Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Whack-A-Mole: Preliminary Round 1 - A Vote For Kodos Special
To begin the persuasion, I would like to point out that you are a liberally minded individual. My question is, then, why not vote for the liberal party? Is it strictly a matter of foreign policy? Is it America's past attempts at a Democratic administration? Before we get into why you should, I feel we should re-establish why you do not.

RIGHTY: It is incomplete to say that I am "a liberally minded individual." True, I am socially liberal and do not like the cultural conservatism of the so-called Christian Right, but I do not believe it would be accurate to describe the Democratic Party as a liberal monolith. Much of the recent resistance to gay marriage has come from black church leaders, a socially conservative group who are traditional Democratic voters. Also, I believe the Democratic Party to be a stagnant body of small-minded individuals: while public schools fail, they resist any notion of reform; while the welfare system perpetuates and encourages the continuance of an underclass, they resist any notion of reform; while the world changes around us, they offer only criticism and mockery, while refusing to engage in a substantive policy debate. It would be fair to say I see the leadership of the Democratic Party as Lenin's apocryphal "useful idiots."

Also, yes, I generally take a dim view of the accomplishments of our nation's Democratic administrations, with the exception of my boy Harry Truman, going all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt.
Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day
Yesterday, I was IMing with Steeze and he complained that it was a lovely day in Los Angeles, but there was no one around with whom he could enjoy it. I suggested that he start knocking on doors, for surely there must be someone in his apartment complex who'd be up for playing frisbee. He speculated Zooey Deschanel might be available. Man, that would have been the coolest thing ever, because if he just dropped by and she was up for some frisbee, it would mean she'd be awesome off-screen. Because we already know she's awesome on-screen. But to just drop by might be more than just a little creepy and of course he wouldn't seriously think about it. I hope he found a way to enjoy the lovely weather without the company of Ms. Deschanel.

No one else makes disinterest so interesting.

Vote For Kodos - Special Whack-A-Mole Edition
The champion of the left has been chosen! It has been pointed out to me that at times I have been cavalier with the identities of my associates (apparently, the Internet abounds with peril); so, Lefty's true identity will be kept secret unless he (oh no, I've given away too much!) wishes otherwise. I chose Lefty over Other Guy because he seemed to have more fully embraced the concept of Whack-A-Mole. Oddly, both applicants seemed somewhat hesitant to take up the challenge; Other Guy seemed all but resistant to be the idea, while Lefty took but the challenge since no one else would. Whack-A-Mole, dear readers, is not a slugfest between the conservativism of the Republican Party and liberalism of the Democratic Party; it is about persuasion, specifically persuading me, your humble narrator, a socially liberal Republican, to reluctantly vote for the liberal Democrat, Senator John Kerry, rather than reluctantly vote for the conservative Republican, President George W. Bush.

So, here's a quick political biography of your humble narrator, Mike Wilson, The Last Angry Man, in no particular order. I think calling yourself an independent is garbage. We have had two parties in this country since day one; in a system with only two parties, each has to be as appealing as possilbe to the broadest possible range of people. Take the example of the Log Cabin Republicans, who favor fiscal stinginess. If you cannot find a home within either of the two major parties, it is only because you're pretentious. (And probably a bit of a prick.) Anywho, I am a Republican.

I favor international intervention; we were right to try and stop the civil war in Lebanon in the early '80s and we should have stopped the genocide in Rwanda in '94. I favor free trade and think out-sourcing will be a good thing in the long run (and I say that as someone who is currently unemployed). I favor capitalism and the brutal competition is enables. I think Social Security is a disaster, because to fund my parents' decrepitude, I'm going to have to pay European-style taxes; the system was simply never designed to support people through twenty years of retirement. I am pro-choice, though that is not to say I'm a fan of abortion. I support gay marriage, because discrimination is never right. I oppose Affirmative Action, because discrimination is never right. I don't like school vouchers, but at this point I'm willing to try anything to end the NEA's stranglehold over the public school system.

I believe terrorism is best addressed as a military/intelligence issue, since treating it as a law enforcement/intelligence matter resulted in 9/11. I believe the United States should overthrow foreign governments that are hostile to their own people; once the anti-American dictators have been taken out, we should start ousting even pro-American strongmen. I believe in the concept of the United Nations, but that does not mean Kofi Annan should have any influence over American policy. I favor the legalization of marijuana, because I think government Pot Stores (on the model of the Canadian Beer Store) would be a great way to raise additional revenues. I favor the death penalty for rapists and child molestors, as well as murderers and drug kingpins. I am Catholic, but disagree with the Holy Father about many issues; I believe in the authority of the Pope and in defense of my defiance can only say that I am following the calling of my conscience, and I hope the Almighty will understand.

I will have a discussion with anyone, all I ask is that you be willing to discuss facts and logical reasoning, rather than partisan screaming. I am seldom wrong, but when it has been demonstrated that i am, I will apologize and change my views. in the words of Howard Cosell, "Keep your eyes open, you might change your mind." As Whack-A-Mole proceeds, I will do my very best to keep an open mind. At present, I hold John Kerry, the Democrat's standard bearer, in very low esteem, but if Lefty can present reasonable arguments that he would make a better president than Bush 43, I will vote for him in November.

Lefty, I await your first argument.

Have an enlightening day.
Help! I don't want to be turned into a yak!

And now I'm off to read Kavalier & Clay before turning in.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

It just struck me that even if I wanted to work on "In Search of the Perfect Lesbian," I couldn't, not without severely violating my Lenten sacrifice (about which I've been particularly good of late). "Drat!" and "Curses!" are all fine and good, but hardly the language one uses when one's boyfriend has just confessed to boinking his ex-girlfriend behind one's back.
"There is a time for patience, and there is a time for reckless abandon. There is a time when the only way to do right by yourself is to do wrong by everyone else."

That's a line, actually an entire paragraph unto itself, in my short story "In Search of the Perfect Lesbian"/short novel In Search of the Perfect Lesbian. I don't like the first sentence, I like the second one. I can't figure out if that means I have talent or I'm a hack.
After the Bonanza: Day 3
Woo and hoo, I am finally comfortable with looking like myself again.

Last night before I went to bed, I watched Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits. I first saw significant portions of the movie over a decade ago, when I was eleven or twleve, and at the time it weirded me out beyond belief. It was the strangest, most confusing thing I'd ever seen! Now that I'm older, pretend to be wiser, and have seen it from beginning to end, I realize it is brilliant. As are Gilliam's other films. To my knowledge, I have seen four, in order of viewing: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Twelve Monkeys, Brazil, and Time Bandits. All brilliant. Plus, the movie I most want to see but can't because it does not (yet) exist is The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Terry Gilliam is in the running for Favourite Director Who Isn't George Lucas.

Vote For Kodos - Special Whack-A-Mole Edition
So far, there are two applicants. Not surprisingly, both are affiliated with Blue Tree Whacking, because BTW folks are bolder, braver, and more extroverted than non-BTW (a.k.a. boring) folks. Surprisingly, both are affiliated with Blue Tree Whacking, because BTW folks have historically tended to a) not subscribe to any identifiable political philosophy and b) as a group, not vote. "Lefty" will be chosen tomorrow and shortly thereafter the bid to convert me to a Democratic voter shall begin.

Have a captivating day.
All for the love of R. Dorothy Wayneright.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Hello, Kitty
There are two Sammies. The first Sammy is aged and quite frankly falling apart. He whines to be petted, and needs to be lead to cheese, being unable to sniff out its precise location himself. He stumbles when he walks and experiences tremors when sitting. He is a shadow of his former self, a pitiable old man. The second Sammy tears around teh house a full speed, sounding for all the world like a herd of cats when he is but one. He accelerates as a hunter in his prime and covers the distance from the far corner of the dining room, through the living room, and up the stairs, a distance of some fifty feet, in less than five seconds. These days we see far more of the first than the second, and I fear the second is fueled by dementia. It is a terrible thing to grow old.

All of a sudden, I feel an desire to read the "Sand and Stars" storyline from Starman. Fortunately for me, I have my copy of Starman: A Wicked Inclination... at the ready. Bully!
{Empire City - Metropolitan Heroes}
Empire City (Detroit)
The Cloak
Aero Girl
The Gargoyle
The Mandarin
The Meteor
The Owl
Mr. Noir

Centropolis (Chicago)
The Echo
Sebastian Adair
The Pyre

Aero City (San Francisco)
Radiation Girl
The Blur
Mr. Impossible

Astropolis (Los Angeles)
The Lion
The Lioness
The Leopard
Lightning Rod
Man of Science
The Boxer
The Inspector

Ironsburgh (Pittsburgh)
The Green Machine
Arc Light
The Spade

Patriot City (Philadelphia)
The Frost

Puritan Bay (Boston)
The Proxy
The Tribune
Human Dynamo
Remember, fatty, you didn't get fat overnight and you can't get less fat overnight. Gah, I hate drinking water.

After the Bonanza: Day 2
Slowly but surely I'm getting used to looking like myself again. One nice benefit of the beard was that it make my face appear more pointed, almost lupine. Now I fear it looks broad and porcine.

The Watergirl has posted, in two sections, part of one of her short stories. In addition to enjoying it for its own merits, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who always winds up interjecting sex into my short fiction. Between school, The Newsletter, the SPP, and other projects, it's no wonder I haven't worked on "In Search of the Perfect Lesbian" since I've been home. In all of my stories, all of my characters - because they are all in one form or another versions of myself - are Catholic. I wonder if I've finally gone too far this time, making Margaret's older brother a priest: Father Francis Xavier "X" Kincaid.

Meat and Potatoes
Margaret Kincaid
Mary Peppard
Pete Fahrenheit
Kari Putterman
Parker Peppard
Ben Klein
Jason Beck
Fr. Francis Kincaid

Have a full automatic day.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

After the Bonanza: Day 1
I look weird. Every time I look in the mirror, I expect to see the beard and am startled when I do not. In a week or so when my sideburns and imperial are fuller, it'll be better. Also, yeah, I look younger now. I feel like I'm looking at a kid.

Come on, Duke, let's get in gear. It's only Xavier. ...Cursed Musketeers.

Have a submerged day.
After the Banzai Beard Bonanza: The Night in Question
Wow, after lo these many months it's heard to believe that my face really was under there the whole time. Right now, it's weird, but at the same time it's nice to have my face back. Hacking through the beard hairs was like using a machette to chop your way through the jungle, or so I'd imagine, having never actually been to the jungle. First, I chopped out my sideburns, with further sculping and refining to come tomrrow. Then, I did away with the neckneard, but left the goatee in place; as I suspected, I looked like every other toolbox twenty-something jerk with a goatee. No, thank you. This left only the imperial and the mustache. The imperial was trimmed and tamed, and won't be the way I want it for a couple weeks, but that's okay. The 'stache was even more ridiculous than I'd imagined. It was hilarious. It was scary how much I looked like my dad, though. It occurs to me that I may not know what his face looks like, all I see are a mustache and bifocals. So, now I'm basically back to myself. This will take a little getting used to.

The Pleasure of My Company
Except for shaving, which was kind of awful because it was a lot more work than I'd thought it would be, my whole evening was awful. Between my mom's atrocious friend and the opera, I would have rather been doing just about anything else, maybe even watching a Julia Roberts movie. Well, maybe that's a little harsh, but it was still a crappy evening.

Hey Julie
I'm listening to Fountains of Wayne's "Hey Julie." The problem is that I don't have someone like that around. I'll never make it through without her around.

Friday, March 26, 2004

I love the Polish name for Poland, Polska. Hell of a name for a ska band, yo.

Coincidence?!... or Not?
Lewis and Clark, Lois and Clark.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 86
It occurs to me that there are people who have only ever known me in the duration of the BBB. I wonder how they will react to my restored appearance.I'm also wondering if my head will look bigger or smaller. It might look smaller because a large fringe of hair, a mane if you will, will be gone, but it might look bigger because the fringe frames my face, and once it is gone the continuous flesh might make it seems as if my head flows all the way into my collar. Hmmmmm.

Vote For Kodos - Special Whack-A-Mole Edition
So far, no takers. Come on, you pansies, have you not the courage of your convictions?

Have a profitable day.

You know what would taste good right now? Pastrami. Blasted Lent.
Just to clear up any confusion any of you might be experiencing, keyboard bands do not "rock." If there's no guitar, it isn't rock. The Captain and Tennille was a keyboard band, for Pete's sake.

And by Pete, I of course mean Pete Fahrenheit, Margaret Kincaid's friend.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Don't think about this for too long, because it will just depress you, but given his current age Bart Simpson would have been born in 1994, Lisa in '96, and Maggie in 2002 or '03. Yowza.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 85
Why is it that the last not-quite-blonde-but-still-pretty-light-colored hairs on my head are in my beard? My blonde hair went away at puberty, yet a few tenacious little buggers are still hanging around amid the neck hair. Woo and hoo.

Have an evil clown day.
{Empire City - Superteams}
The Protectors of Neopolis
Zero Hour
The Gladiator
Pyromancer (Pyromaniac)
The Engine
Ignis Fatuus
Nitro Man

The Pride - Astropolis
The Lion
The Lioness
The Leopard
The Panther
The Jaguar
The Puma
The Cheetah
The Lynx
(The Tiger - R.I.P.)

The Interdictors - Mexico
Dr. Device
The Judge - imprisoned
Firecracker - nervous breakdown
Razor - traitor
(Speed Demon - R.I.P.)

The Firemen - global
The Roman
White Cross

The Aero Corps - Aero City
Atomic Woman
The Blur
Mr. Impossible
Aero Girl - reserve

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

McAfee, the chodes whose firewall and virus scan protect my crappy HAL, can go to blazes. There I was, peacefully working on yet another piece of pure genius for The Newsletter, when - BAM! - a new update crashes my HAL. Curse you! What the hell is the point of being protected from viruses and whatnot if the protection itself renders the HAL inoperable? I'm so disgusted with the whole situation that now I'm just going to go watch TV... woo hoo! Bonus!
Erin Go Bragh
Now that a week has passed since the feast day of Saint Patrick, I feel I should explain my hatred for the American celebration of St. Paddy's Day. First off, you should know that my name is Michael Patrick Wilson; I am only 1/4 Irish, but because of my ruddy face, quick temper, middle name, and fierce Catholicism, I seem more. All the Irish comes from my mother's side (my grandmother's maiden name was Phalan and she's pure Mick); from time to time my father (pure black-and-tan, that one) will make little jabs at the Irish, which actually bothers my mom. Yes, many of my ancestors were the bastard English, but that is in no way my fault and doesn't equate to me loving Ireland any less. I love Ireland. And it is precisely because I love Ireland that I dread March 17th.

Several years ago, I was sitting at a restaurant with Alber, waiting for his despicable girlfriend and Never Girl to arrive. Both Alber and I were sipping pop, but the girls ordered drinks. As Alber's Wench, a fair-skinned girl of largely German extract, took a drink of her green beer, she said, "I wish I was Irish." Someone please explain to me what drinking a green Budweiser at Chile's (or some such place, I forget exactly which) has to do with being Irish. What does drinking at nine in the morning have to do with being Irish? What do leprechauns and four-leaf clovers have to do with being Irish? Let's think about this: would it be acceptable behavior for me to start drinking as soon as the sun comes up; wear a plastic red, black, and green hat; and say, "I wish I was African"? Would an appropriate celebration of Japanese culture be to drink dyed red American beer and put up funny little caricatures of oni all over the walls? What does dying Chicago's river green have to do with the Troubles?

Do you know how the Irish celebrate St. Patrick's Day? They go to Mass and say thanks to the possibly mythical St. Patrick for introducing Chritianity to the Emerald Isle. It is a religious observance and a day to reflect on the hardship and suffering that lead to independence for the Republic of Ireland. I would love for St. Patrick's Day in America to be such a day, a day of genuine appreciation for everything the Irish have brought to this country. But as it currently stands, St. Paddy's Day is an accepted and institutionalized mocking of the Irish, a blonde joke on a national scale. If you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in such a way, you're no friend of mine and I want nothing to do with you.

And if you must mindlessly conform and celebrate that vapid holiday, for Bog's sake at least do so with a Guinness! Or a Harp. Harp would be acceptable.
{Left Behind}
Walking Around


Canopic Jar


Canopic Jar

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 84
My senior year of high school, we spend what felt like six weeks reading Tom Stoppard's vapid Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (it certainly felt like we spend more time on it than on Hamlet itself). To prevent a boredom-induced mass suicide pact among my fellows in AP English, we performed a number of the scenes in class, complete with some level of costuming. I read the part of King Claudius, the murderer of Hamlet's father and usurper of the throne and queen. In that capacity, I wore a huge fake beard. The BBB has confirmed what I noticed then: my face, for good or ill, is well-suited to a beard. In a way, I'll miss this monstrosity.

Have a birthday.
Holy Deja Vu, Batman!
You all know Hans Gruber, right? Well, it seems that over twenty years before Alan Rickman's classic turn as an East German terrorist in Die Hard, there was a character named Hans Gruber in the spy spoof Our Man Flint. How about that? "Shoot... the glass."

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Vote For Kodos - Special Whack-A-Mole Edition
Alright, you bleeding heart, tax-and-spend, tree-hugging liberal pukes, I've got a proposal that's going to make you forget all about your next anti-globalization rally for "economic justice." I'm going to let you convince me to become a Democrat and vote for Senator Kerry in this fall's presidential contest. As that rarest of creatures, a socially liberal Republican, most of my friends (at least those with political views) are damn dirty lefties, or "southpaws" as The Watergirl calls herself. I prefer "pinko-commies" myself.

So, the challenge goes out to you pinkos: convince me why my often reluctant support for President Bush and the Grand Old Party is misguided. A lefty-mole will be selected and I, acting as righty-mole, will engage them in a debate on this very blog. To nominate yourself as the champion of the center-left, email with "Whack-A-Mole" as the subject. Make your case. In seven days I will pick the respondant I feel makes the most articulate, informed, and well-reasoned argument for him- or herself. The lefty's stance on a particular issue will be posted here at the Secret Base, followed by my rebuttal. I want to give you sad sacks a fighting chance; so, I will honestly pick the strongest possible opponent. If none of you feel up to the challenge, feel free to recruit an outside ringer.

In the words of Senator Kerry, paraphrasing President Bush, "Bring it on."*

A Bit of Romance
"I wanna sink to the bottom with you,
I wanna sink to the bottom with you,
The ocean is big and blue,
I just wanna sink to the bottom with you."
--Fountains of Wayne, "Sink to the Bottom" from Fountains of Wayne

*Also note that Bring It On, aside from being cholk full of hotties, is actually pretty funny.
Listening to former Secretary Albright's opening remarks this morning and her description of the Clinton Administration's cruise missile attacks on al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, I couldn't help but be reminded of Abraham "Grandpa" Simpson's audacious declaration, "I drove the Irish out of Springfield!," to which a red-haired man dressed in green and chewing on a pipe replied, "And a fine job ya' did of it."

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 83
Oh no, this morning I was zipping up my jacket and I got my beard caught in the zipper! Oh no! Admittedly, it was not exceptionally painful - nothing compared to getting you know what caught... well, you know - but it was so awful! I want my face back! This is outrageous.

{Indie Comics}
Hopeless Savages
Dirk Hopeless
Nikki Savage
Rat Hopeless-Savage
Arsenal Hopeless-Savage
Twitch Hopeless-Savage
Zero Hopeless-Savage

Blue Monday
Bleu Finnegan
Clover Connelly
Alan Walsh
Victor Gomez
Erin O'Neil

Have a musing day.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Vote For Kodos
The single best thing that can happen for President Bush: Ted Kennedy on the campaign trail. God bless the manslaughterer and his giant crimson head.
Now that we're within spitting distance of the finale, the BBB is once again daily.
Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 82
This morning my beard was bushy enough it deserved it's own spot on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. Sheesh! A few more days of this and I might need a chair and whip combo.

"Militia, Freemen, IRA
Feminists, Panthers, radical gays
Zapatistas down by Mexico way
Right to lifers have your say
Shiites, contras, break away
Anarchists punks in the USA
Once you start you're here to stay
So come on everybody, Let's
Bomb today!"
--Mustard Plug, "Throw a Bomb" from Pray For Mojo

Have an out-of-focus day.
The worst part about Lent is that I cannot say what I want to say. Yesterday, I had to say "ho-slap," when clearly I went something else. I'm glad that I've cut down on my overall swearing, and by Jove, I'm glad diction diversification is up, but there are times when the only way to call a spade a spade is to use the word spade. Drat. But as I said, there is still a plus side, I'm using words like drat.

Sometimes there is nothing for it but to wait out your enemy. In a war of attrition, spite is the greatest weapon. Spite is a means and an end unto itself. Spite gives on the strength to turn your back on that which you cherished, once it has been corrupted and rendered impure. And now for the melodrama! In a war of attrition, I am the greatest weapon.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Big Dance
My "St. Louis" bracket could not have been worse: I was wrong on all four Sweet Sixteen teams. Ouch. However, overall I'm not doing that badly, as I was correct in eight of the total sixteen picks and three of my Final Four picks are still intact. My "Atlanta" (What chode decided to name the regions after the host cities? Gah, this is retarded.) bracket is kind of pretty, as the only mistake was picking Mississippi State over Xavier. I should have respected the power of the X. Editorially speaking, let me say two things: 1) Tubby Smith and his Wildcats can go to Hell and 2) between 'Bama and UAB, when did the State of Alabama learn to play ball?

Planet X
Sedna is not a planet. You want to know why? Because the word "Sedna" comes from an Inuit goddess. Bullroar. All the planets and most of the other celestial objects in this solar system (moons, asteroids, etc.) are named after figures from the Greco-Roman pantheon. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto; Phobos, Deimos, Io, Europa, Callisto, Ganymede, Iapetus, Phoebe, Pan, Hyperion, Prometheus, Epimetheus, Rhea, Titan, Mimas, Titania, Proteus, Triton, Charon; Ceres, Eros, Vesta, Pallas, Psyche. Or, as a curiosity, most of the myriad moons of Uranus are named after Shakespearean characters. So, Sedna is a fine planetoid (Hey, how ya doin'? Nice to meet'cha. Welcome to the solar system.), but not by any means a planet.

Doom Monkey
The two best words in the English language are monkey (still the king!) and doom. So, if only I could somehow harness their combined power, I'd be nigh unstoppable.
This morning, I had the best dream of my life. It was the third time I've had this dream, and, as always, once it is gone, though I know her face, her scent, and every curve of her body, I cannot remember her name. As always, though, I love her and I will miss her until I see her again.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 81
I spent most of yesterday with Zach and Sarah (someone cue "Zak and Sara"), watching basketball and tearing wood paneling off the walls of her parents' living room. At more than one point, Zach Nie! stopped and burst out laughing, saying he just couldn't get used to the beard. I really wish I could more closely identify with that, but after living with this debacle for nearly three months, I have become accustomed to it. I won't miss it once its gone, but once or twice I will almost certainly forget that it is no longer there.

Just for the near-reference to Sports Night, hats off to CBS's Bonnie Bernstein for almost being Bobbi Bernstein. "This girl's name was Roberta."

Have an air-headed day.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Stargate SG-1
"Children of the Gods" - "Within the Serpent's Grasp"
"The Serpent's Lair" - "Out of Mind"
"Into the Fire" - "Nemesis"
"Small Victories" - "Exodus"
"Enemies" - "Revelations"
"Redemption, Parts 1 and 2" - "Full Circle"
"Fallen/Homecoming" - "Lost City, Part 2"

Coming in July
Stargate SG-1 (season eight)
Stargate Atlantis (season one)

Colonel Jack O'Neill, USAF
Major Samantha Carter, USAF
Dr. Daniel Jackson
Jonas Quinn*
Major General George Hammond, USAF
Dr. Elizabeth Weir**

*"Meridian", SG-1 season six, "Fallen", "Homecoming", "Fallout"
**"Lost City, Parts 1 and 2", SG-1 season eight (maybe?)

Friday, March 19, 2004

The best part about the opening weekend of the Tourney? There's always something on TV.

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. This is incredible.

Have a peaceful day.
How many times do I have to tell you people? When all else fails, unspeakable violence is the answer.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

"He's got his arm around every man's dream,
And crumbs in his beard from the seafood special.
Oh, can't you see my world is falling apart?
Baby, please leave the biker,
Leave the biker, break his heart.
Baby, please leave the biker,
Leave the biker, break his heart."
--Fountains of Wayne, "Leave the Biker" from Fountains of Wayne
Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 78
It is both a shame and a blessing that I do not have hair on my cheeks. A shame because had I those hairs, my beard would look awesome and I'd have to give serious consideration, in a few decades, to adopting the Coach Oldham look: shaved head, big bushy beard (especially as my inevitable male pattern baldness progresses). A blessing because I would then be tempted to keep the beard, even though I very much want my face back the way it was.

The NL Online
In just a few short days, Steeze has made amazing strides with The Newsletter Online. I am so impressed that I am going to include the URL in the next issue, which should go into mock up this weekend. I am most grateful to the Steeze. Thank you, my friend.

My parents are going to be away for most of the weekend at a wedding in Ohio. Hmm, what shall I do with the house all to myself?

Have a censored day.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day
The aethestic value of a name is important. John Kennedy would never have become John Kennedy had he been named Hyram Euripedes Dick. There is something both beautiful and quite distinct about the words Zooey Deschanel. ZOOEY DESCHANEL. Not exotic so much as it is eccentric, and eccentric is good. And that's just her name! Ms. Deschanel is endearing and noteworthy even before you encounter the enchanting melody of her voice or the mischief in her eyes.

The NL Online
So, I'm IMing with Steeze about his recent installation as webdictator of The Newsletter Online, and I think the following exchange accurately reflects the awesome power I wield as Editor-in-Chief:
Yours Truly: Do my bidding!
K. Steeze: yeah yeah yeah

Prompted by a Newsweek article about the impending release of her second album, I am listening to Avril Lavigne's Let Go, and I must say that I still thoroughly enjoy the album. If you don't like it, piss off. I'm not going to take any guff from John Meyer fans.

Everyday, I hate my HAL just a little bit more. Stupid outdated rassum frassum piece of #&*%! Just work!

Vote For Kodos
Remember, without President Bush, we lose the Donald Rumsfeld War Machine. And without the Donald Rumsfeld War Machine, how are we going to strike fear into the hearts of both friend and foe alike? Who is going to supervise tournaments on Fang Island?

Day have dyslexic a.
I can't stop laughing. Oh, this is great.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 77
I can't believe how long it takes for my beard to dry after a shower. Admittedly, it doesn't take all that long, but my hair is extrememly short and dries almost instantly; so, the time it takes the longer beard hairs to dry seems lengthy.
Today's scientific puzzlement: blood types. Seriously, what the hell are blood types? That would make a good "Ask the Professor." Quickly, to Yahoo! Awaaaaaay!

Phoebe Fine is back. Woo and hoo.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

You know what will be the most ironic part of tomorrow? Loathe the American celebration of Saint Patrick's Day though I do, I always make a point of wearing my St. Paddy's Day boxers. You can all go to blazes, but in my own little way I'll participate, too.

There's a solid, if thin, layer of snow on the ground. I'm happy.

Fat Buddy
This afternoon, I believe it was on Talk of the Nation, I heard a discussion of the Ad Council/HUD's new series of commercials encouraging the citizenry to take better care of themselves. Some fat guano-brain called in to say that he wasn't to blame for his obesity, that it's all the fault of his genes and societal pressures. As a fat bastard, I found that argument incredibly offensive. Obviously, I have a gentic predisposition to flabbiness, but maybe if I got off my arse, ran a few miles a day, and cut back on the pop I wouldn't be quite so unbelievably fat. Same for tons of fun, the idiotic caller. I was so irritated by fatty's comments that I bought lunch at McDonald's to reinforce my personal responsibility for my obesity. Hmmmmm, Big Mac.
I love Donald Rumsfeld. I love the distain with which Rummy greets each and every questions he's ever asked, as if each question sets a new gold standard for blithering idiocy. Rummy knows he's smarter than you and he'll be damned if he's going to waste his time proving i; accept it and move on. Additionally, Rummy taps into something central to my view of national governance: I like my Presidents a little crazy and my Secretaries of Defense palpably menacing. Not crazy, but crazy enough. Old Man Gipper? If you were a Ruskie you had to be just a little nervous that this fella might just be crazy enough to do it. Rummy? If he's not palpably menacing, I don't know who is. He'll invade any country he damn well pleases with exactly the same amount of trepidation: none. Rummy's all swagger, and if there's one thing I respect, it's swagger.

Could you get away with naming a son Gaius, or would he spend his childhood being called Gay-us?

In my brother's room hangs a "Have A Day" poster, featuring lots of little smiley faces, each adapted to a particular variation of "Have a _____ day." Because you didn't ask for it, "Have A Day" is not going to become a regular feature of the Secret Base. Today:

Have a mutant day.
Mystery Men
The Shoveler
Mr. Furious
Blue Raja
Invisible Boy
The Spleen
The Bowler
The Sphinx

I love that movie.

"Bill Macy. He's like the Ferrari of actors."

Monday, March 15, 2004

Gaius Julius Caesar
So, for dinner tonight we had chicken Caesar salad. (It was fabulous, as you may have guessed.) And Mom had completley forgotten today is the Ides of March! Great Caesar's ghost, it's an Ides of March miracle!

Stargate SG-1 is one of the best shows on television and has been since its beginning. Premiering this Summer is a new show, Stargate Atlantis. I suppose I am experiencing emotions very similar to those of my fellow Trekkies before the debut of Star Trek: The Next Generation; up to that point, Star Trek had been defined as the adventures of Captain James T Kirk and his loyal crew, could it work with a different cast? Similarly, in concert with exceptional writing, the great strength of SG-1 is the chemistry between the members of the titular team, SG-1: Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Samantha Carter, Dr. Daniel Jackson, and Master Teal'c. I am simply nervous as whether or not the show can succeed without them.

In the mean time, wooooooooo! The season finale of SG-1 if going to be awesome! (And, there is going to be one more season after this. Bonus!)
I fell asleep last night by 1am. I can't remember that last time I fell asleep that early. It felt good, though, after spending the better part of the day feeling vaguely off.

While I was in the shower this morning, my mom stuck her head into the bathroom and apologized for biting my head off last night. Wow, that was unexpected.

Vote For Kodos
Babar, King of the Elephants
President George W. Bush of Texas (seven commercials)

Donkey Punch
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts (one commercial)
the gadfly
Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio
the quitters
"The Reverend" Al Sharpton of New York
Senator John Edwards of North Carolina
fmr. Governor Howard Dean of Vermont
fmr. General Wesley Clark of Arkansas
Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut
Representative Dick Gephardt of Missouri
fmr. Senator Carol Mosely Braun of Illinois
Senator Bob Graham of Florida
I think I'm considering ditching "the quitters." "The gadfly" will stick around as long as the gadfly himself sticks around.

So, as I'm sitting here typing, I've got ESPN on in the background. During a break in Around the Horn, the Liz Phair song "Extraordinary" was featured in a commercial for the NCAA Women's tourney. The funny part? They kept jumping around, skipping abour half the lyrics since they are the sort of thing that these days brings the FCC down on your head. Ha! Hilarious. What I'd really like to see is a commercial featuring "H.W.C."

Gaius Julius Caesar
The conquerer of the Gauls, the man who restored order to the Republic and laid the foundation for the Empire, was assassinated on this day, the Ides of March, two thousand forty-eight years ago, in 44 B.C. Let that stand as a warning to all those who place their own glory before SPQR.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

I don't know why, maybe something I ate, but I feel horrible. Have since midday. Oof.
It may sound harsh, but it's my policy and I stand by it: If you don't like Star Wars, and I'm not asking you to love it or be as huge a dork about it as I am, but if you don't at least like Star Wars, man, I don't even want to know you.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 74
I hate to admit this, and it has taken a long time to get to this point, but the beard actually looks pretty good. As I suspected, my face kind of works with a beard. Some people can wear beards and some can't. Apparently, I can. And by that I mean I look better when most if not all of my face is obscured.

My appreciation to Zach Nie! for the loan of his The Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm DVDs. Both were excellent and I eagerly await seeing more. Why live real life when you can watch it on TV?

Vote For Kodos... Sorta: The Homefront
So, explain this to me. After dinner we were sitting around watching 60 Minutes, and good ole Morley Safer (Morley!) was giving a report on prescription drug prices and the reimportation of drugs from Canada. I commented that the piece was more editorial than it was journalistic, that it was pushing a particular side of the issue. My mother asked me what I though of the issue. I told her that the bulk of research for new pharmaceuticals is done by the American pharmaceutical industry - "Big Pharma" - and that if the profits of those pharmaceutical companies were cut, it would naturally follow that the money they devoted to research would also decrease. I am both a horse's arse and a bastard, and I admit that, but in this case I swear to you that I was being reasonable and just giving her my opinion, which she had requested from me. She turned to me in a rage and yelled at me that she didn't want to talk to me about anything political anymore! But , Mom... No! She's sick and tired of me thinking I'm smarter than everyone else and yelling at her! She's sick and tired of my radical conservative agenda!

... wait...

What in the name of all that is good and pure just happened? She asked me for my opinion; I didn't raise my voice in the least (honest!); and immediately before she requested my opinion, Morley had been talking to Dan Burton, a Republican congressman who supports the reimportation fo drugs from Canada. What the hell...? And how can I have a radical conservative agenda, I'm more socially liberal than she is: she opposes gay marriage, I'm all for it. I'm pro-choice, pro-gun control, and I support huge increases in international aid. Mom, have you gone out of your mind? You asked my opinion and I gave it to you, without reference to a single politician or political party, in a conversational tone of voice.

I know that I've said before that my mom isn't stupid, but I'm afraid I was just being polite. This is far from the first time this has happened. I understand that living with my dad, with his gun collection (which he's only had since after 9/11, when he began hating Muslims) and devotion to Fox News, can be very stressful, but it is unacceptable for you to punish me for his political leanings. You married him, not me. I didn't have any say in the matter. I wasn't even around until nine years after you met him. And whenever she asks my opinion, I give it to her, citing evidence and logical deduction for why I hold those beliefs. Note: this happens when she asks me for my opinion. By Lucifer's beard, if you don't want to hear what I have to say, don't ask me!

And anyway, what in Bog's name does prescription drug reimportation have to do with politics? Political leaders on both sides of the aisle support and oppose the practice. I did nothing to provoke her attack. Let me put it this way: if she weren't my mother, I wouldn't want anything to do with someone like her.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

This is nothing official, just some fan art, but it's pretty freakin' sweet.

Summer 2005: Episode III and Batman Begins. Holy Toledo!
By Jove, I could murder my mail carrier! Normally, I avoid b.s. terms like "mail carrier" in favor of the real thing, mailman. Who sez "chair"? Somebody, be he man or woman, is the damn chairman! So, even if I had a female mailman, I'd still call her my mailman! But, I feel like mailman is a personal thing; you know your mailman. At my house, we've got a revolving cavalcade of folks; so, instead of the friendly mailman, I prefer the mildly hostile, or at the very least coldly neutral, "mail carrier." Anywho, on Saturday the mail's supposed to be here at noon; this schmuck comes driving up at three! It wouldn't be a problem, except my mom, before she gave up and went shopping, was watching the mailbox like a hawk. What on Earth was she waiting for? This jerko kept her waiting, as insane as said waiting may have been, and that's not cool.

Hello, Kitty
So now, in addition to drooling (yuck), Sam sometimes walks around with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. Damn it, man, have some feline pride! You're a cat, a nearly divine creature, not some crass and craven dog! Gah, you sicken me.
Within the Serpent's Grasp
The Serpent's Lair
Serpent's Song
The Serpent's Venom

Thor's Hammer
Thor's Chariot


The Other Side
The Other Guys

The Fifth Race
The Fifth Man
Ye be fairly warned, this is a very fanboyish post.
{The Goa'uld}
Major System Lords
Ra - dead, SGC probe
Apophis - dead, SG-1/the Replicators
Heru'ur - dead, Apophis
Cronus - dead, SG-1/SG-1 androids
Yu the Great
Nirrti - dead, SG-1
Out of Sight System Lords
Olokun - dead, Anubis
Imhotep - dead, SG-1
Serve the System Lords
Klorel - dead, SG-1/the Tollan
Terok - dead, Raknor
Tanith - dead, SG-1
Left Behind
Hathor - dead, SG-1
Set - dead, SG-1
Osiris - dead, SG-1
Isis - dead, died in exile
Marduk - dead, SG-1
Egeria (mother of the Tok'ra) - dead, the Pangar
Returned Exiles
Sokar - dead, Apophis

{The Jaffa}
Horus Guards - Ra, Heru'ur, Hathor
Serpent Guards - Apophis, Hathor
Setesh Guards - Set
Devil Guards - Sokar, Apophis
"Ninjaffa" - Anubis (get it? ninja + jaffa = ninjaffa)
Drones/"Super Jaffa" - Anubis (it's really too bad we haven't seen a Jackal Guard since the movie, they would look way sweet)

Friday, March 12, 2004

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 72
I have slain the beast! Okay, that's an outright lie, the beast is still very much in tact, much to my lament. However, I have tamed the beast! The single worst part of this dreadful experience has been the mustache. I honestly do not fathom how my father has endured having one for the last thirty-five years. It's Hell. Anywho, taking a cue from Will Ferrell's new movie Anchorman I shaved the part of my mustache directly below my nose. Fear not, over niety percent of the damned thin is still in place, but I have removed the hairs that tended to snake up into my nostrils, driving my quite mad. As it is, that one small piece of grooming has removed maybe sixty percent of the discomfort of having the mustache. Now all I need to do is figure out how to not get it sopping wet when I brush my teeth and I'll be in business. Of course, it strikes me that I don't want to keep the mustache; so, it is in my self-interest to not be in business. Hmmm. Anyway, fifteen days. After these last two-plus months, I can do fifteen days standing on my head.

No, It's Not a Necklace, You Twit
In a really weird way, I greatly enjoyed doing a Rosary the other day. I closed my eyes and prayed aloud, but barely audibly, moving my lips and whispering the words. The contrast of the Hail Mary, a plea from one person to another, to the formal power of the Our Father (the Lord's Prayer) was... how do I describe this?... intense. The Catholic Mass is all about rote and ritual; it feels comfortable to pray the same way, it feels like home. I may have to make a habit of it, even after the Lenten season.

Yes, that's right, prepare for the emergence of Mike Wilson, Dreadfully Serious Catholic. More guilt than ever before! I'm kidding, yo, the day you can no longer appreciate the genius of the Buddy Christ is the day you've gone too far. "Catholicism, WOW!

Baby, It's Cold Outside
For this one day at least, there was once again snow on the ground. Totally awesome. Gnarly to the max. Radical. (I was born in 1979, those words were the bread and butter of cool when I was little.)

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I keep seeing commercials for Hellboy and I keep loving 'em. Woo hoo! This is gonna be great. (The first person to say "It's going to be fun as hell" gets a brick to the face.)
I'll tell you what's great: brushing your teeth right after dinner. I just did it, immediately following dinner - "immediately" meaning maybe twenty minutes after I finished dinner, I took time to load the dishwasher first - and it feels fantastic. No more waiting fo bed time for me!

{What's Eating The Last Angry Man?}
My father becomes a little more intolerant every day. Today, he sided with those black church leaders who have taken offense to the use of the term "civil rights" in the gay marriage debate. He insists homosexuals aren't born homosexual, they choose to be "that way." In his way of thinking, the homosexual lifestyle is chosen in order to somehow threaten him and his children. On that score, let me say this: my children will not know their paternal grandfather.

I generally enjoy Esquire magazine, notable sections be excluded from that remark including their coverage of fashion and their music reviews. However, in a special music supplement to the issue that arrived in my mailbox today, the idiocy reached new levels. Less Than Jake was mentioned in passing as a "Nineties power pop outfit." Sweet. Merciful. Crap. How in the high holy hell can you call yourself a music critic if you know so little about actual music that you would so radically misclassify a band? This is no mere typographical error, there's no way to accidentally type "Nineties power pop outfit" when you mean "metal-influenced ska-punk outfit." Clearly, the only reasonable reply is unspeakable violence.

Yesterday, my father (he's having a banner week) said the United States should never have conducted a single dollar's worth of trade with the People's Republic of China. Wow. Even were I not an amatuer China scholar, that statement would floor me. I mean, I know my father is a mindless follower of Lou Dobbs's protectionist beliefs on trade, but ye gods! Do you have any idea how much money American corporations have made by selling things in China and importing good manufactured in China? The truly inexplicable thign about this particular position is that my father favors immediately cutting off all trade with China - right now, today, this very minute - with no regard for the devastating economic ramifications, and yet he denounces Senator Kerry for embracing less-radical yet still flawed ideas on trade. Let me reiterate: my children will never know their paternal grandfather.

My children will never know their paternal grandfather. He's the most abominable human being I have ever had the misfortune of knowing, but still, that's sad. Kids should have a grandpa.

I do not currently have enough money to afford my rather expensive comic book habit. I'm already a couple months behind, with no end in sight. Blast it all!

{What's Pleasing The Last Angry Man?}
I haven't even finished mocking up Vol. V, No. 3 of The Newsletter, but I've already started writing my next column. You'll rue the day you met me, Jimmy Carter! Rue! Or rather, you would if we had ever actually met. Ruuuuuuuue!

The Office. Martin Freeman is going to make an absolutely stellar Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker's Guide ot the Galaxy.

Seven thirty-seven. Bosstones forever!
Hello, Kitty
So, now that the weather's a bit less formidable, Sammy has been agitating to be let out on a regular basis. Never mind the fact that it's fifty degrees and he wants to come back in within ten minutes. And now he's madly running around trying to scratch things. You stupid wanker, you haven't had claws since you were a kitten. Is it good or bad when you start saying to your cat, "Come on, follow me, you daft bastard"?

It is important to understand that even though every Wednesday we here at the Secret Base do our best to celebrate Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day, that does not mean Parker Posey has been eclipsed as my favorite actor (female). It's just that she was dreadfully underutilized in A Mighty Wind, for which I'm still peeved at Christopher Guest, and her next project is *gag me* Blade: Trinity. So, it's a bit hard to be excited these days. Plus, Ms. Deschanel is starring in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which is wicked awesome!

Of all the actors in Hollywood, those two almost certainly have the best names.

"The snow is coming down on our Midwestern town,
But it hasn't been falling for long.
What else is new? What could I do?
But lament that it will all melt soon,
and I'll be blue."
--with apologies to Fountains of Wayne, lyrics based on their "Valley Winter Song" from Welcome Interstate Managers

Confessions of a Former X-Phile
Okay, okay, so I never EVER called myself an X-Phile, whereas I do proudly proclaim myself a Trekkie, but I did watch and enjoy the first few seasons of the show. Now I have to ask myself, why? It's garbage. Pretentious, terminally serious, self-obsessed garbage. Even though I was in high school at the time and can fairly claim that I was just a stupid kid, I'm still embarrassed that I ever enjoyed this crap. Jumpin' Jack Pratt, this is awful!
It's four in the morning. By my reckoning, four o'clock is still night and five o'clock is the beginning of a new day. The question now is, since I'm still up, should I try to catch a couple hours sleep or just bag the whole deal and stay up watching The Office?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day
Yesterday, I finally finally watched the movie Mumford. I've wanted to see it since it first came out, yet somehow I waited five years. Ho hum. Anyway, I loved it. I love stories about liars, but this was an above average story about a liar. If you haven't seen it yet, sure, I may have spoiled it for you, but I apologize for nothing. It's been out on video for five years, you've had plenty of opportunities. The most important thing is that this was the first time I've ever seen Ms. Deschanel appear in a movie with her natural hair color. She appears with dyed hair so often it is easy to forget that she has dark, dark hair. Almost black. The dark hair highlights the light in her eyes and the delightful paleness of her skin. Plus, few people look better in faux-'50s fashion. Certainly favorable circumstances under which to spend a day appreciating Zooey Deschanel.

Moshi Moshi? Follow Up
I would appear that The Watergirl is, in fact, alive and well. Either that or whomever killed her has taken over her blog and does a passable imitation of her style.
Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 70
I wanted to restore the BBB to even-number days and thought two in a row was better than waiting three days. Dear Bog, I just want this itchy, frustrating monstosity gone! Then again, if that's the biggest problem I face today, I'm doing pretty well.

Later today, I'm going to say the first Rosary I've said in years. Yeah, that's going to be different.
"You're spending the night with me... Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute."

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

It's already time for The Daily Show? Wow. I never really got the hang of today.
I can think of three domestic tasks that needed to be completed around the house today: cooking dinner, cleaning the dishes, and taking out the trash. Let's see, I cooked dinner, cleaned the dishes, and took out the trash. All by myself, neither parent lifting a finger. Bog above, they've gotten lazy; I seriously have no idea how this household funtioned before I moved back in. Was there garbage strewn about? Did the dishes ever get cleaned? Being old, did they ever bother to climb down the stairs to the basement and tackle Sammy's litter box? "Workers of the world, unite!"

Moshi Moshi?
This evening, I had a lovely, if brief, conversation with The Watergirl. I believed she called to thank me for finally returning her beloved copy of Jimmy Buffett's surprisingly delightful novel Where Is Joe Merchant?. She was on her cell phine trying to catch the T. We had just finished comparing Michigan to Russia when she was cut off midsentence. I waited. "Watergirl?" I ventured. (Obviously, I said her name, not "Watergirl," but she has made it quite clear she wants her anonymity preserved.) "Watergirl?" Hearing nothing from the other end, I hung up, fully expecting to answer her return call in a matter of moments. When no call was received, I shrugged and went about my business. A few minutes alter, it suddenly seemed odd to me that she had not called back. Yes, she was calling from Boston, but as I understand it most cell phines have little or no charge for long-distance service. Oh, dear, had something happened to her? Maybe she had not called back because she wasn't able. Thoughts raced through my head. Should I call her? Had something untoward befallen her? Whatever should I do? Yet, despite my concern for her safety, it is not as if I actually picked up the telephone. At one point, it occured to me that even if she had met with foul play of one sort or another, what could I do from quiet, suburban Michigan to influence the course of events in wild, cosmopolitan Massachusetts?

I can call the Boston police! Yes, that's it!
And tell them what?, you don't even know which T station she was at. And how would you even get in touch with them?
I'm sure information could connect me with an operator in New England who could steer me in the right direction.
Okay, and tell them what?
That we were talking and suddenly I lost her and couldn't get her back.
"And couldn't get her back"? You haven't even touched the phone! Hard to argue you can't reach her without making the attempt, no?
Well, obviously I'll try her cell phine first.
And then what? Tell the police you can't reach your friend's cell phine?
Well, we got cut off midconversation!
Yes, because that's unheard of in the annals of cell phine usage.
Shut up, you. I could tell them we were talking, but now I can't raise her, and could they please keep an eye out for her. I could give them her address and ask them to check to see if she makes it home.
Yes, I'm sure her roommates would love that. Dispatch the local constabulary to their door, that's the ticket.
Fine, but if she's dead it's on your conscience.

Needless to say, that was about two hours ago and I have yet to make any effort to get in touch with her. In the absense of any evidence either way, I am going to operate under the assumption she's okay. But for all I know, The Watergirl is lying dead somewhere in Southie, her lifeless body a consequence of murder most foul. Note, of course, that despite such potentially dire consequences, I'm blogging about it rather than indulging my imagination and actually making inquiries into whether or not she is okay. I hope she's okay.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 69
Somewhere, Beavis and Butt-head are snickering. Eww, I keep getting mustache hairs up my nose. Ewe? No. Also, my beard hair is so curly and gnarly (the actual meaning of gnarly, not the vintage '80s exclamation) I can hardly believe it. The real problem with that is it makes the hair tend to bunch up, making the coverage undesirably thin in places. As I've commented before, the only upside of this debacle is that under the accursed Sun my shadow bears a not-so-slight resemblence to Jet Black, which is as absolutely close to cosplay as I ever hope to come.

The Classics
Until recently, I had never read anything by J.D. Salinger. The way people go on and on about Catcher in the Rye, and the sort of people who go on and on about Catcher in the Rye, has always made me very wary of the book. From what I've been told about the sotry of Holden Caulfield, I am still wary, but given the pure delight I took in reading Franny and Zooey, I am now entirely open to the experience. Also, I am now reading my very first Bradbury, which may sound odd given my love for science fiction and my experience with such contemporaries of his as Alfred Bester, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Frederick Pohl. I am beginning Fahrenheit 451, since in a way very reminiscient of Catcher in the Rye, something about the sound of The Martian Chronicles gives me pause. I have not yet begun the book proper, but based on the two introductions - one from 1993, as the copy I have is a 40th anniverary edition, and one from 1966, written to correspond with the release of the movie - I do not have a good feeling about that it coming. I fear there in something in Bradbury's use of language that makes me wish I had a brick handy.

"Have you ever thought it's you who's boring?
Who the hell are you?!"
--Liz Phair, "Extraordinary" from Liz Phair

Hello, Kitty
Someone explain to me why Sam insists on standing between my legs when I am doing the dishes. Dude, my hands are covered with water; so, you don't want me to pet you. And where you are standing, when I turn to load the dishwasher, you're going to get kicked. *raaarr!* Well, it serves you right. I miss the fierce, evil bastard Sam used to be. That son of a gun didn't have time for anybody unless they could do something for him. He only ever meowed when he wanted to be let out. Now, he seems confused by the door and unsure of where he is.

It's a terrible thing to grow old.
A Pirate's Life For Me
Coming up on two years now and I still love my tattoo as much as ever. Arrrh! As soon as I make some significant dents in my debts, say hello to the BTW monkey. Then...

"Red dragon tattoo
Is just about on me.
I got it for you,
So now do you want me?
With nothing to do,
Will you be my honey?
Oh yeah! In you I confide,
Red dragon tattoo,
I'm fit to be dyed
Am I fit to have you?"
--Fountains of Wayne, "Red Dragon Tattoo" from Utopia Parkway

Monday, March 8, 2004

A Song to Mithras
(Hymn of the 30th Legion: circa A.D. 350)

by Rudyard Kipling

Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall!
'Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all!'
Now as the names are answered, and the guards are marched away,
Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day!

Mithras, God of the Noontide, the heather swims in the heat.
Our helmets scorch our foreheads, our sandals burn our feet.
Now in the ungirt hour--now ere we blink and drowse,
Mithras, also a soldier, keep us true to our vows!

Mithras, God of the Sunset, low on the Western main--
Thou descending immortal, immortal to rise again!
Now when the watch is ended, now when the wine in drawn!
Mithras, also a soldier, keep us pure till the dawn!

Mithras, God of the Midnight, here where the great bull dies,
Look on thy children in darkness. Oh take our sacrifice!
Many roads thou hast fashioned--all of them lead to the Light:
Mithras, also a soldier, teach us to die aright!

Sunday, March 7, 2004

It's Okay to Hate
I give my brother a lot of credit; unlike our father, he's an equal opportunity bigot. He simply hates anyone with any religious beliefs. So, while it's wrong and immoral to stereotype and degrade people for their sexual preference, it is perfectly acceptable to stereotype and degrade people based on their faith. Way to go, David.
I was listening to Mink Car earlier, but I had to turn it off. I don't know what it is about that album, but I am... conflicted about it. Conflicted in a way I feel with no other They Might Be Giants album. I like many of the songs, yet somehow I hate the overall album., I don't get it, not at all. So now I'm listening to Potshot's Pots and Shots. The band's Japanese, yet the lyrics are in English; so, they are my favorite "Engrish" band. Also, no one has better insights into Engrish than my friend Olga, who spent a year teaching English on Shikoku.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 67
Somedays I'm angry. Somedays I'm indifferent. Today I'm indifferent. I want my face back, but the beard isn't going to be gone for almost three weeks; so, I might as well make the best of it.

Geography Bee
It occurs to me now that many of you may not know what Shikoku is. My first reaction is, "Piss off, you ignorant wanker!" Now that that's out of the way, Shikoku is the smallest of the four "home islands" of Japan. They are Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Hokkaido. Honshu is the largest island and features Tokyo, Mount Fuji, and most of the large cities. Kyushu, at the southern tip of Honshu, was the old gateway into Japan, and it's western edge lies only a hundred miles from Korea. Shikoku is a bit of a backwater, sort of the Nebraska of Japan. Hokkaido has only been populated for a little over a century; it is the northernmost island and home to the vicious snow monkeys. Now aren't you glad you learned something new today?

Hello, Kitty
Yesterday, Skeeter expressed happiness at posts concerning the sometimes odd behavior of Samuel Bubbles Sink Cat Wilson, also known as Sam, our cat. So, look forward to more kitticentric posts, since even after nine or so years of friendship, I more often than not do what I can to please Skeeter.

As if on cue, here's Sammy, just woken up from a nap and whining as if he's been ignored and neglected. You magnificent bastard!

Saturday, March 6, 2004

The Newsletter
When I wrote yesterday that "the hits just keep on coming," I was being funny. (It was funny, blast you!) Little did I realize my Cassandra-like ability to see the future; today, I received a request to terminate a subscription. I think. The email read:

To whom this may concern,

If you want to save 37 cents, remove me from the mailing list.

(she signed it, but I'm withholding her name)

Is this a stab at humour? A passive-aggressive request to unsubscribe? A prelude to something altogether more sinister? I replied, politely requesting clarification; so, we shall see what results.

Hello, Kitty
The entire time I was working on the previous post, Sam was sleeping on the futon. Then, as soon as I posted it and got up to switch CDs (out: NFG's New Found Glory, in: NFG's Sticks and Stones), he started whining and following me. Dammit, Sam, what are you whining about? I haven't been neglecting you, you were asleep! You'd rather I woke you up every time I entered the room? I think the core of the problem is that my brain is physically larger than Sam's whole head, ears, fur, fangs, and all. I love my kitty, but he's got a brain the size of a walnut. It's okay, Sammy, it isn't your fault you're stupid.
Knife Fight in Caracas!
You know who needs an introduction to the concept of "regime change"? Hugo Chavez, president/dictator of Venezuela, that Castro-coddling blankety-blank so-and-so. The man has instructed the armed forces to ignore Venezuela's Supreme Court whenever they rule any of his policies unconstitutional and because that hasn't silenced all oppostion, he's trying to pack the court! Hugo, if you don't shape up you could find yourself on the wrong end of the most irresistable foreign policy instrument the world has ever seen, a little thing I like to call the Donald Rumsfeld War Machine.

The Greatest Story Ever Told
The Mountain of Love and I saw The Passion of the Christ yesterday. Holy kajiggers, that was an amazingly powerful experience. I was fortunate enough to be raised as a Roman Catholic; so, I have seen Passion plays all my life. My parish, Holy Redeemer, had a long-standing tradition of a mimed Passion play put on by the high school youth group, including one year, oddly enough, my sister. Christ, Pilate, the Romans, the Jews, Barrabas, they all worn black clothing and white face paint. A series of students in their Sunday best stood at the pulpit and read from the Scriptures, narrating the story. It was always an intense experience, even in my relatively agnostic teenaged years. All day yesterday, I felt unnerved, as if I'd done something wrong. Of course, since Christ died for the sins of the whole world, past, present, and future, I had. Jim Caviezel was crucified for my sins.

However moving the film was, it simply reinforced what I've been saying all along: grateful though I am for Christ's sacrifice, it is The Iliad not the Passion that is the greatest story ever told. The Passion is about Christ, a divine man, God made flesh, who lived most of His life as Jesus of Nazareth, a simple carpenter, then was put to death for threatening the power of the temple priests in Roman-occupied Judea. Yes, it includes an all-star cast - Mary, Mary Magdalene, Peter (later, the first pope), Pontius Pilate, Judas Iscariot, the Devil (wow, this is better than The Towering Inferno) - but it is all about Christ*. He is put to death for no good reason, which is a grave injustice, but it's exactly what He and His Father wanted - needed - to happen in order to save all of our undeserving souls. It is all about Christ, who was and is God.

The Iliad, by contrast, is about us. It is a story about people being selfish, noble, short-sighted, prophetic, lustful, generous, ruthless, deceitful, arrogant, intelligent; in a word, human. The Trojan War was sparked by the gods, but it was fought for the reasons of men. We do not live in a culture where Paris and Helen's eloping would launch a thousand ships, but we certainly understand Menelaus's desire both for revenge and to have his queen back. We understand why Hector would fight to defend his younger brother's mistake. We understand the stubborn pride that caused Achilles to sit in his tent, and why Patrocles's death brought him out. The Passion is about God; The Iliad is about us, those made in His image. I'm a big fan of God (and by that I mean a humble servent, O wrathful Lord), but to my way of thinking, the greatest story ever told has to be a story about us, about the nobility and cruelty that are both present in all our hearts.

*You may notice that I almost always refer to the Son of God as Christ, a title, rather than as Jesus, His name. Evangelicals ask, "Do you have a healthy relationship with Jesus as your personal lord and savior?" I would have to answer no. My personal lord and savior? Sounds a little presumptuous to me. Personal? No, not personal, Christ scares the hell out of me. He could heal lepers with a touch! He died! He came back to life! He has holes in His hands, sides, and feet! He ascended bodily into Heaven! Bodily! Most ominously, the Nicene Creed, which I have recited since youth, clearly states that "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead." Oh, crap, He's coming back! Christ is God, and at the same time a man. All the power of God, the being who created the universe with a word, contained in a short (well, he'd probably be short from my 21st centry perspective) Jewish man from the backwaters of Galilee. I'm sorry, but being close to that much power scares me. Jesus isn't one of my idiot friends, I wouldn't want to joke around with Him. Hanging out with Him would depress me to no end, since I'd certainly make a jackass out of myself; He died for my sins, asking in return only that I believe in Him and try to love my neighbors as He loves me, and in His presence I know that all I'd be able to think about is how very very far short of His example I have fallen. Jesus loves me unconditionally, but I would be embarrassed in His company and feel unworthy of His sacrifice. I know that I'd be too ashamed to look Him in the eye. So, I prefer to refer to Him as the Christ, the omnipotent Son of God, not as Jesus, the adopted son of a carpenter. That is a more comfortable frame of reference for me.

I'm Going to Hell For This
Disturbingly, when not being overdubbed with a male voice, Satan is pretty hot.

Friday, March 5, 2004

Lee Marvin and Ronald Reagan in the same movie? Pinch me, I must be dreaming!
I love turning on AMC and seeing the actor Ronald Reagan. Fun! Fun! Fun!

The Newsletter
The Newsletter is having it's best week yet! Not only do we only have two of a potential six columns turned in, but earlier this week I received a request to subscribe from an individual who promptly disappeared upon learning that The Newsletter is a physical rather than electronic publication. And the hits just keep on coming.

Me and the Almighty
One nice thing about being me it that I am entirely comfortable blaming God for the crummy weather we're having. You see, I thank Him wherever we have snow and ice; so, it's only fair that I blame Him when we have rain and blustering winds. If I didn't thank Him, I wouldn't blame Him. Fair's fair.

Thursday, March 4, 2004

The superhero episode of Futurama and I saw a commercial for Hellboy! Woo hoo, TV rules.

Tomorrow, I'm going to go harass the Mountain and crash at the Love Shack. I don't know what that has to do with the coolness of TV, but woo hoo, TV rules!

Well, if you think it's okay...
Fry: "Should superheroes commit crimes, even to save lives? I need moral guidance." Turns to Bender.

I wish every day was Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day.
Sweet Alderaan!
The second half of Star Wars: Clone Wars begins on Friday, March 26! That's awesome!

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 64
As a way to reward myself for enduring the suffering and pain of the BBB, I shall not watch the first episode until the beard is gone, which should be early in the morning hours of Sunday, March 27 (meaning the post-midnight hours, so basically still Saturday night). I refuse to have the glory of Clone Wars sullied by this monstrosity. I cannot say that I like the way the beard looks on my face, but I have certainly gotten used to it. I have not gotten used to the way it feels, however, neither the itchiness nor the hair in my mouth and up my nose. Listen to me now and believe me later, beards are a tool of the Devil. At least I've lived up to my ideal that any mistake worth making is worth making big.

Just over three weeks. I can do this.

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Tonight's episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, "Azati Prime," was wicked sweet. I've been sleeping way too much of my break away; so, tomorrow I must rise "early," meaning not within spitting distance of high noon.
Can you remember the last time Ronald McDonald put a gun to your head and made you go to McDonald's? Because I can't. Wow, and all this time I thought I was fat because I ate too much and didn't exercise enough. Now I know it's McDonald's fault! Awesome! Lawsuits against the fast food industry are proof that our civilization deserves to be consumed in fire and burned off the face of the earth.
Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day
Over the Mountain of Love's objections, I watched The Good Girl today. (Yes, I am perfectly aware that it is Jennifer Aniston's movie, not Ms. Deschanel's.) I thought it was very good, which is a huge step for me, since my habitual reaction to Ms. Aniston is to wretch and leave the room. She was exceptional. And Ms. Deschanel was a needed ray of sunshine; the truly great thing about working at Red Hot Lovers was that we were each and every one of us allowed to act exactly like the character of Cheryl. "This job would be great if it weren't for the blasted customers." So I have now seen four movies featuring Zooey Deschanel, three good (Big Trouble, Elf, and The Good Girl) and only one bad (The New Guy, which wasn't her fault).

Also, in my experience Mike White, both as a writer and an actor, is batting 1.000 (The Good Girl and School of Rock).

Vote For Kodos
I have to tell you, I'm already bored with the race for president. Not turned off by it, but bored. Just like 2000 got less exciting after my boy Senator McCain dropped out, without Deanie the fire has gone out of 2004. John Kerry is sort of like the American John Major (I'm sorry, Prime Minister, I know that's horribly unfair to you), a gray man with a gray speaking style. Gray on gray on gray. Deanie was at least exciting, even before the infamous Iowa speech. Now all we're left with are Denny the Vegan and Al the Hate-Monger, but they're too much of a sideshow to get enough attention to keep this race interesting. *sigh*

I will say this, though, Howard Dean made a profound and lasting impression on American politics. You can already see the impact he's had. For example, last summer Senator Kerry was generally seen as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. And today? Today he has... sewn up the Democratic nomination. Hmmm. Odd, that.

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

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

I have noticed an alarming resurgence in bangs. This is a terrible mistake for most women. In 9 out of 10 cases, bangs make a girl look worse. In the tenth case? No change. The most positive effect bangs can have is to not detract from the beauty and attractiveness of a girl. That said, we should all now listen to the They Might Be Giants song "Bangs."

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

By Lucifer's Beard!
I just cracked open a Jones Soda. The fortune? "Your silence at this time is important." But... but... I love the sound of my own voice. LOVE. Yet I cannot defy the Jones gods. Curses!
High Adventure, Rich Living, and Hard Dying
You know what the problem with us is? Consider Petra Nemcova. She is beautiful beyond the power of words to describe, yet I cannot imagine any circumstances under which we would launch a thousand ships over her. And that's just sad. When men will no longer kill for the love of the most beautiful woman in the world, when the death we all desire is one at an advanced age in a hospital bed surrounded by generations of family, something has gone terribly wrong. Do I want to die in some godforsaken hellhole a thousand miles from civilization in a country with no tradition of liberal democracy? No, but I'm working on overcoming that aspect of my upbringing. "Died tragically rescuing his family from the wreckage of a destroyed sinking battleship."
I think I decided, perhaps without any conscious knowledge, that I needed more suffering in my life. Not genuine, Job-like sufffering, but greater frustration, humiliation, and inconvenience than my life had provided up to that point. Thus, I mishandled situation after siutation until I arrived here in Purgatory, where I am now slowly working off my sins. Am I Catholic because I view the world in these terms or do I view the world in these terms because I'm Catholic? I tend to believe the former.

"Did I listen to pop music because I was depressed or was I depressed because I listened to pop music?"
--Rob Fleming (from Nick Hornby's High Fidelity)

Hello, Kitty
I was awakened by the meowing of the cat this morning. He fell asleep on my bed and I was turing in and I made the mistake of leaving my door open so he could escape. This of coure also allowed him back in when he was feeling neglected and desirous of voicing his objections to that neglect. Sam, I understand your desire to be loved, but how in the high holy hell am I supposed to pet you while I'm asleep? I leave you in piece during the thirteen hours a day you sleep, why can't you pay me the same courtesy. Of course, rational reasoning has never prevailed over him in the nearly eighteen years I've known him; Bog only knows why I thought it would this morning. So, I reached out to him, but he remained outside the range of my arm. Still whining. Gah, that's simply unsporting. Feeling Niagara Fall in my bladder, I stumbled out of bed - yes, I stumble on my way out of bed, before I've ever gotten to my feet, I am that maladroit - grabbed by robe, and blundered down the hall to the w.c. As I was standing there, which is quite unusual for me, I usually sit as my aim is not necessarily up to snuff that shortly after waking, Sam persisted in his demand for attention. Samuel, please, I cannot pet you, I'm a little tied up here. Nevertheless, he continued. As he was weaving between my legs, it suddenly occured to me what on odd thing it must be to be him. Not to be cat, I'm sure as a cat that seems perfectly natural to him, but to be surrounded by creatures many times your height and mass. As a Hedjemid (a human being), I rarely have the opportunity to experience such conditions. So while there are creatures heavier than Man, horses and gorillas come to mind, not even the elephant or the giraffe tower over Man as Man does over the domesticated feline. For that manner of gigantism, we must turn to our mammalian brethren of the oceans, the blue, humpback, and sperm whales. Yet even those cretures do not properly relpicate my kitty's experience, as to interact with them we must enter an alien envirnonment, whereas both Man and manx makes his home on terra firma. How bewildering it must be to be a cat! Armed with this new appreciation of Sam's daily plight, I washed my hands, scratched his cute little head, and made sure to shut my door when I went back to sleep.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 62
The Massive Mustache Mistake has been cancelled. I refuse to play along with this outrage one moment longer than is required. I want my face back.

Monday, March 1, 2004

Make no mistake, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy are the three worst books I've ever read. If you like those books, I hope you die a slow and painful death from the worst form of cancer known to man... whatever that may be. However, I like the movies; they aren't the greatest things to ever happen to me, as some have said, but they're entertaining. However, now that Peter Jackson and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King are Oscar-endorsed, I hope he fails in everything he does. I desire ruin and tragedy to become the daily reality of his existence. King Kong? The Hobbit? Fiascoes. Debacles. Burn, you wretch.

In my eyes, Peter Jackson is as distasteful as Wal-Mart.

The Newsletter
Well, I got the latest issue (Vol. V, No. 2) mailed off today. Yay! The only problem is that every time I hold a new issue in my hands, I cannot wait to hold the next issue. Of course, as of right now I only have one column - a masterpiece from The Plate, ooo! plus an "Ask the Professor" - so it would be a pretty spare four pages. Blast!

I know I've talked about this before (and I will again), but I am so happy to have The Newsletter back. Jiminy jillickers!
February 29
How was your Leap Day? Mine was pretty sweet overall. I woke up in time to go to 10 o'clock Mass, which means for a Sunday I was up pretty stinking early; I honestly like going to Mass, much more so than my attendence record would indicate, but getting up that early (on a Sunday) is never fun. Add to that my father's obnoxiousness upon my return and the day got off to a rocky start. But the pure goodness of Leap Day could not be denied! After getting the anger at my dad out of my system (thanks to the cathartic effects of blogging), I was lying on my bed listening to Flogging Molly's Drunken Lullabies and reading Jimmy Buffett's piece "Let Us Prey" from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue when I was overwhelmed by the spirit of Leap Day. All was right with the world in that one moment.

Later, I cloistered myself in the cubbyhole where my HAL lives and got the biographical data for The Newsletter Online sent off to ye olde webmaster, the Pikachu Tamer.

Man, I cannot wait for Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic. Rushmore, The Royal Tenebaums, The Life Aquatic will complete the trifecta! (Bottle Rocket, while not the equal of the latter films, is a fun movie and was a solid first effort.)