Κυριακή, Οκτωβρίου 31, 2004

Wow...

From George Will's endorsement of George W. Bush:
Tuesday's winner will not start from scratch but from where we are now, standing with the women of Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Back in Washington recently, Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, said those women were warned that Taliban remnants would attack polling places during the Oct. 9 elections. So the women performed the ritual bathing and said the prayers of those facing death. Then, rising at 3 a.m., they trekked an hour to wait in line for the polls to open at 7 a.m. In the province of Kunar an explosion 100 meters from a long line of waiting voters did not cause anyone to leave the line.
That's enough to give you goosebumps.

Σάββατο, Οκτωβρίου 30, 2004

Council Results

The Watcher's Council winners for the past two weeks are:

Council:
Judging Characterby AlphaPatriot (This week)
Kerry and Arafat - A Way With Words - Rantblogger Gets the Verbal Scoop
by Aaron's Rantblog (Last week)


Non Council:
Letter to an Undecided Voter by Little Miss Attila (This week)
An Open Letter to the Undecided Voter by Guardian Watchblog (Last week)
Runners up last week: Battle of the Blogsby Davids Medienkritik
Doing What's Right by I Love Jet Noise

Full results of this week and last week.

Bring Back The Draft

What? Bring back the draft? NOOOOOOO!!!!

Calm down -- I think we should change it first...

I want to draft John Kerry. He claims to know where Osama is and how to get him, and he said he'd go after him like he did the gooks in Nam, so let's take him up on it. Let's draft Wes Clark too. He seems to know as well. They can have access to any equipment they think they'll need. For additional personnel, draft Kerry's Band of Brothers (who, incidentally, have gotten a LOT less face time recently). If he needs any more troops, he can have any Special Forces soldier who chooses to serve under him. And he can have Michael Moore, because it would be funny, and also for food in a pinch.

Παρασκευή, Οκτωβρίου 29, 2004

Character

I'm a pragmatist. [Really? -- Ed. Shut up.] I believe in doing things in the most practical, efficient, logical way possible, and doing them well. I'm a problem-solver. I try to fix things. This is just how I see the world. I mention these things by way of explaination of why I find what follows to be demonstrably insane. From the American Spectator (which is not insane, just reporting insanity):
Among the more dangerous ideas floating around this election is that sending John Kerry to the White House will force Kerry and the Democratic Party to take seriously the war in Iraq and, by extension, the broader War on Terror.

Here is Andrew Sullivan, in his endorsement of Kerry: "…the Democratic Party needs to be forced to take responsibility for the security of the country that is as much theirs as anyone's."
Alright, help me out here. Why does John Kerry need to take responsibility for the War on Terror? Why does he need to get serious about it? For that matter, why do the Democrats? Well, the answers here are, "because he might be president", "because he might be president", and "because they might hold other offices that make important decisions", respectively. The trouble is, the argument for electing them is that they need to learn to take responsibility, which is rather circular. As far as I'm concerned, we elect people to serve, govern and lead us, we do not elect them for their personal character growth and educational development. To borrow from the good JFK, "Ask not what your country can do for them but what they can do for your country."

New Blog Alert

Alright, I've set up another blog to live-blog the election watch party I'm attending on Tuesday. It's here. Click through and bookmark it. I'll have a link up Tuesday night as well. This should be fun!

Fisking Howard

I've not posted the ravings of Howard Dean for a while -- let's do that, shall we?
SUBJ: Protect the Sanctity of the Vote
Date: 10/29/2004 1:52:21 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: "Gov. Howard Dean, M.D."

Dear Katie,
Dear Howie -- Bit early in the morning for hyperbole, isn't it?
Some Republicans see the voting booth as a country club where a few people decide that others just don't belong. They reject the foundation of our democracy: we believe in the sacred principle of One Person, One Vote.
I'm really hoping this is another example of the "humorous irony" the Left seems to be so fond of. Either that, or someone has figured out how to run internet cable between here and Bizarroworld.
Now that fundamental right is under threat. Every day we hear of new GOP tactics to corrupt the system and prevent people from voting.
Oh right, those GOP goons harassing people at polling places. Excuse me, have I missed something? Like, the fake registrations (all of Dems) in tons of states. The legions of volunteers to "personally vouch" for unregistered voters in Minnesota. Dead people and Disney characters registering? Buying votes with CRACK COCAINE? Incidentally, don't you find it little amusing when Democrats start throwing around words like 'sacred'?
Our volunteers have made direct contact with voters in thousands of precincts. But the prospect of intimidation and legal manipulation grows every day. Please help us ensure that every American who wants to can get to the polls:

http://www.democracyforamerica.com/contribute

We finally started living up to the One Person, One Vote principle only a generation ago. For a hundred years after the Civil War our laws systematically blocked millions of people from voting. It took until 1965 to pass federal law that ended the schemes of Jim Crow.
The schemes of Jim Crow? Good grief, give it a rhetorical rest, man. And by the way, pop quiz: Which party was primarily culpable for the Jim Crow laws and for fighting against black suffrage?
We outlawed poll taxes and literacy tests because they are undemocratic. But those bad laws were made even worse by selective enforcement -- to discriminate against opponents of those in power.
Which bad laws are we talking about? It would seem that "those bad laws" refers to the laws that outlawed poll taxes and literacy tests. That can't be what you mean, Howie, is it? Also... 'to discriminate against opponents of those in power.' I'd just like to point out that in 2000, Al Gore was in power and George Bush wasn't. That is all. Actually, no, it isn't. Do you mean, Howie, that the laws outlawing poll taxes and literacy tests are being selectively enforced? Meaning that someplaces are still using poll taxes and literacy tests? Are you referring to the insidious practice of requiring people to be registered and/or eligible to vote? What the hell are you talking about?
The tactics today are the same as in the bad old days.
[Insert hilarious Damn Yankees joke here.]
The 2000 election opened the eyes of the right-wing fringe that runs the Republican Party. When conservatives on the Supreme Court stopped votes from being counted in Florida, they saw an opportunity. They could again manipulate the legal system to justify denying people the right to vote.
Oh yes, the right wing fringe that runs the GOP. People like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertsen and Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter all got prime speaking slots at the GOP convention, while John McCain and Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwartzenegger were relegated to... oh wait. Now as for the Supreme Court -- do you really think they sit there and think, "Gee, I hope there will be an extraordinarily complicated judicial mess related to an election so it can be brought here and we can make a very controversial decision and manipulate the legal system to pick the president and maybe also disenfranchise the people!"? Also, just to review, all the media outlets that went back and counted in search of the truth determined that Bush would have, in fact, won Florida, okay? Enough already.
Now we have a Republican in Ohio trying to throw out heavily Democratic new voter registrations because the paper isn't thick enough.
And what does the copy paper instead of card stock imply? That they're not on official cards. Somebody went and ran off a bunch of them. That's not, as it were, really legal. Getting a real, legal registration card isn't challenging. Do it right.
We have a Jeb Bush appointee in Florida drawing up a wildly inaccurate list of supposed "felons" that included thousands of innocent African-Americans -- but almost no Latinos (who are much more likely to vote Republican).

Republican officials in Pennsylvania tried to move polling places out of inner-city neighborhoods for "safety" reasons.

Right-wing Republicans question whether new voters -- particularly the young and the poor -- "deserve" to vote. They wonder out loud whether Americans who they think aren't "informed enough" or need a ballot in another language should be allowed to vote at all. Suggestions like these are disgusting and immoral.
Excuse me? I think the young and poor should vote if they're so inclined and competent to do so. Note, I don't define competent as 'voting for my guy'. However, if you can't register yourself properly or punch your ballot properly, or whatever, I have no problem with the fact that you've disenfranchised yourself. It's natural selection. Now, needing a ballot in another language... I support people being able to vote in whatever language they'd like, but I think that, to be guaranteed a ballot in your language, you have to vote absentee, or risk not getting one. It'd be ridiculous for every polling place in America to have to stock ballots in Hmong and Tagalog and Quecha, just on the off chance that someone's going to walk in needing one. Also, it's perfectly legal to have someone assist you in voting as a translator. So Howie, I think anyone who's legal should be allowed to vote. I think that we should try to inform them of how to do it properly. If people are not capable of executing the task of voting properly beyond that point, I'm not concerned. They deserve to go into a booth and do what they want. If they do it wrong, that's not the fault of the Republicans, now is it?
They know that George Bush's failures have affected people who until now never gave politics a second thought. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Americans have registered to vote for the first time this year.
Many of them as Republicans. I registered to vote this year. I'm a member of that mythical "first time presidential voter/person with only a cell phone" demographic. I'm both young and poor. I voted. It was easy. I voted for...shouldn't be hard to guess.
Republicans say they fear fraud. But they really fear defeat.
I fear three things -- fraud, scorpions, and my subway train blowing up with me on it. I can handle defeat. Defeat will increase my fear of the third thing, but I don't really fear it. Fraud, however, basically indicates that American Democracy is down the tubes. Considering that American Democracy and Freedom (and Firepower) are what I'm counting on to prevent the whole subway issue, fraud worries me.
We cannot wait for judges or legislatures to stop them. We have to protect Americans at the polls on Election Day and defend against any attempt to tamper with our fundamental rights.
If the goons that have been roughing up GOP offices are part of this 'protecting' effort, let me just say, on the behalf of the American People, "Thanks, but no."
There are two ways you can help. Find your polling place and make sure that you and everyone you know votes:

http://www.mypollingplace.com

And make a contribution now to help get voters in swing states to the polls on Tuesday:

http://www.democracyforamerica.com/contribute

We have just a few days. Please act now.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
Dear God, please let someone win a landslide. Please let no state be closer than 2%. Please. No lawyers. No fraud. Just people picking someone to lead. Honestly. And then that person winning and the other person conceding. Please.

That's What It's All About

This was sent to me by my mother, from one of her friends.
"With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, along with the craziness of the election season,  it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week.

Larry La Prise, the man who wrote "The Hokey Pokey", died peacefully at age 93. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in. And then the trouble started."

Counting Chickens

So apparently John Kerry's appointed Sen. Biden to be his Secretary of State if, heaven forbid, he wins. I guess we're going for an all-senator administration. That should be...action-packed. It would be the My Dinner with Andre of presidential administrations. Sheesh. Anyway, the TimesOnline writes:
Mr Biden’s possible elevation is one of the thousands of permutations circulating in Washington in the final days before the presidential election. If Mr Biden does go to the State Department it will be a disappointment for Richard Holbrooke, the UN Ambassador during the Clinton Administration and the architect of the Dayton peace accords that ended the Bosnian war in 1995. Mr Holbrooke has lobbied hard for the Secretary of State ’s job. But in what will be seen as both an effort to conciliate the famously self-confident Mr Holbrooke, and as a signal change from Bush administration policy, Mr Kerry is likely to offer him the job of special Middle East peace co-ordinator, senior Democrats say.

Mr Kerry plans to announce both appointments soon after the election as a sign of the urgency he assigns to mending diplomatic fences.

President Bush has declined to appoint a senior level emissary to the Middle East and the Kerry move would delight European leaders, including Tony Blair, who have been urging a renewed US engagement in the region.
Excuse me, renewed US engagement in WHAT region? Do you mean the Middle East? Are you insane? As far as I can tell, the rest of the world would like us to be far LESS engaged in the Middle East. The rest of the world has a problem with our residency in Iraq, is not especially enthusiastic about our efforts in Afghanistan, and is absolutely beside itself about our support for Israel. The US may be many things, but uninvolved in the Middle East is not one of them.

UPDATE: Upon reading the article further, I realized the Times feels the same way I do about Kerry's picks:
One problem with this lineup, however, for the Kerry team, is that it looks a little Senate-heavy.

Given the reputation of senators as windbags with large egos and an argumentative manner, Mr Kerry, a senator himself, may be reluctant to have former senators at President, Vice-President (John Edwards, his running mate), Secretary of State, Secretary of Defence and Director of Central Intelligence.
That's WAY too many senators for one administration. Especially in the top-level positions.

Πέμπτη, Οκτωβρίου 28, 2004

Quotes of the Day, Part I

As part of a discussion of the East Village Halloween parade, which is apparently populated by a) drag queens and b) children, and apparently the queens remove anyone from the parade who does not look adequately fabulous:

"So what do the drag queens do?"
"They dress like women."

Celebration!

Today is my one-year blogiversary. I'm so glad you all, for one reason or other, have become part of my little band of faithful readers. If you're relatively new, you should go back and browse the archive. It was, well, very different then. Occasionally amusing though. Anyway, I hereby designate this comment thread the party thread. Yay!

Τρίτη, Οκτωβρίου 26, 2004

Republicans in the Village (and other mythical creatures)<

If you wondering why, exactly, I do not wear a Bush-Cheney '04 button, this story from the Village Voice, the office of which is about 2 blocks from where I spend all my time, illuminates the issue pretty clearly:
Republicans don't believe in the imagination, partly because so few of them have one, but mostly because it gets in the way of their chosen work, which is to destroy the human race and the planet. Human beings, who have imaginations, can see a recipe for disaster in the making; Republicans, whose goal in life is to profit from disaster and who don't give a hoot about human beings, either can't or won't. Which is why I personally think they should be exterminated before they cause any more harm.
I'm sure that, like the Guardian piece, this is an example of humorous irony.

Incidentally, today I survived presenting the first four pages of a very political play to my very liberal playwriting class. Apparently funny is funny. It's not preachy and it's not partisan -- it's about a Republican who goes to the election watch party of a Democratic candidate and hijinx ensue. So far, pretty fun. And they liked it.

And, as life imitating art imitating life, I'll be attending a watch party on Tuesday with my entirely liberal friends. I may liveblog. Who know. Actually, I may revive The V*ting Mang* for the evening, that way they won't be able to go home and find my collected political works. No sense in causing trouble. Although, despite the anti-Republican tendancies of some of my friends, they really are wonderful people, and so far, all of the people who have found out about my political leanings have been pretty supportive. We'll see. If I'm blogging elsewhere for the evening, I'll put up a link.

Δευτέρα, Οκτωβρίου 25, 2004

Discuss Amongst Yourselves

So today in class, our guest prof (or something -- I have no idea what some of these people are -- maybe she's an adjunct) made some off hand remark to the effect of:
[Your creativity] is something not even George W. Bush can take away...
So here's my question: what has George Bush taken away from you personally? Not from your mother, not from your dog, not from a guy you heard about in Miami. You personally -- what have jackbooted governmental thugs taken from you under the Bush administration (that previous administrations did not touch)?

Dearest Lord John

It seems like time for another John-Kerry-Thinks-He's-God roundup.

His powers:
  • Parting the Red Sea
    Mount Hermon's pastor, the Rev. John F. White, promised to lead a pilgrimage to the polls next Sunday after services, and compared Mr. Kerry to Moses leading the children of Israel to the promised land.

    "For the last four years we've been living in the wilderness," he shouted from the pulpit, Mr. Kerry seated by his side. "There is one who can divide the Red Sea for us and we can cross over on dry ground. You've got a vote in your hand - use it on Election Day, use it and be liberated and be set free."
    Can I just ask -- In what ways are we NOT free? Can you think of the last time you personally were not free, within the constraints of a reasonably civil society?

  • Making the Lame Walk
    John Edwards: "Christopher Reeve just passed away, and America just lost a great champion for this cause, somebody who was a powerful voice for the need to do stem cell research and change the lives of people like him, who have gone through a tragedy. Well, if we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."
    For this he was savagely beaten by Charles Krauthammer, who actually is a paraplegic. Google it. It was good.

  • Other Messianic Properties noted here.

    More blogging after classes today.

  • Κυριακή, Οκτωβρίου 24, 2004

    Make 'Em Laugh

    This is a very insightful op-ed from the LA Times, which seems to have occasional uses besides papering the hamster cage. David Gelernter writes:
    George W. Bush seems to hover like an enchanted zeppelin above the choppy surface of ordinary politics. Even when a majority disapproves of nearly all the president's policies and believes this nation is going to the dogs, people seem to like and approve of him personally. The poll numbers that track his perceived character and personal appeal stay high even when the other numbers don't. Is it possible for the public to disapprove of everything a man does and still reelect him, still maybe (even) like him? You better believe it.

    There are many reasons, but one dominates — the sort of reason that often passes analysts by. Bush is funny. Americans have no litmus test for the presidency — but if they did, "sense of humor" might be it. Your sense of humor is an open door that gives other people access to your character, to the person you are. A humorless person is a mystery. We can't ever know him, so we can't ever trust him.
    I agree with that. If someone can't take or make a joke, just keep on moving. Not worth the agony of dealing with them.
    We already have a fine national motto: "E Pluribus Unum" ("throw out the Democrats"). But if we ever need a new one, "Never trust a sourpuss" might be a reasonable replacement.
    'Draco dormiens nunc tittilarmus' is a good one too, but I digress.
    Bush is not pompous. Bush is not mean. Bush is not wooden. Bush could not be replaced by a humanoid robot without his friends ever noticing. Bush has friends. Bush is never patronizing. Until he ran for president against Kerry, Bush never used to beat people around the head with phony, meaningless, unverifiable statistics instead of speaking to the point. (Admittedly, he has now learned how, from Kerry.)

    In modern times, we have occasionally elected a massively humorless president, and have always regretted it. It is no accident that Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter are the two (a) least funny and (b) most embarrassing presidents of modern history.
    You know, everyone gets on Bush for not being able to admit his mistakes, but the fact is, the man makes fun of himself all the time. Kerry, on the other hand doesn't admit mistakes AND has no sense of humor about himself. That's not a good combo.

    That's Me!

    You are OS X. You tend to be fashionable and clever despite being a bit transparent.  Now that you've reached some stability you're expecting greater popularity.
    Which OS are You?


    Via Jay

    Mary Beth Cahill

    Over the past day or so, I've gotten an enormous number of search hits looking for info on my ol' buddy Mary Beth Cahill, specifically biography and pictures. I did a little sleuthing myself so you don't have to, and here she is:
    photo hosting and image hosting by ImageVenue.com

    photo hosting and image hosting by ImageVenue.com

    As for biography, Disinfopedia has you covered.

    (Image from here and here)

    Cross-Dressing

    Rich Rushfeld has a great piece describing his experiences dressed as a Bush supporter in a Blue area and a Kerry supporter in a Red area. The results are roughly what you'd expect. The conclusion:
    Driving home, I rip off my Bush-Cheney shirt so I can walk the streets of my neighborhood unjeered at and without terrifying little children. Reflecting on the sting of being called "asshole" during my travels through Blue America, I wonder: If I were truly a Bush supporter, how long would I be able to endure a life filled with epithets before I gave up on the shirt? Changing into a nonpartisan brown Gap polo, I breathe a sigh of relief that I will never have to find out.
    I'm still hanging in there, but it's still hard. Especially when there are people I really care about who say those sorts of thing about Bush people.

    Σάββατο, Οκτωβρίου 23, 2004

    The Guardian Calls for Bush Assassination

    Yes, really. The whole article is here, and if it gets pulled, I'll update and post the whole thing, but here's the key bit:
    On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?
    Interestingly, the last American president to be shot for political reasons was Abe Lincoln, at least if you buy Sondheim's thesis, but I digress. Anyway, this is appalling. Majorly appalling. I have nothing to say.

    Picking Up the Pieces

    This is a magnificent article from the Telegraph, read it all. Highlights:
    One of the criticisms thrown at George W Bush is that he is a menace because he believes that God is telling him what to do. A moral equivalence is set up, in which Osama bin Laden and Bush are presented as two sides of a fundamentalist coin. On Wednesday, a television programme tried to equate the Muslim Brotherhood, which advocates the violent destruction of all societies that do not conform to sharia law, with the American neo-conservative intellectuals who taught that people should revive their interest in Plato and the civilisation of the ancient Greeks. This is about as accurate as saying that the Nazi party and the Labour Party are the same, because both arose from the discontents of the working classes.

    It is the critics themselves who are suffering from pseudo-religious certainty and superstition. Isn't there something self-righteous, slightly crazed, about directing such overwhelming anger at the man whose job it is to pick up the pieces of September 11 on behalf of the free world?

    George W Bush as we see him today is a response to disorder, not its cause. Four years ago, he was the same as 99.9 per cent of Western politicians. He inherited the economic health and mental torpor of the Clinton years, when many people really had come to believe that the Western way of life was like a children's slide magically moving upwards towards ever greater pleasure and peace, in permanent defiance of the laws of political gravity. To the extent that Bush campaigned on foreign policy at all in 2000, his selling-point was that he didn't have one.

    After some 2,500 Americans died in a day, he had to get one fast, so fast that he made some big mistakes. He resisted the idea of "nation-building", even as his policies of military intervention made it inevitable. Having had the maturity to choose able lieutenants, probably more intelligent than himself, in Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, he did not clearly adjudicate between their different versions of what ought to be done in post-war Iraq.

    But he has got the big idea. There is a global problem with Islamism. There is a problem of alliances between bad states and terror organisations that reach beyond state boundaries. There is an almost universal rottenness in the politics of the Arab world. There is an atrocious weakness or, as the UN oil-for-food scandal shows, worse than weakness, in many of the Western nations and international organisations that are supposed to help guarantee our security. And it is the duty of the most powerful nation on earth to do something about it.

    Παρασκευή, Οκτωβρίου 22, 2004

    All I have to Say

    I have nothing left to say about this election. Bush good. Kerry bad. Heinz crazy. Dems engaging in thuggery. Everyone I know hates Republicans. Somebody's gonna win. Lot of people are gonna cheat. That's about it.

    I have no more good Mary Beth Cahill jokes, and quite frankly, I just want the whole thing to be over. I feel like it's hard to talk about something else when something like this is happening, and yet, I just don't want to talk about it. I just want it to go away. I want the polls to go away. I check polls obsessively. They're like porn for political junkies -- they're tittilating and promise us what we want, but really, there's nothing there. A poll won't give me what I want. I want peace. I want security. I want sound economic policy. I want personal freedom. That's all, really. I want a president who will enable me to have these things, and who is willing to sacrifice my having these things so that someday my children might. That's all I have to say.

    Πέμπτη, Οκτωβρίου 21, 2004

    The World Tower

    This is an incredibly insightful post by Nelson Atcher that you should read in its entirety, then scroll back up to the top and read again. Writing about the War on Terror, 9/11, etc., he writes:
    An attack that manages to ground all US and most of the world’s air traffic and close down the stock markets around the planet is something qualitatively different from a bomb in an Ulster pub. Human life is fragile, so is democracy, the world economy, globalization etc. The US can absorb U$ 1 trillion in damages. The rest of the world cannot. The US can survive a nuke in Manhattan. Brazil can survive a nuke in Sao Paulo. But Brazil cannot survive a nuke in Manhattan. What most of the world’s anti-Americans fail to understand is that whatever harms deeply the US harms us even more. Were Africa to suddenly disappear, it wouldn’t make much of a change in the life of New Yorkers. Were NY to disappear, Africa would go along.

    So, this is what I have to say for those who think that Americans have overreacted to 9/11. Actually they have under-reacted. One more attack on America and Latin America will be condemned to a further hundred years of solitude and misery.

    There are around 200 countries in the world today. Think that every floor of each WTC tower was one of them. The richest were those closer to the ground, the poorest the highest ones. If the base crumbles, the hundredth floor is unable to stand alone in thin air. Besides, the closer people were to the ground, the safer they were. The whole world is the WTC and those who inhabit its higher floors want to see the building collapse. That’s as clever as setting fire to the floor below your own.
    Now go read the rest.

    The Council Has Spoken

    Last week's winners were:

    Council:
    The Threat of Saddam from Ubique Patriam Reminisci

    Non-Council:
    Reading the Duelfer Report by Jeff at The Shape of Days (yay!)
    and in second, Duelfer and the Demise of the UN from the Guardian Watchblog, creating a Duelfer Two-fer. Not an exact rhyme. Bill would be upset. Full results here.

    Rhyme of the day: Buttocks/lummox

    Ειναι Ολα Ελληνικα Σ'εμας

    Για το OpinionJournal, ειναι μια ιστορια σε το βιβλιο "Χαριος Ποτερ και το Φιλοσοφου Λιθος" στα αρχαια ελληνικά. Λέει:
    Later this month, in a publishing event unlikely to be marked by midnight release parties or round-the-block lines of adoring fans, a new Harry Potter book is due out from Bloomsbury--in Ancient Greek ("Hareios Poter Kai he tou Philosophou Lithos").

    Why did they do it? "Well, the Latin translation was such a success," a Bloomsbury spokesperson deadpanned, that they thought they'd give Greek a try as well. That's right. There's a Latin version already ("Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis"). In fact, over the past few years, Harry Potter books (especially the first) have been quietly translated into scores of languages, some of them obvious and sensible, some of them, like the Welsh version, downright odd.

    For his part, Andrew Wilson, the retired British secondary-school teacher who translated "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (as the first Harry Potter book is titled outside the U.S.) into the language of Plato for Bloomsbury, wouldn't be surprised if J.K. Rowling, the author of the best-selling series, was behind the decision to translate it into Ancient Greek, a language so dead that modern Greeks are fond of saying of it, "It's Greek to us!"
    Διαβάστε την ολη.

    Τετάρτη, Οκτωβρίου 20, 2004

    Spiritual Pronouncment of the Evening

    "If you and a guy every get swallowed by a whale, I think you have license to have sex before you get married." -- Abigail

    Τρίτη, Οκτωβρίου 19, 2004

    [Insert Clever Title Here -- It's Early]

    Mike, who is really rather hysterical at times, has written a doozy about Pennsylvania. A few morsels to whet your appetite, then go read the rest yourself.
    What's up with all of those 80's songs wheezing about windshield wipers "slapping out our heartbeats," or some such piffle? First of all, windshield wipers are cruel jokes. I've never had wipers that worked properly -- I refuse to draw comparisons between my wipers and my circulatory system.

    Besides, didn't they have BEDS back in the 80's, that they always need to write about furtive acts in vans and Plymouth Lasers? I remember quite clearly that I had a bed during the 80's. I remember because Ivan Drago, the bad guy from Rocky IV, was sometimes under it.

    But maybe nobody else had beds? It's possible. Maybe I'm just a bourgouis snob. Maybe these 80's guys, typified by the Michael Penn lyric, "What if I was Romeo in black jeans,"** had to do without, and so were forced to seek lubricious coitus in vehicles. It's worth considering. Someone should do a study.
    Anyone?
    Make sure you go over there and read the Uncle Mustard bit.

    Δευτέρα, Οκτωβρίου 18, 2004

    Is Anyone Surprised?

    You are .exe When given proper orders, you execute them flawlessly.  You're familiar to most, and useful to all.
    Which File Extension are You?

    I'm Back!

    Reports of my demise have been highly exaggerated, although I am in the collaboration of death this week. On the up side, Kate came to visit this weekend, and that was wonderful. I've had a fairly horrible day, which, at one point, involved my sitting on the steps of a Russian Orthodox church crying. Don't really want to talk about it, but suffice it to say, I'll be very glad when this week is over.

    Τετάρτη, Οκτωβρίου 13, 2004

    A Reminder

    If you're not reading Spamusement, you should be. "Poorly drawn cartoons based on actual Spam subject lines." What could be better?

    How about one with "Regis" in the subject and an almost naked man in the cartoon? It's art imitating life!

    This is Magnificent

    A liberal, Jewish woman from New York explains why she's going to vote for Bush. The amazing thing is that she feels compelled to remain anonymous. I have a related story, but I'll tell it at a non-3AM time.

    Τρίτη, Οκτωβρίου 12, 2004

    James Lileks, God's Gift to the English Language

    I think it's fairly safe to say that there is no one online and probably off who can top what Lileks dashes off on a daily basis. For example:
    All of a sudden with no advance notice, the grocery store deli has two Britons. This coincides with the elevation of a brusque Russian at the other store I frequent. His English skills I do not trust. He was presiding over a wheel of cheese large enough to give Sisyphus a hernia, and I noted that it was gouda. I like gouda. I asked if it was as good or better than the Masterpiece brand, which heretofore had been their prime gouda.

    “Yeah,” he said, in a way that guaranteed he neither understood the question nor cared about my inquiry. I repeated my question. He shrugged. “Yeah.”

    Fine, well, yob tvoyu mat, tovarische, and I went back to the cold cuts. This isn’t the first time the store has put non-English speakers into the one job that requires, you know, ENGLISH. But having Britons at the counter is entirely different. They say “cheers” in a way that says “don’t even think of starting with the tally-ho pip pip stuff, mate.” I’m tempted to say “ta,” just for fun, but these guys would either light up or grow grim and dark. Never irritate a professional meat sliced.
    Words to live by.

    Δευτέρα, Οκτωβρίου 11, 2004

    Fearmongering

    Charles Krauthammer has an excellent piece up called The Case for Fearmongering, which basically makes the common-sense point that, heck, maybe we DO have something to be afraid of, and fear is a smart response to that.
    The chin-pulling do-gooders (in addition to the disingenuous partisans) lament the injecting of fear into the campaign. The candidates, they insist, should instead be pointing to the sunny uplands of the American dream and showing how their seven-point program will get us there.

    Such piety is always ridiculous but never more ridiculous than today. Never in American history has fear been a more appropriate feeling. Never has addressing that fear been a more relevant issue in a political campaign.
    Exactly. He continues:
    The threat is as real as it was on Sept. 12. It only feels distant because it is psychologically impossible to constantly face the truth and yet carry on day to day.

    But as it is the first duty of government to provide for the common defense, it is the first duty of any post-9/11 government to face that truth every day — and to raise it to national consciousness at least once every four years, when the nation chooses its leaders.

    Fearmongering? Yes. And very salutary. When you live in an age of terrorism with increasingly available weapons of mass destruction, it is the absence of fear that is utterly irrational.

    The '90s are over. It's not the economy, stupid. It's Hiroshima — on American soil. If that doesn't scare you, it should. We could use more fear in this election, not less.
    Go read it all.

    A Reminder

    Things that are nuisances on the subway:
    Rats, panhandlers, people who have not bathed recently

    Things that are not nuisances on the subway:
    Poison gas, biological agents, suicide bombers

    I hope that clears things up.

    Σάββατο, Οκτωβρίου 09, 2004

    Guest-blog Update

    As I mentioned before, I'm guest-blogging over at Dean's World this weekend and for some odd reason, I've taken on abortion in some way or another in the past three posts -- those are here here and here. If nothing else, the arguments are interesting. I also have some debate reactions and things up here and here. Keep checking back -- I have at least one more abortion post up my sleeve, and probably lots of other things.

    Council Results

    The Council votes for the week came out like this:

    The Council winner is AlphaPatriot with "A Question of Zeitgeist."

    The non-Council winner is Citizen Smash with "General Kerry."

    The full results are here.

    Παρασκευή, Οκτωβρίου 08, 2004

    Debate Bloglet II

    Kerry: Bush earned X million from his timber company and he's considered a small business.
    Bush: I own a timber company? That's news to me.
    (beat)
    Need some wood?

    That was a scream. I almost wet myself.

    Debate Bloglet I

    Kerry: "China and India are graduating more graduates in science and technology than we are."

    Ya think? Do you think the fact that each of those countries having populations over 1 BILLION each has anything to do with it? The US has a population of around 295 million. China's population is 1.3 Billion, over 4 times the population than the US. India's is 1.06 Billion, which is over three times the population. It's not hard to imagine that those countries are turning out more of any sort of people.

    Happy 58th, Dennis

    This email doesn't so much deserve a fisking as it does a "Well bless their organic little hearts."
      Subj: It's Dennis's Birthday!

    58 Candles
    Friday, October 8

    Today's Dennis's birthday!
    Many of you have generously made special $58 contributions in honor of Dennis's birthday. Thank you! This is a reminder for those who thought it was a good idea and haven't gotten around to it. Please make it an extra happy birthday by giving what you can to help pay down campaign debt. Visit http://www.kucinich.us/contribute.php to give.
    I can't really wrap my mind around giving money to a political candidate posthumously (politically speaking). You wanna talk about a bad investment -- that's right about up there with betting on a dead horse. Then again, the capitalist in me thinks that if Denny can get the moonbats to give him there money for the promise of exactly no return, more power to him.
    Dot's going to New York City on Sunday
    National Campaign Manager Dot Maver is headed to New York City on Sunday, October 10 to meet with the New York City Friends of Kucinich. If you'll be within range of Manhattan, drop by the 11th Street Bar in the East Village between 4 and 6 p.m. to meet Dot. She wants to express her thanks for the great support New Yorkers gave Dennis, encourage contributions, answer questions and talk about the road ahead.
    Its so tempting to drop by. Then again, it's not like I really need to go three blocks out of my way to gawk at liberals. They're everywhere -- spending all your time in the Village is like having the zoo come to you.
    Thanks for all that you do.
    It's so nice to be appriciated.
    Turo Dexter
    Kucinich for President
    http://www.kucinich.us
    There, there, dear. Have a rice cake, you'll feel better. Incidentally, what kind of name is Turo Dexter?





    Dean(the good one)'s World

    Excitingly, I've been asked to guest-blog at Dean's World this weekend, which is a wonderful honor. I'll post a little bit here too, but for the most part, I'll be there for the weekend.

    Dean(the good one)'s World

    Excitingly, I've been asked to guest-blog at Dean's World this weekend, which is a wonderful honor. I'll post a little bit here too, but for the most part, I'll be there for the weekend.

    D.C. Land

    JibJab has it's newest animation up and it's a doozy. It requires a couple of viewing to adequately appriciate (didn't catch McGreevey the first go round) but it's worth it, if nothing else for Edwards' buns. And the dancing Justices. And lots of Kerry-Edwards make out action.

    Πέμπτη, Οκτωβρίου 07, 2004

    More Lunch Fun

    During the discussion about which the previous post is, Tommy and I had a fairly amusing exchange I thought you'd enjoy. It went a bit like this.
    Somebody Else: [Insert some lefty reason for Bush-Cheney heinousness]
    Tommy: Well, I guess we know why most Democrats won't be voting for Bush.
    Me: Because he's a Republican?
    Tommy: Exactly.
    Tommy knows I'm a conservative and is still my friend. I appriciate that.

    Also, Mark said something was, "Scattered and covered," which most people didn't get, but I thought it was really amusing.

    The Rainbow Connection

    At lunch today, the discussion turned to politics, and specifically, to what a bad person Dick Cheney is in his treatment of his lesbian daughter, and how generally awful Republicans are to gays. The fact that we are immersed in Angels in America doesn't help this. Now, I don't have the guts to point out at moments like this that I, the hag to end all hags, am in fact a libertarian-conservative and a Bush supporter, and that there are many like me who also support gay rights. That would be walking into a meeting of Klansmen and saying, "Hey, I'm a black Catholic Jew!" If nothing else, it wouldn't have aided digestion. So anyway, all of this is a set-up to say this:
    The president and I have the same position, fundamentally, on gay marriage. We do. Same position. But they're out there misleading people and exploiting it.

    --John Kerry
    I'm not sure what he means by that last sentance, but just reread that first bit. So why is Bush evil to gays and Kerry not? I'm not sure either.

    After School Programs, Part II

    In follow-up to my post about the war in Iraq being about domestic after-school programs, or rather, the lack thereof of Islamofacist hostage-taker arranged ones, I'd like to point out this article. About how they found floorplans and logistical details of 6 US middle/high schools with an "insurgent" in Baghdad.
    Schools in six states in particular are being watched closely based on information uncovered by the U.S. military in Baghdad this summer, law enforcement and education officials told ABC News.

    A man described as an Iraqi insurgent involved in anti-coalition activities had downloaded school floor plans and safety and security information about elementary and high schools in the six states, according to officials.

    School officials in Fort Myers, Fla.; Salem, Ore.; Gray, Ga.; Birch Run, Mich.; two towns in New Jersey; and two towns in California have been told to increase security in light of the discovery.
    Notice, they got this guy in Baghdad.

    The Wisdom of Abigail

    "Just remember the old adage: 'Crush not on just one man, lest thou appear clingy, but crush always on two, that thou mayst have a backup when one is unavailable.'" -- Abigail

    Dean Drinks the Kool-Aid

    The Guv, who apparently is hanging out with Mary Beth in Bizzaro-World, has lost it completely. Here's the email I got this morning -- I don't have time to fisk it properly because I have to get up and dressed and leave here in about 20 minutes (yes, I'm blogging in my pajamas) but let me at least get you started.
      Subj: No Draft: Sign the Petition

    Dear Katie,
    I always find it disturbing when demonstrably insane semi-strangers know my name and use it to address me, but that's neither here nor there.
    George Bush is not being straight with the American people about the draft. He promised in the first presidential debate to win the war on terror with "an all-volunteer army". He has already violated that commitment.
    Excuse me?
    The truth is that a draft has already begun -- it just hasn't affected most of our families yet. Active duty soldiers who finish their commitments are being forced to stay in. And the flagrant misuse of the National Guard and Reserves has ripped apart families by sending unprecedented numbers of them to occupy a foreign country.
    Ah, so when you say, "a draft", you mean "not-a-draft." This will be helpful in decoding the rest of this email. For reference, a draft is when you take civilians, put them in uniforms, put them in tanks, and put them in battle. It is not when you take soldiers who have sworn to protect the US with their lives and ask them to do it longer than they'd previously expected. I'm not saying that stop-loss is a great thing, I'm just saying it's not on par with a draft.
    Because of George Bush's failure to lead the world, we are nearly alone in Iraq. If we "stay the course" with this president, he will face a choice: drastically reduce our commitments or reinstate the draft. Sign the petition demanding that he tell Americans which one he will choose:
    So when you say, "Nearly alone," you're referring to a situation in which we are aided by significant numbers of British and Australian troops, not to mention lesser numbers of Poles, etc. And the smaller number of troops from other countries isn't a result of GWB's failure to lead, it's a result of other countries failure to have usefully sized armies. How many troops do you realistically expect Lithuania to send? Exactly. Now, the "face a choice" bit -- this is ridiculous. This requires the suspension of disbelief on so many fronts (the armed forces don't want conscripts, they're exceeding their recruiting goals, Bush says he has no desire to reinstate a draft, etc) that there's almost nowhere to begin.
    http://www.democracyforamerica.com/nodraft
    Oh yes. A petition. That'll stop em.
    George Bush chose to go to war without substantial help from our allies. He has badly over-committed our armed forces. One of the Joint Chiefs and his own administrator in Iraq have both said that we will need tens of thousands more troops to stabilize Iraq. Extreme measures are already being taken to meet the shortfall -- and the president has an obligation to explain how he will meet our commitments without drafting young people into service.
    Once again, George Bush chose to go to war without substantial help from our allies because our allies are not in a position to be substantially helpful. He thought we needed to go anyway for good reasons. I don't see why their lack of preparation is his fault. This paragraph is kinda like saying, "George Bush is running low on flour to make a cake and he is obligated to explain that he will not use puppies to fill in the difference."
    Fathers from New York who joined the Reserves to guard America against another attack have been sent to Iraq. Teenagers in the Florida National Guard who expected to provide hurricane relief in their home state have been forced to fight halfway around the world.
    First off, they ARE guarding America against another attack -- every time they drag another terrorist out of his hole. What did you expect them to do -- stand at the border with pitchforks? Second, you're saying it was bad, bad for Dubya to join TANG and not go to the battlefield in 1968, but it is bad now for people to join the FNG and go to the battlefield. I don't follow. Finally, we pay these guys to actually DO something. Now they're doing it. I don't feel that bad about it.
    George Bush has left our homeland unprotected. And his plans to move existing forces away from threats like North Korea put our interests and our allies in danger. This cannot continue. Sign this petition demanding honesty -- we will deliver it to the White House.
    Okay, I'm back. Now, who left the homeland unprotected? Just what the hell are we supposed to be doing to protect the homeland if not what we're doing right now? The North Korea bit clearly presupposes that the reader has no knowledge of the Korean situation whatsoever. We've got, like, 40,000 troops in Korea. Do we really think that they're stopping Kim Jong Il from doing, well anything, considering that Kim's got a) a million-man army and b) the bomb? Those soldiers are there to get killed in the first hours of a hypothetical war and give the US an excuse to get involved. They're not making things more stable, they're bait. All things being equal, that's probably not the best use for them, especially if you live in "Our Troops Belong at Home" World, which is where the rest of this email clearly resides.
    Family friends helped a young George Bush dodge the draft. Dick Cheney didn't fight because he had, in his words, "other priorities" -- he got five deferments. We cannot afford to let them dodge the question of a draft now.
    And what were you doing during Vietnam, Dean-o? Oh right! You got a medical deferment for a bad back and spent the duration of the war SKIING! Now, I don't especially care about Vietnam, but I do think it's a little rich for you to be complaining about people getting deferments. Also, note -- here, remaining stateside in the National Guard = reprehensible; several paragraphs ago, remaining stateside in the National Guard = admirable and normal. You'd hope that this guy would be capable of maintaining a consistant position for an entire email, but you would be wrong.
    Will they force a new generation of young people to make the sacrifices they refused to make? Or will they leave us unprotected at home and in other dangerous parts of the world?
    This is making my head hurt. Let's restate his claim. "We have two choices. 1) Bush can force young people to go to war even though he didn't because he's eeeevil. 2) Or, if we don't go to war, then we are not safe in the world. Is this even an either-or question? If it is, I suppose I choose the "let the deserter send the kids to war" route.
    I have a son in college. My family and millions of other families could be affected by a draft. We deserve to know before we vote in November how George Bush and Dick Cheney plan to prevent one. Sign the petition now.
    Well, George Bush clearly said that he intended to veto any congressional proposal to institute one. That sounds like a fairly effective plan to prevent one. I'm in college. Most of my friends are draft-age. I don't want a draft, generally speaking. But I'm also not insane, and I realize that Bush neither needs nor wants one. The Pentagon doesn't want one. This is madness. And once again, like a friggin' petition is going to stop anything? Especially the titanium will of George Draftya Bush?
    Just recently a frightened Congress voted down a bill calling for a draft. (After all, they need to get re-elected in a few weeks.) But the way they rejected the bill showed just how easy calling a draft would be -- they suspended normal rules and voted with almost no warning. Authorizing a draft would be just as easy -- it could be done in less than 48 hours.
    I wouldn't describe Congress as frightened, I would consider them to be "mature" at least in this context, for disposing of a show bill that was solely being used as a political prop. Even the rep who's bill it was didn't vote for it. Re-elected had nothing to do with it -- I mean, I'd vote against anyone who voted for it, but largely because it would indicate that that person was an idiot. Now, as far as the whole calling a draft within 48 hours bit goes, good. If we ever get into such a severe situation as a country that we need a draft within 48 hours so that every able-bodied man, woman, and child can go hold off the orcs at Helm's Deep or storm the Black Gate or whatever task upon which our collective survival depends, then I hope that the Congress can pull it off within 48 hours. Also, defeating a bill that was universally agreed to be insane is a LOT easier to do in 48 hours and do almost unanimously than to pass a draft bill. That's much much harder. Yesterday's vote does not by any stretch show how easy the opposite would be. 400+ representatives suspending the rules and voting against a draft should not, logically, be seen as the precursor of 400+ representatives suspending the rules and doing exactly the opposite. You all get this point, right? I can stop now?
    We have been misled about this war from the beginning. They said Iraq had nuclear weapons -- that was false. They said the whole war would cost a few billion dollars -- in reality, we spend several billion dollars every month. They say things are getting better -- but every month brings more casualties than the last.
    They said that by the time the threat actually was imminent, the Hudson and the East Rivers would be one, without that pesky little clod of dirt known as "Manhattan" in the way. I don't recall ever hearing anyone say the whole war would cost "a few billion." I certainly didn't expect it to. Every month brings more casualties than the last only if we're operating cumulatively, which, until the DoD figures out resurrections, seems to only function in an upwards fashion. Otherwise, this isn't true. No one ever said Iraq had nukes. They said Iraq wanted nukes and was trying to get them, and in any case, Saddam certainly wasn't acting like someone who didn't have WMDs. And don't you liberals care about, um, liberating people?
    Now they say we won't need a draft. We cannot afford to take their word for it.
    You know, I don't think Dean would believe Bush if the latter claimed to have gas pain. If Congress voted down a bill almost unanimously, doesn't that seem to you like they mean it? Yeah, me too.
    Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

    P.S. Please forward this message to your friends. We will only get the truth if we all stand up and demand it.
    Okay, I have to run now, but I'll be back and continue fisking later.
    UPDATE: I'm back now. Dean's still insane. I'm not sure if we should thank the voters of Iowa for removing the risk of us ever being governed by this man or if we should be mad at them for giving us a candidate who at least has lucid intervals.

    Τετάρτη, Οκτωβρίου 06, 2004

    Random Trivia

    Just now, I was listening to Big Smith's rendition of "The L & N Don't Stop Here Anymore." This begs a semi-related trivia question, worth 10 points to the first commenter with a correct answer.

    At which subway station DO both the L and N stop?

    Council Winners

    Between my very busy week last week and my internet skeeziness over the weekend, I neglected to post the winners of last week's vote. They are: Sometimes Ya Gotta Speak Up from e-Claire and New Nazi Connections from King of Fools for the Council, and Update 11 - The Sept. 12 Attack from Citizen Frank for the non-Council. Full results are here.

    The Great American Chucklefisk

    Since traditional fisks can be somewhat of downers, I present a new fisking style -- the chucklefisk! For example, tonight Mary Beth Cahill emails about the Vice Presidential debate that occured in Bizzaro-Universe.
    Dear Supporter,

    We're two for two. Tonight, in Cleveland, John Edwards showed real strength and conviction -- he was in command of the facts and in control of the debate and a powerful advocate for John Kerry. The American people saw John Edwards as somebody who is ready, if neccessary, to be president of the United States.
    Everybody now! AH HAHAHAHAHaha! Ahem... snicker... ::smile and nod, backing away slowly:: ... hee hee... SNORK. ::straight face, really::
    Thanks for all you do,

    Mary Beth Cahill
    Campaign Manager
    Laughter really is the best medicine, isn't it?

    Gack

    I don't know about you, but any time I hear both Michael Moore and underwear mentioned in conjunction with each other, my reaction is mild nausea. Throw Ramen in the mix and you've pretty much got a ready-made Fear Factor episode right there.

    Τρίτη, Οκτωβρίου 05, 2004

    On Queens and Other Amusing Comments

    Today, Michael John was not, in fact, in class, and critique was only semi-brutal. We lived. We have to do a rewrite, but so does everyone. As usual, there were some highly quotable moments in the discussion of pieces, especially one piece in which Belize tries to cheer up Prior by reminiscing about their old drag act. Here are the highlights:

    "[Belize] sings this song to take Prior out of the moment to when they were both young and healthy and at the peaks of their fabulousness -- and then he goes back to being a bitchy queen."

    "How far into Sylvesterland [I don't get this reference, can anyone explain?] does Belize take this?"

    "Was part of their act that Belize sang and Prior was a (whispered) Lipsynch Queen?"

    "Maybe they're making these crazy rhymes and they know it, like 'I'm the only queen who can come up with this rhyme.'"

    "You need to get the queens on the floor!"

    "The bridge would be the place where people start elevating off the floor so by the last chorus, they're going crazy."

    "He's using queenery to bring him back." [Queenery is my new favorite word.]

    --- All Fred, who is someone I could listen to talk about drag queens all day. You could too...

    "It was such a gay rhyme -- I was so happy... I just felt you didn't give the gay rhymes enough emphasis..." -- Joel

    In comments for another song:

    "How much do you think that Roy can smell that Joe's a queen?"

    "He wants to seduce him into a job and also to seduce him into his pants." -- Fred again

    "...Because that sounded like Roy dipping Joe and kissing him." -- I don't remember

    "I was just imagining going up to Al Pacino and saying 'You've got to sing a song now.'" -- Heidi

    Relatedly....today we also came up with another excellent name for a rock band, inspired by the fact that both Gordon and Jamie showed up wearing purple sweaters, Jamie's with a pink shirt underneath. They were sitting on either side of Joel and I, and thus, we dubbed them the Really Gay Bookends. Joel does a really great rendition of their theme song. Can I just say how much I love Joel? Yeah.

    Amusing Things People Said in My Presence

    I have a confession to make -- I don't take notes. Granted, since my classes are the sorts of things that don't involve tests or grades (instead, we're motivated by a passion for our art and a terror of facing 4-5 fire-breathing professors at critique unprepared) there aren't too many things of which to take note. Generally what happens is that I write the date at the top of a page and which class it is, presumably for archival purposes, and then write down the first important point the prof makes. Then I doodle. Sometimes I write down funny quotes so I can bring them back here and blog them for you.

    From Mike's master class:

    "Hit song writing is like making blue widgets, and I can make a hell of a blue widget, and if you do, you'll be all over the charts and you can put your robe on over your underwear and go down to the mailbox and pick up your money." -- Mike

    "...There was this bar which catered to African-American lesbians who like to sing karaoke and I used to go there and sing my ass off with the other women..." -- Rob

    "Amatures imitate, professionals steal." -- Stravinsky

    "And I said to myself, 'You're an ex-defensive tackle, what are you doing writing for string quartet?'" -- Mike

    "And if you have the particular testicular density for that sort of thing..." -- Mike

    "I learned [songwriting] from these gnarly old country song writers. These guys were like pieces of gristle that God spit out." -- Mike

    "In Wagner, someone walks in and sings, 'How are you?' and twenty minutes later someone sings, 'Fine,' and then ten minutes later, 'Well, how are you?' and next thing you know, you've got 40 minutes of music." -- Mike

    Slightly Deeper
    "It's about Being, not about Doing."
    "The writer gives people unrelenting moments of recognition of their own lives."

    "Write towards your influences, write to them, and write right on through them."

    "[If you concentrate on Doing, not Being,] You wake up at 45 and find you've climbed the ladder of success but you've leaned it against the wrong wall."
    -- All Mike


    Double-take Inspiring Professorial Comments

    "It's like when you listen to the Republicans complaining about F***9/11 not being true -- it's a documentary, it doesn't purport to be true..." -- My department head

    "Just go ahead and sign up and if you decide you don't want to, you can quit later. It's like marriage -- you can always get a divorce." -- My film scoring prof

    Class in the Morning

    We have class with Michael John in the morning. I'm only slightly scared to death. He's got a reputation for being exceptionally mean (although not as mean as Bill, who is said to take your song out and burn it if he doesn't like it) and I'm just not really looking forward to it. Our project this week is a scene-to-song adaptation of Angels in America which is, surprisingly, a good play. Very political, but I enjoyed it, possibly because I never really felt any personal connection to Ronald Reagan and therefore it's hard for me to get too bent out of shape about hearing characters speak ill of him. I'm working with Joel, who, because of a Summer Stock contract, was about 3 weeks late joining us, so I'm his first collaborator so far. He's wonderful and we get along very well, which is nice. Our character is Louis, a legal clerk who, at his grandmother's funeral, has just found out that his lover Prior has AIDS. So he sings a song. The musical style could best be described as "Jason Robert Brown's Excellent Harmonic Adventure" and the lyrics could best be described as, um, I don't know, AABA? Joel did the music, I did the lyrics. We present tomorrow and then we'll do a rewrite this week and present again on Tuesday. Hopefully Michael John won't eat us.

    Δευτέρα, Οκτωβρίου 04, 2004

    The Beth is Back

    I just got another email from Mary Beth Cahill. It's not so much fiskable as it is....somethingable.
    Dear Supporter,

    Right now I need all of you to join me and make a pledge: the mistakes of the 2000 election will NEVER be repeated again. The day after the election, as the recount began, Al Gore's campaign was already outgunned, outmanned, and outmatched -- we learned one lesson: be prepared. With the race so close in so many states, we need to be prepared for any possibility -- and that means being ready for any recounts.
    As far as I can tell, the primary mistake of the 2000 campaign, Democratically speaking, will never be repeated again as there is no chance in hell that Al Gore will ever again be nominated. Problem solved. Gore was one of the few people who could have managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of Clinton-era victory, but snatch it he did.
    The Federal Election Commission has just granted our request to raise funds now to cover recount expenses. Your contribution to Kerry-Edwards 2004 GELAC (General Election Legal and Accounting Compliance fund) will provide the resources to make sure we are prepared to win any post Election Day battles.
    Does this make anyone else feel slightly ill? The 2000 recount season was when I became a true news junkie, but really, I'd prefer not to relive it. Thanks.
    Our GELAC fund also pays for the administrative costs at the campaign -- by paying for these expenses with GELAC funds, the campaign is able to spend more of its limited public funds on critical campaign expenses such as media, candidate travel, and direct contact with voters.

    Make our public funds more valuable and make sure we are prepared for any possible recount
    This of course begs the question, "Can they DO that?" And the answer is, I have no idea. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

    I'm Back!

    My profound apologies for the lack of blogging for the last two or so days -- my internet connection was sketching out on me in bizarre ways and my neighbor's wireless connection isn't stable enough for me to post. So that was the deal. Also, I was busy, but mostly, I just couldn't get Blogger up and running. I'm back now though, just in time to start another week of classes (none today because of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre festival). I have a fairly easy week this week, so hopefully I will actually get a chance to do some actual blogging. It's a concept.

    Σάββατο, Οκτωβρίου 02, 2004

    My Evening

    After many years of believing the opposite, I'm willing to accept the idea that I am, when dressed in the proper outfit, hair styled in the proper way, and makeup done at all, in fact pretty. I base this assertion on the fact that last night, I got hit on by three guys on the way to the subway, one on the way home (and that one was creepy -- but I had my mace ready) and spent approximately half of my evening with drunk gay guys telling me how gorgeous I am (the other half was spent with them gushing about how talented I am. All in all, not a bad night). In other words, that particular shirt is a keeper.

    On the "This is very bad" front, we lost Jamie last night. We were at Kiev (the Ukranian bar next door to school) for quite a while (2-for-1 martinis) and Jamie was really drunk. Tommy arrived about 40 minutes before we left Kiev and he wasn't drinking, and I'd had one drink several hours before so I was completely sober as well. Everyone else went back to Brooklyn, leaving Tommy, myself, and Jamie. We set out walking up 2nd Ave, me shoring up Jamie, and we decided we wanted a snack so we stopped at the Nathan's Hot Dog at the corner of 14th and 2nd. Tommy and I got nuggets, Jamie got nothing. Tommy and I also decided that Jamie would stay at Tommy's apartment that night so that he wouldn't have to find his way back to Brooklyn alone. Jamie had to pee, and I was going to take him back to the restroom, just to make sure he could find it, but Tommy said that he could find his own way and not to worry about it. So I pointed him towards the restroom from where we were sitting by the door... A minute or so later, I spotted him coming in from outside, collared him, and sent him towards the restroom again, and this time watched that he made it to the back of the restaurant. About 15 minutes later, we wondered if he was okay there in the bathroom and went back to check on him. And he wasn't there. We'd neglected to notice that the restaurant had a back door near the restroom, which apparently Jamie'd used to wander away. We spent about the next 40 mintues trying to find him, going to the apartment of one of our good friends, where Jamie spends most of his time, etc, and trying to call his phone, which he wasn't answering. We eventually concluded that since we were right by the subway stop that Jamie uses to get back to Brooklyn, perhaps he tried to take the subway home.

    The trouble was, Tommy had Jamie's bag, including his keys, so if Jamie did make it home at 5ish this morning, he wasn't able to get into his apartment. It didn't seem like the sort of thing that we could get the police involved in, but it's definitely not good. I still haven't heard from him (granted, I've been sleeping) so I'm still slightly worried. We'll see... This is one of the reasons why I only ever drink a little bit -- I know that I have to take care of getting myself home, alone, late at night, safely. Being drunk impares my ability to do that. So I don't get drunk, simple as that. I'll let you know when I find out what actually happened to Jamie.

    Just So You Know

    I banned Scout (aka sweet cumquat) this morning. It wasn't the contrary views that bothered me, it was the persistant bitchiness. One of the reasons I blog in the first place is so that I can have a way to express myself politically without having to get into acrimonious (is that a word? Is it spelled right? I'm so tired...) fights. I just don't have the patience to deal with her attitude. So she's gone. If you'd really like her back, let me know and we'll see what we can do about getting her to troll your blog...

    Basically, I do this for fun. Being bitched at is not fun. I'm not here to be a conservative whipping boy or whatever. I'm just here to blog.

    Παρασκευή, Οκτωβρίου 01, 2004

    At Least I'm Consistent

    Today, my mother emailed me the following, which I wrote at age 9 1/4, approximately 12 years ago, For those of you keeping score at home, that was during the 1992 election and I was in the 5th grade. The question was this:
    As president of the United States, you are given the power to create a better country. Who will you select as your Vice President? Why? What laws would you pass? How would you solve the problems of poverty, pollution, and crime?
    And I said:
    Hello, my name is Eitak Gnirk [Ee o tek] [Ganurik]. I’m running for president. My vice president is Nivek Gnirk [Navik] [Gunurik]. He’s my brother. I’m 45, he’s 38. To help the economy and the school, I will make a law that all middle class and rich people will have to pay $100 every two years if they have children between age 7-20 and poor and homeless people must work to repair the schools and will get paid. I encourage the arts and I will train unemployed people to build schools for the arts, theaters, galleries and concert halls. Children can attend these at age 10 and graduate at age 16. But children will learn things like [note: the following was actually notated in the original] Whole note+half note=Dotted whole note or Whole note - quarter note = Dotted Half note. That way you are always learning something. If you want a bad president please vote for Yduy Llewdrac, [Ya-doo-ja]{loo-drack].

    Thank you,
    Eitak and Nivek Gnirk
    Note that a) I felt at that time that both the rich and the middle class should pay taxes (equal ones, incidentally) and that b) I felt that poor people should be useful in exchange for money. I'm nothing if not efficient. Judging from this, can you understand why I ever thought that going into a non-music field would be a good career choice for me? Me neither.

    Misleading Headline of the Morning

    On the Netscape.com homepage, the CNN.com headline alert at the moment is "3,000 U.S. Troops Launch Massive Iraq Strike; 109 Dead." Now, on the face of it, that sounds like we went in with 3000 guys and came out with 2891, ja? So then you click through the link to here and you find out this:
    3,000 U.S. Troops Launch Massive Iraq Assault:

    U.S. forces launched a major assault in Iraq Friday to regain control of the insurgent stronghold of Samarra, killing 109 rebels.
    Well that changes everything, now doesn't it? If you get all the way to the article, you find out that one American soldier was killed, but the thing is, what percentage of the people who see that first headline when they open a new browser window are actually going to take the trouble to get all the way to the article and find out the real numbers and what percentage are going to just assume a ton of soldiers were killed and assume that Iraq is far worse than it is?

    Spinning the Evening

    You watched the debates. I watched an opera by one of my professors. You won.