Thursday, November 30, 2006

Listen to your mother

I don't have children.

But if I did, I would tell them the usual stuff, I guess. Stay in school. Drink your milk. Don't smoke crack naked in alligator-infested waters.

Not too little, but alas, too late

Nevada Thunder featured this editorial on Iraq by Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE). Read it. It pretty much says it all.

Too bad he wasn't this sensible when he voted to authorize giving BushCo the keys to our nation's treasury (300 BILLION so far) and putting the lives of our service men and women into their greedy, corrupted, self-serving hands.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I'm putting my money where my big fucking mouth is

And you can too.

Send a care package to a soldier in harm's way, via

You can choose a serviceman or woman randomly, or choose one from the town where you live.

Go to their page at the above site, and find out what their unit needs. Portable snack foods, candy, DVDs, toiletries, and articles of clothing are all frequently requested items. Plus, you can get rid of those old Beanie Babies you have hanging around your house (you know you have them) because they are a popular item with Iraqi children, and the soldiers like handing them out when they can.

Isn't that awesome?

You could even organize your coworkers to take up a collection of items.

What better way to walk the walk this holiday season than to put some time and just a little bit of money into a care package for those men and women who are risking their lives for our country?

And then next year, let's bring them home.

Bells On brings you the inside scoop on that Hobbit film

Apparently, Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is feuding with New Line, and as it stands now, he will NOT be asked to direct the upcoming LOTR prequel The Hobbit.

LOTR fans everywhere are distraught, in a kind of predictably hilarious way.

New Line has not yet announced who will now direct The Hobbit, but they have been taking a lot of meetings. Bells On has gotten a hold of their short list, which I will now share with you, dear readers:

Quentin Tarantino – Thinks the chronological plotline is too straightforward. Would tell the story backward (jump cuts!) from a high camera angle that would suggest that the real protagonist of the story is the goblin assassin. Wants Sam Jackson for Bilbo, and Uma Thurman for the goblin. And surf music. Lots of surf music.

Martin Scorsese – Envisions Middle Earth in the sewers of New York City, with the Hobbits as working class Italian immigrants, and the dwarves as a brutal crime syndicate. Wants to lose the actor who played Golum in LOTR and bring in DeNiro.

Ron Howard – Thinks struggle between good and evil in the book is WAY too ambiguous – would simplify, simplify, simplify. Wants Russell Crowe for Bilbo. Would write in two Hobbit love interests (Kate Beckinsale and Kirsten Dunst) representing the hero’s internal struggle. Of course the usual deal for Ron’s brother – maybe third lead dwarf?

Woody Allen – Not really interested in the film unless he can play Bilbo. Will only shoot on location in NYC. Would punch up verbal sparring between Bilbo and Golum. Wants Scarlett Johansson for Golum.

Tim Burton – Thinks the story is short on kitsch, and would set the film in 50’s suburbia: bright colors, manicured lawns, elves as Tupperware ladies, dwarves living in bowling alleys, that kind of thing. Will only direct if Depp can play Bilbo, Gandalf, and Golum, and wife can play all the dwarves.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Trends I am NOT down with

Faithful readers of Bells On might remember my past rants against various Ugg-ly trends, like tiered skirts, which thankfully are so over now. (Note to my readers in the midwest - tiered skirts are so over now.) And of course my feelings about Crocs are well known.

But I have to say for the record that I am just not down with this:

No, not bubble skirts. Although god knows those are excellent if you wish to appear as though you are a recent immigrant from a former Soviet bloc country.

No, I'm talking about ankle boots with skirts.

Oh, sure, it looks cute if you're six foot tall and gorgeous, but let me tell you gals, if you are like me and only 5'9" and medium hot for your age, the whole ankle boots with a skirt thing makes you look like you're auditioning to be a Clydesdale on one of those annoying Budweiser Superbowl commercials.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The war on Christmas wreaths

Residents of a small town in southwestern Colorado are demanding that someone be called to account.

Parents of soldiers in Iraq are said to be upset.

Other residents fear that the devil may be in their midst.

The culprit:

The woman who hung this wreath on her home may be facing fines from the local homeowner’s association, which has rules against posting signs with messages. She defended her invocation of the peace symbol as being “a spiritual thing,” and not political.

You know what? If some collection of rural wingnuts wants to be nationally known as the stupidest goddamn retards this side of the Mississippi, that’s fine with me.

But first of all, can we all just remember this crazy-ass shit the next time some lefties get all hot and bothered about some fucking manger on a courthouse lawn? Can we?

And secondly, can someone make sure that Bill O’Fuckface gets a copy of the story, so he can decry that homeowner’s association for waging a war on Christmas wreaths?

And thirdly...Satan? Really, Satan? Are you sure you want to hang your hat on that old chestnut? Because if you get worked up and fearful at things like that, you tired-ass fucked-up Christian-y hacks, then I don't even know how you make it out of the house to SEE your poor neighbor's harmless little wreath, which, if it were up to me, would be banned not for being political but for being the wrong size for the scale of the house, and for having bad ribbon placement.

But hey, merry fucking Christmas to the Loma Linda Homeowner's Association. I would wish you peace on earth, but I don't want to upset you any more than you obviously are.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My own personal Squanto

My blogger friend, SJ, has been dealing with a situation similar to one I dealt with about 3 years ago: the break-up of my marriage. Reading her posts and thinking about her has of course brought back memories of that time in my life when the rug was pulled out from under me. Below is a piece I wrote several months after my husband left me. I offer it to you now, gentle readers, in the spirit of Thanksgiving – believe it or not.


It’s funny, I’m not sure how long it’s been since he walked out the door with his clothes in grocery bags. Was it July, or August? I’m really not sure. I could look at my checkbook and tell instantly, I guess. See where his writing stops and mine begins. See the last entry for gas bought with the ATM card at that station near his office, the last check written to the hardware store. Time passes differently for me now, and I feel differently about its passage. Days and night stretch out in front of me, as full or as empty of chores and errands as I wish them to be. If I do not wish them to be full, very little happens. The dogs need food, that needs to be done, and I must go to work every day, but very little else seems to depend on whether or not my old schedule is met. And so at times I test this premise, wrap myself up in a blanket and sit out in the back yard in the lounge chair, staring straight ahead. Go ahead and test me, Mr. Time, I can take it. I can sit like this for hours while dishes lie dirty and dry cleaning remains unclaimed and balls of dog fur and dust roll across the floor like tumbleweeds.

He would have been happy, probably, to see me surrender some rigidity. Funny then, that this surrender comes too late, that it was triggered by the event that also made it moot.

As I sit in my chair, I ask myself the same question that I imagine so many others in my situation ask: How Did I Not See It Coming?

A year ago, we were happy and normal, I thought. After ten years, we still had great times together. I could still absolutely break him up, put him on the floor, laughing, wiping his eyes. And he could still make my stomach feel funny and my hands tremble if he put his arms around me in that way he did sometimes. Sure, we struggled, over the years, with our sex life, with the boredom and the complacency, but we always managed to find a way back to each other, to connect again. People tell me that we were absolutely the very last people on earth that they thought would break up, get divorced. I remember, I thought so too. I would imagine sometimes, what medical infirmities would eventually plague us in our old age, and how we would cope with them. Would he need a colostomy bag someday, like that old guy next door? Or what if I needed one? Would he still want to have sex with me if I did? Is his forgetfulness a sign of future senility? Should I be buying him vitamins or an herbal supplement? Stuff like that. The kind of stuff you think about when you expect to spend the rest of your life with someone.

No, there was no shortage of accoutrement for a lifetime commitment: insurance policies, mortgages, major appliances, wills. Seven years my junior, he moved in with me almost immediately after we started dating, and a couple of years later, he proposed. Having suffered a brief and painful marriage in my twenties, I was content to remain unwed, but when he proposed, I realized I wanted it too. It felt good to say yes to this idea of permanence. He was twenty-five when we met, twenty-nine when we married, and thirty-five when he left.

One night, about a year ago, he announced that he was unhappy, and that he knew I was too. Why not just end it, he said.

I’m searching for a word to express the magnitude of the shock I felt upon this announcement. I remember, my jaw dropped open. I remember thinking as I watched his lips move, as he went on about our unhappiness, that there might be some misunderstanding, that I must be misunderstanding something. It felt unreal. Time slowed. My brain raced. I felt the sensation of walls tumbling down all around me. I was out of my mind, out of my body, cut loose from everything. It was the worst moment of my life, and it wouldn’t end. It just went on and on and on.

It came down to this: he couldn’t believe I wasn’t unhappy, and I couldn’t believe he thought I was.

I begged for couples therapy, for another shot, and he finally gave in. Our therapist pronounced a “profound lack of communication” at work.

Well, yeah.

Although until my spouse’s little eye opener, I would have said that we communicated just fine.

The therapist wanted individual sessions. He went twice, I think, and then he stopped. He would promise to go, and then not, or he would avoid calling the therapist, whose phone messages went from polite to stern to plaintive. Meanwhile, I would go every week, and say things like “he seems happier,” or “I’m trying to really listen to what he’s saying,” plus, I’m being REALLY POSITIVE about our future, and tiptoeing around his moods, and analyzing every word out of his mouth, and trying really hard to look sexy without looking like I’m trying to look sexy. Sometimes, when he left the house, I would sink to the floor and cry, out of exhaustion and despair.

Some weeks later, he pronounced himself “cured” and asked that we speak of it no more. I was relieved. Our counselor was troubled by this, and said that if he wouldn’t come to session, how could he expect to be helped? So when the therapist called a month later to see how we were doing, my statement that we were still together was met with surprise on his part. I was insulted, and still certain that we would survive. C’mon, it was us. We loved each other. This was the man who stood on stage at our wedding reception and sang “Thunder Road” to me as a wedding present. The whole song. Sang it to me while I laughed and cried simultaneously. Who else on earth could make me feel so goofy & gloriously alive? And who else could make him feel the same?

Months passed, and one day I got a replay of the “I’m not happy, I want out” speech, only this time, I saw it coming. I had gradually become aware that he was not cured, that he was miserable and conflicted, and it was then that I put together my meager scraps of understanding and realized why he never went to session: he didn’t want to sit and lie for an hour every week. He didn’t want to tell lies about trying to make it work. And he couldn’t tell the truth, apparently, either, because that was even worse.

The truth: He wanted out. He just did. He wanted off the hook. He just did. I don’t know why, I don’t know why. He just did. Whatever it was he got from me, it meant less than his freedom, less than the weight of permanence being lifted from his head, less than being able to walk out the door with those grocery bags full of clothes.


I came across this piece about a week ago, and after re-reading it, my first reaction was to wince at the amount of pain fairly dripping off the page. My second reaction was to recognize that my understanding of the events has increased over the last 3 years in inverse proportion to the degree to which I give a shit about the events. Isn’t that always the way?

Thirdly, I really can’t believe how much happier I am now. And I think that’s because I’m a strong person, and I have great friends and family to rely upon as well, and I’m really pretty good at finding a way to be happy. But I got to give no small measure of credit for my happiness to my man Spooney, because he is wicked awesome, and because he makes me laugh at things I had forgotten to notice years ago, and because he loves me with his heart wide open, and I marvel at that.

So, thanks.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Vietnam Effect

You know, getting his ideological ass handed to him in the midterms may have softened 43's rhetoric a bit - he recently admitted, for example, that Democrats are not necessarily traitors - but it hasn't sharpened his sense of historical irony.

Case in point: when asked yesterday what lessons from the Vietnam war we can apply to our entanglement in Iraq, he said, "we’ll succeed unless we quit."

Wait a minute. THAT'S the lesson?

He does know that we quit in Vietnam, doesn't he?

If he doesn't, fine, he's just ignorant - nothing new there. If he does know, I'd be forced to conclude that he thinks it was a mistake to quit in Vietnam, in which case I...well, I...well, it's just too fucking horrible to consider, that he would think WE SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN VIETNAM.

Although it's really a quite brilliant and unmistakably Rovian strategy, to deflect the parallel of Vietnam to Iraq by asserting that we should have stayed in Vietnam just as we should stay in Iraq. Imagine all the scholars and historians having conniptions on talk shows all over the country, trying to refute the almost completely impenetrable blockheadedness of that assertion.

Let me tell you what the lesson of Vietnam is. The lesson of Vietnam is GET THE FUCK OUT. Actually, the 1st lesson of Vietnam is STAY THE FUCK OUT, but, once lied into getting in, then immediately proceed to GET THE FUCK OUT.

But what about creating a safe haven for terrorists in Iraq, you say? And what about the stability of the region? We can't have the whole region falling under the influence of fundamentalist theocracies, can we?

Ahem. Let's just skip the part about living in a theocracy for now, shall we? I'm depressed enough.

But, if you take out the words "fundamentalist theocracies" out of that sentence, and insert "communism," you'll see that there are indeed some interesting parallels between the site of our current folly and Vietnam.

Yes, I'm talkin' 'bout dat old Domino Theory. I think a lot of people today regard the Domino Theory as some crazy old school right-wing shit. It isn't. Well, actually, it is, but it was also the prevailing wisdom of the day. And by prevailing wisdom, I mean it was accepted truth by Dems and Repubs, by tv news anchors and by newspaper publishers, by history professors and by Washington policy makers. It was THE goddamn reason we didn't get the fuck out of Vietnam year after year after year, because Southeast Asia would fall to communism, and then its spread would engulf Asia completely, and then it would take over the Americas (for extra credit write 500 words on Reagan's employment of the Domino Theory in Central and South America in the 80s), and before you know it, the U.S. of A. would be surrounded by pinkos ready and willing to invade our country, acquire our gun registration lists, confiscate the semi-automatics of our citizens, and subdue the populace.

And yet, we cut and ran in Vietnam, and it didn't happen.

Readers, I put to you, that leaving Iraq would produce a similar response. The country may not be our BFF for a few years, but 1) our citizens would not die there anymore, and 2) all the problems that are currently being caused by our mere presence there (which are admittedly difficult to measure) would immediately evaporate.

Hey, I'm willing to gamble on the Vietnam Effect. How about you?

Tonight we're gonna rock you!

Where I'll be:

The Scene in Glendale. Yeah, Glendale, bitches. You got something to say about it?

Featuring a bill of ex-pat Bostonians trying to rock the tan in LA:

10 pm - First off is the captivating melodies of Orphan Train w/ a special guest appearance by The Watson Twins!

11 pm - Then it's the semi-sweet, power-pop of the one & only Banquet Hall (featuring my Spooney).

12 am - And lastly, but not leastly, the tasty rock stylings of Box, featuring Todd Spahr, formerly of The Cavedogs and The Gravy.

First 50 fans receive a free Banquet Hall swizzlestick!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Just wait 'til he goes on Fox

When JFK ran for president, a lot of people were afraid that as a Catholic, he would face a conflict of interest. They said he would be bound to do the bidding of the Pope, even if it went against the best interests of the United States.

Ho, ho, ho, you say. How fucking quaint. What a droll and primitive time, was this "1960" of which you speak.

Look how far we've come, you say. John Kerry proved in 2004 that not only were we not concerned about his loyalty to the Pope, we were actually amused as he was practically excommunicated from the Catholic church for having a mind of his own!

But those were Catholics. And Catholics, my friends, are not Muslims. Sure, they both do the long robe thing, and they both share a fondness for incense and fucking little boys, but theologically speaking they are WORLDS apart. See, Catholics believe in a kind of punitive father-figure-type god, who sent a prophet to earth to solve the great-great-great granddaddy of middle east crises (he failed), whereas Muslims believe in a REALLY punitive father-figure-type god who...ah, well, yadda, yadda, yadda, right?

There are important differences. For example, Catholic women are fighting to be allowed to be ordained as priests, and are opposed by church officials who contend that because they do not have a penis, they do not "resemble Jesus," which apparently is one of the main job requirements.* Whereas, Muslim women are fighting to be allowed to look at things with their eyes, so their struggle for equality is not quite as far along.

But I digress. My point was, that we think we are soooooo far above that kind of bigoted, primitive thinking about a group of people belonging to a religious sect. And for sure we are. We so are.

But CNN isn't:
GLENN BECK (CNN HEADLINE NEWS): History was made last Tuesday when Democrat Keith Ellison got elected to Congress, representing the great state of Minnesota. Well, not really unusual that Minnesota would elect a Democrat. What is noteworthy is that Keith is the first Muslim in history to be elected to the House of Representatives. He joins us now.

Congratulations, sir.

ELLISON: How you doing, Glenn? Glad to be here.

BECK: Thank you. I will tell you, may I -- may we have five minutes here where we're just politically incorrect and I play the cards face up on the table?

ELLISON: Go there.

BECK: OK. No offense, and I know Muslims. I like Muslims. I've been to mosques. I really don't believe that Islam is a religion of evil. I -- you know, I think it's being hijacked, quite frankly.

With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, "Let's cut and run." And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies."

And I know you're not. I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way.

ELLISON: Well, let me tell you, the people of the Fifth Congressional District know that I have a deep love and affection for my country. There's no one who is more patriotic than I am. And so, you know, I don't need to -- need to prove my patriotic stripes.

You don't need to prove your patriotism?

How could the voters of Minnesota elect someone so completely unfamiliar with how Democratic politics works?

*You'd think recent events would have prompted them to rethink the whole penis emphasis, but they are so far sticking to their guns, so to speak.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sorry, haters

Anyone out there a Martha Stewart fan?

I didn’t think so.

Everyone hates Martha Stewart. Why? Because we think she thinks she’s better than us.

Well, I got news for you…everyone thinks they’re better than you, okay? Everyone thinks they’re better than you.

It’s just that in Martha Stewart’s case – she’s right. She is better than you. Her focus, ambition, and attention to detail are downright scary. She’s a better cook than you are, she understands business better than you, and she throws better parties than you do. Generally, she knows a better class of people than you can ever hope to know.

She’s certainly better at making money than you are.

And what's more, she went to jail and came back more popular and more successful than ever. How many of us can say the same thing? That's right. None.

If you want to hate someone for thinking they’re better than you, hate me. Because I definitely think I’m better than you are, and I’m just a no-talent, no-money bitch who can’t knit and doesn’t raise her own chickens. So who the fuck am I to think I’m better than you? I fucking suck. Hate me, you fucking haters.

They report the angle that serves their corporate masters, you decide how much of it is complete bullshit

HuffPo has acquired an internal Fox News memo:

"Let's be on the lookout for any statements from Iraqi insurgents, who must be thrilled at the prospect of a Dem-controlled congress."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Jesus fucking Christ

Will you fuckers ever fucking learn?

I can't wait to find out how many millions the citizens of LA are going to have to pay this guy.

Or this fucking guy, for fuck's sake.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Once again, the payback, she is a bitch

The Germans, who should know from war crimes, are indicting Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzalez and George Tenet, among others, on the whole Abu Ghraib thing.

Formerly, the German prosecutor did not indict because he believed the U. S. was pursuing an investigation of the matter. I guess Rumsfeld's resignation has convinced him that we are doing no such thing.

Ah, but here's the sweet, sweet part of the story:
Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that one of the witnesses who will testify on their behalf is former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the one-time commander of all U.S. military prisons in Iraq. Karpinski, who the lawyers say will be in Germany next week to publicly address her accusations in the case, has issued a written statement to accompany the legal filing, which says, in part: "It was clear the knowledge and responsibility [for what happened at Abu Ghraib] goes all the way to the top of the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ."
The former general was demoted to colonel in the wake of the scandal. She insists that she was made a scapegoat.

Here's what I don't get

If we Democrats are so closely aligned with Al-Qaeda types that our election to the U.S. Congress prompts the president to make this statement to warn the terrorists that it's not olly olly oxen-free time:
Do not confuse the workings of American democracy with a lack of American will. Our Nation is committed to bringing you to justice, and we will prevail.
And even "fair and balanced" networks are forced to wonder if I am just a mouthpiece for bin Laden:

Then how is one to explain the arrest of right-wing freeper Chad Castagana, who allegedly mailed anthrax-like powder to famous Democrats and entertainers? How can a man who believes "Ann Coulter is a Goddess" and who "worships" Laura Ingraham and Michele Malkin be not "with us" but "against us"? That just goes against everything BushCo and the media have been saying.

How can a man who describes himself as having "an Associates Degree in the Science of Electronics" hate America?

In short, how can a terrorist be a Republican????????

Not only that, but what in the hell is the DeVry Institute of Technology teaching its students these days??

Friday, November 10, 2006

Did I leave the iron on?

Jill Greenberg's new photo series, inexplicably titled Monkey Portraits, is just as cool as her last one.

But since she didn't make any precious children cry this time, it's likely to be less controversial.

You didn't really expect him to nominate someone acceptable, did you?

Sooo...when our new nominee to replace Rummy, Robert Gates, was nominated in 1991 by 41 to head the CIA, many agency analysts protested because Gates had a history of...wait for it...

cooking intelligence.

What a HUGE fucking surprise.

This holiday season, why settle for irrelevent, when you can be embarrassing?

In honor of Veteran's Day, I bring you a horror worse than any war. Well, okay, not worse than war, but pretty damn high up there:

The long-awaited Billy Idol Christmas album.

Yes, I said Christmas, not "holidays," because there's none of that diversity music for Mr. Idol! No dreidel song on this album, and certainly no singing of songs from Fiddler on the Roof and pretending they're Hanukkah songs.

I guess fans of has-been 80s rockers will have to petition David Lee Roth to come out of retirement for that one.

And speaking of David Lee Roth, what's with the bad face lift, Billy? Because the whole grinning skull look is not exactly merriment-inducing. Maybe a Halloween album would've been a better idea. Call your people.

So readers, watch one of the cuts here, and then tell me what you think is in that gift package Billy keeps shaking. I'm betting it's a gun to shoot himself with, but that might be just wishful thinking.

Yeah, that's it. My Christmas wish.

(thanks to Spooney for the link)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

George "Did I mention how sorry I was about the whole 'macaca' thing?" Allen concedes.

Dems take Senate.

Now, are we going to use it, or lose it?

(thanks to Daddy-O for the link)

Judge of Election makes Chicago safe for democracy, pt. 1

In honor of our recent election, I will share with my readers one of my many semi-amusing anecdotes from my experiences as a Democratic Judge of Election in Chicago.

Yes, I worked the polls in Chicago, and no, I never let any dead people vote. Not unless you count those DePaul University students…

And before you go getting all impressed with my civic-mindedness, let me tell you that 1) the gig paid $80, which was nothing to sneeze at for me back then, and 2) by being a judge of election, I could legitimately refuse to spend election day standing outside a polling place with some dumb sign or some dumb flyers while the voters avoided making eye contact with me. Except for the ones that would spit on me, that is.

One thing I learned from being a judge of election is to make friends with your cop. See, in Chicago, there is a cop assigned to every polling place. Sometimes, they are actually there, too. And the cop usually has better stories to tell than the half-demented/90% deaf senior citizen sitting next to you. One cop I spent election day with normally worked a beat in Cabrini-Green, and had been shot 4 times and stabbed twice. Wow, that’s a bad beat. His supervisor must’ve hated his shit.

Anyway, one mayoral election day, I notice that this guy had finished voting, but instead of handing us our ballot and leaving, he was looking over the stall at the ballot of the woman standing next to him. Just as I was about to say something, the guy spoke to the woman in a really loud voice…

Guy: (to woman) What are you doing?
Me: Sir.
Guy: (to woman) You’re not seriously voting for that guy!

The woman he is speaking to looks at him, annoyed. Everyone in the tiny polling place turns to look as well.

Me: Sir. Excuse me sir.
Guy (to me) What?
Me: You can’t do that, sir.
Guy: What?
Me: You can’t try to tell her how to vote.
Guy: It’s okay, she’s my wife.

I looked at him for a moment. He wasn’t joking. He was serious.

Me: Well, regardless. Unless, she’s asked you to assist her – ma’m, have you asked him to assist you?
Woman: (crosses her arms) No!
Me: Okay, then. Sir, you are not allowed to see who she is voting for, or to make comments about her choices.
Guy: Why don’t you mind your own business?
Me: Well, sir, this is my business. I’m a judge of election.
Guy: It’s my wife, okay? So why don’t you settle down?
Me: Sir, if you’re finished voting, I’m suggesting that you give us your ballot and leave. You can wait for your wife outside.

At this point I look up at the cop standing a few feet to my right. The cop, bored out of his skull and probably up for anything, takes a step forward and actually puts his hand on the handle of his nightstick. Like he’s ready to go on my word. Christ, I’ll love that cop until my dying day for doing that.

The guy’s gaze goes from me to the cop, and then after a few seconds he stomps over to the ballot box and makes a big show of watching one of our semi-capable seniors put his ballot in the slot and give him his receipt. Then he stomps out of the polling place, giving me the evil eye the whole time.

As soon as he’s gone the cop shakes his head and goes back to leaning against the wall. The guy’s wife goes back to punching her ballot, and takes her sweet time, too.

Well, that’s the end of that story. Maybe next time I’m tell you about when I worked the polling place in the firehouse.

In a world...

...where the people you work with aren't always what they seem...

Please to enjoy this recut of Office Space.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rumsfeld resigns

Now we know when pigs fly, when hell freezes over, and how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.

I’ve been wondering how Rummy was going to survive the recent massively embarrassing “no confidence” statements by numerous military officials, and now I know that the answer is, he's not.

By the way, in case you were wondering why the president told us just last week that Rummy would be staying on when he was already interviewing applicants for his job, here's his explanation:

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Last week you told us that Secretary Rumsfeld will be staying on. Why is the timing right now for this, and how much does it have to do with the election results?

THE PRESIDENT: Right. No, you and Hunt and Keil came in the Oval Office, and Hunt asked me the question one week before the campaign, and basically it was, are you going to do something about Rumsfeld and the Vice President? And my answer was, they're going to stay on. And the reason why is I didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign. And so the only way to answer that question and to get you on to another question was to give you that answer.

Translation: I lied. See, I do that when telling you truth would mess up my plans. Heh heh.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities...

Even though I disagree with a lot of his positions, I can’t help feeling bad that Harold Ford Jr. lost in Tennessee, because I think he’d be a hell of a Senator.

Every Tennessean I’ve heard interviewed in the past couple of weeks who did not want to vote for Ford seemed pretty vague on the reasons why. The interviews mostly went like this:
Reporter: Who are you voting for?
Voter: I’m voting for Corker, because I’m for A, B, and C.
Reporter: Harold Ford is for A, B, and C. Why wouldn’t you vote for him?
Voter: I…ah, I don’t…trust him.

The exchanges left me feeling that many Tenneseans’ objections to him might be little more than…um…skin deep. In which case I’d say that the RNC’s “Take me, Mandingo!” attack ad against Ford struck exactly the right note.

Volunteer staters, if you’re out there, feel free to chime in on why you think Ford lost.

"Send lawyers, guns and money"

--Paul Begala quoting Warren Zevon on the impending VA Senate race count/recount.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Chapter 45: In which I come to the defense of a woman I probably wouldn't even like

I know I should be focusing on the election, but I just couldn't resist commenting on this evangelical peckerhead, who is suggesting that perhaps our favorite ass-fucking tweaker wouldn't have strayed so far if his wife hadn't let herself go quite so much:
Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.

Well, if I may take the liberty of speaking for women everywhere, can I just say that Haggard would not exactly inspire me to get my twat waxed and go on the Jenny Craig:


First of all, that untucked, vaguely Hawaiian-style shirt is SO hiding a multitude of sins. Plus, I can tell that he is wearing PLEATED KHAKIS. There is nothing less sexy than pleated pants belted under a Hawaiian-shirt-hidden gut. Ugh. I don't care if you have a beer belly, but really guys, you've had like, 5 years to hop on the flat-front pants train. What the fuck are you waiting for? It's like you WANT your woman to start wearing Crocs.

Secondy, let's take a look at the guy who made the disparaging comments above:

This is actually worse than the first picture, because at least Haggard embraces his suburban whiteitude.

This guy, Mark Driscoll, purports to head some kind of punk rocker church. Too bad he looks like he's wearing a bad Death Cab for Cutie Halloween costume.

Serious, Driscoll. The frat boy version of the hipster beard. The frat boy version of the hipster watch. The it's-not-a-Hawaiian-shirt shirt. Are you fucking kidding me with that shit?

And for Christ's sake, take off that pathetic leather cord necklace before I fucking strangle you with it.

Maybe the women in your "Doctrine of Wifely Submission" church are so fucking starving for attention that they think your ass is cool, but I doubt you'd be such a big fish if you weren't swimming in the shallow end of the pool of spiritual desperation.

So take THAT for the team, motherfucker. Oh, and while you're up, get me a beer.

If you want to do less, you're going to have to put an American flag in your car window

Today, Megan reminds us that voting is, in fact, the least you can do. And she prints this awesome quote from Democratic challenger to George "Did I mention that I love macacas?" Allen, Jim Webb:
In a democracy, we are the boss. And George Allen and George Bush work for us. And the more people they can scare away or turn away from politics, the fewer bosses they're having. They don't want participation. They want to just move along with the status quo, lining the pockets of their corporate friends, protecting their own, while your job goes overseas and your kid goes to Iraq.

Well said, Webb. Hope you win.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Your Bells On California Voter's Guide

LA Props:

Prop H: Habit for Humanity, among others, has endorsed this proposition to subsidize affordable housing with taxpayer funds. Sounds good, except this bond was created to kill a plan in the City Council that would force the companies that build homes to make 10% of them “affordable.” So why should we pay to subsidize people’s rent with taxpayer funds, when we can force the moneymakers to just build some units that lower income people can afford? Tough call, this one. I haven’t made up my mind yet.

Prop J: Just vote yes. This prop is stupid, and a fine example of what happens when you govern by proposition instead of letting our overpaid representatives do their job.

Prop R: Laura Chick, our tough-as-nails City Clerk, says we should reject this measure that tries to extend terms for City Council members, and goddammit, that’s good enough for me.

CA Props:

Prop 1A: This prop severely limits the state legislature’s ability to raid gas tax funds for budget items other than the gov’s slew of transportation projects. Wait a minute. Isn’t that the job of our legislators, to fund projects and balance the budget? I vote no.

Prop 1B: In spite of the fact that this huge trasportation prop makes taxpayers responsible for improvements to the Ports of LA and Long Beach – improvements that could have been paid for with the fee we would have collected from shipping lines if our governator hadn’t vetoed it, I am going to kill someone if my commute gets any longer. Also, I want the subway to go to LAX, for chrissake. I say yes.

Prop 1C: This one’s easy, unless you’re a heartless bastard. Yes.

Prop 1D: That’s right, another school bond prop. Again, do our legislators do anything at all? Yes.

Prop 1E: For the love of god, let’s repair our levees before they break and Southern California finds itself WITHOUT WATER. Yes!

Prop 83: GPS bracelets for life for all registered sex offenders, whether they’re actually what you or I would call a “predator” or not…I guess we’re trying to get them to move to another state, huh? I say let the police do their job. No.

Prop 84: Clean water. I’m for it.

Prop 85: NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. Fucking hypocritical no-sex-havin’ assholes.

Prop 86: If only the bill DID pay for the taxpayer costs of taking care of smoking-related health expenses by raising taxes on cigarettes. Then I would vote for it. But this bill is bullshit, and a giveaway to health care corporations. Say no and maybe they’ll write a better bill next time.

Prop 87: This prop does NOT increase the state tax on gasoline, no matter what the commercials have lead you to believe. And anyone who says you should vote no on this one is planting one big wet smooch on the asses of the oil companies, who ARE NOT CHARGED for taking oil out of the ground in California, which makes us unique among oil-producing states, and is the very thing this prop seeks to rectify. No wonder oil companies have spent 90 million to try and defeat this measure. VOTE YES, motherfuckas!!!!!

Prop 88: You know what, my property taxes are already too high, and I just think this is a bullshit way to fund schools. I say no.

Prop 89: Campaign finance reform. Fuck yeah!!

Prop 90: This prop will prevent the government from taking your land unless it is a legitimate case of eminent domain, and not just some land developer’s wet dream. So I gotta say yeah, especially after the recent jaw-droppingly bad decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Some people say that this bill will cause a lot of law suits by property owners objecting to zoning variances, but I say they can fix that shit in the wash. Vote yes.

For more info (and differing opinions, as if you need THAT), see the LA Weekly Voter’s Guide, and the LA Times Voting Guide.

Friday, November 03, 2006

"Castration" works for me also

"Female circumcision."

While I appreciate the American media's uncharacteristically delicate terminology, every circumcised man I've ever known has still been able to achieve orgasm.

Whereas, women and girls who undergo "female circumcision," a practice common in many African countries, aren't so lucky. Let’s face it, it's pretty hard to orgasm when your clit has been cut off.

An Ethiopian man in Atlanta, Georgia has been convicted by a US court of cruelty to children and aggravated battery for removing his two-year-old daughter's clitoris with a pair of scissors.

He was sentenced to 10 years.

Complete removal of the clitoris is common in many African, and particularly Muslim, cultures. Frequently, the labia are also cut off as well. Sometimes what remains of the labia are sewn shut, leaving only a small hole for urination. Some cultures make a ritual of a man opening up the scar that closes the entrance to his wife's vagina on their wedding night.

Yes, it is hard to imagine a cultural tradition that indicates a more abhorrent and, well, sickening view of women.

To say nothing of the risk of infection, infertility, and other medical complications at the time of the procedure and throughout the female’s life.

And although I think the sentence for this asshole could've been longer (he’s in jail for 10 years, she’s missing a body part for the rest of her life) I applaud the court that convicted him for not falling victim to the pressure to tolerate intolerance.

This practice is inflicted on women to subjugate and terrify them, and for no other reason. I don’t care how ingrained it is in your culture, or for how long your tribe or your village has been practicing it. It attempts to control women by removing their ability to experience sexual pleasure. And whether it be a Massai elder, or an American Christian fundamentalist, anyone who is afraid of a woman’s sexuality is a primitive being.

Oh, and in honor of the 3 MILLION women and girls each year who experience some form of this horror, let’s just call it was it is – female genital mutilation.

Why I love ANTM

"Like, the most famous person we have in North Dakota is Paul Bunyan, and he's dead."

-Caridee, aspiring next top model

Fair warning

Hey, even meth-dealing gay prostitutes believe in living happily ever after, Reverend Haggard.

So it pays to remember that, in your cynical quest for political power under the guise of religious piety, that when you try to take that dream away from them, some of them will fight back.

And reveal their three-year glass-smokin' ass-fuckin' affair with you, Mr. President of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Los Angelenos - awesomeness alert!

The Watson Twins are opening for Shelby Lynn at the El Rey in LA tonight. Doors open at 7, Twins go on at 8. Tickets are still available, you batshit-crazy fuckers who think you got something better to do.

And for those of you unfortunate enough NOT to live in the City of Angels, if you check their tour schedule, you might find that the Twins, whether flying "solo" or with Jenny Lewis AND opening for Death Cab, are going to be appearing in a city near you soon.

I call for 43 to apologize to the troops AGAIN

Our current military is a very different one from the one that represented us in Vietnam.

The fact that the armed services are all-volunteer means that servicemen and women are much more invested in their service. Many are, or are hoping to, make a career out of their service.

Which makes this growing protest movement extraordinary.

Active duty servicemen and women are adding their names to this statement:

As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.

Many members of the military are conflicted about whether soldiers should speak out. Retired Lt. Gen. Robert G Gard, senior military fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, puts it this way:

"That is a tough question to come down on," Gard said. "We have a social contract in this country that the military does not question the civilian control over it."

"But the flip side," Gard continued, "is that there is an implicit assumption that they will not put the military into harm's way and accept casualties except in causes that are reasonably in the national interest. In this case, I can't find a rationale that makes any sense."

Unfortunately, the White House has seen fit to question the patriotism of those servicemen and women who have signed the petition. WH press secretary Tony "dont' worry about me, I sold my soul LONG ago" Snow was asked about the petition last week, when it contained only 65 signatures (it now has over 500):

"You get 65 guys who are, unfortunately -- no, not unfortunately -- 65 people who are going to be able to get more press than the hundreds of thousands who have come back and said they're proud of their service."

Hey, at least he said "not unfortunately."

Although you'll notice that he hasn't read their statement very closely. Hey, they put right at the beginning of the thing that they're "proud" of their service.


Why is it that the right never gets dinged for insulting the troops, anyway? This would seem to go against the prevailing wisdom that our media is a bastion of corporate owners and officers with conservative views, and that support Republican politicians, but still, inexplicably, oversee media outlets with far, far left-wing viewpoints and agendas.

Go figure.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

All apologies

I don't know why I'm surprised that Kerry, who seriously cannot tell a joke to save his life, unlike some Democratic candidates I know, has been held to account for the words he spoke, accident or no, in a way that BushCo has never been.

As far as apologizing to the troops goes, here's the latest reason Bush should apologize - our withdrawal from Sadr City:

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki demanded the removal of American checkpoints from the streets of Baghdad on Tuesday, in what appeared to be his latest and boldest gambit in an increasingly tense struggle for more independence from his American protectors.

Mr. Maliki's public declaration seemed at first to catch American commanders off guard. But by nightfall, American troops had abandoned all the positions in eastern and central Baghdad that they had set up last week with Iraqi forces as part of a search for a missing American soldier. The checkpoints had snarled traffic and disrupted daily life and commerce throughout the eastern part of the city.

The language of the declaration, which implied that Mr. Maliki had the power to command American forces, seemed to overstep his authority and to be aimed at placating his Shiite constituency.

So, since Bush isn't likely to step and apologize, let me just say it: Sorry missing American soldier, but we've given up on you. And sorry to all the soldiers whose deaths in Sadr City helped make October the 4th most deadly month for troops in Iraq. Sorry. Sorry it was all in vain. Thanks for giving your lives to help find your comrade. And again, so so sorry.

It's not too hard at my house for a pimp

First of all, I just want to say that this post would look really spiffy with a picture, but Blogger has not let me upload pictures for a couple of days now. Fucking Blogger.

So this kid last night, about 12 years old, shows up at my door dressed in a pimp costume.

And not a homemade pimp costume, but a store-bought kid size pimp costume.

At first I thought, "That's terrible. I am NOT down with the glorification of pimp culture, which preys on economically and emotionally vulnerable women. That's just not funny."

I gave him some Twix, and said to him, "So, you're a pimp, huh?"

He said "That's how I roll." Then he flashed me a sign that I took to mean "thanks for the candy, still-hot older lady" and turned and strolled down my sidewalk.

Then I noticed that the kid with him was dressed as Michael Myers, a horror film serial killer. His costume was really well done. "Nice costume," I said to him as I gave him a large handful of Twix. He sneered at me and disappeared into the night with his pimp friend.

Then I decided that maybe it's not so bad for kids to emulate pimps. Pimps make women feel pretty, and they're funny, and they're always dressed impeccably, even if they do tend to over-accessorize.

Whereas, serial killers - not so much.