Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Explorers Club
No. CIV - The life and voyages of Matthew Flinders (1774-1814), popularizer of the proper noun "Australia."

Am I alone in thinking the above portrait of Captain Flinders bears a resemblance to the actor Rufus Sewell?

Also, I assure you this episode of "The Explorers Club" is in no way related to or inspired by the upcoming motion picture
Australia. The last several episodes have all highlighted the careers of underappreciated explorers, to serve as a drum roll to an important event in the history of "The Explorers Club," coming your way very soon. Just say "no" to Baz Luhrmann, and open your mind to the splendor of exploration!

Project OSPREY
Halftime at the Kansas-Syracuse game, Jayhawks 41-30 Orange(men). One day, I really would love to hear Dick Vitale read the telephone book. Hoorah, the second edition of Project OSPREY is in full swing!

Update, 12:51 A.M.: Holy cow, Syracuse won in overtime. Crumbs, I should have watched the second half.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Mu330, "Dropping the Ball" from Ultra Panic (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "Dropping the ball is the one thing I do best."

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Victors: Gloomy November
Melodrama is not my aim, but "grieving" would be the best word for my humor and attitude in the wake of this year's football season. I am grieving for the calamity just endured, grieving for the joy and fun now absent that for so long was assumed to be a natural part of this time of year, grieving, I am not ashamed to admit, for myself and all that I have invested in the triumphs and travails of the valiant Wolverines. The agony of defeat is not a blow or a laceration. It is an ache, a tightness and a soreness and a melancholy that stays and stays and gloats that it will never go away. (The gloating rites include a mocking little dance that must be seen to be believed.) Gods above and below, what a price I would pay never again to have occasion for this dismal mood.

Special Request
In the midst of this gloom, I could really use my best friend. But then, to his great glee, the Dark Bastard reminds me that I don't have a best friend anymore. Bog, I miss having a best friend; I don't so much miss my erstwhile best friend, my fury precludes my missing that Judas, but I miss the notion of a best friend, that inimitable source of comfort and replenishment. I wonder if I shall ever have another best friend. I'm not musing about my emotional accessibility or any such namby-pamby tripe, I'm honestly wondering if such a bond is even possible between people who meet and forge a friendship as adults. I certainly hope and choose to believe that it is.

So, to my gloom add a goodly portion of doom, and not Dr. Hee Haw's patented "I'm doomed!" brand of smile-inducing, joyful doom. Dire, doomy doom, like meeting a moosey fate. Doom and gloom, boys and girls, and never before have I been able to muster so little enthusiasm for Thanksgiving. Our guests from Ohio are set to arrive Wednesday evening; their departure cannot come too swiftly. Family has rarely seemed such a burden. Tomorrow should be jolly, but the days thereafter will be abysmal.

"If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,"
--Kipling, "If-"

I'm working on it, boss, I am striving so mightily.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Josie and the Pussycats, "I Wish You Well" from Josie and the Pussycats: Music From the Motion Picture (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Soundtrack of a satirical movie about a fake band notwithstanding, Josie and the Pussycats is hands down one of the best rock albums I own.

Sonntag, 23 November
The Misfits, "Mars Attacks" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Mention The Misfits to me and I don't actually think of the band, not at first. No, I think of the ubiquitous black hooded sweatshirts (paraphernalia of the band, yes, but the black hoodies are far more widespread than the music, at least in my experience, and thus have taken on a life all their own) and the storyline from Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Nos. 7-9, "The Misfits"), to which I was introduced by my pal and fellow Blue Tree Whacker Ki-El. I've even got an idea for a parallel Superman story, titled "Supernumeraries."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Victors: Ohio State 42-7 Michigan
3-9, 2-6 Big Ten

Remember well the words of Bo Schembechler, the words printed inside our football jerseys now that all uniforms are supplied by Adidas, "Those who stay will be champions." This is not a promise of clear skies ahead, not a prediction of rich rewards and easy pleasures. It is instead a nearly Churchillian declaration and quite akin to "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat." Those who stay will be champions. Not today, perhaps not even tomorrow, but in the fullness of time those who stay the course through adversity, who do all they are asked, who give all they have to give, will triumph. They will conquer. They will prevail. They will be champions.

Those who stay will be champions. And I believe in Rich Rodriguez.

Go Blue!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Little Brown Jug" from Hurrah For the Yellow and Blue (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "My advice to you is to start drinking heavily." Cheers!
The Victors
"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height.
The game's afoot:"
--Wm. Shakespeare, Henry V, Act III, Scene I

Go Blue!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Victors: To the Bitter End
The Agony of Defeat
Purdue 48-42 Michigan
2-7, 1-4 Big Ten
After the debacle against Toledo, I looked at the schedule and concluded Purdue was our single best chance to win another game before the end of the season. And, hey, at least the offense showed up in surprising and thrilling new ways. The hardest part to swallow was the official end of the bowl streak, as the lose eliminated us from potential bowl eligibility. I called an old marching band comrade and told her I wouldn't be attending the first party I'd been invited to in I don't know how long. My mood for the rest of the day made me fit company for neither man nor beast.

The Thrill of Victory
Michigan 29-6 Minnesota
3-7, 2-4 Big Ten
Fielding Yost's ghost, 29-6 is a respectable score over Minnesota even in a normal year! How in the blue blazes did Nick Sheridan manage to forget that he's Nick Sheridan and play like a real quarterback? Old Douglas "I Shall Return" MacArthur was right, in sports as in war, "there is no substitute for victory." We've lost an awful lot this year, and I am referring to much more than just our win-loss ratio (Wayback Machinelink), but, by Jove, we've held to the Little Brown Jug!

The Agony of Defeat
Northwestern 21-14 Michigan
3-8, 2-5 Big Ten
Crumbs, Nick Sheridan remembered who he is. And as has happened so very often this season, we played fairly well for much of the game, but a clutch of mistakes withing a few fleeting moments rendered moot the entire effort. If only the scholarly Wildcats hadn't scored those two touchdowns in such quick succession.... (If only I had The Shadow's power to cloud the minds of men....) I was not additionally stressed by the ballyhooed affliction of our first-ever eight-loss season; to me, 'twas captious hogwash. Losing to a M.A.C. team? Bloody awful. A losing season? Disastrous. No bowl game? Bog's honest truth, I nearly wept. Losing eight games for the first time ever? Who cares, that's just meaningless mathematics. The '58 and '62 squads won only a single game apiece. The 1881 Wolverines were winless, an unblemished 0-3. There is a distinction between scores and numbers, and verdammt numbers do not matter in sports.

The Thrill of Victory
In the looming contest between the valiant University of Michigan Wolverines and the hated "University of Ohio State" Buckeyes, I don't give a tinker's damn about their obvious superiorities and our glaring inferiorities. We are Michigan and we stand ready to do battle with the ancient foe, the champions of ignorance and arrogance, they who believe might makes right. We may be defeated, we may very well be beaten soundly and pitilessly, but we shall remain unbowed. Now and forever, it's great to be a Michigan Wolverine.

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

Hail! to the victors valiant!
Hail! to the conqu'ring heroes!
Hail! Hail! to Michigan
The champions of the West!

Go Blue!

Project OSPREY: The Victors
(No. 10) Duke 71-56 Michigan
Drat! Ospreylink. I watched the first two-thirds of the game before the beginning of Stargate Atlantis, and at times we looked pretty good. Unfortunately, they looked like Duke pretty much the whole time, and our "pretty good" isn't going to cut the mustard against the Blue Devils. Still and all, a lovely stint in the Big Apple, the valiant Wolverines bested one top ten team and put in a solid effort against a second in as may nights. It shall be interesting to see how both teams have progressed when Coach Beilein and company host Duke in the dank of Crisler Arena in a fortnight's time.

My paternal grandmother, God rest her soul, was an alumna of Duke University; so, I feel both a certain affection for the Blue Devils and an irrational disdain for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. However, there is no question that my paramount loyal is first and always to the University of Michigan.

Go Blue!

Why "Project OSPREY"? It's a codename, it's not supposed to have any real meaning. (And in that regard the codename "Project TROIKA" is flawed, as it will after the New Year be a collaboration of the trio of K. Steeze, the Professor, and yours truly, The Last Angry Man. What can I say? Cedar Point instilled in me a love of the word troika.)

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Catch 22, "Supernothing" from Keasbey Nights (T.L.A.M.)
Project OSPREY: The Victors
Michigan 55-52 U.C.L.A. (No. 4)

Holy cow: Madison Square Gardenlink. I know that this sort of upset is exactly why the games are played, because any given team can beat any other given team on any given night. And I know that throughout his career John Beilein has fared mysteriously well against the Bruins. But still, holy moley! By all indications, U.C.L.A. should be a pretty good club this year, while we're... well, you all know the state of Michigan basketball over the last decade, we're cellar dwellers. So, hip hip hooray! Can't be sure about tomorrow, be happy today!

Go Blue!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Explorers Club
No. CIII - Robert Peary and Matthew Henson, the first men to reach the North Pole, 6 April 1909.

Bugger the mewling of the naysayers.

Ricky Fitness
Some rat fink was using my regular locker this afternoon. And when I got back to the locker room after running and lifting, he'd left the locker door wide open. Just swingin' in the (entirely proverbial) breeze! He's not only a rat fink, he's a slob! And there I was, using some other, clearly inferior locker like a schlub. Bog, I detest that lousy rat fink slob.

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
Less Than Jake, "Escape From the A-Bomb House" from Anthem (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "If you could see inside my head / Maybe you'd understand."

Mittwoch, 19 November
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, "Superstar" (live) from Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah (T.L.A.M.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
Matt Skiba, "In Your Wake" from Mailorder for the Masses (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Matt Skiba is one-third of the Alkaline Trio, or as my erstwhile pal The Plate used to say, in a clever play on the band's connections to the Motor City, the "Al Kaline Trio."

Hell's bells, when was the State Theatre renamed "The Fillmore"? How sad. In the musical sphere, San Fran should ape Detroit, never the other way around. I'm only mildly irked by this travesty, as the State has never been as high in my affection as Saint Andrew's Hall or the Majestic Theatre. (Differences in scale render meaningless any comparisons to the Magic Stick, The Shelter, or Alvin's.)

Montag, 17 November
Jonathan Winters, "In Harm's Way" from Crank Calls (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "I suggest you make the call. Otherwise, you're in harm's way. In harm's way. H-A-R-M-apostrophe, harm's way. Get it? Uh huh huh." Begin John Wayne impression. "You'll get it, or else. The Duke'll crush ya."

Sonntag, 16 November
Tally Hall, "The Whole World and You" from Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "No one's better than you."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Bruce Lee Band, "Superman" from The Bruce Lee Band (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "Superman, can you save me from my own insecurities?"
Lies, Damned Lies, & the News
First and foremost, my congratulations to General Dunwoody: Four-starlink. My bone to pick, as signaled by the title, is with the B.B.C. Plain, simple General (four stars) is a higher rank than Lieutenant General (three), Major General (two), and Brigadier General (one star), but it is neither the "US army's (sic) top rank" nor the "US army's (sic) highest rank." Above General there exists the five-star General of the Army, a rank available only during a declared state of war, contingent on an Act of Congress, and not seen since the demise of General of the Army Omar Bradley in 1981, but yet persisting as a higher rank than four-star General. Yet even General of the Army is not the highest rank in the U.S. Army. Though he only ever wore four stars, John J. "Black Jack" Pershing was in 1919 awarded the rank of General of the Armies and later declared officially senior to the Second World War-era Generals of the Army: George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, "Hap" Arnold, and the aforementioned Omar Bradley. Finally, in 1976, George Washington was retroactively promoted to General of the Armies, senior to General of the Armies Pershing and indeed every Army officer part, present, and future. So, there are two ranks higher than General Dunwoody's, General of the Army and General of the Armies. Plainly demonstrated, the self-appointed tribunes of the Fourth Estate cannot be counted upon to properly fact-check an article; due more to complacency or arrogance I cannot say. Just something to bear in mind as we move forward.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Stars My Destination
Godspeed, Endeavour: Countdownlink.

Special Request
I entreat you each and all to head out to your local cinema forthwith and see Quantum of Solace, the latest motion picture adventure of James Bond, 007. Sadly, despite being a more ardent Bond fan than any of my kith and kin, I shan't be seeing the twenty-second official Bond film for at least a fortnight. Some relatives of mine who dwell in Ohio are coming to Grand Blanc for Thanksgiving and they requested that we all see Quantum of Solace together over the holiday weekend. My mother agreed on our behalf and only informed my father and me after the fact; certainly, I could have fought against this fait accompli, but I did not adjudge the victory worth the cost. And I am bound by honor not to see the film on the sly. So, here I sit and stew, deprived of the most anticipated film of the Fall for the sake of people I despise. Ah, well, more fuel for the engine of my revenge, an appropriate segue back to Quantum of Solace.

"If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,"
--Kipling, "If-"

It's a work in progress.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the day
Tally Hall, "Be Born" from Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum (T.L.A.M.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Explorers Club
No. CII - The life and travels of Leo Africanus, the name by which Hasan ibn Muhammed al-Wazzen al-Fasi (c. 1488-c. 1554) is best known in the West.

This image is included last because there seems to be some debate as to whether this is a depiction of Leo Africanus or one of his contemporaries, but this compares favorably to the other, purely fictional visages yielded up in the course of my internet image search.

Ricky Fitness
I had to use the second crummiest treadmill today. If my elephantine bulk is running more swiftly than you, you are wasting everyone's time on that treadmill; so, stop tying it up and give someone more deserving the chance to use it. Greedy fiends!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Littlest Man Band, "Sunshine" from Better Book Ends (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "And it's about time I tried."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

For my most recent birthday, I received a very nice watch of Swiss manufacture, a watch entirely more suitable to dressy and semi-dressy occasions than my heretofore standard kit plain-as-can-be Timex, though not quite as fancy as I'd have preferred. Of late, though, my latest Timex has developed an irksome fog problem. The underside of crystal fogs up under unpredictable conditions, sometimes when it is cold, other times not; sometimes when the air is dry, other times more moist. This is plainly unacceptable, but what am I do do for a wristwatch during the period required to pry justice from the miserly hands of Timex? Enter the birthday Wenger. I have now begun to wear it regularly, which for me entails every waking hour in which I am not showering, cooking, washing the dishes, or exercising.

I've taken quite a shine to my birthday gift, and I believe it signals a new era in wrist fashion. First, though not anytime soon, I must acquire a watch with a metal bracelet, instead of a leather strap. Then, a chronograph, before I finally acquire a certified chronometer. Shoes have never interested me terribly, but mayhap I shall become a man with a watch for every occasion, the perfect timepiece to complement any ensemble. Yes... yes, I think I quite like that. And it certainly seems a better use of my time and future resources (once I have cleared my many debts) than joining Jeremy Piven's crusade to restore to fashion the ascot.

To the shock and horror of my fanboy brethren, I've never yet read Watchmen, but I may yet become known as the Watch Man. (And though I have grown rather fond of my Wenger watch, there is no chance I would forsake Victorinox and switch to Wenger for my Swiss Army knife needs: Victorninox acquired Wenger in 2005, though it continues to market knives and other products under both names. Don't be fooled and think the Swiss never takes sides, being neutral just means they are only ever on their own side. The Swiss are nothing if not cunning, except maybe conniving.)

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Fountains of Wayne, "Strapped For Cash" from Traffic and Weather (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I heard "Strapped For Cash" as the background music to a promo for Marketplace, a radio show - airing on, but not produced by, N.P.R. - that has recently adopted the pandering and infuriating slogan, "Financial news for the rest of us." And here I thought N.P.R.'s job was to raise the level of the discourse, silly me. Anyway, after that no other song had a chance. Hoo-rah for the proliferation of Fountains of Wayne.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day
The Great War ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month Anno Domini 1918. All who know me know that by my preference for Armistice Day over Veterans Day no disrespect is meant to the brave men and women who have served under the Star-Spangled Banner in the defense of liberty. John McCain or John Kerry, Bob Kerrey or Bob Dole, Oliver Stone or Oliver Wendell Holmes, those who survived and returned home to make sure the sacrifice of their comrades-in-arms was not in vain (and we pay tribute to our honored dead on Memorial Day) deserve a Veterans Day, but we do ourselves a grave disservice if we allow it, as we have, to overshadow and obscure Armistice Day. At our great peril do we let flit out of mind the unfathomable tragedy of the War to End All Wars. Steel yourself and stare square in the eye the horror of the Great War - the trenches, the gas, the tanks, the moonscape of no man's land - lest we forget.

Living Memory.

"In Flanders Fields"
by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Charles Ives, "He Is There!" from The Pity of War: Songs and Poems of Wartime Suffering (T.L.A.M.)

Lest we forget.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Phoenix is dead, though hope remains that it may arise in imitation of its mythological namesake: Phoenixlink. Please read beyond the "Fiery plunge" headline for a nice recounting of the probe's contributions to our knowledge of the Red Planet. Farewell, Phoenix, and know that a place is reserved for you in the Machine Valhalla, the reward that awaits all good robots who serve faithfully and well their human masters.

Also, holy cow, alkaline soil on acidic Mars? Snow? Perchlorate? The Phoenix has been a revelation! Wayback Machinelink. Boy howdy, am I looking forward to the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory after the New Year.


The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Semisonic, "Surprise" from All About Chemistry (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Nominations of the R.B.D.S.O.T.D. are being accepted, now and always. The Secret Base might as well be called the Mike Wilson Ego Experience, but that doesn't mean I don't want you, the readers, to feel involved and invested, too. Open my ears to something new.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Explorers Club
No. CI - James Holman (1786-1857), the Blind Traveler.

I include this last image not as an endorsement of Jason Roberts's book, which I have not read, but because I quite like the cover illustration. (And because there is not a surfeit of Holman images.) Don't judge a book by its cover, but feel free to judge the cover on its own merits. Looking mighty fine, I'd say.

Bonus topic: echolocation by humans.

The Victors: Michigan 29-6 Minnesota
3-7, 2-4 Big Ten

This is a year in which we've lost darn near everything: a forty-year coaching lineage, the nation's longest streak of consecutive bowl appearances, a four-decade streak of non-losing seasons, and suffered our first defeat at the hands of a Mid-American Conference opponent. It's still great to be a Michigan Wolverines, but it cannot be denied we've lost a measure of our pride. But, by Fielding Yost's ghost, the valiant Wolverines have held on to the Little Brown Jug! Little! Brown! Jug!

Say what you will about the luckless Golden Gophers, a win is a win, and beggars can't be choosers. I've had my fill of the agony of defeat, thank you, I much prefer the thrill of victory.

Go Blue!

Project TROIKA
Steeze phoned yesterday to say he was going camping this weekend and would be incommunicado during today's scheduled confab. As we're in the compiling phase (creation is still occurring, but as a secondary activity), this should not prove an obstacle to the Project's completion. We did notice that on a plot point over which we'd disagreed a week hence we'd switched positions; I'd been convinced by his argument and he by mine. We'll try again next week and hope the third time's the charm.

Grow or die.

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
John Williams, "Theme From Jurassic Park" from Jurassic Park: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)

Samstag, 8 November
Cab Calloway, "Minnie the Moocher" from The Blues Brothers Original Soundtrack Recording (T.L.A.M.)

Freitag, 7 November
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Taco Grande" from Off the Deep End (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: A winning combination of puns and Spanglish, made all the more impressive as the song upon with "Taco Grande" is based is well-nigh unlistenable.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
The Ninjas, "Snow Day" from Platypus (T.L.A.M.)

Mittwoch, 5 November
The Chinkees, "Human Race" from The Chinkees... Are Coming! (T.L.A.M.)


"We are the human race,
We are so bright,
We are much stronger.
Making changes everyday
For people all around us."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Kodos
You fools will rue this day.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Abyssinian Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir, "Battle Hymn of the Republic" from The Civil War: Original Soundtrack Recording (T.L.A.M.)
Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Kodos
I entered the line outside my polling place at 7:08 A.M. and walked out the doors of my old elementary school at 8:02 A.M., both Eastern Standard Time (a pox be upon Daylight Saving Time). That was the longest I've ever spent at the polls, but let me also stress that this was the very first time I ever voted so soon after the opening of the polls, 7:00 A.M. sharp here in Michigan. Thus, I cannot say with any accuracy whether the lines were longer or shorter than is typical for so early in the day in a presidential election year.

Though a firm believer in the secret ballot, I also proudly call myself a Republican and am entirely comfortable telling you I voted for Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin. In a similar vein, below is a funny funny picture I found on The Bradman's Facebook (a.k.a. "FaceSpace" or "MyFace") page:

Don't be bamboozled by Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Don't be Obamboozled!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vote For Kodos: An Appeal to Reason
I have said too little, I have allowed myself to be too distracted by and too involved in the petty concerns of my daily affairs, and thus I have neglected my duty to you, my treasured readers. This has not been all in vain, as for the first time in the better part of a decade I know I am acting in the right, and I know this because the knot in my stomach that for so long I assumed was just a natural affliction of living has all but dissipated, but still; you lot have stood by The Secret Base for six, now closer to seven years, and your loyalty deserves my best effort.

At the eleventh hour, then, let me implore you not to make a dreadful mistake. Let me beseech you not to allow your good judgment to be bamboozled by a witch's brew of indefensible pessimism about the present and irrational optimism in some intentionally vague notion of "change" and societal transformation. Let me beg you not to vote for Senator Barack Obama. I make my argument in two parts, one of them taken directly from Senator Obama himself and the other divined by mine own reason.

The Question of Experience
Senator Obama is an impressive man who meets every Constitutional qualification to execute the Presidency of the United States. But being a natural born citizen of thirty-five years of age and residing inside the United States for fourteen years are the minimum qualifications for the office, distinct from being the least we should expect from a major party candidate. He has no executive experience to speak of and extremely scant legislative experience; during his three terms in the Illinois Senate, he voted "present" almost one hundred thirty times, and he has served less than one term in the United States Senate.

Spencer Abraham served a single term in the United States Senate representing Michigan. Does this mean Abraham has the experience and judgment to be the leader of the free world? Senator Obama's defenders explain that the majority of the "present" votes were examples of crafty political scheming; I salute his cunning, then, but that is hardly an explanation why he refused to stand up and be counted on issues important to the people of the State of Illinois. You may refute that the senator was reelected by his constituents, indicating that they felt well-served by him. Former Mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick was reelected by his constituents; did this mean they were well-served by him? In 2004 President Bush became the first president since 1988 to be win a popular majority (not just the plurality he won in 2000 or that President Clinton won in both 1992 and '96). He was reelected by his constituents: does that mean you feel you've been well-served by him during the last four years? Voters more often than not reelect incumbent politicians, seemingly regardless of performance in office.

And why go on at length about Senator Obama's experience in the Illinois State Capitol? Because he has almost no record in the United States Senate. In late 2004, Senator-elect Obama declared that he would not seek national office and provided a clear and sober explanation.

You know, I am a believer in knowing what you're doing when you apply for a job. And I think that if I were to seriously consider running on a national ticket I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. Now, there are some people who might be comfortable doing that, but I am not one of those people.

The Senator's logic is unassailable. Were he to seek national office in 2008, he would have to start campaigning in 2004, without having any experience in the U.S. Senate. And, because he would not have any experience in the U.S. Senate, he would then be applying for a job without "knowing what [he's] doing." He would not run for national office in '08 because to do so he'd have to forego accruing experience in the Senate to be out on the campaign trail. Yet here we sit in 2008, without Senator Obama having foregone accruing the necessary experience in the United State Senate in favor of spending his days and nights out on the campaign trail. Unless you are able to identify a flaw in then Senator-elect Obama's argument, I submit that Mr. Obama would, as President, not know what he's doing. Before you wager the integrity of your conscience on this man, ask yourself what he has done in the last four years that have readied him to be the most powerful human being on the planet.

Michigan Economics 101
The people of the State of Michigan believe Senator Obama would be a good steward of the American economy. This fact in isolation should be accepted as proof he would not. Consider: the people of Michigan supported the structuring of the state's economy around heavy manufacturing. The people of Michigan supported significant unionization of the manufacturing workforce. The people of Michigan opposed for the last twenty-odd years any effort to mandate an increase in the fuel efficiency of American-made motor cars. Michigan has been in a one-state recession, and arguably a one-state economic depression, for most of the last two decades. This is largely because manufacturing jobs have fled the state. Manufacturing jobs have fled the state because even considering transportation expenditures and the capital required to construct new factories overseas, unionized Michigander workers were expensive to the point of inviability compared to foreign labor. And even within the domestic market American motor cars have continued to lose market share to foreign competitors in part because of their markedly inferior gasoline mileage.

At every step along the way, the people of Michigan supported this economic strategy wholeheartedly. The people of Michigan supported putting all of the state's economic eggs in the single basket of heavy manufacturing, supported pricing themselves out of the labor market with extravagant labor union-coerced compensation and benefits, and opposed efforts to raise the fuel efficiency of U.S. automobiles. The people of Michigan were the authors and stalwart supporters of our own economic demise. And now the judgment of these same people steadfastly supports Senators Obama and Biden's economic program. If that does not give you pause, I cannot imagine what would.

The Long and Short of It
Even at this late stage, Senator Obama remains a largely unknown and completely untested quantity. The only significant policy decision he has made outside the realm of rhetoric is to choose as his running mate Senator Joe Biden, the most blatantly racist candidate for president or vice president since Governor George Wallace in 1968; few seem to have noticed since apparently it is acceptable in the 21st century American context to be racist against South Asians. What little we do know about Senator Obama suggests that he would be the most ideologically left-wing chief executive since President Carter's disastrous administration of 1977-81, a period which saw our ally Iran converted into our most persistent foe, among numerous other debacles. If you think a President Obama would "unify" the country and administrate in a bipartisan fashion, you are fooling yourself and ignoring the man's own history.

Do not vote for Senator Obama because you oppose the policies of President Bush. Mr. Obama's suggestion that Senator McCain is running for President "Bush's third term" is pure propaganda. Do not vote for Senator Obama because of the past eight years, consider only the next eight years. Barack Obama is a well-intentioned man, and with such intentions is paved to road to ruin. Mr. Obama is a gamble the United States of America can ill afford.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Vote For Kodos: Lies, Damned Lies, & the News
I am so very weary of the implication that there are no good reasons to oppose Senator Obama's election, and that racism is the sole remaining, albeit indefensible, reason to vote against him. So very weary, yet I remain defiant. I oppose Senator Obama not because of the color of his skin, but because of the content of his character (as expressed through his politics). If you want to suggest otherwise, have the decency at least to look me in the eye when you accuse me of racism.

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
Less Than Jake, "Last One Out of Liberty City" from Hello Rockview (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: The opening line, "Last one out of Liberty City, burn it to the ground," inspired the curse that was screamed - screamed at the top of our lungs - during my return from Texile, as the paramount reason for a stop along the side of the road as soon as the border into Arkansas was crossed, "Last one out of Texas, burn it to the ground!"

Sonntag, 2 November
No Doubt, "Sunday Morning" from Tragic Kingdom (T.L.A.M.)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Victors: Purdue 48-42 Michigan
2-7, 1-4 Big Ten

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;...

"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;...

"If you can make a heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:...

"Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!"

Excerpted from "If-" by Rudyard Kipling

Go Blue!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Living End, "Ready" from Short Music For Short People (T.L.A.M.)