Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

29 December, 2007

Stranger in a familiar land

We just got back in town from DC Tennessee [okay, I was tired when I originally wrote this]. I've lots to say about the trip in another post, but I wanted to just put up this brief bit.

On Monday, ms. wobs and I went out to pick up a few last minute gifts. At the Bed, Bath & Beyond in West Knoxville (read: sprawl that won't stop), we struck up a conversation with a sales associate about some glassware. He asked us where we were from. We hemmed and hawed for a few moments, saying something to the effect of "Well, that depends on how far back you want to go." We finally told him that we were currently living in DC. He responded with, "Oh, I wouldn't admit that I was from DC if I were from there."

His comment immediately stuck in ms. wobs' craw, and in retrospect, it kind of rankles my nerves as well. There are many, many places in these here United States that can justifiably diss on DC. Many. But Knoxville, Tennessee is not one of them.

BTW, if you haven't recommended some books to me yet, head here and add your selection.

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26 December, 2007

Put a little piece of yourself on my bookshelf

For Christmas, I was given $212.50 to spend at the world's greatest bookstore. So far, I only have three books slotted: Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, a river guide, and Click, Clack, Moo for the little one.

That's where you come in. $212.50 (don't ask about the odd amount) is a lot to spend on books, and rather than picking shit out at random, I'd like to appeal to you, dear reader, for some recommendations for some good reads. Fiction, memoir, biography, history, politics... as long as it's an engaging read, I'm open to the suggestion. Make my comments overfloweth with your suggestions for what you think I'd enjoy spending some time perusing.


22 December, 2007

When I get back you better butter my bread

Off to Tennessee for holidaying with the family. It'll actually be the first time that I'll have been with all of my siblings in the same place in about ten years. So with that, I'll let the boys take me back to Tennessee...

And for the perfect little bookend, that's from May 8, 1984 at the Hult Center in Eugene. Le sigh.

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Making my socialist heart go pitter-patter

When it comes to health care, John Edwards keeps saying the right things:
Nataline Sarkysian died last night at UCLA Medical Center after complications arose from a bone marrow transplant to treat her leukemia. Her insurance provider, CIGNA Healthcare, first denied the potentially lifesaving transplant, but relented after a loud public protest and outrage. By that time, though, Sarkysian passed away before the procedure could be performed.

"Are you telling me that we're gonna sit at a table and negotiate with those people?" asked a visibly angered Edwards, challenging the health care companies. "We're gonna take their power away and we're not gonna have this kind of problem again."

The insurance companies are the biggest (but not the only) obstacle to health care reform. The whole for-profit health care system is farcical, but the insurance companies stand out as especially parasitical. I'm sure whiny free-market apologists will get their undies in a bunch about creating a huge bureaucracy and usurping an important profit-generating center of the economy, but fuck them. Insurance companies are the problem, they can't be negotiated with in a way that will remove them as the problem, so let's get rid of them.

Other Dems need to take notice.

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20 December, 2007

Singled out again

Amidst the morning rush to work, I was again singled out of the crowd by the LaRouche Youth Brigade to receive their latest informative publication. I'm too polite to say, "No, I don't want your stupid fucking magazine."

One quick observation - as I implied before, LaRouche thinks that the Devil is in my laptop in the forms of the blogosphere, Facebook, and the Wikipedia. Yet the man has a website. I imagine this is something akin to 16th Century pamphleteers passing out tracts on the evils of the Gutenburg printing press.

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17 December, 2007

Gettin' in on the Jesus talk

Maybe it's the fact that baby Jesus day is approaching, or that pattyjoe has been prodding and prodding and prodding about the nature of Jesus, or that religious wingnuts are once again sucking the oxygen out of presidential politics, but it's got me all thinking about spirituality again.

I always feel like an odd duck when the topic arises. On the one hand, I'm profoundly disturbed by the poohbahs of organized religion, which looks to me (with a few notable exceptions) more like hucksters trying to fleece financial or political power from people who are rightly concerned with grand questions about the meaning of life. I particularly despise how certain religious groups place fealty to culturally produced texts above empirical reality. On the other hand, I do have a sense, a belief, if you will, in some sort of transcendent consciousness (call it what you will). I'd go so far as to say that for fleeting moments I've felt that consciousness. I've never felt that this belief in a transcendent force ever came into conflict with the rationally derived realities I've come to accept as shaping the natural and social world we inhabit.

At any rate, I'm drawn to thinkers who seek to negotiate the tensions between our understanding of the physical and metaphysical in a manner which enlarges our understanding of both rather than foreclosing investigation into one realm because of the primacy of the other. In this vein, I'd recommend to you this interview with Catholic theologian John Haught of Georgetown University where he grapples with many of these questions. Haught testified in the court case over intelligent design being taught in public schools in Dover, PA, rightly stating that it had no place in science classes or in public education.


Huckabee's heroes

The more strongly Mike Huckabee comes on in the polls, the more the disturbing trends behind his rise come to light. For example, his low-budget surge in Iowa is being fueled by his popularity amongst the right-wing home-schooling set:
While early attention focused on Romney and other better-known and better-funded opponents, home-schoolers rallied to Huckabee's cause, attracted by his faith, his politics and his decision to appoint a home-school proponent to the Arkansas board of education.

If people want to home school their kids, that's fine by me. But home schoolers have absolutely no place in setting policies for public education. With more and more focus on setting educational standards, putting hard-core Christianists on the policy boards of schools that they won't let their kids go to because they teach evolution seems to me like a trojan horse destined to introduce all sorts of backwards ideas into public education. Don't believe me?
"Even though the media makes it seem that we are a homogenous group of Bible-thumpers and flat-Earthers, there is a variety of opinion," Roe said.

Sure, some of them thump, others bang, a few lightly tap, and a small handful are content to merely wave it around. More disturbing, though, is that flat-Earthers are included in the "variety of opinion" that characterizes home schoolers, along with those who believe that everything revolves around the Earth and some who think that the Earth is really just the shell of a giant turtle swimming in a vast ocean.

These are the people helping to propel Huckabee towards center-stage. And unlike Bush, whose Rovian tactics cynically manipulated these people into voting for the dolt before dropping them like a hot potato to pursue more plutocratic policies, Huckabee seems to be one of them. I take some solace in knowing that the flat-Earth crowd and their fellow travelers make up a minority of the electorate - albeit a well-organized minority, but I'm a little bit fearful about those who would fall for Huckabee's version of economic populism and his "nice guy" persona.

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The Surge, take two

Since it worked "so well" in Iraq, why not try a Surge in Afghanistan? Remember Afghanistan, where we're propping up yet another failed "democratic state"?

Why does a constantly see-sawing military deployment between two occupied nations - nations where insurgents are surely biding their time, waiting for their opportunities - seem like our foreign policy for the forseeable future?

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Punk Rock Monday

The soundtrack to any number of adolescent evenings where I snuck out of the house to join friends, drink liquor pilfered from our parents, and smoke bad weed. The Dead Milkmen were the soundtrack to those good times...

From a 2004 reunion show, "Serrated Edge," "Where the Tarantula Lives," and "Lucky"

The classics "Punk Rock Girl" and "If You Love Somebody, Set Them On Fire"

With that, PRM is going on vacation until the New Year. We can't help it - vacation was applied for, and it's in its contract that we have to grant it. PRM will be spending the holidays in the Bahamas, while the rest of us are stuck pretending to enjoy visiting our relatives. Happy Holidays, PRM, you lousy piece of shit!


16 December, 2007

This day in history

In the early morning hours of December 16, 2005, a 31 year old man using the pseudonym wobblie created his first post at medulla noodle, an unnoticed blog in the backwaters of the internets, undoubtedly under the influence of some illicit substance. Today, the noodle's regular readership has increased infinitely, from a grand total of zero on that rainy winter evening to the whopping thirty or so who check in now. An infinite increase - so say the laws of mathematics folks.

Thanks for reading, y'all, and here's to a third year of noodly goodness!


I really do get around to trying out your recommendations

Some seventeen years ago, I was enrolled in an AP American Literature class as a high school junior. As part of the curriculum, we had to do a "Major Author" assignment, which basically boiled down to getting familiar with (as the name would imply) an important literary figure in American history and writing a major research paper. I, in an act which in retrospect seems to have cast the die for what followed in my life, chose Ken Kesey on the basis of having recently seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

My high school sweetheart had picked Truman Capote. After breezing through some of his fiction, she picked up In Cold Blood, a book which absolutely chilled her and which she begged me to read. I resisted at the time, having been bitten by the Sixties counter-cultural bug which propelled me along a divergent literary road.

I finally read Capote's masterpiece over the last five days on the basis of another recommendation from my current sweetheart, and now I find myself wishing that I had read it sooner. The true-life tale of sociopathy, told with such a clarity that the golden wheatfields of autumn in western Kansas are vividly seen in the mind's eye, is a remarkable examination of both humanity and savagery. Capote is sympathetic to everyone tangled in the web of events that culminated in the senseless murders of the evening of November 15, 1959, refusing to indulge in the black-and-white caricatures good and evil, while simultaneously unflinching in his depiction cold-hearted barbarism. That such kindness and cruelty can so easily co-exist is the central tension of the narrative, and in lesser hands, this story could have easily been dismissed as an exercise in apologetics for the accused.

After putting it off for the better part of two decades, I have to now completely recommend this to those of you who've yet to read it. And if it's been awhile since you've read it, I think it bears picking up again. And also, please note that I do eventually follow-up on looking in to items you recommend.

I just have to run them through ms. wobs first.


14 December, 2007


So I suppose we'll just be putting asterisks beside the last 15 or so baseball seasons, eh? And I have to admit, I'm in love with the Post's headline: "Yankees Prominently Mentioned in Report" - couldn't have happened to a nicer team.

Looking on the bright side, at least the Cubbies last world championship wasn't tainted by all this "I had no idea they were injecting me with that" talk.

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12 December, 2007

A bathroom moment I wish you all could have shared

I don't think of myself as some sort of backwoods rube. While my tastes might trend towards the more downscale, I have some sense of sophistication. I have a developed taste for high end whiskey and good beer. I know my salad fork from my dinner fork from my dessert fork. But this evening, I came face to face with a phenomenon which marked me as so not the urban sophisticate.

I attended a holiday party at a trendy bar here in DC. When I was ready to leave, I wanted to attend to nature's call before taking the train ride home. Upon arriving in the facilities, I spent a good minute staring at a trough. Was it a urinal or a fountain? It was a wall of shimmering water cascading down upon some decorative looking rocks. Why would they place such a nice art fountain in the bathroom? Why would a urinal look so refined?

Confused, I ended up opting to pee in the standard issue crapper - better to go with (in) what you know than end up having someone walk in on you taking a leak in the ambiance.


11 December, 2007

You stay crazy, you LaRouchian lugnuts, you

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the Lyndon LaRouche Youth Brigade ever since some young woman stared out at me with vacant eyes and deigned to lecture me about how, as a trade unionist and socialist, I was working to help make global capitalism, uh, capitalize... or globalize... or something like that. Once I found out she was running with LaRouche, all I could think about was how odd it is that the young cultists he spawns could be so enamored with some old crank who tried to ban rock 'n roll. Come to think of it, LaRouche pretty much hates everything associated with youth except the youths themselves, who seem to make perfect foot soldiers for his special brand of wingnuttery until they realize, hey, there's something to be said for this sex, drugs and rock 'n roll thing! But I digress.

The LaRouchians seem to love me as well, if the young pamphleteer who cut through the morning rush crowd at Union Station - like a moth to a flame - in order to bestow upon me the latest LaRouchian ranting is any indication. And what a ranting it was! Do you know what group poses the greatest existential threat to these here United States? If you answered the British Empire, still smarting from 1776 and hellbent on imposing global fascism, you'd be spot on! And did you know that Facebook is an insidious plot to brainwash young collegians rather than to, say, waste colossal amounts of time taking music quizzes and getting into zombie fights? It's true!

Oh you wacky LaRouchians! What hijinks will you cook up for your next pamphlet?

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10 December, 2007

The CEO we deserve

I've really got to hand it to George Bush. He promised to run this country like a corporate CEO, and bygod, it's the one statement that's crossed his lips that has actually been true. Like with this - faced with a lemon of a product (his foreign policy) that the world hates, rather than try to work out the kinks, he goes out and hires him a new PR flack to come up with a better ad campaign.

The only question I have: how does one fail upwards after being preznit?

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Most useless useful phrases guide ever

How about some useful Esperanto phrases for your next trip to wherever the fuck it is someone is speaking Esperanto?


Punk Rock Monday

It was a sad day when Mark Sandman keeled over on stage from heart failure. It’s rare that anyone dies doing what they love, in Sandman’s case, playing a show and (probably more to the tragic point) ingesting far too much heroin. Morphine had a sound like no other band I’ve heard, combining the rawness of punk, the coolness of jazz, the flow of the Beats, and that signature two-string slide bass.

“The Saddest Song”

“Honey White”

“Cure For Pain”


09 December, 2007

First against the wall

We've all got a list of the first we'd like to see liquidated for crimes against the people when the revolution rolls around. Topping my list right now is the neighbor who has been terrorizing the neighborhood with a high-pitched, horribly off-key trio of digitized Christmas carols all fucking night. You are officially on-notice neighbor, and remember, I know where you live.


06 December, 2007

Note to self

John Bolton is still full of shit.

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05 December, 2007

Two-for-one bambino blogging

So I just up-and-forgot about the bambino blogging on Sunday evening. To atone for my sins, I offer you a special twofer of l'il wobs...

Enjoying the first snowfall of the season...

Getting his groove on.

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03 December, 2007

Stupid is as stupid does

Queen of academic wingnuttia Candace de Russy approvingly cites the following statistic at (ahem) Phi Beta Cons:
Even though almost 100% of the violence in the world today is perpetuated by followers of the Islamic faith, and roughly 0% is initiated by followers of any other, the media continuously chooses to lead us to believe that it is almost normal for "youths" of "undefined affiliation" to spontaneously react to an accident with violence and mayhem.

So remember kiddies: wifebeaters, drug cartels, street gangs, and Columbian death squads - Muslims, the whole lot.

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I think this pretty much sums it up

At the risk of having a blimped-in mob descending upon my little outpost on the fringes of the internets, I think this piece pretty much nails the driving force behind the Ron Paul candidacy:
"These are life-and-death real issues," Rammelkamp tells me. He says he is worried about an economic depression, which could begin next year if the dollar continues to fall and the federal government does not deal with the national debt. He says he is worried about government increasingly violating the rights of citizens, especially if there is another terrorist attack. "The government is building FEMA camps," he says. "They want to put chips in our arms." Though he still lives with his parents, he says he has given $2,300 to the Paul campaign, using a credit card that charges no interest for a year. "It's an investment," he explains. "All I got to do is make back a few thousand dollars a year from now."

Life-and-death real issues like chip implants! And it's nice to know that the Paul campaign is being financed with what remains of the collapsing credit bubble. Methinks that Mr. Rammelkamp might be spending a few more years in the parents' basement while he pays off that $2,300 "investment."
"I never voted before in my life," says Trevor Lyman, 37, a former music promoter who now does independent online fundraising for Paul. "I always thought that the system was working. The war showed me that it wasn't."

I don't know what worries me more about this particular voter - that he thought every thing was hunky-dory until the war, or that he thinks that if every thing is going along okay with the system - a system predicated on at least nominal citizen involvement - he doesn't even have to show up to vote. I usually ascribe non-participation to a cynical "it's-all-fucked-up-but-what-am-I-gonna-do?" outlook, but rarely out-and-out happy-go-lucky cluelessness. But such is the Ron Paul phenomenon.

Don't get me wrong: I'm all for legalizing herb and ending the war. But, even under the best of circumstances, I think libertarians are a bunch of flakes grounding their political philosophy on a hopelessly naïve and utopian view of the world, even if I agree with some of their particular stands. Ron Paul supporters, however, have taken this half-baked view to a whole new level.

All right. What's the over-under on when the first commenter defending Paul shows up?

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Settle now!

Does Hollywood have any clue as to the havoc they're wreaking by not agreeing to a fair settlement with the writers? My god!

For the love of god, settle!


A very grrly Punk Rock Monday

We’ve been getting pretty heavily into the grrl punk here at PRM, so I figure why the hell not keep a good thing going with Seattle’s Seven Year Bitch? We’ve got two performances from a Seattle public access television appearance (which reminds me about how great Seattle public access tv is – I’ll have to write about the show where people phoned in their bonghits... on second thought, I just blogged it – there really wasn’t that much more to it...) and one of their, what were those things called? Ah yes, music videos.


A strangely prescient “No War”

And the video for the very cool “Hip Like Junk”


02 December, 2007

My favorite scene from my favorite movie

A little context in case you haven't seen Being There (which you really should go and do, if you haven't - it's Peter Sellers last, and IMHO best, film): Chance the Gardener is a simple man who's never left the home of his employer and has been nourished on a steady diet of television, television, television. When his employer finally kicks the bucket, poor Chance is suddenly forced into the real world (this is the scene), where by dumb luck, he's swept into the world of the Washington elite where his recitation of network babble is taken as genius. The film's a brilliant skewering of the post-modern television-age politics which have gotten us into our present predicament.

Bonus fun fact: Sellers' character in this film is the source of l'il wobs' middle name. Yes, that's how much I love this film.


The sweet smell of victory

Ah, yes. Corruption and cholera. Freedom is truly on the march.


Looking in the mirror

This piece (via Crooked Timber) sounds a lot like our life at present, especially the first few grafs (and as much a feminist as I might try to be, I'm still the male in our particular story). I don't have much to add, other than that the social system in the United States does not make it easy for folks to raise children.

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