Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "Stomp Box" from John Henry (T.L.A.M.)

Freitag, 29 Juni
Marvin Gaye, "God is Love" via iTunes (Alistair)

Commentary: There comes a point in time when a man has to set his music player of choice to play "Stomp Box" is an continuous loop, set the volume to eleven*, and flail about as if seized by madness until he collapses in a euphoric heap on his floor.

Faithful friend and first-year father Alistair actually nominated "God is Love/Mercy Mercy Me," but I could not find a medley of the two songs; so, they shall be presented separately, thus doubling the daily Gaye goodness. Quite a boon!

*This is Spinal Tap is masterful and Nigel Tufnel's custom speaker remains a gag of singular genius, but I fear that references to turning the volume up "to eleven" are becoming far too widespread. The expression has acquired a vogue entirely divorced from the film and is in great danger of becoming banal. So, to paraphrase Elwood Blues's famous admonition from Briefcase Full of Blues, today, while we still can, let us crank our speakers up eleven and flail about to "Stomp Box" (or whatever song strikes your fancy).

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Stars My Destination
Woot! Space lorry! Woot! Because we all know that once we have a space truck, space truckers cannot be far behind. Space truckers! 10-4, good buddy!

Also, do me a favor and follow this hyperlink: ominouslink. Does anyone else feel uneasy knowing the astronauts and cosmonauts in the International Space Station are looking down at us through what looks like a TIE fighter's viewport?
Thank God. I titled The Secret Base's discussion of the 7 July Tube and bus bombings "London Can Take It" to signal my faith in the British people, but please, dear God, don't let this Haymarket car bomb be the first of a series.
Hat Day!
This evening, I wore my Blues Brothers porkpie. The NBC sitcoms are in reruns, The Starter Wife concluded this evening, what am I going to watch whilest eating my scrambled eggs on Hat Day? But, hey, the premiere of Burn Notice was awesome. I love Hat Day!

The Endurance
No squawk box tonight, just the sweet enchantment of her dulcet voice.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Barenaked Ladies, "Conventioneers" from Maroon (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Why "Conventioneers"? Because Codename: PANDORA is at a convention and a man can dare to dream. "Now we're in the bath...."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"My wife, my child...
all the ghosts of Mars...
rise on the air,
trailing in the starlight:
into the fiery arms
of H'ronmeer...

...and I remember:
My daughter was dying.
The Torch-Bearers
come to brand her.
To prepare her
for the pyre.

Mad with sorrow,
I fought them;
took that poor, wasted
girl in my arms; ran
into the desert: cradled
her... caressed her...
as she died."

J.M. DeMatteis
Martian Manhunter No. 4 (of 4)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I dusted this evening. Not the whole apartment, just the living room, but still (though tonight's activities negate the word about to appear in italics, I think you will all grasp the flavor of the remark), I never dust. This can be none other but a portent of some impending doom.

Someone cue Dr. Hee Haw's patented, "I'm doomed!"

Our next item will be appreciated solely by aficionados of Blue Tree Whacking's Smith and Winkler film franchise. There is a Congressman from Washington State named... wait for it... Norman Dicks. So close! One measly letter! Our little Norman... a Congressman?

And yes, I still have the father and son pictures we had taken at Sears proudly displayed in my room.

Asteroids, ho! Dawnlink. And as long as we're on the topic of asteroids and "dwarf planets," a scurrilous term with neither credibility nor charisma, we must not give up the fight to reverse last year's abominable deletion of this solar system's ninth planet: Plutolink. And I would like to assure cunt-rag supreme Mike Brown that he will not "go down in history as the guy who killed Pluto," he won't go down in history at all. Petty toad that he is, he will be forgotten utterly.

*The enigmatic C requested more science!links. Voila! I thought I'd take this opportunity to differentiate between "Science!" posts and "The Stars My Destination" posts. I don't care to invest the time or energy required to scour The Secret Base's past for inconsistencies, but the general policy is thus: "Science!" posts highlight the whole range of scientific inquiry, including activities by NASA, the ESA, Virgin Galactic, or any of several other astral agencies; "The Stars My Destination" is reserved for discussion of manned space flight, the noblest of all human endeavours.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "Jessica" from Why Does the Sun Shine? (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Fountains of Wayne's "Hey Julie" makes me think about Skeeter and Barenaked Ladies's "Maybe Katie" prompts me to think about The Watergirl, but "Jessica" doesn't recall to mind either A Girl Named Hell-ya or China Doll. I suspect the stupefyingly obvious, that the difference lies in "Jessica"'s lack of lyrics.
The Endurance
Why do I hate mobile telephones? This evening, I had to cut a pleasant conversation with Codename: PANDORA short because of interference "on the line." She heard nothing out of the ordinary, but I could hear intermittently a voice in the background, a voice that sounded as if it was coming through a fast food squawk box. I'm in Fort Worthless, she's in Denver, traveling on business. These are not homestead outposts in the hinterlands! Yet there we were, her, me, and squawk box. Is the convenience of foisting your conversation off on a dozen strangers while waiting in line at the grocery checkout really worth the crap shoot of signal strength and grainy sound quality that are the hallmarks of mobile telephone service? I'd be agitated in any event, but that my ham-fisted wooing of Codename: PANDORA was intruded upon? Oh, someone must be made to suffer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
19 Wheels, "Broken" from Sugareen (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: In a rare but welcome bit of role-reversal, The Bradman introduced me to the music of 19 Wheels. I've been to the Blind Pig many times, but 19 Wheels was the only band I saw there with the Pig serving more as a bar than a concert venue; you've got to love live music on a weeknight. "Broken" was selected as a small celebration of his resumption of regular bloggy blogging. Woot!

Brad's Continuing Rant.

I adore the fact that the Tunguska Event is still a mystery nearly a century after the occurrence: Tunguska! Ooo, what should we do to commemorate next year's centennial? We have three hundred sixty-nine days to formulate and implement an appropriately grandiose plan. Let's make this a big deal, gang. Please submit your suggestions, no idea is too humble or too ambitious to be considered.

The Endorsement
I have to applaud the Bundeswehr for taking a stand against the massive fraud known as Scientology: cultlink.

Good on the Aussies for using humour to advance a worthy cause: ding-a-linglink.

Lastly, bugger the BBC's pompous moralizing, I say three cheers for skulduggery: spylink! Imagine how much better the lives of the Cuban people would be today had we succeeded in assassinating Castro in 1960 or '61. I miss the good old days when the CIA had the chutzpah to overthrow unfriendly regimes and the courage to support our allies in their time of need. Damn President Ford, God rest his soul, for Executive Order 11905!

Deep in the Heart of Darkness
Do you guys have any idea how much in rains in north Texas? Since May Day, we've had more days with at least some rainfall than days without. Sure, only two or three of those days have been rain-all-day harbinger of the Deluge days, but still. It rains all the time here, rains and rains and rains. And yet on those rare days when the rainclouds have parted and the accursed Sun has hammered this anvil-cum-state mercilessly, the ground dries up and cracks in no time flat. The ground here has no ability to retain moisture; truly, this is godforsaken country. The one bright spot? The Texans, being weather pansies for all seasons, are distraught about the rain. Heh heh heh. Pansies.

Oh, and just in case anyone has gotten the wrong idea, Heart of Darkness is one of the worst books I've read and Apocalypse Now is among the very worst films I've had the misfortune to see. My feelings toward Texas are not entirely dissimilar from my feelings towards Joseph Conrad.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I spoke with my mom yesterday and she, as is her wont, expressed matronly concern over my solitude and isolation here in Fort Worthless. I assured her that I am well enough, an act that brought to mind a pleasant turn of phrase from one of last week's journal entries that I'd intended to quote here at The Secret Base, an intention I noted in the selfsame entry. From Volume VI of my journal, 6.21.07, Thursday:

"David's been gone ten days and few ill-effects have been noted. If not built for solitude, I am well-acclimated to its rigors. I quite like that sentence. I may have to boast about it in the ethereal realm of the internet."

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Last Dead Mouse" from Don't Know How to Party (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I am reminded, to my great delight, of "Last Dead Mouse" almost every single day by my endlessly amusing and devilishly clever "Last Dead Mouse" mouse pad. There's no mention of the Bosstones anywhere on it, not even a small image of Otis, just the words "Last Dead Mouse" and a dead cartoon mouse, replete with limp tongue sticking out of his mouth and X's over his eyes.

Of course, the song "Last Dead Mouse" is about another topic entirely, and one wholly more disturbing. Oh, the pesky social conscience of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones....

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Explorers Club
No XXXI - Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), the man, the legacy, the name.

The indistinct objects behind Mr. Brunel? Those, my friends, are chain links of ridiculous enormity.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
MxPx, "Punk Rawk Show" from Ten Years and Running (T.L.A.M.)

Samstag, 23 Juni
Rise Against, "Six Ways 'Til Sunday" from Pounded: The Official Comic Book Soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)

Freitag, 22 Juni
Queen, "Flash" from Queen: Greatest Hits I (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Following Friday's series finale of Stargate SG-1, the Sci Fi Channel broadcast an extremely brief promo for their new series, Flash Gordon, set to debut later this summer. The Flash Gordon promo made use of "Flash," which could augur either good or ill for the new show.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Anecdotally, these findings hold true for my family: firstborn; The L.A.W. is a flippin' genius. Amongst my acquaintances, her mental faculties are second only to those of The Professor, himself his parents' firstborn.

Lies, Damned Lies, and the News
I am inveterate channel surfer, and last night during a commercial break in the season finale of Stargate Atlantis I embarked upon my customary survey of that most alluring of prizes, What Else Is On. Here in Fort Worthless, Fox News is the next station below the Sci Fi Channel, 54 to Sci Fi's 55. I find Fox News distasteful, but I'd watched the better part of The Daily Show the previous evening, I felt inclined to give Fox a chance to restore the balance of recently ingested propaganda. To my delight, I saw the bearded visage of Frank Gaffney, a fellow with many interesting opinions. He was talking about a television documentary, originally commissioned by PBS, that was soon to air on the Fox News Channel.

The documentary, originally titled Islam Vs. Islamists, has a premise behind which I think we can all stand: to throw a spotlight on the vast majority of Muslims in the West - the United States, Canada, and Europe - who oppose, vociferously, the hijacking of their religion by terrorists like Osama bin Laden and Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. PBS refused to broadcast the documentary on the grounds that it is "extremely one-sided." (Here are Mr. Gaffney's thoughts on the matter: censoredlink.) High holy hell, has anyone at PBS every actually watched Frontline or NOW, formerly NOW with Bill Moyers? Al Sharpton isn't as implacably opposed to George W. Bush specifically and the Republican Party generally as is Bill Moyers! I have not yet seen Islam Vs. Islamists; so, I cannot say whether it is a documentary or warrants labeling as propaganda, but to air the extraordinarily polemical NOW and then refuse to air Islam Vs. Islamists on the grounds that it is "one-sided," that, treasured readers, is the height of hypocrisy and a perfect example of the pervasive liberal bias possessed and promoted by the grandees of the fourth estate.

The former Islam Vs. Islamists will air tonight under the unfortunately reactionary title Banned by PBS: Muslims Against Jihad (I approve of the second part, but the first, though 100% factually accurate, seems petulant; then again, no one has ever accused Fox News of taking the moral high ground or acting with excessive decorum). My curiosity has been piqued. Additionally, I find PBS's double-standard infuriating and I will watch Muslims Against Jihad as a small act of protest; if PBS is as "public" as you say, you hypocrites, everyone should be allowed to use it, not just your political chums and fellow travelers.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Stars My Destination
Home are the heroes: Atlantis.
The Land of Milk and Honey
Victory! Cedarlink. Lebanon still faces numerous and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, not the least of which is Hezbollah's large army of Iranian-funded and -trained fanatics, but that does not lessen the importance of this triumph. I believe in the Lebanese people, both Christian and Muslim. I believe in the Lebanon they deserve.

Also, an interesting hyperlink courtesy of The Bradman: Bradlink.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I love the Aussies: Persialink.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Reel Big Fish, "Song #3" from Why Do They Rock So Hard? (T.L.A.M.)

Mittwoch, 20 Juni
The Reunion Show, "Art of Nothing" from The Motion (T.L.A.M.)

Hat Day!
In the second solo observance of Hat Day, I wore my black Anti-Negativity Helmet and Official Aquabats! Mask. Captain Thumbs-Up strikes again! I love Hat Day!

Curses! Foiled Again!
My dad called my cell phine this evening. By Lucifer's beard! He called to tell me the cruise ship he and my mom have been on since last weekend was leaving Juneau, the first place they'd had mobile phone reception since leaving Vancouver. I know he didn't know this, and it is hard to justify blaming him for ruining plans of which he was entirely ignorant, but this was supposed to be the one week that I was guaranteed - GUARANTEED - to be free from the omnipresent threat of calls from my parents. I'm flabbergasted, I honestly didn't think there was anyway this plan could go awry. Who calls from an Alaskan cruise just to say, "Hey, we're leaving Juneau"? You're supposed to tell people about your vacation once you're back home AFTER said vacation! I mean, yeah, I have to give my dad credit for being a genuine non-conformist, but would it kill him to follow the most basic societal norms?

I hope they're having as much fun as he claimed and the the call can be chalked up to paternal eccentricity, because my mom's been talking about taking a cruise to Alaska for the better part of a decade and I really want this trip to live up to her expectations.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Vote For Kodos: Defection of a Defective
Good riddance to bad rubbish: Bloomberglink. I detest Bloomberg for two reasons: a) The man is a turncoat, and I'm not talking about quitting the Republican Party. He may call himself "independent," but he is a Democrat, he's always been a Democrat, he's governed like a Democrat, and he only started calling himself a Republican in a cynical ploy to benefit from Mayor Giuliani's legacy and, in the terrible days following 9/11, immense popularity. I dislike the Democrats' platform, I dislike the party's national leaders, and I dislike the spurious reasoning and circular logic behind the political beliefs of my Democrat(ic) friends, but at least they have the gumption to stick to their guns, and for that they have my respect.

b) Criticism of partisan politics is the refuge of the spineless and dimwitted. Partisanship can be and too often is carried to counterproductive extremes, but the notion that "the politicians" are ruining this country and "the people" can all sit down and coolly reach consensus is dangerously childish. "The people" are the ones who elect "the politicians" as their champions, and I believe in democracy enough to know that a democratic nation gets exactly the leaders it deserves. As a body politic we lost faith in ourselves and our cause in the '70s and thus justly earned the disastrous, embarrassing reign of President Carter. The left had no coherent message through the whole of the 1990s, and so a fairly radical strain of Republicanism was allowed to gain and hold control of the Congress. Consensus is a pernicious myth, a fairy tale for grown-up children afraid to face the harsh realities of governance; politics is ugly, sometimes almost too ugly to bear, but never forget that the great debate, no matter how acrimonious, is the crucible through which we determine what kind of a nation we wish to be.

And a final note on a): once a Democrat, always a Democrat. Besides Bloomberg, look no further than the late, unlamented Senator Strom Thurmond. He may have called himself a Republican in the latter half of his political life, but to his dying day that terrible old brute remained a hardcore Dixiecrat.

Vote For Kodos: Church & State
Three cheers for the Vatican: Kennedylink. I am so terribly sick of Democrat, supposedly Catholic politicians from Massachusetts using and abusing Holy Mother Church like some painted whore. Of all the things I loathe about John Kerry, no other rouses my ire like the annulment of his first marriage. How can a marriage that lasted eighteen years and produced two daughters be declared to have never happened? (Consequently, Kerry's two horse-faced daughters? Who campaigned on his behalf in 2004? Yeah, in the eyes of the Church they're bastards, born out of wedlock as a by-product of sin.) I delight in the terrible fate that surely awaits those men of the cloth who betrayed the Church by perpetrating Kerry's and Kennedy's frauds when they die and face His perfect judgment. The Church in Massachusetts has long debased itself on behalf of the unfathomable Kennedy mystique, and I'm glad Rome has finally decided to rein in the nigh-idolatrous deference given to the Kennedy name.

Deep in the Heart of Darkness
Texas in a nutshell: murderlink. Murdering the driver would have been a monstrous crime, but murdering his passenger? That's both monstrous and incomprehensibly stupid. Brutal and stupid, that should be the state motto of Texas. (The actual motto? "Friendship." I'll give the Texans this, they've picked stupid as a theme and by golly they're sticking to it.)
So, I'm finally getting around to ripping a few odds and ends from my CD collection into my iTunes library, bands like Smash Mouth and No Doubt that I neither love nor hate enough to have exchanged at Jelly Bean's for more dog-eared issues of Justice League International. How did we get here? I was looking at the Martian Manhunter figure (it's 10" tall; so, it's too big to be an "action" figure) on my DVD rack in the living room and that naturally lead me to think of the comic book stories I'd like to write for a hypothetical Martian Manhunter series. One of them is titled "Return of Saturn," inspired by but not named after No Doubt's disappointing Return of Saturn, which of course for me thinking about Return to Saturn and voila, here we are, merrily ripping away. Jumpin' Jack Pratt, people, what in the high holy hell happened to Gwen Stefani? Tragic Kingdom was, alongside Dookie, the soundtrack of my high school years. Sure, Return of Saturn was, as previously mentioned, disappointing, but by no means was No Doubt beyond saving. Nowadays, Gwen Stefani is every iota as loathsome as *insert your preferred hated bottle blonde pop princess here* was five years ago. Forget the kindgom, Gwen's fall is what's tragic.

Two conundrums about which I have been reluctant to write anything substantive have been weighing upon me, and I've decided a little catharsis would do me some good. Propriety shall be our watchword, but within the limits of protocol I shall spill my guts freely, just as soon as I compel myself to make the time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I scoff at the threat of a Malthusian catastrophe because the gloomy Parson Malthus failed utterly to take into account the brilliance of Man: farmlink. There is no obstacle we cannot overcome with the concerted application of our finest minds, sufficient resources, and the will to act. Science!

The Rebel Black Dot Society Song of the Day
Reel Big Fish, "Sell Out" (live) from Our Live Album is Better Than Your Live Album, Disc 2: Move Fastly With the Fast Music (The Guy)

Commentary: The Guy didn't specify the live version of "Sell Out," but his nomination did mention this summer's BTWhale of the Good Time, a weekend of merriment that will include the wondrous spectacle of a joint Reel Big Fish-Less Than Jake rock show! So, RBF live was clearly on his mind.
Free Cuba
The ridding of the face of the earth of any Communist is cause for celebration: ding dong, the bitch is dead. An additional reason for merriment: Marx condemned religion as "the opium of the people;" Cuba's Communist dictatorship is still officially atheistic; Comrade Espin, whose death we are cheering so heartily, was a loyal Communist and thus presumably an atheist; upon shuffling off this mortal coil, an eternity in Hell awaits every atheist. Score! Enjoy Perdition, comrade, with all the blood on your hands you certainly earned it.

Free Cuba!

Monday, June 18, 2007

"The cruel, hot summer
Led into the long, hard fall,
Becoming the dark, killing winter,
Until spring replenished us all."

Traditional nursery rhyme, quoted here from Fables: The Mean Seasons.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "She Just Happened" from Pay Attention (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "She Just Happened" was previously a BTW South Song of the Day, but that shan't be a barrier to any song's inclusion as a Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day. And "She Just Happened" is a grand tune.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Explorers Club
No. XXX - The strange tale of the royal imposters Lambert Simnel (circa 1477-1534) and Perkin Warbeck (circa 1474-1499).

The Rebel Black Dot Society Song of the Day
Gordon Lightfoot, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" via iTunes (The Professor)

Samstag, 16 Juni
Katiä & Scott, "Christmastime" from the untitled Katiä & Scott EP (The Watergirl)

Freitag, 15 Juni
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Trapped in the Drive-Thru" from Straight Outta Lynwood (Daddy Dylweed)
Dear readers, a few days hence I used the word "cache" when I so clearly meant "cachet." This was not a careless typographical mistake. I have retroactively erased the error, but please forgive this lapse in diction. 'Twas never my intention to contribute to the tide of ignorance and intellectual apathy in which it might be argued our culture is drowning.
I slept in until 11:00 AM on Saturday morning and the good news is that is felt fantastic, in part because that was an hour later than I'd intended to slumber and I am convinced there is nothing in this life, outside of personal interaction with the Holy Ghost, that is quite so rewarding as hitting the snooze button, being fully cognizant of the time and the tasks of the day ahead, sighing contentedly, and rolling back over to fall back asleep. The bad news is that it's after three o'clock in the morning and I feel disinclined to sleep. Of course, some blame must go to my choice of bedtime reading, Fables: Animal Farm, the second collection of Bill Willingham's truly astonishing comic book series. The first collection, Legends in Exile, is but a clumsy shade of the splendor to come, though I mean not to seem harsh, as I know well that all great enterprises need time to find their proper footing, but "Animal Farm," collected in Animal Farm, is where Fables really became Fables. And Fables is unrivaled.

Ye olde internet is a dull place at half past three o'clock in the morning on a Saturday night. Well, I shall attempt to put visions of Snow White and Bigby Wolf, Boy Blue and Rose Red, and all the other denizens of Fabletown and Fables out of my head, or at least relegate them to slumberous dreams, and fall into Somnus's embrace.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Batlink. Also, seriously, if The Dark Knight is the sequel to Batman Begins, what is the hypothetical third picture going to be called? My thanks to K. Steeze, our fearless leader, for the suggestion Batman Begins III: The Dark Knight II: Jedi Outcast.

Drei cheers for Schadenfreude: What was it, exactly, that Nike wanted us to witness?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hat Day!
In my capacity as Captain Thumbs-Up, Aqua-Cadet No. 0003432, I wore my silver Anti-Negativity Helmet (and Official Aquabats! Mask). I may well be the only one, or as the Barenaked Ladies would undoubtedly phrase it, "Am I the only one?," but I love Hat Day!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Proclaimers, "He's Just Like Me" from Born Innocent (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: No nominations so far, you cowards. Then again, mayhap insulting my audience at every turn is not the best way to solicit increased participation from said audience. Nuts to that, you lot are my treasured friends, and if you can't insult your friends whom can you insult? Strangers? You can't go around randomly assailing strangers, we're trying to have a civilization over here! Sorry, kids, I've a responsibility to continue hurling mild invective your way, you know, do my bit for civilization. Nominate songs, ye scurvy dogs!

It's Flag Day, my fellow Americans, and by golly she's a grand old flag!

Proud Europa
Euroforce or Eurofarce? Martialink.
The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
System of a Down, "Lonely Day" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Welcome to The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day! We shall shortly be exiting italics for purely stylistic reasons. What is to follow would logically be considered part of the commentary, but I'm not fond of lengthy passages of italics. I love italics and feel that they are best used sparingly, thus preserving their cachet. To wit:

The two most significant differences between the late "BTW South Song of the Day" and the nascent "The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day" are: a) At BTW South, the Song of the Day was a gloriously relentless project. The new Song of the Day program will be much more haphazard. Will there be a song every day? Absolutely not, unless I get bored. (So, really, there's nothing absolute about that not.) Every other day? That's the plan, mirroring my "workload" with the BTW South Song of the Day. If a day is missed? Boo hoo, how shall we ever recover? And b) Nominations! Most of you have terrible, terrible taste in music. You remind me of the lyric, "If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all." Substitute "taste in music" for "luck" and that's you guys! But, almost in spite of yourselves, some of you do like some good music. So, email me your nomination(s) for The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day and subject to my completely arbitrary ruling your song may become the Song of the Day. And, what's more, you'll be duly credited! That's right, your codename will be cited for having contributed in a meaningful way to the unrivaled brilliance that is The Secret Base of the Rebel Black Dot Society! If you don't have one of my several email addresses, welcome, complete asshole stranger*, feel free to leave your nomination in the nearest comments section. So, nominate today and be the first kid on your block to bask in the glory of The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day!

*Remember when we talked about "complete asshole stranger"? It doesn't mean I think you're an asshole.

To get back to commenting on the actual song, the inevitable loneliness stemming from the Mountain's departure has yet to hit me in any substantial way (good things come to those who wait), but even so "Lonely Day" seemed apropos to the moment.

"The most loneliest day of my life."

Lionel Hutz presents "The Truth (glare)" and "The Truth (smile)"
To my dismay, I watched the "documentary" Control Room this evening. Rubbish, utterly disgusting rubbish. It wasn't a documentary, it was propaganda. All the politically-themed "documentaries" I've rented through Netflix have turned out to be propaganda films. When I added Triumph of the Will to my queue, I did so knowing it is not only a propaganda film, but the most famous/infamous of all propaganda films. I thought Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Who Killed the Electric Car? would be documentaries, and based upon their description as such I think my expectation was not unreasonable, yet both were nakedly pushing a highly political agenda. Mayhap I've fallen out of synch with the times, but isn't a documentary supposed to present the bare facts, not a highly selective and carefully manipulated subset of the facts? I guess my disillusionment with modern documentaries stems from a simple misunderstanding: I believe in the now radical notion of the truth, that there is a single objective explanation of any given incident, while modern documentary filmmaking is premised on the notion of relative truth, that the only "truth" is whatever jaundiced interpretation of events that you can sell to your confederates and fellow travelers. The documentary is dead, and given the degenerate state to which it has fallen I say good riddance.

The Endurance
After a seemingly business travel-induced spell of infrequent and irregular communication, I am returning to a posture of guarded optimism. She rang last night at after midnight on the Eastern Seaboard and we spoke for an hour. I see in this good tidings. Codename: PANDORA shall yet be mine!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I've regarded Amnesty International with contempt and hostility for years, and though the Church is opposing Amnesty for entirely different reasons, it's always nice to find myself in common cause with the Vatican: Amnestylink. Now if only we can get the Pope to throw his considerable liturgical weight behind my proposed radical expansion of capital punishment....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Deep in the Heart of Darkness
Ambrosia Sue flew in Thursday to aid us in evacuating the Mountain of Love and his possessions, out of BTW South, out of Fort Worthless, out of verdammt Texas. But, this Bogforsaken place had one final insult in store. On Saturday night, some wretched knave smashed one of the Senator's Daughter's windows and absconded with the radio/CD player and a goodly portion of the center of the dashboard, including the control knobs for the environmental controls and the hazard lights button. Bastards.

The only consolation is that the CD player was broken, a disc was stuck inside and would neither play nor eject; so, fie on the thieves, may they rot in Perdition.

The End of BTW South
Upon the Mountain's exit yesterday, BTW South was no more. According to ad hoc Blue Tree Whacking by-laws at least two of the five core members of BTW must be in residence for an abode to earn the "BTW" moniker. The Professor and K. Steeze live at BTWest II and both are required for the name. The Guy and The Gal finally cohabit, but tolerant of BTWackiness though she is The Gal is steadfastly not affiliated with Blue Tree Whacking; so, there is no "BTW Gateway Arch." BTW South retained it's name between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day because though the Mountain was in Ohio with Ambrosia Sue, he was always going to return to BTW South. Now, he's gone and though I will miss him I am tremendously happy that he is no longer in Texas. I regret terribly that he is going to return in August to help me finally and irrevocably quit this baleful spot; I heartily pray it is the last time either of us shall set foot on this accursed soil.

There is no more BTW South and so there shall be no more BTW South Songs of the Day, but mark you well that in some form the Song of the Day will continue.
Counterintuitive though it may be, this is actually a victory for academic freedom and the free and open exchange of ideas: tenurelink. Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky's personal hatchet man, is so grotesque that he deserves comparison to Ward Churchill, the fiend who infamously called those who perished in the World Trade Center "little Eichmanns." These men are a cancer on our society and the sooner their spurious ideas are discredited the better.

Monday, June 11, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day - Grand Finale
James Cromwell, "If I Had Words" from Babe - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, June 10
Less Than Jake, "Last One Out of Liberty City" from Hello Rockview (Mt. Love)

Commentary: Last one out of Texas burn it to the ground.

The Explorers Club
No. XXIX - Heron of Alexandria, also known as Hero of Alexandria (circa A.D. 10-70)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Believe... and remember.
The Stars My Destination
Rendezvous in Space! I understand the forces involved in keeping an aeroplane airborne, yet every time I see a plane pass by overhead I am awestruck, as if by a chariot of the gods. In the same vein, I understand the basics of rocketry and orbital mechanics, but the idea that frail, stupid human beings could place a habitat, small though it is by terrestrial standards, in the heavens... it's almost too big to grasp. Yet the International Space Station and a temporary companion, the space shuttle Atlantis, loom above us all as I type these lines. Again I turn to the Bard, "What a piece of work is a man!"


Proud Europe
Big in Albania. Those who have recently experienced tyranny still appreciate all the United States has done to advance the cause of freedom and justice. Still, the best part of this article? King Zog!
BTW South Song of the Day
Fountains of Wayne, "Maureen" from Out-of-State Plates, Disc 1 (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I thank Bog that of all the girls I have loved who haven't loved me, not one has treated me in the manner lamented in "Maureen."

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Fear the Greeks
Who would triumph in personal combat between Circe and Medea? I'm not talking some kind of mythological catfight here, I speak of an all-or-nothing battle to the death between witches of dread power. You've got to give Circe the advantage in sheer mystical might, but Medea's definitely got an edge in unspeakable ruthlessness. The winner? Your call, gang, leave your opinions in the comments.

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Stars My Destination
I cannot wait for the first flight of the romantically-named Orion spacecraft, a delightful throwback to the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules of yesteryear, but that is not to detract from the majesty of a shuttle launch: Atlantis! There's nothing more exciting than manned space flight!

Especially when there's a live clock: Mission Elapsed Time!

BTW South Song of the Day
Barenaked Ladies, "Thanks That Was Fun" from Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits 1991-2001 (Mt. Love)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Hat Day!
For the final Hat Day at BTW South, the Mountain wore my Pith helmet and I wore his ten-gallon cowboy hat. Fear not, Hat Day will continue. I love Hat Day!

BTW South Song of the Day
Spike Jones & His City Slickers, "Leave the Dishes in the Sink, Ma" from The Spike Jones Anthology, Disc 1 (T.L.A.M.)
Today, I feel like I could take on the whole Empire myself. Why? Judd Apatow. Last night, the Mountain and I saw Knocked Up, and on only a handful of occasions in my entire life have I had a better time at the movies. My Bog! We live in a world of woe and wonder, but as long as a genius of Apatow's caliber is free to create the wonder shall outweigh the woe. Last night, I, far-famed as The Last Angry Man, felt goodwill toward all men! Truly, what a time to be alive.

My friends, today we rival the gods themselves: hubrislink!

"What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god!"
--William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Price of Denmark Act II, Scene II

Yes, M!ch!gan! First Jack Kevorkian and now this? I think the universe is heralding my return to the glorious Great Lakes State. Woot!
BEARlink. Once again, Jasper was right, "What a time to be alive!" Science!
BTW South Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "The End of the Tour" from John Henry (Mt. Love)

Tuesday, June 5
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Ricky Fitness & Deep in the Heart of Darkness
Texas is a Bogforsaken place and even the Texans, dim and ignorant as they are, know it; the give away? Every structure in Texas is thoroughly air conditioned. It's not like the nigh-miraculous AC in Las Vegas, but quite intentionally Las Vegas bears as little resemblance to reality as possible. But the Texans know that their blighted homeland in an inferno and so they have taken every effort to hide from its heat, all the while still proclaiming "Texas über alles!" Lousy hypocrites.

The one exception to the enthusiastic air conditioning policy is the exercise room in our apartment complex. When the Mountain and I leave at the end of our workout, part of the daily routine is to set the air conditioner's controls to 70˚ Fahrenheit and "Auto," so the AC will kick in only when the temperature rises above 70; we're not dictating that anyone works out in the frigid 60s or anything. We both feel that this is eminently reasonable. Yet some dastardly Texan has been thwarting our efforts. How do I know the saboteur is a Texan? Because the thermostat is set to 78˚ F and the AC is turned off. Only a Texan could be so dense. What's the point of setting the thermostat to a specific temperature, any temperature, if the whole unit is deactivated? Clearly a product of Texan brainpower. The daytime highs here are in the low 90s; the last two days, the exercise room has been at a lovely 82˚ F upon our entrance. By the time we are done sweating and struggling an hour and a half later, the temperature has only fallen to 74˚. We put the Wilson in "sweating like a Wilson," you fiends, we don't need those extra few degrees of encouragement.

But, the Mountain is soon to depart for Ohio and I shall evacuate well before Labor Day; so, soon enough we shall quit this madhouse and be free from Texan stupidity.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Remember the Maine!
Perfidious Iberia. If a single American comes to harm by the hand of the avaricious Spaniards, we shall deliver unto them a bloodbath to make the Battle of Manila Bay pale by comparison. If those filthy brigands want a repeat of the Spanish-American War, we shall be only too happy to oblige. Someone rouse Teddy Roosevelt's ghost, we've got Spaniards that need killing!
Dieu Et Mon Droit
Thank Bog for Maggie: The Iron Lady.
BTW South Song of the Day
Tim Lyons, "Humours of Whiskey" from Green Linnet Records: The Twentieth Anniversary Collection (Mt. Love)

Monday, June 4, 2007

The Land of Milk and Honey
One question: Where is the outrage from the "Arab street"? Cedarlink. Where the United States Army or the Israeli Self-Defense Forces to launch a similar, completely justified attack against an equivalent terrorist stronghold, the "moderate Arab regimes" in the region would be screaming bloody murder through their mouthpiece, the Arab League. "Crusaders! Zionists! Baby Killers!," the Arab League would cry. Let me be clear about this: I wholeheartedly support what the Lebanese government is trying to do; if Lebanon is to endure as a viable, sovereign state private armies will have to be disarmed, and while Hezbollah is a greater long-term threat than Fatah al-Islam, this is as good a place as any to start this dangerous, necessary work. And I am glad the dictators in the region (and, yes, that includes Jordan's sanctimonious King Abdullah II) are holding their tongues. I just hope this hypocrisy opens more people's eyes to the cynical, sinister nature of the Arab street's harsh condemnation of similar American and Israeli actions.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Explorers Club
No. XXVIII - The triumph of the U.S.S. Kearsarge over the Confederate pirate C.S.S. Alabama, 19 June 1864.

BTW South Song of the Day
Five Iron Frenzy, "World Without End" courtesy of K. Steeze (T.L.A.M.)

Saturday, June 2
Less Than Jake, "Last Hour of the Last Day of Work" from Borders & Boundaries (Mt. Love)
Detroit Sports Report
The Pistons lost! Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha! Make no mistake, I hate LeBron James and everything he stands for (isn't it funny when a millionaire pokes fun at inner city kids for not being able to afford $100 sneakers?), but the Pistons got what they deserved for allying themselves with the villain Webber. Sic semper tyrannis doesn't strictly, or even loosely, apply, but it's sure fun to say! Also, what else would you expect from Flip Saunders? It takes a special talent to not prosper in the playoffs with Kevin Garnett at your disposal, a talent Flip possess in spades and displayed for many years with the Timberwolves. Did Dumars expect Saunders to learn how to coach in the playoffs simply by, what, osmosis?

The demise of the Red Wings at the hands of the unsportsmanlike Ducks was a bitter pill to swallow, but if that's what it takes to keep the monster Bertuzzi's name off the Stanley Cup, so be it.
Who knew "GM" stood for Green Machines? General Motors. Continuing a theme from "The Blood Royal" of several weeks hence, once upon a time General Motors was a nimble, adaptable company, a company that not only made lemonade when given lemons, but made better lemonade at a lower price than its rivals. GM has been plenty ruthless through the decades, but scrupulousness alone did not build General Motors into, at one time, the largest corporation in the world; it was an adroit and far-sighted organization dedicated to innovation and efficiency, which begot profitability and growth beyond Willy Durant's wildest flights of fancy. More recently, GM has been subject to pillage and rapine from both above and below for decades, but even the concerted depredations of rapacious executives and suicidally truculent unions cannot quickly devour a concern as massive as General Motors; so, it was only this very year that GM, the lumbering anachronism, the industrial dinosaur, was overtaken as the world's largest automaker.

Yet, mayhap GM has a little bit of fight left in its creaking old bones? Perhaps the behemoth is not quite ready to go gentle into that good night?
Life Imitates Art
Hot to Trotsky, this is eerily similar to the film Good Bye, Lenin! Rip Van Winklelink. It also reminds me of a joke I read in one of the Goldbricker's old Playboys, from, I think, 1973:

A man who fell into a coma in 1958 wakes up after fifteen years. The first thing he does is ask, "How's President Eisenhower?"

The doctor replies, "He's dead, sir."

"Oh, no," exclaims the man, "that means Nixon is president!"

I fear for the day we won't have President Richard M. Nixon's Head to kick around anymore.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

BTW South Song of the Day
Guster, "Happy Frappy" from Parachute (T.L.A.M.)

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Intersection of Life...
I, like all people of good conscience, was shocked and appalled when first made aware of the then upcoming The Big Donor Show. A human organ is not a set of matching home appliances to be competed over to the delight of the Dutch Pat Sajak! I heard one of the show's producers arguing that The Big Donor Show was in bad taste, yes, but it was intentionally provocative in order to raise public awareness of organ donation; while I agreed with the nobility of his goal, I could not agree that the worthy end justified the degrading means. Hoaxlink. Now that The Big Donor Show has been revealed to have been a hoax, that there was never a kidney up for grabs, I think it's brilliant! "A short, sharp shock," as Francis Urquhart or Tim Stamper would say, just the thing to get people's attention. Pure genius. Bravo, you wily Dutch bastards!

...and Death
Michigan's most famous physician is free: suicide machinelink. My only question is this: now that Dr. Kevorkian is himself terminally ill, will he have the courage to hook himself up to his infamous suicide machine, or in the end will he reveal himself to be a craven publicity-seeker and murderer?

I like the juxtaposition here. The Big Donor Show is a desperate, macabre attempt to preserve life. Jack Kevorkian's life's work has been a desperate, macabre mission to induce death.
Firefox is the New Internet Explorer
Mozilla is offering a new version of Firefox, but neglecting to include any installation instructions. In four separate attempts, I could not install the new version without severely marring my desktop. There is a new, additional Firefox icon that refuses to be relocated to the dock with the rest of the icons. There is no way to use the new Firefox without the offending additional icon. That is unacceptable. That is the kind of aesthetic extortion I'd expect from the monopolisitic monolith of Microsoft, but not from supposedly user-friendly Mozilla. And worst of all, there is no help available from the Mozilla website. All they will do is refer you to a massive mesageboard with literally thousands of topics through which one could spend days sifting before locating one's specific problem. Having no support section at all would be less of an insult.

I now hate Firefox, even the old, reliable version that has served we so ably. But what I am to do? Every other browser is even worse, yet I feel unclean continuing to use Mozilla's Firefox. To my friends who urged me to use Firefox, damn you. I hate Mozilla and I hope every last affiliate of the evil Mozilla Foundation inexplicably bleeds from his or her eyes for at least six hours tomorrow and every day hereafter. Bog below, I hate the internet.