Sunday, June 25, 2006

Kat Tat Blog

Report from New Orleans
My fan club, Tammy Angelique Rydell, sent me an e-mail from New Orleans. It contained the following information:

"So many old folks here can't see how they have anything to look forward to, since they figure they won't live long enough to see any significant future renaissance and the present time is nothing but broken shit and long nightmare phone calls while FEMA/Entergy/the IRS/the State of Louisiana/ the U.S. Dept. of Labor/various building contractors/the Social Security Administration/HUD put them on hold for about 65 minutes and then the person they finally get to speak to says he/she isn't the one they should be calling."


"Women are branding themselves with fleur-de-lis jewelry, earrings, necklaces. Local stores offer fleur-de-lis everything, from teapots to bumper stickers. Men wear fleur-de-lis T-shirts, and it's not just about the football Saints. Kids, goths, and bohemians are getting fleur-de-lis tattoos: 'Kat tats'. It's a big club, and nobody wanted to join, but hey. We're all in this together now, we're tough, we're scary, and our killer emblem is the lily blossom of decadent French kings. Whoa."

Geben sie mir bloggensraum!

News from the Blue City!
According to San Francisco Chronicle columnists Matier and Ross, Mayor Gavin Newsome apparently has plans to sink “…turbines under the Golden Gate Brdige and current-catching generators off Ocean Beach. The idea: Produce electricity for the city to sell or use, or both.”

Not only that, they’ll be gay turbines. Married gay turbines.

Charles Taylor’s election slogan when he ran for president of Liberia was:
“I killed your Ma, I killed your Pa. Vote for me.”

Ann Coulter’s latest…
“I dedicate this column to John Murtha, the reason soldiers invented fragging.”
I’ve heard she’s very nice in person, and taller than expected.

Ann Coulter on Hannity & Colmes
"I'm a little tired of liberals exploiting my book to get on TV and sell newspapers."
She enjoys brief naps and walks on the beach.

From the laist blog: Ann Coulter’s social life
And then on Saturday she attended the high school graduation party of Maia, Cathy Seipp's beautiful blogging daughter.

The fete was a who's-who of LA political bloggers, including Matt Welch and Luke Thompson, Joseph Mailander of the Martini Republic, Moxie, Andrew Breitbart of the Drudge Report, Pajamas Media head honcho Roger L. Simon, and of course recent birthday girl Emmanuelle Richard. Coulter was escorted to the garden party by Slate's Mickey Kaus.

Who is Mickey Kaus?
He writes kausfiles for Slate, is a neo-liberal, and a friend of Ann Coulter’s. This is from the blog, Patterico’s Pontifications:

“His lefty pal Robert Wright just kicks Kaus around the room in this Blogging Heads TV segment on evolution basher Ann Coulter and her hateful statements about some 9/11 widows….Here is a transcription of one small excerpt:

Kaus: She says what she thinks. She thinks they’re harpies, she says they’re harpies. There is something - there is something . . .

Wright: Well, let’s get back to them enjoying the deaths of their husbands. Do you think she’s right about that?

Kaus: Well, it’s weird. I thought that was a very offensive thing to say, in that, in that, uh, you know, she was implying that they, overall, they were happy their husbands were dead. And she doesn’t really say that. She just, uh –

Wright: So, “enjoying their husbands’ deaths” . . .

Kaus: She doesn’t say that. She says she’s never seen grieving widows enjoy the deaths of their husband more. It doesn’t mean that overall, they’re not, like, wildly unhappy. It just means that, uh –

Wright: That they’re literally enjoying the deaths of their husbands? So, I mean, let’s take an example. I mean, this happens across the political spectrum, OK, that people acquire a platform by virtue of tragedy, like this right-wing writer David Gelertner. . . . [I]f he hadn’t opened a bomb sent by the Unabomber, we probably never would have become familiar with his political writings, because they wouldn’t have existed. . . . I would never say, as much as I dislike his writing, I would never say: “I’ve never seen someone so enjoy being maimed.” That would be a stupid thing to say. If I said it in a fit of rage, it would mean I had lost control of my senses briefly. If I said it in a book, it would mean that it was calculated to antagonize people; it was calculatedly outrageous - and I’m sure you’ll agree at least this much, Mickey, this was a classic calculatedly outrageous Ann Coulter sentence. I mean, it’s even hard for me to get outraged about it, the calculation is so obvious. You’ll agree to that, surely — right?

. . . .

Kaus: . . . [I]f you read the remarks in context, they do not seem that bad. In fact, there are things –

Wright: They don’t seem that bad? Wouldn’t you call me stupid if I said about Gelertner, that I’ve never seen somebody so enjoy being maimed? Wouldn’t that be stupid?

Kaus: It would be very stupid — but I think that’s worse –

Wright: Oh, but that’s not analogous to this?

Kaus: I actually think that’s worse than this.

Wright: That’s worse?

Kaus: Yeah, because you’re playing on someone’s physical deformity.

Wright: Oh, as opposed to somebody’s mere death….”

And we won’t come back ‘til it’s over over there.
From the Associated Press: “Members of Congress on Sunday denounced any Iraqi plan that would grant amnesty to insurgents responsible for the deaths of U.S. troops.”

But did they get amnesty?
From the Associated Press: “The Pentagon waited nine months after completing its investigation into the deaths of two California National Guardsmen before notifying the families this week that they were murdered by the Iraqi soldiers they were training.”

New study: Blacks hear better than whites.

Guantanamo Suicides: Spun
The camp commander at Guantanamo said that the three detainee suicides were acts of “asymmetric warfare waged against us.”

Yeah! They're not fighting fair!

Collen Graffy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, told the BBC that the deaths were "a tactic to further the jihadi cause," and a "good PR move to draw attention."

Yeah! They're running their deaths up the flagpole to see who salutes!

I don’t know if you’ve been following the Daily Kos scandal (dubbed Kosola, by somebody). I first read about it in kausfiles!

Apparently, Jason Zengerle from The New Republic accused Kos of using his influence to get politicians to hire his writing partner, Jerome Armstrong. Indignant blogs have been flying back and forth!

I followed the controversy with rapt attention until I came to a comment on Zengerle’s blog: “Who cares?” And I realized I didn’t.

In the course of climbing this molehill, I came across a blog by TNRer, Lee Siegel, who wrote:
“It's a bizarre phenomenon, the blogosphere. It radiates democracy's dream of full participation but practices democracy's nightmare of populist crudity, character-assassination, and emotional stupefaction. It's hard fascism with a Microsoft face.”

Wrong! The jackbooted thugs of the blogosphere all use Macs.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

bloggo for blogs

Domino Effect, 21st Century Style
New York Times:

“Here at Mexico's own southern edge, Guatemalans cross legally and illegally to do jobs that Mexicans departing for the north no longer want. And hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from nearly two dozen other countries, including China, Ecuador, Cuba and Somalia, pass through on their way to the United States.”

And are the Mexicans heading north taking the jobs that U.S. citizens heading to Canada no longer want? Where are Canadians going?

What irritates me this week.
It was inevitable, I suppose, that when Paul McCartney turned 64, every damn feature writer in the country had to make some kind of reference to that stupid Beatles song.

This is from the New York Times:

“He was a teenager when he wrote the tune for ‘When I'm Sixty-Four,’ and only 24 when the Beatles recorded it in 1967 for ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.’ But just as George Orwell's ‘1984’ proved to be an abiding prophecy of a dystopic future for so many impressionable readers, Mr. McCartney's lyrics delivered to a self-consciously youthful generation an enduring if satirical definition of what their golden age might be like ‘many years from now.’”

Good god, what a boring paragraph!

Other stupid Beatles songs include:
“Lovely Rita”

“All Together Now”

“Mean Mr. Mustard”

“Ob La Di Ob La Da”


This just in! Dan Rather is sad!
NYT: “In place of the swagger that had served him so well throughout his 44-year career at CBS News was an obvious sadness that his tenure at the network was ticking down to an inglorious end.”

News from the Kosfest in Vegas!
Markos “Kos” Moulitsas told a fellow blogger: “Maureen Dowd is an insecure catty bitch.”

News from the MSM in Vegas!
From Maureen Dowd:
“Even as Old Media is cowed by New Media, New Media is trying to become, rather than upend, Old Media. Ms. Cox has left her Wonkette gig to be a novelist and Time essayist. Mr. Moulitsas and Mr. Armstrong wrote a book called ‘Crashing the Gate,’ and hit ‘Meet the Press’ and the book tour circuit. Mr. Armstrong left his liberal blog to become a senior adviser to Mr. Warner. What could be more mainstream than that?

“Were the revolutionaries simply eager to be co-opted? Mr. Moulitsas grinned. ‘Traditionally it was hard to get your job,’ he said. ‘Now regular people can score your job.’

“Fine. I'll be at the Cleopatra slot machine pondering a career in blogging, which will set me up to get back into mainstream media someday.”

Jane Hamsher of firedoglake bitchslaps former Wonkette at Kosfest!
“At one point during our FDL caucus on the first day of the convention, Ana Marie Cox was standing out in the hallway with Byron York and Pach hailed them inside. York came in and sat down, but as Wankette teetered through the crowd on a pair of spindly legs shown to ill-effect in a set of shorts I’d seen on the markdown rack at Barneys (others wisely having steered clear), she looked like some self-fashioned Marie Antoinette afraid that the unwashed masses were going to mob her.”

“Wankette.” Wit, at its finest.

From a comment on firedoglake (aka FDL)
“The problem with these dark words is that they stay in the head, and change one’s internal grace as a human being. I simply don’t want certain images in my head, be it bathroom graffiti, or, to carry it further, detailed descriptions of beheadings by Middle East terrorists, or stories about rape victims, or accident victims, or any other victims of horrendous action. Words have great power, and we should be careful how we use them. They can incite the unhealthy to assassinations and other kinds of violence. On the FDL level, it doesn’t amount to anything with any depth. It’s only word-slinging back and forth to give the Poster and the bloggers who share the Poster’s low-mindedness strokes. Weird, to me. And, a form of word-rape.

“It’s responsible to be inventive and creative with language; it’s dangerous to sling language around, carelessly, insensitive to whom it may hurt or offend. Ah, for the days of Addison and Steele.”

Jane Hamsher’s comment on the comment
“Ah for the days of Addison and Steele.”
You’re a smug, self-righteous bitch. How about those words?

From AdAge, of all places.
“Would it kill you, ‘Godless’ author Ann Coulter, to do us all a favor and kill yourself? (Oh, well, yeah, I guess it would kill you.)”

From Spectator Number 10 (Joseph Addison)
“It was said of Socrates, that he brought Philosophy down from Heaven, to inhabit among Men; and I shall be ambitious to have it said of me, that I have brought Philosophy out of Closets and Libraries, Schools and Colleges, to dwell in Clubs and Assemblies, at Tea-Tables, and in Coffee-Houses.”

Addison and Steele! The first bloggers! And just as self-important as today’s bloggers! Only without the cursing.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Surprise blog

Bush’s Visit to Iraq.
It was described as a “surprise.” What does that mean? Did he just happen to be in the neighborhood and drop by? Did he get on the plane and say, “You know fellas, I feel like going to Baghdad! Just for the hell of it!” He must drive his staff crazy with his impulses and shenanigans!

From the WCCO website:
When a young St. Paul boy got to pick the theme for his third birthday party, he didn't pick Nemo or the Wiggles or Dora the Explorer. He didn't even pick his favorite sports team.

Henry Schally picked "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer".

His mother, Jennifer Schally, designed party hats complete with pictures of the PBS news program's regular contributors.

"I think most kids get their favorite show for their birthday party theme," Jennifer Schally said.

Henry's father, Troy Schally, explained he and his wife have watched the show during dinner since their son was an infant. He believes the show's distinctive theme caught his son's attention.

"I don't know if it's a fluke this year and he'll be into something next year or if it's a sign of things to come and he wants to go into broadcast journalism, who knows?" Troy Schally said.

The party was over Memorial Day weekend, and the Schallys made all their guests wear the hats Jennifer Schally designed. They got a cake with the photo of the show's correspondents and Jennifer Schally arranged for Jim Lehrer to send an autographed photo for a birthday present.

It read, "To my youngest fan" and was signed, "Jimmy Jimmy BoBo", which is the nickname Henry gave Lehrer.

The unusual party got nationwide attention in Thursday's Washington Post, with the headline, "'Jimmy Jimmy BoBo' Lehrer Makes Birthday Party Newsworthy".

Henry clearly enjoys watching the program. When the anchor came on screen, he burst into a huge smile and yelled out, "Jim!"

Henry later noticed a change in the theme orchestration saying, "It's new music!"

When correspondent Kwame Holman started delivering his report, Henry yelled out "Kwame Holman!"

"He's really a normal kid," Jennifer Schally said. "I think beyond this, he's pretty fun-loving."

"Outside of 6 to 7 o'clock every weekday night, he's pretty normal," Troy Schally clarified.

What annoyed me this week?
An Apple v. PC ad.


It features two geeks, a round-ish geek in an ugly suit who represents the PC, and a weedy skinny geek in casual clothes who represents the Mac. He’s supposed to be the hip one, though the PC user reminds me vaguely of Bun E Carlos from Cheap Trick. And the Mac’s scrotty little beard makes me want to strangle him.

This whole campaign could backfire. The PC looks like a younger Karl Rove, who went on to become adviser to a President. The Mac reminds me of every guy I see sipping lattes at an Internet café. He’s busy re-polishing his resume, while the PC already has a job. Mac is busy selecting tunes for his iPod, while PC conducts a symphony. Mac is chatting with his friends on AIM, while PC is plotting the overthrow of a third world country. I mean, really, who would YOU rather be?

“It’s Kwame! It’s Kwame!” The little boy was beside himself with excitement, jumping up and down on his stubby little legs.
Other kids, in the meantime, are catching up on their comic books. DC is re-introducing Batwoman as a lesbian. And Spiderman held a press conference where he revealed himself to be Peter Parker. Of course, regular readers of SPIDERMAN already know he’s Peter Parker.

The Howling Part XXX
From AP: Some students are downloading a ring tone off the Internet that is too high-pitched to be heard by most adults. With it, high schoolers can receive text message alerts on their cell phones without the teacher knowing.

Won’t you please help?
From AP:

The GAO concluded that FEMA was hoodwinked to pay for season football tickets, a tropical vacation and a sex change procedure. Prison inmates, a supposed victim who used a New Orleans cemetery for a home address and a person who spent 70 days at a Hawaiian hotel all were able to get taxpayer help, according to evidence that gives a new black eye to the nation's disaster relief agency.

Jimmy Jimmy Bo Bo
Jimmy Jimmy Bo Bo!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Scarry Ann Blog

Who's the Coultest of them all?
I’m a little baffled by the appeal of Ann Coulter, though I confess that I'm fascinated by her. I think it’s because I can’t figure out what the deal is. She dresses like a flirty southern belle, is painfully thin, has hair so blond it can blind you, yet what comes out of her butter-wouldn't-melt-in-it mouth is pretty cold butter….

In her new book, LIBERALS SHOULD DIE (or something), she writes about the so-called Jersey Girls, who lost husbands on 9/11: “These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.”

Even if that’s true, isn’t that the free market in action? What is it to her? Of course, her words have been characterized by her adherents as humor and satire, which liberals just don’t get. I can see the effort to be funny, certainly, but pushing a car really hard doesn’t necessarily make it go.

How can the millionaire broads, for example, both revel in their celebrity status and be stalked by “grief-arazzis?” If they’re seeking celebrity, who’s stalking whom? I’ll admit that “grief-arazzis” is original, but how can she chide people trying to make a buck off drawing attention to grieving widows, when she’s doing the same thing herself?

“I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.” This doesn’t make any sense. For them to have status as grieving widows - in order to make political points - why would they want to be seen as reveling in their status, or enjoying it? I, for one, don’t recall any photographs or videos of 9/11 widows tap-dancing on their husbands’ graves.

Here’s what she said to Lou “Mr. Charisma” Dobbs:

“Well, there are a lot more attacks on one side than the other. And if you're describing what I say about the Jersey Girls as reducing dialogue in America, au contraire. I think it is precisely the opposite. That is my objection to what liberals are doing by sending out victims as their spokespeople. I think it's the ugliest thing liberals have done to dialogue in this country.

“Yeah, there are important issues and we should discuss it. But if you have a point to make, send out somebody who isn't a widow, who isn't an orphan, who didn't have a son die in Iraq, who didn't lose limbs in Vietnam to make the point so that we can respond, because I don't want to hear when I respond, ‘Oh, that's mean. Oh, that's mean.’ No, let's have a dialogue about the issues. You never see conservatives doing that. Liberals are putting up human shields.”

So then. President Bush, when he set the jet down on the aircraft carrier and declared victory, wasn’t presenting himself as a victim? Given his approval ratints, it sure turned out that way, didn’t it? And what about Ms. Schiavo? She couldn’t testify, of course, being brain-dead and all, but as a Silent Witness, she spoke volumes. And made a dandy human shield for conservatives.

I do see Ms. Coulter’s point. I stop reading any letter to the editor that begins, “As a working mother, I…,” or “As a longtime activist, I must…” Cindy Sheehan has become annoying. Certainly, a person’s status as a Mom, gay person, soldier, or whatever does not confer a special moral status. On the other hand, if you’re gong to set policy about, say, land mines, shouldn’t you hear a few words from those who were maimed by them?

Ms. Coulter seems to want to limit “discussion of important issues” to experts with Power Point demonstrations. And, of course, people like her.

On HANNITY AND COLMES, Alan Colmes asked Ann Coulter whether, if given the opportunity, the 9-11 widows "would not give up every piece of celebrity and notoriety they have to have their husbands back."

She said, "Oh, I don't know. At this point, to give up $2 million ... to have to go back to cooking meals and not ... appearing in Vanity Fair. They're clearly enjoying their celebrity status."

Next time around she’ll probably accuse the Jersey Girls of setting up 9/11 themselves just so they could get the insurance money.

So, Ann Coulter’s appeal. It’s kind of like listening to a talking Barbie, only instead of talking about shopping, she talks about beheading liberals. She looks like an off-duty flight attendant from 1962, but talks like your mean grandmother who still holds a grudge about the raw deal Joe McCarthy got. She’s like Paris Hilton, only she thinks she has a brain. But at least Paris Hilton might give you a blow job.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Blog Internationale!

La Vida Foco
Reading James Wolcott, a writer I like, I found a link to a blog called Global Guerrillas, run by a guy named John Robb.

He was linked by Wolcott because of some comments Robb had made on the recent passing of the unlamented Zarqawi.

Sample, from Wolcott: “If we put Zarqawi within a historical context, he was able to do what Che hoped to do with a foco insurgency... In essence, he proved that within a modern context (open source warfare and systems disruption), it is possible to seed the collapse of a state."

According to the Global Guerrila website/blog: “A foco insurgency is one that forgoes the methodical political indoctrination of the population in favor of small bands of fast moving guerrillas that gain victories against state forces.”

Here’s some of Mr. Robb’s bio: “John is a highly regarded analyst and speaker, with a focus on the intersection of terrorism, infrastructure, and markets. In this capacity, he has briefed Silicon Valley's technology elite and many of the top hedge fund managers in the world. Audience reactions have been spectacular.’

He recently had an editorial in the New York Times. In it, he wrote, “…[O]ut-innovating the insurgency will most likely prove unsuccessful. The insurgency uses an open-source community approach (similar to the decentralized development process now prevalent in the software industry) to warfare that is extremely quick and innovative.”

I have no doubt that Mr. Robb is of value regarding strategic/tactical/entrepreneurial approaches to the, um, War on Terror. But still – don’t you get the sinking feeling that Mr. Robb not only has possible solutions to the, um, War on Terror, but has also found a Niche Market as a marketing/terrorist consultant?

He creeps me out. I shun him. Foco him.

United Nations?
This really has me buffaloed.

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown (a fuzzy thinking one-worlder, ipso facto), gave a speech criticizing the United States for, well, being a big baby, for wanting the U.N. to do what it wants it to do, for not playing well with others, and not paying its dues.

Hardest hitting quotes, IMHO:

“And today, on a very wide number of areas, from Lebanon and Afghanistan to Syria, Iran and the Palestinian issue, the US is constructively engaged with the UN. But that is not well known or understood, in part because much of the public discourse that reaches the US heartland has been largely abandoned to its loudest detractors such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.”

“Today’s new national security challenges basically thumb their noses at old notions of national sovereignty. Security has gone global, and no country can afford to neglect the global institutions needed to manage it.”

”Back in Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s day, building a strong, effective UN that could play this kind of role was a bipartisan enterprise, with the likes of Arthur Vandenberg and John Foster Dulles joining Democrats to support the new body. Who are their successors in American politics? Who will campaign in 2008 for a new multilateral national security?”

And, when asked by reporters, here’s some of what John Bolton had to say:

“Well, on that speech, this is a very, very grave mistake by the Deputy Secretary General. We are in the process of an enormous effort to achieve substantial reform at the United Nations. And it's a difficult effort, but it's an effort that we feel very strongly about. And to have the Deputy Secretary General criticize the United States in such a manner, can only do grave harm to the United Nations. Even though the target of the speech was the United States, the victim, I fear, will be the United Nations. And even worse was the condescending and patronizing tone about the American people. That fundamentally and very sadly, this was a criticism of the American people, not the American government, by an international civil servant, it's just illegitimate. So we've thought about this a good deal and we didn't respond to it yesterday evening when we got a copy of the speech. But what we think the only way at this point to mitigate the damage to the United Nations is that the Secretary General Kofi Annan, we think has to personally and publicly repudiate this speech at the earliest possible opportunity. Because otherwise I fear the consequences, not just for the reform effort, but for the organization as a whole. I spoke to the Secretary General this morning. I said I've known you since 1989, and I'm telling you this is the worst mistake by a senior UN official that I have seen in that entire time. That's why the only hope I think is that the Secretary General comes to the rescue of the organization and repudiates the speech.”

What? A liberal bureaucrat made some mild (and accurate, and predictable) criticisms of American policy and media (not the American people) re the United Nations, and this idiot is trying to turn it into an international incident? Foco him.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mark of the Blog

From the Associated Press:

Hell, Michigan is throwing a party. They're planning a hot time in Hell on Tuesday. The day bears the date of 6-6-06, or abbreviated as 666 - a number that carries hellish significance. And there's not a snowball's chance in Hell that the day will go unnoticed in the unincorporated hamlet 60 miles west of Detroit.

Nobody is more fired up than John Colone, the town's self-styled mayor and owner of a souvenir shop.

"I've got `666' T-shirts and mugs. I'm only ordering 666 (of the items) so once they're gone, that's it," said Colone, also known as Odum Plenty. "Everyone who comes will get a letter of authenticity saying you've celebrated June 6, 2006, in Hell."

Most of Colone's wares will sell for $6.66, including deeds to one square inch of Hell.

Live entertainment and a costume contest are planned. The Gates of Hell should be installed at a children's play area in time for the festivities.

"They're 8 feet tall and 5 foot wide and each gate looks like flames, and when they're closed, it's a devil's head," Colone told The Detroit News for a Saturday story.

Mike "Smitty" Hickey, owner of the Dam Site Inn, wasn't sure what kind of clientele would show up Tuesday.

"We're all about having fun here. I don't think we're going to get the cult crowd, the devil worshippers or anything like that," said Hickey, whose bar's signature concoction is the Bloody Devil, a variant of the Bloody Mary.

Colone, meanwhile, has been in touch with radio stations as far away as San Diego and Seattle that are raffling off trips to Hell in honor of 6-6-6.

The 666 revelry is just the latest chapter in the town's storied history of publicity stunts, said Jason LeTeff, one of its 72 year-round residents - or, as the mayor calls them, Hellions or Hell-billies. But LeTeff wasn't particularly enthused.

"Now, here I am living in Hell, taking my kids to church and trying to teach them the right things and the town where we live is having a 6-6-6 party," he said.

According to the town's semiofficial Web site, there are two leading theories about how Hell got its name.

The first holds that a pair of German travelers stepped out of a stagecoach one sunny afternoon in the 1830s, and one said to the other, "So schoene hell" - roughly translated as, "So bright and beautiful." Their comments were overheard by some locals and the name stuck.

The second holds that George Reeves was asked after Michigan gained statehood what he thought the town he helped settle should be called, and reportedly replied, "I don't care, you can name it Hell if you want to." The name became official on Oct. 13, 1841.

The world’s most unnecessary remake, THE OMEN, opens. It’s about a little kid who’s the antichrist. If it’s anything like the original, viewers will get to see rich people die in horrible and bizarre accidents. As near as I can tell, that is its whole appeal. See you in Hell!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Once more into the blog, dear friends!

Stop Global Boring
Al Gore has been transformed from the stiff Gorebot we all knew and loved, to whimsical Uncle Al, amusing us all with his self-deprecating humor. Still, the good reviews for his new movie, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, puzzle me. Admittedly, I am one of those people for whom the words “raising awareness” or “raising consciousness” induce shudders, but still – isn’t this movie essentially a PowerPoint demonstration? Ordinarily this is something you are forced to sit through. Why would anybody pay money for that?

I read another story just like this one!
From the Associated Press: “Idaho Gem, the world's first equine clone, and his brother, Idaho Star, made successful debuts Saturday in what scientists billed as the first professional competition between clones of any kind.”

With God’s help, I… oops, never mind.
More from the Associated Press:
“Worried about the safety of her family during a stormy Memorial Day trip to the beach, Clara Jean Brown stood in her kitchen and prayed for their safe return as a strong thunderstorm rumbled through Baldwin County, Alabama.

“But while she prayed, lightning suddenly exploded, blowing through the linoleum and leaving a blackened area on the concrete. Brown wound up on the floor, dazed and disoriented by the blast but otherwise uninjured.

“She said 'Amen' and the room was engulfed in a huge ball of fire. The 65-year-old Brown said she is blessed to be alive.”

Watch out for lightning, Bob.
Posted by Robert Jensen on AlterNet:
“I don't believe in God.

“I don't believe Jesus Christ was the son of a God that I don't believe in, nor do I believe Jesus rose from the dead to ascend to a heaven that I don't believe exists.

“Given these positions, this year I did the only thing that seemed sensible: I formally joined a Christian church.

“Standing before the congregation of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, I affirmed that I (1) endorsed the core principles in Christ's teaching; (2) intended to work to deepen my understanding and practice of the universal love at the heart of those principles; and (3) pledged to be a responsible member of the church and the larger community.

So, I'm a Christian, sort of. A secular Christian. A Christian atheist, perhaps. But, in a deep sense, I would argue, a real Christian.”

In a deep sense, I would argue that Mr. Jensen is a pretentious get.

Worse than that, they altered his biography on Wikipedia.
From the New York Times:
It began with an impassioned, 5,000-word letter on one of the country's most popular Internet bulletin boards from a husband denouncing a college student he suspected of having an affair with his wife. Immediately, hundreds joined in the attack.

"Let's use our keyboard and mouse in our hands as weapons," one person wrote, "to chop off the heads of these adulterers, to pay for the sacrifice of the husband."

Within days, the hundreds had grown to thousands, and then tens of thousands, with total strangers forming teams that hunted down the student, hounded him out of his university and caused his family to barricade themselves inside their home.

Speaking of Wikipedia….
From an essay by Jaron Lanier, DIGITAL MAOISM: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism , posted on The Edge.

“…[T]he problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it's been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force. This is different from representative democracy, or meritocracy. This idea has had dreadful consequences when thrust upon us from the extreme Right or the extreme Left in various historical periods. The fact that it's now being re-introduced today by prominent technologists and futurists, people who in many cases I know and like, doesn't make it any less dangerous.”

Jaron Lanier, by the way, coined the term “Virtual Reality.” It’s a good essay, though.

More things that bug me.
Either reality is real, or it’s not. Reality can’t be “virtual.” And there’s no such as a non-fiction novel. Here in California we are about to vote on funding for “pre-school.” This one really makes me grind my teeth. “Pre-school” is, in fact, “school.” Why we are so intent on throwing 4 year olds into those shark-infested waters is beyond me. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t put kids in school until they’re 7. What’s the big hurry?

Back to Al Gore…
Jonah Goldberg, writing for the Los Angeles Times, goes after Al Gore, via Ariana Huffington:
“Gore told Huffington that this was his second trip to Cannes. ‘The first was when I was 15 years old and came here for the summer to study the existentialists — Sartre, Camus…. We were not allowed to speak anything but French!’ This, gushed Huffington, ‘may explain his pitch-perfect French accent.’ Perhaps. Though according to David Maraniss' biography of Gore, the former vice president's 15th summer was spent working on the family farm. Remember those stories about how Al Sr. said, ‘A boy could never be president if he couldn't plow with that damned hillside plow’? That was the same summer.

“Apparently, Poppa Gore thought a boy who couldn't both plow a field and parlez French existentialism could never be president either. Then there's the fact that young Al got C's in French at his tony Washington high school, St. Alban's. That's some school if a kid who can intelligently discuss Sartre's ‘La Nausée’ and Camus' ‘Betwixt and Between’ in apparently pitch-perfect French still can't earn a B in French class. Mon dieu!”

Now, I’m not a big fan of Al Gore (see above), but what the fuh? Al Gore got a C in French class forty-some years ago? Stop the presses! Maybe Gore plowed the field AND went to France. Who knows? Who cares?

You can learn to prepare a pre-school curriculum with great care.