Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day
Such is my indignity that I am still outraged! Outraged! In the meantime, news leaking out of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie set is well, not so much actually leaking. Blast! Oh, well. Still waiting for Eulogy and Winter Passing to arrive in a theater near me.

I was IMing with Steeze last night and he mentioned that he was going to attend a midnight screening of Spider-Man 2. Earlier yesterday evening, my mother inquired if I was going to see the movie at midnight. To me, both suggestions were very strange. I mean, yes, I read comics, but the only reason I read The Amazing Spider-Man is because J. Michael Strazynski is the current writer. And yes, I greatly enjoyed the first Spider-Man. But even so, it's not like we're talking Star Wars here. The only two films I have ever seen at a midnight screening are Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace and Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. I never even considered seeing Spider-Man 2 at midnight until it was suggested to me. This being such a fascinating topic (hey, no one's forcing you to read), what's with the title? Spider-Man 2? Certainly it is descriptive and accurate, it is the second movie based on your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, but as a title it certainly doesn't stir any emotions. Spidey isn't beginning, he isn't returning, it's just the second go around. I think I liked it better when The Amazing Spider-Man was being banded about as a potential title.

Guns N' Roses

Have a magnified day.
The Loyal Opposition
The Joker

Batman Returns
The Penguin

Batman Forever
The Riddler

Batman & Robin (*shudder*)
Poison Ivy
Mr. Freeze

Batman Begins (coming soon... but not soon enough)
Ra's al-Ghul


Green Goblin

Spider-Man 2 (tomorrow!)
Doctor Octopus "Doc Ock"

Senator Kelly


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Not to be crude, but Mariska Hargitay is yummy.

Homo sapiens sapiens
I was thinking about evolution today, and from a biological stand point, I don't think we make any sense. I mean, let's look at the cheetah. Millions of years ago, some prehistoric cat was able to produce more progeny because he was a little faster than other cats and thus better able to run down prey. Now, the same princicple holds true for the prehistoric ungulates this cat likes to eat; some of them can run a little faster than the others, and so they live long enough to breed and pass on their quick genes. This arms race continues on and on, day by day through the generations and the millennia until you arrive at the present day: the cheetah and the gazelle. A gazelle can run at speeds up to 40 mph; a cheetah can sprint at 70 mph. Sure, the gazelle is giving up a ton of speed, but it can also maintain it's top speed far longer than the cheetah, which can only sprint for 200-300 yards. So, an alert gazelle can react while the cheetah is still too far away to make up the distance, and enough of them are alert enough to perpetuate the species. By the same token, enough cheetahs are stealthy enough get close with enough gazelles to contiue making little baby cheetahs.

But, if a 70 mph cheetah can catch some gazelles, surely a 90 mph could catch even more. So, why don't cheetahs sprint at 90 mph? The short answer: because they don't have to. Despite the amazing variety of life on our pleasant little planet, and nature's charming way of filling every tiny little niche and habitat (there are creatures living in the volcanic vents on the ocean floor, for Pete's sake!), evolution is an inherently lazy process. It doesn't make creatures as fast or strong or agile as they potentially could be, it makes them as fast and strong and agile as they need to be. Thus, my original problem. The crocodile has not changed in millions of years. It has not changed because it does not need to change; a modern crocodile is perfectly capable of killing anything it needs to kill in order to survive. Nature only makes creatures as formidable as they need to be; so, why are we as unbelievably fierce as we are?

We may not look like much - dull teeth, no claws, chimpanzees are way stronger than us - but Home sapiens sapiens is the most lethal animal the Earth has ever produced. We are so lethal that it can fairly be said we have no natural predators. Lions. Wolves. Eagles. None of these creatures hunt men unless they are desperate. We are the only predator that lives in environments as diverse as the Yukon and the Sahara, Tahiti and the Falklands, Afganistan and Argentina. We are the only predator so deadly that we take steps to preserve other predators (we have limited the hunting of wolves and various birds-of-prey). We are the only predator that hunts for pleasure rather than necessity. As a species we are so deadly that we spend most of our time on politics and art and keeping lesser predators as pets (hi, Sammy!); how many lions waste their nights blogging? Our lethality comes not from our physical prowess, but from our gooey brains. The opposable thumb is fantastic, I'm a huge fan of the opposable thumb, but we'd be absolutely sunk without our enormous heads and the brains they protect.

But the thing of it is, our brains are so smart that they more than compensate for our relatively harmless bodies; we are much smarter than we need to be to hold our ground. We are smart enough to be the top of the food chain, undisputed masters of all we survey. And that's what I mean when I say we don't make any biological sense. Every other creature is what it needs to be in order to survive; we are much more than we need to be. (We are not everything we could be, but that's what all the art and science and striving is for.) Our intelligence makes us much better at killing than simple biological necessity dictates. I suppose my question here is: how in the hell did that happen? Why in the case of this one species did nature provide more than was necessary?

Macy Gray

Have a night.

Monday, June 28, 2004

My congratulations to the Iraqi people on the occasion of the restoration of their national sovereignty. With a little luck, in sixty years you guys can be the Germans, a bunch of people we had to save from themselves who now resent the hell out of us for saving them. I kid, I kid; ponytail-wearing, techno-loving, pacifist Germans is waaay better than the bad old days when they tried to conquer the world every twenty years. As far as the Iraqis, I sincerely wish them nothing but the best; that said, no one commands American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines but an American. No one. Admiral Nimitz in the Pacific Theater of Operations, General Eisenhower in the European Theater of Operations, and only an American has ever been Supreme Allied Commander in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Eternal City
One of the things I have never liked about comics is the proliferation of super science. If the Metropolis Police Department's S.C.U. has laser rifles and flying suits of armor, why exactly is it that armies still fight each other with bullets and diesel-powered tanks? Thus, in The Cloak's world, super science is pretty limited. There are a few superheroes flying around in armored suits (Mecha Man, The Gladiator, Archimedes, et al.) and several other science-based mystery men (Man of Science, Dr. Device, Zero Hour, et al.), but only one functional laser/raygun/blaster/energy weapon in the world, the weapon invented by The Mandarin. Now The Mandarin is an interesting case, because he is also one of the few mystery men to employ genuine magic. His armor, which makes his pretty much invulnerable, is mystical. It functions by the combination of a series of tattoos on his bady, the actual armor plates, and a series of chants in 16th century Mandarin. Of course, he only has the armor because he invented his energy weapon and decided to fight crime; seeing potential in the lad, The Cloak then introduced him to the previous Mandarin, by then quite aged, who inked him up, taught him the chants, and passed on the name. (Thus, an American by the name of Kevin MacGuinness is known as The Mandarin.)

Limp Bizkit (Never Girl actually owns some of this garbage.)

'Ey mon, have a rastafied day.
"Another win for the Irken Army. Clean, lemony fresh victory is mine."

Hello, Kitty
I realize now that Sammy doesn't always want to be petted. Sometimes, he just wants me there. Sometimes, he just doesn't want to be alone.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

"This car, I'm driving,
This vehicle that I ride in,
So hot, so stylin',
Making all the ladies we pass start cryin',
You, yo do you want to take a ride?
Let's go, baby,
No, she doesn't want to get inside,
You better check out this ride!
Yo, check out this ri-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ide!
Yo, check out this ri-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ide!"
--The Aquabats!, "Yo! Check Out This Ride!" from the Yo! Check Out This Ride! EP
Holy crap, "The Noah Serum" just might be real.

Dixie Chicks

Have a disintegrating day.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Publius Cornelius Scipio Winter
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Winter

Jolly Nihilism
So, I finished Diary. I need to reread it again, because I hated it when I started it. I thought the beginning was incredibly dull, but as it went along I loved it, as I do all of Mr. Palahniuk's novels. Hmmm, while I'm thinking about it, maybe I should go back and reread Survivor, Invisible Monsters, and Choke, too.

Fight Club
Invisible Monsters

Eternal City (provisional)
Among the ranks of SPQR, The Cloak's global legion of apprentices, is a young man (mid-20s) named Jack Robson. Young Jack lives in Imperium, England, UK (London), and operates in concert with The Erinys, The Alienist, and The Aegis; up the road in Lydonham (Birmingham) are SPQR agents The Torch, The Phalanx, and The Mace. Jack possesses the superpower of super speed: he can run really quite ridiculously fast. The problem I am having is with Jack's alter ego; at present, he is called Mercury, after the fleet god of Roman mythology. Mercury is a fine name for a mystery man, the problem is that Jack is a member of SPQR and all the other members have names that begin with "The" (The Cloak, The Gargoyle, The Proxy, et alii). I would really like to carry this naming pattern through to Jack, but cannot think of a suitable name. I already have speedsters called The Blur (Frank Wu, a hero), The Cheetah (Jenni Nelson, a hero), and The Streak (Ray Caliban, a villain) and have found it nearly impossible to come up with a fourth. I could use another animal name such as The Gazelle or The Impala, but neither seems quite right. The only name I like is The Swift, but of course there is already a character named Swift over in WildStorm comics (plus, a swift is a type of bird and Jack cannot fly). I may simply have to resign myself to leaving Jack as the black sheep of SPQR, leaving him as Mercury. There are, of course, far worse fates.

Also, another of Jack's comrades in SPQR is a young lady (late teens) named Matsumoto Hitomi, whose body is composed entirely of mercury. She possesses the ability to alter her form at will, thus allowing pure mercury to retain a humanoid shape. At present, her nom de guerre is The Enigma. (I am tempted to call her The Quicksilver, and to blazes with the X-Men/Avenger Quicksilver. His name, being a speedster, is a terrible pun anyway.)

Linkin Park

Have a slow day.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Dreams of Empire
This evening, I saw a movie I've been meaning to see for some time, The Man Who Would Be King. Seen it, haven't read it. So, ladies and gentlemen, with empire on my mind (my paternal grandmother was born in India under the Raj; her mother, my Great-Granny Gray, an Englishwoman, passionately hated Gandhi until the day she died), may I present my favourite poet, Rudyard Kipling:


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master;
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

Black Eyed Peas

Do you think the other Black Eyed Peas resent the fact that Fergie is the newest addition to the group, and yet also the most famous?

Have a karmic day.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

In the spirit of today's "Have A Day," I now present the quote from the greatest card anyone has ever received (thanks, Skeeter!):

Conformity--Proudly Serving Painfully Boring People Since Time Began

These days, I find that I am censoring myself to a great degree. There are things I want to say about selling out and friendship and loyalty that I cannot say... maybe it's best just to say, "Beware the fury of a patient man." I have fury to spare, but I have never been a patient man. To what I hope will one day be my enemies' great lament, however, I am working on it.


Have a nonconformist day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The bottle cap of my Jones Soda sez, "Wear a shirt inside-out." So, now my T-shirt's inside-out. Must... obey... Jones...
The Rebel Black Dot Society... and Sundry Others
Margaret Eastman
Pete Foster
Mary Peppard
Scipio Winter
Parker Peppard
Stacy Fahrenheit
Nadia Kaminskaya
Martin Sandhurst
Noel Kincaid
Josh Berg
(Margaret hopes) Kari Putterman

...yeah, they hate fratholes and sorostitutes. Fucking Greeks.
Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day
Great Caesar's ghost, I simply cannot believe this (see No. 79). This is an outrage! Who do those beer bong-owning, silicon implant-loving frat boy bastards think they are kidding? They like keg stands, and Vin Diesel movies, and Hugh Hefner. They are incapable of understanding Ms. Deschanel or appreciating the subtlety of her myriad charms. They like Anna Kournikova and think Paris Hilton is more than just a walking case of VD. These things simply do not jive with liking Zooey Deschanel! Fucking fratholes. By Lucifer's beard, they sully everything!

"Wise Pappy Smurf... corrupted by his own power... Can no leader go UNTAINTED?!"

Godspeed, John Glenn
John Glenn: war hero, astronaut, senator, American badass. He was the first American to orbit the Earth (Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom's earlier flights were suborbital) and the sole Marine among the Mercury 7 (Air Force: Grissom, Deke Slayton, Gordon Cooper; Navy: Shepard, Wally Schirra, Scott Carpenter). His flight, which finally equalled what Yuri Gagarin had accomplished on his first human spaceflight, made him a national treasure; he was considered such a valuable public relations assest that NASA refused to allow him to participate in the Gemini and Apollo programs. The real mark of his mettle? The name of his F-86 during the Korean War: MiG Mad Marine.

Def Leppard (Learn to spell, you twerps.)

Have a hairy day.
"A badger with a troubled past and nothing left to lose..."

Captain Yesterday!
Super King!

They are... the New Justice Team!

Today I saw a Futurama episode I'd never seen before, "A Clone of My Own"! DVDs are awesome!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I have in my possession one hundred eighty-one Jones Soda bottle caps. I know this because I just counted them. Ha! I win and you lose, I've got the Jones caps and you don't. And those aren't even all the Jones sodas I've had in my life. Score!

For Skeeter, who feels ill...

"Hey everybody it's a real turn on
It's on yur wrist and it's lumpy, it's a ganglion
Tendon tubies get a pocket of fun
Fill up with juice and mucuous, it's a ganglion!"
--Lederhosen Lucil, "Ganglion" from Tales from the Pantry

Except for a few hours yesterday, my dad hasn't been to work in a month. He was in the hospital for a week; fair enough. He needed two weeks at home to recover until his bloodwork was such as to permit him to go back to work; fair enough. But he said he was going back to work this week, and now he's taking vacation days the rest of the week. And while he's too ill to go back to work, what is he doing? Lazily working on the Camero, but primarily reading all the books he's been getting from some dreadful organization called the Conservative Book Club. (Ye gods.) His latest cause, which apparently he picked up from Ann Coulter (once again, ye gods) is the rehabilitation of Joe McCarthy. Their contention is that old Joe wasn't so bad, he's gotten a bum rap from the liberal media, and that - to this day - the State Department is a nest of Reds and traitors, the last functioning branch of the Comintern. I hate having my father hanging around the house whenever I come home, maybe even more than I hate having to wake up early on my days off to run the cars around.


Have an Earth Day.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Pining For Pining
Let's just say that these are high times for the dark bastard. It's been approximately a year since I've really had a cruch on anybody, and I miss longing for someone. In my life, opportunity has knocked many times and I have fouled it up quite expertly in any number of ways. I've been paralyzed into inaction by fear (not always of rejection); had my advances repulsed (sometimes gently, sometimes not); and, on at least two occasions, when my affections were reciprocated, been suddenly seized by a feeling of being smothered and subsequently fled in abject terror. The nice thing about a never-ending drought is that you can truthfully say, "How's business? It's as good as it's ever been."

But the one constant throughout has been the pining. From Mrs. Blinky - whom I only desired after she became Saturday Night's girlfriend and thus unattainable - to my pal Olga to A Girl Named Hell-ya, I am an expert piner. It has even been speculated that I don't even necessarily want a relationship, I just like pining. And now, I don't even have anyone to pine over. (In my classes, I'm surrounded by children.) I've resigned myself to the fact that a relationship is highly unlikely (even in comparison to the normal state of affairs) while I reside in Grand Blanc, but I was unprepared for how much I'd miss the simple act of pining. As a consequence, I find my thoughts dwelling on past involvements, such as my short dalliance with Q-Girl, the last girl I kissed; I jettisoned her for good solid reasons which far outweighed the pleasure of kissing her, yet I still dwell. I just need to find someone for whom I can pine, someone in whom I can invest all manner of emotions, all sorts of hopes and fears. I need to do this not because it is necessarily healthy, but because it is the manner in which I have typically resided, the manner with which I am most familiar and in which I am most comfortable.

Or, you know, I could just take up stalking...

The Bastard
Also, we may have to introduce a new occasional feature, High Times For the Dark Bastard.
I love South Korea. The Koreans are solid when things are at their worst. (Scroll down to "Warning.")

Van Halen

Have a dissonant day.
I love Jet Li, but I cannot see the movie Hero because the first words in the preview are "Quentin Tarantino presents." That may seem petty to you, but spite is the god to whom I've sworn my life and my service. You may not understand, but you aren't The Last Angry Man.

Sunday's housekeeping...

Have a Mondrian day.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

{Formerly Known as Empire City}

The Cloak's legion a.k.a. SPQR

"Eternal City" (Detroit)
The Cloak
The Gargoyle
The Owl

New Amsterdam (New York)
The Praetorian
The Spark - retired
(The Battery - RIP; killed in the line of duty)

Centropolis (Chicago)
The Echo
The Pyre

Puritan Bay (Boston)
The Proxy
The Tribune - quasi-independent

Patriot City (Philadelphia)
The Frost
(The Diviner - RIP; natural causes)

Imperium (London, UK)
The Erinys
The Alienist
Mercury - name under constant review, I need a good speedy name that goes with "The"*
The Aegis - provisional
(The Cypher - RIP; natural causes)

Lydonham (Birmingham, UK)
The Torch
The Fist - provisional

Ultrapolis (Tokyo, Japan)
The Kamikaze - character currently in flux; powers? no powers? what powers? who knows?
The Enigma
The Ghost

Privy Council (closet allies)
Sebastian Adair
The Mandarin
Aeronaut - semi-retired
Aero Girl
Mr. Noir
The Green Machine
The Spade - retired; paraplegic, wounded in the line of duty

*speedsters already include The Blur and The Streak, and of course DC's The Flash

Force Canada
Militarized mystery men were outlawed by a USA-USSR treaty in the late-1940s, but several nations have utilized mystery men in a police capacity. Foremost among these organizations is Force Canada, a branch of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Team Alpha "Maple Leafs"
Elastica - captain
The Falcon

Team Bravo "Canadiens"
Triumph - captain

Saturday, June 19, 2004

The Assumption
This afternoon, my brother called and we spoke briefly. The family is planning to visit him at Seagle this summer and he asked me when we would be coming. I told him that we hadn't yet decided which show we were going to see. "What?!" he replied. Okay, maybe we did know what show we were going to see, I told him, but I have not heard any discussion of when we are going. None at all. A moment ago, I saw a note in my mother's handwriting on which she'd scribbled the Conchshell's name and phone number. I asked if she was coming with us to Seagle. My mom's response was, "Fuck you, you aren't going to Seagle, you useless waste of flesh!" Okay, so maybe she didn't say any of those words, but it turns out that she doesn't want me to go visit the Mountain this summer. She assumed I'd be too busy with work and school to take a long weekend to go visit my brother. Oh, gee, thanks, Mom. I mean, why actually bother to ask me what I want, you just go ahead and assume I don't even want to go. You might as well assume I don't want anything for my birthday, either, and while you're at it, assume I won't be eating anything but bread and water from here on out.

I have to find some kind of discredited philosophy to believe in. Of course, I'm having trouble getting past the fact that most of them were discredited for a reason: anarchy, fascism, communism, black supremacy, each has quite obvious flaws. Hmmm, maybe nihilism....

My latest idea for a new name for The Cloak's city, and possibly his entire universe, Eternal City. Rome is known as the eternal city; so, why not formalize that as Eternal City? It shares the same initials as my initial choice, Empire City (curse you, Michael Chabon!), and I think it flows better than the current tentative name, Palatine City.

Eternal City
Palatine City
Aero City (San Francisco)
Centropolis (Chicago)
New Amsterdam (New York)
Astropolis (Los Angeles)
Patriot City (Phildelphia)
Puritan Bay (Boston)

Eternal City/Palatine City
The Cloak - SPQR, chairman of the Secret Society of Mystery Men
Aero Girl
The Gargoyle - SPQR
The Mandarin
The Meteor
The Owl - SPQR
Mr. Noir

Aero City
All the mystery men of Aero City belong to the Aero Corps, which operates out of the Aerodrome...
Aeronaut (partially retired)
Radiation Girl
The Blur - exiled from New Amsterdam
Mr. Impossible - exiled from New Amsterdam

The Echo - SPQR
Sebastian Adair
The Pyre - SPQR

New Amsterdam
The Protectors, a team composed primarily of "reformed" villains, are the only legally sanctioned mystery men in the city that never sleeps, and only one true hero remains...
Zero Hour - v
The Gladiator - h (secretly v)
Pyromancer - v
Publius - h
Crimson - h
The Engine - v
Ignis Fatuus - v
Nitro Man - v
Destructo - v
The Praetorian - SPQR

After being exiled from New Amsterdam with the founding of the Protectors, The Lion had himself declared Champion of Astropolis and founded the Pride. Not all of Astropolis's native mystery men have obeyed The Lion's orders...
The Lion - exiled from New Amsterdam
The Lioness
The Leopard
The Panther
The Cheetah
The Puma
The Lynx
The Tiger
Lightning Rod
The Boxer

Patriot City
The Frost - SPQR
Captain Photon - exiled from New Amsterdam

Puritan Bay
The Proxy - SPQR
The Tribune - quasi-SPQR
Human Dynamo

The Hyperion Guard
Operating under the authority of the League of Nations Covenant and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the Hyperion Guard's mission is to protect the whole world, but as a matter of law it has no authority to operate in the United States.
The Futurist
The Lycian
The Brick (a golem controlled by Agent M)
Agent M
Abstract Man
Cold Fusion
Here's an idea: Robert Baer for Director of Central Intelligence.

What the hell should I get my dad for Fathers Day? And why is there a Mothers Day and a Fathers Day, but no Sons Day or Daughters Day? I get my dad presents three times a year: his birthday, Christmas, and Fathers Day; I only get gifts from him twice: my birthday and Christmas. And don't give me that, "Your parents raised you, they've given you the gift of a proper upbringing" crap. I had no say in the matter of being born. They decided to have kids; so, they bear all the responsibility for the consequences thus incurred. I suppose I could go out to the stores and see what strikes my fancy...

Rod Stewart

Have an inverted day.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

My cold continues to linger. The only part of this that really bothers me is the effect upon my hearing. I feel as if I'm holding a pillow over each ear all the time. It sucks.

Of course, if that's the biggest complaint I have in my day, I'm ahead of the curve.
The Phantom Menace
Attack of the Clones

A New Hope
The Empire Strikes Back
Return of the Jedi

Hello, Kitty
This might make me a monster, but I've been thinking about how I'll react to Sammy's eventual death and I honestly think that it will leave me more of a wreck than the deaths of my grandparents. I loved both my grandfathers and my grandmother, but I see Sammy every day. He follows me around the house, he bugs me when I want to be left alone, he drools on the keyboard when I'm using the HAL. He's such a pathetic shell of what he used to be, but he's still adorable. And I do adore him. And one day he will die.

Bon Jovi

Have a mute day.
Royal Flying Corps

Royal Air Force

No disrespect to the RAF, but you've got to give it up for the Royal Flying Corps and the old timey goodness of those Great War names.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day
It's Wednesday again, and that means it's time to appreciate possibly America's finest young female actor, Zooey Deschanel. (Yes, female actor, not actress. I don't have a problem with the word actress, but I don't use it as part of a broader strategy. I loathe the quasi-fictional word comedienne, sometimes used to describe a female comedian. This is a horrible word. So, in an effort to eliminate comedienne, I have discarded actor and actress and describe actors of both sexes simply as actors.) We defer further contemplation of Ms. Deschanel to our next segment...

Hot and Attractive Are Not the Same Thing
Before he left for the Seagle Music Colony, the Mountain of Love and I were discussing this. Being hot is not the same as being attractive. And excellent example of this, and the individual who sparked the conversation, is Jessica Simpson. Jessica Simpson is undeniably hot - she is pretty, has nice (though probably surgically-enhanced) boobies, and a fabulous figure - but not at all attractive. Her voice makes me want to hurt small animals, and that's not even considering the unbelievably moronic things she says. The purely hypothetical prospect of spending an evening on the town with Jessica Simpson makes my skin crawl.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Zooey Deschanel. She is fairly hot - whenever I see her onscreen, I am struck by the fact that her face is simultaneously very pretty and pretty goofy; she has a shapely figure, but by the standards of Hollywood starlets, nothing to write home about - but extraordinarily attractive. Her voice projects both intelligence and cynicism, and her eyes are on fire. The purely hypothetical prospect of spending an evening on the town with Zooey Deschanel is intimidating, because I'd probably trip over myself the entire night.

To review, Jessica Simpson may be hotter, but Zooey Deschanel is far more attractive. (The picture of Ms. Simpson and her husband also appeared in The Newsletter with the caption, "Hmmm, maybe heterosexuals shouldn't be allowed to get married either.")


Have an assimilated day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Recent or most recent championships for the teams of Detroit, in chronological order.
Detroit Pistons - 1989, 1990, 2004
Detroit Red Wings - 1997, 1998, 2002
Detroit Tigers - 1984
Detroit Lions - 1957 ...still hurts, and it will keep hurting until Mooch, Joey Heisman, and Dre Bly get us to a Super Bowl and bring home the Vince Lombardi Trophy

Summer Reading
I am rereading What She Saw... in preparation for reading Why She Went Home, and as I progress through it I am reminded of how very, very much I love this book. Lucinda Rosenfeld's writing is simply beautiful and I cannot wait to get started on Why She Went Home.
Recent or most recent championships for the teams of Detroit, in chronological order.
Detroit Red Wings - 1997, 1998, 2002
Detroit Pistons - 1989, 1990 ...2004?
Detroit Tigers - 1984
Detroit Lions - 1957 ...ouch

A lot of fair weather fans have of late been cheering for the Pistons. Where were the people saying "Go 'Tons" (a truly stupid expression, by and by) during the Grant Hill/teal uniforms/Doug Collins era? Personally, I hope the Pistons do triumph over the Lakers tonight, because, as I have said, it would be good for Detroit, and the city needs all the help she can get. But, I have been so critical of the NBA for so many years that it would be the height of hypocricy to embrace the league now that "my team" is doing well. The Lakers are the New York Yankees - the "evil empire" - of the NBA; so, it is always good to see them lose. The Pistons play a quality brand of ball, one based on teamwork, not the individulaism that has ruined the NBA in the past few decades. It would be good on many levels for the Pistons to defeat Los Angeles tonight. But for me the most important one is that Detroit, that proud old lady, could use the help; much as I pray for the demise of baseball, in the same situation I would be rooting for the Tigers to win the World Series.

Now is the perfect time to put into practice those wonderful words of John Dryden, "Beware the fury of a patient man."

I have just received word from the fine folks at that my Invader ZIM and Futurama DVDs have shipped, an entire week earlier than they had estimated. Excellent... excellent.

"Do you understand, GIR?"
"I reeeaaally don't."

Ryan Adams

Half a day.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Yes, I'm whining like a little bitch. You've been fairly warned; so, stop now if you wish. I know it's only a cold, but my sinuses are so full of goo that my head feel like it is going to explode. I've entered the hoarse coughing stage of the cold, which is good because it means we've over the hump, but it's bad because hoarse coughing fucking hurts.
Vote For Kodos
This is an honest question, and I hope someone emails me with an answer: Why is President Clinton's JD from Yale considered a mark of personal intelligence, while President Bush's MBA from Harvard is not?

David Bowie

Have a sick day. Wow *sniff* that's appropriate.
Raining On My Parade, Part I
We were told that my father would be able to return to work as soon as he was released from hospital. Over a week later, he still walks with a considerable limp, his leg is still swollen, and he is taking his second week off work. I hate it when my father is home. He makes a mess of the entire house as he simultaneously works on several different project. No wonder you never finish anything, you idiot, you work on it for five minutes and then move on to three other tasks! He took over the entire family room by spreading out his mail from the past month of so. That's all fine and good, he needed the space to make sense of it all and I can understand that. But he spread it out last Sunday night (not yesterday, the previous Sunday) and hadn't touched it again by the time I took matters into my own hands on Thursday. The downstairs bathroom is in shambles since my mother insisted we tear down the wallpaper and remove the mirrors... without providing a time table for when she would paint the walls and have the new sink available for Dad to install. Gah, idiots! The moral of the story is twofold: 1) living here is the penance I am paying for all my myriad sins and 2) I feel no sympathy for either of my parents, those people deserve each other.

Raining On My Parade, Part II
This is the wettest summer within memory. There are more rainy days than not. The biggest problem here is that the Mousemobile's primary means of ventilation is an open window; the air conditioner has never worked properly. So, when it is pouring rain, I cannot have a window open with becoming soaked. But, while the rain has depressed spirits, it has not depressed temperatures, leaving me in a steaming greenhouse of a car with little to no air. And even if the air conditioner worked, I could not use it, because all the heat trapped within the Mousemobile clashes with the cooler rain falling on the windshield, causing it to fog up. So, I have to leave the windows up to stay dry, and my sole source of moving air must be diverted to the windshield to let me avoid wrapping the car around a tree. It is my longstanding policy that I love snow, but I hate rain. Hate it! Bring on the drought, burn, baby, burn!

Fight Club
It's been over a week, and there are no new threats to my person from Kid Hugh. Remember, kids, violence never solved anything... actually, that's not true. To borrow the example from Robert Heinlein, ask the city fathers of Carthage* if violence ever solved anything. Violence has been the solution to many problems throughout the ages; it may be unpleasant, but the capacity for violence and the comprehension of violence as an often effective means to a desired end is inherent to all Mankind.

*And if you don't know what Carthage is, please, just die.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

The Aquabats!
Yesterday! Yesterday! Yesterday! Hurray! I have a severely stuffed nose, and not being able to breath always puts a damper on my spirits; so, I shan't enumerate for you right now the many ways in which last night was one of the greatest shows I've ever seen. But fear not, dear reader, I shall enumerate in time.

The Motor City
(As you read this, please note that it has nothing to do with the impending triumph of the Detroit Pistons over the Los Angeles Lakers.) I love the City of Detroit. I am not from Detroit, I do not claim to be from Detroit; hell, I'm not even from Flint. I am from an affluent suburb, the name of which translates into English as "big white." But whenever I am in Detroit, as I was for baseball games today and on Friday and for The Aquabats! last night, I feel a great swell, not of pride, but of love. I love Detroit. I don't think Detroit requires saving anymore (thank you, Dennis Archer, from the bottom of my heart), but I want to help Detroit. I want to see Detroit recapture some of her lost glory. I want Detroit to have something to brag about, not just things to apologize for. I want Detroit to swagger.

Places to go: St. Andrew's Hall, The Shelter, the State Theatre, the Majestic Theatre; the Detroit Opera House, Orchestra Hall; Joe Louis Arena, Comerica Park, Ford Field (damn it, I will see a Lions game this Fall).


Have an infinite day.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

The Aquabats!
Today! Today! Today! Hurray! And instead of the show, Sardine's going to her brother's high school graduation. Boo.

FUN! with NATO Alpha-Phonetic Code
Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Gulf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee, Zulu

Your Humble Narrator - Mike Papa Whiskey
The Mountain of Love - Delta Alpha Whiskey
Skeeter - Juliet Sierra Sierra
Zach Nie! - Zulu Juliet November
The Shrub - Golf Whiskey Bravo


Have a schizophrenic day.

Friday, June 11, 2004

The Aquabats!
Tomorrow! Tomorrow! Tomorrow! Hurray! This time tomorrow, Zach Nie!, Neutral Man, and your humble narrator, Captain Thumbs-Up, will have rocked out to the melodious goodness of America's wackiest ska band, The Aquabats! Oh, man!

Worked a game at Comerica Park tonight. I can't believe that by the end of the summer, I will have attended more baseball games than Zach Nie!...

Creed (Obvious, but it had to be said.)

Have a sloppy day.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Dirk Hopeless (a.k.a. David Sterling)
Nikki Savage
Rat Bastard Hopeless-Savage (boy)
Arsenal Fierce Hopeless-Savage (girl)
Twitch Strummer Hopeless-Savage (boy)
Skank Zero Hopeless-Savage (girl)

Dirk loves Nikki
Arsenal loves Claude Shi
Twitch loves Henry Shi
Zero loves Ginger Kincaid
poor Rat...

Hopeless Savages
Hopeless Savages: Ground Zero
Too Much Hopeless Savages
I want to hurt my brother so much right now. And I could, he's sitting right there. And now... I pounce! Yaaaaa!

"Where are you going, son?"
"Oh... you know..."
"To save the world?"
"... yes."
"My poor, insane son."

Everything Old is New Again
DC Comics is going to hell in a handbag and in one hell of a hurry. To wit, there is a new limited series called Justice League: Elite. Welcome back to the mid-'90s and the craptacular days of Justice League Extreme, everybody.


Have a hypnotic day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Continued Next Issue
Superman II
Superman III
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

Batman Returns
Batman Forever
Batman & Robin
Batman Begins


Spider-Man 2

You really have to hand it to those Marvel folks for some wickedly original titles.

Planet Express Delivery Service
Phillip J. Fry
Bender Bending Rodriquez
Turanga Leela*
Prof. Hubert Farnsworth
Amy Wong
Dr. John Zoidberg
Hermes Conrad

*Captain, starship Planet Express Delivery Ship
Holy balls, I just received a new short story from Orin Kennedy, author of "The Noah Serum," the centerpiece of the first two "Summer Reading" issues of The Newsletter! Everything's coming up Milhouse!

Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day
Here's the problem: how in the hell do you pronounce Ms. Deschanel's first name? Logic would suggest "Zoo-ee." My reading of Franny and Zooey leads me to believe "Zoo-ee." An interview I read said "Zoo-ee." But now - now! - I have encountered a couple articles which say Zoe. Damn it! Make no mistake, I am a big fan of the name Zoe, I love the name Zoe, I just want to know if it's Zoe or "Zoo-ee"! Zoeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy!

Yeah, I watched both parts of "The Real Folk Blues." By Lucifer's beard, why did Bebop have to end!

I love my country, I just hate most of the people in it. I think my deep contempt for the Congress is grounded in the sorry fact that it is such a devastatingly accurate reflection of the American people. I would fear for the Republic, except we have managed thus far to succeed inspite of ourselves, and I see no reason why this inexplicable and fortuitous trend should change.

Vote For Kodos
Watching the service for President Reagan in the Rotunda (my word, the Capitol is beautiful), I got to thinking and asked my mom how she could have possibly not voted for Reagan in '84. '80 I can understand (at least she had the good sense to vote for Anderson instead of Jimmy again), but who voted for Fritz Mondale? He's Fritz Mondale, such a loser that he was second-banana to Jimmy! Anywho, so I got to thinking about win-loss records, and here they are, oldest to youngest:

Dad 5-3
1972 Nixon - W
1976 Ford - L
1980 Reagan - W
1984 Reagan - W
1988 Bush - W
1992 Bush - L
1996 Dole - L
2000 Bush - W

Mom 3-5
1972 McGovern - L
1976 Jimmy - W
1980 Anderson - L
1984 Mondale - L
1988 Dukakis - L
1992 Clinton - W
1996 Clinton - W
2000 Gore - L

The LAW 1-1
1996 Clinton - W
2000 Gore - L

The Last Angry Man 1-0
2000 Bush - W

the Mountain of Love 1-0
2000 Bush - W

The Grateful Dead

Have a plaid day.
I'm having trouble coming up with alien races. I've known for years what the Tehl Larians are like, but I'll be damned if I've ever been able to figure out what they look like. I've never been able to nail down what the Erixish are like, nor what they look like. I know who the Otrosi are, but their appearance has gone through many changes. Hmmm, maybe I should just make everybody more alien....

I really need to watch "The Real Folk Blues, Parts 1 and 2." I'm familiar with "Ballad of Fallen Angels" and both parts of "Jupiter Jazz," but I think I've only ever seen the Bebop finale once. I shall have to rectify that.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

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

If I ever meet a girl wearing a short skirt and a Me First and the Gimme Gimmes T-shirt, drinking a Jones Soda, I might very well ask her to marry me before I even introduce myself.

"Blernsball Fever - Contract It!"

Sports Sports Sports Sports
Not to say that the Lakers are not a formidable team, because they are, but the problem I think they are having and will continue to have with Detroit is that the Pistons play all 48 minutes. The Pistons don't have the talent to win any other way; so, they fight and fight and fight the whole night. I just don't know if Los Angeles has an answer to that. Then again, they are ridiculously talented....
Fight Club
Well, it's been about two days now, and Kid Hugh still hasn't thumped me in a dark alley yet. Perhaps this is a good sign and he has recognized that violence is hardly the best way to settle a disagreement over his crappy taste in music. Or maybe he realized he was backing himself into "a nightmarish world from which there is no escape" (to borrow a phrase from Gaz). I'm a Flounder, and that's a bond not even death can rend asunder. I'd hurt you bad, son, I fight tooth-and-nail with 300-pound naked men for fun. I'm the only one who can take on both WAP (power) and Bill (speed). "I hope you like nightmare world."

Smith and Winkler
Smith and Winkler
[Short film.] Smith and Winkler kill Hartmut (why?) and battle some random drug-dealers.

Smith and Winkler: The Final Hoe-Down
The U.R.B.A.N. Commandos versus Scavenger Face and his Jihad All-Stars (pre-9/11 project, new enemy needed). Introduce Captain Dick, Norman Dick, Scavenger Face, Gus Worchestershire, and the Mailman; first mention Foreman and the "French Poodle Caper"; first see Smith's ESP powers.

Smith and Winkler Save Christmas
The U.R.B.A.N. Commandos stop Santa Claus's mind-controlled murderous rampage and gun-down Mrs. Claus, having been tricked into thinking she was responsible. Santa kills Helmut (why?) and Adam Griffin, among others. Introduce David and Wilco, the Two Loser Cops.

Smith and Winkler: The French Poodle Caper (proposed)
[Prequel.] Smith and Winkler are rookies training under Dick and Foreman, under the overall command of Captain Planet. "Winkler," it turns out, is actually an undercover operative of the Isle of Man intelligence service, Captain Llewelyn Lloyd Llalament. Meet young Norman Dick (still a child), Gus Worchestershire, and Scavenger Face (and possibly Mark Hamill); Foremen loses his left nut and Llalament gets amnesia so he thinks he really is Winkler.

(untitled Smith and Winkler project[s])
At some point, Smith and Winkler have to battle Smythe and Winkelman, the R.U.R.A.L. Commandos; we have to meet Captain Dick's younger brother and boss, Major Dick; and there must eventually be a showdown with Mark Hamill and his Hurt 'Em Bad All-Stars. I've always felt that perhaps Smythe and Winkelman and Mark Hamill shouldn't be in the same movie.


Have an ALL KNOWING day.
I tell you, the more I listen to It's Time For The Peacocks, the better it is. This is the best new punk album I've heard in a while.

Sports Sports Sports Sports
Thank Bog, Tampa Bay won the Cup! Not that I give half a damn about the Lightning (on some level, it is wrong for a team from Florida to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup), but I just could not stand to see the bastard Flames win it all. Take that, you upstart bottomfeeders! Between that and Detroit's convincing win over LA in Game 1, this is surprising satisfying week in the middle of what are supposed to be the doldrums. Actually, I suppose the doldrums didn't start until today, because there's no more hockey until... well, who knows. Maybe not until the Fall of 2005. In any event, "Kudos!" to the Lighting, "Ha ha!" to the Flames, and "keep on keepin' on" to the Pistons.

Monday, June 7, 2004

(Item deleted: inferior quality, not up to Secret Base standards.)

Super Rad
As we speak, I'm trying to convince Sardine to go see The Aquabats! with me on Saturday. The Aquabats! This could be a very strange show: the Mountain will be in Detroit, but stuck at the Opera House only a few frustrating blocks from the Majestic; I'm still not sure if either Guy Zach Nie! or Neutral Man (and maybe the Flying Dutchman) can go; and if Sardine goes, this will be her first good show (she has absolutely horrible taste in music). But come Hell or high water, I'll be there in full Aqua-Cadet regalia (including the Mountain's Anti-Negativity Helmet!), ready to do my best to support those noble exiles from the island of Aquabania, The Aquabats! Aqua-Cadet No. 0003432, Captain Thumbs-Up, ready and willing to rock.

"Just remember - it's not the size of the battle... it's the fury."


Make a friend today.

Sunday, June 6, 2004

The Simpsons
People always say that you should give things, people, shows, et cetera, a chance. So, I gave The Simpsons a chance and watched tonight's episode. Before I go on, it should be noted that for many years The Simpsons was my favorite show; my beloved The Newsletter is named after a quote from the show, a quote also used as the publication's motto, "Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter." However, it is because of my deep love for the show that I have been unwilling to watch it this millennium. It is better to burn out than fade away (Barry Sanders's exit versus Michael Jordan's) and for years now The Simpsons has been fading away. It's sad, really. What I saw tonight confirmed my worst fears: Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krabappel almost got married, they slandered the good name of the Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con, and Homer and Marge got married again... in a Klingon wedding. If Matt Groening won't put a stop to this voluntarily, violence may be the only viable recourse.

Fight Club
So, over on Smutty McGee's blog, there is some kid named Hugh who thinks he could "thump [me] if we ever met in some dark alley." His confidence is based upon the fact that he creams his shorts when listening to Guns N' Roses and that I watch too much Star Trek and read too many comic books. He took offense to that fact that he's twenty-six and I called him a "kid." Bwa ha ha! This kid is priceless; next he's going to get mad at me for insulting Slash's honor. Oh, no, some kid named Hugh's going to jump me in a dark alley! "Run away! Run away!" Oh dear Bog, no, some kid named Hugh's coming to get me! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
The Gipper
Prior to President Reagan's death yesterday, the only presidential passing I had experienced was President Nixon's death in 1994. From a policy standpoint - pulling us out of Vietnam and giving the South Vietnamese a fighting chance, opening relations with China, creating Earth Day - I am a huge fan of Nixon, but obviously even in death he remained a controversial and unfortunate figure. President Reagan has a very different legacy. Old Man Gipper called a spade a spade, he said the Soviet Union was an "evil empire," which it was. He made the American armed forces the worldbeaters they are today: occupations are another matter, but we can easily carry out two or three Iraq-style takedowns a year; if the Chinese move on Taiwan, they will find themselves in a world of hurt. He carried himself with the confidence to overcome our hangover from the '70s. He was the President of the Unites States when I was a kid; to me, he defined everything a president should be. My greatest regret is that The Newsletter's production schedule won't allow me to devote a column to the great man's death until late September at the earliest. Curses.
Back in the day, they knew how to name military operations. Ops used to have cool names, or at least random codewordy sounding names; now, they are the height of lame. The liberation of Iraq? Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. The Hunt for bin Ladin? Operation ULTIMATE JUSTICE. Please. On a smaller scale, some modern ops still have decent names, like Operation Anaconda, the assault on Tora Bora. Operation DESERT SHIELD and Operation DESERT STORM get props because they were a pair; once you had Desert Shield, you had to follow through with Desert Storm. 1998's Operation DESERT FOX, a cruise missle campaign against Hussein, worked because it continued the theme.

Now, a good name, unfortunately, does not guarantee success. President Johnson's insane bombing campaign that forbade overflights of North Vietnam was colled Operation ROLLING THUNDER; great name for a bombing campaign, bad idea for a bombing campaign. President Nixon brought the North Vietnamese to the peace table and got us out of Vietname, though the November Victors later broke the terms of the treaty, with Operation LINEBACKER and Operation LINEBACKER II; everybody loves a sequel. As far as I am aware, for American forces the current manner of operational naming goes back to the Second World War:

Operation TORCH - invasion of North Africa
Operation HUSKY - invasion of Sicily
Operation WATCHTOWER - invasion of Guadalcanal
Operation DRAGOON - invasion of sourthern France
Operation FORAGER - invasion of the Marianas
Operation MARKET GARDEN - attempt to cross the Rhine
Operation DETACHMENT - invasion of Iwo Jima
Operation DOWNFALL - invasion of Okinawa
Operation CORONET - planned invasion of Japan

And of course, the best name for any operation anywhere anytime, was for the D-Day landings in Normandy. The name for every phase, the landings on Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, Gold Beach, Sword Beach, Juno Beach, the shore bombardment, and the paratrooper drops, was:

Operation OVERLORD

There are few things I can imagine that are worse ideas than jumping out of a landing craft into waist-high water and running up a beach toward a hardened pillbox, but at the same time I can't think of a better way to breach "Fortress Europe" and begin the process of defeating the Nazis. My thanks to those young men who charged up the beach on June 6, 1944, to those young men who followed them to the hedgerows, to the Hurtgen Forest, to Bastonne, and finally to Berlin. My thanks to the young men who died in the godforsaken swamps of Guadalcanal, the ash beaches of Iwo Jima, and the endless war on Luzon. On this day especially, we remember with thanks those who fought in General Eisenhower's great crusade: OVERLORD.

Be a Mindless Conformist!
It is a curious phenomenon that today's punk music is all about, well, conformity. The punk philosphy - not to imply that there is a coherent set of beliefs - was founded on bucking tradition and convention. Nowadays, you are only allowed to buck those tradtions and conventions the majority sez you can buck. The rebels have become the Man. I say this because I am a Republican; in very broad terms, I believe in a smaller domestic government and an interventionalist foreign policy. In my order from Asian Man Records, I received several stickers for an upcoming album titled Rock Against Bush Vol. 1. You see, when I voice by grudging support for President Bush, I am not congratulated for not doing what other people tell me to do, I am chastised and denounced. As the best punk I have ever known, the Plate, has asked many times, "When did punk become about doing what everyone else tells you to do?" If you think about it, in a world were I am told that I have to oppose Bush, the punk thing to do is to support him.

Hmmm, since almost all of my friends, the "cool" people, hate Avril Lavigne, I suppose the punk thing to do would be to buy her albums.

Eve 6

Have a pioneering day.
Say a prayer for Ronald Wilson Reagan, fortieth President of the United States, "the Great Communicator," a great man, and a great American. Thank you, sir.

Saturday, June 5, 2004

I'm Confused
Now, perhaps I'm confused because I read the news at the BBC site, or perhaps it is not I who am confused, but those about whom I read. The article in question addresses the rift in Franco-American relations over Iraq in light of the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day. While I realize it may just be one man's opinion, it is presented as representative; so, that's how I shall treat it: here's the quote that has me confused, "We are grateful to them for what the did, make no mistake, but when I look at what is happening in Iraq today, I wonder about America." So, it would seem that it was a good idea to liberate the French people from Nazi oppression and impose a democratic government in Germany, but it was a bad idea to liberate the Iraqi people from Ba'athist oppression and impose a democratic government in Iraq? Perhaps you see now why I am confused.

I see two explanations: 1) The French don't actually oppose our actions in Iraq, they are just peeved that we were able to do it both without them and over their objections. They are whining because France is not the power she used to be. I can understand that. If I was French, and the last thing I had to be proud of was Louis XIV, I'd be in a pissy mood, too. 2) The French believe that it was okay to impose democracy in Germany because the Germans are white. The Iraqis don't deserve democracy because they are brown. It might seem a little much to accuse an entire nation of racism, but perhaps not after you look at how successfully France has assimilated its massive Muslim immigrant population.

Of course, later in the article it cites the Abu Ghraib abuse as a cause of the Franco-American rift (which is a bit of circular reasoning, since the rift existed before the actual invasion, which puts it months before the abuse and a year before the abuse became public knowledge), which I find odd. Make no mistake, my personal feelings are that the soldiers in the photographs should be stripped of their citizenship and exiled to Gitmo, but I find the unique outrage over Abu Ghraib disconcertingly ignorant. At Abu Ghraib, a few rogue Americans humiliated some detainees; this was a crime and they will be punished. During the Second World War (the "good war"), in February 1945, we firebombed the city of Dresden in oblivion. Mostly, because we could. Why do I highlight the firebombing of Dresden and not the repeated firebombings of Tokyo (on the night or March 9-10, 1945, the deathtoll was over 100,000), almost every other major city in Japan*, or Hamburg? Because horrific as they were, all of the other firebombings had legitimate military reasons for being carried out. Dresden? Not so much. And unlike Abu Ghraib, Dresden was firebombed on purpose. The Abu Ghraib MPs were committing criminal acts because they felt like it, the Dresden bomber crews were following legal orders. In the litany of horrors America has committed in the pursuit of a greater good, Abu Ghraib doesn't even make the list.

For more of my thoughts on the current state of the Franco-American friendship, try this.

*By the time the Enola Gay dropped "Fat Man" on Hiroshima and the Boch's Car dropped "Little Boy" on Nagasaki, they were the two largest cities in Japan left standing. They had been intentionally not firebombed to provide a more devastating and thus effective demonstration of the power of atomic weaponry.

Hello, Kitty
Here's a tip, if you want me to pet you, which seems to be what you want since you stop whining when I do pet you, maybe you shouldn't be so bitey.

New Music!
Hooray, seven of my eight CDs arrived from Asian Man Records today! Right now I'm listening to The Peacocks' It's Time For The Peacocks. Finally, something good has come out of Switzerland. Something other than the Swiss Guard, that is; don't mess with Vatican City, man, they'll fuck you up!


Have a rainy day.

Friday, June 4, 2004

The House That Young Built
Well, I finally made my way out to Genesys* to see my dad. Actually, I had no intention of doing any such thing, but he called and requested some books and I could find neither hide nor hair of my mum; so, out I went. She was there in his room, as she has been every night this week, which is strange, because when he's healthy she does pretty much whatever she has to to avoid him. I dropped off the books, inscribed "Brooks Was Here" and "So Was Red" on his room's dry erase board, and was on my way. I hate hospitals. It's not that I'm afraid of them, nor is it that I find them depressing, I find them offensive.

(*For those of you not from around here... you poor bastards... Genesys is a local health care provider, a hybrid word of Genesee - Grand Blanc is in lovely Genesee County, Michigan - and system, Genesys.)

Obviously, I am glad we have hospitals and I marvel at the collective genius that has allowed Homo sapiens sapiens to conquer so many diseases. Child mortality is down, life expectancy is up, and we laugh in the face of explodin' appendices. Nevertheless, I cannot think of anything more horrible than dying in a hospital. Wearing a cheap paper robe? Tubes running into and out of the body? Surrounded by doctors who spend half their day worrying about lawyers and their predatory malpractice suits? Or worse yet, surrounded by your family and friends? For Bog's sake, I don't want them to see that! The last thing I want my family to see is my body, limp and all but lifeless, my ribs broken in order to pry them open. Better for their to be no body and bury a weighted coffin than for my mother or my wife or my daughters to see me like that.

People say that if Man was meant to fly, he would have been born with wings. That's rubbish, it is the nature of Man to challenge the unknown, to scale new heights, to follow the lead of bicycle builders from dayton, Ohio in the application of Bernoulli's Princlpe. Why climb Everest? "Because it's there," the words made all the more powerful because the man who uttered them died fulfilling them. But there are things Man was and was not meant to do. A man is meant to love one woman, or one man, whatever he desires, but to have one great love of his life. A man should live according to principles he is willing to die for, and if necessary, to kill for. A man should not die in a hospital, machines doing the work on this organs after the latter have failed. A man's children should not see him die. A man should die under the Sun, in the dirt, in a godforsaken country that is not his own. A man should die thinking of his wife, not looking at her.

"The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go make them with your living,
And mark them with your dead."
It's been fifteen years. We must never forget.

Hello, Kitty
Apparently, Sam got into a fight last weekend while I was away. Sam is old, partially blind, trembly, and despite being fed twice a day and never finishing all his food, incredibly skinny. In his youth, Sam was the terror of the neighborhood; in addition to biting most visitors to the house, he also fought every cat possible and harassed dogs for sport. He was so aggressive that we had him completely declawed at the youngest possible age, but he still never lost a fight, despite almost always being significantly outweighed. But those were the good old days, and we shall never see their like again. Fighting any other cat, but especially one younger and more spry, and his oponent almost certainly was, is a terrible idea. All this week, he's been moving even more slowingly and cautious than usual, and whining much more. Nevertheless, no matter how ill-advised his behavior may be, I'm proud of him; it's nice to know the foul-tempered, mean son of a bitch I grew up loving is still in there somewhere.

Blink-182 (including Boxcar Racer)

Have a Siamese day.

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Because you demanded it, the next issue of The Newsletter is going out in tomorrow's mail! The exciting conclusion to Orin Kennedy's "The Noah Serum" and much more! If you aren't yet a subscriber, simply email and all the Xeroxy goodness can be yours! Don't be a loser, subscibe today! Now with 30% more exclamation points!

Beck is a Four Letter Word
I'm going to do it this time, I'm going to actually finish the Beck episode of Futurama. I have tried to watch this piece of garbage twice or thrice before, but each time I have been overwhelmed by the sheer Bogawfulness of it and turned it off. I mean, this single episode is worse than all the less-than-ideal moments of the rest of the show combined. I mean, the Beck episode is so bad, it cancels out the greatness of the Beck episode of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast; thus, Beck is judged solely by the "quality" of his music... which means big trouble for him come the Revolution. How bad is the Beck episode of Futurama? It's Family Guy bad. Harsh, but true.

Sum 41

Have an artistic day.
The Triumph of Joe D.
So, the Pistons versus the Lakers, eh? The Beast of the East against the Best of the West. As stated before, I do not like the NBA and I hate what it has done to the great game of basketball; however, I do want the Pistons to triumph. For this desire, I have two reasons: a) any victory by a Detroit team is good for Detroit, and though things are now better than they once were, Detroit can still use all the help she can get, and b) the Los Angeles Lakers are like the New York Yankees, it does not matter against whom they are playing, I always want them to lose.

Moms and Dads
Sad, but true: I almost always prefer spending time with my father to time with my mother. She is my mother and I love her, but I am hardly fond of her as a person. There is an old song which contains the lyrics, "I want a girl just the girl who married dear old dad"; tee hee, nothing could be further from the truth. My father is a facist hatemonger and the worst person I've ever known, but we share many common interests.

The World
A pretty girl in terribly unflattering clothes came by the house this evening selling Bibles. (Not really Bibles, but Bible study guides, after a fashion.) One of her principle pitches was that we needed the Bible now more than ever because the world is bad and getting worse. This, I utterly fail to understand. Yes, people are starving and people are committing unspeakable evils toward one another, but at the same time more people have more wealth and more health and more convenience and more food than at any other point in human history. Slavery still exists, but for the first time in history it is looked down upon and active efforts are being made to stamp it out. How can you say we are in moral decline when slavery is unacceptable? Whole diseases have been eradicated and, were our resources properly focused, we have the power to eliminate poverty. We are being fruitful and multiplying. Even for those wacky Evangelicals, the types who view a high divorce rate as a greater evil than slavery, things should be looking up: there are more Christians alive today than at any other time; one third of the human race are Christians, a higher percentage than in any other era. Atheistic Communism has been defeated! The Holy Inquisition's unholy efforts have been suspended! How can the world possibly be worse now than it used the be?

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Elliott Spitzer must be stopped.
Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day
The Mountain of Love and I were talking about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on Monday, and how it will be an intergral part of 2005 being one of the best movie years ever. Let's think about this: not only is it a fabulous story, but the cast is absolutely outstanding. Ms. Deschanel's Trillian will be far more engaging then the dull blonde from the BBC production and Martin Freeman was born to play Arthur Dent.

The Hives

Have an infested day.

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Well, my father's in the hospital right now. He has blood clots in his left leg. Fantastic, my parents are now old enough that from time to time they will spend a few days in hospital. This is no way to run a civilization.

Also, this post is long and I'm tired; so, there's a high probability I won't bother to proofread.

Memorial Day Weekend
I spent the better part of the long Memorial Day weekend camping with Zach Nie!'s Lansing friends near Traverse City. Because I am so inclined, I shall divide the weekend's experiences into several catagories.

The Conditions
I hate camping. Hate. Not half-joking hate, like "You already have that CD? I hate you," but real honest-to-Bog hate, like "I hate fucking Nazis." I like having everyone grouped together (instead of setting a time of day to meet, you start hanging out with people as soon as they feel like emerging from their tent), but why is it necessary to sleep on the ground to achieve this? Couldn't we all chip in and rent some kind of cabin? Sleeping on a hardwood floor is so much better sleeping than the ground. I hate camping. Thank Bog it wasn't really camping: there was a bathroom with toilets and showers less than a five minutes walk from the campsite. Being an extremely self-righteous, highly-selective purist, I did not shower, but it was nice to have the ability to brush my teeth. The weather was, on the whole, fairly cooperative, though we did have an overnight frost warning for Saturday morning. Rain did not fall until Sunday afternoon, and even then it was a drizzle compared to May's monsoons. The temperature was generally highest around eleven a.m., rising to shorts weather, but you would need to put on pants and a sweatshirt by three p.m. Very strange.

The City
These people know how to camp. The tents were arranged around "the cul-de-sac"; my little pup tent behind Zach and Sarah's tent (cue "Zak and Sara"), generously provided by Sarah, was charmingly referred to as the "slave quarters." A large hexagonal tent housed the legion of coolers as well as the camp stove. Two other large, open tents housed picnic tables and functioned as counters. Almost everyone has an air matress, which I'm sure would have mitigated my hatred for camping. Most of the tents belonged to couples - Zach and Sarah, Laura and John, Josh and Patrick, Angie and Damon, Erin and Paul, Katie and Steve - and the only other singles were Dave and M.J., both gents, though M.J. only stayed one night.

The Company
I have two opposing lines of thought here. On the one hand, I had a wonderful time. Despite the wretched sleeping conditions, it was a ball. I laughed, I enjoyed the gossip about strangers as best I could, and I was made to feel very welcome. On the other hand, these are not my people. During Sunday's rain, when we all sought shelter in the food tent complex, there was a discussion about who "should have" won the latest installment of Survivor. I only wish I was talking about the Chuck Palahniuk novel. The only reading materials I saw all weekend, aside from my own, were People and Entertainment Weekly magazines and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. ("I'm reading it for, like, the tenth time to get ready for the movie.") Also, they made repeated reference to Troy as if it had been a horrible movie, as if the accepted wisdom of the group is that it was a stinker. I was beset upon all sides by idiots. On the gripping hand, I was invited to join the group as the new fat guy, since apparently I am far less whiny than the current fat guy. But really and truly, I did have a lovely time.

The Pasttimes
Seriously, what's more fun than a game of fourteen-player volleyball? Well, maybe the six- to eight-player drunken volleyball that followed the "water" (beer!) break. That was Sunday, antedownpour. Friday night was consumed by arriving, going out to dinner, and then trying to start a fire with wet, cold kindling. More on that in "The Fire." Saturday... the March of Death. Everybody has been to the Sleeping Bear Dunes, but how many of you have hiked all the way to the beach? It's only a mile and a half as the crow flies, but quite a bit longer as the tired, out of shape human crawls. It was awful, but the kind of awful where you really enjoy it. I look forward to doing it again; March of Death, I mock thee! I took a rock from the shore, upon which I have festively inscribed "M.O.D. '04". We played Risk, and as has become commonplace in the "Who Dares Wins" era, all eventually bowed before the terrible might of the Black Raj.

The Fire
Fire pretty. There really is nothing like sitting around a camp fire. We had problems getting the fire started each day, but it wasn't really our fault. We had newspaper and we had dry firewood, but all the local sticks for kindling were soaked from a solid month of rain, exacerbated by the nighttime's cold temperatures. Surprisingly enough, wood doesn't burn very well when cholk full of ice crystals.

The Drive
Prior to this weekend, I had never driven more than, say, an hour and a half by myself. The trip from lovely Grand Blanc to scenic Empire, Michigan requires a solid four hours. I had to say thought at the end of both Friday's drive to Empire and Sunday's drive to Grand Blanc: I wish this was longer. I have no explanation as to why, but both times I felt myself in a very comfortable groove which I wish could have continued. Hmmm, maybe instead of flying to visit Skeeter, I should drive.... The Mousemobile in the Big Apple, I can see it now. On the way up, I listened to one of my recent purchases, the two-disc collection Lies, Sissies, and Fiascoes: The Best of This American Life. Ira Glass, you're a beautiful man. On the way back, having loaned Zach the two discs, I listened to two CDs he felt obligated to loan me as collateral. Sweet fancy Moses, even the mix CD was awful. (Though the second half, everything after Edna's Goldfish, was much improved.) Still, long drives are fun and I look forward to more of them in my future.

Coheed and Cambria

Have an industrial day.