Saturday, December 31, 2005

Aeon Flux

Hi Folks,
I know that I said there wouldn't be any more entries this year, but I came down with a nasty cold the day I got home, and it still has me in its clutches, so we didn't go to my brother's house to celebrate the New Year as planned. So, to help dampen our disappointment we went to the movies. We saw Aeon Flux.

First of all let me say that I was/am a big fan of the cartoon series, and was a big fan of the animated shorts that gave birth to the series. If you have never seen either, you might not enjoy the movie. If, however, you did enjoy the previous incarnations you should have a good time with this one. I did.

One of the most alluring, and frustrating aspects of the cartoon versions was that they never worried about continuity, or even about making sense. The shorts had no dialogue, and each episode of the series was self-contained, so it was not unusual for our heroine to die and then be back the next week. The movie, on the other hand, suffers from that annoying need for a beginning, middle, and end. But, it does manage to maintain enough of the surreality of its predecessors to still be pretty cool. Imagine A Clockwork Orange + Logan's Run + James Bond and you begin to get an idea. I won't attempt to summarize the plot but Charlize Theron, as I predicted a few months ago, personifies the eponymous assasin beautifully(she has now made it onto my list, by the way). The world she lives in is both beatific and sinister, and you know just below the surface of paradise is a raging serpent waiting to strike. The chairman of this world, Trevor Goodchild, played by Kingdom of Heaven's Marton Csonkas, maintains the 'is he evil or not' quality of the cartoons until the end, but I shan't spoil the surprise. The rest of the cast play their roles well, and Pete Postlethwait puts in a nice cameo, which is the cinematic equivalent of getting the really cool prize in your Cracker Jacks.

Overall this film is a gift to the fans of Aeon Flux, but I doubt it will bring in many new converts to the cause. I would love to see at least one sequel, but I'm not holding my breath.

See y'all next year.

Marius

Friday, December 30, 2005

I'm Baaaaack.

Greetings, Friends, and welcome to the post-Christmas, pre-New Year's edition of The Corner. Well, it certainly has been a wild time for yours truly. The wife and I traveled to South Florida to spend Christmas with the 'rents and visit as many friends as we could. Mrs. Marius had to come home sooner than I did so she could go to work at a wretched lingerie store, one that claims to be from a California town that makes movies. When she was hired she was promised at least 20 hours a week, and maybe lots more during the holidays. What has really happened is that she has been getting, on a good week, 10 hours, and they keep hiring other people while claiming they don't have enough hours to go around. Next week she isn't even on the schedule, so today will be her last day there. I earnestly hope, in the spirit of the holidays, that the store burns down in the night, leaving the rest of the mall untouched, save for a smoking hole where the store used to be. Her sporadic work schedule is also why we couldn't do a lot of pre-planning for our trip home. So to those of you I missed this time, please forgive me. I am going to do my best to get down there a bit more often. And those of you I got to see thanks for dealing with the sudden 'hey, I'm here, can I come over?'. It was great seeing y'all. Unfortunately the trip had a consequence...I'm sick as hell right now. Yesterday I was running a high fever and felt like I'd been run over by a herd of apatasaurs. Today the fever is gone, so I merely feel like shit.

On to some random thoughts.

Is it my imagination, or are the Christian fundamentalists stepping up their assault on freedom in this country? First there were the ridiculous Intelligent Design vs. Evolution battles in public schools, then Pat Robertson's damning of an entire Pennsylvania town for voting ID out of their science classes, and then Bill O'Reilly's ludicrous assertion that anyone who says 'happy holidays' is anti-Christmas. I thought Conservatives were all about the American way? Well, isn't freedom of religion pretty much the most fundamental American tenet? Or is it just that people are starting to take too close a look at the activities of the current administration, and the Right needs a new smoke screen? History will, I suppose, make that judgment.

This next point was to be part of the ongoing series, Let's Purge the Lexicon, but this is not something that needs to be gotten rid of, but rather needs fixing. The word etcetera, usually abbreviated etc., has more and more come to be mispronounced eKcetera. When average people say that I tend to not worry about it, but when I hear news commentators and other people who speak for a living mispronounce it I get annoyed. No one would tolerate a bulldozer driver who couldn't drive the machine, or an author who didn't know grammar, so if you speak for a living, use the language correctly. The same goes for the word escape. It is not eKscape.

Last month I brought my laser pointer home to see how the kitten would react to it. I was worried that it would be kind of cruel, but he loves it! He even asks for it. So if you have a playful cat or kitten, a laser pointer is a great way to entertain them without having to run all over the house with a string or some such.

Ok, that's it for today. Y'all have a safe and happy New Year's celebration. I'll be back in 2006.

Love to all,
Marius

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Cool Yule, Y'all

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, and a very swinging solstice to everyone!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

More Movie Reviews

Can you tell that the young'n is away? We get to catch up on movies, and I pass the savings on to you. :-)


The Merchant of Venice: As a theatre professional it is almost a requirement that I eventually see any film version of Shakespeare(although I have no desire to see DiCaprio's Romeo and Juliet, and don't get me started on Keanu)so we rented Al Pacino's Merchant of Venice. I must confess I have never seen, nor read this one, so I was a blank slate. Many moons ago Mr. Pacino did a wonderful film called Looking for Richard in which he portrayed the embattled Richard the Third, so I knew he had the chops for the Bard. And true to form all the performances were spectacular. Jeremy Irons, playing the good guy for once, was magnificent, as was Joseph Fiennes. Lynn Collins as Portia was the shining sapphire in this glorious crown of a cast, and for the first time I could believe the Shakepearean conceit of a woman dressed as a man fooling anyone. The directing was unhurried, but brisk, and the cinemetography was gorgeous. But...

As I said, I am unfamiliar with the text of this play, so I don't know how much had to be edited to get it to it's just over 2 hour running time, but despite Pacino's best efforts to make Shylock a real, sympathetic character it just doesn't work. The piece comes off as a horribly outdated, majorly anti-Semitic diatribe against the Jewish population of Elizabethan England. Shylock, for all the attempts to show that he is justified in his feelings of victimize, merely comes off as a monstrous caricature, determined to use the law to exact revenge upon a population that at once spurns and needs him. And in the end, when his plans are foiled and the court requires him to become a Christian, an ending that Shakespeare no doubt felt was a happy one, I felt disgusted. This film is a beautifully crafted, but horribly flawed look into the prejudices of our past, but I don't know that it is a necessary one.

The Brothers Grimm: My wife is a great fan of fairy tales, especially those of the Brothers Grimm. So we were quite anxious to see Terry Gilliam's latest when it was in theatres. Alas it did not come to pass, so we had to wait for the DVD. I, for one, am glad we did. The Brothers Grimm are two shysters, traveling about French occupied Germany, staging hauntings and demonic attacks, then 'saving the day' for a price. Then they come up against The Real Thing. Animate trees, shapeshifting wolves, bugs...bugs...bugs!! Adventures, and computer animations, ensue. But then things get a bit muddied. Heath Ledger and Matt Damon turn in fine performances as the constantly bickering eponymous duo, as does Lena Headey as the love interest/damsel in distress Anjelika, but Gilliam can't seem to make up his mind if he's making a light-hearted, somewhat campy fairy tale movie, or a sinister ride through the hellscape that spawned most of these tales. One minute we are laughing at the almost ridiculous antics of the Italian torturer, Cavaldi, the next we are retching at the sight of a henchman torn in half by an angry tree. The movie makes such leaps frequently, seeming more like a roller coaster that goes through a carnival fun house. It isn't a bad film, just an uneven one. But even with all it's flaws, my wife is happy to have gotten it for a birthday present, and I suppose that's the important part.

Attention Idiot Consumers

Ok, I have been hooked on eBay for quite some time now, and with the exception of SCA armor I have found some pretty rad deals. The same goes for thrift stores, a habit Pikaresque got me into back when we rode pteranadons to school, but these two august institutions have a similar problem...overblown prices. Why would the Salvation Army store expect me to pay $50 for a used bike when I can get a new one for $60? Why would a seller on eBay charge $4.00 to ship a CD, thus making the final price sometimes higher than buying it new? I'll tell you why...because there are plenty of idiots who will pay these prices! I have seen books and CD's on eBay going for far more than they cost on Amazon.com! Why would anyone buy something used for more than it costs new? Wake up, people! You are making it harder for the rest of us by showing merchants that no matter how much they squeeze, some putz will chime in with a rousing 'Thank you, sir. May I have another?' This is the same mentality that allows the Republicans to cut funding to students and the poor while boosting military and pork spending. It's high time for all the idiots in this country to either wise up, or take one for the team and find an ice floe somewhere.

Dammit!!

Marius

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Love Song for a Giant Monkey(King Kong Spoiler Alert)

Folks, as the years settle over me like the cool embrace of wet cement, it becomes harder and harder for a movie to have any sort of emotional impact on me...well other than being pissed off at wasting $16 bucks on another piece of Hollywood drivel. That is why I was so impressed with Peter Jackson's latest epic, King Kong. Now don't get me wrong here. I don't imagine Mr. Jackson will be making any acceptance speaches to the Academy this year, but this film was something very rare, and very precious...a work of art. I could go on about how great the casting was, or what a good job the actors all did, but that's not what impressed me most. What got to me was that every frame of the movie positively efervesced with love. Peter Jackson has been trying to make this movie for most of his life. Seeing the original Kong as a boy is what inspired him to go into film making. And his devotion to the source material is everywhere.

It is quite evident that one thing Jackson took from his experience with the Lord of the Rings movies is the use of a more relaxed pace. King Kong runs at just over 3 hours, but it rarely feels like it. Jackson takes the time to explore relationships, and areas of the story that we never saw in the original. We spend much more time in New York and on the ship than before, and the rescue mission on Skull Island easily takes up a third of the film. In the original the natives seemed like extras from a Tarzan movie, whereas now they are terrifying, with filed teeth and bloodthirsty ways. The dinosaurs in the jungle are every bit as scary as the beasties in Jurassic Park, although the apatasaur stampede got a bit silly. The bug scene was a little over the top as well. But over all the sense of danger and terror were much greater.

And then there is the big guy himself. Kong. Andy Serkis, who was the body double for Gollum in LOTR, once again dons the leotard and reflective spheres to make Kong's movements more realistic. And it's obvious he did his homework vis-a-vis mountain gorrilas. This Kong moves and acts like a giant gorrila should. And I find it ironic that the director who uses computer generated images to their fullest capacity is not a well known space opera creator, but Peter Jackson. With very few exceptions Kong was real. From his one snaggle tooth, to the fur on his back, you never doubt that this is what a 25' tall gorrila would look like. And the facial expressions of Kong are truly breathtaking. Naomi Watts, who plays Anne Darrow, pulls off the emoting at nothing with real grace and feeling, and it is the relationship between Anne and Kong that raises this film out of the realm of special effects extravaganza, and into the rarified air of art. I won't attempt to describe it, and sometimes it teeters precariously on the edge of the cheese precipice, but it never quite crosses the line.

Is this a masterpiece of movie making? Maybe not. Is this a magnificent, moving story of love at its purest? Absolutely. Kong, like all the best monsters, is not so much monsterous as misunderstood and abused, and when he finally slips off the top of the Empire State Building, one cannot help but feel like a great injustice has been done. Bravo, Mr. Jackson. Merian C. Cooper and Willis O'Brien would be proud of this movie.

Good night,
Marius

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sky High: Musings on an OK Movie

So last night the wife and I rented Sky High. We had wanted to see it when it came out, but never managed to make it to the local cine-mega-plexopolis in time. The young'n had seen it with her grandparents, and really liked 'the girl that turns into a purple hamster'(for the sake of accuracy the girl turns into a purple guinea pig, but we need not quibble about speciation here)so we knew it wasn't totally crappy. And it wasn't. It was nice...not thrilling, but nice. The story is pretty formulaic: Son wants to follow in dad's footsteps at same high school dad went to. He faces shame when he can't, and gets lumped in with the unpopular crowd, then later finds he really is as good as dad, and the misfits are all heroes in their own ways. Add the trappings of a universe filled with superheroes and it all falls into place. The adults all seemed a little too 'nudge nudge, wink wink' for my tastes, but the kids did a fine job and seemed to be having a good time. I especially liked the cameos by Linda Carter, Cloris Leachman, Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, and Bruce Campbell, but there was one thing that bugged me through the entire film. The music.

At first, when the They Might Be Giants cover of Devo's 'We're Through Being Cool' played I rather enjoyed it. But it soon became evident that the entire soundtrack consists of some of my favorite 80's tunes being covered by modern bands. Bowling for Soup did 'Melt with You', Steven Straight did the Fixx's 'One Thing Leads To Another', Vitamin C did 'Til Tuesday's 'Voices Carry', etc. Friends had told me about this, though I had forgotten, but for some reason with each successive song I grew more irritated. I can't figure this out. I love They Might Be Giants, and Bowling for Soup, and I think it's great that these songs are getting a new life, but for some reason I can't put my finger on the whole thing is bugging the crap out of me. Maybe I'm just getting sick of the 'see how cool we are to be using classic rock in our movie' mentality. Maybe I'm just annoyed that the songs of my youth are now fodder for lame covers in a mediocre kids movie. Maybe I'm just pissed about something else and this is where it's leaking out. I really don't know. Is anyone else out there upset by this? Does anyone really know what time it is? Does anyone really care?

Peace, man.
Marius

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Planet, or Not Planet, That Is The Question.

Welcome to another seemingly random edition of The Corner. I say seemingly because there is one unifying thread to all of these musings...me! Welcome back to the Brownian thought processes of yours truly.

Space, the final frontier. And a source for endless debate, even over that which we all thought was gospel truth. To whit, Pluto. A planet? An asteroid? A failed comet? Goofy and Minnie's secret love puppy? For many years now there have been strong arguments for Pluto's demotion from certified planet to friendly asteroid. At a scant 2390 kilometers in diameter Pluto is smaller than our own moon(3,474 kilometers)and has an eccentric orbit that, for part of the Plutonian year, actually brings it closer to us than Neptune, and goes in the opposite direction of the rest of the planets, which seems to indicate that it was a cosmic wanderer that got snared by our greedy Sun. In its favor it is definitely round, and has at least one satellite, Charon. But Marius, you might ask, why are you telling us all this? Good question, and the answer is that this year an object, currently nicknamed Xena, was found beyond the orbit of Pluto that is significantly larger than our 9th planet. Xena, and its companion/satellite Gabrielle, orbit in the outskirts of the Solar system called the Kuiper Belt, which is very distant(extending 5 billion miles past Neptune) and is thought to be the origin of most of the cometary activity in our neck of the galaxy. The discovery of a Kuiper Belt object that is larger than Pluto has revived the planet/not a planet controversy, since Xena's distinction rests firmly upon Pluto's identity. If Pluto is a planet, then shouldn't Xena be considered our 10th planet? And if Xena is not to be considered a planet, why then should Pluto be called one? Ultimately this all boils down to the definition of the word 'planet'. Dictionary.com calls a planet, "A nonluminous celestial body larger than an asteroid or comet, illuminated by light from a star, such as the sun, around which it revolves." But, quite surprisingly, the International Astronomical Union(IAU), whose job it is to define such things, has no clear definition. They admit that until very recently there was no need for a clear definition of what a planet is, but they are working feverishly to come up with one. What is clear is that no matter the IAU decision, this debate won't go away.

Personally I think Luna should be used as the gold standard in this debate. If it's bigger than our Moon, it's a planet. If it's smaller; planetessimal, asteroid, comet, dust, space crap,whatever. And let's not even get started on the satellites of Jupiter, Saturn, and the other gas giants.(but I'll go into those later, 'cause some of them are wayyyy cool)
Ok, gotta run. I'm going to get out my Ouija board and see what Carl Sagan has to say about all this. ;-)

See ya,
Marius

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Moment of Silence for a Lifetime of Laughter

Richard Pryor: December 1, 1940-December 10, 2005



And may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

My God, It's Full Of Stars

Never let it be said, oh faithful readers, that we at The Corner don't have our metaphorical finger on the pulse of the world. In honor of my dear friend, JR, who lives in Holland, let us visit The Netherlands, where a great tragedy has occured. On November 14th of this year a monumentous event was being prepared. The event, known as 'Domino Day' was in it final preparations to break the world record for setting up, and then knocking over dominoes. The record number of dominoes, 3,992,397, was being escalated to a staggering 4,002,136. It took more than 100 people a month to set up the dominoes. Then, on that fateful day, disaster struck in the form of a...[dum dum duuummmmm!!] sparrow. The feathered fiend, finding itself trapped in the exposition center, and being the Devil's own song bird, took matters into its own tiny talons and began knocking down the dominoes. Panic ensued. Emotional scars were incurred. Dominoes fell like the tears of a litter-finding Native American. At long last a mighty warrior was summoned, who slew the hell-spawned demon with that most manly of weapons...an air rifle. And there was a loud 'hosanna!', for the world was safe, once again, from domino hating sparrows.

Or was it?

There are those in this world who feel that a record breaking domino stunt is not worth the life of a majestic sparrow, and a great hue and cry rippled forth from Amsterdam over the slaying of the bird. Web sites were created, and an official investigation ensued. For, you see, this was no ordinary sparrow. This was a house sparrow, and a recent inductee into the endangered species club. To kill one without a permit is illegal. Justice was served, in the form of a $235 fine to the air rifle wielding exterminator, who, as a professional, should have 'known better.' And what of our tiny, endangered hero/demon/corpse? It languishes in a freezer awaiting taxidermy and then display atop a box of dominoes at the Rotterdam Natural History Museum.

See what happens when you legalize weed? ;-)

See y'all soon.
Marius

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Joy Of Nog

Dear Friends, I want you to join me in a gustatory adventure I have waited 3 long years to undertake. There is a grocery store chain in Florida called Publix. They are, in my experience, one of the best chains in the country in regards to food quality, price, cleanliness, and customer service. Their store brand items are usually just as good as name brands, but once a year they carry an item so wonderous; so decadent; so mind-blowingly delicious that it makes me long for December all year round. Publix brand egg nog. Just saying it, as it rolls off the tongue, makes me feel all warm inside. Oh how I have longed for this miracle of liquid confection. I have tried other brands, since there isn't a Publix within 500 miles of Pineville, but none compare to this nectar. And now, it is time to break my nog-fast, and I want to share the moment with all of you.

The glass sits just to the right of the screen, glowing softly, its pale amber color beckoning. Tiny flecks of nutmeg hover motionless in the viscous goodness, just waiting to explode onto the pallette in a fusillade of flavor. At last, I can wait no longer. I lift the glass, it is cool and damp, and heavy, for this is no low-fat concoction. And now, finally, I drink...

Oh, sweet mystery of life at last I've found yoooooooooouuuuuuu!

It hasn't changed. It is sweet, and nutmeggy, and so delicious that I could easily down an entire half-gallon of it in one sitting. And it's even better with a bit of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum in it. In fact, hold on a moment will you?

Arrrrrr! That's some good nog, matey!

So run, don't walk, to your nearest Publix and get some of this liquid heaven. It may not be good for you, but if death tastes like this, get me to the undertaker.

Mmmmmmmmmmmarius

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What Happens If You Drop a Superball Into a Pachinko Game?

Grab a mushroom and get comfy, young'ns, and Uncle Marius will open the drain pan of his cerebrum and dump some thought juice at ya. The she-beast that rules my life, and sucks at the very marrow of my sleep patterns--the Theatre--has released me for a brief time after keeping me buried in her ample bosom for a couple of weeks. But the show hath opened, and slumbers til Friday, so now I must merely deal with recitals and concerts...annoying, yet infinately easier. So what shall we talk about?

Revenge of the scrote, part III. You have seen pictures, and read beaming commentary about the newest members of the Marius compound...the momma cat, Artemis and her darling baby, Starbuck. We have been laboring under the belief that Starbuck was a little girl kitten, but last night I noticed, as 'she' was running down the hall, that there were some decidedly not-feminine bulges below 'her' tail. "Honey," quoth I in summons to Mrs. Marius, "me thinks Starbuck is not quite the little girl we took her to be." "Oh,yeah, I noticed that yesternight." was the matter-of-fact reply. This explains much, for 'tis the male of the feline species that is oft the snuggliest, and this critter is definately of that ilk. His mother, on the other hand, is currently whoring around the neighborhood in a most immodest way, seeking to bestow upon us many more hungry mouths. But fear not, gentle readers. Unbeknownst to the fuzzy harlot, she has a date with a goodly doctor in a scant 13 days, who shall from her gently take all that kitten making stuff. And then shall we draw up our plans to remove the newly found nardlings from Starbuck, hopefully before he discovers his sprayer. Hmm, I wonder if they make neuticles for cats...

At his trial today, Saddam Hussein complained that his quarters were uncomfortable, and that he was being tortured because he couldn't exercise or smoke. Let us all have a brief moment of pity for the poor wretch. (is it possible to experience an emotion for less than a nanosecond?)

The white suit John Lennon wore on the Abbey Road album cover recently sold for $118,000 at an auction in Las Vegas. Dead guys get all the breaks.

Well, it would seem that the brain-pan runs shallow this day. Thanks for dropping by, drive safely, and watch out for the penguins.

Marius

Friday, December 02, 2005

Sick, Sad World

A horrible thing happened in Singapore yesterday. The country has some of the strictest anti-drug laws in the world, and even knowing that Austrailian citizen Nguyen Tuong Van tried to smuggle 14 ounces of heroin through the Changi Airport in 2002. He was arrested, tried, and condemned to death. In Singapore, carrying more than .53 ounces of heroin carries a mandatory death sentence. Fourteen ounces can supply 26,000 hits of the drug and has a street value of $800,000. The 25 year old man was hanged just before dawn on Friday morning, despite numerous appeals from the Austrailian government for clemency.

In a somewhat related case British pop star Gary Glitter is waiting in a Vietnamese jail after being arrested for having sex with a twelve year old girl. Glitter has been jailed in Britain after a child pornography conviction, and expelled from Cambodia for allegedly having sex with minors. In the Vietnamese case, if convicted he could face anything from 5 years in prison, to death by a firing squad.

It would appear that the smaller countries of the world are growing weary of their reputations for lawlessness and anarchy. I think Nguyen's death was a horrific tragedy, but what did he expect? Either he was ignorant of the penalties of drug trafficking in Singapore, or he ignored them. Whichever it was, he was foolish, and payed the ultimate price for that foolishness. And Glitter, well I guess he thought he could indulge his sickness in the third world where no one would care about what he did to the children there. I don't think a firing squad is called for, but 5 years in a Vietnamese prison might just cure him of his pedophillia.

Sorry this isn't funny today, hopefully tomorrow.

Marius

Monday, November 28, 2005

What..what...WHAT!?

Riddle me this: how does a 17-year-old driver in Colorado kill a bicyclist because he was text messaging someone, and only get charged with a misdemeanor? The boy could face a charge of careless driving resulting in death, which carries up to one year in prison. HE KILLED SOMEONE!!! If I was reading a book while driving, and I splattered a guy on a bike I somehow doubt it would be a misdemeanor. I certainly hope the judge has some latitude in the sentencing department for this one. I don't think the kid should do hard time, but how about never being able to get a drivers' license? Never allowed a cell-phone? Chop off his texting hand? Jeeze! Someone is dead because an idiot decided to save a few cents by typing while he was driving rather than just call. This handbasket is getting more uncomfortable every day.

Marius

Sunday, November 27, 2005

We Don't Need No Stinkin' First Amendment

This is from the AP via Yahoo.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. - Copies of a high school's student newspaper were seized by administrators because the edition contained stories about birth control and tattoos, stirring a First Amendment debate.


Administrators at Oak Ridge High School went into teachers' classrooms, desks and mailboxes to retrieve all 1,800 copies of the newspaper Tuesday, said teacher Wanda Grooms, who advises the staff, and Brittany Thomas, the student editor.

The Oak Leaf's birth control article listed success rates for different methods and said contraceptives were available from doctors and the local health department. Superintendent Tom Bailey said the article needed to be edited so it would be acceptable for the entire school.

The edition also contained a photo of an unidentified student's tattoo, and the student had not told her parents about the tattoo, said Superintendent Tom Bailey.

"I have a problem with the idea of putting something in the paper that makes us a part of hiding something from the parents," he said.

The paper can be reprinted if the changes are made, he said.

"We have a responsibility to the public to do the right thing," he said. "We've got 14-year-olds that read the newspaper."

Thomas said she wasn't sure about making changes. "I'm not completely OK with reprinting the paper," she said.

First Amendment experts were critical of the seizure.

"This is a terrible lesson in civics," University of Tennessee journalism professor Dwight Teeter said. "This is an issue about the administration wanting to have control. Either the students are going to have a voice, or you're going to have a PR rag for the administration."

Merry..Uh..Happy..Saturmas?

Ok, let's fire one across the fundamentalists bow. Recently the city of Boston tried to call their Christmas tree a 'Holiday tree' which of course got folks like Jerry Falwell all a titter. He is behind a movement to sue anyone who tries such un-Christian shenanigans. But the Mayor stepped up to the plate and said that he didn't care what the website called it, it's a Christmas tree. So in Jerry's honor let's take a little walk through the past and find out just how Christian our Christmas traditions are. Sherman, set the Wayback machine for the 10th century.

Doodly-doo, doodly-doo, doodly-doo


Scandinavia: The Norse goddess Frigga has a premonition that her son Baldur will soon be killed. Being a dutiful and loving mom she holds a great pow-wow and convinces all living things on Earth to not harm her son...all save one. She overlooked the lowly mistletoe. Loki, being the fun loving sort, hears about this, and hatches a clever scheme. While the other gods are having fun lobbing spears at Baldur, who deftly ducks every single one of them, Loki fashions a spear of mistletoe and pierces Baldur through the heart, thus shuffling him off his godly coil. Frigga, in a supernatural display of forgiveness, hangs the mistletoe from trees and declares that any who walk beneath shall receive a kiss of forgiveness. What a gal.
The Scandinavians also gave us the Yule celebration, which would begin on December 21, and last through January. To celebrate the winter Solstice they would bring home a large log which they would set alight to commemorate the return of the sun. They would feast and party until the log burned out, often taking up to 12 days. They believed that every spark from the log represented a calf or pig that was to be born that year.

Oh, those silly Vikings.

Sherman, set the Wayback for Ancient Rome.


Doodly-doo, doodly-doo, doodly-doo

Mid-December finds our toga-clad forebears preparing for a celebration of the god Saturn called the Saturnalia. As with most things Roman it started off as a night of worship of that particular god, and evolved into a week long festival of debauchery and celebration. Slaves and masters would trade places, and the peasantry would rule as kings. Gifts were exchanged at this time, usually made of silver, but that was more of a guideline than a rule. Christians attempted to co-opt this practice by placing Christ's Mass on December 25th, but the Saturnalian traditions of role reversal and general misconduct continued well into the Medieval times, with the Feast of Fools.

Sherman, Ancient Egypt!


Doodly-doo, doodly-doo, doodly-doo

A society that lives in the desert tends to revere things that grow, and the ancient Egyptians were no exception. On the shortest day of the year, December 21st, Egyptians would adorn their homes with green palm branches to represent life's victory over death. The evergreen was a part of the Roman Saturnalia celebration, and the ancient Druids used evergreen branches to frighten away evil spirits. Granted it was probably Martin Luther who first decorated a fir for Christmas, but the use of trees during religious celebrations is hardly an exclusive, Christian tradition.

Take us home, Sherman.

Doodly-doo, doodly-doo, doodly-doo

So here we are, back in the present.(hee hee, get it? present? oh never mind) Christians who get their panties in a wad over how Christmas is recognized would do well to study their history. Christmas didn't even exist before the 4th century, most of its traditions are based solidly in pagan ritual, and its observance has been a bone of contention between the various Christian factions right up to modern days. How's that for universal Truth?

Merry Festivus!
Marius



Sources:

http://www.historychannel.com/exhibits/holidays/christmas/real2.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas#Religious_customs_and_celebrations

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Gobble, gobble...burrrrrrrrp, gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving, oh most wonderful and intelligent people on the planet. I've been thinking a bit about this holiday, and with the exception of Independance Day, I think it is the singularly most American of our major holidays. While there are certainly religious undertones to the day, it is primarily a non-denominational excuse...well, let's not use that connotationaly charged word and rather let us say catalyst for togetherness, extroverted introspection, and gustatory excess. But the reason I call it the most American of holidays is that you can wish anyone, and I mean anyone, a happy Thanksgiving without fear of the PC police, or the ACLU, or the 'you didn't list every possible holiday for every possible religion in your greeting' nut-jobs. Thanksgiving is for anyone within our borders, or our hearts on the third Thursday of November. It has no religious boundaries, no denominational restrictions, no reason other than acknowledgement of our blessings, be they God, Man, or Flying Spaghetti Monster given. The only people who scrooge out on Thanksgiving are PETA, and they seem happiest when they are bitching, so even they get something good on Thanksgiving.

So have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Enjoy it now, before the Christmas vs. Channukah vs. Kwanzaa law suits start flying. And for you PETA folks, enjoy your sprouts and pine nuts.

Love to all,
Marius

Monday, November 21, 2005

An Unexpected Voice of Reason

Wow! That I lived to see the day that I would find myself in agreement with the Catholic Church. But as the debate over evolution vs. intelligent design flares ever hotter that ancient bastion of faith and hypocrisy joined the ranks of the well informed and denounced intelligent design. The Rev. George Coyne, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, said, "Intelligent design isn't science even though it pretends to be...If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science."

The Tablet, a Catholic magazine in the U.K. quoted Rev. Coyne in its June issue. He goes on to say, "If they respect the results of modern science, and indeed the best of modern biblical research, religious believers must move away from the notion of a dictator God or a designer God, a Newtonian God who made the universe as a watch that ticks along regularly...God in his infinite freedom continuously creates a world that reflects that freedom at all levels of the evolutionary process to greater and greater complexity...He is not continually intervening, but rather allows, participates, loves."

This actually reflects my own beliefs. I feel that, if there is indeed a God, then it makes no sense for him/her to continuously meddle in the workings of his creation. I envision the multiverse as numerous experiments, set up with certain parameters, and running independently. While there may have been some tweaking here and there, overall the systems have been allowed to progress without much interference. I have no intrinsic problem with there being a creator, nor do I think that scientifically examining the universe we live in negates such a creator.

And now for something completely different: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. We saw it yesterday, and I have to say I think it's the best movie yet. It's fast paced, if a bit sketchy, and while it had to winnow out a lot of the story, it kept the flavor and main plot points. Our young'n promised us she could deal with the scary parts, but it did get to be too much for her at the end, but in her wonderfully ADD way she had completely forgotten it by the time the credits rolled. It's also quite a long film, so if your kids aren't too good at sitting still, you might want to wait for the DVD. I need to see it again to see if it holds up to a second viewing, which Prisoner of Azkhaban did not, but we'll have to wait until life settles down a bit more.

See ya!
Marius

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Randomness and Rage

Good Sunday morning, gentle readers, and welcome to The Corner. I've been a bit busy of late, so forgive my paucity of postings. I am discovering the joys of trying to type with a kitten in the room, so if any strange typos find their way in it's because Starbuck thinks the cursor is something for her to play with, and the keyboard makes an excellent platform on which to stand.

Ok, onto the things on my mind today. First, a very unpleasant one. On Thursday a jury found Joeseph Smith, a 39 year old mechanic, guilty of kidnapping, raping, and murdering 11 year-old Carlie Brucia. Most of you know I am in that category of liberal most commonly referred to as 'bleeding heart', but in this case I'd like to offer my electrical expertise to rig 'Old Sparky', Florida's electric chair, with a special dimmer just in this animal's honor. This reprehensible creature, I refuse to allow that he is even remotely human, kidnapped the little girl, raped and strangled her, and then left her broken body outside of a church. Smith has an arrest record a mile long, and was in violation of his probation at the time of the murder. Most of the time I have mixed feelings about defense attorneys. I know that it is their duty to make sure that everyone gets a fair trial, but it must have been excruciating for them to defend this miserable piece of filth. It seems even more so since they didn't even make a hint of appellate proceedings after the verdict was read. Now they are just trying to keep him out of the death chamber. I know it's their job, but I have to wonder if any of them would like to put a gun to Smith's head right now. Personally I can't decide if the death penalty is best for him or not. The automatic appeal process will take years to peter out before they fry the bastard, whereas if he gets life without parole he'll get the same treatment he gave his victim every day, and quite possibly get beaten to death in a shower stall like Jeffery Dahmer. Personally I think we should get medieval on this waste of DNA, and treat him to a good, old-fashioned public disemboweling.

Now for some fun stuff. I'd like to share some web sites that I enjoy almost daily. Some came from friends, like Pikaresque, other's from former students, and others from various other web sites.

First is a very useful site if you have a computer, and since you are reading this it's a pretty good bet that you do. It's Kim Komando's site at

www.komando.com

Kim Komando, the self-proclaimed Digital Goddess, has made her living out of teaching ordinary shlubs like me how to make the most out of this box of wires and cards. Her site is a complement to her weekly radio show, and is full of hints, tips, and help on the ins and outs of your computer. It has an excellent search feature, and she makes a point to keep the information as accessible to the non-technically minded as possible.

This next one is hilarious. The Japanese are as fascinated with us as we are with them, but their grasp of our language is somewhat shaky. This site:

http://www.engrish.com/

consists of numerous photos of Engrish, the often amusing ways the Japanese attempt to translate warnings, slogans, tee-shirts, and advertisements into English. And before you go all ACLU on me, it's very tastefully done, and not insulting at all.

Next is http://www.damninteresting.com/, and the name says it all. This site features news that never quite makes it to the front pages.

I'm a big Dilbert fan, but I have found that Scott Adams' recent compilations that feature his own commentary are even more amusing and fascinating. If you're like me, and you find the creator as interesting as the creation, check out Adams' blog at

http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/

This site was sent to me by Tink, and is called the Event Horizon Rider. This guys opinions on religion are spot-on, in my universe anyway, and well worth a read.

http://elroy.net/ehr/index.html


And now, a question. As the proud parent of a new kitten, I am in a quandary about dry food versus wet. I know that if I start her on a regimen of canned food for breakfast I can kiss sleeping in goodbye, but is it healthy to keep her only on dry food?

And finally, another entry for Let's Purge the Lexicon. Today's bitch is about the phrase 'for free'. This is grammatically abhorrent to me. Free is short for 'free of charge', so to say that you got something 'for free of charge' doesn't quite work. Lately I have heard this misuse on the radio, TV, and even NPR. Drop the 'for' people. It is unneeded, and incorrect. And this bit of grammatical advise is totally free. ;-)

Love and kisses,
Marius

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hypocrisy Rides a Pale Elephant

The next time you hear that asshole in the White House invoke 9/11 as a reason for anything remember this story. Congress has decided to take back $125 million from New York City's 9/11 aid money because they haven't spent it yet.

"It seems that despite our efforts the rescission will stand, very sadly, and that is something of a promise broken," said Rep. Vito Fossella R-N.Y. "We will try hard in the coming weeks, but ultimately Congress will have something of a black eye over this."

Of course, those greedy New Yorkers were only hoarding the money so they could treat the long-term health problems of the ground zero workers and others, but then our beloved administration hasn't really shown itself to be a 'big picture' kind of group.

I can't help but wonder how quickly those Congressional fat cats could come up with $125 million for, oh let's say, a reelection campaign? I can't imagine that that sum can make that big a difference in a national budget that involves billions. Of course, there is a costly war going on, and numerous special prosecutors' salaries to cover, and we wouldn't want to endanger any legislators' pensions. Those leeches in NYC don't need that money. Besides, they are close enough to Canada to drive across the border where health care is actually affordable. Dammit! This money is a drop in the bucket to the national budget, but could help hundreds of people who willingly sacrificed their health to rescue the injured, remove the dead, and reclaim the mangled remains of two once great buildings.

What a great way to say thanks, GOP.

Fuck all of you.

Marius the disgusted.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Fanta-sms

For the record, I do not wanna, wanna Fanta!! Leave it to Madison Avenue to take four hot models/actresses and make them so annoying that I want to pull an Oedipus every time one of those commercials comes on. And if you don't know who The Fantanas are, take this warning: destroy your televison, burn your radio, find the nearest cave or bomb shelter and wall yourself into it, for once that thrice-cursed refrain gets into your brain it will echo around inside your skull until you long for the sweet silence of the grave. And what makes it worse, Fanta sucks!


Ok, I feel a little better now.

do you wanna,wanna Fanta, do you wanna, wanna Fanta,do you wanna,wanna Fanta, do you wanna, wanna Fanta,do you wanna,wanna Fanta, do you wanna, wanna Fanta,do you wanna,wanna Fanta, do you wanna, wanna Fanta,do you wanna,wanna Fanta, do you wanna, wanna Fanta,do you wanna,wanna Fanta, do you wanna, wanna Fanta

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Irony from a Burning Shrub

Gather around, children, and Uncle Marius will a tale unfold whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul. Lo, those halcyon days of 2002 were innocent times; the Taliban had felt the wrath of a vengeful eagle, and the Shrub-prince seemed all but invincible. Then, thought he, I must wave my mighty Penis of Governance(tm) and smite the Bastard that took a shot at daddy. So he sent his advisors and sphinctor-mates far and wide with the battle cry, "bring unto me justification for a war!" And soon the village idiot, who claimed to know much, was brought before the Shrub-prince and whispered did he in the royal ear of weapons, numerous and cruel, that could reach across the vast desert, and ocean, and smite the people whom the Shrub-prince feined caring for. A few advisors cried 'falsehood! untruth! forgeries!' but they were silenced and their mates fed to the the dread demon Novak. Then did the Shrub-prince summon his Anglo-bitch, Sir Tony of Blair, and commanded him to speak of hideous weapons, ready to eat in 45 minutes. And did the Shrub-prince send forth his most revered(by the people) advisor, Sir Colin of Powell, to shake a vial of powder with great vehemence for as much as to terrify the people. And the three letters W, M, and D became a word of buzzing, and sabres were rattled, and plans were hastily drawn, and troops were sent.

Mighty were the battles, and plentiful was the expended ordinance. Many a hole was probed(no, we aren't at Abu Ghraib yet)and many a hovel was leveled, yet the fabled, and dread WMD remained elusive. Then the Shrub-prince consulted with the soulless golem, Cheney, and hatched a plan. Shrub donned the battle dress of a warrior, and rode a great bird to a floating steel island to declare the war was over! Victory was ours! Huzzah!!! And the people, tired of death and concerns beyond the sports page, bought it. For a time. But, alas, all good things must pass, and even the slowest of the people began to ask, 'if we won the war, why are our people still dying?' And the Shrub-prince heard these cries, and sent the golem to assure the people that the enemy were on the verge of defeat, the last throes of a vanquished foe. And yet why, wondered the people, are our warriors still dying?

The sands of time continued to fall, and at long last the Shrub-prince could no longer pretend that the Bastard had the fabled WMD. So the Shrub-prince consulted with the golem Cheney, and the insane tactician Donald of the Rumsfeld, whose taste for human flesh was only just contained, and hatched they a plan. The people are fools, reasoned they, with short memories. Let us un-buzz the WMD, and pretend we ne'er spake thereof. Instead we struggle 'gainst extremists, who threaten all 'neath God's great firmament. And thus did they attempt to unravel, and reweave the tapestry that is time.

And yet, the Shrub-prince finds he is less, and less beloved of the people, and as more American sons and daughters die for a lie, he decides to go on the offensive here at home. So today, in a disgusting display of political opportunism, our president used a Veteran's Day address to rail at his opponents about revising history to suit their needs. Here is a direct quote:

"When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support," Bush said in a Veterans Day speech at Tobyhanna Army Depot.

"While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began."


This ends our little fairy tale, with a liar accusing those who called him on it liars. The snake dines on its tail, and we are the ones who, in between funerals, must clean up the shit.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I AM PANDEMIC MAAAAAAAAAAAANNNN!!!!!

Ok, bird flu is potentially dangerous. Bird flu has killed. If bird flu were to make the major leap from birds to humans we would be in trouble. But, it's not here yet, and it hasn't mutated yet. Pray attend these words from the Centers for Disease Control website:

What is the risk to humans from bird flu?
The risk from bird flu is generally low to most people because the viruses occur mainly among birds and do not usually infect humans. However, during an outbreak of bird flu among poultry (domesticated chicken, ducks, turkeys), there is a possible risk to people who have contact with infected birds or surfaces that have been contaminated with excretions from infected birds. The current outbreak of avian influenza A (H5N1) among poultry in Asia and Europe (see below) is an example of a bird flu outbreak that has caused human infections and deaths. In such situations, people should avoid contact with infected birds or contaminated surfaces, and should be careful when handling and cooking poultry. For more information about avian influenza and food safety issues, visit the World Health Organization website. In rare instances, limited human-to-human spread of H5N1 virus has occurred, and transmission has not been observed to continue beyond one person.


And:

What is the risk to people in the United States from the H5N1 bird flu outbreak in Asia and Europe ?
The current risk to Americans from the H5N1 bird flu outbreak in Asia is low. The strain of H5N1 virus found in Asia and Europe has not been found in the United States . There have been no human cases of H5N1 flu in the United States . It is possible that travelers returning from affected countries in Asia could be infected if they were exposed to the virus. Since February 2004, medical and public health personnel have been watching closely to find any such cases.


Now I'm not saying that this could not be a potential problem, and prophylactic measures are an excellent way to prevent mass infections, but the way the government and press have been beating the plague drums of late is just not justified. Yes, Asia needs to watch this very closely. Yes, we need to be aware of the situation and be prepared. No! There is no pandemic of bird flu anywhere in the world. The cynic in me wants to say that the Bush administration is desperately trying to get folks worried about this non-issue so they don't focus on his rapidly growing pile of screw-ups and falsehoods. The realist in me just says that people are jittery, panic-prone creatures who seem to want to focus on things they can't do anything about so they can ignore the little things they should be doing something about.

So here's my prescription for bird flu, monkey pox, SARS, and the bubonic plague. Eat right, exercise regularly, get a good night's sleep as often as possible, and balance your checkbook. And if your parakeet starts sneezing, don't worry, it's probably just the curry you made for dinner.

Good night, and God bless. ;-)
Marius

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Find that wierd holiday

Go to this site and look up your birthday. There are more wierd holidays in this country than I ever imagined. I was born on National Shrimp Scampi Day. :-)




http://library.thinkquest.org/2886

Friday, November 04, 2005

Revenge of the Scrote, part II

Ok, I googled trailer hitch testicles, and found this web site. I really don't know what to say. Check it out.

http://www.bumpernuts.com/

Revenge of the Scrote

Maybe I'm a latent homophobe, but I just don't find the male gonads to have much in the way of aesthetic quality. This may be why I was/am so puzzled by the artificial dog-nads I wrote about a few weeks ago, but I saw something yesterday that baffles me even more than Neuticles. I had forgotten about this, since I hadn't seen it since we left that mecca of culture and sophistication known as Louisiana, but why, God, why would someone hang an anatomically correct human scrotum and testes from the rear bumper of a pick-up truck? What sort of person decides that the best way to make a buck is to mass produce nut-sacks as automotive ornamentation, and what sort of person sees a resin scrotum and says, "Wow! That would look awesome dangling from my rear bumper!"? They come in many colors, and I have tried to figure out if they perform some function, besides creeping me out. Are they some sort of towing accessory that lends itself to being nad-shaped? And I have only seen them on huge, trailer hitch equipped pick-ups. Never seen one on a Celica.


Sometimes I just don't understand my fellow human beings.

Marius

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Traumas Past

Hi Folks,
Now that we've done cute, let's get scary. Many politicians like to blame Hollywood, or violent video games for the troubles of today's youth. I don't for one minute buy that, as I think bad parenting is more dangerous than Grand Theft Auto, but it makes me ponder my own entertainment-based emotional scars, and in the vein of Turtle's recent poll type blogs I have a question for y'all. What early movie watching experiences had the most harmful effect on you? I'll lead off with my two biggies:

1. When I was very young the movie Papillion was on tv. I remember being mostly bored, but there was one scene where a prisoner on Devil's Island is hauled, kicking and screaming to the guillotine and executed in graphic(especially for the era) detail. Even now I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking of it.

2. The year:1975. The place: Middletown, CT. I was 11, and the family went to see Jaws. Now, my mother and I have very different memories of the event. I distinctly remember asking to stay home. I did not want to see that movie. My mom says that never happened, and in her defence my brother, and two step-brothers were very excited about seeing it, and my protests probably got drowned out in the din. Then, after the first gruesome death I begged to wait in the lobby, and was again rebuffed.(now, as a parent, I understand why that would have been a bad idea) To say that movie traumatized me would be an uderstatement, although I love the film now. But after that I was nervous in the bath tub, and the swimming pool was absolute terror. Ultimately it lead me to first hate, then study, and now love sharks, but at the time it was one of the most horrifying experiences of my young life. There is a funny side to this, however. My three siblings all ran to sit in the front row, because they heard that if you looked closely you could see just how naked the first victim was. The all quickly ran to the back with us after her grisly end.

Ok, your turn.
Marius

And More

 
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Nocturnal visitors

 



Last night we had some unexpected guests. Four adorable kittens have taken up residence outside our apartment. We're seriously considering adopting two of them. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Which B-Movie Badass are you?

This was lovingly swiped from Marjai's journal.


You're Ash, baby.
Gimme some sugar baby.


Which B-Movie Badass Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, October 31, 2005

One Trick Pony Rides Away

So we have another Supreme Court nominee. His name is Samuel Alito, and he is as American as apple pie, and the death penalty. Conservatives love him, liberals are ready to fight tooth and nail against him, and it's business as usual in that most screwed up of cities, Washington, DC. Minorities are pissed because the guy is as white as I am...well, ok, no one is as white as I am except maybe the Winter brothers, but I digress. The guy has been a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 1990, and is reportedly quiet, polite, and even tempered. Not too bad. But then THE ISSUE pops up, and the polarization occurs. He's not a big fan of abortion. [GASP!!] What did people expect from a republican president, the baby eating bishop of Bath and Wales?(rent Black Adder II if you don't get that joke) It seems to me that there are only two issues that get discussed whenever someone is up for appointment/election/selection/cannonization or whatever: abortion and gay marriage. While these are, indeed, important issues, are they really the most important issues facing the nation right now? I am certainly not trying to trivialize these issues, but there is such a complex melange of legislative and political issues facing any high-ranking member of any branch of the government that to distill their effectiveness down to how they feel about two relatively narrow issues is ridiculous.

Roe V. Wade is a done deal, and I really doubt the Supreme Court is going to change it any time soon. Besides, what politician in his right mind wants the issue decided for good? That would be like Columbia lobbying to legalize marijuana. Abortion is not going away, and one justice either way isn't going to change that. And if it gets a bit harder to get one, is that really such a bad thing? I am not big on abortion, but then again I'm a man, and not really qualified to have an opinion on it, but that's never stopped me before. I have no problem with underage girls being required to inform at least one parent, unless of course the parent is the father. And I do think that abortions are legal wayyy too far into the pregnancy, and there is nothing wrong with requiring some form of pre-procedure counseling. But that's where I get out of the debate. I have never had to make the decision, nor can I imagine how difficult it must be for some to take that step. There are some who use it as birth control, and that I object to strongly, but I don't agree with legislating against it, either. It's all about choice. If there is a God, and abortion is a sin, well that will be between the person and The Creator, and it's none of my business.

Gay marriage affects an even smaller percentage of the population, and has absolutely no societal effect beyond allowing a group of people to experience the joys of divorce along with the rest of us. I think it is much more important to find out how a Supreme Court nominee feels about amending the Constitution, or states' rights, or what to do if an election gets so screwed up that no one can tell who won. How do they feel about immigration, both legal and ill, or things like the drinking age, or the draft. The Supreme Court is all about giving the people a final place to be heard, and I want to know how open the ears are on those who sit on that bench. I don't know if this Alito guy will do a good job, although my initial reaction is yes, but I do know that I couldn't care less how he feels about abortion or gay marriage...unless a case arises when these will matter, and then I would hope he'd be as impartial as possible.

Let the political blood-bath continue.

Marius

Thursday, October 27, 2005

When Harriet Met Shrubby

Harriet Miers, legal council to George W. Bush for more than a decade, and now former Supreme Court nominee has withdrawn from consideration for the court. I had predicted that her confirmation hearing would be brutal, but I never imagined that the lead pirahnas would be Republicans! The extreme-right wing of the GOP tore into that poor woman like a tiger on an effeminate magician, coming to the conclusion that while she is conservative, she just isn't conservative enough. I mean the woman seems to think that Roe v. Wade wasn't the work of Satan on Earth! Imagine that! Actually, trying to find evidence that Miers has had any opinions about anything is kinda like trying to find an overweight European man on a Florida beach who isn't wearing a Speedo. In fact, the only thing I heard about her, other than lamenting the lack of anything to say, was that she is a good bowler. Wow, by that reasoning I'd have a pretty good shot at the bench myself. But that's not what I want to talk about today. Join me in the next paragraph, will you?

The collapse of the Miers nomination is the latest falling Ace in Shrub's eroding house of cards, and I think it's indicative not only of Bush's incompetence, but of his advisors' legal troubles. Something I saw after 9/11 was that, with the exception of the Three Horsemen of the Apocolypse(Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft), W surrounded himself with very smart, if mostly evil, people. They sat on him when I'm sure he wanted to send a squadron of B-52's to Afghanistan. They held him back and made him wait long enough to lend some verisimilitude to the lie that Saddam had WMD. They even got him to nominate John Roberts to the Supreme Court. But now most of them are putting together legal defense teams, and don't have time to tell Gilligan not to eat the coconut cream pie. I have no doubt that the day he announced Miers' nomination there was a chorus of 'He did WHAT?!' all over Washington. And the real loser here is Ms. Miers. She didn't want the job, and maybe she torpedoed it herself, but having your liver eaten by the eagles you work for in front of the nation can't feel good. And now W has to start all over again. Who next? Pedro, his gardener because he's Mexican? Bob, his barber, cause he tells the best stories? The freaking dog?! We should all hope that they get the leash back on Georgie again fast before he decides he really is the president, and by God he'll do some presiding. Then we're all screwed.

In my ever so humble opinion, of course. ;-)
Marius

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Wilma Update

I almost feel guilty talking about our Wilma experience, but since some of you might think we were in the danger zone let me assure you we got some gusty winds, a steady drizzle, and the day off, that's it. Now folks in Naples and West Palm Beach got slammed. Everyone I talked to down there yesterday was without power, and thankfully with relatively minor to no damage. The worst thing I heard was that Celebhith's screen porch, which covered her pool and was at least 20 feet tall, was destroyed. But, and this is strictly the male perspective, her gas grill was undamaged. (Whew!) Targon had some window leakage, and my folks lost a bit of the fence around the front yard. Mayi dodged a couple of diasters as a neighbor's tree came down and merely touched her roof with an outstretched, but undamaging branch, and another tree came down in her driveway, where her car normally sits but was moved into the garage for the storm. I have yet to hear from Thummy or Rico, but I hope that they are ok, especially Rico. They are trying to sell their house and get out of Lake Worth, so it would really, really suck if the storm did any appreciable damage now. Thummy lives only an hour South of us, so I imagine(read: pray) that they only got it a little worse than we did. Adam and Bi, who live just a few miles north of ground zero, are without power and got some superficial damage to their house. Overall, given the unanticipated severity of the storm the damage was light, at least to the people I know and love. And to any of you reading this, if you need an extra hand to help repair just holler.

Marius

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Wilma, I'm Home!

Lest you start worrying about the hurricane readiness of The Corner, fret not. We shall just be catching the outer rain bands of Wilma, so it will be a damp, probably noisy evening, but we should be quite safe here. We are also on the second floor, so flooding isn't a concern. So with any luck, and strong power lines, I shall let you all know how we fared tomorrow. For now rest well, and dream of large women.
Marius

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Something I've Learned, and a Cool Link

Welcome to The Corner,
In one of those Dickensian conundrums, one of my favorite parts of being a teacher is also one of the most painful/difficult parts. As a theatre teacher my relationship with my students is often different from, say, a math or science teacher. I don't just see them a couple of times a week for an hour or so, and have no real interaction with them. We work together to create art. We party together after shows, we work late hours and early mornings together, so my students often become my friends. And as their friend I am naturally inclined to try to protect them and shield them from the harshness of life. One of my LC students, in particular, is going through a rough time right now, and I want so very badly to just make all her pain go away. But then I have to think about what I would be like if I hadn't gone through that adolescent crucible myself...what if someone had come to me and said, 'Don't fall for that one, she'll break your heart.' Or, 'Don't try that, you'll regret it.' Yeah, a lot of my teens and early twenties sucked, so did a lot of my thirties, but it was how I dealt with those ordeals that made me stronger, and more resiliant, so that when real trials came later I was better able to cope. So all I can do is hold their hands, give them an ear to rail to, and an understanding that comes from having been there myself. I just hope it's enough.

If you have digital cable you have probably seen G4TechTV. It is the channel devoted to all things computer, from PC help shows, to video game reviews. (I especially like the show X-Play, which is a sort of Siskel and Ebert for video games. The two hosts are Adam Sessler; a goofy twenty-something fanboy everyman, and Morgan Webb; that rarest of creatures: a gorgeous videogamer, and my current celebrity crush) On a program called Attack of the Show last week I saw an interview with an attractive young lady who is the anchor for Rocketboom, a semi-daily video log, or vlog. She caught my eye, so I checked the site out, and it's a lot of fun. Mostly it consists of a brief newscast, but as often as not they have video segments from other sources, and links to everything they show or talk about. Today's edition is a music video that will get into your head even worse than the Crazy Frog bit, but it's a lot of fun. Check it out at:

http://www.rocketboom.com/vlog/

And you can check out G4 at:

http://www.g4tv.com/


See ya!
Marius

Friday, October 21, 2005

Loud Bass Music Shrivels Male Members

Ok, here's my plan. Someone of you devoted visitors to my humble little sector of cyber-space must have the digital know-how to make a story look like it came from a legitimate source. With all the ridiculous 'facts' making the rounds on the internet how hard would it be to report on a scientific study proving that high decibel, low frequency sound waves lead to penile shrinkage and impotence. Since all these car-booming, living room shaking, inconsiderate dolts don't seem to care about inner ear damage, maybe a percieved threat to the mighty sword might get these pinheads to turn thier fucking stereos down!!! I like good, loud music as much as the next aging metal head, but when I can hear the apartment two buildings away over my own stereo it's time to get a reality check.

So, any takers?

Marius the Peeved

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Let's Purge the Lexicon: Part II

Here are some more linguistic abuses I'd like to see excised from my life.

Alumni There is nothing wrong with this word in and of itself, but let's get something straight people...IT'S PLURAL!!! If I hear one more supposedly educated person proclaim proudly, 'I am an alumni of that school.' I'm going to scream. A single person, depending on their gender, is either an alumnus, or an alumna, or a member of the alumni, but unless your name is Sybil you alone are not an alumni.

Irregardless This is not a word in the English language. Irrespective, which is the word most people mean to use when they use irregardless, is a real word. Regardless is a real word. Irregardless is not. Both real words mean without regard for, or in spite of. Irregardless means you slept through most of your English classes.

I know these are rather tiny nits to pick, but it seems to me that the English language is under almost daily attack from pop culture, internet abbreviation, and the general 'dumbing down' of America that I see where ever I look. This country used to venerate the great minds, the Einsteins,the Hawkings, the Kissingers, because they inspired us to emulate them. We strove for enlightenment and knowledge. Today we venerate people with names like Simpson, Carrey, and Bush because they make us feel smarter. As an educator I try my best to promote good grammar, even though it technically isn't part of what I teach, but when I heard a colleague use the word irregardless the other day while addressing a bunch of students it gave me pause. I have seen papers turned in by college freshmen that would make a 6th grade teacher cringe, but I don't blame the internet, or television, or movies. I blame parents. My mother worked two jobs for many years when it was just my brother, she, and me, but she still found the time to work with us at home with flash cards on our vocabulary skills. My brother and I read way beyond our grade levels almost from kindergarten. And I never once heard the phrase, 'Me and my friend' come out of her mouth. Parents need to take an active role in their children's education. Teachers are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated and they need all the help they can get to make kids understand that what they hear on MTV, or the latest Adam Sandler epic isn't necessarily the correct way to speak. Know what I'm sayin', beeyotch?

Peace out,
Marius

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

In Local News

Today's post is just to bring folks up to speed on what's going on here in that wacky wonderland called Tampa. First of all, my lovely wife has a new job. A few weeks ago her bosses, who shall henceforth be known affectionately as The Stooges, told her on a Wednesday that the upcoming Friday would be her last day at the paint store. Aside from management bungling that would seem unbelievable on a Brady Bunch episode, the store is located in a small, out of the way strip mall behind a real mall, surrounded by tea shops and a grocery store. And they are puzzled by the lack of contractors walking in and ordering kilotons of paint. So, miraculously, they couldn't afford to keep Muriel on the payroll. We were, of course, bummed, but hardly surprised. Then, the next day the guy they were keeping quit. So the first thing The Stooges do is ask Muriel to stay. She had already put in a few applications elsewhere, and while we would have dearly loved to tell them just where to stick it, nothing else had come through yet so she agreed, with the proviso that if anything better came along she would take it. They said they understood. The following Monday we got a call from a store in the mall to which she had applied. They sell somewhat risque items of apparel while purporting to be based in Hollywood. My lady wife is a costume designer, so this gig suits her much better then slinging flat latex, and the freebies are much more fun.

On the automotive front, The Hyperion, my car, is in a coma. She needs a fairly expensive transplant, but a donor has been found, muchas gracias hermana. Te quiero mucho. So hopefully she'll be mobile soon.

In reproductive news, we have decided to cease all activities designed to prevent a blessed event from occurring. I have been finding excuse after excuse to not have a young'n, but I realized the other day that there would always be reasons why 'now' would be a bad time. Also, while my little fishies don't have an expiration date, the rest of me ain't getting any younger, and kids are like little life-force vampires, so if I'm to survive an infant it'd best be soon. Of course, the little lady has been walking on sunshine, ooh ooh, ever since we made this decision. And yes, Mom, if it happens you'll hear about it before it shows up in a blog entry.

And that's all from Tampa. It looks like Wilma will be paying a visit sometime this weekend, but hopefully we'll just be getting the outskirts of it. I will let y'all know if anything more dire than a wet day is impending.

Ok, that's all for now. Take care, be safe, and if you can't be good, at least be good at it. ;-)

Marius

ps

Best Goldfish Joke Ever!

Two goldfish were in their tank.
One turns to the other and says,
"You man the guns, I'll drive."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

New Orleans Beating

Somehow I don't think there is going to be a run on New Orleans Police Department tee shirts any time real soon. I just watched the tape of New Orleans business owner Robert Davis getting the living shit beat out of him by three NOPD cops, and this time it seems pretty clear that the police were wayyyyy out of line. (http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/10/12/taped.beatings/index.html) Now I'll be the first to admit that all too often video of a police beating can be misleading. The Rodney King video that we all saw over, and over often left out the part where he was tazered three times and kept resisting. I know a guy whose career as a local South Florida cop was ruined by a misleading video and a spineless departmental administration, but in the New Orleans case I don't think there is any doubt that the three officers went too far. They claim that the 'perp' was resisting arrest, and visibly intoxicated. Davis claims that he hasn't had a drink in 25 years. The video shows Davis, calmly facing a wall, apparently obeying the commands of the officers. Then something quite disturbing happens. Another officer, on horseback, purposely interposes his horse between the arresting officers and the camera...twice. When the camera operator finally gets a clear shot the cops are beating the man senseless. I can't say what happened while the horse was blocking the view, but unless the 64 year old Davis pulled out a pair of nunchakus I can't imagine he did anything warranting such a beating. Once Davis is cuffed and bleeding on the ground another officer attacks a reporter, shoving him up against a car and cursing at him.

This incident is being classified as 'a few bad apples' by New Orleans officials, but I see it as something more insidious. The flood waters of Katrina have uncovered much more than mud and ruined houses. They washed away the scab that covered a corrupt and festering police department that seems, in my opinion of course, to be used to doing whatever it wanted with impunity. We have heard stories of police brutality, desertion, looting, misappropriation of relief supplies, and greed that go far deeper than simple stress-based misbehavior. I lived in Louisiana for three years, and I saw first hand the levels of corruption and unabashed public abuse that exist there.{there was actually an ad campaign for a local car dealership that essentially said 'come buy from us, we won't screw you anymore'} The NOPD doesn't seem to understand the their cover has been blown, and they are expected to act like real public servants, and not as warlords and thugs. If anything good is to come from this unfortunate incident, let's hope that it inspires the department to get rid of its bad apples, and to start protecting and serving the public like it's supposed to.

Marius

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Babbling Brook of Semi-Consciousness

Do you ever feel like a ghost, walking the Earth but having no real effect on things? I feel that way now, a feather in the wind, a ping-pong ball in a tumble dryer. A flesh and blood ghost, but without all the cool ghost stuff like walking through walls and being invulnerable and such. I can't even scare people, well not without getting naked in public. I exist at the whim of dead cars, and capricious scheduling, and people who have no idea how a theatre program works, and students who feel that they are entitled to degrees without actually acomplishing anything. Right now my glass is half empty, and I don't even like the drink that's 50% gone.

Bitch
Bitch
Bitch


I know.

I'll be more interesting tomorrow, I promise.

Marius the Bummer

Monday, October 10, 2005

Happy Rapacious Villain Day

Good morning, Gentle Readers. I was going to devote todays entry to a harrangue against the pretender we have venerated as the dicoverer of the America. I refer to that greedy bastard Christopher Columbus. You know, the guy who never actually set foot on the North American continent, but was instrumental in starting a process that resulted in the genocidal destruction of more than one indiginous peoples. And don't start with that 'if it wasn't for him, you wouldn't be here today' bullshit. Is there any one of us who is so important that the the natives of two continents had to be slaughtered and enslaved for centuries? Besides, Leif Erikkson, a viking explorer, discovered the actual North American continent 500 years before Columbus. The Vikings attempted to set up a permanent colony somewhere between Newfoundland and Cape Cod, but friction with the locals eventually caused them to abandon the post. (see, not all Vikings were conquerers)

I say I was going to harrangue, but in one of those cooincidences that just might get me believing in a higher power again I checked out Breakfast Of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut, this weekend, and lo on page 10 is the following excerpt:

"...Teachers of children in the United States of America wrote this date on blackboards again and again, and asked the children to memorize it with pride and joy:
1492

The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them. Here is another piece of evil nonsense which children were taught: that the sea pirates eventually created a government which became a beacon of freedom to human beings everywhere else."

These words were published in 1973, about the same time I was being taught that Columbus was a brave explorer who dared to think that world was round. This also is pure bullshit. The spherical nature of the planet was well accepted by the 1400's, in fact the Greek mathemetician Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the Earth sometime between 276 BC and 194 BC. So there was no great bravery in Columbus' venture; no 'we will risk falling off the edge of the world for our Queen' crap. He was looking for gold. Nothing more, nothing less. And if a few savages had to die in the process, well they eat their own babies, don't they?

Many contend that since the indigenous peoples of the Americas tended to practice human sacrifice they needed killin'. In 1492 the Inquisition had been around for nearly 20 years, and Europeans had refined the killing, maiming, and torturing of each other to a fine art. So I don't buy that Europe was 'civilizing' the savages.

Another distinction is that in Europe the battles were usually between relatively evenly matched adversaries. Each side had roughly the same level of blood letting technology. Not so when they came to the Americas. Here is another quote from Breakfast of Champions:
"Here is how the pirates were able to take whatever they wanted from anybody else: they had the best boats in the world, and they were meaner than anybody else, and they had gunpowder...They touched this seemingly listless powder with fire, and it turned violently into gas. This gas blew projectiles out of metal tubes at terrific velocities. The projectiles cut through meat and bone very easily, so the pirates could wreck the wiring, or the bellows, or the plumbing of a stubborn human being even when he was far, far away.
The chief weapon of the sea pirates, however, was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could believe, until it was much too late, how heartless and greedy they were."

So happy Columbus day, everyone.

Marius the Disgusted

Friday, October 07, 2005

Great Innovations in Science

Let us discuss the esthetic qualities of the canine scrotum. You go first............................Anyone? No? Well then let us turn to Gregg Miller of Oak Grove, Missouri, IgNoble prize winner and inventor of Neuticles...artificial testicles for dogs. "Neuticles allow your pet to retain his natural look, self esteem and aids in the trauma associated with neutering. With Neuticles -- It's like nothing ever changed!" according to Miller's Web site at http://www.neuticles.com. I know that whenever I see a dog walking away from me my first thought is 'where are that dog's nuts?' The scary part of this story is not that Miller went deep into debt to come up with this earth-shatteringly pointless invention, but that people are buying these things in droves! Here's another quote from his website: 'To date over 100,000 pets Worldwide have been neutered with Neuticles by over 9,000 veterinarians...' Most of the vets quoted state that if it gets folks to neuter their dogs then they are all for it.

Are there really folks out there who won't neuter a dog because they want to see their pet's nutsack intact? And since when is self-esteem an issue for dogs? I'm as quick to anthropomorphise my pets as the next man, but I have never, ever in my life known a dog to give a rat's ass about whether is sack was empty or not. He'll lick it in front of whomever, whenever regardless of it's contents. With all the problems there are in the world do we really need artificial dog testicles, which by the way, come in three different sizes and
firmnesses?
The best part of this story is his explanation of why:

"We feel the removal of a God given body part - leaving a male pet looking unwhole after the traditional form of neutering is not only unethical but unnatural. With Neuticles it's like nothing ever changed."

It's nice to see that in a world afflicted with war, famine, pestilence, and a Back Street Boys reunion that someone is devoting the needed funds and time to vital projects such as this. Now if only someone would invent an artificial brain for our president.


Marius

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Assistance Requested

Ok, it seems that I have some strong support in my endeavors to start writing seriously. My biggest problem is that I have trouble coming up with stories. Characters, locations, and descriptions are no problem, but situations elude me. So, if you all will suggest some scenarios, I'll see what I can do with them. And I have a big idea, but I want to let it simmer for a bit before I reveal it. So, if you would please help this might be fun.

Love ya's,
Marius

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

For Mom

Ok, when we were kids I remember that it usually took spurting arterial blood, exposed bone, or sucking chest wounds before you would give us a band-aid(tm). I have harbored that memory for the better part of half a century.(Jesus! Am I really that old?) Anyway, tonight I had to listen to the wailings of a child who wants for nothing, save a constant diet of hot dogs, pizza, and yoo-hoo, because she itches on her back, and has a nearly microscopic cut on her finger. I don't think Dr. Calligari heard such expressions of misery in his dungeons. I would just like to say publicly, and for posterity, I'm sorry. You have been wronged many times over in my memories, and now that I am dealing with a child who may, or may not be quite as demonic as I was the karmic wheel has come full circle. And I can finally say, for the first time, I think I'm beginning to understand you.

Go ahead, gloat and get it over with.

Love ya,
Marius

So Long and Thanks for all the Intimidation

I am currently reading, well, let's be honest, listening to Douglas Adams' last book The Salmon of Doubt. It is a collection of prefaces, introductions, newspaper columns, and various other random musings that were left in the depths of his hard drive after his far too early death in 2001. I am only 1/6th of the way into the book, and am enjoying it immensely, albeit with a huge side order of melancholy. It fascinates me that his more conversational pieces sounds exactly like the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. No, not the series, the actualy entries in the guide. It seems rather strange, yet also totally apt that the truest representations of his thought and speech patterns come from relative non sequiters. There is, however, one small problem. Listening to Adams' words can be incredibly inspirational to a guy like me who fancies himself as someone quite capable of writing a book someday, if he can only come up with the right story to tell. I hear the clever, Adamsian cadences and bizarre juxtapositions and I think, 'my god, I can do that too!' But then, the eponymous fish wriggles its way into my consciousness and whispers, 'but not as well.' This is a struggle I have faced all my life. I have little tolerance for bad literature, and have long since abandoned my youthful vow that a book begun is a book finished. Nowadays if I'm not enjoying a book, I stop reading it. The upside of this is that I tend only to read what I consider to be exceptional writing. The downside of that is that it often leaves me feeling like a Little League pitcher practicing with Sammy Sosa.

I don't really know if there is a real point to this, merely an observation, put out there so that I can't allow it to slip quietly and ignored into the tar-pits of my subconscious. Maybe if I can wrestle this particular demon into submission, I might just get that damned book started. And hopefully an unwritten book started, will be an unwritten book...written.

Marius

El Diablo Me Tiene

A few weeks ago I mentioned playing Diablo II on line with some friends. That has gone quite well, and our Tuesday night virtual gathering is a highlight of my week, but there is an evil downside to this. The great wizard Rico Sanchez warned me that this 'time sucking click-fest' would insinuate itself into my psyche, demanding more and more of my time and attention till all I could think about was the game. Pshaw, thought I. I'm the one who's immune to the lure of video games. I have tried many times to get into gaming. I even had the original Diablo back in 2000, and while I played it nightly for about a week, it soon wore thin and I forgot about it. My wife bought a Play Station II last year, and while we have a bunch of games for it, most require such feats of manual/mental dexterity that I quickly get frustrated and storm off in search of Mythbusters reruns. I have enough trouble keeping the right and left buttons on my mouse straight, never mind having to press square, square, square, triangle, X, X, and stand on my head with my right toe in my left ear to make the ninja on the screen do a flying somersault. I'll take Scrabble any day.

But then came Diablo II.

After our first group game, in which I died twice and often held the group up while looking for them, I decided to practice a bit. I created a disposable barbarian and went zombie hunting. The controls are simple, and the game play is difficult enough to be interesting, but not so hard that you die every five minutes. Before I knew it hours had passed, and the first two fingers on my right hand were killing me. Then Targon asked if we could play just he and I, which we did and I made a different character for that game. Then I decided to see what I could do with a sorceress. She's at 14th level now. Now I'm playing a necromancer who has the creepy, but very useful ability to reanimate the creatures he kills and force them to fight for him. It's wierdly satisfying to go up to the bloody corpse of some beastie that just nearly did you in and make it your bitch.

Then yesterday something happened that made me realize that Rico's prediction had come true. After playing some in the morning before work, I went down to my car, put the key in the ignition, turned it, and heard that dismaying sound of a car that just won't start. The starter moter was turning, the battery was strong, just no ignition. At first there was panic...my car is a decade old with nearly 150,000 miles on her, so any illness could be terminal. Then I paused, took a deep breath, and pondered the least dire possible cause. If she had crappy gas, and was just a bit stopped up, perhaps she would be ok if I let her sit for about an hour. Now here's the disturbing part: my first thought after that was not who to call at work, or whether I should call the wife to prepare her for the possibility to taking me to work and living with only one car for a while, no. My first thought was that I could PLAY THE GAME FOR ANOTHER HOUR!!

help me.

Agamemnon the Barbarian
Maenad the Sorceress
Sphigmoid the Necromancer

and somewhere in the crowd,
Marius

Oh, yeah, the car. It was crappy gas. I hadn't started her at all Sunday, and she was a bit clogged. Stay away from Sunoco gas if you can.

Monday, October 03, 2005

New Supreme Court Nominee

Well, I don't know why I'm surprised. Dubya put a guy in charge of FEMA whose greatest prior achievement was heading an equine organization, so Harriet Miers is actually an improvement: at least she's a lawyer. But she's never been a judge. I haven't had a chance to research whether other justices cut their judicial teeth once on the Supreme Court, so if you know feel free to comment. I have found out, with just a cursory glance at Ms. Miers' record though, that she is deep, deep in Shrub's pocket. She's been on his payroll since his days as governor of Texas. Republicans quickly pointed out that there is ample precedent for presidents appointing justices who once worked for them, Nixon and Kennedy for example, so I honestly don't know what to make of all this yet. I suppose we'll all find out once the confirmation hearings begin, but I will predict this much. The pleasant, almost polite questioning we saw in the Roberts hearings will give way to the almost gladiatorial battles we are more accustomed to hearing from Capitol Hill. It's just a gut feeling, but this is going to be a political blood bath, and if Ms. Miers survives it then she just might be a good justice. We'll soon see.

Marius

Friday, September 30, 2005

Oink

Ok, I'm a pig, but this is funny.

http://archive.gamespy.com/comics/dorktower/

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I Wanna Be The Minority

Howdy folks. I planned to devote this entry to the Tom Delay indictment, but after trying to research it, I find I would much rather cut my own head off with a rusty bandsaw blade. This indictment is so weak that even Bill Clinton could have shrugged it off. This will be, unfortunately, merely a hiccup in the career of evil that is our House Majority Leader. So let us move on to more pressing issues.

Just in case you were concerned that the airline industry isn't doing enough to keep flights safe after 9/11, I give you this little tidbit. Three flight attendant unions are calling for a boycott of Jodie Foster's new movie Flightplan because: spoiler alert! spoiler alert! spoiler alert! spoiler alert!

the flight attendant is the bad guy. GASP!!!!!!! Apparently it is now unthinkable for a movie to portray anyone, from any race, creed, gender, or occupation as a villain without some support group screaming about it. I guess all movie villains must be alien robots who have absolutely no agenda, and can only kill big tobacco executives and rabid pitbulls. Give me a fucking break!!

Are the flight attendant unions so unoccupied with the real problems of an industry that is going down faster than Alanis Morrisette in a movie theatre that they have time to worry about a film? Movies are fiction, and not usually very good fiction at that. If I ran into Elijah Wood at a restaurant tomorrow I would neither expect him to be three feet tall, nor would I wonder how he grew his arms and legs back. That's because he's an actor, not a Hobbit or cannibalistic serial killer. I don't hate all robots because of The Terminator, nor do I run screaming and lock myself in my car every time I see a St. Bernard. These are works of fiction, and I am so sick of special interest groups caterwauling every time one of their own is portrayed as the villain. I'm a bald, white guy, but I don't raise a stink every time Vin Diesel releases one of his cinematic stink-bombs.

The US is the melting pot of the world. The word 'minority' is rapidly losing its meaning here, the same with the word 'majority'. Once you get a few miles away from the frightening, creamy white, inbred center of this great nation you find a level of cultural diversity that makes the UN look like a KKK meeting. It has become something of a status symbol to be part of a minority now. But you can't get minority status just by asking for it. There are still large minority populations in the US who are set aside by their country of birth, or the color of their skin, or the shape of their eyes, and these people are genuinely oppressed and discriminated against. People who choose to go into one career or another don't get to jump on that bandwagon. Flight attendants are the same as you and me. You didn't hear the pilots' unions yelling that not all their pilots are child molesters after Airplane came out. They got the joke. So flight attendants let me say this. I respect what you do, and I know you get more shit then you deserve from crass, drunken assholes who you can't ask to leave at 35,000 feet, but that's where it ends. You are as valid a target for fiction as anyone else in the world. Now give me my fucking peanuts!
Love ya, mean it. :-)
Marius

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Smile and Say Architeuthis

Oh frabjous day! Calloo, callay! He chortled in his joy.

The jabberwock has been captured on film, finally. Man has known about the giant squid for centuries. It is quite possibly the inspiration for such mythical beasties as the Kraken and Leviathan, but except for the bloated corpses of dead squid that either washed ashore, or were snagged in fishing nets, no one has ever seen, let alone photographed a living giant squid. Until now, that is. Japanese researcher Dr Tsunemi Kubodera caught video footage of a 26', that's small in giant squid terms, young squid in 3000' of water off the coast of the Bonin Islands. They used a remote camera that had a line with bait trailing behind it. The squid attacked the bait, allowing for several very clear shots. You can see the pics here:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/asiapcf/09/27/japan.squid.ap/index.html

That is all. We now return you to your regularly scheduled, squid-free day.

Marius

Republican Theatre

Who says the Republicans don't support the arts? In the last couple of months we have seen a three act play, staged like a Greek comedy, enacted by two of the most powerful men in the country, and one jester. Pray attend whilst I encapsulize.

Act I: The place-Capitol Hill. The scene-The Floor of Congress. Dramatis Personae: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, A Chorus of Senators.

In a stunning move of bravery, selflessness, and pointless combativeness, the Senate Majority leader steps forth to valiently soliloquize that embryonic stem-cell research is, indeed, something that should be pursued. 'Tis a mighty stand, carefully planned to give the illusion of dissention, yet carrying no real political consequence. After a brief, and somewhat lack-luster performance, the chorus harrumphs a bit then breaks for lunch.

Act II, Sc. I: The place-Somewhere in Louisiana. The Scene-an 'impromptu' press conference. Dramatis Personae: Pres. Bush, Michael Brown, Numerous sycophants and toadies, The Press.

Mr. Bush almost emotes as he praises 'Brownie' for doing a 'heck of a job'. Brown looks quite convincing in his embarassment, though soon the oracle prophesies his coming doom.


Act II, Sc. II: The Place-Washington DC. The scene-Another press conference. Dramatis Personae: President Bush.

The Presidents speaks words the world has never heard pass his lips--I take full responsibility. An angry country scratches its collective heads.

Act II, Sc. III: The Place: The Blasted Heath, The scene: Yet another press conference. Dramatis Personae: Michael Chertof, Michael Brown, The Press.

We finally see just what 'I take full responsibility' means as FEMA chair, and sacrificial lamb Michael Brown is sent back to Washington.

Act III: The Place-Congress. The scene-before the investigating committee. Dramatis Personae-Brownie, Numerous Republicans, Two Democrats.

In the denoument of this epic, the embattled sacrifical lamb gets a new asshole torn before the entire country by his former collegues. The illusion of shared responsibility is shattered, and the broken man lashes out at his attackers, trying desperately to emulate his superiors and let the blame roll off of his back, but alas, the Chorus is just too strong, and 'Brownie' falls on his sword. And the president, his hands clean of the blood of the innocent once again, sleeps the sleep of the truly disconnected.

Curtain
Blackout
Finis