Sorry, I couldn't resist the title.
I'm actually looking forward to tonight's presidential debate. I hope, in my heart of hearts, that Kerry reduces the Chimp to the gibbering, angry little man his is on the inside, so that the whole world can see what President George W. Bush really is.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Sorry, I couldn't resist the title.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
You know what I find amazing? That even though the Lone Star Iconoclast, the Crawford, Texas hometown newspaper, has endorsed Kerry and written a damning anti-Bush editorial, millions of my countrymen still feel that the Chimp can lead us.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
I don't consider myself much of a poet, but yesterday afternoon, I got a very disturbing image in my mind as I was thinking of ideas for a story I've been working on. It had no place in my story, but somehow my imagination kept fleshing it out until it was all I could see last night as I tried to go to sleep. So I got a pen and wrote the images down. If that's a poem, whatever.
- Reflections on Watching an Eight-Year-Old Boy Kill a Crow With a Baseball
Twisting in his eager hand
Fearful eyes and hissing squawks
Useless claws and frantic jerks
One for sorrow, now it's dead.
Remember those words? Bush used 'em in the '00 campaign. I actually wanted to believe he's that person. Fact is, he isn't. The country is the most divided it's been since, well, the last time we stopped fighting foreign enemies and started shooting ourselves.
The pretense of civility we've tried in the last few months is coming off. It's do-or-die time, and both sides have peeled their gloves off for a big fight. You'll notice a lot of my posts tending towards the political lately, because I do believe - despite some of my ramblings a month or so ago - that this election will be important, and I want George W. Bush to go away. For good. And I'm not the only one.
In such a polarized climate, the first casualties are going to be discourse and trying to change people's minds, and at this time, I've become OK with that. The time for holding polite discourse will come when Bush is out of the White House. Until then, I'm going to dwell on what makes 49% of my fellow voting countrymen feel that the dipshit in the White House is truly more qualified to lead us than John Kerry. Or an eggplant for that matter.
Politics is ugly. The left has no choice left but to fight this fight on the battlegorund that people like Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, Ken Starr, and Dick Cheney have chosen. We will win eventually because we are right. Although I can get emotional, my beliefs are based in logic, and I see no logic in much of neo-conservative thought today. It's sad that the Republican party has let itself be overrun by religious extremists, war profiteers, and racists. The basic, old Republican platform of economic responsibility was sound. The party of today is much more concerned with two homosexuals getting married than it is spending trillions of taxpayer dollars on a useless war fought over a false pretense and justified by the blood of 3,100 Americans who died in 9/11. And spare me the argument that the world is better off without Saddam - if we're so against leaders using biological weapons on their own people, why do we still have an image of Andrew Jackson, whose hands are covered with the blood of millions of Indians, on our twenty dollar bill? How does that make us fit to teach the world about playing nice, about democracy? And what about the other dictators, like the ones in Sudan who are committing genocide at the same time these safe conservatives are proudly proclaiming the success of someone who killed Kurds using weapons Reagan provided him? And that on top of the utter fiscal irresponsibility demonstrated by this administration.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: logic. Reason. Fact. The sworn enemies of the conservative.
All that is required for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing. We are good. They are evil. Illogical, greedy, evil people who care nothing about using American lives for their own selfish ends. We will do something. If it doesn't work in November '04, it will in the future.
I love watching conservatives cower before the power of fact and logic.
Republican't stooge Bill O'Reilly recently called people who watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central "stoned slackers." He's since claimed it was a joke, but it shows what disregard the Right has for the Left: we're just a bunch of long-haired hippie treehuggers who don't matter.
Not surprisingly, the facts support a totally different conclusion: that people who watch Jon Stewart tend to be more educated than those who watch The O'Reilly Factor.
Which basically supports my theory that liberals, in general, tend to be more educated than conservatives. Because when you add facts and logic to a conservative, it becomes a liberal.
It's no mistake that professions requiring the highest amounts of creativity and education - college professors, journalists, writers, and so forth - are largely liberal. Does this show a bias, as conservatives claim? No. It shows that liberals tend to be smarter than conservatives.
I'd love to see a breakdown of Mensa members and their voting choices. I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of them vote liberal. And, if I had to put money on it, I'd bet that the vast majority of high-school dropouts vote conservative.
Me, I just like the company better on this side of the river.
More comments on this post shortly, because I realized this is some pretty divisive shit.
Although conservatives like to complain about evil tax-and-spend liberals and how we nasty liberals are taking money away from hard-working Americans to support lazy bums, but once again, the facts do not support their illogical conclusions. As this map and breakdown clearly show, the states that vote Republican are the states who receive the most federal money, while the states that vote Democrat actually receive less in federal spending than they pay in taxes. in other words, it's us hard-working liberals who are paying to support the lazy conservatives.
Monday, September 27, 2004
- Thus, violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent proportionately of 3,300 Americans. What if 3,300 Americans had died in car bombings, grenade and rocket attacks, machine gun spray, and aerial bombardment in the last week? That is a number greater than the deaths on September 11, and if America were Iraq, it would be an ongoing, weekly or monthly toll.
- There are estimated to be some 25,000 guerrillas in Iraq engaged in concerted acts of violence. What if there were private armies totalling 275,000 men, armed with machine guns, assault rifles (legal again!), rocket-propelled grenades, and mortar launchers, hiding out in dangerous urban areas of cities all over the country? What if they completely controlled Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Denver and Omaha, such that local police and Federal troops could not go into those cities?
- What if the Air Force routinely (I mean daily or weekly) bombed Billings, Montana, Flint, Michigan, Watts in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Anacostia in Washington, DC, and other urban areas, attempting to target "safe houses" of "criminal gangs", but inevitably killing a lot of children and little old ladies?
- What if no one had electricity for much more than 10 hours a day, and often less? What if it went off at unpredictable times, causing factories to grind to a halt and air conditioning to fail in the middle of the summer in Houston and Miami? What if the Alaska pipeline were bombed and disabled at least monthly? What if unemployment hovered around 40%?
- What if the leader of the European Union maintained that the citizens of the United States are, under these conditions, refuting pessimism and that freedom and democracy are just around the corner?
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Friday was a great cap to an interesting week at work. I had a massive copywriting project I finished with a little time to spare, so I can now shift my focus to my other job and look at which parts of the website need a tune-up. The HeroClix community is in a snit over an announcement we made last week about a new premiere-level events program. Some of their complaints are valid, but the majority of them are making me think, "wow, I guess I can never get too comfortable with the wildlife." The announcement wasn't handled in the best way; some dipshit managed to find the webpage I was editing before I posted the public link, because I forgot to turn the webpage off, so I was stuck posting something I wasn't entirely comfortable with, and the first draft that everyone saw thanks to this prick - and formed their conclusions from - was one I really wasn't comfortable with.
So it goes.
Yesterday Liz and I went house-shopping again, found some of the best stuff yet, and came back to watch Shaun of the Dead with Jon and Seth. I've been playing more of Ninja Gaiden, because I'm planning on going all-out on GTA: San Andreas when it releases.
On the writing front, I was complaining two weeks ago about not having done any writing recently. Now, I'm plugging away on the new novel and I've got two solid story ideas for a contest / journal publication thing that Seth put me in touch with. I don't know which route I'll take, but either one should be fun, especially since both are a departure from my usual; the journal is looking for the best pulp-crime-noir, so it should be a great exercise.
Friday, September 24, 2004
In an astounding display of waffling and flip-flopping, Republican'ts can't seem to get their story right on what is going on in Iraq. Daily Kos has the story with analysis, but for the sake of brevity, I'll post some of the quotes here.
- Bush: "They're going to have elections in January in Iraq. When America gives its word, America will keep its word. We'll stand with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq." [9/22/04, Remarks by the President at Victory 2004 Rally , Latrobe, Pennsylvania]
- Cheney: "First of all, I'll be happy to pass along the message. I will see Mr. Allawi, as I mentioned, on Thursday -- both in the Congress, and then he'll come to the White House for a meeting with the President and myself. He has indicated repeatedly that he wants to keep that January deadline. We agree wholeheartedly. It's important to remember this is an Iraqi decision." [Dick Cheney, Lansing, Michigan, 9/21/04]
- Rumsfeld:"Let's pretend hypothetically that you get to election time in January and lets pretend that its roughly like it is, or a little worse, which it could be, because you've got to expect it to continue. They're not happy the way its going. They don't want a government elected in that country...badly, they don't want that. And let's say you try to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country, but some places you couldn't because the violence was too great. So be it. Nothing is perfect in life. So you have election that's not quite perfect." [Donald Rumsfeld, Senate testimony 9/23/04]
- Armitage:"We're going to have an election that is free and open and that has to be open to all citizens. It's got to be our best effort to get it into troubled areas as well," [Dick Armitage, House testimony, 9/24/04]
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Thanks to Mark Evanier for linking an excellent article about how one of my least-favorite homophobic, jingoistic, racist, holy-rolling assholes, John Ashcroft, who lost an election to a six-week-old corpse, who everyone in Southwest Missouri didn't vote for because he used to campaign at KKK rallies, is exactly 0 for 5000 in convictions of suspected terrorists since 9/11.
In other words, his goons arrested 5000 people on terrorism charges, and of those 5000, 0 have received a jury conviction on their charges.
I'm in a hurry, but I just gotta say: Jon's Savage TV game last night was a blast, and the best time I've had playing an RPG in, well, a long time. Probably since moving out to Seattle. What a great idea, and he executed it well. You can read more about it on his bloggie.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Monday, September 20, 2004
This was a mind-bending afternoon. My grandfather was in the hospital this morning; his pacemaker has basically been working nonstop for an intederminate amount of time, and he's been experiencing chest pains, dizzyness, and even fainting spells.
Liz and I went to look at things we could put in a new house. Unfortunately, I'm not a big fan of those kinds of trips. They tend to take me back to some unpleasant memories and issues about myself I'd rather I didn't have. We had a great talk afterwards, (I missed Matt's farewell party though) and she said some things that really "clicked." I also printed out a story that I forgot I'd written; I've been tinkering around on it for about a year, so I might subject Seth and Jon to it this week for their editing opinions.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
I finally got a hold of Roger this morning and had a great time catching up with him. One of the projects he's working on is an online comic book literary journal, ImageTexT. Seems like it's got some good content; I haven't had time to browse through the whole site yet.
Anyway, it was good to catch up with him. Hopefully we won't stay out of touch for so long anymore.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Today will be a day of rest; Brook and Wendi and Chad are coming over to goof off (possibly with movie or gaming), and I have completed my chores already. Let the relaxation begin.
On a side note, some of my ideas for my next novel have been fermenting nicely. I think I'm going to sit down soon and see if I can start putting things onto paper. Err, in a Word document.
Friday, September 17, 2004
You know those Gallup polls that show Bush in a 8-12 point lead over Kerry? They are statistical nonsense. As this interview and article explains, the poll is only taking into account a voter turnout of 39% Republican and 34% Democrat. Why? Because that was the breakdown in the last election.
In other words, those polls that show Bush and Kerry in a dead heat? Believe them.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Yesterday was a bear of a day. I spent most of the last three days at work preparing for a moderated chat last night, where WizKids announced the next base set for MechWarrior. I'm not a big fan of MechWarrior - that is to say, I'm ambivilant about the game and its fiction - but there are some fans out there who treat the entire universe and its 20-year history as seriously as some treat the Lovecraft mythos. For some reason, it's just never rubbed me as interesting (a side note: the only argument I've ever seen over a game that developed into a physical confrontation occured over a combination of the old Battletech/MechWarrior combat game/RPG), although I did really enjoy going to the Battletech Center arcades ten years ago to get a glimpse at what virtual reality could be. And, lest you get the wrong idea, I don't dislike MechWarrior; our version of the game is incredibly strategic. But if presented with a choice, I doubt it would be the first game I'd pick up.
Anyway, the chat went better than I expected. I moderated, and at one point there was about - I'm guessing here, but I don't think this is too far off - 200 questions in the queue. Three people told me to go to hell, including one the called me a "perverted monkey fucker;" about three hundred and twenty didn't express an opinion to us; and six told us "thanks." The post-chat buzz has been pretty positive overall, too; with the exception of a few trolls (I've quit, but I'm still going to hang out on this message board and call people names!) everyone seems pretty happy with things.
I really do need to do my World's Largest Dungeon write-up; we had another session on Tuesday, and it was a blast. And now that I have everyone's names, I have no excuses. Except lack of time. And sleep.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Thanks to Metafilter for linking to an excellent article on Anti-Americanism. I don't agree with 100% of it, but it certainly represents a more even view than most liberal or conservative commentary on the subject.
I started an email discussion with a gentleman who shares some of my political beliefs, and he put me on to a site called Daily Kos that has been a good way to regain some perspective lately. Today, they linked to a fine article where Bush had some manner of imaginary conversation with John Kerry. Specifically:
- Allen also calls attention to this utterly fantastical tale Bush told yesterday, while arguing that his audience would have to pay more taxes to fund Kerry's plans.
"So I said to him the other day, well, how are you going to pay for them?" Bush said at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds in Holland, Mich. "And he said, 'That's easy -- just tax the rich.'"
- But there I was, last week, hanging out with ol' George. And so I said to him, "well, how are you going to get our soldiers out of Iraq? And he said, with that frat-boy smirk of his, 'that's easy -- in body bags and wheelchairs.'"
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
I watched Mulholland Dr. straight through last night from beginning to end. I had forgotten what a gruelling movie it is to watch when you're concentrating on it; when I finished, I felt drained but I still stayed up after the lights were out thinking about what I'd watched. I thought about it on my walk into work this morning, too, and I might post some manner of analysis in the near-future, if I have the time or inclination to write such a thing. I've read several analyses on the 'Net, and although I think most of the writers have hit the main points of the film, they have ignored some details, and therefore lost some of the meaning.
My theory is that Lynch's recurring theme throughout all his movies is that of an "ordinary" or "regular" individual put into extraordinary circumstances - absurd circumstances - and how that person responds to the absurdity of the world around him or her. I could go on, but I'm finished with my burrito and I need to get back to work.
Maybe my career as a film critic (not in the Siskel and Ebert sense, but in the "literary criticism" sense) can finally take off.
Mulholland Dr. is the movie of the evening. Liz has holed up in the bedroom, away from this madness. I'm going full-tilt into Lynchland. I started scribbling out a little tale, and I have a feeling some of the themes from this movie are going to end up there, too. I've also had the strangest urge to watch Vertigo again; hopefully, I can indulge that sometime soon.
I had a chat with Bobby today over ICQ, one of those long, involved political chats we used to have all the time back in school. It made me miss some of the talks we had back in college; moreso, it made me miss my friends from school. I haven't seen Bobby in nearly two years, and it's been longer since I've seen Roger. Angela is in town, but we don't really see each other much. Crabby is coming for Christmas, but I don't get to talk to him as much as I'd like. I haven't even heard from Stick in two years, and Roman is hard to get a hold of, and he's in Canada. Mary's pretty much AWOL, and Meghan is down in Louisiana, far, far away.
Well, OK, maybe you can. The Assault Weapons Ban has now expired. There's been some celebrating on the right, some hand-wringing on the left, and not a whole lot in between.
My thoughts (it's why you're here, right?) are mixed as well. My view about gun rights and gun control took a turn in my senior year of college. At this point in the United States, banning guns seems, well, silly. There's a hell of a lot of them floating around, and actually taking them away from people is a task so Herculean that no government would ever want to begin tackling it - as it would probably cause a revolution if they tried.
That being said, I always thought the ban was a bit of a joke anyway, one of those phrases ("assault weapon ban," much like "partial-birth abortion"), designed to create an emotional response rather than apply an accurate name for that which it describes. It doesn't really "ban" assault weapons; it bans certain kinds of clips and certain kinds of barrel lengths from certain kinds of guns. So, instead of a 30-shot clip for your semi-automatic AK-47, you can only have a 10-shot clip. Yup. It doesn't really even address automatic weapons, which require you to have a certain class of firearms' dealer's license to own anyway. And, you could go to a gun show and buy a "pre-ban" weapon anyway. Whoop de do.
In other words, it was a stunt designed to make the liberals appear like they accomplished something without actually accomplishing much, and its expiration is a stunt to make the conservatives appear like they accomplished something without actually accomplishing much.
It actually seems like a pretty asinine thing for both sides to be addressing, when there are obviously much larger issues facing our nation right now. There was a small drop in crime since the ban was enacted, but that could also have something to do with other conditions, from socioecomonic patterns to the 100,000 cops Clinton put on the streets.
The entire gun debate has always seemed like a red herring argument to me anyway, a method of dodging bigger problems in favor of a small one that will really never change much, especially in the US.
Monday, September 13, 2004
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Three new zombie DVDs this week: the 1979 Dawn of the Dead, in an all-new, spanking format from Anchor Bay (three cuts of the film, hours of documentaries both from the time of filming and now, and commentaries galore); the new Dawn of the Dead, and the romantic comedy (with zombies) Shaun of the Dead I had a chance to preview at Comic-Con International. Liz really enjoyed Shaun, so I guess there's hope for conjoining tastes after all.
The following article, from a British newspaper, does a fine job of constructing the charges against the President, including the recent ones coming to light from an ex-Sister-In-Law regarding his abuse of cocaine years after his being "born again," and his cajoling a girlfriend into having an illegal abortion in the early 1970s. But what it doesn't ask is this: with Bush's dismal economic record (one that should, by all rights, enrage anyone who refers to himself or herself as a conservative) and the Iraq debacle, why the hell are the majority of Americans still convinced this man is fit to be President?
I guess you don't change horses mid-Apocalypse.
Jeff pretty much summed up what needs to be said on his blog. If you can handle it, I recommend reading this Metafilter thread from that day. Reading it in "real time" is bad enough, but watching both sides of the political spectrum and their responses to 9/11 is disturbingly prophetic.
Friday, September 10, 2004
Thursday, September 09, 2004
For some reason, I'm feeling off tonight. Liz made it through the first 8 minutes of Dawn of the Dead before she'd had enough (I gave her the option to opt out of watching). I dicked around with Ninja Gaiden, I played a little Second Life, I feel like I could tear a Buick apart with my bare hands, and although I know I need to go to sleep early, I sense an insomniac evening approaching.
I've let the creative side slip, too. I haven't turned out a good short story in a year or so, and since I finished the novel, I haven't turned out anything at all, unless you count the content I've been writing for the website. I sit at my work computer and stare at the screen, listlessly reading our company's message forums and putting off the other work I need to do. I finished my first PR plan but I'm scared to turn it in; it looks like a pathetic, wilted plant pressed into a mostly-white sheet of paper.
Oh, and I officially hate this Atkins diet. It makes my breath smell like a groundhog's anus most of the time, and I have to fight the urge to brush my teeth five times a day. My joints hurt, especially my knees and elbows, which is never a good sign. If I don't drink enough caffiene to make me neurotic, I go to sleep. I felt recharged after the long weekend, but I lost the feeling sometime this morning and now I feel even more run down. It doesn't help that I'm working at least 8-6 most nights, although this week has been a happy exception - I'm leaving at 5:30.
If you've read this whining nonsense all the way to the end, you deserve a prize.
Last night a group of people from the office embarked on the World's Largest Dungeon, the $100, 820-page monstrosity from AEG that contains all the monsters in 3.5 and over two years (or so) worth of adventuring. We are playing two characters apiece, because we're going to assume casualties. I'm playing a Paladin and a Rogue; I plan to do an in-character write-up of the campaign, but for the second night in a row I left my notes at work.
Tonight, I'm watching the unrated version of the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. Thank God for multi-region HD-upgrading DVD players.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Saturday, September 04, 2004
Metafilter linked to an article about the evolutionary role of religion. I agree with some of the author's points, at least about the possible evolutionary role of religion, but I think that his conclusions the religion serves no purpose are utterly incorrect. To point out the inconsistency of athiesm - that it, as a belief-structure, requires as much faith as any religion - would be the easy, snarky way out.
Rather, he misses an extraordinarily simple but important counter-point: that if religion has evolved, and done so well for itself (in Darwinian terms), then it not only serves a purpose for humanity, but perhaps an extremely important purpose.
The atheist / religious dichotomy never ceases to fascinate me.
I think I'm going to rent and finally watch The Passion of the Christ this weekend. Liz and I have been plowing through Voyager episodes recently, and I'm kind of ready for a change. I watched the final collection of Futurama, which only made me sad because there won't be any more. I'm also going to swing by my temple (Scarecrow) and grab some horror, maybe a handful of Hammer films and the sequel to Abominable Dr. Phibes that Jimmy keeps telling me to watch.
I've also had a hankering to watch Mulholland Dr. again; maybe I'll pop that in, too.
Geeze, I've been talking a lot about politics lately. I suppose with the impending election, that's only natural. I didn't watch any of the Republican National Convention, just as I didn't watch the DNC, but I've read some of the speeches here and there online.
Mark Evanier, who I respect both as a comedy writer and someone with intersting political observations, made a very interesting post on his bloggie today, addressing some of the, for lack of a better term, dipshit comments made during the RNC.
I had a long discussion with Liz the other night about the current state of affairs in our country. She made an observation that's stuck with me since then, one that came, strangely enough, from Martin's Game of Thrones series.
There's a scene where an exiled queen asks one of her retainers if the stories her insane brother told her were true; whether the people in "her" kingdom were patiently waiting her return, holding feasts in her honor. Her retainer told her that the folk were more worried about whether or not the crops would grow and the rains would come, so long as those in power did not interfere in their lives.
A rather defeatist view, but looking back, there is something to be said for it. Civil rights advanced in the 1960s not because the government interfered, but because Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus and Martin Luther King, Jr. led marches. Gay rights continue to advance despite government attempts to block them; fifteen years ago, Will and Grace never would have lasted a single season. Yes, for every three steps forward we take two back, but we still end up ahead of the game.
I can't decide if I'm deluding myself into some kind of contentment with a political administration that I've spent a lot of my time despising, or if I'm preparing for the worst come November, or I'm trying to make sense of something that may never make sense. In a universal sense, I seriously doubt that the Bush administration will do anything to permanently destroy life as we know it. Life will continue; Nero and Caligula may have assisted in Rome's destruction, but civilization endured.
Perhaps I'm simply tired of shouting at the shadows on the cave wall, and it's time to retire to Iceland once and for all.