Friday, April 29, 2005

Star Trek: Enterprise Season Four
"Storm Front, Part I"
"Storm Front, Part II"
"Cold Station 12"
"The Augments"
"The Forge"
"Observer Effect"
"Babel One"
"The Aenar"
"In A Mirror, Darkly, Part I"
"In A Mirror, Darkly, Part II"

Only three more episodes to go. A brilliant series is being cancelled, but Survivor rolls on. I have to believe in the evolved humanity Gene Roddenberry envisioned in Star Trek, because the thought that we will always be as savage as we are now breaks my heart.

Our Universe
Enterprise NX-01
Columbia NX-02

Mirror Universe
I.S.S. Enterprise NX-01
I.S.S. Avenger NX-09
At last, justice, or at least as close to it as is possible in this benighted world.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

"With my last breath, I curse Zoidberg!"

Old Man at the Rock Show
A couple weeks ago at the Less Than Jake show, I was wearing my ever-popular "NOT A FROG" T-shirt. Strangers fucking love the "NOT A FROG" shirt. Between Hidden in Plain View (boo) and Allister (yay) a fifteen year old girl turned to me and said, "Your shirt is like the best thing I've ever seen." With my usual staggering lack of wit I replied, "Thank you. But that's kind of sad." I mean, it's a damned cool T-shirt (the award for best independent interpretation goes to Whitney Elliott), but if a blue T-shirt with "NOT A FROG" written in white block letters is the best thing you have seen, Bog, that's mind bogglingly sad.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'd love to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day, but I'm, well, you know, Catholic. If you don't know what that has to do with Guy Fawkes Day, how do you even find the energy to get up in the morning?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Wait a second. I thought the Europeans had more mature sexual mores than we purdish Americans. Hmmm, I wonder if Marisa Miller will be barred from ever appearing on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue because she posed nude for Perfect 10? I should hope not.

(Inappropriate aside: those are some sweet pics, brah.)

I Don't Trust Clark Kent
How can I decry bias in the American media while at the same time I watch BBC World every night, listen to BBC Radio before going to bed, and consult several times a day? Because I know the BBC is wickedly biased and to all appearances they make little or no effort to hide it. It is not principally the bias in American news that bothers me; I side with those who contend that it is virtually impossible to present the news without interjecting one's own views. What burns me up about American "journalism" is the holier-than-thou claim of objectivity. The New York Times is just to the left of Pravda, yet they claim to operate without any political or cultural bias. At least with British papers you know where you stand. The Guardian wants to renationalize all of Britain's major industries and, by Jove, they make no secret of it! (Rupert Murdoch's papers want to outlaw the poor and install Baroness Thatcher as Lady Protector in the style of Cromwell.) It is too much to ask for journalism to be fair and objective; all I ask is that it be honest.

The Summer of '05
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith opens nationwide on May 19
Narwhal Day is May 23
both The Aquabats! and MxPx are releasing new albums on June 7
Batman Begins opens nationwide on June 17
Less Than Jake is recording a new album this summer
the United States of America turns 229 on July 4
I turn 26 on July 25
Sam would have turned 19 in August

And there are numerous events and happenings I'm forgetting. It's going to be the Last Summer of Star Wars, and for that and a thousand other reasons it's going to be a hell of a summer. Grab life by the lips and yank.
The Queue
Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
James Luceno, Star Wars: Labyrinth of Evil
Matthew Stover, Star Wars: Shatterpoint

Bram Stoker, Dracula ***in progress***
Matthew Stover, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (after May 19)
Leslie Charteris, Alias the Saint
Leslie Charteris, The Saint and Mr. Teal
Leslie Charteris, The Saint in New York
Thomas Harris, Hannibal
Thomas Harris, Black Sunday
John Milton, Paradise Lost (though there is an excellent possibility I'll wuss out)

I enjoyed Jekyll and Hyde and am enjoying Dracula so much that I may read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein just to complete the triumvirate. In your face, Percy Bysshe!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Fanboy Housekeeping
This morning, I did battle with my comic book collection. Since I arived home I have been storing my books in newly bought boxes, not integrating them into the collection proper. Today, I began the laborious process of fusing the two. Bog, I own a fucking lot of comic books. Some notes:

All my Marvel books fit into a long box and a magazine box. Both are packed, but it won't be a problem since I don't anticipate buying any Marvel books in the foreseeable future.

All my Superman books fit into one long box, including all the trades I have plus issues of both Supergirl and Superboy.

With all my recently acquired issues of Justice League/Justice League International/Justice League America and Justice League Europe, I now have a short box devoted solely to the various incarnations of the JLA.

By including Hawkman and the few issues of Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. I own, the JSA now fills a short box. I was also going to include Hourman, but doing so wouldn't allow for much growth. I haven't exactly been pleased with JSA of late, but I'm not yet to the point of dropping it and I'm going to at least test drive this summer's new JSA: Classified.

I think I'll be able to put all my Batman books and trades in a single long box, not counting the related books like Batgirl and Robin.

All my Oni Press and Slave Labor books fit into a short box, with Dark Horse and Image Comics sharing another. I love me my indie comics.

Why I Don't Trust Clark Kent
During tonight's broadcast of ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, hosted by Charles Gibson, more time was dedicated to the story of a pregnant duck living near the White House than to the pullout of Syrian troops from Lebanon. I'm not defending Fox News, I hate Fox News, but with reporting like that, you can understand why people are frustrated with ABC, CBS, and NBC.

Also, Fox News's ratings must have been down slightly during the daytime hours today; The Malingerer went back to work.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The malingering continues; my father has not been to work since April 15. I have a stream of snot pouring from my nose that could best be described as a torrent, a minor illness at worst, and yet I am by far the most sick individual in the house. The situation would not be so intolerable if he would simply stop pretending he is sick. He has five weeks of vacation every year; I would at least understand if he said he just didn't feel like going to work for a week (now entering the second). But no! He has no cough, he is not sneezing, his nose is not stuffed up, his breathing is not at all labored, he is not running a fever, and his sickness does not require bed rest, but he insists he is ill. He is too sick to go to work, but plenty healthy to snack all day while watching Fox News and day trading online. The filthy hatemonger will no longer be known as Meine Vater, but rather as The Malingerer. (I thought about The Goldbricker, but I believe I prefer The Malingerer.) He is the worst human being I have ever had the displeasure of personally knowing. Just get it over with and fucking die, you monster.
By the summer of 2001, I had been promoted from cashier to fry bitch and Che had enough faith in me to promote me to manager (there were three or four managers). Che opened up Red Hot Lovers every morning, but a manager took over at 2pm when he went home for the day and along with an adult named John we completely ran the place on the weekends. One Saturday in August, I was scheduled to work the afternoon-evening closing shift. Problem was, I already had a ticket to a show in Toronto that day with The Plate. This was before our falling out and we were fast becoming quite good friends. I really wanted to go to this show, which was really a mini Warped Tour featuring Jimmy Eat World, New Found Glory, Good Charlotte, and Blink-182. (We suffered through GC, enjoyed NFG and JEW, and left, as planned, before Blink.) Anyhoo, I asked every single person who worked at Red Hot to sub for me; some people had good excuses, some people were simply unwilling to do it. No one would cover my shift. I explained my plight to Che and he told me that I was scheduled and it was too bad I'd have to miss the show. So, I went to the show anyway. The next Monday, I turned in my key and Che told me what I'd done was "very immature."

That's life, you pays your money and you takes your choice. Still, man, I really enjoyed working there.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

I can't believe I missed the opportunity to celebrate St. George's Day yesterday. "God for Harry! England and St. George!"
This morning at Mass, Father Bill said some needlessly unpleasant things about Pope Benedict XVI's career as Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Father alluded to a strong dislike for the Holy Father during his tenure as the enforcer of Church doctrine; he had hoped that another cardinal would be elected pope, but had thus far been encouraged by the actions His Holiness has taken as Benedict XVI. In the words of They Might Be Giants, I narrowed my eyes. Doubting Thomas played a prominent role in today's Gospel reading; so, Father Bill compared himself to St. Thomas, highlighting the nobility of asking questions. The comparison struck me as a bit arrogant. In any event, this will be a new experience for me. I've never disliked my parish priest before; so, now I'll get to see what that's like.

Hey, does anyone know the etymology of the word "soccer"? Obviously, football is football, not "American football," and what the world calls "football" is really soccer, but that still doesn't explain where the word soccer comes from. Anyone?

Ugh, I hate the Biographic Information Questionnaire portion of the Foreign Service Written Exam. I understand that the FSWE is the first step of a job application process and that the Department of State needs to start evaluating our fitness as potential FSOs, but it is damned annoying being asked the same question four or five times with minimal rewording. How many times do you need to ask if a person has any leadership experience? Apparently quite a few. (Being editor-in-chief of The Newsletter doesn't really count, but I was Vice President of Animania and Business Manager of the Gargoyle.)

Speaking of the Gargoyle, after completing the FSWE yesterday I decided to reward myself with a delicious lunch at Red Hot Lovers. On my way out of Angell Hall, when the examination as administered, I had found a stray copy of the latest issue of the Gargoyle; I love the Gargoyle and I love Red Hot and it seemed a perfect alliance to read the one while dining in the other. As I ate my two Mighty Dogs and side o' fries, I encountered in the issue the words "Episode I sucked." I has been greatly enjoying myself up to that point, and had been pleased to find the Gargoyle was in good hands. Life is full of little disappointments. I stopped reading the issue immediately. As soon as I had finished my food and tasty beverage, I twisted the offending Gargoyle into a narrow cord, bend it at the middle, and jammed it into my now empty cup. It went into the garbage with my ketchup stained napkins, and may a pox be on the heads of those cuntrag editors, writers, and artists.

Preparations for "The Star Wars Issue" of The Newsletter are proceeding well and the staff seem very excited, as am I. This is going to be so fucking cool.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Right now, I'm enjoying the one fifteen minute break we get. The order of the examination has been changed since last year and we're just finished the essay section, this year the second rather than third segment of the examination. Next, it's back to the Scantrons and in three hours' time, freedom.

I don't care how little sleep I got last night, it was awesome hanging out with the Mountain.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Through the modern marvel of ye olde internet, I am presently watching an interview with Ian McDiarmid, discussing his role of Senator/Supreme Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine in five of the six Star Wars films. "Moon Pie...."

Condi Sez...
On Saturday, I will be taking the Foreign Service Written Examination. I hope the second time will be the charm and that this time my score will permit me to advance to the second phase, the Oral Assessment.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I cannot really articulate why, but it feels grand to finally have a new pope. I have been restless lately, primarily as a result of Sam's demise, but that the throne of St. Peter was empty was certainly adding insult to injury. Don't you just love it when the world piles on? Holy Mother Church has a leader once again. Saints be praised.

Pope Benedict XVI

Monday, April 18, 2005

May the Holy Ghost be with the Princes of the Church as they elect the next Holy Father.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

I normally dislike self-titled albums, but I'll make an exception in this case. The band King Apparatus has a song "King Apparatus" on their album King Apparatus. In music video format:

King Apparatus
"King Apparatus"
King Apparatus


Saturday, April 16, 2005

Last night, the Mountain of Love was home and Guy Zach Nie! joined us for a new episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, "Bound." Afterwards, we welcomed K. Steeze and his love, the Belle of Texas. With that many Blue Tree Whackers gathered in one place, Risk ensued. Steeze and the Belle had to bug out a little after midnight (they are in town for today's wedding of Steeze's big brother, the Muppet), but the three of us played on. The Guy employed the Australian Gambit, the Mountain used Out of Africa. For the longest time I was without a geographical base, but on the last turn before Steeze and the Belle's departure, I took South America away from him, and thus I was playing Pinochle With Pinochet. In the end, victory was mine and the world trembled before the might of the Black Raj.

Man, I love Risk.

Thank You, Sir
Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Episode II - Attack of the Clones
Clone Wars
Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Episode IV - A New Hope
Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Fathers and Sons
My feelings toward my father are very complex. I am like him in a great many ways, and many of the things I like best about myself come from him, sickening as that may also be. The following incident rather perfectly represents, I think, the ways in which we are very, very different.

I have sitting on my lap my copy of the novelization of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. I obviously won't read it until after I have seen the movie, but I did venture to read the dedication from author Matthew Stover. It reads:

the author respectfully dedicates this adaptation
To George Lucas
with gratitude for the dreams of a generation,
and of generations to come,
for twenty-eight years and counting...

thank you, sir
I have never read a novel by Matthew Stover, but I like him already. The dedication is sheer perfection. It encapsulates my own feelings towards Mr. Lucas, and I can only hope that in Mr. Stover's place I would have carried myself with half as much grace. Well done, sir.

Excited, I took the book to my father and presented him with the dedication. I prefaced it with remarks along these lines, "Hey, Dad, check out how cool this dedication is." He read it without reaction, then flipped the page and started the introduction. He then flipped back to the dedication. "You mean this? Yep, twenty-eight years. Glad I held out, I hope it's worthwhile." What? He could not have missed the point by a larger margin if doing so had been his stated intention.

"There is still good in him. I've sensed it."
Hi, my name is Mike and I'm a fucking eunuch.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Small Wonder They Call Me The Last Angry Man
Last week, I gave money to NPR during the annual spring membership drive; today, I had cause to regret it. I declared that I would not give money to NPR as long as Day to Day was on the air, the rationale being that the show is co-produced by the online magazine Slate, which is somewhat to the left of The New York Times editorial page, thus making a mockery of NPR's supposed objectivity. But, I reasoned it was hypocritical of me to ask people to donate money to The Newsletter if I was unwilling to pony up support for NPR.

But this afternoon, a reporter on All Things Considered referred to Eric Rudolph as an "accused bomber"... hours after he fucking plead guilty! He entered into a plea bargain, you cunt! That means he is no longer an "alleged bomber" or an "accused bomber," he is a fucking bomber! He is guilty! HE SAID SO HIMSELF! I understand the desire to be fair, and that a man is indeed innocent until he is proven guilty, but calling Eric Rudolph an "accused bomber" after he has allocuted in court is fucking factually inaccurate. To clal the man an "accused bomber" is crummy journalism and I am embarrassed my dollars are going to support it.

Later on, still during All Things Considered, they began a story on the Catholic Church by referring to the censure of Galileo. This is not a problem specific to NPR, but rather a symptom of the anti-Catholicism that still pervades American culture. If NPR interviewed Billy Graham, the most famous Protestant minister in the country, would they ask him about the Salem Witch Trials? Would they ask him about Gustavus Adolphus's rape of Germany during the Thirty Years War? The Sacred Inquisition tried and punished Galileo FOUR HUNDRED YEARS AGO. Why is it that the Church is still hounded for that mistake? The Salem Witch Trials were only three hundred years ago, yet the Protestant churches in America seem not to be carrying that milestone. Glad to know that the multicultural, politically correct denizens of NPR still find room in their hearts for good old fashioned anti-Catholicism.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

My little brother is better than your little brother and I have ironclad fucking proof. Ha! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, chumps and chumpettes.

Monday, April 11, 2005

"I want to live
A life of pleasure,
Don't I deserve
A life of leisure?
Fame and fortune
In equal measure,
I so desire
A life of pleasure."
--King of Prussia, "A Life of Pleasure" from Radio Free Prussia

Barter is Better
Real world experience has once again borne out K. Steeze's axiom, "barter is better." This morning, I rid myself of six compact discs I no longer desired: Flogging Molly, Drunken Lullabies, Swagger, and Alive Behind the Green Door; No Doubt, Rock Steady; Blink-182, Blink 182; and The Cramps, Stay Sick. The clerk at Jellybeans was concise, "$10 cash, $20 in trade." I chose trade, certain I could find some or another hidden gem. And boy howdy, did I ever! The sign on the comic book rack read, "All comics $1.00, 6 for $5.00." I nabbed an issue of Justice League (the immediate post-Crisis relaunch), four issues of Justice League International, eight issues of Justice League America (all from the Giffen-DeMatteis era that I had previously experienced only as the miniseries Formerly Known as the Justice League and its sequel, the current "I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League" arc of JLA: Classified), five sequential issues each of Booster Gold and Richard Dragon: Kung-Fu Fighter, and a Teen Titans Spotlight: Aqualad (whom I have only ever known as Tempest). I am rid of six CDs I hated and I have acquired twenty-four old comics ranging in publication date from 1975-1992. Barter is better!

Crisis on Infinite Earths - the end of the DC Universe as a multiverse, put the Crisis in pre- and post-Crisis
Crisis on Multiple Earths - trade paperback collections of pre-Crisis multiversal crossovers
Identity Crisis - overrated miniseries resurrecting the Silver Age DCU
Infinite Crisis - "What is it with you son, ignorance or apathy?" "Coach, I don't know and I don't care."

Sunday, April 10, 2005

New Music
Reel Big Fish, We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy
Duvall, Racine EP
The Peacocks, Angel
Slow Gherkin, Run Screaming
Slow Gherkin, Double Happiness
The Bruce Lee Band, Beautiful World EP
King Apparatus, Marbles
King Apparatus, King Apparatus
Skankin' Pickle, Sing Along With...

Rites of Spring
Yesterday, I went to the ballpark. I hate baseball, but everyone enjoys a day at the ballpark. Today, I put away my mid-calf socks (crew socks?) and got out my ankle socks. Next stop, shorts.
I do not know why I am hostile. I'm not expressing regret over being so hostile lately, as I don't feel that I have been particularly hostile lately. But I have within me a frightful resevoir of hostility and I know not why. This does not prompt me to question whether I am an essentially good or bad person, but it does pique my curiosity as to its origin. Did something happen to me as a kid? Did I subconsciously hate my childhood? I remember enjoying it quite a bit. This well of hostility, scorn, contempt, anger, whatever you want to call it, has been a part of me as long as I can remember. In elementary school, when all was ignorance and bliss; in middle school, when I realized I was weird and hated myself; in high school, when I learned to thank God I was weird; in college, when all was once again bliss; even today, when there is still a goodly amount of bliss. From whence does all the rage and anger come? What is at the center of the bottomless resevoir of hostility?

I have no idea, nor do I feel like trying to find one. Instead, I'm going to go listen to the eight CDs I got from Asian Man Records. Six albums and two EPs for less than sixty bucks! Thanks, Mike Park!

Friday, April 8, 2005

Post script to last night: at least one person in the world adores me and I'm not on fire. So, I've got two things going for me.

Catholicism WOW!
Among the many great things about being Catholic, here. The Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club. Be aware, kiddies, the Sacred Inquisition still exists; it's no longer called the Sacred Congregation for the Universal Inquisition, but rather the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (NOT Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, you bastards), who presided over today's funeral Mass for the Pope, is the head of the Congregation. "Putting the smackdown on heresy since 1981." Hee hee.

Yesterday was a good day for doing my bit to fuel the engine of capitalism, i.e. buying "useless" consumer goods. I bought the new album by Reel Big Fish, We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy, which is not at all, as Daddy Dylweed ignorantly asserted, "crappy," but actually rather A-W-E-S-O-M-E. I also bought Anakin's and Obi-Wan's lightsabers from Revenge of the Sith, weapons that also serve, respectively, as the lightsaber Luke carries in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and that which "Ben" Kenobi wields in A New Hope. And now, lists!

Reel Big Fish albums
Turn the Radio Off
Keep Your Receipt
Everything Sucks (earlier recordings of many of the songs on the above releases)
Why Do They Rock So Hard?
Cheer Up!
We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy

My Lightsabers
Qui-Gon Jinn
Obi-Wan Kenobi (The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones)
Darth Maul
Anakin Skywalker (Attack of the Clones)
Darth Tyranus
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope)
Anakin Skywalker (Revenge of the Sith)
Goodbye, Kitty
I hate everything I've tried to say. This is my third attempt at typing anything. I have never been sad like this, never before in my whole life. I have fought so hard not to think about Sam, but full-blown sobbing is always just a moment away. The world hasn't seemed this colorless to me since... I don't know, probably middle school, when everyone hates the world. I don't mean any disrespect to Sam, because I loved him so much, but God damn it, I don't want to feel this way anymore. I hate what I've written, but the third time's the charm; so, if it's not this I don't know what I'll write.

On an almost entirely unrelated note, at least one person in the world adores me. So, I've got that going for me.

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Goodbye, Kitty
I can only avoid crying by consciously refusing to think about Sam. I am not allowing my mind's eye to see his lifeless body sitting on the table at the veterinarians' office. I am twenty-five; he was eighteen. I can hardly remember a world without him. I am haunted by the food and water dishes absent from their habitual corner.

Death seems to be a booming trade this past week. Pumping Sam full of poison was a mercy; poor Mrs. Schiavo's soul finally went to Purgatory fifteen years after her mind died; and the Holy Father, who was Bishop of Rome longer than I have been alive, passed, his sojourn in Purgatory to be exceptionally short, I am sure. Yet I have been so preoccupied helping a friend... who has actually asked me not to mention him at all (whoops) prepare Comerica Park for the opening day of baseball (golly, I am barely able to contain my glee), I have not had time to properly mourn or ruminate on death's "illimitable dominion over all."