Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't do it like this

Tomorrow is All Hallow's Eve, when all the ghoulies and ghosties are out. If your school or work allows you to dress up when you go in, go wild. But not like this unknown comic.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Police say a Halloween getup apparently caused a scare that led to a search at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

Police searched the campus Wednesday night after receiving a report of a man with a gun.

Authorities concluded the man, who was dressed in military fatigues and had his face painted, was likely toting a plastic pistol as part of a costume.

Campus police spokeswoman Milissa Wright says authorities were called about 8:30 p.m. after a report of a suspicious man at Maucker Union, where a costume party was being held.

Wright says police didn't find the man. But after interviewing witnesses, they believe he was carrying a fake gun.

Yeah, real fatigues and fake gun. That'll make some people edgy. And sometimes security is actually on top of things like this. So if "Travis Bickle" is on your list of potential costumes, see what's right after it.

And for a greeting, stick with "Happy Halloween!", "Trick or treat," and a simple "Boo!" Not, "God has chosen me as his earthly instrument of retribution." It's kind of wordy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Know your plumbers

The pipes in your house give off this ominous gurgling sound every ten minutes. When you flush the toilet, the water level in the bathtub rises. That ain't good, but who do you call?

This plumber has his hands full now. He may be available in about a week's time. There may be a hitch with his paperwork, though.

This plumber is currently more focused on actual plumbing. Once you've made a joking reference to him being the other plumber, he'll probably expect you to move on.

This plumber would be pleasantly surprised if you told him you needed him to "snake your drain" in a suggestive moan.

Hope we've been of service.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

heads up

Just a lack of service advisory here. Things are happening on All Hallow's Eve which may prevent me from doing the Friday Random Ten. Nothing bad, I assure you. But I may not have the time that day it often takes to tabulate (secret recipe.) Ah, but this week we may see a Saturday Random Ten. Don't want to jinx it, though.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Com-Ick! Factor

So "Batman, R.I.P" continues. One interesting aspect is that this time the Dark Knight's downfall appears to be caused not by a brokeded back but rather by a Freudian return of the repressed. Specifically, the man pulling the strings on his doom seems to be his own father, long thought dead. That dad may be alive, that he seems to suspect Bruce is the product of Alfred/Mrs. Wayne monkeysex, that he has been stalking his vigilante son all through out the latter's life... These are heavy things for any man to bear.

IGN says of Batman # 680, "it's not for the squeamish." The Joker--not too surprisingly--has been roped into the plot. At one point he DEAR GOD HE SLICES HIS OWN TONGUE IN HALF WITH A STRAIGHTRAZOR! IT'S NOT RIGHT. Making it wronger is the fact that he keeps on talking! As if it were the most natural thing in the world. If you're self-preservation instincts even allow you to do this, you won't say anything more complex than "mmph mmph." So I'm chalking this one up to Bats hallucinating. Grant too, but that goes without saying.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Chille Autumne Friday Random Ten

The landlord turned on the heat today. That means that when I take my socks and underwear off the radiator in the morning now, they'll be toasty warm. A counterintuitive aspect of late Fall/Winter. Anyway, back to the music.

1. The White Stripes--Little Ghost
2. Sly & the Family Stone--You Can Make It If You Try
3. The Kinks--Lazy Old Sun
4. Tom Waits--Blue Valentines
5. Radiohead--Kid A
6. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley--Never Will I Marry
7. The Sons of the Pioneers--Wind
8. Dressy Bessy--Extra-Ordinary
9. Ladytron--I'm Not Scared
10. Soul Coughing--Lazybones

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Character building weather

The temperature has dropped quite a bit in the past couple of weeks, and we've had at least one below-freezing night. So I was looking on thinkexist for appropriate cold weather quotes, and came across this gem from Shakespeare.
Two women placed together makes cold weather.

I don't get it. So this is what an MFF threesome is like? What the hell was that friend of mine bragging about?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

From the woodwork they came

At the close of a pretty comprehensive post on the extremist right's media's reaction to probable Obama victory, David Corn writes:

Some of these attacks do seem silly and are probably designed more to squeeze money out of paranoid rightwing contributors than to sway swing voters. (Don't vote for Obama because he will let Soros loot the US treasury?) But they are something of a warning: if Obama wins, this is the tenor of the conservative opposition he will face right out of the box: sensationalized, racialized, apocalyptic, and crazy.

Well, yeah. Some of that happened with Clinton, and he was a white Southerner. The nineties, though, may have been just a faint foreshadowing. If visiting your sick grandmother only makes you more evil, you're not dealing with people who even see you as human.

Put it this way: don't be too surprised if in a few months you see the president being hanged and burned in effigy while fundamentalist clerics whip up the crowds. In Iran, Idaho, or both.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Having a doo-dah dog time

This is Neil Innes, one of the founders of the Bonzo Dog Band.

This particular song, "Catch Phrase", I remember differently. It was a toe-tapping piano number when he recorded it. This TV appearance he's gone in a Teddy boy punk direction. Apparently he liked/likes to keep the audience on its toes.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy glitch day! It's the Friday Random Ten

Wow man. Had Little China-style big trouble with Explorer tonight. Every time I opened it, Windows would close it again. Solved the problem by disabling the phishing filter, but it's no wonder so many people pree-fur other browsers.

With no further ado.

1. --Bob Dylan's 115th Dream
2. Tito Puente--Mambo Diablo
3. The Velvet Underground--All Tomorrow's Parties
4. Nat King Cole--The Very Thought of You
5. David Bowie--Queen Bitch
6. Beach House--Saltwater
7. Dressy Bessy--Little TV
8. Radiohead--The National Anthem
9. Animal Collective--Cuckoo, Cuckoo
10. Neko Case--Mood to Burn Bridges

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Leading the blind

A friend of mine wanted to see if he could write a short story, which is something I sometimes do. After a bit of back and forth I gave him an assignment, nearly at random. He's working on that, and tonight I was sort of talking him through the rough spots.

Strange because I'm completely unpublished myself. Those who can't do, teach? Well, I think I can do, and I think I've gotten better recently. But it's an interesting project, bringing my wisdom to someone who foolishly asked for it.

Woody Allen said those who can't teach teach gym. It's hard to picture myself...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Two lines, no some waiting

Being a fan of comic strip deconstruction, I've started my own blog in that vein. It's called I, Snuffy. Basic premise: Snuffy Smith, the hillbilly petty thief and erratically lucky gambler, is actually a Bond level supervillain. He's biding his time by maintaining an unimpressive Appalachian front, and all the while his genius level intellect laughs maniacally.

This is partly inspired by Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible, a superhero/supervillain novel that for me aroused more sympathy for the villain. (The greenhorn superheroine who narrates isn't bad, but most of the rest of them are insufferable. Popular kids who never lost the sense of superiority.) But it's also based on the idea that the people who you may be quickest to dismiss have raging hidden depths, for better and for worse.

Anyway, that's my "other self" for as long as I can keep it going.

Monday, October 13, 2008

"I don't think we're in Bangalore anymore, Toto"

Here's a neat little tidbit. Bollywood studios are shooting a couple of films in Philadelphia. It's not that unusual for movies to be shot in any big city, of course. And Philadelphia is home to falling star auteur M. Night Shyamalan, who's done a lot of his shooting in the are. Still, filmmaking in Hindi. That is different.

Wherever she is now, I'm sure Enid approves.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Indian Summer-y Friday Random Ten

1. Beach House--Master of None
2. Nat King Cole--That Sunday, That Summer
3. The Kinks--Waterloo Sunset
4. The Beatles--Helter Skelter
5. Neko Case--Mood to Burn Bridges
6. Sly & the Family Stone--Sing a Simple Song
7. Talking Heads--The Overload
8. Beck--Profanity Prayers
9. Sarah Vaughan--Lazy Afternoon
10. Roxy Music--Angel Eyes

The mildish weather seems to go hand-in-hand with the pantheistic-type songs that popped up. This includes the Nat Cole, Kinks, and Sarah Vaughan selections. Sassy is not singing the Kinks' "Lazy Afternoon", although that might be interesting. I have heard Tom Jones do it.

UPDATE: Let there be video! Here's Baltimore's finest, Beach House.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

On watch

"The visionary director of 300"? Seriously?

I liked Zack Snyder's remake of Dawn of the Dead, but it was a fun ride, not an imaginative breakthrough. (Not that the two are mutually exclusive.) Now George Romero, who started the whole ball rolling on the living dead, he might count as a visionary. Snyder has gone on to direct two painstakingly faithful (by the looks of the trailer) graphic novel adaptations. If he's had an original thought, he's wisely kept it to himself.

I am sort of curious about the actors involved, who seem to have something at stake. For example, depending on how this works out, Jeffrey Dean Morgan could join the ranks of great Big Scary Character Actors. Think Ron Perlman and Clancy Brown. In fact I could see the three of them uniting for a project called "The Three Stooges Kick Ass." 'Course it would take a while to decide who gets to be Moe.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

We win. So, like, where's our prize?

From the frequently incisive snark of's Jeff Huber:

Like her prospective boss John McCain, Sarah speaks of "victory" in Iraq as if such a thing could be conjured.

Here's what would qualify as a victory in Iraq: Saddam Hussein meets young Mr. Bush on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, and sits at a table in front of the ship's island, under the sign that says "Mission Accomplished," and writes his name on a bunch of papers that say the U.S. can establish permanent military bases in his country and take all the oil there and our soldiers and mercenaries and civilian contractors can pull any kind of shenanigans they want in Iraq and the puppet Iraqi government we set up can't do anything about it.

Unfortunately, that can't happen because Saddam Hussein is dead. Too bad none of the war experts at neocon central thought about needing somebody to surrender to us when we went off half-cocked and did that regime change stuff. Or maybe somebody at neocon central did think of that and didn't say anything. Too bad either way, huh?

I thought of this a long time ago. Was the assumption that without Saddam in his palace--without him breathing, for that matter--armed Iraqi resistance would just take a long nap? That everyone would fall behind a government that the Sunnis still don't trust? The neocons started drawing up Iraq invasion plans basically as soon as Poppy Bush pulled out the first time. That didn't make the plans good.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A peeling image

Man, sorry, but I've got to get some shut-eye. But before I go, a whazzup to Worth1000. They seem to have some useful Photoshop tutorials, which will come in handy if I ever get that program. (Mulling it over.) But really, I have to appreciate any site that brought me this.

Tropical fruit with wings. That's gonna stay with me.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

You want a war?

It should be obvious now. John McCain is not interested in running an honorable campaign. If he were, Sarah Palin would not be on the ticket. The running mate is basically Roy Cohn in heels. Bear witness.

No ramp-up time was needed for Palin, fresh off last Thursday night’s debate. She hit the ground in Colorado and California, ’spittin’ fire’ as the folksy governor might say.

“Our opponent … is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country,” she said, referring to a co-founder of the 1960s-era Weather Underground, an organization the FBI labeled as a domestic terrorist group.


In discussing Obama and Ayers, Palin cited the newspaper that the McCain-Palin campaign regards as a foe.

“I get to bring this up not to pick a fight, but it was there in the New York Times, so we are gonna talk about it,” she said. “Turns out one of Barack’s earliest supporters is a man who, according to the New York Times, and they are hardly ever wrong, was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that quote launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and US Capitol. Wow. These are the same guys who think patriotism is paying higher taxes.”


In an email to reporters, Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan condemned Palin’s remarks and included a listing of media outlets that dispute the charge of any meaningful relationship between the two men.

“Governor Palin’s comments, while offensive, are not surprising, given the McCain campaign’s statement this morning that they would be launching Swiftboat-like attacks in hopes of deflecting attention from the nation’s economic ills. In fact, the very newspaper story Governor Palin cited in hurling her shameless attack made clear that Senator Obama is not close to Bill Ayers, much less ‘pals,’ and that he has strongly condemned the despicable acts Ayers committed 40 years ago, when Obama was eight.”

What she just said is, "Obama is a terrorist loving traitor." And you know what? It's not just her. It's McCain. It's Steve Schmidt who = Karl Rove by way of American History X. No one goes this far off-message in a campaign. A gaffe will take you a few degrees away from what you're supposed to say. It won't take you this far onto the dark side unless you were already there.

And no, shaking your head and saying, "We're disappointed but not surprised," is not an adequate response. It's a start, but this is a threat and an opportunity.

Gunter glieben glauten .

Someone in Obama's broad social circle engaged in revolutionary violence forty years ago. Obama and Bill Ayers aren't thumb-texting BFFs, but whatever.

Another group is encouraging terrorism NOW and giving aid to McCain/Palin NOW. The Clarion Fund are no better than the Weather Underground were. They are savvy enough not to get convicted of anything themselves.

Obama has done pretty well playing it cool. Good for him. But the GOP's #2 pointperson is rallying their troops with the sleaziest brand of propaganda. For precedent's sake, someone needs to stick it back in their faces. Deliver us from evil.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Random Ten with an arresting image

A pretty fun mix of tunes today. Not sure if there's a running theme or not.

1. David Bowie--Oh! You Pretty Things
2. Barenaked Ladies--The Old Apartment
3. Talking Heads--Houses in Motion
4. Neko Case--We've Never Met
5. Stanley Brothers--Hey! Hey! Hey!
6. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley--Save Your Love for Me
7. Ladytron--Tomorrow
8. Brian Eno--Dead Finks Don't Talk
9. The Fiery Furnaces--Paw Paw Tree
10. Beck--Youthless

If your puzzled about the picture overhead, that's a recent Beetle Bailey reworked by Angry Kem at Japes for Owre Tymes, and she's got plenty more where that came from.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ultimate sidekick showdown!

Given the nature of the running mate position, a VP debate is as much a cheap shot contest as a policy session. Nay, more. By that standard Joe Biden does better than John Edwards did in the last election. Sarah Palin did just fine, by her standards. Yes, she basically is Tina Fey's caricature of her. Yes, she padded her responses with "maverick" this, "Joe Sixpack" that, and "hockey mom" the other thing. And yes, if Biden smirked as much as she's been doing he'd be crucified. (And that still might happen. Stay tuned.) But she knows her job is to throw out raw meat, not to tell you the nutritional content. The base Republicans who perked up when she was selected certainly got their jollies tonight.

Biden has been good and statesmanlike. Iraq is a vulnerability here, because while he and Obama are mostly on the same page now, Biden was one of the "responsible" leaders who helped sell the war in the first place, and part of the reason Democrats haven't been cohesive on it. The Republican message is "we're kicking ass, so let's keep kicking it." It's sort of delusional, but makes it easy to stay on message.

He did slap her to the ground on the issue of meeting with enemies, which is good. She had said that Obama wanted to meet with Ahmedinejad, and that it "goes beyond naivete." So she came pretty close to daring call it treason, and no doubt her fans will make the leap. So it's good that he pointed out that Ahmedinejad doesn't even control the state security forces. (In fact, the myth of the all powerful Iranian president is pretty damn new. Quick, name the guy who was president before him.)

Anyway, The Office should be back next week, so that's cool.