Sunday, November 26, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Peek-A-Boo, I See Me

Greetings, dear ones, and welcome to The Corner. First off let me send out a huge thanks to D and R for a wonderful Thanksgiving. The food was awesome (who knew vegetarian fare could be so...urp...filling), the hospitality solar in its warmth, the gaming a fun reminder of why I need to get this magic box fixed, and the fighting as informative as it was painful. And, apropos of the title of today's edition, several of our conversations lead me to the following realizations. There have been many times in my life where it was revealed, usually at the trailing edge of some agonizing blunder, that I was hiding behind such realistic facades of my own construction that even I couldn't see behind them. Fortunately, for me, this holiday allowed me to see that I had built some more of these things without the 'benefit' of a painful hindsight episode. Here are some of the things that I saw.

Amongst our discussions of movies, tv, childhood foibles, the subject of the legalization of marijuana arose. I have spent years honing my beliefs on this subject, to the point that they have become, in my mind, FACT. Any rational person should see that the drug cartels are in bed with the American government to keep it illegal, so they can keep the profits all to themselves. To me, legalization would save the country billions by allowing law enforcement to focus on more important crimes, as well as allowing for additional tax revenue. But there is an angle I had not considered. D is a health care professional, and after my harangue about the above he asked me simply if I could go back in time and make tobacco illegal, or keep alcohol illegal, would I? Since a large part of my objections to keeping weed illegal were monetary in origin, illegalizing all harmful substances could possibly save even more in health care costs. I don't yet know if I agree that legislation should protect people from themselves, but the point is that with one sentence it was pointed out in crystal clarity that there were factors I was ignoring in forming my opinion.

Another instance of D's uncanny knack for cutting through the fog of preconceptions was during our discussions of the SCA. Over the last four years I had built up some pretty strong prejudices toward 'what the SCA has become'. All along I was taking a page out of my grandmother's book by prefacing opinions with 'now I don't want to sound like an old codger, but' and then I would launch into a diatribe about how much better things were back in the old days. It was during one of those spurious comparisons that D showed me that I was mistaken, but not in a 'you are so wrong' way, but in a 'well, this is what the reality is' way. The same thing happened during our brief fighter practice. I had tons of excuses for why my fighting sucks, and rather than say, 'yeah, you suck', he just showed me how to do some new stuff, and a bit of insight on how he did stuff. Never once did he say 'this is how it should be done', but just 'this is what I do'. And it was during the course of these conversations that I realized many of the underlying fears that caused me to find excuses not to practice, or go to events, or whatever. Of course, he also used my helmet like the Liberty Bell to emphasize his point from time to time, but I guess that goes with the territory. :-)

So thanks again to D and R for the great holiday. My tummy was full, and my mind opened a bit. Oh, and the kitten therapy was great as well. :-)

Peace, Y'all.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Is it just me?

Greetings, Friends, and welcome to an interrogative day here at The Corner. Today I am puzzling over the predilection a large number of Americans have for looking at politicians and/or celebrities as role models. Maybe it's because I still have some deep seated resentment toward Richard Nixon because weeks of my after school television watching were disrupted in 1973. When you see the President of the United States of America hauled before the Congress when you are nine years old, that tends to set the subliminal stage for your views of politicians henceforth. To the best of my knowledge, the only 'good' man we've had in office in my lifetime was Jimmy Carter, and while I sincerely respect and admire him as one of the greatest humanitarians in American history, he was also one of our worst presidents. And many, if not most, of our best presidents were horn dogs and scumbags. But that goes with the job, doesn't it? Power is the greatest aphrodisiac, they say, and the political world is one of back scratching(and stabbing), blow-jobbing(both figurative and literal), and hand washing. The phrase 'plausible deniability' came about during the reign of that God of Conservatives, Ronald Regan, and the undisputed champ of modern presidents, JFK, made Hugh Heffner look like Ghandi.

As for sports stars, the blinders have been on about them for decades. For some reason people venerate the athlete as if having some sort of physical skill automatically makes you a good person. Babe Ruth was an overweight, womanizing alcoholic with possible ties to the mob, but he is most remembered for hitting a small sphere farther than anyone else at the time. Even today, years after his foibles became public knowledge, his name is synonymous with all that is good in baseball.

And then there are the performers. Musicians have been spared the role model treatment, going instead in the opposite direction. The worse the behavior the more they are adored. But actors are a whole different story. Many of you reading this already know what I am going to say, but for those of you outside the theatrical world allow me to pull back the curtain just a bit. While there are many, many very nice, sane actors, there are many more who really should not be allowed out of the house unsupervised. People freaked when Tom Cruise lost it on Oprah...not me. For some reason the talent gene is all too often attached to the batshit crazy gene. Again, there are very notable exceptions to this, but in general successful actors are narcissistic, egocentrical need machines whose addiction to attention is only matched by their ruthless dedication to success at all costs. But that is not a criticism, that's what is needed to make it in the heartless, soul-sucking world of Show Biz. And the craziest thing about all of this is that people seem to want their entertainers to be role models, yet as soon as Daryl Hannah starts speaking out on the environment, or Bono champions helping the poor countries of the world, those very same people start decrying their heroes for getting into areas they don't belong.

I know that many people simply equate money and fame with responsibility, and there are some rich and famous people out there that should be admired, but simply having a huge bank account, and magazine cover recognition should not be an automatic reason for hero status. Real heroes don't just make movies, or pack pork into a spending bill. Real heroes demonstrate true leadership, or use their wealth to better the world, or just take a few nights off to help their kids with their homework. Actors, politicians, and musicians can all be good people, but they can, more often than not, be raging assholes looking out for only one person...themselves. Look a little closer to home for the best role models. The cop who has dedicated his life to dealing with the scum of society so you won't have to. The EMT whose willingness to risk health and sanity to save your life. The mother who worked two jobs so you could go to college. For every Jimmy Carter, or Shaquille O'Neil, there are hundreds of Barry Bonds and Dick Cheneys. Let the politicians be dirtbags; politics is a dirty business. Let the entertainers be hedonists. As long as they entertain us who cares? But don't get all shocked when a senator tuns out to be a crook, or an actor turns out to be a freak. After all, you don't fault a skunk for stinking. It's just what a skunk is.


Saturday, November 18, 2006


This is disturbing on so many levels I can't even think of what to say.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Episode IV: A New Look

So I've given The Corner a bit of a facelift. Opinions?

Oh, and that arrogant, right-wing asshole that we all love to hate outed himself last night. Alas, 'tis Doug, the inveterate chain-yanker who once posed as the uber Christian and is now quoting one of his students. Kudos to Doug for fooling me, but it terrifies me even more that these opinions he's been sharing with us were direct quotes from someone else.

I have a show opening Thursday, so I doubt there will be much new here this week, but then again you never know. (I can't wait for next week. I'm off Wednesday-Sunday!!)(Hey Thummy, wanna play?)

Hasta, y'all.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

And The Winner Is...

Well, it is done. Some good, some not so much, but We The People have spoken. The Democrats have taken back the House, and gained ground in the Senate, and Democrat Bill Nelson crushed Katherine Harris by more than one million votes. On the not so good side, Charlie Crist will be our new governor. While I'm somewhat disappointed in that, I don't think he will be a bad governor, I just don't agree with most of what he stands for. And the scariest outcome is Republican Ronda Storms' victory in the Senate race. For those of you outside of the Tampa area, she is the charming lady whose public intolerance for any sort of Gay Pride celebrations made me long for the open-mindedness of Anita Bryant. But, overall I think we have gotten a more balanced government after this. I don't want to see one party having total control over the legislature. When they actually have to work together, things can only get better...or at the very worst not change much. Anything to stop the tailspin we're in has got to be a good thing.

I hope.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Voted!

Tag! You're it!!


Today's the day. This is, quite possibly, the most important election day in my lifetime, and most of yours as well, so please go out and exercise your most fundamental American right. There is no electoral college nonsense getting in between you and those for whom you vote. No Supreme Court. No Katherine Harris. It's just you and the machine. I won't stump for any party here today. All I ask is that you vote your conscience, and don't just 'christmas tree' the ballot along party lines. Today whether we are Liberals, Conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, Independants, Greens, or Little Fuzzy Blue Creatures from Alpha-Centaurists we are all Americans, and what we are permitted to do today is relatively unique in the world. It doesn't take long, it doesn't hurt, and it doesn't cost anything...anymore.

And to my anonymous antagonist, I wish you nothing but the best today. Vote well.

Oh, and one more thing. If you experience any irregularities in voting today, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE, the hotline for the National Campaign for Fair Elections. EFF lawyers and many others are standing by across the country to take legal action to remove malfunctioning voting machines, keep polls open, etc.

Happy ballotting, my friends. :-)


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Right Wing Blather

Hi folks. You may have noticed that my Jedi Idiot series of blogs drew some less than complimentary attention. That's exactly what I was hoping would happen, but this last comment worries me. Not because he/she posted a salient, well thought out riposte, but because of the underlying 'if you ain't with us, yer agin us' mentality it evinces. Behold the pertinent stanza:

Also why are you for "gay marriage". marriage is between one man and one women. Anything else is a sin.

Some of you, my dear friends, will know that I actually am for gay marriage. If same sex couples want to destroy their sex lives the same way we 'hets' have for centuries, more power to you. ;-) But, the reason I'm mentioning that is that this conclusional leap was based on this statement from your humble blogger:

As for domestic issues, getting people all fired up over non-issues like gay marriage, abortion, and flag burning so disgusts me that I would never vote for anyone stumping for them.

Now, before you start snapping your fingers in Z formations and calling me Miss Thing, allow me to clarify. By calling these non-issues I don't mean that they are unimportant. I mean that, in my opinion, government has no business legislating one way or another about them, and using them as planks in a political platform is merely pandering to the mouth-breathing, sheep-eyed, 'do whatever my pastor tells me' psuedo-fundamentalists of the type that made the aforementioned comment. In some ways I guess I do agree with what the Republican party used to stand for; smaller government that barely interferes with public life. But over the last two decades Republicans have more and more been trying to legislate morality, probably in order to keep their deep-pocketed religious right affiliates happy, but it's as false as Judas' kiss. There is no morality in Washington, and anyone who believes that there are more than a handful of truly good men and women in our government is sadly delusional. As I have pontificated before, our bureaucracy has become a bloated, overfed, masturbatory Jabba the Democracy whose main goal is not to make life better for the American people, but to maintain the power hungry, cash sated lifestyle of those who supposedly represent us. When even someone like Mark Foley can be corrupted by the 'don't ask, don't tell...unless you get outed 3 weeks before election time' mentality I say it's time to throw them all out and start over.

So long as there are people out there like my eloquent objector, who think that any president deserves respect(although I would be curious as to his opinions on Clinton)and blind obedience, there will be scumbags in office who will take advantage of them by waving the 'immorality and terror' flags. I once had a student who accused me of perpetuating the stereotype that all conservatives were inbred, undereducated hicks, and I granted her that point, and have made an effort to eradicate that type of thinking from my mind. But when all it takes to bring out the snaggle-toothed Lil Abners is to call the president an idiot in the title of a blog which maybe a dozen people read, I find it very hard to reprogram myself.

Have a happy Sunday, y'all. :-)


Rumsfeld Must Go

This was posted by the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday. It is an editorial slated to be publised in the major military papers tomorrow.

Army Times: "Time for Rumsfeld to go"


An editorial scheduled to appear on Monday in Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times, calls for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

The papers are sold to American servicemen and women. They are published by the Military Times Media Group, which is a subsidiary of Gannett Co., Inc.

Here is the text of the editorial, an advance copy of which we received this afternoon.


Time for Rumsfeld to go

"So long as our government requires the backing of an aroused and informed public opinion ... it is necessary to tell the hard bruising truth."

That statement was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Marguerite Higgins more than a half-century ago during the Korean War.

But until recently, the "hard bruising" truth about the Iraq war has been difficult to come by from leaders in Washington. One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: "mission accomplished," the insurgency is "in its last throes," and "back off," we know what we're doing, are a few choice examples.

Military leaders generally toed the line, although a few retired generals eventually spoke out from the safety of the sidelines, inciting criticism equally from anti-war types, who thought they should have spoken out while still in uniform, and pro-war foes, who thought the generals should have kept their critiques behind closed doors.

Now, however, a new chorus of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active-duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war's planning, execution and dimming prospects for success.

Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee in September: "I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it ... and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war."

Last week, someone leaked to The New York Times a Central Command briefing slide showing an assessment that the civil conflict in Iraq now borders on "critical" and has been sliding toward "chaos" for most of the past year. The strategy in Iraq has been to train an Iraqi army and police force that could gradually take over for U.S. troops in providing for the security of their new government and their nation.

But despite the best efforts of American trainers, the problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity has become a losing proposition.

For two years, American sergeants, captains and majors training the Iraqis have told their bosses that Iraqi troops have no sense of national identity, are only in it for the money, don't show up for duty and cannot sustain themselves.

Meanwhile, colonels and generals have asked their bosses for more troops. Service chiefs have asked for more money.

And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand.

Now, the president says he'll stick with Rumsfeld for the balance of his term in the White House.

This is a mistake.

It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation's current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads.

These officers have been loyal public promoters of a war policy many privately feared would fail. They have kept their counsel private, adhering to more than two centuries of American tradition of subordination of the military to civilian authority.

And although that tradition, and the officers' deep sense of honor, prevent them from saying this publicly, more and more of them believe it.

Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.

This is not about the midterm elections. Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth:

Donald Rumsfeld must go.

Posted By: Andrew S Ross | Nov 03 at 05:55 PM

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

George W. Bush: Jedi Idiot II...The Emperor's Chambers

Our hero enters the cloying darkness of the Emperor's sanctum sanctorum and kneels before the great throne. Slowly the massive Armani chair swivels to reveal the shrivelled visage of Emperor Rove. Darth Goofus speaks.

"What is thy, um, I mean...uh...what'cha want?"

"Have you seen the recent polls, Darth Goofus?" Rove's voice creaks with the weight of decades of evil.

"I have, my mustard, uh, I mean master. They're pretty bad, huh?"

"Of course they're bad!! Now shut up and listen."

"Yes, my mustard."

"(sigh) You must go forth to the reddest places, and there ridicule our enemies. Dis them in public as if they were pledges at your frat house before the hazing bans. Use your Sith powers to make them feel as if they have just been pantsed in PE, and then tripped in the lunchroom."

"Heh, heh. I just did that to Scooter last week before his hearings. heh,heh."

"(groan) Yes, my foolish apprentice, I know all about that. You should not be attacking your own minions."

"Oh, sorry, mustard."

"Whatever. I will work the talk shows, while you work the morons who still think you know what you are doing. Together we must convince them that the polls are lies, and that Saddam was a far greater threat than Iran and North Korea combined."

"Is the Dark Side truly that powerful,, I mean my mastard?"

"For our sakes we must hope so, foolish apprentice. Now go, and send in the attack droid, Cheney. We must get him on Face the Nation immediately."

"Yes, my muster."