Saturday, September 30, 2006

Jack The Ripper-Television Show Proposal

Pictured above-the corpse of Mary Kelley, as discovered after becomming the fifth, and allegedly last, of the five canonical victims of "Jack The Ripper".

If you read this, consider yourself tagged. I decided to do a dreaded meme, only this one is a bit different from the ordinary. My idea is, see what kind of television show proposals we can all come up with. If you happen to hate television, no excuse. All the more reason for you to develop a proposal which you consider would be above the ordinary fare you usually find.

My idea would not be suitable for the commercial networks, as it would be far too bloody and gruesome. It would be more ideal for HBO or Showtime. Basically, what it would amount to, would be a continuing drama, a serial, in which a reporter for the London Times, one who works out of the London Whitechapel Police Departtment, would become obsessed with investigating the Jack The Ripper murders, in the hopes of being the one who would discover his true identity and thus crack the case.

My character would make a perfect suspect in his own right. His mother was a prostitute, while his father had been a high ranking officer in Scotland Yard who went mad from syphyllus. Yes, he is still alive, and is a suspect. As for the main character, he had been married, but his wife had run out on him, leaving no clue as to where she had gone, or who she had run off with, if anyone. Yet, he had considered their marriage to be a good one, as in flashbacks she seems to have loved him as much as he did her.

Following their split, their teenage son had fallen in with a gang of roughnecks, and is still a continual source of trouble to him.

Then, following the murder of the fourth prostitute, Catherine Eddows, whom he had known well, he becomes more and more obsessed with the killings, and begins investigating.

There are a number of recurring characters. His editor, his contact at the Whitechapel police, a fellow reporter. There are a number of well known characters and others who are vaguely known due to their tentative connections to the Ripper case. For example, Montaque J. Druitt, a barrister and former teacher who had fallen into some kind of trouble due to, it is rumored, an innapropriate sexual contact with a young student.

One of the most important characters will be Mary Jane Kelley, a prostitute who happens to have as her real name the same name that his prostitute friend had often used as an alias. She wonders if she had not been the intended target, as rumors had circulated that it was she who had been arrested prior to the other womans murder.

For the most part, however, most of the characters are random examples of London Whitechapel street life, or middle class businessmen, and prostitutes, etc. Cops, reporters, doctors, craftsmen, ministers. For the most part the kind of seemingly ordinary people that would have gone unnoticed in daily life.

But of course there would be a fair share of well known folks as well who might in some ways come under the umbrella of suspicion. It would be remiss not to include the now infamous painter Walter Sickert, recently accussed by author Patricia Cornwall of having been the Ripper. And so, he would be a regular character as well, along with some of the other suspects that have been identified over the years.

By the end of the first season, it is obvious that one thing is going to happen. Mary Kelley is going to be murdered. And that will take up, in fact, almost the entirety of the last episode, as the main character is laid up in his own bed, shot up with opium by his former runaway wife, whom he has found, and who has now returned in the hopes of robbing him. She has done so, and left, and he tries desperately to pull himself together, as the scenes alternate between his helplessness and the assault of Mary Kelley, by a person whose image we only see from behind, as he suddenly cuts her throat, and then begins to savagely mutilate her, all the while whistling an oddly familiar tune, one we seem to have heard once before, closer toward the beginning of the season. Who was it?

Then, we see him leaving the apartment house of Mary Kelley, and for the first time we see him. We finally learn the identity of Jack The Ripper. Well, this fictitous one, that is, probably an ordinary person that was not well or even slightly known.

The next season, and the last one, would revolve around the main character eventually discovering who it is, and killing him, but in the meantime being unable to gather the evidence to prove the persons guilt.

I got this idea from a conversation a bunch of us were having on The Widows Son's site
The Burning Taper, on a September 22nd post, with some moron called "MySpace Mike", who was obsessed with the idea of some grand Masonic conspiracy. In the course of an extraordinarily long series of copy-and-paste jobs from anti-Masonic sources, he mentioned somewhere the subject of Jack The Ripper, whom some have tied to the Masons, due to some obscure suppossedly Masonic reference left in graffiti on the wall by one of the murder scenes.

I thought, well, that would make a great television series, and for that matter, a great meme.

So there you have it. Come on, everybody, top this one if you can. Let those creative juices flow.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Hail Eris, Full Of Grace

Well, you've certainly been a busy little goddess throughout the eons, and you've certainly made your mark on the world. You've convinced the sun to go in the opposite direction. With just one toss of an apple you were responsible for the Trojan War. You've still got your own, fun loving cult of followers. And now, finally, you've got your own little planet named after you.

So, what will you do next?

"Ah, but that would be telling."

American Dream

It seems congratulations are in order for Muhammed Shahiri, aka Aladdinslad though neither one is actually his real name, according to him. It's good to know that, somewhere in route on his "spiritual and magical journey", he would finally realize the dream he has nurtured for some years now.

He is finally another in a long line of hyphenated Americans. In this case, Syrian-American. Yes, he has finally become an American citizen.

To mark the occassion, I have decided to present him with something that might be what he has said he has wantd for some time now. A suitable avatar for his blog, pictured above. It's not exactly the naked female genie he had in mind, but, on the other hand, if you use your imagination, who knows what might pop up-or out.

At any rate, it's good to know things are finally starting to look up for him, after all the horrible experiences he has gone through lately, such as the horrid tale told here.

Anyway, congratulations, and good luck, Aladdinslad.

And, yes, God bless America.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Beasts Of Burden

I think it's incredible that one of America's biggest Middle Eastern allies, the United Arab Emirates, is ruled by a man-Sheikh Muhammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum-who, along with his brother and deputy ruler Sheikh Hamdan, are accussed of engaging in the trafficking of young boys, most under the age of ten. Yet, the Sheikh, who owns hundreds of horses that he keeps in Ocala Florida, was sued in a Miami Court. The papers were served to him in Kentucky, where he was in the process of buying thoroughbred horses.

The Sheikh is a big owner of throughbred horses, and has had horses run in the Kentucky Derby, and other races. Likewise, he is a fanatical devotee of the ancient bedouin sport of camel racing, and that is exactly where he seems to have run afoul of the law. The law that he himself has passed, and has sought over the years to implement and enforce, according to The Ansar Barney Trust, which is a Pakistani based human rights group that has lobbied and fought to end the practice of trafficking in human slavery, including that of children for the purposes of enforced work as camel jockeys.

The group has arranged for the shelter and rehabilitation of hundreds of former child camel jockeys and has applauded the Sheiks efforts to change the culture of camel racing, by the development and the gradual implementation of robot camel jockeys.

Still, according to various civil rights groups, as reported here on the Aljazeera website, the efforts of the Sheikh would seem to be half-hearted at best, considering that he may be responsible for as many as tens of thousands of children who have been purchased as slaves to meet the demands of the wildly popular sport.

The children reportedly come mainly from Pakistan, Bangla Desh, and some other parts of the Muslim world, and are typically either sold outright by their parents, or the parents are paid on a monthly basis. They are fed as little as pssible in order to keep their weight down, three biscuits and water being a typical days total food intake. Some are even injected with hormones in order to keep their weight down as low as possible past puberty and into their teen years.

They are expected to devote the entirety of their waking hours to training and racing. Any deviation is often met with brutal punsihment, including beating with metal rods. Some of the young boys have even been raped by their owners. They are kept in altogether miserable conditions, while the camels themselves are treated far better, as it is they who are the valuble commodity. The boys are expendble and, apparently, easily replaceable.

A small number of them, it is said, actually enjoy this life, which makes you wonder exactly what kind of life they lived before. For the most part, though, the brutality of their treatment is severe. It is further alleged that some of the owners even treat them brutally during the races. If they are uncomfortable, in fear, and crying-or screaming-this seems to effect the camels. It makes them run faster.

Did I point out that this is a wildly popular sport throughout certain Arabs states? Popularity of course implies a wide degree of acceptance. And these are the people that George Bush-and Bill Cliton, as well-favored allowing to run our ports. It's mind boggling.

Still, what can you do? This is a perfect eample of the conundrum the West has to deal with in regards to the Middle East. You either have people like this you have to deal with, or religous fundamentalists who would prefer to set up Islamic "Republics" based on sharia law. Depose one set of brutal, corrupt dictators and you get something that may be worse, as Jimmy Carter discovered in regards to Iran, a mistake we are still paying for.

And as George Bush, the Sheiks ally, may be finally starting to learn, whether he wants to admit it or not. At any rate, as long as he has a good, solid ally in the person of Sheikh Maktoum, he is unlikely to rock the boat. Hopefully, the Sheikh will finally make good on his pledges to uphold the law he himself passed in 1992. The way it looks for now, the law was evidently never meant to be more than diplomatic window dressing.

In themeantime, these childrens lives have been ruined, their childhoods lost, their futures destroyed. It will be years no doubt before the technology of robot camel jockeys is perfected to the degree that they can be widely and permanently implemented, and hopefully, gradually accepted by the for now skeptical fans of the sport of bedouin camel racing.

In the meantime, as supplies of young camel jockeys hopefully dry up, the current batch can be hidden away, injected with growth inhibiting hormones, and hopefully treated a little better, as they become a bit less expendable.

What other choice do they have?

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Brothers Karamazov

Earlier today I was on the blog Meriel's Medley, where the blog owner-Meriel, natch-has recently posted a list of all the books she has or has yet to read that fit into specific categories. "Book that changed your life ', for example, or "Book You'd Wish You'd Written", so on and so forth.

I've seen this list before, on other blogs and web-sites, it's like one of those memes that have been making the rounds lately. When I saw this on Meriel's site, I got to thinking-hell, I ain't got nothing else for the moment I feel like posting about. I'm sure not too many people care to read about the drama I went through the last three days with the plumbing, which has pretty much got me out of the mood to think about anything. On the other hand, something like this might just take my mind of all this shit.

That would be all this shit I've been holding off shitting becasue my motherfucking commode won't flush. So, right about the time I'd made up my mind I was going to go ahead and buy that bag of lime, then go ahead and buy those shower curtains to drape around my back porch deck, then go ahead and saw that hole in the middle of it, then go ahead and take my presently useless toilet out on the deck and place strategically over that hole, I happenned right upon Meriel's post.

Afterwards, the city sewer people came out and unblocked my sewer, and I felt waves of relief rushing over me, and not too long afterwards, a great big hefty load of shit rushing out of me. I never thought the sound of a flushing toilet could sound so much like a chorus of angels.

Soon, I was thinking about Meriels post, and then my own little potential exercise in reading futility, one that stretches back a few years. I got to thinking about what what is almost inarguably the greatest novel ever written-The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, one of the all time greats of Russian literature.

I remembered the time that book was heartily recommended to me, and the time that then I purchased the book, and began to read. Without a doubt, it is indeed at least one of the greatest novel ever written. It is an intensely spiritual book but set around a fairly common setting and premise.

Three brothers have this father, who is grossly immoral, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. There is a fourth alleged brother he keeps as a servant, the son of an insane woman, a deaf mute epileptic who was considered a holy idiot, yet was seduced by this man in an ultimate act of willful debauchery. She died giving birth to this illegitimate son.

They all hate the father. One brother, though, the oldest, is very much like him. The second is an atheist, and yet, has a concrete set of values and ethics. The third brother is highly spiritual. The son of the demented woman seems to be a symbolic representative of some evil satanic force of nature, cunning and yet stupid. Some might say a Russian version of karma.

At one point, the father is brutally murdered, and naturally all three of the brothers are suspects. But the third son is actually the main character of the novel, and the events portrayed are actually a journal of his own growing spirituality, and search for the true meaning of life.

This is the kind of book you don't really have to agree with insofar as it's spiritual aspects go. You can appreciate it wholly for the one thing it is which can not be disputed. A great work of literature.

Unfortunately, when I set out to read this book, I found out that, in a way, this was too true. This book, as literature, is too damn good. I read the first four chapters of the damn thing, and found myself going back and re-reading them.

That wasn't good enough. I had to go back and read them again, these same four chapters. Damn, I thought, that was fucking good. It seemed that every time I read those first four chapters, the better they were.

And so I read them a fourth time. In fact, believe it or not, this book is so damn good-I never made it past the first four chapters.

Which brings me to the list.


"The Brothers Karamazov"-This is the book that taught me what makes a truly great work of literature. No matter how many times you read it, you come away with something different, a different insight, something you might have missed before, something that adds some texture and appreciation, and speaks to something deep inside of you. Something that makes you say, damn, I can't wait to read chapter five-but I think I want to read those first four fucking chapters over first.

Book You've Read More Than Once

The Brothers Karamazov, of course. But only the first four fucking chapters.


The Brothers Karamazov

If I were never found, maybe-maybe-I'd finally get around to reading more than the first four fucking chapters. Maybe I'd read the whole fucking book.


The Brothers Karamazov. Yeah, there are some funny parts to it too. Well, at least there were in the first four fucking chapters.


The Brothers Karamazov. I cried becasue I lost the motherfucker somehow in the stressful process of moving, along with a bunch of other stuff. I have yet to acquire another copy and finish reading it. Those first four fucking chapters are burned in my brain, though, or they were. Now, I know good and well, when i get around to getting it, I'll end up reading those four fucking chapters a bunch of more times.


The Brothers Karamazov. Only I seriously doubt I'd ever have written past those first four fucking chapters.


The Brothers Karamazov. At least not those first four fucking chapters, maybe then I could finish the whole fucking book.


Well, it's not the Brothers Karamazov, thank God, if it were, I'd probably still be on those first four fucking chapters.


Do I really have to tell you that.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sonia-The Perfect Blogger Woman

I recently discovered a blog that I just had to put on my blogroll, written by the lovely and talented Sonia Belle, who you see pictured here. What can I say? As she puts it, she has not worn clothes since the age of twenty. She is, nevertheless, happily married, with two teenage children. She loves sex, and has numerous affairs, but with women only, for, as she explains, she would never cheat on her husband with another man.

Yeah, I know, sorry guys, but check out her blog anyway. In the political realm , her concise logic and reason focuses like a laser on both American and international politics and problems, to the extent that I wish she'd get off the island where she lives with her family and devote her time to public service, where her talents and reason are desperately needed, and would be of great value.

On the other hand, why ruin a good thing? Sonia is by no means a knee-jerk partisan, and so in that sense I feel she is almost like a soul mate. She is truly a free thinker and an independent spirit. Would that there could be more.

She also has an eye for art and film, and a great deal of her blog is devoted to these subjects. She is an artist herself, creating collages from works she fnds on the internet. Beautiful, talented, original, sensuous, independent, and intelligent, yet loyal. Yes, I may have found the closest thing to the perfect woman here, folks. If you want to ever engage in a meaningful, reasonable, aticulate discussion and debate, by all means visit her blog.

Befre closing, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that I discovered this treasure on the blog of Renegade Eye, yet another member of the blogroll whose blog I heartily recommend, for mostly the same reasons. No nude photos though. Still, if you ever want to visit a blog with insights from a socialist perspective, pay him a visit. He too welcomes a hearty, well thought out and reasoanble debate.

Until later, well, later. For the time being, I feel this strange impulse to scroll back up to the top of the page.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Conservatives For American Values

Pictured-the abomination called "The Huggable Jesus Doll" (Courtesy of Conservatives For American Values)

If you would like a good look at a representative example of the thought processes of your average, garden variety Christian fundamentalist conservative, I urge you to devote a few minutes of your time to reading one of the newest blogs on my blog roll, which is

Conservatives For American Values

Some people might take exception to their seemingly hard core views, but to my way of thinking that is all the more reason why you should check them out. Some people might think they are quite scary. Personally, I think they are quite funny.

Take, for example, their view on the upcoming elections, and why you should vote Republican:

The issues are simple: Republicans will keep you safe and healthy. Democrats will essentially come to your house, then rape and kill your family while sodomizing your pets and doing crack on your couch. Then they will tax you for their time.

Of course, they are exaggerating here-I think-to make a point. Or maybe not. One of the writers seems equally adamant on the matter of the Arab family he has recently acquired, much to his chagrin, as neighbors. He seems certain that:

I know that Mahmuud is doing something sinister in that “Garage of Terror” that he spends so much time in.

"Don’t try to tell me that he is working on his lawn mower, because I know better than that. I am sure that any day now he will be having tons and tons of sand delivered so that he can live in the desert again. A lawn mover will be of little use then, will it not? I bet that he is rigging that self-propelled mower with explosives. It would be easy, then, for him to fire it up and send it on a collision course with the side of my house. I would be even more un-nerved if he had a lawn tractor…he would then make himself the slowest moving suicide bomber ever."

You see, the folks at Conservatives For American Values are unabashed Christians, and they seem to be among the few that have never forgotten the important lessons of 9/11. In fact, they are outraged that the original site of the World Trade Centers-ground zero-has yet to be utilized to it'sfull potential. They explain here:

"The terrorists are winning each and every day that Ground Zero is not making money. Remember, this was not a Kentucky Fried Chicken that these Islamo-Fascist-Neo-Barbarians slammed planes into. Leaving a smoldering pit of chicken parts and gravy to rot for five years would have been a tragedy, but nothing compared to the shame and sorrow of failing to rebuild that much business space in Manhattan. America is about two things, worshipping God and making money. Ground Zero is a testament to neither of those American ideals, and the thought of it enrages my Lord."

They are also enraged at thecurrent state of American culture, and how nothing seems to remain sacred. Not even the Lord Jesus Christ, whom they see as the latest of theri beloved symbols to not only be abused by liberals, but hijacked by them for their own nefarious purposes, as demonstrated by their concerns about the Huggable Talking Jesus Doll

The company that made this doll has earned their scorn, and the bloggers warn all parents about the perfidious danger in one post, by pointing out that:

"If this doll were an accurate representation of the angry vengeful God I know then no child would want to hug or play with it. If my son, Michael Jr., had a real Jesus doll then he would cower at the very sight of it. Having a Jesus doll watching you as you sleep should be as terrifying for a child as being tucked in with a Chucky doll. The child should fear and respect their Jesus doll, not love it and cuddle it as if it were a damned teddy bear. It is for these reasons that I’m urging parents not to buy one of these dolls for your child. If you wish to be a responsible Christian parent you need to make sure that your child views the Lord not as his “bestest snuggle buddy” but as the one thing standing between him and eternal torment in Hell."

And speaking of Jesus, nothing seems to outrage them more than the current state of religion in schools, or more precisely the lack thereof. They seem to feel that, as this was, is, and always has been a Christian nation, it is incumbent that ourchildren be taught the Bible and Christian faith throughout all aspects of society, maybe especially the schools, which they now see as a hotbed of multi-culturalism and political correctness run amok. To summarize their feelings on this subject:

"You see, I understand this school prayer argument perfectly. I acknowledge that the lone Muslim kid in the classroom might feel a bit isolated sitting alone in a corner while the rest of his class is lead in a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. But frankly the thought of little Osama Jr. being teased on the playground isn’t enough to make me overlook the importance of giving our children a good moral education. Accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior or find another place to play ball, kid!"

On the recent ruling against the use of warrantless wiretaps by the Bush Administration as a means of waging the war on terror:

"The liberal commitment to the destruction of the American way of life was shown again as Judge Anna Diggs Taylor (a woman no less) recently ruled that the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wire taps is both illegal and unconstitutional. In case you’re wondering, this ruling does in fact seal the fate of all Americans. This out of control activist woman judge with the help of the ACLU (surprise, surprise) have just handed al Queda the keys to your house. The most you can hope for at this point is that the terrorists don’t track mud onto your nice carpet as they sneak into your home to slit your throat while you sleep."

On why Democrats hate war:

"Liberals think that war is a bad thing because they are not very good at it. You effeminate little flip-floppers need to realize that sometimes you need to take a violent stand against everything that is wrong in the world. Violence is the answer, it really is. Look at Iraq, as an obvious example. The Iraqi people are no longer living under the fear and oppression wrought by Saddam. Now the Iraqi people have free elections, and they are devouring the fruits of Democracy. I know that you liberals have some fire in your bellies, though. I have seen the way you react when the minimum wage employee at Starbucks puts whole milk in your Coffee-Latte-Tino-Flaming-Mochafrothy when you asked, repeatedly, for skim."

And, speaking of war, they make their support for the nation of Israel, and their reasons for it, crystal and blazingly clear:

"Israel is the only nation on Earth, besides the United States, that has the God given authority to kill anyone that it sees fit. Do not stand in the way of Israel. The Chosen People of God will have no qualms about sending someone to your happy little home to kill you. Israel must defend itself, using any means necessary. There are no innocent people, and no people who are not expendable, when the safety of Israel’s northern border outposts is at stake."

So, you might ask yourself, how can anybody be that hateful, that prejudiced, that-well-fundamentalist in their beliefs? And the answer to that question would be, in their case, they are not. This is actually a parody web-site, just in case you haven't already figured it out. In my opinion, they should do away with the disclaimer and the legal notice. According to them, however, they still get plenty of hate mail. Evidently some people get so incensed they don't notice the disclaimer, nor bother to click on the legal notice at the bottom of the page. And some of these people actually comment on the blog, unknowingly adding to the fun when they are reprimanded with a Christian "rebuke".

Go visit the blog, and have yourself a good laugh.

Mabon-Brought To You By Mary And The Widows Son

Today is Mabon, the second of three harvest festivals, which is used to commemorate the Autumnal Equinox. Over at Sacred Fems, Mary And The Widows Son has placed an excellent post in recognition of the sacred Wiccan holiday, titled:

The Autumnal Equinox-Welcoming The Lord And Lady

Part of it is as follows:

Mabon is also the Autumn Equinox, the balance between light and dark. As we give thanks for the abundance that the long days and strong power have given, we also take this moment to balance, to rest, to simply be, and prepare ourselves for the growing cold and dark. And to recognize and remember, as always, that what appears as death is merely the preparation for rebirth. That what is reaped at the harvest will become seed for the next year. And we remember the mystery — there is no death; all that dies will be reborn. And for this too, we give thanks.

A very concise look at the day, with rituals for invoking the god and goddess included. For anyone interested in Wicca, or simply curious and wanting to learn about it, the information presented here is about as good as you will find anywhere.

It was originally presented in the Indiana Pagan Resource Network

However, though it was posted for Indiana Pagans, there is very little, if anything, that can't be modified to fit Mabon celebrations in any part of the country, or world. I would also advise that this is a GeoCities web-site, and if you don't have a working and sufficient pop-up blocker you might want to stay away from this YaHell subsidiary. I only mention it and link to it as a means of crediting the original authors.

Sacred Fems has reprinted it in it's entirety, so is entirely sufficient. I want to thank the Widows Son, in fact, for posting this as it saves me the trouble of having to make something up that probably wouldn't have been as good.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Maggot Punks

No, she's not my wife or girlfriend, though she is in a sense somewhat of a sister. She's "Betti Wannabang", and she is a member of a Pro-Choice advocacy group known as-The Maggot Punks

and they have had their share of success over the four odd years or so since they started out in Wichita Kansas as a group in oppossition to such Far Right radicals as the Army of God

In fact, they have been sucessful enough they have been profiled in Rolling Stone, though unfortunately I have been unable to find the url to the specific magazine article, assumming it was ever on-line to begin with. If I find it I will update this post.

In the meantime, I would be remiss in posting this were I not to mention their main opponents, a Kansas based splinter group of Operation Rescue, known as Operation Rescue West

They began by escorting women into abortion clinics when the latter were being blocked from entry and otherwise harassed by members of this organization, who sometimes went as far as to stalk the women to their own neighborhoods. On one occassion, a shouting match started, which culminated with one or more of the group members being called "maggot punks"-hence the name.

Since that time, they have grown in stature and determination. Devoting their limited resources and their seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm to the cause, they were successful in instigating an investigation of ORW's leader, a man by the name of Troy Newman, which resulted in Operation Rescue West-whom they consider a domestic terrorist organization- being relieved of it's tax exempt status by the IRS, due to a number of illicit activities This included support of Republican political candidates, as well as the harrassment of people who were pursuing perfectly legal abortions, and evidently even birth control and other family planning counseling.

Their complete investigation of Newman is detailed in a file you can download for ten dollars (to help the group defray it's expenses), called The Newman Report. A spokesperson for Newmans group claimed laughably that the group actually wished to no longer be a tax exempt organization. Well, good for them. The IRS has granted their wish, with evidently no input from them. Christmas came early for them I guess.

The Newman Report also contains other information about Newman, such as his criminal associations, money laundering activities, and "extensive property holdings".

Ultimately, Newman has ended up being charged with assault for the unfortunate happenstance of misplacing somewhere his Christian love and patience, when he assaulted a cameraman, and group member "D-Cubed", during the course of an attempted interview. As if that were not enough, Newman was holding his child at the time, and so may also end up being charged with child endangerment.

Nor has the group limited it's resources and drive to this one issue, they have also been instrumental in objecting to religous fundamentalism pervading the public schools, and were active in the latest political primaries. Due in no small part to their efforts, a number of religous conservatives- who wished to foist "Intelligent Design" as a part of science classes in the public schools in Kansas- found themselves ousted in the schoolboard elections by more moderate candidates.

For these efforts alone, The Maggot Punks deserve gratitude, and support. Even if you don't donate any money to them, you can still visit their web-site via the link I provided, read all about them, join in on their forums, and spread the word about them to anybody you think might be interested by sending a link to their url.

They are unabashed atheists who believe strongly in seperation of church and state, and are determined to go all out to protect that most basic and fundamental of American concepts. Yet, they insist they have no problem with people exercising their own personal private religous faith, so long as they don't endeavor to force it on them, or anybody else. Good for them.

They are also Pro-Choice advocates who believe and care deeply about womens reproductive freedom, and have also achieved a great deal of success, in addition to notoriety, in fighting for these rights. Again, good for them.

They have also been active in peace rallies. Oh well, nobody's perfect.

Islam-The Fastest Growing Religion?

Only problem is, the faster it grows, the more everything else seems in danger of coming to either a complete standstill, or even of going backward, say by about, oh, thirteen fucking centuries or so.

Special thanks to WhiteTrash Republican

As I pointed out to her though, while this might be true on a symbolic level, more than likely "Lady Liberty", which they doubtless consider an idol, would probably in reality end up sufferring the fate of the Afghan Bhuddhas, the goddesses of the original Arabian pagan faiths, and any other idol they get their hands on-blown up and melted down into scrap metal.

Defenders Of The "Religion Of Peace"

Yeah, this is funny, in a way, but in a way you have to wonder just how true it really is. From the web-site Cox And Forkum

and a special thanks to Lemuel Calhound of Hillbilly White Trash

who features Cox And Forkum on his blog on a fairly regular basis.

What can you say? For a so-called "religion of peace", a good lot of it's adherents seem to be anything but "moderate" when it comes to how they react to critiicsms of their religion. Of course, it doesn't help that they make it so damned easy in oh so many ways.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Rasputins' Severed Cock-Good For What Ails You?

If you ever get a chance to visit Saint Petersuburg, Russia, you might want to pay a visit to the Museum of Erotica, where museum curator Igor Knazkin has on display, what are allegedly the severed genitals of the "mad monk" Rasputin.

Who needs viagra? According to Knazkin, who is also a urologist and sexologist, just looking at the organ, on display in a large jar filled with formaldehyde, will cure impotence and any other kind of sexual dysfunction.

Rasputin was assassinated in 1914 by a gang of Russian noblemen who feared and detested him and his influence over the Czars family, especially the Czarina. Rasputin was the only person who could halt the bleeding of the hemophiliac heir Alexei, presumably through some as yet unknown hypnotic influence. So intense was Rasputins powers it was said a note from him was enough to stop the childs bleeding, pointing to some form of post hypnotic suggestion as a likely component. Still, the Czarina, and the more devout Russian peasants, attributed this to Rasputins holiness.

As a former member of the streltzky, a small sect of Siberian cultists, Rasputins powers were indeed formidable. As an initiation, he allegedly had been obliged to stand outside in the Siberian winter overnight unclothed.

Yet, the stretzky were considered a heretical sect, and Rasputin was so despised and feared not only by the aristocraxy, but by the officials of the Rusian Orthodox Church, who considered him at best a fraud, and at worse, a Satanic influence.

Rasputins influence over Russian noblewomen was formidable as well, and though he was uncouth, and unkempt, rarely bathing, and a notorious drunk- with a preference for madeira over vodka- he seduced a great many Russian noblewomen, claiming that in order to achieve salvation they should experience sin in all it's degrading aspects. He was all too happy to show them both sides, and with a penis allegedly thriteen inches long, he had no problem doing so.

Doubtless Rasputin was too crafty to seduce the Czarina, or her daughters, and expressed devotion to the empress as a mother to him, and she seemed equally devoted to him. Therefore, Czar Nicholas tolerated him, at least, though he was not quite so captivated by him, yet appreciated his help to Alexei. In fact, his influence was such that he influenced cabinet appointments of people that were notoriously unqualified.

When he was finally murdered, a nobleman had pretended to arrange for Rasptuin to meet his wife, and the mad monk so went off unsuspectingly to his doom. He was fed candies and cakes which were laced with enough poison to kill several people-all to no avail. In desperation, Prince Yusopov shot him, then went to fetch his fellow conspirators. Once they arrived down in the basement to which Rasputin had been lured, their intended victim rose and assaulted them, then flew before they could react. However, they made it outside in time to shoot him a number of more times in the back before he could completley leave the estate, and then they beat him severely.

Afterwards, they carried him to the River Neva, whereupon, after tying his hands, they dumped him in. When his body was found in the frigid waters the next day, he had freed his hands and and raised one fist in what seemed to be a bizarre gesture of holy blessing. Upon being autopsied, it was discoered his lungs had been filled with water. Grigory Effemovich Rasputin, after being poisoned, shot, and bludgeoned, had finally died by drowning.

According to legend, they had also castrated him, and a maid later discovered his penis in the frozen park grounds. Somehow or another they made their way to the possession of some Russian aristocratic women, who practically worshipped the mutilated genitals as a kind of sacred phallic symbol. When Maria Rasputin, who was the mad monks daughter, heard of this, she demanded the artifact be handed over to her. She kept it in her possession until her death in 1977.

It was later determined to be not a severed penis at all, but in fact what was described as a "sea cucumber", a form of marine life. Yet, Knazkin was more than happy to pay 8000 dollars to a collector who had acquired the object. Since that time, it has held a place of honor in his museum.

There is no indication that any tests have ever been performed on the object which would put to rest once and for all the matter of it's true identity. If it were to turn out to be a penis, it might be possible to arrange an exhumation of Rasputins remains in order to do a DNA profile.

One interesting point is that, according to the autopsy, Rasputins genitals were intact. Now, if this were the exact wording of the autopsy, tha would be most curious. If this is merely inferred due to no mention being made, that would seem to put the matter to rest.

Of course, there is also the possibility that people are making the wrong assumtpion as to who in fact castrated Rasputin, if anybody actually did.

Another point that has been made is that previous owners of the "sacred relic" kept it inside a box, and that it was dried. Yet, now, it has been preserved in formaldehyde, and is exactly eleven inches long. The genuine article was said to have been thirteen inches, and in fact Rasputins wife had once remarked she didn't mind that her husband had been unfaithful to her, in that he had plenty to share. So long as she received her part, she had no qualms about what others received from him.

The two inches disparity has been explained as an effect of the preservative process. The woman in the picture above seems suitably impressed.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Eris-Holy Chao!

As a newly self-ordained Pope of Discordianism, I welcome the recent addition to the family of planets of the newly discovered so-called dwarf planet Eris, named after the Goddess of Discord, due to the manner in which the planet which is her namesake has thrown the astronomical world into a frenzy, and a great lot of the rest of us into a tizzy.

But such is the nature of chaos and I hereby issue this proclamation against the pseudo religions foisted upon the world in the year 2160 or thereabouts B.C. by the false prophet Greyface. He was evil, through and through. Well, he was a control freak, what can you say? What ever thing new he brought was nothing but evil, in the form of order and discipline.

Why? Because I, Pope Ahdamn Ghoddamnit says so, and I hereby issue this invitation. You should all put aside your falsehoods and lies, and come into the true Erisinian light of Discordianism. Before it is too late. You've been warned, now.

Well, okay, you can clean your rooms one more time, but from henceforth, leave those socks and underwear in those bathroom floors, leave those discarded shirts and pants in piles on your beds. Think of how much time and energy you’ll save.

And when the next period arrives when the sun is at the nineteenth degree of Aries-somewhere between the ninth and eleventh days of April-step out and face up toward the constellation of the ram, and extend your middle finger upwards, and then, bending it slightly, touch the tip of it to your pineal gland. No, not directly, just on the outside of it, as you gaze with your two visible eyes up to where the planet hides from sight, and say, “Lady Eris, may you sprinkle me with faery dust.”

Afterward, repeat this gesture to all you meet as a way of discerning who all around you has likewise entered the one true path of the Holy Chao. If the person does not return the gesture, and begins to look at you suspicously while whispering to those around him or her, leave quickly. If the person returns the gesture, leave even quicklier.

Finally, it is vital that you memorize the sacred words written here.

And of course you will want to meditate on the myth of Eris, she who, because of the original snub of being refused an invitation to the wedding of Cadmus and Harmonia, crashed the wedding banquet and threw a golden apple inscribed “To The Fairest”, which resulted in a feud between the three goddesses that lead in time to the Trojan War. Actually, there were five goddesses, and it is said the Greeks just didn’t know about the Law Of Fives. To tell you the truth, I have it on sacred authority they were otherwise engaged. Artemis’s attention was on the chef, whom she was haranquing about the proper techniques of roasting venison, while Demeter devoted her attention to preparing the salad.

Eris just went off to enjoy a hot dog, because of which you should never partake of any hot dog buns. Pig, now, that is fine. Pig-in-a-blanket, that is. Well, as long as the pig don’t squeal, if he does, use a sheet, especially on a hot day. Be kind. And be fair. Make sure there is plenty of mud.

In conclusion, may I say, blessed be Eris, sacred goddess of the divine and Holy Chao. May she too sprinkle you with faery dust.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Confession-Me And Debra LaFave

It was me, all the time, and none of you fucks ever figured it out. I've been hearing all this crap about how I was abused by Deb, and I've sufferred in silence. Well, now it's time to set the record straight.

The first time I met Deb was, of course, at school, and I was naturally impressed but didn't give her really THAT much thought, until I saw her at a local shopping mall. I was with some friends and I saw her go into a toy and game store from behind, and said, "I think I'll go in here guys, if you know what I mean."

Garth who was an idiot didn't get the message and came in with me, the other guys stayed outside, most of them not really thinking I had much of a chance to score with something on that level, nor did I, but what the hell? At the time, I was just like all the guys you read about when it comes to wanting to be with Deb.

See, I didn't know who she was, but damn I liked what I saw. I didn't even realize who she was when I saw her from the front, just that she seemed familiar. Then, she spoke to me-by name-and I almost fell over. After a second or two it dawned on me who she was-"Miss LaFave?"

"Call me Deb", she purred as she suddenly approached to within inches of me, smiling. She then saw Garth, and said, "oh, hi", and backed away.

I whispered for him to get the fuck out, but the little idiot still didn't get the message, and insisted he was looking at things in the store. I threatened to beat his ass, and I still don't think he got it, he asked me what was wrong, why was I acting like such a prick? I was almost down to begging him to go, and I looked over toward an aisle where Deb had gone and noticed her glancing at us and smiling.

Finally, he asked for ten dollars, and I said get out of here now and I'll think about it when I come out. He said, okay, fine, then left. Then, I was thinking, now if my other asshole friends come in here bugging me I'm going to go off on somebody. I was afraid to approach where she was, but then I glanced back toward her, and she suddenly asked me if I knew anything about some game. I took that as an invitation to approach her and I stammerred that no, I didn't know that much about it. I was breathing hard and was all red faced just looking at those long sexy legs and that sexy pout on her face. I was getting a boner and it was killing me straining against the pants legs. Suddenly, she said, "what about that one up there?", but she wasn't clear what she was talking about, so I asked which one and she said, "oh, I tell you stand right here behind me and I'll point it out". I did and she backed up and pressed her fine ass up against my throbbing hard dick. And started moving sideways as she pressed, and of course I pushed up against her.

Neither of us were saying a word now as she reached her hands back behind her back and started rubbing my dick. Then, she started to unzip my pants. "I was just curious ", she said, "do you wear underwear? I don't, and, well, it looks like you wear boxers. I always wondered why men do that, it seems like it would make it hard to take a dick out when you need to pea. Is it?"

"Uugghhh-well, sometimes", I said. By now she had turned around and was straining to get it out, but finally did. "Wow!", she said "I think I'm going to have a hard time getting it back in. It's so damn big, and hard. I think men and women have it all wrong. You are the one that should not wear underwear, and girls like me should, yet I dont'. See?"

Suddenly, she hiked up her thin, almost skin tight white mini skirt to reveal nothing on under it. Meanwhile I felt like I was going to explode any second, but all I could say was "Uggghhhhhh" as she suddenly turned around and bend over, saying, "it's not easy to see my pussy when I bend down like this, is it?"

Suddeny, I lurched forward, she thrusted backward, and I was against her and then in her, as I grabbed her around the waste, the wifts of jasmine perfume filling my senses and mingling with the smell of our sweat as I lunged inside her over and over, for what seemed like forever, though I have to be honest here, I actually came inside her, actually seemed to explode inside her, after about the tenth thrust or so.

That was the first time I had sex with her. It was the first time I had ever had sex, actually. It was also the first time I had ever been barred from a public store. Luckily there was no one else in there but one clerk, who looked at us all red faced and informed us that we were never to come back. Old women are funny that way. Funniest thing was, she had to unlock the door to let us out. At the time, though, I didn't reall pay that no mind. None of my friends were around, so we went over to a restaurant and had some pizza slices and coke, and just talked. Before we left we exchanged phone numbers, and I swore not to tell anyone.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Well, no, actually, it's a fantasy. One I had years ago, and not about Debra LaFave. It was a teacher, though, and I was fourteen. Or maybe thirteen.

The part about being kicked out of a toy store was true, though.

I guess I'll never know how lucky I was it stayed just a fantasy, and never actually came true. Who knows how it might have ruined my young, innocent life?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Why Iraq Will Probably Remain A Hopeless Disaster

Like a lot of people last night, I was a captive audience to Bush's ill-advised and innappropriate campaign speech which was ostensibly billed as a memorial to the 9/11 victims. Luckily, he didn't cut out the enjoyment of either of my guily pleasures of tv viewing, "Prison Break" and "Vanished", he just abruptly appearred on my tv screen for about twenty eternal minutes between the two. I found myself feeling like a prisoner, and wished that he would just vanish.

So far, no word on what effect this will have on his sagging poll numbers, but I am thinking it can't be good. Nor do I think for one minute he did his fellow Republican party members, especially those running for re-election in their various races, the least bit of good. Most Americans, whether they are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, will surely see this for what it was-a politically motivated speech given in such a way as to lock out the traditional oppossing party viewpoint.

And it had little to do with remembering the victims of 9/11, although that was it's stated purpose. Instead, it was yet another in a series of "stay the course" speeches, aimed not just at the war on terror, but by implication, the Iraqi War. Actually, especially that. He made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that we would finish the job in Iraq, and painted a disturbing picture of the potential consequences were we not to do this.

Although it is good the Democrats did not provide an equally innapropriate political response to his speech, it would do us well to look at the main reason the War in Iraq has been such a failure, and one of catastrophic proportions.

It's not just that we went in with far too few troops, with no real help from our traditional allies-even Britain, our strongest ally in the war, provided jusy a small percentage of troops relative to ours, and they have been stationed for the most part in the relatively peaceful Shi'ite South-nor is it simply that we miscalculated the degree and intensity of the insurrection from the various internal parties to the conflict. All this is very true, and has resulted in our being bled dry in terms of money thrown haplessly into this seemingly bottomless pit. It is also true that it has caused us no small degree of anger and even hatred from a great many Arab and Muslim nations, even those that are, like Britain, ostensibly our allies, and where as well our policies are contoversial at best.

The latter of course was to be expected, and can be seen as merely the unexpressed reality finally coming to the surface. And even this seems not to have been a part of the military and political calculations of the Bush Administration, and so this, as well as everything else I mentioned, points to a degree of incompetence that is absolutely remarkable.

The only thing that can possibly lead to a succesful conclusion in our favor, is if the Iraqi government maintains it's power, and establishes a police, security, and military force that is capable of standing up to any threat, and soundly defeating it. Once it establishes it's position and relegates the terrorist insurgency to irrelevance, then and only then can the Iraqi War be seen as a success. But they have to be the ones to do this.

Unfortunately, this requires a degree of professional training which has been slow in coming. Nor do I think it will ever occur. I pointed this out some months ago, and now it seems appropriate to say it again. The United States military and government are not in a hurry to train a professional, standing Iraqi army capable of holding it's own against any foreign or domestic threat.

The reason for this is simple, and in a way understandable. The US government and military establishment is loathe to admit it, but it makes sense. The last thing they want is an Iraqi army, trained to US military levels, that might one day form, under a majority Shi'ite government, a military and political alliance with Iran. Or one that might eventually come under the control of another Saddam, perhaps worse than the original.

Such a professional military, under such leadership, might pose a far greater threat to US interests and to Middle East stability and security than Saddam ever could have-even in his wildest dreams.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what it is going to take to resolve this conflict, like it or not. We just have to take our chances, bluntly stated. It's that, or, as Bush and the Republicans like to say, "cut and run". Those are the only two options. One is acceptable, though a gamble. The other is not, but at some future date may become unnavoidable. Otherwise, we stay, for years, and keep getting the same results, like that crazy person that never learns from his mistakes and thinks if he keeps doing the same thing he will get a different result.

If we do train the Iraqi military to the necessary level of strength and proficiency, we might well find ourselves at some future date having to stand up to a Frankesteins monster of our own creation. But if that's what it takes to resolve this issue, so be it. Decades more of what is going on surely can't be any better. Yet, that is precisely what we are faced with, or tucking our tails and running. It's time for somebody to make that hard choice, but Bush and his Neo-Con Administration are too busy trying to sell us on blind faith. Fortuately, more people are opening their eyes every day.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Bob Roberts-A Film Relevant For Today

"The Path to 9/11" may have started quite a few years ago, and aside from the perpetrators themselves, there is ample blame to go around on both sides, on the left, on the right, and when you get right down to it, from various points 'twist and 'tween the extremes.

We might, as well, want to look at ourselves, at the haphazard and even artificial way we choose our leaders, one of the failings of a democracy, to be blunt.

In the 1992 film, "Bob Roberts", Tim Robbins takes a biting look at how the media promotes image over substance in the person of the right wing biker/folk singer turned politican who is the title character.

"Bob Roberts" started as a character skit Robbins performed on a mid nineteen eighties episode of "Saturday Night Live", in which Roberts was an obnoxous anti-smoking advocate (are there any other kind?), whom he then parlayed into this movie, which incidentally in one scene takes a jab at the series, which is presented as a copororate funded hypocritical commercial enterprise.

Surprisingly, he doesn't really portray the left in a flattering light. In the person of "Brickley Paiste" (portrayed by old friend Gore Vidal) , the incumbent liberal Senator whom Roberts has decided to run against for election to the Senate, we see a tired old man full of the usual self-serving liberal sound bites and bleeding heart rhetoric that Roberts despises, a well meaning sort who is rapidly becomming irrelevant in the dawning age of conservative populism.

But it is the charismatic Roberts who is the main focus, and about whom we know little, nor about whom we ever really learn much. To all intents and purposes, he is a media creation, an empty suit with no real substance. The son of nineteen sixties era hippie parents, he rebels, becoming a biker and eventually a conservative oriented folk singer, releasing albums which become wildly popular, such as "The Freewheeling Bob Roberts" and "The Times They Are Changing Back", obviously parodies of old Bob Dylan albums.

At his campaign appearrances, Roberts sings a good many of his songs, and they are quite good. Two that particularly stand out to me are "Complain"-which is a diatribe against liberal welfare "handout" programs to the poor and "lazy"-and "She's A Beautiful Girl" which he performs at a Pennsylvania state beauty contest.

So good in fact are these songs, which Robbins actually sings, and co-wrote with his brother, it is a shame that he refused to release a soundtrack album of the movies songs. He feared they would be seen out of context.

Roberts is running behind Paiste by ten percentage points until Paiste is filmed in the company of a sixteen year old volunteer campaign worker and is accussed of infidelity with the underrage girl. Despite his protestations that the girl was a friend of his granddaughter, and that he was merely accompanying the two of them home, he takes a hit in the polls, and for a while the two candidates are runing neck and neck.

Still, Roberts doesn't get a free ride. A radical underground reporter is on his trail, determined to dig up evidence that Roberts, as a board member of the anti-drug advocacy group "Broken Dove", along with his shady campaign manager, have been involved with the CIA in smuggling drugs in Central America while in the course of a war against leftist guerrillas-a sub-plot which is an obvious reference to the mid-eighties Iran-Contra scandals. There are also vaque suggestions that Roberts, as a Yale graduate, is a member of the ultra secret fraternal cult "Skull And Bones".

Due to all this, Roberts never establishes a firm lead over Paiste, and toward the end Paiste in fact starts to regain the lead. Suddenly, as Roberts is leaving a campaign appearrance at a Live comedy skit show- where an assistant pulls the plug when Roberts begins performing an obvious campaign song which had not been scheduled or approved-he is the victim of an assassiantion attempt apparently by the same underground reporter that had been feverishly and doggedly on his trail, and who, in what might be seen by some as prophetic, was an Arab American.

After this -and on the heels of the release of a new album, "Bob On Bob"- which occurs shortly before the election and leaves Roberts diasgnosed by his personal physician as permanently paralyzed from the waste down, he goes on to win the election.

As for the purported gunman, it is determined that he must have been set up to take the fall for Roberts' assault, as he was sufferring from cerebral palsy which afflicted his right hand to such an extent it made it imposible for him to have done the deed. Yet, some time after swearing that he would one day get Bob Roberts, he is murdered by a group of deranged and angry Roberts fans and supporters.

One of the final scenes portrays newly sworn in Pennsylvania Senator Bob Roberts, wheelchair bound, appearring at a Washington D.D. function, on stage and playing guitar and singing a song which is eerily reminiscent of Jim Morrison.

This might be, coming from ardent conspiracist Tim Robbins, a nod at the long held belief that Morrison faked his own death years before. If this is the case, it is appropriate for this movie, and especially for this one scene in particular, which, if you ever get a chance to watch the film, I encourage you to watch very closely, especially as the camera zooms in for a close-up of Roberts as he sings. It is then that the true character of Bob Roberts is finally revealed.

This is a great movie, whatever you might feel about ultra liberal Robbins and his wife Susan Sarandon, who also appears in the film as a vacuous local news reporter. In fact, this is one example of the many ways in which this movie is a work of genius. There is not just one local tv anchor crew interspersed during parts of the movie, but two from seperate stations, and they are all the same, engaging each one in the banal type of irrelevant banter and pretentous small talk we have all come to expect from local news outlets.

To that extent, the movie is as much a slam at the media as it is of politics and politicians. Done in documentary style, this was a shot across the bow at the then strong and still building conservative populist movement. Against the largely irrelevant and seemingly entitled attitude of the liberal oppossition, whom Robbins seems to recognize was understandably and quickly loosing favor. Against the self-serving pretentousness and hypocrisy not only of politicans, but the corporate media, and the dog and pony show they had turned the political process into. Nobody looks good in this film. Nobody is suppossed to look good in this film.

And that includes you and I, the voting public. Maybe especially so.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Aphrodite-Modern View Of A Still Relevant Goddess

This is a modern image of the goddess Aphrodite, by the artist Galilleo. Upon discovering it, I had to wonder how the hell she could have ever fallen out of favor. On the other hand, the realization is obvious that none of the ancient classical Greek depictions really did her true justice. In fact, she was no more or less beautiful than any of the other sculpted goddesses of the age, and they were all rather bland. I am not a big fan of ancient Greek art in general. This modern version, however, is a different matter. The artist who rendered this drawing, despite it’s somewhat comic book style layout, has an obvious affinity for the goddess.

If you are the kind who can easily achieve a semi-trance state, it would be a relatively simple matter to meditate upon the goddess, upon which you might be blessed with an image of Aphrodite that is equal to or even superior to this one. You might well be surprised by what you see. By who you see. Perhaps somebody you know, maybe even your wife or girlfriend-or maybe not.

Hopefully, you will not see an image similar to this one. If you do, it might be indicative of a serious problem in the way of relationships. It might be something you would want to work on.

If, on the other hand, your experiment is successful, you will have been gifted with a point of meditation which you can go back to, again and again. You might find yourself becoming more and more attached to the goddess, and find yourself turning more and more to her. Once you get to know her well, it would not be at all innappropriate to indulge in the ritual I have developed for the worship of and attunement with Aphrodite.

As for my original question as to how she could have ever fallen out of favor-when you stop to think about it, she never really did.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Special Thanks To The Widow's Son-And A Wary Eye on Blogger Beta

Some of you might have noticed that Blogger now has an option which is in the Beta, or testing phase, and to which all blogs will soon be moved. You can, if you want, move there now, but be aware that all the bugs have not yet been ironed out. You also need to open a Google account, which seems fairly easy to do.

One of the problems with this version of Blogger seems to be a problem with posting comments. If you have tried posting comments to somebody's blog, and you find yourself unable to do so, and you haven't switched to Beta, there's a pretty good chance the other person has.

There are other issues here, but rather than go into them here, I will let you read about it from the opening page , from which you can take the tour of Blogger in Beta.

Speaking of links, I'd like to add a word of thanks to The Widows Son, curator of the blogs The Burning Taper and Sacred Fems, for turning me on to a little thing known as Tinyurl. If you have a problem like me with long assed links, give this link a visit. You can turn an excruciatingly long link into one with 24 characters or less, even if it is a more than one huindred character long link mixed with letters, numbers, and symbols.

You will be given a link to drag and drop to your browsers toolbar. Once you do this, all you have to do is go to the web-site on the page you want to link to, go up top the toolbar, click on the link for the Tinyurl that you dragged and dropped toyour toolbar, and you will automatically be given a "tiny url." It's a real time saver and nerve soother.

As for Blogger Beta, I might give it a whirl, though I don't really see the point, as all will soon be moved there. Just the same, it might be a good idea to go ahead and avail yourself of a Google account, and a G-Mail account when they become availiable. Right now the latter is by invitation only. Still, having as much of this at the ready as possible might head off any unforseen problems that might arise from the switch.

There are always unforeseen problems in life, and gods know that is certainly true of Blogger.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Hollywoodland-Where Nothing's As It Seems

Produced by Miramax Films and distributed by Focus Features, the movie Hollywoodland, directed by Allen Coulter, delves into the mystery of the strange death of George Reeves, the actor who played televisions Superman from the fall of 1952 through the spring of 1958 for a total of 104 episodes.

The death having been quickly ruled a suicide, there were still questions, and Reeves mother demanded answers to them. The film takes them up in the form of detective Louis Simo, played by Adrien Brody. Reeves himself is played by Ben Affleck, while his fiancee, Leonore Lemmon, is portrayed by Robin Tunny (formerly Veroica Donovan of "Prison Break"). Other characters of importance in the film include actress Toni Maddox (Diane Lane), with whom he had engaged in an affair, and who had been married to Eddie Mannix (Bob Hoskins), a studio mogul.

The film covers a lot of old territory that was all but forgotten over the years, such as Reeves tumultuos relationship with Lemmon, with whom he was rumored to have argued with openly in public.

Officially, Reeves was said to have been despondent over what he considoered the end of his career. The Superman series was over, and though he had grown to hate his identification with the character, it seems to have been a fact that he was so typecast by the role it was difficult, in fact all but impossible, for him to find work.

Plus, he was getting on in years. At 34 when the series stated shooting, Reeves was and is the oldest person to ever play the part. Though there were rumors of the shows return, Reeves himself did not look forward to such a prospect, and must have wondered how well suited he was for the immortal character at by then the age of 43.

He was particularly embitterred when he thought about his past. He had appearred in "Gone Withg The Wind" as one of Scarlett O'Hara's suitors, and had received critical acclaim for his work in 1942's "So Proudly We Hail". Afterwards, he had enlisted in the Army Air Force during World War II, and from there it seemed imposible to get his career back on track, despite having made short films for the war effort.

When he was offerred the role of Superman, he initially turned it down, as television was not seen as a viable entertainment medium. For whatever reason, he changed his mind and accepted the role, though never expected much to come of it. He was surprised when it became one of the biggest hits on television.

For some time, he revelled in the role, and accepted his obligations as a role model for children, taking it so seriously he stopped smoking and avoided appearring in public with any of his girlfriends.

How he came to be involved with Toni Mannix isn't exactly clear, but they seem to have been involved in various charitable projects. From there they became romantically entwined, which may have drawn the ire of husband Mannix and his associates.

Yet, there can be no doubt that Reeves identification as Superman was a serious hindrance to him finding serious work, and he started to resent it.

A case in point would be his 1956 appearrance on the old "I Love Lucy" show. In this epeisode, Lucy was competing with a neighbor over who could throw the best childrens party. The neighbor had arranged an impressive list of performers and guests, and so Lucy urged husband Ricky to ask "Superman" to attend Little Ricky's party. Unfortunately, she bragged to her neighbor about "Superman's" appearrance before it could be confirmed, later finding out that Superman could not be availiable. In a desperate attempt to save face, she donned a pair of tights and a cape and on the day of the party climbed out on the ledge, where she intended to make an appearrance as "Supergirl". Upon crawling out on the ledge, she found herself trapped, unable to get back inside.

Suddenly, as expectations, and tempers, were escalating in degree to the losing of patience and faith in the arrival of the promised guest, suddenly through another window bounded in "Superman". The superhero had saved the day. When he was informed by co-c0nspirator Ethel Mertz that Lucy was out on the ledge, and acertained that she was trapped, he then saved Lucy's hide.

Upon learning from Ricky Ricardo how long he had been married to the idiotic pea-brain he had just rescued, the hero quipped, "and they call me Superman".

And that is just the point of my retelling of the story. Indeed, they called him nothing but Superman, all through the show. There may have been some vaque reference to the fact that he was an actor, but nothing concrete. The name George Reeves was never mentioned on the show. As if that were not enough, neither did the name George Reeves appear on the credits, which merely listed the appearrance of Superman as licensed by and appearring courtesy of DC Comics.

And so it went. By the time the series ended, up until his death, Reeves had appearred in only one other significant film-"From Here To Eternity", in a role that was so minor it was easy for the false rumor to be circulated that his part had been cut off when a screening audience, upon seeign him, shouted, "it's Superman". It was a myth, but it grabbed hold of the poublic imagination, and helped to concretize the notion of Reeves despondency. It was just one of several such myths to be circulated.

At any rate, the fact of his depression was probably well grounded, and may have been worsened by an auto accident in which he sufferred a concussion some months prior to his death. There was also a heavy driking habit. For the two months prior to his death, Reeves liquor bill approximated a staggerring 3500 dollars a month, in 2005 dolars.

He died on the night of a party, from which he excused himself to go to bed. His blood alcohol level was three times what would now be considered the legal limit for alcohol intoxicaion. It seemed a clear cut case of suicide. Yet, there were strange circumstances.

Though he had been shot in the head, the gun lay on the bed betwen his feet. Plus, there were two bullit holes in the floor. Additionally, there was shell casing under his body. Finally, the gun was devoid of prints, of either Reeves or anyone else.

I tend to believe Reeves killed himself, despite these understandably suspicous circumstances. Taken one at a time-

Leonore Lemmon herself took credit for the bulets in the floor, claiming she had been fooling around with the gun some weeks prior to this. If it is true that the two of them fought in public, this is easily explained as a case of frayed tempers, and a display of threatening intimidation on her part.

The gun had been heavily oiled, and according to police a newly and heavily oiled gun will not take or hold prints.

The bullet casing under his bed may mean nothing of any significance.

That brings us to the positioning of the gun between his feet on the bed. This is easily explainable if he were sitting upright, yet fully on the bed, at the time he took his own life. The impact would have knocked him backward, and at the same time the recoil from the gun may have sent it flying in the oppossite direction, thus landing at the pisiton at which it was found. In order to hold a gun in such a position, it would be difficult to maintain that strong a grip on it, thus the recoil effect.

Of course, it is possible that he was killed by Lemmon, or by hired thugs in the employ of Mannix or one of his associates, or by some long rumored shadowy mob connection, angered at yet a different affair that has never been substantiated.

It does sem odd though that this would occur during the night of a party at which there were at least four different people yet present, despite Reeves having retired to bed.

This movie might be well worth a look, as a kind of film noir set in the fifties, and as a kind of nod to the old Micky Spillane type mystery/crime drama that was prevalent during the time. And, while I don't dispute that the mysterious circumstances of Reeves death do indeed warrant more attention than perhaps they were given at the time, I think for the most part it is safe to conclude that Reeves did more than likely kill himself-aided and abbetted by the promising illussons and, all too often, heart wrenching betrayal of that promise that is still Hollywoodland.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

President Bush Assassinated

President Bush has just been assassinated by a sniper outside a hotel in Chicago.

That, at any rate, is the premise of a movie, "Death Of A President", directed by Gabrielle Range, and recently unveiled at The Toronto Film Festival. The movie deals more with the aftermath of the event, which takes place in October of 2007 during the height of a massive anti-war demonstration.

It has already drawn the ire of such stalwart Republican conservative supporters as blogger Matthw Drudge of The Drudge Report, and Rush Limbaugh, who claims the films sole purpose is to move forward the anti-Bush agenda.

"Isn't it against the law to talk about killing a President"?, Limbaugh railed, even going so far as to question the morality and integrity of anyone that would sanction such a work.

This would include apparrently anyone that might so much as see the film, which the White House said they would not dignify with a response.

All of these criticisms were brushed aside by Director Grange:

In a release, director Range said, "We're thrilled to be screening the film at Toronto. It's a striking premise which may be seen as highly controversial. But it's a serious film which I hope will open up the debate on where current U.S. foreign and domestic policies are taking us."

To learn more, click on the link in the post title. As for me, though I haven't seen the film, I'll still rate it. I give it two great big balls.

Environmental Strategies

The Conecticutt Senate race has caused a division of sorts among formerly Democratic stalwarts among the environmental movement, as described in a recent aticle in Grist

Joe Liebermann, who is currently running ahead of Democratic nominee Ned Lamont by anywhere from two to ten percentage points-depending on the poll-just received a much needed boost by way of the Leaque of Conservation Voters. Tony Masserro, Leaque Vice-President of Political Affairs, announced the endorsement.

David Willett, spokesperson for The Sierra Club, has as yet to make an endorsement in the Connecticutt Senate race, but insists that party politics is not nor will be a factor. The environmental group has already drawn ire over this stated policy by way of it’s endorsement of Republican Senator Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island, notably from New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who warns that-

"If the Democrats gain only five rather than six Senate seats this November, Sen. James Inhofe [R-Okla.], who says that global warming is 'the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,' will remain in his current position as chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. And if that happens, the Sierra Club may well bear some of the responsibility,"

Still, Wilett insists that those who vote favorably for environmental causes should be rewarded, despite party affiliation. As such, the group stands by Chaffee, as enumerated by Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope. The Leaque of Conservation Voters, meanwhile, seems just as steadfast in it’s support of Liebermann, whose environmental record is indeed impressive.

He co-sponsored, with Senator John McCain, the Climate Stewardship Act of 2003, and reintroduced the bill in 2005, which he has vowed to continue to push.What it does is propose a “cap and trade” program for greenhouse gases. It would impose limitations on emissions and allow companies to meet that limit by buying and selling the right to pollute.

He also helped draft the 1990 Clean Air Act. And just last year he worked on a bi-partisan basis to enact the Vehicle And Fuel Choices for American Security Act, which would reduce U.S. oil consumption by 10 million barrells a day in the next twenty five years.

Overall, the Leaque Of Conservation Voters has rated three term Senator Joe Liebermanns pro-environmental Senate voting record at 86%.

Still, though Liebermanns overall environmental record has been lauded as progressive, there are some areas of complaint. According to Lamont, one cause for concern is Liebermanns support of the recent Energy Bill –

"which features billions in subsidies to big oil and does little for conservation and energy efficiency."

Adam Warbach, former President of The Sierra Club, has also raised the Senators support of the Iraqi War as an issue-

"Lieberman's party should be irrelevant if you're an environmental-issue voter. The big question is whether you believe the Iraq war is an 'environmental' issue. I do. For me, the Iraq war is a travesty -- ecological and otherwise -- that far outweighs Lieberman's stellar environmental record."

Defending the Connecticutt Senators’ all around environmental record, Don Gerstein, Liebermann’s Communications Director, has pointed out that-

"Without him, climate politics changes. The whole landscape of environmental policy changes. ... Joe Lieberman has been at the forefront of pretty much every effort to block the administration's rollbacks of environmental standards."

It has also been pointed out that Lamont has no environmental record, nor does he have the bi-partisan standing or Liebermans experience as a leader on environmental causes, specifically on Senate committees, though it is generally conceeded that he would vote the Democratic party line on environmental, as well as other, issues. Moreover, it is generally felt that Liebermanns victory would require his working to attract not only independent voters, but Republicans, who would be inclined to vote for the three Republicans running for the House Of Representatives, possibly assurrnig the Republicans of a victory in one, two, or possibly all three of these races This could also result in the Republicans maintaining control of the House of Representatives, as pointed out in The New York Times. Without Liebermann, all three Republican seats are in danger, including the one held by current Representative Christopher Shays, perhaps the better known of the three.

Once you consider this factor, it becomes easier to understand the Republican position in all but endorsing Liebermanns independent run for the Senate, and the uncomfortable position it puts his former Democratic allies in, including Senior Connecticutt Democratic Senator Chris Dodd. He has endorsed Lamont, and encouraged Liebermann to drop out of the race, as has a host of other Democratic Senate colleaques.

Liebermann seems intent on staying in the race, on holding his ground-and seat. It is easy for me to appreciate the Leques and Sierra Clubs relative positions. After all, what good is it to promote environmental causes among Republican members if a pro-environmntal voting record is outright disregarded due to mere party affiliation? These groups seem to have learned the hard lessons of various civil rights groups, who were by the nineteen seventies all but written off by the Republican Party.

Sure, you can make the case that a Senator or Congressman should vote their conscience, first and foremost. That, of course, is a perfect world scenario. A perfect world, it should be pointed out, is one in which there are no problems. No greed, no corruption, no discrimination-and no pollution. Not the world we live in, it seems.

To be sure, these endorsements are gambles, ones that are possibly, and hopefully, worthwhile. If, however, it causes the Republicans to maintain control of the Senate-and the House-it might go down as the most irresponsible political crap shoot in history. If so, the only environmental changes you can look forward to will be the house cleaning from the top at The Sierra Club and The Leaque of Conservation Voters.

As for the Republican strategy in Connecticutt, if it is successful, it might well make Joe Liebermann among the most powerful, influential-and despised-Senator in U.S. history