Monday, December 31, 2007

COUNTING DOWN...

Over the past few hours, I've busily been tying things off for the new year: ran some errands, wrote a grant application, paid for a prostitute, stiffed said prostitute, and replaced the headlamp on my car.

I've been putting that off for months, because the unholy Mazda 626 does not make changing a headlight as easy as it should be. With my old Volvo, changing the headlight took about ten seconds. It was always aimed crooked, but it was a fast process. With the Mazda, I had to screw off the air intake valve. What the fuck is that? Anyway, I had tio perform impromptu surgery to repair one of the connections, but otherwise,mission accomplished. Bring on the new year.

This was post 999. I'm cooking up something special for the millennial posting, so keep your eyes open for it later tonight or tomorrow.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007



While visitng my family in South Carolina, I discovered my nephew's toy stash included a lot of my old toy stash from the 80's. He's welcome to most of it, but I just had to reclaim Darkseid here for myself, especially after Jameson broke off the left arm right in front of me. A little superglue, and it looks just fine. I'm glad to have it back -- this is one toy I thought was gone forever.
OUR MOMENT IS NOW

I don't believe I have many Iowa readers -- or any, for that matter. I was a political science major in college, a misnomer if there ever was one, since politics is more about art and speculation. And so I developed a healthy cynicism for the sausage-making of our democracy. As an anarchist, I don't even like to vote, because like WEB Dubois, I feel that taking part legitimizes an abrogation of our freedom and responsibilities. But you can bet I'm voting this year. After eight years of historic incompetence, we need to use every tool at our disposal to fix things. We need someone to fix Iraq, or whatever the word is for what needs to happen there. We need to fix the military, whose members are currently the only group subject to a draft. We need to fix our government, which has mobilized itself at best to reward waste and incompetence, and insulate the president.

In 2004, the Democrats nominated John Kerry, out of misguided theories of electability and a belief that everyone hated Bush as much as they did. In short, they nominated Bob Dole. I made that observation several times in 2004, but not on the blog, so I can't prove it. Now Hillary Clinton has the buzz as the safe choice, for reasons I can't quite understand.

Now is the time to vote without fear, or anger, or thoughts of revenge. The policy wonk in me hates to say it, but we need to vote our hopes. Any reader of this blog knows I lack respect for most on the Right -- and on the Left as well. That's all fine, because I'm not running the country. It's time for a leader for the entire country.

We don't need another president who freely sneers at the people of Massachusetts. We don't need a president who will pay back the right for Bill Clinton's impeachment. Conservatives like Obama, because he listens to them, and greets their policy differences with respect. I've had enough of a president who rolls his eyes as the opposition. The United States doesn't need payback for eight years of delusional wingnuttery. We need to repair. And we need to work together to do it. Vote Obama.



Des Moines, IA | December 27, 2007

Ten months ago, I stood on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, and began an unlikely journey to change America.

I did not run for the presidency to fulfill some long-held ambition or because I believed it was somehow owed to me. I chose to run in this election - at this moment - because of what Dr. King called "the fierce urgency of now." Because we are at a defining moment in our history. Our nation is at war. Our planet is in peril. Our health care system is broken, our economy is out of balance, our education system fails too many of our children, and our retirement system is in tatters.

At this defining moment, we cannot wait any longer for universal health care. We cannot wait to fix our schools. We cannot wait for good jobs, and living wages, and pensions we can count on. We cannot wait to halt global warming, and we cannot wait to end this war in Iraq.

I chose to run because I believed that the size of these challenges had outgrown the capacity of our broken and divided politics to solve them; because I believed that Americans of every political stripe were hungry for a new kind of politics, a politics that focused not just on how to win but why we should, a politics that focused on those values and ideals that we held in common as Americans; a politics that favored common sense over ideology, straight talk over spin.

Most of all, I believed in the power of the American people to be the real agents of change in this country - because we are not as divided as our politics suggests; because we are a decent, generous people willing to work hard and sacrifice for future generations; and I was certain that if we could just mobilize our voices to challenge the special interests that dominate Washington and challenge ourselves to reach for something better, there was no problem we couldn't solve - no destiny we couldn't fulfill.

Ten months later, Iowa, you have vindicated that faith. You've come out in the blistering heat and the bitter cold not just to cheer, but to challenge - to ask the tough questions; to lift the hood and kick the tires; to serve as one place in America where someone who hasn't spent their life in the Washington spotlight can get a fair hearing.

You've earned the role you play in our democracy because no one takes it more seriously. And I believe that's true this year more than ever because, like me, you feel that same sense of urgency.

All across this state, you've shared with me your stories. And all too often they've been stories of struggle and hardship.

I've heard from seniors who were betrayed by CEOs who dumped their pensions while pocketing bonuses, and from those who still can't afford their prescriptions because Congress refused to negotiate with the drug companies for the cheapest available price.

I've met Maytag workers who labored all their lives only to see their jobs shipped overseas; who now compete with their teenagers for $7-an-hour jobs at Wal-Mart.

I've spoken with teachers who are working at donut shops after school just to make ends meet; who are still digging into their own pockets to pay for school supplies.

Just two weeks ago, I heard a young woman in Cedar Rapids who told me she only gets three hours of sleep because she works the night shift after a full day of college and still can't afford health care for a sister with cerebral palsy. She spoke not with self-pity but with determination, and wonders why the government isn't doing more to help her afford the education that will allow her to live out her dreams.

I've spoken to veterans who talk with pride about what they've accomplished in Afghanistan and Iraq, but who nevertheless think of those they've left behind and question the wisdom of our mission in Iraq; the mothers weeping in my arms over the memories of their sons; the disabled or homeless vets who wonder why their service has been forgotten.

And I've spoken to Americans in every corner of the state, patriots all, who wonder why we have allowed our standing in the world to decline so badly, so quickly. They know this has not made us safer. They know that we must never negotiate out of fear, but that we must never fear to negotiate with our enemies as well as our friends. They are ashamed of Abu Graib and Guantanamo and warrantless wiretaps and ambiguity on torture. They love their country and want its cherished values and ideals restored.

It is precisely because you've experience these frustrations, and seen the cost of inaction in your own lives, that you understand why we can't afford to settle for the same old politics. You know that we can't afford to allow the insurance lobbyists to kill health care reform one more time, and the oil lobbyists to keep us addicted to fossil fuels because no one stood up and took their power away when they had the chance.

You know that we can't afford four more years of the same divisive food fight in Washington that's about scoring political points instead of solving problems; that's about tearing your opponents down instead of lifting this country up.

We can't afford the same politics of fear that tells Democrats that the only way to look tough on national security is to talk, act, and vote like George Bush Republicans; that invokes 9/11 as a way to scare up votes instead of a challenge that should unite all Americans to defeat our real enemies.

We can't afford to be so worried about losing the next election that we lose the battles we owe to the next generation.

The real gamble in this election is playing the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expecting a different result. And that's a risk we can't take. Not this year. Not when the stakes are this high.

In this election, it is time to turn the page. In seven days, it is time to stand for change.

This has been our message since the beginning of this campaign. It was our message when we were down, and our message when we were up. And it must be catching on, because in these last few weeks, everyone is talking about change.

But you can't at once argue that you're the master of a broken system in Washington and offer yourself as the person to change it. You can't fall in line behind the conventional thinking on issues as profound as war and offer yourself as the leader who is best prepared to chart a new and better course for America.

The truth is, you can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience. Mine is rooted in the real lives of real people and it will bring real results if we have the courage to change. I believe deeply in those words. But they are not mine. They were Bill Clinton's in 1992, when Washington insiders questioned his readiness to lead.

My experience is rooted in the lives of the men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I fought for as an organizer when the local steel plant closed. It's rooted in the lives of the people I stood up for as a civil rights lawyer when they were denied opportunity on the job or justice at the voting booth because of what they looked like or where they came from. It's rooted in an understanding of how the world sees America that I gained from living, traveling, and having family beyond our shores - an understanding that led me to oppose this war in Iraq from the start. It's experience rooted in the real lives of real people, and it's the kind of experience Washington needs right now.

There are others in this race who say that this kind of change sounds good, but that I'm not angry or confrontational enough to get it done.

Well, let me tell you something, Iowa. I don't need any lectures on how to bring about change, because I haven't just talked about it on the campaign trail. I've fought for change all my life.

I walked away from a job on Wall Street to bring job training to the jobless and after school programs to kids on the streets of Chicago.

I turned down the big money law firms to win justice for the powerless as a civil rights lawyer.

I took on the lobbyists in Illinois and brought Democrats and Republicans together to expand health care to 150,000 people and pass the first major campaign finance reform in twenty-five years; and I did the same thing in Washington when we passed the toughest lobbying reform since Watergate. I'm the only candidate in this race who hasn't just talked about taking power away from lobbyists, I've actually done it. So if you want to know what kind of choices we'll make as President, you should take a look at the choices we made when we had the chance to bring about change that wasn't easy or convenient.

That's the kind of change that's more than just rhetoric - that's change you can believe in.

It's change that won't just come from more anger at Washington or turning up the heat on Republicans. There's no shortage of anger and bluster and bitter partisanship out there. We don't need more heat. We need more light. I've learned in my life that you can stand firm in your principles while still reaching out to those who might not always agree with you. And although the Republican operatives in Washington might not be interested in hearing what we have to say, I think Republican and independent voters outside of Washington are. That's the once-in-a-generation opportunity we have in this election.

For the first time in a long time, we have the chance to build a new majority of not just Democrats, but Independents and Republicans who've lost faith in their Washington leaders but want to believe again - who desperately want something new.

We can change the electoral math that's been all about division and make it about addition - about building a coalition for change and progress that stretches through Blue States and Red States. That's how I won some of the reddest, most Republican counties in Illinois. That's why the polls show that I do best against the Republicans running for President - because we're attracting more support from Independents and Republicans than any other candidate. That's how we'll win in November and that's how we'll change this country over the next four years.

In the end, the argument we are having between the candidates in the last seven days is not just about the meaning of change. It's about the meaning of hope. Some of my opponents appear scornful of the word; they think it speaks of naivete, passivity, and wishful thinking.

But that's not what hope is. Hope is not blind optimism. It's not ignoring the enormity of the task before us or the roadblocks that stand in our path. Yes, the lobbyists will fight us. Yes, the Republican attack dogs will go after us in the general election. Yes, the problems of poverty and climate change and failing schools will resist easy repair. I know - I've been on the streets, I've been in the courts. I've watched legislation die because the powerful held sway and good intentions weren't fortified by political will, and I've watched a nation get mislead into war because no one had the judgment or the courage to ask the hard questions before we sent our troops to fight.

But I also know this. I know that hope has been the guiding force behind the most improbable changes this country has ever made. In the face of tyranny, it's what led a band of colonists to rise up against an Empire. In the face of slavery, it's what fueled the resistance of the slave and the abolitionist, and what allowed a President to chart a treacherous course to ensure that the nation would not continue half slave and half free. In the face of war and Depression, it's what led the greatest of generations to free a continent and heal a nation. In the face of oppression, it's what led young men and women to sit at lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through the streets of Selma and Montgomery for freedom's cause. That's the power of hope - to imagine, and then work for, what had seemed impossible before.

That's the change we seek. And that's the change you can stand for in seven days.

We've already beaten odds that the cynics said couldn't be beaten. When we started ten months ago, they said we couldn't run a different kind of campaign.

They said we couldn't compete without taking money from Washington lobbyists. But you proved them wrong when we raised more small donations from more Americans than any other campaign in history.
They said we couldn't be successful if we didn't have the full support of the establishment in Washington. But you proved them wrong when we built a grassroots movement that could forever change the face of American politics.

They said we wouldn't have a chance in this campaign unless we resorted to the same old negative attacks. But we resisted, even when we were written off, and ran a positive campaign that pointed out real differences and rejected the politics of slash and burn.

And now, in seven days, you have a chance once again to prove the cynics wrong. In seven days, what was improbable has the chance to beat what Washington said was inevitable. And that's why in these last weeks, Washington is fighting back with everything it has -- with attack ads and insults; with distractions and dishonesty; with millions of dollars from outside groups and undisclosed donors to try and block our path.

We've seen this script many times before. But I know that this time can be different.

Because I know that when the American people believe in something, it happens.

If you believe, then we can tell the lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over.

If you believe, then we can stop making promises to America's workers and start delivering - jobs that pay, health care that's affordable, pensions you can count on, and a tax cut for working Americans instead of the companies who send their jobs overseas .

If you believe, we can offer a world-class education to every child, and pay our teachers more, and make college dreams a reality for every American.

If you believe, we can save this planet and end our dependence on foreign oil.

If you believe, we can end this war, close Guantanamo, restore our standing, renew our diplomacy, and once again respect the Constitution of the United States of America .

That's the future within our reach. That's what hope is - that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better is waiting for us around the corner. But only if we're willing to work for it and fight for it. To shed our fears and our doubts and our cynicism. To glory in the task before us of remaking this country block by block, precinct by precinct, county by county, state by state.

There is a moment in the life of every generation when, if we are to make our mark on history, this spirit must break through

This is the moment.

This is our time.

And if you will stand with me in seven days - if you will stand for change so that our children have the same chance that somebody gave us; if you'll stand to keep the American dream alive for those who still hunger for opportunity and thirst for justice; if you're ready to stop settling for what the cynics tell you you must accept, and finally reach for what you know is possible, then we will win this caucus, we will win this election, we will change the course of history, and the real journey - to heal a nation and repair the world - will have truly begun.

Thank you.
I joked to my sister yesterday that Bush's response to Benizar Bhutto's assassination would be to offer condolences and suggest Pakistan invade a random country. Turns out my prediction was pretty close, only Bill Richardson who said it, and he was advocating the US response.
HOLIDAY DOG BLOGGING

Visits with my family are complicated the by presence of a pack of dogs. My parents have three, and my little sister one. There's a total of 250 pounds of dog at their house during the holidays, more than 80% of which is taken up by the two labs. It was nice my first night there -- every time I turned around, a new dog was looking at me affectionately. I certainly felt welcome.



Angel is what could be described as a Sumatran Rat Terrier. I was never ready with a camera when she was properly ratty and pathetic. She is one unattractive dog. It's hard to capture in a photo, but she always looks soaking wet. My father attributes it to the special fur meant to guarantee a shiny coat -- he says it makes her look greasy. I disagree -- she looks wet.

My mother protests when I mock the thing, arguing that Angel is a true sweetheart. And I agree. Angel brings me joy -- I laughed with pleasure almost every time I laid eyes her. And that's okay.



Now onto the series of black dogs. Emma here is the senior pet (Angel is older, but Emma got there first). She is a mutt with a brilliant concept -- she's like a half-size lab. Loads of personality on this one. She sleeps on the back of couches, a habit she picked up from cats. She likes to growl and bark at anyone who walks by on the street. She has a deep and menacing growl. And she's little, so it's hilarious.



And here we have Tyrone, my little sister's pride and joy. Almost three years old, he arrived six months before my nephew Jameson, making him the first grandchild in some eyes. He is a pathetic mama's boy. He is full of the fear of my sister. He only visited the house -- he's an only child at home. He had a few problems getting socialized with the other big black dog (see below). Tyrone paced nervously whenever my sister prepared to go somewhere -- he was afraid he would be left behind for a month, as happens during the summer. He prefers being an only child.



Zak is the newest member of the clan, adopted in July when my father was on vacation and unable to object. He's a big dog, with a face speckled by white scars from a mis-spent youth spent kicking ass. With Tyler's passing earlier in the year, it was sure nice to have a galootish lab to hang out with. Zack has funny habits -- he followed Tyrone around when they were outside going to the bathroom, making sure to mark on Tyrone's spot. He was also demanding of attention -- I could not be in the same room with him without Zack forcing his head under my hand for a rub down.

I imagined Tyrone first meeting Zack, and wondering first: What am I doing over there?

And Zack probably thought the same thing.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

And hopefully i am not

And hopefully i am not jinxing myself, but i am grateful for the delay, as it means my flight is not cancelled, which is happening a lot.

AIRPORT BLOGGING YO my flight

AIRPORT BLOGGING YO
my flight was delayed 55 minutes, but i'm counting my blessings. two expensive beers and a painkiller and i'm flying hi.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I AM BRINGING THE WRATH OF BLOG DOWN ON ATLANTIC BROADBAND

On my last night in Aiken, South Carolina, where I visited my parents for Christmas, we tried to order Knocked Up on Pay Per View. As it turns out, we could only order it for 10:30 PM on January 4th. Seriously. That's a week and a half later. Meanwhile there were more channels with porn (Teen Hitchhikers 5 -- and I thought they exhausted the plot arc back in III) and professional wrestling than actual movies. It's like they are catering to an entirely different human race than the one to which I belong.

On the bright side, our top alternative was 16 Candles, which I had been meaning to re-watch for a while. I noticed I've used at least two lines from the movie in my own films.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Meet Angel, my parents' Sumatran Rat Terrier.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I can't believe it only just now occurred to me to look of Wikipedia's entry on the French New Wave.
Jim Massey makes my Christmas by asking a brilliant question:
What lyric implies that he's in a drunk tank, on Christmas eve?

STOP THE PRESSES



Yaphet Koto is running for President.

From this profile of various independent candidates:

Yaphet Kotto, for those of you who don't spend hours browsing IMDb, is a moderately successful actor. He played the bad guy in Live and Let Die, the Federal Agent Alonzo Mosely chasing after Robert De Niro in Midnight Run, one of the running men in Running Man and was the first guy to be killed by the full-grown alien in Alien.

He's dabbled in elections before – he supported Forbes magazine heir (and current Rudy Giuliani advisor) Steve Forbes's run for the presidency in 1996. He was also, according to his campaign, co-chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality in New York in the Sixties.

Now, if you believe the Federal Election Commission and a website called yaphetkotto.org, he's ready to follow his Running Man co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger into frontline politics.

Mr Kotto, however, is nowhere to be found. "I haven't represented him in 12 years," says his one-time agent. The Screen Actors' guild gives me a number for him that doesn't work, and his website goes down.

So why has the mysterious Mr Kotto registered to stand? "At this pivotal and dangerous time in our nation's history," says a release from his campaign, "there is a widespread, commonly held apprehension that our country is heading in the wrong direction, and the equally powerful sense that there is nothing that any one of us can do to stop it." Yes, I read it in that deep film-trailer voice too.

Few would have bet on B-movie star Ronald Reagan making it to the Oval Office, so stranger things have happened. The only thing that can stop him is, on past evidence, a determined Roger Moore as James Bond and/or an alien with acid for blood. Or, of course, fellow deep-voiced authority-figure actor Fred Thompson, who may also be running as a candidate for the Republicans.


www.yaphetkotto.org
THE ETERNAL QUESTIONS

When a man lies to his lawyer to obtain a divorce from a wife of 47 years when she is ill and does not even know and cannot defend herself, is this legal, or perjury?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

UP TO THE CHALLENGE, I GUESS

It's now been one month since I set myself the goal of reaching my 1,000th post on this blog by December 31. I have 17 more posts to go, which is less than one and a half per day. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I think I can manage it.

I'm five posts away from beating 2003 as my second most active blog year ever (2002 remains the big winner, when we were young and the world was new; I published 248 posts in four months -- I was almost a real blogger then).

Since November 19, I'm made 90 posts over the past month, which when I put it that way, doesn't sound that impressive, and even less so at three a day. And even less impressive is the fact that 30 of those posts were "Living in the Past," which were already written, and just had to be coded and updated into the present. I don't know why I'm even bothering to congratulate myself.

Oh, right:


SEX WITH ANIMALS



Since I'm on a Chick Bloodhound roll, I'm uploading the screenplay I dug out last night. The format is a little screwy, but I don't mind. Notice the title. I didn't succeed in pushing that one through.

Most of the dialog is mine. I worked with the plot as it was given, and made the best of the director/auteur's views of women and relationships, which are idisyncratic. But most of the dialog is mine. I've learned quite a lot since writing this, but there are still some gems, like "I'm so pretty, I need a beating!" and this exchange:
RANDY
I’M LIKE THE VETERINARIAN OF LOVE, ACE. DOG, MULE, HORSE, FUCKIN’ PLATYPUS, THE SPECIFICS AREN’T IMPORTANT. THE POINT IS SHE, LIKE YOU AND ME, OPERATES ON SIMPLE INSTINCT. WE ALL WANT TO SURVIVE. THE QUESTION IS WHO UNDERSTANDS THIS FACT: YOU OR HER. AND WHO IS ABLE — AND WILLING — TO ACT ON THE KNOWLEDGE.

RANDY SIPS HIS COFFEE.

CHICK
YOU REALLY THINK IT'S THAT BASIC?

RANDY
WELL, NO, BUT — I’LL BE THE FIRST TO ADMIT IF YOU LOOK AT IT TOO CLOSE, THE WHOLE ANALOGY BREAKS DOWN. I’M TALKING MORE OF A PAVLOVIAN RESPONSE, AND THE ABILITY TO RECOGNIZE ITS IMPORTANCE AND UTILIZE IT. IF WE OPERATE PURELY BY INSTINCT, MEN WOULD ROVE IN PACKS AND PICK OFF THE WEAKEST OF THE HERD. SEXUALLY SPEAKING. MORE LIKE MARLON PERKIN’S FRATERNITY KINGDOM.
I don' think any of that golden dialog made it into the final cut.

I added the now-embarrassing, then-trendy use of the word "nigger" which was inspired by Tarantino -- we all considered ourselves "niggas" back then, and deserved a slapping. When i was discussing the part with the actor, I suggested we take it out, so it isn't in the movie.

I also tried to make some of it more intelligent. Note the reference to Robert Bork's "Slouching Toward Gomorrah," which in the film ended up being to one of Rush Limbaugh's books.

I suppose I should take the time to organize my full memories of Chick Bloodhound, but that will have to wait, but in the meantime, I'll end this Chick Bloodhound Trilogy with this early screenplay, and pray it isn't held me. At the very least, now a google search for chick bloodhound miller will pull up some results with my name in them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

CHICK BLOODHOUND UPDATE

I dug out the screenplay -- amazingly, I thought it was lost forever (such is my indifference to my place in history). Now that I think about, I might well be responsible for the ending that Cal hated.
MEMORIES OF CHICK BLOODHOUND

While googling for myself, I came across this interesting blog post by a Mr. Cal Godot. Cal wrote the first few drafts of Chick Bloodhound, a short of which I wrote the subsequent drafts.

I'm not wild about Chick Bloodhound (I would provide some links, but apparently my early prayer that the film be on my resume and absolutely nowhere else has been answered.) I was ultimately credited with as writer, actor and associate producer. Directed by Paul Fraser, it was my first film.

There's a couple interesting things about Cal's post. First, his experience and mine were very similar. Cal and I apparently share a taste for Cassevetes. I too disagreed with Paul over the ending. Actually, I don't remember if I wrote the ending Cal complains about.

And there's some stuff I didn't know. As far as I remember, I never met Cal. So it was interesting to read that he was in contact with Paul throughout the production. Cal's complaint about the actors improvising should really have been directed toward me. The lead actor, Jeff Polage, was also producing (he started out as producer, before being cast). him and I were almost in insurrection against Paul during the shoot, frequently directing actors and taking control of the set to do things our way. (I would kill any writer who pulled that shit on me.)

Based on his blog post, I wonder if Cal even knew another writer was working on it, or how involved I was in the production. I don't think the lack of me in his account really changes it much in any way, though.
AWESOME


This composite image shows the jet from a black hole at the center of a galaxy striking the edge of another galaxy, the first time such an interaction has been found. X-rays from Chandra (colored purple), optical and ultraviolet (UV) data from Hubble (red and orange), and radio emission from the Very Large Array (VLA) and MERLIN (blue) show how the jet from the main galaxy on the lower left is striking its companion galaxy to the upper right. The jet impacts the companion galaxy at its edge and is then disrupted and deflected, much like how a stream of water from a hose will splay out after hitting a wall at an angle. (Chandra X-ray Center, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

QUOTE OF THE DAY



It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations—from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia.

-- Mike Huckabee, 1998

I'll say. I remember when I picked up the pamphlet "Love Never Dies: Understanding Post-Life Intimacy" while visiting San Francisco. It was published by their department of public health, and really helped me understand how necrophilia was not to be judged.
THE OBAMA FEED



I've added a new element to the sidebar showing recent news stories about my man Barry. It is the official Barack Obama Campaign Newsfeed. If the shilling starts to annoy me, I'll take it down.

Only two weeks until the Iowa Caucus!


I would so kick that midget's ass for touching my precious Winona.

Monday, December 17, 2007



Yes, that is the scariest "elf" I have ever seen. It's not visible in the picture, but the guy in all black is wearing a ball gag, so all he ever did was issue muffled giggles.



I notice when I first published the concept art for Love in the year 2000 in July, I didn't credit Bob Rini, the delightful, versatile illustrator responsible. Bob also posted the art on his blog, and discusses his intense artist process.
BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR?



I saw Juno this weekend. I was very excited to see it, what with it's writer being a stripper and starring Ellen Page, who is definitely the next Miss Thing. I haven't seen the castration anxiety movie yet, but the delightful Miss Page won my heart when she called Juggernaut a dickhead in X-Men 3 (probably my favorite scene in all the X-Men films).

Juno is good, but in a low-key way. I was expecting to be blown away, but I bet if I had lower expectations, I might have loved it. The film is well-written, the characters are distinctive and idiosyncratic. An easy way for a comedy to win my approval is to have family banter that is funny and familiar, as opposed to teeing off one-liners. The parents are part of the plot, as opposed to being assholes, remote figures or sex objects. There's some hilarious lines, but I can't remember most of them, so low-key are the hijinks.

Okay, this is not shaping up into a good or coherent review. Too distracted. Three stars for Juno.


Screen captures are up of "funny" conservative "intellectual" Jonah Goldberg's new book.

The comments are especially entertaining ("So in the 70’s when I marched against Nixons nastiness, he was the liberal intellectual and I was the jackboot fascist?" and "You’d think at some point Jonah’s fans would get tired of being set up as ignorant fucks.")
CONGRATULATIONS, PRESIDENT SARKOZY


Today, [French President Nicholas Sarkozy] has presented France with a new girlfriend, Carla Bruni, who turns 39 this week. Sarko being Sarko, he chose as the venue the Christmas parade at Disneyland Paris.

Bruni, a singer-songwriter and former model -- who resembles Cécilia -- is a household name in France and her native Italy. She is known for her successful first album of songs, sung in gravelly Leonard Cohen-style voice, four years ago. Her second, based on the works of great English poets, has flopped.

Known as a tempestuous and intellectual beauty, she is celebrated for a busy romantic life. Newspapers today discreetly mentioned her reputation as une dévoreuse d'hommes, a man-eater. Former close friends range from Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton to Laurent Fabius, the former Socialist Prime Minister and other famous actors and writers. A couple of years ago, Bruni featured as the villain in a book by Justine Lévy, daughter of Bernard-Henri Lévy, the thinker, after she departed with Lévy's husband Raphael Enthoven.


I think Carla Bruni's 2002 debut album is great.
SONG OF THE DAY



Bel Biv Devoe - Poison

Poison
Yeah spot a man of freedom for a fact aah-aah uh-hum
Poison you ready Ron I'm ready
You ready Dave I'm ready Slick are you
Oh yeah break it down

Girl I must warn you
I sense something strange in my mind
Yeah yo situation is serious
Let's cure it 'cause we're running out of time
Mm mm tell 'em Rick it's all so beautiful
Relationships they seem from the start
Yeah mm mm it's all so deadly
When love is not together from the heart
Mm mm check it out

It's driving me out of my mind
That's why it's hard for me to find
Can't get it outta my head
Miss her, kiss her, love her, wrong move you're dead

That girl is poison
Never trust a big butt and smile
That girl is poison poison

If I were you I'd take precaution
Before I start to leave fly girl
You know 'cause in some portions
You'll think she's the best thing in the world
She's so fly, she'll drive you right out of your mind
Steal your heart when you're blind
Beware she's schemin', she'll make you think you're dreamin'
You'll fall in love and you'll be screamin' dreamin'

Poison deadly moving it slow
Looking for a mellow fellow like DeVoe
Getting paid laid so better lay low
Schemin' on hots my end the pro show
The low pro hot should be cut like an afro
See what you're sayin' huh
She's weighin' but I know she's a loser
How do you know me and the crew used to do her
Poison (x20)

I was at the bar shake shakin' takin' 'em off
And that night I played the wall
Checkin' out the fellas the highs the lows
Keepin' one eye open still clockin' 'em
Still one particular girl that stood out from the rest
Poison as can be how how is she
Michael me and see and I'm runnin' the show
Bell Biv DeVoe ha-ha ha-ha
Now you know you're Slick blow

It's driving me out of my mind
That's why it's hard for me to find
Can't get it outta my head
Miss her, kiss her, love her, wrong move you're dead

That girl is poison (Poison poison)
Never trust a big butt and smile
Poison (Poison poison)
She's dangerous
Poison
Oh yeah (poison) oh yeah
(Poison poison)

Hear fellas you hear what I'm saying Mike
Yeah baby dance for a fact
What's happened to Ral-T and Johnny G and Bobby Brown
You know who we mean crew
(Poison)
ah-ha ah-ha ah-ha
THE COUNTDOWN CONTINUES...

After this post, I have 32 blog entries left to make before I hit the magic 1,000. That's 2.28 a day I need to make between now and New Year's. 2.13 if I decide to hit that historic milestone on New Year's Day.
USE ONCE & DESTROY ENDORSES...



A week or so ago I made my first ever contribution to a political campaign: $25 for Barack Obama. I admit I'm totally falling for beauty pageant politics here. I don't know as much as I should about Obama's policies. In fact, I fill out out one of those campaign calculators, and I get silly suggestions like Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel. I just think Obama is what we America needs right now: an intelligent, gentle liberal with a ludicrously complicated ethnic background. A side benefit will be the increasingly desperate Right's forced "slips" of calling him "Osama," and wonderign why the racism isn't tracking.
Just to be clear, I'm a big fan of the cell-phone camera aesthetic.
And my goodness, even more Batman:



This movie is going to rawk.
Here's a link to the official trailer for the next Batman movie. I think this looks so awesome. I loved the last one, and I'm still getting over my crush on Cillian Murphy.
ISLAM ROCKS

...Muslim punks responded with humor, mostly dark. The Kominas performed songs with provocative lyrics such as “suicide bomb the gap,” and “Rumi was a homo” (a stab at an anti-gay imam in Brooklyn). The musicians started a joke band named Box Cutter Surprise, after the knives used to hijack planes on September 11th.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Dark Knight

LIVING IN THE PAST: A POST SO ANCIENT, SO OBSCURE, SO UNFINISHED

Must be seen to be believed. At the dissapated Comicon.com message boards, "jack" and "Samuel Catalino" discuss the orgins of Hannukah, making points such as

I have no idea when this was started, and no idea what it was about. a wonderful conclusion to my stroll down memory lane.
LIVING IN THE PAST: TAKE THAT, PARIS HILTON

I've watched two episodes of The Simple Life. Regrettably, they are not thereupon hunted for sport (look for that next year with Ashton Kutcher), but instead given a bizarre summer camp experience in a middle-of-nowhere town, working as farmers, waitresses, gas station attendants, and prostitutes.

When they complain about being grounded, or whatever happened, they have to search for the words like it's something they were taught in an eighth grade elective Spanish class.

The real story is the town, though, and how two girls and four cameras warp them.

I don't know when this was composed.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

LIVING IN THE PAST: THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST

I finally saw THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST this past weekend. Despite being an early supporter, I held off, concerned that the money I spent on attendance could add to the ridiculous right-wing cultural claims being made.

Everything I've heard about the movie is true. Except the suggestions that it's a good movie. It's a terrible movie.

I can see why some can't see the anti-Semitism. The anti-Semitism is mostly couched in medieval imagery of the type that a modern viewer would gloss over. I've seen many a painting that features Satan whispering to anti-Jesus crowds as shown in Passion. A member of a Catholic sect that rejects modern teachings could be expected to be familiar with such imagery, however.

Originally composed on... 12/31/69. Whatever. Anyway, see here for what apparently stood as my review back in 2004.

Friday, December 14, 2007

IMMORTAL PARIS

My barber told me she had written a novel called "Immortal Paris," to be published in April. It is about vampires. I cant for the life of me remember the publisher, though.
MY WAR WITH THE NEIGHBORS


About three years ago the comfortable utopianism of my squalid apartment began to take some hits. Prior to that, my neighbors were a deaf couple upstairs (and a lone survivalist prior to that), and an immigrant nuclear family next door. They didn't talk much, and left me alone.

I remember the exact moment that changed: Wednesday, July 5, 2006 at 8:10 am. The night before, my father, who was staying with me, wondered if my steroe bothered my neighbors. Nah, I assured him; they never said anything.

When I left the apartment that Wednesday morning, there was a note taped to my door. it was from the neighbors next door, complaining that I had awakened them with my music that morning and asked me to turn down after 11 pm on week nights. That'
s the short version. I didn't save the note, but they lectured me on consideration of others, blah, blah, blah, all concepts I don't even pretend to understand.

Since then, it's been one dance after another. I admit, there's been times I've been outright egregious, like the time last January when I brought a gurl home at 3 am and blasted the stereo. That merited a knock at the door. Fair enough. But for the most part I've restrained myself and my volume.

Last weekend the guy stopped by on Saturday morning to complain -- it was early and it was loud. I almost argued that it wasn't that early, and the music wasn't that loud, but dropped it. And the guy knocks on my door once or twice every two weeks, before 11:00, asking me to turn it down. I apologise, and turn down the music. Simple enough.

I think that's been a mistake. Last night at 10:53, we went through it all again, and he walked off grumbling that this was getting irritating. I agree on this. I'm now thinking I should start refusing to turn down the music if it is in my opinion at a reasonable time and volume. I was fine with 11 pm, but they're getting gruffy because I'm not turning it down earlier and earlier -- one time, he stopped by at 10:15. So, next time it comes up, assuming I'm in the right, I just have to remember to remind him of the 11:00 agreement, and tell him that if I ever see him before that, I'll call the police Hopefully I'll remember, rather than just being so darn polite.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

2007 FIRST SNOWMAN



On December 1, Seattle enjoyed its first snowfall. Not much, but naturally enough to descend the entire city into chaos. The amount of snow can be fairly gauged by the size of the snowman.
RegretTheError has their round-up of the best news corrections from the past year.

My favorites:

An article about Lord Lambton (“Lord Louche, sex king of Chiantishire”, News Review, January 7) falsely stated that his son Ned (now Lord Durham) and daughter Catherine held a party at Lord Lambton’s villa, Cetinale, in 1997, which degenerated into such an orgy that Lord Lambton banned them from Cetinale for years. In fact, Lord Durham does not have a sister called Catherine (that is the name of his former wife), there has not been any orgiastic party of any kind and Lord Lambton did not ban him (or Catherine) from Cetinale at all. We apologise sincerely to Lord Durham for the hurt and embarrassment caused.


and

In the May 25 “Explainer,” Michelle Tsai asserted that an eight ball is about 10 lines of cocaine. While the size of a line depends on personal preference, most users would divide an eight ball into more than 25 lines.
THIS IS INTERESTING



Someone went to the double of digitally clearing up Bill Murray's final words to Scarlett Johansson at the end of Lost in Translation. A little bit of mystery has left the world.

The scene is very creepy out of context.
MARCH OF THE CARING BEARS

Wednesday, December 12, 2007



I think I posted this once, but I can't find it anywhere. Regardless, it's a holiday classic.
I hope all this Ike Turner blogging isn't going to put me on some sort of watch list.
It looks like I spoke too soon. I wasn't able to find a pre-existing screen capture, but the trailer is on the New York Times web site, and voila:



looks like I was wrong about quite a few things. To compound the existing errors in my last post, I thought he was wearing one of those jagged gold africa mummus that were in fashion for men at some point. I have a real cartoonish memory.
IKE TURNER: DEAD AT 76



I remember in college my roommates and I were fascinated by a figment of Ike. "What's Love Got to do with It" appeared in theaters while I was a sophomore, and we were fascinated by Larry Fishburne's look in the commercials -- he was all Seventies Groove-tacular, with an afro, and little square glasses, smoking a cigarette. I think. There might have even been a headband. God, that was cool. I can't believe I can't find a screen capture on the net.

AllMusic complains how Ike's reputation as the Patron Saint of Wife-Hitting Guitarists "does a disservice to his very real musical legacy as an instrumentalist and bandleader." I don't know if I agree. I think if I realized I was in the same room with a man who had that kind of reputation, and he was a musician, I'd probably leave. And for me, that settles it. If I'm afraid to stick around for the show, the music can't be all that good.

I'm gonna guess that every obituary mentions the wife beating, and I wouldn't be surprised if they mentioned it at the memorial service.
SAY IT LOUD

Senator Lindsey Graham: You mean you're not equipped to give a legal opinion as to whether or not Iranian military waterboarding, secret security agents waterboarding downed airmen is a violation of the Geneva Convention?

Brigadier General Thomas W. Hartmann, the legal adviser at Guantanamo Bay: I am not prepared to answer that question, Senator.
AS EXPECTED...



The top legal adviser for the military trials of Guantanamo Bay detainees told Congress yesterday that he cannot rule out the use of evidence derived from the CIA's aggressive interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, a tactic that simulates drowning.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, who oversees the prosecutors who will try the detainees at military commissions, said that while "torture" is illegal, he cannot say whether waterboarding violates the law. Nor would he say that such evidence would be barred at trial.

...

Hartmann also declined to say that waterboarding would be illegal if used by another country on U.S. forces...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

BUT DID HE DO IT WITH HIS BARE HANDS?

5-year-old descendant of Davy Crockett kills bear

DEWITT, Ark. — A 5-year-old Arkansas County boy killed a black bear Sunday weighing more than 400 pounds.

Tre Merritt, a descendant of Davy Crockett, was hunting with his grandfather Mike Merritt when a black bear happened upon their stand.

"His 10th great-grandfather was Davy Crockett," Mike Merritt said. "And Davy supposedly killed him a bear when he was three. And Tre is five and really killed a bear. I really doubt if Davy killed one when he was three."
THE BENEFITS OF HOME SCHOOLING

“I was panicked a bit because I really don’t know about . . . the Cuban Missile Crisis,” said [White House Press Secretary Dana] Perino, who at 35 was born about a decade after the 1962 U.S.-Soviet nuclear showdown. “It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I’m pretty sure.”

So she consulted her best source. “I came home and I asked my husband,” she recalled. “I said, ‘Wasn’t that like the Bay of Pigs thing?’ And he said, ‘Oh, Dana.’ ”


I'm 34, and I know what the fucking Cuban Missle Crisis is. Jesus.

Side note: When googling Dana Perino, the first suggestion offered was "dana perino hot."

टुडे'एस काफ़ी अद्वेंतुरे*

Seriously, what is the deal with the post titles? Anyway, today I drove to visit some friends and their new baby, and at the mother's request, stopped to pick up a latte. After I placed my order, I ran into a friend from high school, who was having coffee with the wife of a friend from high school, and her new baby. This is a coincidence because the friends I'm visiting are also from high school.

While we were chatting, the barista let me know my order was ready. I excused myself, grabbed the coffee, and headed out. While at my friends' house, I realized I didn't pay. Whoops.

And right now, I have a mouse's heartbeat. Definitely got my money's worth.

*TODAY'S COFFEE ADVENTURE
LIVING IN THE PAST: MY MEETING WITH MEL

I had a meeting with Mel Gibson this weekend. Partly to pitch a brilliant screenplay I've written, partly because I'm a pathetic little star hound.

"Miller... Is that a Jewish name?" "No it isn't, Mr. Gobson." "Oh, it's no big deal. Have a seat." "I've written a script called '1999." I could see you playing the astronaut." "Are you sure you're not Jewish?" "Sure, I'm sure. It's a science fiction story, but it's set in 1999." "You look Jewish."

Originally composed on... 12/31/69? That doesn't make any sense. Regardless, I've cribbed this blog post into a sitcom pilot some time ago.

Monday, December 10, 2007

LIVING IN THE PAST: I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL THIS IS













Originally composed on June 19, 2004

Sunday, December 09, 2007

थे पपेर्बोय इस अ DICK



The title is supposed to read "The Paperboy is a Dick" but I'm pleased enoguh with the Sanskrit letters to leave it that way.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

NRO SPEAKS OUT ON TORTURE

Not quite a strong declaration of the Beloved Leader's right to torture, but almost charmingly ding-batted all the same:

Isn't taping such a thing asking for trouble? What if the tape got into the wrong hands? Having video of "harsh" techniques could be a great gift to the enemy. Wouldn't regular procedure require witnesses, notes, official reports? Do you really need to tape them, too?

That's it. That the whole post (aside from a video link.)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Tim O'Neil lowers us all by wondering when Peter Parker lost his virginity.

I suspect most people will say "Gwen Stacy" (anyone who says "on his wedding night" gets a boobie prize), but anyone who can make a legitimate case for Mary Jane or Betty Brant gets extra points. ("Face it Tiger, you just hit the Jackpot, because I put out!")
The obvious answer.
I don't know why anyone is shocked -- shocked -- that the CIA taped a 2002 torture session, and then destroyed the DVD.

There are so many twists to the story that are typical of the current state of American polity. Of course Democrats in Congress knew about the tape, about the tapes planned destruction, and its actual destruction, and only now that the thing had been plastic chips for two years express concern. And of course, at National Review, they haven't mentioned the CIA at all in three days (although the letters turn up in the middle of words like "superficially" and "racially" (I'm sure the story bores them).

There's this neat twist:

Zubaydah, wounded when he was captured in Pakistan, was fooled in a fake flag operation to believe that the Saudis held him. Instead of being afraid of the ‘Saudis,’ he demanded to talk to three Saudi princes (one, the nephew of the King, who happened to be in the U.S. on 9/11). He gave his interrogators the private cell phone numbers of all 3. He did the same regarding the chief of Pakistan’s air force.

After the U.S. told the Saudis and Pakistanis of Zubaydah’s finger pointing, all four men had tragic ‘accidents.’ The King’s nephew died of complications from liposuction at the age of 43. A day later, the 41 year old Prince named by Zubaydah died in a one-car accident on his way to the funeral of the King’s nephew. The third named prince, age 25, died a week later of “thirst,” according to the Saudi Royal Court. And shortly after that, the chief of Pakistan’s air force died when his plane exploded with his wife and 15 of his top aides on board.

Make the interrogation tapes public and then we’ll know whether one of the top al Qaeda operatives accused leading Saudi royals and a top Pakistani military man - now all dead - of being his sponsors. And accused two of them – the King’s nephew and the Pakistani air force chief – of having advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks.


Did the CIA take those guys out? If so, pretty basadd.

Like so many of the best stories of our times, this one story is at once awesome and disgusting.

This article in Slate brings back pleasant memories of Flowers in the Attic and its sequels, which I read when I was thirteen. My family was moving across the country, and my older sister was reading them already. As I burned through my reading material in the first few days of the agonizing two week drive, I quickly turned to what my sister was reading, quickly reading the first book, impatiently waited for the second, and quickly lapped my sister as she took breaks from reading the third. Lord knows the books aren't good at all, although I don't remember any of the prose well enough to slop up some gorgeous quotations. I think the sex was the most appealing part -- I bet I was disappointed when the albino dwarf twins didn't get it on.

Wow, those book sure don't inspire anything in the way of coherent thoughts twenty years down the line. I'm glad I read the books, if only because it gives me a surprising chick-lit touchstone to occasionally refer to during party conversations.

While looking for an appropriate image to post, I was disturbed by how many Myspace pages use the term "flowers in the attic."
LIVING IN THE PAST: I WAS RIGHT ABOUT ONE THING

I've decided to enhance the "Living in the Past" posts to includes some classics that I did manage to post as planned. Like this one, found while searching my blog for the word "junta":

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Predictions:

Kerry: 53% and 308 electoral votes
Bush: 46% and 238 electoral votes

Junta long shot: Bush wins every state but DC and Minnesota.

I may have to go back and Orwell this prediction later, based on how stupid I look.


I certainly looked stupid.
BANANA REPUBLIC

Andrew Sullivan asks, is this a Banana Republic? Doesn't he live in DC? I can't find any of the pictures I took during my 2006 visit, but the White House is surrounded by barbed wire and concrete barricades, the very model of a South American junta. Sadly, none of the pictures in Google image search do it justice, either.
LIVING IN THE PAST: FEEL MY DISEASE

As I was (and still am) fighting a pre-flu, spending the middle part of each day coughing, coughing, and coughing some more. I officially endorse Cold-eez cold preventative. I'd be bed-ridden and puking by now if it weren't for its astonishing effectiveness.

Much of the week was spend prone on my back, sleeping or watching movies. As my dad's dog Tyler has come to be used to a certain standard of lifestyle, he spent about two-thirds of my couch-time standing or sitting a few feet away, staring at me expectantly. If I were to stagger away for a snack or a bathroom break, Tyler would immediately leap onto the couch. This dog has not had a hard day in his life. Even when he had surgery years ago, he recovered with the aid of a young vet student who even went to far as to sleep with Tyler in his crate. You've got to be fucking kidding me, right? So, that is Tyler.

My father will likely go unrecognized for his immense contribution to developmental psychology, despite answering conclusively a question that eluded Ericksen and Piaget, and is posed to classes annually: nature vs. nurture? Tyler is a yellow Labrador retriever, raised by infancy by my father into an indolent, albeit loving, lap log. He will decline to "fetch" a ball or toy thrown more than a few feet from him, only pursuing the objects at a close range if he wants to play with them. There are members of his breed hunting, guarding and guiding the blind.

I remain the sanest of my siblings. That distinction was slightly wobbly during my bouts with medications over the past couple of years, but life's march has worked its magic on my sisters' stability, and they spin into farther orbits with each passing day.

Originally composed on 12/29/2004. I miss you, Tyler.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

LIVING IN THE PAST: THE APPRENTICE

It was some great characterization.

Originally composed on May 15, 2005.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

LOOKEY HERE

It looks like I have basic tv cable again. I pledge it will not effect my blogging.
LIVING IN THE PAST: LONDON CALLING

Great responses to "terror": We. Are. Not. Safe.

And the sensible response: Now: probably have to walk to Kentish Town and then Victoria. FUCKING TERRORIST MOTHERFUCKERS. Only now do I see the horror of terrorism.

Originally composed on July 7, 2005. Was there some kind of attack? Oh, right, the subway bomb.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

If I'm reading Romney's statement right, he sat down with the owner of a company and told them they had to run their business a certain way,pretty much because he was running from president. Hard to believe they didn't snap to. And it's a real show of class to publicly upbraid a local company this way, let alone releasing their address to the wingnut public at large.


Statement by Governor Romney:

"Today, I fired a landscaping company that I learned was employing people who are not permitted to work here in the United States. After this same issue arose last year, I gave the company a second chance with very specific conditions. They were instructed to make sure people working for the company were of legal status. We personally met with the company in order to inform them about the importance of this matter. The owner of the company guaranteed us, in very certain terms, that the company would be in total compliance with the law going forward.

“The company's failure to comply with the law is disappointing and inexcusable, and I believe it is important I take this action."

- Governor Romney

Letter of termination:

Governor Mitt Romney

December 4, 2007

Mr. Ricardo Saenz
Community Lawn Service
174 Shurtleff St.
Chelsea, MA 02150

Dear Mr. Saenz:

Today I learned that employees of your company, who were assigned to work on my property, are not permitted to work in the United States. Given your company’s disregard for the clear instructions provided on this issue last year, I am forced to terminate my contract with your company, effective immediately. My family will no longer utilize your services and all scheduled visits are cancelled as of today.

I am disappointed that our relationship must end on this note, but we simply cannot tolerate your inability to ensure that your employees are legally permitted to work in the United States. Thank you for your assistance.

Sincerely,

Mitt Romney
IF IT KEEPS ON RAININ', LEVEE'S GOIN' TO BREAK



If it keeps on raining, levee's going to break,
If it keeps on raining, levee's going to break,
And the water gonna come in, have no place to stay

Well all last night I sat on the levee and moan,
Well all last night I sat on the levee and moan,
Thinking about my baby and my happy home,

If it keeps on raining, levee's going to break,
If it keeps on raining, levee's going to break,
And all these people have no place to stay

Now look here mama what am I to do?,
Now look here mama what am I to do?,
I ain't got nobody to tell my troubles to

I works on the levee mama both night and day,
I works on the levee mama both night and day,
I ain't got nobody, keep the water away

Oh crying won't help you, praying won't do no good,
Oh crying won't help you, praying won't do no good,
When the levee breaks, mama, you got to lose

I works on the levee, mama both night and day,
I works on the levee, mama both night and day,
I works so hard, to keep the water away

I had a woman, she wouldn't do for me,
I had a woman, she wouldn't do for me,
I'm going back to my used to be

It's a mean old levee, cause me to weep and moan
It's a mean old levee, cause me to weep and moan
Gonna leave my baby, and my happy home

Monday, December 03, 2007

LIVING IN THE PAST: DAVID AND DERICK: NEW ADVENTURES IN PREPRODUCTION

A writer-director, who we'll refer to from here on out at Dave, and his co-producer, a cameraman who we'll refer to as Derick. A movie we'll almost sarcastically call Love in the Year 2000. And a orangutan named Clyde. These are the players. I may be joking about the orangutan.

Without sounding too condescending, there are all kinds of movies. There are big movies. Small movies. Really small movies. Love in the Year 2000 is a really small movie. But with a heart. David expects to win the Nobel Prize when it's completed, sometime in 2034.

Derick voiced the need to screen tests. Screen Tests of the Third Kind. With the sort of complicated/simple scene dressing we're experimenting with, not to mention the expense of shooting on 35 mm film, we have to be all sorts of careful that we get what we want, and more importantly, how we go about getting what we want.

So, Derick proposed a series of tests. For each set, we designed a number of lighting schemes, for which we'd shoot a minute or so of footage, then review and select the scheme we preferred for the final version.

The nice thing about a budget is that a lot of things get done for you. Such as in this case. So, we tasked our assistant camera, who we'll call Josh, and our assistant director, who we'll call Tony, to get everything set up according to our specifications and have the light marks and the sets ready to go for some tests.

Derick and I don't know quite what we're doing, yet. And we neglected to tell Josh and Tony exactly what tests were. We walked into the hanger we were using to find the door locked. We looked at each other.

"Well, I'm okay with going home," I said.

"No, let's give it a chance. They might have gone to lunch or something," Derick said.

"I don't remember giving them permission to eat while they did this. Where did they get the money?" I said.

"I don't know," Derick said, and knocked again. "Maybe we should break in? It's not like this door is going to stop us at all."

We heard a lock being shifted and stood back. The door oepned, just a crack. Josh squinted out at us through the space. It was very dark inside, and something was making an awful amount of noise.

"Derick! Hey!" Josh said. "Hey, we're almost ready for the tests."

"Great," said Derick. Derick started to push his way through.

Josh held tight in the space. "We're not ready yet, though."

"Miller and I can help," Derick said. "We want to make sure we get this done tonight." Derick forced the door a little ways, and noises became louder, and we heard screeching.

"Can it be just a minute?" Josh said, and a chimpanzee ran past him, out the studio door and into the parking lot.

Derick and I continued into the studio. Josh slammed and bolted the door behind us and hurried after us. In the corner of the stage dedicated to the "apartment" set, the lights were set up in the first configuration we'd assigned. Glowing white set, with the plasma screen emitting an appropriate reddish tinge in the middle of things. Among the things surrounding were about sixteen chimpanzees.

The chimpanzees were doing a remarkable job of not disturbing the lights or harming our valuable equipment. They were making a lot of noise, which seemed to frustrate the chimp in headphones working the DAT machine.

"Josh," I said. "Why are there chimpanzees running around the studio?"

"Derick said we were doing tests!"

"Yes."

"So I got some chimps."

"Yes."

"Listen, what Miller's trying to say is, why did you get chimpanzees for the tests?"

"I, um," Josh said. "I didn't think we were ready for human trials."

I looked over at a chimpanzee sitting in my chair. He urinated into his hands and sipped the piss from his cupped palms. He was wearing my beret. He smiled at me and gave a thumbs-up, emptying the contents of his palms on the floor. I smiled back wanly, and reciprocated a thumbs-up of my own.

Originally composed on August 25, 2005. I really need to write my memoirs.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

LIVING IN THE PAST: CINDY SHEEHAN

I think I know why I'm so fascinated by Cindy Sheehan. I'm not particularly interested in her or what she has to say, but I am engaged by the response of the hawks to her. In the normal civility we enjoy in American society, a premium.

The war is not just a political program. It is a reality for our society. The war effects everyone in the country no matter how far away it might seem at times. When a woman presents the dead body of her fallen son on one hand, and on the other the conservatives can straight-facedly writ a letter Take this "open letter" written from Clifford May:

We will never be able to make ourselves inoffensive to the racist death cults that have declared war on us. When these barbarians kill brave Americans like Casey Sheehan we can't run and hide. Or rather we can – but that only invites the terrorists to hit us again. For years we didn't understand that. The consequence was Sept. 11, 2001.

Remember: We fled from Somalia in 1993. We left Saddam in power after the first Gulf War in 1991. We did nothing much after the Hezbollah bombing of our Marine barracks in 1983. Our response to the taking of American hostages in Tehran in 1979 was toothless.

In each of these cases – and too many others – we demonstrated to our enemies that there would be no penalty for humiliating and even slaughtering Americans. In each of these cases Osama bin Laden saw evidence that Americans are irresolute and weak; that America's military – for all its sophistication and technology – would prove no match for determined hostage-takers, decapitators and suicide bombers.


It shows how incapable the Republicans are of reaching out and selling this war as a just and necessary mission worth our sacrifice. Responding to a grieving mother -- whether or not Sheehan is using her widderhood for partisan opportunism, the fact remains her label in this is grieving mother -- as if she were another political opponent . I've read articles taking Sheehan to task for contraditcions in her political statements. Like people who don't know they'll be under public scrutiny cautiously vet their statements as if we were a society of aspiring Supreme Court justices. Bush likes to claim that his opposition to nation-building was changed by 911. Well, 911 happened to Cindy Sheehan, and in her case, it was Iraq. She lost a son. There are people fighting this war.

Originally composed on August 27, 2005

Saturday, December 01, 2007

There is somebody insane working at the Canadian Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). I actually yelled out loud at the screen while watching this is a totally awesome PSA. See for yourself.



It reminds me of a PSA (or something) that ran on television in Maine when I was about five years old. It featured an African American man being run over by a tractor. He was screaming in panic and trying to drag himself out of the way -- almost succeeding -- but getting run over anyway. I think. It's been thirty years.

UPDATE: Apparently, videos like that are just the Canadian agency's style. This picure is on the front page of their site:

LIVING IN THE PAST: LAST NIGHT I HAD THE STRANGEST DREAM

Originally composed on November 30, 2005. Really, that's it. I'm not sure this counts for content.