Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lonesome George

The next time you're feeling a little depressed or lonely or like there isn't anyone in the world who you can talk to, just imagine what it must be like for this poor bastard. Can we at least clone something for him? COME ON, SCIENCE.

Dear Alberto Gonzales,

I can't say I'm not glad to see you go. I can't really even say that I wouldn't enjoy hearing that you'd been devoured by a mythical whale, or chupacabra. What I believe, though, what I truly believe, is that you’ve used the U.S. Constitution as your assrag for the past few years, and that we won’t even be learning about the really horrific stuff for a few more years to come. I’m willing to bet you even snuck in some parting shot on your way out. We’re going to find out in October that W is legally our Emperor. I don’t care about that shit, though. I don’t even care that Michael Chertoff is being considered as your replacement. At this point they could nominate Chester Cheetah as your replacement and I wouldn’t even blink. I’d just start stockpiling whatever cheese I could scrounge up.

No, I’m pissed that you have to keep inciting the hardships of your father and grandparents when you make any sort of public appearance. You’ve gone to great pains to do this, and with GW sitting beside you nodding, as if he has a fucking clue of what you’re talking about.

Now, I am not one do dispute your family’s hardships. I’m sure that it was no pleasure to deal with the hostility and racism that accompanied being an illegal immigrant in their time. What bothers me is that you have gone out of your fucking way to incite more hostility and racism for immigrants of today. Guest worker programs* aside, you have helped whip up a furor over the exact same conditions that have led to your being born here. On top of that, you are resigning amidst allegations of because of your program to strike LEGAL immigrants off of the voter rolls to give advantage to your administration’s party. How can you justify that? How do you sleep knowing what you’re doing is curtailing the rights of these people, who came here legally and envisioning the “American Dream” you refer to so lovingly? Is the American Dream pissing all over the citizenry? Bullying the underdog? Probably. It certainly seems to be a running motif.

And what bothers me the most about all of this is that in addition to perpetuating the litigious shanghai of our fundamental rights, you’re also opening the doors for all sorts of fuckwitted programs. Now they can make up all sorts of crazy shit and cite you as precedence. So thanks for that. Your legacy will live on in the slow decline of this country. Your administration might well be looked back upon in the future as the nail in the coffin of the era of the United States of America as the cultural and moral leader of the free world. So please stop hamming it up for the cameras. Don’t keep mentioning the plight of your ancestry. Just shut up and go off to your lecture tour and let some other idiot come in and finish what you’ve started.

With fiery mind bullets of outrage,

Your pal Cotton

*honestly, I can see how you'd think these would work, but there's still no way this isn't just further exploitation of a migrant labor force. and until you can guarantee that these people will be granted the same rights as other workers in this country, you've pretty much just legalized slavery. Thanks for that one as well.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I had a dream last night that the United States had somehow terraformed Mars, or at least parts of it. There were 500,000 people living there in 2 settlements (named "Indiana" and "Pittsburgh") that were primarily a workforce for huge mines and greenhouse agriculture fields. Oh, and of course the bulk of the workforce consisted of immigrants, some of whom were allowed to bring their families. There were Burger Kings and the place looked a lot like rural Utah, though I bet if I could take another look around, rural Iraq would probably be more like it. Especially with the Burger Kings.

It was like a high-tech version of the mining/logging/railroad camps of the early 19th century. By and large, the settlements were lawless and many carried weapons. Also, there were 2 large conspicuous fake mountains next to the settlement I dreamt I was in ("Indiana"), which were clearly silos for nuclear weapons which were aimed at the earth. It was also a widespread assumption that somewhere on the other side of the planet there was a massive compound where the earth's "elite" would be in case the missiles were ever fired.

The reason I was even on Mars, though, was because a good friend of mine had settled there, and in true pioneer fashion, had set up an adult theater for the workers. It was wildly popular, and not the sort of porno theater I was expecting, since the only movie I remember seeing was a crudely animated burlesque feature. There were prostitutes (with cybernetic enchancements) working outside of the theater, but my friend had nothing to do with them, since he seemed to be making a killing with this theater. So much so that he needed serious help running it, which his why he had snuck me out on a mining freighter (the only way to sneak onto the planet without a worker pass from the industrial businesses set up there) to be his partner in the Martian pornography business. Though, in my dream, they referred to themselves as "Areans". Creepy, I know.

I'm not sure what else I remember about the setup, but I have more scrawled next to my bed at home. There were paramilitary helicopters (how the hell would that work?) all of the cars there were pre-Catalytic converter, because for some reason they were easier to modify to run in the atmosphere. By the end of my dream, I had become ingrained in a class struggle and revolution of sorts. It was pretty drawn out. What was even stranger is that I had come to Mars from settlements on the Moon, which was completely settled at that point and wasn't strange at all to be living on. Huh.

This isn't the sort of dream I usually have. Normally, I dream about waterskiing on a cheeseburger and punching a dolphin in the nose or whatever, and then I wake up and it's gone. This was something that I remember during the dream thinking "write this down". It's clearly a culmination of things I've been reading/watching lately, namely the John Carter of Mars series, Deadwood, my mounting paranoia, Transmetropolitan, Robert Capa's photos of the Spanish Civil War, and God knows what else. But I'm wondering if I should try to write this out further. Historically, I can't write sci-fi for shit, but I'm sort of interested in this. I don't know, I'm just thinking with my fingers at this point.

So yeah, I woke up this morning thinking I was moving to Mars. Then I went to the bakery up the street (which is, in fact, the greatest bakery in the world) and was buying my almond croissant and coffee when I saw a couple of ladies gawking out the window at the news van parked across the street. The following exchange took place.

Lady #1: That's ! She's here because Money magazine just named us the 5th best place to live in the country!*

Lady #2: ooooh, neat!

Lady #1: Well, I think they mostly chose smaller towns for the survey, but it's pretty wonderful that-

Me (jumping in): That's true. I actually just moved here from the #9 town on that list, and-

Lady #2: Well, is it better here?

Me: Well, I don't think I'd use the same criteria as Money magazine, but-

Lady #1: yeah, but you notice the difference, right?

Me: Well, it's warmer...

Then they ran and grabbed the news lady, offered my unique perspective, and she interviewed me off-camera (the equipment wasn't set up yet) for a few minutes and I told her pretty much the exact same thing as above before I left on my way to work.

Then, ten minutes later, I was walking down the driveway to my workplace, through the construction area that's been there for some time and will continue to be for some greater time. I was walking in the dirt on the shoulder of the driveway when I heard a giant truck horn blare just feet behind me. I turned and saw a cement truck that was wider than the driveway itself.

"What are you, retarded? GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE ROAD" the driver yelled.

It's been a long morning. And it's shaping up to be an even longer day. Anyway, I'm sorry to describe yet another dream to you this morning, but this one was too weird not to.

*this is true, but it happened like 2 months ago. Go news.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Early in WWII, the powers on all sides were scrambling to master whatever domains they could that might give them an edge on the battlefield. These included burgeoning high-powered artillery, submarines, and atomic weaponry, and even the supernatural. But most important was aerial warfare, which was finally becoming safe enough to be a viable option. Technology and the manufacturing line produced thousands of planes, from the MiG 3 to the B-29 Superfortress to the rocket-powered Messerschmitt Me 163. Science was allowing great leaps and advancements in the field, and the collected war efforts could hardly keep up.

From early on in the war, though Hitler had championed another sort of flight, almost a reverse engineering of the advancements that were taking place: the glider. The glider was cheap to produce and only required enough fuel to launch them. They were silent, which was not a luxury that the science of the mid-20th century could afford, and made them ideal reconnaissance planes and light troop transports, and even in some cases light assault planes. Thinking that this could prove a valuable weapon, Hitler scoured the countryside for glider pilots who could fly is silent air force.

His recruiters were met with great resistance and scorn. Why, the pilots would say, would we want to fly into hostile air space in a practically unarmored plane? The heavy steel of the Messerschmitt was far more appealing to anyone with a shred of sanity left in them. But the recruiters did keep hearing one name: Karl Müller.

Müller, you see, was a famous stunt pilot, and had been legendary among the flying show tour for his wide loops and crashing dives performed in his famous glider, the Whispering Banshee. It was named for the quiet whistle the glider –the only one of its kind- would let out as it flew. It was not loud, and hardly recognizable as a glider, but those who knew it could hear it well. Karl Müller, the pilots all said, that man is mad enough to fly into the mouth of hell. So they visited Herr Müller at his house and tried to persuade him to lend his services to the war effort. But he refused. He had a beautiful wife and small children and he did not want to leave them. He also did not support the Reich’s ideas and he would not lend his talents to their bloodshed. The recruiter insulted his sense of honor and his decency, but still Müller would not budge. Herr Müller, they cried, you do not need to drop bombs or fire weapons, only scout the enemy troops and tell us where they are. Think of the Many German lives you could save! He took his young wife’s hand in his and stated calmly that this was not his fight. The recruiters tried everything they could think of. They sent high-ranking officials, even Hermann Göring himself, to try to reason with Müller, but none had any luck.

It wasn’t until his wife’s brothers joined the army that he called the Luftwaffe back to his home. “I cannot bear” he said, “to know that my family could be harmed while I could be their eyes and ears”, so he offered his service to them on two conditions. 1) that he would be equipped with no weapons and 2) that he fly the Whispering Banshee. They thought him mad, that he would intentionally fly a plane that made noise when there were silent ones at his disposal. “Yes, it makes a noise”, he said to them, but a noise that no man that hasn’t already seen her would ever expect from a plane”. And so they reluctantly agreed.

Frau Müller was devastated. She had been so proud of her husband for refusing to fight, and now she felt that her own family was the cause of his undoing. She begged and pleaded with him not to go, but he only repeated himself, that he had to watch over his new kin. She wept as he was picked up and driven to the airfield, and put her crucifix around his for luck before kissing him and sending him off to the front. He looked her in the eyes and spoke quietly, but with purpose: “I promise to you, my love, that I will return”.

That night of his first mission was a dark night with heavy fighting. Karl Müller’s plane saved entire regiments with his reports, and his plane spooked the enemy soldiers more than any weapon could, as they were superstitious and feared that the forest they were camping in was haunted. The night was long and hard and when the sun rose the next morning the German line had held off the invaders, but Herr Müller’s plane had not yet returned. They waited hours and hours for hi, but there was no sign of him or the Whispering Banshee. The scoured the countryside for the wreckage of his plane, but nothing was found.

Days turned into weeks turned into months. Nothing was found of the missing pilot. The tide of the war began to turn against the Germans, and the neighbors and residents in the Müller’s small town began to forget -as a small town during wartime is wont to do- of his heroic actions and began to whisper amongst themselves behind the widow Müller’s back. They called him a traitor. How could anyone refuse to serve in the Luftwaffe so many times and them say yes? How could we be losing this war so suddenly? Why has no wreckage been found? Frau Müller knew of these accusations and ignored them, knowing full well that her husband would never betray her or the family he loved so dearly. This never stopped the catcalls in the market though, nor the vandalism, nor the black eyes her children received in school Herr Müller was a spy, the whole town felt.

Years went by and the as the war ended, so did the memory of its exploits. Life resumed in their sleepy hamlet as everyone tried to forget what they later learned of their effort. The widow Müller, though, had never forgotten. She had gone mad with anguish and could be seen on the streets, weeping for her husband years after his disappearance. Her children grew and moved into the city, hoping to start new lives, but she remained in their little house, unwed and waiting for her husband to come home. She had become an old crone before she had turned Thirty-five, hardly recognizable from her days as a beautiful young lady. She would spend days in the fields, hoping to hear again the noise of the Whispering Banshee.

Then, as it happened, she was in the fields one day with her old dog, picking some downed branches from a terrible storm the night before and quietly singing when she heard it. She thought for a moment she had finally gone mad, that her mind had actually forced her to hear the sound of her long-gone husband’s legendary plane. She shook her head but it was still there. It wasn’t until her old hound perked his head up that she knew it was not her imagination. The Whistling Banshee had returned.

And sure enough, far into the blue she even saw it, soaring in wide arcs as it descended from the skies. She was beside herself with glee and wept with joy as she saw the plane approach and began to skip as a little girl would to the place she was sure it would land.

And land it did. She took a few minutes to catch up with it, but grew more ecstatic as she saw the familiar gold paint of the Banshee, and she pushed herself faster to reach her husband. She finally reached the glider where it rest on the field, and wiped her tears from her eyes, wanting her husband to see how she had waited for him, that she still wore his ring and magically, she began to resemble her former self. Her eyes were light and her smile betrayed the aging she had undergone. She brushed her mane with her fingers for a second before reaching for the lever to open the cockpit.

When she opened the hatch, though, she cried in disbelief. It was Karl Müller, to be sure. His flight suit and helmet were unmistakable, as she often patched it for him and knew it like she knew her own skin. And there also was the crucifix that she had given him on that last night, still around his neck. “I promise to you, my love, that I will return” he had said. And he had. A patchy, grinning skeleton looking up at her from the cockpit, keeping the promise that he had made so many years before.

What Frau Müller had not known, what nobody hadn’t known, that the night that the Whispering Banshee had last taken off, Karl had found himself lost and off course in the dark night, and his radio had broken. In the pitch he had managed to fly himself right into the forest where the enemy front lay and lodged himself between two trees. He feared for his life in that stranded plane, but knew that the enemy had no hope of catching him as long as he made no noise. And he didn’t.

The Banshee betrayed him, however, as soon as a strong wind blew through the forest. The wind in the wings had let out that that eerie whistle and a superstitious Russian solder fifteen feet below him had shot his weapon into the air several times, firing right through the wooden glider and killing Herr Müller. There he lay, lodged between those trees for twenty years until a strong night storm dislodged him and sent his glider on one last ride back to his loving wife.

I didn’t make this story up. It’s not true, either, though most of the setup is. I had a teacher who told me a very similar story (I added a lot of stuff, since I couldn’t remember anything but the general premise) on Halloween when I was in 6th grade. He was probably the best storyteller I’ve ever known and was an amazing guy to listen to. and today I woke up and saw a news story that suddenly made me feel like I was twelve years old and fidgeting in a darkened theater, so I did what I could to remember this and type it up. If it’s written shoddily or seems hurried at the end, I apologize, but I only had a lunch break to write this out and it took slightly longer than I initially thought. In any case, think of what Leo Mustonen's family must be feeling right now. this sort of thing apparently happens quite a bit (I found at least 4 news stories taking place in the last 4 years like this) and I thought you might want some good Tuesday creepiness.

In other fun stuff, I was up late last night watching a car chase live on TV. I think this officially makes me a Californian for now.

P.S. I don't know why the font is so large, but I can't seem to fix it so you'll have to make due. my apologies.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Max Roach just died.

I was actually in the midst of setting up (or at least starting to) a series of posts about my favorite drummers, and he was among the first names to pop into my head. His influence cannot be measured, and he (along with Kenny Clarke) took the entire format of drumming to new places and his social activism was well known. Tonight I'm going to pour myself a drink and give Money Jungle a listen. We'll miss you Max, but your legacy isn't going anywhere.
My laptop is broken right now (or at least the power cord is), so at least until the new one arrives, I'm stuck updating this thing from work, which is something I'm really not

Rebecca Clarren has an article out in Ms. magazine (?) on the sex and labor trafficking in this country, and holy shit. Anyone wanna buy me Ms. magazine for me so I can read this article? That looks fucking terrifying. I know what you're saying, "buy it yourself, cheapskate". Yeah, but the only thing that I find more embarrassing as a 30 year old man than buying Ms. magazine is, yep, buying High Times. I actually have a friend who used to buy porn all the time but would shoplift High Times because "that shit is embarrassing". Oh, and if that didn't have you weeping, how about the exploding sex trade in Iraq?

Oh, and Jose Padilla was just found guilty of all counts and will be sentenced in December.
After three-and-a-half years in military custody, Padilla was transferred to Miami to face charges in civilian court that did not include any allegations of a dirty-bomb plot or other U.S. attacks.
Pretty depressing post, right? I apologize for that. Go see Superbad this weekend, because I'm positive it will be funny. Last night I watched the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie. Don't make the same mistake.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I wish I could've gotten like a panoramic shot of this, because right behind me when I took this is one of the biggest places to score meth on the west coast. California!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Link your face off

My brother, in a fit of kindness1, recently bought two tickets to see the Beastie Boys play at the Greek Theatre. It really was a sweet gesture, and I’m starting to look forward to it to some great degree. I haven’t seen them since right after Hello Nasty was released –an album I didn’t particularly like- and I haven’t really looked back since then. But I probably saw them about ten times over the years, from tiny clubs to outdoor amphitheaters, and enough to blow off my senior week to see the first Tibetan Freedom Festival thingie. I don’t know if I felt like I grew out of their music or maybe I became a lot more interested in the influences that they wear so proudly on their sleeve2, or even just found better rappers. But they’ve maintained a soft spot in my heart for making solid decisions and continuing to bring social injustice and overlooked pop oddities to the attention of a greater audience. So it should be a lot of fun.

So I’m gonna get to see them at the Greek, which I’ve always wanted to check out anyway. So yeah, some excitement is brewing. As if that wasn’t enough, I just got Go! Team tickets for Pomona, which will be interesting to say the least, considering when I picked up the tickets, the venue looked like it was in a DMZ.

In completely different news, here’s some links.

There’s both a meteor shower and a magical lunar eclipse coming up. I don’t usually go for the space nerd stuff, but these sound pretty cool and I usually get into crap like this right when I move to a new town. Go lie in a field at 3 AM on a Wednesday with a beer and a smile.

A giant Lego man washed up on the shores of the Dutch resort of Zandvoort. This is fucking awesome.

Apparently, the Army wrote a manual on how to do things correctly in Iraq 65 years ago. It’d be nice if we bothered consulting it before getting involved in this whole invasion thing.

Lastly, I wanted to post the last couple of days on how mad I am about this FISA thing getting pushed through. This is why I get angrier about the Dems than the GOP as of late. Because even when they win, they still manage to jam their thumbs so far up their asses that you can’t help but wonder why you listened to them to begin with. I can’t even put into words my frustration on this, and I think so far the Onion has summed it up best with

“You won't need to eavesdrop to hear this: I voted for you assholes because you said you were against shit like this.”

1that’s not entirely true, he’s always kind. But this was especially kind and potentially motivated by the idea that life in California is not up to what we expected.

2off the top of my head, without the Beasties I would never have gotten into Schoolly D, Bad Brains, Vaughn Bode and Cheech Wizard, Biz Markie, demolition derbies, Wild Style, Buffalo Daughter, Beck, Money Mark, Puma Clydes, Buddhism, Tribe Called Quest, Company Flow, Minor Threat, Pirate Fuckin’ Radio, Jon Spencer, "Apache", Cibo Matto, Willie Bobo, Dolemite, Bob James, the Funky 4+1, Ricky Powell, Glen E. Friedman, the ABA, Lee Perry, Pato Banton, Lovebug Starski, Jimmy Smith, Coxsone Dodd, Mike Watt, Jabo Starks and Clyde Stubblefield, Spike Jonze, Charles Wright, Haze, the Moog, Booty Bass, Magilla Gorilla, Ladies And Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains, etc.. so their influence on me can't really be measured, especially when you count how many of the above items caused me to further seek new things. Seriously this list could probably go on for days. But I'm too tired of linking this shit to go on. Good to see that Wikipedia has an entry for Booty Bass, though.

Maybe some music later, but for now I need to get away from the computer. The above image is something that came up when I was google image searching the Fabulous Stains. Goddamnit I'd love to see that movie again.

Friday, August 03, 2007

So it's a pretty laid back day right now. My predecessor is leaving, and some time has been spent on a cart cruising around the garden. and now I'm updating this because it's almost happy hour and the only stuff I can do will take too damned long.
This morning, though, we were talking about the weather change out here and what I should expect when someone mentioned that in early November I should watch out on my walk into work because that's when the Tarantulas migrate. ha ha ha.
Turns out she was serious. There's a season where Tarantulas group up and migrate. I have to beware the giant, hairy, poisonous spiders on my walk to work. You have to be fucking kidding me.
i am freaking out.

You've Got a Friend in...

The other day at my new job, we had a tomato tasting. With 27 different kinds of tomatoes. My favorite? The Cherokee Purple. I'm hoping my new cell phone takes better pictures than my last one, but it's a piece of shit so we'll see.

I found a pretty neat site today that catalogues all of the license plates of the world and through history, which I find a lot more interesting than I probably should. On the drive out here I got to ruminate on the various license plates of our country, and I have to say they're all turning to complete shit. I thought it was bad enough when PA changed their simple, unassuming two-tone plates to a fucking promotion for the state's web site. Who has ever been sitting in traffic wondering "I sure love learning about the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and wish there was some sort of resource I could access from my home that could show me all sorts of interesting tax bylaws and municipal codes". I think if you've ever used the internet before in your life, you probably know how to find a state's site even without having to google it. I'd rather there was a state motto of "go fuck yourself" than a stupid web address. It's embarrassing. Look at this descent into suck:

But the thing is, it's happening all over the place. Does Nebraska really need a graphic on their place? Does anyone? This might be consistent with my fear of change and resentment of technology, but I really like the simplistic license plates that got us through the last century. Arizona doesn't actually need a picture of the Grand Canyon on it. That's what Uhaul trucks are for. If they're going to put any sort of picture on the Arizona license plate, it should be a rheumatic elderly man shaking his fist at flashing coeds at Lake Havasu. Or John McCain, which is slightly more hilarious. Remember the red and white one with the cactus? What the hell was wrong with that one? Anyways, it's interesting to see how impressive some states think they're being. I'm gonna try to apply for one of those old block text California plates, but something tells me that ain't gonna happen.
So here's some Cheeseburger, which gets a whole lot of Stooges comparisons, but I think they sound more the Dictators or something as fronted by Glenn Danzig. I'm actually surprised that I like them as much as I do, but I forgot about this album for awhile and completely loved listening to it on my way into work this morning. So here it is.

"Tiger" - Cheeseburger

"Melissa Brown" - Cheeseburger

Buy Cheeseburger here