- Is Larry Craig guilty? Well, yes. . . he admitted as much when he pled guilty.
- Did Larry Craig actually solicit gay sex from a police officer in a men's bathroom? Signs point to "yes," but after reading the transcript [PDF], I don't know for sure; only Craig knows for sure. Besides, how do you, I, or the police officer know whether or not Craig wanted to do the deed in the restroom? What if he was planning on going elsewhere? Soliciting, and having, consensual sex with another adult in a private setting shouldn't be illegal.
- Do I care whether or not Craig is gay? Nope.
- Did the cop behave in an improper/illegal manner? Nope. The cop, though kind of a jerk, did what cops do: attempt to get a confession, guilty plea, and/or enough evidence to procure a conviction of some sort. . . you know, his job.
- Is Craig an IDIOT for not hiring an attorney as soon as he was allowed to touch some sort of communications device? Yup. He should have lawyered up immediately. Whether you're guilty or innocent, you get a lawyer. You'd think a sitting U.S. Senator might know a few decent criminal defense attorneys. Bitter sums up my thoughts for me:
Craig could have deflected this. If he came out of that arrest swinging emphasizing the overreaching police state in the airport where actions such as putting the your bag in front of you in the bathroom stall will draw police attention and lead to arrest.
- Do I have any sympathy for Craig? Nope. Seems to me he made a series of bad decisions and now he has to live with them.
- Is it wrong for the Republican Party to essentially force him to resign? Not really; he certainly showed enough poor judgment throughout this affair to warrant calls for his resignation. That being said, the fact that members of the party had to have known about the arrest and said nothing until the story broke independently gives lie to any claim of "moral outrage." Of course, it helps that the governor of Idaho is a Republican who will replace Craig with a member of the party.
Friday, August 31, 2007
"The Pixies reunion was a real success, and Dinosaur Jr. seems like a big success, and both those bands play as good as they ever did. Mission Of Burma blew my mind when they came back. But a band like us never did break up. Which was to our own detriment. What would have happened if we did break up after [classic 1988 double album] Daydream Nation - or even after [1990's] Dirty - and had gotten back together two years ago? You'd be interviewing me at the Chateau Marmont as I'm waiting for my limousine. We probably would have made so much money. This was our biggest career faux-pas - not breaking up."I don't know if he's serious, ironic, sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek, or (most likely) a combination, but I do know he's right. I've never been that big of a Sonic Youth fan, but I've always respected what they do, and they could have been like any one of many bands who've broken up and come back for their "triumphant" mega-tour. Unfortunately for music geeks such as myself, any former glory was most likely lost before whatever band in question disbanded. It doesn't matter the decade or the genre; this is an overarching phenomenon. All we're left with is overweight, balding shells of our former icons who either pander to their fans in an attempt to get the money they weren't able to manage in their heyday or whose earnestness, spontaneity, and onetime brilliance has unavoidably tarnished with age. Not to say that once obscure/now legendary bands shouldn't get the monetary rewards their relative obscurity has denied them, but will they be as good as they once were? Sure, they may be technically better musicians, and they may understand how to work a crowd, but it's not the proficiency or showmanship alone that draws us in; it's the feeling we get when we listen or watch. . . and a reunion concert or album cannot recapture that feeling in us; it can only replicate what we once felt.
Let's face it, every musician or band you love will either die or break up, for one reason or another.* Nothing will ever top the moment you first listened to that cassette of [Band X] your friend dubbed from the music collection of his older brother, or seeing [Musician Y] play the greatest set ever, before the drugs, ex-wives, and record labels took control, or popping a brand new CD into the car, listening to a band for the first time, and having to pull the car to the shoulder because it was the music that you wish you could write, but can't and are overwhelmed.
No reunion tour, no ten-years-later album with better production values and also-famous guest musicians will ever make you feel the way you felt when you became a fan in the first place. The music of the musicians we love may last forever, but the musicians themselves never will, and they'll never recapture what they once created.
*Except the Rolling Stones; they may get more craptacular with age, but I'll be damned if anything can actually kill those guys.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
It's hard to be a red stater--you work hard, come home, you want to veg out, and WHAM! Some commie sticks a sickening liberal public-service message in the middle of your program. The Red State Filter is when your brain filters out the bull and only accepts the good stuff. For example, in the commentaries on Return of the Jedi Lucas compared the Ewoks to the Viet Cong! Claimed it was like Vietnam: a primitive culture defeats an imperial superpower! Filtered. It didn't happen for me. I just ignored the political commentary. Or the unbelievably forced lesbian-storyline in the Buffy series. How brave to make the mousy, Thelma-eqse, bookworm wicca into a lipstick lesbian. Really breaking new ground with the teenage male demo, guess we’ll just have to vote for “gay marriage” now. Almost killed the fun. I love They Live, but when an evil alien gives Reagan's “Morning in America” speech, you're pushing the filter to the limit. And every once in a while the Simpsons do, too.
In fact, creator Matt Groening admits that the show's pot shots are intentional: "In America there's someone to pretend to be offended by everything. Yeah, we annoy people, but that's part of the appeal. We aim to entertain people, but also to annoy a certain segment of the audience." I’m positive some will claim Simpsons is an equal opportunity annoyer, but in reality they are just not as bad as all the other shows. Here’s the break down on the movie’s transgressions against our malevolent beliefs.
Bart is dared to skate board naked through the town by Homer, but Homer sells him out when caught leading to a Bart/Homer movie long feud. Slap in the face number one is Bart’s full-on naked crotch-shot. Is it funny? Meh. The joke is that they beautifully animate a minute long sequence where every possible object blocks the view and then for one second there’s this absurd bush that blocks the view of everything but Bart’s genitals. It probably would have been almost as funny blurred. But really who cares? Well, as with most of the slaps I’m going to list, it is the attempt to offend which is really the annoying part. Going out of your way to offend “prudes,” (those who think this kind of humor is kind of unnecessary) because we represent evil in its purest form, in such pedestrian way displays how unsophisticated you think we are. All in all, this was done purely for ratings or to reeducate the straitlaced menace which is destroying our “hey, man, be cool” society. I stand by my “meh.” Unnecessary, but non filter breaking.
Slap number two is the whacks at God, the Bible, and church. Religion and the insanely religious are a big target, and not above a good swipe or two. But in reality the Media is riddled with attacks on religion. Frankly, the Simpsons have consistently gotten by with this story that because they have religion and even a vengeful God in their series they are actually a pro-religion show. Sure, super Christian Ned Flanders is happier than Homer, but he’s depicted naïve, effeminate, uncool, slightly mentally ill on occasion, and a total zealot that even annoys the minister. Unlike marriage, raising a family, and even civics, religion is something the Simpsons almost never get square with by the end of an ep. In the movie, God makes a small appearance as a beam of light and most of the spirituality is handled by a medicine woman because everyone knows vision quests are more realistic than all that hokey praying stuff. At the end, Marge says “G.D.,” which unless you never want to hear that phrase, was timed where it was reasonable and funny. Regardless, the jokes, while profane, are nothing to write home about. Only mild filter use, mostly just tried of the Simpsons trying to have it both ways.
Slap number three is Otto’s bong hit. Maybe this is a personal thing, but I hate marijuana use in shows. It’s almost never a plot point. Half the time it’s just a way to advance the “every body does it” idea, which just gets kids in trouble. But here Otto is smoking a bong right at the movie’s climax? Were we really longing to see Otto getting stoned on screen that bad? The gag is that he doesn’t know what going on at all during the critical moment. Internal chortle at best. While the placement is pretty annoying, the Red State Filter wouldn’t be very useful if it couldn’t handle wanton and superfluous drug use on screen.
Slap number four is the environmentalism. This was my big fear. In the past, Lisa Simpson has championed some pretty liberal views including the green politics (which seem more red to me). Theses eps often rival the Catwoman/anti-hunting episodes of Batman: TAS in filter busting. But other than a running gag that environmentalism is wrongfully ignored in America (which suggests it shouldn’t be and that it isn’t, in reality, constantly on being pushed on us at all levels of the media 24 hours a day) and a slash at Alaska for *gasp* allowing satanic oil companies to drill (shudder), the green peace brainwashing was not too bad. The filter is pretty good on this one and luckily its use was not taxing at all.
One might think slap number five would be the shots at the US government. Other than constantly portraying our servicemen and women as drunk, slack-jawed psychos, the Simpsons series does a good job lampooning the gov’ment. I can’t figure out why they put Schwarzenegger in the oval office, maybe because neither the far left or right firmly support him. Conservatives might be more supportive of terrorist surveillance then your average pot-growing hippie, but we’ve never been super comfortable with the federal government or its large agencies like the EPA. Of course, the bad guy is actually a rich white guy (the source of all evil) but the government jokes were generally funny and delightfully cynical.
Of course, it is the Simpsons. I still buy Marvel even though they constantly create books and give interviews, like Millar’s recent one to CBR, that proclaim their distaste for conservative views. It is Marvel. And like any cornerstone of geekdom the Simpsons are good even when they are bad—most of the time. Watching the movie I realized how much of a cornerstone: the Simpsons have changed things.
Geekdom owes the Simpsons a nod. A long time ago, I told my mother my friend said Star Trek was stupid become it wasn’t about the real world. My mother told me I didn’t need friends like that. Hard to believe but about ten years ago, or more, it was a prevailing belief that cartoons, anime, and comic books were either for kids or geeky perma-virgins. People like my friend roamed the earth with no clue what “spidey-sense” was—the wretched fools. The Simpsons had a lot to do with changing the perception of cartoons and other geek interests. Just by being a cartoon for adults, the Simpsons opened up the world. Crazy recluse Matt Groening’s little known “Life in Hell” comics launched him to do the Simpsons, and the underground went primetime. The Simpsons spread into toys, games, DVDs, and, of course, comics. Animated series popped up everywhere, even a Sci-Fi one called Futurama. Adults had Homer Simpson dolls and coffee mugs in their offices. Ever heard of Adult Swim? How about South Park? It isn’t a stretch to say that this one small step in cartoony goodness was one giant leap for geek-kind. Sure lots of things led to the world changing, but just step back and realize we have cartoons, high production value comics, superhero movies that don’t suck, anime—we’ve come a long way baby. And one must credit the Simpsons with some part in this boom, if only to say they helped make watching cartoons cool.
Well, this cartoon is still cool. Conservatives fear not, the movie isn’t lame or too liberal. So, strap on your Red State Filter and have a good time.
Note: This post was actually written by genie junkie, I'm just posting it to save him the 4 clicks of a mouse.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Richard Jewell, the security guard wrongly suspected of setting off a deadly bomb at Atlanta, Georgia's Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Olympics, has died, his attorney, Lin Wood, told CNN on Wednesday.In a just world (which this decidedly is not), that sentence should read:
Richard Jewell, who saved many lives from being painfully lost in an explosion, has died of natural causes.Two people died; what would the death toll have been had Jewell not discovered the bomb or not moved the crowd away? Yet because of overreaction by the Feds and the national/local media, Jewell is still remembered as "that guy who didn't set the bomb" instead of "that guy who saved all those people from the bomb."
It’s probably the only thing remaining which the French do better than we do.
I’m not talking about making wine, but making love—and I mean that in the most old-fashioned sense of the word: flirting.
Flirting is the art form in human communication and the piquant sauce in human interaction: that delicious, heady way in which the moth dances around the fire, getting closer and closer, sometimes getting singed, sometimes flying away, and sometimes being gloriously consumed by the flames.
[. . . ]
American men aren’t being taught this stuff anymore, and we are becoming the poorer for it. No wonder there are college rules which forbid complimenting and “staring”, when “Nice rack!” is what passes for a compliment.
You boor, you dolt, you insensitive, childish brute. Who the hell gave you the right to act that way towards a woman—a man’s daughter, another man’s sister, and somone’s future wife?
Because that’s where it ends. Without flirting, there is no romance. Without romance, all that’s left is heaving buttocks.
Here's a sample of Kim's rules:
1. Respect the lady. Respect at all times, respect beyond all reason, respect even if it makes no sense at all. All women are ladies. If they aren’t it’s only because they’ve never met the right gentleman before. Become the right gentleman.
How to show respect for women? Simple. Open the door for her. When a woman walks into the room for the first time, stand up. When you’re at the table, and she excuses herself, stand up when she leaves. Then, when she comes back, stand up again, and help her sit down in her chair. Always, always open the car door for her. When you arrive at a place, tell her to wait in her seat, then get out and run around to open the door for her. If she demurs, insist until she starts to expect it, and take it for granted. Always walk her to her front door, and wait until she closes the door before you leave. (And don’t expect a good-night kiss either, let alone anything else.) If she offers you her hand to shake, take it, and then bring it up to your mouth, and just touch it with your lips.[. . . ]
5. Learn the difference between pride and vanity. Don’t be afraid of rejection. You are going to get rejected hundreds of times in your life when you flirt. Deal with it—that’s just hurt vanity, and that will pass. I don’t care how badly a woman treats you: either you deserved it (lesson learned) or you didn’t (let it become someone else’s problem).
[. . . ]
7. Finally, learn to love women. And I don’t mean that you should become a footstool; as a flirt, your whole life should revolve around making a woman feel appreciated, wanted, adored, and desired. Do it with subtlety, do it with grace, do it for fun, and do it without expecting sex at the end of it.
Learn to flirt. If some ghastly troll of a feminist thinks you’re trying to hit on her when you do so, just apologize graciously, and shut up. Move on to the next opportunity. You’ll be looking for someone who appreciates a man who loves women, and who appreciates being treated like a lady.
As Kim points out, both sexes, in this day and age, seem to be confused or misguided regarding how to flirt with and how to treat the opposite sex. In my experience, people are either unaware that there are in fact rules for flirting/dating/etc. or they are aware of the rules and are (like me) so socially awkward that any attempt at flirtation is saddled with self-doubt and a lack of confidence that is usually, if not always, noticeable by the lady in question. (I'm better than I used to be, I think; thanks for asking)
If you're a man, of any age/marital status, you owe it to yourself to read the whole thing; if you're a woman, you should read it as well, if for no other reasons than to learn how you should be treated and what you should expect from us.
Update: For a little perspective, from a lady and for the ladies, check out Mrs. du Toit's essay on the same subject. It's equally as honest Kim's missive and again with language not for the faint of heart; well -worth a read, regardless.
Monday, August 13, 2007
“There’s a definite belief in our culture that talking about our problems makes you feel better,” says Rose, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Missouri, Columbia, whose research was published in the July issue of Developmental Psychology. “That’s true in moderation. ... It only becomes risky when it becomes excessive."Damn straight. Hell, I don't even talk about my problems (and boy, do I have some); I prefer to skip that step and move straight on to either fixing the problem or letting it slowly kill me. Why talk about your problems when you can do many other things to make yourself think you feel better, such as drink to excess, smoke, cry in the shower so you can't see the tears, grow either a tumor or an ulcer, and. . . wait, that's really about it. Either way, it turns out that my unhealthy ability to keep my feelings deep inside, where they can surprise me someday with an aneurysm, is actually healthy. Neat!
[. . . ]
Psychologists also warn against ranting over and over to the same audience. You don’t want to become known as the complainer of the group. That can take a toll on friendships; it’s draining to be around someone who’s always moaning about their troubles.
When faced with someone who’s intent on wallowing in their problems, give them some time to talk it out — maybe 15 minutes, suggests Annette Annechild, a marriage and family counselor in Del Ray Beach, Fla. After that, move away from complaining and on to problem solving.
• Seamlessly branched Director’s Cut with never-before-seen footageThey want $20.00 for this? Really? I'll probably get it, but I'll wait until I see it in the $4.88 bin. Seriously though, some of the best action movie dialogue ever is in this movie:
["Ooo, Arnold just killed another nameless Hispanic man from 400 feet with a blowgun!"]
• Audio commentary by director Mark Lester (on theatrical version only)
["And here you see Arnold kill another nameless Hispanic man from 400 feet with a blowgun. It took 12 days to film."]
• Deleted Scenes
[Ooo, Arnold killed a nameless Hispanic man from 400 feet with a blowgun, but the lighting was a little off.]
• Pure Action featurette
[wha? is this a porn reference?]
• Let Off Some Steam featurette
[Just try to imagine Arnold saying that; does it make sense now? Good.]
• Photo galleries with over 150 images
[It's called a Google Image Search]
- Creating Commando
[another porn reference?]
- Domestic Bliss with John and Jenny
- Kill Arnold, Kill!
- Trashing the Galleria
[AWE. . . no, wait, that was actually in the movie]
Matrix: Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?Badass.
Sully: That's right, Matrix. You did.
Matrix: I lied
[Matrix drops Sully off cliff]
Matrix: [after killing a man in the plane] Don't disturb my friend, he's dead tired.
Cindy: You steal my car, you rip the seat out, you kidnap me, you ask me to help you find your daughter which I very kindly do, and then you get me involved in a shoot out where people are dying and there's blood spurting all over the place, and then I watch you rip a phone booth out of a wall, swing from the ceiling like Tarzan, and then there's a cop that's going to shoot you and I save you and they start chasing me. Are you going to tell me what's going on or what?
When it comes to defending my life, and the lives of others, I follow the dictum “two is one, one is none”. As far as I’m concerned, when I've got my Colt Defender (7+1 and 7) and my P3AT (6+1 and 6) with reloads (which is my most frequent carry rig); the total round count may be 28, but I’ve only got 15 rounds there that I can count on.Having no gun in an already established gun fight is WAY the hell up there on my list of "Really Bad Things." Remember that bad primer on the range that time? Or that broken extractor that screwed up your whole day when shooting cans? Now think about what would happen if their was no "bang" after the "click" of the trigger when someone's shooting back.
My biggest concerns are malfunctions and environmental loss.
I carry a backup magazine because the smartest way to clear a malfunction is with a fresh mag. Most automatic pistol malfunctions are caused by either bad ammunition or bad magazines. When you have a serious stoppage malfunction, the best thing you can do to resolve it is clear the weapon of any potentially defective ammunition and magazine, and reload with a fresh, known good mag and ammo.
I carry a backup gun because clearing malfunctions is slower than grabbing another gun; and also because it isn’t hard to end up with a gun lost to the environment in the exigencies of a fight.
If you end up having to clear a vehicle or a door frame quickly, or if you god forbid fall down some stairs or the median or embankment of a road (and I’ve had all of the above happen while in potentially threatening situations), it isn’t hard to end up without your sidearm, or with it out of the action (I’ve never had the first happen, but I have had the second happen).
Carry a secondary firearm whenever possible. . . and try to carry one when it's not possible.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
[Tom Araya] does admit after spending more than half of his life entrenched within a band as aggressive as Slayer, that the end of the road may loom on the horizon. "Well, there have been remarks made about seeing an old man head-bang," laughs Araya. "And I have to agree. I think the Stones can do that, probably go out and do their stuff in their 80s, but it just wouldn't look right [for us], you know what I mean?Talk about your mixed emotions; not only do I love metal in general, but Slayer is, well, SLAYER! They're arguably the best thrash metal band of all time, and their albums Reign in Blood and Seasons in the Abyss are two of the most influential and best metal albums ever. . . and it's not like they've rested on their laurels since the release of those albums; their latest, Christ Illusion, kicks some serious ass. Moreover, unlike so many cookie-cutter bands (metal and otherwise) who sound great on the album but fall apart live, Slayer has consistently delivered one of the best and most intense live shows for decades now.
"It's actually pretty strenuous," he continues, "that's why I don't see it going any further than a certain point in time. We have one more record to do, which is our deal with [super producer Rick] Rubin, and we'll have to sit down and discuss the future. But I can't really see myself doing this at a later age."
That being said, I'd hate to ever cringe at Slayer trying to tour when they obviously shouldn't. So if Slayer decides to hang it up after the next album, I'd say more power to them. These guys are already god-like in the eyes of many fans, and even their detractors cannot deny the giant place Slayer holds in the lexicon of Heavy Metal.
If they do decide to retire, my one hope (other than another great album), is that, on their way out the door, they kick the collective ass of the band who's been masquerading as Metallica for the last 15 or so years.
A pet detective who is temporarily suspended after rescuing a dog from a locked and overheated car says he was just doing what his mandate asks him to do – save animals' lives.Sounds good to me. So does this:
[. . . ]
On July 31, Smith responded to a call that Cyrus, a 50-kg Rottweiler, was locked in an overheated car. The Toronto Humane Society investigator smashed through the car window, rescued the dying dog, who was slumped and foaming at the mouth, and handcuffed the irate owner to the car. He then rushed the dog to a hospital, leaving the man there handcuffed until police arrived on the scene.
[R]eports soon followed that the handcuffed dog owner was beaten by the crowd and was bleeding when police arrived.And? I have absolutely no sympathy for someone who mistreats a dog in such a manner. Sounds to me like the dog's owner got exactly what he deserved. However, I do feel that Mr. Smith might have overstepped his bounds a bit. Could he have handled it in a fashion that wouldn't have subjected the owner to vigilante justice? Probably. I don't know what the specific animal cruelty laws in Canada entail, so perhaps Smith could have taken the dog owner's information, passed that information onto the police, and let the police handle it from there. Still though, I'm not that bothered by some dog owner being beaten for abusing his dog. Here's hoping the owner will be charged and prosecuted, and that Mr. Smith's job is reinstated.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
BUILDING boss Howard Shelley carried out the ultimate DIY conversion — by CASTRATING himself so he could become a woman.
The 42-year-old dad of two decided on the drastic move after being told he would have to wait at least two years for a sex change on the NHS.
He found a website which gave a step-by-step guide to the eye-watering home surgery, then waited till wife Janet went out before setting to work with a kitchen knife in the loo.
With the job done, he wrapped his severed appendages in a cloth and dropped them in the bin.
Then he drove five miles to his local GP, explained what he’d done, and was packed off for treatment at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, near Aylesbury, Bucks.
Amazingly, three days later he was back at his desk.
Now compare and contrast this H.A.C. with the one I posted yesterday regarding a guy who wanted to be rid of his giblets and hired someone else to do the deed. In the contest of who has the bigger balls (that aren't attached to the body), this new guy definitely wins:
“The worst bit was steeling myself for the first cut. The whole thing took six minutes. It was agony, but I knew I couldn’t stop.”Hell yeah, dude. That's how to take the bull by the, er, balls! Not only were you not discovered naked, bleeding, and berry-less by your daughter, but you drove yourself to the hospital, strolled into the lobby like John F'ing Wayne, legs akimbo (obviously), and said, "Yeah, I cut off my own balls, pilgrim; now stitch me up and make me a woman, because that's how much of a MAN I am."
So in honor of these two paragons of the art of H.A.C., I present to you this little gem of a '70's commercial. The use of The Entertainer as theme music just adds to the hilarity. I love the little wink at the end, but honey, you better go easy on busting your husbands balls, he might just decide he'd rather be a woman.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Minnesota police are looking for suspected quack surgeons who removed a St. Paul man's testicles at his home, the Star Tribune reports.Dude, have you tried a piece of fishing line tied to a door? Or alligators? Seriously, anyone can hire someone else to whack off the Ol' Beanbag, but it takes a real man to remove the twins with some panache. . . and preferably in public. Of course, the castration part of the story isn't what got my attention (that's just how jaded I am, folks), it's the last line of the article:
The 62-year-old man, Russell Daniel Angus, said he'd been suffering from chronic pain and had asked doctors to remove his testicles, but they'd refused, the paper said, citing a search warrant affidavit filed Monday in Ramsey County District Court.
Police said Angus hired two or three "professionals" to do the job on a makeshift operating table in his home and that's where his daughter found him bleeding on July 28, the paper said.
Police removed three specimen jars in their search of the home, but it was unclear if the man's testicles were found.Oh, O.K., wait, What? THREE specimen jars? That just ain't right.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
On her profile, she designates her political views as "liberal" and—until this morning—proclaimed her membership in the Facebook group "Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack)." According to her profile, she withdrew from the Obama group at 6 a.m. Monday, after Slate sent her an inquiry about it.Standard youthful rebellion perhaps? Another symptom of the long-standing familial strife between Rudy and his offspring? Either way, pretty amusing. . . and something else for all the "Family Values" GOP stalwarts to cringe about come decision-making time in '08.