Sunday, February 29, 2004

I find myself in the oddest misunderstandings. In an IM conversation with Sardine, I wrote, "I'm going to jet, since I find myself in an Oscar conversation and that is an intolerable situation. See you later, alligator." She replied, "That's hurtful." What? Sardini, no, I'm insulting the Academy Awards and the hoopla of Oscar night, not you. I hate the Oscars. That should not be misconstrued as an attack on anyone who watches or likes them, I simply find them personally distasteful. You're free to do as you please.

Finished my bio for The Newsletter Online. Making "all-time, desert island, top five" lists is not easy, not if you try to be honest, anyway. But I'm satisfied with all my decisions and would defend any of them.
I Want My City Back
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are officially "on hiatus." By Lucifer's beard, of all the times to be caught unable to swear! Blast it all! This crisis calls for Live From the Middle East! Quickly, to the CD collection!
The Hypocrisy Never Ends
My father - the Muslim-hating Nazi, if you'll remember - decries the fact that the United States failed to properly monitor the rise of jihadist Islam during the 1980s. The error, he argues, is that we focused on the continuing threat of the Soviet Union and thus were blind to everything else. Now that we are focusing on jihadist terrorists, though, we should of course ignore everything else. Like, say, Haiti. So let me make sure I've got this straight, it was wrong to ignore other threats even though the Soviet Union was our primary concern, but now that terrorism is our primary concern, it is perfectly acceptable to ignore all other threats? How does that work, you goose-stepping moron?

I can't believe that I actually looked up to this imbecile when I was a kid.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 60
The novelty has so worn off. I am sick of this, though to be honest I think it'll take some time to adjust to my restored appearance once the Bonanza is over. Stupid beard, I hope I'm smart enough to never do this again.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

The Dark Knight
Adam West
Batman (TV series), Batman: The Movie

Michael Keaton
Batman, Batman Returns

Val Kilmer
Batman Forever

George Clooney (seriously, what genius thought this was a good idea?)
Batman and Robin

Kevin Conroy (voice)
Batman: The Animated Series (TV series), The Adventures of Batman & Robin (TV series), The New Batman Adventures (TV series), Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman: Sub-Zero, Justice League (TV series), Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman

Christian Bale
"Batman 5" presently pre-production; great Caesar's ghost, this is going to be fantastic!
Keyser Soze. I always want it spell it Kaiser. Huh.

"In my day when you wanted to ruin a man you'd stuff him in a duffle bag and mail him to the Kaiser."
Life just seems better when you're wearing a softball T-shirt with 3/4 sleeves.

"A short skirt,
A Gimmies shirt,
A Jones Soda,
Ain't life grand?"

For my The Newsletter Online bio, I am having trouble coming up with my list. Not the list of my five favorite books or albums, but my "All-time, desert island, five most beautiful women in the world" list. The old list was Veronica Varekova, Natalie Portman, Parker Posey, Karen Allen, and Rachael Leigh Cook. Without trying to give too much away (because I know you are on pins and needles waiting for the new TNL Online site), there are going to be changes. But who? Who is truly one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen and who is just a passing fancy? Of course, picking the five most beautiful women in the world is the sort of "problem" you want to have. Woo and hoo.
MxPx - Left Coast Punk

If it came down to choosing between Andre's "Hey Ya" and Big Boi's "The Way You Move," I've got to go with Big Boi. It's not just that "Hey Ya" is overplayed and completely whored out, I really think it's a better song.

The honest talk is always the weird talk, because what can you say when you have an honest but absolute difference of opinion with someone you both love and respect? I'm good at the talk with those I neither like nor respect - I spew venom like it's going out of style - but I have a harder time completely disagreeing with someone like, say, the Mountain. Yet there it is.

Friday, February 27, 2004

I've said more Hail Marys in the past three days than I had in the previous ten years. And that's with me cutting down on my swearing by at least 90%, only allowing a few to slip through. Wow, I'm even more of a pottymouth than I thought.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 58
I just want this blasted monstrosity off my face. Be gone, damn you!

Thursday, February 26, 2004

For the second week in a row, there was actually a preview for next week's episode of Star Trek: Enterprise! Sweet fancy Moses, if this keeps up, one might actually think UPN is trying to make the show more successful.

"Chosen Realm" - just fell flat
"Proving Ground" - wicked sweet, Andorians rule!
"Strategem" - another gem, the perfect follow-up
"Harbinger" - win some, lose some
"Doctor's Orders" - ha ha, Dr, Phlox is incredible, it is a crime that he is so underused
"Hatchery" - nice, that was one fine hour of television
up next...
"Azati Prime" - in which the proverbial buffalo chips should hit the fan

NL - No, Not the National League
Mock up of Vol V, No. 2 of The Newsletter has been pushed back to Monday. Rassum frassum HALs, make everything so difficult.... Just reboot, you bastard!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day
Sweet merciful crap, I can't wait for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I find myself wanting to watch Big Trouble again since it is the only one of Ms. Deschanel's movies we have on tape. I'm even considering renting The Good Girl, even though I feel ill at the sight of Jennifer Aniston. With Ms. Deschanel, another argument in the movie's favor: Mike White. Alright, I'll rent the blasted thing. Also, tee hee, I'm reading Salinger's Franny and Zooey, despite the fact that it was written twenty-five years before Ms. Deschanel was born. But hey, it's the first Salinger I've ever read. We started with a movie based on a book, we end with a book after whom a movie star (sorta) is named.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 56
I've got another month to go. Oy. Today's an itchy day, and I keep getting more food stuck in my whiskers. Gah!

Slow and steady wins the race, kids. "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith."

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Dude, weak.
Yost Is the Most
And now, courtesy of the student section at Yost Ice Arena, home of Red Berenson and the mighty University of Michigan Wolverines Men's and Women's Hockey Teams, a proper Lenten farewell to swearing:

"Oooooooooooooo, see ya'! Chump! Dick! Wuss! Doooouuuchebag! Asshole! Prick! Cheater! BITCH!"
Why am I so tired today?

Monday, February 23, 2004

I think for Lent I'm going to give up all the real swear words: fuck, shit, bitch, and ass. Hell and damn, as well as the variations jackass and dumbass, will still be acceptable. Though cunt is just about the worst name you can call anyone, it isn't a swear word. And besides, I hardly ever use it; it's a weapon of last resort. Man, this is going to be a fucking pain in my ass. Ooo, the phrase "that just chaps my ass" will still be acceptable.

For each swear word that slips out, I have to say a Hail Mary. (If that doesn't work, I may have to up to a full Rosary.) I love being Catholic, it is such an ancient, bizarre faith.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 54
The best part about today it that it's divisible by six. My mustache is starting to bug me because it tickles me every time I take a drink from a can. Blast!

"Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee,
Blessed art thou among women
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Christ Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners, now
And in the hour of our death."

Why in Bog's name is Adult Swim airing Christmas promos?

Sunday, February 22, 2004

You know what must suck? Being a Spanish language reporter in Haiti. The fucking island is called Hispaniola; logically, the country should have been a Spanish possession, and just a few miles away is the much larger Dominican Republic, but you're stuck in Francophone Haiti. Dammit!
I'm looking at Dan the Man's first mock up of the new The Newsletter Online and, let me tell you, it looks fantastic. I could not be more pleased with how it's turning out.

Holy crap, Ash Wednesday is this week! Sweet fancy Moses, what am I going to give up? Pop? Chocolate? Certain swear words? You know what? (Are you mad? That's impossible!) Star Trek? AIM?

I love Ash Wednesday, by the way. If I had my druthers, I'd walk around every day with ashes smeared on my forehead. I feel so holy.
Vote For Kodos
I have two contradictory thoughts about Ralph Nader. a) Run, Ralph, run! Because in the election to come, even the small number of votes Nader draws away from the Democrat, presumably Kerry, might just make the difference. b) I hate third parties. Do you know what third parties give us? Presidents elected by a minority of the voters. In 1992, Bill Clinton won 43% of the vote and was elected president; in 1988, Michael Dukakis garnered 45.6% of the vote, but was sent back to Massachusetts as a joke. The Electoral College is in the Constitution, it is how we elect our presidents. Nevertheless, it is better for our democracy for Electoral victory to coincide with numerical victory at the polls. Without Nader, Al Gore's numerical victory in 2000 would have translated into Electoral victory. Now, I believe it is a good thing that Gore did not win the presidency (especially, but not exclusively, in light of 9/11), but as a general rule third party candidates do not raise the level of the political discourse, they simply act as spoilers.

But, since Ralph is in and the latter point is thus moot, go, Ralph, go! As the comedian Pat Paulson said in his many "campaigns" for the presidency,"We're upped our standards, now up yours."

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Hey, Zach Nie! will like this: my Gunners now have a seven-point lead at the top of the Premiership, after the match with Chelsea: Arsenal 2, Chelsea 1. Your boys from Man U just can't compete without Becks. Ha!

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 52
I hate to admit it, but I think I do look older with the beard. Of course, that's not hard to do, since I dress so young: band T-shirt, chain on my wallet, skull-and-crossbones pin on my jacket. Still, when I'm forty and I've gone bald on top and my whiskers have turned gray, I think I'll have a pretty sweet looking beard.
In the middle of the night, everyone is feeling argumentative. As for why? Search me, but I just escaped a shouting match with Skeeter and now I'm banging my head against a wall with the Professor.

Friday, February 20, 2004

I am in a foul mood today. Nothing happened, I'm just feeling cross and belligerent. Adding insult to injury, it's fucking raining. In February. As amazing as January was, February has been that disappointing. Fucking rain.

And the fucking cat won't stop whining unless I let him up on my lap, but when I do that, he drools on the keyboard. Damn it, Sam, Mehmet the Conqueror won't be a whiny bitch like you. You can sit on my lap once I'm done using the HAL.

I've decided my speech needs to be more unique. Therefore, I'm going to start using my own words in place of the more commonly accepted term. First example, "HAL" instead of "computer." (I've never liked the word computer.)

Saturday, April 24 at 8:00AM, the University of Michigan, Angell Hall. 8:00AM-3:00PM with one forty-five minute break. Wicked.

I feel somewhat better now, though it's still fucking raining. Blast!

Thursday, February 19, 2004

The Turk
Of late, I've been most interested in and fascinated by the Ottoman Empire. I need to get a pair of kittens, specifically so I can name them Mehmet the Conqueror and Suleiman the Magnificent.
"Now is the winter of our discontent."
"Oh, no! Run!"

It's disgustingly warm outside, upwards of forty degrees. All the ice in the driveway has finally melted, the snow is receeding on the lawn. This is awful. January was the most perfect month I have ever experienced: relentless snow, ice, and temperatures that never ventured north of the low twenties, and rarely above the low teens. It was heavenly. Now, the only thing to do is scoff in disgust and contemplate a move to northernmost Ontario, maybe Greenland.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 50
Two awful developments: last night for the first time I got food in my mustache. How revolting. Also, the Mountain has trimmed his beard! What the fuck is that?! The whole point of growing your beard from one specific point to another specific point is to see how long it gets in that time period. If my aim was to grow a beard to the point where it needed to be trimmed, I would have done so weeks ago. Gah, if he's going to trim the damn thing what's the point of growing it for almost three months? He could have started in late January and still had plenty of time to get it to the appropriate length. Well, at least I will keep the faith with this debacle.

I love everything about MxPx's The Renaissance EP, except the fact that it's an EP, not a full-length album (total length: 18 minutes, 9 seconds; being MxPx, that means it is nine songs long). "Yuri Wakes Up Screaming."

The Politics of The Newsletter
Never Girl receives The Newsletter (a huge strike against her is that she does not appreciate it as much as most of my friends). In any event, since she co-habitates with Never Boy I addressed the envelope to "Never Girl & Never Boy." This is standard operating procedure for non-married co-habitating couples. However, she emailed me today, asking if the inclusion of Never Boy's name on the envelope had been some sort of calculated move on my part. Sorry to disappoint, my dear, but the sun and the moon do not revolve solely around you. When it comes to The Newsletter, nobody is more special than anybody else... except Zooey Deschanel.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Hee hee, funny story. The Mountain of Love has not yet received his copy of The Newsletter. The Mountain of Love is freaking out about not yet receiving his copy of The Newsletter. He is seriously pissed. Checking up on a bad gut feeling I had about this, it seems that I mailed his copy to an address at which he's never lived, an amalgamation of his current and previous addresses. Hee hee. Am I the only one who thinks this is funny? Ho boy, he's not going to be very pleased with me when I drive him to the airport tomorrow. Nuts.
Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day
Last night, before I went to bed I watched Big Trouble. Not only is it a hilarious movie, but I shall forever be indebted to it. For you see, before Big Trouble, I had never heard of Ms. Deschanel. To Dave Barry, who wrote the book, and Barry Sonnenfeld, who directed the movie: thanks, guys, I owe you (and please forgive the pun) big time.

Zooey Deschanel as I first saw her, seen here with Ben Foster. (I like this promo shot better than any of the screen captures.)

Vote For Kodos
Dammit dammit dammit dammit dammit, why couldn't Deanie have waited until he had secured the nomination to meltdown? Dammit. Oh, well. You know what I don't get? Open primaries. I mean, we have them here in Michigan, but I don't understand them. Yes, they open up the primaries to more people and more perspectives, but doesn't that defeat the purpose of the primary process? Don't we have general elections to see what everybody thinks? Aren't primaries supposed to be about each candidate whoring himself out to his party's fringe? Republicans run right and scare the crap out of everybody, Democrats run left and make Mike Dukakis look conservative. That's the point, isn't it? But, hey, what do I know? I'll tell you what I know, yesterday's Wisconsin primary was open and Sen. Edwards beat the living snot out of Sen. Kerry among Republican and independent voters, exactly the kind of voters Kerry will need to woo in the general election. Sweet.

Babar, King of the Elephants
President George W. Bush of Texas

Donkey Punch
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts
Senator John Edwards of North Carolina
Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio
"The Reverend" Al Sharpton of New York
the quitters*
fmr. Governor Howard Dean of Vermont
fmr. General Wesley Clark of Arkansas
Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut
Representative Richard Gephardt of Missouri
fmr. Senator Carol Mosely Braun of Illinois
Senator Bob Graham of Florida

*For the first time, the quitters now outnumber those still in the race.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

"Korea is so far away,
Korea is so far away,

And this is my special friend
We'd meet secretly in the park
And wonder why
We couldn't share ourselves.

Korea is so, it's so far away,

Oh, I want to share
My round-eyed devil with you,
And she's not so different
From you."
--Mike Park, "Korea Is So Far Away"

Mike Park is the founder of the world's most amazing record label, Asian Man Records. Mu330, Potshot, Johnny Socko, Korea Girl, The Chinkees, Alkaline Trio*, The Lawrence Arms, the list goes on and on. On Asian Man, there is something for everybody.

One day, I was walking down the street wearing my Asian Man Records T-shirt; the logo of Asian Man is a red/blue yin-yang, with "Asian Man Records" written below in English and "Asian Man" written above in Korean. As I approached a man - a middle-aged Asian man - I could see him reading my shirt. Just before we passed each other, I saw his face break into a large smile. Thanks, Asian Man, for helping me make an Asian man's day!

The worst part about not having any money is falling behind in my collecting of Asian Man albums.

*Alkaline Trio is okay. They aren't great. I'd worship them forever, though, if they subtlely altered their name to the Al Kaline Trio. The Plate first called that possibility to my attention. I don't care much for baseball, but that would be awesome.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 48
Nothing much to report, except I'd really, really like to shave.
National Public Radio
Holy balls! I know it was a rerun (apparently, from some time in December), but Sarah Vowell was on tonight's Late Night! Sarah Vowell! Holy crap! I didn't know they let NPR folks leave the building, much less actually go out in front of people and give interviews. This is amazing. A whole new world is opening up. Ira Glass on The Late Show. Daniel Schorr on Nightline. Michelle Norris hosting Saturday Night Live. Michael Feldman on Face the Nation.

Today, Conan; tomorrow, the world.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Brought to you by the Space Pope (Crocodylus pontifex).
Today's homework: identify Reza Shah Pahlavi. This stuff is worth knowing, trust me, kids.
Professional Sports Teams in New York City
New York Yankees
New York Mets

New York Giants (actually play in New Jersey)
New York Jets (actually play in New Jersey)

New York Knicks

New York Rangers

Professional Sports Teams I Hate in New York City
New York Yankees
New York Mets

New York Giants (pretty much only because they play in Jersey, fucking liars)
New York Jets (they share the same stadium; so, the same venom)

New York Knicks (though I am amused that the original Knickerbockers were all white, Jewish guys)

Noo Yawk Ranjahs

As Greg Kinnear used to say as the original host of Talk Soup, "Coincidence? I think not."

Interestingly, I also hate both named New Jersey teams, the New Jersey Devils (NHL) and New Jersey Nets (NBA). I hate the Devils because of what they did to the Wings in '95; I hate the Nets because they have the absolute worst name in professional sports. The Nets?! That's like a football team calling themselves the End Zones or a baseball team called the Home Plates. Jesumaria, how do those people sleep at night? I fucking hate Jersey.
"Baby, baby, baby,
Come on, what's wrong?
It's a radiation vibe I'm grooving on,
Don't it make you want to get some sun?
Shine on, shine on, shine on."
--Fountains of Wayne, "Radiation Vibe" from Fountains of Wayne

Prime Minister's Questions, now that's government!

"When you have shot and killed a man you have in some measure clarified your attitude toward him. You have given a definite answer to a definite problem. For better or worse you have acted decisively. In a way, the next move it up to him."
--R.A. Lafferty

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Too Good For TV
The best series that you never watched.

Sports Night

Freaks and Geeks


Aaron Sorkin and Judd Apatow: frikkin' geniuses.
*sigh* Cat, we've had this discussion before. Whining for me to pet you will do you no good if you continue to stand out of reach.

In other feline news, my sister has named her new kitten Natasha. Natasha? Gah, she could have at least tried.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 46
The most positive thing I can say now is that there are fewer days ahead than there are behind. You know the 17th century mustache-imperial combination? I've got that going on pretty nicely; so, I'm going to keep the imperial once the BBB converts to the Massive Mustache Mistake (for only an additional week). Or maybe I'll abort the MMM. In any event, I'm not going to shave off my imperial for a long time.
Ha! It doesn't matter how beautiful you think your Valentine is, mine's moreso. I got Skeeter.
Skeeter: will you be my valentine?
T.L.A.M.: Yes. I love you. Marry me?

T.L.A.M.: I'm not racist, I just don't like hip-hop.
Skeeter: lol, i don't think you're racist
World's Tallest Building: Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan

Second Tallest (former WTB): Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia.

Next Projected WTB: World Financial Center, Shanghai, China.

On Their Heels: Freedom Tower, New York, America.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Star Trek: Enterprise
Enterprise NX-01
Captain Jonathan Archer

Star Trek
U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701
Captain James T. Kirk

Star Trek - movies
U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-A
Admiral/Captain James T. Kirk

Star Trek: The Next Generation
U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D
Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Star Trek: The Next Generation - movies
U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-E
Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Starbase Deep Space 9/U.S.S. Defiant NX-74205
Captain Benjamin Sisko

Star Trek: Voyager
U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Captain Kathryn Janeway
The World of the pre-Federation
Earth Starfleet
Starship Enterprise NX-01

Vulcan High Command
Combat Cruiser Tal'Kyr

Andorian Imperial Guard
Warship Kumari

Klingon Defense Forces
Battlecruiser Bortas
S-I-S-I yo
And on the cover of this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and it's about damn time, Veronica Varekova! I can't believe she's marrying that chump Petr Nedved, though. Come on, he's Nedved! He's a "Noo Yawk Ranjah"! You can do better! (Hey, which Red Wings are single...?)

Enjoy your Valentine's Day, Petr... you bastard.

Friday, February 13, 2004

V'tosh ka'tur, "Vulcans without logic."

Also, this is pretty sweet. It's a 22nd century Tholian vessel, and I hope to be seeing much more it it in the future.
Vote For Kodos

That's why George Bush, the youngest naval aviator of the Second World War, who was shot down by the Japanese at least once, easily defeated Bill Clinton in 1992.

That's also why Bob Dole, who spend years in military hospitals recovering from wounds received fighting the Nazi war machine - losing the use of his right arm - handily defeated Bill Clinton in 1996.

Oh, wait.

The Elephant
President George W. Bush of Texas

The Jackassess
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts
Senator John Edwards of North Carolina
fmr. Governor Howard Dean of Vermont
Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio
"The Reverend" Al Sharpton of New York
the quitters
fmr. General Wesley Clark of Arkansas
Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut
Representative Richard Gephardt of Missouri
fmr. Ambassador Carol Mosely Braun of Illinois
Senator Bob Graham of Florida

As we have seen, the endorsement of Vice President Gore has turned out to be absolutely vital in this campaign season. Why oh why couldn't Deanie have imploded some time in April?
Voe For Kodos: Special Holy Shit Edition
John Kerry, speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 1971:
In the course of the Vietnam War, American soldiers "had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country."

I used to just disagree with Kerry's politics, but this, this is beyond the pale. I loathe Oliver North. Why? Because he lied to Congress. Whatever the faults of individual congressmen and senators, and they are legion, the Congress as an institution acts as the tribune of the American people. I can image few greater crimes than lying under oath to the Congress. John Kerry, in testimony under oath, lied to the Congress. This fact has been glossed over because his lies were about Vietnam, not Iran-Contra. I for one see little difference. I would be a hypocrite if I loathed Lt. Col. North without also loathing Sen. Kerry. Thus, I personally loathe John Forbes Kerry.
For Friday the Thirteenth, the song of the day is Potshot, "Mexico" from 'Til I Die. You've got to love a Japanese band that includes a guy named Chucky.
Baddest Zeon mobile suit pilot:
Char Aznable or Anavel Gato?

Baddest Feddie non-Newtype mobile suit pilot:
Kou Uraki or Shiro Amada?

Char would best Gato, but it isn't really fair since Char is a Newtype. Gato in an MS-14 Gelgoog versus Shiro in his RX-79[G] Ez-8 Gundam, that would be a fight for the ages. The Ez-8 rules.

Bueno Suerte
My brother has his U of M grad school audition today. I hope it goes well. Next week he has an audition for Florida State. I want him to get into Michigan both so that he will still be nearby and becasue I wouldn't wish residency in Tallahassee on my worst enemy. Okay, okay, actually I would wish it on my worst enemy, but I am rather fond of my brother and so would not wish it upon him.

"It's your own worst enemy, ringing the bell..."

Banzao Beard Bonanza: Day 44
I've decided to go shaggy. Many have urged me to trim the wildest, furtherest back sections of my beard (bellow and in front of the ear, for instance, where it is exceedingly curly and unruly and the two small incursions away form the lower jaw onto the neck). But no! The point of this debalce is to be a debacle, and I'm not going to moderate the plan now that it had begun to produce such fabulously awful dividends.
Blast, I missed yet another Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day."

Huzzah, The Newsletter is finished and waiting to be mailed.

On balance, I'll take it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Great Caesar's ghost, it's actually happening. Wow.
Sometimes, I "sign" my emails M!ke, instead of Mike. Yeah, I can't wait until that one comes back to bite me in the arse.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

U.S.S. Xenophon NCC-75401
Captain Petho Mentar - Commanding Officer (Pic)
Lieutenant Shrev - Executive Officer (Andorian)
Lieutenant T'Phar - Chief Engineering Officer (Vulcan)
Lieutenant Lurin Reza - Chief of Security/Tactical Officer (Betazoid)
Doctor (Lt. j.g.) Mea 8 - Chief Medical Officer (Eminian)
Lieutenant (j.g.) Po - Operations/Conn Officer (Bolian)
Ensign Aina Chaffee - Science Officer (human)
Lieutenant (j.g.) Feras - Security Officer (Bolian)
Boldy Go
Enterprise (demonstration vehicle)
Columbia (lost February 2003)
Challenger (lost January 1986)
Big O
Big Duo
Big Fau

All for the love of R. Dorothy Wayneright.

Monday, February 9, 2004

Hey, did you know there's a Blast it all, though, it isn't what you'd hope.
Who had the best honorific? strikes back
Skeeter brought to my attention that I missed at least one crucial honoific: Vlad the Impaler. He may have been a bloodthirsty maniac, but that jerk knew how to get noticed.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 40
Well, at least there is some good news: I buzzed my hair yesterday; so, the hair on my head is now shorter than the hair on my face. Woo and hoo. I don't know if I have to give anything up for Lent this year; after all, this particular sacrifice is going to last a lot longer than forty days.
Who had the best honorific?
Alexander the Great*
Charles Martel (meaning "the Hammer")
Richard the Lion-Hearted
Mehmet the Conquerer**
Sulieman the Magnificent
Ivan the Terrible

The clear all-time winner is William the Conquerer, not for that title, but for his original honorific: William the Bastard

*also Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Frederick the Great; so, hardly unique
**also William the Conquerer

Sunday, February 8, 2004

Vote For Kodos
In 1988, just before the July conventions, Governor Dukakis lead then-Vice President Bush in the polls by 18%. And that George Bush didn't have Karl Rove. I still wish John McCain had been the Republican nominee in 2000, but I digress. There are many valid reasons to not want George W. Bush to be reelected as president, but I'm sorry, kids, that's just not going to happen. Once the Republican legions march to war, it will take a better man than John Kerry to stop them... I mean, us.
This Summer, a Group of Eight summit is being held on a small island off the Georgia coast, Sea Island. Sea Island, huh, how about that. Are you people fucking retarded! Sea fucking Island? As opposed to what other kind of island, Perched Precariously On a Mountain Top Island?! Surrounded On All Sides By a Thousand Miles of Desert Island?! Welcome to Kansas Island?! For fuck's sake, just try! Why is it so hard for peole to just try?

In other news, Spies Like Us is on. I love this movie. You'll notice that in the beginning Dan Aykroyd's and Chevy Chase's characters meet while taking the foreign service exam. If within twenty-four hours of my exam I am being shot at by Bernie Casey, I will be one happy boy.
The Former Yugoslavia
Bosnia and Herzegovina

and, because I can...
Europe - 2004
United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
The Netherlands
San Marino
Vatican City
Czech Republic
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Serbia and Montenegro

Let's see you do better from memory. Someone bring me an unlabelled map!
U.S.S. Warspite NCC-75757
Captain Julius Augustus Seneca - Commanding Officer

U.S.S. Xenophon NCC-75401
Captain Pethlo Mentar - Commanding Officer

Vote For Kodos
The Grand Old Party
President George W. Bush of Texas

No Organized Political Party
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts
Senator John Edwards of North Carolina
Governor Howard Dean of Vermont
fmr. General Wesley Clark of Arkansas
Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio
"Reverend" Al Sharpton of New York
the quitters
Senator Joe "Joe-mentum" Lieberman of Connecticut
Representative Dick Gephardt of Missouri
fmr. Ambassador Carol Mosely Braun of Illinois
Senator Bob Graham of Florida

People always ask me if I'm thinking about volunteering to work on a political campaign. I fail to understand why. Do people understand how disgusting a process American elections are? Scrambling for votes; kowtowing to petty, parochial intersts; pretending to give a damn about John Q. Public's opinion; always, always, always begging for money. I love America, and following Churchill's reasoning, I have great faith in democracy, but the actual business of politicking is a sickening enterprise. Tip O'Neill was absolutely right when he said, "All politics is local." Local concerns would b those I dismiss as petty and parochial; so, no, at this point I have no interest in participating in any campaigns.

A quick note: much has been made in the media of former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neil's book The Price of Loyalty. First of all, I love the title. O'Neil was known for making statements that did not jive with nor support administration positions. If he wants to speak his mind, that's fine, but as long as he was Secretary of the Treasury, he had a duty to defend the positions of his President. He could disagree with the President, but not in public. Senor O'Neill certainly has a bizarre concept of "loyalty." Secondly, much has been made of the fact that the Bush Administration was trying to find a way to get rid of Saddam Hussein since day 1. Well, gee, since regime change in Baghdad had been U.S. government policy since the Clinton Administration, wouldn't it make sense for the new administration to figure out a way to, I don't know, change the regime? I wish I could be a Democrat and blissfully ignore the inconvenience of the truth.

Saturday, February 7, 2004

Tonight I watched "A Taste of Armageddon." Man oh man, was the original Star Trek good.
First of all, learning is awesome. Because of learning, I can now speak intelligently to whom Xenophon was, as well as tell you who the Ten Thousand were and why they are remembered as the Ten Thousand. I've even learned enough to know that Xenophon would be an excellent name for a Defiant-class starship, specifically Pethlo Mentar's Defiant-class ship.

U.S.S. Xenophon NCC-75197
Proud Ilium
This summer's coming blockbuster, Troy, is going to be fucking awesome. I mean no disrespect to the Lord or the sacrifice He made, but it is The Iliad not the Passion - and note that I very much want to see The Passion of the Christ - that is the greatest story ever told. The Passion is a tragedy and its consequences are far-reaching - the potential salvation of the souls of the entire human race - but in the end it is a story about one man's sacrifice, one noble act. The Iliad is a story about thousands of acts of noble sacrifice and seflish acts of base cowardice, loyalty, betrayal, war, sex, religion, folly, triumph, and massacre. It is the most human story ever written. The Passion is about one extraordinary, indeed divine, man; The Iliad is about all of us.

What's both right and wrong about our culture is that we are unwilling to launch a thousand ships over a single woman, no matter how beautiful.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 38
Ugh, today I just want to be rid of this accursed thing. I want to look like myself again.

Friday, February 6, 2004

I know it wasn't an award from an informed source, like ESPN, but still. The World News Tonight with Peter Jennings "Person of the Week" this week is Adam Vinatieri, the kicker for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Excuse me? Yeah, he kicked a last minutes field goal to win the Super Bowl, but he only had to do that because HE MISSED TWO FIELD GOALS EARLIER IN THE GAME! For that game, he was 1-2,. That's one of three! If he'd made those earlier two field goals, the third would not have been necessary and the Patriots would have won 35-29, 38-29 if they'd gone for th last second field goal anyway. Great Caesar's ghost, if a man does he job one time out of three he's considered a hero now? Ye gods, what is this, baseball?
Skeeter will hate this entire post.

Wherein I will discuss the uniform traditions of Star Trek, especially with an eye on how the various traditions were combined in the prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise. This discussion will not include the original series movies, as both styles of uniforms represented therein followed entirely different color and rank insignia schemes.

{23rd Century - Star Trek (the original series)}
Gold really more of a greenish yellow - Command, Navigation

Red - Engineering, Security, Communications, JAG

Blue - Medical, Sciences

For officers, ranks were determined by shiny gold stripes on the lower sleeves. Ensigns and crewman both had blank sleeves.
Commodore - two solid stripes with a gold field between

Fleet Captain mentioned, but no uniform was ever seen

Captain - solid stripe, dashed stripe, solid stripe

Commander - two solid stripes

Lieutenant Commander - solid stripe, dashed stripe

Lieutenant - one solid stripe

Lieutenant (junior grade) - one dashed stripe this is a conjectural guess

{24th Century - Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager}
Red - Command, Navigation, JAG

Gold - Engineering, Operations, Security
Essentially, the roles of gold and red were reversed, though JAG (Judge Advocate General, legal services) stayed red, thus becoming more of a command function, which seems logical.

Blue - Medical Sciences, Communication

Officers ranks were determined by round pips displayed on the collar. Enlisted crewmen for the most part had no rank insignia. The system of gold and black pips is identical to the system of full- and half-stripes emplyed by the United States Navy in the real world, with the exception of the admirals.
Fleet Admiral - four gold pips on a black field, trimmed with a gold border

Admiral - three gold pips on a black field, trimmed with a gold border

Vice Admiral - two gold pips on a black field, trimmed with a gold border

By the 24th century, the title of Commodore had lamentably disappeared from Starfleet.

Captain - four gold pips

Commander - three gold pips

Lieutenant Commander - two gold pips, one black pip

Lieutenant - two gold pips

Lieutenant (junior grade) - one gold pip, one black pip

Ensign - one gold pip

Chief Petty Officer no positive identification
For the last four seasons of DS9 Chief O'Brien's collar featured a gray patch at which we never got a terribly good look.

Senior Chief Specialist - one black pip
This arrangement was seen on various transporter operators referred to as "chief" and also Chief O'Brien at the time he was identified as a Senior Chief Specialist.

{22nd Century - Star Trek: Enterprise}
At the time of the adventures of Captain Archer and his crew, the Federation - which Captains Kirk, Picard, Sisko, and Janeway faithfully served - does not yet exist. Starfleet is a service of the United Earth government and employs a mix of 23rd and 24th century traditions.
Gold - Command, Navigation

Red - Engineering, Security
The roles of red and gold were returned to their original series configuration, which makes sense.

Blue - Medical, Sciences, Communication
Curiously, blue is used for communication, as in the 24th century, even though it was red in the 23rd century. I personally believe this was done because neither Sub-Commander T-Pol - the Science Officer - nor Dr. Phlox - the Medical Officer - is a member of Starfleet. If Ensign Sato - the Communications Officer - did not wear blue, non one would.

As with communications, here the 22nd century bears more resemblence to the 24th than the 23rd century, though it is not identical to either. Consistent with both other centuries, enlisted personnel have no visible insignia.
Admiral - one silver stripe, two silver stripes with a silver field between, one silver stripe

Commodore - two silver stripes

Captain - four gold pips

Commander - three silver pips

Lieutenant Commander - two silver pips, one black pip this is entirely conjectural, as we haven't seen one

Lieutenant - two silver pips

Lieutenant (junior grade) - one silver pip, one black pip again, entirely conjectural

Ensign - one silver pip

Thursday, February 5, 2004

Leo Wong
Ines Wong
Amy Wong
"We're not as rich as everybody says we are."
"Oh, yeah, what's the name of your sorority?"
"Kappa Kappa Wong."

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 36
Ye gods, the abomination has begun to chage the shape of my head! Well, not actually my head, but certainly my silhouette. The hairs near the back of the jaw are standing out in every direction, reaffirming my assertion that I could grow some wicked sweet 19th century muttonchops. Gilded Age, here I come!

"The Original Series"
Plowing through Star Trek, I got up early and watched "Balance of Terror" before school yesterday. Man oh man, do I love Romulans.

Star Trek: Enterprise
I very much enjoyed the show's first two seasons, when it was titled simply Enterprise; so, it was with some trepidation that I welcomed the change of direction of the third season-long Xindi story arc. After an unfocused beginning, the arc has really picked up. The last two episodes, "Proving Ground" and "Stratagem," have been excellent, and the serialized adventure has an almost DS9-like feel.
Words I have tired and failed to learn how to spell several times, and have at last mastered:
The Xindi
(Xindi-Avian - extinct)

*originally Xinid-Humanoid... Primate is better
**originally Xindi-Sloth...Arborial is better
Know what name I really like? Rhea.

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

"But you're better than normal. You're abnormal!"
--Philip J. Fry to Turanga Leela, Futurama

Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day
Sweet fancy Moses, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy begins filming in April! And Ms. Deschanel will be playing Trisha MacMillan a.k.a. the ever-mercurial Trillian!

Vote For Kodos: Old School
Former Senator Bob Dole was the guest on The Daily Show tonight. Man, he would have been such a good president. Think about it, my donkey-loving friends, had Senator Dole bested President Clinton in '96, he probably would have been reelected in 2000, leaving Dubya as the relatively harmless governor of Texas. You guys shouldn't bitch about "43"; he's a problem of your own creation.

Bob Dole at Grand Blanc High School, home of the Bobcats, Fall 1996:
"We already have a cat in the White House. Socks. Don't you think it's about time we had a Bob?"

Hi-larious Mike Luckovich editorial cartoon, titled "Bob Dole, Age 1 1/2," Fall 1996:
"Bob Dole hates carrots! Bob Dole will scream unless he gets a cookie!! Don't spank Bob Dole!!"

Moving On
Speaking of Old School (the novel by Tobia Wolff, not the wicked funny movie starring Luke Wilson), I am very much looking forward to reading it. I greatly enjoy Wolff's writing, both his short stories and his memoirs, though I sometimes feel I'm not smart enough to understand what he's really trying to say.

Who's more intriguing: Mishal Husain or Morgan Webb? Decisions, decisions.... While I am drawn to Ms. Webb's spunk and quasi-tomboyishness, I think we all recognize that there are few things I find as attractive as cold British indifference. I am powerless before Ms. Husain's accent.
This morning, I followed another car for a good fifteen minutes. She, the driver, cut me off and I just wasn't going to have any of that. After an intersection, two lanes become one. I was in the left-hand (going straight) lane, she was in the right-hand (turning right) lane. When the light changed, we both accelerated. I was following another car immediately ahead of me. Suddenly, the soon-to-be-offending driver swerved to the left. Had I not slammed my foot down on the brake pedal, she would have collided with my car, her driver side door into my front fender. Once out of danger, I began leaning on the horn. As soon as I stopped honking, I resolved to follow her. I had time to spare and I felt that she need to be penalized in some way. Not wanting to deal with higher insurance premiums, I opted for following her rather than denting her rear bumper.

Though at the next intersection I had wanted to turn left, I followed her in turning right. Quite the speed demon, she was quickly exceeding the speed limit by at least fiften miles per hour. I kept with her as best the Mousemobile's acceleration would allow. We entered an area of higher traffic, which allowed me to close the gap. I stuck right on her tail. Once, another car changed lanes and got between us, but I quickly accelerated and passed on the right, resuming my harassing posture. By this point, I suspected she might be aware of me. Instead of honking, I thought it more menacing to simply continue to follow. She made a sudden left turn, as did I. She swiftly changed from the left-hand to right-hand lane, as did I. She swerved back to the left-hand lane, as did I. In her rear view mirror, her eyes were large saucers.

At the next intersection, I let myself fall back so that she passed under a yellow light while I stopped at red. I doubt she feels she did anything wrong in cutting me off and I doubt my actions taught her that lesson. But if for one moment I had made her life less enjoyable, perhaps even scared her, my purpose was acheived.

Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Pharaoh and AIM
Two evenings ago, Skeeter let me in on the "imho" secret. See, people have used imho for quite some time, but I've been utterly clueless as to the abbreviation's meaning. Apparently, in IM parlance, "imho" stand for "in my humble opinion." I'll be honest, I always think of Imhotep. You know, Imhotep? Builder of the first pyramid? The crappy step-pyramid? Come one people, let's get with the program! To paraphrase Bart Simpson, "This ancient Egyptian culture isn't going to appreciate itself!" Sheesh. In any event, whenever I see imho, I still think of Imhotep.
Federation Starship Dedication Plaques
U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701
"... To boldly go where no man has gone before."

U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D
"... To boldly go where no one has gone before."

U.S.S. Excelsior NCC-2000
"No matter where you go, there you are."

U.S.S. Defiant NX-74205
"All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by." - John Masefield

U.S.S. Ulysses NCC-74297
"Tell me, Muse, of the man of many ways, who was driven far journeys, after he had sacked Troy's sacred citadel." (the first line of The Odyssey)

U.S.S. Aeneas NCC-2682
"Romans! These are your arts... To bear Dominion over the nations, To impose peace, To spare the conquered, and subdue the proud!" (from The Aeneid)

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 34
The facial hairs are curling relentlessly now, producing upon close inspection a slightly wild look. This bods ill.

Slightly Better Than John Navarre
Fuck Drew Henson. I hope that he is taken by an NFL team, earns to starting quarterback job, and them suffers a horrible, career-ending injury on the first play from scrimage. I don't want him dead, I just want him crippled.

Vote For Kodos
Damn it, why oh why couldn't Deanie hold off melting down until he'd secured a majority of delegates? Anywho, JFK is going to get the nomination, rest assured. On the strength of South Carolina (my least favorite state in the entire Union), Edwards will hang on for a while longer, but he's not going to be able to smile his way to the nom. Generalissimo Clark, winner of the United States's greatest. victory. ever. is a puzzling one; I have to be honest, I've heard him speak a lot, but I don't know where he stands on a single issue. I feel sorry for Joe Lieberman, because he so earnestly wants to be president, but it is never going to happen. Sorry, Joe. Give my buddy John McCain a call, he'll make you feel batter. I was sorry to see Gephardt drop out; having old school Big Labor guys around is always a hoot.

Are we in for a rerun of 1988, a George Bush versus a Massachusetts liberal? Fun and games await.
I'm thinking about sending The Newsletter to Senator McCain. Why not? Sure, it'll cost one more stamp, but on the other hand, it'll only cost one more stamp. On the gripping hand, the chances that he'll ever see a single issue are incredibly remote at best, but hey, to live is to risk.
Man, there are some fucked up noises coming out of the cat tonight.
Dammit! I kept thinking of things I wanted to blog about today, but I didn't write any of them down and now I've forgotten all of them.

Monday, February 2, 2004

Both Opportunity and Spirit are fully functional and busily roaming about the martian landscape. Meanwhile, Beagle 2 is, at best, a smoldering pile of rubbish. Ha.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration 5*, European Space Agency 0.

*Viking I, Viking II, Pathfinder and Sojourner, Spirit, and Opportunity.
Booze Trek
Saurian brandy
Romulan ale
Klingon bloodwine
kanar (Cardassian)
root beer ("hew-mon")

{A Column of Columns}
Here's what I'm working on for the relaunch of The Newsletter:

China Title is top secret! And after the initial column, I'm sure there will be more sinocentric diatribes to come.

Europe There are actually a couple different topics I want to write about, including European ineptitude, integration and the EU... and, well, two is a couple; so, I should stop there. Titles include: "Proud Europa", "Maastricht", and "The Hour of Europe."

The UN Tied in with Europe's impotence is "The Shadow of Srebrenica."

Jimmy Carter And why that rat bastard son of a bitch can go to fucking Hell in "Malaise Forever!"

In the first year of The Newsletter , I noticed people seemed the most contented when I wrote about geopolitical topics; so, witht he new volume I am attempting to give the people what they want. In the immortal words of Congressman Morris Udall, "The people have spoken---the bastards." Of course, it won't all be deadly seriousness...

Music That's right, baby, "Radio Free Wilson '04!"

Terrible Puns Including "Muzak or Muse... Zach?" The horror, the horror.

Sunday, February 1, 2004

The Collaborator?
Am I Edgar Snow? This afternoon, I was reading John McCain's memoir Worth the Fighting For. Therein, he refers to the 1979 border war between Vietnam and China, inaccurately stating that Vietnam won. Quite simply, they did not. But as I read that passage, I became angry, partially because McCain himself always expresses great distain for those who misrepresent history, yet here he was doing the same thing, but also because he was insulting China. This gave me pause. China is a steadfastly undemocratic country that in the coming century could very well pose a serious threat to the international supremacy of my beloved America, and yet here I was upset because China's honor had been insulted.

Then it struck me that I don't get angry over Tiananmen Square anymore; I used to say, "The summer I turned ten, I saw the Chinese government ruthlessly supress a peaceful call for reform. Whatever else I learn about China, my opinion will always be colored by the Tiananmen Square massacre." I used to despise the government in Beijing, denouncing them as butchers. Now, I wonder if I've become an apologist. Instead of anger, now I only feel vague sadness when I think about Tiananmen Square; the Chinese leadership was not justified in turning the guns of the People's Liberation Amry on the people, but at the same time, what the hell did the students expect would happen? The response of the senior leadership, the reassertion of control by the hardliners over the most radical reformers, was brutal, but also completely predictable. I admit the advantage of hindsight, but had I been 24 in 1989 and known as much about that China as my 24 year-old self knows about today's China, I could have told you that the logical end of the Tiananmen protests was the massacre.

The ruthlessness of the Chinese Communist Party no longer shocks me, no longer surprises me. So I ask, with genuine concern, have I become Edgar Snow? Snow was an American "journalist"; In the 1950s, he was one of the only Americans granted access to the then new People's Republic. Though he clothed himself in journalistic integrity, Snow was a fawning sycophant of Mao, and his famous book, Red Star Over China, bore little resemblence to reality. I know that I am not yet that far gone, but I fear that behaps I have already taken more than a few steps on that path to the dark side. Is my reaction to Tiananmen the sign of a mature, informed opinion, or the self-delusions of a collaborator and apologist? On this point, I am certain only that the matter requires greater and more careful introspection.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 32
Yesterday, I shaved my cheeks and it has made all the difference in the world. Though my beard does not rise much above my jawline, below that point it does not look completely terrible. The hair is not dense enough to justify growing a beard for real, but it is almost respectable. On my cheeks, though, were scattered outbreaks of single hairs here and there, enough to look crappy, but not enough to provide any coverage. So, yeterday I shaved them into oblivion. It is a substantial improvement, both in the look of the overall debalce and my state of mind.