Monday, April 16, 2007

Death and more!

*** So, Kurt Vonnegut died. It's a bummer. He did an appearance at Syracuse University once back in the '60s for University Union Speaker's Board, and while I was on Cinema Board instead, still, I volunteered to work the gig, which was at Hendrick's Chapel, and which involved basically standing at the front doors and taking people's tickets, which were actually free, but, still, for some reason, you had to have a free ticket in order to get in (I'm guessing it was to control how many people actually got let into the chapel; I think they were anticipating a big, possibly overflow, crowd).

I remember Mr. Vonnegut being charming, whimsical, and funny, much more so than Robert Klein, whom I'd also seen in a similar venue some time previous to Mr. Vonnegut's appearance.

I was mostly interested in seeing Mr. Vonnegut because the movie version of SLAUGHTERHOUSE-5 was a big Cinema Board favorite and I'd probably seen it like 9 times at that point -- not a particularly significant claim in the context of easy rentals and home video players, but something of an accomplishment back in those days, when every time I'd seen SLAUGHTERHOUSE-5, it was actually projected on an actual big screen in an actual auditorium in front of a paying audience.

Despite having seen and enjoyed S5 many times, I had not at that time ever read anything by Mr. Vonnegut, and to this date I'm not sure I ever have. Maybe I read CAT'S CRADLE, honestly, I could not tell you. Well, I know I read that one short story of his with Harrison Bergeron -- BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS? The one that everyone has read. But I think that may be all the Vonnegut I've actually read.

Still, he's somebody I once saw when he was alive, and now he's dead, and for some reason, the fact that I actually laid eyes on him in person at one point in the dim and distant past makes that death seem more real to me than, say, the death of Richard Jeni or Marshall Rogers. Go figure.

* * * I'm in the middle of a couple more Heroclix trades -- wait, wait, I can hear the glaze forming on your retinas from here. I'm moving along.

* * * Wedding stuff, wedding stuff -- well, SuperFiancee has that all well in hand, and other than getting all the food together and somehow moving everything over to the site and set up and organized and me not making a massive hashed up nuclear catastrophe out of my various bits of the ceremony, I think we're pretty well set.

My bachelor party has pretty much fallen below the local event horizon; absolutely nobody has responded to any of my best man's invitations as to clix games or maybe Killquest with anything but sullen, stuporous silence. So my plan is, go back to the house after the rehearsal dinner, see who's hanging around, announce I'd like to play a game of clix if anyone is interested, and then either play clix with anyone who may be interested, or, if nobody speaks up, well, I guess I'll tie a pork chop around my neck and see if any of the neighborhood dogs want to play with me. Or something.

It doesn't seem as if Mike Norton is going to be able to attend the ceremony, which makes SF and I both very sad. However, we always knew it was a long shot, anyway. We actually sent invitations to several people we knew were highly unlikely would show up -- The Always Esteemed Scott Shepherd, my old buddy Opus, several close relatives. I wish they could have all put in an appearance, but, well, they'll all be in our thoughts, as will a few others we couldn't even send invitations to, like SF's much missed friend Chick and my best buddy, the Late Great Jeff Webb. Ah, well. It's a time of joy, not regrets.

* * * Stuff like this I should post on the poli-blog, but fukkit, it's not like more than fourteen people really read my work no matter where I put it, so, to save me some time and trouble, I'll just post it here -- it seems odd to me that a few weeks ago, the standard right wing trope on the fired U.S. Attorneys was "these guys serve at the pleasure of the Commander-in-Chief, The President is the decider, he can fire anyone he likes whenever he likes for any reason he likes, so what if his reasons were political, these are political jobs, nothing to see here, move along".

Now that nobody in the media or, really, the American public outside the bitter Bush dead-enders bought any of that shit, well, suddenly we're hearing from the Administration (through the larynx of Dick Cheney) that:

Well, as vice president, I don't know anything about the particular problem you're talking about. I mean, it took place inside the Justice Department. The one who needs to answer to that and lay out on the record the specifics of what transpired is the attorney general, and he'll do so.
-- which translates as, The Buck Stops -- Over There, Bitchez. Don't look at us.

So, please bear in mind as you start to hear more and more about how the White House had nothing to do, really, in any specific or substantive way, with firing any of the U.S. Attorneys, oh, no, that was all the bad, bad Attorney General, oooooh, we hates him, we hates him forever... a couple of weeks ago, the story was, the President is in charge, these people serve at his pleasure, he can fire any of them he wants to any time he wants to for any or no reason, now shut the fuck up, please.

I don't for a moment believe Bush actually made any of these decisions; I don't believe Bush makes any decisions in the White House beyond what he has for lunch (and maybe not that). But these decisions were made through the Oval Office, by whoever it is who actually pulls Bush's strings... Karl Rove, or Dick Cheney, or both. And it's important to keep that in mind. For whatever reason, this White House has always been willing to throw anyone under the bus in order to protect three people... Bush, Cheney, and Rove. Any and everyone else is expendible. And when Bush, or Cheney, tell the world that anyone has their full confidence, it's practically like tying a tag to their toe. Stick a fork in Alberto Gonzalez... he's done... but I hope that Congress doesn't let it end there. We badly, badly need to see both Cheney and Bush impeached (hopefully simultaneously). Pelosi can't possibly do a worse job as an interim President than these malignant creeps have been doing (although Hillary Clinton might have an aneurysm at the prospect of another woman getting the props as first female U.S. President in history).

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