Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Baloney, Anyone?

This post could be called "It's Okay If You're A Republican - Number 5,325."

Or - "Do They Even Hear What Comes Out of Their Mouths?"

You probably heard the news - Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn) is about to become a D-Penn Sen. (Depends wearing Senator? Maybe...) He'll be about as good at that as he was at being a Republican, which is so-so, but it's fascinating to watch the Republican/conservative response.

Rush says "Frack him and the calliope he rode in on," basically, while Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn seem to think they are actually Dems and the year is 2006. Check out their goofy, they-obviously-don't-hear-themselves-talking remarks.

McConnell: "I think the threat to the country presented by this defection really relates to the issue of whether or not in the United States of America our people want the majority to have whatever it wants without restraint, without a check or a balance...I think the danger of that for the country is that there won't automatically be an ability to restrain the excess that is typically associated with big majorities and single-party rule."

Dang, Mitch - wish you'd said that a few years ago, when Rove was touting his "Permanent Republican Reich" and wet-dreaming about single-party rule in Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court and all the federal courts. Not to mention dog-catcher and town drunk.

And here's Cornyn, dreaming up with twisted Texan reasoning a vision of the 2010 election and a"potentially unbridled Democrat super-majority versus the system of checks-and-balances that Americans deserve."

Now you know how the rest of us felt in '06, John. Take Arlen's example to heart and join the real Americans, boys, the ones fighting for the future, for change, for the betterment of the nation as a whole and for the many not just the few. It feels good.

UPDATE: Only took him a couple of days, but looks like Ol' Arlen has turned coat again. Today he voted with all of his Republican buddies to screw American homeowners who are facing bankruptcy. Nice job, Specter. You're a bastard. Rot in hell. (Oh, and take the Dems who caved to the banking interests with you. Frack you all.)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Recommended Hearing

I know I haven't given kids the music you'd rather have over the political rants of late, so here's some other sites you might want to check out if your live boot fix needs more fixing.

Quality Bootz - Recent name and URL change, but an excellent source for lossless (FLAC) boots, though of the more mainstream variety, ie plain old classic rock and pop. Not too much in the way of punk and psychedelia exceptin' some great Pink Floyd. Lots of Floyd. And tons of Neil Young. I recommend the Budokan '76. A gnarly vintage with a rusty aftertaste - smoooooth!!!

Viva las Bootlegs - High bit-rate MP3 boots. More on the metal/hard rock/classic rock side. I've found some great Hawkwind shows here. And Devo! Great Devo! Get the Devo!

I'll see what else I can dig up for you...

Sunday, April 26, 2009


The Great Secessionist, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, is crying to the federal government for help now that he has a problem.

Gosh, but I thought he didn't want to be part of OUR country anymore...

File this under "It's Okay If You Are A Republican" and have another beer. I'm gonna.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Little Boys and Presidents

As parents, My Smart Wife and I have been trying to teach our son one very important lesson his entire life. He's pretty tired of hearing about it by now, we're sure.

Most Important Lesson #1: Actions have consequences.

We've talked and reasoned and sometimes snapped and barked about this for fourteen years. Everything you do, we've tried to teach him, has a repercussion - for good or bad. So be careful what you do and think about your actions carefully before you make them. If circumstances force you to act quickly, then make sure you think about that act afterwards - especially if the results were negative.

Simple request for President Obama: Don't make us liars to our son.

As parents, we've fought eight years against the example of a President who believed there were no consequences to actions, supported by a Congress of both parties that allowed him to believe this.

It wasn't easy. Not when President Bush would do something so transparently wrong that our then nine year-old boy could look at us and ask, "Why is he doing that? Why doesn't someone tell him this is wrong?" Often but not always unspoken was the follow-up question: "Why isn't there a consequence to his actions?"

Little boys and Presidents both need to know that there are consequences to actions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Moment of Silence

Given our collective attention span of about 25 seconds, I know this is a long clip to endure. But you should watch for several reasons.

One is to hear Ari Fleischer condemn the American people as too unqualified and too ignorant to make moral and ethical decisions about "what is and isn't torture." That's best left to their betters, to experts, he believes.

Second reason: To watch same Fleischer go all deer-in-the-headlights still and silent when asked why, if waterboarding isn't torture ("and it isn't" says Ari!), Japanese soldiers were executed by the United States for this same act committed by them against POWs during World War II. Seriously, he just sits and stares. I would never play poker with him after watching this, because you have no idea what's going on in his head, until he speaks again.

And that's the third reason: Fleischer lets loose with the slimiest off-the-cuff schoolyard-mentality obfuscation you've ever heard. It goes along the lines of "Well, so, you're just mad and stupid, and uh, the same at you guys! So there!" I expected him to ask for his ball back.

[A Daily Kos diarist has this up, too, with transcript.]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The NEW Boys Next Door

According to the right, boys like this are "decent, hard-working, patriotic Americans." Let this sink in. Nazi skinheads are the new Brady Bunch.

Why? Because a report ordered by the Former Regime (remember them? the torture guys?) but recently leaked to the media (bad media! bad!!!) says they might be a little bit scary and kind of a threat to the safety of the country. And this has Republicans hopping mad, because there is no way on earth that kindly, gentle souls like these absolutely ordinary Americans could ever be dangerous. Who ever heard of a bad Nazi?

If you only suspected that the Republicans were scary and racist before, then I think you're suspicions are confirmed.

The right is playing every race card in the book at every dirty level to smear Obama and incite anger and hatred and violence. Even if it means coddling Nazis.

Contempt is too nice a word for what we should be feeling about tactics like this.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Stupid Cows!

Why a basic ignorance of and disdain for scientific knowledge may yet kill us all.

This Is the End, My Friends...

Newt has it right!

He's enraged! I'm enraged! You're enraged! We're all enraged!

President Obama - I can barely bring myself to type the words - has smiled during a photo op!!!

The audacity of smiling - can you believe it! At another world leader! And not just one, but dozens of them. I hear he smiled at every single one of them when their photos were taken together. It makes you sick, doesn't it? Me, I'm throwing up as I type.

Okay, then, it's official...Obama has destroyed America. Grab what you can and run for the hills because it's all over folks. Last one to leave please turn out the light.

See you in hell.

The Death of JG Ballard Considered Simply as Death

JG Ballard has left the planet.

Three writers shaped my world view: William S. Burroughs, Philip K. Dick and J.G. Ballard. Now they are all gone.

Ballard's ability to envision the heart of human suffering in the landscapes of the modern world was unparalleled. He let us see pain and loss in empty swimming pools and dusty bunkers, in rusted rocket gantries and decaying highways. Inner and outer spaces, private and public, were laid out by Ballard with surgical precision.

We have to be very grateful that we had a writer like J.G. Ballard, that he came and did the work he did and left us not just with pages of words but with more precise tools and abilities to understand our world. Ballard was a scientist of literature and the human condition.

We're gonna miss him a lot.

[If you have time, please visit Rick McGrath's outstanding website devoted to Ballard. It is a tremendous work and well worth your time. I stole the cover scan above from it.]

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Song Remains the Same

A good song is a good song. Here's one that I think is good even when I do it in my basement.

Iggy doin' "Pablo..."

Cale doin' "Pablo..."

Bowie (?!?) doin' "Pablo..."

And Jonathan...

My favorite memory of this song: Singin' along to it with Javier Escovedo after a True Believers' gig at O'Cayz Corral in, I think, summer of '84. Some college-girl-punkchick from UW-Whitewater and her friends who'd seen the 'Believers the night before had followed them up to Madison and after the show they pulled their big old sedan up to the curb illegally (the whole street was torn up for construction at the time and blocked off), threw open the backdoor, pulled a boombox out, and we sat on the curb and sang along to Jonathan.

That was the night I was reborn in rock 'n' roll and gave myself over to the power and the glory that is three chords and a beat.


Friday, April 17, 2009

The Teabagger's Manifesto

The above document was found in a large steel vault along with thousands of copies of same in the year 2525 by archaeologists Zager & Evans while excavating a large bunker-like structure in what was once known as the "United States of America," specifically in a region called "Nebraska." Little is known about "Nebraska" or what a "Teabagger" may have been, but no human remains were found along with the document. Given the nature of the text, scholars are puzzled. They can only conclude that whatever individual or group prepared this document, while strident in propounding upon their beliefs, they lacked the conviction of their words.

TRANSCRIPT of "The Teabagger's Manifesto"

I, [Crazy, Angry, Bitter, Racist, Deluded SOB], do hereby declare that I shall never, during the remaining span of my life, ever accept or receive any aid, comfort, sustenance or protection from the government of the United States of America. Neither shall I drive upon its federally-funded Interstates nor shall I fly in its federally-regulated skies, nor shall I drink its federally-mandated clean waters or breathe its similarly clean air; never shall I seek the protection of its armed forces, no matter how many Mexicans or Canadians may threaten me; and I will never again whine and cry about my tax dollars being used to help repair roads and bridges, to build hospitals, to educate children, to protect our borders and defend us against our enemies.

Instead, I shall curl up into a ball and die because there is no way I can survive in this nation by agreeing to the above.

Goodbye, cruel world!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

When Reality Hits...Duck!

The South Rises Again

I've been waiting for years to announce this: Secession!

No, I'm not seceding from the Union, much as I thought about it during the previous Regime. It's coming from...wait for it...a SOUTHERN STATE!

Wow. Bet you never thought that'd happen again, eh? Almost hard to believe.

Yesterday, at one of the silly tea-bag parties in his state, Rick Perry, current Grand Dragon (sorry - Governor!) of Texas, made inflammatory remarks suggesting that Texas might want to secede from the Union. Why? Because Rick Perry is already running a really tight race against a Democratic challenger in next year's gubernatorial race and he needs to rile up his fellow klansmen (sorry - base!) to a bloody, fever pitch as soon as possible. Perry told his racist (sorry - rabid! Hmm, no, I meant what I wrote) listeners that Texas has the historical right to leave the Union whenever it wants, that being part of a deal Texas struck with the Federales when it joined the Union.

Problem: The Governor is wrong. Texas never had that right, though I've often heard it mentioned in the grand mythology that Texans wrap themselves with rather than deal with reality and historical fact. What they have is a bizzare deal struck in the middle of the 19th century that lets Texas split itself into four additional new states if it wants to (keeping the original). Given the vast imaginative range Texans generally display, I imagine they would name them East Texas, West Texas, North Texas...

Another Problem:
Gov. Perry is tapping into a deep and bitter well of hatred when he says crap like this. And he knows it. He can't be a total moron (even though he is from Texas). He knows that he is appealing to every Confederate-loving racist son-of-a-bitch in the South when he says this. He may never mention it again but he did his job - he told his good ol' boys who were listening, who could hear the call and decode the code, that he wasn't going to put up with that uppity so-and-so in the White House and that he wants every red-blooded white Southern man to stand by him in his fight.

I'm only surprised he didn't make his statement leaning suggestively against a large tree, dangling a rope from one hand.

CORRECTION: I wrote, because I read a couple stories too fast, that Perry is getting serious challenge from a Dem - but I'm wrong. It's from Kay Bailey Hutchison. No wonder the sad sack has to rally the troops so hard...he might get beat by a skirt!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Did You Honk For Higher Taxes Today?

Happy Tax Day, kids! Are you celebrating? If you hurry, you may still have time because I hear there that there is a new Republican sensation sweeping the nation today: tea parties. Evidently, HUNDREDS of people are attending. Literally hundreds! Wow. I didn't know Republicans liked tea so much.

But aside from drinking tea and eating cucumber sandwiches and swapping doily stories, these party goers are mad as heck! About what, you ask? Well, President Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthy, it seems, and these decent middle and working class folks are hopping mad about it. They cannot stand to see their wealthy, monocled betters taxed as high as they were during Ronald Reagan's two terms of endearment. (Less actually).

Good for them, I say! Somebody has to stand up and defend the wealthy. They only have battalions of lawyers and hired goons to do it for them. The poor and the working poor need to band together in support of the insanely-monied and their vested interests before its too late for this country!

So, if it's not yet high noon where you live, go and honk your horn to support your local plutocrat. It's past noon where I am and I didn't hear a single horn outside. People just don't care about the needs and feelings of the über-rich like they used to in my town.

Makes me sad to be an Amerikan.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nutwingia Uber Alles

After years of staged troop photo ops and carefully pre-screened audiences at town hall meetings under the Bush Regime, it's hard for the freepers and wingnuts of the right to believe that anyone could ever be genuinely excited to meet President Obama unless they were just as carefully vetted and set up in advance.

See, the latest wildfire wingnut meme is that Obama's jubilant reception by our troops while overseas was a fake. Evidently, only soldiers who voted for Obama were allowed at the front of the hall and they were all given the same digital camera model to wave around while they pretended to be happy and take pictures of the President. What'd they ask the soldier who hugged him to do?

Problem is, the "evidence" they put forth is crazy wrong. Over at Red State they have a photo "proof" of this scam...but I count at least a half-dozen digital camera models in the picture. And there are probably more, given how much these things look alike. Their only other "proof" is an email from a disgruntled soldier who tells the story of the scam. If this soldier is real. I need a photo of him to believe it.

Well, I thought it'd be fun to join Red State and politely suggest they all take a remedial math course, but I guess one has to be vetted and approved before one can comment on Red State. I made myself an account, but now I have to wait an unspecified period before I can comment.

It's their way of keeping the nutjobs at bay, I guess.

BTW, anyone can comment here. Feel free...

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Books Next to My Bed, Part II

Once upon a time, when he was only five years old, the 'monkey was strolling happily beside his mother through the local Prange Way store when they turned a corner upon a wire rack display of paperback books. Books that scared the crap out of him! Cover after cover of hideous skulls crawling with worms and things like the rat-man! Scared he was, very scared. And totally fascinated. He never forgot those book covers.

The above is a true story. It was what made me a lifelong fan of HP Lovecraft, though the I didn't read anything by him for at least another five years when my Grandpa Monkey bought me a beat-to-crap paperback copy of The Tomb at a flea market in Merrimac, Wisconsin. On the Fourth of July. I read the title story on the boat ride back to Grandpa's cottage on the lovely shores of Lake Wisconsin. (Click here to make some sense of this sentence). And it scared the crap out of me!

HPL doesn't scare me (much) anymore, but I am obsessed with the cover art and will buy any edition of Lovecraft prior to 1980 just for the art even if I already own two or three (or six editions) of the book. At any given moment there are usually two or three different HPL titles on my bedside table, just to be there when the urge hits. And hit it frequently does. The horrifying need for tales of Lovecraftian cosmic horror and eldritch New England sorcery are an itch that must be scratched sometimes.

Atop this horrifying pile right now is another tale of dread and fear, Dagon, the classic 1968 re-imagining of the Lovecraftian mythos by Southern novelist/poet/short story master Fred Chappell. It's not always been an easy book to find and I didn't get my hands on a copy until 1991. Read it. Loved it. Lost it. (Actually loaned it to a friend. A friend who taught me never to loan books, just to give them away. If they never come back, there is no harm done and no hard feelings).

I've haunted used bookstores searching out another copy for years without success, but finally I broke down last month and ordered a reprint paperback because I had to read it again. It's a stunning little piece of psycho-sexual horror, wrapping Lovecraftian themes up in a Southern Gothic tradition that makes absolute perfect sense. Just creepy as hell. And though it's one of the best non-Lovecraft penned pieces of Lovecraftian fiction, Lovecraft would've hated it. The sex would've killed him. (Not that terribly graphic today but by the standards of 1968 it was pretty racy and it still manages to be a little disturbing because it's creepy sex and not good or wholesome at all).

Anything by Fred Chappell is good for your head, kids. He's wicked smart, funny, weird and a helluva writer. I don't normally give myself to writers of a "literary ilk" because I've so often been disappointed by the lack of imagination these highly praised lit-types have. All style, no substance, no idea. But I cannot say that about Chappell. Support your local library and check out Chappell. (Pronounced like "Nurse Chapel" from Star Trek, I'm told by another writer I once knew who actually knows FC).

Food of the Gods

It's taken me only about 15 years, but I finally got my recipe for red beans and rice down right. And I'm so excited, I'm just going to give it away to the world!
Monkey Beans & Rice

1 1/2 lbs. red beans (sorted, washed, quick soaked, drained)
6 cups hot water
2 whole jalapenos (poke holes in them with a knife)
2-3 celery stalks (diced)
5 dried bay leaves
1 tsp. ancho pepper powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chipotle pepper powder
1 c. chorizo sausage (browned, drained)
As indicated, do a quick soak on your beans first, then after draining put in a large crockpot. Add the hot water (cold will halt the cooking process - microwave or boil it to a decently hot temperature but not boiling). Add remaining ingredients except for chorizo. Cover, turn crockpot to high and let simmer for 2-3 hours. Add chorizo, stir and cook another hour. Stir occasionally. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Serve over rice with fresh cilantro and a good sour cream on the side. Tabasco optional (though preferred).

This is even better the next day. Enjoy, kidz!

OPTIONS: Add more jalapenos and spices if you want it hotter, but it's so hard to tell how hot a jalapeno will be without trying it first. I love it really hot, but this recipe was plenty for me without any extra. You can also add onions, but I rarely cook with them. They can upset the tummy sometimes.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ultimate Catholic Smackdown Fun

I must admit, Pat Buchanan has given me much pleasure in the last year or two. His odd ability to vacillate (with pico-second precision) between the unreal/insane and the precisely logical and perceptive has fascinated and entertained me.

Today is no exception. It's long, but worth it. Watch Pat, an ardent Catholic, declare dead and gone the concept of papal infallibility. It's sweet, kids, totally sweet.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What Would Muhammad Do?

Don't ever, ever, ever try and tell me that organized religion is a good thing. Ever. It is a lie and a delusion, an excuse merely to control and to impose one's will upon another... that at its best. Like a church bake sale, maybe. At its worst, it is something like this. And let's not forget this.

If we are to survive as a species, we have to rid ourselves of these delusions of childhood, these myths and lies that we created so long ago to help us understand the night and the thunder and the lightning, to make sense of a world we didn't have yet have the tools to properly measure and understand.

We have to grow up. Or die.

PS Lest you think I only object to one particular organized religion...

PPS Lordy, but it never ends...Time passes and I find yet another reason to dump on organized religion - the lies.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Yowzers! Looks like the Cheney Virus (you know, the one that turns you into a heartless, soulless, purveyor of pure evil - that one!) has infected the entire Republican party, at least if this fellow's reading of their new budget plan for America is at all accurate. And it probably is.

(Just look at what it did to that poor little girl!)

PS Next week should see new tunes, kids. I've been working two jobs lately, one of which involves creating blogs, so I've been a little blog-loggy and not really able to keep up my own. But next week I'll have some time to rip ya all some new music. Stay tuned!