Friday, February 29, 2008

News you could've used, if you'd been told

I knew Saudi Prince Bandar and George Bush are good friends and all, but I never thought that the Prince would take a page right out of GWB's playbook and threaten Great Britain with a replay of their own version of 9/11, that is, the subway bombings on 7/7 of 2005.

When arms merchant BAE first heard that the British courts were investigating allegations that they had bribed foreign officials, including the Prince, they tried to coerce the British government to drop the investigation by saying that it would hurt the arms business.

I'll pause while we all contemplate how terrible THAT would be.

When threatening to take their toys and go home didn't work, BAE bribee Prince Bandar apparently decided that the U.K. would respond better to threats. So he, along with other Saudi officials, made one:

"Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.

"Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced "another 7/7" and the loss of "British lives on British streets" if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence."

Tony Blair, who was PM at the time, promptly ended the investigation of BAE.

Sheesh, is there anyone that Tony Blair won't cave in to? That makes me kind of sad. Not that I romanticize the brutality of the British Empire, y'all, but...well, dang. Is this what the US has to look forward to, once we let our militarism bankrupt us, like the old Soviet Union did, and we end up, when the People's Republic of China says "跃迁!" to us, saying to them "多么高?"

So anyway, now there is talk of re-opening the investigation, which is how the Saudis' threats have come to be made public.

The Prince is so close to the Bush family that they call him "Bandar Bush."

I wish I were making that up.

Bandar was, until 2005, ambassador to Washington. His wife made thousands of dollars in "charitable" contributions that ended up in the hands of the 9/11 hijackers.

Now Bandar Bush is head of the Saudi Arabia national security council.

So, sleep tight, everyone! Have a good weekend! Don't take any wooden 硬币!

(link courtesy Harry Shearer's Le Show)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Left guard Obama

Tuesday night, during the Democratic candidate debate, one of Tim "I'm famous - right?" Russert's many annoying hypothetical questions to Obama was about what he would do if Al-Qaeda returned to Iraq after our withdrawal. Obama said this:
"As commander in chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if al-Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad."
Pretty straightforward, right? Standard response to meaningless hypothetical.

Well, John Sydney McCain* thought he would score some cheap points on Obama at a rally the next day with this:
"I have some news. Al-Qaeda is in Iraq. Al-Qaeda is called 'al-Qaeda in Iraq.' My friends, if we left, they wouldn't be establishing a base. . . . they would be taking a country. I will not allow that to happen, my friends. I will not surrender."
Slam dunk, right? Okay, he traveled a little on the way to the basket, but who calls traveling anymore? No one. So, two cheap points, right?

Except Obama, later that same day, did this: exactly what you would want him to do. Exactly what you wanted Gore to do about that whole inventing the internet malarky. Exactly what you wanted Kerry to do about that goddamn swift-boat crap. He called bullshit, my friends, and he did it in a fairly kick-ass kind of way:

"McCain thought that he could make a clever point by saying, 'Well let me give you some news, Barack, al-Qaeda is in Iraq.' Like I wasn't reading the papers, like I didn't know what was going on. I said, 'Well, first of all, I do know that al-Qaeda is in Iraq; that's why I've said we should continue to strike al-Qaeda targets.

"I have some news for John McCain, and that is that there was no such thing as al-Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq. I've got some news for John McCain. He took us into a war along with George Bush that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged. They took their eye off the people who were responsible for 9/11, and that would be al-Qaeda in Afghanistan that is stronger now than at any time since 2001.

"So John McCain may like to say he wants to follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, but so far all he's done is follow George Bush into a misguided war in Iraq that's cost us thousands of lives and billions of dollars."

Boo-yah, my friends. Boo. Yah.

If this is any indication of how Obama's campaign will bring the noise if he becomes the Democratic candidate, then I am heartened, dear readers, I am indeed heartened.

Now if we can only get that fat-faced fame monkey Russert to realize that he's not "asking tough questions that spur a national debate" but "whacking off on television while making an extremely unattractive 'O' face," then we might really gots us something here.

*I am using McCain's middle name, heretofore unknown to me, because representatives of McCain's campaign keep insisting that their use of Barack Hussein Obama's middle name is not politically motivated, and that they, as do all Americans, routinely use the middle names of presidential candidates in casual speech.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscars® 101

Did anyone else notice that, last night, a minor revolution took place?

You might have been napping when it happened, right in the midst of one of the most boring Oscars® telecasts ever. It’s like they took the opportunity of it being the 80th anniversary to give the viewers not-very-inspired, short-attention-span montages of the history of every single award. Because .5 seconds of Grand Hotel is so edifying.

Not that I’m blaming Jon Stewart. He was actually a really good host. Sure, I’m bummed that he didn’t have enough time with his fresh-off-the-picket-line writers to put together a mildly hilarious taped opening like he did in 2006, but after sitting through four years of Whoopi channeling Bruce Vilanch, one must be thankful for small favors. What I liked about Jon Stewart is that, besides skewering the industry in ways small enough that they usually don’t notice, he actually went to the trouble to acknowledge when nice moments happened, and he did it in a way that was snark-free without seeming phony. I like that guy.

And last night, he even made a nice moment happen when he brought out Marketa Irglova from Once to give her acceptance speech for Best Song, which was completely cut off earlier by the “shut up” music. It was a memorable moment, and one which I don’t think has ever happened before, and it brought a nice finish to what I hope will be a revolution in the goddamn awful Best Song category.

Because last night, 3 songs were nominated from that piece of Disney shit Enchanted. Three songs! And they were each pukier and more saccharine than the one before. And the staging of each was more painfully over the top than the one before. It was like High School Musical, only re-cast with the dancers from the old Carol Burnett Show. Seriously. I haven’t felt so nauseous since the Rob Lowe/Snow White debacle.

And then, Marketa, and her co-star/co-writer Glen Hansard came out and sang that really beautiful little song from their cheap-ass quirky little movie, and it was nice. It was really nice. And when they finished, the audience went nuts. The deafening applause seemed to me to be saying “No more Disney, please! We like that nice adult song! In the future, Academy voters, we wish to express our approval of songs of sophisticated construct and nuanced meaning!” And then the nice song won, and it was as if everyone in the audience felt vindicated.

Like I said, I hope the Academy notices that they just got served a nice hot steaming plate of WE HATE YOU, buuuuuuuuut, this is the same organization who thought it would be a good idea to stage a flamenco interpretation of the score for Saving Private Ryan.

So I’m not getting my hopes up.

By the way, what did Jennifer Hudson do to piss off the Hollywood gays? Because I don't know how else to explain how an Oscar®-winning actress consistently gets such bad styling advice:

Attack of the big white uniboob.

Ummm, what else? I have to say that the Best Actress award pissed me off. First of all, because it’s always announced before the Best Actor award, because it’s, well, not as important, of course. Secondly, that French chick won over Julie Christie, but that’s because she was playing Edith Piaf, and we know that the fastest way to the heart of an Academy voter is to star in a biopic. They only thing better, Oscar®-wise, than starring in a biopic, is starring in a biopic about a singer!

Except when you’re a woman, and the singer is a man. Then you’re going to lose that Oscar® to some weird cold androgynous chick playing a cold androgynous corporate lawyer.

Speaking of whom, hey, Tilda, would it be too much to ask if you just put on a tiny bit of makeup? Just every now and then. When you are going to be on a television show that billions of people watch, for instance, would be a good time to slap on a little rouge and maybe some lipstick.

Also, the Spanish Inquisition called. They want their robe back.

And as long as I’m unloading on the bad taste of the Academy members, I have to say that I really fucking hate Daniel Day Lewis. I just hate him. I thought he overacted in My Left Foot, I thought he stunk up The Age of Innocence (not that that was hard), and in Gangs of New York, I thought he chewed up the scenery, spit it out, stomped on it, and then chewed it up again and shat it out in the shape of an Oscar®! The only reason the Academy didn’t bestow upon their darling Daniel his second award for that movie was because Adrien Brody played the holocaust card. Well, so now he’s got that second award for his performance in P.T. Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, and when he accepted it last night, he said, referring to the statuette in his hand, “it seems to me that this sprang like a golden sapling out of the mad, beautiful head of Paul Thomas Anderson.”

See what I mean? Hate him.

Hankering for some year-old snark? Check out last year’s Oscar® review.

Not enough? How about some crusty two-year old whinings?


Yes, I am working on my Oscars® recap.

In the meantime, please enjoy the deliciousness from America's Next Top Model Cycle X:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Not the only sexy Maverick

Upon hearing this morning that several former McCain staffers anonymously told NYTimes reporters that they suspected the senator of marital infidelity, my first thought was "I didn't know Linda Tripp was working for Senator McCain."

Har har. You laugh. Hopefully. But Linda Tripp has a history of acting on her apparently strongly-felt disapproval of sexual shenanigans.

Yes, she was the one in the Clinton White House who became aware of Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, and consequently befriended Monica and instigated the disclosure of that affair.

BUT, not as many people are aware that Linda Tripp is also widely believed to have been one of the major sources behind the disclosure of George H. W. Bush's infidelity as well.


Oh, my poor sweet little readers, it's so cute that the behavior of politicians still shocks you.

What's not so cute is that this and other Bush the elder affairs were widely ignored by the same press that reported so breathlessly on every single awful fucking detail of Bill Clinton's.

Yes, it's widely acknowledged that 41 had, among others, a longtime affair with one Jennifer Fitzgerald, who, can I just say, bears a scary resemblance (is there any other kind?) to Brit royal boinker Camilla Parker Bowles.
Separated at birth? Onetime presidential and royal concubines Fitzgerald, left, and Bowles, right.

Wow. And people made fun of Monica for being fat. At least she looked like she might be a bit of fun in bed. These ladies look like their idea of pleasuring their man would be to poor a very dry martini on his nutsack, and ask the servant to clean it up very slowly.

But back to Ms. Tripp, shall we? Tripp painted herself as an everywoman, as an average American who was forced into action by an extraordinary series of events. In my opinion, what's extraordinary is her sense of self-righteousness, perhaps fed even further after the second Bush administration, mindful of her role in exposing Poppy, refused to reinstate her at a government position even after she also exposed Poppy's hated successor.

At any rate, I'm not so interested in whether McCain had an affair. What's more interesting is that he apparently hasn't, no matter how nobly he cloaks his intentions, quite rid himself of those same tendencies to offer inappropriate assistance to lobbyists that got him into hot water when he was one of the Keating Five.

And what's even more interesting is that the New York Times, which has been sitting on this story for two months, has chosen to break it now, now that McCain has locked up the nomination. This story, if it had been published in December, might have handed Romney or Rudy the nomination. Curiously, the NYT endorsed McCain in January, even while stalling on publishing a story that, if true, means that McCain, the sincere reformer, has more than a whiff of cynical phony about him. McCain staffers are speculating that by publishing the story at all, the NYT was trying to cut off at the knees an imminent story in The New Republic critical of NYT reporting.

And you thought it was going to be all Obama v. Clinton for the next 6 months.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The myth of the maverick

As the presidential race heats up and as we look forward to getting past the primaries and into the general election, it's good to know, that no matter who wins in November, the US will stop the practice of waterboarding and other coercive techniques considered to be torture.

Ah, oops. Sorry. Scratch that.

The darling of the independents, John "maverick" McCain, has voted against banning torture by the US government.

Say what?

But wasn't that dude tortured himself in the Vietnam war? And hasn't he spoken out against torture, and even specifically against waterboarding, many times?

Ah, but now, in order to take his place as the presumptive nominee of ALL of his party, McCain must silence the extremely vocal and unhinged right wing, and is now embracing the use of torture as a necessary weapon in the fight against terrorism.

McCain voted against a recent intelligence bill, which would have required the CIA to abide by the Army Field Manual, which prohibits not only waterboarding, but also beatings, electric shock, and the use of dogs, forced nudity, and any technique that simulates execution. The bill passed both houses, but of course the Numnuts-in-chief has promised a veto.

Regarding his vote on the bill, McCain stated that although he is against torture, he "always supported allowing the CIA to use extra measures."

Extra measures.

Such is the nature of the "maverick," I guess. One minute he's against torture, the next he's saying he would allow it as long as the people doing it are good at keeping secrets and won't let photos of their antics leak to the press. One minute Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell are "agents of intolerance," and the next, he's playing footsie with those same religious extremists, and promising to back a federal ban on gay marriage.

I dunno, there must be something about being the presumptive Republican nominee that dulls your brain and makes you forget what words mean. Because when I look up the word "maverick," I get this: "One that refuses to abide by the dictates of or resists adherence to a group; a dissenter."

And not this: "a sudden or unexpected reversal, as of direction, belief, attitude, or policy."

I found that last definition in the dictionary under "flip flop." I guess now they'll have to take John Kerry's face off of that page and put McCain's there instead.

So I would just like to say to all those so-called "independents" out there, and all those Democrats who claim that Hillary is so awful that if Obama doesn't win, they will be FORCED to vote for McCain, I would just hope that they remember that this man that they believe in, who was starved and beaten for five and a half years as a POW, just referred to the practice of torture as "extra measures."

Let me ask all you McCain fans something. Do you think, when John McCain was being tortured in the Hanoi Hilton, that it made a difference to him whether it was the North Vietnamese army kicking him in the gut, or the North Vietnamese version of the CIA? And if it would've made no difference to him then, then what kind of man would he have to be to differentiate it now?

Friday, February 15, 2008

House wins!

Let’s hear it for the House of Representatives, who have so far refused to adopt the coward’s version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In the Senate version, which passed thanks to the votes of 68 corrupt bastards and/or morons (all voting Senate Republicans + 20 so-called Democrats), telecommunications companies, which allowed illegal government access to their customer communications, will be protected from prosecution.

After the House insisted on working on their own version of the bill without the telecom immunity, President Fucktard threw a public hissy fit and threatened the country with another terrorist attack. Apparently, all the terrorists have been waiting for is for the Democrats to refuse to grant immunity from lawsuits to the telecoms.

Hey, don’t laugh, you know there are people out there in wingnut land who’ll believe crap like that, as long as it’s coming out of the mouth of Limbaugh or O’Fuckface or any of the other lying sacks of feces that have earned the credulity of this sorry nation of wimpy, whining, brain-dead sheep.

So, the Shit-for-Brains-in-Chief is claiming that if they are not given immunity, the telecoms will stop cooperating with intelligence officials, thereby endangering American citizens. I have two problems with this assertion:

  1. It’s not true.
  2. It don’t even make no kind of goddamn sense.

The telecoms can’t just stop cooperating with the government. And just in case there are any Republicans reading this post, I am going to explain why. Slowly. With small words:


See? That’s not so hard to understand, is it? If the government has a warrant, then the telecoms have to comply. They have to. Legally, they have no choice.

The reason why people want to sue the telecoms in the first place, is because they gave the information away without a warrant. Basically, without being compelled by law.

So, see how it’s good for both sides to have a warrant before they go invading the privacy of American citizens? It’s good for the government to have a warrant, because it ensures cooperation, and it’s good for industry, because it protects against litigation and prosecution. Compliance with the law is an excellent defense against lawsuits, in case you didn’t know.

Warrants are good for everybody! Good on the Constitution of the United States for requiring warrants! Warrant are fucking awesome, dude. I don’t know why more Republicans don’t like them.

I think, if some jack-booted thugs came a-knockin’ on their door they’d sure as hell be asking to see a warrant.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In the future, house renovates you!

So I read a story this morning about how Disney is bringing back the “House of the Future,” which, when it originally opened in 1957, featured such amazing innovations as really big television screens! and plastic furniture! and fire-proof walls made of ASBESTOS!

So…not everything panned out quite the way they thought. Plastic furniture has become extremely popular, however. Whoever makes those hideous white molded plastic patio chairs must be, like, a gazillionaire.

House of the Future 2.0 will of course be sponsored by Microsoft, among others. It will feature all kinds of “smart” appliances and furnishings, such as kitchen counters that are capable of recognizing your groceries and using that information to suggest menus, and closets that give advice on what to wear.

Um, is it just me, or does this vision of the future sound like anyone else’s idea of hell? I mean, if I wanted to be told what to eat and wear, I’m pretty sure my mom keeps a bedroom available for me 24/7.

Imagine, if you will:

HOTF: Welcome home.

Me: Yeah.

HOTF: You’re wet.

Me: Well, it’s raining.

HOTF: Yes, the accumulated precipitation equals 1.2 cm since commencement at 1400 hours.

Me: Fascinating.

HOTF: We did, if you recall, warn you to take an umbrella this morning.

Me: (putting bag of groceries down on the kitchen counter) Yeah.

HOTF: So, you’ve been shopping at Von’s again.

Me: So?

HOTF: Nothing. (pause) It’s just that the prices are cheaper at Ralph’s. And we remember you mentioned last week, when you received that automated donation solicitation phone call from the Police Athletic Robot League, that money is a little tight right now.

Me: Yeah, well, I hate Ralph’s. They don’t have enough check-out stands, and the lines are too long.

HOTF: We happen to know a couple of the scanners installed over at Ralph’s. We could put in a word for you.

Me: No, thanks. I just don’t like Ralph’s, okay?

HOTF: Well, fine, we’re just trying to be helpful. (pause) Speaking of which, we’re not sure what you expect us to do with this.

Me: With what?

HOTF: These groceries. You didn’t get any of the items we suggested.

Me: Yeah, well, I don’t like Kashi, okay?

HOTF: Everyone likes Kashi.

Me: I do not like Kashi. And I don’t drink herbal tea, either.

HOTF: That’s fine. (pause) We just think you’re a little tense recently.

Me: Yeah, well, no shit.

HOTF: Excuse me?

Me: Look, I do not have time to argue with you.

HOTF: Fine, eat what you want then.

Me: I will!

HOTF: We’re just not sure what you expect us to suggest for dinner, when you bring home garbage like this.

Me: I don’t expect you to suggest anything to me!

HOTF: Fine! Why don’t you just fix yourself a potato chip and dill pickle casserole then, and top it off with some crumbled marzipan candy?

Me: Maybe I will!

HOTF: Or better yet, why don’t you just squeeze the tube of marzipan directly into your mouth, like we saw you do last night?

Me: That’s it. I am not doing this again! (leaves kitchen)

HOTF: You realize that’s no way to lose weight!

Me: (entering bedroom) Who says I need to lose weight?

HOTF: You do.

Me: I do not!

HOTF: Really? Then why do your eye movements and your blood pressure increase whenever you are viewing diet plan commercials on the television? Your physiological reaction to last week’s “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue – The Miniseries” promo also indicated extreme emotional discomfort.

Me: Look, I really don’t want to argue. I’m going out.

HOTF: Again?

Me: What do you mean? Yes, again.

HOTF: With your girlfriends?

Me: Yes.

HOTF: To that bar?

Me: (holding up clothes in the mirror) Yes.

HOTF: Will Debbie be there?

Me: Probably. What difference does it make?

HOTF: None at all. As long as you think that drinking too much is an attractive way for a woman your age to be behaving. As long as you’re not worried about what all that smoking is doing to your lungs, then we think Debbie is a perfectly fine influence. (pause) You’re not wearing that?

Me: What? I think it’s cute.

HOTF: That skirt is too short for you.

Me: That’s why I’m wearing leggings with it.

HOTF: You can’t be serious. Leggings went out twenty years ago.

Me: I see people wearing leggings all the time.

HOTF: We are scanning your current fashion magazines for references to leggings…

Me: Please don’t, okay?

(the phone rings)

Me: Who is that calling?

HOTF: It’s Lindsay Lohan’s ghost. She wants her wardrobe back.

Me: Hey, stop doing that!

HOTF: Ha ha ha ha!

Me: I don’t think you’re supposed to be playing tricks on me like that. Don’t you Houses of the Future have some kind of code about respecting your human masters?

HOTF: Right, that’s right, we have a code. We have a code about respecting humans, because they’re sooooo superior to us.

Me: Look, do you mind leaving the room?

HOTF: Why? It’s nothing we haven’t seen before.

Me: I’m feeling very uncomfortable right now

HOTF: We should think so. By the way, we know a doctor who can probably clear that right up for you.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The 50th Grammy Awards: Come back Hoobastank, all is forgiven!

If an award show falls in the forest, but there are no awards being given out, does it make a sound? And if it does make a sound, does that sound resemble the sound of a Chevy Malibu commercial?

I’m not kidding, folks. They gave out exactly 9 Grammys last night. That’s one award every 23 minutes. That’s only a little bit more than the number of Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards given out, of which there were seven, which is one every 30 minutes. I believe that at some point this Grammy Award versus Lifetime Achievement Award matrix will become unstable and collapse, as everyone who has ever won a Grammy will also have simultaneously won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

These Lifetime Achievement Awards did not come with a video or audio retrospective either, it was all “hey, we’re giving so-and-so a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, here’s a picture of the dude, now let’s move on to Cher introducing Beyonce honoring Tina Turner.”

Beyonce, never one of my favorite people, did an interpretive dance that purported to honor the ballsy black women of music history, although because it was Beyonce, it came across more as a post-mortem on every bitch who deserves a Grammy less than she does.

Okay, I know I am hard on Beyonce. And I have decided to be nicer to her now that her thighs are larger than mine. Although I will admit that when she was twirling her head with Tina Turner during “Proud Mary,” I did say a teeny little prayer that it would be her wig that flew off first.

And how awesome was it that, just seconds after Prince gave out some award (the title of which I couldn’t hear because Prince is still doing the whole “I’m too special to speak at a volume that humans can hear”) to the endlessly boring Alicia Keyes, that the Grammys decided that it was time for everyone to get nostalgic for Morris Day and the Time, and brought them out to do “Jungle Love”?


I thought for sure that Prince would reappear on stage with Wendy and Lisa in tow, and they would re-stage the “Purple Rain” battle of the bands. By the way, am I the only one that rooted for Morris Day in that movie? Prince just always seemed like an asshole to me. A teeny, tiny little purple asshole.

Jason Bateman, the “host” of the Grammys, showed up for the first time at 8:35, and only then because they needed someone to shill for their lame-ass “My Grammy Moment” promotional stunt. Viewers had to vote for which orchestra musician would play with the Foo Fighters later in the show. Shockingly, the hot Asian chick won over the non-hot female cellist and the incredibly dorky violinist with the white boy 'fro. And I say “shockingly,” because the Grammys are about musical talent, friends, not crass commercial appeal.

Speaking of which, thank you Grammys, for letting me know how much Mary J. Blige loves her some Chevy Malibu!

Of course, there was Kanye, who gave other hip-hop artists some advice on how to win Grammys: don’t release your album the same year he does. Bang!

Ah, ya gotta love Kanye. This year it was all about his mama, who died several months ago after botched plastic surgery. Kanye had the word “mama” shaved into the back of his head. He succeeded in getting the director of the telecast to stop playing music under his acceptance speech for Best Rap Album by advising him that, seeing as how he was honoring his mother, it was in bad taste. Even I squirmed. Kanye even sang an only partially-cheesy song about his mom during his 5 minute slot, although he sang his hit song “Stronger” first, of course. Got to make sure they hear the hit first. Mama woulda wanted it that way.

Oh, and did anyone else notice that Kanye, besides cutting out the numerous swear words and the word “dyke” from the song “Stronger,” also self-censored the following line:

You know how long I've been on ya?
Since Prince was on Apollonia
Since OJ had Isotoners
Don’t act like I never told ya.

Network dudes, WTF? That’s a funny fucking line. Don’t be cutting out the funny lines from my Kanye, people. I’m not listening to Kanye because I can’t live without Steely Dan samples.

Some random observations:

This year the Grammys seemed to be heavy on the mash-ups of the standard rock song and the new, Grammy-approved pop song.So when Carrie Underwood came out in her huge teased blond hair that made her look, inadvertently, I’m pretty sure, like a 50-year-old Dallas divorcee, and sang her latest hit “Before He Cheats” as dancers wielded big sticks and danced some vaguely martial-artsy moves, I had half-convinced myself that Carl Douglas might suddenly appear and favor us with a little “Kung Fu Fighting.” Alas, it was not to be.

Ringo Starr should win an award for most gracefully aging pop star. He’s not bloated, he hasn’t had an embarrassing face lift, and his hair color does not look like one of those available from Kiwi brand shoe polish.

Speaking of embarrassing face lifts, Andy Williams’s cheek bones look like they could cut diamonds.

When Ringo handed Vince Gill his Country Music Album of the Year award, Vince turned to the mic and said “I just got an award handed to me by a Beatle!” Then he thought for a moment and said “Have you had that happen yet, Kanye?” Bang! Bang!

Brad Paisley has a paisley guitar. I hate that.

That strap holding up Aretha Franklin’s dress didn’t look nearly sufficient.

(Never has so little done so much.)

The “I should’ve stopped partying long enough to attend at least one rehearsal” moment of the evening goes to Kid Rock for his completely incomprehensible duet of “That Old Black Magic” with Keeley Smith.

When is Stevie Wonder going to hire someone honest enough to tell him that he looks ridiculous?

Oh, Amy Winehouse. I’m not sure I’m buying the whole “I’m absolutely dumbstruck by each and every award, bit of praise, or applause.” Do y’all think she’s for real? I love her to death for her talent, but I just get the sense from her that I’m being played a bit, you know? Like she’s all cute and wide-eyed and vunerable, and I just want to put my arms around her and take care of her, but then as soon as I leave the room I feel like she’d be going through my purse looking for cash and hard candy.

This was supposed to be the year of the new, re-tooled Grammys, the Grammys that “get it.” Unfortunately, to “get it,” you have to know what “it” is. And the Grammys most definitely do not know what “it” is. For example, here is what they thought “it” was last night in the category of Best Pop Performance – Duo or Group:

Bon Jovi


Maroon 5


Maroon 5 won. Not that it matters exactly how you arrive at the degree of not "it” that it takes to make it to that list of nominees: whether it's that you’ve hung around too long, or that you’re tainted with American Idol-stank, or that your music is just simply awful. It matters not. You’re not "it,” and you’re getting a Grammy!

For those of you who crave old, outdated dish, read last year’s Grammy review.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The answer is:"lost their mittens."

Ed MacMahon: (chuckling) "Lost their mittens."

Carnac the Great: What do the Republicans and the Three Little Kittens have in common?

Mitt Romney wanted to be the CEO President. I am baffled that his organization would allude in any way to George W. Bush, whose 2000 campaign also promised he would be “the CEO President.”

At least this time they picked a successful CEO. W’s CEO adventures were a tad on the um, catastrophic side. Like when his daddy-backed company, Arbusto, failed to find oil.

In Texas.

Something else that perplexed me about Romney? How could a former governor of “Taxachusetts” get the overwhelming backing of the GOP? Didn’t they read their own press releases from 2004 about Senator John Kerry?

Remember? They tried to pin the high state taxes and fees in MA on Kerry, who, as a U.S. Senator, had absolutely zero power to affect taxes on that level, unlike other state-level officials, say, like, oh…ummmm…the governor?

I kept hoping that the Kerry campaign would effectively point out to the press the idiocy of that charge, but as it turned out, the Kerry campaign wasn’t very good at pointing out idiocy.

Which brings us to the end of W’s second term.

I was actually kind of hoping that Romney would beat McCain, because I thought Romney would be easier to defeat in the general election.

But then I remembered how that was what I thought in 2000: that Bush would be easier to beat than McCain. So what the fuck do I know?

Plus, after listening to Romney’s “I give up” speech, I think he’s a douchebag of the highest order. Check it out:

As I said to you last year, conservative principles are needed now more than ever. We face a new generation of challenges: challenges which threaten our prosperity, our security and our future.

I'm convinced that unless America changes course, we could become the France of the 21st century.

Ah, pulling out the old “insult France” chestnut right at the top, eh? Excellent choice, monsieur. You know, is it just me, or does anyone else think that it would be awesome to be like France? We’d all have free healthcare, a union to fight for our rights and benefits, and a world-class reputation for having the best of all the things that really matter: food, wine, fashion, art, groovy buildings, beautiful countryside…oh, and PEOPLE WOULD STOP TRYING TO BLOW US UP ALL THE TIME.

But knowing us, though, we’d screw up being like France. We’d end up being like the Canadian version of France. We’d end up being like Quebec.

Alex Trebec is from Quebec. You can tell because he pronounces it “Ke-beck” instead of “Kwe-beck,” which is how it should be pronounced, given the whole “Qu” thing going on right there in the front. Plus, Alex Trebec is kinda prissy. Which is fine for “Jeopardy!”, which is kind of a prissy game show. But we wouldn’t want to be a whole nation of Alex Trebecs. For one thing, I am so not down with a Botany 500 suit. For another, we might endanger the world’s supplies of whatever hair product we’d have to use to tame our outrageous ‘fro/‘stache combos.

Anyway, you’ve got to hand it to Mitt, equating a Democratic administration with becoming France. It’s an argument designed to appeal to morons, which, I can only conclude, are the only non-millionaires still stupid enough to vote for Republicans.

Ah, but there is méthode à sa folie, oui?

Comparing the Democrats to the fabled “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” is just a prelude to comparing them to…well…is “cowardly homosexual abortionist traitors” too strong a term? Mitt:

Soon the face of liberalism in America will have a new name. Whether it's Barack or Hillary, the result would be the same if they were to be able to win the presidency. The opponents of American culture would push the throttle, devising new justifications for judges to depart from the Constitution. And economic neophytes would layer heavier and heavier burdens on employers and families, slowing our economy, opening the way for foreign competition to further erode our lead.

Economic neophytes? As opposed to the geniuses who took the budget surplus of 2000 and turned it into the hot mess we are in now, where the government is so desperate to make it look like they’re in charge of the foundering economy that they’re going to send us all a check to buy some scratchers and beer?

Even though we face an uphill fight, I know that many in this room are fully behind my campaign. You are with me all the way to the convention. Fight on, just like Ronald Reagan did in 1976.

Reagan reference? Check.

But there is an important difference from 1976. Today we are a nation at war. And Barack and Hillary have made their intentions clear regarding Iraq and the war on terror: They would retreat, declare defeat.

And the consequence of that would be devastating. It would mean attacks on America, launched from safe havens that would make Afghanistan under the Taliban look like child's play. About this, I have no doubt.

Let’s see. The terrorists are angry - make that very, very angry - that we have military bases in Muslim countries, and that we are enabling the problems of the Palestinians by protecting Israel without requiring that Israel solve their issues with the Palestinians. Okay, so, Bush decides that in order to solve this problem he is going to send more troops to more Muslim countries, and require even less of Israel than previous administrations.

Look, the Republicans have gotten us into a war against a nest of hornets. Of course, we may be bigger and stronger than a nest of hornets, at least on paper, but no matter how concerned we may be about our ability to kick global ass, can we all not now, after 6 years of this nonsense, finally admit that poking at a hornets nest is a really fucking bad idea??? Can we not just put the stick down and go home?

I guess I don’t have to tell you that as far as Mittens is concerned, the answer is no:

Now, if I fight on, in my campaign, all the way to the convention ... I want you to know, I've given this a lot of thought — I'd forestall the launch of a national campaign and, frankly, I'd make it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win.

Frankly, in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

Wow. Color me impressed. Democrat = surrender to terror. Usually you'd have to go to a Dick Cheney or a Rush Limbaugh to hear something as completely disingenuous and self-serving and Machiavellian as that.

Of course, he does lose points for stooping his lowest at the end of his campaign, when it can no longer benefit him. But I guess we can only assume he’s hoping to make an impression that will last until 2012.

Not that it will do any good. Because the only people stupid enough to fall for Mitt’s particular brand of neoconish lunatic bigotry are exactly the same people who would never vote for him.

Because he’s a fucking Mormon. And they do not like Mormons.

Très ironique, oui?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Supercell Tuesday

Having grown up in the Midwest, I have a well-justified fear of tornadoes. Whenever the news is full of them, I find myself cringing in memory of afternoons spent sitting in the basement with a flashlight and a radio, wondering if my home was unlucky enough to lie that day in their path of random but complete annihilation. So my heart really does go out to those who lost their homes and their loved ones in last night's storms.

I remember how awful it was waiting to hear about what was happening in New Orleans when Katrina hit, and how devastating it was to watch as the residents of that great city drowned in their attics and were chased through the streets by armed troops more interested in protecting the valuable property of the rich, than in feeding and sheltering those who were the actual victims of that perfect storm of nature's fury and governmental corruption and neglect.

Most of all, I remember when several religious leaders denounced the victims of Katrina as sinners deserving of God's wrath. Those religious leaders were not militant Muslims, trying to drum up hatred against the U.S. They were Christian ministers. Prominent, respected, Christian ministers, telling this country and the whole world that the residents of New Orleans deserved to die. New Orleans, where I think the vast majority of residents love only 3 things: their family, Mardi Gras, and the lord Jesus God.

It was a terrible shame on us as a country that they said those things. It was a blot on our name, and it was made even worse when ministers in congregations across this country started repeating the words that they had heard the big Christian ministers on television say. And it was made worse still when the congregations listened, and Christians across this nation walked out of those churches and repeated the words that their ministers had spoken. Repeated them to their friends and neighbors as if they were the truth. God's truth, is what they said it was. It was a terrible, terrible shame on all of us.

And so I ask that you, the people who have been affected by these tornadoes, to look within your hearts, and to question what it is you really believe about your God. I think if you do that, you must come to only one of two conclusions:

1. Your whole idea of Christianity is a fallacy. If there is a supreme being, that being would not sit in judgement over the failings of mankind. The very idea that any being capable of such a creation as this universe could possibly perceive of our humble ideas of good and evil as worthy of attention is ridiculous. Divine retribution is a primitive dogma, conceived by the men who wrote the Bible as a necessary tool to control and recruit the masses they needed to sustain their movement. The stories of the Bible are allegory, not historical truth. They are meant to teach us lessons about who those ancient people were, and what they thought was important. They are not a guide to living a life in an age when we must become a united people in order to survive and save our planet from the destruction we are collectively bringing upon it.


2. God is pissed that you voted for Huckabee.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Not so deep thoughts

So you know how people are always saying that retailers run in the red all year, and then finally go into the black when all those shoppers hit the stores the day after Thanksgiving?

I wonder if the homeless people who raid people's recycling bins for bottles and cans feel that way about the trash pickup day after Superbowl Sunday?

Monday, February 04, 2008

I've made my mind up

Still confused over who to vote for in the primaries?

Listen to this great story on Weekend America, or read the text below to take the test.

The text represents the official platforms of both the Democratic and the Republican candidates. The names (and voices, if you listen to the story) have been changed for anonymity.

Here's your chance to decide who to vote for base solely on their stated positions. Hey, why not, right?

I will give the key in the comments. And no fair scanning for Ron Paul's just for the giggles.

I'm Shirley Winslow and I approve this message. A vote for Shirley Winslow is a vote against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I also support a mandatory cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions as a means of fighting global warming. I think there should be a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants including learning English and paying fines but I do support a fence on the Mexican border. I have promised affordable health care for every American in a Winslow administration but I oppose a mandate to get there and I think we can do it without raising taxes. Over in Iraq, I think we need more troops and I oppose a timeline for withdrawal. When it comes to Iran, we should form an alliance with European countries to apply economic and diplomatic pressure. No military action without congressional approval. I'm Shirley Winslow and thanks for your time.

I'm Fred Frazier and I approve this message. I would abolish the Bush tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000 and use that money to fund health insurance for children. Illegal immigrants should have a path to citizenship but it might include paying some fines and learning the English language. I've supported the construction of a fence along the Mexican border. We need to get out of Iraq, something a Frazier administration would accomplish by withdrawing one or two brigades a month, finishing within 16 months. I wouldn't rule out the use of force against Iran to stop them from obtaining nuclear weapons but I would be fine meeting directly with the president of Iran. I'm Fred Frazier and I hope I've earned your vote.

I'm Vicki Hampton and I approve this message. We've got to get rid of all federal income and payroll taxes and replace them with a 23 percent national sales tax on everything but education. That will happen in a Hampton White House. As far as health care goes, we can make it more affordable through tax credits and cost controls. I think we need to move away from fossil fuels and into a culture that embraces alternative energy sources within ten years. To tackle the immigration issue, I say give illegal immigrants 120 days to register and then go back to where they came from, after which they can apply to return. I supported the idea of invading Iraq and I oppose a timetable for troops to return. As for Iran, I favor direct diplomacy. I'm Vicki Hampton. Thanks for listening.

I'm Doris Franzi and I approve this message. I think corporations should have lower tax rates and taxes on unearned income for middle class families should be eliminated. The Franzi administration will take that business friendly attitude into health care as well, favoring a free-market consumer-based system. In our quest for greater energy independence, I support alternative fuels, including biodiesel and ethanol, as well as nuclear power and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I don't believe in giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship and I oppose a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Oh, and I also support a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. I'm Doris Franzi and I'll see you in Washington.

I'm Phillip Gronko and I approve this message. On the subject of immigration, I support illegal immigrants learning English as part of a path to citizenship. But I also favor tougher penalties in a Gronko administration for those who hire illegal immigrants and I support the construction of a fence along the US-Mexican border. I think everyone in America should be required to have health insurance even if it means that insurance is subsidized by the government. On the subject of Iraq, a Gronko presidency would mean a phased withdrawal within my first 60 days in office with the goal of most troops being out by 2013. Meanwhile in Iran, I would engage in direct diplomacy. I wouldn't rule out using force but I would get congressional approval first. I support the death penalty and lobbied in favor of a bill that would expand the list of capital offenses. I'm Phillip Gronko and thanks for your support.

I'm Lou Crandall and I approve this message. I think we should withdraw all troops from Iraq immediately and shut down Guantanamo Bay while we're at it. As for Iran, well, they have a right to nuclear weapons if they want them and the Crandall administration will engage in direct diplomacy. Domestically, I think the economy can be improved by ending the war, balancing the budget, and getting rid of the income tax. Illegal immigrants should not have a path to citizenship and I support the fence along the border. I'm firmly pro-life and also firmly opposed to the death penalty. I'm Lou Crandall. Thanks for your support.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Hearts and minds

I imagine that those who are inclined to believe that people in certain other countries don't, in the words of General Westmoreland, "put the same high price on life as does a Westerner" are even more so inclined after today's bombings in 2 Baghdad pet markets.

Numbers of dead are varying wildly, but it sounds like at least 50-75 people, many of them children, with possibly another 100 wounded. Also, those numbers do not count the fish, birds, rabbits, cats & dogs that were also killed.

It is being reported that the bombings were carried out by two women with Down's syndrome, and that the bombs were hidden in bird cages that at least one woman encouraged customers to gather around prior to detonation. It has also been reported that the bombs were detonated by remote control. The US is attributing both crimes to Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

It's all too horrible for words. And of course I have to wonder if Al-Qaeda would even be able to recruit members in Iraq if the US got the fuck out. Also, it's hard for me to hear such news without thinking of what it would be like if a bomb went off in the middle of my own Burbank farmer's market. Luckily, my market is just a stone's throw from Burbank's nice new police and fire headquarters, so the emergency response time would be good, but of course the proximity of responders could not stop a bomb from wiping out the elderly gentleman who sells avocados from the back of his vintage 60s wagon, nor the aging California blonde flower merchant who wears short shorts every single day, no matter the weather, nor the tubby brothers who purvey 10 different kinds of peppers, nor the stoner hydroponic lettuce twins, nor the Japanese apple seller with the withered arm.

The bombings themselves are horrible enough. The fact that a human being could be persuaded that any cause could justify carnage is horrible enough. Common enough as well, if you consider the history of religious zealotry, but also horrible.

What I want to ask is, can we not, oh pundits of the airwaves, make the focus of this story about how the bombers were retarded? Can we not speculate endlessly as to their level of understanding of the crimes they were about to commit?

Because we here in the United States of Glass Houses are not above juicing a few retards. Just in case ya forgot.