Saturday, December 31, 2005

Almost...

Good riddance 2005!
Governor Trump? You're Elected!

Here’s a wacky bit of news to cap off a wacky year: Donald Trump is considering a run for governor of New York. He would throw his hat into the ring as a Republican (despite the fact that he has donated money to both parties) and challenge populat Democrat Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer has been a crusader against big, corrupt business. The pess would have a field day as the billionaire took on the crusader.

This isn’t the first time trump has flirted with politics. He briefly considered a run for president in 2000 on the reform Party ticket. Trump, a weird germ freak not unlike Howard Hughes, backed out quickly because of the requirement to disclose his finances as well as having to shake hands and kiss babies. One wonders which would have been a more daunting task for him.

I don’t put much stock into this. Trump still doesn’t deal well with the public. Anyone watching The Apprentice can see the social awkwardness he has around people who don’t ask, ‘How high?” when he says jump. Those germs haven’t gone away, either. The little buggers are everywhere. The biggest doubt I have is the most obvious one. It’s a new game being played by political strategists who are generally on the losing side. They have begun egging on celebrity candidates, with their deep pockets and overblown egos desperate to be fed, into running hopeless campaigns so they can get paid.

The game crosses party lines. Republican strategists in California have approached Kelsey Grammar and Dennis Miller about running for the Senate. Virginia Democrats have attempted to woo Ben Affleck to challenge Sen. George Allen. Spitzer is way ahead of any possible Republican candidate for governor except for Giuliani, who is too starry eyed about being president to wory about such small potatoes. So, are these hired guns pumping Trump about running? I’ll bet so.

In some ways, I hope he does run and win. I’d like to be a fly on the wall at the annual National Governor’s Association meeting with Trump, Arnold, and longshot Kinky Friedman presiding. Wouldn’t that make the rest of the world think we are even crazier than they already do?
The Year That Was

What a rotten year. There is no other way to describe it. This year was painful, taxing body and spirit in both the broadest and most personal sense. I doubt few have been left untouched but the sheer cruelty of fate over the last twelve months. I know for a fact many in my circle have so suffered. The world has come to me through television, radio, and the computer. It’s pain is not lost on me. I suspect my pain is lost on it, however. Such is the way this year has gone. Where to begin in dealing with it?

At no point since the end of World War II has the planet lain in such widespread ruin. Indonesia has barely dug out of the tsunami that hit shortly after Christmas last year. There are 100,000+ dead there. Hundreds of thousands more were and continue to be slaughtered in Darfur without the benefit of television cameras bringing it into our living rooms. New Orleans, for all intents and purposes, is gone. The city itself will survive in some form, but it won’t be the same. Walking through the streets of the French Quarter is to feel the history of the place, to be moved by the jazz and blues. Maybe all that will be replaced, but I liked the old much better.

I know full well how the rest of the world views the United states. We are the rich uncle on the hill. Resented by our poorer relatives, yet they don’t want to alienate us too much because they like our largesse. That’s fine. It’s human nature, in fact. I am beginning to feel that we as Americans have lost something. It began with Terri Schiavo. We have already forgotten her. Makes sense, really. According to Gallup, 55% of us wanted to kill her so we could forget and move on to bigger and better things. Interesting that nothing bigger or better came along, isn’t it? It’s worth considering, in this time of reflection, just how much small decisions affect the larger ones in a spiritual sense.

Does that have anything to do with the US being exposed as having to engage in some pretty nasty things in order to survive? Probably not. We’ve always had less than reputable allies who have done questionable things in the name of the greater good. An imperfect world can only possess imperfect solutions. Often one’s morality can only be as good as the morality of the one threatening you. It depresses me more that we have to imprison fanatics indefinitely and use harsh means to prevent more evil men like them from inflicting death and destruction. There was a certain innocence we had--an air of invincibility--that that said we didn’t have to stoop to the levels of other countries brutal methods of survival. That was before we knew a bunch of horse riding cave dwellers can turn our on modern marvels into weapons to kill 3,000 of us. It has been exposed this year, from the Downing Street Memo justifying war to domestic surveillance on nuclear suspects, that we have to get down and dirty when threatened. Unlike some of my more gun slinging fellow conservatives, I’m not proud of that.

It isn’t just people who can force you to alter your character in undesirable ways. Uncontrollable circumstances will toss you about in ways you can’t imagine and take you down paths you never dreamed 9or nightmared) of going down. I’ve wrestled with that in my personal life all year long. Throughout 2004, there were still possibilities regarding my health. There was always a new surgery that could be tried on my colon and my eye. It died down towards the end of that year. I just plain run out of options. All this year, I’ve had to learn to live with that, all the while grasping the daunting notion that it will never change. No matter how long I live, my life is going to be fully hampered by dwindling health that could collapse at any moment. It does not make me happy to embrace the new year or any one passed it. It only brings forth memories of what used to be and painful daydreams about a future I will never have.

I don’t mean to be depressing here as everyone celebrates 2005 and looks forward to all the joys that lay ahead in 2006. I am, however, embracing a reality for myself that I never kept in mind in the days when I went to parties on New years and toasted the success of the past and the hope for the future. It I fragile. It can be taken away from you when you least expect it. That’s not a cliche. I wasn’t looking for things to be taken away from me at all. Honestly, my colon ruptured in May 2004 that same month my retina completely detached. It wasn’t until july that I truly broke down, mainly because I was too shocked that it happened to take note of the scope of it all. There is no time like the New year to count your blessings and brace yourself for the gravy train’s possible derailment. It can happen, even if you don’t expect it all. Don’t lose sight (excuse the pun) this holiday season like I did when I was in your shoes.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Alice Cooper on The Muppet Show

Welcome to my nightmare.
The US Plan to Invade Canada
If the Canadians think we are exporting violence now, wait until they get a load of this report drawn up by the War Department in the 1930's in anticipation of the United Kingdom opening up a front in its commonwealth during a possible trade war.

Verily, the mind doth boggle.

This has possibilities. We could take an army into montreal, fire a couple of shots up in the air, and then immediately surrender. As part of war reparations, we'll give them the northeast--maybe even California. To sweeten the deal, we might even take Alberta off their hands since it's the closest thing to a red state in Canada it would like to leave anyway. Perhaps this is something we should look into after the midterm elections.
Christian Youth Shopping Around for Churches

According to a New York Times article, teens are separating from their parents' houses of woship to find their own niche. I can't criticize people who are hungry to find Christ, but a lot about this disturbs me. Listen to Listen to tracy, mother of teen Emily:
"I saw that my parents' relationship to Christ and my relationship to Jesus Christ were different, and my kids aren't going to relate to Jesus Christ the same way we do," said Emily's mother, Tracy Hoogenboom, 49. "And that's to be expected because Jesus Christ is your own personal lord and savior."
I don't think a "personal relationship" with jesus is any different for me than anyone else, and this makes it sound like picking and choosing modes of worship the same way you'd decide on which Toyota to drive. Whatever happened to, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it?" That doesn't say, "Kids, suit yourselves." Further, here's a discription of the yoth praise service:
At New Life, led by Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, the youth group sessions feel like rock concerts: T-shirts are on sale outside and bands are onstage, grinding their way through screaming songs of praise for Christ while teenagers dance before them. Friends often lead other teenagers to new churches, sociologists and adolescents themselves said.
All right, they aren't worshipping golden calves, but can't you visualize Moses coming down Mt. Sinai and smashing the Ten Commandments about seeing that scene? Am I just getting old or is this irrevent and blasphemus to take such worldly things like rock music and selling t-shirts and apply them to Christian worship?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Garnering More Hits

Now that she has pumped out his demon seed, Jennifer garner has opted to take Ben's last name. She will now bill herself in roles as Jennifer Affleck. Think about it. Ben Affleck is the luckiest man alive. He won an oscar based on the wriing talent of Matt Damon. nearly every movie he has headlined has bombed worse than Hiroshima, yet Hollywood continues to throw money at him. Worst ywt, he gets to wake up every morning next to this: Yep. Jennifer Garner..oops--Jennifer Affleck as Sydney Bristow in her underwear. Not naked, nude, or in a bikini, but close enough for the Google searches. Now really, how lucky can one fellow get?
Wasps

They are our newest weapon in battling terrorists. I think instead they should use dogs with bees in their mouths so that when they bark, they shoot bees at you. That would be eexxcceelleennttt.
The Ten Worst Americans

This meme has been playing around the photosphere for a short while now. The challenge was laid down by All Things Beautiful. I discovered it through New Victorian. Here are my choices--numbered, but in no particular order--a few of which I’m sure will raise and eyebrow or two. But that’s the fun of it, no?

1. Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr--Made his fortune violating prohibition. Placed restrictive covenants against Jews in his real estate holdings. Was an abusive man who lobotomized his troublesome daughter, Rose. Loudly proclaimed the Nazis would overtake Great Britain while he was the US Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Raised an adulterous JFK and Ted Kennedy, famous for allowing his date to drown after driving his car off a bridge. Family still admired for some unfathomable reason. Somehow, RFK’s kids have redeemed the legacy as best they can.

2. William Randolph Hearst--The Father of Yellow Journalism. Helped bring the US into the Spanish-American War through sensational claim of attack on the USS Maine. Victoy in that war lead to an unAmerican imperialism that eventually resulted in a prolonged war in the Philippines costing 14,000+ lives.

3. Woodrow Wilson--Entered the Us unnecessarily into World War I, a conflict in which little, if any, American interests war at stake. Subsequently failed to clean up his mess by engaging in a feud with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Henry Cabot Lodge. Sen. Lodge prevented the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles in response, keeping the US out of the League of Nations, signaling that US sacrifices in the war were all for nothing.

4. Julius & Ethel Rosenberg--Listing a couple is cheating, but these two committed the same crime--spying for the Soviet union. The Soviets would have gotten nuclear weapons anyway, but to speed up the process of empowering the worst threat to ever face humanity (Communism has killed 10s of millions more than the Nazis ever dreamed) is disgusting.

5. Gen. William T. Sherman--Marched to the sea, burning an already obviously defeated Confederacy out of little more than a need for revenge. Destroyed the prison and mental hospital in Columbia, South Carolina and allowed the inmates to terrorize while the town burned to the ground. Revered as a hero despite his complete lack of military acumen. He can only be considered a war hero if you consider war crimes and crimes against humanity admirable.

6. Franklin D. Roosevelt--The New Deal shoved the country down the disastrous path of socialism from which we will never recover. Was keenly aware of the Holocaust, yet opted not to bomb the gas chambers. I personally don’t believe he was complicit in the attack on pearl Harbor, but who knows?

7. Noam Chomsky--A fantastic example of being educated beyond intelligence level. Harsh critic of the US, especially foreign policy. He has been an apologist for every evil regime of the last thirty years. Still maintains there was no genocide in Cambodia. Was once asked at a lecture in Europe if he ever feared speaking his mind publicly. He replied, "Of course not. I have an American passport.” Hypocrisy at its finest.

8. Harry Blackmun--Wrote the majority opinion for Roe v. Wade, ensuring the deaths of 30 million+ children and counting.

9. Walter Kronkite--Established that media bias was fine--especially if lots of American soldiers got killed in the process.

10. Madalyn Murray O'Hair--Founder of American Atheists. Was dubbed “The Most Hated Woman in America“. Wasted time and resources on a crusade to destroy Christian traditions, often using her unwilling children as the catalyst for her actions. Vulgar, profane, self-promoting, o’Hair perpetuated the stereotype of atheists as amoral and forced Christians to redouble their efforts to exert influence on society, further damaging the separation of church and state rather than promoting it.
The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny

A music video that defies description.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Lazy Sunday an Inexplicable Internet Hit

When I first saw Andy Sandberg and Chris Parenell’s short film, Lazy Sunday, a few weeks ago, I didn’t think it was all that funny. Saturday Night Live has been in a clear slump for a while now. If you haven’t seen it, where have you been? No, what I meant was it is a gansta rap about Sandberg and Parnell spending an afternoon at the movies seeing The Chronicles of Narnia. I dislike rap and pop Christianity, so I can’t say the video was for me. I did laugh at the line, “The way we’re dropping Hamiltons we’re like Aaron Burr.” That’s the historian and devious Jeffersonian in me.

The rap has become an internet phenomenon as of late and is the first SNL skit since Christopher Walken’s “Cowbell’ skit to truly seep into pop culture. The sad part about that is the Cowbell bit was funny but Lazy Sunday really isn’t. I note that while the rap video is the best thing to come out of a lackluster SNL season, it is being recognized less for being funny itself and more as a product of our times.

What makes it funny is the juxtaposition of gansta rap with pop Christianity, two things that would have been diametrically opposed to one another at any other time, but in our current culture, that isn’t quite so. Christians have embraced Mel Gibson’s ultraviolent The Passion of the Christ--to the point slick televangelists offer the DVD to sweeten the deal in giving donations--despite the fact they’d be appalled by the content if it were featured in any other of his films. It is currently fine to be both “devout” and engage in more worldly forms of entertainment--as long as we can combine the two. I assume this offer some level of comfort for modern people who want to believe in a higher power but still squirm at the prospect of having to listen to a minister for an hour a week.

I am embracing my own hypocrisy here rather than wagging my finger in anyone’s face. I’m not passing judgment on it no matter what no matter what it may ound like. Lord knows, I’m no saint. I am merely pointing out that Lazy Sunday, while not all that unny, has struck a chord because it holds up a mirror to show what we have become. It has happened throughout the entire 2,000+ plus years of Christianity, beginning with the mixing of pagan rituals in with our holiday observances. This is just the next step in a long process. Whether you believe it is reaching out to the lost or bringing about the end times is up to you to judge. But I think the impact of Lazy Sunday is that we will look back on it in the future and say, “Wow, that was so 2005, wasn’t it?”

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Libetarianism in the Final Frontier

If you fear the decline of higher education and think-tanks, skip this post. You are better off not knowing how much thought went into this by both the original article’s author and me. Never let it be said I didn’t warn you. A researher from The Ludwig von Mises Institute, a research and educational center of classical liberalism and libertarian political theory, asks the question that has plagued us all for 40 years: was Mr. Spock an Austro-Libertarian?

The question pains me a bit. I am a devout Jeffersonian; a believer in the free market, big defense, and semi-isolationist foreign policy. I do not have anywhere near enough faith in my fellow man to completely embrace taking Jeffersonian political theory to its logical conclusion--libertarianism. Of course, I’m not prepared to take Hamiltonian federalism to its logical conclusion, either: monarchism. (You may argue those conclusions to your little heart content with nary a cross word from me, by the way.) Any political theory brought to its logical conclusion is going to have major flaws. Therefore one should be skeptical of the model offered by Spock as the perfect Austro libertarian. Remember that communism looks good on paper. It’s the long bread lines and Siberian gulags where it really becomes a downer.

Astro-Libertarianism is a school of economic thought that rejects opposing economists' reliance on methods used in natural science for the study of human action, and instead bases its formalism of economics on relationships through logic. One of its most famous advocates, Ludwig von Mises, advocated separating the logical aspects of human nature from the emotional ones. This was a process he called phraseology. Mises was a staunch believer in the free market, personal property rights, and laissez faire principles of business. Here we hit our first snag in applying the label to Spock.

The Federation is a socialist society which eschews the principle of personal property. It can do that with the introduction of replicators that turn energy into matter., therefore eliminating the idea of markets altogether. There I no need for personal property rights when one can produce anything at no cost. Replicator technology is widespread throughout the trek universe (although it does no explain how the Ferengi remain capitalists when production costs are zero) and every entrant into the Federation has to adhere to its principles. Vulcn doesn’t appear to have any particular need or desire defend property rights. Spock appeared to have no particular materialistic desires at all.

Without a cost of production, it is useless to call Vulcan society one of mutual economic exchange. There is no consideration of time of production or the possibility of future scarcity Because of that, we can completely eliminate any possibility of Spock embracing the economic theories of Austro-Libertarianism. In the most accurate sense, Spock is a socialist as is, apparently, the rest of the Federation.

. Mises was a harsh critic of socialism and authoritarian governments in general. Astro-Libertarians would dislike the idea of a strong central government in favor of small collectives or federations. Thee ruling body of Vulcan , called the Vulcan High Command, is presented as a strong organization which its membership based on family status. Presumably said status is established by scholarly work than financial worth but that, to my knowledge, has not been made clear. The ideal Astro-Libertarian society, which a perfectly logical Vulcan would desire and operate properly, would be a direct democracy devoid of any trappings of personal interests. That just doesn’t appear to be what Vulcan is all about.

I have to conclude that our author above is doing some wishful thinking. Spock may not be a devout socialist (it is probably so widespread, he dos not have to be) but he clearly is one. His ideas on social interactions can be chalked up to a pacifist philosophy and a developed sense of social justice. Recall a famous line of his, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few--or the one.” That isn’t a libertarian talking.
Tough Lott in Life

Robert Novak, the surviving half of Evans & Novak, aka Errors & No Facts, reports in today’s column that Sen. Trent Lott is inclined to not seek reelection. Mississippi is a solid red state, but the combination of popular democrat Atty. General Mike Moore’s interest in the seat and the backlash against the GOP for the Katrina response has pundits fearful of a Democrat pick up in 2006. The Senate seats up for grab this time are in more moderate, blueish states than in 2004, leaving open the possibility for the GOP to lose its majority.

Now bear in mine--aside for the fact this isn’t the main point I’m trying to make--Novak never, ever, ever, never, ever gets his stories straight. Frankly, if Novak told me the sky was blue, I’d run outside and check. Novak isn’t much of an insider. His attachment to conservatives clouds his judgment and his willingness to use his column for their benefit calls his journalistic integrity into question. His only interest in conservatives is the likelihood of getting his taxes cut. Heaven only knows what he needs the money for. It appears he bought one suit in 1974 and oozes into every morning before being a hired gun for the GOP then singing like a canary about it to a grand jury. So take the overall news with a grain of salt.

What it definitely bing to mind is how I empathize with Tent Lott. Here’s a guy who was at the top of the heap, then said something unwise, but not malicious, in order to make a senile old man feel good about himself. Suddenly, everyone dumps him. He has to resign his leadership position. Bush declines to defend him--heck, everyone declines to defend him--even though they needed him to stay in the Senate to keep their hold on power. That he did so instead of slinking back to Mississippi and becoming a recluse is a testament to his character, whether anyone will acknowledge it or not. This is particularly true since his is considered a pariah.

Now look: the guy has had enough. He is unappreciated, his friends have turned their backs on him, and his home was destroyed by Katrina. He’s had enough. Now what happens? Everyone who has snubbed him in recent years are realizing they need him to stay in power. Well, it’s a little late for that, boys and girls. How did you all make it this far in politics without realizing the toes you stepped on yesterday are attached to the butt you have to kiss today? I’ll grant you from personal experience there isn’t much sincerity in politics, but I have never seen such a blatant display of smacking someone down and groveling so artificially when the Powers That Be realize the mistake they’ve made.

Like I said, Novak doesn’t know much. A Republican may cruise to the Mississippi seat, probably a protégé of Lott. I doubt they will be nough of a gain for the Democrats to take over regardless. But I almost hope Novak is right. It would be cool to see Lott thumb his nose at the colleagues that have betrayed him. Fate has been pretty nasty to him, too. Perhaps his post-Senate life will offer him a chance to rebuild.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Tender Mercies?

"You can't conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God."--Brighton Rock, Graham Greene

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Lest perspective on the day be lost, Luke 2:1-14:
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
If your tastes run towards the secular, here's something that is stil bright and cheerful.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Alito on Abortion

I know. A great topic for Christmas, but here we go anyway. The White House made a brilliant yet predictable move by releasing an amices brief written by Alito in 1985 in which he recommended overturning Roe v. Wade. Under the same principle of take out the trash Day, in which political officials dump out on their bad news on the public so the press can’t possibly cover it all, releasing such fiery documents on Christmas weekend allows it to fly under the radar. With visions of sugarplums and Xbox 360s dancing in people’s heads, Alito could have advocated reinterning the Japanese and no one would notice.

Before discussing the brief, I have to reiterate the unlikelihood of Roe ever being overturned and my skepticism that the social conservative wing of the GOP would willingly give up the bogeyman factor in running against pro choice candidates. Even if Alito sails through confirmation, there still wouldn’t be enough votes to overturn Roe regardless. What’s worse, I have had opportunity to read Justice Kennedy’s recent opinions from the last decade and can sese a heavy leftward shirt. He will become a reliable liberal vote on the Roberts Court.

Everyone in Washington knows Roe is safe even though abortion will become the central point of contention in the January confirmation hearings. No one will be a more adamant supporter of Roe than raging RINO Arlan Specter, who will dust off the same “super duper precedent” line he used to no effect with John Roberts several months ago. It will amuse me, though. Look for it within the first ten minutes. Aside from playing to constituents, determining a position on ,I.Roe has become the litmus test for any public official. For politicians it determines enlightenment; for Judges, whether social policy should beenacted by the bench. Leftists have learned that legislative and executive bodies govern from the centr. Only the bench remains for instituting extreme liberal policies and they are willing to steamroll over any conservative that might take up a spot that could be held by a progressive. It is that way all over the legal community. Notice the links Roberts went to in oder to hide his affiliation with the Federalist Society.

Abortion is the pet issue of the leftist. Why an entire ideology wishes to make its core, identifying issue the killing of unborn children, I have no idea. I have been forever impressed--bemused is a better word--at the links at the links they have gone to judicially. The last major opportunity to overturn Roe was 1992’s Casey v. Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania. Ronald Reagan’s biggest mistake (you know her as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor) cast the deciding vote to uphold abortion rights and wrote the majority opinion. I encountered the opinion in several classes spanning my law school career, from Jurisprudence and Family law to Constitutional law. Looking at the decision from all three perspectives, one cannot determine one drop of sound, legal reasoning. The gist of her rambling argument is a metaphysical one. In short, she claims that she doesn’t not feel that a judicial opinion cannot determine when life begins. That is ultimately up to the individual.

Abortion supporters looked at each other, shrugged, and said, “Brilliant!“ while applauding. But roll O’Connor’s conclusion around your mind a bit. O’Connor argues that whe life begins is indeterminable. Medicine can’t pinpoint it and no one can prove precisely what consciousness is or whether the soul exist and what exactly would it mean if it did. If there is doubt on so many levels from science and religion, is it not wise to err on the side of caution and eliminate abortion altogether? Her reasoning just doesn’t match her conclusion. Even the most ardent of abortion supporters will admit they are destroying something during the procedure. They are willfully dishonest it referring to it as a “potential life” which “undergoes demise” which betrays a squeamishness about what is really going on. Now, even the most ardent of libertarians believes the government has a obligation to protect life (liberty and the pursuit of property). It strikes me then that killing off unborn children, which are considered alive for warning labels on cigarettes and alcohol, I something a government has a vested interest in doing, whether their immediate status of consciousness or soul can be determined or not?

The answer is apparently no. It is the first time in recent memory the issue of life and death has been decided on a matter of convenience rather than legal terms. Terri Schaivo did not have a living will, therefore no one knew if she would have wanted to live in a vegetative state. I’m no idiot--more than likely she didn’t, but without that knowledge, we can’t just arbitrarily kill a handicapped woman because because every breath she takes is inconvenient for her hubby’s bank account and love life, not necessarily in that order. We know she was alive. We know legally, without prio knowledge of her wishes, we can’t pull the pull. Well, we ignored all that and killed her anyway with essentially the Casey rationale--we don’t know if she has a consciousness or a soul and how that effects the end of life. Let her husband kill her.

When we start getting into debates over nebulous philosophical or metaphysical concepts rather than sound legal precedent and reasoning, watch out. By legislating from the bench, judges will replace years of solis precedence with individual public policy opinions designed to “help people” on a case-by-case basie basis that will destroy that will destroy our legal system. It has already killed 30+ million unborn children and who knows how many Terri Schiavos. When contracts and wills have no meaning or value, not only will society be damaged, but people will die. The saddest part? It is all over some high minded leftist idea of bettering the human condition.
Up the Food Chain

I've moved up from a Flippery Fish to a Crawly Amphibian . Exactly translated, that means I am right where I was a year and 20+ links ago. Thanks, TTLB Ecosystem. You're the bestest.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

You Can't Be Serious

Oh, no--you are!!
"Simpson. Jessica Simpson. Tee hee."

I'm shaken, not stirred, by the idea. Say, if I make a Jessica Simpson in Bondage joke here, what kind of Google results do you think I'll get?
The Bone Snatchers

The corpse of Alistair Cooke, famous for his BBC series Letters from America, has been stolen. authorities believe Cooke's bones were sold to a medical supply company which manufactures dental implants and provides materials for orthopedic procedures. It is believed this incident is part of a larger scam involving funeral directors and other folks in the medical profession.
Serenity Now, Later, or More Than Likely Never

Joss Whedon’s Serenity came out on DVD this week. Now even more people have the opportunity to not see it. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for another one of my rants on what a no talent hack Joss Whedon is.

Whydoes Hollywood keep giving him money to make such crap? Okay, the guy has a big hit with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The success of that show had less to do with Whedon’s creatively than it did with Sarah Michelle Gellar doing high kicks in tight jeans. The spinoff, Angel, limped along for a few seasons before being canned. Firefly, the show Serenity was based on, premiered with 3 million viewers and whittled it’s way down to the cast members’ closest family before being cancelled after thirteen weeks. Whedon tried to pitch other shows but had to shut down Mutant Enemy Productions because he got no bites on his ideas.

But they will hand over backhoes full of cash to make movies. But why? The fouth Alien movie was horrible. His X-Men rewrite was scrapped for being awful. He convinced The Powers That Be to finance Serenity--based on a show that was a proven dismal failure--which was in and out of theatres in one weekend, earning only $25 million. Now Whedon is desperately heading back to the well. He wants to do a Buffy movie. Good luck getting Gellar to pick up her stake again.

Warner Brothers has in the meantime hired him to make a Wonder Woman movie. Considering the recent failures of Elektra and Aeon Flux, I’d say we’ve got another bomb on our hands in what could have been a decent hit. Whedon wants to cast an unknown instead of going for the most obvious choice--throwing buckets of money at Jennifer Garner. Yes, Garner is fearful of being stereotyped after playing Greek assassin Elektra twice and Sidney Bristow for five seasons on Alias, but she was Whedon’s only hope for success. Once again, without eye candy, everyone is going to see what a terrible creator Whedon is. Maybe if he camped out in front of Michael Douglas Catherine Zeta Jones’ mansion, he could beg her to take the role and save his career.

Oh, who am I kidding? For some reason, Whedon is worshipped on the net. His fans are more rabid and dangerous than all those grannies who want to chain up Clay Aiken in their basements. For some reason, a suicidal Hollywood continues to hand him the keys to the kingdom just to appease this crowd. I must ask you: what in the world for?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Oh, Dear

I can sense the Inquisition cranking up as we speak.
Seeking Pearls

Do you know how pearls are made?

The natural pearl is formed as a protective reaction of the oyster, clam, or other mullosc stimulated by a foreign object such as a grain of sand or even a small parasite intruding its sensitive inner tissue. To diffuse the intruder, the oyster encapsulates it in layers of nacre or the mother of pearl secretion, and the pearl grows in size as the number of layers increases. Pearls are formed in shelled mollusc such as oysters, mussels, clams, conch and abalone living in freshwater as well as in the seas. There is a lesson in that. Every tiny irritation, if dealt with properly, can become a valuable learning experience--increased wisdom and patience.

Of coure, the clam is snatched out of his home, cracked open, his pearl stolen, then either discarded or put in a chowde. He is broken with no reward to show for his labor, ave the enriching of someone else by his pain. If there is a better metaphor for life, I have yet to find it.
Your Political Stereotype

Reagan
Republican - You believe that the free market will
take care of most things, but that the
government should be there with moderate
taxation to provide for national defense and
enforcing morality. Your historical role model
is Ronald Reagan.

Which political sterotype are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

(Via: Mansfield Fox)
And the Carver Is....

Oops...I mean the Carver are Quentin Costas and Det. Kit McGraw. All right, Quentin was the one everybody suspected. I'd consider it cheap writing if he was flat out the Carver. Turns out Kit is his sister and they've been in on the slashing spree the whole time. That would be cool, I suppose--if Kevin Williamson hadn't done the same thing nine years ago in Scream. The Carvers run off to Europe to live a life of luxury just like Hannibal Lecter, too.

I'm a little disappointed with how contrived the ending was. They've built this storyline up for two years only to end it like this? Perhaps anything would have been disappointing after all the hype, but I can't help but think Nip/Tuck has just jumped the shark. Too bad. When it was good, it was great.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Who is the Carver?


I haven't written about the show, but I am hooked on Nip/Tuck. It is one of the mot oddly addictive shows on television. The plots are so far out you have to tune in just to see what the writers will come up with next. The show revolves around two morally banktupt plastic surgeons, Christian Troy and Sean McNamara, and their completely dysfunctional families. A major plotline is about to be wrapped up on tonight's season finale. tonight we find out who the Carver is.

The Carver has been a masked men/woman who has terrorised Miami's "pretty people." His mantra his that "beaty is a curse upon the world." The Carver has gone about slashing up the faces of his victims to cure them of their beaty. Christian and Sean have been repairing the damage the Carver has done, thus he has a venetta against the two. Both have been his victim on two occasions.

The catch is the Carver's identity is a secret. One of the main characters is the Carver, but the show has dropped all sorts of red herrings throughout the last two seasons to throw viewers off. The Carver is covered from head to toe, uses a voice changer when he/she talks, attacks both men and women equally, and has a particular grudge against Christian. The only definite hint we've been given from the creators of Nip/Tuck is that the man/women behind the mask has been well featured in every season.

With that in mind, here are the most likely suspects:

Dr. MARTIN BOBOLIT--A rival surgeon who is off his rocker. Last season, ge tried to replace his face with Christian’s long before the French pulled it off. He also use the same anesthetic that the Carver does on his victims. That may make him too obvious a suspect. The catch is that Bobolit is supposedly dead. It would add shock value to discover he is not.

QUENTiN: I back this up by evidence that he is a drug user, and his main time of use is before and during surgical procedures. And because of his illicit substance abuse, he has botched more surgeries than the Columbian drug runners of the earlier episodes, if you catch my meaning. Perhaps this was his intention all along? However, this theory in itself may not hold up to be true due to the fact that Quentin has only appeared on the series as of late, and rumor has it that the Carver is a character that has been on the show since the beginning. However, I am still waiting for some truth to these rumors myself. There is one big spoiler for tonight's episode that implies Quentin isn't the Carver:

JUDE--An intern who has appeared only in a few episodes every season. He was fired by McNamara-Troy, and probably has an ax to grind about it. Long shot, out-of-left field choice if true, but what isn’t on this show?

GINA--She is being slowly written out of the show and wasn’t in the promo for tonight’s episode. There really isn’t anything else pointing to her as the Carver.

ARIEL: After all, look at her obvious hatred towards plastic surgeons and their patients. Not only that, but she also seems to have a sort of mental problem with people and how they cover themselves up with make-up and products of other sorts, along with drastic measures such as plastic surgery.

LIZ: She is a main character in nearly every episode. She had samples of Christian’s DNA because she was going to have a baby by him She is an anesthesiologist. She accidentally gave that mistaken Carver victim the same stuff that she gave the people the Carver victimized. She said it was going to be the end of her career, if the fake Carver victim sued.. She couldn't sue if she were dead. Finally, Liz wasn’t at the wedding where Kimber was kidnapped by the Carver. Of course, she hates Christian and probably wouldn’t have been there anyway

CHRISTIAN‘S FATHER--introduced in the first episode as a psychotic loon, he hasn‘t been seen since. Probably not the Carver.


We'll find out tonight when the mask comes off.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Old Rugged Crosses

There has been an ongoing discussion among friends of just how Christian is Christmas? It is not just about the commercialization of the holiday, but a deeper examination of where the traditions come from, such as the tree and mistletoe, and precisely when the birth of Christ occurred. It was sparked off when a friend who currently attends Liberty University put on her discernment cap during a lecture that in which she heard the idea that the Christmas tree was Christianized by Martin Luthor. That lead us to talk about how Jesus was most likely born in April (when shepards would be watching their flocks by night) in 3 AD and the tradition of placing a Christian holiday on the same day as a pagan one to discourage the faithful from celebrating the pagan holiday. Oftentimes, the two got intermixed anyway.

My friend from Liberty, with whom I attended Emmanuel Baptist School, re,arled how anyone who graduated Emmanuel could be so intelligent. I was taken aback. Not out of any sense of ego. You may draw your own conclusions about my intelligence. What I double taked over was the mentioning of Emmanuel again in that context. It has been a while since I encountered it. Years, to be exact.

Let me explain a few things about Emmanuel. It was a private, fundamentalist Christian school loosely attached to Bob Jones University. By loosely attached, I mean that the administrators and roughly half the teachers had degrees from BJU. Half the textbooks were from BJU Press and the other half were from Beka Books, a press run by Pensacola Christian College in Florida. Pensacola doesn’t get major press for its views the way BJU’s racism, homophobia, and anticatholocism do, but they are cut from the same cloth. I gathered this by the reaction I received from PCC graduates I encountered at regent university. Granted, one of those bad blood issues was related to a dispute over my disabilities and how I was being way too much of a burden on my classmates. I considered him a bigoted jerk. Others, particularly the fundamentalists, disagreed.

(Digression: Fascinating revelation, that. It brought back memories of a forgotten incident I had in tenth grade which enlightened me as to the mindset of many of my “good” Christian brethren at Regent. Back at Emmanuel, we had a required chapel service every Thursday morning. Once a month, that chapel was hosted by a visiting delegation from a Christian college. The future youth ministers and choir directors would have sermons, msic, and then pitch their college to you. Emmanuel pushed hard for all its students to go to Christian colleges, so the teachers let us hang around after chapel as long as we were still asking questions. We would dutifully grab applications with the utmost devotion, then throw them away once we were out of sight and apply to the University of South Carolina or Clemson. It cut math class in half every third Thursday, so it was for a good cause.

Pensacola Christian came visiting early in my tenth grade year, shortly after I had my double hip replacement surgery. I was still for the most part wheelchair bound, so there were real issues about the size of college I attended, the feasibility of using an electric scooter and such. Nevertheless, I still went through the motions of interest in Christian schools, despite the realization a state school with loads of resources was best any way I sliced it.

I approached a fellow from the PCC delegation and asked about any disability services at PCC. Usually, they aren’t prepared to answer such a question and stammer like I’ve just asked about the convenience of the Red Light district in relation to the college. I did that on purpose, just to make them squirm. I’ll bet every Christian college in the southeast hated visiting Emmanuel up until my graduation. This time around, the fellow I cornered with the issue directed me to the faculty member traveling with them for answers to my query. A ha. Two victims this time! My lucky day. Or was it?

I talked to this otherwise amicable fellow and got the shock of my life. His suggestion was for me to forget about PCC. They had no disability services (o surprise), id if I did come, I would be given no leeway (no surprise), and if I came and caused any inconveniences, I would be asked to leave (okay, that was a surprise.) That doesn’t sound very Christian, I said. Au contraire I was told. Read Leviticus 21. So I did. My, my, my. I’ll spare the trip to get your Bible:
16. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

17. Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God:

18. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach; a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,

19. Or a man that is broken-footed, or broken-handed,

20. Or crook-backt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken:

2l. No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire; he hath a blemish, he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.
Nevermind this is a requirement for priests during the old Covenant. Fundamentalists enjoy cherry picking Mosaic law to the liking and convenience. The disabled are abomination in the eyes of god and really need to separate themselves from the children of God. This concept went a long way towards explaining the bigoted behavior I encountered at Regent I can’t tell you how many times I was told I needed to be excluded from such strenuous activities as walking through the mall and grocery shopping because a) It might tack on an extra ten minutes because of my slower pace b) they were “worried” about hurting myself or ) I was an abomination, so who cares anyway? Take your pick. It was the final nail in the coffin of Christian fundamentalism for me. It had been dying for a long time, but indulging in such bigotry finally killed it off for me. End of digression.)

Well, maybe that wasn’t such a digression. The point of this post is to talk about my growth as a Christian. At times in the intervening years of my life, I have encountered people from my hometown who assume I went to the local high school. When they found out I went to Emanuel instead, I usually got the, “Oh, you’re one of those“ responses. For the longest time, I thought that was an attack on my Christianity in general. As I grew as a Christian and was exposed to a gentler view of Christ’s teachings, I came to realize it was not an attack on Christianity, but on fundamentalism. I began to see the lack of Christian values in such an interpretation myself.

Let me put it to you in terms of the book of Revelations, a favorite book of the fundamentalist. In the letters to the churches, the Laodicians are described as being neither hot nor cold, and they will be spewed out. I grew up surrounded by “turn or burn, sinners in the hands of an angry God” Christians. They believed they were the Hot Christians, those that did thoe who were less legalistic and thought there were other translations outside the King james were the Lukewarm Christians who would be spewed out, and everyone else was Cold and who cared about those heathens. For the longest time< I believed that hierarchy. I have since discovered that fundamentalists are the Lukewarm Christians too busy measuring girls’ skirts and examining what’s on youe CD player to be developing a strong relationship with Christ. The quietly spiritual, those that don’t scream at the Christian and the Lost alike, those that have genuine praise and worship while exhibiting their gentle souls--they are the hot Christians. As for the Cold, let me say this about them. You know John 3:16? It starts, “For God so loved the world.” The world. Are you the world? I’m not. I’m a Child of God. Something to think about before turning your nose up at nonChristians or those Chistians that don’t meet your high standards. That verse is a lot more specific in who it is referring to and what their relationship to God is and has the potential to be. Definitely something to think about.

As an example of the big difference between the two mindsets, in relation to my current decline in health, fundamentalists have asked, "What do you think God is punishing you for?” while other Christians around me are asking, “What do you think God is preparing you for?” The difference in spiritual understanding is telling. There has not been a time in my life when the contrast was clearer, save when I first set foot in Virginia. I think I’ve beaten tht horse enough for one night…..

All this was stirred up again when an old friend was surprised (and pleased, by the way) that I have rejected fundamentalism. I wish I had been able to do it sooner. A number of mistakes I’ve made in life would not have happened. At the very least, I would have been wary of the wolves in sheeps’ clothing who have sunk their claws into me in recent years. I weep for the generations growing up in the fundamentalist shadow. I don’t doubt their salvation, but I do doubt they feel the proper, loving fellowship they should have among Christins who have not usurped the Bible for its own purposes. I can only hope they find safe havens in the future as I have.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Every New Beginning

There are times in everyone’s life when you have to take a fateful walk into the unknown. There is no particular reason to fear it if one assumes the spiritual is more important than the physical. Never fear what can destroy the body--fear only that which can destroy the soul for all eternity. As I stepped further down this long, dark hallway towards the simple wooden door at the far end, I clutched my robe closer to myself and begsn to doubt everything I’ve ever thought about the above concept.

As I approached the door, I noticed there wa a gold plated nameplate. At least, I assumed it was a nameplate. In fact, it said De Novo--”a new beginning. Believing that fortune favors the bold, I pushed the door open without knocking. I didn’t know what’s on the other side, but after all I’d been through, niceties took a backseat to forthrightness.

The room beyond the door was a small, dark office. There wa little more than a desk with a chair in front of it. No bookshelves. No computer. Not even a coffee machine. Whatever business this was, it was run as sparantly as possible. There was a little bald man wearing rim rim glasses, sitting at the desk. His hands were folded neatly in front of him. He didn’t seem bothered by my intrusion in the least.

“Sit,” he told me, indicating the chair in front of his desk. I do so, just to see how all this weirdness plays out.

“Are you familiar with Euripides?” he asked me before I could sit down. My brow knit for the split second I contemplated his question.

“Well, he’s not exactly on my beach reading list, but yes, I’ve heard of him,” I replied.

“He once wrote ‘whom the gods would destroy, they first drive mad,’” he said. “Oh, and I am impressed. Most folks your age know nothing of such things. Pity, really.”

“A Santayana fan, yes?” I asked.

“Indeed. But everything goes in circles. We are doomed to repeat all tragedies. But there is one you are not to repeat: I ask the questions. You answer. Do you understand?”

“Sure,” I quipped.

I could see his eyebrows rise above the rim of his glasses.

“Fascinating. After the changes that have been thrust upon you, I thought you would demand answers immediately.”

“I am wise enough to know after all I have lost in recent months, seeking answers is all I have left in life. There is no reason to get them all at once,” I said.

“Indeed--and you will not,” he replied. He shuffled through some papers that had been stacked neatly under his folded hands. He scanned through them almost inhumanly quickly.

“Hmm,” he continuedd. “A law student, on the verge of having everything you wanted, struck down by irreparable health problems. Sad, so very sad.”

“Pretty much.” That was all I could find to say.

“And now you have to salvage whatever you can?" he conitued.

“Yes, whatever that may be,” I said.

“Fascinating. You are willing to do this?” he asked.

"For as long as it remains fruitful, yes.”

He dropped the stack of papers and leaned towars me. A serious look came over his face. It startled me, as he had been nothing but cold and emotionless up until this point.

“It won’t be easy. Everything you knew has been destroyed. You are no longer the person you were before--physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. The road is going to be harder and the rewards fewer from here on out. Are you up to that?” he said.

“I do not believe I have a choice at this point,’ I said.

“Indeed, you do not.” He leaned back into his chair and exhaled a deep breath. As he did so, he almost seemed to melt into it. “And how will you live?” he asked me out of the blue.

“Day by day, the same as everyone else,” I answered.

“Don’t just live day by day, Jamie. Be a seeker of answers. People and fate have been cruel to you in equal parts. Find out why. Question everything. Determine motives. Examine the hearts and mind of everyone around you. The universe is headed towards entropy, but there is a reason it is doing so. Look for it,” he said.

I nodded my affirmation.

“I…I will,” I said.

“Good,” he nodded in approval, “Welcome to the rest of your life.”

Friday, December 16, 2005

Shades of Hugo Hurley

The famous number sequence from Lost (4 8 15 16 23 42) almost came up a winner in the national lottery of Ireland.
John Spencer (1946-2005)

John Spencer has died of a sudden heart attack. Spencer has had a long career on the stage and screen, but is best known as President Bartlet's Chief of Staff, Leo McGarry, on The West Wing. McGarry is currently Matt Santos' running mate in the fictitious presidential election this season. Most of the back half of the season has yet to be filmed, so how the producers are going to deal with the death of a central character is anyone's guess. One thing is for certain--the flashward three years that began this season takes on a new, eery feel. Leo wasn't in it.

I think it would be awfully morbid to have another actor take over the role. perhaps another character will take his slot. I imagine santos will cruise to victory on a sympathy vote now instead of the nuclear reactor originally planned. This may lead to something a bit more drastic for the few Wing fans left. It has not been officially announced, but this is the final year for the show. They may use this as an excuse to pull the plug early. A shame, that. The politics annoyed me, but the writing on TWW was some of the best in television history.

Godspeed, Mr. Spencer.
Thirteen Miles in Armor

On August 9 of this year, 6-year old Katie Johnson lost her battle with cancer. Katie's father is Albin Johnson, founder of the 501st Legion, the premiere Star Wars Costuming Fan Club. In January 2006, Cheralyn Lambeth, a member of the Carolina 501st, will run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in her honor to raise money for the American Cancer Society. She will do so in full Imperial Stormtrooper regalia.

This is sweet, yet so very, very strange. The fundraising isn't going so well, either. they have collected just a little over $200 for the January marathon. Regardless, this is much better than that whitewater juror who came to court everyday in a Starfleet uniform.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Apprentice, Week Thirteen

I can't believe what I just saw.

Long story short, Randal got hired. At the same time, I have lost a ton of respect for him. After he was hired, Trump called him back to the conference table and asked his opinion on whether Rebecca should be hired to oversee the other project. Having already won and no longer needing to put up a front, Randal said no. It was his night and there was no reason for him to share. Nevermind that it wouldn't cost him a thing to stick up for her in this last moment. That's just sorry. Even if you don't really care, when saying one word will help someone else get the opportunity of a lifetime, you have to do it. That was mind numbingly selfish.

What a self-centered, egotistical gloryhound. I guess he had us all snowed over. I wouldn't do business with someone so disloyal and two-faced. What does it say about Donal Trump that he does? I loved how the crowd went from cheers to boos in an instant. Too bad that jerk Randal didn't care.

UPDATE: Rebecca has a $150,000/year job offer.
Matt Drudge Doesn't Care About Simians
The Drudge Report has been plastered with articles claiming King Kong is a flop even though the list of opening day earnings he links to shows some movies that fared worse than Kong on opening day went on to earn over $200 million--including a little known and much ignored film called Return of the Jedi. Does anyone else remember that Drudge had a axe to grind about Tim Burton's reimagining of Planet of the apes in 2001? As I recall, he was calling that one a flop weeks before it even opened. He's being more brutal about Kong, even going so far as to speculate on racist overtones. if Drudge continues his pattern of monkey hating, the producers of the Curious George film need to watch their backs.

I'm predicting Kong is going to break the 200 million mark. It is three hours long and premiered on a school night. That makes parents unwilling to go out for a 9:45 showing, considering they won't be getting out until 1:00 AM. The film probably should have premiered on a weekend. I'm betting it picks up serious business starting tomorroww.

Does anyone else wonder why they put so much emphasis on this scene with Naomi Watts tied up? it is featured prominently in the trailer and ads. While it precedes the first meeting between Ann Darrow and Kong, the ads don't feature that context. Without that context, it just seems like a misogynistic image trying to appeal to..what? Some harsh male fantasy? In the original 1933 film, the Hayes Code limited that scene to a few seconds and mostly from a distance. is Peter Jackson trying to make up for lost impact? I don't know, but the dinosaur battle and the giant spiders would have made for a more interesting advertisement.

One thing is for sure--if this movie fails to live up to its (overblown?) expectations, Peter Jsckson will go back to the well and put The Hobbit on the fast track.
The Stories You Missed in 2005

Foreign Policy, the trade journal for political scientists, compiles its annual list of news stories that din't get the attention they deserved. Included is Brussels' ignoring the rejection of the EU constitution by the French and Dutch, Donald Rumsfeld calling Taiwan a "sovereign nation," and the huge number of Latin American mercenaries operating in Iraq.
Weighing in on Lindsay Lohan

Whenever I get the whim, I click on one of my Sitemeter search results for jessica simpson and Lindsay Lohan to see if anyone has left a commment. It's rare, but it happens. I have discovered someone has asked on the Lohan page whether I like Lindsay. since the original post was a joke linking to a fictitious campaign to get her to gain some weight, it was apparently confusing as to whether I am a fan. As a faithful blogger, I cannot have my readers wandering aimlessly in the dark about such important issues.

I confess the total sum of my exposure to Lindsay Lohan was her stint as guest host on Saturday Night Live in the spiring of 2004. I remember it clearly because the following Tuesday was my destined for failure eye surgery. That episode featured her in a pardody of Harry Potter that was hilarious and in the first Debbie Downer skit in which Jimmy fallon cracked himself up for the 10,000th time that season. As far as her movies or her singing career go, I have experienced neither.

I have had occasion to see her on television and the like both before and after her weight loss. Therefore I can tell you that I like this Lindsay Lohan:
She is attractive in that photo. But in this one: ...it looks like she is undergoing chemo. Not good at all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Axe Grinding at Its Worst

Michael Schiavo, who moved heaven and earth for the right to kill his brain damaged wife, Terri, has started a Political Action Committee exclusively to target politicians who tried to stop him from dehydrating Terri to death. That is disgusting on so many levels, I can't even begin to elaborate. At least now everyone can see what kind of evil mind and black heart this chap has. For me, this isn't any different than Scott Peterson forming a PAC to go after death penalty supporters.
Bush Admits Invading Iraq on Faulty Intelligence

here is the key quote from his speech:
"It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq," Bush said. "And I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we're doing just that."
It is a carefully worded admission placing blame squarely on the intelligence community while omitting the Administration ignored the advice of the State Department and much of the military establishment. But Bush does say that it was the right choice to remove Saddam and rid the United States of a mortal eenemy. I agree with this.

I am still baffled why this argument wasn't made instead. Why push us to war over dubious claims of WMDs when ending the stalemate between our two countries, dismantling its terrorist connections, and ensuring a more stable, friendly regime to secure oil flow in case of an Islamic revolution in Saudi Arabia are legitimate reasons to tak action? Is that just not sexy enough for the American public? i doubt that argument. With the "Rally Aroun the Flag" phenomena, the US could start bombing Geemant tommorrow and the president's approval ratings would go up for a time. Mistakes weren't made in the war itself, but in how it was marketted.

Don't believe me? Here's an exchange between President Bush and the press in Philadelphia
Q Since the inception of the Iraqi war, I'd like to know the approximate total of Iraqis who have been killed. And by Iraqis I include civilians, military, police, insurgents, translators.

THE PRESIDENT: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We've lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq.

Yes.

Q Mr. President, thank you --

THE PRESIDENT: I'll repeat the question. If I don't like it, I'll make it up. (Laughter and applause.)
There's a causual notion that the US is right to fight this war even when it is known the WMD were not there. Even the leftwing press recognizes to yuk it up after the death toll has been declared rather follow up on it seriously. We live in interesting times, as the Chinese used to curse.
Consolation Prize

Nicolette Sheridan did not get nominated for a Golden Globe while the rest of her castmates were. that is a crying shame. In the spirit of fairplay--and because I am such a sweetheart--I have nominated and awarded the Best use of a Midriff Bearing Shirt on a Near Geriatric to Nicolette Sheridan. Oddly enough, she refuses to pick it up, much less give an acceptance speech. No wonder she was snubbed.
Click to enlarge if you so desire. Go ahead. No one will know.
Stephen Colbert on "The War on Christmas"

The former Daily Show correspondent and fellow South Carolinian takes up where my last post left off. Hilarity ensues.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Belief in God at 94% in the United States

A new Gallup poll finds that 94% of the American people believe in God. Now I am--if you will pardon the term--skeptical of how high the percent is. I would guess it is more likely around 80-85%. Due to the fact that 20% of those polled who said they believed in God were also uncertain of that belief, the wording of the initial question must have inflated the numbers and somewhere in the 80’s or even a little lower is more accurate. I also image that if you pressed the people polled further, you’d find most are not devout in any particular way and probably feel God, Allah, Vushnu, and maybe even Xenu are all the same. Religion is mutually exclusive, but not nearly as pervasive as the political correctness tenet of all belief being equal so as not to offend.

Regardless of all that, I still find it interesting that belief in God is still so high in the US. I am not one who believes Christians are the target of mass persecution. I honestly don’t have a fire in my belly about prayer in schoos or even having “under God” in the pledge. Virtually every kid that would be forced to participate doesn’t have his heart in it anyway. I’ve always been the closet prayer type myself. Public prayers in mixed company have always struck me as pious and awkward for any nonbelievers present. One suspects God may not feel all that honored by such a practice. Feel free to disagree. We will all have to face our own mistakes one day and there is no sense in you marching proudly towards punishment under my banner. But Christians do feel thy are being persecuted by some overwhelming secular conspiracy.

The thing is, the public at large is often told this by slick, permed, Rolex wearing TV preachers demanding money to continue to fight this evil horde. There are a lot of little old ladies who dip into their measly pension checks and do so. I have doubts that God asks Christian leaders to make his followers sacrifice and suffer to please HIM. I think the middleman should often be cut out of that equation. We are also bombarded with the Benny Hinn faith healers and the Judge Rot Moores who want to place the Ten Commandments in a prominent display, yet overlokk that whole “make no graven images” part. In short, Christianity has the same problem every belief system has, be it religious, political, or sociological: we can’t keep the stupidest amongst us off TV. The public turn on them and fuels their paranoia that the whole country is out to get them.

But the above poll results do show there is a pervasive public acceptace of Christian elements within society. They may not all be devout, yet people don’t mind saying “under god” in the pledge or having a Christmas tree in the town square (not that it’s Christian. The tree is actually a pagan element), or singing ‘Silent Night” at school concerts. My thinking is that if it is considered positive by the great majority of people, and does no harm, then have at it. I question the sincerity, as it seem more like adhering to tradition to me, but even by that rationale the 6-15% of those opposed to overt Christian displays may just have to suck it up and realize they are not truly harmed by and will just have to bow to the majority.
Chimps Are Smarter Than Humans

Well, not exactly, but researchers have done a study That shows human kids will over-imitate every ritualized nuance modeled for them, whereas chimp kids just want to get the cookie out of the box. What it actually shows is how impressionable humans can be in imitating behavior without considering whether it is proper or necessary. The moralists amongsy us might like to speculate how this may extend to disregarding the moral consequences of bad behavior--"I was just following orders"--simply because someone in authoritytold them they could.
What's Wrong With Nicolette Sheridan?

Every main female cast member on Desprate Housewives was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Comedy--except her.
I guess that Monday Night Football promo wasn't such a good idea after all.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Birthday Reflections

This one will be much less melancholy. The milestones of your life are perfect times to review your life path or better or for worse. That is essentially what I did in mt last substantive post. It was a quiet, small celebration. That was not unintentional. I am now, as I have always been, one to surround myself with a small group of people in whom I have implicit trust and comfort with. Large gatherings have their place. Considering the current circumstances, this was one of them. Truth be told, I’ve only had two birthday parties in my life. One when I was eight and another at 21.

The first was insisted upon by my pushy maternal grandmother who wanted to have one at McDonald’s with all my classmates. It was complete with broken items in the restaurant, crying kids running everywhere, and at least one pile of vomit. It was the last party I ever wanted, but my suitemates in college insisted on a party, complete with alcohol, for my 21st birthday. One of my suite mates had a bipolar girlfriend who calmly locked herself in the bathroom and preceded to slice her wrist, upset that she was not the center of attention.. Fortunately,, she forgot the sage advice that it is “down the road, not across the street” and failed to properly slice open the artery. As I recall, that night ended in vomit as well. Again not mine.

Otherwise they have all--and forever shall be--small events. Yesterday was a simple meal with family, a cutting of the cake, and the Dallas Cowboys-Kansas City Chief football game. I received several DVS and stayed up late into the wee hours of the morning with them. I am ierribly behind in keeping up with the ‘hot” movies of the moment. It used to be my release on the weekends to wander around a mall or shopping center and then see a movie. I never realized how that was to be a fleeting pleasure, nor how in-the-know I was regarding cinematic happenings versus now. You really don’t appreciate what your life is really like, especially its blessings, until it is gone.
Reindeer Games
You Are Cupid

A total romantic, you're always crushing on a new reindeer.

Why You're Naughty: You've caused so much drama, all the reindeers aren't speaking to each other.

Why You're Nice: You have a knack for playing matchmaker. You even hooked Rudolph up!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Today is My 29th Birthday

Here I am, one year away from turning 30, and nowhere near where I wanted to be at this time in my life. Not that I am feeling unaccomplished. Instead, I am feeling beat down by circumstance, made weak by time and fate, if I may borrow from Tennyson. This last year hasn’t been a piece of cake by any stretch. It has been a smidgeon over a year since the final attempt to repair my colon failed. I am in many ways used to the idea that it is only going to give me trouble from here on out. That isn’t really anything new. What is new is the permancy of it and my loss of vision. I have never before--and I say this without a hint of ego--faced a mountain I couldn’t and didn’t climb. That goes for health, bad luck, bad relationships, bad family squabbles, and fate in general. Now I’ve slammed face first into a big wall, and it is a major adjustment.

I used to call myself battle scarred and world weary. I did so with a certain amount of pride--something of a, “But I’m still here, jackass,” to no one in particular. Well, now I am battle scarred and world weary. I’ve spent the last year walking the floor between my bedroom and the kitchen. The only way I mark the time is by the pile up of pages beside my computer desk of half baked novels, quarter baked screenplays, and scores of personal blog entries which will never be posted for public consumption. In many ways, that suits me. I am surprised how willing I am to narrow my life down. I am surprised at how little I yearn to join what I used to do. I’m not saying I wouldn’t jump at the chance to fix everything. I would. If someone gave me a lamp with a genie today, I’d be healed and on my way back to the Gehenna called Regent Law. What I so mean is that time and reflection has made me look at the past differently.

I’ve given much thought to the reality of situations I have been in the past. How sure I was of the way things were then compared to how a wiser me would react now. I’ll admit, I worked towards some fanciful life plans and viewed relationships with others in a context that I, as a disabled person even before my retina detached and colon ruptured, could never realistically achieved. In retrospect, I think I missed what my life could have and should have been while I dreamed of being something I’m not. Try as I may, I an pinpoint exactly where I went wrong, or if I was just doomed from the start.

Today someone--I just know it--is going to wish me a happy birthday and many moe. They’ll have no idea how daunting the concept of many more strikes me these days. I am a goal orientated person. I like to keep my eye on the prize. Well, there is no prize anymore, just a constant battering by fate without any of the rewards that have come in the past, nor the health or other capacity to appreciate them even if they did. These are the things I have to think about in the tedium of these days. I guess my birthday is reminder that I am doing little more than growing older and wearing out--not necessarily in that order.

"Yesterday When I Was Young"

(Marc Almond/Roy Clark)

Yesterday, when I was young,
The taste of life was sweet, as rain upon my tongue,
I teased at life, as if it were a foolish game,
The way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame

The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned,
I always built, alas, on weak and shifting sand,
I lived by night, and shunned the naked light of day,
And only now, I see, how the years ran away

Yesterday, when I was young,
So many happy songs were waiting to be sung,
So many wild pleasures lay in store for me,
And so much pain, my dazzled eyes refused to see

I ran so fast that time, and youth at last ran out,
I never stopped to think, what life, was all about,
And every conversation, I can now recall,
Concerned itself with me, and nothing else at all

Yesterday, the moon was blue,
And every crazy day, brought something new to do,
I used my magic age, as if it were a wand,
And never saw the worst, and the emptiness beyond

The game of love I played, with arrogance and pride,
And every flame I lit, too quickly, quickly died,
The friends I made, all seemed somehow to drift away,
And only I am left, on stage to end the play

There are so many songs in me, that won't be sung,
I feel the bitter taste, of tears upon my tongue,
The time has come for me to pay,
For yesterday, when I was young.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Irony Kills Me

Alec Baldwin is hosting Saturday Night Live for the twelfth time. In the opening sketcth, he played Saddam Hussein in prison. Saddam was making light of his past crimes against humanity to the discomfort of his guard, including how Ramsey Clark is the kiss of death (pardon the pun) in a genocide trial. I found it odd for Baldwin to make such jokes, considering he never supported the war in Iraq under any rationale.

Yes, he's an actor playing a role here and given his outspoken views, I suppose the fact that it is him is part of the joke. Still, on some level that I can't put my finger on, I'm irked by it. Maybe it is because he hasn't been in a good movie since Malice. I dunno.
Richard Pryor (1940-2005)

I have been writing an awful lot of obituaries lately. Not a good thing. Richard Pryor has died of a heart attack. I confess I was never a huge fan of his, mostly because I did not relate to his stand up comedy. I recognize that those who lieked the urban style of comedy really liked him, so I give him credit for being talented--even if I did think his routines were too vulgar. If not for Pryor, I wouldn't have Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, or any other black comedian I do think is funny.

What I recognize Pryor from is his movie career. He cowrote Blazing Saddles with Mel Brooks anonymously so as not to scare off the producers and distributors of the film. it remains one of my alltime favorite comedies. I also recall The Toy, although it was blatantly racist and demeaning, and Brewster's millions from my youth. As a comic book fan, I usually can't pass up the opportunity to watch the much despised Superman III, in which he plays a bumbling computer genius being manipulated by Napoleon Solo himself, Robert Vaughn.

He suffered with MS for years. It was terribly noticeable in his last two film. It didn't treat him kindly, nor did his personal demons involving drugs or his closest family members. His hometown couldn't even name a street after him without controversy. That is all over now. I recall Pryor's last line in Silver Streak. I believe it is appropriate for now: "It's been a shattering experience, cap'n, and I just wanna go home."
What's Your Number?




You Are the Investigator



5




You're independent - and a logical analytical thinker.

You love learning and ideas... and know things no one else does.

Bored by small talk, you refuse to participate in boring conversations.

You are open minded. A visionary. You understand the world and may change it.


Friday, December 09, 2005

A Capital Error Written in the Stars

The Burmese military has decided to move its capital in advance of either a popular uprising or an invasion by the United States. The time selected for this move, November 6th, was chosen by the country's foremost astrologer. On that date, the government began to move all its ministries to a remote location deep in the jungle. There is more elaboration on the rationale--such that it is--at this link.

This move, in the name of defense, uproots the military leadership, puts them futher away, strains the lines of comunication,makes maneuverability next to impossible, and seaparates them from supply lines. If they were worried about an uprising before, they should really watch their backs now. I suppose the astrologers have aleady told them that, though.

Good folks, bad government. There's a lot of that going around.
A Charlie Brown Christmas

Did anyone else get nostalgic for Peter Paul Almond bars and Peppermint Patties while watching A Charlie Brown Christmas recently? I did. I had forgotten how much that cartoon was a part of the Christmas tradition when I was younger. The cartoon first aired in 1965, making this year its fortieth anniversary. It still scored high in the ratings despite having an overtly Christian message. It made e realize that it isn’t so much that people have changed--they are still receptive to positive entertainment with Biblical overtones if it’s done well-but that The Powers That Be have changed. You couldn’t get a show like that on network television now because of political correctness concerns. I don’t think that is an improvement.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Peanuts. It’s one of those things in life that everyone has a knowledge of what’s going on without necessarily being devoted. The whole comics section was a daily read right on up until my retina decided it didn’t want to hang around anymore. Peanuts was always different than the rest because it often was more poignant than funny. Not poignant in a Tolstoy sort of way, but a bittersweet reminder that childhood wasn’t always the normal Rockwell ideal

Think about it. The only adult present was their teacher, who spoke in gibberish. Add to that the kids‘ parents were never around gave off a sense of alienation from the adult world that many kids have. Really, the strip is all about Charlie Brown, a kid who never catches a break. His friends constantly dump on him. Even Snoopy can‘t remember his name. Look at the Christmas special to see what I mean. The kids are brutal to him when he shows up with the scrawny tree. Violet, who always was a nasty little wench, actually calls him stupid. It isn‘t until Linus, often the voice of reason despite his obvious insecurities (yeah, I know--The Great Pumpkin. Hush.). Tells them all the true meaning of Christmas.

It would do for the aforementioned Powers That Be to to take notice. The Peanuts are essentially latchkey kids and show it in their relationships with each other, yet are hungry for spirituality, not some loosey goosey notion of pc tolerance. Viewers at home are still watching, so it isn’t a phenomenon isolated to an old cartoon. I’d hate to think the only reason Peanuts still has a place onscreen every year is the tolerance of Peppermint Patty and Marcy’s lesbian relationship.

(Kidding, kidding.)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Carroll Campbell (1940-2005)

Former Comgressman and Governor of South Carolina, Carroll Campbell, has died from complications due to alzheimer's. Campbell singlehandly built the Republican party in the Palmetto State and was pivotal in securing SC for the GOP in every election from 1988-2000. The current President Bush offered Campbell the ambassadorship to Australia, but due to his as yet unrevealed poor health, he turned in down. Everyone in the state believed he refused with the idea of running for the Senate in 2002. Alas, it was not to be.

Campbell served three terms in Congress and two as governor. He also served a term as chairman of the National Governor's Association. His name constantly appeared as a possible VP choice for the GOP.

Godspeed, Gov. Campbell.
The Apprentice, Week Twelve

We pick up right where we left off last week. Randal and Rebecca are waiting outside the boardroom with the expectation that Alla is about to join them for a new task. Instead, they get Trump, who congratulates them on being the final two. For their reward, they are two go to a fine restaurant with George and Caroline. It is all smiles and fun until they are informed they must choose their teams for the final task. Then it becomes a cutthroat negotiation for the crème de la crème. Like I said last week, Rebecca is tough, but her Achille’s heel (if you excuse the irony considering her broken ankle) exposed itself again: she chose Toral to join her team. Going with her heart over her desire to win may prove her undoing.

Rebecca’s team takes the Capital Edge name. Their task is to organize a comedy charity event sponsored by Yahoo in which the proceeds go to a pediatric AIDS foundation. Randall takes the reins of Excel. Their task is to organize a celebrity softball games, sponsored by Outback, with the proceeds going to autism research. Both teams are starting from the ground up and have to manage every aspect of both events. It is made extremely difficult by limiting the teams to only a handful of members.

All we see for the rest of the episode is the preparations for the two tasks. Rebecca, though thoroughly exhausted, hs inspired her team to push themselves to the limit. All that despite the fact that they can’t stopped talking about how much they admire Randal in their personal interviews. Regardless, her task is moving along swimmingly.

The only negative thing said about Randal was in the personal interview with the autisic foundation’s representative, she thought he was too wrapped up in the organizational aspects of it and not giving the charity the exposure it is due. It is revealed one of the Excel members is about to become a dad, and he remarks that he is going to give 11% out of empathy. Cue the strumming of heart strings. Not to make light of things, but could they be more blatant about who will win?

The episode ends with a rainstorm brewing which will ruin the softball game, but not much affect the comedy show. Now, are the producers making Randal look like a superman for winning anyway or making an excuse for when he loses the task but gets hired anyway? Out of curiousity, does anyone think Rebecca got a "winner edit" in this episode?