Friday, September 30, 2005

Bobby Lightfoot and the Sword of Destiny

I meant to post this much earlier in the day, but I got distracted. I'm pretty much only capable of functioning between the hours of midnight and 4 AM, so... hey. Anyway, the first draft of this post went like this:

They used to say when I was a boy, if you wanted to be the best in the world at something, you should probably never leave your hometown. Cause if you did, someday, you'd probably end up stumbling upon Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. And I said to myself, weeel, I just happen to have a crowbar with the name "wolfgang amadeus mozart" inscribed on her. So I had no worries. No one ever told me I might stumble upon Mr. Bobby Lightfoot, though. And I reckon that old crowbar just ain't up to the job. Need something stronger to take out a son of a bitch like Bobby Lightfoot. Like some kind of mystical sword maybe.

But then I thought, that's pretty gay. So I scratched it. But the point here is that Bobby Lightfoot is one bad-assed man and an insightful son of a bitch as well. And I don't feel at all bad for thinking he's probably an asshole.

Just check out this post on Tom Delay's recent legal troubles. That post won him a corndog courtesy of Mr. Res Publica. Goddamn I want one of them corndogs.

But even better in my opinion, was his America at a Crossroads post. And just to loosen up those link clickin fingers, here's a taste.

You see that's what America could be, and what we should aspire to.

You wanna click on that one and then you wanna check out his one on NeoCon polesmoking felcheteers

And if that don't convince you than the problem is you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Time To Get All Literary on You Motherfuckers!!!

Since it's banned books week, kids, according to those bastards at the American Library Association, I thought it might be time for some trenchant and insightful commentary on a few books that made ALA's top 100 most frequently challenged books. I haven't read many of them. But then I tend not to read very many books with titles like "Daddy's Roommate." But that's mostly just because I'm not a 12 year old boy trying to come to terms with my pa's homo-gayness. Nevertheless, I've read a few. Should we burn them? Well here's my opinion.

1. Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
Don't remember much about this one. Fuck it. Let's burn it.

5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
I don't know what the objection here might be, except for the constant use of the phrase "nigger jim," a word verboten, even on this blog. Should've called him "Nigger Jed" or something. Good story though. A tale about a runaway slave and an illiterate boy's adventures on the mighty Mississippi. Sounds pretty goddamned American to me.

6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The story of a coarse okie and his amiable retarded pal. A couple dead rabbits later, and I don't want to give away the ending, but the retard somehow ends up president. Burn it.

8. Forever by Judy Blume
Read this one in the third grade. Don't remember much, but the bittersweet tale of adolescent love and the characters' wonderous discoveries of the mechanics of their filthy budding bodies was mesmerizing to 8-year-old jedmunds. You don't ever really change.

13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
"Then Holden found Jesus and died while saving some orphans from a fire. The End." That would have been a great ending. But instead in a gesture of karmic justice, it shall be used as kindling to burn down an orphanage. You fucked up, Salinger.

19. Sex by Madonna
I haven't read it, but I've seen the pictures. Let's put this one back on the shelf shall we? We shall.

41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I do recall Jem being insufficiently perturbed by Scout's muddy drawers, but that's no reason to ban a book. It's no Forever by Judy Blume, but I kinda liked this one.

43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Pony boy and Soda Pop did indeed save some orphans from a fire or some shit. I feel like it kind of glorifies gang violence though, but not gratuitously, like Grease did. I'm not saying there's not a place for the gritty realism of a film like Grease, but I would rather burn that than this book.

44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel

You have a weird old man with nothing to lose but his collection of pig figurines. And two awkward teenagers who spend way too much time with him. The formula for success is right there, but I guess Zindel was too much of a pussy to pull the trigger on it. Burn it.

45. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

This book is filled with good jokes about retarded people, then he gets all smart, and though easier to read, becomes much less funny. I think there's an erotic scene though if I recall correctly. And some real perv shit too. All in all, that makes it my kinda book.

51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

You shouldn'ta written that poem about the Nazi pedophile who kills himself with a discarded douchebag, Shel. I know. I know. Who knew it would be so easy to read between the lines of "Moon Catchin' Net," and discover it's hidden dark meaning. But you can't market that shit to kids ya know? Not in this crappy country anyway.

52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Well then what are we going to read when we want something more prescient than Orwell's 1984? Yevgeny Zamyatin's We? Surely you jest.

60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
A little social commentary never hurt anyone, other than all those Irish babies. But hey, we're talking about hookers here. Not babies.

62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Yeah, so I read a couple Judy Blume books as a kid. Fuck you.

69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
It's too bad Vonnegut's such an asshole, cuz this is a good book. Let's burn Timequake, while reading this one aloud, and toasting marshmallows.

70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
I should go back and read this book, again. I recall it having some cool-assed themes that, having achieved maturity and erudition, might be worth another wade into.

71. Native Son by Richard Wright
A semi-literate black guy kills a white girl, rapes his girlfriend, beats her till "her face resembles a wad of wet cotton," and thanks to a shoddy faux ransom note is able to briefly shift the blame to a highly educated socialist jew. Helluva book. But we gotta burn it.

Read Lauren, Lindsay, and Amanda of Pandagon for some more takes.

Out With The Old, In With The New

House Majority leader that is.

"It's not easy to fill the gap left by our leader, Tom DeLay, who's done a tremendous job, but all of our team is going to come together like we haven't ever come together before." -- Temp Leader Roy Blunt.


Les Eclats De Rire Est Mort! Vivre Les Eclats De Rire!

Ratings for Arrested Development, universally agreed upon as the best show ever, the contrarianism of a few douchebag holdouts for some overrated HBO filth aside, are in the fucking crapper. Monday’s episode garnered a 2.7 rating equaling about 3.9 million viewers, finishing in fifth place in its timeslot behind some show called Seventh Heaven. The premiere attracted a disappointing 4.5 million viewers, much less than the 6 million averages it held during seasons 1 and 2.

How can such a phenomenal show have such low ratings? That’s an easy one. Americans are stupid. More pressing is the reality that Arrested D has been barely able to survive with their former ratings. As such, this drop in ratings is a dire threat. A dire dire threat to our supply of comedic material. And I don’t know what to do about it. I feel so helpless. So impotent. What can one man do? I can’t be 1.5 million viewers.

I’ve felt this sadness before. About 15 years ago, FOX had a funny little show called Get a Life starring Chris Elliot. Originally conceived as a grown-up Dennis the Menace, it was about a 30 year old paper boy who lived with his parents, and … did funny stuff. A combination of gross physical humor and a certain wittiness, influenced by the British comedy the Young Ones, made it the exemplar of cutting edge comedy in a popular format of its time. It lasted a scant two seasons, if I recall correctly, abruptly cancelled due to low ratings in its Sunday time slot. That style of humor would live on however in shows like The Simpsons, back when it was still funny (You have to be of a certain age to remember when the Simpsons was funny). Looking back on it, Get a Life doesn’t seem as funny as it did in its original context, just as even the old Simpsons don’t seem all that funny any more either, and even old Seinfeld episodes don’t seem so hot either.

Comedy changes quickly. What was once cutting-edge eventually becomes commonplace, and eventually stale. That’s probably the primary reason why comedies with a strong narrative inclination age better than those without. Ten years later the gags seem predictable and unfunny, and so the story is called upon to bear a greater burden of the entertainment value. It might be hard to fathom now, but ten years from now, Arrested D won’t be that funny. Or at best, it’ll be funny the way a show like – what’s that show with the fat guy and the hot wife whose dad is played by Jerry Stiller? Anyway that one.

Despite this inexorable fate, or perhaps even because of it, we must cherish this time we have with our beloved Arrested D. I know not how much longer it is for this world. Whether its death is to be premature at the cold ruthless hands of a cynical and calculating FOX exec; or if in its struggle, it survives and thrives and grows gracefully, blooming to full maturity, and then gracefully exiting in its twilight with a soft and reverent breath with all due glory and tribute. With hope and a bit of luck we might be fortunate enough to witness the latter, but if not, I’ll be ever grateful for the moments we have and will have shared. Just as I treasure the laughter emitted during the halcyon days of the Simpsons, Seinfeld, Mr. Show, Roseanne, the Wonder Years, Married With Children, and etc etc. Those laughs are gone. Never to be brought back. Such a fleeting, almost sad, joy that comedy is. But today we have Arrested D. And no need to worry from where tomorrow’s laughs shall come.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Back On the Subject of Date-Raping Cows

Steve Gilliard thinks PETA is racist. And I think, "neato," I don't have any particular love for PETA. After all, I really really fucking hate animals. I really really do. I don't like touching 'em. Don't like looking at 'em. Don't even really like thinking about 'em. I like eating them, but that's about it. So I read Gilliard's post, and damn, not only did he fail to convince me that PETA was racist, but his PETA quotes convinced me that there isn't really a compelling reason to privilege human suffering over animal suffering. Can anyone tell me why I should privilege human suffering over animal suffering? I know I have oodles and oodles of professional philosophers reading this blog who I imagine can help me out on this. So please explain that one to me in words I can understand.

Not that this knowledge is really going to change my eating habits anyway. To my way of thinking, morality stems from the tension between obligations to relieve the suffering of others and our desire for our own comforts. I'm going to continue to eat meat, and I'm going to continue to eat meat in restaurants and bought from grocery stores that came from cows that suffered unnecessarily. That is selfish and hypocritical, I admit, but it's an honest hypocrisy and I don't mean to dismiss it glibly, as in, this is horrible but I don't care. I make my sacrifices and chose my comforts in a way that I feel is on balance guided toward making the world a better place. Others may do better than me and they may stand in judgement, but yes, not only am I physically lazy, I am morally lazy as well. I'll cop to it, but not indifferently.

I say it's honest, in comparison to so many others who just refuse to deal with the arguments of groups like PETA. People who aren't stupid, and who can't accept that their selfish; people who don't believe that they are the kind of person who could acknowledge an injustice and then continue to be a part of its perpetuation. They really don't want to start walking down that line for convenience's sake, so they do whatever they can to prevent themselves from acknowledging that injustice. And that may mean complaining about unnecessarily provocative tactics and accusing them of things like racism. Again, I don't think eating animals is wrong, just the unnecessary suffering of the animals that we eat.

I suppose I'll admit, I'm not acutely aware of the pain felt by the history of the comparison of black people to animals, so I'm not saying Gilliard is vile due to this particular post, though he is fairly vile. But PETA wasn't comparing black people to animals. They were comparing human suffering, and systemic human suffering at that, to the systemic suffering of animals. So again, we're back to the question, what makes human suffering worse than animal suffering? I spent a long part of my life pretending like that question was ridiculous. I would have loved to have a good answer, but in the back of my mind I was always aware that I hadn't come across a good one. Whelp, anyway, time for lunch.

UPDATE: Upon reading theMajikthise take on the subject, some clarification is order. I certainly do not put animals on the same moral plane as humans, in the sense that I think it's okay to kill an animal to eat it, but I do not think it is okay to kill a human to eat it, as a necessary societal construction. Nevertheless, if the topic is abstract suffering, I have a hard time getting the argument that systemic human suffering is worse than systemic animal suffering. That is, the suffering of humans does not seem to me more immoral, merely because humans should not be eaten. The immorality of suffering is independant of the societal value and of the ultimate destiny of the sufferer, I think. I don't know if we have to re-create the universe for my position to make sense; but I think if we destroyed it, it would make sense, and I'm pretty sure it's defensible enough even if we don't. I know my position does not totally conform to PETA's on this. Hell maybe it doesn't make sense at all, I don't know. I'd be able to figure it out if someone would slap me around a bit.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Thanks To Disney For The Wonders of Imagination

Perhaps you've heard about the lost footage of Jessica Simpson's "harrowing" trip to Iraq? It seems like ABC and Disney understand all too well that the reason we even watch her little reality show is because we've got our fingers implanted in our ears as firmly as possible when it comes to Iraq and a lot of other things. It's not Disney's job, and it never has been, to remove those fingers from our ears and force us to deal with a painful reality we'd rather not deal with. Disney has long taught us the joys and wonders of our imaginations. That's their commodity: Imagination!!!

And now my imagination can run wild in Iraq as well! Some days I like to imagine adventuring knights rescuing arabian princesses in high towers from dragons and wicked stepmothers set to an Elton John penned score. But most of the time, I imagine things more like this and this. But which vision is more accurate? I don't EVER want to know!!! Because when you lose your imagination, and thereby lose your chance to DREAM, well, that's the biggest tragedy imaginable. So thank you Disney! Thank you for the magical adventures you've brought to my mind!!!

But tell that bitch Tinkerbell she better have my scrill.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

This Is Today's Open Thread #4; The I Hate Blogs Edition

Awhile back, on July 5th specifically, you may remember that I de-linked Maddox from my list of links because he's got "a bad attitude," he insulted Oasis, and as a result he's just "not the bad-assed pirate I thought he was." Coincidentally, the very next day, Maddox went on this tirade entitled "If These Words Were People, I Would Embrace Their Genocide." Where he takes his best shot at bloggers. I'm not saying I hurt his feelings. But at the same time the evidence is irrefutable. I'll admit he makes some good points, though. For instance:

Then God forbid a blogger gets mentioned on CNN. If you thought it was impossible for a certain blogger to get more pious than he was, wait until you see the shit storm of self-righteous save-the-world bullshit after a network plug. Suddenly the boring, mild-mannered blogger you once knew will turn into Mother Theresa, and will single handedly take it upon himself to end world hunger with his stupid links to band websites and other smug blogger dipshits.

I immediately thought of Andrew Sullivan upon reading that. But otherwise, it's just a silly, if entertaining, attack on an entire medium and one shouldn't bother taking it too seriously. It's the same as making fun of comic books, or people who play video games, or anything else. It's kind of amusing, I guess, but it's still dumb too. As dumb as saying all of anything is dumb. Which is the thing about Maddox that really led me to delinking him. He says a lot of really dumb stuff, and although he says it with entertaining ATTITUDE~! It's hard sometimes to get beyond the blatant dumbness of it.

Needless to say, anyway, I'm a big fan of blogs. Even the really crappy ones. Even the ones where some narcissistic dork fills their pages with lame-assed Quizzila thingies and writes about their life in a way that you can't imagine even their closest friends would bother to keep up with it. But I choose to celebrate self-expression whatever form it takes. At the very least, these are people who have made the decision to express themselves in some way, even if they're not very good at it, rather than watch television all day. And I appreciate that and applaud it. Cause, as much as I enjoy Belushi and Animal House, fat and stupid really is no way to go through life. Besides, I think what's her face who wrote that one book put it best:

"Remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.
"Your father's right," she said. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

Because these bloggers are working pretty hard and they really don't get much out of it. Because really, it's not that hard to not read blogs, anyway. But then, people wouldn't be so impressed with what a bad-assed pirate you are if you just let shit slide and went about your life. People have such a hard time with that: live and let live. I think it's because human beings are pretty much pack animals. And if something upsets the pack, then it's fair game. And if something upsets you, you feel like you have the right to yell and scream about it, and hanker for the horde to suppress it. I don't know, maybe I'm biting off more than I can chew there. But I think people pretty clearly do have a herd mentality. That's why shit like gays, abortion, plastic surgery, tattoos, Pamela Anderson, and drug use provoke the ire of so many.

But I'm getting off topic. The purpose of this post is to highlight a few things that I really hate about blogs at the moment. I made a list.

1. Cat-blogging.
Seriously, man, I don't give a fuck about your cat. If in real life, you started telling me about your pets, I would roll my eyes as conspicuously as possible and laugh in your face. I hate your cats. Seriously. They aren't cute.

2. Friday Random Ten Posts
I could give a fuck what you have in your Ipod right now. I mean, really, what kind of stance are you trying to pull here? Cause it really only comes off like yuppie scum a little too fond of their gadgets and bourgeois musical tastes.

3. Posts about how Democrats can better appeal to the red states.
Self-explanatory really.

4. "I just dug up the craziest fucking dipshit I could find on the opposing political team, and now let's all pat ourselves on the back for either a) not hating america or b) not being stupid."

5. Let's all speculate on what George Bush will do about X and why he'll do it posts. I really don't understand these posts. The most recent spate of them were the "who will Bush appoint to fill O'Connor's seat and what if Rehnquist retires too?" posts. Pretty obviously those posts are all completely obsolete now, and no one can even remember who was right and who wasn't. Plus it wasn't all that interesting anyway unless you're a really tedious person or you've got some conspiracy theories and you need a thin pretext to start pushing them.

But I don't really care, except to the extent that the people who routinely do that shit often have the most well-trafficked blogs, so they can get away with it I guess.

Here's a funny anecdote. I just used the Blogger spell-checker for this post, because I don't know how to spell narcisistic (???) and fucking Blogger's spell-checker does not recognize the following words: blog, blogger, blogging, de-linked, and a bunch of other crazy stuff. Is that Ironic? No, it's not, just funny.

Friday, July 22, 2005


This morning I wrote a fairly long post, and just as I was about to publish it, blogger pissed off, and I lost it. I really should know better, because it's not the first time this has happened. I should remember to write shit up in Word and then cut and paste, because Blogger is such a jakey assed piece of shit. Hopefully I'll get around to rewriting that post this weekend, but rewrites are rarely as good as the first time around. The first time around you just let shit fly and it has a nice organic quality. When you rewrite, you spend too much time trying to remember that really awesome phrasing you used, and it doesn't flow as naturally. The real losers in all of this? You, the consumer.

But like i said I'll try to find time to write it this weekend. Though I'm not sure where I'll find that time as a certain medical ethics advocacy group I am a member of has decided to protest in front of the homes of prominent surgeons, waving placards with pictures of tumors and open chest cavities and whatnot, hoping to make people realize just how gross surgery is.

But for now, here are some interesting political posts courtesy of the cafe.

Josh Marshall on Republican ownership of Washington. It's an interesting point and true, but potentially backfirable. Why would you vote for someone who is admittedly ineffective? Yglesias, on the other hand, has some real goodness.

I don't know much about the American Conservative as a publication. They probably don't reperesent the highest standards of integrity. But neither do I, so I'll link to their rumor without caring about it's veracity. If true though, I'd probably be pretty outraged, but only if my outrage hadn't been beaten into a cynical pulp by the continuing stream of outrages flowing from the Bush White House. Seriously, this is probably only the third or fourth worst thing this White House has done, and it's a doozy, if true of course. And I-ran I ran so far away...

And then read the Rude Pundit on NYT's treatment of John Roberts. He's alright, though a bit angry perhaps. Billmon, meanwhile, is a better read because he's got the "just how big of a douche is Roberts, and should I care about it?" approach down pat.

Enjoy the rest of your day, and have a lovely weekend my lovely friends. And remember: "the love that you take is equal to the love that you make."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Is John G. Roberts Infatuated With Uterine Parasites?

First of all, score one for Yglesias. Good joke, buddy. I really doubt anyone will come up with anything funnier than that. But anyway, it seems as though everyone is analyzing this guy in terms of abortion. Now, I love abortion. I probably love it even more than pinko feminist hellcat does. But I have to admit that if G-Dubya won the capital to appoint anyone to the court, it's someone who believes the state owns our genitals, and has the power to punish us for using them "inappropriately." Anti-fun types have organized around the abortion issue, and they've delivered for the Republicans. It's only fair that they reap what they've sown. And they've sown a "Jesus hates fornicators" message that is now bearing fruit. It was "hella" clear in the last election, and it's been "hella" clear for a while, that Republicans are all about making you "suffer the consequences" of your "hedonistic" life style. And they won. So maybe we should all just accept this heartland wisdom. Sluts make great mommies.

But Bush did not win the right to appoint someone of the "I don't care about precedent, I just love making money (for corporations)" ilk. Of course, the morlochs did vote for him for that very unspoken reason, but the eloi, as always, are too busy enjoying the pretty "I hate terrorists, taxes and dred scott" talk, to pay any attention at all to the hidden motives before they get eaten. Nevertheless, it looks like Roberts will cruise to victory. I don't know if "we," and by "we" I really don't know who I'm talking about anymore, should bother raising a stink about it. If we can create an issue to run on in 2006, let's do it, or if we can get Bush to spend some capital, let's do it. Otherwise "we" should save our energy, because I hear thatRove is pretty fucked.