Saturday, March 27, 2004

Spring training and the cinema

I've sadly missed out on seeing a game so far, but it's definitely time. I think I'll hit both Hi Corbett and TEP in the next two days. Baseball. Beer. Nachos. And all in perfect, 80 degree sunshine.
And maybe I'll catch "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (sounds like I defnintely should, according to Kip) or "Ladykillers." Gotta love free time. As Jon Galeano said, "Just keep livin' for the weekends."

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Sweatin' to the Oldies

Now this is one of the greatest news items I've heard in a while - Richard Simmons slaps ultimate fighter in Phoenix airport. Naw dude, seriously.
From the Arizona Republic: Richard Simmons accused of slapping man
"Exercise guru Richard Simmons allegedly slapped a man who made a sarcastic remark about one of his videos, Phoenix police said.
Police cited the fitness guru on suspicion of assault Wednesday night after he reportedly slapped an ultimate cage fighter across the face inside a Sky Harbor International Airport terminal."
Better, however, is the Reuters story, which actually manages to work in the phrase "bitch slap," courtesy of a police spokeswoman.
From Glenn Campbell to Simmons, mad props to my man Jackson P. Napes.

The Immortals

Rolling Stone's new issue has the 50 greatest artists of all time.
I thumbed through it a bit today (admitedly while on the pot) and it seems to be pretty right on.
It leads with the obvious Beatles, Dylan, Elvis triumvirate and it's definitely nice to see Nirvana, Run DMC and the Clash get some props. I'd argue against Madonna, maybe the Everly Brothers (too early?) and was John Lennon's solo work really different enough to take a spot from somebody else?
The artwork is cool, but the really impressive part is the artists they got to write about the Immortals. A number are on the list themselves, and a good portion more could make a solid argument for inclusion. Equally impressive is the panel used to select the Immortals, except for that Linkin Park guy.
What's curious about the issue, though, is how frequently Rolling Stone seems to be resorting to these best of all time lists. Albums, top guitarists... I know they gotta sell magazines, but I'm getting sick of the fact that damn near the only times Rolling Stone puts a good music on the cover it's more than 30 years old.

Those rascly WMDs

David Letterman has the George W. Bush joke that's not really a joke bit, but here's a new twist:
George W. Bush joke that shouldn't be a joke.
Apparently sending nearly 600 troops to their deaths is worth a chuckle when you find out they died for no reason:
"Bush showed a photo of himself looking for something out a window in the Oval Office, and he said, 'Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere.'
After a few more slides, there was a shot of Bush looking under furniture in the Oval Office. 'Nope,' he said. 'No weapons over there.' More laughter. Then another picture of Bush searching in his office: 'Maybe under here.' Laughter again."
Now, I'm all for crass, offensive and foul humor, but this isn't funny at all. This is absurd and offensive. Please bring your friends to the polls in November.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Those who do not learn from the past...

"There is no neutral ground -- no neutral ground -- in the fight between civilization and terror, because there is no neutral ground between good and evil, freedom and slavery, and life and death.
The war on terror is not a figure of speech. It is an inescapable calling of our generation.
There can be no separate peace with the terrorist enemy. Any sign of weakness or retreat simply validates terrorist violence, and invites more violence for all nations. The only certain way to protect our people is by early, united, and decisive action."
- President George W. Bush, March 19, 2004

"Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud..."
- Bob Dylan, Masters of War, 1963

American soldiers killed in Vietnam: 58,235
American soldiers killed in Iraq: 578 - and counting

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Sweet, sweet John McCain

Just when I thought that somebody had roped him into being Bush's monkey boy, the Maverick sends a little straight talk right up Dubya's ass.
McCain says Kerry not weak on defense
McCain Defends Kerry's Record on National Security
McCain Joins Campaign Fray, Displaying Independent Streak

Bush did his best kickin' McCain around with similar attacks four years ago and it's nice to see him speak up - defending not necessarily Kerry, but the truth.
And let's not forget, McCain did his time in hell during Vietnam while Bush was busy playing hookey from fighter pilot fantasy land, revving up for a career as a business man so that he could run a baseball team (and a country) into the ground.

Earth's sixth major extinction, courtesy of arrogant hairless apes

Don't look now Dubya, but this global climate change mumbo jumbo is legit. According to a British study published in this week's Science:
"A detailed survey of birds and butterflies in Britain shows a population decline of 54 percent to 71 percent, a finding that suggests the world may be undergoing another major extinction.
Researchers said the study helps support the theory that the sixth big extinction in Earth's history is under way, and this one is caused by humans.
In a series of population surveys that combed virtually every square yard of England, Scotland and Wales over 40 years, more than 20,000 volunteers counted each bird, butterfly and native plant they could find. An analysis of the findings appears this week in the journal Science.
The results showed that populations of the surveyed species are in sharp decline throughout England, Wales and Scotland, with some species gone altogether."
This isn't doomsday stuff, there's no Armageddon here.
But sound, careful, well-accepted science would ever-so-politely like to tell us something: "We have likely underestimated the magnitude of the pending extinctions."
Isn't it nice, then, that we have a President who systematically ignores and manipulates scientific research to benefit his own agenda?
The Union of Concerned Scientists has called him on this:
"Across a broad range of issues, the administration has undermined the quality of the scientific advisory system and the morale of the government's outstanding scientific personnel," the report says.
"In case after case, scientific input to policymaking is being censored and distorted. This will have serious consequences for public health," notes a former NSF head.
And the White House response? A bland, blatant lie that the administration "makes decisions based on the best available science."
For once, I'd like to see Bush make a decision on the best available ANYTHING. It seems that the only computation he ever makes is how to further enrich his campaign donors.

Yay! Now we're FUCKING puritans

The Federal Communications Commission today gave Howard Stern's radio show the maximum fine of $27,500.
For what?
"The show’s cast discussed sexual practices and techniques" which "included explicit and graphic sexual and excretory references... This material was lewd and vulgar, and that it appeared to have been used to pander, titillate and shock," according to the FCC decision.
The titillate comment recalls Senator Tankerbell from Mr. Show, a perfect parody of this arrogant, arch-conservative march away from free speech.
Howard Stern ain't for kids, but how many decades do we go back with this ruling? The worst part is Stern seems to be resigned to the fact that the right-wing morality police have succeeded in forcing him off the air.
Also Thursday, the FCC decides that Bono, champion to AIDS-ridden kids Africa-wide, is indecent and profane. What the hell is happening? It's crusades against ideas that scare me, not f-bombs.
Now, I'm more inclined to agree instead with this edict:
"I don't swear for the hell of it. Language is a poor enough means of communication. We've got to use all the words we've got. Besides, there are damn few words anybody understands." (citation left out as a devious test to see who might recognize the passage)
But the root of this whole matter is a distraction from the massacre of the public airwaves.
Leading the way is Michael Powell, who curiously enough "previously served as the Chief of Staff of the Antitrust Division in the Department of Justice," according to his bio.
The thinking goes thusly: "Let's inflame the Bible bangers by suddenly getting pissed about bad words and hope nobody notices that we've pimped out the television airwaves now because the radio waves are too sore from our previous rapings.
"Never mind the First Ammendment (says the crew who so much more prefers the Second), we have legislated morals in this country, derived from our long-standing Christian tradition. And the word fuck has no place in society, and neither does talk of sex.
"But don't you want to be richer Rupert? Ok, please feel free to own and control a substantially greater part of this nation's media outlets."
Since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Clear Channel has gone apeshit, and now owns more than 1,200 radio stations nationwide. Before regulations were weakened, the most stations any company owned was 75.
And now lil' Powell has led the charge to make big media bigger, at the expense of, well, everyone.
I may be a bit radical here, but anytime the ACLU and NRA line up on the same side of the ball, I'm already convinced. We don't need 5 people controlling what the public reads/hears/watches, we need 5 million. We don't need to loosen ownership rules, we need to tighten them.
And we don't need to be on the lookout for every bad word. I find Pat Robertson offensive. I don't watch his show.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004


With the Suns in the toilet this year, it's been hard to give a damn about professional basketball. But a quick scan of the stats show former Arizona stars area really making an impact. (through March 16)
Gilbert Arenas, Washington. 20.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.3 assists (two triple-doubles this year)
Mike Bibby, Sacramento. 18.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists (best record in the West)
Richard Jefferson, New Jersey. 17.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists (USA National Team member)
Jason Terry, Atlanta. 16.4 poins, 4.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists (lone bright spot on dismal team)
Damon Stoudamire, Portland. 13.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.2 assists (still a step ahead legal trouble)
Plus Chris Mills and Sean Rooks have been steady veterans.
And Luke Walton, despite playing for the evil Lakers, has been getting some solid minutes, crunch time even, and he's responded.
Sports Illustrated on Campus did a nice feature on his rookie season, including Bill's comment that "He's 23 years old, single, living on the beach and playing for the Lakers. If he's not having the time of his life, I have failed as a father."

Super-size me

The surprising thing about this is not that he gained 25 pounds in a month, it's that he could actually stomach eating nothing but McDonald's for 30 days.
That sounds absolutely hideous.
He started feeling sick within two days. Three weeks in, his doctor advised him to stop eating McDonald's immediately. His liver started showing early indications of cirrhosis.
Now, I'm certainly not the healthiest person around, and admit to the occasional stop at the Golden Arches, but the thought of confining myself to McDonald's food for any period of time sounds worse than going vegan.
I'd love to see this film - it seems like it makes another outstanding indictment against the Fast Food Nation. Just reading the press acounts of the film on the Web site makes me cringe.
Of course, a widespread release for this film is probably too much to hope for, Sundance aside.
But some believe Spurlock's film, in connection with fat lawsuit backlash, are actually working to turn around the fast food industry.
I'd love to see consumers just face up to the fact that the food is simply crap and leave it at that.

Finally - Iraq on the Record

It's about time somebody besides lefty bloggers started really paying attention to how much bullshit the Bush team has continually been shoveling about Iraq.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D.- Calif., the ranking member of the House Committee on Government Reform, has compiled an astounding list of Bush team lies.
He culled 237 specific misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq made by just five officials - Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell and Rumsfeld.
The database is searchable and extraordinarily thorough. Iraq on the Record is a must read.
No longer can members of this administration lie about their lies, it's time for accountability.
Please, Waxman, devote your staff now to some future endeavors:
Jobs on the Record, Energy on the Record, Sept. 11 on the Record, Homofobia on the Record, Wealthy Tax Cuts on the Record, Halliburton on the Record, National Guard Duty on the Record, Deficit on the Record...
This Iraq nonsense is but the tip of the iceberg for the Bush team lies...

Tuesday, March 16, 2004


I went to see this 80s metal cover band with Mitch the other night. Surreal.
The scary thing is these guys were amazing. Every scream, every guitar note, every drumstick twirl and toss were dead on. The crowd of 20 or so was enthralled.
Honestly, I think this was a better show - musically at least - than damn near anything that went on stage in 1986. These weren't great bands - save maybe a couple - but each had a song or two that we all know. But Raquanet's entire show was crowd pleasers. Not a down moment the whole time; not a dull song in the bunch.
While few of the butt rock bands could even cobble together a greatest hits album (never mind that so many did), a cover band can cherry pick from the whole cannon.
We heard KISS, Bon Jovi, Warrant, the Scorpions, Lita Ford, Motely Cru, Guns 'n' Roses, Van Halen, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake... and plenty of other ones I swear I know but couldn't name.
Led by Luke Skyrocker - with a vague Axl Rose vibe - on vocals and some Slash-lookin' guy on guitar, the band was actually damn good. Sure, they had to fudge on keyboards, but they had the attitude down perfect.

Friday, March 05, 2004


It really weirds me out when I see a dorky person with a boyfriend/girlfriend who has dreadlocks.