Saturday, February 25, 2006

If only they did sell it in stores

John from AmericaBlog is in Amersterdam at the moment and has been posting photographs from his trip. This one struck me, for some Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-type reason.

Friday, February 24, 2006

music to decompress by

there's a light on the corner
it says I wish you'd come in,
unless you've got a place to go
so through the lines on the left
i can't hear what you say,
all i hear are the tom tom drums,
there's a drive by the lake where
the fields get white,
with the smell of the drum,
and through the lights
there's a calm that i wish i could see
but we got to go go go
well, we never played it right,
and we will never play it right...
there's some lines in the songs
that i never get tight,
i can't rely on the good past leads
-Starflyer 59, "night music"

let's go around the table

Completed Sunday, December 04, 2005: 179 pages. 36, 293 words. 32 chapters.

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, a novella in four parts and an epilogue.

Completed Friday, February 24, 2006: 201 pages. 38, 669 words. Still 32 chapters.

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, still a novella in four parts, but now with a prologue, interludes, and one whole new character-well, partially. It's someone who's mentioned in most of the previous versions but we've never "seen" them before.

I might be dismayed that I'm still more than a thousand words shy of a novel, but I choose to see it as reinforcement that I'm not padding the story out just to meet a word count. Everything I've added I've added for one reason and one reason only: Because I saw it.

Besides, this is a process, and as long as I keep discovering things that tell me about Keitha and Colley and Annabel, it's an ongoing process that I'm committed to. (Yeah, like I have a choice.)

And I kind of knew this was going to have to go through the old Microsoft Word at least one more time.

I also cut a few lines, and the entire epilogue from the last version, on the grounds of what was I thinking?

I'll be asking some of you to read the new draft soon, so now's the time to check that your spam filters are in place.

Because when you hear Jaime Pressly, you think clothes

At least that appears to be the rationale behind giving the star of Journey: The Absolution, Poison Ivy: The New Seduction and Tomcats (no subtitle) her own clothing line.

You'll need to scroll down the link.

Let's see if I can make a meme that anyone else will take up


Name five albums that were the soundtrack to your teen years, preferably your high school years.

The Pacific Age, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. This album is full of quiet ghosts. It was also the last full album to feature "OMD proper"...although word has it that a reunion is in the works. There's a sense in which, for me, that's like the Beatles getting back together.

Black Celebration, Depeche Mode. I'll drink to that.

Louder Than Bombs, The Smiths. Escape. This album was made to be listened to on a walkman (it's what we called iPods, kids) as you sit in a corner of the room.

Substance, New Order. Among other things, the best title for a collection of dance remixes ever.

Decade, Duran Duran. Before Duran became a product-generating pale shadow of its former self, they were, genuinely, one of the most significant and influential artists of the '80s. Listen to this compilation, which has almost* every song you could possibly need, and deny it if you dare.

*Although one or two later singles, like the remixed version of "Sunrise" are quite nice too.

Anyone else?

FBI and British intelligence: Priorities

They apparently questioned the author of this blog's current signature quote, the pope of pained pop, Miserable Steven...Morrissey himself. Because of "some comments he made that were critical of the Bush administration."

Now, granted, he hasn't done much for me musically since his first solo album, apart from the odd single or two, but I think that's a bit of an overreaction.

Let's review, with the help of John in AmericaBlog:
The Bush team couldn't save New Orleans, bumbled Iraq, let Osama go, can't even shoot straight, and now they want us to trust them regarding the nuclear threat when we already know they've dropped the ball regarding setting up a plan to effectively stop terrorist nukes from being snuck into the US through our ports.

But by God, harassing a gloombox of a perennial moper pop star, that they can do.

I can see where being a Democrat in Ohio would give one a finely tuned sense of sarcasm

Case in point:
State Sen. Robert Hagan sent out e-mails to fellow lawmakers late Wednesday night, stating that he intends to “introduce legislation in the near future that would ban households with one or more Republican voters from adopting children or acting as foster parents.”

Hagan said his legislation was written in response to a bill introduced in the Ohio House this month by state Rep. Ron Hood, R-Ashville, that is aimed at prohibiting gay adoption.

…To further lampoon Hood’s bill, Hagan wrote in his mock proposal that “credible research” shows that adopted children raised in Republican households are more at risk for developing “emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities.”

However, Hagan admitted that he has no scientific evidence to support the above claims.

Just as “Hood had no scientific evidence” to back his assertion that having gay parents was detrimental to children, Hagan said.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Why Australia's Next Top Model is a much better show than America's

Three words: Nudity, nudity, nudity. Did I mention nudity?

Headlines designed to give me a heart attack

Anne Hathaway gets 'Knocked Up'

a picture very small, A photograph I took some years ago

The New York Times Magazine has put together an interesting collection of portraits of the performers that that they consider to have given the best work of 2005 (in films). Here are a few of the ones that really jumped out at me.

If I were playing analyst, or pretentious art critic, I would say: I think that the point of the picture of Reese Witherspoon with stars all over her bared neck is that her apparent vulnurability in performance is what makes her a star. Good thing I'm not, huh?

I like the way that Penélope Cruz manages to be very sexy (IMO) while clothed almost head-to-foot.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think Michelle Williams is starting to look a lot like Kim Basinger?

What I said about the Cruz photograph above remains true, however, I also support any decision Charlize Theron makes not to wear clothes.

I also like the way they've made it look as though George Clooney's next film will be V: The Movie.

You can see all the pictures at the NY Times Magazine website, registration is required but free.

Does anyone else remember a series of Peanuts strips... which Lucy circulates a document for the other kids' signatures?

Lucy: Just sign it... that's right... thank you. No matter what happens any place or any time in the world, this absolves me from all blame!

Charlie Brown: That must be a nice document to have.

(Quote via this nifty page of Peanuts quotes)

I'd say Lucy is now working in the White House, but I don't want to insult such a treasured part of my childhood.

Another republican beats Dems to the "Let's get out of Iraq" position

As you may recall, one of my big bugaboos lately is the idea that if the Democrats don't get it together, draw a firm line and stand behind it, the republicans will sweep in and take their issues.

And just in time for the midterm elections. As ludicrous as it sounds, we are going to have republicans running on ethics, we are going to have republicans running against the war. And if Democrats try to say anything about it, republicans are just going to say,

"How strange that you did not have anything to say in the past three years, but only now, when you want to get re-elected. Me, I've learned from my mistakes, I've evolved, and I think the American people will forgive me."

And they probably will.

BTW: Bill O'Reilly now thinks it's time to get out of Iraq.

Something you could easily have missed about "portgate"

...especially if you rely on the "traditional media." I mean, I missed it, and I don't rely on the TM. Fortunately, I have Media Matters for America looking out for things like this:

CNN repeatedly referred to Dubai Ports World simply as a foreign or Arab company, without noting it is government-owned

CNN anchors and reporters repeatedly described Dubai Ports World -- the company set to assume control of six U.S. ports -- as an "Arab company" or a "Dubai-based company." However, in describing the company as such, these reporters are ignoring a key factor in the bipartisan controversy surrounding the takeover deal, which is that the company is a state-run business in the United Arab Emirates.

Emphasis mine. Is this beginning to seem less and less to you like a good idea?

This is almost creepy

So, on a whim, I requested a collection of Wonder Woman comics from my local library. It's a storyline written by novelist Greg Rucka, whose mysteries I've enjoyed. Here's the thing. There is a supporting character named Jonah--like my character, Jonah Colley. There is mention of a city named Kithira--which is not a hundred miles from the name of my character Keitha. Then there are passing appearances by people named Mary-the name of Jonah Colley's girlfriend-and Kimberly-the name of Keitha's mother.

As if that weren't enough, part of the storyline is about Wonder Woman publishing a book and touring with it. At one point she makes an appearance at a lesbian bookstore.

Get the feeling I was destined to read this book?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

This is too cruel. This is vicious.

This is perfect.

(via AmericaBlog)

Turns out there is one more person who thinks selling our ports to Arabs is a good idea

Joe Lieberman, come on down!

ETA: Mark Evanier sez-
this thing about outsourcing the operation of several U.S. ports to an Arabian company -- seems like errant criticism. One can make a good argument that we shouldn't be handing a job this sensitive over to an outside supplier at all...that it should be done by the United States government. But none of the folks yelling at Bush today seem to be making that case. They weren't bothered when it was a British company that was running the six U.S. ports...but now that the company's being acquired by a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates, all Hades is breaking loose.

As always, Mark is a clever guy and I encourage you to read his side. But I think perhaps the NY Times said it best:
The issue is not, as Mr. Bush is now claiming, a question of bias against a Middle Eastern company. The United Arab Emirates is an ally, but its record in the war on terror is mixed. It is not irrational for the United States to resist putting port operations, perhaps the most vulnerable part of the security infrastructure, under that country's control. And there is nothing in the Homeland Security Department's record to make doubters feel confident in its assurances that all proper precautions will be taken.

"Mixed" is a way of saying implicitly what Forbes went and made explicit:
Menendez and other critics have cited the UAE's history as an operational and financial base for the hijackers who carried out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In addition, they contend the UAE was an important transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuclear components sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya by a Pakistani scientist.

And via Think Progress:
– The UAE was one of three countries in the world to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

– The UAE has been a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components to Iran, North Korea and Lybia.

– According to the FBI, money was transferred to the 9/11 hijackers through the UAE banking system.

– After 9/11, the Treasury Department reported that the UAE was not cooperating in efforts to track down Osama Bin Laden’s bank accounts.

So there are reasons why "all Hades is breaking loose." But the thing is that even if there weren't, this would still have been a politically stupid thing to do. How politically stupid? So politically stupid not even Tom DeLay thinks it was a good idea.
For almost five years President George W. Bush has warned Americans to fear terrorism, but now those words may come back to bite him.

"Politically, for the president, it is a huge mistake for him to be defending this decision. The president will be overturned," said U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, the former number two Republican in the House of Representatives

It's so stupid...that the cynic in me thinks maybe it's a setup to let Republicans show they can stand up against Bush and be their own men. Remember: Even paranoids have enemies.

Actually, except for Roger Rabbit, I'm cool with this

China has just banned human-animation hybrids. Not human-animal hybrids...animation. Fortunately, most of 'em suck.

Words to live by

From William Goldman, in Which Lie Did I Tell?:

And if you manage to suck it up, if you decide you must get your stories down, then there is one other thing that's crucial: don't talk about it. Tell no one.
Once others know, they will look at you strangely, they will question you, they will ask you terrible questions-
-how's it coming?
-is it fun?
-when is it going to be finished?
-I bet it's fun
-when can I see it?
You don't need those words buzzing around your ears.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I never thought I'd say this, but I miss Nancy Reagan

Via TGW, a Kristof column on the need for an "extreme makeover" of the Bush presidency. Excerpts:
The obvious model for Mr. Bush is Ronald Reagan's presidency when it was in a similar tailspin in 1987. The Iran-contra scandal, the failure of the Bork nomination and the stock market plunge left the Reagan administration "paralyzed" and "dead in the water," pundits wrote. A National Journal headline said, "Reagan Now Viewed as an Irrelevant President."

So Mr. Reagan systematically overhauled his presidency. He reached out to Congressional Democrats and appointed a bipartisan commission of three respected statesmen — John Tower, Ed Muskie and Brent Scowcroft — to investigate Iran-contra. He fired or accepted resignations from two national security aides, John Poindexter and Oliver North. He also fired his chief of staff, Donald Regan, and replaced him with Howard Baker, who was respected by both parties.

But Mr. Bush today is not retooling; he's hunkering down in the bunker. Instead of the Reagan approach of 1987, it's the Nixon approach of 1973. It just increases the national polarization and doesn't help Mr. Bush.

Unexpected anal sex

This is great!

A Mr. Frey of Iowa, currently facing charges of kidnapping his own wife and a separate child pornography charge, drew up his own marriage contract for said wife. Said contract, which said wife apparently never signed (for some reason) contained stipulations such as that
Unexpected anal sex will get Frey’s wife 14 Good Behavior Days.

You can see more here. The bits dictating exactly-
  • How she should trim her...well, trim...
  • What kind of underpants she should wear (garter belts and thongs only, please)
  • How she should sleep (naked, unless instructed otherwise)
  • How she is not to argue with him, but be cheerful and adoring and not condescending

-are themselves worth the price of admission. And they're all just on the first page, the thing goes on for three more! It's excellent! Me, I just love the idea of "Unexpected anal sex." It brings to mind images of,

"Oh, baby I love you so much...hey! The hell?"

I wear my sunglasses at-what?

My entry in Shakespeare's Sister's "caption this photo" contest.

Okay, the "giving control of six US major city ports to a company owned by a nation with a history of financing Al Qaeda" thing

You may have heard about this. If not, firedoglake can tell you about it. In short, all you need to know is that basically: No one thinks it's a good idea. Except, of course, the Bush administration.

And why does the Bush administration think it's a good idea? I'll give you two guesses. One word. Rhymes with "phonies."
The Dubai firm that won Bush administration backing to run six U.S. ports has at least two ties to the White House.

One is Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose department heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World - giving it control of Manhattan's cruise ship terminal and Newark's container port.

Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush's cabinet.

The other connection is David Sanborn, who runs DP World's European and Latin American operations and who was tapped by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.
Bush reportedly thinks it's such a good idea that he is threatening to veto any bill Congress might approve to block the agreement.

What distresses me most is learning that David Sanborn is involved. Oh, David, isn't being a jazz saxophone legend and smooth jazz music artist enough?

Read this

Excerpt from the new Digby. Read the whole thing.
The grassroots of the Democratic Party see something that all the establishment politicians have not yet realized: bipartisanship is dead for the moment and there is no margin in making deals. The rules have changed. When you capitulate to the Republicans for promises of something down the road you are being a fool. When you make a deal with them for personal reasons, you are selling out your party. When you use Republican talking points to make your argument you are helping the other side. When you kiss the president on the lips at the state of the union you are telling the Democratic base that we are of no interest or concern to you. This hyper-partisanship is ugly and it's brutal, but it is the way it is.

It's so true, sadly

You Are a Dreaming Soul

Your vivid emotions and imagination takes you away from this world
So much so that you tend to live in your head most of the time
You have great dreams and ambitions that could be the envy of all...
But for you, following through with your dreams is a bit difficult

You are charming, endearing, and people tend to love you.
Forgiving and tolerant, you see the world through rose colored glasses.
Underneath it all, you have a ton of passion that you hide from others.
Always hopeful, you tend to expect positive outcomes in your life.

Souls you are most compatible with: Newborn Soul, Prophet Soul, and Traveler Soul

I suppose I should be happy; I was half expecting a result that said "judging from the disco-pop and post-punk in his record collection, this man has no soul."

Monday, February 20, 2006

Dear Winona: The goth look is dead. Much love...

About this "GOP as the party of church-goers" thing

In Daily Kos, a blogger calling her-or-himself Georgia10 has come up with a couple pieces of information, one quite disturbing, the other grimly satisfying. First, quoting from the Washington Post:

The North Carolina Republican Party asked its members this week to send their church directories to the party, drawing furious protests from local and national religious leaders.[...]

Georgia10 adds:
This isn't the first time North Carolina's mix of church & politics has made the news. Recall that last year, it was a church in North Carolina that purged all its liberal members who voted for John Kerry. But as the Reverends quoted in the article prove, the churches realize that the actions are improper. Maybe they're also starting to feel a bit used, you think?

Second (emphasis mine),
...the American delegation of the World Council of Churches came out strongly against Bush administration policies this week. The WCC has 347 member churches covering 500 million believers. The U.S. Conference issued a stinging rebuke of administration policies:

It said the U.S. government turned a deaf ear to the voice of the church in the country and in the world, using God's name instead "in national agendas that are nothing short of idolatrous."

"We confess that we have failed to raise a prophetic voice loud enough and persistent enough to deter our leaders from this path of pre-emptive war. Lord, have mercy," the letter said.

Hmmm. Is the GOP sure it wants to get churches involved in politics this time around? They sound pissed. Really pissed.

It's been said before, and it makes a nice bumper sticker, but that doesn't make it any less true: The moral majority is neither.

There's a way to be a person about these things

Via TGW, here's Paul Krugman's latest. He takes the rather bold position that the people currently in charge of America are not very nice people. Excerpts follow.
"Be a mensch," my parents told me. Literally, a mensch is a person. But by implication, a mensch is an upstanding person who takes responsibility for his actions.

The people now running America aren't mensches.

Officials in this administration never take responsibility for their actions. When something goes wrong, it's always someone else's fault.

Was it always like this? I don't want to romanticize our political history, but I don't think so. Think of Dwight Eisenhower, who wrote a letter before D-Day accepting the blame if the landings failed.

President Bush is definitely not a mensch; his inability to admit mistakes or take responsibility for failure approaches the pathological. He surrounds himself with subordinates who share his aversion to facing unpleasant realities.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The greatest blog name ever

My Boyfriend Is A Twat

Sentences that I never want to see in another blog posting for the rest of my life

Via Jesus General:
From the Kentucky News:

When police officers arrived at the fraternity house at 1436 Chestnut St. at 2:25 a.m. Thursday for the party complaint, the goat was found in a small basement storage room where it had no food or water, according to the BGPD report.

Police were told the goat was in the house because pledges were going to have sex with it, according to a city police report.

The male goat was taken to the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society for an examination Thursday afternoon by veterinarian Consuela Reinhart.

"At the bottom of the rectum there was a small abrasion,"; she said.

In some ways this is a terrible thing to do to a timeless classic

...but it's really, really, really funny.

(Graphic credit: Dark Black via firedoglake)