Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dawahares-An All Too Typically American Success Story Gone Bad

Today marks the end of the Dawahares debacle, which might have been one of the first and most obvious warning signs of the imminence of our current financial crisis. With a life span of a century that spanned two world wars and the great Depression, the Kentucky clothing store chain Dawahares would have seemed to some almost as immune as Lehman Brothers, but it now seems obvious that an archaic for the times business model doomed it in an economy to which it could not or perhaps would not adapt. The picture above is from the Grand Opening of one of its many stores, this one in Hazard Kentucky in 1947. It like all the others are gone forever.

I blogged about this phenomenon here, and received quite a few interesting comments from some individuals directly involved with the old family business that was a staple of the economy of Kentucky.

One such comment was from Lee, who blogs at Digital Nicotine

Hey, found your place by googling Dawahares. Intersting place, to be sure.

I worked there for three years '02 -- '05, at the Mall St. Matthews location, so I have a perspective, trust me. There are many reasons Dawahares failed, but I have limited space before I lose attention, so in bullet form...

~ You are right about going cheap. The bulk of merchandise was under $20, and most of it was knock off.

~ They paid crap. I couldn't tell you how many talented people left that company because not only were they not being well, they weren't even paying well by retail standards.

~ They made stupid moves. A perfect example was they cut out completely commissions on suit sales. This caused Syd, an old Jewish man who had worked for 27 years in the company to retire out of frustration at the inexplicable paycut he just got. That man had more connections in the Louisville Jewish community than you could imagine, and they lost them when he left. And Allen, an elderly black gentleman who also worked in Suits for the past 15 years quit as well soon afterward, and the company lost all his connections in the black community, which he had several.

~ Finally: "A house divided among itself shall not stand." That family was dysfunctional to put it mildly, and what the previous generations had built up, the current one was rapidly tearing it down with infighting, bickering, jealousies, and all of this fairly visible to even the part-time teenagers working after school.

There are many more, but space and interest are limited. This current economy was merely the strong wind that knocked the old and diseased tree down.

I am still receiving comments from other such former employees and customers. The following appeared in my in-box just a few days ago.

I live in the Eastern Kentucky town that Dawhares started in and to see the store closed and empty is very sad. I worked at the store when in school and will miss having such a nice clothing store to go to that is close to home.

By far the most compelling comment, however, comes from Amina Dawahare, a member of the family, who presented her own unique perspective as follows-

As A Dawahare family member and the only grandchild of William Dawahare, the Syrian immigrants oldest son, I will say that you are right, there was poor merchandise due to the fact that people could no longer afford the high end brands we used to carry. And I will say that the family is extreemely disfunctional as on of you other comments said, and unfortunately the jealousy and stupidity of some ruined everything for the rest, it is sad when you feel so conflicted not wantin gto fight your family for your inherited right, and in trying to be kind and loving you get essentially screwed up. My mother and I, she is also an only child, have now lost everything as all we had was invested as stock in this company, and we had absolutely no fault in the downfall of the company as after my grandfather died we were pushed out completely, and we allowed them ,to do it to try to keep peace in our very turbulant family.

This of course initiated what amounted to an angry rebuttal by yet another of the Dawahares family members, who in letting it be known that he had no sympathy whatsoever for her plight gave a perfect illustration of the dysfunctional nature of the Dawahares family which Lee had earlier alluded to-

Anonymous said...

As another member of the Dawahare family, I just want to point out the fact that Amina Dawahare has never worked a LEGITIMATE day in her life for the company. Sure, you might have worked in the office as a summer job here or there, but you know as well as I do that you have never actually put any blood, sweat, or tears (until now) into the company. Her mother, W.R. Dawahare, has never been involved with the company either. Their father was a great man and left a nice inheritance for them to live on. I find it quite amusing to see her come on here and act like she has any clue what she is talking about. You were pushed out -- yeah right. You were BOUGHT OUT. Big difference.

You're an adult. If you're not able to stand on your own two feet now, it's nobody's fault but your own.

All of this led to this comment by yet another former employee of the family who cares nothing it seems for the current generation of the family.

wow - amazing posts by the family members.

i grew up with a number of the 3rd generation members of the family

they were very outspoken and very arrogant people

the members of the 2nd generation that i knew - by contrast - were classy people. i feel very sorry for them.

the 3rd generation folks deserve a little humiliation - this is great news !

This is the kind of thing that might soon play out in towns and cities across America. What is truly disconcerting is that we should have viewed the failure of Dawahares as a warning sign that all was not well with out economy, even when we were being told that everything was fine. Spend, spend, spend.

Allow me to toot my own horn here for a second. I’ve been saying for years, to anybody that cared to listen, that our economy was headed for a sobering reality check, at the very least, and more than likely a painful period of, let us say adjustment. I warned people about the coming end of the tech bubble two years before it actually happened. And I have been warning about the tenuousness of the housing bubble since 2005 at least.

Bottom line is there are some good components to it. Houses will now be cheaper. To be more precise, housing prices will be more of a true reflection of their actual worth. True, it will be harder to get a loan to buy one for some time, but that too will pass. Yes, times are going to be rough for a while whether there is ever a bail out or not.

What, then, is the main thing we should worry about? Oh, that’s an easy one.

We should worry because, as surely as night follows day, we are going to be doing this all over again. It won’t be a long time coming either. People never learn.

If there really was a just, merciful God, You Tube would have been invented in the nineteen twenties. Then, we could all watch old videos of nineteen twenty era stockbrokers jumping out of windows and splattering on the streets below.

We might get a chance to see it yet.

I can't help but wonder if our economic system has become as overall dysfunctional as the Dawahares family. If that is the case, fixing it is going to be a tall order, and I'm not sure Congress or any other branch of government is the right source for a cure. I wonder if anything can fix it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Calling It Like I See It-Obama Wins By A Song

Well, uuhhhh, you ask, aahhhh, look now, what that did win the debate? Obama or McCain? Uhh well, I have to uuuhhh say, well since Obama didn't uuhhh, you know, do this shit here, uuuuhhhhh, well I guess he won it.

Seriously, Obama presented himself well tonight and held his own, and did not allow McCain to rattle him. There were no major mistakes of gaffes tonight. McCain did ok. Well, he almost did ok. Well, no he didn't. He probably had his own base cringing from his opening statement which was an expression of sympathy for his recently re-hospitalized "beloved friend" Ted Kennedy "the Lion of the Senate". Who in the hell is running McCain's campaign anyway that lets him do this stuff? Do these people really think this bilge is going to win anybody over?

It only got worse for Big Mac. Here we are at the beginning of one of the biggest financial disasters in the nation's history that, when all is said and done, will likely add a trillion dollars-at least-to the national debt. If we don't pony up, the entire economic engine of the United States could utterly collapse. George Bush is asking for 700 billion dollars to bail us out of the mess while hundreds of billions of dollars have already been targeted for Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and AIG. Lehman Brothers, a one hundred and fifty year old firm that survived the Great Depression, vanished overnight. Another major bank failed today. More are likely to follow.

John McCain is worried about a ninety million dollar earmark to study the mating habits of bears in Montana. I understand that was just supposed to be an example. But, to use a phrase he seemed stuck on tonight, he "just doesn't understand". In the grand scheme of things, John McCain ended up sounding like an old geezer waxing nostalgiac about the long ago days when five dollars would get you two or three big bags of groceries and gasoline was twenty five cents a gallon.

He looked and sounded old, and tired. I hate to say it but he almost came across as senile, where Obama looked young, fresh, energetic, determined, and hopeful-and yet somehow disarmingly realistic.

McCain seemed to get some of his old fire back when the debate phased over into what is his forte, national security and international affairs. Unfortunately for him, not only did Obama hold his own in this segment as well, but he delivered the most devastating line of the night during this period, specifically in response to McCain's complaint about Obama's earlier asserted intention to target Pakistan in relation to a pledge to get Bin Laden and finally defeat Al-Queda and the Taliban.

"You don't say things like that publicly", McCain said chidingly of what he characterized as Obama's naive and irresponsible pledge to pursue an action that he held would further destabilize Pakistan, our already uneasy ally in the war on terror.

Obama clarified his position and said he actually agreed with McCain, but then he went on to add, and I paraphrase-

"You said you would annihilate North Korea and you sang about bombing Iran, so I'm not so sure that's such a good point coming from you."


It went on from there to what is exactly the best way to meet with a foreign leader who might be considered "the enemy". McCain criticized Obama's statement that he would meet with such leaders without pre-conditions. Obama once again clariifed that there would be lower level diplomatic meetings first. McCain said we already do that. Obama said that, in fact, George Bush has recently done that. Blah-blah blahdaddy blah.

By the time it was over by my calculations McCain won on points in this round, but it was one of those thing that if it had been a boxing match it would have been his by a split decision made by an expert panel of judges while the audience is left scratching their heads wondering what the hell happened.

Obama won the the overall match anyway, and though this too was by points, it was certainly a clear cut victory. True, there were no knock-downs, knock-outs, or TKO's. McCain however needs to get it together for the two rematches. I have a feel for these kinds of things, and so far, it don't look good for the home team.

"He just doesn't understand" might well go down as the most ironic statement of the night, one that McCain delivered the first time or two to great effect, but after that, what was obviously intended as a refrain meant to stick in the viewers mind started to sound redundant, and even a little petulant. Worst of all, however, it sounded condescending.

He may as well have looked at his watch and sighed real loud at the same time.

Lakeview Terrace Review

There are several good reasons to see this film, but by far the most important one is the performance of Samuel Jackson in the role of Abel Turner, an African American of Ethiopian descent who is a patrol officer of the LAPD. The story takes place somewhere on the outskirts of the city of Los Angeles in a middle-class neighborhood, with the backdrop of a slowly and yet surely approaching forest fire that threatens to consume everything in its path. Within this setting, the widowed cop and his two children (Jaishon Fisher, Regine Nehy) have new neighbors-an interracial couple to whom he takes an immediate dislike.

Jackson’s performance is not riveting so much because the character of Turner is an evil bigot corrupted by power. In fact, his character is much more complicated than that and, despite the impressions you might have from the movie’s trailers, such a description is simplistically inaccurate.

Turner is a loving, protective, albeit strictly disciplinarian father who wants to teach his children, as he explains to his new neighbor, to “respect themselves and respect where they came from”. He does not take kindly to the fact that his children saw the couple frolicking late at night in their swimming pool from the upstairs window. When he walked in on the middle of this, however, his immediate reaction was not so much anger as it was one of obvious sadness.

He goes out of his way throughout the movie-starting well before this incident, in fact-to make life as uncomfortable for the young couple as possible. He makes sure a bright floodlight shines though their bedroom window. When Turner makes excuses for not disabling the light right away, the husband turns the tables on him by installing a mirror in the bedroom window that sends the light glaring through Turner’s own bedroom window.

Though that seems to take care of the problem, it re-emerges in other forms. Turner surreptitiously slashes the tires on their automobile and blames it on unknown hoodlums from an adjacent area. When the environmentally aware husband transplants some medium sized trees along the fence that separates the adjoining properties, Turner takes a power saw to them, resulting in a shouting match that almost turns violent. When Turner sees his young daughter at the swimming pool of the young wife, dancing and laughing, in response to an earlier invitation by the woman (though of course without her father’s permission) he flies into a rage. In the course of the argument, he removes his pants and shirt and stands there in mocking disapproval of his daughter’s skimpy dress. When she defies his orders, he strikes her in front of the woman.

When the children go off for a two-week visit with his sister-in-law, Turner really lets loose, inviting his fellow officers to celebrate the upcoming marriage of a colleague at his own home, complete with bachelor party. The excessive noise and raucousness of the party in the wee hours of the morning induces the young husband to go to Abel’s house to complain. When one of Abel’s guests shuts the door in his face, he enters the party through a side door where, after an initial invitation by Turner to have a beer, he is sexually assaulted by women dancers at the party, aided and abetted by the cops, until Turner finally tells them to “get his ass out of here.”

All through the movie, however, Turner manages to maintain his rage to within manageable levels, though he channels and utilizes it unabashedly. This is the mastery of Jackson’s performance. It is not what he does. In fact, most of what he actually does is relatively minimal in comparison to the sheer menace with which he performs, and which he exudes like some ancient, primeval archetype.

When he acts on an earlier proffered invitation to the couple’s housewarming party, he takes center stage and in very short order turns what is supposed to be a cordial, gracious occasion into more of a police state atmosphere. After literally wrecking the party and ruining the evening for the hosts as well as their other invited guests, he takes his leave.

When we see Turner on the job, we get glimpses of his personality and you find yourself looking for clues as to what he is about as defined by his job description. However, there is no sign of corruption, only the evidence of a devoted police officer who willingly pulled double shifts, all the overtime he could muster, and took on extra work as a security guard in order to be able honestly to afford to move his family to a better neighborhood.

When Internal Affairs calls him to account in regards to a civilian complaint they inform him that, due to a number of past similar complaints through the years, he might want to think about retirement, and tell him to take some time off until the investigation concludes.

However, the complaint in question is from a man who had violently beat his wife and held her and their child at gunpoint. Abel and his partner saved the wife and child and Abel himself arrested the man after chasing him through an alley and disarming him after the man threatened to take his own life. He did go somewhat over the line in taking the man’s gun and threatening to kill him with it if he did not straighten up, which was perhaps a little rough and provocative. Yet, we can easily infer that, taking everything in context, the man’s complaints are without merit, to put it mildly. He accused Abel of three broken ribs, though Abel insisted to Internal Affairs that he did not do this.

We are then left with the image of a man who is a basically not only a good cop, but completely ethical, if a little rough and jaded by years of wading through the sewers of humanity. He has seen it all, and has his own official dealings with Civilian Informants, whom you get the impression he barely tolerates. Jackson plays the role to the hilt of a man who is nearing the end of the line, and who sees the newly arrived interracial couple next door as the final insult to everything he ever cared about, a slap in the face to every value he ever held dear, and a mocking reminder of his own personal failures.

The reason for Abel’s seething hatred for the couple will come as no surprise, but the movie makes up for this by getting it out of the way somewhat early in the movie. What would have been a letdown if delayed until closer to the end of the movie therefore serves instead to move the film along at a pivotal moment, while at the same time providing a major influence regarding the climax of the film.

There are unfortunately some minor inconsistencies. When the husband goes to the bachelor party at Abel’s house, he manages surreptitiously to make a recording of the proceedings, including the sexual assault, which the wife then sees. For some reason, the film never pursues this angle. Although the movie never picks up on it, we might see this as a minor inconsistency, and maybe even a realistic one. After all, this couple does not want a fight. They just want to live their lives. They are not the type to react to every opportunity to roll in the gutter by doing so.

The husband and wife-Chris Mattson (Patrick Wilson) and Lisa Mattson (Kerry Washington)-themselves are unfortunately almost reduced to secondary characters, and though the two actors who portray them are technically good, by no means are these stand-out performances. Although they manage to portray the gamut of emotions of concern, regret, fear, anger, relief, and determination when appropriate to the scene, we do not get the main impression that we should get, which is that they really, really regret moving to this house. Although the wife states as much, in so many words, we do not believe her or her husband-possibly because they are too happy to be where they are, and it shows. I am talking about the actors, of course.

As for the characters they portray, all we really know about them is she is the daughter of a successful black businessman who lives miles away and who seems to have some reservations about the marriage and the prospect of the couple having children. The couple themselves have some angst over the issue, and when the woman becomes pregnant, due to having neglected to taking the pill for a couple of days, the husband is even more fraught with anxiety and it comes more openly to the fore. He even seems to accuse her of deliberately getting pregnant, which she denies, though not very convincingly. We wonder whether this is because the wife is indeed duplicitous, or whether the actress that portrays her just does not put the point across. By this point, it is irrelevant.

What is relevant is the dark shadow cast by Officer Abel Turner, as it becomes the impetus behind the exaggerated concern of the husband as he feels a sudden, threatening rift grow between him and his wife, one that seems now to focus from inside her womb. Yet, his despair might well be the bastard child of Abel Turner, whose influence on the lives of the couple has turned what should be an occasion for joy into a matter of considerable dread.

However, Officer Turner is the one spiraling out of control, despite his skill, self-discipline, and the perverse, almost obsessive professionalism by which he goes about the business of destroying two lives. As terrifying as he is as an enemy, his controlled and channeled wrath can only accomplish so much at containing and dealing with unexpected contingencies. When it finally falls apart, there is only one way it can go.

There is a mild amount of political correctness in this film, which is annoying. The husband is an unabashedly liberal graduate of Berkeley and proponent of Global Warming activism, while Abel Turner is an equally unabashedly conservative traditionalist. Although this is never explicitly stated, we are led to surmise that if Turner had gotten some therapy to help him with his inner turmoil, not only would he have been a better father and happier person, but he, too, would be a liberal “tree-hugger”, as he once called his antagonist. However, this and the few similar and thankfully brief liberal add-ons are minor components of the film that doesn’t take too much away from it.

Jackson’s performance is Oscar worthy, and due almost solely to him nets the film a rating of three pentacles out of a possible five.

* * *

* Samuel L. Jackson as Officer Abel Turner
* Patrick Wilson as Chris Mattson
* Kerry Washington as Lisa Mattson
* Jaishon Fisher as Marcus Turner
* Regine Nehy as Celia Turner
* Jay Hernandez as Javier Villareal
* Keith Loneker as Clarence Darlington
* Ron Glass as Harold Perreau
* Caleeb Pinkett as Damon Richards

Directed by Neil LaBute
Produced by Jeffrey Graup
James Lassiter
David Loughery
Will Smith
Written by David Loughery
Howard Korder
Starring Samuel L. Jackson
Kerry Washington
Patrick Wilson

Screen Gems
Alliance Films

Monday, September 22, 2008

An Unfortunate Update And Coorection

I was going to post Mysterious Ways by U2 as the special song for Mabon, but I just discovered it can not be embedded by request, either by the person that posted it or possibly by the label that recorded the song. That is unfortunate, but I have nothing to use as a suitable substitute. I could link the page, but why bother?

The Autumn Equinox is today at somewhere between 3:39 and 3:44 p.m., depending on who you believe, which means I was off in my earlier estimation, which I based on the Khaldea Ephemeris, which listed the Sun entering Libra at some unstated time during the 23rd.

To those interested in the astrological aspects, the major adjustment to make is in regards to the lunar aspects. The Moon will at the time of the equinox actually be in a very strong square to the Sun and in waning mode, being somewhere close to the first degree of Cancer, and will as well be in trine to Venus. Any other aspects, such as to Uranus, Neptune, Mars, and Mercury, will be very minor ones at best, and if at all. They can be pretty much ignored at any rate.

However, the other planetary aspects I pointed out are yet valid, especially the Mars-Mercury conjunction, all the more so since Mercury is stationary and preparing to go retrograde. They have a weak conjunction to Venus, and their trine to Neptune and quincunx to Uranus is also still applicable.

I'm particularly glad I caught all this, especially the waning moon aspect square the Sun, as this is in perfect harmony with the period of the Autumn Equinox and the shortening of days and lengthening of nights that it heralds. A waning moon will also assist in augmenting any kind of banishing magic or ritual that might be performed during this time.

Sorry about the confusion, and for the lack of the YouTube video I promised. I'll see if I can come up with a suitable substitute, one as good or not better-which of course is a subjective criterion at any rate.

Until then, enjoy the remainder of the day and the night ahead.

Mabon Tarot Card

Before I begin this Mabon reading I would like to extend a big thanks to Tarot Girl for the image of the Page of Pentacles. I just placed her site, which does a one card reading everyday, on my blogroll. I'll probably be pilfering her Ryder-Waite tarot pictures from time to time.

The Tarot card I drew for this coming Mabon was one I would never have suspected I would draw, but the more I think about it in the context of the recent housing and sub-prime mortgage crisis, the more sense it makes. I will elaborate somewhat without falling into the usual habit of throwing a political based tantrum, which is something I fully intended to avoid for the duration of the Sabbat.

The Page of any suits represents a fragile new beginning, and in the case of the suit of pentacles, this new beginning is basically of a physical nature. It can have to do with health, fertility, or money, among other things.

Naturally, we are entering a period of grave uncertainty due to the housing crisis. Steps have been proposed tentatively to deal with the problem, but if these steps are taken, it will be at considerable expense, and it is by no means certain an agreement can be reached. Even as Congress speaks of bipartisanship in an effort to meet the problem head on there are those who even now express disagreement on the extent of what the government can and, for that matter should do.

We are all going to pay the piper regardless due to the reckless actions of a few who have been aided and abetted by certain members of Congress.
You have Democrats who have twisted the arms of banks to issue loans to people of questionable at best credit for political reasons in an attempt to insure access to home ownership to the poor and minorities (whether they actually had the capacity to pay off the loans or not).

You have Republicans who have with almost religious zeal dismantled the regulatory system which should have put the brakes on the system before it got too out of hand.

You had corporate honchos of the two largest mortgage firms, who were in fact quasi-government agencies in their own right seemingly created at least in part for this purpose, who took advantage of both parties as they doled out the bribes to high-ranking politicians and even the chairman of the committee assigned to be their watchdog.

You have predatory lenders and banking establishments who took advantage of housing laws and who approved as many loans as they possibly could, and then sold them as bundles to Wall Street brokerage firms who seemed to be as clueless as anybody as to what they were pushing on their investors (or maybe in some cases they were not so clueless).

You had the investors themselves who had no idea of what they were letting themselves in for-they just knew if they acted quickly enough they could make a quick buck and maybe even get filthy rich. Finally, you had the private homeowners themselves who leveraged their homes to a ridiculous extent, taking out mortgage after mortgage for everything from new automobiles to expensive vacations and unnecessary toys.

For every homeowner that took out a mortgage on their home in order to renovate or otherwise improve said home, or who paid off other bills or invested in college funds for their kids, there were seemingly as many or more who used them to buy trips to the Bahamas and five foot plasma screen televisions and a second or third automobile-more than likely a Lexus as opposed to a more moderately priced vehicle.

Many of them, fairly unsophisticated in the ways of finance, were seduced by the prospect of low interest loans, whose interest rates were not fixed. When things started getting out of hand and the rates rose to astronomical heights, most of them were left holding their dicks.

I warned about all this quite some time ago, and the dangers of our credit card economy in general. Unfortunately I'm just one small voice mostly unheard and rarely heeded when I am.

To be sure, this is not all bad. This is probably one of the best times in a good many years to invest in a home, if you have reasonably good credit. The artificial bubble has had a good lot of the air let out of it that had been causing hardship for a lot of elderly, fixed income and working class homeowners. They were facing ever increasing property taxes through no fault of their own, depending on the area of the country and the neighborhoods in which they lived.

When house values reach up to four times higher than their original worth, and more, you know you are looking at an untenable situation. It had to come to an end, and however cathartic, it is a good thing that it has. In my opinion, the government should do nothing aside from repeal the law that forced bankers into making what they knew to be bad loans, and then they should apply reasonable regulations on the industry-and enforce them to the letter.

What the government is doing is a short term fix that is geared toward the present political season. What both parties are doing is trying to stave off the well-deserved wrath of the American public that would soon come down upon the heads of both parties.

I started writing this post as an encouragement to remember the poor and the homeless this Mabon season, with a donation to some worthwhile agency such as the Goodwill or the Salvation Army, or to some local Christian church or mission that feeds the homeless and poor. Perhaps you know somebody yourself to whom you could perform some personal act of kindness, someone less fortunate than yourselves.

After all, if you are in a position to give, it is obviously because you have worked hard and managed your money and other resources wisely. A good many others might not be so fortunate. Or, they might have let their greed and avarice get the better of them, not realizing that they were contributing to a problem that could very well be more profound than we even now suspect it will become.

Come to think of it, you owe it to yourselves and your family. Go out and buy yourselves that big plasma screen television you've always wanted.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Power Animals

Do you want to learn what your power animal is, or what power animal you can attune with for any specific purpose in mind. This site might give you the answer.

Mr. Squirrel, above, is my power animal for this specific period of Mabon, according to this site, which then went on to offer to sell me a "power animal squirrel stone" for a slight charge. Yes, this is a commercial site, but its still fun.

I also found out what power animal I needed to help me in my personal romantic life, with one particular woman. We're not supposed to do this, of course, but, alas, I have always had heretical tendencies). Strangely, I found out that the power animal I most need in order to help me in my would-be relationship desire with a certain woman whom we shall call Melissa (cos that's her name), is-the Rhino. Which made sense, as it promises that by attuning with Mr. Rhino, I will learn to develop a thick skin and the power to lower my head and charge full speed ahead when the time comes to accomplish my goals with power, determination, and fearlessness-all of which will come in handy.

A power animal is a shamanic concept. By attuning with a power animal, you take on the qualities of that animal and make them your own, or perhaps more precisely, you bring those qualities within yourself to the surface and develop them to their full potential.

Mr. Squirrel is going to help me utilize my resources to greater effect and enable me to make my endeavors more productive and profitable. The squirrel a perfect power animal for Mabon, especially here in Kentucky, where squirrels are abundant. Now I just need to figure out what I most need to "squirrel away" for a rainy day.

To use the site, you meditate on your specific need while looking at the image of the forest. Allow your mind to relax as you do so while moving your mouse over the image. When the time feels right, you click your mouse on the page, wherever you most feel drawn. Your power animal will then present itself.

For Mabon-Homemade Vegetable Beef Soup

Since Mabon is a harvest festival, nothing goes better at this time of year nor is more appropriate than a recipe which makes use of a variety of fresh farm produce. Of course, if it is impractical to use fresh produce, frozen vegetables is fine. Avoid canned products if at all possible.

This recipe can be doubled or tripled, depending on need, and is suitable for families or for larger gatherings. It goes well with crackers, peanut butter or grilled cheese sandwiches, or chips and dips.

It is also relatively easy to make, and makes for not only a very tasty meal, but a healthy one as well.

Another great thing about this soup is you can freeze the leftovers if you decide to save them for some later date beyond the next two or three days. It is in fact almost as good thawed and reheated after frozen for some time as it is freshly cooked and served.

Note-Do not when cooking allow to overheat. The soup should cook at a slow boil at all times, and should not be allowed to come to a harsh, "rolling boil", as this can cause the tomato juice to scorch.


Rump roast-about two pounds, cut into small pieces, boiled and drained.

Vegetables and herbs-
Potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters, about two pounds.
About three carrots, skinned and sliced
Corn kernels extracted from three ears, fresh or frozen
8 ounces of fresh green beans, fresh or frozen
4 ounces of peas, fresh or frozen
2 or 3 broccoli stems, fresh or frozen
one fourth of a large celery stalk, sliced thin
One large white or yellow onion, diced
one half of a large bell pepper, diced
About one third of a medium sized head of cabbage, finely chopped

Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

One large can of tomato juice

Boil rump roast in pan of water for about twenty minutes, or until meat is slightly browned. Take out of water and lay on paper towel and pat dry to drain excess fat and additives. Transfer meat into a large pot with tomato juice and about sixteen ounces of water, and add potatoes, onions and bell peppers. Let come to a boil over medium hear. Add salt and pepper to taste. let boil for about thirty minutes, stirring every now and then.

After thirty minutes, add corn, carrots, broccoli, green beans, and peas. Continue boiling over medium heat for about twenty minutes.

Then, add cabbage and celery, and continue to boil over medium heat for about ten minutes.

Reduce heat to simmer and cover kettle with a lid. Continue to simmer for about an hour, stirring about every twenty minutes or so.

When ready to serve, increase heat until desired temperature, serve with drinks and accompaniments.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Astrological Guideposts For Mabon

This won't mean much to people who are not pagans or not familiar with astrology, but to those of you who are one or another, or both, I thought it might be of interest. This coming Mabon, on September 23rd, features some fairly unique astrological alignments which you might want to take into consideration when planning any rituals or celebrations. As such, I figured it might be good for you to be aware of them ahead of time in order to consider what the proper preparations might be. It's an individual matter, of course, or a group matter if you are going to be celebrating in the context of a coven gathering or what have you, but however you choose to recognize it-if you do-could potentially enhance your Mabon celebration to an appreciable extent.

To begin with, we have a triple conjunction involving Mercury, Mars, and Venus. In the case of Mars and Mercury, they are in exact conjunction occurring within the 22nd degree of Libra, which of course is the sign the sun will enter at the exact moment of the Autumn Equinox. What makes this particular conjunction between these two planets significant is that Mercury, for its part, will be stationary, seeming to stand still as it prepares to go retrograde.

Venus is a little farther down the line, at 28 degrees of Libra, which is still close enough to qualify for a minor conjunction with the other two.

Add to this the following factors-

First, the Moon will be in Cancer, starting at about the tenth degree meaning it will be, at some point through the day, in waning mode to the three planets of the triple conjunction.

Perhaps just as significant, two of the three planets mentioned-specifically Mercury and Mars-will be in nearly a perfect trine with the planet Neptune in the 21 degree of Aquarius. The trine of Neptune with Venus will be a minor one.

Also, Mercury and Mars (though not Venus) will be quincunx with Uranus in something like the twentieth degree of Pisces. Though this is a fairly minor aspect, it's impact can be of considerable temporary importance at the relevant time, signifying some degree of immediate difficulty. This can be further augmented by the fact that Uranus will will also be in trine to the moon at some point during the day.

The Neptune trine with the planets can provide enhanced illusory qualities to the day, night, and time in question, yet it too offers some degree of difficulty through a quincunx with the moon. Though this aspect is even more transitory in nature due to the relative speed of the lunar orbit, it can be considerable during its time of greatest effect, which will be during the time of the equinox.

All of which of course means nothing if you choose to ignore it, but if you choose to tap into those very subtle energies, and have the expertise and patience to do so, it can certainly add to the days and nights festivities.

UPDATE-Aaaargghh I missed some things. Not only are both Neptune and Uranus also retrograde, but early in the day the Moon will be in opposition to Jupiter in the 12th degree of Capricorn.

Okay, I guess that's all.

News And A Special Announcement

Before the announcement, just a few quick notes, what you might call random shit. I just got through defragmenting my discs, and man oh man what a fucking hassle. Hopefully it will be worth it because I don't want to have to go through that shit again in a hurry.

I've spent the last few days trying to get the bugs ironed out in my computer, and turned to Dell Support. They did a bunch of shit for me, but just when they were going to defragment my discs, the Microsoft program took that chore over.

I downloaded a bunch of other shit, most of which I fairly quickly decided I didn't want, didn't need, and had absolutely no use for. But, on the plus side, since I'm now on high speed internet-well, it's not the highest speed but it's at least about eight and a half times faster than what I had-I was finally able to download java, which was cool, and a few other things like flash players and the like.

Probably the coolest thing I've downloaded though is Open Office from Sun. It's a lot like Microsoft Word, only maybe better. One small inconvenience is there's nothing for deleting large passages, but that's no big deal, I guess you can use your keyboard for that.

The coolest thing about it is you can make your own PDF documents with it. I might be wrong here, but I don't think you can do that with Microsoft Word. Or if you can I sure missed it.

Finally, an announcement. Since I can now watch and listen to YouTube, and can download them onto the blog without them slowing me down, I have a very good one, a music video, that I plan to download as a Mabon Sabbat special. Mabon is of course a special day for many pagans, especially Wiccans, and takes place during the Autumn Equinox. It marks the beginning of the fall, when the days grow shorter and the nights longer. It marks one of the three harvest festivals, and heralds the approaching death of the god and his descent into the underworld at Samhain (Halloween), from which he will be reborn at Yule (Winter Solstice).

In the material "underworld", Australia and all countries south of the Equator, the coming day of the Autumn Equinox actually marks for them the Vernal Equinox, called Ostara-the first day of spring. At any rate, the music video that I have chosen to post in celebration of this day could easily fit in with either of the two Sabbats.

I won't say what it is right now, but I'll give you a hint. It is in my opinion one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded, though ironically by one of the most pretentious bands in all rock history. I don't let that, however, nor the fact that this band is technically Christian (in fact, they are Catholic) discourage my appreciation for this particular song. It is that good. It rocks. It kicks ass. And it's the perfect theme for the coming Mabon (or Ostara) Sabbat.

Coming here in just a very few days.

Herod's Revenge

It looks like we might get Benjamin Netanyahu back in Israel here pretty soon. According to most polls his Likud Party would win handily in the next elections, which might come in about four months if current would-be Prime Minister Livni, of the Kadima Party, is unable to form a coalition government. The major obstacle to this is the ultra-right wing Shas Party. The major sticking point-the status of Jerusalem. Shas demands that it not be divided and remain totally under Israeli control. Livni, a former Mossad agent, has pledged to work toward peace with the Palestinians be negotiating a withdrawal from East Jerusalem and the West Bank, in return for guarantees of Israeli security.

She won the last election, held in the aftermath of the resignation of Ehud Ohlmert, but she did so by the skin of her teeth, by just something like 500 votes.

Whoever the next president is, he is going to have a full plate of Middle East delicacies by the time he unpacks and settles in. I can pretty much envision the two different scenarios. Obama will send Joe Biden on a "fact-finding" mission, and within a few months a "peace deal" will be agreed upon, complete with a signing in the White House Rose Garden that will all fall apart in a matter of months, not years.

McCain will probably send Joe Liebermann, who will use pretty much the same approach, though there is less likely to be any artificial and pretentious "peace" deals.

This is going to turn into a big mess and there will be no easy answers, nor in fact any answers for a good time to come.

So why are we involved? The answer to this, of course, is that this is yet one more example of a fucking European mess that the US is expected to clean up, and which we will be excoriated for not doing so-by Europeans as much if not more than anybody else.

I have an idea. The European countries should take in nine or ten million more Arab/Muslim refugees. Really, they should.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Manson Sings

First we have the Beach Boys in a television appearance singing "Never Learn Not To Love", which is the song Dennis Wilson bought from Charles Manson for five hundred dollars and was originally titled "Cease To Exist". It appeared on the album 20/20 with Wilson credited as the songwriter. This was allegedly in return for Manson trashing his house and one of his girls giving Manson the clap.

Wilson changed a few words in the song as well as the title. "Cease to exist", in the Beach Boys version, becomes "cease to resist", while "give it to your brother" becomes "give it to your lover".

Below is the original version as sung by Charles Manson.

He sounds quite different than I imagined he would.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Give Me The Fucking Keys You Cocksucking Motherfucking *#&@(A(A#@#)@_@_

Does anybody have any idea what happened to Steven Baldwin? I mean, seriously, its one thing to be a Christian and to live that life to the fullest extent, but it’s something else again to turn into a serious nut job. I get it, that he thinks he’s got to be extra extra hardcore in order to prove to his fellow conservative Christians that he’s not like those “other” Baldwin boys, but really.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, Baldwin appeared two days ago at the Values Voters Forum, where, among other things, he declared jihad on-Gossip Girl, the CW television show. For those interested in hearing his remarks in their entirety, this link will take you to the YouTube page where you can view his remarks, separated onto several separate videos.

Now, I want to make it clear, I actually agree with him up to a point. The CW markets this show to young teens and tweens in what many might legitimately say is in very inappropriate ways. The answer to that problem is don’t let your kid watch the show. If it makes you feel better, organize a petition drive and a letter writing campaign and threaten a boycott. Before you do all that, though, watch the show. It might actually not be that bad. It might even be positive on balance.

Okay, I doubt that myself, at least about this show in particular, but here’s the point. Sex sells, and sex is indeed a marketing tool. I’ve heard cars referred to in television ads as sexy. That doesn’t mean auto companies are promoting backseat sex in highway rest stops. Therefore, you shouldn't jump to the conclusion that you can judge all television programs solely by the way in which they are marketed.

I mainly hope this doesn’t turn into another resurgence of advocacy of censorship. That’s one thing I can’t stomach, either from liberal Democrats or from conservative Christians/Republicans. And yes, liberal Democrats have their own particular brand of censorship, which has been over the years actually more successful than the conservative variety. If you don’t believe me, ask Don Imus.

Nor am I against Conservatives/Christians/Republicans pushing for "decent" programming. In fact, I encourage them to do that, and to support them when such programs are aired. I just hope they don't think they should try to saturate the market, nor expect the rest of us to like it if they try.

After all, this holds the danger of turning into another extreme if not held in bounds. Steven Baldwin even made the statement that you shouldn’t watch The Usual Suspects, a show in which he was one of the main stars, and which is one of my all time favorite flicks.

I’ve searched my memory high and low to try to fathom what his reason was for making this very deliberate and serious statement, and I don’t get it. There is no pornography in the film, nor in fact is there any sex whatsoever. I am kind of thinking that this particular segment is what is eating at him.

There is also considerable violence, in addition to cursing, but he himself said at the conference that this was acceptable as long as there was some greater point, because that is how “the world” is, therefore contradicting himself and possibly revealing a degree of self-loathing that is troubling. He even announced he would soon be appearing in such a movie, one that had “cussing” and yet had “values”.

So, what exactly is he getting at here? Is he saying that movies and television should preach values? Isn’t that what these people usually complain about the left doing, using television and film to promote their agendas? How is this any different from a practical perspective?

Frankly, I think he is letting certain people screw around with his head, and I’m not too eager to let them inside my own.

The Usual Suspects was one of the greatest movies ever made, excellently written, directed, acted-you name it. It was one of the most effective and creative crime dramas/mysteries of all time.

When it comes to the movies and television, that's the only kind of "values" that I care about.

Biden Floats A Trial Lead Balloon

And what does he get?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Prison Break-An Inside Scoop

This post is about an interesting story related to me by an acquaintance of mine who works on the set of the Fox Network drama Prison Break, concerning the return to the show of Sarah Wayne Callies, and the true feelings towards her among the other stars and cast members. It will require some amount of background, but I promise you its worth wading through it if you’re a fan of the show, or if you just want an idea of the behind the scenes shenanigans of the cast of a network television drama.

It’s interesting and at the same time infuriating for me to watch how the Fox Network is going about the business of destroying one of my favorite shows, Prison Break. At one time, it was a pulse-pounding adrenaline rush, with great acting and scripts, flawlessly executed and directed with great cinematography. It still is all that, but it has gone down some, as all series television will, even the best of them. Well, let’s be honest, the concept of the show hinted at a limited run, and in fact it was first devised as a mini-series. It evolved from there to a series, and is now in its fourth season. Originally it revolved around a guy trying to break his wrongly-convicted brother out of the prison which he himself had helped design, by having himself sent to the same prison, and breaking out. Along the way, he picked up a cadre of associates, some by design, but others through discovery and resultant extortion.

Season One ended with a grand total of eight escapees breaking out, while another died in the attempt and yet a tenth was apprehended. Season Two followed the pursuit of the convicts, who had gone their separate ways. Over the course of the season, three of them would meet their demise at the hands of the rogue FBI agent assigned to track them down but who was in reality working for the same shadowy “Company” responsible for the false imprisonment of the older brother. This organization has members at the highest level of government and industry, including the then-President of the United States. The season reached it’s near-conclusion with her stepping down, but the two brothers-Michael Scoffield (Wentworth Miller) and Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) were obliged to leave the country, the company still tracking their movements to Panama where-lo and behold-they have an agent currently held in a prison called Sona.

The mysterious company boss who up until now has said very little, communicating with his subordinates chiefly by way of handwritten notes (due to paranoia over satellite surveillance), decides to make lemon out of lemonade. He tells his subordinate, Bill Kim, to murder Lincoln Burrows, somehow inexplicably and unexplainably frame Scoffield, arrange for his incarceration in Sona, and somehow hope that he can be convinced to break their comrade out of the hellish prison. Things don’t go exactly according to plan. Kim is killed by Sarah Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies) the prison doctor and daughter of the late Illinois Governor whom Michael manipulated as part of his complex escape plan from Fox River, who subsequently attempted suicide, recovered only to find herself out of a job and in danger or prosecution, and the target of one Agent Kellerman (Paul Adelmann), the murderous company operative who has been the chief enforcer for the Company up until this point. When he sees just how expendable he himself is, he betrays the company and saves the brothers and Tancredi, and then is later apparently murdered.

Nevertheless, by the end of Season Two, Scoffield, who has taken the blame for the murder of Kim to protect Tancredi, is, of course, sent to Sona. By the time the unfortunately abbreviated season three begins, it looks like the gang is all here. Scoffield is joined by Agent Mahone (William Fichtner), his chief antagonist for Season Two who himself runs afoul of the Panamanian authorities; by Brad Bellick, the disgraced season one Chief Corrections Officer of Fox River turned season two bounty hunter; and by Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell (Robert Knepper), the murderous rapist pedophile who in season one extorted his way in on the escape plan, and who in season two left a bloody trail that stretched from Illinois, to Kansas, to Atlanta, and on down to Mexico and Panama.

Season Three’s Sona was a different situation. There were no guards since an earlier prison riot, though guards controlled the outer perimeter of the prison to prevent escapes, and delivered supplies. The straw boss of the prison was a drug lord named Norman St. John, called Lechero due to his earlier brutal murder of the man who raped his immigrant mother, which he accomplished by disguising himself as a milk man. He received compensation in the form of various considerable privileges in return for running Sona on the inside as a kind of controlled chaos that amounted to survival of the fittest.

The Company wanted Scoffield to find and break out James Whistler (Chris Vance), one of its operatives who had a secret coded book that contained information they needed. They did this by abducting the aforementioned Sarah Tancredi and L J Burrows (Marshall Almann), who is Scoffields nephew and Burrows’s son. Scoffield eventually accomplished the task while simultaneously tricking Bellick and Bagwell into being captured, along with Lechero, who was shot by the guards and subsequently murdered by Bagwell. Nevertheless he escaped with Whistler and a young car thief named MacGrady, along with Mahone, while his good buddy Fernando Sucre’ (Amaurie Nolasco) one of the original “Fox River Eight”, was captured and imprisoned within Sona for aiding in the escape by getting a job at Sona as a grave digger.

Scoffield managed to deliver the goods in the form of Whistler, who had lost the bird book (which was found by Bagwell) and rescued his nephew from the clutches of the evil Gretchen Morgan (Jody Lynn O’Keefe), but it was too late for Sarah Tancredi, who Morgan had earlier beheaded as a warning shot heard round the world. There were screams and gasps and cries of horror, grief, and outrage when the dastardly deed culminated in the head delivered in a box to the rented room of Lincoln Burrows-not from Burrows, however, nor even from Scoffield, but from the so-called MiSa fans who wrote petitions and trolled fan sites demanding that the show revive Tancredi, who had actually left the show due to a contractural dispute.

See, they had originally intended her suicide attempt at the end of Season One to be successful, but some of the brass balked on that idea and decided the Scoffield/Tancredi relationship had dramatic potential. By the end of Season Two, Sarah Wayne Callies was pregnant, and so was not available for a good part of Season Three, at which point somebody decided to kill her off during the fall finale, around episode thirteen. She refused to play along, and so they killed her off in episode three.

Thanks to the deluge of e-mails, letters, and phone calls from MiSa fans, however, Fox relented, and now Sarah Tancredi is back for Season Four, much to the chagrin of the larger portion of fans who would just as soon she stayed dead and gone. Any relationship between these two in the real world would be based on guilt. Sure, forgiveness is fine, but the fact is, the “chemistry” between these two is nonexistent at best, and it shows. In fact, it adds nothing to the show. Nothing, nada, zilch. The people who make up the MiSa Universe are obviously gay guys and teenage virgins, along with not a few sexually frustrated women who probably have their fingers up their cunts every time these two are on the screen together, though why for the life of me I will never know. Living vicariously through television romances are never the sign of a healthy emotional state. I have an idea it has something to do with broken romances and betrayals in their own lives that never worked out to their own satisfaction.

Be that as it may, Fox Networks evidently saw the opportunity to boost ratings on the show, and Wentworth Miller, being the good company man he is, has assured us all he is happy that Callies has returned to the show. Of course this is bullshit.

It’s always good to know people who work in Hollywood, especially when it is people who work behind the scenes of your favorite television show. I in fact know three such people who work on Prison Break, though unfortunately I have fallen out of contact with one, who happens to be the one I procured this picture from.

One of the others has kindly shared with me the story of how not only Miller really feels about Callie, but a great many other of the show’s cast as well. Following is a reproduction on an e-mail he sent me regarding my queries. Naturally, I can’t reveal the name of the individual or his position at Fox Network of on the show. Be that as it may, the following is his description of an occurrence on the set one day after the filming of Episode Three and Four, at the beginning of which Lincoln Burrows peered into the box left at his home to see the head of Sarah Tancredi. It seems that the head in question was a set piece around the studios for quite a few days, almost you might say a decoration that was the subject of a considerable amount of mirth and camaraderie. The way he puts it-

But they had the head on the sets a couple of days. When they had it over at the indoor set all the guy actors were there that day and were, well, being guys...trying to out-macho each other. First Wade walks in with it in his pants - those tony tiger pants - so it looked like he had a giant tumor. Wentworth is the first one to reach into Wades pants and pull the head out (that sounds dirty!). He puts the mouth up to his crotch holding it by the hair with one hand, slapping it with the other saying s*** like "Yeah take that bitch. Teach you to complain about screen time". They pretty much all took turns and all of 'em (except Knepper if I remember) had the head in their crotch calling her bitch, save some for me, etc. It was pretty raunchy. There were only about five or eight of us there that day and only a couple of us standing around to the side watching. They all took pictures and had the head sitting in SWC's chair (odd they kept it!) and again putting both their crotch and ass in the head's face. I grabbed one of the makeup ladies walking by, she was laughing so hard she was crying, and asked her right out if they really hated her that much. She told me YES, they could not stand the sight of her.

It was kind of fun!

So there you have it. I would like to see the show return to its former ratings, but if those of the last two weeks are any indication, this might be unlikely. The phony relationship between Miller and Tancredi is a drain on the show, and I have an idea the morale of the cast is probably at an all-time low. After all, there aren’t many of them who have a shot at returning in the event the studios decide they are no longer needed.

In fact, Wade Williams, who has played Brad Bellick since the beginning of the show and is in the current season now an ally of Scoffield, and like him is one of the group procured by Agent Don Self (Michael Rappaport) to help bring down the Company, is set to be killed off in episode nine. The discovery of his body in the sewers causes a problem for the operation. All of them involved in the operation-Scoffield, Burrows, Bellick, Sucre, Tancredi, Mahone, and a new character who is a young nerdy computer hacker-are officially supposed to be in a Supermax prison, the cover story invented to disguise the true nature of their work on the outside. (T-Bag of course is working at cross purposes against them and over time will become allied with Gretchen).

When Bellick dies, they all learn the truth. They are being used by the people conducting the operation to bring down the Company, and these people have no intention of honoring their previous commitments to them as expressed by Self. Bellick's body will be kept in cold storage, his remains will not be turned over to his mother, nor will he get the funeral he and the others were promised. His reward is a space in a morgue freezer, where his demise will remain unknown and unmourned.

So one of the best actors on the show is soon to be gone, while the mediocre at best Callies is probably safe from now until the series finally ends, more than likely after this season concludes. Its just too bad the Fox Network executives have not caught on to the idea that Callies role is not only not needed, but for the majority of fans, it might even be said to be unwanted and possibly to an extent even resented.

But she bitches about her screen time.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Guess Who This Is

Who am I?

I am under 45 years old
I love the outdoors
I hunt
I am a Republican reformer
I have taken on the Republican Party establishment
I have many children
I have a spot on the national ticket with less than two
years in the governor's office

Who am I?

I am Teddy Roosevelt in 1900.

His image stands alongside Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln on Mount Rushmore. Surveys of scholars have consistently ranked him from third to seventh on the list of greatest American presidents.

Yo, I ranked him at number seven myself. Not too shabby for such an "inexperienced" guy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Obamassiah Gets Crowned-Soon To Be Hung Out To Dry by Pretty Moose Hunting Governor


"Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor."


Are these people out of their fucking minds? It's one thing when a bunch of internet losers and media jackals say shit like this, but when you hear it from the mouth of an elected member of the House of Representatives-on the house floor no less-you know the Democratic Party has sunk to the lowest depths to which they could possibly sink. That's depths PLURAL-the triple d's-Democrats, Depravity, and Despair.

Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen riled Republicans Wednesday after he compared Barack Obama to Jesus Christ and suggested Sarah Palin is akin to Pontius Pilate.

The Tennessee Democrat, who supports Obama, was on the House floor giving a one-minute speech when he offered the comparisons.

I guess I could cut him some slack, since if his boy does get beat it will be chiefly (if not solely) due to Sarah Palin, but shit. One thing about arrogance, it doesn't mix too well with insanity.

I guess these people really do see Obama as a Messiah figure after all, but I used to figure it was on some deep subconscious level. Well this seems pretty damn conscious to me.

Does this make Bill Ayers Simon the Zealot? Haul in Teddy Kennedy to play the part of Nicodemus and we're all set. Bill Clinton and Hillary seem perfectly typecast as Herod Antipas and Herodias.

"So, you're Jesus Christ
You're the great Jesus Christ
Prove to me that you're divine
Turn my water into wine"

The kind you have with Bree, of course.

I'm really serious, do these people actually think this stuff up? I thought people usually said stupid things off the top of their heads, but I guess Democrats actually put thought into this kind of shit.

I'm trying to resist the urge to say something about whips, but damn there I just went and did it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

As Pure As The Driven Slush

Russell Brand’s performance at the MTV VMA Awards has got a lot of people upset, but what can you expect from a man who shows up to work the day after 9/11 dressed as Osama Bin Laden? The most incredible thing about that stunt in context to his appearance as host of these awards is that he happened to be working for MTV at the time. They fired him on the spot.

Brand is evidently a young, hip, British Don Rickles type of insult comedian with a Phyllis Diller hairdo. I think of him as a reactionary comedian, in the sense that his comedy, such as it is, depends on eliciting the expectation of a visceral response from the targets of his routine, not so much by himself as much as by his audience.

In his opening act at the VMA Awards, he immediately requested that we vote for Barak Obama, even though he acknowledged there were many here in this country-“I think they’re called racists”, he said-who don’t think America is ready for a black president. He went on to say that he believed America to be a forward looking country, otherwise they would not have elected that “retarded cowboy” (Bush) for eight years, going on to say that in Britain Bush would not be trusted with a pair of scissors.

He mentioned McCain and Sarah Palin as well, but mostly in the context of the pregnancy of Palin’s unmarried teenage daughter. He expressed mock sympathy for the girl’s boyfriend in that one minute he was enjoying himself having sex and the next thing you know there he is being dragged to the Republican National Convention, going on to say that was the best possible inducement to chastity.

This all provided lead-in to an extended jab at the boy band and Disney stars The Jonas Brothers, who appeared and performed at the awards show. Brand mercilessly derided them for their public vows to remain chaste until marriage and their choosing to wear “promise rings” as a sign of this commitment, Brand saying he would be more impressed if they wore the rings on their penises.

The Jonas Brothers were recipients of several other such jabs by the comedian. Former American Idol season six winner Jordan Sparks defended the brothers, explaining that not all boys and girls wanted to be sluts. Brand then apologized but tempered this with the explanation that a little sex every now and then was all right.

It is worth noting here that Brand is a known hedonist and sex addict. He spent a month at a rehab facility, at the insistence of his management, during which he spent a harrowing period as the roommate of an Arizona pedophile who had “eloped” with his thirteen-year-old stepdaughter. Brand toughed it out and stayed at the facility for the duration of his commitment. Yet, he has the reputation of a man with a voracious sexual appetite. He traces this to the time when, at the age of seventeen, his father availed for him the services of a Hong Kong prostitute.

Some security guards caught him once having sex with two female companions in a public bathroom and ordered him off the premises, to which he later returned the same night. He has said he finds it impossible to achieve any degree of sexual satisfaction and finds himself continuously trying to fill that void, oftentimes with two female partners at a time, seldom with the same one or two women two nights in a row.

When you look at his life, then, it becomes easy to see why such a lifestyle commitment publicly made by the Jonas Brothers is so incomprehensible to him. At the VMA Awards, he pointed out the Jonas Brothers could have sex with any woman they wanted.

Russell Brand, frankly, is not funny to me, but by the same token, I don’t view him as particularly offensive. Had he not, at almost the very beginning of his routine, made such an overtly partisan request that we in America vote for Obama for “the world’s sake”, I doubt that his other political comments would have raised many eyebrows. He would be just another big-mouthed leftist comedian to his detractors, but otherwise the story would have gone away by now with little notice, if any.

The Jonas Brothers-now them I find offensive. Their alleged music is just a part of the reason, though assuredly quite a big part. I’ve admittedly only heard bits and pieces of it. Nevertheless, if you one day accidentally swallow a heaping tablespoon of shit, I hardly think you are required to eat the entire bowl before you know what you’re dealing with.

That said, they are not the first trite, mediocre musicians, nor will they be the last. I do not particularly mind that they have made a commitment to chastity either, but putting the two together is just a little much. I have to wonder if the public commitment, such as it is, is just another part of their overall show business package. Perhaps it’s an inducement for parents to feel good about allowing their kids to watch them, listen to them, buy their recordings, all on the grounds that they are pure and wholesome family entertainment, the type of teen idols you want your own kids to emulate. All the while, you and your kid are all getting fucked, but good.

For this reason, I do find them offensive, and Russell Brands bit about them at the VMA Awards, while admittedly over-the-top, was as funny as anything I’d ever heard him do. This in fact has attracted as much notice-and criticism-as his political comments. I think Russell has their number, and it makes a lot of us wince in embarrassment. One time the camera panned over to the Jonas Brothers, sitting in the audience, looking like deer caught in the headlights.

The oldest of the Jonas Brothers is twenty-one years old.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Collission Course

Some scientists fear that, as of Wednesday, the world as we know it may be doomed due to the experiments of one man. From The Daily Mail-

Dr Lyn Evans, who has been dubbed Evans the Atom, will this week switch on a giant particle accelerator designed to unlock the secrets of the Big Bang.

On Wednesday, Dr Evans will fire up the Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile-long doughnut-shaped tunnel that will smash sub-atomic particles together at nearly the speed of light.

Built by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), the collider lies beneath the French-Swiss border, near the institution’s headquarters in Geneva, at depths ranging from 170ft to 600ft.

The aim of the £4.4billion experiment is to recreate the conditions that existed a fraction of a second after the Big Bang – the birth of the universe – and provide vital clues to the building blocks of life.

It will track the spray of particles thrown out by collisions in a search for the elusive Higgs Boson, a theoretical entity that supposedly lends weight, or mass, to the elementary particles. So important is this mysterious substance that it has been called the ‘God Particle’.

Scientists also hope to shed some light on the invisible material that exists between particles – dubbed ‘dark matter’ as no one knows what it really is – which makes up most of the universe.

If all that is over your head, however, do not despair. This rap song-

Written and performed by 23-year-old Kate McAlpine, who works in the Press office at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland, the video features Kate and two background dancers bopping about in lab coats

Will explain it in layman's language.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Don't Look Now


Katie has informed me that, while she plays the cello, she doesn't consider herself a cellist, and does not play that instrument for Lunic. Correction is noted and made in the post.

Kaitee Page is an artist who deserves to be listened to, a classically trained musician and alternative rock artist who plays the violin, viola, and piano, and is the lead singer of a group called Lunic. Her MySpace page contains her newest studio release, which includes Don't Look Now. The sound is very good, and I am going to predict you will be hearing from Kaitee at some point.

Here is a video of Don't Look Now, which is a live acoustic version.

The following picture is just one among many others from her MySpace page.

Friday, September 05, 2008

It's Really All Quite Simple

This post by Rufus over on Grad Student Madness is a perfect illustration of why, when I hear American politicians-and yes, this includes my new gal crush Sarah Palin-wax on about the evils and dangers of Russia and the resurgent "Russian Empire", my reaction is a great big old-


That's my reaction when I'm in a good mood, mind you.

Before I continue, let me point out the Democrats are not one iota better in this case. In fact, they are worse. At least the Republicans want us to lead NATO and our European "allies" that make it up, whereas Democrats, if the truth were known, want to make us de facto members of the fucking EU.

Let's take this one step at a time, kiddies. You're being conned. This whole deal is an attempt to insure increased funding for NATO and from there, increased sells of weapons systems from our own manufacturers, yes, but evidently also from Israel.

In the meantime, this ill-advised attempt to draw Georgia into the framework of NATO is nothing more than a first step toward membership in the EU. I encourage you to click on the link and take a good long look at just what the EU is really all about.

In case you don't want to, I'll tell you anyway. They're going to ban "sexist advertising". Let me explain how this process works. To do so, we'll use Rufus's example of how they might ban an advertisement that depicts a man out washing the car while the woman of the house, his wife, is inside cooking supper. They might do so on the grounds that this is encouraging "sexist stereotyping".

Bear in mind, it would be bad enough if the governments of England and France, for example, passed such a crazy law. However,this isn't even that benign. What is happening here is a bunch of ivory tower bureaucrats in Brussels might well pass this insane law, at which point England and France, and all other signatory members of the EU, will be obliged to adhere to it. This would include Georgia, in the event they become a member of the EU, which they evidently want to be, even though they have to know all this.

Now, I want to ask all my conservative and libertarian friends one simple, straightforward question. If Russia were to swoop through Europe tomorrow, take over the entire fucking continent, rule it with an iron hand from that day on, and put every current leader of the EU to death-

Do you see now why I don't give a big flying fuck?

The Party Of Freedom Of Speech

Most Democrats will tell you (if they think you're a loyal Democrat at least) that terrorism is a "law-enforcement matter", not a military problem.

Well, I guess that would explain the high level of security during the Democratic party convention in Denver. A visiting Chinese government official just leaving the Olympics might wonder if he had ever left Beijing.

There were some protesters, of course, but way on the outer periphery, and who received no coverage to speak of, at least not by the mainstream media. They were mostly Code Pink whack jobs and were mostly relegated to approved areas.

By way of contrast, the protests during the Republican Convention in Minneapolis received quite a bit more coverage, both that from outside the convention and inside the convention.

Yes, the Republicans allowed some protesters inside the convention. While McCain spoke, one man held up a large banner that said, in huge letters-


The cameras flashed over to the guy several times, standing in front of the large sign that was never removed, nor was the man harassed at any point during the two or three times the cameras focused on him.

The most bizarre occurrence was when some woman made her way down the aisle, shouting something that was inaudible, as the crowd pretty much shouted over her. The woman actually started removing her clothes to reveal pink underclothing, a slip or thin gown of some sort, before she was finally physically escorted out and away, straining the entire time to resist the guard who finally removed her.

All of this was in the middle of McCain's speech, right in the middle of the convention hall, right in the middle of thousands of Republican delegates who did nothing other than drown out whatever tirade she was unleashing. Bear in mind she made it halfway through the crowd from somewhere near the back of the auditorium, screaming and shouting the whole time, and didn't start removing her outer clothing until a guard already tried to restrain her from moving any further towards McCain. Once she finally crossed the line, she was escorted out.

What party is it again that believes in free speech and freedom of expression?

What Comes First?

It went by so fast I thought I might have been the only person who might have caught the most unintentionally hilarious line at tonight's Republican convention, but it looks like Wonkette caught it too. As they put it-

9:05 PM — John McCain’s dad had him bombed, but it didn’t work.

That's just a part of their play by play, of couse, up until shortly before McCain's speech at ten, which was actually much better than I thought it would be, even if it wasn't quite up to the level of his running mate.

It was also very moving. Still, there's one thing that bothered me, and even stuck in my craw, and its the same thing that always sticks in my craw about these things-the country first theme of the night.

Okay, I know that might sound unpatriotic to some, but I can't help but feel a little uneasy when a politician tells me I should put my country ahead of my own self-interest-especially when he's telling me that while trying to convince me to vote for him to lead that same country he's insisting I should put ahead of my own self-interest.

"Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."

It sounds like a noble sentiment, but its a dangerous one, for the simple fact that way too many people, probably two thirds of them at least, have this unfortunate tendency to confuse "country" with "government". That's because people are, despite their pretensions, simple-minded folks who don't really know any better.

It's sort of like the old, old woman from the old country who genuflects in front of an icon of the Virgin Mary or some other saint, or Christ for that matter, and who when questioned insists she is not practicing idolatry. No, she will have you know, she is just using the image of the saint-or Christ-to focus her prayers to the actual saint-or to Christ-who dwells in heaven. She is using the image as a channel of sorts for her to direct her prayers to the genuine article.

And, of course, she is right. That is exactly what she's doing.

In other words, she is practicing idolatry.

In a somewhat similar vein, people who put their country before their own self-interest usually do so at the behest of some government entity. They are not really putting country first. They are putting government first, because that is the entity they are really bowing to. Whatever their stated intentions, that way too often is the actual fact of the matter. Or at least it all too often ends up that way.

People that truly want to put country first-not the government, but the country-are actually looking out for their own self-interest, and moreover they are well advised to do just that.

Hell, that's why our forefathers came here to begin with. The very act of leaving their original homelands and making the dangerous, uncertain journey to these shores involved looking out for their own self-interests, despite the hardships and sacrifices involved. They were looking at the bigger picture. They wanted something more. They wanted a life in a world where they might pursue their dreams of a better life. Failure meant misery and possibly death, but that was an irrelevant consideration. They felt they had nothing worth living for at the time anyway.

Since that time we as a nation, dedicated to individual rights and liberty, have consistently looked out for our own best interests. We do this collectively and individually. Why the hell else vote? Wouldn't it be kind of stupid to return to the kind of life our forefathers left, out of some misguided notion that we should "put country first"? Well, taken to its logical extreme, that's what it could lead to. I don't know about anybody else, but I don't intend to go that route.

Remember, "We The People" are the country. Right? The government is supposed to be our servants. McCain might well get that-in fact, I'll gladly take him at his word that he does-but I'm not so sure most people do, and that scares the hell out of me.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Been There Done That-Three Times

What can I say? I seem to have this ill-advised attraction to assertive women. You know, the kind that can be violent in a good many cases. The first time was the time I was briefly married. Yeah, we'll skip by that one, and the next one too.

That third time was the one this song reminds me of, as the situation was so similar it's pretty damned eerie. The bit about looking out the window waiting for someone to pass by is especially surreal. I was really wanting to be with somebody else at the time, and still do. With my luck, of course, she would end up killing me.

This anime version takes the sting out of the song, which is Pulling Teeth by Green Day from the CD Dookie. Kind of cathartic, and even cool-which probably means I haven't learned my lesson yet.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Before I hit the sack, just a note to all those wanting to cuss me out for my sudden change of mind with this announcement of support for the Palin-McCain ticket not even a month after declaring neutrality. I might not be on line tomorrow nor most of Tuesday, and possibly not until Wednesday. If so, it is not due to my withering and cowering in the face of your heated onslaughts, nor will I be staring up at my ceiling in a daze at my latest Sarah Palin poster-not all that time anyway.

In fact, I am now in the process of transitioning over to broadband internet through my phone company, which is extra special cool due to the fact that now I can be on-line without tying up the phone. The ironic thing is, I won't have to be on-line as much as I am now, because it will take less time to do all the stuff I do. Of course, I might well do more.

Which means that, from that point on-yes, I too can post shitty little YouTube videos.

Until that time-


Woman Of The People

Here's something else I like about Sarah Palin, something you rarely hear mentioned. She is not a career politician, but is instead close to the people she serves. She is, in fact, "one of us". That in itself makes up for her alleged "lack of experience", which is actually overstated on the part of her political foes. She does at least have some executive experience.

To be fair, Joe Biden, despite the fact that he has been a Washington insider for a good many years, has also made a concerted effort to stay close to the people he serves as the senior Senator from Delaware.

Still, there's some things Joe Biden just can't do.

I have this strange feeling that, shortly following this years presidential election, Tina Faye will make a return appearance as guest host on Saturday Night Live. She should stick to 30 Rock, which is actually quite funny, and where she is actually very good.

Be that as it may, I stole these pictures from the blog of the Kahanist Jew Mad Zionist, whom I suspect is torturing himself, while I have no qualms about committing the "sin" of Onanism.

Let's face it. This is America, by God, and the first female President or Vice-President should be hot. The fact that she's also strong-willed, independent, tough, and smart-well, that's all just gravy. Speaking of which-