Saturday, December 13, 2008

And Then Things Got Intense

"Maybe we should kiss to break the tension."

Saturday Playlist

1. Muddy Waters: Forty Days and Forty Nights
2. Blondie: Love at the Pier
3. The Pretty Things: The Moon Is Rising
4. Ennio Morricone: Il Tramonto (The Sundown)
5. Ringo Starr: Only You (and You Alone)
6. Mohammed Rafi: Jan Pahechan Ho
7. Jethro Tull: Flying Dutchman
8. George Harrison: You
9. John Williams: Anakin’s Betrayal
10. John Jabaley: If I Were a Deep One

1. From the fantastic album Fathers & Sons.
2. Not one of the best Blondie songs, in my opinion.
3. From their first, self-titled album. I love the Pretty Things. This one is pretty bluesy, so we get blues, then post-punk, then back to blues. Today's playlist is schizo like that.
4. From The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, one of my all time favorite scores. Short and pensive.
5. A favorite Ringo track; it sounds a lot like John Lennon's "Stand By Me" cover. Of course, John is here playing guitar, with Billy Preston on electric piano and Nilsson doing backing vocals. Nice.
6. Otherwise known as the Indian song at the beginning of Ghost World (from a 1966 movie called Gunmaan).
7. Becca hates Jethro Tull. Specifically, she hates the reverb. But I love them; my soul is about 20% prog rock.
8. Still during his Phil Spector/girl group phase; it's interesting how much of the music on his first couple of albums sounds like that.
9. From Revenge of the Sith; execute order 66. Sad, sweeping music.
10. From the brilliant musical parody A Shoggoth on the Roof. I cherish this track.

Happy Birthday, Dick Van Dyke

Born today in 1925 (and still working).

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bettie Page 1923-2008

I discovered Bettie Page when I was 14. Few people have had as much aesthetic impact on my sensibilities as Bettie did. And for doing that, with her modeling and with the movement in illustration art that her modeling inspired, I thank her.

Throwdown 12/12

Random thoughts, questions, and observations for the week.

1. So, Disney is either still going to remake Adventures in Babysitting or is making a sequel/cash-in called Further Adventures in Babysitting. And it’s either still going to star Raven-Symone or it’s going to star Miley Cyrus or they’re both going to be in it. I don’t really give a shit either way, but I think it’s funny that the recent announcement of Miley’s involvement has sparked another round of blog posts about how even thinking about touching the sanctity that is Adventures in Babysitting is the worst idea EVAR. I can’t, off the top of my head, imagine a movie less worth getting precious about than that piece of shit.

2. Catherine Hardwicke has apparently been fired from directing the Twilight sequel for daring to suggest that the script wasn’t ready to shoot. The studio, more interested in a fast buck, ankled her and apparently hired Chris Weitz to direct. Considering the (much-deserved) failure of the awful Golden Compass, that seems an odd decision to make. Not that I care much for Hardwicke as a director (I haven’t seen Twilight and I probably won’t; I loved Thirteen but hated her other movies a lot), but at least she’s got a recent hit. The first movie in the same damn series.

3. Speaking of… really, ladies? This guy? Really? It’s bad enough that a generation of young women seem to be embracing a book series about how emotional abuse and victimization are love and sex is dangerous, but this little girl, the embodiment of that? Wow, the future is not going to be very much fun. Because, you know, today’s girls are apparently terrified of sex. And men, at least with secondary sexual characteristics. Go, feminism! (Gosh, that's a whole other post. When you have Camille Paglia holding up Sarah Palin as a paragon of feminism, something's wrong with your movement. Just because a woman is loud doesn't mean she's a feminist. Or was feminism really just fighting for the right to be as obnoxious, arrogant, and greedy as men?)

4. Lots of guys on their blogs are making a big deal about Jennifer Aniston being naked in the new GQ. And while I’ll admit Jennifer Aniston has been looking really good lately, I’m not sure if a smile that says “I’m incredibly uncomfortable being naked in a room full of strangers” is that much of a turn-on for me.

5. To this day, I have no idea what point domestic terrorist organization PETA is trying to make with their ads of semi-famous naked women. They’d rather go naked than wear fur. Yeah, well, I’d rather they did, too. I mean, I’ve seen the beautiful asses of a lot of women thanks to PETA, but the ads themselves really have no purpose. Am I supposed to feel guilty because Dominque Swain showed me her booty? There’s no message to any of these ads. There’s no point. Still, you know, keep it up with the asses. It makes PETA easier to ignore.

6. “Legendary” Chicago DJ Steve Dahl finally got laid the fuck off. Christ, I hate him. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Can America finally stop crowing about how he “saved” America from disco music by having a bonfire? Sorry, market forces did that one. Just because you weren’t hip enough to discover punk music during the disco years doesn’t mean Steve Dull did dick other than massively promote himself.

7. According to researchers at the Planck Institute working on the Neanderthal genome, it appears that Neanderthals were a separate species and did not interbreed with Cro-Magnon. It seems like Neanderthals didn’t even have the genes scientists have theorized we inherited from them. I’m interested to hear what theory will replace this one, and what else we’re going to find when the Neanderthal genome is completely mapped (about another year or two).

8. There’s an apparently serious story going around that Obama’s team might be “too smart.” Huh? Because they all went to Ivy League schools? What the fuck does “too smart” even mean? America, you should’ve been scared back in 2000 when it was painfully obvious that Bush’s team was “too stupid” to do the job they set out to do. Just because no one in Obama’s cabinet went to Bob Jones University doesn’t mean things are going to fall apart. Quite the opposite, in fact. Also, I see Fox News is unwilling to update their presidential vote totals. Apparently they just can’t handle the idea that Obama won 2 million more votes than they thought. Welcome to the new America, assholes. Live in it.

9. Oh, okay, I knew they’d find a way around it. AIG has indeed suspended bonuses this year… by basically renaming them “retention payments.” In order to keep their business together and “eventually” pay back the taxpayers, AIG has offered 168 employees anywhere between $92,500 and $4 million per person if they’ll stay with the company for a year. Why did you give these people our money, Congress? How is this supposed to help the American economy? Because it kind of seems like we’re really getting screwed.

10. Where’s this love-fest for Patrick Fitzgerald coming from on the Right? Are you kidding me? You right-wing assholes only love Fitzgerald now because he took down a Democrat. You hated his ass when he was putting Scooter Libby away for what he did to Valerie Plame and her husband. And, were Fitzgerald to do what I think he should do next and investigate Bush’s war crimes, you’d hate his ass again. Get real, schmucks. You should be happy that there’s someone with a sense of right and wrong regardless of party, not that a Democrat went down.

11. And speaking of the Blagojevich indictment, Jesse Jackson Jr. has been implicated in the whole affair. He admits he asked to be considered for the vacant Senate seat, but denies that he offered $1 million in campaign funds in order to gain it. When I heard that Jackson might have been the guy who tried to pay the most in the deal, I wasn’t really surprised. I’m not sure why. But here’s the thing: the morning Blago was arrested, I was watching WGN News, and for the first time, I saw the clip of that idiot saying “Everything I say is always lawful.” That’s a fate-tempting quote, and just hours later, he was in federal custody. So, when Jesse Jackson Jr. says “Everyone is going to be amazed just how innocent I am,” all I can think is that he’s tempting fate. You know who talks that way? Guilty people. Guilty people who are too stupid to know they’re going to get caught. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.

12. Newsweek ran an article in which they tried to make a biblical case for gay marriage. Naturally, it was met with a lot of anger by people who profess to believe in loving thy neighbor as thyself, but in practice have a very different attitude. Look, this doesn’t have to be a debate. It shouldn’t be a debate. It’s not a matter of building a biblical case or even biblical acceptance for gay marriage. Evangelicals and fundamentalists and born agains or whomever wants can be against gay marriage all they want. Churches don’t have to endorse it if they don’t want to. Nobody’s going to force them. The point isn’t that churches are cool with gay marriage. They don’t have to be. The goddamn point is that churches don’t have a say in the constitutionality of gay marriage. Gays getting married does not affect you in any way; your believing in Jesus shouldn’t affect people who don’t.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Robert Prosky 1930-2008

One of my favorite character actors; he could be by turns scary and heartwarming, dramatic and funny, silly and substantial. Everything a character actor should be.

Dang Story Virus Won't Clear!

Splotchy, re-tagged by Bubs, has re-tagged me.

The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn't prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me. (Splotchy)

Its owner, a fat shifty-looking hillbilly, slouched uncomfortably under the weight of his Bulgarian army surplus wool coat and cap. I could tell he wasn't cut out for this weather. He jerked around, almost spastic, when he felt the box tap against his feet. He gulped and stared at me bug-eyed, one obscene rivulet of sweat running down his temple, down along his jaw, finally disappearing somewhere between his second chin and the fake fur collar of his coat.

Right away, and for no good reason, he pissed me off. (Bubs)

He would not stop staring at me. I could hear his wheezing breath. I could smell every stinking minute of his sputtering life. My muscles tensed.

We were a little isolated from the rest of the riders. I looked around. Apart from a couple greasy-looking hippies stealing glances in my direction, everyone was in their own dazed world. Another rivulet of sweat began the long journey down the hillbilly's fat face. He licked his lips.

Enough was enough. I shot my arm up and popped him right between the eyes, snapping his head back. He slumped forward. I felt my anger slowly recede. I reached over him, took the cap off his head and placed it on my own. It smelled like a slaughterhouse, but it would keep me warm.

In the corner of my eye, I noticed the hippies making their way over to me. The man, wearing a dirty poncho and sporting a handlebar mustache, sat down in my seat. I reflexively scooted over to not have him in my lap. The girl, a smallish brunette wearing heavy black eyeliner and a shapeless green coat, sat behind me.

"You see, Snow?" the man said. "I knew he was the one. Did you see that jab?"

"Whatever," Snow said.

"That was great, man. Snow thought the guy in front of you was the one."

He must have spotted confusion in my eyes. "We saw the box, but we didn't know if it was yours." The man smiled broadly. "I'm Rain. You're Leaf, right?"

I looked at him more closely. He was wearing a shoulder holster under his poncho. He had deep green eyes that were sharp and serious. The smile left his face as abruptly as it had appeared. "You better get the box ready." (Splotchy)

I looked him deep in the eyes. There was something familiar there. Something from...

It hit me.

"Dad?"

T-t-t-tags!
Roger!
JD!
PJ!
Semaj!
Piper!
Arianna Huffington!
Gobo!
Mokey!
Wembley!
Boober!
Red!

Xmas Meme '08

I've basically combined two memes here, from Roger and Mayren.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

I admit, one of the nice things about being with somebody is that you can pawn it off on them. And she works in retail, at a store where they're wrapping things, so mostly it's left up to someone else. My family used to make fun of me for using too much tape and my crappy wrapping, so I don't do it anymore.

2. Real tree or artificial?

It's always been artificial for me. We had the same artificial tree while I was growing up, and I always liked putting it up and putting ornaments on it. When my parents got divorced, my dad started getting real trees every year, and I hate the hassle (and, at this point in my life, wouldn't want to pay for it). They're sticky, the needles fall off, blah blah, I'm lazy. I know some people who are vehemently opposed to artificial trees, which seems like a weird thing to have vehement feelings about in either direction. Now, Becca and I have a three-foot pre-lit tree (carrying my laziness even further), and we put ornaments on that one. We don't have a ton of space, so it fits in nicely, and the rabbit is finally cool with it and stops trying to pull it over. We don't need to fence it off anymore.

3. When do you put up the tree?

Usually the weekend after Thanksgiving. Becca's down on the Christmas thing this year (she worries the retail company she works for will go out of business, and Christmas this year is much less family and doing nice things than it is "Buy shit from us so we don't go broke, damn you!" So we almost didn't put the tree up at all.

4. When do you take the tree down?

It varies. One year, Becca took the tree down the day after Christmas.

5. Favorite gifts received as a child?

Honestly, I've never been someone who remembers all of the things he got for Christmas. Maybe that makes me a bad kid. As a kid I was greedy as hell, now I almost feel guilty when people get me something for Christmas.

6. Hardest person to buy for?

My dad still refuses to understand that "You know what I like" is a) not a Christmas list and b) not remotely true.

7. Easiest person to buy for?

My youngest sister, Audrie. She loves gift cards and she loves iTunes.

8. Do you have a nativity scene?

Becca has one that used to belong to her grandmother, I think. We don't put it out anymore. It's made of glass. I'm not religious, so I don't need one, but I used to like the old wooden one we had when I was a kid. That got replaced by a Precious Moments set, but I always missed the simple wooden one. I still have one of the camels for it.

9. Mail or email Christmas cards?

Last year, Becca mailed out this number. She's got a new card for this year. Generally, I send e-cards to people.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

Probably some Secret Santa thing from some job or other.

11. Favorite Christmas Movie?

I like to watch a lot of movies every Christmas, but my favorite is always... well, I have two. The 1999 version of A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart and the original version of Miracle on 34th Street.

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

Due to when and how much I get paid, usually right at the last minute. Doesn't bother me, because I usually buy gift cards or something online or Becca has something at work, so I don't have to do the store rush thing.

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

Probably. I can't remember.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

I like chocolate, but I always like chocolate.

15. Lights on the tree?

I like the multi-colored ones, although blue lights feel lovely.

16. Favorite Christmas song?

My Christmas playlist is over 700 songs now. I love Christmas music. But my favorite is "O Holy Night" by Nat "King" Cole.

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

Well, it's like Thanksgiving: I'd like to just stay home because it splits between so many people. I'd like to do what I did last year and go to my dad's house in the morning and then have my mom come out here in the afternoon. It's the easiest for me, especially since my sister lives in Australia now.

18. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?

Yes. The song also doubles as a mnemonic device.

19. Angel on the tree top or a star?

We have Santa Claus, bedecked in white and looking like a Norse god.

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

Christmas morning.

21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?

The phony, opportunistic whining about a fake "War on Christmas" that only exists in the mind of people who are making money off of it or people who are apparently determined to have their holidays ruined by caring too much about how other people are celebrating their own. The most annoying things I can hear at this time of year are "Jesus is the reason for the season" (let's check with Ancient Rome on that one, shall we?), "They're taking the Christ out of Christmas!" (whoever the fuck "they" are), or "When you write Xmas you're X-ing out the Christ!" (which comes from people who don't know what a chiasmus is and don't know the history of their own religion).

22. Favorite ornament theme or color?

Most of my ornaments are media-oriented; Disney characters, Star Wars stuff, DC supeheroes. Partially because I like my Christmas to be filled with things that make me remember my childhood, and partially because they're usually cooler than the uncreative "Santa Claus in a Hawaiian shirt going fishing" ornaments I continue to see.

We also have a smaller tree with a science fiction theme. It's not Christmas without Daleks.

23. Favorite for Christmas dinner?

One year, my mom drove me and my sister around under the false delusion that some place would be open where we could eat. These days, as long as I actually eat on Christmas, I'm happy.

24. What do you want for Christmas this year?

I still don't really know. I gave my mom and my dad a few suggestions, too, but now I can't remember what they are.

25. Egg nog or hot chocolate?

I like hot chocolate. Egg nog is what you make French toast with.

26. Letter to Santa?

I really think I was six when I did that. I can't remember an exact year or Christmas. I remember a couple of years ago, when I was new to blogging, when another blogger wrote a very smug post about how she never believed in Santa Claus as a kid and her parents didn't push the fairy tale on her so she was somehow better than all of the other kids who foolishly believed in Santa and that she didn't need to believe in something that wasn't real. I told her I felt the same way about Jesus. She never spoke to me again.

27. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?

My parents used to set out the gifts from Santa without wrapping. That not only set them apart, it made my sister and I more excited trying to see everything in the dark.

28. Do you hang mistletoe?

Never have.

29. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I think it was because I found that letter to Santa in my parents' room, but it might also have something to do with those smug asshole kids who want to ruin it for everyone else because they desperately need to show themselves as smarter and more mature than all the other kids. (And fuck those kids, by the way.)

30. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

My mom used to let us open one gift on Christmas Eve. It was an attempt to calm us down because we were so over-excited. When we were finally at the age where we willingly went to bed on Christmas Eve, we didn't do it anymore and no one was really disappointed. I remember very fondly when my late sister Ellen was about three and she was the one getting up before everyone else on Christmas morning. I spent the night at my dad's one year, and I could suddenly hear her in the living room, gasping at her presents, and the thudding as she raced to wake me up so I could see.

31. Can you ice skate?

I used to, but I haven't had skates on since I was at least 12. Maybe 10.

32. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?

Keeping my sanity despite all of the family demands placed on me, the relentless onslaught of Christmas-themed commercials, and the crowded store stupidity.

34. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

I'm still in pumpkin pie mode. My Grandma used to make cookies and fudge and Rice Krispie treats for everyone in our (very large) family. I always looked forward to getting those tins full of cookies every year. When my Grandma died in 2000, my Aunt Cheryl carried on the tradition, but not for more than a year or two. Everyone drifted apart after she died, and there's been a lot of death on that side of the family this decade (one uncle, three aunts, my sister), so I don't think anyone's been in the mood for a big baking party.

35. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?

I prefer giving, because I like to occasionally make people happy. I wish I could give more and I feel bad that I can't, which is why I feel guilty asking for stuff and try not to.

36. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?

Gross.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Amen

Click to enlarge [Original].

The Rule of Law

Dr. Monkey suggests that Barack Obama make Patrick Fitzgerald head of the FBI.

I'd like to take that a step further and suggest Fitzgerald be put in charge of investigating the Bush administration's war crimes. With no interference.

My 20 Favorite Actresses

I got tagged by JA at My New Plaid Pants with this meme: pick your 20 favorite actresses. And here they are in, I guess, chronological order.

Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn, Myrna Loy, Bette Davis, Jean Simmons, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Shirley MacLaine, Sophia Loren, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Asia Argento, Anne Hathaway

Like JA, I had a hard time narrowing my list down. But these are, if you asked me today (and you did), my favorites. Not a "greatest of all time" list, but 20 women who could get me to see just about any film they were in.

I'm supposed to tag here: Becca @ No Smoking in the Skullcave, Adam @ Movie Chunks, El Gigante @ The Sickness' Cinema, and Tom the Dog.

UPDATE: The legendary Tallulah Morehead responds!

Deluded

In an unsurprising move, Governor Rod Blagojevich has no intention of resigning.

Not only does he maintain that he did nothing wrong, his lawyer says Blagojevich will prevail because "most people in Illinois" have faith in him. Blago's approval rating was lower than George W. Bush's before the arrest. How is that "most people in Illinois"?

This whole episode has shown just how deluded Blagojevich is. And like I said, it's not surprising. You'd have to be delusional to do what he did and think you could get away with it. I saw the clip this morning where Colbert called Blago out on his stupidity for knowing he was under investigation and continuing to use his own phone. Jesus, even the Mafia uses code.

Blago has basically tried to shake down Obama, Children's Memorial Hospital, the Chicago Tribune, and even Warren Buffett. And he still thinks he's going to come out of this clean.

Is he setting himself up for an insanity plea?

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

CHUCK & BUCK (2000)
A very, very uncomfortable movie. Mike White (who wrote the screenplay) stars as Buck, a sort of innocent man-child whose mother dies. Purposeless, he moves and starts stalking Chuck (Chris Weitz), his childhood friend with whom he has lost touch. The two had some sort of homosexual affair as children, which Chuck (now married) would like to forget and which Buck, looking for an anchor from childhood now that he's adrift, would like to reestablish. Buck becomes sort of monomaniacally obsessed with Chuck and begins writing a play (directed by Lupe Ontiveros--I love her, and it's nice to see her not playing a maid or a sweatshop worker) about two childhood friends whose pure love is severed by a witch. What's uncomfortable about this movie is that Buck is always completely vulnerable; he doesn't understand what society expects of him and how to move on with his life. It's remarkable that this movie doesn't focus negatively on the homoerotic aspects; Buck's problem is not that he's gay, but that he's infantile. When it comes to homosexuality, the film is refreshingly unapologetic. The film is really about emotional maturity and the meaning of friendship. It says a lot that the character of Chuck isn't clearly defined; Buck doesn't know Chuck as a person and doesn't want to. He wants Chuck to be something Buck's already imposed meaning on. It's uncomfortable, but it's a very rewarding film. **** stars.

YEAR OF THE DOG (2007)
Another movie written by Mike White, starring Molly Shannon in a very good performance as a woman whose dog dies. It sounds like a simple plot, but the best thing about White as a screenwriter is that his characters are organic, not written, and they have complex emotional processes. Shannon's Peggy has devoted her life to her beagle, Pencil, who one morning dies after ingesting some poison. Her life feels empty afterwards, and she spends a year trying to get a hold of it and fill the void. She becomes obsessed with animal rights (although the film certainly isn't an animal rights propaganda flick) and begins stealing money from her boss to donate to shelters. She pursues a relationship with a man who is so obsessed with shelter dogs that we start to wonder if he's sexually attracted to human beings anymore. She's alienated from those closest to her because she doesn't share their obsessions, and everyone here has their obsessive focus: her boss on how he's getting screwed by the company, her sister-in-law on her children, her work friend on her relationship, her neighbor on his hunting fantasies. Peggy's focus has been shattered by the death of her dog, and when she switches her focus to something larger, people can't understand her anymore and don't want to be bothered with her new ways. And at the end, when Peggy realizes that she, too, is in her cubicle like an animal in a pound, her self-liberation is a triumph. That she can follow her obsession to a constructive place (like Buck in Chuck & Buck and Dewey Finn in School of Rock and even Justine in The Good Girl) is the hallmark of Mike White's writing. **** stars.

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (2008)
It's not a film that lends itself to a lot of comment, so just to break it down into the good and the bad-- Pros: Christopher Lee returned as the voice of Count Dooku; well-animated action scenes; the character design looks much better in motion than it does on paper; I thought the little baby Hutt was hella cute; Ventress is a very good villain; it really felt like Star Wars to me; it was breezy and enjoyable; it had humor; the fact that it had humor and a cute baby creature (as always) pisses off the fantards, and anything that pisses off the humorless horde is fun for me. Cons: not nearly as well-animated as the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars series was; it introduces new characters who, given the events of Revenge of the Sith, will end up dead; the gay Hutt was... interesting; Padme sort of felt tacked on at the end there; it's insubstantial; no General Grievous? So, it's a cute movie, but not a home run. *** stars.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Silent Star Wars

A brilliant minute and sixteen seconds imagining Star Wars as a silent film.

The Health Report, Year 2: Week 52

My final Health Report of the second year, and I feel very sick today. I don't know why. It's nothing to do with work, but I am throwing up a bit.

Looking back on the two years I've been doing the Health Report now, I get pretty annoyed with myself for not losing very much weight. Instead it was two years of emotional problems and trying to figure out my job situation. It's past time to get the weight under control. Which I will. You know, tomorrow. Or something.

I have to go throw up some more.

A Political Corruption Crime Spree

And just yesterday, Governor Rod Blagojevich was daring the feds to pick him off. "Whatever I say is always lawful" he claimed, making light of recordings of his phone conversations in federal hands.

Less than 24 hours later, I'm watching US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald on TV saying that Blagojevich, who was arrested this morning by the FBI on corruption charges (as was his Chief of Staff), had brought Illinois politics to "a truly new low." "Appalling" was a word that came up frequently. "Conduct [that] would make Lincoln roll over in his grave." And Fitzgerald characterized Blagojevich as being on "a political corruption crime spree."

It's been common thought in Illinois for a long time now that he's going to go away on corruption charges. And now it's happening. The anger is especially personal; we elected Blagojevich in order to finally boot out the corrupt Ryan family. Blagojevich, of course, campaigned on a promise to end corruption. To say he didn't is an understatement. And at least the feds waited until George Ryan was out of office to indict him. Blagojevich is being taken down immediately.

The biggest issue is President-Elect Barack Obama's Senate seat. In Illinois, it's the job of the Governor to appoint a Senatorial replacement. Blagojevich was trying to get everything out of an open Senate seat that he could. First, he offered to appoint whomever Obama wanted him to (an ethical violation which, thankfully, Obama has refused to engage in, much to the open and public anger of Blagojevich) in exchange for appointment as the US Secretary of Health and Human Services. Or an ambassadorship. Or appointment to a private foundation and a higher paying job for his wife. Or campaign contributions. Blagojevich was apparently dealing with a union to get a higher-paying position in exchange for presidential favors that Blagojevich thought he could get for appointing Obama's choice.

And, as I'd suggested (and which many people pooh-poohed), Blagojevich also considered appointing himself in order to avoid impeachment and rehabilitate his image for his own presidential run in 2016. He was even planning, as Senator, to help his wife do lobbying work.

What a rat.

And what a moron. This guy knew they were onto him. They were investigating him for three years, but allegations of corruption have been floating around for about five. But Blagojevich had the incredible arrogance of a lot of corrupt people: he was sure he could never get caught. But now they have a 76-page, highly detailed report. And he's only being indicted on two charges! Conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. And there are probably going to be more added to the complaint, they just wanted to stop this guy. They wanted to stop the corruption and the pay-for-play deals. They wanted to stop him from pressuring the Chicago Tribune to fire the editorial board for being critical of his governorship. They wanted to stop him from withholding government funds from Children's Memorial Hospital because the CEO didn't give up a $50,000 contribution.

Motherfucker.

Robert Grant, the FBI man in charge of the investigation, described his staff as "thoroughly disgusted and revolted" with their findings, adding that "If [Illinois] isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it is certainly one hell of a competitor."

They wanted to stop Blagojevich from selling a US Senate seat to whomever would give him the most in money and favors.

Blagojevich should resign. He won't, but he should resign.

There's been some commentary on the news this afternoon, trying to figure out why Blagojevich did what he did. Was the bar set low by Ryan? Was there a permissive atmosphere?

Fuck that.

There's only one explanation: Rod Blagojevich is a greedy, amoral bastard who is out for himself. He wants to get everything he can and he doesn't care how he gets it. Greed and arrogance. That's all it ever is. He did it because he wanted to do it and because he thought he could get away with it.

I'll be very happy when he's in federal prison.

Monday, December 08, 2008

T-Shirt Idea #6

As it stands, my last t-shirt idea (for now).

An Open Letter

To the Guy Standing Behind Me in Line at the Walgreen's at 8:30 This Morning:

Back. Off.

Seriously, why can't you figure out that I keep edging forward slightly to get away from you?

You're crowding me, and it's making me very uncomfortable.

You're forcing me to try and figure out why you're at Walgreen's at 8:30 on a Monday morning, wearing a black leather jacket, tight pants, and a leopard-print silk shirt that's unbuttoned to your stomach and showing an uncomfortable amount of thick, black chest hair. Dude, it's 19 degrees out this morning! Aren't you cold? Or does the cable-thick chest hair keep you warm?

Sir, a thumb does not need a ring. I'm amazed you didn't go for the gold medallion, too. Too chilly today?

And the slicked-back hair... dude, you're balding. And you're at least 42 years old. And you're in a Walgreen's in the middle of Farm Town, USA. Why do you look like a Lebanese pimp?

And why do you keep edging closer to me as I keep trying to edge further away from you?

Unless you're Christian Bale (and you're not), I don't want to know you that way.

There's enough room in line for some personal comfort, isn't there? The cashier will still be there when we get there!

Stop. Crowding. Me.

Sincerely,
SamuraiFrog

I Caught the Story Virus Again

Splotchy just keeps spreading it.

How it works: continue the story thread if you gets tagged, tag some others, and if yez so moved, include links to the previous chapters.

Do with it as you will.

(Isn't this how they write Lost?)

Here's the first portion:

The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn't prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me. (Splotchy)

And mine, continuing:

I looked around for the box's owner. Across the aisle from me, a pretty girl flashed me a smile and cocked her head. She was motioning toward the box. Encouraging me. Sliding the box back towards me, I opened it and was immediately confused. Inside was a plastic rain poncho, a police baton, and a Donald Duck mask. I looked around and saw that several people were wearing plastic rain ponchos. I looked back over at the pretty girl. "You're ready for this, right?" she asked me. "They wouldn't have sent you if you weren't ready."

Tagged (though this is by no means compulsory):

Darius Whiteplume
Jaquandor
MC
Sunandheir
Mayren
RJ
(Brit) John

Happy 65th Birthday, Mary Woronov!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Song of the Week: "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"

You know, I never liked the Smiths very much as a kid. I'm not sure why. Now I absolutely love the Smiths. And I love songs that are deceptively upbeat, like this one. So here we are on what has been a very gray day.

Sunday Hottie 201

EMMANUELLE BEART