Thursday, January 30, 2003

Gots to love dat new music, yo

Everytime I discover a new band that I like a lot I always end up pissed. Especially when I come across a band that's been around for a while. I have been sharing and loaning and borrowing music from a young lady at work. It's always fun to trade with someone you know has a good taste. How do you know someone has good taste? Easy, you see them at a Sleater-Kinney show.

A couple of days ago she loaned me a CD by a band called Mecca Normal. What do they sound like? They sound like a guy playing electric guitar while a woman Patti Smith's over the top of it. Yes, Patti Smith can be used as a verb. Somewhere along the way she created a genre. Geniuses do that.

I guess a good way to tell if a band is really important is if thousands of bands come after them that sound just like them but don't have an ounce of originality. I can name a few bands and artist that have done that: Zeppelin, Skynryd, Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Grateful Dead. I guess I was a little harsh in saying that bands who follow a seminal band don't show any creativity. That jam band genre spearheaded by Phish is a viable and vibrant musical genre. I always wanted to create a musical genre but I think I started too late.
MASH without canned laughter

O, dear reader, I knowest you probably don't give a flying fuck about whether or not watching a few episodes of the first season of MASH minus the laugh track was a revelation or not. I will tell you that initially it threw me off. I have watched so much of the show in my day that i was expecting the fake giggles and guffaws. They didn't come. I shook off the initial shock and sat back and enjoyed the show. Without the laugh track a few of the gags actually come off a little flat. I don't know if that is from seeing them before or because they just aren't that great. I think it was a little of both. The show didn't really hit its stride until the second season.

I have also been used to seeing MASH in syndication and the video was never that great. They must have gone back to the original prints. I have never seen old MASH episodes look this good. It really is a revelation. I haven't seen a change in video like this since the Sci Fi network showed the new remastered original Star Treks. The only drawback is with the better video the sets of each show appear even less realistic than before. It's harder to suspend belief when you can see that those red rocks are really styrofoam.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

More DVD gushing

Now that my DVD excitement has leveled off I can now look at the special features and great picture and sound and special features with a more discerning eye. Not with the child-like delight with which I first viewed DVD's. Martin has loaned me his DVD edition of MASH's first season. The release of full seasons of television shows is one of the best advantages of the DVD. You can squeeze 24 episodes of MASH on three DVD's. It would require twelve video cassettes to do the same thing. The feature of the MASH DVD that most excites me is that it allows you to turn off that goddman shitty-ass laugh track. I has always despised the laugh track used on that show. I hope I don't die before I can go home and watch MASH as god intended it to be watched, unblemished by a laugh track.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

The Marines and the Replacements

There are two things my Marine recruiter never told me about before I joined the Marines. On everything but these two items he was completely truthful. After talking to others who had joined the Marines I learned that, for a recruiter, he was pillar of truth. He didn't mention to me drill (marching in circles with an M-16 on your should with some guy going left, right, left, right.) and field day. Field days were the worse of the two unmentioned activities.

A field day is one evening every week, usually a Thursday or a Wednsday, where you are required to clean you barracks from top to bottom. And I mean clean. We're not talking picking up your dirty underwear and vacuuming. This is the kind of cleaning that requires scrubbing the floor on your hands and knees and polishing the pipes in the fucking bathroom. No matter how clean the barracks were it was guaranteed that the thugs in charge would find something not cleaned to their satisfaction. They would then chew out your immediate supervisor who would then chew your ass. I hated, hated, hated, hated field days. They served no purpose but to prove to you that those in charge have absolute power.

In the late 80's the Replacements came out with an album called "Don't tell a soul." On this album was a song called "Anywhere is better than here." When I purchased that album I was with an infantry unit in California that specialized in especially tough field days due to a Gunnery Sergeant that must have had a shitty home life. I used to blare that song on my stereo three or four times at different points during the three hour long field days. I have never had a song touch me so deeply. Even when I played the song and it was moving me I used to think that maybe I was being melodramatic. So far, in my post Marine Corps life, I have yet had that song proven wrong. I have been in some bad situations, all of my own doing, since then and never have I had the urge to put that song on. I still enjoy it when I hear it but it only reminds me of my past rage.
Monty Python

Somehow this weekend Wendell and I ended up discussing Monty Python. It turns out that we have the same favorite skit, The Parrot Sketch. Surprisingly we both first encountered the Parrot Sketch in an audio format and not via the televsion show. Wendell first heard the audio portion of the television sketch via a morning radio show. I first heard it as it was performed live and released on a "best of" audio cassette entitled "The Final Ripoff." Since then I have heard another live performance of the Parrot Sketch that was recorded during the troupe's live tour of the British Isles. I am not familiar with the chronology of these live recordings but they were done after most of the seminal sketches of the group were already well known in the UK. Since the crowd is familiar wit the sketch, John Cleese, who plays the exasperated purchaser of a deceased parrot, carries his performance so far into camp that it comes back around and is fresh and funny. That is what I first heard and I still think it's funnier than the original televised version. It's like hearing the live version of Freebird before ever hearing the studio version. The studio version, when heard, seems staid and boring. I played the live version for Wendell this weekend after I informed him that it was better than the original televised version. I think he liked it, you can't tell with him sometimes. I think he just wanted me to stop talking.

My point is that a comedy routine that can live without it's original visuals is an obvious sign of strong writing. As a child I used to record MASH episodes on my portable tape player with a microphone hung over the channel selector by its cord so the mic would hover near the silver metal speaker on the front of the television. I used to record Hogan's Heroe's also but it didn't hold up to repeated listens like a good MASH episode could. The most seminal television recording I ever made was the original network airing of Blazing Saddles. I was never the same after that. That is why I can now repeat back to you the entire script of that movie.

Another good example of a televised comedy routine that can live without its video is the job interview with Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase from the first season of Saturday Night Live. I have never done this but I would be willing to wager that most of the better episodes of Seinfeld could be listened to without losing any of the humor. They might actually be funnier as your mind's eye addes its own images. This is why the old Jack Benny radio programs are so hilarious. The next time you are stealing music on a P2P service download a couple of Jack Benny shows from the 40's. Once you learn the characters it is funny beyond words.

War Scenario

found this scary little animation linked from fark this morning.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Howdy, Folks

Geez, over the weekend I kinda forgot I even had a blog. I guess I was busy. Or asleep.

I hosted poker night here this Saturday evening. I didn't have a suitable table and Dutch and Michael were nice enough to bring by a folding table so we could play cards. Since I live an unintentionally spartan lifestyle every player had to bring their own chair. It was a full blogger event. Two of the other players, James and William, gots their own blogs also. My roomie, Wendell, played also but he doesn't have a blog. Loser. Wendell and I both came out ahead. Wendell was pulling full houses and four of a kind's out of his ass all night. I think he was cheating. James was an early exit after he was either nearly overcome by his allergies to cats and cigarette smoke or the Merle Haggard I had put on the stereo. I think William was ready to play until he ran out of money or won all his money back or until he got into a fight. We haven't had any fisticuffs at a poker night yet but I can dream.

Things I thought over the weekend

Watching a movie which you are intimately familiar with a few friends is a completely different activity than watching a new movie. You can chat through it and talk about the movie and then stop your conversation when Arnold ups the body count.

I noticed in Terminator 2 that one of the appealing aspects of the film is that those that are trying to save the world from domination by the machines have carte blanche to kill anyone that gets in their way since they are not just robbing a bank they are saving all of mankind and a couple of bystanders really mean nothing. The movie uses a cheap but effective plot technique of allowing the characters to have the willingness to kill innocents but never having to actually do it. It adds a sense of urgency and still allows them to appear more heroic as they avoid collateral damage.

Also, I want to know what it is about action movies that the last scene has to go on fucking forever. I find the last ten minutes of the first Terminator movie almost unwatchable. I know he's tough but, Jesus, kill the goddamn thing so I can stop watching this movie. This unfortunate tendency was taken to new heights in the piece of shit movie Faceoff.

Also I own chaptstick by two different companies, Burt's Beeswax and Blistek. The tubes are two different colors yet they are the same size and have the same type of twisty gear looking thing on the bottom that you twist to make the chapstick rise out of tube so that you may apply it to your suffering lips. My question is why are they identical? Do they come from the same supplier or is there a standard like cassette tapes or batteries? I think somebody is missing out on a great marketing tool here. I have read that McDonald's started selling more fries when they started super sizing the packaging. One of these companies should start increasing the size of the tubes without increasing the price. It will be a lip lube revolution.

Friday, January 24, 2003

Fuck McDonald's

I saw yesterday that McDonald's had its first non-profitable quarter for the first time since they went public. Maybe they will go belly up. That food is such shit. Oh wait, I ate there last week. Don't mind me, I got addicted to their food as a child. Every now and then I need to go into a McDonald's and get a fix. Shoot that cheeseburger into my vein, you greasy smellin' greasy surly old broad.

Stormwatch 2003

Let's see, I went to bed the night before last around midnight. Before I went to bed I stuck my head outside and a few tiny snowflakes were swirling down. I was awokenated about 5:30 am by a call from the coworker assigned to alert me to work closings. I heard the message she left telling me that the library is closed. Although I dig my job the first words out my mouth were "whoo hoo." Don't tell anybody but the fact that library closes during bad weather is a perk I was not aware of when I was first hired. I love that we close fairly easily because it has allowed me to run outside and enjoy our snow days over the last ten years. Wendy's is open and I out playing in the snow. Advantage: me.

Since living in the south for ten years has made me a cold weather pussy I was unable and unwilling to go back to sleep. I spent a short time gazing out at the very realistic winter scenery in the back courtyard. The snow was thick and covered the ground completely, it was piled on the branches of the trees and the wind was blowing it into small drifts. Around 7 I grabbed my camera and walked down to the Harris Teeter to buy a few essentials, toilet paper and a six pack of Coors. Who knew how long they would be open? You have to get what you need when you can, man. The roads had not cleared yet there was a layer of packed-snow ice on Park Road. Most drivers were moving slow and carefully in the one lane that was developing. I did see one idiot in an SUV going by down the curving hill above the Harris Teeter at over 30 MPH. I hope the accident he had later was violent and bloody.

I strolled down to Park Road Shopping Center early yesterday afternoon. I had to buy some gloves at Blackhawk Hardware (they have everything but envelopes) because I lost the winter gloves I bought at Sears for a second and final time. By this time the roads were thawed but still slushy and slippery and I actually saw a lady in her car, navigating a Park Road with 1 1/2 lanes open talking on her handheld cell phone. I hope the accident she had later was violent and bloody.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Cross training

One of the coolest things about working in the library is that you are encouraged to cross train. I don't volunteer to cross train like I used to because I have become a little too comfortable with the backroom existence that is telref. I started out a few months ago training in our local history room. The first time was cool, just a tour. I needed to just get acquainted with the situation. The next time up the staffer in charge of my training asked me where I thought I was weak in. I gave her the deer in the headlight look. Weak area? How about the whoel friggin' room, baby? She put me on a PC and I researched my grandfather's history in Detroit. That was fun. He was a fireman back in the 20's.

Today they set me loose in the room that holds their vertical file and map collections. Mmmmm, fun. Let me play in a room full of maps and I'll make two hours pass like a 18 year old's first session with a prostitute.
Wake Up!!!

I love it when my roommate over sleeps. He's usually tapping on my door because I have the hardest time getting out of bed in the morning. It's not like I'm over sleeping, I just have a hard time making that leap from consciousness to verticality. This morning I fairly leapt out of bed at 7:15 and hurried into the shower. I got out of the around 7:30 and it appeared that Wendell hadn't arisen yet. I "hooty whooed" and there was not a stir. I tapped and heard a rustle and the door flew open and my dishevelled roommate appears with that panicked look he gets when I wake him. He looked like a squirrel caught in a bird feeder. He knows that when I wake him he is definately running late because I never, and I mean never, get up on time. I get up late so consistently that I no longer am sure what consists of getting up on time.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Night of the Motorcycle Ninja's, Episode 4, An Old Pope.

As we weaved closer to the elevated crosswalk it became obvious that the sound of what we mistook for a few motorcycles tearing away from an intersection was too loud and continuous to be of the ordinary. Traffic was stopped and noticeably backed up, at least for around midnight. Mike and I mounted the metal steps in hurry and looked down upon a scene unique in both our experiences. Racing around on large dirtbikes were four teenagers dressed in the type of simple ninja suit you could by anywhere on Okinawa. I say ninja suit but it may have just been a uniform one could use while excercising or practicing martial arts. The riders must have donned the outfits not only because they were intimidating but due to the fact that they covered the riders' faces.

Looking down from the walkway, at first the scene was chaotic. We saw a few bikes with the outlandish riders a few cops milling inside the chaos. The drivers sitting at the blocked intersection sat there passively without so much as blowing their horns or waving the firsts out the window. After a few minutes the bikes tore off down a couple of the ubiquitous dark and narrow alleys, traffice began moving again and the police wandered back into the station that was on the corner across the street from where we were standing. We were astonished and we had completely forgotten about our destination and wordlessly agreed to stay right where we were. Mike turned to me and started gushing, "Oh, man, do you know what those guys are?"

"No," I said a little confused, "ninjas?"

"Jesus, no. Those guys are anarchists."

"Really?" I had read about anarchists and I was pretty sure some punk bands had anarchists in them but I had never seen a real anarchist. I was surprised by the actual face of anarchy as it a was being presented to me that night. It caused me to think that I may be an anarchist, even though I was in the military, because my best friend in high school and I busted up other people's property when we knew we could get away with it when we got drunk. These masked teenagers on huge dirt bikes were out brothers Mike and I decided.

The kids on the bikes gave the police officers enough time to get back inside the station before they wheezed back into the intersection,each from a different direction.
This time Mike was ready for them and he cheered them. Traffic stopped again, the drivers were waiting patiently for the bikes to clear and the cops moved wearily out the station brandishing their batons. The kids on the bikes just rode around in a circle in the intersection, one carried a rising sun Japanese flag on a small pole. The cops lumbered after the bikes and occasionally made a swipe at one with his stick, rarely connecting. After less than ten minutes they tore off again and did not return.

Mike was ecstatic. "Wow, I love that kinda shit! That was so cool. Did you see how they pissed those cops off. Man, I love this kind of anarchic rebellion. I wonder why one carried the rising sun flag?"


"I don't know. Hey, we better get out of here." The police had noticed us up on the crosswalk and were motioning for us to go. They didn't want to give the trouble makers more of an audience than necessary. We headed to the bar called the "A-Sign" with Mike praising his new heros the whole way.
Blogging the race card

Today while walking to work I saw a figure in my peripheral vision. For some reason that figure appeared in my mind's eye as slow moving black lady. I don't know why, it doesn't even make any sense. Why should I attatch a race to shadowy figure on the outer edge of my vision? Nevertheless, I did. When I turned my head to the right and saw this person clearly, it was a pudgy white guy in a dark blue jacket. You may analyze my predilections at your own pace.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Saturday, January 18, 2003

Another Marine Corps Memory

I have to say that even though I enjoyed about six months of my four year hitch in the marines it will always be good source for blog entries when I have nothing else to say.

I had a friend in Okinawa named Mike. He was from the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin. I haven't spoken to him since I left the Marines back in the summer of 1990. Mike was famous for disappearing one weekend on a bender. He is the only person I have ever known personally that actually disappeared for a weekend in an alcoholic haze. This happened on Okinawa, where many odd things tend to happen while people are in an alcoholic haze. Let me put it this way, when I was there in 1987-9 if you were 18 you could buy cases of Budweiser for $8 and you also had access to hard liquor at the base liquor store. While there I developed a fondness for Canadian Club.

The Friday night that Mike disappeared he was drinking some kind of spiced rum and I was either at a baseball or softball game (I played for the company's softball team and the base's baseball team at different times). When I got back to the barracks I was informed by the a corporal who was the sergeant of the day that "your buddy Mike freaked out and took off, man." It turns out that he had ended up flat on his back in the lawn in front of the barracks literally howling at the moon. The sergeant of the day had asked what was up and Mike's supposed response was, "Fuck the Marine Corps, that's what's up." Mike could not confirm this remark because of his alcohol blurred memory. He showed up sometime during the day on Monday and got in a little trouble, got confined to the barracks for a week or so and had some pay taken away. He had spent a couple of nights in a cheap motel in a town north of base that had a lot of clubs Americans frequented.

One of the best nights Mike and I had on the town in Okinawa was the Night of the Motorcycle Ninjas. North of the base I was stationed at is a town called Okinawa City. In the middle of Okinawa City was the Air Force base called Kadena. Kadena is one the largest bases on Okinawa and is definately the largest base that is in a heavily populated area. During my stay on Okinawa there was a protest whereupon thousands of people joined hands and surrounded the base. Two friends of mine who happened to be driving by when this protest was occurring jumped out and joined the protest because "we want us to go home, too." Each entrance to the base is numbered and the rear gate is called "Gate Two." Outside gate two is a street with many retail businesses and bars geared toward the American serviceman. The G.I.'s referred to the street, in typical Americanese, as Gate Two Street. Obviously named by the descendants of those that named Little Rock, New York, Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains.

I had a car. Mike did not have a car so on one particulary night we decided to go out to the clubs. Before I met Mike I spent a lot of time at dance clubs hanging out with people who were nice but were never really friends. Mike was different, we were both from the midwest and grew up listening to the same music. Mike and I go clubbing, after a short period of time in the club trying to fit in and meet chicks he and I realize that we really aren't having that good of a time and we are not in our natural habitat. So we bail. It's around midnight and while we were in the club it had rained. Okinawa at night after a rain is shimmering place. Okinawa holds onto it's rain. There is a light coating of coral dust on everything so when the rain falls the dust holds the moisture and the whole city is like a reflection and the streets, with their light layer of muck, are almost as treacherous as a newly iced sidewalk.

So we are out walking the streets on this night not looking for trouble but just enjoying being two young kids exploring a very foreign place. We eventually wander towards Gate Two Street and the bar we like to go to late at night called the "A Sign." We never figured out what that meant but it had a cool wooden interior and they played rock album sides. Perfect for us. The intersection at Gate Two Street was fairly busy with pedestrians and vehicles so the pedestrian crosswalks across all for intersections were elevated. We noticed a commotion coming the intersection that sounded like motor cycles. We didn't think much of because there are motorcyles everywhere in Okinawa. It was dangerous to hang your arm out your car window at a stoplight there because it could get hit by a motorcycle moving to the front, threading the needle between lanes (this was legal). Mike and I climb the steps of the intersection and we look down and see about four or five teenagers on dirt bikes wearing black ninja outfits going in circles in the intersection being chased by Japanese Police bearing batons. We stopped to watch.

More later.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Pat Conroy

Sometime in the last couple of years I got ahold of a nice and new paperback edition of Conroy's novel "Lords of Discipline." Ever since I was present and photographing the meet and greet reception for bigshots before his Novello appearance I have been meaning to pick this book up. I have a feeling this novel may be like "From here to eternity," I'll get halfway through and realize that it's written well but I just don't have the desire to finish it. I have to admire the opening prologue of the book. His description of Charleston makes me want to go there. I would love to write a description of Savannah half as lovely. It reminded me of the opening of "Cannery Row." A good author can give you an ache for a location that you have never been to.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

More boobies, please

I have a co-worker who sits right in front of me. We call him David because that is his name. Since I sit right behind him and we are not forced to work in cubicles I could see every little thing he accesses on his computer if I so wished. I generally have enough things keeping me busy that I don't need to keep track of what he is doing on his 'puter. Occasionally I will glance up and I cannot help but see what he is reading/viewing. I have no complaints, no kiddie porn so far. What does kinda disappoint me is that he never looks looks at boobies. None at all. I have never glanced up and saw so much as a bikini babe. At least the guy before him, Luann, was good for a Mariah Carey picture every now and then. C'mon, David, bring out the boobies!
John Le Carre tells it like it is

"Baghdad represents no clear and present danger to its neighbours, and none to the US or Britain. Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, if he’s still got them, will be peanuts by comparison with the stuff Israel or America could hurl at him at five minutes’ notice. What is at stake is not an imminent military or terrorist threat, but the economic imperative of US growth."

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

A sign of things to come

Have you wondered yet just how much resptect this new NBA team in Charlotte is going to give the local government and tax payers. Check out this quote from today's Charlotte Observer: "City staff gave Johnson a 5 p.m. deadline to agree to the various contracts with the city. City attorney Mac McCarley then offered Johnson a two-hour extension to review the documents.

When asked around 5:30 why that extension was justified, McCarley drew a hard line: "We told them that if we don't have these documents (by 7 p.m.), the city manager and I would recommend against moving forward."

Despite that threat, Johnson didn't complete the deal until after 7:15 p.m."

If that's as good as Johnson can do now just wait and see how he treats the city when he decides the yet-to-be-built arena no longer suits his needs or if he gets a better offer from another city. He will fuck us as readily as the Hornets (NBA) already did recently. This whole deal is a travesty that will cost over $300 million.
Former Sweethearts?

"So far I haven't seen any evidence that he has disarmed. I'm sick and tired of games and deception." George W. Bush, today. I think that Saddamn and W. may have dated back in high school and W. is still holding a big-time grudge. As is usual, the one who seems to have been the snubber (Saddam) has been silent while the snubbee (W.) is bitching like a bird that's just seen a python near its nest. Maybe those two, along with all the Bush I people, should sit down with a counselor and determine what exactly is causing all these hurt feelings.
An interesting twist to a sad news story

from Rhoiders:

London: Andrew Poindlinner, a attorney for Pete Townsend, has announced that Pete has admitted to having had sexual intercourse with a dog. He stated that Mr. Townsend has declared that he only copulated with the border collie mix bitch for research reasons. Poindlinner went on to say, "Mr Townsend had a dog when he was a child and he believes it may have humped his leg. For his autobiography it was necessary for him to hump his family's beloved pet so that he could move his writing project forward." Mr. Poindlinner was unable to comment on whether or not Mr. Townsend may have had any traumatic experiences at a dairy farm located near his childhood home.

VCD makin' mofo

Last night, for the first time ever, I succesfully burned a CD that would play in my DVD player. Joy joy. Unfortunately any kind of adjusting to a file that may be required takes forever on the computer I have access to at home. I'm not complaining, I didn't buy the goddamn thing, I'm happy to have it. This just allows me to steal a different form of media.

More fun at work

We often get requests for quotes from poems here in telref. Oftentimes these poems are very important to a person. Either the poem is their mother's favorite or it may include a line often quoted to the caller by her grandfather. They need the text of this poem so that they can read it aloud at the funeral or tape it to the casket or have it tattooed to their own ass. Most of these poems are crap. Either they are sentimental claptrap by poets who consider rhyming to be poetry or advertising slogans. Generally the more important the poem is to the caller the shittier the poem will be. No one has yet to call up with a quote from a Burma Shave roadside slogan but we're waiting and when that person calls we will most definately talk about them.

Monday, January 13, 2003

My WWW finger

You gots your middle finger, you gots your index finger and you gots your thumb finger. Did you realize that you have a WWW finger? You do. I cut myself on the third finger of my left hand with a piece of paper. That's right, a paper cut. Goddamn thing was small but it wouldn't stop bleeding. You might say that it was bleeding like a mother fucker. Megan down in the popular library on the first floor gave me a band-aid from their stash. (I think it's very efficient and caring that each department has their own first aid kit and shares the material willingly.) A few seconds ago I typed 'www' in order to do 'some research for a patron' and I realized that I had cut my 'www finger.' Thankfully it's a superficial cut but think of how my internet surfing could have been crippled if I had done real damage. Another bullet dodged.
Flying the Flag

Ever been to Aldi? Aldi is a dingy grocery store that sells cheap pre-packaged foods. I've been there once and it is the only place that can rival Wal-Mart for slow-ass lines. Long lines at the fact that the place was filled with people who belong to that group known as 'least common denominator' have kept me away. With the threat of war and the possibility of civilization collapsing perhaps a trip to Aldi is necessary. I might need to stock up on some packaged food. Off brand ham slices will surely have more flavor than MRE's.

I bring up Aldi because I saw a lady today walking down the street carrying some stuff in an Aldi bag. She didn't look homeless. She looked Russian or East European. She was dressed modestly but nicely and had the nice angular features of a Russian figure skater. Maybe I'm vain but it seems to me that carrying your possesions around in an Aldi bag is a declaration of just how poor you are. It might be a way to keep the homeless away from you. Say you are walking down the stree with your lunch and work papers in an Aldi bag. A homeless man turns to you in order to ask you for some dough. Before he can speak he sees your Aldi bag and he moves on to the guy with the leather breifcase.

Know this: just because a bag is sturdy and has a tie string doesn't mean you have to walk around town with it in your hand.
This is why I like Roger Ebert

"isn't it an alarming sign of incipient pessimism to take a vibrator along on your honeymoon?" From his review of the obviously shitty movie 'Just Married.'

Friday, January 10, 2003


I love when an idea for a blog entry lands right in my fucking lap. Today I was walking to lunch and I pickeded up a copy of the recent Rhino Times, the right wing weekly rag out of Greensboro. I only read it for the column by Orson Scott Card, fiction writer. In this week's column he discusses classic books that have fallen out of favor. He mentions Uncle Tom's Cabin and Huckleberry Finn. In his discussion of Huck Finn and it's anti-racist message he mentions how he thinks the liberal use of the word 'nigger' is what is keeping it from being appreciated fully. He does put forward an idea that I found disturbing. He mentions that he thought purists who were against altering the text were over reacting. He states that "purists would scream 'censorship' and 'artistic integrity.'" He may have a point, classics have been updated to comic book forms in the past and changing a few words to get past current sensibilities may be alright. Why doesn't he do that himself? The book has long been in the public domain.

I thought about for a second and I decided that taking the offending word out of the text would be a horrible mistake. The use of the word is not gratuitous and the question is not whether or not the word is correct, as Card pointed out. It is accurate and the removal of the word lessens Jim's indignities. If you were to substitute the word 'slave' or 'black' for 'nigger' you would be elevating this country's former institution, giving it a dignity it does not deserve. What is literature but truth? Removal of one word chips away at the truthful slice of American life that Mark Twain presents to us.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

My brush with death

Yesterdary a plane crashed in Turkey. 72 poor souls lost their lives. I could have been on that plane, but I wasn't. I missed that flight. If I had been on that plane I would be just as dead as those that were passengers. I would just like to say how thankful I am to my god that I was fortunate enough to not be on that flight. I could have been in Istanbul and climbed aboard that doomed airliner but I wasn't. Thankfully, I was here at work, half asleep. Why have I not been interviewed!? It's a bleeding miracle I wasn't on the fucking plane!! Only by the grace of the lord above did I survive yesterday's tragedy. I will issue an official statement here and the news agencies may run it if they wish

Survivor Statement

First of all I would like to send my condolences out to the families of those that died instead of me. They are in my prayers and in the prayers of my family. Let us not ever forget those that died in this horrible horrible tragedy. Secondly, I would like to say I do not know why I was chosen to miss this flight and survive this disaster but I do now realize that life is short and precious and I will now dedicate my life to the betterment of others. Thank you, god bless you.
And she began to shout

Man, I wish this blog was more anonymous. There is some work stuff I would like to talk about that would be real funny. I won't, I can't, I mustn't. Sure do want to, though.

I have been reading the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for the last few days. I've been real bad this last week about not reading at home. I don't know what my deal is. I made sure last night that I spent at least an hour reading. I did and I feel much better about myself now. A little better at least. I just arrived at the point in the book where Huck, a boy that has grown up around slavery as the natural and right order of things, has decided that if not turning in a runaway slave is stealing and the penalty for stealing is eternal damnation then he will choose the unrighteous path and damn himself by saving his friend. As Huck himself put it "All right, then, I'll go to hell." Any arguments agin the book because of Twain's use of the word 'nigger' are completely nullified by this passage. The soul searching and conclusion that Huck comes to is one of the most touching passages I have ever read.

Monday, January 06, 2003

Quote of the Day

"What does it mean when smoke signals are replaced by cell phones but you still have to climb the wall to use them?"
From the January 2003 National Geographic article "Chasing the Wall" by Peter Hessler.
Lord of the remotes

The following bullshit is Wendell's idea. If it's boring thump him in the head the next time you see him. Get to him before the band starts or he won't feel it when you hit him.

I announced a short while ago that I bought a DVD and felt like I had entered the 21st century. Much like the feeling I got when I bought my first CD player. In order to tie together all my components in my impressive home entertainment system I now have five remote controls that must be used in order to play DVD's.

1) Cable remote to fire up the 13 inch big screen tv.
2) DVD remote to bring to life this digital doodad. (I took back the POS I bought at Wal-Mart and got a real one at Best Buy)
3) VCR remote that the DVD video is patched into.
4) Second VCR remote to start the VCR the first VCR is hooked up to. (This is so I can dub videotapes)
5) Finally I have to start the receiver which the DVD audio is hooked into.

Wendell thinks I should buy one of them universal remotes so that I can have one remote to start them, one remote to control them, one remote to scroll them and in my apartment bind them.


Sunday, January 05, 2003


Me and the boys went to the Comet Grill tonight to see Lenny Federal play and the bar had the TV in the corner on and a show called Celebrity Justice was on. The TV is right next to the band. I hate its position because you eye is just drawn to the goddamn thing. I saw small portions of this show off and on for an hour. Fuck celebrity justice. I want to see celebrity executions.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Propaganda Parodies

Ever look back at some of those propaganda posters from the second world war? Some of them were pretty atrocious in their depiction of our country's enemies. You can view a collection of them here. I found a site through Tom Tomorrow with a collection of posters that depict a slightly leftist view of the Bush administration and it's bullshit policies. I have to say it's not fair to be so hard on Bush since stupid shit like the war on drugs and the first gulf war have been going on long before he showed up. I think he may be experience an unexpected backlash once the shooting stops and the economy is merely not bad.
What time is it?

Ah, new year's. It's different from other days of the year. Instead of getting drunk with friends, you get very drunk with friends. We celebrated at my place. Wendell was there and an old friend, Chris B., came by and, after he got off work and swung by Granville's for a while, Chris M came by. We drank some beer, played some guitar, chatted, watched a few scenes from some movies, watched the two Chrisses argue and hooted and hollered.

A few kids at the apartment complex that is divided from mine by a chain link fence were setting off some single shot large firecrackers. I went out my front door to watch and I initially scared them off. I guess they thought I was going to yell at them. I did yell for them to come back. They started tossing them across the fence and I told them to throw them farther and then the little bastards tried to hit me with the firecrackers.

Around midnight a few of the surrounding apartment complexes started shooting off small fireworks. We went out to watch. I almost broke out my personal stash of firecrackers but decided that in our condition we would probably hurt ourselves. I do remeber Chris M standing out by the pool yelling "Firecracker!! Pow!!" as loud as he could. If you know Chris then you know people heard him for miles around.

Later Chris M talked us into going to the apartment complex on the other side of our building to attend a party being thrown by a guy that works at the Dominos Pizza next to deli Chris works at. It was redneck hell over there. Young rednecks, around 20-25, years old keeping the traditions of their ancestors alive. As we entered the apartment one of the first things we were told was not to be too loud since there were three babies sleeping in the other room. We got the fuck out of there after about ten minutes. I don't party with infants.