Monday, October 31, 2005

The Boatman's Call

I remember seeing Titanic with my ex-girlfriend when it came out in the theaters in December of 1997. I think we saw it on either opening night or the night after, and the print was nothing short of pristine. It was simply the finest, most utterly scratch-free print I'd ever seen, which made it easy to get lost in the spectacle of the film. Unfortunately, the first half of the film had to do with that silly love-triangle between Billy Zane, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet only managed to bore the shit out of me.

However, the wonders of DVD allow me to start the film at any point I want, and so I start watching, yes, when Kate Winslet takes her clothes off. See, this way, I skip the whole love-story thing and end up starting the movie with boobs and the rest is the greatest disaster-film in history. I mean, despite how much I loathe having to sit through the first third of the film, I won't hesitate for a moment to say that James (remember when people called him Jim?) Cameron put together one of the greatest motion pictures of all time. I mean, it won eleven Academy Awards, and I'd say it deserved ten of them; 1997's Best Picture should have gone to L.A. Confidential.

The new three-disc DVD features what is probably the best video transfer I've ever seen in my life, and I think that's probably got something to do with the fact that -for the first time in about seven years- I'm actually enjoying watching the movie. I mean, I had entirely forgotten the sheer sense of scale the final act has, like the size of people in the water compared to the massive size of the boat screws. Really, I'm getting at the point that the whole movie can be summed up for me in four words:

Boobs and special effects.

I mean, that's all any guy really needs to proclaim a motion picture to be really great. I'd have proclaimed Pearl Harbor to be the greatest film of all time if ... well, bad example. Sure, Kate Beckinsdale is really hot, but there's just something about that particular character... now Underworld Kate Beckinsdale or Van Helsing Kate Beckinsdale... even Serendipity Kate... well, you get the idea.

Now, I've always found Kate Winslet to be pretty hot, too. I mean, it doesn't really get much better (and I said 'much better' because I know what some of you guys know, too) than she was in Titanic, but I have to say that she's also pretty hot in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. A little crazy, certainly, but still wicked hot.

So that's my best explanation as to why that Crazy Asian likes the movie so much.

Now, I still maintain that I hate the denouement of the film. That very last piece of the movie where Gloria Stuart drops the diamond in the water. Now, if I was James Cameron, I'd have had Bill Paxton show up on the deck of the boat right before she drops it and...

GLORIA STUART is standing on the afterdeck of the giant submarine-carrying boat. She holds the necklace, with the fucking giant blue diamond, in her hand and steps up on to one of the restraining bars. She holds the diamond over the water.

Goodbye, Leonardo. Your pixie-style hair and non-existent muscles will now make an entire generation of teenage girls swoon.

BILL PAXTON appears from out of nowhere about twenty feet behind her, holding a pistol.

I knew it! I knew you were holding out on me, you bitch!

Gloria Stuart pulls her gun, but before she can fire, Bill Paxton fires several rounds into her elderly body. The necklace flies through the air as she falls overboard. Paxton catches the diamond in the air, and blue light shines all around him, like a videogame character receiving the ultimate power-up.

(basso profundo)

Okay, I'm sorry, I just got carried away on that one. Anyway, I'm gonna go before I start rewriting the entire script from scratch.

AIM: therbmcc71

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sultans of Swing

Virgin Radio UK has a thing for Dire Straits, because I'm listening to "Sultans of Swing" right now, and last night they were playing "Romeo and Juliet." Maybe it's just the overnight guy, I don't know. In any case, it's a hell of a lot better than anything you're going to get from the non-college American airwaves, and generally better than most of the streamed internet stations out there.

FEAR is still one of the best games I've ever played on the PC, in the shooter genre or not. I've yet to finish it, as work, sleep, and close examination of the game environments prevent me from whipping through it as quickly as I otherwise would. The 'VOSS' mousepads were a nice little Easter egg, so thanks, Chris. I also thoroughly enjoyed the solitary red stapler in one of the cubicles and a Chochki's phone number on a post-it note. That's right, if you've been playing FEAR and you didn't notice this stuff, you're probably the type who inexplicably liked Half-Life 2 better.

Civilization IV is scheduled to ship tomorrow, which means it should arrive at your finer gaming stores (EB Games, Gamestop, anyone who gets their deliveries via FedEx) on Tuesday, and Wednesday or Thursday for stores like Best Buy or Target (due to their centralized distribution networks). I watched some video from the game, and it looks considerably better than Civilization III, though it's a tall order for it to beat Alpha Centauri as my personal favorite in the series.

The release of the Xbox 360 is about a month away, and ... yeah, I'm not counting the days. All of the new graphics processors, CPU cores, RAM, and ... yeah, that's about all it's got on the current Xbox, because it's still launching with a regular non-HD DVD player. Oh, the controller's had the black and white buttons moved to the shoulder-position, but that doesn't change the fact that Madden 2006 on the 360 will still be fucking Madden.

Speaking of Madden, I'd just like to state for the record that the only non-licensed, non-sequel that Electronic Arts released for the PC within the last twelve months is Armies of Exigo. And people wonder why I think EA and all of their products blow. Hell, Armies of Exigo wasn't that good, but at least it didn't have eight sequels, each of which was only marginally better than the previous. In fact, I read one quote from a kid's father today, and the guy was talking about Madden 2006, and he said, "If not for free agency, I don't think these games would sell nearly as well." That's right, it's graphics and rosters, and that's it, and yet people buy the games year after year after year.

Sony is planning to sell between 2.5 and 3 million PSP's in North America over the course of the holiday season, and the company claims to have already sold 2.3 million in the region. I actually don't personally know anyone with a PSP, and so I can't see how it is that one person out of every hundred in the United States has one, let alone getting that number to one in fifty by January. Who knows, maybe it's really fucking popular in Canada, and that just throws everything off.

I watched the show Game Head on Spike (the channel, not the Buffy character, you sicko) last night, and I have to say that it's easily one of the most dreadful hours of television in the history of man. Hell, it might have been a half-hour, but I'll never know because it was as though time had stopped. I now know the type of suffering Malcolm McDowell went through in A Clockwork Orange when his eyes were clipped open, because I really like videogames, but this show was only peripherally about videogames; it was like one extremely long advertisement for two "rock" bands (in quotes because they suck and don't warrant recalling their names), only occasionally breaking up the hellish monotony of asking what a drummer thinks of Nintendogs or some such thing by saying some new game was really great. In fact, every game was really great. It wasn't even like watching G4, where they occasionally say a game sucks (their Aquaman review stands out as a high-water mark of critical journalism). I hated, hated, hated that show. Do not watch it, ever.

And in internet news, one of my friends has started up a blog, and you can (and should) read it at

In any case, I'm going to go now and listen to my friend's radio show. More than likely while I'm doing so, I'll start writing up an Alan Greenspan-esque musing on the state of inflation in World of Warcraft for no other reason than because I can. Sure, there's about eight billion more important things I could write about, but this one requires virtually no brain-power. And then there's the little sub-article about how prices on certain items have fallen through the floor, most notably Swiftness Potions. Yeah, never mind, because you don't play it.

AIM: therbmcc71

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Hand That Feeds

So, I've been toying with GarageBand, remixing Nine Inch Nails' "The Hand That Feeds," and it's been a fun little time, eliminating the guitar track and replacing it with the Eastern Santoor 01 loop, making for a bizarre mixture of Nine Inch Nails and Ravi Shankar or something. It'll be better in a few days, after I've run Trent's voice through a filter or something.

So this week, I bought Black & White 2 and have been somewhat enjoying it. Like a very large number of videogames, it's my contention that the computer cheats, because I left it with virtually no population in one level, and five minutes later it had two-hundred-some soldiers. So, of course, I had George, my Unholy Cow, lay waste to them. And then the computer did it again. If there's anything I hate in videogames, it's when the computer cheats, and the only thing I hate more is jumping-puzzles. I'll actually write up a review of it at some point, but probably not here.

And earlier today, I bought F.E.A.R., which I'm not going to abbreviate with those silly periods again, because it's hard to type. So, FEAR it is, then. I've been playing it for a couple of hours, and I've got to say that I'm tremendously glad that I've got a rig capable of handling it decently. By "decent," I mean running at 1024 by 768, but unfortunately without anti-aliasing, because that's just a performance-hog that made the game nearly unplayable. However, even without anti-aliasing, the game's very pretty, runs at an acceptable framerate, and I found being able to pistol-whip bad guys is even more fun than shooting them. I'll have a more informed opinion in a couple of days, likely after I've beaten the game. Tell you this now, though: I haven't played a game this scary since Clive Barker's Undying. I mean, Doom 3 was scary because you'd wander around tight corridors, wondering when demons were going to burst out of the closet and start singing Judy Garland songs attack you, but this game is legitimately scary at times.

Speaking of Doom just a minute ago, the "film version of the game" came out today to scathing reviews, including one star from Roger Ebert. There are a couple of things that make the Doom series of games what they are:
  • Must take place on Mars.
  • Must involve a portal to Hell.
  • Demons come from the aforementioned portal, and they are indeed demons from Hell.
The Doom movie, instead, takes the Super Mario Bros. movie route by eschewing a portal to Hell for a portal to Mars. Yes, it takes place on Earth, which is like sticking an Alien movie in a prison instead of a spaceship, and completely eliminating the Hell angle is like saying, "Y'know, instead of a bad-ass "queen bitch of the universe" alien, you get some albino half-human alien that can only be defeated by a well-placed finger-sized hole in a window. Be warned, this movie could be up for more Raspberry Awards than Showgirls.

In political news, Tom DeLay is on trial in Texas, and his attorney is none other than Dick DeGuerin, whose illustrious legal record includes representing David Koresh. Now, how you go from representing the leader of the biggest cult this side of Jim Jones to the former House Majority Leader, ... well, actually, it makes perfect sense.

The big celebrity news lately has been that Katie Holmes is pregnant. Please note that nowhere in that sentence did I mention the phrase, "with Tom Cruise's child." Read into that what you will, but remember that even Rock Hudson was married. So, if anyone happens to see a vertically-challenged man jumping on couches out on Fire Island sometime, make some Scientology jokes for me, such as:
How many Scientologists does it take to change a lightbulb?
Two: one to hold each wire, and the other to ask questions of the first until the bulb lights up.
Yeah, it's obscure to you, but Tom Cruise would probably jump up and down on the couch like a gorilla on crystal meth, screaming, "I'll fucking kill you!"

The British intelligence agency, MI6, has gotten to the point where they just don't have enough spies, and so they've turned to the internets for applicants: "Applicants are promised foreign travel and must be resourceful and flexible, thrive on a challenge and be able to cope with stress." However, they are unfortunately not promised Aston Martins, wristwatch-lasers and babes in every corner of the world. When informed of that, the would-be applicants returned to their pornography.

Taken from Denver's ABC affiliate: A former Colorado Springs coach and teacher who masturbated in front of a Web camera for what he thought was a 13-year-old girl pleaded guilty in the case Thursday and faces up to 18 months in prison when he's sentenced.
The video was discovered by millions of teenage boys when it was accidentally mis-marked and uploaded to the internet as the "Anne Hathaway Boobie-Scene From Havoc." It is still unclear how the coach was identified so quickly.

On This Day in History, October 22, 1844: Jesus does not appear to the Millerites, thus creating the first modern quack of a preacher. According to Wikipedia, Seventh-day Adventists maintain that Christ went into the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary on October 22, 1844 to begin the investigative judgment of both righteous and wicked to see who is actually ready to go to heaven. That's right, Jesus spent 1800 years in one apartment before finding out that the paperwork was right next door. Turned out that for all of those years, He'd actually been wasting His time on Santa's naughty-and-nice list.

That's right, we don't take hostages here, and we don't play favorites. Whether you're Branch-Davidian, Scientologist or Christian, you're gonna get it here, where there continue to be: No Boobies.

AIM: therbmcc71

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Someone Shit On The Coats

Yeah, I'm listening to Dane Cook right now, because I'm installing Black & White 2 on my PC, which I bought because it was on sale. Sure, it wasn't on the $20 off sale that was Myst V, but I didn't pick up the last two Myst games until they were on super-mega-clearance, so I'll probably wait until this one is, too. However, since there was still a copy of Black & White 2, I decided to pick it up.

Today was a fairly productive day, having seen my first theatrical exhibition since Episode III. I saw Domino, and it was like watching True Romance on acid. It is most certainly a Tony Scott film, in the Man on Fire kind of True Romance sense, as opposed to the Top Gun-slash-Days of Thunder sense, while combining the ... well, to call the editing frenetic is to understate things, if understating that particular word is even possible. I completely hated that editing style in The Bourne Supremacy, but it worked fine with Domino. It was another one of those Zoolander kind of movies where I was playing the role of Robert DeNiro in Cape Fear, where I'm the guy at the front of the theater laughing his ass off, although in this case the movie was actually funny; the rest of the audience just didn't get it.

I'll tell you this: The Jerry Springer scene is fucking hysterical. Japanic... Fucking shit-yourself hysterical. And I was the only one laughing. Of course, looking at the rest of the audience, I think that some people thought it was some kind of date-movie, the kind where the women seemed to want to go see the movie because Keira Knightley was playing a rich-girl-gone-bounty-hunter, as though it was some kind of female-empowerment movie, which it's really not. Either that, or these women were big fans of the two 90210 guys in the movie. In any case, it's pretty much a guy-movie, or maybe I'm just saying that because I spent the majority of the movie ogling Keira Knightley, as all heterosexual guys should.

Later in the week are probably trips to go see Elizabethtown, because my attendance at a Cameron Crowe movie is pretty much mandatory, and Serenity, because it's Joss Whedon, and I feel like I've been neglecting the guy, in that I haven't been picking up his X-Men comic book. As much as I liked Fray, which I highly recommend to all Buffy fans, I just don't want to go back to X-Men, because no matter how good they say it is, nothing will make up for letting Jim Lee write his own books back in the Nineties.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but I recommend reading Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, which is probably still thirty percent off at Borders and other reputable booksellers. I have Gaiman to thank, or perhaps blame, for singing karaoke earlier this week, and the book was a nice little read; completely lacking in the pathos that embodied American Gods. It's just a nice little book that doesn't require much by way of thinking, and occasionally bounds into Douglas Adams territory, or at the very least it gets very reminiscent of Gaiman and Terry Pratchet's book Good Omens.

Anyway, I'm going to play my new game now, and I figure I've got a couple of weeks with it before The Movies (also courtesy of Lionhead) comes out, and then I'll probably never play this game (or World of Warcraft, for that matter) ever again, because I like tycoon games, and I love movies, so I'm expecting that game to be the electronic version of crack cocaine.

Errata: I was informed by Davy that the game Life and Death, mentioned in the previous post, was a Software Toolworks production, not Mindscape. Not entirely sure what the hell I was thinking.

AIM: therbmcc71

Run Like Hell

I actually wish I was listening to Pink Floyd's "Run Like Hell," but -alas- I can't find the second disc to my copy of Pulse, their live album from the Division Bell tour. Furthermore, as you can see by the rampant italicization, I have gone about installing Firefox on my iBook for the sole benefit of making my blog look at least semi-respectable, which we all know that it's not.

And, before I forget, there were two Elf Slapping tool motherfuckers spamming the General channel in Orgrimmar today, bitching every thirty seconds about getting steel lockboxes opened, as though magically a rogue would wander into town and say, "What, ho! An Elf-Slapping Tool Motherfucker is in distress and needs my assistance to open his lockbox! To my sacred duty!" I think that it goes best unsaid that the aforementioned sacred duty is getting them to shut the fuck up and prevent the ears of the rest of the players from bleeding any more. This is only the latest in many, many incidents that go to show that the Elf Slappers are a bunch of fucking tools.

Now, when I say that, "fucking tools," I think that it necessitates clarification that the stress should be on the latter word, as to put the stress on the former would be to turn them into "fucking tools," which would suggest that they are dildos, vibrators, strap-ons, (the searches I'm going to get from Google for this...) or basically any other implement that would perhaps make it easier or more interesting for them to go about partaking in their Elf Slapper circle-jerk festivals. However, it must be stated that to lump them in with any of those doohickeys would suggest that they might ever actually touch any part of another human being, outside of their Elf Slapper orgies.

Ah, how I love incurring the wrath of the Elf Slappers. I should start a whole separate blog for this.

Tonight's news briefs:

MTV has acquired iFilm, which is a website that houses a plethora of videos -some entertaining, some not so much- such as Cobra Island Rave, which is one of the entertaining ones, and I recommend you go watch that now if you haven't previously. Yes, I know that I've mentioned it more than once on this site, but it's just that damn good. Anyway, MTV's bought iFilm, which means that it's going to be fairly soon that you'll find absolutely no films whatsoever at iFilm. Thank you, MTV, for managing to ruin yet another property.

For those of you who have been keeping up with how much I'm beginning to loathe my own political party, I'm jumping ship. Oh, yes, I've pledged my undying support for a presidential candidate, and he's not a Democrat, which will thrill my friend Aaron to no end. Unfortunately for Aaron, he's not a Republican, either. No, and I haven't gone all batshit fucking loco, either, so I'm not voting for Ralph Nader. No, this is my candidate, and I will support him through the 2008 elections. I haven't been this thrilled since my pick for President back in 2000.

Crazed anti-videogame attorney Jack Thompson has gone so far with being absolutely fucking nuts that he's lost the support of America's National Institute on Media and the Family, which is the support-group for crazed loonies who think that there's too much sex and violence on television, in movies, and certainly in videogames. Now, considering the fact that the ANIMF has disavowed Jack Thompson like a rogue Mission: Impossible agent, that goes to show you how absolutely fucking bonkers he's gone, having turned into a caricature of himself, despite already being a caricature.

Civilization IV is reportedly on track to be released within the next month, along with The Movies, which is going to make for a very merry Christmas for Umgawa. Unfortunately, that means taking away from my World of Warcraft time. Perhaps I'll take a break from the game for a month or two to enjoy some single-player gaming for a while.

Steven Spielberg has signed a deal with Electronic Arts to work on developing some games. Knowing EA, I surmise this will not result in anything good, or even something remotely interesting. I think the last time Steven Spielberg took a remotely active hand in a game was The Dig, and that wasn't all that good in the first place. Of course, what the hell do I know; I couldn't even catch a fucking rat in the game with its bizarre Rube Goldberg cage-dropping scheme. Or, perhaps I disliked the game because it was written by Orson Scott Card, who has written exactly two good things in his life: Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow.

And the Chicago White Sox are now up two games to one against the Los Angeles Angels, formerly the Anaheim Angels, formerly the California Angels. One of the guys at work is a die-hard Sox fan, and I wouldn't piss on the White Sox if they were on fire, so if the Angels beat the White Sox in this series, I'm going to get him a sympathy card, have everyone at work sign it, and give him a copy of Angels in the Outfield, just to drive the point home that his team sucks.

Apparently Trauma Center: Under the Knife has been released in the States without anyone informing me. It's a Nintendo DS game in which you get to dump drunk college kids in bathtubs of ice, cut them open and harvest their... oh, wait, that's what I would have done with it. Anyway, it's a surgery game, though the screenshots and videos I've seen of it don't really look as visceral as I'd prefer, given that I remember the old Mindscape title Life and Death being occasionally fairly disgusting. What I'd much rather have is a game that uses the DS stylus as a scalpel, simply called Cadaver. Otherwise, the idea I set forth at the top of this paragraph would be pretty nice, too, although crazed motherfucker Jack Thompson will probably sue my ass for even thinking of it.

Finally, a cartel... er, consortium of videogame companies comprising the Entertainment Software Association is suing the state of California to declare its new law preventing minors from purchasing violent videogames unconstitutional. Granted, the law is unconstitutional on its face, violating free speech laws by basing a game's qualification for this honor in totally subjective terminology. Furthermore, as stated in the following, it sets an entirely impossible standard for the retailer to live up to, short of the state establishing a Game Czar:
The California Retailers Association (CRA) argues that the bill "uses phrases that require subjective interpretation, judgment, constructs, opinion, valuation, appraisal and an ability to gauge measures and norms that are not within the capability or purview of a retailer." The CRA also opines that the bill "would require retailers to individually play/view all video games they sell and make individual and independent determinations whether each game fits the criteria for 'violent'" (e.g. "what is 'patently offensive to community standards'" or to "judge a game's artistic or literary value?[or] 'interpret mental torture'").
Essentially, the law as written has more holes than a block of Swiss cheese the size of the Governator's Humvee. That it's next to impossible for a company to gauge all of the requirements of the state is one thing, but the judgment of a game's artistic or literary value is the sort of thing that every free-speech case is based on. Considering that the majority of America's pornography is produced in California, I can't seem to find any legislation regulating it, beyond the general child-pornography laws under which the word obscene happens to fall, and rightfully so, due to the legal definition of obscenity, which I'll get to in a second. However, I don't believe that a game has yet been made (as much as I loathe the Grand Theft Auto series) that can qualify as being obscene, and therefore be banned on a wholesale basis by any community, because there are three tests for obscenity:
"The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be:
(a) whether "the average person, applying contemporary community standards" would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, Kois v. Wisconsin, supra, at 230, quoting Roth v. United States, supra, at 489;
(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and
(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

Note that part (a) does employ community standards. However, all three parts must be met for a work to be deemed obscene, and part (c), as the Court has held elsewhere, is a national threshold, not a community test.
Videogames are being placed above film, television, porn, and even this site as being the great corrupters of children, and I'm quite sure that it's not rightfully so. After all, if you want to go and sanitize the lives of the youth, make a clean sweep and try to swing that past the media, rating every film that shows someone being shot as NC-17; outlawing any television series that showed someone being roughed up; Looney Tunes cartoons would only run on Adult Swim due to its gratuitous violence, using everything from ACME rockets to anvils to pianos to fake roads into the sunset drawn on cliff walls.

However, I do think they need regulation. The ESRB has been shown to be fallible, due to the "Hot Coffee" sequence (I refuse to call it a "mod" because the programmers put it there, whereas a mod would dictate that it was created by someone after the game's release) in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Since Take Two managed to put one over on the ESRB, we can't necessarily trust them, but we can't very well have laws put into effect that are so broad that a game like the E-rated Super Smash Bros. Melee falls into the same category as Mortal Kombat: Deception. Both involve beating the ever-loving shit out of another player, but only in the latter do you get to rip the guy's spine out.

Which brings me to the point of how influential this stuff is on the kids, and I swear I'll wrap this up after I say this: I've played a colossal number of violent videogames over the years, and I haven't killed anyone. Have I ever even tried to rip someone's spine out after seeing it done in a Mortal Kombat game? No. Have I ever tried to use the Force to lift someone into the air and choke him to death? Well, sure, but unfortunately I'm apparently not down with the midichlorians, but that's not the point. The point is that, like music, and like television, and like movie theaters, there are better ways of doing things than having the government legislate it, and it's because of pressure and totally frivolous lawsuits from Grade-A Nutjob Jack Thompson that suburban mothers are whipped into a frenzy and demand action from the government, when the private sector is already doing its job.

So I leave you today with a cartoon, because Tim Buckley over at Ctrl-Alt-Del said it about as well as anyone ever could, and I don't mean the part about the giraffes. So, go read this comic strip and think for a while about submitting my name to Governor Rod Blagojevich as the state Videogame Czar, because he's already turned me down for the position of Porn Czar. Oh, and comment away.

AIM: therbmcc71

Friday, October 14, 2005

Katrina: The Gathering

So I'm listening to a version of "Ave Maria," as sang by Chris Cornell, and it's really good; I can't stress how good it is because these Blogger people have a thing against using Safari as a blogging browser, and they want me to move over to Firefox, which I'd happily do on my PC if I hadn't already, but not on my Mac. Sadly, even copy-pasting italicized text doesn't work. Oh, sure, they SAY (capitalized in absence of italics) that they're working on it, but that's like me saying that I'm working on my script, which is to say that they're kicking around the notion of working on it without any actual intention of following through on it at any point. As such, a fitting quote:

"I can't promise I'll try, but I'll try to try." -Bart Simpson

In any case, I'm currently downloading the last two episodes of Lost (stupid lack of italics), because I missed them during the past two weeks, and I've no idea how that happened. Oh, wait, a night of binge-drinking and karaoke floats by my brain like a car full of renegade game-show hostesses seeing the world with unclaimed parting gifts, so that explains this week, and I can't remember the week before, probably because the binge-drinking this week has managed to erase about half of my life more successfully than anything that Hollywood could concoct as plot devices for Flightplan or The Forgotten.

So anyway, because Blogger is so retarded for Firefox (and rightfully so when the only alternative is Internet Explorer, but is not the case on my Mac), I've had to put the link of the day at the top of the post because... that's right, I can't create hyperlinks, either. So this link of the day, unless you clicked on it prematurely and said, "What the fuck?" is the new expansion for the Magic: The Gathering card game. Yes, it's politically incorrect. Yes, I'm going to hell just for recommending that you look at that page. And, since my download of last week's episode of Lost should be about finished by now, here's a graphic for you to look at, courtesy of the Daily Show:

And, remember: George Bush hates black people.

AIM: therbmcc71

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mixin' Liquor in a Pot Like Gumbo

So right now I'm listening to a never-ending loop of Nina Gordon singing N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton," and it really cements what I've been saying for these months since rediscovering Nina Gordon, that her voice is pretty much the gold-standard for great voices. My friend Louie says that it's Allison Krauss, but I think he's only saying that because Krauss is apparently from Champaign, from whence his loyalties lie, whereas I have no loyalties at all.

I'm in rare form tonight, which explains the exceptionally short post, which may or may not contain egrigious spelling errors. I went out with a couple of friends to a bar, which was having karaoke after the Sox game (which the Sox lost; woo-hoo!), and I sang a Commitments version of Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour." Now, the first guy to shake my hand after this event was black, and I have to wonder if he was exceptionally drunk, or perhaps was thanking me for picking a Wilson Pickett song, or perhaps I had done so well that I'd actually channeled Pickett himself. I doubt it, though, as I was channeling an Irish soul-band that happened to be covering the greats. But I was pretty fucking good at the time, so maybe that's why.

But at least the White Sox lost. I'm no fair-weather fan. In Chicago, you should pick a favorite and stick with it. At a very young age, I picked the Cubs, who haven't won a Series (as in World) since 1908. The White Sox haven't won one since 1918, which is only a decade, but -by god- I have no intention of cheering for the White Sox until such time as the Curse of the Billy Goat has been lifted. At least with the Sox's loss, I have a lot of fun to have tomorrow at work. Anyway, New York does it every year, where the citizens pick a team and they stick with it, though I have this thought that no one -even in New York- actually likes the Yankees. They're just happy to have a winning team, despite Steinbrenner's notion of sticking a salary-cap up the Major League's collective ass. Two-hundred million dollars would buy a lot of beer, as the Miller Lite sign on Sheffield would say.

Anyway, once again, Nina Gordon should have a new CD out within the next six or so months. I'm sure I said that several posts ago, but I wanted to reiterate that. Furthermore, Nada Surf should have one coming out before the holidays, and I'm sure you all know how much I dug their last album, which I would italicize, but I'm using my Mac, which means Blogger isn't being terribly cooperative.

In the meantime, I'm either busy working, sleeping, playing World of Warcraft, or watching (and I'd italicize if possible) West Wing, Smallville, or Gilmore Girls, all of which I bought the first two seasons of for $18.88 each at Tarzhay last week. Sure, I spent about $120 on DVD box-sets in a week, bu they were less than half-price; I couldn't resist. And, if any of you question why I watch Gilmore Girls, you've clearly never looked at Lauren Graham and said, "Dayamn."

And if you know how to look hard enough, you'll figure out how to find Nina Gordon singing "Straight Outta Compton," and you'll be as floored as everyone else I've sent it to. I'll put it this way: It's so pretty that the words escape you in the minute-and-forty-nine that the song takes up, and you never once realize that it's an N.W.A. song. Even her version of Skid Row's "18 and Life" is rather pretty, though not so much as "Straight Outta Compton."

AIM: therbmcc71

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Leper Messiah

And we're going to Metallica today for a post title, because George Bush has announced his Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Miers, who has absolutely no experience as a jurist, but plenty of experience as an avid churchgoer who likes to lobby the American Bar Association to change its stance on a woman's right to choose.

That said, I'm completely fucking floored by the fact that Pat Buchanan was on television this morning, saying that Harriet Miers was about the most incorrect choice the Bush administration could have picked for the court. Sure, she's a staunch conservative, but she's got no judicial experience; no record on constitutional law, whatsoever; she was a lawyer for Microsoft, and argued successfully that software companies can release buggy products and then charge you for the bug fix; and she's a fucking crony, which means it would have been equally shocking to find George Bush nominating Karl Rove for the seat.

But the part that pushes this all over into Bizarro World is that fact that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid doesn't seem to have a problem with the nomination, going to show that my party has lost all of its balls. I can't fucking believe that I'm more likely to side with Pat Buchanan on an issue over any Democrat, let alone the one who's running the Senate Democrats. I've got an idea for all of the Democrats: Just lay down; lay down and let the Republicans steamroll you for yet another election, it'll be great. You're old, you're tired, you clearly have no ideas left, just give up and let the Republicans fuck up the country without you.

"I don't want to put somebody on the bench who's this way today and changes," Bush said. "That's not what I'm interested in. I'm interested in finding somebody who shares my philosophy today and will have that same philosophy 20 years from now."

That's fine, because it's rare that Republican views change, whether over 20 years or over a century or two. I'm quite sure there are a number of Republicans who really want to bring slavery back, and they're just looking for a couple of justices who will "creatively interpret" the Constitution to allow that.

I'm still fucking pissed off at Harry Reid and I want to know who it was that game that dumb bastard his job. The only person worse at this point would be Charles Schumer of New York.

AIM: therbmcc71

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Walking On Sunshine

It's really funny if you get the joke with today's subject. If not, then you don't remember who made the song.

Just to get us all on the same page, here, I'm going to tell you the best joke I heard about recent events. It's kind of highbrow, so if you don't get it... well, it's your loss as usual:

"Musical group The Animals would like to retract their statement. There isn't a house in New Orleans."

Yeah, nothing quite like a "House of the Rising Sun" reference to brighten everyone's day. Oh, sure, it's been a couple of weeks since Katrina And The Waves hit New Orleans, so there might actually be some people other than myself who found that to be funny; or would, if they'd ever heard the song before. By the way, I'm quite aware that I'm going to burn in hell, and I'm going to do it for a lot more than a little mockery of hurricane-stricken communities in the south.

In a stunning turn of events... well, I have to quote this directly, so no one thinks I'm taking anything out of context. George Bush, of all people, said, "Two other points I want to make is, one, we can all pitch in by using -- by being better conservers of energy. I mean, people just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption and that if they're able to maybe not drive when they -- on a trip that's not essential, that would helpful. "

That's right. George Bush said we should conserve energy! This runs completely counter to his administration's policy of destroying the earth as quickly as humanly possible, short of a nuclear exchange (which is still an option, though). And, if you're a staunch Republican (or otherwise misguided Bush supporter) and you think energy conservation has always been part of the Bush regime... er, administration's energy agenda, let's just flash back to a press briefing from May 7, 2001:

Q Is one of the problems with this, and the entire energy field, American lifestyles? Does the President believe that, given the amount of energy Americans consume per capita, how much it exceeds any other citizen in any other country in the world, does the President believe we need to correct our lifestyles to address the energy problem?

MR. FLEISCHER: That's a big no. The President believes that it's an American way of life, and that it should be the goal of policy makers to protect the American way of life.

Now, I could have just cut it off at the point where Ari Fleischer said, "That's a big no," and it would have been funny and it would have been fine, but Ari just jumped in the hole and kept on digging. See, back then, the agenda was to find alternative sources of energy, and they had big hopes for nuclear (or NOOK-yuh-luhr, if you're down with the Bush administration), but that just fizzled out like a chain-reaction at Three Mile Island. So here we are, four years later, with three-dollar per gallon gas prices, which are here to stay,

Cut back to 2001, the same press conference:

Q Ari, you've sent a pretty clear signal that there doesn't seem to be anything in the short term the President is inclined to do, even if gas prices go to $3 a gallon in prices like California and the Midwest. Does that mean that he feels gas prices going to $3 a gallon would not imperil the economy, would not imperil the recovery that we may be in now?

MR. FLEISCHER: There will be things that can be done in the short term to affect conservation, for example. There will be a series of actions that can be short-term helpful to America's broader energy needs. But the focus of this program is going to be what the American people have been looking to Washington to do for so long, which is to demonstrate long-term leadership. If five or 10 years ago people in Washington had focused on these issues, the United States would not be in the position it's in today.

Here we are, four years later... still in the same position we were in back in May of 2001, completely bereft of the long-term leadership that Ari Fleischer called for, let alone whatever nonexistent energy program he was pushing. It reminds me of "the President's secret plan to fight inflation" episode of The West Wing, which I would italicize, but -again- I can't seem to figure out how to put those little icon doohickeys in my blog creation screen. I blame Windows.

In any case, I think George Bush has really turned a corner, and he'll be hugging trees on national television before the end of the year.

In other news Tom "The Hammer" DeLay has stepped down as House majority leader for conspiring to funnel illegal corporate campaign contributions into the state's 2002 legislative elections. When these charges were brought against DeLay, I think that I wasn't the only one of the American people who was actually shocked that, yes, that is against the law, and I wasn't actually living in the dystopian society of... oh, well, I still am, but except for that one part.

With a name like Tom "The Hammer" DeLay, I'm surprised he hasn't taken up professional wrestling as a side-job.

Looking over's short-list of potential nominees to replace Sandra Day O'Connor's vacant position in the Supreme Court, we have Karen Williams, who said terrorism-suspect Zacharias Moussaoui didn't have the right to call witnesses to testify on his own behalf. Thankfully, the rest of the court decided that an individual's right to a fair trial outweighs the government's war-making and public-relations duties. And then we have Alice Batchelder, who rejected an appeal by a man whose IQ was one point above the limit for mental retardation, and then pointed to the fact that he had held a job, had a driver's license, and served in the military, which goes to show that we're really picking the cream of the crop for our armed forces.

This country is screwed, I'm telling you.

AIM: therbmcc71