Friday, November 30, 2007

Nothing Like News from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Give You Some Perspective

I read something this morning that I don't know how to process. I don't know if anyone should even try to process it. Events like these should always be raw and wounding, if only to remind us of our responsibilities as human beings living in this world. An 11 month old girl in the Congo has died the day after she was raped. You read that correctly. Months. 11 months old.

Even the news that soldiers have started summary judgements against rapists is no consolation. I'm gonna go throw up.

Here is a lovely photo essay.

AEI Keeps Sending Me Emails Unrelated to Their Logo or Security Guards

AEI Center for Regulatory and Market Studies 2007 Distinguished Lecture

Cass R. Sunstein, professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School, will deliver the first Distinguished Lecture of the new AEI Center for Regulatory and Market Studies. His subject will be the sources of extremism. He uses recent studies of juries, federal judges, and ordinary citizens to show that groups of like-minded people often move to extreme positions on many questions, including climate change, labor policy, same-sex relations, and affirmative action. This general phenomenon – ideological amplification – helps to explain many things, including punitive damage awards, excessive and insufficient regulation, oppositional movements, political correctness, ethnic conflict, and even terrorism. He will also discuss how cost-benefit analysis, for example, can be used to solve such behavior.

Ten bucks says that this lecture will not feature criticism of Christian extremist groups in the US. I am not going to link to these dodgy cobags. I have repeatedly asked to be removed from their email address but they claim I am "not on their mailing list" despite my continued assertions that I am receiving email at multiple addresses as part of my daily responsibilities at my office. This is only part of the reason I have labeled them cobags but a large part of the reason why I was plenty eager to participate in this.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Crime Rates and News Reporting

Checking the news feeds Thursday morning, I saw this lovely little piece of reporting. Way to be informative, ABC7. The babbling heads on the local news are all talking up the fact that DC's murder rate just exceeded last year with slightly more than a month to go. Hey, that's fucking brilliant! Let's all have a race to see who can score kill number 200!

Been there, done that. The gangbangers did that in Oakland in 2002. The local news at the time started freaking out about the murder numbers exceeding the previous year in October and shrieking that if the trend continues, Oakland would hit 100 murders before the year was over. They seemed to be feasting off this like it was the damn crime Olympics. The morning the toll was at 99, the news went into full panic mode, wetting their pants and gnashing their teeth about who would be number 100. This was no help to the situation and at least two people were killed that night when an unknown number of maniacs started firing on anyone they could see. If I remember correctly, a grandmother sitting in her living room was killed by gunfire from the street. The lunatics probably fired on the window because a light was on inside the house.

In the years before 2002, the murder rate was dropping in Oakland. "Although 2001 marked the fourth straight year fewer than 100 people were slain..." but people were still scared and with good reason. I don't want to sound callous, but shouldn't the news be trying to aid police in lowering the crime rate by emphasizing the positive? I recall hearing about the suicide rates in the Paris subway system being tied to the amount and possibly the type of news coverage about the suicides by train. Google has plenty for the inquisitive mind. The fact that Oakland in 2002 had been trucking along at an average pace of about 1 murder every four days and then managed to rack up 20 some in the last 60 days is significant. Every night of November and December, the news seemed to dwell heavily on the number killed and the victims' families. It was the worst reality show ever, except I couldn't get the producers to cancel the rest of the season.

I see the same thing happening in DC now. Last night, I caught about 30 seconds of the NBC news after Life and was disgusted to see the same sort of coverage as Oakland in 2002. The newscasters had their sad faces on but they still seemed so eager, like sharks following a trail of wisping blood in the water. "OMG! Will we reach 200 murders this year? *WINKS INTO CAMERA* Up next a report on police strategies, but FIRST! let's review today's sad news about last night's victims!" It feels like Damon Killian is announcing the news.

Walking home at night from the West Oakland BART station, I wasn't particularly worried myself because I didn't think it would happen to me since that area was pretty empty at that time of night. My brother had a loft in a stone building and his couches were below the angle by which anyone on the street with a handgun was able to shoot. This was not by his design but a combination of the futons he had and the fact that it was the third floor of a converted warehouse with 20 foot ceilings on each floor. The first week I was there, some jackass fired a 9 millimeter on the street outside the building. My brother said it was the first time he had heard gunfire but then he never spent any time in the Congo during the start of the African World War.*

The news media are obviously not to blame for the actual murders since they are not killing anyone but creating or enhancing this hysteria, while also enabling the murderous bastards to view their handiwork at every opportunity, is only exacerbating the problems we have in urban America. I would love to see the crime rate drop but it is my opinion that will only happen when we have people in charge who are willing to spend a much more significant portion of the Federal, State and City budgets on improving and expanding education.

UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism piece about crime initiative
Some statistics generated from government data sources
FBI crime statistics raw data

*This sentence makes me sound a little more hard core than I am. I was spending summer vacation with my parents, not some war correspondent or diplomat or anything. The mortars and gunfire scared the piss out of me.

Further Feminist-ish Blogging

From the comments (page 9) of one of the smarter questions in the dumb YouTube Republican debate*:
baneyw (15 hours ago)
Good question. I think a lot of women wonder the same thing.
If you believe abortion is murder, the answer is quite simple. If not, you either don't understand the procedure, or you are not allowing yourself to accept the facts.
If contraception prevents life then abortion destroys it.
Save sex for marriage.

You are confusing sex with procreation, William. I don't think we should save procreation for marriage. Children are fucking hard work, if the few hours I spend with my nephew per month are any indication, and having them should be saved for those who are responsible and ready for this radical lifestyle change. I completely agree with Augusten Burroughs when he wrote in "Magical Thinking" that gay people would make better parents because they have to want to have children and have to make the decision. Children are not something that can happen accidentally to gay couples. Marriage is not some magical, fairy-tale land that instantly secures a person the patience, finances, security and sanity to raise a responsible child.

In any event, the comments on that great question are hilarious, if you like reading lots of ignorant morons' opinions. The ignorance and moronic behavior is not contained by the right wing, either. There are plenty of dumb responses from left wing people.

*Is it really a debate if the candidates just answer questions and try to desperately one up each other? I did not watch this travesty of political theater, only a couple clips. A person can only take so much.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Chesty La Rue vs Some Blue Guy with a Tail.

Her costume is totally impractical unless she is about to engage in some fucked up monster sex or something and even then I have to ask why two of my hobbies have to be so unrelentingly objectifying in their depictions of female characters.

I'd still hit it.

Picture added for those who would prefer not to click the link. If anyone wants me to remove the picture, my email address is included in my profile.

A New Brand of Meme

Creative graffiti of your pal's daemon. Here's how it works: go over to the Golden Compass website and get yourself a daemon. Slap a link or paste in their java flashy thing to your page and get people to start fucking with the sliders until you end up with a platypus.

This game meme has the added benefit of promoting a movie that the Religious Right is frothing mad about, despite the fact that the producers have already caved to those fucking lunatics. I wonder if the Religious Right got so worked up about Star Trek 5?

One final note: I don't know if you can actually get a platypus for a daemon, but if someone does, they win.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

An Uncommon Mistake

Tonight, I am making tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.

The ingredients list contains one mistake that should be easy to spot. You have one guess each.

Large can of Safeway tomato soup
Dash of basil flakes
Sprinkle of cumin
Shake or two of pepper
Drizzle of celery salt
Drazzle of seasoned salt
Large block of colby cheese
Twelve grain bread
Organic salted sweet cream butter

This one is really easy.

UPDATE: To clarify this, the mistake was not eating four grilled cheese sandwiches and dipping them in tomato soup while watching The Biggest Loser. I thought I was going to watch some Bionic Woman and Life, but instead I got fatties on a treadmill. When I heard that one of the women started the contest at 240 pounds, that hit close to the bone. I need to get back into my routine of waking up and doing pushups and situps.

Holiday versus Chrismas, Channukah, Ramadan, and Kwanzaa

I don't fucking care. I only just found out about Dennis "Hastur Hastur" Hastert and Trent "Huge Fucking Cobag" Lott resigning. The only thing I want from any gift giver is proof connecting either to some massive scandal that will result in justified imprisonment. That would rock my face off.

I would have heard about this earlier, but the weekend was spent in an orgy of leveling and the Daily Show isn't on and I don't read the news at home.

In other holiday news, I am assembling my 40K scale Phantom Titan this week. I have decided that I really ought to indulge in more than two geek outlets again. To further this goal, I have called in some reinforcements for my beleagured Legion of the Damned army which finally won it's first game last Saturday. These reinforcements might enable me to field an Apocalypse force, but probably for Blood Angels and not the Legion.

My opponent on Saturday was a good sport but the look on his face when his Leman Russ tank blew up in my second turn of shooting was a look of pure shock. His battle plan was sound, but hampered a bit by his deployment which depended on his tank holding the center and killing every one of my anchoring models. Other than that, we were evenly matched and I barely pulled out the win in the last turn. I hope to face him again in a week or two.


I am writing on paper. I have been out and about on other people's dimes (Thanks, Dad!) and writing when I can.

It has been a rather fruitful weekend.

Linky Bullshit

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Trend Setters, We Walk a Different Road

As I said on 3 Bulls:

Brando, stay out of my kitchen. My recipe is a secret and merely reading the list of ingredients would drive most people insane. It was a lucky accident of fate that my mixing bowl no longer subscribes to such prosaic forms of geometry as you mortals know-A p'sPIOSDOI'odsfig ugasrg' ghlauvawec-

Ahem. As I was saying, on that fateful day I did not know that my bowl was unsafe for use in a microwave oven, nor did I know why. I was performing experiments and filming them for YouTube. I had made a solution of corn starch and water in my Gladware mixing bowl and placed it in the microwave. After checking the focus on my digital handicam, I started the microwave. The solution began to flutter and bubble. The bowl began to quiver and sag. I glanced into the view finder and saw not the frothing, bubbling, gloopy contents of my melting mixing bowl, but another dimension of rips and tears in the fabric of space, time and, indeed, mortal sanity. I dare not speak of the rough beasts I saw within this dimension, but can only say this: I was changed, as was my mixing bowl. -GARHG'uhUHFjlk vjnlicuyn' aoc fatgnh aoorc'msfhvymi'im-

Pardon me. The bowl is an odd thing now, it twists and quivers in the corner of my mind, even as it wobbles in the corner of my vision. I have secured a spoon, smelted from the dust of a thousand comets, with which I stir the ingredients imparted to me by those myriad, cyclopean beings of the void and nether. The sheet, if so pedestrian a word can describe it, by which I bake these carnal confections was forged from the raw steel smelted in the blood of orphaned second sons of second sons. The oven burns with the heat of gigawatts, all for the glory of those whom I dare not name.

Dare you eat my cookies?

*With all apologies and due respect to HP, who has done it longer, okay not longer, but certainly better than I.*

Monday, November 19, 2007

Horrorfest 2007 Reviews in Brief

This weekend I crammed in 4 of the Horrorfest 2007 movies. I saw Crazy Eights, Mulberry Street, Unearthed and Tooth and Nail. Reviews:

Crazy Eights: Incoherent and inconsistent. Immensely inappropriate music that destroyed any sense of tension.
My awesome companion's review: Crazy Bad.

Mulberry Street: Nicely done, even if the inevitable resolution was a little weak.
My awesome companion's review: Rats are disgusting.

Unearthed: Not at all bad, nobody acted needlessly stupid. Believable acting? Half and Half. Comedy? Nope.
My awesome companion's review: Why was Charlie Murphy in this? Do all black people have to make crazy remarks referencing ghetto life?

Tooth and Nail: A little predictable but the conclusion was satisfying. Rambo scene? Check. Over the top baddies? Check. Scenery Chewing Michael Madsen? Triple Check.
My awesome companion's review: This is exactly what Aristotle was talking about.

A little commentary on all of these films: I found their use of tension music/noise and music in general to be oppressive or straight up bad.

So Tuesday Was Bullshit Day, I Guess

I attended a memorial tea party for my father's pal and former roommate. The stories are a little muddled but they may have gone to law school together and they apparently got in more than one bar brawl during this period in their lives. My experiences with this man and my father make me extremely incredulous, but my father's reaction to our questions about the "St. Patrick's Day Massacre" was far too honest for it to be anything but true.

Regardless, I almost came close to being a little choked up listening to the stories and remembrances that people told about the gentleman deceased. So maybe I was totally off my rocker the other day. Maybe I do have a heart somewhere underneath, but I think it is just malfunctioning firmware.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Quotable Ex

10. "I've decided I need a hott guy with a six pack. And now I've missed my bus and have to take the Metro, thanks you asshole."
My response: "That's incredibly shallow."
My response ten minutes after she left: "Shit, I can get a six-pack but some asshole at a bar won't have my personality."

9. "I'll see you in November."
My response: "Definitely!"
My response in November: "Why doesn't she return my calls?"

8. In an email: "I am ready to not be with you anymore, don't bother moving out here even though we made those plans last week. I hope you haven't bought the tickets."
My response: To myself at my computer, "You fucking bitch. I'm glad I hadn't bought those tickets."
My response a week later: "FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK! Now what the fuck am I going to do this summer?"

7. "I think you do love me but you won't admit it to yourself."
My response: "I really don't and you are way too needy and insecure for me to entertain notions of continuing this relationship."
My response a week later when she called: "I'm sorry but my feelings haven't changed."

6. "So would you like to have dinner on Thursday?"
My response: "Would this be a date? I was more interested in being friends. When you took your clothes off the other night, I said what the hell, but now I think that there was some miscommunication."
My response a week later, explaining it to my friends: "When I came out of the bathroom, she had her top off and was just sitting on the couch. So I figured we weren't going to watch the rest of the movie."

5. "I love you."
My response: "Ok."
My response the next day: "I'm glad I don't have her phone number because she said I love you on the first date. The time we made out while I was blotto doesn't count because I don't remember it."

4. "I'm really more interested in dating a man with a degree that isn't working in construction."
My response: "Does my situation affect your security clearance?"
My response the next day: "I think she had developed an overly federal mindset, but the CIA does that to you."

3. Okay, I don't really have anything for 3 but not much is going to top number 1 for a while.

2. "Call me when you have money."

1. "You look good on paper."
My response: "Thanks?"
My friend's response two days later: "I have heard a lot of mean things and said some of them during breakups but I have never said anything that harsh." "Gee, thanks, I feel so much better now."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nick Cave Does Kids Songs

Well not exactly, but it sure sounds like it:

As far as I know, the Green Anaconda Song (and the Toucan, Umbrella Bird, and Dinosaur songs) is from the same animator(s) that did:

Tomorrow I shall post a truly embarassing top ten of music that is certain to be full of guilty pleasures.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Problems, I've Got a Few of My Own

My current crop of problems, let me show you them. I've got money troubles, nothing new there, I've got women troubles, not at all unusual, and now I've got death to think about. I am attending a memorial service on Sunday. The individual and my relation to him is not important to the rest of this conversation but the act of death1 is.

You go through phases in life with your friends and other people in your standardly deviating age bracket. First off, everyone is born, some earlier than others and some later. Then, everybody hits puberty on our own schedules but roughly around the same time. People lose their virginity and then start getting married2, maybe not in that order or with any necessary correlation. In the last three years, I've gone to more weddings than the rest of my life. If I included the number of weddings I was unable to attend and I should have bought a tux to save myself further monies I didn't have. This is nothing earth shattering or even remotely new to anyone. The next phase of life usually involves people having kids and I have reached that earlier than others3. Four friends or relations of mine have already spawned. I have been able to escape the inevitable showers with two excuses: gender and general Chuckness4. Now I find myself racing ahead to the next phase of life and I would really appreciate it if this shit would just knock off.

People keep getting sick and dying. Case in point: at least 5 people currently associated with my job currently have cancer and almost all the rest have either beaten some form of cancer or expect to get it. What the fuck. If I am bad at baby showers, I am abysmal at funerals. My general thought process follows lines like these:
10 Don't Be Late
20 Don't Be Rude
30 Don't Confuse Stoic Face for Angry Face and Accidentally Annoy the Bereaved
40 Concentrate on Stoic Face
50 Don't Smile at Coworkers or Pretty Women
60 Say "I'm Sorry For Your Loss"
70 Do Not Think About TV Schedules
80 Do Not Think About Raid Schedules
90 GOTO 50 Repeat 5 Times Then Leave

Even the deaths of family members don't really bug me. I mean, sure it sucks that the people are gone and all, but I've got to continue moving through my life. Getting all pissed off or weepy doesn't really help the situation because the person will still be dead. Basically I'm just cold and dead inside.

Funny thing is, an ex-girlfriend said that when she dumped me. More than one has said that, in fact. Maybe I should work on that.

1 I hope this post isn't as gothy as Two and a Half Men.
2 Some people really choose to straggle along with both of these, but let me state that marriage is not necessary for a happy and fulfilling life. If I write any more on this, people will think I am bitter and lonely when I am neither.
3 Another easily misinterpreted sentence. This post blows.
4 Most people agree that I would say something odd and everyone at a baby shower would get all cheesed off about the whole thing.

This, However, Is Slightly More Plausible Than Yesterday's "News"

For certain definitions of the word plausible that aren't in any dictionary.


Jeff Goldstein is signing up as we speak.

Monday, November 12, 2007

This Is Totally Plausible

If I had recently suffered massive blunt trauma to every lobe of my brain, I might believe this conversation. 43 years with a clearance and he "just assumed" information was unclassified? Obama's point about experience not being the sole trait that prevents massive fuckups is constantly reinforced by these clowns.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Facial Bronzing Cream? That's Aisle Six Mr. Carlson

Once again, I find myself in a position to ridicule Tucker Carlson. This is not a habit or hobby for me, but once some dude threatens you with destruction, you have to make hay while the sun pelts you with lemons. Or in this case, tubes of bronzing cream.

I was waiting for the bus last night and talking with a friend when he/she regaled me with a 100% true story about seeing Tucker Carlson in one of the neighborhood CVS stores.1 This friend said that he/she/it had seen Tucker Carlson in line with a packet of Neutrogena Instant Bronze face cream. This is sweet, sweet confirmation of my previous statements on Tuck a l'Orange's suspiciously even skin tones. This is also extremely sad for me. All of my experiences with Tucker Carlson left me with the distinct impression that he is the kind of guy who has a full staff of primpers and preeners to perform all the unpleasant chores of his life like chewing his food, powdering his balls and applying his tanning creme. I figured with the kind of money that his wikipedia page claims that he has, Tucker would have some exotically accented butler following him around and picking up his discarded McDonald's wrappers, maybe even calling him sir. I guess times really are tight for everyone and that may be why no one has seen him at the video store, Netflix is indeed cheaper if you watch more than 1 movie a week. Of course, he may not go to that video store anymore because he was such a publicly raging asshole, but I digress. Honestly, if the economy has gotten so bad that the inheritors of multiple massive estates can no longer afford the soft, supple, manicured hands of Jeeves to apply their artificial bronzer and must now rely on Wagner Power Painter Wide Shot Max to do the job, what is next? Will Tucker Carlson begin standing around stop lights with a wash rag and some Windex? Damn the irresponsible fiscal policies of the past for Tucker's sad fate!

A Personal Note to Tucker Carlson: Before you get all snippy while ego-surfing and send out your inept lawyers2 again, Agent Orange, remember that you are a public figure and quite open to ridicule. If I were to ever meet you in person again, Tucker, I am more inclined to help you avoid any Tropicana goon squads after your deliciously ripe noggin than I am to do anything rash or rude, like yell at someone in a video store.

1 I do not shop at this CVS store if I can avoid it because the building was a neat old movie theater before being sold to CVS. We all have our lines in the sand.
2 If anyone wishes to send me any legal documents in regard to this or any other post, please contact me at geniusblogs AT sluggy DOT com. If anyone wishes to fucking destroy me, they can contact me at orangeskinnedblowhard AT whinywasp DOT org.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ladies, Please, I Didn't Pay for Dinner Because

If I don't have enough to pay for dinner, at least I didn't insist we go out or even that we see each other again. Honestly, I'm only interesting on the internet. Can you imagine one of my ranting screeds delivered in person? Quell dommage. I mean, shit, how fucking boring can you be when it has already been done better and much shorter by Jon Stewart.

The other reason why I didn't pay for dinner? I spent all my money on music. Specifically the Georgie James show at the Black Cat on November 16th and the Le Loup (or as some people call them, Los Lobos) show on December 10th. Dibs on the indie rock crush, Billy Pilgrim. Seriously, back off, I'll cut you. Cut you good with wit and stuff because violence is not cool, bro. God do I love coffee? YESH.

As an apology to those bands that I promised to review here...I'm a fucking lazy ass motherfucker who couldn't motivate himself out of a dry paper bag. More on that later.

Dictionary Dot Com's Word of the Day is Fucking Stalking Me

Today's word of the day is bete noire. Okay, cool, that is nice to know, now what the fuck is this shit:

Never an exceptional student, Andrews somehow managed to navigate the academy's rigorous courses with satisfactory grades, though all forms of mathematics were agonizing to him, remaining what he called his "bete noire" throughout life.
-- Charles Gallenkamp, Dragon Hunter: Roy Chapman Andrews and the Central Asiatic Expeditions

First of all, the similarities between the citation's Andrews and my college life are eerie except that I definitely got by on a lot more charm and rugged good looks than this schmoe did. Secondly, I think I need to purge Google's Goons from my computer because these coincidences are getting odd.

Twice is a coincidence, thrice is a conspiracy.

The Federal Reserve at Iota Club and Cafe

I wrote a bunch of posts last night while I was standing by the bar at Iota listening to the music from the group of bands that make up the Federal Reserve. I will eventually get these up on the webbernets. Two of the posts are part of the long languishing Dating Guide. Look for them tonight or tomorrow or Thursday.

In the meantime, Pakistan sure is going crazy isn't it? How many times have we been bitten in the ass by working with oppressive regimes? Some dude said something about how other people do something that has been done before by other people or whatever? Yeah, let's think about that. Sigh.