Thursday, March 31

Feeding the beast.

I know I said I wasn't going to talk about Terri Schiavo anymore, but given that she passed away this morning, I felt like I had to say something. I hope she's in a better place now, and I hope that her family members -- husband and blood relatives alike -- are permitted to grieve for her without interference from the rest of the world, and stay strong in the wake of their loss. I didn't agree with her parents, and I didn't care for some of the people they elected to associate with as they tried to stave off their daughter's passing, but they were in an unimaginably awful position, and there's no way I can say with any degree of certainty that, were I put in their shoes, I wouldn't do exactly the same thing. And anyone who thinks they can is kidding themselves.

Now then. To the protestors, the charlatan Congressmen, the religious hucksters who went down to Florida to feed off Terri Schiavo just as hungrily as any maggot -- only unlike the maggot, without doing the courtesy of letting her die first -- leave this family alone, dammit. Go the fuck home. You got what you wanted, didn't you? You've got your corpse. Now go home and leave this family in peace.

I mean, that's all they really wanted out of this, isn't it? A corpse? A martyr? Particularly to the politicians who brought shame on themselves and everyone associated with them by sticking their big noses in this business, the Schiavo case was like abortion -- they claimed to want action to be taken, but didn't really want action to be taken, because if they got what they claimed they wanted, they wouldn't have the Schiavo case to make a huge stink about anymore. Terri Schiavo was always worth more to them as a corpse than as a living, breathing human being.

Take a second to imagine what would've happened if they'd gotten their way, if Congress's stunt legislation had actually worked or if Jeb Bush had done what the protestors were clamoring for him to do and busted into Terri's room, six-guns blazing, and scooped her up into protective state custody. Sure, the Republicans could've campaigned on that, could've run TV ads that said "Vote for us, we saved Terri!" -- for maybe two weeks. Then people's attention would've started to flag. Without the sword of Damocles hanging over her head, a woman who can't walk, talk, or do anything other than blink just isn't that compelling, and certainly not the least bit triumphant -- and sooner or later people would've figured that out. But I thought if we just waited long enough, she'd jump out of bed, recite the Gettysburg Address and run a marathon!* How come she's still just lying around like that? A few Republicans might start questioning what good it was doing for the state of Florida to spend all that money to keep her alive. Worse, those same conservative Christians shrieking at the top of their lungs about the sanctity of life, the ones who always talk about what a wonderful reward God's kingdom of heaven is, would start wondering to what purpose she was being deprived of it.

But a dead body -- that'll get people's attention! That'll get those donation checks flowing! As long as Terri did eventually kick the bucket, Tom DeLay and Randall Terry and James Dobson could hoist her corpse high and shout, Look what the liberals did! They killed Terri! "We saved her" was never going to be as galvanizing a battle cry as "They killed her." So all the right-wingers had to do was make a big show out of giving a rat's ass about Terri's life while they hung around waiting for her to shuffle off her mortal coil, and when she finally passed away they could position themselves as heroes despite having utterly failed at what they claimed to have set out to do. Genius! It is truly rare for anyone to have so much cake and yet get to eat so much of it, too.

So now Tom DeLay gets to wear his halo a little bit longer. Randall Terry gets to hang out with the Schindlers some more, each photo op further cementing his status as their new bestest buddy. All those protestors who tried to get on TV by bringing Terri cups of water -- water she most likely would've aspirated because she couldn't freaking swallow, and therefore would've effectively drowned in -- they have their corpse now. Congratulations. You went down to Florida for the same reason people went to gladiator matches -- to see a dead body -- and you weren't disappointed. You lost and you still get to go home feeling triumphant. You got your corpse, you got your camera time, you got everything.

So go home now. We both know you're not going to be showing up with any signs or cups of water the next time a juvenile ends up on Death Row, or an innocent person winds up dead in an Iraqi prison, so just go home. Go home, go back to your churches and your right-wing call-in shows where you can pat yourselves on the back about how hard you fight for a "culture of life." And try not to think about the feeding tube you've stuck into that "culture of life," the one that requires a steady diet of corpses to keep it going.

* Line Stolen from courtesy of Barbara Gillett. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 29

Jealous much?

In case you don't know who R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is -- try not to hurt yourself grieving over it -- he is the publisher of The American Spectator, a conservative political magazine that sort of gives you a glimpse of what National Review would look like if its writers weren't secretly aware of just how inane they are. The very first time I ever read anything by ol' R., he referred to a certain group of Democrats as "popinjays," a word I thought only Montgomery Burns and Stewie from "Family Guy" used these days, so that was pretty much all the reason I needed to dismiss him as a hack and move on. When reading his columns -- featured regularly at, big surprise -- you can't help but hear them being read in a Frasier Crane voice; R. is the kind of guy you get stuck sitting next to on an airplane or at a coffee shop whose idea of "conversation" is to list all the things (chain restaurants, domestic cars, tap water, blue jeans) he thinks he's too good for, which basically makes him the right wing's own Comic Book Guy. You just know he's the kind of prick who picks up chicks at bars by not only regaling them with all the clever bons mots he used around his buddies in the past few days but even referring to them as "bons mots" in the retelling.

Anyway, R. is the kind of guy who just can't stand the thought that anyone, especially a liberal, might be considered cleverer than he is, so he felt compelled to give America: The Book his "J. Gordon Coogler Award" for worst book of the year (link via Wonkette), along with some especially pointed jabs toward Jon Stewart. R. couldn't resist using the ten-dollar words "marmoreal" and "pasquinade" in the course of this condemnation, so I'll leave it to you to determine for yourselves who's the really funny guy and who's the pretentious blowhard -- but in case you're still on the fence, let the record show that it wasn't Jon Stewart who penned the following bit of obnoxiousness:

Yet the Coogler Committee has its standards. Its distinguished judges will not consider a writer who has been found guilty of journalistic irregularity, and being a plagiarist certainly constitutes journalistic irregularity as does working for the New York Times. Okay, okay all you New York Times journalists out there, that was just an easy joke. There is no reason for those scowls. I am just having a little fun . . .

See, therein lies the difference between the actual funny of "The Daily Show" and the faux-funny of stuffed shirts like Tyrrell. Jon Stewart plays a clip of some politician saying something moronic, he makes his joke at the guy's expense, and moves on; sometimes he doesn't even make a joke at all, he just sits there with a heavenly little grin on his face and trusts us to get how frickin' stupid this all is. Contrast that with ol' R., who not only drops the same kind of The-New-York-Times-sucks joke Ann Coulter has been making ever since she came out of the womb, but then chuckles at himself in print for having said it. Look, I'm not downgrading the man's achievement; you have to work pretty damn hard to be so pretentious you make George Will look like a man of the people. I'm just saying I'm sick of hearing liberals derided as elitists when fancypants conservatives like this are spouting off right and left. Note that at the beginning of his column, R. feigns excitement over the anticipation of who the NFL's Most Valuable Player "will be," despite the fact that Peyton Manning had been announced the winner nearly a month before this column was published; this is precisely the kind of thing that John Kerry got pilloried for during the presidential campaign, yet Tyrrell, a learned gentleman with no time for such common pursuits, gets to wear his NFL apathy proudly on his sleeve.

R.'s own contribution to The World of Letters, in case you were curious, is a book called Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House. This is a "road," you'll note, that Hillary has not actually taken, so we have to wonder why a smartypants like R. would go to such lengths to sound like one of those backwoods survivalists who call into right-wing radio shows demanding to know why nobody has investigated Hillary's role in the space shuttle Columbia disaster.

Yet somehow it's the "Daily Show" book that's a crock. Sorry, not a crock, a pasquinade (which means a satire posted in a public place, so put that in your Scrabble rack and smoke it). But hey, it's spring, the time of year when a man's fancy turns to love -- and if the object of that affection is the sound of one's own voice, who am I to judge?

. . . And the just plain agony of having to root for North Carolina for anything.

Before you get the wrong idea, let me just say I'm proud to be a Georgia Bulldog and do not for one minute regret having gone to school there. However, back in the salad days of summer 1994, when I was going all over the country looking at schools to apply to, North Carolina was the one at the top of my list. (That was before I was informed that out-of-state students stand a better chance of winning the lottery while getting hit by lightning than getting into Chapel Hill.) I got the thin "We have put you on our waiting list, try back in two years at which time we'll probably tell you the same thing" envelope from the Tarheels and have declared them my nemesis ever since. Well, one of my nemeses. Why have just one?

But anyway, we all did the NCAA bracket pool thing at work, and when I was done filling the thing out who did I have in the championship box but North Carolina. Figuring my picks all stunk anyway and it wouldn't matter in the end, I said "whatever" and turned it in. But now, thanks to better-than-expected runs by Utah and Louisville, I'm sitting at the top of the leaderboard, one point ahead of second place with only the Final Four left to go. And now I'm in the unenviable position of having to root for those f$#!ing Tarheels to go all the way.

Oh, well. I keep repeating to myself, Think of the money, think of the money, think of the money . . . even though it will ruin my chances of ever realizing my dream of becoming the head football coach at the University of Washington, I gotsta get paid, yo. So go Tarheels, and let us never speak of this again.

Monday, March 28

The agony and ecstasy of being a Bulldog . . .

Georgia's gymnastics team won its 14th SEC championship over the weekend. Which is awesome, but part of the rich tapestry that is being a Bulldog fan is the fact that nearly every great achievement is balanced out by a corresponding embarrassment, which came in the form of former basketball coach and all-around knob Jim Harrick continuing to make an ass of himself in front of the NCAA.

In case you haven't been following the UGA basketball soap opera for the past two years or so, Jim Harrick is the basketball coach who: got hired for no other reason than because he was buddy-buddy with UGA president and Louis Quatorze wannabe Michael Adams from their days together at Pepperdine (and over the objections of athletic director Vince Dooley); recruited all-world dipshit Tony Cole (also over the objections of Vince Dooley); humiliated the university through a "Coaching Principles and Strategies of Basketball" class designed specifically to let jock students sail through with As; and got fired only after getting the Georgia basketball program put on probation for four years. So.

(Just for the purposes of historical information, I was the editor of the student newspaper the day Harrick was first offered the job in April 1999, accepted it, then declined it to stay at Rhode Island, then accepted it again. Those of us who had to completely redo two front pages in the span of a few hours probably should've had some idea Harrick was a total spaz . . . oh, what innocent days those were.)

Now Harrick is arguing before the NCAA on behalf of his son, saying that his son doesn't deserve to be banned from coaching for seven years (as he was after the Georgia debacle). And what stirring defense did he make?

"It's Easter week," Harrick said. "Are you going to crucify us to the cross?"

If you're keeping score at home, Harrick Sr. did three things in the span of a single sentence:

· Compared himself to Jesus Christ.
· Compared his suffering to that of Jesus Christ.
· Used about as ridiculous a redundancy as there is (how else does one crucify someone, if not to a cross? Hey, why not electrocute him electrically?)

This is the kind of stuff that just makes you kinda sorta want to beat your head against the wall. Not as embarrassing as Maurice Clarett, necessarily, nor the fact that Gary Barnett still has a job doing anything but cleaning stadium toilets, but embarrassing nonetheless.

But anyway. The point is that I don't want the Gym Dogs' achievement to be overshadowed by one dipshit. Go Dawgs and, it goes without saying, kick Florida's ass.


I was just watching the Christian rock episode of "South Park" -- the one where Cartman breaks off from the boys' band to start a Christian rock band to sell a million copies just to spite Kyle -- and one exchange really struck me:

Stan: You don't even know anything about Christianity.

Cartman: I know enough to exploit it.

And it occurred to me: Tom DeLay is Eric Cartman.

Your thoughts?

Saturday, March 26

Death is not an option.

· Kevin Federline or Vincent Gallo?

· "Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous" or "Guess Who"?

· Dining alone on finger chili, or a seven-course meal at 21 with Tom DeLay?

· Punked by a 13 seed in the first round, or by a 5th seed in the Sweet 16?

· Reading Hustler with Michael Jackson, or tongue-kissing Ann Coulter?

· Getting screamed at by Howard Dean, or getting a voice mail from Pat O'Brien?

Friday, March 25

I'm Jenny Slater, yes the real Jenny Slater, and all you other Jenny Slaters are just imitators . . .

. . . so won't the real Jenny Slater please stand up, please stand up, please stand up.

The real Jenny Slater was, until recently, a British vocalist/instrumentalist specializing in pop/rock music from the 1950s to the present. That is to say, if you were to type "Jenny Slater" into Google, her Web site would come up first.

However, her distinction in that regard has been, how do you say, usurped. By guess who.

I'm actually kind of conflicted by this. On the one hand, Woohoo! But on the other hand, here's this woman trying to make a living through music -- not an easy business by stretch -- and her Jenny-Slater-Googling superiority has been overthrown by some dumbass in Alabama who's only spouting off about politics and the occasional hot chick. If I were in her position, I'd be pissed.

So the real Jenny Slater has been added to the linkroll as my way of making amends. And if it's any consolation, Ms. Slater, I've received a bit of karmic come-uppance, Google-wise. If you Google "Hey Jenny Slater," the Web site that comes up first is, shockingly, not this blog but rather the page from my friend DAve Akins's blog in which he links to my blog. Kenneth, what is the frequency with that?!?!

Well met, Akins, well met. I'll play your game, you rogue.

Now's your chance to prove how much you love me.

My birthday's still more than two months away, but because this blog is all about me (I'm even writing in the first-person singular now, bitches!) I figured it's never too early to start spouting off about what I want. I mean, you could always take the easy way out and just crib from my wish list for gift ideas, but if you really love me, I mean really love me, it's time to step it up.

I saw the below item whilst going into a local movie theatre to see "The Aviator." It's a promotional item for the upcoming film "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," and it's not so much a movie poster as it is a sort of life-sized stand-up, and by "life-sized" I mean "perhaps as much as seven or eight feet tall."

Hottest. Thing. Ever.

Anyway, if you really love me, you'll steal this item from your local cineplex and get it to me by June 4 (which also happens to be Angelina Jolie's birthday -- remember we celebrated it together last year?). I guess you could always wait until one shows up on eBay and buy it then, but that might take a long time, and besides, stealing one would make you a lot cooler, don't you think?

Anyway, if you get one of these for me -- through either licit or illicit means -- you'll get guest-blogging privileges on this site for one year and I'll come to your home, wherever you are in the world, and mow your lawn. (You provide the lawnmower -- sorry, I can't risk the chance I'll have to lug a fricking lawnmower all the way to Oregon or something.)

Or if you're a weenie and don't think you can come up with that, you may also provide any of the following items and I'll still have some respect, though no guest-blogging privileges or lawnmowing, for you:

· The song "Tomorrow I'll Be Perfect" by Stella, in CD or MP3 format
· A 1/200 or 1/250-scale model of the Airbus A380
· A bottle of Balvenie single-malt scotch
· An Aeroflot safety card and/or in-flight magazine
· A Maybach hood ornament

So, nothing too complicated. Go forth, America!

Friday Random Ten, To Hell With James Lileks I'm a Pet Shop Boys Fan and I Don't Care Who Knows It Edition.

1. A Tribe Called Quest, "Sucka Nigga"
2. St. Germain, "So Flute"
3. The Pretenders, "Middle of the Road"
4. Passengers, "A Different Kind of Blue"
5. Pet Shop Boys, "The Calm Before the Storm"
6. Dimitri From Paris, "Sacre Français"
7. A Tribe Called Quest, "One Two Shit"
8. The White Stripes, "Fell in Love with a Girl"
9. U2, "Some Days Are Better Than Others"
10. Beastie Boys, "The Sounds of Science"

Thursday, March 24

The company I keep.

Current events have inspired my family to engage in one of those ultra-involved multilateral e-mail "conversations" about living wills and what they want done should one of them end up brain-dead or in a vegetative state. Me, I'm thinking I don't even want to wait for the vegetative state, I'm just gonna ask one of 'em to off me now.

As you may already know, I am a Pet Shop Boys fan -- superfan, actually, maybe the only straight man in North America who can claim to have, in one format or another, every single they've ever put out. And today I find, through TBOGG, that James Lileks -- most boring writer in the history of ever, a man who is to commentary what Pat Boone is to rock music, a man so white he makes Jonah Goldberg look like 50 Cent -- is also a fan. Enough of one to have "Absolutely Fabulous" in his iTunes shuffle, in any case.

Dammit, and this day was going so well. All right, readers, let me hear it -- gunshot wound to the head? Mouthful of Xanax? Leave the car running in a closed garage? What's your recommendation?

Wednesday, March 23

One post about Terri Schiavo, and then somebody make sure to slap me if I ever come near this subject again.

Just about everything that needs to be pointed out about the ongoing Terri Schiavo controversy has been pretty much pointed out -- the fact that even evangelical Christians think Congress is overstepping its bounds by getting wrapped up in this, the fact that George W. Bush helped pass while governor of Texas a bill giving hospitals the right to cut off patients' life support if they couldn't pay, the fact that Tom DeLay should be slapped around until he cries like a little girl -- so I figured I didn't really have a lot to add to all that, until something occurred to me this afternoon.

In spite of Tom DeLay's fanciful yarn about Schiavo "talking" and "laughing," she can do neither. The only reason one might be loath to describe her as "brain-dead" is because it's hard to prove she has much of a brain to begin with. Entire parts of her brain have atrophied to the point where it has been replaced by spinal fluid, and kids, that's not the kind of stuff that's known for just all of a sudden re-forming into a brain again. So while Tom DeLay and Rick Santorum and all those other knobs trying to make hay out of this sad situation might still hold all sorts of cute fantasies about Schiavo up and snapping out of her current state, it's hard to believe that they seriously think this is going to happen.

However, DeLay and Santorum and the Knob Crew have another thing in common: They're all vociferously opposed to government funding for stem-cell research. Now, it's ridiculous to think that the government can throw a few million dollars at a stem-cell research facility and they'd have a brand-new brain grown by Easter. But it'd be a start, which is all the stem-cell proponents are hoping for. When the right-to-life Repubs paint these rainbow-and-puppy-dog pictures of Schiavo one day leaping up and leading a normal life, they've apparently missed out on the irony that they've stood in the way of efforts that could speed the day that recovery becomes a reality.

Anyway, if I was the liberal version of Ann Coulter and thus more concerned with hyperbole and making outrageous statements than actually telling the truth, I'd probably say something like the Republicans don't want Terri Schiavo to have a peaceful, dignified death and they don't want her to recover from her injuries, so apparently all they want her to be able to do is sit there in a vegetative state unable to recognize or communicate with her family. Being a total bitch, I'd give the column a really snarky title like "If I Only Had a Brain!" or something. Since that isn't going to happen, though, I guess we'll just have to wait for Coulter's actual column, and when it hits tomorrow, I bet any of you guys fifty bucks that it both a) paints Democrats as cold-blooded killers and b) makes some sort of crack about how Terri Schiavo still has more higher brain function than [insert either "Ted Kennedy," "Bill Clinton" or "Maxine Waters" here]. 'Cause that Ann, she's so original and unpredictable! You just don't know what she's going to say next!

Feh. So that was the Terri Schiavo post. Hope you enjoyed it. Now I shan't ever speak of this case again, instead turning my attention to truly pressing matters like how the presence of Survivor's Rob and Amber on this season of "The Amazing Race" is totally ruining the show. Ruining it! Anybody want to give me a "word 'em up" on that?

The Coulter verdict: OK, I was wrong about one thing -- while Ann's column this week is indeed about Terri Schiavo, she manages not to make any brain-dead jokes about Ted Kennedy or Bill Clinton, which is about the most shocking thing I've seen all week. However, she couldn't help but refer to "the torture and murder" of Schiavo. Oh, now she cares about torture and murder! I guess one of the reasons right-wingers like that "compassionate conservatism" so much is that they can turn it on and off as it suits them.

Oh, and another thing: A much smarter Ann, the one over at Practically Harmless, has some information I didn't know about Terri Schiavo.

See, this is the kind of stuff that makes me just want to quit blogging again, 'cause I'm never gonna come up with anything this good.

Kung Fu Monkey, consider yourself linked for this stroke of genius (along with Crooked Timber for directing me there):

If there were a rash of break-ins ... no scratch that. Say there's a violent murder in your neighborhood. A really brutal slayfest. Blood on the walls, body parts on the lawn.

Your neigbor decides to take precautions. He leaves his doors and windows unlocked. He sits on the roof, armed with a SpongeBob SquarePants air-rifle, just in case the killers return and attack the house by hang-glider this time. And the air rifle doesn't work. And he spent EVERY DIME HE HAD on the air rifle.

You would of course, say your neighbor was insane. Or supremely stupid.

You do the rest.

My original point was -- Republicans used to be the guys who put the brakes on this shit. A sad chuckle, a little head shake. "Who's going to pay for this?" they'd say, frowning over national budgets. "Where are the facts? The research?" They'd take out their little red pens and buzzkill our little dreams of nationalized health care or solar-powered windmills or maglev trains, and then go back to banning pornography while secretly screwing around on their wives. But you know what? A lot of times, they were right.

We needed those guys. They were a dull but crucial part of the national dialogue. (And they knew their scotches. ) Now ... a void. Simply put, if you are voting for these guys who call themselves Republicans, then you are voting for crazy air-rifle guy. You just walked up, nodded, and said: "Wow, I gotta get me a ladder."

Somewhere Dennis Miller is reading this and gently weeping at the thought of all that could've been. Really, you gotsta read the whole thing. And if anybody does happen to know where the "real Republicans" are, do let me know and I'll be sure to pass the word along.

This is sweet. Camera crews are setting up, and I'm lookin' totally ripped.

Just thought y'all might want to know about a little site called the Planearium where there's a Flash studio you can use to create your own South Park character. Don't be intimidated by all the German, you'll find it's all pretty self-explanatory.

Here's my character, which, between the spiky hair, beer bottle, and evil sneer, you will see is really quite accurate. Posted by Hello

Heh. Awesome.

Tuesday, March 22

Two years and a hell of a lot of humanity ago.

I know I missed the two-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq invasion by a couple days, but I figured it was worth looking back on anyway. Here's what I wrote the day it happened (more or less), and here's something I wrote more recently, just to show you kind of how back-and-forth I've been on the whole thing.

As vehemently opposed to the war as I was when it first started, I don't think it took me too long to come around to the idea that, in the long run, our actions could end up making Iraq a better place. I think, in the beginning at least, that that was more out of a desire to support the troops than anything else -- but more to the point, it was the realization that, now that we had troops storming into Iraq and had committed to a major military operation, we simply had to succeed in making Iraq a better place or both we and they were really, really screwed. I'm not one of those Resmuglicans showily putting purple ink on my finger and declaring all the world's problems solved because the Iraqi people got to vote in an election, but I believe we are on the road to making things better there, and can accomplish that if we do it right. At least, I pray every night we will.

Unfortunately, there's another country really in trouble right now, and even more unfortunately, it happens to be the one I'm living in. And this goes back a lot further than the Iraq war, it goes back to September 11, but it really is shocking to me just how much of our humanity we've lost since then. In those first days and weeks after we saw the Twin Towers come crashing down, we could've made a commitment to leading the world out of darkness and to eradicating the kind of conditions where that kind of murderous hate is cultivated. And I have no doubt a lot of people did just that -- but here, it seems, at least an equal number went the other way and embraced the darkness.

This was most recently brought home to me by the controversy that erupted over Eugene Volokh's attempted defense of cruel and unusual punishment. Volokh, to his credit, has since recanted after a fashion, but the sheer matter-of-factness with which he not only advocated cruel and unusual punishment but advocated it for its own sake -- i.e., it's good for a society to get its rocks off once in a while by killing a convicted murderer in the most brutal way possible -- gave me the chills in a way I'm still not sure I've completely recovered from.

Maybe if I could have been confident that it was just Volokh who thought that way, it wouldn't have bothered me so much. But here in America we've got people who, when a new story of torture or abuse comes out of Iraq, you can practically hear snickering to each other and making the jerk-off gesture with their hands. We have people writing for allegedly respectable political journals advocating such torture, not to mention the murder of "commie journalists" who might blab about such things. One of the architects of our current let's-torture strategy is now sitting in the attorney general's office. I know our country didn't always take such a cavalier attitude toward human suffering; so what suddenly made it OK? I know the standard boilerplate explanation is "9/11 changed everything," but did it change that? Did the collapse of the Twin Towers somehow free us of our responsibility to be shocked and outraged that we have now killed nearly as many people in captivity as the North Vietnamese did?

Listen, I was angry after 9/11. I was furious that my country -- not just my country, my world, my human race -- could be so horribly defiled by some madman's belief that such carnage was an acceptable way of getting his point across. But the one thing I had to hang on to after that, the one thing above all else that gave me hope we'd win this new war we'd been sucked into, was that America and its people were noble enough to rise above that kind of savagery. But not only have we forgotten that 9/11 is what we're trying to fight against, our own leaders are now using it as justification for performing the same kind of cruelty that al-Qaeda does. Hey, those guys are cruel, so we might as well be, too! But that isn't going to cut it. When we talk about "defending America" in this new war on terror, we're talking about defending the freest country in the world, the very cornerstone of modern democracy for Christ's sake, and if we take those distinctions away, what is it we're defending? If we're just going to lower ourselves to bin Laden's or Hussein's level, why even fight a War on Terror at all?

I've gotten into arguments with conservative relatives and friends about whether we're justified in all this -- the indefinite detentions at Gitmo, the waterboarding at Abu Ghraib, the horrific "extraordinary renditions" where we send suspects to other countries we think can even do an even better and more hideous job of torture than we can -- and, looking back on it, nearly every time I've made the mistake of engaging them on a legal level and getting in over my head in a legalistic debate over whether American law or the Geneva Conventions say this, that, or the other. You know what? I'm not doing that anymore. If something's wrong, it's just wrong, period, end of sentence. I don't give a shit if some out clause in the American legal code technically gives us free reign to secretly fly a terrorism suspect to Yemen to have the life beaten out of him; that's just wrong. Maybe in some twisted interpretation the law says that's OK, but the law used to say we could own other human beings as property, too. We grew out of that and it's high f$#!ing time we grew out of the notion that 9/11 gave us carte-blanche to act As Nasty As We Wanna Be.

That's my advice to you, too, if you should find yourself in that situation -- don't get mired in the legalese or the criminal codes or the jurisdictions or this or that, because it's just wrong. It's high f$#!ing time we stopped dwelling on what we can do as Americans and started paying a little more attention to what we should do. The War on Terror may be a harder one to fight if we forego our beloved indefinite detentions and extraordinary renditions, but someone needs to remind our government the easier fight is rarely the righteous one.

That calls to mind an interesting point Father Brian made on Palm Sunday, after we'd finished reading the Passion. It's important to remember that while Jesus bravely suffered every punishment the Romans dished out against him, he didn't necessarily want to be there; he even said as much while he was being nailed to the cross, but he said that if that was God's will, he would accept it. "Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the same thing," Father Brian said. "We need to remind ourselves that what God is going to ask of us isn't going to be the easiest thing. We need to say, 'Lord, I wish there were an easier way, but even if there isn't, Thy will be done.' " Maybe the War on Terror -- hell, maybe life in general post 9/11 -- will be harder if we can't get our rocks off every once in a while beating the ever-living crap out of someone. But that's the only war that we as Americans can fight -- and it's the only lives we can be truly proud to live.

Walking the razor's edge between Gap-level celebrity and Old Navy-level celebrity, it's . . .

. . . Sarah Jessica Parker, who somehow thinks she's cute and/or popular enough to get away with this (link courtesy The Superficial):

Glamorous "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker is said to be less than impressed after being replaced as the face of Gap.

In the same week SJP's new spring campaign for the label hit TV screens and magazines in the US, teenage singer Joss Stone was named to front the summer collection.

The latest ads show the New York style icon getting ready for a day out on the town while singing Broadway hit "Enjoy Being a Girl."

I don't even know who the hell Joss Stone is but I'm already liking her better than Sarah Jessica Parker, and here's why:

"Sarah's spring campaign for Gap has only just started and she felt the announcement of her replacement in the same week that the new ads are appearing is a bit of a snub," one friend said.

"Joss is not only a teenager, she's also a virtual unknown. Had her replacement been a big star, perhaps Sarah wouldn't have minded so much."

Oh, if she'd been a big star! Man, I don't know which alternate reality Sarah Jessica Parker is living in, but in this one you have to be way hotter than she is to be that bitchy. At least Portia de Rossi hot. And even if Sarah Jessica Parker was Portia de Rossi hot, she'd still be annoying. That latest ad, where she's dancing around like some cracked-out sorority pledge? Every time she says "I enjoy being a girl," I get this urge to shout back at the TV, "Yeah, well I enjoy making 40 percent more money than you for doing the same work. Ass."

Well, now I can enjoy my wardrobe (which has more Gap items in it than some actual Gap stores, incidentally) without knowing that Sarah Jessica Parker's big ol' horse face is associated with it. (And yes, I know Portia de Rossi isn't so much playing for my team anymore, and no, I don't want to hear about it.)

ETA, while I'm on a roll here: Apparently the product SJP is advertising in the "Being a Girl" ads is called "Pretty Khakis," which is somehow even more annoying, and disappointing coming from a company I've come to know and love as much as the Gap. I mean, you can can advertise your product as being pretty or great or revolutionary or whatever, but when you put that adjective in the name of the product itself you're sort of asking to be thrown in with the kind of products that are sold through late-night infomercials. It would be sort of like GM coming out with a car called the Chevrolet So Awesome. Though, admittedly, I'd rather drive around in the So Awesome than something that looks like this.

Saturday, March 19

This post is really important. It's about something you really care about. No, really. You care. A lot. A whole -- hey, where are you going?

So I'm sitting here watching "Fox & Friends Weekend" -- and before you even start, STFU, you vultures, it is a well-established fact that I only include that in my Saturday-morning viewing regimen because of Juliet Huddy -- and they're talking with Georgia congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-Naturally) about the steroids-in-pro-baseball hearings going on before Congress right now. And Westmoreland is something like, "This is an issue the American people really care about." And I'm thinking -- um, really? Because I have yet to talk to a single person who gives one tenth of one shit about these hearings. In fact, I have heard more commentators insist that people give a shit than actual people on the street who will fess up to giving a shit. If I were filming this whole phenomenon, I'd show the baseball people and Capitol Hill people all talking very gravely about how important this is and how it has the American public's undivided attention, and then I'd pan over to a guy wearing a T-shirt reading "AMERICAN PUBLIC," sitting in a big fat easy chair with a Michelob in his hand, glued to a TV showing the NCAA basketball tournament, and after a few moments he turns around and says, all oblivious, "What?"

I guess what I'm saying is that if you actually give a shit about the baseball hearings, or believe that the general pulse of the American public is that they do, let me know, or else I'm just going to have to assume everyone on TV is stupid. Which, in all honesty, is kind of convenient for me, since I pretty much thought that anyway.

Westmoreland was also on to speak about the ongoing Terri Schiavo controversy down in Florida, and about the calls for Congress to step in and do something to keep the doctors from removing Schiavo's feeding tube. I just love how this Republican congress, which stormed into D.C. in 1995 proclaiming highfalutin promises that they were going to rein in the out-of-control overreach of the federal government and get it out of people's private lives, is now taking it upon itself to make the health-care decisions for one single family down in Florida. (But we can't have universal health care in this country, because that would mean the federal government would be telling you what to do!) Folks, maybe you haven't noticed, but between this and the out-of-control spending and the gigantic steaming turd that Tom DeLay has laid on any notion of Congressional ethics, it is officially f$#!ing Animal Farm up there on the Hill these days, and the Repubs are the pigs smoking cigars and wearing pants. You still think life doesn't imitate art? Oh, you poor little lamb. Go back to watching your baseball hearings.

Oh, and finally, F&F had Amber Frey on just a second ago to talk about her book and about the Scott Peterson case, and when one of the hosts referred to her as Peterson's "mistress," she got all miffed and said she didn't like to be referred to as a mistress. Hey, I'm sure Scott doesn't like to be referred to as a "murderer," but . . . well, look, if it looks like a mistress, and quacks like a mistress, and f$#!s married men like a mistress, then I'm calling it a mistress. Maybe Amber would prefer something more PC like "extramarital sex provider." I don't know. But somebody else run with that for a second, because I've got more important stuff to worry about, like Juliet rocking the leather boots again this morning. Baseball hearings . . . Juliet Huddy in a miniskirt and leather boots . . . yeah, y'all have fun laying into Mark McGwire. I'll be over here.

Friday, March 18

Another Random Ten fo' that ass.

It's Friday, so let's do the iPod shuffle:

1. Basement Jaxx, "Red Alert"
2. Tone Def, "Just a Human Being" (from the "Fear of a Black Hat" soundtrack)
3. Pet Shop Boys, "I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind of Thing"
4. Underworld, "Push Downstairs"
5. James Brown, "The Payback"
6. Run-DMC/Aerosmith, "Walk This Way"
7. Joey Altruda, "Mucci's Jag Mk.II"
8. The Who, "The Seeker"
9. Underworld, "Born Slippy"
10. Avenue Q soundtrack, "The Money Song"

Let me just express my deepest sorrow for those who don't have the Avenue Q soundtrack because they a) hate musicals, or b) hate puppets. That show has some of the funniest songs ever performed on a stage, and while I'm ordinarily in with the crowd that hates musicals, I can't turn my back on any show that has songs like "You Can Be Loud As the Hell You Want When You're Makin' Love" and "My Girlfriend Who Lives in Canada":

Her name is Alberta
She lives in Vancouver
She cooks like my mother
And sucks like a Hoover


Nothing complements the cozy glow of a Friday-morning NCAA-tournament victory celebration than a good Atrios annihilation of Charles "Captain Smug" Krauthammer.

All along I've been really tired of the notion, expressed most recently by Krauthammer, that "Those who claimed, with great certainty, that Arabs are an exception to the human tendency toward freedom, that they live in a stunted and distorted culture that makes them love their chains" are all sitting on the left side of the aisle. So far I don't think anyone on the right has actually deigned to dig up a quote in which someone on the left made this claim. With a minimum of Googling, however, you can locate any number of ultra-right-wing asshats who have no problem writing off entire Arab populations as "barbarous savages." (Hell, there are entire right-wing Web sites whose sole purpose is pretty much to do just that -- I'm looking at you, LGF.) And these folks are the worst kind of two-faced hypocrites, too, because while on the one hand they'll grandstand until the cows come home about what a wondrous hero Bush is for bringing democracy to the poor benighted Arab people, they'll turn right around and sneer "Ehhhh, so what, they had it comin' " whenever those democratic ideals are stomped on by an Arab being mistreated, whether accidentally or deliberately, at the hands of the West.

Really, all Krauthammer has done with his lofty morals and highfalutin prose is construct another typically irrelevant straw man. When American liberals and European newspaper posit the question "Was Bush Right After All?", we're wondering whether he was "right" about a pre-emptive war being the best way to bring American-style democracy to the Islamic world. What we're not wondering is whether he was "right" about Muslims being able to handle democracy, because that was never something we questioned to begin with; as I noted, the people who really seem to be having trouble grappling with that question are all hanging out at LGF and FreeRepublic.

So I'm with Atrios and Pandagon: It's time for people like Krauthammer to put up or shut up. Either start naming names and tell us who these condescending libs are who allegedly pooh-poohed the Arab capacity for democracy, or go find some other slander to propagate. Better yet, sit down and have a talk with your own people and lecture them about anti-Arab prejudice. 'Cause from what I can see, we're all doing just fine over here, thanks.

UAB 82, LSU 68, Dickie V 0.

By John Marshall
AP Sports Writer

BOISE, Idaho -- Pressing, trapping and causing havoc, UAB's defense was at its frenetic best.

Yep, the Blazers could be ready for another deep run in the NCAA tournament.

Marvett McDonald had 21 points and hit five 3-pointers, and the 11th-seeded Blazers used their stingy defense to pull off another upset, knocking off LSU 82-68 on Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

No disrespect to John Marshall, but that was more than a "knocking off" of LSU, that was an open-handed bitch slap. Little ol' UAB led the Tigers by as much as 26 points in the second half before kind of coasting to the finish. It seemed as though LSU's initial game plan was to try and challenge the Blazers' 40 Minutes of Hell tempo, but once it became apparent that wasn't going to work, it looked like they just sort of zipped up their coats and started mentally packing for the flight home. Long flight back to Baton Rouge, guys. Hatin' it for you.

And just to prove I'm never too nice or mature to be above rubbing someone's sweet face in it, let me call out Dick Vitale and the rest of the so-called ESPN "experts" who, on Selection Sunday, could do nothing but talk about all the teams that deserved a tournament berth more than UAB. And who would those be, Dickie? Miami-Ohio, who got punked by Texas Christian at home in the first round of the NIT? Notre Dame, who got whacked by Holy Cross, also at home, also in the first round of the NIT? Great picks, dude, nice. Sort of wish I had y'all in my bracket pool this year, I'd be making some money.

So anyway, bring on Arizona. I ain't scared of ya.

Wednesday, March 16

Damn elitists! Why won't they admit we're superior to them?

World O'Crap always has a knack for finding the wingnuttiest of the wingnuts out there, but a column she dug up the other day really made me laugh (and no, not just because the post included a photo of Ann Coulter looking particularly buffoonish and unattractive). The column, by a right-wing pastor of some sort named J. Grant Swank (which sounds like a porno star), decries California's decision to allow "homo nups" (which sounds like a treat for gay dogs), and reads hilariously in part:

California has done itself no national favor by rejoicing over homo nuptials. Like Massachusetts, California is only isolating itself more and more from the American moralists who find homo nups repulsive.

Yet to see the evening news, Californians are the posh intellectuals who have it all. Not. They parade their conceit levels with such obnoxious hubris that the rest of the country reaches for the bucket. Truly.

Like Hollywood, California thinks it?s a breed above the rest of us. Instead, California liberals are merely upstart spoiled brats who write their own values, claiming that they have it made in the ethical shade. One of these days these liberals will come to the stark realization that they have taken themselves out of the national family, just as Massachusetts has divorced itself from the country?s good.

The rest of the column is every bit as superior and self-righteous as these first three paragraphs, and you really can't help but snicker at it when it's all over. Here this guy is excoriating pro-gay-marriage Californians as elitists, but his reason for doing so is because they won't kowtow to his particular brand of American "moralists." Basically, he's saying, Our morality is superior and what we say should be the law of the land! Who the hell do these people think they are, daring to disagree with us? And yet the folks in California are the elitists!

Before some conservative comes on here complaining that J. Grant Swank is not representative of all conservatives and how dare I portray him as such, let me stipulate that, no, I'm not trying to say that the good Rev. Swank speaks for every single person on the right side of the aisle. His views, however, seem to have been espoused by quite a few of those folks since Bush won the election. Maybe this is just because I live in God-fearing Alabama, but I can't tell you how many times I've been smugly told by someone that the people have spoken, they spoke up for Bush and Christian morality, and idiot liberals like me should just go along with the flow if we know what's good for us. Usually this includes some mention of liberals like me as "elitists."

Well, here are the definitions of "elitism" as defined by "The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources"; "The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class"; and "Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class." Thus making an elitist "someone who believes in rule by an elite group." Gosh, that sound like any particular Christian Right you know of?

Look, I know there are plenty of liberals out there who snicker at anyone who lives in a "red state," worships Jesus, or voted for Bush as being stupid. And let the record show that, as someone who meets two out of those three criteria, I don't care for those particular liberals' attitude. But I'll be damned if I'm going to be written off as "elitist" just because I elect not to fall right in lockstep with everything the Christian Right wants to do. I mean, criminy, these people calling anyone else "elitist" is almost as bad as Michael Jackson suggesting someone's getting a little too chummy with his kids.

Calling the right wing on this is going to be tricky, granted, but I hope the Democrats find a way to do it. 'Cause nobody whose attitude basically boils down to "I'm holy and good and Jesus loves me, so you have to admit I'm right all the time" has any business lobbing the "elitist" grenade at anyone. As for me, I'll leave politics out of it and continue to confine my elitism to my taste in cars and football teams, which, as everyone knows, is unimpeachable.

Tuesday, March 15

Yes, that's right, I got an iPod. Now who wants to touch me?

Yesterday morning it came -- my new 20GB Apple iPod. Thus for the first time in my life I got something cool before every freaking person I know got one.

And it seemed like the perfect time to do what all the cool kids are doing -- put the sucker on Shuffle and write down the first 10 songs it plays. Thus the first 10 songs to be listened to on my iPod were:

1. Pet Shop Boys, "Disco Potential"
2. The Strokes, "Is This It"
3. Fluke, "Absurd"
4. R.E.M., "Let Me In"
5. Steely Dan, "Reeling In the Years"
6. Nu Shooz, "I Can't Wait"
7. Thievery Corporation, "Focus On Sight"
8. A Flock of Seagulls, "I Ran (So Far Away)"
9. Underworld, "Something Like a Mama"
10. Underworld, "Mo Move" (Hernan Cattaneo Re-Edit)

Huh. I'm guessing these lists are sort of supposed to give people an idea what kind of music you really like, but this one is pretty damn inscrutable. Aside from the fact, of course, that it lets on a) I like Underworld enough for the machine to pick out two of their songs in a row out of more than 1,200 and b) I have a fetish for the cheesiest of cheesy '80s pop songs that's probably making my friends very ashamed of me right now.

Oh, well. I guess I should just count myself lucky the iPod didn't dig up those Britney Spears and Ashlee Simpson tracks I had on th . . . uh, I mean, I don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about.

Monday, March 14

I'll have you know, sir, that I am not an attention whore. I merely give sensual attention massages.

It's been one week since I started this blog, two weeks since I removed the feeding tube of the last one. And yet, if the site tracker is any indication, GWBWYPGN?!'s traffic is still kicking this site's ass -- to the tune of 632 hits a day, versus (at the time of this writing) 555 in Hey Jenny Slater's first week of existence. Boy, you people just can't let some things go, can you?

But when I dug deeper into GWBWYPGN?!'s site tracker to try and figure out just what the hell all those people were doing poking around a dead blog, I discovered that, at any given moment, a good 70 percent of that site's visitors may have come looking for nothing more than a picture of Salma Hayek that I used in this installment of GWBWYPGN?!'s ever-popular Hot Democrats feature.

I now reproduce that photo here on Hey Jenny Slater, hoping that people will come here and drive up the hit count instead of doing so over at a blog that isn't even being updated anymore. I don't like to think of this as blogwhoring per se, but rather giving the people what they want.

No, no. You're welcome.

Some old soldiers neither die, nor fade away, but rather simply get new Web sites.

Official Hey Jenny Slater homey Wes Clark's new Web site is located at -- thus leaving the Republicans one fewer Democrat whom they can accuse of not caring about national security. (Thanks to another official HJS homey, Blake Pritchett, for the link.)

All y'all ex-Clarkies -- and I know some of you are still out there -- make sure you go by and check it out. Also check it out if you're a pissed-off Dem who's already casting an eye toward 2008. I mean, I'm not saying. I'm just saying.

Saturday, March 12

Two daddies are better than none.

Between this blog and the last one, I'm sure I've pimped my sister's blog to hell and back, but dammit, sometimes she says stuff that merits a big fat Word 'em up, and she posted something Thursday that fits that description. That post gave props to a young lady from metro Atlanta who wrote a column in the Journal-Constitution's "New Attitudes" section suggesting that -- good heavens! -- her adoptive parents, two gay men, might actually be doing a bang-up job of raising her in a positive, loving fashion, despite what folks like Jerry Falwell and James "SpongeBob Is Turning America Gay" Dobson might have you believe.

Ann does an especially good job taking down some schmoe who wrote a letter to the editor in response -- the letter-writer wanted to know where the middle-school-aged columnist was going to get all her information about birth control and her period and blah blah blah, and basically presumed to know more about the girl's relationship with her two dads than she did. Stunningly arrogant, yes, yet no longer all that surprising coming from the religious right.

Ann responds thusly:

Well, I'm not there, so I can't answer that with any certainty. But I'm gonna guess they'll do a lot of the same things that my friend's dad did. Her mother died when she was eight, leaving her father to raise three daughters by himself. When she got her period, he bought tampons. When she got boobs, he took her to JC Penney for a bra fitting. When she had questions about sex, he answered them, and when she started dating, he started cleaning his gun every weekend (this is the south, after all). He did better as father and mother than a lot of two-member parenting teams that I know. And thusly raised, she has grown into a smart, beautiful, capable young woman, nonetheless feminine for having a man in charge of her upbringing.

Bingo. And it's really funny to see how the rationales these right-wing homophobes come up with for opposing adoption by gay parents (and really gay rights in general) get shot down almost as soon as they come up with them. B-b-b-but gay parents will turn their kids gay! Well, if they can do that, how come the straight parents of gay kids couldn't "turn" their kids straight? B-b-b-but children need the influence of a mother in their lives! OK, so should we just get DFCS to track down all the widowers and yank their kids away from them? And on and on and on. Look, homophobes, if your real reason for not wanting gay parents to be able to adopt kids is that you just think gay people are icky and that prejudice makes it impossible for you to believe they could be loving, caring people, just say that already. While the rest of us still wouldn't respect your opinion, we'd at least respect your honesty -- whereas now, we respect neither.

But where this letter-writer really shows his idiocy in thinking that not having a mother will prevent this girl from being able to do girl stuff with one of her parents. I mean, come on -- her parents are two gay dudes. I'll bet you anything that, thanks to her parental influence, she already accessorizes better and has better skin than just about any of the girls in her middle-school class. And when she gets to high school and starts thinking about boys and social events and whatnot, who do you think is going to help her pick out a prom dress? Dad and Dad, that's who, and they will not let her go to that prom in a dress that's anything less than stunning. And she is going to be faaaabulous.

Friday, March 11

We must destroy this village to give the appearance of saving it while not actually saving it, and in fact destroying it.

A bunch of friends of mine went down to Fun-gomery yesterday to protest Bush's appearance to campaign for his Social Security privatization plan. Here are the three things I know about this plan:

1. It's going to cost around $2 trillion (and that's just until 2010) to make the transition from the current system to one that includes private accounts.

2. Bush's own people concede that private accounts won't do anything to solve the program's allegedly impending fiscal crisis.

3. In 1978, Bush said Social Security would be bankrupt by . . . 1988.

So we've got a program so mind-blowingly expensive that my grandkids are going to end up paying for it, that won't even solve the problem its creators claimed to intend to solve, which nobody can prove is going to be an actual crisis anyway. Why should I support this again?

I know that, as one of those 20somethings Bush has been trying like hell to bring on board with this fakakta scheme, I'm supposed to be thrilled poopless that I'm finally going to be allowed to divert some of my payroll tax into a private account. Well, guess what: I don't wanna. And if I did wanna, I'd just put more money into the mutual funds I've already got, instead of shoveling it into some government-controlled account that's barely going to give me anything more than what plain ol' Social Security already does.

The really dumb thing is that, while the Republicans claim to have no specific plan about how they're going to do all this privatizin', they have no problem whatsoever assailing the Democrats for not coming up with a plan of their own. To me this is like if I go to the doctor complaining of a minor headache, and he says, "Looks like our only option is to amputate your leg." And when I ask just what the hell amputating my leg has to do with a headache, he gets all huffy and replies, "Oh, are you a doctor? I suppose you have a better idea?"

It's all academic, at any rate, because it doesn't matter what the Democrats do -- they could come up with a plan that ensures Social Security's solvency until the Second Coming, increases benefits 50 percent for every recipient, requires not a penny in additional tax increases and buys a pony for every American child under the age of 16 and the Republicans would still stomp it into the ground simply because they can't afford to let the Dems steal a victory away from Bush on any issue whatsoever. So, in the end, all they can afford to do at this point is campaign against the Bush plan/non-plan. Under some circumstances, I'd feel really frustrated about that, but when the plan/non-plan is this cockamamie and ill-conceived, I can learn to live with it.

Thursday, March 10

Ah, yes, the timeless seduction of mayonnaise.

Jenna Zimorowicz struggles in a coleslaw wrestling match in Samsula, Florida during Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Florida March 9, 2005. The annual ten-day event attracts motorcyclists of all varieties with over 500,000 expected this year.

In case you didn't know, I live almost right across the street from a dance club called Bell Bottoms, where -- once upon a time -- they had Jell-O wrestling every Wednesday night. Is this what we've come to? Was there really a popular outcry on the part of the nation's drunk-screamy-beachgoing-college-chick community whereby they declared coleslaw sexier than Jell-O and demanded that something be done about it?

If anyone can identify anything less sexy to wrestle in than coleslaw in the comments thread, have at it. Otherwise I'm going to have to assume our society really is in as bad a decline as everyone's been saying. Why haven't the prudes at National Review put together a 10,000-word essay on this?

I have the power, sort of!

Mere days after starting a blog called Hey Jenny Slater, I get this message in my Friendster inbox:

Subject: 10 year reunion!

I got in touch with Michelle Hunter, our class president. She asked me to post an email address for everyone to send their contact information to. Please send mailing address and phone number to [nothing to see here]. PLEASE forward this email address to anyone you are still in touch with (or not in touch with but have been stalking for 10 years).

Wow. Could it be? Does this blog have the power to bend events to its whim? (If so, where the hell has that been for the past year and a half?)

Oh, well. Just be sure to stay tuned for my next blogs, Doug and Elisha's Honeymoon Adventure and Care and Servicing of Your Mercedes-Benz CLK500 Convertible, coming soon!

Editor's note: Right as I started typing this post, guess what came on Comedy Central -- "One Crazy Summer," starring . . . John Cusack. Just thought you should know.

Wednesday, March 9

Dang, that Meg Ryan-Dennis Quaid breakup must've really hit bin Laden hard.

Before he broadened his activities to include the indiscriminate murders of American women and children, Osama apparently decided to focus specifically on doughy, unlikable Kiwis*:

Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe said he may have been a target of an al Qaeda kidnap plot in early 2001, part of a bid by the militant network to "culturally destabilize" the United States.

The Australia-based Crowe told GQ magazine in an interview that he received FBI protection throughout the filming of "A Beautiful Mind" and for part of "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World." He also was flanked by undercover agents at the Golden Globe awards ceremony in 2001.

Ummmm . . . OK. Not to cast doubt on Crowe's story or anything, but let me get this straight: In 2001, al-Qaeda decides they want to "culturally destabilize" the U.S. Plan A is to whack a moderately prolific actor (even if he did win an Oscar for "Gladiator") who isn't even American. They decide that's either unfeasible or not going to achieve their stated goals, so Plan B is to . . . hijack a couple 767s and crash them into the World Trade Center? That was Plan B? The worst terrorist attack in U.S. history was the backup to Operation Whack SID 6.7? Uh-huh, Russ. As you can see, I remain quite skeptical.

At any rate, whatever Osama has against Russell is between the two of them. Aside from "The Insider," I can't say that I've ever gotten too worked up over Russell Crowe. That said, however, if Osama harms so much as one hair on Elisha Cuthbert's head, it's safe to say I will go over to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia or Yemen or wherever he is and kick his ass my damn self.

That one's for you, DAve.

* Editor's note: While the cited Reuters article identifies Crowe as "Australia-based," he was, in fact, born in Wellington, New Zealand. So don't act like you're smarter than me, k thx.

Tuesday, March 8

Great. Thanks to the Republican Party, I now wish I was gay. Oh, and also Republican.

Now, while you've been warned this is not a strictly political blog, I know some of y'all have come here from GWBWYPGN?! looking for political stuff, so I shall now talk some semi-political trash, just to show you vultures I haven't gone soft.

I've actually been wanting to post something on the Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert scandal for a while, just because the whole thing is so . . . well, I'm not gonna lie to you, it's comedy gold. People on both sides of the political spectrum have been complaining for so long about how Washington is full of whores that when one of them turns out to be an actual whore, so many potential jokes bum-rush your cranium that you almost don't know where to begin.

There are many other hilarious things about this, of course, one of the major ones being that the Republicans -- who spent the better part of last year trying to get an anti-gay-marriage amendment passed, and who in Alabama are trying to pass a law banning any mention of homosexuality from school library materials -- have their culottes in a self-righteous wad over how horribly James Jeffrey Guckert Gannon Jingleheimer Schmitt has been treated by the left just because he did some, you know, gay stuff. Let me put your minds at ease right here, Republicans -- we lefties didn't jump on JimJeff just 'cause he's gay. You may rest assured that we would jump just as eagerly on any straight prostitute who was issued a White House press pass out of the blue, particularly if we could find a way in which "happy ending" was somehow involved (though I understand that's Alberto Gonzalez's duty now).

Equally humorous is the way Republicans are suddenly insisting JeffJim's personal life is none of our business. Yeah, they've spent the last 6+ years playing a bizarrely repetitive game of 20 Questions where the answer, every single time, is "Bill Clinton's schlong" ("Is it Democratic or Republican? . . . Was it ever inside an intern? . . . Is it responsible for the decreased vigilance against terrorism that led directly to 9/11? . . . Uh, it's Bill Clinton's schlong!"), yet somehow Jim Guckert's schlong -- which was advertised and depicted publicly on a damn Web site, for Christ's sake, right down to its length to the nearest inch -- is absolutely off limits. How dare you even speak of the male organ! At long last, sir, have you no decency?

But there's one thing that ain't the least bit funny, and it's the fact that the Republicans are in favor of special rights for homosexuals. Yeah, that's right, I said it.

Think about it. As I said, the Republicans spent a huge part of 2004 -- and appear poised to spend a huge part of subsequent years -- campaigning to keep gay people from getting married. Many of them don't even like the fact that gays can enter into civil unions in some places, so one can only deduce that, to a substantial portion of the Republican Party, the idea that two gay people could enter into any kind of committed, monogamous relationship is a total anathema.

Yet if their outrage over the treatment of poor persecuted JimJeff is any indication, they are totally, 100-percent OK with gay folks screwing as many different people as they possibly can. And getting paid for it, no less! Why, they'll even reward you with White House access above and beyond what any average Joe gets! You can even ask a question directly to the president's face! (Hell, I was an actual journalist once and I never got to do that!)

And that just ain't fair. We straight people are expected to have -- and are in some cases all but railroaded into -- committed, monogamous relationships. The more socially conservative elements of the Republican Party, in particular, insist that it's the duty of straight folks to couple up ASAP and start populatin' the country with good Christian babies, no matter how much joyless, workmanlike sex it takes. In fact, my particular brand of Christianity (Catholicism) tells me I get to have only as much joyless, workmanlike sex as it takes to make a baby, and not one orgasm more. But then the Repubs turn right around and tell gay people not to enter into committed relationships, but rather to do as many people as they possibly can! If they're willing to turn a blind eye when JeffJim does it, they'll give a free pass to you too!

Straights have to pair off and screw only that person for the rest of their lives, but gay dudes can bone as many different people as their libidos will allow, and they get to kick it in the White House press corps as a bonus. As a straight Catholic dude who's been taught to be paralyzed with guilt if I so much as go to Hooters and fantasize about my waitress in a thong, I'm really pissed with the whole deal.

So I'm tellin' you, guys, I'm really starting to wish I was gay. (And Republican, 'cause I'm pretty sure it got JimJeff some extra leeway.) Not just because of the GOP's blatant double standard regarding the nation's sexual activities, but because . . . well, I'm gonna be honest with you: Half the time I can't pay hot straight chicks to give me a second glance, but I've had more gay guys hit on me or tell me "Hmm, straight, what a waste" than I can even count. If I turned gay tomorrow, you'd never hear from me on this blog again, 'cause I'd have a different date hooked up every single night. Not only that, but I'd be able to bang them with the GOP's blessing.

Damn you, JeffJim GannonGuckert! Damn you and your ambiguous sexuality and your allegedly eight-inch member, damn it all to hell. It's all sunshine and lollipops for you, isn't it, palling around with the nation's most powerful and influential people and then going home to put a few more hot military notches in your hot military bedpost? Meanwhile, here I am, grateful to have access to one meaningless, purely physical relationship with a girl, just one, and yet even when I do, I can't enjoy it (and I have to go to confession, usually) because I know that, as a straight person, the use of my penis for mere physical pleasure -- or really any purpose other than brining a new life into the world -- is making the baby Jesus cry.

But so anyway, if anyone needs me, I'll be standing outside the headquarters of the local chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, with a single tear running down my cheek like the Indian in that old anti-pollution ad as I gaze wistfully into the windows and ponder just how good those lucky bastards have got it. Guys, don't let yourself be fooled by your party's adamant public opposition to any kind of acceptance for your relationships -- those cats just want you to enjoy yourselves. It really is all about freedom with them, after all.

To which I shouted back, "Oh, yeah, bitch? Let's see you try that s--t behind the wheel of a Kia!" OK, I can't back that up.

I fully recognize that my upbringing was too solidly middle-middle class to engage in any really heavy-duty class warfare, and besides, anyone who would make a high-speed left-hander through an intersection, come within a couple feet of running over a pedestrian legally crossing the street, and then honk at said pedestrian despite the fact that said pedestrian has the right-of-way is already an asshat without bringing any other considerations into it. And yet, when said asshat motorist is driving a Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG (MSRP: $81,520), it's really hard not to interpret that honk as, "Excuse me, peasant, but can't you see what I'm driving here? Get out of my way and be glad I was nice enough not to avail myself of my right to punish your lese majeste with a vehicular homicide!"

Anyway, yeah, I flipped the mofo off. Which I'm not the least bit proud of. But at least I'll have something to confess at my church's Lenten penance service next week, and hey, what's better than a meaningful confession? Yeah, I know!

Monday, March 7

Well, you've obviously come here by mistake. So I don't know what to tell you.

Well, here's the new blog. I just know the two people in North America who give a rat's ass are smiling and clapping their hands with joy, and awwww, I'm so glad I could make you guys happy!

Anyway, this is the blog that I'm doing now that George W. Bush, Will You Please Go Now?! has been placed on permanent hiatus; that stemmed from my being diagnosed with a case of late-onset liberal outrage fatigue (LOF) so acute that no dose of Klonopin, Paxil, or Stolichnaya was prepared to deal with it. This blog will talk about politics quite frequently, I'm sure, but by no means is it meant to be a replacement for GWBWYPGN?!, because there's going to be a lot of non-political stuff here, too -- popular culture, college football, stupid stuff of a very general nature that just happens to pop up in the news.

Oh, and there'll even be stuff about my own life in here. With GWBWYPGN?!, I was usually loath to throw in news updates on my own life, because 1) I figured people were coming there for political stuff, not news about me, and 2) I was never self-confident enough to believe anyone would actually want to read crap about what's going on in the life of Yours Truly. And I'm still not, really, but I guess I looked at certain really good bloggers who include stuff about themselves and manage to make it pretty entertaining and worthwhile so I figured, well, it can be done. So I'm going to give it a try. That's not to say I'm going to be writing about what I had at the Starbucks on 11th on a given morning or what a caterpillar crawling across a sidewalk crack made me discover about myself and my place in the world, and it will snow strawberry daiquiris in Baghdad before I put any f$#!ing poetry on here, mine or anyone else's. But every once in a while something may happen in my life that meets the rigorous standards of "mildly amusing," and if that happens, I'll do a little something about it -- maybe it'll be about having dinner with Wes Clark (which I get to do in Little Rock next month, so eat it, suckers!); maybe it'll be about the weirdly John Hughesian feeling of spiritual lockup you get when you go back to your hometown, run into the girl you had a Price Club economy-sized crush on in high school, find out she's freshly divorced, and realize you haven't changed as much from the person you were in high school as you thought you had; or maybe it'll just be something really funny my sister said while she was hammered out of her mind. But I'll try to make it interesting.

I do, however, reserve the right at all times to do cheesy stuff that at one time or another I may have vowed never to do on GWBWYPGN?! -- like, for instance, posting pictures of pets.

This, for your information, is Jenna, a four-month-old Boston terrier. Her turn-ons include chew toys, long walks, smelling poop, and getting to sit on the couch. Her turn-offs include sirens, tall steps, and not being allowed to smell poop or sit on the couch.

Anyway, now might be a good time to give fair warning: Some of y'all who came here from GWBWYPGN?! and are expecting the pissed-off political ranting to pick up right where it left off, in the exact same fashion in which it left off, are going to be disappointed with this new thing I got goin'. But as I said when I closed the doors and nailed up plywood over the windows at GWBWYPGN?!, man cannot live on politics alone. Being able to venture into areas other than politics is going to make this a lot more fun for me, which in turn (I hope) will make it somewhat fun for you. Notice I didn't promise mind-blowingly. Just somewhat.

And if it doesn't, then you don't have to come here. Now, before, when I was trying to run a reasonably intelligent, respectable political blog, I wouldn't have added "jerk-face" to that last comment. But now I have the freedom to do just that, jerk-face!

Nevertheless, I hope you will come here, and enjoy it, and link to it, and leave comments, and give me advice on how to improve with my continuously Arizona-Cardinals-like string of crappy luck in the relationship department, when I solicit it, which will be often, I'm sure. In the meantime, have fun and don't forget to tip your waitress on the way out.