Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My blog and welcome to it.

That unctuous FEMA guy
Michael Brown, in testimony before Congress, blamed Democrats in Louisiana for the response failure after Katrina. He could deal with the Republicans in Mississippi and Alabama just fine. He called Louisiana “dysfunctional.” Of course it’s dysfunctional! That’s why people love it!

DeLay indicted.
Tom DeLay called the prosecutor who pursued his case a “partisan fanatic,” an “unabashed partisan zealot,” and a “rogue district attorney.” As for the case against him, he said, "This is one of the weakest, most baseless indictments in American history. It's a sham."

Sparring with DeLay on 60 MINUTES last spring, prosecutor Ronnie Earle said, "Being called vindictive and partisan by Tom DeLay is like being called ugly by a frog."

Last May, the Los Angeles Times Magazine noted: "Over the years his [Earle's] Public Integrity Unit has prosecuted 15 elected officials, including 12 Democrats."

Maybe Kate Moss should play her in the movie?
Remember Ashley Smith, the woman held hostage by Brian Nichols, the killer-on-the-lam in Atlanta? She became a hero when she revealed how she had convinced him to give himself up, by reading to him from “The Purpose-Driven Life.” It turns she also give him crystal meth, but did none herself

Her memoir will be published shortly. She writes, "Suddenly, looking down at my drug pouch, I realized that I would rather have died in my apartment than have done those drugs with Brian Nichols. If the cops were going to bust in here and find me dead, they were not going to find drugs in me when they did the autopsy. I was not going to die tonight and stand before God, having done a bunch of ice up my nose."

And if that’s not a purpose-driven life, I don’t know what it is.

Monday, September 26, 2005

amazing show biz blog

Another amazing show biz story.
Don Adams has died. I met him once, some twenty years ago in LA. We (the Ducks) had been meeting with his daughter, who did (and probably still does) something or other, something LA-ish, and he showed up at the bar, looking very stylish in a black leather jacket. As I turned and saw him, I blurted out, “You’re Don Adams!” To which he nodded, and then looked extremely irritated. We never exchanged words.

The “Debate” Continues.
Sensible parent, quoted in the New York Times: "You can dress up intelligent design and make it look like science, but it just doesn't pass muster. In science class, you don't say to the students, 'Is there gravity, or do you think we have rubber bands on our feet?' "

I recently took an on-line poll about soft drinks, which I seldom drink. I love to skew data! I was asked to rate various carbonated beverages – on a scale of one to four, basically – on these criteria:

Trend setting
For teenagers and young adults
Goes well with meals and snacks
High quality
Gives me enjoyment anytime
Good to drink with friends and family
A soft drink that is genuine and authentic
Helps me feel good about myself
A brand I trust
A soft drink that energizes me physically
Is my kind of soft drink
Good when I want to relax
A brand with attitude
Has real cola taste
Very refreshing
Great tasting
Worth what it costs
Thirst quenching
A soft drink that lifts my spirits
A brand that is a leader

“A soft drink that is genuine and authentic.” The fuck…?

In other news…
Ashton and Demi got married. Kate Moss heads for rehab! According to the Associated Press, Naomi Campbell spoke up for her in Bogota (Bogota?!!) at a recent press conference; said the eloquent supermodel, "Kate Moss is my friend ... I think it's like everybody is being bad to her."

Lynddie England convicted! Cindy Sheehan arrested!

And in the “we need to hear this but we don’t need to hear it from you” department, Barbra Streisand told Diane Sawyer, "We are in a global warming emergency state, and these storms are going to become more frequent, more intense.” She was promoting a record with Barry Gibb.

Not enough to worry about?
From THE OBSERVER: ….Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico. Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying “toxic dart” guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.

In other other news….
President Bush has urged us to curtail unnecessary travel. Leading by example, he grounded Air Force One, and cancelled all further public appearances in Louisiana. Kidding.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Changes at 60 MINUTES, from AP:
“Instead of his booming voice announcing, ‘I’m Mike Wallace,’ at the beginning of each broadcast, Wallace will instead be at the end of the opening segment, saying ‘these stories and Andy Rooney, tonight on 60 MINUTES.’

“Wallace is expected to have a more limited role on the show, with five or six stories this season, said Jeff Fager, 60 MINUTES’ executive producer.

“’In some ways it fits even better with what his role is on the broadcast these days,’ Fager said. ‘Mike still has it. He still pulls it off. Sometimes he can’t remember what he had for breakfast but he can still pin someone down on an interview.’”

Tonight: “Soft Foods You Can Enjoy,” “Those Look Like Comfortable Shoes,” and “Speak Up Young Fella!” Those stories and Andy Rooney, complaining about small print and kids today, tonight on 60 MINUTES.

FEMA? Get me a fleet of buses, a first-aid kit, and a dictionary.
There are only four names left for tropical storms and hurricanes this year: Stan, Tammy, Vince and Wilma.

This just in….
In Croatia, artist Sinisa Labrovic has launched a satire of reality shows, starring sheep instead of people. After a 10-day competition, the winning sheep will be honored with poetry. The losers will be eaten.

On her talk show the other day, Tyra Banks dismissed the men from the audience, then brought in Dr. Garth Fisher from EXTREME MAKEOVER, who then examined her breasts for implants, and did a sonogram. Conclusion: her breasts are real.

From his column:
For two full days, George W. Bush was bashed. He was taken to task on his handling of stem cell research, population control, the Iraq war and, especially, Hurricane Katrina. The critics were no left-wing bloggers. They were rich, mainly Republican and presumably Bush voters in the last two presidential elections.

The Bush-bashing occurred last weekend at the annual Aspen conference sponsored by the New York investment firm Forstmann Little & Co. Over 200 invited guests, mostly prestigious, arrived Thursday night (many by private aircraft) and stayed until Sunday morning for more than golf, hikes and gourmet meals. They faithfully attended the discussions presided over by PBS's Charlie Rose on such serious subjects as "global poverty and human rights" and "the 'new' world economy." The connecting link was hostility to President Bush.

The bravery of Novak (italics mine)
I was surprised that the program indicated the first panel, on stem cell research, consisted solely of scientists hostile to the Bush administration's position. In the absence of any disagreement, I took the floor to suggest there are scientists and bioethicists with dissenting views and that it was not productive to demean opposing views as based on "religious dogma." The response was peeved criticism of my intervention and certainly no support.

I felt constrained to argue against implications that Hurricane Katrina should cause the president to rediscover race and poverty. My comments again generated more criticism from the audience and obvious exasperation by Charlie Rose. Indeed, after the closing dinner Saturday night, the moderator made clear he was displeased by my conduct.

After the first two panels, I feared I was the odd man out in accepting Teddy Forstmann's invitation. But during a break, one of the president's closest friends -- who had remained silent -- thanked me profusely for my comments. That set a pattern. Throughout the next two days, men and women who were mute publicly thanked me privately for speaking up. When I said nothing during one panel discussion, some people asked me why I was silent.

Ha ha ha! Ann Coulter makes fun of dead people!
From her column:
Democrats are so excited about Hurricane Katrina, they're thinking of moving "Camp Casey" to an area outside the National Weather Service. What they haven't figured out yet is how Richard Perle and the "neocons" cooked up a hurricane that targeted only black people. Meanwhile, rescuers in New Orleans have discovered a lower-than-expected 424 dead bodies or, as they're known to liberals, "registered Democratic voters."

opera blog

High Culture
The Child Bride and I went to the San Francisco Opera tonight – Handel’s little-performed RODELINDA. I came to believe it’s little-performed for a reason. Aside from a very lovely duet at the end of Act 2, the whole opera is just a series of arias. The music is wonderful, but it was like listening to one monologue after another.

And even for an opera, the plot is convoluted. There’s a deposed king, Bertarido that everybody thinks is dead, but isn’t really, and he’s returned to Lombardy from wherever he was to…. well, I don’t know really.

Bertarido’s first aria (sung by the incredible counter-tenor David Daniels) takes place at his own tomb; he’s all broody that everybody thinks he’s dead. So why doesn’t he just tell people (or his wife and son anyway, if he fears for his life) that he’s still alive? I don’t know.

A minion of the new king - who’s infatuated with Rodelinda, Bertarido’s “widow,” for no apparent reason – persuades Rodelinda to marry the new king, by threatening to kill her son if she doesn’t. Bertarido, in hiding, observes this and is horrified by her disloyalty - though why is remarrying disloyal if she thinks he’s dead? I don’t know.

Later, in the second act, she agrees to marry the new king, but only if he kills her son because she (as the program puts it) “cannot be the mother to the rightful heir to the throne and the wife of its usurper at the same time.” Clearly, it’s a ploy to get out of marrying the guy, but the logic escaped me.

At the end of the second act, Rodelinda and Bertarido re-unite, but the new king catches them together. Bertarido reveals his identity, but Rodelinda tries to insist that he’s not her husband. But if the new king usurped the throne, wouldn’t he at least know what the deposed king looked like?

The libretto was exceedingly stilted. Narrative-wise, it seemed like it took a half hour for a person to go through a door, but mere seconds to declare undying vengeance on somebody or other, only to take it back in the next aria.

Then there was the Concept. Perhaps realizing that the opera consisted mainly of confused royals talking to themselves, the producers decided to couch the story in the tropes of Film Noir. Now, I am second to none in my admiration of Film Noir - I even wore a fedora to the performance! But if ever a story wanted to lend itself less to the Film Noir style, RODELINDA would be the story to beat.

In the first place, RODELINDA does not take place in an urban environment. It takes place mainly in a palace. The first scene revealed a brick wall and a series of windows, through which the characters skulked like figures out of METROPOLIS. It wasn’t a palace – it was a depot! Without a train! And outside the windows, other figures skulked, sliding behind the foreground skulkers like people on a ledge. And they all moved in slow motion. This wasn’t Film Noir! Film Noir is snappy! This was German Expressionism!

In the second place, if you’re going to have a goddam king, give the goddam king a crown. Kings don’t wear fedoras! Unless you want to translate the whole thing into a gangster milieu - but since there’s only six parts (and Flavio, the deposed king’s son, who doesn’t sing), that’s not much of a damn milieu. As the Child Bride’s co-worker said to me (she was sitting on my right), “I want robes. They just look like middle-aged opera singers.”

In the third place, the second scene supposedly takes place outside the palace, in the courtyard (although Bertarido’s tomb was there as well – represented by a series of “statues” – which made things confusing). But the walls of the palace contained windows that were all boarded up, which made the palace look like the Book Depository at Dealey Plaza.

In the fourth place, there were attempts at comic relief. When you have massive gray sets that combine elements of Edward Hopper and Otto Hunte (look him up, you lazy bastards), it’s probably a bad idea to introduce old time vaudeville physical humor into the mix.

There was a wonderful weird little dance in the second act, however, performed by a group of dancers in fedoras, with cigarettes, in the background as the new king sang about how, despite Rodelinda’s insistence that he kill her son, he still loved her. But again, that didn’t have anything to do with anything. It sure got the Child Bride giggling though.

How did the old bones that keep opera alive take to these newfangled post-modernisms? The matron in front of us was heard to utter at intermission: “I think the sets are weird.”

We left after two acts. The thing runs three and a half hours!

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Large Flightless Blog

What is hip?
I just finished HIP: THE HISTORY by John Leland, a reporter for the New York Times. It was interesting and insightful, I thought, on issues of race, culture, and the nature of hip (Miles Davis is the mold to break, by the way).

Towards the end of the book, he had this to share:

“When hipsters challenge the taste hierarchies of the mainstream, it is not to argue that there should be no taste hierarchies…. The Net, by contrast, is an operating system that does not need alphas. It defeats authority. Its consensuses are micro – within subgroups rather than between them. We visit Web sites to learn about things we are already interested in. If the experience on any site does not confirm what you already believe, you are probably out of there.”

I found this true, and depressing. It is why music sales are down, why books are so anemic, why the Bush administration is the way it is, why Democrats don’t have a clue, why politics are so vicious, why political spin is so successful, and why – though they’re not mentioned in the book – we have so many blogs.

Nobody wants to LEARN anything any more. We just want to reinforce what we already believe.

It looks like MARCH OF THE PENGUINS is about to overtake FAHRENHEIT 9/11 as the highest-grossing documentary of all time.

I haven’t seen either movie, but this has never stopped me from having an opinion before.

I didn’t see FAHRENHEIT 9/11 because Michael Moore irritates me. Yes, I’m a liberal, but I find his prankishness irksome. I hate pranks. I REALLY hate pranks. I understand that FAHRENHEIT 9/11 is relatively prank-free, but past work of his does not dispose me to want to see anything further by him. I also don’t like his blue collar pretenses, and the general assumption by him, and others, that just because he made a goddam movie or two he’s an expert on anything except making movies and self-promotion.

I haven’t seen MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, but probably will, because – hey, I like to look at penguins, and so does the Child Bride. We may watch it with the sound off, however. My understanding is that the narration is not only mawkish, it is done by Morgan Freeman. I love Morgan Freeman, but somebody needs to stop him before he narrates again.

So okay, this is a movie about large flightless birds. An offensive amount of anthropomorphism is apparently involved. Well, I grew up with Walt Disney movies, narrated by Rex Allen (“Wal, ol’ Mr. Badger was getting’ pretty worried ‘bout now” ), so I can probably tolerate that.

But since when did a movie about large flightless birds become a conservative rallying cry? Michael Medved in an interview with the New York Times (or at least in an interview quoted by the Times – the Times was not clear) declared, "MARCH OF THE PENQUINS… is the motion picture this summer that most passionately affirms traditional norms like monogamy, sacrifice and child rearing."

Speaking of audiences (i. e. evangelical Christians) who feel that movies ignore or belittle such themes, he added: ‘This is the first movie they've enjoyed since THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. This is THE PASSION OF THE PENQUINS.’”

Much ridicule has been heaped on his claim already. (And why is a Jewish movie critic taking up the cudgel for evangelical Christians in the first place?) Apparently most Emperor penguins change mates yearly. Some Emperor penguins are gay. None of them have mortgages. None of them are Jewish, or Christian.

Andrew Coffin, in the Christian World Magazine, wrote about the penguin struggle: "That any one of these eggs survives is a remarkable feat — and, some might suppose, a strong case for intelligent design. It's sad that acknowledgment of a creator is absent in the examination of such strange and wonderful animals. But it's also a gap easily filled by family discussion after the film."

(George Will wrote, in response to this sort of argument, "If an intelligent designer designed nature, why did it decide to make breeding so tedious for those penguins?" To which I would add, "family discussion?" Gag me.)

In Sidney, Ohio, minister Ben Hunt has organized trips to the movie; he told the Times, "Some of the circumstances they[the penguins] experienced seemed to parallel those of Christians. The penguin is falling behind, is like some Christians falling behind. The path changes every year, yet they find their way, is like the Holy Spirit."

It’s a movie about PENGUINS! Even if they were put on this earth by intelligent design, they were not put on this earth to teach moral lessons to Christians. Good grief.

This sort of thing really irritates me. Like “nature’s fury.” Or when people compare political corruption to cancer. As if personal moral choices had some kind of “natural” genesis. If they were NATURAL, they wouldn’t be CHOICES.

Watch the funny suffering birds, and shut up. Insert the Rex Allen narration of your choice.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Puppies and Kittens and Rove! Oh my!

I suppose little lambies are out of the question too.
From AFP: Brigitte Bardot, the 1950s and 1960s film star turned animal rights campaigner, has called on the French government to halt the reported use by fishermen on the island of Reunion of live puppies and kittens as shark bait.

And the dead puppies are all out snagging sharks.
From Reuters: A German inventor said he has developed a method to produce crude oil products from waste that he believes can be an answer to the soaring costs of fuel, but denied a German newspaper story implying he also used dead cats.

No more jolly Germans.
From the Associated Press: “Interior Minister Otto Schily ordered passport authorities to only accept pictures taken from the front showing the ‘most neutral facial expression possible,’ starting Nov. 1. Facial recognition systems match key features on the holder's face and work best when the face has a neutral expression with the mouth closed. ‘A broad smile, however nice it may be, is therefore unacceptable,’ the Interior Ministry said in a statement.”

Passport holders may, however, pose with dead kittens.

God bless America, where you can play Doom until your thumbs fall off!
From Gamespot: The Chinese government has set mandatory limits on online game play. The limits are set to go into effect in 2006: “Basically, play more than three hours and the system cuts a game character's ability by half. Play more than five hours and the system reduces a game character's ability to the lowest level possible.”

You had me at “I do.”
Renee Zellweger filed for divorce from her husband of four months, citing “fraud” as the reason. In a statement to the press she said this was "simply legal language and not a reflection of Kenny's character."

Ms. Zellweger’s next movie?
In 1993, Heather C. Tallchief, a driver for Loomis Armored in Las Vegas, made off with an armored car and $2.5 million. This week she surrendered to federal authorities in Las Vegas, after 12 years on the lam.

Her alleged accomplice, Roberto Solis, is still at large.

According to the New York Times, “Ms. Tallchief's lawyer, Robert Axelrod, interviewed his client on videotape in Los Angeles in hopes of selling her story to Hollywood. The two people said they would use the proceeds to reimburse the stolen money.”

Apparently, the crime was all his fault. She had met him in a bar, and began a relationship with him. He “kept an altar in his apartment with a goat's head, crystals and tarot cards, all of which she initially found shocking but came to accept his beliefs, particularly that their meeting and ‘spiritual journey’ were predestined.

He “showed her tapes in the weeks leading up to the crime that had a hypnotic effect.”

She said, "They allegedly opened your mind but made you more receptive. They had lots of swirling colors like a tie-dye t-shirt."

She didn’t even see any of the money. Since the crime, she has been living in Amsterdam, pretending to be English, and eking out a living as a hotel maid.

Of Mr. Solis, she said, "He wrote poetry. I knew his mother. He was a very normal person. If you sat down and met him, you would probably actually enjoy him. You would laugh at his jokes. You would think he was a nice person. There was never anything about him that you would think he was a heinous, horrible murdering con."

I know I feel better.
From ZD Net: “For nearly half of 600 bloggers surveyed, blogging is a form of therapy, America Online said Friday, referring to research conducted by Digital Marketing Services.”

Bruce Lee lives!
From the Associated Press: Bruce Lee fans are urging the Hong Kong government to help pay for a bronze statue to mark the actor's 65th birthday in November. The Bruce Lee Club is planning to erect an 8-foot-2-inch statue of the martial arts legend on the Avenue of Stars, which honors Hong Kong movie stars, said Hew Kuan-yau, a member of the club's committee.

Bruce Lee lives some more!
From the Independent: “The town of Mostar (Bosnia), where the destruction of a celebrated 300-year-old bridge became a symbol of the war's savagery, is planning to erect a life-sized bronze statue of the late martial arts legend as a symbol of peace.”

Vesselin Gatalo, a local writer who helped spearhead the project, told the Independent, "The monument to Bruce Lee in the heart of Mostar would be a reminder of children's dreams of a more just world, where sheer force is not the value that counts, but rather the skill, speed and willpower of a man who fought for justice.”

According to the Independent, “some citizens wanted a way to mark the town's better days, when its colourful ethnic make-up was a source of pride. They decided the answer was Bruce Lee, whose movies were wildly popular among the youth of former Yugoslavia, regardless of background.”

Recalled Mr. Gatalo, fondly, I assume: "I will never forget how we used to run to the cinema to watch his movies. Afterwards young Roma [Gypsy] kids, still carried away by the movie, would catch other kids in front of the cinema and beat them while others would shout, 'Give him the Karate Deathchop!'"

In other news:
From Reuters: “An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked, leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and forcing firefighters to evacuate a building.”

Stop presses!
From the Washington Post: “Slightly more than half of American teenagers, ages 15 to 19, have engaged in oral sex, with females and males reporting similar levels of experience, according to the most comprehensive national survey of sexual behaviors ever released by the federal government. The report today by the National Center for Health Statistics shows that the figure increases to about 70 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds.”

But as President Clinton revealed, oral sex is not really sex, per se. The chastity of our youth is intact!

Christian comic
As part of MSM’s continuing outreach to the conservative community, the New York Times recently ran a profile of an evangelical comic. Sample joke: I'm trying to find elements of evolution that are suspect. Like, if it took a billion years for a bug to develop camouflage, what did he do in the meantime - hiii-iiide?"

No, you idiot, he got EATEN.

He told the Times: "Christians have never had a guy with an attitude who's hip and in-your-face before."

Further, he claimed: "I don't want to be polarizing. I don't want to be Andrew Dice Clay, who had great success but was destined to fail because he offended people. But my feeling is, if you're offended by the truth, that's your problem. If I say the country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and you don't like it, that's your problem. It's the truth. To pretend that the Founding Fathers were liberal - come on. They were hard-core."


Is that why Thomas Jefferson re-wrote the gospels, eliminating all references to miracles? He also wrote, in NOTES ON VIRGINIA, “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury to my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

Thomas Paine wrote, “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.”

Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter, a month before he died, “As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and I think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble...."

But otherwise, yes, they were flinty church-goin' men, in-your-face, hard-core, and hip as hell.

Be afraid.
Karl Rove, White House deputy chief of staff, and President Bush’s top adviser, is now in charge of the Louisiana/Mississippi reconstruction effort. When this scumsucking carpetbagger gets done with the region, I predict, all blame will be laid at the feet of liberals, as poor neighborhoods are razed to build condos for entrepreneurs, all, of course, constructed by the poor at sub-minimum wages. And the dark lords of Halliburton will hold dominion over all.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Monday's blog is full of grace.

Hunter Thompson’s suicide note.
Headed, “Football Season Is Over.”
Text: "No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun _ for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax _ This won't hurt."

Sports headline: The Patriots eye a three-peat.
In these troubled times, should “three-peat” even be considered a word?

Dick Cheney hits the ground in the Delta!
As he was being interviewed by CBS News, saying something or other, very important no doubt, and helpful, some guy off-camera yelled “Fuck off, Mr. Cheney.” Or maybe it was “Fuck you.” It had been bleeped.

Everything new is old again.

Stop the presses.

In other CBS news….
On last Thursday’s EARLY SHOW, advice was offered to victims of Katrina as to how get cash. Um. They’re not watching you, CBS. They don’t have electricity.

From FEMA’s web site:
FEMA for Kids Rap

Audio Disaster . . . it can happen anywhere,
But we've got a few tips, so you can be prepared
For floods, tornadoes, or even a 'quake,
You've got to be ready - so your heart don't break.

Disaster prep is your responsibility
And mitigation is important to our agency.

People helping people is what we do
And FEMA is there to help see you through
When disaster strikes, we are at our best
But we're ready all the time, 'cause disasters don't rest.

In other news….
Martha Stewart told Time Magazine that home confinement was a lot harder than federal prison.

Dog stories.
Now that New Orleans is being slowly drained, we seem to be inundated with animal rescue features. Dogs! Cats! Birds! Geese!

I like animals, but there are only so many pictures of them being snatched from murky water that I can take.

Senator Coburn's Burnout
I was listening to the Robertson hearings this morning. It was the usual boilerplate from the various senators, warning us to be civil, because these were very very important proceedings, and Robertson deserves our deepest respect, and what about privacy? What about activist judges? We are very serious people, and please, be quiet as we go about our seriously important business.

Senator Tom Coburn, R Oklahoma, was following his script, when suddenly he started crying! Weeping! He totally lost it for, like, ten seconds or so.

He had been saying: "When I ponder our country and its greatness, its weakness, its potential, my heart aches for less divisiveness, less polarization, less finger-pointing, less bitterness, less mindless partisanship."

But the hearings had been very respectful thus far, thanks to the iron hand of Orrin Hatch. So what triggered the breakdown? Were Democrats making faces at him across the room? Were insulting notes being passed? Did the hearing process trigger some awful childhood memory, in which he had been forced to issue statements in windowless rooms?

Just listening to it on the radio, my perception was if there had been any more starch in the process, it could have been a shirt. Until Tom Coburn lost it.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

gloom n doom blog

"Telling people to watch this show in some ways seems dishonest to me. 'Watch this show: I disintegrate.' Why would I want to do that?"

That’s Danny Bonaduce, in the New York Times, on his reality series on VH1, BREAKING BONADUCE. In one episode, he chugs a quart of vodka in one gulp. Off-camera, he also slit his wrists. Mr. Bonaduce claims that the appeal of the show is that it’s about "a B-lister who might die."

Danny chugs, gets teevee time. Batboy chugs, gets suspended.
From the Associated Press:
“Florida Marlins batboy Nick Cirillo says he's still not sure why the team suspended him for six games, although he knows it had something to do with milk.

“Cirillo, 19, was working last month in the visitors' clubhouse when he accepted a dare from Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny. A former Marlins pitcher, Penny offered $500 if Cirillo could drink a gallon of milk in an hour without throwing up.

“Cirillo said he drank the milk in 59 minutes but then vomited outside the clubhouse, so he didn't collect the money. The episode prompted the Marlins to suspend Cirillo throughout this week's homestand, but also earned him an invitation to appear Thursday on THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN.”

Sign on an oriental rug store in New Orleans
Don’t try it. I am sleeping inside with a big dog, an ugly woman, two shotguns, and a claw hammer.

What Condi was doing last Wednesday.
While on vacation in New York, The New York Daily News reported, “Rice attended a performance of Spamalot at the Shubert Theater. Earlier in the day… Rice went shoe shopping at Ferragamo on Fifth Avenue.”

"What does surprise us: Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes . . . A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, ‘How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!’ Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman."

Without HER thousand dollar shoes, I assume.

What President Bush said.
In Mobile, Alabama, he said to FEMA Director Michael Brown, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”

What Michael Brown said:
Of the possibly thousands dead, he told CNN: "Unfortunately, that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings."

The people without cars or money?

"I don't make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans,"

What President Bush said:
Noting that Trent Lott’s home in Pascagoula, Mississippi had been destroyed, he promised that it will be re-built better than it was before: “There's going to be a fantastic house, and I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."

And who can not fail to be moved by such a speech?

The President in Biloxi
From Tagesschau, a German television program. Christine Adelhardt was the reporter.
Rescue teams and their vehicles supposedly showed up in an area that had been vacated for days.

"Two minutes ago the President drove by with his convoy. What happened here in Biloxi during the day is really unbelievable. All of a sudden the rescue troops finally showed up, the clean-up vehicles; we didn't see those over the last days here. In an area where it really isn't urgent, there is nobody around, all the remaining people went to the city center. The President is traveling with a press convoy, so they get wonderful pictures saying the president was here and the help will follow. The amount of this catastrophe shocked me, but the amount of set-up that happened here today is at least equally shocking for me.”

What Michael Chertoff said.
On Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told NPR that he had “not heard a report of thousands of people in the convention center who don’t have food and water.” What, he doesn’t have a television?

What Bush said in New Orleans.
“You know, I'm going to fly out of here in a minute, but I want you to know that I'm not going to forget what I've seen. I understand the devastation requires more than one day's attention. It's going to require the attention of this country for a long period of time. …

“And I look forward to continuing to work with the governor and the mayor and the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to do our duty to help the good folks of this part of the world get back on their feet.”

He flew out of there in a minute, leaving the good folks in that part of the world to ponder his stirring words.

What Bush further said in New Orleans.
“Here's what I believe: I believe that the great city of New Orleans will rise again and be a greater city of New Orleans. I believe the town where I used to come -- from Houston, Texas, to enjoy myself, occasionally too much -- will be that very same town, that it will be a better place to come to. That's what I believe.”

So New Orleans will be re-built because it’s a great place to get drunk? I think that’s true, but it’s not a very Presidential thing to say.

Final remarks by our President:
May God bless the people of this part of the world.

Gloom and doom:
“I think it’s quite likely that the Bush administration is responding so ineptly in part because it is in a complete crisis mode realizing that the entire United States is on the brink of collapse and there’s very little they can do about it.”