Saturday, April 29, 2006

Neil Young: Still Rockin’ In The Free World!

He makes me proud to be an old Goddamned hippie myself.

His scathing new anti-war album, "Living With War," is streaming free HERE and just to make sure the kids understand what he’s doing, he’s got a BLOG up, as well as a MySpace account which I won’t link to since I myself am too damned old to understand it.

The album ends with a haunting, elegiac rendition of “America The Beautiful” with 100-voice choir that gave me the goosebumps (note to W: I said “goosebumps,” not “goosesteps”).

And a reminder to my friend(s) on The Right, Neil’s an all-purpose crank. He hasn’t always been anti-Bush. He drew fire from The Left for being an early defender of the Patriot Act (he’s since changed his mind on that one), and his 9/11 song, “Let’s Roll,” was out before Toby Keith’s raghead-bashing anthem or any of the other hateful ditties that proceeded mostly from the country/western mainstream.

Neil, on the other hand and as I have already stated, makes me proud to be an American - must be some kind of sneaky Canadian treachery...


Neil will be touring behind “Living With War” this summer with fellow Original Hippies Crosby, Still and Nash in what he describes as a “Freedom of Speech" tour! CSNY was one of The Missus and my first Big Dates way back in 2000 – looks like we’ll be swimming back to the mainland at least once this summer (nobody ever comes to Christmas Island - all our hippies live here already).

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Mr. Serious

It's a thankless job, but someone's gotta do it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

FLASH: Fox Anchor Takes W.H. Press Sec’y Job!!

It’s all but official. One wonders, will Mr. Snow be required to give up his day job, or will they just streamline affairs by having him deflect, obfuscate and otherwise generally dodge press questions directly from his Fox anchor chair?

And will the signature on his paycheck even change when he takes over his new gig?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Another liberal pipe dream

I mean, seriously, what are they smoking over at the LA Times? I love that paper in general (their Calendar section in particular), but some of the editorial shit coming out of there is just damned weird.

Their latest loopy suggestion basically breaks down to: GOP Steps Up, Does Right Thing, Boots Cheney For Bob Dole

And of course the blogoshpere jumps all over the idea – it’s almost cute.

Go ahead and read them, they're pretty short. I’ll wait here.

. . .

It’s such a ludicrous concept I don’t even need to embellish my point with the “f” word. Any idiot can see that would never happen in a reality-based reality. Can you imagine ten years ago as Monicagate began to break: Democratic Party Steps Up, Does Right Thing, Boots Clinton for Wilford Brimley? Of course not, because it’s ludicrous.

You don’t take a political bullet unless there’s a smoking gun (or until there's a stained blue dress). And with a Republican stranglehold on all four corners of Washington right now, there will be no investigations to produce any such smoking guns.

Because as much or more than any recent administration, the current gang runs by pure political calculation, that calculation having only one end these days: How do we hold onto power after Bush?

The blog entreaty above (sent to me by the Missus) addresses important, sober issues of governance and it makes great sense – for Bush's presidency and for the country. The thing is though, Bush isn't about governing (obviously), but he isn't anti-government either, judging by the bureaucratic buildup during his tenure. No, Team Bush isn’t anti-government at all, its just anti-governance.

And the nat’l GOP isn’t about either Bush or governing. It’s about not letting them goddamn Commie-libs back in the seat of power they held for 40 years. After four decades of wandering in the wilderness, you can bet the GOP is gonna do whatever they have to to make sure they don’t find themselves back there again. They gave Dumbleyou 4 years – which were pretty good ones for them at first – but now that his poll numbers are tanking, they’re moving on.

Big time.

That’s why Rove getting transferred back to just running the politics end of things is last week’s real news. I know he came to DC with Dumbleyou, but ol’ Turd Blossom is crafty enough to understand that the power behind the throne doesn’t necessarily get termed-out in a democracy. As long as he can keep his peeps in power, he could conceivably remain kingmaker-in-residence in perpetuity.

Anyhow, no political party worth its salt would Do The Right Thing for the country unless it really helped their poll numbers too, and the GOP would never dump Cheney for a fellow political dead-ender like Mr. Dole no matter how much it helped their poll numbers. Too big a risk it'd backfire and become political suicide. In the end, these guys can be expected to respond conservatively. And there they are.

Welcome to the status quo. Your usual seat?

"Hostel" the movie

What a disgusting piece of shit this movie is. Avoid it at all costs!

It’s for people who thought “The Passion of the Christ” had too much plot development and not enough torture.

Inexplicably having sat through the whole thing, I feel dirty, and not in the good way.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Impeach Commander-in-Chief (The TV show)!

Here was a show with a winning concept (the trials and tribulations of the first female President, a moderate Independent), an attractive cast (Gina Davis and a handful of good-looking WB-kid clones) and first-rate production values. Oh, how I had wanted it to go well! It could have been this season’s “Jack and Bobby” – a plucky underdog that would be brilliant then get cancelled after its first season (Max Bickford, Vengeance Unlimited, Firefly, Freaks & Geeks, ad infinitum).

Instead, it has sucked ass right out of the gate. And I mean even the first few episodes that the critics liked. They took a show – called “Commander In Chief”! – and made a domestic dramedy out of it instead. Like it was “Father Knows Best” and in between burning the roast and helping Kitty out with her class project, Mom Anderson squeezed in high tea with the British Ambassador and squabbled with the caricature evil Republican House leader.

Instead of using the family stuff as backdrop for the International World Stage stuff, they did the opposite. Worse, the kids are attractive, but cookie-cutter generic with overblown, overused and overwritten “isssues” and thus obnoxious to spend time with. Left alone in the room with any of them, the girls would get a stern talking-to and I’d take the boy out to the woodshed for a good old fashioned switching.

They even brought Steven Bochco in to fix things, but the family-emphasis mandate remained so its downhill slide continued. Plus, Bochco brought in that Saved By The Bell kid in a character much closer to his TV sitcom roots than his impressive turn on NYPD Blue. Then the show was yanked from the schedule for a couple months.

I decided to watch it when it returned tonight, after its umpteenth retooling and timeslot switch. I mean, I really wanted it to work! Maybe they finally got the mix right.

Alas, no. It was so stupid. All the bad ideas from the previous retoolings were brought forward and emphasized. The writing was so bad some of the cast looked embarrassed to have to recite it. They’ve even expanded the President’s live-in mother’s role on the show — now she’s got a new boyfriend who’s married to a woman who’s been in a coma for eight years. Seriously, I am not making this up.

The show’s one bright spot has always been Donald Southerland as Darth Red-Stater. Even playing a one-dimensional cartoon, he manages to breathe some corrosive life into his stock character. On the other hand, the guy playing Davis’ husband has made a career of essaying weak-in-the-knees losers and wusses and his role here does not prove to be the exception.

I mean, what did its creators have against this show? Handled right, it could have picked up the Important Political TV Show mantle that “West Wing” is just setting down and slipped into that slot as it was vacated. If they had given this show to The Last Boy Scout and me to write, we’d be hip-deep in Emmys and Peabodys in no time. Not only are all the production elements for excellence in place, but this country is totally primed for a feel-good show about a make-believe President who always does the right thing, usually in the face of overwhelming adversity, and solves all the nation’s problems every week in time for the 11 o’clock news.

Instead, this Commander-in-Chief, just like the real one, reeks of flop sweat. When o when will it end?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Impeach the President?

It’s funny. I turned 44 today. Various and sundry body parts are starting to malfunction and I’m almost certainly at or past the half-way point of my life. If I should be morose about anything today, it ought to be my impending slow-motion demise. Mortality issues.

SIDEBAR: It’s not so much the dying I mind, it’s the inevitable, undignified, uncomfortable process of falling to pieces physically that I’m not looking forward to. But as I started that particular process early in my life (Bleeding ulcer at 24? Check!), I’m kind of already in the groove. I’m not gonna make it, but that’s okay. Nobody else is either (with the possible exception of Lemmy from Motorhead).

But having yourself a cute little Man Cub underfoot… It’s like all of a sudden I got a stake in this game. A dog in the hunt, in the parlance of our Confederate friends to the south. It’s less of a race to the boneyard now and more of a “hey, slow down and check this out for a minute.” Of course, the irony is that stopping to check some shit out will definitely hasten your way to said boneyard, but I digress…

I turned 44 today, and I don’t want to write a paean to The Missus (I got Mother’s Day coming right up to do that) or go on forever about how cute The Man Cub is becoming (the fact that his first word, repeated ad infinitum without much variation except for emphasis, is “blah”), or even how Goddamned tired I always am and how my work has been suffering for it recently. No. Not today.

Today I want to bitch about the President!

How sad is that?

I blame myself. I know better. I know The Last Boy Scout would rip me a new one for wasting this opportunity for proper Commie-lib navel-gazing and he’d be right.

But damn it, this is going to be my son’s life we’re talking about here. And say what you will about W, his is no Caretaker Presidency, like Clinton’s or his dad’s – this is a Change the Paradigm Presidency. And that makes it worthy of consideration and discussion, even on this one day a year set aside for me to receive presents without having to give any in return.

Did you like how I titled this post “Impeach the President?” with a question mark?

It’s a little trick I picked up in the newspaper trade. You can get away with anything in print if you garnish your accusation with a question mark. “Fang Bastardson a Lying Sack of Shit?” Well, maybe. As long as you add the question mark, you have just the right amount of technical wiggle room. It’s the same thing as starting a sentence with, “Some people have said that…”

Your best option is to go with a combination of the two. Check it out:

Have some people suggested the President be impeached? Yes, they have! Neil Young, for one. He even wrote a song about it, and he’s gonna make sure you get a chance to hear it.

Other people of the same mind can be found online at Impeach The Motherfucker Already. Actually, sites are beginning to proliferate exponentially and I can only hope it's all in good, clean fun.

Because somewhere earlier (in some other post I'm too lazy to link to) I pointed out that an impeached Dumbleyou will leave us with a pissed-off, power-mad Cheney in the Big Chair. If my fellow liberals would slow down and take a deep breath, they’ll see that impeachment is a baaad idea. I’ll say that again, on its own line:

Impeaching W is a BAD IDEA. Let me tell you why.

One, “President Cheney.” Just typing the words makes my gums constrict and my sphincters flutter.

Two, W is too stupid to rise to the qualifications of impeachment.

As I understand it, impeachment has to proceed from a basically treasonous act. And by treason, I mean a deliberate, conscious attempt to cause harm to the country by means of treachery. Although he scores high on harming America, I really don’t think W was trying to fuck America as badly as he has. His wasn’t a conscious, deliberate attempt to harm America. Remember, he really thought we were gonna be greeted like Superman at the Daily Planet when we rolled into Baghdad.

Three, if we impeach two Presidents in a row, it sets a horrible, bad, scary, dangerous precedent. One is an anomaly, two is a pattern. Unless we want to turn the occupant of the oval office into a perpetual Suspect-in-Chief, we should wield this impeachment weapon carefully.

Was the Clinton impeachment a farce? Hugely. If W deliberately leading us into a war on false premises doesn’t meet my impeachment threshold, you can imagine what I think about the threat posed to our country by lies about a consensual sex act. But impeachment can’t be used to take revenge, no matter how yummy that might feel in the short run.

Come on, think as Americans now, not angry partisans. America is much more about today and tomorrow than it is yesterday. And we’re gonna screw up our tomorrows if we keep heading in this direction. We do NOT want a short-timer Cheney with his finger on the button, especially right now with Iran wagging its uncircumcised nuclear cock around in our faces. Who knows what else is on Cheney and Rummy’s “To-Do” List?

And W is doing a pretty good job of screwing up our tomorrows without us helping him, anyhow.

So cut it out. Let’s talk about impeachment and rattle their cages, keep the dialogue anti-Bush, fine. Keep the tide turning away from his administration’s stupidity. But let’s not actually start the process, even if we win the House back in November.

I have a much better solution: in the event we win the House back, investigate the fuck out of the whole rotten bunch of them. Investigations ARE the proper tool for extracting political revenge! The Bush gang's list of investigation-worthy chicanery is long and laudable, from Cheney’s secret energy-tycoon task force meeting to Iraq to Katrina to Wiretapping to whatever they’re up to this afternoon.

And whether or not we win the House back this year, as soon as Bush is out of office, I believe he should be tried for war crimes in the International Court. What we’ve done by invading Iraq and allowing it to plunge into bloody chaos, and how we did it, are questions legitimately worthy of investigation by a sanctioned international body.

So let’s not impeach Bush – please! – but let’s at least hold him to the same standards as Saddam Hussein is being held to.

That would be an awesome birthday present, whenever it arrived.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

He’s The Decider-in-Chief

All other Deciders are number two or less...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Elegy For A Killer Queen

I don’t usually go in for nostalgia-circuit tours, especially when the original front man has walked off in a huff, or in this case, died tragically years ago.

But when The Last Boy Scout called up and asked me if I wanted to go see Queen with Paul Rodgers with him, it was hard to say no. For one thing, in the five years we’ve lived on Christmas Island, this guy is the one person I’ve met with whom I’ve pursued a friendship, in spite of our political differences, which are all-encompassing.

And for the other thing, considering Queen’s amazing depth and breadth of material, they would have to work overtime to turn in a lousy show. I’ve never gone to a “nostalgia tour” before, partly because songs bring up memories of the context you first heard them in, and it’s not for nothing that I’ve expunged most of the 1970s and 80s from my memory core.

But Queen’s catalogue transcends the era that birthed them. Their songwriting craft, coupled with Freddie Mercury’s outsized talent and persona – Queen stands apart from their period peers. I was stoked and definitely ready to rock.

The ride to the mainland was fun. Both TLBS and myself are recent dads, and any excuse to get out of the house for a few hours with a fellow adult is to be embraced. We had some catching up to do, too, and only skipped across the surface of the subject of politics.

Parking was a breeze, and once inside the giant corporate-branded venue, I asked the lady in the blue polyester jacket who was showing us our seats at the very back of the hall, “Is there a refund policy in the event that Queen fails to rock us?” She assured me that we would indeed be rocked, and she did not lie to us.

Anyhow, I didn’t start this post with the intention of reviewing the show. If you grew up in the 70s/early 80s and this tour comes to a town near you, you will find your ticket well worth the $60-$100 it sets you back, even if it’s your first ‘nostalgia’ show. Although in one sense these guys are coasting on their catalogue, they still deliver the genuine article, an honest-to-God arena rock show, and Paul Rodgers (formerly of Bad Company) was a much abler fill-in for the late, great Freddie Mercury than I had expected.

But the thing is, as rocking as the show was, I also found it increasingly bittersweet, beginning with “Love of My Life” which guitarist Brian May performed solo acoustic at the lip of the vanity-ramp, next to a symbolic empty stool. He started it by saying “I shouldn’t be singing this – Freddie Mercury should.” And although he did a fine job of it, you know, he was right. Freddie Mercury’s absence hung over that tune, and the whole show, like a funeral shroud.

When they closed the regular set with Bohemian Rhapsody, the first 2/3 of the song were sung by Freddie, images of whom were broadcast on the giant screens flanking the stage, and for me, it was almost more than I could bear. Granted, I’ve been running on severe sleep-deprivation since The Man Cub was born and just this week began emerging from a pretty serious long-running (we’ll call it a) funk, so I was fairly emotionally delicate going in. Mea culpa.

But as great as the material, performance and presentation were… and no offense to Brian May or Roger Taylor at all… Queen for me really was always all about Freddie Mercury. And if he hadn’t died so damned young (roughly the same age I am now), Queen wouldn’t be mounting a ‘nostalgia’ tour today. I'm convinced that they, like the Stones and Rush, would have remained a commercially viable, creatively productive presence on the music scene, still writing and recording albums of new material to support their road trips. Freddie’s well of talent was a long way from tapped out when he was taken from us.

Does this post have a point? It turns out, not really. It did for a while, then Word crashed and took my last few paragraphs with it as I was pasting into my blog. And I always work really hard at ending these things well. What a pisser.

In a way I guess, it’s appropriate to the subject. This post, like Freddie Mercury’s life, is missing its final act. And unfortunately, that's the vibe I came away with from the show last night: What a fucking pisser. Great concert, but it just made me think, "Man, how awesome would it have been to have just seen a new Freddie Mercury performance tonight??"

...But that's just me, I'm a glass-half-empty kind of guy and I've worn myself out looking for a happy, or I'd even settle for clever, way to end this. So I will let the considerably more upbeat Freddie Mercury have the last word. This is the final song on the last Queen album produced during Freddie's life and was written by him. I suppose it's how he wanted us to remember him, and I guess I could at least give it a try.

Princes of the Universe

Here we are. Born to be kings.
We're the princes of the universe.
Here we belong. Fighting to survive.
In a world with the darkest powers.

And here we are. We're the princes of the universe.

Here we belong. Fighting for survival.
I am immortal. I have inside me blood of kings.
I have no rival. No man can be my equal.
Take me to the future of your world.

Born to be kings. Princes of the universe.
Fighting and free. Got your world in my hand.
I'm here for your love and I'll make my stand.
We were born to be princes of the universe.

Here we are. Born to be kings. We're the princes of
the universe. Here we belong. Born to be kings.
Princes of the universe. Fighting and free.

Got the world in my hands. I'm here for your love.
And I'll make my stand.

We were born to be princes of the universe.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Bill Frist...

...wishing every illegal immigrant in America had one neck and he had his hands wrapped around it... Well, you get the idea.

Damn You John McCain…

You’ve become just another mealy-mouthed political huckster. I know you think it’s the politically expedient thing to do, but what we used to like about you was that you weren’t a cookie-cutter political whore.

Guys like me used to say, “Although I disagree with maybe 90% of his policy decisions, I respect the man.” But that was before this latest round of media appearances tossing W’s salad with apparent zeal and enthusiasm.

I get that you’re trying to survive the Republican primaries so you can tack to the middle in the general election, but all this Bush-coddling, South-Dakota-abortion-ban-endorsing is going to come back to bite you on the ass big-time in the unlikely event you do make it to the nomination.

We will remember.

Now I hear you're scheduled to give the commencement address at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Baptist college next month, after righteously lambasting him by name in 2000, along with Pat Robertson, as an "agent of intolerance." Dude, when did you become such a hypocrite? Can you put your finger on the exact moment you decided to sell out?

Christ on a sidecar, is there nobody in government that people of good conscience can respectfully disagree with anymore?