Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reason? There's no TIME to be reasonable!

Happy New Year y'all and good riddance to the awful decade that's passing.

I hope everybody has a prosperous 2010. Except Buckeyes fans. They're going to start the year off in a foul (fowl) mood.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Now you go home and write "I am very sorry for what I did to Frosty" a hundred zillion times.

One reason I haven't blogged much (besides work) is that I mostly blog about politics and the state of politics right now makes my heart hurt too damned much.

I didn't expect to get everything I wanted with the new administration, but on the other hand I didn't expect that there would be absolutely no consequences to the last election. None.

I've volunteered on campaigns and held elective office in the democratic party since I turned 18. I have never felt like my time spent was worthless, even after some spectacular defeats for the candidates I've supported. That is; until now.

The pattern is clear. Republicans take power every few years and fuck everything up. Democrats then take power a few years later and simply slow Republican screw ups, rather than work to correct them. I'm tired of having Democratic rule be nothing more than a Time Out for GOP disasters.

In supporting Lieberman over me the president and the D.C. establishment have turned their back on me. There will come a time when that establishment comes back to us and expects our support or our vote.

In response I respectively say they can kiss our ass. You turned your back on us.

My blogging will be restricted to movies, games, pop culture and Lady Gaga in the future. Politics are worthless.

UPDATE: Lockwood comes to much the same conclusion.

UPDATE 2: I forgot to add to this post that this decision didn't come without considering the consequences to the Democratic party or President Obama of people like me checking out. With the retirement of more and more Blue Dog Dems, the push to pass a crappy healthcare bill that will actually HURT voters, Obama's center-right approach to governing and weak cowtailing to assholes like Sustak, Nelson and Lieberman it's increasingly likely Dems could even lose the House next year.

In such case with the batshit crazy GOP we have now President Obama will be impeached. The reason for impeachment, as in the case of Clinton, will be immaterial. The Right is truly radicalized to the point that any tools to exercise power that they control will be exercised. They can't help themselves.

In such case President Obama will be turning to his base for support just as Clinton did when the GOP went after him. I don't expect we'll be there for Obama in the same way this time around. He'll have no one to blame but himself for this. He turned his back on us first.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The clean, cool chill of the holiday air... an asshole in his bathrobe, emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer...

I took this with my camera phone last night while shopping. I have no idea how that book got there. :-)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Well, if I can't have any fun I might as well leave.

I started this post several times in commemoration of World AIDS Day last week. At times it's gotten pretty long so I'm going to just pare it down to it's essence.

Somebody that my wife and I knew personally, loved and lost to AIDS was Father Peter Davis. Peter was a wonderful man, bigger than life and the pastor at the Catholic church my wife and I met at.

Part of what's made it so hard to finish this post is that it's difficult to find the words to describe just how great a man Peter was. He was down to earth, charismatic and had a great sense of humor. Most importantly; Peter advocated a Christianity based on caring for the weak in our society and centered around forgiveness. He was as much a true Christian as I've ever met.

So I was thinking about Peter on World AIDS Day and decided to do the Google thingy and see if I could find a biography or maybe his obituary to share. To my chagrin the only thing I could find was a mention on the Women for Faith and Family website on what amounts to their Priestly Hall of Shame. No doubt because of the cause of his death, but also it seems because he ministered in a flamboyant manner.

This excerpt from Peter's obituary (not available online, alas) is supposed to be taken as ironic. I read it and it made me glad I knew the man. Go figure.

From auctioning a suckling pig dinner while dressed as Miss Piggy to lighting Easter fire from a trail of gunpowder, Father Peter Davis lived and ministered with passion, humor and drama. On Dec. 28, he died at a Portland, Ore., hospice of AIDS. He was 43. He loved being a Jesuit and a priest. "I absolutely love it," he told a radio talk show host. "I do it easily. I do it naturally." [obituary by Brad Reynolds, S.J., in the National Jesuit News, April 1990]

So for no other reason that it breaks my heart that the only mention of Father Peter Davis anywhere on the world wide interwebs is by an organization run by a bunch of intemperate evil shrews, I simply want to give testament here on my little corner of the digital world that Father Peter Davis was a great man. He was the kind of man who...

...would willingly volunteer to take part in all sorts of goofy, outrageous youth group activities that may have been beneath the dignity of his position but endeared him to teens in the parish...

...would light up every time he saw a baby...

...put the ministry of the poor first and foremost as the parish goal...

...would go out of his way to tell you the worst joke you'd ever heard...

...made Christianity real and not a series of hollow rituals and motions...

...when he was diagnosed with AIDS went against the wishes of the Portland Archdiocese and, trusting his parishioners, publicly announced what he was sick with and how he had contracted it...

...meant so much to Mrs. Wormer and me that even though we were no longer Catholics, nor believers for that matter, we named our son after him.

I am lucky to have known him.

Friday, December 04, 2009

When you gonna drop Magnum on us, buddy?

This gallery of movie stars posing in shots that call back their iconic roles years later is chock full of WIN. Probably my favorite out of the bunch...

Friday, October 09, 2009

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Who said that? Gary Cooper? James Stewart? Henry Fonda? Eh?

This is a wonderful idea that Slash Films had. They're asking people to list their favorite movie scenes.

As the author mentions this is an intensely personal thing that says more about the person identifying the scene than it does the scene itself. Reading through other's suggestions I found myself subconsciously taking points away from folks who either a) didn't have much cinematic literacy (i.e. "The Dark Knight") or b) picked a scene that I might admit is great but was also inherently violent.

The scenes I tend to fixate on in films are usually scenes of hope or that are so emotionally resonant I have to fight back tears. Here's just a couple of mine...

Besides Chaplin's genius for some reason this scene reminds me of high school. Maybe it's just because he's imagining he's entertaining all the pretty girls when the reality is much sadder.

A tie for my favorite movie. This scene embodies the "live and love life" message of the flick so well.

I wanted to be Wesley soooooo badly. Robin Wright was just beautiful in this movie. "As you wish..."

Okay, I did put one action flick on my list but it's one of the best action flicks ever made. I couldn't find my favorite scene from Raiders though. The scene with Marion and Indy on the ship after they escape and he realizes that she's really what's important, not the ark is the one that gets me.

This scene is almost quaint in comparison to the reality of the senate but Kapra/ Stewart's call to remember the little guy and do what's right remains moving decades later.


The "kissing" scene from "Cinema Paradiso." Romance and a love of film all rolled into one.

What are your favorite scenes and why?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

All dogs go to heaven because, unlike people, dogs are naturally good and loyal and kind.

This is a post about dogs. One dog in particular.

This last week I've been worried about my friend Lisa's puppy Chloe. The little gal was stricken with parvo and almost didn't make it. Lisa's ordeal in dealing with her worried kids and corporate vet brought back a lot of memories about the best dog I ever owned; Loey.

Loey was a Border Collie/ German Shepherd mix that looked like a black German Shepherd with the white Border Collie markings. He was a beautiful dog.

We adopted Loey while we were living in sin before we were married. He was a big part of our life and even came up during the priest's speech about marriage during the wedding ceremony: "sometimes love means a passionate hug and sometimes in means an argument where you find yourself sitting on the back porch pouring out your troubles to Loey," he said.

While he was still a puppy Loey got very sick and we took him to a nearby animal hospital. They immediately diagnosed him as having contracted the parvo virus and set about on a very aggressive, very expensive week long treatment. This particular vet had very poor people skills which is not something you want to deal with when your worried about your dog and, less importantly, your wallet.

One particular exchange with this guy went like this:

Me: "What are Loey's chances?"
Vet: "It's hard to say. Some dogs live and some dogs don't."
Mrs. Wormer: "Well doctor, some vets get paid and some vets don't. He dies we aren't paying you."

Did I mention that Mrs. Wormer kicks all sorts of ass?

Loey pulled through and lived to be a joy AND a pain in the ass for years to come. We moved from the suburbs with a tiny backyard to a country home on six wooded acres a short time after the parvo incident.

Once in a while Loey would get excited by some animal in the woods and spend the entire night running around the house barking, keeping us awake. During these incidents he seemed to completely lose his mind. He wouldn't come when you'd call him but would only stare at you from the darkened woods with those glowing eyes.

Once we had kids Loey became sort of a doggy uncle to them. When we were outside if one of the kids would start to toddle away he would run in front of them and stop, blocking their way. It must of been the Border Collie in him but he tended to herd us together when we were walking around the property.

My parents moved next door to be near their grandkids. Since the kids now consumed so much of our time and Loey was a bit neglected so he quickly adopted my dad as his new owner. He would spend days following my dad around or sunning nearby as dad tinkered on his cars. They went everywhere together.

I haven't written about this next part on this blog because there's still a lot of pain associated around what happened but I think in as much as Loey played a part that makes it so very relevant to how I feel about him even years after he died I'm going to see if I can get this out.

One night my dad called to say he was bringing up a pizza for dinner. At some point a while later we heard a strange noise outside the front door and rushed out to see what happened. My dad and collapsed on our front lawn after a massive heart attack.

The rest of what happened is pretty much a blur of surreal images and emotions. Mrs. Wormer and I took turns performing CPR on dad. It was January and pouring rain. It seemed to take forever for the fire department to get there. We kept having to shoo our kids back into the house because they were obviously upset and worried about grandpa. And then there was Loey...

At the time the dog was the last thing I was thinking about. But as I reflect back he was ever present that night. As the paramedics arrived and started working on dad he paced around them in circles, whimpering loudly.

Dad didn't make it.

There are more jumbled memories here. The EMT so gently reviewing all the stuff they'd tried and asking me if they could stop. The guys packing up their medical gear. My oldest who must've been seven-years old at the time curled on her bed saying "this is just a bad dream" over and over. The coroner arriving, again after what seemed like forever.

As they gingerly zipped the bag shut, put my dad's body on the stretcher and moved him into the hearst Loey started to wail mournfully, something I'd never heard him do before. A sad punctuation on to our awful grief.

I hadn't thought about how Loey reacted in years until my friend's puppy got sick and I started reflecting on my own dog that had parvo. I'm not a PETA guy, but I do believe after Loey's reaction to my dad's death that dogs do have an emotional connection with us, that it goes beyond the pack instinct. Their emotions may not be as complex as ours but they are there.

As for Loey- he lived a few years more but continued to have hip joint problems common in German Shepherds. His ability to move around and quality of life slowly decreased. One day he disappeared and wouldn't come when we called him. After two days of worried searching a neighbor called and had found Loey lying in his creek, barely alive.

Our vet was a gentle soul who told us Loey wouldn't walk again and we should consider saying goodbye. Though we've had to make this call before with pets this decision was agonizing. Eventually we decided that it was the best thing to have him put to sleep.

As I said goodbye I leaned over him and whispered in his ear "take care of dad when you see him."

I'd like to imagine that's what he's doing right now.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sometimes a baby's gotta do what a baby's gotta do.

This last weekend upwards of 50,000-60,000 teabagging douchebags descended on the streets of Washington D.C. to loudly voice their anger at the results of the last election.

We're all aware that a good portion of the clowns that were marching were there in response to Glenn Beck's "9-12 Project" of which the goal, according to Beck, is to return the country to that unified spirit of purpose we displayed immediately following the attack on the World Trade Center.

I'm always amused by the generally accepted view that those on the right are generally more prone to logic while those on the left are easier swayed by their emotions. This paradigm seems so superficially wrong, so upside down as to be laughable.

Conservatives aren't logical. They're simply lacking in emotional maturity and any sense of empathy. They're stuck in adolescence, unable to see past the end of their own nose.

Some conservatives like William F. Buckley or George Will are better able to hide that emotional immaturity than their ideological soul mates. They bury their childishness in their writings under a blizzard of vocabulary or statistics. At their hearts they're nothing but five-year old boys angry because they were picked last for dodge ball.

In the days following the September the 11th attacks all Americans regardless of political stripe were frightened, confused and angry. I recall myself wanting the U.S. to lash out violently at whomever was responsible for the attacks. Eventually we sobered up and realized the complexity of the situation demanded better of us (the Bush administration and it's supporters never did.)

At it's heart the 9-12 Project is a pining for the days when the conservatives weren't the only illogical, angry, frightened or immature group of people in the country. It's a plea for angry truthiness, a longing for shared stupidity.

Beck and his supporters don't like being the only kids in the playpen.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

You see, it would be this mat that you would put on the floor... and would have different CONCLUSIONS written on it that you could JUMP TO.

I've been struggling with this all morning. It's a vile accusation about a very unfunny subject. But that's really not the point, is it?

Conservatives like Beck have pushed the envelope in their discourse to the point that objective reality itself is under assault and any sort of bullshit they want to make up becomes part of our actual political conversation. Death panels. Birth certificates. Vince Foster. This nonsense is discussed on our Sunday news programs.

While this may be beneath us it's how politics are fought these days. Not on policy, a playing field in which right-leaning politicos will always be outmatched.

It won't do us any good to stick to the high moral ground if the other side is going to cheat and get away with it. It's time for bloody knuckles, wrestling in the mud trench fighting.

I think we really need to get over our need to play fair if we really care about this country. The other side is killing America. Besides; people like Beck deserve a little taste of their own petard.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kirk Douglas... Van Gogh... ear.

A little example of why I love Portland...

Yesterday I took a break from work and walked the block or so from my office to the greatest used book store in the world. In the course of that one block journey...

...I passed a pair of beautiful women pulling along a wiener dog on leash...

...listened to the guys in front of me talk about Star Trek...

...stopped in front of the book store to talk to a pair of young ACLU volunteers working to promote gay marriage while...

... a few feet away a street fiddler was playing "Yesterday" by the Beatles...

...laughed at the surreal moment that occurred when our conversation (and the fiddler) were interrupted when one of those "sculpture vans" where an artist has turned a vehicle into a work of art drove by. In this case it looked like he'd created a miniature city on the roof of his van. If this wasn't weird enough he was hanging out the driver's window using a monkey hand puppet to yell something.

Did I mention our city slogan is "Keep Portland Weird?"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Goodbye Teddy

I sit here muddling through a sense of disbelief that Ted Kennedy has passed away. It certainly comes as no shock under the circumstances. It's just that the image of him being wheeled into the senate to cast the deciding vote in the health care battle has been seared into my imagination. It's clearly the only thing he was holding out for.

Bouncing around the web a bit I see the haters on the right are wasting no time in hating on the man. Over at fark the freepers have invaded the RIP thread expressing sentiments that the "baby killer could burn in hell." The Kennedys collectively as a family seem to have a unique place among American liberals in engendering the anger bubbling from their lizard brains.

I've never really understood this anger. I've tried, I really have. The philandering and drunkenness conservatives rattle on about seem almost quaint when considering the tales of republican politicians chasing around congressional pages these last twenty years.

Of course there's Mary Jo. The thing that's always struck me about that is how odd it is to listen to people who wouldn't cross the street to help a poor person, who could care less about the financial circumstances of the middle class, who cold care less about the young bodies ripped apart in pointless wars rail on and on about the life of a secretary killed decades ago as if she was a member of their own families.

They would never admit it but I suspect this anger comes from the fact that John and Bobby and Ted really cared about the weakest members of our society and tried to use the instruments of government to make those people's lives better. In this sense the Kennedys embodied the truest sense of christian charity in a way conservatives could never understand. That's why the Kennedys drove conservatives crazy. Despite all their flaws they were still better men than the Ronald Reagans of the world.

I hope Ted is somewhere right now drinking a whiskey with his brothers. Thanks to all of 'em for trying to make America a better place.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in... 60 years.

In response to the same sort of budget shortfalls plaguing most other states this July the Oregon legislature passed a $700 million dollar tax increase which was signed by Governor Kulongoski. The first was an increase in the state income tax by a couple of points on single filers making over $150,000 and joint filers making over $250,000. The second was an increase in the corporate minimum tax which has remained at $10 since the 1930s. The state raised that tax to a whopping $150 dollars.

Predictably the state's conservatives went nuts. Kevin Mannix, who is one of the resident Oregon gadflies that makes a living through abusing the initiative process, jumped into the fray.

Mannix usually focuses on "public safety" initiatives but really he's just your standard right wing anti-government crank who'll take up any cause that will hurt the state. Within just a few hours of the governor signing this bill Mannix had initiative signature gatherers on the streets in an effort to have voters overturn these increases.

I was accosted by one of these signature gatherers on my way into our historic Multnomah county library the day after the bill passed. He asked me if I wanted to "help turn back the governor's tax increase on small business." What followed was a minor kerfuffle between us.

I confirmed that he was paid to gather signatures and not a volunteer, but he told me he would volunteering anyway because this was a "good measure." I asked him how he thought a tax increase of $140 bucks was going to hurt small businesses and he countered that I must of never had to struggle running a small business. I pointed out that even with the tax increases the state was facing huge budget cuts and wondered if he'd been following what had been happening in California. He hadn't.

The conversation ended with him letting me know that I "didn't get it" and me telling him he should be ashamed trying to gather signatures for a measure in front of a public building that more than likely would be shut down if that initiative passed. I told myself as I went into the library that at least I'd wasted his time and maybe prevented him from actually collecting a signature or two while we argued.

A few days later Mrs. Wormer and I were walking into a Dollar Tree and another one of these clowns stepped in front of me.

"Would you like to help us stop the governor's tax increase on small businesses?" he asked.

"Go fuck yourself," I told him.

As Mrs. Wormer squeezed my hand and hurried me into the store all the guy could say was "wow."

Wow indeed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The ship is in ship-shape shape.

I watched a bit of the ridiculous Specter townhall and wasn't surprised that senator tool tweeted this bullshit shortly after the meeting...

"1000 people came to tell me what was on their minds and I have a message to take back to DC loud and clear."

So Specter thinks the folks we ought to listen to when it comes to the very complicated issue of health care in America are the children throwing a tantrum supported by organized opposition from insurance lobbyists? The "message" he's taking back came from DC to begin with. Moron.

I was afraid this would be a product of the townhall rioting. Blue Dogs and other pro-insurance industry congressmen are going to use the right-wing primal scream as cover to torpedo the public option and kill reform.

I think it would be a good time to kill the townhalls. Nothing good has come of them.

Friday, August 07, 2009

You're a mean father, you'll never give me anything I want! And I won't go to school till I have it!

You have one of those unruly 8-year old children for which Ritalin may be a good idea. The child is disrespectful of the rules of the house, insists that everything goes their way and has no respect for your things. Just recently the little monkey broke your heart and your grandmother's china set playing frisbee in the house.

Having had enough you put your foot down and send the child to his room for a time out.

He stomps up the stairs, slamming his bedroom door. Now you're forced to listen to him kick his feet against the wall of his room as he screams "I hate you!" and "I wish I'd never been born!"

Resigned to tough love you go back to your newspaper. Your only worry is that out of the corner of your eye you can see your husband glancing up the stairs and fidgeting. It's clear he's wavering even over this relatively minor form of discipline. You suspect that at any moment he'll run up the stairs, fling open the door of your son's room and tell the little monster "we didn't mean it." He is the weakest link.

To the bottom of your soul you know that if you give in to the tantrum you'll only reinforce the bad behaviour and make it worse. You'll probably also force a situation in the future where the discipline is going to have to be much, much worse to be effective. Perhaps you'll even need to get out THE BELT.

It's a terrible situation to be in made worse because your husband doesn't have your back and just wants to be liked.

(If you haven't guessed the situation above is pretty analogous to the health care debate as it stands now. The child is the political right, the time out would be the election, the tantrum would be the industry sponsored townhall riots and the wavering husband would be Obama/ Reid. )

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.

When I was younger I dreamed of being a movie director. In an effort to break into the business I did some PA work for a while working on a low-budget kung-fu flick and then a few national car commercials (which paid much better than the kung-fu flick in that they paid at all.) I gave it up after I interviewed for job on a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film they were shooting in Oregon and they wanted me to work for free. I'd been there, done that.

One of the reasons I wanted to direct was that I was such a huge film fan myself. There are tons of moments that I can think of growing up watching movies - when Luke Skywalker grabs Leia and swings across that chasm in the Death Star or the Little Tramp dreams that he entertains a gaggle of lovely ladies by doing the Dance of the Dinner Rolls or E.T. says a heart-wrenching goodbye to Elliot and his family - that have seared into my brain and actually moved me.

There are rare films in which the film itself have affected me so intensely that they've caused me to reconsider my worldview. Movies like Oliver Stone's "Platoon" which bored into my head it put the world into a different relief.

One such film was John Hughes' classic 80's flick "The Breakfast Club." I distinctly remember this movie being advertised as a teenage comedy with shots of the wacky teenage main characters as they slid around the empty halls of the school trying to avoid Mr. Vernon or doing an Egyptian dance in the library. The film was funny, sometimes bitingly so, but it was also a lot more.

Breakfast Club focused on a theme that Hughes would return to again and again: that we're much more than what our social status, dress or looks would define us as. Even the jocks or princesses in our society can be weird, even the geeks and oddballs can be beautiful. You judge others superficially at your own loss.

To a shy teenager seeing this movie it was like being hit with a sledgehammer. This was not the movie we were expecting but it was so much better. If you had tried to convince me after seeing Breakfast Club that the man who created it wasn't secretly in fact a pimply faced sixteen-year old I would've laughed in your face.

It's funny because I just showed this movie to my kids a couple of weeks ago and my sixteen-year old daughter was just as moved as I had been years ago when I had first seen the film twenty-five years ago. The clothes and some of the language may be goofy but the message of the movie is just as powerful. Some things never change.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention a couple of other Hughes' flicks that I think are great- "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Weird Science," both of which made stars out of their principles.

RIP John Hughes you magnificent bastard. There are a lot of hacks making movies but very few geniuses like you.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Poop, Poop! Oh, poetry of motion! Ohh, the bliss! Ohhh... poop, poop!

They're still shooting the television show "Leverage" a few blocks from my office. How do I know? Because I almost ran over star Timothy Hutton this morning on my way to work as I turned a corner.

Hutton was drinking a coffee, riding a bike the wrong way on a one-way street. I didn't recognize him until I rolled down my window to "explain" to the yahoo I'd almost killed how the one-way streets work. When I realized who it was I just started laughing.

It's actually a stroke of luck for me. If I'd squished Hutton my wife would've made my life very painful. Very painful indeed.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

...Say it!... Say it!... Say it!

Back to the real world after a wonderful vacation at the Washington coast with my family. From the sound of it we picked the perfect week to get out of town. 100 degree plus weather is atypical for Oregon. Six days in a row of that weather is unheard of. Yeesh.

There's a lot of crap going through my head right now. Frankly there's too much going on in the world to write about. I'm just going to share a memory that's forced it's way to the forefront of my thoughts as I've been reading about the faux industry-sponsored protests greeting democratic congressmen back in their districts for townhalls.

On July 23, 1994 I was at this rally (*) at Pioneer Square in downtown Portland. I had waited for several hours in 100-degree heat to see then First Lady Hillary Clinton speak as she kicked off the Health Care Express in the Clinton's doomed effort to modestly reform the health care system in this country.

Clinton was the key note speaker and the reason I was there. I really liked both Clintons and was eager for a chance to see either of them speak live. From what I had seen on the news I knew she had a commanding knowledge of health care and an ability to put a personal perspective on that complex issue. Unfortunately I didn't get to hear a word of what she had to say.

As soon as she took the stage a group of tractor rigs that had been circling the square for hours began blowing their air horns. Unless you were very close to the stage or the speakers you would only catch snippets of what Clinton had to say. (On a related note I had much the same experience a year or so later when I went to see Vice President Al Gore speak at PSU and some wingnut about 10 feet from me spent the entire speech screaming, ruining the experience.)

I struggle with this issue in the context of the First Amendment. On the one hand I loathe the sort of selective crowd control that became commonplace under the Bush administration. Does a bumper sticker on your car, t-shirt, sign or even a provocative question to the president when handed a microphone by organizers really mete expulsion and an arrest? Most of us would probably answer "no" to that question.

When you break it down isn't the difference between those who would shout down a congressman talking to his constituents about health care or a First Lady speaking at a rally and those who would wear an anti-Bush t-shirt to a Bush speech the difference between exercising one's right to free speech or trying to keep others from exercising that same right? Bush supporters may not have enjoyed having to stand next to somebody in such a t-shirt but at least they still had the chance to hear the incoherent babblings of the chimpanzee they lionized.

Does the First Amendment protect the right to shout down those you disagree with? Conservatives and their toadies on the court seem to think so. Much of the continued torpedoing of campaign finance reform laws on First Amendment grounds are based around this idea.

Personally I see shouting down the opposition, whether it's through smothering their message via the airwaves or yelling to the degree that they can't be heard, as a violation of their basic right to free speech. It makes speech solely the province of those who can afford it or those who are willing to be the biggest bullies.

In a larger sense our democratic society cannot function unless all participants are willing to listen. Those that are fighting against health care reform shouldn't be included in the debate at all unless they're as willing to hear as they are to be heard.

(* For bonus fun read through that contemporary account of the rally and see if you can catch the reporter's unmasked disdain for the event expressed through phrases like "...the populism has been carefully crafted." Then, as now, the establishment press tries to make it look like those that want to reform health care are just a front for powerful and shadowy forces. Of course then, as now, the exact opposite is the case.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Wagon Queen Family Truckster... You think you hate it now, wait 'til you drive it.

I'm currently up at Cape Disappointment (where Lewis and Clark ended their journey but I'm not sure if it was before Lewis found out Clark was secretly Superman) enjoying the beautiful weather with my family. The campground has a wi-fi connection but I forgot the damn wire to connect our old digital camera to the pc to upload pictures. When I get back I'll put up some really great shots we took hiking.

If you'll excuse me I have a patron cigar and a margarita calling my name.



Friday, July 24, 2009

Let him rave on, that men will know him mad.

Wow, just... wow.

I'm a big believer in trial by jury but occasionally you get some ignorant yahoos that make some pretty ridiculous decisions. This trial is a glaring example of such a case.

Yes; I wasn't in that courtroom listening to weeks of testimony. I'm not privy to all the information the jurors had to reach their verdict.

None of that changes the central fact of this case: this couple through the process of faith healing allowed their 15-month-old daughter to die a long, painful death from pneumonia. Take religion out of the equation- at it's base this is case of neglect and manslaughter.

Still want to give the jury the benefit of the doubt? Read this account of how the jury reached their verdict and tell me if you still feel the same way.

Here's juror Ken Byers account of the process:

"Trying to come to a consensus was trying to understand each others' viewpoints," Byers said. "And trying to say what's reasonable for me might not be reasonable to somebody else, or vice versa. That was pretty much the dynamic."

Huh? I was under this odd misunderstanding that the purpose of a jury was to listen to the facts of the case as presented and then consider those facts within the context of the law. Apparently the job of a jury is instead to come up with some happy consensus, sort of like a neighborhood association voting on what Christmas decorations are and are not appropriate. Silly fucking me.

BTW- the article mentions Byers went into the trial leaning towards guilty. Nothing in the article other than his empathy for other jurors who were sympathetic to the Worthingtons explains his change of heart. Fuck him for not standing by his convictions or the facts.

Thanks to these geniuses on the jury more Oregon children are going to die for no good reason and more jackasses are going to try and use their faith as a trump card when they do something to harm, through action or inaction, those that they're responsible for protecting.

If I sound angry about this that's because I am. This jury failed.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I had a most startling dream. You were trying to to tell me something.

I was gonna write some deeply insightful plea for continued exploration of space on the anniversary of Apollo, but instead let me just lament that I didn't make it to Trek in the Park this weekend and don't look to have the time next weekend as we're off to the coast to go camping.

I've read mostly good reviews for Atomic Theater's live reenactment of the Star Trek episode "Amok Time" with only one dissenting jerk bitching that Portland "tries to hard too be weird." It's not that Portland is trying too hard, it's that the rest of y'alls cities aren't trying hard enough. Put your backs into it guys!

For the record: I'm pro-space. To be more precise I'm pro-manned exploration of space. They're all sorts of reasons for this but mostly it stems from my humanism. I believe that man needs challenges (science/ exploration) or he makes up challenges of his own to occupy his time (war.)

One of the most deeply moving things I've ever read was a piece Carl Sagan wrote in Parade magazine during the height of the cold war. He passionately laid out the case for a joint mission to mars with the then USSR. I would like to see the same industry we apply to fighting wars to feeding the people on this planet, curing all of the horrible diseases that plague us, saving the environment and exploring the unknown instead. That's the dream that makes me smile.

Here are some wonderful stories of where people were on the date we landed on the moon written by famous science fiction writers. What humans imagine they can eventually do. Let's do a little more imagining of a world that looks like Star Trek and a little less blowing shit up.


Also- RIP Walter Cronkite.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'll take "The Penis Mightier" for 100, Trebek.

Or is the pen mightier?

I heard the rumor that Dave Chappelle was going to do a free show at midnight in Pioneer Square via Twitter. I briefly considered heading down there but I really haven't been home much as it is with work taking up most of my time.

Because of the sound issue (Dave brought a small, battery operated mike and amp) when close to 12,000 people showed up I'm glad I didn't. Odds are I wouldn't of caught a word he was saying.

That doesn't take away from the coolness of the event and Chappelle in general for trying to pull it off.

In a broader sense I really am rethinking my disdain for Twitter. Between the recent uprising in Iran and now this I do think there is potential to really move people to the streets. Can you imagine how Twitter would've changed the anti-war movement in the run up to the Iraq war?

It's almost like the fear that online social networking would detract from real world interaction is not only wrong, but wildly wrong. Twitter has the power to bring people together in the real world. That's pretty incredible.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

It's that every now and again - not often, but occasionally - you get to be a part of justice being done.

Do you remember when AIDS was held out by fundamentalist types as proof of God's disapproval of homosexuality? How in the 80s all evidence that AIDS wasn't exclusively a gay disease was lost on those types?

I wonder how the Pat Robertsons of the world will react to the amazing news that AIDS may actually hold the cure for lung and other types of cancer.

So how does CTMP halt cancer progression? Using biochemical analysis to analyze the expression levels of certain proteins, scientist found that overexpression of CTMP shut down not only Akt signaling but also protein synthesis, proliferation, angiogenesis and cell cycle progression of lung cancer cells while normal cells were not affected. Not only was lung cancer progression halted in 9-week old mice but the authors of the study found that cancer cells died from apoptosis.

Unlike chemotherapy which preferentially affects cancer cells but still has deleterious consequences to normal tissue after prolonged treatment, lentiviral mediated gene therapy “surgically” targets tumor cells while sparing normal tissue.

"God's Wrath" just might end one of the most horrible diseases ever to plague man providing incalculable good to the world.

If there was a God it's almost as if he goes out of his way to make the Pat Robertsons of the world look bad. Hmmm.

Monday, July 06, 2009

You, you with the banjo, can you help me? I seem to have lost my sense of direction!

I hope y'all had a great holiday.

I had an absolutely wonderful 4th of July with my family. We had a little picnic out at my grandparent's place where my mom lives now, just like when we were kids. The day consisted of mass quantities of burgers, homemade blackberry wine and catching up with family.

At one point my mom's boyfriend got out his tractor and hooked up a flatbed trailer and gave tours of the makeshit golfcourse he'd cut in the lawn. Watching the uncles, aunts and cousins hang on for dear life while laughing their drunken asses off tickled me to no end.

But the absolute high point of the day was a musical surprise my 15-year old daughter sprung on the family.

To back up a bit- when we were kids my grandfather would break out either his ukelele or banjo and play old tunes while the whole family would sing along. Grandpa was in the navy in WW 2 and while he was in Hawaii he'd even formed a little band and recorded a couple of tunes on phonograph.

Just recently grandpa's banjo turned up and my daughter, who is very muscially inclined, decided to teach herself how to play it.

So she gets out this beautiful instrument with pearl inlay that was made almost 100 years ago and asks us what we want to hear. "Whatever you know how to play," we told her.

She starts strumming, the tune sounds familiar but tough to place until she begins singing:

It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark
Under the moonlight, you see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes
You're paralyzed

'Cause this is thriller, thriller night
And no one's gonna save you from the beast about strike
You know it's thriller, thriller night
You're fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight

Believe it or not this song works surprisingly well on the banjo. We almost bust a gut we were laughing so hard.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Alright, alright, Mickey's a mouse, Donald's a duck, Pluto's a dog. What's Goofy?

Via Digby I think Senator Bernie Sanders has hit on the right question with regards to what form health care reform takes in the senate---

So I think, with all due respect to Max and his hard work, it's the wrong strategy. I think the strategy should be to say to all 60 members of the Democratic caucus that even if you don't want a public plan in the final bill, you should commit to ending the Republican filibuster. You don't need 60 votes to pass legislation. You need 60 votes to end the filibuster. And if we do that, we can get a strong public plan that will be real change.


Look, the Democrats said give us 60 votes so we can come up with something. They gave it to us! I'm not a Democrat, I'm an Independent, but I caucus with the Democrats. They gave us 60 votes. So how many do we need? Seventy? Eighty? I understand that there are some Democrats, without ascribing motives, who are not comfortable voting for a strong public plan period. But I think it is not asking too much that they vote against the Republican filibuster.

We need to stop asking pinheads like Lieberman or Nelson whether they prefer the public option, full on single payer or the do nothing solution all the senate "moderates" seem to be leaning towards. Their answers are as empty as their souls. If they're going to vote against the final health care reform bill because they remain industry whores that's their choice.

The real question is how they'll vote on cloture, not what sort of health care reform they'll support. That's how we're going to seperate the men from the boys. Or as in this case the men from the spineless weasels.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Gentlemen of the court, there are times that I'm ashamed to be a member of the human race and this is one such occasion.

I'm long past being disgusted that conservatives regularly root for millions of their fellow Americans to be killed by terrorists but still remain stumped on the complete absence of logic behind this idea. Apparently the formula is something along the lines of...

Major terrorist attack while Republicans are in charge = country will turn to Republicans to protect them.

On the other hand...

Major terrorist attack while Democrats are in charge = country will turn to Republicans to protect them.

Heads they win, tails we lose.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I coalesce the vapors of human experience into a viable and meaningful comprehension.

Happy birthday to Mel Brooks!

In celebration of 84 years of the master here's a little AMC behind the scenes video of the making of Young Frankentein..

Friday, June 26, 2009

Success, fame, and fortune, they're all illusions. All there is that is real is the friendship that two can share.

What a sad day yesterday was. A couple of generational icons lost in a matter of few hours. In their own ways both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson defined the decades in which they exploded into the American psyche.

I found myself oddly reflective last night about the death of Jackson. More than Farrah (I was a Heather Thomas pink bikini poster guy) he was the star that you really couldn't escape when I was a teenager in the 80s. I was not a fan. I should say: I tried not to be a fan. The guy was so talented he made that prospect difficult as hell.

A flood of memories of growing up in the 80s elbowed their way into my consciousness last night.


I was with some buddies at the "Rhoddies." The Rhoddies are Portland's Rhododendron Garden located next to a golf course in Southeast Portland. The Rhoddies were a popular place for teenagers to drink and hang out for impromptu parties if you didn't have anything better to do on the weekend.

Somewhere a boom box was blaring what I'd like to think in this memory is "Beat It," although it could have just as well been Madonna or Culture Club. Everybody has fluffy 80's hair. I'm wearing by dark grey Miami Vice jacket with the sleeves rolled up.

At some point I broke away from my buddies and and was standing on a foot bridge by myself sipping a Bartles and James. It's an absolutely beautiful summer night. Bats were swooping down on the bugs by the lake. I remember thinking to myself: "goddammit, it's good to be alive."


We're out at my grandparent's farm on the 4th of July. Besides shooting off illegal fireworks and stealing shots of grandpa's homemade cherry wine, we also spend a good portion of the day tearing around the property on my little red go cart and playing pick up football.

Practically everybody I love at that moment is in that one place.


I'm sitting in my old, red Volkswagon Rabbit in the parking lot of McDonalds waiting for my girlfriend to get off her shift. I'm listening to the radio and as sure as I write this it's "Billie Jean."

When my she finally gets in the car there's some perfunctory discussion about where we're going to go. A movie? Grab something to eat? It's all bullshit. We know we're going to wind up parked on a dark street somewhere for some serious snogging and heavy petting.

She apologizes to me because she smells like french fries. I lie and tell her I can't smell the fries. The truth is she does, but I don't care. I like french fries.


It's Halloween and "Thriller" is playing in the other room while I'm getting Frankenstein makeup applied to my face. I'm going to be the climax of this particular dance. The late, great Mark Zimmerman who was the King of Halloween has planned this dance as his Magnum Opus.

Mark has rigged a scaffolding in the middle of the dance floor going forty feet up to the ceiling of the gymnasium. To this he's affixed a pulley system. In my Frankenstein costume I'm going to be lying on a gurney under a sheet, wheeled out at the right moment to the song "Weird Science" and actually cranked up to the ceiling of the gym where Mark has placed strobe lights near the skylights to simulate lightning. All of this for a high school dance.

Because it was dangerous I asked some guys I could trust to actually wheel me out and run the pulley system. I couldn't see anything under the sheet as they pushed me into the gym and the other kids started cheering but I vividly remember my best buddy Jeff leaning over the sheet near my face, stinking of beer and whispering "have a nice trip, Frankie" just before he socked me in the nuts.

I was going to die.

Of course it went without a hitch and as soon they lowered me back down and as Oingo Boingo blurted "it's alive!" I hopped up and did my own version of Jack's zombie dance.


I'm in my high school history class and Mr. Sprinkle is rushing through his lesson so he can tell us "war stories" in the last 10 minutes of class. Mr. Sprinkle was in Vietnam and decided at some point that the best lesson he could give his students wasn't out of books. He could tell us stories from his own life about how horribly stupid war is.

Today he's telling us a horrible story about how American troops sometimes slept behind idling tanks to stay warm, even though ordered not to and how once a month a soldier would be killed when the tank backed over them.

In part because of Mr. Sprinkle I have a lifelong love of history, a deep distrust of authority and a wicked sense of humor.


I'm on a date heading to a party and we're lost. Ahead of us smack dab in the middle of the street is a GIANT puddle. My date and I are arguing about whether my Rabbit can make it across. I say it can, she doesn't think there's a chance in hell.

I hit the gas and the car stalls right in the middle of the puddle. We both have to wade through a foot of water to shore so I can call a tow truck. That was my first and last date with that girl.


I'm sad about Michael Jackson passing. There was so much talent and potential in that guy and he just went off the rails. It's depressing that he was obviously so uncomfortable in his own skin. I kept hoping he'd get it turned around. He could hae been the elder statesman of pop music.

But truth be told was really brought tears to my eyes yesterday was all these memories from the time when Jackson really was the King of Pop. I thought about goofing around with my friends and family, being young and in love, dancing, and being so damned alive and sooooo damned stupid at the same time. Jackson's death makes all of that wonderful stuff seem so very far away.

It makes me feel so... old.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You are disturbing the peaceful mood I'm in. You are destroying the frame of mind I'm in.

They're shooting the show "Leverage" downstairs which made it fun getting into the office this morning. I'm a little bummed because Will Wheaton has been in Portland guest starring on that show and shooting all week but his stint ended before today. I would love to meet him.

Despite that I'm going to sneak out at some point and see if I can spot Timothy Hutton.

Also - if you don't regularly visit Kung Fu Monkey you should check it out. The blog's owner is the creator/ producer of "Leverage" and a fairly liberal guy who has written some GREAT essays against the use of force in Iraq, etc.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

The new phone books are here!

Hooray! The Great Orange Satan recognized me! I've been retweeted by the King of All Liberals himself.

There is no such thing as a bad boy.

In the name of the holy Flying Spaghetti Monster what the hell are the editors of the print edition of the Oregonian thinking? The headline to this article on parents who murdered their fifteen-month-old daughter by treating her pneumonia with faith healing reads: "When Secular and Spiritual Laws Collide."

Hey Big-O! This country is not Iran. Our legal system is not built around Sharia law. There is no such thing in this country as "spiritual law." None. Zippo. Nada.

You might as well headline the article "When Secular Law and Tinkerbell Collide." It would be just as grounded in reality.

The laws of the United States, of which the last time I checked Oregon was a participating state, are secular. Period.

I'm hoping those secular laws run over these parents doing about 75 mph then back up and make sure they're finished just for good measure.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The purpose of our suffering is only more suffering.

I keep getting sucked into stuff at home and at work that's monopolizing my time but don't want to shut this blog down. I'm just going to post less frequently for a while. I assume at some point I'll get back to daily posting or something thereabouts.

In the post before last I mentioned that I thought the ignoring politics approach many of my blogger friends were taking was the sane approach to things. I just can't bring myself to do so. I've been a political junkie since I was was fifteen-years old and started reading the paper. It's as coded into my system as drinking coffee.

So I'm a hamster on the wheel.

It really is frustrating. The democrats, including Obama, suck. Sure- they don't suck anywhere near as bad as the GOP. Obama is a light years better president than the chimp who last sat in the Oval Office. But it's not nearly good enough.

Thirty years of conservative rule including a slavish devotion to the Free Market Fairies have taken their toll on this country. Now is not the time for baby steps walking that crap back. Yet baby steps are all Obama is giving us.

Take the health care debate as an example. I think we need a single payer solution. I would go so far as to say we will have a single payer solution at some point and the only question is how much pain we're going to have to work through between then and now to get to that point as the regressive forces in our society including big insurance companies fight such changes tooth and nail.

Yet single payer isn't on the table in Washington as health care reform is discussed. Instead Obama and the democrats punked themselves once again by making concessions before the debate even began in earnest and beginning with the centrist public option solution.

Because the rules that our elites work under insist we always consider the views of the whargarrbbbll right, regardless of what the voters say about those views we're going to get some sort of health care "reform" that's somewhere between the centrist public option and a regressive plan that actually forces the uninsured to by insurance from the crappy private insurers that are slowly choking the country to death. In short: no reform at all.

How are voters going to treat democrats if they not only fail to actually reform health care but make it worse with a market based approach? My guess is that it will be something along the lines of an electoral roundhouse kick to the nuts. A well deserved one at that.

Incidentally; this is why I don't care much about the Franken fight other than the fact he seems to send the Michelle Malkins of the world into a frothing fury. Even with a supermajority in the senate the democrats will be losers.

Steve Benen sums it up well...

After all, American voters gave Democrats a big majority in the House, a big majority in the Senate, and 365 electoral votes to the Democratic president. Obama has a 60% approval rating, and support for Republicans has plummeted.

It's tempting, then, to remind Democratic policymakers, as they negotiate with the shrinking minority party and back down on key priorities, "You won."

All true, but truth be told what really keeps me banging my head on my desk isn't the idea that we have to consider the ideas of republicans in legislation. Just belonging to a political party doesn't automatically make one wrong on the issues. No, what really sets me off is the the GOP as it's currently constituted is functionally batshiat insane. They bring nothing to the table these days besides their raving lunacy.

Why should the country be forced to entertain their angry, incoherent babbling?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What usually happens when people without guns stand up to people with guns.

Pretty obsessed these last couple of days with the news coming out of Iran. For one thing it's caused me to rethink my feelings about Twitter (Change_for_Iran and PersianKiwi) and reinforced my belief that the traditional media are useless.

I'm getting the same feelings from watching this as I got as Eastern Europe freed itself from totalitarian communism or watching those brave protesters in Tienanmen square face down provincial elements of the Chinese army. It's a strange mixture of hope along with fear for the lives of the protestors.

I sat the kids down and went through what's going on. Showed them some of the images coming out of Iran.

In a very real sense this revolution is being led by women. 60% of the students at the university's that are leading these protests are women. They seem to be suffering the bulk of the anger being brought upon the protesters by the regime's forces.

Besides many, many deaths I just read that five female students were killed AT THEIR DORMS last night. Fuck.

Thus far the army has kept on the sideline but the word is they're moving on the city. I hope that's not true.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Good? He is not good, he's terrible, he's the worst.. there is not any man like him anywhere in the world!

Poor conservatives. It's almost like the universe has it out for them. Jindal says volcano monitoring is a waste and a big ol' volcano erupts right in the middle of the republicanist state with the republicanist governor in the country. DHS releases a report warning that right wing violence may ensue out of frustration at the election, the righty talking heads go apeshit and just a few months later a wave of right wing terrorism sweeps the land.

They just can't catch a break. Reality keeps tieng them up, stuffing a gimp ball in their mouth and shoving them roughly into a chest.

Yet, like happy little troopers they aren't going to let the fact that they live in a world built wholly of delusion constructed out of the combined imagination of people like Malkin, Beck, Rand (*) or Goldberg. They're the energizer bunnies of bullshit.

Triumph of the Will indeed.

The current Champions of Asshattery have to be Sarah Palin and her legions of mouth-breathing followers who are taking the art of manufactured outrage to 11.

It's clear to any sentient being (and most of the non-sentient elements listed on the periodic table for that matter) that David Letterman's joke about Palin's daughter was aimed at Bristol Palin, not the 14-year old nobody outside of Eastern Crazy Wingnutia has ever heard of. This is the same adult Bristol Palin that's spent the last few months dancing around on my teevee babbling about not engaging in any acts of depravity before you were ready. Once you're old enough; deprave away! I know I like to deprave every chance I get.

Just a few remarks culled from the legions of Big Thinkers defending Palin-

Palin is dead-on. Letterman is expired. NBC is garbage. This backsliding American culture keeps lowering the morality bar lower and lower. Palin and others who stand up to the fall should be praised. - American

CBS should fire lettermen, i will avoid there sponsors,criminal action should be taken and letterman should be listed as a child porn person.he should have to register as a sex offender. - Chad

Letterman is a moronic pig. No matter what I think about Palin, Letterman is pathetic and will do anything for attention. The disgusting thing is that democrats just love him and as long as he's spitting over the fence, they don't care who he offends. - Richard

I know, I know. You're probably reading those comments and thinking to yourselves the same thing I'm thinking - "I'm hungry. I wonder how long that sandwich has been in the fridge at work and will my coworker miss it if I snag the the thing?"

You also might be having some of the other same things going through your mind as I did after regarding those comments. Why does the mainstream media cover this nonsense? Who are the pond scum that are on Letterman's case and why am I developing that eye tic that's making me look like Clouseau's Chief Inspector Dreyfus?

When you were young did you ever play a board game with a friend that didn't like losing so they just made up new rules as the game went along? Didn't it make YOU feel crazy? That's how I feel when I turn on the television or read the newspaper these days.

You know who the sanest among us are? People like liberality or Fran who pretty much dropped blogging about politics. They've made a wise, healthy decision not to abide crazy.

Good on 'em.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

She sips nitro... with Phase 4 heads! 600 horsepower through the wheels! She's meanness set to music and the bitch is born to run!

Forgive me if I'm less than excited that the "Cash For Clunkers" bill passed the House.

The bill awards cash vouchers of $3500-$4500 for those willing to trade in a vehicle rated at an EPA estimated 18 mpg or less for a vehicle rated at a marginally better MPG.

If you can hear my cynicism bleeding through this writing then that would be because I consider this bill poor social engineering if you're trying to get more fuel efficient cars on the road. A better use of these limited federal funds would be to renew now defunct tax credits for the purchase of the most popular Toyota and Honda hybrids.

It seems to me that the environment would be better served by getting more city folks from marginally good MPG cars into excellent MPG hybrids than it would getting rural folks from sucky MPG trucks or SUVs into slightly less sucky MPG trucks or SUVS.

I realize that a big part of the push behind this bill has nothing to do with the environment. The idea is to give the U.S. auto industry a boost by moving some of the surplus sitting on lots as soon as possible. Great.

But if you REALLY wanted to help the U.S. auto industry long term then wouldn't this 4.5 billion be better spent on developing a hybrid or electric car that's affordable (i.e NOT a $40k Chevy Volt?)

Take a loss on the crap sitting on lots at the moment by drastically discounting it and selling it. Then start actually working to position itself for the rest of this century by focusing on inexpensive, environmentally sound cars.

But then I'm just some poor schlub blogging on the internet and not a politician. What do I know?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Friday, June 05, 2009

By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universitartus Committiartum E Pluribus Unum, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of ThD.

Gratz to #1Animefan who graduated from middle school last night and scored an amazing 550 out of 550 possible points on hor 8th grade project/ autobiography.

I'm a proud papa.

We had to brave a frikkin' thunderstorm with threat of tornado (TORNADO!) to get to the ceremony. This is Oregon not Kansas, right? Although we do have a little dog...

(On a side note- I've been to tons of graduations and promotions and last other than my daughter looking beautiful and getting her degree the ceremony itself was especially ponderous. An hour of listening to the "popular" girls in the glass sing off key karaoke is not exactly highlighting the school's cultural and artistic offerings.)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Winifred, I should like to make a slight differentiation between the word cheerful and just plain giddy irresponsibility.

On a lighter note here are some happy videos I found and thought I'd share.

The first is a mix of Mary Poppins using samples from the movie with a bit of original music. My family sat around the PC this morning before work/ school and watched this a couple of times. Absolutely lovely.

This is a web ad for Cinematic Titanic so those of you who aren't familiar with what I was talking about can get an idea. I'm going to buy this one because it looks pretty funny.

This is an ad for Beatles Rock Band rolled out this week that is plain beautiful. Somebody should win an award for this damned thing. It's just that creative.

When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

I was sad to hear of the passing of actor David Carradine. I've always been a fan of his work especially his B films such as "Death Race 2000."

Of course he was best known as the character Kwai Chang Caine in the "Kung Fu" television series. That series utilized one of the simplest and best formulas of American storytelling - the peace-loving loaner who is bullied to the point of fighting back.

Television often reflects society. "Kung Fu" tapped into America's self image of the sleeping giant dragged against it's will into WW 2. It's the "Once that fight was started we were damned well going to finish it" view most Americans had of how the war transpired.

What I think is ironic is that there's a good portion of Americans who if they watched "Kung Fu" now would identify more with the ignorant bullies that plague Caine rather than the reluctant pacificist hero of the show.

In honor of Carradine here are a few quotes from that great series I'm shamelessly lifting from IMDB...

Young Caine: You cannot see.
Master Po: You think I cannot see?
Young Caine: Of all things, to live in darkness must be worst.
Master Po: Fear is the only darkness.

Master Po: What do you hear?
Caine: I hear the grasshopper.

Caine: I seek not to know the answers, but to understand the questions.

Master Khan: Avoid, rather than check. Check, rather than hurt. Hurt, rather than maim. Maim, rather than kill. For all life is precious, nor can any be replaced.

Caine: Is it good to seek the past, Master Po? Does it not rob the present?
Master Po: If a man dwells on the past, then he robs the present. But if a man ignores the past, he may rob the future. The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past.

Master Kahn: In striving for an ideal, we do not seek rewards. Yet trust does sometimes bring with it a great reward, even greater than good.
Young Caine: What is greater than good?"
Master Kahn: Love.

Master Po: I have three treasures which I hold and keep. The first is mercy, for from mercy comes courage. The second is frugality, from which comes generosity to others. The third is humility, for from it comes leadership.
Young Caine: Strange treasures. How shall I hold them and keep them? Memory
Master Po: No, Grasshopper, not in memory, but in your deeds.

Caine: If you plant rice, rice will grow. If you plant fear, fear will grow.

RIP David.