Monday, March 31, 2008

Ed Rendell, I respect you. I even find a little truth in part of what you're saying.

but for god's sake, shut the fuck up. This goes for you too, Lieberman. Though I don't have any respect for you.

Coming weeks will expose a broad array of weapons employed by everyone in the political sphere to impact what's going here. Including the more-realistic-every-day thermonuclear option. and the only thing that will definitely happen is a total black eye for the American political process. and I think everyone's tired of those. it's not what you think. It fell down some steps. It's its fault, it was asking for it.

wait if we break it can we get our kids to fix it?
Currently, Cotton is thinking about beating himself to death with his office phone's handset.
I know what you're thinking.

"get to doing more rambling, incoherent narration of movies I can easily find and watch myself!!!!"

and man, it was incoherent. I'd apologize, but I gotta admit I had fun. Maybe I'll get around to HALOWEEN III: THE MASKS ARE SUCKY AND TURN CHILDREN INTO GOBLINS if I feel like punishing myself and you fine people in the next few weeks. It won't be so glib or disorganized, since I remember sweet FA about that flick and I'll need to organize myself a bit.

In other fun news, Hillary sez "no, YOU stop running for president". Meanwhile, life continues unabated.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


I've been putting this off for quite some time, but it's finally here. Halloween 2 in hotdogvision. The live blogging event of the century. Presented in minor installments over the course of the movie. I bought the combo with Halloween III, which I've actually never seen in its entirety, so if this goes well maybe I'll embarrass myself some more with that one.

I should make it clear that though I have ranked this as high as #6 of my favorite horror movies, I haven't seen this in a long time. In my apartment on a sunny enough Sunday afternoon, it won't compare to seeing it on the ceiling of the Fels Planetarium, but it'll do. So yeah, as soon as the basketball game (Go Davidson) is over, It's on.

Okay, before I start, things I remember about this movie.
-Donald Pleasance talking about Samhaim
-the kid from The Last Starfighter paired with the dad from the Fast Getaway movies*.
-helloooo nurse!
-hot tub scene.
-Jamie Lee Curtis trying to scream, in one of the most horrific (to me, at least) horror movie moments EVER.

So without further delay, we will begin momentarily.

Opening credits: "Mr. Sandman"

the scene opens just seconds before the last movie ends. From this vantage point, we see Donald Pleasance** showing up in time to shoot Mike Myers in the head.

I love this intro. I love that you're sucked right back into the events of the first movie. I almost wished I'd watched it as a preamble.

oh snap Myers' body has done up and run off!

whatever can Sam Loomis do about this?

great line: "Is this some kinda joke? I been trick-or-treated to death out here"
loomis: "you don't know what death is!"


music by John Carpenter. Almost always a plus. Notice the jazzed up intro music. Synth!

it opens with creepy mask-breathing and walking through some alleys. a dog barking. Loomis in the background, raving like the lunatic that he is. It's awesome.
"I shot him six times! He's not human!"

then he descends on an elderly couple.

which is almost refreshing. You almost never see the elderly in horror movies, especially teen-based (i.e. most of them). It's nice to know how susceptible the are to supernatural serial killers as well as sex-and-alcohol-driven teens.

but, in a shock move, he's not killing them. You just see him in the background, stealing a kitchen knife. Also a nice touch. Let that be a lesson to you kids. Wanna not get stabbed by Michael Myers? GROW OLD AND CRANKY.

notice Night of the Living Dead playing in the background.

"teenagers murdered? that's just three blocks from here. I can hear the sirens coming"
"they say the guy got away"

yeah... I think we saw that coming. I feel like this movie becomes a lot gorier than the first one, possibly to keep up with the slashfest that was taking place at the time in rival series.

A drugged up Jamie Lee Curtis is stuffed into an ambulance and our two bumbling drivers picked up the ride of their lives!

sorry. I had to say it.

Random shot of a little girl bleeding, and her mom consoling her. I have no idea what this is in relation to.

"where's doc richards?"
"he's been at the country club. I think he's drunk!"

followed by a slightly pervy and clearly wasted doctor trying to drug a clearly terrified Jamie Lee Curtis/Laurie Strode.

the ambulance drivers look on

I love the idea of a possibly senile and certainly unaccredited psychiatrist fiddling with a gun in the passenger seat of cop car. Talking about the devil.

and then then the most random and violent death ever.
apparently, there's a lot of dynamite delivery trucks in Haddonfield, IL.

Last Starfighter Ambulance driver guy walks in on a drugged up Laurie Strode. It's pretty creepy, as you get this barely coherent vibe from her while he's totally hot to trot.

"you cracked a bone"
shit, she fended off a serial killer all night. lay off.

dude is still hitting on her. Hey pay, next time wait until it doesn't seem so date-rapey.

the sheriff's daughter (who you may remember smoking dope and then later getting murdered in the first movie) is found slaughtered.

a clearly befuddled Dr. Loomis stammers for a few minutes.

that may not be Michael Myers that died? you so crazy, Dr. Loomis.

"there was nothing within him, neither conscience not reason that wasn't even remotely human."


Let's go ID the body.

we're introduced now to a seemingly random ditzy woman leaving a party? What's her connection to this whole sordid affair?

then, the best shot ever of a kid in a cowboy hat and a radio on his shoulder bumps into Mike Myers before shuffling off.

it turns out the ditz is a nurse at the very same hospital where our heroine Laurie Strode has been taken! and MM somehow knew that and followed her to work!
this also introduces a nurse who more than likeyl is going to work good and liquored up. I'm just saying.

"hi, I'm an out of shape and inept security guard"
"hi, you've got minutes to live"

"amazing grace, come sit on my face.
don't make me cry, I need your pie"
-Leo Rossi, breaking shit down.

we see a slightly adjacent door and suddenly we're in MM's point of view. he's just cruisin the hallways. of course slutty nurse emerges, adjusting her uniform. she's late, and in trouble. You see MM cross your line of site a few times in the back. it's awesome.

then, Laurie finds out who it was that attacked her. I completely forgot that it wouldn't have been drilled into her head like it has in mine by now.

Billy's still hitting on the semi-conscious chick.
creep city.

the phones in the hospital are out. Because Laurie may be drugged up, she's not a complete idiot and realizes that something is up.

security guard signs his death warrant. if you see a disturbance on a remote part of your workplace while an escaped mental patient serial killer is on the loose in your area, you sit tight until morning. I'd be drining coffee and loading weapons INSIDE.

but son't worry. At first it's just a cat.
then it's "hey, there's a lot of lawn care tools missing from this shed. Where's the machete?"
he tries to radio for help, but the nurse he left in charge of the walkie talkie happens to be an idiot.

a great scene where the security guard opens a closet door to be deluged in paint cans. ha!
you can pretty much see the grim spectre of death behind this guy. and there it is. the sharp end of a hammer.

sut to the lab. the coroner can't say who this body it is. But we the viewers KNOW that MM is on the loose and feeling stabby. or slashy. or both.

now, people are rioting and throwing bricks at the Myers' house. ummm, why? Right about now, I'd be throwing rocks at people that look like Michael Myers...

So Loomis and the cops show up. They're gonna get into the Myers house to see what all this mess is about.

Loomis has a lot of giant exaggerations about MM. He must sit around at the asylum, writing these up for when he'll need them.
then we find out a teen in a mask is missing. THEY KILLED THE WRONG PERSON IN AN OLD WILLIAM SHATNER MASK BY ACCIDENT!

and Leo Rossi picks a gret night to make a pass at a co-worker. again.

Rossi: "what's the big deal? everyone's all weirded out"
dude, did you see the disemboweled folks on the news?

and we've got the one nurse naked in the standard hospital hot tub naked. She shows up late for work, drunk. and she works in the NICU.
and 15 minutes later she's naked in the hot tub with Leo Rossi.
I guess it happens to the best of us.


Rossi's bare ass. He's gonna go "fix" the hot tub. and by "fix" we all know that means "die".
there's a great shot of the nurse drying off as we see Leo Rossi get manhandled to death by MM in the background.

Then he sneaks in and is giving the nurse a massage!

I find it great that she
A) doesn't realize se's nibbling on giant, blood-stained hands and
B) it's highly unlikely that Leo Rossi went, fixed the hot tub, and then decided to put on a ratty jumpsuit and rejoin with you for some sexual hijinx.

then he shovers her face in boiling water.
but they show her boobs once more before she's fleshless and dead.

next scene. Loomis and the cops are checking out the local elementary school, the first place to check in any ase of serial killings.

this nurse from the old Myers case shows up. It would seem she's here just to ruffle Loomis' feathers. Which is totally fine by me because that dude's hilarious.

more footage of driver whispering to drugged up Laurie Strode. I swear of this movie was remotely realistic, he'd be the villain.

then, we get a shot of a nurse trying to raise a doctor from sleep only to discover that he's been HYPODERMIC NEEDLED IN THE EYEBALL
and that unfortunately, that same fate awaits her.

M uses his hoodoo to break into Laurie's room and stab the shit out of... HER PILLOWS!
turns out she's smarter than that and left the room to wander the halls.

Laurie makes her way into a room, remembers suddenly that the phones are out.
she inches along the floor some more and falls asleep.

now we catch up with the blond nurse, who has no idea what's going on (apparently there's an xbox lounge for the staff at this hospital or somrething). she's looking for out departed security guard and comes across creepy las starfightin' ambo diver.

something is afoot. people are missing.

He then stumbles into the doctor's office from earlier and sees the nurse tied up and unconscious. Then he slips and passes out in a massive puddle of blood. I will say this again. He slips and passes out in a massive puddle of blood.

Blond nurse leaves to drive to get help and somebody's rigged it so her car wouldn't start. and slashed the tires on all the cars in the parking lot. Why he slashed all those tires but fucked with her motor is beyond me, but it shows foresight, I guess.

Laurie is still dazed, and wandering the halls from thehospital. Then the blond nurse sees her and, running after Laurie- is caught by MM and stabbed, then suspended, with a hypodermic needle. Laurie's like "yeah, I'm running away to the safest, easily escaped place ever"
yup. the basement. Where we see out pal the security guard.

a genuinely hair-raising escape from the basement. Since you know she's at least momentarily safe from stabbings and slashing, it's pretty much time to discover some bodies.

and the escape in the elevator. I think James Cameron stole this scene for T2, but what's important is that the elevator door that closes on MM's hand is so a safety door and that they have to cut just before the door would spring open again, leaving poor Laurie Strode to her death.

"In order the appease the gods, the druid priests held fire rituals. Prisoners, war criminals, the insane, animals were...burned baskets. by observing the way they died, the druids believed they could see omens of the future. 2,000 years later we've come no further. Samhain isn't evil spirits, it isn't goblins, ghosts or witches. It's the unconscious mind. We're all afraid of the dark in ourselves.

the nurse brings up a secret file. Pleasance saying "I'VE SEEN ALL THE FILES" is priceless.
Jamie Lee/Laurie Strode is Michael Myer's sister?

oh, Loomis is pissed. He's gon go buckwild! He pulls a gun on a cop! and fires it in a closed police car, surely damaging the ears of everyone there.

Laurie's hiding in the car in the parking lot that Jimmy shows up in, tries to start for 5 minute, then passes out on the horn.

yeah, nobody wants that. She knocks him off, and falls to her feet in the parking lot, remembering suddenly that she's traumatic and drugged up.
Loomis and the gang arive and enter the hospital, walking right past the crawling Laurie Stride.
she cannot raise her voice.
then, as soon as the door closes, she lets out a blood-curdling scream.

of course MM then enters the parking lot. Laurie discovers a whole lot of energy in reserve and springs to her feet, pounding on the door for help.

Loomis lets her in, then locks the door.

t's a glass door, so of course MM walks RIGHT THROUGH IT.
then Loomis shoots him in the head 3 times. He exclaims that MM isn't dead. But the deputy is stupid enough to gawk over Myers' body. and of course he gets knifed in the chest. You'd think it'd be standard operating procedure at this point to just start hacking limbs off Myers' body at this point.

Dr. Loomis and Laurie Stroed (together again!) make their way into an OR. Loomis decides starts producing firearms and makes a play at shooting MM when he walks through the door. but his gun jams.
so yeah, scalpel to the chest.

Laurie shoots Michael twice in the head. and despite logic, manages to hit him in each eye.
then, to defy logic even further, he's still alive and swinging that scalpel!

Loomis, with his dying breath, decides he wants to get his buzz on, so he starts opening up all the cannisters of ether. Niiiice.

Laurie sneaks out while Loomis coaxes MM over towards him by saying "It's time, Michael".
Personally, I'd take that as a cue to leave, but of course MM walks towards his voice, only to see Loomis light his lighter and blow shit up in the process.

Laurie, hiding a hallway away fromt he explosion, sees a masked figure and emerge from the fiery wreckage and approach. slowly and unstoppable...

until it stops, a few steps later. closeup of the mask burning.

Michael Myers is dead! at least for one more movie.

They load Laurie Strode into another ambulance. At this point, I'd rather just lie in a ditch and hope to heal through the power of prayer or something.

Laurie Strode is seen in the passenger seat, clearly with a lot on her mind. The screen goes dark, and "Mr. Sandman" starts up.


so there you go, Halloween 2 in an extraneously large nutshell.

hey, I never said it'd be entertaining.

*I'm not nearly embarrassed enough for knowing that as I should be.
**a great actor, or the greatest actor?

The Legend of Algona

1. we have found her!
2. "Southern Girls" (live) - Cheap Trick
3. "Do It Right Now" - Brute Force
4. "Super Bad" - J.D. The Rock
5. "Boneless" - The
6. "First Sight" - These United States
shut up, Doris
8. "The Poet" -
9. "Nobody But Me" The Human
10. "The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range" - Roger Waters
11. "Remember When (Side B)" - The Black Keys
12. "Alexander's Ragtime Band" (live) - Ray Charles
14. "The Summer Sun" - Chris
15. "One Too Many Mornings Anthem" - Brad
16. "A Wine Glass A Dollar" - Jean
17. "Love Is About To Get Me" - Dandy Livingston
19. "Wolf
Kidult Man" - The Fall
20. "It Lives On" Shape of Broad Minds feat. Count Bass D
21. "If You Ever Get Lonesome" Roy "Happy" Easter feat. Preston Love and his Orchestra
23. "Foxes Mate For Life" - Born Ruffians
24. "
Je N'attends Plus Personne" - Francoise Hardy
25. "True Love Will Find You In The End" -
all you kids make me sick
This is one of the poppier mixes I've made in awhile, or so it feels to me. I just basically came across a goldmine of new samples and audio mp3s to play with, so get ready for most of my mixes to become not safe to play at work! This one's fine, though. Anyway, expect 'em to keep coming.

if you recognize that Human Beinz song it's because it was featured in the grand fight scene of Kill Bill 2. I have issues with throwing Tarentino songs on mixes, but that guitar solo pretty much cast aside any doubts I had.

Download here

Saturday, March 29, 2008

G-6155 Interceptor

as much as I loathe 87% of the advertising that is trojan horsed into my brain, but goddamn it's nice to see a Spy Hunter commercial.
very late and very lovely night. Overcast today and we're headed to the beach to see one of my absolute favorite people in the world for the first time in a very, very long while.

was gonna put a bunch of music on CD for him and realized that I don't have and CDs. and haven't for months. and months.

what's up with that?

Friday, March 28, 2008

US gave $300m arms contract to 22-year-old with criminal record

it's be hilarious if it wasn't so damned tragic.

More real-life conversations

I came back from lunch clean shaven and wearing a suit after wearing a ratty t-shirt and half-beard all morning.

Co-worker: Wow, do you have a court date or something?
Me: No, I uh...
Co-Worker: Fancy dinner?
Me: (laughing): Oh, no. Nooo. If I show up to work dressed up, it's almost certainly as a joke or out of spite.

today it's spite.

Hey Tall Man, just take my hand, and lead me to your red planet

Looking at Richard Kiel's website (!) I noticed that in late April there's a Fangoria Con in LA. I'll admit that I could normally give a rat's ass about conventions, because I'm not that much of a dork. Also, I find them a little frightening. But the prospect of meeting George Romero, Ken Foree, Ted V. Mikels, Steve Niles, Rob Tapert, etc...


my sister -who is most definitely NOT a horror fan- will be in town that weekend. I wonder what it'd take to drag her there...

Cotton, can you sorta gross me out? Sorta?


I love the idea with a dude running around with stainless steel dentures. I bet when Jaws showed up in those Bond movies he was all "that asshole stole my bit!"

Bob Casey endorses Obama.

I totally didn't see this coming at all.

Will Bunch says it better than I:
How ironic would it be if bland, uninspiring Bob Casey is the man who saves the national Democratic party from the abyss? This is clearly his biggest move since he took office 15 months ago, and I'll have to say it shows a lot of guts. As is always the case with these endorsements, I don't think the fact of Casey's support sways individual voters, but the aura of Obama momentum might.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

After a shit day with a worse mood, sometimes a picture like this can awe you into a state of static balance.

Sorry I've been such a turd about posting lately (I do this a lot, don't I?), but work has just exploded in my face like some comical cooking experiment gone awry in an old cartoon. I wish I had a chef's hat.
Anyway, I woke up in a piss poor state of mind today. Just sick of work, sick of me, sick of pretty much everything. and to be honest, I welcomed it. Bad moods are bad moods. I've been told that I get especially bad, but to be honest I think I just get quiet more than anything, but who knows. Maybe I set fire to smartcars in my sleep. Maybe I'm actually a I don't know.
But sometimes, especially after several days in a row of being in impossibly high spirits (and being surrounded by people in particularly foul moods), one such as myself is due for a rotten spell. And so I take it. It's hard to appreciate good times without feeling the bad ones. So when they come there isn't much to do except wait them out.
But this got me thinking about that sort of music that one listens to when they want that retreat. When they're actively trying not to be cheered up. What to you listen to when you want to stay in a bad mood?
I was trying to think of a good base.

(shut up).
(seriously, why are you still offering suggestions? You should be slamming your hand in a drawer).
I don't know. What about one of those new age guys? that... that guy-
(don't say it)
That guy Yanni?
(...this demeans us both)
Who are you talking to?

My typical way of music is just skipping around song by song. Given my hatred for the ipod shuffling formula and penchant for comedy, there's no way I'd be able to continue my bad attitude. So I'm stuck rooting out albums.
compliations are pretty much out along with whatever other loose change is floating around.
So Hank Williams. Is there anyone better to listen to whilst feeling depressed. Oddly yes. It's pretty easy to forget how many honkytonk songs that man had time to record. Neil Young sometimes makes you feel oddly content or worse, patriotic. I thought about all these genres of music I've spent decades listening to as a way to both express and regulate my mood. Like an idiot, I get to this point before I think "hey you stupid shit. Listen to the Blues". right.
My problem is this. Even the best of the Blues (especially the best of the them) are still at their core a form of entertainment. They are a tale. a tune.
To hear it certainly elicits an emotion, but that its to say it's one of sadness. Or woe. or getting cheated by the devil, or stones in your passway, or the hoodoo man blues.
A lot of people think that acoustic blues are depressing, that they're supposed to be. They're an expression of pain, not pain itself.While the blues definitely instill a sense of melancholy, but not of sadness.
and then I realized what my problem was.
and took off the headphones for
----ging phone-
-ringing phone-
-ringing phone-
-ringing phone-
-ringing phon
and reminded myself why I was in such a bad mood to begin with.

I've cheered up fantastically, if you're wondering. Pork medallions with rosemary and vegetables are okay be me. Then I went on to some Solomon Burke to bring me home.

Monday, March 24, 2008


More conversations from my life:

This one was completely overheard at the bar on Friday, but super awesome.

At the bar, there was a hippie girl (sort of a theme for the day I guess) who I was talking to for a little while about music general philosophy (don't ask) on Friday night. At some point I went inside to get a beer and overheard this little transaction between the hippie girl and my lovely wife.

my lovely wife: "...I hate that guy."
hippie girl: "you shouldn't live with hate. Hate is a terrible thing."
my lovely wife: "I'm starting to hate you, too."

I dunno, I thought it was very funny at the time.
the death toll in Iraq has hit 4,000. I'm too tired of this shit to go into anything at length. But it ain't over and it's not gonna be for quite awhile.

Don't forget the minimum of 90,000 Civilian deaths and the $505,277,174,510 of taxpayer money. I feel like both of these last numbers have been fucked with since I last checked.

My point is, it's not gonna end, we're in this for awhile and there's no excuse to not remember the price we're paying.
Olympic torch lighting ceremony took place, complete with protesters, mass arrests.
I woke up on Sat. morning feeling like I'd snuck up behind my liver the night before and broke a chair over it.

Saw Built to Spill and the Meat Puppets on Sat. night, and I think it's interesting that the town immediately south of us, that everyone described as "terrifying" when we got here is where we want to move. Anyway, the show was interesting and filled with hippies. I'm still trying to figure out which if these acts drew more hippies or if it was the combination, but there was a giant man in a tie-dyed skirt next to me through much of the show. He was there with his "old lady" or whatever and another couple. I thought it was interesting that while the band (BTS) was playing, him and his buddy decided to have the LOUDEST CONVERSATION POSSIBLE about Bill Ward of Black Sabbath's drumming capabilities. huh. They were actively shouting OVER the band. Thanks for making it easy, hippies.

One thing I want to address here though. Anyone who has spend some small amount of time with me knows that I'm somewhat susceptible to laughing fits. I mean bad ones. This happens all the time, and is nothing more than my overactive imagination putting completely stupid and absurd pictures into my head. Hilarious, sure, but ultimately kinda stupid. I'll giggle/chortle to myself uncontrollably for a half-hour at a time.

On Saturday night, I experienced one of these fits, and it was brought on by one of the hippie ladies and her hippie dance. Hippie dancing fucking cracks me up. There's a lot of variations on it, some twirl, some bounce, etc... but the one where they sorta just walk in place will never cease to make me laugh. It always reminds me of the way Super Mario characters will walk in place. So of course I started thinking about videotaping her and putting her in front of different backgrounds. Because while it's goofy enough, it's twice as hilarious when you remove them from any meaningul context.

I couldn't breathe I was laughing so hard at this. So if you have video editing equipment and you want to see me pretty much never do anything but laugh at hippies again, you can help me set this up. Picture a dancing hippie blue-screened into the following backgrounds:

-Super Mario Bros (of course. Bonus points for putting her into Super Mario Bros. 2 with the raccoon tail)
-In an active volcano.
-On a roller coaster.
-dancing next to a caveman, who is eaten by a dinosaur.
-going through a car wash
-storming the beaches at Normandy
-underneath a rocket ship blasting off.
-in quicksand
-on the bench at a professional football game.

and on and on I went. I was seriously having trouble breathing I was laughing so hard. I felt bad after awhile, but it also resulted (I like to think) in the hippies moving to the other side of the room. Hooray for ridicule!

Incidentally, speaking of Built to Spill, I've always thought Doug Martsch looks something like a Rasputin. Not that he's evil, but especially after hearing him sing, seeing him is a little jarring. He's pretty effing giant (to me, anyway) and has very soft eyes. Maybe I'm not thinking of Rasputin at all, but a giant sloth.
Still, I really wanted to keep frantically shouting "the mad monk has returned and he's doomed us all!" at the show between songs. Which I'm sure nobody would get or find amusing. You see what it's like, being me. I should just wear a helmet all the time so people stop wondering.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

As a man about to enter my thirties, it should be no small surprise that I have more than a few friends who either have or are expecting children these days. And I wish them the best. Obviously it's better that people I like and trust are out there raising kids than we leave it all to those idiots in Florida who put fireworks in cats and drink lighter fluid. Clearly it is no small feat to raise children. It's exhausting and messy and frustrating*. But there's also great moments, to be sure, moments of love and pride and family goodness. I should point out that if you're reading this (hell, if you can read at all), you probably know far more about childrearing than I do. But for my own edification I continue.
My point is you're also given the chance to mold a tiny little human being. You have the opportunity of taking all of your knowledge, your skills, your fears, your hates, and your weird foibles and smush them into this little genetic imprint. Not that you should, but it's there. and this is why I think I would make a horrible parent, treating a child more as an experiment (if I tell him that he's allergic to cheese his whole life, will he grow up to hate Swedish people? If I let ants crawl on her face, will she have no fear? etc..), but I'd like to think that were I faced with the task of raising a child, I would pass on a set of morals and standards that are both earnest and respectful. At least until he/she was old enough to learn things for themselves. I was brought up with a pretty sensible moral belief system and even though I wouldn't say I adhere to it all that well, I at least know what I should be doing.
I've been going over these moral codes lately, because sometimes these can offer a lot of insight into where you might think you're going wrong. Sometimes it's nice just to remind yourself what the right thing to do is. and I think that one of those that does a great job of putting everything in perspective is:
Gene Autry's cowboy code
  1. The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
  2. He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
  3. He must always tell the truth.
  4. He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
  5. He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
  6. He must help people in distress.
  7. He must be a good worker.
  8. He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
  9. He must respect women, parents, and his nation's laws.
  10. The Cowboy is a patriot.
Sure, some are a bit naive, and that last one is completely intangible, but I still think it's a pretty fair set of beliefs to maintain. So there you go. Tack that to the wall and let a cowboy raise your children. It won't change diapers, but pretty soon we'll have robots for that. Cold, steel robots.

*That said, though, it drives me nuts to hear people complain about how superheroic they are for having children. You're right. I have no idea how hard it is to have children. But I have enough of an idea to know that I'm not ready for it. I respect and admire decent parents all the world around. But stop acting like you're the first person to do this. Cavemen did it. 14 year olds did it. That Juno did it**. So take pride in your parenting skills and do a good job of it. and let your child know how hard it is to raise them, not some random person on the street***. It's the American way.

**I think. I didn't see it. she probably gave it away at the end like a lazy coward.

*** and yes, this gripe was inspired by a chance encounter on the street. Not any of you wonderful people****. Seriously. Put your throwin' rocks away, unless you've recently seen me on the street in Upland, CA.

****I already know the shit I'ma catch for this. but that's why there's a website. If you want in on this, just say the word.

This morning, instead of a life-risking trek through a very active construction site, I was treated to a little jaunt not unlike the opening credits to a Pixar movie thanks to the new Man Man album.

Something about the tramsformative power or music. As much as I begrudge the fact that I wear headphones for half my day, sometimes they can really make a shitty situation better. or make it worse, depending on the mood I'm in.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke R.I.P.

more "sad" for today, as Arthur C. Clarke has died.

While it's easy to remember him for Clarke as "2001: A Space Odyssey", I actually always thought it was my least favorite of his books that I'd read. It's a fantastic story, don't get me wrong, but I always felt it overrated despite the infamous movie adaptation*. Clarke wasn't just a writer, either. He was an avid scuba diver, a respected inventor, and perhaps above all, a wildly gifted futurist. His notes and theories will be in use long after all of us are gone, and that might be the best memorial for him.
In looking something up though I did get to find out that there is an adaptation of "Rendezvous with Rama" in the works (That I would rather see David Fincher complete this before the Torso adaptation says a lot. Because I really want to see that), which is great news for me and a bunch of other dorks out there.
But I digress. Because the real reason I love Arthur C. Clarke is the story "The Nine Billion Names of God". It's not the most well-crafted story, and it certainly doesn't pound you with the logistics of say "Childhood's End", but retains some of that... feeling of something greater that reading someone like Clarke makes you feel. I don't mean in some sort of extra terrestrial bullshit, but that the sky spoke to Clarke, shared with him its calculations and he knew all along what was in store for us.
Anyway, "The Nine Billion Names of God" has without question my favorite ending line(s) ever put to paper. It's a short story, no more than 3-4 pages in a small-format paperback, if I remember correctly. But I will never forget reading that story (first, because it was the shortest in the book) and absolutely freaking out. and so once again, I'm urging you to nerd yourself out and go read something.
As I said, it's not very long and you can probably print it on 2 sheets of paper. and I suggest you do. I love your eyes, see.
But please read it, because I feel like we owe him all that much.

"The Nine Billion Names of God" - Arthur C. Clarke

if you like it, check out "The Star", which you can find here.

*I don't want to sully up this any more than I already have, but you Pink Floyd synch nerds out there, i.e. stoners (and apparently there's a lot of you out there**), "Echoes" and 2001 is probably the closest anything will ever get to being an "official"/intentional one. I'm sure it's on youtube somewhere.

** jesus that is scary. Just the thought that someone out there was trying to synchronize Animals with The Good, The Bad & the Ugly is terrifying.
I was going to just link to this article in the Economist at first, but Shelley Batts has something to say about it here so I'll post them both. Namely, Gulf War Syndrome is pretty fucked up and it's entirely plausible that it's a result of the Army infecting them with chemicals used to ward off sand gnats and chemical weapons.

The weird thing is I'm pretty sure I remember reading an article with the same conclusion in Rolling Stone ten years ago.

In any case, this is serious and should probably be looked at, and maybe we should think about putting more money into care for out veterans. Just a thought.

Tagged: Sad. I use this one a lot, don't I?

Right outside my office on a beautiful Tuesday morning.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Philly Edition

Got a message from my friend the other day that ended with "...aaaand I just saw a cop driving the wrong way down the street. Don't you miss Philly?"

well, aside from the campaigning that must be making life hell there right now, I do. Not least of all, some fine spinach ravioli or Sarcone's or perhaps most of all, a decent soft pretzel. But there's plenty more to miss, and that's not even including the O'bama hilarity.

But there was enough in the news to get me pining for my Commonwealth of origin. Not just the PennDot absurdity, it's not just the lying cops (seriously?). It's not even the hilarious naked criminals.

NO! It's that Philly might be getting one of the world's tallest buildings. How have I missed out on this so far? Man, I used to be so into the tallest buildings in the world. and then I turned 8 and realized that I don't really care. I don't mean to dash anyone's hopes here, but isn't this sorta pointless anyway? I think I'd rather have Philly be home to the world's largest cowboy hat than to the fifth largest building, or whatever. I mean, you know that Dubai will have 8 of the world's 10 tallest buildings in 6 years anyway, right? You know what would be a great way to spend that money? By, I dunno, trying to make sure more citizens don't get murdered this year. I know it's real sweet to have the world's fourth largest building to have airbrushed on your casket and everything, but I think I'd rather take the extra cops than the public funding that building would get. Just me. You wanna impress me? Let's make the world's deepest hole. Then we can spend the next 5 years filling with garbage and start all over again.

Here's a link to a guy that links to another guy's summary of a third guy's essay. It's really good reading, though, and it helps to get some background. also because this picture cracks me up.

I'm too tired for Jeremiah Wright, I'm too tired for the seemingly imminent financial disaster looming on the horizon, and I'm too tired even to get started on the end of the Wire, which at this point I should just give up on because that was over a week ago. At some point, though, I want to address this Newsweek article that has me cringing like crazy, but it'll have to wait until later.

Tonight's a big drinking holiday folks. Don't be stupid. Stay in and enjoy your moderation. Don't puke green, don't make an ass of yourself for the nightly news. I'll be back tomorrow.
Pulp's "Common People", as told by Archie and the Riverdale gang.
what in the fuck?

okay, this is actually pretty funny.

aluminum foil as a... what the fuck?
Seriously, is it possible to oppose sex ed in schools when you hear a kid say that aluminum foil works instead of a condom? I'm sure that every generation says this, and maybe it's true, but kids seem to be getting laid a lot more nowadays. Also, they nasty.
Violent riots continue in Tibet, and it'll be curious how this is resolved. This isn't Myanmar, where people don't even know where it lies on a map. This is Tibet, and even if lots of people can't find that on a map, they still know the Dalai Lama. They still know Buddhism. On top of that, China already has their hands full trying to make everything seem hunky dory in time for the Olympics in 143 days. The thing is, though, it's China. Nobody expects them to be freeing all their political prisoners. Nobody thinks they'll actually get out of Tibet. Nobody expects change of any sort, I'll wager, other than the ceremonial.

and we all know how great that ceremonial change is. I mean look at how well things worked our in Myanmar.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


also, the Sixers beat the Spurs. This is the nicest that sports have been to me since 2001.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pitt V Marquette in 4 hours. It's fantastic enough that I got to yell "suck it, Pitino" for the fifth consecutive year or whatever, but if we can manage to bump off Marquette tonight after the embarrassment of February 15, then I will be drunk and happy, instead of the usual ol' drunk and angry. Keep them fingers crossed.
Oh, Philly. I miss you and your wacky crimes.
So the Government is trying to downplay the conclusion of a massive study that basically says what most of us have known for 5 years. Turns out Osama and Saddam are NOT BFFs. Go figure.

If you want to read it, though, you're gonna have to write to the Pentagon, because it's too hotttt 4 the internet!

The Planetary Enquirer

Saturn + Rhea = ENGAGED!!!!!

Guess what moon has been seen around town sporting a new set of rings? My sources tell me that longtime companions Saturn and Rhea have finally agreed to tie the knot!! No word yet on whether this move was planned to mirror another bland-looking chunk of rock and ice, but here's looking forward to some hijinks on the red carpet!!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

to dinner tonight there were four businessmen at the table next to us at some steak and tacos joint. They were pretty hammered, and having a rousing argument about the whole Spitzer thing. It was pretty embarrassing. I'm already so sick of it and the talk about his wife being at his side. I'm just going to talk about this once I swear.
The dude fucked up. If you make a career on busting the mafia and wall street, stay the hell away from the prostitutes. That's like the one thing you can't fuck with! I figured he'd be smarter than that.
and of course the GOP is hamming this up as much as possible. and the dems are trying to remind people of prior republican busts that were similar. It means nothing to me. Listen, it's not like I look at these things as an indictment of either (or any) party, only of politicians in general. Polling shows that most of the country disagrees with me, but then that's true of a lot of things.
and regarding his wife. we all know she doesn't want to be there. Chances are, he doesn't want her there either. Her appearance is entirely for your benefit and takes a lot of guts. So stop attacking her.
Sorry, this might be a California thing.
anyways, the conversation behind us got down to two people, and there was slamming the table. There were comparisons of Spitzer to Batman and to Jesus. I swear I'm not making this up. Anyway, it ended in something of a huff and we skipped back home. The end.
Olbermann. wow.

I know what you're thinking...

can Lewis Black really stay funny for a half hour a week?

well, at least that's what I was wondering. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy him as much as the next person, but his 8 minutes a week on the daily show is more than enough for me.

but hey, Paul F. Tompkins! I guess he's on every week? I dunno. It's good to see him get out of the best week ever format. If it's three-quarters as funny as the album is, I'll watch it just for him.



Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been picked up for a fourth season. Which makes me so very happy. So watch it this time you jerks. I already can't wait. For some reason my summers always seem to have new episodes of Always Sunny, Trailer Park Boys, and Battlestar Galactica at the same time, providing me with an excellent stasis for the excruciatingly pleasant summers out here.

so thanks, FX. You're okay by me. Maybe someday I'll watch the Shield to thank you.

There's a good interview with Rob McElhenney here.
Just finished up watching Alien, which I haven't seen all the way through in a very long time. One of the things that really struck me was that it's one of those movies that never spring to leap to mind when I think of my favorite movies. This is a mistake.
When I was in high school, I took a science fiction class with a good friend of mine. It was taught by a drunk and we read some of the most enlightening and disturbing things I've read to this day. Naturally, it quickly became one of my favorite classes. My English and writing teacher was pissed to see the tomes of sixties counterculture he'd lent me go rotting in my locker as I flew through Bradbury and Jerome Bixby and Frederic Brown* and Judith Merril**. Anyway, I remember learning the 12 or 14 major themes of Science Fiction in this class. I wish I could still remember or find it online or something, but it might well have been something of that teacher's creation. But this is another one of those movies in that "opens-on-a-spaceship-with-varied-crew-with-a-mission-in-front-of-it" category (my own name). I forgot about it in that post as well. huh. Anyway, this is the best possible scenario with that opening. The crew's different characteristics and personalities are established, as is some of the ship's technology and mission. All good here. But instead of this being my favorite part of the movie as usual, this is just exposition. Things are interesting, even a little wondrous. Then we're introduced to the aliens. They don't speak English. They don't vaporize everyone in sight, and they have no wildly impressive technology.
Yet somehow they remain among the most terrifying creations of the last century. And still it isn't overused. There are considerable production gaffes throughout the movie. But still, it tells such a great story and in such a great way that you're fine with overlooking them.
Maybe it's because the sequel was so much more popular during my adolescence. Maybe it's because people are so quick to proclaim Blade Runner to be Ridley Scott's definitive early work. Maybe it's because I think Gladiator is criminally overrated. But I've always felt that Alien doesn't always get its fair shake. and that's just wrong. The cast alone makes this one of the greatest films ever. Ian Holm in one of his greatest roles. Tom Skerritt! HARRY DEAN STANTON. You know what? I should just end it with that. If that guy can't sell you a movie I don't know what I'm wasting my breath for? Go watch Alien again, folks. If you haven't seen it in 5 years or twenty, it's worth checking out now, I promise. That is all.

*hey, why not read Brown's classic story "Arena" here. Or better yet, copy it, paste it into a word processor and format to the font and spacing scheme of your choosing, and then print it out. Hot Dog Fingers: Concerned about your vision since 2005.

** Unfortunately, I don't have a link to Merril's "That Only a Mother" to put here, but if you ever come across it, read it. It's super creepy and like 6 pages.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I can't believe I just saw Stephen Colbert ask George McGovern if he was on acid.

Pretty scary stuff on prisons in America. Looking at the stats of how quickly our prison population has exploded and how much of a business jailing people has become can be downright terrifying.
My apologies for the brief respite. Moving (coupled with being sick, work-related mishaps, vet issues, death anniversaries, family hilarity, etc...) hit me a little harder than I'd anticipated and kept me out of it for a little while.

Still working with some boxes, but we're about a trip to the hardware store to start feeling at home. We walked next door (it was a far move), and found out that the previous tenant was handing her keys over. Thirty minutes before we'd been told we could move our shit in. and she never cleaned it. and she'd lived there 10 years. with cats. and a drummer.
This has happened in 7 our of the last 9 moves. This is the result of renting from really small-scale landlords, probably, which pretty much sucks. Oh well, good with the bad. But seriously? this girl was a fucking dirtball.

I hardly consider myself a beacon of cleanliness, but seriously? who gets hair in their fridge? Whose kitchen counters are dusty? eugh. It was disgusting. But 3 bottles of bleach, 2 hazmat suits, and a half-gallon of windex later, and we were cooking with gas!

The new place is nice and sunny and at a huge intersection. It's loud, but there's plenty of room. Come for a visit sometime.