Monday, December 31, 2007

Art Happens

...and not much else in this wildly self-indulgent 3.5-minute video. But it’s how we celebrate the new year here on Christmas Island. Salud!

video


Bonus: The completed masterwork, “Face”:


12/31/07

Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 year-end movie recommendations

I don’t get out to see every movie opening weekend like I used to – one of the compromises required when parenting a toddler without a net – but I’ve seen a few over the last couple weeks that merit recommending. (Disclaimer: I haven’t seen “Juno” yet, but can almost guarantee Ellen Page’s eponymous performance would have earned her a place on this short list had I seen it already. I may have to update this post after this weekend.)

I’ll start with the best movie I’ve seen in quite some time, “Charlie Wilson’s War.” For a Tom Hanks flick, directed by Mike Nichols (“The Graduate,” “Angels in America” and too many other top-notch films to list here), written by The West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin and co-starring Julia Roberts and perennial critics’ favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman, this one still almost flew right under my radar. I haven’t seen it on many ‘years best’ lists and I don’t know why not. Seems the professional critics’ hard-ons for the Coen brothers and Daniel Day-Lewis drowned out almost every other remarkable performance this year.

“Charlie Wilson’s War” is based on actual events and chronicles the efforts of ’70s Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson (Hanks) to supply weaponry to the Afghanis back in the days when they were the front line of the Cold War against the Soviet Union, except their war with the USSR wasn’t cold, it was red hot.

Unlike the recent spate of bummer (however well-meaning) Iraq War flicks, this war film is great fun to watch. The writing, direction and acting are all zesty, bouncy and very movie-movie. It’s rated R so people speak the way people really speak, F-word and all; naked ladies in hot tubs have nipples, coke is snorted onscreen and moral ambiguities abound. I’m so fucking sick of middle-of-the-road, lowest-common-denominator PG13 movies I could puke. (You may observe that three of the four movies I’m recommending are R rated.)

The thing that lingers, though, is knowing that America’s eventual (and ultimately successful) efforts to assist the Afghanis in beating back the Russian hordes in the ’80s would lead directly to the rise of the Taliban regime that sponsored al Qaeda’s equally successful efforts to fly airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. Even while you cheer on the well-intentioned, humanistic, even patriotic work of Representative Wilson’s anti-Communist endeavors, the knowledge that they will come back to bite us on the ass – hard – is never far from your mind.

It’s a hell of a movie that strikes two such dissimilar chords simultaneously so well. They ought to teach this movie in schools (and Quantico). Until then, it deserves to be appreciated during its theatrical run. Go now.

Next up is “Walk Hard,” from the same comedy crew responsible for “Knocked Up” and “Superbad” this year, led by writer/producer Judd Apatow, formerly responsible for “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” among others including TV’s late, lamented “Freaks and Geeks.”

An R-rated deconstruction of every gauzy, misty-eyed, over-produced Hollywood biopic (but drawing mostly from “Walk The Line” for direct inspiration), this comedy succeeds on every level. Not as gut-bustingly hilarious as, say, “Superbad,” the soundtrack and John C. Reilly’s lead performance power it to the top of the year-end heap. It’s more about making merry jest of the Hollywood biopic formula than it is mocking any individual such effort.

Full of terrific star cameos (Jacks White as Elvis and Black as Paul McCartney to name but two) and hilarious songs — “(Mama) You Got to Love Your Negro Man,” the ode to midgets “Let Me Hold You (Little Man),” and “Cut My Brother In Half Blues” to name a few — this is one of those movies that is bound to not just hold up, but improve upon repeat viewings.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed “I Am Legend.” A loose remake of Charlton Heston’s “Omega Man,” (based on the same source material), I first heard about this project, like, 10 years ago, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was attached to star. After having experienced Will Smith’s nuanced performance of possibly the last man on earth, I can’t imagine how much the Arnie version would have sucked. It for damned sure wouldn’t have included the Bob Marley music (and history lesson) that played such an important part in elevating this film above the average post-apocalyptic sci-fi epic.

I also appreciated its brisk running time. It could easily have dragged on to a 2.5-hour length like most movies of its genre, but at 90+ minutes it told its story without an ounce of fat on its bones, even considering that about half of its runtime is a one-man/one-dog performance consisting of Will Smith’s character and his German Shepherd roaming the empty streets of a wrecked, deserted Manhattan island.

Not a Great Film, but a surprisingly enjoyable, affecting one.

Finally, one where the critics and I agree, the Coen Brothers’ “No Country For Old Men.” This brutal, lyrical R-rater unspools at a leisurely pace that never drags. Its three stars, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin and newcomer-to-me Javier Bardem never even meet, or if they do it happens so briefly that I missed it.

Brolin plays a blue-collar trailer-dweller in the great American Southwest who stumbles across the aftermath of a drug deal gone bad, and the rest of the movie follows his efforts to hang onto the briefcase full of cash he discovers at the scene. Every performance is spot-on. Jones’ grizzled veteran cop, Brolin’s white trash stick-to-itiveness and Bardem’s spooky hit man from hell are all perfectly drawn and executed. The desert vistas are vast and empty and beautiful at the same time and although set approximately in the present day, the ambiance is classic John Ford western.

Not a movie where it’s a good idea to get too close to any character lest they die suddenly, it is a return to “Blood Simple” form for the Coens whose last few comedies had a hard time finding either audiences or critical respect. This is definitely one to see on the big screen. It tells an intimate story on a broad, bloody canvas.

And Javier Bardem’s hit man is a revelation. If there’s any justice at all, he should be a shoo-in for a best supporting actor nod come Oscar® time.

But if parenting, traveling, rehab and/or work responsibilities limit you to only one trip to the multiplex this holiday season, “Charlie Wilson’s War” is the one to invest your time in. It crams more comedy, dawning horror and sheer movie-making brio into its scant 97 minutes than most bloated, self-important political epics twice its length. It’s that rare cinematic bird; consistently entertaining and good for you (and “good for you” rarely ever passes for a compliment when I apply it to a movie review).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Life in Hell*

*with apologies to Matt Groening

Things have been wacky here. Zany, even.

Last week The Man Cub contracted hand, foot, and mouth disease from the fetid, horrific Petri dish that is daycare. I thought only cattle could get that, but maybe I was thinking of brucellosis…

From the CDC website:
Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common illness of infants and children. It is characterized by fever, sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters. HFMD begins with a mild fever, poor appetite, malaise ("feeling sick"), and frequently a sore throat. One or 2 days after the fever begins, painful sores develop in the mouth. They begin as small red spots that blister and then often become ulcers. They are usually located on the tongue, gums, and inside of the cheeks. The skin rash develops over 1 to 2 days with flat or raised red spots, some with blisters. The rash does not itch, and it is usually located on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It may also appear on the buttocks. A person with HFMD may have only the rash or the mouth ulcers.

What they don’t mention is that the fever keeps the afflicted from sleeping for more than a couple hours at a time before waking up miserable and screamy, and that the son of a bitch virus lasts 7-10 days. The boy’s going back to daycare tomorrow after having been home, delirious, unhappy and neeeeedy since last Thursday.

On the plus side, The Missus was able to work from home Friday and Monday, or I’d be out pounding the pavement for a new job by now. Or maybe just pounding the pavement to see which hand breaks first.

On the down side, a sleep-deprived week+ with no private time, not even in the middle of the night, does not exactly bring out the best in me.

Work has been equally awesome. We’ve hired a new salesperson who doesn’t know how she checks her email. My I.T. guy is flaking on me, so I’m transitioning to a major program upgrade - and my tricked-out, fancy new computer with the giant monitor - after the holidays without his input, hitherto considered indispensable. Etcetera.

* * *

Of course, I wake up at midnight for my “me” time, and everybody’s up; The Missus is taking photos of the boy almost-sleeping on the couch in the front room. She’s on a caffeine high, and he’s on the mend from his latest round of Daycare Disease that has left him with an awful, wet, wracking cough now that is — wait for it — keeping him from sleeping. ...sigh

And so it goes.

My experience in parenting makes me question how anybody survives toddlerhood. Every week seems to bring an exciting new health-related emergency. I’m thinking it’s more of a daycare situation than a toddlerhood one...

All this in preparation for the dreaded annual holiday trek to the family Christmas extravaganza at the church of of Our Lady of Immaculate Cleanliness, and four more days of no private moments and consecutive sleepless nights.

Do me a favor - in case I go on a killing spree, don’t let the media make a folk hero out of me, okay? It won’t be about being famous; it’ll be about the killing.

Thanks
F. Bastardson, family man and disturbed loner

Monday, December 17, 2007

Poor John McCain picks up Lieberman’s support :-(

As if John McCain didn’t already have enough going against his presidential aspirations, now Senator Joe Lieberman (technically from Connecticut, but more invested in representing the interests of the state of Israel) has thrown his “support” behind Sen. McCain.

The flatulently fraudulent reason Lieberman gave for his endorsement was that McCain – other than Hillary, the most polarizing presidential candidate out there – is the most likely to be able to “break through the reflexive partisanship that is poisoning our politics today and stopping us from getting anything done in Washington.”

Horse pucky! Anyone can see that Lieberman figures of everybody, McCain is the candidate most likely to keep us engaged in war-making in the middle east and unflinchingly loyal to Israel, no matter any facts on the ground that may occur. Like Lieberman.

Seriously, when did this asshole Lieberman transition from working for the best interests of the US to being a full-time shill for the state of Israel? Shouldn’t that be at least job #2 for a US Senator?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

FLASH! Rock Hall of Fame Gets One Right!

In the same press release where they announced the Hall of Fame’s latest batch of inductees will include Madonna (quick - what’s the hardest-rocking Madonna song you can think of? Bzzzzt! Time’s up!), they also revealed their intention to honor one of the most influential pop singer/songwriters of the modern era, Leonard Cohen.

Mostly Mr. Cohen draws his fans from a small pool; rock snobs, rock stars and rock critics. I, of course, fall in to that middle category…

Because The Man Cub has brought home another awful malady from Day Care (I swear to god, The Missus thinks it’s Hoof In Mouth disease, which I thought only cattle got), I don’t have the luxury of staying up all night to write a Beowulf-length paean to the subtlety of his melodies, the depth of his lyrics, or the goosebump-inducing resonance of his bass voice (he makes Johnny Cash’s low baritone sound like a soprano schoolboy’s).

I will tell you this, though. Besides being an inspiration to a generation of pop musicians and well-meaning wannabe’s, an author and a critically renowned poet, he’s a hell of a human being too. At the height of his career resurgence in the 1990s, he walked away from it all (including girlfriend Rebecca De Mornay back when she was still hot), and spent several years in a Zen monastery, living in a single room and preparing meals for the monastery’s head yogi. Here’s a terrific story/interview on that period.

I’ll also mention that I caught him on his most recent tour, in 1993, and to this day, it’s the only concert I have ever described afterwards as “sublime.” I floated out of that place on a wave of excellently composed and executed music, love and graceful good vibes. It was more than a concert, just short of a religious experience. And since his accountant took the opportunity to rob him blind while he was sequestered away at the monastery, Mr. Cohen has, in his 70s, released a couple albums in the last few years as good as anything anyone has ever recorded.

If you don’t believe me, go to iTunes and download 2001’s “Ten New Songs.” Or “Nightingale” or “The Faith” off “Dear Heather.” Or “Tower of Song.” Or Neil Diamond’s cover of his “Suzanne.” Or almost anything off “Various Positions” or “The Future.”

Wait - I promised not to wax on endlessly. Sorry. Just barely caught myself.

I actually met Mr. Cohen once, at a Tom Waits show in L.A. He was sitting about half-way back in the house like a regular Joe, with some woman who was either his daughter or his girlfriend. I was goaded into approaching him and begging an autograph (inset), which to this day is tacked up on my office wall, next to a photo of my son and a channel conversion chart for the local cable company. Heady company indeed!

It’s going to be a goddamned weird affair, with (presumably) both Mr. Cohen and Madonna in the same room when they’re inducted. My guess is, she’ll come on to him like the star-fucker she is and he will rebuff her, but artistically and without hurting her feelings. Watch for A-List rockers (U2, R.E.M., Nick Cave, etc.) to duke it out over who gets to induct The Great Man. My money’s on Bono, because, well, he’s Bono. He gets things done.

This is one induction ceremony I’ll watch when VH1 televises it. Oh please, god I don’t believe in, let him perform at that event!

And to answer my Madonna question as it relates to Mr. Cohen, I would probably have to pick “Don’t Go Home With Your Hard On” from 1977’s Phil Spector-produced “Death of a Ladies’ Man.”

Here’s a clip of once-and-future Eagle Don Henley covering one of Cohen’s masterworks (seriously!), “Democracy,” from Bill Clinton’s inauguration, ca 1993. Enjoy!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Randy Newman...

...turns a recurring theme of my inarticulate rants into art:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Our First Christmas Tree

I’m 45, and I just sprang for my first proper Christmas tree.

In years past, I haven’t bothered. For one thing, I’ve always hated the holidays. Sometime around the time I was 5 or 6, my little sister and I were caught snooping early one Easter morning for Easter Eggs. As punishment, we were sat down and told that the Easter Bunny didn’t exist; by the way, they were lying about all that Santa and tooth fairy shit, too.

Boooya! Lesson learned! My parents’ punishments cut to the bone, even as they failed to address the aberrant and/or perfectly normal little-kid behaviors that elicited them.

So, that ruined Christmas for me as a kid. As an adult, I got in the newspaper game, as a builder of seasonal ads. That just made things worse, as my workload increased exponentially around the holidays. By the time the blessed day finally arrived, I’d had Christmas up to my asshole for a month and a half. It didn’t help that Christmas with the family during that period (the meth and immediately-post-meth years) was invariably a nasty, stressful affair that I eventually bailed on altogether. Most of the best Christmases of my 20s and 30s were spent alone, or with friends from highly-functional families (thanks, Kath and Bill!).

So then I got married and inherited my wife’s family's Christmas traditions. Lovely people (who occasionally read this blog), but even in functional families, stress-levels redline around the holidays. Plus, I’m pulled away from my beloved Routine (if you know me, you know how much I value the security of a reliable routine) and plunged into a home environment so clean and antiseptic I feel like I’m befouling a national monument every time I have to hit the head. Example: the towels out in the bathroom are for show - the towels we’re actually allowed to use are stashed away in a drawer. I'm just not used to this level of putting-on-the-dog, and it makes me really uncomfortable.

Oh yeah, plus I don’t sleep well at all away from home, and the spare bedroom at the in-laws is all eggshell white, with “curtains” as flimsy as Bush’s reasons for going to war with Iraq. The floors are all beautiful hardwood and creak like motherfuckers throughout the house at all hours of the day and night. And I can only do 2, 3 nights max without decent sleep before I begin to crumble from within. It’s not pretty. This year…4 nights. I’m trying not to think about it.

Anyhow, we have a child of our own now. Maybe you’ve heard. The Man Cub is 2+ now, and old enough to begin to appreciate the big Christmas show. Already, I’m wrestling with the ethics of promoting the Santa mythos - where do I draw the line between creating a lovely yuletide illusion for our special little guy, and being the instigator of an ugly cover-up that is doomed to come to light some day? The Missus has convinced me - wisely I think - to swallow my reservations and play the Santa game, at least for now. I still have no clue where it comes to explaining how Jesus fits into all of this extravaganza, but that dilemma is still a couple years away from hitting the fan, so I compartmentalize and carry on…

So last weekend, we hit the local Target, picked out a tree we judged would fit in our trunk, loaded up on lights and garland and came home and started our own family tradition. Even though we won’t be waking up in our house again this Christmas, we figure the boy deserves as much of the traditional holiday hoopla as we can muster.

And our family tradition is starting with an Elvis angel on top of the tree, superhero (and a Darth Vader) ornaments mixed in with the standard ones, as well as a generous supply of ornaments lovingly hand-crafted by The Missus. (Is there no end to her talents? I’ll let you know if I discover one.) She even let me hang an old hand-held scale formerly used to weigh out small amounts of marijuana (inset), but drew the line at a small plastic Beavis doll.

Sigh. Marriage is compromise.

But the ball is officially rolling. The house smells like pine, and my usual holiday crash-n-burn hasn’t hit yet, and we’re at two weeks out and counting! Maybe it’s the tree. Maybe it’s the promise that in years to come, our son will wake up in his own bed on Christmas morning, and I will too! I’ve been waiting a lifetime for the chance to forge some Christmas traditions of my own, and this year, we took the first step.

Oh, who am I kidding. It’s got to be the Elvis angel on top of the tree.

Happy Christmas, naysayers. If it can happen for me, it can happen for anyone.

An open letter to my right-winger friend(s)

“President Huckabee?”

I mean, I like the guy, but is it really a good idea to put two self-proclaimed Evangelicals in the White House in a row? A guy who’s on the record that he believes the earth is 5,000 years old, you know, because the Bible says so. Plus now that he’s nipping at the front-runner’s heels, some of his older, stupider quotes are coming to light; today it was something about AIDS he opined in 1992.

Gaaah! I don’t like any of the options on either side. Couldn’t even vote for McCain with a clear conscience; like Guiliani, I think he’s just dying to open up a can of good ol’ American whup-ass on Iran. And of course, the more they dig on Guiliani, the more dirt comes to light, the more he looks like a never-ran. Can you imagine if Bill Clinton had given Monica Lewinski Secret Service protection? Nominate Guiliani and the swift-boating will come fast and furious. Did you see him get grilled on “Meet The Press” this weekend? (I’m sure you can find it online at msnbc.com.) He’s affected Hillary’s laughing disorder when confronted by unfriendly questions; on Meet The Press he came off like The Joker on a nitrous oxide binge. Olbermann did a pretty hilarious clip-job of all his chortling to damning questions...

And Romney never had a chance. He’s always been nothing more than an extremely-well self-financed empty Brooks Brothers tailored shirt. I don’t see the red-meat-craving base lining up to vote for a Mormon ex-governor of Taxachussetts. Just don’t see it. And his speech last week failed to hit the mark. Government requires religion?? That’s news to me, pal, but it is a position that the rulers of most of the middle-eastern shitholes currently screaming for our blood would wholeheartedly endorse.

What does the race look like to you, now that it’s coming down to crunch-time? Think Oprah is gonna help Hillary continue her slide down the polls?

Tick-tock, tick-tock... Feb. 5 is less than two months away.

Houses of the Holy

Led Zepplin flies again — wish I coulda been there. Thanks to the New York Times for the photo and review.

Friday, December 07, 2007

“Computers May Yield Clues About Mall Shooter”

That’s an actual CNN.com headline. I don’t mean to single them out, but as my home page, they’re what I see first thing when I sit down at my computer. But all the news sites are running with the same type of thing, as are the TV broadcasts.

You want to know what kind of clues it’s going to give up? Spoiler alert: He was a fucking LOSER! That’s what. The media’s first biographical headline screamed, “Shooter was looking to be famous!” Well, thank you, Mainstream Media. With your help, aided and abetted by the second amendment, this LOSER got his wish.

Every fucking time one of these pathetic morons goes on a killing spree, the slavering cretins in the media play into their hands by making them as famous as they designed their acts of evil to make them. In Program, it’s called enabling. In my house, it’s called moral culpability.

Every time one (or two) of these suicidal jackasses’ sorry biographies becomes the lead story of the news cycle for a couple days, the killers win. Does the media not see this, or are they just so desperate for attention that, like the shooters, they just can’t help themselves?

Do they not see that they are helping breed the next tragedy by making media darlings out of these confused, disaffected loner-types? That there are plenty of other disaffected loner-types out there watching, doing the math that not only is taking their Guns & Ammo out for a massacre a way out of their seemingly dead-end existence, but that they’ll become famous too? It solves both their problems – that of feeling like an insignificant, unknown loser as well as the prospect of remaining one for another 50+ years?

Like I always do after one of these horrific episodes, I propose a self-imposed media moratorium on publishing the names and life stories of these heinous assholes. As a newspaperman myself, I understand it’s a big story and it needs to be covered, but like the way the names of rape victims are withheld, I believe the media has to exercise similar restraint when it comes to enacting the final step of spree-killers’ plans for them by making them famous after their unspeakable deeds.

There’s plenty of story to cover here without inspiring the next wave of publicity-seeking, suicidal LOSER to seek their own immortality. Eight innocent people were killed. There’s eight stories that deserve to be told right there. How did the shooter get his gun(s)? There’s a story. Why are guns still as easy to come by for the mentally unbalanced as loose joints at a Phish concert? There’s a story.

I could cover this tragedy for days without ever doing more than referring to the shooter as “the shooter,” and that as infrequently as possible.

Until the responsible, big-money media – I’m looking at you, CNN, General Electric, Viacom, Time-Warner, et al – stops playing into these LOSERS’ hands, we’re only going to see more of this kind of event.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims. The victims are the people whose stories deserve to be told, whose lives should never have been snuffed out during a trip to the mall. These peoples’ names will never be as familiar as their killer’s. Their stories will never be told; in no time, they’ll be forgotten by everyone but their loved ones, while their murderer’s story will be told over and over again on the front pages of our newspapers and the first five minutes of the evening news. Not to mention the saturation coverage the 24-hour news nets love to lavish on this kind of story.

OJ, where are you when we need you?

I would like to read into the record the names of the victims, since you may not see them anywhere else for very long:

• Gary Scharf, 48
• John McDonald, 65
• Angie Shuster, 36
• Maggie Webb, 24
• Janet Jorgensen, 66
• Diane Trent, 53
• Gary Joy, 56
• Beverly Flynn, 47

We don’t need the killer’s computer to yield clues about what his problem was. What we need is a news media with the courage to stand up and say “We will not take part in the lionization of the next American spree-killer. We will not publish his photo, cite him by name or tell his life story.” If we remove much of future such killers’ motivation, we may just find ourselves with happier news to cover.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I’m disappointed in GW Bush (…still…)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before...

Having initially brought “honor and integrity” back to the White House by losing the popular vote to Al Gore in 2000, Bush has spent the last 7 years making Bill Clinton’s Presidential prevarications seem like charming white lies, like telling your Mom she looks good in her floor-length leopard-print mumu. Even Bill Clinton’s new fibs, like purporting to have always opposed the Iraq War (see “I’m disappointed in Bill Clinton,” a couple posts down) pale in comparison to the whoppers that the current CIC pukes forth on a daily basis.

He (Bush) even calls press conferences especially to tell his lies. A couple days ago, he had a Q&A with the press in which he claimed to have just learned that Iran had suspended its WMD program in 2003, in spite of the fact that there’s a paper trail a mile wide that he was informed of same at least as long ago as this August.

So, here’s the timeline: Bush is informed in August that Iran is deemed to pose no nuclear threat to the U.S. Two months later, he goes on TV beating the drums of war against Iran, warning us of an impending “World War III” should we not take quick, decisive action against the alleged Persian miscreants.

He leaves his poor press flack twisting in the wind to issue tortured (I mean, enhancedly-interrogated) statements like this one, as reported by CNN: Nor did Bush mislead Americans in October, when he warned of a third world war triggered by Iran's development of nuclear technology, [White House spokesman Dana Perino] said. “The president didn't say we're going to cause World War III,” Perino said. “He was saying he wanted to avoid World War III.”

I guess it depends on what your definition of “President” is...

Obviously, something happened in the last few weeks to make Bush dial back the run-up to the war with Iran that all his chicken-hawk advisors had been pushing, and we’ll probably have to wait till his post-presidency to find out what it was. Perhaps Ms Perino will write a companion piece to former flack’s Scott McClellan’s forthcoming tell-all tome.

Methinks it was pressure from the GOP presidential field, who have enough problems without the prospect of inheriting another no-win desert war from their current Standard-Bearer-in-Chief. I wonder who they sent to the White House to read him the riot act. I’m picturing a “Christmas Carol” scenario, with Richard Nixon as the Ghost of Presidential Scandals Past…

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

For those about to rock...

We salute you!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I’m disappointed in Bill Clinton (...again...)

You’d think I’d be inured to it by now, but no – there’s always a new subbasement of shame waiting around the next corner.

It’s all over the news how the former President said at a campaign event yesterday that he had always been opposed to the Iraq War, and I remember at the time of the run-up to the war, being disappointed that he was among the politicos and talking heads saying that war was not inevitable. Who did they think they were kidding? It was so obvious it was inevitable, and so obvious that if I knew it, he had to have too. To my mind, that made him a de-facto supporter of the war.

I was sure it was some political calculation made way over my head, but it still made me queasy at the time. He was out of office. He didn’t have to lie anymore. (Clearly, I had not given Hillary’s political aspirations the attention at the time that the Clintons already had.)

So that was bad enough. Now he’s out there on the stump, denying having supported the war, which assertion crafty bloggers of all political affiliations will have easy fun producing video and audio clips discrediting. And it comes the same week that Karl Rove went on record that, I kid you not, the Democratic minority in the Congress pushed the White House into the war with Iraq. So now his name and Karl Rove’s can legitimately be spoken in the same breath. (Although, as you can see, still not by me.)

Anyhow… very disappointing. I’m beginning to think that maybe he did, after all, have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinski…

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Discovering Shel Silverstein

Incredible talent. I had only previously known him for adult-oriented fare like “Boy Named Sue” and “The Smoke-Off,” but as the following clip (from “The Johnny Cash Show”) demonstrates, he had a special way with kids’ songs, too. Not only that, but when he sings “A Boy Named Sue” with Cash in this clip, it stops being a novelty song for his verses and becomes something much darker. From April 1, 1970:

video