Friday, July 15, 2005

The More I Hear About Valerie Plame…

...The more I think that the only thing that Rove did wrong was to dissemble about his role in casually answering a question from Novak.

Unfortunately, that’s pretty bad in my book.

It’s 2:47 in the Morning…

...Do you know where your Zomby is?

Bush Brings the Apocalypse

Mark Morford is busy today warning us, in that extra-special Mark Morford kind of way, that President Bush is about to bring about the apocalypse. This borders a bit on the shrill and hysterical side even for the shrill, hysterical Morford.

I will, when the devolution comes and oil is $200 a barrel and we are at war with China and the dollar is worth about three cents on the euro, be relying on the talents and largesse of others. I have, for example, a wonderful brother-in-law with his own ranch-compound up near Spokane, well stocked with guns and canned goods and copious hiding spaces, and it is remote and rural and ready to be turned into a guarded inbreeding complex just after BushCo finally mistakes his electric toothbrush for the “nukular” button and hastens the end of the world as we know it, just as the evangelicals are right now pleading.

His support for the contention that the end is nigh comes from people who seem to indulge in a sort of wish fulfillment for the types who secretly imagine that the Unabomber might have been onto something. Morford describes his view of Armageddon with such passion that readers would be forgiven for wondering if he truly hopes that it might come to pass: it would be the ultimate opportunity for the arrogant writer to shout “I told you so” and wallow even more in his self-righteousness.

Of course, he ascribes the push for the final days right in the lap of those scary evangelicals. That’s painting with a mighty broad brush.

Aside from the completely fantastic nature of what he has written, the most startling thing is his complete disdain for anyone who isn’t, well, him. He appears to hate rural America nearly as much as he hates President Bush.

Read the Rest...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Rock the Vote: Gimme Gimme Gimme Some More

I just spent the last few minutes of my life watching Rock The Vote’s infomercial for higher taxes and resistance to Social Security changes. I am stunned by the one-sided, head in the sand, misleading little bit of propaganda.

In case I don’t have the opportunity to put together an extensive response later tonight, I did want to make sure that everyone had a chance to see this thing and understand that the opposition to Social Security reform isn’t based in anything rational. It’s based in ignorance (no, there really isn’t a problem--honest) and a stunning selfishness (not only is there no problem, but there will always be enough new workers to make sure that we all get paid even more than current retirees).

Sheer idiocy.

On London’s Immigration Problem

Want to get some feathers ruffled? Try starting a conversation with this:

I grew up in that city. I walked its streets, haunted its museums, bedeviled its bookstores, and sort of grew up to see it through the eyes of Charles Dickens through my studies and then my own eyes. Its homes house beloved friends and its cemeteries enclose cherished friends and loved family members.

I must confess that over the years I did not like what I was seeing as far as immigration was concerned. You could hardly find an Anglo-Saxon if you went out hunting for one on the streets of London. I am not a racist, but I am a person who wants to see English men and women when I go to London. I guess London has a bigger racial vision than I do, and I respect that though I do not agree with it.

How closed minded, right? How racist, right?

Well, Dr. Mohammed T. Al-Rasheed would differ with you on that opinion. And while I don’t agree with his conclusion on the subject, his hard words do have some informative power and it certainly provides a sharp contrast to the normal PC thoughts that are seen on immigration and cultural integration.

Islam, in its normative form, will live side by side with other faiths and nationalities. But some Muslims, as is seen today, are not ready for cohabitation. Sure enough, the majority of Muslims, and I am one of them, would say that they can do so, but unless we as Muslims clean our house, the issue is rather academic.

As I said, hard words.

Read the rest. And be prepared to agree, disagree, and probably even feel a little offended.

He, Too, Knows of the Greatness of Lanegan

Soapgun would probably deserve a place on the blogroll despite the fact that the proprietor is a Lanegan fan, but that definitely tips the scales in his favor.

Y’all should go say “hi.” Maybe send him a bottle of Jack through the Super Secret Pneumatic Blogging Tube Alcohol Delivery System.

Update: Matt has properly spanked me for not giving him a nod as the primary developer of the SSPBTADS. I apologize for my thoughtlessness and hereby urge all and sundry to visit his site and make his stats soar.

Sorry, pal.

The Water of Life

I get very excited when people start talking about vodka.

Very excited, indeed.

And in other news, one of the infamous Guantanamo prisoners was terribly embarrassed, a little cranky, but not very tortured. I don’t think that anyone will get much traction complaining that the so-called 20th hijacker was forced to wear women’s undies on his head.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Oh, the Irony

Thinking Small
Living wage laws means considering the larger effects of unemployment and, quite possibly, fewer people participating in the economy and higher welfare expenditures is looking at the small picture.

Thinking Big
Realizing that some of the lowest wage earners will benefit while the people just below them at the bottom rung will slip even further down since they’ll be competing for fewer jobs.

“When you look at when these laws are passed and see whether or not there are wage or employment impacts, we actually do see wage increases with some offsetting employment declines,” said University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor Scott Adams.

A 6 percent employment decline in cities that require a living wage (search), according to the study.
“They [the laws] don’t work. They don’t help the people that they are intended to help,” said Anthony Archie of the Pacific Research Institute (search). “They’re supposed to help low-skilled workers and they actually crowd them out from getting jobs.”

But supporters of the ordinances find the study’s methodology flawed. Instead of using city-wide data, as this report does, a more accurate barometer would be to examine just those workers affected by the laws, they say.

Doing so would show a silver lining in what they call “the bigger picture.”

This is introducing a whole new way of thinking--a whole new way of looking at the big-little divide.

Uses in Other Areas

  1. “But, Mr. Race Car Driver, if you look at the big picture, the smaller engine is better because it will save you a ton on gas.” Although you probably won’t win the race.
  2. “But if you look at the big picture, the smaller picture on the smaller TV will ensure that none of your friends bothers you on Super Bowl Sunday.” Although your chances of seeing the details of the wardrobe malfunctions decreases dramatically.
  3. “This way, with your smaller house, the people down the street won’t envy your bigger home.” Although your own sense of envy might be somewhat heightened.
  4. “Baby, but if you look at the big picture, a small penis is actually better because it’s, ummm...yeah, I got nothing.”

Here’s the idea: the best way to create a better job market with better paying jobs is to get out of the way and let the economy grow. Artificially raising wages just ensures that fewer people get to come out into the workforce and play.

Apparently, though, that’s not looking at the “bigger picture.”

Apple Quarterlies: Pretty Darned Good

In case, like me, you were waiting to hear Apple’s results for Q3:

Apple Computer (AAPL) on Wednesday reported a third-quarter profit of $320 million, or 37 cents a share, on revenue of $3.52 billion. During the same period a year ago, Apple earned $61 million, or 9 cents a share, on revenue of $2.01 billion. Apple beat the estimates of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call, who forecast a profit of 31 cents a share on $3.34 billion in revenue. IPod sales climbed to 6.15 million units from 860,000 a year ago.

I think that might qualify as “pretty good.”

Job Woes

Okay, so I’m sitting here laying out a brochure and I have a problem: too much information, too few pages. If I extend to another page, I’ll have a page with barely any information on it at all, if I don’t, I’ll have a page that’s inconsistent with the rest of the layout.

I planned it carefully. I planned the typefaces, the sizes, the colors, the placement and size of the elements, and the amount of information that I have to place--and somewhere I screwed up. Not a lot, mind you, just enough to leave quite literally two lines dangling to a new page.

Argh. I am choking back the profanity right now.

While I regroup, I’m looking at RSong, going from the bottom up, and marveling at the inconsistency in style, topic, and seriousness on the site. You might go to Steve for his insightful commentary. You might go to Jeff for his biting wit and his insightful commentary. But you come here for my meandering voice (and apparent, mild mental instability).

There’s something kind of nice about that.

I mean, it goes from the Evil Genius post, a couple posts on the London terrorist bombings, my happiness at Brent J. Brent’s lengthy prison sentence, one-and-a-half sentences about how much I love Adobe InDesign , proper pronunciation of Sinn Fein, sleepiness, a word that I hate, Count Dante, 7 Seconds, “Gory, Gory, What a Hell of a Way to Die” (AKA, “Blood in the Risers"), The Bad News Bears, the gunblogger meeting, the question of armed rebellion, DC Comics, Mark Lanegan, and a couple of links.

And that’s just a few days of my messy head spilling out in pixels on the screen. The site moves in mysterious ways. Frivolous, frivolous, goofy, frivolous, obscure--hey, when is it okay to have an armed revolution, anyway--frivolous…

It leaves me wondering why y’all drop by. Not that I’m complaining, because there are some interesting conversations going on (specifically in the revolution and the gun rights posts).

So, thanks for continuing to come by. Thanks for occasionally linking. Thanks, most, for commenting and keeping it all interesting. And, uh, hey, sorry about the wandering path.

One of These Things is Surprising, One of Them is Not

Exhibit A: Andy makes a funny.

Exhibit B: Molly Ivins makes an apology.

News of Lanegan

Admit it: you’ve been wondering about Mark Lanegan lately. You’ve been asking yourself when he’ll be putting out another CD of often surprising, sometimes beautiful, occasionally frightening music. Even more importantly, you’ve been pondering one of life’s big questions: why has Zombyboy gone so long without indulging his semi-secret obsession?

Yeah. Good question.

It sounds as if Lanegan has been a busy boy. Aside from the rumors that still work to explain his departure from the Queens of the Stone Age tour--and the rumors are ugly in the way that rumors about musicians are always ugly--there have been a number of recent Lanegan sightings and the great potential for a whole lot of music coming our way. Of course, with anything Lanegan-related, release dates should be taken with a block of salt.

The Twee Lanegan

When Isobel Campbell couldn’t find anyone in her native Scotland to sing the low part on a song for her upcoming Ballad of the Broken Seas, the ethereal-voiced singer reached across the Atlantic and connected with one of rock’s deepest, growliest voices: former Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan.

“Why Does My Head Hurt So?"--the first song that they did together--was gorgeous. The sound is lush and the song is sweet; it’s one of his finest vocal performances. I’m holding onto a lot of hope for this one. Theoretically, it should be out in September.

The Un-Twee Lanegan

At the Hullabaloo show in Silver Lake, former Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli gave up the goods on his upcoming collaboration with former Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan. The Gutter Twins, as the Nineties rock stalwarts are calling themselves, have almost wrapped the tentatively titled Saturnalia. “My favorite track is ‘All Misery,’” said Dulli. “I think it’s some of the best vocals Mark’s ever done. He’s one of my favorite singers of all time, so that’s going pretty deep.”

The Gutter Twins have been discussed for quite some time now, but the finished product just never seems to surface. Maybe with the time spent away from Queens of the Stone Age, Lanegan really has had the time to put some of these products to bed.

To be honest, though, this one worries me a bit. Dulli is a creative force, but he’s also prone to missteps and overreaching. If he dominates the project, then it could end up sounding less like a collaboration and more like a Dulli side-project with Lanegan singing. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s far from ideal.

The Mysterious Lanegan

Ben Hater just got done recording 16 new songs with Mark Lanegan! Ben says its “gun-fighting music”

Ben Hater? Is that a reference to Ben Shepherd? Shepherd has worked with Lanegan on his last few albums, so that wouldn’t be a stretch, and Shepherd is the driving force behind the band Hater.

Or is it someone that I’ve just never heard of before? I feel so lost.

But 16 new songs of “gun-fighting music.” Yeah, you know I’m intrigued.

Now, about those release dates…

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I Link Because I Have To…

How does DC Comics suck? Let Nathan count the ways...

And in other news, you may wonder, “How can wood get so hard? Well the wood became hard over two million years ago.”


(Yeah. I know. I should be ashamed of myself...)

A Valid Expression of Discontent

The previous post has touched on the subject of revolution--specifically, the recognition of the right to overthrow a government that no longer responds to the will of the governed and that cannot be persuaded to change or relinquish power through normal, non-violent means. I recognize that right, and, as Jerry pointed out in his comment, I also recognize that gun rights are one of the most important aspects of preserving that right to rebel.

That begs a question, though: when it is right to rebel? Not in fuzzy terms, but in very specific terms, when is violent rebellion a valid expression of discontent?

I’ve always struggled with that question. Not because I think our government is ripe for overthrow--I don’t believe that is even close to being true--but because it is one of those hard questions that I’ve always tended to answer, internally, with the same kind of answer that most people give in the pornography vs. art debate. I can’t tell you what pornography is, but I know it when I see it.

And maybe that’s the best answer I’ll ever have, but that is something less than satisfactory.

I’ve always tethered this debate to two very specific questions that relate to American history.

Read the Rest...

Colorado Gunblogger Meetup Info

1. Because shooting is fun.

Shooting as a pastime is fun. Whether it’s hunting, plinking, target practice, or one of the competition styles, it’s simply fun to send bullets downrange. It takes skill, consistency, and practice to be good--and, for me, it takes patience.

In a strange way, it’s like meditation. With gunpowder.

2. Because we still have the right.

As fewer Americans shoot and own their own handguns, rifles, or shotguns, the right to own weapons will slowly wither. It will fade away from neglect because people have more important things to worry about. Exercising the right to own a weapon is one of the best ways to ensure that the right is never taken away--the more broad-based the support, the more people care, the more gun rights becomes important enough to defend.

3. Because the we have the right to defend ourselves.

And here’s the kicker: as human beings, we have the right to defend ourselves from people who would do us harm. Regardless of legal consequences at the other side of the encounter, I have the right to defend myself, and I don’t need official state sanction to do so.

That is why all you Colorado bloggers out there with similar beliefs--whether you consider yourselves “gunbloggers” or not--should show up and enjoy what will be both a fun day and a small statement about what we believe. Thanks to Jed for putting it together.

Monday, July 11, 2005

In Case You Missed It

This is the first (and quite possibly only) time I’ll have linked to something titled “Not In My Name.” In case you missed the Instapundit link, all I’ll say is that this was a really good thing to see.

Share it with your friends.

The Bad News Bears: A Quick Thought

The Bad News Bears, like [Lead Character Name Here] and the Chocolate Factory, didn’t really need a remake. The original was hilarious and beautifully profane. My kind of movie.

On the other hand, if it was going to be remade, then casting Billy Bob Thornton in Walter Matthau’s role is pure genius. After seeing him in Bad Santa, I have no doubt that Thornton can play the casually cruel, cantankerous, drunken role of Buttermaker. Other actors might tend to overdo the role, but Thornton will just show up and be the alcoholic coach.

Even though it stands as another Hollywood remake in a season where original thought is at an unbelievable low, I’ll be watching.

Memories to Get You All Soggy in the Eyes

My friend Chick Eastman, God rest his soul, used to have my family up to his house in the mountains every few weekends. It was drinking, shooting, eating, and bullshitting of the highest order. It was during those weekends that I learned the fine arts of blowing things up, creating mayhem and improvised explosives, rappelling, fencing--and the even trickier bits of living like duty, honor, respect, and self-sacrifice. He also fed my craving for the written word with his incredible library of books and old magazines.

Those weekends were formative in a way that I never could have imagined.

Now, way back in some part of my head, I remember him drunkenly warbling the song “Gory, Gory, What a Hell of a Way to Die.” Sung to the tune of ”Battle Hymn of the Republic,” it told the story of a young troop during his first jump. Unfortunately, the ‘chute failed to open and the result was messy has hell.

Gory, indeed.

Anyway, here’s the thing: I don’t actually remember the song. I only remember little snippets of the thing. I’d like to use it in something that I’m writing, so if anyone can help me out, it would be greatly appreciated.


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