For those of you who may have wondered just how deep my new wave fandom runs...

Yes, I even love this.


All For Naught

In this Getty image, U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement at the Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe Bay Monday on a failed bid to blow up a US-bound transatlantic airliner on Christmas Day.

These are the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands,
they are not original with me,
If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing
or next to nothing.
If they do not enclose everything they are next to
If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle
they are nothing,
If they are not just as close as they are different
they are nothing.

---Walt Whitman

From the age of six I had a mania for drawing the form of things. By the time I was fifty, I had published an infinity of designs, but all that I have produced before the age of seventy is not worth taking into account. At seventy-three I have learned a little about the real structure of nature, of animals, plants, birds, fishes, and insects. In consequence, when I am eighty, I shall have made more progress, at ninety I shall penetrate the mystery of things, at a hundred I shall have reached a marvelous stage, and when I am a hundred and ten, everything I do, be it a dot or a line, will be alive.


Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

---The Red Queen

It's the time of summing up, and everybody wants to call it The 0 Decade. Zero. But as frustrating and maddening as these first 9 years of the millenium have been, mathematicians and meteorologists agree it takes 10 years to make a decade. So what's a group of 9 called? A nonet. None. Nine. Bah.

Alexander Cockburn's chilly summary at Truthout goes all the way back to 1970, and considers most jarringly what America would NOT be had Hinckley succeeded in killing Reagan. Other reviewers are content to tally up the social nothingness of the Bush 8 out of 9. But Obama is a major target of scrutiny...and that transparency must be getting the full X-ray treatment.

A week ago Sunday, Frank Rich declared Time Magazine's selection of Ben Bernanke as Man (in the sense of huMAN) of the Year was completely off the beam. His choice was Tiger Woods. Why? Because Tiger emerged absolutely as the best conman...and 2009 definitely was the Year of the Con. From Bernie Madoff to John Edwards, everybody was out to pick your pocket. And Obama? You betcha! "Though the American left and right don’t agree on much, they are both now coalescing around the suspicion that Obama’s brilliant presidential campaign was as hollow as Tiger’s public image — a marketing scam designed to camouflage either his covert anti-American radicalism (as the right sees it) or spineless timidity (as the left sees it)."

This morning Maureen Dowd may as well be working for Fox News as she refers to Barack Obama as an emotionless, "disembodied" Mister Spock. The current administration seems to share with the previous that it has the intelligence but doesn't have the intelligence. "If we can’t catch a Nigerian with a powerful explosive powder in his oddly feminine-looking underpants and a syringe full of acid, a man whose own father had alerted the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, a traveler whose ticket was paid for in cash and who didn’t check bags, whose visa renewal had been denied by the British, who had studied Arabic in Al Qaeda sanctuary Yemen, whose name was on a counterterrorism watch list, who can we catch?"

I've had similar concerns about President Obama's performance this year...and I've posted them online. Yesterday morning on the radio, those of us with such doubts got a substantial scolding. It happened on the Stephanie Miller program, a radical piece of broadcasting even by morning show standards. We hear an hour of it every weekday morning, from 10 to 11, on the unlikely WAIS, 770 AM, in the Athens area. I feel an affinity for Stephanie because she also is from the Buffalo area, and has a quality of outrageous zaniness one acquires looking for excitement in Western New York on a Saturday night. I also remember her father fondly, US Representative William E. Miller, a moderate-to-liberal Republican, which was a rarity in Upstate politics. Mr. Miller ran for the vice presidency on Barry Goldwater's ticket in 1964, and Stephanie jokingly ran for president in 2008, with Goldwater's granddaughter as her running mate.

But Stephanie Miller and her whole crew are on holiday this week, so it was a guy subbing for her who took us Obama doubters to task yesterday. His name is Hal Sparks and he seems to show up a lot on her show. He has a rather odd resume so far but I thought his comments were right on. He challenged us grass rooters, who worked so hard last year and then went home after the election and put our feet up. Now we're moaning that after 11 months we haven't gotten what we want yet from Obama, and vowing to vote for Nader next time. Sparks reminds us it's a lot harder to build up after something has been torn down, and the President still needs grass roots support. That doesn't just mean arguing with the rednecks at work. It means encouraging congresspeople who still are in there pitching for the program. It means active engagement with those who aren't. He said the Democratic Party and Barack Obama need even more help from us now than before.

Well, I hadn't thought about it enough that way I guess. So my summary is more along the lines of checking out what campaign promises Obama really made in the summer and fall of 2008. Has he kept to those promises or not? Does he deserve my continued support? To find out I picked up issue 1064 of Rolling Stone which contained an excellent interview with the candidate on the very eve of the election. Interviewing was Eric Bates, one of the many editors of the magazine. I have to confess surprise that Barack Obama has been consistent in setting about to do exactly what he said he would. There isn't sharp focus in the banking area I must say, but clearly the administration now realizes any bailout money has got to go to smaller hometown banks to lend to small business. Americans have got to have jobs and the opening for creation is in the area of renewable energy. Gore has been saying this for a long time, but now we're hearing it from the White House...and such talk has got to be encouraged.

There are things we can do around our towns. Everywhere people are learning about energy audits and how to save money on changing lifestyles and retrofitting buildings and homes. Local schools and churches need community involvement in learning how to do this. People are wondering about sustainability and if you look around, you'll find meetings being held. Attend them. Get involved. That spirit of enthusiasm and optimism we had during the campaign is going on there. Young people are at work and they're spreading the word among peers who still are learning the basics.

The Naughts are gone, and Twenty-Ten is the start of the Teens. It's a time of vigorous growth and development. It's a time of risk. It's the time for dedication to lasting values. It's time to fall in love. It's a wonderful time to be alive. Let's get busy!

(Also posted at


Are we giving robots too much power?

I wouldn't know, sir.

Click here to chat with Talking Animated Fake Captain Kirk

By following the steps in this easy to understand reference guide, you too can Be Your Own Botmaster. The section and subsection headings include:

* Mastering Your First Bot
* Training your bot
* Advanced Alter Response Page
* Using AIML Predicates
* Writing Your Own Predicates
* Playing with Wildcards
* The Ultimate default category
* Targeting
* Pandorabots and Program D
* Pandorabots Embrace & Extend (free sample section)

You will have your bot up and running in no time.

Speaking characters, like these, can be used to say different things to different people, depending on your needs.


Ever see a picture that you know is...

...trying to make you all horny, but instead all you can think of is "girl, that's a really good way to get a splinter in yo' ass"?

I'm just wondering.



I could almost cry.

Ok, you guys know how I'm an old romantic/wave synth-pop fan (Naked Eyes, Human League, etc)? Well, on one of my semi-freeform Google video searches I ran across this guys art project.

He describes it as:
a synthesis of Synthpop music into Pop Art hence the name

Heaven is going to look like this.

A Christmas Tale


Don't get me wrong.

It's not a bad book.

I am talking about the New Testament. The one that contains the four narratives of the life and death of Jesus. You know, Jesus, the guy who put "Christ" into Christian, the guy who was crucified for speaking against the authorities. Not that we care much about the New Testament here in America.

Televangelists have always been more at ease quoting the Old Testament than they have any of the four gospels. And who can blame them? Jesus can be such a troublesome figure---if one really, really must talk about Jesus, much better to talk about "baby Jesus," isn't it? Not the discommodious grown-up who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (mocking the entrance of Caesars and military generals), touched lepers, ate with social outcasts, talked to women during the daytime, and disrupted business activities at the temple (which most bible scholars agree is what got him killed). How much more comfortable a figure "Baby Jesus" is, who has not yet spoken.

But let's not throw out baby Jesus with the bathwater. The Nativity has been known to inspire the best in Man. It's not a bad story and it's not a bad book by half. It's just that on the fourth or fifth reading, knowing the ending, kind of ruins it a bit---like already knowing who's done it at the beginning of an Agatha Christie novel. Don't you just hate it when that happens?





The best bill money can buy!


Our friend Beach Bum did a rather comprehensive review of James Cameron's blockbuster motion picture Avatar over at my place so I won't bore anyone with another one. However I went yesterday and saw the i-Max 3D version. All I can say is: WOW!

I love movies. I love going to movies. I go to the theater to watch those that are "big" with lots of special effects, action, and excitement. I don't go to see those delicious little thoughtful movies, instead I wait until they are released on DVD.

I had read a lot of reviews of Avatar, and couldn't imagine that it was as good as everyone was saying it was. It wasn't. It was better. It was the most stunning visual experience I have ever had. The highly refined 3D coupled with i-Max made for a breathless ride, one I will take time and again. The story is beautiful, but also sad, repeating the age old theme of Earth working very hard to kill all living things in pursuit of a precious metal. In this case, instead of the Indians, it is the indigenous population of a magnificent world that is filled with wonders.

I could go on and on but I am afraid I might spoil it. Let each frame be a surprise. When it ended everyone in the packed theater leapt to their feet and began to applaud, including me. Even if you are not a fan of science fiction and fantasy you can only appreciate this wild and powerful journey into the imagination of James Cameron. Don't miss it. This is well worth a 5 Star Rating....

Cross posted at MadMikes and Hills Country


I don't know who Sen. Reid's got writing for him, but he, she or they is very good

Majority leader Harry Reid's remarks before the vote this morning.

I'm afraid to look for video of him delivering them--I've seen him speak besnore, I mean, before--but his writer(s) is very good.


Things that make me want to hit other things with a baseball bat

Fucking "Did You Hear About the Morgans" is in wide-release.

But The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, I have just spent 15 minutes finding out, does not appear to be opening within 100 miles of here.

It all depends on what the definition of "is" is...

Caption those:


Let's get back to this:

Caption this photo:


A handy tip: When you're giving your infant child a cupcake bigger than their entire torso, it's possible your parenting skills are in question.


You only live twice

Why so surprised?

As any realpolitikian will tell you, the public option never stood a chance.

This is America.

Money is free speech.

And the Health care system affects one-sixth of the U.S. economy.

Now, boys and girls, what is a Senator to do?

What is the Democratic party to do?

Cicero said it well, "the sinews of war are infinite money." Can any political party, in America, interested in preserving and expanding political power do so without the huge financial contribution of the pharmaceutical and health insurance industry?

What was Obama to do? Stand up to special interests and risk to see the GOP---rather than the Democratic Party---be the prime recipient of the industry largess?

Madmike said it well, "Obama is no Harry Potter."

It can't happen here.

Meanwhile in Hoggart:

“Settle down, people,” called Remus Lupin, the current DADA teacher for Hogwarts, who had not—yet—succumbed to the supposed jinx on the position. Then again, Voldemort was dead, so maybe that was it. This class was combined Gryffindors and Slytherins seventh years. The war had had a peculiar effect on inter-House rivalry. On the one hand, it was difficult to hate someone you had worked with, stayed alive with, and risked your life with for the past year. On the other, some Houses, especially Slytherins, had lost many family members at the hands of the Order, many of whom were from Gryffindor. So you had Slytherins who secretly mingled with Gryffindors and Slytherins who hated Gryffindors with all their guts. It was like sneaking out after curfew—you weren’t proud of it, you never talked about it, you despised people who did it, but you did it yourself when no one was looking.

The line between the two Houses, now, were much blurrier, much less defined, but it was still there, as present as any of the students—invincible. Remus sighed and hoped that one day it would disappear.

“Now, I’m going to assume you all know what a boggart is and how to get rid of it.”

The class was silent—

“Sir?” Predictably, it was Neville Longbottom who raised his hand to ask the question that many of them longed to ask but did not dare. He had done this all his life, after all. “I forgot the spell.”

A collective breath of relief passed through the crowd like a gust of wind as they all let out the breaths no one admitted to have been holding. “A good question, Mr. Longbottom. Anyone?”

Remus scanned the crowd for the one hand he knew would pop up.

Sure enough, Hermione Granger’s now scarred hand hit the air and she called out, “Ridikulus!”

“Very good, Miss Granger. Five points to Gryffindor. Now, I am going to call on certain of you to step up and defeat the boggart. Please do not be shy, and refrain from laughing at other students’ fears, unless you would like to be laughed at in turn. Patil, Parvati!”



Tomorrow never dies

Or does it?


The Voice of Reason


Thank you! Thank you for trying to educate them liberal "dogmatist" out there about the reality of politics. It's a tough job but someone's got to do it. Max Baucus could not have said it any better.

Let's face it, most liberal "dogmatists" do not understand realpolitik the way Obama does.

Maybe this will help:

President Obama declared last week on ABC News that without healthcare reform the federal government would go bankrupt.

It's a reality. The Republicans know it. The Democrats know it.

This is the first refreshingly honest words that ever came out of Washington about what the so-called reform is really about. It's not about the people---it never was. It's about $$$.

Enters The Bill:

It's a bill that the Insurance Industry can live with and it will fix a situation that was threatening to become unmanageable for the government---any government.

You've heard it straight from the horse's mouth.

This, essentially, is what the bill is all about.

It's not a progressive bill.

It's not a centrist bill.

It is pretty much to the right of the political spectrum as such bills go.

It's a bill that the GOP could have written and could have been proud to own.

It's a good Republican bill.

Except that had a Republican congress or a Republican president, like say Bush, or even Reagan the great, tried to push such a bill, liberals (and these "dogmatic" leftists that Obama was decrying, and quite possibly Unions) would have been up in arms in the streets.

It took Nixon to go to China.

And it took Obama to shove that bill down the throat of his progressive base.

And ultimately it took Lieberman to put that pesky Public Option to rest---at long last. Well done "brother".

It is more or less the health care plan Max Baucus had introduced three months ago---before, imagine the nerve, congress dared tamper with it to include a public option, much to the White House's chagrin.

It is the bill that the main stream media had been cheer-leading for---the bill Chris Mathew was advocating on MSNBC.

All is well.

Quinty is right, Obama is "not a miracle worker"---he only played one on TV during the presidential campaign.

Obama is a grocery clerk. A store manager. A corporate state administrator whose job it is to take and implement the unpalatable decisions that the GOP wouldn't and couldn't take---what are Democrats for?

Just what the doctor healthcare industry ordered.

Is it wrong that I think this is who we should've sent to negotiate with Republicans and DiNOs??



I would like to beg a favor of the assembled body ...

Drink a toast, if you would, to the memory of my cat, Donovan, who died yesterday morning.

As you can see, he had the color of a fine, Irish cat to go with his fine, Irish name. I did not name either him or my remaining cat, Siouxsie--I inherited them from previous owners.

Donovan was a fuzzy tabby cat with no front claws. He was about 15. He was lot like Sylvester in the cartoons where the clownish pussycat flees from one state of panic to another--I once referred to him as a "little fuzzy embodiment of my id."

As my friend Jen could attest, when we spoke on the phone for much more than a minute, we could always count upon one or both of my cats to come and join me--Donovan typically curled up at my side.

He used to burrow his way in-between me and my ex-girlfriend when we slept spoon-style. Once I woke in the night and was momentarily afraid--"Oh, we're crushing Donovan!"

I moved back to look and I never saw him happier in my life: Purr, purr, "Hi, Ben! It's warm here!"


Anyone for a Kucinich/Dean (or Dean/Kucinich, I'm not fussy) third-party ticket in 2012?

Rahm Emanuel: Don’t Worry About the Left

The White House has its liberal wing in hand on health care, says White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

BTW, something else to notice about that article: The writer reuses a canard that got a lot of focus after Ted Kennedy died, namely that
The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s greatest regret was not cutting a deal with Richard Nixon on universal health care.

But a Kennedy historian or two have argued...
It’s False To Conclude Kennedy Would Have Ditched Public Option For Compromise

“Kennedy was sorry that they didn’t reach an agreement” and that both sides “never reached closure,” [Adam] Clymer told our reporter, Amanda Erickson. He dismissed the idea that Kennedy regretted not giving up enough: “That’s not the same thing at all.”

“He was always anxious to reach an agreement,” Clymer said, “but that didn’t mean any agreement.”

Emphasis mine.

Completing a "Caption this Photo" threesome

"That's strange," thought Tara Reid, "Standing here among all these things which have clearly been picked up, thrown down the gutter and hung out to dry seems so...familiar, somehow."


It could happen



Honest Scrap!

The last bastion of sanity:

I am sorry, what is that that you are mumbling, Glib?

What are you saying, Senator?

I have got news for you, Senator; there is an election coming up in 2010. And another one in 2012, Glib. We soon shall see who is a "rational" or an irrational person, and what is "irresponsible" or not.

How gullible exactly do you think people truly are , anyway?

Here is one comment I picked up on the blogosphere:

I wonder how many more like him there are, out there, who are feeling betrayed.

There is a storm brewing up.



Caption this photo, too


Can't even shout . . .

Can't even cry . . .

In the end there was really only just one plan, wasn't it?

And it pretty much comes down to this:

Mandated coverage for everyone!

An Insurance Industry's wet dream:

No public option! And the fox pretty much gets to guard the chicken coop.

Well done everyone. Stellar performances on both sides of the aisle!

That's what the plan had been all along, hadn't it?

For one minute or two, there, one could almost believe that we were actually witnessing the working of an actual representative democracy in action---the performers were that good!

Will Max Baucus be considered for best congressional actor in a supporting role? He has earned it.

Or should the award go to Joe Lieberman?

What sayest thou?

Plot Summary:
The Gentlemen have captured the voice of the population of Sunnydale. In accordance with a legend, the creatures will be destroyed if a lady screams, in the meantime people must go on---struggling voicelessly.



Caption this photo

"It's not easy being green...!"


Caption this photo

"Climb every mountain...!"