Thursday, May 31, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
Reel Big Fish, "Down in Flames" from Why Do They Rock So Hard? (Mt. Love)

Commentary: "Pay attention, 'cause you know you'll have to pay either way."

I don't remember the last time I was this tired at 10:30 PM. I have no idea what's going on, but if past experience is any guide I'll perk up at damn near the stroke of midnight and be unable to fall asleep before four o'clock. Que sera sera.
"You don't know the power of the Dark Side!"

Hat Day!
The Mountain of Love wore his ten-gallon cowboy hat and I wore my Blues Brothers porkpie. I was so distressed by last week's *shudder* soy cheese debacle that I plum forgot to bloggy blog about Hat Day. Oh no! Last week, the Mountain wore my Red Army hat, replete with both Soviet and Russian decorations (thanks, From Russia With Love!), and I wore his ten-gallon cowboy hat. This week, last week, next week, every week, I love Hat Day!

Spy vs. Spy
The plot thickens? Spylink!
Unexpectedly, the Mountain and I wound up watching Galaxy Quest this evening on TBS. Great Bird of the Galaxy, I can scarcely articulate how dear that movie is to me, to my life as a Trekkie. I love Star Wars with every iota of my being, but that neither excludes nor diminishes my love of Star Trek. I thank Bog I live in a world where I have never had to choose one over the other.

BTW South Song of the Day
Avril Lavigne, "He Wasn't" from Under My Skin (T.L.A.M.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Whalelink. This article is fascinating. Speaking only for myself, I would be a more enthusiastic advocate of tighter environmental regulation in any number of areas if the greens were less aggressive, if they didn't regard compromise as impossible. They demand everything or nothing; so, I am among those who prefer to give them nothing. Were the Japanese essentially goaded into continued whaling? It's an intriguing theory.

I probably won't start Moby-Dick until next week at the earliest, but my interest has certainly been additionally piqued.
Jerry Falwell is dead, and three cheers for that, but his poisonous ideas live on: Tinky Winkylink. And thus the war for the soul of Christendom continues.
BTW South Song of the Day
New Found Glory, "All About Her" from New Found Glory (Mt. Love)

Monday, May 28
John Williams, "Into the Trap" from Star Wars Trilogy: The Original Soundtrack Anthology, Disc 3: Return of the Jedi (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: At song's end, the Mountain said, "What, so you just decided to pick some random one?" So, it's on record, the Mountain of Love officially hates the three-way battle at the end of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. Personally, I think a three-way battle - the last Jedi Knight versus both Sith Lords; Lando, Wedge, the Rebel fleet versus the second Death Star; and Han, Leia, Chewie, and the Ewoks versus an entire Imperial Legion on the forest moon of Endor - is truly inspired, one of the finest sequences in the whole saga.

Sunday, May 27
The Aquabats!, "Giant Robot-Birdhead!" from The Aquabats! Vs. The Floating Eye of Death and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 1 (Mt. Love)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hollywoodland: The Perils of Pride
The Mountain and I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End last night and it was so Bogawfully dull that I took to poking myself between the eyebrows for amusement. As a consequence of the debacle, I've reached two decisions: a) Never again shall I go to the cinema to see a motion picture I have no wish to see merely to accommodate my brother. Twice I've done that this year and I believe it to be no coincidence that those two films were the worst I've had the misfortune of seeing over the last nine months, the aforementioned At World's End and the insufferable Pan's Labyrinth. My gut warned me about both, but I wanted to do something kind for the Mountain. Never again. I don't know why I have to constantly relearn this lesson, but I should never go against my gut. Accommodation is one of the foundations of friendship, but accommodation must have its limits.

b) Never again shall I see either of a jointly produced pair of sequels to a stand-alone film I greatly enjoyed. The Matrix was great, but The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions rank among the worst films I've seen. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a heck of a lot of fun at the movies, but Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End were dull, dreary, uninspired, and unamusing in the extreme. The very notion of simultaneously producing a second and third picture in a brand-new franchise is dripping with hubris and nigh-inevitable doom. Just because you made one unexpected hit does not necessarily mean that you and your cohorts are brimming with good ideas. The sophomore effort gives fans and critics a chance to evaluate your talent absent the bias of the initial picture's novelty. Attempting to side-step the potential pitfalls of a sequel by producing two at the same time doesn't eliminate the risk of a sophomore slump, it spreads that risk over two pictures! If an unexpected hit's sequel is critically disappointing but still turns a tidy profit, lessons might be learned and applied to a third picture, which might then recapture the glory of the first. But if you remove the gap between the second and third films, you remove the opportunity to learn from your mistakes; plus, being so smug as to presume a third film is an inevitability, very nearly a birthright, smacks of the exact kind of pride that precedes a calamitous fall.

There is an obvious exception to this analysis, the brilliant pair of Back to the Future, Part II and Back to the Future, Part III, but I believe we can all agree that Back to the Future, both the original movie and the larger trilogy, is expectional in any number of ways. Bog, I love those movies!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Explorers Club
No. XXVII - The Grand Army of the Republic

Chosen specifically in commemoration of Memorial Day and the remembrance of our honored war dead.

Hollywoodland und Deutschland
I spent the afternoon in East Germany. That is, I watched two recent German films, The Tunnel and Good Bye, Lenin!, both set in the German Democratic Republic (GDR, 1949-1990), colloquially known as East Germany. And watching them back-to-back worked out very well, as they could be viewed as bookends to the Cold War. The Tunnel is set in 1961 and concerns a group of Berliners trying to tunnel under the then newly-constructed Berlin Wall and spirit their families to freedom in West Berlin. Good Bye, Lenin! is set in 1989-1990 and concerns a young East Berliner's good-natured attempt to maintain for his ailing mother the fiction that the Wall hasn't fallen, that the GDR isn't being subsumed into the Federal Republic of Germany (formerly West Germany, today Germany). The Tunnel is dark, Good Bye, Lenin! is light, and both are excellent. Wundervoll!

West Germany / Federal Republic of Germany / Bundesrepublik Deutschland

East Germany / German Democratic Republic / Deutsche Demokratische Republik
Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Nicht Ostern
I may well reverse myself, but for the nonce I wish neither to discuss nor even to ponder the last six and a half weeks. Please extend me the courtesy of leaving no comments on this supremely distasteful subject. As ever, comments on all other things under the Sun are most welcome.
BTW South Song of the Day
John Williams, "The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme)" from Star Wars Trilogy: The Original Soundtrack Anthology, Disc 2: The Empire Strikes Back (T.L.A.M.)

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tage Neununddreißig (Freitag) und Vierzig
All quiet on the Western front.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Vote For Kodos
Blood and treasure. We in the GOP are not quite so politically impotent as was supposed after November's election, eh? After W's reelection in 2004, many of my fellows on the center-right fell victim to hubris, speaking of nonsense such as a "permanent majority." In 2006, we reaped what our pride had sown. Yet, now that we have been brought low and are once again the loyal opposition, our fellows across the aisle seem to have learned precious little from our downfall. The Democrat(ic) majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate are almost precisely as thin as were the pre-election Republican majorities; we were able to govern by the "51% strategy" only because we also held the Oval Office. The Democrats won a great victory last fall, but they didn't win everything. They would do well to remember that prior to 1994 we spent six decades in the Congressional opposition, and from those long years we retain an almost instinctual mastery of the political monkey wrench.

For all that, I am not without sympathy for the large numbers of perfectly reasonable center-left Democrats who are constantly harangued by their party's vocal hard-left minority: donkey punch.

There is so much more to say, but for now there is satisfaction enough in simply posting about politics again. I miss the fight.

The League of Nations
Remember, kids, while the United States under President Bush is a grave threat to decent people everywhere, Zimbabwe's huggable President-for-Life Robert Mugabe is UN-endorsed: Rhodesialink! Thumbs up for Ban Ki-moon!

Ricky Fitness
From my journal: "I've started using the exercise room's abdominal machine in lieu of simple crunches and for my trouble all sorts of muscles from whom nary a complaint had been heard are suddenly screaming bloody murder. I guess that means something's going right, eh?"

Friday, May 25, 2007

Joy to the world, Star Wars is born! Thirty years ago today, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope premiered in not that many theaters across the United States. I consider the film's budget to have been the best spent $11,000,000 in history, and I am immensely grateful to have never lived in a world without Star Wars. Seeing it in a theater in the summer of '77 would have been cool as hell, but actually growing up in the '60s and '70s seems like a damned steep price; I'd prefer to time travel back to that glorious summer now thirty years hence, though I'm sure acquiring the necessary time machine would entail quite a bit of bother. Hmmm.... In any event, I owe an irredeemable debt to George Lucas; through his creation, he has given me more than he could ever know. Thank you, sir, and may the Force be with you, always.

This evening, my counterpart and I are watching the film that started it all, and to my way of thinking this is the best and most proper way to mark this most august occasion, though of course I wish that circumstances had permitted us to attend Celebration IV in Los Angeles. Huzzah for Star Wars!

BTW South Song of the Day
Blink-182, "A New Hope" from Dude Ranch (Mt. Love)

Fear and Loathing in the Straits of Taiwan
A pair of Chinalinks, both of a martial bend, one each for the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the plain old Republic of China (ROC). Personally, I miss the days when China was "Red China" and Taiwan was "China," but time marches on heedless of any one man's desires. Will the civil war between the CCP and the KMT be reignited in the 21st century? Will there be one China or two? I have no answers, my friends, but by Jove I find the questions entrancing!
Jolly good journal entry tonight, my mind and pen were sharp and I wrote, rather eloquently, I thought, all the things I cannot post in so public a forum as The Secret Base. I am sorry if this blog has seemed hollow and superficial of late, but the troubles with which I am presently wrangling cannot be aired indiscreetly. Silence leaves my motives perilously open to misinterpretation, but I freely chose a set of principles by which to live my life, they were not forced upon me, and now that they demand silence I should bear it without complaint. Yet I pray you forgive me this small bit of hypocrisy as a reasonable price for an equally small bit of catharsis.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
John Williams, "Star Wars Main Title Suite" from Star Wars Trilogy: The Original Soundtrack Anthology, Disc 1: Star Wars (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Star Wars a.k.a. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tage Siebenunddreißig (Mittwoch) und Achtunddreißig
All quiet on the Western front. I thought about including a small treatise on the phrase "all quiet on the Western front," but I have nothing new to add to the age-old debate of the propriety or impropriety of reappropriating the horrors of yesterday for the amusement of today and the betterment of tomorrow. It's all been said, and I have not the inclination to restate it in a new, clever, or novel way.
I ate soy cheese tonight, an experience about which I have two things to say: a) it produced scrambled eggs with a taste reminiscent of neither eggs nor cheese and a consistency halfway between paste and mud, and b) I'd be disgusted by myself even had they tasted like ambrosia. Soy cheese? A crummy, unsatisfactory dinner is better than I deserve for such a profound betrayal of self. The Fates have been merciful this evening, and I shall endeavour to have successfully learned my lesson.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
DJ Seaghost, "Sympathy for the Narwhal" from Rice Capades (Mt. Love)
Happy Narwhal Day! To celebrate Narwhal Day properly one must complete these rituals three: a) The wearing of the gray. Any article of clothing will suffice, from great coat or T-shirt to socks or boxers, as long as you wear some gray on Narwhal Day. I wore my customary and custom-made gray "NARWHAL" T-shirt, at least until I got Heinz 57 sauce on it whilest eating dinner. Whoops! So, now I am wearing my blue narwhal of narwhals T-shirt: a silhouette of a narwhal comprised of smaller, stylized narwhals! Wicked cool, but the gray is the key. b) The hearing of the song. "Sympathy for the Narwhal" by DJ Seaghost, an ally of The Aquabats!, is the inspiration for Narwhal Day; it must be played! c) The recitation of the oath. Any poser can say he supports the narwhal and loves Narwhal Day, but only the true friends of the narwhal dare take "The Oath of Narwhal Day." Easy as pie and ninety-three percent as much fun as a barrel of monkeys! Narwhal Day! Woot!

"The Oath of Narwhal Day"

The narwhal is a noble, pitiable creature.
A magnificent, monstrous visage.
An asymmetrical tooth for a horn,
Or sometimes two, or sometimes none,
Half again as long as the beast.

I swear my sympathy for the narhwal.
I will not lie and convince it all is well,
But I will be a friend to the narwhal.
The mocking dolphins and snobby manatees
Will get their well-earned comeuppance,
And the narwhal will frolic all day.

I dream this dream of the narwhal
And celebrate it in all its improbable, oddball glory,
On this the seventh Narwhal Day.

I meant to post all this much earlier, when it would have been more useful, but I could not fall asleep until rather late last night and consequently was in quite a rush this morning. Then again, it is Narwhal Day all day today; so, there's plenty of time left to exalt in the myriad charms of the narwhal! Happy Narwhal Day to all and to all a good night!
Believe: Game 6, Anaheim 4-3 Detroit
Sodding hell. We lost, but I still believe.

BTW South Song of the Day
John Williams, "Anakin Vs. Obi-Wan" from Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tag Sechsunddreißig
All quiet on the Western front.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Believe: Do or Die
I believe.

Also, Tigerlink. Woot!
I am just now returned from a lovely dinner with the Mountain and our special surprise guest, The L.A.W., in town on business. Her misfortune, our boon! A truly wonderful time was had by all as we basked in that rapport shared only by siblings; it is necessarily neither better nor worse than the bonds of pure friendship, merely different. I love those fleeting occasions when the three of us are together, occasions that will become all the more fleeting when the Mountain weds The Buckeye in the Fall and The L.A.W. weds The Maine Man in a year's time. Carpe diem!

BTW South Song of the Day
Barenaked Ladies, "Just a Toy" from Born On a Pirate Ship (Mt. Love)

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tag Fünfunddreißig
Today was a crummy day. The less said the better.

Monday, May 21, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
John Williams, "Across the Stars" from Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Explorers Club
No. XXVI - 1816: The Year Without a Summer, a.k.a. "Eighteen hundred and froze to death."

I was in quite a foul mood following this afternoon's disappointment, but a bit of House of Cards and I'm right as rain. Never underestimate the curative effect of the villainy of Francis Urquhart.

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Sonntag
All quiet on the Western front.
Believe: Game 5, Anaheim 2-1 Detroit (OT)
We got what we deserved. Red Wings in seven? Mayhap. I think for now, though, I shall simply be morose.
Believe: End of Regulation, Anaheim 1-1 Detroit
I would dearly love to blame the refs for giving the Ducks a pass on the penalty for too many men on the ice, but as bad as that non-call was this debacle is our fault, the fault of our lacksidaisical power play. The series is tied 2-2, guys, you can't sleepwalk through this shit! I sincerely hope we prevail in overtime, but we deserve to lose. Let us all hope that for this one day we don't get what we deserve.

Also, I really like the way the monster Bertuzzi plants himself in front of Giguere like he's a big man, and then cowers like a little girl whenever the puck flies toward him. How perfectly in character.
BTW South Song of the Day
The Aquabats!, "Look at Me, I'm a Winner!" from Charge!! (Mt. Love)

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tage Dreiunddreißig (Freitag) und Vierunddreißig
Being uncomfortably warm and sweaty all the time does wonders for suppressing the libido. Ick.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Queue
Alistair, a persistent reader of The Secret Base and long-time friend of your humble narrator, remarked:
TLAM, just curious, where do you get your book recomendations? I'm lucky if I get through eight books a year, which means I'll be lucky to get through 400 more books in my life. Hence, book selection is pretty critical to me.

I try to use college reading lists as a filter. I don't want to be on my death bed wishing I had read more Cervantes and less Dickens. This is what keeps me up at night.

Mothers, don't let your sons grow up to be engineers.
I shall accordingly endeavour to edify those interested as to the method of my madness. In the selection of books to be read and the determination of the order in which they are to be read the first and most abiding principle is sadness. Were I to live for a thousand years instead of a fleeting sixty and spent that millennium at my leisure, with no other demands on my time whatsoever, I should still not have time to peruse every book I might fancy. There are simply too many books and too little time. There's nothing for it but to be brave and read on undaunted by the impossibility of ever achieving any manner of completeness.

The second principle is a disregard for convention; simply put, "the classics" are bollocks. Based on the wretched classics of Western literature I was forced to read in school, one would almost suspect that the goal of America's teachers is to teach children to hate books. Wuthering Heights is self-absorbed rubbish. Johnny Got His Gun? Filthy Communist propaganda; it is an anti-war novel, but as soon as the Soviet Union was invaded in 1941 the author, Dalton Trumbo, suddenly reversed his anti-war views and forbade further publication of the book. Notice: in Trumbo's view it was fine to publish a novel criticizing the reasons for which the Western democracies send young men to their deaths while the Soviet Union was waging offensive wars against Finland (see: the Winter War), Poland (coordinated with the Nazi invasion), and the three diminutive Baltic republics, but as soon as the Nazi knife was to Stalin's throat Trumbo's pacifism went the way of the dodo. And yet I was forced to read this insidious tripe in high school. The Count of Monte Cristo, which I read on my own initiative, has permanently prejudiced me against 19th century French writers.

Taken together, these two principles tell us why I do not read certain books, but have precious little to say about why I do read certain other books. The most fundamental influence on my reading habits, from my blissful childhood through to the present day and several decades down the road when I shall be a feast for the worms, is my father. I know of no other two people who read as voraciously as my parents, and for that example I will forever thank them. My mom reads scores of books in a year, but she and I have widely divergent views on every form of popular culture; for Bog's sake, the woman hates Futurama! For all his many faults, my father did impart to me a love of both the past (history) and the future (science fiction). I originally read The Legacy of Heorot based on his recommendation, and the copy I held in my hands was borrowed from his library. The Arms of Krupp is one of four books he lent me, unbidden, several years ago. My father is not the fount of wisdom I believed him to be in my youth, but his library is still a great and tremendously useful repository of knowledge. A shame, really, that he mistakes the one for the other.

The silver and small screens, too, play their part in influencing my literary selections. I was introduced to works of Nick Hornby and Chuck Palahniuk by the films of their novels High Fidelity and Fight Club, respectively. I read The Count of Monte Cristo because I loved the film adaptation starring Jim "Jesus" Caviezel (the lesson there is that literary snobs are not right; on occasion, the motion picture is better than the book). One of the greatest joys of the cinema is a lovely adaptation of a book I already love. I read Shopgirl because I enjoyed Steve Martin's short story collection Pure Drivel, which I read because I had heard on NPR gushing praise for his plays and short stories, praise which I took to heart out of admiration for his brilliance as an actor and comedian. So, when the film of Shopgirl very nearly equaled the book, I was all the more thrilled! I discovered Paul Feig's hilarious and painfully awkward memoirs as a result of his creation of the outstanding television series Freaks and Geeks. The radio, chiefly National Public Radio, viewed here as an adjunct to the cinema and television, introduced me to the essays of the talented Sarah Vowell.

Last but certainly not least among our survey of influences are that which killed the cat and whimsy. To invoke a cliche, my greatest gift is my greatest curse. I have an impatient, insatiable mind. My interests are manifold, multiplying, and perpetually in motion; my mind flits from one subject to the next. I have no idea how to change this predilection and so have elected to embrace it as a strength rather than lament it as a weakness. My interest embarks upon flights of fancy and the rest of me goes along for the ride, ending up in the most interesting places.

A few examples: I consider myself a friend to the State of Israel; so, I was intrigued by Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Israel enough to buy the book entirely ignorant of it save for it's provocative title and the author's fame/infamy. This led me to read The Case for Israel's sequel, The Case for Peace. For good or for ill, President Bush is at the helm of the American ship of state and he cited The Case for Democracy was a great influence upon his thinking regarding Iraq and the potential for fomenting democratic change through the Arab world; to better understand the why of what we are doing, and because despite myself I have a vested interest in the expansion of human freedom, I read the book. I spied The Merchant of Vengeance while doing my Christmas shopping and was intrigued enough by the clever title and dusk jacket blurb to take a flyer on the book (which, helpfully, was deeply discounted). I enjoyed it enough to desire to read the other books in the "Shakespeare and Smythe" series. The aforementioned Pure Drivel lead me to Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, two of my most favorite books of the last few years. The Man-eaters of Tsavo tugged at my interest in the world on the brink of the Great War, an interest intensified by the decision to place ANTÆUS in this context.

Armed with the sad knowledge that I could never read all the books I might want to read, I am freed from the pressure of worrying about reading the "right" books. I'm game for whatever lies in store wherever my fancies may take me. By subscribing to such a devil may care attitude will I not miss out on a lot of books that I surely would have loved? Certainly, but I would miss out on a great many such books in any event; again, there simply is not time for them all. Abandon the fool's errand of trying to read all the books you should and enjoy the books you've chosen to read. I read Thomas Lynch's The Undertaking because the then Bald Mountain praised it highly. I read David Schickler's Kissing in Manhattan because Mrs. Sacramento (nee Never Girl) gave it to me unbiden back when she was dear to me, when we were dear to each other. I read Leslie Charteris's The Ace of Knaves, a collection of three Saint stories, because it had once belonged to my grandfather and I was ruing having not been a better grandson while he was still alive. The forced moral at the end of this meandering treatise? Don't worry about it, just read the books you want to read, the books that for whatever reason catch your eye or pique your interest.

The Queue
L. Niven, J. Pournelle, & S. Barnes, The Legacy of Heorot
William Manchester, The Arms of Krupp, 1587-1968
Simon Hawke, The Merchant of Vengeance
J.H. Patterson, The Man-eaters of Tsavo

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
Jung Chang & Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story
Harrison E. Salisbury, The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad
Theodor Plievier, Stalingrad
Wayne Robinson, Hell Has No Heroes

Always in Motion, the Future Is
B.H. Liddell Hart, The Real War, 1914-1918
Daniel Dafoe, Robinson Crusoe (reread, read when I was a boy)
Robert M. Soderstrom, The Big House: Fielding H. Yost and the Building of Michigan Stadium
Brian Crozier, The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire
John Mosier, The Myth of the Great War (reread)

I jumped Mody-Dick ahead of Mao because, damn it, I am in the mood for a book about the sea. Plus, I can seque from Mao directly into The 900 Days and Stalingrad, and perhaps even beyond to The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire, making a big Communism project out of it with the added bonus of making great headway in plowing through the books my dad, with the best of intentions, foisted upon me.

I remembering loving Robinson Crusoe; so, there is a good chance that when it is finished I'll reread Treasure Island for the four or fifth time, both being in somewhat of the same vein. The Real War and The Myth of the Great War will almost certainly end up as a pairing. Queue-jumping will in all probability be afoot as I find it very likely I will read The Big House in the fall, in celebration of being back in beloved Michigan in the glorious midst of the college football season.
Ricky Fitness
I really like our weekday routine of watching Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption, and Seinfeld while we exercise, but early in the afternoon on the weekends is typically a televisual wasteland; not so today, G4 is airing a Ninja Warrior (original title: Sasuke) marathon! Sure, sure, I'll never be able to complete even the first stage obstacles, but unlike the demigods in professional sports the competitors on Ninja Warrior, the legitimate competitors, are mostly working class Japanese, average folks (except for their exceptional physiques). It's a heck on an incentive. I'll never play a single shift in an NHL game, but if I get serious about my diet (cutting out the Dr. Pepper) and workout like a man possessed, maybe one day I too could meet defeat in the murky waters of Midoriyama after failing to complete a crazy Japanese obstacle course.

I've been invoking Giles Corey this week: "more weight." The Mountain helpfully reminded me that Corey died from the ever-increasing weight of stones, but I invoked the "somebody Corollary to the Giles Corey Protocol," but now I cannot recall for the life of me after whom I named the corollary. No clue at all. It's a shame, too, because I remember thinking it was quite clever of me. Probably too clever by half, given that I was so busy being impressed by myself to even remember the fruit of my supposed brilliance. Anyway, more weight on both upper body exercises this week and no problems thus far; so, unless an unexpected setup crops up, Giles Corey should continue to be the rule of the day well into next week, adding ever more weight.

I meant to post some items yesterday, but internet access was erratic and I really didn't need the aggrivation.

Believe: Game 4, Anaheim 5-3 Detroit
Curses and several more unbecoming expletives! I remain confident in the Red Wings; sure, we lost Game 4, but both earlier series were tied at two games apiece before the Wing asserted themselves to triumphed in six. "We" lose, but "the Red Wings" win, and I believe the Red Wings will win. I may even go to a Texas sports bar *shudder* to watch Game 6. Let's go Wings! Victory!

Misery Misery Misery
BTW South's air conditioning in on the fritz. Still, even amidst this misfortune some luck is yet with us. The first two weeks in May I thought I was living in the worst state in the Union, Florida. (Texas is a close second.) Daytime highs in the mid 80s F, overnight "lows" in the mid 70s, and rain, rain, rain very nearly every day. Hot and muggy plus rainy equals a very ticked off Last Angry Man. This week, temperatures have been more mild and, significantly, the air has been much drier. I'm supremely annoyed at the sudden breakdown of the A/C, but in all fairness it could have come at a far worse time. Still, misery misery misery, BTW South is no longer the sanctuary it should be.
BTW South Song of the Day
John Williams, "Duel of the Fates" from Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: It is my policy to the list the Song of the Day on the day to which it is listened. Had we not listened to "Duel of the Fates" until after we climbed out of our beds on Saturday, even though it was Friday's song, then it would have appeared on The Secret Base on Saturday prefaced by Friday, May 18. As it happens, though, the universe and I reckon time differently. We listened to "Duel of the Fates" after midnight; so, by "proper" reckoning we heard Friday's Song of the Day on Saturday. But, I reckon days by sleep cycle; my Friday lasts from my awakening on Friday morning until I next fall asleep, even though that will in all likelihood be after midnight and thus technically on Saturday. But the proper reckoning of time can go bugger itself. We listened to "Duel of the Fates" after midnight, but it was still Friday to me; so, it gets bloggy blogged about on Friday.

As it was technically Saturday, May 19, though, we listened to "Duel of the Fates" on the eighth anniversary of the theatrical release of
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (which is also, not at all coincidentally, the second anniversary of the theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith). Once again, thank you, Mr. Lucas.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

"10 Things You Don't Know About Women"
by Lucinda Rosenfeld

1. Think lips, not larynx, and nice things might happen to you.

2. Put your wallet back in your pants and let us pick up the next round.

3. We order our salad dressing on the side because we are control freaks. We'd like to control you. Because we can't, we control lettuce.

4. We are not all that enthusiastic about men who have extensive knowledge of female reproductive health. Men who tell us what exercises we can do to ease our menstrual cramps and who know the best course of treatment for recurring yeast infections freak us out.

5. We don't actually care what you look like so long as your looks don't constitute a social liability. If you can figure out how to make us laugh, we'll find a way to ignore your steadily decreasing head-to-back-hair ratio.

6. We dislike it when you pound on the bathroom door and ask, "Hey, is everything okay in there?" You don't want to know what's going on in there.

7. We're suspicious of your relationship with your sister. She's roughly our age and has seen you naked.

8. Just let us cry.

9. We're not just pretending to be annoyed when you keep changing the channel.

10. Unless a previous girlfriend has told you you've got great taste in jewelry, chances are, you don't. Think about it this way: Do you ever see us wearing the weird bracelet you bought us? We haven't returned it because we love you too much. And we really do love you.

* * * * *

Now that's how you write a "10 Things You Don't Know About Women"!

BTW South Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "Dead" from Flood (Mt. Love)

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tage Dreißig (Dienstag), Einunddreißig (Mittwoch), und Zweiunddreißig
This rots. Next year, someone please remind me to give up something ridiculously easy for Lent, and if I fail, as I did this year, remind me not to try again, as I am doing now.

Note: dreißig is pronounced "dreissig." Care must be taken not to confuse ß with B.
Knowledge is Dangerous
I was browsing Esquire's website a few moments ago and happened upon "10 Things You Don't Know About Women" (a regular feature) by Jenna Fischer. Having read her "10 Things," I now kind of hate Jenna Fischer. It is important not to confuse actors with their characters, but I'll never again enjoy the American The Office quite the same. A pity.

BTW South Song of the Day
Green Day, "Church on Sunday" from Warning (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: For my money, Warning is Green Day's best album, and I do not say that because of the political overtones of American Idiot. Warning is simply the superior record.

"If I promise to go to church on Sunday,
Will you go with me on Friday night?
If you live with me, I'll die for you
and this compromise."

One week to Narwhal Day. Make ready.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Blood Royal
This is a farce: Lieutenant Wales. This is exactly why Europe's monarch's survive only on the charity of the state and why they have been rightly denounced as thin-blooded, inbred malingerers. Once upon a time, the members of the House of Habsburg were both fierce and cunning, and had they been otherwise they could not have secured dominion over Austria, much less taken as a nearly hereditary prize the elected throne of the Holy Roman Empire. Yet by the time Napoleon dissolved the Holy Roman Empire the Habsburg had become but a shadow of their former selves, and in fact this was a major factor in the demise of Imperial authority; the Habsburgs would limp on as constitutional monarchs until the Austro-Hungarian Empire's defeat in the Great War, but by then they had degenerated into an embarrassment to their antecedents. The House of Windsor (sic) must have been ferocious once, and by all indications Lieutenant Wales was fully prepared to accompany his regimant to the war. What is the point of the monarchy if not to be a symbol for the nation? What is the symbolic message of sending the Prince's men to the front but leaving him, their officer, safely at home? I do not understand the Ministry of Defence's thinking.

In a similar vein, the McCains continue to embody the old chivalric tradition of service: John Sidney McCain IV, the son of the senator, is the presently the fourth consecutive John S. McCain to attend the United States Naval Academy, and his brother James is a United States Marine, almost certainly to be deployed to the war zone. No doubt the Department of Defense will take a more egalitarian view of the risks in Iraq than the Ministry of Defence.
C, there's nothing in this post you'll enjoy.

Believe: Game 3, Detroit 5-0 Anaheim
Though greatly pleased by the Red Wings' decisive victory over the Ducks, I reserve the right to be irked by the monster Bertuzzi having scored one of the goals. Regardless of the outcome of Game 4, I am very much looking forward to Game 5. Oh, I should very much like to have seen tonight's contest. Alas. Still, let us not overlook the overwhelming joy of the evening. Victory!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
Katrina & The Waves, "Walking on Sunshine" from Walking on Sunshine: The Greatest Hits of Katrina & The Waves (Mt. Love)

Commentary: It's time to feel good!
BTW South Song of the Day
Avril Lavigne, "Hot" from The Best Damn Thing (T.L.A.M.)

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tag Neunundzwanzig
All quiet on the Western front.

Monday, May 14, 2007

We all love talking about the F.R.A.T. Party, but let us not overlook this week's episode of "The Explorers Club."

Believe: Game 2, Anaheim 4-3 Detroit (OT)
Drat, drat, drat, but my confidence remains unshaken. Both of the previous series took six games and I see no reason why a series against a team as annoyingly adroit as Anaheim should prove any different. That said, curses! Oh, well, at least this way a fifth game is guaranteed; so, barring death or power outage I should be able to see at least one game in this series from the comfort of BTW South. To reiterate, I remain confident that the Red Wings shall overcome the no-longer-mighty Ducks. I believe!
BTW South Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "All My Best Friends Are Metalheads" from Hello Rockview (Mt. Love)

Saturday, May 12
The Pogues, "Fiesta" from The Best of The Pogues (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Explorers Club
No. XXV - the British Union of Fascists (1932-1940)

The BUF was a monstrosity, a profound betrayal of Britain's heritage as the cradle of liberal democracy and free market capitalism, but credit where it is due: the "flash and circle" is one snappy emblem.

Geographica: The Moon
Space law (See? Everything - everything! - is better when preceded by "space." Pope? Good. Space pope? Better. Law? Myeh. Space law? Awesome!) and the Outer Space Treaty be damned, the only men from the planet Earth to ever set space-suited foot on the Moon were astronauts of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, an arm of the United States Government. We planted our flag, the Moon belongs to us! As the late Sam Kinison used to taunt the Soviet Union, "You want to impress us? Bring back our flag, asshole!" Columbus planting a flag was good enough to claim the lion's share of the New World for the Spanish Crown (cue "King of Spain"); so, by Jove, it's good enough to make the Moon America's. Who owns the Moon?

the University of Michigan (thanks, crew of Apollo 15!)

Tomorrow: Until someone proves the hollow Earth hypothesis to be anything more than complete bunk, we're all out of geography; so, shove off.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Sonntag
All quiet on the Western front.
Believe: Game 1, Detroit 2-1 Anaheim
Having been denied the opportunity to view Game 1 in the convenience of my apartment (BTW South is not my home), I was thrilled upon reading about Detroit's victory late on Friday. Woot! Each team in the NHL has changed much in the two years since the lockout ended, but with a little luck Mike Babcock will, above and beyond his adroit coaching abilities, have some special insight into the no-longer-mighty Ducks' Achilles' heel(s). The NHL has contracts with both VS. and NBC; NBC broadcasts daytime weekend games only. There is a game today (Sunday, the weekend) and it is in Detroit, in the sacred Eastern Time Zone. Why oh why couldn't today's game be in the afternoon and on NBC? A 3:30pm game in Detroit would be on at 12:30pm in Anaheim. That's a fine time to watch hockey! But, because it is at 7:30pm EDT (4:30pm PDT), the game is on Versus and I'm left high and dry. Isn't living in Texas penance enough for my many mistakes? Does cruel fate really have to keep piling on like this?

Let's go Red Wings! Victory!

The Cult
Whatever happened to the good old days when small cults/new "religions" were persecuted? Now they're the ones doing the persecuting! The Church of Crazy. Religious tolerance is sacrosanct, but was it really meant as a shield for charlatans and snake oil salesmen?
Geographica: Antarctica
This list shall actually be the antithesis of the previous six. In "Geographica," I listed only sovereign nations, excluding their overseas possessions and territories, e.g., the Falkland Islands were not listed as a country of South America and Bermuda not listed as a country of North America as both are dependencies of the British Crown, not sovereign states. There are no countries in all the vastness of Antarctica, but several nations have claimed immense swaths of land, a state of affairs I find amusing enough to be worth departing from the days-old protocols of "Geographica." In a further break with protocol, I have consulted those reference materials necessary to list each claimant's formal name for their territory; on my own I know the claimants, but not the titles of all their claims.

Great Britain - British Antarctic Territory
Australia - Australian Antarctic Territory
New Zealand - Ross Dependency
France - Adelie Land
Norway - Queen Maud Land and Peter I Island
Chile - Chilean Antarctic Territory
Argentina - Argentine Antarctica

Also, Nazi Germany claimed a part of Antarctica, an historical curiosity to which I was introduced by the novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

Tomorrow: The Moon.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tage Siebenundzwanzig (Freitag) und Achtundzwanzig (Samstag)
I continue to be cursed by my own overconfidence. The endeavour has increased in difficulty over the last few days, curse it all.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The League of Nations
In 1945, the United Nations Organization was a noble experiment, an attempt to bring peace and stability to a world thrown into chaos by the two most horrific wars in history. Six decades later, that experiment has proven a bitter failure; here is but one of the numerous lurid exemplars of that failure: UNlink. The Commission on Sustainable Development, really? Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of south Africa. Today, it is a net importer of foodstuffs. This is the kind of sustainable development the UN wishes to foster? Zimbabwe has runaway inflation and is in an economic death spiral reminscent of Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It is morbidly ironic that the UN was founded by the powers allied against Nazi Germany, because it seems that these days the only thing the UN is good at is fomenting global anti-Semitism (see: the 2001 debacle in Durban, South Africa). If we wish to continue to see ourselves as a fundamentally moral people, the United States must sever all ties to the United Nations Organization and expell its staff and headquarters from our territory.
Why am I an Anglophile? Because at various points in history, the Royal Navy has operated sixteen ships named the Revenge and eight named the Vengeance. At several points, HMS Revenge and HMS Vengeance have served jointly. Those are my kind of people.
BTW South Song of the Day
The Hippos, "Paulina" from Heads Are Gonna Roll (Mt. Love)

Commentary: Immediately after "Paulina," we listened to "Paulina (Reprise)." I would thus have listed the Song of the Day as "'Paulina' and 'Paulina (Reprise)'," but the Mountain objected vociferously. He suggested that I make my case in the commentary, and so here we are. "Paulina"! Woot!

Geographica: North America
I can name additional Caribbean islands, but I am unsure of the political status of many of them. Be they sovereign nations or dependencies?

The Bahamas
Dominican Republic
St. Kitts and Nevia
Antigua and Barbuda
Trinidad and Tobago
Costa Rica
El Salvador

Tomorrow: Antarctica.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Endurance
Sweet fancy Moses, I had to pee something fierce halfway through tonight's discourse, but the convo had a good flow and I figured she'd ditch me to hit the hay sooner rather than later. Apparently, I underestimated how fascinating I am. But, when all the lovely words had passed, boy howdy, that was one profoundly satisfying pee. Ahhhhhhh.

Hat Day!
The Mountain wore his green transparent Las Vegas visor and I wore his Space Ghost: Coast to Coast ballcap. I like the confident Pam much better than downtrodden Pam. Don't be an idiot, Halpert! I love Hat Day!

BTW South Song of the Day
Planet V, "To Serve Man" from Rice Capades (T.L.A.M.)

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tag Sechsundzwanzig
Back on the straight and narrow, though still frightened by the power of temptation. And yet only so recently things were going so well. *sigh*

Today is the fifth anniversary of the application (installation?) of my tattoo. Mine is slightly different than the image below, but for those of you who don't know me personally this will give you an idea of what's perched on my left forearm just below the elbow.

Also, for those of an historical bend, today marks the sixty-seventh anniversary of Fall Gelb, the Nazi invasion of the Low Countries, the prelude to Fall Rot, the conquest of France.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Queue
L. Niven, J. Pournelle, & S. Barnes, The Legacy of Heorot
William Manchester, The Arms of Krupp, 1587-1968
Simon Hawke, The Merchant of Vengeance

J.H. Patterson, The Man-eaters of Tsavo ***in progress***
Jung Chang & Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
Harrison E. Salisbury, The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad

I greatly enjoyed The Arms of Krupp, but the fact remains that it is 1,000 pages long. 1,000 single-spaced pages in a small font. It is, and this is not a criticism but a statement of fact, dense. And the chapters on Alfried Krupp's use of slave labor during the Second World War are heartbreaking and quite taxing. So, The Merchant of Vengeance's 250 pages of frivolity were a most welcome change of pace. No expert on the Elizabethan Era am I, but the anachronisms within the text are readily evident; yet, the whole tenor of the book, even while dealing with murder and anti-Semitism, is so lighthearted and carefree that all historical inconsistencies, normally quite a burr under my saddle, are immediately forgiven. I'm thinking I may need to break up Mao, Moby-Dick, and The 900 Days with lighter fare, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, man-eating lions and the Scramble for Africa await!

Geographica: South America
Though some of the island nations of the Caribbean sea are more geographically proximal to South America, for our purposes they shall be catalogued, at least those I can recall without consulting an reference materials, as part of North America.

French Guiana

Tomorrow: North America.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
Avril Lavigne, "Anything But Ordinary" from Let Go (Mt. Love)

Tuesday, May 8
The Epoxies, "Science of You" from Epoxies (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Science!

Monday, May 7
Jimmy Eat World, "The World You Love" courtesy of iTunes (Mt. Love)

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tag Fünfundzwanzig
Obviously, you cannot see the hand gesture that would habitually accompany these words, but you all know what it looks like: this morning, I came this close - this close - to faltering. What inner malefactor instigated this crisis? Nay, 'twas not the Dark Bastard, but good old-fashioned hubris. Fortunately, reason prevailed before the effort of the last four weeks was rendered moot. Whew! I dodged a bullet, but believe me when I say only by the thinnest of margins. I have passed a trial, passed by the very skin of my teeth, and if I wish to succeed I must now recommit myself to humility.

Geographica: Australia
I'm rubbish when it comes to remembering the world's myriad island nations; so, lots and lots of sovereign nations are going to be overlooked. No offense to those nations is intended.

Papua New Guinea
New Zealand
Solomon Islands

Tomorrow: South America.
I've got it! I've been grappling with the nature of Brick Malloy's monstrous appearance after the sinister agents of Perfidious Albion subject him to the pernicious Antæus Serum, but now I think I've got it: obsidian.

Post-transformation Brick isn't made out of obsidian, but his skin is as dark as obsidian and upon receiving a sharp, sudden impact, such as from a blunt weapon or a bullet, it instantly hardens and takes on every appearance of being obsidian. Brick isn't bulletproof, but he's bullet-resistant and almost infintely resilient. And of course possessed of prodigious strength. Monstrous as he is, he's the wonder of the age.
Geographica: Asia
Despite its massive size, Asia is pretty easy to define with one exception: where in the thousands of islands that comprise Indonesia does one draw the line between Asia and Australia/Australasia/Oceania?

Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
Sri Lanka
Burma (not Myanmar)
East Timor
The Phillipines
South Korea
North Korea

Tomorrow: Australia

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tage Dreiundzwanzig (Montag) und Vierundzwanzig
I have found the key to my success thus far is simply to avoid temptation. I don't worry about resisting arousal, my traditional Kryptonite, I simply avoid the stimuli that lead to arousal. You haven't been fired, libido, this is a genuinely temporary layoff.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Deep in the Heart of Darkness
Yesterday, I watched the Red Wings defeat the Sharks on Versus, channel 66 on our cable service. Today, channel 66 is the Disney Channel, which was channel 82 yesterday. Today, channel 82 is white noise. USA moved from 85 to 61, and the old 61, some kind of Spanish language music video channel, is gone; Cartoon Network, 84 to 64, old 64, unknown, gone. No more Versus, which means if I want to watch the Red Wings I'll have to sit in a cowboy bar, surrounded by loathsome Texans, and hope one of the TVs is set to Versus rather than NASCAR or cow-tipping or whatever the fuck else these insufferably smug weather pussies watch. Fan-fucking-tastic.

Oh what a difference a day makes. Fucking Texas.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Believe: 1st Intermission, Detroit 2-0 San Jose
Not to tempt capricious Fate or flirt with disaster, but for the remaining two periods the one goal for which every Red Wing should strive is to aid Samuelsson in attaining the hat trick.
Geographica: Europe
What am I supposed to do about the United Kingdom? Do I count England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland as "countries"? None is itself a sovereign state, but then again there is no doubt I'll count Monaco, which isn't exactly entirely sovereign itself. Bugger it. Also, I am not counting Russia or Turkey. Both have toeholds in Europe, but the majority of their lands are in the vastness of Asia.

Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland)
The Netherlands
Vatican City
San Marino
Czech Republic
The Ukraine
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Cyprus is another tricky one. The island is closer to the Asia Minor part of Turkey, clearly establish above as being part of Asia rather than Europe, then Greece. But, the majority population is Greek and Cyprus has been admitted into the European Union, to which Turkey is an candidate, but, let's be honest, Turkey will only ever accede to the EU over France's dead body.

Tomorrow: Asia.
BTW South Song of the Day
Catch 22, "What Goes Around Comes Around" from Alone in a Crowd (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: As I said to the Mountain's great amusement, Catch 22 is "usually satisfactory without ever being really spectacular."

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Explorers Club
No. XXIV - Lake Vostok

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Sonntag
All quiet on the Western front. Seriously, not even a peep. Hmmm, methinks I'm flirting with overconfidence, a sure invitation to disaster. Um... today was a struggle. An exhausting struggle. Whew, I don't know if I'll be able to last the rest of the night... or do you think that I might be overcompensating a tad?

Oh, the Humanity!
Also, today is the seventieth anniversary of the wreck of the zeppelin Hindenburg. Over the decades the exclamation "Oh, the humanity!" has become something of a joke, but let us show some respect for those who lost their lives in the tragedy.

The Queue
William Manchster, The Arms of Krupp, 1587-1968
Simon Hawke, The Merchant of Vengeance ***in progress***
J.H. Patterson, The Man-eaters of Tsavo
Jung Chang, Mao: The Unknown Story
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
Harrison E. Salisbury, The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad
Geographica: Africa
And now, a list of all the African countries I can name from memory. Please think not less of me for the inevitable oversights; if my memory is as good as I hope it is, most of the oversights should be island nations.

Western Sahara
The Sudan
Guinea Bissau
Sierra Leone
Côte d'Ivoire
Burkina Faso
Central African Republic
Equitorial Guinea
Republic of the Congo (French Congo)
Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire, Belgian Congo)
South Africa

Tomorrow: Europe.
BTW South Song of the Day
New Found Glory, "Sincerely Me" from New Found Glory (Mt. Love)

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tag Zweiundzwanzig
All quiet on the Western front. Despite the caution about vulgarity, I find that there is so much I am simply unwilling to say.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Believe: Game 5, Detroit 4-1 San Jose*
Mmm mmm mmm, now that was some delicious hockey. I particularly enjoyed the Sharks' Calgary-esque lack of poise in the dwindling minutes of the third. There is just so much to admire about this year's Red Wings, with the notable exception of the monster Bertuzzi, of course; finally, there is a level of determination that is the perfect compliment to this team's amazing skills. To say that victory is assured would be to give into the kind of hubris that all but guarantees a fall, but I am supremely confident in the Red Wings and, win or lose, proud of the way they have conducted themselves in the face of adversity.

One more win and the first of two octopuses necessary to achieve the Stanley Cup will have been completed. Woot! But first things first; San Jose is wounded, but it would be grandly foolish to assume them have no fight left in them. I expect Game 6 to be a close-run match and the Wings will need all their skill and pluck to prevail. Yet, I am confident. Victory!

*Do you guys like the "Detroit 4-1 San Jose" arrangement, which I pilfered from BBC Sport, or would you prefer I use the more traditional "Detroit 4, San Jose 1"?
BTW South Song of the Day
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Ode to a Superhero" from Poodle Hat (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Set to the tune of Billy Joel's "Piano Man" and chosen in jubilant acclamation of the release of Spider-Man 3. The Mountain and I shan't see until Monday night, but I hope some of you are enjoying it this very evening. Thwip!

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tag Einundzwanzig
I find that the power of prayer has been of great aid these last few days.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Deutschland Über Nobody
I do not care about the NBA. In my adult life, I have only ever cheered for the Detroit Pistons to the extent that victory for the Pistons is good for the morale and image of the City of Detroit and by extention the State of Michigan. (Of course, since the Pistons recruited the villain Webber, I cannot root for them under any conceivable circumstances.) But, watching Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption every weekday afternoon, I know more about the daily goings-on of the NBA than I've ever desired to know. One benefit, though, was the extensive discussion of the defeat and playoff elimination of the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks by the Golden State Warriors. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha! People here in the godforsaken Metroplex love the Mavericks and endless sing of the praises of übermensch Dirk Nowitzki; so, it is with great relish that I celebrate the demise of their hopes and dreams. Ha! Between Tony Romo and the Cowboys, the first round ejection of the (should be North) Stars and now the collapse of the Mavs, the stench of defeat is prevalent throughout Dallas, Fort Worthless, and the rest of "North Texas." To me, their reversals smell like ambrosia. Ha!

Also, I think Saturday Night's sister has a point: bracketology. The NBA playoffs are only a quarter the size of the Tournament; so, I fail to see the advantage or necessity of a rigid bracket system.

Concluding our roundup of sports about which I don't give a rat's arse, baseball sucks. I'm glad this pitiful excuse for a human being is dead and I'm very glad he didn't take anyone else with him. If only all drunk drivers were considerate enough to kill only themselves and no one else. Of course, what else would you expect from a baseball team on which even the manager has been arrested for driving while intoxicated? Baseball sucks.
Tonight, it's the Lonely Star State. And now to pursue succor through the forlorn beauty of the music of Guster. As my for-the-nonce inappropriately cheerful T-shirt declares, "¡Me gusta Guster!"

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Hat Day!
The Mountain of Love wore his pink Victoria's Secret quasi-boonie hat and I wore his brown U of M boonie hat, the brim of which was large enough to put me in my own personal echo chamber. Man, I did not see that coming. I love Hat Day!

The end of tonight's episode of Scrubs was so devastating there was naught for me to do but turn to the Mountain and say, "Well, now I'm going to go kill myself." Poor J.D.

"It should have been me."

BTW South Song of the Day
Green Day, "Letterbomb" from American Idiot (Mt. Love)

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tag Zwanzig
This is Morgan Freeman's cue to intone, "I believe God hears all prayers, even if sometimes the answer is 'No.'"

Also, here's a blast from The Secret Base's past:
THE BIG O is the Japanese BATMAN.
The Stars My Destination
Memorialink. Wally Schirra was so cool under pressure that he actually found spaceflight annoyingly dull. Rest in peace, Captain Schirra, and thank you.

Believe: Game 4, Detroit 3-2 San Jose (OT)
Three unanswered goals! How 'bout those Wings! Of course, now I feel like a rat fink for having ever doubted. In my defense, the Red Wings really picked it up in the third period; even so, I shall still reproach myself harshly. But who cares? The Red Wings won! The teal tide was turned back for another day! Huzzah!

Were superstition not a sin, surely some credit would be owed to the Mountain of Love for chiding me for not wearing my replica sweater, which I put on between the second and third periods.

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tag Neunzehn (Mittwoch)
All quiet on the Western front.
BTW South Song of the Day
The Mr. T Experience, "New Girlfriend" from Pounded: The Official Comic Book Soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)

Believe: 2nd Intermission, San Jose 2-1 Detroit
And now back to the game, where, for the first time in the series, my confidence is wavering. Come on, boys, let's get it going!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

***RING*** (mobile's ringer set to: Arabesque)


"Hey, Steeze."
"What year did Hoover become president?"
"Herbert Hoover? Um... 1929."
Said to someone in the background, "1929." To me, "What year did the Hoover Dam open?"

The world is a many splendored place.
There seemed to be lots of confusion and tumult around the scheduling of Game 3; so, here's a reminder that Game 4 is tomorrow, Wednesday, May 2nd. Not Thursday, but tomorrow. WEDNESDAY! Go Wings!

And if you don't have Versus (VS.; formerly the Outdoor Life Network, OLN), um, I guess check ye olde internet for regular updates? Curse the lack of a proper national television contract!

BTW South Song of the Day
Reel Big Fish, "Don't Start a Band" from We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy (Mt. Love)

Commentary: Introduced on RBF's live album, Our Live Album is Better Than Your Live Album, by songwriter and lead singer Aaron Barrett with the words, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the meanest song I ever wrote. And I mean that." That's a hell of a statement from the leader of a band that titled an album We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy.

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tag Achtzehn
All quiet on the Western front, although...

The Endurance
I got off the phone with Codename: PANDORA... just in time to watch George Lucas on Late Night with Conan O'Brien! Conversing with Codename: PANDORA? Cool. Conversing with Codename: PANDORA and not missing any of the always sage words of the great George Lucas? Score!

Star Wars! Star Wars! Star Wars!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

May Day
Ding dong, Communism is dead. Not we just need to get back to the grand old tradition of violent strike-breaking and union-busting and all will be right with the world. Three cheers for capitalism! Hip-hip, hooray! Hip-hip-hooray! Hip-hip-hooray!

Ricky Fitness
To use Skeeter's word, I totally bonked today. Legs... sluggish... arms... weak... sweating... like a Wilson... okay... that's normal... ugh. But, going to the "gym" isn't supposed to be fun; as Dr. Perry Cox said, "It's about hating your body."

Die Drei Ringe von Krupp

Remember, kids, it is important not to confuse Alfried Felix Alwyn "Alfred" Krupp with his great-grandson Alfried Felix Alwyn Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach. Alfred Krupp (1812-1887) was a bit of a madman, or, if you prefer, an eccentric genius, but he wasn't a bad guy; Alfried Krupp (1907-1967) was a Nazi, a pirate, and a slaveowner. May John J. McCloy rot in Hell for letting Alfried Krupp out of prison early.
BTW South Song of the Day
Guster, "Demons" from Goldfly (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "When I speak I cross my fingers. / Will you know you've been deceived? / I find a need to be the demon, / A demon cannot be hurt."

Believe: Game 3, San Jose 2-1 Detroit
Whenever we tried to get back in it, the monster Bertuzzi perpetrated a senseless penalty and put us back under siege. Much more went wrong this evening than just his antics, but they certainly didn't help.

Caution: Vulgarity ahead.

Mission: Unpossible Zwei - Tag Sechzehn (Samstag), Sonntag und Tag Siebzehn
All quiet on the Western front.