Friday, December 31

Tsunami aid

My musings here tend toward pop culture, celebrity sendups and the news of the weird. For the moment, however, it's time to get serious.

Oxfam is one of numerous organizations collecting money to help victims of the Indian Ocean disaster. I hope Dullards everywhere will do what they can to alleviate the suffering and to help with reconstruction in the afflicted nations.

Thursday, December 30

Have I Mentioned that Ann Coulter is Insane?


To The People Of Islam:
Just think: If we'd invaded your countries, killed your leaders and converted you to Christianity YOU'D ALL BE OPENING CHRISTMAS PRESENTS RIGHT ABOUT NOW!
Merry Christmas"

New Beatles Mashup Mixes Forty Fab Trax

Via Boing Boing. Clever, if not something you'll want to listen to more than once or twice.

Monday, December 27

Just Wrong

Man attempting plane jump sans parachute.

If Jeb lands the wing-suit without a parachute and survives—he is going to be my hero.

Kate Bush to fans: Don't give up!



The British songstress (and Peter Gabriel duet partner) promises that a new album will drop next year. It would be the first since 1993's "The Red Shoes."

We'll see.

Friday, December 24

Letterman in Iraq!

Key quip from the gap-toothed funnyman during his whirlwind visit:

If I wanted to face insurgents, I would've spent Christmas with my relatives.


Thursday, December 23

Video games are good for your doctor!



Before going under the knife, make sure to ask your surgeon what his/her high score on "Super Monkey Ball" is. Also, "Asteroids" can heal the maimed.

These are miraculous times.

Happy Festivus, Dullards!

"Seinfeld" fans contribute to a Nativity scene in Bartow, Fla.

Giant roach scitters up and down Borneo!

We admit the world's largest cockroach isn't exactly charismatic, but it's representative of a niche in the ecosystem, and if you take that out, you get a domino effect that could have a catastrophic effect on the whole food chain.

Tuesday, December 21

Monday, December 20

Scariest Website Ever

An Aryan Mary Kate & Ashley.

The Best Webcomics of 2004

Feh. The top 50 Webcomics of '04 are all Achewood. Hell of yes!

Yahoo! Traffic!

Yahoo Maps now displays current traffic conditions.

No, you are not the eggman!

Styx has a cover of "I Am the Walrus." You can see the low-budget video courtesy of this NYC classic rock station.

Needless to say, this is an abomination but will likely be a hit on the State Fair circuit that the band inhabits these days.

Sunday, December 19

Saturday, December 18

Didja Ever...

...want to see pictures of a guy with a nipple growing on his leg?

It's your lucky day.

Friday, December 17

Tom Waits Archives

Because if you're not a fan, you should be.

Wikiquote

Similar to the Wikipedia, Wikiquote is a user-populated collection of famous quotations.

Just because it's the holiday season, here are a batch of warm 'n' fuzzies from the late Bill Hicks

A Useful Body Piercing

Well, I'm told the tongue-piercing is quite useful, though I can't quite imagine that. But these clever fellows have found a new approach to vision correction.

American Splendor

WSJ has a brief interview with Harvey Pekar.

The 10 Most Accurately Rated Rock Acts

Spin has a great list up, by the always amusing Chuck Klosterman.

Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers

Please, won't you help make cat dreams come true?

Shark hunt! Somebody call Roy Scheider

.
... or maybe Bill "Life Aquatic" Murray.

Australia wants to find and destroy a killer great white, but the family of one of the beast's victims says let it be.

Thursday, December 16

Jar-Jar vs. J.R.R.

.

Satire only geeks can truly appreciate. Plus...


In related, semi-real news, Gollum of "Lord of the Rings" fame is schizoid with a serious thyroid problem, according to medical students in the U.K. Who knew?

I'd Tap That

From E! Online News: "Survivor host Jeff Probst, 43, telling People magazine he's now dating Survivor: Vanuatu contestant Julie Berry, 24, now that production on that installment has ended."

She may be the purtiest girl that's ever been on that show, so he was smart to hold out, I guess.... though I'd always assumed Probst was more likely to hook up with Colby....

LA Times: Those Poor, Persecuted Christians


[In referece to a new Parents Television Council "study" complaining of negative TV portrayals of Christians], Frank Wright, president of the National Religious Broadcasters, called the negative portrayals "dehumanizing" and compared them to representations of Jews prior to the Holocaust, and blacks in the era of slavery. "Systematic negative portrayals of groups of people are always disturbing," he said.

"They produce the potting soil that leads to persecution."

[The PTC are the fools who lodged the vast majority of FCC complaints last year, and who apparently even find 9.3% of the religious references on the PAX network offensive.]

[PTC president L. Brent] Bozell, a Catholic, said, "Is it because Hollywood is Jewish and taking care of its own? No, I don't think that. In the popular culture of America, 99% of the public, and also in Hollywood, there is an understanding that respect is owed to Jews. It's as simple as that. That same respect ought to be paid to other faiths as well."


Update: Frank Rich puts this all in perspective.

Wednesday, December 15

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Crosswords

Whatever this man's disease, I'm afraid I have it too.

You forgot Irtursk!

Amusing "news brief" from The Onion:

ALBANY, NY -- Alfred Wu, the 13-year-old winner of the 2004 East Coast Risk Championship, flunked his 8th-grade world-geography test, social-studies teacher Jane Laurent reported Monday.

"His test paper was filled with names like Kamchatka and Yakutsk, and the Ukraine spread over half of Europe," Laurent said. "And, by his account, the U.S. is made up of only three states: Eastern United States, Western United States, and Alaska."

Last week, Wu received an "F" on a paper he wrote about Napoleonic military Stratego.

Judge Dons 10 Commandments Robe

Where? Alabama, of course.

Irony Alert

Someone call Michael Moore.

Tuesday, December 14

Ghost Town 2.0 Launched

Ghost Town is playing an all-ages show at B.B. King's at Universal Citywalk this Sunday, Dec. 19. We're part of a competition to become their "house band," so we could use all the support we can get! First band goes on at 3p.m., but we go on at 6 (despite what their website calendar says). Cover is $5 -- and please tell them you're there to see Ghost Town.

Ghost Town has been radically reinvented as a bluesy/Americana/roots project -- with vocals this time! The lineup is now:

Ashley Caldwell, backing vocals
Ken Lasaine, guitar
Frank San Filippo, bass
Kevin Smith, organ & electric piano
Adam Steinberg, drums
Romy Suskin, vocals

If you dug the band before, especially on our vocal numbers, you'll probably really enjoy it now. It sounds like a shotgun wedding of Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams, and Medeski, Martin & Wood. We do cool covers of Patsy Cline, Tom Waits, and the Beatles, along with some blues- and country-tinged originals.

For venue info, see la.bbkingclubs.com.

For some samples of the sorts of things we're now doing, check out tracks 2 and 11 on www.finemusicrecords.com.

Hope to see you at the show!


Official New Worst. Cover. Ever.

I was watching SNL for purely inertial reasons this weekend, and eventual trivia-fodder Scissor Sisters performed their discofied version of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb." It was the most Not Good thing I've heard in a long time. There's a 30-second sample on their Amazon listing, which doesn't quite underscore the horror of sitting through all 37 years that it took them to finish the song live. Not to mention the halter-top jump suit their lead singer sported.

Fittingly, the band also has a tune titled "Music Is The Victim." In this case, Music, Roger Waters, and everyone too dumb to just boop-boop their Tivo to SNL's news should be filing a civil suit against Scissor Sisters, for making us experience the sonic equivalent of being Kobe Bryant's chamber maid.

Happy Krimple

Download the Beatles Christmas Records

Ellen, Portia hook up!

Newest celebrity couple: TV talker/comedian Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi of TV's "Ally McBeal" and "Arrested Development." Says one gossip:

They managed to find a private spot, and things got so hot and heavy between them that they raced to a limo and fooled around for hours.


Upping the ante of weirdness: Ringo Starr is indirectly involved.

Elton vs. George

And you thought the Kobe-Mailman feud was nutty. This one even has a third-person reference from the former Wham! frontman:

Elton John knows very little about George Michael, and that's a fact. Contrary to the public's impression, we have spoken rarely in the last 10 years and what would probably surprise most people is that we have never discussed my private life. Ever.


Monday, December 13

Tom Tomorrow Gets Shafted By Slate

As he notes, well, it is Microsoft.

Recipe: fancy pasta sauce for two

This is a nice recipe that looks and tastes much fancier and difficult than it is.

  1. Saute 1-2 thinly-sliced cloves garlic in a couple tablespoons of good olive oil until translucent.

  2. Halve or quarter 4-8 tomatoes (depending on their size); add to pan.

  3. Saute on low (covered at first, then un-) for 10 minutes or so. (You may want to add just a little sugar.)

  4. Continue to saute until the tomatoes come apart and look delicious.

  5. Add about 10 sliced fresh basil leaves (stems removed), and saute another minute until basil wilts. Serve immediately.

Recipe: Baked ziti

Ingredients:
16oz Mozerrella
12-16oz Ricotta
honey or real maple syrup
1-2 eggs
a bit of Romano cheese
A pound of ziti, penne, or rigattoni (any tube-shaped pasta will do)
sauce
optional: 3-4 cubed zuchinni/yellow squash, or maybe small meatballs cut in two.


  1. Boil the pasta per the package instructions for al dente pasta.

  2. In large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, an egg or two, and a couple tablespoons of honey or maple syrup. You could also add in some dried basil if you like.

  3. Cut up about 2/3 of the mozerrella into small (1cm?) cubes. Add this, along with any vegetables, meatballs, sausage, etc., and a cup or two of the sauce, to the large mixing bowl, and combine.

  4. Layer about half the cooked ziti on the bottom of a (9"?) rectangular baking dish. Spoon about 2/3 the mixture from the bowl evenly on this. You may want to throw some grated Romano on here as well.

  5. Layer the rest of the noodles across the pan, and then add the rest of the cheese/sauce/vegetable mixture, spreading evenly.

  6. Slather on the sauce.

  7. Take the remaining mozerrella, and either cut it into 9 flat, round slices, or grate it on top of the ziti. Optionally, grate some more Romano cheese over everything.

  8. Bake in 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes -- you want the cheese to brown just a bit.

  9. Take it out and let it cool for 5 minutes or so before serving.



Sauce: You can make your own, or use a jar of premade sauce such as Newman's Own Marinara. Homemade sauce goes like this:

Ingredients:
2-3 large cans of Progresso peeled tomatoes.
2, maybe 3 cans tomato paste.
garlic
onion
sugar
salt
pepper
dried oregano
dried basil
wine
optional: 1/2lb to pound ground beef or lamb


  1. Saute in a large pot (on low-medium heat) a couple of sliced garlic cloves and/or chopped onion in olive oil, until translucent. Use lots of good olive oil, maybe a cup.

  2. If using meat, add it here, and saute until brown. You can add salt & pepper here if you like.

  3. Add the peeled tomatoes, and whatever juice is in the cans.

  4. Add a can of tomato paste; if the mixture is still ridiculously runny, add another can or two.

  5. Add a couple of tablespoons of sugar, to take the bite out of the canned tomato acidity.

  6. Add a cup or so of wine, and additional spices to taste.

  7. Simmer, mostly covered, on low, for at least an hour. The longer the better.

  8. Check it frequently, and add spices/wine/paste as needed. Better to underspice than overspice.


You may want to experiment with what vegetables you might want to add to this -- if you have some bell peppers laying around, dice them up and throw them in. Squashes work well, also.

Pillow Made to Look Like Set of Gams

Single men find this soothing.

Eff Basketball

The only major player left worth watching who isn't morally reprehensible is that outta shape and over the hill dude from Kazam! and he doesn't even start trying til April.

Ah well, I have more free time to watch Desperate Housewives, I guess....

Sunday, December 12

Yay, We're Number 2!

U.S. no longer has the most scandal-plagued election of 2004!

Daily Planet Downsizing

Tough time to be in journalism, I guess.

Retired Army Colonel, 70, Called Up

Yeah, there's no draft coming. They're just calling back anyone who ever stepped foot in a recruiting office or saw "Rambo," including this retired oral surgeon being sent to Afghanistan.

Saturday, December 11

From the 'Re-enforcing Stereotypes' Department

3km vodka pipeline found connecting ex-Soviet satellites Belarus and Lithuania.

Also, Mormons are nutty.

MSNBC's 'Scarborough Country' Provides Platform for Anti-Semite

What's this country turning into?

WILLIAM DONAHUE, PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC LEAGUE [on why 'Hollywood' embraces movies like 'F9/11' over 'The Passion of the Christ']: I spoke to Mel a couple of weeks ago about this. And I don‘t think it really matters a whole lot to him. It certainly doesn‘t matter to me. We‘ve already won.

Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It‘s not a secret, OK? And I‘m not afraid to say it. That‘s why they hate this movie. It‘s about Jesus Christ, and it‘s about truth. It‘s about the messiah.

Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost.

You have got secular Jews. You have got embittered ex-Catholics, including a lot of ex-Catholic priests who hate the Catholic Church, wacko Protestants in the same group, and these people are in the margins. Frankly, Michael Moore represents a cult movie. Mel Gibson represents the mainstream of America.

That's No Fish

Yipe!

Thursday, December 9

Playing opossum

A frat prank goes awry in Missouri.

Key quote: "You ask, 'What were these two thinking?' That is the point: They weren't thinking."

The Onion's Best Albums of '04

I have no idea who half these people are. And I'm ok with that.

Best. Headline. Ever

Rat brain flies jet.

Clever Bit of Programming

Uses samples from Amazon to build an on-the-fly Name That Tune game. Then encourages you to go buy CDs from Amazon, earning the site a commission.

Pantera to Quit Touring

Permanent-like.

Honoring a Guardsman's Request

Wednesday, December 8

Rumsfeld in Kuwait to Give Pep Talk

Notice that he's not so foolish that he's giving the pep talk to the guys actually in Iraq. Choice quotes (and remember, it's supposed to be a pep talk):

"You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have."

"You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can (still) be blown up."

And he's one of like three guys in Bush's cabinet who didn't get shown the door. Amazing.

Kraken love -- and parenting!

Aurora the octopus defends her eggs to the death.

Key quote: "She didn't want to leave them. As the water was going down, she was going down with it. She would spray a burst of water on the rocks on top of them."

Tuesday, December 7

MSN Spaces: Microsoft Censoring Blog Titles

No big surprise that Microsoft, late to the party, probably ain't gonna do it right.

Blogger is kinda crappy its own self, but at least you can call the blog whatever you want. You just can't, y'know, reliably post to it every day.

Furry Music Foundation

For all your New Year's Eve party band needs.

Grammy Nominations Released

Feh.

For me, Best New Artist is probably Nellie McKay. Best albums were hers, and the Zutons, with Sam Philips a close third. I've also liked David Byrne's record ok; the new Robyn Hitchcock, with Gillian Welch & hubby, underwhelmed me at first, but is growing on me. I bought the new Tom Waits record a month ago, and promptly forgot about it, but I imagine there is some good stuff to be discovered when I dig it out of the CD stack. Loretta Lynn's record is a fascinating novelty, and Jill Sobule's new "Underdog Victorious" is growing on me, though I don't think it's as strong as her last one.

'The Intro and the Outro' in retrospect

NPR has a good story on Neil Innes of Bonzo Dog Band and Rutles fame.

Pissed-off cop!

A sheriff's deputy in Orlando is caught on tape relieving himself in an elevator.

Key quote: "It smelled bad," resident John Minka said. "To urinate in a public elevator, that's just wrong."

Monday, December 6

More Abusive Iraqi Prisoner Photos

Oy.

Florida Vote Fraud?

Programmer testifies that Florida Congressman hired him to figure out how to alter electronic votes.

Spaced Penguin!

I got 193,222

The Election...

...still over.

Skeletal Systems of Cartoon Characters

Spiffy.

Happy birthday!


Jazzman Dave Brubeck turns 84 today, and Peter Buck of R.E.M. fame is 48 (at least).

To mark the day, play "Take Five" and (allegedly) go into air rage.

"Sussudio" songman sires child!

It's hard to keep track of the marriages and progeny of Phil Collins. Then again, it's equally difficult to justify taking the time to do so.

Memo to the "Invisible Touch" singer: Vasectomies are relative cheap and highly effective.

Friday, December 3

Damn.

Damn.

Just in case you were wondering...

Here's how to give a rat an enema.

Can We Just Cut Alabama Loose?

Alabama state senator wants to ban books with references to homosexuals. This is the same state that had anti-miscagenation laws on its books only four years ago, and even then, 40% of the good people of Alabama voted to keep them.

Alabama: a long and rich history of giving toothless hillbilly crackers a bad name.

Wired Tools 2004

"Tool of the Year" would have to go to John Kerry for blowing the presidential race by not going the failry obvious anti-war route. But what Wired is referring to is their list of coolest gadgets of the year.

Survivor's Ami Nude

I try to keep this a SFW blog, but.... It's that slightly bitchy woman from Survivor, and she's nekkid!

Getting the Band Back Together

The dos and don'ts.

Thursday, December 2

OK, Seriously, This Time

Xmas time is coming. I'm just saying.

More Xmas Gift Ideas

Only ten bucks at Target.

Western Civ: Over

More libraries have a copy of "Garfield at Large" than have "Macbeth".
Scroll down to nos. 18 & 19 on this list of the 1000 most owned library books, and be appalled.

Bitchin' Rich Stoner Xmas Present

Someone alert Martin! It could replace the hole in his life left by losing the Mystery Mobile....

Mmmmm, pi.

Just a matter of time til this hits a real school: "'If 3 is a good enough 'pi' for the Almighty, then it ought to be good enough for us,' "

Wednesday, December 1

Feed the world -- again!

The new-fangled and somewhat rap-happy version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" is selling well in the U.K., but apparently won't be released stateside. (Americans can soon get it as an import on Amazon, though.) Some say it sucks but that you should support the cause anyway.

Snippets of the song and video are at www.bandaid20.com/

Magic man weds!

.
Sorry, ladies. Penn Jilette is now a married man.

What I would give to see San Filippo/Hill vs. Jilette/Zolten on "The Newlywed Game."

More Ohio Weirdness

Again, not getting my hopes up, but it sure seems like a full recount is warranted in Ohio.

Guide to HDTVs

Bottom line -- they're still too costly and a bit too buggy for my taste, though the Sony XBR910 looks pretty reasonable, once I pay down all the wedding debt....

OpenSource TiVo for Radio

If anyone gets this working with their iPod, let me know.

Anti-Drunk-Dialing Tech

Good thing you have to manually enter numbers not-to-be-dialed ahead of time. Otherwise, Jody and I would fall way out of touch with our bay-area peeps.

Tuesday, November 30

Mini-Review: Desperate Housewives

So, I finally watched Stepford PeaksDesperate Housewives this weekend at the urgings of Scott and Ange, and I see what you folks get from the show. First of all, it's MILF Central. And, after seeing Sunday's episode and then catching up on the back-story via the (too-)thorough Television Without Pity reviews, I see that it's not just Melrose Place; there seems to be at least one really creepy moment per episode. It's not as great as Twin Peaks (and Danny Elfman is no Angelo Badalamenti), but I'm fairly sure we'll have transvetitism, if not dwarves, at some point.

And I can't wait for the musical episode.

Monday, November 29

Yale Trumps Harvard

Heh.

Banana Guard

A wonderful product that absolutely nobody has been clamoring for.

Sadly, according to the FAQ, there is no battery attachment available.

Free Screening, Director Q/A of F9/11 Tonite

This is the sort of thing I should probably take advantage of, living in LA. But I'm frankly still recovering from the lack of downtime over the weekend, and need to do some composing tonight, for mental health reasons. Thanksgiving was a lot of fun, but it was chock full of "activities" and "leaving the house."

Zutons -- 20th Best Record of the Year

In Norway, at least.

Friday, November 26

Kids want Pink Floyd's money

The students who sang on "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" say they're due more cash.

More interesting: The article's recount of how the teacher obscured the song's content from the schoolmaster at the time. Key quote: "We had a week where we practiced around the piano at school, then we recorded it at the studios. I sort of mentioned it to the headteacher, but didn't give her a piece of paper with the lyrics on it."

Wednesday, November 24

Xmas Time is Here

And who wouldn't want a celebrity-autographed stapler?

Interestingly, Ringo Starr's is currently only going for 4x that of the guy who invented the post-it note.

Jon Stewart Second Most Trusted Source of Political News

At least among America's yout': "Asked whom they trust more to inform them on politics, 17% said NBC's Tom Brokaw, followed by Stewart of 'The Daily Show' at 16%. ABC's Jennings had 15% and CBS' Rather had 10%. "

Actually, that they particularly trust any of these teleprompter jockeys is beyond me....

SpongeBob held hostage!

Excerpt from the ransom note left at the Minnesota Burger King where the massive inflatable version of the character was snatched from the roof: "We have SpongeBob. Give us ten Krabby Patties, fries and milkshakes."

Tuesday, November 23

Defend music. Defeat Poison.

Brett Michaels of Poison fame is seeking his stolen guitar. Whatever he's offering as a reward, I'll double it to keep it from him.

Day of the dolphin (and Hogzilla)

A group of them helped their fellow mammals (that would be we humans) fend off a great white shark in the waters of New Zealand. Amazing.

Meanwhile, a Georgia town continues to make hay of a mega-boar. National Geographic is propping up the Hogzilla legend with a TV show to air next year.

The blog has now met its daily quota of weird animal stories.

Turn Your Back on Bush

Actually, I don't agree with the symbolism, as Bush is one guy I wouldn't turn my back on. He's already stealing out of my wallet to pay for his rich friends' tax cuts and his army tanks and rockets as it is.

I do agree with the sentiment that "we don't need puppets."

Monday, November 22

Miami Fisherman Lands 12 Foot Hammerhead

582 lb. non-fish caught near South Beach. With slideshow.

Your Color Laser Printer is Narcing on You

Scary, if only for the fact that this is the first I've ever heard of it. Every color Xerox printer, and many other brands, apparently encode their serial number on everything you print out, and the government can trace it back to you.

What sorts of things like this are being tracked that we don't know about?!

Reporter Explains

The reporter who caught on tape the soldier executing a captive in a Falluja Mosque explains why he, uh, did his job.

The Criterion Collection Holiday 2004 Gift Set

If I were a rich man, I'd get Tim this for Xmas.

Instead, Tim, I hope you like Pez.

Mom's Cancer

A surprisingly uplifting online comic strip that touches eerily close to home. My mother doesn't have cancer, but is a lifetime smoker who two months ago had a stroke similar to the one depicted here. I'm not sure that my mom has quite the fight in her that the protagaonist of this strip has, but she doesn't have the dire odds to overcome, either.

I'll find my frog.

Heartbreaking AND sweet.

autoportrait with grandfather

Creepy AND sweet.

Radiohead & The (Necessary?) Evils Of Copyright

Cool first-hand report.

Watchmen to Screen in 2006?

I'll believe it when I see it. But I suspect even when I see it, it won't be very good.

Pirate Riddles for Sophisticates

ARRRRR.

Extra Points...

...for knocking the pillbox hat off Jackie O's head.

Sunday, November 21

Kirstie Alley explodes!

Apparently Scientology didn't help her from becoming obese, difficult and despondent. She hasn't had sex in four years. Or so The Star would have us believe.

Key quote: "I have seen myself naked.... I couldn't believe it. And so I just was crushed."

(Warning: The Star seems to have some sort of extra-annoying pop-up ads that my browser struggled to suppress; if you want to see the Kirstie cover and avoid those, Drudge has it up on his site as of this writing.)

If only they limited him to just one bullet....

Only one man could play the title role in Dubya: the Movie.

NBA gone wild

Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post has a good take on Friday's fracas in Detroit and how the goodwill between the NBA and fans has disappeared.

Fans of the game can't wait to hear Ron Artest's CD, though.

Get buzzed!

BuzzMachine is an interesting blog from the founder of Entertainment Weekly. Among the propositions: get rid of the FCC.

Friday, November 19

The Donald Discusses 'Citizen Kane' with Errol Morris

Doesn't sound as much like a gas-filled putz as you'd think, until the final question.

Desktop Cell Phone

How utterly "dope" would it be to take calls on this sweet baby in your ride?

Answer: Very, very dope.

Thursday, November 18

Face the face

For the first time in forever, I saw the video for this Pete Townshend song on VH1 Classic. It got me thinking how even his lesser works like the "White City" disc were always interesting if not entirely successful. (Disclaimer: There is no need, however, for any more Who albums, and I did not buy "The Iron Man" or "Psychoderelict.")

Seeing the video also got me thinking about how I have yet to come to a conclusion on Pete's weird Web adventures, even though it's been a while since his arrest and subsequent semi-exoneration. I want to believe him, give him the benefit of the doubt. But "just doing research" is the oldest excuse out there, and his sexual confusion is well-documented in his lyrics. (See "And I Moved.")

So, Pete Townshend: guitar hero, victim, perv, or a little bit of each? You make the call.

The Big Problem with Fallujah Warcrimes?

According to Texas Congressman Sylvestre Reyes the problem is that we let a reporter tape it. Yeah, it's not that we're shooting unarmed prisoners in the head, it's that we're reporting on it. And this guys a Democrat!

Second Mad Cow Case Suspected in USA

Urp.

Warning: 'Shark Tale' Will Turn Your Child Gay

Oh, those wacky Christians.

In other cartoon news, "The Incredibles" is just, well, fantastic. My favorite movie of the year so far. May be a little too intense for little kids -- I found myself genuinely concerned for the safety of these CGI-rendered characters, so a 5-year-old may downright freak out, unless they've been anaesthetized with a few hours of killing hookers in GTA before seeing the film.....

But I digress. Go see this on the big screen while you can.

Tuesday, November 16

Janitor Leaves $2.3M to Bratty Students

Touching and moronic at the same time.

I Refuse to Get My Hopes Up

But Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.com is uncovering some pretty strong indications of vote fraud in Florida.

How sad is it that, even if Bush is sworn in again in January, I'll actually be happier to know that the election was stolen, that America didn't elect this freedom-hating usurper even one time.

But like I said, I'm not getting involved with this again.... further blogging on this only when the poo really hits the air circulator.

ABC: We're sorry

Apparently "Desperate Housewives" don't belong in the "Monday Night Football" locker room.

SmashMyPhone.com

No comment.

The Sneeze

Have I ever mentioned how good the Sneeze is? Dammit, someday I will.

eBay Running Celebrity Escort Service

Who would bid over a grand to spend the day with "reality super star" Trishelle, from MTV's Real World & the Surreal Life? From what I could tell on the Surreal Life, most people would pay a grand to get away from this dipsomaniac.

Love Is... a Virgin Mary Sandwich

Yahoo! News - EBay Cancels Bids for Virgin Mary Sandwich

The woman who saved her cheesy snack for ten years couldn't be much nuttier than this whack-job. It'd almost be worth bidding if the auction included an explanation of exactly what changed in her life that she no longer needs her thirty year "Love Is..." cartoon archive.

(Oh, fire up your internets, it looks like the cheese sandwich auction is back on!)

The Peter Principle and the Neocon Coup

Robert Scheer, on how the biggest failure of a President we've ever had, who never successfully held down a job before entering politics, sets the tone for failing upwards in D.C.

Musical Notes


  • Picked up the recent CD-release of "The Name of This Band is Talking Heads," a two-disk concert recording featuring on the first disk the original quartet playing their more raw and punkish early music, and on the other, the "Stop Making Sense" super-group featuring Adrian Belew, Bernie Worrel, and other funk luminaries. This recording has been out of print for years, and the CD greatly improves on the cassette version I had, with suprisingly great sound quality, strong performances, and extra tracks. It's interesting to hear how polished the playing is on the earlier "raw" stuff without the studio pros of the later band -- and also, how funk-inspired the band was even in its CBGB days.


  • The Zutons' "Pressure" is being used in a Levi's ad. Their next album should be titled "Will Success Spoil the Zutons?"


  • Been meaning to do a review of sassy little Nellie McKay's record for six months now. I guess at this point we'll settle for a mini-review: Some damn clever lyrics for a 19-year old. Some delightfully goofy moments, and some nicely psychotic throw-away lines. But could have been pared down to one really good 40-minute record, rather than 2 uneven 35-minute ones. "Ding Dong" and "I Wanna Get Married" are particular favorites; the rap-infected [sic] "Sari" is an embarrassment. McKay may be worth keeping an eye on; or she may end up being this year's Imani Coppola.


  • For old-times' sake: William Shatner singing "Lucy in the Sky". I haven't picked up his new collaboration with Ben Folds, but otherwise sane people insist that it's brilliant.


  • For Jody: Eddie Murphy sings "Boogie in Your Butt".


  • Lastly, no one asked for this, goddamnit!

Music Is Not a Loaf of Bread

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, on giving away music downloads.

CBS News: The Aliens Are Coming!

I believed every damn episode of "Project Bluebook," and I'll be first in line to welcome our Martian overlords. But when a mainstream news source runs a story like this without any sort of disclaimer, they do a disservice to their audience of mouth-breathing slack-jawed yokels, and undermine their own credibility -- which is pretty tough to do these days if you're CBS....

Senate to Vote on New Copyright Bill

The Intellectual Property Protection Act would, if passed, undermine our right to fair use and "skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited."

Monday, November 15

Shark attack in South Africa

Another reminder to our readers that a shark is not a fish. This one is particularly deadly.

Key quote: "The shark is bigger than the helicopter... it is huge."

Coked-up kraken!

Peruvian drug lords try to smuggle cocaine in a giant squid.

Marine Shoots, Kills Unarmed Prisoner

In a mosque, no less.

UPDATE: Marines try to defend the war crime:

"I would have shot the insurgent too. Two shots to the head," said Sergeant Nicholas Graham, 24, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "You can't trust these people. He should not be investigated. He did nothing wrong."

"It's all political. This Marine has been under attack for days. It has nothing to do with what he did," said Corporal Keith Hoy, 23.

Said Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Garza, 30, "He should have captured him. Maybe the insurgent had some valuable information. There may have been mitigating circumstances."

There were no mitigating circumstances, as you know if you've seen the video -- the guy was already captured, awaiting transport to military prison, wounded, and unarmed.

Atlantis Found

Patrick Duffy unavailable for comment.

Feed the world (2004 mix)

It's probably a sign of age and general fuddy-duddyness that I do not recognize many of the contributors to the update of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" I hope they do the B-side like they did in '84, with the holiday greetings.

The new version drops Nov. 29.

Sunday, November 14

Ol' Dirty Bastard Dies

I was excited when I read this headline. Then I realized they weren't talking about Cheney.

Saturday, November 13

washingtonpost.com: Faces of the Fallen

wow.

Don't hit this one

Tot smuggled into U.S. inside pinata

Key paragraph:

"Officers began to take the piƱatas out of the back seat, and one seemed to be much heavier than the others," said Vince Bond, a spokesman for U.S. Customs & Border Protection. "This one had a little girl of approximately 4 or 5 years of age inside it."

Friday, November 12

Final Peel session

Forget Yasser Arafat and the West Bank. The real burial today was in the U.K., where John Peel was laid to rest. Meg White was among those in attendance.

Freedom's on the March in Iraq

Freedom of the press, however, is cowering under the bed like a hemorrhoidal altar boy at Catholic summer camp.

Someone's Gonna Have a Sad Birthday

Will you help a cool, single guy's special birthday wish come true?

The Architects Of Defeat

Arianna on what went wrong with the Kerry campaign.

Townsend Threatens to Release New Who Album Next Spring

Further atrocities planned including, God help him, a Las Vegas show.

For the love of Pete, man, think about the children! No seriously, go ahead and think about the children -- even download some if you like, if it will keep you from further trashing your legacy....

Thursday, November 11

Arshad - Did You Get Scott a Xmas Present Yet?

You could make him one of these.

MMMM, Sexy Clown

You should see the Grimace version of this commercial.

I Think He Made the Ass Swing

Ya gotta <heart> craigslist.

Moore Fires Up "Fahrenheit" Sequel

Clunkily titled (for now) Fahrenheit 9/11 1/2

Household Hints

Peppercorns make a delicious and healthful snack for children.

To help alleviate dog and cat allergies, keep all pets off of your guests' faces.

A little vinnegar will get even the most stubborn blood stains off of a baseball bat.

Do not use sexual lubricants whose labels boast of their "scrubbing bubbles."

After handling cod, try a skoosh of hydrochloric acid to remove that lingering fish smell from your hands and face.

The old "head in the oven" trick works best with gas; microwaves won't work at all, and electric is too lengthy (and painful!) to be considered practical.

Your maid has a name -- learn it, and use it frequently. It makes them feel "appreciated."

Oh, the Horror!

When the Lie's so Big

Thanks to a tip from Bill Sherman, here are some sadly still-relevant lyrics from the late and sorely missed Frank Zappa:




They got lies so big
They don't make a noise
They tell 'em so well
Like a secret disease
That makes you go numb


With a big ol' lie
And a flag and a pie
And a mom and a bible
Most folks are just liable
To buy any line
Any place, any time


When the lie's so big
As in Robertson's case,
(That sinister face
Behind all the Jesus hurrah)


Could result in the end
To a worrisome trend
In which every American
Not "born again"
Could be punished in cruel and unusual ways
By this treacherous cretin
Who tells everyone
That he's Jesus' best friend


When the lie's so big
And the fog gets so thick
And the facts disappear
The Republican Trick
Can be played out again
People, please tell me when
We'll be rid of these men!


Just who do they really
Suppose that they are?
And how did they manage to travel as far
As they seem to have come?
Were we really that dumb?


People, wake up
Figure it out
Religious fanatics
Around and about
The Court House, The State House,
The Congress, The White House


Criminal saints
With a "Heavenly Mission" --
A nation enraptured
By pure superstition


When the lie's so big
And the fog gets so thick
And the facts disappear
The Republican Trick
Can be played out again
People, please tell me when
We'll be rid of these men



Plus ce change and all that....

Religious Kooks Want in on this "Man Date"

Bob Jones pens a scary mash note to Dubya. Remember that Shrub went and spoke to these anti-miscegenation nutjobs during the 2000 campaign.

And Reverend Jerry is resurrecting the Moral Majority as the Faith and Values Coalition.

Some call them right-wing fringe Armageddonists. Bush calls them his base.

Tanks in Westwood

So, they deployed tanks to, assumedly, intimidate a peaceful war protest in Westwood this week.

Remind you of any other governments with a shameful history of using the military to stifle free speech?

(There are reports that the tanks were simply enroute from San Diego to LA for a Veterans' Day function and got lost, but that seems a bit hinky.)

Wednesday, November 10

Vote Fraud, Finis

Time to move on. I think there may have been some outright fraud in Ohio and Florida (along with voter intimidation, etc.), but probably not enough to swing the vote to Bush. On the other hand, if they did win via fraud, it would be much smarter for them to swing the vote by a large margin than a small one, which would get more scrutiny Feeding the conspiracy beast is the evidence that it's the optical scan vote process that seems to be the hinkiest -- as though the touch screens were just a diabolical diversion.... It's an unsettling time to be a conspiracy enthusiast, to be sure....

Salon has a good final (for me, anyway) summary of the various voting anomalies, and why they don't add up to a Kerry win. Slate and the Yale Free Press have some further illuminating detail.

And that's that. Onward to 2008!

Sorry, Everybody

I didn't bother checking out the site until today, as it's one of those things where you hear the setup, you think you know the punchline. But I'm really touched by the sincerity of many of the apologies, as well as the responses from around the world over on SorryEverybody.com

It's Funy 'Cause it's...Tragic....

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."


-- H.L. Mencken

Rules for Radicals

The Democrats aren't exactly the "have-nots," but these rules are still applicable.

Pro-Life = Pro-Coathanger

Propoganda is important. As of today, I won't use the term "pro-life" any longer to refer to people who think the government should interfere with women seeking to terminate a pregancy, for whatever reason, in a non-life-threatening manner. "Pro-life" frames the argument in their preferred format -- are you for life or against it, a classic "when did you stop beating your wife" framing. What is at stake is, are poor to middle-class women going to have access to medical clinics for abortions, or are they going back to the dark alleys of forty years ago? Because, like prostitution, it's not a question of whether or not this practice will continue if outlawed, but whether we as a society, and the women directly involved, are better off if this is something we deal with rationally in the open, or leave for an underground economy to regulate and (fail to) police. Hence, my more-accurate term for their position, "pro-coathanger."

I sort of doubt that Roe v. Wade is seriously in danger of being overturned. Every family, including the most right-flung one, has had some brush with abortion. If you're the most pious corn-fed Republican in all of Iowa, you probably have a sister or cousin that "got in trouble" at some point and decided to abort the pregnancy -- would you really want to decrease your cousin's chance of surviving the procedure by a factor of ten? Is the cost of deterrent worth losing cousin Emma? But then, I'm usually wrong about just how stupid and hateful the religious right is capable of being. (Of course none of this applies to the rich, who will simply jet off to Europe "on hols" and see a doctor in a civilized country.)

The scary thing, of course, is that the right isn't going to stop at abortion -- you can't really control the womens unless you can keep them from deciding when to get pregnant as well, hence the twin examples of right-wingnuttery here and here.

I'm not leaving America just yet -- hell, I'm even thinking that we should all join the Republican party and subvert it from the inside -- but it's pretty clear that America is in the process of leaving me. These things tend to be cyclical, but Bush is in position to do a lot of damage to my America over the next four years.

In the meantime, please join me in advancing the anti-coathanger position.

Last of the Maps

I thought this was an interesting way of representing the red-blue split.

Roy, No Reason to Go So Far

Political Fight Club

Tuesday, November 9

Belushi v. Newmar

The also-ran brother accuses TV's Catwoman of being a bad neighbor in a battle of fourth-tier celebrities.

Unintentional hilarity: the CNN.com story allows you to sign up for news alerts on Jim Belushi and Julie Newmar. It would feel like signing up for a Leo Sayer listserv.

Monday, November 8

HBO Burying 'Six Feet Under'

Good show, but I have to agree that 12 more episodes is about all I need.

Goooooooaaaallll!!!!



Click through the image for an alarming summary of a Baltimore Sun article on faith in America:

"But when it comes down to it, millions upon millions have died from abortion and only thousands have died in Iraq, as horrific as that's been," [some retarded fundamentalist] said. "There's been beheadings in Iraq, yet there are beheadings taking place right inside a mother's womb."

Red/Blue Map Weighted for Population

High-population states (like California and Florida) are ballooned up to show a more accurate picture of the red-blue divide across the country. And reminds me of that time I took all that acid before 5th-period Geography.

Saturday, November 6

Diebold OptiScan Machine Weirdness

Perhaps refusing to allow the touchscreen machines to generate a paper trail was all an ingenious diversion to distract us from the real malfeasance -- Diebold using Microsoft Access to tally all [?] the optically scanned votes.

Also worth noting: it seems there were more votes cast for President in Florida than there were registered voters.

The more cynical reader might find this a little suspicious. Developing....

More E-voting Irregularities

Putting aside the oddness of Ralph Nader suing for a recount in New Hampshire, where Kerry actually squeaked out a win:

“We have received reports of irregularities in the vote reported on the AccuVote Diebold Machines in comparison to exit polls and trends in voting in New Hampshire,’’ Nader wrote.

“These irregularities favor President George W. Bush by 5 percent to 15 percent over what was expected. Problems in these electronic voting machines and optical scanners are being reported in machines in a variety of states.’’


Still developing....

All the Maps You Need

Get 'em while they're hot.

Great REM Review

And a potent reminder of how pop music can still matter.

Friday, November 5

Leaving On a Jet Plane

Harper's on your post 11/2 options.

(Kinda of an odd downer of a URL for that article....)

‘Totally leading the world to a tremendous tomorrow!’

These are the people who won on "values." (Hm, if being a two-fisted lush is no barrier to entry, mayber the GOP tent is large enough for me....)

Sure, It's All Gavin Newsom's Fault

Jerks.

Vote Fraud Follow-Up

The story linked two posts down is now appearing on CNN's website: "An error with an electronic voting system gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, elections officials said."

I don't want to lead the tin foil hat brigade, but there's really no reason to think the Republicans wouldn't perpetrate fraud to steal [another] election. Remember the story from last year about the head of Diebold, which was vying to sell voting machines in Ohio, told Republicans in a fund-raising letter that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

Apparently these "faulty" voting machines weren't Diebolds, but it still smells hinky.

As they say, developing....

Improv Everywhere

Fun band of merry pranksters.

Vote Fraud in Ohio?

A ray of hope, but I'm not holding my breath. Note that the Franklin County website the story links to has already removed the report mentioned.

Thursday, November 4

Second (and Probably Last) Bush/Cheney2004 Victory Party Update

Here's an update on that Bush/Cheney victory party scam I was running, back when I though we were getting our contry back. Now I don't really see how to turn this into something funny. Anyone have any ideas?


Frank San Filippo to bushcheney2004club.com on Monday, Nov 1:

Hi Shirley,

I was sorry not to hear from you on Saturday, but I understand -- with that new bin Laden tape, you must have had a lot to do, figuring out how to best take advantage of it! A pretty big bonus for us, huh?

Anyway, if you tried to call since them, my wife has my cell phone, so I haven't gotten the message. I would still very much like to go to the celebration, though -- but forget what I said about my cousin. I just found out he got recalled to Iraq, and by some of the things coming out of his mouth, I don't think he's really on the right side anymore. Who invented this whole "back-door draft" nonsense, anyway, the Liberal Media? The guy signed a contract, he should honor it! Boy, sometimes when I see that left-wing Wolf Blitzer on my TV screen, I just want to beat him with both of my fists.

F.



  • I finally got around to checking my voicemail on Tuesday, and Shirley had left a message in a pleasant, possibly English lilt, saying to call her.


Frank San Filippo to bushcheney2004club.com on Tuesday, Nov 2 when the exit polls all looked very strong for Kerry:

Hi Shirley,

I just got your voicemail message from the weekend. I look forward to speaking with you tomorrow -- if there is indeed a tomorrow for our beloved Grand Old Party. :_( It may just be Liberal Bias from that awful Wolf Blitzer (who I could just beat about the face and neck with both my fists!), but things aren't looking too good at the moment.

What happens if there's no victory to celebrate on Saturday?

No, we mustn't allow our thoughts to stray there. As a wise man once said, "Courage!"
F.

bushcheney2004club.com to me on Wednesday, Nov 3:

Frank, call me 818-xxx-xxxx

bushcheney2004club.com to me on Thursday, Nov 4:

818-xxx-xxxx




And that's it, so far. I just haven't been in a laughing mood, and I can't imagine how to make something fun out of actually going to the party. Damn you Kerry/Edwards, you've not only let down half the nation, you spoiled what could have been an excellent prank!

Who Would Jesus Shoot?

Ooops. Make sure you read through to the last line -- it's a doozy.

Kick Ass!

The cinnamon buns are back!

How Much Cookie Dough Is Inside Cookie Dough Ice Cream?

Could also be titled Who on the internets has the most free time on his hands?

News Flash: Scwarzenegger a Jerk

The party of uniting, not dividing:

Two days after the Democrats took a drubbing at the polls across the country, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger referred to leaders of the state's majority party as "losers."

At a Thursday news conference, the Republican governor who branded Democrats "girlie men" during a budget fight last year was asked whether he would listen to tax-increase proposals from Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata or other Democratic leaders.

"Why would I listen to losers?" Schwarzenegger asked. "Let's be honest."

Kirstie Gives Possum Her Publicist's Breast Milk

Not sure if L. Ron would approve.

Achewood

I would make sweet love to this comic strip if I could. You might have to read a few week's worth to catch on to its gentle absurdity. I've linked to the beginning of the series.

Elizabeth Edwards Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

What was she thinking? She should have played the C card two weeks ago, when it could have done the campaign some good!

Bumpy Ride, Indeed

The message from the white house is mandate.

Bush: "You ask, do I feel free? Let me put it to you this way. I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. That's what happened in -- after the 2000 election. I earned some capital. I've earned capital in this election, and I'm going to spend it for -- for what -- what I told the people I'd spend it on, which is -- you've heard the agenda -- Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the war on terror."

Scott McClellan: "The American people spoke clearly about the agenda they want for the next four years."

VP Dick "Dick" Cheney: "President Bush ran forthrightly on a clear agenda for this nation's future, and the nation responded by giving him a mandate."

Oy, vey.

To quote my lovely bride, "You know where we are now, jerky? We're fucked."

Interior Desecrators

A brutal examination of the unlovely, unattractive, unlivable and unforgivable homes of the 1970s.

Fasten Your Seat Belts

Rumpled siren Maureen Dowd predicts a bumpy ride.

"Blind Date" bust!

OK, so one of my guilty pleasures is "Blind Date." Maybe it's the subtle smarm of host Roger Lodge. Maybe it's the fact that I can see fools have even more miserable dating experiences than I did. Maybe it's because there's not much else on sometimes.

But now the show has performed a public service, even if it didn't mean to, with the arrest of a California "contestant" who was wanted by John Law.

Wednesday, November 3

How 'Bout Them Lakers?

America just voted for Abu Grabe.
America just voted for the Patriot Act.
America just voted for Guantanamo Bay.
America just voted for The Pet Goat.

You or I may see this as an incomprehensible, narrow victory by Bush for a deeply divided electorate. I guarantee he sees it as an overwhelming endorsement of his last four years, and a blank check for the next four.

I'm walking wounded today, unable to process the smiley banter of coworkers discussing trivia and last night's Lakers game. It's sorta like the day after you find out your girlfriend has been sleeping around with half the straight guys in her opera company (a small, but circumstantially significant subset, to be sure) right under your nose, and you're just walking around and wondering why everyone doesn't feel as devastated as you do. And then you move to Canada.

Sorta like that.

Kill Whitey

What went wrong: A demographic breakdown from CNN. Great charts, lots of detail. Big picture: Whitey gave the election to Bush, and contrary to common sense, more Gore voters broke for Bush than Y2K Bush voters broke for Kerry.

Is there any way to resign from your nominal race?
Gggggggghhhkh.

Tuesday, November 2

CNN.com Election 2004 Real-Time Tracking

If you're tired of Wolf Blitzer's ugly mug.

Democracy Begins at Home!

I just got back from voting, and had absolutely no wait whatsoever. I was amazed, but from all reports, I've been the exception.

Two things worth noting: If your polling place is using the ink-a-dot system, MAKE SURE the pen is really marking the ballot! I had to mark the same vote 2-3 times sometimes, because the little guard-rails on the voting guide were a bit too hight.

Also, a previous voter had left a flyer in the booth urging a vote for Bush. This is clearly illegal, and I brought it to the attention of the volunteers. If you see something similar, please bring it to the attention of your polling official.

Early exit polls (which are wildly unreliable) are showing a pretty strong Kerry victory. Knock wood....

Oh Yeah, the State Measures

Kerry will win the Presidency, but you still need to vote because (a) Kerry needs a popular mandate, and (2) there are a bunch of other races and measures on the ballot. I'm going straight Democratic ticket on the Senators and Reps this time, as Kerry will need support to get anything done over the next 4 years. Judges -- who knows. In the cases where only one of the California judicial candidates submitted a statement in time to be included in the state mailing, I went for them, figuring that speaks to a certain minimum level of responsibility. Otherwise, I'm going with the LA Weekly recommendations. This is, admittedly, a pretty arbitrary approach, so I'm not including my picks there. I did a little more research on the ballot initiatives (though not enough), and my votes and addle-pated reasons are listed below. If you're in Cali, and know something I don't, please try to change my mind via the comments.


  • 1a - Protection of Local Revenues. I think so, yes. Ensures that local taxes are spent locally, unless there's a fiscal emergency. Sure.

  • 59 - Public Records, Open Meetings Amendment. Sounds good.

  • 60 - Election Rights of Parties Amendment. Don't really get this. Seems to only be necessary if 62 passes, which it would sorta undo. So let's just not pass either of them. So no. But I could be wrong here - 62 is so bad, this might be a good back-up. But when in doubt, I vote no.

  • 60A - Surplus Property Amendment. Doesn't require that government property be sold, but does tie the hands of legislator on where proceeds of those sales go. A bad idea. En-oh.

  • 61 - Children's Hospital Bonds. I'm pretty knee-jerk anti-bond. Let's not piece together a public health plan for California one interest-accumulating bond at a time. Eff the children. Nope.

  • 62 - Open Primaries Amendment. Such a wrong-headed idea I'm not even going to argue this one.

  • 63 - Mental Health Services Tax on Incomes Above $1M. May be an unfair and arbitrary tax on the rich, but after all the money given back to them by Bush, my lachrymal glands don't seem to be working. We have a whole raft of people needing mental health care, and California turned our backs on them decades ago. This will help address that, and it's pay-as-you-go. Thumbs up.

  • 64 - Limits on "Unfair Competition" Lawsuits. Why? No.

  • 65 - Local Funds Amendment. Its original backers now oppose it, no information submitted to the voter guide, seems to be supplanted by Measure 1A. No.

  • 66 - Limitations on 3-Strikes Law. Oh yes.

  • 67 - Emergency Services Funds/Telephone Surcharge Amendment. Tempting, as I hardly talk on the phone at all, and hate the ubiquity of cell phones - so this would mean shifting the tax burden off of me and onto people I loathe. But why the hell should funding for emergency services be tied to cell phone use? It's an odd law. On principle, no.

  • 68 - Non-Tribal Gambling Expansion Amendment. Oh, nopity-nope-no-nope.

  • 69 - State DNA Database. Christ on a Crutch, NO! Major invasion of privacy issues.

  • 70 - Tribal Gaming Compacts. I totally don't understand this amendment. So I'm voting no.

  • 71 - Stem Cell Research Bond. Tough one. It will create jobs in the state. And it will piss off BushCo. But, it will cost $6,000,000,000 over the next 30 years. And hamstring the state on using that money in a specific way, no matter what other financial crises come down the pike. Plus, I just don't feel the electorate should be deciding budget issues like this. That's what we elect legislators for. Just because Bush would hate it is no reason to vote for it. Once Kerry is in office, he'll clear away all the federal regulations preventing stem-cell research, and private industry will take over funding this. Reluctantly, no.

  • 72 - Health Care Coverage Referendum. Reluctantly, yes. I don't like putting too many requirements on medium-size businesses - but really, once a company gets to 50 employees, it should be providing health-care options. Until we have a more comprehensive health-care plan for the country, this is a good idea. I think.

  • LA COUNTY: Measure A - Public Safety Funding. Another half-cent tax county-wide? Eh. No thanks. Emergency services are not that bad, currently. But this may be the point in SimCity where rioting is about to break out. I am persuadable on this one.

  • LA CITY: Measure O - Clean Water Bonds. I'm voting for a bond! We gotta clean up our act, or face EPA fines in the future. This is a really painful one, and I may very will flip-flop on this, and Measure A above. I don't like bonds. But I'm leaning yes on this one.


So that's it. I'm on the fence about some of these, so if you think I've missed something, please post in the comments or drop me a line [franko at gmail d0t c0m] ASAP -- I'm probably heading for the polls around 2 or 3 pm.


Sunday, October 31

Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen

Nader selling video of him "debating" with Kerry and Bush action figures.

Saturday, October 30

GOP -- Bin Laden's Biggest Fans?

From today's New York Daily News:

"We want people to think 'terrorism' for the last four days," said a Bush-Cheney campaign official. "And anything that raises the issue in people's minds is good for us."

A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."

He called it "a little gift," saying it helps the President but doesn't guarantee his reelection.

Al QaQaa: SOP?

It may be that leaving munitions dumps unguarded was Standard Procedure in Iraq for some reason. Army commanders may have been too short staffed to secure Iraq properly, but didn't it occur to anyone that every explosive left unguarded was one more attack on US forces down the road?

This American Life: Election Fraud

Listen or read.

Friday, October 29

Bin Laden Transcript

Hard to say if this coming out today is in Bush's favor or not. But bin Laden getting in his digs about "My Pet Goat" should allay any tinfoil worries that the Bush campaign wanted this to come out right before the election. It's difficult to slog through, but here it is.

More Last-Minute Halloween Costumes

A man with the improbable name of Rosecrans Baldwin has some suggestions.

Michael Chabon Adapting 'Snow White'

He's recasting it as a Hong Kong-style martial arts film. Sounds nutty.

Killers in the White House

An historical overview.

Homeland Security: Keeping Us Safe

From unliscensed Rubik's Cube knockoffs, at least. I'm so glad someone else will be running the show in January....

Maybe Bush Doesn't Have the Goth Vote Sewn Up

Morrissey makes an endorsement.

Bin Laden Threatens More Attacks

New bin Laden tape released.

I think the electorate is smart enough to realize that if Bush had simply done his job instead of playing soldier and "nation building," there wouldn't be any bin Laden left to be making more tapes, and more threats.

We're getting a new President on Tuesday!

Clipper Box Seats

A friend had tickets through her company to last night's Clippers/Suns game. It probably doesn't get much more pointless than a preseason Clippers game, but I jumped at the chance because (a) I have to find a team to root for this year, and (2) they were seats in the company box.

The company box is way cool, except for the dozen or so of her cow-orkers. (They were perfectly nice, I just don't like strangers. [Or most of the people I know, for that matter.])

So, you take a VIP elevator to one of the corporate box floors, and it's like you're suddenly in a Double Tree Inn, rather than a sports arena. The hallways are carpeted and there are taseful photographic prints on the walls, and it's oddly quiet.

It's a lot like watching the game from a hotel suite or your living room, if your living room happens to be missing a wall and is perched 200 feet above an NBA court. And has people catering in sandwiches and chips. You still have to buy your own $10 beers -- yup, stadium beer at hotel martini prices.

Finally, just to rub it in to all the plebians down on the floor (yes, I'm talking to you, Frankie Muniz -- whadda ya want, it's the Clippers, not the Lakers), everyone gets free cake.

It was nice to see Steve Nash play -- I think he may have a bit of a Kobe problem this year, as he seemed to be trying to win the game singlehandedly when he was on the floor. Once the Suns were up by 20 in the third quarter, the Clipper feckless started to trickle out, and most of the crowd ended up cheering on Yuta Tabuse, the Sun's 5'9" Japanese whirling dervish of a guard.

I don't know if I can really become a Clipper fan this year. Corey Magette is pretty fun to watch, and I think the Clippers have a good shot this year if they just work on their defense and scoring. Just those two areas....

On the whole, if someone offers you box seats to an NBA game, take 'em.

Bush/Cheney2004 Victory Party Update

I'm still trying to get into this party.
Here's a reformatted rendition of the email exchange thus far, with my commentary in italics:



Frank San Filippo to bushcheney2004club.com

Can you please send me details on how I may attend?



bushcheney2004club.com to me:

In a message dated 10/28/04 3:40:46 PM Pacific Daylight Time, franko@gmail.com writes:

> Can you please send me details on how I may attend?

And you are who? From which Republican Group and how [did] you hear about it?

~SJ



  • Hey hey, what's with the snotty attitude? That's no tone of voice to take when you're on the winning team, kiddo!


Frank San Filippo to bushcheney2004club.com:

I'm not from any group, just an enthusiastic supporter of the office of the President.
I heard about the celebration on one of the internets.



  • Note that I scrupulously avoided lying -- I do in fact support the office of the President. I also like the Senate's chambers, and the House or Representative's foyer.


bushcheney2004club.com to me:

In a message dated 10/28/04 6:13:37 PM Pacific Daylight Time, franko@gmail.com writes:

> I'm not from any group, just an enthusiastic supporter of the office
> of the President.
> I heard about the celebration on one of the internets.

OK, what is your phone # so I can call you.

~SJ



Frank San Filippo to bushcheney2004club.com:

My cell is 310-xxx-xxxx. Could my cousin attend as well? He's an
infantryman who just got back from Iraq.



  • Note here that my scruples have gone entirely out the window. I'm totally lying, I have no such cousin. But I'm trying to set up a big funny for later. Note also that my phone number doesn't really have all those x's in it, I just don't want you calling me, punk.


So that's where it stands now -- I'll let you know if I get a call....

2004's Scariest Halloween Costumes

Some last minute ideas for those with kids.

NASA Scientist Finds Something Hinky About Bush's "Tailoring"

Slate has the story, though I can't read it. Perhaps my Internets are broken, but I can't get through their day pass. If anyone does, please copy and email to franko atsymbol gmail d0t c0m.

Game. Set. Match.

No way around it. BushCo screwed the pooch on securing explosives in Iraq once we "accomplished the mission." David Kay confirms.

Spite? Maybe she just wanted the beer and the smokes!

There's an important election coming up, and we shouldn't laugh at the plight of the dead. But still.

Thursday, October 28

Kerry Will Win Convincingly

Incumbents lose elections that poll close, as a rule, because undecideds tend to break for the challenger something like 2:1. The Republicans are clearly desperate in Wisconsin, because they are attempting 19th-century methods of intimidating black voters.

If you've read this blog before, you may be surprised that, rather than angering, this comforts me. Because you don't get that nasty if you think you can win fairly.

OK, it still really pisses me off that they're trying to subvert Democracy while sending kids to die to supposedly promote it in Iraq. And it does worry me a bit, because Rove will play as nasty as he wants to be.

But I still think Kerry's gonna clean W's clock on Tuesday.

If he doesn't, don't tell me, as I will be on the largest drinking binge in history to try to blot out the awful truth.

Lists: Good and Bad Covers


In most cases, the song in question has to be one with some intrinsic merit to be considered. Thus, "Venus" by Bananarama, while atrocious, doesn't make the "Bad Covers" list, because the Beatles could record it and it would still bite the curb. Conversely, in very rare cases, a great cover can salvage an otherwise pointless song, such as Van Halen's "Jump." I've also left out most Beatles covers, including Sinatra's hilarious "Something" and the entire "Sgt Pepper" soundtrack, because just about all Beatle covers (except the too-obscure-for-inclusion "Strawberry Fields" by Peter Gabriel, from the out-of-print vinyl soundtrack "All This and WWII") suck.
In no particular order:

Good Covers Bad Covers
I Fought the Law - the Clash Train in Vain - Annie Lennox
Georgia - Ray Charles Downtown Train - Rod Stewart
What the World Needs Now - Aimee Mann I Saw Him Standing There - Tiffany
Anything by Cassandra Wilson Anything by William Shatner
Anything by Bill Frissell Anything by Michael Bolton
Jump - Aztec Camera California Girls - David Lee Roth
Day Tripper - Brasil 66 Day Tripper - Brasil 66 (simultaneously great and awful)
Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go - Soft CellMony Mony - Billy Idol
Dear God - Sarah McLachlan Pretty Woman - Van Halen
Stop Your Sobbin' - The Pretenders You Really Got Me - Van Halen
Take Me to the River - Talking Heads Heaven - Simply Red
Young Man Blues - The Who Behind Blue Eyes - Limp Bizkit
Crazy - Patsy Cline Fever - Anyone but Peggy Lee (including Madonna and Paul Weller)
Susie Q - Creedence Clearwater Revival American Pie - Madonna
Time is On My Side - Rolling Stones Dancing in the Street - Bowie & Jagger
Twist and Shout - Beatles With A Little Help From My Friends - Joe Cocker
Stepping Stone - Sex Pistols My Way - Syd Vicious


Please, won't you help me fill out this list in the comments?

Bush Victory Party in Malibu Next Weekend

This could be fun. I've already emailed them for info on attending. I'll keep you posted.

Orchestrating the News

Probably only interesting to me, but here's a good article on writing scores for news coverage.

Blogger Gets a Visit from Secret Service

All in all, it's probably a good thing that Roy gave up on the bloggifying.

100 Facts and 1 Opinion for Voting Against Bush

From The Nation

You With the Queer Eyes

According to E!, in January Bravo is introducing "Queer Eye for the Straight Girl," a "new weekly one-hour series featuring 'The Gal Pals' making over a straight woman."

I do hope by 'gal pals' they don't mean they're having a pentad of lesbians make over a woman. I've watched Will & Grace enough to know that it's the gay guys you want doing the makeovers for men and women.

(Pretty weak Cyndi Lauper allusion in the headline, I know....)

O'Toole Still Bitter over WWI, II

In the New York Daily News dissing "Troy": "Ugh, what a disaster. The director [Wolfgang Petersen], that kraut, what a clown he was. When it was all over, I watched 15 minutes of the finished movie and then walked out."

In other news: Peter O'Toole is still live!

Lists: The Ten Worst Cover Songs

I think we can do better.

Kerry: Pete Rose Doesn't Belong in Hall Of Fame

I'm still voting for Kerry, anyway.

Lip-sync scandal!

A good, but too brief, list from the Village Voice of performers not entirely performing.

A Soldier's Tale

A sobering, if purely anecdotal account.

Sex and the Suburbs!

I hope you all are setting the TiVo to catch "Desperate Housewives!" on ABC, an HBO-like drama/comedy/satire. If nothing else, it fills the lull between "Curb Your Enthusiasm" seasons.

Some scribes have called "Housewives" a mix of "Sex and the City" and "Twin Peaks." Fair enough. The show, which airs Sunday nights, stars Teri Hatcher and the oof-worthy Eva Langoria. (Yeah, there are sites out there that are a little more revealing of Ms. Langoria than IMDB, but this is a PG-13 blog and I'm a gentleman.)

Wednesday, October 27

Back Atcha, Big Guy

I can't hear the audio on my lame work computer, but check out this video of Bush giving the camera the finger when he was Governor of Texas.

MyPollingPlace.com

Find out where to vote.

Goths For Bush

Hillarious parody. I think.

Macca: Let it Be...Kerry!

From WaPo's "Reliable Source":
Add Paul McCartney, British citizenship aside, to the list of celebs weighing in on the presidential contest. The queen's subject was in Silicon Valley last weekend headlining a benefit for the Bridge School, favorite cause of fellow rocker Neil Young. Interrupting his rollicking rendition of "Let It Be," Sir Paul looked up from the piano with a grin and yelled, "Let it be Kerry!" The crowd, reports special correspondent Rita Beamish, responded with a roar.

Nasssty Little Hobbitsessss!

Denver Post Sorta Backs Off Bush Endorsement

And no wonder: "Every letter we received was critical of the Post endorsement." (Emphasis added.)

Tuesday, October 26

Bill Maher on Religion

Good for some yuks, like his take on Jesus-as-co-pilot: "It's OK when you're a child. Children have an imaginary friend. When you get to be an adult, no more imaginary friends."

One Week Till Regime Change!

And only five days till Halloween.

California Broadcaster Donates Airtime to Republicans

This totally violates the spirit, and I would think the letter, of the equal time provisions that the FCC is charged with enforcing. Unfortunately, the head of the FCC is Colin Powell's son, who's a bigger stooge for the Republican party than his old man.

Outrageous.

Sunday, October 24

SI forecasts NBA for '04-05

The mag's cover has Shaq basking in South Florida. No sign of Kobe.

The predictions: Pistons over Spurs for the title. Miami edges O-Town in the Southeast. The Lakers? They'll finish second in the division behind SacTown.

Orlando Sentinel Endorses Kerry

My hometown paper has endorsed a Democrat for President for the first time in 40 years, reflecting a national landslide for Kerry in newspaper endorsements. Something like 40 papers that endorsed Bush in 2000 have come out for Kerry, as opposed to about 2 that endorsed Gore moving over to the Bush column. And the papers endorsing Kerry are in larger urban areas, like the Washington Post and NY Times. And of course, Bush's hometown paper in Crawford, TX has also turned its back on him.

Sadly, newspapers don't get to vote, though....

Saturday, October 23

Bill Maher Interview

The (Canadian) interviewer seems to barely speak English, but it doesn't matter too much -- Maher's in full-on rant mode here.

Jazz Bagpipes

Who knew?

New Voting Fraud Website

Hopefully, we won't need this site in a couple of weeks; but something tells me it's just going to be starting to get busy about Nov. 3....

New Mirror for the Triumph Video

This one works -- if you haven't seen it yet, it rocks. Jody and I just got done watching it twice.

iFilm has it now as well, but I couldn't get it to work. For that matter, I couldn't get to georgewbush.com today to watch the new 'Puppies' ad -- are the Internets broken?

Friday, October 22

Follow-up: That Nick Nolte's Diary? Not Really Nick Nolte's Diary

It's like finding out there's no Santa Claus.

Two Men Nail Ann Coulter

With pies.

There's a bored and saucy headline writer in Pittsburgh.

Krugman on Polls and Undercounting

Read it.

Gah.



The subtext being that only one candidate is actually serving under God, directly (and literally, in the picture -- not a coincidence how the text lays out there, I'm quite sure).

Republican Vote Tampering Already Underway

I guess Ohio and Florida really are the battleground states.

There needs to be mandatory sentencing for this sort of activity, and it should be pursued extensively by law enforcement. Five-to-twenty years, no parole. This is outrageous. People are dying and killing in a misguided attempt to spread democracy in the middle-east, while the party that sent them there is doing everything they can to subvert it here at home. People are dying and killing on behalf of these very scumbags, who are trying to destroy the very things our unfortunate sons and daughters are trying to protect.

It angers me.

Open Letter from Sister of Slain Soldier

Your Friday afternoon heartbreak is here.

Comedy Jokes

I miss Dixie cups.

Jon Stewart on 60 Minutes this Sunday

Not sure what the Vegas Over/Under is for him calling Andy Rooney a dick.

Moving Anti-Bush Campaign Video

Really effective.

Thursday, October 21

White House Scrubbing Website of Gaffes

Sadly, given the laundry list of crimes being perpetrated by the current administration, this comes off as a pretty minor scandal. But it should be bigger than that -- White House employees shouldn't be using my tax dollars to support an incumbent President, of either party, dammit.

12 more days....

The Libertarian Vote

Reason magazine has an interesting list of various mid- to high-profile Libertarianish types from politics, print, and showbiz, discussing who they're voting for and why. Some interesting surprises, like how few of them vote regularly, or seem to know who the Libertarian candidates are.

Isaac Newton

James Gleick on the man who changed the way we look at figs.

'Four more years of George Bush will be like four more years of syphilis'

Ah, the inimitable Hunter S. Thompson: "The question this year is not whether President Bush is acting more and more like the head of a fascist government but if the American people want it that way."

Man 1, Bank 0

Bestest thing I've read on any of the Internets in a long time.

Triumph Pees in the Alley

Spin Alley, that is. These feeds seem to be overloaded at the moment; let me know if you find this clip somewhere that isn't farked.

He's in the Big Leagues Now

Is he a dumbass, or just trying to get traded to Portland?

Boston to Win

In a sweep!

Shoot the hippo!

Guns are back on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland.

Wednesday, October 20

Yay, BoSox!

I gave up on baseball when the Dodgers traded Itallian-American Superstar (and reluctant gay icon) Mike Piazza. But (a) Eff the Yankees, and (2), I want to see a Boston-Houston World Series. In this year, of all years, it is only fitting. And despite my childhood love for their colorful uniforms and boxy hats, it should come as no surprise to our dozen(s) of faithful readers that I want to see Houston crushed and humilliated for continually lying to the American public and getting us mired in an unwinnable and fruitless war.

The O'Reilly Factor for Lesbians

Frank Rich has a great op/ed on LesboGate.