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Sunday, July 30, 2006
In one of my rare departures from political bitching and complaining, you know, "analysis," I recommended to you some fun television viewing. It occurs to me that some of you self-righteous pricks are too good to watch tv, so I'll offer some quality diversions in other forms of media.
I've been a big fan of Rick James for years, and Dave Chapelle's tribute of sorts over the past few years has put him back in the spotlight. This momentum was slightly diminished by Rick's untimely death almost two years ago, but the music is still just phenomenal. So, late one night, I gets to jonesing for a song he did with The Temptations, "Standing On The Top." This song has been nearly impossible to find, but I head to amazon.com and discover that an anthology that came out in 2004 not only has the song, but the 12" version clocking in at just under ten minutes.
All the other big songs are on there, and real fans will be pleased by the depth of this collection. Grab one up, and get asses to movin'.
I finally made it out to see Clerks II, which for Gen X slackers, is required viewing, especially given that the first movie was one of the funniest ever.
"In a row?!?"
This one has everything, angst, color film, Rosario Dawson, that functioning retard Jason Mewes, and is probably the crudest thing ever made. Obviously, I highly recommend it.
Without giving anything away, I will simply say that you will enjoy Clerks II much more if you have seen Silence Of The Lambs a number of times.
I'm currently reading Conservatives Without Conscience by John Dean.
Yes, that John Dean.
The gist of the book deals with the fact that there is a certain percentage of the population who are very susceptible to authority, defer to it, never question it, and will fight to the death to defend authority, even when it is not in their own best interests. It's interesting, and disturbing, and it's something you ought to look at before November. You may be less surprised by the results if you read it first.
Well, all of that ought to keep your lips moving for awhile, so enjoy. I will not be reviewing any plays, so just fucking forget it.
posted at 8:47 PM
Fire up the DVR
Or, to be more brand-specific, the TiVo.
But I have a good reason for plugging, as this week saw the inevitable debut of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, on the Sci-Fi Channel. You can read about the show, but it needs to be seen to be fully appreciated. For sheer terror, nothing can match this show, and that even includes this.
Why, God? WHY?
posted at 11:23 AM
I seem to have cut back on posting to just Fridays lately, and I want to assure you that this is a coincidence. A decent chance of new drivel in the next 48-72 hours, you have my word on it.
Please contact me directly if you would like to buy a used car, or a used war.
posted at 9:07 PM
And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.
I like Jules Winnfield from Pulp Fiction a great deal. If you read my very thorough bio, then this is not news.
The reason I cite this passage now is because there is conflict going on in the Middle East. If you're over the age of four, then this is not news, either.
Once again, we are faced with another bloodbath as Jews and Palestinians (Hezbollah, specifically) try to slaughter one another because they are both very faithful to their monotheistic beliefs, and genetically, are more similar than any two other ethnic groups on the planet.
Yeah, it doesn't make any sense to me, either.
I went through a full evolution in my opinion on this issue, starting with a common belief that Israel had the right to exist in peace. As I reached my idealistic teenage years, I began to feel that the Palestinians were being treated very unfairly at times by Israel, and was uncomfortable with some of the policies and actions aimed at the Palestinians.
Then, in 2000, US President Bill Clinton invited Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Yasser Arafat to Camp David to hammer out a deal. Israel, which had been giving away land it had won during four wars, none of which it had started, had already given most of it back by the 1993 Oslo Accords. Barak was prepared to give away additional lands, in order to broker a peace. After two weeks of wrangling, an offer was on the table.
The Israelis offered nearly everything that the Palestinians could realistically hope for. Most of all, sovereignty in Gaza and the West Bank was on the table. In essence, a new Palestinian homeland would be created.
Arafat said no. Furthermore, he made no counter-offer.
And it was at that point that I realized that the Palestinians are not interested in peace. They are not interested in self-government. They did not want to be responsible for their own welfare. All they really want to do is kill Jews. And so they do, with cowardly suicide attacks on civilians.
Last week, two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hezbollah. Israel began attacking Hezbollah strongholds in southern Lebanon, and Hezbollah began shooting rockets into Israeli towns in the north. Conventional wisdom puts the hand of Iran, and to a slightly lesser degree, Syria, behind these attacks. These two countries have financed Hezbollah terrorists for decades.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world asks politely for a ceasefire, and civilians and soldiers are dying in Lebanon and Israel. What should the US do? At this point, we've done nothing as we hope for Israel to destroy as much of the Hezbollah war capacity as possible.
What we ought to do, is send an envoy to Tehran. Yes, the one in Iran.
The US history with Iran over the last quarter century is, to say the least, tense. After the revolution and hostage crisis in 1979, we have been at odds with them, and they with the Great Satan. Not long after the revolution, Iran went to war with Iraq, a costly war for both countries. Iran needed cannon fodder, and urged its citizens to breed with religious fervor, to strengthen the motherland.
Not surprisingly, the people complied. But the war ended in 1988.
Now in Iran, you have the largest percentage of the population under 25 anywhere in the Arab world. This is important for a couple of reasons.
Iran is not isolated the way North Korea is, and Iraq under Saddam was. People use the internet, and have access to satellite television. Furthermore, a sizable Iranian population exists in the West, and the average Iranian understands that while the US may not be perfect, it is also not pure evil.
Young men and women in Iran do not want to pretend to be living in the 13th Century, as the ayatollahs would prefer. The revolution will come, and we should explain it to Iranian president Ahmadenijad thusly:
"We will release frozen Iranian assets. We will end sanctions. We will help you build light-water nuclear reactors, and give you monetary aid. You will stop building nuclear weapons. You will allow U.N. monitoring of your facilities. And you will cut off your ties with Hezbollah. Otherwise, you will, in five years, fifteen at the most, find yourselves on the wrong end of a new revolution."
Language aside, if Iran was spoken to without typical Bush bluster and righteousness, they would come to the table and at least talk about it.
In the mean time, Israel will demolish Hezbollah, and frankly, they can carpet bomb Syria while they are at it. The Syrians were a Soviet puppet for decades, and have supported terrorism for at least as long. That's not going to win Israel any friends, but it will remove a malicious force in the region, and it's not as if Israel is ever going to have an Arab ally, anyway.
The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.
All sides. Israel may not be 100% righteous, but when you're using the twisted moral relativism of the Middle East, it comes off pure as Ivory Soap.
posted at 10:55 PM
A recent Gallup poll queried who Americans like for President in 2008. Republicans favored Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, and the Democrats picked Senator Hillary Clinton.
I didn't break into tears, per se, probably only because I know that there is no possible way this matchup could come to be. Allow me to explain.
Some people in the US are under the impression that Giuliani is presidential material, mainly because of his actions after the September 11th attacks in New York. I'll elaborate on why this is, a little later. Prior to the attacks, Giuliani had worn out his welcome as mayor, through a series of personal and political scandals. He was a lame duck, and a joke in New York. No one had any interest in anything Hizzoner had to say. The scandals were the main reason, but once you put this image in someone's mind...
Well, that's tough to come back from. Oh, what the hell, let's put the icing on the cake.
So, proclivities aside, no one gave a damn about Giuliani. He didn't withdraw from his Senate race with Hillary just because he had prostate cancer. He was going to get his ass handed to him by this woman, and he knew it. He wasn't going to have a good showing among NYC voters, and he needed a clear majority there in order to carry the state.
Game over. Get back to town, run out the string on your mayoral term, and fade into oblivion.
Then, September 11th, 2001 happened, and do you remember what Giuliani did? I do.
What he did, was not fall apart.
You probably remember it differently. "He was heroic! He pulled the city together and blah blah blah."
He did his job. He showed up, instead of hiding. Instead of spending seven critical minutes in a daze in some classroom in Florida, he spoke eloquently. He was a cheerleader, he rooted New Yorkers on, and kept their spirits up.
He seemed steely-eyed and brave only in comparison to Bush. That's a low standard.
Commendable? Yes. Presidential? Meh.
I am not a sentimentalist, and I watched what the mayor did. Rudy was smart to take advantage of the situation, and parlay it into political gain. Not with Geroge's expertise, admittedly, but he definitely made silk out of a sow's ear on 9/11.
This man has way too much baggage, and not even the Democrats can fail to sandbag him with it. Not that they'll need to, because the Republican primaries will leave Rudy as not much more than a battered, smoking, balding corpse.
So, there's your G.O.P. frontrunner, all done in a New York minute.
And what of Hillary? This won't take as long, and will not be accompanied by pictures.
Let me first say, that like Rudy, I believe that Hillary has the intellectual capacity to be president. Bill Clinton has a world-class mind on him, and he may not even be the brightest one in this marriage. Hillary is smart. Scary smart, like the leader of the free world ought to be.
My problem with Mrs. Clinton is that I don't know what she's about.
It seems impossible, given that she's been in the spotlight for over fifteen years, but I don't really know. I used to know what she felt about universal health care, but I don't now. I used to know how she felt about the rights guaranteed in the Constitution, but not any more. It's a long list. I don't even know who you are anymore.
My gut tells me that she is an opportunist, and will say whatever it takes in order to rack up one extra vote. This may not make her unique, but it does force me to turn away from her. All politicians lie when it suits them, but I can't tell when she is taking advantage, and when she really believes in something. Not anymore. I don't expect purity, but I can spot cynicism a mile away, and when I look at someone and can't read their motives, it means that their soul is dead.
None of that matters, though.
I'll allow that Hillary may make it through the Democrat primaries and secure the nomination. She's still very impressive, she has Mister Charisma in her corner, and that is going to be the difference. Bill is going to pull in a lot of votes for the missus.
She will remain unelectable, in spite of these advantages.
"Why," you ask, "because she's a woman? Sexist pig."
Actually, yes. And no.
No, because I don't care. It makes no difference to me. Hillary is as qualified as anyone who will be running. Make no mistake about it.
Yes, because Hillary's gender will matter. It will matter to some men, Democrat and Republican, and it will be an insurmountable barrier to more women than you can count.
A lot of women hate Hillary Clinton. There are the evangelical women, the good Christian type, barefoot and pregnant, who think Hillary must be some sort of bull dyke just for going to college. Stay-at-home moms find Hillary's ambition disgusting. And feminists insist that Hillary let them down by staying with that philandering husband of hers, instead of dumping him and going on to great success alone.
Mrs. Clinton's greatest barrier to becoming president is her sisters.
Get yourself a five-gallon bucket, and toss a dozen or so rats in. They rodents will run around and bump into one another, climb all over themselves, and generally be a seething mass of confusion.
Keep watching, and eventually, one rat will start trying to climb out, sensing bigger things in the outside world. It will scratch and claw its way up toward the rim. The other rats, seemingly out of sheer instinct, will jump up, bite, and use every bit of their strength to drag this aspiring rat back down to the bottom with the rest of them. Get a chair, because you can watch this action repeat itself over and over, until you grow bored and set them loose at Wal-Mart.
Hillary is trying to climb out of the bucket. It will not be permitted.
Besides, she and Rudy would both be running as New Yorkers. Just because the South's secession didn't take the first go-round doesn't mean they wouldn't try it again.
"The South shall rise again!"
Yeah. Shit floats.
posted at 7:31 PM
Boy, talk about conflicted
Today has been an interesting day, as I found out around 7am that former Enron CEO and founder, Ken Lay had died. My feelings on the subject are mixed, as regular readers might have guessed.
"Because you feel funny being happy that another human being has died?"
No, because I am glad he is dead, but wish he had lived another fifteen years so he could have rotted in prison, as he so richly deserved.
Lay, of course, was the man who helped design the scheme to bilk consumers out of millions of dollars by manipulating energy prices. When this pyramid collapsed in 2001, thousands lost their jobs, and thousands more watched their retirement savings disappear like so much afflatus. This man had his hands directly in the ruination of many lives and dreams.
For these crimes, he was convicted, and was due to be sentenced in October, most likely for decades. The idea of Lay entering the system had great appeal for me, and I wish he had lived long enough for me to see the video of him taken into prison in handcuffs.
I'm told that Kenny Boy had planned to appeal the verdict, but as we now see, his heart wasn't in it.
I also hoped to see Lay's close, personal friend, George W. Bush, placed in the awkward position of whether or not to pardon this convicted felon and reprehensible human being. I knew Bush wouldn't have been able to help himself, seeing as how he's gotten away with every stupid and criminal thing he has ever done in his life. He'd have granted the pardon, and then said something about "forgiveness is what Jesus was all about" and then Kenny would be free to live the rest of his life in one of his many mansions. Americans would have bought it, too, because it wasn't his fault that Big Government was so regulation-happy, what with all of its rules and such.
Lay had his massive coronary in his massive home in Aspen, Colorado. I have never been to Aspen, but I am told that it is quite nice, and that this home was probably not in the ghettos of Aspen. So, once again, people convicted of multiple felonies are living much nicer lives than you, and apparently, dying much richer deaths as well.
So, I can't lie, I feel cheated by his death. Is wanting to see another human being suffer a bad thing? Meh, I never claimed to be a good person, anyway.
posted at 2:42 PM
It is what it is
I've been vacationing in Las Vegas for a little while now, which partially explains my lack of production here at Blog Central. Laziness explains most of the rest.
But I like Las Vegas. A lot of people do, I know, and many others claim to hate it. Interestingly, I probably have more in common with the ones that can't stand it, but I differ with them, because of my impeccably honed sense of irony.
People that love this town like the glitz, the neon, the lights, the noise, the spectacle. Vegas is completely unique, and if it wasn't here, someone would have tried to invent it by now. Most of the things I listed above, well, I can do without. Showbiz and conspicuous displays of wealth aren't really my thing. The ones that dislike it here find it all to be garish, obnoxious, uncouth, and these are sentiments that I can certainly understand. The negative words and phrases that people use to describe Las Vegas, can all certainly be applied to the United States, and I'm sure they would be voiced most loudly by people from other countries.
And yet, they all come here.
Go to any casino downtown, along the strip, or anywhere in the city, and you will hear foreign dialects and accents, and see people from all over the globe. It's a cool thing, really. Even as Hindus enjoy remarkably tasty two-pound Porterhouse steaks, Muslim men swig tall drinks and smoke, and good Christians from Utah utilize the many and varied "escort services" that ply their trade here, it's all just the best kind of good, clean, American fun. Las Vegas is a great place to come and feed your inner hypocrite.
The beauty of Las Vegas is that it never pretends to be subtle or well-intentioned. This city exists to separate people from their money, and it has a thousand ways to do it. All of them work, too.
Last night, I found myself at The Palms, which is one of the newer casino/resorts here, and it caters largely to twenty-somethings, Hollywood types, and professional athletes. It has cultivated a very hip image, and made a niche for itself that didn't truly exist before.
The reason I found myself at this place, is because a friend of mine who lives here had advised me that she could get me tickets to some big show going on at the hotel's brand new swimming pool, which not incidentally, cost $40 million dollars to construct. Now, I just have to see what a forty million dollar swimming pool looks like, so I'm in.
The big show is a band called Camp Freddy, which is really nothing more than Dave Navarro and a bunch of his big-name musician friends, and they do cover songs, mostly classic rock. It's not the kind of thing I would have shelled out eighty bucks a ticket to go see, but of course, I had a hookup, so off I went.
The Palms has a club on its fiftieth floor called Ghost Bar, and there is a beyond-stupid line to the elevators to go up there. The line is so long, that it has its own mobile bar that rolls up and down to sell people drinks while they wait in line for the elevator that will eventually take them upstairs 600 feet to go buy more drinks. I am not shocked at the line, and am long since over being surprised that jaded i-Generation types, who are of course over everything, are dumb enough to wait for hours to be charged a cover and sold overpriced drinks.
The line snakes past a tattoo parlor right in the casino, and it is mobbed, full of young people doing their best to be authentic, and anti-establishment, which they demonstrate by all getting tattoos of barbed wire and Chinese characters that they are unable to decipher. Individuality is a fine thing, as long as everyone agrees to do it together. I ramble past Poseur Tattoo Inc, and head out to the pool.
We're right on time, and the band starts up, covering Suffragette City by David Bowie. It is good. Navarro, who used to be in Jane's Addiction, a truly alternative band, is now a full-on show business whore. I'm not saying that in a negative way, I'm just striving for accuracy. The band sounds great, and is joined at different times by different singers and musicians like Slash from Guns N' Roses, Scott Weiland, formerly of Stone Temple Pilots, and for a little bit, "The Handsomest Man In Rock & Roll" Brandon Boyd from Incubus.
So, Boyd is ready to sing, and Slash and Navarro rip into the opening chords of Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin. Now seeing as how I'm not sixty years old, this is probably about as close as I'm ever going to get to hearing a Zeppelin song covered decently, so life is good. But then it gets better.
I'm staring up at the new $600 million addition they have just opened at The Palms, looking at the suites that have glass jacuzzis that hang out into the ether four and five hundred feet in the air, I'm hearing a pretty solid take on Led Zeppelin at 200 decibels, and I'm surrounded by a swimming pool that cost $40 million dollars.
Then, for some reason, a massive fireworks display begins, just to the east of where we are. It's not coming from The Palms, but some other casino. And it just goes on and on, which I don't mind, because I am an imbecile for loud noises and shiny things.
That's Vegas, baby. And that's America. You pay eighty bucks a ticket to hear musicians play songs they didn't write, and you get a free fireworks show for no reason whatsoever. It doesn't have to be your thing, but if you can't enjoy it, you suck ass.
And then at 130 am, I went inside and ate an enormous plate of Kobe beef meatloaf and mashed potatoes. If I could have, I would have bought a fur coat.
posted at 10:13 PM
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