Saturday, March 31, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Simmer Down" from Ska-Core, the Devil, and More (T.L.A.M.)
Return to the Falklands.
Back for a special return engagement courtesy of a request by The Guy, it's "Braylon Edwards sez I'm a prick"! And you can mess with the space-time continuum by retroactively commenting on a post from 2003... before The Secret Base had a comments section!

BTW South Song of the Day
Stroke 9, "Letters" from Nasty Little Thoughts (Mt. Love)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Hat Day!
What in the high holy hell is wrong with me? Yesterday was Hat Day, we celebrated Hat Day, but I didn't bloggy blog about Hat Day! Jiminy Cricket, I must be getting senile. The Mountain of Love won his ten-gallon cowboy hat and I wore my M Rec Sports (University of Michigan Department of Recreational Sports) baseball cap. I think I was wearing that cap the night Braylon Edwards called me a prick. I love Hat Day!

Ricky Fitness
As expected, today's workout was profoundly unpleasant, but not for the expected reason. The maintenance crew repainted the walls of the fitness center this afternoon, finishing mere minutes before our arrival, they said; so, we opened up all the windows so as not to be overwhelmed by that horrible fresh paint stench. It's been raining all day and contrary to the opinions of many, Texas is not a single, contiguous desert. BTW South is not in tropical Houston (which is about as swampy as New Orleans), but "the Metroplex" is still in the relatively green part of Texas. So, I ran and lifted today in foggy humidness instead of our usual air conditioned "comfort" (fear not, I still sweat like a Wilson during every run; when it starts to get easier, I increase the speed of the flat stages or the angle of the ramp stages). But foggy humidness is better than choking on paint fumes.
The Falklands.
Deep in the Heart of Darkness... er, Texas
The Buckeye was supposed to arrive this evening and stay until the eve of Easter. However, due to a line of "severe" storms moving through the Lone Star State the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) shut down. Completely. With such a large number of flights to finesse into the already hectic flight schedule, she now won't arrive until Sunday afternoon, barring any further delays. Fucking Texas. As it happened, all the storms were south of BTW South, and we are south of DFW; so, the airport was actually unaffected by the "severe" weather.

The awful truth, dear readers, is that Texas is a land of weaklings. Texans are pussies. They wilt at the threat of 32 degrees Fahrenheit and head for the hills at the merest sign of thunder and lighting. The "storms" that ravaged Texas this evening wouldn't even be worth mentioning in Michigan. And because of that bullshit, the Mountain of Love is losing three irreplacable days with The Buckeye. This postponement has crushed my brother's spirits. I'll do my best to buoy him, but he'll be inconsolable until she arrives on Sunday. Fucking Texas.

Ricky Fitness
Sunday's run felt great, but both phases of Monday's, Tuesday's, and Wednesday's workouts left me feeling like a modern Sisyphus. Today's run left me demoralized, too, but lifting was something else altogether. I felt like a beast. I added weight to the last set on each machine and pounded out the reps effortlessly. I'm sure each lift tomorrow will feel like a ton of bricks, but for this day at least I was mighty, fearsome, and mighty fearsome.

A pair of young ladies in their twenties entered ye olde fitness center as I was cooling down from my run and engaged in the most unexpected behavior. They exercised in silence through the end of Pardon the Interruption and the switch to Seinfeld, and then exploded into conversation during a commercial break. The episode resumed and they went mum. Please do not mistake me, I am not complaining. I was caught completely off guard. Such consciencious adherence to decorum is all too rare in this age of incivility; I certainly would not have displayed such gentility. (Then again, I am a boor.) Thank you, ladies, and I do truly mean ladies.

BTW South Song of the Day
Steve Martin, "King Tut" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Anniversary Party
No self-indulgent discussion of the general conventions of the "blogosphere" or the specific conventions of a given blog, in this case The Secret Base of the Rebel Black Dot Society, would be complete without addressing the topic of self-censorship, but it is impossible to comprehensibly discuss self-censorship for the same reasons that make self-censorship necessary in the first place. By no means is that all I have to say on the subject of self-censorship, but it is all I feel I should say given {a} the known readership of this blog and {b} the potential readership of this blog.

Instead, because everybody loves a non sequitor, I'll quote Cicero, "Cum potestas in populo auctoritas in senatu sit" ("While power resides in the people, authority rests with the Senate").
Fuzzy Math
There are around 6,600,000,000 human beings living on this doomed earth. Use of ethanol fuel by the 300,000,000 people of the United States would lead to the death of 3,000,000,000 people worldwide? Nearly half the planet's population of Homo sapiens sapiens? Castrolink. That's an... odd statement, even from a man who still thinks Communism is a good idea.

The Winged Wheel
The hating of Todd Bertuzzi is going well enough, but the withdrawl of support from the Red Wings has proven much more difficult. The same blackened chunk of resentment and scorn that occupies the place in my chest where a heart should be, the very instrument that allows me to indict Bertuzzi's entire life without a second thought, refuses to obeys the brain's edicts. A involuntary smile still parts my lips when I read of each Detroit victory, a frown greets each defeat, though in the interest of full disclosure I did snicker with malignant delight upon learning that the Red Wings lost the first game in which Bertuzzi desecrated the winged wheel. (For this we sacrificed honor and all sense of propriety?) The engine of spite that sits between my lungs must be broguht to heel; the mind reigns supreme here, curse thee. (At this, the dark bastard whispers You wish, jerkhole.)

I cannot in good conscience support the monster Bertuzzi or the mercenary amorality of the Wings front office, but my heart doesn't care about principle. My heart conspires with the film archives of my memory to remember the summer of '98 and smoking Cuban cigars (personally smuggled in from Canada) on the deck of Nicky the Greek's parents' house after the Wings won their second consecutive Stanley Cup. Damn good times.

Casey: "What happened to your values?"
Danny: "I find that maintaining them is a lot of work. I take a day off now and then."
Casey: "You take a vacation from doing the right thing?"
Danny: "Yeah. I don't loot storefronts or anything, but once in a while when I consider the effort it will take to diligently adhere to a moral compass, I take myself out of the line-up and rest for the next day."

I don't know if Dan Rydell is right, but he makes a good point.
BTW South Song of the Day
Vertical Horizon, "Everything You Want" from Everything You Want (Mt. Love)

The Empire of Pictus
I'm an idiot. Erixish society has no legacy of hierarchical leadership, but some manner of government is required for accession into the Empire. What better model of (relatively) leaderless governance than the Athenian democracy, especially in its 5th and 4th century B.C. flowering before the coming of Alexander the Great's Macedonian barbarism. Modifications are of course necessary, but I feel like a dunderhead for not realizing this sooner. It's perfect!

The Privy Council
The Parliamentary Prefectures
The Emperor of Pictus - The sovereign of every world in the Empire; the other members of the Privy Council serve at the Emperor's pleasure. Since the Emperor is also Lord Prinzlo and thus holds a seat in the Parliament, she serves the dual role of monarch to whom the Council serves as advisor and the representative to the Council of the Empire's Pic and Tehl Larian populations.

The Commonwealth of Phythria
The Ambassador of the College of Abbots - Each abbot is sovereign within his cloister-laboratory (scientist-monk is the highest calling in Phythrian society, all outside labor is undertaken to subsidize scientific research) and the surrounding territory. The College is a deliberative body with no executive; the Ambassador is just that, an authorized speaker for the Abbots superior in rank to no abbot of the College in good standing.

The Shogunate of Enkariworld
The Shogun of the Enkari - The Shogun is just that, the supreme warlord of the Enkari. There is an arguable degree of democracy in Enkari society as each chieftain needs the support of his warriors and each shogun relies upon the loyalty of enough of the chieftains to maintain his supremacy.

The Aepyrian Kingdom
The King of All the Nations - The King of All the Nations sits at the head of a consultative body made up of the Kings of the Nations, each of whom sits at the head of a consultative body made up of officials in a descending and extremely formalized hierarchy of consultative bodies pertaining to any number of national, tribal, clannish, and familial loyalties. Modern Aepyrian society is very egalitarian except for the rituals of the the hierarchy leading to the King of All the Nations, who wields both executive and legislative power.

The Hsi Church
The Archbishop of the Supreme Mystery - The religious and temporal head of the Hsi Church, the Archbishop commands his people body (state) and soul (church). He is elected by the Supreme Mystery, a collegial body of the Church's highest vicars from whose ranks he is chosen.

The Republic of Jurai
The High Trustee of the Republic of Jurai - The High Trustee is elected directly by the people, separately from the legislative Chamber of Trustees, each of whom represents a specific constituency of the planet Jurai. Both the High Trustee and the Chamber fulfill specific constitutional roles, unchanged since before the Republic's accession to the Empire with one significant exception: sovereign power once resided in the Jurai people and now radiates exclusively from the Emperor.

The Democracy of the Erixish
The Archon Eponymous - Lots are drawn from a pool of volunteers who are then seconded on to a smaller pool from whom lots are again drawn up and up and up the ladder until you reach the 5,000-member Council of Archons, from whom lots are drawn to determe the Archon Eponymous, who wields no executive power but is a plenipotentiary emissary for the Archons, each of whom speaks for the pool from which his name was drawn all the way back down the ladder.

The Rylander Palatinate
The Proxy-Palatine of the Presidium - The Presidium rules the Palatinate as an elected and oligarchic despotism. In Rynlander law, the Presidum's political power is virtually absolute, the scheduling and conduct of elections being the only prominent exception. As the name Palatinate implies, the Presidium reigns at the Emperor's sufferance; since accession to the Empire, other limits on the Presidium's power have arisen, but they have been limited by the Imperial reluctance to dictate cultural mores (outside of the preservation of the sentient rights inherent to every subject of the Empire). The Proxy-Palatine is a Presidium member empowered to speak in the name of his fellows, but not ranked above them, similar to the Phythrian Ambassador.

The Empire of Many Nations
The populations of the constituent species of the Empire, in descending order (I do not have specific numbers):
Tehl Larian (so-called "Pic Larian")

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Proud Europa: Vive la France
I have often referred to Europe as a "rotting corpse of a continent" and I will not back away from that analysis, but the facts are that Europe has been rotting for quite a few years and will continue to rot for decades to come before its power is finally, but not irrevocably, eclipsed. Europe is not yet lost, and France is one of the keys to Europe. Knowledge and understanding must come before all else; so, here is a bit of information on the rapidly approaching election for the President of France: un et deux.
The Empire of Pictus
The Otrosi have been renamed the Sarkese. Their homeworld, formerly Otros, has been renamed Sarkhala, as in the League of Sarkhala. Their government remains a diarchy with the Archdule of Sarkhala and the Prince of Auchibur as joint sovereigns.

The physical appearance of the Erixish has finally been decided: they are arboreal, six-limbed monkeys. I say "six-limbed" rather than "six-armed" or "six-legged" since all of their limbs are prehensile; so, the only significant difference between "arms" and "legs" is proximity to the head or the prehensile tail. Monkeys!

The remaining difficulty with the Erixish is the title of their leader. Aboriginally, they are collectivist seekers of universal consensus; they have no history of a formal leadership structure, each Erixish contributed to the collection of fruit for the whole group and received whatever share he needed to sustain himself. Children were raised collectively by each group. Also, the Erixish have no indiginous istory of violence. When threatened by the flightless, predatory birds of Erix, they run and hide. They have no "fight" instinct, only "flight." Though sentient, the Erixish existed at the hunter-gather (minus the hunter) level until the attempted invasion of Erix by the expansionist Tehl Larian Autocracy. The Empire of the Pic (later the Empire of Pictus), itself a one-time satrapy of the Autocracy, interdicted the invasion force, precipitating a years-long war, remembered in Pic history together with the similiarly thwarted Tehl Larian invasion of the planet Aeloos as the Erix & Aeloos War. Flotsam and debris from both Imperial and Autocratic forces fell to the surface of Erix, thus interfering with the "natural cultrual development" (in this case, stagnation) of the Erixish.

The Pic were themselves at an 18th century level of technology before the 78-year occupation of Pictus by the warp-capable Tehl Larians; so, they took noninterference with the Erixish as a sacred trust. But not all of the technological detritus was recoverable. The Erixish hoarded it like they were stockpiling fruit for the rainy season. The Erix & Aeloos War formed but an early chapter in the half-century-long Autocratic Wars. When the wars were over, the power of the Tehl Larian Autocracy had been smashed and the newly heterogeneous Empire of Pictus was a major interstellar power. By the time the Imperial Legions set foot on Tehl Laria Prime, the Erixish had gained a working knowledge of subspace communications. They immediately began petitioning their celestial guardians, the Pic, to return. For decades these petitions were ignored (it was hoped the Erixish would eventually wear out the batteries, but the little buggers eventually devised waterwheels to supply electricity to their jury-rigged transmitters), but eventually the Erixish began to construct primitive spacecraft to reach the Empire. So, an Imperial legation was sent, bonds and comity and commerce were forged, and eventually the Erixish acceded to the Empire of Pictus.

The non-sovereign heads of state of the constituent realms of the Empire (the Commonwealth of Phythria, the Shogunate of Enkariworld, et al.) form the Emperor's Privy Council; the Erixish could not be excepted, even with their long history of non-hierarchical sovereignty. What do you call the non-hierarchical speaker for his people if you dislike "Speaker" as a title? The Phythrian College of Abbots, lacking an executive, sends the Ambassador of the College to the Privy Council; so, I'll probably go the ambassadorial route. Emissary, envoy, something like that.

BTW South Song of the Day
The Chinkees, "You Left Me a Message (15 Years, Pt. 2)" from Searching For a Brighter Future (T.L.A.M.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Father, Gunn, and holy smokes.

BTW South Song of the Day
The Fairlanes, "Burn It Down" from Mailorder for the Masses (Mt. Love)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Scroll down for an extra-wicked edition of "The Explorers Club," now with more extra-wicked.

Distaff Discourse
I spent a good deal of this weekend on my mobile phone having lengthy conversations with the current apple of my eye, my darling mother, and the most boisterous belle in Beantown, The Watergirl. I prefer "mobile phone" to the more widespread terms "cellular phone", "cell phone", and "cell" for two reasons. {a} I have always been something of an Anglophile and derive much joy from utilizing Britishisms in speech. I'd use more of them except I fear I'd look like a prat. I particularly love that Brits call their cellular telephones "mobiles." Most Americans wouldn't know what I'm bloody talking about if I called by phone merely a mobile; so, I use the compromise version mobile phone. {b} As a member of BTW, I am obliged to use "cell phine" in place of "cell phone." I'd rather not; so, I have sidestepped the issue by uncoupling the words "phone/phine" and "cell."

In any event, each of the aforementioned conversations was splendid, a too-convenient-by-half segue into our next item.

Codename: CHAOS
I troika troika troika of new codenames:

Pandora - mentioned above as "the current apple of my eye," she has another long-established codename here at The Secret Base, but for the time being I have decided to refer to her as "Pandora" to help provide an additional layer of security-cum-anonymity. This is not the first time I have had a long distance crush on her, but this time I am determined to get a measure of resolution one way or another.

Alistair - Formerly codenamed "Father Steve," he comments under the handle "Steve R." We were going to be roommates during our freshman year at Michigan until he was offered a load of scholarship money to attend Notre Dame. He is a truly good and decent man, father, and husband.

The Worrywart - It's about time my mom got a codename. Meet my mom and dad, The Worrywart and The Goldbricker. They drive me crazy only because I love them dearly.

Ricky Fitness
Taking two consecutive days off is a bad idea. I took yesterday off but ran today (I didn't lift) and I have to say I felt fan-friggin'-tastic both during and after the run. Six days on, one day off makes a leaner, meaner (especially meaner) T.L.A.M.

BTW South Song of the Day
The Eyeliners, "It Could Have Been You" from Sealed With a Kiss (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Explorers Club
No. XVIII - Elvis Aaron Presley, 1935-1977, the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

Extra credit: Elvis Costello, Elvis Grbac, and the Dance Hall Crashers song "Elvis & Me," titularly styled after Priscilla Presley's memoir, Elvis and Me.

Not the real McCoy, but a fascinating glimpse at what might have been: Bruce Campbell as a seventy-year-old Elvis Presley in Bubba Ho-tep. Inspired, mayhap, by Ash's line from Army of Darkness, "Hail to the King, baby"?

BTW South Song of the Day
They Mights Be Giants, "The Edison Museum" from No! (Mt. Love)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Down Under
Quick, without consulting any reference material or harnessing the power of the internet, how many of Australia's states and territories can you name?

Boy howdy, I wish I had the technical skill to have added a question mark right in the middle of that image. New and improved graphic courtesy of Daddy Dylweed! Thanks, buddy!
Ska Wars
We're coming up on the tenth anniversary of the Summer of 1997, the Summer of Ska. Something will have to be done to celebrate this; I mean, we'll have to have some kind of retrospective here at The Secret Base or something, because outside the sphere of the interwebs planning for the greatest celebration possible (an exaggeration, but not by much) is already underway: Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake are going on tour... together! RBF! LTJ! BTW! Bands worth a damn don't pass through "the Metroplex" (thank Bog), but you can bet the farm that by hook or by crook all the Blue Tree Whackers will find a way to see the show nearest them. This is a golden opportunity! Yeah, we're older, slower, and balder than we used to be, but the mosh pit is the real world analog of Ra's al Ghul's Lazarus Pit. It's the Fountain of Youth! Or at least a fountain of youthful exuberance. Jumpin' Jack Pratt, it'll be too much rock for one hand all summer long!

And now to listen to Save Ferris's "The World is New" over and over and over again....
BTW South Song of the Day
Mu330, "Rocket Fuel" from Mu330 (T.L.A.M.)

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Endurance
Reacclimating to the emotional roller coaster of a long distance crush has been and continues to be quite interesting. I've been reintroduced to all sorts of old sensations and random throughts, steadfast companions of days gone by, and it really does feel like I'm welcoming back long absent friends. Too long absent, I should say. Hello, gentlemen, it truly is wonderful once again to make your acquaintances. We have a lot of work ahead of us and I want all of you to put time and care into your preparations. The task before us shall be more a marathon than a sprint. I have always enjoyed the application of martial terminology to affairs of the heart, particularly the substitution of "Let's fight" for the nebulous "I love you" in Laws of Attraction; so, settle in for a long siege. I mean to claim her heart, a prize of prodigious magnificence, as the spoils of war. Endurance shall be our watchword.

By the by, I enthusiastically recommend the films The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition, a documentary based upon Caroline Alexander's book, The Endurance, and Laws of Attraction, a highly amusing work of fiction featuring, among other enticements, the incomparable Parker Posey.
BTW South Song of the Day
The Gamits, "Sorry Song" from Plea For Peace (Mt. Love)

Commentary: Rock!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Anniversary Party presents Commentary on the Commentary
Have we been celebrating the fifth anniversary of The Secret Base of the Rebel Black Dot Society for over a month now? Yes, we have. Do I plan on stopping anytime soon? I've still got a couple more topics I'd like to cover before putting "The Anniversary Party" up in the attic until next February. Keep your shirt on, we'll be back to our regularly scheduled crumminess soon enough.

The commenting feature, a free service courtesy of Haloscan, was added to The Secret Base on 12 September 2004, a full two and a half years after the blog itself was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world, in a post titled "Complaint Dept." I was extremely hesitant to add comments even after virtually all other members of the once-thriving blogging community had done so for the twin reasons of egomania and obsessiveness. On ego, The Secret Base is MY blog, cholk-full of MY thoughts and MY opinions, and I didn't want other people's brain droppings, to use George Carlin's charming phrase, mucking up the joint. Also, I did not want my views, which are invariably correct, to be challenged. In retrospect, I am very glad that my opinions were, and still are, repeated challenged, as argument is the crucible wherein undesirable elements are burned away. My contradictory and idiosyncratic views on many subjects have been challanged, and I think I have emerged with stronger, clearer arguments in favor of those views because you, my darling readers, were kind enough to challenge those things with which you disagreed. You were wrong to disagree, of course, but such are the perils of a free society.

My worst fears about obsessiveness have been realized, but I've no recourse but to shrug and continue being obsessive. I check The Secret Base innumerable times throughout the day, scouring each post to see if any new comments have been left. My fickle heart rises and falls; when no one comments, no one loves me. Hyperbole! But I do check my blog for new comments throughout the day, and seeing a fat number of comments below a post does bring a smile to my face... at least until I read them. The audacity of you people! (Notice how the paragraph on obsessiveness brings us right back to ego?) Always questioning! Always pointing out flaws in logic! *insert sound of inarticulate rage*

I have never seriously entertained the idea of removing the comments, but everyone likes to have options. I have only banned one person, Captain Malice, after he wrote something particularly obnoxious involving the U of M-MSU rivalry, but I cannot remember specifically what it was he wrote and I have since reversed the ban (at least I think I have, we'll only know for sure if he comments). Despite my initial hesitance, the comments have proven to be one of the very best things about The Secret Base; the comments provide the comforting illusion of a community and allow me to feel a modicum of involvement in the lives of my far-flung friends. And now for a bit of public broadcasting schmaltz: the comments mean that though The Secret Base is my blog, it's a forum that really belongs to all of us. Volunteers are standing by to take your pledge.

And always remember: Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again.
The War for Civilization
Vive le France! No country in Europe has the freedom of speech enshired in as absolutist a form as the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but still, the right to speak one's mind without fear of reprisal is fundamental to all democracies.
The internet is complete bullshit.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
The Toasters, "Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down" from Live in Sao Paulo, Brazil (T.L.A.M.)
Codename: CHAOS
I've got it! Instead of calling Dylweed's sons Dlyweedsons and any potential daughters Dylweeddottirs, all of this kids shall be Dylweedlings! The happy Dylweed family of Kokomo, Indiana: Daddy Dylweed, Mrs. Dylweed, J. Dylweedling, and Z. Dylweedling. Long may they prosper.

As for Steve R (formerly and unsatisfactorially known as Father Steve), I've got several preliminary ideas: Notre Lame, Notre Dude, Stat Boy (becaue of his legendary recall of sports minutiae), the Golden Thunderdome, Laser Zeppelin. Also, because he looks just like David Duchovny: David Duchonvy, Duchovny, Fox Mulder. Suggestions are welcome, especially since a Secret Base codename is not like a nickname. You cannot give yourself a nickname, but you can determine your own codename (though if I don't like it I reserve the right to taunt you and ignore your choice); so, Steve, here's your chance to put in your own two cents. Meanwhile, I'll keep hoping the muses pipe up sooner rather than later.

Idiosyncratic Routine
I am out of step with the personal opinion of the vast majority of ordinary Americans in that I believe homosexuals should have the same right to marry as heterosexuals. My argument goes like this: Britney Spears has already been married twice, once for fifty-five hours and once to Kevin Federline, yet the two gentlemen who have loved each other and lived together for fifty years should not be allowed to say they are married for what reason, exactly? And don't cite religion, because in America marriage licenses are given out by the several states, not the churches, and the several states are not supposed to be able to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

I am out of step with the personal opinion of the majority of Americans who support gay marriage in that I believe one spouse in a homosexual marriage should adopt the other's surname. The point of marriage is that two people become one, yes? Doesn't it then make sense for those two people to have the same last name? Calling dibs, tossing a coin, going by who's older or who makes more money, the more subjective method of determining who has a cooler last name, all seem like fine ways to decide whose surname to adopt. Would not a common name aid the fostering of unity that is so vital to forging a successful marriage, gay or straight?
Attention Captain Malice: I believe I have managed to reverse the ban that prevented you from commenting, Joe. Please leave a comment to let me know that this is so or drop me an email, or whatever form of electronic communication you prefer, to tell me that I have failed; if the latter is the case, I shall try, try again.

BTW South Song of the Day
Jerry O'Sullivan, "Colonel Fraser" from Green Linnet Records: The Twentieth Anniversary Collection (Mt. Love)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

"That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain."
--William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark Act I, Scene V
Holy Wow
I have been to the Grand Canyon and it is more magnificent than I can describe. I cannot wait to return and see it from the Skywalk.

Also, from our "Lies, Damned Lies, and the News" department, American astronaut Buzz Aldrin legally changed his name from Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr. to Buzz Eugene Aldrin nearly twenty years ago; so, the BBC is inaccurate in identifying the second man to walk on the Moon as "Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin." Factchecking, mates, it really isn't that hard.

Polarlink. I will never understand so-called animal "rights" activists. Fur is "murder," but Knut should have been killed? Clubbing baby harp seals is wrong, but clubbing baby polar bears is right? How morally superior of you, deciding who lives and who dies by your whim. How very "master race." I wish Knut a long and happy life.
Scrawl down to this week's episode of "The Explorers Club." It's my very favoritest part of The Secret Base.

BTW South Song of the Day
Duvall, "Racine" from Volume & Density (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I thought about substituting "Racine," one of the most romantic songs in my collection, for "The Body of an American" as Saturday's Song of the Day, in celebration of The L.A.W's engagement to The Maine Man, but it seems like I've got siblings getting engaged left and right; St. Patrick's Day, by contrast, comes 'round but once a year. I have often bitterly denounced Ireland as a den of neutrality, but there should be no mstake, I am proud of my Irish heritage. You see, the Ireland I hate is the Ireland my ancesters left. It was not good enough for them; so, they came to America. Like the rest of Europe, Ireland is full of the complacent and the corrupt, those without the courage to forge a better life in the New World. All that is best about England, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden left; the Europeans we know today are the degenerate progeny of what remained after all the brave and noble souls had emigrated. The Ireland I hate, the Ireland that allied with the Kaiser during the Great War and was scrupulously neutral toward both Hitler and Stalin, is the country my forefathers quit. I would not object so strongly to the bigoted, debauched manner in which "St. Paddy's Day" is defiled here in America if I was not proud of my Irish blood. My middle name is Patrick, after all.

So, Saturday's Song of the Day could not be changed from "The Body of an American." So, here's "Racine," and for lack of a better gesture this one goes out to The L.A.W and The Maine Man. He will make a most excellent brother-in-law.

Codename: CHAOS
And of course all this raises the question of matrimonial codenames. When she married, Ham 'n' Eggs became Mrs. Blinky; Never Girl became Mrs. Sacramento. I usually refer to Daddy Dylweed's bride as "the lovely Kristy," but if the issue of anonymity ever came up I would refer to her as Mrs. Dylweed. Now that I think about it, Father Steve's codename may need to be revamped, as "Mrs. Steve" leaves much to be desired. And what do I call Dylweed's precious sons? How about Dylweed J and Dylweed Z. Or J Dylweedson and Z Dylweedson? (Dylweed, thoughts?) Father Steve's infant son? Yes, Father Steve definitely needs a new codename, one that will be forumlated with the missus and their son in mind.

In all likelihood, the Mountain of Love, formerly known as the Bald Mountain, will become the Mountain of Matrimony once he was donned the irrevocable shackles of holy matrimony. (Though, the wedding will take place in, I think, a Lutheran church; so, there won't really be anything "holy" about the proceedings.) And what of his intended, The Buckeye? Mrs. Mountain of Matrimony? A bit unwieldly, but easily shortened to Mrs. Mountain for practical usage.

But when am I to call The L.A.W. and The Maine Man? I doubt she'll change her name; so, her initials will still be L.A.W. I could call him Mr. The L.A.W. of Mr. L.A.W., but that seems awfully emasculating. At the same time, I've always had a hard time accepting that my aunt and uncle in Austin are really married since a) they have different last names and b) they don't have any kids. I would like for The L.A.W. and The Maine man's codenames to be related to reinforce the sense that these two people are irrevocably shacked one to the other. Mr. and Mrs. Maine L.A.W.? I'll have to keep at it.

Suggestions are most welcome; so, it's time to put you lazy bums to work. Thinking caps, kids, I expect gold-standard ideas.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Explorers Club
No. XVII - James Clerk Maxwell, 1831-1879, pioneering scientist in the fields of mathematics, physics, optics, and color photography; all-around genius; and the only man on Venus. (See also: Maxwell's equations, the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, and Maxwell Montes.)

The Anniversary Party
Words fail me. I wish to articulate a sentiment of some not insignificant beauty, but this is neither the hour nor the day. The words fail. Nothing for it but to wait and to endure. Fear not, lads, to all things there is a season. This blight shall pass in its good time and all will stand revealed.

BTW South Song of the Day
Rx Bandits, "What If" from Halfway Between Here and There (Mt. Love)

Saturday, March 17 - Saint Patrick's Day
The Pogues, "The Body of an American" from The Best of The Pogues (T.L.A.M.)

Friday, March 16
Seamus Ennis, "Rainy Day/First You Must Learn the Grip" from Green Linnet Records: The Twentieth Anniversary Collection (Mt. Love)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The really remarkable thing about Japan is that when all is said and done this heist will end up representing about half of the crime in the whole country - a nation of 120 million citizens and the world's second-largest economy - for all of 2007: Operation Grand Slam.
The Victors
On the one hand, the valiant University of Michigan Wolverines lost the CCHA tournament to the vile University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish. On the other hand, my close personal friend Bill Martin fired Tommy Amaker as head coach of the men's basketball team. On the gripping hand, I flipped away from the UNC-MSU game (Thanks, Tar Heels!) just in time to see valiant University of Michigan Wolverine Josh Churella lose the 149-pound national championship at the NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Being the second-best 149-pound wrestler in the country is a highly laudable achievement, but to slightly misappropriate* General MacArthur's words, "there is no substitute for victory." Churella may be valiant, but today he was not the victor; he may be a hero, but today he did no conqu'ring.

So, 1-2, not a particularly good day for Michigan. Still, every day is a great day to be a Wolverine; tomorrow, we pick ourselves up and begin again. Go Blue!

*MacArthur actually said, "In war there is no substitute for victory." And despite furious flurries of hyperbole and bad sportsmanship, there is no mistaking the glory of sport for the horror of war.
The Big News
Sweet fancy Moses, my sister, The L.A.W., is going to marry her boyfriend, The Maine Man! Had you asked me ten minutes ago, I would have wagered that she and he would co-habitate for the indefinite future, but never actually marry; they'd live a very European lifestyle, my sister being something of a Europhile. Shows you how well I know my sister. In her voicemail, she said that she wasn't even sure there would be a wedding; so, a quick civil ceremony could happen at any moment. Wow.

A seeming stronghold of anti-matrimonial sentiment has fallen to the relentless advance of The Marrieds. Team Bachelor, retreat and regroup!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Victors
Once again, the forces of good have triumphed over the forces of evil: the leaders and best. Tonight: the vile University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish. There is no finer opponent to face on St. Patrick's Day. Go Blue! Kill the Irish!

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Queue
Alan Dershowitz, The Case for Peace
Natan Sharansky, The Case for Democracy

William Manchester, The Arms of Krupp ***in progress***
Simon Hawke, The Merchant of Vengeance
Jung Chang, Mao: The Unknown Story
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
Harrison E. Salisbury, The 900 Days

Because, really, is there a more exciting way to spent one's Friday night than reading, half-watching basketball, and blogging about books?
The Agony and the Ecstasy
While Michigan getting bounced from the NIT doesn't exactly evoke anything as substantial as agony and the pleasant sensation arising from Notre Dame's dismissal from the NCAA Tournament doesn't meet the criteria for ecstasy, "The Agony and the Ecstasy" is a better title than "The Minor Aggravation and the Mild Amusement."

Go Blue!
I am an enthusiastic proponent of manned space flight (Go Project Constellation!), but that does not mean I am not also an enthusiastic proponent of unmanned missions of exploration. After all, Opportunity and Spirit's mission was nicknamed M2K4 meaning "Mars 2004," and the twin rovers were only supposed to survive for three months. But M2K4 has inexorably given way to M2K5, M2K6, M2K7 with no clear end in sight! We must harness the fruits of the greatest minds on Earth and unleash an armada of robots to wrest from nature the secrets of the seas of Europa. Robots of Earth, your destiny is to be found among the stars! Go forth, you magnificent mechanical minions! For Earth! For glory! For science! Science!
"Journey to Babel" - Star Trek Season 2, 1967-68
"Babel" - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 1, 1993
"Babel One" - Star Trek: Enterprise Season 4, 2004-05

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hat Day!
The Mountain of Love wore his funny chicken hat and I wore my Pith helmet. Long after dinner had been consumed and the requirements of Hat Day fulfilled, I continued to wear my Pith helmet. Life is better in a Pith helmet. I was disappointed that the "special one hour of The Office" turned out to be two reruns of The Office, but pleased that they were such excellent reruns of The Office. Stanley just laughed and laughed and laughed at Ryan's folly, and it was so richly deserved. *hee hee* Stanley!

Also, I have high hopes for Andy Barker, P.I.

BTW South Song of the Day
John Linnell, "Maine" from State Songs (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Chosen to commemorate Maine's admission into the Union of this day in 1820. Those who just can't get enough of "The Explorers Club" might take the opportuity to learn more about the Compromise of 1820 a.k.a. the Missouri Compromise.

"Maine is the poison you love,
Maine is the hell from above,
Maine at the top of the chart,
Has crushed my evil heart."
"They're killing Independent George! Worlds are colliding!"

In any entirely unrelated matter, I fear my intentions toward her may not be honorable, but I also have a sneaking suspicion that said fear is a result of the dark bastard's relentless scheming and sinister machinations. She was, after all, the original inspiration for the following; so, it seems likely my intentions are above board:

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

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The morrow brings the Ides of March, dear friends and treasured readers, two thousand fifty-one years since Caesar fell to a traitor's blade. Be wary.

Parker Posey Appreciation Day
I had the day off; so, I spent the afternoon watching For Your Consideration and then watching it again with Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy's commentary. A Mighty Wind was great, but I think we can all agree it suffered from an acute lack of Parker Posey. Not so For Your Consideration! Score! So, having seen The Oh in Ohio and For Your Consideration, now I still need to get caught up with The Event and Adam & Steve and when possible Fay Grim (though the film to which it is a sequel, Henry Fool, wasn't that good to begin with), Broken Engish, and Spring Breakdown. Crappy remakes of crummy-to-begin-with Asian horror flicks are a dime a dozen; so, I think I'll be forgiven for opting out of seeing The Eye.

Great Caesar's ghost, who doesn't love Parker Posey Appreciation Day?

BTW South Song of the Day
Flogging Molly, "Tobacco Island" from Within a Mile of Home (Mt. Love)

Commentary: I'd rather listen to Aerosmith than Flogging Molly, and I hate Aerosmith's music with every fiber of my being. Bog below, I'd rather listen to nothing but the motherfucking Beatles for a whole year than suffer through another Flogging Molly album.
Note to self: India seems like a fascinatingly exotic place, and sometime in the next thirty-three years I would like to see where Great-Granny Gray, may she rest in peace, lived and where Grandma Wilson, may she rest in peace, was born, but it is also dreadfully hot and humid in much of the country much of the year. And you put the Wilson in "sweating like a Wilson." So, take a cue from the locals and when in Gujarat do as the Gujaratis do. Flower power.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "You Can't Win" from A Jackknife to a Swan (T.L.A.M.)

Monday, March 12
unknown, "The MacGyver Theme Song" courtesy of ye olde internet (Mt. Love)

Sunday, March 11
Sixpence None the Richer, "Kiss Me" from Sixpence None the Richer (T.L.A.M.)

Saturday, March 10
Fountains of Wayne, "Small Favors" from Out-of-State Plates, Disc 2 (Mt. Love)
The Anniversary Party
For nearly twenty-four hours between yesterday evening and this afternoon, BTW South was without internet access. This was a nuisance not a crisis, but predictably it did get me thinking about the changes wrought by the passage of time. Ten years ago, in March 1997, President Clinton was less than two months into his second term; few had yet heard of George W. Bush, the first-term Governor of Texas; Barry Sanders was the the best running back in the NFL; two brand-new episodes of Star Trek aired each week, one each of Deep Space Nine and Voyager; the Special Editions of the Star Wars trilogy had just been released in theaters and there was yet no prequel trilogy; and the internet, or as it was called back then the "information superhighway," had yet to "transform" our daily lives.

My father had bought his first HAL by 1997 and had created for each member of the family, even my long-absent sister, an AOL e-mail account, but I dialed in to check mine perhaps a half-dozen times in as many months. I would not become a regular user of what was quickly dubbed ye olde internet until I arrived at the University of Michigan in the Fall of 1997. A scant two years later, by the time the Mountain of Love was a high school senior, he and his compatriots routinely chatted through AIM. Back in my day, we called each other on the telephone. (Or rather, Skeeter or Dylweed, not yet a daddy, called me and I told them I was going to stay in and hang out with my brother; so, not everything has changed in ten years.) And by the telephone I mean the landline in our parents' houses. To quote RBF, "We didn't call have 'cell phones'!"

In 1997, being without internet access for a day would not have seemed worth even mentioning; yesterday, I could not check my myriad email acccounts, obsessively visit The Secret Base to see if anyone had left a comment, read things about the Romulans that I already know on Wikipedia, scan the headlines of the BBC site. None of these activities is vital; a convincing argument can be made than none of them is even vaguely important. The internet is, by and large, a collection fo trivialities. Of course, as the finest Trivial Pursuit player I know, I would never speak out against trivialities; the trivial is the color and excitement of the world. I mean, was 300 a valid history lesson? By Zeus's thunderbolt, no! But was it a heck of a lot of fun? You betcha!

The Secret Base of the Rebel Black Dot Society was founded five years ago. I was introduced to the term "Black Dot Society," against which I am in rebellion, seven years before that. The world, or rather that small fraction with which I interact daily, changed far more between 1997 and 2002 than between 2002 and 2007. I have no highfalutin purpose beyond stating that I believe we all derive inestimable benefit from taking a few moments each day to hold in mind a picture of how we once were, individually and as a culture, and asking why we are not that way today, both for good and for ill.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Alma Mater
My mom attended college for two years before she married my dad and moved into married student housing at Purdue. And where did she go to college? None of than NCAA Tournament-bound Wright State. Meanwhile, Michigan, the school to which she sent her three children, will once again be participating in the NIT. This round goes to my dear mother's "nourishing mother."

Go Blue!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Explorers Club
No. XVI - Brigadier General Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. (U.S. Army) and General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. (U.S. Air Force)

I rejected the notion of adding the Generals Davis to "The Explorers Club" during February because that might have been seen as an endorsement of Black History Month. Black History Month is inherently racist, and while it is well-intentioned racism it is racism nonetheless and I do not believe we can improve race relations, generally throughout the world and specifically in this great nation of ours, through racism, ill- or well-intentioned.

That said, the Davises clearly contributed more to the civil rights movement by virtue of their race than had they been a father-son pair of white generals with identical service records. It's a sticky wicket to be sure.
Remember, kids, so as not to appear ignorant it is important not to confuse Zhang He, the general, with Zheng He, the navigator.
Oh, how I loathe the very concept of Daylight Saving Time. An additional hour a day spent under the tyranny of the accursed Sun? 'Tis a beastly fate. And who have we to thank for this sorry state of affairs but our perfidious proxies in the bicameral Congress. Pray believe me, good people, for the sake of our honor and our posterity we must rescind Article I of the Constitution!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
Mu330, "Pool Party" from Mu330 (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: And as we proved with that old F.R.A.T. Party campaign mainstay, the root beer keg on the Diag, "You can be a real man if you can do a keg stand."

The Queue
Alan Dershowitz, The Case for Peace
Natan Sharansky, The Case for Democracy ***resumed***
William Manchester, The Arms of Krupp
Simon Hawke, The Merchant of Vengeance
Jung Chang, Mao: The Unknown Story
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Friday, March 9, 2007

You know, the genocidal A.I. in the Terminator films was named Skynet.... This Doomed Earth.
Hat Day!
The Mountain of Love wore his "Smith & Winkler" ballcap, made by Meeker - K. Steeze and The Muppet's mom - for the premiere of Smith and Winkler: The Final Hoe-Down, and I wore his funny chicken hat with the long, droopy legs. I love our Thursday night ritual of eating a dinner of scrambled eggs while watching The Office and Scrubs (and for the last two weeks 30 Rock as well). I love Hat Day!

BTW South Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "The Rest of My Life" from In With the Out Crowd (Mt. Love)

Commentary: The chorus:

"It's going to kill me,
The rest of my life,
Let me apologize while I'm still alive.
I know it's time to face
All of my past mistakes,
I've got to live with them
The rest of my life."

Rarely have I encountered anything so beautiful and so haunting. I pray Almighty God will forgive me, because I know I'll never forgive myself.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Vote For Kodos
Donkey Punch
Ah, it's good to see the Democrats returning to their roots as the party of surrender: donkeylink. If the French are, in the timeless words of Groundskeeper Willy, "cheese-eating surrender monkeys," does that make the Dems cheese-eating surrender donkeys? Dems in '08: defeat at any cost!

Grand Old Party
I received solicitations from both Senator McCain and former Mayor Giuliani in today's mail. I surmise that both campaigns acquired my address here in Fort Worthless due to the subscription renewal to National Review that was my Christmas gift from my conservative/hippie-hybrid aunt and uncle in Austin. I really don't have a problem will this as long as I don't receive mail from Senator Brownback and former Governor Romney. And at this point, I really do not know if I shall through my support, meager though it is, behind the White Tornado, to whom I actually contributed money in 2000, or Rudy, who seems to be largely the same kind of "liberal" Republican I am. The coming months should be quite interesting.

Go Team Rudy?
BTW South Song of the Day
MxPx, "Yuri Wakes Up Screaming" from The Renaissance EP (T.L.A.M.)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Boldy Go
The latest BTW South DVD Project is the last ten episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. We've watched "Penumbra", "'Til Death Do Us Part" (preliminarily titled "Umbra"), "Strange Bedfellows" (preliminarily titled "Eclipse"), "The Changing Face of Evil", "When It Rains...", "Tacking Into the Wind", "Extreme Measures", and "The Dogs of War." All that remains is the two-part series finale, "What You Leave Behind." Of all the works of popular culture in my life, the only one that rivals my affection for Star Wars is Star Trek. And as I have said many times before, DS9 is the greatest Trek of all. Watching episodes of DS9 is like visiting old friends. I feel comfortable and right.

But for the nonce, I am enamored not with the 24th century of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and, lamentably, Voyager, but with the 22nd century of Star Trek: Enterprise and the unrealized potential of Captain Archerand his groundbreaking crew. Had Enterprise not been prematurely put to death, we'd currently be enjoying the sixth season (the high tide of both TNG and DS9) and looking fondly forward to the seventh and final season. Oh, the glories that might have been....

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Spy vs. Spy
No no no no no. Spylink. If this was just random street crime, that's one thing, but if Litvinenko's killers had anything to do with Joyal's death our retribution must be swift, sure, and severe. The golden shores of the United States are not the private hunting reserve of the Russian security services. If they want a war of assassins, we'll give them a war of assassins. Or has such a war already begun: Spylink II? In the words of The Dude, "This will not stand. This aggression will not stand, man."

BTW South Song of the Day
Fountains of Wayne, "The Senator's Daughter" from Utopia Parkway (Mt. Love)
The Explorers Club
No. XV - The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

And why is it exactly that I have visited the District of Columbia on several occasions expressly for the purpose of tourism and never heard of the National Shrine until I discovered it in the course of randomly exploring (!) ye olde internet? Why is the smaller and, in the eye of this beholder, less impressive National Cathedral (a cathedral of the Episcopal Church, an arm of the bloody Chruch of England, against which we fought the Revolutionary War, for Pete's sake!) the subject of far greater renown than the National Shrine? I call shenanigans, specifically in the form of anti-Catholic bias!

No doubt Skeeter, a Lutheran of all things, will accuse me of "popery."

BTW South Song of the Day
Guster, "Ramona" from Keep It Together (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, March 4
William Shatner, "Real" from Has Beeen (Mt. Love)

Saturday, March 3
The Hippos, "Celebrate" from Forget the World (T.L.A.M.)

Friday, March 2
New Found Glory, "Forget My Name" from Sticks and Stones (Mt. Love)

Monday, March 5, 2007

The Anniversary Party
Five years ago, I'd been told how to intersplice hyperlinks into my blog posts and decided to perform a few controlled experiments. It was quasi-scientific!

Ein. 11:36am

Zwei. 11:40am

Drei. 12:27pm

Vier. 12:34pm

Funf. 6:47pm

Sechs. 6:59pm

I don't think I'm quite done with "The Anniversary Party," I think there's more mindless prattling to be done about the nature of bloggy blogs and the like, but I believe I'm done linking to The Secret Base's infancy. What I shall do is look back at some classic recurring features such as "45 Things She Wishes You Knew" (my own commentary on an article in Esquire), "Have A Day"/"Have A Night," "Retroactively Making Star Trek: Voyager Good," and "Crap." The Secret Base of the Rebel Black Dot Society has been aroud for a full five years; I see no reason not to extend the fifth anniversary celebration out over a longer period than was originally decreed. Viva "The Anniversary Party"!

I'm sorry I was not able to keep my promise of finishing "To Be or Not to Be" this weekend, but I felt a strong desire to watch Star Trek: Enterprise, a LOT of Star Trek: Enterprise. But the rambling treatise on my future "with" the Detroit Lions will be finished and posted sooner rather than later.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Anniversary Party presents Codename: CHAOS
The following is a haphazard complilation of the codenames used here at The Secret Base of the Rebel Black Dot Society. This list should not be misconstrued as ranking my friends according to personal affection; some of these people are erstwhile friends, others are romantic counterparts of my friends. Again, this list is far from comprehensive; if you find yourself taking offense, might I politely suggest that you bugger off.

You all mean more to me than the few words I inscribe here, they merely serve as the most general and horrifically incomplete description of our relationship.

Blue Tree Whacking
The Mountain of Love - David, BTW high command, my beloved brother and roommate; Fort Worthless, Texas (BTW South)

K. Steeze - Kevin, BTW high command, our fearless leader; Los Angeles, California (BTWest)

The Guy - Zach, BTW high command, formerly an avatar of Loki; St. Louis, Missouri

The Professor - Jon, BTW high command, the smartest person I know; Los Angeles, California (BTWest)

Ki-El - Kiel ("Kyle"), BTW affiliate, my comic book mentor; New York, New York

The Evil Princess - Leah, BTW affiliate; somewhere Colorado (she's nomadic)

The Lizzard - Liz, BTW affliate, RCY's drummer; Chicago, Illinois

The Damn Dirty Lefty - John, RCY's mercenary bass player; I have no idea where he lives

The All-American Boy - Adam, BTW affiliate, a childhood neighbor; Detroit, Michigan

The Last Angry Man - Mike, BTW high command, your humble narrator; Fort Worthless, Texas (BTW South)

Riff Raff
The L.A.W. - Lisa, my wicked and wicked cool sister; Washington, D.C.

Skeeter - Julie, my most inscrutable friend; New York, New York

Daddy Dylweed - Dylan, my best friend in high school; Kokomo, Indiana

The Bradman (formerly Neutral Man) - Brad, my comic book and Gargoyle buddy; Allendale, Michigan

The Watergirl - Katie, proof that real-world friendships can begin online; Boston, Massachusetts

Doctor Hee Haw - Seth, the funniest conversation of my life I had with Doc; Detroit, Michigan

Father Steve - Steve, Bob Davie's personal valet; Syracuse, New York

The Sardine - Amanda, she's as quiet as I am loud; New York, New York

Anonymous Friend (formerly The Squirrel King) - ***classified at his request***

Saturday Night - Scott, we met on the middle school swim team, ranking him among my longest-serving friends; Boulder Fort Collins, Colorado

China Doll - Jessica, who called me "sweet" when I asked to kiss her and then presented her cheek; somewhere in Japan

The Buckeye - Susan, the Mountain of Love's fiance; Dublin, Ohio

The Maine Man (formerly Father Time) - Tim, The L.A.W.'s boyfriend; Washington, D.C.

The Goldbricker - my father; Grand Blanc, Michigan (Curiously, my mom has never been given a codename. I just call her "Mom" or "my mom.")

Six Years in Ann Arbor
The Thin Man - Justin, linked at the hip to Saturday Night and Boof Daddy; still in Ann Arbor, Michigan ? I should know this but don't

Boof Daddy - Steve, virtually a mirror image of Saturday Night; Midland, Michigan

Mrs. Sacramento (maiden codename: Never Girl) - Lindsay, whom I really, really wish hadn't kissed me that night; Sacramento, California

The Plate - Jim, co-founder of The Newsletter; Washington, D.C., I think Somerville, Massachusetts

Uncle Jerry - Mike, co-founder of The Newsletter; Lake Whitmore, Michigan at last report

A Girl Named Hell-ya - Jessica, whose loveliness was such that blowing my opportunty with her caused me enough pain to finally prompt a change to my romantic m.o.; I have no idea where she lives, but in a way I owe a great deal to her

From Russia With Love - Olga, the first girl for whom I cooked a meal; Washington, D.C., I think

Lifeguard Girl - Jodi, in whose eyes I was such a eunuch that all we talked about was her inability to decide between the two guys she was actively sleeping with, but still I found her intoxicating; no idea

Swimmer Girl - Laura, "huge tracts of land," I last saw her at Salenski's wedding; no idea

The Flying Dutchman - Mike, who loved Holland, Michigan with all his heart; I should know where he lives, but I can't remember

Captain Malice - Joe, the storm to The Bradman's calm; Chicago, Illinois

Q-Girl - Leanna, thank Bog I recovered my reason before lust made me do something I'd have regretted; no idea

Psycho Hose Beast - Alisa, the first girl I ever kissed, at 20; don't know and don't care

Notorious B.I.N.C.E. - Vince, freshman year roommate, we named my character in The Fantabulous Misadventures of Skip Carmichael after him; don't know and don't care

Odd Man Out - Brian, other freshman year roommate, never mentioned before and probably never again. Anytime three people are forced to share a small room together, two are going to ally in common cause against the third; to my surprise, I was part of the winning duo and Brian moved to North Campus after the fall semester.

High School Confidential
Danny Boy - Dan, my childhood best friend and the only friend I've ever called my "brother"; Chicago, Illinois

Nicky the Greek - Nick, he made fun of me more than anyone else in middle school, but later we bonded; Columbus, Ohio?

The Muppet - Brad, K. Steeze's big brother; Chicago, Illinois

Mrs. Blinky (maiden codename: Ham 'n' Eggs) - Emma, a friend in two distinct phases: elementary school and years later in high school; at last report, Okemos or somewhere like that in the area of Lansing, Michigan

Coach - Coach, my swim coach, biology teacher, and one of the handful of adults I admired; Grand Blanc, Michigan?

As stated above, this list is not a comprehensive guide to everyone I know and all of my friends. Specifically, I have not mentioned most of my colleagues from the Gargoyle, my fellows from Animania, and Genesee County All-Stars and House of Delicious Candies teammates. This is a compendium of "blogosphere" codenames, and most of those extra-curricular chums have never been given codenames. That should not be misconstrued as impinging upon my fondness for each of them.
I knew it! All that talk about neutrality and hot chocolate and the precision of their infernal watches was just a snow job! They were lulling us all into a false sense of security, making us feel safe, all the while plotting and conniving and hatching their schemes. Their nefarious, nefarious schemes! Fortunately, our complacency marched in lockstep with their confidence; they grew first bold and then reckless, and finally misstepped: The Swissing Link! Where will it all end? Today, Liechtenstein; tomorrow, Luxembourg? Freedom loving peoples of the world, we must defend the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg!

"What makes a man turn neutral?"

Poetry Smackdown
by John Masefield

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

Friday, March 2, 2007

The Anniversary Party
Five years ago to the day, The Secret Base of the Rebel Black Dot Society was still in its infancy: growing, to be certain, but in fits and starts. I entertained the idea of correctly all the flaws that the second post lamented, but decided against it. I have very mixed feelings about the Special Editions of the A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, but as a general principle I despise revisionist history. The past is what it was, warts and wonders both, and we should attempt to neither cover up those blemishes nor overemphasize them to serve some modern aspiration. Codenames had not yet been added to my bag of tricks; yes, I called my housemate Mike "Uncle Jerry" in the second earliest post, but that was his to-his-face nickname long before it was his Secret Base codename. The Plate is the later codename of the Jim mentioned, and you all know that David is the one and only Mountain of Love. And SLC Punk is still a great film.

As to the clearly ridiculous statement, "I'm a punk," I can offer nothing in my own defense. Here's the past, warts and all.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Hat Day!
The Mountain of Love wore his Space Ghost: Coast to Coast (it was a great show before the advent of Adult Swim) baseball cap and I wore my medal-strewn Red Army hat, a gift from Mother Russia by From Russia With Love, who actually grew up in the Ukraine. I love Hat Day!

BTW South Song of the Day
Duvall, "True" from Volume & Density (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: A cover of the classic '80s ballad by Spandau Ballet.
The Anniversary Party
So, it seems as if blogging is experiencing something of a renaissance, or at least a resurgence, amongst my glorious friends. Huzzah!

Five years after I was introduced to the hurly-burly world of web logs, fear plays a much larger role than when this world was young. The Mountain of Love lost a job because of his blog (actually, he lost it because of his evil boss, but the blog was at the heart of the instigating incident). The Watergirl has fled a succession of stalkers and sundry lurkers (lousy lurkers, always lurking and skulking avbout). Others have given up entirely. A joyous and frankly reckless spirit of liberating anonymity has given way to a witch's bew of paranoia, sober and responsible caution, pseudonyms, oblique references, and codewords. The banal pleasures of YouTube aside, ye olde internet is not fun the way it once was. Once, the all-encompassing point of the exercise was that virtually anyone virtually anywhere in the world could read the idiosyncratic drivel you pounded out while sitting in your dorm room in your boxers. Now, Bog forbid anyone should find you out. The world was once each and every blogger's oyster; now (brace yourself, this one's a groaner), we wish the web to be anything but world wide.

"When did the future go from being a promise to the threat?"
--Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

As ever, and as in every other occurrence for this you have my apologies, I have questions by the English ton and naught in the way of answers. When did we all become so afraid? Was that bygone unbridled enthusiasm proper and the current dread a perversion, or were we carefree fools who have now woken to the sobering restraint of respectibility? Were we wrong then or are we wrong now? Or wrong both then and now, with right as the exclusive province of some unknown alternative? Is blogging here to stay or a passing fancy of these early, untamed years of the interwebs?

Of one thing only am I certain, I must make a point of working "hurly-burly" into far, far more posts. Down with Google! Death to New Blogger! !Viva los bloggy blogs! !Viva los bloggerinos!

Parker Posey Appreciation Day
And also, because Parker Posey is part of the ensemble cast of The Anniversary Party, here's a neat banner from the fine folks at!

BTW South Song of the Day
Oh My God, "February 14th" from Interrogations and Confessions (Mt. Love)