Friday, July 29

Friday Random Ten.

Better late than never:

1. R.E.M., "Circus Envy"
2. The Farm, "Echoes"
3. Passengers, "Always Forever Now"
4. Miles Davis, "Blue in Green"
5. U2, "Beautiful Day"
6. Passengers, "A Different Kind of Blue"
7. INXS, "Not Enough Time"
8. Dire Straits, "Money for Nothing" (Live)
9. Dimitri from Paris, "Un Woman's Paradise"
10. New Order, "Bizarre Love Triangle"

Wednesday, July 27

But when barf is outlawed, only outlaws will have barf.

Another thing I bet I would get a lot if people e-mailed me about their likes and dislikes is, "I find I have this really voracious appetite a lot, and I'm hungry all the time. I wish I could just go to your Web site and have my appetite ruined for the rest of the day, so then I'd be in no danger of overeating."

And I come through again:

OLATHE, Kan. ? A high school student convicted of battery for vomiting on his Spanish teacher has been ordered to spend the next four months cleaning up after people who throw up in police cars.

Johnson County Magistrate Judge Michael Farley said during the sentencing Tuesday that he considered the boy's actions "an assault upon the dignity of all teachers."

The story goes on to say that while the boy claimed he threw up because he was nervous about his final exams, other students testified that he had planned the, uh, throwing-up days in advance. Making this a first-degree vomiting.

I don't know about y'all, but I think throwing up is the absolute grossest thing the body is capable of doing. Yes, before anyone even asks, grosser than diarrhea. If someone vomited on me, I'd probably have to rip off all my clothes right away and then race home and take a shower for three hours. And even then I'd still be smelling the Phantom Vomit Smell wherever I went. Weeks later I'd be out on a date or something and she'd be trying to have a conversation with me and I'd still be like, "Is it on me? I feel like it's still on me." Anyway, my point is that there's no punishment too severe for this kid. Somehow we have to nip this vomiting thing in the bud right away and drill it into the heads of our nation's young people that vomit is not an acceptable weapon. Punch people, carry a nine in your backpack if you must . . . but deliberately unloading the contents of your stomach on someone, that's just wronger than wrong.

Tuesday, July 26

Being all that they can be, which is apparently a hell of a lot more than the 101st Fighting Keyboarders.

Nobody ever e-mails me about things they'd like to see more of or less of on this site, but if they did, I just have this feeling that there'd be this wellspring of people saying things like, "I wish you'd have more links to news stories about old ladies doing crazy stuff and raising a stink."


TUCSON, Ariz. - Five older women known as the "Tucson Raging Grannies" pleaded innocent Monday to misdemeanor trespassing charges lodged when they tried to enlist at a military recruitment center.

A judge set an Aug. 19 pretrial hearing for the women, who range from 55 to 81 years old ? decades older than the maximum allowable age for recruits.

I mention this not because I share their belief that we should summarily yank the troops out of Iraq right away -- I don't -- but because I find the contrast so immensely amusing. What contrast, you ask? How about the contrast between these kindly little old ladies and folks like . . . oh . . . Jonah Goldberg? John Hinderaker? Rich Lowry? Captain Ed? Matt Margolis?

If you're playing at home, let's tally up the attempted enlistments: Tucson Raging Grannies 5, 101st Fighting Keyboarders 0.

Wow. I mean, I always kind of had an idea that Goldberg and Hinderaker were bigger pussies than most grandmas, but it's kind of cool to see it right out in the open like that.

Good show, grannies.

Friday, July 22

Actually, can I make that a hell no?

My favorite NFL team, as most of the world knows -- my boys, my dawgs, my gridiron heroes since the tender age of three -- is the Washington Redskins, but as an ex-Georgian, my runner-up, should the 'Skins not be able to fulfill their duties, is the Atlanta Falcons. All the more so now that under the ownership of Arthur Blank, the team's management finally appears consistently capable of finding their asses with both hands.

But if the Falcs get taken in by this crap, there's gonna be some 'splainin' to do:

PHILADELPHIA ? Terrell Owens made some of his strongest statements to date about his contract situation with the Eagles, saying "it's not going to be a good situation" if he has to go to training camp under the conditions of his current contract.

"I want something to be rectified and we can just move on," Owens said on a Comcast sports network in his hometown of Atlanta.

. . .

The Atlanta-based questioners asked Owens whether he'd like to play for the Falcons, and he warmed to the idea.

"If Joe Banner can give Drew Rosenhaus permission to seek a trade, then ? who knows? ? Atlanta might be on the list of people I can play for."

Oh, howsabout I slam the brakes on this little fantasy right here with a question: Has Terrell Owens ever been happy, for more than one season, in any of the places he's played? He didn't like it in San Francisco because he didn't get along with his head coach, whom he dissed publicly (along with his own quarterback) even before he'd left town. SF tried to trade him to Baltimore, but he said he didn't want to go to Baltimore. He said he wanted to go to Philly, and acted for a while like he was thrilled to be there -- but all of a sudden now he's not satisfied with his Eagles contract after all. Well, though [feces], T.O. You signed it, it's yours. What the hell's your problem?

At any rate, the Falcons don't need him badly enough to deal with the turmoil and whining he would inevitably bring. They've already won an NFC South title without T.O., and their current receiving corps includes Alge Crumpler, maybe the most exciting tight end in the league; Peerless Price, who may have been woefully underutilized so far in Atlanta but still has proven talent; and the very sure hands of Dez White, who's talented enough that I can even praise him despite the fact that he's a Tech grad. (Don't think it's ever going to happen again.) Oh, yeah, and the Falcons also have Roddy freaking White, who led Division I-A last year in receiving yards as a wideout for UAB and is already poised to become one of the most thrilling receivers in the history of the league, not that I'm biased or anything.

If T.O. wants a change of scenery so bad, the Dolphins need a receiver -- let him go down to Miami and torture Nick Saban for a while. Plus, they've had an opening at the Team Cancer position ever since Ricky Williams left.

Friday Random Ten, Hot In Herre Edition.

No, I don't have that song on my iPod -- I happen to think that's one of the most annoying hip-hop songs to be released in the last decade. I'm referring to the weather here in the B-hizzy, which is only compounded by humidity that makes me look I did a header into a swimming pool full of sweat the minute I walk outdoors. Miller Time's gonna come early today, I have a feeling.

But until it does, here's the Random Ten:

1. Pet Shop Boys, "Before"
2. BT, "Embracing the Future"
3. Goodie Mob, "Soul Food"
4. The Dust Brothers, "Space Monkeys"
5. Fugazi, "Do You Like Me"
6. Richard Cheese, "Smack My Bitch Up" *
7. David Holmes, "Gritty Shaker"
8. Pet Shop Boys, "The Only One"
9. Underworld, "Pearls Girl"
10. The Who, "My Generation"

* Richard Cheese is a singer who does lounge versions of popular alternative-rock and hip-hop songs, including Rage Against the Machine's "Guerilla Radio," Nine Inch Nails' "Closer," U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday," and many more. Good stuff.

Thursday, July 21

Today's question for conservatives. (I'm thinking about making this a regular feature.)

Evidently Dick Durbin decrying prisoner abuses at Guantanamo Bay inflames and encourages our terrorist enemies, but suggesting that we nuke Mecca does not. Explain.

OK, so it's more of an essay question.

Tuesday, July 19

On reputations to uphold, and all that rot.

Dang, I'm thinking I need to go out, buy a HandyCam and make myself a sex tape, because evidently I'm the only person left on Earth who hasn't made one:

LOS ANGELES - Actor Colin Farrell is suing a woman for allegedly trying to distribute and profit from a sex tape he says the two recorded with the agreement they would never make it public.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Superior Court seeks general and compensatory damages as well as a temporary restraining order and injunction prohibiting the sale and exploitation of the videotape.

Fair enough, if she'd agreed to keep it under wraps and then reneged on the promise. But this is the bit that really got me:

"Defendants' outrageous attempt to capitalize on the celebrity of plaintiff Colin Farrell ... through their unauthorized commercial exploitation of the highly private and confidential videotape exceeds all bounds of common human decency," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also said the release of the videotape would irreparably harm Farrell's reputation and career. [My emphasis.]

Colin, are you f$#!ing kidding? Your "reputation" is of a libertine, perpetually boozed-up Mick who has plunged his spear into more actresses, models, and slutty wannabes than he can count. I'd say your "reputation" is not only safe after the release of this videotape, it's been robustly reinforced.

Here's a tip, aspiring famous people: If you want to make a videotape of yourself doing something with your significant other, but are still concerned about your good name, film yourselves making a sandcastle on the beach or reading to handicapped kids at a library. It's much safer.

Monday, July 18

From the folks behind Oval Office Space, a treatment of Harry, the not-yet-written book by Stephen King.

As one of the three remaining people on earth who have never read any of the Harry Potter books, I'm probably in no position to make fun here, and maybe I'm just a sicko anyway, but when I read this . . .

LONDON -- J.K. Rowling, whose literary creation Harry Potter has drawn millions of fans of all ages worldwide, is filled with dread at the thought of ending her popular series when the seventh and final edition is released.

. . .

As for writing non-Harry Potter fiction, she hinted she might consider a pen name.

"A fake name is very attractive," Rowling said. "I'll have less pressure and I can write any old thing I want and people won't be clamoring for it and that might be nice."

. . .

Rowling said she has no complaints, though she is sometimes nostalgic for the days before she was famous.

"But one of my regrets would be that I will never again have the pleasure of sneaking into a cafe ? any cafe I like ? sitting down and diving into my world and no one knowing what I am doing and no one bothering about me and being totally anonymous, that was fantastic."

. . . the first thought that popped into my head was this:


The sky is a riot of white snowflakes swirling around a particularly desolate stretch of road winding through the Highlands of northern Scotland. Even though it's mid-afternoon, what little light we can see is mostly created by the headlights of a lone JAGUAR XJ8 motoring along the windswept road.

Cut to the car's interior, where internationally famous children's author J.K. ROWLING, stylishly dressed and looking younger than her 40 years, wears a nervous expression as she grips the steering wheel with nervous, white-knuckled hands. Outside she can just barely make out a sign that reads "Curved Road, Next 13 Miles."

The sign isn't kidding around, for just beyond it is a sweeping but sudden left-hander that catches ROWLING by surprise. She pounces on the brakes perhaps a little too hard, and we see the back wheels of the JAGUAR skid out of line to the right. The car fights for traction, crabbed at a frightening angle as it shoots around the bend, and ROWLING overcorrects just enough to send the car into an irreversible spin. The JAGUAR goes flying off the outer edge of the curve and rockets into the void.

The JAGUAR crunches sickeningly into the snow and starts to roll down a tree-lined slope. It finally slams to a stop against a huge pine tree, wheels still spinning.

Inside, ROWLING's eyes are open. She's alive, but we -- and she -- can tell time is running out.

CU on ROWLING as her eyelids flutter, then close.

Almost no sooner have they closed, though, than there is a scraping sound at the driver's door, then a groan of metal being twisted against its will as the door is ripped open. Pull back to reveal a BUNDLED-UP YOUNG MAN, features obscured by the swirling snow. The YOUNG MAN crouches down and reaches into the car.


ROWLING's eyes flutter open again, and we see she is in a bed in a rustic mountain cabin. One arm has an IV in it; the other is bandaged and in a sling. The YOUNG MAN who rescued ROWLING from her car is standing beside the bed, looking concerned; his name is SAMMY WILKINSON, and he can't be more than 10 years old.

ROWLING. (hoarse whisper) Where . . . am I?

SAMMY. Shhh . . . just a couple hours south of Inverness.

ROWLING. How long . . . ?

SAMMY. You've been here two days. You're going to be OK. My name is Sammy Wilkinson, and I'm --

ROWLING. -- My number-one fan. Are your parents home?

SAMMY. (looks down at his feet) My mum's dead, and my dad spends all his time at the pub.

ROWLING. Oh. I'm sorry to hear that, Sammy. But I'm incredibly grateful to you for rescuing me.

SAMMY smiles, relieved.


ROWLING is looking a little more alert than she did the previous day, but still very weak. SAMMY brings a steaming spoonful of chicken soup up to ROWLING's lips, and she eats.

ROWLING. I guess it was kind of a miracle that you found me . . .

SAMMY. Oh, no, it wasn't a miracle at all. I was sort of following you, like.

ROWLING. You were?

SAMMY. Well, it wasn't any secret to me that you were staying in Inverness over the weekend, seeing as how I'm your number-one fan and all. Some nights I'd just look up at the window of your hotel room and . . . try to imagine what was going on in the room of the world's greatest writer.

ROWLING. You mean that?

SAMMY. Oh, I do. I practically know all of your books by heart, Ms. Rowling, all six of them. I love them so.

ROWLING. You're very kind . . .

SAMMY. And you're very brilliant, and you must be a good person, or you could never have created such a wonderful person as Harry Potter.

ROWLING. When do you think the phone lines will be back up? I want to call my agent in London and let him know I'm OK.

SAMMY. It shouldn't be too much longer. I'll keep trying the phone, in the meantime. (suddenly shy) Um . . . can I ask you a favor? I noticed in your briefcase there was a new Harry Potter book, and . . . I was wondering if maybe . . .

ROWLING. You want to read it?

SAMMY. Well . . . yes. If it's all right with you.

ROWLING. You've saved my life, Sammy. It's the least I can do.

SAMMY. (his eyes light up) Ms. Rowling, this is the greatest gift anyone has ever given me.


ROWLING is now able to sit up by herself in bed and feed herself. She picks at a plate of scrambled eggs as SAMMY walks in carrying a copy of the seventh Harry Potter book. He looks overcome with joy.

SAMMY. I bought it just the other day, Ms. Rowling. Before the snowstorm hit. I think I got the first copy in the city.

ROWLING. You did?

SAMMY. I'm already on page 185. I always get sad when I pass the halfway point. (pause) Can you do me another favor? I would love it if you'd autograph my copy.

SAMMY hands the book and a pen to ROWLING, who begins signing.

SAMMY. When my mom died, I didn't know what to do -- I felt like I was completely alone in the world. Like the only friend I had was Harry Potter. I just kept reading his adventures over and over again -- as soon as I'd finish one I'd start right in on the next one.

ROWLING hands the signed book back to SAMMY.

ROWLING. All done.

SAMMY. Oh, thank you, Ms. Rowling, thank you ever so much. I'd love to stay here and chat some more, but I'm almost near the end and I can't wait to find out what happens.

ROWLING. I hope you like it.

SAMMY. Of course I'll like it. Harry's about to have his final battle to save the world from Lord Voldemort. Does he end up killing -- no, no, don't tell me.

With that, SAMMY exits.


A FULL MOON is visible through the wispy clouds as ROWLING, still in bed, gazes wistfully out the window. Presently a loud stomping can be heard in the house, getting closer, until SAMMY is at ROWLING's bedside. His face is pale and contorted.

SAMMY. You . . . you dirty bird. He can't be dead. Harry Potter cannot be dead! How could you?

ROWLING. Sammy, everybody dies, they can't live forever. But his spirit is the important thing, and Harry's spirit is still very much alive --

SAMMY. (screaming) I DON'T WANT HIS SPIRIT! I want HARRY! And you MURDERED him!

ROWLING. I didn't . . .

SAMMY. Then who did?

ROWLING. Voldemort did -- Harry managed to save the world from Voldemort's evil clutches, but the exertion was just too much for him, and . . . he couldn't take it.

SAMMY. (screaming again) Couldn't take it? Couldn't take it?! Harry Potter is the greatest young wizard in the world -- he could find a way to "take it." But you wouldn't let him. You did it. You murdered my Harry!

Enraged, SAMMY has lifted his Lego model of Hogwarts Castle over his head. ROWLING thinks for a fleeting moment that SAMMY is about to hurl it at her, but at the last minute SAMMY turns and smashes it against a wall. The castle shatters on impact, with little Lego bricks and mini-figures flying everywhere.

SAMMY is panting as he surveys the destruction he has wrought, but when he turns back to ROWLING, his voice is surprisingly soft and measured.

SAMMY. I thought you were good, Ms. Rowling, but you're not good -- you're just a lying old dirty birdie, and I don't think I should be around you for a while.

SAMMY crosses to the door, then stops.

SAMMY. And don't even think about anybody coming for you, not the doctors, not your agent, your family -- because I never called them. Nobody knows you're here. And you better hope nothing happens to me, because if I die, you die.

SAMMY walks out and slams the door. As he stomps out into the snow outside, ROWLING's expression is one of utter shock and despair, knowing some very bad times are ahead.

(Author's note: I'd originally included a "hobbling" scene as part of this treatment, but who knows if some little kid might stumble upon this thing, so . . . you'll just have to picture it in your head, I guess.)

Friday, July 15

Friday Random Ten, Just For The Record, I Didn't Know These People Were Musicians When I Revealed Their Identities Edition.

1. Groove Armada, "The Final Shakedown"
2. Pet Shop Boys, "Two Divided By Zero"
3. U2, "Beautiful Day" (David Holmes remix)
4. Common/Kanye West, "The Food"
5. Orbital, "Impact"
6. Patton Oswalt, "The Magic of Oil Painting"
7. Pet Shop Boys, "So Hard"
8. DJ Shadow, "Mashin' on the Motorway"
9. Moby, "Novio"
10. Radiohead, "Meeting in the Aisle"

Share, baby! Put your own in the comments . . .

Wednesday, July 13

Maybe he was just calling him to see if he had any, uh, extra tickets to the Nationals game.

One thing that's a source of endless amusement whenever I debate my conservative friends is playing what I call the Who Speaks For The Party? game. At any given point, if my conservative friends are to be believed, random celebrities from Michael Moore to Rosie O'Donnell may represent the True Face Of The Democratic Party. Yet folks like Alan Keyes, former GOP presidential candidate and nominee for U.S. Senate in one of the largest states in the nation, and Nathan Taylor, chair of the 2005 Young Republican National Convention, are either fringe figures or bit players who don't accurately represent current Republican ideology. And Christian fundamentalist heavies like James "SpongeBob" Dobson or Jerry "9/11 Was God's Revenge On Homos" Falwell -- well, uh, nobody actually listens to them. They can make all the demands on Bush they want, but he's not actually gonna listen to 'em.

So if that's the case, then why, as Andrew Sullivan asks, has Bush been calling Falwell asking for his advice on whom to nominate for Supreme Court?

"Someone from the White House called me yesterday, asking for any input I might have," said the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the founder of the Moral Majority and chancellor of Liberty University in Virginia.

Mr. Falwell said he declined to offer advice, telling the White House staff member that, because of Mr. Bush's track record appointing conservative judges, "I am willing to sit back and trust him and pray for him."

Declined to offer advice . . . well, thank God for tender mercies. But still, can any of you conservatives, from the thinking moderates to those filled with rich wingnutty goodness, explain to me why I shouldn't be terrified that Bush would call a guy like Falwell? I don't want to be having nightmares about "Associate Justice Richard Santorum" tonight . . .

Tuesday, July 12

OK, it may be impeachable, but it's not blowjob impeachable.

So now that we know Karl Rove not only leaked Valerie Plame's CIA-agent status to the press but also lied about having done so to everyone from the press to people in his own administration, can anyone make the case he deserves to have any role in the federal government other than that of "defendant"? Anyone at all?

Well, the dipshits at Power Line, faithful to the end, have come up with a reason, and you're never going to guess what it is -- well, no, you know exactly what it is, you just never thought anybody would be moronic enough to actually try and use it with a straight face: It's nothing to get up in arms about because it didn't involve "lewd sexual conduct." No, read the post: That's exactly what they said. See, wingnuts, you guys get all huffy anytime one of us suggests that you're still obsessed with Clinton's cock, but if you don't want us lodging those accusations, you probably shouldn't pull stupid non-sequitur shit like claiming that it was OK for Karl Rove to blow a government agent's cover, potentially exposing her to life-threatening danger, because a Democrat once got his knob shined in the Oval Office.

Or, to put it in the infinitely more eloquent-yet-savage words of Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte:

Yep, this worthless shitstain is arguing that Rove's outing of a CIA agent as a petty bit of Machivellian Worship My Feet political enemy thumping is nothing, especially not compared to the Only Bad Thing You Can Do in the wingnut world, which is fuck.

Amanda, if you're not doing anything the next couple days, marry me. The rest of you, single or not, can go here and sign Rep. Louise Slaughter's petition to demand that Bush fire Rove (as he promised to do) for the leak. Bush may not pay any attention to it than he pays to any of the millions of other people who've dared to venture that someone in his administration may have completely screwed something up, but hey, it's the thought that counts.

Saturday, July 9


 Posted by Picasa

In the span of about two hours this afternoon, the weather here in Birmingham went from sunny, clear, beautiful to charcoal-grey skies, gale-force winds, thunder, pouring rain. Awwww, yeah! Dennis is in the hizz-ouuuuse!

So in the unlikely event that I die in this storm, I'm going to put my living will up on this blog so that there's no doubt about what I want.

1) If I survive, but with no higher brain fuction, ability to recognize my loved ones, etc., I authorize my father to pull the friggin' plug or feeding tube or what have you. And if Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, or Tom Coburn try to intervene, I authorize my father to kick them in the genitals.

2) If I die, I want to be cremated, and have my ashes spread on Karl Rove's face while he sleeps.

3) I leave my car to my friend Erin, because her car sucks.

4) I leave my dog to my sister.

5) I also leave my television, DVD player, computer, iPod, and DVD/VHS collection to my sister, because she'll probably need to pawn all that shit to pay the pet deposit at her apartment.

6) As for the remainder of my possessions, I want there to be a nationally televised round-robin bikini volleyball tournament between Angelina Jolie, Jessica Simpson, Elisha Cuthbert, and the Bush twins, with the winner receiving all of said possessions. I know I won't be around to see it; I'm just trying to make the world a better place.

7) If any person should attempt to interfere with the execution of any of these clauses, I authorize my father to kick them in the genitals.

UPDATE: All clear. What a wimpy hurricane -- it acts all big and bad and category-3 and stuff when it's out there in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, but practically the minute it hits land it gets all scared and is downgraded into this mincing, pansy tropical storm. Didn't lose power last night or anything. I even have to go to work this morning! I got two days off thanks to Hurricane Ivan last year but from Dennis, bupkus. Thanks a heap.

Aren't you glad you don't have to fight the terrorists at home?

Now that the utter worthlessness of the Bush administration's "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" theory has been proven once again, you'd think that Bush would stop mentioning it, and would certainly not stoop to mentioning it at some completely inappropriate time such as, I don't know, right after laying a freaking wreath" at Downing Street.

Well, as Digby points out, you would be wrong:

After returning from the summit on Friday, Bush visited the British Embassy in Washington and signed a book of condolence and laid a wreath in front of the ambassador's residence.

Bush said the London attacks were a reminder of the "evil" of the Sept. 11 attacks and underscored that the United States and its allies were fighting a "global war on terror."

"We will stay on the offense, fighting the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them at home," Bush said.

So, just for the record, the list of people supposedly not fighting the terrorists at home includes the Iraqis, the Spaniards, and the British. How lucky they must feel right now!

Friday, July 8

Hey, that's one of my future ex-wives you're trying to pimp out, asshole!

Josh was kind enough to alert me to this Defamer item concerning a certain escort service in Las Vegas. It seems that the service in question is distributing handbills that would have you believe you can put down $47 and have Elisha Cuthbert at your disposal for whatever, but I kind of doubt that's the case, and I'm incensed that they would stoop to appropriating the image of a future ex-Mrs. Doug Gillett for their tawdry flesh-peddling.

Don't worry, I won't let the nasty Vegas pimps lay a finger on you. Posted by Picasa

Friday Semi-Random Ten, All Old Blighty, All The Time Edition.

For this installment of the Friday Random Ten, we're giving a shout-out to the brave souls in the United Kingdom and restricting the playlist to British musicians. (Residents of the independent Republic of Ireland, for the purposes of this exercise, are not eligible -- so, sorry, U2, Sinead O'Connor and House of Pain, we'll get to y'all next week.)

Anyway, here 'tis -- cheerio . . .

1. Sting, "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free"
2. Depeche Mode, "Walking In My Shoes"
3. Groove Armada, "Purple Haze"
4. Pet Shop Boys, "Can You Forgive Her?" (Rollo dub)
5. Happy Mondays, "Lazyitis"
6. The Police, "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
7. Pet Shop Boys, "Transparent"
8. Electronic, "Get The Message"
9. The Streets, "Let's Push Things Forward"
10. Massive Attack, "Three"

As always, feel free to throw your own ten, be they British, Irish, American, Slovakian, or whatever, in the comments (but all-Limey lists get bonus points).

Wow. That's . . . jeez, I got nothin'.

Courtesy of TBOGG, we take a journey with Steve of No More Mister Nice Blog into the murky depths of to see how the Freepers are responding to the news of the bombings in London.

One of the Freepers made the "mistake" of dropping the O-word:

Maybe it's time FINALLY to go and get Osama? Remember Osama? Anybody? Anybody?

Posted on 07/07/2005 12:35:25 PM PDT by churchillbuff

I was lectured on Freerepublic that I was supposed to "feel safer" because we captured Saddam -- even though there's no evidence that he was behind 9-11. Osama is the guy that Bush promised to get "dead or alive" -- but four years later, he's still out there, free as a jail bird.

Maybe it's time to refocus on the mastermind and culprits who were behind 9-11?

Prediction: I'll get flamed as a "DU provacateur" for advocating that we go after somebody who killed 3000-plus people on American soil.

Oh, come on, churchillbuff, have some faith in human nature!

Or, on second thought, don't. Among the replies sampled at NMMNB:

People like you both amuse and disgust me. You expend energy to mock and impede the war on terror, you're nowhere to be found as daily we post victory after victory in the GWOT, but the second something like this happens you proclaim defeat, using the Brits' suffering for your own weak position. You should be ashamed.

Nothing but more hot air from you.

It's all our fault, us evil Westerners should get what we deserve. All bow to Allah, wear your burka's and submit to the chosen few to rule the world.

I truly think you are a descendant of Neville Chamberlain.

Bush NEVER promised to get Osama dead or alive. He said he wanted him dead or alive. Huge difference.

He's irrelevent, except for Bush bashers who need something to whine about.

"He's irrelevent" [sic]? Oh, I can probably think of a few dozen British families who aren't so sure.

But anyway, if you were wondering how you were supposed to respond to this latest attack w/r/t America's strategy in the war on terror, the Freepers have made it official: If you still want to capture Osama, you are an appeaser and a traitor.

My head's about to explode trying to comprehend all this. Somebody suggest something Angelina Jolie-related to post about, hurry . . .

Thursday, July 7

Murder walking 'round the block,
ending up at King's Cross.

Obviously the bombings this morning in London were a horrible tragedy, but I was kind of surprised at how shaken I found myself in reaction to it all. It sounds really dumb to say, "Awww, those Brits, they're so nice and polite and nice everything, they didn't deserve to get bombed like that," because I don't think an aristocratically British level of manners and good breeding should necessarily be a prerequisite for not getting bombed. (If it were, I'd be a grease spot right now.) Be that as it may, though, some of the nicest people I've ever met in my life were in London, and thinking of one of those people getting harmed in an attack like this is no less troubling to me than thinking of one of my friends in New York getting hurt in an attack there.

But I think the thing that really just sort of stunned me about this morning's events was the photo above, which for a little while was the main photo on the front page of Yahoo!'s news coverage. On the big Europe trip my family took a few years ago, we spent four or five days in London, and I got my sister to take my picture in just about the exact spot where you see those firemen standing -- one of my favorite songs is "King's Cross" (by the Pet Shop Boys, naturally), and that's why I wanted to get my picture taken in front of the station. (I also got my sister to take my picture as I walked barefoot across Abbey Road, thinking that I was soooo clever to have thought of that, and then it turned out every flippin' American tourist in London was doing the exact same thing, though that's really neither here nor there.)

"King's Cross" is one of the tracks on Actually, one of the most underrated albums of the 1980s. The lyrics are as follows:

The man at the back of the queue was sent
to feel the smack of firm government
Lingered by the fly poster for a fight
It's the same story every night
I've been hurt and we've been had
You leave home and you don't go back

Someone told me Monday, someone told me Saturday
Wait until tomorrow and there's still no way
Read it in a book or write it in a letter
Wake up in the morning and there's still no guarantee

Only last night I found myself lost
by the station called King's Cross
Dead and wounded on either side
You know it's only a matter of time
I've been good and I've been bad
I've been guilty of hanging around

Someone told me Monday, someone told me Saturday
Wait until tomorrow and there's still no way
Read it in a book or write it in a letter
Wake up in the morning and there's still no guarantee

So I went looking out today
for the one who got away
Murder walking round the block
ending up in King's Cross
Good luck, bad luck waiting in a line
It takes more than the matter of time

Someone told me Monday, someone told me Saturday
Wait until tomorrow and there's still no way
Read it in a book or write it in a letter
Wake up in the morning and there's still no guarantee
There is still no guarantee

As ominous as the "dead and wounded on either side" line sounds today, it was even more eerily prescient back in '87 -- toward the end of that year, an underground fire at King's Cross took the lives of 31 people. In the 2001 re-release of Actually with additional rare tracks and commentary on each of the songs, Neil Tennant expounded on the meaning of the song -- "It's about hopes being dashed" -- and described the King's Cross station as a sort of distinctively '80s symbol of everything that was wrong with Britain:

The first line sets up the song. It's an angry song about Thatcherism. Mrs. Thatcher came in on the promise of firm government and I'm interpreting 'the smack of firm government' literally as hitting someone. That's what firm government tends to mean - you hit the weakest person, the man at the back of the queue. I think there's something almost Biblical about 'only last night I found myself lost . . . ' It's like an epic nightmare. 'The dead and wounded on either side, it's only a matter of time,' is another AIDS reference. At the end -- 'so I went looking out today' -- there's a detective, and he's looking for someone, and this mythical place, King's Cross, is the end of the line, the place from where there is no escape but death. It's the death of all hope. And I'm saying that waiting there isn't enough.

As depressing as it is to think about it, the song is as relevant now as it was then -- the poorest and weakest members of society feeling "the smack of firm government"; promises not being kept; people carrying so much anger around with them that they "linger by the fly poster for a fight," just waiting for someone to hit. And, of course, the feeling that hope is slipping away -- if it hasn't been lost entirely. Events like the one this morning serve as a reminder that, barring some kind of miracle, we probably can't "win" the war on terror any more than we can win the wars on poverty or drugs. We can beef up our defenses, we can seize terrorists' resources, we can foil their plans for this attack or that attack, but the idea that we're ever going to eliminate terrorism or terrorists entirely is wishful thinking.

That doesn't mean we should quit fighting it, of course, any more than it means we should quit the fight against poverty. But with any fight there's a right way and a wrong way, and I'm not convinced we're fighting it the right way. It seems to me that one of the best ways to have a really unsatisfying and needlessly protracted fight is to come into it with exactly the same weapons as your enemy. Al-Qaeda started this war with hate, and we're not going to win it just by upping the hate level (not that the world needs any more hate as it is).

I had this big long post in my head earlier today, trying to make some point about the Arab world and terrorism and the bankruptcy of the "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" strategy, but I just couldn't make it sound right, so I decided to can it. Instead I just want to say I hope y'all will pray for the victims and their families tonight -- and pray that the world will realize that spending all our time lingering by the fly poster for a fight just isn't any way to live.

Tuesday, July 5

I'm oh so tired (shhhh, shhhhh) . . .

Sorry for not posting over the weekend -- we were up in West By God Virginia for a family-type affair, and yesterday my dad, my sister and I drove 12 hours back from Keyser, W. Va., to our respective places of residence, so you'll have to excuse me if I come across as a little, uh, brief. I don't know that I'm what you'd call "fully conscious" yet, but we'll see about tomorrow.