Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Call me Ishmael

After reading a lot of different stuff, which has left me little less ignorant than when I started, here's where I'm coming down on this whole Wall Street/Fed bail out thing --

Wall Street doesn't need to be bailed out by the American taxpayer.

The American taxpayer needs to be bailed out by Wall Street.

In other words -- got a few hundred million bucks stashed away here and there from stock & bond manipulation and speculation over the last 30 de-regulated years or so?

Your country needs you. Step right up with your wallets open, your credit cards extended, your pens poised over your checkbooks. All contributions to help alleviate the ongoing crisis fully tax deductible. Or, if they're not, well, if you send in a hundred million or so by midnight tonight, we'll thrown in a testimonial and a sentence recommendation absolutely free!

Er... um... you'd prefer to keep your ill gotten gains, regardless of how badly your bilked billions bite the rest of us in the ass? Safely in tax free interest bearing off shore accounts, at that?

Good Lord, man, why do you hate America so much?

All you robber-barons out there sitting on vast illicit pyramids of cash swindled from the Great War On Terror are included in this invitation as well. Step up to the window, you rich, you predatory, you bloated plutocrats all. The global economic system needs blood. Please donate generously.

And then, you know, you can get a job like the rest of us.

Oh, and if somebody could just confiscate all Paris Hilton's money on general principles and turn it over to, like, orphans, or something, I'd really appreciate it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My backpack's got jets

Our power is on. That SOOOOOO TOTALLY RAWKS.

You know in the movie MICHAEL CLAYTON how there is this recurring quote used by a couple of characters -- "I am Shiva, God of Death"?

Nope. Wrong:

Lord Shiva : Shiva is the third deity of the Hindu triad of great gods, the others being Brahma and Vishnu. Shiva is often referred to as the Destroyer, but it might be better to think of him as the God of Transformation, since he is often associated with creation that comes out of destruction.

But Shiva has different aspects that appear at different times. He is often depicted as the destroyer, and will appear as a naked ascetic accompanied by demons, encircled with serpents and necklaces of skulls. Sometimes Shiva wanders into crematoriums, smears his body with ash and dances in the light of the funeral pyres, reminding all about the transitory nature of material things.

Sometimes the creative force of Shiva is depicted, and in particular Shiva is represented by a phallus, known as the linga. Other times Shiva is seen as the god of meditation and asceticism. He will be depicted sitting cross-legged with his eyes half-closed.

Another common form is that of Shiva Nataraja. This is Shiva engaged in a cosmic dance. It is believed that the energy from this dance sustains the cosmos, and when Shiva is finished with this dance, this universe will end and a new one will begin.

Then who the fuck IS the God of Death, you wonder? The Hindu pantheon sports no less than two -- Yama-Dharma and Kali. Or so I understand, from reading Zelazney's LORD OF LIGHT about seventy kabillion times.

A point? I have no point. I rarely have a point. It's part of my charm.

I do, however, want to congratulate myself on my own impeccable taste in music. You know that playlist in the right column of my blog? Well, I have that one, and I have another one you can experience by clicking here, and I have to say this -- when I go out to other people's blogs and they have their own playlists, this is how it always seems to end up -- some of their stuff is good, yes, it is. But some of it, sometimes, much of it, just sucks.

I mean, it's sad, how bad some of the stuff on other people's playlists just sucks.

But on my playlists, EVERY SINGLE SONG IS AWESOME.

This can only mean one thing -- other people have unreliable, and, even, occasionally, appalling and dreadful, taste in music.

But MINE is perfect.

You know it's true. You don't WANT to accept it. You're marshalling arguments even as I type this... well, no, you won't read it until later, so, you're marshalling arguments even as you read this. But deep down inside, you understand on some level you will always deny that this is the irrefutable truth.

But we both know, and I know we both know.

And so do you.

Anyway. Last week, we had no power from early Sunday afternoon on. And it blew. I mean, big moist chunks. But every day I'd think "today the power comes back on". Of course, after the Mayor called a press conference with the governor and all the local honchos from our utility company and said it might be 10 to 14 days before our power came back on, I felt much as if I'd been kicked repeatedly in the nuts by Martin Gramatica wearing giant steel toed clown shoes, but, still, I disregarded that shit and pressed the fuck on. Every day, I hoped the power might come back on. Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. Every day. Because you live in hope, or you sink into a torpor of near suicidal despair, or you fly into a homicidal rage and plot the murderous home invasions of the jackasses in the houses on either side of you who have generators. Or you take turns doing all three. But anyway, every day, I thought to myself, at least at some point, "Today the power will come back on."

And it didn't, and let me tell you, by Friday I was seriously wondering (a) how could I get a loaded shotgun and (b) would I be able to get my whole head in front of the barrel. Well, no, I wasn't, because I have SuperWife and the SuperKids and even in the depths of No Electricity Despair Land, I had way too much to live for. But that 10 to 14 day thing had started to seem very real to me, so, Friday, I did not once think to myself "maybe we'll get the power back today". No, by Friday, I had come to accept that our neighborhood would be the last neighborhood in the city and our street would be the last street in our neighborhood and our house would be the last house on our street to get its power back, and it would take years, and cost millions of lives, and I might as well hunker down and get used to it.

Or, at least, I couldn't feasibly expect power back before, like, Monday, at the earliest, which sucked, because SuperWife's birthday was Sunday. But I embraced the notion of taking her out to dinner with the kids and coming home to yet another night in a dark, cold, quiet house. I hated it, but, you know, it was the way things were.

Now, we had done certain arcane rituals throughout the week meant to propitiate the gods of darkness and get our power turned back on. On Wednesday, when we heard that the SuperKids' Bio-Dad had regained power over at his house, we called him up and asked if the kids could come over there, and he said sure, so we packed them all off. We figured if we sent the kids away, then our power would come back on, because then we'd have to enter into complicated negotiations with the Bio-Dad as to when we'd get them back, as they were supposed to go over to his house on Saturday for a week, and, y'know, we figured he'd figure he might as well keep them.

Yet in spite of our sacrifice, our power stayed resolutely off.

Thursday, unable to put it off any longer, I cleaned out both our upstairs and downstairs refrigerators and freezers. It was a horrifying, horrifying job about which I will say as little as I possibly can, other than, I do not know what it is modern science finds difficult about creating artificial life in a laboratory setting, as we ourselves in this household created several strange mutations simply by leaving food in tupperware in the back of the fridge for several months. And a few of them nearly got me.

But, eventually, they were all out in the trash and then I had only to take each fridge down to its component pieces and scrub them until one could do open heart surgery with and/or on any of them, after which I reassembled them, after which I was done.

I was morally certain that once I had cleaned out each fridge, thrown away all the contents, scrubbed each separate part to a blinding shine, and put everything back together again, that THEN the power would come back on.

But it did not.

So then, Friday morning, SuperWife and I couldn't put it off any longer. We got up early and rolled out to a local laundromat with a huge bucket of dirty laundry. We went at the crack o' dawn hoping to beat the line of 300,000 other people who didn't have power, and in fact, we did, mostly -- there were only five people ahead of us in line. Eight more showed up to get in line behind us in the fifteen minutes between when we got there and 8 am, when the laundromat opened.

So we did our laundry, and rolled it home, and put it away, and still the power did not come back on, and, as I said above, by this time, I was not expecting it to come back on any time soon. I figured it would at least be out all weekend.

So, Friday, after doing laundry, SuperWife and I went out to see a movie and the theater we went to was closed because there wasn't any power in that area of River City and we would have known that if we could have checked on the Internet but we didn't have power so we couldn't. And then a little SERVICE ENGINE SOON light on the dashboard came on and that was crappy, so we spent the afternoon at a Pep Boys, where they said it was a transmission thing, and then at an AAMCO, where they said it probably wasn't much of anything to worry about, and they 'cleared the fault' out of the onboard computer system so the light would go out, and said to drive the vehicle over the weekend and if the light came back on, to bring it back on Monday. SuperWife was morally certain they were only doing that because it was 3:30 on Friday by the time we got there and they didn't want to fuck with it, and she was probably right, but that has nothing to do with the story of our Friday.

So we decided that we'd go down to ROLE OF THE DIE, a new gaming shop that has opened up about a mile from our house, and play Magic or something, because it beat sitting around in a house with no power thinking dark, bloody thoughts about the neighbors with generators. We like ROLE OF THE DIE because we were the very first customers who ever walked into the place, and the owner is always happy to see us, and he'll talk to us and play Magic with us, as opposed to the owner/proprietors of places like THE GREAT ESCAPE or BOOK AND MUSIC EXCHANGE or COMIC BOOK WORLD, the other geek shops we occasionally patronize.

In those shops, we're lucky to get a 'hi, how you doin' from anyone when we go in; their attitude clearly is, they are businessmen, we are customers, we are there to provide them with cash and they are there to take it from us and there will be no fucking socialization under any circumstances while that necessary business is taking place, buddy. (I will say that this kind of snootiness is typical of many geek shops, but it does vary in intensity from one to another. The older guy who owns COMIC BOOK WORLD is always friendly when we go in, but he pretty much sticks to business, as do the folks at BOOK AND MUSIC EXCHANGE. The people who own and/or administrate GREAT ESCAPE, on the other hand -- well, if I walked into their store, stuck a gun in my mouth, and blew most of the back of my head off, their only concern would be how much damage any back splatter might do to the resale value of their merchandise. They have a large staff of 20 something geeks who are always busily engaged ignoring the customers while talking to each other about whatever trendy RPG it is they're playing in now online, or SMALLVILLE or BATTLESTAR: GALACTICA or whatever, and if you try to edge into a conversation with any of them by making any sort of comment as regards any of these subjects, or any related subject, they will either (a) continue to talk to each other as if you did not actually exist, which, presumably, to them, you do not until you walk up to a cash register waving currency or a bank card in your hand, or, (b), they will stop talking, stare at you as if you are a particularly odiferous, fetid, and thoroughly repellent but otherwise entirely unintriguing specimen of cheese mold they just found growing on a slice of pizza they were planning to eat, say "May I help you" in tones drenched with the utmost contempt imaginable, and then, when you mutter something indistinct and slink back into some shadowy corner, continue to talk to each other as if you did not actually exist.)

So, y'know, we like ROLE OF THE DIE, where the owner actually talks to us as if we are people and fellow geeks before, while, and after taking money from us, although, I admit, I do occasionally indulge in fantasies where I am hired by Marvel or DC to write AVENGERS or JLA or IRON MAN or DETECTIVE COMICS or something like that, and the staff of THE GREAT ESCAPE becomes aware of my new stature, and how they would then react should I venture into their store again... but I admit, such things are (a) beneath me and (b) never going to fucking happen, so, never mind.

So we decided we'd see if Nate wanted to go to ROTD with us. We parked on the street in front of his apartment building and walked in and we were going up his stairs and I said to myself, "Self, this building feels far too cool for a building without air conditioning in September in River City." And my self responded "It's not that hot out right now and don't get your hopes up because there is no hope there is only despair and when are we going to kill the assholes with the generators?" So I wisely allowed my Self to lapse back into its preferred apathetic coma and then we knocked on Nate's door and there was no answer but I noticed a light switch on the wall and a bare bulb screwed into a fixture on the ceiling. So I reached for the switch and SuperWife said to me, she said, "Don't flip that switch it could go to some light in someone's apartment!" And I said, "No, it goes to that light right there," and I flipped it, and THE LIGHT CAME ON.

For me, this was a transformative experience, and I danced a little jig, and SuperWife gave me a 'wtf' look, not realizing for that crucial instant what it all meant, so I pointed to the glowing light bulb and said "Look! Look!" And then she said "Oh my god THE POWER IS ON!!!!!" and we danced and we danced and we danced.

There on Nate's landing.

Then we rushed back to our house and THE POWER WAS ON!!!!! And we screamed and shrieked and ran around hysterically turning on lights and going "HUZZAH!" and turning them off again and opening the refrigerator and going "HUZZAH!" and shutting it again and turning on the TV and going "HUZZAH!" and turning it off again and powering up the computer and going "HUZZAH!" and, you know, not shutting it off again, and like that.

And then we went to ROLE OF THE DIE and told them our power was on and later we went to Mark's Feed Store and got barbecue and told everyone there that our power was on. Which was probably aggravating to the people at the table next to ours whose power hadn't come back on yet, and I feel bad for them, I do, as well as the 3,000 households still in River City that don't have power. But OUR power was on and I had to huzzah. I HAD to.

And on Sunday, I actually got to watch the Bucs play, because they were playing against Chicago and around here sometimes they televise Chicago games. And the Bucs even won, although, as they were inconsiderate enough to go into overtime and we had to get the kids and go out to dinner at Tumbleweed's to celebrate SuperWife's birthday, I did not get to watch their actual moment of victory. But it doesn't matter; if I'd been watching, then Chicago would have won.

And, you know, that is all.

For now.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I need more power, Scotty

...nearly any amount more, because, as of Sunday, I got none.

Well, we have none. 'We' not meaning simply me and the Super-fam, but me and like 133,000 other residents of River City. Which is down from, like, the 201,000 residents it was Sunday night, but as I am still a part of the shrinking number, it's mostly moot.

I'm librarying now. Whups, SuperWife is done with the pinkalicious party that Super Adorable Kid forced us all to come down her to attend. Gotta go.

Back to Amish House, for the forseeable.

10 to 14 days is the estimate until all the damage is fixed and everyone has power again.

10 to 14 days.

Welcome to the Third World, early 21st Century style. Pull up a chair. Get comfie. Near a window, if you want to read.

Cackle at that useless thing in the corner if you like; they used to call it a 'com poo ter'. That other thing? That's a 'tell uh vizyun".

I can't remember what they were for, either.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

If this election is really all about change...

...then Obama wins.

Hands in his pockets.

It isn't even anything as meaty as the issues, or his policies. That stuff has very little mass or weight with a majority of the voters, anyway. It's all about viscera. Graphics. Quick hits. Visuals. How it feels to most people. What it looks like.

And let's face it, if McCain has really conceded the point that this
election is about 'change' and 'reform' -- and certainly, he seems to
have by picking Palin and trying to package her as a non mainstream
maverick reformer just like him -- then he's taking the losing side of
the bet. Why?

Look at them.

You want change? You want reform? You want something different from this day forward?

Well, who you gonna call? The skeevy old white guy who is lying just as fast as a horse can trot, spouting hypocritical platitudes out of both sides of his mouth? The one who's been kneedeep in the Washington hoopla since the 1980s, always on the side of the corporate establishment regardless of what he claims now? The one whose entire campaign is staffed with high powered lobbyists and being run by Karl Rove? Yeah, there's something new and different, something voters don't see every couple of years like clockwork. Sure.

Or, y'know, you can vote for that young black man who is obviously as smart as a whip, and who isn't part of the political mainstream in any particular. Who has no lobbyists on his payroll, whose campaign isn't being run by party hacks.

Which of these packages is truly different?

McCain's pick of Palin was meant to address this, meant to present more of an image of 'change' and 'reform'. On the surface she sure seems different from the usual VP pick... say, Joe Biden. But (a) people don't really vote for the VP on the ticket, although many will vote AGAINST a truly disastrous choice, and (b) Palin's image as a reformer, as 'something different', is just barely skin deep. She's no reformer. She's a typical 'get it while the getting is good' conservative/Republican. She's racist, corrupt, deceitful, spoiled, shallow, and mean... a poster girl for Abrahamoff-era Washington.

That's not change. That's not reform. That's just more of not only the same-old same-old, but the absolute worst of the same-old same-old, in a warm GILF package.

So if McCain truly has allowed this election to move forward on Obama's terms... if he really has decided he needs to cut a big slice of that 'change' pie off for himself if he wants to have any chance whatsoever of winning... then he has no chance whatsoever of winning. It's like he's decided to use rope-a-dope on Mohammed Ali, like he's going to punch harder than Mike Tyson, like he's going to scramble faster and throw more accurately than Michael Vick.

Like he's going to challenge the Flash to a foot race, and win.

McCain, for Change? McCain, the Reformer?

Nuh UH.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


In the order of things no one cares about, but that I'm going to waste time typing into this thing anyway, this blog post should be at the top.

Here's a gratuitous graphic to draw your eye. (It's actually a lovely piece of fine art by someone named Allison Gregory. I found it here. All the other stuff that came up when I Googled for 'eye candy' was the sort of thing my wife would give me a hard time for, if I put it up here. And well she should; I am, after all, a married man.)

* If you want to see a stunningly comprehensive distillation of every hackneyed, banal, stereotypical, empty, and pretentious platitude, cliche, vapidity and/or bromide ever made manifest or in any way rendered at any point in the existence of the entire melodramatic sub-genre of cop and lawyer TV shows, by all means, tune in to the new Steven Bochco lawyer show on TNT, RAISING THE BAR.

I swear to Allah, Bubastis, and mighty Adonai Himself, if you cannot chant every piece of hoary, moss-encrusted dialogue in unison with every one dimensional archetypical cardboard cutout character as they open their lips to utter it, if you are not able to peg exactly where each and every plot, subplot, and piece of characterization is going over the next twenty minutes the instant said bits of business are initiated, if you do not immediately discern which characters are going to be linked sexually or romantically in forbidden, unethical relationships with what particular other characters, which character is gay and hiding it from his or her friends, boss, and lover, which character acts tough but actually has a heart of gold, which character is the slick, cynical, manipulative, oversexed creep, which characters are fighting their deep, hidden passions for each other (a Battle They Will Inevitably Lose)... in short, if you can't figure out absolutely every single facet of this fucking show by the time the opening credits roll... well... you probably haven't watched as many cop and lawyer shows as I have, or, at least, you haven't watched them as obsessively and analytically as I have, for the last twenty years.

Which, come to think of it, is probably not a bad thing.

Although RAISING THE BAR definitely is.

As with any Bochco show, though, every female character is at least doable, while many are spectacularly fuckworthy. This is surpassingly unrealistic, but I much prefer it to David Kelly's dissimilar casting style.

And, as with any Bochco show, there is lots and lots and lots of sexual innuendo. Which might be cool, if I gave the remotest shit about any of the characters, but as it is, well, I don't, so, never mind.

It's sad to me to see actors I've enjoyed elsewhere, mostly in NYPD BLUE, like Currie Graham and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, as well as Jane Kaczmarek and Gloria Reuben, wasting their finite life energies on horseshit like this.

After being the second worst thing to happen to ANGEL, though, J. August Richards should be trapped in noxious crap like this forever.

Congratulate Bochco on casting Katherine Heigl-lookalike Melissa Sagemiller, though. She should be worth 60 or 70,000 more male viewers than the show would otherwise have gotten based on its otherwise nonexistent merits.

* The seventh and supposedly final season of THE SHIELD debuted, after excruciating and seemingly interminable Writer Strike related delay, last night. I'd have to say it was worth the wait. SuperWife and I have been watching our SHIELD DVDs in preparation, but we'd only managed to get 2/3s of the way through SEASON 4 before last night, so we'd forgotten most of the more recent plot developments.

I will repeat what I have said reasonably often before... the most fitting way for this show to end is with a cell door closing on Vic Mackey. Either that, or he has to die. Regardless of how likable or charismatic Mackey undeniably is, he's an irredeemably evil man, and has been since the final moments of the first episode of this show. That element of utter, complete damnation for the central character is what has essentially fueled this show from that one premeditated moment of absolute, utter evil -- having committed cold blooded murder, there's just no way for Vic to ever find any kind of meaningful redemption. If he doesn't end up with a fitting punishment in the end, this whole series will be essentially meaningless.

* My SF zombie novel FEAR MASTERS is lurching along, rather like one of the living dead that inhabit its plot in droves and hordes. I've just finished Chapter XIV, which concerns itself with Our Heroes' confrontation with the mad scientist apparently behind the zombie apocalypse, and which ends with them about to be inundated by yet another zombie horde... but this time, they're unarmed. Bummer.

I'm having fun writing it, but I have no illusions. In fact, I should probably apologize to all of you. I go out on the internet and I come across these blogs and sites where idiots like me are posting their own lame ass attempts at fiction and begging for people to read the shit, and I almost never bother. And I almost never bother because, on the rare occasion that I do, the work is always wretched drivel and I just can't stand it. There are unpublished writers out there who have some talent and skill, but most of them... well, us... are just churning out swill. And using said swill to implore other people to pay attention to us. It's very common behavior -- the need for attention is one of humanity's most basic, coming in on the hierarchy of needs right after food, shelter, and sex -- but that doesn't excuse me.

I know exactly how I feel when I come across one of these 'please read my unpublished story/novel/whatever' sites, and I'm sure all of you feel the same way, too (except for Mr. X, of course, of course) and just find it vaguely embarrassing when I try to guilt trip you into wading through some stupid mess I'm in the middle of typing.

And even Mr. X isn't genuinely interested in my writing. He's just this... okay, well, never mind all that, there's no need to be insulting. Mr. X craves my attention, is all. Now that I know who he is, I am disinclined to expend any on him, and in fact, wish he would, as I have said to him many times in the past, just go away and leave me alone. And as he's apparently the only one with any interest whatsoever in FEAR MASTERS, well, there's not much point in me continuing to publish it piecemeal on this blog. So I won't. But if I ever finish it, I'll put it up... somewhere.

Anyway, sorry to be so pathetic. Although, come to think of it, blogging itself is as blatant a primal scream of 'pay attention to me, pay attention to me, PAY ATTENTION TO ME' as any ever uttered, anyway.

And, as a final note, I'm sure other authors out there who offer up their work on the Internet in hopes someone will read it and provide them with some kind of feedback, do so feeling the same way about their output as I feel about mine. Which is to say, however bored I may be by other people's unpublished (perhaps unpublishable) nonsense, I still love FEAR MASTERS... it's exactly the sort of novel I would happily buy and eagerly read, if I found it at a bookstore. And I'm sure everyone else feels the same way about their writing. And given how crappy everyone else's writing is, I can only assume mine is pretty lousy, too.

* Speaking of zombies, all three of the SuperKids attended River City's own Zombie Walk last weekend, two of them in full living dead regalia. I think you'll be able to tell which one is Super Drama Zombie, and which is Super Adorable Zombie...

The kids' Bio Dad also dressed up as a zombie, and looked pretty good, but to preserve his privacy, I'm not posting his pic here.

Despite my love of Romero zombie flicks, I did not participate in the zombie walk... or, rather, I did, but only because right before it started, SuperWife and I had ordered a pizza from Impallizarri's, which, as it turns out, is smack in the middle of zombie walk territory... and they don't deliver. So she and I drove down Bardstown road to drop the kids off at the start of the zombie walk, then found a parking space off Bardstown Road and walked a block to pick up our pizza. The march was in full flood by the time we got back out of there, though, and as I walked back up the sidewalk, I was surrounded by zombies, many of whom (apparently independently of each other, as it happened for about a fifty yard distance as I was walking against the flow) thought it would be witty to lurch at me moaning "pizzaaaaaa... pizzaaaaaaaaa..."

The first couple I shooed away with a snorted "Bad zombie, no biscuit". But after the fourth or fifth repetition of the routine I just got tired of it. I realize the sixth through umpteenth 'zombie' who rolled the joke out had no idea it had gotten so old so quickly, which realization probably gave me the forbearance I needed not to start shooting walking dead in the head.

They were all over the sidewalk and road, though, which meant that traffic had slowed to a crawl. (Whoever had planned the zombie walk did not go so far as to request that a few blocks of Bardstown Road be closed off to traffic for the event, which was very sane of them, as anyone making such a request of our Metro Council for a weekend night would have drawn little more than a burst of hysterical laughter and a quick bum's rush to the nearest curb.) Which led to the hilarious visual of a city bus, moving at a snail's pace through the heavy foot traffic, surrounded by a legion of the living dead, pawing and slapping at the windows while moaning and groaning in the finest zombie fashion.

I hope everyone on the bus understood what was going on, or, at least, that none of the passengers had weak hearts.

Okay, that is all. For now.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Anti toxin

There's a hunger in the air.

It's understandable. Over here on the left, we've had eight solid years of being bitch slapped around from every direction -- the moderates, the far right, and, much of the time, from the mainstream media they seem to have so deeply in their pockets.

We are the few, the proud, the marginalized. We are deeply out of touch with how decent, hard working, God fearing Americans think, and what they want . We're extremists. We can't understand. We're elitists. We live in ivory towers. We just don't get it. We aren't Serious. We don't live in the real world. We're silly. We're foolish. Our expectations are ridiculous. We need to Get Real.

You can be friends with us, maybe, if you speak to us as if we were children and keep the conversation entirely attuned to casual pleasantries until we're safely out of earshot.

But we can never, under any circumstances, be allowed to govern.

We've heard that shit and we've HEARD that shit and WE'VE HEARD THAT SHIT for the last decade... longer, actually, given that Clinton was the least liberal/progressive Democratic President since WWI... and we're sick to death of it. The Serious People, moderate and grown up and realistic and down to earth and mainstream and decent and hardworking and God fearing... all those fabulous people have screwed things up so hard, so bad, for so long that there seems no end to the shit we're going to have to shovel once we get back into power. And they don't want to let us back into power. They're digging in, they're fighting tooth and nail. They're still telling us, at the top of their lungs while they look around frantically for anything heavy they can throw at us, that we're no good, that we can't be trusted, that we're not serious, that we're out of touch, that we're idealistic daydreamers and crackbrained sky pilots and under no circumstances can we be trusted in power.

So it's perfectly understandable. We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more, by the Jesus -- and when the people who have been insulting and abusing us for nearly as long as any of us can remember show us their soft white underbellies, well, we're going for the throat, dammit.

But we have to find the character within ourselves to resist this powerful, nearly overwhelming temptation.

Have to. HAVE TO.

We cannot personalize this ridiculous VP pick of McCain's. We cannot do it. We must not do it. Because, yes, it's all blatant political tactics and he's just throwing out red meat, yes he is... but not to his base. He's throwing the great big T-bones right into our laps... and the meat is poisoned, baby. We need to drop the chalupa and back away slowly.

If we take the bait... if we bite down hard, if we swallow it all hook, line and sinker... then McCain is going to win in November.


The Palin pick has already, to some extent, galvanized the religious conservative base. They don't care if Palin is competent or qualified to be Chief Executive, all they care about is, she's stridently, screamingly pro life. So with this pick, McCain's got them. He didn't have them before and wouldn't ever have had them if he'd put Romney on the ticket, but he's got them now.

But the far right Jesus huggers can't win the election for McCain by themselves. And the rage deranged Hillary dead enders won't put McCain over the top, either.

What will win him the election, though, is all the moderates and undecideds who are going to watch as we on the far left turn into 12 year olds in our exultant joy over McCain's 'misstep'.

Yes, indeed. The world is watching, folks. And every time some so called 'progressive' puts a post on the Internet calling Sarah Palin stupid, dumb, moronic, shallow, trailer trash, a bitch, a bimbo, a (derogatory slang term for the female genitalia), the world is going to hear about it... on Fox news, and CNN, and MSNBC, and through the larynx of every right wing dingdong with a talk radio beatdown gig. They will hear about it, and they will read about it on the New York Times and Washington Post and Wall Street Journal op ed pages, and many of them will be disgusted by our loutish, despicable, reprehensible behavior.

And they will associate our immaturity, our unprofessionalism, the sadistic glee with which we cruelly photoshop Sarah Palin's head onto the body of bikini wearing bimbos posing with machine guns... they will associate this with all progressives.

With all liberals.

With all Democrats.

With, y'know, that guy Obama, whom a lot of them are already inclined not to like anyway.

A lot of moderates and undecideds are just looking for a reason not to vote for Obama. Maybe they can't bring themselves to vote for McCain, but they do us nearly as much damage if they just stay home in November.

Plus, all those Christian conservatives we've been counting on to stay away from the polls out of disgust with Republican excesses during the Bush Administration? Ain't gonna happen, cap'n. A lot of those people are already back in the boat... for Sarah.

We start punching her in the face, over and over again, all over the Internet (and therefore, all over TV and talk radio and the editorial pages) and they will come riding to her rescue. Millions of 'em. Rolling in like thunder, full of righteous indignation, not just ready to vote for Sarah, but to volunteer for Sarah, to organize for Sarah, to phone bank for Sarah, to go door to door for Sarah, to march for Sarah, to blog for Sarah, to write op eds for Sarah, to donate money to Sarah.

We can talk about Governor Palin's lack of experience. We can talk about McCain's hypocrisy, about how she's nothing but a politically opportunistic pick on his part, about how it won't be good for America if she ends up taking one of those red phone calls at 3 AM, about how she's already mixed up in a corruption investigation and even at this moment she's scrambling to evade further due process on it until after the election.

We can shine a big light on why we feel she isn't qualified to be Vice President. All her political stuff is certainly fair game.

But we need to be professional. We need to show respect. We need to not attack her on the grounds of gender, of sexuality, of her parenting skills. We need to lay off her family and her kids. We need, especially, to not call names, to not hoot and cat call like freshman frat boys, to not sexualize her.

Make no mistake. McCain's pick is craftier than it looks, on the surface. Sarah Palin is no Thomas Eagleton, no matter how fervently we may wish otherwise, and she isn't going anywhere. She's a way for McCain to cement the support of his far right lunatic fringe base... but she's also bait. She's blood in the water. And right now, Karl Rove is sitting back and watching the feeding frenzy, and smiling, and smiling, and smiling.

Millions of crazy Jesus huggers were looking for a reason to vote for McCain, and he just gave them one.

Millions more moderates and undecideds wouldn't at all mind a reason not to vote for Obama.

Let's not serve one up on a platter... even a platter as tempting as Sarah Palin.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Fear and Loathing on the Internet

My initial tendency is to think that John McCain has made a gigantic asshole out of himself, nominating an ultra far right MILF hottie to be his VP in hopes she'll hypnotize a few of the more moronic Hillary mavens.

Having said that, though, I find stuff like this to both contemptible and despicable:

I usually enjoy Kunstler's writing style (while dryly noting to myself whenever I read his latest 'America is DOOOOOOOMed' announcement that if he were a meteorologist with the same accuracy as he is a social prognosticator, he'd be an unemployable industry laughingstock) but stuff like this is just vile.

At first glance, gullible though I naturally am, I got all excited at the photo -- not for the obvious reasons (well, not exclusively, anyway, I am, after all, a mere man) but because I was thinking "geez, this is gonna be a tough pic for the McCain campaign to spin". I felt a little guilty for thinking that, because, honestly, a person's taste in swimwear really shouldn't be held against them, nor used as a basis for judging their qualifications to be U.S. Vice President. Nonetheless, I was pretty sure the conservative base that is currently going coo-coo for Palin puffs would stop dead, and then start shrieking in outrage, when they got a look at THAT particular graphic.

Well, they should scream in outrage. We all should. Once I thought about it for a second (and it's embarrassing it even took me that long, but, hey, a liberal can dream) I realized that this pic nearly had to be a photoshopped fake. And one quick Google search later, I confirmed it.

For those of you not in the know, here's how this sort of thing is done:

You go out and find a pic of your intended victim. Crop the head. Use a photoshop program to fuzz it up a little, then flip it horizontally so it won't look identical to the source graphic you stole it from.

Then, paste it onto some pic of some chick in a bikini doing something ridiculous, like holding an automatic rifle next to a swimming pool.

Then, do a quick blog post referring to a woman you know nothing much about (except that she's a state governor and now a nominee for Vice President) as 'trailer trash' while mocking her over an entirely personal, doubtless extremely stressful family situation involving one of her children. Use your newly photoshopped graphic as illustrative support for your snarky libels. Voila! You're a worthless little turd. Easy as pie.

I used to have some respect for Kunstler. Now, all I have for him is contempt and regret -- the last, mostly, because I actually spent money on one of his books.

I sincerely hope the Feds can track down whoever originated this graphic, and that the Palin family sues their ass off.

UPDATE, a day later:

Weirdly, the front page of Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo is currently using the exact same cropped Palin head on a graphic of their own:

I did post a link to this particular entry over at my TPM blog, but it's gotten little attention, so I can't believe this is anything but a coincidence. Strange one, though...