Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Grizzly dude

We watched Grizzly Man last night. Timothy Treadwell was a freak. A good natured freak. A freak who thought he was helping grizzlies by violating national park regulations. A bipolar freak whose monologues directed toward his video camera are priceless. A freak whose summer hobby of living among grizzlies ended the only way it possibly could have, by his being eaten alive by an hungry bear.

Watching the movie you really can't help but come to the conclusion that living among those gizzlies for thirteen summers that Treadwell didn't necessarily help the grizzlies all that much. He probably helped himself a great deal. It's too bad he couldn't just be satisfied by camping in the wilderness every summer and moving around instead of attatching himself to these bears in one particular valley. He needed to feel important, I reckon. If he needed to be validated that badly he probably should have just joined a church, it works for most people.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Newish blog

I have bought one underage person a drink in a club in all the years I've been going to see bands. It was this young lady named Beth. That happened at an Ani Difranco show at Tremont Music Hall a few months before Ani released Dilate. Beth lives in Seattle now. She's awesome. So awesome that she called to rag on us while her Seahawks were raping my Panthers. Wait'll next year, shorty.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I suppose a good lot of you that read this watched that horrible Panthers game this last Sunday. I don't know if I have ever seen an NFL team get dominated as thoroughly as the Panthers were by the Seahawks a few days ago. Our offensive line was porous, the running backs we had available were back ups and ineffective, our quarterback was panicky and threw like a girl for most of the game. It was like they threw a bunch of guys they found in a bar out there. The defense didn't play bad, they were just on the field for the whole game and, when that happens, even a great defense will eventually buckle.

How bad was the offense? Let me count the ways: they didn't have a single drive of more than six plays, their first four drives netted a total of 11 yards (5 of those yards from a penalty), the deepest line of scrimmage into our opponents territory was at their 44 yard line, the Panthers first drive with more than one first down came during their last drive of the third quarter, Jake Delhomme's passing rating was 34.9 and we only ran the ball twelve times (three of those being scrambles by Jake). That is bad.

What I do want to know is what in the hell happened to our punter during the game? He must have completely spazzed out because he booted a few of the worst punts I've seen all year. The guy was barely kicking the ball over the line of scrimmage, let alone hoping for any kind of yardage down the field. Somebody needed to give him some smelling salts or a shot of Jaeger.

Of course I don't want to sound too critical, that Seahawks team was pumped the fuck up and those fans were extremely loud. I've always watched a good number of games and have always followed the team but this was the first year in a while that I took the time and watched a majority of the Panthers' games. I'm glad I did, it was a nice little ride there for a while. I was getting to the point that I was recognizing players and appreciating what it is they brought to the team. Sunday's trouncing won't cause me to stop rooting for my team. I decided several years ago that the Carolina Panthers were my team they will be for a while. I figure you can only follow so many sports and right now the Panthers and NASCAR races at my favorite tracks are enough for me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Desperate measures

Since I have lost all those hits from the bleeding demised 42short I have had to resort to getting my blog into the Technorati network. That hasn't helped to make up for the lack of nerdy librarian type girls that 42short sent this way.

Poor Cinderella

Last night I finally got a chance to watch Cinderella Man. I didn't realize until today that last night was the first time I had watched a Ron Howard directed movie since Apollo back in 1995. How can that be?

The movie was good. I was impressed that the pace of the movie was so relaxed. The time where Braddock and his family are living hand to mouth drags on for a good long time. Most movies of this type only give cursory attention to the set up which then doesn't allow the main character's rise to resonate with the audience. Not Cinderella Man. Here the down and out bouncer hits rock bottom financially before the movie shifts into its second half which is about his improbable rise and eventual shot at the heavyweight title. In fact the first half works so well that by the time Braddock is fighting Max Baer for the title I found myself rooting for this character more than I had for a movie character in a while. Probably not since Million Dollar Baby.

I did some reading on Max Baer today and I found that he was not nearly as asshole-ly as he was portrayed in the film. I don't know if I should be disappointed or not because he was such an effective asshole. Maybe it was a little much because you can be a dangerous fighter and not be a complete dick. It worked but after reading about Baer today I can't help but feel he was given a short shrift by the movie.

So, the movie was no Raging Bull but if you enjoy uplifting boxing movies you can't go wrong with this baby.

Is it just me but does Russell Crowe sound just like Mel Gibson? I swear if I closed my eyes last night I could hear Mel Gibson. Aren't the both Australian? Maybe that's it. Probably not. Angus Young is Australian and he doesn't sound a bit like Russell Crowe or Mel Gibson.

Monday, January 23, 2006

My Senator

Every now and then I submit an electronic form to the office of Senator Elizabeth Dole. I guess I enjoy getting form letters from her office informing me why I am wrong and she is going to vote the opposite way I asked. I'm probably wasting my time writing these things but somebody is looking at them because the letters I receive address the issue on which I commented, even when I choose "other" on the menu of her form. At the very least a Repulican intern is reading my letter. That's probably the best I can hope for.

Today I wrote to her and asked her to vote against the nomination of Alito to the supreme court. Fat chance of that happening, I know. As I was scrolling through the menu options on the email form on her website I noticed an option that read "Support the troops." I was surprised by that. You would think that if you support the troops you wouldn't really have to write Dole just to tell her that. Maybe that category is there for you to write to her if she isn't supporting the troops enough. Hard to believe a Republican senator could ever possibly make the mistake of not professing her support for the troops sufficiently but it could happen. Actual support of the troops, like sufficient armor and medical care, not being important enough to enter the public debate.

I'm sitting at my desk looking at this form and it's option to send Elizabeth Dole a electronical mail message on the subject of 'support the troops' and I realize that there is no option available for someone who doesn't support the troops. What if you live in North Carolina and you want to inform Elizabeth Dole that you think the American troops are cannibalistic baby killing butt pirates? You have no options on Senator Dole's webpage. You'll just have to state those wacky opinions in a letter that bears the subject of 'other,' pal. That's fucking bullshit. It's exclusionary and wrong. How can she and her party hope to bring America together with a web menu that is obviously prejudiced? Shame.
Sweet Jesus

I just saw a news story that the Buttafuoco's and Amy Fisher have signed an agreement to appear together on television. It looks like they have yet to sign a contract with a network. Whatever network broadcasts the reunion between these dinks I will never watch again for the rest of my life. Hopefully it will get picked up by the Family Channel.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Dennis Miller

For a while Dennis Miller was one of my favorite performers. His "Off-White Album" that came out in 1987 (has it been that long?) is still one of my favorite stand up albums. Good stand up, like good music, holds up to repeated listenings. I remember the album has a good line about Ronald Reagan's age. It went something like "Reagan is that old and he has access to the button? Folks, my grandfather is that old and we don't let him use the remote control for the the TV." Good stuff.

And, of course, there was his stint doing the news on SNL which was wonderful and then he had that show on HBO that started out great and petered out in the end.

Then came 9/11 and he became a Bush supporter which shocked me. Yeah, so we were attacked and we supposedly need a forceful president so Miller takes the gloves off and supports the guy. A guy he admitted last night on his new HBO special isn't too bright or a good decision maker and in other less-weird times he would tear to shreds during such a performance. What a fucked up world we live in.

Yeah, so last night I sat and watched the new Dennis Miller HBO special. I really wanted to see it. I was wondering which Dennis Miller would show up. The one I used to love or the one that confused me. It turns out both were there. He still is the same old Dennis Miller. His delivery is the same, he still makes obscure references that are hysterical if you get them and he is still funny. I guess that is all that matters.

I laughed more than I thought I would. Most of my big chuckles came when he wasn't being political and just trying to make his audience laugh. He lost me when he tried to rationalize his support of Bush. His attitude seems to be that we should kill before we are killed. I'm surprised someone who can be as inciteful as Dennis Miller can't look deeper into the problem of terrorism and international relations and see that there should be more than hunting and killing involved and that isn't it possible that our policies and attitudes help lead to such hatred. It seems to me that he knows the American people and their society and business are not going to change so the only possible foreign policies are what we are following right now. If you want to live the way we do then we have to be aggressive militarily and we have to force our culture on the world. Maybe Dennis isn't a conservative, he's just realistic. There is that quote that people get the government they deserve and Miller just has read the writing on the wall. He's gittin' 'er done and he's better than that and judging by how he phrased his rationalizations he knows it.

His dodgy prance around being doubtful about global warming was the low point of the evening for me. I couldn't believe he used the tired old pro-pollution talking point of "we don't know for sure." That's just using the language of careful science against careful science. We don't know for sure how electricity or gravity works but no one doubts either of those. I'll try to pretend that five minutes of the show wansn't there.

I was pleased that he ended strong. The last twenty minutes he skewered politicians from both parties, including Bush and the Clintons. He showed his more progressive social side and he went all out with the world play. It was classic Miller and it almost made up for the middle portion where he licked the hiney of middle America. Maybe when Bush is in jail a few years from now Dennis will come back. I can't wait because he's the kind of guy that will eat shit on TV and admit he was wrong. I hope to see it someday.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Howdy, again

I may be way behind and everyone who is in the know may already know about this website but the bossman has turned me on to the site called Digg.com. It's full of nerdy goodness. I haven't joined the site but it has joined the list of sites I check every day. Here's how they describe themselves: "Digg is a technology news website that combines social bookmarking, blogging, RSS, and non-hierarchical editorial control. With digg, users submit stories for review, but rather than allow an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do." Check it out. They claim they are a technology news site but there is semi-technical stuff in there for the garden variety nerd to enjoy also.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


I apologize for the graphic sexual nature of the following post

I had "Asshole for Christ" as the top headline of my blog for so long I thought I should write something just to move it down a bit.

I'm still getting hits from 42short but they are really starting to space out. It won't be long before that blog becomes like Batman in the "The Dark Knight Returns" where people will begin to doubt he even existed. I imagine with the internet that will take about six weeks.

How about them Panthers, eh? I predict we will go into Seattle and we will stomp them like a librarian at a South Carolina dirt track.

You know the best thing about having the apartment to myself is that for the next couple of days the only hair I will pull out of the drain in the bath tub will be mine. It's funny, I don't mind pulling a woman's pubic hair out of my teeth but I blanch at pulling the body hair of my roommate out of the tub's drain. Isn't life strange?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Asshole for Christ

I see that Pat Robertson apologized for being a total cock the other day when he said that Sharon's stroke was revenge from god. I hope someday before I die these dishonest religous leaders lose their influence. You'd figure after what happened to that crowd over ten years ago would have cut into their prominence. Somehow they hung around. In case you missed here is a summary of what happened from a USA Today article: "The day after Sharon's stroke, Robertson suggested he was being punished for pulling Israel out of the Gaza Strip last summer. The pullout was seen by many evangelical groups as a retreat from biblical prophecy of Jewish sovereignty over the area.

"God considers this land to be his," Robertson said on his TV program "The 700 Club." "You read the Bible and he says 'This is my land,' and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, 'No, this is mine.'""
Daily Show goodness

I mentioned before how I now have real cable in my home again. I am really loving watching the Daily Show again. Last week they did a bit about Senators Byrd from Virginia and Thomas from Alaska that put the two in a movie called Brokeback Senate. I almost fell off the couch after that joke.

Last night they had another good piece about the ludicrousness of Bush's recent speech where he declared open debate healthy and then outlined what areas of his policy we are allowed to debate. It was one of those Bushian moments where he turns sideways and steps into a surreal mode that confuses people who live in something I like to call 'the real world.' There is still nothing on television funnier than a clip of Bush looking foolish followed by Jon Stewart reacting to it. You can't script it or describe it but it's funny funny funny.

The speech

Here's what our genius president said on 1/10/06 concerning healthy debate of his war: "There is a vigorous debate about the war in Iraq today, and we should not fear the debate. It's one of the great strengths of our democracy that we can discuss our differences openly and honestly -- even in times of war. Yet we must remember there is a difference between responsible and irresponsible debate -- and it's even more important to conduct this debate responsibly when American troops are risking their lives overseas.

The American people know the difference between responsible and irresponsible debate when they see it. They know the difference between honest critics who question the way the war is being prosecuted and partisan critics who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil, or because of Israel, or because we misled the American people. And they know the difference between a loyal opposition that points out what is wrong, and defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right.

When our soldiers hear politicians in Washington question the mission they are risking their lives to accomplish, it hurts their morale. In a time of war, we have a responsibility to show that whatever our political differences at home, our nation is united and determined to prevail. And we have a responsibility to our men and women in uniform -- who deserve to know that once our politicians vote to send them into harm's way, our support will be with them in good days and in bad days -- and we will settle for nothing less than complete victory."

Even though he may have mislead the American people, or at the very least, totally botched interpreting the intelligence he was given and had no plan whatsoever for a post-war Iraq, that stuff is in the past. Mistakes were made, lives were lost but we have to move on, get over it, look ahead and focus on total victory in the mess that is Iraq in the present. Jesus, what a dick.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Short History of...

I just finished the most fascinating book by Karen Armstrong called A Short History of Myth. It is a surprisingly short book that serves as the preface for a news series of books put out by the publisher Canongate. The series is devoted to the retelling of familiar myths in hope that they will then be more relevent to our times.

A lot of what she went over in the book was material I was familiar with or, more accurately, had been exposed to before. Even so, she was able to take on the giant task of covering the evolution of mythology over the last ten thousand years and distill that information down into concise liquor shots of knowledge that I found enlightening. I can't begin to imagine how difficult this task was. It was truly a Herculean task to create a short book on this topic an have it not be confusing let alone write one as informative as this.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Woe is us

From Thomas Powers' NYTBR review of "The Next Attack" by Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon: "The book takes an important first step in the direction of realism by arguing in sober detail that the bright hopes and confident ideas behind the invasion of Iraq were illusions. Nothing dies hharder, as Vietnam taught us, and it will probably take another year or two for that fact to really sink in on a national scale. But once it does, the hard part can begin."

It's going to happen some day and when it does the fall of George Bush will be beautiful to behold. He can barely speak when things are going his way, I can't wait to watch him bumble through all the hearings he will sit through during his last year in office.

Monday, January 09, 2006


Hey, how about those Panthers winning their playoff game this weekend? Isn't that exciting stuff? I love playoff football. Nothing is better than the playoffs in baseball and football. This next game in Chicago should be a doozy. I can't wait.

More books

I guess I'll wrap up my list of books I've read this year that I especially enjoyed.

The Old Ball Game by Frank Deford. This is the story of the relationship between Christy Mathewson, the stud pitcher on the New York Giants of the early 1900's and his manger, the fiery John McGraw. Not only is it the story of these two remarkable guys it is also the story of early baseball. When these two men ended up on the Giants together professional baseball was still being played in parks that featured wooden grandstands that only encompassed the infield. By the time they parted ways baseball was being played inside concrete and steel cathedrals.

Three Nights in August by Buzz Bissinger. This book was the story of a three game series played between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs in August of 2003. It's an important late season series and the two teams are competing for first place in their division. This is a wonderful book for anyone who would like to know what kind of life a good major league baseball manager leads. No detail is left out.

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews. This is the story of a teenage girl living in a restrictive Mennonite community in rural Canada. The story is told from the viewpoint of the main character, Nomi. The narrative is supposed to be a diary she is keeping as part of an English class assignment. Nomi is probably the best character I came across this year. Toews gives her such a personal voice that after a while I felt like I was reading an actual diary and each of her small triumphs and defeats felt too real.

I thought I had more but that is the end of my reading list. It was a good year for reading for me. I finished 27 books. I'd like to do better this year. I want to push that number way up over thirty.

This was the first full year of using the library's Readers Club webpage to keep track of my reading. It really is helpful to keep track of your reading. I had never really done it before. I wish I had started long ago. If you would like your very own personalized reading list at the Readers Club page you can go here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

More bookily goodness

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. This was the first time I had read a book by Hornby. It's about a group of people who meet on top of a building on New Year's Eve. They are all there to kill themselves. They form a little support group and comedy ensues. It had the best dialogue of all the books I read last year.

The Carpet Makers by Andreas Eschbach. OK, a planet has a medieval society that is completely devoted to making hair carpets. These carpets are made by carpet makers who devote their whole lives to making a single carpet. Supposedly the carpets are taken to the palace of the immortal galactic emperor and used to beautify the dump. It turns out there are thousands of planets doing the same thing in one section of the galaxy. They can't all be supplying the emperor's palace with carpets. Who has a palace that big? So where are these carpets going and why? This is an episodic novel that focuses on several characters in order to tell its tale. What impressed me was that the author was not especially attatched to any of the characters who moved his story along. They were as vulnerable to misfortune as the rest of the characters. That is probably one of the reasons this book received such high praise from Orson Scott Card. He's not afraid of bumping off a major character himself.

I'll do more tomorrow. I've been sick today. Only a couple of more left.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Books o' the year

Not nearly as inclusive as the notable book list in the NY Times Book Review but here's a list of books I read that I enjoyed over the year.

From most recently finished to the earliest books I read last year:

Mark Twain: A Life by Ron Powers. This book was a big bastard but was just a pleasure to read. The author really has the ability to combine the young Sammy, the adult Samuel and the author Mark Twain into one understandable person.

Fledgling by Octavia Butler. This was the first book that Butler had released in about seven years. I devoured it over a weekend. I'm sorry I read it so quickly but I was starving for something new by her. It's the story of a vampire child who is recovering from serious injuries. I won't ruin the plot, it's too good to give away. It's Butler, it's awesome.

A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous. A diary by a young woman living in Berlin during the time the Soviet Union won and occupied her portion of the city. It's an honest account of the life lived by a woman during an enemy occupation. It's not pretty but she does maintain her humor and her humanity.

Wrecking Crew: The Really Bad News Griffith Park Pirates by John Albert. Another book I tore through this year. It's the story of a group of freaks in Los Angeles that start up an amateur baseball team and use it as a sort of support group. It's incredibly honest, very funny and, at times, heartbreaking.

The First Crusade: A New History by Thomas Asbridge. This one surprised me. I had read a good review of it and decided to give it a shot. It really sucked me in and I polished it off in just a couple of weeks. I was surprised by how lucky those crusader were to live to get to even see Jerusalem, let alone win the city and then kill and rape everyone inside in the name of god. Most striking image: the victorious crusaders, covered in the blood of their defeated foes, standing in the Holy Sepulchre thanking god for their victory.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. This book was another surprise. I read it because it had been praised by Orson Scott Card and he introduced me to Octavia Butler so his reccomendations catch my attention. It's been a while since I finished a fantasy novel. I've started a few in the last couple of years that were positively reviewed but I think I've lost interest in pure fantasy. This one, though, was different. It's the story of a city that used to house people with magical powers. They weren't born with these powers, the powers came to them during the night while they were sleeping. Once you had this gift you were allowed to live in the city of Elantris. Ten years before the book opens the people of the city lost their powers although they are still "gifted" with a long horrible existence of pain. Also, throughout the kingdom people are still waking up changed but now they are zombie-like in their appearance and are banished into the city rather than awarded residence there. The real strength of this book is a struggle between two religions that begins as a sub plot but emerges as the main plot. One of the religions is much more agressive in spreading its word than the other. The character that is charged with spreading the word in the kingdom in which this novel takes place is a pleasure to follow as he comes to grip with his faith and its ultimate goals.

That's all for today. I'll do a few more tomorrow.
Is he kidding?
From the AP:

'The New York Times disclosed last month that the NSA had been conducting the domestic surveillance since 2002. The Justice Department on Friday opened an investigation into who told reporters about the program.

"The fact that somebody leaked this program causes great harm to the United States," Bush said.'

He's kidding right? No wait, I'm sorry, he's lying. I guess there is a difference. Lying every time you open your mouth causes great harm to the United States. Only this guy would infer that revealing a possibly illegal act on his part is treasonous. As Bill Hicks would say, "Jesus, what balls."