Out With The Old....

On the last night of 2008 let's look back 10 of the most awesome things the year brought us.

10.) We found Earth.

9.) The Piranha Party

8.) Sarah Palin went national

7.) Left 4 Dead

6.) Obzen

5.) Causes of the 1918 Flu pandemic identified.

4.) VI Day

3.) Anon declares war on Scientology.

2.) Rachel Lucas crushed my futile hopes.

1.) The Dark Knight

Obviously this list is ummm.... kind of last minute. So, okay. Maybe not the most awesome things of the year, but they're still pretty damn awesome. Happy New Year, guys. (All what? 2 of you now?) Party safe tonight and I'll see you in '09.


Well That's Not Good....

Earthquakes under Yellowstone. What's so bad about that? Just a little thing called a Supervolcano. Clearly this all Bush's fault.


The Awful Thing About Growing Up....

Is learning that your heroes are but mortals. Bettie Page is dead. Tonight I plan on meeting up with some friends and raising a toast in honor of the legend.

Thanks for everything, Miss Page.



Let's talk about Sons of Anarchy for a minute.

Now that the season finale is done, there's a lot to say. I started watching because there was nothing on and being sans-satellite I was trolling through the on demand archives and figured I'd give it a shot. The first episode was described by TWOP as being a white trash biker version of the Sopranos. I can't speak for the Sopranos because it was never a show that I really got into, but I like SoA.

SoA keeps you from completely cheering their group of anti-heroes on by giving you an antihero who has serious and continual moral qualms guided by the manuscript of his deceased father. The protagonist operates outside of the law and is entrenched in a world he seeks to change. He does bad things and not always for the right reasons, but tries to do as much good as he can. It's a story of flawed people. And the people progress. Realistically. Even the primary antagonist isn't without virtue. If BSG is about redemption, then SoA is about damnation.

In BSG you watch characters struggle to save themselves from hell in every sense, but SoA is the story of people damning themselves for the most part. Don't get me wrong, SoA is of nowhere near the quality as BSG, but it shares some cross points. SoA lives closer to the alter than BSG does, but it's still about what takes place between the temple and the alter.

SoA is on a larger scale about fixing a dream gone wrong. It's about a biker gang founded to be essentially a libertarian commune operating by its own rules outside of society mainly by distance and influence upon the small town it calls home. The idea went wrong primarily due to the influence of one of the founding members. The son of a murdered founder starts having second doubts because he has a new born son. His doubts are fed by his discovery of his father's manuscript which detail his dreams for the purpose of the club upon its founding and how it went astray. That son, Jax, oscillates between his fathers dreams and the influence of his stepfather, Samcrow, who was founding member who drew the club down the wrong path.

SoA has a very Hamlet feel during the first season, despit the fact that Jax's mother, Samcrow's wife, very clearly knows what happened to Jax's father and sides with Samcrow (though the season finale throws a smidgeon of doubt upon the driving force behind their releationship). In fact, I would go so far as to say that the first season of SoA is essentially Hamlet being confronted with his father's ghost and trying to figure out what to do about it.

I didn't want to write about this show until now because I wasn't sure I could do it without making iti a recap. Tonight made it big league. Hell, I just told you it was Hamlet. It's not BSG level so far, but there will be more posts about SoA if FX picks it up for another season. I hope they do. And I hope they continue the Hamlet mirror. It's hard to go wrong from Shakespear, yall. Really.

That's all for tonight. I recommend that you check out SoA. Start from the beginning because it's that kind of show and give a chance up through the episode with the clown. You'll know which one I mean. That's the one that moved it from casual to must see watching for me. And not just becuase I freaking hate clowns.

I'll close with this: imagine The Sopranos+Hamlet+biker gang, how could that now= awesome? Try it.

Oh, and happy Thanksgiving.


And The Lunacy Continues....

For those of you (okay, I was one) who tried to pull a silver lining from election day's cloud by hoping that Democrat control over both the legislative and executive branches of government would somehow spark a return to sanity and civility, it looks like crazy is harder to cure.

And Congressional Democrats say that they are determined to pursue their investigations — and that they expect career officials to disclose other issues after the Bush administration leaves. “We could spend the entire next four years investigating the Bush years,” Mr. Whitehouse said.

Where to begin? With Obama's staff stating that they'll keep much of President Bush's intelligence policies? Or with the fact that investigating out going presidents based purely and obviously on partisan grudges or policy disputes establishes a completely absurd precedent? Maybe with the fact that we currently have a multi-front war, an economic crisis, China, Russia, North Korea, and the potential of a nuclear Iran to deal with and they want to spend time pursuing an agenda that will only increase the divisiveness of political discourse? There's too much to chose from. I don't know. You decide. What's more insane?

Hat tip, Roger L. Simon


The Wonders Of Editing....

I expect this to be the first and last post about Sci-Fi's new series Chase. Whatever else there is to say about this show, the editing is amazing on two levels. The first level is that the introduction of the hunters is just ridiculously action movie. However, more importantly, the contestant interviews are placed for sheer comedy gold. In the first 13 minutes two contestants have had fantastic comedy placement for their interviews. A girl who had just indulged in being completely clueless interviews about how she's actually really smart. Then a guy interviews how he's in good shape, only to immediately trip over a fallen lamp post. A lamp post, people. It's not like it was uneven pavement. It was a goddamn street light.

That is all.


And The Great Whitewash Begins....

....I mean, hey, it's never too early to start shoring up the legacy.

So the President-in-Training gets hundreds of millions in dubious credit card money, but McCain follows the rules and he gets punished.

JamieWearingFool links to the full story.


John Hawkins over at Right Wing News remembers the North American Union and pays homage to the paranoid idiots who parroted it.

Well, Barack Obama is our new President-elect and George Bush is twiddling his thumbs and waiting for January so he can go back to Crawford. Shockingly, well to incredibly gullible people who don't understand the basics of how the country works, Bush has not merged our country with Mexico and Canada.

The funny thing about conspiracy theorists is that they never let a little thing like proof get in the way of their ideas. Don't expect people to shut up about it now, just because it hasn't happened.

Hat tip, Steven Green.


....thank you. Thank you for everything.

The First Step....

I've long held that history will treat President Bush far kinder than his contemporaries have. Could this be the first step (of many) towards that eventuality? I hope so.


New Conservative Brand?

Cassandra over at Villainous Company discusses the future of the conservative brand:

....We need to start making the case that nearly all of these issues are ones which have traditionally been resolved at the state and local level. We need to frame this as a "freedom" issue: when the federal government imposes a one-size-fits-all moral code upon 50 very different states, we LOSE the freedom to decide and debate amongst ourselves how we want to live....

....There may be better words for this, but in broad, overarching terms conservatives need to frame the choice facing voters as being between a Party of Opportunity and Freedom which maximizes individual dignity, responsibility, and choice and minimizes government interference in the lives of citizens a Party of Pessimism and Control which maximizes dependency on government, waste and inefficiency and minimizes productivity, opportunity, and accountability.

It seems to me that that's pretty much the conservative brand as it once was. The vast majority of conservatives who I know are "conservative because [they're] classical liberal[s]". But that's just a way of saying that you don't believe in turning your (or anyone else's) morals into legislation. (This could lead to another entire post about how a moral decision stops being moral, when it's made at gun point.) I forgot where I was going with this. Anyway, check it out.


Oh For Fuck's Sake....

Thursday I received a text message from an associate in California asking me to petition the governor to overturn the vote on proposition 8. My first response was to ask why the hell they were asking me, a Marylander, to petition the governor of California on an amendment to the California state constitution. I was told to "think positive". That, boys and girls, was the proverbial straw. I've been stewing on the situation for several days and goddamnit I'm not holding back any more.


I mean really, the voters of California turned out and had their say. Democracy means you don't always get your way. And if you do get it, it might not be on your time table. If proposition 8 failed and its supporters tried the kind of shit its opponents are currently trying we'd be hearing about republican/conservative/religious fascism until out ears and eyes bled.

The biggest supporters of proposition 8 (the ones who made a difference really) were the blacks and hispanics who turned out to vote for Obama (who is also against gay marriage). Does this mean that gays will finally tire of being thrown under the democrats' post election bus? Doubtful. But it is fun to watch the chickens of identity politics come home to roost.

Look, gay marriage will come to be in this country. Maybe not rightthismoment, but it will happen. And it will happen sooner if people stop pushing for it to happen yesterday. Frankly (preemptive no pun intended), I think the best solution resembles the situation in France (see?). And if I'm lauding the French government it's either a cold day in hell indeed, or a time to seriously prick up your ears. My solution is this: civil unions become the government recognized institution. Whatever your persuasion/orientation, your committed 1:1 thing will be called a civil union under the law. Marriage will be taken up with your/the/a church/temple/whatever. Given the number of republican delegates at this year's convention who were amiable to civil unions, I suspect that that compromise will be a relatively easy legislative battle to win. The republican presidential and vice-presidential nominees were both against banning.

But all of that is beside the point. The point is simply this: The Union, this country, is bigger than ohmygodiwantitnow! The fact that this is even a subject of national debate is huge in and of itself. This isn't about shutting up and moving to the back of the bus, it's about understanding that at this juncture reasoning with those who disagree is a better tactic than trying to use the guns of the government to persuade them. It's about the fact that, the system which you extole and villify as it suits your purpose has held together a rag-tag band of miscreants, rabble-rousers, and apostatic reprobates for over 200 years, and it has done so in a manner which has produced prosperity and freedom to such a degree that it should (and does which is why they hate us) shame the rest of the world. And in your selfish need for instant gratification and unconditional surrender you seek to hobble it. Moreover, you cripple the good faith that must exist between citizens for the system to function.

Good faith between citizens is crucial for the survival of a democracy. It's the understanding that the other side will not seek to circumvent, impare, or destroy the system in order to get their way when they lose or maintain power when they win.

By any serious accounting this stopped being a debate about if years ago. It's a debate about when. If a little patience is excersised, it'll probably happen within the next 10 years, and it won't be court ordered, but chosen by the American people. Now stop pissing in the fucking well.


Wasted Opportunities

So I'm watching tonight's episode of Sanctuary and all I can think is how much I wish it was an episode of Supernatural instead. You could so totally rely on Dean to refer to the nubbins as predator-tribbles. Because I mean, really. A whole hour devoted to small furry rapidly breeding cute creatures who have natural active camouflage and eat everything (including people) and not one reference to Star Trek's The Trouble With Tribbles episode? Like how is that even possible?


One More Thing....

After last night's drunken post it occurred to me that I left something out.

PALIN '12!!!

Also, for all of those no-neck, squid loving, rats piling on the Alaskan Governor, I have just one thing to say: you try to pin your failure or inadequacy on Palin, you join the general pile-on of ivy league elitist bullshit, and you will cripple the Republican party. Oh, and fuck you for trying.


A Few Words....

First, Congratulations to Senator Obama.

Second, John McCain gave an amazingly classy speech tonight. I'm proud of him and my ideological fellow travelers. I extend my heart felt thanks to John McCain, Sarah Palin, and their families for the efforts they put forth. I look forward to hearing from Governor Palin on the national stage in the future.

Third, I will be spending the next hour or two nursing a beer or two.

Now, there are many on the right who've already articulated what I'm about to say. I disagree with President-elect Obama on a great many issues. This is no secret. However, I applaud his victory and wish him the best of luck in these troubling times. I hope my concerns about him prove to be misplaced. I hope the next 4 years are peaceful and prosperous. I remain committed to doing my part to improve civility in political discourse in this country. My country.

I will do this by example. I will not fall into the mindless rage that has marked opposition political discourse for the past 8 years. John McCain and Sarah Palin campaigned on the slogan "Country First". I intend to demonstrate that that was not just a slogan, but an affirmation of a way of life. I will not hope for President-elect Obama and the Democrat controlled congress to fail over the next 2 to 4 years. Instead, I will hope that they rise above the bitterness and sheer contraryness that has marred the past 8 years of politics in this country and lead. Lead this country and its people to prosperity and victory.

We here, on the right, like to refer to ourselves as the party of adults. Let's demonstrate that. Let's be adult. We lost. They won. If my hopes fall short we will have hard work cut out for us, not just in doing everything in our power to work against what we understand to be wrong, but also to fight for what we know to be right. It is of the utmost importance that we now look to the future and begin to rebuild and reshape our party. Let's not spend these upcoming years being contrary for the sake of being contrary. Now we have an opportunity to build a new contract with America. Strengthen the bonds of the Regan coaliton.


The Debate

Three things:

1.) Neither candidate whips government intervention as the primary cause of our current financial predicament. They're both too hung up on Wall street.

2.) McCain did a really good job of keeping Obama on the defensive. He did a really good job of bringing the questions around to his strengths and his references to his record were a good call. He didn't have to say "that my oponent lacks".

3.) McCain really missed a chance on the last question. Obama mentioned going after the roots of terrorism and McCain gave a good response, but it would have been great if he -without mentioning Saudi Arabia and Iran specifically- brought that back into his energy policy (specifically the drilling) because right now there is no better way to hurt Islamic terrorism's major funding than by decreasing the price of oil which means drilling here now. McCain's response was good, but could have been great.


Hot Republican VP.....

Oh, and she's smart, capable and more qualified than the Democratic Presidential nominee. So color me surprised when a lefty friend of mine tried to pull the "lacks experience" card against her.

Baltimore Sun Strikes Again....

In a demonstration of its typical sense of good taste, the Baltimore Sun decided to run news of McCain's VP pick directly behind the obituaries and right before the celebrity entertainment section. Way to keep it classy guys. Not even fit to line a bird cage.


Oh Brother....

I'm watching The Messiah's acceptance speech tonight and reading the inevitable drunkblogging.

So three beers in at the end and if G.W. was running this election, there'd be a lot of relevance where there wasn't any.

Rockstar crowd.

Marxism, no surprise.

Raising teachers' salaries??? That's lower than state level. What function, exactly, does he think the president serve.

And this dude is a lying bastard of a politician. Well is from Chicago.

No how, but a lot of "what".

Lot's of olive branch to the PUMAs, using the old "good show, don't stop believing, I have daughters" route. Still, he did pretty much cockslap H.R.C. with his whole less than one month in office as senator decision to run for POTUS.

How do I come away? This is a guy who was compared to McGovern during the primaries, but this dude is Chicago through and through.

Check the drunkblogging and the comments.

I know I didn't have much to say, but neither did he.

Props to McCain for the classy ad.

See you folks for the RNC.



Sorry about last week's BSG post. Really. It's just that... I was a bit overwhelmed. Sorry.

So I watched last night's episode in a bit of an emotional fugue after Natalie died. I loved that particular Six from her first episode. Shooting star, baby. Shooting star. Damn. Then again, I love all the Sixes. And the Eights. And... well frak. I love everyone on that show. Even annoying ass Lee Adamma because idealists are a pain in the ass ,but/because they keep us honest about the shit we do.

Also: Athena. I understand that trip. But still. Frrraaaaaaak.

President Roslin. That is all.

Threes unboxed!!!! OMFG!

Bill Adamma... just... wow. Really.

New theory about the ending? Everyone dies.

After spending several seasons telling people this show wasn't like the bleakest existential trip ever.... No. I mean, it's not that. But frak, BSG.

On a lighter note, Doctor Who kicked ass last night. This season's been really quite spectacular so far. Yay.


Unadulterated Hero Worship....

I've been gone for a while and what do I return with? This post, that's what. I'm starting a list of Rachel Lucas' "Jesus in a ___" statements. Gawd, is that woman a genius. Every time there's a new one, this post will be updated and bumped. In theory.

  • "Jesus in a meadow"
  • "Jesus in a frosted mug"
  • "Christ with a cigarette"
  • "Jesus in a green beret"

I know. This is beyond sad. Not like anyone's reading though, so I'm free to wallow in my freakish adulation.



You may be wondering what's up with all the BSG blogging seeing as how it's been the focus of my last four posts. So here's the deal. No, I did not just discover the awesomeness that is Battlestar Galactica. I've been a devoted follower since the mini-series that started it. But I used to feel weird blogging about TV so I didn't. Now I don't care, so I do.

Politics are on hold for a while. And by "for a while" I mean "until I want to again". Don't know how long that will be- not like there's anyone here who cares, neh?

Anyway, tis the season for baseball, ultimate frisbee, and the sort of drinks served in tiki bars that come with those little umbrellas. But we can ignore the umbrella part.

Having Climbed Down...

from the frakking ceiling after Friday's BSG, I'm going to have to rewatch it. Especially because, two weeks!? Nooooooooooooooooooo!

But then, yeah. We'll talk about it.

Doctor Who is awesome, but then it always is (like BSG) except for that episode in season two with the little girl who drew people and they became trapped in the drawing. That one was rubbish. (Like BSG's "Woman King" in season 3.)



Frak! Frak! frak! Frak frak frak frak frak frak frak frak FRAK!!!

Frak Athena! Frak!

What the FRAK?!


Holy Frak....

So of all the unlikely events to occur this week, last night's episode of Doctor Who framed the heck out of BSG. And it's all about songs.

Last night Doctor Who was all songs of freedom and unification and self. Held captive, turned in on themselves, and truncated they became songs of mourning and loss and isolation. The Doctor broke the circle and through freedom and reunification the self was reclaimed and the song was both liberated and liberator.

Galactica opens with a song- or rather the chance of reclaiming a song- as Starbuck, after 58 days finds a chance to reconnect with the song/the sound of the universe that gave her Earth and brought her back from the dead (in more ways than one).

Opening credits and our weekly song/prayer for light and grace and peace.

We dive back in and Starbuck gets her chance and so does Athena and Sam and a member of the resistance on Caprica, Barolay, to seek out their respective songs. They jump away in the raptor and Starbuck hears it and it guides her to her comet, which is the basestar.

Disembarkation and Athena's song this week (and pretty much this entire show in iterations) is about re/unification and self reclamation. Here, it's first iteration comes from another eight and it's this: welcome, we missed you, you were right, help us be like you, war. And Athena Kendra Shaws/sings back: "Pick you side and stick with it". Athena's is cleaner, but only on one end (as we'll see later).

Anders' song (this entire frakking season) is acceptance and it's strained and hesitant as he almost tries to access the Cylon computer system. It's cut short by Kara, calling him to come with her. He should stay there because he's more familiar with the raptor's systems which, true. But also, does this place feel like home?

Next there's the Barolay and the six. And their songs are the same and they're both bound in circles of the past. Barolay killed the six on Caprica. Drowned her. And after shouldering by the six is informed of this. Barolay non-graces to repeat the performance and six kills her. And I don't think the six planned that. But Anders and Athena rush in, check for vitals, realize Barolay is dead, and draw their weapons. Anders' gun in the back of the six's head as she kneels on her hands and knees. Natalie, Starbuck, and an eight rush in, and the six's story breaks your frakking heart or you don't frakking have one. But the telling of it is redemption and then she graces that she's glad it's Natalie. Natalie kisses her goodbye, stands, places her hand over Anders' and pulls the trigger. I confess, I cried here.

Hybrid's room and Starbuck listens to the hybrid's god-song trying to discern the strains of her own. It's no good and she orders the plug pulled to allow the raptor to guide the basestar's jump back to the Demetrius. One of the eights who greeted Athena comes in. She's trying to sing Athena's song, but not really understanding it. The eight (and seriously, I really wish they all had names because I love them that frakking much) tries to unplug the hybrid. The hybrid screams like a homing beacon for doomsday and doom answers in the guise of a centurion, who shoots the eight. She falls and her blood runs into the hybrid's pool and the hybrid co-opts Kara's song and as Starbuck listens and tries to sing, it turns to ashes. There are really only two things you can do when your song turns to ash in you mouth: you can choose to be a demon dancing in the fires of destruction or you can choose to be a phoenix. Kara sits on the edge and Natalie gives her permission to become the pheonix. Gives her her song back. And now it's their song.

The eight who was shot by the centurion, rolls over and understands the song Athena sang. She sings it back it back too clear for Athena to hold, asking for recognition of her redemption. She finds it, not in the grasp of a sister who came back without returning, but in the arms of a lost brother who's face she doesn't know to recognize. And Sam's song of acceptance is clear hear, and it's born in mourning. Mourning for a girl who didn't know she was a girl and when she did the world ended/was reborn and she along with it. And I cried here too as Sam closes the eight's eyes. Circle broken. The eight joins the extremely short list of people on this show who managed to make redemption stick. They're all dead. What does that tell you?

Basestar jumps back to Helo and the rest of the crew of the Demetrius several seconds after the clock ran out and three seconds before Helo orders the jump. And it's re/unification songs all over the place.

I haven't said anything about President Roslin's story line this episode, but that's about songs too. I won't get into it right now because this post is big enough as it is.


Just a Thought....

I'm going to propose a completely insane hypothesis as to the identity of the final unknown Cylon model. Don't read any further if you're not interested.

Okay, so what if unboxed three, transformed by her vision of the faces of the final five is last of the final five?

That was it. I don't think that's the case at all, but fun thought experiment-y thing.


I Had to Wake Up for This....

Today in class we discuss conspiracy theories. To be fair, it was brought up by several classmates. However, after letting several people ramble on about how the U.S. government is controlling the drug trade (including one gentleman who thought Iran-Contra took place in Cuba) there was no effort to address the statements made. So.... 15 minutes of conspiracy theories and no effort at damage control.

And people question the value of higher education....


But the Question is....

Since assuming office the first thing on MD Governor, Martin O'Malley's agenda has been the ousting of the State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Nancy Grasmick. Mind you, Dr. Grasmick is the reason MD schools are ranked 3rd in the nation. Just what could be the motivation behind publicly and irrationally launching an offensive against the head of the state's education system?

Well, I could call O'Malley a partisan hack, but that would be too kind. It's no secret, here in the old line state, that our current Gov. has dreams of Pennsylvania Ave. So maybe that in conjunction with the success H.R.C.'s campaign explains why he suddenly seems to have had a change of heart.

Primaries and the Elections

This is my first and last primaries post (and possibly my first and lest elections post). I was a Fred Head. That dream is dead. I'll hold my nose and support McCain instead.

But seriously, folks. Am I thrilled with McCain? No. But he's a damn sight better than Clinton or Obama. Just because I haven't thrown my voice into the discussion until now, doesn't mean that I haven't been paying attention. Generally speaking, I hear two reasons for why we should pack up our toys and go home: McCain is the same as or worse than Cli-Bama; and that the lesser of two evils is still evil.

To the McCain = Clinton/Obama people: I do not understand the world you live in. Other, bloggers with bigger readership and more respect have posted the facts. Reposting them here isn't going to make a difference. But maybe if we're all very lucky, in time when emotions have settled you'll look back on yourselves in these moments with more than a little humility and maybe a little embarrassment.

To the less evil is still evil people: Stop making the perfect the enemy of the good.

Here's the deal, if we lose the war against the Islamicists it won't be because they were smarter or stronger. It will be because we lost focus. And just in case you've forgotten (and I suspect that some of you have) if we fail here, we won't have a country left to fix (or ruin). I know it's unpleasant. Yes, it sucks. It's a lousy set of options we have to choose between, but that's life, and the real world, and adult-hood. And if you're sick of being lectured like petulant children who didn't get their favorite cookie for desert then start acting like rational adults who are deciding the fate of the free world.

Reign it in, people.


Turns out the CIA report which cooled so many heels on the threat of Iran's nuclear weapons program was worded less than optimally.

It turns out that on Tuesday, as our Eli Lake reported on page one of yesterday's Sun, the director of national intelligence, Mr. McConnell says he now regrets the phrasing of the unclassified estimate that so stirred America's enthusiasts of diplomacy.

Of course the only people who are probably surprised by this are the people who gleefully proclaimed egg to be on the administration's face. Anyone with a wit of sense realized that any time France agrees with Israel you should pay attention.

Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds


It Took This....

....to get me back.

4 undersea internet cables cut in something like a week. Speculation has been ramping up. I don't know what to make of it, but it stretches the limits of coincidence.

Hat tip: Vodka Pundit

Lawhawk is trying to make heads or tales of it. There are more links at Slashdot.

I suspect primary buzz is a major damper on this story, but it bears keeping a close eye on.