Saturday, July 31, 2004

No Comments On This Post

I've now lost two posts to the Blog-Monster, and have decided that I'm not composing posts in Blogger anymore, now that it accepts formatted copy-pasted text. My first post had an actual subject and thought behind it, the second was not unlike this one, but more extensive and explanatory as to why I chose this particular text. In this case, I'm just going to leave you with a scene from Buffy Season 5, and you can draw your own conclusions.

The scene begins with Riley and Xander talking about women.

XANDER: How is it that she can always make me feel Suave-Xander's left the building?
RILEY: You two have your friction, but she digs the whole package. It's obvious.
XANDER: Still, I do envy you sometimes. I mean for the sanity. Not that I'm still into Buffy. Not that I ever was.
RILEY: Hey, I'm well aware of how lucky I am. Like, lottery lucky. Buffy's like nobody else in the world. When I'm with her it's like ... it's like I'm split in two. Half of me is just on fire, going crazy if I'm not touching her. The other half is so still and peaceful, just perfectly content. Just knows: this is the one.
... But she doesn't love me.

EDIT: I might add that I deliberately made this post non-commentable, because I really don't want to get into a discussion about what it entails. I'm starting a completely separate blog to deal with those particular issues, and I'm not going to give that information out to ... well, anyone who doesn't ask via my AIM screenname, which is listed below, which no one ever uses; which would be pointless, given that I'm online only in the dead of night.

AIM: therbmcc71

Friday, July 30, 2004

Yes, This is Another Non-Post

Tax the rich, feed the poor
Till there are no rich no more.

Ever since I first saw the Fahrenheit 9/11 trailer, I've been wondering what the hell the song was from the end of the trailer. After about a month's worth of thinking, I finally figured out that the song is "I'd Love to Change the World" by Ten Years After, and trumps most great politically-minded songs in that it features Alvin Lee going totally fucking apeshit on his guitar solo, as you can hear in the trailer, which you'll find here. As for the song, I'm sure that you can find it in various places ... just not at the iTunes Music Store, which pissed me off to no end.

I swear, I'm going to get around to talking about the convention fairly soon.

AIM: therbmcc71

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Upcoming Post Fairly Soon, I Swear

Upcoming Post Fairly Soon, I Swear

I'm about to go over to my friend's house for a cigarette before I go out for a bit. I'll probably end up back at his house later for the purpose of using his broadband connection to listen to the Democratic National Convention speeches that I missed. I'm still upset that I missed Bubba's speech, but I read it yesterday, along with Barack Obama's speech ... and I'm fucking pissed that I missed that one.

Anyway, I've got a post from the first day of the convention already written down in a notebook, and I think I'm going to write up some commentaries on the rest of the convention, whenever it is that I get a chance to listen to the highlights. Not the five-second highlights that they give you on the news, mind you, because the nightly news (or even the newspapers) here in Chicago would make you believe that Barack Obama's speech was only good in two or three places. It was really, really good; that's all I'm going to say for now.

Just for your geeky non-political news (which you're going to be seeing less and less of over the next four months), Gamespy has done a list of the Top 10 Box Arts to go with the 10 Worst Box Arts *cough*Mega Man*cough!* article a couple of months ago.

AIM: therbmcc71

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Plagiarizing Myself

I'm going out in just a minute, and so I'm going to reprint a treatise that I just wrote over on Fubar in the Politics forum, regarding my feelings on American fiscal policy. It starts by addressing the notion of amending the Constitution to prevent deficit spending, except for in the time of war. Surprisingly, I didn't swear once while I was writing it:

Taxation and the Debt

I don't believe an amendment to the Constitution is necessary, let alone probable. Prior to the Hoover administration, deficit spending was virtually unheard of until Keynesianism (as in British economist John Maynard Keynes) took hold in the United States; a theory which states that government borrowing, taxation, expenditures and overall monetary policy could be used to stimulate economic demand. It is this sort of government economic policy that sped recovery from the Great Depression and kept the world economy from sliding after World War II.

It is, however, my belief that Keynesian economics do not work in this day and age, and that there are advantages to paying down the national debt through government tax-surpluses, as we had from 2000 to 2002, courtesy of the Clinton administration. Observant holds that the government should spend exactly what it takes in, but when you throw in the fact that forty-seven percent of federal income-taxes in the United States is used to merely pay the interest on the ballooning U.S. national debt, we have to realize that there is clearly a problem that can only be mitigated through better economic policy.

Unfortunately, no one likes to hear, "Your taxes are going up," regardless of the fact that it may benefit the country in the long run. Cutting taxes to stimulate the economy is not a theory that was born from the Bush administration, as the Kennedy administration attempted to do the same thing (which was passed under LBJ), though it seems almost a dangerous thing to do in this day and age, with the debt going from six-trillion dollars to seven-trillion in the two years from 2002 to 2004, with a projected 1.4 trillion more dollars worth of debt over the next ten years.

Without a national debt, the country can spend its tax-dollars on government programs, thereby making government more fiscally efficient. Without a national debt, the government would not need to borrow money from the Social Security fund every year to offset monetary shortages, which would ultimately mean that our generation would get Social Security. By eliminating the national debt, the United States would not be subject to foreign banks calling in their loans when their home-countries' economies take a dive, thus keeping the United States from falling into a worldwide-recession with them as the government tries to find funding to pay those loans.

The alternative to eliminating the debt is to grow the United States' gross domestic product (GDP), which would bring with it more taxation at the current rate, and therefore would lower the debt, relative to what the government is taking in. Politicians love this method (since it doesn't involve raising taxes), and this is what the current Bush administration was hoping for with the round of tax-cuts in 2002, and we can see that it's failed by the fact that the Dow Jones, NASDAQ and various other stock-market indices have not risen appreciably since those cuts were made.

That's about it for this general treatise on the national debt. Granted, it is only peripherally related to the subject of taxation, but I feel that fiscal policy and taxation essentially go hand-in-hand, not to mention the statistic I called upon regarding our tax dollars being spent to pay the debt's interest. It's still the economy, stupid!

AIM: therbmcc71

Sunday, July 11, 2004

I'm Busy and Full of Excuses

I'm single again, so one would think that would mean that I have more time to type up posts, but I'm going to claim writer's block for the time-being. That, and the fact that I'm posting like a madman on the boards over at Fubar. Just about an hour ago, I found to my joy that I'm moderating the Comics forum over there, which should result in considerably less banning than would occur if I were chairing the Politics forum.

Oh, I know what I can write about. A lot of people hit my site looking for instructions on how to get videos ripped from Final Fantasy X. Maybe I'll do a tutorial. It's not that hard, and realistically should only require a paragraph, which I can't do right now, since I have to find my copy of the game.

I find it vaguely humorous that I can't come up with anything remotely entertaining to put on my own blog, but have no problem contributing to the discussions in the Music, Computers, Videogames, Movies, Politics and (now) Comics forums over at Fubar. In fact, I spent the last hour typing up my introduction and welcome-notice, and it clocked in at a whopping 1,181 words, and that was basically just my history of reading comic books and various comments that I had along the way.

Maybe my father should take me to Wrigley Field next month for the Dodgers game. I'll come up with another great post about baseball. In any case, I'll come up with something soon enough, since I haven't yet gone and said anything here about Spider-Man 2 for the Xbox, though we all know that anytime I say that I'm eventually going to talk about something means that I'm never going to talk about it. So maybe I should go back to the beginning of my blog and find all of those things and write about them. It's not as though I have a great number of things to do of late, other than talk on Fubar. But, of course, you probably know that, since I'd estimate that a good seventy or so percent of my hits come from there.

And none of you bastards leave comments! What the hell is your problem, anyway?

AIM: therbmcc71

Monday, July 05, 2004


I have gnats in my room. Gnats! Little bastard bugs that got in through my screen and the whirling extremely-lethal bug-guillotine of a window fan, and they're currently hanging out in front of my monitor. Little gnat bastards. I think I'm going to set off a bug-bomb in my house and walk away.

AIM: therbmcc71

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The Religion of Baseball

I went to my first Cubs game at Wrigley Field in probably better than fifteen years today, to watch Matt Clement battle it out with Roger Clemens ... and the Cubs lost. But that's beside the point. Yes, it pisses me off, and I'll never forgive Ramon Martinez for not swinging at that last pitch (two outs, 3-2 count, bottom of the 8th, bases loaded; did you think he was going to walk you?!), but it's all beside the point. I discovered the ballpark for the first time in my life, and saw with my own eyes that Wrigley Field is the last real link to when it was a game.

My father, his friend and I took the train into Chicago to Union Station, at which point we hoofed it for what had to be a couple of miles past the Sun-Times building up to the Billy Goat Tavern on Rush (not the original Billy Goat Tavern, but good enough). Now, the Billy Goat Tavern is a Chicago staple that is famous for 1) even saying "Billy Goat" in Chicago strikes fear in the hearts of Cubs fans (imagine how the name Steve Bartman will be remembered in fifty years), and 2) it is the inspiration for the 1970's "Olympia Restaurant" sketches from Saturday Night Live. "Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger! No, no fries! Chips!" If you ever happen to see those sketches, go into the Billy Goat sometime and the sketches just get funnier.

At the Billy Goat, we met up with my Uncle Justin, who's got to be at least ten years older than my father, and happens to be a wealth of knowledge about Wrigley Field. I really have no idea exactly how old Justin is, but he spent the pre-game telling me where they used to keep the hay back when circuses and rodeos were held at Wrigley Field. He told me stories about when the Bears used to play at Wrigley. The most interesting story was about how he used to go to thirty games a year back when he got married, and then had to cut back because those thirty games were costing him about a hundred dollars a year, not including forty-five cents for a beer. By comparison, today's game cost thirty-six dollars and beer's up to five and a quarter.

Wrigley Field is a sight to behold. Coming in to the Addison stop on the CTA Red Line, you know you're getting close to Wrigley when you see the ivy starting to grow ever-thicker on the buildings. From a couple of blocks away, the first glimpse you catch of Wrigley are the lights that weren't even there until about twenty years ago. Prior to that, night-games just didn't exist on the North Side. And then it's there. From the outside, coming off of the El, it's not the contemporary monstrosity that new baseball stadiums are; rather, it's a ballpark, in the simplest sense; as though God Himself took a baseball field and just built around it until he hit the corners of Addison, Clark, Sheffield and Waveland. And then He rested.

For most people who might someday read this, the closest you've ever been to Wrigley is probably watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off for a shot of the famous Wrigley Field gate. Once you get inside and up to the lower-deck, it becomes obvious that they don't make them like this anymore, and there's a magic to the place. At one point, Justin said to me, "I swear to God, I'm half-expecting to hear a voice say, 'Ease his pain,'" to which I said something about Moonlight Graham, at which point we started talking about Field of Dreams and various Burt Lancaster pictures.

Seeing the Cubs at Wrigley Field is like going to Catholic Mass. Perhaps it's more like a revival. There's a lot of standing, sitting, standing, sitting, et cetera, and there's a whole lot of praying, occasionally followed by thousands of people screaming, "Praise Jesus!" or something to that extent, further backing the notion that attending a Cubs game at Wrigley Field is -win or lose- a religious experience, the chapter and verse of which are written in box-scores.

When I watch baseball on television, it's commercialized. This home-run replay has been brought to you by Ford; this inning sponsored by Miller Lite, which you can't even get within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. When I watch batters at the plate during Cubs' home-games, advertisements are digitally inserted over the brick behind home plate, which is just a cardinal sin, the commission of which deserves rotting in the ninth circle of Baseball Hell; an eternity of watching an empty ballpark (and not a good one like Wrigley) with nothing to do but listen to the asinine organ music that's meant to pep up the crowd.

It was a game once. Back in the old days of Mantle, Maris, Yogi Berra and the real greats, back before things like Human Growth Hormone and endorsement-deals, professional baseball players made about $25,000 a year, which was still a lot of money to a regular person, but exponentially different than the absurd amounts of money players are making today by comparison to regular people. The great prophets of baseball mythology have given way to the great profits of baseball business, and there's nothing that can be done to stem the tide ... but at least by going to a game at Wrigley Field, you can fool yourself into truly believing that it's still a game.

AIM: therbmcc71