Saturday, December 09, 2006

Maybe I should read him, then.

I am:
Samuel R. "Chip" Delany
Few have had such broad commercial success with aggressively experimental prose techniques.

Which science fiction writer are you?


Amber Benson in a bra. I'm a shallow man in many ways.'s been some time since we looked at Bush's approval rating

Read 'em and laugh.

I can't add anything to that.

Captions by Chris Maynard of BAGnewsNotes, photographs by Todd Heisler.

Katherine Cathey, 23, embraces the coffin of her husband James C. Cathey, 24, a Marine Second Lieutenant, after it was placed in a hearse at Reno Airport. He was killed by a booby-trap explosion in Al Karmah, Iraq. Before getting out of the car at the airport, she said "I wish it was daytime for the rest of my life. The night is just too hard."

Shortly before the final inspection, Katherine Cathey, pregnant with their unborn son, rubs her belly against the coffin. Of all the photographs in the group, this is the most searing; it's as impossible to forget as it is to imagine. Of all the memories, the sense of touch seems to be the first to fade, and here is the sense of a last touch. It cuts deeply as love, birth and death merge until our heads spin.

And finally, the night before her husband's funeral, Katherine Cathey lies on an air mattress in front of the flag-draped coffin. Before he went to Iraq, they were married in a civil ceremony, and planned a church wedding when he returned. They hadn't planned on a return like this, and now she listens to music they had picked for the wedding. She insisted on spending that final night next to his body.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Speaking of Feingold (or ok, the Iraq commission thing)

Via Atrios:

On Countdown:

The fact is this commission was composed apparently entirely of people who did not have the judgment to oppose this Iraq war in the first place, and did not have the judgment to realize it was not a wise move in the fight against terrorism. So that's who is doing this report. Then I looked at the list of who testified before them. There is virtually no one who opposed the war in the first place. Virtually no one who has been really calling for a different strategy that goes for a global approach to the war on terrorism. So this is really a Washington inside job and it shows not in the description of what's happened - that's fairly accurate - but it shows in the recommendations. It's been called a classic Washington compromise that does not do the job of extricating us from Iraq in a way that we can deal with the issues in Southeast Asia, in Afghanistan, and in Somalia which are every bit as important as what is happening in Iraq. This report does not do the job and it's because it was not composed of a real representative group of Americans who believe what the American people showed in the election, which is that it's time for us to have a timetable to bring the troops out of Iraq.

Home truths

Paul Krugman's column today is another one of those that'll be good to have on hand the next time a Fox show (or watcher) tries to make the "Well, it's true Iraq has turned into a bit of a fiasco...but there's no way we could have known..." argument. Yes, there was.

This is not one of those "we are all at fault" numbers.
Shortly after U.S. forces marched into Baghdad in 2003, The Weekly Standard published a jeering article titled, “The Cassandra Chronicles: The stupidity of the antiwar doomsayers.” Among those the article mocked was a “war novelist” named James Webb, who is now the senator-elect from Virginia.

The article’s title was more revealing than its authors knew. People forget the nature of Cassandra’s curse: although nobody would believe her, all her prophecies came true. And so it was with those who warned against invading Iraq. At best, they were ignored. A recent article in The Washington Post ruefully conceded that the paper’s account of the debate in the House of Representatives over the resolution authorizing the Iraq war — a resolution opposed by a majority of the Democrats — gave no coverage at all to those antiwar arguments that now seem prescient.

There are people who are guilty, and people who are not guilty, and they should be honored or dishonored accordingly.

As the image of George "Slam-Dunk" Tenet being awarded his medal pops into all our minds, Krugman names and quotes a few of the people who actually deserve one. His list includes some of the usual suspects-Al Gore, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Senator Russ Feingold, and Howard Dean-but it also includes former President George H. W. Bush.

Digby adds the nearly-perfect Dixie Chicks, long may they live, and notes that they've been honored with five Grammy nominations. In fact, if you look at that list, you can't help but see something.

Most of them have had a pretty good year, arguably most especially Obama and Dean. The one is seen as a likely hopeful for the Presidency in 2008. The other has seen his strategy credited at least partially for the most sweeping Democratic victory in years.

Even if the pundits and the Bush administration can't bring themselves to pay them the honor they deserve, the public has.

One of those images where you just shake your head and say "I did not just see that photo."

Or, "How to interest more high school boys in science."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Okay, the Mary Cheney pregnancy thing

The self-same Shakespeare's Sister has an entry about right wing reaction to the news that Mary Cheney is pregnant.

She quotes:

"Children deserve the very best we can offer, and gay adoption — by definition — intentionally denies children either a mother or a father," said Carrie Gordon Earll, an analyst for Focus on the Family, the Colorado-based family advocacy ministry. "Adoption laws should put the needs of children first, above the desires of adults."

Shakes scornfully mocks this, translating it as

Mary Cheney is a selfish dyke who will be a terrible mother to a pitiable child.

My problem is this. I would never support in any way, shape or form someone like Earll. But Mary Cheney is a "selfish dyke." And I wouldn't give much for her chances as a mother, either, given the values with which she's self-evidently been raised.

When I think of the work she has done for homophobes and homophobia in supporting the Bush administration...

I don't care how crazy she makes sickening groups like Focus on the Family, which nornally I would consider praiseworthy in itself.

She actively worked for candidates, and a party, who would deny choices to women (& men) with less powerful and wealthy fathers. While still being assured those choices were always open to her.

That is the very definition of a "selfish dyke" and negates for all time any chance she might have of winning my support. I hope they tear her limb-from-limb (metaphorically speaking, of course).

Great Sentences In Blogger History

So there's this fellow named Christopher Hitchens, who cultivates a reputation as scathing but mostly winds up as merely dubious. Most recently, he's written an article for Vanity Fair titled Why Women Aren't Funny.

So far as can be ascertained, he's not being ironic.

Now, certain examples might spring to your mind to show that Mr. Hitchens is in fact what we call full-of-shit-up-to-his-eyeballs.

If we're talking about funny performers, we have only to look to the casts of such TV shows as Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars, which positively overflow with funny women, especially in the former. There's a reason why most of Alyson Hannigan's work since Buffy the Vampire Slayer has featured her flexing her comedy muscles. And if we cast our minds back, before it sank into the dirt Buffy itself was often a very funny show.

If it's the non-performing line we're after, Gilmore was created and chiefly written by a woman and at her departure, well, the show hasn't exactly been gaining in laughter.

These are only a few examples-no doubt you or I could come up with lists as long as my arm of funny women performers, writers, and so on.

And bloggers. As you might imagine, the always-thoughtful Amanda Marcotte and Shakespeare's Sister, themselves members of the not-funny brigade, have something to say about this theory of Mr. Hitchens.

Amanda writes, in Pandagon:
Hitchens knows what kind of humor about male bodies is acceptable in all-male groups, no doubt because he spends so much time in them. He also knows that women do not make such jokes amongst themselves, because he spends so much time at the salon with just the gals. An alternative explanation comes to my mind, due to my lifetime of experience being female. As a general rule, I’ve learned it’s best to avoid making the crude jokes referencing female anatomy around men who think they’re being daring when they obliquely reference sex with, “If you catch my drift,” and hope your imagination fills in the rest. They don’t seem to find humor that sucks the “mystery” out of their preferred sex objects’ physical form as funny as I do.

But it's Shakes who comes up with the Great Sentence In Blogging History. It's at the end of this excerpt of her self-titled blog:
It occurs to me that men like him seem to write articles like this just so that women like me can issue stern and unfunny responses, thusly proving his thesis. I’m not particularly good at acknowledging my own attributes, but I’ll be damned if I let someone tell me I’m not funny. I know how to tell a joke, and tell it well; I can deliver one-liners off the top of my head with flawless timing, never regretting five minutes later having missed the perfect rejoinder; I even do brilliant pratfalls. I know I’m funny—but I’m simply not amused by being told by a pugnacious pigass I can’t possibly be simply because I have a cunt.

A cunt which, by the way, is herself a piquant raconteur.

Any sex that can come up with a line like that instantly disproves Hitchens' thesis.

Words and image

Look at the sun
See how it hangs
So still in the sky

Give me the new TV Guide
And get off the phone
Go on and take sides, it's not my problem
Waiting for worlds to collide in the comfort of home
They say Lucifer's free
What shall we do
Don't ask me
-Passacaglia / A Bud and a Slice, Joe Jackson

-Photo credit: Mumpasak

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Politti is Scritti

How Scritti is your Politti? But seriously folks-believe it or not, Scritti Politti has a new album out, and my Ink 19 review of it is up. The new album is a one-man (Green Gartside) band operation, but there's a live version touring.

Here's Green performing the first single "Boom Boom Bap" with them in London last month.

And again as a bonus, here's a classic video from the Cupid & Psyche '85 album..."Hypnotize:"

Out in the street, the Avenue A...

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Return of Junkie XL

Ink19 Review.

Here's the video for first single, "Today:"

As a bonus, here's the video for his much-loved remix of Elvis' "A little less conversation."

A paragraph of clues

Paddy Chayefsky was a screenwriter who is probably best known for the films Network and Marty, the latter of which he originally wrote for television. I read a biography of him recently, Shaun Considine's Mad As Hell.

The books' notion is that "Sidney"-Chayefsky's real first name-was his original self, and that "Paddy" was a self created:

Chayefsky's obsessive traits of workaholism and perfectionism and his increasingly uncontrollable anger were indicative of a pesonality emotionally arrested at an early stage of development, [his analyst] Frankenthal told him. To overcome the fear and helplessness he experienced as a child, Sidney Chayefsky felt compelled to compensate. He began to rely overly on his intelligence and his communicative and performing skills. These brought attention and approval, which warded off his feelings of abandonment. A new self had emerged out of these defenses, one that served to entertain and take care of Sidney and everyone around him. In the creation of this second, superresponsible self, Sidney felt forfeited, "dehumanized." His parents compounded this misrepresentation. By encouraging the boy to believe that life's meaning lay in their and other people's approval, Sidney's true development was impeded. The realization that he was being praised and loved not as Sidney but as this other, new self sowed the first seeds of frustration. When grown, the other, dominant self, now identified as "Paddy," was less inclined to repress the feelings of frustration and rage. His tyranny, however, was directed toward outsiders rather than toward the real cause of his pain, his parents, specifically his mother, who had used him to bolster her lack of self-esteem.