Sunday, December 31, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Real Can of Yams, "Pontiac Button: Activate!" from Good or Suck! (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: The last RCY show - not the last ever, just the latest show we've played - was two years ago tonight. I thought about picking one of the three live versions* of "Pontiac Button: Activate!" I have in my library, including the version we played during that fabled show two years hence, but I desired to hear the clean album version. (Our live shows are charmingly rough affairs.) Plus, the album version has a clip from Patrick Stewart's one-man performance of A Christmas Carol!

*We only have two albums worth of songs, so a huge percentage of our catalog gets played every show. I have recordings of shows from June '02, New Year's Eve Eve '02, and New Year's Eve Eve '04. December 30, 2002 has been officially classified as "one of the best nights of my life."

Happy New Year!
Iron Fisticuffs
Marvel Comics has recently commenced publication of a new ongoing comic book titled The Immortal Iron Fist; Iron Fist (Danny Rand) is one of the premier martial artists in the Marvel Universe. The series is co-written by Ed Brubaker, one of my favorite comic book writers and also among the most consistent in terms of the quality of his work (spread over a broad range of genres), and features delightfully eccentric art by David Aja, with whose work I was previously unfamiliar. The first two issues have been paced quite slowly, but Brubaker is a writer on whom one can count to ultimately deliver the goods. I am enjoying The Immortal Iron Fist. And not to trivialize the efforts of Mr. Brubaker, his co-written Matt Fraction, Mr. Aja, or any of the numerous other creative talents behind the book, but far and away my favorite part of The Immortal Iron Fist is the title of the first story arc, "The Last Iron Fist Story." Sweet crack rock, I love a good title.

The Immortal Iron Fist No. 1, "The Last Iron Fist Story, Part 1," hee hee!

Friday, December 29, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Barenaked Ladies, "Bank Job" from Barenaked Ladies Are Me (T.L.A.M.)
Coming Attractions
Originally, I intended to present these items as a paragraph laced with ellipses, but as you can see I opted for an ellipsis-packed list. I always opt for a list. Dear Bog, I love lists! But then, you knew that. To the list!

...the death of President Ford... I feel bad about the first thought that flittered through my mind upon hearing the terrible news, "Gerald Ford devoured by wolves... and I'm gay"...
...Ethiopia's intervention in Somalia...
...the UN Security Council's sanctions against our bosom buddies in the Islamic Republic of Iran... Blogger versus old Blogger...
...the people I met on the flights to and from my beloved Michigan...
...The L.A.W. and her beau, Father Time (I am considering changing his codename to the Maine Man)...
...The Mountain of Love and the love of his life, the Buckeye... mom and dad...
...Dad's racist friend...
...the shiny baubles that sated my Christmas greed... future...
...why I can never give up on the Detroit Lions, no matter how much I want to...
...the Rose Bowl...
...the dark bastard's comeuppance...
...the beauty and spectacle of the Christian faith...
...Hello, Kitty...
...the looming fifth anniversary of this bloggy blog's beginning...
...all this and much much more!

Also, I am considering writing the date of my journal entries with two zeroes - 11.11.007 as opposed to the current 11.11.06 - but only if I can convince myself that doing so won't make me a complete tool. Stay tuned to The Secret Base of the Rebel Black Dot Society for this and similar inanities.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, "Leaving On a Jet Plane" from Have a Ball (T.L.A.M.)

I hope to spend very little time online during my brief sojourn in the Great Lakes State; so, here is the next installment of "The Explorers Club" a day early.

The Explorers Club
Question No. 5: The Seventh and Eighth Crusades of Saint Louis, King Louis IX of France.

Friday, December 22, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Mu330, "Three Days 'til Christmas" from Winter Winderland! (Mt. Love)
The Stars My Destination
Home for Christmas: one! And here's a neat graphic representation of the Shuttle's reentry: two. Safe journey, Discovery, and Godspeed.

"When you have shot and killed a man you have in some measure clarified your attitude toward him. You have given a definite answer to a definite problem. For better or worse you have acted decisively.

"In a way, the next move is up to him."
--R.A. Lafferty

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Demon's Head
This evening, a story has begun to form in my mind, a tale of Ra's al Ghul, Vandal Savage, and the "infernal machine" of the 1584-1585 Siege of Antwerp by forces of the Spanish Crown. All week, I've been thinking about Ra's al Ghul; his daughter Talia; and his dread foe, the Detective, known to the rest of the world as the Batman. I've watched all the Ra's al Ghul episodes of Batman: The Animated Series: "Off Balance," "The Demon's Quest, Parts I and II," "Avatar," and "Showdown," and the Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Demon Reborn," and read most of the Ra's stories in my collection of comics, making a point of skipping Batman: Death and the Maidens. Of the comics stories, I'd have to say my favorite is the not-exactly-in-continuity story Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity, which paired the titular heroes against their opposites: Ra's al Ghul, Bizarro, and Artemis of the lost tribe of Amazons. (Wonder Woman's name is Diana, the Roman name for the Greek goddess Artemis; it's an obvious bit of symmetry, but one I've enjoyed just the same, throughout Artemis's in-continuity appearances.)

Despite my hostility to the character of Nyssa Raatko, al Ghul's estranged daughter and adversary, I do like the idea of exploring, beyond his darling Talia, the children the Demon's Head has surely sired in his six or seven centuries of life. I'd like to introduce his 19th century son, Arkady Duvall from "Showdown," into the appropriate time period of the DCU. (Harley Quinn and Livewire leapt from the small screen to the four-color world; so, there is precedent.) In contrast to the conflicted Talia, her loyalties always divided between her father and her beloved Detective, and the perfidious Nyssa, I'd like to feature a completely devoted and obedient daughter, Ivana al Ghul (named, of course, after Ms. Milicevic). Because she's the good daughter, of course she must die before her time, almost certainly at the hands of or due to the machinations of the remorseless Savage. (Am I indulging in the Women in Refridgerator's syndrome? No, I don't think so, because Ivana must be female and must die for her to properly parallel Talia; what happens to Ivana is meant to partially explain Ra's's indulgent behavior toward Talia.)

Anyway, the theoretical miniseries Ra's al Ghul/Vandal Savage: The Infernal Machine is very much in it's infancy. All I know right now is that since I don't want to use time travel to forge a connection to the main superheroes of the 20th/21st century DC Universe, I'll work in either or both Jason Blood and the Immortal Man for the requisite heroics. Hmmm, I don't object to time travel per se, so maybe I'll include Walker Gabriel, the second and less villainous Chronos.
I said a prayer before falling asleep last night, the first time I had said a bedtime prayer in far too long. As usual, I discovered a geniune sense of wellness and peace resulting from my entreaties to the Almighty. I shall never understand those without faith. I understand doubt all too well, I spent several of my teenaged years struggling with the concept of a just God creating such an unjust world, but He was the beginning and the end of those questions. What I've never understood is how someone can ask the same questions I asked and come up with different answers.

A simple truth, perhaps even laughably simple, but the truth nonetheless: God loves you.

BTW South Song of the Day
17 Years, "What's Your Name?" from Mailorder is Fun! (T.L.A.M.)

This is why I love the world, because you have no idea what crazy thing is going to happen next: truth is stranger than fiction.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Duvall, "O Come All Ye Faithful" from O Holy Night (Mt. Love)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Yesterday, it was 70 F in Fort Worthless and after work I put on shorts. Today, it's twenty degrees cooler and rainy, which is better, but still not in the least Christmasy. Thank Bog for bowl season, the only clue that Christmas is actually near! A concerted effort on multiple fronts would be necessary for me to care less about TCU-Northern Illinois, but at least it's a bowl game. And when the loser bowls have started, Christmas is just around the corner! * * * Edited to conform to new anti-whining standards and protocols * * *; so, I am tremendously grateful for this concrete reminder that Christmas, home, hearth, family, and friends are tantalizingly near. Saturday! Saturday! Saturday!

Is it wrong that I want to write a story in which Ra's al Ghul wins? I don't want him to destroy the world or anything, but if he's to retain any credibility as Batman's deadliest foe, isn't he about due for a win? At this point even a Pyrrhic victory over "the Detective" would greatly improve his average. (Of course, "at this point" in the DCU Ra's al Ghul is dead, but death is even less of a barrier to the Demon's Head than it is to most of his oft-resurrected comic book brethren.)

Ra's al Ghul - the Demon's Head (death is but a temporary setback)
Talia al Ghul - the de facto Demon's Head
Nyssa Raatko - good riddance to bad rubbish
Ibn al Xu'ffasch "Damien Wayne" - the Son of the Bat (an idea I oppose but not an idea without real potential)

BTW South Song of the Day
Discount, "Soup" from Mailorder is Fun! (T.L.A.M.)

Monday, December 18, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Murky Transport Disaster, "Christmas Should Be Lasting All Year Long" from The Murky Transport Disaster Disaster Transport Transport Disaster (Mt. Love)

Awesome. Step one: defeat Inter Milan. Step two: reestablish the Papal States. Step three: rename the Mediterranean the Holy Sea.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Explorers Club
Question No. 4: the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Astronaut Group 2, nicknamed "The New Nine."

I know the next feature is dreadfully predictable, but take heart, there are only two games left in the season and after this year, if massive changes are not made, I'm done with the Lions forever.

Fire Millen & Fire Marinelli
23-71, Mr. Millen, 2-12 on the year. Have you no decency? I did not wear my Honolulu Blue Lions T-shirt today and making a point of not wearing it most most satisfying. And I was so very, very happy when I saw the final score. Green Bay was the last theoretically winnable game of the season, and for reasons I cannot fully explain I was horrified by the prospect of a win in today's contest. Woot!

Congratulations on breaking Marino's record, Mr. Favre.

2-12, Mr. Marinelli, and goony Jon Kitna, in your opinion the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of professional football, threw two more interceptions and coughed up a fumble, on fourth down no less. That's twelve consecutive games in which Kitna has thrown at least one interception; Joey Harrington's longest such string was six games. Good move there, Rod. How does it feel to be Marty Mornhinweg?
Blast From the Past
I remember this story: squirrel. No wonder Saturday's anti-Putin rally in Moscow was so small: wee. In Russia, the squirrels will kill you and gut your corpse; so, you can only imagine what unspeakable horrors the remorseless killers of the FSB will devise and skillfully perpetrate. Yes, Comrade President Putin! Whatever you say, Comrade President Putin! Please, Comrade President Putin, not the squirrels! I want an open casket, Comrade President Putin, for my mother's sake!

And that's in today's friendly, democratic Russia. Imagine what they'd do to you in the bad old days of Soviet Russia.

BTW South Song of the Day
Reel Big Fish, "A Little Doubt Goes a Long Way" (live) from Our Live Album is Better Than Your Live Album, Disc 2: Move Fastly With the Fast Music (T.L.A.M.)

Saturday, December 16
Duvall, "Angels We Have Heard on High" from O Holy Night (Mt. Love)

Commentary: And because I've selected the live version of "A Little Doubt Goes a Long Way," there are lots of Aaron Barrett's "funny, funny jokes" included in today's Song of the Day. My first real rock show was Reel Big Fish at Clutch Cargo's in February 1999. Our first introduction to Mu330 came on that same spectacular night, as they were one of the opening bands. My life was never the same after seeing Reel Big Fish live on stage and for that I owe them a great debt.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Science! of Spy vs. Spy
The plot thickens: spylink. Also, here's a nice article about the science! behind the "Spy vs. Spy" saga: polonium-210. There's quite the opportunity to scoff at Russian protestations of innocence if you read all the way to the bottom. Polonium may have been named by Madame Curie after her native Poland, but what the name brings to my mind is Polonius, the father of Ophelia and Laertes in Hamlet. The death of a man who worked for the KGB and thus, it could be argued, died the death he deserved; a pioneering, diminutive Polish-French scientist who defied the archaic social mores of her era; and the immortal works of William Shakespeare, one with which I am particularly familiar due to an excessive concentration on Tom Stoppard's not clever enough Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in 12th grade AP English. The world is a many splendored place if only one takes the time to forge awkward connections between unrelated topics and then ascribes indefensible significant to those false bonds.


This is how my mind works when it is nearly six o'clock in the morning and sleep has eluded me all night.

Friday, December 15, 2006

In 1999, aircraft of the German Luftwaffe bombed Serbian targets as part of the so-called Kosovo War (I think "war" is too strong a description of NATO's brief interdiction). During the Cold War, the West German Heer was the largest component of NATO's ground forces arrayed against the Soviets and their Warsaw Pact puppets. (The United States Army was larger, but not all of its forces were in Western Europe.) So, in light of these are other moves towards the normalization of Germany's defense policies, what is the big deal here?

The chief external opponents of the normalization of Japan's defense policies are North Korea, the last Stalinist state in the world, and China, which fought an aggressive war against Vietnam in 1979 and continues to position more and more missiles within firing range of Taiwan. And a reminder, the People's Liberation Army's budget continues to increase by double digit percentages year after year. (Merry Christmas!) Confronted with such inhospitable neighbors, is it any surprise the Japanese Diet voted to make the Japan Defense Agency a cabinet ministry? We're not talking about a massive new program to upgrade Japan's armaments and munitions, or even anything as "radical" as removing the self-defense label from the Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Forces, just elevated the Japan Defense Agency to a Ministry of Defense.

BTW South Song of the Day
John Linnell, "The Songs of the 50 States" from State Songs (T.L.A.M.)
Forget Tibet, Free Flanders!
This brought a huge grin to my mug: Belgium!

BTW South Song of the Day
Mu330, "Angels We Have Heard On High" from Winter Wonderland! (Mt. Love)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Spy vs. Spy
Check out the picture about halfway through the article: Batlink. Is it just me or is there a bat-like logo in the floor next to Comrade President Putin? Huh, all these years I thought FSB was an initialism for Federal'naya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti (Russian rendered in the Latin alphabet), translated into English as the Federal Security Service. Now I guess it stands for... what? Federal Service of Batmen? Fiery Syndicate of Batmaniacs?

Here's a bit of good news: Good riddance. The death of any member of Hamas is a reason to smile.

Pinochle with Pinochet
The fun in funeral. Captain Augusto Pinochet Molina is not a private citizen, he is an officer in the Chilean Army; ergo, he does not have the same freedom to criticize the government, specifically the Chilean justice system, as would a Chilean civilian. If his superiors deem to sanction him, that is right and just. My question is, where was President Bachelet's condemnation when those who opposed Pinochet's dictatorship were rioting in celebration of his death and frustration that he was never tried for what they believe were his crimes? She has harsh words for the intemperate words of the General's grieving grandson, but nothing to say when her own supporters are fighting against the police and setting Santiago ablaze? Not cool, Madame President.

BTW South Song of the Day
MxPx, "The Next Big Thing" from The Ever Passing Moment (T.L.A.M.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Spy vs. Spy
Have no fear, Interpol is here! Spylink.

Oh, and hey, while all of these fun and games are going on, the genocide in the Darfur region of the Sudan continues unabated. Of course, Kofi Annan was too busy accusing the United States of having ceded the moral high ground to the late, unlamented Pol Pot to notice. We should bring back the League of Nations, because at least the League was honest about being impotent to stem the tide of human suffering.

BTW South Song of the Day
Mu330, "I Got This Neighbor" from Winder Wonderland! (Mt. Love)

Commentary: Not to be confused with Mu330's "Neighbor" from Crab Rangoon, which is another song altogether. Years ago at an Mu330 show in Evil Lansing, K. Steeze, the Mountain, and I shouted for the band to play "I Got This Neighbor." Sure, it was St. Paddy's Day, but we were in the mood for a Christmas ditty. So, the lead singer, Dan Potthast, a.k.a. Steve Roelle, the missing Roelle brother, said, "'Neighbor'? Sure!" And then they played "Neighbor." It's a great song; so, it was all good.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Spy vs. Spy
And the tangled web grows ever more tangled: spylink.

BTW South Song of the Day
Barenaked Ladies, "Pinch Me" from Maroon (T.L.A.M.)
The Victors
All hail Lloyd Carr, a man of honor and integrity, who said, "One of the great values of sports at any level is you have to learn to accept things when they don't go your way. You need to be able to handle things... in a way that honors the game."

And my thanks to Michigan alumna The Watergirl and Michigan alumnus The Bradman (formerly Neutral Man) for opening my eyes to MGoBlog. Here are some musings on the humble glory that is Lloyd: Go Blue!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Explorers Club
Question No. 3: A troika from the Vietnam War: the Battle of Ia Drang, the Siege of Khe Sanh, and the Son Tay raid.

Fire Millen & Marinelli
23-70, Mr. Millen, 2-11 on the year. Have you no decency? Also, Jon Kitna, whom Rod Marinelli regards as Dan Marino, Bob Griese, Dan Fouts, and Jim Kelly rolled into one man, threw three interceptions and extended his streak of having thrown at least one interception per game to eleven consecutive games. Fire Millen above all else, but Marinelli should also be fired.

Addendum: Rod Marinelli's essentially first act as head coach of the Lions was to get rid of Joey Harrington. Marinelli was convinced that the Lions could never win with Joey as the starting quarterback. After Harrington's replacement, the goonish Jon Kitna, threw three interceptions and gave up a fumble during last week's fall-from-ahead loss to the New England Patriots, Marinelli declared Kitna the starting QB for not just the rest of this season, but next year as well. Today, Kitna threw three interceptions and gave up a fumble; deja vu all over again. Harrington, coincidentally both the quarterback Marinelli was certain could never lead the Lions to victory and the quarterback who thoroughly outplayed Kitna on Thanksgiving Day, spent his afternoon engineering a three-touchdown victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots.

I want Matt Millen to be fired, but the reality is that he isn't going to be fired, not for years and years and years. But head coaches come and go. In the short term, the best way to improve the Lions is to fire Rod Marinelli and his man-crush Jon Kitna. Fire Marinelli!

BTW South Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "We, the Uninspired" from the Absolution for Idiots and Addicts EP (Mt. Love)
Pinochle with Pinochet
Captain General Augusto Pinochet is dead: hyperlink. May the Lord God grant him mercy.

Pinochet may have been a monster, but he was our monster. The West's victory in the Cold War, the defeat of the Soviet Union, and the collapse of global Communism were not foregone conclusions in 1973. And the regime of Salvador Allende was not as lily-white as his niece, the author Isabel Allende, would lead you to believe. General Pinochet was a friend to the United States, a valuable ally against Latin American Marxism-Leninism, and, though the "Miracle of Chile," the architect of his own people's brilliant future. The Cold War was won, the monolithic evil of Soviet Communism crushed, only because men like Augusto Pinochet were willing to put the long-term welfare of the free peoples of the world ahead of the sanctity of their own souls. I hope that the Almighty rewards them for their service to His Creation. Rest in peace, General.

And no, my use of the word "Creation" does not suggest any sympathy for Creationism or the cynical, specious Intelligent Design "hypothesis."

Saturday, December 9, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Luckie Strike, "Slightly Stoopid" from Mailorder is Fun!! (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I thought about choosing Ben Folds's "Losing Lisa" in honor of The L.A.W.'s birthday, but we're not losing The L.A.W. I can form tenuous links between BNL's "Maybe Katie" and The Watergirl and FoW's "Hey Julie" and Skeeter, and there's nothing tenuous about the links between Zach and Sarah and "Zak and Sara," but I just don't "see" my wicked, darling sister in "Losing Lisa." So, I picked a completely random song that I love love love. "Slightly Stoopid" is one of those songs I can put on repeat for a solid hour and not lose affection.

Speaking of names and names and connections, I've been watching a lot of the James Bond films lately, both in the build-up to the superb Casino Royale and in the afterglow, and I am endlessly... muddled by Michael G. Wilson, producer of the films from 1979's Moonraker through the present day and writer of five films from For Your Eyes Only (1981) through License to Kill (1989). He's obviously quite a bit older than me and he's Michael G. to my Michael P., but he's Michael Wilson. It's weird. Oh, and there is a preternatural connection between the names Michael and David Wilson, which I will discuss again another time; so, of course Michael G. Wilson has a son named David.

Anyway, thanks for the Bond films, Mr. Wilson, they're great.
"As he was a bachelor and in nobody's debt, nobody troubled his head any more about him."
--Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Friday, December 8, 2006

I have never understood the "reasoning" of those who argue that science and religion are natural, inevitable enemies, like mammals and reptiles. Archaeology is a science, and right here archaeology has made an invaluable contribution to all of Christendom: St. Paul's tomb. Science is the tool by which we come to understand the workings of the world, religion is the path by which we come to understand the purpose behind those workings. Hand in hand for the greater glory of all Mankind, the Almighty's most favored children.

Perchance to Dream
I fell asleep last night at eleven o'clock. I never go to bed that early; so, even though I was dead on my feet, I assumed when I laid my head on my pillow that I would toss and turn for hours before falling alseep. Such was not the case, though I did make up momentarily just after one o'clock, falling back to sleep almost immediately.

Anyway, the dream from Thursday night/Friday morning: I was an insane serial killer in a maximum security prison. My partner in crime was there, too. We were both quite mad and so should have been not in prison but in the maximum security wing of an insane asylum. Our lawyers were on the cusp of arranging such a move and we were both as pleased as punch. We spared no effort in sharing our glee with our murderous fellow prisoners. At the end of the dream, a number of them had cornered me and were insering a large needle into my right shoulder, but I awoke before learning its purpose, though I can say for certain that they bore me considerable ill will.

And as if all that wasn't bad enough, I spied nary a trace of Ivana Milicevic!

BTW South Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "How's My Driving, Doug Hastings?" from Losing Streak (Mt. Love)

Thursday, December 7, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Mike Park, "Korea is So Far Away" from Mailorder is Still Fun!! (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: K. Steeze declared several years ago that I was inevitably going to marry a Chinese girl. He didn't specify if she'd be Chinese-American, Chinese, Taiwanese, Chinese-Indonesian, Chinese-Singaporean (odd, I always thought the adjective form of Singapore was Singaporese), or what. Perhaps one tell she'll tell her parents, "I want to share my round-eyed devil with you, and he's not so different from you."

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Perchance to Dream
Tuesday night/Wednesday morning: A monstrous figure who bore a thematic resemblance to Lobo, the DC Comics character, though physically he was quite distinct, was stalking me and several others through my house in Grand Blanc, pursuing us in order to do harm to Sam, my dearly departed cat who was inexplicably very much alive and kicking. We hid in the basement and for some reason he could not locate us for the longest time, but I awoke before there was any resolution to the chase. While hiding in the basement, I had sex with Ivana Milicevic; so, it was a weird dream with a spectacular upside.
I've been listening to The Ataris quite a bit recently. These are heady days for the dark bastard.

Holy Niagara Falls, Batman! At least, maybe: aqualink.

BTW South Song of the Day
Save Ferris, "Mistaken" from Modified (Mt. Love)

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Reel Big Fish, "The Kids Don't Like It" from Why Do They Rock So Hard? (T.L.A.M.)

Deep in the Heart of Darkness... er, Texas
I've finally figued out why we had to keep using the air conditioning so far into the fall: BTW South is about an insulated as a screen door. Conveniently, the temperature at night has been getting chilly (back home, I'd say this is early October weather, though with less rain). There would be no need to turn on the heat, except BTW South leaks warmth like a sieve; a constant draft seeps in through the seems around the front door. The real difficulty is that BTW South features dorm-style heating: the only furnace setting is full blast. So, I activate the heat for short periods, making the apartment too warm in a matter of moments, then I shut the heat off and watch the temperature slowly bleed back to comfortable and parts beyond over the course of a couple hours. And I have to use the thermostat to turn the heat on and off, since the "Auto" setting results in a BTW South warm enough to roast a turkey.

I can't wait until New Year's Day because I can't wait for 2007. 2007 is the year my own personal Babylonian Exile will end and I can return to Michigan. Almost every single one of my friends said moving out of my parents' house was a good idea, irrespective of to where I was moving. And every one of those people was wrong. The one and only good thing about this entire debacle has been these two realizations: a) You are never too old to make the biggest mistake of your life. b) You cannot depend upon your friends to know what's best for you, because they have no idea; they mean well, but we all know with what the road to Hell is paved.
The Magic of Shazam!
The route of the Morris Expedition - Billy Batson, Beautia Sivana, Whitey Murphy, and Avi Ducret - in "From Here to the Rock of Eternity":

Fawcett City, USA
Karnak, Egypt
Tyre, Lebanon
Venice, Italy
Samarkand, Uzbekistan
"somewhere in the Himalayan Mountains"

I am also debating whether our intrepid heroes should stop off in Istanbul (not Constantinople), Turkey inbetween Tyre and Venice. And I know Venice has been done to death in fiction, but a plot point involves the sacking of Constantinople by the knights of the Fourth Crusade in 1204; so, visiting the sinking city can't be avoided.
The Stars My Destination
Lunarlink. Say it with me, Moonbase. Moooooooonbase. Ye gods, Jasper was right, "What a time to be alive." Meanwhile, as square-jawed Americans prepare to laugh in the face of danger and spit in the face of death aboard the always spectacular Moonbase (How do you get to the Moonbase? Orion!), our haughty European friends are contemplating sending defenseless tulips to face the peril: tuliplink. For crying out loud, what kind of men hide behind tulips? So, while we act like space cowboys and man our mighty Moonbase, Europe will be sending delicate tulip bulbs, each bearing a daintily lettered ribbon, "I claim this land in the name of Spain."

A dated reference, I know, but all your Moonbase are belong to us. And the Moonbase is a gift that keeps on giving, because once NASA has it up and running, we can finally crown Al Gore's Head as the first Emperor of the Moon. "I have ridden the mighty Moon worm."

Monday, December 4, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Mu330, "Christmas Merry Christmas" from Winter Wonderland! (Mt. Love)
The Cold War
Hyperlink. Great Stalin's ghost, I love this story! (With apologies to Mr. Litvinenko's family and a sincere hope that his murderers are caught and punished.)
The Explorers Club
Question No. 2: Felix Edmundovich "Iron Felix" Dzerzhinsky.

The Victors
I am on the record as being against a rematch between the valiant University of Michigan Wolverines and the hated Ohio State University Buckeyes, but let me say this: if the point of the BCS is to produce a national championship game between the two best teams, it has failed yet again. I largely agree with the sentiments container herein: hyperlink. As an opponent of a rematch, I am ecstatic that for the first time in years the Rose Bowl is being restored to its rightful glory. The Big Ten versus the Pac-10, the valiant Wolverines versus the weaselly University of Southern California Trojans, that's the way the Granddaddy of 'Em All is supposed to be! Woot! Go Blue!

What's great about the BCS is how easy it is to hate. Both the pesky University of Wisconsin Badgers and the downtrodden Auburn University Tigers have better BCS averages than the despicable University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, yet the despicable Irish alone received an at-large BCS invitation. It's a good thing Charlie Weiss single-handedly invented the game of football, because otherwise that kind of favoritism would be inexcusable.

Predictions: victory for the hated Buckeyes, Michigan, and the swampy Louisiana State University Tigers. You can never say it too often, Go Blue!

Fire Millen
23-69, Mr. Millen, 2-10 on the year. Have you no decency? And now I want each of you to reach inside yourself, tap into your inner 13-year-old, and giggle it with me, "Huh huh, huh huh, sixty-nine. Huh huh."

Lately, a great multitude has been making the case that though the Lions are almost certain to finish with a worse record this season, Rod Marinell's first as head coach, than in any of Steve Mariucci's three seasons (5-11, 6-10, 5-11), Marinelli is "a good coach" and the team is "moving in the right direction." It was Rod Marinelli, in cahoots with the offensive "genius" of Mike Martz, who longed to be rid of Joey Harrington and replace him with QBs Jon "Mr. Interception" Kitna and Josh "The Benchwarmer" McCown. You guys know that I'd blame Matt Millen for the fall of Constantinople if I could, but "upgrading" from Harrington to Kitna was more Marinelli and Martz's doing than it was Millen's. Kitna has now thrown for at least one interceptions in ten consecutive games, including three today. The Lions had three offensive drives in the fourth quarter; each met an ignominious end: Kitna threw an interception, Kitna fumbled, and Kitna threw an interception. And yet Marinelli insists that Kitna is the leader of this team and gives the Lions the best chance for success.

Personally, I'd say calling a man the leader of a 2-10 team is a condemnation, not an endorsement. But, it does appear that the preseason evaluations of Marinelli were spot on, he is just the kind of coach Millen wanted. Millen isn't man enough to take responsibility for the 23-69 record his decisions have wrought; Marinelli isn't man enough to take responsibility for the 2-10 disaster his decisions have wrought. Have the decency to resign, you hypocrites.

BTW South Song of the Day
Barenaked Ladies, "One Week" from Stunt (T.L.A.M.)

Saturday, December 2
They Might Be Giants, "Letterbox" from Flood (Mt. Love)

Thursday, November 30
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "The 'Weird Al' Show Theme" from Running With Scissors (Mt. Love)

Tuesday, November 28
Josie and the Pussycats, "3 Small Words" from Josie and the Pussycats - Music From the Motion Picture (Mt. Love)

Friday, December 1, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
The Forces of Evil, "Independant" from Friend or Foe? (T.L.A.M.)

Guy: Would you please hold my hand?
Girl: I can't, I'm independant.
Guy: I want to be your man.
Girl: You can't, I'm independant.

Guy: I'll call you on the phone.
Girl: You can't, I'm independant.
Guy: Let me know when you're home.
Girl: I can't, I'm independant.
The Perfect Girl
I've had the wild notion that after graduation Scipio Winter will enlist in the French Foreign Legion. He is, after all, a ridiculously theatrical person, especially for someone who has never shown any interest in the theater; and he would agree with me, in part because he is a fictional character whose thoughts and opinions are all products of my imagination, that despite the many glaring flaws of the French people, France is important enough to be worth fighting for. Any resulting adventures could be chronicled under the title "L'Americain" or L'Americain.

I've been softening the opening of The Perfect Girl to make the whole enterprise more believable. Margaret Eastman is becoming, thankfully, less of a philosophically-driven backetcase and more of an overly enthusiastic embracer of circumstance. She may be crazy, and she probably is, a little bit, but all she's trying to do is make lemonade out of the lemons life has placed before her. Before, she decided to lose her virginity to Eddie Beck and made a beeline for his bedroom as soon as she arrived at the frat house; now, she is just as determined to surrender her virtue, but she takes the time to imbibe alongside the lad and rub herself against him on the dance floor and generally allow nature to take its course.

Also before, she choose to try lesbianism as a result of her bitterness at her cheating boyfriend Ben and the aforementioned fratboy Beck, and found Kari Putterman as the perfect recipient of her newly oriented advances. (What in the high holy hell was I thinking when I originally came up with this story?) Now, her motivation is something with which I can very closely identify: upon first seeing Kari at the Halloween party, Margaret is completely and unequivocally smitten. Kari is all Margaret can think about; that Kari is a girl and Margaret has always been utterly hetero is beside the point. If converting both Kari and herself to lesbianism is what it will take to claim Kari as her own, so be it; Margaret will not be denied.

Partial Dramatis Personae
Margaret Eastman
Pete Foster
Mary Peppard "Mary Cannibal"
Kari Putterman
Scipio Winter
Parker Peppard
Stacey Hiraki
Eddie Beck, "The Beckmeister"
Brandy McCown
Ben Roth
Tim & Sunil (go together like C-3PO & R2-D2)
Neal Cohen, "NYC"
Svetlana Kaminskaya (primarily in the tangental story "Armistice Day")
Ari Romanov (primarily in the tangental story "Armistice Day")

"The War of Assassins" and "Armistice Day" may be included as chapters of The Perfect Girl or excluded as discrete short stories taking place at the same time and featuring some of the same characters. I need to study the psychology of suicide in greater detail before attempting "Armistice Day." (I loved A Long Way Down, but it mostly explored why people choose not to commit suicide.)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Cold War
"More" political assassinations by the FSB: Hyperlink? The quotations are an attempt to be fair to our Russian friends, since there is no damned proof they poisoned the late Mr. Litvinenko, though that's clearly what he believed on his deathbed: Hyperlink Returns. Also, I am fascinated by Scotland Yard's ever-expanding probe into the fatal poisoning: The Hyperlink Trilogy and Hyperlink: The New Beginning.

Have the good old days returned? Was The Simpsons right all those years ago?

American ambassador: "The Soviet Union? I thought you guys broke up?"
Russian/Soviet ambassador: "Yes, that's what we wanted you to think. Mwa ha ha ha ha!"
Dial 'M' for Magnificent
My CD collection is organized by genre, and by personal preference within each genre. The four genres are Ska, Punk, Rock 'n' Roll That's Neither Ska Nor Punk, and Soundtracks and Comedy Albums. The music within my iTunes library is organized alphabetically by band, alphabetically by album within each band's catalogue, and by original track numbering within each album. I am unacccustomed to seeing my music presented in such a fashion, but it is not without its advantages. As a result of today's contribution to the ongoing effort to rip all of my CDs into my iTunes library, I now have the pleasant troika of Mu330, Mustard Plug, and MxPx (and only four random songs separating The Mighty Mighty Bosstones from Mu330). Rock!

Ska - The Aquabats!, Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish
Punk - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, MxPx, The Ramones
Neither - Barenaked Ladies, Fountains of Wayne, They Might Be Giants
Soundtracks - The Blues Brothers Original Soundtrack Recording, Josie and the Pussycats - Music From the Motion Picture, No Cure For Cancer

Fire Millen
There are, in the famous words of a man whose name I do not know, at least not in connection with these famous words, "lies, damned lies, and statistics." We all know numbers may be twisted and their original meaning perverted to serve some sinister end just as easily and convincingly as words may be twisted. And numbers may also speak the truth as plainly as well-chosen words. In his time with the New England Patriots, Tom brady has posted a 66-23 record in the regular season as the starting quarterback (he is 10-1 in the playoffs for a cumulative record of 76-24). In the time Matt Millen has been the czar of the Detroit Lions, the team has posted a regular season record of 23-68 (Millen's Lions are 0-0 in the playoffs for a cumulative record of 23-68).

Tom Brady: 66-23, Matt Millen: 23-68. It could be argued that Millen is almost exactly as bad as Tom Brady is good. And Tom Brady is very, very good; Tom Brady is going to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Perhaps we should found a Hall of Infamy for players, coaches, and front office staff of Matt Millen's caliber? Oh, wait, in the entire history of the NFL, no team has posted a six-year record as bad as Millen's Detroit Lions. Not the '70s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, not the '80s Detroit Lions, not the New Orleans Saints. Hooray, we'll be the centerpiece of the Hall of Infamy!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Barenaked Ladies, "Maybe Katie" from Everything to Everyone (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Because, really, what's so maybe about Katie? She's smart, pretty, witty, writes and performs her own songs, swears like a sailor, drinks like a champ, kicks arse in the pit, and makes out in bars at the drop of a hat. How have the gentlemen of Boston missed the splendor in their midst?
"Abdul Abulbul Amir"
by Percy French

The sons of the Prophet are many and bold
and quite unaccustomed to fear,
But the bravest by far in the ranks of the Shah,
Was Abdul Abulbul Amir.

If you wanted a man to encourage the van,
Or harass the foe from the rear,
Storm fort or redoubt, you had only to shout
for Abdul Abulbul Amir.

Now the heroes were plenty and well known to fame
in the troops that were led by the Czar,
And the bravest of these was a man by the name
of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

One day this bold Russian, he shouldered his gun
and donned his most truculent sneer,
Downtown he did go where he tred on the toe
of Abdul Abulbul Amir.

"Young man," quoth Abdul, "has life grown so dull
That you wish to end your career?
Vile infidel know, you have trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.

So take your last look upon sunshine and brook
And send your regrets to the Czar
For by this I imply, you are going to die,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar."

Then this bold Mameluke drew his trusty chibouk,
Singing, "Allah! Il Allah! Al-lah!"
And with murderous intent he ferociously went
for Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

They parried and thrust, they side-stepped and cussed,
Of blood they spilled a great part,
The philologist blokes, who seldom crack jokes,
Say that hash was first made on the spot.

They fought all that night neath the pale yellow moon;
The din, it was heard from afar,
And huge multitudes came, so great was the fame,
of Abdul and Ivan Skavar.

As Abdul's long knife was extracting the life,
In fact he was shouting, "Huzzah!"
He felt himself struck by that wily Kalmuck,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

The Sultan drove by in his red-breasted fly,
Expecting the victor to cheer,
But he only drew nigh to hear the last sigh,
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.

Czar Petrovich, too, in his spectacles blue
Rode up in his new crested car.
He arrived just in time to exchange a last line
With Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

There's a tomb rises up where the Blue Danube rolls,
And graved there in characters clear,
Is, "Stranger, when passing, oh pray for the soul
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir."

A splash in the Black Sea one dark moonless night
Caused ripples to spread wide and far,
It was made by a sack fitting close to the back,
of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

A Muscovite maiden her lone vigil keeps,
'Neath the light of the cold northern star,
And the name that she murmurs in vain as she weeps,
is Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The following is an excerpt from Volume VI from my journal, dated Wednesday, November 22, 2006:

I have ordered from the good folks at Comic Relief the first issue of the new series Punisher War Journal. I consider this an exemplar of personal growth. I am not making any particular commitment to this series, nor have I sworn an oath of allegiance to The Punisher as a character, but I've finally awoken to the intolerable hypocrisy of my knee-jerk "The Punisher kills; so, I don't like The Punisher" position. The Shadow kills. The Shadow doesn't just kill, he commits cold-blooded murder. Avi Ducret, my beloved Spy Smasher (or, as a contingency, Commando Yank), kills. And I go back and forth between have Avi only kill in self-defense and believing that the only Nazi is a good Nazi and having Avi act accordingly. I mean, boy howdy, do I love The Shadow! And Andy Helfer's The Shadow. I like the art I've seen from previews of Punisher War Journal and the writer, Matt Fraction, is about to become Ed Brubaker's co-writer on the new series The Immortal Iron Fist; so, even before reading anything he's written I am predisposed to like the man. The only reason to not test drive Punisher War Journal was my irrational and ultimately indefensible opposition to The Punisher. At the end of the day, The Punisher and PJW might both suck profoundly, but I am proud of myself that I am mature enough to find out for myself, not just declare both as foregone conclusions.

As an idiosyncrasy, I have always written the entries in my journal as long blocks of text without breaks between paragraphs. I cannot remember why I made that particular choice, but if I had to speculate I'd say it had something to do with a desire to cram as much text as possible onto each page. Pure supposition, and in fact I tend to think that I didn't consciously choose the block of text format, it simply happened in the course of writing.

Despite the offense I have caused to many people over the nearly five years of the Secret Base's existence, this bloggy blog is very heavily censored. My journal is pure, undiluted Mike, every base, noble, debauched, chaste, selfish, selfless, and nonsensical thought that passes through my head while I am attended by pen and paper. At my sixtieth and final year approaches, I shall have to make some provision to ensure that these volumes are burned lest my family and friends read those numerous and insipid lines and come to know who I really am. Bog forbid.
Mr. Miracle: "Y'know, Beetle--there's nothing like a good sense of humor."
Blue Beetle: "Yeah?"
Mr. Miracle: "And you've got nothing like a good sense of humor."

Sweet merciful crap, I love the Justice League International!

Hey, what do you guys think of this as an epitaph: "He lost the war of all against all." Yesterday, I thought it was dynamite, but now I'm not so sure.

BTW South Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "Overrated (Everything Is)" from In With the Out Crowd (T.L.A.M.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Also remember, it is important not to confuse ethnology and ethnography.
The Explorers Club
And now for the insults: you lot are terribly ignorant. You aren't dim, at least not any of you with whom I am personally acquainted (and I can hardly be expected to vouch for the cerebral adroitness of complete asshole strangers*), in fact most of you are really quite clever. Several of our readers are, I daresay, even smarter than me. But so many of you are so frighteningly ignorant. And I do not exempt myself from such condemnation; there is so much about this world I do not know that even should I dedicate every moment of every day from now until the ending of the world (my death), I should but barely scratch the surface. From a certain point of view, then, the acquisition of knowledge is a futile pursuit. However, this is not my point of view; I repudiate it with as much venom and disdain as I can muster.

Venomous repudiation aside, the problem of ignorance remains. (If you believe that being ignorant is not a problem, that we're all fine just the way we are, please stop reading this blog at the conclusion of this sentence, exercise your Second Amendment freedom to purchase a firearm, and use it to end your misbegotten life.) We are clever people, not dim people; we know much about the world, but there is much we do not know. What to do? Banish ignorance, or at least make the attempt. How? To quote J.K. Simmons from The Ladykillers, "Easiest thing in the world": learn. We all need to know a great deal more about a wider range of topics.

"The Explorers Club" is to be a weekly feature dedicated to expanding knowledge, i.e. relieving you poor bastards of the crushing burden of your own ignorance. Self-motivation is the key; you shall get out of it only as much as you are willing to put in. Every Sunday, I shall post a new item to be researched and explored. My hope is to stimulate the impulse to learn and explore within each of you, to spark a voracious, nomadic curiosity that will not be confined to that week's "Explorers" topic. This is going to be great, I can feel it in my bones. (Or perhaps I have a bone marrow infection. We shall know in the fullness of time.) Come, friends, we have avatars of ignorance to slay, myths and superstitions to dispel, and a culture of anti-intellectualism to undermine.

The week of 26 November 2006: the Fairey Rotodyne.

BTW South Song of the Day
John Linnell, "New Hampshire" from State Songs (Mt. Love)

*By using the phrase "complete asshole strangers," it is not my intention to call those among you who are to me strangers assholes. This is merely an affectation of my fondness for the comedy of Denis Leary. Leary states, "I've got two words for you, 'nuclear fucking weapons'!" The obscenity does not even register as a word. So it is with "complete asshole stranger," another Leary invention. That's merely how I refer to persons unknown to me. If you take offense, then, yes, I meant it, you are an asshole, and not in the positive way associated with the song "I'm an Asshole."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

What a grand idea: The New 7 Wonders of the World.

And in a similarly educational vein, tomorrow I shall be unveiling the newest regularly scheduled feature on the Secret Base, a project that will insult, illuminate, and enrich.

BTW South Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "How Can I Sing Like a Girl?" from Factory Showroom (T.L.A.M.)

Friday, November 24
MU330, "Speedbump" from Ultra Panic (Mt. Love)

Wednesday, November 22
Fountains of Wayne, "Sick Day" from Fountain of Wayne (Mt. Love)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Kobayashi Maru
Were life in a splendid liberal democracy such as the United States of America or the French Republic not an option, would you rather live in a country ruled by a violent left-wing dictatorship, such as Soviet Russia, or a violent right-wing dictatorship, such as Fascist Italy? Please leave your answer and reasoning in the comments section. Thank you.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "Prevenge" from The Spine (T.L.A.M.)

***Caution: What you are about to read is both petty and repetitive. Ye be fairly warned.***

Fire Millen: Joey's Revenge
One bit of sunshine on the worst Thanksgiving of my life, the Lions lost. Woot! Three touchdowns passes for Joey Harrington, and as an added bonus Dre Bly, the man who placed sole blame for Steve Mariucci's firing on Harrington's shoulders, looked like he was going to piss himself every time he went back to receive a punt. Pussy.

You've got to give a lot of credit to Lions head coach Rod Marinelli and offensive coordinator/"genius" Mike Martz for dumping Harrington in the off-season. They're right, no one can win with Harringotn at QB. And the goonish Jon Kitna? Boy howdy, he looks like the second coming of Johnny Unitas* out there, doesn't he? One touchdown pass, one interception, and one lost fumble; he's a triple threat! Hard to believe the brilliant offensive brain trust of Martz and Kitna have posted a 2-9 record. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Fun facts: Jon Kitna has thrown at least one interception in each of the last nine games; in eleven games as a Lion, Kitna has thrown twelve interceptions.

Meanwhile, while the Dolphins are far from being good, they are now 5-6 on the year, 4-3 under Harrington's stewardship. The Dolphins have won four games in a row, meaning at one point in the season they were 1-6. After seven games, the Lions were 1-6, too. The difference between a Matt Millen team and a non-Millen team is that the non-Millen team, the Dolphins, rallied behind their quarterback and won four straight, including the to-date only defeat of the Chicago Bears, to get back into the playoff hunt. The Millen team lost all three games of the "winnable" stretch of their schedule: the 5-5 49ers, the 2-8 Cardinals, and the 5-6 Dolphins. Yes, the Dolphins will have to give Detroit a late-round draft pick in the spring as the price for acquiring Joey Blue Skies, but after Joey lead the offense to twenty-seven unanswered points for the win on Thanksgiving, I think the Dolphins have to be happy with the bargain. (And make no mistake, gettign rid of Joey was as much Marinelli's decision as it was Millen's; so, even without the Mornhinweg-esque 2-9 record, there's evidence right there of Marinelli's ineptitude.)

23-68, Mr. Millen, 2-9 on the year. Today's loss guarantees the sixth losing season in the six seasons you've lead the team, Mr. Millen. The team was 9-7 the year before you arrived, Mr. Millen. Have you no decency?

*As if Johnny Unitas couldn't get any cooler, I've just learned his full name: John Constantine Unitas. You're promising big things in a kids future when you include Constantine anywhere in his name. Johnny U! Woot!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Victors
"Those who stay will be champions." Peace be with you, Bo, and thank you.
I Miss the Cold War
First, Viktor Yushchenko survived dioxin poisoning (2004) to become president of the Ukraine and now Alexander Litvinenko, a classic defector in the Cold War mold, is probably going to survive probable thallium poisoning! Poison! What in the Marx has happened to the Ruskies? Time was the Russians, under the sinister aegis of the Soviet Union, knew how to kill a man in a needlessly exotic manner! Skullduggery. Not only did Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov die of ricin poisoning (1978), but he was poisoned on the street, in broad daylight, by a man with a trick umbrella!

If you're in the market for some high-caliber dirty work, nobody does it better than the Bulgarians. Whatever it is that makes men well suited to the nefarious and the underhanded, our Bulgarian brothers have it in spades. Thank Bog Bulgaria's been admitted into NATO.

Oh, hey, speaking of exotic espionage, the Mountain of Love and I saw Casino Royale last weekend and we absolutely adored both the film and Daniel Craig's 007. Here are the Bradman's thoughts: Daniel Craig as Ian Fleming's James Bond 007 in Casino Royale. I highly recommend going to see it in theaters.

Also, if you spend a few minutes thinking about what crimes against the laws of both God and Man you'd commit for the simple pleasure of staring into Eva Green's eyes for five uninterrupted minutes, you begin to think that maybe the French aren't so bad after all.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Seven Deadly Finns
From The Shadow Nos. 8-13, written by Andrew Helfer, pencilled and inked by Kyle Baker. After their names are the means of their deaths, all of which The Shadow had a hand in save Galen's, which was a legitimate acccident.

Artimus "Artie" Finn - killed by a descending elevator
Archibald "Archie" Finn - died in a bomb blast alongside Lonnie
Patrick Finn - crushed beneath his morbidly obese mother
Lonnegan "Lonnie" Finn - died in a bomb blast alongside Archie
Galen Finn - choked on prison food
Shawn Finn - drenched in deadly chemicals
Errol Finn - gunned down, though The Shadow was gunning for Artie

"The weed of crime bears bitter fruit."
The War for Civilization
More blood in the Biblical Land of Milk and Honey: assassinationlink. There is so much to say about Lebanon, nearly all of it profoundly sad.

Fire Millen: Joey's Revenge
My bellyaching is vapidly repetitious; so, I'll try to be mercifully brief: at Detroit, Joey Harrington's record works out to have been about 1-2. At 2-8, Jon Kitna's record is exactly 1-4. The Lions gave away a draft pick to the Dolphins for the privilege of worsening from 1-2 to 1-4. Under Harrington, the Dolphins are 3-3 in their last six games. They're still 4-6 on the year, nothing to write home about, but I'd give Matt Millen's right arm for the Lions to be 4-6, on a three-game winning streak, and about to face the worst team in the NFL in a national showcase.

I hate the entire State of Florida; so, I cannot in good conscience* root for Miami to win. But I can say, Go Joey!

BTW South Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "Help Save the Youth of America From Exploding" from Hello Rockview (T.L.A.M.)

*Of course, with everything I've done, you would not be out of line asking if I can do anything in good conscience. As I once told the Mountain of Love, "I sleep the sleep of the just." He balked. "I didn't say I am among the just, such is the measure of my villainy that I sleep their sleep."

Monday, November 20, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
New Found Glory, "Better Off Dead" from New Found Glory (Mt. Love)
Fire Millen
23-67, Mr. Millen, 2-8 on the year. Have you no decency? To be fair, the Cardinals did come within a whisker of beating the Bears a few weeks back; so, unlike the Lions, I think the Cardinals can make a reasonable claim that they might just be a better team than their 1-8, now 2-8 thanks to the Lions, record reflects. The Lions are probably a little bit worse than their 2-8 record. How in the high holy hell have they won two games?

The rest of the season: Joey Harrington's Miami Dolphins, now riding a three-game winning streak; the only active dynasty in the NFL, Tom Brady's New England Patriots; the struggling Minnesota Vikings, whom I'm certain are looking at Detroit as a must-win game; the resurgent Green Bay Packers; da Bears; and the Colt-slaying embodiment of bad sportsmanship, the Dallas Cowboys. There's no way around it, things look bleak.

If Joey beats the Lions on Thursday, he will guarantee the sixth losing season in Matt Millen's six-year stewardship of the franchise. No one besides Millen needs to be remined; so, this one's for him: the Lions were 9-7 in 2000, the last year before the Millen debacle. 9-7, including 5-3 on the road, and they missed the playoffs by one last-second, 54-yard field goal.

Oooooooo, hey, here's an idea, what about Millen becoming the new football coach at MSU? Two birds with one stone, brilliant!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
The Proclaimers, "Role Model" from Born Innocent (T.L.A.M.)
BTW South Song of the Day
James Darren, "Here's to the Losers" from This One's From the Heart (Mt. Love)

Commentary: The Mountain of Love and I became familiar with James Darren through his role as the self-aware holographic crooner Vic Fontaine on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Sweet Halley's Comet, there are so many ways in which I love DS9. "Here's to those who love not wisely / No not wisely, but too well...."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Victors
We lost. The hated Ohio State University Buckeyes defeated the valiant University of Michigan Wolverines; we had a chance to win, a genuine chance, but you can't make that many mistakes against a team as formidable as the hated Buckeyes. They beat us fair and square. Congratulations, you bastards.

I look forward to seeing the valiant Wolverines in the Rose Bowl. I am staking out my official position: I am against a rematch. We had our chance and the better team prevailed. If the surprising Rutgers University/Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Scarlet Knights can remain undefeated, they deserve their shot against Ohio State. If the weaselly University of Southern California Trojans defeat the vile University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and the the surprising Scarlet Knights fall to the pesky West Virginia University Mountaineers, then I believe USC should face certain defeat at the hands of the hated Buckeyes. (I loathe the weaselly Trojans. They are, after all, weaselly. I want them in the national title game solely so I may see them crushed by the mighty offense of the hated Buckeyes.)

We came very close, but we lost. We had our chance to win the national championship, but we threw it away with late hit penalties and asinine offensive play-calling. Damn. We live in a world turned so thoroughly upside down that a trip to the Rose Bowl is a consolation prize. Gods above and below damn the BCS. 11-1 is good, but 12-1 will be better after we defeat the Pac-10 champion on New Year's Day. (We must triumph is our bowl game; I cannot endure another embarrassment like last season's loss to the wretched University of Nebraska Cornhuskers.) Go Blue!
BTW South Song of the Day
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "The Victors" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Attentive readers will realize that, yes, "The Victors" was previously a Song of the Day, specifically on Saturday, September 16, but this rendition hails from the 1998 album Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue, not 1993's A Saturday Tradition. An individual recording of a song may not be selected as the Song of the Day more than once, but multiple versions of the same song are fair game, as illustrated by the earlier selection of the live and album versions of Dance Hall Crashers' "Triple Track."

Thank you, Bo. Go Blue!

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Victors
Glenn "Bo" Schembechler (April Fools Day, 1929-November 17, 2006). Hyperlink. May God grant him mercy. Thank you, Bo, thank you for everything. Rest in peace.
The Final Peril
The Mousemobile is gone, sold to Burton Auto for parts. My father promised me he wouldn't sell her until after Christmas, after I'd seen her one last time and had a chance to say goodbye. He will always be my father, and the Almighty commands that we honor our parents, but I will never forgive him this... crime. I will own another 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity, and I shall call her Son of Mousemobile.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hat Day!
To celebrate today's Hat Day, the last Hat Day of '06, the Mountain of Love wore his floppy chicken hat. Yes, it's exactly as awesome as it sounds. I wore my Red Army hat, replete with numerous medals from both the Soviet Union and it's main successor, the Russian Federation. Why do I have a Red Army hat? It was a gift from my friend Olga, a.k.a. From Russia With Love. She is an American now, but she was born in the Soviet Union, an ethnic Russian from the suburbs of Kiev, Ukraine. On a trip to Moscow several years ago, she thought of me and bought this hat from a vendor in Red Square. Hooray for Red Army army surplus! And one day, I'll even explain why my Red Army hat is kosher, but The Guy's Mao Zedong watch must be frowned upon.

There won't be any more Hat Days until January 2007, but I think I'll continue to wear a hat during dinner and The Office on Thursdays. Because, yes, my life could stand to be more festive. I love Hat Day!

Fire Millen: Joey's Revenge
Henceforth, posts about the Detroit Lions will be titled "Fire Millen," replacing the more traditional "Honolulu Blue Forever." I look forward to the day that Millen's reign of terror ends and "Honolulu Blue Forever," or a similar supportive title, can return.

During the first five seasons of Matt Millen's tenure with the Detroit Lions, the team posted the worst cumulative record in the National Football League, 21-59. This means the Lions won roughly one game for every three defeats. Joey Harrington was drafted before Millen's second year and started for most of the next four seasons, sixty-four games over the course of which the Lions earned a dismal 19-45 record. Of those sixty-four games, Harrington started all but nine, posting an 18-37 record. In the other nine games, the Lions fared not at all well, 1-8. So, with Harrington, the Lions won roughly one game for every two defeats, compared to one victory and eight losses in games where Harrington was not the starting quarterback and the one win for three losses average of Millen's first five years.

Millen overall: 21-59, roughly 1-3
With Harrington: 18-37, roughly 1-2
Without Harrington: 1-8, exactly 1-8

The Lions weren't good with Joey Harrington as the starting QB, but they were better with him than without him, both before he was drafted and after he was traded to the Miami Dolphins (current Detroit Starter Jon Kitna has "lead" the Lions to a 2-7 record, or one win for every three and one-third defeats, 1-3 1/3 compared to Joey's 1-2). One week from today, the Lions will play the Dolphins on Thanksgiving Day. I cannot in good conscience root for Miami, but I can, and shall, root for Joey Harrington. Let's go, Joey Heisman!

BTW South Song of the Day
Five Iron Frenzy, "Eulogy" from Five Iron Frenzy 2: Electric Boogaloo (Mt. Love)

Tuesday, November 14
Wally Dogger, "U R So Not the 1" via ye olde internet (Mt. Love)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Victors
While watching Pardon the Interruption I saw the famous and fabulous commercial featuring a girl in a Michigan T-shirt sharing a tender moment with a guy in an Ohio State sweatshirt and the classic caption, "Without sports, this wouldn't be disgusting." My brother, twice an alumnus of the University of Michigan, is going to marry a girl who attended graduate school at THE Ohio State University. Yep, without sports, that wouldn't be disgusting.

Go Blue!

BTW South Song(s) of the Day
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Temptation" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (T.L.A.M.)

You can't have one without the other. Ladies and gentlemen...

The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Hawaiian War Chant" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (T.L.A.M.)
The Magic of Shazam!
There is to be a new, female, and seemingly villainous Spy Smasher in the pages of DC's Birds of Prey. Does this spell doom for my own Spy Smasher, Avi Ducret? Have no fear, we have a Plan B! If this ill-conceived abomination called Spy Smasher (Spy Smasher is supposed to be a hero, damn it!) persists in the DCU, I'll include Avi in the pages of The Magic of Shazam! very nearly the same as before, resurrecting for him the name of another long-forgotten Fawcett Comics mysteryman from the Golden Age, Commando Yank. Is Spy Smasher a better codename than Commando Yank? Absolutely, but DC's ongoing commitment to mediocrity requires adroitness on the part of the would-be writer.

Spy Smasher - Gyrosub
Commando Yank - Sea Eagle

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

According to the front page of the BTW Forums, "Our users have posted a total of 1701 articles." Quite a fitting number for a night on which Adult Swim aired "Where No Fan Has Gone Before," the Star Trek tribute episode of Futurama. Live long and prosper, puny humans.

BTW South Song of the Day
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Varsity" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (T.L.A.M.)

Go Blue!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Honolulu Blue Forever
I am glad we lost yesterday's game against the 49ers. Have I suddenly turned traitor? Nay, good readers, I simply enjoy seeing jerks get their comeuppance. After the Lions' victory over the Falcons, all sorts of crazy talk came out of the mouths of both the Lions and their many long-suffering fans. During the interregnum of the bye week, Roy "Not the Good Roy Williams" Williams spoke some madness about the Lions finishing the season 9-0, but that's just Not the Good Roy Williams being Not the Good Roy Williams. Others looked forward to a bonus week of rest and recuperation before three consecutive games against "weak" opponents, the 49ers, the Arizona Cardinals, and Joey Harrington's Miami Dolphins. Going into this weekend, all three teams had records very similar to Detroit's, but the assumption by the team, the press, and the faithful was that the Falcon-slaying Lions were better than their record reflected and on the cusp of greatness. Not mediocrity, which would be a step up from where the Lions have dwelt under Matt Millen's "leadership," but greatness. The Free Press's Nicholas J. Cotsonika, whose writing I rememberly fondly from The Michigan Daily, boldly predicted a 41-20 Lions victory. He was right about the 49ers, they scored 19 points. The Lions, however, mustered a mere 13. (Another perfect day for Jason Hanson!)

What in the name of all that is good and holy was the source of that impudence, that unadulterated gall? The Lions suck! Had they failed to notice this inconvenient fact? Even if the 2006 Lions are not to be shackled with the 21-59 record of the 2001-05 predecessors, the "new and improved" Lions of the Marinelli-Martz regime have posted a paltry 2-7 record, an unimpressive 2-6 prior to Sunday's contest! The players insist that theirs is a good team, that they are a good team despite of what has been exhibited on the field, but, I ask you, what possible rationale could be behind such nonsense? You were 2-6 before the game, you dunderheads, 2-7 afterwards! YOU AREN'T A GOOD TEAM!

Thus, Sunday's loss brought a smile to my face. Sadly, I am certain even a final record of 2-14 would not result in Millen's dismissal, and as the man so clearly lacks a sense of honor he won't resign, but there must come surely a point at which even the reviled William Clay Ford, Sr. will awaken to his lackey's obvious incompetence. I cling to the admittedly forlorn hope that every Lions defeat cannot help but speed the arrival of that distant day. As I learned from Babylon 5, in the absence of hope one must foster the hope that there is hope.

I would laugh in the Lions found a way to lose to the Arizona cardinals, one of the few teams in the No Fun League to rival Detroit's knack for snatching defeat from teh jaws of victory. As for the Thanksgiving Day game, Joey Harrington will never be Dan Marino, but he was unfairly burdened with far too much of the blame for the team's abysmal record while he played for the Lions. Blamed in excess by the fans, by the jackals in the media, and, surprisingly, by his own inept teammates, who violated the NFL's usual coade of solidarity. I despise Florida, but I want Miami to beat Detroit on Thanksgiving, I want Harrington to taste the sweet nectar of revenge. Hooray for Joey!

Forgive me for having nothing even remotely original to say, but catharsis was desperately needed.

Crime Blotter
Coppers versus copper thieves: copperlink.
BTW South Song of the Day
Sunday, November 12
Oh My God, "This December" from You're Too Straight to Love Me (Mt. Love)

Commentary: If an Oh My God song must be selected, and oh how I wish such was not the case, "This December" is the tune to which I would object the least.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Honolulu Blue Forever
One week, the Lions beat the "mighty" Atlanta Falcons, the next week we lose to the "hapless" San Francisco 49ers. Bog bless the lads for their bass ackwards consistency. 23-66, Mr. Millen, 2-7 on the year. Have you no decency?

Yesterday: my first comic book convention, fun and games with Ki-El and The Watergirl, and a cameo by Skeeter.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Armistice Day
My deepest appreciation and most humble gratitude to all those who have risked life and limb and taken up arms in the name of the Great Republic. Thank you, now and always. Armistice Day is sacred.

The Victors
The valiant University of Michigan Wolverines earned another victory in fine style, crushing the wily Indiana University Hoosiers. After a most glorious autumn, the preamble is at an end. Now is the fall. Before us awaits the ancient enemy, the hated Ohio State University Buckeyes. Let the countdown to The Game begin. Go Blue!

BTW South Song of the Day
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "I Can't Turn You Loose" from A Saturday Tradition (T.L.A.M.)

Friday, November 10
William Shatner, "Theme From Cyrano/Mr. Tamborine Man" from The Transformed Man (Mt. Love)

Commentary: "I Can't Turn You Loose," written by the late, great Otis Redding, is most commonly remembered as the introductory music for the Blues Brothers Band.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Red Planet
The plucky little Opportunity rover is undaunted by the prospect of being marooned inside the Victoria crater: hyperlink! And more humorous ineptitude from our European comrades: hyperlink, take two. Come on, guys, I know the hilarious failure of the Beagle 2 probe in 2003 had to have been a blow to the old false sense of superiority, but a solid decade between Beagle 2 *snicker* and the ExoMars rover? That seems excessively timid, even for you space pussies. (Thanks, Sam Kinison!)

Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity... ExoMars? The ESA really needs to reevaluate their naming strategy. I love NASA's decision to go retro with the names in Project Constellation. First of all, Project Constellation! The rockets? Ares I and Ares V. And saving the best for last, the spacecraft itself: Orion!
For Your Consideration
I wonder if we are going to see as much of Home For Purim in For Your Consideration as we saw of Red, White, & Blaine in Waiting for Guffman and the A Tribute to Irving concert in A Mighty Wind. Only one way to find out; there have to be a couple decent arthouse theaters in the Metroplex, right? Or at least one. Right? Drat!

My ignorance of the Winter War specifically, and Finnish history in general, is indefensible. I know between whom the Winter War was fought, but I don't know anything about the numbers of men involved, the specific campaigns, or the nuts and bolts of the armistice that ended the conflict (or merely paused it, depending on one's view of Finland's participation in the Second World War). Inexcusable. How dare I claim that "I know a lot about history"? Poppycock!

Thursday, November 9, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Avril Lavigne, "Sk8er Boi" from Let Go (T.L.A.M.)

Preemptive Commentary: "Sk8er Boi" is not among my guilty pleasures. There is nothing to feel guilty about, though, yes, in a perfect world the title of the song would be "Skater Boy." I like "Sk8er Boi," I like Let Go, I like Avril Lavigne's music. My musical preferences shan't change, no matter how much mockery I must endure at the hands of the tone deaf fans of the atrocious musical butchery of Neil Young, the White Stripes, and *snicker* John Mayer.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Postal service from the pedestal has been discontinued for a full year, and by all indications for the foreseeable future. This island Earth has journeyed a full revolution around the accursed Sun since last my friend Skeeter posted on her weblog, Letters From the Pedestal. Approximately sixty comments have been left in her absence, an average of five a month, lamentations and beseechments, haikus and harassments. We miss you, Skeeter. Godspeed.

Vote For Kodos
I am reminded of the day after Election Day in November 1994, when I entered Mr. Riek's Honors English 10 classroom and began a spirited taunting of my friend Todd, the son of two schoolteachers and an avid Democrat. I crowed about the demise of liberalism, he broke out the dictionary and tried to explain that liberalism isn't a bad thing, I tried to explain to him that there is a profound gulf between the definition of "liberal" and the political philosophy, such as it is, of the contemporary Democratic Party. And yet for all the twelve years since the so-called Republican Revolution, I have believed myself to be a stalwart of the permanent minority party. I was amazed and appalled by the conservatism manifested by the leaders and grassroots members of my Republican Party, but I knew in my heart of hearts it was better than the mushy, nebulous alternatives offered by the Democrats.

As of January 3rd of next year, the Democrats will once again constitute the majority in the House of Representatives, and very likely in the Senate as well. Debacle? Balderdash, this is excellent news! For in this seeming disaster lie the seeds of a greater triumph. Our victory in the '08 presidential contest, a matter of great uncertainty as recently as Monday, is now all but assured. The Democrats are once again authors of their own defeat, doomed in what they believe is their finest hour. Truely, this is sweet.

And mark well the words of Robert Underdunk Terwilliger, "No children have ever meddled with the Republican Party and lived to tell about it."

BTW South Song of the Day
The Atomic Fireballs, "Man With the Hex" from Torch This Place (Mt. Love)

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

I like the idea of a French bulldog named Foch, named of course after Ferdinand Foch, the Marshal of France. Not that I would ever own a dog-monster, but I like the idea just the same.
Vote For Kodos... or, Heck, Vote For Kang If You Want
Today is Election Day in the Great Republic. If you have not already exercised your right to vote through your county's absentee process, I implore you to pay a visit to your assigned polling place. Obviously, I would urge you to vote for the Grand Old Party, but if your conscience commands you to vote for the Democrats, the party of Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy, by all means do so. Partisan preference is not nearly so important as plain participation. Vote!

There is a campaign by the Texas Secretary of State to increase the percentage of eligible voters who actually vote. It is called, and I admit this is not unclever, VOTEXAS. (I always loved the old "PLAYSOCCER" bumper sticker.)

And, in honor of the election...

BTW South Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "James K. Polk" from Factory Showroom (T.L.A.M.)

Monday, November 6
New Found Glory, "Understatement" from Sticks and Stones (Mt. Love)

Commentary: I considered Green Day's "American Idiot," thinking it both a logical and an entertaining selection, but ultimately rejected it since I like President Bush far more today than I did when first I voted for him six years ago, meaning, in the poisonous and jaundiced phrase from "Holiday," I do indeed "Zeig Heil to the President Gasman."

Sunday, November 5, 2006

The Gunpowder Plot
A reminder: the November 5 holiday is Guy Fawkes Night, not Guy Fawkes Day. So, whatever anti-Catholic festivities you are planning should not begin until after dinner.

Honolulu Blue Forever
I wish I'd been able to see today's game not because I would have really liked to have seen a Lions win (though certainly I would have liked to see that), but because maybe if I'd seen it i would be able to understand what in teh Sam Hill happened. How did My beloved but feeble Lions manage to so thoroughly defeat the Atlanta Falcons? The Falcons aren't the Patriots, but sitll, they should have had no trouble overcoming the pathetic Lions. In the words of Fred Willard, "Wha' happ'n?" But never mind that for now, huzzah, the Lions will, at the very least, be no worse than Mornhinweg's first team! We'll finish at least 2-14! Woot!

23-65, Mr. Millen, 2-6 on the year. Have you no decency?

BTW South Song of the Day
New Order, "Blue Monday" from Music From the Motion Picture The Wedding Singer (T.L.A.M.)
The really impressive and frightening thing about the Nazis is that even sixty-one years after the richly-deserved death of the Third Reich, the full extent of their institutionalized depravity is still being uncovered: What's the German word for "creepy"?

Saturday, November 4, 2006

The Victors
Oy vey. Still, they don't give out national championship trophies for winning decisively or stylishly, only for winning, period. Hail to the victors, however precarious the victory may have been. Go Blue!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Did the high muckamucks in Evil Lansing make a mistake by firing John L. Smith? I cannot say they did, but I utterly fail to see the logic of firing him with three games left in the regular season and bowl-eligibility not yet out of reach (at the time). How is uncertainty about the future supposed to spur the dastardly Michigan State University Spartans to victory? Yes, they now have the certainty of knowing John L. shan't return, but is that not overshadowed by the greater uncertainty of whom in Duffy's name might be found to fill such a godforsaken job? I suppose that the high muckamucks' behavior mirrors that of the dastardly Spartans themselves: they are innovators in the art of self-sabotage.

How could I take joy from the triumph of the ill-starred Purdue University Boilermakers over the dastardly Spartans? Have not the churlish Michigan State partisans suffered enough? Never! Bwa ha ha ha ha! Well pleased was I by ill-starred Purdue's good fortune. Defeat, disgrace, demise, and, after a suitable interval given over to despair, death: that is what I wish for the whole benighted enterprise otherwise known as the Michigan Agricultural College. Congratualtions, Purdue! Good show!

John L. seems like a fine fellow, his leadership of the dastardly Spartans being the only black mark against is name. I, for one, hope he finds himself in far happier circumstances in the near future.

BTW South Song of the Day
Barenaked Ladies, "Shopping" from Everything to Everyone (Mt. Love)
Idiots. I mean, German neo-Nazis are bad enough, but do these fools have any inkling of the place the Slavic peoples held in National Socialist racial theory? In the Nazi view, Slavs certainly aren't Aryan and aren't even sub-Aryan whites like Italians or English; to those who followed the swastika and gave the Nazi salute, the Russians were subhuman, ranked just above the Jews at the bottom of the spectrum. If it is at all possible, Russian Nazis are even more despicable than German Nazis.

BTW South Song of the Day
Commentary: Friday's Song of the Day was "Destination Moon" and lo and behold what happened to be on TV Friday night? Apollo 13. As plain, simple Garak taught, I believe in coincidence, I just don't trust coincidence.

Inarticulate Rage
I had a lovely evening in, I talked with my brother, had some new ideas for a Spy Smasher ongoing series, and refined a few ideas for Martian Manhunter. But at this exact moment, were it within my power, I would murder the entire world and simply be done with the race of Man. The dark bastard sez, "Big smiles, everyone."

Friday, November 3, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "Destination Moon" from John Henry (T.L.A.M.)

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Hat Day!
When our new limited edition silver Anti-Negativity Helmets arrived, I suggested immediately that the Mountain and I should wear them on the next Hat Day. True, we also wore them on Halloween with our new limited edition blue rash guards as part of the full Aqua-Cadet uniform, but I saw no reason why we should let that interfere with our original plan. Bog knows we could all bear to spend a little more time wearing an Anti-Negativity Helmet. Happy Hat Day!

And here's a picture of Alphaman and Captain Thumbs-Up in action: Super Wilson Bros.

Full Cadet uniform: Anti-Negativity Helmet, rash guard, festive Aquabats! belt, board shorts, official Aquabats! socks, Adidas (Alphaman wears Gazelles, I wear inferior Sambas).

BTW South Song of the Day
Guster, "Happier" from Lost and Gone Forever (Mt. Love)
BTW South Song of the Day
Dance Hall Crashers, "Triple Track" from Short Music for Short People (T.L.A.M.)

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

The Queue
Uki Goni, The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina
Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down

Baroness Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel ***in progress***
Natan Sharansky, et al., The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny & Terror ***interrupted***
William Manchester, The Arms of Krupp, 1587-1968
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
All Saints Day
Why is it that all the English saints of whom I'm aware are martyrs? Saint Thomas Becket, d. 1170, was murdered (martyred) for defending Church property and privilege against King Henry II. Saint Thomas More, d. 1535, was executed (martyred) for refusing to acclaim King Henry VIII as possessing chief authority over the Church of England, above and beyond the Bishop of Rome. Saint Edmund Campion, d. 1581, and Saint Henry Walpole, d. 1595, were both executed (martyred) for the heinous crime of being Catholic priests in Queen Elizabeth I's fanatically Protestant police state, the latter inspired by the former's ministry. (Golden Age, my arse.)

And since we are so close to Guy Fawkes Night (a holiday much beloved by our own The Guy), the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, it seems appropriate to look after the case of Guy Fawkes himself. Yes, yes, had the Gunpowder Plot succeeded hundreds would have been killed and it cannot be described as anything other than an act of attempted terrorism, but it would have been terrorism carried out in the name of the genuinely oppressed Catholics of England. And Fawkes was put to death for his part in the scheme. So, even though he aspired to be a mass murderer, Fawkes did die "for" Holy Mother Church, which makes him a martyr, which makes him a saint, yes? I don't know, because even though His Holiness the late Pope John Paul II DOUBLED the number of Catholic saints, surely in the two millennia since the founding of the Roman Catholic Church a great many of the faithful have died for the Church without receiving recognition as martyred saints. And, not having wanted to kill hundreds by blowing up the Palace of Westminster, surely many of them lived better Christian lives than did old Guy Fawkes. It's a pickle.

Fortunately, it really isn't that much of a pickle. As a traitor to the Crown, Fawkes was to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. (Remember the end of Braveheart? That's the general idea.) Understandably not wanting to endure the whole course, Fawkes threw himself from the gallows, breaking his neck with the rope that was only supposed to cause him great pain. And as we all know, suicide is a mortal sin; so, to this day and for every day for all eternity, Guido Fawkes is burning in the fames of Perdition. Had he not killed himself, would he have passed muster as a martyr? More learned men than I would need to weigh in on the issue. Saint Guy Fawkes? Perish the thought.

The Stars My Destination
More goodies on the year after next's Hubble mission: science!

Vote For Kodos
I would be beside myself with joy were Senator Kerry to make a serious run at the Democratic presidential nomination on '08. Pretty please with sugar on top? Obviously, this is not as bad as when he compared American soldiers to Genghis Khan or Senator Durban called our boys "Nazis" and "Soviets," but Kerry makes it so very easy to reinterpret his words to one's own advantage: what a jerk.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
The Aquabats!, "Monsters Wedding!" from The Aquabats! vs. The Floating Eye of Death! and Other Amazing Adventures - Vol. 1 (Mt. Love)
The Stars My Destination
Victory for ZIM! And by "ZIM," I don't so much mean the evil yet inept Irken Invader bent upon the annihilation/subjugation of the human race as much as I mean that self-same human race. Hooray for us! And hooray for U.S., as we must remember that Hubble, the man, was an American and the Hubble, the wicked awesome instrument of scientific exploration, is an American triumph. U-S-A! U-S-A! Thank Bog NASA has committed to a Hubble maintenance/repair mission before the retirement of the Discovery, the Atlantis, and the Endeavour.

And now I must shower and don the uniform of Captain Thumbs-Up, Aqua-Cadet No. 0003432, in preparation for greeting costumed trick-or-treaters. Happy Halloween, ghouls and gals!

Monday, October 30, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Reel Big Fish, "Boys Don't Cry" (live) from Our Live Album is Better Than Your Live Album, Disc 1: More Shtick Than You Can Shake a Stick At (T.L.A.M.)
No, I'm not going to blog about that. It wouldn't help anything and people would get the wrong impression. And before I rail against self-censorship in the context of bloggy blogs, I'll remind myself that I am free to write whatever the flock I want in my journal without fear of offending anyone or, worse, inviting their help and advice, which to my way of thinking always reeks of pity. So, I'm not going to blog about that, though surely it will slip out later.

Despite all my TLAM bravado, I've always been highly impressionable and avidly imitative. Finishing up The Real Odessa of course prompted me to think about Avi Ducret, the Spy Smasher, and his new neo-Nazi archenemy, codenamed the Sea Lion. I had expected A Long Way Down to make me think about The Perfect Girl (a placeholder title for In Search of the Perfect Lesbian), but instead it has refined and sharpened my focus on Polis.
It's four in the morning and I can't sleep; so, I'm reading Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down. Or I might have that bass ackward. I might still be awake at four in the morning because I'm reading A Long Way Down and I love Nick Hornby's novels, they make me love the world, they make me excited; so, reading one "to go to sleep" might have been a daft move. Intention schmintention, six of one, half-dozen of the other. I'm awake, it's after four o'clock in the morning, and until I woke my HAL I'd been reading A Long Way Down, the latest by British novelist Nick Hornby. These facts may be in no way related. Who can say for sure?

Moments ago, the character Martin made a passing reference to the inability of Daleks to traverse stairs. Until quite recently, I'd never heard of a Dalek much less had the slightest inkling that for all their dread might they couldn't mount a flight of steps. Knowing what little I know about Daleks enhanced my already considerable enjoyment of A Long Way Down. My thanks, then, to Doctor Hee Haw for bringing the Daleks to my attention. Thanks, Seth!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Simple Plan, "You Don't Mean Anything" from No Pads, No Helmets... Just Balls (Mt. Love)

Honolulu Blue Forever
Today was one of my favorite Sundays of the whole year, the Sunday of the Lions' bye. There are only two Sundays during the NFL season where a Lions defeat is an impossibility: bye week Sunday and the Sunday after the Thanksgiving game. So, yippee for one of the two best Sundays of the fall!

22-65, Mr. Millen, 1-6 on the year. Have you no decency?