Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Stars My Destination
I had no idea that NASA's new Crew Exploration Vehicle had a "name," but it does: Orion. Sweet! In the proud tradition of Project Mercury, Project Gemini, and Project Apollo, we have now embarked upon Project Constellation, at long last the resumption of the manned exploration of our solar system. Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt, the LEM astronauts of Apollo 17, departed from the Moon in 1972, thirty-four years ago. That is thirty-four years too long for Man to have been shackled to the earth (and low Earth orbit). Make no mistake, I love Earth, Earth is the crucible which forged the glory of Man, but I believe our destiny (though I don't believe in the concept of destiny/fate, you know what I mean) is to be found among the stars.

I have had since I was a boy a battered die-cast toy of the Space Shuttle. It is one of my most prized possessions. But in the real world the entire Space Shuttle venture was a distraction for which we paid a high price in blood (the fourteen souls lost aboard the Challenger and the Columbia), treasure, and time. The very name says it all, the Space Shuttle. What, like a shuttle bus? There's no romance in the word shuttle. We need to put the romance back in manned space flight. (Which is not to say we should not also pour our energy and treasure into unmanned space flight; Opportunity and Spirit are marvels of American ingenuity.) Mercury! Gemini! Apollo! Orion! Those are names to go boldly where no man has gone before.

We are still at least half a decade away from the first flight of an Orion spacecraft, but in the meantime we have at last turned our eyes once again to the heavens. Huzzah! Or in the vernacular, woot! And now I leave you with the opening lines of the prologue to Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination:

"This was a golden age, a time of high adventure, rich living, and hard dying... but nobody thought so. This was a future of fortune and theft, pillage and rapine, culture and vice... but nobody admitted it. This was an age of extremes, a fascinating century of freaks... but nobody loved it."
Science!
Would any of you be interested in co-founding and/or joining a radical organization called the Pluto Restoration Front? I love science; had not my faith in the Almighty been concretely established by the touching of my heart by the Holy Ghost, science would be my god. And so I have the greatest respect for those who dedicate their lives to science, the scientists. However, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has gone too far and must be stopped. Yes, the existence of Eris raises serious questions about Pluto's status as a planet, but the definition the IAU devised to reclassify Pluto as a dwarf planet (alongside Eris and the former asteroid Ceres) is hogwash.

A planet must a) orbit the Sun, b) be large enough for its own gravity to make it round, and c) have "cleared the neighbourhood" of smaller celestial bodies. "Cleared the neighbourhood"? What the devil does that even mean? What is a planet's "neighbourhood"? 0.1 AU from the center of the planet? 0.05 AU from the upper reaches of the plent's atmosphere? What? The IAU, in it's dubious wisdom chose to not define "neighbourhood" in the slightest degree. The IAU's "definition" of a planet is, at best, perilously nebulous. A kilogram isn't one thousand freeform units called grams, it's one thousand grams; and you can then ask what a gram is an be provided a specific definition. The criteria used to downgrade Pluto from a "planet" to a "dwarf planet" is pseudoscientific gibberish!

Pluto is smaller than Eris; so, unless we want to define Eris as the tenth planet and open the door for dozens of other minute planets, we need clear rules defining what is and is not a planet. The currently agreed standard is in no way up to the task. The de-planetization of Pluto was hasty and unjust. This cannot stand.

That's where my nascent organization comes in. The Pluto Restoration Front will defend Pluto's honor against the capricious predations of the IAU. The PRF will uncover the sinister agenda behind the IAU's vendetta against Pluto. Science will be freed from the grip of fat cat scientists sitting in smoke-filled rooms making crucial scientific decisions willy-nilly! As Pluto goes, so goes all of science! Science!

Help defend science, help me found the Pluto Restoration Front. Others topics of interest to the PRF will include the theoretical intra-Mercurial planet Vulcan and the hypothetical star Nemesis. Science!

Friday, September 29, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Teddybears, "Yours to Keep" via iTunes (Mt. Love)

Thursday, September 28
Murky Transport Disaster, "The Viking Song" from The Murky Transport Disaster Disaster Transport Transport Disaster (T.L.A.M.)

Wednesday, September 27
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Headline News" via iTunes (Mt. Love)

Tuesday, September 26
Reel Big Fish, "Ban the Tube Top" from Cheer Up! (T.L.A.M.)
While the Mountain of Love and I are using our apartment complex's generously named "exercise room," we watch television, usually Pardon the Interruption followed by Seinfeld. During my generously named "run" today, I saw a commercial for the new film School for Scoundrels. One of the two above-the-title stars is Jon Heder, the douchebag who starred in a truly wretched independent film called Napoleon Dynamite. I remarked, "I'd like to see something bad happen to him. Something along the lines of a substance abuse problem." Thing is, I really meant it. I then paused for a moment and considered the moral ramifications. I'm just not a good person. I'm not Pol Pot or Richard J. Daley, but neither am I Fred Rogers. This is far from the first time I've made the observation that I'm kind of a monster, nor will it be the last, but every once in a while that lurking realization pushes its way to the front of my mind. Well, how about that?

And all that said, if Jon Heder ended up a homeless crackhead, I would laugh and laugh and laugh and not feel the slighted twinge of sympathy. I'd almost certainly feel guilty about my lack of sympathy, but that lack would doubtlessly persist. I really hate that guy.
U.N.believable
Hyperlink. I know that Executive Order 12333 prohibits any agent of the U.S. Government from conducting assassinations or participating in assassination conspiracies, but the first Bush Administration reinterpretted the rule to give the green light to assassinating terrorists and their benefactors. Is there any way we can view Mark Malloch Brown as a terrorist benefactor? Here's how it works: Khartoum used to provide aid and shelter to al Qaeda. Now that same government supports to janjaweed death squads in Darfur. The death squads, with active involvement from the Sudanese air force, are perpetrating genocide against the non-Muslim Sudanese of Darfur. Therefore the Sudanese government is actively engaged in a terrorist action. There is a UN Resolution that would allow the formation of a UN peacekeeping force for Darfur (even though the peacekeepers' mandate wouldn't have the teeth to stop the bloodshed). The only things stopping the peacekeeping force from entering Sudan is the intransigence of Khartoum. Mr. Malloch Brown, Kofi Annan's chief henchman, has said that Khartoum is right to block the UN force since it is afraid of being "the victims of the next crusade after Iraq and Afghanistan." Ergo, Malloch Brown is actively shielding the Sudanese government which is actively conducting a terrorist enterprise; A=B, B=C, A=C, Mark Malloch Brown supports the terrorist campaign in Darfur. So, can we assassinate him now?

The British Empire
September 29 was a good day for the building of the British Empire: on this day in 1725, Clive of India was born; he would do more than any other single individual to found and expand the British Raj, often in explicit contradiction of the orders of his superiors. On this day in 1758, Lord Horatio Nelson was born; Britain is an island nation and in all her history Nelson is Britannia's greatest naval hero. Upstaging Sir Francis Drake is no small feat.

Dieu et mon droit.
Hat Day!
The Mountain is in Austin with the Fwopera road show. Hat Day's just not the same when you're flying solo. Still, I wore my awesome/awful AC Spark Plug baseball cap modified with, you guessed it, Viking horns. What, you don't have a ballcap outfitted with Viking horns? Then, my friend, you haven't lived.

Back in the days before Real Can of Yams was "seven hundred and one ounces of terrible," Murky Transport Disaster was "the best band for all the wrong reasons." MTD had a Viking song called "The Viking Song." For the live performance of "The Viking Song" we decided that each member of Murky Transport Disaster had to sport a Viking hat. And because the BTWay is to go that extra mile in the name of showmanship, each member of MTD didn't need to wear a mere Viking hat, we each had to wear a distinct Viking hat (and please forgive me if I screw up who was wearing which hat):

The Mountain of Love - a Viking helmet with faux fur around the base of the horns
K. Steeze - a Viking helmet with really big horns
Mr. Coliadis - a Viking helmet, almost identical to the Mountain's, but without the fur
The Professor - a Viking helmet with only one horn, worn unicorn-style
Ms. Ele - a Minnesota Vikings baseball cap
The Last Angry Man - an AC Spark Plugs baseball cap with Viking horns

BTW South Song of the Day
Work and poverty and missing The Buckeye have been taking their toll on the Mountain, putting him in an ill humor for much of the last week. We'll get the Song of the Day back on track as soon as we can, because nobody enjoys it more than us. Nobody, you hear me? Nobody!

Meanwhile, I just bought five songs "about" Mars from iTunes and they're all winners! Prior to inputting "Mars" into the Power Search (inspired by plotting my hypothetical Martian Manhunter series, which is now getting the full The Magic of Shazam! treatment), I'd never even heard of any of these songs, much less heard them, and they're all even better than the thirty second snipets that convinced me to buy them in the first place. Woot!

Aqua, "Back from Mars"
Hannah Russell, "Mars"
The Misfits, "Mars Attacks"
Monsters From Mars!, "Avanti"
The Skatalites, "Trip to Mars"

Something Wicked This Way Comes
Recently, via the Netflix subscription service, I saw a brilliant film, Scotland, Pa., a hilarious interpretation of The Tragedy of Macbeth. The writing credits: "Written and directed by Billy Morrissette. Story by William Shakespeare." In mentally composing this post I resolved that henceforth I shall call motion pictures that retain the Shakespearean dialogue "versions" of a given play, while films adapted into the vernacular will be called "interpretations."

Versions
Macbeth (1979, Ian McKellan as Macbeth!) from The Tragedy of Macbeth (1606)
Titus (1999) from The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus (1594)
Romeo + Juliet (1996) from The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (1594)

Interpretations
The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie: Strange Brew (1983) from The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1600)
10 Things I Hate About You (1999) from The Taming of the Shrew (1593)
Scotland, Pa. (2001) from The Tragedy of Macbeth (1606)

Getting back to Scotland, Pa., the film is both uproariously funny and pleasingly faithful to Macbeth. If you need more enticement: Maura Tierney as Pat McBeth (Lady Macbeth) and Christopher Walken as Lieutenant McDuff (Macduff). And it's set in the 1970s. See the movie, you'll thank me later.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The New Gods
Ideas for tales of Jack Kirby's Fourth World, the realm of idyllic New Genesis and hellish Apokolips.

"The Inheritance"
Orion and Mr. Miracle are given a gift by Highfather Takion, the opportunity to commune directly with the Source and speak to their deceased father, Izaya the Inheritor, the first Highfather of New Genesis. Orion will confront the young Izaya of the Techno-Cosmic War between New Genesis and Apokolips, before he found the peace of the Source and became Highfather. Adoptive father and son in fierce combat intended to help Orion make peace with the fury and bloodlust in his conflicted heart.

Scott Free (Mr. Miracle), Highfather's biological son, grew up on Apokolips as part of the Pact that ended the active phase of the endless war. The heroic part of his soul recognizes that his own suffering helped end a devastating war, but there is another part of his that rages against the father who traded his own son into terrible slavery for the greater good. Time for a little father and son screaming, cursing, raging, and maybe understanding. I mean the "maybe" part, since I believe most of Scott's anger toward Highfather has little to do with being exchanged for Orion as part of the Pact, is has to do with the one terrible day the young Scott Free, on the run from Granny Goodness's ghoulish orphanage, turned the terrible power of the Anti-Life Equation against the hapless denizens of the Armagetto.

Fathers and sons, fathers and sons.

"The Never People"
The young Forever People just want to live lives of carefree exploration: a truly endless summer. Alas, the schemes of Darkseid's evil minions are legion. The Never People, darkling reflections of the Forever People created in Virmin Vundabar's laboratories, have reached through time to capture an ally of our heroes and twist him into a weapon of dreadful power, The Anti-Lifeguard. Only those who know the complete Anti-Life Equation can resist it's power; so, how will the Forever People ever stop the Never People? And that's without even bothering to ask how they will resuce their friend without killing him. Heck, maybe I'll even throw in the Newsboy Legion for good measure. The Forever People getting their butts kicked, the Super-Cycle, the Infinity-Man, Anti-Life, the Newboys' Whiz Wagon! (Or do I go with the latest name, the Zipp Drive?) "The Never People"'s got is all!

The Forever People - Mark Moonrider, Beautiful Dreamer, Big Bear, Serifan, Vyken.

The Never People - Sunripper, Dreadful Nightmare, Big Boar, Oneshot, Sazin.

"The Forever War"
On a remote planet, a patrol of Monitors (the military of New Genesis) are ambushed by Apokoliptian Aero-Troopers. The sole survivor, Solon, is pursued by the Aero-Troopers, especially by their zealous young captain, Zaladin. Solon's Mother Box is mortally damaged and so cannot open a boom tube back to New Genesis; without enough energy to both cloak Solon from Zaladin's sensors and call for help, Mother Box devotes her dying moments to screening her young charge from detection.

Back in Supertown, the flying capital city of New Genesis, Solon's boyfriend Oceon refuses to believe that the girl of his dreams is dead, even after hearing that no signal can be detected from her Mother Box. The Monitor communications monitors (hee hee) in Supertown heard the death screams of the Mother Boxes of the rest of Solon's patrol, but none from Solon's Mother Box. Everyone to whom Oceon turns to for help tells him that he must accept that Solon has gone back to the Source, and that he must move on with his life to honor her memory. Eventually, Oceon convinces the second fastest of all the New Gods, Fastbak, to aid him and the two secretly boom tube to the as-yet-unnamed remote planet.

Meanwhile, the war between Solon and the Aero-Troopers has turned into a grim exercise in hours of patient stalking and seconds of furious, desperate hand-to-hand struggles, New Gods fighting and killing each other in the mud, a long, long way from the topless towers of Supertown and the unspoiled natural glory of New Genesis. Recalled by his superiors to Apokolips, Zaladin goes renegade, vowing to remain and finish off Solon in single combat. War is Hell, even for gods.

"The Inheritance" is about the intersection of love and hatred, mentorship and apprenticeship between fathers and sons. "The Never People" is a straight adventure story. I want "The Forever War" to be the We Were Soldiers Once... And Young or In Pharaoh's Army of the Fourth World.

Monday, September 25, 2006

"The weed of crime bears bitter fruit."

Hat Day!
I think Hat Day is going to catch on in a big way. Be the first one on your block to join in on the fun! All you have to do is wear a hat while eating dinner on Thursday. Yes, it's just that easy! Act now, operators are standing by!

The Victors
In the first half, the Wolverines looked like the team I'd dreaded all through the summer. They were much improved in the second half; I believe this latter display to have been an accurate exemplar of their true abilities. Well done, gentlemen. Also, I have a visceral dislike of the Wisconsin Badgers in general and Barry Alvarez (who is still the AD) in particular; I find the lot of them distasteful. So, hooray for the triumph of the forces of good! Go Blue!

Honolulu Blue Forever
21-62, Mr. Millen, 0-3 on the year. A man with any honor would have admitted his failure and resigned his office years ago.

BTW South Song of the Day
Crash Test Dummies, "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" via iTunes (Mt. Love)

Sunday, September 24
Elvis Presley, "Viva Las Vegas" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Saturday, September 23
Gnarls Barclay, "Crazy" via iTunes (Mt. Love)

Should the Song of the Day be offered sans commentary or should I pipe up when I find a song objectionable and/or laughable? Something I must ponder.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Lesser of Two Evils
Did you see the way the University of Notre Dame's players and coaches ATTACKED Michigan State's Matt Trannon on the Notre Dame sideline? Holy moley! First, a Fighting Irish player delivered a late hit on a Spartan. Then, Trannon waded in to assist his quarterback; out of the blue, an ND player grabbed Trannon's facemask while an ND coach (or at least someone not in a player's uniform) yanked Trannon from behind. At this point, Trannon lost his head and acted like a blasted fool, nullifying the late hit penalty for which the Irish had been rightly flagged. Did Trannon commit a penalty? Yes, quitely blatantly, and the officials made the right decision in throwing that flag. Why didn't they flag Notre Dame for attacking him in the first place?

Go back and examine every vile, hateful thing I have ever said about Notre Dame's coaches, players, and alumni and you will find I have never accused themn of displaying thuggish behavior. Butt that's what they are: thugs. Only a pack of thugs would simultaneously attack a lone Spartan from the front and the back. Bog knows I hate the Spartans. They are both thugs and braggarts. But they didn't attack a lone Irish player on their sideline the way the Irish attacked Matt Trannon. Charlie Weiss may not be a thug, but his players and assistant coaches are. If Star Trek has taught me anything, it is that a captain is responsible for the conduct of those under his command.

ND should change their nickname from the Fighting Irish to the Thuggish Irish... though if you listen to the 19th century Nativists, called the Irish thuggish is redundant. I am a quarter Irish by blood; so, thanks Notre Dame, for confirming the worst things people say about my heritage. You know I could never, ever bring myself to mean the words "Go Spartans!" However, for the second half of the Michigan State-Notre Dame game I will go out on a limb and cheer, "Don't lose, Spartans... you losers!"

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Magic of Shazam!
It may very well be decades before I have the chance to write The Magic of Shazam! for DC, but the way I see it it is never too early to start planning the demise of Judd Winick's rape (though DC calls it a "reimagining") of the Marvel Family mythos. I really want The Magic of Shazam! to start with the story "Giant Atomic Robots;" so, I'll have to restore the Wizard Shazam to the Rock of Eternity, Billy Batson as Captain Marvel, and Freddy Freeman as Captain Marvel Junior (to be quickly rechristened Kid Marvel) before MoS! No. 1.

The idea is that Billy, Mary, Freddy, and Mr. Tawny will go on a quest modelled after The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. One problem: I've never read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, nor any of L. Frank Baum's other Oz books, I've only seen the famous film The Wizard of Oz (and a few terrifying minutes of The Wiz). The solution is both simply and obvious and I am confident I will find the time to read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz sooner rather than later.

Mary will act as a proxy for Dorothy Gale, the smartest and most level-headed member fo the expedition. Billy will be the proxy for the Scarecrow; by no means is he brainless, but let's face it, there's no doubt that Mary has the lion's share of the brains amongst the Batson children. Billy was chosen to be Captain Marvel because of the purity of his heart, not his GPA; the Scarecrow has a good heart. Plus, Freddy will call the role of the Tin Woodman and then tease Billy about being without a brain. Again, it is an imprecise fit as Freddy is the exact opposite of heartless, but compared to the bleeding hearts of Billy and Mary he is relatively (and again I stress that relatively is the operative word) callous. And Mr. Tawny will stand-in for the Cowardly Lion since, well, he's an anthropomorphic tiger which is darned close to being an anthropomorphic lion.

So, Billy = the Scarecrow, Mary = Dorothy, Freddy = the Tin Woodman, and Mr. Tawny = the Cowardly Lion. The Wizard Shazam will stand-in not so much for the Wizard of Oz, but for Kansas. Who's going to be Oz? I don't know. The Phantom Stranger, maybe? Who's going to be the Wicked Witch of the West? Don't know. Hmmm, maybe an update of a classic Marvel Family foe like Oggar the Immortal* or the Aztec priestess Nyola, or maybe a sorceror/sorceress borrowed from another province of the DCU. Anyway, this story will have it all, munchkins, Emerald City, the Good Witch of the North, the yellow-brick road (called, interestingly enough, "the road of yellow bricks" in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, not "the yellow-brick road"), and, most importantly, flying monkeys.

The title of this magnificent miniseries? I don't know if I want to use Oz in the title, like Shazam!: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or Shazam!: The Marvelous Land of Oz (slick way to work in "marvel" if I do say so myself); if I want to simply reference the Oz books, like Shazam!: The Yellow-Brick Road, Shazam!: The Emerald City, or Shazam!: Off to See the Wizard; or if I want to follow the "_____ of" theme of The Power of Shazam!, The Trials of Shazam! (*wretch*), and my own beloved The Magic of Shazam! with something like The Throne of Shazam! or The Search for Shazam!

Huh, I quite like The Throne of Shazam!, actually. (And it's apropos since my intention is to restore the Wizard, or at least his ghost, to his rightful throne in the Rock of Eternity.) But the Oz titles are mighty tempting, especially since all the Baum novels are public domain. Shazam! in the Marvelous Land of Oz? And once The Magic of Shazam! is up and running, we could always return to the Oz theme, perhaps with Timmy Tinkle (a.k.a. Robot Marvel) as the proxy for Tik-Tok and Billy's best gal Veronica standing in for, I don't know, Princess Ozma or somebody.

Ooo, perhaps this Oz thing would be a way to work in the Land of Faerie I intend to use in "Faerie Tale," "The Faerie Queene," and other, later stories in The Magic of Shazam! The Faerie Queene as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North? The Erlkonig as the Nome King? Sergeant Perriwinkle as... hmmm. I definitely need to read the Oz books sooner rather than later.

*World's Bestest
Captain Marvel - The World's Mightiest Mortal
Mary Marvel - The World's Mightiest Girl
Captain Marvel Jr. - The World's Mightiest Boy
Dr. Sivana - The World's Wickedest Scientist
Georgia Sivana - The World's Wickedest Girl
Sivana Jr. - The World's Wickedest Boy
Mr. Mind - The World's Wickedest Worm
Oggar - The World's Wickedest Immortal

Back in the Golden Age, the Marvel Family were of course the World's Mightiest Family and the Sivana's were the World's Wickedest Family. Dr. Sivana's two good children, Magnificus and Beautia are part of the modern-day DC Universe and I intend to use them in The Magic of Shazam! Thaddeus Bodog Sivana, Jr. and Georgia Sivana (Get it? Savannah, Georgia? Yeah, that's just terrible; thank Bog is isn't mine.) were created after Magnificus and Beautia and unlike their older siblings are nearly phisically identical to their father, Dr. Sivana. I've been tinkering with the idea of reintroducing Georgia and Junior as clones of Dr. Sivana, not so much as replacements for his beloved but estranged natural children, but as instruments to use against the Marvels, extensions of his own twisted genius.
The Question vs. Propaganda

The Question vs. Vox Populi

Superman vs. The Alienist

Martian Manhunter vs. The Alienist

BTW South Song of the Day
Reel Big Fish, "A-W-E-S-O-M-E" from We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy (T.L.A.M.)
iScream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream iTunes
With my brother's able assistance, I have "taken [my] first step into a larger world." I have purchased two songs from iTunes, or rather, two different renditions of one song: "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" by Joe Jackson, performed by Joe Jackson and by Goldfinger. It is a great song; so, to this point my iTunes experience has been overwhelmingly positive*. Huzzah! At the risk of bringing diaster down upon my head, I think I'm going to enjoy this larger world.

*Once again, why oh why are the antimatter counterparts of protons called antiprotons while electrons' antiparticle doppelgangers have the much cooler name positrons?
Hat Day!
On his way home from work this evening, the Mountain of Love stopped by The Stockyards and bought an authentic cowboy hat. He's wanted to do this since first he decided to accept the year-long appointment from the Fwopera. In honor of this momentous occasion, this evening we ate dinner while wearing hats, he his brand-spankin'-new ten gallon hat and I my Pith helmet. Henceforth, Thursday shall be Hat Day at BTW South, to be celebrated by the wearing of hats during the consumption of the evening meal. Huzzah, I say, for as a man who does not often wear a hat in his workaday life, I have long regarded hats as inherently festive. Hat Day is going to be great. Woot!

One of my favorite aspects of the visual cacophony is its eclecticity... which I'm reasonably sure isn't a real word, but we continue undaunted. Just today, I hung a poster of the Three Stooges as "Dewey, Cheatem & Howe - Attorneys at Law" below a poster of Starlight Over Rhone by Van Gogh. High culture, baby!

Hey, which would be a better nom de guerre/supervillain codename for a radical Marxist terrorist enemy of The Question, Propaganda or Vox Populi?

BTW South Song of the Day
Fountains of Wayne, "Hung Up On You" from Welcome Interstate Managers (Mt. Love)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick, "To Life" from Fiddler on the Roof - London Cast (T.L.A.M.)

And now the Mountain and I are going to watch the last four episodes of the second season of the American The Office in preparation for tomorrow's season three premiere. Thinking about Jim and Pam... I'm probably going to want to kill myself by the end of the night. Tim and Dawn, Jim and Pam, bless you and damn you, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.
Perchance to Dream
I remember having a really cool dream this morning, but I'm able to recall precious few details. I think it was set during the Second World War, which makes sense since when I couldn't sleep last night I used ye olde internet to read up on Nazi Wunderwaffe and Vergeltungswaffe. And there was a stupefyingly beautiful girl, but that's hardly surprising. Every dream worth having revolves around a stupefyingly beautiful girl. I know this was a seriously cool dream full of excitement and adventure. I don't remember it, but at least I remember how it made me feel. And that's no small thing. What a great way to start off the day.

To borrow (steal) another line from the Bard, "To be or not to be, that is the question." What remotely rational argument could be put forward in support of bloggy blogging? Mexico, a friend, neighbor, and ally of my beloved America, is fighting for her political soul. No one cares. The spectre of the world-conquering madness that periodically possesses the Germans has been raised once again, or at least a shade of the spectre (A shade of a spectre is, like, what? One-tenth of a ghost? One-seventh?), and just as before the two greatest bloodlettings of the 20th Century, no one wants to listen. Street clashes in Hungary, a coup d'etat in Thailand, Iran's quest for the bomb. *snore* But dare to impugn the mystique of invincibility of Notre Dame and even U of M alumni turn traitor and fall all over each other to offer fellatio to Charlie Weiss. The world? Bollocks. Sports? Boring. An assault on Notre Dame's honor? To arms! To arms! The barbarians are at the gates! I have often said that I have the greatest friends in all the world, but when even their tastes and interests take a turn toward vapidity, why continue?

I should contain such thinking to my personal journal.
Call me a girl, call me a wuss, I don't care, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane is the best comic book in the wide world.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Science!
Set your phasers to fun, space cadets, it's an honest to Bog mystery in space!

BTW South Song of the Day
Spring Heeled Jack, U.S.A., "Jolene" from Songs From Suburbia (Mt. Love)

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Girls of September '79
Happy birthday to Katie, a.k.a. The Watergirl a.k.a. The Girl in Camouflage.

Hungarian Link. What in the Sam Hill is going on in Hungary?

BTW South Song of the Day
The Suicide Machines, "Islands" from Destruction by Definition (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, September 17
Goldfinger/Mest/Good Charlotte, "The Innocent" via ye olde internet (Mt. Love)
Honolulu Blue Forever
Great day in the morning, do I even need to say anything about Roy "Not the Good Roy Williams" Williams? That Matt Millen still has a job goes a long way to explaining why the Ford Motor Company is in such desperate straits. Henry Ford was a monstrous anti-Semite whom I'm sure is burning in Perdition's flames as I type these lines, but he was a hell of a businessman. His decendents, who seem to be far better human beings, are nepotistic idiots. 21-59 in five seasons, 0-2 so far in the sixth. Millen's record speaks for itself.

As for the rest of the Lions, who in the hell gives up four aerial touchdowns to Rex Grossman? Rex Grossman! Mr. Injury-prone himself! Rex "I Can't Believe We Lost to This Frickin' Idiot" Grossman! Gah! I am so very, very torn. On the one hand, I love the Lions so much and I want them to win. On the other hand, the Lions are doomed so long as Millen captains the ship; so, there is a certain ruthless logic in rooting for the Lions to lose every single game to hasten Millen's firing. (Even W.C. Ford's blind, stupid faith has to have a breaking point, doesn't it? Doesn't it?) On the gripping hand, the Lions have been so bad for so long that the "glory" days of Wayne Fontes and losing in the first round of the playoffs like clockwork seem like another lifetime. The idea that the Lions will ever be anything but terrible seems laughable; so, why even hope that they'll get better? They'll never get better. They'll always be on par with the Houston Texans and the Arizona Cardinals. And as long as there's no hope of getting better, why rant and rage against the damnable nimrods who are the architects of this sorry state of affairs?

On the one hand, cheer in vain for victories. On the other hand, cheer in vain for changes in the front office. On the gripping hand, cheer for the Lions with no thought toward victory or defeat. Oh, the gripping hand is stupendously tempting, but I just can't make the leap from outrage to apathy. That feels too much like letting Millen win. Nevermind that Millen has already won by fleecing the franchise for millions, paid ever-increasing amounts of money while reducing the team to the laughingstock of the NFL. I was here before he came and I am determined to be here when he's finally, finally run out of town, far, far too late to make any difference. I will continue to be of two minds, cheering for "the Lions" in the abstract while perversely enjoying each bumbling misstep of Millen's chosen players and coaches.

I'm sad because the Lions lost to the Bears, but I'm happy that Chicago made Roy Williams eat his asinine words. I hate losing a divisional game, but I'm glad that Millen's lapdogs Marinelli and Martz are being exposed as chumps. I am of two minds and will be for the indefinite future. The Lions will always be my team; so, tomorrow I'll be wearing my Honolulu blue T-shirt as a token of my solidarity, even though I smile whenever I see that 34-7 score. Fuck you, Roy Williams. Fuck you, Matt Millen. Fuck you, William Clay Ford.
BTW South Song of the Day
Better Luck Tomorrow is one of my favorite movies; so, better luck tomorrow.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mexican Standoff
I hate to say it, but how typical of a leftist party: Uno. Mexico is supposed to be a state governed by the rule of law. According to Mexico's laws, the same laws that Mr. Lopez Obrador would have been obligated to uphold had he been elected presient of the United Mexican States and the same laws under which Mr. Lopez Obrador ran for the presidency, President-elect Calderon won July's election. Mexico's electoral laws may not be perfect, but that is a mater to be settled by the drafting of new laws in the congress, not by disrupting the traditional celebrations of the nation's independence day. By Lucifer's beard, the President of Mexico couldn't even mark his country's valiant struggle for freedom in the national capital. Imagine if President Bush was run out of Washington, D.C., on the Fourth of July. If there is one day that should bring all Mexicans together, it is September 16. Yet at precisely that moment the leftists declared their own will more important the then rule of law. Bog knows the law is an oft-flawed instrument of justice and good governance, but in the final analysis the law is all we have. Any system of raises one man's judgments and whims above the law, no matter how well-intentioned, leads inevitably to tyranny.

Example: the Union during the Civil War. President Lincoln is our national martyr and rightly honored as the greatest of all Americans, but his administration was also our most tyrannical. The military occupation of Maryland and the restrictions placed on free speech throughout the North would have been intolerable had we not been facing the gravest crisis in the Republic's history. Fortunately, when the crisis was past and the Union was secure again, the veil of righteous tyranny lifted and the rule of law reigned supreme again. (Though it must be said that the military occupation of the South, a.k.a. Reconstruction, should have continued for many decades, probably into the early twentieth century. The sufferance of Jim Crow was a complete betrayal of both our national ideal and the sacrifices made during the Civil War.)

It does not matter how good the Mexican left's intentions may be. Mr. Calderon was elected by a majority of the electorate, a razor-thin majority but a majority nonetheless. Mr. Calderon was elected in accordance with the law. The law must reign supreme if the future of the Mexican people is to be as bright as they deserve. I do not know how to resolve this crisis, how to make Mr. Lopez Obrador and his followers recongnize the necessity of the rule of law; so, to our friends south of the border I say "Bueno suerte" and "Vaya con Dios."

Deutschland Uber Alles
I fully support cracking down on far-right neo-Nazis. Lord knows the German people have proven themselves easily seduced by evil; so, the world cannot afford to allow them the same freedom of speech, no matter how ignorant and vile, we enjoy here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Zwei und Drei. But why is it that while Berlin is warily eyeing neo-Nazis and skinheads, German Muslims are allowed to openly call for the annihilation of Israel and violence against Jews all around the world and no one bats an eye? It is the worst kind of "soft" racism to hold white, native-born Europeans to one standard of behavior and immigrant and/or minority populations to another, lower standard. The essense of democracy is that all men are equal before the law. Radical anti-Semitism from a neo-Nazi white lunatic is just as monstrous as radical anti-Semitism from a Hezbollah-adoring Arab lunatic. The Federal Republic of Germany should not crack down on only the former, it must crack down on both.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "The Victors" from A Saturday Tradition (T.L.A.M.)

The Victors
I love Saturday Night Latham and Boof on their own merits, but it definitely enhanced my U of M experience to live with two members of the magnificent Michigan Marching Band. Woot!

Though I must confess some confusion. Charlie Weiss is far and away the greatest, most brilliant man to have ever coached college football, the television told me so. I've even been lead to believe that Charlie Weiss invented the offensive phase of football. Charlie Weiss is more perfect than Jesus Christ, so the "Catholic" fans of the Fighting Irish have implied. So, how exactly is it that the football team of the godless University of Michigan held St. Charlie Weiss's perfectly schemed, expertly conceived, cunningly devised, and indescribably innovative offfense in check? Charlie Weiss must have wanted Michigan to win! Of course, it is the only explanation that makes any sense. Yes! This must be come clever ploy to teach his team about humility, about the dangers of having false confidence in themselves when they should only have confidence in their one, true god, Charlie Weiss. It's all so clear to me now. Wow, we could all learn a thing or two from Charlie Weiss, the most admirable human being to have ever walked the earth. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!

And for the record, I never claimed to be gracious in victory, especially not when Notre Dame is involved.

"Hail to the victors valiant!
Hail to the conqu'ring heroes!
Hail! Hail! To Michigan
The leaders and best!"

Go Blue!
The Victors
It's halftime. What the hey was up with allowing Notre Dame that easy touchdown at the end of the second quarter? All in all, though, the Mountain and I are gleeful at this stage of the contest. Hooray for Super Mario! Now, we just need to keep up the pressure in the second half and we may yet overcome the "Charlie Weiss mystique." Go Blue!

Friday, September 15, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Mu330, "Vacation" via ye olde internet, available on CD only on a Japanese import (Mt. Love)
The Wealth of Nations
In a comment to one of Tuesday's posts, The Guy made the following very interesting statement: "That makes my capitalist soul sing." Wich raises the question, Do you subscribe to capitalism as an economic philosophy or do you simply reside in a nation-state with a predominantly capitalist economy? Do you believe in the capitalist-socialist hybrid practiced in the United States? Do you prefer the socialist-capitalist hybrid that holds sway in the European Union? Absolutist laissez-faire capitalism? Marxism? Marxism-Leninism? Anarcho-communism? State corporatism? Another system altogether or do you simly believe that barter is better?

Without going into any meaningful detail, as a statist and a pragmatist, I believe in the American capitalist-socialist hybrid, though I do with me emphasized the capitalist side of the model more to the detriment of the socialist. In what do you believe, dear readers? My curiosity in genuine and any and all who assist me in sating it will have my gratitude.
The Girls of September '79
Happy birthday to Julie, a.k.a. Skeeter.

Reading The Watergirl's blog a few moments ago, suffering in sympathy with what she must have endured during the awful aural assault of "The Case of the Worcester Girls on the Bus," I was struck by a recurring thought: what's wrong with this country is not that we have too much brick violence, but that we don't have enough brick violence directed at the right people. I am convinced that a relatively few, well-placed bricks to the face, perhaps as few as a score for every thousand people, would produce in our society a level of harmony and joy unrivaled in all the ages. Remember, bricks don't hit people in the face, people hit people in the face... with bricks.
The two best names I've ever heard for intramural sports teams are the Genesee County All-Stars, of which I was a founding member, and the Hurt 'Em Bad All-Stars, a basketball team against which my uncle Jim played while an undergraduate at the University of Cincinnati in the early '80s. Plus, the greatest shoes known to Man are Chuck Taylor All-Stars. There's no guarantee with all-stars, but it's a good place to start.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Train Wreck
For the last two weeks, the Mountain and I have been visiting our apartment complex's claustrophobically small exercise room on a daily basis (though I skipped last Saturday's session). We've been lifting and jogging on the treadmill. Bog, how I despise that treadmill. And yet, each day I mount it anew and willingly subject myself to a warm-up, thirty minutes of jogging, and a cool down. I jog at an incredibly slow speed, but a) I am a bloated fatass and b) I've never "run" before in my life. Before Tuesday, September 5, I'd never taken a constitutional jog in my life. I shall always think of myself as a swimmer, damn it, I don't run. Unfortunately, history has shown that I have a poor track record of dragging myself to a pool and pounding out enough yards to do my overtaxed heart any good; whereas under the stern gaze of the Mountain of Love's intracable discipline (which is a healthy adult adaptation of his unbelievable childhood stubbornness), I have run on nine of the past ten days. And that's even when I have regular acccess to a pool. Here in Fort Wothless, I'd have to find a suitable facility and then purchase some kind of membership. And while BTW South is proximal to UT Arlington, and while I would be surprised if their recreational facilities did not offer some kind of club membership for non-members of the university community, I might end up paying quite a bit of money for a pool I'd rarely visit. Whereas the price of admission to the minute exercise room and it's hated treadmill is built into the rent I'm paying anyway. Crap, not only am I rambling, but I'm rambling about a banal topic and, most unforgiveable of all, I am rambling in excruciatingly dull language. And yet, I'm going to post this rubbish. Man alive, why does anyone bother patronize this egomaniacal debacle of a bloggy blog?

I shall mightly endeavor to be more eloquent and more interesting when next I sit down to compose new material for the pompously christened Secret Base.

Addendum: If there is any point to the above, it's that thanks to the Mountain of Love I am eating better and getting much more exercise. Thanks, David!
BTW South Song of the Day
The Aquabats!, "Meltdown!" from Charge!! (T.L.A.M.)

The Mountain of Love and I were just rocking out to the Song of the Day, jumping and thrashing about in my room. Jumpin' Jack Pratt, Charge!! is an incredible album! All hail The Aquabats!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A couple pieces of terminology I've decided upon. First, I have been signing my emails to the fine folks at Comic Relief "Mike in Exile" instead of the usual "Mike" or "M!ke." However, since this "exile" is in the Lone Star State, I think I shall start referring to my time here not as the Exile, but as the Texile. Secondly, though my family has owned the Lumina since 1995, it has only become my property within the last month; everything old is new again and I've been trying to find a fitting name. She's a rather unremarkable vehicle, but she's mine and I'm trying to do right be her. To this point, the most fitting name I've come up with is the Blumina, since, after all, she's a blue Lumina.

BTW South Song of the Day
Biz Markie, "Just a Friend" via ye olde internet (Mt. Love)
BTW South Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "New York City" from Factory Showroom (T.L.A.M.)

Seriously, "New York City" is the most romantic song in the whole wide world.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Science!
A pair of hyperlinks: Spacewalk Cakewalk and When Humans Attack. Regarding the death of the Crocodile Hunter, I found everything about Steve Irwin amusing, from his ridiculous acccent to his unbridled enthusiasm to his too-short shorts to that fact that he was called "the Crocodile Hunter" but worked to protect, not kill, wild animals. I am sory for his family's loss, but at least he died the way he lived, and that's more than can be said about most people. If there is a such a thing as a good death, this was a good death. Rest in peace, Mr. Irwin, and thank you.

The Struggle for Civilization
In the Second World War, the United States, the last, best hope for Mankind, and the United Kingdom, the incubator of liberal democracy, joined forces with the absolute evil of Josef Stalin's Soviet Union to oppose the absolute evil of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. In a similar vein, it is a testament to the dread threat posed by Islamist terrorism that the United States and Syria, otherwise implacable ideological foes, can find common ground enough to cooperate in opposition: it never ends. Thank goodness for the Syrian security forces.
The Struggle for Civilization
"We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the big difference between us."
--Osama bin Laden

Monday, September 11, 2006

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
--Edmund Burke

First and foremost, I am an American. I love America and, Bog help me, I love my fellow Americans. Let us never forget, not for an instant, not even in the heat of the bitterest partisan disagreement, that we are not the enemy. We can, nay, we must disagree, we must argue and yell and struggle to find the best way forward, but we will move forward. We will face the enemy together, as Americans, united. E pluribus unum. We move forward as one. God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America.

"This I Believe" by Frank Miller.

BTW South Song of the Day
Aaron Tippen, "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly" from Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly (Mt. Love)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Deep in the Heart of Darkness... er, Texas
I have begun to apply the visual cacophony to The Last Angry Lair. The Mountain and I have already given the treatment to the living room and the kitchen, producing a truly exceptional hybrid of our two poster collections, paying homage to Blue Tree Whacking; Star Wars; Star Trek; Indiana Jones; such comic book icons as the Batman, Captain Marvel, and Spider-Man; the University of Michigan; and such musical greats as The Aquabats!, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, The (late, lamented) Hippos, and Mu330; The Simpsons; Bob & Doug McKenzie; et al. It's magnificent to behold.

The process of postering my bedroom is always long and laborious, but worthwhile. This go around, I am dealing with the added frustration of BTW South's walls, which are comvered in a bumpy, uneven kind of drywall. Taping is more difficult than normal; so, on some of the posters we have resorted to using tacks. All in all, I am satisfied with our progress, though as always my elation is tinged with anxiety for when we have to tear it all down again in eleven months.

The X-700 is out of commission and the Mountain's digital comera is dead; but, as soon as we have photographic means at our disposal, I shall attempt to share with you some of BTW South's decorative brilliance.

Doom
Yesterday, while we were exploring the mall in which is located the movie theater at which we saw Little Miss Sunshine, I bought an Invader ZIM T-shirt. As I type this, I have an image of GIR saying "Make me a sammich!" on my chest. Ain't life grand?
The Girls of September '79
Happy birthday to Lindsay, a.k.a. Mrs. Sacramento (formerly Never Girl).

BTW South Song of the Day
The Bruce Lee Band, "Go Feet Go" from Beautiful World (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, August 27
King Apparatus, "Michael & Anne" from Marbles (T.L.A.M.)

Saturday, August 26
Better Than Ezra, "Good" via ye olde internet (Mt. Love)

Friday, August 25
The Blue Meanies, "Acceleration 5000" from Mailorder is STILL Fun! (T.L.A.M.)

Thursday, August 24 - Move-In Day!
Less Than Jake, "Al's War" from Hello Rockview (Mt. Love)

And that's it, we're all caught up. From now on, you guys are going to have to suffice with just one Song of the Day per day. Stiff upper lip and all that, we'll get through this together.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

The Girls of September '79
Happy birthday to Emma, a.k.a. Mrs. Blinky.

BTW South Song of the Day
+44, "Lycanthrope" via ye olde internet (Mt. Love)
Live Long and Prosper
Forty years ago tonight, on September 8, 1966, Star Trek debuted on American television. To mark the occasion, the TV Land network aired a four-episode Star Trek "marathon" of "The Man Trap," "The City on the Edge of Forever," "The Trouble with Tribbles," and "Plato's Stepchildren." "The Man Trap" was the episode aired on September 8, 1966; so, it's inclusion was perfectly logical. "The City on the Edge of Forever" is widely considered the single best episode of Star Trek's 1966-1969 run. "The Trouble with Tribbles" is beyond doubt the single most fun episode of the original series. If you were putting together a four-episode tribute marathon, those three episodes are virtually required.

But "Plato's Stepchildren"? This is not one of Star Trek's most shining moments. (Though it is one of two TOS episodes to guest-star the beautiful barbara Babcock; so, on that score it's a winner. The other is "A Taste of Armageddon." Mea 3, I love you!) On the theme of godlike beings abusing their power, superior choices exist in both "The Squire of Gothos" and, keeping to the Hellenic motiff, "Who Mourns for Adonais?"; for better explorations of the theme of mind-control, look no further than "The Day of the Dove" or "The Gamesters of Triskelion." So, why "Plato's Stepchilden"? The Mountain and I reckon the issue was decided by The Kiss, the first interracial kiss on American television, acted by none other than William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk) and Nichelle Nichols (Lieutenant Uhura). Jim Kirk's man-whoring knows no racial bounds! Hooray for progress!

"The Man Trap"
"The City on the Edge of Forever"
"The Trouble with Tribbles"
"Plato's Stepchildren"

Happy birthday, Star Trek! Thank you for everything, Mr. Roddenberry, and may you rest in peace. Live long and prosper, my friends.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Welcome to the Secret Base of the Rebel Black Dot Society, now broadcasting (though not really) from The Last Angry Lair at BTW South. I am fully aware that my new HAL is called a Mac Mini, but I still cannot wrap my mind around just how miniature it really is. Holy smokes, it's tiny! This latest incarnation of The Last Angry HAL (No. IV) is ridiculously small. Woot!

BTW South Song of the Day
Mustard Plug, "Mendoza" from Evildoers Beware! (T.L.A.M.)

Thursday, September 7, 2006

The Queue
Sarah Vowell, Radio On
Gerald Green, The Last Angry Man
Sarah Vowell, Assassination Vacation

Uki Goni, The Real Odessa ***In Progress***
et al. as before

BTW South Song of the Day
The Aquabats!, "Todd-1 in Space Mountain Land!" via iTunes (Mt. Love)

And now, while the Mountain is at a party with his Fort Worth Opera (or "Fwopera") colleagues, I shall watch the perfect superhero motion picture, Batman Begins. (And coming soon to the Secret Base: the return of "Mexican Standoff.")

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Deep in the Heart of Darkness... er, Texas
We've started hanging wall decorations. I'm giddy as a school girl just thinking about the glory that is to come. We've got the RCY banner from our last show hanging up over the useless fireplace and my Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper helmet-and-crossbones pirate flag hanging over the television set and sundry media devices. Most importantly, we have the posters from all six Star Wars movies lined up side by side by side over the living room couch (the Special Edition posters in the cases of Episodes IV, V, and VI). It's... beautiful. Tomorrow, I hope to hang Mr. Turtle in my bedroom. Posters will follow as soon as they are flattened out. To quote Pete Conrad, the commander of Apollo 12, when he became the third man to set foot on the Moon, "Yippee!"

BTW South Song of the Day
Catch 22, "Wreck of the Sloop John B" from Alone in a Crowd (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, September 3
Ben Folds Five, "Cigarette" from Whatever and Ever Amen (Mt. Love)

Saturday, September 2
They Might Be Giants, "Another First Kiss" from Mink Car (T.L.A.M.)

Friday, September 1
Wally Dogger, "Rock 'n' Roll is Back" from Monster Toast (Mt. Love)

Thursday, August 31
composer unknown since I can't read Japanese, "Tenchi in Tokyo (a.k.a. New Tenchi Muyo) Ending Theme" from imported Japanese Tenchi in Tokyo soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)

Wednesday, August 30
Guster, The New Underground from the forthcoming Guster album, via iTunes (Mt. Love)

Tuesday, August 29
They Might Be Giants, "Doctor Worm (live)" from Almanac (T.L.A.M.)

Monday, August 28
SR-71, "Right Now" from Now You See Inside (Mt. Love)

We're going back and retroactively filing in songs for all the days we've lived here, even thought we didn't start selecting the Song of the Day until yesterday. Hooray for revisionist history?

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Carl Orff, "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana (selected by the Mountain of Love a.k.a. Mt. Love)

Monday, September 4
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "You're Pitiful" via iTunes (selected by The Last Angry Man, a.k.a. T.L.A.M.)

Monday, September 4, 2006

The F.R.A.T. Party
I'm not sure what brought it to mind, perhaps the beginning of the college football season, but all day I've been thinking about the grand old time that was the F.R.A.T. Party, the Friends Rebelling Against Tyranny Party, a publicity stunt for the Gargoyle humor magazine that took on a life all its own. Spending all day in the center of the Diag armed with a keg of root beer and a fishbowl full of condoms, a kid named Ryan insisting that he be called Galaxor Nebulon as he ran for student body president, the electioneering (sadly, we weren't the one who thought of it, just the unlikely beneficiaries) that resulting in me actually winning a seat on the student council, those were the days.

One evening, while I was chalking in the Diag, writing "Vote F.R.A.T Party" with the anarchy symbol replacing the A in F.R.A.T., a fellow student came up to me and said, without preamble, "Would you call your country a cunt?" What? "Would you call your country a cunt?"

"No," I said, still mightily confused, "I guess I wouldn't."

"Then why would you call my fraternity a frat?" He then walked away and I resumed defacing the campus with graffiti promoting the F.R.A.T Party and the Gargoyle.

Here's the thing, the frathole's example was a non sequitor, though this was only to be brought to my attention later. If you take "-ernity" off of "fraternity," you get "frat," a term used both by fratholes and frat-haters. If you take "-ry" off of "country," you get "count" not "cunt." Stupid fratboy.

Earlier that evening, a cleaned-up hippie stopped me, "Fraternal order, anarchy symbol. I don't get it." Once I explained to him that I was not in a frat and what F.R.A.T. stood for, he expressed his support for our important work and wished my comrades and me well in our electoral endeavour. He was truly a friend to our rebellion against the tyranny of pomposity.

F.R.A.T. Party forever!

Sunday, September 3, 2006

The Queue
Sarah Vowell, Radio On: A Listener's Diary
Gerald Green, The Last Angry Man

Sarah Vowell, Assassination Vacation
Uki Goni, The Real Odessa
Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down
Baroness Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel
William Manchester, The Arms of Krupp
Natan Sharansky, The Case for Democracy
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

I stayed up half the night yesterday finishing The Last Angry Man. It was, as the quote from The New York Times on the cover promised, "... boiling with human drama...." I also felt that I had wronged both you, my loyal readers, by ignoring the long established traditions of "The Queue" and neglecting to list recently finished books, such as Sarah Vowell's Radio On.

Before resuming Radio On and The Last Angry Man, both had lain fallow since January or February, and I had not read any other books in the interim. I read a lot of comics in that time, and by no means do I desire to disparage the medium of comics, but it feels great to be back into books again.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Snapshot Revised
Fountains of Wayne, Out-of-State Plates Disc One
Fountains of Wayne, Out-of-State Plates Disc Two
Phantom Planet, The Guest
The Killers, Hot Fuss
The Hippos, heads Are Gonna Roll

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
The Buckeye, a.k.a. the future Mrs. Mountain of Love, is visiting. There's no nice way to say this; so, I'll just say it: it's horrible watching college football with her. She's an Ohio State alumna. She roots for Ohio State. That is both the basis for and the entirety of my objection to watching college football with her. Curse you, Brutus the Buckeye!

Huzzah for the victory of the mighty Wolverines over the fearsome Vanderbilt Commodores!
Snapshot
The compact discs currently in my compact disc player:

Fountains of Wayne, Out-of-State Plates Disc One
Phantom Planet, The Guest
Phantom Planet, The Guest Bonus Disc
The Killers, Hot Fuss
and
The Hippos, Heads Are Gonna Roll

The Queue
Gerald Green, The Last Angry Man ***In Progress***
Sarah Vowell, Assassination Vacation
Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down
Baroness Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel
Uki Goni, The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina
William Manchester, The Arms of Krupp, 1587-1968
Natan Sharansky with Ron Dermer, The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny & Terror ***in progress, interrupted***
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Also, I very much want to read Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Peace, the follow-on to The Case for Israel, but I shan't add it to the queue until the paperback edition is in my possession.