Tuesday, May 31, 2005

My Man Rogers Links My Man Hitch

I could've sworn my school chum Rogers Cadenhead wasn't a Christopher Hitchens fan (not sure why I feel that way, but I do), but he links a fascinating interview with Hitch and his brother Peter, who he hasn't spoken with for four years for this reason:

Christopher Hitchens: When I was at Oxford I had a friend called Fran Hazelton, who was an actress at the time, and she was also a member of the Communist party. When the party split over the invasion of Czechoslovakia, in August 1968, she told me she'd had a row with her father. Her father, who had served in the Communist party, said one should never criticise the party, and she'd said her father had said, 'Prague, I don't care about Prague, I won't be happy till I see the Red Army watering it's horses in the Thames.' In Hendon I think he said, or somewhere like that. And I thought it was quite funny, and must have told it many times, and must have told it in the hearing of Peter, because a week after September 11, when I'm up to here with fuckwits in the United States who are saying Chomskyian things, what I don't need, is to get [in] the Spectator my brother recalling, 'I don't see why Christopher has become so pro-American; I can remember when he said he wouldn't be happy until he saw the Red Army watering its horses in the Thames.' And I thought, well what I thought was 'Fuck you'. I don't need this, I don't need it from [my] brother.

Interviewer: Peter, did you falsely characterise your brother as a Stalinist?

Peter Hitchens: No ... I think that sometimes Christopher is a great loss to the Foreign Office, and he has actually made out that I've withdrawn a statement that I never made. I never said he was a Stalinist. He didn't actually give [the joke] the full delivery today. That evening, in our small house in Oxford ... this is so long ago, we were discussing medium-range nuclear missiles ... the argument was about whether there was any justification for having a cruise missiles base in Britain and my view was that there was such a justification because the Soviet Union seemed to present a major threat to western Europe, which would be neutralised if cruise missiles existed, that was the argument - I'll just give you that as background, nothing to do with Stalinism. It was at that point, when we all get tired of reason sometimes, when were sick of the subject and we don't particularly want to say anything else about it, we still say something that's important. And what he said was, I don't care if the Red Army waters its horses in ... and there was a pause here ... Hendon. Not the Thames, in Hendon.

Kind of a silly reason not to talk for years, but Hitch (Christopher, that is) clarifies, with an alcohol reference (big surprise):

Christopher Hitchens: And what annoyed me, I think, is that I kept reading this reference sourced to blood, a bro, in the reactionary press in the US.

Peter Hitchens: You should have done what you do in almost any other occasion when you disagree with someone, you should have argued about it, and then we would have reached this position much earlier. Silence is never an answer to anything.

Christopher Hitchens: I wanted it to mature in the cask.

Good stuff.

I Do Not Think that Character Means What You Think It Means

My friend Shay J. is buying a condo here in Austin, and I'm his realtor. We noticed a tile mosaic on the face of the breakfast bar and saw that it contained four tiles with either Chinese or Japanese characters (Hanzi or Kangi/Kanji) that had English translations in the lower right corners. They said, supposedly, "Family," "Love," "Happiness" and "Growth." I took pictures of them and sent them to a blogger named Tian who posts pictures of tattoos, clothing and other items that contain such characters. He translated the tiles in a post here, and it turns out only two are correct.

Tian's blog, Hanzi Smatter, will eternally be one of my favorites for this post, in which he shows a woman's lower back tattoo that says "Crazy Diarrhea." Tian has since removed the picture, which I posted here, at the woman's request. She now says she knew what it meant all along. I'm not sure if I believe her, but there are some good Photoshops in Tian's post anyways.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Not Cool

I have to admit that at one time I would have been happy to see this. Now, however, I think it's icky and pointless. Bill Clinton, for all his faults, has been a fine ex-president and a decent guy all around. My major issue with him has always been that he blew the best chance any modern president has ever had to radically improve the status quo by being a sex addict with low standards. I would have been perfectly happy to find out now that he had been banging whores or even discreet civilians, but he seemed to want to get caught and involve us in his psychodrama.

I travelled to DC with a friend in early 2001 to watch the inaugural, and when we got there we watched a PBS show about Clinton that featured most of his cabinet members and some other prominent White House denizens of his administration. To a man and woman they all seemed to feel they had been let down by the pres, that he had such potential but blew all his time on scandal defense. More sad than mad, but still deeply disappointed. I think we all felt that way to some degree, even those who thought he was the Antichrist. I wish him well, and hope this crappy book goes unread.

Learn from Your Mistakes, or Those of Others

Oliver Stone has been nabbed for DWI and drug possession again. I have just one question: can't he afford a driver, or a taxi? Can't any of these celebrities who insist on driving drunk? I bet the average stranger on the street would give someone like Stone a ride home or to a hotel, for that matter. Why take the chance?

On the other hand, this event does lend itself to any number of mean jokes, such as this one in Just One Minute's comments:

I find it interesting that Oliver Stone is arrested at exactly the same time that:
1. An oil pipeline is opened in Azerbejian.
2. The French are in the process of voting no to the new EU constitution.
3. The Yankees are beaten by the Boston Red Sox 17-1.
Connect the dots and what do you have?

Friday, May 27, 2005

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I Predicted This Just Like Simon Did

American Idol Freakout
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
I can't tell which is harder, singing after you've been booted from American Idol, or singing after you've won it. I wouldn't want to do either, but I guess after you've won you get a pile of money and the use of a private jet, so getting through one more song then must be a little easier than when you're about to become an obscure name from the Idol scrapheap.

I really had to watch the finale although I've been deeply disappointed with the show since Anwar was booted some weeks ago and the survivors seemed to lose confidence and energy. Fortunately, despite about 75 minutes of utter crap (including an unfunny riff on Paula's scandal problems that took cheap shots at Corey Clark, which may be deserved but didn't make me like Paula any more than I already don't), the show ended with a series of performances that featured Idol contestants singing with established stars, like Carrie singing with Rascal Flatts, Scott and Nikko doing "On Broadway" with George Benson (they let George do a lot of singing and the guitar/voice thing, which was great), and Vonzell with Billy Preston, which was awesome too. "Walk This Way" with a screechy Constantine, a porky Jessica Sierra and a mediocre Nadia Turner was pretty awful, Babyface's presence couldn't polish the turds that are Mikalah Gordon and Lindsey Cardinale, and the mere sight of Kenny G ruined any possible enjoyment of Anwar's return to TV singing.

In the end, I think the right person won. My wife hates Carrie, calls her a plastic robot (she hasn't latched on to the term "Farmbot" yet) and worse, but that's partly because she loves Bo Bice immoderately and partly because she hates country music. I think her main complaint is that Carrie is not terribly magnetic, but I keep telling her that Carrie is young and has talent, and that she can learn to be more expressive and interesting onstage (as long as she stops squatting as if she's about to take a dump when she's singing, that is) (My wife interjects that it's not just squatting but squatting and bobbing that's the problem), and that while Bo is a better performer, his voice isn't going to get stronger or more precise, so he's kind of topped out in terms of what he can bring to the table. I love my wife more than life itself, but I've long since learned she won't change her mind for logic and reason, so it's a pointless argument for me to pursue. I will just say that Carrie blew me away when she did Heart's "Alone" three months ago, and when they played a bit of it last night I got goosebumps again. Her voice is powerful as hell, and she can learn the fine points as she goes along, being all of 18. Bo will be great too, but he's on the downslope, and isn't really that great of a singer technically.

My wife and I were excited about Fantasia winning last year, but then her album was crap, so we don't hold much hope for great art coming out of this show, but I believe Carrie will do great things as an artist, and in the country/western world, there's a lot of collaboration between artists, which should suit her just fine. Come on, girl, get freaky and show us what you're working with. Make daddy proud and be a little more ladylike with the singing stance.

Pic from TVGasm, which has a pretty hilarious roundup of pics and sounds here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Now That's Comedy

Romance Novel gone wrong
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
From Boingboing, another collection of hilarious reworked romance novel covers. Good stuff.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Reality Check

Excellent post on Peeve Farm on the alarming stupidity of Iraq War civilian casualty estimates by those on the left. It's amazing how many times 100,000 (and now 250,000, for God's sake) has been tossed around as if it had any basis in reality, and by people who should know better. Why don't they?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Asian Lilly

Asian Lilly 2
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
In a pot in the back yard. My wife plants things at random times in random places and they still seem to be happy enough to make flowers, despite my conviction that if you don't follow the rules of gardening you can't make things grow. Man it's hard to be so wrong so often, but I make it happen.

Honoring Islam, on Both Sides of the War

Fantastic piece on Bloggledygook about Islam, the US government, and the US media:

Rational criticism is what we, the vast faceless mass of news consumers not privy to the machinations of media cognoscenti and administration barkers deserve, yet rarely demand. Instead, we either buy the plaintive sniping of the New York Times editorial page (to which Mr. [Frank] Rich has returned from the curious environs of the Arts & Leisure section) as legitimate dogma, or blindly accept administration spin as what must be so, solely for the reason that it has said it is so.

Sadly, the confusion on the administration is mirrored by the malaise on the country's editorial pages, leaving those of us without the predisposition to accept or distrust either to wade through a growing sediment of manufactured news, recycled stories and outright obfuscation. It doesn't matter that both the media and the Bush Administration habitually hide facts that are harmful to their argument and seize upon missteps as evidence of the other side's utter depravity. What matters now is that both the media, here represented by Mr. Rich, and the government, in the presence of Scott McClellan, are singing a discordant harmony on the matter of what to do about Islam.

Rich records Mr. McClellan's recent protestations that the US Military, for what reason we are not told, "go[es] out of their way to make sure that the Holy Koran is treated with care," as if "Koran abuse" is limited only to those who add water, while the more heinous "abuse" is perpetrated by those who use the holy narrative as justification for a resumè of some of the world's most horrific crimes. Here Rich has it correct. The president would do well to instruct his acolytes to quit the mush-mouthed talk of respect for Islam and instead make the unequivocal statement that the United States will honor Islam the very second Muslims do. What was missing from Secretary of State Rice's recent comments was not that Koran desecration was against policy, but that even if it was, Muslims had better get with the 21st Century program and cease the pagan-like worship of an inanimate object.

In today's Dubai, home to cutting-edge resort design and prestigious golf and tennis tournaments (in which, we presume, women sometimes wear shorts or tennis skirts) it is still unlawful to be allowed entry into the country if one's passport is stamped by Israeli Customs. Will keeping the pages of an odd Koran or two dry really change the rancid philosophy that holds 1.5 billion people in a death grip of shame, perversion and hatred?

Yet Mr. Rich can't let himself go that far, because that would actually serve to put him to the right of this administration even as it would install him directly in the center of American public opinion. Those complaining about Koran abuse see the latest yawning episode as either a shameful display of America's arrogance and disrespect for the world's second largest religion or one more foul-up by a government and its military that only serves to make the fight harder.

Nonsense. The other two Abrahamic religions have come to terms with the fact that modern life has ample accommodation for religious practice but will not tolerate discrimination based on one's spiritual proclivities. Of course, both Christianity and Judaism have their radicals; it would be virtually impossible for that not to be so. But only Islam has institutionalized hate and slaughter to the point that massacres and bombings by radicalized Muslims hardly surprise anymore. What is so sensational and troubling about abuses in American-run military prisons is that Americans thought that we all were past the era when deviants were given the keys to jail cells.

Read the whole thing, it's excellent. From Ace.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

New Whittle Essay: Good Stuff

Bill Whittle's essays are very long but absolutely worth the time spent reading them. His latest is called Sanctuary:

How many times are we going to let someone who makes 25 million dollars for two months of standing around making faces tell us we need our taxes raised and that they’d be willing to give up a million or two to show what good sports they are? How long are we going to tolerate being called racists by professional race baiters and how many Uncle Tom / House Nigger insults will Colin Powell and Condi Rice have to endure from these self-appointed champions of African Americans? How many times is a suspender-wearing gasbag going to wish me “Courage!” before he realizes that he and the rest of his defeatist ilk are doing their level best to destroy every last semblance of courage in this country and are in point of fact the exact last place we look to for encouragement? How many times are we going to hear from famous high school dropouts how stupid the President of the United States is?

And that's just the first paragraph. Read it all, bitches.

UPDATE: Forgot to say I found the link on Gerard's site.

Norman Mailer on a Stick

Gerard at American Digest has filleted Norman Mailer's pathetic conspiracy theory about the Newsweek fake Koran-flushing story so you don't have to.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Amen, Brother Erik

I agree with Erik. Absolutism is a dumb way to combat other forms of absolutism.

If Daffyd ab Hugh Had a Blog, I'd Read It

With writing like this, he'd have a ton of readers. Check out his response to a New York Times piece that tries to examine the "mystery of the [Iraq] insurgency":

The Times assumes that the killers in Iraq are, in fact, "insurgents." But insurgents have a political plan; no matter how brutal they may be, they see their violence as leading to a political change -- the government will be cast out to be replaced by a new government, typically themselves. Thus, they tend to create shadow directorates that mimic the functions of a government; they have spokespeople who explain their political goals; they try to seize territory to prove they can run it better than the current regime, solving for the people there whatever burning issue is driving the insurgency (land distribution, famine, whatever).

But this is to assume what the Times purportedly wants to discover. If you begin by assuming the killers are "insurgents," then you have limited your conclusions to some Vietnam-style political revolution. Put another way, if you start by assuming that they are insurgents -- then you must wind up concluding that they are insurgents.

But if you look with a more open mind, the closest-fit historical model is not that of the followers of Uncle Ho in Vietnam from the 50s through the mid-70s, or the Algerian insurgency against the French in the 1950s, or the attempts at independence by the Kosovars against the Serbs in the late 90s.

Rather, the best historical precedents are the Aztecs, who turned mere human sacrifice into an art form by killing more and more and more people until they literally may have slaughtered an end to their own empire. Their intent was not to achieve some political goal; they already ruled. Rather, they developed the theological notion that the more people they butchered, the more pleased their bloody gods would be.

With that gloss, the Iraq "insurgency" comes suddenly into crystal-clear focus, like the beginning of the TV show the Outer Limits: the killers in Iraq have no political goal. That is not the point.

The point is to kill. They have invented a whole new kind of murder... they are serial spree killers.

Definitely worth reading, as are most of Daffyd's letters to bloggers. In fact they're usually the best parts of some of the more boring policy blogs. From Dean's World.

A Well-Deserved Hitchens Beatdown

I've been hoping to see the promised Christopher Hitchens thrashing of that disgusting animal George Galloway, and here it is:

SUCH SPECULATION TO ONE SIDE, the subcommittee and its staff had a tranche of information on Galloway, and on his record for truthfulness. It would have been a simple matter for them to call him out on a number of things. First of all, and easiest, he had dared to state under oath that he had not been a defender of the Saddam regime. This, from the man who visited Baghdad after the first Gulf war and, addressing Saddam, said: "Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability." How's that for lickspittling? And even if you make allowances for emotional public moments, you can't argue with Galloway's own autobiography, blush-makingly entitled I'm Not the Only One, which was published last spring and from which I offer the following extracts:

The state of Kuwait is "clearly a part of the greater Iraqi whole, stolen from the motherland by perfidious Albion." (Kuwait existed long before Iraq had even been named.) "In my experience none of the Ba'ath leaders have displayed any hostility to Jews." The post-Gulf war massacres of Kurds and Shia in 1991 were part of "a civil war that involved massive violence on both sides." Asked about Saddam's palaces after one of his many fraternal visits, he remarked, "Our own head of state has a fair bit of real estate herself." Her Majesty the Queen and her awful brood may take up a lot of room, but it's hardly comparable to one palace per province, built during a time of famine. Discussing Saddam's direct payments to the families of suicide-murderers--the very question he had refused to answer when I asked him--he once again lapsed into accidental accuracy, as with the Stalin comparison, and said that "as the martyred know, he put Iraq's money where his mouth was." That's true enough: It was indeed Iraq's money, if a bit more than Saddam's mouth.

At the hearing, also, Galloway was half-correct in yelling at the subcommittee that he had been a critic of Saddam Hussein when Donald Rumsfeld was still making friendly visits to Baghdad. Here, a brief excursion into the aridities of left history may elucidate more than the Galloway phenomenon.

There came a time, in the late 1970s, when the Iraqi Communist party realized the horrific mistake it had made in joining the Baath party's Revolutionary Command Council. The Communists in Baghdad, as I can testify from personal experience and interviews at the time, began to protest--too late--at the unbelievable cruelty of Saddam's purge of the army and the state: a prelude to his seizure of total power in a full-blown fascist coup. The consequence of this, in Britain, was the setting-up of a group named CARDRI: the Campaign Against Repression and for Democratic Rights in Iraq. Many democratic socialists and liberals supported this organization, but there was no doubting that its letterhead and its active staff were Communist volunteers. And Galloway joined it. At the time, it is at least half true to say, the United States distinctly preferred Saddam's Iraq to Khomeini's Iran, and acted accordingly. Thus a leftist could attack Saddam for being, among other things, an American client. We ought not to forget the shame of American policy at that time, because the preference for Saddam outlived the war with Iran, and continued into the postwar Anfal campaign to exterminate the Kurds. In today's "antiwar" movement, you may still hear the echoes of that filthy compromise, in the pseudo-ironic jibe that "we" used to be Saddam's ally.

But mark the sequel. It must have been in full knowledge, then, of that repression, and that genocide, and of the invasion of Kuwait and all that ensued from it, that George Galloway shifted his position and became an outright partisan of the Iraqi Baath. There can be only two explanations for this, and they do not by any means exclude one another. The first explanation, which would apply to many leftists of different stripes, is that anti-Americanism simply trumps everything, and that once Saddam Hussein became an official enemy of Washington the whole case was altered. Given what Galloway has said at other times, in defense of Slobodan Milosevic for example, it is fair to assume that he would have taken such a position for nothing: without, in other words, the hope of remuneration.

There was another faction, however, that was, relatively speaking, nonpolitical. During the imposition of international U.N. sanctions on Iraq, and the creation of the Oil-for-Food system, it swiftly became known to a class of middlemen that lavish pickings were to be had by anyone who could boast an insider contact in Baghdad. This much is well known and has been solidly established, by the Volcker report and by the Senate subcommittee. During the material time, George Galloway received hard-to-get visas for Iraq on multiple occasions, and admits to at least two personal meetings with Saddam Hussein and more than ten with his "dear friend" Tariq Aziz. But as far as is known by me, he confined his activity on these occasions to pro-regime propaganda, with Iraqi crowds often turned out by the authorities to applaud him, and provide a useful platform in both parliament and the press back home

I'm amazed at how many bloggers and blog commenters seem to think Galloway is an admirable person. I've never seen anyone more deserving of a violent, painful death in my life. He's the worst kind of public figure, an Omarosa with poltical power. He breaks the law and the social contract and screams publicly that he's the aggrieved party. It's disgusting, and so is he and anyone who supports him.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Excellent Point, Jim. No, Not You, Brooks

Cold Fury links to this today, which makes a good point:

Seeing the way Newsweek has offered a weak apology, offered no further information about their backtracking source, and then promptly blamed everybody but themselves…

Does it still really count as a ‘news’ magazine? I mean, for an opinion mag, doesn’t National Review or the Weekly Standard do a better job of offering a full picture of Iraq and other issues? Heck, if you don’t want a conservative example, how about the New Republic or the Atlantic?

Newsweek isn’t just skewed or biased. It pages are mostly brief and fluffy skewed and biased news nuggets. I mean, if you’re going to skew, at least give me detailed and well-written skewed news like the other magazines mentioned above.

Time and Newsweek have been bad jokes for decades now. No one uses either as a source of serious news or analysis, and the only time I read them are in doctors' offices, and only then if there's nothing else to look at. David Brooks is right, although he's frothed a little too much on the way to that opinion: it's just not that big a deal that Newsweek printed this false Koran-flushing story. Not because it wasn't wrong or because blogs are too quick to assume the worst about their motives, but because Newsweek doesn't matter.

She Certainly Is Hatable

Jeff of the consistently awesome Beautiful Atrocities links to someone who hates Cameron Diaz, for good reason. I haven't seen Trippin', but it sounds like a real turd. There aren't many things more annoying than watching rich people blather about how bad progress and industry are.

There aren't many real actors left, people who become different people for the purposes of an acting role. Cameron Diaz certainly isn't one of them, and while she does a good job of playing a happy, exuberant and dorky girl in movies, I think that's just the persona she shrouds herself in all the time so others will like her. I'll bet her real personality is the one she played in Vanilla Sky, the cruel, desperate stalker bitch. Which is why she was so convincing.

Plus she has Grinch mouth. It's creepy.

Saget Rocks, Yo

Lovely Bob Saget rap song found on Double Viking.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I Don't Care, I'm Still Going to See It

Star Crap
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
I had heard there were some clumsy anti-Bush dialogue bits in the new Star Wars movie, and Brian at Peeve Farm (whose judgement I trust) certainly seems to think so, and notes that so does MoveOn.org. Here's an email they sent him:

Dear MoveOn member,

We've written tens of thousands of letters, made hundreds of thousands of phone calls (20,000 Tuesday alone), and raised a whopping $1.2 million to run ads. Now, as the vote on the nuclear option looms, it's time to break out our secret weapon. We've got to, as the movie says, "use the force."

Today, Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith opens at theaters nation-wide. And weirdly enough, the plot of what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest films in movie history revolves around a scheming senator who, seduced by visions of absolute power, transforms a democratic republic into an empire.

We've put together a new TV ad, based on the same theme, that we're launching today. It's our first (and only) political ad to feature both a space battle and an army of judge robots. You can check it out at:


The movie's opening buzz and its parallel theme to our current fight for the filibuster present a great opportunity to educate the public — and have some fun. So we've put together a flyer that draws on the Revenge of the Sith story to explain the very real threat to democracy posed by the nuclear option. Any chance you can take half an hour tonight or tomorrow to pass out some of these flyers at your local theater?

Pathetic. It doesn't surprise me a bit that George Lucas has some funny ideas in his head, or bother me that he would use the movie as a preachy platform for said kookiness, but if I were him I'd try to distance SW3:ROTS from MoveOn as much as possible. Wouldn't want the loser vibe to rub off on him or his film.

Pic from Worth1000.com

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Sports Color Theory

If this is true, why do the Kansas City Chiefs suck?

The Nuts Just Keep On Coming

When did HBO boxing announcer Jim Lampley become a raving psycho? Check this madness out:

It's excruciating on a day-to-day basis to have to endure the social divisiveness, elitist arrogance and blatant media control of creeping fascism in America. But each step in the neoconservative push to remake the country in their prescribed image plays a little further into the hands of reasonable progressive political thought. Five years ago I began telling my friends that George W. Bush and company would provide the greatest stimulus to liberal momentum since 1968. Now they are following the script perfectly, substantiating and confirming all my eager expectations about backlash.

The Republicans seem to believe they are on the verge of solidifying an empire here, an empire built on subsidy and protection for the rich balanced by casual contempt for middle-class working Americans. They've spent five years rigging the machinery of politics and distracting attention from their raid on the Treasury by focusing public attention on issues of personal morality. And on the surface, it has worked. But beneath the surface, they have no real foundation, as a variety of statistical indicators show.

Start with Bush's approval rating, below fifty percent in the days before the election, persistently below fifty percent ever since. The public demonstrated in opinion polling that it was overwhelmingly opposed [pdf] to Congressional and judicial intervention in the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case, but the Tom Delays and Bill Frists of the world ignored that feedback. The Iraq War continues to show its true colors, to the increasing discontent and impatience of the voters, but the Bush Administration has no exit plan and will clearly still be mired in this futile effort to establish "democracy" when the next election rolls around. The historic budget deficit grows each day, but the Administration doggedly insists tax revenues will grow to shorten it up-- yeah, sure they will. The Administration and Capitol Hill "leadership" continue to obsess about privatizing Social Security and packing the courts with oligarchist jurists, while the public asks in overwhelming majority for attention to be paid to jobs, economic breadth, reduction of healthcare costs, a legitimate energy policy and an end to the no-win war.

Sure there are still disquieting signs in a country where real democracy lies momentarily dormant. Dormant due to right-wing ownership of the national political machinery and the widespread election fraud that has engendered. Dormant due to the capitulation of mainstream media in the face of neoconservative intimidation tactics (see Bill Moyer's post today about the corruption of editorial independence at PBS). Dormant due to the inherently greater diversity, fragmentation and iconoclasm of liberal as opposed to reactionary thought. Yes, it's harder for us to get our act together because we're way less willing to pervert the system for our own ends. But once we're back on top, we'll stay there longer, because our still-innocent willingness to really trust democracy will show.

So I hope Sen. Frist and his jackals carry the day. Let them remove those safeguards which have assured the minority party a continuing voice in the Senate, and then let them fret about it for thirty years after the pendulum swings back our way in 2008.

I'm not sure where to begin here, so I'll let Lampley's insanity speak for itself. I will say that Bill Moyers was at one time a respectable voice of the American press, but has derailed in recent years. Anyone who calls the desire to bring an occasional conservative voice to PBS and NPR "corruption of editorial independence" is at least mildly unbalanced.

Sh#tbag of the Week: #1 of 2

George Galloway needs horsewhipping, and has for years. This nauseating account of his disgusting diatribe in front of the Senate yesterday will make you wish you were holding the whip yourself.

Despite a typically barnstorming performance full of bluster and rhetorical flourishes, the former Glasgow Kelvin MP was pinned down by persistent questioning over his business relationship with Fawaz Zureikat, the chairman of the Mariam Appeal - set up to assist a four-year-old Iraqi girl suffering from leukaemia.

And it was a Democrat senator, Carl Levin, rather than the Republican committee chairman, Norm Coleman, who gave him the hardest time as Mr Galloway sought to turn the tables on his inquisitors, leaving him no closer to clearing his name than when he took his seat in front of the sub-committee of the Senate’s homeland security and government affairs committee in Washington.

Time and again, Mr Levin questioned him, requesting wearily that he deliver a straight answer to a straight question. But Mr Galloway could, or would not.

On second thought, I think I'd rather use a Sjambok. They're more efficient, and I already have one.

Link from Instapundit.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Utterly Repellent

Who knew I could think less of Britney Spears now than I did yesterday? Ah, but that was before I saw "Chaotic," the new reality show about Britney and her hillbilly idjit husband. I couldn't stand very much of it, but I did see the part where she says before the moronic convergence of Britven (supposedly) that she's looking for a guy who's less worldly than she is because she's "seen a lot" and wants to "see it all again through someone else." Or, more accurately, because she didn't really notice it the first time and hopes two numbskulls might be able to fathom a little of it instead of none.

My dream that her fans will abandon her sorry ass after they see what an fatuous, inane and profoundly stupid person she is can't possibly come true, but surely advertisers will think twice about attaching such an appalling dumbass to their products. Won't they?

Probably not.

UPDATE: TVgasm does a much better job of deconstructing the unbearable shallowness of Britney & Cletus' being here.

I Couldn't Agree More

I hate them too. Always have. In a way, she's worse than he is, latching on to a crapsack like him. TVgasm thinks she's going to be the one who's heartbroken in the end, but I guarantee you it will be the other way around. She's just that much of a dirtbag.

Watch out, Rob. When the fame runs out, so will Ambah.

Daily Affirmation

Achewood is so damn good I can't go very long without it. I've been in that Volvo before, and I felt exactly the same way.

If only I had known about the Gothic Dance.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

What's the Word for It? Oh, Yeah: Treason

Well, that may be a slightly excessive way to describe this, but if we were living by the code of Hammurabi the Newsweek office would be rubble right now. It shouldn't be surprising that Newsweek wouldn't bother to consider the negative effect their report might have, true or otherwise, before jumping at the chance to discredit the US military and the present administration, but I'm still living under the illusion that even reporters and editors have a responsibility to consider all possible effects of their actions before taking them.

News reporting is as competitive as any other profession, and we all make mistakes, but there's no excuse for being part of the problem in Middle East relations. Stop being part of the problem, Newsweek. Your magazine sucks enough without getting people killed.

UPDATE: Varifrank adds, rightly:

It has been said by many historians that during the early days of World War II that the most effective General in the Soviet Army was “General Winter.” This week with the worldwide rioting in Islamic countries thanks to a erroneous report in Newsweek of US Army interrogators in Guantanamo Bay Cuba desecrating the holy Islamic text, we’ve seen an indication that the most effective remaining General in Al-Queda is “General Media.”


Robert McCormick was the publisher of the Chicago Tribune during the war, he was a rabid hater of FDR and his polices. During the Battle of Midway, one of his reporters uncovered the fact that it was the cracking of the Japanese codes that had lead to the victory. So, what did he do? He published the story, page one -large type! Luckily, Japanese Imperial hubris kept them from accepting the story as true and they did not change their codes. They didn’t know the that the story was true until after the war, but had they been paying attention at the time, it could have lead directly to the deaths of thousands of Americans.

The message should be clear but it's not. You see, You can "hate Bush" all you want but if your actions lead to the deaths of people, Americans or people in other countries, is it really worth it? Is your cause really served by the extension of the war? Do you need to win so bad that you are willing to lose the very civilization in which you live? Is it that they "hate Bush" so much or that they loathe themselves so much that has lead them to be so self-distructive?

How much faster had this war been over had the press not leaped to tell the story that we could trace Osama's Satellite telephone conversations? How much faster could this war be over if our own press and media would stop fighting against America, feeding the anti-western bias that has placed so many of Islam into the hands of local warlords?[tiny bit of copy editing by me]

"General Media" indeed.

Bear's Breeches Flower Spike

Bear's Breeches
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
It's about 5'3" now, and still growing. LuxURIous! Another plant the guy at the fancy holistic plant place said wouldn't work where we put it, and yet it did. I should know better than to trust anyone who sounds so knowledgeable about a given topic.

Easter Lilly

Easter Lilly
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
I get a kick out of planting things in my yard randomly and seeing what happens. This Easter lilly was planted last year and immediately died, and came back strong and huge this year.


Hey, Look at Me

I'm a warblogger. I had no idea, but I suppose it's true. I would have guessed silliness/perversity/violence/gardening/American Idol/conservativenessblogger myself, but you never see yourself as others see you.

Rogers is kind to link to me and I'm desperately hoping he will tell me what the 2000 election looked like from Florida. As I wrote him yesterday one of the things I find fascinating about that event is how differently people remember it. While hopelessly liberal, Rogers is nothing if not intellectually honest, so I can't wait to see how screwed up my perception of Decision 2000 is, or isn't.

Life Imitating the Artless

Varifrank's right, although his typos are killing me. This is much more readable than the original.

I will say that while I haven't read much of Arianna's blog, this post by Quincy Jones was lovely, and this particularly nasty tidbit from Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith about Dennis Miller made me want to vomit. I don't think Miller will be chagrined that he "could have been Bill Maher" but didn't make it happen. For one thing, Miller's funny, and Maher's an illogical asshole.

The Horror

This may be a very old site, but it's strangely compelling. People write anonymous confessions, often of pretty nasty/horrible things, and leave them on the site for others to read. Things like these:

I have sex regularly with my step mother at least once a week if not more.

You know what it's like to lick a wound. Wounds have a distinct taste. I always lick my wounds (paper cuts, bloody lip, etc), to make them feel better. Everyone does. But I just had a weird and disturbing thought. I wonder if I licked another person's wound... Would it taste like my wounds?

sometimes i picture my friendsin the nude. i dont no why but it really turns me on

I saw my little brother felching the family kitten and now i want to kill myself. It is the nastiest thing i've ever seen and i just can't get it out of my head. I also have thoughts of killing my brother

I wish my husband would get killed in an accident so I wouldn't have to leave him.

i gave head to a chinese midget

And what may be the most awful confession on the site ever (although I doubt it):

I just turned 26. I haven't had a relationship in almost 5 years now. I act like I don't care and don't want one but I really do. I masturbate almost everyday. I try not to but I'm in too much physical and emotional pain not to and it's my only form of relief in this cruel world. I haven't had real sex in over a year and that was the first time in 4 years and that was with someone I didn't know, and that someone I didn't know was a prostitute, and I didn't want to f*ck that prostitute all I wanted to do is cuddle (I'm seriously not lying, why would I on this site) but she kept telling me she wanted to f*ck, she went down on me, I ended up letting her f*ck me, it was the worst sex I ever had and I actually forced myself to come. I lived the next year in fear for my life thinking I had aids for sure but I got checked and I don't. I think the prostitute might have been a man with a sex change because the p*ssy just didn't feel right at all. Maybe it's because I'm paranoid. Maybe it's because I never had sex with someone who has probably had sex 10 times a night for the past I don't know how many years, maybe it's because my erection curves to the right. I'm short. I'm lonely. I'm desperate. I'm in physical pain all the time from tension because I'm a nervous, timid, loser. The only time I ever felt release was the last time I got high but I don't want to get high because if I was anymore brain dead than I already am I'd be mentally retarded. I am unemployed and sleep all day. I hate my life. I should have married my ex girlfriend but instead I distanced myself from her when she started getting fat. I had sex with her all the time even though she was a christian and I was supposedly a christian too. She loved me so much she would always let me have sex with her however I wanted whenever I wanted. she would cry and tell me she felt guilty for sinning and then I would take her mind off of it and have sex with her the next day. I don't know how many times we had sex but I do know sometimes she was in pain and I didn't care and she cared enough about me to let me continue until I climaxed. She thinks I was a sex addict. I think I am too. I hate myself and my life. I'm pathetic and know you think so too and I'm glad. I deserve to be exposed.

Wow that's messed up. I officially feel bad for any self-pity I've ever experienced, my life is an endless picnic by comparison.

UPDATE: I forgot to credit my good friend Mike Shay, from here in Austin, for showing me this. Here's a pic of his awesome car, which almost killed me yesterday. What a thrill ride, complete with a 250-degree blast of wind on my right leg the whole way and a consistent fear of decapitation. Thanks Crazy Mike!

Oh Thank God

Dave Chappelle has apparently not turned into Tyrone Biggums or gone crazy. Read:

The picture he paints—and it seems a fairly honest and frank assessment— is of someone struggling to come to terms with a new position and power who's still figuring out how to come to grips with how people around him are reacting to the $50 million deal he signed last year with Comedy Central. Without naming specific characters, he seems to blame both some of his inner circle (not his family) and himself for the stresses created by last year's deal.

"There were things that overwhelmed me," he says. "But not in the way that people are saying. I haven't spent any of the money. All that stuff about partying and taking crack is not true. Why do I live on a farm in Ohio? To support my partying lifestyle?"

The problems, he says, started with his inner circle."If you don't have the right people around you and you're moving at a million miles an hour you can lose yourself," he says. "Everyone around me says, 'You're a genius!'; 'You're great!'; 'That's your voice!' But I'm not sure that they're right." And he stresses that Comedy Central was not part of the problem and put no more than normal television restrictions on what he could do.

"You got to be careful of the company you keep," Chappelle says. "It's hard to know how much to say. One of the things that happens when people make the leap from a certain amount of money to tens of millions of dollars is that the people around you dramatically change.

"During my ascent, I've seen other people go through that wall to become really big. They always said that fame didn't change them but that it changes the people around them. You always hear that but you never really understand it. But now that I'm there that makes a lot of sense and I'm learning what that means. You have to have people around you that you can trust and aren't just out for a meal ticket."

The breakdown in trust within his inner circle seems to have led him to question the material they were producing. He seems obsessed with making sure the material is good and honest and something that he will be proud. "I want to make sure I'm dancing and not shuffling," he says. "What ever decisions I make right now I'm going to have live with. Your soul is priceless." The first two seasons of his show "had a real spirit to them," he says. "I want to make sure whatever I do has spirit."

But Chappelle also says that he must share the blame for the stalled third season. "I'm admittedly a human being," he says. "I'm a difficult kind of dude." His earlier walkout during shooting "had a little psychological element to it. I have trust issues, things like that. I saw some stuff in myself that I just didn't dig. It's like when I brought a girl home to my mom and it looked as if my mom really didn't like this girl. And she told me, 'I like her just fine. I just don't like you around her.' That's how I feel in this situation. There were some things about myself that I didn't like. People got to take inventory from time to time. That's what this [coming to South Africa] is for."

I'm 100% sure he's not talking about Charlie Murphy, who's the other reason I was sad to hear Mr. Chappelle had stopped making the third season of Chappelle's Show. Come home soon, Dave.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Newfound Respect

I had no idea how cool Charlotte Church was until I read this. From one of my new favorites, Thighs Wide Shut. Yes, I'm immature. Live with it.

Either Life or Art Imitating the Other

I remember this SNL fake ad from long ago, but never realized anyone took it to heart. Jacko, you are one crazy bastard.

Abu Ghraib Perspective

Apparently there are some recent bad paintings of American Abu Ghraib "atrocities" (I'm sorry, but I don't consider any of what I saw in the Lynndie England (sp?) pictures to be torture) that some on the left are comparing with Picasso's Guernica. Christopher Hitchens has written a fine column about that, and what the words "Abu Ghraib" really mean to those who don't have their heads up their asses:

Guernica did have a certain reputation, as a town, before it was immortalized by Pablo Picasso. It was the historic capital of the Basques of Spain, and its famous oak tree was the spot where Spanish monarchs took an oath to protect Basque liberties. Its destruction from the air by German aircraft allied with Gen. Franco was considered not just an atrocity in itself, but a warning of a future Nazi blitzkrieg against Europe, and this is the potency that the painting still possesses, even if you agree with the Marxist and Third-Worldist art critic John Berger, in his The Success and Failure of Picasso, that it was one of the master's crudest works.

Abu Ghraib was by no means celebrated as an ancestral civic and cultural center before the year 2004. To the Iraqis, it was a name to be mentioned in whispers, if at all, as "the house of the end." It was a Dachau. Numberless people were consigned there and were never heard of again. Its execution shed worked overtime, as did its torturers, and we are still trying to discover how many Iraqis and Kurds died in its precincts. At one point, when it suffered even more than usual from chronic overcrowding, Saddam and his sons decided to execute a proportion of the inmates at random, just to cull the population. The warders then fanned out at night to visit the families of the prisoners, asking how much it would be worth to keep their son or brother or father off the list. The hands of prisoners were cut off, and the proceedings recorded on video for the delight of others. I myself became certain that Saddam had reached his fin de régime, or his Ceauşescu moment, when he celebrated his 100-percent win in the "referendum" of 2003 by releasing all the nonpolitical prisoners (the rapists and thieves and murderers who were his natural constituency) from Abu Ghraib. This sudden flood of ex-cons was a large factor in the horrific looting and mayhem that accompanied the fall of Baghdad.

Excellent reading. Link from Roger Simon.

Hooper: the Commercial

From Dean's World, maybe my favorite commercial ever.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

That's His Soul Out There

Over at American Digest, Gerard Van der Leun has been revealing his deepest secrets. And they're fascinating, educational, often heartbreaking and always just plain beautiful. Make him a daily habit.

But Seriously Folks

I like Thomas Sowell a lot. I've read one of his books and plan to read most of the others, and I try to read his column as often as possible. He's an older guy and very serious, and he refuses to appear on TV as a talking head because he got burned a few times by unprincipled shows (that probably includes all of them), and that's really a shame because what TV opinion shows are missing is smart, no-bullshit people who don't cater to the nonsensical bullshitters who rule that part of the media. Check out today's column:

Recently a friend described a meeting with a nasty-tempered leftist who was from a rich family. Unfortunately, there are a lot of leftists who were born with a silver spoon in their mouth -- and, instead of being grateful, are venomous against American society.

Conversely, there are people like yours truly who were born on the other end of the economic scale and think this is a great country. No one has really explained either of these phenomena.

Maybe a painful confrontation with the facts of life early on makes it harder in later years to get all worked up over abstract issues that seem to preoccupy the left.

Once you have ever had to go hungry, it is hard to get worked up over the fact that some people can only afford pizza while others can afford caviar. Once you have ever had to walk to work from Harlem to a factory south of the Brooklyn Bridge, the difference between driving a Honda and driving a Lexus seems kind of petty as well.

And later:

Environmentalism is another of the playgrounds of the affluent and the wealthy. "Nature" is wonderful when you can look out on it from your luxury cabin in the woods or from your upscale digs at the shore.

Roughing it in the wild is great when you know that, if something goes wrong, a helicopter can come in and lift you to safety or to a hospital, as the case may be. This is what might be called artificial nature or the illusion of nature.

Real nature can be pretty ugly, as the pioneers discovered, and as the bleached bones of their animals or themselves on the old trails can attest. Even in more recent times, anyone who has had to get up on cold mornings, all winter long, to start a fire in the fireplace to heat the house is unlikely to regard it as a romantic experience.

You can find Mr. Sowell's work here, and you should make it your business to do so.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Intense Memories

Read this long, deep and thoroughly fascinating essay by Gerard at American Digest. You'll be very glad you did.

Gerard is what Hunter Thompson should have been by now, and I really wonder if HT didn't know that better than anyone, and took his own life because of it. Check out this pathetic tale of his funeral by John Cusack on Arianna Huffington's new blog:

Went to Hunter S. Thompson's memorial service in Aspen. The next day, we went to Owl Farm -- which remained untouched since Hunter's death two weeks before. The sun was shining and gunfire echoed as friends and family gathered and shot targets on the lawn. Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" booming. Books, notes, numbers, pills, bullets, totems and talismans everywhere. Outside his wife offered liquid acid to people in the driveway. In the kitchen where he took his life, a huge American flag overlooked his suicide. He was looking right at it.

I pray that Cusack isn't implying that the flag made him do it. That we didn't live up to his expectations, so he had to kill himself. Love your movies, dude, but enough with your sad, self-loathing philosophy.

What a pathetic way to celebrate the disaster that was Thompson's life, and by disaster I mean the fact that he never grasped that drugs, guns and permanent adolescence aren't an answer to anything. Some people never grow up, I guess.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Friday, May 06, 2005

Sick, Ugly and Wrong

And I absolutely love it. A Pat O'Brien/Rosie O'Donnell mashup featuring Pat's voice mail and Rosie's godawful "Riding the Bus with my Sister" audio. From Defamer.

You Go Girl

I saw Laura Bush open for Cedric the Entertainer at the WH Correspondents dinner, and I liked it a lot, although I didn't catch the horse cock section. Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities has an even better version.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Tragedy and Comedy

I'm not much of a Defamer fan, but this is deeply upsetting to me, and I find this hilarious.

Message to American Idol: Dump Paula Immediately

My wife and I watched the ABC special on Corey Clark's claims that Paula helped him make the final 12, bought him stuff and banged him, and then abandoned him after he got booted. Despite the fact that it was a terrible show and he's doing it mostly for the publicity right before his album comes out, I believe him, and I think it's ridiculous for a show that makes money off a bunch of unknown kids to hit back with "you have to take his motives into account." Like they have a moral leg to stand on.

I also believe it's likely that the producers found out, booted him on a technicality (Bo Bice has a drug arrest and Scott Savol was nabbed for smacking his baby's momma, both of which are worse than punching your sister if you ask me) and told Paula to break it off.

Or maybe not. But frankly I've never liked Paula and see no reason she can't be replaced. I left this as a comment at Ann Althouse's post about last night's AI and the ABC special:

Paula should be dumped not for the scandal but because she's a terrible singer and an even worse judge of singing ability. Any number of good singers with good ears who are also nice could substitute and make the show better immediately. And it's childish and counterproductive of her to throw a fit every time one of the other judges disagrees with her. The show would be much better with someone else in her place.

She's one of the reasons I don't want to watch the damn thing anymore. Everyone in the world knows Simon's is the only opinion that matters except Paula and the increasingly nasty Ryan Seacrest, and I may be giving Randy Jackson more credit than he deserves by excluding him from that sad, stupid, delusional club. This is a deal-breaker for me: dump Paula or I wash my hands of the whole mess. Well, except for the first couple of weeks where they show the really terrible singers who think they're good. That's comedy gold.


Check out these amazing pictures of places right here on this planet. Definitely worth your time. From Garfield Ridge.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

It's Official: I Hate American Idol

I've said enough about Paula Abdul, and it should go without saying that I'm very excited that she and the show are about to get dumped on by ABC, because they both deserve it. But last night was the last straw, a crapfest from beginning to end. I will admit Bo's version of Stand By Me was OK, and Carrie is just good whatever she does, but whose idea was it to make them do Lieber and Stoller songs? Almost none of the ones who are left can pull it off.

And I just can't stand Vonzell any more. She's a good, maybe great, singer, but I absolutely hate her for being so fake-happy (in 20 years that false smile will become a Paula Abdul rictus of bull$#it) and self-promoting like a used car salesman. It's shameless and gross and it makes me want to punch her.

I've got nothing to say about the others. This season had the best talent pool of any of the four, and almost all of the interesting ones are gone. I've always suspected there was favoritism and funnny business behind the scenes, and maybe ABC can confirm it in the special tonight, which I will watch out of pure schadenfreude even though it will probably suck too.

Really Great News

I can't actually get this story to load, but apparently Stephen Colbert is getting his own show. I haven't watched The Daily Show much in the last year and a half since it stopped being an equal opportunity abuser of idjits and started campaigning for Kerry, but the ones I have watched since the election have been less pointlessly biased, I must admit. But Colbert is always fantastic. His show should be the best thing ever aired on TV.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Oh No You Didn't

Da Denzel
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
From a wacky contest at Worth1000, bad celebrity hairdonts. I call this one Da Denzel as it appears to be a cross between DW and Da Brat.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Paula's Got Issues

Don't Go There
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
I'm not sure if the rumors are true, but that ABC special Wednesday ought to be hilarious anways. I have noticed Paula is very reluctant to be hugged or kissed by Randy Jackson over the last four seasons, even though he functions as her brain 90% of the time.

She can't keep her hands and lips off of Simon, who she professes to hate, but her good buddy Randy can't get no sugar. Why is that exactly?