Thursday, November 30, 2006

Not that I really get to pick racial spokespeople..

As soon as I saw the first Youtube of Michael Richards racist outburst, I knew that Jesse Jackson would somehow enter stage left into the story. I really don't think anyone elected Jesse to be 'Jesse Jackson - racial spokesman' and I'm certainly not stupid enough to believe that all black folks think any one way about anything including who gets to be the self-proclaimed racial spokesman, but Jesse has somehow managed to maintain his lofty post for many many years. Personally, I think he's 'played' and a lot more interested in Jesse-promotion than much else, but then again, I don't have my own radio show.

If I was in charge of picking racial spokesperson for my race, I think I'd look in the blogger toolbox for an Abramson, a Coble, a 'B' or possibly Sarcastro. If I got a vote for African-American racial spokesperson, I would not vote for Jackson, or even Sharpton. I'd have to cast my ballot for a Dork....He's a lot more interesting.

My serious point is this: When something newsworthy happens to a white person that doesn't involve racial issues, there isn't a WHITE GUY or WHITE WOMAN that the media flocks to for an opinion. Why then, in a supposedly more enlightened era, does the media cling to the canard that a single black person speaks for his or her race? Isn't this just a thinly guised version of the 'all black people are ____________' (fill in the blank with your favorite stupid racial stereotype).

Speaking for me, I'd like to revive an old political slogan..Run, Jesse, Run...and keep running til the TV cameras can't find ya.

Apparently they got the tree on Dickerson Road...

According to my wonderful friend Ivy's Christmas tree post, Ivy has a very special, if somewhat expensive method of decorating the family (I'm not sure the word family actually applies here) Christmas tree:

"I put hookers on the ornaments". I always knew that Ivy was persuasive.....

Most people put the ornaments on the hookers (i've HEARD), but then again, I've hung out with that Lavergne crowd and they are a special breed.

Hmmm, I would expound further, but I just got a GREAT idea for the city tree down at the courthouse...Mayor Purcell, oh Mayor Purcell......

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

That'll show him, or, Depriving Lil' Kim of his toys..

I'm reading that the U.S. government is taboo-ing exports to North Korea if the item can fit into pee-wee Dictator Kim's playhouse. No IPODs for YOU. No more sippin' Hennessey while listening to The Game's 808s.

Who are we kidding? Does anyone seriously think that Kim is going to be deprived? I think we should take a different tack. Send the little killer a gross of Zunes and a dozen or so of those 42" Phillips Plasmas TVs. Personally, I'd be willing to send him a complete OIC Variopoint 2110 copier.

Death by copier, or, learning how to use our new copier is going to make my head explode

There is a team of copy machine engineers installing the machine pictured above in our office. Don't let that picture fool ya. That sucker is 12 feet long. I'm not kidding. We had to move a guy out of his cubicle and tear down a wall in order to accommodate the new behomoth.

Here's the kicker. We are going to receive a SIX HOUR TRAINING CLASS on how to use the damn machine. !geezer alert! I remember in the old days when you'd take a sheet of paper you wanted copied, slap it down on the glass, close the lid, hit the numeric keypad and then hit a button named 'COPY' or 'START' and wham, bam, thankumaam, the copy(ies) would appear in one of several trays. Back in those days, you could actually pull/twist/punch one button/switch and you could turn on a TV...blah blah blah..

To tell the truth, my machine profiency level peaked with PONG. I got that game. Modern video games befuzzle me. I hate the idea that I have to actually ask a secretary-type-person to make copies, but the odds are, they'll understand the damn machine.

Hey, is Matlock on???

O little town of Bethlehem, how clear..WAIT, What are you doing with Brighty, and where the hel..uh, where the heck is Ernie the camel...

There are so MANY aspects of this story that need to be addressed. Seems PETA complained to this church about their 'live' nativity, thinking that 'live' meant animals. The church responded and stated that no animals could possibly be hurt in their nativity because they didn't use live animals.

PETA may have a general point, if their stories about animal abuse and even rape (I'm not sure I wanna know any more about THAT story) are true..

Brighty the donkey, snatched from a nativity scene in Virginia and beaten by three young men. Ernie the camel fled a creche in Maryland but was struck and killed by a car. Two sheep and a donkey had to be euthanized after a dog mauling at a manger scene in Virginia.

I'm all against abusing animals on any level (step away from the sheep..), but I've gotta wonder who is looking out for the people in these creche scenes. In the nativity scene mistakenly fingered by PETA, they actually have a camel puppet and a guy who wears a 'cow hood that is really quite scary'. I don't know about you, but if I had to hold my arm up behind a fake manger wearing a camel puppet for hours without talking to my fellow masochists celebrants, I might be having less than kind thoughts about the baby Jesus, and I might even be tempted to wish the visitors a 'HAPPY HOLIDAY'.

I say civil, you say sectarian, I say Rumsfeld, you say all Iraqis are contrarians..

I would say that I'm enjoy the debate and fingerpointing going on in pundit-world and politico-world about whether or not Iraq is in the midst of a civil war and just exactly who is to blame for the mess over there.

I would be enjoying this, like I said, except the last two months of the war have been the deadliest for Iraqi civilians yet. The latest place to point the finger is towards those darn Iraqis because they just don't seem to want to do what they have to do to foster a democracy.

The neo-cons are blaming the generals. The generals are blaming Rumsfeld. I don't know who Rumsfeld is going to blame, but I suggest that he spend a good amount of time in front of the mirror each day.

And, American soldiers continue to die. Lotsa blame to go around. Me, I gotta believe the buck stops at the top. I firmly believe that this President will be remembered for making one of the worst foreign policy mistakes in our history. I also believe that hating the President is useless and polarizing.

Mostly I believe that the finger pointing needs to move towards pointing towards a way to get us out of Iraq. Our soldiers have done a good job there, but our policy has been a clear and utter disaster.

After the election was over, and the country delivered what seems to be a clear mandate against this war and the way it has been waged, it feels like we all kind of relaxed and retreated into a cocoon of belief that we had accomplished something and were now ready to move on to the next issue. We got a good start at least, in delivering a message to the President and his administration, but I believe we need to keep the hammer down and not rest on our ephemeral laurels.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Attention Tennessee travelers, Starbucks open at Manchester exit..

I go back and forth from Chattanooga a LOT. Traveling over Smiley's mountain (aka Monteagle) on the way back from Chattanooga (on I-24) is sometimes a nerve-wracking experience when the weather is less than nice and the roads are slick and there are 6,324 large trucks racing down the mountain alongside your vehicle (my vehicle of choice is the low-bid state car I regularly get assigned to me: stinky Dodge Stratus, as opposed to the Taurus or the Prius).

After recovering from today's downhill travail, I stopped off at good old exit 114 where there have always been a buncha fast foods and cheap gas. But now, the latest addition to the grandeur of Exit 114:a brand spanking new Starbucks featuring the same overpriced coffee found at all their other locations. I'm willing to over-pay. because I like their coffee and, it's the antidote to the jimmy-legs I get driving a Dodge Stratus over Smiley's mountain. I'm glad to see coffee shops at key interstate exits. I wish that local folks could afford interstate exit prices, but the bite of reality is that Starbucks is probably the only game in town (at least in Tennessee) willing to pay the price.

If they would just put a coffee joint at the Waverly/Lobeville/Loretta Lynn exit going west and Harriman going east, all my travel needs would be satisfied...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

New ending for the Titan-ic...

Wow! Vince Young could probably be elected mayor after today's performance or maybe co-mayor. How often have the Titans scored 24 points in one quarter? That would be NEvER until today. Thanks to a couple of giant Giant bungles, the predatory Titans led by Vince 'hopefully forever' Young pulled a rabbit, a moose, and several miracles out of his hat this evening to lead our team to one of the more improbable victories of this and any other year.

It was a tale of two halves. First half, the Titans were bungle in the jungle, fumbling their way to what looked like a blow-out. Somehow, Young decided to channel his mentor McNair in the second half to pretty much carry the team on his Bunyonesque shoulders. Pacman took a couple of big steps towards redemption with two big interceptions followed by some rather arabesque-type maneuvers.

Young found his own Mason, namely Bobby Wade. He already had a 'Wycheck', Bo Scaife, former teammate from Texas. But, Young discovered something even more important...if you lead, the team will follow. Young will still make rookie mistakes and the team might not win many more games this year, but for the second time in two weeks, there is a very large, rather odd-throwing light at the end of the tunnel....

Only in the movies, or, Cut the red wire, NO, the BLACK WIRE, BOOM!!!

Nostalgia Central came up with a great list of 40 things you only see in the movies.

I could have come up with a few of the items on this list, such as:

Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to learn to speak German. Simply speaking English with a German accent will do. Similarly, when they are alone, all German soldiers prefer to speak English to each other.

But, my favorite is a variation of their 7th item:

7. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red digital displays so you know exactly when they are going to explode

Here's my variation. Someone who does not have any idea how to defuse a bomb will be the only person who can get to the bomb in time to defuse it. They will be able to reach someone on the phone who knows how to defuse the bomb. Inevitably the instructions will be straight forward until they get to the final 3 wires: a red one, a black one, and a white one. For some reason the expert will not be sure which one needs to be clipped for the bomb to be defused. Inevitably our hero will select the correct wire..whewwww. My movie dream is that the amateur de-fuser picks the wrong over.

Culture Club, or, it's the Scotch-Irish in me..

A few weeks ago, we were in the middle of being enthralled by 'The Departed' (Scorcese's wonderful and violent movie about the intertwinings of the Irish mob and the FBI in Bawhston) when this song jumped off the soundtrack and kicked me right in the arse - turns out the song is by 'The Drop-Kick Murphys, a somewhat inebriated Irish band from Bawhston as well. The song is 'I'm Shipping up to Boston', and it kinda sounded like The Pogues on steroids. Actually, after I purchased 'The Warriors Code' (the CD containing 'Shipping up to Boston), I decided that if the Clash were born in Boston and were totally Irish, this is what they WOULD have sounded like. Well..the Clash with Bagpipes. Drop-Kick Murphys totally kick ass.

In the same vein, if the Pogues wrote detective novels starring their alcoholic lead singer Shane MacGowan, they would read something like the 'Jack Taylor' series penned by Irish-noir writer Ken Bruen. My favorite fictional detectives in the current scene are all alcoholics: Jack Taylor, Matt Scudder (from the brain of Lawrence Block) and Dave Robicheaux (James Lee Burke). Not sure why, but something about the conflict makes for crime novels with brawn and sinew.

Bruen's voice is unique and his stories aren't easy. No hugs, tied-up bows or endlessly discussed codes of honor (ahem, the last 10 Spenser novels). They are, however, highly recommended. Start with 'The Guards', and if you're like me, you won't stop. James Crumley (maybe the best crime novelist living) says:
"The Guards is an astounding novel, a poetic account of a desperation as deep as the North sea, retribution and resurrection. It�s so good I can�t think of it as a crime novel. Its a fine book with some crime."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

You know what would taste good after all that turkey?...BARBECUE

Anybody up for some Mothership today, circa 12:30-1:00ish? MMMMMMMMM

Update: Well, what the lunch crowd lacked in quantity was more than made up in quality. The one and only Smiley showed up right when I pulled up. A person couldn't ask for a better lunch (and probably dinner) companion. Good times...

I managed to make it over to Grimey's after lunch and I picked up the new 'Hold Steady' CD which is most excellent. Following some really boring errands which left me in the midst of the greater Green Hills area, I was drinking coffee outside reading a book when I spotted Kat and Tim. Always good to be around the Kat...

Plus the weather today was like the Werewolf of London's hair when he sauntered into Trader Vic's - PERFECT!

I heard the news today, oh boy, and I didn't understand a word, and somehow it didn't matter...

Major network newscasts have been losing viewers by the millions. I've got a solution that is guaranteed to boost ratings and gain that all important 12-year-old to 90-year-old male demographic. Her name is Melissa Theuriau and she reads the news for some French TV network.

It doesn't matter if we don't speak French. Really. She's on the TV, I'm watching. Here's a compilation of Melissa Theuriau's finest moments:

I love the fact that some guy took the time to compile these broadcasts and added a porn soundtrack what I imagine a porn soundtrack would sound like if I indeed had ever heard a porn soundtrack.

You put this woman on ABC or NBC and it'd be 'Katie' who?? She could be broadcasting the onset of World War III and I'd be sighing contentedly while ensuring that my digital video recorder was getting EVERY moment.

FT: Clicked

Friday, November 24, 2006

All in the family...what movie are we gonna see

I said it recently and I'll say it again..Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. We get someone else to cook the turkey (Bro's on Charlotte - a MEAN deep-fried turkey) and my mom cooks the veggies (she's a pretty 'mean' cook herself) and my sister and her family come from St. Louis. My sister (and family) are ardent Republican-types. My mother is a Fox-News-loving Republican-type which leaves my family as the odd-ball Demo-types. We learned several years ago that we can have a wonderful, warm, loving thanksgiving if a certain someone shuts the hell up about politics (that someone would be me).

If we omit George Bush, Iraq, Fox News, progressive income tax and the death tax from the dinner conversation, all goes swimmingly. In fact, the only controversy swirling these past few Thanksgivings is the Friday after Thanksgiving movie choice..

It's getting harder and harder to satisfy teenagers, grandmother, and four theoretically adult types AND come up with a movie that everyone hasn't seen. This year we had to split up. The grown-ups went to see 'Queen' and the kids went to see James Bond. Needless to say, I totally enjoyed Casino Royale.

I really thought the Bond franchise was moribund, but these guys brought it back to life. Two thumbs WAY up.

Not to mention, the two thumbs up for Thanksgiving and family and all that sappy stuff.

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro*

I've been tagged, twice, by Newscoma and Sista. They want to perpetuate the weirdness chain, as in list six weird things about yourself....hmmmm.

1. When I walk down stairs, I whistle. Problem is, I really can't whistle. I blow some notes. I feel sorry for the people in the vicinity of the stairs, especially in the concrete echoing staircases at work, because they probably think that someone is either in pain or a small train is descending the staircase above them. Oddly, I never whistle when going up stairs.

2. I have to sit on the LEFT end of the couch. Maybe it's because I'm left-handed, but I feel disconcerted not sitting on the left end. If one of my favorite teams is playing on TV, I will move you in order to sit on the left end because it is very important to the fate of 'my' team that I am 'in position'.

3. When I'm attending a basketball game and 'my ' team (usually Vandy) has two free throws, I clap three times after the first free throw, if the free throw is made. This 'habit' has enabled Vanderbilt to win on many occasions.

4. I share a love of parallel parking with Newscoma. If they paid people to parallel park, I might be able to afford that summer home in Taos we've always dreamed about. I'm a pretty good driver, but to paraphrase Rainman, 'I'm an excellent parallel parker, I'm an excellent parallel parker'

5. When I look at myself in my bathroom mirror, I channel the voice of Barry White except he is laughing his ass off and saying, BABY, oh, BABY. I don't think I"M baby oh baby. It's like I'm on some odd sit-com and the soundtrack jokingly plays this phrase when the dishevelled sleepy-faced big-headed person slaps water on their fact in order to wake up. Oh damn, I think that was my out-loud voice.

6. Speaking of big heads. I have a very large head. Sadly, when I was a child, my head grew to adult proportions. None of my peers made fun of it though, except in grades 2-12. A sampling of my nicknames:
Basketball head, atomic head, mushroom head, ultra head, fat head, giganto-head, world-class head....I could go on, but I'd need an extra counseling session.

I hearby tag, Sam AND Lynette Davidson, Thomas McKenzie, Parlancheq, Malia, and Ginger.

*quote is from the late great Hunter S. Thompson.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Things I'm REALLY trying to be thankful for..

The guy who dropped off the state car that I picked up late Wednesday for my trip to Chattanooga next week. He left it empty. When you return a state car you are supposed to at least leave it 3/4ths full. He has no idea who I am and probably didn't think about it much. No big deal but it made me realize that my actions do affect other people in ways I don't realize.

The fact that one of the lenses in my prescription sunglasses popped out while I was walking down the marbled halls at work. It helps me remember that stupid things happen to me that don't SEEM to happen to others making me somewhat unique. Also thankful that nobody in those marbled echoing halls seem to mind when I said SHIT quite loudly (based on the amount of laughter involved).

Thanks for the guy on I-440 I let in front of me who didn't give me 'the wave' showing his gratitude. Helps me remember to say thank you to all those folks that make life better for me.

Thanks to that doc who accidentally hit a blood vessel during a routine biopsy causing me to lose a lot of blood and land in the intensive care unit at Baptist a few weeks ago. Life is precious and you tend to really remember that when you are heading the 'other' way.

Thanks to my counselor for describing me as somewhat irascible (counselor talk for somewhat asshole-ish). The appellation stung, but that's what happens when you ask for the truth.

Thanks for the mediocre sushi at a certain place downtown (not Sam's or Koto's). Makes me appreciate Samurai Sushi that much more.

Thanks for the worst spinach pie ever at a certain Greek-ish joint downtown. Made me appreciate 'The Greek Touch' (in the arcade) spinach pie all that much more.

Thanks to CBS for cancelling 'Joan of Arcadia' last year. It was the one show that 'got' it about how we are asked to do things for reasons we can't understand and how it all makes sense, even if that 'sense' is pretty damn painful. Actually I'm not thankful at all they cancelled that show. But, I am thankful for a brief shining moment, we had that show.

I'm also thankful for all those folks NOT reading this blog today...means you're doing something far more important!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The best Thanksgiving movies, or, channeling the inner Del Griffith

Thanksgiving is the one holiday that hasn't been screwed up yet (ok, I guess that Arbor day is in good shape despite the fact that the state of Tennessee does not see fit to give me the day off to go plant a tree). The Christmas tsunami has long ago overtaken the Thanksgiving holidays, what with the day after Thanksgiving becoming the true day of thanks for mall operators.

Anyway, to me, Thanksgiving is an island of respite in the commercial storm. Also there really aren't any good Thanksgiving songs (at least in secular-land). I love Christmas music (in its place which is in DECEMBER), but I like a holiday that hasn't been overcome with anything other than family gatherings and family feuds...good times.

Unlike Christmas, which has had and continues to have myriads of movies (mostly blah with some excellent exceptions), Thanksgiving has a few wonderful films centering on the day, and of course, inevitably (sorry for the obvious cliche) a few turkeys.

The best comedy and my favorite Thanksgiving movie: Hands down, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I've seen this movie or parts of it at least a dozen times. I still laugh every time and I still get misty-eyed by the ending even though I know EXACTLY what is coming. Martin and Candy are a great team, and the decency of Del Griffiths in the trappings of an awkward doof is inspirational. It's truly a great road movie, as well.

Best non-comedy movie about a family, but not a family movie: Hannah and Her Sisters. This Woody Allen movie is worth watching just for the lighting and the editing. This film was part of the second wave of great films from Allen, and is bracketed by two Thanksgiving dinners. It has a great cast featuring Michael Caine, Max Van Sydrow, Barbara Hersey, and Allen himself. Allen has not reached the point where he looks silly dating younger women, and Michael Caine is note-perfect.

Best uplifting movie about the typically disfunctional family: Pieces of April, starring the now-insane-female-half of TomKat (Katie Holmes, thankfully before the outside world became a Scientology Potential Trouble Source). Pieces of April is obviously a low-budget movie, with a wonderful cast. The movie has a couple of irritating sub-plots, and the filmmaker clearly ran out of money before he could really finish the film, but, despite all that, if you want to see grace and forgiveness eloquently displayed in the incredible acting of Patricia Clarkson, Oliver Platt and Holmes, this is the movie to watch.

Worst non-uplifting movie about a disfunctional family: Myth of Fingerprints. Actually this movie is well-made and has the best cast of any of the four films in this post. The darkness and disfunctionality never get dispelled though, and the film seems to revel in it's depression. Worth watching..but be warned!

Other Thanksgiving Films worth mentioning: Ice Storm, Nobody's Perfect and Home for the Holidays. Most of these films seem to center on disfunctionality which is a weird, but probably realistic way of saying thanks.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bill O'Reilly is an asshat

Ha, Ha, I'm protected. Wait a minute, that's just a California decision...whooops. Bill O'Reilly is just a misunderstood HIPAA violator..

Monday, November 20, 2006

We wanted Kramer, but we got Michael Richards...a few really uncomfortable moments on Letterman

I was watching Letterman tonight because Seinfeld was on, and I figured that there HAD to be some convo about the Michael Richards meltdown, and I was really curious what Seinfeld had to say about the whole deal.

Little did I know..Michael appeared via satellite with Jerry on the show. Along with the audience, I really wasn't sure if he (Richards) was going for funny or really wanted to apologize seriously. There were long pauses and nervous laughter and Jerry telling the audience that it really wasn't funny and Kramer Richards being offended by the audience laughing and Jerry trying to explain to Richards that the audience was seeing KRAMER, and man, was it really really uncomfortable.

Richards is clearly distraught. I kept waiting for him to do one of those Kramer shimmies and fall over backwards in his chair symbolically pratfalling into the arms of forgiving fans. I still don't totally understand what happened that night, and I really don't know if he'll ever recover his career.

It was mesmerizing to watch, even if painful and discomforting. I kept wanting to forgive the hipster's gonna be a little harder to forget the verbal pratfalls of Richards.

Update: Here is a link to the video of Richards on Letterman. Despite much speculation, Richards did not blame his tirade on alcohol, upbringing or anyone else, other than a rather disjointed statement about race relations in America.

Update 2: Michael over at Chez Bez has some good words on this subject. I agree with his statement about the nervous laughter in the audience. I don't think they were laughing at his apology. I think they desperately wanted to laugh at KRAMER.

Update 3: This guy (Good Copy blog) thinks the apology was a disaster and stage-managed by Seinfeld for economic reasons. I wanna think that Seinfeld was helping a friend, but this guy has some good points.

I understand the mindset of an actor who loses control on stage. I’ve studied acting, and I know how naked you feel when your act goes very, very wrong. I’ve bombed so badly in an audition that I wanted to hit random people in the throat. But you are responsible for your actions and must control yourself at all times!

Towards the end, Letterman says, preciently, “I certainly hope you don’t have regrets about being on the show.” I bet he does, and should.

As a black individual, I am offended by Richards’ words, and to a lesser degree, by Seinfeld’s (probably business-driven) attempt to stage-manage his apology. If the man can’t speak clearly for himself, I don’t need Seinfeld translating for him.

Update 4: Shakespeare's Sister has some interesting observations on this story as well, including insights on passive vs. active racism.

If I catch that damn alarm's gonna be sorry it was ever manufactured ...

Somehow I think of Coble when I see this Harry Potter-esque flying alarm clock which is actually for sale in England.

"You'll have to get up when this little baby starts, because it takes off and flies round the room, making a really annoying noise like a mosquito,

so you'll have to find it first, before you can turn it off. Even if you hit the snooze button, it will take off again, so it will undoubtedly get you out of bed, though of course it might smash the place up a bit before you catch it, and if you sleep with the windows open you might find yourself running round the garden in your jimjams (no way to wake up) and may frighten the neighbourhood dogs."

FT: Clicked

Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell you, I gotta plead ignorence on this thing........

because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing is frowned upon... you know, cause I've worked in a lot of offices, and I tell you, people do that all the time.

Bambi weeps...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bizarro day - Eagles are turkeys, Titans soar..

We started out the day with an anti-brunch - breakfast at the wonderful Hermitage Cafe down on Hermitage Avenue. Pretentious, it is not. Clean seat upholstry, it has not. Healthy food...NOT. If you want a real breakfast, replete with lard-based biscuits with gravy, real corn beef hash, eggs served pretty much whatever way you want and loads of other artery-clogging victuals, not to mention a wide variety of customers, Hermitage Cafe is your place.

I got home just in time to see most of the Titan's game. I realize I will probably jinx our team, but overall the Titans are playing the way I expected the Eagles to play and the Eagles have landed in the Titan-zone. Still most of the 4th quarter to go, but the Titans are unbelievably ahead 24-6 thanks to Travis Henry, Vince Y. and the punt return stylings of Pacman 'it's all about me' Jones, not to mention some excellent defense from a bunch of guys who heretofore couldn't stop the Temple Owls.

I hope that bizarro day turns into normality tonight when we head down to Sam and Lynnette's for The Story. I'd hate to find out that we are really supposed to DIS-like our neighbors. I'm rather fond of em'.

Bizarro Titans Update: Randy Stark to Keith Bullock for a touchdown..just when i think i've seen it all...Titans are gonna win this one!

Dane Cook explained, or, Vito straightens things out.

i love the Sports Guy, columnist for I especially love his mailbag and the hyper-clever 'letter' writers. This particular letter from someone named Vito explains something that has been totally befuzzling me.

Q: I'm 99 percent positive that Randolph and Mortimer Duke recently wagered $1 that they could turn the funniest, most successful stand-up comic into a disturbed bum on the street and turn a random unfunny guy off the street into the hottest comic in the land with TV specials and a feature film. How else can you explain the fall of Dave Chappelle and the rise of Dane Cook? It is the only answer. Looking good Dane Cook! Feeling good Dave Chappelle!
--DeVito, Washington

A new me, or, Irascibility tiled

The other day, Kathy T. included me in her wonderful 'wrinkle' series. I warned her in advance and apologized afterwards that the series would take a downward spiral when and if I was included, especially since a PICTURE was involved. Well, I've borrowed that picture from her, and I do believe that I've improved it greatly. Thanks to some internet surfing starting with Chez Bez to The Red-Headed Editor to Ripple Me This....I found the Image Mosaic Generator...behold!

There are literally hundreds of small photos mosaically designed to pull together my face. Not sure it was worth the effort, but really a lot of fun to play with..Hint, click on picture and then embiggen the pic, and if you see the GIANT-SIZED pic of me, I'm not so easy to make out, but the hundreds, yea, thousands of pictures that make up my head are visible.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Marriages by Rob, or Angst in my pants, or Keeping the Liberal Sparks out of Marriage

Testimonials for 'The Right Way to Meet'

Jane L. in Wichita - "I had angst about my left-leaning boyfriend. I loved his manner and I adored his face, but Thank God for Rob's book. Our marriage would have been more strained than Thanksgiving dinner at the Goldman's house if O.J. showed up"

Ronnie B. in Belleville, Illinois - "My fiance mentioned that her favorite movie was 'The Birdcage' with that fag gay freak Nathan Lane. If I hadn't read Rob's guide to the right way to marry, I would've ended up promoting the homosexual agenda. THANK YOU, Rob.

Ramona L. in Hot Springs, Arkansas - 'Some people may call it over-reaching and odd, but I'm grateful that Rob has 'called out' the misguided marriages based solely on love, when the Damocles sword of political differences lowers itself nightly over the marital bed'

Yes friends, Rob may be 'Voluntarily Conservative', but he wants to move beyond traditional boundaries of taste and grace. He wants to save YOU from marrying a liberal and he won't stop just because it's none of his business.

Friday, November 17, 2006

If only Harold Ford had thought of THIS, or, Senor Arremetidas, you've already had your turn..

The mayor of a small town in Brazil is providing free Viagra for the over-60 men in his town. The obviously popular program is called 'Pinto Alegre' which translates to 'happy penis', which now that I think about it explains the lack of explosive sales for the smallish Ford Motor Pinto. They should have called it the HAPPY Pinto. Sadly, the Ford Pinto had the annoying habit of breaking into flames when rear-ended, which also leads, hell, make up your own joke.

A rose is a Rose, or, a Rose by any other name would still generalize

Is there NOT another blogger in town besides Mark Rose who attempts to contribute to 'Tennessee Voices" (formerly known as Nashville Eye) which is the Tennesseean's citizen op-ed column? Today Rose refutes the argument that we Tennesseans are a bunch of racist louts for not electing Ford. I don't really disagree with his basic premise, but he did manage to sneak in one of his: "ALL LIBERALS" are _______________, or 'ALL LIBERALS' think ___________. In this case, all liberals saw the election results on racial terms.

First of all, Mark Rose doesn't know ALL liberals. I"m sure he's met a couple in his life, and maybe they live up to his straw-man concept of progressivism, but I am so damn sick of being told that 'all ANYBODY' is any one thing. Liberals generally don't agree on much of anything.

It's kind of like saying that all conservatives love Jesus. Hey, I've met Smantix and I know better!

Ooops he did it again, or Bush shows no intelligent design in selecting new Federal Family Planning chief

What would you think if the President nominated O.J. Simpson to head the President's Council for Physical Fitness and Sports? Yeah, he was quite fit back in the day, and he probably knows a lot about exercise, but wouldn't it seem a little tasteless?

What would the Second Amendment folks say if Sarah Brady was named Attorney General of the United States?

What would you say if the President named this guy to head the Federal Family Planning Program and this guy felt that the distribution of contraceptives is "demeaning to women."? What if this guy firmly believed the canard that abortion* is linked to an increase in breast cancer, even if every CREDIBLE epidemiological study denied the link?

Well, the Prez apparently has already forgotten the election results and his pledge to work with the opposition. Eric Keroack, the nominee to head Family Planning runs something called 'A Woman's Concern' which is a pregnancy counseling center that promotes alternatives to abortion, including the misinformation that abortion is linked to breast cancer.

I've certainly got nothing against the place, but I have a HUGE problem when the head of this kind of religious organization is asked to run a federal program that theoretically espouses birth control and is intended to serve ALL Americans whether or not they hold Christian values.

Read 'The Woman's Concern' FAQ on sex. I certainly understand abstinence as a philosophy. Extrapolating that philosophy into a federal program is certainly a goal of the evangelical right, but it is only a small part of the complete mission of the Family Planning program.

*This should not be construed as an endorsement of abortion or a missive against abortion. I AM totally against misrepresenting science in the guise of counseling.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Not in OUR state, or, OH, THAT's why their cage is so tidy and well decorated

Let's hope to God they don't get married! I wonder if 80% of the animal kingdom has a position on this..

Guarding MY flank, or, Roger that..

I'd just like to say that I really DO read Abramson (Flank Two Position) for the articles. It really IS a cheerful blog...

Signs of the apocolypse, or, Alex, the question is 'turn on the juice'..

I thought someone was kidding when I read that the murderous O.J. Simpson was doing a book about how he WOULD have killed Nicole if indeed he HAD killed Nicole. From what I'm reading, it's not a joke. Even 'better', the Fox TV folks are gonna air a two-part special based on O.J.'s yarn-spinning. Considering that Fox continues to air Bill O' Reilly, and once aired a show called Temptation Island which honest-to-God tried to entice contestants to commit adultery, I shouldn't be surprised.

My request to Fox is that they mash-up the Simpson special with another show called "Let's give Fred Goldman a gun and see what he does with it after watching part I of the Simpson show". I'd definitely watch THAT show.

On Bob Dylan's surprisingly good XM radio show, he once quipped that he gave his mother-in-law a chair for her birthday, but she refused to turn it on. Maybe we could all chip in and get that chair for O.J.

Monday, November 13, 2006

W.W.E.D, or, Goodbye yellow brick load

I've noticed that a gaggle of bloggers seem exercised about Sir Elton John's call for banning religion. I supposed that buried beneath Elton's blather he has a point or two, but I do have a few questions:

Is there one person in this country (outside of Elton's wife partner) who wakes up in the morning and CARES what Elton John said the day before? Was there one church-goer yesterday who decided to take the day off from church because of Elton's jeremiad? Did Bernie Taupin write Elton's remarks? Has anybody actually READ the inane lyrics of Levon?

Friday, November 10, 2006

One for my family, one for the little guys, and one for the road

Yesterday was my youngest son's birthday (he turned 22 - we started having kids when I was 10 and my wife was 11). He got to choose the restaurant for last night's birthday dinner. Apparently, he channeled his inner 'Dry Spot' because we ate a fine dinner at Sportsman Grill (he kinda knew that Palm wasn't really an option). Despite some shaky parentage (at least on the pater part), my kids are growing up well.

Last night while eating we watched the Louisville - Rutgers game. Needless to say, Lynn was beyond thrilled (NOT). I love it when a 'homecoming school' has a good season and knocks off a ranked team. As a Vanderbilt fan, it's nice to see the downtrodden occasionally slaughter the giant. I can only hope the Rutgers win will really screw up the BCS. The entire family was pulling for the Rutgers upset (except for one apathetic mom). As Vanderbilt fans we naturally root for the weak and infirmed.

Lynn and I are heading to Houston this weekend. Our friend Nicky, a wondrously generous spirit, is losing his life to a damned brain tumor. If you pray, please channel your thoughts to Nicky and a miracle. Any thoughts would be appreciated.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

a big shout out to the Bush's from Daniel Ortega

A relatively unnoticed fallout of the Bush administration's ability to rally the world against us, was the recent election of Daniel Ortega, scion of the Sandinistas, back into the Presidency of Nicaraugua. Actually, I thought he was hosting 'Back to the 80s' for VH1. I really didn't know he was running again.

Of course Ortega is going to form a new axis of near-evil with Chavez of Venuzuela and Fidel 'I'm not dead yet' Castro. Apparently democracy is good for the Iraqis, but we're not quite so sure about the will of the people if they keep electing thugs like Ortega.

U.S. officials have publicly censured Ortega, attempted to unify his opposition, and threatened that an Ortega win would endanger U.S. financial support. The continuous intervention, however, has failed to unite Nicaragua's divided right or significantly detract from Ortega's base....(snip)

In a last-ditch effort to undermine Ortega, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the House's International Relations Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, sent a letter on Friday, October 27, to Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security. Rohrabacher enjoined Chertoff "to prepare in accordance with U.S. law, contingency plans to block any further money remittances from being sent to Nicaragua in the event that the FSLN enters government." The nearly half million Nicaraguans currently living in the U.S. send around $500 million each year to their family members in Nicaragua, according to Nicaraguan economist Nestor Avendaño.


Rohrabacher's letter is but one voice in a recent cacophony of U.S. meddling. Headlines of the last week have been laden with unsolicited U.S. opinions on Daniel Ortega and the sort of President Nicaraguans should want. The day after Rohrabacher sent his letter, Florida governor Jeb Bush authored a letter published in a La Prensa paid ad. Bush's letter declares that Nicaraguans must choose between a "tragic step towards the past," which he identifies as the "totalitarianism" of the Sandinistas, and "a vision towards the future." Jeb Bush's own vision for Nicaragua's future is revealed at the bottom of the ad, where the Alianza Liberal Nicaraguense party, which is running the U.S.-preferred presidential candidate Eduardo Montealegre, is named as the ad's sponsor.

Maybe the Bushies should have endorsed Ortega

First the House, then the Senate, and now Studio 60!

Despite the naysayers and gloomy Nielson numbers, Studio 60 appears to have been given a reprieve and will be around a bit longer. Despite the fact that Sorkin and national Democratic leadership don't read this blog, I'm proffering some advice, and it's kinda the same to both Sorkin and the Dems.

Sorkin - quit dissin' and patronizing the folks in the flyover country. Not only do we 'get' TV down here, but we really don't care about YOUR story. You have the ability to write most excellent dialogue. Make the show funny, use your cast, shed the liberal shibboleths and QUIT INSULTING ME (me as the stand-in for all of us good folk between NY and LA).

Dems - I'm not a Reagan Democrat, but I think I understand a lot of why many Dems went the Reagan direction. They felt forgotten and abused. I have a pretty good feeling that many of those folks 'came back home' in this election. Most of the Dems who won aren't flaming liberals. If they had been, the Dems wouldn't be in the position they now find themselves.

I agree with my neighbor S-townMike that the constitution needs to be restored, but I think that the minimum wage, restoration of Pell grants, tax equity, and other 'middle-class' American issues need to be addressed quickly. We want real lobbying reform, and we want the environment protected. 'Kelo' needs to be addressed, and substance needs to be instilled into the hollow words of Bush when he claims to believe that we are too dependent on oil.

The Republicans had their chance and they became drunk and giddy with power and spending largesse. Let's remove the earmarks, forgo impeachment talk and work with the President to implement meaningful rhetoric-free immigration reform. We have a chance to regain the middle - let's don't blow it like the GOP just did.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

They ginned Rummy, or, not better late than never..

I gotta wonder how many G.O.P candidates who lost last night wish that Rummy had been given the 'here's your hat, what's your hurry' bump out the door about 60-90 days earlier than the day AFTER the election.

I'm in a minority, I think. I never supported the Iraqi war. I totally supported the Afghanistan war. The point is really NOT about me. The point is that I think most people supported the war in its inception and conception. The opposition that helped sweep the Dems into control was the EXECUTION of the post-Saddam conflict. The majority of folks think the Bush 'stay the course until recently' plan stunk. It clearly hasn't been working and things are getting worse. Bush proudly proclaimed his support for Rummy, Cheney and the war over and over. His intransigence was his downfall.

What was the 'most bestest' symbol of Bush's stubbornness? RUMSFELD! Take Rumsfeld out of the equation months ago, and admit that things weren't going well (at least WELL before the election as opposed to a last minute hail mary sign of desperation) and actually CHANGE the course would have saved the day for the GOP.

At least Bush waited until the day after to show Rummy the gate, proving the move was not political. My question is, why the heck did he wait so long, and I'm betting that there are a lot of out-of-work congressman and senators who are asking that same question, probably with a little more bitterness.

Winners, Weiners, and Loosers (in honor of Campfield's spelling)

Loser: My Maturity level, because I wanna channel Nelson from The Simpsons (HA, HA) to all the Bryson diehards, especially Mr. Dixie Thoughts: Hey, Dixie Thoughts Blogperson, Bryson got his bacon cooked while barely making 30% of the vote. Mr. Thoughts proclaimed that Bryson would crack 40%. I offered a full course meal to Mr. Thoughts at Brown's Diner if Bryson got 40..heh heh heh. Mr. Thoughts is also the guy who said that Dems don't like children..geeze, I guess the children of American are in big trouble now.

Big Winner:
(and I'm not angling for free Dunkin' Donuts): Abramsom for shirking the party hacks and attempting to report the truth about the elections despite the fact that his fellow conservatives were clearly going to take a beating in some quarters. The hackdom of his beraters is shown in clear relief. Roger, the donuts are on me.

Signs of my maturity II: I got really tickled reading Lee's live blogging when I came across this update:

10:03 Everytime I see Rep. Chocola's (R-IN) name run across the screen, I can't help but snicker. Makes you wonder how Sen. Frankenberry is doing.

Signs of the upcoming Democratic apocolypse: They were playing Bachman Turner Overdrive behind Hillary when she was acknowledging her big win..'you ain't seen nothin' yet'. I loved it when Hillary was trying to ignore Bill who clearly trying to get in the shot. I'm begging my fellow Dems: PLEASE, for the LOVE of God, and all that is good for the country, FIND a governor (Spitzer or Richardson?) for 2008.

Tennessee voters who were looking for a Democrat in yesterday's Senate election. I don't think the voters repudiated Ford because he was black, despite all the national pundritry blather. We wanted a clear choice. If there are two Republicans running, why not vote for the guy who actually owns up to his party.

Loser: People who hate negative advertising. The Corker - Ford race was basically even until the national GOP guys got nervous and brought in the A-team. Sadly, a big part of the A-team game was to amp up the negative ads. I think that Ford took a big hit from the 'playboy' ad, partly because he was running as a Righteous man, and partly because of the squeamishness surrounding all those 'horrible' non-Tennesseans injecting their cash into the race for Ford.

Winner: Those of us who think the Iraqi war has become the disaster many predicted. The electorate saw through the slogan-changing (oh yeah, we're not staying the course anymore) as an obvious cynical ploy. The vote on the House level was about two things: the war, and the corruption of the GOP, as embodied by the tendrils of the Enron meltdown AND the Jack Abramoff cash letting. Several of the rubber-stamp hacks (i.e. J.D. Haynesworth) were blown out.

Loser: George Allen. Even if he somehow wins the re-count. He wanted to be Prez, but after this campaign, he might make it as President of the Rotarians, but little else. His national ambitions are kaput.

Question: One of the Rovian strategies for winning elections has been to put 'anti-Gay' amendments on the ballot during national elections. Now that my fellow Tennesseans have beated down the menace of gay nuptials (whew, the siege on my marriage is now OVER), what anti-Gay amendments can they put on the ballot in 2008?

The Anti-Don we now our GAY apparel amendment - let's take the Sodomy out of the holidays Christmas

The Dick Button Amendment: No male ice skater is to be shown on TV unless a female is also on the ice

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

life has no meaning, cuz Brit's all up-fed with K-fed

According to THIS, Brit is suing K-fed for divorce (probably after listening to his CD). I normally wouldn't want to break into election coverage with just ANY story, but this is the story that HAS to be told.

If you see a 50ish looking guy looking lost, searching for meaning...honk

Follow the money - I see the election 'future' again, thanks to

Earlier in the election season I wrote that Bryson was not gaining any traction with the Republican voters in Tennessee based on anecdotal evidence AND more importantly, money evidence. When in doubt, as they say, follow the money.
is an Irish futures market (ok, it's pretty much a betting site) where you can buy futures in anything from the onset of the Bird flu to the ultimate winner of 'Dancing with the Stars', but more germane to this discussion, who will win elections in the old U.S.A. For what it's worth, they've never been wrong on a Presidential election and they've been around awhile.

So, based on the fact that people may talk a good game about who will win, but generally won't put their money somewhere unless they are really sure who will win, here's some projected winners from

First in Tennessee: Corker wins
Virgina: Allen apparently macaca-ed, Webb wins
Montana: Burns is burned, Tester pass test
Pennsylvania: Casey wins easily
Florida: no-brainer, but I just love the way that Katherine Harris has melted down this year, Harris taken out by full Nelson
Connecticut: Mr. Independent Lieberman wins easily
Maryland: Steele is not man of steel...Card-in
Missouri: Not enough Talent, McCaskill takes it.

Tradesports also has the Dems winning the House and the G.O.P.ers hanging on to the Senate.

I disagree only with the Virginia projection - somehow I think Allen pulls that one out.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Claudia Nunez is not asking for your vote, but she needs you..

Click on the button to the right of this post - the one that says 'Save Claudia Nunez'. If you don't know the story already, the linked website contains the basics along with a great video from Channel 2 news.

I can't speak for all the folks who are working to keep Claudia from being deported, but I'm not espousing blanket amnesty for all illegal immigrants. I am asking for mercy. I'm asking that our country not break up a family and put this woman in danger for her life.

Lotsa people have written about this story. Most of those are linked from the website. A new post on this topic from Sarcastro is certainly worth reading.

Please check the website and sign the petition. You will NOT receive any phone calls asking you to vote for Claudia - robo or otherwise.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I'm John Hutcheson and I don't approve of your damn ads

I've long been a political junkie especially when it comes to elections. When others gripe about political ad overload, I've smirked in their general di-rection, because I have the stamina to burst through election day, all the way into the mother lode of returns precinct by precinct. Until this year that is...

I cannot begin to express how sick I am of the Corker v. Ford campaign. Corker knows that Ford doesn't peddle abortion pills to school children. Ford knows that the illegal immigrants supposedly part of Corker's work force were buried deep in a sub-contract. Corker early on promised not to bring Ford's family into the fray, but when the going got tough, guess what. None of this is to say that either side approaches the angels on these issues, as much as each of them would like to proclaim their godliness.

Did you know that the United States is ranked 32nd in the world in infant mortality? Didn't hear much about that in the campaign did ya?

An estimated 2 million babies die within their first 24 hours each year worldwide and the United States has the second worst newborn mortality rate in the developed world, according to a new report.

Did you know that over 46 MILLION American citizens are not covered by health insurance? Did you know that despite this lack of coverage these people still get sick, many critically so? Do you know who pays for their visits to the emergency room? I missed any scintilla of serious discussion on this issue.

The RNCC is happy to explain how Ford once went to a party sponsored by Playboy. Ford is more than eager to belittle Corker's integrity on vague 'tax' problems. Thanks, but no thanks.

Oh sure, they say they are the RIGHT person, but any semblance of a serious plan for any serious issue is as rare as a White House staffer who admits they talked regularly with Ted Haggard.

Did you know that Corker ran over 12,000 freaking ads this year? I don't know how many Ford ran, but as i remarked elsewhere, I don't feel that my dreams are complete until one of the two candidates approve.

For once I'll be glad the political campaign is over. One of the guys will obviously win, but in my mind, we've already lost.

Lunch update - 11/06 - Imagine my surprise when I checked the comment section for this post - a Mr. Douglas Johnson from the National Right to Life Committee responded to a post decrying the state of political advertising in the Ford v Corker campaign with...A POLITICAL AD of his own.

I was not trying to say that Ford was pro-life or pro-choice. The intent of my semi-rant was to complain about the shallow issue-avoiding nature of the political advertising in said campaign.

Obviously Mr. Johnson was googling blogs that mentioned Ford and anything about abortion because I can't imagine him wasting his boilerplate material on a back-water blog like mine.

I would like to ask Mr. Johnson the same question I ask Pro-Lifers everywhere: Since you are so concerned with the life of the child from conception to birth, would you stand with me (and many others) in requesting more funding for the WIC program, and in researching why our infant mortality rate in the US is worse than some third world countries? Or, do you only care under the baby POPS???

The word 'bling' was finally interred today..

when the word was discovered in this AP story about a gift that Laura Bush received from her husband the President.

The word 'bling' (denoting metallic jewelry for those of you who are totally hopeless) was borne by the hip-hop community in the late 1990s and was somewhat au courant for around two years until Katie Couric used the word in 2002. Bling held on for a few years in the form of irony, but suffered mightily when the word was first used in the pulpit by a youth minister in Dubueque, Iowa.

Bling briefly rallied in a fit of post-irony, but gradually frittered into utter inanity. Today's usage referring to the President's gift to Laura was the final chapter in its protracted life. Please inform your posse.

After one half I can tell you the whole story

With my vast expertise after watching hundreds of football games, I can safely say now that the Titans are actually playing a decent team (sorry Michael), they are to good football what the coyote is to the roadrunner.

How 'bout those Predators!

Turn out the lights, the Bryson party is over, or, The Rep says it's Bredesens to 'loose'

Stacy Campfield goes out on a not-so-loose limb and calls the governor's race for Bredesen. Good to know that at least some of the GOP pols are living in the real world.

For the first time in his life, Saddam will be well hung..

Personally, I wish we had just sent this guy over to take him out and be done with it many years ago. Too bad we didn't see the need to condemn Iraq back in 1988 when he gassed the Kurds. Oh yeah, Saddam was our pal back then.

Bottom line..glad he's getting the noose. Wish we hadn't FUBARed the post-Saddam era.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

As promised, Lee marched into Nashville

Our blogging friend Lee of Digital Nicotine fame gamboled down our way for some barbecue at the Mothership and a meal with fellow bloggers. Luckily for Lee, the blogger feast was more than me..Aunt B and Big Orange Michael (who may soon be renamed 'Medium Orange Michael', but that's a story for another day) all 'cued up to the table.

Lee asked Michael if we ever got sick of the song 'Rocky Top'..while Michael was explaining that not only does a TRUE Tennessee fan NOT get sick of the song, a TRUE Tennessee fan would make it the centerpiece of their wedding(s), I was feigning illness, but we started laughing when Michael explained that if a Tennessee fan was ever in trouble, all they would have to do is sing 'R. Top' in a loud voice, and true fans in the environs would come to the rescue, kind of a redneck version of the 'Bat signal'.

At a nearby table a solitary guy was slinging back some bbq and occasionally glancing our way with a devilish grin. Just as we were about to finish he introduced himself - Holy was SMANTIX! I didn't see any horns, pitchfork or tail, and if there was a dash of sulpher in the air, I missed it. Smantix was funny, interesting and once again did not look anything like what I would have guessed (and no..I really didn't think he would resemble any form of Beelzebub). If I was in a contest trying to match blogger's faces with their blog (which somebody should do...) I would finish dead last, I'm sure. I'm glad Smantix decided to join us.

Of course, the main event was Lee's foray into Nashville. Lee made me feel old (not intentionally...he's just young). He's funny, intelligent and inching away from the social conservatism of his youth into the hotbed of libertarianism...Sarcastro and Coble strike again!

Good times. Next time, Lee, give some advance notice, and we'll make sure you see more of Nashville at night than the greater, shiver, Rivergate area.

Learning to drive with a hole in your soul, or, when it comes to Haggards, more Merle, less Ted

I must begin with two caveats. I've known Vali Forrister, star of the Actor's Bridge Production of 'How I Learned to Drive' for her entire life and I love her dearly, which could be misconstrued due to the nature of the play which we happened to see last night.

Second caveat: I believe that people are created with a yearning in their heart for something more than the pedestrian quotidian perp walk towards non-existence. My take is that spirituality (as opposed to religion) works to satisfy that yearning. The medicating emollient of alcohol is a putative cure, as are sex, drugs, TV, religiosity and a host of other lenitives. We're are often afraid and we often feel that if somebody has the vision to see what we really are, we will be exposed as frauds, charlatans and empty.

If you are bombarded with images and words that sexuality is the way you can express yourself or how you can fulfill yourself without the counterpoint of love and some level of commitment and purpose, then sex will be your offering, your means to a meaning.

If you are lonely or unfulfilled in marriage and you realize that cures such as alcohol or drugs don't give you what you need and don't even begin to fill up that gaping void in your life, then pursuing illicit or incestuous sexual release suddenly might seem the only way out.

All of that is to say, the play we saw last night - 'How I Learned to Drive' - presents us with a beautiful young woman defined by her family sexually as 'Little Bit' who grows up seeing herself empty unless she can connect sexually. Her uncle 'Peck' (aptly named) is the lonely unfulfilled adult. The excuse to teach the child to drive is the uncle's way of innocently disguising his growing sexually predatory longings for his niece.

Watching the progression of lust to groping and beyond is extremely discomforting. You're gonna squirm watching some of this play unless you, yourself have taken meds (sleeping aids). Vali, as always, IS that child, and the impressive Matthew Carlton is the sadly drowning uncle who clings to his hope that he can run away with 'Little Bit' like a man clinging to a life raft watching his ship go under.

There is humor involved, necessary in order to dispel the darkness, well supplied by the supporting cast, especially Tom Mason. This is not a play you can say you ENJOY in the skylark sense of the word, but it is a play that leaves you with hope and images of profound sadness.

Profound sadness must have been a rising gorge in the life of Ted Haggard. There are many who have written about his plight much more eloquently than I am able - Joe Powell, Thomas McKenzie, and Kat Coble, among others, but seeing this play placed Haggard's plight in the context of emptiness.

I wrote elsewhere that when leading a cult of personality, the combination of the headiness and the fear that your inner demons will be exposed must be bone-wearying. I truly think that Haggard's exposure may have saved his life, because I can't believe that the hypocritical poison of preaching against gays, illicit sex and drugs, while partaking in all three was not eroding his very being. The sad fallout on his family and the people who trusted him to lead are radiation burns from his twisted attempts to salve and medicate.

I doubt seriously that Mr. Haggard will ever read this blog, but if he does, I advise him to let the entire truth out. Covering up and letting the media pick you apart is no way to heal. The truth will get out, like it or not.. Haggard can either let the bits of undisclosed poison destroy his remaining life (much like the uncle in the play who ended up drinking himself to death), or he can live transparently and humbly.

I've never been burdened with a cult of personality (at least one of my dogs seems to like me), and therefore my hypocritical actions and occasional cowardice haven't made the world stage. For that I am grateful. I'm also grateful for the opportunity see a play like 'How I Learned to Drive' as disconcerting as it may be. I do not choose the medications that the uncle in the play chose, but my less luminant turns can be just as destructive.

Having said ALL that - Vali, you are the best.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Smokin' Links

Now I know why my dreams end with 'I'm Bob Corker and I approve of this dream'.


I know that the infamous McCain-Feingold act made it necessary to add the 'I'm ______ and I approve this message' coda to ads'. In some cases, the candidate doesn't speak in the ad at all, but comes on at the end to 'approve the ad'.

This makes sense when the great voiceover guy says stuff like 'Bill Williams* is a syphilitic jelly-spined misanthropic toad who supports man-canine marriage' and the candidate comes on at the end and says, 'I'm James James and I support this marriage.' James is letting us know that he approves what voice-over guy just said. But, when James James himself actually is seen walking and talking throughout the entire ad, and NO other voice is heard in the entire commercial, why is it necessary for James James to end with "I'm James James and I approve this message". Do you regularly NOT approve what you just got through saying? Has anyone running for office ever not immediately approved the message he just spoke (John Kerry doesn't count!).


The website for Claudia Nunez is up and running. Please sign the petition if you agree that Claudia shouldn't be separated from her family. If you choose to sign as anonymous, please add a comment.


What if Aaron Sorkin wrote a show about baseball. This guy NAILS it. This script is actually better than the real script for the last shown Studio 60.

ft: Clicked


Thanks to Aunt B, I discovered the wonderful music blog of Cricket and Mimi. Definitely worth more than a look.


And finally, a message from Black Santa: Every damn year, you people start my holiday earlier and earlier. For the love of Rudolph, I'm still tired from LAST year. Give it a rest.

Apparently, this problem is not confined to US.


*Bill Williams is not a real person despite the fact that there probably are, in fact, actual people with that name. I do know someone whose name is truly 'James James', but I'm not referring to said James in this posting.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Unlike REM, Harold can say he loves Jesus, or, Call me a candidate, hey hey hey*

It's past time to call out Harold Ford, Jr. on the 'I love Jesus' thang. I've got nothing against anyone who does love Jesus**, but I've spent a lot of time (along with a lotta other lefties and Democrats) criticizing politicians on the right side of the wing who wrap their arms simultaneously around God, Jesus, and the flag. Folks who proclaim to be on the side of God tend to be a little too absolutist to be running a democracy, as in, God told me this, who the hell are you to disagree.

C.S. Lewis says it much better than I do...

...since Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches to Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high, super-personal sanction to all the very ordinary human passions by which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated. In a word, it forbids wholesome doubt. A political programme can never in reality be more than probably right. We never know all the facts about the present and we can only guess the future. To attach to a party programme -- whose highest claim is to reasonable prudence -- the sort of assent which we should reserve for demonstrable theorems, is a kind of intoxication.

This snippet is from "A Reply to Professor Haldane," which was published after C.S. Lewis' death and can be found, most recently, in the collection On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature.

If you don't know this already, C.S. Lewis was one of the foremost Christian apologists in history. He also wrote 'The Chronicles of Narnia'.

My neighbors have the Sojourner bumper sticker on their car: 'God is not a Republican, or a Democrat' The 'or a Democrat' is in smaller letters because generally speaking, the Dems haven't openly embraced God and Jesus as fellow party members as much as their G.O.P. counterparts.

Harold Ford is single-handedly trying to catch the Democratic party up with the Republicans on this count. Nonsense such as Dems love the Lord more than the Republicans doesn't help anyone other than independent voters move toward the Republican party or at least not vote for Ford.

I am certainly not going to judge Harold Ford's faith or his belief system, but it's past time to quit campaigning with one arm around the baby Jesus. There are a lot of people out here who cherish not living in a theocracy and wish candidates from both sides of the aisle would remember that democracy and theocracy aren't synonyms.

The main reason to vote for Ford is to help put the brakes on the Iraqi disaster masquerading as the Bush administration's war plan. Ford's partition plan (a version of Joe Biden's) should be heard, but Ford's Christian army bit is making it hard to support, what in my mind, is a worthy cause.

If we are going to criticize the Republican party for associating God with their version of the truth, we have to dish it out when 'one of ours' strays too much in that direction as well.

*Title is based on an REM lyric from 'New Test Leper' on 'New Adventures in Hi-Fi', a most excellent CD except for the Patti Smith drone song.

**In fact, I admire THIS guy, quite a bit

Update: Aunt B takes a similiar tack with much more gusto.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Separate the signal from the noise, or, Kerry is NOT the problem here..

Senator Kerry, once again demonstrating why his oratory didn't gain him the White House, made a joke about President Bush. Kerry was NOT talking about the soldiers in Iraq. Kerry's joke about the uneducated being stuck in Iraq was a ham-handed slap at the White House leadership. I'm not sure that the 'joke' really served much purpose other than getting the right-wing something else to get all dithered about.

Here's the point that the White House would like to obscure: 2,816 (and counting) Americans killed in Iraq and 21,077 wounded. This war was a horrible mistake. More Americans than not have come to believe that toppling Saddam was not worth this cost.

Take a look at some of the cost. The Bush solution to the quagmire is to change the slogan (uh, we're not staying the course anymore, that is sooooooo played), and attack people like Kerry (who himself was 'uneducated' enough to actually SERVE in Vietnam).

The slogan changes and the attacks on the likes of Kerry are political noise. While the right gets lathered over a misperceived slight, the real reason to be upset goes on, and on, and on.

About me

  • I'm John H
  • From Salemtown, Tennessee, United States
  • Cruising past 50, my wife and I have reared three kids and several dogs. I work for state government and daily conspire to deflate bureacracy.
My profile