Thursday, June 30, 2005

Something is better than nothing. Hyperlink.

Deutschland Uber Alles. While I want to be rid of Gerhard Schroeder and his "red-green" coalition government as soon as possible, an attention to history has made me very wary of German governments violating the letter of their own constitutions. I'm not trying to draw any inappropriate parallels, but before they began engaging in outright illegal behavior, the lawfully-elected Nazis started by stretching and bending the Weimar Constitution. I'd prefer Herr Schroeder stuck to the letter of German law, even if that means Frau Merkel won't be chancellor until next year.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The world is full of madness, but then I think about science and everything seems okedoke. Hyperlink. I want to lazily sail the seas of Titan. "No, these piggies are for science. Science!"

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Magic of Shazam!
Captain Marvel (Billy Batson)
Mary Marvel (Mary Batson)
Marvel Lad (Freddy Freeman)
Bulletwoman (Deanna Barr)
Spy Smasher (Avi Ducret)**
Timmy the Robot****

Dr. Thaddeus Sivana
Black Adam (Teth-Adam/Theo Adam)
Mr. Mind
Captain Nazi (Albrecht Krieger)
Mr. Atom
Ibac ("Stinky" Printwhistle)
The Ghoul (Grelf)***
Xenophon (Costas Papadelias)*
Sakura (to be determined)*
Ivan Derook****
Madame Libertine (Katrina Krieger)
Arson Fiend (George Tweedle)
Sabbac (Ishmael Gregor)

*created by Mike Wilson
**original Spy Smasher (Alan Armstrong) created by Bill Parker & C.C. Beck, Avi Ducret created by Mike Wilson
***original Space Ghoul created by Otto Binder & Kurt Schaffenberger, Grelf created by Mike Wilson
****original Timmy Tinkle and Ivan Derook created by Otto Binder & C.C. Beck, new versions created by Mike Wilson
The Long, Hard Slog to Victory
By mid-December 1944, Allied forces in northern Europe were in full retreat. Entire divisions had been cut off and surrounded, communications had been disrupted, English-speaking SS infiltration units had sown mistrust and discord in the ranks, and more American troops surrendered to the enemy than in any other campaign in the battle history of the Republic. So tell me, during the Battle of the Bulge were we winning or losing the Second World War? The insurgency continues in Iraq, but that doesn't mean we aren't winning.

Article III
There is continual gossip about the "impending" retirement of United States Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Yes, Rehnquist is eighty years old and sick as a dog with the cancer, and yes, with an ideologically friendly administration in the White House he can step down confident in the knowledge that he will be replaced by someone of his own judicial-political ilk. These are good solid reasons for a sick old man who has nobly served his country and our nigh-sacred Constitution for a very long time to retire with the just thanks of a grateful nation. My question is this: Justice John Paul Stevens is eighty-five years old, five years beyond the ailing Chief Justice; why are not more people asking when he will step down? Has he publically declared that he intends to die on the bench? Is he holding out for a Democratic White House? Is he just being delightfully stubborn (a position I could respect most enthusiastically)? Why the "death watch" on Rehnquist but not on Stevens? There are only nine of these people at any one time, surely it is not beyond our abilities to pay moderate attention to two of them simultaneously.

I sometimes joke about repealing Article I of the United States Constitution, but I would never joke about repealing Article III. The law, as it is applied in this country, often makes no sense to me, and sometimes it seems to be naught but nonsense. Nevertheless, without the law we are lost.
Spies Like Us
Why is it that when a given person agrees with a CIA assessment, it is a crack unit composed of the best and brightest minds of ours or any other generation, yet when one disagrees, the CIA is the most amateurish and bureaucratically inept organization this side of the Watergate "plumbers"? Ah, the Central Intelligence Agency, a scapegoat for all seasons. Hyperlink. The same people that delight in highlighting the CIA's misestimations have absolute faith in it's most dire predictions about the Iraqi insurrgency.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Escape From L.A.
Well, I can finally get K. Steeze and The Professor off my back, my flights to and from Los Angeles have been booked... and they won't cost me a dime! Bwah ha ha ha ha! My sincerest thanks to my dear mother for allowing me to take advantage of her credit card reward points, of which she had accumulated more than enough to wisk me to the City of Angels and back again to the Motor City. So, the week after our annual pilgrimage to Mosquito Mecca, also known as Schroon Lake, New York, to visit the Mountain of Love at opera camp, I shall visit California for the second time. I expect to derive exquisite joy from my time with the boys and the Belle of Texas, currently in LA as part of an internship, and from my first experience with BTWest, the very first incarnation of the BTW House. Woot!

In all my life I never thought I'd be this excited to be going to Los Angeles, described by William Faulkner as "the plastic asshole of America." (I've never read Faulkner, I just like that quote.) Hooray for Blue Tree Whacking.

The Dreadful Sick
By Saturday, the stabbing brink in my stomach had all but disappeared, replaced by a curious soreness in my stomach muscles, as if I'd done a number of sit-ups. I cautiously snacked on some cinnamon-sugar toast and a bowl of Corn Chex without milk. I had eaten nothing at all on Thursday and Friday; so, even the small portions I ate of these mild foods gave rise to some gastro-intestinal hijinks. Apparently, digestion is not like riding a bike; it does not come right back to your stomach and sundry intestines. Nevertheless, this was a major improvement over the queer and disconcerting deadlock of Thursday and Friday. I am still eating smaller portions than those to which I am accustomed, but in view of my ponderous bulk and a desire to do away with some of it it would be a wise policy to adopt modestly sized meals as the new order of things. In short, I am not simply better, I am well.

And of course I blame this entire episode on Skeeter and the spooky coincidences that have recently marked both our lives. Not Invader ZIM's "Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom" spooky, but still pretty spooky. I assume The Watergirl is just an innocent bystander caught in the spooky crossfire. Spooky!

High Fives All Around
This afternoon, I weed-whacked and chopped up the branches I had haphazardly pruned over the last few weeks. Sweet merciful crap, it was hot! I do not recall the last June to have so many days marked by afternoon highs in excess of eighty degrees. And, alas, they have not been hot, dry days, but rather monuments to heat and humidity. That's right, dear readers, it's been hot and muggy.

Foreign Affairs
I'd remark on the new leadership in Hong Kong or the new hardline (but mostly powerless) president in Iran, but you people wouldn't care. The utter lack of response to last week's question about your feelings on the European Union demonstrated the futility of trying to engage you Philistines in a discussion about any more worldly than the regrettably sorry state of American journalism. Go back to your spicy chicken wings and NASCAR standings, no need to think about the world beyond our borders.

You know, it must suck to be the Philistines. Thousands upon thousands of now forgotten tribes fought countless wars in the lost mists of pre- and early history, and most of those tribes must have lambasted their enemies as the most abominable people on Earth. The Philistines just had the rotten luck of making an enemy of the one damn tribe (technically, twelve tribes) whose chronicles would go on to be enshrined in the holy text of the numerically largest religion in the world. I'm sure in many ways the Philistines were no worse than the Israelites. This brings to mind FDR's famous words on dictators, "He may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch." The Israelites may have been as savage as the Philistines, but the Israelites are our guys; so, the Philistines are remembered as the Philistines, and you'd be well advised to take umbrage at being called a Philistine, as you were in the previous paragraph.

Also, be mindful. Like most anime, FLCL is much better in the original Japanese. The subtitles come fast and furious, but it is a small price to pay for the wonderful voice acting. Fooly cooly, y'all.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Empire Strikes Back
Special Air Service: "Who Dares Wins."

Special Boat Service: "Not By Strength, By Guile."

Despite all the talk of ours being an information economy and the future of warfare being "network-centric," I still there is great validity in the analysis of history Admiral Mahan expounded in The Influence of Sea Power upon History. Thus, I think it is worth noting that despite al Qaeda's successful and bloody attack on the USS Cole in 2000 (to which President Clinton did not respond), and Beijing's ambitions for the People's Liberation Army Navy (honestly, that's what it's called) to be more than just a brown water force, the three most powerful navies in the world are the United States Navy, the Royal Navy, and Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force. Woot!

If I ever become a recluse, I think I'll move to the Falklands. That seems like just about the middle of nowhere. Plus, the locals speak English, always a plus.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Something has gone terribly wrong inside me. I have not eaten since dinnertime on Wednesday, but I'm not hungry. There is a constant pain in my stomach. If I die, remember, "With my last breath, I curse Zoidberg!"
Hyperlink. Do most of you have an opinion on the European Union? What, if anything, is the importance of the "Non" and "Nee" votes in France and The Netherlands? The EU is something worth having an opinion about, much more so than... whatever the fuck moronic bit of pop culture people have opinions about these days.

Of course, maybe I spend too much time every day thining about China and the EU and what the world is going to look like (geopolitically speaking) in five, ten, twenty years. That's just what I do. That and imagine how cool it would look to see Captain marvel whaling on this villain I created called the Erlkonig. (Yeah, that's right, from Goethe. I'm not erudite, but I fake it reasonably well.)

Thabo Mbeki is not a good guy, but getting rid of Zuma was a step in the right direction. Another hyperlink.

I can't wait for the next Christopher Guest mockumentary, whatever and whenever that will be. Because, let's be honest, A Mighty Wind was - how shall I put this? - disappointing. Not enough Parker, not enough comedy. Yes, the bar was set very, very, very high with Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show, but still.

I miss pining. I mean, I've figured out how to ask girls out; so, I'm not as good at hopelessly pining as I used to be, but still. I used to be really good at pining, and the single worst thing about being here is there's not even anybody to pine over. Sorry, I'm whining. If Freaks and Geeks had had a second season, I hope they would have had an episode titled "Whining and Pining."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Qdoba is so delicious it is well worth the havoc it causes in my tummy. Mmmmm, Qdoba.

All Good Things...
Despite my prognostications of doom, I am very pleased with the latest issue of The Newsletter. Disaster has been staved off for another day.
Why in Bog's name don't things simply work? Is it too much to ask for a device to fulfill it's fucking purpose? As, I'm really glad Mom decided to turn the air conditioning off as soon as the daytime high dropped below eighty degrees. Outside, the temperature has dropped to the low sixties, but here in the house it is still seventy-nine degrees with no breeze whatsoever. Way to go, Mom.

Monday, June 20, 2005

I particularly love these twists on familiar sayings:

"We'll burn that bridge when we come to it."
--Keith Giffen

"You won't live to regret this."
--David Wilson

And of course I love this instant classic original:

"Either way, your seed dies with you."
--Jon Mace, Zach Nie!, and Mike Wilson

All Good Things...
The key phrase in my previous post that seems to have been universally overlooked is, "there's no reason to panic." Does The Newsletter have structural problems? Yes, it does. Is The Newsletter beyond saving? No, it is not. Am I determined to save The Newsletter? Yes, I am. Do I love typing the words "The Newsletter"? Yes, I do. Possibly too much.

Justice League of America
Superman (Clark Kent)
Batman (Bruce Wayne)
Wonder Woman (Diana of Themyscira)
The Flash (Wally West)
Green Lantern (John Stewart*)
Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz)

JLA: Classified
Justice League: Elite

Justice League of America
Justice League
Justice League International
Justice League America
Justice League Europe
Justice League Task Force
Extreme Justice

plus about seven gazillion miniseries

*To be replaced by the recently resurrected Hal Jordan? Also, I love the current direction of Aquaman and hope that he-of-the-orange-shirt spends many years in Sub Diego, but that should in no way preclude Aquaman (Arthur Curry) from returning to the JLA. When, dammit?

Justice Society of America
Mr. Terrific (Michael Holt) - chairman
The Flash (Jay Garrick)
Green Lantern (Alan Scott)
Wildcat (Ted Grant)
Hawkman (Carter Hall)
Sand (Sanderson Hawkins)
Dr. Mid-Nite (Dr. Pieter Cross)
Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders)
Dr. Fate (Hector Hall)
Power Girl (Karen Starr)
Hourman (Rick Tyler)
Stargirl (Courtney Whitmore)
Jakeem Thunder (Jakeem Williams)

JSA: Classified

All-Star Comics
The Justice Society of America
All-Star Squadron
Infinity, Inc.
JSA: All-Stars

Sunday, June 19, 2005

As Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) told Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine), "People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy."

Batman? Brit.
Alfred? Brit. (Kosher.)
Jim Gordon? Brit.
The Scarecrow? Brit.
Dr. Thomas Wayne? Brit.

Batman Begins: finally, definitive proof that not every actor in Hollywood is Australian.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

All Good Things...
No decisions have been made, and there's no reason to panic, but it definitely looks as if the days of The Newsletter are numbered. Originally, the renaissance had six staff columnists: The Plate, Neutral Man, The Guy, the Mountain of Love, M. Phegley, and your humble narrator. Now, we are reduced to four. Sure, technically we still have all six, but in practice we are only four. In the last eleven issues, The Plate has only contributed three "The Hot Plate" columns. He's submitted a fair number of "Less Artsy, More Fartsy" reviews, but they are a pale substitute. I cherish the variety the reviews bring to each issue, but the core of The Newsletter has always been and must always be the columns. In that same span my brother has only contributed four "Is It Too Much To Ask?" columns. He sincerely desires to write more often and promises that he will when his schedule is less hectic (and believe me, his schedule sucks), but his schedule will never be less hectic. He hates, for reasons I will never understand, free time. Whenever his schedule affords him free time, he picks up new jobs and projects to occupy that time. He wants to write, but he'll never be able to do so reliably. Counting on him to have the time to write is like counting on Charles Rogers's collar bone to stay unbroken for more than ten minutes; it's a losing proposition.

And today we hit a new low. The next issue is a "Summer Reading" issue, and I have received material from exactly one staff writer: The Guy. Nothing from Associate Editor Neutral Man, nothing from M. Plegley. Nothing from my brother (though internet access is spotty in the wilds of upstate New York), nothing from the previous guest contrubtors I invited, and of course nothing from The Plate. (Again, think Charles Rogers.) With The Guy's supershort story and my supershort story and one of The Guy's two "Transcripts from the Last Night on Earth," we might have a two page issue. We haven't published a two page issue since Vol. 1, No. 1 (September 2001), when Uncle Jerry, The Plate, and I put together The Newsletter as a lark, and never gave any thought to it as an ongoing venture.

Maybe this issue, Vol. IX, No. 4, should be the last issue. No warning, no begging the staff to actually live up to that title, just POOF! gone. There is a certain poetry in the first and last issues both being two pages. Things seemed so good just a few weeks ago when we published the twelve-page behemoth "The Star Wars Issue," but as I've often said to the staff, The Newsletter is a ravenous beast. It needs to be constantly fed, and I cannot and will not be the only one putting forth any Bogdamned effort (all apologies to The Guy, my hero). But of course, I'll wuss out and won't be able to pull the plug, and The Newsletter will keep limping on, as if anyone actually gives a rat's ass. But start bagging and boarding your issues today, because it is only a matter of time, and probably sooner rather than later, before The Newsletter disappears again.

And after having my heart broken twice, I'll be damned before I resurrect this beautiful monstrosity ever again.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The best hyperlink ever.

Superman (1978)
Superman II (1980)
Superman III (1983)
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

Batman (1989)
Batman Returns (1992)
Batman Forever (1995)
Batman & Robin (1997)

Batman Begins (2005)
Superman Returns (2006)

I think we can extrapolate from these figures that any DC superhero movie released in 2007 will be doomed to mediocrity. Crap, Wonder Woman is supposed to be released in 2007! Then again, it is to be written and directed by Joss Whedon; so, it's guaranteed to suck regardless.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Seriously, what's going on in the NBA Finals? The closest game (Game 1) was decided by fifteen points. Did the order come down from David Stern, "Only blowouts allowed"? Have competitive games been banned? What the hell?
England vs. Rome
By blood I am half-English, compared to one quarter Scottish and one quarter Irish. My closest foreign-born relative was my Great Granny Gray, may she rest in peace, born Maude Pudaphott in an England still ruled by Queen Victoria. Yes, my Grandma Wilson, may she rest in peace, was born Priscilla Gray in an India still ruled by the British Raj, but her father was an American; so, I consider her to have been born an American. I love Great Britain, but more specifically I love England.

At the same time, I am a Roman Catholic, and Holy Mother Church suffered horribly at the hands of many Kings of England. My heart is torn between the Vatican and Whitehall. I have a great admiration for both Saint Thomas Becket and Saint Thomas More, martyrs of the Faith who died at the hands of King Henry II and King Henry VIII, respectively. They served both the Church and England, even if England's king could not see it at the time. On the other hand, I've never been a fan of Saint Joan of Arc. We are to believe that the Almighty really wanted the Dauphin to rule France and not Henry VI? I have a hard time viewing Joan as a martyr; I think she was executed because she was leading the French army, not because angels spoke to her. I doubt the English occupational army much gave a rat's arse about the voices she heard, they just wanted her victories to stop. But, Holy Mother Church sez she is a saint and yadda yadda yadda whatever, she's a saint.

And of course, Catholics are still officially forbidden from ascending to the throne of the United Kindgom. A Catholic, after all, couldn't be the head of the heretical and farcical Church of England now, could he?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Big fucking surprise. The real danger is that the Iranians will use this admission to manipulate the Europeans, "See, look, the Iranians are being cooperative. There's no need to take this from the IAEA to the Security Council." Meanwhile, the always friendly Guardian Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran gets ever closer to wiping Tel Aviv off the face of the earth. Good times ahead.
"It's Friday night,
I wanted to go out,
Didn't want to go to no show,
Didn't want to cruise Main Street,
I didn't want to go to no disco, no oh,
I just wanted you to come over,
Sit on my couch and hold me tight,
But you went out with some dumb jock,
And left me alone
With my skateboard tonight"
--The Aquabats!, "My Skateboard!" from The Fury of The Aquabats!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Now on it's way to my hot little hands* from the fine folks at Netflix: The Hebrew Hammer, starring Adam Goldberg and Judy Greer. By the Holy of Holies, I hope it lives up to its potential.

Speaking of the Holy of Holies, this past weekend I saw The Last Temptation of Christ. It confirmed my opinion that Martin Scorsese is highly overrated as a director. Now I just need to watch The Greatest Story Ever Told and The Passion of the Christ back to back.

*In actuality, my hands are not little but slightly large. My fingers are kind of long, but the really freaky part is my palms; my palms are like fucking paddles. They're ridiculous. Great Granny Gray's, may she rest in peace, maiden name was Pudaphott ("pud-uh-foot"); apparently, it means "wide feet." All the Wilson men have wide feet (me: size 11 1/2 EEE; my dad: size 9 1/2 EEEE). It would also seem that our "pudapheett" include our hands. The palms are so weirdly huge!

Monday, June 13, 2005

"No, GIR, those piggies are for science. Science!" Science is super rad.
I had a dream this morning in which the lock on the Mousemobile's trunk was broken and the blasted thing wouldn't stay shut. Note to self: have better dreams. Suggested topic: Maria Sharapova. Mmmmm, Sharapova.

The Aquabats!
The Return of The Aquabats!
The Fury of The Aquabats!
The Aquabats! vs. the Floating Eye of Death! and Other Amazing Adventures Vol. 1
Myths, Legends and Other Amazing Adventures Vol. 2
(B-sides/demos album)
Yo, Check Out This Ride! EP

Charge!!, the new album by The Aquabats!, is awesome. It is exactly the album I was expecting after Yo, Check Out This Ride! Yeah, The Aquabats! haven't really been a ska band since Floating Eye of Death!, but their songs still have the same energy and wackiness, though now more in a half-pop/half-New Wave style. And the band has shrunk from eight (or nine) men to five; Mu330 is the only five-man ska band I can name.

The Roster
The Fury of The Aquabats! (1997)
The Bat Commander - vox
Crash McLarson - bass
Chainsaw, the Prince of Karate - guitar
Prince Adam - trumpet
Catboy - trumpet
Jaime the Robot - sax
The Mysterious Ultra Kyu - guitar
The Baron Von Tito - drums

The Aquabats! vs. the Floating Eye of Death! (1999)
The MC Bat Commander - vox
Crash McLarson - bass
Chainsaw Karate - guitar
Prince Adam - trumpet
Catboy - trumpet
The Robot (still Jaime) - woodwinds
The Mysterious Kyu - guitar
Doctor Rock - drums

Charge!! (2005)
The MC Bat Commander - vox
Crash McLarson - bass
Chainsaw (no more karate?) - guitar
Jimmy the Robot - keyboards
Ricky Fitness - drums

I, of course, have a particular affinity for Chainsaw, since he gave me my Aquacadet name, Captain Thumbs-Up. Thanks, Chainsaw!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Discretion, it is said, is the better part of valor. Why oh why did I pick this moment to be valorous?
Working on my current pet project, a hypothetical series for DC Comics titled The Magic of Shazam!, I've been doing a good deal of research via ye olde internet. On the internet, everyone has an opinion. What so many people fail to realize is that just because you have an opinion does not mean it matters, is right, or is worth debating.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Also, here are quick primers on Xenophon and the Ten Thousand.

Batman Begins (2005)
Ras' al-Ghul
The Scarecrow

Batman (1989)
The Joker

Batman Returns (1992)
The Penguin

Batman Forever (1995)
The Riddler

*shudder* Batman & Robin (1997)
Mr. Freeze
Poison Ivy

Who's left: Clayface, the Mad Hatter, the Ventriloquist, Killer Croc, Firefly, and Man-bat, plus minor leaguers like Zsasz and a whole host of other nightmares and horrors. Additionally, Two-Face, The Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Bane all deserve better movie reditions than they received. Tommy Lee Jones is a skilled enough actor to have made a brilliant Two-Face, but in Batman Forever he had nothing to do but cackle. (Personally, I still want to see Billy Dee Williams, crusading District Attorney Harvey Dent in Batman, as Two-Face.) The Governator really should have played Bane, not Mr. Freeze, who would have been perfectly embodied by that ubiquitous chromedome Patrick Stewart; plus, a beautiful girl should have play Ivy, not horsefaced Uma Thurman. But, of course, Batman & Robin was a nipple-tastic debacle from start to finish.

Please, Bog, let Batman Begins live up to its promise.
This is the perfect explanation of my father: this weekend, my parents are attending the fortieth anniversary party of their friend the Smiths. The party is at a UAW resort somewhere up north; they drove up today and will return tomorrow. (House to myself! Woot!) Yesterday, Mom suggested a departure time of 11 a.m. this morning; The Malingerer suggested noon. Mom relented. Trying to be nice, she then mentioned him that there was to be a Corvette show today at a local car dealership. Dad acquired a 'Vette last summer, and he's always been one of those annoying car aficionados. She informed him of an activity he'd enjoy, and even gave in to his departure preference. So, this morning he went to be with his fellow Corvette jerks and didn't come back to the house until almost 12:30 p.m. Mom had wanted to leave at 11 a.m.; they left at approximately 12:40 p.m. That's my dad, right there.

That, and the fact that my dad's name is Rick, he has a mustache, and he owns a bitchin' Camero.

The one thing I truly hate about living at home is that I'm almost never alone. Not really. One or both of my parents fall asleep downstairs every weeknight, one or the other of them gets home before I do nearly every afternoon, and they are both so quasi-deaf now that you can hear every word of whatever TV show they are watching from anywhere on the same floor of the house. They are omnipresent. And I have always enjoyed my own company immensely. I love to be alone; I need to be alone more than anyone else I know. Tonight, at least, blessed solitude.

There is a distinction between being alone and being lonely. Of late, I will confess to being somewhat lonely. Tonight, though, I am just alone and it is glorious.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Quick! Without checking any reference materials, including ye olde internet, what can you tell me about Xenophon and the Ten Thousand? Show off your knowledge via the commenting feature.

I Don't Trust Clark Kent
A conversation with the former and soon-to-be-former ombudsmen for The New York Times and The Washington Post, I forget whom is whom, was broacast on The NewsHour last night. (The interview was actually recorded a few weeks hence.) When asked why the public's faith in the major media outlets seems to have been shaken by the events of the past few years (from Jayson Blair to Dan Rather and "memogate" to Newsweek's anonymous sources), the ombudsmen's explanation was that their respective papers hadn't done enough to oppose the Iraq War in the months preceeding the invasion. Byeh? They said that their papers hadn't done enough to oppose the Bush Administration. They didn't say that their papers hadn't done enough to uncover the real status of Iraq's WMD stocks, they said that they hadn't done enough to oppose the administration. You fucking douchebags, the job of the press is to report the truth, not to oppose those in power simply for opposition's sake. And these are the ombudsmen of two of America's supposedly most venerable papers, the men who are supposed to be the papers' watchdogs, keeping both institutions on the straight and norrow. And both ombudsmen said their papers hadn't done enough to advance the opposition to the war. My Bog, I could hardly believe my ears. On the other hand, I suppose I should salute their honesty; for once, individuals connected with two majors papers actually said that the job of their news organizations is to oppose George W. Bush. Not to tell to truth, to oppose W. That may be the first completely honest thing said by anyone working at The New York Times and The Washington Post in a very long time.

And this week's new issue of Newsweek had Mark "Deep Throat" Felt on the cover, of course. Because there is nothing the media likes to report on more than the media itself, and Newsweek is owned by the Washington Post Company. I hate to sound like a broken record, but this really bothers me.

Safety vs. Security
In other news, my second, mostly part-time lifeguarding job just got wiped out of existence. What, there's one little shooting at Bluebell Beach and the lifeguards get phased out in favor of increased security patrols? It's Flint, man, people are supposed to get shot in Flint. The city has a reputation to maintain, after all. It's okay, though; I'll miss the money, but I wasn't really looking forward to getting that much sun.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Ninety fucking degrees, man. Yikes. These temperatures aren't supposed to arrive until July or August. Does this augur ill for the remainder of the summer?

The yard really needs to be mowed, and garbage day is tomorrow; so, the grass clippings won't have time to become stinky. But yeah, I'm not mowing. It's ninety fucking degrees, man. I'm not mowing.

Tomorrow is garbage day, but I'm not taking out the trash. It's ninety fucking degrees, man. I'll do it tomorrow morning, when it'll be only seventy-five degrees at 9 a.m.

The parents are going to an anniversary party this weekend. I think I may endeavour to not leave the house on Saturday. Possible exceptions: if I am expecting a movie from Netflix, I may collect the mail.

The World, Etc.
When was the last time you thought about what's going on in Zimbabwe? Or the war in the D.R. Congo? When was the last time you thought about Africa? It is part of the world, you know.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Victory for ZIM!
Yesterday, though the temperature was not very high, I convinced The Malingerer to activate the air conditioning as a preemptive strike against the coming humdity. Today, the air is so wet you can swim through it. Hoorah for the marvel of modern technology.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Hyperlink. I want this motherfucker excommunicated. I cannot believe His Holiness named him Archbishop of Krakow. If he does not honor John Paul II's wishes, I want him defrocked and ex-fucking-communicated from the Church. What is this bullshit?
Tiananmen Square Massacre
Sixteen years ago, the People's Liberation Army crushed the student protests in Tiananmen Square. Hundreds were killed; the exact figure will never be known. The government of the People's Republic of China has never apologized. The government of the People's Republic of China will never apologize. And every year the United States of America, the myriad nations of the European Union, Japan, and all the world's other freedom-loving democracies do more and more business with the bloodstained Chinese Communist Party rulers of the PRC. Why? Realpolitik, boys and girls, realpolitik. Dr. Kissinger must be so proud.

Friday, June 3, 2005

Nee and Non... and Si
Previously, I stated that the EU constitution had been approved in ten countries by parliamentary fiat and rejected in two countries by referendum. That is absolutely true, but let me be more precise: a consultative (non-binding) referendum was held in Spain prior to the constitution's ratification in the parliament. Spain is rightly counted among the ten countries that ratified the constitution in parliament, but the 42% of the Spanish electorate that voted in the referendum did overwhelmingly endorsed the EU constitution rejected this past week by the French and the Dutch.

And of course, you all know what I think of the Spanish electorate.

Coal and Steel Community
Common Market
European Community
European Union

Here. Get minimally educated.

The Gulag
The director of Amnesty International USA is on The NewsHour right now, frothing at the mouth. He said that the "gulag" label Amnesty applied to Guantanimo was appropriate in some facets, and that the US government was the same as the PRC and the now-defunct Hussein regime in Iraq. I think he meant the response to Amnesty's criticism was the same, but that's not what he actually said.

Freedom: Fits and Starts
Georgia - Rose Revolution
Ukraine - Orange Revolution
Iraq - Purple Revolution
Lebanon - Cedar Revolution
Krygyzstan - chaos
Uzbekistan - massacre
The Queue
Matthew Stover, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith ***in progress***
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Or The Modern Prometheus ***interrupted***
Leslie Charteris, Alias the Saint
Leslie Charteris, The Saint and Mr. Teal
Leslie Charteris, The Saint in New York
Thomas Harris, Black Sunday
Thomas Harris, Hannibal

After that, a very drunk public servant told me I simply must - I MUST - read William Manchester's duology about Winston Churchill.

Netflix Next
The Blue Max
The Greatest Story Ever Told
Life is Beautiful
Dracula: Dead and Loving It
The Pianist
The Village
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Boys Don't Cry
The Talented Mr. Ripley

Thursday, June 2, 2005

"Just remember what counts - it's not the size of the battle... it's the fury."
Nee and Non
Please note that though I delight in calling Europe a "rotting corpse of a continent," it would be overly simpllstic as well and incorrect to say I am opposed to the European Union. Three times it the twentieth century (the Great War, the Second World War, and the Cold War), American blood and treasure was necessary to halt European fratricide. We are only sixty years removed from the Second World War and I am not convinced that ancient enemies Germany and France will never again make war one upon the other; if the EU can forever end warfare in the heart of Europe, I am all for it. What worries me is the subtle fashion in which Brussels is acquiring power at the expense of the governments in Berlin, Paris, Oslo, and Prague.

Thus far, twelve of the twenty-five countries in the Union have made a decision about the EU Basic Law, the so-called European Union constitution. Ten countries have approved the constitution; two have rejected it, France and The Netherlands. France and The Netherlands were also the only countires to actually put the issue before the people. The ten ratifying countries did so by parliamentary fiat.

Government by referendum is no government at all (see: California, where the governor and legislature are now largely symbolic), but when deciding an issue as fundamental as the signing away of one's national sovereignty I do not think it inappropriate the seek the consent of the governed. Yes, the hallowed United States Constitution was not ratified by referendum and yet I consider it's ratification to have been above board and A-OK. But bear in mind that the Constitution was adopted nearly two hundred twenty years ago, when a national referendum was virtually impossible (thus the Electoral College); were we to consider such a drastic and irrevocable action today, you can bet your sweet Aunt Petunia we'd put it up to a national vote.

Plus, we had the famed Federalist Papers and a lively national debate. Only now, with the "nee" and "non" votes by the Dutch and the French is an equivalent discourse beginning in Europe. I fully support the economic liberalization and military unification provisions of the now-sinking EU constitution, but before the European Parliament truly succeeds Britain's Parliament, France's National Assembly, and Germany's Bundestag, I would like to see the Europeans have a serious and conprehensive conversation about whether that want the EU to remain a confederation of nations or become a federation of provinces.

I Don't Trust Clark Kent
Which received more coverage in the American media over the past week: the rejection of the EU constitution by the voters of France and The Netherlands or the revelation of former FBI executive Mark Felt as Woodward and Bernstein's famed anonymous source "Deep Throat"? As children, we are always told that two wrongs do not make a right, but in the case of the Watergate scandal that seems to be the case. The amateruisgh break-in at the Watergate Hotel was wrong; the Nixon Administration's attempted cover-up was even more wrong. But at the time Felt acted as Deep Throat, he was an FBI agent; it was improper and illegal for him to leak the details of an ongoing FBI investigation to the interpid young reporters from the Washington Post. Yet how many calls have their been for charges to be pressed against Felt? Sure, he broke the law, most would say, but he did so for the greater good, to uncover the true extent of Watergate. Thus, if it helps topple a reviled presidential administration, apparently two wrongs do indeed make a right, at least in the estimation of the HOLY GUARDIANS OF TRUTH, also known as the mainstream media (I'll shoot myself in the head before the use the abbreviation MSM). Just this once, I miss Attorney General Ashcroft; he would have already thrown the book at Felt, ninety years old or not.

Convenient, isn't it, that just weeks after Newsweek is roundly and rightly pilloried for repeating the lies of an anonymous source as if they were verified truths, the identity of the most celebrated anonymous source in modern journalism is revealed, once agains casting the use of anonymous sources in a positive light? I'm not saying it isn't a coincidence, but I do find it curious. In the words of plain, simple Garak, "Oh, I believe in coincidence. I just don't trust coincidence."