Friday, July 30, 2004

President Buck 

Watching George Bush on television today, I realized that he reminds me a lot of Gen. Buck Turgidson.

I can hear him in my head: "I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say, no more than 10 to 20 million people killed — tops."

Or: "Gee, I wish we had one of them doomsday machines."

Monday, July 26, 2004

Fox wishes they'd thought of it first 

This is so horribly distasteful.

I can't wait to watch it.

The other convention 

At the San Diego Comic Con this weekend, actor Lance Henriksen made an interesting observation.
"There are 80,000 people who are going to pass through here, and there are only 35,000 at the Democratic convention. What does that tell you?"

It tells me that Americans have their priorities well in order.

Monday, July 19, 2004

And speaking of libraries 

 Buy this and donate it to your local public library.

 Watch the trailer here.

Book bandit 

Dumb criminal of the day
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A 36-year-old man led police on a brief car chase, driving on sidewalks, through parking lots and even against traffic on a busy boulevard, so he wouldn't get caught with stolen library books, according to police.

"The officers were a little taken back when they found out what the deal was. They couldn't believe it," said Syracuse police spokesman Sgt. Tom Connellan, who added police broke off pursuit because the situation Sunday became too dangerous.

Someone should tell this guy that you can check out the books for free.

October's 2nd-most anticipated event 

Finally, some news I can get excited about...
R.E.M. will release their thirteenth album in October, just before the presidential election. And Michael Stipe wouldn't have it any other way.

"For better or worse, the current state of the world has had a profound impact on the way I'm writing," says the singer, who is in the midst of finishing up the record in Miami with guitarist Peter Buck and bassist Mike Mills. "But this isn't a downer of a record. Even the most depressing R.E.M. song is going to have a glimmer of hope in it. That's just me, I can't help myself." ...
"At this time, as an American, I feel like the angriest pacifist in the world, and I don't think I'm alone in that," says Stipe.

But who would have expected that they were so angry that they'd recruit the drummer from Ministry?

Anticipated tracks for the new album include:
"Final Straw," "I'm Gonna DJ," "On the Fly," "The Outsiders," "Leaving New York," "Wanderlust," "Electron Blue," "Aftermath," and "Magnetic North."

And of course, if anyone comes across MP3s before the album's release, I would be most greatful if you'd share.

* In case you were wondering, October's most anticipated event is my brother's wedding.

The acrobat 

Guess who started rolling over yesterday?


Friday, July 16, 2004

The throes of cancer 

As I mentioned yesterday, it's been a pretty rough week.  We found out that Misty's mom's hysterectomy was unsuccessful in ridding her of cancer.  She's still got cancer in her cervix, and her doctor described it as the most agressive form.  More frightening, we were told that if chemotherapy didn't work or if the cancer cells were destroyed only to regrow within the next five years, her cancer would be considered fatal.

Briefly, Misty's mom suggested not even bothering with chemo.  That, of course, didn't sit well with those of us who want her to live.  Misty was angry.  She told her mom that there was no discussion, she was simply going to do it whether she wanted to or not.   Later on while I sat talking to my mother-in-law, I told her that she couldn't do that to Misty.   If she were to die having never tried chemo, Misty would never forgive herself for not pushing her to do it.  She agreed that she'd undergo the treatments for the sake of Misty and Emily.
Her chemo began Monday.  The first session hasn't made her feel too bad, she says.  She's got between five and seven more sessions, one every three weeks.

Tuesday, I took her to the American Cancer Society to pick out a wig for when her hair starts to fall out.  It looks pretty natural — it just looks like she got her hair done.  When we came home, she put her wig on Emily's head, which everyone thought was a riot.

Right now, Misty's mom is staying at our house.  She's capable of living on her own just fine, but in the event that she did need anything, she'd be 45 minutes away from us if she were to go back to her apartment.  Also, facing the reality that she may not have a mother much longer, Misty wants to be able to spend as much time around her as possible.  I figure that's not a bad thing, whether or not she makes it through this disease.

However, we won't be able to house her indefinately.  Having already spent the past month staying either with us or with her sister, Misty's mom feels like she's imposing.  And, of course, a long-term houseguest does make your privacy seem invaded.  Not only that, but she's bored — she's stuck on the first floor of our house, so pretty much all she has to do during the day is read.  We're working on finding her a place to live that's closer to us.  Hopefully that would create a pleasant medium between two extremes.

The whole situation is incredibly stressful.  And I don't pretend that my stress level even comes close to Misty's.  After all, it's her mother.  We're both physically and emotionally drained.  Free time has gone from being a precious commodity with an infant to being nonexistant now.  But each day we push through the stress and do the things that have to get done — whether we have time to do them or not.  Hopefully soon, as this new way living becomes routine, it will get easier.

His name says it all 

Ever since my mother-in-law's hysterectomy last month, her dog has been boarding at the animal clinic where Misty works.  The dog needs a new home, but has yet to find a family to adopt him.
The first obstacle in the adoption process is the dog's name: Stopit.   Kind of gives you an idea of what to expect when you get him home.  He's a bit of a hellion.  I've heard stories of him ripping the wooden lever off a recliner and devouring steel wool pads.  And this isn't a big dog — he's a shih tzu mix.
Last week a man and his daughter stopped by the clinic looking to adopt a small, fluffy dog "like a shih tzu." Seizing this perfect opportunity, Misty directed them to her mom's dog (not mentioning his name).  The pair returned with disappointing news — Stopit wasn't the dog for them.  It seems that as they approached the run where he was being kept, they discovered him eating a dead bird.  We don't know whether he caught the bird and killed it or if it simply fell into his cage.  Either way, his little episode has earned him a longer stay at the clinic without a new family to take him home.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Republicans find common ground with James Nichols 

James Nichols (brother of Terry Nichols, the man responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing) is angry with Michael Moore, too, and he's taking his greviances to court.
James Nichols claims Moore tricked him into appearing in "Bowling for Columbine," the Oscar-winning 2002 documentary that studied guns and violence in American culture. Nichols also contends Moore libeled him in the film by linking him to the 1995 bombing that killed 168 people.

The timing of the lawsuit has come into question as it was filed more than a year after the movie opened, too late for the statute of limitations for libel claims. However, there's some question as to when the movie actually opened in James Nichols' town.

In explaining the details of when the movie opened vs. when Nichols had the opportunity to see it, the article claims that "Nichols was not aware of the movie's existence until a newspaper called him for comment the next day."

That's odd. He was in the movie. Surely, he knew of its existence back when it was being filmed.

I'll agree with Nichols in the sense that he comes off looking like a fucking nutcase in the movie. But I don't think Moore had to stretch the truth here. That guy is a nutcase.

(Let's see you Michael Moore bashers jump to James Nichols' defense. ... Come on. You know you want to.)

Low priority 

I can't promise a return to frequent posting anytime soon. I've had plenty going on worth writing about, but I just don't feel like writing.

I did finally see "Spider-Man 2" yesterday, but overall it's been a pretty bad week.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Setting a bad example for Girl Scouts 

Sometime last week Misty and I stopped by Bruno's to pick up a few groceries on our way home from work. Outside, there was a table set up where a woman was selling Girl Scout Cookies. I am a sucker for Girl Scout Cookies (who isn't?), so Misty and I walked right up. Once we settled on how many boxes of each kind we wanted, I asked the woman...

Me: What forms of payment do you accept?

Woman: We prefer cash.

Me: Can you take a check?

Woman: Well, we prefer cash.

Me: But can you take a check?

Woman: We prefer cash.

Me: Yes, I understand that you prefer cash, but I don't have any cash. Can you take a check?

Woman: Oh, hey! How are you? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah... (to another woman who has walked up)

It bothered me enough that the mother was doing the work for her daughter, but I liked her attitude even less. Not only did she effectively ignore my direct questions, but she interrupted me to start talking to someone else to boot. Annoyed, we went inside to get our groceries.

Upon exiting the store, however, the woman at the table called out to us...

Woman: Would you like to buy any Girl Scout Cookies?

Me: No, thanks. Since you blew me off earlier, you lost your sale.

I desparately wanted some cookies, but I won't support any organization that doesn't treat me well as a patron. Instead, I'll wait for one of the neighborhood kids to stop by my house.

Spider-Man 2: The Lego Version 

This is an absolute riot.

(And, no, I still haven't seen the movie.)

Link found via Cognitive Dissonance.

We eat ham and jam and Spam a lot 

Most people cringe at the thought of Spam (both the e-mail variety and the canned pseudo-meat), but it seems there is some good to it after all.


Sunday, July 04, 2004

Yes, it is 

I'm getting sick of right-wing hatemongers insisting Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" isn't a documentary.

Yes, the movie is slanted. It is an unabashed propaganda peice. But that doesn't make it fiction. "Fahrenheit 9/11" compiles real footage and real facts. It just manipulates them to lead the viewer to a specific conclusion.

Kudos to the conservatives jouornalists and bloggers who've been able to pick apart Moore's "sneaky editing tactics." It must have taken some close scrutiny and a lot of research to find all the totally fucking obvious instances of one-sided storytelling.

Those of us who get Moore's viewpoint aren't stupid. We see what he's doing. We know Britney Spears doesn't serve as a spokesperson for U.S. opinion — but it's funny when the scene plays as such. Michael Moore is a satirist. He uses humor to deliver his message. Pointing out the particulars of his slant not only insults the viewer's intelligence, but it also serves to ruin the joke. There's no better way to kill a joke than to explain it.

Of couse, Moore's humor is more than just playful fun; he's serious about his viewpoint, and he wants to convince you to see things the same way. So why should he make a case for anything other than his own side?

A documentary is not required to examine both sides of an issue. One does not argue his opponent's side in a debate. Doing so would serve to undermine one's own position. It is not up to Michael Moore to highlight George Bush's "good qualities" alongside the bad. Likewise, it is not up to someone like Sean Hannity to highlight the benefits of a liberal agenda alongside his attacks against it.

Hannity's new book "Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism" (yes, liberals are just as dangerous as terrorists) doesn't take both sides and let the reader choose which is best. He argues with a conservative slant. Nevertheless, his book is shelved in the non-fiction section of the library, alongside Moore's "Dude, Where's My Country?" Neither book presents a "fair" account, but they're both non-fiction.

There is a reason libraries and book stores are divided into sections of fiction and non-fiction. The opposite of fiction is fact, yet there is no fact section. Obviously, two books with opposing viewpoints cannot both be factual. As such, we call such books non-fiction.

The same holds true for the medium of film. A wholy concocted storyline would fit into a fiction category such as drama or comedy. Even a film based on factual events that uses actors to portray real people would fit into one of those categories. On the other hand, a film based on actual events using real footage of real people who aren't playing any role at all — no matter how skewed and manipulated its message — is non-fiction. And the word for non-fiction in the film medium is documentary.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Just like her mommy 

Today is Free Comic Book Day, so stop by your local comics shop and pick up some free swag.

I'm looking forward to reading the free comic from AdHouse Books which showcases new material from Scott Morse and Joel Priddy.

We're going to try to take Emily over to the new Kingdom Comics in Vestavia to get her picture made with Spider-Man. As you can see from this photo of Misty, it's a tradition on par with visiting Santa.

We're passing our wastefullness along to you 

I've a television commercial a couple times now for Alabama Power which touts their supposedly low rates on electricity that are "at least 15% below the national average."

Hey, Southern Company, you know how you could make your rates even lower? Quit wasting money on advertising; you're a monopoly, for God's sake.

Oh, and this seems like a really useful page.

Spidey, say it ain't so 

Friday, July 02, 2004

Beep-Beep! Ten Four, good buddy 

I'm sure I'm not the first person to say it, but I hate those god damned two-way radios. I don't want to hear one side of some smug, loud-mouthed ninny's conversation over a cell phone — I certainly don't want to hear both sides over their two-way radio.

I'm convinced that the only reason people have them is that they want everyone within a 500-foot radius to know that THEY'VE GOT A TWO-WAY RADIO! Congratulations. Now shut up.

Thursday, July 01, 2004


So, I saw Fahrenheit 9/11, 50 First Dates, Possession, and About Schmidt this weekend, but I didn't see Spider-Man. Yet I had the day off Wednesday! What in hell is the matter with me?!

Well, for one thing, Misty asked me to wait and see it with her, and since I'm a big sissy who lets his wife call the shots, I obliged.

The real reason, though, is that I'm in Birmingham. Sure, it's playing on 39 screens here — including 12 screens at the brand new Giant Orgasm Rave theater — but it just doesn't feel right seeing it in this city. If I had gone Wednesday afternoon or Tuesday at midnight, who was going to be there? A bunch of people from Legion, Kingdom, Lion & Unicorn, and Capt. Comics. I don't want to share this experience with a bunch of comic fans I don't know. I want to share it with my friends.

Unfortunately, those friends live in Huntsville. The Haven crowd probably went en masse Wednesday night to see the movie, but I don't know. I'm 100 miles away and out of the loop. It's a little depressing.

Even after a year of living in Birmingham, I still haven't found a comic shop where I feel at home. The problem is that I want Haven, and I'm not going to find it here. It's not so much the comics that I miss (I've got plenty of other things to keep me busy) — it's the camaraderie. Outside of work, I haven't found a new group of friends here. Haven represented that base for me in Huntsville. Now that I'm gone, though, my connection with them seems to have evaporated.