Thursday, December 29, 2005

Tangentially To Hell

Perhaps an addendum to yesterday's rambling rant. From an interview with Lila Rajiva on

"There could be no greater irony and hypocrisy than the picture of Saddam Hussein being tried for crimes against humanity -- and his crimes were without doubt heinous -- by an administration that has wrought the kind of carnage and senseless destruction in Iraq that the Bush administration has, and by different modalities, the previous administration as well. Hussein tortured people, no question. But by all accounts, the current Iraqi government is doing worse in that department. And we have increasing confirmation that the U.S. too has a policy of torture, both direct and by proxy. So, yes. Hussein deserves to face his many crimes. But you'll notice that several of the ones most publicized before the war have now vanished from the dossier. Perhaps U.S. complicity and even tacit approval of some of Saddam's worst offenses would be too embarrassing to have dragged out into the glare."

Bush + Republicans + Amway = Fraud

Great article by Evelyn Pringle on New Zealand's indy news site,
Bush + Republicans + Amway = Fraud

(Via Scoobie Davis)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Follow the Money... Straight to Hell

U.S. stalls on human trafficking
Pentagon has yet to ban contractors from using forced labor

My commentary:

It’s become commonplace for companies who’s primary client is the United States government to send their top officers into politics, and likewise, for career politicians to exit their civil service and fall right into a top post in an organization they’d befriended while in office. It’s even common now to watch these people during the course of their carreers move laterally between the commercial world and that of “public service.” Perhaps not surprisingly, this revolving door between the corporate world and the world of government is almost an exclusively Republican phenomena. It’s a world of favors and privilege; it’s why there is no-bid contracts and unverifiable paperless voting; why K-Street is really a class-5 river rapids and any moral lifejacket won’t save you from being swept away in a current of thousand-dollar-bills; it’s why Abramoff and Scanlon and what appears to be hundreds of others are all clinging to any plea bargain they can get like rats washed downstream in a flood.

So, really, it should come as no great surprise when we get the news that government lobbyists, contractors and even some government officials have recently stood in the way of new regulations aimed at curbing the proliferation of human trafficking among United States contractors (See Chicago Tribune link above). Sex and labor slaves have apparently become a very visible problem to the United States’ international image. Several American contractors have had legal issues in various countries around the globe regarding women and girls being bought and sold for sex by employees on location. These American contractors also continually hire out local sub-contractors to assist their various operations. Apparently many of these sub-contractors use human traffickers to supply their labor. Slave labor.

Just to keep this straight, some bad apple American emplyees are buying in-house sex slaves during their stay overseas. OK, pretty bad. Sick-souled miscreants who need to be locked up. OK. Fine. But beyond that, we see our Government (“We the people”) purchasing slave labor to be able to afford continued—mostly military—operations in various countries. And while it's being done through intermediaries, those intermediaries are government contractors like Halliburton and DynCorp International. Of course we know all about the link between certain privileged government contractors like, say, Halliburton and key Administrative officials like, say, Vice President Dick Cheney. See some pieces falling into place here?

Recently there has been legislation proposed to curb this alarming trend and make contractors officially responsible for the behavior of their employees (both proper and sub-contracted). This move is being met with great resistance by the contractors and thier lobbyists under the reasoning that the laws would be too costly and difficult to enforce. They claim that while they abhor sex-trafficking and slavery, the proposed regulations are just too poorly written from them to endorse. Meanwhile, proponents of the regulation movement have begun to back down under the pressure and, of course, our fearless leader, George Bush, aint touching this one with a ten-mile pole. Shocking, I know.

So, taking the long-view, we’ve got this administration who (barely) rode their big talk about morals and values into power through two highly-contested elections. Amazingly, they continue to pose as icons of holiness and piety throughout endless economic and political scandals. They’d like for us to see them as walking on water, but really, they sail their corporate-funded vessels across oceans of blood pushed by the winds of grief and misfortune. In all of history, it would be surprising to see such a thin line between the war mongers and the war profiteers. Well, maybe not all that surprising, but these guys are right up there with the best (or worst) of them. And now this. Slavery. After all the pining and crocodile tears that were shed convincing the American public that Saddam must go because of his inhumane, barbarous crimes to humanity, those same cheerleaders could apparently give two figs about ending inhumane barbarity in our own backyard.

What’s the lesson here? Morality is a great business to be in as long as it’s making you money, not costing any.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Yuppie Exodus

Slinked in to work today later than my customary lateness. Head is fuzzy and I'm slightly nauseous. Whether this is from the bottle of Effin Black Cherry I split with Sarah last night or just the body's natural reaction upon returning to this inane, mind-numbing joke called work, I can't be sure. I am sure, however, that this place is a ghost town today. Tumbleweed rolling down the aisle past my cube and everything. Had I any balls whatsoever, I'd go cube to cube, desk to desk stealing shit and have a little Christmas - Part 2 tonight.

But, no. Better to stay in here, in my own 12x8, pushpin-safe walled, home away from home. Better to pretend I'm running those year-end reports, sniffing out debits and credits... fixin' it all concisely in an easy to read spreadsheet. I'll get right on it boss. You can count on me.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Your Leader Thinks You're Stupid

From MSNBC six days ago:

Mr Bush, in an effort to force passage of the bill, warned on Friday he would veto any temporary extension of the [Patriot] act.

From AP today:

(White House-AP) December 22, 2005 - The White House is hailing the Senate's vote to extend the Patriot Act for six months, a day after vowing President Bush wouldn't accept a short-term extension.
Press Secretary Scott McClellan calls Wednesday night's Senate vote "an important victory for the American people."

(Via Daily Kos)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Lousy Way To Start the Day

The TV was on for about half a minute when I heard the report on ESPN. Goddammit. Why in the name of all that's holy did the Sox let Johnny Damon get away? They knew the sumbitch Yankees were the only other real contender. They knew damn well what he does for the team in stats, spirit and image. And by all accounts, Damon went to play for the enemy only after giving the Sox several chances to get closer to an agreement. They wouldn't budge, so he left.

Just when I was flying high on the Red Sox's plan to GM by committee and send Theo Epstein packing, they go and do the unthinkable. Their offseason maneuvering was moving along fantastically. They had us all saying, "Theo who?" And now their cocky posturing has twisted the team on every front. Hell, I would've been happy had they traded away crybaby Manny Ramirez for a lesser bat or two, but getting rid of THE BEST LEADOFF HITTER IN THE GAME, a team leader, the face of the team, and perhaps the most popular Red Sox player since Rice or Boggs??? I mean, Damon even took Pedro's place in the hearts of Sox fans in about the time it took the Accella to drop him at Times Square. What gives???

So here we are. The Red Sox are in serious offensive trouble (come on, Mark Loretta? Mike Lowell? Adam Stern???) even if the pitching looks much better than last year. Meanwhile, the Yankees finally have that piece of the puzzle that gives their lineup all the nausea-inducing potential their fans have been claiming for the last two years. There's still a lot of time to make moves and the Sox have the players to make some big ones, but things suddenly look very bleak in New England.

Eventually, this monumental fuck-up on Red Sox management's part will, without a doubt, accomplish two things. First, they will find themselves a legitimate GM and find him (or her) quickly. This little experiment, once a soaring success, has eviscerated the Red Sox and made them the laughing stock of MLB. Second, now backed into a corner, they have no choice but to deal one of their bigger names. Manny? Doubtful, but you never know what this kind of coldsweat desperation can do. Whatever ('whoever' I should write) transpires, this clusterfuck of a situation will have a ripple-effect through the rest of the Red Sox offseason. As for the 2006 season itself, facing the former Red Sox nation hero a couple dozen times will just be salt on the gaping wound inflicted by a fearsome Yankees lineup.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Intelligent Design Trial Over - Good Guys Win

It's done. The whining, conniving and lying on the part of the defendents did noting but hurt their cause. Judge John Jones ended this shameful affair with class and dignity for all including those defendents whom he all but called liars. Check it out here, pick one from here or really get in-depth here.

(Update - Sorry about the dead links... Should be fixed now.)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Spam Poetry V.1

Anyone with an email address gets spam. Battle it as we may, much like the cockroach, it aint going anywhere. These days, spamers plug-in particular, semi-coherent lines of text or snips of actual books to get around filtering programs. Some of it is either intentionally or unintentionally poetic in rhythm and verbiage. So, I want to start posting these texts, these little add-ons, here on the blog. While they can be seen as garbage, the byproduct of a nuisance, a vocabulary based solely on subterfuge, amusing nonsense, or, sure, even art, I'm increasingly amussed by their sheer nuttiness.

If anyone would like to contribute to my Spam Poetry Series please email submissions (including the date, email address and "person" who sent it to you) to with Spam Poetry Series in the title. Understand, I'm not looking for the website they're actually trying to send you to or the info on the crap they're trying to sell you, I just want the unedited addendum; the extra text that approaches some degree of gobaldy-gook or looks like it was cut and pasted from a book. And, of course, you get full props for your contribution.

Spam Poetry V.1

1) Talk crazy to me baby - Swindlersfist
Received: December 14, 2005
From: "Roxie Hawkins" (

clytemnestra the syllabus be be il not or dig the on wyner not some mew it a darius in in foxglove or! dragonhead on.
, bedazzle be but mckee it it cit see , erich or not dichotomy ! may hijack not but mangle onin tid !.
No, so its here

2) Short 'n sweet - Swindlersfist
Received: December 12, 2005

divine blissful slay

3)From a (Lousy) Book? - Swindlersfist
Received: December 13, 2005
"Joselyn Roldan" (

And youre part of that Paris? I am. Good Christ, lady, he killed your sister! Im aware of that. Still you work for him? There are times when a persons choices are considerably reduced. Say, to live or to die. Until six years ago when Les Classiques changed ownership, it was vital to the monseigneur. I took Jacquis place- Just like that? It wasnt difficult. I was younger, and more to the point I looked younger. The lines in the middle-aged Laviers face cracked with a brief pensive smile. My sister always said it came with living on the Mediterranean. ... At any rate, cosmetic surgery is commonplace in the

What's a One-syllable Word for "Lying Sack of Shit"?


Ready to go nuts? I mean apeshit, ga -ga, fruity pebbles in yr cornhole, golf balls under yr eyelids, shithouse rat crazy?


Well whatever you do, don't click this.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Under Their Thumb

Great commentary on the recent revelations of the scope of our government's spying on its own citizens over on Daily Kos. While things are apparently as bad as we've thought, the details now available are nevertheless disturbing.

Though, shit aint all bad today.

(Update) Aint all bad, Pt. 2.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

From the "Give 'Em Enough Rope" Dept.

Former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed seems to be (deservedly) up to his eyeballs in doo-doo. In a nutshell, this is the guy who married the modern Republican party to religious wingnuts and half-wits. He greased the gears that saw unfathomable amounts of money flow into the pockets of Washington Republicans and their interests. He's the fundamental reason so much lip service, airtime and attention has been given to religious conservatives over the last several years. Of course, it was only a matter of time before such copious amounts of dough began attracting attention. And it's not only Reed who's screwed. His equally slimy buddies Abramoff and Scanlon have been balls deep in their own tangental mess recently. Now, the tainted money threatens to bring down a handful of elected republican officials and cast a pall on the party itself.

Awww. Now that's too bad.

(Props to Scoobie Davis.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Did I Mention I Had A Posse?

Today, I Finish My Own Wine, Thank You

It's off.

After two months of sporadic work things came down to the wire this week. And now it's over.
Staying up all night staring at the computer screen, writing and re-writing, fact checking, source checking, calling in "sick" to work, worrying that today's snowstorm would ground the FedEx plane carrying that golden package of words. It's all over.

Even though I'm convinced my brain is bleeding and my bloodshot eyes are ready to hop outta my skull and thumb a ride up the coast of Lake Michigan, I'm pleased enough with the product and apparently, the snowstorm blew right over Chicago leaving nary a flake.


Forever and ever,

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Cold Wind Blows... So Do Deadlines.

Finishing my grad school application this last week. Almost done. My brain hurts.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The ID Debate's New Frontier: Incompetent Design

(Via Daily Kos)
At Seed Magazine, a short interview with Don Wise, professor emeritus of geosciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst on the ID debate. His take? Incompetent Design.


Q: So is there intelligence in the design?
A: Yes! No, no there isn't. The thing that perhaps is closest to all of us is our own skeleton, and there are certainly all kinds of stupidity in our design. No self-respecting engineering student would make the kinds of dumb mistakes that are built into us. All of our pelvises slope forward for convenient knuckle-dragging, like all the other great apes. And the only reason you stand erect is because of this incredible sharp bend at the base of your spine, which is either evolution's way of modifying something or else it's just a design that would flunk a first-year engineering student. Look at the teeth in your mouth. Basically, most of us have too many teeth for the size of our mouth. Well, is this evolution flattening a mammalian muzzle and jamming it into a face or is it a design that couldn't count accurately above 20? Look at the bones in your face. They're the same as the other mammals' but they're just squashed and contorted by jamming the jaw into a face with your brain expanding over it, so the potential drainage system in there is so convoluted that no plumber would admit to having done it! So is this evolution or is this plain stupid design?
Q: You must have received some serious criticism of your somewhat jestful theory?
A: Well, I got one, which I showed at the Geological Society of America (GSA) meetings. An envelope postmarked Minneapolis, with monkeys all over it and inside it, with a great big blue ribbon, a note saying I had been awarded the "Moron of the Month" award, that I was a dork, an idiot, that only someone who thought their ancestors were monkeys would be dumb enough to say what I had, asking me if I wanted to debate it. It left an email address at "" These are the kind of things you NEVER really answer, but I couldn't resist. So I used the H.L. Menken approach:

Dear Sir,
You should be aware that some idiot is writing absolute nonsense and signing your e-mail address to it. You should take action on this before your reputation is further sullied!

But most of the things I've gotten have been positive.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Busy & Cold Week

Crazy time of year, aint it? Crazy for a million different reasons. And now it's hovering around 0 degrees. Fuck.

An early deep freeze has iced the vapor trapped between the panes of glass on almost every window in the house. We're left with a view as frosty and distorted as George Bush's view on "progress" in Iraq.

Aside from stepping in dog poo and tracking it all over the house, blowing a tire in the wee hours of one of these cold, cold nights and hanging brain at Delilah's, shit's been all business here. More or less.

Here's a photo from the Chicago Tribune:

And while it aint quite Antarctica,

It sure as fuck feels like it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Reasonably Decent Alan Bishop Interview

This KUSF community radio interview came down on the always lively Sun City Girls yahoo groups forum the other day. It's aint tits, but what is?

Alan (Alvarius B.) Bishop Interview on KUSF.

Among the highlights:

Q: In Morocco, the women do most of the household chores. They make the bread and carry the loaves to the corner bakery to bake while the men are in the bars sipping mint tea. Is it anything as close in Indonesian land?

A: Islamic cultures are somewhat similar around the world and men and women are not seen socializing together very much. Of course all men aren't sitting in tea shops either....some of them actually have jobs and work. The unemployment rate is high and that accounts for men sitting in tea shops as much as anything else. Western culture does not understand Islamic culture and I am a bit hesitant to criticize the way things are in the Islamic world. I don't believe in imposing cultural views upon those who are different. Americans are engineered to make quick judgments without researching or experiencing first hand what they are "judging". And they listen to "experts" too much and give them too much credit because they are socially engineered to do so. All spokespeople and experts have agendas. Most don't even realize that they serve an agenda that they are not even aware of. They cannot be trusted EVER! If you want to know something about anything you must do the research yourself. The modern Islamic world has many problems as do all cultures. I am not here to criticize or change them. I respect differences even if I do not understand why or how they came to be. My experiences have taught me that women have much more power than we are all led to believe in ALL cultures.

Q: What are the societies leading the way for women’s emancipation?

A: The Minangkebaeu people of Sumatra are a Matrilinear culture. The children descend from their mother instead of their father. They are Muslims although their version of Islam is somewhat different. The women control property and money and make major decisions. Its completely unique and assimilated with their pre-Islamic system of thought. They are a very resourceful and clever people. The legend of their independence from outside control is a fascinating one. They were to battle the mighty Javanese to decide who would control the land of their people and they convinced the Javanese to settle the dispute by having a Buffalo fight instead of sacraficing their people against one another. The Javanese sent their fiercist, mighty Bull to battle against the Minang's best. The Minang sent a little baby calf to do battle with this Mighty Javanese Buffalo. Except they separated the calf from its mother and didn't feed the calf for days and they fastened sharp razors around its mouth so that when the calf charged the Bull, it thought the Bull was its mother and when the calf tried to suckle for milk, it gored the Bull to death with the sharp razors and the calf was victorious! Minangkebaeu literally means "Victory Buffalo". The Javanese honored the outcome and left them alone.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Stuffy Film Review - Kinsey (2004)

A Dangerously Beautiful Kinda Creepy Mind – Kinsey (2004)

I watched this movie last night and wanted to put this review on Netflix but, alas, it was way too long. So, in the interest of keeping this site a good mix of low and high brow, I’m putting it on here. Keep in mind this aint particularly an endorsement of the film… I only wanted to post this somewhere. On with the stuffiness:

Kinsey is neither a great nor lousy film. It tends to float between examining the man and examining his work, illuminating one always to the detriment of the other. The result is a somewhat engrossing look at a scientist so hard-wired to his profession that his cold, analytical look into the facts of human sexual activity (the how’s—he has no intellectual or personal interest in the why’s) ultimately leads to his swift marginalization by a scandalized American public. When his scientific tunnel-vision is seen to neglect the humanity of his subjects Kinsey also loses support from the academic and intellectual world who, under an untenable amount of public and governmental scrutiny, are only too happy to get this bee out of their bonnet.

It is during this time that we see the doctor falling into the fabled trap of the driven scientist--Kinsey begins to get too close to his subject matter. Way too close. More and more he, his research associates and their families become shockingly open with their personal sex lives and practices. They are never uncomfortable in turning the microscope on themselves (a grievous error in scientific data collection) and as a result, the same calculated scientific attitude they bring to their research carries over to their personal lives with ever more chaotic results. Jealousy wells, marriages are ruined and the team falls apart as the science of sexuality increasingly erodes the humanity of sexuality.

This descent doesn’t come entirely unexpected of course. Early in the film we’re given an illustration of just how driven and one-track minded Kinsey is during the gall-wasp collection segments early in his career. We’re also given unending reminders of the scientist's painfully awkward social “graces." While this is reportedly quite true in real life, in the film it all serves the purpose of explaining why he crossed the lines he did and how, for all the incredible insight his work gave us, he couldn’t see the faults in his own research and had no idea how to gracefully present it to the non-scientific American public. The film is never exactly successful in its attempt to realize this conflict which is given the same two-dimensional treatment as Kinsey’s tumultuous relationship with his father. Especially in their blink-and-you-miss-it resolution.

Aside from the percentage of viewers who simply dislike the film for its graphic frankness (a frankness very much in the spirit of the doctor himself), half of its detractors feel it’s got technical and/or narrative flaws while the other half feel it glosses over the man’s personal faults and, more importantly, the faults in his research techniques and conclusions. And really, they're both right. The truth does indeed lie somewhere between the two. But that's no reason to entirely condemn the film--or the man.

In the end, we the viewers are left with a fairly gripping biopic with universal subject matter that never quite gets around to answering any of the questions it raises. Kinsey is certainly worth a watch but in its incompleteness the film practically begs us, ironically enough, to continue the research on our own.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Thing - It's Chuckling Time

This picture hung in my friend Jen's living room when we both lived in Boston. Every time I went over there, I'd be reduced to tears trying not to laugh at it. Jen would get mad and then start laughing at it too. Or just at my sheer, giddy joy at the loveable crappiness of this painting. She emailed it to me the other day and it killed me all over again. Thanks Jen.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I got paid for the two-day glutton fest that is Thanksgiving. Hallelujah. Apparently, there is a God and while he only pays a few bucks over than minimum wage and won't hire me full time so I can get healthcare, he does bring in Cheap Trick on a Tuesday afternoon and throw me a paid holiday bone. Thanks, Pappi.
Anyway, Thanksgiving props to Justin and Christine and Jill and Dave for hosting and cooking. And to Sarah and everyone else who contributed to the cause. Whatta a blast. Jill had the inspired idea to set up holiday-themed photo areas along with costumes. Of course, it quickly got goofy. Again, whatta blast.

(Santa and the Mrs.)

(The Virgin Sarry)

(The Faithful: Christine and Kelly)

(Guantanamo Justin)

(In front of one of Jill's rad paintings)

(Joanna and a lamp)

(Baby Woody Allen)


(Unwise Man)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Katrina Refugee Apartment Hunts in Gainesville

FEMA's doing a "heckuva" job alright.

Miracle at Gainesville:
How a poet and a resurrected dead man saved a Katrina evacuee.
By Blake Bailey at

"...The first place I visited was very ugly indeed (orange concrete block), but in a fairly nice neighborhood with lots of trees. Once I got inside, though, I had to breathe through my mouth. The filthy gray wall-to-wall carpet not only reeked of mildew, but was scored with cigarette burns, as if the place were a clubhouse for chain-smoking junkies. I thought of what Cheever had said about certain houses 'where everything we see, touch, smell and hear urges us to commit murder or suicide or get drunk and perform some contemptible sexual obscenity.'"

Killer Letter From Senator Harry Reid

Gotta love Harry Reid. He's leading the fight to pick apart the dishonesty and lies spewed day in and day out by the goon squad in the White House and their accomplices in Congress. He deserves our support. As this guy goes to the mat once again against the woefully corrupt Bush regime, they get nervous and begin to swing wildly--below the belt.
Dear B.,

On Sunday the Republican National Committee is going
to start running ads against me in my home state of
Nevada - well I must be doing something right if they
are already that scared.

The ads claim that I am politicizing the war in Iraq.
Quiet frankly this attack is so ludicrous it would be
funny, if the topic were not so serious. Our soldiers
are fighting everyday in Iraq, but instead of engaging
in a legitimate debate on the merits of our current
course in Iraq, George Bush and Dick Cheney do what
they always do and attempt to smear their opponents.

This week alone, we've seen Stephen Hadley. . . Donald
Rumsfeld. . . President Bush. . . and Vice President
Cheney lash out at their critics. . . yet they all
remain silent when it comes to giving our troops and
the American people a plan. Tired rhetoric and
political attacks do nothing to solve our problems in

As a former boxer I know, your opponent always starts
to swing wildly when you've got them on the ropes. The
way to beat them isn't to hesitate, but to continue
landing punches until he goes down. The Iraq war is
too important an issue to allow cheap political
attacks to prevent us from doing what is best for our
troops and best for our country.

Back when I was Nevada Gaming Commissioner the mob
planted a bomb inside my car. That didn't scare me
from doing what was right then, and I certainly am not
scared of George Bush and his gang now. Democrats are
going to keep pressing forward demanding
accountability for intelligence failures and demanding
a strategy for success that will bring the troops

Call the White House and let them know you are tired
of political attacks and want real solutions for Iraq.
You can reach the White House by dialing:


Thank you,

Harry Reid

PS Since Tuesday more than 55,000 of you have signed
the letter to George Bush asking him not to pardon
Scooter Libby. You can still sign onto the letter by

Once Again, No Exit Strategy

From the BBC. I can't decide if it's sad or funny.
President George W Bush tried to make a quick exit from a news conference in Beijing on Sunday - only to find himself thwarted by locked doors.
(Be sure to watch the video.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Today's Political Rant

The bit below was clipped part and parcel from It covers the Bush team’s recent “fight-back” strategy. The story, presented linearly, is, first, a WaPo news story regarding the administration’s new offensive, then, a NYT editorial practically condemning Bush in regard to this, and finally, the White House’s wild response to that editorial in the form of a scattershot press release.

What I find interesting is the White House’s counter attack press release. To defend themselves, they basically point to news stories, many of which were based on cooked “evidence” and “facts” previously released through the White House itself in press releases, speeches, conferences, and, of course, leaks. They prop up their defense on these articles despite ongoing revelations illuminating the “facts” of these stories to be the product of the worst kind of political exaggeration, wishful thinking and outright fabrication.

In other words, the White House is holding up their own media filtered bullshit as proof of not only their own veracity but, by the nature of their careful wording, their own righteousness. Incredible! Thankfully, the public and (finally) the media seem to be through buying White House spin. Not a minute too soon, I might add.
Via Cursor:
As 'Iraq Critics Meet Familiar Reply,' the White House issued a six-page rebuttal to a 900 word editorial it described as coming "from the newspaper that gave us Jayson Blair."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Speaking of Cos (Reprise)

It looks like I’ll be reprising my role as sidekick for the nation’s first and only live talk show, The Brian Costello Show with Brian Costello this weekend at The Empty Bottle. I’ve played the Ed McMahon to Cos’ Carson a few times in the past after founding sidekick and Chicago’s funniest Japanese import, Ken Kegawa went missing. (Incidentally, no one’s heard from him since—My money’s on the Triads.)

Helping out is always a gas, though admittedly, the last time the show ran long and at about the two and a half hour point I fell asleep on stage. Massively unprofessional, I know. But apparently all’s been forgiven and I’ve been asked back… or several funnier, more congenial folks have backed out. In any case, if you’re in the Chicagoland area this weekend, stop by the Empty Bottle for some laughs, some rock and roll, and perhaps the city’s best bloody marys. And if you’re not careful, you just might learn something.

The Empty Bottle - 1035 N. Western Ave.Chicago, IL
(Corner of Western and Cortez)
Satuday, Nov 19, 3:00 PM
Joe Tower, Lance "Romance" D'Ambrosia & Sean Gardnerwith musical guests CoCoComas and of course, the house band: The Krunchies

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Speaking of Costello...

Speaking of Costello, he’s had his first novel published!

Chicago upstart publishing house Featherproof Press put out The Enchanters Vs. Sprawlburg Springs as their maiden title and our man Cos is currently giving a lot of face time in interviews, readings and such.

The Enchanters... is a superb short-length novel ostensibly about the burnout of a small-time punk band in a middle class suburban hellhole. But, really, there’s more to it than that. As we follow the raucous lives of the four members of The Enchanters and the couple dozen minor players, Cos expertly weaves a stirring punk rock philosophy lesson through the narrative. Ultimately, The Enchanters becomes a story about the flux of inspiration, creation and expression (and its sheer contagion) in the lives of kids who are smart enough to know that the best fun is the kind you make yourself.

Be sure and check out The Enchanters faux band page (the “live” photos are particularly brilliant).

--BUY IT!--

Friday, November 11, 2005

Yes, I Am A Degenerate

An email I sent to Brian Costello earlier today:

Sorry I missed the gig. Hope it went well.
We had a work party for a couple of promotions. It was 5 hours of free drinks at the bar downstairs of our bldg. I think I had 11 gray goose and cranberrys. I passed out on the train coming home around 9:30. I woke up at some stop and ran off the train for some reason thinking I'd arrived at my stop. It wasn't. I'm still not sure which stop it was. But I am sure that I puked all over the stairs of that train stop. Perhaps I was just marking it so I could find it again.
Wandered the streets until I found my way home an hour and a half later. Total zombie walk. Dead drunk.
I have the distinct impression that I was saying all kinds of crazy shit to my coworkers, including the bigshot head of my division. I am positive that one of those crazy things was claiming that I had a 275 bowling average. What the fuck???

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Woah! Woah! Woah! - Part Two - Really.

I’m a criminal. When it comes to wasting electricity, anyway. One of the worst. Lower than low.

When home alone and busy doing anything or nothing, I’m notorious for having every TV in the house on to a different channel, volumes muted while the stereo blasts in the front of the house and the radio back in the kitchen. I guess I enjoy the sensory overload. Or my ADD is way, way outta control.

I was living up to this rep when Sarah got home that night. The radio in the kitchen was tuned to my favorite night of public radio broadcasting while the bedroom TV was tuned to SportsCenter. Across the house, Early Man's killer, Ozzy-fied debut Closing In cranked from the office stereo and my bass amp rested in mid-surgery on the coffee table across from the other TV which I’d completely forgotten was halfway through showing the third film of the night, the hilariously over-the-top, historical art-porn epic, Caligula.

I’d watched maybe about five minutes of it occasionally looking up from the puzzle of wires in the amp. There's somthing profoundly funny about glancing up at the TV screen and catching a few seconds of a beheading, a castration, a full-on orgy or a pompously over-acted monologue. In that respect (and because it’s damn near impossible to sit through the entire snail-paced, plotless mess), Caligula is far and away the best background movie out there.

So, I always try and tone down the multi-media assault for Sarah’s sake, but being as wrapped up as I was, I forgot and in she walked to the weird world of my alone time. The sonic battering flipped her equilibrium and she stumbled into the living room only to see the filthy speaker cabinet and its innards up on the coffee table. Her expression went from revulsion to shock when she spun around and saw the TV.

Now, Sarah’s no prude by any means, but after the one-two punch of the noise and the mess, she just wasn’t prepared for the whole thing to be lit by the glow of--of all the damn crazy moments in the movie--the "skin lotion" production scene, aka the circle jerk scene. If you’ve seen Caligula you know which one I’m talking about. Ugh. If you haven’t, don’t worry. There’s really no reason to put it in your headspace out of the context of the movie. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. And if that’s the case, you’ve probably got all your favorite web sites bookmarked.

Anyway, that was it for poor Sarah. She looked at the TV, then at me, back and the TV then back at me before rolling her eyes and walking off to dismantle the audio-visual nest I’d made for myself that evening.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Woah! Woah! Woah! - Part Two - Interrupted

I gleefully interrupt the scheduled post of Woah! Woah! Woah! Part Two to bring you the following, late-breaking news. This aint surprising, but boy-howdy is it funny:

Abramoff-Scanlon School of Sleaze -
Wednesday's Senate hearings yielded more scandalous revelations about how the dynamic lobbying duo bilked American Indian tribes out of millions and used the money to win elections for their Republican clients.
(Link is to today's article.)

In regard to the ongoing Washington crooked lobbyist / GOP investigation, a memo has been leaked. It's basically a behind-the-scenes strategic communication regarding get-out-the-vote drives and fundraising. On the surface that doesn't seem like anything to get in a tizzy about, but, it's who they're attempting to reach (their Conservative Christian base) and how these people are referred to when they're not around that is raising eyebrows.

Of course we all know damn well that the GOP and right wing shitheads cozy up to the religious types with all their talk of values and morality only to shake votes from the tree. In fact, if the current administration's track record is any indicator, the right wing is functionally devoid of morals. As one scandal after another mounts, it remains to be seen how far the GOP's pro-family, Compassionate Christian, lib-ruhl hatin' supporters will follow them. I imagine it'll take some time before the shitstink of lies can get washed off; before the impacted manure gets scraped outta their ears; before their eyes can adjust from the black-or-white-ness of the with-us-or-against-us mindset; before the right wing mind fuck begins to ring hollow and the less impressionable, less scared, less stupid among them begin to wake up.

Perhaps this will help:

As one DailyKos reader commented, "I've started reading through the rest of the emails in that 300+ page document dump. The contempt for the wacko constituency is palpable throughout. They are literally converting these fools into cash: charging $5K plus for church rallies; purchasing member lists from the Christian Coalition and charging clients up the wazoo for this 'service.'"

Woah! Woah! Woah! - Part One

Woah! Woah! Woah!
It looks like this thing’s off to a bad start.
In the interest of keeping it up to date, if not wildly exciting, I meant to post something about last Friday night. Never happened. Wasn’t feeling it. Guess I’m feelin’ something now, so here’s the Reader’s Digest version:
See, I stayed home to strip this pair of high end speakers that were hanging around and use the parts to rebuild my old, old bass amp. I was fairly successful until it came to wiring the thing together. It had been almost nine years (!?) since I originally pulled the thing apart and, of course, I’d forgotten what wire went where. Normally, I’d have given it the old college try and soldered away, but over the course of the evening I’d given it the old Gainesville try and somehow drunk an entire bottle of sake intended for both Sarah and I later that night. Oops. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to pack it at that point, probably saving a few trips down to the fuse box and possibly one to the emergency room.
I only got about two screwdrivers put away by the time Sarah got home from work. She walked in and was aghast at the mess of tools, wires, fiberglass and dirt all over the (five dollar thriftstore) coffee table. She was even more aghast when she turned around and saw on the television a gaggle of dongs, butts and boobs.
(To be continued…. And, NO, it wasn’t porn.)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Heartburn Vs. "Fuck Yea!"

Heartburn Vs. "Fuck Yea!"
The debilitating heartburn has set in again. I haven't taken my pills in about a week now. I ran out of those little over-the-counter miracles and couldn't spare the cash for a new box. The first few days without is never too bad. I often think, against all experience, “maybe that's it, that maybe I've finally beaten this affliction.” Like it's a terminally treatable condition along the lines of athlete's foot or pinkeye or something. But sure enough, by the end of that third day the acidic, squeezing pain slowly sets in. It begins off in the background and grows almost hourly to the point where about 5 days in, I feel like I could retch a geyser of pure stomach acid. Devil's rain indeed.

And of course those goddamn little pills I rely on are not manufactured to cure anything. Just delay the symptoms for a little while until the medication wears off and the pilot light in my stomach flickers to life and I reach for another pill. And another and another until I don't even question why no one's come up with a permanent fix for this shit and I forget how much cash I and so many others throw down every year just trying to feel normal again.

It's days like this, when there are no pills and the billowing nausea swells to what's gotta be a breaking point that I remember in this great free market economy, in this brave new century of American hyper-capitalism that the fix is in, alright. There are too many people making far too much money off of other's prolonged misery. Why bother with a cure. It's bad for the bottom line.
And you thought the War on Drugs was all about South America, inner-city gangs and disposable income.

Anyway, I'm thinking about all that while hunkered down in my corner of cubicle town. It's Monday, so I tune in to the reliably brilliant DJ Leanna's broadcast on Boston's great WZBC radio. The second song in to the set nearly knocks me out of my fancy office chair. It's a wild, epic masterpiece by the Japanese band, KoenjiHyakkei. I picked up an album of theirs during a visit to San Francisco five or six years ago called Hundred Sights of Koenji. Only after admiring the great Japanese prints on the cover did I notice a little, handwritten sticker in the bottom corner reading, "Ruins Drummer." I bought it right away and sure enough, it turned out to be a side project from Ruins drummer/mastermind/mad scientist, Tatsuya Yoshida that had more in common with circus music than the post-hardcore sound of The Ruins. Male and female vocals alternately scream and coo atop keyboard drenched epics punctuated by Tatsuya-son's typically frenetic drumming. They flaunt their turn-on-a-dime song structures to the point that the album seems like some kinda A.D.D. rock opera. In a good way.

Needless to say, I loved it. Also needless to say, I was thrilled today to hear they had something new out. On "Angherr Shisspa," KoenHyakkei’s new sound is more measured and less bombastic but the carnival atmosphere still holds the songs together through all the unexpected twists and turns.

And yea, for a little while there I forgot all about my stomach troubles, the dark side of capitalism, or doing any work and quietly rocked out in the friendly confines of my cubicle.

The cut DJ Leanna played, Rattims Friezz, is available here courtesy Skin Graft records.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

New Lightning Bolt Album!

The new Lightning Bolt album, Hypermagic Mountain was officially released last week. I got ahold of a, um, promo copy last month and initially had mixed feelings about it. Now, after several listenings it's grown on me a bit. While I still don't think it tops 2003's jaw-dropping, mind-bending, Wonderful Rainbow ("Dracula Mountain" mp3), it's certainly got it's moments.

Trying to describe Lightning Bolt's sound is a chore, but their press release does a good a job as anyone... and probably a good deal funnier:
"All killer-no filler follow-up to 2003's Wonderful Rainbow, Hypermagic Mountain slams into hyperdrive for a full 60-minute ride. The songs are dense and constructed from an intense three week recording session in a psychic sweatbox. The band has blurred differences to any other sound pirates with a primal base and new musical vocabulary fueled by chemistry altering volume and SONGS! Throbbing low end played on a 300-foot long bass and kick drums the size of Exxon supertankers, all stretched into a triumphant war stomp all walks can love. With just bass and drums (a two piece band you see) they have constructed the densest sound imaginable."

Despite my nitpicking, it's still a great album by one of the most original bands in the history of rock and roll (and jazz?). I'll be picking up a copy of the double lp come payday.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Speaking of Fridays...

We’ve all got our favorite personal soundtracks, right? Favorite songs to wake up to or fall asleep to, favorite songs to drive to, to work out to, do drugs to, rock out or make out to. Well, I’ve also always had my favorite songs to leave work to. Like all my other favorite situational songs, they’re constantly moving in and out of heavy rotation and, for whatever reason, tend to appear on or near weekends.
As a high school lad in Orlando, I’d burn rubber away from Little Caesar’s Pizza in my 1980 Firebird with damn near any song from The Lemonheads damn near perfect punk-rock-lite album, Hate Your Friends. On the short ride home from work, I'd breathe deep and fill my teenage lungs with the intoxicating air of temporary freedom (and no doubt an unhealthy dose of carbon monoxide from the cracked exhaust line).
In college, I’d zip through the crowded Gainesville streets on my skateboard, sweaty and usually sticky, covered in some combination of cheese, beans and salsa. The cassette walkman could have been playing anything, but more often than not, I’d fly out of EL Indio high on adrenaline, Jarritos and any of a half a dozen songs by Japanese rock-and-roll freak out act, The Ruins.
As always, the list keeps changing, but right now, this minute at the very ass end of the work week, I’m all over Rocky Erickson’s, I Think of Demons. It still holds up as one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever written. And, at least for today, it seems like the perfect soundtrack for flying out of cubicle town, down eleven flights, onto the train and off along the greatest urban theme park ride in the country, eagerly anticipating the comfortable me-ness of home.

Friday, Friday, Friday

Friday, Friday, Friday.......
Oh, the joys of the working stiff.
So, how's about a picture of somthing that's just not working?
(Pic nabbed from the Brian Jonestown Massacre's page)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Friday, October 14, 2005

Moving In...

I'll be unloading the truck here for a bit. Fixing things up. Letting the paint dry. Whatever.
So, in the meantime, keep up with my buddy Mike's Antarctic adventures at
He's made it to his first stop on the continent and should be leaving for 4 months at the South Pole in another week or so.