Friday, July 29, 2005

Neutral Man's farewell festivities on Saturday, Shakespeare in Jackson on Sunday, Reed and Cristina's wedding in Syracuse next weekend... humbug. I am a lazy, lazy man, kids, and right now my sitting-on-my-fat-arse is being severely curtailed. I love all the things I'll be doing the next few weekends, I just wish they could have been moved distantly spaced.

Pay me no mind, I always whine like this during these social streaks. Soon enough I'll once again be a recluse who never sees his friends and all will be right with the world.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

All Holocaust All the Time
Movies Nos. 3-7 in my Netflix queue, annotated with hyperlinks to the Internet Movie Database. Nos. 1 and 2 are parts 2 and 3 of my three-part introduction to the cinema of Spike Lee, Summer of Sam and 25th Hour. I really liked He Got Game; so, I may have to add more Spike Lee "joints" to the list.

Europa Europa
Out of the Ashes
The Grey Zone

The Troubles
Fucking Paddies. Okay, first of all, if this is real, huzzah, but since when were terrorists known for actually keeping their word? Plus, news reports all day have said that "the IRA" has agreed to give up terrorism (though NPR shied away from calling their actions terrorism, instead preferring the unacceptably sanitized phrase "armed struggle"), but what they are talking about is the fucking Provos. Yes, the Provisional IRA is the largest of the several groups calling themselves the Irish Republican Army, but in recent years, specifically since the Good Friday Agreement, they have not been nearly as violent as the Real IRA or the Continuity IRA.

So, it's just plain sloppy, incomplete journalism to say that "the IRA" has agreed to cease its decades-long campaign of terrorism. Remember right after 9/11, when the major media organizations all said that they would start doing a better, more thorough job of covering events outside the United States? Yeah, nice to see how well they are following through on that promise. But I digress.

I hope today's honeyed words will mean an end to the savage murder of civilians in the name of Irish Republicanism, but I'll be a monkey's uncle before I take terrorists at their word. Cliched but true, there's nothing for it but to wait and see.

Hey, how did Jaime Fox go from Ray to Stealth inside of a year? How the mighty hath fallen....

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Yeah, so my hope is to post about Los Angeles tomorrow. I left LAX at approximately 11:00pm Pacific Daylight Time (fucking Northwest, both my flights were late) and arrived at DTW at approximately 6:00am Eastern Daylight Time; my sleep cycle is still kind of messed up. Like, last night I got more than a full night's sleep, something like nine hours, but I still woke up tired. Note to self: only travel westward. The next time I visit the Left Coast, remind me to take the long way 'round to get home. Los Angeles to Tokyo to Kyrgyzstan to Turkey to London to Detroit.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hate and Ignorance Go Hand In Hand
So, The Malingerer now believes that AIDS is a "homosexual disease" and that neither HIV nor the AIDS virus may be tramsitted through vaginal intercourse. He presented me with his "evidence" and told me that "doctors and nurses from around here" had told him that only gays and drug users get AIDS; congratulations, Dad, you've regressed to the early '80s. I retorted that there are doctors, both medical and philosophical (MDs and PhDs, kids), who support the "intelligent design" incarnation of Creationism, and that doctors are as human as the rest of us, and subject to the same prejudices and madnesses. I cited the vast majority of medical opinion and he declared the CDC (the Centers for Disease Control) to be part of a vast left wing conspiracy. Furhter, the notion that any heterosexual non-drug users had ever gotten AIDS was a "media creation." He seems to have missed the fact that I was comparing him unfavorably to a Creationist, a group he regards and despises as morons.

The good news (at least for me) is that this claim of AIDS only striking homosexuals proves that my father is not, as he now claims, a Christian; so, I'm once again confident that he's going to Hell when he dies. God has clearly never spoken to my father, for no one whose heart He has touched could embrace such mindless bigotry. I'd ask my dad to watch the movie Boys Don't Cry, but I'm afraid he'd admire the homophobic murderers. My father has always been an asshole, but he used to be smart, with a curious, inquisitive mind. Now, well, he uses about the same percentage of his brain as does Pat Buchanan. In other words, essentially none.
Manfred von Richthofen
Yesterday, I turned 26. I've now outlived the famous Red Baron, but only at the cost of failing to achieve any similar degree of public recognition. Blast! In any event, I had a most profitable birthday. The loot:

Star Wars
Darth Vader Voice Changer hemlet
Risk Star Wars Clone Wars Edition
Episode III clone trooper helmet sticker

Sarah Vowell, Take the Cannoli
Steve Martin, The Pleasure of My Compnay
Charles Brooks, ed., Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year - 2005 Edition

Duvall, Oh Holy Night

Star Trek: First Contact
Star Trek: Insurrection
Space Ghost: Coast to Coast - Volume Two
Space Ghost: Coast to Coast - Volume Three
"This is 1997"

Awesome. My thanks and love to my brother, sister, mother, and father.

City of Angels
More on my vacation soon. For now, let me just say that we played many games of Risk and taught the Belle of Texas how to play euchre, the temperatures in Los Angeles were cooler than they are here in Grand Blanc, and here are five words guaranteed to make you jealous: the Triumph of the Narwhal.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Rest in Peace
Hyperlink. Thank you, Mr. Doohan, for your decades as Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, chief engineer of the starship Enterprise. Warp speed and Godspeed, sir.

Apollo 11
Thirty-six years ago today, Neil Armstrong took, "One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for Mankind," and he and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon. In the words of The Onion, "Holy Shit Man Walks On Fucking Moon." Out of all the human beings who have ever lived, only twelve men have ever walked on the Moon, all of them Americans. In the words of the late Sam Kinison, "If you want to impress us, bring back our fucking flag!"

Apollo 11
Neil Armstrong
"Buzz" Aldrin

Apollo 12
"Pete" Conrad
Al Bean

Apollo 14
Alan Shepard (golf, anyone?)
Ed Mitchell

Apollo 15 (crew all University of Michigan alumni)
Dave Scott
Jim Irwin

Apollo 16
John Young
Charlie Duke

Apollo 17
Gene Cernan
Jack Schmitt

I'll be back in Michigan on July 25; so, no bloggy blogging until at least then. Try to survive without me, darlings.
A public servant I really like is Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. Look at him. Sunken eyes, hollow cheeks, and a haircut that bald men all over American should emulate. (You cannot have long hair like you did back in the '70s, you pathetic creeps, not if you don't have any hair left on top!) But seriously, look at the man. He looks like he's haunted. He looks like he hasn't slept in Bog knows how long. That's the kind of man I want running the vast, debatably Orwellian Department of Homeland Security. Fat man, rightly or wrongly, appear lazy. And I say this as a lazy fat man. Maybe lacking the discipline to control your diet or exercise properly has nothing to do with your professional competence or dedication to protecting this great nation, but who appears to be the more vigilant sentinel, Secretary Chertoff or the increasingly bulbous Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R, IL)? In any event, I sleep better knowing Chertoff doesn't.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Malingerer had the audacity to spoil my solitude by calling this evening. That vile piece of filth! He shall be made to pay for this transgression. What form will my vengeance take? I shall have to think on that, but rest assured that he will be punished.
Today's sad sack of the day is Chairman Hua Guofeng. He was the leader of the People's Republic of China, but I'd be surprised if any of you had ever heard of him. Oh, well, at least he fared better than poor Liu Shaoqi or Lin Biao, and to his credit he did manage to defeat Jiang Qing and the rest of the Gang of Four.

Vote For Kodos
Hey, could someone leave a comment or send me an email ( briefly explaning the proposed program of the Democratic Party? I'd be grateful. Listening to Senators Reid and Kerry and Representative Pelosi, I've got a good idea what the Democrats are against (everything under the sun), but I don't know what reforms or programs they actually support. Except Senator Durbin, I'm well aware where he stands: American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines behave exactly as did Nazis and Soviet commisars. Speak up, lefties, what exactly does your party support? Thanks.

Goodbye, Kitty
Last night, I slept with the door to my room open, extremely odd behavior on my part, I assure you. It was an experiment to see if I might use the alarm clocks in my parents' bedroom to help prevent me from sleeping away my entire solitude. (Their clocks didn't help, but I was able to rise at a satisfactory time in any event.) As I was looking at the open door, I really really wanted Sammy to walk in and jump up on the bed. I wish I was alone in the house with my kitty.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The parents were gone by noon. They shan't return until Tuesday night. We will all be busy during the day on Wednesday, and by Wednesday night I shall be on my way to BTWest in Los Angeles. I'll be back on the following Monday. So, essentially, I am rid of my mother and my father for an entire week. The worm has turned, fortune smiles upon me. In the finest tradition of the JLI, "Bwah ha ha ha ha!"

On the Road
Traverse City, Michigan - camping, Memorial Day weekend
Schroon Lake, New York - the Mountain of Love at the Seagle Music Colony

Los Angeles, California - BTWest
Syracuse, New York - Reed's wedding
Bay City, Michigan - Booth's wedding

On these trips, I have seen or will see Guy Zach Nie!, Sarah (should I start calling her The Gal?), the Mountain of Love, the Professor, K. Steeze, the Belle of Texas, Skeeter, the Anonymous Friend, Daddy Dylweed and family, Reed and soon-to-be Mrs. Reed, Boof and soon-to-be Mrs. Boof, Saturday Night, and Dr. Justin. Others, too? I certainly hope so. I enjoy being alone more than anyone I know, but at the same time I have the best friends in all the world, and I love seeing them.

Yes, my friends are better than yours. It's not a matter of opinion, yours are simply inferior. Suck it up.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

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

My stated position is that if I ever see a girl wearing a short skirt and a Me First and the Gimme Gimmes T-shirt and drinking a Jones Soda Co. beverage, I will propose to her on the spot. Failing that, all I ask for is a girl who appreciates that there may be nothing finer in this world than the "Musical Depreciation Revue" of Spike Jones and His City Slickers.

Same Shit, Different Day
I'd complain about NPR and the fact that the jailing of Judith Miller for contempt of court seems to be getting more coverage than the aftermath of the London bombing, but I worry that I'm becoming a bit of a broken record.

I was talking to The Malingerer earlier (always a mistake), and he was horrified that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had been confirmed to the Supreme Court by a vote of something like 89-11. His position is that since Justice Ginsburg was once chief counsel for the ACLU, no Republican senator should have voted for her. I pointed out to him that that exact same argument, back by the opposite politcal persuasion, had been behind the defeat of Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court, a deplorable act in my father's eyes. He denounces "the Left" (and sometimes I am included in that vast group) for their tactics, while at the same time embracing them wholeheartedly. Dear Bog.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Why the fuck am I still awake? Back from Schroon Lake, the second of this summer's five trips. I never get tired of saying "Town. Of. Schroooooon." So tired... but can't... sleep... bah!

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Church of Henry VIII's Divorces
Okay, I do not at all understand what the problem is here. Hyperlink. The various Anglican and Episcopal churches around the world already permit female ministers; so, what's the problem with allowing female bishops? Make no mistake, I am absolutely opposed to the ordination of women, but once you have taken the step of ordaining women as priests, how can you possibly object to making them bishops? I felt the same confusion over the election of Gene Robinson as the bishop of New Hampshire; Robinson, if you'll recall, is gay. I oppose the ordination of openly and actively gay men as priests, but once they are allowed to be men of the cloth, as in the Anglican Communion, what possible sense does it make to prohibit a homosexual from becoming a bishop? Then again, the Churfhc of England was founded on the contradiction of allowing King Henry VIII to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn; that makes about as much sense as allowing women to be priests and denying them the right to be bishops. Silly Protestants.

In Cold Blood
It is not my intention to seem a heartless monster, but when contemplating the horrific murders in London it is useful to remind oneself that al Qaeda's spectacular, high profile acts of terrorism are increasingly in their lethality. The coordination needed to launch the attack on the Underground is a far cry from the complexity of 9/11's "Planes Operation" or the disrupted "Bojinka" plot to simultaneously blow up several trans-Pacific airliners from the mid-90s.

September 11, 2001 - New York; Washington, DC; & Pennsylvania, USA - 2,986 dead

October 12, 2002 - Bali, Indonesia - 212 dead

March 11, 2004 - Madrid, Spain - 191 dead

July 7, 2005 - London, United Kingdom - approximately 52 dead

Al Qaeda is deadly and ruthless and would not hesitate to stage another massive 9/11-style attack were they able, nor would they shy away from using weapons of mass destruction were they to acquire them. But, as Prime Minister Blair reminded us, "the purpose of terrorism... is to terrorize." We must remind ourselves that liberal democracy has defeated the medieval divine right of kings, slavery, militarism, fascism, and communism. We shall defeat Islamist jihadism, as well. We need only stay the course and declare that though the terrorists can kill us, we will not allow them to frighten us.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Goodbye, Kitty
I miss Sammy.

The Group of 8
One of these countries is not like the others. Guess which one:

United States of America
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Federal Republic of Germany
French Republic
Italian Republic
Dominion of Canada
Russian Federation

Russia was admitted to the former G7 when the Soviet Union collapsed, a balm for the Motherland's bruised ego. Is anyone seriously going to argue that Russia is more economically important than China? On the other hand, despite some disturbing moves on President Putin's part, Russia is still a quasi-democracy; China remains one of the most authoritarian states on Earth. Still, the G8 is definied as a club of the world's richest nations, a club to which Russia has no more right to belong than India, the world's largest democracy.

*Japan does not have a formal name. Though seldom used, the formal name of Canada is the Dominion of Canada; in governmental communications, both America and Great Britain tend to use their formal names, the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively. During the Second World War, Japan was the Empire of Japan. The emperor is still around, though no longer considered divine, but Japan is most certainly no longer the Empire. There's no name for Japan other than Japan.

Of course, Japan isn't really Japan. "Japan" comes from the Chinese word for the islands, "Jipan." The Japanese name for Japan is Nihon, sometimes styled as Nippon. So really, the Japanese should be called Nihonese.

Then again, what the hell did Amerigo Vespucci ever do that was so great? Really, instead of an American I suppose I should be a Columbian, not to be confused with a Colombian. Welcome to the United States of Columbia? There is still a British Columbia, long after British Honduras went the way of the buffalo.

Wait a second, I've seen buffalo! They aren't extinct. Damn misleading phrase....

Siamese (archaic)

Did I miss any?

The House of Burgesses
House of Representatives

Great Britain
House of Lords
House of Commons

House of Councillors
House of Representatives

Federal Council
Federal Diet

National Assembly

Chamber of Deputies

House of Commons

Federation Council
State Duma

Thursday, July 7, 2005

London Can Take It
From June 1940 to June 1941, Great Britain alone stood against the seemingly invincible Nazi war machine. Almost no part of London was spared from the Blitz. Even Buckingham Palace was damaged. The United States was neutral; the Soviet Union was a Nazi ally. The British people are made of sterner stuff than the cowardly Spanish; al Qaeda is mistaken if they believe today's barbarous slaughter will alter British policy to their liking.

Dieu et mon droit.
Epoxies Are:
Roy Cathode - drums
Shock Diode - bass, vox
Roxy Epoxy - vox
Viz Spectrum - guitar
F.M. Static - synths, vox

New Wave lives again.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

"Over Macho Grande?"
"I don't think I'll ever be over Macho Grande."

The Father and My Father
This Fourth of July, my father put up the "Don't Tread On Me" flag. I don't really mind, since the phrase originated from flags actually flown by Continental forces; thus, quite appropos for Independence Day. But he also put up two yard signs, one reading "Support Our Troops" and sporting a likeness of the flag raising on Iwo Jima, the other featuring a waving American flag and the words "God Bless America." While I should very much like to see this great nation continue to enjoy the Lord's favor, I find my father's new found religiosity disturbing and offensive.

Before 9/11, my father did not believe in God. In his own words, he might have believed "in a deity who was not necessarily the Judeo-Christian God." He loathed organized religion. Since he became a rabid anti-Muslim bigot and raving hatemonger in the almost four years since 9/11, he also claims to have seen "thr truth" about the Almighty and Christianity. I do not believe my father truly believes in the Father, the Son, and/or the Holy Ghost. He has, to my knowledge, never given any money to charity; in fact, he seems to rather hate the poor and destitute, a most un-Christian attitude.

What I think my father believes in is some kind of mythical, romanticized version of Crusades-era Christianity. He has often said that the current War on Terror is just the latest battle in Christendom's "1,300 year war against Islam." What he fails to realize is that Christianity is the antithesis of war. The medieval Church made many mistakes, paramount among them proclaimig the righteousness of holy wars against non-Christians. How is the rape of Jerusalem by the knights and soldiers of the First Crusade any different than the Japanese rape of Nanking? Answer, it isn't, and the vast majority of those Crusaders are to this day still burning in Hell. I can imagine no greater sin than murdering in His name. And yet this is the Christianity my father seems to believe in.

My father reads voraciously, including a great deal about the history of the Middle East and the wars between Muslim and Christian empires. But let this be a lesson: you can read all the time and still not learn anything. England allied with the Ottoman Turks to oppose Venice's merchantile empire. The knights of the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople instead of reclaiming Jerusalem from Islamic princes, and installed a Latin king in place of the Byzantine emperor. The British Empire and the Second French Empire allied with the Ottoman Empire against Czarist Russia. How does any of this represent a continuing "1,300 year war" between Christianity and Islam?

Our enemies are Muslims but Muslims are not our enemies, Dad. If you really had any faith in Christ, you'd understand this.

Monday, July 4, 2005

Independence Day!
Happy Independence Day, America! 229 years ago the Continental Congress declared the creation of the United States of America as a nation independent of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, it's mad King George III, and it's hypocritically tyrannical Parliament. The United States and the United Kingdom have since become great friends, but twenty-three decades ago Whitehall stood as a great obstacle to human freedom, an obstacle the nigh-saintly Founding Fathers were determined to surmount. With the help of the despotic King Louis XVI of France, the Continental Army routed the British at Yorktown, prompting our defeated foes to play the song, "The World Turned Upside Down." Imagine the history of the world over the last two centuries had the British Empire prevailed, had we cowered before their might as did our Canadian cousins.

America has been the greatest force for human freedom the world has ever seen. "The shot heard 'round the world" was fired on April 19, 1775, but the shot that changed human history, that declared forever the inalienable rights of man, was fired on July 4, 1776. Happy birthday, America.

Sunday, July 3, 2005

The Great Apes
Gorilla Grodd
Bobo, the Detective Chimp
Sam Simeon

I've encountered Grodd in the pages of The Flash and on the Justice League cartoon ("Secret Society, Parts I and II"), and I know he was the villain in the first arc of JLA: Classified. The Ultra-Humanite, though in a non-ape body, was the villain in the five-part JSA story "Stealing Thunder" and also appeared in all his white ape glory on Justice League ("Comfort and Joy," et alii). I was introduced to the Detective Chimp in the current miniseries Day of Vengeance, and I can't say I'd mind seeing more of him. As for Sam Simeon of "Angel & the Ape"? I've never encountered him, but then again I've only been reading DC comics for five years.

Hee hee, monkeys.
Science! Leave it to the geniuses at NASA to figure out a way to combine legitimate science and high velocity impacts, i.e. blowing stuff up! Woot! Just in time for the Fourth of July, we're going to hit a comet with a washing machine! Science!*

*Note that this is the Invader ZIM "Science!," whereas the above hyperlink is the Thomas Dolby "Science!"

Dark Sun. We harnessed the destructive power of nuclear fusion half a century ago. If we can finally perfect stable, containable fusion, my Bog, it'll provide all the energy we'll ever need. It's a brave new world, my friends, just watch out for the Epsilons.

To the Death
Omet'iklon: "I am First Omet'iklon, and I am dead. From this moment on, we are all dead. We go into battle to reclaim our lives. This we do gladly, for we are Jem'Hadar. Remember, victory is life."
Jem'Hadar: "Victory is life!"

O'Brien: "I am Chief Miles Edward O'Brien. I'm very much alive and I intend to stay that way."
Sisko: "Come on, people, let's get in done."
I have seen War of the Worlds (we saw it this evening at my dear mother's insistence), about which I will say this one thing only: Steven Spielberg, once one of our finest filmmakers, still has yet to direct a good movie in the twenty-first century. He came very close this time, but blew it at the end. I have not been so disappointed by the end of a movie since Deep Impact.

My advice? Either stay home or go see Revenge of the Sith again.

Saturday, July 2, 2005

Bellvm Americana
Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
*British Empire

War of 1812 (1812-1815)
*British Empire

Mexican War (1846-1848)

Civil War (1861-1865)

Spanish-American War (1898)
*Spanish Empire

Great War (1914-1918, US 1917-1918)
*German Empire
*Austro-Hungarian Empire
*Ottoman Empire

Second World War (1939-1945, US 1941-1945)
*Nazi Germany
*Japanese Empire
*Fascist Italy

Korean War (1950-1953)
*North Korea
*QT: Soviet Union

Vietnam War (1957-1975, US 1965-1973)
*North Vietnam
*QT: China, Soviet Union

Gulf War (1991)

Afghan War (2001)
*Taliban militia
*al Qaeda

Iraq War (2003-present)
*al Qaeda

An argument can be made for not including the Gulf War. After all, it only lasted a few weeks (and the ground war only a few days), and was entirely one-sided. But, the Spanish-American War can't reasonably be left off the list ("Remember the Maine!", San Juan Hill, America's first and only overseas empire) even it lasted only a few months and was devastatingly one-sided. So, the 1991 Gulf War is in.

Friday, July 1, 2005

The Death of Superman Trilogy
"The Death of Superman"
"Funeral For a Friend"
"Reign of the Supermen"

The Death of Superman
World Without a Superman
The Return of Superman

The Supermen
Superman (Clark Kent/Kal-El)
Cyborg Superman (Hank Henshaw)
The Kryptonian (the Eradicator)
The Man of Steel (John Henry Irons) - Steel
Superboy (Kon-El/Conner Kent)

Man, what a great story.

O Canada!
Also, happy faux independence day to our friends in the Great White North. If Canada is really an independent country, why does their Monopoly money still feature the likeness of the Queen?
Article III
Justice Sandra Day O'Conner has announced her retirement from the United States Supreme Court. Hyperlink. Now, who actually thinks the nomination and confirmation process will be civil and/or dignified? Think Chief Justice Rehnquist will give W. the chance to nominate a dynamic duo? In any event, my thanks to Mrs. O'Conner for her decades of service to the Republic.

One Country, Two Systems
On July 1, 1997, sovereignty over Hong Kong (Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, and the New Territories) was transferred from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the People's Republic of China. While the people of Hong Kong do not live under the same repression as the majority of Chinese, it is equally fair to say that do not enjoy the same civil liberties they did under the British governor. I really don't feel much sympathy for Haong Kong democracy activists. Did you people honestly believe you could both live under Beijing's rule and remain free? How stupid are you? Were you not paying attention in 1989? I sympathize with those who did not have the economic means to leave Hong Kong before the handover, but that does not extend to those who had the wherewithal and chose to stay; they should have known what they were getting into.

I really do like the new Hong Kong flag, though. Hyperlink.

Captains of Industry
Bruce Wayne (Batman) - Wayne Enterprises, advanced research division Waynetech
Lex Luthor - Lexcorp
Ted Kord (deceased, Blue Beetle II) - K.O.R.D. (Kord Omniversal Research and Development), a division of Wayne Enterprises
Michael Carter (Booster Gold) - Booster Gold International (formerly Goldstar, Inc.) **bankrupt**
Jesse Chambers (Jesse Quick) - QuickStart