Friday, April 29, 2005

Reuters inspires bad thoughts

Beckhams Win Legal Bid to Gag Nanny

He may be dumber than a baby rock and have a common slag for a wife, but that's not really the point, is it?

Oh how the mighty have fallen

Judy Woodruff is leaving Inside Politics. Why do I care? It seems that once upon a time in a land far, far away, Ms. Judy was actually a REAL JOURNALIST. Who would have thought that the woman who so blithely assisted the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth once hosted the wonderful PBS program Frontline?

CNN still employs supposedly hard news loving asshole Wolf Blitzer and wack-job think tank fellow Bill Schneider, so Woodruff's departure is actually quite a loss. She might have asked some idiotic questions and worn some awful pink suits, but her reporting-to-belittlement-to-complete-retardation ratio was smaller than most people on CNN nowadays. As much as I hate to say it, she'll be missed.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

"Cleanup crew to the 'Wrath of Shiva' Tilt-a-Whirl!"

Wealthy Hindus are bucking the Christian and Muslim trend of religious education through centuries of violent conflict by building "Disneyland on the Ganges."

Krishna fanatics will be disappointed to learn that Dinosaur Adventure Land's "Jurassic Park is real!" edu-tainment means Gangadham is not the first worship based amusement park, but they shouldn't let that get to them. Evangelical Christianity doesn't have a lot of material for rides and light shows(Hell Houses and the endless possibilities for Left Behind inspired "Feel the Rapture in 3-D!" rides notwithstanding).

It actually seems like a great idea, especially for a country that made such a spectacular four hour song and dance extravaganza out of a Colonial -era land tax. I can see the Splash Mountain express blessing now...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Why punish the family too?

Don't mess with the unions...or you'll lose your football priveleges.

I don't know anything about Judge Scott Woldt, but he seems to have a knack for handing out sentences that are this close to cruel and unusual. What I don't understand is why he would want to subject a hapless terminally ill child to the hours of traffic delays he and his family will fall victim to on their way to Lambeau Field.

My guess is that when the games she had tickets to roll around, at least one household might make the oft-cited urban legend about Packer losses and Green Bay are domestic violence increases a little closer to reality...

Monday, April 25, 2005

Note to BU girls: If you dated this man before, I'm sorry

"I'm a good commander," he said. "I'm just trying to find ways to give
back to the female community because they have given me so much."

Charming as his attempt at enlightenment is, I doubt that "the commander" is going to transform into a sexual Santa Claus(forgive the alliteration)overnight. I do give him credit for remembering that girls actually have orgasms, however. A bit of advice to Mr. Lamberti-don't admit you're inept at the art of woman pleasure to a reporter. Now all your prospects know you give lousy head.

Also, note to Kelsey Strand-Polyak-there are other, less cerebral gifts that keep on giving I'd like to recommend to you.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Note to David Brooks: I hope someone strangles you with an umbilical cord

He's not the most evil pundit on planet Earth(the caged deathmatch for that title has yet to take place), David Brooks holds a place close to my heart-each and every one of his columns sends me into blinding fits of rage. How can one man be so infuriating? Today he managed to plant blame for the impending clusterfuck over judicial nominees in one of the Christian conservatives' favorite receptacles-the womb.

Today's column features one of the most creative arguments I've heard for overturning Roe v. Wade since I started paying attention to politics. Sanctity of Life? Old news, my friend; apparently the Supreme Court's decision to legalize abortion created the basis for all the alienation and fanaticism that exists in politics today. Gee David, you don't think the deep divide between liberals and conservatives has anything to do with the fact that you and yours let Evangelical wackjobs more interested in bringing on the Rapture than helping those in need set your political agenda?

I can't believe I actually have to tell you this, Mr. Brooks, but my uterus has NOTHING to do with anyone but me, and it's disgusting that it took a Supreme Court decision to affirm that. Politics can, should, and will get better regardless of what women do with their bodies, and if anyone is trapped, it is the countless women and children who suffer illness and poverty because politicians who you say "love their institution" believe it is more important to reserve their seat on he Godmobile by proselytizing than ensure their constituents a decent quality of life.

The coming fight over the nuclear option isn't the result of one admittedly polarizing issue; it is an inevitable fight because Bill Frist and the Republican leadership are drunk with their own power. One of these "nominees that have majority support" is a woman even Alberto "waterboarding: it's not just a sport anymore" Gonzales thought was crazy.

David Brooks has every right to hold and voice his opinion on this and every other crazy idea he has. What continues to amaze me is that he does it for the New York Times and not somewhere more appropriate for his views, like a street corner in Mississippi.

For the record, I don't condone violence done to David Brooks with any type of medical detritus.

UK Politics-as asinine as the US version at last

Noel Gallagher doesn't seem to care that people think both he and Tony Blair peaked back long ago; he's still supporting Labour. The UK's major parties are lining up their celeb endorsements, and at least in Noel's case, his reasons for affiliating with Blair and company are compelling, if not urgent.

Oasis frontman Gallagher was quoted on MTV recently as still backing Labour - albeit partly because if the Conservatives get in, "Phil Collins is threatening to come back and live here. And let's face it, none of us want that".

Irrelevant monsters of rock and their grudges against even more irrelevant monsters of easy listening aside, this campaign is a doozy, and it'll only get messier between now and May 5th. Blair screwed up big time on multiple fronts(Iraq, higher education, Iraq, development funding, Iraq), and a lot of people want to punish him for making their lives a little bit harder while not making anyone in the global community's demonstrably easier. The Conservatives are generally a bunch of wankers that no one likes, and their awfulness will probably lead a bunch of really angry internationlists to vote Labour when they'd rather back the Liberal Democrats or the Greens.

Instead of being a better-accented Bill Clinton entertaining insomniac political geeks by defending populism against pasty codgers on the Prime Minister's Questions, Blair now seems tragic while warding off well-deserved attacks by citizens and opponents alike. A friend of mine used to write haikus about Tony Blair back in the late 90's, so it hurts to see a figure who used to be so exciting turn out to be such a disappointment. That's why I never bought Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.

Politics-especially when the Murdoch is involved- really is a destructive thing-not even something as all-american as Anglophilia is safe from it.

Does that make Clare Short Damon Albarn?

I don't know who should be more offended by the association, Oasis, Tony Blair, or Justin Hawkins.

There was a time when Tony Blair would have been proud to be associated with Oasis, when the Britpop-New Labour relationship was at its closest.

Wednesday's papers widely report that New Musical Express, which has a predominantly young audience, has named the Manchester band as the one they most closely associate with Blair.

But not for reasons he would find flattering - "good in 1997, totally rubbish and out of touch now" and "nothing new but people still back them".

Charles Kennedy was likened to Keane, for being "middle of the road, inoffensive" and Michael Howard was linked to The Darkness.

It is easy to understand the sentiment; I certainly thought Tony would be the one that saved me, and he did really seem to have a masterplan. Has he been a good PM? Definitely maybe, but after Iraq he's going to have to really beg to get his citizens to not look back in anger.

Kennedy and Keane? The alliteration says it all. But Tories and The Darkness? I have a hard time imagining Margaret Thatcher rocking along with "Get Your Hands of My Woman."

I guess he would look pretty bitchin' in a glittering unitard.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

This is what happens when you dye the river green

The blessed Virgin has appeared in the Windy City. True to the city's industrial roots, this vision of divinity is not currently on display on something natural like a grilled cheese sandwich. Pilgrims have gathered at an emergency turnoff on Chicago's Kennedy Expressway to see a water stain.

It seems cruel to make any comments about these people. This is a city whose citizens believe a goat is responsible for the Cubs' sixty year World Series drought. The ones who think they saw a miracle in concrete and drainage while the pope was being elected are probably some of the more rational citizens.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I Fucking Hate Zombies Volume 2: A kink too far

I think I made it pretty clear at the very beginning how I feel about the undead. I know that Dan Savage is a good man, a man who loves to help people while allowing his readers a window into the sick and twisted souls of those kinkier than ourselves. However, I will not stand for zombie fetishists. I don't care who you are, where you live, or how you came to find putrid flesh more arousing than the pink, non-brain-eating kind, but I have to thank you for proving to me that there must be fetish porn out there more messed up than Sweet Movie.

Pope Update: The Cheney-ing of the Vatican?

After checking Gawker to see if they'd made the obvious "Ich bin ein Pontiff" joke I was waiting for(they had), I ran across this Sunday New York Times quote that reminds me a little too much of our Vice President's selection back in summer 2000:

There was never doubt that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican’s hard-line defender of the faith, would have a strong hand in selecting the next pope. But in the days of prayer and politics before the conclave, which begins on Monday, he has emerged as perhaps the surprise central figure.

Does this sound at all similar to some descriptions of our man Dick?

NYDN, July 2000:
A fiercely partisan, hard-line conservative, he soon became head of the Republican Policy Committee and then minority whip.

Georgie Boy, July 25, 2000
Throughout the vice presidential selection process, my foremost goal has been to select an outstanding individual who is capable of serving as president of the United States. I wanted the selection process to be thorough and dignified. I reached out to a distinguished and experienced statesman to lead the search. For months, we worked closely together to review the qualifications of many impressive candidates. As we worked to evaluate the strengths of others, I saw firsthand Dick Cheney's outstanding judgment. As we considered many different credentials, I benefited from his keen insight. I was impressed by the thoughtful and thorough way he approached his mission. And gradually I realized that the person who was best qualified to be my vice presidential nominee was working by my side.

I'm not saying there's any connection but it suddenly explains all the Latin I keep seeing in Project for the New American Century documents...

Rome-Where everybody knows your name

While all that black smoke suggested that the Papal conclave had forgotten to include a bishop skilled in chimney sweeping, it turns out the decisin-making process was just especially arduous. The Catholic Church, ever immune to the post-Reformation world, made the obvious choice when choosing the successor to Pole John Paul II-They picked a German.

This is a momentous occasion, and I'm sure all the Catholics out there are feeling a little bit light headed with elation, so I just want to clear something up before people start freaking out. New Pope Benedict XVI, nee Joseph Ratzinger is NOT Cliff Clavin from Cheers, nee John Ratzenberger. We all know how those Boston Catholics operate...

"The Good Doctor" is in-in style, that is

Encarta has managed to tap into a vast potential workforce by appealing to one of the few emotions stronger than greed-the desire to feel smarter than the know-it-alls who write and edit encyclopedias. Microsoft isn’t the first to use this technique; the OED relied on volunteers for many of its entries, including one or two individuals who had the luxury to engage in unlimited hours of lexicography.

In the grand scheme of things, it won’t enhance human knowledge significantly if people feel the need to nitpick about alternative spellings of “Xerxes.” It would enhance human knowledge if more people spent time reading Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language One of the greatest minds to be ignored by everyone outside of senior English seminars, Johnson created the first comprehensive English language dictionary. In 9 years of work, he and his small staff defined over 40,000 words, using quotations spanning 200-odd years and injecting wit and humor into an enterprise that could easily be as dull to read as a new copy of Webster’s.

This month marks 250 years since the publication of the Dictionary, you’d hardly know it from reading definitions like this one-

Oats: A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.

Imagine what he’d have to say about America. Wait, we don’t have to:

How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?

And that’s not all he has to say about our fair nation.

Is there a point to this rambling? Not really, just a whole bunch of love for Dr. Johnson that needs to be spread. Rock on, Sammy(many thanks to Professor Howard Weinbrot for turning my dreaded pre-1800 lit requirement into a safe haven from too much modernism).

Monday, April 18, 2005

Ted Nugent to NRA: "I was only a Damn Yankee in a BAND!"

Ted Nugent spoke to the NRA's annual convention last weekend, and in case anyone had missed it, he's a little more serious about his outdoor recreation than the guys who appear on Fishing with John":

"Remember the Alamo! Shoot 'em!" he screamed to applause. "To show you how radical I am, I want carjackers dead. I want rapists dead. I want burglars dead. I want child molesters dead. I want the bad guys dead. No court case. No parole. No early release. I want 'em dead. Get a gun and when they attack you, shoot 'em."

Personally, I prefer my vigilante justice meted out with a blunt, blood-stained machete. However, that might be considered "unsportsmanlike," so I guess we should just stick to double fisting assault weapons when hunting "bad guys." And stray cats.

Wanderlust, or the desire that won't break your chastity vow

If you're like me and have to fight off the urge to sell all your possessions, throw a dart at a world map, buy a plane ticket, and forget All-American values like consumerism, Puritan guilt, and imperialist hubris every spring, you'll like this website.

Why Go? At this point one has to wonder how much time is left before the US bombs


into oblivion

If you're stuck inside working all day, just look at some pretty pictures. I'm sure a photo of the Adriatic is just as good as the real thing...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

"Chance of super-intelligent robots in the next 70 years: High"

The source of this alarming prediction isn't the techno-publications you'd expect it from. It is one of the 10 biggest dangers to humanity laid out in The Guardian today. According to the criteria the writer set while interviewing prominent scientists, "Robots Taking Over" is just as likely as climate change and will have a greater destructive impact on human life.

Which would you choose? This:

By the end of this century it is likely that greenhouse gases will have doubled and the average global tempera­ture will have risen by at least 2C. This is hotter than anything the Earth has experienced in the last one and a half million years. In the worst case scenario it could completely alter the climate in many regions of the world. This could lead to global food insecurity and the widespread collapse of existing social systems, causing mass migration and conflict over resources as some parts of the world become much less habitable. I don't think that climate change will sound the death knell for humans, but it certainly has the potential to devastate.

or this?

These intelligent machines will grow from us, learn our skills, share our goals and values, and can be viewed as children of our minds. Not only will these robots look after us in the home, but they will also carry out complex tasks that currently require human input, such as diagnosing illness and recommending a therapy or cure. They will be our heirs and will offer us the best chance we'll ever get for immortality by uploading ourselves into advanced robots.

Personally, I'd take dying for real in a natural disaster over an eternity with those creepy machines from the end of AI any day.

Murdoch Muses, Abuses Alliteration

Yesterday, Rupert Murdoch spoke to the American Society of Newspaper Editors about "the role of newspapers in this digital age." It seems that Murdoch has only just now realized that young people use the internet to get news. However, our good friend Rupert didn't claw his way to the top of the Hobbesian information heap by brute force; he used his sharp wits and cunning marketing skills. He did not, however use what he learned in his high school English classes.

I wasn't weaned on the web, nor coddled on a computer

Didn't his teachers tell him that alliterations are like the fats and sugars triangle in the food pyramid-use SPARINGLY, or at the very least, sarcastically. I'm reminded of a line spoken by Toby Ziegler on The West Wing: "I [need] avalanches of Advil."

I love to hate Rupert Murdoch. It's been a while since I've really been able to hate on him as opposed to his many media holdings, so I was overjoyed to find this quote close to the end of his address:

Too often, the question we ask is "Do we have the story?" rather than "Does anyone want the story?"

As anyone who has ever visited the Fox News website can attest to, News Corp actually does need to address these two questions. Fox may well have "the story," but thanks to some appalling search engine technology, those who actually want it cannot search the Fox website to get it. On top of that, I find it beautiful and awful that Murdoch sees the rise of internet news as yet another reason to tailor coverage to some sort of market rather than a responsibility to the public good. The man wails to his comrades about how few people trust newspapers these days and then states that the way to regain that trust is by eschewing unpopular stories in favor of "news" that is, like, totally hot right now. Did his young, "digital native" daughters forget to mention that the internet has space for what people want AND what they might find a bit unpleasant?

Between this speech and a discussion that happened in the New York Times this weekend about the future of TV news, I'm starting to see an appeal to the dystopia of Logan's Run. Mark Burnett is the first one to go to Carousel.

Some Pig

This is not, I repeat, NOT a post about the bastard pharmacists who refuse to give out birth control. This IS a post about Shanghai's Pig Olympics. The best part? It turns out these are special midget pigs.

I think there is only one thing better than midget pig races: mini-bacon

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Intern Corral-Sweet Revenge

"There's no Virgin here."

Ok, so it might have been about the Megastore, but this late in the day every statement takes on extra meaning, especially when made with such EMPHASIS!

At least now I know I'm not the only hussy here...

D. H. Lawrence owns you

New York City offers none of the peer-pressure driven activities I grew up with in Wisconsin-wholesome diversions like mailbox baseball and methamphetamine production-so it seems time to follow the example set by my friends and fellow google monkeys and start a blog. Some might say it's a bad thing to be the last lemming off the cliff, but I scoff at those haters. I will feast on lemming, and I will bet $20 that with the right preparation it tastes just like chicken.

Why such a random title? "Thighs of Darkness" happens to be one of my favorite phrases from a book filled with dirty and overwrought language, D. H. Lawrence's Women in Love. While virtually impossible to complete without tossing it across the room, patience is rewarded with countless pleasures, such as "impenetrable frost mystery," "luminous loins," and generous servings of homoeroticism in a chapter titled "Gladiatorial." I think our smut saturated culture needs a reminder that someone smarter than us did it better long before Fox greenlit a second season of "Joe Millionaire." (see also the Marquis de Sade, and if you can stomach it, Henry Miller)

There are, however, a few things in this world that even a lecher like Miller could not conceive of, and for those repulsive acts and proclivities, I turn to Dan Savage:
I'm a pretty normal guy except for one thing: I'm sexually attracted to zombies. When I was a kid, I loved to watch horror films that featured them. Then as I became a teen, I started to masturbate watching zombie flicks. I fantasize about having sex with zombies while trying not to get bitten, but eventually I end up getting devoured. I also fantasize about a woman gangbanged by a group of zombies who then rip her apart and eat her. Is this a form of necrophilia? Are there any other people out there with the same fetish? When I was about 6, my best friend and I discovered the dead body of a drug addict in an abandoned house. Do you think that has something to do with my fetish?
Concentrating On Rotting People Sexually Exciting

I fucking HATE zombies.

Cheers everyone