Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Taking Mom to the movies ...

I'm going to visit my mom in Myrtle Beach over the upcoming 3-day weekend, and I had the brilliant idea to take her to see Fahrenheit 9/11. It's not because I want her to vote for some other rich white guy besides George Bush, but just because I'd like her to have an idea of why I say some of the things I do. She's not really politically tuned in.

For example last time I was visiting her we saw a house in her neighborhood that had a sign in its yard saying something about supporting the president--a definite violation of the homeowners' association rules. So I wondered aloud if the precedent set by this sign meant we were free to put up a sign saying "US Out of Iraq." Her response: "Don't you support the troops?" I tried to explain that the real issue was not concerning the troops themselves but the system that put them there, and that the question of "supporting our troops" or not was a red-herring invented to paint anyone against invading another country as some kind of uncaring monster, thus avoiding debate about the real issue. (Another example of the same kind of tactic is accusing someone of "hating America," which forces them start defending themselves and neatly deflects debate from things that actually matter).

Anyway, so I thought maybe seeing F-9/11 would give us a little bit more common ground, plus it would give us something to do in that godawful hellhole, Myrtle Beach. But you know what? Never mind--the movie isn't even playing in Myrtle Beach. Godawful hellhole.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

So some guy has made a documentary called "Michael Moore Hates America" that purports to show "the truth behind a great nation." From the trailer it looks like he trots out a bunch of people who go on about the whole "land of opportunity" and "individual freedom" deal that we Americans have all memorized since grade school. Plus he uses an interview with master illusionst Penn Jillette to illustrate how documentaries are inherently untruthful (wow, so very ... meta: a documentary that shows how documentaries are all a bunch of lies!) He also steals Michael Moore's trick of trying to get an interview with the rich, famous guy (who in this case is, of course, Michael Moore). But surprise, surprise! He doesn't ever get the interview!

What actually galls me about the film, though, is it's title: "Michael Moore Hates America." So what if he does? I mean, I don't think he really does--he seems to care very deeply about America and exhibits a touching faith in its ruling class to actually lead the country on the right path and whatnot, if only a nicer rich guy would get elected. But suppose for a minute he does hate America ... so fucking what? I remember when I was in grade school they made a big deal about the fact that one of the greatest things about the United States was that we were all free to believe whatever the hell we want to believe, and maybe even say it out loud (maybe they've discontinued teaching that these days). In fact, one of our favorite sayings when someone told us to shut up was "It's a free country!" (Does anyone remember the Matt Groening cartoon where the rabbit [Blinky?] recites an "alternative" version of the Pledge of Allegiance, defends it by saying "It's a free country" and then ends up bound and gagged?)

In fact, maybe one of the things that some Americans hate about America these days is the deep chill on dissent since 9/11 and the passage of the USA Patriot Act. Oh wait, I hate to contradict myself and undermine my own point, but haven't there been "patriotic" chills and official efforts to quash dissent since the country was founded, like with the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, for example? In the last century alone there were The Red Scare of the 1920's; McCarthyism, or the second red scare, in the '50s; and COINTELPRO in the '60s.

Anyway, I did have a point rolling around here somewhere, maybe it's this: suppose someone in the United States comes to hate the deep flaws they recognize in their system, culture, national character ... whatever. Are they not allowed to struggle to correct those flaws and build a more equal and just society they can live in happily? No, they're told very angrily by their red-faced, spittle-spewing countrymen to go to Cuba (which they are not allowed to actually do, of course). The Constitution is really intended to protect your right to be a Christian and your right to bitch about the high gas prices that infringe on your right to drive the SUV of your choice.

Arrgh, what am I doing? I must not think bad thoughts, I must not think bad thoughts ....

Another comment on comments ....

A while back I posted something about why I don't have comments here. People still occassionally tell me I should get them, but I've resisted. Now I see that Billmon is now going commentless for some of the same reasons I remain so. People can always e-mail me if they want to chat or bitch, of course. Every once in a while someone actually does.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Mel at Chandrasutra has provided a kick-ass review of F-9/11 (which Andrew suggests should be renamed "Celcius 488" when it's released in Europe to piss Bush off even further. I don't think he even knows what Celcius is, so it would probably sail right over his head, alas.)

Good quote ...

The NYT published an interview (log in: bunchof, password: pants) with Ron Reagan, son of the dead guy. I liked this quote:
If you are going to call yourself a Christian -- and I don't -- then you have to ask yourself a fundamental question, and that is: Whom would Jesus torture? Whom would Jesus drag around on a dog's leash?

Notes on THE Film ...

Yes, I saw IT this weekend. (I'll refer to it as F-9/11 for convenience sake).

While I roll my eyes at people like purported-"leftist"-turned-right-wing-snitch Christopher Hitchens who are trying desperately to discredit Michael Moore, I do have a quibble with F-9/11 ... from the left. Yes the film is a powerful indictment of that idiot son of an asshole George Bush, who completely deserves everything Moore dishes out, and more. And even though I've made it my business to know already most of the stuff that was presented, it was still disturbing to see it all laid out so well (while we were waiting to get into the theater a woman coming out from the previous showing felt compelled to stop and exclaim to us how moving it was). But the implication of the film--even though Moore never comes right out and says it--is that maybe things would have been just fine had Bush not stolen the 2000 election from Al Gore. And though Moore doesn't ever say "vote Democratic," the final effect of his film is to channel people's rage into support for the Democratic party. And he has said openly that he hopes "F-911" will be the first film in history to change the outcome of a US election.

I agree with Barry Reingold, who was featured in Moore's film as an illustration of the USA Patriot Act's implications (he was visited by FBI agents after saying "Bin Laden will never be as big an a-hole as Bush because he bombs people for oil profits," at his gym one day). Rheingold hasn't yet seen the movie, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, partly because he doesn't think it goes far enough:
"I think Michael Moore's agenda is to get Bush out, but I think it (should be) about more than Bush," said Reingold, an independent, on Saturday. "I think it's about the capitalist system, which is inequitable. They're laying people off, cutting off health care, and the few people on top are getting more rich and powerful."

But then again, if Moore were actually inclined to blow big red soap bubbles, would Miramax have backed him? No, I guess not.

Friday, June 25, 2004

I've been wasting my time ...

I took one of those little quizzes that promised to tell me if I should look for another job, and here's what it told me:
You have done well for yourself. You have found a job where you feel well-at-ease, both necessary and relaxed. Your workload is high-volume, low stress. You have one immediate supervisor who is attentive, supportive, but generally hands-off. You have company breakfasts and softball teams and engage in unifying activities Walt Disney would envy. But secretly you wonder if you would find something better if you brushed up the old resume and gave the classifieds a go.

You wouldn't.

That's good news because I'm really too damn lazy to look for another job.

So then I took theirlittle personality quiz:
You are a WRDF--Wacky Rational Destructive Follower. This makes you a hacker. Your thirst for knowledge can be damaging to your possessions--you like to take things apart, even if you then forget to put them back together. You demand respect and, no matter how much you are respected, seldom feel it is adequate. You are tenacious, and will stick to a task long after weaker minds have given it up.

Socially, you are awkward, and get into arguments and make people uncomfortable. One recommends counting to ten, holding back comments unless warranted, and listening more than speaking. Still, your no-holds-barred approach to socialization can be strangely endearing, as long as you are funny and self-deprecating.

You feel misunderstood, and you probably are.

I'm not sure whether to protest or comment on how spookily accurate it is ... but I must note that I'm definitely too lazy to be tenacious.

I'm sure you're thinking "Thanks for sharing!" You're welcome.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Still hungry?

Ok, so now Andrew the Super Nova Scotian, not wanting to be outdone by Andrew from Italy, has sent in his own recipe (not Atkins-friendly, in fact I would go so far as to say it's Atkins-hostile):
Multigrain bread

4 cups wholemeal flour
2 cups spelt flour (or additional 2 cups of wholemeal)
4 tbsp of molasses or honey or maple syrup
1 scant teapoon of sea salt
1/2 ounce of yeast
1/2 cup of sunflower seed
1/2 cup flax seed
1/2 cup any other seeds you like
1 cup malt - malted milk drink will do
3 tbsp olive oil
1 egg
3 cups hot water mixed with cold milk (50/50 mix) to make a very warm liquid

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F/ 180C. Add yeast to half the water/milk mix. Pour in half the molasses/honey/syrup. Cream the yeast using a wooden spoon or hand. Set aside for 5 mins

2. Mix salt into flour. Add seeds to mix. Beat egg and pour into the flour and mix in well.

3. Add on the yeast/ liquid into flour. Now mix the remaining liquid with the oil and remaining molasses/honey/syrup. Drink half and smear the rest on face and upper body. No, don't do that. I was kidding: stir into the flour mix well.

4. If the dough is not wet enough add cups of warm milk/water until the dough is soft but not too sticky.

5. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for ten minutes. Then place in a bowl and cover with plastic film and place in warm place.

Tip of the day: In the summer when the heating is off and you are desparately trying to keep your home cool there might not be anywhere suitably warm. I take my bowl of dough out to the car, which is always at 100F + where i park it and leave the dough in there for half an hour.

6. After dough has risen for half an hour to 1 hour until it looks like it's gone crazy.

7. Punch it down and knead for two minutes, or until the dough is springing back at you when you push it down.

8. Roll the bread into a long thick loaf, like an American football. Slice the top diagonally with a very sharp knife 5 times to create spreads in the top during cooking. You can coat the top in further seeds if you so wish.

9. Leave to rise for 30 minutes again and then bake for 30 minutes oruntil the top is nicely brown and whrn the loaf is removed from the baking tray it makes a hollow sound when you knock on the bottom of the loaf.

10. Eat!

Here's another tip: Read all the directions completely before you start any recipe--you don't want to find yourself full of and covered with an oil/molasses/honey/syrup mixture before you get to the part where he says he's kidding.

OK, does any other Andrew have a recipe he would like to submit? These Andrews are kicking your ass in the recipe department, are you going to let that happen? I've still got a couple of G-mail invitations ...

Anyway, I'm willing to bet that you could taste this or similar bread if you book a room up at the House of Leaves Bed and Breakfast, conveniently located in Bear River, Nova Scotia. Mention this ad and get a free bedtime pillow-fluffing and monster-under-the-bed check.

Hungry?

Andrew in Italy (not to be confused with Andrew the Super Nova Scotian) has sent me a recipe in exchange for a Gmail invitation (actually he sent me several, but this is his very own recipe):
Asparagus in Soy Ginger Dressing

3 lb large asparagus
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 t minced fresh garlic
2 t minced fresh ginger
1 t sugar
4 t rice vinegar
drops sesame oil
2 T olive oil

Mix soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar, rice vinegar and sesame oil and reserve in
refridgerator for at least half an hour. Allow dressing to come to room
temperature before serving.

snap off woody ends
peel stalks if tough
start grill to medium high
toss with 1 T olive oil mixing with hands until coated
season well with salt and pepper
grill until tender and browned in spots, turning once or twice for a total of
5-10 minutes

Pour dressing over asparagus and serve immediately.

Serves 6 at 1/2 lb of asparagus per person
Yield - 3 lb of asparagus with 3/4 cup dressing

It sounds really good. I'm not even sure asparagus is in season here right now, but if it is I think I will try it. I'm trying to make myself cook a little more in my quest to eat nothing but good wholesome food.

In a completely unrelated development, frograbbitmonkey has a totally kickass redesign at her site.

Dogs rule!

I may have mentioned before that I think dogs are cool. So it's not surprising to me that a dog thwarted a crazy man's killing spree. It's just all in a day's work for a dog ...

(Thanks to Jim Romaesko's Obscure Store & Reading Room for the link.)

Still more Gmail ...

The invitations keep coming. I gave away a couple more on Gmail Swap. one to a guy in Italy in exchange for a recipe and the other to someone in Russia in exchange for a beer that I'll never be able to collect. Then I gave a few to people here at work. I have two left. I still really want photos of people (or toys!) holding signs that say "A Complete Bunch of Pants" (why? Just because!) so if you send me one at bunchofpants@gmail.com I'll send you an invite. Or you could write "A Complete Bunch of Pants" on your hand and photograph it ... or on the sidewalk .. or on your co-worker's forehead. No naughty bits please--I agree with B. Kliban who once created a cartoon that said "God gave us these bodies because he has better ones at home." OK, so I don't believe in God ... it's still a funny thought.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I'm vexed ...

I'm having computer conniptions (I think one of my hard drives is going to need euthanasia) so I have nothing to say (except that computers make me mad).

I have to come clean: I deleted a post just now. It was just the results of a little quizzy thing I did, and I thought it was ugly. So I deleted it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Thanks Sam!

The proprietor of Sam's life, who coincidentally is named Sam, sent me this:



He didn't want a Gmail account, having already collected three of them. I gave away one to someone at Gmail swap and one to a perfect stranger who emailed me, which leaves me with one left. I've decided that the next person who makes me laugh is going to get it (if he/she wants it). I'm heading out to the library to turn in an overdue book, and a lot of seemingly homeless guys like to hang out in front of the building. So that means if one of them makes me laugh, I'm going to have to say "Hey, do you want a Gmail account?" Supposing he did, I guess we could go right inside of the library and complete the transaction at one of the public computers there. But usually the homeless guys keep to themselves--I think the library doesn't chase them off in exchange for them leaving passersby alone, so I doubt I'll be making any Gmail offers there.

Oh, and Sam has started using his audioblog feature. Today he's on about the dreary weather in Charlotte.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Nobody wants Gmail anymore ...

OK folks, Gmail is now officially passé. I mean when I offer a Gmail invitation in exchange for some photos and a few words and no one responds, then the market must be saturated. Too bad--it was fun.

So now I've still got a couple of Gmail invitations to give away, and I guess I'll have to give them away the old-fashioned way ... by, um, just giving them away. Darn. I had the idea to give them away in exchange for people sending me photos of themselves holding signs that said 'A Complete Bunch of Pants." It probably won't happen.

Anyway, if someone were to have a photo of themselves with a sign that says "A Complete Bunch Of Pants" they could send it to me at bunchof pants@gmail.com. If I have any Gmail invitations left I'll send you one if you want, although you probably don't because who wants stinking Gmail anymore?

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Praying for a punchline ...

Sometimes silently to myself I joke about becoming a Christian just so I can pray to God to smite fundamentalists (and yeah, George Bush would be one of them.) But I've never actually said it out loud because as soon as I think it I also think "That's so boneheadedly stupid it's not even funny." Would God start to exist just because I started believing in him (or her or whatever)? So all of a sudden praying would cease to be a manifestation of naive superstition and become a tool to rid the world of ... naive superstition?

So I'm scratching my head after reading this bit by Neil Pollack, who writes
Before Bush came to office, I was essentially an atheist who liked Passover food. But the past three years have changed all that. I, like many of you, pray every day for the moment that George W. Bush is no longer president. So it's time to call to prayer all people of faith who agree with this principle, who don't like seeing their precious faith used for strange and bloody military ends. I implore Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, Protestants, Catholics, and even evangelical Christians to pray for a new president. Why should George W. Bush supporters hold a monopoly on prayer?

Until I got to his new-found holy rollin' I was enjoying the hell out of Pollack's piece, which started out to be about what an absolute religious nutcase G.W.B. is. But then I got to the part where Pollack sets up prayforreason.org and I started wondering if it was a joke that I just wasn't getting because I'm being too literal-minded. Or maybe it's just so boneheadedly stupid it's not funny.

Dear God, please let him be kidding.

Correction ...

I only have 3 Gmail invites ... I gave one away to someone for absolutely nothing.

Gmail!!

OK, I have more Gmail invitations. I've gotten a few batches of them over the past couple of weeks and have been trying to have fun giving them away. I gave one to Mark, who had asked a few days earlier what the big deal was about Gmail; when I offered him an invitation he said "sure, why not?" I gave some away to fellow WXDU DJs. Then I went to gmailswap.com and gave one to Matheus in Brazil in exchange for three mp3s of a Brazilian band. Then I gave one to Andrew, The Super Nova Scotian, just for being such a super Nova Scotian (even though he's really a Brit, but the other Nova Scotians seem to be accepting him into their tribe so far).

Now I want to do something fun. Send me an interesting photo (non-pornographic and that you've taken & have the rights to ... don't be a dumbass and steal one off of someone else's site) with a little story/anecdote that somehow complements the photo. If you don't have a digital photo and have no way of obtaining one except stealing it from someone else, which we've already established is a loser thing to do and against the rules, then just send me a little story or anecdote that is interesting or funny or poignant or possesses some other readable value. I get to publish whatever you send me here in lieu of actually thinking of something to write, and you get a g-mail invitation from me. I'll also include a link to your site or blog if you have one.

I only have 4 invitations, and I'll take the first 4 entries UNLESS:
1. You're entry is pornographic, in which case I can't really publish it here because that's not what this blog is about.
2. Your entry is otherwise unpublishable here because it's racist or anti-gay or otherwise full of dumbassery and assaholism.
3. You offend me or piss me off somehow.
4. Your entry really isn't an entry but just an e-mail that says "hey, I'll take one of those gmail invitations."

Email your entry to bunchofpants@gmail.com

Friday, June 18, 2004

So a couple of dudes have written a book trashing Michael Moore. They've called it Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man, and they claim that the title "is a parody of Moore's own works." Um, dudes, I hate to nitpick but aren't you perhaps conflating Michael Moore and Al Franken? While Moore did write a book called 'Stupid White Men," none of his book titles contain the words "big" or "fat," much less the phrase "big fat" (a search on Amazon does show a video called The Big One). Al Franken, on the other hand, did indeed write a "big fat" book: Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot: And Other Observations. Granted, a search for Michael Moore on Amazon will bring up Franken's books along with Moore's, and since they are both white men I could see where that could be confusing. But if you are trying to peddle a book that purports to point out someone else's lies and misrepresentations, shouldn't you at least get the facts straight about the provenance of your title?

But there's a bigger beef I have with the authors of this book: they refer to Moore as the "fervent prophet of the far left," which is a huge load of crap. As a denizen of "the far left" I reject that characterization. There's a whole lot going on to the left of Michael Moore (who actually never reveals a lot about his politics other than that he's vaguely liberal) but it remains largely hidden to the casual observer because the political spectrum is so skewed to the right in this country.

But what really gets my goat is that this book is just another little circus brought to us by the punditry industry (a real growth industry),which really comes down to pure entertainment. The "liberal" and "conservative" dog and pony shows are about selling books and TV ad time. Conveniently, the frothing rage the pundits stir up against each other also diverts attention away from things like massive imbalances in wealth distribution and imperialist war machines grinding up human beings and their habitat.

And speaking of entertainment, these titles look like a barrel of laughs:

Idiocy! Taking Conservatives Behind the Woodshed: A Parody of Ann Coulter's Books and Right-Wing Ideology   by Katherine Black


The I Hate Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity. . . Reader: The Hideous Truth About America's Ugliest Conservatives   by Clint Willis.


I doubt I'd ever actually read them, but I must admit I'm not above amusing myself by requesting my public library purchase them just so I can imagine some reactionary blowhard's face getting hot and red when he/she spots them on the library shelves.

Yes, it's that scary ....

I'm talking about the Patriot Act, of course.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Go look at pictures ...

I'm busy lately. For example, I'm going to be in a class all day today. But I've posted some new photos in my Gallery of Pants:
Myrtle Beach
Oriental, NC
I'm working on a gallery of Durham, my lovely little city, but it's not ready yet.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

All ramble, no rant ...

Once at work when we were having multiple problems involving various computers and technological contraptions, a co-worker said she was convinced it was the devil. I laughed, and she said "No, I'm serious." I don't believe in the devil, but some days I'm almost convinced that there is something paranormal going on with my technology and whatnot. For example, right now I'm working on a recurring project (the always exciting "Structural Pest Control Bulletin!") and I'm having, well, a devil of a time with it. Certain things that are supposed to print won't, and none of the normal explanations for a thing like that seem to be true. A co-worker (not the same one who blames the devil) says that the Structural Pest Control Bulletin is haunted and bizarre things always happen with it. I believe her.

Anyway, I was feeling defeated and demoralized by my misbehaving technology so I went and watched Dave Chappele's The Real Matrix. It made me feel much better, ready to do a little ghostbusting on the Structural Pest Control Bulletin, which is probably not really haunted, just a little buggy ...

But speaking of ghostbusting, have I mentioned before that this is one of my all-time favorite mashups?: Kelis vs Ray Parker Jr.--Milkshake Busters by Manriki.

And speaking of funny names (i.e. Kelis), some friends of mine had a baby last week. They named her "Mesa," which means "table" in Spanish. I'm sure they were thinking of mesa in the geological sense, as it evokes images of the wild and free American West, and the names "Dakota," "Cheyenne" and "Montana" are already taken by about forty million other American youngsters. But the geological term "mesa" comes from the Spanish word for "table," so there it is again... the kid's name is "table." Maybe they don't see it as a problem. Anyway, I didn't ask because I just felt it would be sort of rude to say "hey, why'd you name your kid the Spanish word for "table?" (My name means "flat" in Spanish, but it's derived from a name that does not mean "flat" in Hebrew, so I don't believe my parents gave me a "funny" name).

Anyway, in other news, this made me laugh.

Friday, June 11, 2004

A ranting ramble--a "rantle," if you wil ...

Earlier today a co-worker was intently watching the Regan funeral obsession procession via streaming video. When I got into my car to go get some lunch, NPR was broadcasting the funeral or some blah blah blah about the dead guy--I'm not really sure because I immediately changed to our only Spanish-language radio station (where they don't give a shit about Reagan). I read that a student at University of Alaska-Fairbanks was suspended for making critical remarks about Reagan. At the store where I bought the fixings for my lunch they had little bags of Jelly Bellies for sale at the checkout.

So it seems everything is conspiring to make me keep thinking about that dead bastard. Fine. I should give him some credit--thanks to him I became a strident leftie. No, not a "liberal" or a Democrat ... One thing that drives me crazy about the political spectrum in this country is that whenever you criticize a Republican people automatically assume you must be a Democrat. So say something about Bushlet and people counter with "but Clinton blah blah blah ..." or "but Kerry yada yada yada ..." as if every political argument is an either-or proposition and the choices never change: Democrat or Republican. Very few people recognize that there is barely any difference between the two parties in the grand scheme of things because there is no grand scheme in American political debate. Anything to the left of Democrat is the Political Persuasion that Dares Not Speak It's Name, and it's completely incomprehensible to most Americans. Some of the credit for that goes to Joe McCarthy, but Ronald Reagan did his damndest to narrow the field of permissible politics, as an article in this week's Village Voice points out:

... Reagan certainly demolished the American left—what passes for the left, anyway. Since repeating "what passes for the left" strikes me as tiresome, I'll abbreviate it: WPFL. As you may recall, under veteran station manager Jesse Jackson, WPFL switched to an oldies format soon after the Great Communicator took office, and has remained too much on the defensive to come up with a new songlist since. Instead, in one of the great through-the-looking-glass paradoxes of Reaganism, "progressives" have become, in practical terms, reactionaries—cluckingly trying to protect this or that milestone (equal opportunity, Roe v. Wade), against a right wing that's singing "If I Had a Hammer—Oh, Wait: I Do." Meanwhile, so-called conservatives have been on a quarter-century radical spree, zestily pursuing their own version of "If it feels good, do it."

And speaking of "feeling good," whats all this shit about Reagan "making Americans feel good about themselves again" that I've been hearing from just about every direction lately? Indeed, his most effective weapon was his ability to be so endearing and personable while he lied his ass off. He made America feel good about being lied to. And I think Americans really love being lied to--it allows them to pretend they have no responsibility for the appalling truth. (I think this is also one reason Americans are generally happy not to know much about the rest of the world--If they don't know it exists they don't have to feel bad about having so much of what most of the world must do without). Reagan got Americans addicted to his honey-coated lies. He made it perfectly acceptable for Americans not to feel guilty about thinking only of themselves.

But like Ritalin to a hyperactive kid, he had a paradoxical effect on me. Turned me into a pinko, he did.

Anyway, as long as the subject is still fresh (unlike his corpse, which is probably really stinking by now), I may as well post a few more links to post-mortems by those who aren't barking with the rest of the pack:
He Lied and Cheated in the Name of Anti-communism
Gipper-dämmerung
Class Warrior
Killer, Coward, Con-Man; Good Riddance Gipper; More Proof Only The Good Die Young
"Dear Mr. Reagan, thanks for nothing"
He was a madman

Oh, and in the interest of fairness and balance, here's some shit about the Democrats: Democratic Party History: A Revealing Rap Sheet

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Who controls the past, controls the future ...

I'm sort of amazed when I talk to people younger than I am about Ronald Reagan and they profess to have no real opinion about him because they were too young when he was president to really know what was going on. I'm too polite to ask how it happened that they never learned to read. I mean, I was very young when Nixon was president, but I still have opinions about things he did . I wasn't even born when Lyndon Johnson became president, but I can discuss his doings. Granted, I have few people with which to discuss these things because I'm surrounded by people who don't even know they happened. Who needs a memory hole when no one cares to remember?

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Recent stuff just reminded me of this ...

When I was a kid we lived in Austin, TX. After Lyndon Johnson died his body was brought to lie in state at the LBJ Library in Austin, and my mother thought that with such a historical event happening nearby we all needed to go. So she pulled us out of school early one day and took us down to the LBJ Library. We waited in line forever--I'm sure it seemed longer because I was a kid. Finally we got close enough to see, and I was a little disappointed--I didn't say anything because it was a solemn affair and no one else seemed bothered by the fact that we were all standing in a long line to walk past a flag-draped coffin--but I had thought that I was going to get to see an actual dead body. I guess I was always a little bit warped.

Still more Jay-Z mashing ...

This just in: Jay-Z's Dead, mashing up Jay-Z and the Grateful Dead.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

This bears repeating: Regan sucked.

The entire country has succumbed to massive collective amnesia regarding what a a heinous putz Ronald Reagan really was, so it's gratifying when I com across something that reminds us, like this bit by Juan Cole.

I was just talking to a co-worker who was a kid during the Reagan era and consequently wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to him. But she was a bit perplexed by all of the "oh what a great man" crap that's piling up now that that he's croaked (at long last), because it doesn't jibe at all with what she remembers the adults around her saying back when he was president. I assured her that she's not crazy, and that all the hoopla about Reagan being such a "great American" is because not one of the talking heads has the balls to speak the truth lest they be accused of "insensitivity" for speaking ill of the (finally!) dead, even if the dead was a despicable scoundrel while he was alive.

This piece from the Iconoclast at at the blackflag.org is also an appropriate antidote to the currently circulating rubbish about Reagan.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Super Quease Me ...

I should have posted this bit on Saturday but then that old ex-president snuffed it and Smarty Jones lost his bid for the Triple Crown and well, the whole day became a bit distracting. Anyway, we finally got to see Super Size Me" on Saturday. It made me queasy--I really felt close to blowing grits a couple of times. I had already been feeling under the weather, and all the McDonald's food just pushed me close to the edge. All I could eat for dinner afterward was a grapefruit. But even though I rarely eat McDonald's food, it really made me consider how much processed food is in my diet and how unhealthy it is.

It was a good film aside from the nausea factor, but considering that it will probably only be viewed by the art-house crowd it may not make a dent in many of McDonalds' "heavy users' " diets. I think all children should see this movie in schools. Before lunch, though.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Ronald Reagan dead at last ...

I couldn't turn on the television at all today because I can't stand to hear one more hagiographic paean to that lying, death-squad-loving, union-busting, racist war criminal Ronald Reagan. Good riddance to him. So to commemorate his death (at long last) I fished about for links to the kinds of things the chipper news anchors should be saying in in lieu of all the "great american" crap that's been dribbling forth:

Ronald Reagan's Sainthood Express
The Anniversary Everybody Forgets (about PATCO).
War Crimes and Double Standards (of Ronald Reagan and the press)
Ronald Reagan Was Many Things, But Most Undeniably He Was A Pathological Liar
Union-Buster Memorial Airport
The United States of Ronald Reagan
The Ronald Reagan Department of Shams
Reaganomics
Ronald Wilson Reagan

This one is a little far-out, but in the interest of fairness and balance I have to include it: Ronald Reagan's Obsession With an Alien Invasion

And speaking of nuts in the White House, one web site suggests that George W. Bush may not have such a good grasp on his marbles.

Friday, June 04, 2004

If you kids don't shut up ...

I've been a sporadic poster in the last week because I've been quite busy at work and after work, plus I've either had a migraine or been on the verge of one for the past several days. It's been a while since I've had this many migraines--I've been getting them since I was about 9 or 10, but they had tapered off over the past two years so I'd been lulled into thinking I actually led an enjoyable life. Not this week. But it has reminded me of one more reason I can give people when they ask why I don't have kids: "I GET MIGRAINES, DAMMIT!" I've heard some women say that their migraines went away after they got pregnant, but I'd hate to take a chance on becoming that woman on the evening news being led away in handcuffs while decent folks all over the country wondered how anyone could do such a thing ...

Enough of that topic ...

While I was in Myrtle Beach last weekend, we actually managed to find a bookstore. Seriously, there aren't a lot of them there. But since the big chain bookstores seem to be devoting more and more space to trinkets, chocolates, coffee, calendars and gifts that have very little to do with actual reading, they qualify as a "shopping destination" and therefore there is a place for them in the Myrtle Beach shoppingscape. So we stopped by the Big Chain Bookstore, and I found a book that promised to explain to me why Myrtle Beach is the way it is: Banana Republic: A Year In the Heart of Myrtle Beach by Will Moredock. I bought it and dove right in--it's quite a good history of the city. It was a great read, but rather depressing because it's really a tale about the triumph of avarice and guile (oh and don't forget bigotry) over the common good. No wonder I don't like Myrtle Beach. Anyway, I think it would be an interesting read even for folks who've never been to the "Redneck Riviera."

What I can't figure out is why Canadians seem to love the place so much. Maybe they're really just as crazy as Americans, although they go to great pains to deny it ...

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I'm ready for another holiday ...

I spent the Memorial Day holiday weekend at my mom's in Myrtle Beach, SC. If it weren't for my mom living there, I don't think I would have ever set foot in the place. It's a racist southern backwater beach town that over the years has become an over-developed racist southern backwater beach town. It's hideous--wherever there's not a strip club, "shopping and entertainment complex" or "big box" retailer (all with miles of parking lots, of course), there is a golf course or a pretentious cookie-cutter "exclusive" housing development with "Plantation" in its name. And in between all that are the empty big boxes and shopping complexes driven out of business by the newer ones that keep opening up. And don't even get me started on all the confederate flag merchandise ... Anyway, I've complained about MB before, but I don't think I really did justice to how horrid and tacky the place is. And the worst part of it all is that this mecca of vulgarity was built to replace miles of fragile and environmentally vital wetlands.

There are two places I like in MB: the dog park, of course, and Myrtle Beach State Park, which has beachfront without hotels, hiking and horse trails and a fishing pier that's always fun to stroll along. But I broke one of my dogs (he came up lame after too much fetch-playing on our first visit to the dog park), and the state park would have been too difficult to get to in the traffic because the Atlantic Beach Bikefest was in full swing.

Also known as "Black Bike Week" because "regular" bike week belongs to the white folks on Harleys (the black folks ride Hondas, Suzukis and Kawasakis), the Atlantic Beach Bikefest is an annual reminder of how racist folks in Myrtle Beach can really be. The roughly 250,000 black follks (and friends--white people who ride Japanese bikes are welcome at Black Bike Week while they would probably get the crap beaten out of them by the Harley crowd) who come into town just scare the bejesus out of the white folks and drive them into a spittle-flinging letter-to-the-editor-writing frenzy. Apparently even local merchants who depend on tourists tell them not to come to town that week. And some restaurants would rather close than serve all those black folks. Some of the locals claim it's because the black women bikers ride around in shorty shorts or thongs and that's not appropriate for a "family" vacation town, but how exactly is that different from what white women bikers ride around in? Anyway, I almost want to go buy a Kawasaki just so I can cruise with the black bikers next year. I will not wear a thong, however.

Anyway, here's a totally unrelated story about Myrtle beach racism.