More Depressing Shit

Sigh. Here. These people need to be destroyed, is what it comes down to. This link has parentage somewhere and multiple spaces in the blogosphere, but I forget where, exactly. Atrios, or Kos, probably.

Rinn, Rinn, Rinn...

First of all, everyone (that means you, too, JKD...sigh...okay) needs to forgive Sardonic Poster Rinn for not actually linking to the article she talked about, which, when you're dealing with high-turnover sites like Boing-Boing, is totally necessary.

Second, in case I haven't already told you personally, I am now officially ashamed of my Friendster profile. Well, the profile's okay, but I have too many friends. I'm not going to say how many, because most of you know, or can find out by your damn self, but it's too many, I know.

How do I remedy this, though? Selectively drop friends? What if they ask again? I mean, a lot of these people asked to be Friendsters with me? Who am I to deny them that? So, a conundrum.

I am not going to tell you about orkut.com, either. You have to figure that one out yourself.

Third, I need to scold Rinn for using terminology without the explanatory link. I'm a big nerd, but "YASNS" is not self-evident.

Fourth, I would generally agree with the money/airport qualifications, but with an additional category of "houseguest" - i.e., if you have either hosted or been hosted by someone, you/they qualify. In which case...

tips for modern living

1. Grocery store checkout line
Do you know how the checkout line conveyor belt (CLCB) at a grocery store works? Probably, but let me explain. You place your items on the CLCB and they move forward, inexplicably. When they arrive at the cashier's bar code scanner the belt magically stops. This happens because there is a motion sensor at the end of the CLCB, right by the cashier, which kills the CLCB motor when an item reaches the lip of the CLCB. Were it not for this sensor, groceries would march forward (like lemmings) onto the scanner and then probably onto the floor (like quarters in those rip-off carnival arcade machines). Our lives have been dramatically improved by this development in modern supermarkets. However, there are drawbacks. The power of inertia lies among them.

When you have a single bottle of a carbonated beverage (e.g., soda) on the conveyor belt, make sure it is not standing alone. Imagine this scenario -- you place a bottle of delicious Coca-Cola on the CLCB. It moves forward, gracefully, until it triggers the sensor. When the motor is killed the bottle tips over towards the cashier and causes unwanted carbonation and fizzing. This is only a problem for lightweight bottles such as single sodas. Items like forties, champagne bottles, and wine don't usually tip over -- but they might, so be careful.

Tip: When purchasing one or two carbonated beverage(s) lacking the mass to not fall over when the CLCB stops (e.g., a 20-ounce Coke), carry it/them to the cashier yourself. If you are purchasing three or more, line them up parallel with the direction of the CLCB; their collective mass should prevent any falling over. (Though the bottle up front may take one for the team.)
Tip: When purchasing one or two bottle(s) among other groceries, place the bottle(s) directly behind heavier items to prevent it/them from falling forward.
Tip: Always place cereal boxes parallel with the CLCB. Always. These, too, will fall over if placed perpindicular with the CLCB.

Hello. Sardonic Poster Rinn here. Not feeling so sardonic today. I'm currently on a conference call to Malawi but it's crap about drug management logistics and that's boring. I work for a government contractor. Yes, government. Boooo. In fact, our money comes from one of those organizations on the Evil Empire Playing Cards. Good, great, grand.

I thought of our fearless leader jkd yesterday because BoingBoing linked to a bit by Ze Frank making fun of people with lots of friendsters. I like his idea of a YASNS that only allows people to friend you after they've lent you money or picked you up from the airport. JKD, I don't think you've ever picked me up from the airport, you slacker.


The Best News Ever

Alert Reader Jen brings glad tidings:

Fueled by DVD sales and strong ratings for its reruns, the animated series
"Family Guy" is going back into production -- more than two years after the last original
episode aired.

FOX, which had the series originally, has an option to air the episodes first; the Cartoon
Network, the show's current home, will also air them. The new episodes -- at least 22 will
be produced -- will be ready by spring 2005.

This is really just amazing news.

Another Good Link

Josh makes a very good point.
Pretty remarkable, but Every single thing that's happened this month has actually served to further lower my opinion of this administration's competence. Which wasn't particularly high to begin with. Like, none.

The Only Thing that Needs to Be Said About Gay Marriage

This is a comment from Gene Weingarten's "Funny? You Should Ask" chat of March 16 (it's on washingtonpost.com; permalink to the chat here). Generally, the chat is just funny, and one of my favorite regular features anywhere, as they talk about humour and comix, which don't really get as much play as they should in the media. Duh. Weingarten also has a column in the WaPo Magazine, "Below the Beltway," which is always good.
Getting back to the comment - this particular chat was dominated by gay marriage issues, as Gene had written a very very good column on the subject two days earlier. Also worth a read. Without further delay, the money quote:

"Honestly, and I know I will be offending some people here, when you strip down ALL arguments against gay marriage, they come down to this: Gay people are not as good as straight people.

If you think that, say it. Don't fumfur around trying to sound high-minded."

No further comment necessary.

Another new contributor

Alert Reader Rinn will soon become Sardonic Poster Rinn.
Everyone say hi. Both of you, yes, say hello.



"I live in a world of 'what-the-hells.'"
-Reese, from this week's episode of "Malcom in the Middle"

This show has really continued getting better and weirder throught the years. The characters are the only on television that are nearly as well-developed and strange as on "The Simpsons" - and they manage to do it within the bounds of the physical universe.

Which brings us to something which should definitely NOT exist within the bounds of the physical universe: "The Swan"

Really, I mean I KNOW my Mencken, but this is really just...sigh. Okay, so the show is about getting ugly people plastic surgery, making them live in house without mirrors for weeks, and then having a beauty pageant with them.

Seriously. Seriously. Sigh...


Frickin' Dragonball Z

Okay, so Isaac was pointing this out earlier in the week, and I took his word for it, but hadn't really noticed it before. Now I know what he was talking about. Cartoon Network has, yet again, switched up its schedule. Specifically, its Saturday night schedule. Specifically, rather than showing a new episode of 'Teen Titans', there is no episode of 'Teen Titans' at all. Rather, there is an episode of frickin' 'Dragonball Z.' Crimeny.

In an unrelated work, the new pants work well.



I haven't seen 'Dogville'; I don't imagine that I will. There are a number of very good movies out right now, and I would rather see those.
I have some problems with criticizing movies I haven't seen; some, but not enough to stop me from doing it. I don't need to see 'The Passion' to know that I don't need to see it. Similarly, this is why I won't be seeing 'Dogville.'


Interesting new PAC

There's an article in Salon today (you have to scroll down the page, there's no mid-page link) about a new PAC, Downtown for Democracy. Their mission and website are still a bit vague, but this is a promising idea - it's the non-voting cynics we need to bring on board to win this thing, not those flippin' swing voters.

Also: good appearance by my boy Howard Dean (or, as we like to call him, 'GHD') tonight on the NewsHour. LINK. He really hammers Bush, openly acknowledges that he still would rather be the nominee than Kerry, and that Kerry is just a "good first step." Good stuff, kids.

More on Pants - not mine, though

Alert reader Rinn passes on this fantastic piece on pants. Worth a read, definitely.

Tom DeLay (aka, the source of all evil)

Great news from The Hill, (via Washington Monthly, via Atrios): Tom DeLay may have to step down from his leadership posted because he's been indicted for, well, BREAKING THE LAW. Campaign finance reform law, specifically. Read, disseminate. As Atrios points out, this is really not getting much play and it SHOULD.


Pants Update

The situation has been resolved. Bought a nice pair of red pants. Nordstrom Rack, if you're interested.


Just so y'all know, I will not be following/linking to polls from this site until September or October. If you want polls, go to Kos where there are some encouraging polls up now, if you buy into that stuff. This is, however, one point where I diverge from most of the CW - I think polls are useless, especially two-man horserace stuff, this early.


This Country Sucks: Reason No. 142

I went shopping for pants today. Shopping for me, no matter what I'm shopping for, is a grim and frustrating exercise. Apparently, I am in very few ways built like a typical American. I wear among the smallest shirts most stores carry - (15.5x32-33, or Medium) - am taller than I should be (at least the stores think) given how skinny I am (need a 32" inseam, or, preferably, 33", with a 32" waist) - and have feet that are simply too big (size 13; sometimes 12 works).
None of this is vanity - this is just by way of setting the stage for how frustrating shopping is, generally, for me.
So I decide that I want a new pair of pants. Not jeans - I already have several pairs of jeans, and they work more or less. Not khakis, and not black, as I have those already. And not olive, or sand, or pebble, or gray.
You can see where this is going. Well, I could, too, but...

I went to the mall with an open mind. Or as open as my mind manages. I was determined to look at every pair of men's pants in the mall (save Abercrombie...just a bridge too far, for me) if necessary to find a relatively interesting pant. I did not really think this would be necessary.
There are more than a dozen stores in my local (quite fashionable) mall that sell men's pants. Probably close to 20. Assuming each of the smaller boutiques has four or five kinds of pants, with about 20 or 30 in each of the four department stores, you would figure there would be, at a minimum, over 100 options for me. Surely, there is among over 100 pant options, a suitable pant, even for our picky narrator?
There were NOT over 100 options. Instead, in each of the more than a dozen stores there were the SAME 10 PAIRS OF PANTS repeated again and again. In Hecht's, toward the end of the journey, I nearly lost it as I gazed out again over a sea of hundreds of pairs of Docker's, Haggar, etc. in the same shades of Navy, Sage, Desert and Black that had been featured in the last several hundred pairs of pants I had seen before.
The singular - SINGULAR - exception to this oppressive blandness was the previously much-maligned (in my mind, at least) J. Crew, which featured not only red but orange pants (both tastefully washed-out). Tragically, even at fashionable J. Crew, they were "Relaxed-Fit." And 60$, though at that point my unemployed, broke ass would actually have forked the dough over if the pants had fit well.
This flippin' country. Today was a real object lesson in what can happen when you combine the herd mentality of the fashion world with the basic homophobia of the American Male (i.e., colored pants = gay) (it must be homophobia - the only other explanation is that the fashion industry doesn't trust American Men to make their own fashion choices, and the 1970s and any golf pant manufactured prior to 1992 stand in stark opposition to that line of thinking) (not that I wouldn't kill for some of those golf pants right now).

Point being, I'm annoyed. As usual. Also, if you know where I can find a good pair of pants, let me know:


Dennis Miller really jumps the shark

Hoo-boy. Which of these two people should have a cable news talk show? Eric Alterman's appearance on Dennis Miller's show last week.

This is really disgraceful.


Photos: Bad photos, bad

Of every trend in design, the one that I find most repulsive these days is in advertising photography. Why is necessary to show people in that distorted, skewed, second-person style? Completely hideous.


Echo Chamber

Which could be just my own head here. But anyways...

Yeah, I was noticing how I was cribbing pretty big-time from Kos and Atrios, and started thinking about that. What is the service I'm providing? In theory, by cribbing the same shit from them, I am helping to create a parallel progressive echo chamber - expand the universe (in this case, either ever so slightly (with my 'readership') or not at all (since my 'readership' such as it is, prolly reads Atrios and Kos, anyhow).
So, long run, echo chamber.
But then, I guess it's just a matter of style. Ultimately, this is an act of narcissism, my doing this - but, I hope that I actually either have or am developing/will develop a clever/entertaining enough style/take on the world that a few people give a shit about what I'm saying and how I'm saying it. The anxiety of all writers, I suppose, though I still hesitate to call myself a writer.
Anyhow, my thoughts on the subject. More on cartoons later. That's one thing, Atrios don't know shit about cartoons.


Holy Friggin' Crap

Okay, so without a doubt it's a good thing that all of this is coming to light. But really, it's starting to scare the poop out of me just how COMPLETELY INCOMPETENT this administration has been in fighting terrorism - since 9/11, definitely, but even more markedly before 9/11. This report (via Atrios) is, um, really really fucking scary. 'Best' passage:

[Former National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism Richard] Clarke finally got his meeting about al Qaeda in April [2001], three months after his urgent request. But it wasn't with the president or cabinet. It was with the second-in-command in each relevant department.

For the Pentagon, it was Paul Wolfowitz.

Clarke relates, "I began saying, 'We have to deal with bin Laden; we have to deal with al Qaeda.' Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, said, 'No, no, no. We don't have to deal with al Qaeda. Why are we talking about that little guy? We have to talk about Iraqi terrorism against the United States.'

"And I said, 'Paul, there hasn't been any Iraqi terrorism against the United States in eight years!' And I turned to the deputy director of the CIA and said, 'Isn't that right?' And he said, 'Yeah, that's right. There is no Iraqi terrorism against the United States."

Okay, seriously, these people need to be stopped.

RE: Fensler Films

Specifically, check out PSA 15

Great Quote

From an AP story about the Malaysian elections (wherein the secular party won, surprisingly):

"The loss is unexpected," said Zaihan Mohamed Daud, a senior official of the Islamic party who faced reporters and a stunned crowd of supporters at party leader Abdul Hadi Awang's house in Marang, Terengganu. "It was all up to God. But it doesn't matter. Our reward is in heaven."

See, the Republicans would be more entertaining if these were their talking points.
Heck, the Democrats would be.

What Liberal Media?

As in, Eric Alterman's excellent book of the above title. It's out in paperback, and HIGHly recommended. If you haven't read it, you can pick up a copy here. Amazingly, amazon.com is offering the hardcover edition for $0.50 less than the paperback, but I would advise the paperback - it has a bonus chapter on Iraq.
Alterman provides the new preface here.

'Conventional Wisdom' Alert

From today's WaPo (Style section, of course...it's not like the Left is actually news or anything...), Howard Kurtz the whore has a remarkable passage in his article:

"I don't think the enterprise is marketable at all," says O'Reilly, who has been publicly feuding with Franken. "It's a one-trick pony. They're trying to emulate what Rush Limbaugh did. I don't think they have the people to do it, and it takes a lot of years to build up that choir they're going to sing to."

Which raises the question: Why would people listen to Winstead and company when liberals already populate much of the media?

Gee Howie, I dunno. Maybe 'cause it's actually whores like you and not 'liberals' that populate the media.

Also - and Alterman makes this point time and again - a news correspondant voting for Democrats does not a liberal-dominated media make.

This flippin' country...



So -
I suspect some people are probably reading this. As a community service to them, I will write about something. Just, you know, let me know what you want that to be. Drop me a line at mingle08@hailmail.net.

Also -

We've got a new contributor who may eventually post something here. Everyone be nice to Michael Degnan. He means well.

New Link

Over to the right - Fensler Film. Truly, genius for our times.


Bush Lying & c.

From Atrios:


so i should've put this up last week, and it's already made the blogosphere rounds, but it's worth another look:




okay, so i'm watching cartoon network, and on comes a show i hadn't ever seen or heard of before - 'duel masters.' the whole premise of the show is that the power of the universe is harnessed by a card game (a la 'magic: the gathering'). it follows the 'adventures' of a few especially powerful card players. that's it.
i don't even know where to begin.
for a long time (i.e., since my childhood), cartoons have been made expressly for the purpose of selling something - usually, action figures. 'transformers,' 'g.i. joe,' 'my little pony,' 'care bears,' and so on. in some of these cases - 'transformers,' and occasionally 'g.i. joe' - the result was actually GOOD. beyond that, however, these shows at least made an effort at trying to tell a story. in the case of 'transformers,' it was actually a pretty good story, too - warring factions stranded on a primitive planet (earth) light years away from the world they're fighting for, trying to acquire energy to bring back to their world. but i digress.
even in the case of the other shows, there was a sustaining narrative unrelated to the buying and selling of merchandise. the cartoons were in some ways half-hour commercials - but cleverly designed, with narrative. you might buy a bumblebee figure, but you weren't just buying a piece of die-cast metal (later plastic) - you were buying an attractive character, someone you could empathize with. to the extent that it's possible to empathize with a cartoon character eight-foot-tall transforming robot.
the thing that's disturbing, then, about 'duel masters,' is it's incredible cynicism. it doesn't even try to exist as an attractive narrative outside of the selling and buying of product - there is absolutely no pretense of that.
instead, it exists entirely within the context of selling and buying the product - the entire show is about its use. i suppose this is only another half-step from pokemon - where the characters from a card game came to some sort of life, and were used in battles more or less identical to card-play - but for me that half-step is a big one. and i suppose it was only inevitable that this sort of cynical exercise occurred, eventually.
but it's still pretty frickin' tawdry - i mean, cartoon network is PAYing for this show, which is not just essentially a commercial, but enTIREly a commercial.
it's especially annoying when cartoon network has so much good original content ('samurai jack,' is one of the best shows on any network, period, and this new 'mucha lucha' show looks pretty sweet).


so, blogs tend to be pretty self-absorbed. i'm debating whether to run with that, or not. also, the whole capitalization thing...dunno how formal or whatall i want this to be.

it's been a beautiful and bizarre day in washington, d.c. and environs. sunny, very warm and a little humid to begin, and windier and several powerful rainfalls, then sun again. not typical beginning-of-march weather, as i'm used to it. but, it's bizarre that it's the beginning of march, so there's that.

yup, that's all for now.


first post. hi.
nobody's gonna read this, yet, as nobody's got the address. or any particular reason to read it, yet.

over the coming weeks i'm going to fritter into irrelevancy my less useful thoughts, and hopefully hone the good ones.

enjoy. or not. i can't make you.


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