31 January 2008

Fuck you, Monkey-Squirrel!

There's video above, FeedReader
Seth! Josh! Josh's strike beard!!! Puppets!

The perfect storm of strike videos.

Eli Stone

Sepinwall reviews Eli Stone. A quirky legal drama in the vein of David E. Kelley - even it's actually produced by the much more reliable and tasteful Greg Berlanti - doesn't sound like my cup of tea. Visions of George Michael? Only if he's going to tell Eli how perfectly round his butt is. How scientists use it to calibrate their instruments.

That said, I may have to watch a few. Victor Garber plays one of the partners at the firm. And there are a lot of musical fantasies.

On "Ally McBeal," Ally's fantasies were treated as comic relief, a symbol of her neuroses. "Eli Stone," on the other hand, wants to find gravity and meaning in the music in Eli's mind (Broadway vet Garber gets to sing Michael's "Freedom" in a later episode), but the show isn't any more committed to the weight of these fantasies than Eli himself is. Miller reacts to each fantasy with such wide-eyed mugging, and the scenes are often underscored with such a cutesie-poo musical score, that the show is inviting you not to take any of it seriously. "Don't worry," the presentation seems to say, "this guy isn't really crazy! Just have fun and dance to the guy from Wham!"
So the show may be meh, but other than cast recordings, how often do we get to hear Victor sing anymore?

29 January 2008

But Where's J. Jonah Jameson?

Blog-buddy Lucy sent me a link the other day to John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman's weekly podcast, The Bugle. I've been listening and catching up - did you know there were fires in California? Months ago? - and thought I'd pass the link along. This is good, funny stuff.

Here's a sample, Andy on immigration.

28 January 2008

Just like daddy

I generally don't pick on girls with daddy complexes. Without them, I might never have had sex. But Caroline Kennedy isn't my type, so what the hell.

I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.
Well I want a President who'll give me a pony. I kid. They're smelly and poop all the time. I don't want a pony. And I don't give a rat's ass about Presidents who "articulate a vision". For seven years now we've had a messianic President with a vision. I'd rather have a pragmatic, cynical, cold-hearted realist who can push policy through by politicking and compromise.

By all accounts, Barack Obama is a thoughtful, intelligent man who has a finely tuned legal mind. He can also generate passion in his followers. What his followers miss, I believe, is that like JFK before him, the passion is not universal. One man's transformative politics is another man's demagoguery.

I don't doubt that Caroline Kennedy has met many people who've told her "that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to". She seems not to remember that her pops squeaked out a very narrow victory (probably bought and paid for by Brown & Root in TX) in a polarizing election. Obama's fans seem to operate with a similar blind spot. No matter who the victor in November, he or she will not be elected with a mandate, but a narrow majority. After what doubtless will be a protracted and vitriolic election, the next President of the United States will limp onto the stage next January to take the oath of office.

I repeatedly bring JFK into the conversation about Obama not for the surface similarities - inexperienced Senator, charismatic speaker, commanding presence - but because he and his campaign have cultivated that comparison. The Kennedy clan endorsements coming in rapid succession were carefully planned and packaged for maximum effect. Good for the Obama campaign. That's the point of endorsements, particularly one as important as Ted Kennedy's right before Super Tuesday. I don't begrudge them their supporters or timing of announcements. However, begging to be seen as the heir to JFK, the second coming of JFK, is only going to make me remember how shitty a President JFK was.

People accuse Hillary Clinton of running too much on Bill's record, Bill's coattails. As true as that may be, Obama is running on the ethereal cultural memory of JFK. It's a bold and effective gambit, but for those of us who realize Camelot was just JFK's favorite Lerner & Loewe musical, it makes us very reluctant to vote for this man.

Godwin's Cat

If I put a cat that looks like Adolf Hitler in a box, with a vial of poison and a quantum trigger with a 50% probability of going off and close the box, the cat that looks like Hitler is funny regardless of its quantum state.

If I put a cat that looks like Adolf Hitler on a poster in a German political race, it's funny regardless of how serious the context.

The German Green Party in Saxony and Hesse has an unusual poster for their municipal election campaign - an image of a cat that resembles Adolf Hitler with the tagline "you can't always recognize Nazis at first glance."

At the center of the elections, which took place Sunday, was a debate over the treatment of immigrants. The Green Party used the picture of the cat to condemn the extreme-right parties in Germany and their xenophobic policies.
Leave it to Haaretz to find the right expert commentary, though:
The use of the cat was bemoaned by the Web site www.catsthatlooklikehitler.com on the grounds that the Green Party used photo manipulation to produce their "Adolf Kitler" rather of one of the site's many authentic "Kitler" cats.

26 January 2008

Washington was built on swampland

There's video above, FeedReader

You know what I love? YouTube. Also? Apparently Al Gore was tight with David Ben-Gurion.

24 January 2008

"Somebody tried to flush another goddamn hamster"

Michael Brownlee, a fellow alum of the Sitcom Room, has posted some scenes from a spec pilot of a medical procedural he's written. Awesome stuff. Seriously awesome. Do *not* skip this link.

Harry Reid is a fucking pussy

Alright. Not much of a headline. For obviousness it's right up there with "water is wet" and "Yeltsin has a glass of vodka with dinner". Still...

It's like he read Master of the Senate and only understood half the words.

Chris Dodd remains my hero this week as it appears he's going through with his Jefferson Smith impersonation. Good that one of my home state Senators isn't a worthless sack of shit. If only I could say the same of my current state.

Of course good ol' Harry is trying to make Chris back down:

I respect what the Republican leader has said, but everyone here should understand all weekend activities have to be put on hold until we finish this bill. Now, it is possible we could finish it fairly quickly. We are going to work from the Intelligence bill, and if amendments are offered that people don't like, I would suggest they move to table those amendments. Because if people think they are going to talk this to death, we are going to be in here all night. This is not something we are going to have a silent filibuster on. If someone wants to filibuster this bill, they are going to do it in the openness of the Senate.
Boo-hoo. You earn $165K/yr and have the best health insurance in the country - insurance you don't want to make available to your voters - and you're whining because you might have to work a Saturday. My heart aches.

What's that? Oh, Harry's worried about the Republican retreat? And the Davos summit? Our hardworking Senators might not get to take their little vacations? Again, Billy Ray Cyrus and I share one thing at this moment and it's got nothing to do with Hanna Montana.

Kick Harry's DINO ass, Chris. And if you could spray some spittle Holy Joe's way, while you're filibustering, that would be swell!

23 January 2008

How they got here: Nicktoons Sexcapades?

As part of an ongoing series of meta-commentary on some of the odd Google searches that land visitors to our fair shores, I bring you the cautionary tale of some twisted fraker from Twin Falls, Idaho who dropped by while searching for "dexter having sex with kim possible". Yah, I know. It boggles the mind.

This lonely white supremacist, still living in his Y2K shelter and subsisting on bottled water and canned peaches, didn't find what he wanted, landing here instead. He (yah, I'm pretty sure it's a "he") musta been pissed. I mean, "Dexter" and "Kim Possible" both appear in that post, plus the word "sex" is in my list of labels. He must have thought he'd hit the mother lode until he saw I wasn't into his particular kink.

I mean, hentai, sure. I'm as big a fan of big-eyed J-Girls beng violated by tentacles as the next red-blooded, warped white dude. But Dexter and Kim Possible? That's whack.

Off ID comments, redux

I've been growing frustrated with the speed of the blog lately, so I removed one of the slowest loading elements. So we're back to Blogger comments again. When I realized it was loading so slowly that many people were getting around the Javascript to the Blogger comments anyway, it just seemed like a better idea.

I really like Intense Debate, and sincerely hope that Google looks to acquire them, or license their technology. They're good guys who've created a pretty nice little service, but I'm tired of beta testing right now. Probably because I'm too busy writing/debugging/re-writing software at work right now. I'm not looking to do *any* of that when I'm not working.

I may, of course, go back again. So, some comments are gone for now (I'll copy them over if I have the time and energy,) but who really cares about that? Y'all come here for *my* brilliant insights, clever writing, and sparkling wit. Besides, we've got too many lurkers and not enough active commenters. Let's get cracking, boys and girls!

22 January 2008

Brains! Need Brains!

John August on today's march around Paramount:

Paramount is seven blocks wide and four blocks deep, but it backs up against the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, so there’s no way to circle it without including the cemetery, a few strip malls, and the WIC center. So for any confused observers (there were a few), the WGA is not anti-corpse, anti-doughnut, or anti-women-infants-and-children.
I don't know about him, but I for one am anti-corpse. Goddamn zombies-in-waiting.

You keep talking, but aren't saying much

My friend/colleague and I go to lunch together most days. I find that at different companies I fall into different lunchtime rhythms. At my last job, where I also worked with my current lunchmate, I took an early lunch by myself most every day. Went to the same restaurant on average four of every five days, and sat quietly reading. The job before that was a lot of large group lunches, mixed pairings, and the very rare solo outing. Here, it's me and my friend.

He and I are compatible companions for a number of reasons, primary amongst them that we have broad interests and deep knowledge of many of them. We can discuss sports, politics, software, philosophy, or life in general. We're also compatible because we can sit quietly and not talk at all for long spans.

Yesterday we were joined by our company's 20something web designer [2SWD]. He's joined us for lunch before, at which time we had a frightening discussion about religion and belief. 2SWD is an atheist/agnostic. Okay, I've no problem with that, so am I. Unfortunately, 2SWD isn't a *thoughtful* atheist/agnostic. He has a belief (which he doesn't recognize as a belief) yet understands none of the prior study and analysis on the topics of theism, atheism, and agnosticism. Basically, he picked a side and stuck with it.

That's fine, I suppose. Not everyone is predisposed to read or even self-analyze. But he debated with us.

Yesterday, he bemoaned the fact that he can't vote in the upcoming primaries because he has no party affiliation. This led to his assertion that Presidential voting should be one-man, one-vote without regard for the slippery slope of nationalism that entails. Do I recognize the merits of the arguments put forth by thoughtful people who advocate abandoning the Electoral College? Sure. I don't support people who want to get rid of it because it doesn't seem "fair".

He kept asserting that as we're a democracy (we repeatedly pointed out that we're a democratic republic, a distinction he failed to recognize,) we should just get to vote on everything. Hell, let's get rid of the sovereignty of states, while we're at it.

I am no states rights fanatic, let's get that straight. My friend is, far more than I. However, I recognize the perils that would befall large swaths of our nation if we were not a federal republic. For example, I would no longer be able to live in this desert, as the national government would sensibly divert *all* the water in the Colorado River basin to the verdant farmland of California. Bye-bye PHX. Bye-bye Vegas. Bye-bye most of the southwest.

Suffice it to say it was a tiring lunch break, especially coming on the heels of a shite morning at the office (though I did get a little break of Schadenfreude right before heading out to eat.)

After lunch, when discussing the pain we'd endured, my friend told me what he'd been thinking about 2SWD during the "debate": "this is the reason we have an electoral college; to keep people like you from voting directly."

19 January 2008

Moyers on LBJ and MLK

There's video above, FeedReader
Anyone who's been here more than once or twice has a good feel for my political leanings; those who know me better have a clearer picture. I believe in muscular liberalism. For too long weasels, rats, and pompom girls of the right have tried to make up for their physical, emotional, and intellectual shortcomings by talking and acting tough. Sadly, my party has become quiet, reserved, and unassuming, rolling over at every (*cough* Harry Reid *cough*) opportunity to have their bellies rubbed by the opposition. Of course, I exclude the smaller, Patchouli Wing of the party which is anything but quiet and reserved; however, they're too busy arguing with the Ron Paul supporters over just whom is being followed by the black helicopters.

The last great American President was Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Before that, I'd have to go back to Harry Truman (Ike woulda gotten the call if he'd actually *done* something about the military industrial complex, rather than just warn us about it right before the door hit him in the ass.) Of course FDR was a great, great leader and gifted President (though I hate his cheesy attempt at stacking the court.) Before that? Dunno. Wilson was a tool, but he did accomplish a lot. Teddy Roosevelt added the needed muscle to actually enforce the century-old Monroe Doctrine. And then? Back to Lincoln?

Really, we haven't had a lot of great Presidents. Most have been serviceable, with only a handful downright disastrous: Nixon; GWB; Andrew Johnson, maybe; Hoover, because he was too hide-bound and conservative to take an active roll in combating the depression. For 220 years of history, we have earned about a C+ or B- overall in terms of electing suitable leaders.

That's not bad, really. It's above average. It's kept us together (except for that one span, but fortunately we had an A+ President at the time.) And I believe we can raise our grade with a little extra credit work.

So back to LBJ...let's start looking for Johnsons. Let's start looking for leaders of men and women who can tell right from wrong, who can bully when bullying is appropriate, yet caress and coo, too. Let's find more giants among us.

And while we're at it, a few more Bill Moyers wouldn't suck, either. C'mon, people. We really do deserve better than this.

via Josh Marshall

18 January 2008

Bobby Fischer dead at 64

There's video above, FeedReader

Sad, sad news out of Iceland. The King has been laid down.

Years of untreated paranoia (and probable schizophrenia) took him from us long ago, but this is still sad news.

17 January 2008

Musk or Lilly, Rose or Bergamot?

There's video above, FeedReader

It's been, and will likely continue to be, quiet around here for a while. I'm a bit busy at work, trying to get back into some better habits, and really trying to get over my seasonal funk. So the occasional short posts continue, *maybe* interspersed with a rare longer piece.

For example, we're thinking of heading out to Barrett-Jackson this weekend, and if we do I'll endeavor to file something big and juicy, maybe even with *photos*. No money burning a hole in my pocket, so no bidding this year, but there are a few cars there I'd *really* like to see (even the poor hacked-up sister of my car.) Plus, TheWife's excited to see a few VW Things and The MonkeeMobile.

But, in the absence of cogent political analysis (they all suck, some just a little less than others,) clever criticism of film, TV, and books (avoid 'reality' shows but enjoy the rest,) or metaphysical discussions (fire BAD! bread good!) I thought I could at least link to America's first philosopher, first inventor, and first among equals. And no, it's not that sloppy dressing, sloppy thinking, morally suspect douchebag Jefferson. I'm pretty sure I've made this clear: I respect rhetorical excellence from rhetoricians and writers. From leaders I want something more substantial.

So here, without further verbal masturbation, is Ben Franklin on an important issue of his day, and ours.

14 January 2008

Netflix drops streaming restrictions

You know what I haven't tried yet? Even once? Streaming a movie from Netflix. My in-house wireless connection is a trifle shaky, so I limit my streaming in the house to porn. That way, if it jitters and pauses it seems like I'm getting a show along with the show.

But maybe I will try streaming a movie from Netflix at some point, seeing as they're dropping their restrictions.

Until now, Netflix restricted how long its more than 7 million subscribers could use the streaming service each month, based on how much they pay to rent DVDs.

For instance, under a popular plan that charges $16.99 per month to rent up to three DVDs at a time, Netflix customers could watch as many as 17 hours of entertainment each month on the streaming service, dubbed "Watch Instantly."

With Monday's change, virtually all Netflix subscribers will be able to stream as many movies and TV shows as they want from a library containing more than 6,000 titles. There will be no additional charge for the unlimited access.

It's a Ron Paul WoW-volution

Racists, gold-standard loons, and WoW nerds. That's who supports Ron Paul.

Lettuce B-Free won't give out her real name; she prefers her World of Warcraft moniker. She grew up on Staten Island and moved to Florida, where she shares an apartment with a friend and works in retail. There are two things that get her up in the morning: online gaming and the maverick libertarian politics of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. "He's an amazing man, and I agree with almost every one of his positions," she says. "I was raised to have a deep respect for the Constitution, and wow, he wants to bring it back!" On December 26, Lettuce B-Free found a way to bring the two together: organizing a Ron Paul rally in the World of Warcraft universe.
Words fail me.

10 January 2008

Dexter Dancing Dreamily

There's video above, FeedReader

An *awesome* little music video about Dexter. Contains season one spoilers, so don't watch if you don't already know who the Ice Truck Killer is.

I came to Dexter really late and am about 2/3 of the way through season one now. As usual, it comes down to my unnatural skinflintiness regarding paying for HBO and/or Showtime. I'll fork over money for lots of things I don't use that much - ask me how many games I've watched on ESPN Full Court this year, or example - but I just can't justify paying for those two channels. It means I end up behind the curve on a lot of great TV, unfortunately.

Anyway, Dexter - great TV. Once I get through season one and catch some of season two, I'll likely make it a target for a spec script. I should have *no* trouble capturing Dex's voice, as I too am a psychopath with no concept of your human emotions. Moo-ha-ha!!!

If you don't recognize the source song upon which this ditty was created...oh holy crap! I love YouTube. Not only did I find a video for "88 Lines About 44 Women" by the Nails, but I found one where the video consists of stills from Kim Possible!!! Enjoy!

via Chad Gervich

09 January 2008

Anne Frank: The Musical

There's a pretty common structure you'll see in musicals: zippy/lovely. The songs tend to alternate between uptempo numbers and ballads or laments. It's not a hard and fast rule, but is pretty common.

So my question is, what are the zippy songs in a musical about Anne Frank? Is there a big showstopper at the end of Act I? A big dance number, perhaps?

This sounds like a better idea for a Family Guy bit than for an actual play.

Note: I was going to attempt to write some lyrics for an uptempo number that might work in this show, but even as a snarky blogger I found that reprehensible. I can only imagine the sorts of cretins that actually wrote the songs.

(Bet you thought I was kidding with the post title, too.)

Great Ascot!

You do not want to fuck around in Milwaukee County Circuit Judge William Sosnay's court. Hell, you don't even want to be a natty dresser.

In the courtroom of the pompadoured judge long known as a fastidious dresser, a sentencing hearing in a misdemeanor case was delayed for three hours Tuesday after a veteran prosecutor turned up for court wearing an ascot.

A courthouse rule requires all lawyers to wear neckties, but prosecutor Warren Zier's occasional choice of creative cravats drew the judge's ire.

Sosnay's review found Zier's red ascot - which matched the handkerchief in the breast pocket of Zier's pinstriped gray suit - "borders on contemptuous," given the judge's prior warnings that he only cottons to neck- and bow-ties.
Now, I don't personally rock the ascot because it's not 1973 and Paul Lynde isn't inviting me over for whiskey sours. Still, I'm warming to the idea. I mean, that's a sweet, sweet look. Plus, you get the comfort of the open collar along with the dashing look. Hmm.

Both my candidates are out...what now?

Looks like my boy Bill is dropping out. I lost first choice Chris Dodd after Iowa, and I'm losing second choice Richardson tomorrow, if reports are to be believed. Great.

Gone are the technocrats, the policy wonks. Gone, in other words, are the candidates who reflect my sentiments, preferences, personality, and predilections. Left are the suits. Unless Bill Bradley or Al Gore is going to appear, wonk ex machina-style at the convention and engage in some serious back room dealing, my candidate is named John, Barack, or Hillary.

More immediately, come 5 February, I've got to punch my ballot* for one of the big three. I'm not super thrilled.

All three have merits, but not one of them is the President I want.

John Edwards is still prattling on about Two Americas. He lives in one, grew up in the other, probably wants to sue one of them just for the heck of it. I kid, of course. He'd want to sue it to make a crapload of money.

John made the money that enabled him to buy his big house in the nicer of the Two Americas by being a very successful plaintiffs' advocate. I don't begrudge him for that, as there are a lot of very bad people and companies out there that should be sued and should be punished where it hurts: the wallet. Good for John for extracting many pounds of flesh and using his hefty fees and percentages to make a good life for himself.

But now? John favors tort reform.

Why? Probably to counter corporate America's hatred of "greedy trial lawyers". Hatred they've successfully convinced a good portion of the populace to adopt.

I don't favor tort reform (at least not as most people interpret it,) as I believe huge punitive damage claims are the only effective tool to use to regulate ill-behaving corporations. John probably doesn't favor it either, unless he's adopted the creed "I got mine; screw you."

Then there's Hillary. What can I say about Hillary Rodham Clinton that hasn't been said by a million mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, truthers out there who are convinced Vince Foster's briefcase contained the lost rites of the Stonecutters, plans for the USS Cole, and pictures of Hillary pulling on her skin like Jane Badler in V.

I liked Bill well enough and used to like Hillary, but I have no idea what she even stands for anymore. I'm not sure she does, either.

Finally, there's Barack Obama. He talk pretty. Likes to talk about change a lot. I expect his voice to start cracking like Chris Knight's one of these days. "It's not just the seasons you know it goes for everything."

I want to say something notable about Barack's positions and core beliefs, but I can't get a grasp on the man. He's a modern-day JFK. And if you know my thoughts on JFK, that's not good.

So basically, I've got three candidates left, none of whom I like, but one of whom bothers me less than her rivals. On 5 February, when you see the dashing bald dude striding into a PHX polling location holding his nose, it'll be me, ready to cast my vote for HRC.


* Actually, we do optical scan with paper backups here in AZ, so I'll be filling in my scantron-style ballot, but "punch" sounds more active.


Man, they grow 'em tough in Texas. Even the ballet dancers are tough.

This is teh awesome. A comic 'bout Patrick Swayze, via Occasional Superheroine.

05 January 2008

Pornstars and Pigskins

Um...this is awesome. Pornstar Jenny Hendrix (of The Jenny Hendrix Anal Experience) has a gig as a commentator on an Internet sports radio show. For those who don't read Deadspin and missed this, here's the money shot:

One person who already knows Hendrix' name is Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio, who called the show her first day on the job.

"He was familiar with my work," she says gleefully. "He says he saw it in a hotel."

Everything changed...

Not much to say about the Iowa caucuses other than a comment on Rudy's remarkable meltdown on Friday. He was seen shuffling around Times Square heard muttering to himself.

Three and a half percent? That can't be right. Should have been nine percent, or eleven percent. Nine or eleven. Nine, eleven. Nine, eleven...

03 January 2008

I know better now

One comic. Six frames. The history of race relations in America.

Check it.

via Lucy Dee at Standup101

01 January 2008

Hello 2008

December 31, 11:30pm: Ears are ringing in the New Year, if nothing else. Caught the cold that had been tossed like a hot potato around the office the past few weeks and it's nestled in my head and throat. Starting to doze off, so it's time to pack it in and head to bed. No blaming the head cold, though: I think the last time I left the house on New Year's Eve was...hmm...the '80s?

January 1, 12:00am: Slipping, slipping, almost there, Morpheus taking me...BOOM! Crackle Crackle Crackle! Excellent. Hillbilly hoedown. Reason #326 why I hate living in Phoenix: rednecks. The fireworks - cheapass stuff that sounds like bottle rockets and M80s - continues for a little while, accompanied by a-hootin' and a-hollerin'. Doze a bit more, but the bombs bursting in air keep me from slumberland.

January 1, The AM Hours: Realize the large tactical error I made yesterday at Walgreen's. Yes, meth is best. Bought myself a nice big box of Tylenol Cold with the good stuff, even though it entailed the extra effort with my license and the pharmacist. No biggie. The ephedrine replacement is worthless; couldn't slow a sniffle for a second. But the meth does tend to keep me awake. Oops. I guess rest is out of the question for tonight.

January 1, Daylight Hours: I heat up some lentil soup (I was just healthy enough yesterday to make a nice big pot) and join TheWife for her ongoing Mad About You marathon. The Office marathon came to a close last night, and she's pushing through season one of Paul and Jamie when I'm sleeping and when I'm awake. Such a cute neurotic couple. Such an underrated sitcom.

January 1, Daylight Hours Cont'd: Going along with our very slow job of getting the house back together after the floor, we're finally ready to move the bed out of the guest room. This requires physical labor on my part, labor that normally I wouldn't mention. Sure, the mattress is heavy and awkward as hell, but other than that there's nothing to it. Except, Mr. Headcold has invited over his friends Congestion and Phlegm. I take several breaks as my heart races and I nearly hyperventilate. Scary, and a bit emasculating.

January 1, Daylight Hours Waning: Happy New Year Everyone! Yeah, that's it. Done with the whimpering and whining and whingeing for now. It's a new year (which really just means I have to remember to write "2008" on checks) filled with promise and hope. Starting out with a cold, it can only go up for me. Woo-hoo!