Saturday, July 31, 2004
ol' blue eyes.
this is good news if true.
not sure if it'll still be there, but there was a hulk ad that was truly strange. hit refresh a coupla times and you'll see it. zarqawi make hulk angry. hulk smash!
funny and true story about jimmy carter being attacked by a killer rabbit. it's hard to believe this wouldn't play out for weeks and potentially derail bush or kerry's entire campaign if this were to happen to either of them today.
nice shot of rob's gallery hanging. fuking (pronounced fooking) brilliant, as rob would say.
went to go see the helio sequence last night at emo's. i've seen 'em three times now and they blow it out every show. last night was no different. they're new stuff sounds incredible. the drummer is probably the best i've seen live. he's also now the drummer for modest mouse. they only got to play seven or eight songs b/c they were opening for the much-hyped i love you but i've chosen darkness. i've seen them twice and always hope they'll be better than they actually are. what a waste of a great band name.
a music snob deconstructs the sony walkman and its deleterious effects on music. i can't say i agree, being a headphone junky and all, but i do like this quote:
When I say ‘context’ they look blank, for 25 years of Walkman usage has destroyed any sense of a piece of music having a place in the world, in time, in our personal lives. Music, made portable, is removed from any frame of reference. It becomes a utility, undeserving of more attention than drinking water from a tap.
reminds me of postman's concept of "news from nowhere." i also like the idea that nobody really thinks about these things, much like mcluhan predicted. we just let them wash over us. if it's new, it's good. we have to have the latest and greatest. in this way, we're becoming more like the japanese or they were always a forward vision of us. i remember when we were over there, they would toss perfectly good stereos out onto the side of the street. the concept of a resale shop was silly. who would want to buy used junk?
sports guy takes on JG (jeopardy guy).
Not for long. The JG calmly padded his lead heading into commercial, then fended the bald guy off in Final Jeopardy. Definitely an ESPN Classic moment. As we awaited his final answer (What is leprosy?), the JG stared into the camera like Stephen A. Smith, playing up the drama before breaking into an exaggerated Dr. Evil smile when the correct response was revealed. As always, the Sports Gal summed up everyone's feelings: "I hope he gets eaten by a tiger."
Friday, July 30, 2004
notes to kerry
virginia postrel's blunt analysis once again does the trick. you should read her some time.
better a tongue-tied president than a demagogue. someone should make a bumper sticker. or a balloon.
and again, i'm back to: did you not vote for that fucking war, motard? and if you were misled, how so? you saw the same intelligence that everyone else saw. or were you one of the ones moore was making fun of in the ice cream truck? never read shit i'll bet.
and finally: is vietnam good or bad? seems like you covered yourself in it like a flag. you defended our country? how exactly? in a fucking zippo lighter of a boat for four months on the mekong delta killing what you later claimed to be innocent civilians? putting your entire crew in harm's way for a medal and then shitting on those fellow warriors afterwards with a book about your savage war crimes? this is the perfect example of having it both ways. you jumpstarted your career hating vietnam and "all it stood for." now you can't help parading around as many amputees as you can lay your boney fingers on.
i hope that speech buried you. it should.
i'm bummed the village is shaping up to be a dud. i've enjoyed all of shyamalan's films up until now and the trailer for this one was one of the best i've seen all year. he's the closest thing we have to hitchcock these days. aah well, even hitch made family plot.
how mccain-feingold is actually playing out on the convention floors. i'm not sure if anyone remembers, but we had our own mini-version of this in austin. the city council voted in a law that limits campaign contributions to $100 per donor. so no corporation or pac can throw a lot of money at one candidate. this makes sense right? the only problem is, look who got elected mayor. a guy whose wife is a multi-millionaire. he didn't need any contributions. so rich people still get into office, just with their own money.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
rocco's sad, sad decline. he's not even allowed into his own restaurant now. i have to say, this was the last reality tv show i watched with any regularity and what was that, a year ago? i'm down to six feet udner these days and even that is sucking wind. lonanne's noticed that they cut away or fade out from anything resembling normal sex. kinky sex with dead girlfriend channeling evangelical dead lady screaming "jesus, jesus?" let's show the whole thing. normal sex between two straight people? fade out after 2 seconds. blow job by plumber in the basement? steady cam it with slow close up. hetero boyfriend/girlfriend making it on the floor of their potential house? cut to when it's over. not that i care much for watching either, it just all starts to feel a little too programmed by/for the queer eye crowd. it also seems to take the place of any real drama. short on tension? let the gay brother get brutalized. that's so m.a.s.h.
a damn fine case for bush from another least-likely candidate. read the whole thing.
via blogdex: the apple product cycle
the problem with vacations are vacationers.
aaah. back from new braunfels. or as i like to call it, smelly german town. we spelunked. we tubed. we ran up the resort's water bill. we ate at pat's place. if you're ever in new braunfels, eat at pat's place. great food and they serve the shiner on tap in frosty mugs. also, avoid schlitterbahn unless you have kids and they demandingly scream "schlitterbahn bahn bahn bahn" in your ear all summer long. the place is a cesspool of human waste and i'm not even talking about the bathrooms. i used to go there as a kid when there was one waterslide and only a handful of people knew about it. now there are three separate parks with thirty waterslides, each with a line about an hour long. that's if you're lucky. and the people. my god, the people. i like people as a concept, but when there are fifty fat-ass fuckers pushing and trying to cut in front of you and your kid in a line the length of the exodus, you sort of wish they charged by weight. mencken said the problem with communism were the communists. same goes for vacations.
on a different note, here's a lovely scam that could really cost you.
Monday, July 26, 2004
neruda. bad poet. bad.
Sunday, July 25, 2004
can i get those slides in cornflower blue?
i'm pretty bruised up from throwing both kevin and nadav in the pool last night at brian and vannessa's party. i sat out the last half of the party fully clothed, soaking wet and sipping margaritas while kevin kept trying to spray OFF in my drink. oh, and then kevin and i put on a wrestlling display for everyone. just in case you were wondering, it was a draw, with kevin nearly severing my septum and me biting four of his fingers nearly to the bone. for some reason, kevin, kyle, nadav and i are always trying to jumpstart a junior programmer's fight club every time we get together. i'm hurting pretty bad today, but looking forward to the week. we'll be taking off to new braunfels for three days of schlitterbahn, spelunking and whatever other nonsense there is to be found in those hills. i'm praying the weather clears up.
thomas had his recital today at la tazza fresca. he played yankee doodle, skating, and song of the wind. all flawlessly. ron, his instructor, played with him. thomas was the only one who seemed dressed up. he had on a white button down and a tie from lonanne's collection of vintage estate sale ties. there was one point, during his second song, that i caught ron smiling. it was a proud smile, like mine, but also one of those "aaah" smiles, when the master watches the student nail it. we're really lucky to have such a great instructor for thomas. he pushes them when they need it and laughs with them, too. afterwards, i asked him what sort of music he plays or where he plays. he said he's trying to get a group together and that he likes john zorn (jazz/fusion) and the golden arm trio, which, in another incarnation is...brown whorenet!!! so not only a great instructor, but a fan of the whorenet as well.
Saturday, July 24, 2004
forget sockgate or whatever they're calling it. i don't necessarily think berger was trying to squirrel away damaging info. why should he when the report itself is harsh enough. blocked plans to capture bin laden on four separate occasions? this was after the cole attack, remember? i do think it's a telling sign of kerry's imagination or lack thereof that he chose this clinton bureaucrat as his foreign policy advisor and has now dumped him. kerry: steady as she goes.
one of ten signs that world is coming to an end:
filthy give four fingers to before sunset.
typically kneejerk, but informative update on the toll road plan.
i actually fired off an email to several council members about this, asking them about a) impact to the environment and b) the double tax issue. only brewster mccracken and daryl slusher responded. they sort of split along the lines mentioned in the article. mccracken is pro and indicated that we'd get more state matching funds to do this now than later and that it is inevitable. he said we won concessions, etc. to review the plans for impact to the aquifer. slusher was opposed, mostly for environmental reasons, but also for the way the whole thing was rushed through without much community input. i tended to find some good points in both their arguments. but neither of them really addressed the double tax issue. taxpayers already funded the construction of these roads and maintenance falls under existing taxes as well. i can see it for new roads or for expanding existing roads (which may be part of the argument that i didn't grasp), but not for roads already built. either way you cut it, though, we're the dopes who approved the bond measure that these toll roads are going to pay for. and, much like kyle, i don't like the idea of non-austin commuters practically destroying the freeways to get to the jobs austin provides (i.e. taking advantage of our infrastructure), but then taking their incomes and tax dollars back to round rock (to pay for their own cozy infrastructure). they should pitch in and right now they don't.
good history and assessment of che guevara.
hitchens on blumenthal. i like the quote about arguing more and more about less and less.
"i fucking hate bush. how can you like bush?"
"how can you like kerry? he's just like bush."
"he's not bush."
Friday, July 23, 2004
via geekpress: the ten laws of bad science fiction
i'll never forget.
the details on flight 93.
and a glenn reynolds follow up on annie jacobsen's story. it's true, they were musicians. it's also true that 14 syrian men were allowed to move about the cabin, gather in a large group near the fucking bathroom, repeatedly go into the overhead bins, and generally scare the shit out of more than just one woman, all without anyone (including the flight crew and the air marshals) doing a thing. it's easy to say this is crying wolf after the fact or even pull the pc plug and smirk like we're all a bunch of racist scaredy cats, but put yourself on that plane with your wife and kid. and think about if a different group really did want to do something.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
via blu: .: dave doobinin :. a friend of blu's who lives in brooklyn, but recorded his latest album here. nice site. i just hope this isn't another richard buckner recommendation.
who are the janjaweed?
kasparov on fischer
via instapundit: short, but sweet response to the 9/11 commission report.
factual update to the "terror in the skies" story i linked to earlier. it's pretty sad when a classic country dj and part-time news director can find out more relevant information with google and a telephone than both the l.a. and new york times. or maybe that's not sad. maybe that's as it should be.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
rufus wainwright's want one is probably one of the better albums i've heard this year. it's different. beautiful and lush. everyone says that. lush. but you listen to it and you feel like drinking whiskey with your milk.
rule one: when threatened with potentially damaging insults, coopt in an exaggerative manner (i.e. "liar? hell, i'm the biggest liar there is."). this never fails.
thomas has an upcoming recital at that coffeeshop next to the groovy lube on guadalupe. last time we were in there, william wondered aloud "where are all the rock stars?" well, william, one of them will be there this sunday.
rule two: when faced with writer's block, lower expectations and keep going. none of it's so great that it can't be tossed at a moment's notice.
thomas and william's cousins came over this past weekend (all three of them) and we had them spend the night. let me just take a moment and salute anyone who has five kids. let me also recommend an insane asylum as a nice vacation spot.
rule three: never go see a movie billed as a "biopic." you will not only be disappointed, you will never want to see the lead actor in another movie for as long as you live.
my mom's back on chemo. she called over the weekend to let me know. her cancer makrers have been low enough to avoid it for several months, but now they're back up. her sister (cyndy) is going down to beaumont to take her for her treatments. i have to say, perhaps for the record or perhaps to God and anyone else who matters, she's been strong as a pair of brass knuckles. i hope i have a tenth of what she's got when it comes time for me to fight whatever crap this life throws my way. the worst i ever saw her was when she had to eat that putrid beaumont hospital food. and hell, that'd make anyone cry.
rule four: you could get hit by a bus tomorrow. act like it.
Saturday, July 17, 2004
via a&l daily: 10 truths about trade. i think this should be standard reading for anyone that wants to feint jabs about the "exporting of jobs."
this story has been creating a lot of buzz. it's terrifying, but, as with most things on the web, you sort of wonder about its veracity. apparently, some of the facts in the story are true. hard to tell about all of it. i honestly didn't know there was a policy which punished airlines for pulling over more than two arab/muslim men. what in the fuck? i think people would go along with stricter airport security if they saw that it actually was making some sort of sense.
at any rate, there's been a lot of chatter, apparently, about this assembling a bomb in the air. several people have pointed out that it seems like overkill to have 14 guys assemble a bomb to blow up one plane. given al-qaeda's diminished numbers, it seems like they'd have 4-5 guys to a cell if that. plus, it seems anti-climactic. maybe they've become victims of their own success. i mean, maybe they're trying to top the world trade center spectacle and they just can't come up with anything. the statue of liberty? not enough people. mile high stadium? we'd have to wait till the 2008 superbowl. lax? have you seen the security at that place? the grand canyon? who let mhommar into this cell? great idea, mhommar. the grand canyon.
Friday, July 16, 2004
for those two zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance fans: pictures from robert pirsig's original 1968 trip. in places, he looks like my dad.
speaking of monkeys, here's a pithy history and update on american behaviorism
i still have a half-read copy of walden II. if there's one thing behaviorist's have trouble with, it's prose.
good follow up and explanation of the facts concerning those sixteen words.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
ten reasons to fire george bush. i don't agree with 1-4 and have noted my reasons before. but 5-10 are pretty damning. my biggest problem is that i don't think the war on terror is a ploy to distract us or build a pax americana. i think there's a legitimate threat. and i don't think kerry will do a damn thing about it. he might even make it worse by kowtowing to the worst parts of the u.n. and his own far left segment of the party. we can all disagree (and perhaps even rip each other to shreds) about how bush has pursued this war (some were for afghanistan, but jumped off the boat in iraq. others were ok with iraq until they realized there weren't any wmd or that it was shaping up to be, like, a war), but the truth is, we have captured terrorists who may or may not have blown someone you know to smithereens. and we have put a serious crimp in al qaeda. could we have done this without invading iraq? i can't answer that question as easily as most folks seem to be able to. i think we've all somehow been led to believe that there's some better way to stop terrorism. that bush is a moron who has really botched things up after 9/11. but, if you'd stop tearing bush down for two seconds, what would that better way look like? i'm really curious. would it involve severing our ties with the saudis who, at least on the king's side, are trying, desperately, to fight the fundamentalist forces of their country (yes, yes, there's practically a civil war, but again, who do we side with in simply attacking the whole country)? would it involve working with russia and france to craft a note from the teacher for saddam? would it involve continuing to make race a non-issue when searching air travellers? would it involve dropping our support for israel and stand back while they black tar palestine (and probably jordan and egypt after that)? would it involve withdrawl from iraq when they need us most? i realize everyone wants this stain of bush removed from office and, aside from the facts that kerry is bush-lite, what exactly are the solutions that the kerry crowd is pushing? international pressure? i've heard variations of the ones i've mentioned. why don't we go after saudi arabia? why don't we work with the u.n. more? but usually, it's just "fuck bush." 24/7. and some sort of collective amnesia that seems to think that 9/11 happened after all this shit, instead of before.
the other two americas
Monday, July 12, 2004
we took the boys to kidstock this past sunday. even though it rained king hell, they had a blast. magician kent. circus chicken dog. joe mcdermott. thomas got to be in a commercial for amn. they even had an all-kid band called loose cannons from the natural ear music camp. they played a roky erikson song(!) weird. i liked 'em despite that the lady who ran the camp got up and gave her spiel about it beforehand. she made a big deal of how they didn't teach the kids to read music. they just learn this shit by ear, etc. it wasn't so much what she said, but how she said it. like learning to read music wasn't cool. thanks, lady. i don't have enough trouble. i need you to let my kid know he doesn't have to learn music. he can just get up and rock out like jack black and maybe, if he sticks with the thirteen floor elevator's covers, he'll be lucky enough to play at joe's generic on dollar pint nights.
via blu: the saline project. check out the roots and the mars volta videos. good stuff.
joe wilson, RIP
Sunday, July 11, 2004
alien in 30 seconds with bunnies.
i've been hearing a lot recently (from otherwise intelligent folks) about cellular memory. here's the skeptic dictionary's take on it. this is a great resource all around for debunking the fuzzy headed nonsense people seem to spread like a game of rumor. also check out this evisceration of john edwards and the whole clairaudient scam.
Saturday, July 10, 2004
via alice: walker percy gets his due. coincidentally, i picked up lost in the cosmos, the last self-help book for the fifteenth time last night.
Q: Why was not a single table [in a recent home & garden magazine] designed as such rather than being a non-table doing duty as a table?
(a) Because people have gotten tired of ordinary tables.
(b) Because the fifty non-tables converted to use as tables make good conversation pieces.
(c) Because it is a chance to make use of valuable odds and ends which otherwise would gather dust in the attic.
(d) Because the self in the twentieth century [and now this one] is a voracious nought which expands like the feeding vacuole of an amoeba seeking to nourish and inform its own nothingness by ingesting new objects in the world, but, like a vacuole, only succeeds in emptying them out.
most people like to joke that we gave thomas his middle name (walker) after the walker, texas ranger t.v. show. of course, as time wears on, the show loses its reference and, hopefully, more people are introduced to this great southern existentialist.
side note: william alexander (our other son) was both the name of walker percy's uncle (a poet and well-regarded literary figure who essentially rescued and cared for walker percy after both his parents committed suicide) and the name of lonanne's great-great grandfather. thomas was, of course, many things. st. thomas aquinas. sir thomas moore. primarily, though, he was the doubting disciple who asked to see jesus' wounds before he'd believe. he gets a bad rap sometimes in sermons, etc. and is only really mentioned in the gospel of john. the truth is, while the others had a fearful, unquestioning doubt, he had a sincere and honest doubt which God didn't shy away from. he also had his own gnostic gospel and is often thought of as the grandfather of the gnostic movement, a kind of pantheistic (and heretical) christianity.
and yet another reason not to quit my day job. insert multiple postman and mcluhan references here. loss of written culture. rise of visual, and therefore, tribal culture. the snooze button's always a remote click away, i guess. we were watching this elongated commercial for a new television series called the grid. the voiceover said, "this series will take you behind the scenes of the terrorist war and show you what you haven't seen on t.v." so, in effect, the t.v. is now differentiating itself from itself. not from newspapers or the internet or magazines or books or your own community. no. we'll let you see through the normal seeing that you do right here on the couch. with what? another t.v. show.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
people are always asking me if i've seen any good movies lately. this tends to be like the weather in that i can't recall whether it's raining, sunny or about to rain, but people will ask and i will invariably answer.
co-worker: "is it going to rain this weekend?"
me: "hmmm. not sure" (sounding concerned, but vague)
so for my sake, and anyone who may ask, here are some good movies i've seen recently with the conversation i might have about them.
co-worker: "i can't stand that guy."
me: "vincent gallo? i dunno. i think he's pretty funny."
co-worker: (gesturing) "christina ricci's sure got big tits."
co-worker: "i liked mickey rourke in that one movie."
me: (helpfully) "wild orchid?"
down by law
co-worker: "is it jar-mush or jar-moosh?"
me: "i think it's jar-mush. i met him once."
co-worker: "did you ask him how to pronounce his name?"
the dancer upstairs
me: "this is a great movie! javier bardem! directed by john malkovich! all set in this south american country like chile or el salvador with this detective and these terrorist groups and there's this ballet teacher..." (losing steam)
co-worker: (silent, then shrugging) "you wanna go grab lunch soon?"
co-worker: "you take your kids to spiderman 2 yet?"
me: "nah. too violent."
co-worker: "yeah, but cartoony violent."
me: "saw a great lee marvin flick. ultra-violent. really hard-boiled."
co-worker: "what's it about?"
me: "lee marvin kills a bunch of people."
and then filthy weighs in and all is right with the world...or not right, but not right in a pleasantly dirty and unpredictable way.
well, we won't be there in person, but we'll be there in spirit. six days and counting until rob's solo show: the generosity of women. click the link at the bottom of the page for a preview.
Monday, July 05, 2004
good update on darfur and the sudan. this goes to the heart of the imperialist argument i had with kyle. are we imperialist if we give $200 million in aid (that's approx. $190 more million than the entire EU gave) and then demand accountability? are we always wrong to act in a unilateral fashion even when it is to actually stop genocide? i think i understand the two primary counterpoints to these arguments, but correct me if i'm wrong:
1. we're arbitrary in picking our fights. we say it's "right" or "moral" to go in and try to stop genocide, but we don't do it in other regions. insert north korea or ??? here. if we hold up as an absolute value, the right for people to not be massacred by their government, then we should throw our lot in with the u.n. human rights commission, etc.
-my response to this would be...we do it where we *can* do it and the u.n. human rights commission, quite simply, is a joke. they were headed by libya fer chrissakes. will we lead or allow china and russia to dictate to us what is moral or justifiable?
2. we're lying. the real reason we go into these places is because of natural resources. if there's money to be had, we'll start screaming about "stability in the region," but what we really want is fat oil contracts.
-this argument is ok as far as it goes, but it doesn't hold much water when you start considering all the other countries who have plenty to gain in the same manner. if we just wanted oil contracts with the sudan, wouldn't it be in our best interest to cover up or ignore all the atrocities just like france and russia routinely do? why get involved at all? we'd be dealing with the existing (foul) government anyway. or why not just throw our lot into the oil-for-food lottery when we had the chance? we'd have saved billions by not invading iraq and we'd be able to siphon off enough cheap oil to keep joey from hemorrhaging all his money on driving back and forth to south san marcos.
i'm not saying it's not messy. but i think the cry of "imperialism!" every time the u.s. does anything on the planet is a bit too neat as well. or it's beside the point...an empty descriptor...like screaming "that's your opinion!"
i've been meaning to put a link up to jeff goldberg's blog, MixedMetaphors.net, for quite some time now. sorry for the wait. it's going to look like i timed this to coincide with his rather negative review of fahrenheit 9/11, but i promise you, i have enjoyed his blog for many reasons having nothing to do with politics. jeff is a well-rounded thinker and a member of our now defunct writing group. so go over, read his blog, and tell him to get back to writing shit that matters. (just kidding on that last point jeff)
thomas started movie producers camp today at the austin children's museum. he'll be learning all about moviemaking and even have a movie made by the end. i'm banking on him being the next wes anderson.
had a pretty good fourth. we rolled up to bruceville-eddy (north of temple) and hung out with my brother-in-law's family. he must've bought over 200 fireworks. he lit them and shot them off while all the adults and kids sat back and oohed until nearly midnight. i think i made it until eleven and then went inside and passed out. his oldest son, mason, had a chart for rating the fireworks so they could tell whether or not to purchase them next year. the b-29 was the crowd favorite. it sounded like a sherman tank firing off rounds and pieces of it came straight at us. what's life without a little danger? we were up on a hill so we could see fireworks from the surrounding towns and ranches. it almost seems as if they were better and lasted longer than the displays put on by the bigger cities. my brother-in-law speculated these were groups of families who pooled their money, etc. it's good to be reminded, every now and again, that when freed of the reams of "safety first!" regulations and big city bureacracies, folks can generally be relied upon to celebrate the independence of our country in a manner befitting our roots.
Saturday, July 03, 2004
Thursday, July 01, 2004
william's favorite saying these days:
"i knew this day would come."