November 29, 2004

Review: Christmas with the Kranks

What was I even doing at this movie? you wonder. Well, as I mentioned before, family was in town this Thanksgiving weekend, and we needed an activity when rain spoiled our beach outing. What better thing than a completely neutral movie?

"The Incredibles" had already been seen by most of us, and when someone suggested "Alexander" I QUICKLY pushed through the "Kranks" option. God! There are not enough Conversation-Safe Flash Cards in the world to pull us out of the Bisexual Greek Conversation Abyss!

"Kranks" fails spectacularly by trying to exist in more or less the same exact space as "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" without being even a quarter as good. Damned if it isn't just a movie about people learning the True Meaning of Christmas, without any twist on that theme whatsoever.

"Kranks" brings not one new idea to the T.M.O.C. genre, except for the unintentional portrayal of the pro-holiday crowd as a mob of Christmas Nazis. There's the standard Guy Who is Actually Santa Claus, there's the ubiquitous Chicago skyline (which apparently is visible from most Hollywood backlots), there's the complete lack of anything other than the Christian holiday in the envelope universe the movie exists in.

It's unfortunate that, because the neighbors are such ogres (led by Dan Aykroyd in the movie's only lively performance), most reasonable viewers will sympathize totally with Tim Allen's desire to take a cruise instead of decorate the tree, and sink into depression along with him when he is pressured into staying by the impending return of his genetically perfect daughter. Obviously Allen is supposed to be the Scrooge of this movie, but it doesn't work if all the Bob Cratchetts and Tiny Tims are a bit monstrous.

At the end I was reminded of Clark Griswold's post-breakdown conversation with his father. Clark wants to know how his dad survived the holidays year after year, and dad admits he had a lot of help from Jack Daniels. Certainly Tim Allen looked like he needed a stiff shot when it was over, and he had finally learned the T.M.O.C.: the holiday is mandatory, there is only one way to celebrate it, and if you deviate, something is wrong with you.

Posted by Chris on 11/29/04

While I understand this was an obvious, non threatening choice for the family, all I can say is: Of course it sucked. Was there ever any doubt that it would? Ya know what? How about a rousing double feature of the Kranks and Surviving Christmas? They just don't make Christmas movies like they used to; A Christmas Story, Black Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Am I right?

Posted by: klugula at November 29, 2004 3:10 PM


Why do you hate America? And more importantly, CHristmas?

Posted by: friend jessica at November 30, 2004 6:16 AM

Selling Out

An interesting thing about people's perceptions of you when you relocate out here: you haven't just moved, you've changed.

I picked my family up at the airport on Thanksgiving morning, and the first thing they said when they saw me was "You look so California!" Even though I was wearing clothes I've had since Chicago, and I have no tan to speak of. Maybe it was my aura? I don't know, I didn't ask.

As a matter of fact I started getting this sort of comment BEFORE I moved. Just by announcing the intention to relocate, you can be seen as a de facto resident!

Posted by Chris on 11/29/04 do sound a bit different via computer, than you did before. Maybe something did happen. Pod people?

Posted by: klugula at November 29, 2004 11:22 AM

are you know... ::pointing at Michael::...a (gay man) now?

Posted by: friend jessica at November 29, 2004 12:06 PM

Are you crazy?! I have found the Lord. Besides, George Bush doesn't approve of that behavior. I would never do anything to lose his or the Lord's love. God!

Posted by: klugula at November 29, 2004 12:21 PM

our God IS an Awesome god. SING WITH ME NOW.

Posted by: friend jessica at November 29, 2004 12:50 PM

For shame. Butcha know what? HE still loves you, despite your obvious sinning and blasphemy. And HE still loves me, despite my use of the word "butcha". HE is just that forgiving.

Posted by: klugula at November 29, 2004 1:00 PM

Yer darn tootin' you've changed! Don't think I didn't notice the oh so California shirts you wore when you came back to Chicago for a visit. Riiiiiiiight ... you've had them forever ... 'cause Chicago so blamy.

You don't fool me, mister.

Posted by: John at December 3, 2004 3:16 PM

Blamy Chicago may be, but no one who has ever seen me would accuse me of updating my wardrobe.

This is blatant Anti-Blue Stateism.

Posted by: Chris at December 3, 2004 4:02 PM

November 24, 2004

Best D.J.s

Richard Milne - "Local Anesthetic" on WXRT Chicago

Nic Harcourt - "Morning Becomes Eclectic" on KRCW L.A. (Also streaming through iTunes)

Oddly, these guys have not gotten the memo from Radio that you must include a wacky sidekick or the optional third person just to giggle. So you may not know exactly what it is that you're hearing at first. But I'll tell you what it is: it's music, and in particular good music you may not have heard a billion times yet. These guys seem to be into it. How quaint!

Also, not only do these guys SAY IT when they PLAY it, you can also look it up on their sites:

One of which has links that take you RIGHT TO AMAZON. Let's enjoy them now before they're discovered and shut down.

Posted by Chris on 11/24/04

Sidekick must also have a name that's not a name.

"Triscuthead" or "Vixenation" or "belch boy"

Posted by: friend jessica at November 24, 2004 10:13 AM

Yes - you get the impression that he's somewhere a bit lower on the food chain, like some hapless intern, or maybe some mentally-challenged person kept on a leash.

Posted by: Chris at November 24, 2004 10:22 AM

I should also note that it's not like these guys are playing exclusively bizarre music. You're not going to hear a bunch of trance rock from Britain or someone doing Yoko Ono shrieks into the microphone. I just heard a new U2 song on KCRW, and after that something from Nick Cave, and then something from David Byrne.

Posted by: Chris at November 24, 2004 10:31 AM

Anything in German?

Posted by: friend jessica at November 24, 2004 10:37 AM

Chris, try They manage a good variety, old and new, without the hilarity/banality of a DJ talking over the music or playing commercials. They also show their playlist.

Did you hear about John Peel? I should never have recommended one of his shows (Home Truths) to you, he died maybe a week or two later. If more DJs were like him (and fewer owned by Clear Channel) we might have more of the good stuff rising to the top.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by: isaac at November 24, 2004 11:48 AM

November 23, 2004

TV Coverage Prediction

What do you want to bet, right now in local newsrooms all over the country, they're drawing straws over who has to be the correspondant to schlep down to the airport and get the B-roll of Thanksgiving travelers standing in line or napping in chairs while waiting for a delayed flight?

And then the one who draws the short straw goes and dusts off the copy from last year. How to put that extra "spin" on the factoids this time? Busiest travel day of the year, check. TSA being extra cautious about terrorist alerts, check. Make sure to call ahead and arrive two hours before domestic flights, check.

And then they'll get there and scan the crowds for the Joe Q. Sixpack that can bumble his way through some on-air statement about not minding the inconvenience, since it's a small price to pay for national security.

Couldn't they just use last year's tape?

Posted by Chris on 11/23/04

Hooray. The one I'm looking forward to is the poor reporter who drew the straw to stand in a field of turkeys. Inevitably he (more likely she) must wrap up her piece of crack reporting with a footnote about "these turkeys here are of course safe...until next year" and then cut back to the studio newsreaders for three seconds of jocular banter.

How about the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday for everyone in retail) when they drop reporters into strip malls like Michigan Avenue and report on the shopping crowd madness. Hoo, boy!

I'm glad the news is predictable; uncertainty makes me lose interest in my cereal.

Posted by: isaac at November 24, 2004 6:38 AM

Also, when standing a field of turkeys, just remember to wrap up your crack...because those turkey necks can get RIGHT UP IN THERE.

CNN.COM's TOP STORY right now, in a world of war, pestilence and shady business dealings is:

Travelers Urged to Get Early Start.


Posted by: friend jessica at November 24, 2004 8:19 AM

Cell Phone Peeves #395498

1: Since it's really anyone's guess if we'll actually be connected when you call, I mean we'll probably be cut off right away, or you won't be able to hear me, or a train will go overhead right at that moment, and then I'll hang up and call you back but then you've called ME back at the same time, so we both go to each other's voice mail, and I'll continue to do so for a few tries since you're leaving me a message, and then I give up and THEN you call me back,


skip the inevitable preamble when we're finally connected, relaying all the missteps and false starts that went into making this call happen?

Can we just agree ahead of time that yes! It's NUTS how we called at the same time, and then get onto it? MUST WE go through all these cell phone acrobatics only to devote the first thirty seconds of each conversation to a prologue outlining the harrowing journey to connection? Did I try to call you earlier? Yes, as you see on your caller ID. Did I listen to your message that you just left, NO.

And, 2: Why is it when the connection goes bad, it's ME cutting out? I'm not trying to defend my cell phone, I'm just wondering - why is it assumed that it's ME dropping the connection here?

Previous cell phone diatribes: 1, 2, and 3.

Posted by Chris on 11/23/04

Better yet! Down with the blasted cell phones. I must be one of the only people left on the entire planet that doesn't have one. And yet, I still find a way to survive and function normally in this world. What? There was an election?

Posted by: klugula at November 27, 2004 5:07 AM

Review: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Jessica Biel Edition)

Let's be honest: much as cigarettes are a nicotine-delivery system, a movie like this is a Jessica Biel-delivery system. People want - nay, they CRAVE - that central ingredient, and will tolerate any amount of something that is bad to get it. So who cares whether it's "good" or not.

I didn't need to read many reviews to find out that this remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre stunk, but I Netflixed it anyway. And indeed! It's a less than mediocre update of a skeezy classic, but oh that girl. Merely to think about her is to Google around to find that picture of her in the sink again.

The movie takes the Crazy Killer Redneck genre a bit more in the direction of the House of 1000 Corpses mode, which is to say it's not so much a plot but a long session of torturing teenagers. It's like a filmed version of a walk through one of those community Halloween houses, with lots of Seven production design thrown in: garages and closets filled with jars of sinister-looking doodads like doll's heads, the occasional chicken's foot, and unidentifiable rotten gee gaws, and also water is dripping down over everything.

And the backwoods people who live there like to kill any young thing that wanders off the road, although why they're so mad I don't know, considering their candidate won again.

It does take the interesting turn of updating the hitchhiker scene in the beginning (and what she does could be the subject of an entire movie), but after that it's back to the Ten Little Indians plot, with Biel as the Most Valuable and Beautiful Indian, therefore the one that survives.

Still - I'm recommending it. Because if you're renting this, it's for Jessica, and the movie delivers there.

Posted by Chris on 11/23/04

Does the movie feature a violent game of Texas hold 'em?

Posted by: isaac at November 23, 2004 12:02 PM

Yes, although it could more accurately be called Texas Hold 'Em Against Their Will.

Posted by: Chris at November 23, 2004 12:05 PM

That's my kind of game. If you know what I mean.

Posted by: friend jessica at November 24, 2004 8:50 AM

I am outraged that you would recommend this film based on the looks of one of the actresses. Oh, you straight men. This would be like me recommending the 80's howler, "Thief of Hearts", only for the nudity of Steven recommend this film.

Posted by: klugula at November 27, 2004 5:04 AM

for my part, I'd appreciate someone recommending male nudity. As a hetero woman, I think the film community thinks I appreciate romantic story lines and gauzy lenses and flowers and whispers of "i love you". What I really want is Cock and TONS OF IT.

Posted by: friend jessica at November 29, 2004 8:09 AM

Not even 8:15 AM PST and we have... a QUOTE OF THE DAY.

Is there not a Mr. Skin for male nudity?

Posted by: Chris at November 29, 2004 8:13 AM

I doubt it. All the women I know are like "ewww...naked men are gross". These are women who claim to be straight. They've obviously never seen the nude naked perfection of a chiseled Vin Diesel. rorrwowwwr

Posted by: friend jessica at November 29, 2004 9:12 AM

I agree completely. And it's encouraging to hear that it's not been me in particular they're referring to when I've heard women say "Eeeew... GROSS" in the past.

To address this problem, look for more pictures of Vin Diesel's penis here soon.

Posted by: Chris at November 29, 2004 10:46 AM

All this talk of male organs. How is a person to get any work done? This whole conversation has turned un-Christian. Check out "Thief of Hearts" for some of the best male nudity money can buy. Not for you Chris, for Jessica. Duh!

Posted by: klugula at November 29, 2004 11:11 AM

Come on - a rated R movie has the best male nudity money can buy? That can't be right. There's a guy out behind our local 7-11 who seems to be willing to go the full monty for the price of a bottle of Mad Dog. Surely THAT'S a better deal for your nudity dollar.

Posted by: Chris at November 29, 2004 11:28 AM

I just call 'em as I see 'em. Where is this 7-11 located? Just for research purposes of course.

Posted by: klugula at November 29, 2004 11:32 AM

And chris gets the added joy of 'delicate human odor' that warm peen I smell?

Posted by: friend jessica at November 29, 2004 12:04 PM

"warm peen"? I realize you must have meant pee, but let's be clear for the sake of others. Hmmm.

Posted by: klugula at November 29, 2004 1:06 PM

No dear, I mean peen, as in 'meat stick', 'thingee' or 'bitchsplitter'. A warm penis smells poorly on many ocassions.

Posted by: friend jessica at November 29, 2004 1:18 PM mistake. I have never heard that term before. I guess it is just my innocence shining through to enlighten all of you heathens.

Posted by: klugula at November 29, 2004 1:21 PM

November 22, 2004

Well, shut my mouth

Maybe the next time I go mouthin' off about Private Ryan I should just SHUT THE HELL UP.

Posted by Chris on 11/22/04

No Kidding!??!?

Crematory operator pleads guilty. Wow - surprise verdict of the year.

Of all the non-political news stories I was sorry to see drop off the radar, this was at the top. Do you think the nation's top funeral industry concerns leaned on media outlets not to dwell on the story, lest too much attention be paid to cremation practices all around? I guess you could say, I lacked closure.

And as far as this blog goes, I can only echo what the World's Laziest Funeral Director said: To those of you who may have come here today looking for answers, I cannot give them to you. To those of you I have hurt, I apologize.

Posted by Chris on 11/22/04

I'm actually going to have that printed up and put on my front door.

Posted by: friend jessica at November 22, 2004 9:04 AM

And let's look at that quote again:

"I cannot give them to you."

This man HAS the answers, chris. He knows the truth, but he is unable to communicate it.

I assign blame twofold:

1) the restless undead
2) aliens

Posted by: friend jessica at November 22, 2004 9:06 AM

Let's not forget:

3) the liberals.

The liberals, with their no morals or values, always denying us the closure. Isn't there some measure of blame that can be shared by them? I think you'll find that the answer could be YES, if we only look hard enough.

Posted by: Chris at November 22, 2004 11:48 AM

November 19, 2004

Directions to the Singularity

Start at Alicublog, looking for a Shorter Jim Lileks but notice a funny article about right-wingers mischaracterizing Liberals:


This is actually just a link to the funny article, which is on a site called Norbizness:


Ha! Plus, any site with Aqua Teen Hunger Force on it is cool! Check out the main page, and from there, become amused by the banner / bumper sticker, which says I'M LIBERAL AND I HATE FREEDOM. This sends you to a site called

Get interested in the Handsome Boy Modeling School article, but then notice, over in the Delicious Links, something about a Neal Stephenson article on Slashdot:

Neal Stephenson Responds With Wit and Humor

So now we're getting close. Get pretty interested in the "I Love Bees" game:

I Love Bees

But there's also a link to - you guessed it - The Singularity:

That's it. But you really didn't need directions. As you will read in the article, the Singularity is pretty much unavoidable. Just let go.

Posted by Chris on 11/19/04

Deep Dark Truthful Mirror

Someone said to me once, "The camera does not love you." Yes, well, I knew that, but I had no idea of the sheer depth of its enmity towards me until I saw a documentary a friend had made recently starring myself as a minor character. Sweet Mary. Why didn't someone tell me.

The movie was funny, but afterwards I wanted nothing more than to crawl into a hole and expire. Or perhaps be fitted for some sort of Iron Mask and forced to live in exile. I could be that Guy That Lives Alone Up In The Tower and Writes in His Blog. Bottom line, my media appearances will be sharply reduced until I can train a stand-in.

Posted by Chris on 11/19/04

Oh please. You were cute as a button as always. You're very hard on yourself, like a woman almost.

It's actually sort of...fruity.

But cute. Your hair NEVER looks as bad as you imagine, and last night I dreamt of you but I think you were running a bed and may want to look into that.

Posted by: friend jessica at November 22, 2004 6:17 AM

Mission: Restore Button-Cute Status, ACCOMPLISHED.

Begin Mission: Own / Operate B&B on my mark, MARK.

Posted by: Chris at November 22, 2004 8:19 AM



Posted by: friend jessica at November 22, 2004 9:03 AM

November 17, 2004



~ a forbidden romance ~

(The setting: A stylish living room, circa 1950s Americana. BARBARA, an attractive woman in her early 30s, is seated on the couch, sipping coffee. Across from her on the chaise longue is the POWER DROID.)

BARBARA: You're so kind to take time out of your schedule to be here. Are you sure I can't get you more coffee?


BARBARA: I know you're busy. And just listen to me! Going on and on about my little problems! You must think me a frightful bore!


BARBARA: But... I didn't ask you here to talk about the wiring. I...

(Barbara gets up and places her coffee on the credenza, keeping her back to the Power Droid.)

BARBARA: I... just had to see you. I know I shouldn't feel this way. I know it's not right. We're so different, you and I.


BARBARA: (Turning back to the droid) How do you do that? Sum up everything in my heart with a simple word?

(There is a silence.)


BARBARA: I'm sorry. I know... it can never be. It's just that I feel... I KNOW we have this connection. I've ALWAYS felt it. Ever since you came to work for us.


BARBARA: Do you ever dream of a world somewhere... where two people like us COULD be together? Where it wasn't forbidden?


BARBARA: No. Don't say it. I know it's pointless to dream. This is the way things are. I-

(The sound of a car pulling up in the driveway.)

BARBARA: STAN! Oh no! Stan's home! He mustn't find us like this! Oh, I've been such a fool, how can you ever forgive me? Quick - get out to the shed! No, there's no time, just stay put! Act like nothing's been happening!


BARBARA: I know. But please... Stanley would never understand! I'm going to plug this lamp into you now. As if this were just a normal thing. And we'll pretend this never happened. All right? My dear?


(Barbara plugs the lamp into the Power Droid, and busies herself dusting the room, giving the appearance that nothing is out of the ordinary.)

The End.

Posted by Chris on 11/17/04

November 16, 2004

Spontaneous Intersection Presidents

Just because I stopped using the Things I'll Have No Truck With category for a while doesn't mean I've gotten lax. On the contrary there are still a whole host of people and issues with which I share many things, but truck is not one of them.

And to prove it, here's one now.

Those people who feel it necessary to give me that kingly "wave through" at an intersection, even when I already have the right of way and don't need special permission from them.

I suppose I could look at it another way and just be thankful that they're acknowledging they won't hit me as I take my rightful turn. But for some reason it comes across as them granting me special dispensation out of their benevolence. I don't like it. Whether I'm on foot or in my car, I don't like it.

Imagine me walking in front of their car, stiffly holding out the palm of my hand towards them as I did. REMAIN STOPPED! PEDESTRIAN IN CROSSWALK! DO NOT ACCELERATE AT THIS TIME!

I think they'd find it a little unnecessary as well.

Dear sir in the schmancy Jaguar: We are all equals here. You don't get to be Intersection President just because you want it.

And to demonstrate the illegitimacy of your presidency, I'm going to give up my turn and wave YOU through the intersection now. That's right, there's been a coup.

Oh, I see you're annoyed now. 'Why isn't this jerk walking?' you wonder. 'Did I not, in my capacity as leader of this great intersection, grant him passage?'

Sir, you can stay there and be annoyed for as long as you want. I am a petty man, and I can wait.

Posted by Chris on 11/16/04

Chris, you can respond to this comment now. Go on.

Posted by: isaac at November 17, 2004 7:31 AM

I am responding to that comment now.

Posted by: Chris at November 17, 2004 7:55 AM

November 15, 2004

James Mason Asked to Leave American Music Awards

It has long been my way, upon hearing Hip-Hop artists speak, to repeat what they have said in the voice of beloved character actor James Mason.

I find there is no better reminder to keep it street than to hear Mason, for instance, giving a shout-out to Father God and his homeys upon winning Breakout Artist of the Year.

You might therefore not be surprised that during last night's 32nd Annual American Music Awards, James had much work to do. So much so that I was asked to either stop or leave the room.

Peace out, y'all.

Posted by Chris on 11/15/04

Poor James Mason. I'm sad for him.

Maybe if he were to offer feet rubs next time he might be able to stay.

Posted by: Brian at November 16, 2004 9:56 AM

I'm going on journey to your big toes!

Posted by: friend jessica at November 16, 2004 10:01 AM

At Long Last, Recognition

Bravo, Field Museum of Chicago. Finally someone has shed some light on a little-considered First Lady who has long lingered in obscurity:

Posted by Chris on 11/15/04

November 12, 2004

Review: My Week in the Entertainment Biz

  • Last weekend: attended Screenwriter's Expo #3 at the L.A. Convention Center. I don't believe I need to go to this again. The place is packed to the rafters with people who either actually write screenplays or just read books about writing screenplays, and the desperation radiates off us like waves of heat from hot pavement.

    I think next year instead of learning how my screenplay could better conform to the Hero's Mythic Journey or where my characters land on the Enneagram or what's HOT HOT HOT at Warner's this season, I'll stay home... and write.

    I'm not saying I'm above it all, and I know the game has to be played if I want to do this seriously, but I'm not positive this is the only way to play the game.

    If you take as read that you're writing something to be sold, then I appreciate the need to be interested in what the average studio exec is looking for. But in every seminar I attended where this came up, (and it always came up no matter what the actual topic of the seminar, well, that and how to get an agent) it struck me that we may as well have been a group of primeval tribesmen holding a VERY SERIOUS COUNCIL on whether mighty Zeus prefers the flank or maybe the upper shank portion of the oxen that we sacrifice to Him. Which section will best appease him, and keep us safe from his mighty lightning?

    The point is, no one knows. Or maybe you can know for a short period but then it changes, so why not be original? I can understand researching market trends if you're in the shoe business - but writing screenplays?

    And obviously there is value in learning the classical structure of movie scripts, the acts, the arcs, the 9 basic characters, the 36 conflicts of drama, the mythic journey, the archetypes, the "shadow" characters of the protagonist, etc. But what joy is there in using that stuff to write some sort of Universal Movie? It reminds me of the novel-writing machines in "1984."

    In one seminar the lady would periodically stop to tell us the One Big Thing about writing screenplays. She did this so many times that at the end we had about twelve One Big Things, some of them contradicting each other. In another a man famous for his screenplay seminars spent the time ranting about why Titanic sucked. It worse than bores me to be around this sort of thing.

    And speaking of bored several movie luminaries showed up so that we could bask in their glory. Ivan Reitman was there, and although he has a permanent place of honor on my shelf, his attitude during the seminar was almost as if he'd just given us a good rogering and now all he wanted to do was roll over and go to sleep, Lord love him. The guys who've written the Shrek movies and the Pirates of the Carribean movies were there and could not have been happier with themselves.

    I had plenty of time to examine these bad attitudes, as many of the seminars were so boring that I left before they were over and wandered the Convention Center. (I always seem to spend these things wandering a convention hall, imagining how cool it would be to play a giant game of hide and seek there, or maybe laser tag.) There was also an Expo on Cosmetic Enhancement going on, and some other event that was vaguely cult-like, because the participants could be heard yelling in orgiastic unison. In fact I didn't even want to linger too long near the doors to their conference rooms, lest they all come pouring out at once and trample me on the way to do whatever Great Good they imagined the world needed.

  • Monday: The West Coast NYU alumni get together, for members of the Tisch school of filmmaking. Director Amy Heckerling of Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless fame was there, exhorting us to revolt against media convergence. And some other big wigs who very reasonably suggested we find opportunity in the brave new world of media convergence, video on demand, and digital production. Can you believe I left this more encouraged than the whole Screenwriters Expo?

    (I didn't go to NYU, my friend Bill did. If I was asked I was still going to lie about it, though.)

  • Tuesday: The 25th anniversary screening of the pilot episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century at the Egyptian theatre!!! With stars Erin Gray!!!, the guy who played Dr. Huer, and the guy who did the voice of Dr. Theopolis in attendance!!!, as well as producer Glen Larson!!! As well as the special effects guy and the costume guy. !!! A GREAT time.

    Rather than a group of rabid continuity-obsessed Comic Book Guy fans, it was a packed house of fans ready to revel in the cheesiness and nostalgia. With an excellent moderator from Cinefantastique magazine. The entire two seasons (which I could have sworn was more like five when I was a kid) is coming out on DVD next week; I WILL be buying it.

  • Wednesday: Lily Tomlin and David O Russell at the Armand Hammer museum, as a part of their "Conversation" series. Very free-form conversation where the two "interviewed" each other. Lily Tomlin has always been one of my ultimate faves. David O Russell is hip and very political. I think it's cool but it annoys Ami that he brings everything back to the Nixon administration.

  • Thursday: weekly screenwriter's group. I had no pages for the group to read again, because I can't figure out how to make the ten page-limit useful yet.

  • Tonight: nothing.

    Posted by Chris on 11/12/04

    I'm glad you went!

    Did you know that you can have Erin Gray call you? Check out I had Lou Ferrigno wish Jessica a Happy Anniversary last year. Best $20 I ever spent.

    Posted by: Brian at November 12, 2004 1:32 PM
  • A Tool of the Man

    Will it make me a tool of the Man, a mouthpiece of the establishment, to point out that, well, Saving Private Ryan IS pretty violent. Maybe it SHOULDN'T be on prime time network TV?

    I don't deny that the Morals and Values Police are going to be out in force in this glorious new age, and the climate is definitely mostly conservative. But when did showing that movie become the sole way to observe Veteran's Day?

    Posted by Chris on 11/12/04

    I thought the main issue was that they use the F word. And by F I mean F***

    We can't see sex or swearing...but violence...BRING IT ON.

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 12, 2004 11:06 AM

    It might be. So many swears. Leave it to the Liberals to put forth the notion that soldiers use foul language. Nice try, Hollywood.

    Posted by: Chris at November 12, 2004 11:53 AM

    Does hearing the f-word lead to f-ing? Is that the problem?

    I hear some TVs have "off" switches these days so you can actually avoid watching objectionable material. Probably a liberal plot.

    Posted by: isaac at November 12, 2004 12:10 PM

    why should I have to do all the work and decide what my children can or can't watch. Everything should be childproofed so I can sit on the couch and toke up for the rest of my life.

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 12, 2004 12:58 PM

    That's true. But if you're really a good mother your child would have the discipline to keep busy; replacing the bongwater and cleaning your cheetos stains, not perching before the TV.

    Posted by: isaac at November 12, 2004 2:20 PM

    November 10, 2004

    Check him out

    Incredibly funny and bizarre comic strips; some of them made into movies:

    Posted by Chris on 11/10/04

    I'm just going to comment here so I can push one of the comments regarding poker off of the main page. Why do you draw such lengthy spam? When I had a message board it was all just chee5P V1ag5a

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 12, 2004 7:47 AM

    But now I'm commenting for real. Those comic strips are hilarious. Dad and Monster is my favorite I believe

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 12, 2004 9:56 AM

    Thanks for keeping the main screen clean. I have no idea why I inspire such attention from the Texas Hold'Em crowd. Maybe if I'd just try it once.

    I love those strips too. I think my favorite so far is the dinosaurs. "SUMMON THE METEORS."

    Posted by: Chris at November 12, 2004 10:01 AM

    Actually now that I look back at it I think "No Survivors" is pretty good too.

    Posted by: Chris at November 12, 2004 10:10 AM

    November 9, 2004


    Since there was commenting going on that was both lively and affirming of my personal worldview, I put the thing back up that shows what's being said right on the front page.

    I also fixed the annoying thing where when you clicked on "comment" it opened in two browsers. I also fixed another thing on the big comments page that I bet bothered no one but me.

    This means that periodically the front page will feature links in the comments for Online Texas Hold'Em and Viagra, which means I haven't noticed yet and will soon cleanse the site with the scouring power of Moveable Type Blacklist.

    Posted by Chris on 11/ 9/04

    In tribute to your latest spam ordeals, did you see that I posted a spam letter from the kerry edwards campaign? it's unlocked.

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 9, 2004 12:15 PM

    I like it all. I appreciate the light scent that pops up along with the comments box - strawberry?

    I have to push this link to the similar worldviewers:

    Posted by: isaac at November 9, 2004 12:34 PM


    Posted by: friend jessica at November 9, 2004 12:57 PM

    Ah, the LiveJournal is open for business again.

    Check it out to learn some surprising attributes about Senator Kerry. Read it or die, can you do any less?

    Posted by: Chris at November 9, 2004 1:00 PM

    check it:

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 9, 2004 1:02 PM

    Hooray for jarbaby. I want to hear about men deserving a cockpunch.

    Posted by: isaac at November 9, 2004 2:27 PM

    keep clicking the frog image...

    Posted by: isaac at November 9, 2004 2:34 PM

    WHAT??? I wanted to learn about a fascinating Texas Hold 'Em tournament!

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 10, 2004 2:35 PM

    I wish Texas would learn to Hold 'Em and not let 'em loose up in Washington DC.

    Posted by: isaac at November 11, 2004 6:33 AM


    Posted by: friend jessica at November 11, 2004 9:30 AM

    Hey. Father, Abraham, had MANY sons. Many sons had Father Abraham.

    You are one of them.

    Posted by: isaac at November 11, 2004 9:39 AM

    What's yer point, preacher man?

    :: flicking cigarette across the lawn ::

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 11, 2004 9:55 AM

    oh, er...repent ye of all ye're sinneths! Thou muthst move to a red state and pick up thine cigarette! And cleanse thyself.

    And cockpunch thy boss.

    Posted by: isaac at November 11, 2004 10:25 AM

    November 8, 2004

    Information-Only Movie Goers: Three Tales

    Went to see "The Incredibles" this weekend, and ended up sitting amongst a bunch of little kids. Because Pixar is brilliant and wonderful and great and filled with light and wonder and joy, they show not only a short cartoon in front of the main cartoon, they also show ANOTHER cartoon in front of all that, really a preview for a coming attraction but practically a short in itself.

    And to top that off they've arranged for the new Star Wars trailer - an event in itself worth the price of admission - to be in front of this movie.

    All in all it's almost more movie goodness than you can stand. It's truly the Christmas bonanza for movie fans. Well, for some fans.

    So when the Disney logo shows before the main feature (the last time it will do so, I read), and it is clear that "The Incredibles" will now commence, the ten-year old next to me says:

    "It's about time."

    Ah, I see. Yes. About time, indeed.

    About time Pixar stopped wasting this kid's - AND EVERYONE'S - time with all these meaningless distractions, and get down to the heart of the matter. That matter being: THE INCREDIBLES. And none of this other tom-foolery, none of this other bally-hoo.

    We did NOT come to see some sheep jump around, we did NOT come to see some car talk like a hick. Those things are SILLY. And we did NOT come to see what Star Wars 6 will look like. STOP WASTING OUR VALUABLE TIME. STICK TO THE POINT, PLEASE. About time? LONG PAST TIME, I would say. That's roughly ten minutes THAT KID WILL NEVER GET BACK.

    He was too young to say it, so on behalf of him and everyone else in the audience, I'LL say it: FUCK YOU, PIXAR.

    Ten years old and he's already got PLACES TO BE! It's fantastic.

    When I was in college I got the job of film series programmer, which I did for four semesters. It was fantastic - it was like having my own private theatre as a plaything.

    Every other film lineup before had basically used the schedule as a mere link between theatrical release and home video; but I went wild, putting offbeat, full trilogies, foreign films, little-seen movies, movies banned in that state, anything that seemed cool on the schedule. I made sure to have previews, and a cartoon before the feature if possible. A lot of people seemed to like it - the numbers jumped up, anyway.

    And then I discovered that a lot of the old chapter serials were available. Batman, Captain Marvel, Flash Gordon. Wow - I was ecstatic. For very little money I programmed one chapter a week, just like they used to.

    The reaction? From the regulars, delight.

    From the much larger student body and faculty? You would have thought I had taken their $5 and given it directly to a street-mime.

    We'd start the serial - which ran around 20 minutes - around ten minutes before show time. And here's how it would go down. Ken and Susie would stop by to see the movie before going to the kegger. The'd walk in, take a look at a guy in a cape on the screen, and march out to me in the box office.

    "WHAT IS THIS?" they would demand.

    "It's a chapter serial," I'd explain. "It runs about twenty minutes. It's from the forties. This month it's Batman."

    "IT'S IN BLACK AND WHITE," they would explain to me, since none of those words I had just said made any sense, at least not in the order that I'd used them.

    "It's only got about five minutes left," I'd say. "If you want to wait out here I can let you know when it's over."

    FattyFat downloads the screenplay of Star Wars 6 this morning, and begins teasing me with it over IM. Because he knows I prefer not to have any of it spoiled, this is fun for him. I explain that since the last two films have been rather... lacking, perhaps the only real Star Warsian joy left for an older fan is the anticipation. He explains that there is a scene with Anakin in lava, and what am I getting so worked up for, haven't we always known that was going to happen?

    I am a Star Wars curmudgeon, he says. Yes.

    But I admire him - and all those referenced here - for their attention to simple efficiency above all when it comes to movies. The important thing, you see, is just getting the basic information. And nothing extra! Just what you paid to see!

    Could we not simply Powerpoint these things? Put an outline up on the internet somewhere? Think of the time saved! Think of the money!

    Posted by Chris on 11/ 8/04

    It hurts me. I mean, actually...physically hurts me, like a small pulsing pain behind my eye, to say:

    "These kids today."

    but seriously.SERIOUSLY. First of all, when I was a kid just the gift of GOING TO THE MOVIES was an amazing, magical experience. My dad took me to a rocky and bullwinkle marathon at Panorama Plaza, and we sat there for four or so HOURS watching cartoons. It was HEAVEN.

    What the F is up with this F-ing generation? People and more importantly, small, children people are JERKS ALL.

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 9, 2004 6:12 AM

    You know what I hate? Those first two acts, I mean really. Don't waste my time with the journey of the hero, into the belly of the beast and all that. Just give me the conclusion, that's why I'm here!


    And isn't reading the script before watching the film a bit like going through your spouse's receipts to see what he/she bought you for Christmas? Maybe Fattyfat is the grinchly curmudgeon (as well as commie bikist).

    Posted by: isaac at November 9, 2004 9:18 AM

    isaac, I could have told you that. For god's sake, this is a man who forces his dog to smoke. Also, fattyfat's dog RAPED my dog when she was just a young pup.

    So judge him as you will.

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 9, 2004 9:56 AM

    How I miss the days of Jessica's LiveJournal being available for all to see. Before its discovery. Before the dark days. Before the censorship.

    Posted by: Chris at November 9, 2004 9:58 AM

    It also hurts me to say "these kids these days." I am informed by those close to me that I am basically an old man. But I am in fact saying it. Is there a better form of birth control than attending a premiere of a family film?

    I suspect this kid was probably parroting what he'd heard his parents say. But still. What is it that entertains the youthful superpredator, anyway?

    Posted by: Chris at November 9, 2004 10:05 AM

    Back in my day we played with hoops and sticks! and we entertained ourselves with sugar cubes on a loop of string! And we spun stories of knights and brave deeds.

    And then went to see Gus: The Fieldgoal Kicking Mule.

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 9, 2004 12:13 PM

    Remember toys? Some of them (oh God, this ages me) didn't even have a slot for batteries! You would have to take it out the box and it wouldn't walk or make noises without your imagination. Modern kids, most of them, should have lawn darts for Christmas.

    friend jessica, I also recall a touch of aberrant behavior from fattyfat's dog. I have a sense it's taken me this long to push those memories away.

    Posted by: isaac at November 9, 2004 12:23 PM

    Recent themes in spam

  • Not really a theme, but I did receive a spam from MYSELF. That is to say, I apparently emailed myself to let myself know that I had approved me for a mortgage.

    Now, I am probably more forgetful than other people. I admit that. But - I feel almost 99% sure that if I had approved myself for a mortgage, I would have at least left myself a post-it note somewhere reminding me.

  • From the number of emails I've gotten, 3-D Aquarium Screensavers are the SHIZ-NIT.

  • Lately the college girls are just getting way out of control. From the pictures emailed to me, someone should let them know right up front in freshmen orientation that you ABSOLUTELY DO NOT have to do everything the guys ask you.

    Repeat to the girls: please consider all requests from the guys SUGGESTIONS ONLY. It will NOT AFFECT YOUR FINAL GRADE if you refuse.

    Posted by Chris on 11/ 8/04
  • Defense Against the Dark Arts

    From Paul Waldman in the Gadflyer:

    If Republicans want to claim to be the Christian party, then they should be questioned, repeatedly and continuously, on whether their policies are expressing Christian principles or not.

    I'm sure they'll be happy that we're all going to become conversant with the scripture.

    The article also links to a great article by Gary Hart in the NYT:

    Liberals are not against religion. They are against hypocrisy, exclusion and judgmentalism. They resist the notion that one side or the other possesses "the truth" to the exclusion of others.

    and also

    There is also the disturbing tendency to insert theocratic principles into the vision of America's role in the world. There is evil in the world. Nowhere in our Constitution or founding documents is there support for the proposition that the United States was given a special dispensation to eliminate it. Surely Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator. But there are quite a few of those still around and no one is advocating eliminating them. Neither Washington, Adams, Madison nor Jefferson saw America as the world's avenging angel. Any notion of going abroad seeking demons to destroy concerned them above all else.

    Posted by Chris on 11/ 8/04

    An article I read summed it up nicely: duping the devout is not Christian.

    I heard a radio article about a massive "church complex" called New Life, one of those mall-sized monstrosities, in Colorado. They (along with similar megachurches) have had President Bush address the congregation on giant vidscreens. This Big Brother display from a president notorious for having a strong record of avoiding press conferences.

    From comedian Jeremy Hardy: "George W Bush is a case for alcoholics not recovering"

    Posted by: isaac at November 8, 2004 12:27 PM

    as if I needed a reason. * hic *

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 8, 2004 2:28 PM

    Jeshic-ah for prehshidunt!

    Posted by: isaac at November 8, 2004 2:44 PM

    November 5, 2004

    A better LOTR metaphor

    I thought of a better LOTR metaphor for the past four years than the one I put below.

  • This has been like watching all three extended Lord of the Rings DVDs with all features, but then right at the end Sam turns to Frodo and says:

    "Throw the Ring in the cracks of Mt. Doom? Good Lord - is THAT why you thought I came along? Hell, no! I was planning on throwing YOU in the lava, and then giving the Ring to the Men! THEY'LL know how to fight a war on Mordor better than you bleeding-heart Ent-hugging Liberal Hobbits!"

    Posted by Chris on 11/ 5/04

    Very good. I had the thought that Gollum's split personality represents the two parts of America. There's the part that wants to do what is right and wants to be trusted, though tough choices and sacrifices are necessary. Then there's the part that says "helping those hobbit homos shows weakness and means raising taxes and if you don't keep the power for yourself one of those darkies will take it and you know what they're like, my precious".

    Perhaps we could replace that French Statue of Liberalism with Sauron's Eye Tower. GE would love the contract.

    Posted by: isaac at November 5, 2004 10:33 AM

    ::cough:: GEEKS ::cough::

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 5, 2004 11:43 AM

    I know but it's Chris' fault. He used to come over in a doublet and read the lore of the Shire to me, strumming ever so gently a lute. And I was born again.

    That Tolkein though, he was one of those dastardly liberal war heroes who strode the trenches of WW I. Probably shot himself knowing it would help his career later in life. He should have stayed a-home and joined the Territorials with the alcohol patriots.

    Posted by: isaac at November 5, 2004 12:06 PM

    Have you read Tolkien and the Great War? It's sort of a biography and details how he gleaned various things from WWI to incorporate into LOTR


    Posted by: friend jessica at November 5, 2004 2:18 PM

    Necessity is the mother of invention. Plato.

    Posted by: Business at February 1, 2005 6:45 PM

    Great guestbook!


    entertainment :: sports :: jobs and carreers ::
    shopping :: internet :: games ::

    Posted by: News at February 9, 2005 4:17 PM

    Great guestbook!


    entertainment :: sports :: jobs and carreers ::
    shopping :: internet :: games ::

    Posted by: News at February 9, 2005 5:40 PM
  • November 4, 2004

    The Consultative Adventures of the Macronauts

    The Consultative Adventures of the Macronauts

    ~ a very short story of technology and its applications ~

    It's true the Macronauts have interchangeable parts, but what most people don't realize is that they actually find exchanging these parts unsavory, and rarely do it.

    For as much as their shiny metallic hands and arms and feet and heads can fit easily on each other's bases, they actually prefer just to stick with the original parts they came with.

    Reasons for this preference vary from Macronaut to Macronaut. For some it's a complicated social issue concerning personal space or body image. For others, it's merely a question of good health habits.

    "It's actually sort of unsanitary when you think about it," says K-LEX 9, a transluscent, blue-skinned android, citing one of the oft-used rationales most Macronauts adhere to. "How do I know where someone else's interchangeable hand has been?"

    Still, the preference not to interchange is found mostly in older Macronauts. Younger 'nauts, at an age marked by curiousity about themselves and their flexible metallic bodies, are understandably fascinated by the process and eager to experiment.

    "I hear that ten macronauts can be linked somehow in sequence to form a master, multi-chromatic MEGA-NAUT!!" This exclamation from a younger 'naut will often cause an older Macronaut to roll its eyes and sigh.

    "Well, sure, in theory... it's possible," says K-LEX to a younger mechanoid. "But hardly PROBABLE. When's the last time you were able to coordinate ten of your friends to the same RESTAURANT, much less into some complicated, overrated bigger version of ANYTHING?"

    "One Macronaut is enough," says Cronulus-43, a pragmatic Macronaut in his early 50s. "Ten is just overkill."

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is not always enough to deter younger Macronauts. A 'naut with less than twenty years of usage is likely to engage in some form of youthful interchanging with their friends, often exasperating their elders by coming home with the heads of their friends, or in more experimental configurations such as sporting feet on the end of their arms.

    "It doesn't make any SENSE," says X-X-Ultra D, one of the younger 'nauts, who often attends school walking on the legs of his close friend Chromus-817, and at the same time having loaned his jet-pack with spring-loaded rockets to a third acquaintance. "That's our whole THING - interchangeable parts! Why would we deny ourselves?"

    The elders generally just sigh, but most draw the line at something more egregious, like switching torsos or having one long arm with four jointed segments.

    "I don't care WHAT they're doing at school," the adult Macronauts say. "If I have to call up 7-Troid's parents to get your head back, I will. AND IT BETTER NOT BE SCRATCHED."

    The more rebelious young 'nauts often gather and put on wild, raucous "Mega-raves," where they attempt to configure themselves into the shape of the vaunted Meganaut; but it rarely ends up as anything more than a jumbled heap of limbs and accessories.

    "Those things should be stopped," says Cronulus-43. "They're just an excuse to lose parts. And lost parts are the bane of the Macronaut existence. Just go ask my brother Remus-X, whose son lost a foot AND a hand five years ago at one of these things. What's he supposed to do now? Just a shame."

    Despite this trend towards conservatism, the Macronauts do still get into adventures, but these days it is mostly on a consultative basis. They make a good living hiring themselves out as advisors to other personalitied machines with transformative abilities.

    "I'm having trouble with the transition from Truck to Bug," goes a typical complaint from those seeking their advice, such as recent client Deceptor-918 / Killer Beetle. "I can't make the wheels fold in right."

    For the consulting Macronauts this is a typical ailment. But rather than take the classic approach and immediately get bogged down in the technicalities of tesselation and metal-folding, they encourage a client to first take a step back and ask some simple questions: Why do you WANT to transform anyway? What's wrong with your current body? Why live a life based on deception?

    Often a client hasn't even explored these lines of thought. Deceptor-918 was no different. When his Macronaut counselor asked him "Why not be happy as a Truck? Why take the form of a Bug anyway?" it was the first time he'd thought of it in that way.

    "I... I guess I thought I was SUPPOSED to be a Bug," he replied, suddenly unsure. This is when a counselor can make real headway. The trick is of course determining which form the client is most comfortable in. In the case of Deceptor-918 / Killer Beetle, the unspoken attitude was that he considered himself first and foremost a truck, and only secondarily a bug.

    "Can a Bug haul a cord of wood?" the counselor will ask. "Can a Bug get a load of bricks to a construction site that desperately needs them? Can a Bug be a part of the rapidly growing interstate commerce business? I think you'll find the answer is no."

    Posted by Chris on 11/ 4/04

    November 3, 2004

    A few discordant notes and then let's get on with our lives

    I don't want to just WALLOW in the bitterness now, but permit me a few bullet points.

  • Number one - what is all this bullshit about how Bush must now unite a bitterly divided country? Can someone tell me why he would need to do that? The Republicans have control of Congress, right? He never has to face the voters again, right?

    Honestly - why should he care about a divided nation? Did his White House act remotely as if they hadn't received a mandate in his first term?

  • This has been like watching all three extended Lord of the Rings DVDs with all features, but then at the end Frodo loses the Ring anyway.

    (Note the better metaphor I came up with later. )

  • Can someone tell me what the hell Ken Starr is supposed to do now that a years-long investigation into Kerry's sex life isn't needed? What would you have he and his whole staff do now? And all those investigators and authors already lined up? That took a lot of work, people. And for what?

  • A bright spot: we've been worried about World War III all our lives. Now we can go ahead and get it out of the way, and not have it hanging over our heads anymore!

  • I said it in 2002 - but can we NOW all agree, with the Republicans even more firmly in charge of all three branches of government, that perhaps they could take some responsibility? Or will things still continue to be the fault of that Root of All Evil Clinton for a while?

  • Every four years they bring out those Sacred Guardians of the Electoral College, those people whose job it is to sigh wearily and assure us that if we just UNDERSTOOD it we wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it.

    Well, I DO understand it - for one thing it assures that the smaller states and populations won't be effectively ignored during a campaign. But can these people during their lofty and practiced eye-rolling also admit that the system now goes pretty far in the other direction? That a California or Ohio vote just doesn't equal the worth of a South Dakota one?

    In my naivete can I suggest that the system not be scrapped, but amended. We have a legislative branch that balances state's rights with pure population rights by having a bicameral makeup - a House and a Senate. Why couldn't electoral votes be calculated in a similar fashion?

    Assuming that Winner Take All remains the rule of the land, how about instead of electoral votes being the final measure, why couldn't the popular vote and electoral vote be combined via some fancy formula and then equally weighted as an Election Score?

    For the fancy formula I put forth:

    popular votes won + [(total population of country / 51) X number of states or district won] = Election Score

    This would produce large numbers to be counted, to be sure. And I'm sure I'm missing something here, but I'd love to hear what. It might change the way politicians would have to campaign somewhat, but it wouldn't add time to determining the winner. And at least I'm putting some math up on the board, not just calling people stupid for not understanding the precious system.

    Thankfully (sort of) this wasn't an issue this time. But if there was a conflict, such as in 2000, then it wouldn't necessarily run counter to the popular vote, and thence to the Supreme Court when they arbitrarily declared that we were in a state of "Constitutional Crisis."

  • And speaking of Constitutional crises, what motivates this rush by the networks to "call" results? This is a presidential election, folks, and Ohio should have all the time it needs to get it right. And you're just going to have to cut to B-roll of campaign speeches while they do.

  • Speaking of Ohio: all you undecided voters that have been the subject of so much speculation and adulation for so long? Gee, I'm glad we wasted so much time on you - and you couldn't bother to vote anyway. Well now no one cares what you think anymore! Go back to your hole.

  • Another beef with network coverage: can you guys stop wiping the tears from your eyes just because Bush is being gracious in accepting Kerry's concession? As if truly, all along they've been the best of buds, and that's what matters anyway? Christ what a bunch of ninnies!

  • Why again exactly is it that voting is such a conflicted affair in this country? Why can't we get it together? This is not a plea for electronic voting, but I really feel that if in this day and age we can pull off a secured electronic purchase over the internet, we should be able to pull this off. Could the problem truly be what the Onion implied so brilliantly in their voting guide? "The new electronic voting machines are complicated. But don't worry: Octogenarians will be on hand to troubleshoot any technological problems that might arise."

  • I feel embarassed for what this says about our country to the world, but come on. I don't mean to make mythical heroes of the Democrats, but the politics of Let's Think About It First will always have an uphill battle against the politics of Fear and Short Answers and Here Have a Refund Check.

  • I fantasize about a religious leader one day stepping up and saying, you know, just because a leader says "Jesus" a lot, it doesn't really mean you have to check your brain at the narthex.

    But then I also fantasize about finding a million dollars and being a British spy.

    Posted by Chris on 11/ 3/04

    Like always, it was summed up wonderfully by Jon Stewart last night when he said the folks in Iraq were watching t.v. and saying "Wait, you invaded us to bring us THIS?"

    It broke my heart to hear Kerry concede, it almost seemed like giving up to bullies. A radio guy here in Chicago (Steve Dahl) said Republicans are like the Football Team and the Democrats are the Marching Band. Marching Band probably loves the school more, but they don't have the strength and attitude of the football team (who are also, in a bizarre way loving the school)

    Anyway, it scares me. I haven't been alive for more than 32 years, but it strikes me that right now, our country is probably looked upon as the stupidest, most reckless, dangerous country going. We have a leader who wants to reform the world to his will one country at a time.

    if Georgie really lived his faith, he'd remember the little gem about blessed are the peacemakers and THE MEEK.

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 3, 2004 2:50 PM

    I remember a Mr. Show episode that summed it up nicely: we're afraid of quality and will go for mediocrity because it's less threatening and doesn't require thought. They had a Robin Williams-style comic running around with zany gags and funny voices showing it's empty laughs that count, not ideas or insight.

    You can see it in our industry: PAL is better than NTSC (which is universally derided as "never the same color"), beta was better than VHS, the Japanese make more efficient and longer-lasting (though less sexy and less expensive) automobiles. Time and time again we chose the worse product in some twisted form of patriotism.

    Same with Hollywood: all the money, all (the ability to hire) the talent, all the slickest new effects and technology in (pre and post) production and what do we come up with? Freddy Versus Jason, Terminator III, White Chicks, etc. Hollywood can make brilliant films with timeless messages but over and over again they push Garfield, Scooby Doo 2 and whatever Hillary's Duffs are in right now.

    And that's what Bush is, an insipid Hollywood-style president. Instead of fixing the problems at home - because problems are depressing and require introspection and tough choices (not good cinema or politics for the ADD crowd) - he offers us distractions with bigger explosions abroad. Bush gives us weak plots linking strong action set-pieces rather than inspiring themes, characters or solutions. He struts around, often in costume (captain codpiece on the carrier or, more embarrassingly, the good ol' boy cowpoke) bravely delivering staccato non sequitur (apparently the only lines he rehearses enough not to stumble over): "dead or alive", "smoke 'em out", "bring 'em on", "let's roll", etc. His ads run like trailers, full of promise but extremely misleading and leaving out the bad points (yes, Bush's first term can be edited down to thirty good seconds). Bush is a bad movie but he's still number one at the box office.

    Look on the bright side though. After 11th September it was doubtful anyone opposing this Bush would carry close to 50% of the country the way Kerry did. I hope the support for Kerry and the cause to keep America good (as well as great) won't sink into complacency.

    P.S. Does anyone know what terror alert color we are in these days?

    Posted by: isaac at November 4, 2004 8:14 AM

    Yellow. But don't count on it for long. Bush and his team continue to poke the world with sticks "Bring it On" "We won't be intimidated" "NYAH NYAH, We're not scared". I'm afraid about the future. I like to give every president a fair shake, and even though this is his second term, I'm also willing to give him a fresh start, but with a much shorter leash. I would love the country to be unified under a president.

    I don't think it will ever happen.

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 4, 2004 9:34 AM

    Yellow, phew.

    It won't happen because of the CEO/stock market mentality of declaring a number as low as 51% a "mandate" and the strange idea that democracy is really about the majority pushing its will on the minority (I've never followed the cynical "tyranny of the masses view).

    With a better system of education we would have hope but we have the continuation of a president who boasts about not reading the news (or much at all except The Very Hungry Caterpillar). With a political party that draws support from the uneducated masses in the way it draws support from terrorist attacks, it makes me think that neither education nor security will be handled in a manner appropriate to the needs (and will) of the people.

    I agree, I like to give new administrations the benefit of the doubt but I heard Cheney is regarding this victory as an affirmation of a radical conservative agenda (isn't that an oxymoron?) Bush once claimed he would be the uniter before he divided and conquered us. For him to unite he must learn how to compromise and listen to alternate viewpoints and ideas (sort of like a democracy) rather than follow the evangelical spirit of rejection/conversion. He must learn that bi-partisanship (which someone in his party described as date rape) means mutual respect and working together, not the other party following his wishes, same with multi-lateralism. He must stop looking at competition as somehow superior or more desirable than cooperation even if it does generate more capital. Hope is good, but he must do more than pay lip service to a united America (and world). He should go back and read some of Eisenhower's speeches and repudiate this Goldwater insecurity/extremism that has clouded the thinking of his party for the past forty years. It's up to him to work for all of us, not just the 50% who supported him.

    He could start by firing Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Pearle, Feith and Rove and any PNAC signatories. Peppering his speeches with the truth once in a while might be a step in the proper direction.

    Posted by: isaac at November 4, 2004 10:52 AM

    Not that there's anything WRONG with THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

    I agree that to think Bush could make a 180 turnaround is a far reach, but my bar is set so low, that even the news of Ashcroft possibly leaving raised my spirits.

    I don't think Bush is an evil genius. I think he's a borderline intelligent average joe, who bit off 1000% more than he can chew and now has dug a hole so deep that there's nothing left but to keep digging. I don't think he KNEW HOW to be a president, but knew that it sort of followed the course of his life and how it should go.

    I would just like to see one f-ing speech where he says (in his self depricating style) "Hey, you know what? I screwed up on a lot of stuff, and some may seem beyond repair, but we're going to see what we can do about it."

    That would be enough for me to give him a second chance.

    I hate holding grudges.

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 4, 2004 11:07 AM

    Regarding Bush, I've NEVER really been interested in whether he's secretly smart or actually goofy; totally believes what he's saying, or really knows it's mostly pablum for the Christians. It just doesn't matter to me; all that matters is what he actually does. And on that basis, HOOBOY.

    Posted by: Chris at November 4, 2004 11:53 AM

    I agree that no matter what the underlying reason, his actions are...bizarre at best, but I think a goofy dumbass can be manipulated and reformed much easier than a mini-hitler which folks on the straightdope are referring to him as, right down to calling Guantanamo a Death Camp

    I just don't think he has those aspirations or the ability to act on hitlerian aspirations.

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 4, 2004 12:04 PM

    No, nothing wrong with The Very Hungry Caterpillar at all.

    And, yes. Agreed. Actions, not words. And I don't hold a grudge or hate anyone. Bush knows how to be a politician, smiling and shaking hands and having his photo taken, but has no taste for policy, reading or writing it.

    Sorry I'm long-winded in these blue bitter days. I'm taking far too many of Chris' gigabyte ram things.

    I miss the fattyfat traffic report. I saw two cyclists the other day. One stopped at the red light but his friend went through it. I was wondering which one was the Kerry or Bush supporter. I bet fatty knows.

    Posted by: isaac at November 4, 2004 12:18 PM

    Yes I never went for the Hitler comparisons (with Bush or Saddam) although it used to be fun to dismiss the argument on grounds that Hitler was actually elected and Bush was not. There are some interesting parallels: using an external threat to enact a long-desired aggressive policy, etc. but reaching for an extreme and emotion-laden example doesn't make for a very convincing argument.

    I wish Dr. Seuss were here to write a book about all this.

    Posted by: isaac at November 4, 2004 12:25 PM

    I thought only odorous communists drove bikes?

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 4, 2004 12:26 PM

    Hey chris! Look at all this smart discourse!

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 4, 2004 12:27 PM

    Yes, this is all smart discourse. But I happen to know you both live in a Blue State, so it's a small victory.

    Posted by: Chris at November 4, 2004 1:13 PM

    Illinois: The Blue State

    That's on our license plates now. NO, I don't have a picture, just TRUST ME.

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 4, 2004 1:19 PM

    Yes, very blue.

    May I scrape something else from my craw: the media seems to be pushing the Bush victory as a victory for "values". Meaning if you voted for Kerry (or the Green or Nader) you have no values. What the...?

    Isn't forcing a burka on your woman a "value"? Should we start doing that? What about polygamy, that's a value as long as you treat all (four maximum under Islam) wives equally and justly.

    I suppose tolerance isn't a value. Clearly secularism (respectful indifference) is no value, unlike forcing your beliefs on others and legislating morality.

    Conservatism: R.I.P. That's the real story.

    Posted by: isaac at November 4, 2004 2:32 PM

    I consider myself ridiculously valued, and on several issues I'm crazy conservative, but the thought of Bush speaking for my religion, my spirituality and my 'values' is enough to make me blow lunch.

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 4, 2004 2:43 PM

    Yes - also great is the media saying Bush won the "moral" campaign, without asking the obvious question: Does that mean John Kerry was the candidate for immorality? Is it moral to compare a war veteran who lost three limbs (Max Cleland) to Osama Bin Laden? I guess so.

    I know we're supposed to "reach out" to our Red State counterparts now. I know my derision towards Joe Q. Public only makes things worse. But what common ground do I have with someone who is so deliberately hypocritical?

    Posted by: Chris at November 4, 2004 3:11 PM

    I'm still here, it's a good discussion - even if it is all part of one choir - and good therapy.

    I've been wishing lately that we still had the "evil empire" of the USSR to point to as a bad example and celebrate all the ways we are not like them.

    I've been wishing we could dispense with terms like conservative and liberal which have lost their meaning in the political arena. Bush seems much more liberal than Kerry. And isn't conservation conservative? Wasn't Jesus relatively liberal? Aren't democracy and capitalism liberal? Isn't the ACLU (which wants to protect the constitution) conservative? Most people I know have a healthy balance of conservatism/liberalism.

    And morality? Isn't that relatively fluid, changing slowly with the times? Gambling used to be considered immoral (hence its illegality), and while I can agree that material obsession is not so healthy or exactly in keeping with Christ's teachings I hate to think my Grandad is sizzling in hell for playing the football pools.

    Geez, I can't for the life of me be succinct. I wish was like this back when I had to write term papers. Sorry fellow blue folks.

    Posted by: isaac at November 5, 2004 7:28 AM


    Jesus Would Puke.

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 5, 2004 8:52 AM
  • November 2, 2004


    A few notes to...

  • ... the lady who looked up my name this morning in the Big Book of Registered Voters, and flipped back and forth for quite a few minutes because she couldn't find it: do you know how close you came? Did you realize that I'd brought not just the one can but the whole six-pack of Whoop-Ass today? Did you notice my fingers on the pull-tab? That I had every form of I.D. an American could legally have on my person? I realize you are old and somewhat palsied, Lord bless you, but .03 seconds more and I was coming across the table.

    Here's a thought - if you don't find it in the Main Section of the Big Book the first, say, two times, how about flipping back to the end to check the Addendum RIGHT AWAY - and look, THERE'S my name! But then you found it and I thanked you for working the polls. So all ended well, and may you never know how close the icy grasp of Death was to you today.

  • ...the guy who empties out the dollar bill thingy on the snack machine here. Sir, TWO DAYS have gone by with the machine not taking my dollar. Not because it is wrinkled, but because the dollar bill thing is FULL. TWO DAYS with the cherry pop tarts just waiting for me beyond the glass. They may as well be in some foreign desert. ATTENTION! ATTENTION is required with this unit! Please!

    Sir, you have broken the sacred trust that exists between customer and vending machine serviceman. May God have mercy on you, sir.

  • ...the "pointing device" nub-thing in the middle of my laptop keyboard. Even though I have "disabled" you in the BIOS, you still gamely hang on, announcing yourself every time I hit the "b" key by moving my cursor elsewhere mid-sentence. I applaud your tenacity.

  • ...Mozilla Firefox, my new browser of choice. Like those tabs! Nice Find feature. But we both know there's going to be fallout from Windows XP down the road for this. Steady on.

  • ... both Cingular and State Farm. I'll be invoicing you both later for the inter-office communication I've been handling for you lately.

    I stayed with Cingular when I moved here but still had to get a new phone and number. Now I get two bills, but the website is POSITIVE the old account is gone. It's like trying to have a conversation with Sybil. I have to keep track of which personality I'm dealing with on my own, I suppose.

    And let's trace the mail from State Farm - we get a letter from Chicago agent asking us to advise on what L.A. agent had said re: Renter's Insurance. What, are you guys fighting? Too proud to pick up the phone?

    Posted by Chris on 11/ 2/04

    my boss relayed his tale of voting which ended in two election judges yelling and one saying "BACK OFF NOW, I KNOW HOW TO RUN THE MACHINE"

    Good stuff.

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 2, 2004 2:16 PM

    TENSION AT THE POLLS. It's going to be a long day for those election judges.

    I like what the Onion said in their guide last week: "If you have any technical questions, please feel free to ask any of the octogenarians manning the polls for help."

    Posted by: Chris at November 2, 2004 2:29 PM
  • November 1, 2004

    Not Supporting the Troops #721

    I'm starting to fantasize about there one day soon being One Last Political Post on this blog, and not mentioning it again. Not that politics will cease being infuriating and comment-worthy no matter which way the election goes - but I think it would be good to concentrate on movies and rants on other subjects for a while. It doesn't take much creativity to link to something a pundit has said that makes you go "YEAH."

    Still, here's something a pundit said that made me go "YEAH!"

    From the Gadflyer:

    So this is where we are in America. Evade military service as a young man, then lie to the American people to justify a war in which over a thousand soldiers have died, and many thousands more been maimed for life, and you "support the troops." Volunteer for military service as a young man, then express misgivings about sending soldiers off to die for a lie, and you "don't support the troops."

    I'd honestly like to hear someone legitimately rebut it, but that will never happen because saying Michael Moore is fat and dresses sloppy passes for debate in America, and is enough to keep Joe Q. Public engaged until kickoff time.

    Also: I've said before that if Rudy Giuliani ran for Prez one day, I might vote for him. And I know that a certain amount of supporting the Party is necessary and required - but this damages his credibility quite a bit in my mind.

    Posted by Chris on 11/ 1/04

    Why, just yesterday I sold off all of my nylons and chocolate to support our troops!

    Loose lips sink ships!

    Somebody talked!

    Fightin' for Freedom!

    Posted by: friend jessica at November 2, 2004 11:15 AM