Monday, September 30, 2002

Lawrence of Arabia is playing an engagement at Seattle's Cinerama theatre. As Roger Ebert says, see it in 70mm on a big screen. This experience is on the short list of things that must be done during the lifetime of every lover of film."

I couldn't agree more. At some point near the intermission, I thought, this movie has not aged well. By the end of the film I was shaking with joy. Today I've heard the evocative theme echoing in my head all day.

I think the extra length is part of what makes this film an epic. To be fair, this isn't a film that would be made today, and not just for financial considerations. Lawrence of Arabia lingers on its shots. The action comes to the camera, and then goes away. And there's the shots that make this film required viewing in a cinema and no other place: the camera trained on the horizon, as a speck in the distance shimmers into a figure, and then into a man. Those shots were held longer in my memory. And they are what makes this film for me.

The novelty my recent viewing brought to me this time was what a myth the film constructs. Like all folk heroes or demigods, Lawrence life has a definite end, and its failures and squalor. He sets out on his hero's journey, but as a pawn of the gods of Great Britain and Arabia. This hit me as Ali and Lawrence sneak into town like El-ahrairah and Rabscuttle in Watership Down.

Part of the movie's appeal for me is that it isn't just a war story, or the story of one man's journey. Omar Sharif's Sharif Ali develops as much as or more than Lawrence, as does Anthony Quinn's Auda abu Tayi. We see Ali develop in our eyes and history's from a brutal nomad into a politican, and the prime mover of the Arab Revolt. The hurt in his eyes when Lawrence fails inflames the betrayal the audience feels. And Tayi is part of a long line of greedy, redeemed rogues, from Rick in Casablaca before ehim to Han Solo in Star Wars and beyond. It's beautiful that the film takes the time to give both men moving, poignant curtain calls before the end of the movie.

In college, a teacher named Nader Nazemi spoke about the movie. He said it was one of his favorites, thanks to Alec Guiness' performance, but complained about the racism. At the time, because he said the Arabs wouldn't have needed the help of a single white man to defeat the Turks, I thought that was the focus of his complaint. But the sight of the film of the Arab Council squabbling at the end of the film, it's right out of Birth of a Nation. So I can see his point.
So. Christopher Hitchens has left The Nation, resigning in the final paragraph of his final column. One can sympathize with him. In my 9-11 anniversary posting, I remember sharing his frustration that the Left has chosen oppositionism over liberalism. As he says, "...I have come to realize that the magazine itself takes a side in this argument, and is becoming the voice and the echo chamber of those who truly believe that John Ashcroft is a greater menace than Osama bin Laden. (I too am resolutely opposed to secret imprisonment and terror-hysteria, but not in the same way as I am opposed to those who initiated the aggression, and who are planning future ones.) In these circumstances it seems to me false to continue the association, which is why I have decided to make this "Minority Report" my last one." Andrew Sullivan puts it another way in a column on the departure (and Hitchens' departure from The Nation is well-deserving of comment), "His most recent campaign was an attempt to indict Henry Kissinger for war-crimes. The last time I saw him, he walked out of a dinner party to protest a fellow-guest's disparagement of Edward Said, the leftist anti-Israel historian. Gore Vidal has anointed Hitchens as his successor in radical literary politics. And Martin Amis just excoriated him for being tardy in his renunciation of Stalin's evil. I don't think I've met a man more viscerally hostile to every form of religious faith, especially Christianity. But in today's Left, especially in its bitter, internecine rump in the United States, these radical bona fides are still not enough." One must not only agree with most of the agenda. One must agree with all things, and maintain the same enemies. Responding to Htichens' departure from The Nation, Alexander Cockburn said, "I think it was becoming increasingly bizarre for the Nation to publish his column. But people only very slowly take in these changes, much like Dorian Gray changes slowly in front of you. Hitch is no longer the beautiful slender young man of the Left. Now he's just another middle-aged porker of the Right."

I spoke to a friend this weekend, whose personal opposition to war in Aqhganiatan (and believe me, like most people, he will simply whine amongst the like-minded) was based precisely on Bush's support of the same. When I spoke about the opression based on gender and religion, my friend told me I sounded like a right-winger.

I side with Hitchens.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Roger Ebert is for the most part an amiable reviewer, a thumb-up, thumbs-down dumber down for the lumpen. But on occassion, such as his review of Three to Tango, he acheives art ("Neve Campbell is amazingly cute. I have admired her in other movies, but now, in "Three to Tango," which gave me nothing else to think about, I was free to observe her intently. She has wide, intelligent eyes, kissable lips, and a face both sweet and carnal, like Doris Day's. I support her decision to never wear any garment that comes within a foot of her neck"). He does it again today with The Tuxedo, a movie I hadn't planned on seeing, and now might have to, despite Mr. Ebert's 1 1/2 star review.

Some exceprts:

I have been waiting for a dehydrating villain for some time. My wife is of the opinion that I do not drink enough water. She believes the proper amount is a minimum of eight glasses a day. She often regards me balefully and says, "You're not getting enough water." In hot climates her concern escalates. In Hawaii last summer she had the grandchildren so worked up they ran into the bedroom every morning to see if Grandpa Roger had turned to dust.

Do water striders have queens, like bees and ants do? For an authoritative answer I turned to Dr. May Berenbaum, head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and founder of the Insect Fear Film Festival, held every year at the Great University.

She writes: "Water striders are true bugs (i.e., insects with piercing/sucking mouthparts) that run or skate on the surface of bodies of water, feeding on the insects that fall onto the water surface. There are about 500 species of gerrids in the world and, as far as I know, not a single one of those 500 species is eusocial (i.e., has a complex social structure with reproductive division of labor and cooperative brood care). I don't even know of an example of maternal care in the whole group. In short, the answer to your question is an emphatic 'no!' I can't wait to see this film. It definitely sounds like a candidate for a future Insect Fear Film Festival!"

More crushing evidence: Dr. Bruce P. Smith, expert entomologist at Ithaca College, writes me, "There is no known species of water striders that has queens. The most closely related insects that do are some colonial aphid speciies, and the most familiar (and much more distant rleatives) are the ants, bees, wasps and termites." He adds helpfully, "One mammal does have queens: the naked mole rats of Africa." Revealing himself as a student of insect films, he continues, "If my memory is correct, 'Arachnophobia' has a king spider, but no queen--totally absurd!"


Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Savage Love strikes again: Whenever we make love, my girlfriend begs me to say "sexy things" to her. I have no clue what she means or what to say. She tells me she's turned on by "dirty" talk. Can you please give me examples of sexy things to say or where can I get educated about what dirty things to say to a woman when we're making love? -- Lust For Words

You're in real danger here, LFW, and you need to proceed with extreme caution. I have a file full of letters from men whose wives/girlfriends asked them to "talk dirty to me"—or, even worse, "tell me your wildest fantasies." Many of these men made the mistake of doing what their wives/girlfriends asked.

Generalizing about three billion people on the one hand (men) and three billion people on the other hand (women) is a dangerous business, but... a woman's idea of "dirty" or "wild" is often very different from a man's. She'll say "Talk dirty to me," and he'll say "Suck my cock, you whore," and she'll freak out because what she wanted to hear was "I love your delicious juices, honey." She'll say "Tell me about your wildest fantasy," and he'll say "Piss on me," and she'll freak out because what she wanted to hear was, "I want to lick whipped cream off your nipples."

Yes, yes, yes: There are women out there who want nothing more than to be called whores and who love to piss on their husbands/ boyfriends. But they're exceptions. So, ladies, be warned: Men are kinkier than women, so the things men fantasize about are often dark and, if you're game, hotter than hell. If you're the type of woman who isn't kinky at all, or who considers "Oh, yeah, do me!" to be dirty talk, well, maybe you shouldn't ask your husband/boyfriend to talk dirty or share his wildest fantasies. You might not like what you hear.

And, guys, be warned: When she asks you to talk dirty or share your wildest fantasies, don't just blurt out "pegging" or "Get on your knees, bitch," or, like one guy in my made-the-mistake-of-telling-the-truth file, "I want you to tie me up, gag me with your dirty panties, then piss all over me." That may be your wildest fantasy, but the fact that she asked doesn't mean she's ready to hear it. While I think that people should share their fantasies with each other—of course!—straight men need to take things slowly and reveal a little at a time, gauging the reaction every step of the way.

Finally, LFW, the best advice for a guy who's been asked to talk dirty or reveal his wildest fantasies is to turn the tables. Ask her to talk dirty. If she can't do that, ask her to describe the sorts of things she wants you to say. If she can't even do that, ask her to write them down. Whatever you do, don't go down the dirty-talk road without directions.
And there's...

Your advice to SADBOY, the pedophile college kid, was exactly what he needed to hear. As a man who has always felt a sexual attraction to boys, it's exactly what I would have told him.

I, too, thought about going into teaching, but realized in time that it would be a big mistake. I eventually got counseling and learned that I wasn't ever going to banish these thoughts, no matter what, and that it was my obligation to make sure I didn't get myself in trouble and/or mess up some kid. I was in a satisfying relationship with another adult, which is a must for SADBOY and any other man with these thoughts. And I never, not once, put myself in a position where I'd be around young or adolescent boys to any significant degree.

I'm 50 now, and I still think about boys. But I've kept it totally under control for all these years, and I've led a pretty damn good life. I hope SADBOY can do the same. -- Been There, Didn't Do It

After running SADBOY's letter, people wrote in to say that what SADBOY really needs is a lethal injection and not, as I suggested, a therapist. But the ranters and ravers need to bear this in mind: The overwhelming majority of pedophiles never, ever act on their desires. Like BTDDI, most men and women with a sexual attraction to kids—something they didn't choose—struggle mightily against their desires all their lives and never rape a child. These praiseworthy pedophiles (that's a new concept, huh?) deserve our support, not lethal injections.


I always wondered if there were any stats on the fantasy-reality proportion when it comes to pedophiles. I figured there was something commendable about pedophiles who never acted on their sick and twisted urges. Good to know Savage has thought about it, too.
There's a website containing the FBI's files on MAD magazine. Jesus.

Saw I am Trying to Break Your Heart last night. Entertaining, but no Gimme Shelter. Tells the story of Wilco recording their album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which I haven't heard, but is apparently well-regarded in some circles (I prefer the innovative sounds of Gram Parsons), and how the band struggled to get it released . The best parts were the scenes of the band playing; to the film's credit, we saw many complete performances. Jeff Tweedy is an interesting case study, someone who is able to communicate through music and lyrics, but is completely inarticulate when it comes to speaking. Probably a full ten minutes of film were spent with him sighing and scratching his head.

Other low points include Rolling Stone hack David Fricke, who blathers pretentiously about Wilco's genius and the decline of American society. I'm not exaggerating when I say Fricke should be shot. With his hair and his faux-counterculture ideals, it seemed like the filmmmakers had dug a trench into some particularly repulsive strata of Seventies tar pit and this guy fell out. There's also a cameo by former musician, current hanger-on Dave Pirner. When I subscribed to Rolling Stone in college, his smug, obsequious mug invaded every issue in the Random Notes, hanging out with any musician unlucky enough to be in the same industry awards show. Sad to see he's still a groupie.

The most interesting thing about the film was the way the camera affected just about everything that occured. The endless discussions and arguments in the studio were clearly exacerbated by band members performing for the filmmakers. A scene where the manager chews out an anonymous Reprise flack demonstrates the same thing.

Despite the filmmakers' boast on their website that this is a "true documentary," director Sam Jones is clearly a fan of the band (he told Vanity Fair he wanted to portray "a great American rock band at the height of its creative powers."), determined to show them in the best light; the films even sides with the band when Jay Bennett is fired. After the termination, Tweedy affects the high road and refuses to discuss it, while the manager, Tony Margherita, sneers that Bennett will be playing in from of 35 people. Cut to Bennett playing in front of 35 people, singing a shitty folk song. I don't know anything about the man. If he has talent then it is dishonest to excerpt such a crapopy song. If he really is so untalented, then it is viscous to make such a point of it. Regardless, the implication is clear: Wilco is better off without him. Cruel and uneccessary.
Personally, I'm not sure if I consider it belligerent until someone throws a chair.

On C-SPAN, Talk of War Gets Awfully Belligerent

By Lloyd Grove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 25, 2002; Page C03

C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" segment started out yesterday morning as typically sedate -- two members of Congress soberly dispensing wisdom about the threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. But then Bob Filner, a five-term Democrat from California, said something that made South Carolina freshman Republican Joe Wilson go nuclear.

Filner, who opposes unilateral U.S. military action, suggested that in the 1980s, when U.S. officials sided with Iraq in its war against Iran, Saddam Hussein obtained biological and chemical weapons technology from the United States. "We gave it to him," Filner asserted.

"That is wrong. That's made up," Wilson fired back. "I can't believe you would say something like that."

When Filner calmly held his ground, advising Wilson to read newspaper reports and other documentation, the Republican erupted: "This hatred of America by some people is just outrageous. And you need to get over that."

As moderator Connie Brod sat by helplessly, Filner challenged: "Hatred of America? . . . Are you accusing me?"

"Yes!" Wilson shouted. For good measure, over the next minute Wilson accused Filner of harboring "hatred of America" four more times, of being "hateful" three times and of being "viscerally anti-American" once. Filner responded, "This is not worth replying to," and Brod finally regained control of the discussion by taking viewer phone calls.

"After the show ended, I told him, 'That was over the line,' " Filner told us later. "He started arguing with me and the aide who was with him said, 'Congressman, we better go.' "

Shortly after the broadcast, Filner encountered a Republican colleague who had seen the fireworks. "If that guy had said that to me, I would have punched him out," Filner quoted the Republican as saying. He refused to identify his sympathizer. "Listen, I was one of the first Freedom Riders in Mississippi in the early 1960s," Filner told us. "I've been beaten up and thrown in jail by better people than Joe Wilson."

Wilson wouldn't get on the phone with us but did send a written statement in which he defended his position that Filner is all wet. But he added: "If I said something in the heat of the debate that was taken as critical of the congressman's patriotism or commitment to this country, I apologize. As a 28-year member of the Army National Guard, I take these accusations very personally."

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

I wonder if anyone is going to condemn Jesse Jackson for making an ugly, public call for censorship?

Jesse Jackson says he's pleased the producers of "Barbershop" have apologized for the film's barbs about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. and others, but still wants the jokes cut from future DVD and video editions of the hit movie.
The producers, Bob Teitel and George Tillman, told The Associated Press on Monday that they had apologized to Jackson on behalf of everyone involved with the film.

"I completely did not mean to offend anyone," Tillman said.

But Jackson said they must go further and remove those scenes from the video, DVD and cable versions.

"The apology is a step in the right direction," he told the AP, but added that he will "keep appealing to them" to do the right thing.
The Spider-man Movie is available for download! Check it out!
The executioner's tale

He helped to guillotine more than 200 people.

By Hugh Schofield

Fernand Meyssonnier has me by the head. With four meaty fingers behind each of my ears, he is tugging me forward out of my seat. It doesn't exactly hurt, but the effect is certainly unsettling.

"That's the way to do it. You've got to make sure you don't hold the guy too near the neck, or you could have an accident. It happened. There were people who lost two or three fingers," he says.

Mr Meyssonnier is - or was - an executioner. In 21 years from 1947, he helped to guillotine the heads off more than 200 people - the vast majority of them Arabs - in French Algeria. During the war there he was taking off five or six a month.

He knows what it is like to hold a human head.

He has seen the gore.

"The blood spurts like two glasses of red wine chucked three metres," he says with a quick double-flick of the wrist.

He is - in Europe at least - a last link with an ancient, almost mythological, profession: the people's killer.

He is speaking to me in the upstairs room of a house flanking the river in the picturesque Provencal village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. This was where he came in 1992, after 30 years making his fortune as a bar-owner in Tahiti.

The book

He has never spoken publicly about his experiences before. But at 72 he is ill with cancer, and this month he is bringing out a book - An Executioner's Tale - in which he answers all the questions.

Like, what made him become an executioner?

"People say I became an executioner because my father was one - but that's not the case," he says.

His father Maurice Meyssonnier - a communist bar-owner - was chief executioner in Algiers after World War II and took him on as an apprentice in 1947.

Fernand's godfather was Henri Roch, chief executioner before the war and from a line of executioners going back to the 16th Century- so whatever he says the guillotine was certainly in the family.

"My father needed someone he could trust absolutely. The important thing about the job was that absolutely nothing must go wrong.

"But for me, there were other reasons. I had good money; I could carry a gun; I had plenty of free time; the chief of police would greet me. And I had the good will of the whole of French Algeria."

The work routine

Meyssonnier senior would receive a call at the bar from the prosecutor's office, and that evening they would pack the guillotine into boxes and set off by lorry to the prison in Algiers, Oran or Constantine. There they would erect the machine in the courtyard and rest till dawn.

Fernand started off as a junior assistant, with the task of tying the convict's ankles and thighs with fishing-wire. Then his hands were handcuffed behind his back and his elbows trussed together. "This has the effect of making the head stick out, which was what we wanted," he says.

Later he was promoted to first assistant, whose job it was to stand at the top-end and pull the convict's head through the wooden hole known as the "demi-lunette," or half-lens, and then hold it as the blade came down.

Because he was looking at the convict through the demi-lunette, the first assistant was also known as the "photographer."

"You must never give the guy time to think. Because if you do he starts moving his head around, and that's when you have the mess-ups. The blade comes through his jaw, and you have to use a butcher's knife to finish it off.

"So I would say 'Go, father!' and - crack! - the head is in my hands, and I put it in the bucket.

"It is an exorbitant power - to kill your fellow man. The whole thing would happen like in a fast film. They bring in the first one and then the second, and in 20 seconds two people are decapitated. You come out with an incredible sense of power - only God can do that!"

With his powerful frame and grizzled chest-hair, Fernand Meyssonnier has all the burly gruffness of the classic former colonial, but he is also clearly fond of a laugh.

Hard man?

A miniature replica of a guillotine which he made for his father when he was 15 has pride of place in a glass box. A pair of spectacles which he keeps in the coffin-basket belonged to one of his victims. But on top of the box - bizarrely - is a "Billy the Bass" singing fish.

Two grey parrots in a cage interrupt our conversation. He has trained them to whistle the Marseillaise and the Internationale, and then shout out "Off with his head - Long Live Meyssonnier!"

Was he a hard man, I ask, to have lived through all that killing?

"Not at all. Sometimes I watch game-shows on television, and some poor fellow wins a fortune. He's mad with joy, and I've got tears in my eyes!

"And once in Algeria I was with a friend who was trying to start his car with the handle, and it came off and he cut his head. I had to take him to the doctor to have stitches, and I tell you I was almost sick watching him suffer, with all the blood coming out.

"I asked the doctor what was wrong with me - and he said 'You're just not used to it!.'"

Fernand Meyssonnier bursts into laughter.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Back from a week on the east coast, and a wedding in the beautiful San Juan Islands. The week back home was a week back home, killed a dog, don't want to visit again, that sort of thing. Didn't score at the wedding. I was sharing a room with the very nice, well-spoken gay minister, and that combined with my blonde hair led the ladies to conclude I was a disco-dancing cake boy. Such is life, they were all skanks anyway. Or taken. Whatever. Interesting note about the wedding: everyone from the groom's side who made a toast or speech commented on what a self-centered prick the groom is. I always thought he was an okay guy. Another funny part: the father of the groom, during his interminable toast, likened the groom's bachelorhood to being a cab driver. Drive along, night after night, out of service, not picking up any fares, until one day, one decides one is ready, and turns on the in-service light, and picks up the first fare that comes along. And marries her. I thought that was a little cruel. If I ever get married, I'm vetting remarks.
Meet my friend Jim Kainber (and damn Geocities for not letting me link to his headshot). Jim has a lot of love to give, and he's hoping to start his single-parent family with a 4-6 year old Caucasian or mixed-Caucasian boy. Check out his website, and give this lion his heart.
This is what happens when people abuse the great name of Dave.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

How many of these air marshals do you think have a high school diploma? Forty percent? And what the hell are doing in first class? Is that why I couldn't use my upgrads last time I flew?

Profiling charged on 'nightmare' flight

A doctor on Delta Flight 442 was detained by U.S. marshals.

Philadelphia Inquirer

The incident on Delta Flight 442 was scary enough last month: U.S. marshals seized an unruly passenger, then one aimed a pistol at other passengers for a half hour and shouted at them to stay seated.

The event, however, didn't end there. Unknown to most passengers on the Atlanta-to-Philadelphia flight, the marshals upon landing also seized an Indian passenger from first class and silently whisked him away in handcuffs.

Far from being a terror suspect, the second detainee turned out to be a former U.S. Army major and military doctor from Lake Worth, Fla., where he has had a family practice for two decades. Both detainees later were released without charge, and the physician's angry account of his ordeal offers a glimpse at the dark side of America's war on terrorism.

Yesterday, suggesting that the line between security and civil-rights violations is blurring, the physician, Bob Rajcoomar, filed notice in U.S. District Court that he may sue the U.S. government for illegal detention and emotional distress. His wife had been left to wander the Philadelphia airport for three hours during his detention, never told of his whereabouts.

"This is blatant racial profiling," Rajcoomar, a naturalized citizen since 1985, said by telephone from Florida. "They think they can pick up anybody, willy-nilly... . It's not in keeping with traditions of the United States."

David Steigman, a spokesmen for the newly created U.S. Transportation Safety Administration, which oversees the air marshals, gave few details about the detentions or the marshals' actions and declined to discuss the potential lawsuit. Atlanta-based Delta did not comment on the legal action.

Rajcoomar, "to the best of our knowledge, had been observing too closely. When the aircraft landed, the airline declined to press charges" against either man, Steigman said.

Stefan Presser, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which filed the lawsuit notice, called the detention a civil-rights violation that should "send a wake-up call to Americans before it's too late... . In our haste to protect ourselves, we are literally turning on each other."

The dramatic hours on Aug. 31 aboard Delta Flight 442 started when a passenger from Philadelphia - described as waiflike and disturbed - caused alarm when he began looking at other passengers' luggage.

Two U.S. air marshals rushed back from their first-class seats to investigate. The marshals were later identified by police as Shawn B. McCullers and Samuel Mumma, assigned to the regional Transportation Safety Administration office in Atlantic City, which declined to discuss the case.

"Air marshals issued a series of warnings to passengers to stay in their seats. The unruly gentleman didn't stay in his seat, so they took action to restrain him," Steigman said.

Rajcoomar, sitting in window seat 1-D, reading a book and sipping a beer, said he knew nothing until the marshals showed up and began pushing the unruly man into seat 1-C, adjacent to his.

Alarmed, Rajcoomar said he stood up and asked to be moved. A flight attendant told him to take one of the first-class seats vacated by the marshals.

"One [marshal] sat on the guy in the first seat; he was groaning, and the more he groaned, the more they twisted the handcuffs," Rajcoomar said.

Then, in coach class, a woman rose to switch seats with her child, who was sitting in an aisle seat, according to Rajcoomar's wife, Dorothy, who was sitting in coach class because the couple could not get seats together.

"That's when they started hollering," Dorothy Rajcoomar said of the marshals. One of them rushed to the divider between the first-class and coach sections and leveled his pistol at the coach-class passengers.

"He took control as if he was a terrorist himself," said Bob Rajcoomar, who was then sitting in a first-class aisle seat directly in front of the marshal. "He says, 'Nobody move, nobody look down the aisle, nobody take pictures or you will go to jail, nobody do anything.' He basically hijacked everybody."

One passenger, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge James Lineberger, said marshals "were yelling at passengers to keep their heads and hands out of the aisle... . I couldn't believe they would do such a thing."

Bob Rajcoomar said he, like every other passenger, was watching the marshal but never spoke to him.

About 30 minutes later, the plane landed and Philadelphia police officers came aboard to help take away the unruly man. Thinking the incident was over, passengers began standing up, Rajcoomar said.

"Then out of nowhere, hell broke loose," Rajcoomar said. "One of these marshals came down to me and said, 'Head down, hands over your head!' They pushed my head down, told me to bend down... . I just couldn't believe it. I was speechless, in shock."

Unseen by his wife 30 rows back, Rajcoomar was whisked off the plane, taken to an airport police station, and locked in a cell he called so filthy "I wouldn't even put my dog in it."

During detention, Rajcoomar said, he was never asked anything except his name, address and Social Security number. He asked why he was being held.

"One of the marshals said something like, 'We didn't like the way you looked,' " Rajcoomar recalled. "They also said something like, 'We didn't like the way you looked at us.' "

Finally, after about three hours, Rajcoomar was released without explanation.

"It was like a nightmare," Rajcoomar said. "The marshals were completely out of control... . If they had pulled the trigger, we'd all be dead. I don't feel safe knowing they're there, not with this kind of behavior."
Such a weird belief. Lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks. You think when Jesus comes back he's gonna want to see a fucking cross, man?


May be why he hasn't shown up yet.

"Man, they're still wearing crosses. Fuck it, I'm not goin, dad. No, they totally missed the point. When they start wearing fishes I might show up again, but... Let me bury fossil heads with you Dad, Fuck em - Let's Fuck with them! They're fuckin with me now, lets get em. Give me that brontosaurus head, Dad."

You know, kinda like going up to Jackie Onassis with a rifle pendant on, you know.

"Thinkin' of John, Jackie. We love him. Just tryin to keep that memory alive, baby."

-- Bill Hicks
Death is on my mind, so I enjoyed this. An Italian coffin manufacturer has published its own "sexy calendario". The marketing gods are still up there. The current month is a funny American tribute, which is probably a reference to September 11th, but the coffin isn't as clear, so here's May and June:

Oh, hell, for your convenience, here's the current month:

And here's the funniest one:

Is the writing on here back a message to her stalker for when she's laying face down in the coffin?

According to the Post, Israel is under attack again.

Israel found itself under attack again yesterday - at a bus stop where a homicide bomber blew himself up, and on a fashion runway in Beirut, where a shocking, blood-splattered dress was featured.

The "revolutionary" new dress, designed "in solidarity with the Palestinian uprising against Israel," was on display for Lebanese fashionistas.

With its depictions of bloodstains, bullet holes and tanks moving through a desolate rock-strewn landscape, the floor-length gown was featured as part of a collection at an Arab fashion festival which coincided with New York's own Fashion Week.

The dress was designed by Saudi haute couture artist Yehya al-Bashri.

Just a side note: the model is pretty:

Disney preps martial arts "Snow White"

By Cathy Dunkley and Claude Brodesser

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Disney is negotiating with the Chinese choreographer of groundbreaking action films "The Matrix" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," to direct a live-action take on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

The project was until recently known as "Snow White and the Seven Shao Lin." (For the martial arts illiterate, that's a reference to the Shao Lin monks of China, who became masters of fighting concepts so they could better understand the source of violence and overcome it.)

The now-untitled family action-adventure picture will mark the English-language directing debut of Yuen Wo Ping, a major name in Asia who is currently wrapping up work for Quentin Tarantino on "Kill Bill," Yuen is already having helmed some 27 pictures there including recent Dimension import chopsocky "Iron Monkey" (originally released in 1993). He is also credited for having discovered such now-familiar talents as Michelle Yeoh, Jet Li and Jackie Chan.

The "Snow" update is set in the 1890s and follows a woman who returns home to Hong Kong to attend her father's funeral after 20 years abroad. She discovers that her stepmother is plotting against her and escapes to mainland China, where she seeks solace with seven Shao Lin monks who, in turn, come to believe the woman holds the fate of the world in her hands and protect her. Josh Harman and Scott Elder wrote the script.
Speaking of Fastlane, Tom Shales hated it. But I thoght it was pretty fun. Tiffany Amber-Theissen is, as usaul, mm-mmm deliscious, and pretty-boy cutout Peter Facinelli does a good job as a mannequin who solves crimes. There were some funny lines: "If I were here to bend over and get doggied, I'd be barking by now." Spoken by Jennifer Sky, who I've nevr seen before, but has an immense internet fan base because of her long career in syndicated science fiction and fantasy shows. Bianca Kajlich is another hot thang, but I just saw her on Fastlane's IMDB page, and didn't see her on the show at all. Maybe Peter will dog her out next week. Enjoying the show is probably dependent on your enjoyment of McG, who wrote, created and directed. I have fallen under his spell. I will now go and buy the Charlie's Angels dvd.

One sour point: a casual rascist remark is said twice, both in the interest of inter-police fraternity, but still uncomfortable: "If you want to play the mystic negro, I'll get you a rope." I don't know, it was out of place.
Maus was put to sleep last night. The appointment was at 5:00, and we walked out at 5:18, so it was fast. She was so doped up that the transition from drugged to sleeping to dead happened inperceptively. I was pretty messed up until the actual point of her death, at which point I burnt myself out emotionally and been flatlined since. My mother courteously made a bland dinner it was easy not to eat in excess. I watched the new show Fastlane on Fox, drank a white russian, took some pills and slept for twelve hours.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Elbit Systems wins deal to build Jerusalem electronic fence

Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems said on Wednesday it won a $5 million deal to build a "smart" electronic fence around part of Jerusalem.

This is what we call a good start. Now, if they'd just listen to me, they'd put a giant lid over the whole region, and maybe check it out in fifty years. It'd be like a science experiment. Or a zoo.
At 4:00 we gave Maus her tranquilizers, to make sure the historically jumpy mutt was okay for the vet. I took a couple downers, and am currently crushing down a Vicoden to snort before we head to the vet. I will get drunk later.

We're making jokes, talking in her voice. "What's everyone so mopey about? Ya'll are bringing me down." and "You back stabbing sellouts!"

This won't be a play by play. The internet probably already had its live real-time dog euthanasia webcam.
Just watching the Daily Show. Jason Lee implied Tom Cruise relies on cocaine. Good.
Hong Kong debt collection gets ugly
Associated Press

HONG KONG - First came several dozen annoying phone calls. The next day, the anonymous debt collector became more persistent, phoning Albert Ho's law firm more than 300 times to scream obscenities, play pornographic tapes or just stay silently on the line.

On the third day, the number of calls shot up to 687.

"It was extremely disturbing," said Ho. "It jammed the normal calls, keeping my clients waiting and affecting my business."

And Ho wasn't even the target.

The husband of an employee had gone bankrupt, leaving his office at the mercy of Hong Kong's often unscrupulous debt collectors, who have gone on a rampage as the economy worsens and bad loans multiply.

Collectors have been known to throw snakes, or a swarm of grasshoppers into an apartment to hasten debt repayment, or to hang the carcasses of dogs and cats outside.

Banks, credit card issuers, telecommunications companies and other lenders employ debt collectors who sometimes threaten the lives of debtors and innocent third parties, including friends, relatives, business partners or credit references.

Cases of personal credit delinquency jumped 53 percent to 105,815 in the second half of 2001, from 69,208 in the first half.

Bankrupt property dealer Alan Chan recalled foul-mouthed debt collectors pestering him outside his home and office and sending threatening letters containing fake paper money from the "Bank of Hell."

Tsang Fan-kwong, a senior medical officer at the Castle Peak Hospital, recalled a woman who tried to kill herself after a debt collector moved into the family home, demanding food every day until she paid her gambling debts.

"She couldn't stand it," Tsang said. The woman was rescued, then referred to him for treatment of clinical depression.

While a few big players run Hong Kong's debt collection services in a professional and ethical manner, many smaller, unscrupulous agencies employ hoodlums or poorly qualified people who work partly on commission.

In 2001, police received 1,959 reports of debt collectors resorting to such tactics as assault, arson, robbery, kidnapping, splashing paint on debtors' homes and jamming their door locks with glue.

In one particularly gruesome case, three men tortured and dismembered a 23-year-old nightclub hostess and stuffed her head inside a Hello Kitty doll. She allegedly owed $2,560. The men got life in prison.

Police statistics also showed a 118 percent increase in reports of non-criminal harassment tactics between 1999 and 2001.

In July, Hong Kong's Law Reform Commission proposed broadening the categories of harassment to be outlawed. "Many debt collectors are maneuvering in a gray area, and our recommendations aim to narrow that," said Cathy Wan, secretary of the commission's debt collection subcommittee.

Many Hong Kong lenders decline to discuss the issue, saying they know of no improper tactics by their debt collectors.

American Express Co. acknowledged receiving complaints from credit card holders about alleged crude phone calls from collectors. But it found no evidence of such calls in the records, said spokeswoman Catherine Lai.

The reform commission suggested establishing debt collection guidelines and licensing collectors, while allowing creditors to share more information about potential debtors to reduce bad loans.

Some debt collectors fear that would make their jobs harder, saying they already tend to recover only about 10 percent to 20 percent of the bad debts.

Bobby Rozario, co-founder of the debt collection company Communication Business Consulting Ltd., said a vague definition of criminal harassment would put collectors at great risk.

Benedict Wong, managing director of Total Credit Management Service Ltd., agreed.

"If you are talking about phone harassment, how would you define it?" he said. "The debtor could ... say he is threatened and humiliated even if a collector does it in a polite and professional manner."
New email from Cake! Hot...

>From: "CAKE"
>Subject: CAKE Byte - Three's a Crowd...
>Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2002 20:04:53 -0400
> CAKE Byte - Three's a Crowd...So Bring it On!
> Judging from YOUR responses to last week’s question - As a
>"straight" woman, what turns you on about a little girl on girl action? -
>women are very much testing the fluidity of sexual boundaries and
>exploration. [To check out your responses go to
> With all this talk about girl on girl action, it seems that
>women are making a stand on pleasure – living by a "give me pleasure or
>me death" sort of attitude. Like the "girl on girl" fantasy, the
>has long been the provenance of male sexual culture. But what about us
>girls? When it comes to threesomes, is three a crowd or do you say, "Bring
>it on!"?
> Our culture assumes that one of the biggest male fantasies out
>there is to get it on with at least two girls or more at once – right? That
>said, when flipped around, women too could get a lot of mileage out of
>with one partner at once. Let's explore. In our enlightened opinion, the
>threesome provides the following advantages for women. (Of course this
>is not exclusive, just a bit of written pondering...):
> 1. YOU are the center of ALL the attention.
> "My husband is in the Army, so we live on a military post. I
>spend all of my time surrounded with some of the best looking hard-bodied
>young men in the world. All different shapes, sizes, and races. My most
>secret fantasy is to be in my back yard, watching a whole company do their
>physical training. All of those hard sweaty bodies straining, working hard
>and I'd be standing naked in my yard watching them. Then they would finish
>their exercises, and go to leave. But a few, in the back of the formation
>would see me standing there, all hot and bothered from watching them, and
>come over to help me ease all that frustration. I would invite them in, all
>four of them. We'd get no farther than the living room when they'd surround
>me, touching, kissing, and licking whatever they could reach. I'd feel one
>of them sucking on each nipple, and the other two working between my legs,
>and admiring how wet they had made me."
> 2. You get to check out another person without jeopardizing
>your current relationship with your boyfriend (in fact, it might just add
>some flavor!)
> "I was having sex with my boyfriend in his room. It got so hot
>in the room and I needed a drink of water, so I got up to go to the
>When I opened the bedroom door, my boyfriend's roommate was standing there
>in his boxers only and listening to us. I caught him by surprise and at
>first, he tried to act cool, but when he saw me in my sheer and tiny
>nightie, he grabbed me and pinned me up against the wall. He was breathing
>heavy in my ear and whispering my name and he was trying to hold himself
>back but his hands were so desperate and his bare chest was so sexy and I
>could feel him against my thigh, I was so intensely aroused. I just stood
>there and let him pull my panties off. He didn't push himself inside me
>we just stayed like that for so long, as we kissed and he whispered into my
>ear "I want to come inside you so bad." In the heat of the moment, neither
>of us noticed my boyfriend standing in the doorway and watching us. My
>pounded with the intensity of the arousal and fear I was feeling. To my
>surprise, my boyfriend just stood there and started massaging hiself. I let
>out a gasp as his roommate entered me. One thing led to another and at the
>end of the night, I came so intensely as I sat on the roommate's lap and
>rode him with my back towards him as I gave my boyfriend the most
> 3. You get to be in control and wield some serious power.
> "It began with eye contact, me and another very hot, sexy
>Latina. We then see a man, a very hot man, and no words exchanged, we
>him. We are complete strangers. But we seduce this man and convince him to
>come home to my place. We then sit him on the sofa, and tell him he can't
>participate, just watch. He can masturbate, but can't break our flow. Then
>two of us start to kiss. Her lips are full and wet, and the kiss is long,
>sexy and passionate. I sit her in a chair. I start to slowly lick down her
>neck until I get to her cleavage. She is obviously getting excited, because
>she parts her legs and starts rubbing herself. I start to suck her nipples
>when all of the sudden I hear a moan form the sofa. She starts laughing
>because our voyeur is has his pants around his ankles. He begs to join us,
>and she says, "no please, let me enjoy this sexy thing all to myself."
> 4. You get to try something you’ve always wanted to, but were
>too shy to ask...until now.
> "It started when I moved abroad and met 4 great people: 2
>2 guys. My third week we all went away to the mountains for the weekend.
>Late the first night, we bought some gin and fake eyelashes. After a few
>drinks, we convinced the guys that it would be a bonding experience to put
>on the eyelashes. They did, and strangely enough it was a total turn on.
>power surrendered to us women by them was sexy. We had another beverage and
>decided to play truth or dare. It all started off innocently enough...strip
>for the group, etc. Then a truth question to the girls: have you made out
>with another girl...? I was the only one who hadn't. My next turn I opted
>for a dare in hopes of them making me kiss one of the girls. I was right.
>With her long, wavy hair, she crawled in close to me and leaned her head to
>the side. For the first time, I touched the lips of another woman with my
>own. Our tongues mingled like old friends and before long, I could feel
>another set of lips with ours. I opened my eyes to see that one of the guys
>had joined in. I backed off slightly and the third girl in our group took
>place while the final guy grabbed me tightly, threw me gently to the ground
>and quickly started to undress me. Someone turned off the lights, and from
>here it's hard to tell who was doing what to whom."
> So there you have it – 4 easy ways to inspire some good old
>threesome (or foursome) action. We know you've either tried it or wished
>you could. It is okay, CAKE still loves you in the morning, we just want
>you to kiss and tell us about it.
> Love,

I like to think if my girlfriend's mid-coital errand to get water somehow turned into against-the-wall-sex with my roommate, I would be man enough to kick them both out.nnI wonder, what was that incredible (*&@%*."?
Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching the MTV News Now Special Report: Who Killed Tupac? Inspired by a recent two-part series in th LA Times, which isn't available free online any more, the "special report" takes on the controversial theory that the Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls sponsored the death of Tupac Shakur. The narration by John Norris had the tone of Dan Rather discussing critics of the Warren Commission; essentially, the show tried to debunk any evidence that Smalls had anything to do with it. I was surprised by the tone; I'd thought that the Smalls theory was a fairly prominent one, but based on this special, it first surfaced a few weeks ago, and is a dangerous crackpot thing only shared by conspiracy theorists and LA Times reporters.

One of the allegations in the Times article was that Smalls was in Las Vegas when Shakur was killed. This leads to the report's funniest part, as two rappers offer identically-worded alibis for Smalls, apparently not realizing that saying the exact same thing to protect someone makes it less convincing, not moreso.

Faith Evans, like many a woman whose thuggish, unattractive husband came to an early end along with the marriage, has blossomed since Biggie's death. Man, what a hottie. She argues that a big star like her husband could never visit Las Vegas unnoticed. First, I suspect there are less B.I.G. fans in Las Vegas than she suspects. Second, there are probably less fans worldwide.

In conclusion, if one were to add up the IQs of all the playas in this tragedy, the sum wouldn't exceed room temperature.
File under "Not Aging Well"

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Watched the new Treat Williams vehicle Everwood last night. Thee's somethign satisfying about a show that predictable. My dad was laughing at loud when the teen couple visited the boyfriend who turned out to be the brain-dead boyfriend. He laughed because my sister and I predicted it ten minutes before.
Commemorating the one year anniversary of the re-opening of the New York Stock Exchange after the September 11th attacks is colossally stupid and demonstrative of America's self-congratulatory fetishization of these attacks.
A frequent whine from Republicans and conservatives is that they are unjustly considered racist. They find this inexplicable and an intolerable affair for the party of Lincoln (although the complaint seems to be more that Blacks are ingrates, rather than that the party doesn't pursue racist policies). Maybe they should take a look at this amazing article from John Derbyshire in National Review Online. Relatively sensible thoughts about recent hububs about the word "niggardly" lead to nostalgia for the old fascist's youth, when he could use the word "nigger" freely:

Let me say, as a digression before proceeding further, that I do not cringe at the word "nigger." I am not in awe of it. I grew up with it, actually. Not the way low-class white southerners used to grow up with it, as a term of bitter contempt for people believed to be inferior; nor even as educated white northerners used to grow up with it, as a signifier of the supposed stupidity, backwardness, and cruelty of southern whites; but as an ordinary noun free of any emotional content. As a child, I used to pick teams for street games by chanting: "Eeeny meeny miny mo, catch a nigger by his toe." The school uniform for the girls-only secondary school in my provincial English town came in two prescribed colors, spelt out in a booklet handed out to parents of new students at least as late as the early 1960s: "sky blue and nigger brown."

Weren't those the days?
I have to agree with Andrew Sullivan, this is indeed the QUOTE FOR THE DAY: "Defense attorneys had asked the jury to spare Westerfield’s life by portraying the defendant as a family man who has contributed to society through his patented design work on devices used in medicine and other fields. Westerfield had no prior felony record and played an active role in the lives of his children and close friends, defense attorney Steven Feldman said. 'He’s a good man but for one three-day weekend of terror,' he said." - From MSNBC's account of the conviction of David Westerfield for kidnapping and killing a 7-year-old girl.

I an only hope for something like that on my tombstone.
Three months, and this is till my favorite review: FREE KITTEN
-Ecstatic Shithole
I wouldn't fuck Julie Cafritz with Steve Albini's shrivelled scabby carbunkled dick. Kim Gordon's hot, for someone old enough to be my grandmother. (Someone get some spackle for Lee Renaldo's face.-ed.) This record is worse than Washing Machine. I've never been to New York, but if this is what they listen to there, the whole fucking city can blow me.
In a pleasant change of pace, the two toddlers in arms on my flight yesterday were relatively well-behaved. The older boy, probably around 2 1/2, completely lost his dignity at one point, screaming and drooling when Mom left him with Dad to go to the bathroom. I wonder what Dad did to make the kid fear his supervision? Their eight month old daughter started eating the safety instructions. My sister commented that at least the little girl could amuse hereself. Yeah, I replied, that'll come in handy when she's sixteen and spending the night in jail.
Watched Resident Evil last night on DVD. Funny movie. It sucked pretty hard, although with a little intelligence and wit, it might have been a pretty good movie.

Milla Javovich is absolutely stunning. And in a stunning turnaround from zombie movie tradition, the tough black hero is mulched early on. But the movie is also strangely squeamish. It was rated R, right? Then why are they cutting away from a character's eminent decapitation, to the other characters looking away in disgust? Especially in a movie where we find out near the end that Ms. Javovich shaves her public hair?

Here's one improvement they could have made: The scene where Milla is confronted by the pack of mutant zombie dogs, it would have been a lot better had she turned around and they were all sitting, wagging their tails before attaking.

That's why I should be writing screenplays.
Pictures of the long awaited new Quentin Tarantino flick, Kill Bill, are popping up. This movie could absolutely suck, or it could absolutely rock.

Uma Thurman with a sword. A Japanese rock band/hit squad. The chick from Battle Royale. I'm leaning toward rock.
According to this article in today's New York Times, "Officials with Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost more people than any other company in the World Trade Center attack, have concluded that the federal fund meant to compensate survivors of victims is unfair, violates several laws and threatens to shortchange the families of its 658 slain employees by hundreds of millions of dollars."

For example, "Under [government] projections, the family of a 30-year-old broker at the firm who was earning roughly $110,000 on average over the last three years would be entitled to an award of roughly $3 million. Under the firm's formula, which uses gross income and a more bullish estimation of future earnings, the family should receive an award closer to $5 million. The award itself would not be taxed in either case."

"'As the victims' families, we have no choice but to wait until someone steps forward and challenge what we're stuck with," said David Chirls, whose wife, Catherine, was a banker at eSpeed, a division of Cantor. "So this is wonderful to hear that Cantor has done this.'

"Stuck with." I like that. A $3 million dollar award is somehow a screwing on a historical scale. I guess it is, in a sense, considering the government didn't pony up near that amount for the middle class employees disintegrated in the Murrah building. The articles notes that around 10% of the victims at Cantor were in the 98th income percentile nationally. My heart fucking bleeds.

Friday, September 13, 2002


Not quite. More like, GONE TO THE EAST COAST TO PUT MY DOG OF THIRTEEN YEARS TO SLEEP. But I'll be posting updates when I can throughout the next week, if only to preserve my momentum. Priorities, you know...

In the meantime, there's still a ton of shit on this site. Read, read, read.
200 visitors! Only took two weeks this time. Soon, I won't even bother getting excited...
I have got to see this movie. The trailer for Adaptation, the new Spike Jonze/Chalres Kaufman collaboration, is now up. I'm don't usually have a lot of patience for movies about writers writing, or filmmakers making films, but this looks pretty damn good. I might have been the only person in the world who liked Human Nature, so I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy this new one.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Holy shit, does Juliette Binoche look hot in this picture. Could the Twenty-First century at last have its Anna Karina? Thank God for the French.
My friend Emily's new underwear:
God help us. The Human Equine.

Tell me you didn't see this coming...

A "drooling, droopy-eyed" Nick Nolte was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol Wednesday after a police officer saw the actor's car swerving across a Malibu highway.

"The officer stopped the vehicle and found that Mr. Nolte at that point seemed completely out of it," Tang said. "He was drooling, (with) droopy eyes. He ... looked very much like he was under the influence."

Nolte was taken to a nearby sheriff's station and would probably be held there "for his own well-being" at least until the actor appeared to be more coherent, Tang said.

David Sedaris rawks.

A light rain began to fall, and just as I cleared my throat, Venus squatted in the grass, producing a mound of peanut-sized turds.

"Aren't you going to clean that up?" I asked.

Paul pointed to the ground and whistled for the Great Dane, who thundered across the lawn and ate the feces in one bite.

"Tell me that was an accident." I said.

"Accident, hell. I got this motherfucker trained," he said.

"Sometimes he'll stick his nose to her ass and just eat that shit on tap."

I thought of my brother standing in his backyard training a dog to eat shit and realized I'll probably continue thinking about it until the day I die. Forget the tears and brotherly speeches, this was the stuff that memories are made of.

The Great Dane licked his lips and searched the grass for more.

"What was it you were going to say?" Paul asked.

"Oh, nothing."

From Roger Ebert: There was sadness Monday night at the dinner before Mike Leigh's All or Nothing, because Leigh and his actors, Timothy Spall and Leslie Manville, had worked with and loved the great actress Katrin Cartlidge. She died Saturday, at 41, suddenly, of septicemia resulting from pneumonia; she had been in hospital only two days. Cartlidge, an actress of power and grace, starred for Leigh in "Naked," "Career Girls" and "Topsy-Turvy," and took courageous chances in Lars von Trier's "Breaking the Waves" and Lodge Kerrigan's "Claire Dolan."

Cartlidge was an actress I always wished to see more of, and always wondered why I couldn't. She was an amazing presence in Breaking the Waves, which is where I first noticed her, and was so good in other roles I didn't realize she was playing them. I'm sorry she isn't getting much more of an obituary than this. Phenominal actress.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Stay out of downtown on the 11th. It's going to be a little... uh... smoggy...

From: David G Miller
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001
To: Brian Gunn

Subject: You okay?
DM: Is this it?
BG: I'm good. I left my office after I heard another plane went missing and I realized that my window has a perfect view of the FBI building.
DM: Fuck, this shit is crazy.
BG: Incredible. Think of the planning, resources, and balls that went into these attacks. Fucking incredible.
Downtown D.C. is a state of martial law. Guys with machine guns are all over the place. Chevy suburbans that usually have dark windows rolled up have their windows down with gun barrels exposed. As I said, I left the office when I heard that another plane was missing and it dawned on me that my window overlooks the FBI building. I'm home now and am fine. Our damages expert in this case I'm working on -- who I have been working with for the last week -- was on the 15th floor of Two World Financial Center.
DM: Government officials are yammering on about how they're going to track down those responsible, and I'm thinking, aren't those resposible dead? The assumption at this point is Bin Laden, I've heard, and just imagine the hassle bringing him in.
I'm just amazed and relieved nobody coordinated a nuclear bomb while they were at it. Obviously, they're ready, willing and capable.
I think we can very happy there's a Republican in the White House right now.
BG: I just talked to a friend of mine who was at the Pentagon when the plane crashed into it. He said it was like an earthquake, and that as they evacuated, Secretary of State Rumsfeld -- who he has never seen -- was hauling ass out with everyone else.
A D.C. police officer told a group of people that the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania was shot down by a military aircraft. There have been sonic booms here all day from F-15s flying overhead -- evidently they had standing orders to shoot down any aircraft that didn't have a military escort.
Got this from Pam:
I'm okay, very shaken up. I was two blocks away. Saw the whole thing
and watched the building turned into a fireball. The second plane hit and
came from above our building and passed in front of our window. It was
like slow motion. I could see it slowly hit. Watched about 10 people
jump from 100 floors above. Was yanked into the hallway when the building
fell and our windows were shot out. We ended up having to sit in a room
outside the lobby with our faces covered with towels with the wounded
being worked on. They finally let us walk home but it ws terrible. We
had to hold hands and walk through the cloud to get out. It was so
horrible. A lot of people have kids at the daycare at WT1, it was the
major daycare center for downtown. When the building collapsed we were so
stunned and sat in the hallway then I heard the women on our floor
screaming that their children were dead. Awful. Who would do something
like this? Just really in shock right now.
This bit of ridiculousness deserves to be quoted in full. What a bunch of fags. For the records, I never attended this school.

Sept. 11, 2001, changed America forever.

In a time of tragedy, our nation and our campus banded together in one of the most stirring displays of unity ever seen. We gathered for prayer and meditation, mourning the loss of life and celebrating newfound heroes. We showed terrorists worldwide we would not, could not, be cowed.

Now, it is one year later. The events of Sept. 11 have resonated deep within our hearts and souls; they have become a part of our national consciousness. After Sept. 11, the meaning of "American" was defined in no uncertain terms.

An American was strong, an American was resolute, an American was brave. An American gave time and effort to assist those in need; an American took time to commemorate that which needed remembrance.

Here at WSU, we too are part of a large and dynamic community.

We are Cougars.

Being a Cougar is more than cheering at a football game or attending class at WSU. A Cougar is something much greater, much more profound.

A Cougar is brave. A Cougar knows when to do the right thing and does not let fear stand in the way.

A Cougar is strong. A Cougar knows true strength is not expressed in physical terms, but in strength of spirit.

A Cougar is the first to act out against injustice, knowing all too well the words of Martin Luther King Jr. are true: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

A Cougar values free speech. A Cougar models Voltaire's words: "I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

A Cougar values diversity. A Cougar knows our community is stronger for it and respects the differences of others.

A Cougar enjoys learning. A Cougar learns from books, from teachers, from real life.

A Cougar enjoys teaching. A Cougar shares knowledge with others, helping them to grow stronger.

A Cougar shows respect for our world. A Cougar knows our resources are limited and takes steps not to waste things needlessly.

A Cougar shows respect for our campus. A Cougar strives to keep our campus clean and well-maintained.

A Cougar honors commitments. A Cougar knows their word is the best bond and makes every effort to follow through.

A Cougar helps others. Whether volunteering for charity or just holding the door open, a Cougar believes in giving cheerfully.

A Cougar stands tall and proud, looking adversity in the eye and challenging it.

More than 16,000 students attend this university.

We come from all over the world, from all walks of life. We have different personalities and different goals.

But what ties us together is the sense of Cougar pride that made us a family on Sept. 11 - the kind of family that sticks together through tough times.

While the World Trade Center and the Pentagon burned and crumbled in the East, people on the West Coast could do nothing but watch in shock and horror.

As the week wore on, students at WSU rebounded from their shock to come together and support each other.

To take the hand of a stranger during a prayer vigil.

To walk next to someone from biology or English class during a procession to Reaney Park.

To light a candle in honor of the lost loved ones of a fraternity brother or neighbor across the hall.

To stop for a moment of silence on the Mall, sharing in the pain of others.

To become a family of Cougars.

One year ago today, a group of terrorists boarded planes in New York and New Jersey.

They drove our planes into buildings with the intention of shattering America.

They did anything but.

WSU students did not let the spirit and pride of America be lost.

Blue ribbons replaced sorority pins while red, white and blue dressed residence hall windows and candlelight lit the dark autumn nights.

And through it all, our flag flew proud.

WSU students did not allow a solitary act of hatred to bring us down. Did not allow our pride as Americans, as Cougars, to wane.

For a Cougar truly bleeds crimson.

We stood tall.

We continue to stand tall as we move on.

But we never will forget.

Jennifer Jackson and Rob Keenan,

for the editorial board

Here is my September 11 commemorative piece. It is more or less in fragments, because while I was supposed to be working on it, I was busy trying to arrange a flight back to Maryland to put down my dog of 13 years. I finished up the end a bit; you can see my bad mood growing by the conclusion. Meanwhile, my boss is listening to some dreadful choral music, typing with tears streaming down her face. Fuck you.

Breakdown, by Bill Gertz, is one of many tomes (and there will probably be many more) doing a Rashomon on the greatest tragedy to ever befall any group in human history. I am, of course, talking about George Lucas’ announcement that he will not make a third Star Wars trilogy.

Gertz’ thesis isn’t exactly honest. While it purports to be an expose on the “intelligence failures [that] led to September 11” it is actually a criticism of Democrat policy-makers in Congress and the White House, and their appointees, who, blinded by political correctness, allowed our once great spy agencies go to the dogs. This book could have been written before September 11th (it might well have existed as a first draft), and has in fact been written before September 11th, many times. It’s just those attacks are used as a political club.

Basically, Gertz argues that we’ve hamstrung our intelligence efforts, ignoring national secirity for the sake of some liberal nicey-nice ideal. He made me all misty-eyed for the days when the CIA assassinated Castro. Oh, wait.

Among his criticisms: because the CIA is not allowed to use assets with human rights abuses on their rap sheet, they are no longer able to infiltrate grops like Al Quada. It's not like someone like John Walker could, right? Of course, he had the advantage, being a young, white college student (to Gertz' credit, he acknowledges this, although I wouldn't be surprised if he said it was impossible a year ago). Gertz complains that is like forbidding the FBI from using Mob informants (I was sort of surprised by that anology; Gertz strikes me as someone who would deny there was a Mafie). Not exactly. It’s more like forbidding the FBI from teaming up with the Gambino Family to whack a New Jersey mayor who’s not cooperating with the unions. I bet an honest bureaucratic reading of the regulations in question would allow the CIA to use "mole" assets; they just wouldn't be able to overthow Allende again. Or work with death squads to whack American nuns in El Salvador. You know, sissy pinko shit like that.

My favorite example in the book of evidence ignored: Executive Decision, the Steven Segal-Kurt Russell actioner from a few years back, which I, like so many people, didn’t see. Apparenlty, this piece of cinematic hackwork should have been a real wake-up call for national security operatives. If only we had listened!


The events of September 11th reverted a lot of us to our lizard brains, some more or less immediately; Tom Clancy was on the air within hours smugly reminding the consumers watching CNN that he predicted a high-jacked airliner crashing into the White House in a book that was available at supermarkets everywhere, and of course Ann Coulter was calling for us to go literally Medieval on the Middle East with a revived crusade. Of course, some of us managed to snap out of it. Most of the people on camera, sensing the opportunity to shill some books, make a buck, or strip Americans of their civil liberties (do they get a cash bonus for that?)

The biggest disappointment has been the reaction of the left. I could give or take the right-wingers. Assholes, to a one. But as a long-time anarchist and lefty, I’ve been slack-jawed at the response of what I used to think as the common sense left. I have to agree with Christopher Hitchens in this interview: for so long they’ve been used to being the opposition that the Left can’t acknowledge when the evil right-wing powers that be are doing something right, in this case the overthrow of the Taliban.

I’m not a born-again Republican here. There’s overwhelming evidence that the War On Terrorism will become a massive cluster-fuck, and a lot of time for it to happen. But taking things one step at a time, it’s hard to objectively argue with going in to Afghanistan, toppling the Taliban and installing a new government. Ironically, this was exactly the sort of intervention the Left was calling for when the Taliban was taking bazookas to all those staues. Naturally, the new government in Afghanistan will be a different bunch of fascist psychotics, but they won’t be religious fascist psychotics.

Which touches on the why everyone hates America. Because in every opportunity since the end of World War Two, when faced in the Third World with a choice between supporting indigenous popular democracy and propping up a tyranny with a homicidal madman at the helm (and that we think this is our choice at all is part of the problem.) we’ve taken the madman every time.

I wouldn’t agree with people who say America has gone to hell with our good intentions. Our intentions are rarely good. But I can’t agree with the Chomsky Left, perpetually attacking the Great Satan we live in. One of my co-workers complained last year that America was just as bad as Taliban-led Afghanistan; Noting that I’m the only man in the office, I observed I was also most likely the only one who was circumcised. And yes, the death penalty is bad; it’s just about the worst thing about American society, but luckily that puts us light-yards ahead of a society that practices gang-rape as a form of criminal punishment. America doesn't have any right to march 'round the world making decisions for others, but we do have a responsibility to correct the wrongs we've inflicted, such as propping up the Taliban, or even Saddam Hussein.


Call me a starry-eyed dreamer, but I like to think if the hijackers knew their attack would cause an endless spasm of self-pity on their target’s behalf, they may well have reconsidered. Who would have thought the day would ever have come when the mass of braying, assholish New Yorkers would grow a moral high ground? And wasn't DC attacked, too? Maybe not...

That's what gets me. We're the fourth largest country in the world, we consume something like 80% of the world's resources, we pretty much can do whatever we want, and yet Americans whine because a statistically insignificant portion of our population was disintegrated along with a famously ugly piece of real estate. Harsh? Yes, but try living in Jerusalem for a couple weeks, where on a weekly basis teenage girls strap themselves with dynamite and ball bearings, put on their make up and head over to the market to blow up some Isrealis. That's terrorism. The USA is fundamentally impervious to terrorism, becuase we are such a large, populous country. Maybe for a few days last year a jet overhead could make us shiver, but that feeling is gone, despite the best efforts of the government and the media to keep it on us. In Seattle, one can see the locals a little jealous even; we're a world class city with three pro sports teams, and we deserve some worl-class terrorism, too. Here, they still regurgitate the news about that terrorist arrested at the Canadian border 30 months ago, never mentioning he was on his way to California to blow some shit up there, and imply instead that the Space Needle was the target. New York and Washington, DC are very far away.


I used to be basically pro-terrorism. Not in favor of civilians getting killed or anything, and certainly not of my country being attacked, but as a method of warfare that allows the little guy to compete, bring it on. When the US bombed two cities in Japan in 1945, and said they would continue destroying cities until Japan surrendered, that was terrorism. When the US bombed civilian populations in Iraq and Vietnam, that was terrorism. The acts were designed, not for military advantage, but to demopralize the population and hopefully their leaders would surrender. That's what terrorists do, on a smaller scale, against us. At this point, I think it is an ineffective strategy. Japan may have surrendered, but Vietnam didn't, Iraq hasn't, and America won't.


I suppose I’m not one to talk, adding as I am to the noise surrounding this anniversary. Jesus, my boss was commenting last week how “eerie” it was that her milk expired that day. I didn’t think it was odd at all, except that I had bought some milk the night before, and it expired on the 16th. So she got kind of ripped off.

I'll follow up later today with some ha-ha-hilarious email I exchanged with my old roommate who worked in DC, a year ago today.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Glengarry Glen Ross arrives on dvd November 19th! Yahoo!

Blake: Let me have your attention for a moment! So you're talking about what? You're talking about...(puts out his cigarette)...bitching about that sale you shot, some son of a bitch that doesn't want to buy, somebody that doesn't want what you're selling, some broad you're trying to screw and so forth. Let's talk about something important. Are they all here?

Williamson: All but one.

Blake: Well, I'm going anyway. Let's talk about something important! (to Levene) Put that coffee down!! Coffee's for closers only. (Levene scoffs) Do you think I'm fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I'm here from downtown. I'm here from Mitch and Murray. And I'm here on a mission of mercy. Your name's Levene?

Levene: Yeah.

Blake: You call yourself a salesman, you son of a bitch?

Moss: I don't have to listen to this shit.

Blake: You certainly don't pal. 'Cause the good news is -- you're fired. The bad news is you've got, all you got, just one week to regain your jobs, starting tonight. Starting with tonights sit. Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. 'Cause we're adding a little something to this months sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anyone want to see second prize? Second prize's a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired. You get the picture? You're laughing now? You got leads. Mitch and Murray paid good money. Get their names to sell them! You can't close the leads you're given, you can't close shit, you ARE shit, hit the bricks pal and beat it 'cause you are going out!!!

Levene: The leads are weak.

Blake: 'The leads are weak.' Fucking leads are weak? You're weak. I've been in this business fifteen years.

Moss: What's your name?

Blake: FUCK YOU, that's my name!! You know why, Mister? 'Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove a eighty thousand dollar BMW. That's my name!! (to Levene) And your name is "you're wanting." And you can't play in a man's game. You can't close them. (at a near whisper) And you go home and tell your wife your troubles. (to everyone again) Because only one thing counts in this life! Get them to sign on the line which is dotted! You hear me, you fucking faggots?

(Blake flips over a blackboard which has two sets of anagrams on it: ABC, and AIDA.)

Blake: A-B-C. A-always, B-be, C-closing. Always be closing! Always be closing!! A-I-D-A. Attention, interest, decision, action. Attention -- do I have your attention? Interest -- are you interested? I know you are because it's fuck or walk. You close or you hit the bricks! Decision -- have you made your decision for Christ?!! And action. A-I-D-A; get out there!! You got the prospects comin' in; you think they came in to get out of the rain? Guy doesn't walk on the lot unless he wants to buy. Sitting out there waiting to give you their money! Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it? (to Moss) What's the problem pal? You. Moss.

Moss: You're such a hero, you're so rich. Why you coming down here and waste your time on a bunch of bums?

(Blake sits and takes off his gold watch)

Blake: You see this watch? You see this watch? Moss: Yeah. Blake: That watch cost more than your car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see, pal, that's who I am. And you're nothing. Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you -- go home and play with your kids!! (to everyone) You wanna work here? Close!! (to Aaronow) You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can't take this -- how can you take the abuse you get on a sit?! You don't like it -- leave. I can go out there tonight with the materials you got, make myself fifteen thousand dollars! Tonight! In two hours! Can you? Can you? Go and do likewise! A-I-D-A!! Get mad! You sons of bitches! Get mad!! You know what it takes to sell real estate? (He pulls something out of briefcase) It takes brass balls to sell real estate.

(That's what he's now holding, two brass balls on string, over the appropriate "area"--he puts them away after a pause)

Blake: Go and do likewise, gents. The money's out there, you pick it up, it's yours. You don't--I have no sympathy for you. You wanna go out on those sits tonight and close, close, it's yours. If not you're going to be shining my shoes. Bunch of losers sitting around in a bar. (in a mocking weak voice) "Oh yeah, I used to be a salesman, it's a tough racket." (he takes out large stack of red index cards tied together with string from his briefcase) These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you, they're gold. Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. (he hands the stack to Williamson) They're for closers. I'd wish you good luck but you wouldn't know what to do with it if you got it. (to Moss as he puts on his watch again) And to answer your question, pal: why am I here? I came here because Mitch and Murray asked me to, they asked me for a favor. I said, the real favor, follow my advice and fire your fucking ass because a loser is a loser.

(He stares at Moss for a sec, and then picking up his briefcase, goes into inner office with Williamson)

And check out the Glengarry Glen Ross mix!
Police Investigate 'Buzz' Aldrin

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Detectives are investigating a complaint that retired astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin punched a man in the face after being asked to swear on a Bible that he'd been to the moon.

Good. He needs to be called to the carpet more often. Fucking hoaxer.
Email of the day: My leadership training was alright. We had to go around the room and introduce ourselves (new groups) and tell one outside of work interest. Out of 12 people, 9 of them cited their kid as their outside interest. It was kind of freaking me out. I said I'm making a short film, one guy said he's making 100 pounds of sausage for Octoberfest, and Amy Wilson said she's closing on a house. Everyone else was their kid. One woman came in late and they asked her to tell her name & outside interest, and she was like "um... um... hmmm...", and Sandy said "it can be family, a hobby, etc", and then she was like "Oh, I have four kids".
"Yeah, keep booing," Eminem said. Appearing to look in Moby's direction, he added, "I will hit a man with glasses."
I guess this week in the Onion has a theme for some reason:

Bush Won't Stop Asking Cheney If We Can Invade Yet

Second Birthday In A Row Ruined By Terrorism

Funny, funny stuff.
Just an announcement: As of September 9, 2002, Freddy Prinze. Jr. moved from my shit list to my enemies list. I call a jihad. Your days are numbered, asshole. Watch yourself.
I have a real fear my obituary will read like this.

Steven Miles lived alone except for his cats and his books.

He rarely spoke. He never drove. Often he took the bus.

"His cats were his family. He loved them, and he loved books."

Every room of Miles' modest home was filled from floor to ceiling with books and magazines, many that he had ordered from all parts of the world.

"Sometimes Steve would call to say he was going to be late because his books had tumbled over during the night, and he had to dig his way out to the front door," Brown said.

Brown said he probably knew Miles best because he had known him so long.

"But there really wasn't that much to know," Brown said.

"He smoked a pipe. He was originally from Kansas. He has an elderly aunt in Mound City, Kansas. He wasn't married, and he had no children.

"But he didn't mind his life. That's just who he was, and he was OK with that."
It had to happen: Ground Zero Theme Park!

Monday, September 09, 2002

I have to see this movie.
60 Minutes last night was a bit of a treat, with its "We Are Not Exploiting September 11th" coverage. I gave up, nauseated, after the second segment, when Leslie Stahl expressed her outrage that Saudi citizens were allowed to express anti-American sentiments1 Even when govenment officals are listening! How dare they! If Saudi Arabia is going to be such a repressive shit hole, the least they can do is squash people for criticizing the USA! Boy, what a repellent abuse of the little freedom the Saud's have, huh? I guess everyone misses the old days, when fascists regimes would obediaently whack anyone who spouted off in the wrong direction.

She's a great reporter, ain't she? I loved how she argued with a Saud-on-the-street over his attitude towards America. What happened to objective reporting? I realize this is the new American state, and I'm no fan of so-called impartial reporting, but would it have killed Stahl to simply have recorded the man's sentiments, rather than trying to convert the half dozen or so Saudi's she encountered outside her hotel room? Oh, right, if she had, she's be a traitor.

Another funny moment: Prince Al-Faisel's reassurance that education is Saudia Arabia is 85% hate-free. Awsome.

Friday, September 06, 2002

A blast from the past. Recently there was a contraversy in Washington state regarding the Jefferson Davis Highway. Usual arguments, blah blah blah. However, there was this gem of an editorial in the Seattle Times. Great opening: "JEFFERSON Davis was not somebody who ought to be celebrated by the state of Washington. He was a rebel, a Southerner and the president of a republic that championed slavery. Washingtonians were none of those things." See any irony there?

Great email of the day: yesterday, Sandy, a balding blond woman in her early 30s, celebrated the birthday of her married officemate, Ray, a filipino-American man in his late 20s, by giving him a small gift every hour on the hour. Then she presented him with a cake. Instead of "Happy Birthday" the words "Eat Me Ray" were scrawled on the cake in blue frosting.
10:27 a.m.: Double-size, steel primate/large-animal cages. "Get in there, it'll be a great photo!" Ryan says. Sigh. I do so. He takes pictures. Sigh again.

10:28 a.m.: "We got you in a primate cage, that's all that matters," Ryan chuckles evilly.

Student journalism from my alma mater, the incredibly shoddy, low standard Washington State University. This is a pretty good article.
I was having a shitty day yesterday. After I went home to drink myself into a stupor, the seemingly impossible task of ruining such a shitty day was accomplished by the discovery of the Mr. Potato Head comic strip.

Anti-christ Jim Davis is responsible, although his only contribution is probably to write checks to the poor bastard saddled with actually cartooning the awful fucking thing. The one bright spot in this eye-gouging-worthy discovery was a comment on the Comics Journal message board about how to improve the strip: "Or they could do like Jimmy Corrigan, and revisit the ugly memories of his aged grandpa. A pestilence could consume his whole family in 18th Century Ireland, and he could spend his days being hunted down by starving villagers."
Those whacky Brits 'ave brought back the codpiece, although, since they are British they've done it in the gayest way possible. Freaks.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

One-time mall pop princess Tiffany has killed herself in a sex and drugs sado-masochistic sucide pact.

Rest in peace...

Speaking of public freak shows named Tiffany, I had a dream the other night that one-time mall pop princess Tiffany had killed herself in a sex and drugs sado-masochistic sucide pact. Let me re-phrase that, so I can start an urban legend:

One-time mall pop princess Tiffany has killed herself in a sex and drugs sado-masochistic sucide pact.

Email that sentence to your friends. She will be missed. Did you know she once dated Jon Knight of New Kids on the Block?
For those of us in Seattle, the Seattle Weekly is the perpetually moribund dying sister among our free alternative papers. It caters to an aging demographic, despite desparately trying to reach a younger one. Their heart just isn't in it; they'd much rather be reviewing a concert by aging, overweight old hats like Heart or Queensryche than engaging in a living arts scene. And they're relentlessly stupid. The current issue has an editorial by their new editor. Actually, he used to be the editor, and now he's back, the third (I think) in two years, in another sign of a stable organization. After bragging about how the Weekly refused to cover grunge, the most interesting and influential trajectory in popular music since punk, and the first that could be called a successor to punk since then, he comments, "As Boeing left town and bit the hands that built it, I looked in vain for stories that challenged free trade's impact on local culture and its preservation." A bit of background: Boeing moved its headquarters to Chicago. Illinois is not a foreign country. NAFTA wasn't responsible. International free trade doesn't influence ecomonic movements withing sovereign states. Anyone who states otherwise is an idiot or a liar. The tragedy of the Weekly is that it doesn't matter.

Sometimes, they do deliver, as with this article, a denunciation of fire dancing. As an aging hipster, I find myself at many an alternakid event. At such a function, I once complained to a friend of mine that I was bored by the fire dancing, and he asked me why. I said was sick of seeing essentially the same show time after time. Now I can show him this article, which says it better. Unlike the article's author, I don't feel any sense of betrayal by the decline of fire dancing.

I'm always amazed by the arrogance and naivete of these people. Mostly young, mostly unestablished in some undefined artistic discipline, they all want to change the world and teach their peers, and think they and only they are the ones who can do so. They are convinced of the originality and importance of their art, and treat criticism as cynicism. Since their work is perfect already, they see no need to improve and develop. They will never be household names. The last such party I attended I didn't have the $10 to get in. I was self-righteously refused a free or reduced admission, because it was a fundraiser for them to go to Burning Man. I understand I don't have any right to crash parties for free. That's fine. Perfectly fair. But I do object to arrogant self-righteousness from punk kids who expect starngers to fund their vacation. That's bullshit.

The article has this great illustration by my good friend Pat Moriarty: