Sunday, January 31, 2010

Spartacus: Blood and Boobs

I just episode one of Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

Well, what to say about that?

It makes 300 look subtle. It makes The Passion of the Christ look bloodless. And it has more boobs than you can count count. That last bit may not be strictly true. You probably could count the breasts on display, but it would take a sharp eye and strict attention to the task, which sort of takes the fun out of it.

That’s not all. You also get ridiculously bad acting, over-the-top writing, uproariously strange sex scenes, and some full frontal male nudity for the women. What you don’t get is compelling story-telling, interesting characters, or a moment’s respite from the overly stylized presentation.

I enjoyed 300,, but this takes the same ingredients and, somehow, screws up the recipe. I would say that the urge to oversell the comic book aspects of the violence, with explosions of blood consuming the screens, limbs flying willy-nilly, and even the smallest moments of violence given slow-motion treatment and imposing music. The sex scenes, well-short of the graphic nature of pornography but exhibiting the same skewed sense of fantasy sensuality, is just as off-putting as the stylized violence.

I suppose that’s a long winded way of saying that I thought that 300 stepped over the line of good story-telling and good taste in some of the same ways as Spartacus, but I still found something worth enjoying. This new Spartacus, on the other hand, left that line so far behind that all I could find was the urge to point and laugh when our hero’s wife fairly exploded into a wash of blood during the climax of one particularly strange dream sequence. I’m sure there’s something good about the show outside of its admirable commitment to gratuitous nudity; but, then, it fails even at that titillation when you realize that the writhing girls and simulated orgasms are an insult to anything remotely resembling real intimacy.

Don’t even get me started on the mismatched accents…

Friday, January 29, 2010

Office Space

I love that movie.

Anyway, I’m considering renting office space in Aurora, but I’m not entirely sure where or how much I might want to spend. Here’s the deal:

1- I need an occasional (a few days a week) desk and network access
2- I would like access to a printer and fax machine, but use both of them rarely
3- I don’t need phone service or an answering service
4- I don’t need mail services
5- I need very irregular access to a small meeting room
6- I need occasional odd-hours access (some weekends and some nights)
7- Nice neighbors and a fairly casual environment

It’s an odd set of needs. Most “executive office” rental services are far more than I need or want (and correspondingly pricey), but I am looking for a few things that make it tougher (like furnishings). I’m not really sure what a fair price would be, but I do know I would prefer to stay on the southeast side of Denver. If anyone has contacts with space that might fit my needs--or any specific knowledge of how to go about looking--I would appreciate your ideas.

On an entirely different note: thanks to Gnus from Aardvarks & Asshats for linking the Zomby translation of the SOTU address. I love it when that happens.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


“I forgot he was black tonight.”

What the hell does that mean? Listening to the audio, it’s even worse because it seems to indicate that Chris Matthews was somehow surprised that a black man could stand and talk about a wide range of subjects, could be in front of a “bunch of other white people”, could be so “in tune” with American life that he might somehow not sound black.

Or something.

What was he thinking?

If, as Matthews suggests, we’ve really entered a post-racial period, can’t we dispense with talking about race and get to talking about policies? 

2010 State of the Union Address: The Zomby Translation

I was in favor of skipping this year’s State of the Union address, but darling girl said we needed to watch. For some reason. So, here goes the running commentary and translation.

I just wish I had my own teleprompter to help me along…

Nancy Pelosi: For godssake, I hope he’s good tonight because careers are on the line. Oh, and welcome the President of the United States.

President Obama: Thank you. Madame Speaker, irritating faux pas machine, members of congress, some other folks who have been invited for easy political points, how’s it going?

First, I’d like you to know that all the bad stuff happened well before I got here and now it’s getting better. Which you might not have noticed with all the extra unemployment, bad economy, and stuff. Lucky for America, I ran for President and it’s getting better.

No, seriously.

So, I know you want all the hopey-changey bits and you want it quicker. You aren’t upset by the ballooning deficit or terrifying bills that my party has been proposing; you’re upset that we haven’t given you changes faster. Which is why some of you voted for a Republican who campaigned aggressively against my policies.

For some reason.

And, thank God you elected me, because I have personally never been more hopeful about America’s future than I am tonight. Which might be surprising when you think about all the extra unemployment, bad economy, and stuff. But you’re finally going to get a government that matches your decency and embodies your strength. Unlike all those bastards who have gone before.

By the way, we all hated the bank bailout. Seriously. I hated it, you hated it, everyone hated it. But, thank God for me, we did this and it made everything all better and we got most of our money back. Thank God for my willingness to be unpopular for your benefit. PS- We’re sending some gentlemen of Italian-American ancestry to get the rest. Eat the rich!

I cut taxes. For everyone. No, seriously. And I did it while extending extra jobless benefits to all the folks who still don’t have jobs. As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas and stuff, which was pretty awesome. Because of us, there are two million Americans working now who would otherwise be unemployed. Which you might not have noticed with all the extra unemployment, bad economy, and stuff.

And we’re going to add some more--and thank God for that handful of jobs that $700 billion buys you.

You might not have noticed, what with the continuing high unemployment rate, but jobs are being created and it’s getting better. No, seriously. And the real job engine of America is found in small businesses--the businesses that are being abused by the big banks. Which is why I’m going to take some of the money repaid by those banks--money borrowed from your childrens’ futures--and lending it out to small businesses that are such bad risks that the banks won’t give them money. And, if I might steal an idea from my Republican opponents, let’s kill off all capital gains taxes on small business investment.

Cool, huh?

And, while I’m at it, why the heck do other countries have faster trains that us? In the most powerful nation on the planet, why can’t we have trains that go faster? That’s important, too, you know.

Clean energy. Energy efficiency. No tax breaks for businesses who hire overseas.  Strange mix of policy ideas, sound bites, and useless suggestions.

Now, back to jobs. I’m going to tell congress to make sure that they give me a jobs bill, like, now. Because while I would say that small businesses are the real growth engine of jobs in America, I want to make sure that government is doing it part to screw things up.

Speed bump of confused, disjointed thoughts that don’t make much sense, really. India, Germany, and China have fast trains. Why can’t we have fast trains, too? I won’t accept second place for America! Faster trains and job bills, now, damnit!

What was I talking about?

It might be hard, you might not like the medicine, but, damnit, you will buy what I’m selling. I’m not going to punish banks, I’m just going to bully them a little bit for their own good. The lobbyists are trying to stop the bullying, of course, but, damnit, you will buy what I’m selling.

Next, we need you guys to be more creative. Especially with speedy train technology. What the hell? Why can’t you guys solve cancer and give me faster trains and cleaner energy? Why?

Now, to buy a little conservative good will, I’m going to give you nuclear energy, some offshore drilling, and maybe a few coal plants, too. But to buy some liberal good will, I’m going to make sure that we do it while spending lots of money on green initiatives and screwing up the economy with some good, business-punishing climate change, cap and trade type bills. And global warming is real, damnit.

Next, other countries need to buy our stuff. Why aren’t they buying our stuff? Damnit, they will buy what we are selling. Next year we’re going to set a totally random goal of doubling exports and that will help create a totally made up two million jobs in America. And we’re going to do it with a magical export wand that I have in my office and a little extra deficit spending that no one will miss, anyway.

God, I love how trade protectionism plays so well on both sides of the aisle.

They will buy what we are selling. Damnit.

Education is important, too. We’re totally crowdsourcing that problem. Schools. We like schools. “The best anti-poverty program around is a world class education.” Which is why we’ll do our best to make sure that they have to go to public schools instead of choosing the best schools in their region. And to make the cost of higher education even higher, I’ll be putting more government money, bureaucracy, and control of the schools and taking direct control of the student loan industry. And student won’t have to pay so much for their loans. And I’ll do it all with a little extra deficit spending that non one will miss, anyway.

Hey, see the faux pas machine back there? I’m going to drop his name now and move right along pretending that he doesn’t exist. Because, damn, that man gets on my nerves.

Oh, and to save your house, I’m going to give you health insurance reform. You might not want it. You might not want what we’ve proposed. You might be opposed by a really big amount, but you will buy what I am selling. Damnit. And thank God I’m willing to sacrifice myself and my party to ram it down your throats regardless of how you feel on the subject.

Damnit, you will buy what I am selling. Which is precisely why we will still get health insurance reform and punish the evil insurance companies. And, while I’m at it, thank God for my wife, Michelle, for hating fat kids.

I know you don’t believe what I’ve been saying for the last year, but I’m going to say it all again. And you will buy what I am selling. It’s my fault since, you know, only a few states were getting killer sweetheart deals and most Americans were all, “Hey, what’s in it for me?” Well, let me tell you, magical reform that gets absolutely everyone the access to great coverage and lower deficits. No, seriously.

So, look at it again. I’m pretty sure you’re going to like this little baby. Runs like a top. Low miles, Cheap as hell. Now, give me my reform.

And my speedy trains, too.

Do it for America.

Sure, that extra bureaucracy would help decrease the deficit, but let’s do even more. Under Bill Clinton, we had extra money. It’s Bush’s fault. And what I spent this year was Bush’s fault, too. Which means that none of it was my fault. No, seriously. And, as a Senator, it’s not like I did much or voted for much or was really paying attention since I was campaigning pretty much the entire time, so it’s not my fault.

Anyway, to address the problem, I’d like to close this particular barn door and hope that you don’t notice the bonfire raging inside. So I’m proposing a spending freeze of minimalistic proportions and hope like hell that all the promises will buy enough votes to keep me working with a strong majority. Because Americans aren’t really paying that much attention, are they? Hell, they still like me…

Oh, where was I? Bi-partisan, very serious, going to solve it, veto, defiant refusal, restore the paygo lie, and don’t worry because I can still solve the problems and slyly insult the folks on the other side of the aisle. You know who I’m talking about: those folks who created this problem and it’s all their fault. So, let’s spend money without leaving lots of debt. Let’s try common sense, which you Republicans wouldn’t even recognize if it bit you in the ass.

I hate lobbyists. Don’t you? I’m quite fond of speedy trains, though. But, back to my point: I hate lobbyists and I’m going to bully them like I bully the banks. While we’re at it, screw the Supreme Court and I hate free political speech when it applies to some folks that I don’t much like.

I hate earmarks. Don’t you? I’ll do something about that, too. And I’m calling on congress to be completely transparent about all earmark requests in a way that I don’t feel we need to be transparent about lots of other things right before votes. But enough of that.

We need to work better together. While I’m not slyly insulting you, I’m going to call you out on leaning on parliamentary procedures that keep America from tasting the full, deep beauty of my reforms. So stop it.


“I’m trying to change the tone of our politics.” Which is why I insult slyly. So, Democrats, remember that we have a majority that they can’t touch and we can totally ram change down their throats. And to my Republican friends, you better roll over and take it or I’m going to insult you less slyly.

Now, about national security. I know I’ve been blaming Bush for a long time, but I don’t want to talk about that anymore. I want to rise above my previous campaigns of blame and bring hopey-changeyness to the whole world. Since the day I took office, national security has gotten better. Not that I want to point the finger of blame or anything, but, yeah, it’s me and my administration.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, I promised to end the war and that’s exactly what I’m doing. Just not necessarily as fast as I first said. But the war is ending and our troops are coming home. The one in Iraq, that is. The other one is still going pretty strong. Don’t see an end to that any time soon. Oh, and I love the troops. Don’t you? Let’s give them stuff. Let’s give them lots of stuff. I’m not entirely sure what stuff, but it was a lot of stuff and a new VA and a commission that will talk about the stuff that they need and--yeah, hooray stuff!

I hate nuclear weapons. Don’t you? The Russians and I are getting rid of them and securing all those loose nuclear bits that sort of shook loose when Russia fell down. I hate North Korea. Don’t you? Not too fond of Iran, either. And I promise to speak in harsh tones about them until something happens. Something meaningful. I’ll probably point my finger at them a bit, too.

AIDs. Climate change. New this and that. More programs mentioned in passing. I love America. Don’t you? Pretty fond of Haiti, too, so hopefully we can help them out a bit.

And I like gay people. Don’t you? We’ll let them serve in the military. And I like women. Don’t you? Let’s make sure they get paid enough. And I like borders. Don’t you? Let’s do something about those, too. Wow, that’s some serious drive-by politicking, isn’t it?

Now, let’s all give America a big hug because the citizens really don’t trust us right now. They don’t recognize the importance and wonders of us. So, let’s give them a big hug and, maybe, buy them a drink.

I promised change and I’m going to deliver. Whether you want me to or not--and the Democrats better step in line whether it costs them their seats or not. Because, damnit you’re going to buy what I’m selling.

And thank God I’m here to sacrifice myself for your good.

Good Lord, this is almost Clintonian in length.

Read Vodka Pundit’s drunken take. Althouse, too.

PS- For Colorado bloggers, click on through to this post. For the others, well, we’ll just be drinking without you.


PPS - Thank you Instapundit for undeserved (yet entirely solicited) attention.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Read Me, Seymour

Remember, Rocky Mountain Blogger Fest coming up on February 6.

Details here.

God knows I need a night of drinking.

And Now for Something at Least Mildly Different

While I don’t think that the US has fallen into a second Great Depression, I do think that we can look back and enjoy some music.

And when I go home tonight, I think I’ll torture my wife by making he watch Cinderella Man. Just to keep the mood going.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Spelling Out My Own Preferences

Consider: Healing touch on the one hand; bandages, antibiotics, and a little actual medical expertise on the other.

When offered a choice, I would personally prefer the latter.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mister, We Could Use a Man Like Calvin Coolidge Again…

With appropriate apologies to the Bunkers, I’d encourage you to spend a few minutes reading Shawn Macomber’s take on the Coakley-Brown race.

Good stuff. And I hope that on this night, of all nights, we can have a little faith in Massachusetts.


Metaphorically speaking, that would be good money after bad.

Which, let’s be honest, is something in which the government has shown some expertise. And this time I’m not even speaking metaphorically.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Job Creation Worries in the Era of Obama

Yes, mining is a dangerous profession, particularly for folks working underground. And, certainly, mining is a dirty profession, again, especially if you work underground.

Add to that, though, that mining is a well-paying job that often requires technical knowledgge and good training, and for folks in mining communities those jobs are often much better options than anything else that they’ll find in the area.  For mining engineers--like folks who go to schools like the Colorado School of Mines--the potential paycheck is mighty good. The popular view of mining might be a bunch of grimy faces marching underground with picks and hardhats, but the reality is much more complex.

So, again, let me say, these are good paying jobs. Indeed, these are good jobs--worthy work that helps America’s economy motor along and, because of mine worker advocates, far a job done far safer here than in much of the world. These are good jobs.

The current administration has already made decisions that have killed job growth in the mining industry, but now there is fear that we could see a loss of jobs.

Two miles deep in their latest tunnel, coal miner Steve Baker and his cohorts barely blink at underground hazards: a cavern collapsing behind them, explosive gas around their boots, roiling clouds of black dust.
But they dread the above-ground parrying of state and federal politicians over protection of the nation’s forests. Decisions expected soon by Gov. Bill Ritter and the Obama administration may threaten the miners’ livelihoods — and the future of a traditional industry in western Colorado.
Once, the miners relied on bore holes drilled from the forest above to vent the explosive methane. Today, new holes are prohibited — because holes require temporary roads through forests where roads have been banned.

Now, access to half their coal reserves is hung up, jeopardizing 1,000 jobs in this valley and survival of a half-dozen towns.

There is room for talking about environmental effects, safety, and the value of the different kinds of mining in the United States, but never forget that decisions made by the sophisticates in Washington DC have real world effects on families in communities that are probably very different from those that you or I live in. Johanna Maurice put it well in an article about her the effect that DC decision-makers were having on her home state:

West Virginia’s policymakers know the people who live up the road, know how they make a living, know what they can’t afford, know the problems local governments face, know what the loss of an employer would mean, know why some West Virginia workers have “Cadillac” health plans . . . .

In short, state policymakers know a thousand times more than distant, ill-informed - frankly, uncaring - bureaucrats in Washington would even think to ask.

The policymakers who are closest to us are vastly more likely to produce nuanced policies West Virginians can live with.

Absolutely right, which helps explain why Colorado democrats tend to skew surprisingly conservative in some areas.

If you really want to see job “creation” from DC, don’t look to see where the government is spending all that borrowed money; look to see where government is getting out of the way of people doing business. 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Speaking Truth to the Powerless (Updated)

Cindy Sheehan is ridiculous. Well, actually, she’s been a bit of a sideshow for a long time, so this just cements her position:

A group led by anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan has protested near the CIA’s headquarters and former Vice President Dick Cheney’s home in northern Virginia.

They were protesting the use of unmanned drone aircraft to attack al-Qaida and Taliban targets.

Yes, Cindy, making noise outside the former VP’s home was probably a bad bit of strategizing on your part. I mean, assuming you actually wanted to be protesting someone who had a say in “the War on the People of Afghanistan” (see the photo at the link).

To be fair, protesting vice president Gaff-o-Matic would have been just as futile, but potentially much funnier. Poor, poor Biden…

Update: Speaking of bad ideas...

Friday, January 15, 2010

You Twittering Fools

I’m not sure that I see this as being any kind of a meaningful metric. Of course, I’m still a Twitter skeptic who finds himself wondering why the Internet equivalent of the bumper sticker has become such a popular conveyor for political messages. It doesn’t lend itself to nuanced, well-considered positions. For that matter, it doesn’t lend itself to proper spelling or sentence structure, either.

To be fair, it does take impressive creativity to fold, spindle, and mutilate the language into the Twitter-sized publishable nuggets, doesn’t it?

Anyhow, conservatives seem to be taking a lead in this, ahem, important new social media technology.

The party of Ted Stevens, the former senator who once described the Internet as a “series of tubes,” is starting to gain the technological edge.

A new study shows Republicans on Capitol Hill are far more active on Twitter than their Democratic colleagues.

Though Barack Obama commanded the new media landscape during his 2008 presidential campaign, House Republicans in particular have been texting circles around the Democrats. The study, “Twongress: The Power of Twitter in Congress,” showed twice as many Republicans use Twitter even though there are far fewer Republicans in Congress.

If you detect any crankiness, it’s not that I don’t appreciate the value of pushing message through Twitter, it’s that I’m afraid that Twittering might replace the larger conversation that needs to take place on the other side of that push.

But, then, maybe I just don’t quite get it yet. We’ll see.

Read it all.

Now Spinning We Fell to Earth’s “The Double”

I know that there are probably hundreds or even tens or perhaps precisely zero people out there wondering what I’m listening to right now. Which is why I felt compelled to share.

I see that you’re wondering, what the heck does this have to do with Mark Lanegan? That’s an excellent question: Wendy Rae Fowler, one of the band members, is his ex-wife.

In case you were wondering.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Needs Our Help

And De Doc shows how we can help.

I know that there are a lot of good charitable organizations that are well worth your dollars. This is where I’ll be donating, though.

Lethal Drinking: Mashed Blogging

With the war between Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno--ably flamed on by Jimmy Kimmel (Seriously, did you see him on the Leno show tonight? The audience was getting uncomfortable by the end of that 10@10 piece.), and commented on by the wonderful Craig Ferguson--I have to admit to watching shows I wouldn’t normally watch. Normally, I’d avoid Leno’s crap prime time show, I’d skip right over Conan’s awkward humor, and I’d spend my time working. So, late night wars and NBC’s wholly inept handling of a bad situation have given me a little bit of a break from my usual rut.

Which is nice for me.

But it doesn’t change the fact that it grows harder and harder for me to enjoy Lethal Weapon as the years go by. Not just because Mel Gibson’s mullet is so outdated, but because Gibson is a boozy anti-Semite and Danny Glover is a dictator loving loon of Pat Robertson-esque proportions (the loon part, that is, not the dictator part).

Damnit, I used to love that movie.

Which brings me to the point. Drinking. Drinking is precisely the thing that helps us cope in times like these. In times where late night hosts are locked in cycles of anger and aggression, where Gibson can’t be trusted in polite company, and where Glover poops on pretty much everything that gave him a better life than I’ll ever know (at least in a material sense--whenever he opens his mouth, I feel significantly blessed on the intellectual side of things).

What was I saying?

Oh, yes, drinking.

In the Rockies? Blogger or blogging groupie or unreformed alcoholic? Or any combination of the above (which are beside and not actually above, but that’s beside the point). Well, good, because the Bill with too many LLLLL’s is calling out to all of us to come drink at the Rocky Mountain Blogger Fest.

Check it out here to, RSVP, and vote for a date. I’m planning to be there whatever date is chosen and I’m looking forward to drinking the memory of my own mullet into the trash bin of history. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Flashes of Zomby: The Strange Microsoft Analogies Edition

But I like puppies.

Hooray for Conan! (Now with Inappropriate Similes and Stuff)

I really don’t like Conan O’Brien. He isn’t that funny, I don’t like the way he interviews folks, and I thought he was a horrible choice to inherit the Tonight Show mantle. It just didn’t seem to be the right fit--like asking Megadeth to cover White Lion’s “When the Children Cry.” And to mean it.

NBC is treating him like the history of music will treat the memory of Kip Winger. Their idea of trying to pull Jay’s show back into the late night time slot and devaluing the Tonight Show brand (which Conan rightfully calls the “greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting") is about as smart as playing Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” for an audience of Bad Brains fans. Which, we all know how bad that would be, don’t we?

Anyway, his valiantly defiant news release is even funnier than Ozzy Osbourne’s less sober moments.

None of which changes the fact that Victoria Beckham looks scarily plastic on American Idol tonight. What the hell happened to that woman’s face? Whatever it is, that’s some scary bad makeup. It’s like the worst of the 60’s and Tammy Fay Baker all came together in one big, laminated mask upon her face.

Not an attractive look.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Stranded Zomby…

My flight was cancelled. My new flight doesn’t take off until later this afternoon. Much later. I’m stuck at the airport.

Which, if it weren’t for my ridiculous willingness to spend fifty bucks on a day pass to United’s Red Carpet Lounge--where I get comfortable seats, a bar, free wifi, and a general sense of peace--I would be an unhappy camper.

As it is, though, I’m sort of enjoying my strandedness. Go figure.

I wonder if I can expense this…

Friday, January 08, 2010

We’re Number 1: The Alcoholic Edition

We here at ResurrectionSong are currently the number 1 Google search result for “My life would suck without booze.”

And it’s all American Idol’s fault.

My mother would be so proud.


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