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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

So, Let Me Get This Straight (II)

If enough people vote for Corker, the left will run more pictures of his daughter smooching on other women?

Because, if that’s the case, I wish I could vote for the guy. His daughter is freakin’ hot.

Hot, I tell you.

I’m David J and I approved this message.

Another Bit o’ Lanegan

A while back, I noted that Mark Lanegan was doing a project with the Soulsavers. It looks like the album is slowly moving forward and the first taste of it can be found (apparently only for a limited time) on the Soulsavers’ MySpace page, and, even in its demo version, it’s mighty tasty.

“Ghosts of You and Me” is groovy, messy, loud, and tense--and I’m loving it. Unfortunately, the MySpace player is a touchy little thing and you might have a difficult time getting it to play the full song. Be persistent, though, and you’ll get a taste of what might just be an awfully damn good album. The song keeps playing through my head (which, honestly, is making it easier to get through my work day).

So, Let Me Get This Straight

John Kerry wants to let us all know that if you don’t work hard and eat your Wheaties, you may well be stuck in with all the other mentally deficient men and women who serve in the military. And when that makes a person or two cranky, he wants us to know that his words are a big Republican plot and, well, damnit, he’s just not going to take it anymore.

Senator John Kerry issued the following statement in response to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, assorted right wing nut-jobs, and right wing talk show hosts desperately distorting Kerry’s comments about President Bush to divert attention from their disastrous record:

“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they’re crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.

You know, his self-righteous chest-beating and name calling would be funny if this guy weren’t the Democrat’s most recent choice to lead our country. The far-left Pelosi, the screaming Dean, and the PR disaster Kerry--the face of the modern party of the left.

Thanks for the entertainment, Mr. Kerry.

Update: As Robert from the Blogger News Network notes in the comments, Kerry is just wrong when it comes to the men and women who serve our country.

It actually reminds me of when I was dating Chris. Chris was pretty, smart, fun, and--well, she was lots of things. One thing she wasn’t, though, was particularly sensitive. One morning when we were lounging in bed, we started talking about my time in the military. She refused to believe that the military was made up of intelligent, well-adjusted people who had actively chosen a profession with little thanks, tiny paychecks, and the real potential for physical harm. Even when it came to me, she couldn’t imagine that I wanted to serve.

Which, that’s a tough concept for some people to gather in their heads. Chris persisted in believing that I had gone into the military because I had lacked direction and good counsel from my parents and peers. The truth is that I lost direction once I left the military--that I knew who I wanted to be in military terms, but I had to actively try to figure out what my life would be outside the bounds of the service in which I believed so deeply. She never understood why what she said had bothered me.

Some people join for college benefits. Some join because they do need to find direction. Some join because the believe in a particular cause (witness those who joined post-9/11 who may never have considered a military career otherwise). And some join because they believe that it is better to serve something greater than themselves--something that will live on long after they do and something that has the chance to make the world a little safer.

I met intelligent, accomplished, and “together” people in the Army. These weren’t, in the main, people with no place to go; these were people who knew precisely where they wanted to be.

Updated Again: De Doc is right on target for how I feel on the subject. As is The Colossus.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Karen Elizabeth Herndon

My friend Trench has asked that bloggers post about a young lady who was killed in a hit and run recently. If you have any information about what happened to Karen Elizabeth Herndon, a friend of Trench’s family, he can help you get in touch with the proper authorities.

Michael Savage: Not Just a Jerk

The few times that I’ve listened to Michael Savage--mostly on long road trips when I ran out of CDs to listen to at odd hours--I thought that he was a borderline racist and a full on jerk. I never imagined, though, that he was a full on fraud.

As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Savage is a top contributor to Brown’s campaign against conservative state senator Chuck Poochigian. His gift of $5,600, the maximum allowable under state law, was merited, Savage told the Chronicle after being outed. Why? Because “You have to make choices in an imperfect world.”

Undoubtedly so, but that’s hardly the red-faced extremist talking that Savage plays on the radio. So what explains the generosity?

There is much about him that would suggest, not an ideologue at all, but simply a performer. Then again, sometimes you get the feeling that a refugee from Air America (the failed experiment in liberal talk radio) has been writing scripts for him based on a lefty’s cartoon mental picture of a ranting right-wing caveman.

This might make Savage’s supporters a little pissy, but I’m relieved. I’m relieved that this jerk isn’t on my side of the political fence, that his more-conservative-than-thou act is all some opportunistic act from a closeted leftist who realized that money was worth more than his own personal dignity or beliefs.

Whew.

H/T to the American Spectator blog.

Broncos v/ Colts: Horse Wars I (Updated)

I have no idea how this game is going to go, although I imagine that it will revolve around the Broncos’ defense. But, early, one thing that I find curious is that the Broncos, in their first possession, called pass on all except one play. That might not be such a great game plan.

First, the Broncos’ offensive strength right now is in their running game. The passing games has been mediocre (and occasionally closer to bad). More, the Colts’ defense has shows serious weakness against the run so far this year.

What gives? Is the Mastermind out-thinking his opponent or out-thinking his own darned self?

For more meaningful conversation about this game, check out Darren’s site. Once again, he is blogging from the press box and giving us the benefit of his insight.

Update: And, mostly on the strength of Plummer’s arm, the Broncos take the lead 7-3. The Mastermind says, “Take that, Zomby-bonehead.”

Re-Updated: What a painful loss, what a great game. I certainly can’t say that I’m happy, and I certainly can’t celebrate, but it really was quite a game. It came down to two things (since the Broncos’ offense really did it’s part): the defense’s inability to stop Manning in the second half and Plummer’s fumble that gave the Colts their second scoring opportunity of the second half. The defense was overmatched in the second half (although the same could be said of the Colts’ defense) and, in particular, couldn’t manage to get any pressure on Manning.

Still, it was a heck of a game--exciting and a whole lot of fun. Mike Bell came out looking brilliant and Plummer, aside from that damned fumble, played more than well enough to save himself from the bench.

It’s starting to look crowded in the AFC West again.

Sharing Moments I

When moving, you have that happy packing/unpacking/re-packing/deciding what goes into storage moment where you discover goofy/wonderful/painful/intriguing bits of your past that were happily boxed up the last time you moved.

Or, if you’re me, the time before the time before the last time you moved. Mostly, my memories stay boxed away so that they never have to infringe on my thoughts. This move is different, though; the f-word (thanks, Doug!) has a place pretty full of stuff and my stuff just won’t fit. I’m having to really evaluate the things that I’m keeping out and the things that are going to be closeted away in a storage space.

Lucky you. I’m in a sharing mood.

Right now I’ve found a little box with my June 1, 1978 Roosevelt Elementary School ribbons for first place in the Hot Wheel and second place in the 75-yard dash. I’m looking at them and wondering about the kid that won those little, tattered ribbons. It’s not just that it seems so long ago, it seems like a few lifetimes ago. The army, the marriage, the divorce, the deaths, the broken bones, and the sheer amount of change that has left that little kid unrecognizable (or, full well knowing what it means, the f-word described me as FUBAR) and the world around him something like a dream.

It also has my first voter registration card (1988) a few cards from Naval Jerry (not the earlier Army version or the later Traveling Geek version) and my British Airways Junior Jet Club membership kit.

Heheh. Cool. Little memories of moments that happened to a me that no longer exists.

Note: Pictures coming later.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

On My Mind

A series of thoughts from the mind of a tired and overworked (yet reasonably paid) graphic designer:

  1. The whole thing with Michael J. Fox’s ad is intriguing me right now. Was the ad manipulative? Certainly. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a passionate and honest belief in his cause. Debate the issue--the focus on Fox just seems misplaced.
  2. I just watched the movie September Tapes--an uninformed impulse rental that was so far from being good that I have to question my own sanity. The movie is so arrogant, the characters so unlikable, the mix of real footage with Blair Witch-inspired hideous script and plot go far in explaining why I had never heard of the film. What remains confusing is how anyone ever thought that this derivative, self-satisfied piece of crap was worth making.

    The central concept is that a man is driven to make a documentary a year after 9/11. He, a cameraman, and an interpreter go on an unsanctioned trip to Afghanistan to find Osama and the rest of his terrorist crew. The reality is that these guys did go to Afghanistan to film, they probably saw a lot of interesting things, and captured some compelling footage. If they’d left it at the reality, it might have made a good flick.

    What they did was dress up the thing with poorly written dialog, some credibility-shaking re-shoots, and ended with a blatantly manipulative bit of audio that left me not so much disappointed as honestly pissed.

    Just don’t do it.
  3. I hate politics.
  4. That’s obviously not true, but I am getting awfully tired of the political ads, the inflating of small issues into giant arguments, and the creepy faces of the candidates--overly scripted, rarely honest, always opportunistic--continually crawling along on my TV screen. Just make it stop.
  5. If you happen to be at a certain local industry show at the Denver Convention Center on November 8 or 9, look me up. I’ll be there babysitting a couple laptops.
  6. Barbershop is my chosen antidote for the sin of renting September Tapes. In case you were wondering.
  7. Mark Lanegan continues to expand his musical vision. He guests on Baldwin Brothers--a kind of electronic, jazzy, eclectic funk group that plays something far more dance-oriented than Lanegan’s usual rock music. He sounds good on the track, “The Party’s Over” (available on iTunes). His voice sounds well-rested and strong. Good stuff.
  8. For another iTunes hit of Lanegan, check out the new Twilight Singers, A Stitch in Time. It features two covers--Massive Attacks “Come Live With Me” and the Fat Freddy’s Drop tune “Flashback"--with Lanegan on lead. It’s a great little five songs with catchy rock and the Twilight Singers’ usual attitude and bravado. The last song, “The Lure Would Prove Too Much”, is one of those strange little gems that you’ll find it playing in your head over and over again as you fall asleep at night. If the mythical Gutter Twins album (a Lanegan-Dulli collaboration) sounds this good, then it is going to be mighty good. Screaming Trees good, if you take my meaning.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Comment of the Day (Because I"m Pretty Sure It Won’t Get Better Than This)

In a post about football where Rae very sweetly admits to noticing that I had changed the way I was referencing the g-phrase. Regular Blogger Basher, Commenter, and all around Brilliant Guy, Doug Sundseth, leaves this response for us to laugh about:

While I was not willing to expose my ignorance first, now that Rae has fallen on that grenade, I’ll come clean.  I saw that too, but I figured I was just not cool enough to have heard/read the announcement.  (It wouldn’t be the first time—or the 101st, sadly.)

So I take it the g-phrase is now the f-word?  8-)

My sincere congratulations to you both.

Love that guy.

Thanks to both of you.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Ain’t Gonna Study Playstation No More

$600 to buy the machine. $50 to buy the extra controller. Another few hundred for the games. That’s something like $750 to $800 just to play some games.

PlayStation 3 is just too damned expensive. I have a hard time imagining that PS3 will be successful when it costs a few hundred bucks more than the already pricy Xbox 360 and the only real benefit that I can see is that the online service is free. The HDTV feature is useless to me since I don’t have a hi def television.

Before I get a response telling me how amazing the graphics will be or how powerful the processor is, let me just say that sheer horsepower only gets me so far. The fact is that PS3 won’t give me much that I can’t get with the Xbox 360 aside from some games that will be PS3-only or gimmick extras in games that separate the 360 releases from the PS3 releases.

Consider me unimpressed.

The fact is that gameplay rules all. Graphics help and so does processor speed, but it’s all about how addiction. It’s all about making a game that is so fun, so easy to jump into, so compelling to explore that I don’t want to put it down. And that has nothing to do with the disk format that the manufacturer chooses.

The PS3 will never find a place in my home unless the price drops tremendously or I buy one secondhand. Ultimately, I have better things to do with that much cash.

Hardcore gamers will pony up the cash, but I doubt that many parents will find the cost palatable come Christmas and casual gamers like me won’t even give it a second thought.

I think Sony screwed up; in a year or so, we’ll know.

Update: De Doc feels the same way. The more I think about it, the more I think this is a huge misstep for Sony. New Coke-sized misstep without the relatively easy fix. I predict that after a tremendously disappointing Christmas season--both because no one wants the things and Sony can’t work their supply problems out--there will be a flurry of “Where Sony Went Wrong” articles in magazines and segments on TV. The PS3 will become yet another case study in failed business strategy.

Or I’m wrong. Which is always a possibility.

Stupid Act, Stupid Response

This morning, I watched a video that was pointed out by NRO’s Stanley Kurtz. It’s a video of a group of people from the group BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) protesting, in a rather odious and intimidating way, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.

And, regardless of your stance on racial preferences or the MCRI, it should be easy to say that storming into a meeting of canvassers, overturning tables, yelling and screaming, and disrupting a legal and reasonable political process is beyond the bounds of decent opposition behavior. Voicing an opposing opinion isn’t a bad thing and neither is working passionately to defeat the MCRI; but trying to intimidate the opposition into silence is wrong.

Unfortunately, I didn’t watch the video at the MCRI site as directed by Kurtz.

The MCRI site was rolling slow--probably a little overwhelmed by the traffic its getting from hundreds of bloggers wanting to see what all the ruckus was about--and kindly included a link to the same video hosted on YouTube. YouTube seems to me to be a breeding ground for ill-informed, outrageous commentary; so far, I remain far more interested in its music videos than at stabs at political statements. I honestly wish that serious people would keep their videos off of YouTube because it invites some pretty nasty people to the party.

Some of the handful of comments on this video range from merely stupid to truly vile. Examples (including the commenter’s name and the time of the comment):

paperweight90 (1 week ago)
Wow… The only reason these people are heard is because they are loud and violent. Just like their so called leader, ‘martin luther’ king who stole his name from Martin Luther, a German monk of the 1500’s.

wkh88 (3 days ago)
here’s sayin’ goodbye, you jiggaboos
pardon’s long overdue
so get on out of here
fuck off out of here

dafroballer11 (1 week ago)
uncivil monkeys against free speech (UMAFS)

Instead of going after the reprehensible behavior of the members of BAMN, the comments make attacks about ethnicity or show a serious lack of knowledge about one of the most important figures in American history. Isn’t that great? One group of idiots brings out another and the political conversation over racially based preferences and race relations in America takes another few steps back.

Just lovely.

Apologies

For anyone who sent an email over the weekend, apologies if I haven’t returned your note. When I got back to my house yesterday after a few nights in Estes Park, I found an ocean of sexually-explicit spam hanging out in my inbox. Wading through that ocean has been a pain in the butt; I may well have accidentally discarded a note or two.

Again, apologies, and if there was anything important and you havent yet heard back from me, please do me a favor and re-send the email.

Die, Spammers! Die die die!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Worst Team in the NFL

After a few days spent in Estes Park pondering my work life and spending a little quality, relaxed time with my future wife, I drove back today to watch a little football. The thing that most stood out to me this week--aside from Denver’s continuing odd mix of exceptional defense and subdued offense leading to wins taht aren’t exactly the height of entertainment (not that I’m complaining)--was that I was apparently wrong about the Oakland Raiders. That is, they aren’t the worst team in the league; that honor belongs to Arizona.

See, Arizona still had a chance to pull their season out of the ashes. Unfortunately for them, that chance was last week. This week the Cardinals proved that their breakdown last week is still rippling through the team. Their confidence is shot and their season is over.

The Cards are playing with a quarterback who has had his nerve severely shaken and whose backup is, very sadly, now only a reminder of how good he used to be. The offensive line is horrid, the defense inept, the special teams inconsistent. The Arizona Cardinals stepped up and snatched that “worst team in the league” label more convincingly than I would have guessed.

Congratulations to the Cards--it was a hardly fought “victory”. If you take my meaning.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Little Graphic Complaint

So, this probably won’t interest about 95% of people who come across the front page of ResurrectionSong today, but I still need to get it off my chest.

When exporting a 52-page layout to PDF using QuarkXPress’ built-in export utility, and when that document might contain a decent number of placed images and advertisements, I have noticed one thing:

Damn, this is freakin’ slow. Like I have nothing better to do than wait for spinning beachballs to tell me that the export is complete and I can move on…

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Despair is the Only Response

There are days when the only response to the headlines is despair and confusion. Take the story of a sexual assault on a developmentally disabled man:

The 21-year-old victim was hospitalized at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center, and two Shirley teens, ages 17 and 19, were charged with first-degree aggravated sexual abuse, police said.

The attackers followed the victim into a bathroom at the AMF Shirley Lanes on the Green, off William Floyd Parkway, police said.

While one attacker held down the victim, the other forced the plumbing snake, which is used to unclog drains, into the worker’s rectum and spun it several times, causing him severe pain, internal injury and bleeding, according to a police news release, which said the worker was “sadistically assaulted.”

Where the hell does that ever sound like a good idea to 17 and 19 year old boys? Such a cruel, vicious thing to do to someone. What kind of sentence is appropriate? How do you punish people for something so vile?

Consider the kind of broken minds that would even concoct the crime because, whatever the punishment is, these two young animals (they certainly don’t deserve to be called men and probably never will) will almost certainly be back in civilization again some day. When their time is up, they’ll be released back on a world that can barely grasp the enormity of this crime much less understand how to “rehabilitate” the minds of the people who would commit the crime.

There is a certain way of thinking that refuses to blame the criminals and insists that something in their upbringing must have twisted them and that, somehow, they aren’t entirely to blame for their actions. I won’t argue that point--it’s a foolish and irrelevant argument. We can mull root causes all we want and hope that something like this never happens again, but it doesn’t change the fact that these two need to be dealt with. I don’t care where the blame goes, I care that these animals are removed so far from the rest of us that they can no longer act out in a way that hurts us.

The truth is that whether you want to blame them or not, the enormity and severity of the crime isn’t just in the action; it’s in the allowing ourselves to realize that the massively warped minds that would do this aren’t constrained by anything approximating a normal, civilized human response to the humanity in others. Now, imagine yourself ever finding a way to trust these two in your daily life as an employee or fellow worker. Or perhaps as a father and husband.

That natural repulsion that we feel when we consider one of these two being a caretaker for a child is nature’s way of letting us know just how far we should trust these two. Sometimes people step so far outside the bounds of our laws and customs that they simply can’t ever be trusted to be put back in with the rest of us. This seems to be one of those times.

Update: Kindly updated, and expanded upon, at MTPolitics.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It’s Only a Flesh Wound. Sort of.

If you click through and then click through again, you’ll be treated to some not-terribly-graphic photos of a 5.56mm bullet sticking out of one unlucky man’s foot. Did you catch that? The bullet is sticking, pointy bit first, half way out the bottom of the guy’s foot.

Ouch. But sort of cool, too; that’s a great bar story, right there.

Some thoughts to add to Wadcutter’s musings on the deadly nature of falling bullets.

First, I would imagine that, except in an academic situation with controlled conditions, a bullet shot in the air would be very unlikely to have been fired truly vertical. There will almost always be enough of an angle on the shot to ensure that the bullet will be unstable at apogee. But, then, what the hell do I know about ballistics?

Second, as to whether the bullet would have had enough energy to penetrate a thick skull like mine, burrowing into decidedly squishier material below: from that photo, don’t imagine that I’ll be volunteering to test your theories.

TVR: Dead or Dying

TVR Cerbera
Once upon a time, the UK’s craziest car maker, TVR, made the most outrageous and striking you could imagine. They were sleek, low, scary sports cars with more in the way of speed and horsepower than common sense and usefulness. They were cars like the gorgeous Cerbera (pictured), the shocking Tuscan, and the almost pedestrian (by comparison) Tasmin.

And they were cool. They were British sports cars in the best and worst of the sense; they were nimble and full of charismatic personality, but they were also mechanically suspect. They also hadn’t been seen in the US for years as safety and emissions restrictions made it impossible for the small manufacturer to play in our sandbax.

In 2004, the struggling TVR was bought by a 24 year old Russion, Nikolai Smolenski, who has overseen the further decline of the British maker. Now, Smolenski is ceasing UK manufacture of the vehicles and moving production to an as yet unannounced location.

TVR calls it quits in UK

Despite having raised the hopes of workers and proud TVR enthusiasts in the UK, Russian owner Nikolai Smolensky has announced that he will be moving production of the niche sportscars out of the UK to another undisclosed European country. The move will result in 250 workers being laid off at the company’s Blackpool assembly plant. The Transport and General Workers’ Union that represents the TVR workforce said it was “bitterly disappointed” over the decision, especially considering that temporarily laid-off workers were rehired back in July and Smolensky had just moved his operations into a new facility within Blackpool. Smolensky seems to have mastered the art of false hope, having also announced in the past year that he would double TVR’s production with a new lineup and may begin selling cars in the U.S. Pardon us if we don’t get our hopes up.

Given the 26 year old’s previous promises and plans, this seems likely to be yet another step on the road to TVR’s oblivion. Obviously, TVR had a difficult time being competitive with larger manufacturers and its cars cost quite a premium, so non-car folks will hardly notice the loss. For car geeks, though, it represents another lost voice and little less personality in an industry that leans more toward mediocrity than we would like.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sudden (Perhaps Ridiculous) Realization

Holy, damnit.

I pay over eighty bucks a month for all this crap on TV? I mean, I pay over eighty bucks a month to be this frustrated by the crap that’s on my hundreds of channels on TV?

Okay, so I’m happy that the Broncos and Avs games look good, I’m reasonably regularly happy with stuff that’s on the History Channel, and I still dig House (which I can’t watch while the freakin’ baseball playoffs continue to irritate me (because, see, I really don’t much care for baseball unless it’s me going to a day game in the middle of summer--which I’m not and it isn’t)).

But on any given night, while I’m sitting here working, I’ll be more likely to find something irritating than something worth watching.

Die, television. Die die die!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Talk About Wrong

Good Lord, I was wrong about the Arizona-Chicago game. Chicago just made this thing about as exciting as a game can get.

At one point, they were down 20 points, the Bears now lead the game 24-23 with a few minutes left in the game. The Chicago offense owes the defense and the special teams a beer or three if this score holds up.

Wowsers. I didn’t see this happening…

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