16. October 2012 · Comments Off on Upstairs, Downstairs and All Around the House · Categories: Ain't That America?, General Nonsense, History, Media Matters Not, Memoir, That's Entertainment!, World

My family was, for various reasons, devoted to the first Upstairs, Downstairs series, back in the day. Mom loved the whole dichotomy of the ‘family’ upstairs, and the servants, working away behind the scenes and below stairs – very likely because her father, my Grandpa Jim was engaged in practically life-long service to a wealthy family living in a magnificent mansion. Dad had a mild guy-crush on Rachael Gurney, who played Lady Marjory Bellamy – she was what Dad apparently considered the perfect upper-class Englishwoman. And I loved it all because it was … England, that very place that three of our four grandparents had come from, and during the two decades that were pictured in the show. The outer world of Upstairs Downstairs was what they would have remembered; the music, the manners, the fashions, habits and social customs, the scandals and events.

So we followed it devotedly, even as we admitted to each other that it was really a high-toned soap opera in period costume. I think primarily the reason that it succeeded on those terms was that it was entirely character-driven. That is, the characters drove the plots, and they were pretty consistent over the arc of the show; there was a womanizing rake – actually two of them, one upstairs and one down – the imperious lady and her devoted sour-tempered maid, the upright lord of the house, several charming ingénues – and their affairs of state and otherwise, personal crises large and small, courtship, marriages, birth, death … the whole enchilada, as it were. And always in the background there was history going on, but it usually took a back seat to personal lives and concerns. Which is how it is for most of us; what we do, the decisions that we take are driven by our characters and our needs. So, dialed up for dramatic purposes, the Bellamy saga managed a high degree of consistency that way.

And now we come to the new Upstairs, Downstairs iteration … and a couple of episodes into the second season, it is not going well, character and plot-wise. It was a good idea, to update Eaton Place to the 1930s, and bring in a whole new upstairs and downstairs family, with the character of Rose Buck to tie them together, but it’s already gone south, between season one and two … which we have easily deduced from the rushed manner in which the transition between the two was made. You mean – now they have two children? And the mother-in-law died? (And they killed the monkey… not a good start, FYI, and it matters little that it was a well-meant accident.) And Sir Hallam will be boinking his sister-in-law, who doubles as a Nazi spy? Hooo-kay, then. There could have been a whole season of character-developing high-toned soap opera worked in, between the end of one and the start of the second, but apparently everyone wanted to rush on to the drama of historical events. Pity, that – what they finished up with was plot-driven characters; where the needs of plot drove the characters to do things that radically changed what they had first appeared to be ... which is very likely why one of the key originators of the original and the follow-on series departed at speed, while the other had serious health problems.

No, it’s not a bad thing do do plot-driven characters, especially in the confines of a historical narrative, but abruptly contradicting the established character, and rushing over certain developments? Sigh. I guess we’ll just have to wait for the next season of Downton Abbey. At least, they are not doing things in a mad rush ... although they did rather hurry through WWI, and muddled the sequence of the end of the war and the great influenza epidemic.

(Cross-posted at my book-blog website)

The Cure – reminded of this by those nice folks at Ace of Spades HQ.

I was very fond of this song, when it was first popular, and when it was in our reocurring hit-list, because the musical up-ramp to it was just about a minute long, and when I used it as the last song in the playlist at the end of an hour, I could do an outro, promo the next hour and read about half of the spot reader book over that mad minute of music.

Enjoy, y’all.

17. August 2012 · Comments Off on Here’s a Pretty How-de-do · Categories: Ain't That America?, General Nonsense, Politics, Rant, Tea Time

And with the issuance of two announcements this week regarding the upcoming Presidential campaign, the usually interesting quadrennial race just got a little bit more … interesting? Bizarre? More than usually contentious? All of the above and more, to judge from this week’s surfing across the oceans of the internet. So Mittens discovered the existence – heretofore unsuspected by the larger public – of his fiscally responsible and constitutionalist backbone and tagged Paul Ryan as his running mate… that makes for a snappy bumper sticker right of the top of my head; “Time for a little R & R.” Said prospective VP nominee had never swam across my ken as a possible, but then Mittens himself had never seemed to me to be a likely prospect for the top o’the ticket either … altogether too bland, to nice, too establishment GOP … but then I am only an interested amateur and Tea Party enthusiast. All props to him for seeing that the fiscally responsible, strictly Constitutionalist and relatively free market segment of the libertarian-conservative public constituted a powerful voting block.

So … Paul Ryan; hope that he and his family, all of his friends, neighbors and and everyone that he has ever known are all battened down against the coming onslaught headed his way from the usual media crowd, also known as Pravda on the Potomac. Frankly, no wonder at all that Paul Ryan or his people didn’t want in the least to be interviewed by a whiny regular at Salon.com. Mainstream media establishments have proved comprehensively that they were so deep in the tank in the tank for Obama last time that they probably needed a deep-sea diver’s helmet and someone up above feeding them oxygen. And nothing much has changed – yet again, they seem dedicated soul and body to drag his tottering Juggernaut over the finish line. At least those who still have a job and whose organization is still functioning will be dedicated to that project, although it would seem that at least some of them must be entertaining doubts.

Yes, established media organs – you have showed us where your loyalties lie. I wouldn’t want to talk to you either. Over the last four or five years, you have dedicated yourselves to trashing Tea Partiers, libertarian-conservatives, and traditionalists generally. So, no – we really don’t want to talk to you. Not you, not the pollsters that call incessantly: who knows who is really asking, and what will that information obtained from us really be used for? No, we don’t trust you, and we certainly don’t trust this current administration. Look at what happened to Joe the Plumber, to the owner of Gibson Guitar and any number of others … and include the owners of Chick-fil-A, too. Don’t’ forget about how the Department of Homeland security made grumbling noises about veterans and tea partiers being potential terrorists, too. And we don’t much want – unless we are a stubborn and stalwart sort – to even go out and joust in those wide open public internet spaces available to us … since, in a lot of cases (notably this one) the administrators are pretty obviously biased. Pity, that.

We’ll vote in November – that’s all that I’ll admit to at this present time.

The other announcement – that Joe Biden, the one-man walking gaffe machine would still adorn the bottom of the ticket. Knock me over with a feather – I thought sure that the announcement would concern health issues and a desire to spend more time with his family. But whatever – the man’s got a gift … and the gift is to the Romney-Ryan campaign, especially if Biden makes too many more appearances. Of course, the man at the top o’ the ticket seems to have stuck his beautifully polished Gucci loafer in his mouth a good few times, too. The ‘you didn’t build that’ meme seems to have gone down like a whole pineapple enema with the small business community … which, as sources like the Chambers of Commerce never tire of reminding us, are the engine running the whole American middle class economy.

Yes, a small to medium business of their own, and being their own boss is one of those things that just about every American, or prospective American with a bit of hustle and drive in them aspires to. Count me among them – as I have just spend the last week tediously transcribing a 19th century ledger book for a client – and thanked the deity every morning that as tedious and exacting as it was, I’d rather be doing that at my own computer in the corner of my own little home office, then climbing into the office business drag and driving across town to someone else’s office to spend the next eight hours. Way to piss off just about every striving American and independent consultant, President Obama. Do, by all means, stay loyal to Joe Biden, and whoever is strategizing your campaign. Encourage your administration bureaucrats and officials to be vengeful, you media minions to be ugly, your local protest element to be ugly and threatening, and all of them to be irrational. Every instance will be reason for any number of quiet Tea Partiers to decide that R & R is good enough on November 2.

Me, I think this is the beginning of the preference cascade – that moment that everyone who has been made deeply unhappy by the policies of this administration looks around, and discovers that they are not alone.

19. July 2012 · Comments Off on The Spectacle of Wrecks on the Internet Superhighway · Categories: Ain't That America?, Geekery, General Nonsense, Literary Good Stuff, Working In A Salt Mine...

I am not one of those people who thrive on discord – which may be one of the reasons that I gave up posting on Open Salon yea these many months ago. I am at heart a rather peaceful and well-mannered person who does not actively seek out confrontation, on the internet or in real life … no really, stop laughing! I merely present myself as someone who doesn’t suffer fools lightly, and who will not hesitate to squash them, which has the pleasing result of not being very much bothered by fools. It’s called ‘presence’… and has worked out pretty well, actually online and in real life. I can easily count the number of fools I have squashed … only a dozen or so that I remember. And none of them came back for seconds.

I don’t deliberately slow down to gawk at epic highway pileups either … except that in real life, everyone ahead of you has slowed down anyway, and the full spectrum of destruction is spread before you. And as for epic internet crackups … one can go for months without being made particularly aware of them, but this week my attention was caught by news of the mother-in-law-of all internet crack-ups to do with books. This one I must pay some attention to, as books are my vocation. It’s a more appalling spectacle than the Great Books And Pals/Jacqueline Howett Review Crackup of 2011, which should have served as an object lesson in how an author should not respond to a mildly critical review. This fresh slice of internet literary hell is what I am dubbing the Great Stop the Goodreads Bullies Cluster of 2012.

Goodreads, for those who have not had it wander across their ken … is kind of like Facebook for book enthusiasts. More specifically, for readers of books – although I do have an author page there, for all the good it does me. Not much; this is why I am not inclined to spend much time and effort on it. Anyway, it seems that a handful (or maybe more) of the regular Goodreads reviewers have earned a reputation for what is – or could be interpreted – as snark, scathing wit, or just dismissive disinterest. As the fictional food critic, Anton Ego said, “…the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.”

Yes, it is fun and easy to cut loose with all barrels on some hapless bit of publication – and since the mad and wonderful world of books in this year of our lord offers such a wide array of targets, I can’t really blame various Goodreads reviewers for being rather spiky and judgmental about books. It’s a site for readers, after all. And there are plenty of wallbangers out there. (That is, a book so awful that you throw it across the room hard enough to bang against the opposite wall) But handful of Goodreads reviewers who have have been colorfully blunt in expressing their opinion of particular books now are classed as bullies? And that a handful of aggrieved Goodreads members (who may be writers, or just overly-impassioned fans) have set up a website, specifically dedicated to ‘outing’ those reviewers, terming them ‘bullies’ and tacitly encouraging other people to stalk and harass them online and in their real off-line lives. The irony, it burns. OK then – is the principle being established here is that the cure for bullying is … more bullying? Must be merely one of those interesting coincidences that the intended targets of Stop the Goodreads Bullies are women … oh, and the whole schmezzle of revealing Goodreads members personal information is a violation of the Goodreads policies, anyway.

Say, was there some act of Congress or the current regime passed lately which demanded that all book reviews are slavishly adoring, else the wrath of someone-or-other be excited? Is this the natural outcome of giving trophies for participation? Are certain writers thinking, “I wrote a book so I deserve nothing but glowing reviews for it?” I’ve reviewed books myself, often enough, and now and again administered an unfavorable or a mixed review. Not too many of those lately, as really don’t want to waste valuable hours reading a stinker, and fortunately the ‘Look Inside’ feature pretty much lets me screen out the really awful selections. A review isn’t a advertisement for the book; it is, or ought to be at the very least, a reasoned analysis of why or why not a reader should spend a good few hours of their life reading it. Nothing more, nothing less, although this rule is frequently trampled upon.

The bottom line is that the only response an author should make for a favorable, or even mildly critical review – and even if any response should be made is debatable among the cognoscenti – is, “Thank you for your consideration.” For a critical or scathing review – no response at all is best. There is no crying in baseball, and there should be no whining from authors; especially not to the extent of setting up a website to complain about being bullied. You put your stuff out there for everyone with the interest or the wherewithal to read it. Accept that there will be a number among them who will not like it, miss the point entirely, fail to grasp the whole point … well, grownups and professionals bleed about that silently and move on. Comfort yourself with those reviews and the appreciation of people who did get the point, and who loooooove it.

Frankly, I also comfort myself against unappreciative reviews by going and looking at my vast collection of publisher and agent rejections for Truckee’s Trail and Adelsverein. I think of it as the best kind of plate armor against bad reviews.

(Crossposted at my book blog, and at Chicagoboyz)

01. July 2012 · Comments Off on Monday Morning Miscellany · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, General Nonsense, Media Matters Not, Politics, Rant, Veteran's Affairs

OK, so it’s Sunday afternoon. I’m just planning ahead, ‘kay?
1. So the Supremes upheld Obamacare … well sort of. Is it a tax, or isn’t it? Dessert topping or floor-wax. All that I can tell from here is that the closer and closer it gets to being implemented, the more unpopular that the whole program seems to be becoming. Why, oh, why couldn’t the Obamster have just tweaked Medicare to cover those uninsured. What towering illusion of adequacy led him to devise what appears to be Britain’s National Health scheme writ large and applied willy-nilly to the US. Anyway, now he’s staked his political career – what’s left of it – on ramming it through, over objections.

2. Oh, and his reelection campaign is going big in Paris for the 4th ofJuly, which kicks off a campaign swing through Europe. Guess the Obama reelection campaign has squeezed enough out of Wall Street and Hollywood, so it’s on to greener pastures. Words fail, they really do. I’ll probably never watch George Clooney in anything, ever again. If Mittens has any sense at all, he’ll be at a traditional down-home American community 4th of July bash. I swear, the campaign ads practically write themselves.

3. Colorado burning … the pictures of the fires burning along the mountains, and the homes going up in flames give me the cold shivers, they really do. The Obamster did show up to console the good citizens of Colorado Springs though … Which is nice of him. Texas burned last year though, with nary a peep.

4. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes breaking up. I think there must be some order of contemplative religious in a monastery on an isolated mountaintop somewhere who did not see that coming.

5. I posted a sample chapter of the next book – The Quivera Trail, on my book blog, here. Check it out, if you’re interested.
And that’s my weekend. Yours?

(With apologies to the Obama perpetual re-election campaign. Other people have had a go at this concept – I think The Life of Brian is one of the funniest, but I wanted to have a go at this myself. )

3 Years Old – Under President Eisenhower, Celia stays home with her younger brother, as her full-time work-at-home Mom helps her get ready for school by reading aloud to her, supervising her playtime and providing a secure home environment. She will join thousands of students across the country who will start kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.

17 Years Old – Under President Nixon, Celia takes the SAT and is on track to begin applying for college … which college program includes two years at a local junior college capped by two years at a state university – a public university system that the taxes paid by Celia’s parents over the years have subsidized. The public high school which Celia attends is in a working-class suburb, but offers academically enriched courses for those students who qualify for them.
More »

04. May 2012 · Comments Off on May Miscellany · Categories: Domestic, Fun and Games, General Nonsense, Media Matters Not, Politics, Rant, sarcasm

Holy krep, is it May already? Guess it must be – time flies when you are having fun. My excuse is that I actually took a whole Sunday off; Blondie and I went up to the World Famous Buda Texas Wienerdog Races on Sunday, and I have been working alternately on two paid projects all this week to catch up. So – barely able to keep up with the news, such as it is, between all this and noodling around in the kitchen making another wheel of Leicester cheese and starting two crocks of home-made sauerkraut. All this German stuff is starting to catch up to me, I swear.

Sauerkraut, red potatoes and nice little sausages from the best meat market in New Braunfels, all cooked up in the same pan, make a darned tasty meal. (The recipe is on my book blog, under “The Splendid Table” page. No, seriously – good eats. I’ve begun to wonder, tasting the glories of home-made cheese, how good are the pickles that we have canned, and the sauerkraut which will eventually emerge from the canning kettle.)
Anyway – the news is it’s usual bounty of the richly comic:

Like Professor Elizabeth Warren, who looks like an older version of a Bund Deutcher Madel recruiting poster (League of German Maidens, the female version of the Hitler Youth) claiming to be 1/32 Cherokee Indian … ok, then. Now and again, I met people who told me they were part whatever American Indian. A fair number of them were blue-eyed blonds, which led me to assume that … certain physical traits must have been pretty darned recessive. Even if my friend Esther T. who was one-eighth Shoshone did look like Geronimo got up in drag as a Wagnerian soprano. So who’s really a minority, when you look at first glance like a member of the majority class? Oh, and I won’t even get into how the head of the NAACP, Benjamin Jealous is almost a dead-spit look-alike to my brother J.P. – who in spite of having dark hair and brown eyes and used to tan very easily … is a person of unmixed pallor, Anglo-Saxon and protestant descent for as far back as family records go. Seriously. But honestly, how seriously can you take this s**t these days?

I see where some Occupy Whatever doofuses had a plot to blow up a bridge. But they didn’t have the wit to see that all their needs for explosives were being met by surprisingly helpful FBI informants. I am being reminded of those dear sweet days in the late 60s and early 70s, when law enforcement alphabet agencies made up a substantial portion of the membership of so many of these fringe little groups with violent inclinations. Apparently, they were the only ones willing to come to tedious meetings and reliably pay their dues. I kid, I kid.

And now that all the jollies have been wrung out of President Obama’s boyhood proclivities for chowing down on chow (and hound, and peke and collie), I guess now it’s time to make fun of his composite girlfriends. Seriously, he had girlfriends, composite or individual? My impression was that he was too much in love with himself to get involved with an outsider, but OK … You know, after a certain point, when enough stuff has been composited, created, massaged and shaped, you may as well call it fiction, not a memoir.
And that’s my week. Working up a piece to accompany the administrations latest bit of work “The Life of Julia” will call for a separate entry of it’s own.

(links below – somehow the posting of embedded links on this blog is frelled beyond redemption.)

That’s the feeling, really – as Blondie and I walk the dogs of a morning, and discuss such weighty matters as who remembered to bring sufficient poopy bags, if it is safe enough to let the Weevil off leash long enough to have a brisk run up and down the long fence behind which lives another Boxer mix who carries on a sort of fence to fence tag run, how many tomatoes we are likely to get from our current planting of garden bounty, if there will be enough cucumbers to make a decent batch of pickle spears soon, what to have for dinner that evening … and the morning gleanings of various internet news sites that we favor, upon rising from our slumbers first thing of a morning.

I favor Instapundit myself – out of long habit, even if he did drop this site from his blogroll a couple of years ago, but my daughter favors a combination of TMZ and the Daily Mail website, which (oddly enough) often puts up items of American news days before it appears in our own very dear mainstream media organs. Nope, tis true, tis true: sensationalist, twee, celebrity-addled, frequently misspelled/ungrammatical/confusing/sentimental-enough-to-trigger-a-diabetic-reaction, the DM still unashamedly and without much bias that I can detect covers the news. What a concept, hey? (Leaving aside the DM’s editorial bias, whatever it might be. When it comes to Brit newspapers, I used to favor the London Times and the Spectator myself, until they put everything interesting behind a paywall, then the Telegraph, and even the Guardian – until … well, that last just went beyond the pale for me. The lefty establishment bias just got to hard to take. God knows what the Grauniad thinks of the Tea Party; I don’t have a stomach strong enough to check.)

Anyway – to see ourselves as the DM sees us. My daughter notes the increasing numbers of American commenters, who ask why they hell do they have to go to a British newspaper site to see relatively unbiased American news. I’d guess it’s probably because the DM doesn’t seem to actually have a rep in among the White House Press Whores, or among the local establishment in whatever city the interesting story of the moment comes from. So, they can tell the story and access-to-the-elite-establishment be damned. Kind of refreshing, actually: what was the old press motto? To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable – damned if it doesn’t seem that principle has been reversed, in these degraded modern days.

Anyway – we were talking about a wide-ranging number of topics, but actually, they weren’t all that wide-ranging. Mostly it was the various aspects of the Federal Gummint’s heavy and strangling hand descending on a variety of concerns and businesses: the EPA going after coal-burning power plants (what – do they want rolling blackouts?), the Department of Labor going all ‘it’s for the chiiiiiiiildren!’ in forbidding children, tweens and teens from working certain essential jobs on family farms, hammering the Catholic church for not handing out free birth control like it was Skittles, the EPA going after rabbit breeders, the Justice Department casually allowing weapons to walk from border states into Mexico, prosecuting Gibson guitar manufacturing enterprise for using certain kinds of imported wood, the TSA (who easily could be the most despised organization in the US today but for all the competition from the EPA) feeling up four-year old girls and ripping off wheelchair bound veterans, the NOAA enthusiastically ruining the livelihoods of New England independent fishermen … and the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman imbroglio, with respect to flash-mob violence and the disinclination of our own very dear Department of Justice to become involved in prosecuting those who incite racial violence. Long list it was, too. So, I don’t think I want to get fitted for a tinfoil hat just yet … but WTF do these various numbskulls think they are doing? Exactly how far do they think people can be pushed before an individual or a community entirely looses patience? I mean – do they want large numbers of Americans to openly defy the Feds, nonviolently or otherwise? Is this deliberate incitement or just dumbassery on an epic scale?

I know, cheerful thinking for a morning walk. I think I’ll go fire up the canning kettle, and put aside another dozen jars of home made pickles, relishes and sauerkraut. To the best of my knowledge, the EPA or the DOJ hasn’t come out regulating against that … yet.
(Links here. Impossible to embed links any more…

03. March 2012 · Comments Off on When Buntline Was in Flower · Categories: Ain't That America?, General Nonsense, History, Old West

Ned Buntline, that is … a dime novel writer, publicist, playwright and producer … as well as publisher and popularize of popular cheap novels about the American west, published in mass quantities during the latter half of the 19th century. His name was actually Edward Zane Carroll Judson, and he had been a sailor, a brawler, an instigator of riots, an ex-convict and a prodigious drinker and public lecturer on the benefits of temperance. Presumably he knew whereof he spoke, on this subject, although the phrase ‘do as I say, not as I do’ certainly does occur to one. But this is not about E.Z.C.Judson, or his alter-ego, Ned Buntline … or even any of the Wild West personalities that he wrote about in his dime novels.

No – what he, and his scribbling ilk did in a fair part, was to popularize the far west – the frontier west as it then existed in the late 19th century – as a fountainhead of unending drama and breathtaking adventure. Granted, anyone who does this now, or in previous decades has had wonderful material to work with: eccentric characters galore, marvelous and improbable events, romance of every variety, warfare and friendship with strange and alien peoples (Indians, unreconstructed Confederates and Mormons among them). But Buntline and his less famous competitors did it first, establishing the meme almost before the dust was settled.

Of course – some of that dust was purposefully raised, in the course of telling a ripping good yarn for the price of one thin dime. They had not the luxury of being able to wait and see, to consider events steadily or see them whole. They were also not able to thoroughly fact-check the back-stories alleged by some of their most famous heroes – say, Buffalo Bill Cody, or Wild Bill Hickok, or cared very little others were out and out criminals and sociopaths. Or that others –like the small landowners and homesteaders who came out on the wrong side of something like the Johnson County War were not, and had experienced the bad fortune of being relatively voiceless in a contest where the other party had the bigger public megaphone. (And that much of their output is hideously racist by modern attitudes should go without saying.) They also were guilty of creating or flat-out exaggerating every convention imaginable regarding cowboys; who were usually plain old working men of every color, performing backbreaking and/or totally boring labor – but they did it in the open air, and from the backs of horses, which must have looked pretty good from the perspective of a factory hand or clerk back east.

Still – Buntline and his ilk set the stage for the enduring image and conventions of the Old West: timeless stories and stock characters, which were lovingly sent up in a movie like Rustler’s Rhapsody. Even so, it was vision of the Wild, Wild West which gripped our grandparents and great grandparents in print, entranced our parents at the movies … and had us glued to the television.

But you know what? The real Wild West was even more incredible than Ned Buntline ever dreamed.

…they toil not, nor do they spin, yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Enough of that simile, since it’s pretty obvious that Solomon in all his glory was not spread all over just about every fashion and women’s mag for the last couple of years, accompanied by cutlines, stories and editorials, all drooling over how chic, fashionable and oh-so-modern and otherwise laudable the spouse of the current occupant of the White House was.

Yep, upon the apotheosis of the Empty Suit known as Barack Obama, to the highest office in the land, I could hardly pass the supermarket checkout stand, without being assured that his Significant Other was the best thing since Jackie Kennedy or sliced bread… so lovely, so tasteful, so chic, the very model of an ultra-modern First Lady. Frankly, the sycophantic chorus got to the point where I began muttering to myself something along the lines of, ‘Sister, I remember Jackie Kennedy – and you, darlin’ – aren’t no Jackie Kennedy. If Jackie Kennedy had ever dressed for a public event by raiding her daughter’s closet and the nearest Goodwill outlet, she would have at least made it look good!’ Frankly, if I never see another picture of Michelle in a boob-belt and too-small cotton cardy, or one of Laura Ashley’s more unfortunate evening dress designs, it will all be too soon. And I speak as one who does raid her daughter’s closet, the local Goodwill store and loved Laura Ashley, but then I do not see any fashion mags out there breathlessly lauding Sgt. Mom’s inimitable sense of style.

About the only mystery left unexamined regarding Michelle Obama’s dress sense is how on earth one can spend a bomb of money and still finish up wearing such desperately unflattering clothes, or clothes grotesquely unsuited for the occasion – or both.

So, you will have gathered that Michelle Obama annoys me. I would have been content to dismiss her as I did, yea these many months ago as “a seething pit of resentment in spite of two high-end degrees, a large income and a mansion; a BAP with a limitless sense of entitlement.” I might have been able, eventually, to blow off the fashion and women’s magazine going all full Pravda on us … but for the vacations.

The incessant expensive vacations to lavish resort locations annoy me. I don’t grudge rich people their amusements, knowing that they mostly pay for such excursions themselves, and that spending on them will trickle down to make a good living for the people who own, run, and work at such places – heck, I live in a destination city, although I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not a tropical paradise like Hawaii, or an enclave of the uber-rich like Martha’s Vinyard. I certainly didn’t grudge President Reagan, or either of the Presidents Bush from taking vacations at property they owned and improved, and even hosted VIPs at. (I did derive amusement out of the White House Press corps being dragged to Crawford, Texas, in August, though. Awwww, poor cosmopolitan urbanites, being dragged to the ass-end of nowhere in the most miserable part of a Texas summer!)

But at a time when ordinary working people are cutting back to a week or so, taking a frugal holiday here and there, or even not taking a vacation at all – Michelle Obama taking a lavish holiday every two months or so, looks very, very bad to the general public. And the White House must know that it’s going over about as well as a case of the chicken pox at a kid’s birthday party. That someone whose job it is to consider damage control can’t or won’t talk her into slumming it at Camp David instead is not a good thing.

13. February 2012 · Comments Off on Building a Better Tomorrow · Categories: Ain't That America?, General, General Nonsense, Technology, The Funny


Found, courtesy of a comment thread on PJ Media.

13. December 2011 · Comments Off on Vader, did you know? · Categories: A Href, Fun and Games, Geekery, General, General Nonsense

A Star Wars take on a popular Christmas tune.  Very ingenious, I think


26. October 2011 · Comments Off on Don’t Remember Hearing About This… · Categories: A Href, General, General Nonsense

It’s been far too long since I”ve wandered over to Babalublog….


State Dept. uses $70,000 of our tax dollars to buy copies of Obama’s book, “Dreams From My Father“.

Money goes to book’s publisher.

Royalties go to Obama.

I know $70K is a drop in the bucket, but still…

22. October 2011 · Comments Off on So, Whither Occupy What Street? · Categories: Domestic, Fun and Games, General Nonsense, My Head Hurts, Stupidity, Tea Time

As a terribly scarred and battle-hardened first gen Tea Partier, I am following the fortunes of the OWS with mixed emotions; those motions mostly being a combination of disbelief and horror. Your leaderless insurgency just sort of decided to get together, camp out in a public place and make enough of a spectacle for the media and general public to take notice. Well, that’s a goal of sorts, but didn’t anyone do any serious advanced event planning? Organizing skilled volunteers with specific skill-sets to see to billeting, portapotties and their maintenance, security, law-enforcement coordination, clean-up, outreach and education? Nobody gave consideration about yourselves and your main message (whatever that message may actually be) from pervs, rapists, assorted unappetizing/potentially embarrassing freelance whackos and a collection of thievish and destructive blights on the activist community. Was there no guidance considered to urge protest participants to make nice with business owners and members of the general public who have varying degrees of concern about the space you have chosen to take over for your purposes? Was there any prior planning (which prevents piss-poor performance, as the old military saying goes) in advance of these momentous decisions to take to the streets? No confabulations, through social media, no focused meetings of intensely interested volunteers, no hours-long conference calls, thrashing out the basics?

Sigh – it appears that the answer to these questions is not.

(As an aside – you will never get 100% consensus among rational adults about anything. Settle for 2/3rd majority, respect the dissenting 1/3rd, and move on. Give way to the minority on something else: it’s called negotiation, my dears – or in vulgar parlance: horse-trading. Prioritize what is important and which you will not compromise upon, and work out what lesser principals you will trade off to achieve that. It’s what adults in a functioning democracy do. People who have real lives and real jobs, those who do not live the Great and Shining Cause 24/7, 365 days a year, will not have the patience or endurance for epic meetings deciding upon minutia . . . however, I have noticed that a certain kind of career activitist/community organizer does have stamina sufficient for meetings of the endless and ultimately pointless sort. I’d advise you to avoid that kind of person, but it probably is a bit too late. )

I do have to hand it to the Occupy Whatever Street – the major national news media are already giving the various protest events the warm sloppy tongue-bath, even to the point of serving your public relations functions. It took the SATP a good six months of outreach and conferences with various local TV news directors and newspaper editors to get any respect at all. But, as a sort-of PR professional, I have to say that this good-will towards the OWS probably will not last, and may already be shriveling. A long-established protest site in the heart of a big city can only be made to seem cool, subversive, and glamorous for so long, in the face of ongoing noise and vandalism, reported harassment of local residents and law-enforcement personnel, and just the general rat’s nest appearance of the average OWS protest camp. This will not go over well in the long run with ordinary, hard-working, peace-loving citizens, even those in general sympathy with some of the stated goals. There are a fair number of new reports indicating that your immediate neighbors in your various venues are growing sick and tired of your presence. This is something that you should pay attention to; bad optics, from a public affairs point of view. Which brings me to my next point –

A street protest is just a starting point for a truly broad-based and ground-up political movement. Getting together in a public space all those who are moved enough to be unhappy about things as they are . . . my dear people, that is only the first step. The next one is to go home, to fully understand the issues and the various options that would perhaps alleviate those of most concern, and to continue the outreach, the consultations, the epic convention calls, the even-more-epic meetings among the most dedicated and skilled – the formulation of email lists, the cultivation of donors . . . all of that. It’s much more of a job and not as attention-catching as a simple temporary event. It’s work, and it’s hard and dedicated work. It is not fun – hardly a romp in the park, if I may be so kind as to draw that analogy. It’s work. Hard work and it will almost always take a lot more temporal and psychic energy than you might think at first. Been there – done that, ever since working to resettle Vietnamese refugees in 1975-75.

Unless you are all willing to do that work, then you are merely dilettantes in protest, having a public temper-tantrum.

I remain most sincerely yours and this entry is posted as my best professional advice

Sgt. Mom

28. August 2011 · Comments Off on Things That Make You Start to Laugh Uncontrollably · Categories: Ain't That America?, General, General Nonsense, Media Matters Not, The Funny

So there we were last Monday evening , sharpening up our awareness of odd things one might pick up at a yard sale or a thrift store for fifty cents or a dollar and which might later turn out to be worth a small or medium-sized fortune, by watching Antiques Road Show (US version) when this particular item was spotlighted for an appraisal. (Go ahead, take a look, you won’t regret it. I’ll wait.)
This episode was a repeat from 2009, actually – our local PBS station depends heavily on repeats, which is one reason I have never pledged to them. (The other being that they would never hire me, although as a retired AFRTS type, I was perfectly qualified for any job they had on offer. Deal with that, KLRN!)
And my daughter took one look at it: having picked up a considerable vocabulary of Brit-speak, through hanging out at various on-line fora, (as well as reading the Daily Mail Online every morning) she exclaimed,


It’s a family curse – an unexpectly ribald sense of humor, which I blame on my father — or the fact that both of us were some years in the military — not a place you go for refined comedy … because the pictured item immediatly called this novelty item to mind. I began to sing,

“Do your balls hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie them in a knot?
Can you tie them in a bow?
Can you throw them o’er your shoulder
like a Continental Soldier?”

I swear, we laughed, hysterically and uncontrollably all the way through the segment featuring this pot. We even laughed through the following segment, about a pretty piece of custom-made early 19th century jewelry.

One of my daughter’s career ambitions is to buy something at a yard sale, estate sale, thrift store, or even to pick it up from the curb, take it to the next Antiques Road Show and discover it’s worth . . . well, a whole lot.

A pot like that isn’t one of them, though. Although in this current economy, we could certainly make use of the amusement value.

(Cross-posted last week at Chicago Boyz)

14. August 2011 · Comments Off on Reissue of Memo: John Wayne is Dead and Arnie Has a Day Job · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun With Islam, General, General Nonsense, Media Matters Not, Rant, sarcasm, War

(In light of the current ruckus over President’s Obama’s very personal wet smooch from Hollywood regarding the proposed “get Osama” movie, I am reissuing my historic memo, from 2004 or so. Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette has the whole depressing, infuriating saga of the world’s longest proposed political advertisement, here.)
To: Providers of our Movie & TV Entertainment
From: Sgt Mom
Re: Lack of Spine and Relevant Movies

1. So here it has been nearly three years since 9/11, two years since the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan, a year since the thunder run from the Kuwait border to Baghdad, and all we get from you is a TV movie, a couple of episodes from those few TV serials that do touch on matters military, and a two-hour partisan hack job creatively edited together from other people’s footage. Ummm … thanks, ever so much. Three years worth of drama, tragedy, duty, honor, sacrifice, courage and accomplishment, and all we get is our very own Lumpy Riefenstahl being drooled over by the French. Where is the Casablanca, So Proudly We Hail, Wake Island, They Were Expendable? My god, people, the dust had barely settled over the Bataan surrender, before the movie was in the theaters. You people live to tell stories— where are ours? What are we fighting for and why, who are our heroes and villains, our epics and victories?

2. And it’s not like other media people have been laying down on the job: writers, reporters, bloggers have been churning out stories by the cubic foot: the brave passengers taking back Flight 93, the stories of people who escaped the towers, and those who helped others escape, as well as those who ran in, the epic unbuilding of the Trade Center ruins. What about the exploits of the Special Forces in Afghanistan, on horseback in the mountains with a GPS, directing pinpoint raids on Taliban positions, the women who ran Afghanistans’ underground girls’ schools? What about Sgt Donald Walters, Lt. Brian Chontosh, the 3rd ID’s fight for the strong points at Larry, Curley and Moe and a dozen others. There’s enough materiel for the lighter side, too: Chief Wiggles, Major Pain’s pet turkey, the woman Marine who deployed pregnant and delivered her baby in a war zone, the various units who have managed to bring their adopted unit mascots back from the theater. (Do a google search, for heaven’s sake. If you can’t handle that, ask one of the interns to help.) The shelves at my local bookstore are pretty well stocked with current writings on the subject, memoirs, reports, thrillers and all. Some stories even have yet to be written; they are still ongoing, and even classified, but I note that did not stop the movie producers back then: they just consulted with experts and made something up, something inspiring and convincing.

3. Of course, actually dealing with a contemporary drama in the fight against Islamic fascism would mean you would have to actually come down out of Hollywood’s enchanted world, and actually, you know … speak to them. Ordinary people, ordinary, everyday people, who don’t have agents and personal trainers and nannies, and god help them, they don’t even vote for the right people, or take the correct political line. Some of them (gasp) are even military, and do for real what movies only pretend to do … and besides, they have hold to all these archaic ideals like honor, duty, and country. (Ohhh, cooties!)

4. And since even mentioning the Religion of Peace (TM) in connection with things like terrorism, mass-murder, and international plots for a new caliphate is a guarantee to bring CAIR and other fellow travelers seething and whining in your outer office … ohh, best not. Drag out those old villainous standby Nazis, or South American drug lords, even the odd far-right survivalist for your theatrical punch-up, secure in the knowledge that even if you piss off what few remains of them, at least they won’t be unleashing a fatwa on your lazy ass, or sending a suicide bomber into Mortens’. Just ignore the three large smoking holes in the ground; cover your eyes and pretend it away. Never happened, religion of peace, all about oil, la-la-lah, fingers in my ears, I can’t hear you.

5.To make movies about it all, is to have to come to grips with certain concepts; among them being the fact that we are all potential targets for the forces of aggressive Islamo-fascism, that it is not anything in particular which we have done to draw such animus, and that we are in this all together, and that we must win, for the consequences of not winning are not only unbearable for us all — but they would be very likely to adversely affect you, too. I would expect an industry dependent on the moods and fashions amongst the public at large to have a better feel for what would sell … but I guess denial is more comfortable, familiar space, Sept. 10th is what you know best.

6. Still, if you could pass a word to Lumpy Riefenstahl, about getting signed releases, for footage, interviews and newsprint. It would be the courteous gesture towards all the little people for whom he professes to care, and save a bit of trouble in the long run.

Sgt Mom

24. June 2010 · Comments Off on Not Only do I Miss George W. Bush… · Categories: General, General Nonsense, Politics

…but I quite honestly miss Bill Clinton.  At this rate, I should miss Jimmy Carter by the Fall Equinox.

Update:  I’m not sure whether I should be mad, flattered, or downright scared that I’m starting to think like Rush.

14. February 2010 · Comments Off on Memo: Monday Morning Miscellany · Categories: Ain't That America?, Domestic, General, General Nonsense, Media Matters Not, Politics, Rant, Stupidity, Tea Time

From: Sgt Mom
To: Various
Re: Some Apparently Inconvenient Home Truths

1. Oh, my – the case of the absent-minded professor, the irreproducible results and the ‘dog-that-ate-my-data.’ Yet another stake through the heart of man-made-global-warming, to add to the existing collection; I swear, in popular media culture this global-warming c**p has more lives than Freddy Kruger. Hey, aren’t we all ready to have a good long laugh at Al Gore, now? And can we at least have our incandescent light-bulbs back? Thanks, ever so.

2. Note – to aspiring politicians (I’m looking at you, aspiring candidate for governor of Texas Debra Medina, who was about to break out on the national media level, but flubbed a key question asked by Glenn Beck – who, I may add, was not exactly hostile media to fiscally conservative, independent and grassroots candidates, m’kay?) – there is only one acceptable answer to that particular question. That acceptable answer is “no.” Or “hell, no.” Although the Bush administration, and before that, the Carter administration, might have been able to put together the pieces of the intelligence puzzle a little more efficiently, or take more seriously the rantings and threats of a wierdy-beardy Islamist squatting in an Afghan cave – the US government most certainly did not coldly and callously enter into a labyrinthine plot to murder 5,000+ of their own citizens in one morning. If you well and truly believe that a conspiracy of that magnitude is doable, probable and technologically possible – than why do you chose to remain a citizen of such a monstrous country? And more to the point, if you believe in 9/11 as a government plot, why would you even want to become a part of the government? S**t, people, the X-Files was a fictional TV show, not a documentary – get a grip.

3. OK – one more time: the Tea Partiers are not knuckle-dragging, sister-humping, room-temperature IQ racists, and the more certain of you choose to bang on about this meme, the more you are blowing your credibility with the public, outside your own cozy little echo chamber that is. One more time – they are fiscal conservatives, small federal government, free market and libertarian. The Tea Partiers I know don’t give a good g***amn about the color of your skin, the color of the POTUS’ skin – and we wouldn’t care much about what Captain America thinks of us either, except that once a meme gets going, it’s a pain in the *** to uproot. See item 1, above.

Oh, yeah – and our protests are fun. Lots of smiling, friendly people, lots of laughter, music – kind of like a very laid-back neighborhood block party. And we clean up after ourselves, too.

4. And in reference to item 3 above? Yeah, for a while I went around explaining earnestly that using the word “teabagger” in a discussion of the Tea Party movement was kind of like using the word n*gger in starting off a discussion about civil rights – now? Eh, not so much. When I see it being used, I can be pretty sure the person using it is as aggressively ignorant as they are bigoted and rude, so I can safely disregard anything they have to say. Just by using it, they’ve already proved they have nothing much to say, so I can save valuable time.

5. I’d write a good scathing essay about Courtney Cook – except that it looks like pretty much most of the milblogosphere already seems to have taken some good hearty thwacks at her Salon essay. (Jeeze, what is it with Salon and Open Salon these days? Is there some kind of convention going on for shallow, narcissistic writers over there?) Passive-aggressive, self-absorbed and immature is no way to go through life, dear – just my opinion.

Sgt Mom

21. January 2010 · Comments Off on The Economy is so bad… · Categories: Ain't That America?, Domestic, Fun and Games, General, General Nonsense, Politics

(From another one of those emails going around)

The economy is so bad that:

I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

I ordered a burger at McDonald’s and the kid behind the counter asked, “Can you afford fries with that?”

CEO’s are now playing miniature golf.

If the bank returns your check marked “Insufficient Funds,” you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

Hot Wheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM.

McDonald’s is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children’s names.

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.

Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.

Motel Six won’t leave the light on anymore.

The Mafia is laying off judges.

Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

Congress says they are looking into this Bernie Madoff scandal. Oh Great!! The guy who made $50 Billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $1.5 Trillion disappear!

And, finally…
I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., I called the Suicide Lifeline. I got a call center in Pakistan, and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

25. November 2009 · Comments Off on PT Barnum Was Right · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, General, General Nonsense, Rant, Science!

There is a sucker born every moment, and who else should have known better, but the shameless old huckster? Even though it’s most probably one of his competitors who actually voiced that deathless observation, PT is the one that we remember today. Fleecing the credulous for a living is not a game which was thought up yesterday. People who desperately want to believe something are as common now as they were in the 19th century; they lined up then to gawk at the so-called Cardiff Giant, and now and again, there are enough poor gullible schmucks who answer a Nigerian spam email . . . and really think that someone with an uncertain grasp of vernacular English and indifferent punctuation skills is really going to transfer umpty-million dollars into their bank account. But belief in such improbabilities is not a crime, and does not generally do any more harm than to the believers’ pocketbook.

Part of this whole ‘free country’ thing is that you are free to believe in any such improbable thing you want to, like Megan Fox can act, or that Dan Brown can write a good book. Or as is sometimes the case – to not believe in something. I, for example, do not believe in global warming, or that sort of alleged global warming supposed to have been caused by human activity, the sort of global warming that calls down unexpected blizzards where-ere Al Gore doth appear, and causes polar bears to fall out of the sky. Never did, don’t and never will. As I have been tiresomely reminding certain of my friends over the years – it was warm enough in Roman times to grow wine grapes in Britain, and in the 10th century for European-style subsistence-farming in Greenland. It was also cool and wet enough for the Pueblo tribes in various places in the American southwest to do pretty much the same. Conversely, during the 16th and 17th centuries it was cold enough in some English winters for the Thames to freeze solid, at or above London. Once there were lush oases in the North African desert, and glaciers covering most of Europe and the North American continent . . . and all of that happened before human kind existed, or that our technologies, and our presence created nothing more than a gentle burp in the cosmos.

So, are we all clear now on the concept? The earth’s climate has changed in the past, sometimes quite drastically, it will change in future, and in fact the weather changes every darned minute. We don’t even have that much precise and reliable data about it anyway: systematic records are spotty at best, much before the 19th century. So, thinking human activity does much to change the climate of the Earth one way or the other? It’s a theory yet to be proven, and massaging, or vigorously pummeling the existing data, and not being able to provide enough of it for anyone else to reproduce the same result? There is a word for that – several ones, actually, but the one I have in mind is ‘opinion’. And dragooning scientific peers and rivals into seeming to share it by monstering or ostracizing them does the actual science no favors. (I would agree, in passing, that generally it is not good to foul our own nests, and to be tidy-minded and to refrain from spilling dangerous pollutants into the air, the earth, or the water; on the whole that has proved to be one of those Good Things that a concern for the environment has engendered over the last forty years.)

The assumption that mere human activity is having Dangerous World-wide Consequences And We Must Do All In Our Power To Ensure Perfect Entropy; that is marvelous to behold, how it became the trend of the moment, among public, the media, corporations and politicians . . . old PT Barnum thought only to fleece the gullible masses by exercising his own creativity! The suspicion about the Global Warmenists – that they were hoping to fleece the gullible by drawing governments into it, as well as corporations – or at the very least, score some more grant money and fat speaking fees for beating the good ol’ Global Warmest/Coolenist/Changiness Drum like a rented mule has been richly rewarded by the leaking of a body of emails from the institution most prominent in recent years for propagating the theory as if it was a matter of established fact. So, no surprise to me, the revelation that the smugly certain Global Warmenist/Coolenist/Changiness advocates were swapping e-mails about how to reward their friends and punish the insufficiently enthusiastic comrade-scientists. What is a bit of a surprise is how miserably like a bunch of middle-school snots deciding among themselves who is really cool enough to hang with the in-crowd that they appear . . . and alternately, how much like a cat trying to hide the crap on the kitchen floor by frantically scratching at the linoleum.

The theory of anthropomorphic global warning is certainly up for more discussion, and for more research . . . that is, honest research in the sense of the search for pure data, uncontaminated by any thought of arriving at the predestined conclusion, or corrupted by receiving the monetary benefits derived from magisterially insisting that it is settled, no more discussion. That’s what a theory is – and to bend the observations in order to serve a conclusion, which is what appears to have happened here – this is not good science. Or it isn’t the science that my dear old Dad taught to us. Science is never settled – what we think to be true is ever-evolving, and one of the first requirements is to be rigorously honest about the data. Fudging the data in order to provide the expedient and much-desired answer? That is not good science. And making social and political demands based on it is even less desirable.

15. October 2009 · Comments Off on I Love the Smell of Dripping Sarcasm in the Morning · Categories: Fun and Games, General, General Nonsense, sarcasm, The Funny

(From one of those e-mails going around, this one from the military broadcaster’s discussion group, a well-known nest of racists and terrorist sympathizers. This will no doubt get me on several watch lists as a person of doubleplusungoodness.)

Wonderful news! After astonishing the world by receiving the Nobel Peace Prize that was so richly deserved (according to the Democratic leadership and all right thinking people everywhere) Our Dear Leader Barack Hussein has been honored again; the Pentagon announced today that the wonderful light of greatness that is our glorious leader has been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor! this after visiting a Marine Corps base last summer. General Sabot, the new military czar in charge of “honoring dear leaders” stated today “We know some reactionary types both in the civilian sector and those in the military (who unlike myself have had their decision making process clouded by actual combat experience) will not agree with this decision. Nevertheless, a careful review of a cellphone photo-capture of the presidents’ arrival clearly shows the light of virtue and really great greatness that is our savior and bringer of change, his majesty Barack (the peace bringer) He has the clear facial expressions of someone who is really going to do something really really brave and stuff!”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stated: “It’s about time we gave this award to someone who deserves it!” she then expanded: “In the recent past we have given this medal to mostly Warmongering military types who followed the orders of the disgraced prior administration! These mostly Republican types received this award while committing horrible war crimes during the period when this was a illegal war. It is appropriate then that his majesty be given this honor as the war has magically become legal under our more enlightened leadership.” Col. Savemyarss, under-military czar of “sayin’ good stuff about our dear leader” stated: “We believe this award is a proper follow up to all those on the General Staff who are now saying that the new administrations’ war plans are enlightened and much better than the old plans of the prior administration and that it is better way to show our loyalty to the new administration since after almost a year we still have no idea what the new administrations war plan are yet. But don”t take that to mean that I think that a year is to long to come up with a plan! It’s just about right! and I am sure the plan will be like the greatest ever! As a matter of fact I hear there is a school in New Jersey that is writing a new song of praise for our dear leader based on the wonderful new plan we all know he is putting together! “and that you can quote me on!”

And it burns, it burns us, it does!

Yeah, I saw this at Protein Wisdom. In a perfect world, this would have been on Saturday Night Live. Alas, most funny and deeply sarcastic stuff is on YouTube, these days.

29. April 2009 · Comments Off on A Little Light Entertainment · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, General, General Nonsense, That's Entertainment!

(These are lifted from an email sent out to the Yahoo group for FEN broadcasters. The following are alleged to be quotes from translated kung fu movies. No idea of they were really in movies or not; they just sounded pretty funny.)

1. I am about to choke you like a chicken!
2. Fatty, you with your thick face have hurt my instep.
3. Gun wounds again?
4. Same old rules…no eyes, no groin.
5. A normal person wouldn’t steal pituitaries.
6. Damn, I’ll burn you into a BBQ chicken!
7. Take my advice, or I’ll spank you without pants.
8. Who gave you the nerve to get killed here?
9. Quiet or I’ll blow your throat up.
10. You always use violence. I should’ve ordered glutinous rice chicken.
11. I’ll fire aimlessly if you don’t come out!
12. You daring lousy guy.
13. Beat him out of recognizable shape!
14. I have been scared shitless too much lately.
15. I got knife scars more than the number of your leg hairs!
16. Beware! Your bones are going to be disconnected.
17. The bullets inside are very hot. Why do I feel so cold?
18. How can you use my intestines as a gift?
19. This will be of fine service for you, you bag of scum. I am sure you will not mind that I remove your manhoods and leave them out on the dessert flour for your aunts to eat.
20. Yah-hah, evil spider woman! I have captured you by the short rabbits and can now deliver you violently to your gynecologist for a thorough extermination.
21. Greetings, large black person. Let us not forget to form a team up together and go into the country to inflict the pain of our karate feets on some ass of the giant lizard person.
22. I am damn unsatisfied to be killed in this way.

28. January 2009 · Comments Off on I Hate That (090128) · Categories: General Nonsense

I hate when you almost run smack dab into a great big wad of dark first thing in the morning.  And they you practically kill yourself tripping on the bathroom rug trying to avoid it but you run right into anyways and of course, it’s just dark, so you go right through it and bump your shoulder on the wall.

This is my brain on cold medicine.  Any questions?

15. January 2009 · Comments Off on Another Country Heard From · Categories: European Disunion, General, General Nonsense, Israel & Palestine, Media Matters Not, sarcasm, The Funny

A send-up from Israel’s answer to “Saturday Night Live”, on BBC coverage of the current situation in Gaza

Link: the BBC coverage of Gaza - with subtitles

Found by degrees through Rantburg and Hot Air. Enjoy – it’s subtitled, which puts almost everyone in on the joke. Look, haven’t I been saying we ought to make fun of these guys … and this one makes fun of the Palestinians as well.

03. October 2008 · Comments Off on Just for Fun – 101 Uses for an Antique Tractor · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, General Nonsense, Technology

(courtesy of Al Past, another IAG Member, and also cross-posted at the IAG Blog)

The juggernaut was-and still is, according to a quick internet search, an enormous, towering wagon, with the image of a locally-worshipped Indian deity enthroned at the very peak of it, under a vast canopy, which is taken out for a grand procession once yearly, pulled by devotees through the streets of the city. This is no quick spin around the block and back again, for this wagon is enormous, clumsy, and heavy. Picture Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, arriving to meet Mark Anthony, or the Persian emperor Darius grand entrance in 300; it’s an arresting image, which must be why it was used to indicate a certain sort of power and will.

And it also comes to my mind, increasingly often, this election season. Rather than picturing our very dear mainstream press creatures as deep-sea divers so far into the tank for Obama that they must have a couple of handlers and a pump feeding oxygen down to them, now I visualize the Obama campaign vehicle as a garganutuan, creaking juggernaut, pulled along by the masses of our media, along with lashings of the more loudmouthed and stupider popular entertainers. I visualize them straining at the chains, the ropes that bind them to the axles of this impossibly heavy vehicle as they tug it painfully onward, as they push at the back of it. They lean their shoulders to the wheels, willing the tottering structure ever onward towards the finishing line. They will accomplish this, of course – it is in the power of their will to move the One to glorious victory, and never mind those concepts – or those among them who fall under the wheels or are crushed against the side of a stone building as the juggernaut lurches briefly out of control.

I have honest to god never seen it as bad as this, as blatant – and I was paying attention during the last election. As hard as they could, the mainstream media couldn’t make the sow’s ear that was John Kerry into a presidential silk purse. It wasn’t for lack of trying, though – and they weren’t helped that he appeared to have all the actual, personal charm and charisma of Frank Burns and Eddie Haskell put together.

This time, they appear to have thrown any pretense at impartiality under the wheels. What can you think after seeing the storm of vicious editorials and outright fantasies about Governor Palin that somehow appeared out of the clear blue, upon being named to the VP seat? How can anyone not compare and contrast the energetic digging into her past, personal life and professional career in the last few weeks, with the elaborate disinterest in Senator Obama’s over the last 18 month and not begin to wonder if there is something just a little unbalanced about this sense of focus.

It’s not been unknown for members of the working press to have sentimental favorites – look, they about got down and drooled over John. F. Kennedy, and the deity knoweth some of the old press guys and gals still view him through a hagiographic haze. Similarly, Lyndon Johnson was so universally despised by the press and the intelligentsia that I (as a middle school kid just getting interested in that kind of stuff) rather felt sorry for him. Nixon was loathed, and Gerald Ford lampooned as a clumsy oaf – but in between all that, the serious media still were capable of some kind of detachment. Well, mostly – and mostly those in the middle of the road, not veering off onto the lunatic fringe. Which sense of impartiality still lingered long among us- but it just seems now the lunatic fringe is driving the whole thing. And that sense of even-handed detachment is what the media is losing, or has already lost this season. It’s gone; no one who has been paying attention the last couple of weeks, months, years – no one believes that mainstream media is neutral and independent any more. They are become the organ of state, or the state that they hope will be, once they drag the juggernaut over the finish line.

It’s as if NPR and the New York Times were about to morph into Pravda, or the state media in one of those third-world nations where el Presidente’s cousin is the head of the national press council – and no one dare print or broadcast a critical word about either of them. What a pity – for a lot of the last century, being a journalist in the mainstream American media was a respected profession . . . and now they are reduced to shoveling out propaganda and dragging the juggernaut along.