Tuesday, November 30, 2004

West and Wewaxation

Whose season is it anyway?
From Ann Coulter's Monday column:

“Admittedly, still reeling from the nastiest Democratic campaign since sorority rush at sniper school, the country could do with a little civility. But victorious Republicans behave like Warner Bros. gophers Mac 'n' Tosh: 'Awfully sorry, old boy.' 'No, not at all -- after you.' There's something to be said for coming out swinging. We won! The nation is lousy with red states! It's wabbit season!”

By “nastiest,” does she mean the Swift Boat ads? I think not. Who are these polite Republicans she’s talking about? Tom DeLay? Karl Rove?

And I’m confused by her metaphors. I don’t know what “sorority rush at sniper school” means, for instance – the snipers are shooting sorority sisters? Sororities are sniping each other? And what does a sorority rush at sniper school have to do with nasty Democratic campaigns? Is she saying that Democrats are sorority sisters? Is she saying that Democrats are snipers? Or that sorority girls are learning to be snipers? I don’t get it.

“Wabbit season” is a reference to a Warner Brothers cartoon in which Elmer Fudd, with shotgun, is hunting Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, as the two alternate in trying to convince Mr. Fudd, in a series of encounters, that it’s “duck season” or “rabbit season,” thus throwing Mr. Fudd’s unwelcome and hostile intentions onto the other. Each encounter ends, as I recall, with Daffy getting his head shot off, only to have it grow back again in a comical fashion.

Such cartoons are not being made today, nor shall we see their like again, I fear, not in today’s depleted cultural climate, in which SHREK is not considered dreck.

But if Ann Coulter does believe, as she asserts, that it is indeed wabbit season, again, who are the Democrats in that scenario? Are they the inept Elmer Fudd? Well no, Fudd’s not really inept in this particular cartoon. He gets the duck every time. They’re certainly not Bugs, because he’s a winner, and Ann Coulter does not consider Democrats winners. Are they Daffy Duck? Certainly, he’s the loser in this cartoon, being shot frequently, but on the other hand, there is no permanent damage to him, and he keeps bouncing back.

And who are the Republicans? If they’re Elmer, well, he’s pretty easily led by the nose by Bugs Bunny, isn’t he? If the Republicans are Bugs, why would Ms. Coulter be so gleeful about proclaiming it “wabbit season?” Isn’t that encouraging the Fudds of the world to take pot shots at them? And if they’re Daffy, why on earth would Ann Coulter want to be an exploding duck?

Maybe she means we’re all exploding ducks at sniper school? If you think about it it’s the only way her political analysis makes any sense.

Our first promotional e-mail went out today, and we already have five orders.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Mind Blogging

Fahren fahren fahren
In article about smart cars in the New York Times last week, a driver was quoted about his automobile, which responds to vocal commands. The driver said, "You can say, find bank, find A.T.M., find gas station."

The smart car doesn’t seem to like adjectives, adverbs, or articles. Is the smart car the Incredible Hulk? Let me put it another way, "Is car Hulk?"

Cosmetic justice
Ray Krone, once called the "snaggletooth killer," spent ten years in prison (four on death row) for a murder he did not commit. DNA evidence freed him in 2002, and now ABC’s EXTREME MAKEOVER is going to straighten his teeth, give him a nose job, smooth out his skin, etc. Producer Julie Loughlin told Reuters, "Hopefully, we will give him back the 10 years he lost."

Unfortunately, rhinoplasty does not give back lost years.

Log rolling to make an important point
R. Emmett Tyrell, editorializing in the Washington Times:

"History takes time. To understand the historic decline of the Democratic Party I have found it useful to reach back to a book I wrote in 1984, THE LIBERAL CRACK-UP. It is a diagnosis of what was then the core philosophy of the Democratic Party, liberalism, and a prognosis of its future. Doctor Tyrrell was not optimistic, but history takes time."

He needs to refer to his own book to come up with that? History takes time? Of
course history takes time! What else COULD it take?

Can you fear me now?
AP: "Safety officials have received 83 reports of cell phones exploding or catching fire in the past two years, usually because of bad batteries or chargers."

More wishful thinking from a blue state in a brown study.
From Salon:

"The illusion of a predominant ‘moral values’ voting bloc has much to do with the fact that the most traditional and socially conservative Americans, pre-baby boomers, are living much longer lives and voting in very large numbers -- skewing exit polls and thus our image of the mainstream. Once younger voters begin to replace them, the socially conservative vote will return to the margins of American life."

Or, an alternative future: Young Republicans will set you on fire in the public square and put your head on a stake.

Our first e-mail announcement about the Duck’s Breath DVD goes out tomorrow to all those wonderful folks who (as they say in Internet-speak) "opted in" to our mailing list. (If you want to be on it, by the way, drop me a line: mrsuave@earthlink.net). Bill Allard has done a wonderful job spearheading this project.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Sunday Blogday Sunday

Speak, Speaker!
According to the Washington Post:

“In scuttling major intelligence legislation that he, the president and most lawmakers supported, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert last week enunciated a policy in which Congress will pass bills only if most House Republicans back them, regardless of how many Democrats favor them….Hastert now says such bills will reach the House floor, after negotiations with the Senate, only if ‘the majority of the majority’ supports them.”

I’m trying to wrap my head around this. So if ALL the minority and SOME of the majority are for a bill, isn’t it possible that the majority of the majority would actually be in the minority?

At any rate, I think I prefer the majority from the Nixon era – you know, the silent one.

A Swedish man was arrested after allegedly launching cell phones into a prison yard, using a bow and arrow.

Hey, what about Gomorrah?
SODOM, written in the 17th Century, is expected to fetch over $60,000 when auctioned by Sotheby’s next month. Sotheby’s book specialist told Reuters, "We believe this is the first printed pornography in English literature, a unique copy of the quintessence of debauchery."

I know debauchery can, but can quintessence be copied?

It’s a dark and stormy night, Dave.
The opening of a novel written by computer program, Brutus.1:

"Dave Striver loved the university - its ivy-covered clocktowers, its ancient and sturdy brick, and its sun-splashed verdant greens and eager youth. The university, contrary to popular opinion, is far from free of the stark unforgiving trials of the business world: academia has its own tests, and some are as merciless as any in the marketplace. A prime example is the dissertation defense: to earn the Ph.D., to become a doctor, one must pass an oral examination on one's dissertation. This was a test Professor Edward Hart enjoyed giving."

Verdant greens? So the greens were green? Does this program have a proofreader? Sounds like an exciting story though. A student is going to take a test! I can't wait to see what happens next!

I had an actual conference call this morning, just like an important person, with Bill and Neil, our director and executive producer, respectively, regarding a humorous insert we will ship, along with the first batch of DVDs.

The DVDs, by the way, are expected to be in stores within two weeks. By in stores, I mean my living room, where Bill and I will gather manfully to meet what we hope will be overwhelming holiday demand.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Just say “D’oh!”

Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.
The never-ending cramming, in our public schools, for tests devised at the whim of educrats and conservatives, a process that seems to have taken over, you know, actual education… well, it may soon be itself eclipsed by sexual education programs that focus on abstinence. Experts claim more studies are needed, before such a program is implemented.

Of course, that’s what experts always claim.

To counter them, Wade Horn, assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, announced (according to the Associated Press),``We don't need a study, if I remember my biology correctly, to show us that those people who are sexually abstinent have a zero chance of becoming pregnant or getting someone pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.”

So that settles that, I guess. If we talk to teens about abstaining from sex, they will. Case closed. Now, all you ripe little virgins – back to the books!

Melee Milieu
It’s inevitable, I suppose, in the wake of the NBA fracas, that the usual gang of hand-wringers start excoriating us for our increasing lack of civility. I don’t watch basketball, I hardly ever scream at strangers, or friends, as far as that goes, and the last time I threw anything at anybody in anger was a dirt lump at the kid across the street when I was seven.

Certainly, I’ve thrown magazines at the television, but I would say that, by and large, I am one polite secular humanist. This is why I say to the blaring windbags of America: please shut up. Just for five goddam minutes, please, shut up.

Okay, I’m creeped out.
November 26, Associated Press: “By the time Wal-Mart's store in a Buffalo, N.Y. suburb of Hamburg opened its doors at 6 a.m., 1,000 people had formed a lined that spanned the entire store front, despite temperatures of 31 degrees.” At least no melee ensued.

Ukraine, Ikraine, we all kraine….
Speaking from his Fortress of Arrogance in Crawford, Texas, President Bush claimed that the world “is watching very closely" the charges of voter fraud in the Ukraine. President Putin, in response, flipped President Bush the bird.

Another brick.
The Evening Standard: “A group of former pupils at a London comprehensive school are poised to win thousands of pounds in unpaid royalties for singing on Pink Floyd's classic Another Brick In The Wall 25 years ago.” Insert dark sarcasm here.

Tom Delay, get your snakebite kit.
Snake charmers in Pakistan are being arrested in droves, following the passage of the Wildlife Act, which makes capture and de-fanging of snakes illegal. A spokesman for the snake charmers says, "If the state government does not allow us to leave in peace, we will release all our 5,000 snakes into the assembly premises when the session begins on Dec 3.”

If all goes well, the Duck's Breath DVD should be ready to ship next week. An e-mail will be going out for full ordering information. If you want to be on that list, give me a virtual shout.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Pre-Thanksgiving Blog: Everything must go!

Duck’s Breath DVD
Bill and I brainstormed a couple little promotional ideas, and (fingers crossed) we should have the actual first 2500 DVDs ready to ship in ten days.

Virgin in the cheese sandwich update.
The cheese toastie containing the image of the Virgin Mary has been sold to the online casino GoldenPalace. (Of course it has!) Diana Duyser was the seller. This is from the casino’s web site:

“'I would like all people to know that I do believe that this is the Virgin Mary Mother of God,' says Duyser, a work-from-home jewelry designer. 'That is my solemn belief. People ask me if I have had blessings since she has been in my home. I do feel I have, I have won $70,000 on different occasions at the casino near my house.'”

How subtle, how magnificent the works of God!

Just in time for the anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, there’s a new video game called JFK RELOADED. If you can kill the President in three shots, you win. A perfect stocking stuffer!

Artested by the media
So this guy Artest was on the TODAY SHOW, post-melee, and was asked the inane question, “But what do you say to the twelve-year-old fan of the sport who's seen this and is trying to come to terms with what he or she has seen?”

To which Mr. Artest replied, in part: “People go to war but we don't want to go to war.” So basketball and Iraq are somehow equivalent?

You won’t have Dan Rather to kick around any more.
Michael Goodwin, opining in the New York Daily News, claimed that Dan Rather’s fall (it was a fall?) was “Nixonian.” Whatever.

Thank God I’m not having turkey with Amen-shouting neurologically disordered Michelle Malkin. I hereby disparage her!
“Despite the embarrassment it sometimes causes, I love her [i.e. her adorable daughter] unrepentant zeal. It reminds us not to take for granted our too-infrequent gestures of daily thanksgiving. It reminds us to be humble. Following her lead, we must all bow our heads and fold our hands and shut our eyes and shout a full-throated ‘Amen!’ The snobs of secularism will no doubt disparage such simple-minded expressions of piety. They call us ‘Jesus freaks,’ ‘Bible-thumpers’ and ‘fundies.’ They accuse us of being ‘weak’ and of suffering from a ‘neurological disorder.’ They consider us such a threat that they have sought to expunge even the most innocuous references to thanking God in the public schools.”

Happy Thanksgiving.
I’ll be off enjoying the company of fellow secular humanists tomorrow, burning Bibles, flags, shooting heroin, and bashing Bush. Dan Rather, you loony sonofabitch, stop on by!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Tuesday’s blog is full of grace. Full of something anyway.

I went to see the folks last weekend. While waiting in San Francisco for the bus to take me to Emeryville, where the train itself disembarks, I wandered around the Farmer’s Market, which now occupies the Ferry Building – greengrocers, coffee joints, delicatessens, cheese shops, fishmongers, etc.

All the shops were clean and spotless, and all the customers upscale and white. Trim women in white carrying wicker baskets with one baguette, couples in matching Patagonia vests squeezing pomegranates, young women with pony tails sticking out from the back of their baseball caps, lining up for lattes. It was all very…. designer-ish, and depressing. As if we now need artistic concepts – mission statements! – to buy or sell produce.

The less we have to say, the more in love with our voices we become.

Saturday 2
On the bench at the bus stop, a young woman was leaned over, talking on her cell phone, revealing the small of her back, and the cleft of her buttocks. She was wearing thongs. What’s the deal with thongs? I can’t imagine anything more uncomfortable. It’s like giving yourself a wedgie.

Boarding the bus, she was still on the cell phone. Talking loudly: “I told that fuckin’ bitch, you stay out of my way, and I’ll stay out of yours. Yeah. My fuckin’ Mom wouldn’t let me. I said Fuck you Mom. All for fuckin’ two hundred dollars!..." Etc. For twenty minutes!

Finally some guy in the front of the bus turned around and said, “Enough with the fuckin’s! This isn’t your phone booth!”

The young woman immediately lowered her voice, but was still talking when we got off the bus.

The folks were fine. Dad’s getting more vague every time I see him, but he’s still alert. He can remember events from seventy years back, but can’t remember what happened five minutes ago. Mother is coping, but suspects this will be their last year in the double-wide. Managed care beckons.

Fetching the mail on the way to the double-wide, my mother found a magazine whose subscription she has cancelled twice. She was irked by its presence.

This prompted my father to mention a woman in North Dakota (where he grew up) named Mrs. Finscher. Whenever she got mail she did not want, she would write “Kiss my ass” on it, and drop it off at the post office. This was in the 1920’s.

She was a very tall woman, my father recalls, with a small husband, always trotting in her wake.

Duck’s Breath DVD
Bill is coming over tomorrow to discuss promotion ideas. A final schedule for its release is imminent! Imminent, I tell you!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Blogday blogday....

Duck’s Breath DVD
Apparently, if X and Y and Z occur before Thanksgiving, the DVD will be ready to ship before the end of the month. What those letters indicate, I do not know, but producer/director Bill is frantic (as usual) and exhausted, and trying to get it all done. I haven’t spoken to him in several days, because he is dashing around trying to make sure that X Y and Z happen.

Had a long talk with Neil, our sterling executive producer, who had an excellent idea, promotion-wise (he used to be a marketing guy – still is, I guess), which I will share with you should the time come. If not, sorry, it will be our little secret.

Xmas already?
Last Friday, the wife and I hooked up with her old boss at the Hyatt downtown to watch the lights in the world’s largest hotel lobby get lit. It’s the sort of thing I used to do a lot when I was in my teens and fond of the reefer, but I hadn’t done in years.

We had to cross picket lines in order to witness the seasonal event, but since we didn’t purchase anything, I felt all right about it. The crowd was relatively sparse.

As we wandered around before the lighting, we came upon the locked-out hotel workers banging on objects, retail clerks wearing Santa hats (it’s not even Thanksgiving yet!!!!), and a guy with a monkey, who was wearing a vest and a little monkey hat, which he would tip after snatching coins from the hands of three year olds.

Immediately preceding the lighting, we heard several local high school choirs, which were quite good, and were introduced to a gaggle of former Olympics winners (don’ t ask me why), including Katrina Witt. She made some remarks, none of which I understood. The acoustics were terrible.

The lights were magnificent, however, in a desperate corporate kind of way. The people putting this together seemed disheartened (hosts, bartenders, security), and looking for the worst - what that would have been I don’t know.

After the lighting, as we peeled off individually to the restrooms, in preparation for our trips home, a small boy of three was wandering the lobby, as his father engaged in intense conversation with a woman half his age.

He was a beautiful boy, in a blue tailored suit – it looked like something Philip Marlowe might wear, if he were a three year old boy. He was bored, because his father was engaged in intense conversation with a woman half his age. He started making faces and noises at people passing by.

Amy and I started making faces and noises back, and he came after us with a tubular pillow from one of the lounges, conveniently located for our comfort. Amy, when hit, would fall over. Of course, she was sitting on one of the convenient lounges, making it easy for her. When the boy started whacking me with the pillow, I made cute little “ow” noises, but that wasn’t enough for him.

“Faw down,” he demanded. “Faw down.”

Moral values not affecting teevee ratings!
From the New York Times:
“And over at Fox, Preston Beckman, the executive vice president for program planning, said he had some advice, however marginal, for producers pitching the networks. ‘Make sure that a lot of them are at least located in red states,’ he said. ‘And give the characters a dog.’”

Friday, November 19, 2004


Wishful Thinking Dept.
In a recent press conference, Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, deputy commander of Central Command, stated that Osama Bin Laden no longer has control of al-Qaida. In related news, we have apparently broken the back of the insurgency in Iraq. And Afghanistan’s poppy crop is one of the biggest ever! So relax. Everything’s just fine.

Nicolette Sheridan and the NFL
So, again, what exactly are supposed to be incensed about?

Pioneer Corp. has developed a new disc, called the Blu-ray optical disc, which can be written once, stores 25 gigabytes of data, and is made of corn. It is bio-degradable, and if you don’t like the music, you can eat it.

The Dope.
The Swiss, according to a new survey, smoke more pot than anybody else in Europe.

Who said it?
"This might be the first joke inducted into the Smithsonian Institution."

Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell are re-uniting to produce a remake of their horror classic, THE EVIL DEAD.

New hot spot!
According to the Washington Post, an Apple Store in SoHo is the new hip gathering place for young singles. They can “stop by to read their e-mail, load their iPods and check out new digital gizmos - and each other.”

Actress Nina Rutsch, 27, told the newspaper, "When you're checking your e-mail online, you're really near your neighbor, so its an easy place to strike up conversation.. And if you talk to a guy in the Apple Store, you already know he's going to be modern and up-to-date and sober. It's healthier than picking up someone in a bar."

Who needs a drink? I do.

Outsource this!
From an editorial in today’s THE TIMES OF INDIA;

"This week Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer is here, talking to governments and local IT companies to push business and make deals in one of the world's fastest-developing IT markets. … Craig Barrett, CEO and chairman-elect of the world's largest chipmaker, Intel, is also in India this week. Both Microsoft and Intel are attracted by India's large base of low-cost techies and want to move more business here. Bored by every geeky Bill, Larry and Craig who hops out of every other transatlantic flight? Then think about another American who's touring India this week: Designer Calvin Klein…. It shows that India's image has progressed beyond cyber-coolie-sweatshop to an economy that can afford branded, big-ticket goodies. Eat your heart out, Beltway babus. Henceforth, nothing's going to come between India and Calvin Klein."

What is the sound of one hand typing?
A bunch of experts showed up in Washington today to testify to the Senate about the evils of Internet porn. According to Wired News, Mary Anne Layden, co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Cognitive Therapy, said porn was the "most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today."

Not to be outdone, shrink Jeffrey Satinover, advisor to the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, said "Pornography really does, unlike other addictions, biologically cause direct release of the most perfect addictive substance. That is, it causes masturbation, which causes release of the naturally occurring opioids. It does what heroin can't do, in effect."

Opioids? What?

Several panelists uggested that federal money be used to fund “brain-mapping studies into the physical effects of pornography.”

And “Judith Reisman of the California Protective Parents Association suggested that more study of ‘erototoxins’ could show how pornography is not speech-protected under the First Amendment.”

Erototoxins? What?

Oh wait, that’s the stuff emitted from Uncle Bucky’s Smut Hut. But if you wear the special glasses, the erototoxins will not interfere with opipoid release. Believe me, I’ve been there.

Duck’s Breath DVD
Tapping…. Twiddling… We’re just all a twitter.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Run, don't walk.

Pac People
Researchers in Singapore, for reasons best known to them, have come up with a real life PAC MAN game. Instead of dots, the player picks up Bluetooth-enabled boxes. The game also involves GPS technology, head-mounted displays, and inertia sensors. If a ghost catches you, you are required to stop making “wokka wokka” noises immediately, then make a sound like a church organ melting, and wilt away to nothing. If the game is successful, the researchers next plan to do the same thing with DOOM. If they start playing it your neighborhood, get out. Get out now.

Related topic
A rancher in Texas, John Underwood, wants to offer remote control hunting on his spread via the Internet. According to Reuters, he has already spent “$10,000 to build a platform for a rifle and camera that can be remotely aimed on his 330-acre southwest Texas ranch….”

He told Reuters: “…an attendant would retrieve shot animals for the shooters, who could have the heads preserved by a taxidermist. They could also have the meat processed and shipped home….”

No wonder Webvan failed! It didn’t have rifles!

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates gets 4 millions emails a day, most of it spam.

When stars date
Designed primarily for film and television buffs, IMBd is being used more and more as a kind of romance filter by love-starved actors in Hollywood.

Aspiring actres Bree Turner told the Guardian: "It is the premier dating vessel for Hollywood….You can find out if the schmo is lying when he said he just wrapped Soderbergh's next feature or was the indie darling at Sundance. And you can see if he was an ex-porn-star because IMDb will put everything you have ever done on celluloid up."

When Castro speaks…
Fidel Castro says of the Osama bin Laden videotape, aired just ahead of the U.S. presidential election, ``We have seen too much ... trickery and shamelessness to sustain the belief that this wasn't something arranged.''

So there.

These boots are made for…
A new anthropology study claims that human beings were evolved to run. The study also claims that human beings have big buttocks (relatively) to help in running. Buttocks "keep you from pitching over on your nose each time a foot hits the ground," said a spokesperson.

Just proofed the cover art, and the process nears its end. Some actual release dates may be in the offing. By the way, more of my writings – and streaming audio! – can be found at ianshoales.com.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Eyeless in Gaza, Naked in Cleveland

The Republicans in the House of Representatives approved a rules change today that will allow Tom DeLay to remain their leader, even if indicted in Texas on corruption charges. It’s another proud day for the Republic!

The Clinton Library, said to resemble a double-wide trailer supersized, or a space shuttle, is about to open in Little Rock, Arkansas. Several rooms are devoted to the “scandals,” but Monica Lewinsky’s dress, alas, will not be available for display. The library opens tomorrow (Thursday, another proud day for the Republic!

Locus of locusts…
…it appears to be Cairo, Egypt.

And the peanuts? Are they gone too?
In an effort to make cabin cleaning more efficient, American Airlines removed the passenger pillows from its 334 MD-80 jets this week.
A spokesman estimated this would save the airline "in the mid-six figures," not to mention the good will of its passengers.

City of lights, city of magic
For a report on a local photographer, Cleveland anchor Sharon Reed appeared nude, as one of hundreds who took part in the artist’s nude photo installation last June. News director Steve Doeer said that the story was intended to cover the artist – well-known in Cleveland - in a different way. And to increase ratings.

Christ on a crutch?
A Florida woman has put a cheese toastie up for grabs on e-Bay, asking for an opening price of $3,000 because the toastie contains the image of the Virgin Mary. In the cheese.
She first made the toastie ten years ago, and took a bite from it before she noticed the apparition. Since then she has kept it surrounded by wool in a plastic container.
Having examined the object (its picture anyway), it looks more like Marilyn Monroe to me.

While viewing the Duck’s Breath DVD, with my tester hat on, I spotted a blooper! I issued an immediate report, then rested on my laurels. The tester hat is back on the rack, and I’m ready to catch the final installment of CATEGORY 6 on CBS. The biggest storm in history is gonna hit Chicago, and there’s no way to warn the people! I hope Nancy McKeon gets to help somebody.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Our Magical Heads!

From Craigslist: the Democratic Party rises to new challenges.
Straight male seeks Bush supporter for fair, physical fight - m4m
I would like to fight a Bush supporter to vent my anger. If you are one, have a fiery streek (sic), please contact me so we can meet and physically fight. I would like to beat the shit out of you.

But what’s Randy Mantooth doing?
David Lee Roth has been training incognito in New York to be a paramedic; a few weeks ago he actually saved the life of Bronx heart attack victim.

Blockbuster moment.
Checking out some movies at my local Blockbuster, I found myself standing next to a small, disappointed woman. She was not holding any tapes or DVDs. She said to the clerk, “You don’t have very many movies here.”
The clerk said, “What?”
She said, “You don’t have a very wide selection.”
The clerk said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll dash right out and get more movies for you right now!”
No, he didn’t.

Sunset Super moment.
I was buying chicken at the local Chinese market. I had never heard any employee there speak English before, purchases being negotiated through a complicated series of hand gestures, but as I was giving the clerk my money, a pigeon flew in through the open front door, and began flying around the market. The clerk looked up and said, “Oh shit.” Then she grinned at me.

But I LIKE my food to suffer…
(AP) Touting tofu chowder and vegetarian sushi as alternatives, animal-rights activists have launched a novel campaign arguing that fish — contrary to stereotype — are intelligent, sensitive animals no more deserving of being eaten than a pet dog or cat.

Called the Fish Empathy Project, the campaign reflects a strategy shift by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals as it challenges a diet component widely viewed as nutritious and uncontroversial.

DVD news.
All Ducks have responded with the funny little bits that viewers will receive when they click on our heads- excuse me, our Magical Heads! I won’t tell you what those little “easter eggs” are, because that would spoil the surprise after you purchase this fine product. But let me just say that a few quick pushes on a remote may bring a smile to your lips, perhaps even a chuckle.

Final request.
Can we stop referring to ourselves as “red” and “blue” soon? I think it’s kind of stupid, don’t you? Thank you.

Monday, November 15, 2004

What’s the schniz, wiz?

Colin Powell has resigned as Secretary of State, after a long period of humiliation by his lessers. He will be replaced by Condoleezza Rice, whose i.q. seems to decrease by a half a point for every day she remains with the Bush Administration. John Ashcroft has also resigned, to pursue a career in statuary drapery. He will be replaced by a fellow who advised the White House in 2002: "In my judgment, this new paradigm [um terrorism] renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions requiring that captured enemy be afforded such things as commissary privileges, scrip (i.e., advances of monthly pay), athletic uniforms and scientific instruments."

(You can find Alberto Gonzalez’ full legal advice to the White House here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4999148/site/newsweek/)

Erm. Er.
From the AP: “A man set himself afire Monday just outside a White House gate and repeatedly yelled ‘Allah Allah’ after Secret Service officers put out the flames and one held him facedown on the sidewalk.”

Ditto: “Just hours after a man set himself on fire on Pennsylvania Avenue, another man jumped the fence onto White House grounds.
[A]round 5 p.m. Monday, the man scaled the six-foot high fence, landed on the other side, and was pounced-on by the uniformed Secret Service….
Officials do not know what sparked either man to do what he did."

Been scrolling through the various menus, trying to find things that don’t work, or take me to places I don’t really want to go, like North Dakota in February. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Hi Bob!

Meet Biblical Norm!
Bob Jones has posted a letter to President Bush on the Bob Jones University web site, writing, "In your re-election, God has graciously granted America — though she doesn't deserve it — a reprieve from the agenda of paganism…. You have been given a mandate. ... Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ"

He continues: “Undoubtedly, you will have opportunity to appoint many conservative judges and exercise forceful leadership with the Congress in passing legislation that is defined by biblical norm…..”

A visit to the Bob Jones University web site will further inform you that Bob Jones is also hitting the boards, playing the title role in a campus production of CYRANO DE BERGERAC. He also makes keys, is a notary public, and prays for us daily.

Thanks, Bob! But we don’t deserve it.

Blogged down.
Retired CBS correspondent Eric Engberg bitch-slapped blogospheroids on the CBS.com web site. “The public is now assaulted by news and pretend-news from many directions, thanks to the now infamous ‘information superhighway.’ But the ability to transmit words, we learned during the Citizens Band radio fad of the 70’s, does not mean that any knowledge is being passed along. One of the verdicts rendered by election night 2004 is that, given their lack of expertise, standards and, yes, humility, the chances of the bloggers replacing mainstream journalism are about as good as the parasite replacing the dog it fastens on.”

Ten four, Andrew Sullivan, good buddy.

Dr. Stuart Meloy, a pain researcher, was testing a new device to treat chronic pain. He placed an electrode on a female patient’s spine. "When we turned on the power in this case, she let out a moan and began hyperventilating," Meloy told Good Morning America. "Of course we cut the power and I looked around the drapes and asked her what was going on. Once she caught her breath, she said 'you're gonna have to teach my husband how to do that!' "

Now plans are being made to remarket the device - which is about the same size as a pacemaker, and can be run via remote control - as a marital aid.

“If approved for this use,” goes the story on the ABC news web site, “the orgasmatron device and implantation could cost up to $17,000, but Meloy says he believes some women would be happy to pay that amount to have the orgasmatron permanently embedded in their lower backs. He says the device could be implanted on an outpatient basis.”

It could have been worse. Darn it.
The Segway is, of course, the stubbornly unpopular scooter that pretty near drives itself, and Roomba is the surprisingly popular robot vacuum cleaner.

At something called the Accelerating Change conference, one Cory Onrejka, according to his blog, watched in amazement as“… a fast moving Segway, slightly out of control, met Roomba, zipping across the floor like a suicidal squirrel. Amazingly, neither seemed the worse for the wear. The Segway popped up and over while Roomba emitted a few beeps from button presses but both continued on their way. Impressive engineering on several levels, actually. Roomba, for surviving the impact unharmed and Segway for not tipping over."

DVD News.
We are waiting for the next rev, after which we will be checking the nav bars, to make sure they take us where they are supposed to take us. Then the art work will be assembled, and it will be sent off to the magical gnomes who will duplicate them for us, and then we will sell them to you, the discerning consumer. Right now: twiddling.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Blind Item

What needs to be done.
So Jim Belushi is suing Julie Newmar, and Bill Maher’s old girlfriend is suing him, and Liza Minnelli’s bodyguard claims that she forced him to have sex with her, and Burt Reynolds’ old flame is suing him.

What Duck’s Breath needs, obviously, is a scandal.

Dan Coffey has already suggested that we move to his farmhouse in Iowa, declare ourselves to be a separate nation, and die in a blazing shootout with the FBI. Leon and I are enthusiastic about this option, but Jim and Bill can’t quite see the career-advancement possibilities.

Jim is making a movie with Nicole Kidman. The five of us could start stalking her, but that would mean we’d all have to hang out together, which is fine once in a while, but for an extended period might bring back painful touring memories, and we’d wind up turning on each other, viciously, chewing off legs, that sort of thing.

Many of us are still loathed by various exes (I’m not naming names, but we know who we are); hints could be dropped to the media that these exes are bringing a class action suit against us for doltish and/or caddish behavior. This would not help us with the women’s vote (they can vote?), but the doltish cads (they can vote?) will flock to us in droves!

Play Chinese Fire Drill in the middle of a Nascar rally!

Run for President, get assassinated by Newt Gingrich.

Beat up Newt Gingrich, run away, get caught hiding in Courtney Love’s shrubbery.

Bill came over this morning, along with Ed Rachles, to snap new headshots. Afterwards, we came up with little audio snippets (amusing, recorded in my living room) that will pop up when a viewer goes to various “nav bars.” That’s what we call them in the DVD game, you know, “nav bars.” That’s where navs go to have a beer.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Click on this.

Poor us.
The massive faux despair by the left after the recent election is rather pathetic, don’t you think? It may have been the most important election of our lifetimes, but still, it was just another election. All this talk of moving to Canada, and apologizing to the world - well stop it. Our guy lost, that’s all. It happens.

On the other hand, if the ruling elite don’t stop calling people like me elite, I may have to do some bitch-slapping.

Hog butcher of the world!
The city of Chicago, in its wisdom, may soon be installing Global Positioning System technology on Chicago Park District employees.

Parks Supt. Timothy Mitchell told the Chicago Sun-Times, “We could look at a map and pinpoint them.” He claims that this would “allow the district to keep better records of how long jobs take and what work has been done,” though some have suggested that this is just a high-tech way of making sure workers aren’t sleeping on the job.

No, no, says Mitchell: GPS would provide greater "efficiencies,' helping dispatch crews to jobs quicker in an emergency.

The unions are not convinced. SEIU Local 73 spokeswoman Joanna Misnik said, “Efficiency? How efficient is it to have park supervisors cleaning bathrooms?''

She called current staffing levels "abominable.'' But now they have satellite access! Life is wonderful!

Bill is coming over here tomorrow, along with the long-suffering Ed Rachles, who is going to snap new headshots of us for the Duck’s Breath DVD cover. Simultaneously, kind of, Jim Turner and Leon Martell will have themselves photographed in the sun-dappled Hades the world calls Hollywood, and Dan Coffey will squeeze into a photo booth at a Wal-Mart in southeast Iowa. Then, at a given signal, all photographs will converge, to be Photoshopped within an inch of their lives.

After our little photo shoot, Bill and I will hunker and confab about what audio will greet the viewer as her or she navigates through the menus. He and I will probably be responsible for all of that, both writing and performing.

Monday, November 08, 2004

November surprise

October Surprise
The October Surprise turned out to be Osama Bin Laden, and his latest video, competing with Eminem’s MOSH, and the Swift Boat ads, as the most compelling must-see teevee during Campaign 2004.

Both right and left tried to turn the video to their advantage, the right claiming that it amounted to an endorsement of Kerry by Bin Laden, and the left claiming that the very continued existence of Bin Laden was proof that President Bush is a failure as a leader.

Nobody seemed to pay attention to what Bin Laden had done, however. Essentially, he’d given himself a makeover! Gone was the cave, and camouflage. Instead, a nice back drop, a lectern, golden robes, and a blow-dried beard.

And he was a kinder, gentler Bin Laden. His advisers, the Karl Roves of militant Islam, I assume, even gave him a couple of jokes. I especially liked his response to the accusation that he hated freedom. He said if he hated freedom, he would’ve bombed Sweden, ha ha.

He even indulges in a bit of spin that all the operations, claiming that the events of 9/11 had been timed to be carried out within 20 minutes.

He says, “…because it seemed to him that occupying himself by talking to the little girl about the goat and its butting was more important than occupying himself with the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers, we were given three times the period required to execute the operations - all praise is due to Allah.”

So: it was President Bush’s fault. Who knows? Over time, and if he keeps hammering on that message, people outside his ever-widening circle of killers, may believe him.

He’s already got more name recognition that John Kerry. If he continues to soften his tone, maybe shave his beard, get a nice 3-piece suit, get some footage of himself playing soccer with children, maybe, keep reminding people that his politics are truly faith-based….

It’s a long shot, I know, but if Arnold gets the Constitution amended so foreigners can run –well, I suspect Osama Bin Laden will not only throw his turban in the ring, he could very well become our next president.

After all, we already know that Bush can’t touch him.

I’ll go no more a Rove-in’
As Kerry supporters line up at the Canadian border, looking for either flu vaccine or citizenship, depending, President Bush’s people have declared that the President now has a mandate.

Despite two squeakers in a row, the Bushies are going ahead with their agenda, including, according to White House adviser Karl Rove, talking on Fox News Sunday, pushing for a constitutional amendment that will declare that marriage, per se, consists only of a union between man and woman.

See, if you’re gay, you just can’t win with these jokers. If you aren’t in a committed relationship, you’re promoting a promiscuous homosexual lifestyle, but if you want to settle down, you’re perverting the concept of marriage.

On Fox News Sunday, Rove also addressed the controversy over the strange bulge in President Bush’s jacket during the first debate, a bulge that many conspiracy-befuddled bloggers believed was some kind of audio receiver. Rove said that the President’s tailor was devastated by the controversy.

“The poor fellow,” Rove told interviewer Chris Wallace,” “he’s an awfully nice fellow, he’s a rather flamboyant dude. I’m not going to use his name, but he’s just – he’s horrified. And you know, it’s – there was nothing there.”

Now, to these ears, calling somebody a “flamboyant dude,” means only one thing. The dude is gay. Rove, of course, is a master of innuendo. What I hear him saying is, there was no audio receiver under the jacket, it was just bad gay tailoring. And even if there was a device, it was a gay guy who put it there.

See? You can’t win. What they’re saying is, “No matter what I do, it’s your fault.”

And if the Bushies fail in their second term mandate, well, mandate sounds suspiciously like something you might find on the homosexual agenda, doesn’t it?

The cover art for the Duck’s Breath DVD, created by the excellent Tim Barrett, is pretty much finished, but the head shots used there have to be re-done, because they were too lo-rez. Will share when I get a JPEG.

Bill brought over a “first draft” of the DVD. He wants to have more “funny stuff” with each menu, us exhorting the viewer to click a button, for God’s sake, or whatever. We will be meeting this week to discuss the further generation of funny stuff, which of course is what the world needs now.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

We Shall Be Released. Really!

What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love, and understanding?
I am part of a leftie chautauqua type thingie called Infotainment Posse. Over the past year, we’ve put on “get out the vote” shows in various hotbeds of people who don’t need convincing, but it’s been fun anyway.

The lineup changes somewhat from show to show, but the basic crew includes Mike Dingle, a local San Francisco promoter, who emcees; musician Michael Ward (whose brain child it was), with his band Dogs and Fishes; Caroluna, who is a singer and video artist; news videos from the Guerrilla News Network (who put together the new Eminem video); me; and headliner David Harris, the journalist and activist.

So the show is a mix of comedy, music, and plain old politicking.

We brought ourselves to the Unitarian Church in Palo Alto last night, presenting us as a “What now?” type of thing, to get the lefties fired up and back to work. And the joint was packed! Standing room only. It was encouraging. The crowd was pretty much all white (except for one black man), and mainly really old, which seems to be the demographic of churches in general these days, outside of the Bible belts.

Afterwards I was talking to a guy who had an interesting idea. He suggested that the CIA (or somebody) should set up the Muslim equivalent of a Unitarian Church. It would be Muslim but very laid back about it. Bowing to Mecca would be your personal choice. Create your personalized Allah. Work for peace. That sort of thing.

The idea would be to create an artificial ecumenical Islam to offset the mullahs and insurgents, to create an environment devoid of minarets, ululations, and munitions, an environment instead of large ornament-free meeting rooms, murmurs of assent, and Birkenstocks.

This is a great idea! I’m kidding, but sort of not.

What about me?
My website, ianshoales.com, now features streaming audio of my Ian Shoales commentaries, along with links to various online texts I’ve written.

DVD wisdom.
Just spoke with Bill, who is the process of authoring the DVD, and he asked me to share with you this piece of wisdom: “Every button requires a hundred decisions.” And that’s so true, don’t you think?

Personal Anecdote
Driving home with Mr. Dingle after the show, we decided to stop at a convenience store near the on-ramp to get something to drink. We found a place on a dark street, with barred windows, and a gaggle of layabouts loitering in front. The door was solid metal, and slightly a jar. A young black woman emerged from the store, as we approached, closing the door behind her. I tried to open the door, but somebody was holding it shut.
Then a face appeared as the door opened a crack, and a middle-aged East Indian man's face appeared. He seemed anguished and angry.

He shouted, "What do you want!"

Um. To come into the store?

"We're closed!"

And the door slammed in our faces.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Power to the People!

The Media Encroach…..
Received not one but two e-mails from various folks at the San Francisco Chronicle (or Pravda, as it’s probably called by our Red brothers and sisters in the hinterlands – by Red, I mean “value voters,” not Indians or Commies).

One wants to know if I would contribute quotable quotes for a feature on if and how the election has or will affect my work. Well, I don’t really have any work right now, and haven’t since President Bush first took office. Coincidence? I doubt it.

The other wants to know what I’m doing to cope with post-election trauma.

Will respond to both, though once again, neither involves any kind of financial renumeration. It’s the new gratis economy. Everything’s a goddam benefit.

All together, lefties, moan moan moan!
I’m an unrepentant liberal myself, but God do I hate lefties. While the right was out energizing their base, putting the fear of God into the fearful, and putting the God of fear into the voting booth, the left was dithering about whether Kerry was leftie enough for them, and patting themselves on the back for keeping up with blogs.

Of course, many of us of the left-leaning persuasion are naturally diffident. Gay marriage? Sure! But those on the right sincerely believe that gay marriage could crumble the very foundations of civilization. Well, some of them believe that. The others don’t care a white, but believe that gay marriage is a wedge that will drive the value voters into the booth. And it did.

Blame Canada!
If you are thinking of moving to Canada in the wake of the election, Reuters informs us that “Canadian officials made clear on Wednesday that any U.S. citizens so fed up with Bush that they want to make a fresh start up north would have to stand in line like any other would-be immigrants -- a wait that can take up to a year.”

Here are some lovely pictures what I have drawn. I have been informed that I need to make the lines thicker, for them to show up on a teevee screen. Will do!

Corrections! Posted by Hello

Go Far! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Thousands of lawyers in Ohio

Written in the stars, but not in Ohio.
Indian astrologers (and no, don’t worry, Jeanne Dixon is not being outsourced) have picked the winner in our Presidential election.

"Saturn, which is the lord of health and fortune for President Bush, has been eclipsed by the Sun, which is unfortunate and gives him a clear defeat," Lachhman Das Madan, editor of a popular astrology magazine, told Reuters. "Kerry will win. It is cosmic writ that George W. Bush cannot become president of United States again."

Another astrologer, Ajai Bhambi, agreed. "Kerry is likely to beat Bush in the final verdict."

Thank you, masked man.
In Canada, where priorities are straighter, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal decided against a native Canadian woman, who had complained that her manager at work had “created a poisoned environment” when he kept calling her kemosabe.

In order to reach this decision, the Court of Appeal studied "Lone Ranger" reruns, and decided, "When asked what it meant, Tonto responded 'trusty friend.’ Both the Lone Ranger and Tonto treat one another with respect... At no time during the episodes is the term kemosabe ever used in a demeaning or derogatory manner."

DVD Pics
I have scribbled five illustrations for viewers to view, dumbfounded, while listening to the five audio tracks which will be included in the Duck’s Breath DVD. (I will post those amazing sketches here sometime this week.)

As to when the actual DVD will be released…. I do not know.

Obviously, we would LOVE to have it in your smooth hands for Christmas, and it may happen, but we don’t want to rush things, and can't even if we did. Bill has lined up a company to author the DVD, and all the elements are in place, but time as always is our enemy.

On the bright side….
George W. Bush is once again our President.

When you can get an online paralegal certificate why attend college courses to become a paralegal? Various online paralegal courses are available for those who want to attend an online paralegal school for their certification.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Don't forget to boo!

Three generations of Punk, maybe four
My wife and I spent the weekend in Davis, motelling it in a mini-vacation, and visiting my Aged Parents, where I spent the Halloween afternoon cleaning leaves and gunk out of their gutters. We did get in a few hands of pinochle, however, which is what these visits are really all about.

Taking the train home, we were joined on BART by various conglomerations of young people in Halloween guises, all headed for San Francisco and the annual Castro District party. One of them, costumed as Kurt Cobain, spotted a woman with dyed blonde hair and thick eyeliner, and shouted at her, “You killed me, Courtney! Release the box set!”

She yelled back, “I’m not Courtney! I’m Nancy!”

Sign in Davis bookstore.
Sophie (the bookstore dog)…is sweet, but shy. Making eye contact or noticing her will cause her to bark in fear. Please ignore her. Thank you.

The strangest thing about Osama’s return to the media, for me, was how presidential he seemed to want to be. He made little jokes (if he was against freedom, he would have bombed Sweden, ha ha). He changed his appearance – instead of the wild man in the cave, we were shown the serene mullah (with blow-dried beard), at a lectern, complete with a back drop.

His disconnection from American reality, however, is even more extreme that the American disconnection from American reality. Sneering at President Bush, he said, "It never occurred to us that the commander in chief of the American forces would leave 50,000 citizens in the two towers to face those horrors alone at a time when they most needed him because he thought listening to a child discussing her goat and its ramming was more important than the planes and their ramming of the skyscrapers.”

So, he is outraged over the horror he himself engineered, and manages to blame Bush for not being as outraged as he is.

Which leads me to the question: Does he want our vote?

Bush hasn’t talked about him in a while, so maybe people have forgotten that he’s the guy responsible for 9/11. Maybe he could be a dark horse candidate. Say, what’s his position on stem cell research and late term abortions? Give Karl Rove a call. We could be on to something.

In every presidential election since 1936, I read today, the Redskins' last home game has accurately predicted the winner. If they win, the incumbent president's party wins. If they lose, the challenger wins. Yay!

But remember: if the cast members of SEINFELD should have a hit series before the polls close, it means another four years of groundhogs being afraid of their shadows. Babe Ruth’s vengeful ghost will see to that.

So don’t forget to vote, or something terrible will happen to you. Emily Schwarz of Brooklyn forgot to vote in 2004, and she was run over by a car. Pass this message along, and be sure put yourself at the top of the list.