Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Cold War
"More" political assassinations by the FSB: Hyperlink? The quotations are an attempt to be fair to our Russian friends, since there is no damned proof they poisoned the late Mr. Litvinenko, though that's clearly what he believed on his deathbed: Hyperlink Returns. Also, I am fascinated by Scotland Yard's ever-expanding probe into the fatal poisoning: The Hyperlink Trilogy and Hyperlink: The New Beginning.

Have the good old days returned? Was The Simpsons right all those years ago?

American ambassador: "The Soviet Union? I thought you guys broke up?"
Russian/Soviet ambassador: "Yes, that's what we wanted you to think. Mwa ha ha ha ha!"
Dial 'M' for Magnificent
My CD collection is organized by genre, and by personal preference within each genre. The four genres are Ska, Punk, Rock 'n' Roll That's Neither Ska Nor Punk, and Soundtracks and Comedy Albums. The music within my iTunes library is organized alphabetically by band, alphabetically by album within each band's catalogue, and by original track numbering within each album. I am unacccustomed to seeing my music presented in such a fashion, but it is not without its advantages. As a result of today's contribution to the ongoing effort to rip all of my CDs into my iTunes library, I now have the pleasant troika of Mu330, Mustard Plug, and MxPx (and only four random songs separating The Mighty Mighty Bosstones from Mu330). Rock!

Ska - The Aquabats!, Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish
Punk - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, MxPx, The Ramones
Neither - Barenaked Ladies, Fountains of Wayne, They Might Be Giants
Soundtracks - The Blues Brothers Original Soundtrack Recording, Josie and the Pussycats - Music From the Motion Picture, No Cure For Cancer

Fire Millen
There are, in the famous words of a man whose name I do not know, at least not in connection with these famous words, "lies, damned lies, and statistics." We all know numbers may be twisted and their original meaning perverted to serve some sinister end just as easily and convincingly as words may be twisted. And numbers may also speak the truth as plainly as well-chosen words. In his time with the New England Patriots, Tom brady has posted a 66-23 record in the regular season as the starting quarterback (he is 10-1 in the playoffs for a cumulative record of 76-24). In the time Matt Millen has been the czar of the Detroit Lions, the team has posted a regular season record of 23-68 (Millen's Lions are 0-0 in the playoffs for a cumulative record of 23-68).

Tom Brady: 66-23, Matt Millen: 23-68. It could be argued that Millen is almost exactly as bad as Tom Brady is good. And Tom Brady is very, very good; Tom Brady is going to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Perhaps we should found a Hall of Infamy for players, coaches, and front office staff of Matt Millen's caliber? Oh, wait, in the entire history of the NFL, no team has posted a six-year record as bad as Millen's Detroit Lions. Not the '70s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, not the '80s Detroit Lions, not the New Orleans Saints. Hooray, we'll be the centerpiece of the Hall of Infamy!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Barenaked Ladies, "Maybe Katie" from Everything to Everyone (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Because, really, what's so maybe about Katie? She's smart, pretty, witty, writes and performs her own songs, swears like a sailor, drinks like a champ, kicks arse in the pit, and makes out in bars at the drop of a hat. How have the gentlemen of Boston missed the splendor in their midst?
"Abdul Abulbul Amir"
by Percy French

The sons of the Prophet are many and bold
and quite unaccustomed to fear,
But the bravest by far in the ranks of the Shah,
Was Abdul Abulbul Amir.

If you wanted a man to encourage the van,
Or harass the foe from the rear,
Storm fort or redoubt, you had only to shout
for Abdul Abulbul Amir.

Now the heroes were plenty and well known to fame
in the troops that were led by the Czar,
And the bravest of these was a man by the name
of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

One day this bold Russian, he shouldered his gun
and donned his most truculent sneer,
Downtown he did go where he tred on the toe
of Abdul Abulbul Amir.

"Young man," quoth Abdul, "has life grown so dull
That you wish to end your career?
Vile infidel know, you have trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.

So take your last look upon sunshine and brook
And send your regrets to the Czar
For by this I imply, you are going to die,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar."

Then this bold Mameluke drew his trusty chibouk,
Singing, "Allah! Il Allah! Al-lah!"
And with murderous intent he ferociously went
for Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

They parried and thrust, they side-stepped and cussed,
Of blood they spilled a great part,
The philologist blokes, who seldom crack jokes,
Say that hash was first made on the spot.

They fought all that night neath the pale yellow moon;
The din, it was heard from afar,
And huge multitudes came, so great was the fame,
of Abdul and Ivan Skavar.

As Abdul's long knife was extracting the life,
In fact he was shouting, "Huzzah!"
He felt himself struck by that wily Kalmuck,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

The Sultan drove by in his red-breasted fly,
Expecting the victor to cheer,
But he only drew nigh to hear the last sigh,
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.

Czar Petrovich, too, in his spectacles blue
Rode up in his new crested car.
He arrived just in time to exchange a last line
With Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

There's a tomb rises up where the Blue Danube rolls,
And graved there in characters clear,
Is, "Stranger, when passing, oh pray for the soul
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir."

A splash in the Black Sea one dark moonless night
Caused ripples to spread wide and far,
It was made by a sack fitting close to the back,
of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

A Muscovite maiden her lone vigil keeps,
'Neath the light of the cold northern star,
And the name that she murmurs in vain as she weeps,
is Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The following is an excerpt from Volume VI from my journal, dated Wednesday, November 22, 2006:

I have ordered from the good folks at Comic Relief the first issue of the new series Punisher War Journal. I consider this an exemplar of personal growth. I am not making any particular commitment to this series, nor have I sworn an oath of allegiance to The Punisher as a character, but I've finally awoken to the intolerable hypocrisy of my knee-jerk "The Punisher kills; so, I don't like The Punisher" position. The Shadow kills. The Shadow doesn't just kill, he commits cold-blooded murder. Avi Ducret, my beloved Spy Smasher (or, as a contingency, Commando Yank), kills. And I go back and forth between have Avi only kill in self-defense and believing that the only Nazi is a good Nazi and having Avi act accordingly. I mean, boy howdy, do I love The Shadow! And Andy Helfer's The Shadow. I like the art I've seen from previews of Punisher War Journal and the writer, Matt Fraction, is about to become Ed Brubaker's co-writer on the new series The Immortal Iron Fist; so, even before reading anything he's written I am predisposed to like the man. The only reason to not test drive Punisher War Journal was my irrational and ultimately indefensible opposition to The Punisher. At the end of the day, The Punisher and PJW might both suck profoundly, but I am proud of myself that I am mature enough to find out for myself, not just declare both as foregone conclusions.

As an idiosyncrasy, I have always written the entries in my journal as long blocks of text without breaks between paragraphs. I cannot remember why I made that particular choice, but if I had to speculate I'd say it had something to do with a desire to cram as much text as possible onto each page. Pure supposition, and in fact I tend to think that I didn't consciously choose the block of text format, it simply happened in the course of writing.

Despite the offense I have caused to many people over the nearly five years of the Secret Base's existence, this bloggy blog is very heavily censored. My journal is pure, undiluted Mike, every base, noble, debauched, chaste, selfish, selfless, and nonsensical thought that passes through my head while I am attended by pen and paper. At my sixtieth and final year approaches, I shall have to make some provision to ensure that these volumes are burned lest my family and friends read those numerous and insipid lines and come to know who I really am. Bog forbid.
Mr. Miracle: "Y'know, Beetle--there's nothing like a good sense of humor."
Blue Beetle: "Yeah?"
Mr. Miracle: "And you've got nothing like a good sense of humor."

Sweet merciful crap, I love the Justice League International!

Hey, what do you guys think of this as an epitaph: "He lost the war of all against all." Yesterday, I thought it was dynamite, but now I'm not so sure.

BTW South Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "Overrated (Everything Is)" from In With the Out Crowd (T.L.A.M.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Also remember, it is important not to confuse ethnology and ethnography.
The Explorers Club
And now for the insults: you lot are terribly ignorant. You aren't dim, at least not any of you with whom I am personally acquainted (and I can hardly be expected to vouch for the cerebral adroitness of complete asshole strangers*), in fact most of you are really quite clever. Several of our readers are, I daresay, even smarter than me. But so many of you are so frighteningly ignorant. And I do not exempt myself from such condemnation; there is so much about this world I do not know that even should I dedicate every moment of every day from now until the ending of the world (my death), I should but barely scratch the surface. From a certain point of view, then, the acquisition of knowledge is a futile pursuit. However, this is not my point of view; I repudiate it with as much venom and disdain as I can muster.

Venomous repudiation aside, the problem of ignorance remains. (If you believe that being ignorant is not a problem, that we're all fine just the way we are, please stop reading this blog at the conclusion of this sentence, exercise your Second Amendment freedom to purchase a firearm, and use it to end your misbegotten life.) We are clever people, not dim people; we know much about the world, but there is much we do not know. What to do? Banish ignorance, or at least make the attempt. How? To quote J.K. Simmons from The Ladykillers, "Easiest thing in the world": learn. We all need to know a great deal more about a wider range of topics.

"The Explorers Club" is to be a weekly feature dedicated to expanding knowledge, i.e. relieving you poor bastards of the crushing burden of your own ignorance. Self-motivation is the key; you shall get out of it only as much as you are willing to put in. Every Sunday, I shall post a new item to be researched and explored. My hope is to stimulate the impulse to learn and explore within each of you, to spark a voracious, nomadic curiosity that will not be confined to that week's "Explorers" topic. This is going to be great, I can feel it in my bones. (Or perhaps I have a bone marrow infection. We shall know in the fullness of time.) Come, friends, we have avatars of ignorance to slay, myths and superstitions to dispel, and a culture of anti-intellectualism to undermine.

The week of 26 November 2006: the Fairey Rotodyne.

BTW South Song of the Day
John Linnell, "New Hampshire" from State Songs (Mt. Love)

*By using the phrase "complete asshole strangers," it is not my intention to call those among you who are to me strangers assholes. This is merely an affectation of my fondness for the comedy of Denis Leary. Leary states, "I've got two words for you, 'nuclear fucking weapons'!" The obscenity does not even register as a word. So it is with "complete asshole stranger," another Leary invention. That's merely how I refer to persons unknown to me. If you take offense, then, yes, I meant it, you are an asshole, and not in the positive way associated with the song "I'm an Asshole."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

What a grand idea: The New 7 Wonders of the World.

And in a similarly educational vein, tomorrow I shall be unveiling the newest regularly scheduled feature on the Secret Base, a project that will insult, illuminate, and enrich.

BTW South Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "How Can I Sing Like a Girl?" from Factory Showroom (T.L.A.M.)

Friday, November 24
MU330, "Speedbump" from Ultra Panic (Mt. Love)

Wednesday, November 22
Fountains of Wayne, "Sick Day" from Fountain of Wayne (Mt. Love)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Kobayashi Maru
Were life in a splendid liberal democracy such as the United States of America or the French Republic not an option, would you rather live in a country ruled by a violent left-wing dictatorship, such as Soviet Russia, or a violent right-wing dictatorship, such as Fascist Italy? Please leave your answer and reasoning in the comments section. Thank you.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "Prevenge" from The Spine (T.L.A.M.)

***Caution: What you are about to read is both petty and repetitive. Ye be fairly warned.***

Fire Millen: Joey's Revenge
One bit of sunshine on the worst Thanksgiving of my life, the Lions lost. Woot! Three touchdowns passes for Joey Harrington, and as an added bonus Dre Bly, the man who placed sole blame for Steve Mariucci's firing on Harrington's shoulders, looked like he was going to piss himself every time he went back to receive a punt. Pussy.

You've got to give a lot of credit to Lions head coach Rod Marinelli and offensive coordinator/"genius" Mike Martz for dumping Harrington in the off-season. They're right, no one can win with Harringotn at QB. And the goonish Jon Kitna? Boy howdy, he looks like the second coming of Johnny Unitas* out there, doesn't he? One touchdown pass, one interception, and one lost fumble; he's a triple threat! Hard to believe the brilliant offensive brain trust of Martz and Kitna have posted a 2-9 record. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Fun facts: Jon Kitna has thrown at least one interception in each of the last nine games; in eleven games as a Lion, Kitna has thrown twelve interceptions.

Meanwhile, while the Dolphins are far from being good, they are now 5-6 on the year, 4-3 under Harrington's stewardship. The Dolphins have won four games in a row, meaning at one point in the season they were 1-6. After seven games, the Lions were 1-6, too. The difference between a Matt Millen team and a non-Millen team is that the non-Millen team, the Dolphins, rallied behind their quarterback and won four straight, including the to-date only defeat of the Chicago Bears, to get back into the playoff hunt. The Millen team lost all three games of the "winnable" stretch of their schedule: the 5-5 49ers, the 2-8 Cardinals, and the 5-6 Dolphins. Yes, the Dolphins will have to give Detroit a late-round draft pick in the spring as the price for acquiring Joey Blue Skies, but after Joey lead the offense to twenty-seven unanswered points for the win on Thanksgiving, I think the Dolphins have to be happy with the bargain. (And make no mistake, gettign rid of Joey was as much Marinelli's decision as it was Millen's; so, even without the Mornhinweg-esque 2-9 record, there's evidence right there of Marinelli's ineptitude.)

23-68, Mr. Millen, 2-9 on the year. Today's loss guarantees the sixth losing season in the six seasons you've lead the team, Mr. Millen. The team was 9-7 the year before you arrived, Mr. Millen. Have you no decency?

*As if Johnny Unitas couldn't get any cooler, I've just learned his full name: John Constantine Unitas. You're promising big things in a kids future when you include Constantine anywhere in his name. Johnny U! Woot!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Victors
"Those who stay will be champions." Peace be with you, Bo, and thank you.
I Miss the Cold War
First, Viktor Yushchenko survived dioxin poisoning (2004) to become president of the Ukraine and now Alexander Litvinenko, a classic defector in the Cold War mold, is probably going to survive probable thallium poisoning! Poison! What in the Marx has happened to the Ruskies? Time was the Russians, under the sinister aegis of the Soviet Union, knew how to kill a man in a needlessly exotic manner! Skullduggery. Not only did Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov die of ricin poisoning (1978), but he was poisoned on the street, in broad daylight, by a man with a trick umbrella!

If you're in the market for some high-caliber dirty work, nobody does it better than the Bulgarians. Whatever it is that makes men well suited to the nefarious and the underhanded, our Bulgarian brothers have it in spades. Thank Bog Bulgaria's been admitted into NATO.

Oh, hey, speaking of exotic espionage, the Mountain of Love and I saw Casino Royale last weekend and we absolutely adored both the film and Daniel Craig's 007. Here are the Bradman's thoughts: Daniel Craig as Ian Fleming's James Bond 007 in Casino Royale. I highly recommend going to see it in theaters.

Also, if you spend a few minutes thinking about what crimes against the laws of both God and Man you'd commit for the simple pleasure of staring into Eva Green's eyes for five uninterrupted minutes, you begin to think that maybe the French aren't so bad after all.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Seven Deadly Finns
From The Shadow Nos. 8-13, written by Andrew Helfer, pencilled and inked by Kyle Baker. After their names are the means of their deaths, all of which The Shadow had a hand in save Galen's, which was a legitimate acccident.

Artimus "Artie" Finn - killed by a descending elevator
Archibald "Archie" Finn - died in a bomb blast alongside Lonnie
Patrick Finn - crushed beneath his morbidly obese mother
Lonnegan "Lonnie" Finn - died in a bomb blast alongside Archie
Galen Finn - choked on prison food
Shawn Finn - drenched in deadly chemicals
Errol Finn - gunned down, though The Shadow was gunning for Artie

"The weed of crime bears bitter fruit."
The War for Civilization
More blood in the Biblical Land of Milk and Honey: assassinationlink. There is so much to say about Lebanon, nearly all of it profoundly sad.

Fire Millen: Joey's Revenge
My bellyaching is vapidly repetitious; so, I'll try to be mercifully brief: at Detroit, Joey Harrington's record works out to have been about 1-2. At 2-8, Jon Kitna's record is exactly 1-4. The Lions gave away a draft pick to the Dolphins for the privilege of worsening from 1-2 to 1-4. Under Harrington, the Dolphins are 3-3 in their last six games. They're still 4-6 on the year, nothing to write home about, but I'd give Matt Millen's right arm for the Lions to be 4-6, on a three-game winning streak, and about to face the worst team in the NFL in a national showcase.

I hate the entire State of Florida; so, I cannot in good conscience* root for Miami to win. But I can say, Go Joey!

BTW South Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "Help Save the Youth of America From Exploding" from Hello Rockview (T.L.A.M.)

*Of course, with everything I've done, you would not be out of line asking if I can do anything in good conscience. As I once told the Mountain of Love, "I sleep the sleep of the just." He balked. "I didn't say I am among the just, such is the measure of my villainy that I sleep their sleep."

Monday, November 20, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
New Found Glory, "Better Off Dead" from New Found Glory (Mt. Love)
Fire Millen
23-67, Mr. Millen, 2-8 on the year. Have you no decency? To be fair, the Cardinals did come within a whisker of beating the Bears a few weeks back; so, unlike the Lions, I think the Cardinals can make a reasonable claim that they might just be a better team than their 1-8, now 2-8 thanks to the Lions, record reflects. The Lions are probably a little bit worse than their 2-8 record. How in the high holy hell have they won two games?

The rest of the season: Joey Harrington's Miami Dolphins, now riding a three-game winning streak; the only active dynasty in the NFL, Tom Brady's New England Patriots; the struggling Minnesota Vikings, whom I'm certain are looking at Detroit as a must-win game; the resurgent Green Bay Packers; da Bears; and the Colt-slaying embodiment of bad sportsmanship, the Dallas Cowboys. There's no way around it, things look bleak.

If Joey beats the Lions on Thursday, he will guarantee the sixth losing season in Matt Millen's six-year stewardship of the franchise. No one besides Millen needs to be remined; so, this one's for him: the Lions were 9-7 in 2000, the last year before the Millen debacle. 9-7, including 5-3 on the road, and they missed the playoffs by one last-second, 54-yard field goal.

Oooooooo, hey, here's an idea, what about Millen becoming the new football coach at MSU? Two birds with one stone, brilliant!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
The Proclaimers, "Role Model" from Born Innocent (T.L.A.M.)
BTW South Song of the Day
James Darren, "Here's to the Losers" from This One's From the Heart (Mt. Love)

Commentary: The Mountain of Love and I became familiar with James Darren through his role as the self-aware holographic crooner Vic Fontaine on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Sweet Halley's Comet, there are so many ways in which I love DS9. "Here's to those who love not wisely / No not wisely, but too well...."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Victors
We lost. The hated Ohio State University Buckeyes defeated the valiant University of Michigan Wolverines; we had a chance to win, a genuine chance, but you can't make that many mistakes against a team as formidable as the hated Buckeyes. They beat us fair and square. Congratulations, you bastards.

I look forward to seeing the valiant Wolverines in the Rose Bowl. I am staking out my official position: I am against a rematch. We had our chance and the better team prevailed. If the surprising Rutgers University/Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Scarlet Knights can remain undefeated, they deserve their shot against Ohio State. If the weaselly University of Southern California Trojans defeat the vile University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and the the surprising Scarlet Knights fall to the pesky West Virginia University Mountaineers, then I believe USC should face certain defeat at the hands of the hated Buckeyes. (I loathe the weaselly Trojans. They are, after all, weaselly. I want them in the national title game solely so I may see them crushed by the mighty offense of the hated Buckeyes.)

We came very close, but we lost. We had our chance to win the national championship, but we threw it away with late hit penalties and asinine offensive play-calling. Damn. We live in a world turned so thoroughly upside down that a trip to the Rose Bowl is a consolation prize. Gods above and below damn the BCS. 11-1 is good, but 12-1 will be better after we defeat the Pac-10 champion on New Year's Day. (We must triumph is our bowl game; I cannot endure another embarrassment like last season's loss to the wretched University of Nebraska Cornhuskers.) Go Blue!
BTW South Song of the Day
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "The Victors" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Attentive readers will realize that, yes, "The Victors" was previously a Song of the Day, specifically on Saturday, September 16, but this rendition hails from the 1998 album Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue, not 1993's A Saturday Tradition. An individual recording of a song may not be selected as the Song of the Day more than once, but multiple versions of the same song are fair game, as illustrated by the earlier selection of the live and album versions of Dance Hall Crashers' "Triple Track."

Thank you, Bo. Go Blue!

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Victors
Glenn "Bo" Schembechler (April Fools Day, 1929-November 17, 2006). Hyperlink. May God grant him mercy. Thank you, Bo, thank you for everything. Rest in peace.
The Final Peril
The Mousemobile is gone, sold to Burton Auto for parts. My father promised me he wouldn't sell her until after Christmas, after I'd seen her one last time and had a chance to say goodbye. He will always be my father, and the Almighty commands that we honor our parents, but I will never forgive him this... crime. I will own another 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity, and I shall call her Son of Mousemobile.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hat Day!
To celebrate today's Hat Day, the last Hat Day of '06, the Mountain of Love wore his floppy chicken hat. Yes, it's exactly as awesome as it sounds. I wore my Red Army hat, replete with numerous medals from both the Soviet Union and it's main successor, the Russian Federation. Why do I have a Red Army hat? It was a gift from my friend Olga, a.k.a. From Russia With Love. She is an American now, but she was born in the Soviet Union, an ethnic Russian from the suburbs of Kiev, Ukraine. On a trip to Moscow several years ago, she thought of me and bought this hat from a vendor in Red Square. Hooray for Red Army army surplus! And one day, I'll even explain why my Red Army hat is kosher, but The Guy's Mao Zedong watch must be frowned upon.

There won't be any more Hat Days until January 2007, but I think I'll continue to wear a hat during dinner and The Office on Thursdays. Because, yes, my life could stand to be more festive. I love Hat Day!

Fire Millen: Joey's Revenge
Henceforth, posts about the Detroit Lions will be titled "Fire Millen," replacing the more traditional "Honolulu Blue Forever." I look forward to the day that Millen's reign of terror ends and "Honolulu Blue Forever," or a similar supportive title, can return.

During the first five seasons of Matt Millen's tenure with the Detroit Lions, the team posted the worst cumulative record in the National Football League, 21-59. This means the Lions won roughly one game for every three defeats. Joey Harrington was drafted before Millen's second year and started for most of the next four seasons, sixty-four games over the course of which the Lions earned a dismal 19-45 record. Of those sixty-four games, Harrington started all but nine, posting an 18-37 record. In the other nine games, the Lions fared not at all well, 1-8. So, with Harrington, the Lions won roughly one game for every two defeats, compared to one victory and eight losses in games where Harrington was not the starting quarterback and the one win for three losses average of Millen's first five years.

Millen overall: 21-59, roughly 1-3
With Harrington: 18-37, roughly 1-2
Without Harrington: 1-8, exactly 1-8

The Lions weren't good with Joey Harrington as the starting QB, but they were better with him than without him, both before he was drafted and after he was traded to the Miami Dolphins (current Detroit Starter Jon Kitna has "lead" the Lions to a 2-7 record, or one win for every three and one-third defeats, 1-3 1/3 compared to Joey's 1-2). One week from today, the Lions will play the Dolphins on Thanksgiving Day. I cannot in good conscience root for Miami, but I can, and shall, root for Joey Harrington. Let's go, Joey Heisman!

BTW South Song of the Day
Five Iron Frenzy, "Eulogy" from Five Iron Frenzy 2: Electric Boogaloo (Mt. Love)

Tuesday, November 14
Wally Dogger, "U R So Not the 1" via ye olde internet (Mt. Love)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Victors
While watching Pardon the Interruption I saw the famous and fabulous commercial featuring a girl in a Michigan T-shirt sharing a tender moment with a guy in an Ohio State sweatshirt and the classic caption, "Without sports, this wouldn't be disgusting." My brother, twice an alumnus of the University of Michigan, is going to marry a girl who attended graduate school at THE Ohio State University. Yep, without sports, that wouldn't be disgusting.

Go Blue!

BTW South Song(s) of the Day
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Temptation" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (T.L.A.M.)

You can't have one without the other. Ladies and gentlemen...

The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Hawaiian War Chant" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (T.L.A.M.)
The Magic of Shazam!
There is to be a new, female, and seemingly villainous Spy Smasher in the pages of DC's Birds of Prey. Does this spell doom for my own Spy Smasher, Avi Ducret? Have no fear, we have a Plan B! If this ill-conceived abomination called Spy Smasher (Spy Smasher is supposed to be a hero, damn it!) persists in the DCU, I'll include Avi in the pages of The Magic of Shazam! very nearly the same as before, resurrecting for him the name of another long-forgotten Fawcett Comics mysteryman from the Golden Age, Commando Yank. Is Spy Smasher a better codename than Commando Yank? Absolutely, but DC's ongoing commitment to mediocrity requires adroitness on the part of the would-be writer.

Spy Smasher - Gyrosub
Commando Yank - Sea Eagle

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

According to the front page of the BTW Forums, "Our users have posted a total of 1701 articles." Quite a fitting number for a night on which Adult Swim aired "Where No Fan Has Gone Before," the Star Trek tribute episode of Futurama. Live long and prosper, puny humans.

BTW South Song of the Day
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Varsity" from Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue (T.L.A.M.)

Go Blue!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Honolulu Blue Forever
I am glad we lost yesterday's game against the 49ers. Have I suddenly turned traitor? Nay, good readers, I simply enjoy seeing jerks get their comeuppance. After the Lions' victory over the Falcons, all sorts of crazy talk came out of the mouths of both the Lions and their many long-suffering fans. During the interregnum of the bye week, Roy "Not the Good Roy Williams" Williams spoke some madness about the Lions finishing the season 9-0, but that's just Not the Good Roy Williams being Not the Good Roy Williams. Others looked forward to a bonus week of rest and recuperation before three consecutive games against "weak" opponents, the 49ers, the Arizona Cardinals, and Joey Harrington's Miami Dolphins. Going into this weekend, all three teams had records very similar to Detroit's, but the assumption by the team, the press, and the faithful was that the Falcon-slaying Lions were better than their record reflected and on the cusp of greatness. Not mediocrity, which would be a step up from where the Lions have dwelt under Matt Millen's "leadership," but greatness. The Free Press's Nicholas J. Cotsonika, whose writing I rememberly fondly from The Michigan Daily, boldly predicted a 41-20 Lions victory. He was right about the 49ers, they scored 19 points. The Lions, however, mustered a mere 13. (Another perfect day for Jason Hanson!)

What in the name of all that is good and holy was the source of that impudence, that unadulterated gall? The Lions suck! Had they failed to notice this inconvenient fact? Even if the 2006 Lions are not to be shackled with the 21-59 record of the 2001-05 predecessors, the "new and improved" Lions of the Marinelli-Martz regime have posted a paltry 2-7 record, an unimpressive 2-6 prior to Sunday's contest! The players insist that theirs is a good team, that they are a good team despite of what has been exhibited on the field, but, I ask you, what possible rationale could be behind such nonsense? You were 2-6 before the game, you dunderheads, 2-7 afterwards! YOU AREN'T A GOOD TEAM!

Thus, Sunday's loss brought a smile to my face. Sadly, I am certain even a final record of 2-14 would not result in Millen's dismissal, and as the man so clearly lacks a sense of honor he won't resign, but there must come surely a point at which even the reviled William Clay Ford, Sr. will awaken to his lackey's obvious incompetence. I cling to the admittedly forlorn hope that every Lions defeat cannot help but speed the arrival of that distant day. As I learned from Babylon 5, in the absence of hope one must foster the hope that there is hope.

I would laugh in the Lions found a way to lose to the Arizona cardinals, one of the few teams in the No Fun League to rival Detroit's knack for snatching defeat from teh jaws of victory. As for the Thanksgiving Day game, Joey Harrington will never be Dan Marino, but he was unfairly burdened with far too much of the blame for the team's abysmal record while he played for the Lions. Blamed in excess by the fans, by the jackals in the media, and, surprisingly, by his own inept teammates, who violated the NFL's usual coade of solidarity. I despise Florida, but I want Miami to beat Detroit on Thanksgiving, I want Harrington to taste the sweet nectar of revenge. Hooray for Joey!

Forgive me for having nothing even remotely original to say, but catharsis was desperately needed.

Crime Blotter
Coppers versus copper thieves: copperlink.
BTW South Song of the Day
Sunday, November 12
Oh My God, "This December" from You're Too Straight to Love Me (Mt. Love)

Commentary: If an Oh My God song must be selected, and oh how I wish such was not the case, "This December" is the tune to which I would object the least.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Honolulu Blue Forever
One week, the Lions beat the "mighty" Atlanta Falcons, the next week we lose to the "hapless" San Francisco 49ers. Bog bless the lads for their bass ackwards consistency. 23-66, Mr. Millen, 2-7 on the year. Have you no decency?

Yesterday: my first comic book convention, fun and games with Ki-El and The Watergirl, and a cameo by Skeeter.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Armistice Day
My deepest appreciation and most humble gratitude to all those who have risked life and limb and taken up arms in the name of the Great Republic. Thank you, now and always. Armistice Day is sacred.

The Victors
The valiant University of Michigan Wolverines earned another victory in fine style, crushing the wily Indiana University Hoosiers. After a most glorious autumn, the preamble is at an end. Now is the fall. Before us awaits the ancient enemy, the hated Ohio State University Buckeyes. Let the countdown to The Game begin. Go Blue!

BTW South Song of the Day
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "I Can't Turn You Loose" from A Saturday Tradition (T.L.A.M.)

Friday, November 10
William Shatner, "Theme From Cyrano/Mr. Tamborine Man" from The Transformed Man (Mt. Love)

Commentary: "I Can't Turn You Loose," written by the late, great Otis Redding, is most commonly remembered as the introductory music for the Blues Brothers Band.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Red Planet
The plucky little Opportunity rover is undaunted by the prospect of being marooned inside the Victoria crater: hyperlink! And more humorous ineptitude from our European comrades: hyperlink, take two. Come on, guys, I know the hilarious failure of the Beagle 2 probe in 2003 had to have been a blow to the old false sense of superiority, but a solid decade between Beagle 2 *snicker* and the ExoMars rover? That seems excessively timid, even for you space pussies. (Thanks, Sam Kinison!)

Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity... ExoMars? The ESA really needs to reevaluate their naming strategy. I love NASA's decision to go retro with the names in Project Constellation. First of all, Project Constellation! The rockets? Ares I and Ares V. And saving the best for last, the spacecraft itself: Orion!
For Your Consideration
I wonder if we are going to see as much of Home For Purim in For Your Consideration as we saw of Red, White, & Blaine in Waiting for Guffman and the A Tribute to Irving concert in A Mighty Wind. Only one way to find out; there have to be a couple decent arthouse theaters in the Metroplex, right? Or at least one. Right? Drat!

My ignorance of the Winter War specifically, and Finnish history in general, is indefensible. I know between whom the Winter War was fought, but I don't know anything about the numbers of men involved, the specific campaigns, or the nuts and bolts of the armistice that ended the conflict (or merely paused it, depending on one's view of Finland's participation in the Second World War). Inexcusable. How dare I claim that "I know a lot about history"? Poppycock!

Thursday, November 9, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
Avril Lavigne, "Sk8er Boi" from Let Go (T.L.A.M.)

Preemptive Commentary: "Sk8er Boi" is not among my guilty pleasures. There is nothing to feel guilty about, though, yes, in a perfect world the title of the song would be "Skater Boy." I like "Sk8er Boi," I like Let Go, I like Avril Lavigne's music. My musical preferences shan't change, no matter how much mockery I must endure at the hands of the tone deaf fans of the atrocious musical butchery of Neil Young, the White Stripes, and *snicker* John Mayer.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Postal service from the pedestal has been discontinued for a full year, and by all indications for the foreseeable future. This island Earth has journeyed a full revolution around the accursed Sun since last my friend Skeeter posted on her weblog, Letters From the Pedestal. Approximately sixty comments have been left in her absence, an average of five a month, lamentations and beseechments, haikus and harassments. We miss you, Skeeter. Godspeed.

Vote For Kodos
I am reminded of the day after Election Day in November 1994, when I entered Mr. Riek's Honors English 10 classroom and began a spirited taunting of my friend Todd, the son of two schoolteachers and an avid Democrat. I crowed about the demise of liberalism, he broke out the dictionary and tried to explain that liberalism isn't a bad thing, I tried to explain to him that there is a profound gulf between the definition of "liberal" and the political philosophy, such as it is, of the contemporary Democratic Party. And yet for all the twelve years since the so-called Republican Revolution, I have believed myself to be a stalwart of the permanent minority party. I was amazed and appalled by the conservatism manifested by the leaders and grassroots members of my Republican Party, but I knew in my heart of hearts it was better than the mushy, nebulous alternatives offered by the Democrats.

As of January 3rd of next year, the Democrats will once again constitute the majority in the House of Representatives, and very likely in the Senate as well. Debacle? Balderdash, this is excellent news! For in this seeming disaster lie the seeds of a greater triumph. Our victory in the '08 presidential contest, a matter of great uncertainty as recently as Monday, is now all but assured. The Democrats are once again authors of their own defeat, doomed in what they believe is their finest hour. Truely, this is sweet.

And mark well the words of Robert Underdunk Terwilliger, "No children have ever meddled with the Republican Party and lived to tell about it."

BTW South Song of the Day
The Atomic Fireballs, "Man With the Hex" from Torch This Place (Mt. Love)

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

I like the idea of a French bulldog named Foch, named of course after Ferdinand Foch, the Marshal of France. Not that I would ever own a dog-monster, but I like the idea just the same.
Vote For Kodos... or, Heck, Vote For Kang If You Want
Today is Election Day in the Great Republic. If you have not already exercised your right to vote through your county's absentee process, I implore you to pay a visit to your assigned polling place. Obviously, I would urge you to vote for the Grand Old Party, but if your conscience commands you to vote for the Democrats, the party of Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy, by all means do so. Partisan preference is not nearly so important as plain participation. Vote!

There is a campaign by the Texas Secretary of State to increase the percentage of eligible voters who actually vote. It is called, and I admit this is not unclever, VOTEXAS. (I always loved the old "PLAYSOCCER" bumper sticker.)

And, in honor of the election...

BTW South Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "James K. Polk" from Factory Showroom (T.L.A.M.)

Monday, November 6
New Found Glory, "Understatement" from Sticks and Stones (Mt. Love)

Commentary: I considered Green Day's "American Idiot," thinking it both a logical and an entertaining selection, but ultimately rejected it since I like President Bush far more today than I did when first I voted for him six years ago, meaning, in the poisonous and jaundiced phrase from "Holiday," I do indeed "Zeig Heil to the President Gasman."

Sunday, November 5, 2006

The Gunpowder Plot
A reminder: the November 5 holiday is Guy Fawkes Night, not Guy Fawkes Day. So, whatever anti-Catholic festivities you are planning should not begin until after dinner.

Honolulu Blue Forever
I wish I'd been able to see today's game not because I would have really liked to have seen a Lions win (though certainly I would have liked to see that), but because maybe if I'd seen it i would be able to understand what in teh Sam Hill happened. How did My beloved but feeble Lions manage to so thoroughly defeat the Atlanta Falcons? The Falcons aren't the Patriots, but sitll, they should have had no trouble overcoming the pathetic Lions. In the words of Fred Willard, "Wha' happ'n?" But never mind that for now, huzzah, the Lions will, at the very least, be no worse than Mornhinweg's first team! We'll finish at least 2-14! Woot!

23-65, Mr. Millen, 2-6 on the year. Have you no decency?

BTW South Song of the Day
New Order, "Blue Monday" from Music From the Motion Picture The Wedding Singer (T.L.A.M.)
The really impressive and frightening thing about the Nazis is that even sixty-one years after the richly-deserved death of the Third Reich, the full extent of their institutionalized depravity is still being uncovered: What's the German word for "creepy"?

Saturday, November 4, 2006

The Victors
Oy vey. Still, they don't give out national championship trophies for winning decisively or stylishly, only for winning, period. Hail to the victors, however precarious the victory may have been. Go Blue!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Did the high muckamucks in Evil Lansing make a mistake by firing John L. Smith? I cannot say they did, but I utterly fail to see the logic of firing him with three games left in the regular season and bowl-eligibility not yet out of reach (at the time). How is uncertainty about the future supposed to spur the dastardly Michigan State University Spartans to victory? Yes, they now have the certainty of knowing John L. shan't return, but is that not overshadowed by the greater uncertainty of whom in Duffy's name might be found to fill such a godforsaken job? I suppose that the high muckamucks' behavior mirrors that of the dastardly Spartans themselves: they are innovators in the art of self-sabotage.

How could I take joy from the triumph of the ill-starred Purdue University Boilermakers over the dastardly Spartans? Have not the churlish Michigan State partisans suffered enough? Never! Bwa ha ha ha ha! Well pleased was I by ill-starred Purdue's good fortune. Defeat, disgrace, demise, and, after a suitable interval given over to despair, death: that is what I wish for the whole benighted enterprise otherwise known as the Michigan Agricultural College. Congratualtions, Purdue! Good show!

John L. seems like a fine fellow, his leadership of the dastardly Spartans being the only black mark against is name. I, for one, hope he finds himself in far happier circumstances in the near future.

BTW South Song of the Day
Barenaked Ladies, "Shopping" from Everything to Everyone (Mt. Love)
Idiots. I mean, German neo-Nazis are bad enough, but do these fools have any inkling of the place the Slavic peoples held in National Socialist racial theory? In the Nazi view, Slavs certainly aren't Aryan and aren't even sub-Aryan whites like Italians or English; to those who followed the swastika and gave the Nazi salute, the Russians were subhuman, ranked just above the Jews at the bottom of the spectrum. If it is at all possible, Russian Nazis are even more despicable than German Nazis.

BTW South Song of the Day
Commentary: Friday's Song of the Day was "Destination Moon" and lo and behold what happened to be on TV Friday night? Apollo 13. As plain, simple Garak taught, I believe in coincidence, I just don't trust coincidence.

Inarticulate Rage
I had a lovely evening in, I talked with my brother, had some new ideas for a Spy Smasher ongoing series, and refined a few ideas for Martian Manhunter. But at this exact moment, were it within my power, I would murder the entire world and simply be done with the race of Man. The dark bastard sez, "Big smiles, everyone."

Friday, November 3, 2006

BTW South Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "Destination Moon" from John Henry (T.L.A.M.)

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Hat Day!
When our new limited edition silver Anti-Negativity Helmets arrived, I suggested immediately that the Mountain and I should wear them on the next Hat Day. True, we also wore them on Halloween with our new limited edition blue rash guards as part of the full Aqua-Cadet uniform, but I saw no reason why we should let that interfere with our original plan. Bog knows we could all bear to spend a little more time wearing an Anti-Negativity Helmet. Happy Hat Day!

And here's a picture of Alphaman and Captain Thumbs-Up in action: Super Wilson Bros.

Full Cadet uniform: Anti-Negativity Helmet, rash guard, festive Aquabats! belt, board shorts, official Aquabats! socks, Adidas (Alphaman wears Gazelles, I wear inferior Sambas).

BTW South Song of the Day
Guster, "Happier" from Lost and Gone Forever (Mt. Love)
BTW South Song of the Day
Dance Hall Crashers, "Triple Track" from Short Music for Short People (T.L.A.M.)

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

The Queue
Uki Goni, The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina
Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down

Baroness Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel ***in progress***
Natan Sharansky, et al., The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny & Terror ***interrupted***
William Manchester, The Arms of Krupp, 1587-1968
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
All Saints Day
Why is it that all the English saints of whom I'm aware are martyrs? Saint Thomas Becket, d. 1170, was murdered (martyred) for defending Church property and privilege against King Henry II. Saint Thomas More, d. 1535, was executed (martyred) for refusing to acclaim King Henry VIII as possessing chief authority over the Church of England, above and beyond the Bishop of Rome. Saint Edmund Campion, d. 1581, and Saint Henry Walpole, d. 1595, were both executed (martyred) for the heinous crime of being Catholic priests in Queen Elizabeth I's fanatically Protestant police state, the latter inspired by the former's ministry. (Golden Age, my arse.)

And since we are so close to Guy Fawkes Night (a holiday much beloved by our own The Guy), the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, it seems appropriate to look after the case of Guy Fawkes himself. Yes, yes, had the Gunpowder Plot succeeded hundreds would have been killed and it cannot be described as anything other than an act of attempted terrorism, but it would have been terrorism carried out in the name of the genuinely oppressed Catholics of England. And Fawkes was put to death for his part in the scheme. So, even though he aspired to be a mass murderer, Fawkes did die "for" Holy Mother Church, which makes him a martyr, which makes him a saint, yes? I don't know, because even though His Holiness the late Pope John Paul II DOUBLED the number of Catholic saints, surely in the two millennia since the founding of the Roman Catholic Church a great many of the faithful have died for the Church without receiving recognition as martyred saints. And, not having wanted to kill hundreds by blowing up the Palace of Westminster, surely many of them lived better Christian lives than did old Guy Fawkes. It's a pickle.

Fortunately, it really isn't that much of a pickle. As a traitor to the Crown, Fawkes was to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. (Remember the end of Braveheart? That's the general idea.) Understandably not wanting to endure the whole course, Fawkes threw himself from the gallows, breaking his neck with the rope that was only supposed to cause him great pain. And as we all know, suicide is a mortal sin; so, to this day and for every day for all eternity, Guido Fawkes is burning in the fames of Perdition. Had he not killed himself, would he have passed muster as a martyr? More learned men than I would need to weigh in on the issue. Saint Guy Fawkes? Perish the thought.

The Stars My Destination
More goodies on the year after next's Hubble mission: science!

Vote For Kodos
I would be beside myself with joy were Senator Kerry to make a serious run at the Democratic presidential nomination on '08. Pretty please with sugar on top? Obviously, this is not as bad as when he compared American soldiers to Genghis Khan or Senator Durban called our boys "Nazis" and "Soviets," but Kerry makes it so very easy to reinterpret his words to one's own advantage: what a jerk.