louis Cardinals. No need to psychoanalyze me!



Via Kevin Drum, the Republican Party is beginning to resemble more a criminal telemarketing enterprise than a political party:
So that's it. That's their pitch to elderly Republican voters. You MUST return this survey, and by the way, you also need to send us $11 to "cover the cost of tabulating and redistributing" the results. You can see the full mailing here.

I wonder who came up with this scam? How many elderly Republicans end up sending the NRSC $11 because they're convinced they've been specially chosen to represent their district and eleven bucks is a legitimate fee of some kind? Hundreds? Thousands? Does everyone feeble-minded enough to include the $11 payment go into a special chump file for future use?


What the Google™ corporation tells me is cute

You may have thought I'd be tempted to post more pictures of l'il wobs, or at least kittens and puppies, when I promised you more cute. Instead, I've decided to let the algorithm alchemists at Google divine what "the people" have deemed as "cute."

Your basic web search leads us to, where I'm sure none of us are surprised to find this:
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Have you ever heard a pug breathe? They sound like a 33 1/3 Darth Vader played at 78 rpm. But I digress.

Keeping in mind that Google is the voice of "the people," and "the people" don't necessarily speak for this particular blogger, the images search inexplicably spits this out first:
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This pose is titled "cute stance 6," and I'm afraid it's all that's available to aspiring 13 year-old perverts who have yet to figure out how to circumvent the parental controls on the internet. But really, cute? I would've figured we'd see this
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or even this
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before creepy tattooed cyber-fantasy girl showed up in the rankings. But I am a naïf when it comes to the tastes and fancies of "the people."

A search of Google's video database turns up this paean to the pika:

I think we can all agree that the cheery British voice-over adds an extra charm to the pika's cuteness. But all kidding aside, do we dare see what Google News has to tell us is the number one hit for cute today?... Oh, we dare!
Cheeta Charlie, Molly the Second and Cotton Candy arrived in Marlborough Oct. 10, complete with a birth certificate and a parent to welcome them.

Best of all, the new kids on the block, stuffed bears, kittens, dogs and bunnies, were hand-picked by their "parent", making them a perfect match for each other.
Google news delivers! "The people" have spoken!

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Feelin' groovy

The last couple of days have been unexpectedly, um... eventful, so I've gotten loose tonight, cracked the red wine, and am about to embark on a drunk blogging rampage, starting with pictures of cute kids:
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Mark my words: there will be cuter as the night goes on...


Cozy fall evening playlist

A random playlist as colorful as the leaves on the bike path...
  • Fillmore Jive - Pavement
  • Betray - Minor Threat
  • Flux=Rad - Pavement
  • It Makes No Difference - The Band
  • Good Morning, Good Morning - The Beatles
  • Joyful Sounds - The Word
  • Raga Vasanta: Jhampa Tala (Vina) - Asad Ali Khan & Gopal Das
  • Different To Me - Wire
  • Ash Can Blues - Cliff Carlisle
  • Pictures of Pandas Painting - They Might Be Giants
And the proverbial little red caboose, your bonus #11:
  • Tennessee Blues - Bill Monroe
What's playing on your digital music device?


25 October, 2006


Imagine my disappointment upon clicking the headline, "The GOP Leans on A Proven Strategy" and then not reading one word about stoking racism, fanning homophobia, and just in general lying and cheating.


24 October, 2006


Rush Limbaugh is rotten down to his little viagra-swollen junkie core. Just a rotten, despicable, soulless waste of a human.

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Not-so punk rock Tuesday

I'm fairly certain that at least one person didn't see this coming:
Rock ’n’ roll legend Elvis Presley ceded his crown to Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain on’s list as the top-earning dead celebrity.

The list, published on Tuesday, said grunge rocker Cobain earned $50 million between October 2005 and October 2006. Presley wound up in the No. 2 slot with $42 million, down from last year’s $45 million. bases its dollar amounts on licensing deals for using the deceased celebrities’ work or image in advertising or elsewhere.


Set and setting

ms. wobs, in her infinite wisdom, got me a gift certificate for an hour-long massage for my birthday. Since I tweaked my neck when I went paddling on Sunday, today seemed like the perfect day to redeem it. My neck feels much better and I'm loose as a goose, but I must admit that it's unnerving to receive a massage in a building where (in it's previous incarnation as the sport bar Doc's Pad) 10 years ago I was downing $1 cocktails and getting pukey-drunk. Weird.

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Affordable higher education

I don't like to be a scold, but you should get on over to Free Exchange on Campus to see what Our Man in DC has to say about what you can do to keep higher ed accessible and affordable.


Simple morality lesson

Corporate corruption kills:
Even by the standards of a country obsessed by banquets and plagued by corruption, the corporate hospitality that killed Zhang Hongtao was on the excessive side.

After a month-long wining-and-dining marathon - interrupted by massages, card games, sightseeing and the occasional morning of work - the county auditor from Yanshan in northern Hebei province succumbed to alcohol poisoning, according to local media reports.

The story might have died with him in April were it not for subsequent revelations that the fatally lavish binges were paid for by the company he was supposed to be inspecting, Yanshan Power Supply.
Let this be a lesson to you.

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Trafficking in inadequacy

The Guardian reports on Argentina's thriving medical tourism industry, centered around a plenitude of highly-trained and cheaply-priced plastic surgeons. It's not a fact that shocks me too terribly, but I was struck by this passage:
Argentinian plastic surgeons have good reason to be so skilled: domestic demand for breast implants, laser surgery and nip-and-tuck treatments is sky high in this style-obsessed country.

One in 30 Argentinians is estimated to have gone under the plastic surgeon's knife, making the population the most operated on in the world after the US and Mexico. Boob jobs are a popular birthday present from Argentinian parents stuck as to what to buy their teenage daughters.
I've heard tell that a certain young scholar we know gets criticized for drawing connections between female circumcision and breast augmentation. While those connections certainly don't exist in every context, I think they might be valid here. That last graf tells me that there's a cultural imperative towards body modification, that boob jobs are seen as a "rite of passage" for young Argentinian women, and that radically invasive body modifications are performed with little regard towards the long term health consequences.

I'm certainly not suggesting these women are coerced into receiving breast augmentation, just as I'm told that West African women aren't necessarily forced into circumcision. But they certainly exist in an environment where the hegemonic ideals dictate a certain self-objectification in order to achieve personal perfection.

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The unstated assumptions

The WaPo writes up a RAND corporation study on consumer-directed health-care plans:
In contrast to traditional plans, in which beneficiaries typically pay a modest deductible and co-payments of $15 or $20 for visits to the doctor, the new plans can require consumers to shell out hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars of their own money for drugs, doctors and hospital care before most coverage kicks in.

The annual deductible in a consumer-directed plan is generally $1,050 to $2,000 for individuals and $2,100 to $4,000 for families -- far higher than the average $220 deductible in a traditional employer-sponsored health plan. Premiums tend to be lower, however.

Consumer-directed plans have been heavily promoted by the Bush administration as a way to rein in spiraling health-care spending by giving consumers a financial incentive to shop around for the best care at a reasonable price -- and to get only the care they need.
Consumer-directed health care is just another corporate class caper to place the burdens of risk on individuals, in this case, using the shiny allure of low premiums to mask the shifting of the onus of financial responsibility onto the beneficiary.

The high deductible portends one of two things: a) you have the money to pay for treatments before your benefits kick in; or b) you are very judicious in your use of health services:
In some cases, for example, the greater cost-sharing burden on consumers meant that they did not go to the emergency room for problems that did not require it. At other times, people were forgoing necessary care and potentially jeopardizing their health.
I'm intrigued that making people "consume" their health care "responsibly" seems to be a stated rationale for pushing these types of insurance schemes. It suggests that the reason health care costs and insurance rates are so out of control is because people are going to the doctor too much. That and lawsuits (and hence the necessity for tort reform! But I digress...). That time you went to the doctor because you had a sore throat for three days and couldn't swallow, but the doc said it wasn't strep and you should just gargle warm salt water - irresponsible consumption of health care.

This is nuts. The driving force behind the increasing price of medical care is administrative costs. Preventative health care is more cost effective in the long-term than acute care. There are well-established links between access to health care and worker productivity. Why, then, is the solution to our health care crisis to discourage seeing doctors?

One of the great bogeymen of socialized medicine was the "rationing" of health care: hour long waits for doctors, 12-month queues for surgeries, a proscribed number of visits per year. Consumer-directed health-care plans accomplish a very similar goal in a neo-liberal context, forcing consumers to self-ration their own care. Funny how that works.


Confession and apology

Dear friend,

I recently took something of yours without asking. I meant to replace it, but all the same, I did not take the item with your permission. I apologize for my short-sighted lack of judgment and any pain that it may have caused. I've replaced said item and ask for your forgiveness.



23 October, 2006

Punk Rock Monday

The melodic stylings of one Ian MacKaye...

Or for those who enjoy a later vintage of Mr. MacKaye's œuvre...

This leads to the inevitable question: how fucked up were you when you saw Fugazi? I recall being pretty stoned when I saw them in Tampa whilst in college, mid-nineties.

[updated on 10/23/06 at 12:49 PM]: By special request, for ash:


Whatever happened to that guy...?

I'm sure we all remember BYU Professor Steven Jones of "the WTC collapsed because of internally placed explosive charges" fame:
Jones recently published theories about U.S. government involvement in the events of Sept. 11, 2001, including one suggesting that explosives inside the World Trade Center -- not airplanes striking the twin towers -- brought the complex down.

BYU stripped Jones of two classes and put him on leave in early September. It also began investigating his research.

The school abandoned its review Friday after reaching a retirement agreement with Jones, BYU spokeswoman Carri P. Jenkins said.

Jenkins said the school did not pressure Jones to retire.
Unless by "pressure" you mean being stripped of two classes, placed on leave, and investigated. Nope, no pressure at all.


20 October, 2006

A world leader for all to admire

Troglodytes run large swaths of our world:
Vladimir Putin's international image was tainted today after it emerged he had let slip another of his infamous remarks - this time praising the president of Israel for alleged sex offences.

"He turned out to be a strong man, raped 10 women," the Russian president was quoted by Russian media as saying at a meeting in Moscow with Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. "I never would have expected it of him. He has surprised us all, we all envy him!"
As if being an authoritarian asshole wasn't enough.

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Uh, ewww...

Lionel Richie - a legend in his own mind:
Soul great Lionel Richie fancies himself as a porn star because he is so good in bed. The hitmaker insists his bedroom expertise inspires the love songs he is famous for.

He tells men's magazine Blender, "I am a legend in my own mind, the greatest porn star I know. You can't be a love songwriter and not be the greatest porn star."
He truly is easy like Sunday morning.

File under "more information than we needed."

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19 October, 2006


I just interacted with a door-to-door solicitor who was raising funds for a Christian homeless shelter, with a decided emphasis on sobriety, while wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt, from which the gentleman could not take his eyes. I had to politely profess my inability to give at the time.



via digby

36% of Americans approve of torture as a means to combat terrorism. About one-third of the entire world thinks that.

Wow. Simply, wow.

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Worst. Career move. Ever.

OJ is allegedly writing a book:
The former football great, who was acquitted in criminal court 11 years ago of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, reportedly has been paid a whopping $3.5 million to write about the double murder that shocked and riveted the nation in 1994, according to a detailed report in the new National Enquirer.

But Simpson is not actually confessing to the murder — rather, he’s writing a “hypothetical” book — which the Enquirer reports is tentatively being called “If I Did It.”


Simpson can never be retried for the murders because of double jeopardy laws, according to the Enquirer, which also claims that Simpson aims to keep any book money instead of paying it out in a civil suit judgment against him by spending it all quickly.
I'm suspicious of the credibility of the report, but if true, my bet is very few people are going to buy anything from this sack of shit.

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The Information

Beck's new album - it's leaving quite an impression on the first listen. My one word descriptor for it as of this moment: dense.

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Not encouraging

It's sometimes pretty easy to look past Castro and see only Cuba's fairly remarkable accomplishments in health care, education, and agriculture despite a scarcity imposed by the United States. But Castro is the glue that holds it together, for better and for worse. Castro's hold on power, now in its fifth decade, has been surrounded by a halo of paranoia which went far beyond protecting the Revolution from its enemies into criminalizing any sort of political dissent. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have, they say, the facts of Cuba.

And while Cuba's claim to the title of "socialist paradise" certainly has more to do with its climate than its classlessness, things have the potential to be a lot worse if the U.S. corporate class has its way with the island.

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  • I got to see the Mets tie up their serious with the ever-so-hated Cardinals tonight. What I especially loved was the surliness of the Shea crowd. Good stuff. Here's to the Mets finishing of the boys from St. Louis tomorrow evening. Unfortunately, I think the Mets (or the Cards, for that matter) will be toast against the Tigers - they've looked machine like in the division and championship series. The week off may dull them for Game One, but whoever they play, I'm betting on the Tigers in five games.
  • Barça looked a step slow against Chelsea this afternoon. When they're on, they're one of the funnest clubs to watch; when they're not... Chelsea played, well... like Chelsea: one goal and then treat the penalty box like a clown car, stuffing eight or more defenders inside every time the opposition moves the ball to that end. Frustrating, not so entertaining to watch, but damn effective.


17 October, 2006

Novelty, sure - I'm just not so sure about the smell

Gene Simmons introduces KISS™ brand fragrances:
"If people decide that a Kiss fragrance line makes sense," Simmons said, "who's to argue with America?"
Because Americans have never been wrong. Buy KISS perfume or the KISS Army will invade your ass!

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Holy crap, that's cute!

I'm sure I'm prone to making hyperbolic claims about my child, but he is certainly freakishly photogenic in that "cute kid" way. L'il wobs parents may described in many ways, but "cute" doesn't seem to be regularly included as one of those descriptors.
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Special Request Playlist

Because some people (including me!) actually enjoy this!
  • Six Feet Down - Bad Livers
  • Casey Jones - Jerry Garcia & David Grisman
  • Recap Modotti - Fugazi
  • Rhymin and Stealin - Beastie Boys
  • Stand Together - Beastie Boys
Almost 4,000 songs, over ten days worth of music, and I get a doubleshot of the Beasties - not that I'm complaining. I just find it to be highly, highly improbable.
  • Music Always - Ornette Coleman
  • Found a Job - Talking Heads
  • Summer Song - Dave Brubeck
  • Home Motel - Willie Nelson
  • Real - William Shatner
And adding a certain je ne sais quoi to the proceedings, your bonus #11:
  • Taxman - the Beatles
What's randomly spinning in your neck of the woods?


16 October, 2006

Dear Lou: Welcome to our heartache

Lou Piniella signs up to take on the baddest curse in baseball. Will he be the one to lead my beloved Cubbies to a World Series victory denied to us by a damn billy goat? Will it be next year, or will he wait until '08, making it an even century? Why am I even bothering to engage in optimistic speculation when I know my dreams will come crashing down around me in, oh, say August, just as they do every year?

Rick Telander sums it up quite nicely:
Lou, if you ever win a World Series here, your statue will be massive and instantaneous.

I'm thinking it will need airplane lights.

But if you are able to get close to the championship, weird things will happen to derail you.

It's the Cubs.

Tradition is your Darth Vader.

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Punk Rock Monday Redux

Just after 1 a.m. on Monday morning, the last notes of live music rang from the stage of CBGB & OMFUG, the Bowery club where punk-rock invented itself. Patti Smith finished the club's final concert with her ballad "Elegie," growing teary-eyed as she read a list of dead punk-rock musicians and advocates. But just before it, she had worked up a galvanizing crescendo -- from poetry recitation to rock song to guitar-charged incantation -- in a medley of "Horses" and "Gloria," proclaiming with a triumphant rasp, "Jesus died for somebody's sins/But not for CBGB's."


In some ways CBGB, which opened in December 1973, ended its life as it had started. It never moved from its initial location, which was originally under a Bowery flophouse, now a homeless shelter. It never changed its floor plan, with a long bar lit by neon beer signs on the way to an uneven floor, a peeling ceiling, a peculiarly angled stage and notorious bathrooms. Through the years, the sound system was improved until its clean roar could make any power chord sound explosive. Mostly, however, CBGB just grew more encrusted: with dust, with band posters stuck on every available surface, with bodily fluids from performers and patrons. Ms. Smith did some casual spitting of her own during her set.

But in a historical long shot, CBGB got lucky. The concepts of bands booked there turned out to be durable ones: Ms. Smith's blunt, visionary and primal songs; Talking Heads' nervously oblique funk, and especially the Ramones' terse, blaring, catchy rockers, which came to define punk-rock. Having nurtured bands like those--and later post-punk bands from Sonic Youth to Living Colour--CBGB became a rock landmark. Its reputation grew strong enough to coast on. Even as its regular bookings grew far less selective through the 1990's and 2000's, every now and then a big-name band would play there as a pilgrimage.

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Punk Rock Monday

No introduction is necessary for Mr. Costello:


Flotsam and Jetsam

To wit:
  • ms. wobs and I went out to see Jackass: Number 2 this evening. If you like your cinema with lots of poo, senseless self-inflicted violence, and men getting kicked in the balls, this is the flick for you. If that's not your cup of tea, it's still pretty fucking funny.
  • A thank you lobbed towards pattyjoe for introducing the Walkmen into my life. Their latest is getting lots of play in the wobs household.
  • I picked up Howard Kimeldorf's Reds and Rackets today, a historical sociology piece which seeks to first understand why the political cultures of East and West Coast longshore workers were/are so incredibly divergent, and then to figure out why socialist ideologies did unexpectedly take root in certain segments of the American working class.
Short and sweet.


14 October, 2006


I just caught the latest Saxton ad on education (in the left-hand gutter under TV Spots: "Powerful") and noticed something a little fishy. He cites poor grades for Oregon schools from this report card on higher education (grades that are attributable to the gutting of funding for higher ed), but then proposes "reforms" that are mainly targeted at the K-12 systems. That's quite the leap.

Looks like I wasn't the only one who noticed:

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13 October, 2006

Look before you leap

Before stirring up nativist hatred against the réconquista, it appears that Ron Saxton should have made sure his own house was in order.

Saxton's not only a hypocrite, he's also a pretty rotten human being taboot. And he has beady eyes.

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11 October, 2006

Hell yeah!

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James Wolcott rips douchebag extraordinaire Dinesh D'Souza the first of what will hopefully be many new orifices over his new book.

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Holy shit:
More than 600,000 Iraqis have died by violence since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, according to a study released today by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
Kevin Drum and Prof. Cole put it in horrifying perspective.

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About that whole "strong on security" meme

It appears increasingly likely that the reason we haven't seen a 9/11-style attack on the United States in the last five years has more to do with blind luck than any sort of coherent plan on the part BushCo and the GOP.

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Whither cursive?

So the keyboard is killing penmanship, eh? I wasn't too sure of the significance until I read this:
The loss of handwriting also may be a cognitive opportunity missed. The neurological process that directs thought, through fingers, into written symbols is a highly sophisticated one. Several academic studies have found that good handwriting skills at a young age can help children express their thoughts better -- a lifelong benefit. Children who don't learn correct technique find it harder to write by hand, so they avoid it. Schools that do teach handwriting often stop after third grade -- right after kids learn cursive. By the time computers are more widely used in classrooms for writing, perhaps in fourth or fifth grade, many children already have decided they don't like to write.

In one of the studies, Vanderbilt University professor Steve Graham, who studies the acquisition of writing, experimented with a group of first-graders in Prince George's County who could write only 10 to 12 letters per minute. The kids were given 15 minutes of handwriting instruction three times a week. After nine weeks, they had doubled their writing speed and their expressed thoughts were more complex. He also found corresponding increases in their sentence construction skills.
So the standardization of writing via the mechanism of the Qwerty keyboard is dumbing kids down? Then my friends, there is great cause to worry because the alphabetical numeric keypad used for text messaging is already pulverizing our language into a vowel-less mush devoid of any punctuation and full of emoticons. Our future is full of idiots.

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09 October, 2006

Punk Rock Monday

Apart from the crummy picture quality, this clip of the Stooges in Cincinatti from 1970 is fun for its "freakin' out the squares" vibe:

This more recent performance of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" just flat-out smokes. Astute viewers will notice Watt from Pedro on the bass:



Well, I certainly feel safer. Don't you?

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06 October, 2006

Nothing better to do

One day when I'm rich, I'm going to spend my money doing things I hate:
Most men would jump at the chance to watch scantily-clad beauties dance on stage - but it seems pop star Prince is not impressed.

The pop singer, 48, was in a Hollywood strip club when he offered gyrating dancers double their wages to stop dancing, according to The Sun.

The ladies were strutting their stuff at top club Xenii when Prince reportedly told them that it was "wrong to dance like that".


Prince, who shot to fame in the 1980s with hits like When Doves Cry and Kiss, is said to be a regular at the celebrity haunt.

But one partygoer said: "No-one knows why he comes here.

"He doesn't drink, doesn't like the music and now doesn't like the dancers."
Go figure.

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05 October, 2006

Scandal fatigue

Look, I know the Foley thing is going to be dragged on through the election, but I just wanted to get this of my chest. I hope I'm not the only one who's more than just a little dismayed that close to 2800 dead in an illegal war, a forgotten mass murderer, a destroyed city, growing economic inequality, and a blind eye turned towards an imminent ecological disaster couldn't get the GOP enablers of BushCo punted out, but a Republican congressman who took advantage of his power and authority by sending creepily lewd and adolescent instant messages to Congressional pages will.

Bread and circuses for a Puritan America, it is.

And while I admit there's a certain poetic justice in watching the GOP getting hoisted on its own petard, did we really need this scandal to understand that a good many sanctimonious and self-righteous Republicans are fucking hypocrites when it comes down to "moral values"? I thought not.

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04 October, 2006

If I might take a moment to belatedly explain myself

We all remember a few months ago when I was taken in by the wit of one mr. jon swift and the hilarity that ensued:
Dear Lord. This is perhaps the greatest example of someone missing the point that I've ever seen.
And that's being charitable.

At any rate, since that time I've had trouble taking any of the lesser celestial objects of conservative blogging seriously. For example, is this guy for real? He's frenzied about campaigns donating to campaigns and a government-sponsored war on automobiles? This is exactly the kind of conservative who would think "In the Navy" is a song that honors our men (and women, I suppose, but to a lesser extent) in uniform. It's the open and ham-handed bigotry and stupidity that gives him away as the genuine article: grade A, Oregon raised, right-wing nut.

All of this, of course, is by way of tribute to mr. swift, his art, and his ability to snag the gullible without scraping the bottom for humor. If you don't have it there already, his is a blog that should be bookmarked.

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03 October, 2006

A dark day


Waiting two and a half years for a change in the partisan composition of the NLRB isn't really an option any more. We're going to have to beat this decision on the ground.

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Rock stars gone good

I flip a lot of shit towards celebrities for the brainless crap which they willingingly inflict on the public. But when folks do good, it's important to recognize that as well. And Tom Morello (currently of Audioslave, formerly of Rage Against the Machine) and Ben Harper have done good by me:
Tom Morello was among approximately 400 protesters arrested early Thursday evening during a march to raise awareness for immigrant hotel workers' rights.

The Audioslave guitarist, who performed under his Nightwatchman alias at a rally before the march, was charged with unlawful assembly for refusing to move from Century Boulevard, the main entry road to Los Angeles International Airport.

"In these political dark ages, it's important for us to stand up for one another," Morello told MTV News before the march. "These hotel workers by the airport make 20 percent less wages than hotel workers around the rest of Los Angeles. We're here to express our solidarity with them, to help them unionize and to help them close the gap between their sub-poverty wages and the millions and millions of dollars the people who own these hotels make."


"This is how things have changed, is by people on the lower rungs of society standing up," Morello said. "People have been arrested in this country for a woman's right to vote. People have been arrested in this country for desegregated lunch counters. Those things didn't come about because of the wisdom of presidents — they came about because of average ordinary working people standing up for their rights. I think all the working people on the streets, even the police, have much more in common with each other than the people who own these hotels and are ripping off their workers."

At the rally, Morello performed a song about protests that included the chorus, "For the union men and women, stand up and stand strong."

Morello's friend and fellow activist Ben Harper also performed, beginning his three-song set with "Better Way" (sample lyric: "What good is a man/ Who won't take a stand"). Harper participated in part of the march but was not arrested.

"Having [Morello and Harper] here helps young people understand how important this is," Ana Mendez, a banquet server at the Hilton Hotel LAX, said during the rally. "We want to elevate these jobs to be first-class citizen jobs, not low-poverty wage jobs."
Glad to have them on our side

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Horowitz's feasible and necessary fantasies

David Horowitz was recently asked to comment on speculation that he was looking to parlay his latest google-monkey powered "research project" into a full-fledged book (that can be easily read and de-bunked within an hour sitting in the aisle at Powell's - no need to buy!). His reply [via e-mail]:
Well Free Exchange has many fantasies about what I do, what I think, and what I'm up to. In this case, I've thought about such a book, but haven't decided whether it's feasible or necessary yet -- Our websites reach a lot of people as it is.
The first sentence is clearly a classic case of Freudian projection: it's not the Free Exchange crew who harbor fantasies, but rather it's Horowitz who fantasizes himself as the stern disciplinarian who must tame the dirty, animalistic urges of not just "Leftist" professors, but whole "Leftist" universities.

Moreover, I feel pretty secure in saying that the Free Exchange gang is definitively not fantasizing about David Horowitz. Who Horowitz is, what he thinks, and what he's up to are creepy enough without putting him in leather chaps.

The second sentence is an enigma unto itself. He's thought about it, but doesn't know if it's "feasible" or "necessary?"

"Feasible?" You mean Regnery won't just print whatever crap Horowitz makes up? That the Scaife and Mellon money might dry up because Horowitz has gone too far? Or are his interns refusing to google for him because of his bizarre pacing and muttering?

"Necessary?" Listen, either the hordes of "Leftist" academics breeding in our nation's colleges and universities are a Fifth Column hellbent on installing Osama and Saddam and all their islamocommunifascinazisecularcrat buddies in the White House or they're not. The non-chalance of Horowitz's answer leads me to a couple of conclusions: 1) he's full of shit (exceedingly likely) and 2) no one's turning off the spigot on the right-wing money tap anytime soon (also likely). I'm glad the minds of college-bound students aren't too endangered by these loopy professors.

And I'm sure lot's of people look at Horowitz's websites - many of us looking for a freakshow at which we can point and laugh. But it also seems that traffic to has been steadily declining for well over a year, and barely registers as a blip in net-traffic.

Look, I can already tell you that Indoctrination U: The Book is going to suck. People are bored with the Horowitz-Churchill feud - he's not going to sell any books flogging that dead horse. And is anyone going to need to read a book to know that Austin is full of liberals? And for those of us in Eugene, we're bewildered - and quite frankly, I might add, a little hurt - that Horowitz went after a little-known liberal arts college in Salem when everyone in Oregon knows that it's the flagship state university down the road that harbors all the pot-smoking free love liberals bent on handing America over to the Islamists. That kind of shoddy research is doomed to to sink sales.

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Punk Rock Monday

Hey, better late than never, right?

The intensity of this Dead Kennedys performance is jaw-dropping - "Holiday in Cambodia":

The absurdity of this Dead Kennedys set to Legos video is, um... bizarre. What the hell is this supposed to be? - "Holiday in Cambodia":


02 October, 2006

Well, there's your problem right there

Of the many nuggets found in Bob Woodward's documentation of BushCo's incompetence, I doubt many of us were surprised to see that the neo-con dream team was being advised by none other than the world's favorite American war criminal, Henry Kissinger:
The president also met privately with Kissinger every couple of months, making him the most regular and frequent outside adviser to Bush on foreign affairs.

Kissinger sensed wobbliness everywhere on Iraq, and he increasingly saw it through the prism of the Vietnam War. For Kissinger, the overriding lesson of Vietnam is to stick it out.

In his writing, speeches and private comments, Kissinger claimed that the United States had essentially won the war in 1972, only to lose it because of the weakened resolve of the public and Congress.

In a column in The Washington Post on Aug. 12, 2005, titled "Lessons for an Exit Strategy," Kissinger wrote, "Victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy."

He delivered the same message directly to Bush, Cheney and Hadley at the White House.

Victory had to be the goal, he told all. Don't let it happen again. Don't give an inch, or else the media, the Congress and the American culture of avoiding hardship will walk you back.
Ah, still fighting Vietnam, 30 years after the fact.

It's the last paragraph there that gets my attention, specifically the "American culture of avoiding hardship." Now, as far as my recollection goes, I seem to remember the GOP always extolling the virtues of heroic American individualism and Yankee can-do attitude as pillars of the nation. Are we to believe that our leaders actually believe the American public to be a bunch of knee-knocking weaklings who will run at the first sign of hard work?

Or maybe there's a more plausible reason for the public's squeamishness for continuing to fight a war that is draining our treasury and costing us thousands of lives. The American public didn't "go soft" on the Vietnam War because of the cost of victory. The American public turned against Vietnam because it was unwinnable, despite what the sage Kissinger might say. The U.S. carpet-bombed North Vietnam to no effect. Showing "resolve" would have only extended the conflict and cost thousands more lives.

Similarly, "not giving an inch" on Iraq isn't going to all of the sudden make things better. In fact, as Ben Franklin said, it's the very definition of insanity.

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01 October, 2006

Not clear on the concept

The White House responds to charges from Bob Woodward (again, four years too late) that Bush, Rumsfeld, et al were willingly misleading the public about Iraq by, uh... quoting speeches from Bush and Rumsfeld.

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Oh, you all have caught me in a strange mood

Between the general ooginess that is my physical condition and the medication with which I'm treating said condition, I'm in quite the form this evening.

I spent a good chunk of my day minding ms. wobs nano-business down at the Saturday Market. Now while I may be a great many things, a great shopkeeper I am not. I especially don't move the fashion products so well. And since my general oogie feeling was keeping me from my book on Krakatoa (yes, I'm still reading it; after a while Winchester's digressions into "look-how-much-I-know" trivia make the book unreadable. Stick to the fire, brimstone, and aftermath - I don't need to know that some obscure colonial official made a name for himself as an expert on taratula poisonings!), I spent a great deal of time people watching. Today, ms. wobs had situated herself in something of a hippie district at the Saturday Market, right near the music stage. You'll just have to take my word that it's way different than the notably less-hippie and even non-hippie booths around the fountain block.

This is just my way of saying that I saw hella hippies today, which I enjoy.

Now what follows is coming from a person who has followed bands from coast-to-coast, who missed the last Grateful Dead show ever played because I got a sweet trade and would just catch a few weeks worth of shows in the fall. But I can also dance well; and that's not just me bullshitting. I can get credible sources to attest to this. And I gotta say, most hippie dancing is L-A-M-E. And I saw a lot of really bad hippie dancing today at the Saturday Market. I had my doubts about exposing pre-puking l'il wobs to it (he did seem to enjoy it).

I wanted to share the joy of hippie dancing with you, and was casting about the YouTube for something suitably lame, but instead came on this wonderful, bizarre set of incongruities that defies any sort of easy explanation. The description:
Hippie skinny guy, danced all night long. He is very animated. He's a good friend of the grooms, also possibly a big follower of this band
Nice set-up, right? Gary and Wayne lived in the dorms together. Gary still sells weed to supplement his pizza delivery income. Wayne is now climbing the corporate ladder at the local bank (he's moved up from teller to financial advisor!), found himself a lovely woman to settle down with, and still buys his weed from Gary. They've known each other for 10 years! Of course Gary's invited to the wedding! And guess what he brought for a weeding wedding present...?

Now, after watching Gary cut a rug like nobody's business (and make sure you make it through to his big finish), ask yourself this question: Who the hell hires a Grateful Dead cover band for their wedding?

And ez doesn't count.


Jackass bike riders

I'm saying this as a person who covers the majority of his miles using pedal power. I happen to be a big fan of traffic laws, as they tend to keep my bicycling ass from being pasted across the pavement. So a few words to jackass bike riders:
  • Riding your bike up onto the sidewalk does not suddenly make you a pedestrian with the right of way. Follow the stop sign at the busy 4-way intersection like everyone else.
  • The bike lane on a one-way street is still one-way. Don't come cruising down the wrong direction like you own the lane, especially when you push me and my bike trailer with my kid in it out into traffic to avoid your stupid ass.
  • Rolling stops are fine when there's no traffic around. Rolling through a stop sign and waving at the car who has the right-of-way who had to brake hard to avoid your idiotic stunt? Stupid.
  • Talking on your cellphone while driving is stupid and unsafe. Talking on your cellphone while biking in a busy part of town is one of the few things that tops it.
Thanks for your time. I'll now return you to your regularly scheduled rant.


Poor parenting

Well, l'il wobs had a relapse today, thanks to yours truly. I didn't follow the doctor's instructions with regards to his diet, so we've had a few puking episodes. He's sleeping fine now, so hopefully the worst is over. The lesson learned is, even if they look like they're feeling better, they still can't have the mac 'n cheese. Not even the Annie's.

On top of that, the l'il wobs seems to have passed his malady onto myself and ms. wobs. Fun.

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